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The Muppets (2011)
The triumphant return of the Muppets to the silver screen after over a decade
The late Jim Henson's lovable Muppets have now been around for decades, entertaining people of all ages. I'm definitely far from the only one who can say that the world-famous puppet characters were a major part of my childhood, and I haven't been disappointed revisiting them after growing up. I didn't see this 2011 movie, simply titled "The Muppets", when it came into theatres late last year, but since I had seen all the previous theatrical Muppet movies, I was bound to see this one after it came into stores, hoping it would be a LOT better than 1999's "Muppets from Space", the only theatrical movie in the franchise that didn't impress me at all! Well, I've seen it twice this week, and can say I definitely got what I hoped for!
Walter, a puppet, has always been very close to his human brother, Gary. At an early age, the two of them discovered the Muppets and quickly became a devout fans. Years later, the now grown up brothers still live together, and Gary has been dating a woman named Mary for the past ten years. The human brother plans to take his girlfriend to Los Angeles for their tenth anniversary, and is taking his puppet brother along with him for a tour of the abandoned Muppet Studios, though Mary doesn't like Gary always bringing Walter along with them wherever they go. During the tour of the Muppet Studios, Walter sneaks into Kermit the Frog's old office, where he witnesses Statler and Waldorf selling the Muppet Theatre to businessman Tex Richman, and after the two leave the room, Walter overhears Richman's intentions to destroy the building and drill for oil underneath! The devout Muppets fan tells Gary and Mary about what he has just heard, and the three of them must try and reunite the Muppets so the old team can raise $10 million and save their theatre!
This 2011 blockbuster begins fairly well, showing Walter and Gary growing up together and their relationship. After this sequence, it shows them grown up and about to go on their trip to Los Angeles. This part features the first song in the movie, "Life's a Happy Song", and while this may not be "Rainbow Connection", it's still a good and catchy tune to start off with. Other standout songs follow, such as "Man or Muppet". The gags in the film may not usually be hilarious (though there are some hilarious moments, such as how long Walter screams after he hears Richman's intentions), but there are plenty of amusing moments, obviously largely thanks to the famous Muppets with their charm and antics. I guess they're not exactly the main characters here, which some fans have a problem with, but they still get PLENTY of screen time and are still thoroughly entertaining. Jack Black can also provide some laughs as himself here, even if this is not the funniest he's ever been. "The Muppets" doesn't rely entirely on its gags, as I found the plot consistently entertaining, and there are some poignant moments. Jason Segel and Amy Adams are both impressive as the human leads, and Chris Cooper is also convincing as the antagonist. Walter, a new Muppet introduced in this movie, is a lovable one, much like Henson's famous Muppets.
I've noticed a lot of negative reviews here, and I'm sure some fans of the Muppets gang have good reasons to dislike this movie, but I'm afraid I can't say I agree with any of them. The only theatrical Muppets movie I've ever been able to write a negative review for was the last one before this, which I found to be not only not very funny, but so too dreary and cruel for the Muppets. I felt like the Muppets I knew as a kid had gone so far away when I watched "Muppets from Space" several years ago, but that was certainly NOT how I felt when I watched this latest theatrical movie featuring Jim Henson's characters. I'm sure many people haven't been impressed with anything that has been done with the Muppets since Jim Henson's premature death in 1990, and for them, I guess there's no point in watching this, but if you're not one of those, and you want a good, lighthearted family film, I think this is a really good one to check out for the family. Yes, it is rated PG, but I've definitely seen far raunchier PG-rated films marketed in the "family" category, such as the unsatisfactory "Cheaper by the Dozen" remake.
Johnny English Reborn (2011)
Just like the original, the occasional big laugh isn't quite enough
It took eight years, but a sequel to the polarizing "Johnny English", a 2003 James Bond spoof starring the extremely talented Rowan Atkinson, was finally unleashed upon the world late last year. As I said in my review of the original, I saw that one on the big screen in 2003, thought it was really funny, and my opinion didn't change with a couple subsequent viewings within the next year or two after that. This, however, all changed when I watched it again in 2007, and found it to be overall mediocre, even though it still certainly wasn't COMPLETELY straight faced. Last summer, knowing that a sequel was coming, I decided to give the 2003 comedy another try, and this time, it did improve slightly after my 2007 viewing, but I still didn't find it nearly as funny as I originally did. I didn't go and see "Johnny English Reborn" in the theatre when it came out last fall (I saw the trailer for it before then and it didn't look that funny to me), but over half a year later, I've finally watched it with fairly low expectations, and mixed results.
