Archive for April, 2013

Easter Parade

Posted in Classics, Movie Reviews, Musicals with tags , , , , , , on April 27, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 1912, Broadway star Don Hewes (Fred Astaire) is buying Easter presents for his sweetheart, starting with a hat and some flowers (“Happy Easter”). He goes into a toy shop and buys a cuddly Easter rabbit, after persuading a young boy to part with it and buy a set of drums instead (“Drum Crazy”). Hewes takes the gifts to his dancing partner, Nadine Hale (Ann Miller), who explains that she has an offer for a show that would feature her as a solo star. Don tries to change her mind and it looks as if he has succeeded (“It Only Happens When I Dance With You”), until Don’s best friend, Johnny (Peter Lawford), turns up. Nadine reveals that she and Don are no longer a team and it becomes obvious that Nadine is attracted to Johnny.

Angry, Don leaves to drown his sorrows at a bar. Johnny follows him and tries to persuade him to talk to Nadine, but to no avail; Don brags that he does not need Nadine and that he can make a star of the next dancer he meets. After Johnny leaves, he picks out one of the girls dancing on the stage, Hannah Brown (Judy Garland), and tells her to meet him for rehearsal the next day. Hannah then performs a duet, singing a musical number with a member of the band (Norman S. Barker) on trombone, “I Want to Go Back to Michigan.” The next morning, Don tries to turn Hannah into a copy of Nadine, teaching her to dance the same way, buying her dresses in a similar style and giving her an “exotic” stage name, “Juanita.” However, Hannah makes several mistakes at their first performance and the show is a fiasco.

Hannah meets Johnny, who is instantly attracted to her and sings “A Fella With An Umbrella” while walking her to her rehearsal with Don. At the rehearsal, Don, realizing his mistake, decides to start over from scratch by creating routines more suited to Hannah’s personality. Hannah sings “I Love A Piano” and she works out a dance routine with Don that proves much more successful than their earlier performance. The duo, now known as “Hannah & Hewes”, are shown to be performing “Snookie-Ookums”, “The Ragtime Violin”, and “When That Midnight Choo-Choo Leaves For Alabam'” in a montage of their performances.

At an audition for Ziegfeld Follies, where they perform “Midnight Choo-Choo”, they meet Nadine who is starring in the show. Hannah realizes that Nadine was Don’s former dancing partner and demands to know if they were in love. Don hesitates and Hannah runs out of the rehearsal where she encounters Johnny. Later, Don meets Hannah back at the hotel and reveals that he turned down the Ziegfeld offer, believing that Hannah and Nadine do not belong in the same show. Johnny soon arrives and takes Hannah out for dinner at which, after a comical routine by the waiter, Johnny reveals that he has fallen in love with Hannah. While Hannah does like Johnny, she admits she is actually in love with Don; she also admits to deliberately making mistakes when they rehearse so she can be with him longer. She and Johnny continue to have a close friendship.

Meanwhile, Nadine’s show opens and Don goes to see it (“Shakin’ The Blues Away”). He is the only member of the audience who seems unimpressed. Later on, Don goes to see Hannah and tell her that they will be starring in another show and invites her to dinner to celebrate. Hannah goes to dinner at Don’s, only to have him suggest a dance rehearsal. She is immediately upset and turns to walk out, telling him that he’s “nothing but a pair of dancing shoes” and that he doesn’t see her as a woman, but as a dancing aid. Hannah is particularly annoyed that Don doesn’t notice her new clothes and all the effort she has made for him. She tries to leave, but Don stops her and kisses her. Hannah then plays the piano and sings “It Only Happens When I Dance With You,” after which Don realizes he is in love with Hannah and they embrace.

The couple take part in a variety show, with a solo by Don (“Steppin’ Out With My Baby”) and then comes the most famous musical number in the film (“A Couple of Swells”), in which Don and Hannah play a pair of street urchins with vivid imaginations. Don and Hannah go out to celebrate after the show and end up watching Nadine perform. Nadine is mad with jealousy when the audience gives Don and Hannah a round of applause as they come in. Nadine is the star dancer in “The Girl On The Magazine Cover.” The song features an ingenious stage act, in which women appear against backdrops that look like the covers of contemporary magazines. Nadine herself appears on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar. Afterwards, she insists that Don perform one of their old numbers with her for old times’ sake, as she tries to win Don back – “It Only Happens When I Dance With You (Reprise).” When Don reluctantly agrees, Hannah becomes upset and runs out.

She ends up at the bar where she and Don first met. There she pours out her troubles to Mike the bartender (“Better Luck Next Time”). Later, when Hannah returns to her apartment, she finds Don waiting for her. Don tries to explain that he was forced to dance with Nadine, but Hannah thinks Don used her to make Nadine jealous and win her back. Don tells Hannah he’ll wait all night for her to forgive him, but just before Hannah opens the door, Don is kicked out of her building by the house detective. The next morning Hannah is telling Johnny about her and Don’s misunderstanding. Johnny says if he loved someone he would let her know it, implying that Hannah should forget the argument and be with Don. Hannah realizes that Johnny is right and goes to meet Don for their date for the Easter Parade.

Meanwhile, Don has been receiving various gifts at his apartment that morning, such as a rabbit and a new top hat, unaware that they’re from Hannah. She arrives unexpectedly at his house, as if the argument never happened. Don is a little confused by this turn of events, but decides to go out with Hannah anyway. As they walk in the Easter parade, photographers, echoing a scene with Nadine from the beginning of the film, take their pictures and Don proposes to Hannah (“Easter Parade”).


Yes, I know that I’m a little late with Easter Parade since Easter was about a month ago. That isn’t my fault! Blame Netflix and their waiting system. Still, it was nice to finally get this classic musical in, since this is a watch that was long overdue.

What is this about?

Judy Garland and Fred Astaire sing and trip the light fantastic to 17 Irving Berlin tunes in this romantic classic. The simple plot concerns a hoofer (Astaire) who teams with an inexperienced chorus girl (Garland) in order to show up his former dance partner, Nadine (Ann Miller).

What did I like?

Dance, dance. Avid followers of this blog know that I have a tremendous respect for the works of Gene Kelly. As it turns out, this was supposed to have been his role, but he had to pull out because of an injury, but talked Fred Astaire out of retirement. I don’t know about you, but I’d say that was a pretty even trade. If you can’t have Kelly, Astaire is just as good, and some would argue better. The dancing scenes with him are superb, but do you really expect anything less?

Costumes. Set in the early 1900s, costumes are something that has to be top-notch. The design and scope of these outfits does not disappoint. Then again, this is an old Hollywood musical, back then they cared about putting on a show, rather than impressing a bunch of old fuddy duddy Oscar voters.

Music. Irving Berlin wrote great songs for this musical. A couple of standouts for me were “Steppin’ Out with My Baby” and the titular “Easter Parade”, but there are a bevy of other tunes to please the viewers auditory senses. Make no mistake, though, not all these songs are the greatest thing since sliced bread, but most will have you humming them for days after the end credits roll.

What didn’t I like?

Love story. There is a bit of a love story that wants to be front and center but, as with every Fred Astaire film I’ve seen, it pushed back until the very end. I believe the film could have benefited from allowing some quality time with these characters exploring their feelings for each other, rather than suddenly realizing in the last couple of minutes.

Not in Kansas, anymore. Judy Garland is a great actress. We all know that, but this isn’t her best work. Don’t get me wrong, that isn’t an indictment of her ability, but rather the way this character is written. She just isn’t given much to do. Garland deserves more, or they should have gotten a lesser actress for this role.

Overall, Easter Parade was a pretty good time. It wasn’t the best musical I’ve seen, and I felt that had Gene Kelly actually been able to star in it, it would have been that much better. This is a film that should be seen by everyone, so maybe next year around Easter, how about giving it a shot?

4 out of 5 stars

Top Secret!

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Spoofs & Satire with tags , , , , on April 26, 2013 by Mystery Man


The film tells the story of Nick Rivers (Kilmer), a US pop singer. Rivers goes to East Germany to perform at a cultural festival. While there, he becomes involved in the French resistance movement and helps the beautiful Hillary Flammond (Gutteridge) rescue her father (Gough), a brilliant scientist being held by the East Germans and forced to build the deadly Polaris naval mine.


This is going to be a rather short review and for that I apologize, but Top Secret! just was never meant to be enjoyed by me, or at least the people making all the racket outside seemed to think so.

What is this about?

Following the success of their first feature, Airplane! the directing team of Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker return with this farce about American rock idol Nick Rivers (Val Kilmer), who’s tapped to play at a cultural festival in East Germany. Nazis are staging the concert to distract attention from a secret attack on a submarine fleet, and before he knows it, Nick is trapped in an international incident, and aiding the French Resistance.

What did I like?

Youth. Val Kilmer these days is twice the man he used to be. I’m not quite sure that he has improved his acting skills. If anything, he very well may have gotten worse, but it was good to see the guy in his youth actually show some promise. I wonder what happened between then and now.

Jokes. Parody films these days suck, let’s face it. They need to go back and look at films like this and Airplane!, where the jokes are funny situations instead of just ripoffs of whatever is going on in pop culture when the picture is being made (usually a year or two before it is released). I appreciate funny, and this film has plenty of it, without going overboard.

What didn’t I like?

Plot. I know that there is some sort of plot going on here. Something involving a kidnapped scientist, an American singer performing for the first time in Germany, and a daughter who wants to rescue her father. Whether these things go together is a mystery, though, as I found it increasingly hard to keep up with what was going on. Keep in mind that there were massive distractions outside, that contributed to that, as well.

