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Venom (2005)
Forgettable slasher nonsense with a voodoo twist., 30 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Rather than letting them suffer for their sins (like I would), a stupid old voodoo priestess saves the souls of murderers and sadists by 'milking them' of their evil, which emerges from the body in the form of a snake; the silly old woman buries these nasty reptiles in a suitcase in the local graveyard, but when the land is scheduled for redevelopment, she decides to dig them back up. Long story short: a local redneck gets killed by the snakes and turns into an unstoppable killing machine (well, unstoppable until he gets hit by a truck, which is the unsatisfactory manner in which he is finally destroyed by the film's final girl.

A beautifully eerie backwater town on the edge of a Louisiana swamp is the atmospheric setting for this supernatural horror from director Jim Gillespie (I Know What You Did Last Summer), but with a generic cast of attractive teens, workmanlike direction, irritating editing (the image does that flickery thing whenever the killer goes to work), predictable plot development, weak CGI, unimpressive gore and zero nudity, the result is just another bland, by the numbers slasher. Not good. Not bad. Just frustratingly mediocre. The only time the film ever surprises is when a character who one might reasonably expect to live to the end gets a knife in his head; other than that, it's the same-old same-old.

Don't expect explosive laughter., 29 September 2014

It's July 4th and cloyingly cute orphan mouse Nibbles wants to celebrate Independence Day by lighting firecrackers; however, his safety-conscious pal Jerry keeps trying to spoil the fun by confiscating the fireworks. Unfortunately for Jerry, Nibbles isn't the only one armed with explosives: Tom has fireworks too and is intent on causing trouble with them.

An extremely one-note comedy caper, virtually all of Safety Second's gags revolve around either Tom or Jerry being blown up, which isn't exactly groundbreaking material (they even roll out the classic 'blackface' joke for the finalé, although this has been cut from certain versions). Ironically, as far as Tom and Jerry cartoons go, this one is a bit of a damp squib.

Cool cats., 29 September 2014

When Mammy Two Shoes leaves the house to go to her Lucky Seven Saturday Night Bridge Club, her mischievous cat Tom seizes the opportunity to host a wild party for his alley-cat pals. Jerry the mouse, who is trying to get to sleep, attempts to stop the commotion...

The cat vs mouse action in Saturday Evening Puss is fairly routine, but what makes this cartoon slightly more memorable is the sight of Tom and his pals partying like crazy, the hairy hepcats generating some seriously groovy jazz tunes (could their antics have been the inspiration for a similar scene in Disney's The Aristocats?).

An ironic ending sees Tom and his friends thrown out of the house by Mammy, much to Jerry's delight, only for the mouse to have his sleep disturbed when Mammy puts on a record at top volume

Tomcat versus big cat., 29 September 2014

The local radio station announces that a dangerous lion has escaped from the circus; Tom reacts to this news by locking all the windows, jamming a couch in front of the door, and arming himself with a shotgun. He's too late, though, for the lion is already in the house.

When Jerry encounters the desperate, furry fugitive, he is surprised to discover that big cat is not at all ferocious: he simply wants help to get back to his jungle in Africa. Jerry agrees to help, but first he must get the hungry lion something to eat, and so the pair creep around the house in search of food, the big cat somehow remaining unseen by shotgun-toting Tom, even when the two felines are within inches of each other. The result is a delightfully daft tale with some inventive gags.

6.5 out of 10, rounded up to 7 for IMDb.

Texas Tom (1950)
Jerry gets the girl again., 29 September 2014

Down on the ranch, Tom is happily wiling away the hours tormenting Jerry when he finds himself distracted by the arrival of a sexy cowgirl cat. Tom sets about trying to impress the pretty puss, but Jerry isn't about to make things easy for his nemesis.

Texas Tom's unique Western setting provides plenty of opportunity for hilarity. There's a terrific scene in which Tom serenades the cowgirl cat by miming to a record, but runs into trouble when Jerry starts messing around with the speed control on the record player; Tom accidentally catching an angry bull with his lasso also leads to some very funny moments.

