REVIEW: An American Werewolf in London [1981]

Beware the moon, lads. It’s not hard to believe John Landis wrote his first draft of An American Werewolf in London at eighteen. The male gaze throughout is right in line with the comedies he would bring to life (The Kentucky Fried Movie and National Lampoon’s Animal House) to achieve the success necessary to secure a ten million dollar budget more than a decade later. By focusing on two co-eds crossing the Atlantic to backpack through the moors around his age while writing, he’d of course end up injecting a…

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REVIEW: The Dark Crystal [1982]

“The great conjunction is the end of the world! … Or the beginning.” I’ll say right now that a little fright never harmed my adolescence so kudos to Jim Henson for sticking to his guns in bringing “family film” and potential nightmare inducing adventure The Dark Crystal to life. Anyone who spied upon Brian Froud’s creature design should have been aware of how dark the proceedings would turn out, but you can’t blame surprise either considering the Henson name in 1982 was only synonymous with those cute characters known as…

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REVIEW: The Muppet Christmas Carol [1992]

“Heeeeyyy. You’re not Charles Dickens.” Not having seen The Muppet Christmas Carol in over a decade made me forget how effective an adaptation it is of Charles Dickens‘ classic tale. It helps that I’ve seen other iterations in the meantime, especially the one from 1951 starring Alastair Sim which Brian Henson‘s version works hard to closely mimic. There are obvious excisions such as Ebenezer Scrooge’s sister and additions like manufacturing Jacob Marley a brother named Robert so Statler and Waldorf can both get in on the fun, but for the…

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REVIEW: Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey [2011]

“Kevin comes alive through Elmo” I was a Jim Henson kid growing up in the 80s. The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and “The Jim Henson Hour” were staples in my household and I even made my parents take me to see The Witches theatrically at eight. But where I enjoyed the stories and fantastical places his characters took me, Kevin Clash took a shine to the full theatricality of this genius. As a high school kid in Baltimore he hand-sewed his own puppets after watching Henson explain how on TV, performed…

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REVIEW: The Muppets [2011]

“Laughter, the third greatest gift of all!” If you saw Forgetting Sarah Marshall, it’ll be no surprise that Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller were chosen as the ones to bring The Muppets back to the big screen. Almost three decades since the last true Muppet movie besides their literary adventures after Jim Henson’s untimely death, it’s also not shocking that the two decided to base their plot around this lengthy hiatus. Years removed from the original “Muppet Show” that began in 1976, this new iteration begins by introducing us to…

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Posterized Propaganda November 2011: Too Many Characters!

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably. Hark! The holidays are upon us! While that signifies the beginning of what should be the glorious awards season flood of quality work only the lucky few of us attending…

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REVIEW: Death at a Funeral [2010]

“Always thought he had a little sugar in his tank” It does not take long to show just how exact a remake Neil LaBute’s Death at a Funeral is compared to Frank Oz’s original. Right from the opening credits, an animated journey of the hearse bringing the deceased to his home for final goodbyes, altered mainly by being more literal than its abstract cousin, everything is just as it was. Once the cartoon fades away to leave reality beneath, however, we get to see just where the differences lie. I…

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REVIEW: Death at a Funeral [2007]

“My father was an exceptional man” And now it takes just three years for a remake of an English language film, that stays in its native language, to happen. Chris Rock may have gotten Neil Labute—it appears he has assimilated into the Hollywood machine for good now—to direct a new version, from the same screenwriter no less, but it is Frank Oz’s British Death at a Funeral that came first. Don’t be afraid of the accents and give the original a shot. I’ll admit that it gets pretty dark there…

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REVIEW: The Good Shepherd [2006]

“The rest of you are just visiting” The man who used to add credibility and substance to a film, Robert De Niro, has of late made some horrible career moves. For someone who has been in classic films and who created some of the most memorable characters in cinema, being a film god will not leave you unscathed from criticism. His recent string of disasters scream sellout and money whore, yet when I heard he was going behind the camera again I couldn’t help but be intrigued to see if…

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