Posted in Blog Posts, DC Comics, Flick Central

Shazam!, based on characters from the DC Universe: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Young Thaddeus Sivana, his brother, and his father are on their way to visit his grandfather for Christmas when he is suddenly pulled from the back seat to a strange world – a cave full of status and a strange wizard offering him untold amounts of power.  When he fails the test to gain the wizards powers he is returned to the car.

Over 40 years later, Billy Batson runs away (once again) from his foster family in his quest to find his biological mom.  When he is taken back to Child Services by police he is transferred to a new family…one full of kids and parents who have and are in the system.  After fending off some bullies picking on one of his new foster brothers Billy takes off for the subway where he is transported to the Rock of Eternity.  This time the wizard chooses him to become the new keeper of his powers.  The one and only Shazam!

When Billy returns to Earth he seeks out the help of his foster brother to learn about his new powers.  It isn’t until he is attacked by a demon wielding bad guy that he realizes maybe being on his own isn’t the best way to do things.

General Information:

-Genre: Superhero, Coming of Age, Family

-Creator: based on characters from the DC Universe

-Length: 132 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (moderate violence and gore, mild profanity, very mild alcohol use, moderate frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: HBO Max (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Djimon Hounsou

-Page of Reference in RP1: DC Comics is mentioned throughout the book

Review (contains spoilers):

This was a genuinely fun and heartfelt movie.  With this and the Birds of Prey film I finally think that DC is taking a note from MARVEL for its full-length movies – they should be something else first (like a coming of age story) and a superhero film second.

Shazam! Covered this with no problems.  From the heartfelt story of a foster kid learning that not all families are going to betray his trust to the upfront villain’s backstory dealing with a disfunctional family, to the insanely over the top comic book style this film was truly a coming-of-age story for a new generation.

The mythos of Shazam was presented in a way that had the audience laughing along with two teenagers trying to find their place in the world.  It wasn’t overly expositional or pretentious as has happened many times over in the DC Comics film and television universe. 

The fight scenes are fun and have incredibly effective use of cinematic effects like slow motion that are seen throughout superhero films.

The characters and the costumes are age appropriate and fully developed to tell the story, not just of the people and their roles with each other but with glimpses of their pasts. And the actors do an incredible job acting like their younger counterparts even when they are the adult versions of their superhero personas.

And most of all the story of a foster family who wants to build a life with another foster kid…who won’t quit on them…who won’t leave them behind…is something that is so needed today when so many people have felt left out or downtrodden.

This is really a comic book come to life and I cannot wait to see the second movie.  It can’t come out fast enough.

Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Star Wars

The Muppet Show: STARRING the Cast of STAR WARS, created by Jim Henson: a TV Episode Review

Synopsis:

When prepping the night’s guest star, Angus McGonagle the gargling argyle gargoyle (say that ten times fast) something goes wrong and Luke Skywalker (accompanied by C-3PO and R2-D2) comes crashing into the dressing room looking for Chewbacca.  Scooter decides they would be much better guest stars for the evening and bumps Angus McGonagle.

As the opening number commences Kermit introduces the guests from Star Wars who would be joining them this week.  McGonagle comes on stage and is upset that he doesn’t get to do his act “gargling Gershwin” to which Kermit is grateful and as a condolence lets the shepherd, shepherdess and sheep perform their number.

As Luke Skywalker is backstage he gets mistaken by Fozzie as Mark Hamill, who Luke says is his cousin and just outside…and commences one of the weeks running gag that both Mark Hamill AND Luke Skywalker are both guest starring on the week’s show.

Mark and Angus gargle together followed by Scooter getting to try out his new skill on his new guitar (accompanied by the Electric Mayhem in his mind).  He’s a bit clumsy with the song but he’s still learning!

Robin races to tell Kermit that Luke has taken over the Swinetrek! To which he tries to find them…but is thwarted by the fact that the ship is already off on it’s mission…to save Chewbacca.  Which they do. Much to the distain of Darth Nadir.

The whole crew gets together to sing and dance to a few songs, wrapping up the show with both Luke Skywalker and Mark Hamill making an appearance side by side to say good night.

