Andrew Gunn

Andrew Gunn

Andrew Gunn Quick Links

Film RSS

Race to Witch Mountain Review


OK
The '70s were not a good time for Disney. Not only were their animated "masterworks" failing to live up to their flawless ancestry, but their live action efforts -- Super Dad, Castaway Cowboy -- were truly testing audience patience. In 1975, British director John Hough, responsible for the genre hit The Legend of Hell House, was hired to adapt Alexander Key's 1968 novel Escape to Witch Mountain into a feature film. The story of two children possessing paranormal powers, and the extraterrestrial origins of said skills, became one of the company's few hits of the day.

It was so popular that they made a sequel (1978's Return to Witch Mountain), a '90s TV movie, and now a full blown remake starring former wrestling icon Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. While the title suggests a sort of urgency, there really was no need to create this Race to Witch Mountain. While enjoyable, it's largely foolish and forgettable.

Continue reading: Race to Witch Mountain Review

Bedtime Stories Review


OK
After dozens of movies, Adam Sandler remains hard to figure out. Most of Sandler's films slavishly follow the mold of most film comedies of the last decade or so: a somewhat funny male star (Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Will Ferrell, Seth Rogen, Adam Sandler) is dropped into an unfunny premise with a lot of gross-out scenes and poop jokes to make up for the lack of laughs.

But the other part of Sandler's "oeuvre" consists of movies like Spanglish and Punch-Drunk Love -- odd hybrids of broad humor and quirk -- and toned-down, frothy mainstream comedies like Click and Bedtime Stories. It would be unfair to accuse Sandler of selling out his artistic vision in these films -- not only because Little Nicky wasn't art, but because the non-manic goofiness of Bedtime Stories may be closer to the real Sandler. And with some script consulting help, someday the real Sandler might make a really good film. Bedtime Stories isn't it, but at least it's mostly aimed in the right direction.

Continue reading: Bedtime Stories Review

Freaky Friday (2003) Review


Excellent
On the surface, Freaky Friday has all the signs of being awful -- horrible trailer, atrocious poster (Jamie Lee Curtis dressed like a middle-aged Avril Lavigne), and the presence of Mark Harmon. I don't mean to disparage Harmon, whom I actually think is a solid, reliable actor. It's just that since the late 1980s, the moviegoing public has inexplicably and repeatedly rejected him like snobby prom queens.

Plus, it's a Disney live-action movie. Need I say more?

Continue reading: Freaky Friday (2003) Review

Sky High Review


Weak
The high school melodrama gets feebly super-charged in Sky High, a tween-oriented Disney adventure made from the spare parts of Harry Potter, Spy Kids, X-Men and '80s teen romances like Some Kind of Wonderful. Without an original bone in its mutant body, Mike Mitchell's decidedly mortal misfire - too childish and metaphorically shallow to appeal to serious comic book fans, and too prosaic to strike a chord with those weaned on Pixar's far more exhilarating The Incredibles - is a misguided movie in search of a suitable identity. While cheery, colorful, and buoyant as Superman on a nighttime flight around Metropolis, this humdrum escapade nonetheless lacks any sign of an extraordinary imagination. An example of bland mix-and-match derivativeness, the film's espousals of egalitarianism not only promote the values of tolerance and cross-cultural harmony, but also wind up functioning as a preemptive validation for its own mild, middle-of-the-pack mundaneness.

Will Stronghold (Michael Angarano) is the son of the world's greatest heroes, super-strong Captain Stronghold (Kurt Russell) and high-flying Josie Jetstream (Kelly Preston). However, despite his impressive lineage, Will's lack of astonishing abilities poses complications on his first day at Sky High, a Hogwarts-esque floating academy for exceptionally gifted teens. Because of his embarrassing ordinariness, Will is shuttled into the "Sidekick" academic track (euphemistically referred to as "Hero Support") with his hippie best friend Layla (Danielle Panabaker) and other lamely powered misfits. Sidekicks are unpopular geeks and Heroes are the cool kids at this fantastic high school, which also features a cheerleading squad made up of clones, a mixed-lineage (hero and villain) rebel as Will's brooding arch-nemesis, and bullies acting as evil henchmen for a mysterious fiend who's plotting revenge against the Stronghold clan. This passing interest in metaphorical subtext proves tantalizing during Will's admission to his dad that he's a sidekick (a moment that recalls X-Men 2's "coming out" scene), as well as with the repeated adult refrain that Will is just a "late bloomer" (thus linking his nascent strengths with puberty). Yet content to only skim the surface of its symbolic potential, the film doggedly opts for obviousness when subtlety is called for, ultimately turning its story into simply the latest misfit-makes-good-and-proves-that-dorks-are-people-too adolescent fairy tale.