It has been five years since a disastrous mission in Mozambique, and the clumsy Johnny English seemed to be responsible for the failure of that mission. As a result, he was disgraced and stripped of his knighthood. Since that major embarrassment, he has been living in Tibet, where he has been studying martial arts. However, after his five years of exile, he is suddenly called back to MI7, which has since been changed to Toshiba British Intelligence. Upon arrival at the secret service's London headquarters, Johnny meets his new boss, Pamela Thornton, who goes by the codename, Pegasus. Although she has obviously heard bad things about him, she assigns him to go to Hong Kong and stop a plot to assassinate the Chinese premier. Colin Tucker, a young junior agent, is assigned to accompany English on this mission, so the two of them fly east together to investigate this assassination plot. The disgraced agent is determined to succeed in this mission and clear his name, but his extremely clumsy nature hasn't helped him much in the past, and certainly won't make the challenges that await him any easier!
The reason why I can't rate this sequel higher than a 6/10 is the same reason why I couldn't rate the original "Johnny English" higher than that after last year's viewing. I found that the laughs were just not consistent enough. Like the original, this one has lots of sight gags, but they're usually not that funny and get a little tiring, as does the title character constantly lousing up. One memorable part which didn't make me laugh much was English seizing Pegasus' mother twice, mistaking her for the "Killer Cleaner." There were lots of gags in the movie that I couldn't keep a straight face through, but very seldom did I get any full laughs. I did get a quite a laugh when Tucker and English sing "Don't Give Up On Us" in an attempt to keep wounded Russian agent Karlenko alive long enough to give them required information, and also during the "Agent in distress" segment, but I can't say the same about too many other gags. In fact, I would say I got even less laughs than during my last viewing of the original, and the only reason why I'm rating "Johnny English Reborn" higher than a 5/10 is not because of the laughs but because of the thrills. Yes, there is lots of action and suspense on Johnny's mission, which I tend to be a sucker for, but since the movie's main purpose is to make viewers laugh, I can't say it does a very good job with that. With all its ups and downs, I call this sequel hit and miss, and even if you don't expect a comedy masterpiece, you could still easily end up unpleased.
Not so impressed with this version anymore
I first saw this full-length live action adaptation of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" (one of the many classic children's books that Dr. Seuss is remembered for) in late 2001, the year after its theatrical run. I was a teenager at the time, and remembered the book and the 1966 animated TV special very well from my childhood. I definitely was impressed with my first viewing of this live action film the first time I saw it, and it didn't seem to wear thin with subsequent viewings, even though I certainly didn't find it to be nearly as good as the cartoon. This Christmas season, I have revisited both the 1966 short and this 2000 full-length movie. I still think that classic TV special is a little gem, like so many others do, but this version is far from it.
Inside a snowflake, there is a town called Whoville, and in this town, everybody loves Christmas. Just outside their town, up on Mount Crumpet, lives a bitter hermit known as the Grinch, and his dog, Max. The Grinch hates Christmas and is greatly feared by the Whos. However, Cindy Lou Who, a little girl in Whoville who feels that the true meaning of Christmas is missing in the town with all the materialism she's seeing around her, is curious about this despised creature that lives up on that mountain. She asks other Whos who once knew the Grinch what they remember about him, and learns a lot about how he became the hateful individual he now is. Feeling that everyone should be together for the holiday, and that this creature can change, she then attempts to befriend the Grinch, inviting him down to Whoville for the Whobilation. Thanks to her, he has been nominated the Cheer Meister for this event. Will Cindy Lou Who's plan work?
One reason why I don't care much for this version is Jim Carrey's portrayal of the Grinch. During my latest viewing, I couldn't keep a straight face through ALL his antics, unlike when I watched Carrey in "Batman Forever", but for the most part, he's still not funny here. I also found the characters in general here to be bland and not so likable, especially the nasty Mayor Augustus May Who, who can be perhaps a little annoying at times. I also think the flashback sequence showing the Grinch as a baby is a notable weak segment, with the "Santa, bye-bye" and such, and that's certainly not the only one. Basically, I just found the movie overall to be deeply flawed in a number of departments, and totally lacking the charm of the 1966 short. There are some mildly amusing moments, as well as some occasional touching ones, plus the visuals are very impressive and I can't complain much about Anthony Hopkins' narration, but these things are not enough to make up for the lack of heart in this adaptation. Not EVERYTHING fails here, but unfortunately, the vast majority of it does.
