Archive for the ‘Family’ Category
Thursday, April 20th, 2023
Somehow I, a person fascinated with both Ronny Yu’s kangaroo kung fu movie WARRIORS OF VIRTUE (1997) and the medium of unlikely DTV sequels, lived for many years unaware of the existence of WARRIORS OF VIRTUE 2: RETURN TO TAO (2002). Once I did learn of it I found it in a DVD collection called “6 Family Fantasy-Adventure Movies” along with the other Miramax library titles PINOCCHIO (2002), NEVERWAS (2007), A WRINKLE IN TIME (2003), THE NEVERENDING STORY III: ESCAPE FROM FANTASIA (1996) and, in a strange coincidence, MERLIN’S APPRENTICE (2005), directed by Yu’s frequent editor and BRIDE WITH WHITE HAIR 2 director David Wu. They also released it as a double feature with that version of BEOWULF starring Christopher Lambert. It has no Ronny Yu involvement and, worse, no kangaroo involvement, which I’m sure is why nobody ever heard about it. I mean, if there’s a movie where April O’Neill is trying to find the Ninja Turtles and when she does they “lost their powers” so they’re just people wearing different colored headbands then I never heard of that one either. Though I kind of want to.
But obviously it is my professional and ethical duty to extend my tangent from the actual Ronny Yu movies until such a time as I have reviewed this DTV spin-off. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Dennis K. Law, Kentucky Robinson, Kevin Tod Smith, Michael Vickerman, Nathan Phillips, Nina Liu, Rex Piano, Shedrack Anderson III
Posted in Reviews, Family, Fantasy/Swords, Martial Arts | 2 Comments »
Wednesday, April 19th, 2023
I guess this is a weird reason to revisit a family fantasy classic that’s treasured around the world, but I felt like after spending so much time on WARRIORS OF VIRTUE I had an ethical duty to review another first-English-language-movie-by-an-internationally-acclaimed-director, THE NEVERENDING STORY. I saw it in the theater 39 years ago and I remembered it enough to know WARRIORS kinda ripped off its kid-picked-on-by-bullies-given-large-leatherbound-book-magically-connected-to-a-fantasy-world format. I did not remember that in this one the kid just reads about the fantasy world, he doesn’t go there. But there was another detail that did stick in my brain, one that I had to question because it seems so fucking crazy: could it possibly be true that there are no kung fu animals in this one at all? Believe it or not, that is true. What the fuck kind of lunatic wants a story without kung fu animals to never end!? It’s absurd! But somehow they make it work.
Watching it again, I laughed at how quickly it gets into it – not the fantasy world, but the theme song. Limahl and Beth Anderson crooning “The Neverending Stoooor-ryyy, ooo ooow ooh oooowoo ooh, the Neverending Stooor-ryyy…” over Giorgio Moroder synths and footage of clouds. One thing this opening sequence gets across very clearly is that if you want to see a movie called THE NEVERENDING STORY, you came to the right place.
The kid is named Bastian, played by Barret Oliver (Kid #2, UNCOMMON VALOR). We don’t see too much of his life, but we pick up on a few things. His mom died fairly recently. His dad (Gerald McRaney, MOTORCYCLE GANG) is emotionally distant and tells him to keep his head out of the clouds, which the credits already told us is the opposite of what you gotta do in a neverending story. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Barret Oliver, Deep Roy, Gerald McRaney, German cinema, Giorgio Moroder, Michael Ende, Thomas Hill, Wolfgang Petersen
Posted in Reviews, Family, Fantasy/Swords | 27 Comments »
Friday, September 16th, 2022
They used to say that August was the “dog days,” when all the shitty movies get dumped. Yeah, okay, maybe some of them. But August 7, 1992 was when they released one of the best movies of the ’90s. A movie I continue to watch every couple years and absolutely love. One of those movies that’s kind of seen as a commentary on its genre but really it’s just a high watermark for it. This was even the movie that won best picture that year. Oh yeah no I’m not talking about 3 NINJAS yet, I’m talking about Clint Eastwood’s UNFORGIVEN. I was planning to revisit it as part of this retrospective but jesus christ it’s September already, and I’ve already reviewed it before, I’ve even reviewed its Japanese remake before (it’s good!). If I was gonna write about it again I’d want more time to really focus on doing it justice and I can’t do that right now, I’d have to rush it. So instead here I am reviewing some real dog shit released on the same day. These are the choices we make as writers.
