Posts Tagged ‘80s’

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The Black Cauldron (1985/ Disney/ Dir. Ted Berman & Richard Rich)

The Black Cauldron made basically no splash when it came out, much to Disney’s dismay. Also, to the dismay of people like me, who sort of wish Disney had kept up with what it was doing. If you remember, the early 80s were a period of interesting experimentation for Disney. Granted, most those experiments were box office flops, but they were at least interesting and some of them were even good. This is an example of one of those experiments that was actually sort of good. Not great, I didn’t say great, but it is good and it contains things you rarely saw at the time.

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The Snowman (1982/ TVC London/ Dir. Dianne Jackson)

This is a cartoon for which I have no nostalgia. I only saw it for the first time last year and was so exhausted that I fell asleep during part of it. If I can offer an untainted perspective on any holiday movie, this HAS to be it. I only bought it because it has a tremendous reputation. The fact that it came on a DVD with The Nuttiest Nutcracker had nothing to do with it. I still haven’t watched that second feature, mainly because I watched the trailer. But we’re talking about something that I’ve been told by English and Canadians is the height of their VEWPRF season. So I bought it and watched it, and now I shall write my review of that movie. How did I think it help up? You’ll have to wait and see…

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The Smurfs Christmas Special (1982/ Hanna-Barbera/ Dir. Gerald Baldwin)

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. My first holiday special review in two years… it was supposed to be a momentous occasion. It should have been filled with joy, and laughter, not this. I said some time ago that I was sort of done with reviews that only amounted to complaints. I mean… look, The Avengers happened and we’re liking things because we like them again, not because we hate them and want to imagine we’re superior to them. I want you to know, I started this with the purest of intentions. Sadly The Smurfs Christmas Special did not hold up.

There is no way to properly summarize this, no way to discuss it on its merits, or play on the themes. Mostly, because I have no idea what happened. The best I can hope for is a synopsis, going down the line point by point. Maybe, together, we can reach an understanding. Just remember the mantra “I do believe in spooks, I do believe in spooks, I do believe in spooks!”

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Ninja Bugeicho Momochi Sandayu (1980 Toei Company, Dir. Norifumi Suzuki)

You know, sometimes you can’t help but think that you’re watching porn even when you aren’t. That’s how I choose to start this review, because it’s the impression that at the forefront of my mind. It’s the music mostly, and the modern outfits. I mean it’s a movie that takes place in the 15th century and includes ninjas in clothes that look strikingly like modern camo. The music is so absurd that it hurts the movie, which is pretty absurd on its own. The music is early 80s rock-ish sort of J-Pop, and it make you fee like you’re watching a porn. I’m hardly in a position to bitch about rock music in a classic setting. I normally like that sort of thing. It worked in Ladyhawk and it worked in Legend so some degree. It can work, but it doesn’t work here. That’s hardly the movie’s only problem, I seem to remember lots of other problems, but the music always sticks in my head and I’m getting the intro written before we evens start the movie proper because I’m going to review this one in a way I haven’t reviewed in a while. Yeah, this movie is so screwy I’ve got to break down the plot and explain certain scenes in detail. We haven’t done this in a while, so put on your favorite Technicolor gi and let’s get ready to rumble!

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Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984/ Lucasfilm/ Dir. Steven Spielberg)

Oh yeah, the first Indy movie I’m going to review and it’s one of the most infamous sequels ever made. Let’s get a statement out of the way straight off, this is a flawed movie. It’s the weakest of the trilogy, and yes I know Crystal Skull exists. We’ll talk about that one some day. It doesn’t work like the others, it doesn’t seem to fit with the others, and there are parts that make even a strong man wince. There is also a woman who spends more time screaming than talking, which I’ll get to. However, there is a lot to defend, or at least understand here, so I won’t just smack it around with a leather strap and call it a day. Besides, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is the Kill Bill of 1984 and most people don’t even know it. Yes, I will explain that statement. Good movies deserve better than that, and while this might not be a great movie, it is a good one, no matter what those wankers on the internet might say.

