Archive for Dave Foley

Sky High

Posted in Family, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Will Stronghold — the son of two superheroes known as the Commander and Jetstream — is the only kid at Sky High who hasn’t developed superpowers yet, which means he may be relegated to the less-than-thrilling role of a sidekick.

What people are saying:

“With a crisp and snappy visual style and its smartly paced story, Sky High pulls an incredible feat in an age of dumbed-down kids comedies; it’s as down-to-earth as it is super.” 4 stars

“A surprisingly fun and humorous look at superhero tropes by way of a high school designed specifically for the gifted vigilantes’ offspring. Though some of the humor skews a bit too young and many of the movie’s visual effects are dated in the worse way, there’s plenty of wit and pointed comic book skewering to go around — making this one pleasant surprise of a Disney family flick.” 3 stars

“It’s Disney! Written by and for High School freshmen. If you can suspend your adulthood for an hour and a half you will enjoy it. A more entertaining story on a very similar theme is found in the comic “PS 238″ The protagonist is the son of two superheroes without any superpowers (except the knack for survival)…” 3 stars

“Though the film gives some good laughs, cool sequences, a great cinemontography, and a surprisingly original story, Sky High falls flat for me. I forgot the characters, I was often bored, the CG SUCKED, and was left thinking, “Eh.” 3 stars

“Sky High is one of Disney’s best films of this decade so far. I don’t know why a lot of people are comparing it to The Incredibles. It is not like that movie at all. It’s more like a cross between X-Men and Fantastic Four. Everyone had different superpowers. I enjoyed this movie. This movie did show a lot of references to other movies and TV shows based on comic books (like Wonder Woman, Batman, Spider-Man and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). If you are in the mood for a good, family movie, watch Sky High.” 4 stars

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Blast From the Past

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 16, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Calvin Webber (Christopher Walken) is a brilliant, eccentric, and paranoid Caltech nuclear physicist (see mad scientist), living the stereotypical happy 1960s life during the Cold War. His extreme fear of a nuclear holocaust leads him to build an enormous self-sustaining fallout shelter beneath his suburban San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles home. One night, while he and his pregnant wife, Helen (Sissy Spacek), are entertaining guests, a family friend comes to inform him that John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev are getting into a debate. The family turns on their television, and watch in horror. When the Cuban Missile Crisis begins, they ask their guests to leave, and they head down into the shelter. Meanwhile, a pilot is having problems with his plane; he is ordered to eject, believing his jet will crash into the Pacific Ocean. Just as the Webbers descend into the shelter, the plane veers off and crashes into the Webber home, leaving their friends and family to believe the family has died. The family, having seen the resulting fireball just as they lock themselves in their shelter, believe that the unthinkable has happened and that they are the sole survivors of a nuclear war. The locks on the shelter are set for 35 years and cannot be overridden by anyone inside or outside the shelter – for “their own protection” according to Calvin Webber.

A few days after the locks have been engaged, Mrs. Webber goes into labor and gives birth to a baby boy, whom they name Adam. During the roughly 35 years they are down in the shelter, the world above drastically changes, while the Webbers’ life remains frozen in 1962. Adam is taught in several languages, all school subjects, dance, boxing, and many other things. The family passes time watching black and white movies via a projector. Adam is given his father’s baseball card collection, and shares in IBM, Polaroid, and AT&T.

In the present (which would have been October 1997, though this is not specifically stated in the film) the timer on the locks releases, and Calvin decides to check out the surroundings above the shelter (in full protective gear), which has turned into a ghetto. He mistakes this for a post-apocalyptic world and wants his wife and grown son (Brendan Fraser) to stay in hiding, but suffers from chest pain. Adam, who is naïve but well-educated, is sent for supplies and help, thus beginning his adventures.

Much of the humor in the film is derived from his being unaccustomed to the lifestyle of the present (such as using the term negro, and believing “shit” is a French compliment), believing “gay” means happy, and finding awe in simple things of modernity. Early on, he meets Eve Rustikoff (Alicia Silverstone) at a card store, where she works, and where he went to sell his father’s classic baseball cards. She stops the store owner from ripping Adam off and is immediately fired. Adam asks Eve to take him to the Holiday Inn, in exchange for a baseball card, worth 4,000 dollars. The next morning, at the Holiday Inn, Eve comes to give back the card to Adam, and after a brief conversation, Eve informs Adam that she has to look for a new job. In exchange for $1,000 a week, Adam asks Eve to work for him, she agrees to help him buy the supplies and his search for a “non-mutan” wife from Pasadena. Meanwhile, Adam meets Eve’s homosexual housemate and best friend, Troy (Dave Foley), who offers advice and commentary as Adam and Eve fall in love.

