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CGI Paled To Disney's Old-School Animation
Released 60 years after the original Fantasia, I found that this ambitious and well-produced sequel from Disney Studios fell quite short of my preconceived expectations.
When I speak of Fantasia 2000 not living up to my satisfaction, it all comes down to comparing it, as I have, to the 1940 original.
What I found was that the original's animated segments were undoubtedly more entertaining and their stories much more well thought out, than were those of the animated segments in Fantasia 2000.
When it came to being more vibrantly colourful, and having a greater richness in style, it was the distinctiveness of the hand-drawn animation of the 1940 film that easily won out over the CGI animation effects of Fantasia 2000. As a true work of art, the former's animation techniques were (and always will be) unsurpassed.
I view the original Fantasia as a literal masterpiece of classic animation. While, on the other hand, Fantasia 2000 may indeed have had its share of spectacular moments, but, it could never be considered anything even coming close to being in the league of a masterpiece.
For the most part Fantasia 2000 did succeed well-enough as being fairly entertaining animation.
Out of the 7 new animated segments in this picture there was really only one that impressed me at all. It was the segment presented along with Stravinsky's "Firebird Suite" as its musical accompaniment.
Too Late for Tears (1949)
Too Late For Beers
"Oh, what a tangled web we weave..."
If you ask me - I'd say that Lizabeth Scott playing Jane Palmer, the ruthless, conniving femme fatale, in this 1949 Crime/Thriller just didn't have the acting chops to cut the mustard. Not only did I find Scott to be very unconvincing in her part, but I also found her portrayal to be quite annoying, as well.
I think that Kristine Miller, who played the Kathy Palmer character in the story, would have been a much more competent and believable actress to tackle the Jane Palmer role.
For me, the highlight of this run-of-the-mill picture of greed and treachery was when mean, tough-guy, Dan Fuller, slapped Jane's pretty, little face but good, in order to get her to fess-up to the whereabouts of the $60,000.
All-in-all - Too Late For Tears was just another (of many) easily forgettable Crime-Dramas from Hollywood's apparent heyday.
A Summer Place (1959)
Maybe Life Is Just A Dice Game Afterall
As far as scorching, melodramatic (and sometimes over-the-top) soap operas go - A Summer Place's scandal-ridden story (from 1959) actually held up surprisingly well (until about the point when Ken & Sylvia's shocking, little infidelity made newspaper headlines).
It was following this climatic moment (which happened at about the 60-minute point) that A Summer Place then began to seriously lose a lot of its initial steam as it inevitably petered out into a rather sappy, "happy ending" fizzle.
Featuring a pretty competent cast, headlined by the likes of Richard Egan and (teen idol) Troy Donahue, A Summer Place was definitely quite an emotional, little roller-coaster ride at times, containing plenty of vicious muck-slinging, punctuated by equally damning jabs of biting dialogue.
When dealing maturely with sexual issues, A Summer Place was certainly a very frank and racy story for its day.
The one real standout performance that I think is worth mentioning in the film was that of Constance Ford who played Helen Jorgenson, Molly's brittle and hateful mother who repeatedly reared her ugly head as a nasty, sanctimonious hypocrite.
Robophobia & The Smugness Of The American Dream
Initially I was all set to rate this $100 million production from 2014 with 5 stars (which I thought, at first, was an OK reboot of the $13 million original from 1987).
But that was before character, Pat Novak, the black, TV-news mouthpiece came on screen (just prior to the film's final credits) and made his pigheaded, little, American, flag-waving speech.
With the demented passion of a total fanatic, Novak excitedly exclaimed that (and I quote) "America is, and always will be, the greatest country on the face of this Earth!" (end of quote)
Of course, Novak had nothing to back up this blindly arrogant statement with facts, but once those words came out of his candy-ass mouth, that was enough for me to reduce my rating of this truly forgettable piece of Yankee propaganda-junk to just 2 stars.
