Reviews written by registered user
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It has been so many years since I saw Jim Carrey's brilliant original
movie that I don't remember much about it, except for the wildly
exaggerated facial expressions where the character wearing the mask
suddenly has very large of very long eyeballs, and that sort of thing,
inspired by some of the early animated shorts. That's one thing this
sequel does really well. The manic behavior of whoever wears the mask
is still hilarious and wild.
And of course a highlight is seeing some of the cartoons I enjoyed as a child and seeing them copied by the genius baby. These scenes are great! No, Tonya, Tim won't make Avery dumb by planting him in front of the TV. The baby is in fact a prodigy who is highly intelligent and very talented. These scenes are amazingly done and quite hilarious.
Then of course there are the fights between Otis the dog and Baby Avery and between Loki and Tim. With the mask, Otis becomes a scientific genius who builds and falls victim to a Rube Goldberg style series of gags, worthy of those great old animated shorts. The animation and the disastrous consequences are, once again, quite well done. I could never have fully enjoyed this movie without recording it and using the rewind and slow motion features.
The encounter between Loki and Tim is similar, with wild chases and lots of amazing visual effects.
Loki is quite a character too, and his attempts to find the baby are, like so much else, hilarious. He makes others' lives miserable.
Jamie Kennedy is easy to like as Tim, and the poor man doesn't know what he's doing, but he seems capable enough as an animator. His problem is convincing his superiors to let him do more than wear a turtle costume for tours. And the poor man thinks he's going crazy; these scenes weren't quite as enjoyable for me as others, but until he realizes what's going on, it's quite crazy.
Traylor Howard is cute and intelligent at the same time. I know her from "Monk" but would probably have liked her anyway.
Ben Stein does his usual good job.
Bob Hoskins gives an enjoyable over-the-top performance as the head of the Norse deities and Loki's frustrated father.
As good as most of this movie is, it does seem to be missing something. Jamie Kennedy is good enough but no one is Jim Carrey. With the mask, he seems very much like Carrey, but without it, he's just Jamie Kennedy.
If I have anything to criticize, it is that I despised the original Woody Woodpecker, though I mostly saw the updated version of him as a child.
But I'm not here looking to criticize. Maybe it's not cutting edge, but it makes me happy.
I am a white man over the age of 50, so this film wasn't really made
for me. That doesn't mean there wasn't anything here, and I could see
that this was a quality production.
This film had occasional laughs, which was good because it could get very depressing at times.
I really liked the family reunion, where the movie's main characters pretended to be part of the family just to get some free food and found themselves being accepted rather than questioned. I got the impression they might come back someday just because they liked being with these people. This is also where Maya Angelou delivered an elegant performance. Yes, this film was worthy of her, and she added something to it.
As for her poetry, not my style. Janet Jackson did a great job reading it offscreen, but again, not by sort of thing. For many people, this will be a wonderful part of the movie.
One of my favorite parts of the film was the scene at the gas station/convenience store, one of the few places I heard recorded music that appealed to me (Tammy Wynette's "Stand by Your Man").
Actually, a lot of the background music was smooth jazz with violins or synthesizers that pass for violins. It was actually kind of pleasant compared to the rap and other styles the main characters liked.
Family was important here. Although Jackson's character didn't seem to have anyone except her cat, at least she had friends and a job. I did like the cat and its friends, in the one scene.
Chicago was probably my favorite character. He was funny and likable, most of the time.
Janet Jackson has a nice smile and she can have a nice personality when it is called for. Sometimes here, she had to be depressed or angry. That's fine. She did it well.
And this is my third or fourth time seeing the talents of 2Pac, who was taken away too soon. Although it was not necessarily his finest work, he did a good job here.
I mostly know Regina King from "227". Has it really been that long? She was so much older even here, but she did a good job.
Beautiful mountains and magnificent bridges added to the scenery. Some scenes, and not necessarily pleasant ones, let us enjoy these longer.
These people live hard lives and have tragedy all around them. That's why this is not an easy movie to watch. But having family around means a lot.
It may not be for you, but if you need to get outside your comfort zone, this will be a worthwhile experience.
Everyone's favorite golden retriever puppies are back again.
In Fernfield, Washington right before Christmas, the puppies are out playing and having a good time. B-Dawg makes the mistake of chasing a kitten, whose mom is the angry Himalayan Miss Mittens. One of the other puppies sees an open ice cream truck, so they all have to sneak in and have a treat. B-Dawg watches for humans. But he too must hide when Miss Mittens shows up, so our adventure begins.
