I finally checked out an animated movie I’ve been curious about for years! ‘The Plague Dogs’ from 1982 is from the same team who brought us ‘Watership Down’ so if you’re familiar with that you know right off the bat that you’re in for something quite special. Like Watership down The Plague Dogs is hardly a children’s movie, it deals with some pretty damn heavy stuff. We the follow two dogs Snitter (John Hurt) & Rowf (Christopher Benjamin) who’re caged in a lab where they’re continuously abused by scientists for testing purposes.
However one day, one of the “white coats” (as the dog’s call the doctors) accidentally leaves Snitter’s cage door ajar and both him and Rowf escape to the open countryside. In the wild they struggle to find food and shelter and find help from a mischevious fox named the Tod (James Bolam). The three of them go on an epic journey. where the two dogs long to find a new kind family to take them in, but once the Government tell the locals that the two of them are infected with the bubonic plague, it becomes a race for survival as true danger lurks around every corner.
The Plague Dogs goes in some shockingly dark directions, some sequences so surprising I’d paused the movie to double check the rating. Much of it’s admittedly depressing and bleak but done so beautifully with it’s animation and painted backdrops that’s it’s really worth the effort. It’s the morning after and the movie still weighs heavily in my mind so much so that I’d really rank this in the top 10 best animated features I’ve seen. There’s so much heart in it’s characters and by mid point in the movie there’s nothing more I’d wanted than to see these characters get a happy ending. Be warned though, this one doesn’t play out like a Disney movie of the 80’s, no one remains safe here and some of the directions it goes in will literally have you on the edge of your seat. At least it did for me. All that being said I’d wondered who they made this movie for back in the early 1980s, as most kids seeing it might be fully scarred after viewing. I suppose ‘Watership Down’ follows this same formula and has a similar reputation. I’m surprised it took me this long to finally view as it’s clearly in a league of it’s own, one that nearly had me in tears several times, unlike anything I’ve seen in recent years. Continue reading
True Believers, it’s never been a more perfect time for the ‘Great Lakes Avengers’ to make their grand entrance into the MCU! Ok, I know many of you casual Marvel movie fanatics out there are likely wondering just who and what the hell I’m talking about, but the “GLA” as they’re also referred to have been around since the late 80’s and have on a couple occasions attempted to actually replace The Avengers, most notably when they tragically disassembled in 2004 in the comics. The Milwaukee, Wisconsin based team are most well known as the ultimate gang of blundering misfit superheroes and when the Avengers disbanded they figured they’d simply take the mantle of the team for themselves to reap all the glory for themselves. Of course they quickly found out they weren’t quite qualified when it came down to taking out major threats to the planet. So why introduce these guys now into the MCU huh?
Well at the current moment in the movies The Avengers aren’t really a thing anymore, at least for the moment. With Cap old & retired and Tony Stark dead, it’d be the perfect time to check out the origin story and rise of ‘The Great Lakes Avengers’. In fact with the ‘Disney+’ streaming service there’s the platform needed to tell their ridiculously madcap story. Since 1989 when writer/artist John Byrne introduced the underdog team to the Marvel Universe (West Coast Avengers #46), I’ve been a big fan. In fact I listed them before as one of the obscure Marvel teams I thought would make a great movie or better yet today a comedic Disney+ series after the success of the D-listers The Guardians of the Galaxy. To me the team has so much more potential than GOG, with their origin story alone being a helluva good adventure, if even at times more of a dark comedy.
The name of the team alone would spark immediate interest and originally back in the comic books they’d even been coached by Hawkeye and Mockingbird who desperately tried to whip them into shape. You could even have Jeremy Renner make a cameo in an episode as Hawkeye to do just that. Considering the team’s ranks were filled from a classified ad in the newspaper would open the door to so many great comedic scenarios as well.
