An intrepid trio of flies -- the corpulent Scooter, brainy IQ, and daring daydreamer Nat -- have longed to be part of some real life adventure. Spurred on by Nat's daredevil Grandpa (Christopher Lloyd) who claims to have accompanied Amelia Earhart on her Trans-Atlantic flight, they decide to stowaway on the upcoming Moon Mission. When the Russian flies find out that there are American insects onboard, they send operative Yegor (Tim Curry) to sabotage the flight. It will be a race between freedom and the forces of evil to ensure the USA places the first men -- and pests -- on the lunar surface.
Continue reading: Fly Me To The Moon Review
The sequel to the abysmal Garfield: The Movie picks up with Garfield's owner Jon Arbuckle (Meyer) on the verge of proposing to veterinarian Liz (Hewitt). Garfield doesn't like this plan one bit, so he sabotages the special night. Regardless, there's not much to undo, as Liz bolts after announcing she has to travel to London for business. Jon, bummed that he missed his chance, flies to London so he can pop the question, while Garfield, with canine nemesis Odie in tow, sneaks aboard the plane.
Continue reading: Garfield: A Tail Of Two Kitties Review
The story involves young Haru (voiced for the States by Anne Hathaway), who rescues a helpless cat from an oncoming truck, only to find herself in the debt of a feline kingdom she formerly didn't know existed. Haru is awakened one night by a bizarre procession on her street: It's the king of the cats (Tim Curry), bearing gifts. Before she knows it, she's whisked into the world of the cats, where she is transformed into a half-cat/half-person, and is told she will be marrying the cat she saved, who turns out to be the cat prince.
Continue reading: The Cat Returns Review
To wit: This is a movie about a Puck-like character named Jack (Tom Cruise, before he hit it really big) who wages war against the Lord of Darkness, a demon seeking to create eternal night in his fantasy kingdom by marrying the local princess (Mia Sara) and killing the last of the unicorns. A quest naturally follows, with the goal of saving the princess -- and along the way, the world.
Continue reading: Legend Review
Unfortunately, that's a scene you won't find in the USA Network's made-for-television Attila, the latest attempt to cash in on the success of Gladiator. A boy becomes a warrior who becomes a king powerful enough to challenge an empire. Are you not entertained?
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The story follows the Thornberrys, a hodge-podge British family of three generations all living in one souped-up trailer home, as they travel throughout the world documenting nature's wonders. Our protagonist is young Eliza (Lacey Chabert), who has been given a magical gift to talk to animals. Eliza is the quintessential loner, as she is more content with her animal friends than her family's rules and constantly seeks adventure. Along with her chimpanzee companion Darwin (Tom Kane), she manages to get into trouble when she recklessly takes the baby cheetah Akela past the safe boundaries of the desert. Sure enough, malicious poachers snatch up Akela from a helicopter, and despite Eliza's heroic efforts, she's unable to save the cub. Heartbroken and facing rebuke from her bewildered parents, Eliza is shipped off to boarding in school in England. Trapped in the confines of "civilization," Eliza vows to find the lost cheetah cub and to return to her family where she rightfully belongs.
Continue reading: The Wild Thornberrys Movie Review
As if your kid will care, Rugrats Go Wild! is a cross between the shows Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys, in which a Rugrats family vacation leads to being stranded on a deserted island. The only other inhabitants are the Thornberrys, a dysfunctional set of explorers with a souped-up RV that makes the new Lexus SUVs look like bumper cars. The adults get the idea to start going Lord of the Flies. The babies get the idea to start going exploring, and I get the idea to leave the theatre before dealing with an extra hour and a half of wasted time.
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Sure 'nuff, I never could have expected the day when Olivia Williams (Rushmore) and Balthazar Getty (Shadow Hours) would appear in the same film -- much less play lovers. And in fact, the rest of 4 Dogs Playing Poker is just as improbable, with Tim Curry(!) leading four young and aspiring art thieves on a caper in Argentina, only to blow it by failing to ensure the loot is shipped to the man (Forest Whitaker) who comissioned the gig. Our young heroes find themselves in a bind, as Curry gets snuffed and they are asked to pay up $1 million for the objet d'art gone missing. Their plan: insure each of their lives for a mil, then secretly and randomly assign one of the four to kill another, thus collecting the payoff fee.
Continue reading: 4 Dogs Playing Poker Review
In Kinsey, writer/director Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters) makes all this into a divertingly fresh story about a scientific crusader who was just too honest and inquisitive for his own good. But rather than taking a straightforward biographical approach, Condon fortunately makes the film a character study of Kinsey himself, wisely placing star Liam Neeson front and center. The film opens in black and white, Neeson quizzing his researchers on how best to interview a subject for the study. He's forthright, strong-willed and oddly provocative - you'd give up your life story to this guy in about ten seconds.
Continue reading: Kinsey Review
Baldwin is perfect, but his sparring partner, Sean Connery, is even better. As a Russian sub captain defecting to the U.S. -- and bringing his titular, silent sub with him -- Connery turns in yet another memorable performance, full of ballsy gusto and cocksureness. Supporting players run the gamut from Sam Neill to James Earl Jones (the only real fixture in the Jack Ryan cycle) to Tim Curry.
Continue reading: The Hunt For Red October Review
Celebrating 25 years of making high-schoolers giddy with its debauchery and high camp, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is back with a 25th Anniversary two-disc DVD edition, complete with deleted scenes, outtakes, interviews, and an audience participation track.