I don't know about you, but, I, for one, not being American, do not appreciate having the likes of those bullying, hypocritical imperialists rubbing their conceited, ego-centric attitudes into my face in this manner.
As far as I'm concerned - If the snot-nosed producers of this so-so action film want me to believe such a high'n'mighty statement as the one made above, then they're certainly gonna have to start proving it to me through their actions and through the calibre of the movies that they relentlessly churn out like fodder for the brain-dead.
Soylent Green (1973)
... And Soylent Green's #1 Ingredient Was What!!??
Set in the future of 2022 (which seemed to be suspiciously deprived of technology's gadgetry) - Soylent Green (from 1973) was such a laughable piece of frivolous, Sci-Fi junk that it really should have been billed as a two-bit comedy.
When it came to the likes of genuine suspense and drama, to me, Soylent Green was about on par with that of a typical Care Bear cartoon.
With its story taking place in a (supposedly) over-crowded NYC of 40 million, this ridiculous, low-budget movie contained so many "empty street" scenes that the viewer would have to be a totally clueless, "hee-haw" hillbilly to believe that this city's population exceeded more than, say, 50 people, tops.
Oh, yes. And, speaking about Charlton Heston (and his phony-looking hairpiece), believe me, this total slug-of-an-actor was clearly too old for his part at age 50.
Heston unconvincingly played Detective Thorn, a stud-muffin, who (as an apparently trustworthy law-enforcer) regularly stole valuables from crime sites and freely entered people's homes, ruthlessly conducting extensive searches without any warrant.
If I'm really expected to believe that the producers of this production actually cared about the world's present state of mass pollution and over-population, then they sure fooled me.
I found this so-called "Message Movie", and its message, to be such a completely hypocritical contradiction that I'm convinced that the greedy, little production company who produced this picture was only interested in one thing - And that was - Making themselves (and their stars) a whole pile of money - And the rest of the world be damned!
Blood, The Bible & Creepy Carrie And Her "Dirt Pillows"
Well, here are 2 things that I quickly learnt while watching this tediously unimaginative "re-imagining" of a so-so horror story from 1976.
(1) - Teens (in their unfathomable capacity to be cruel & hateful) are, today, even worse bullies than they were back 40 years ago. It seems that it's especially the girls who tend to be the most vicious and spiteful in their deliberate treachery towards others.
(2) - Religious fanatics are even more retarded today then you could ever imagine them to be.
Anyways - In what seemed like a "Made-For-TV-Movie" - I thought that both Julianne Moore and Chloe Moretz were utterly despicable in their pathetically annoying portrayals as a mother/daughter wacko team.
I really can't say which one of these 2 actresses I thought stank the worst in their part. Between the brittle Moore forever chewing up the scenery and the bug-eyed Moretz underplaying her part to the point of being a total non-entity, neither of these women showed even the slightest bit of conviction in the parts that they were playing.
This dumb movie contained absolutely no surprises, whatsoever. And making the story more spectacularly gory and violent than the original only served to prove the point that all of the characters in this dimwitted tale were not worth the slightest bit of attention at all.
And, finally - Since when does possessing the gift of telekinesis also include allowing that person the ability to fly?.... Sheesh! Like, give me a break already!
101 Dalmatians (1996)
The Biggest Bitch Of Them All
101 Dalmatians was a bland, inadequate, and completely dissatisfying live-action remake of the charming 1961 animated feature film of the same name - Both from Disney Studios.
101 Dalmatians starts its story off as a horribly contrived boy-meets-girl tale where the thing that brings these 2 sappy people together is that each is the proud owner of a dalmatian dog - His is a male - Hers is a female. (Now, isn't that just too corny for words, or what?)
101 Dalmations' biggest and most damaging deficit was actress Glenn Close, as the ruthless fashion-house owner, Cruella De Vil. Close was truly terrible at this sort of Comedy. Her annoying, over-the-top, scenery-chewing antics weren't even in the least bit amusing, only nasty and just plain awful. Her despicable character quickly wore out its welcome within the very first hour of this picture.