Then there’s the team themselves, which consists of Mr. Immortal, a mutant with a super-superhuman healing factor and the ability to survive the most gruesome deaths, Bertha who’s the most popular fashion icon in Milwaukee WI who has the ability to bulk up like the Blob, Dinah-soar the flying female reptilian, Doorman a mutant who can create doorways using alternate universes to pass through solid objects and finally Flatman, the team’s current leader & openly gay two dimensional version of Reed Richards. But wait the team was also home to the now iconic Squirrel Girl and this would be the perfect place for her to make her official MCU debut!
This team and their story would make for the perfect superhero series, there’s so many interesting angles to explore. From forming the team, to training to be the new “Avengers”, to their many failed missions and their attempt to square off against a real superhuman threat. There’s something truly charming about exploring an underdog group of down on their luck superhuman characters. The comedy practically writes itself and they’d be a surefire win in a series of their own as there’s nothing quite like them out there yet. So what do you think? Do you think now’s the time for this weird-o gang of midwest superheroes to enter into the fold?! If I’ve peaked your interest a good launch point of the team is the six issue mini series from Dan Slott from 2005 called “GLA: Misassembled”, I think that would be a perfect blueprint for a Disney+ series….
I’ve been following the Last Jedi drama since the movie dropped back at the end of last year, it’s been a wild ride that’s for sure. As for The Last Jedi, no, I wasn’t a fan of it. At all. And it wasn’t because I dislike strong female leads either, I saw The Force Awakens 4 times in theaters. The Last Jedi to me was just unfulfilling on so many different levels as an old Star Wars fan who is over 40 years old, but it wasn’t just because they didn’t utilize the the classic characters in Episode 8 for one last adventure together. That was indeed a total bummer for sure. However, most of all for me it was because it didn’t feel like a cohesive sequel, it actually felt like one director (Rian Johnson) fighting actively against everything that came before it. Then serve up truly some subpar storytelling, with plot points that consistently go nowhere, dodgy “comedy” and wrap it all up into one dare I say rather boring mish mash of a feature film and you’re sure to have a ton of totally pissed off fans out there. Well, as we all know now, it indeed did piss of a legion of die hard Star Wars fans and one of them decided to take matters into his own hands. Enter a true Star Wars fan and professional editor Ivan Ortega!
Now I know there’s a lot of people out there that try stuff like this, but Ivan Ortega has real experience editing movies and tv shows under his belt. It’s clear with his Youtube channel’s content that he himself was indeed severely disappointed with the movie and has decided to use his skills to entirely re-edit it, actually changing many of it’s major plot points, trimming out the fat and even attempting to add in entirely new scenes altogether. At first I had my doubts about the execution of exactly what he wanted to accomplish and wondered how cheesy it might end up looking, but after watching a ton of his videos about the progress he’s made on the project, I’m really counting down the days to seeing his full cut of the movie. You wanted a real Luke Skywalker/Kylo Ren lightsaber duel? You didn’t like the Cantobite casino planet sub plot? Perhaps you were disappointed in the way Admiral Ackbar was killed off screen like it was no big deal? Totally bummed they killed of Luke? Hey maybe you thought Holdo was acting a like a prick when she could’ve revealed that she had a real plan to Poe? Well then I think you’re really gonna wanna check it out. Today the trailer has dropped for the new cut!I gotta say I’m fully impressed, this new trailer is a new hope indeed- Check it out!!!
So ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ director James Gunn was fired by Disney/Marvel over the weekend when a questionable right wing personality himself, Mike Cernovich, outed him for his trove of highly offensive tweets he’d made between 2009 & 2012. This, like the Twitter inspired firing of Roseanne, has got many people on both sides of the political spectrum up in arms. Many are defending Gunn, who was quite vocal in his disapproval of Donald Trump, saying he should never have been fired as his tweets were made years ago when he was in his 40’s. Gunn now 51, has responded, apologizing, basically saying he was merely trying to be provocative and doesn’t think they are funny anymore. The tweets were made before he’d been hired to helm the now mega millions Marvel movie franchise ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’. Most of his offensive tweets involved bizarre “jokes” and “witty” banter involving highly disturbing sexual topics involving rape and pedophilia. His supporters say he’s a changed man but it’s important to note he stopped tweeting about this type of thing when he’d been hired by Disney, we all know money talks sometimes. I’m sure he knew at this point more tweets of that nature wouldn’t be good for his newfound high profile directing career with a family friendly mega corporation.