General Information:

-Genre: Family Sketch Comedy Special

-Creator: Jim Henson

-Length: 25 minutes

-Rating: PG (while it has some of the same reasoning as The Muppet Show overall, this one does have lots of door kicking and Star Wars characters…so…)

-Where to Watch: Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Angus McGonagle, Luke Skywalker, C-3PO, R2-D2, Gonzo, Scooter, Chewbacca, Mark Hamill, The Newsman, The Electric Mayhem, Animal, Robin, Captain Link Hogthrob, Dr. Julius Strangepork, Darth Nadir

-Page of Reference in RP1: 22 (for information on why this was included look here)

Review (contains spoilers):

Such a fun episode.  Some great songs, some great bits with the Star Wars characters.  I love that Miss Piggy dresses up as Leia and throws herself at Luke (this episode came out JUST before Episode 5 so that makes the whole thing even funnier).

Mark Hamill looks like he had SO MUCH FUN as himself on the show being goofy and just a general riot.  Between his impressions, and his gargling, he just looks like he was having a blast hanging out with the Muppets, as I hope any of us would.

The Star Trek/Star Wars Crossover is hilarious and you can never be upset at Gonzo playing Darth Nadir.

The “tailor” gag is great too since the outfit Luke Skywalker wears isn’t seen in Episode 4 but is instead an outfit from Episode 5 that he wears on Bespin I believe.  And that movie wouldn’t come out for a few months into 1980…this episode aired in January.

Overall a really silly and fun episode with some great songs and great comedy as the Muppets always bring to the table.  And who doesn’t love seeing stars being silly and goofy and having a great time being themselves and enjoying their time.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Hook, created by James V. Hart and Malia Scotch Marmo, based on the story Peter and Wendy by J. M. Barrie: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Peter Banning, a successful lawyer in San Francisco, is struggling with other aspects of his life.  Between his work and his children as well as his relationship with his wife, Moira, Peter seems unaware that his devotion to his job is not only straining these relationships, but they have been brought nearly to the breaking point.  When the family goes to England to celebrate Granny Wendy’s hospital wing dedication the family is thrown back into the world of Peter and Moira’s childhood.

Granny Wendy took in Peter as the first orphan that she helped raise.  Over the years she helpd so many other lost children that there is now a wing of the local hospital being dedicated to her work.  It is on the night of the dedication that tragedy strikes.  While Peter’s children, Jack and Maggie, are staying at the house with Granny Wendy’s housekeeper and one of her friends, Liza and Tootles, someone breaks into the house and steals the children.

Upon their return to find their beds empty Peter is confronted with the fact that the stories of Wendy and Peter Pan are not just stories at all…that he is actually Peter Pan.  And his children have been taken by the notorious Captain Hook and his crew.  But Peter doesn’t want to believe…can’t believe.  It is only when he is finally pulled into Neverland that Peter must confront his past.  The one that he chose to bury a long time ago when he fell in love with Wendy’s granddaughter, Moira.

General Information:

-Genre: Fantasy, Swashbuckler/Pirate, Action/Adventure, Family

-Creator: created by James V. Hart and Malia Scotch Marmo, based on the story Peter and Wendy by J. M. Barrie

-Length: 142 minutes

-Rating: PG (mild violence, mild profanity, mild use of alcohol and smoking, mild frightening scenes and deaths)

-Where to Watch: Netflix (with subscription), Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), iTunes (Buy/Rent), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Robin Williams, Julia Roberts, Dustin Hoffman, Bob Hoskins, Maggie Smith, Charlie Korsmo

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

This is by far my favorite rendition of Peter Pan. 

I love the characterization of Wendy and how they aged her.  She isn’t the same Wendy that you know from the Disney version of the story…or from Finding Neverland…or any other rendition of Peter Pan. And Maggie Smith does in incomparable job in her performance.

Peter is a scared and oblivious man that took on so many of the characteristics of Captain Hook that he always fought against.  Not just growing up but greed and selfishness.  Robin Williams does a spectacular job of portraying Peter from start to finish.

Moira and the children are fabulous.  Tootles and Liza are beloved side characters.

And the Lost Boys and Tinkerbell… Rufio in particular… are just how I imagined them when reading Peter Pan as a child.  They are crazy and imaginative and just children. Tink is delightful (and much better than the cartoon version of herself).