This polarizing live action version of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" led to the making of another live action full-length adaptation of a classic Dr. Seuss book, "The Cat in the Hat", and that film's reception was generally very negative, which is understandable! The third full-length movie based one a Dr. Seuss story was 2008's "Horton Hears a Who!", this time not a live action film but a computer animated one. I said in my review of that film that it was PROBABLY the best of the full-length Dr. Seuss adaptations so far, but now I'm going to have to take that back and say it's DEFINITELY the best of the three! Clearly, live action doesn't work so well with these Dr. Seuss classics. It's been eight years since the release of the "Cat in the Hat" movie, and it seems there's still no sign of another live action Seuss film coming, which isn't a bad thing. I don't know how the upcoming CGI "Lorax" adaptation will turn out, but at the moment, I can say the "Horton Hears a Who!" adaptation is the only good one of these previous movies. This version of Dr. Seuss' Christmas story is not as bad as its 2003 follow-up, but was still unnecessary, and I would say you're better off sticking with the classic TV special to put you in the Christmas spirit.
Still better than "Brüno", but not as funny to me now as it was in the theatre
It's been nearly five years since this movie, starring Sacha Baron Cohen as Borat (one of his three alter egos from "Da Ali G Show"), came into theatres, turned out to be a great success, and sparked a lot of controversy! I went to see it on the silver screen in November 2006, and that was definitely the biggest movie-going crowd I've ever been in! I found this extremely raunchy and politically incorrect comedy to be overall very good at the time, both shocking and funny. I watched it again on the small screen a few months later, when it was new to the home video format, and still thought it was overall funny, even though I knew more about it and how it was made by this point. However, another viewing of "Borat" last year (my first in three years), followed by one this year, have proved to be a bit bland in comparison.
Borat Sagdiyev is an extremely sexist, anti-Semitic, and anti-homosexual man from Kazakhstan, and is a very popular television personality in that country. The Kazakh Ministry of Information sends him to the United States of America with producer Azamat Bagatov to make a documentary film about the country which will benefit Kazakhstan. The two of them fly to New York, and initially, the intention is to shoot the entire documentary in this city. However, as Borat flips through the channels on his hotel room TV, he comes across an episode of "Baywatch", sees Pamela Anderson in the role of C.J. Parker, and immediately falls in love! After finding out that Pamela lives in California, and that his wrathful wife back in Kazakhstan has just died, he decides to convince Azamat to take the filming project to California, but doesn't tell him the real reason why he wants to go there, which is to marry his new love interest! As the two of them travel across the country, they face numerous complications!
The vast majority of people who appear in this film are not actors, but people who were pranked into believing that Borat really was a man from Kazakhstan. Knowing this was probably a reason why I didn't find some parts as funny with subsequent viewings, such as the part with the title character at the dinner gathering, where he bluntly considers one woman's looks inferior to those of the other two women at the table, and then shows that he doesn't know how to use the toilet! However, this definitely isn't the only reason. Some parts still gave me a thorough laugh, such as Borat taking driving lessons and then going to purchase a car, asking about the "p$#@% magnet," but most parts didn't make me laugh as hard as those. One part I remember making me laugh hard in the theatre was the naked fight, but I definitely found that far less funny the last two times. If I had thought the drunken frat boys were actors the last two times I saw the film (can't say I have much sympathy for them if they really meant what they said, even if they were drunk), I would have thought they were trying to be funny but failing. Even if I didn't usually laugh that hard too many times during my last two viewings, I still at least found a lot of mildly amusing parts (Sacha Baron Cohen's talent obviously helps a lot in the film), but I also found some mediocrity or lameness.
