Posts Tagged ‘comedy’

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Christmas Eve on Sesame Street (1978/ Children’s Television Workshop/ Dir. Jon Stone)

Friends, Interneters, Countrymen? Look, lend me your eyes okay? I come not to bury Big Bird, but to praise him. The good men do, may sometimes live after then, while what little evils the commited may be interred with their bones. So let it be with Big Bird. Many hath told you Henson was ambitious? If it were so, it was a magnificent joy; and Henson hath answer’d it. You all did love him once,–not without cause: what cause withholds you, then, to mourn for him? O judgment, thou art fled to brutish beasts, and men have lost their reason!–Bear with me; my heart is in the coffin there with Henson, and I must pause till it come back to me.

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The Fat Albert Christmas Special (1977/ Filmation/ Dir.Hal Sutherland)

Doing holiday specials is a tough gig. Quite often, they’re produced as a fast buck idea. Something to throw at the screen during December, and if possible, break up the McDonald’s Commercials a little. Most the specials I have seen, and I’ve seen WAY more than I should, fit into this category. Particularly existing properties, like the Smurfs or He-Man, fit this mold.

You know what? We’re not going to mention another holiday special for the rest of this review. I’m going to show my hand early and just say it. This is good. I don’t want to taint that by comparing it to something less good. If it’s really good, it should be able to stand up on its own without putting something else down. And I think this is good, and I think it goes beyond a cynical cash grab, and I think it might really be worth your while.

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Arsenic and Old Lace (1944/Warner Bros./Dir. Frank Capra)

A little while ago, I posted a list of movies that you can watch at Halloween that aren’t horror movies. When I posted that, I “missed” one important movie. I put missed in quotes because I didn’t miss it so much as decide that I would rather do a review on it. While not a perfect movie, nor even a perfect comedy, it is enjoyable and it does work as a film. It’s one of m favorite Cary Grant performances, and that is really saying something. And hey, it takes place on Halloween!

Here’s the thing though, the best thing to do would be to go into this movie totally blind. I’m going to spoil some things about this movie, but one of the biggest spoilers is on the back of the box. For best results, don’t read anything and just go watch it. As of right now, it’s on Netflix Streaming (but who knows what tomorrow might bring, right?) so just go watch it. Seriously, don’t even bother reading this review because you should just go see it.

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There are books that are difficult to translate into movies, and there are books that are more easily translated. I’m not exactly sure where Fear and Loathing fits in there, but it was at least fairly accurately translated. Not 100%, several things prevent it from reaching the full and complete accuracy that fans were hoping for. While some of them are choices made by Gilliam, many of them are just rights and budget concerns. However, as an adaptation of the book, it works. As something to get you interested in the greater works of Hunter S. Thompson, it is an excellent device. How does the movie hold up compared to the book? Let’s find out together, shall we?

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Der Schuh des Manitu

Native Americans are a dicey subject in fiction, mainly because of the stereotyping. There is also the problem that the term Native Americans can rub a cheese grater over the nerves of their souls. But really, it’s the stereotype that bothers most of us, I think. I mean, think about it a moment. I said Native American, and what did you think of? Buck skin wearing, noble savages with long straight black hair and a rudimentary grasp of language at best? Well, shame on you! They also talk about the Great Spirit at the drop of a hat and want to sing you the song of their people. Them and the Orientals get that weird, condescending attribute of being strangely wise, or mystical while also insulting them with the old ‘but of course they’re like children’ refrain as well. I’m not going to go into a lengthy discussion on it, but I sort of am because I’m talking about a movie that is set in the old west and involves made up Apaches. But it’s made by Germans, so they have like no connection to the actual history of the Native Americans and the movie is actually pretty funny since its jokes rarely ever touch on the known stereotypes beyond basic visuals and the Apache characters are the heroes. The best way I can describe it is that it’s like watching a hilarious movie about slave conditions in the Antebellum South made by Italians in blackface. You know that there is something terribly wrong with what’s being done, but the people who are doing it can’t begin to understand, and they’re being genuinely funny anyway. Look, maybe its better if I explain from the beginning…

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Wallace & Gromit – A Matter of Loaf and Death (2008/ Aardman Animations/ Dir. Nick Park)

I really hate doing this. I hate having to be the one to do this to a franchise I like so much, but there is nothing for it. I am not a hipster, I do not watch things “ironically” and not just because that’s not what ironic means. I don’t seek out things because I know they will be horrible, even though I will occasionally seek out things that I know won’t be very good. I don’t watch old Hercules movies so I can laugh at their lame production value or sneer at the lousy translations, but because I genuinely enjoy them. Even something like Hercules and the Captive Women, I decided to watch and review it with the hopes that it would be charming and fun. However, that movie wasn’t fun and this movie isn’t fun. That’s what I hate about this, I hate having to tell you that this is just really, really terrible.

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The Fearless Hyena (1979/ Goodyear Movie Company/ Dir. Jackie Chan)

Really? All the movies I’ve reviewed and this is the first Jackie Chan movie? Huh, that’s odd. This is as good a place as any to start with Chan. As far as I’m able to tell, this is Chan’s first directorial effort, even though Kenneth Tsang helped out. The thing is, this is a really cheap movie. Really cheap. You know how Shaw Brothers movies tend to look like a poor man’s version of old Hollywood movies? No? Do we need a Shaw Brothers primer? Okay, note to self, review a Shaw Brothers classic sometime. Let me break it down quickly. A lot of the Shaw’s movies were studio bound in a way that soap operas would find embarrassing. I’ve seen Shaw films that have almost no exterior shots, despite the fact that much of the movie ostensibly takes place outside. One Armed Swordsman comes to mind. The Shaws did build a backlot, and used it to great effect, but many movies still have a great deal of indoor studio shooting. The reason I bring this up is that things like Fearless Hyena didn’t have as much money as a Shaw production. That’s my point. They’re not even as expensive as a poor man’s knock-off. However, along with more exterior shoots (the forest is CHEAP!) there is also a bit more soul here. Chan and company are working their butts off to produce a new kind of kung fu movie. It worked too, this movie even supplanted Chan’s break-out film Drunken Master as the highest grossing movie in Hong Kong.

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