Overrated. In the early days of this blog, I caught some flack for my labeling Scarface as overrated. This resulted in a loss of quite a few readers. I guess some people didn’t agree. Well, hopefully that won’t happen this time, but I have to say it. This flick is held in high esteem, but I felt it is overrated.

I feel as if I didn’t really get a good feel of Top Secret!, thanks to the outside interference, but from what I saw, I was not impressed. The few good moments here and there don’t do enough to stave off the mediocrity that sets in not long into the flick. I wish I could give this a better review and rating but, based on what I saw, I just can’t. Do I recommend it? Yes, but only for those that want to see why this is so highly recommended by many people. Otherwise, it is best just catching in on TV when/if it comes on.

3 out of 5 stars


Posted in Animation, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 24, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The film opens with an Iguanodon mother forced to abandon her nest, with only one egg surviving a Carnotaurus attack. The egg is taken by an Oviraptor, who drops it into a river while fighting another Oviraptor, and finally is taken by a Pteranodon to an island inhabited by lemurs, who see the egg hatch, name the baby dinosaur Aladar, and raise him as their own. When Aladar is an adult, the island is destroyed when an asteroid crashes on earth, causing a meteor shower, with only Aladar, his grandfather Yar, his mother Plio, his best friend Zini and his sister Suri surviving the destruction of the island by swimming to the land.

After fleeing a pack of Velociraptor, the family meets a multi-species herd of dinosaurs (consisting of a bunch of Iguanodon, Styracosaurus, Pachyrhinosaurus, Stygimoloch, Microceratus, Parasaurolophus, and Struthiomimus) led by the Iguanodon Kron and his lieutenant Bruton, who are on a journey to reach the “Nesting Grounds”, a valley believed to be untouched by the devastation of the asteroid impact. Aladar and the lemurs befriend a trio of elderly dinosaurs: Baylene the Brachiosaurus, Eema the Styracosaurus, and Url, Eema’s dog-like pet Ankylosaurus. Aladar also develops romantic feelings for Kron’s sister Neera, but she appears uninterested, playing hard to get. Meanwhile, the Velociraptor pack continues to follow them, but are scared off when a pair of Carnotaurs picks up the herd’s trail too. The herd arrives at a lake they’ve relied on for past trips, but it has dried up. Aladar saves the herd from dehydration when he and Baylene eventually dig up the trapped water beneath the ground. Aladar and Neera eventually fall in love after Neera sees Aladar helping the dinosaurs (especially the elderly ones) survive. However, Bruton, having been sent by Kron to find water upon arrival at the lake, returns injured by the Carnotaurus which killed another Iguanodon that was scouting with him. Kron evacuates the herd from the lake bed in a rush, leaving Aladar, the lemurs, the elderly dinosaurs, and the injured Bruton behind, also warning Aladar that he will be executed if he meddles with leadership affairs again.

The small group recuperates in a cave during a rainstorm, with Bruton eventually befriending them. When the Carnotaurus pair attacks, Bruton’s loyalty is proven when he kills one of them as the others escape to the depths of the caves, being killed in the process. But one of the Carnotaurus escapes, enraged by the death of its mate but unable to follow the group. Upon reaching a dead end, Aladar begins to lose hope, after repeated failures and the loss of Bruton. His friends all join in breaking down the dead end, stabilizing his confidence. Finally, Baylene demolishes the wall. The dead end actually leads to the “Nesting Grounds”, where Eema sees that the old entrance – where the herd has gathered on the other side – has been blocked by a landslide generated by the meteors.

Aladar rushes to find the herd on the other side, accidentally alerting and being tracked by the Carnotaurus. He finds the herd being directed by Kron to climb the rocks, which can’t be passed without fatality, but when he suggests the alternate route he found, Kron becomes enraged at his authority being questioned and challenged, and attempts to kill Aladar. Despite landing a few good hits, Aladar is outclassed by Kron, who only stops short of killing Aladar when Neera, tired of her brother’s illogical beliefs, strikes him down and defends Aladar. Aladar and Neera take control of the herd, but Kron refuses to submit to the leadership of another and begins climbing the rocks himself. The Carnotaurus then confronts them, but Aladar rallies the herd to drive it off by standing together and scaring it off with intimidation. The Carnotaurus leaves the herd alone, but spots Kron who mistakes that Aladar lead the Carnotaur to the herd climbing the rocks alone, and is followed by Neera and Aladar as it charges to kill the former leader of the herd. In the ensuing fight, Kron is severely wounded by the Carnotaurus, but Aladar is able to push the predator off a cliff to its death. Kron, however, succumbs to his injuries and dies with Aladar and Neera at his side.

Aladar and Neera lead the herd back to the “Nesting Grounds”, where the two eventually mate and have children, and the lemurs find more of their own kind. Plio narrates the ending, wishing for their story to be remembered in history. She then says, “But one thing is for sure. Our journey is not over, we can only hope in some small way our time here will be remembered.”


Following the Disney Renaissance, people wondered how the company would rebound after their films started to not do so hot. The unfortunate answer was the beginning of the computer animated Disney (not Pixar) films, of which Dinosaur was the first.

What is this about?

In Disney’s animated film, an orphaned Iguanadon named Aladar grows up in the care of a group of lemurs. But when a meteor shower appears, Aladar and his lemur “family” flee their homeland and seek safety. While on the run, Aladar encounters other dinosaurs for the first time, and they must all work together to survive.

What did I like?

Scenery. Today, scenery like we see here can be created by computers, but back in 2000, that technology didn’t quite exist, so the brilliant filmmakers made the decision to use actual locations as the background. As with most films of this nature, the only place left on this planet that still has its natural beauty is New Zealand.

Dialogue. I remember when I saw the first trailer for this that had no dialogue whatsoever. It turns out that originally, that was the plan, but someone decided it would work better to have talking dinosaurs. I think this worked better, especially when you throw in the fact that this is supposedly a kid’s film. Without the talking dinosaurs, this would have been nothing more than some kind of documentary of sorts, with dinosaurs.

Comic relief. Keeping with the kind formula one can expect from a film of this nature, the comic relief comes from the characters that seem the most out of place, but are the most lovable. Headlined by Della Reese, these supporting characters bring some much needed levity to a film that could very well have just been a bunch of giant creature traipsing around the countryside.

What didn’t I like?

More of the same. I really wonder if the dinosaurs did anything other than wander around looking for oasis areas. If you go by the movies, that is all they seem to do. Think about the plots of Ice Age and The Land Before Time, as well as their sequels. These magnificent creatures deserve something better when they are put on film, besides wandering around like mindless brutes.

History. I was reading the history of how this was getting made and learned that there was a moment when this was set to be stop-motion animation. In the past, I have not hidden the fact that I think stop-motion is far superior to computer generated crap. Dinosaurs also really work when they are computer generated, as we’ve seen in Ray Herryhausen creations.

Lemurs. To my knowledge, lemurs were not around during this time. So, using them is nothing more than a marketing ploy. Soft and cuddly characters are almost always a sure bet to sell, as opposed to scaly dinosaurs. Throw in that whole wannabe The Lion King story where they raise the dinosaur and they just didn’t work for me.

Dinosaur is one of those forgotten Disney films. That isn’t because this is a bad or boring film, but rather because it is overshadowed by far superior films.I find it kind of funny that I’m watching this after watching the old show Dinosaurs (remember Baby saying “Not the Mama!”). So, is this a recommendation or condemnation? Well, it is a decent family flick with a few violent scenes here and there that may be too much for younger children. A good watch, but not something to go out of your way to see.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 20, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Approaching his 111th birthday, the hobbit Bilbo Baggins decides to write down the full story of the adventure he had 60 years earlier, for the benefit of his nephew Frodo.

Long before Bilbo’s involvement, the Dwarf Thrór becomes King of the Lonely Mountain and brings an era of prosperity to his kin until the arrival of Smaug the Dragon. Smaug destroys the nearby town of Dale, killing many of the men and women there, before driving the Dwarves out of their mountain and taking their hoard of gold. Thrór’s grandson Thorin sees King Thranduil and his Wood-elves on a nearby hillside and is dismayed when they take their leave rather than aid his people, resulting in Thorin’s everlasting hatred of Elves.

In the Shire, young Bilbo is tricked by the wizard Gandalf the Grey into hosting a party for Thorin and his company of Dwarves: Balin, Dwalin, Fíli, Kíli, Dori, Nori, Ori, Óin, Glóin, Bifur, Bofur and Bombur. Gandalf’s aim is to recruit Bilbo as the Dwarves’ “burglar” to aid them in their quest to the Lonely Mountain, of which they have a dwarven map and key to help guide them. Bilbo is, at first, unwilling to accept, but has a change of heart and joins the company on their journey to the Lonely Mountain.

Traveling onward, the company gets captured by three Trolls. Bilbo stalls them from eating the dwarves until dawn, when Gandalf suddenly exposes the Trolls to sunlight, turning them all to stone. They search the Trolls’ cave and find treasure and Elven blades. Thorin and Gandalf each take an Elf-made blade—Orcrist and Glamdring, respectively—with the latter finding an Elven shortsword, which he gives to Bilbo.

The company encounters Radagast the Brown, a wizard who lives in Greenwood. He tells them of an encounter at Dol Guldur with a Necromancer who has been corrupting the forest with dark magic. The company is chased by Orcs on Wargs, with Radagast covering their escape. Gandalf leads the company through a stone passage to Rivendell as the Wargs and Orcs are slain by Elven riders led by Lord Elrond. Elrond discovers hidden writing on Thorin’s map and discloses that the Lonely Mountain has a secret door which will be visible only on Durin’s Day. Gandalf talks with the White Council consisting of Elrond, Galadriel and Saruman the White. He tells them about his involvement with the Dwarves, presenting a Morgul-blade Radagast obtained from Dol Guldur as a sign that the Necromancer is linked to the Witch-king of Angmar and may attempt to use Smaug for his evil purposes. Saruman is skeptical, not believing the Necromancer to be a true threat.