After the release of "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan", Sacha Baron Cohen followed it up in 2009 with "Brüno", featuring the only character from "Da Ali G Show" he hadn't made a movie with yet. I didn't see that one in the theatre, but saw it on DVD last year, and with just one viewing, I thought it was below average. My last two viewings of "Borat" were after that, and I still found this film to be better than Cohen's follow-up, but certainly not as funny as I found it several years earlier. I was not there to witness any of the filming process of this hit 2006 comedy, so I obviously don't know exactly how it was done, but knowing how few people were acting did make some parts a little awkward to me with recent viewings, though not everything, since it didn't seem ALL of them got it so bad, and I doubt absolutely EVERYONE who was pranked deserves sympathy, but it still can be at least somewhat cruel. Also, even if the entire film had been staged, I think I still would have found it to be hit and miss during my last couple viewings. So, I still don't hate this "Borat" movie like some people do, but I do think it is overrated.
Imagine That (2009)
I can imagine this movie being better than it turned out
I have seen former "Saturday Night Live" comedian Eddie Murphy in a bunch of films, but most of them haven't been very good. This is the most recent film I've seen him in, and I've just watched it two years after its release. I didn't hear of it while it was playing in theatres, but since it was such a flop, that's not surprising. Unfortunately, "Imagine That" is basically yet another lacklustre piece of fluff starring Murphy. Watching it about 24 hours after "The Sweetest Thing", a 2002 romantic comedy which was ironically very bitter to me, I have to say that I think this 2009 release is a LOT better that that film (though comparing them does seem pretty ridiculous, since they're not the same kind of film), but it's still not a film I can praise too highly.
Evan Danielson is a financial executive who has a six year old daughter named Olivia, and she has a security blanket and likes to talk to her imaginary friends, since she doesn't seem to have any real ones. Since Evan focuses so much on his work, he tends to neglect his daughter. The financial executive was at the top of his company for eight years, but has finally been facing some competition lately since the arrival of Johnny Whitefeather. Evan's career is now going down the tubes, but as this is happening, he is introduced to his daughter's imaginary world, a world with her imaginary princess friends and their queen in it. He plays along, and finds that the solution to his recent career trouble may lie in Olivia's fantasy world! However, there's more in his life than just his job, and he may have to decide what's more important, his work or his family?
This movie is supposed to be partially a comedy and partially a drama, and the comedy aspect definitely fails for the most part. The part that made me laugh the hardest was probably Evan singing in a high voice at one point while in Olivia's imaginary world, and hardly anything else made me laugh at all. An example of something I didn't find very funny was the two times Olivia screams when deprived of her security blanket, and Thomas Haden Church in the role of Johnny Whitefeather doesn't do much for the film, either. Parts of Evan's rant about his daughter's drawings during a meeting are mildly amusing, but not the poop part. There are touching moments in "Imagine That", so I guess the movie doesn't COMPLETELY fail as a drama, but the drama is still not good enough to make up for the lacklustre humour. Those flaws plus the fairly uninteresting premise make this a pretty insignificant family flick, and I just MIGHT be able to rate it 6/10 instead of 5, but it's still far from a must-see.
Johnny English (2003)
I'm more impressed after my latest viewing than I was four years ago, but still don't think it's nearly as good as I did in the theatre
I remember going to see this James Bond spoof, starring the very talented Rowan Atkinson, on the silver screen back in 2003, and thinking it was a great comedy! I saw the movie again a couple times on the small screen within the next year or two after that, and my opinion did not change, even though it had been widely criticized by many. However, a little over four years ago, I watched it one more time, and still found some funny parts during this viewing, but found most of the film to be dull and unfunny, enough to make it just mediocre as a whole! For the first time, I could finally understand the criticism! I didn't watch "Johnny English" again until this month, knowing that a sequel is coming up, and it improved slightly for me this time, but not very much.
Johnny English is a secret agent in England who works for MI7, and has the tendency to louse up. After a bomb goes off and kills most of MI7's top agents, English is the only one left, so he is sent to the Tower of London to protect the crown jewels. While he is there, the crown jewels are stolen while the lights are out! It is unknown who stole them, but it is up to Johnny English to find the culprit! He investigates with his sidekick, Bough, and makes lots of mistakes, but eventually, he discovers that Pascal Sauvage, a Frenchman, has evil plans to become King of England, and take control of the nation! English must now try and reveal Sauvage's intentions to his country before it's too late. Bough and an initially mysterious woman he keeps running into and is in love with named Lorna Campbell can help him on this mission, but the mission will be made more challenging due to the agent's clumsiness!
