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Rock & Rule (1983)
Remastered and in better shape than ever.
Unearthed Films just brought this classic out on DVD in a two-disc collector's edition. It's well worth the price! The two-disc set contains the original Canadian version, the altered American version, and the release of "The Devil and Daniel Mouse", the inspiration for this movie. Also included are "making of" features about both "Rock and Rule" and "Devil".
This movie is animated, but it's not for the very young crowd. It contains animated nudity, occasional adult language, and adult situations such as drug use and death. That said, I first saw it when I was 12 and wasn't scarred for life. This movie's got it all: great music, great animation (far better than "Heavy Metal", a similar film, which was released around the same time), and a storyline that appeals to a more mature mindset. If you think of animation as two categories -- anime or "Care Bears" style kid stuff -- this doesn't belong in either. It's a uniquely American animation style. And the music! Debby Harry, Iggy Pop, Mick Jagger, Earth Wind & Fire, it goes on and on, a constant stream of music that not only doesn't distract, but is a complement to what's going on on screen. The songs have aged very well in the past 30 years. This movie's a musical, but its music flows naturally, without those "And now I must stop everything and sing!" moments that make musicals so tedious. The special effects are also amazing, the more so when you consider when this movie was made.
I was one of the people who wrote Nelvana, and then Unearthed, begging for this re-release, and I was one of the first to order the set. I'm happy to say Unearthed has remained true to Nelvana's vision -- this set is everything I hoped it'd be. Don't miss it.
A nearly perfect comedy.
Excellent timing, a fantastic cast, great soundtrack... actually, everything about this movie is terrific. It centers around mixed (and missed) messages, so a lot of it depends upon timing and straight delivery. These are accomplished in a major way.
The main center of the comedy, the valise, gets treated in a way that gets a bit old, but overall, I can't get tired of this movie. Stallone does such fantastic comedy and has such an exquisite sense of timing and delivery, it's a wonder anybody lets him do action movies. He missed his calling. Look for Ornella Muti (Princess Aura from "Flash Gordon") as the superb, dignified, and fiery-tempered Sophia, as Snaps' wife and source of fear for the entire cast, and Tim Curry as Dr. Poole, in a genius turn as a mild-mannered professor discovering love for the first time. It's a fairly obscure movie, but if you get the chance to see it, do treat yourself.
Princess Warrior (1989)
This movie can't decide what it is -- a soft porno or a sf movie. Not enough plot for a real movie, but way too much for a porno.
In a galaxy far far away, a good princess (we know she's good because she has long blonde hair, wears a white toga, is polite, and is mooning wistfully about her dying mother when we first see her) inherits the kingdom over her elder sister, who is evil (and we know this because she has dark hair and wears too much makeup, abuses her male sexual slaves, sneers and curls her lip all the time, and talks imperiously about the horrors she'll perpetrate when she's queen). The evil princess gets upset and tries to stage a coup, but the good sister gets away to Earth. Of course, she materializes buck naked in a bar during a wet T-shirt contest. It really goes downhill from there. The acting is ludicrous, the dialog sounds like it was written for a porno, and the general storyline is ridiculous. There's not even enough skin to make happy the sort of person who'd watch this for skin. I love "good" bad movies, and this one's not even enjoyable on a "bad movie" level.
The Devil's Child (1997)
Dull, cliched, unbelievable, slow.
I watched this more out of morbid curiosity than from any real desire to see what happened next. Every cliche in the book is here, plus red herrings that have absolutely nothing to do with the plot that seem to be pursued way too far.
I loved their casting of Alex, though. He's a total dreamboat -- powerfully magnetic, sensual, articulate, and just wicked enough to hold the attention. Stole every scene he was in, which wasn't too hard considering nobody else was even vaguely sympathetic. It's too bad the heroine wasn't more sympathetic.. it was hard to care about her at all (or see why anybody else cared about her), she was so rude, self-obsessed, almost abusive, and brittle.
I also really disliked the directing -- every trick in the book is employed, or rather overemployed, such as ominous music, sudden noises, and excessive foreshadowing. Basically, this was just a very non-thrilling thriller that said nothing new at all.