Without Gandalf, the company journeys into the Misty Mountains, where they find themselves amid a colossal battle between Stone Giants. They take refuge in a cave and are captured by Goblins, who take them to their leader, the Great Goblin. Bilbo becomes separated from the Dwarves and falls into a cave where he encounters Gollum, who accidentally drops a mysterious ring while killing a stray Goblin to eat. Pocketing the ring, Bilbo finds himself confronted by Gollum, who is initially deterred from attacking Bilbo because he wields the small Elvish blade. They play a riddle game, wagering that Bilbo will be shown the way out if he wins or eaten by Gollum if he loses. After riddling each other back and forth several times, Bilbo eventually wins by asking Gollum what he has in his pocket. Realizing that he lost the ring, Gollum suspects that Bilbo possesses it and attacks the hobbit. Bilbo discovers that the ring grants him invisibility and evades a furious Gollum.

Meanwhile, the Great Goblin reveals to the Dwarves that Azog, an Orc war-chief who beheaded Thrór and lost his forearm to Thorin in battle outside the Dwarven kingdom of Moria, has placed a bounty on Thorin’s head and is even now searching for the dwarves. As the goblins search Thorin and company they discover Thorin’s sword, Orcrist the goblin cleaver. The sight of this drives the Great Goblin into a fury. He orders the goblins to attack and behead Thorin and company. Gandalf arrives just in time and leads the Dwarves in a desperate escape, fighting their way through the goblin hordes and killing the Great Goblin.

Meanwhile, Bilbo eventually comes upon an exit, but it is being guarded by Gollum. Rather than kill his pursuer, Bilbo spares him and sneaks past him out of the mountain. As Bilbo leaves, Gollum curses him “forever.” Bilbo rejoins the group, keeping secret the ring which he found.

Ambushed by Azog and his hunting party, the company take refuge in trees as wargs try and hunt them down. Thorin then challenges Azog, but is defeated and knocked to the ground by his mace and set upon by his warg. Bilbo saves Thorin from the Orcs just as the company is rescued by the Eagles who fly them to the safety of the Carrock. Gandalf heals the unconscious Thorin who acknowledges Bilbo’s bravery. In the distance, the company sees the Lonely Mountain. The company also see a thrush flying about, which then heads to the Lonely Mountain. There, the thrush catches a snail and knocks its shell against the mountainside, awakening the sleeping Smaug, who is lying beneath a golden hoard


Following up on the successful Lord of the Rings trilogy, comes the prequel, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Following the trend of book series turned into films these days, director Peter Jackson made the decision to expand this to 3 films. Can we say cash grab?!?

What is this about?

Beloved hobbit Bilbo Baggins is back in a visually spectacular tale inspired by The Lord of the Rings and likewise directed by Peter Jackson. Joining the effort to free the Kingdom of Erebor, Bilbo also faces a fateful encounter with Gollum.

What did I like?

Stunning. Say what you will about this film, you can’t deny the beauty present on the screen. Part of it is because it is filled in majestic New Zealand (one of the few places left on this planet that isn’t corrupted with the works of man). The other reason that it is so gorgeous is because of how breathtaking the visual and special effects look. Words cannot do the look of this film justice.

Dwarves. I read this book long ago, and from what I recall, the dwarves did not have their own distinct personalities. For a film like this, adding personality allows the audience to become invested in characters that otherwise would be just random beings. The film throws in a few quirks here and there for each of the dwarves. I still can’t tell you who’s who except for Thorin and Dwalin, but at least they tried.

Action. One of the biggest problems I have with the …Rings trilogy is that, other than the excessive length, those movies drag on so long without anything happening. As was said in Clerks 2, “… [sic] Hobbit movies were boring as hell. All it was, was a bunch of people walking, three movies of people walking to a volcano.” This film ramps up the action and tones down the walking. Don’t get me wrong, there is walking in here, but it isn’t the main focal point, as opposed to the action, which is what most people want to see when they watch this, right?

What didn’t I like?

Aging. I know it has been a few years, but Hugo Weaving and Ian McKellan are looking much older than they did in the trilogy. You can throw Cate Blanchett in there, to a lesser extent. I bring this up for two reasons. First, this is a prequel. I appreciate that they brought in the original actors, but as we saw in Tron: Legacy with Jeff Bridges, the technology exists to make them look younger. With all the money they spent on this, I wonder why they didn’t shell out a few more to do that, rather than let them just look ancient.

Gollum. I won’t bring up the fact that Andy Serkis is more than deserving of an Academy Award for some of his work, but the only reason he hasn’t won is because they don’t have a category for him. This is one of his best performances and Gollum has never looked better. However, I felt that his scene went on a bit longer than it should have without necessarily going anywhere with it until the end.

For all the hype that surrounded and preceded The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, it sort of left me feeling flat. Don’t get me wrong, I did really enjoy it, but I didn’t feel that it was the greatest thing since sliced bread that way some people would have you believe it is. With that in mind, I imagine you are wondering if this is worth seeing. Well, yes, I highly recommend it. Be warned, though. For those that want to know if this is something the kids can see, there are some very violent scenes. Other than that, you should really check it out!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Wiz

Posted in Classics, Movie Reviews, Musicals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

A Thanksgiving dinner brings a host of family together in a Harlem apartment, where a 24-year-old schoolteacher named Dorothy Gale (Diana Ross) lives with her Aunt Em (Theresa Merritt) and Uncle Henry (Stanley Greene). Extremely introverted, she has, as Aunt Em teases her, “never been south of 125th Street”, and refuses to move out and on with her life.

While Dorothy cleans up after the meal, her dog Toto runs out the open kitchen door into a violent snowstorm. She succeeds in retrieving him, but finds herself trapped in the storm. A magical whirlwind made of snow – the work of Glinda, the Good Witch of the South – materializes and transports them to the Kingdom of Oz. Upon her arrival, Dorothy smashes through an electric “Oz” sign, which falls upon and kills Evermean, the Wicked Witch of the East. As a result, she frees the Munchkins who populate the playground into which she lands; they had been transformed by Evermean into graffiti for “tagging” the park walls.

Dorothy soon meets the Munchkins’ main benefactress, Miss One, the Good Witch of the North (Thelma Carpenter), a magical “numbers runner” who gives Evermean’s powerful silver slippers to her. However, she desperately wants to get home. Miss One urges her to follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald City and find the mysterious “Wizard” who she believes holds the power to send Dorothy back to Harlem. The good witch and the Munchkins then disappear and she is left to search for the yellow brick road on her own.

The next morning, Dorothy happens upon a Scarecrow (Michael Jackson) made of garbage, whom she befriends. The two of them discover the yellow brick road and happily begin to follow it together; the Scarecrow hoping the Wizard might be able to give him the one thing he feels that he lacks — a brain. Along the way to the Emerald City, Dorothy, Toto, and the Scarecrow meet the Tin Man (Nipsey Russell), a turn-of-the-century amusement park mechanical man, and the Cowardly Lion (Ted Ross), a vain dandy banished from the jungle who hid inside one of the stone lions in front of the New York Public Library. The Tin Man and Lion join them on their quest to find the Wizard, hoping to gain a heart and courage, respectively. Before the five adventurers reach the Emerald City, they must face obstacles such as a crazy subway peddler (a homeless man) with evil puppets in his control and the “Poppy” Girls (a reference to the poppy field from the original story), prostitutes who attempt to put Dorothy, Toto, and the Lion to sleep with magic dusting powder.

Finally reaching the Emerald City (an analogue of the real-life World Trade Center plaza), the quintet gains passage into the city because of Dorothy’s ownership of the silver shoes and marvel at the spectacle of the city and its dancers. They gain an audience with the Wizard (Richard Pryor), who appears to them as a giant fire-breathing metallic head. He will only grant their wishes if they kill Evillene (Mabel King), the Wicked Witch of the West, who runs a sweatshop in the sewers of New York City. She learns of their quest to kill her and sends out the Flying Monkeys (a motorcycle gang) to kidnap them.

After an extended chase, the Flying Monkeys succeed in capturing their prey and bring them back to Evillene. She dismembers the Scarecrow, flattens the Tin Man, and tortures the Lion in hopes of making Dorothy give her the silver shoes. When she threatens to throw Toto into a fiery cauldron, Dorothy nearly gives in until the Scarecrow hints to her to activate a fire sprinkler switch which she does. The sprinklers put out the fire but also melt Evillene. She is flushed down into her toilet. With Evillene herself gone, her spells lose their power: the Winkies are freed from their costumes (revealing humans underneath) and their sweatshop tools disappear. They rejoice in dance and praise Dorothy as their emancipator and the Flying Monkeys give her and her friends a triumphant ride back to the Emerald City.

Upon arriving back at the Emerald City, the quartet takes a back door into the Wizard’s quarters and discovers that he is a “phony”. The “great and powerful Oz” is actually Herman Smith, a failed politician from Atlantic City, New Jersey, who was transported to Oz when a balloon he was flying to promote his campaign to become the city dogcatcher was lost in a storm. The Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion are distraught that they will never receive their respective brain, heart, and courage, but Dorothy makes them realize that they already have these things. Just as it seems as if she will never be able to get home, Glinda, the Good Witch of the South (Lena Horne), appears and implores her to find her way home by searching within and using her silver shoes. After thanking Glinda and saying goodbye to her friends, she takes Toto in her arms, thinks of home and the things she loves most about it and, after clicking her heels, finds herself back in her neighborhood. She, now a changed woman, carries Toto back to their apartment and closes the door.