I had never seen 3 NINJAS before, but obviously I wasn’t gonna skip a movie that has three or more ninjas in it. It’s from director Jon Turteltaub (THE MEG), who had only done the Barbarian Brothers comedy THINK BIG (1990) and something called DRIVING ME CRAZY (1991) at this point, but somehow he got this released by Touchstone Pictures. Then he continued his Disney relationship by following it with COOL RUNNINGS (1993), WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING (1995), PHENOMENON (1996), INSTINCT (1999), DISNEY’S THE KID (2000), NATIONAL TREASURE (2004), NATIONAL TREASURE: BOOK OF SECRETS (2007), and THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE (2010). Man, he got lucky though, because this is some real bottom of the barrel dreck, almost as bad as any off brand DTV throwaway kiddy garbage you’ll ever encounter. I guess Michael Eisner only cared about that “we’re not spending DICK TRACY money on anything anymore” edict we discussed in the ENCINO MAN review more than he cared about finding movies worthy of showing to people. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Alan McRae, Jon Turteltaub, ninjas, Patrick Labyorteaux, Professor Toru Tanaka, Victor Wong
Posted in Action, Family, Reviews | 15 Comments »
Tuesday, September 13th, 2022
Well, I’m afraid it seems my fellow people who write about movies were not open to a giant corporation treating an 80+ year old animation masterpiece as i.p. to remake in a modern style, especially coming from a once A-list director they’ve turned on in his later, weirder years. So they engaged in a hyperbole measuring contest to find out who could hate Robert Zemeckis’s PINOCCHIO (2022) most outlandishly.
I get it, I guess, but I don’t relate. I can see refusing to give in to the existence of these remakes, I can see not wanting them to do it to PINOCCHIO specifically (it’s my personal favorite Disney movie), I can see not liking the finished product. But I can’t see thinking it’s terrible, let alone the worst thing you’ve seen lately/in years/ever. That’s just silly talk.
Yes, that is correct, I liked it for what it was. I’ll get into it in a minute. Just let me pre-amble a little bit more. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Carlo Collodi, Chis Weitz, Cynthia Erivo, Disney remakes, Evan Ainsworth, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Keegan-Michael Key, Lorraine Bracco, Luke Evans, Robert Zemeckis, Tom Hanks
Posted in Cartoons and Shit, Family, Fantasy/Swords, Reviews | 14 Comments »
Monday, September 5th, 2022
note: I am very much aware that I’m way behind and the summer movie season is over but I’m gonna keep going and finish this Weird Summer retrospective. Enjoy! Please?
July 17, 1992
HONEY, I BLEW UP THE KID is the first sequel to the 1989 Joe Johnston directed Walt Disney hit HONEY, I SHRUNK THE KIDS. Last time, eccentric inventor Wayne Szalinski (Rick Moranis, STREETS OF FIRE)’s machine accidentally shrunk his and the neighbors’ kids to, by one kid’s estimation, “the size of boogers.” This time he accidentally causes his new toddler son Adam (played by twins Daniel and Joshua Shalikar) to grow in spurts until he becomes basically a kaiju.
