Archive for 3 stars

Frosty the Snowman

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , on December 25, 2011 by bluehawaii19

Release Date: December 7th, 1969

Rating: G

Running Time: 30 min.

Directed By: Arthur Rankin Jr., Jules Bass

Cast: Jimmy Durante, Jackie Vernon, Billy De Wolfe, June Foray, Paul Frees


FILM INFORMATION

After Prof. Hinkle comes to perform magic for a classroom and his hat doesn’t work, he decides he no longer wants it and it somehow ends up on a snowman the children have made. When he discovers the hat is really magic and brings the snowman to life, he stops at nothing to get the hat back.

The children name the snowman Frosty and he sings and dances. Karen, one of the students, learns that the climate is too warm for Frosty so they set out for the North Pole. After being unable to purchase a train ticket, Karen and Frosty, along with Hocus (Prof. Hinkle’s rabbit), set out inside the icebox compartment of the train for the North Pole. They leave after it appears to be way to cold for Karen but unfortunately, the encounter Hinkle along the way, who will do anything in his power to get the hat back.

Frosty comes across a greenhouse in the middle of the forest and after Hinkle looks him and Karen in, Frosty is done for. Hocus finds Santa and brings him to the duo but they are too late. Luckily for Karen and Frosty, Santa has the magical powers of being able to bring him back to life.

Hinkle is told that he must write out how sorry he is for what he has done a hundred, zillion times, and then maybe Santa will bring him a new hat for Christmas.

In the end, everything works out and Frosty makes it to the North Pole.

THOUGHTS

Frosty is one of the really short films I watch for the holidays. It is only 30 minutes long so it is a very quick watch.

There is music throughout (the classic Frosty song) and the animation is great. The story is a classic one.

Every character in the film, even Hinkle, you like. It is kind of unbelievable that Karen would go along with Frosty to the North Pole, but this is an animated film so what can you expect?

FINAL RATING 

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Gremlins

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , on December 25, 2011 by bluehawaii19

Release Date: June 1st, 1984

Rating: PG

Running Time: 2 hr.

Directed By: Joe Dante

Cast: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton, Francis Lee McCain, Polly Holliday, Corey Feldman

FILM INFORMATION

Rand Peltzer is an inventor on the search for the perfect Christmas present for his son Billy. He comes upon a shop which has all sorts of odds and ends and finds a Mogwai which he ends up buying (without the owner’s consent). Rand is told of the three rules you must follow when in possession of a Mogwai: 1. Don’t expose him to bright light; 2. Don’t ever get him wet; 3. Never ever feed him after midnight (the most important rule of all).

All seems well and Billy loves his new present (Gizmo) but unfortunately has a difficult time following the rules and there are consequences for not obeying them.

Gizmo is adorable and after Billy’s mom takes a photo of Billy with Gizmo, the flash goes off and the first rule is broken. After Billy is shows off Gizmo to Pete (a boy from the town), water is accidently spilled on Gizmo, resulting in tiny fur balls popping out of his body, which in turn means water makes Gizmo spawn Mogwai. Right off the bat, you can tell these new Mogwai are different from Gizmo. Gizmo is cute and sweet, friendly and caring while these new ones like to make a lot of noise, almost bite Pete’s finger off, and are messy. One of them, Stripe, even has a little stripe on his head and is the leader of the new Mogwai. After Billy takes one of the Mogwai to the local high school and shows the science teacher it, he applies a drop of water causing it to spawn a new Mogwai. This new one stays with the teacher and he performs some tests on it. Back at home, Billy feeds the Mogwai (he checks the clock and it is before midnight). The next day, the Mogwai have gone into some sort of cocoons and when his mother asks him if he broke any of the rules, he checks the clock and sees the wire was chewed through. When they hatch, the Mogwai are no longer cute and fuzzy but gross, green, and very alien-like and are now called Gremlins. They also love to cause mischief and mayhem.

It is now up to Billy, along with Kate (his love interest) to help save their town of Kingston Falls from the Gremlins.

THOUGHTS

Gremlins is a mixture of a horror, comedy, fantasy, and a good holiday film. The acting is decent in the film but the focus is on Gizmo and the Gremlins.