How many people in 1978, were wondering what it would have been like to have an African-American version of The Wizard of Oz, complete with a funky soundtrack? Well, whoever those people were, they got their wise with The Wiz.

What is this about?

Motown’s Oscar-nominated take on L. Frank Baum’s ageless tale stars Diana Ross as Harlem schoolteacher Dorothy, who exits a family gathering to search for her lost pooch, Toto, gets caught in a blizzard and is transported to the magical land of Oz.

What did I like?

Different. Whether you love or hate the direction the filmmakers went with this story, you can’t deny that this is the same tale we all know and love. Everything is here, the yellow brick road, wicked witch, the friends along the way, flying monkeys, Oz, etc. I guess this was just a different time, when things didn’t have to be changed for the sake of change.

MJ. It should come as no surprise, but Michael Jackson was arguably the best thing about this film. I’m not too crazy about his being the Scarecrow, but you can’t deny that he is quite entertaining, including arguably the best song of the film. On the acting front, one has to wonder why Michael wasn’t in more films. He obviously had the talent, but I guess the scripts weren’t right.

What didn’t I like?

Music. With a couple of exceptions and the funky 70s vibe going on throughout, the music in this film is quite painful to listen to. The songs are forgettable, with the exception of “Ease on Down the Road” and “I’m a Mean Old Lion”, and just make you wonder what Motown was thinking allowing these songs to see the light of day.

Too old. Diana Ross was not mean to play Dorothy. She is too old, and it shows, but somehow she got the role and caused a director change before filming started because of it. I won’t say that Diana has no chops, because she does, as we say in Lady Sings the Blues, but let’s be real…this is a role for someone younger.

Waste of talent. A couple of things bothered me. First, if Diana Ross is going to be in this thing, then let the woman sing. As it is, she sings 1 1/2 songs, and that’s it! If this was because she wanted to do more acting, then that is one thing, but this is a musical, let her flex those pipes. At this point in time, she was one of the best around. Second, Richard Pryor, who is still one of the funniest comedians to take the stage doesn’t really get to be funny. Similar to Diana, if you’re gonna cast someone like that, then let them do what makes them special, not just have them there reading some lines!

I remember the first time I saw The Wiz. I wasn’t too crazy about it because it felt like a bad acid trip gone horribly wrong. My opinion has not changed, but after recently seeing Oz: The Great and Powerful, I was inspired to watch it again. Would I suggest this to anyone? That is a hard one, but I have to say no, as there isn’t enough going for it to merit a recommendation. That being said, there are a some moments in here that are enjoyable. That’s what Youtube is for, right?

3 3/4 out of 5 stars

Blood Creek

Posted in Horror, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , on April 17, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

n 1936, the Wollners, a German family living in rural West Virginia, are contacted by a Nazi German emissary to host Professor Richard Wirth. The family accept as they need the money thinking of Wirth as a visiting scholar. Wirth’s project, however, has nothing to do with science but much to do with the occult. Years ago, the family found a Viking runestone on their property and built a stable on top of it. Wirth wants to use its power and energies to do evil but he is interrupted by the family. They hold Wirth captive in their cellar and trapped in the farm with blood markings. This prison however requires the family to sporadically capture people and use them as a source for blood. The horrifying fate of the family is then linked to Wirth’s, so they keep him alive but weak and trapped.

In 2007, 25-year-old Evan Marshall’s life has stalled because he is left without answers after the disappearance of his older brother Victor during a camping trip in rural West Virginia. Evan tries to move on but when Victor returns one night, very much alive and having escaped his captors, Evan asks no questions – at his brother’s request. Instead they load up their rifles, pack up their boat and return to fight the evil.

The brothers head to the farm and confront the Wollners. They, in turn, warn the siblings about Wirth. They do not listen until Wirth gets out of the cellar and begins his terror. Wirth reveals that the reason Victor was able to escape was because Wirth knew that Victor would come back to the farm for revenge and would eventually free him from the Wollners, so he let Victor go on purpose. The brothers manage to poison and decapitate Wirth, however, the Wollners turn rapidly old and die. Before the youngest dies, she tells Evan that SS leader Heinrich Himmler has sent eight more Nazi agents to different farms. Evan finds a map that was under the farm and discovers that others like Wirth are at other farms. While Victor returns home to his family, Evan heads out to the other farms to stop the Nazis.


If you missed Blood Creek when it came out back in 2009, don’t feel bad. You’re not the only one, because I don’t recall hearing about this either. After seeing it, though, I’m not so sure that was a bad thing.

What is this about?

When a family agrees to host an occult-obsessed Nazi scholar in their West Virginia farmhouse prior to World War II, they’re transformed into his undead slaves and must kidnap local victims to feed his bloodlust. Years later, an abducted war hero (Dominic Purcell) breaks free from the zombie family’s clutches, rounds up his brother (Henry Cavill) and returns to the wilderness for payback

What did I like?

Occult. For some reason, Nazis and occult go together. I’m not enough of a history buff to know whether this is something that actually occurred in history, but movies seem to like to use it as a plot point, that’s for sure. Combining this with the zombie creature Michael Fassbender becomes and it was actually pretty interesting.

Newcomers. At the time of this release, no one knew who Henry Cavil was (though after this summer’s Man of Steel, I’m sure he’ll be a household name) and Michael Fassbender was coming into his own. Fast forward to today and they have come a long way. I always like seeing how far actors have come from their early roles.

What didn’t I like?

Plot. While I liked the zombie/occult angle, it was actually hard to keep up with what was actually going on in the story. I know there was something to do with a Viking runestone and somehow the people in the house never really aged, but it was never explained why this stranger that showed up one day is now a bloodthirsty monster, what it is about the marks on the doors and windows that keeps him out, or pretty much anything that was important to know.

Dominic. In Blade: Trinity, I liked Dominic Purcell. He isn’t the kind of guy you hand over leading man material to, but he is capable of the hulking brute stuff. Here, he just seems either miscast or given more than he is capable of handling. His performance left me longing for more. I wasn’t sold and felt this is a role that should have been given to someone else.

For a quick horror flick to pass the time, Blood Creek accomplished what it was supposed to do, but if you were to watch this expecting some major thrills and chills, you’re sure to be severely disappointed. There are some gory moments and the zombie horses at the end are a bit creepy, but that isn’t enough to save this from being quite mediocre. This is a hit or miss flick for me. Not good, but not bad. Do I recommend it? Eh…it depends on how much of a fan of zombies, Nazis, occult, etc. you are.

3 out of 5 stars


Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 1959, Alfred Hitchcock opens his latest film, North by Northwest, to considerable success, but is troubled by a reporter’s insinuation that it is time to retire. Seeking to reclaim the artistic daring of his youth, Alfred turns down film proposals like adapting Casino Royale in favor of a horror novel called Psycho by Robert Bloch, which is based on the crimes of serial killer Ed Gein.

Alfred’s wife and artistic collaborator, Alma, is no more enthusiastic about the idea than his appalled colleagues, especially since she is being lobbied by their writer friend, Whitfield Cook, to look at his own screenplay. However, she warms to Alfred’s proposal, suggesting the innovative plot turn of killing the female lead early in the film. The studio heads prove more difficult to persuade, forcing Alfred to finance the film personally and use his Alfred Hitchcock Presents television crew to produce the film.

However, the pressures of this self-financed production, such as dealing with Geoffrey Shurlock of the Motion Picture Production Code, and Hitchcock’s notorious lecherous habits, such as when they confer with the female lead, Janet Leigh, annoy Alma beyond endurance. To find a release, Alma begins a personal writing collaboration with Whitfield on his screenplay at his beach house without Alfred’s knowledge. Alfred eventually discovers what she has been doing, and suspects her of having an affair. This concern affects Alfred’s work on the film, such as giving Psycho’s famous shower scene particularly ferocious ambiance even as he imagines Gein speaking to him.

Despite this tension, Alma’s loyalty is such that she personally takes over production of his film when Alfred is temporarily bedridden after collapsing from overwork. Despite this, Alfred eventually confronts Alma and asks her if she is having an affair. Alma denies it, profoundly insulted at being accused of adultery after all she has done for her husband.

Events take a turn for the worse when Alfred’s rough cut of Psycho is poorly received by the studio executives, while Alma discovers Whitfield philandering with a younger woman at his beach house. With both feeling chastened, Alfred and Alma reconcile and set to work on improving the film. Their renewed collaboration yields results, culminating in Alma convincing Alfred to accept their composer’s suggestion for adding Bernard Hermann’s famous harsh strings score for the shower scene, making it a bracingly effective moment of cinematic horror.

After maneuvering Shurlock into leaving the film’s content largely intact, Alfred learns that the studio is only going to exhibit the film in a handful of theaters with minimal marketing. To compensate, Alfred arranges for special theater instructions to pique the public’s interest in the film such as forbidding admittance after the film begins. At the film’s premiere, Alfred waits in the lobby for the audience’s reaction and is rewarded with a raucously enthusiastic reception.

With the film’s screening being so well received, Alfred publicly thanks his wife afterward for helping make it possible and they affirm their love. At the conclusion at his home, Alfred addresses the audience noting Psycho proved a major high point of his artistic career and he is currently pondering his next project. At that, a crow lands on his shoulder as a reference to his successful follow-up effort, The Birds, before turning to meet with his wife.


