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This is based on a Tony Award winning Neil Simon play. In 1942 an
unemployed widowed father leaves his two young sons to live with his
tyrannical mother (Irene Worth) while he searches for work. Also around
is Bella (Mercedes Ruehl) who is 36 but mentally 16 and Louie (Richard
Dreyfuss) who has gotten involved with gangsters.
Great movie. They perfectly captured the 1940s look and feel. Also the script is great. Unlike other Simon pictures (which are little more than one joke after another) this perfectly mixes the comedy and drama. The acting is mostly fantastic. Worth is a little one note but Dreyfuss and especially Ruehl are incredible in their roles. This was not a big hit and unjustly overlooked at the Oscars for acting but it's well worth catching.
Universal's first try at a werewolf picture. British botanist Wilfred
Glendon (Henry Hull) is in Tibet searching for a certain moon flower.
He finds it but is attacked by a werewolf and survives. Back in Britain
he's fascinated by the flower but ignores his young lovely wife Lisa
(Valerie Hobson). He's also visited by mysterious Dr. Yogami (Warner
Oland) who is actually the werewolf who attacked him in Tibet. He wants
the flower because its blossoms are an antidote to werewolfrey (as the
script puts it). Wilfred refuses to part with it but Yogami steals
it...and there's a full moon that night.
This movie has been bashed over the years. It's flatly directed, there's very little werewolf action and Hull HATED making the movie (and it shows in his acting). Also Oland and Hobson are terrible in their roles. Still it's short (only 75 minutes), is never really dull and the werewolf makeup (while minimal) is effective. Also it does provoke a few pleasurable chills here and there. It's not as good as "The Wolf Man" made 6 years later but it's not a bad little horror film. A better lead and better director would have helped.
I never saw the play on stage so I can't compare this with that. This
is basically a musical taking the characters of Little Red Riding Hood,
Jack (of Jack and the Beanstalk), Cinderella, Rapunzel, the Baker and
his wife, a witch and various princes and having them all interact in
amusing ways with songs thrown in. For the most part it works. The
songs are good, everyone can sing and act, it looks great and moves
quickly. However the movie takes a disastrous turn during the last hour
or so. The tone becomes VERY dark, characters act very strangely
(especially Chris Pines' prince), likable characters are killed and it
just gets depressing. It does have a somewhat happy ending though...but
not a fairy tale one.
The film has a lot of good things going for it however. As I said all the acting is good but special mention must be made of Meryl Streep (REALLY enjoying herself as a witch), James Corden (as the Baker) and Emily Blunt (as his wife). Those three really get into their roles and their enjoyment rubs off on the audience. Also Cinderellas prince (Chris Pine) and Rapunzels prince (Billy Magnussen) stop the movie with their duet of "Agony". So it works half of the time. I just wish it hadn't got so dark at the end.
Parody of the "Scream" series and the "I Know What You Did..." series.
A bunch of teens accidentally kill a man one night and dump the body
and agree to never tell anyone. A year later they get notes telling
them that someone knows what they did last summer. This is all a copy
of the first "I Know What You Did Last Summer" and throws in some very
funny parodies of sequences from the movie pointing out all the
stupidity and inconsistent plot lines. However there's also a killer
wandering around dressed just like the killer from the "Scream" movies
and we get parodies from those movies too.
The jokes are sometimes VERY crude and not all of them work but, as a horror fan, I found this movie hilarious. I got every reference and plot point they were making fun of it and the movie keeps moving full tilt throwing out jokes left and right. The plot doesn't make a lot of sense but neither did the original movies. The cast are as good as they can be saying their lines with completely straight faces and enjoying themselves. There's also quite a bit of nudity in here--all male! Well worth seeing--especially for horror fans.
Short about male escort Mark (Michael Ellison) who suffers from anxiety
attacks. He goes to a clients hotel room...but runs out of his pills.
His client has to leave for a while and Michael runs into his clients
10 year old son Justin (Truman Chambers) who believes there's a monster
under his bed. Mark tries to get rid of the kid but then realizes that
this might be what he needs.
