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The Producers (2005)
Who are these people praising it?
Wow, the studio shills have bombarded the message board with praise for one of the worst movie musicals ever made.
This film is bad, bad, bad. Bad direction. Bad acting. Awful screenplay.
This is a classic "Why did they bother" film -- there was no reason to remake the classic 1968 film. And the new songs? Distorting and pathetic.
The Broadway musical wasn't much better, but it was a live performance that gave an excuse -- sort of a "The Producers Greatest Hits". As a film, it's just plain flaccid.
One of the worst stage-to-film musicals ever made.
Das Goebbels-Experiment (2005)
Fine, enlightening documentary
This film basically has the narrator reading from Josef Goebbels diary from the early 20's through to his death in 1945. The film is bookended by the charring corpse of Goebbels, though the film reveals his dead daughters, since Goebbels had them poisoned rather than be captured. You learn a lot of things about Goebbels. He critiqued movies, panning The Battleship Potemkin for being too unsubtle in its propaganda (and obviously being inspired by it at the same time.) He thought Churchill was a better speaker than "that idiot Chamberlain". He was paranoid, often attacking then loving Hitler. You learn that Hitler's favorite men were not friends (Goebbels hates Goring, for example.) This is a must see for anyone interested in the goings-on in the inner sanctum of the Nazis.
What more can I say about YES/NO?
From their appearance on Bette Midler's Mondo Beyondo to the Coca Cola "Ice Pick" commercial to STOMP at the Orpheum Theater here in New York City, they've been a phenomenon.
Brooms is no different -- it's an incredible experience, only surpassed by live performance.
This short was Oscar-nominated, by the way, which gave the Academy an excuse to have them perform live at the 1996 Academy Awards. (They didn't win the Oscar, though -- some payoff, huh?)
Born to Peck (1952)
Perhaps the most wistful and angst-ridden of the Woody Woodpecker cartoons, "Born to Peck" is about an aged Woody reminiscing about his life as a woodpecker, how he was a virtuoso at pecking wood, even tormenting his parents about it, since he'd destroy every crib they had him in. However, his beak is no longer able to penetrate wood, and he becomes suicidal -- when he does revive his spirit, he is inspired again to peck, but picks on the wrong kind of tree in an ironic twist ending.
Citizen Kane (1941)
What more is there to say?
I won't reiterate what has been already said about the film by countless film critics and movie scholars. As a critic and scholar of film myself, I'm well aware of the innovativeness of Toland's work, the masterful acting by the Mercury Theater players, the brashness and subtleness of Welles' direction -- as well as his portrayal of the title character.
I think the highest praise I can give the film is that whenever it is on -- whether I'm playing it or it happens to be on TV -- time seems to stop. My eyes and ears belong to the movie. Even though I know every word nearly by heart, the film just DEMANDS my attention. I can't channel flip when this black-and-white masterpiece is showing. I feel like Francois Truffaut did -- the film is something Welles was never able to replicate again; the stars were aligned in film history for possibly the only time ever (though some, like Casablanca, come damned close!)
I doubt one word can describe a man's life -- a thousand can't describe one man's film.
The Cat in the Hat (2003)
Makes Gigli look GOOD
I have no idea where those two reviewers came from, but this is the worst, most puerile, disgusting bastardization and Hollywood stempeded film of a children's book. I have no idea who it was made for - aimed at kids, Tom Green jokes for adults - the screening *I* went to, the kids asked their parents if they could leave.
It took a lot to make Jim Carrey's The Grinch that Stole Christmas look half-decent in comparison, but this is the WORST WORST WORST film of 2003 - and that includes the infamous turkey Gigli.
Leave Dr. Seuss alone, Hollywood. Just cause he's dead doesn't mean it's okay to rape his literature.
The Tortellis (1987)
What a bad show (maybe)
I remember when I was 17 this show debuting after a Cheers episode. The funny thing was that I had missed all the Nick Tortelli shows prior to seeing this, so I had no idea why Carla appeared in the beginning of the pilot to tell Nick to clean his act up in an odd dream sequence. Since I didn't see Nick or Loretta or their kids, I just thought they were vile and unfunny -- now when I watch the Nick episodes in "Cheers", they're all a scream. Maybe someday someone will re-air the episodes so I can watch it with the background intact.
The best PBS series ever
This has been a long-standing PBS series that is the gold standard for documentary series.
I remember watching as a child with fascination one episode about the Voyager spacecraft, and another about whales.
Long may she live!
Oh, the pain
Two flat 2-D basketball players, a cheesy sound effect. This game chiefly shows how lazy Atari was with its sports genre games way back when - especially when the Intellivision was sporting more realistic games at the time.
Buy the soundtrack
Almost every song on the CD is an absolute winner. This is because 1980 represented the peak of artistic talent in both the team of Olivia Newtown-John and John Farrar (her songwriter) and Jeff Lynne's Electric Light Orchestra (known as, of course, ELO.) In fact, one song, "Suddenly", is a major smash hit, but nearly all of the other songs have merit.
