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McFarlane goes West!
Love "Family Guy?" "American Dad?" "The Cleavland Show?" How about "Ted?" Well if you do, have I got the movie for you. "A Million Ways to Die in the West" is like "Family Guy" in the West. It has all those run-of-the-mill jokes that McFarlane recycles his jokes he used in "Family Guy." It is hilarious, gross and there is a ton of pop-culture references. The songs in this film are funny. Albert Star, played by McFarlane, is like a human version of Brian, every time I see him talk about how terrible and stupid the Old-West is, I can imagine Brian diplomatically complaining. I was laughing in hysterics at the theater with a few other people. Some girls behind were laughing and saying shut up. Either they were shutting themselves up, shutting me up or both. This movie got a ton of flack and I know why. Because he is milking his jokes from his cartoon work. That's fine, but that doesn't stop me from liking it because he is my comic influence. I think people are jealous and want to take him down. People are like, "Oh this guy did 'Ted' and now he is doing this one. What a load of garbage." This movie is one of those movies that flop in the box-office but do well in the video-stores, rental and on-demand market, just like John Carpenter's "The Thing" (1982) or "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" (2010). Need a good laugh to exorcise the madness of life? What are you waiting for and watch this movie. If Ted is to Peter Griffin and Albert Stark is to Brian, then whatever his next movie would be is to Stewie. I bet it would be an alien. I can't wait to see "Ted 2." This has been another "Matthew Praises." Rated R for violence, language, sexual references, over-the-top crude humor and all manner of offensive going-ons.
The Land Unknown (1957)
"The Lost World" in 1925, "King Kong" in 1933 and "Unknown Island" in 1948. For 1957, there is "The Land Unknown". A lovable trope that was used in stories, films, TV shows and cartoons. The special effects are cheesy by today's standards. No stop-motion effects, but the T-Rex is a man in dinosaur suit, the Elasmosaurus is a mechanical prop, the pterodactyl is a puppet on a string and the stegosauri are just monitor lizards (read my review on the 1960 remake of "The Lost World"). Basically, a group of scientists find warm water caused by some volcanic action and they wind up on the set of "One Million B.C." Speaking of which, there is a Charleton Heston wannabe who rules the beasts with a sea shell. So there you have it. Is it worth the watch? Yes. Do I recommend it? Dinosaur fan or not, give it a watch. Not rated, but a G would work, but PG would best apply it because of the violence, peril and monsters.
The Muppets (2011)
It's about time!
When I first heard the news about it, I was excited. It is one of these things that deserve a comeback. I grew up with them when I was a kid, their films range from charming and cute to silly and wacky. This film made me think about the past films. Such as how they got back together. I would not give anything away, but there is a certain song, that is sad, but the lyrics cannot be heard and with a straight face. The musical number cannot be seen with a straight face. In other words it will put you in hysterics! I will give you a clue, it won an Oscar for Best Original Song. When most people hear about the Muppets, they say that it is infantile (because something like "Sesame Street" comes to mind), but this one isn't! This is because of the writing, humor, pop-culture references and interesting characters that made it so lovable. I highly recommend it because it is a breath of fresh air! Why did I say that? Because when I go to the movies, I go there for a good reason, to get the mind off the horrors and stresses of everyday life. Movies that exploit 9-11, the war on terror and the economy gone downhill, doesn't help because they bring in more stress! It doesn't insult anybody's intelligence in a nasty manner, it does it in a playful and happy manner rather than a nasty manner. There is nothing negative, no messed-up story-lines, no grating ear and eye-sores. It is pure fun. The thing is, it is rated PG for mild language, if they didn't use profanity in one scene, then it would get a G-rating like the previous films. Bottom line: Fun for the whole family? Yes! So give it a watch. This has been another "Matthew Praises."
