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Showing posts from June 29, 2014

Review: A Touch of Class

Married American George Segal wants nothing more than to have an affair with cynical Brit fashion designer Glenda Jackson, but things keep getting thrown in their way…including the fact that their feelings for one another deepen beyond those convenient for a casual arrangement. By the way, Jackson is divorced, and they both have kids, just so you know. Paul Sorvino plays Segal’s annoying work colleague who keeps turning up at the wrong time (and advises Segal to rethink things), whilst Hildegard Neil plays Segal’s wife.

It somehow earned Glenda Jackson an Oscar, but this 1973 so-called romantic comedy from director/co-writer Melvin Frank (writer of “White Christmas” and “Road to Hong Kong”) is the complete antithesis of what a romantic comedy should be. For starters, it’s about a guy trying to cheat on his wife. The woman he wants to cheat with? A cynical, glum-faced, cold-hearted bore of a woman, played thoroughly unappealingly by the overrated Glenda Jackson (who seems to be in grea…

Review: Hercules (1997)

The story of Hercules (voiced by Tate Donovan), the son of Hera (voiced by Samantha Eggar) and the almighty Zeus (voiced by Rip Torn), who in a slightly botched Machiavellian plan by the jealous god Hades (voiced by James Woods), is turned into a mortal, descends to the world of men, but maintains his godly strength. Although adopted by a mortal couple (one of whom is voiced by Hal Holbrook), Hercules finds himself ostracised by both the world of men and the gods. Zeus hooks him up with Philoctetes (voiced by Danny DeVito), a trainer of gods of-sorts, to help redeem Hercules so that he can defeat Hades and re-join the world of gods. Susan Egan voices Megara, whom Hercules falls for, but who has ties to Hades.

Beginning in 1989 with “The Little Mermaid”, Disney hit a bit of a purple patch with their animated films, but kinda hit a wall with this slightly better than mediocre 1997 effort from directors Ron Clements and John Musker (“The Little Mermaid”, “Aladdin”, “Treasure Planet”). Th…

Review: Aladdin

An Arabian Nights tale with the title street thief (voiced by Scott Weinger) finding a genie in a bottle (voiced by Robin Williams) who aids him in pretending to be a prince so that he will seem more attractive to the beautiful Princess Jasmine (voiced by Linda Larkin), whom he had but a fleeting chance encounter with, and whom is given but a few days by her father the Sultan (voiced by Douglas Seale) to find someone to marry. In Aladdin’s way stands the nefarious Jafar (voiced by Jonathan Freeman), a treacherous palace advisor with designs on both Jasmine, and the magic lamp that contains the powerful genie.

One of the films that saw a resurgence from Disney in the late 80s-early 90s, this 1992 animated film is solid entertainment, bolstered unquestionably by the force of nature that is Robin Williams as the genie. Some say that Williams runs riot in the film to the very detriment of the story. To those people I say, lighten up, Francis. The story is still there and it’s much more en…

Review: The Fox and the Hound

Adapted from a 1967 novel (and apparently only very loosely), this is the story of the ups and downs in the relationship of a fox named Tod (voiced as a youngster by Keith Coogan, credited as Keith Mitchell, and as an adult by Mickey Rooney) and a hound dog named Copper (voiced as a youngster by Corey Feldman, and an adult by Kurt Russell), two species of animal destined to be sworn enemies, unbeknownst to them. Copper’s sour (but not very bright) owner Amos Slade (voiced by Jack Albertson) intends to raise Copper as a hunting dog like grizzled, mean-spirited Chief (voiced by Pat Buttram), who is now getting a bit long in the tooth. Jeanette Nolan voices Widow Tweed, Tod’s adopted owner, and the polar opposite of Amos. Pearl Bailey voices the wise old owl Big Mama who looks out for Tod, especially as a youngster. John McIntire, Sandy Duncan, John Fiedler, and Paul Winchell (AKA Tigger) round out the cast of characters, voicing the cranky Badger, female fox Vixey, the aptly named Porcu…

Review: Celeste and Jesse Forever

The title characters (played by Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg, respectively) are formerly a married couple who continue to remain best friends after ending the romantic relationship. This is at the mild disdain and confusion of their engaged friends Eric Christian Olsen and Ari Graynor who find their behaviour and quirky banter bizarre and off-putting. But although the ambitious ‘trend spotter’ Celeste and infrequently employed artist Jesse are wildly different in many ways, they still manage to venture where few others have done so, and keep their friendship after the marriage has fizzled. That’s their story, at any rate, and they’re in the process of a divorce anyway. To anyone paying attention, the duo are still very much in love, which poses quite the problem when Jesse- sick of waiting around for Celeste to change her mind about the divorce he never really wanted- has moved on to the casual dating scene. And that’s when things really go awry, as one of Jesse’s one-night stands c…

Review: Manhattan

Woody Allen plays a 40ish wannabe novelist dating a 17 year-old girl (Mariel Hemingway) when he finds himself clicking with the mistress (Diane Keaton) of his married best pal (Michael Murphy). Meanwhile, Woody is fretting over the upcoming release of a tell-all book written by his ex-wife (Meryl Streep) who left Woody for another woman. This is the very same ‘other woman’ whom Woody allegedly tried to run over with his car, I might add.

It seems like I’m a glutton for punishment, as I wouldn’t have been caught dead watching a bunch of Woody Allen films years ago, even though I’ve liked a couple of them such as “Annie Hall” and “Deconstructing Harry”. But over the last 12 months I seem to be going through them, especially his more recent ones (“Everyone Says I Love You”, “To Rome With Love”, “Cassandra’s Dream”, etc.) But this time I was heading back to 1979 with one of his earlier and more serious films (though there’s a very funny line about orgasms). And y’know what? Co-scripted by…