Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bedknobs And Broomsticks

I'm pretty sure I'd seen Bedknobs And Broomsticks once or twice before but it was so long ago I may as well have been watching it for the first time today.
It's the story of a woman, Miss Price, who has been volunteered (basically) to care for three orphaned children during the war (World War One, I think?). She doesn't want to be their care taker and they don't really want to be her wards, so they decide to sneak out and head back to London. But on their way out the window they see Miss Price flying on a broomstick, figure out she's a witch and the oldest kid, Charlie, decides to blackmail her into being nicer to them. Or into not making them wash for supper or something.
Anyway, Miss Price is merely an apprentice witch and her witching school has just closed down, before she receives her final lesson. So she and the kids ride a magic bed to find her school's headmaster so she can get her final spell for Substitutiary Locomotion.
Bedknobs And Broomsticks is more than two hours long and I spent the whole movie feeling happy and small and nostalgic. Nobody makes movies like it anymore. Every "family" movie these days is CG animation and fart jokes, and if there are any musical numbers they're usually pretty terrible.
I love old Disney movies. Love them. Love them.
It was pretty cool to see David Tomlinson as a sort of incompetent P.T. Barnum instead of a rich, stuffy, uptight dad. And I love Angela Lansbury in just about anything.
Side note: Wouldn't it have been cool if Angela Lansbury and Peter Falk had a kid? It'd be a an unstoppable crime solving machine!
The other thing old movies (...well, some old movies, but this one certainly) used to have that don't seem to exist anymore was child actors who actually seemed to be human. Nowadays it doesn't matter how young the kid is, they always have Angelina Jolie lips and a plastic sheen and human emotions seem to be completely lost on them.
The kids in Bedknobs And Broomsticks, though, looked like people. They acted like people, they had emotions and I bet they did things like go to school and play ball games with friends. At one point I noticed the girl looked like what Jennifer Lawrence would look like if she was twelve years old and had life in her eyes and a genuine smile.
More than any of that, though, Bedknobs And Broomsticks is just fun. It's ridiculously long but I didn't mind that. If there was any part I didn't like, interestingly enough it was the animated part, which was the only thing I had any memory of from when I was a kid. It seemed sort of ... I don't know, rough maybe? None of the animals were very nice and it went on too long.
There's something about Bedknobs And Broomsticks (and in some ways, old live action Disney movies in general) that really ... I don't want to say it gets under my skin because that sounds negative, but that's really the only phrase to describe it. It just makes me feel so calm and happy. It's a good story, a well told story, it's funny without being "funny" (forced goofiness and fart jokes) and it's appropriate for all ages without being saccharine, pandering or false-edgy. It's more honest or something. It wants to entertain you and your family so it has children, witches, cartoons, singing and dancing, flying beds and clothes that dance by themselves.
It's wonderful. It could be a little shorter, but it's wonderful anyway.

