Monday, December 25, 2017

Movie Review: Ernest Saves Christmas

Ernest Saves Christmas
Touchstone Pictures, Silver Screen Partners III, Emshell Producers, USA, 1988.
Ernest Saves Christmas
Santa Claus (Douglas Seale) is thinking about retirement and is searching for a successor. Children's TV show host Joseph Carruthers (Oliver Clark) is the candidate. Goofy taxi-driver Ernest P. Worrell (Jim Varney) gives Santa a ride, but Santa's bag is left in the taxi. Meanwhile Santa's reindeer gets stuck in the customs, much bedazzling storage workers Chuck (Gailard Sartain) and Bobby (Bill Byrge). Ernest and runaway teen girl Harmony (Noelle Parker) decide to return the sack to the rightful owner.
Jim Varney
Ernest
Douglas Seale
Santa
Noelle Parker
Harmony
Joe's agent Marty (Robert Lesser) gets Joseph a role in a movie, and arranges Santa's arrest. However the role is in a horror movie that is not something Joe is comfortable with. If Joe doesn't become the next Santa, it could be the last Christmas ever! And can Ernest get the Santa's sleigh from the custom warehouse in time?
Elves
Christmas fish
Gailard Sartain and Bill Byrge
Chuck and Bobby
Ernest-comedies are nowadays quite rare but the folks who were kids in 1980s-90s remember these. Before Jim Carrey took the career as America's rubber face, it was Jim Varney whose slapstick hijinks's entertained the audiences and annoyed the critics. So Ernest-movies were stupid but benevolent, and so Ernest's Christmas adventure is a feel-good Season movie with good laughs utilizing Jim Varney's skills. Ernest masquerades himself as a slick bureaucrat, old granny and hillbilly. Ernest visits his never seen onscreen pal Vern, and for some reason starts ripping electric lines from the walls. "Miracle on the 34th Street" variation has Santa bringing Christmas spirit to unbelievers, and returning runaway shoplifter Melody to the right path. Recommended as a bit different family cult Christmas comedy.


Starring: Jim Varney, Douglas Seale, Oliver Clark, Noelle Parker, Gailard Sartain, Billie Bird, Bill Byrge, Robert Lesser, Key Howard, Jack Swanson, Buddy Douglas, Patty Maloney, Beecher Martin, Barry Brazell, George Kaplan, Bill Welter, Joe Candelora, Danny Dillon, Lindsey Alley, Phran Gauci, Bill Cordell, Larry Francer, Jackie Welch, Daniel Butler, Antonio Fabrizio, Bob Norris, Carmen J. Alexander, Miriam P. Saunders, Cyndi Vicino, Tom Nowicki, Michael O. Smith, Jesse Stone, Angelique Walker, Zachary Bowden, Donna Phillip Miller, Paul Darby, Cynthia Ergenbright, Bob Barnes, Mike Hutchinson, Douglas Brush, D. Christian Gottshall, Ray Russell, Brett Cipes, Jon Freda, Cindy Haroutunian, Rosa Nevin, Jennifer Peña
Director: John R. Cherry III

Friday, December 15, 2017

Movie Review: Zootopia

Zootopia a.k.a Zootropolis
Walt Disney Pictures, USA, 2016.
In a distant future evolution has allowed herbivores and carnivores to live peacefully together although prejudices still exists. Bunny named Judy (Ginnifer Goodwin) has a dream. She wants do leave country-life behind to become a big city cop. However small animals are discriminated against in the police force. Chief Bogo (Idris Elba) thinks that small animals can't be real cops so Judy finds herself writing parking tickets.
Judy
Chief Bogo
But there is a mystery to solve. Several animals have gone missing, and Judy decides to solve the case even without official support. Only Assistant Mayor Bellwether's (Jenny Slate) support helps Judy to continue the investigations. Judy teams up with a small-time con-artist fox Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) who knows the streets. Like Judy, Nick has a misunderstood but he has chosen to be a rascal. The unlikely duo finds a common cause as behind the missings there is a sinister conspiracy that threatens the balance of the whole city.
Piggy has a crime to report
Nick, Bellwether and Judy
Judy's and Nick's adventures are fun to watch, it is a buddy cop comedy with trendy neo-noir and caper film tones. The moral of the story is that the first appearences may be deceiving, and the person behind may be totally different from the expectations. The world is detailed with funny visual jokes, and some references to pop culture and the city is divided to different habitats, with suburbs for actic animals or small rodents. The duo meets also some shady characters from the criminal underworld so there are funny "Godfather" and "Breaking Bad" references.