Hook in this film is the best Hook.  He is the swashbuckling, vindictive, and overly vain.  Dustin Hoffman was by far the perfect choice for this roll (though I would have been fascinated to see David Bowie in the roll…)

I love the story and the way things develop.  The set dressing is perfect from the house in England to the Lost Boys clearing to Hook’s pirate ship.

The costumes are extravagant and over the top.  Slightly cartoony in places but not in a way that would be considered out of place.  They tell so much of the story of the characters that we don’t get to hear.

And can we just agree that the whole film is a stunning work that expands the story of Peter Pan that we all grew up with.

I ALWAYS recommend this to families with older kids.  It is a great film to watch with the family and one that I continue to enjoy immensely even into my 30s.

Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Schoolhouse Rock!, created by David McCall: a Video Shorts Review

Synopsis:

A series of Educational Children’s Shorts that were mostly written in the 1970s and played on children’s television in between cartoons and other family programs to help to teach abstract or difficult concepts in bite sized songs that could and would carry through with them until adulthood.  The Compilations are as follows with their subject in italics after the song title:

Multiplication Rock:

  1. Elementary, My Dear – multiplying by 2
  2. Three Is a Magic Number – multiplying by 3
  3. The Four-Legged Zoo – multiplying by 4
  4. Ready or Not, Here I Come – multiplying by 5
  5. I Got Six – multiplying by 6
  6. Lucky Seven Sampson – multiplying by 7
  7. Figure Eight – multiplying by 8
  8. Naughty Number Nine – multiplying by 9
  9. My Hero, Zero — multiplying by 10
  10. The Good Eleven – multiplying by 11
  11. Little Twelvetoes – multiplying by 12

Grammar Rock:

  1. A Noun is a Person, Place or Thing – what is a noun?
  2. Verb: That’s What’s Happening – the function of verbs
  3. Conjunction Junction – how conjunctions work
  4. Interjections! – using interjections in sentences!
  5. Unpack Your Adjectives – what does an adjective effect?
  6. Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here – how do you use adverbs?
  7. Rufus Xavier Sarsparilla – utilizing pronouns to shorten sentences
  8. Busy Prepositions – what is a preposition and what does it do?
  9. The Tale of Mr. Morton – subjects and their predicates

America Rock:

  1. No More Kings – the story of American Independence
  2. The Shot Heard Around the World – the start to the American Revolutionary War
  3. The Preamble – the first part of the American Constitution
  4. Sufferin’ ‘till Suffrage – the Women’s Suffrage Movement!
  5. I’m Just a Bill – how does a bill become a law?
  6. The Great American Melting Pot – Immigration and how wonderful it is for America
  7. Elbow Room – the Territorial evolution of the US
  8. Fireworks – how the Declaration of Independence came to fruition
  9. Mother Necessity – the story of inventions and inventing
  10. Three Ring Government – what the branches of American Government do
  11. I’m Gonna Send Your Vote to College – how the Electoral College works
  12. Presidential Minute (The Campaign Trail) – Voting for the President

Science Rock:

  1. Victim of Gravity – how gravity works
  2. Interplanet Janet – the solar system and plants
  3. The Body Machine – how the digestive system works
  4. Do the Circulation – body circulation
  5. The Energy Blues – conserving energy
  6. The Not-So-Dry Bones – how your skeletal system works
  7. Electricity, Electricity – all about electricity
  8. Telegraph Line – what does your nervous system do
  9. The Greatest Show on Earth (The Weather Show) – WEATHER!

Money Rock:

  1. Dollars and Sense – how interest and loans
  2. Tax Man Max – taxes
  3. Where the Money Goes – family budget, bills, and expenses
  4. $7.50 Once a Week – personal budgeting
  5. Tyrannosaurus Debt – budget deficit and the US National Debt
  6. This for That – Bartering and the history of currency
  7. Walkin’ on Wall Street – how the stock exchange
  8. The Check’s in the Mail – how to use checks

Earth Rock:

  1. Report from the North Pole – what is Climate Change?
  2. The Little Things We Do – Global Energy conservation
  3. The Trash Can Band – how Recycling works
  4. You Ought Be Savin’ Water – Global water conservation
  5. The Rainforest – all about the rainforests
  6. Save the Ocean – global Ocean conservation
  7. Fat Cat Blue: The Clean Rivers Song – marine debris and how to help
  8. A Tiny Urban Zoo – gardening!
  9. Solar Power to the People – solar energy
  10. Windy and the Windmills – wind energy
  11. Don’t Be a Carbon Sasquatch – reducing carbon footprints
  12. The 3 R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

General Information:

-Genre: Educational Music Videos

-Creator: David McCall

-Length: vary in length…no more than 5 minutes each with most clocking in at around the 3 minute mark

-Rating: TV-E (children’s educational songs mostly from the 1970s so there are a few clips with a cat smoking or other “questionable” materials…)

-Where to Watch: Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Page of Reference in RP1: 63

Review (contains spoilers):

Multiplication Rock:

I grew up listening to this CD and watching the songs when they were on TV between cartoons on Saturday mornings.  To this day I still can’t do some of my multiplication tables without singing some of the songs.  They are incredibly effective. 

The music is catchy and easy for kids to understand.  The tunes stick in your head years later.  They teach the concepts quickly and in ways that are memorable which is what good educational programming should do.

Grammar Rock:

Just like with Multiplication Rock, I grew up listening to these on CD.  I love how they took more complicated concepts like conjunctions and predicates (which as an adult I still don’t always remember how they work… I just know they do) and made them easy for kids to learn and use.  Like all of the other Schoolhouse Rock! songs, these are incredibly catchy and memorable.  They do a great job with all of the difficult concepts for kids to learn!  And who doesn’t need better grammar these days?

America Rock:

This is a series that I know I saw in bits and pieces as a kid but don’t know by heart the way I know multiplication rock and grammar rock.  The songs are quite decent in this series but do tend to gloss over some of the more difficult moments in history (like the Louisiana Purchase going smoothly and totally not stealing the land from Indigenous people….ugh) but I think the general concepts are pretty decent.

There are a few songs I really love like The Preamble which got me out of a few tests and a LOT of bonus points in government classes through the years, and The Great American Melting Pot because we should hold the idea that we welcome all immigrants to our land.

Overall, this isn’t my favorite of the Schoolhouse Rock! series.

Science Rock:

I didn’t grow up with these.  I discovered them later in life when I bought the 30th anniversary DVD release.  These ones would have been so helpful in school, but I still love them now as an adult.  From the 1950s sock hop rock to the wonderful Interplanet Janet and her catchy ride through the stars it is hard to get upset with these ones.  Really fun renditions of proven scientific theories like gravity, how your body works and how to conserve energy…even the weather.  They are like 3-minute Magic Schoolbus Episodes.  And that is awesome.

Money Rock:

I am looking for the videos of all of these to do a proper review… this will be updated.

Earth Rock:

I am looking for the videos of all of these to do a proper review….this will be updated.

Final thoughts:

Overall, I highly recommend this series to people with kids. There are some questionable moments because it was made mostly in the 1970s and some of what is deemed “acceptable” is different now but none of it really felt troubling or damaging upon re-watch.  Definitely be willing to talk to your kids about why some of the things they animate aren’t ok (the man chasing the woman during “pursuit of happiness” in Fireworks comes to mind).

I love that the music styles and animation styles change for nearly every song.  It makes all of them so distinct and more difficult to mix up when you are trying to recall the information they were talking about and teaching.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in 8-Tracks, Blog Posts, The GATES

Three is a Magic Number, by School House Rock!: a Song review

General Information:

-Album Title: Multiplication Rock

-Artist: Bob Dorough

-Release Year: 1973

-Song Length: 3 minutes

-Genre: Educational Music

-How to Listen: Spotify (with subscription), Apple Music (with subscription), iTunes (for purchase), CD, or look for it at your local library

-Page of Reference in RP1: 308

Lyrics:

Three is a magic number
Yes it is, it’s a magic number
Somewhere in that ancient mystic trinity
You get three as a magic number
The past and the present and the future
Faith and hope and charity
The heart and the brain and the body
Give you three as a magic number

It takes three legs to make a tripod or to make a table stand
It takes three wheels to make a vehicle called a tricycle
And every triangle has three corners
Every triangle has three sides
No more, no less, you don’t have to guess
When it’s three, you can see
Its a magic number

