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71 reviews in total 
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Real James Dean (2006) (V)
The Title Says It All, 28 January 2017

This may be the best of the numerous attempts to eulogize the tempestuous, magnetic, and wildly messed up legend...possibly because it simply lets those who new him share their simple memories of the boy and man. What comes through in the way too brief 51 minutes (thank heavens for the wonderful DVD extras that are equally invaluable) is what may be the closest we will ever get to an actual nodding recognition of who Dean really was and who he might have become. Given that so many of the big name witnesses are now gone this little film becomes even more remarkable and more important.

How in blazes did the filmmakers managed to dredge up stunning gold like Deans screen test for EAST OF EDEN where he shares a devouring kiss with Joanne Woodward several years before she met and married the actor who was helped to stardom by inheriting a couple projects passed his way after Dean's death! Absolutely STUNNING stuff...and the whole package is fascinating. If only they could come up with a longer and even more detailed version! Bravo all around!

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
One big cow, horse, and sheep dung pie, 13 August 2016

It may be a bit premature to label this revolting pile of misplaced ego as the worst film of the decade...but I doubt it!

Humorless, witless, and utterly hopeless as comedy and so proud of being universally offensive that it deserves to be slapped...repeatedly and hard.

The one train wreck fascinating aspect of this tripe is the alarming spectacle of some genuine talent subjecting themselves to the "comic" "vision" of the loser who conceived this mess and SOMEHOW managed to get it made...and released.

Did Theron and Neeson actually READ this rancid mess of a script (or at least have somebody read it for them) ?

Several other "names" also seem to have utterly lost their (common) senses when they signed on for this...and some like Ribisi, Harris, and Silverman obviously need someone to intervene and make sure they are NEVER allowed to attempt movie comedy again.

BUT the main blame of course goes to the guy who so proudly (and repeatedly) smeared his name all over the opening credits.

He proved that he had no visible style or genuine talent when he flamed out as an Oscar host.

And this grotesque mess amply demonstrates his total lack of wit, taste, or shame.

Literally appalling.

Zootopia (2016)
1 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Almost totally wild (but ultimately all too tame)., 27 June 2016

After a dynamite first hour which is bot eye-popping and vastly entertaining this charming "little movie" goes on...and on. The films being at least a half hour overlong might be acceptable if their was enough good writing to sustain the running time. Unfortunately the film slips into a violent "suspense / action mode which all but destroys the jolly likability of the early scenes. The script also becomes oddly slapdash, rushed and careless.... (random "coincidences" about blue flowers and blueberries just "happening to be in oddly convenient places are insultingly lazy...and the big 'surprise' of the main villain's identity is far too emphatically telegraphed for it to be more than a yawn).

I am very surprised that most critics saw fit to just let this slip by with raves (there are in fact even worse bits of laziness (isn't the very trite "Godfather" homage just a wee bit stale by now?).

Anyway...this is no "Frozen" or "Big Hero Six"...and one imagines Mr. Disney in his prime would not have let this one out without a great deal of tinkering.

3 out of 26 people found the following review useful:
Not a remake, not a is a rebirth., 16 April 2016

The oddly woe-begone haters and whiners are missing the point (and for that matter so were the denser than usual Oscar voters (( a loud, mechanical, and soul-less revamp of MAD MAX is better than this...???? in 50 years that will be a footnote and this will be a classic! )).

You love the low watt but original so much that you can't be bothered to appreciate a loving tribute to it that does everything Lucas ever dreamed?

You are so jaded that the heartbreaking and joyous return of the original stars can be ignored or disparaged?

You can't be bothered to appreciate the superb work from the new generation of talent who salute and recapture the charm of the old guard?

What a shame that you are so jaded and jaundiced that you can no longer appreciate magic, joy, or beauty.

Have you forgotten how difficult this type of world class entertainment is to make.... (feel free to sit through ANY of George Lucas's 3 "sequels" for great examples of how NOT to do this type of film...have you forgotten Jar Jar so quickly...lucky you!!).

This is the best re-awakening of a franchise since the "STAR TREK" rebirth...

I had misgivings about Disney taking the series on...but I thank them now.

And if the haters are so convinced that this is not good enough...let's see what they can pull off besides griping and sarcasm.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
It went to the Dogs, 2 April 2016

I wanted to love this because the wonderful "primitive" TV specials were staples of my childhood (and hold up beautifully as do most of the animated features that enriched and broadened the PEANUTS world without losing the simplicity, clarity, and sweetness of the Schulz universe).I was hoping that using line drawn details on the otherwise CG 3D characters and settings would work and that the delicate wit and even more fragile wisps of humanity that make this property so lovely would come through.

To my eyes it just doesn't quite gel.

I think the distracting hyper-real backgrounds might have been less of a miscalculation if the writing had not flattened and broadened the characters and plot to the point that charm (and coherence) went out of the picture in favor of very loud and very frenetic action scenes. I know Snoopy is one of the most popular characters in the canon...but there is entirely too much of his "heroic journey" and far too little of Charlie Brown's growth and coping with life's travails

There were also problems with characters being distorted almost out of recognition (Peppermint Pattie and Marcie are horribly is the subtle quirkiness of their interplay.

If this serves as an introduction to the Schulz canon for a new generation...great...if they can go on to accept the subtlety and delicacy of the comic strips and earlier adaptations.