It seems the ice cream is headed for Ferntiuktuk, Alaska, home of a legendary dog sled race. And our heroes are trapped.
In Alaska, Adam wants to race like his father Joe, who also runs the local general store. But Joe says it's too dangerous. And he lost some of his dogs when they fell through the ice the last time he raced. Among those dogs were the parents of Shasta.
Adam is good at hockey--if you're on the other team--and he is less than a model student. But we later see that if he really wants to do something, he is very determined and a hard worker. He makes a wish that he can have five more puppies to join Shasta.
Christmas arrives and there are five very sad children in Washington. The parents Buddy and Molly make an effort to find their puppies.
Adam is sad too when he opens his presents, but there is a special surprise later, which he must keep hidden from his parents. Yes, somehow the shipment with the puppies ended up out in the middle of nowhere and they couldn't understand why it was so cold and why the world was covered in vanilla ice cream which didn't taste very good. But Shasta rescued them, and all is well. Believe it or not, Adam is going to train these dogs to enter the race.
With the help of Talon, a wise old husky, he just might do it. And this implausible plot line can only succeed because of the kindly but incompetent Sheriff Ryan, whose trained rescue dog is St. Bernie.
But there are many obstacles. Among them are the evil villain Jean Georges, last year's winner, who admits he won only because Joe lost his dogs. Francois and Phillipe are Jean Georges' mean dogs that taunt the puppies and remind them that if by some miracle they make it into the race, they will not win! Other competitors come from Iceland, Russia and Japan. Jean Georges has no morals and will do what he can to sabotage their efforts.
So will Adam race? Will he win? What do YOU think? This is part of the Buddies series, after all.
This is no masterpiece, and you shouldn't look for great acting, though Kris Kristofferson impressed, on the same day he and other country music legends performed at The Grammys. Charles Stevenson as the bumbling sheriff is also quite good.
John Kapelos as the villain is the only human here who is genuinely a cartoon.
The dogs are very intelligent. But it's more than a little obvious several dogs play each part. And some of the dogs don't look quite real. But a lot is demanded of them.
There are a couple of "only in Hollywood" moments where a kid proves he can accomplish a lot.
Other than that, you pretty much know what to expect. But I can't say anything negative. if you're a kid, it's great. And there's nothing offensive, except for some potty humor that apparently qualifies as G-rated these days, and some minor but necessary violence in a race with an evil villain.
If you already enjoyed the Buddies series (and I did, even though I don't like dogs), you'll surely like it. If not, and especially if you don't care for kids' movies, well ...
Junior Walker and Freddy are exterminators. Freddy still lives with his
mother, who is raising Freddy's daughter and wishes her son would grow
up. As a result of a wild chase, Freddy accidentally caused the Chinese
mob to lose $10,000, and the mob want their money back in a week--or
else! The guys get a painful demonstration of what could happen.
One of the company's clients is the predominantly African-American Bethel Baptist Church, whose pastor is old and fat, and his second-in-command is eager to replace him. The pastor mistakes the exterminators for replacement pastors that he had asked for, and they don't deny that's who they are. The pastor ends up in the hospital in a coma, so Freddy and Junior take over as pastors, to the dismay of Brother Efrom, who has them checked out.
Freddy, who admires the work of greedy and charismatic TV preacher Rev. Isaac Montgomery Paid, sees a perfect way to make money. Easter is a week away, and Freddy sets a goal for the struggling congregation. Only a few people show up the first Sunday, but people like Freddy a lot, and while they don't give at first, Freddy is very persuasive and goes out into the community. Derrick, one of the few white people at this church (and maybe the only one) offers to put some life into the church's lame band.
So will Freddy succeed? Not just in raising the money but in remaking the church.
This movie has its good points. While Freddy's intentions are less than honorable, he does good work in the process. It is true that this movie does not have a lot of respect for Christian values. But most of the characters seem genuine in their faith, in the sense that they are holier than thou and their own sins aren't as but as other people's. That's about as genuine as you will usually find in Hollywood.
David Alan Grier is the standout performer, and I do mean performer. The TV preacher only appears on TV screens.
John Witherspoon, who is great as the President's Dad in "The First Family", plays a barber. I liked seeing him here.
I have to wonder why, a week before Easter, no mention was made of Palm Sunday, or Maundy Thursday, or Good Friday.
I saw a cleaned-up version but it is obvious this film is vile and filthy.
Is it a movie with a faith message? Yes, in a sense it is.