It’s directed by Randal Kleiser (THE BLUE LAGOON) and written by Thom Eberhardt (writer/director of NIGHT OF THE COMET) and Peter Elbling (Mr. T’s Be Somebody… or Be Somebody’s Fool!) & Garry Goodrow (The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour). A story credit goes to Goodrow (who was also an actor in Shirley Clarke’s THE CONNECTION), so I suspect that means he was the one who wrote BIG BABY, an unrelated giant baby script that was rewritten to fit into the HONEYverse. In that sense, the HONEY saga is much like the DIE HARD series. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Amy O'Neill, Bill Moseley, Brian Yuzna, Ed Naha, Garry Goodrow, John Paragon, John Shea, Julia Sweeney, Keri Russell, Las Vegas, Linda Carlson, Lloyd Bridges, Marcia Strassman, Randal Kleiser, Rick Moranis, Robert Oliveri, Stuart Gordon, Suzanne Kent, Thom Eberhardt
Posted in Comedy/Laffs, Family, Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit | 29 Comments »
Wednesday, February 2nd, 2022
And now in our journey through the films of Sam Raimi we have arrived at a difficult spot. We have come to the film that was at the time “the new Sam Raimi” but for a few years became “the last Sam Raimi?” I enjoyed OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL well enough when it came out in 2013 (here’s my review), even though a big commercial Disney movie that’s an unsolicited prequel to a famous story wasn’t high on the list of what I wanted to see from him. And it definitely wasn’t what I wanted to see him go out on.
Luckily he has now actually filmed his next movie, so a comeback is on deck. But isn’t it crazy that it’s been 9 years since the last Sam Raimi movie? To remind you of how long ago this was, it’s when FURIOUS 6 and MAN OF STEEL came out. It’s when they were on the first film of MCU Phase Two, IRON MAN THREE. We’re talking seven David Gordon Green movies ago (he was on PRINCE AVALANCHE, starring Paul Rudd, who was not yet Ant-Man). It’s when Franck Khalfoun’s remake of MANIAC came out, and Spike Lee’s remake of OLDBOY, and Ryuhei Kitamura’s WWE Films joint NO ONE LIVES. Remember those? No? You weren’t born yet? That’s what I’m saying – it’s been a while. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Abigail Spencer, Bob Murawski, Bruce Campbell, Danny Elfman, David Lindsay-Abaire, James Franco, Joey King, L. Frank Baum, Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis, Mitchell Kapner, Peter Deming, Rachel Weisz, Robert Stromberg, Sam Raimi, Tim Holmes, Tony Cox, Zach Braff
Posted in Family, Fantasy/Swords, Reviews | 46 Comments »
Tuesday, August 17th, 2021
You may have thought I was done with the weird dog movies of summer ’91 after the ROVER DANGERFIELD (plus 101 DALMATIANS re-release) review last week, but if so you forgot all about the live action division. August 9, 1991 also saw the release of BINGO, a pretty odd movie about a kid whose family moves, leaving behind a dog he had secretly befriended, E.T. style.
It’s directed by Matthew Robbins, who as a writer contributed to George Lucas’ original THX 1138 short and Spielberg’s SUGARLAND EXPRESS and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, and as a director gave us CORVETTE SUMMER, DRAGONSLAYER, THE LEGEND OF BILLIE JEAN and *batteries not included. He doesn’t have a credit on the screenplay here – that went to newcomer Jim Strain.
Bingo is a dog who lives with a circus. One day he has to fill in for an injured poodle, but he freezes when he’s supposed to jump through a flaming hoop – a flashback tells us that his mother was killed in a pet store fire. (I sincerely love the shot of puppy Bingo mourning at his mother’s grave [with flowers!] like he’s Bruce Wayne or somebody.) His trainer Steve (Simon Webb, one episode of MacGyver) tries to shoot him, but Bingo escapes because Steve’s Peg-Bundy-looking-wife Ginger (Suzie Plakson, MY STEPMOTHER IS AN ALIEN) at least briefly sympathizes with him, telling him to run away and “Do whatever makes ya happy!
(read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Cindy Williams, David Rasche, dog movies, Glenn Shadix, Jim Strain, Joe Guzaldo, Kurt Fuller, Matthew Robbins, Richard Gibbs, Robert J. Steinmiller Jr., Summer of 1991, Suzie Plakson, Wayne Robson
Posted in Comedy/Laffs, Family, Reviews | 5 Comments »
Tuesday, August 11th, 2020
Frankenweenie is a 26-minute long black-and-white Disney live action short that was not quite, as far as I can tell, a Summer of 1985 release. It was made in 1984, planned to play with a re-release of THE JUNGLE BOOK that summer, then production was delayed, moving it to PINOCCHIO in December, but when it received a PG rating they couldn’t play it with a G-rated movie, so it got shelved until playing with only the U.K. release of BABY: THE SECRET OF THE LOST LEGEND. I couldn’t find proof of a date, but if it was the same as the U.S. then it was in March of ’85.