One of the characters I hate in this movie is Mrs. Deagle. She is the lady that everyone in town knows and despises. She owns the town and only cares about herself. Repeatedly she threatens Billy and his dog (enough to say she will kill his dog) and you have no sympathy for this character. A woman in the film with two small children begs Mrs. Deagle to give her more time to pay her and is told to shove off. In a lot of ways, Mrs. Deagle reminds me of Mr. Potter from It’s A Wonderful Life. There is even a shot in Gremlins where the movie is shown. Much like Mr. Potter, Mrs. Deagle doesn’t do anything to redeem her character and it is bittersweet when she comes in contact with the Gremlins and actually gets what she deserves.

While pretty much all of the Gremlins are kind of stupid, Stripe is very intelligent and avoids death a number of times throughout the movie while his comrades bite the dust.

The Gremlins love causing mayhem but all sit down together and watch Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the local theatre which is a pretty funny scene plus there is a hidden Mickey in the scene. Another funny scene is at Dorry’s Bar where Kate works. The Gremlins have all gone there and we get to see all of the different personalities, including a workout fanatic (think Flashdance) and a flasher. Kate discovers the Gremlins don’t like bright light and uses it to her advantage to escape.

One of the downer moments of the movie is when we learn why Kate hates Christmas. She tells Billy (and Gizmo) that when she was 9, her mother and her were waiting for her dad to return home from work but he never showed up. They contacted the police but he was never found. One night when Kate is lighting the chimney, she smells a terrible smell. When the chimney is checked, it is discovered that her father is inside, dressed as Santa with presents. Wanting to surprise his wife and daughter, he broke his neck and died instantly. Talk about a reason to hate Christmas… This moment just seems completely out of place in the movie. Being that Kingston Falls is a small town, you would think Billy would have known that about Kate, but oh well.

Another part of the movie that is kind of off is when Pete first meets Gizmo. Gizmo is watching television and a bright light is on behind him but he is fine. Gizmo hates bright light so I just found this kind of odd since he should be afraid of it, but oh well again.

The special effects for the movie are actually really good. You can believe that Gizmo and the Mogwai are really creatures and not animatronics. They move pretty fluidly throughout. If they remade this, I imagine the creatures would be CGI instead of animatronics even though clearly the animatronics work really well.

Overall, the movie is a good one to watch for Christmas but has the horror aspect thrown in so it is good any time of the year.

FINAL RATING 

Die Hard 2

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , on December 14, 2011 by bluehawaii19

Release Date: July 2nd, 1990

Rating: R

Running Time: 2 hr. 4 min.

Directed By: Renny Harlin

Cast: Bruce Willis, Bonnie Bedelia, William Atherton, William Sadler, Art Evans, Dennis Franz, John Amos

FILM INFORMATION

This time around, John McClane must defend the Dulles International Airport against a group of terrorists, lead by Col. Stuart. McClane has more at stake when Stuart’s team takes control of the airplanes, one of which has McClane’s wife, Holly, aboard.

THOUGHTS

Just like Die Hard , this movie does feature Christmas but of course, doesn’t focus on it. The action and comedy is here, like the first movie, but this one isn’t nearly as good. A few of the actors return, including Bruce Willis, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson (for a very brief appearance), and William Atherton.

Out of the new characters introduced, I enjoyed Art Evans as Barnes the best. He is almost like Al from Die Hard. He believes in John from the beginning and teams up with him to help stop the terrorists.

Dennis Franz as Carmine Lorenzo, the leader of the airport police, is a jerk to McClane throughout the entire film but does redeem himself at the end.

William Atherton plays a larger role this time around. He just happens to be on the same plane as Holly (he has filed a restraining order against her) but learns of what is happening at the airport and just makes things worse.

John Amos is one of those actors you see in all sorts of movies and television. He plays Capt. Grant here and his character is kind of a jerk to McClane but also redeems himself.

William Sadler did a good job as the leader of the terrorists. He wasn’t nearly as enjoyable as Hans Gruber was from Die Hard but they are two completely different characters. There is a brief shot at the beginning of his characters nude backside which is completely random and has nothing to do with the story.

Die Hard 2 is a good watch but not nearly as enjoyable or has as much replayability factor as Die Hard. There is a twist near the end of the movie that I had forgotten about from watching it a couple of years ago and the movie does provide a few laughs and some good action sequences. However, it just isn’t as good as Die Hard and even seems almost too goofy at times.

FINAL RATING