At the conclusion of the movie, Adam’s father and mother move into a home at the surface that their son has had constructed with the wealth he has acquired from selling stocks, which acquired great value from splits over the years. Only his father is informed that the catastrophe they went into seclusion for was in fact a plane crash, for fear his mother would be incredibly angry at her husband for her years of mistaken confinement.

The film finishes with Adam’s mother at peace with her newfound freedom from the shelter, Adam and Eve engaged to be married, while Calvin, certain that the “Commies” have faked the collapse of the Soviet Union, starts pacing out measurements for a new fallout shelter.

REVIEW:

Blast From the Past tells the story of a couple who are forced underground by what they belive is the nuclear holocaust. While down there, the already pregnant wife, gives birth to their son whom the name Adam. 35 yrs later, they decide its time to see what has happened to the world above. After a failed and flawed view by the father, Adam is sent to get supplies. Hilarity ensues and we get a really good film.

The good…you can call me an old soul, but I just love film that tackle the eras from the 30-early 60s. Obviously, with the focus on the early 60s in this film, as well as the swinging soundtrack to go along with it, the picture already has a gold star in my book. Only Brendan Fraser could pull off this role. Other actors would try to read too much into the character and not just have fun with it. If you watch Fraser, you can see he’s truly having fun being the man-child. I think the ony other person that might have been able to pull this off would be Will Ferrell, but he doesn’t have the childlike innocent look that Fraser had in this picture. I also have to commend them for getting Fraser lookalikes to play him at his younger ages. Not only did they look like him, they even had his mannerisms. Dave Foley provides a nice little secondary character that is totally undervalues when people talk about this film. Alicia Silverstone lights up the screen with her beauty. This is one of the roles she was made to play. **side note–loved the shoes** The story didn’t win any points for being the best written, but un;ess you’re just one of those that picks apart everything, its hardly even noticable because this is such a cute, fun, entertaining film, and that’s what really matters.

The bad…as much as I hate to say this, I feel there could have been some kind of villain. Either someone who also was in a time capsule or maybe more of Nathan Fillion as he wanted Eve back. Speaking of Eve…Adam and Eve? Seriously? I’m not sure if that was cute or cliché.  It is obvious that Troy is attracted to Adam as well, maybe they could have put a scene in there where he tries something. Not saying that not having that in there was bad, just a suggestion.

If you can’t handle these overly sweet films, then you better stay away from this picture, or you’ll end up rotting your teeth. Yes, it is that sweet. The innocence of Adam pretty much embodies the film. Except for one scene where Adam and Eve semi make out and some innuendo here and there, mainly in the club, you could literally put this thing in black and white and released it in the 50s. It is good to know that not every picture has to have special effects and sex in it, and those that don’t are considered family flicks. Blast From the Past is refreshing in that it is a romantic comedy that is so simplistic in its approach, that you love it without even realizing it. This is a must see for any and all!

5 out of 5 stars

Monkeybone

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Stu Miley (Brendan Fraser) is a disillusioned cartoonist whose comic strip features a rascal monkey named Monkeybone. Stu is in love with a sleep institute worker named Dr. Julie McElroy (Bridget Fonda), who helped him deal with his terrible nightmares by changing the hand that he drew with. On the night when he is going to propose to her, Stu gets into a car accident and falls into a coma.

His spirit ends up in Downtown: a purgatory limbo-like carnival landscape populated by human beings, mythical creatures and figments of people’s imaginations where nightmares are entertainment. In Downtown, Monkeybone (voiced by John Turturro) is real. When Stu learns that his sister Kimmy (Megan Mullally) is about to pull the plug on him, he asks Hypnos: The God of Sleep (Giancarlo Esposito) what to do. Hypnos tells Stu that to get back to the living, he has to steal an Exit Pass from Death (Whoopi Goldberg). Stu successfully steals an Exit Pass, but Monkeybone steals it from him in turn and enters the Land of the Living in Stu’s body through the Revive-O.

Hypnos plans to use Stu’s body to get a substance that Dr. Julie McElroy developed that gives people and animals nightmares. Monkeybone (in Stu’s body) obtains the substance and puts it inside stuffed monkey toys of himself (Monkeybone) so that those who touch them will be infected and given nightmares. Meanwhile Stu reveals Hypnos’ plan to Death and convinces her to send him back for only an hour, only to find himself in the body of a dead athlete organ donor (Chris Kattan). As he flees the morgue attendants, Stu finds out about Monkeybone’s and Hypnos’ planned party and heads there with the extractors still in pursuit. At the party, Stu’s agent Herb (Dave Foley) exposes himself to the Nightmare Juice in the Monkeybone doll and ends up seeing in the mirror that his clothes are coming to life. This causes Herb to run through the party naked telling everyone that the clothes have come to life and turned evil. After that, Monkeybone in Stu’s body tells everyone to forget about it as he brings down the Monkeybone pinata containing the Monkeybone Dolls. Stu uses Monkeybone’s main characteristics from the comics to cause him to panic and escape. A chase ensues, culminating with Stu and Monkeybone battling each other while clinging to a giant Monkeybone balloon. The balloon is eventually shot down by a passing policeman and both Stu and Monkeybone fall to their deaths.