Continue reading: Sky High Review

The Country Bears Review


Grim
Never mind comic books and video games... Believe it or not, Walt Disney's The Country Bears is (to our knowledge) the first movie based on an amusement park attraction. What's next, It's A Small World: The Motion Picture? Maybe Journey Through The Hall Of Presidents? [No, but The Pirates of the Caribbean comes out in 2003. -Ed.]

In the film, a cub named Beary runs away from his human family to find his heroes, a defunct musical act dubbed The Country Bears. Beary knows he doesn't belong with the members of his foster family and is drawn by the promise that you can be "different" with the Bears, and still be accepted. But the Bears have more issues than an episode of Behind the Music. A sleazy banker (Christopher Walken) seeks to foreclose on Country Bear Hall if back payments totaling $20,000 aren't made immediately. Beary convinces the band to hold a reunion show to save their cherished performance hall. Unfortunately, getting the disgruntled musicians under the same roof becomes an unbearable challenge.

Continue reading: The Country Bears Review

The Haunted Mansion Review


OK
Attendance must be down at Disney theme parks. It's the only explanation I can come up with that would explain the Mickey Mouse conglomerate's insistence on making movies based on attractions in its parks. After all, what better way to remind us that we're overdue for a visit? Earlier this year, The Pirates of the Caribbean dazzled us with its vivid animation and special effects, while last years The Country Bears fizzled behind some silly singing animals. As Disney's third attempt, The Haunted Mansion flourishes more than it flounders, but only works as mindless entertainment.

Eddie Murphy stars as a sleazy realtor named Jim Evers, who along with his wife Sara (Marsha Thomason), have built one of the most successful real estate practices in New Orleans. Jim has closed a record seven deals in the last month alone, yet despite the success, Sara has grown tired of Jim's absence from their children's soccer games and team barbeques. Deciding it is time for a vacation, the Evers set out on a road trip. But before they leave town, Jim must make one last deal at the sprawling Edward Grace Estate.

Continue reading: The Haunted Mansion Review

Andrew Gunn

Andrew Gunn Quick Links

Film RSS
Advertisement

Suggested

Youth - Trailer

Youth - Trailer

Set in the beautiful Swiss Alps, Youth sees Michael Caine & Harvey Keitel in a fine piece of work.

Straight Outta Compton - Movie Review

Straight Outta Compton - Movie Review

This biopic gallops through the career of groundbreaking gangsta rappers N.W.A, working its way through a checklist of the major events.

We Are Your Friends Resonated With Zac Efron

We Are Your Friends Resonated With Zac Efron

While talking about his new drama We Are Your Friends, Zac Efron has been unusually thoughtful.

Advertisement
New Adele And Coldplay Albums Due For Release In The Next Few Months?

New Adele And Coldplay Albums Due For Release In The Next Few Months?

New reports indicate that eagerly awaited albums by Adele and Coldplay are set...

45 Years - Movie Review

45 Years - Movie Review

Like an antidote to vacuous blockbusters, this intelligent, thoughtful drama packs more intensity into a quiet conversation than any number of...

Z For Zachariah Pushed Robbie, Ejiofor And Pine As Actors

Z For Zachariah Pushed Robbie, Ejiofor And Pine As Actors

Z for Zachariah was a welcome challenge for high-profile stars Margot Robbie, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Chris Pine.

Daniel Craig Talks About The Pressures Of Celebrity Superstardom

Daniel Craig Talks About The Pressures Of Celebrity Superstardom

Ahead of his fourth turn as James Bond in Spectre later this year, Daniel Craig has spoken...

Advertisement