A guilty pleasure
Thirty years ago, CBS aired this cartoon. It was in the wake of the whole dance craze of the 80's. In fact, "Flashdance" started this trend in my opinion. Basically, it is Snoopy having a night out and becoming a disco king. This special is loaded with song and dance numbers just to pass the time. Charlie Brown gets bothered by the fact that his dog is not normal. There is character study and songs that express that. For instance, Peppermint Patty is bad with academics, but good with athletics. (Peppermint Patty's P.E. Program.) Lucy is dominant and bloats her ego a bit. (Lucy's the Boss.) There is something about the end of the cartoon. As soon as Sally takes Snoopy for show and tell, one kid takes out his boom-box and plays the theme song causing all the kids in the class room to dance. Is there no authority around here?! Did the teacher had this "if you can't beat them, join them" attitude and join in? All this noise would attract trouble! The principal would come in the room and bark stuff like "What's going on here?" "Stop that infernal racket!" I bet he got caught up in the music too.
What I like about it, is the songs and the visuals. While the colors are cool, the theme song, "Flashbeagle" is catchy. I got a cassette tape of the album back in the day. I danced to the songs like a little maniac on the floor. I listen to it all the time over the past 30 years! What I didn't like about it, that it was cheesy by today's standards and embarrassing. "Video Movie Guide" bashed that special saying how lame and cheesy it is, saying that Charles Schultz's effort to coincide with the current decade (in this case the 80's), shows that he is an old man trying to be cool and hip.
This song/cartoon takes me back to childhood, and when I saw the "Powerpuff Girls" episode, "Boogie Frights", I enjoyed it, because it reminded me of "Flashbeagle".
Some of the songs in the album are featured in the special "It's your 20th Television Anniversary Charlie Brown" (1985). Do I recommend it? Yes I do! So check it out. It is pure 80's fun!
Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, "Surrounded by Idiots."
Did you ever get the sinking sensation that you're surrounded by idiots? Tell it to Luke Wilson when he gets sent to the future. A pretty idiotic future. I feel so sorry for him being in this idiotic world. It is is funny and thrilling. It is also chilling, because there is no intelligent life at all! Hence, my pity for the protagonist! Now you know how Edward Platypus from "Camp Lazlo" feels. Friends of mine told me to watch and after watching it, I loved it! Put that DVD to your collection. If all those stories and movies that took place in the future lived in a community. "Metropolis" would be King, "Brave New World" would be Queen, "Soylent Green" would be the Royal Cook, "Planet of the Apes" would be the Royal Groundskeeper, H.G. Well's "Things to Come" would be the Alchemist and "Idiocracy" would be the Court Jester. Most science fiction stories and films predict the future. This one did. It is also a statement picture. It is saying that due to a bombardment of political correctness and how our world is turning upside-down due to the forces of unfairness. Give it a watch because I highly recommend it. Rated R for language and sexual references.
Glad to have you back girls!
Boy it has been half a decade, since we saw POWERPUFF GIRLS RULE in 2008. I saw some teaser art for this special. I worried about that it will be stereotypically girly like JEM, STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE, RAINBOW-BRITE, and the first three generations of MY LITTLE PONY, but I was wrong. Before I talk about my thoughts about it, let me supply you with a little history lesson.
From 1929 to 1934, America was suffering through The Great Depression. There were superheroes like Superman, Flash Gordon, Shazam, Captain Marvel and Buck Rogers who were used to boost morale and raise spirits. Then America was struck by terrorism on September 11th, 2001. With that there were shows like POWERPUFF GIRLS, DEXTER'S LABORATORY, JOHNNY BRAVO, COURAGE THE COWARDLY DOG, and FAIRLY ODDPARENTS. They were used to continue the tradition on boosting morale and raising spirits through the power of laughter and pop-culture references. Over the next ten years, political correctness had affected the government, and then the media and technology. Negativity had infected society and they were statement films and shows like IDIOCRACY, THE JERSEY SHORE, DAN VS. and GOD BLESS America. These had negative role-models carried bad messages to prove that life stinks! This drove the world mad. Now with a troubled times, there were a few shows that are struggling to keep the tradition like T.U.F.F. PUPPY and WANDER OVER YONDER. With love and respect for the past and pop-culture references, it is time for the girls to make a comeback.