But I decided it was an important backstory to fill in, because it keeps coming up. It was one of the projects then-25-year-old Disney artist Tim Burton switched to after the company didn’t use any of his designs for THE BLACK CAULDRON. It was the short they considered releasing with MY SCIENCE PROJECT. And it was what brought Burton to the attention of Paul Reubens to direct a classic Summer of 1985 movie we’ll be discussing tomorrow.
It’s a simple story. Barret Oliver (D.A.R.Y.L.) plays Victor Frankenstein, a normal suburban kid who enjoys making Super-8 monster movies with his dog Sparky. But one day while playing fetch, Sparky is run over by a car – off screen, in a beautifully crafted sequence of visual storytelling that ends with a baseball rolling to the curb and Victor rising to his feet in shock. (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Barret Oliver, Daniel Stern, David Newman, Disney, Jason Hervey, Joseph Maher, Michael Convertino, Paul Bartel, Shelley Duvall, shorts, Sofia Coppola, Summer of 1985, Tim Burton
Posted in Comedy/Laffs, Family, Reviews | 20 Comments »
Friday, July 31st, 2020
August 2, 1985
THE MUPPET MOVIE (1979) is a one-of-a-kind American family film masterpiece, followed by several enjoyable sequels. FOLLOW THAT BIRD (a.k.a. SESAME STREET PRESENTS FOLLOW THAT BIRD) is sort of the younger kids’ version of that, and it never quite caught on the same, but it’s worthy of sitting on the same shelf. It depicts Sesame Street (the street) on film, in cinematic terms, and takes some of its Muppet inhabitants out into the real world for adventures both goofy and heartfelt, with guest appearances by a few Canadian comedy stars.
It all happens because of a well-meaning but clueless all-bird organization called The Society of Feathered Friends, whose mission is “to place stray birds with nice bird families.” Somehow they receive a dossier about Big Bird living on a vacant lot with no bird friends, and decide to “help.” As they discuss how sad he looks in a photo an owl comments, “That’s funny, he looks happy to me,” causing outrage, because, according to Miss Finch (voice of Sally Kellerman, M*A*S*H), “We all know he can’t be happy. He needs to be with his own kind. A bird family.” (read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Chevy Chase, Dave Thomas, Eddie Deezen, Frank Oz, Jim Henson, Joe Flaherty, John Candy, Ken Kwapis, Laraine Newman, Lenny Niehaus, Paul Bartel, Roscoe Orman, Sandra Bernhard, Sonia Manzano, Summer of 1985, Waylon Jennings
Posted in Family, Reviews | 18 Comments »
Monday, July 13th, 2020
July 12, 1985
Director Joe Dante came up in the world of Roger Corman – first cutting trailers, then directing PIRANHA – before his success with THE HOWLING (1981) brought him to the attention of Steven Spielberg, who produced TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE (1983) and GREMLINS (1984). So it’s notable that Dante’s Summer of ’85 entry EXPLORERS is another that (like D.A.R.Y.L. or especially COCOON) seems like it wouldn’t have existed without the influence of Spielberg’s films.
In an interview with Podcasting Them Softly, screenwriter Eric Luke confirms, “The thing that sold it, that Paramount thought, let’s make this was like the one sentence concept, because E.T. had just come out and been the biggest hit ever, so my answer to that was three boys build their own space ship and go into space and it all works, it’s not just a fantasy, there’s some scientific underpinning.”
(read the rest of this shit…)
Tags: Amanda Peterson, Bobby Fite, Ethan Hawke, James Cromwell, Jason Presson, Jerry Goldsmith, Joe Dante, Leslie Rickert, Mike Ploog, River Phoenix, Rob Bottin, Robert Picardo, Summer of 1985
Posted in Family, Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit | 11 Comments »