TOY STORY 3

Boy have I been slacking off. Can’t seem to get a review written in a decent amount of time. Where does all the time go. By now I am sure everyone has seen Toy Story 3, maybe even twice. Yes, twice….it is that good of film.

Andy is going to college, and his last thing to do before leaving is cleaning his room. Deciding what is to be thrown out, what needs to go in the attic. Woody, Tom Hanks (Apollo 13, Forrest Gump) wants to make sure all the toys stay together and get put in the attic. In a mix up, Buzz, Tim Allen (Galaxy Quest)  and the gang, Jessie, Joan Allen (The Contender), Mr Potato Head, Don Rickles (Toy Story 1, Toy Story 2), Hamm, John Ratzenburger (Cheers) end up at the local daycare.

The daycare is run by an abused teddy bear Latso voiced by Ned Beatty (Superman the movie) and recommends Andy’s toys go to the younger kids that are to young for them. A play scene demonstrates that, a scene pt together with editing and cuts to rival, any decent war movie! Of course Woody can’t have this, and the rescue is on. I won’t give a lot away, but they encounter a Ken doll, Michael Keaton (Batman), that falls in love with who else…Barbi from Andy’s group of toys.

As far as what I thought of this movie, it is a must see. I really can’t think of a trilogy that has been as strong as these three Toy Story movies. Star Wars had a weaker Return of the Jedi, and even the Godfather, although the first two are two of the finest films ever made, it has the weak link of number three. With Toy Story, you love the first one and the sequels you love even more. And just as UP was able to reach an emotional cord with adults, Toy Story 3 with have adults tearing up thinking of their childhood, friendships and family. Toy Story 3 is the best summer movie so far, and one of the best of the year! See it….a couple of times!

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The Orchestra Wives

Again, back to the full screen black and whites, with the DLP still out of commission. The selection of the night, Orchestra Wives. This is a 1942 black and white, that is what the title says, about orchestra wives. The entire plot of this movie can be summed up pretty easy, cheating, gossip, and marriages. I think the highlight of the film itself, which I am sure was intended, is the big band music itself which features the Glenn Miller Orchestra. Aside from that, I did not really care for the story line or how the characters were set up and built upon.

The male lead in the movie Bill Abbot, played by George Montgomery (China Girl, Roxie Hart) behaves in such a way so early on I found myself disliking his character throughout the film. Ann Rutherford (Gone With The Wind) plays the female lead, and you find yourself pulling for her as a character until she begins falling into the trap of all the other women. There is a lot of deceit and overall meanness to the movie tat I didn’t care for. I don’t mind films that deal with this subject matter at all, they can be very powerful stories, but I don’t think it was intended to come across as dark as it does. I would have prefered them take a darker serious tone to the movie, and maybe even make a tragedy out of it rather than remain light about all that goes on behind the scenes of band members wives. Either that or have some characters that can bring something light or funny to the film just to give you a break. I thought they might do that with the Cesar Romero (Joker in the Batman TV series and film) character as he had some funny lines and seemed to be a likable character, but he just wasn’t in it enough to save this one for me.

For me this was a very average movie, and had it not been for the Big Band angle, it would have failed for me.  There are a few musical numbers that are worth seeing just for historic purposes. And there is a glimpse of a very young, pre Ralph Kramden days, Jackie Gleason (Smokey and The Bandit) and a young Harry Morgan (MASH, Dragnet TV series). To me it really isn’t worth watching for the drama, just not done that well for me. If you want good drama with all the elements of cheating, lying, and rocky marriages, I recommend you see Little Children and Revolutionary Road, two very good films.

Beetlejuice

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Where do you even begin to review a movie that has a freelance bio-exorcist in it? “Let’s turn on the juice and see what shakes loose.” To me this is one of Tim Burton’s (Edward Scissorhands, Batman) best film. This is a film about a young couple Adam and Barbara, living in a small New England town, spending their vacation in their house. While running an errand they are killed in a car accident and have to stay in their house…dealing with the living…as ghosts. Being new at hunting a house, they call upon Betelgeuse, the freelance bio-exorcist to help them run off the living from their house. And the zaniness takes off from there!

Back before the days of CGI and big budget special effects, it actually took some creativity to get special effects done. Tim Burton does a wonderful job of directing this film and seeing his vision come to fruition. Alec Baldwin (The Cooler) and Geena Davis (Thelma and Louise) both give very understated but true to life performances. Winona Ryder (Girl, Interrupted) is perfect as the goth teenager that is the only one who can actually see Adam and Barbara when they are ghosts. The best performance of course comes from Michael Keaton (Batman) who plays Betelgeuse. Keaton is an absolute riot and spouts off memorable one liners one after another! It is almost hard to believe it is Michael Keaton!

I am sure most out there have seen this as it has turned into a cult classic, but if you haven’t, do yourself a favor and watch it. Although I know everyone’s taste in humor is a bit different and Tim Burton seems to have a niche of humor all to himself, give it a chance. It is a ingeniously creative and very funny movie.

Batman: Gotham Knight

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This film sadly ended up being very average to me. It seems that the idea of this film came from Animatrix, which was several short anime films relating to The Matrix movies. This goes the same direction taking different myths and ideas about Batman and treating them in a short anime film style. All shorts were done by a different directors and have different looks and feels. Some of the animation was very good, and some…well…nothing to write home about.I really wanted to like it, because I particular liked Batman: Mask of Phantasm. A few of shorts were interesting, but as a collective whole, fell short. If you are a die hard comic or Batman fan, watch it just to see it, other may want to skip this one.