With that history lesson aside, what I wrote was true. I did watch this show yesterday and I had a laugh out of it. It is good to hear the old voices and familiar music, but the design looked different. It doesn't look like an episode of the show, but it feels like an episode from the show. I heard that Butch Hartman was involved, but he wasn't. When I read that Craig McCracken, the show's original creator, was not involved, then how come I read the text "created by Craig McCracken" under the show's title? It's a mystery. In a world dominated by cartoons that are negative, contain character designs, that are complete eyesore, irritating voices that makes you want to press the mute button and messed up story-lines. Then this special is a breath of fresh air. I highly recommend it. If you enjoy this special and the original series, then you will enjoy IDW's comic book re-boot. It is faithful to the campy cartoon series. Rated TV-Y7 for comedic and fantasy violence and peril. This has been another "Mathew Praises".
I have seen and read about caveman comedies. They all lacked monsters and creatures. If you want monsters, then leave them for the cartoons. Somehow, an executive cannot say no to such a project, especially when it has a celebrity cast and wacky humor. In fact, this film is a live-action cartoon, but it contains cool special effects such as the sop-motion animated dinosaurs. I mean look at them! They look comical than scary. This is an underrated film. Jim Danforth wanted to animated so badly. When he was given the script, he didn't like it because of the gross humor and drug references. Well it was worth it. This whole thing is a live-action cartoon. Family appropriate? Yes it is, but there are some scenes such as the drug references and the gross out scenes such as the burping and farting that might turn off some viewers. That's why it is rated PG. Also there is one scene that shows Dennis Quaid in an icy mountain, taking a wee and you hear the sound of an ice-machine. Chuck Jones should be proud. Remember the Bugs Bunny cartoon "8 Ball Bunny" (1950) where the little penguin cries ice cubes? Well this scene in "Caveman" is the equivalent to that. Ringo Starr meets all these other cavemen and there are two gay ones and the Asian caveman who talks perfect English and they all don't understand him and he rolls with it. This is a spoof of such films as ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. and CAVEMAN. John Matuszak, who played the film's baddie Tonda, would be perfect for Bluto. He is our live-action Bluto. Jack Gilford as Gog the blind caveman is funny. Avery Schriber is a howl! If you didn't see this movie when you were a kid, shame on you! Bottom line: Monster movie fan or not, this picture is a must see. The special effects like the dinosaurs and goofy yeti (by Chris Walas) are well executed. If you enjoy cartoons or need a good laugh, then this is for you. Rated PG for peril, sexual references, drug references, and crude humor.
