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Felidae (1994)
10/10
Can anyone tell me WHY there's been no American release?????
27 April 2006
I love this film! After spending nearly two years trying to track it down, I finally got a copy thru Amazon Germany, which wasn't the easiest thing to do when you don't speak or read a lick of German! Clever little me...I opened up two windows on my computer, one with American Amazon and the other with the German version and since both pages are laid out exactly the same, I just used the US one as a guide and went from there.

Anyway, I got my copy and I gotta tell ya, I was quite pleased with the film....the animation is great, the imagery at times quite stunning ( the dream sequences especially) and the English vocal cast ain't too bad. Obviously it's not a film for kids and should appeal to those adult animation nuts such as myself that prefer something a bit edgy, and most definitely a film that should've been seen on this side of the water ages ago. My question is why hasn't it? Is it possible that the House of Mouse had a hand in preventing this from being shown in the US just like they prevented the Jungle Emperor Leo theatrical film from being shown? Wouldn't surprise me..."Felidae" was released in 1994, and if I remember correctly Mr. Eisner was pretty heavy handed when it came to squelching all competition real or perceived when it came to any other "Disneyfied" animated film from a rival studio. Too bad, because this is a film that deserved a lot better than it got.
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The Wild (2006)
1/10
A "Wild" time it ISN'T!!
17 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
It's nothing short of a miracle that the world is about to witness the re-birth of the Disney animated film. With the creative juggernaut of John Lassiter and that wonderful gang at Pixar ready to guide the House of Mouse back to it's rightful place at the forefront of animation industry, hope has risen in the eyes of every toon nut on the planet for the first time in a very long time. Sad to say that this film's only legacy will be nothing but a footnote in a yet-to-be-written textbook on how NOT to create a cartoon movie.

Sloppy, unimaginative and downright boring, "The Wild" is the 3D equivalent of the odious drivel we've been subjected to courtesy of "Eisney's" Cheapquel department. Blatantly ripping off "Madagascar", "The Lion King" and God knows whom else, this 112 minutes of digital drivel isn't even funny enough to draw smiles from the Cabbage Patch and Furby set........ironic considering that this is the age group that the film is aiming for. Gotta give 'em credit though....with the complete lack of talent, guidance and overall imagination that created this unbearable mess I'm surprised to that it turned out as well as it did.

There's an occasional flurry of ha-ha cutesiepie-ness, usually with (semi-spoiler here) the scenes depicting Ryan ( Samson and Ryan the Lion.......how original is that? SHEESH!!) and the ongoing injoke about the Koala......other than that it's an unequivocal disaster that's plastic, uninspired, and well........not even good enough to wipe the hem of Pixar's sanctified robes.

The overall design is about two notches above what you'd expect from those happy slobs that made "Hoodwinked"...nothing too stinging and quite expected from anyone else but when you suddenly remember that this is a Disney film, that's when the abject horror sets in. Do you and your kids a favor.......steer clear of this one and wait for "Cars"...you'll be so glad you did.
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Bambi II (2006)
8/10
Not as bad as I expected but still not up to the original......is that any surprise??
24 January 2006
Well, kiddies......... those horrific visions I had of Bambi, Thumper and Flower line-dancing in their ghetto-rap outfits with some knuckle-headed "Poptart" caterwauling in the background were all for naught. I'm not gonna give away all the goodies-would'nt be fair to all my fellow "Mousies" to spew out any spoilers- but I can tell you this......aside from a few issues that sorta chapped my inner child, this is simply the best DTV that "The House of Mouse" has ever released. The animation is every bit as good as a lot of the recent theatrical films , with beautifully rendered background art and an overall "Technicolor" look that was for the most part quite dazzling .........and how about them voices? I gotta admit the casting is excellent.

Story-wise, well....that's one of the things that I still ain't all that thrilled about . Despite having been "kiddiefied" from a book that was essentially written for adults, the original "Bambi" was still a wonderful film that catered to both ends of the age spectrum, a talent that Uncle Walt had in spades. This midquel is squarely aimed at the lunchbox-tetherball set to the point that unless you're a complete animation nut like yours truly, you might find one or two scenes a bit too cloyingly ooky to your liking. Still, it's heads and tail above any of the previous DTV "Twosies" and even a few of the "Feature" flicks released over the past 15 years, and I honestly think it's gonna do quite well.