During my most recent viewing, I found myself laughing pretty hard a number of times for a while, with a lot of the mistakes Johnny English makes and the accidents he causes. If it had stayed this way, I would have wondered what I found so lame about the spy spoof when I saw it in 2007, but unfortunately, it doesn't stay like that. I eventually found myself laughing less often and not as hard. Perhaps the constant sight gags and the protagonist lousing up just about everything he does just get a little tiring. Several times in the film, something goes wrong with the clumsy MI7 agent's gun when he points it at his enemies, and I found this funny at first, but it soon wore out its welcome to me. A lot of the slapstick just shows lazy and cheap comedy writing. When I saw the part where English climbs up through the toilet and gets covered in excrement again after a few years, I found it to be basically just like I did back in 2007 not funny, just gross, though I still found Lorna's reaction pretty funny. However, towards the end, I did find some more big laughs, with a very memorable part I remember finding hilarious the first time, and not much less funny, if at all, the last time!
When I saw this spoof in 2003 and 2004, I hadn't seen nearly as much of Rowan Atkinson's work as I had by the time I watched it again in 2007. Maybe this was a major reason why I didn't find "Johnny English" nearly as good that time, and another major reason may have been that I had higher standards by that point. Atkinson still does show his talent in this film, and fans of his could easily find laughs here, but could also find that these laughs are nowhere near consistent enough to satisfy. The comedian playing a clumsy secret agent sounds like a great idea, but it did not reach its full potential, and I really get the feeling that this won't change with the upcoming sequel, "Johnny English Reborn", especially after seeing the trailer for it, featuring more excessively simplistic sight gags. I certainly don't think this 2003 spy spoof is as bad as many others do (it's still better than the super forgettable "Spy Hard"), but it's still pretty much just fluff, and far from one of the big highlights of Atkinson's career.
There's Something About Mary (1998)
A second viewing was definitely better for me than the first, but I still don't exactly get its reputation
This Farrelly brothers comedy was a huge success, and I clearly remember knowing about it and seeing that famous cover image of Cameron Diaz in the role of Mary back in 1998, but I was too young for R-rated movies at the time. I finally saw "There's Something About Mary" for the first time early last year, and knowing how popular it was, I had pretty high expectations, but was REALLY let down! I thought it was easily the most overrated comedy I had ever seen, and didn't get why it had gotten so much praise! After that, I had no intention of watching it again. I just wrote a bad review of it and then moved on. However, I recently decided to give it another try, though I wasn't expecting it to be that much better than the first time. I think it turned out to be above average for me this time, which was more than I expected.
In 1985, Ted is a high school student and has a crush on a popular girl named Mary. He gets a date to go to the prom with her, but unfortunately, after a terrible zipper accident at Mary's house, the date is cut short! Ted has to go to the hospital before he gets to go to the prom with his new girlfriend. Thirteen years later, he hasn't seen Mary since that ambulance took him away, but still can't get her off his mind. He is still in love with her, so he hires a private investigator named Pat Healy to find her and get information about her for him. Pat discovers that Mary is now an orthopedic surgeon living in Miami. She lives with her significantly older roommate, Magda, and a Border Terrier dog named Puffer. It turns out that Ted is in luck, as Mary is still single as well, but Pat finds himself falling in love with her. He lies to Ted about her so he can win her heart without any trouble, and it turns out Ted really shouldn't have hired this guy!
Even during my second viewing, I was only finding occasional mildly amusing parts around the beginning. I didn't find Mary's mentally handicapped brother, Warren, being assaulted after being tricked into saying, "Have you seen my wiener?" very funny, and still didn't the second time, which was not surprising. I also still just didn't find Warren to be a very funny character. The first BIG laugh I found the second time was Mary's stepfather pulling Ted's leg at the door, and I remember finding that funny the first time as well. It's also funny when Ted is seen urinating through the window, but this leads to the genital/zipper accident, which I found more painful to watch than anything I had ever seen in a comedy before! I'm not sure exactly why, since I had previously seen male genital injuries in comedy, but maybe it's because the one here was longer than any I had seen before, and I found that it got increasingly uncomfortable up to the "We've got a bleeder" quote! The second time, I knew it was coming, so it wasn't nearly as bad, but it was still another part I didn't find very funny. After that, I found some good laughs occasionally during my second viewing, but was still finding the film boring for the most part and no more than average, even though I was definitely laughing more than I did the first time. Like the first time, I still thought the sex soliciting scene was pretty lame. Eventually, however, I found that the plot somehow got more entertaining the second time I watched this 1998 romantic comedy. I even found the semen hair gel segment pretty funny, and I don't recall finding it funny at all the first time!