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Blade Runner (1982/ The Ladd Company/ Dir. Ridley Scott)

There isn’t much to say about the movie Blade Runner really. Well, there isn’t much new to say at any rate. It’s not a movie that has been ignored as a discussion point over the years, so why review it? Well, I’m going to go from the angle I went with for the recent review of Jurassic Park and compare it to the source material, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. I’ll be honest now and say that I enjoy both the movie and the book, so I won’t attack one using the other as a bludgeon. I will say I enjoy them both in different ways, and I hope to explore that in this review. So let’s have a look at the two and hopefully get you to either read one or watch the other. As another note, there are several versions of this movie running around. Instead of picking this version or that version, I decided to review the two major versions. As well as the book, I’ve decided to review The International Cut and The Final Cut for this review. I could have done some of the others, but the review is already late as it is so let’s just go with that.

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Movie Review: Real Genius

Posted: January 24, 2011 in Movie Review, Reviews
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Real Genius (1985/Tri Star Pictures/Dir. Martha Coolidge)

What can be said about Real Genius that hasn’t been said before? Well, quite a lot really. I almost never hear anyone talk about this movie, or hold it up as a favorite, or anything really. It’s strange because considering how favorable the depiction of geeks is in this movie, and how archetypal the characters are, it should be a cornerstone of Geek Culture. It’s not a perfect movie, but there is a lot to love here.

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Bugs Bunny’s Looney Christmas Tales (1979 Warner Bros. / DePatie-Freleng Enterprises Dir. Friz Freleng & Chuck Jones)

Ah sweet, sweet freedom. I don’t have to do anymore commercials if I don’t want to! Shall we talk about harmless but enjoyable cartoon entertainment for a moment? Let’s talk about what is really the last gasps of the Looney Tunes, the time of the mid-80s when all the guys who had worked on cartoons their whole lives were dying off and studios were shutting down animated production left and right. During those days, just before the nostalgia wave that hit in the 90s, it was hard to produce new Looney Tunes. This was one of the compromises. Partially made by Friz Freleng’s company and partly made by the powerhouse that was Chuck Jones, this holiday special is one of the last times that the old team would produce and entirely new show instead of just making bumpers for compilation movies. Even if it were bad, which it isn’t, it would still have Chuck and Friz and Mel working on it. Actually though, I find it sort of charming, if not anyone’s best work.

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A Garfield Christmas Special (1987 Dir. Phil Roman)

Some of you may remember back in November I ran a review for the Garfield Thanksgiving Special. In that review, I called it the most hateful thing ever connected to Thanksgiving. I meant it then and I mean it now. It was evil, hateful, lacking in any kind of morality and not funny. It told us that deceit and lies were great things that should be rewarded. Well now it’s December, and now we’re looking at a Christmas Special. Will it be as bad? Who can say? I’m pretty sure that it will be though, I mean it is Garfield after all. I’m guessing it will be self-serving, cynical, and will try ham-fisted emotional manipulation. There will probably be some songs that make you want to pour Clorox right into your ear to try and cleanse your brain of their memory. Let’s see if I’m right!

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TV Review: Tales from the Darkside “Seasons of Belief”

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Tales from the Darkside: Seasons of Belief (Season 3, Episode 11; First Broadcast December 29, 1986; Laurel Productions; Dir. Michael Mc Dowell)

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What say we get this VEWPRF season started off right? What better way to get a season started than with an episode of my favorite TV show? That’s right, I’ve got a holiday episode of Tales from the Darkside and I’m not afraid to review it! Like so many other Darkside episodes, this one is based on a short story. This time it’s based on a short story by Michael Bishop a Locus and Nebula Award winning writer. The screen play was written by Michael McDowell who also directed the episode. McDowell is also the man who created Beetlejuice as well as wrote some two dozen books. So what I’m saying is, in this episode, we’re in good hands. Unlike some holiday episodes, this will be a joy to watch. And with that, I just guaranteed you won’t even read past the opening paragraph, didn’t I? Look, I like some things, okay? I try to review things I think I’ll enjoy. Of course, since my program is being handed to me by forces I don’t really understand, it might be crap. I can’t see that happening since at worst a Darkside episode is just dull, but it might. C’mon! Read on and see what happens!

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