One day I saw a program called "African American Short Films" in my TV
listings. It wasn't the first time I had seen a program like this, and
I knew I had seen some quality work when I watched before.
Only one film stood out for me in this hour-long show, one reason being that it was by far the longest film at 17 minutes.
But in those 17 minutes, characters were defined, and we were made to care about them and their situations. Comedy and action were mixed with conflict and drama. Problems were defined and in some cases solved to the extent they could be in a TV episode or movie. And quality acting made it all work.
I think this should have been nominated for the Oscar for best short film.
Ironically, I liked Morgan a lot in spite of why I knew Bill Cobbs. I did not like "Go On" except for Matthew Perry, and that was enough to make me watch. And yet I didn't like Cobbs' blind curmudgeon. It didn't matter, because that familiarity was enough to Make Morgan interesting.
Whether Cobbs actually played the sax or not, the saxophone music was good.
And of course Morocco Omari, the actor playing the father, showed a wide range. He was a hard-working and demanding man who didn't care for the nonsense coming from his own father, who while apparently entitled to retirement, didn't seem to be contributing.
It's a worthy effort.
In Cheney, apparently not too far from Los Angeles, Owen believes in a
Bigfoot-type creature known as The Mad Man of the Mountain. He puts out
food for the creature and uses fancy gadgets including a scarecrow and
a Rube Goldberg-type booby trap to deal with those who might steal the
food--including realistic-looking animated squirrels. He also has a
fort which has still more gadgets, and a picture of his idol Leonardo
da Vinci, the greatest inventor ever (greater than Edison? Really?).
Shortly before the Fourth of July, Owen's parents are going to a teddy bear convention, leaving older sister Lilly in charge. Lilly is looking forward to bossing around her little brother. First, Owen must deliver his newspapers, which he does by means of another one of his gadgets. He stops to see Megan, a cute girl he seems to have a crush on. Then Owen makes a stop at a park at the top of a nearby mountain.
Bud and Arty are at the airport, which is so small the voice making announcements has to ask who is moving the Cessna because she's on break. A blind nun with a service dog meets our heroes, only she's really Blackie, and the dog is what they have been hired to deliver. And our heroes will use an ancient pink and white Nash Rambler which smokes like a chimney and is as roomy as a Mini Cooper. The dog is wearing a necklace apparently made of diamonds, and the newspaper says there was a $5 million diamond heist in Los Angeles. However, these are three of the dumbest criminals in history.
Our heroes run into Owen, who likes the dog and believes it is being mistreated. The nun has to use the facilities, and Owen directs her to the "correct" restroom, where Blackie is accused of being a pervert. Owen tries to help the dog but it is clear our heroes don't want him to, and the results are comically painful. Owen then releases the dog and hides it, then our heroes chase after him and demand he help them find the dog. Somehow, Owen is able to hide the dog where they'll never find it, and they don't find his fort either (did I mention how stupid they are?). Owen misses Shadow, the dog his family had which was old and had to be put to sleep. The family has never gotten another dog because of Lilly's allergies; it is never explained who they were able to have Shadow. But Owen clearly likes this dog, and she likes him too.
The dog follows Owen home, and Owen must hide her from Lilly and make sure she is fed. This creates some opportunities for comedy. Meanwhile, Lilly wants to sneak out and be with her friends, and our heroes manage to find enough information on Owen's bike to track him down. Lilly just doesn't know where he is. And Owen discovers the newspaper story and sees what the collar actually looks like. He names the dog Diamond, and he realizes he has to go the police. Because Owen has such a hard time getting the words out as he explains, and because Owen has told such outlandish stories about the Mad Man of the Mountain, the cops don't believe him.
That's fine, because the movie would have been over way too soon. We have a lot of wacky adventures still to come, and the wackiest are coming toward the end. With lots more gadgets and plenty of physical comedy. And we do find out whether there is a Mad Man of the Mountain.
At first I was going to say this is a harmless film for kids. Still, it was rated TV-PG-V when I saw it. I thought this was overly cautious because I've seen far worse with the same rating and a different font. I was also going to say it is a family movie which is not offensive other than possibly making anyone over the age of twelve feel dumber after seeing it. But no, the last few minutes can be compared favorably with the classic "Home Alone". And Owen's scientific abilities exceed those of Macauley Culkin's character. Plus we have an amazing thrill ride and a touching conclusion.
The squirrels are quite realistic but still look animated. Same for the hornets, Stinky the Skunk, and Bill Murray's nemesis from "Caddyshack".
