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The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. (1953)
Bart Collins (Tommy Rettig) is a prisoner to his piano instructor, Dr. Terwilliker (Han Conried). Terwilliker has built a castle, the Terwilliker Institute, where he's planning to have 500 boys play the the world's biggest piano for the rest of eternity. He even went as far as to ban all other musical instruments solely because they aren't the piano.
Bart learns that his mother is second-in-command of the Terwilliker Institute and has been placed under Terwilliker's mind-control as well. He resolves not only to save her, but also escape the castle as well. The boy turns to the plumber August Zabladowsky (Peter L. Hayes) for an ally, but has to convince him that Terwilliker's no good first.
They free Bart's mother and Zabladowsky defeats Terwilliker's conjoined twin henchmen (connected by a beard!)... but their escape is foiled and are sent to the dungeon. With hope hanging by a thread, Bart and Zabladowsky attempt to modify a bottle of Air Fix into a "Music Fix" to trap the music from the piano and ruin Terwilliker's plot.
Through the magic of a hearing aid, "Music Fix" works and defeats Terwilliker. However, the concoction goes critical and destroys the castle in a nuclear blast.
A really good family film, but unfortunately one that's easily overlooked. If you liked WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, you would enjoy this: a lot of vignettes in the castle wouldn't look too out of place there.
Terwilliker is just the type of villain you'd love to hate: a slimy personality with a gallon of egotism on the side ("We shall play the greatest song ever written. *I* wrote it!"), easily rivaling Conried's more famous portrayal of Captain Hook. Bart is an innocent, but headstrong, boy hellbent on saving his mother from Terwilliker's influence and you want to see him succeed.
The music is excellent, but seeing as Dr. Seuss himself was near- godlike when it came to poetry it comes as no surprise that so many of the songs felt fun. He also had a hand in the plot and screenplay, elevating this to a level that 2000's THE GRINCH WHO STOLE Christmas and other such pop-culture joke-laden re-imaginings of his work can't reach. In fact, the lack of such factors helps the movie's aging.
If there's any weaknesses, I would have to say that the Non-Piano Dungeon sequence went on for a little too long.
Other than that, it's a quirky little romp that I would strongly recommend.
Five stars. Grab a cup of pickle juice and give it a watch!
Yes. A vampire rabbit.
BUNNICULA seems to be a spin-off/reboot of a children's book series which ran from 1979 to the mid-2000s. An adaptation of the first book was done by Ruby-Spears in 1983, but not that many people are aware of it. You can YouTube it.
The animated series takes place in a different continuity where Harold the Dog and Chester the Cat are owned by an adorkable horror nerd called Mina, who has moved to New Orleans with her father. Mina discovers a black-and-white rabbit called Bunnicula, who she takes in as a third pet. What she doesn't know is that the rabbit is a VAMPIRE. She's safe though, he only consumes vegetable juice (carrots, onions, radishes, peppers, etc.). Each vegetable gives Bunnicula a different ability, a la A BOY AND HIS BLOB for the NES.
Not too long after Bunnicula's discovery, strange things start happening in the Big Easy: time-travel mirrors, giant cockroaches, ghostly owls in armor, alligator ghosts that influence crying, an army of undead fish, and more! It's up to Bunnicula, Harold, and Chester to prevent Mina from finding out about this weirdness.
If you liked WEIRD SCIENCE and COURAGE THE COWARDLY DOG, I'd say check it out. Bunnicula's high-pitched gibberish may irk some people, but I wasn't annoyed.
Also, FUN FACT: Chester is played by Sean "Samwise Gamgee" Astin and one of the original co-authors is a producer on the show.
"Not All Dogs Go To Heaven"... but this episode can go to hell!
Here's a riddle: "You have a story where you want to promote the creator's New Atheist beliefs*, but that stuff only drives away audiences. How do you get them to watch it?"
Answer: "Promote it as a reunion for the STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION cast."
Actually, I'm not joking. The STAR TREK: TNG reunion was the B- Plot. The meat of the story was Meg becoming a fundamentalist Christian after watching a show hosted by Kirk "Have Yourself A Materialistic Christmas" Cameron and Brian puking out one strawman after another in the name of the superior New Atheist master intellect.
For example: Brian argues God isn't real because the Hubble Telescope never found Him. This brainfart is right up there with "I never saw a monkey turn into a man!"
The episode even showcases Christians burning books and suggests that there is no Supreme Being because Meg isn't attractive.