This all really doesn’t come as much of a surprise to me as Gunn’s background as a filmmaker was rooted in the Troma movie universe. Most Troma stuff is intentionally outrageous and meant to shock and offend. Back in the 80’s it was the kind of stuff your parents would likely be outraged over, meanwhile teens would giggle about. It’s always seemed to me like James Gunn for the most part was a pretty cool guy, who shares a lot of the same interests in oddball cinema as I do. He’s a bit of a Hollywood misfit and most definitely NOT your average Hollywood director. I’d compare his background to say Peter Jackson & Sam Raimi who both came from indie style schlock/horror cinema and later became highly paid Hollywood blockbuster directors. I however didn’t know until recently what he’d spent his time tweeting about in his recent past. What’s surprising to me is that the old weird ass tweets were never deleted by him in the first place when hired by Disney/Marvel.
Many of his supporters have rallied behind him with a new petition, to demand he be rehired to continue the franchise. In my personal opinion I agree with Disney for dropping him. I’m not sure Gunn is quite the monster the ‘right wing’ is painting him out to be and I’m also not so sure he’s the saint that the left seems to think he is. I think it’s their right to fire him, I also think they should have checked a little further into his past before giving him the job if they really are the family friendly company we’ve been led to believe they are.
I really do think Gunn is a pretty unique & talented filmmaker, I Iove ‘Slither’, thought ‘Super’ was good & really enjoyed the first GOTG. However, with that being said, as I read through his tweets, it certainly does leave me a bit perplexed as to why a man in his 40’s would waste his time continuously tweeting on subjects of this nature? The tweets aren’t funny and neither is this type of humor to me at least, and I’m a bit surprised he’s getting all of this support from fans to get his job back. To me it seems to prove the lunacy of people these days now on both sides of the political spectrum, it reminds me a bit of the right wing people who defended Trump during the 2016 election, when a decade ago he made his sick comments about grabbing women. I’m not sure Gunn is truly a bad guy, but I honestly don’t know what goes on inside people’s heads either. I’m totally satisfied at the fact that Roseanne was canned, I think Gunn getting fired was a totally reasonable decision and I also would love to see the President fired as well…
I’ve been re-watching the original Star Wars trilogy lately (along with the prequels which are still pretty damn hard to sit through) and been thinking a lot about the latest trilogy’s aggressive backlash since ‘The Last Jedi’. It’s clearly evident there’s something that the originals had that these new movies are missing the boat on. Those first three films had a serious feeling of camaraderie along with strong totally relatable bonds between it’s diverse cast of characters, something that the latest movies seem to be struggling quite a bit with. I like the new cast but they really haven’t been given the screen time they deserve to fully develop into the tight knit unit that the original crew became so iconic as.
Let’s face it, the gang in the original had a certain chemistry among them that for some odd reason has been incredibly hard for ‘Disney’ Star Wars to replicate. In the late 70’s & 80s films were paced quite a bit differently as well and characters were given more actual story & screen time to be fleshed out, making their friendships all the more believable. We definitely got some tender moments in The Force Awakens between Finn, Rey, Poe, Leia & Han but it felt like ‘The Last Jedi’ just wasn’t able capture much real emotion amongst it’s large cast. Finn & Rose felt pretty forced, Rey and Luke lacked any chemistry, while Holdo and Leia really weren’t given the time together for their relationship to mean much of anything to the audience. Most of the main three new characters barely spent much time onscreen together at all. Think for a second about the way Luke, Han, Leia, Chewy, C3PO & R2 all felt together on an adventure onscreen, their friendships were a wonder to behold. They were all like family, I often compare them to the main characters in ‘The Wizard of Oz’. You really feel something genuine for them all that really warms the heart.