After two viewings of this hit romantic comedy from the controversial Farrelly brothers, I still can't say I understand all the high praise, but after seeing it a second time, I can't call it a bad movie anymore, nor can I even call it a mediocre movie, even if I still think it comes close to that. Even though Ted getting his genitals caught in his zipper still didn't amuse me too much the second time, and I still found the close-up of it unsettling (good thing that shot is VERY brief), I don't quite despise that part as much as I used to. It is now another comedy I can refer to as a mixed blessing. Since "There's Something About Mary" is from Peter and Bobby Farrelly, you're absolutely right if you assume that it's very raunchy, often juvenile, and irreverent, and as popular as it is, it could easily disgust many viewers. I don't think the movie is NEARLY as funny as maybe most others who have seen it do, but won't just advise everyone to just skip it, either.
There are weaker moments here, but lots of great sequences to make up for that
This is a popular action fantasy film widely considered a cult classic, even if it wasn't all that well received upon its initial release in 1986. Since then, it has spawned a handful of sequels and a TV series. Queen contributed a bunch of songs to this original "Highlander" movie, and that was how it was eventually brought to my attention. I first heard of the film years ago when I was told that Queen's very emotional "Who Wants to Live Forever", a song I knew very well by then, was written for it. It has taken me 25 years, but I have finally seen this motion picture that started a franchise, and while I can't call it an amazing film like some people can, I certainly do think it's closer to that than it is to what those who dislike it consider it to be.
Connor MacLeod is an immortal, and the only way his kind can be killed is by being decapitated by another immortal! They are destined to fight and decapitate each other until only one is left, and the last remaining immortal will get the prize of supreme power and knowledge! MacLeod was born in the Highlands of Scotland in 1518, and as a young man, he suffered a fatal stab wound and strangely survived! The people of his village believed that this was the work of the Devil, so he was banished. Five years later, he was found by Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez, a fellow immortal, and finally learned the truth about himself and the destiny of his kind. Soon after that, Ramirez was killed in a sword fight by the Kurgan, an evil immortal who is determined to be the one to get the prize! Since his days in the Highlands centuries ago, MacLeod has lived under several different identities, and in 1985, he lives in New York City as Russell Nash! In this time, the battle of immortals rages on, and MacLeod and the Kurgan are the only two of them left! Unfortunately for MacLeod, the Kurgan is bigger and stronger than him!
I wasn't sure how the movie would turn out when I saw the beginning with the wrestling match, but we then see the first flashback to MacLeod's days in the Highlands, which is a memorable one. After that, the sword fight in the parking garage is a pretty good action sequence, and it is followed by another good Highlands flashback. When the police find MacLeod (or Nash) and take him in for questioning, I was not impressed with how over-the-top the Garfield character turned out to be, and there's some pretty juvenile dialogue between him and Nash during the questioning. I also didn't care for Roxanne Hart's performance as Brenda Wyatt at first. However, none of this lasts, and we see lots of action and suspense as we see the immortals battle, both in 1985 and centuries earlier. Sean Connery plays Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez, and although this isn't a huge part he plays, it's constantly entertaining as the character teaches MacLeod about immortals and how to fight his rivals. This original "Highlander" is also a visual treat with its cinematography, special effects, beautiful Highland scenery, etc. With all these merits plus the Queen songs (if you're a fan of that band), I would say this cult film is a really good choice for fans of the action/fantasy genre.
Cheaper by the Dozen (1950)
I was expecting this to be better than the no more than mediocre 2003 remake, which it definitely is
Not much less than a year ago, I saw the 2003 remake of "Cheaper by the Dozen", a remake starring Steve Martin, a comedian I had seen in some funny movies. I didn't know that film was a remake until no more than a few hours before I watched it. That was when I learned about this 1950 film of the same name, an adaptation of a book of the same name, but it would be a while before I would finally see this one. I was not very impressed with the remake, and found its unbelievably stupid 2005 sequel to be even worse. I was expecting this 1950 version to be much better. While I certainly don't think this original film is a GREAT family film, like some clearly do, it definitely is better than the cheesy and crude remake, like I was led to believe.