I don't think anyone will be watching this movie for the acting, though the girl playing Lilly stands out, and of course French Stewart does what he does best, which is playing incompetent morons. And he's the smartest of the three. Anyone who likes watching moronic bad guys get what they deserve should be happy. And there are several really funny gags like one involving a hot waitress in shorts. On the other hand, Owen's mom is entirely too perky. But we don't see much of her. Garrett Morris of "2 Broke Girls" doesn't really impress here.
It's like I said. This is a kids' adventure. Very funny and lots of fun, and not really harmful.
In Ottawa County in western Michigan, the Cooper family is in financial
trouble because Scott has lost his engineering job and his wife Patti's
job painting furniture doesn't pay enough. They have a son Billy. One
way to help the family make money is to take in a foster child.
Julia is on her fifth foster home. Her mother keeps getting in trouble, and has given Julia up only to ask for her back and get in trouble again.
Julia arrives but won't talk. She has a video of "The Velveteen Rabbit" which she immediately starts watching, and she won't stop.
The family goes to Uncle Chip's house, which is really nice. Chip has money and can offer Scott a job but Scott won't take it. The family opens presents on Christmas Eve because Chip, his wife and his son and daughter are going to Mexico on the big day.
One of the presents results in a serious injury to a rabbit in the woods; the bunny appears to be a pet. Julia picks it up and holds it, and Scott and Patti go to the vet. The vet wants a lot more money than the family can afford, but it is possible for the rabbit to recover without him doing anything. This will require help from someone who knows rabbits, and there is a place.
The family has seen the old house where Betsy Ross lives, with a sign saying "Rabbits" out front. Betsy takes the rabbit, saying she knows exactly what to do, and the family should come back next Tuesday. This is after Julia starts school.
So will the rabbit get well? Will Julia adapt to her new situation? Will Scott get a job? Will Julia's mom show up for Christmas?
Sophia Bolen does a great job. She doesn't have to say much, and when she does talk, she shows a wide range.
If you're looking for Carol Brady, look somewhere else. Florence Henderson does an outstanding job but looks her age at long last; Betsy has made no effort to look good. Her personality is more Martha Raye or Sophia Petrillo than what Henderson has given us over the years. And that's fine. She is kind and loving in her way. This is not a sweet movie, but it is touching, and Betsy has a lot to teach about responsibility.
Faith is included in this movie as well. Patti has it but Scott is about to lose his.
While the movie had a TV-G rating, that doesn't mean it is without concerns. Julia's mother did abuse her, though she hits a camera showing Julia's point of view, not the girl. She is dressed for a hot date, but some of what is said about her suggests she was a prostitute. Plus she sold drugs. In addition, Julia, having been abused, also abuses.
Overall, this is a fine family film.
Mandy Moore does a great job here, and Rapunzel's every emotion is
effectively communicated both by the animators and by Moore. Rapunzel
is the perfect combination of sweet, funny, intelligent and strong. She
totally convinces me that she loves her "mother", even though her
mother uses her for her power but is herself also very convincing in
her loving attitude. Zachary Levi is very good as Flynn, and being a
fan of "Chuck", I wish I had known his name. But Flynn is funny and
It's amazing how much Rapunzel knows about the outside world, but there are books in her castle. One would think that as much as Gothel wants to "protect" her, she wouldn't introduce her to so many concepts that the girl could use against her.
For a Disney movie, this is a little on the violent side, especially when Rapunzel and Flynn visit a hangout with a lot of tough men. But even that scene is still more comic and fantasy than really dangerous. A PG rating is probably justified but nothing to really worry about.
The story is interesting and gives Rapunzel many opportunities to show her intelligence and ability.
It's a good adventure for the whole family, except maybe the youngest kids.
Elle is an intern at Spunn Records in Los Angeles, run by "Uncle"
Allen, who took care of her when her parents traveled and later adopted
her. Elle's parents, who were backup singers, died in a plane crash
just as Elle was about to audition for Berklee College of Music. She
hasn't sung in public since. Elle is from Nashville and has written
songs, and her taste leans toward what is called country music these
Elle's best friend is Kit, also an intern. Kit seems to like Andy, the somewhat geeky but appealing kid that sells them coffee. As part of her job Elle must do demeaning tasks for Spunn's biggest singing group, Sensation. They are pretty, conceited and demanding, especially their leader Stephanie. They are actually talented, as we can tell briefly in a scene with just their harmonies and no electronic manipulation. But they are mostly fluff and their performances are pure bubble gum.
