Tag Archives: Movie Reviews
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Well, today’s the big day! Happy Halloween, everyone! From the moment school begins, the witches and ghosts and skeletons come out. The black-dyed cheesecloth gets wrapped around old bones and bags of candy appear across from rows and rows of scythes. And many people enjoy watching scary, scary movies after darkness falls. I like watching scary, scary movies. They don’t tend to really scare me for the most part. I suppose I could still watch these movies, but now I’m a parent I have to wait until the kid is in bed and the likelihood of having enough energy to watch a whole movie on a weeknight is very, very slim. And my little boy is not a fan of scary movies. Not even kind of scary movies. The Dreamworks Halloween special “Night of the Living Carrots”, which is about carrots possessed by weird alien glowing stuff, was way too scary to watch. Mostly I think it’s because they turn people into zombie-like things. Zombies scare the bejeezus out of him.
So now for most of my Halloween fix has to come from such decidedly un-scary programming as Curious George’s Halloween Boo Fest! The SCARY bit is about a scarecrow named No Noggin who KICKS PEOPLES’ HATS OFF THEIR HEADS There is also a pumpkin contest. By the way, in case you are worried, No Noggin is not real. There is something else behind the hats going missing. Hint: it’s not scary and it’s totally implausible. So if you have a little kid, you can give this hour-long Curious George special a try. It’s probably available streaming via PBS for a couple more days.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Hooray for 80’s classic film! Last weekend the city of Portland celebrated its annual Rose City Comic Con. Packed with second-string celebrity guests (and a couple big names) booths of artists and toy vendors, and hundreds of local comic and sci-fi geeks rocking some amazing outfits, Comic Con has become an annual tradition in my family. Only my son dresses up, sometimes as The Doctor, other times as a Jedi. This year one of the special guests was Sean Astin, known mostly for his role as Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. But this is Oregon, a stone’s throw from Astoria, whose greatest attraction is the famous Goonies house. Before everything was all about Portland, those rare appearances in film gave us great civic pride. And though Kindergarten Cop was also shot in Astoria, the Goonies house has won the hearts of Oregonians for years. So, in celebration of Sean Astin’s visit to the Rose City, Comic Con featured a screening of The Goonies with Sean Astin as the guest of honor.
I’m not going to bore you with the whole plot of the movie. If you haven’t seen it before, you probably ought to. After a day filled with comic and fantasy fun, we thought we’d top off the evening with a private screening at home. It was my son’s first time watching it. And once he realized that Sloth was a nice guy, he really enjoyed it. How could you not? It’s got bad guys, adventurous kids, treasure maps, pirates, gold, a Feldman, and the SPOILER ALERT kids save the day and the Goonies house!
Seriously. I love that movie. I hadn’t seen it in years and it stands the test of time so much better than Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
People fall into two camps: those who love Wes Anderson and those who do not. And those who do not tend to voraciously not like him.
Okay, maybe I’m oversimplifying it a bit. I don’t love Wes Anderson. But I like some of his movies. Well, I had been told that this movie would be the great crossover hit that would win Wes naysayers over to team Wes. I guess the argument was that this was the least Wes Anderson film that Wes Anderson has made.
I don’t know about that. The Fantastic Mr. Fox was pretty unhip. Actually, I thought this had a lot of the same quirkiness that rubs people the wrong way (or what I assume does) what with the particular way everything is arranged and shot and the characters who seem weird for no particular reason. But on the other hand, the plot seemed like a normal plot! And for me, that was a very good thing.
In Grand Budapest Hotel, Ray Fiennes plays M. Gustave, the concierge of the hotel, a perfect gentleman and incredibly suave. He plays the role wonderfully as does Tony Revolori, who plays the young lobby boy Zero who is taken under Gustave’s wing. As with all Wes Anderson movies, the cast is peppered with many beloved actors, some appearing only for a moment. But I always grin when Bill Murray appears, even if briefly. I’d say this movie is worth watching if you aren’t a staunch anti-Anderson fanatic. It’s got a great story, likable characters, and everything is okay in the end.
I don’t get the opportunity to watch movies all that often. And when the opportunity arises, I tend to completely freeze at the pressure of making the right decision. An unexpected day off provided this at once exciting and daunting opportunity. Thankfully, I received hundreds of DVDs from a good friend of mine, offering endless cinematic choices. I nearly reached for Revenge of the Sith, since I have yet to watch it. But instead I opted for Prometheus, the prequel to the Alien series. I don’t know. I don’t think there was a winning choice in the few options I gave myself. But what could I do? My Chinese food was going to get cold!
Unless you live under a rock, you are likely familiar with the Alien/Aliens movies. Big, slimy aliens with lots of nasty teeth and acid blood eat a lot of people. But did you ever wonder where these creepy creatures came from? I didn’t! But let’s find out.
This is the bit I love best about this movie. As an Ancient Aliens enthusiast, one of the more outlandish theories I’ve come across is that we were bred by aliens from a distant star, possibly bred with early humans and it was this alien bit that made us the conscious, creative, technological people we are today. Well, Prometheus decides to run with this one. Two scientists discover that cave paintings and other ancient art all contain references to a distant cluster of stars, one completely invisible to the naked eye. One of those tiny dots is a moon which appears capable of supporting life. Armed with this intriguing bit of evidence, they manage to get a spaceship and a whole crew to go check it out. SPOILER ALERT: they totally share the same genetic makeup as us. We are totally bred from these creepy humanoids! But the planet seems dead. What happened to them all? Any guesses? Maybe there are slimy snakelike guys who will latch on to your face! (SPOILER ALERT: of course there are!)
Much of this movie made little sense to me and a great deal was simply not addressed. But, they definitely primed themselves for a sequel so maybe they can hash out all the weird stuff from the first movie in the second.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Princess Mononoke came out in 1999. I remember seeing that it was playing at the cinema in Redon, France where I was living at the time but I paid it no mind. I was not a fan of anime. For many years I have regretted that decision. When I finally saw it, it was a badly reproduced and spottily subtitled version on a computer screen. Nevertheless, I was captivated. I will never forget the feeling I had as I watched it. I had no idea that a cartoon, for all intents and purposes, could be beautiful. And made with such an eye toward details. Every time I watch this, I eagerly await the scene where the wind blows across the tall grasses.
Of all the films by Hayao Miyazaki, this is hands-down my favorite. Spirited Away is a close second but it’s nothing compared to the beautiful, funny, sad epic that is Princess Mononoke. Although many of his films are totally fine for kids, I haven’t shown this one to my son yet. There is a lot of violence and a lot of really intense activity. I can’t wait till he is old enough because it’s so awesome. And he will absolutely love San, the fierce human child adopted by the great wolf gods of the great and ancient forest. Decked out in furs and war paint, riding a giant white wolf, she is not one to be trifled with.
The happy news is that in honor of Hayao Miyazaki’s final film, the local theater aired all his movies in the original 35mm and I got to make up for the regrettable decision I made fifteen years ago. It was totally worth the wait.