"Magic" and "Suspended In Time" are classic examples of just how silky Newton-John's voice can be, while "I'm Alive" and "The Fall" are the best that ELO has to offer: brassy synth anthems that we've come to expect from Mr. Lynne. "All Over The World" might have been hampered by the reputation of the film, because it's every bit as much a party song as Kool and the Gang's "Celebration" is. "Xanadu" is the lone song to meld Newton-John and ELO, which is to be expected as the "climax song", but it doesn't match the heights of the aforementioned songs, and borders on kitschy.
"Dancin'" is a song that SHOULDN'T work, but does - mixing a 40's Big Band with 80's Glam Rock. Even without the memory of how the scene played out in the movie (Gene Kelly and the artist had their opinions of how Xanadu should be, and slowly their ideas merged.) I guess that answers the question of what you get when you mix Big Band with Glam: you get a 70's Roller Disco.
The one song that SHOULD work, but DOESN'T is the duet between Newton-John and Kelly in "Whenever You're Away From Me". The two have zero chemistry, and their voices neither complement nor play off one other. It also has the serious mistake of being a serious song in a midst of playful ones. It didn't work in the film, and it definitely doesn't work here.
As for the movie, it's bad - and painfully obvious that they wrote the script to tie the songs together. The plot of Gene Kelly and a album cover artist bound by one of Jupiter's Muses to build a roller disco circus called Xanadu? Yeah, sure. We know the songs came far ahead of the script. And it did its purpose - I saw the movie once when I was 10, and bought the album, and bought the CD. Just don't expect me to buy the DVD, too.
Charlotte's Web (1973)
Haha. Charlotte's Web... DISNEY?!
firstname.lastname@example.org: "This is, after all, a DISNEY adaptation of a children's literary classic."
If you don't know the difference between Disney and Hanna-Barbera (which Charlotte's Web is), then you have no business discussing the film. Calling a Hanna-arbera film a Disney film is akin to calling one of Shakespeare's plays a play by Moliere. Not only is the animation style VASTLY different, but the tone and themes used by both are widely dissimiliar.
In addition, you have no idea how to review film - you never compare it to Source Material. Films are to be reviewed on their own merits.
The Making of 'Tron' (2002)
How to break the mold
Fascinating documentary contained on the Tron 20th Anniversary 2-DVD Special Edition in which you learn the long road Steven Lisberger and his company took to make Tron, from their early work in backlit animation to the tumultuous story of Animalympics to how they convinced post-Walt Disney/pre-The Little Mermaid Disney to back a cutting edge, decidely un-Disney like production.
A box-office failure in 1982, the documentary also discusses how kids who were 10 to 14 years old at the time latched onto it. It's also interesting to note how much Tron fortold - even being arguably the first cyberpunk movie, since it features the earliest reference to hacking and the world of Tron itself is the first depiction of cyberspace.
Ein Toter hing im Netz (1960)
Should we get our filthy raincoats to watch this?
Your basic sexploitation film that is shockingly a 1960 film - it resembles the old George Weiss Screen Classic trash like Pin-Up Girls (aka Racket Girls).
Badly dubbed dancers crash with their Male Leader Gary on some island. They can't even brush their teeth without being commanded. The Male Leader Gary gets bitted by a radioactive spider, and turns into... something vaguely spiderish.
Two guys come onto the island, where their dead professor works, and suddenly, the women are all over one of them, while the other sounds like Gilligan in trying to ask one of them for a date.
Meanwhile, the horror aspect is largely ignored, except when Gary returns, is quickly chased away by the girls with torches, and drowned in quicksand.
Most of the movie is 1940's style leering at girls in the shower, laying around in bed, flirting... and love being objectified and playing to the female stereotypes of the 1920's, if not earlier.
Embarrassingly BAD, and thoroughly without any suspense or scares, except for the idea some schmoe in Europe thought it up. Funny as hell when watched in conjunction with MST3K, however.
THE HORRORS OF SPIDER ISLAND!
Triumph of the Beasts (2001)
Great, as usual
As with the previous Walking With... behind-the-scenes documentaries, this one is brilliant and entertaining, unlike most dry documentaries and Making of... type of specials. It enfuses humor with scientific facts, and thankfully, it's included in the Walking With Prehistoric Beasts DVD.
The Beasts Within (2001)
Better than the show itself
This documentary takes a look at mankind's origins, and its eventual effect on the world around it. The documentary actually surpasses the two episodes of Walking With Prehistoric Beasts that it represents. Look out for the hilariously satiric ending when the narrator wonders if we'd be able to handle a gigantic meteor as the dinosaurs did - all set to Eric Idle's singing of "Bright Side of Life" from Life of Brian.
Finally won me over
After seeing Casino on Starz for the umpteenth time, I find myself preferring it over Goodfellas, which is quite a switch, since I initially considered Casino a redo of Goodfellas.
But the plot is much more complex and layered than Goodfellas, and the mournful ending has a certain strength. I loved the Sid Vicious "My Way" at the end of Goodfellas, but Sam Rothstein bemoaning how Las Vegas has become a faceless Disneyland built on junk bonds is touching ("now when a whale comes in with a suitcase packed with millions, some high school student wants to check his social security number..."), especially when he takes off his shades at the end, and gazes sadly into space, reminiscing.