End of line.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Red Dawn

I never saw the original Red Dawn, so if you want some comparison study, please to be going elsewhere.
Red Dawn starts with news footage, people talking about political stuff, war type stuff, North Korea type stuff. And I was thinking "This may not be the movie for me." Then it cuts from news footage to teenagers playing football and I thought "And I'm done." If there's one thing I hate more than politics, it's teenagers and football. (That's two things.)
Okay, so the Douchebag brothers, Thor and Really Really Ugly (like, proof we evolved from cavemen; Michael Phelps and this guy are the missing link) are hanging out at a bar after the football game when all the power goes out and I have to fight every one of my natural instincts to keep from screaming "Oh no! Commies!" in a crowded theater.
The next morning, the commies invade Spokane and the Douchebag brothers drive through a bunch of backyards in a failed attempt to rescue Really Really Ugly's girlfriend, Equally Ugly. Then their dad tells them to "go to the cabin" and I think "All right!" because in the past, all the movies I've seen that feature Chris Hemsworth in a cabin turn out amazing.
Turns out, Red Dawn is the opposite of The Cabin In The Woods.
(Also, I find it interesting that I don't really like Chris Hemsworth (I don't necessarily dislike him; I just don't like him) and yet have seen every movie he's been in this year. Admittedly, I wasn't planning to see Red Dawn, it was just the only option tonight, timingwise.)
Anyway, the Douchebags and their friends Hunger Game and First Token Black Guy head out to the cabin, followed by Untrustworthy Guy, Vaguely Ethnic Chick and Vaguely Ethnic Chick's Brother Who I Don't Think Has A Single Audible Line In The Whole Movie.
So Mister Douchebag (I feel bad calling the dad that because he's probably the most likeable character in the movie, but I decided his sons's last name is Douchbag so their dad must be Mister Douchebag) gets killed in the head by the Lead Korean and the Douchebag brothers and all their friends (including Second Token Black Guy and Butterface, who turn up at some point) decide to lead the revolution, calling themselves Wolverines because that's their high school mascot and they have no imaginations.
From that point on, Red Dawn goes in a pattern: action sequence (guns and explodiness!), sappy scene (serious faces and "emotional" speeches). At one point Really Really Ugly rescues Equally Ugly from a bus of prisoners, which is great for them, but really douchey in a "good luck everybody else" way. That bus was full of people and he didn't even hand off the keys to one of the other prisoners before ditching them with his hideous girlfriend.
I will say, though, that the one thing in the movie I thought was really effective was the giant sign in the internment camp that Equally Ugly had to be rescued from. It said "You deserve to be here." Wow. That's fucking harsh. Good job.
The sappy sequences were just ridiculous if for no other reason than they give the audience no fucking reason to really care about these people and their "emotional" speeches. There's no real character development, I don't really relate or sympathize with their situation. Those scenes are just there because the screenwriter thought they were required. "Oh, now it's time to move the story along," or "now it's time to make the audience feel something." Except the movie has no real story and I feel absolutely nothing for any of these people.
At least the explosions were cool. And the movie was nice enough to only kill off characters who they didn't bother to give names.
Also, I have a really hard time believing that a douchey high school football player in 2012 would be a Dinosaur Jr fan. Sorry, costume department.

End of line.

At least, they didn't kill off anybody with a name until almost the end.
What is it about Chris Hemsworth dying abrupt deaths that makes me laugh so much? His death in Cabin In The Woods makes me bust up every time and when he gets suddenly, warninglessly shot in the head in Red Dawn I had to bite my hand to keep from laughing ridiculously loudly in the theater. (Most of the audience seemed to actually be enjoying the movie and I didn't want to ruin it for them if they actually thought that part was sad.)

End of line again.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Three Caballeros

This isn't a review so much as it is a theory. I've been stewing on it for a while and, inspired by Cracked's article today on fan theories about children's cartoons, I have decided to share it with the internet, where it will be promptly ignored.
The Three Caballeros seems to be a movie about Donald Duck's struggle with his sexuality.
The premise of the movie is that it's Donald's birthday and he has received three gifts.
Gift One is a projector and films about birds, including a penguin who doesn't fit in with the other penguins, the flamboyant Aracuan and a scissors bird who gives another bird a new hairstyle.
Gift Two is the charming, well dressed Jose Carioca, who sings Donald a beautiful song and takes him on a trip to Baia, Brazil. There they meet a woman who sings, sells cookies and is constantly surrounded by men. (Donald is infatuated with the woman but so are all the other guys in the scene. Except Jose, who seems to be annoyed and amused by Donald's affection toward the woman.)
Gift Three is Panchito Pistoles, another flamboyant bird, who leads Jose and Donald in the title song, featuring a line that translates to "We're three men, three gay men." He then gives Donald a pinata which bursts open into a full-on Disney Acid Sequence where Donald chases beautiful women, only to have them turn into Jose and Panchito when he kisses them.
Sure, it's a flimsy theory but it's something that occured to me when I was rewatching The Three Caballeros a month or so again and once I thought of it, I could not shake it.
All I'm saying is if Donald isn't at least bisexual why would he want a charming, well dressed man to take him to Brazil for his birthday?

End of line.