Uncle Grandpa (2013)
Uncle Grandpa Looks Yucky
Back by popular demand, it's "Matthew Rants!" Thank you! When I first saw this show, I was like "What the hell is this?" Well I got to be patient and wait until I see six episodes. I don't know when is the last time I jumped to conclusions? Oh wait, I jumped to conclusions when I saw "Wonder Showzen" (review coming soon). This is one of the ugliest shows ever made. Right next to "The Amazing World of Gumball" (read my comment). This could make "Codename Kids Next Door" look like Disney. It is from the same guy who did "Secret Mountain Fort Awesome" (read my comment). That show got booted off the air because it was so ugly. So they wanted to do something in that level, but tamer. Enter "Uncle Grandpa". If there was a category for this kind of thing, it wouldn't be in the "Kids and Family" section of the video store, it should be in the "What the hell" section of the store. Action, Comedy, Drama, Family and Kids, Horror, Sci-Fi, Western and the last segment, What the hell. We have this guy named Uncle Grandpa, who can make Pee-Wee Herman look like Einstein, who goes around driving an RV to help some kids with trouble. And there are lessons that get covered by the surreal wackiness of the episode such as, it's OK to have a big belly, treat people nicely, and be brave. Other characters in the show are Pizza Steve. What? A pizza with an attitude? Does he represent today's obnoxious and annoying youth? There's the Godzillesque Mr. Gus. Does he represent the older generation from the past fifty or sixty years because they are bored and unimpressed with the present and prefer the past. He is a dinosaur, but is representing that the older people are dinosaurs?! (Not the prehistoric reptiles, but the other kind of dinosaurs.) Then there is a character who just makes the show look worse: Giant Realistic Flying Tiger. It is just a photograph of a tiger that got Photoshopped into the show. Why?!?!?!?!?!?! Now this female Richard Parker is going give kids some nightmares. Speaking of which, there was an episode where Uncle Grandpa is playing with the Tiger and Pizza Steve on who can make funny faces. Mr. Gus wasn't invited, because they say he is a grumpy old killjoy. One day, Uncle Grandpa made a funny face and it got a life of it's own and it is causing them to laugh and they can't take it no more. So, they go and join forces to... get this.... destroy the funny face! The funny face looks like a series of photographs of a guy in goofy make-up doing funny faces. Like the tiger, it is Photoshopped on the show. I can't handle this, it is very contrasting with a capital C! "The Amazing World of Gumball" is a Frankenstein monster made up of various animation techniques. It is an eye-sore. So is this one. The funny face got destroyed by having all the characters minus Mr. Gus (who refuses to come to their aid because they never invited him) cry their eyes off causing it to pop like a balloon and land on the sidewalk to be eaten by a dog. I am crying on the inside, because I miss the way Cartoon Network was before it went downhill. I want Boomerang and I miss it. Yeah I used to watch it at the gym, but my local gym doesn't have it any more. The only show I'm watching on this channel is "Cartoon Planet". I feel much better. I can't believe this! What drugs are they taking?! What were they thinking?! Is this show and the other shows on Cartoon Network, the future of cartoons? If they are, I'd rather watch the works of Merce Cunningham in a small tub full of eels. I'd rather be in a super dark pit full of spiders with Aqua's "Barbie Girl" playing on the loudspeaker ridiculously loud followed by nails on the chalkboard. Yeah it's torture, just like this show. Might I recommend, Disney Channel's "Wander Over Yonder"? Sure. How about "Shezow"? I'd recommend that one too. Were you expecting "T.u.f.f. Puppy? Well I recommend that one too. Rated TV-PG for some scenes that might disturb children, over-the-top crude humor and some fantasy violence not to mention peril. Like "Dan vs." (read my comment to find out why is it bad) the measly TV-PG rating doesn't work and parents say: "Oh it's a cartoon. Let the kids watch it." Unaware, that they are becoming stupid and destructive. No wonder our world (of entertainment) is falling apart. Bottom line: Avoid it. It is for your own good."Uncle Grandpa" Looks Yucky. That's what the acronym stands for.
King Kong Lives (1986)
It should of been left unmade.