101 Dalmatians was the sort of story where the animals appear to be more intelligent and resourceful than their human counterparts. It wasn't until this film's last 45 minutes that these mighty clever beasts (dogs, raccoons, horses, and birds, alike) eagerly took their heroic part and ingeniously pulled together in order to help rescue the 99 dalmatian puppies from their deadly confines at Cruella's posh Suffolk estate.
Through all of this strife one really had to wonder about the rationality and sanity of the ludicrous Cruella character who wanted more than anything in the whole, wide world - A full-length coat fashioned out of dalmatian puppy pelts. It was really quite unsettling to see what a kick Cruella got out of the thought that once she had her coat of dog hair, she'd actually be wearing her employee's dogs.
Now, I ask you - Is that not just too unfunny and demented for words, or what??
Fellini - Satyricon (1969)
You Name It, This One's Got It! (Well, Almost)
Oh, me!... Oh, my!... Satyricon is, without question, one of those utterly grotesque and highly subjective films that I think rightly warrants psychoanalysis. It really does.
Satyricon is something of a glutton's insatiable romp down "Depravity Lane". And, believe me, it's not a pleasant stroll (unless, of course, you happen to be a totally depraved glutton for punishment).
Set in Imperial Rome during that mighty reign of Nero (in 60 AD), Satyricon is a literal madhouse of non-stop "WTF?" moments that will either deliver great pleasure or else sicken you with its outright repulsiveness.
Filled to overflowing with ghastly-looking characters, homosexual overtones, torture and cruelty, Satyricon certainly didn't leave a whole lot to the imagination.
Filmed in 1969, Satyricon was directed (with an obvious cynical glee) by Federico Fellini.
Personally, I found this film's twisted story of ancient times to be quite an ugly movie-experience that, regardless of its truly weird and bizarre nature, wore out its welcome (and its novelty) within its first 30 minutes.
So, Hal-9000 Lied... Yeah!?... So, What?... Who cares?
I have to say that I certainly got a tremendous belly-laugh out of 2010's "happy" ending. I really did.
Yep. This film's annoyingly naive message-of-peace was so ridiculously starry-eyed in nature that I couldn't imagine anyone (in their right mind, that is) taking its total nonsense at face value.
I mean, 2010's ending was so utterly dumb that I'm actually surprised that one of those demented-looking, yellow happy faces wasn't painted on the monolith as a way of expressing just how "golly-gee" happy it was. (Like, give me a break, already!)
All-in-all - I'd sure like to know why they even bothered to tell this sequel's tale. It neither said anything of any significance, nor did it succeed in clearing up any ambiguity left over from its prequel, 2001.... In fact, I'd say that this picture only served to confuse the original story that much more.
And, finally - Can someone please tell me what's so great about having 2 suns? Eh?... This phenomenon certainly couldn't be of any benefit to man. If you ask me, I'd say that having 2 suns would very likely mess up the balance of nature on this planet like it's never been messed up before.
Anyways - 2 enthusiastic thumbs down for 2010, a real piece of Sci-Fi/Thriller junk from 1984.
Volcano: Nature's Inferno (1997)
Thar She Blows!!!
You know, they sure aren't kidding in this documentary-DVD when they call a volcano - "Nature's Inferno" - 'Cause, believe me, that is exactly what it is!
Through plenty of eye-popping footage of volcano activity, as well as interviews with experienced volcanologists, the viewer quickly learns everything there is to know about these ferocious geysers of belching smoke, clouds of ash and rivers of molten lava.
From Italy, to Japan, to Indonesia and beyond - National Geographic presents this expertly-photographed documentary-DVD of an amazing, uncontrollable phenomenon that's bound to spark the interest of most viewers.
*Note* - Experts tell us that, today, there are an estimated 1,500 potentially dangerous volcanoes, worldwide..... Wow!.... And, hey, you just never know when one of them is gonna blow!