Probably will be superior to the coming Red Dragon
Red Dragon, an unnecessary remake of Manhunter made solely to make money by casting Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter, who was made into a "good guy" in Hannibal. However, in Manhunter/Red Dragon, Lecter was out-and-out evil - and it's doubtful this version has Michael Mann's skillful direction and use of color as subtext. Moreover, Manhunter worked because Lecter was a minor - if important and devilish - character. The villian in Manhunter will probably be reduced to a supporting role... ... and then there is the problem that Red Dragon/Manhunter has pretty much the same ending as Silence of the Lambs - dark room, etc.
And Red Dragon won't have Iron Butterfly's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" as the climax, either :)
Fear of a Black Hat (1993)
Rob Reiner's lawyers on the phone
From the moment "Nina Blackburn" (aka Marty DiBergi as an African American woman) appears on the screen, you can tell they copied This Is Spinal Tap from the get go. There is zero creativity - everything has lifted nearly verbatim. From the dressing room complaints to the Ian Faith-wannabe.
Worse, not only doesn't it copy Tap wholesale, it's acting and energy level is horrible. Avoid.
The Red Shoes (1990)
The best version of "The Red Shoes" I'd ever seen. Set in a Hispanic neighborhood, it retells the classic with Hispanic beat. The real strength, though, is the sense of loss and memory - it infuses the entire show with a sense of sadness and wistfulness, but ends with acceptance and the message that losing someone you love should make you appreciate those you love around you that much more.
Part of HBO's series of animated tales that are prime examples of nontraditional casting - if you see it listed in your TV guide or see it on the rental shelf, SEE IT IMMEDIATELY, regardless of race. This one is a sincere tearjerker.
Mr. Deeds (2002)
From all the mindless praise coming from the "fans", with dates from before the release date, you know that they couldn't care less about what's in the film.
They'll say it's the BEST EVER!!!!!!!!!!! or BEST ROMANTIC COMEDY OF THE YEAR!!!!!!!!
I don't know if they're lobotomized 12 year old boys or press agents trying to masquerade as fans, but please, go away.
Crawl into a hole and contract some debilitating disease that doesn't allow you to utter a word or type.
These people probably don't even know who Gary Cooper IS, much less "Mr. Deeds Go To Town".
Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
Take the immaturity of Paul Thomas Anderson, mix it with the immaturity of Adam Sandler, and the script level of a bad SNL skit, and you have garbage.
Pure, unadulterated garbage. Some at Cannes applauded it - but what do the French know? Jerry Lewis is their national hero.
Me and the Big Guy (1999)
That complainer Winston
What if Winston Smith didn't mind having Big Brother around? What if he was lonely, and just saw BB as someone to talk to, like one might their teddy bear or cat?
This short is clever in knowing more about 1984, Orwell's book, than most do. You can even learn about 1984 while laughing when Big Brother gets fed up with Citizen's mindless pratter about his day.
Total Recall (1990)
Yes, it WAS all just a dream
There is strong evidence that the entire movie may have been the virtual "trip" by Doug Quaid. The memory Rekall chooses for Quaid is called "Blue Sky On Mars", and monitor previewing the memory feature the generators revealed later in the film. How in the world would Rekall know about the generators - it's too strong a coincidence, especially since the movie ends with blue skies on Mars. Moreover, after Quaid advises Melina to kiss him before he wakes up, the movie does a fade to WHITE, which is usually reserved in films for people awakening from a dream. In short, yes, the entire film after Quaid enters Rekall was indeed just a memory trip.
Don't be sad - Philip K. Dick loved fooling the audience, especially when they didn't realize they were being fooled!
After seeing this badly acted, badly written, and the worst superhero since Puma Man (which itself had an odd theology), I don't know which is scarier - the thought that this piece of dung was thought of, or that Willie Aames (of "Eight Is Enough" infamy) stars in it, or these posters who call it "excellent", and "great for the whole family".
Only if that family has Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo wisecracking and making fun of it.
What happened? I'll tell you.
Some people might be confused as to what actually happened in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. Let me explain:
The city was being heavily rationed by The Right Ordinary Horatio Jackson, hoarding supplies for himself while convincing the city folk that they were still under attack by the Turks. Baron Munchausen enters the city, knowing full well that there is no attack.
He proceeds to tell them a fantastic, fanciful tale to entrance them, using them as characters in the story (ie. Rose as Venus, Jackson as the villian as himself, etc.). The story is successfully able to liven their spirits, andis then able to lead a revolt, to open the gates and reveal there was no enemy - they had been lied to.
END OF SPOILER.
Of course, Terry Gilliam would get on my case for using Reason, and not accepting the events at face value.
As for the film itself, it's a wonderful trestise on being old. Munchausen ages and gets younger as befits his mood. He romanticizes not only figuratively, but literally. To him, fantasies are reality - and you know what? He's right - perception is reality in many cases. When you're older, you CAN only look back, for the most part - and why not enjoy the past as well as your fantasies?