5 items from 2012
It’s easy to admire Ralph Bakshi. He was one of the few animators working in the 1970’s and 80’s free from Walt Disney, free to make R-rated cartoons, and films that weren’t as kid-centric – he was a pioneer that had few followers (at least in America). But often his films – like his version of Fritz the Cat – have moments of interest, but are often cheap and not that good or funny. 1977’s Wizards was his attempt to do commercial work. It was a PG fantasy film for 20th Century Fox (as it came out in February, it is possible it was done to cash in on the success of Star Wars, but the timing is a little awkward) meant to be his entry into the mainstream world. It worked; it led to his version of Lord of the Rings. But with the Blu-ray release of Wizards for its 35th Anniversary, »
- Andre Dellamorte
While guys like Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas spent the 1970s reinventing live action moviemaking, animation had just one lone figure toiling away. Ralph Bakshi, trained on Terrytoons and involved in 1960s television animation, began exploring the possibilities of animated features in the shadow of Walt Disney’s death. His Fritz the Cat made people sit up and take notice, followed by Heavy Traffic, and Coonskin – urban, funky, raw tales set in a familiar world.
After that, he set his sights on something fantastic and gave us, in 1976, Wizards. I’ve been waiting for this film to be restored, cleaned up, and released on Blu-ray given its visual artistry and fun story. Finally, 20th Century Home Entertainment has released it for the film’s 35th Anniversary and they’ve given it a handsome treatment. Encased in a hardcover case with a 24-page booklet, the Blu-ray is striking to watch. »
- Robert Greenberger
And there are those films which maybe didn’t achieve cinematic greatness, but through their inexhaustible watchability became genre touchstones, lesser classics but classics nonetheless, like The War of the Worlds (1953), Godzilla (1954), Them! (1954), The Time Machine (1960).
In the realm of science fiction cinema, those are the cream (and below that, maybe the half and half). But sci fi is one of those genres which has often too readily leant itself to – not to torture an analogy — producing nonfat dairy substitute.
During the first, great wave of sci fi movies in the 1950s, the target audience was kids and teens. There wasn’t a lot in the way of “serious” sci fi. Most of it was churned out quick and cheap; drive-in fodder, grist for the Saturday matinee mill.
By the early 1960s, »
- Bill Mesce
Latest Dr. Seuss adaptation isn't winning over too many critics.
A scene from "Dr. Seuss' The Lorax"
Photo: Universal Studios
There are few authors whose oeuvre is as universally beloved as that of Dr. Seuss. The love for Dr. Seuss is so great that plenty of his stories are rife for big-screen treatment. We've seen movie versions of "The Cat in the Hat," "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "Horton Hears a Who," and now we have "Dr. Seuss' The Lorax," which hit theaters Friday (March 2).
Led by an all-star cast of voice talent including Taylor Swift, Zac Efron, Danny DeVito, Betty White, Ed Helms and Rob Riggle, the story follows the journey of a young boy who fights to reintroduce endangered trees to the plastic-obsessed town of Thneedville in hopes of winning a girl's heart. Despite the warm-and-fuzzy sheen of the film, critics were not as wowed by the colorful adaptation. »
Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: March 13, 2012
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
He’s the eccentric sorcerer ruler of Montagar, a rainbow paradise inhabited by elves and fairies.
Avatar’s evil brother Blackwolf (Steve Gravers) dominates Scortch, a bleak land of goblins and wraiths, and sets his sights on Montagar. To save his world, Avatar, a spirited young woman and a courageous elf must go into the dark world of Scortch.
5 items from 2012
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