Posts Tagged ‘Fantasy’

Lost and Found

1

Lost and Found (2008/ Dir. Philip Hunt/ Entertainment One and Studio Aka)
Here is the short version of this review: Go buy this, it’s excellent.

(more…)

1
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.

(more…)

1
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…

(more…)

1
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!”

(more…)

Let’s be perfectly honest, this is not the best anthology series in the history of ever. I’m not going to do the run down of Stephen King’s career, or chronicle the ups and downs of his work here. Lately, I’ve found that no two people can really agree when exactly it was that they stopped loving the man’s work or when exactly things just plain stopped working for them. My particular view is that King has always been sort of lopsided and uneven. There are moments of brilliance and moments that don’t work and it’s up to each person to pick and choose what does and doesn’t work for them. However, for the most part, Nightmares & Dreamscapes didn’t much work for me. One problem was that it was greatly shot in Australia, but it’s trying to look like America (Or in one case, London) and it just doesn’t. That’s less of a problem here, as part of the show was shot in San Francisco (or someplace trying to look like it mixed with stock footage and matte shots) and the other part was just on a soundstage. None of that is very important though, the only really important question is “Does it work?” or possibly “Is it entertaining?” since I’ve admitted things that are complete train wrecks can be entertaining.

Well, the answer is “Yes.” A further answer might be, “It’s not the best Stephen King adaptation that’s ever been made, but it’s certainly the most fun.”

(more…)

1
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.

(more…)

1
Jurassic Park (1993/Universal/Dir. Steven Spielberg)

I decided to re-read the book before watching the movie, which might be considered a mistake by some people. I know people who would have said I should have skipped one or the other of my experiences, but I had my reasons. I wanted to be able to compare the two products, movie and book and see what the differences were. My thoughts can be condensed, and then expanded upon. Jurassic Park: The Book is kind of a dumb diatribe against science, written by a profoundly stupid man. Jurassic Park: The Movie is a fun movie with a few weak spots. I’ll expand on those two statements, but that’s the gist of my feelings.

(more…)

1


Seven Swords (2005 Mandarin Films & Eng Wah Dir. Tsui Hark)

This is a movie that should have been awesome, but fell short of that lofty goal. The reasons it should have been awesome are easy to see just from the people involved. Tsui Hark reinvigorated the Wuxia genre in the 90s, Donnie Yen is one of the biggest stars in HK cinema, the other actors are hardly unknowns, and it’s based on one of those books that I’m told is a favorite in Chinese culture. Of course, that’s maybe where things start to go wrong. The movie bears little resemblance to the book in question. Much of the story telling is put on the shoulders of characters that weren’t written to hold such weight, and the action is underwhelming. However, all that said, there are things to like in this movie as we’ll see. This isn’t a movie without merit, and some might look beyond the weaknesses and really fall in love with this thing.

(more…)

00


The Tale of Despereaux (2008/ Universal/ Rob Stevenhagen & Sam Fell)

Let’s get the first things out of the way first. I cannot recommend this movie, because it’s not a good movie. That’s just for starters, but we can get that out of the way right now. The reason we’re talking about it though, and the reason I’m reviewing it, is that it could have been a good movie. There is a good movie hiding in this film, however the movie keeps getting in its own way and prevents it from being good. The book it’s based on was a Newberry Award winner (which should make you worry right there) and the movie wants to be worthy of that to the extent that it keeps trying way too hard to be worthy and can’t manage to be good. It’s a shame because on the technical side, the movie is very good in many places. The style and visual flair of the movie is wonderful, but the movie itself is so pretentious and overly serious that you can’t really enjoy watching it. Instead of a point by point review, let’s talk about a few of the problems…

(more…)

I fantasize about a world where I can get an intern to write intros for me.
I’m trying to cast a wide net with these selections, but this week I failed. Most of these were made within a few years of each other. I put it down to the fact that my formative years coincided quite nicely with a renaissance in fantasy filmmaking. A couple of obvious things like The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of The Lost Ark aren’t here because they’ve already been addressed in last week’s entry.

(more…)