Kind of vague but ultimately touching little short. The ending is a little too pat but it is a (sort of) uplifting one. The acting is great by Ellison and especially Chambers. The whole film takes place in a hotel room and the corridor outside which actually helps the film. An interesting little gay short.
The classic horror story of Dr. Frankenstein (Colin Clive) who makes a monster (Boris Karloff) who is mad and escapes and starts killing people. This is what a good old horror film should be. It moves quickly, is wonderfully directed by James Whale, has incredible sets, some good acting, and is (for its time) pretty violent. This was released on Christmas Eve in California and supposedly the audience was in hysterics by the end. There are accounts of people fainting in the theatre or walking out in utter disgust. The monsters accidental murder of a little girl was cut out completely (it's now back in) due to an angry backlash. It's kind of funny nowadays because this movie is pretty tame stuff. Still it is scary and pretty strong at times. This film understandably made Karloff a star. He's incredible as the creature. He has no lines of course but he has to emote through tons of makeup and a terribly heavy wardrobe. He makes you feel pity for the poor creature while you're still scared about the violence he causes. Quite simply a great film in every sense of the word.
A purportedly "funny" short. It uses footage from the silent "Nosferatu", Universal's 1931 "Frankenstein" and "The Cat Creeps". It shows these various monsters terrifying people as they do things. The narration is lame...very VERY lame! It's all supposed to be funny but it's not. The lines are supposed to be humorous but they're downright embarrassing. There's not one even remotely funny joke here and they're taking vicious jabs at the monsters themselves. To make matters worse they are CONSTANTLY repeating the same footage again and again and AGAIN until you're ready to scream. Each time it's introduced with some more terribly unfunny jokes. This is real cringe-inducing that is just insulting to horror fans and painfully unfunny to everybody. Universal should have kept this buried in its vaults.
A pretty good documentary on Universal's first wave of horror films from 1931 to 1939. It starts off with silent horror films which inspired the studio and filmmakers and gets into detail about Universal films like "Dracula" (the English AND Spanish versions), "Frankenstein", "The Mummy", "The Invisible Man", etc. etc. They have some great interviews with people who saw the movies in their original runs (the best are from Ray Bradbury and James Karen), clips from the films themselves, a VERY cool color home movie showing Karloff in his green makeup as Frankenstein and some non-Universal horror like "King Kong" and "Mystery of the Wax Museum". As a fan of old Universal films there was nothing new here but I was entertained. If you're a newcomer to those old films this is a good place to start.
Three attractive affluent kids--Sandy (Barbara Hershey), Peter (Richard
Thomas) and Dan (Bruce Davison) meet on Fire Island one summer. They
all start hanging out with Peter and Dan clearly attracted to Sandy.
Then plumb unattractive Rhoda (Catherine Burns) joins the group.
Feelings erupt, complication escalate and it all leads to a VERY
It's a coming of age film but a realistic one showing just how vicious teenagers can be. It's well made with superb acting by all four (Burns was nominated for an Academy Award) but I can't say it was a good film. The characters were unpleasant (Sandy is clearly a sociopath) and there are long dull stretches which go nowhere and add nothing to the plot. More than once I wondered where this film was going. However the harrowing final sequence more than made up for it. Be warned--the last part is extreme--the film got an X rating for that alone. So the acting and ultimate message make it worth seeing but it's sometimes pretty slow-going.
Very short documentary made in 1999 by Universal to celebrate their re release of the Dracula films. It mostly covers how Dracula was adapted to stage numerous times and in various productions. It also covers a lost silent film dealing with Dracula and "Nosferatu" the silent German classic dealing with him. You see people talking about Lugosi and the making of the movie. It's all somewhat interesting but there's nothing really new or exciting here. Also there are some questionable talkers--what exactly does Clive Barker have to do with Dracula? Also it ends very abruptly without even mentioning all the sequels Universal did and only a mention of the 1979 version. Still, all in all, it's OK.
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