To honor the tenth anniversary of "Matthew Rants," I have been requested to review KING KONG LIVES. I did not have enough time to go and critique at IMDb because I was busy. So here it is, KING KONG LIVES. It all started in 1976 when Dino De Laurentiis, announced to sequel to follow his remake, THE BIONIC KONG and KING KONG IN Africa (a.k.a. KING KONG GOES TO Africa). In the late seventies, they ended up announcing that their next official sequel was going to be KING KONG IN Africa where Kong gets resurrected Frankenstein-style and works for bad guys (similar to KING KONG ESCAPES, which is reviewed by me). It also says that Jack Prescott and Dwan make a return and Dwan tries to refresh Kong's memory, but instead he eats her up! Later the script was changed to KING KONG IN MOSCOW, but that didn't get made. So they decided to make a crossover movie where his giant ape fights his killer whale in KING KONG VS.ORCA. That would be a great spectacle than this piece of trash, but they ended up making this instead. I remember KING KONG LIVES when I was a kid. I thought this was fun, but it took me a while to realize how bad this film was, and little me tell you, this film was bad with a capital B! Somehow, this film, akin to the 1976 remake was a frequently rented/borrowed/watched movie. Why? Because it is the only good thing in various video libraries. It was the only monster movie (apart from the 1976 film) that had a PG to PG-13 rating. Back then most monster movies from the 80's and 90's carried R-ratings. Another reason, is because that monster movies are kids stuff vs. monster movies are not for kids kind of situation is going around. I was longing to see the 1976 remake until I was 15, but that's another story. How dumb could those people be to have this ape resurrected because there is not enough blood for him. How did Lady Kong (who had such a grating roar) get in the picture, did Brian Kerwin read about her in Jack Prescott's book "Ape Myths and Legends?" It is still a stupid idea to resurrect the ape and bring back another one. Then these two would destroy go wild. Kong's roar sounded like as if Frank Welker did it. Here's a fact, Peter Cullen (you might know him as the voice of Optimis Prime in the original TRANSFORMERS series), provided the vocal effects for King Kong in the 1976 remake, but blood started coming out of his mouth and was rushed to a hospital. It was funny to see Kong eat up people because I was used to seeing cartoon characters get eaten up by monsters. The film apes (no pun intended) KONGA, ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES and MIGHTY JOE YOUNG. The ending also copies SPARTACUS. After that movie, why not make a sequel. They did...NOT! Well they were originally going to do a third one called SON OF KONG where the little baby Kong grows up to be teenaged and falls for this blond mountain climber. Achilles Heel: He's got vertigo. So he follows the girl to Paris. There, she is kidnapped by terrorists and she is with one of the many hostages up in the Eiffel Tower. It's the Son of Kong to the rescue where he conquers his fear of heights and fights the terrorists. It is a good thing that never got made, because every James Rolfe (of ANGRY VIDEO GAME NERD FAME) and Doug Walker (of NOSTALGIA CRITIC fame) would go bananas. So there you have it. What's the moral of the story? Do not mess around with mother nature and stay away from this movie! Because it wouldn't hurt to think outside the box.
Hotel Transylvania (2012)
It's pretty good! :)
Back by poplar demand, it's "Matthew Praises". When I heard about Genndy Taratovsky's HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA, I was excited to see it. Apparently, I was busy with college courses, but at least I saw it on-demand, and let me tell you, it was better than DESPICABLE ME! This was the MAD MONSTER PARTY of 2012. I mean we got Dracula, the Frankenstein Monster, his bride, the Mummy, the Wolf-man (who has a wife and a litter of kids), the Invisible Man, Quasimodo (a.k.a. The Hunchback of Notre Dame), Mr, Hyde,The Fly and plenty of gill-men, witches, skeletons, zombies, big feet (plural for bigfoot) and a few mythological creatures thrown in here and there such as the Hydra, cyclops and the minotaur. It is great fun (for the family that is). I love the character designs there because it is totally his style. There is a lot of celebrity voice talent going on there. Being someone who watched DEXTER'S LABORATORY religiously, I noticed some certain trademarks that got recycled into it. If you are someone who watched a lot of episodes, then take a look. Genddy is no monster-kid like George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Peter Jackson or Tim Burton. He grew up on cartoons. Now one more thing, I heard that his next project is going to be POPEYE. I am excited to hear that because I grew up on POPYEYE. If Genndy Taratovsky grew up on Popeye, the I am sure he won't mess this up. I can understand that. Because all this Popeye merchandising is popping around here and there. We got clothes, toys, and a comic book reboot, so yeah, I think Popeye DESERVES to have a come-back. Bottom line: If you love monsters or grew up watching old classic monster movies, then give it a watch. 10/10. I highly recommend it. Rated PG for mischief crude-humor, wacky going- ons and a few scary scenes.