Ty Parker is essentially Justin Bieber, and Elle is an obsessed fan. But Ty wants to do more serious music as his fans get older. He doesn't care whether his existing fans will desert him. He only cares about his art. And Allen is willing to take a chance on him. But one of the conditions is that he must sing a duet with another hot bubble-gum singer, from Britain, named Kandi Kane.
Elle sneaks into the recording studio and performs a song she wrote. It is essentially pop-country, but because she accompanies herself only on acoustic guitar, it's not bad. She is talented. And Ty can see it. Believing her to be Kandi Kane, he is excited about performing a duet with her. Elle won't deny being Kandi because she doesn't want to disappoint Ty, and they seem to have more than a professional interest in her. So Elle is Kandi, complete with British accent. they seem perfect for each other.
So what happens when the real Kandi shows up? And what nasty surprise do Sensation have for Elle? And what happens to their relationship when Ty learns who Elle really is? Further, what happens to Elle's music career?
This has been done before. It's a formula, but I like the formula. Ashlee Hewitt is pretty and likable and a talented singer, even if some of her music sounds like garbage once the noisy rock band is added. Actually, most of the music other than background music is garbage, at least to me. The target audience of teenage girls will love it.
Kiely Williams is the standout actor here. Everyone does a pretty good job in what is of course bubble-gum material, but I like it, and that's what matters.
There are lessons here about values, friendship and honesty. But they aren't quite what you might expect.
It's a harmless family movie, if you don't mind something you've seen a hundred times.
It all began when I was playing with American Plastic Bricks (sort of
like Legos) on the floor shortly after Christmas 1968. I was hearing
all these great songs (though at my age I didn't yet like all of them).
Later, after I had heard these songs again and again, I looked inside
what the LP was kept in at the guide to the movie. At the time I didn't
understand what was going on. I didn't realize this was a movie.
In junior high, I watched my first production of the musical. I couldn't believe Maria was a mere student (and later my waitress). And a couple of years later, I finally saw the movie. I've seen it a couple of times since then.
If I don't try to compare this to the Julie Andrews version, this one is fantastic. But I will say that in many ways I liked Julie's version better, so I can come to one conclusion: "The Wizard of Oz" is the greatest movie ever, so this production, if considered a movie, can only be the third greatest ever.
Everyone is great. I saw the "making of" special and know how much energy and confidence all those kids had. If I have to pick one, Peyton Ella as Gretl is the standout. Ariane Rinehart as Liesl is certainly second. I never got to know Marta (even Maria said this) but all the other kids are great.
Of course Carrie Underwood is no Julie Andrews, though she looks hotter. She's still great both as an actress and a singer. Though on both counts, Audra McDonald as Mother Abbess makes Carrie look like Taylor Swift. Wow!
Stephen Moyer seems kind of young. I didn't realize until he finally got an Oscar how young Christopher Plummer was at the time, so it was a surprise how young Moyer seemed. He does have a teenage daughter and is supposed to have fought in a war that had been over for 20 years. At the end, though, he is fantastic as an actor and a singer.
Christian Borle is amazing. I had seen him in "Smash" but didn't realize what he was capable of. Max thinks very highly of himself and wants everyone to know how capable he is. And Borle accomplishes this admirably. In this version they even let HIM sing! And those nuns are amazing singers. The few who act are brilliant.
Sean Cullen as the butler Franz also impresses. When the Nazis take over, he really shows respect for them. I think it's respect.
I don't want to criticize, but having seen the 1965 movie, I had certain expectations. There's nothing like the magnificent opening with Julie Andrews on that mountain, after the fantastic scenery and orchestral music that goes with it. On the other hand, I've never seen the Mother Abbess so light-hearted. So what if the kids didn't sing "My Favorite Things" during the storm? Seeing Maria and Mother Abbess sing that was definitely worthwhile. "The Lonely Goatherd" during the storm certainly satisfies.
I was disappointed "Edelweiss" was mentioned but not sung, until the song was used in a different way than in the 1965 movie. I still felt like something was missing.
This production did not use one of the songs, and maybe others, from the 1965 movie. But there were others I hadn't heard, and Max and Elsa did not sing back then. That was a nice addition (which at the time I wrote this I was not aware was part of Mary Martin's production).
If I had one criticism of the script, it is that the Captain makes his decision about marriage a little too quickly. Only in a movie!
This is a wonderful production the whole family can watch. It was rated TV-G.
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