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Posts Tagged ‘Fairuza Balk’

Return to Oz

Monday, June 22nd, 2020

June 21, 1985

Forty-six years after MGM’s beloved Technicolor musical THE WIZARD OF OZ, Walt Disney Pictures produced their own journey through the world of L. Frank Baum. Though titled and framed like a sequel, writer/director Walter Murch and co-writer Dennis Gill (WALK THE LINE) treated it more as a literary adaptation, basing it mostly on book #3, Ozma of Oz, combined with some characters from #2, The Marvelous Land of Oz. In an article by Alan Jones in the July, 1985 issue of Cinefantastique (my most quoted source in this review series, you may have noticed), executive producer Gary Kurtz (THE DARK CRYSTAL) says they “pondered at great length” whether to even use the iconic ruby slippers, since in the books they were silver.

Like its predecessor, the not-really-sequel is full of whimsical characters and underpinned with fairy tale menace, but in most other ways it’s wildly different. The colors are subdued rather than vivid, the settings are grounded rather than stagey, it stars 10-year-old newcomer Fairuza Balk as Dorothy rather than a teen like Judy Garland, and she doesn’t sing, because it’s not a musical. While WIZARD’s costumes, jokes and dance numbers come out of the vaudeville tradition, RETURN creates its world and characters with the rapidly evolving cinematic puppetry, animation and visual FX technology of the Lucas/Spielberg era. Murch told Cinefantastique, “At first I was worried about using state-of-the-art animatronics, but so many of the OZ personnel are graduates of The Muppets, STAR WARS, and THE DARK CRYSTAL that I realized it would be pointless to worry.”

The result is a classic entry in the unique-to-the-‘80s subgenre of dark, imaginative, FX-heavy fantasy for children, preceded by THE DARK CRYSTAL and THE NEVERENDING STORY and followed by LABYRINTH. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Bad Lieutenant Port of Call New Orleans

Monday, November 30th, 2009

tn_badlieutenantpocnoWhen I wrote about Abel Ferrara’s BAD LIEUTENANT about 2 years ago I said that should be one of the movies they remake in BE KIND REWIND, or some kids should do a remake in their backyard, or you should use scenes from it for your monologue in acting class. So far I haven’t seen any of those, but it’s even better to see a remake starring Nicolas Cage. Sort of a remake, anyway.

What exactly is THE BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS? It’s not a sequel, not exactly a remake to BAD LIEUTENANT. Werner Herzog, who directed this new one, claims he hasn’t seen BAD LIEUTENANT. Ferrara claimed he was gonna stop this one from being made. (In my opinion he failed.) This isn’t about the same character and I didn’t notice any mention of the original screenplay in the credits. But it does have a little bit of a BAD LIEUTENANT vibe, and that’s all I can ask. (read the rest of this shit…)