My fear is that this over blown and over simplified treatment may make them expect nothing but over frenetic mischief and under wrought writing...neither of which Mr. Schulz would have approved of.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Not so hot air, 30 March 2016

This is one of the lee than stratospheric flicks that sent Jack Benny screaming back to Radio. He seems rather bored to be playing an almost straight man to Ted Healy (who as usual seems lost without 3 stooges...and who tries to make up for it by being VERY loud and Very monotonous). There is a spooky line about Benny adding 10 years to Ted's character's life...ironic given his tragic end around five years later. Benny seems a bit happier to be playing a more or less standard romance with Una Merkel...who is given nothing to do but look pretty and whine at Benny to go straight...advice which he seems to have taken FAR too much to heart. Reliable buffoon Nat Pendleton scores a few smiles...and there is a very strange and oddly nasty cameo by what appears to be a real bald eagle which ends up being treated very roughly.

A more pleasant bit is played by future leading man Dennis O'Keefe who can be spotted nonchalantly dancing by the stars...and actually has a line later on as a radio announcer.

Watchable as a curio...and it may be an eye opener for some to see how primitive effect shots were in 1935...and check out the trailer which promises an "all star" laugh is nice to know that some things like high flying hype never change.

A bravo for Patrick...a thank you to Lisa, 23 February 2016

I am at a loss to figure how this lovely film failed to get a wide release. I picked it up featured in a set of five discs that contain 20 mostly public domain movies. The set was on a clearance table at my local drugstore. I bought it for a buck.

And I LOVE this movie. If you ever enjoyed the electric grace or slightly tussled bad boy charm of Patrick Swayze in ANYTHING please seek this out. Prepare to have your heart broken...because this film proves just how huge a star he could have been in a better time and place where song and dance were fully appreciated on film.

This is quite simply one of the greatest films about dance ever. Think "All that Jazz" think "Chicago" think "The Red Shoes"...and yes..think "Dirty Dancing"....this may actually top them all as the most graphic and realistic depiction of both the ecstasy of the sheer joy of dance...and the agony of earning that ecstasy.

Quite simply a joy...and if seeing Swayze giving his all for one last fantastic and joyous dance doesn't break your heart and make it sing at the same might just need CPR.

Lovely...just lovely...and thanks Lisa for showcasing Patrick as I always want to remember him.

A cracked curio..., 31 August 2015

Interesting indie that barely got released anywhere (and probably was slapped crudely onto disc to capitalize on the sudden fame of one of it's juvenile players...despite being the focus of cover art and billing Haley Joel Osment has a supporting role...and looks to be a bit younger and a LOT blonder than he was in "The Sixth Sense" and he is NOT prominently featured here.).

Well meaning and at times moving depiction of broken lives of about to be interred American born Japanese descended citizens is rather uncomfortably with far fetched fantasy of 4 boys becoming best buddies with a wounded and stranded Japanese sailor. Some very good work from a surprisingly strong cast hints that this could have been a quite interesting film with a better detailed script and a much bigger budget...(the film as it stands seems about four fifths finished with a temp track score and a very strangely shot ending).

If you do pick it up on disc as a curio (thank you for offering it DAEDELUS BOOKS!) I would strongly advise NOT watching the trailer before seeing the film...It gives away about ninety per cent of the plot!

Brother Bear 2 (2006) (V)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A better bear?, 23 August 2015

I loved "Brother Bear" back during it's theatrical run in 2003...and thought that it should have been recognized as a high water mark in hand drawn animated films...and I was deeply saddened when it failed to find a huge audience...and became one of the last masterworks of the art...( which was replaced in audience favor by often lumpy, clunky, and distressingly flat and "realistic" computer generated cartoons.

I was very upset that line drawn was shoved aside and forgotten except for low quality TV animation...and what looked to be shoddy direct to video sequels...which I initially refused to watch because I feared that these "follow ups" would just be graceless rip offs of the original films.

When I began collecting the original Disney Classics on Blu-Ray (which really IS the best way to appreciate them since they are no longer re-released to theaters) (such a shame)...I ended up with the sequels in my library...and decided that I might as well watch them after re-savoring the original classics.

I was a bit surprised to find that most of them are respectable efforts that might have deserved theatrical release if a bit more polishing had been applied to the writing...and I was pretty much shocked when I watched "Brother Bear 2" and found it to be just as visually stunning as "Brother Bear"...almost as well written...and if anything even more moving thanks to some absolutely lovely songs by Mellisa Etheridge.

Why this was relegated to "Direct to Video" status is beyond me...but it deserves to be re-evaluated and rediscovered as the masterpiece it is...

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
All shades of light and blinding shadows..., 17 August 2015

This is a prime example of a film that will either alienate or entrance...or possibly both at the same time. My suggestion for best getting something out of this collage of words and images is to just abandon all preconceptions and allow it to seduce you.

First simply savor the absolutely stunning beauty of the photography...the incandescence of the closeups and exquisite portraits of potentially mundane locals are among the most beautiful images that I have ever seen...

And as the visual glow seduces you ...let the deceptively simple words gradually intertwine with the photography till the entire film becomes a rather entrancing collage of one creative human's voyage through life.

I am saddened that so few audiences seem willing to give up a few moments of their lives to open themselves to one of the loveliest and most perceptive little films in recent memory...

Give it (and yourself) a chance.

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