A man and a woman had a little baby
Yes, they did
They had three in the family
And that’s a magic number

Three, six, nine
Twelve, fifteen, eighteen
Twenty-one, twenty-four, twenty-seven
Thirty
(Three, six, nine
Twelve, fifteen, eighteen
Twenty-one, twenty-four, twenty-seven
Thirty)

Now the multiplies of three
Come up three times in each set of ten
In the first ten
You get three, six, nine
And in the teens’ ten
It’s twelve, fifteen and eighteen
And in the twenties you get-a
Twenty-one, twenty-four, twenty-seven
And it comes out even on thirty

Three times ten is (thirty)
Three times nine is (twenty-seven)
Three times eight is (twenty-four)
Three times seven is (twenty-one)
Three times six is eighteen
Three times five is fifteen
Three times four is twelve
And three times three is nine
And three times two is six
And three times one is three, of course
(Now dig the pattern once more!)

Twelve, fifteen, eighteen (Twenty-one)
Twenty-one, twenty-four, twenty-seven
Thirty (Yeah)

Three times ten is (thirty)
Three times nine is (twenty-seven)
Three times eight is (twenty-four)
Three times seven is (twenty-one)
Three times six is eighteen
Three times five is fifteen
Three times four is twelve
And three times three is nine
And three times two is six
And three times one
What is it? (Three)
Yeah, thats a magic number

A man and a woman had a little baby
Yes, they did
There had three in the family
That’s a magic number

Review:

I grew up listening to School House Rock!… Three is a Magic Number was one of my favorites.  They are beautiful songs used to help children learn different subjects.  Some are better than others but this one is truly one of the best.

I did a little research of it for my review because I didn’t know much about the song other than I love the whole thing…its sweet and catchy and simple to remember and sing (and still helps me remember my 3 multiplication tables 25 years after I first heard it).

This song was the premiere episode of School House Rock! Which gives it so much more meaning as to why Halliday chose to use it in his quest.

Besides the fact that Halliday learned that his friendships should have been the most important thing in his life (and why he created the need for the final task to need more than one person to open)… it is such a great symbolism that the first part of something amazing wasn’t about grammar, or history but about what happens when two people come together to make something great—their kid…and suddenly become more than themselves…a family.

And while the song uses the traditional (and outdated) definition of a family it is abundantly clear that Halliday meant that unit to be CHOSEN… your Chosen family. The people you truly love and trust to help you get to where you want to go and succeed.

Faith and Hope and Charity…because Three truly is a Magic number.

Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

The Muppet Show, created by Jim Henson: a TV Review

Synopsis:

The Muppets host a variety show!  Kermit hosts, special guests attend, shenanigans ensue.  It is the Muppet Theatre after all.

General Information:

-Genre: Family Variety Show, Sketch Comedy

-Creator: Jim Henson

-Length: 22 minutes long, 120 episodes

-Rating: PG (some references to alcohol, some references to smoking, some sexual innuendos, cartoon violence, some light romance but nothing major, slight bullying from Statler and Waldorf…remember this show was made in the 1970s the standards were a little different)

-Where to Watch: Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, Scooter, Statler and Waldorf, Rowlf, Sam Eagle, Doctor Teeth and the Electric Mayham (Floyd, Janice, Animal and Zoot), Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Beaker, The Swedish Chef, Camilla the Chicken, Uncle Deadly, Beauregard, Crazy Harry, Lew Zealand, Link Hogthrob, Sweetums, Marvin Suggs, The Newsman, Pops, Robin the Frog, weekly Guest Stars

-Page of Reference in RP1: 4

Review (contains spoilers):

This is an incredible show.  I usually will section TV reviews by season but that isn’t necessarily needed for this show as it is a variety show.  Every episode kind of follows the same format: Kermit introduces the guest star, they will get the chance to sing/perform throughout the show, other Muppets have different sketch segments, Statler and Waldorf yell at everyone…its great fun.