I’m not a die-hard fan of Alfred Hitchcock, but I do enjoy his films. Getting the chance to learn more about the man is something that I have been longing to do for some time now and Hitchcock did accomplish that in some ways.

What is this about?

Iconic filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock struggles with his marriage, the censors and the financiers of his 1960 film Psycho in this biopic. Driven to prove he still has an edge, Hitchcock crafts what would become one of the greatest thrillers of all time

What did I like?

Man, myth, legend. Strangely enough, the film focuses solely on the making of Hitchcock’s masterpiece, Psycho. While there isn’t really anything that is wrong with that per se, I would have liked to have known a bit more about the guy, but more on that later. What we do get to know is how much of an influence his wife Alma was on his career and films. I guess what they say is true, “behind every great man is an even greater woman!” It really doesn’t hurt if that woman is Helen Mirren.

Casting couch. In biopics, I have found that casting directors don’t necessarily look for someone who resembles the person they are playing. I’m not particularly fond of that practice, but sometimes it comes down to the improbability of finding someone who has the look and talent to pull it off. In this case, Scarlett Johansson plays a very believable Janet Leigh. Some may say that she should have been playing Marilyn Monroe at some point in time, and I won’t argue that, but I can see the resemblance between her and Leigh.

Levity. I was listening to a review last night where the reviewer all but called for a boycott of this film because it had a light-hearted, comedic feel in places. More often than not, I appreciate moments like this as they keep the film from going into absolute darkness. Say what you will, but just because Hitchcock created some of the great horror films of all time does not mean that he was always in a dark place, mentally. For that very reason, it is nice that this film realized he was a human who had ups and downs, just like rest of us.

What didn’t I like?

Fat suit. I have an issue with the way they changed Sir Anthony Hopkins into Alfred Hitchcock. Sticking him in a fat suit seemed to be a good idea, but watching throughout the film, it seemed as if he was very uncomfortable and forced to wobble around like a penguin. I’ve never seen Hitchcock walk, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t wobble!

History. As much as I was interesting in the making of Psycho, I would have been more interesting in seeing a little more about what it was that made Hitchcock tick. To my knowledge the few films about him don’t seem to dwell back there and I’m sure that is was this history that shaped him into the director he turned out to be.

Alma. A short side plot involving Hitchcock’s wife, Alma, didn’t really work for me, but only because they didn’t develop it proper. As it is presented in the picture, randomly we saw her and Danny Huston’s character at this beach house a couple of times and the last time he is having sex with some chick, she gets bent out of shape, goes to help her husband make Psycho become a hit, and that’s the last of it. Surely, they could have done something more with that story if they were going to include it. This is a relatively short film, a few more minutes would not have hurt.

So, Hitchcock…what did I think of it? I really liked it. There were moments here and there that I was left scratching my head about, but for the most part, this was my cup of tea. Could it have been better?  Yes, but it also could have been much worse. Fan of Hitchock, you may or may not like it depending on how hardcore you are, but general movie fans will probably enjoy. Check it out sometime!

4 out of 5 stars

Stonehenge Apocalypse

Posted in Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Thrillers/Mystery with tags , , , , on April 14, 2013 by Mystery Man


An ancient prophecy comes to pass when archeologists unearth an Egyptian chamber in Maine, sparking a devastating electromagnetic pulse that originates at Stonehenge and sends destructive shockwaves around the globe. When the Aztec pyramids crumble and the stones take on a life of their own, a renegade radio host, a team of scientists, and a team of British commandos race to prevent the same force responsible for creating life on Earth from cleansing the planet in order to herald the dawn of a new age


Stonehenge Apocalypse, boy! What can I say about this? Not much, really, so prepare for a quickie. Before I get started, be it known that this was a SyFy made-for-TV movie, and unlike those reimagined fairytales the network has aired like Tin Man and Neverland, it shows.

What is this about?

When mysterious changes in the earth’s electromagnetic field begin to occur around Stonehenge and other ancient monuments worldwide, discredited earth scientist Jacob Glaser (Misha Collins) is one of the first to foresee the danger of these developments. Now, Glaser must quickly convince authorities that the disturbed force linking Stonehenge and other sites has the potential to create a huge electromagnetic pulse and wipe out civilization.

What did I like?

Plot. Think about how freaked out everyone was about the end of the world back in December. Now, imagine if all the pyramids around the world starting erupting into volcanoes and Stonehenge suddenly starting shifting and attacking people. Throw in some cult and supernatural stuff and you have the makings of a pretty damn good summer blockbuster, right? Too bad this got dropped into the hands of TV execs.

What didn’t I like?

Special effects. I wasn’t expecting big budget, blow your mind effects. As a matter of fact, since this is a SyFy flick, I expected much worse. Still, there is that bit of cheese that just doesn’t fit with the scope of this flick. Things just look so fake that it is hard to digest.

Acting. I give these actors props for trying. This isn’t exactly the best material around, but good lord is there some terrible line reading going around. I wonder if there was more life in the room that they did the table reading because it didn’t translate to the screen, in my opinion.

Pacing. For the most part, pacing is ok, but it is the fact that it tries to move by so quickly that makes it hard to keep up with what is going. There is one moment where I was watching, then I sneezed, came back and somehow missed a bunch of important stuff…in the span of 5 seconds?!?

*SIGH* I really wish there was something redeeming about Stonehenge Apocalypse, but there isn’t. This is a film that I feel would have worked as an actual big budget release, rather than a made-for-TV forgotten piece of schlock. As it is, this isn’t totally horrible, but very forgettable. No, I do not recommend anyone. It is best to stay away!

2 out of 5 stars


Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

On October 14, 2011, Airline captain/ recreational drug user Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) awakens in his Orlando hotel room with flight attendant Katerina Márquez (Nadine Velazquez) after a night of sex, alcohol, and very little sleep. After using cocaine to wake up, he boards SouthJet flight 227 to Atlanta. After Whip threads the plane through severe turbulence at takeoff, copilot Ken Evans (Brian Geraghty) flies the airplane while Whip discreetly mixes vodka in his orange juice and takes a nap. Whip is jolted awake just before their final descent and the aircraft goes into a steep dive as a result of an apparent catastrophic failure of all pitch control. Whip rolls the plane upside down to bring it out of the dive and maneuvers the plane right-side up just before crash-landing in a field. He loses consciousness shortly after impact.

Whip awakens in an Atlanta hospital with minor injuries. He is greeted by his old friend Charlie Anderson (Bruce Greenwood), who represents the airline’s pilots union. He tells Whip his heroism saved 96 of 102 people on board. A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) official informs him Katerina was among those killed, and that Evans has been put into a coma.

Sneaking a cigarette in the stairwell, Whip meets Nicole (Kelly Reilly), who is recovering from an overdose, and promises to visit her when they leave the hospital. In the morning, his friend and drug dealer, Harling Mays (John Goodman), picks him up and sneaks him away from the hospital. Whip drives to his late father’s farm, hoping to avoid the media. When he meets Charlie and attorney Hugh Lang (Don Cheadle), they explain that the NTSB performed a hospital toxicology screen, while he was unconscious, showing that Whip was intoxicated. The test had the potential to send Whip to prison on alcohol, drug and manslaughter charges. Lang promises to get the toxicology report voided on technical grounds, but Whip angrily leaves and seeks Nicole. He finds her bailing on her lease, offers to pay for it, and lets her stay at the farm.

Nicole and Whip begin a romantic relationship, but Nicole is trying to stay sober while Whip keeps drinking, and she soon leaves. The media soon discovers his farmhouse, so he drives, while intoxicated, to visit his ex-wife (Garcelle Beauvais) and teenage son (Justin Martin). They call the police after Whip makes a drunken scene at the house and he finally leaves, only to discover the media waiting outside for him. He begs to stay with Charlie, vowing not to drink before the upcoming NTSB hearing.

The night before the hearing, Charlie and Hugh check Whip into a guarded hotel room to ensure he does not get intoxicated. His mini-bar has only nonalcoholic beverages, but Whip notices an open door to the adjoining room and finds a mini-bar full of alcohol. Charlie and Hugh find him the next morning, passed out drunk. They call Harling, who brings him cocaine to perk him up for the hearing.

At the hearing, Ellen Block (Melissa Leo), the lead NTSB investigator, reveals the cause of the plane’s first malfunction to be a damaged elevator assembly jackscrew. She commends Whip on his valor. Just as it appears Whip will escape blame, Block notes that there were two empty alcohol containers found in the trash on the plane; Whip knows these were his. Block points out that only the flight crew had access to the alcohol, and since only Katerina’s toxicology screen showed alcohol, Block asks Whitaker whether he thinks Katerina may have been drinking on the job. Refusing to taint Katerina’s good name, Whip admits not only that he was flying intoxicated but also that he is intoxicated at the hearing.

Thirteen months later, an imprisoned Whip, serving a minimum five-year sentence, tells a support group of fellow inmates that he is glad to be sober and does not regret doing the right thing, because he finally feels “free”. He is shown to have pictures of Nicole and other family and friends on the wall of the cell, along with greeting cards congratulating him on being sober for a year. In the final scene, Whip’s son visits him to interview Whip for a college application essay on “the most fascinating person I’ve never met”.


I’m constantly getting asked why it is that I won’t get on a plane. Contrary to popular belief, it is not because of the events or 9/11, but rather because of my intense fear of heights. Although, after watching Flight, I might be even more hesitant to set foot on a plane for fear the pilot may be drunk or high and not as capable!

What is this about?

