Friday means two things: the weekend is almost here, and the weekly News Bites are here. This week’s a little on the light side (after a few heavy weeks), although there’s some TV schedule news I’m holding in reserve until I can sort through it all. What’s left is curiously mostly sequel and reboot news — but then, that’s not all that unusual. So to see what’s going on this week, keep reading. Continue reading
Once again, Friday morning brings with it a week’s worth of news out of Hollywood. And once again, a lot of it involves remakes and reboots: this time with appropriately metaphorical animals, including dragons, snakes, and phoenixes.
There’s even a theme park ride getting the revival treatment. So read on to find out what’s coming back to a theatre — or amusement park — near you. Continue reading
I have to hand it to Dreamworks. As easy as it is to churn out sequel after sequel — and they certainly do so, with Shrek having four films and a spinoff, and Madagascar on its third film — they also take shots at some different concepts. Monsters vs Aliens says exactly what it is upfront, but while it would be easy to expect a children’s movie with such a clear-cut premise to be simply a brainless bash, it is actually a fun and funny film — which certain adults may even enjoy more than the children in the audience, as the team of writers and directors (headed by Rob Letterman and Conrad Vernon) crafted a film that, while perhaps not particularly deep, is very much aware of its lineage and its own general silliness.
The story starts with Susan Murphy, voiced by Reese Witherspoon. The film uses a lot of celebrity voices, but doesn’t fall victim to the frequent problem of the voice actor’s fame dominating the character; when hearing Susan speak, it feels natural and doesn’t call Witherspoon to mind. Susan is preparing for her wedding when she’s struck by a radioactive meteor. Mid-ceremony, she begins glowing and growing, achieving gargantuan heights and wrecking both the ceremony and the church. The military is called in to subdue her, even though she’s not rampaging intentionally. Continue reading
I never really watch a made-for-TV movie with high expectations, though I’ve seen a few that are actually pretty good. While I hope that every theatrical movie I watch is great — minus those few that are obvious candidates for the Morbid Curiosity Files — when it comes to their small-screen counterparts, I mostly hope for something that’s just OK. Every so often I get surprised by one that’s better than expected, but especially with older ones, it doesn’t happen very often.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t reasons to check them out, though. Sometimes an older TV movie can be fun to watch just to see who turns up. In the case of Charles Braverman’s 1986 TV movie, The Brotherhood of Justice, the reason to watch is the chance to see a young Keanu Reeves play off a young Kiefer Sutherland. Continue reading
It’s Kiefer Sutherland, and he’s playing a government employee named Jack who plays by his own rules. And it’s not 24. In 1998′s Ground Control, Sutherland plays air traffic controller Jack Harris, who — through no fault of his own — is at the controls when a plane loses control and crashes, killing all on board. Harris is traumatized by the event, and quits to become a software programmer (working on flight sims from the little we see) until his friend and co-worker T.C. Bryant (Bruce McGill) calls him back to work one New Year’s Eve when the control center in Phoenix is swamped with an above-average number of planes and an incoming storm.
I’m sure it’s possible to make an entertaining, exciting movie out of air traffic control, but this most certainly isn’t it. Continue reading
Happy Halloween, everybody! It’s October 31st, and we’ve got one last Halloween Haunter to discuss before November rolls around and the blog returns to some semblance of normalcy, at least for a few weeks. While this month has been filled with an awful lot of pain and agony — on the part of your friendly neighborhood blogger more than the characters in these horror movies — for the big day I’m finishing on a relatively strong note, the 1987 vampire movie, The Lost Boys.
The Lost Boys is the story of brothers Michael and Sam (Jason Patric and Corey Haim), who are moving with their mother, Lucy (Dianne Wiest) to their grandfather’s home in Santa Carla after she has divorced their father. Lucy insists they’re going to love Santa Carla, but Sam can’t help but notice the welcome sign has been graffiti’d to add “Murder Capital of the World”. Not an encouraging sign. They get to their grandfather’s place, and after a brief freakout at his taxidermy shop, they settle in and get ready to adjust to their new lives and the eccentricities of their grandpa (Barnard Hughes).
Soon they begin to explore the boardwalk of Santa Carla, and all three transplanted family members find something that will become important to their immediate futures. Continue reading