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Showing posts from March, 2016

When you're in a fix just call for the Men in Tights!

We know the great Mel Brooks films -the four of them: The Producers, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, and Spaceballs. They were the tent-poles of the golden age of Brooks during the 70s and 80s, and though during that time he made a couple other films like Silent Movie and History of the World Part 1 which were just okay, it seems Spaceballs represents the last of his good movies. But hold on, what about Robin Hood: Men in Tights?
         The 1993 spoof of all things Robin Hood is certainly not one of the Brooks classics, but nonetheless I feel it’s more than a little underrated. Yeah it’s a little dated and not every joke works, but it’s still a lot of fun, gets more than enough laughs, and has the smarts and character that’s been missing from spoof movies since.
          While Mel Brooks’ last number of films had been parodying whole genres (Spaceballs had a Star Wars focus but also took on sci-fi films the like of Star Trek, Planet of the Apes, and Alien), Men in…

Warning: Batman v. Superman May Cause Severe Disappointment

In a few months time Captain America: Civil War promises to pit two superheroes against each other. The stakes are huge, in part because the Marvel Cinematic Universe has built up well the characters of Captain America and Iron Man and their relationship with each other, but also because their conflict is directly related to their opposing principles. No doubt if Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice applied either of these, it would be a much stronger film.
Batman v. Superman was one of the most hyped films of 2016 for good reason. Seeing the two most famous superheroes in pop culture battle each other is not something to be missed. But the movie itself doesn’t quite understand that, and by biting off more than it can chew, it fails to satisfy its most important demographic.
          After the events of Man of Steel, Superman (Henry Cavill) is seen by some as a godlike hero and by others as an omnipotent menace for the tantamount destruction he caused the city of Metropo…

Disney Sundays: The Aristocats (1970)

When someone talks about The Aristocats like it’s one of the Disney classics I can’t help but be a little dumbfounded. Really? The Aristocats, you think is a classic along the lines of Peter Pan, Mary Poppins, or Bambi? That stuns me, I just don’t get it at all!
The Aristocats is the first Disney film made after Disney’s death and it shows. By Disney standards it’s remarkably lazy, irritating, and just plain dull. Even as a kid I never got into it, and it feels like the perfect example of a film meant to distract kids for an hour and a quarter while the grown-ups do their taxes or something. There certainly isn’t much in it for adults to appreciate.
          Set in Paris in 1910, Duchess and her three kittens whose father is never spoken of, are the pets of a wealthy old cat lady called Madame. Preparing for her death in writing her will she decides to give all her wealth and possessions to the cats leaving her loyal butler Edgar high and dry. Baffled, Edgar decides to kid…

Back to the Feature: Batman v. Superman Part 2

By 1989, the Superman franchise had been Hollywood’s one superhero series and it seemed like it would be their only superhero series. Because in 1987 Superman IV: The Quest for Peace came out and was an abysmal failure, even declared one of the worst movies ever made, and all but guaranteed the death of the franchise. But Superman wasn’t the only hero deserving of his own movie and two years after it looked like there’d never be another superhero franchise, Tim Burton of all people reintroduced the caped crusader to a whole new audience in 1989’s Batman
          This was a movie some comic book fans were dreading. Just as the campy reputation of the character from the 1960s Adam West series was dying down and being replaced by a darker interpretation in the comics, Tim Burton was announced as director with Michael Keaton as star -both known for comedic and (in the case of Burton) just plain strange films. But Batman managed to surprise, being a hit, possibly one to overt…

Back to the Feature: Batman v. Superman Part 1

The biggest movie event of 2016 is almost here! The two biggest titans of comic books will finally face off against each other in an epic and thrilling battle! I am of course talking about Archie vs. Snoopy! But another film with a lot of hype building is Batman v. Superman. And one thing’s for sure, it’s going to be intense. The two icons have collectively starred in thirteen major films before now, but they had to start somewhere. In 1978 we had Superman and in 1989 Batman, the first two superheroes to star in their own movies. Many of us would have loved to see Reeve vs. Keaton, but since we can’t get that, let’s see which of their movies would win if the two were to duke it out. This is Batman (1989) v. Superman (1978)!