After his amazing safe landing of a damaged passenger plane, an airline pilot is praised for the feat, but has private questions about what happened. Further, the government’s inquiry into the causes soon puts the new hero’s reputation at risk.

What did I like?

Wow factor. Say what you will about Denzel Washington’s character’s drinking and drug use, the fact remains that he pulled off flipping that plane over and saving the lives of all but a handful of people on board. Not many pilots would have been able to pull that off, as he mentions a couple of times through the film.

Side plot. Aside from the ongoing saga of what is going to happen with Washington’s flight investigation, there is some side plot involving a young woman who is down on her luck and a recovering addict. At frist, it doesn’t seem to make any rhyme or reason as to how it fit into the proceedings, but things take shape once they converge and meet out in the hospital stairway. It was a nice little side plot that normally I would throw away as unnecessary, but actually found myself caring for and wanting to see what happens to this young woman.

Levity. A film like this could so easily fall into the realm of the dark and serious, and at times it does. Then we get a dose of John Goodman’s character, who injects some humor here and there. I personally think we could have used a bit more of him, but what we got was a nice little taste of the funny at times when it was much needed.

What didn’t I like?

Aftermath. I don’t know about you, but I figure if someone manages to keep a plane from totally crashing and saves nearly everyone on it from suffering a fiery death, they should be revered as a hero. For the most part, Washington’s character was, but there was also that investigation hanging over his head

Flight. For a film that has flight in the title, there is very little flying to be seen here. After the crash, we never see the sky again. I wish either we would have gotten more sky miles. All this groundswell, for lack of a better term, didn’t work for me as well as it did for some people. Maybe it is the Air Force brat in me, but I was hoping to go up in the wild, blue yonder.

Family. The ex-wife was brought in, but I have to question why, as she and the son served no real purpose. Add on that they got a hot actress to play her, and it really made no sense. As far as the son goes, he was just one of those cocky teens that we see more and more these days, but he does get a bit of redemption in the final scenes. Were they needed in terms of the story, though? No, not really, but given the way things were going up to that point, I can see why they were there.

Flight is one of the films that, pardon the pun, flew under the radar. Some people have even gone so far as to say this was an Oscar snub. I’m not going to get into that debate, but with the great acting on display here, it isn’t very hard to see why it was so well-received. I highly recommend this to all who wish to take a break from the usual comic book, tween drama, and kiddie flicks that populate theaters and movie shelves these days.

4 1/4 out of 5 stars

Babes in Toyland

Posted in Classics, Movie Reviews, Musicals with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2013 by Mystery Man

Babes in Toyland

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The film begins as if it were a stage play presented by Mother Goose (and her wise-cracking, talking goose companion, Sylvester) about two nursery rhyme characters, Mary, Mary Quite Contrary and Tom the Piper’s Son, who are about to be married. At the same time, the miserly and villainous Barnaby is hiring two crooks, Gonzorgo and Rodrigo, to throw Tom into the sea and steal Mary’s sheep, thus depriving her of her means of support, and forcing her to marry Barnaby instead. (Mary has just come into a huge inheritance of which she is obviously unaware, but somehow–it is never explained how–Barnaby knows about it and intends to get it for himself.) After bopping Tom on the head with a hammer and tying him in a bag, the two henchmen, dimwitted Gonzorgo and silent Roderigo, pass by a gypsy camp. They decide to sell Tom to the Gypsies instead of drowning him in order to collect a double payment.

Gonzorgo and Roderigo return and tell Mary, Barnaby, and the citizens of Mother Goose Land that Tom has accidentally drowned. They show Mary a phony letter in which Tom tells her that he is abandoning her for her own good and that she would be better off marrying Barnaby. Mary, believing she is destitute, reluctantly accepts the proposal from Barnaby. Barnaby unknowingly arranges for the same gypsies that have Tom to provide entertainment for the marriage. Tom, disguised in drag as the gypsy Floretta, reveals himself and Barnaby pursues the frightened Gonzorgo and Roderigo, furious at their deception. One of the children informs Mary of some sheep tracks leading into the Forest of No Return.

The children, still eager to find their sheep, sneak away into the forest to search for the missing sheep. The trees of the forest come to life and capture them. Tom and Mary follow and find the children in the forest telling stories about the live trees, which, at the moment, seem like ordinary ones. They camp out for the night, and in the morning the trees once again come to life and inform the family that they are now in custody of the Toymaker in Toyland. Excited by this, the group happily continues on, escorted part of the way by the trees.

Through the windows of The Toymaker’s house they watch the Toymaker’s rather incompetent apprentice, Grumio, present a new machine that makes toys without any manual labor. Overjoyed, the Toymaker speeds up the machine to such a high rate that it explodes, destroying every toy in the factory. The family comes in and offers to help make more toys in time for Christmas.

Grumio also presents another invention, one that shrinks things down to toy size, and if it were used on anything more than once, the shrunken object would disappear completely. Barnaby, who had been spying on everyone, shrinks down the Toymaker and Tom. When Barnaby’s henchmen see him threatening to give Tom two servings of the shrinking formula, they abandon Barnaby and run. They, too, are shrunken to toy size and locked up with Tom in a birdcage.

Barnaby awakens Mary and starts a marriage ceremony threatening to destroy Tom if she resists, and to destroy the Toymaker if he refuses to marry the couple. While the Toymaker delays the marriage Tom sneaks away with the help of Gonzorgo and Roderigo, and returns with an army of toy soldiers to fight Barnaby. Barnaby easily demolishes the toy soldiers, and is about to obliterate Tom with another dose from the shrink gun, but Mary destroys it with a toy cannon. The liquid splatters all over Barnaby, and shrinks him to Tom’s new size. He is challenged to and engages in a sword duel with Tom which he loses. (Whether or not he is killed has been debated; in the film, Tom seems to stab him and he falls with a scream from a great height into a toy box, from which he never emerges nor makes any sounds as if he were trying to escape. Movie tie-ins, however, showed him merely backing into a giant chest accidentally and then being imprisoned in the birdcage in which he once imprisoned Tom.)

After the fight is over, Grumio once again presents a new invention, this time returning people to their original size. It is promptly used on Tom, The Toymaker, Gonzorgo and Roderigo, but not on Barnaby. Tom and Mary are married and everyone lives happily ever after


On Monday, we lost a true screen legend in Annette Funicello. Babes in Toyland may not be her most memorable work, but I have already run through all the beach films that are currently available.

What is this about?

Composer Victor Herbert’s operetta comes delightfully to life in this 1961 fantasy starring Annette Funicello as Mary Contrary, whose fiancé, Tom Piper, (Tommy Sands), is abducted by a pair of goons. It seems that dastardly Mr. Barnaby (Ray Bolger) — who covets Mary and her inheritance — dispatched the thugs to get Tom out of the picture. When the dim-bulb duo double-crosses the boss, it sets off a search for Tom and a slew of comical chases.

What did I like?

Fairy tale. With all the re-imaginings and whatnot going on with fairy tales today, it is very hard to remember what the innocent stories are like. Thank goodness this film was made at a time long before this unfortunate fad started, or was even conceived. Seeing all these fairy tale characters, actually it was more nursery rhyme peoples, living together in a community and acting as you or I is something that we just don’t expect to see.

Mad Hatter. Ed Wynn was a comic genius during his day. The timing in his delivery and jus screen presence was enough to make him a star, but his voice, facial expressions, and physical comedy are what kept people coming back to see him. From what I’ve seen of the guy, this is some of his finest work, short of The Mad Hatter, which was nothing more than a voice.

Barnaby. The villain here is one twirly mustache away from being the epitome of a stereotypical villain. He’s dressed in black, will do anything it takes to steal the girl, lives in a castle up on the hill, has a big hat, etc. Ray Bolger does a great job bringing this guy to life and not taking it too serious. He seems to be having fun as the bad guy. Almost as much fun as he did in previous roles he’s played. Kudos to anyone that can tell me what iconic character he’s played.

What didn’t I like?

Imitators. There is a version of this film that stars Laurel & Hardy. I’m not sure if they play the same characters, but there a couple of guys that are obviously trying to fill in as some sort of ersatz Laurel & Hardy, and not very well, mind you. Also, as with the beach films, Tommy Sands is Annette’s love interest. This is the guy they seem to pair her with when Frankie Avalon isn’t available.

Music. Apparently, Disney changed many of the song, even going so far as to take many out. This rarely end well, and in this case, I think it really hurt the film as there isn’t a single selection here that is memorable. As a matter of fact, after the first couple of tunes, I was getting annoyed with all the singing. Not a good sign for a musical!

Annette. If I wouldn’t have gotten this specifically for the purpose of seeing Annette Funicello, this might not have been so obvious, but I wasn’t really impressed with her acting. She seemed to be a scared little schoolgirl and not because that is what her character called for her to be. I won’t say she sucked, because I’ve seen much worse acting, but I think it is safe to say she may be a little overrated, at least in this film.