Well now we’ve got one LAST movie left of the “Skywalker saga”, Episode 9 has got a lot riding on it’s back since the huge division amongst rabid Star Wars fans. It’s got to unite all fans again and there’s really an easy way to do exactly that, however it seems for some reason Disney just can’t wrap their heads around exactly what will please both new & old fans alike. To me it’s obvious, first off avoid making this last installment a copy of ‘Return of the Jedi’. Devise a bit more of an original story, because as much as Rian Johnson thinks his movie was divisive because it was “so different than any of the previous movies” in actuality it really did borrow a ton of it’s “unique” plot points from Empire & Return of the Jedi. Secondly it’s clear, Star Wars fans STILL love the old characters-I keep hearing everyone in the movie industry saying-it’s not the old characters story anymore, it’s about the new. My question is, why can’t the story truly be about both the old and the new? Continue reading
Yes! It’s such a pleasure to do a blog post that I really am totally hyped about these days! This morning I got wind of the brand spankin’ new Kickstarter page for Dragon’s Lair: The Movie and this is something I’ve always wanted to see since the 1980’s.
First let me state that Don Bluth was responsible for my favorite animated movie of all time, The Secret of Nimh, a movie from 1982 that still easily holds up today against the mass produced CG animated movies which have flooded the market. If you’ve never seen it you’re missing out big time. Anyway a year later in 1983 we got quite a surprise in the Arcades, when Dragon’s Lair was released-it was the first hand drawn animated video on the scene and it was a true wonder to behold. Yes the 1980’s were a wonderful era.
I know many people these days don’t even remember what a video game really arcade is, but back in the 80’s it was the place to be. We’d head off to the mall on a saturday afternoon and spend hours there playing video games and then maybe catch a movie afterwords. Ahh, yes, those were the days. I would spend hours watching my brother play Dragon’s Lair and besides it being a very difficult game it was, for me, just fun to watch the incredibly inventive action sequences & adventure unfold before my very eyes. Dragon’s Lair was total eye candy, I was never very good at it myself but I loved it.
So here we are in 2015 and (the now retired from animation) Don Bluth is being challenged by fans to make Dragon’s Lair into an old school style animated feature film via Kickstarter!! The good news is that Don Has officially accepted the invitation. Bluth started out working as an animator with Disney in 1971 having films like Robin Hood & The Rescuers under his belt, he later left and started his own animation company.
So fans we all need to support this venture, get a full on Don Bluth revival going on here, How amazing would it be to see a classic animated Dragon’s Lair feature movie? Who knows maybe if this happens we could get him to do a ‘Space Ace’ movie!!!
I’ve really been missing those classic hand drawn animated feature films, they had so much damn character, I think the world just might be a little better place if we could get this one made, check out the Kickstarter Page right HERE-let’s head into the Dragon’s Lair again!!
It seems we have so many movies we can bring to mind that involve dogs as their stars, yet I’ve noticed when it comes to feline focused flicks there seems to be a bit of a shortage! Well I’m here today to give you a list of 10 of the best cat-riffic movies of time! The cat’s just don’t seem to get enough respect in the movie industry, I’m betting that is because it seems much more of damn hassle to get a cat do exactly what you want on screen, but cat lover’s rejoice- here’s some must see movies that you and your cat can get cozy with and have hours of serious bonding!!
1. Cat’s Eye (1985)
This one was a favorite of mine as a kid in the1980’s and it still holds up to this day! A great little three part horror anthology with the cat at the center of all the action. Especially in the the awesome third act of the movie where you get to see the feline do serious battle with a maniacal little troll!! My cat totally digs this one-it’s his favorite movie hands down!