As a funny joke, there is a scoundrel selling bootleg Disney movies. I would watch Pig Hero 6.

Rating: Very good

Voice actors: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, Jenny Slate, Nate Torrence, Bonnie Hunt, Don Lake, Tommy Chong, J.K. Simmons, Octavia Spencer, Alan Tudyk, Shakira, Raymond S. Persi, Della Saba, Maurice LaMarche, Phil Johnston, Fuschia!, John DiMaggio, Katie Lowes, Gita Reddy, Jesse Corti, Tommy 'Tiny' Lister, Josh Dallas, Leah Latham, Rich Moore, Kath Soucie, Peter Mansbridge, Byron Howard, Jared Bush, Mark Rhino Smith, Josie Trinidad, John Lavelle, Kristen Bell, Evelyn Wilson Bresee, Hewitt Bush, Jill Cordes, Madeleine Curry, Terri Douglas, Melissa Goodwin Shepherd, Zach King, Dave Kohut, Jeremy Milton, Pace Paulsen, Fabienne Rawley, Brad Simonsen, Claire K. Smith, Jackson Stein, David A. Thibodeau, John Wheeler, Hannah G. Williams, Vassos Alexander, Ricardo Boechat, David Campbell, Koura Kazumasa, Nicholas Guest
Directors: Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Movie Review: Yellowbird (2014)

Yellowbird (Gus - Petit oiseau, grand voyage)
TeamTO, Haut et Court, La Compagnie Cinématographique, Panache Productions, Rhône-Alpes Cinéma, Belgacom, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Région Rhône-Alpes, Région Ile-de-France, Ciné+, Gulli, Backup Media, Piste Rouge, France, Belgium, 2014.
Yellowbird (Seth Green) is an orphaned bird raised by Ladybug (Yvette Nicole Brown) and family of bunnies. He is afraid to leave home but Ladybug tricks him to go see the world. While outside Yellowbird meets a dying big blue bird Darius (Danny Glover), who needs someone to guide his flock to Africa. The problem is that Yellowbird has no sense of direction.
Yellowbird and Ladybug
The Flock
In the flock there are girl bird Delf (Dakota Fanning), hippie bird Max (Zachary Gordon), Delf's not-boyfriend Willy (Brady Corbet) and his little brother Fleck (Jadon Sand) and a bunch of little birds and their parents. Grouchy Karl (Jim Rash), who wanted to be Darius' follower, doubts Yellowbird's navigational skills for a reason. The migration becomes dangerous as Yellowbird guides the flock in the wrong direction. Also the iron birds (airplanes) are a constant threat to birds who fly too high. At what point should Yellowbird tell that he really has no clue about where they are, and how will the flock react to that and will they survive?
Yellowbird and Delf
The owl
Rabbit family
Euro-animation has nice visuals with European country-side and cartoony characters whose layered paper mimicking design makes them look a bit like piñatas. Especially the flying sequences look pretty. The characters are quite usual for these kind of adventures, but quite likable too. There are couple of romances too that are not too underlined, but bring some interesting extra arcs to the story.

As the "leader" of the flock Yellowbird is kind of goof, but he is inventive too. Some of the funniest side characters are jovial sea lions and an owl (Elliott Gould) who is a sneaky innkeeper. The story has the familiar growing up story with many falls and triumphs and some thrills in a sinking ship. Overall it is a nice little film to watch for both kids and adults.

Rating: Good

Voice actors: Christine Baranski, Yvette Nicole Brown, Brady Corbet, Dakota Fanning, Danny Glover, Zachary Gordon, Elliott Gould, Seth Green, Richard Kind, Ryan Lee, Christopher L. Parson, Cristina Pucelli, Jim Rash, Jadon Sand
Director: Christian De Vita

Recommendations by Engageya