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Clownbird

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15 reviews in total 
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3 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
How Did They Pack So Much Schmaltz Into 118 Minutes?!, 25 March 2009
6/10

This has to be, hands-down, the schmaltziest movie ever made. There's no other way to describe it! Oh, sure, it's definitely a product of its time, and it's not a bad movie at all, but man! The schmaltz! All that schmaltz! Every chance any adult gets, they all make these grandstanding speeches on morality and life and God and patriotism! The mother, at her harp! The ancient telegrapher, at his desk. The librarian, in her stacks! The teacher, in her classroom! The soldier, on the train! They're all making these melodramatic, eyes-tearing-up speeches! It never ends! Even the dead come back and make speeches! I don't remember the book piling it on quite so thick, but it's been some time since I read it. But the one scene I remember vividly from reading it in high school - the scene where Homer delivers a telegram containing tragic news - and the recipient responding by making him eat cactus candy, is there, just as I envisioned it! Except I wouldn't have cast Mickey Rooney. Look for a post-Our Gang Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer in the charming apricot-stealing scene. It made me want to steal some apricots myself, if you know what I mean - and I think you do!

2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A Fun Romp Down a Paper-Shredder Chute!, 1 December 2008
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

It seems there's a bomb in a plane and it didn't explode! So the Impossible Missions Group have to recover it from a bad country! All of your favorites are here, from Cinnamon Carter, to Willy Armitage, and everyone in between! Jim Phelps, their leader, jumps out of a plane and lands with dark hair, which is never explained! Meanwhile, Roland and Cinnamin go to a party and talk to the guy that has the bomb - an American! But he lives in the country now and is the "bad guy." He talks quietly but don't let that full you, behind those glasses is a heart as cold as stone! Then he finds out that Rollin and Cinnamin made the bomb at a bomb factory in Duluth. Duluth?! I'm not making this up! So the bad guy, Paul, kidnaps them and makes them dismantle it - but not before Roland "pretends" to have a heart attack. Meanwhile, Barney throws a grappling hook down a chute and jams the paper shredder! Enter Jim and Willy to fix it! Anyway, at the end, everything works out okay!

3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Bedrock Lays in Shambles, 12 April 2008
2/10

...after this piece of prehistoric junk. Awful, awful TV movie. Follow-up to the forgettable one where Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm get married. Everything is by the books here in regards to TV reunions: Wilma and Betty now own a catering business. Usually when we revisit beloved sitcom characters in TV reunion movies, the women are suddenly career women now working either as real estate agents or own a catering business. No one knows why, but it is an unwritten law to which all bad TV reunion writers must adhere. Pebbles works at an ad agency. Hoo boy. And Bamm-Bamm wants to be a successful screenwriter, evidently channeling the dreams of whoever wrote this piece of junk. What's even more offensive are the voices and character design. Jean Vander Pyl was the only surviving original (main) cast member, and she's fine (though H&B had the annoying and wholly unnecessary habit of electronically "sweetening" her voice for about the last ten years of Flintstones productions she worked on.). John Stephenson returns as Mr. Slate, sounding almost exactly as he always has. Excellent. Don Messick does a quick cameo as baby Bamm-Bamm in a flashback. Nice. But - beware! - this is a Henry Corden-voiced cartoon, and as wonderful a character actor as Corden was, he was terrible as the voice of Fred, yet H&B would never admit it and recast anyone else until the amazing "The Flintstones: On the Rocks" TV movie 8 years later. Corden's bizarre take on "Yabba Dabba Doo!" ("Yappa, dappa-doo!") must have Alan Reed rolling over in his grace. Surprisingly, we've got Frank Welker as Barney & Dino. "Surprisingly" because Frank Welker is versatile and very talented and the voice director (Gordon Hunt in "I just don't care anymore" mode) has managed to find the two voices Welker cannot do to save his life. Barney's frequent, all-but-involuntary chuckling that punctuates the end of a lot of his lines makes Mr. Rubble sound like he's suffering from emphysema. Dino, too, no longer barks, evidently having had his vocal cords removed, but instead wheezes. Would it have killed the producers to pay Mel Blanc's estate some money and just drop in some old audio of Dino barking and yapping and growling from the original series? The character design is atrocious. Wilma and Betty no longer have feminine figures but instead have bodies that resemble men in drag. Fred's head and nose in particular bear very little resemblance to any of the models they used in the original series. I saw this when it originally aired and was mortified. I just caught the first 15 minutes on Boomerang this afternoon and couldn't bear to watch any more. Horrible production; typical of late H&B cartoons and cartoon movies. Avoid it at all costs.