Babes in Toyland is a film that many people seem to hold in high regard. I really don’t see why. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty to like about this film, but for me it was nothing special. Maybe one just has to be in the right mindset to enjoy this, and coming off the last film I watched, it just wasn’t meant to be. I would say that this is something you should see, as it is apparently one of the great pieces of cinema that should not be missed.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Forbidden Zone

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , on April 10, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

The film begins on “Friday, April 17” at 4 pm in Venice, California. Huckleberry P. Jones (Gene Cunningham), local pimp, narcotics peddler and slumlord, enters a vacant house that he owns. While stashing heroin in the basement, he stumbles upon a mysterious door and enters it, falling into the Sixth Dimension, from which he promptly escapes. After retrieving the heroin, he sells the house to the Hercules family. On their way to school, Frenchy Hercules (Marie-Pascale Elfman) and her brother Flash (Phil Gordon) have a conversation with Squeezit Henderson (Matthew Bright), who tells them that, while being violently beaten by his mother, he had a vision of his transgendered sister René (also played by Bright), who had fallen into the Sixth Dimension through the door in the Hercules’ basement. Frenchy returns home to confide in her mother, and decides to take just a “little peek” behind the forbidden door in the basement. After arriving in the Sixth Dimension, she is captured by the perpetually topless Princess, who brings Frenchy to the rulers of the Sixth Dimension, the midget King Fausto (Hervé Villechaize) and his queen, Doris (Susan Tyrrell). When the king falls for Frenchy, Queen Doris orders their frog servant, Bust Rod, to lock her up. In order to make sure that Frenchy is not harmed, King Fausto tells Bust Rod to take Frenchy to Cell 63, where the king keeps his favorite concubines (as well as René). The next day at school, Flash tries to convince Squeezit to help him rescue René and Frenchy. When Squeezit refuses, Flash enlists the help of Gramps instead. In the Sixth Dimension, they speak to an old Jewish man who tells them how to help Frenchy escape, but they soon are captured by Bust Rod. Queen Doris interrogates Flash and Gramps and then lowers them into a large septic tank. She then plots her revenge against Frenchy, relocating all the denizens of Cell 63 to a torture chamber. She leaves the Princess to oversee Frenchy’s torture and execution, but when a fuse is blown, the torture is put on hold and the prisoners from cell 63 are relocated to keep the King from finding them.

After escaping the septic tank, Flash and Gramps come across a woman who tells them that she was once happily married to the king, until Doris stole the throne by seducing her, “even though she’s not my type”. The ex-queen has been sitting in her cell for 1,000 years, and has been writing a screenplay in order to keep her sanity. Meanwhile, Pa Hercules is blasted through the stratosphere by an explosion caused by improperly extinguishing his cigarette in a vat of highly flammable tar during his work break at the La Brea Tar Pit Factory. After re-entry, Pa falls through the Hercules family basement and into the Sixth Dimension, where he is imprisoned. Finding a phone, Flash calls Squeezit and again asks for his help. Finally, Squeezit agrees to go into the Sixth Dimension to help rescue Frenchy and René. There, he is captured by Satan (Danny Elfman), with whom he makes a deal to bring him the Princess in exchange for Satan’s help freeing René and Frenchy. After Squeezit accomplishes this task, Satan tells him not to worry about his friends before having him decapitated. Queen Doris sends Bust Rod to keep an eye on the king, and to ensure he doesn’t find out where she’s hidden Frenchy. King Fausto catches Bust Rod and forces him to lead him to Frenchy and René, whom he orders to leave the Sixth Dimension to avoid the Queen’s wrath. However, en route to safety, René is stricken with pseudo-menstrual cramps, and they are again captured by the frog. Squeezit’s head, which has now sprouted chicken wings, finds the king and informs him of what has happened. While preparing to kill Frenchy, Doris is confronted by the ex-queen, and the two engage in a cat-fight, with Doris eventually coming out as the victor. Just as she is about to kill Frenchy, King Fausto stops her, explaining that Satan’s Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo are holding the Princess hostage, and will kill her should anything befall Frenchy. Flash and Gramps arrive, and Flash is knocked down by Gramps. Ma Hercules enters and, seeing a seemingly dead Flash, shoots Queen Doris. King Fausto mourns Doris, then marries Frenchy. The surviving characters look toward a great future as they plan to take over everyone and everything in the Galaxy


I’ve seen some messed up and twisted things in my day, but Forbidden Zone had to be near the top of the list! An acquaintance of mine asked me to check out and see what I thought. He and I are having some words about this acid trip tomorrow, let me tell you!

What is this about?

Welcome to the Sixth Dimension — a topsy-turvy universe of frog butlers, topless princesses, machine gun-toting teachers, chicken boys, human chandeliers and the devil himself (Danny Elfman). They’re all ruled by a sex-obsessed midget king (Herve Villechaize) and his insane queen (Susan Tyrrell).

What did I like?

Homage. Much of this film plays out as an homage to those films of yesteryear that I hold to such high esteem. Starting with the black and white camera to the various styles of music and even including a satirical statement on the way race was handled in those old films (something that apparently caused much controversy upon this film’s release).

Music. Many of the songs are done in the old style of, I want to say the 20s, but there are some departures. The boys in the classroom turn the alphabet into disco, funk, jazz, and I can’t remember what the other style was. All this is nothing compared to Danny Elfman’s appearance as Satan, or should I say Cab Calloway. He sings a song that is so much like Cab that you would think the man himself was doing it himself!

What didn’t I like?

Plot. To say there is a plot here is like saying that dubstep is music. Some will argue the point until they are blue in the face, but there isn’t really a plot here, just a bunch of twisted happenings tied together by some songs and animation. This probably would have worked better, at least for me, if they would have gone as a strict variety film, rather than trying to make a legit comedy.

Where did the money go? The budget for this is $300,000 and I must ask…where did the money go? The acting sucks. Other than the little guy from Fantasy Island, there are no big names here. Story was apparently optional when this was put to paper, the make up seems about as cheap as a $2 whore. I guess they blew their wad on the animation, because nothing else seemed to be worth any amount of money that could have been spent.

Forbidden Zone just didn’t resonate with me. Whether that was because of its twisted nature or because I just wasn’t feeling it, I cannot tell you, but this wasn’t the film for me. With that being said, should you take a chance on it? Well, I will only say yes if you are into the disturbed and absurd, otherwise it is best to just pass on this one.

2 out of 5 stars

Jack the Giant Killer

Posted in Action/Adventure, Classics, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In the Duchy of Cornwall of fairy tale days, the sorcerer Pendragon (Torin Thatcher) plots to gain power by abducting the Princess Elaine (Judi Meredith). To that end, he has fashioned a magic toy that is actually Cormoran the giant, and which is given to the Princess. When Cormoran seizes Elaine he takes her to a ship, but before it can sail a brave farm lad named Jack (Kerwin Mathews) slays the monster and rescues Elaine. In gratitude, King Mark (Dayton Lummis) makes Jack her protector and entrusts him to safely guide her to a convent across the sea. Pendragon learns of the plan and sends his witches to intercept Jack’s ship. Elaine is captured, while Jack and his friend, Peter (Roger Mobley) are cast overboard. An old Viking, Sigurd (Barry Kelley), rescues the two and introduces them to Diaboltin (Don Beddoe), a leprechaun imprisoned in a bottle. With the help of his new allies, Jack rescues Elaine from Pendragon’s castle. As the friends flee, Pendragon sends a two-headed giant called Galligantua along their path but Diablotin summons a monster from the sea to defeat it. As a last resort, Pendragon transforms himself into a dragon, but Jack slays him in a tense battle. With evil routed at last, all sail away to live happily ever after.


Ah…the wonders of stop-motion animation! There is just something about it that warms my cold, dead heart. Jack the Giant Killer doesn’t have this technique in leaps and bounds, as I was lead to believe, but there are quite a few creatures to behold.

What is this about?

Kerwin Mathews stars as Jack, a courageous hero who rescues a princess (Judi Meredith) from the evil clutches of the wizard Pendragon (Torin Thatcher) in this Nathan Juran-directed film that melds live action with Fantascope special-effects photography. Pendragon wants to be king of Cornwall and decides the only way is to force the present ruler’s daughter to marry him, but his plans are foiled when Jack slays Pendragon’s henchman.

What did I like?

Design. The design of the characters really caught my attention. The stop motion creatures are what they are, but the film’s main antagonist, Pendragon had quite the intriguing look. I wonder if this was inspired by or was the inspiration for Marvel Comics’ villainous Baron Mordo, the archrival of Dr. Strange. When you look at him, you can’t help but think so.

Lucky Charms. Leprechauns in the movies I’ve seen aren’t exactly handing out hearts, horseshoes, rainbows, clovers, and blue moons, but rather torturing poor souls and causing mischief. This is why I felt it was a nice change to see one of these on the side of good. Too bad he could only grant 3 wishes. I would have liked to have seen what else his magic could have done.

Stop-Motion. As I mentioned in the opening, I love stop-motion animation. To me it is a very pure form of creating creatures. This isn’t the best use of the technique, but it is still a sight to behold. The giants, sea creature, and final dragon are years ahead of their time.

What didn’t I like?

Special effects. Other than the stop motion, I can’t say that I was impressed with the special effects. Not being sure of how big the budget was on this, I can’t really comment on that, but it did seem to be quite cheap looking. The scene where the witches appear is nothing more than a different filter put on the camera lens. The magic from Pendragon is just some cheap theatrics. I didn’t really care for them and thought they could have done much better.

Plot. I had trouble about halfway through keeping up with what was going on because things got so befuddled. Luckily, everything returned to a steady calm, but there had to have been a better way to get through that oh-so-dreaded middle part of the film without totally losing the audience.

Jack be nimble. Kerwin Matthews wasn’t quite a believable leading man as I’m sure the studio expected him to. Yes, he did a decent job as Sinbad in The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, but if I recall that one correctly, it wasn’t the best of the franchise, so that isn’t saying much. I give the guy props for trying, and you can tell there was some actual talent there, this just wasn’t the best choice for him.

For those that don’t know, that movie that came out a couple of months ago, Jack the Giant Slayer is apparently a remake of Jack the Giant Killer. I detest and despise remakes with every fiber that is my being. Do I think this film deserves to be bastardized with a remake? No, but I am curious to see what they did with it. As far as if this is worth watching? Eh…it isn’t that great, to be honest. You’d be better off checking out one of the old Sinbad movies, rather than this, but this might keep you busy for a little over an hour, if you really want to watch.

