This movie is best viewed on DVD.
As a movie, <i>Daydream Believers</i> seemed rather hastily put together, especially in terms of the script. This is, perhaps, not the most informative or accurate bit you'll ever see about the Monkees. However, the movie succeeds in telling a good story and championing the Monkees for their talent as entertainers <i>and</i> as musicians, as well as explaining with clarity some of the things about the Monkees that are commonly misunderstood. It receives bonus points for very good casting, and for prominently featuring “All of Your Toys,” one of the Monkees’ great “lost” songs (and among the first the Monkees recorded together as a real band).
Where the movie is good, the DVD is great—not for any spectacular audio/video presentation, but in the extras. Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork each have their own commentary tracks, on which they discuss various points on Monkee history from their own points-of-view. These are very revealing and informative, and bless the movie for providing the platform for the Monkees to comment on the types of things that never come up in interviews. But if you want interviews, the DVD also delivers rather lengthy ones by the three participating Monkees. New Concorde should be commended for getting Monkee participation on this disc. It transformed a somewhat inconsequential (albeit entertaining) movie into something really worthwhile.
Frank and dignified, one of the best docs about TV's history.
African Americans in Television is a three-part documentary that aired on TV Land in February for Black History Month. Each part focuses on black talent's role in the development of one of three genres: variety, drama and comedy series.
This could easily have been a shallow one-parter with meaningless reminiscences about some of the great old shows and actors, the likes of which you see on many a reunion or network anniversary special, but the producers have taken great pains here to avoid that. Instead, what we have is a very frank and honest portrait of how black Americans have contributed to the medium as it evolved.
This is achieved through interviews with actors, producers, critics and network executives, paired with clips from a wide range of television programs, many of them rare. Each part is very well balanced, touching on many issues throughout the history of television, and flows incredibly well, with appropriate placement of commercial breaks. Narrations by Ron Glass and James Earl Jones are used only to introduce segments and provide a segue when necessary.
The substance of the documentary is nothing short of fascinating. We learn about many of the obstacles blacks had to overcome in the medium--who put them there, who was bitter about them, who overcame them, and how it all took place. We learn how small acts like a touch, going cross-eyed or sitting on a couch were small victories that helped set important precedents for future black performers. Interviewees discuss a wide range of topics such as which shows delighted or offended them, the whites in the industry who championed them, the lost art of the variety show format, black actors who played maids or butlers on television, how black programming helped fledgling networks succeed, their feelings about the current state of black Americans on television, and many other subjects. The result is not only a fascinating portrait of black achievements in television, but a fascinating history of television in general. Sensitive subjects are treated with dignity, and proper tribute is paid to those who made a difference. Of course, three hours is not enough time to cover every individual and every series with much depth, and there were times when I was left wanting more from a subject that got only fleeting mention. But in the end, TV Land has produced a documentary well worth watching for anyone who has an interest in the history of television or black American history.
Never Too Young to Die (1986)
The most delightfully crappy movie I've ever seen.
Many films fall into that 'so-bad-they're-good' category. The guys at Troma have even made it a revered art form. But Troma has yet to match "Never Too Young to Die." Without realising it, the filmmakers have achieved the ultimate tacky 80's action movie. It has just a perfect balance of tacky 80's acting (with "Jessie" from "Full House," Gene Simmons from KISS, and Vanity--what ever happened to her?), tacky 80's action, tacky 80's music, and tacky 80's production design. The plot is the most convoluted mess I've ever seen. That is to say that there really is a plot, but you find yourself smacking your forehead repeatedly in disbelief as the writers juggle tacky 80's clichés, predictable plot turns, and convenient situations that no one would ever buy. And sometimes, it just doesn't make any sense at all. But when all is said and done, the final product is a movie that is just delightfully crappy. My suggestion: rent this movie with some friends and some booze, and have a rollicking good time bashing this movie. I give it a 0 for its poor quality and a 10 for its "entertainment" value. Total score: 5
On par with Superman and Batman!
As far as I know, Cybersix is not based on a comic book. But the makers of Cybersix have created a rich and intricate world that is as ingenious and exciting as those of Superman and Batman.
Cybersix is a mysterious fembot in a tight leather suit and an extremely large cape who is able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. She has a sidekick Dataseven, a black panther, who helps her fight the terror of an evil man, whose evil ploys are carried out by his pre-pubescent, bumbling, but equally evil son, and an army of Frankensteinesque goons.