Based on a true story, set in the early 1920's, Frank Bunker Gilbreth is an efficiency and motion study expert with an extensive family. He and his wife, and Lillian Moller Gilbreth, have a total of eleven offspring, and all eleven of them live with their parents in Providence, Rhode Island. The Gilbreth family moves from there to Montclair, New Jersey, where they live in a large house, and the many children of the family are often used as test subjects for their father's scientific theories. The family also welcomes a twelfth child. The film focuses on several different events as the Gilbreths stay in Montclair, scientific tests are carried out, and family meetings are held to make decisions based on votes. Frank often has trouble with his offspring, especially with his rebellious teenage daughter, Ann, who disagrees with his old-fashioned views.
I was obviously expecting to laugh when I saw this original "Cheaper by the Dozen" film adaptation, something I don't recall doing while watching the remake. While this 1950 family comedy movie is far from hilarious, I certainly did laugh a number of times, even if the laughs were usually small, and Clifton Webb's performance as the easily angered Frank Bunker Gilbreth was a major part of this. Unlike the remake, I can't describe any of the gags here as notably lame. The part I laughed the hardest at might have been Frank's reaction when he is informed that there was no film in the movie camera when it was used to document the tonsil operations. The plot isn't the most fascinating I've ever seen in a movie, but it can be interesting, and it also gets poignant towards the end. All this film's merits make it not a masterpiece in family filmmaking, but a recommendable piece of family entertainment, unlike the 2003 version and its sequel.
There was a good chance I would find this bizarre film very underwhelming, but I didn't!
After making several short films, filmmaker David Lynch made his feature-length debut with "Eraserhead", this very trippy movie which I guess you would call horror! I was not around when this film came out, and I never even heard of it until sometime within the past few weeks when I saw a clip from it, the part showing the character known as the Lady in the Radiator singing the haunting and repetitive song, "In Heaven"! This made me curious enough to watch the movie, and it didn't take long at all before I did just that. I got plenty of warning about how incredibly weird and sometimes gruesome it was before watching it, and as popular as I knew it was, it wouldn't have been surprising if I got basically nothing out of it, but that's not what happened.
In a decaying, post-apocalyptic society, Henry Spencer is a printer who lives in an industrial town full of noisy machines, and is currently "on vacation." His estranged girlfriend, Mary X, invites him over to her family's house for dinner one night, so he comes over. After a very strange session at the dinner table, Mary's mother takes Henry into another room and informs him that Mary has just given birth to a baby very prematurely, and he happens to be this baby's father! Because of this, he is now obliged to marry his estranged girlfriend, so Mary and the baby, a severely mutated child, move into Henry's apartment with him. When the couple attempt to sleep, the mutant baby just won't keep quiet, so Mary decides that she can't take it anymore and temporarily moves back in with her family, leaving the disfigured child with Henry, who is now headed for one bizarre and frightening mixture of instances!
As I watched the beginning here, I could already tell that it certainly wasn't going to be one of the most understandable films I've ever seen, showing bizarre scenes in a slow-paced manner. It looked like I was going to find most of "Eraserhead" boring at first, and I wasn't finding the acting in the sporadic moments of dialogue to be all that impressive, but I wasn't going to give up yet. I kept watching to see what would happen, and I think I started finding the film more intriguing when Henry comes over to the X family's home, though I didn't find absolutely everything before that to be boring. From this point on, I found lots of tension in this very weird story which is a lot like a crazy dream with its incoherence, but that's not necessarily a bad thing! Some parts didn't grab me as much as others did, but the all the insanity was definitely enough to hold my attention basically all the way up until the very sudden ending! I think the gloomy atmosphere and constant sounds of machinery and howling wind really helped.
Many consider this 1977 feature-length debut from David Lynch to be a masterpiece, while there are also lots of people who have been absolutely disgusted by it, and I can understand that perfectly. It's truly a mind-boggling motion picture, and it sure can get disturbing, especially during the scenes with the mutant baby! Also, what exactly the movie is about is probably largely up to the viewer to decide. You can be VERY sure that "Eraserhead" is not for kids, and many adults wouldn't be able sit through it, either, which I certainly can't fault them for. If you're used to mainstream cinema, you'd better prepare yourself for something very different if you're going to watch this polarizing cult film, and also be ready for the constant weirdness and unusual gruesomeness that you're bound to see. You've been warned! It's definitely not a film I would want to watch multiple times, but you just might find that you don't even want to watch it once, or maybe you'll be even more impressed than I was!