Back in Downtown, Stu and Monkeybone are falling toward Downtown where the residents cheer on their fight. Just then, all the rides stop and a giant robot emerges near the Revive-O causing everyone to flee the area. When Stu and Monkeybone are caught by it, the operator of the robot is revealed to be Death who seems quite cheerful despite the circumstances. Monkeybone tries to have Death let him go to the bathroom, but Death places Monkeybone back in Stu’s head which is back where he belongs. Death then tells Stu that she’ll send him back because she likes his comic strips and doesn’t want them to stop just now and because she needs to make room for the guys from South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone. She then uses her robot to send Stu back to the living as he wakes up in his own body. Stu then proposes to Julie and they get married.

REVIEW:

This film sort of feels like a mixture of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Cool World, but instead of cartoons, they use stop motion animation. The plot sort of mixes the two films together, if yo think about it. We have the token guy who somehow ends up in the animated world (even though it’s not fully animated), gets tricked into letting someone escape into the real world, someone falls in love with him on the other side, etc. Elements, of your mixed medium films.

Brendan Fraser is quite impressive here. Stu is the typical loser Fraser that we’ve seen in so many of his movies, but when Monkeybone takes over his body, he has to actually act like a monkey, even going so far as to kiss one on the lips. On top of that, he must have studied John Turturro’s mannerisms as he was doing the voice track for Monkeybone, because it really felt like they were one and the same.

While I’m on the topic of people being possessed by others and capturing their mannerisms, Chris Kattan does a good job of capturing Fraser’s, all the while keeping his Kattan-ness. Not to mention the fact that he’s a corpse who just had some sort of horrific accident.

Bridget Fonda kind of felt out-of-place in the film full of…how should I put this…crazies? That may have been the idea, but she seems to be playing the straight man, er, woman, and just flat out seems uncomfortable. Not to mention she’s not very relatable, and for me, just seems like she’s the token girlfriend.

See if you can find Rose McGowan, Thomas Hayden Church, Giancarlo Esposito, and Whoopi Goldberg in Dark Town. Dark Town, and pretty much all the animation is gorgeous. Monkeybone could very well have been done by a Disney animator! He had the mix of human and monkey in his mannerisms, as well as his own characterizations. The other characters seem like a hodge podge of nightmares that were forgotten, which more or less, is what they are supposed to be. The Land of Death is even more impressive. When they arrive there, you can tell there was plenty of time spent designing this place. Hard work paid off!

If you didn’t know better, you’d think that this was a Tim Burton film. Close, but no cigar. THe director, Henry Selick, is a frequent collaborator with Burton, mos notably on the Coraline and The Nightmare Before Christmas. The influence is quite obvious, as the film employs dark themes offset with bright colors, all with a twisted story. If you’re into this kind of stuff, then you’ll love it. If you’re into crude, rude, humor, and lovable loser Brendan Fraser, then you’ll love it. If you tend to buy into all the hype you read about this being  bad film, then you’ve already made up your mind, and there really is no point to you even watching this, now is there. For the rest of us that actually can think for ourselves, Monkeybone is a fun, exciting comedy that shouldn’t be anything more than what it is, and it knows that.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

A Bug’s Life

Posted in Animation, Comedy, Family, Movie Reviews, Pixar with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 26, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Every season, a colony of ants are expected to harvest food for a Mafia-like bunch of grasshoppers. One ant, Flik, is an inventor whose creations usually do more harm than good. While trying out a mechanical harvester, he accidentally knocks the pile of food into a stream just before the grasshoppers arrive. Their leader, Hopper, gives the ants the rest of the season to make good on what they owe, but orders a double ration of food after Flik stands up to him in defense of the Queen’s youngest daughter Dot. Flik is admonished by the colony’s royal council. When Flik suggests that he try to recruit some “warrior bugs” to fight the grasshoppers, Princess Atta (Dot’s older sister and the eventual successor to the Queen) allows him to do so, but only to keep him out of the way.