379 out of 804 people found the following review useful:
This Season's Most Annoying Show!, 11 October 2007
3/10

First, you've got that smug, pompous narrator who keeps referring to Ned as "the pie maker." Eugh. And then the specifics of how old everyone is when they died, as if that has any significance other than giving the show some ridiculously gimmicky hallmark. Yes, yes, he's a famous voice-over guy! He does the Harry Potter books on tape! Whee! Doesn't make him any less irritating.

Then you've got the girl Ned brings back to life - as if her calculatedly unlikely name "Chuck" wasn't bad enough, she's annoying as hell, especially when Ned has one minute to get information out of a dead person and she's butting in with her cutesy shtick.

And then the so obviously crafted and precise dialog with Ned and Charlotte all but talking over each other and dropping little esoteric references and non-sequitirs.

Then the annoyingly squeaky-voiced neighbor/employee of Ned's who for reasons I must have missed is suddenly taking care of his dog for some unspecified amount of time when it was somehow convenient for him to take care of a dog he is unable to touch for the last 20 years. Now there's bad writing. It's like they wanted the dog as a prop or for some sort of exposition to explain Ned's powers for the first episode, but they never thought beyond that. Too complicated having Ned living with two creatures he can't touch? Wouldn't it be easier for Ned to have the dog in his apartment with "Chuck" there to keep him out of harm's way? And this unrequited love angle of the squeaky-voiced waitress is a completely unnecessary element to the show. Her "Hopelessly Devoted" solo was embarrassing. The character adds an element of unnecessary misery to the show.

The one character I truly feel bad for is the poor detective. He seems like the only one with any common sense. Poor sucker, trapped in this inane and irritating world.

Sadly, it's a great idea for a show, and it has promise. But it's being executed here so...annoyingly!

16 out of 27 people found the following review useful:
Don't Waste Your Time Looking Now Or Ever, 1 January 2007
2/10

Horrible muddled adaptation of a compelling short story. Donald Sutherland plays John Baxter who restores old Venetian churches or something like that. Julie Christie plays his wife. Both of them are actually pretty good and close to how Du Maurier wrote the original characters. But soon enough we're subjected to a bizarre, extended sex scene that is inter-cut with footage of the couple getting dressed. Not only does this make absolutely no sense, we also have to look at Donald Sutherland's bony ass for six or seven minutes. There's other strange scenes and confusing red herrings thrown in that really do nothing to advance the story, including a slightly sinister Catholic bishop who wasn't in the original source material. The religious imagery and aspects to this film keep suggesting that it's about to turn into something like The Omen, but it never does, which is a shame, because even an Omen rip-off would have been more welcome than this thing. The director would have done better to follow the original story a bit closer - if you haven't read it, you'll be lost watching this mess and you'll have to be content with enjoying on-location footage of early 1970s Venice, Italy, which is one of this film's few redeeming qualities.

Really Rosie (1975) (TV)
2 out of 23 people found the following review useful:
The ONE Special CBS Showed That I Didn't Care If I Missed, 12 August 2006
3/10

I like Maurice Sendak's work. I mean, who doesn't like Where the Wild Things Are?

And Carole King never bothered me too much.

But pair them together and you end up with this lame special that CBS aired at least a handful of times, from the unfortunate feel-good / let's-use-our-imaginations / "Free To Be You and Me" era of the mid-1970s.

I think you had to be a little rich girl living in Manhattan to appreciate this yawner of a cartoon. Or maybe you had to be a little rich girl living in a suburb of New York. Because all the girls in my class were singing the mostly forgettable songs the next day. Then it was back to their overpriced and equally pretentious Shel Silverstein books.

Having said that, the song "Chicken Soup with Rice" has stayed with me all these years. I'm not sure if that's a blessing or a curse.