2. Uninvited (1988)
Wow now this movie just plain RULES it! Total cheezy cat horror that’s bound to get any movie party in the mood to rage! This one features a cute little cat that’s got a demonic rat like creature living inside him that comes out to kill people when ever the cat get stressed out! The special effects in this one are awesome in the worst way possible! This freakazoid cat jumps onto a yacht with a bunch of dingbat college kids and some annoying criminals and has a jolly good time ripping them to shreds! A true feline classic!
3. The Cat From Outer Space (1978)
This one is a crowd pleaser for cats and humans alike! This one features a crashed spacecraft with an alien cat as it’s pilot. The cat’s got some weird ass name and he can communicate with humans. Of course the authorities are after the cat so they can do stupid experiments on it. But a man named Frank is there luckily to help this feline escape earth, kinda like E.T. with a cat!
4. Strays (1991)
Another domestic house cat horror flick, which my cat seems to always totally dig! This one features a family who adopt some strays but end up with a whole horde of vicious cats terrorizing their household! This one isn’t really going to scare anyone but it might make you think twice before letting the cute lil’ stray into your home for a bowl of milk!!
5. Felidae (1994)
This is a cool animated German feline flick that’s sure to get your cat’s heart a pumpin’! We have some great animation as well as a cool mystery that a cat decides to solve! This one might not be best for the little kids as it revolves around a string of cat murders in a neighborhood, but it’s a good one for any cat who’s looking for a little suspense between their naps!
6. The Black Cat (1934)
This one doesn’t have nearly enough cat action in it, but most cats will appreciate the fact that there’s a creepy black cat that causes a helluva lot of fear to some travelers who seek medical attention after an accident on the road in Hungary. The cat takes the back seat a bit in this one but at it’s core is the center of dread throughout the movie! Also cats seem to just dig the movie’s name a lot.
7. Aristocats (1970)
This is a classic cartoon for people of all ages and cats alike! This one involves some cats who inherit a mega fortune from their owner and a butler who’s pissed off about it! I guess I can kinda understand the butler’s frustration here, I mean what the hell are cats going to do with a bunch of money and material shit anyway?! Well the butler decides to kidnap the cats and from there a whole ball of kitty mayhem ensues!
8. Homeward Bound (1993)
Another Disney movie that this time features a real life cast of animals. It’s got a cat teaming up with a couple dogs who find crazy adventure as they head off to find their real owners! This movie had some controversy around it because of all of the dangerous scenes the animals filmed. But as far as I know none of the animals were harmed in the filming, just real stressed out! This one I recommend talking about with your cat before viewing it to see if perhaps it’s going to get upset about the controversial side of this one, but also be sure to mention it’s got Michael J. Fox voicing one of the characters and Sally Field as the cat. I mean that’s some serious star power right?
9. Sleep Walkers (1992)
This is a pretty rad Stephen King horror film about some weird ass people who can transform into “Were-cats” and choice of dinner is human virgins! Dang! Well it just so happens that their weakness is the domestic house cat who can see through their disguise and whose bites and claws can literally destroy them! My cat loves the final attack scene with the horde of house cats and the flaming explosion!! My cat totally loves Clovis the cat and has modeled much of his behavior after him!
10. A Cat In Paris (2010)
This one is a great animated foreign feature for the distinguished cat in the family! A great little adventure that features a cat who aides his owner in burglaries around Paris. Soon though the adventure really gets cookin’ when the cat himself has to help a little girl escape from the clutches of some evil gangsters! This one has it all mystery, action, class and cat courage galore!
and one more that deserves an honorable mention…
11. That Darn Cat (1965)
This one’s full of fun as a frisky cat aides a woman who’s been kidnapped find her freedom! The cat here leads the FBI on the ride of their life! If your cat likes vintage 1960’s fashion that’s a plus here too!