Watch this with your kids as it is family friendly BUT do note that it was made in the 1970s so the standards of what was “appropriate” was different, however, I would let my kids and the kiddos I nanny watch this show with me.  For the most part the innuendos and other adult things will go over the heads of little ones.  They will love the music and the colors, you will love the jokes.  One of the best things ever done with the Muppets.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Star Wars

The Star Wars LEGO Holiday Special, created by Lucasfilm and Disney: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Taking place after Star Wars IX: The Rise of the Skywalker we join our friends as they settle in to create an amazing celebration for Life Day (the Star Wars equivalent of the Holidays).  As Rey continues on her journey to train up Finn as a new Jedi Knight she feels like her knowledge as a teacher is falling short.

While her friends prepare for Life Day Rey takes off to find a new source of information that may help her to train her new apprentice.  She finds herself on a journey through space and time discovering some of the most critical moments of past Jedi and Sith.  As things get out of hand will Rey make it back in time to celebrate Life Day with her friends?  And if she does will Poe have cooked any of the Tip-Yip in an edible way?

General Information:

-Genre: Holiday Family Special, Science-fiction

-Creator: Lucasfilm and Disney

-Length: 47 minutes

-Rating: TV-G (some mild animated violence but in LEGO form, some scary looking characters)

-Where to Watch: Disney+ (with subscription)

-Page of Reference in RP1: 22

Review (contains spoilers):

This was absolutely delightful.  Silly and self aware, full of LEGO jokes and Star Wars references up the wazoo.

Apparently it was not only released on the same day 42 years after the original (and frankly horrible) Star Wars Holiday Special the film took inspiration from and even pulled references directly from it.  When I finally find a copy I’ll be able to see if this is true.

Don’t go into this thinking its going to be some profound Star Wars addition. Its just a silly little film made for kids. It goes through time and space on a little journey to include all sorts of moments from the Star Wars Universe (including an appearance by Baby Yoda from The Mandalorian). Just sit back and enjoy…and learn a little lesson about friendship.

Overall a really fun little movie about Life Day. Even for someone like me who isn’t a huge Star Wars fan.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Home Alone 3, created by John Hughes: a Film Review

Synopsis:

The mob is out to seal a chip that will make any missile unable to be detected by radar and therefore indestructible.  After they retrieve the chip it is hidden in a toy car to hide it from security at the airport as a group of them work to get it back to their boss.  At the airport their bag is picked up by an elderly woman. As they chase after her they find she lives in a rich suburb of Chicago in a house that hasn’t been shoveled.

Just down the street is the local boy who shovels her walk.  She gives him the toy car that she accidently took at the airport as payment for his work.  That week he ends up at home with the chicken pox.  While stuck he discovers that thieves are trying to break into the house down the street… and then another house and another house… when he calls the police and is deemed a boy-who-cried-wolf he takes matters into his own hands.  What will happen when he discovers that these thieves want his toy car?  What could be so important that they would break into every house on the street to find?

General Information:

-Genre: Christmas Family Comedy

-Creator: John Hughes

-Length: 102 minutes

-Rating: PG (mild nudity, mild violence-particularly near the end of the film, mild profanity, mild intense scenes-particularly near the end of the film)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), iTunes (Buy/Rent), Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Alex D. Linz, Haviland Morris, Olek Krupa, Rya Kihlstedt, Lenny Von Dohlen, David Thornton, Marian Seldes, Kevin Kilner, Scarlett Johansson

-Page of Reference in RP2: 182

Review (contains spoilers):

Finally! A more believable reason for the bad guys to be after the kid!  And a more believable reason the kid is at home ALONE!!!

While the general silliness and most of what really makes a John Hughes movie seems to be lacking here it’s an interesting choice for a third film.  Kind of “Wait until Dark” meets “Home Alone”.  It has a polish that was very indicative of later 90s films that is not seen in the first two movies.

The fact that the kid is an inventor and is super observant makes the whole set up and all the little traps he sets so much more believable.  Not that Kevin in the first two movies isn’t smart but some of the stuff he comes up with (while simple and effective) seems to be something an adult would think of rather than a typical kid (like the paint cans and the kerosene on the rope in Home Alone 2).  This kiddo is an inventor.  He comes up with some off the wall stuff…but most of it comes from a solid science side of things…and a love of Rube Goldberg machines.

A solid film that is fun to watch with the family.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, created by John Hughes: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Its Christmas again and the McCallister family is once again jetting off on vacation.  This time to Miami.  As usual they end up late to get in the cars to go to the airport…but luckily this year Kevin doesn’t get left behind.