Continue reading: The Rocky Horror Picture Show Review
It's easy to see why the money is going elsewhere. Valiant clocks in at just below 80 minutes, and it feels padded. The typical Disney trademarks of untested heroes, sarcastic sidekicks, and puppy love are offered, but they feel like hand-me-downs, worn ragged by Aladdin, Timon, and the rest. Nothing in Valiant is larger than life, including the villains, always a staple. Tim Curry voices an evil falcon, and his work won't make anyone forget Jeremy Irons' Scar anytime soon.
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Oddly enough, the songs are the only memorable parts of Annie, the lavish 1982 John Huston musical. Six-year-olds who see the movie now are sure to disagree, which is the way it should be.
Continue reading: Annie Review
Writer-director Bill Condon has a talent for hitting just the right tone in his work. Whether he's paying stylistic homage to "Bride of Frankenstein" creator James Whale in "Gods and Monsters" or writing a screenplay for "Chicago" that re-envisioned the Broadway musical as a wannabe showgirl's uniquely cinematic daydream, Condon always finds a way to seamlessly marry the crux of his story to the strengths of his medium.
In "Kinsey," he legitimizes and revitalizes a rather tiresome narrative gimmick -- on-camera interviews with the characters. For a biopic about legendary sex researcher Alfred Kinsey, there could be no more apropos structure for the story. Kinsey himself interviewed thousands of Americans about their bedroom predilections in the 1940s and '50s to compile his groundbreaking, rather comprehensive and certainly controversial studies on the subject. So Condon opens the film in kind -- with a simple, head-on, black-and-white image of the bluntly matter-of-fact and obliviously awkward Professor Kinsey (Liam Neeson) being quizzed about his own background and sexual experience.
Composing the film around Kinsey's answers, Condon cues flashbacks of an upbringing under the fire-and-brimstone hand of a preacher father (John Lithgow), introduces the equally clinical-yet-passionate student who becomes his wife (Laura Linney), touches on the man's own pseudo-scientific dalliances and their promiscuous effect on his marriage, and sets the stage for the studies that helped launch the sexual revolution.
Continue reading: Kinsey Review
Maybe it's just me, but doesn't it seem flagrantly irresponsible to market a cartoon to kids in which a diaper brigade of babies have wonderful adventures when they wander away from their parents and get lost?
I've never seen the "Rugrats" TV show, but the plots of both nerve-grinding movies that the Nickelodeon series has spawned have involved children disappearing, and treated such events as a cornucopia of light-hearted entertainment.
I might be a little sensitive to the subject, but in a cultural climate in which kids seem to get kidnapped (and often murdered) more and more frequently, do we really want G-rated movies giving our little ones the impression that going missing is great fun?
Continue reading: Rugrats In Paris Review
Far more imaginative and ambitious than the trivial, cash-in features Nickelodeon has made from its other animated TV series, "The Wild Thornberrys Movie" is a funny, original, whimsical but meaningful story of an intrepid 12-year-old girl's adventures in Africa.
Directors Cathy Malkasian and Jeff McGrath get off to a bit of a clumsy start, catching up uninitiated audience members with a rushed, "the story so far"-style prologue that establishes the Thornberrys as globe-trotting naturalists (can-do American mother and pith-helmeted English father host their own cable TV nature show). In the first two minutes a busy voice-over also explains that nerdy heroine Eliza (all freckles, braces and braids) was given the ability to talk to the animals by a tribal shaman, and that she'll lose the gift if she ever tells anyone about it. Obviously this fact will come into play, because it's greatly emphasized.
But soon Eliza's adventures begin in earnest, when she's packed off to boarding school -- on the advice of her priggish blue-blood grandmother -- after almost being kidnapped by poachers while playing with some friendly cougar cubs.
Continue reading: The Wild Thornberrys Movie Review
In one of many joyously over-the-top undercover scenes in the impish big screen adaptation of "Charlie's Angels," Drew Barrymore -- incognito as part of a sexbomb race track pit crew clad in cleavage-flaunting stars-and-stripes leather jumpsuits -- distracts a bad guy's chauffeur by seductively licking the steering wheel of his car.
The way Barrymore embraces the preposterousness of this moment with giddy aplomb personifies the spirit of this comedically sexy, digitally enhanced, candy-colored, B-movie mock-exploitation romp.
A vast, sassy, action-packed improvement on the '70s TV show, which never could reconcile its insincere femme empowerment message with its transparent jiggle factor draw, this picture adds to the mix a "Xena"-like self-aware sense of humor that gives flight to the formulaic proceedings.
Continue reading: Charlie's Angels Review
Technically speaking, "Scary Movie 2" is a real mess. The editing is pathetic, mostly because the script -- if you can call it that -- is just a series of unrelated horror movie japes put in almost random order and tied together by about two minutes of plot.
Characters disappear completely from the story without explanation and blatant continuity errors abound because some gags where left on the cutting room floor while the follow-up jokes were kept. In one scene a character is lying in a pool of blood, then a second later the blood is gone. Then it's back, then it's gone again, then it's back again. No attempt whatsoever is made to cover up this sloppy, choppy, rushed-into-production total lack of cohesion.
But comedically speaking, "Scary Movie 2" is an almost constant laugh riot of extreme gross-out humor and surprisingly limber lampoonery -- and this is coming from a guy who didn't think much of the first "Scary Movie" and was pretty irritated when the Wayans brothers (director Keenen Ivory and stars Shawn and Marlon) broke their promise not to make a sequel.
Continue reading: Scary Movie 2 Review
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