3 out of 5 stars


Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Regan (Kirsten Dunst) and Becky (Rebel Wilson) are having lunch. Becky tells Regan that she is engaged to her boyfriend Dale (Hayes MacArthur). Regan calls her high school friends, Gena (Lizzy Caplan) and Katie (Isla Fisher) and tells them, very upset, as she wanted to be the first one to get married, especially before her “fat friend”. She complains that now they will have to be in the wedding.

The Day Before the Wedding: Katie is very excited to be in the wedding. She can’t wait for all her friends to be together again. Gena, who lives in Los Angeles, sleeps around a lot and on the plane she is talking to the guy next to her about an ex-boyfriend, who “ruined her life” and who will be at the wedding. At the same time, Regan, the maid of honor, is shallow and nasty to all the wedding planners. The three friends are reunited at the hotel, wondering how they will get through the next 12 hours for the bachelorette party. Becky shows up thrilled to see her other two friends. The bachelorette party is impromptu, and all Becky wants to do is eat ice cream and drink champagne in the room after the rehearsal dinner. Gena and Katie, who wanted to have a big party, run off to do cocaine. At the dinner, Katie tells Gena she got a stripper for them that night. We are introduced to Trevor (James Marsden) who is the best man, and Gena sees her ex-boyfriend Clyde (Adam Scott) while Joe (Kyle Bornheimer), a former classmate of the girls, talks to Katie. Trevor is telling an embarrassing story for his toast and Becky’s cousins do a rap for her. Gena stands up to give her toast, revealing that they met in their high school bathroom, and Becky was forcing herself to throw up. Later on in the hotel suite, a stripper, Katie’s co-worker, shows up for all the women. Becky is into it until she hears him call her Pigface, which was her mean nickname in high school. Gena acts like it’s funny and Becky yells at her, telling her and Katie not to come to the wedding unless they are sober.

Regan, Gena, and Katie are left in the hotel room drinking and snorting coke. Regan can’t get over the fact that Becky is getting married before her. Katie tries on Becky’s wedding dress which is too big. She and Regan both get in the dress and Gena goes to take their picture, and the dress rips. They freak out and bring the dress down to the hotel housekeeper, but they can’t do anything. Meanwhile, Regan is on the phone with her boyfriend Frank who can no longer attend the wedding because he’s busy with medical school. They discover that Katie’s nose is bleeding on the dress. In the hallway of the hotel, they run into Dale and his groomsmen, and he is blindfolded on his way to a strip club. They part ways but not before Gena pretends to come on to Clyde, stealing his wallet to try and help pay for the dress to get fixed.

The men are in a limo on their way to the strip club talking about women and dating. Meanwhile, the women are standing outside the bridal shop waiting for the store owner, vowing they will never do coke again. The owner, Melissa shows up and is hostile to the girls, especially Regan, for making her open the store for them in the middle of the night. They lie and tell her that Becky decided she wants a new dress. Regan refuses to buy the dress Melissa finds because it’s “her perfect dress”. She says she’d rather lick the sidewalk than have Becky wear it, and then she actually does lick the sidewalk. During this, they discover that Katie knows how to sew. They buy thread and now need to find a sewing machine. Meanwhile, Trevor keeps texting Regan to go to the strip club. At the strip club, Dale goes to wait in the car when finding out Becky’s friends are coming. The three ladies show up and aren’t allowed in the strip club without a male escort so Dale gets them in. They go inside to clean off the dress. Trevor asks Regan to help Joe hook up with Katie, and they wind up in a history discussion. Clyde is trying to hook up with the stripper and realizes that his wallet is missing.

As Gena tries to clean the dress in the bathroom, she starts talking to a stripper who uses the dress as a towel and toilet paper without her noticing. Afterwards, Regan yells at Gena for trying to confess to Becky over the phone. The girls begin arguing, and Regan yells at Gena saying she handles everything, including Gena’s abortion. Gena gets Clyde, and they leave together with the dress. Trevor gets Joe to take Katie home and tells him to have sex with her, which he doesn’t want to do because she’s heavily intoxicated.

Gena and Clyde argue on the subway since she stole his wallet and she is still mad about what happened between them. In high school, Gena got pregnant and she had to get an abortion without his help. Meanwhile, Trevor and Regan wind up having sex in the hotel bar bathroom. Becky calls her and asks her to come up to her room. Clyde and Gena go to his mother’s house who agrees to fix the dress. Clyde makes pancakes while Gena tries to call a cocaine dealer. He throws her phone outside telling her it’s not cute anymore. They wind up looking at old photos and he tells her that he couldn’t show up that day because he was too sad. They go into his bedroom where he plays her a mixtape he made when they were in high school and they end up having sex.

Joe and Katie go off on their own and go swimming in an indoor pool at the hotel. They share stories about partying, and she tells him that she slit her wrist a year ago. He kisses her, and they get out of the pool. They’re going to have sex, but Joe tells her that he likes her a lot and cares how they have sex. He doesn’t want a random, drunken hook up with her. However, Katie can’t even remember his name. He leaves, both of them upset. Regan goes to Becky’s room. Becky feels bad about what happened earlier. She thanks Regan for everything she’s done and Regan sneaks off to the bathroom and leaves another message for Gena on her phone. Becky opens the door and catches Regan about to make herself throw up. They reminisce about high school and how Becky took the fall for Regan’s bulimia. Regan is about to tell Becky about the dress when Becky’s mother shows up and tells them that it’s time for her to start getting ready.

Gena and Clyde wake up. She grabs the dress and runs out. The party planners try to find the dress, confused as to where it could be. Joe tells Regan that Katie locked herself in the bathroom and won’t come out. Gena has the fixed dress and brings it back to the tailor in the hotel saying it’s fixed and asks her to clean it. She finally calls back Regan and tells her the dress needs 40 minutes. Regan finds Katie in the bathroom, and she seemingly having ODd. Joe realizes that Katie took the Xanax that Trevor gave him at the strip club and calls the paramedics. Regan sticks her fingers down Katie’s throat and has her throw up the pills, getting some vomit on Regan’s dress. Regan tells a nervous Becky that her dress is being steamed. Gena knocks on Trevor’s door and hits him with a coffeepot for giving Joe the Xanax. She then runs after Regan and Becky with the dress but misses them. She uses the same cab as Clyde who tells her that they are meant to be together. Becky screams at her mother and Regan in the taxi saying she hates both of them. They get to the wedding, and Becky is still screaming at Regan. Gena shows up with the dress and Becky notices the blood stain. She gets over it and walks down the aisle, leaving Gena and Regan, who has vomit on her, behind. Katie gets there late and the three of them sit on a bench watching the ceremony. At the reception, Joe and Katie talk and kiss, Regan tries to sleep, and Clyde gives an obscene speech about having sex with Gena the night before. He says he wants to do that forever and starts to sing “I’m Gonna Be” to her after which they kiss. The four girls dance together as the film closes


With all the male dominated gross out comedies out there, it is about time for one that focuses on the females, right? That is how we got Bachelorette. Some have called this a mixture between The Hangover, Mean Girls, and Bridesmaids. From what I recall, I would say this fits more in line with the latter.

What is this about?

When a single overachiever learns, to her horror, that an overweight girl she teased in high school is getting married before her, she swallows her pride and serves as maid of honor, enlisting her old clique to help through an evening of mishaps.

What did I like?

Frenemies. Putting together a group of “friends” from high school can often result in good or bad things. This time around, it seemed to result in the bad, complete with jealousy and hurt feelings. For some reason, though, it seemed to work and the writers chose to not go overboard with it. I don’t think any of us wanted to see a catfight between them all.

Gotta love him. One of the guys at the wedding, played by Kyle Bornheimer, is probably the best character in the film in that he actually has redeeming qualities, as opposed to being a drunk, druggie, or deplorable individual. This guy wants nothing more than for Isla Fisher to love him (can’t blame the guy, honestly). Sure, he seems to doing his best to come off as a poor man’s Seth Rogen, but that portrayal is quite charming and endearing.

Bitch. You gotta hand it to Kirstin Dunst, she knows how to play a bitch. Here she is the de facto ring leader of this group of girls, not to mention the maid of honor in the wedding. Of course, as the old saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibility”. She is in charge of making sure the wedding goes off without a hitch and that includes all the mishaps that occur along the way, some of which are indirectly her fault thanks to her hatred of her “friend” getting married.

What didn’t I like?

Rebel without a cause. Rebel Wilson has proven she is hilarious, so I have to wonder why it is that she was chosen for this role. She is barely in the film. From my understanding, in the play, her character never appears on stage, but is just a dress hanging in the background. I’m sure they could have found someone who doesn’t have a career headed upwards to play this role.

Fat jokes. Speaking of Wilson, we know she’s a bigger girl. So what? Was there really a need to pile on with the fat jokes? Two girls attempting to fit in her dress? Really? That was just wrong and unnecessary!

Wedding. I wasn’t really impressed with the wedding at the end. After all the hype that went on getting us there, there was nothing special about it. Maybe that was the idea, but I felt that it should have been some big event that made the world stop. Maybe I’m just grasping at straws, though.

Bachelorette was an alright film, but nothing that audiences will remember in about 5 minutes. It has moments and maintains the notion that it is a comedy, rather than a drama, but just doesn’t do anything special. This is the kind of thing we’ve seen time and time again, sometimes done better! Still, I can see how some would be interested in checking this out, so have fun!

3 out of 5 stars