As the family rushes to reach their plane somehow Kevin gets separated from the group and ends up on a flight to New York City.  When he arrives, he realizes he is once again without his family.  When the McCallister family gets to Miami they discover that Kevin didn’t make it onto their plane.  As they try to find their son, Kevin takes off on a whirl wind adventure in the Big Apple (with his father’s credit cards and cash he has from the bag he accidently took with him).

While exploring the city Kevin discovers his arch-nemeses have escaped from prison, he ends up chased from the hotel, and has to protect a toy store from thieves.  Will his ingenuity keep him safe in the town that never sleeps? Or with the children’s hospital go without one of their largest donations of the year?

General Information:

-Genre: Christmas Family Comedy

-Creator: John Hughes

-Length: 120 minutes

-Rating: PG (moderate violence-particularly at the end of the film, mild language, mild use of cigarettes, moderate intense scenes-particularly at the end of the film)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), iTunes (Buy/Rent), Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Maccaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, John Heard, Catherine O’Hara, Tim Curry, Brenda Fricker, Eddie Bracken

-Page of Reference in RP2: 182

Review (contains spoilers):

Great continuation of the first movie.  Its always nice to rejoin old characters in the world.  I also love how his family ends up having a horrible time in what should be sunny Florida while he is having a blast in New York City during Christmas.

It is a little unbelievable that he would run into the same thieves half-way across the country from his home but you know…it’s a movie so I can overlook that.

John Hughes is known for writing about the outcast.  This film still involves that motif but this time it is Kevin who ends up in the role of “normal” as he befriends the outcast (and homeless) bird-lady in the park.  It’s a nice little lesson that sometimes how someone looks isn’t who they are.

I really love how clever Kevin is while still utilizing common supplies and a little ingenuity to save the day.  He’s a really bright kid.  And as always everything ends up well for him and not so well for the bad guys.

Defiantly one I will continue to watch throughout my life as is Thanksgiving tradition in my family.  Still really unbelievable though.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central

Home Alone, created by John Hughes: a Film Review

Synopsis:

It is Christmas time in one of the wealthiest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois.  The McCallister family is getting ready to depart to visit family in Paris, France for the upcoming holiday.  As they all get ready the cousins and siblings clash causing the one of the youngest, Kevin, to be sent to the attic bedroom as punishment.  As he climbs the stairs Kevin makes the ultimate Christmas wish: that his family disappears for Christmas.

During the night a large storm causes a power outage. When they don’t wake up on time the family rushes to get to the airport, not realizing that the count of the cousins and, in turn, getting onto the plane means they left Kevin behind at the house.  As Kevin’s mother tries to get back home to get her child things at the house are in peril.

A pair of thieves are trying to make good on a holiday crime spree while everyone in the neighborhood is on vacation.  Will they be a match for Kevin?  Will Kevin be able to take care of himself? And will his mom get home in time for Christmas?

General Information:

-Genre: Christmas Family Comedy

-Creator: John Hughes

-Length: 103 minutes

-Rating: PG (mild violence-particularly in the end of the film, mild language, mild alcohol use, mild intense scenes-particularly in the end of the film)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), iTunes (Buy/Rent), Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Maccaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, John Heard, Roberts Blossom, Catherine O’Hara

-Page of Reference in RP2: 182

Review (contains spoilers):

This is one of my favorite movies to watch during the holidays.  In fact it is family tradition in my family to watch this and the second film as we get Thanksgiving dinner ready.  The holidays can’t really start until we watch these movies.

That being said…they are kind of ridiculous in that fun and slightly cartoonish way.

They are over the top. And slightly unbelievable. And really fun to watch.

They do still hold some of the constants of John Hughes films.  Kevin is clearly the outcast in his family.  He wants to fit in sometimes and other times he wants to be on his own.  During the course of the film he learns a lesson…which is pretty typical for his films.

The end is absolutely crazy.  The two thieves would be dead at least three times over from Kevin’s traps.  It becomes almost comical, like a live action Wile E. Coyote cartoon. 

Overall, it’s a really family friendly and fun movie for the holiday…I highly recommend it if you have older kids.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.