All I know is if this thing was on at eight p.m., I'd play with my Legos until it was over and come back to the TV set at 8:30 for the infinitely superior Rikki Tikki Tavi.

Boundin' (2003)
5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Dull, Corny Short with Hackneyed Feel-Good Message, 11 June 2006
3/10

Beautiful visuals and top-notch animation as usual, but that's about it. Isn't Pixar above these lame "feel-good" type message films? I'm really surprised they would have a) created such a sappy film and then b) release it in front of The Incredibles, which was aimed at an older audience than this "Boundin'" pap.

The message of the film? Ooh, be proud of whoever you are, whatever you look like.

That's an excellent sentiment, and one that would be right at home in a cartoon from, I don't know, about 1970. In 2003, it's over thirty years late.

Most of the Dr. Seuss-like rhymes seemed a little forced as well.

Pixar needs to stick with what it knows, and that's making intelligent, witty films. Leave the cutesy message films aimed at five-year-olds for some lesser studio to create.

7 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
This Film Will Keep You Guessing..., 6 May 2006
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

...at least for the first fifteen or twenty minutes!

That the three murders at the beginning of the film are depicted without showing the murderers' faces would tip off anyone who's ever seen, I don't know, a MOVIE before as to what's going to eventually be revealed. Willis's character's name was laughable; it was like he was named what he was so that Hartnett's character could do a play on it later on. It wasn't the worst movie in the world. It was reasonably entertaining. But it had plenty of plot holes and situations stretching believability way too thin. Goodkat's first meeting with the Rabbi, for instance. "I've been paid X amount of money to kill your son. Pay me double and I'll kill the guy who hired me instead." The Rabbi opted to pay the money as opposed to, I don't know, maybe HAVING HIS BODYGUARDS KILL GOODKAT ON THE WAY OUT OF THE BUILDING...?!

Mammoth (2006) (TV)
17 out of 26 people found the following review useful:
Well, The Opening Credits Were Good..., 23 April 2006
5/10

I saw the last half of this movie on SciFi and then a few hours later, I saw the beginning when they replayed it. If I had seen it from the beginning, I would have been a lot more disappointed, because the opening sequence was amazing, and sadly, the rest of the film didn't quite measure up. But the opening? Great CGI effects giving way to traditional animation (of cave drawings) that gave us a taste of the backstory, with fun, appropriately theramin-heavy music - it could have been the opening to a theatrical film, it was just that good! I can tell what the director/writers/producers were going for with the rest of the film, with the over-the-top plot, characters, and humorous lines and references to classic 50s sci- fi schlock. But it just didn't quite come off. And for the hour that I saw of it, they could have benefited from a whole lot more mammoth, since that IS the title. Oh well. I bet the creators do better next time.

Holes (2003)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
This Is What Happens When You Refuse To Deviate From the Source Material, 7 January 2006
9/10

...You get a great movie. Of course, you have to start with great source material.

The casting was excellent - thank goodness Disney didn't decide to go with kid-friendly (and obnoxious) Frankie Muñiz or (ugh) Alex Linz for Stanley, as the trivia section for this movie suggests were possibilities. Shia LaBeouf was outstanding.

Sigourney Weaver was wonderful, though I was disappointed that the scene where she pokes one of the kids in the chest with the pitchfork and knocks him back into a hole was left on the cutting room floor. (It's included among the Deleted Scenes on the DVD). Including that would have made her character that much more villainous, just as she comes across in the book. Otherwise we're left with just that one scene of pure viciousness - where she swipes Mr. Sir with her nails. And at the end, she crumbles in front of Stanley and pleads with him for a look in the locked chest, and then later cries while being arrested - making her practically sympathetic.

Jon Voight, unfortunately, seemed to go for a comic turn as Mr. Sir, where a more ruthless interpretation would have been more faithful. It was like watching James Best as Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane in The Dukes of Hazzard at times. But Tim Blake Nelson was absolutely ideal as Pendanski, deftly moving from *seemingly* concerned father-(or, actually, mother-)figure to mean bastard as the script dictated.

The kids were all excellent, especially Khleo Thomas as Zero. They expanded the scenes at Stanley's home, and added a grandfather!, and surprise, it all worked!

Why can't more of Disney's recent kids movies be this good?


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