At the end of the cartoon, Jerry is the one that gets lucky with the girl, the cheeky mouse planting a big smacker on her lips (Jerry also snogged a cute female cat in the 1942 short Puss n' Toots—bizarre!!).

For duck's sake, not another cute character…, 28 September 2014

The Tom and Jerry cartoon series introduces yet another cloyingly cute character for Tom to menace and for Jerry to befriend: a duckling by the name of 'Little Quacker', who winds up in Tom's frying pan after the naughty cat pilfers an egg from a nest while the mother is having a swim. The duckling escapes from Tom and hides in Jerry's mouse-hole, where he tells the surprised mouse of his ordeal. Jerry decides to help the poor little bird find his mother.

The colourful farm setting for this short makes a nice change from the suburban household of many an earlier adventure, but the action essentially remains the same, Jerry repeatedly foiling Tom's ambushes, causing the cat much pain in the process. After lots of close shaves, Little Quacker is reunited with his mother, who calls upon her macho duck husband to teach Tom a lesson (yes, the idea of a duck beating up a cat is ridiculous, even for a cartoon!).

It's game, set and match to Jerry mouse—again!, 28 September 2014

Tom plays a game of tennis against cigar-chomping alley-cat Butch, with Jerry the mouse on hand to carry the equipment and cause a little mischief.

This animated short goes all out to cram as much crazy, tennis-themed humour as possible into its seven minutes running time, but few of the gags it serves are aces: there are far too many jokes that simply rely on the two cats hitting each other with tennis balls and rackets, which is funny for a while but eventually becomes very repetitive. It would have been nice to have seen a little more imagination and variety to the chaos.

It might seem like me being a little picky, but I also felt a little disappointed with the animation: the tennis court backgrounds lack detail and the cats' rackets seem desperately short of strings.

It had to happen eventually., 28 September 2014

Overhearing the radio, Tom discovers that it is 'Be Kind To Animals Week' and bakes Jerry a pie. While searching for the mouse, Tom discovers Jerry's diary and reads some of his entries. Cue numerous flashbacks to earlier cartoons in which the rodent repeatedly humiliates the poor cat. When Tom finally finds Jerry, he splatters the surprised mouse with the pie.

In order to keep production costs down, many series resort to the 'compilation' episode, wherein characters recall moments from their previous adventures, thus allowing for the recycling of old footage; this is the first of several T&J cartoons to exploit this economic but rather lazy format, and as such it holds very few surprises for fans of the animated duo.

Grrr-miaow!, 28 September 2014

Love that Pup sees the debut of Tyke, son of doting daddy bulldog Spike. When Jerry takes refuge from Tom inside Tyke's kennel, the determined cat resorts to some risky trickery to try and catch the pesky rodent.

Other than the introduction of another cute character to the Tom and Jerry cast, this is a pretty standard outing for the cartoon pair. Jerry repeatedly gets the better of the poor cat, with Tom having lots of painful encounters with a variety of garden implements while trying to avoid grumpy Spike. The funniest moment comes when Tom attempts to convince Spike that he is a dog, the silly cat eventually giving the game away when his growl turns into a miaow.

Tom and Jerry go bobbing along., 28 September 2014

Tom is having a relaxing day at the beach until Jerry appears on the scene to cause trouble for the poor puss. While trying to catch the cheeky mouse, Tom falls off a jetty and sinks to the bottom of the sea. Amazingly, he doesn't drown, and has fun mingling with the sea life, at least until pesky Jerry shows up again…as a mermouse!

The first part of this T&J caper is pretty routine cat and mouse antics, but once the action takes to the seabed, things get a lot more entertaining, with loads of crazy shenanigans involving a variety of aquatic creatures, including a swordfish whose nose gets bent out of shape and an ornery octopus. Best visual gag of the whole cartoon involves Tom being hit on the head by an anchor with a massive rusty chain—the result is hilarious.

Quite obviously, the underwater action turns out to be a dream for Tom, but the predictability of the ending doesn't spoil what is a very entertaining adventure for the troublesome cat and mouse.

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