          All big budget box office smashing superhero movies, whether they be Marvel, DC, or whatever owe a huge debt of gratitude to Richard Donner’s Superman. The 1978 film was unlike any that had come before: a theatrical big-budget release based o…

Disney Sundays: The Jungle Book (1967)

There’s quite a bit of excitement for this upcoming Jungle Book remake by Jon Favreau. It’s got a great cast including Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson, Lupita Nyong’o, and Christopher Walken as King Louie. How does that not sound great? Parts of it do, and there’s plenty in Rudyard Kipling’s book that’s never been filmed, but we’ve had a couple remakes of this particular story already. Not to mention the trailer showed it’s mostly sticking to the previous Disney film, has an over-reliance on unconvincing CGI and the recent trend of Disney remakes have left a lot to be desired. Disney’s original version of this story already leaves an impression with characters and a tone all its own. I just can’t see the director of Iron Man recapturing that.
The Jungle Book is another one of those stories that because of a lot of dark elements, you wouldn’t think suitable for a kids movie, if not for the fact that the main character is a child. In fact Kipling’s…

Game of Thrones Season 6: The American Presidential Election!

U.S. Election, stop being a season of Game of Thrones! It’s insane but it’s exactly what the presidential race has turned into. All you need to do is slightly alter the terminology.
          We thought it would end after the fall of House Bush but the War of the Five Presidents has continued to divide and strike terror into the hearts of Americans. And all the candidates are exhibiting the traits of their Westeros counterparts.

Rubio Stark -the promising young claimant who was starting to falter at which point he decided to do something rash: play the enemy’s game by throwing juvenile insults. He paid for this though when his entire campaign was massacred (figuratively for now) in his own state no less.

Hilary Targaryen -many would say she looks like a dragon, so why not be the mother of them? She’s been playing the long game seemingly from childhood. Though publicly nice enough, you wonder just how power hungry she is or if she’ll be able to handle the throne once she …

Song of the Sea Review (on video!)

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Let's look back at my favourite Irish film:

Disney Wednesday Special: Mary Poppins (1964)

Disney is so associated with animation that it takes a moment to think of examples of their live-action films. While many are good they generally don’t have the really distinct Disney feel. That is with one exception. For a long time the only live-action movie I knew instinctively was Disney was Mary Poppins; and honestly it’s still the first to come to mind, because it basically is a live-action animated film. But re-watching it as an adult, there’s so much more to it that you pick up on and you realize why it does stay in the hearts and minds of anyone who sees it.
          The classic story is about the Banks family. Two children: Jane and Michael are in need of a nanny because of how consumed their parents are with work; their father a prominent banker and their mother an outspoken and frequently occupied suffragette. After going through a number who couldn’t handle the children’s behaviour and lack of discipline, Mr. Banks hires the even-tempered, kind but  austere Ma…

Disney Sundays: The Sword in the Stone (1963)

         The Sword in the Stone doesn’t feel so much like a Disney movie as a Looney Tunes sketch crossed with an early episode of Doctor Who. Both of which are things I love, so naturally I should love this movie. know how two things you love may not be very good when put together; sort of that old chocolate pizza or like analogy. Well the same can be said for The Sword in the Stone, especially given it’s also a Disney movie.
          There’s also the fact that this film deals with Arthurian legend which I feel should be played with some seriousness considering the gravitas of the myth. That’s not to say it can’t work when played fully for laughs; Monty Python and the Holy Grail after all is one of the greatest comedies, in part due to how much it overplays the gravitas of the myth. But while this film is mostly a comedy -something Disney doesn't often do well, it’s not all that funny, and it makes the moments that are trying to be serious feel empty.

Disney Sundays: One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)

  One Hundred and One Dalmatians is one of the first Disney movies that’s clearly going for the cute factor. Which is odd because it’s also one of Disney’s darker entries. At least for 1961. It couples an over-abundance of dogs and puppies with uncomfortable ideas of animal cruelty. Which doesn’t entirely fit, but there’s enough going for it to get by.
          In one of Disney’s first contemporary set films, a dalmatian called Pongo plays matchmaker for his “pet” Roger setting him up with the lovely Anita and her dalmatian Perdita. After the couples’ marriage, Perdita eventually gives birth to fifteen puppies. Puppies a fashion designer acquaintance of Anita’s, Cruella de Vil (what a name!) has her sights on. But when Roger and Anita are unwilling to sell them, she sends her goons Horace and Jasper to kidnap them along with eighty-four other puppies across southern England. Pongo and Perdita must rescue the puppies before Cruella does the unthinkable: kill and skin them for a coat.…