Jonathan Roberts

Jonathan Roberts

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Picture - Jonathan Roberts and Anna Trebunskaya Las Vegas, Nevada, Wednesday 28th October 2009

Jonathan Roberts, Las Vegas and Wayne Newton - Jonathan Roberts and Anna Trebunskaya premiere at the Tropicana hotel and casino - arrivals Las Vegas, Nevada - Mr Las Vegas, Wayne Newton's new show Once Before I Go Wednesday 28th October 2009

Jonathan Roberts, Las Vegas and Wayne Newton

Picture - Jane Seymour and Jonathan Roberts Las Vegas, Nevada, Saturday 24th October 2009

Jane Seymour and Jonathan Roberts - Jane Seymour and Jonathan Roberts Las Vegas, Nevada - AARP Expo Vegas@50 at Sands Expo Center - Day 3 Saturday 24th October 2009

Jane Seymour and Jonathan Roberts
Jane Seymour and Jonathan Roberts
Jane Seymour and Jonathan Roberts
Jane Seymour and Jonathan Roberts
Jane Seymour and Jonathan Roberts

Picture - Jonathan Roberts and Anna Trebunskaya Las Vegas, Nevada, Saturday 24th October 2009

Jonathan Roberts and Anna Trebunskaya - Jonathan Roberts and Anna Trebunskaya Las Vegas, Nevada - AARP Expo Vegas@50 at Sands Expo Center - Day 3 Saturday 24th October 2009

Jonathan Roberts and Anna Trebunskaya
Jonathan Roberts and Anna Trebunskaya
Jonathan Roberts and Anna Trebunskaya
Jonathan Roberts and Anna Trebunskaya

The Hunchback of Notre Dame Review


Grim
Disney's animation studio just about hit rock bottom in 1996, following its worst film ever, Pocahontas, with another weak entry, a difficult adaptation of Victor Hugo's classic novel.

It's typical of 1990s Disney: unlikely hero (Tom Hulce, as Quisimodo), who falls for a ravishing beauty (Demi Moore, as a gypsy gal), while goofy sidekicks (three stone gargoyles) crack jokes. Every five minutes, someone bursts into song. And yet none of this is kid-friendly, and little of it will be of interest to adults.

Continue reading: The Hunchback of Notre Dame Review

James and the Giant Peach Review


Good
Lemme tell ya, this was the most unusual screening I've been to in a long time. After all, what better way to spend a Saturday morning than with 200 hyperactive children, all of whom are fawning over a guy dressed up in a giant, fuzzy, grey bat suit, complete with six-foot wingspan? (Note: as far as I can tell, the bat had nothing to do with the film.) And lemme tell ya, none of this was as strange as the film I was about to see....

Now I'm probably the last person in the world who ought to judge what makes for a good children's movie, but if you'd asked me that yesterday, I certainly wouldn't have said James and the Giant Peach. This is a story about a young boy, James (Paul Terry), whose parents are eaten by a spiritual rhinoceros. He is adopted by his cruel aunts (Miriam Margolyes and AbFab's Joanna Lumley), who abuse him cruelly. Then an "old man" (Pete Postlethwaite) gives James some "alligator tongues" which he spills on a peach tree, creating the aforementioned giant peach. Inside this peach, where James hides to get away from his aunties, he finds a bunch of giant bugs: a Brooklyn centipede (Richard Dreyfuss), a cowardly earthworm (which is, by the way, not a bug--David Thewlis), a sultry spider (Susan Sarandon), a matronly ladybug (Jane Leeves), and sundry other insects.

Continue reading: James and the Giant Peach Review

Jack Frost Review


Terrible
Not to be confused with the horror film of the same name, this Jack Frost is still so frightening I'd hesitate to put it before any child who ever plans to see a snowman. In this bizarre and god-awful tale, a conveniently-named Colorado blues singer (Colorado blues singer???) called Jack Frost (Keaton) gets his big break on Christmas Day and has to abandon his family to sign the record deal. Naturally, storm hits, car goes off road, Jack dies, and naturally he comes back to life as a snowman. He eats frozen vegetables and tries not to melt, while getting in some quality time with son Charlie (Cross), including hockey lessons with a tree branch. Hideous effects and a just-plain-bad premise make this one to stay away from.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame Review


Grim
Disney's animation studio just about hit rock bottom in 1996, following its worst film ever, Pocahontas, with another weak entry, a difficult adaptation of Victor Hugo's classic novel.

It's typical of 1990s Disney: unlikely hero (Tom Hulce, as Quisimodo), who falls for a ravishing beauty (Demi Moore, as a gypsy gal), while goofy sidekicks (three stone gargoyles) crack jokes. Every five minutes, someone bursts into song. And yet none of this is kid-friendly, and little of it will be of interest to adults.

Continue reading: The Hunchback of Notre Dame Review

The Lion King Review


Extraordinary

One of Disney's greatest achievements, this is to my knowledge the only animated film to be turned into a Broadway musical. (Beauty and the Beast doesn't count, since that film had prior life outside the Disneyverse.)

The Lion King is primarily memorable because it's not based on a fairy tale or a children's story, and thus avoids the cliches that saddle so many Disney flicks. There's no "love conquers all" message, no moral about how trying hard will make everything come out OK. In fact, for much of its running time, The Lion King says the exact opposite: Hakuna Matata means "no worries," right? It's in the past, so let it go. But The Lion King also tells us that we can learn from the past, that tyrants should be overthrown, and that we should own up to our mistakes in the end.

This also makes The Lion King one of Disney's most adult movies. Though it's rated G, it features numerous scenes of peril and death -- with lion cub Simba orphaned after his uncle kills off his dad to usurp the throne and title of king of the jungle. But that too is part of the famed Circle of Life. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Simba runs off to live in the jungle -- gettin' real, ya know -- stricken with guilt that he (thinks he) killed his father. Eventually he returns home to showdown with evil uncle Scar, who has been ruling the jungle with an iron fist, disrupting the Circle of Life.

The Lion King is one of Disney's last great 2-D creations, with computers aiding in some truly stellar moments such as the wildebeest stampede. Lots of perspective shots and moving cameras make this one of the genre's most film-like movies.

If there's anything annoying about the film, it's the singing, young Simba sounds like a young Michael Jackson. On the new song added to the just-out DVD release of the movie, the atrociously vapid "Morning Report," he sounds like a castrato Michael Jackson. You almost don't want him to succeed, but thankfully, Simba eventually grows up and is replaced, voice-wise, by Matthew Broderick. By way of other extras, there's a whole second disc of goodies, including an extensive selection of making-of footage, a deleted scene or two, an alternate first verse of "Hakuna Matata," a special home theater audio mix (sounds good), and about a bazillion kid-friendly features like games and singalongs.

The Lion King has rightfully spawned one of the most enduring industrial complexes ever to come from an animated cat. Way to go, Disney.

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Ah, the majesty.

Jonathan Roberts

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