I could go on, but entire thesis papers have been written about why this episode doesn't work. It's just another example of how far over the hill this show has become to be added to an ever-growing list.
An atheist I knew once complained that they were the least trusted group in America. If you sit through "Not All Dogs Go To Heaven", is it any wonder why?
*Yeah, I said "beliefs". Gonna cry now, tovarischii?
Too Good To Last...
I only came across this show today and was able binge the three completed episodes plus one unfinished one. It's real shame that LITTLE MUPPET MONSTERS didn't last very long, it was pretty entertaining and Molly was pretty cute. It was also a nice touch that they attempted to expand Muppet animation beyond MUPPET BABIES with such segments as KERMIT THE FROG: PRIVATE EYE and PIGS IN SPACE, THE ANIMATED SERIES. On that same subject, there were also live skits involving Fozzie and Gonzo, the latter of which used MB- style usage of stock footage.
The tone is reminiscent of SESAME STREET, only appealing more to general audiences rather than toddlers. The humor is what you'd expect from a Muppets program, so you really can't go wrong in that department.
Five stars. Check it out!
Reaction & Review (2011)
Show, don't tell...
Emerson Prevost was a prominent YouTube ranter in the latter part of the 2000's called Hellsing920. Later on, he attempts to do a review show and called it "Reaction and Review".
It's pretty much the anti-MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000. Here's the thing: in MST3K the audience was able to watch an awful movie with the crew of the Satellite of Love while their heckling made watching it easier. In "Reaction and Review", however, Prevost watches a movie that the viewer can't even see (he claims that this is done to avoid copyright problems and to show that his reactions are authentic) while making really short statements about what he saw ("That was cool", "That sucked", etc.). After that, he gives a quick review peppered with padding and stammering.
It's easy to figure out what films Prevost will like and hate. If it's an obscure, Z-grade flick there's a 50-50 chance of him approving it or disliking it; if the movie is popular or well- received, it gets panned or just called okay (at best); if the movie is hated by critics or audiences, he'll call it great. He actually approved CATWOMAN and DRAGON BALL: EVOLUTION, for instance.
I won't recommend it.
I've seen more effort in a Seltzerberg movie...
ThatGuyWithTheGlasses.com's KICKASSIA was a hit-and-miss affair with people. Personally, I thought the whole thing was crap. Meanwhile, a blob by the name of Eric "Asalieri" Gaede (who may NEVER have been heard of had he not done videos on the Irate Gamer when he was still a popular thing to critique) was conducting a futile e-war on the site and its contributors. When mere slander was going nowhere, Mr. Gaede rustled up some friends and tried to make a parody of the "opus". Then again, "parody" may be the wrong word; very little was parodied.
An introduction with flash animation that would get laughed off of Newgrounds? Check. Opening monologue by one half of the main leads that's 75% composed of saying random parts of speech? Check. Ethnic stereotypes (played by the two main leads, one for more screen time than the other) that would have been old hat in 1929? Check. Non-existent acting? Check. Cameos by Mr. Gaede's buddies? Check. Fights that would make the 1960's BATMAN show look like it was choreographed by Yuen Wo-Ping? Check. A random game review? Check. A bottom-of-the-barrel greenscreen effects? Check. Insults that only a pre-nursery school student would laugh at? Check. Absent plot? Big check.
There. I've that's pretty much everything you need to know about PUNCHDICKIA. It makes MONSTER-A-GO-GO look like Capra material.
Of course, since Gaede has a long record of playing judge-and-jury on what's relevant and what isn't, he'd probably consider this review "irrelevant"... in spite of the fact that movies always get reviewed here, regardless of age!
Occupy Unmasked (2012)
You MUST See This!
This review is dedicated to our hard-working men and women in Law Enforcement agencies across the United States, keeping her citizens safe.
To call this movie powerful is to understate what it shows. An in-depth analysis of the Occupy Movement within one year since the beginning of the demonstrations. We are shown an alchemy of news footage, photos, and first-hand accounts of persons' experiences with Occupiers. A non- partisan, if watching this would not only be flabbergasted by the havoc, squalor, and utter disregard for decency and safety that Occupy has shown; he or she would also be angered by the horror stories of the injustices done to hardworking businessmen and their families, as well as their enabling by the Obama/Pelosi/Clinton oligarchy.