One other bone of contention I have however, are the songs.Granted, they used a few snippets from the original's score, but all the stuff produced exclusively for the current film was your typically weak, formula-laden "contemporary" numbers that are so cookie-cutter bland that you can't even distinguish one from the other. That was one of the most wonderful things about the first movie ...even more than sixty years after it's release, the songs were so well written that they sound just as good now as they did then. Sad to say, it's gonna "date" the film in a most unflattering way. Second b.o.c. I have is in regards to some of the character animation ie: Ronno, the porcupine and the groundhog, especially Ronno. Pretty average design that clashes terribly with the rest of the animation and the exactly the sort of quality you come to expect from a DTV.As said, the rendering of "Bullyboy"Ronno was the worst...at times his looked like they'd been lifted straight from "Balto III".....not impressive in the least. On the other side of the coin, The Great Prince looked gorgeous as did the other deer.......Friend Owl was drawn absolutely spot on, though Thumper and Flower did look nice they still did'nt look quite enough like their original incarnations to retain all their charms. As for Bambi himself, well.......let's just say that 90% was beautifully done, but unfortunately the animators' attempts to "modernize" his facial expressions in a lot of his scenes failed quite miserably and were very disappointing. Despite it's flaws, it's still better than all the previous Disneytoon releases and well worth at least one watch.
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Tommy (1975)
1/10
Ahead of it's time? I think not..........
7 January 2006
I saw this film when it was initially released and aside from a few issues, I quite liked it. Over thirty years later, I'm watching it as I write this and the only thing that comes to mind is this: what the hell was I thinking ??? Appallingly bad casting , a rotten soundtrack adaption that should've had Pete Townshend running for the hills rather than settle on this audio nightmare ...no wonder the poor slob is going deaf...I'm surprised I haven't just from the horror of listening to it. Now, having been a teenager of the '70s, I know synthesizers were the sleek new toy in every major recording studio's box of fun, but ferchrissake!! To take a rock album and turn it into a gooey, horribly over-processed bit of amateurish synth-crap is absolutely unforgivable.........eeeeekkk!! Now,in regards to the casting...I said it before and I'll say it again......eeeeeeeeekkkk!! Lesse, who shall I comment on first? Let's start with " A", for Ann Margaret..........wrong ,wrong, wrong, wrong! "Emoting" that's so over the top that it borders on the stupid, a complete and utterly inexcusable misuse of her voice...she can belt out a Vegas tune with the best of 'em, but I'm sorry, folks....she can't sing this type of material

and it was foolish and humiliating to expect her to! Oliver Reed and Jack Nicholson.........all I can say in regards to these characters is these boys must've had some real fun on the set together, but it's too bad it did'nt translate into good acting. Don't even ask me about the singing...........pleeeease!

But being the responsible critic that I comport myself to be, I will grudgingly admit that, despite all the previous vitriol, the film does have a few redeeming moments that might make it occasionally watchable. The scenes with Keith Moon as Uncle Ernie are no less than inspired and absolutely hilarious; the Acid Queen segment with Tina Turner as the title character is one of the best segments ever filmed for a rock movie and Elton John as the Pinball Wizard is simply put, absolute balls of fun with a live performance by the Who themselves.

A grand example of the best and worst (mostly the worst) of 1970's cliché' music fantasy and overindulged ridiculousness, "Tommy" is a film that should be filed right alongside other rock and roll horrors like" Sgt. Pepper's" and "Xanadu" along with a note stating "Watch at Your Own Risk"!
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Face of Fire (1959)
An eerie yet moving film
26 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Released in 1959, "Face of Fire" stars James Whitmore as the gregarious Monk Johnson.....handsome, generous with the ladies, adored by the kids and well received by anyone who meets him, he is without doubt one of the most popular guy in town. While working for a doctor and his family, he is seriously disfigured in a house fire while saving the life of his employer's son, and his world is changed forever. Where he was once greeted with open arms, he is now shunned and looked upon as a monster by the same folk that had loved him and called him their friend. Based upon a 19th Century short story by Stephen Crane, it shows the ugly side of the human condition in a way that had rarely been depicted before........insensitive, fearful and intolerant of something that appears or behaves different from what they consider normal.

When I first saw this on television, I was about 6 years old and it really struck a chord in me...I could'nt get over the fact how quickly Monk's so-called friends could turn on him just because of their irrational fear of his appearance, treating someone that they'd always "loved" no better than they would an animal. Even watching it today, it still sends a pretty powerful message about the inhumanity mankind often shows to those that are not like themselves....it's a wonderful lesson on the destructive power of prejudice and ignorance and a film that I would recommend to any parent to watch with their kids.
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1/10
Reason for Living? After watching this, why bother?
30 July 2005
Jill Ireland was beautiful, talented, courageous and loving woman who fought to save a child that was beyond saving despite the fact that she was at death's door herself. Her story is an inspiration to us all, but frankly speaking this "film" is an insult to her memory. Aside from Lance Hendrikson, the casting is absolutely appalling, especially with Jill Clayburgh as Ireland. I've always liked her as an actress...I usually find her performances pretty spot on, but this, I'm afraid is an embarrassment. She does'nt even come close to capturing the character in looks OR manner and that factor alone is enough to submarine this celluloid work of frustration to the bowels of TV Movie Pergatory for all eternity. Do yourselves a favour...stick to the book and steer clear of the tele!!
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