Category Archives: Movies in Bed
Post by Jessica Schoenenberger
I might be late in the game, but Rogue One was just made available on Netflix.
For those who don’t know, Rogue One is the latest spinoff in the modern reboot of Star Wars. It takes place right before A New Hope out of the classic trilogy. Remember at the beginning of A New Hope, when the iconic text rolls across the screen revealing that rebel spies managed to capture the plans to the Death Star? Rogue One is the story of how many good men died to get those plans that would later be used to destroy the legendary enemy weapon.
Though it only includes faint cameos of a few of the familiar characters, Rogue One is very much a Star Wars movie. It’s a story about a raggedy orphan that bands together with other raggedy people to carry out a mission that is severely shorthanded. It’s a little more cheeky and comedic than the originals, and you get to see more of the daily life in the galaxy. There is, of course, a delightful droid as always, and some of the best action sequences of any Star Wars movie, due to crazy-cool innovations in cinematography and animation.
Don’t be fooled though, for all the fun it is, it has a dramatic ending that will leave you with your mouth open and tears in your eyes, but also feeling the wondrous excitement and fulfilment of classic Star Wars. Keep an eye out for incredible CGI and live action resurrections of key characters from a New Hope-you won’t miss them. In fact, if I was cynical I would say the whole movie was made just to bring them back. But in reality, Rogue One stands very strong by itself, satisfying any hard core Star Wars fan, even if it’s just a tidbit to tide us over until The Last Jedi. It’s the perfect thing to send you off to sleep feeling like you could conquer anything, even Darth Vader.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Have you ever wondered what exactly happens once pet owners leave for the day? Well, I can’t say for sure but The Secret Life of Pets which came out on DVD/Blu-Ray/Digital release in December has some theories. The story follows the lives of a number of pets in some Manhattan apartments. The main character, Max (voiced by Louis C.K.) is a doted-on single dog whose life is turned upside-down when his owner brings home a big shaggy shelter dog named Duke. Their personal dislike of each other takes a serious turn when the two of them get caught by animal control thanks to a neglectful dog-walker. When they are unexpectedly rescued by a rogue team of abandoned pets (a pig, a dog, a lizard and a surprisingly fierce bunny) they have to pretend to be abandoned as well. Meanwhile, the tiny fluffy dog named Gidget (Jenny Slate) who loves Max realizes something is amiss and pull together a band of pets to go and rescue them.
In a world of so many remakes, reboots, spinoffs and adaptations, it’s refreshing to find some unique content. My favorite parts were really at the beginning as we got to know the animals in the building, from the fat disinterested cat to the guinea pig who has been lost in the ducts for weeks trying to remember where his owner lives. It’s a fun and exciting story with enough humor to keep the grown-ups engaged and enough silliness and adventure for the little ones. Great movie to watch under a heaping pile of blankets as winter trudges on.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Halloween is a little more than a week away. And so, it is imperative that we continue to thumb through the movies of monsters, ghosts, witches and goblins. Keeping with the theme of children’s/family friendly movies, let us turn today to The Witches, based on the 1983 Roald Dahl novel of the same name.
While young Luke is on holiday to visit his grandmother Helga in Norway, she tells him tales of the witches. Real witches, with flashing violet eyes who are repulsed by children, will lure the disgusting things and do away with them. According to his grandmother, her own sister was taken and imprisoned in a painting.
Luke is fascinated but these stories fade as he discovers terrible news: his parents have been killed in an accident. Helga takes over care of Luke and moves with him to England. One day, while in his treehouse, a strange woman with violet eyes comes by and tries to lure him down. Immediately he remembers the stories Helga had told him. Screaming for help, the woman slinks away. Shortly thereafter, Helga and Luke retire to the seaside for some R & R only to discover there is a massive witches’ convention there, under the ironic pseudonym of Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. When Luke discovers their nefarious plan to turn all children into mice, he becomes an early test subject. Luckily he has a very understanding grandma and together they fight to defeat the Witches.
Scary in the way cartoonish witches are scary, this movie is more action than horror. The witches are horrendously ugly when they remove their human disguises but not too frightening. My 8-year-old enjoyed the movie. So if you need something a bit spooky but you still want your kid to sleep in his own bed, The Witches is a great pick.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Disney went in a darker direction than what we have come to recognize as Disney. From Escape to Witch Mountain to The Watcher in the Woods, Disney covered the weird and the creepy with a particular lo-fi flair. My favorite of these darker Disney days was always the adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s creepy Halloween story, Something Wicked This Way Comes. Disney even got Bradbury to write the screenplay.
The movie tells the story of two thirteen-year-old boys, Jim Nightshade and Will Halloway. In the autumn before their fourteenth year, a strange and mysterious carnival rolls into town in the dead of night. Dark’s Pandemonium Carnival is no normal carnival. It’s readily apparent that something sinister is going on there. People enter the mirror maze and don’t return. Dark’s Pandemonium Carnival feeds on the deepest desires of its attendees. Their old teacher yearns for youth. The cigar store owner dreams of riches. Mr. Dark can make their dreams come true, but at great cost. When Jim and Will sneak in after dark and see one of the carnival members turned young on an enchanted carousel, they realize that they’re already in too deep. Knowing the boys know too much, Mr. Dark sets out to find the two boys, by way of magic, treachery or whatever means necessary.
Part horror story, part reflection on youth and friendship, part story of an older father trying to reconnect with his young son, the underlying story is surprisingly deep and complex. But to balance all that out, there are lots of bad special effects. My 8-year-old called the creeping green magic of the Dust Witch “Scooby-Doo effects”. He’s right. This is a creepy but not too creepy movie, a great way to kick off October, the spookiest month of all.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
This past weekend, my home town of Portland, Oregon threw its annual Rose City Comic Con, a fabulous convention for lovers of pop culture, comics, movies and art. Thousands come dressed in amazing and creative costumes, and many more come to peruse the booths of artists and vendors. This year we came out with a lithograph and some little decals both inspired by the fabulous anime movie, Spirited Away.
This is one of my favorite films by the remarkable animator Hayao Miyazaki, who is also known for Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, and My Neighbor Totoro. All of his movies are worth watching; each one is carefully hand-drawn frame by frame, with an attention to detail that is rarely seen in animated movies these day. But of all of them, Spirited Away is one of the very best.
Inspired by and made for a couple small children he knew, the movie tells the tale of a young girl, Chihiro, whose move to a new town and away from her friends takes an unexpected detour after a wrong turn. Her parents, intrigued by a tunnel that leads to a strange and abandoned town, are lured in by amazing food that magically appears. Chihiro leaves them to explore and discovers an incredible bathhouse, but too late she discovers she shouldn’t be there. This is a bathhouse for the gods, run by an unpleasant with named Yubaba. But night has fallen and she is trapped. Her parents, having eaten food meant for the gods, are turned into pigs and Chihiro must figure out how to save them, and herself.
Filled with many amazing and strange characters, from the many-armed furnace operator and his army of animated soot creatures, to the mysterious and eerie No Face, it’s hard to tear your eyes away from this incredible movie. So snuggle up with your No Face stuffed animal, turn down the lights and enjoy this truly unique movie.