One's stomach can only churn when you see how the mainstream media has failed repeatedly to cover the radicalism and squalor of Occupy and the scare tactics used to suppress any negative light on it. Further disgust is sown when the so-called Far-Left heroes such as Michael Moore, Bill Maher, and Matt Taibbi hailed the movement as civilized and peaceful. This film tells a different story from what their camp has deluded themselves into believing.
Everyone must see this movie in order to see Occupy for what it truly is.
Bride of the Monster (1955)
So bad and so funny all at once.
What can you say about Edward Wood Jr.? He's been called the worst filmmaker ever, yet his movies are so fun to watch regardless. This was the first movie I've ever seen of his and I had a fun time laughing at the sheer loopiness of it all.
Wood's idol, Bela Lugosi, plays an exiled Soviet scientist called Dr. Eric Vornoff, hiding out in an ramshackle house in the middle of a swamp. Vornoff wants to create a nuclear-charged master race with which he can use to take over the world. He also has a mute, Tibetan lab assistant with an angora fetish named Lobo (played by wrestler Tor Johnson) who stumbles and fumbles around Vornoff's swampy bungalow for much of the film. Through the efforts of a young policeman and his Lois Lane-styled reporter girlfriend, Vornoff's world domination scheme is foiled.
This movie has tons of silliness. One personal favorite is where Lobo mutinies against Vornoff and fights his shorter, platform shoe-wearing stunt double. Another funny scene: Vornoff's getting killed by his giant octopus and a random bolt of lighting strikes him, causing an atomic blast; the heroes watch the mushroom cloud from a safe distance of forty feet away!
This is a movie you have to see to believe!
Game of Death (1978)
After making three films (THE BIG BOSS, FIST OF FURY, and WAY OF THE DRAGON), martial artist/philosopher/actor Bruce Lee started work on a fourth film. It was about a retired fighter who was pushed by the Korean mafia to raid a five-story pagoda for a treasure. Further details of the original screenplay would use up too much space. The climax was the only part Lee finished before getting called away to make ENTER THE DRAGON. Unfortunately, Lee died shortly before the premiere of ETD and could never film any more of GAME OF DEATH.
About five years after Lee passed away, ENTER THE DRAGON director Robert Clouse tried to finish the film by inserting archival footage from the four films Lee finished and look-a-likes in the newer parts. But maybe "finish" isn't the right word. Clouse made his own GAME OF DEATH with the footage Lee had already finished.
The Clouse GOD was about a movie star being bullied by the mafia, fakes his own death, and kills off mob members one at a time. The plot is almost nothing like Lee's original vision and its quality is more or less on the same level as MITCHELL.
Despite what it turned into, Clouse's version of GOD had its (unintentionally funny) moments, like when they taped a picture of Lee's face to a mirror to cover the stand-in's. John Barry's soundtrack also adds too the mess as it's actually good.
See it if you're curious, otherwise pass it up.
What a gyp!
Back in the day, I was a big MK fanatic. One night, I saw this tape at a video store and rented it. After seeing STREET FIGHTER II: THE ANIMATED MOVIE, I was psyched. When I hit "Play", things really started to go down hill.
*PLOT SPOILERS* It started out on Shang Tsung's ship en route to the tournament. Liu Kang, Johnny Cage, and Sonya get jumped by Sub-Zero and Scorpion. Raiden breaks up the scuffle between the fighters and scolds Tsung for making them fight before the tournament started.
The rest of the movie pretty much is Raiden explaining stuff about Mortal Kombat and the stakes at risk, stuff about Tsung, and tournament champion Goro.
Finally, a bunch of Baraka-lookalikes come charging the the three Kombatants from Earth. Then, we get the *glorious* ending where the narrator tells the audience to watch the live-action film.
*END PLOT SPOILERS* In terms of animation, it was a bit on the cheap side. In the 2-D category, they reused a lot of shots (Tsung leaving and entering entering his cabin, for example), if it was THAT low-budget, why bother making it in the first place? As for the CG, I'll try to be nice as it was the mid-90's... the backgrounds were alright for my taste, but the fights Raiden relates to the fighters left A LOT to be desired. They move a bit slow and tend to leave a slight afterimage or shadow.
The music was the film's saving grace for me. It captures the atmosphere of the otherworldly events. I have no complaints there.
Final verdict: I will not recommend it to anyone expecting the story to continue. The animation's cheap and the "ending" really killed the potential it could have had. Though they did have profiles for the characters from MKI at the end (but not for Kano and Reptile), it's little to add to the mess.