While I admit this all sounds rather silly, the story is actually quite engrossing, and the quality of the animation is second to none. It is also very family-friendly. A ten-year-old could follow the story, but it doesn't patronize its younger audience; and a forty-year-old could appreciate the story without its feeling watered-down.
All in all, Cybersix is one of the best superheroes television has ever seen. Unfortunately, as of this writing, it is not available in the U.S.A. If you're ever in Canada, definitely check it out on Teletoon.
AP II a worthy sequel
I am a die-hard Austin Powers fan, so you can imagine my anticipation of a sequel. I'm glad I didn't explode before it finally came! I thought The Spy Who Shagged Me was hilarious. Mike Myers' exploration of the characters' relationships with each other were very funny, Rob Lowe's Robert Wagner impersonation was impeccable. The new sight gags had me rolling on the floor. But the best thing about the new movie was its budget. The bigger budget allowed the filmmakers to take production design, costume design, cinematography, makeup, SFX, etc. to new heights.
I thought the new script left me a little disappointed, however. They tried to pack a 100-minute story in a film already loaded with sight gags. I thought Felicity Shagwell should have had more purpose in the film, rather than just being Austin's source of motivation. (Heather Graham really is a hottie!) Despite its setbacks, I give it an 8 out of 10. (The first movie got a 10.)
Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island (1998)
Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island is all-around good fun for everyone who loves Scooby-Doo. The animation is breathed new life by Warner Bros. and the script makes funny references to the original series, while at the same time standing out on its own. The film has one major flaw: The music is completely wrong for a Scooby-Doo adventure. It is dark and gothic à la Batman: The Animated Series, which only works against the truly goofy nature of all things Scooby. Still, this will surely please all Scooby fans.
Foxy Brown (1974)
Pam Grier Kicks Butt!
After seeing Jackie Brown and loving it, I decided to see what other films Pam Grier had done in the past. As a result, I discovered the world of the blaxploitation films of the 1970s. Foxy Brown was the first of these that I saw, and it just blew me away. Pam Grier delivers a knockout performance as Foxy Brown, whose federal agent boyfriend is gunned down, and who sets out to fight for revenge and justice where the System has failed her. Though the script is flawed, and has some unrealistic characters, this only adds to the fun, campy nature of the film. The music is great, and the opening sequence rivals those of the James Bond films. Foxy Brown is a definite must-see.
Pleasantville is a truly enjoyable film... especially if you understand it.
I have been reading several reviews on Pleasantville and I find it disturbing that some of the reviewers didn't understand it, and therefore didn't like it.
In one such review, the writer says that he really wanted to love the film. But he gets it all wrong. He says that the reason he didn't like the movie was because of a major inconsistency: if emotion is what's changing things' colors, why do the outraged conservatives, led by Big Bob (Walsh), remain in black and white?
The answer is simple. Emotion is not what is colorizing Pleasantville. It's one's acceptance of change. With that in mind, this reviewer may want to watch the movie a second time to see what I mean. All the people in Pleasantville, Bud and Mary Sue (Maguire and Witherspoon) included, turn colors when they realize that they want things to change. Even inanimate objects begin to change colors as if they were accepting what the humans around them were doing. In that way, the script and the effects remained very consistent.
What I thought was going to be a fun lampoon of 50's sitcoms turned out to be a truly moving fun lampoon of 50's sitcoms. And Don Knotts really freaked me out. Okay, so some of the dialogue was a bit cheesy, but ya gotta overlook that stuff sometimes. Pleasantville is one of the best movies I've seen so far in 1998, with great special effects and production design, zestful writing and direction, and masterful acting by all performers. I'm pleased that J. T. Walsh's final performance was a memorable one.
I'm Your Man (1992)
I'm Your Man delivers a new way to watch movies.
Though the plot is paper-thin and extremely clichéed, I'm Your Man is entertaining and oddly addictive. Having the power to choose what happens next in a movie is a thrilling experience, and the actors play along like you're both in on an inside joke. The DVD version is ideal for parties, since everyone can have their turn in the editor's seat. Though there's a lot that can be improved upon as far as inter-active movies go, I'm Your Man is certainly a good place to start.
Are you a masochist? An Alan Smithee Film is for you!
I just saw this film, An Alan Smithee Film, and it is absolutely the most excruciating film I've ever seen. It's no wonder Arthur Hiller took his name off this film. I wasn't sure what was supposed to be funny and what was supposed to be straight. Even the outtakes during the credits were so not funny that it was painful to watch. In summary, avoid this movie at all costs. The world will be a better place for you if you do.