Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Walt Disney, part I: Disney's folly


Let's begin at the beginning, shall we?

Directed by David Hand, et al
Written by America (based on Europe)
With Adriana Caselotti (Snow White), Harry Stockwell (the charming Prince), Roy Atwell (Doc), Pinto Colvig (Sleepy and Grumpy), Otis Harlan (Happy), Scotty Mattraw (Bashful), Billy Gilbert (Sneezy), Eddie Collins (Dopey), Moroni Olsen (The Magic Mirror), Stuart Buchanan (The Hunstman), and Lucille La Verne (The Evil Queen)

Spoiler alert: love's first kiss

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Teenage caveman


It bears some aspects of a shaggy dog story, but Alpha's prehistoric panorama is worth meandering in.

Directed by Albert Hughes
Written by Daniele Sebastian Wiedenhaupt and Albert Hughes
With Kodi Smit-McPhee (Keda), Johannes Hakur Johannesson (Tau), and Chuck (Alpha)

Spoiler alert: mild

Thursday, August 16, 2018

...He doesn't even know how to fold a map


Better than you could possibly have expected from a sequel to The Rescuers, Down Under was and remains the most unsung—ha ha—masterpiece of the Disney Renaissance, and one of the most uniquely great films the studio ever made.

Directed by Hendel Butoy and Michael Gabriel
Written by Jim Cox, Karey Kirkpatrick, Byron Simpson, and Joe Ranft
With Eva Gabor (Bianca), Bob Newhart (Bernard), Tristan Rogers (Jake), John Candy (Wilbur), Adam Ryen (Cody), Frank Welker (Marahute and Joanna), and George C. Scott (McLeach)

Spoiler alert: high

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Who will rescue me?


It's kind of weird to look back and see this as a reversal of Disney's fortunes during some of their darker days, even a modest one, but I suppose it kept the lights on.  Still, I wish I could say something nicer about The Rescuers than that.

Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman, John Lousbery, and Art Stevens
Written by... good Lord, that's a lot of people credited to a 77 minute film (based on the book by Margery Sharp)
With Eva Gabor (Bianca), Bob Newhart (Bernard), Michelle Stacy (Penny), Jim Jordan (Orville), Joe Flynn (Snoops), and Geraldine Page (Medusa)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Sunday, August 12, 2018

I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords


A steady, meticulous dive into all-out evolutionary struggle, Saul Bass's Phase IV is in the running for best "evil bug" movie of all time, which sounds like a low bar, and is, but I do truly mean it in the most complimentary way I could.

Directed by Saul Bass
Written by Mayo Simon
With Michael Murphy (James Lesko), Lynne Frederick (Kendra Eldridge), and Nigel Davenport (Dr. Ernest Hubbs)

Spoiler alert: moderate

All power to all the people


BlacKkKlansman may be responsible for the most feelings I've had in a theater this year, yet none of them conflicted.  Thank you, Spike Lee.

Directed by Spike Lee
Written by Kevin Wilmott, Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, and Spike Lee (based on Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth)
With John David Washington (Det. Ron Stallworth), Adam Driver (Det. Flip Zimmerman), Laura Harrier (Patrice Dumas), Ken Garito (Sgt. Trapp), Michael Buscemi (Jimmy Creek), Corey Hawkins (Kwame "Stokely Carmichael" Ture), Harry Belafonte (Jerome Turner), Alec Baldwin (Dr. Kennebrew Beauregard), Jasper Paakkonen (Felix Kendrickson), Ryan Eggold (Walter Breachway), Paul Walter Hauser (Ivanhoe), and Topher Grace (Grand Wizard David Duke)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Cardboard Science: Stay off the moors!


To a historian, the word "important" means something different, but even by that standard, this movie, that influenced practically nobody, and is remembered now only by the likes of Joe Dante and me, still isn't anywhere close.  Not even when the calendar says it ought to be.

Directed by Edgar G. Ulmer
Written by Aubrey Wisberg and Jack Pollexfen
Robert Clarke (John Lawrence), Margaret Field (Enid Eliot), Raymond Bond (Prof. Eliot), William Schallert (Dr. Mears), and an unknown subject (the Man From Planet X)

Spoiler alert: high

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Chapter VIII: In which Christopher Robin liberates a concentration camp


Say, doesn't "a grown man reunites with his imaginary friends" sound at least as much like a horror movie as it does a cute comedy?  Why, yes.  Yes, it does.

Directed by Marc Forster
Written by Alex Ross Perry and Allison Schroeder
With Ewan McGregor (Christopher Robin), Jim Cummings (Pooh and Tigger), Nick Mohammed (Piglet), Brad Garrett (Eeyore), Peter Capaldi (Rabbit), Sophie Okenedo (Kanga), Sara Sheen (Roo), Toby Jones (Owl), Haley Atwell (Evelyn Robin), and Bronte Carmichael (Madeline Robin)

Spoiler alert: moderate