Reaching the insect “city,” built from discarded boxes and cans, Flik encounters a troupe of unemployed circus bugs whose latest performance has just ended in disaster, and mistakes them for the warriors he needs. At the same time, they believe him to be a talent scout who wants to book their act on the island. They return to the colony, much to Atta’s surprise, and are immediately greeted as heroes who can end the grasshopper threat. Atta soon becomes suspicious after almost overhearing a conversation where both Flik and the troupe realize their mistakes. However, after they band together to save Dot from a hungry bird, she begins to think that the troupe may be able to stop the grasshoppers after all. She also starts to fall in love with Flik.

At the grasshopper gang’s hideout, Hopper’s brother Molt suggests that they not go back, since they have more than enough food stored up and the weather will soon turn bad. Hopper reminds him and the whole gang that if they do not keep the ants living in fear, the ants might use their superior numbers (“a hundred to one,” he estimates) to run the grasshoppers out of the colony for good. The gang sets out for the island to collect their due. When Flik discovers that Hopper is afraid of birds (due to him almost getting eaten by one a few years ago), he proposes that the colony build a model bird to scare him away. The ants put their food-gathering work on hold to carry out this project, but as they finish, circus ringmaster P. T. Flea arrives looking for his missing performers and accidentally exposes the truth. Upset at Flik’s deception, Atta orders him exiled from the colony, while the other ants hide the bird and rush to collect whatever food they can for Hopper. They are unable to meet the double quota he set, and when the gang arrives, he takes over the anthill and forces the ants to bring him all the food on the island.

Dot overhears the gang’s plans to kill the Queen once they have all the food, and she catches up with Flik and the troupe. She persuades them to return and put the bird plan into action, with help from her and some of the other young ants. The model frightens the gang, who almost retreats until P. T. intervenes and incinerates it. Enraged, Hopper sends his crazed assistant Thumper to injure Flik, but Flik is still able to stand up and rally the other ants, saying that the grasshoppers depend on the extorted food for their own survival. The entire colony swarms against the gang, forcing all except Hopper to leave. However, a thunderstorm begins, causing panic among the ants. Hopper grabs Flik and flies off, intent on killing him. Atta rescues Flik, and the two lure Hopper towards the bird’s nest. Hopper corners Flik and starts strangling him, revealing his intention of returning to the colony with more grasshoppers. Flik is saved when the bird appears. Hopper attempts to escape, but it picks him up and feeds him to its chicks.

Later, the colony adopts Flik’s harvester to speed up grain collection. Atta becomes the new queen, passes the princess crown to Dot and chooses Flik as her mate. As the troupe leaves, Slim the stick insect notices that they’ve forgotten Heimlich the caterpillar, who emerges from the chrysalis in which he has encased himself. He pops out with a tiny pair of butterfly wings, far too small to lift him off the ground, but he’s picked up by Francis the ladybug and Manny the praying mantis, and the troupe (with Molt, acting as a road crew assistant) departs with the colony’s thanks.

REVIEW:

Another gem in the crown of Disney/Pixar, A Bug’s Life firmly put the world on notice that Pixar was no joke, Toy Story was no fluke, and that bigger and better things were on the way.

If I remember right, around the time this film, whose main characters re mostly ants, another film with similar subject matter, Antz, was also released. I think they were a few weeks apart, but don’t quote me on that. Having watched both film, this one is the superior film.

We have the typical outcast hero who is in love with the princess, the villain and his minions, and the reluctant supporting hero(es). Very formulaic, but that doesn’t take anything away from the entertainment value. I like to compare formulas to recipes that have been handed down through generations in that they are no less tasty now than they were back then (unless it was a bad recipe).

This is a very well told story. The writers cover every detail, short of learning how the circus bugs got together and the ants lives before the film…stuff like that.

The animation is, per usual Pixar, flawless. Did you actually expect less from these people?

Per usual with a film of this caliber, the voice cast has some fairly big names, such as Kevin Spacey, David Hyde Pierce, Julia Louis-Dryfuss, Brad Garrett and future stars Hayden Panettiere and Ashley Tisdale.

There are quite a few gags that are references to “human” life, such as P.T. Flea, an obvious nod to P.T. Barnum. A mosquito orders a Bloody Mary at the bar, which turns out to be a drop of actual blood, etc. While cheesy, they are still quite enjoyable.

Kevin Spacey as the villainous Hopper is quite intimidating. I got a chuckle out of my friend suggesting they use Dennis Hopper instead, though.

I have yet to dislike a Disney/Pixar film, and this will not be the first one to get ab ad review. There are no glaring holes big enough to deserve so. No, this film is not the perfection of Pixar’s latest works, but as I said earlier, you can see the greatness developing. A movie about bugs would normally gross people out and scare them away, but they are so endearing here that you forget they are bugs, except for the dung platter scene, of course. Grab the family and enjoy.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars