Mar 022012
 

Director: Marjane Satrapi & Vincent Paronnaud

Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 95 minutes

Release Date: 6/23/2007

Genre: Graphic Novel,Autobiographical

Cast: Teenage and Adult Marjane (Chiara Mastroianni), Mother (Catherine Deneuve), Grandmother (Danielle Darrieux), Father (Simon Abkarian), Uncle Anouche (Francois Jerosme)

Synopsis:  The animated film is based on the graphic novel of the same name by by Marjane Satrapi.  It is the story of Marjane Satrapi’s early life as a young girl growing up in Iran and begins  in 1978 just at the start of the Iranian Revolution.  Eventually, the changes brought on by the  revolution become too much for Marjane and she travels without her family to a French school in Vienna.  She has many freedoms in Vienna that she wouldn’t have been able to have in Iran, like drinking and partying with older boys, but she also ends up sick and living on the streets and almost dies of sickness.  Later, she travels back to Iran to be with her family and it appears that life is a little better there than it was when she first left.  Even so, she has a hard time fitting in, so she gets married but has difficult time with her husband and decides to divorce him.  After a narrow escape from the police during a raid where her freind dies, she decides to leave Iran again. The film ends with her getting off a plane in Paris to try to find a better place to live.

Pro:  Persepolis is a great film and it is no wonder that it was given many awards and even nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.  Some of the notable reasons its high praise are;

  • The sequence during the opening credits are just amazing with the Mythological Persian styling.
  • It was interesting to see how normal her parents were despite what was going on at the time.  Also to see any sort of non-fanatical images about people inside of Iran.
  • The message that a revolution against a repressive regime can bring about something worse even though it is driven by the people.
  • There is a great scene where Marjane has a music montage where she sings “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor.
  • Another scene where Marjane looks back on her ex-boyfriend and realizes what a complete looser he was.
  • Just a really good view of the people of Iran and how they live their lives and just go with the flow to get by when things go badly.

Con: Event though this film is nearly perfect there were a few technical issues with it;

  • I had a difficulty reading the subtitles and seeing their facial expressions or what characters were doing at the same time.  I might have to re watch but with the English version or I guess I could learn French.
  • I realize that part of the deal with Marjane  is that she gets out of Iran initially because she speaks French, and that the film is made in France, but it is a bit strange seeing all of these Iranians speaking French instead of Persian.
  • Was it necessary to translate the words Vienne 1986 to Vienna 1986?

Conclusion:  This is a great film.  I learned much from it in a historical sense and her personal story is very moving and was great in mixing very grave serious scenes with elements of comedy. I recommend this for anyone, but some people may want to keep their hand on the rewind button in case they miss some of the dialogue.

 

 

Frank’s Ratings

(1-5)

Characters 5
Story 5
Special Effects 4
Would Watch Again? 3
Average 4.25
Feb 282012
 

Director: P.J. Hogan

Rating: PG

Running Time: 1hr 52 min

Release Date: 12/25/2003

Genre: Fantasy, Literary

Cast: Peter Pan (Jeremy Sumptor), Wendy Darling  (Rachel Hurd-Wood), Captain Hook/Mr Darling (Jason Isaacs), Smee (Richard Briers), Tinkerbell (Ludivine Sagnier), Pirate Cookson (Bruce Spence)

Synopsis: P.J. Hogan directed this underated adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s novel/play Peter Pan. It is the well known story of the boy who wouldn’t grow up.  Peter convinces Wendy and her brothers to fly to Never Land where they encounter Peter’s band of lost boys.  They also fight Captain James Hook and his goofy band of pirates and are helped by fairies, Indians and mermaids.

Pro: It was nice to see a version of Peter Pan without big names and big budgets.  Some of the interesting changes and twists;

  • Traveling to Never Land appeared to take place though space as opposed to traveling on earth.
  • Jeremy Sumpter is great as Peter, and performed some very exciting sword fights.
  • Great imagining of Never Land scenery.
  • I liked the focus on the devilish almost evil nature of Tinkerbell

Con: Some of the special effects did not hold up over the few years since the movie was first out.  Even though Jeremy Sumpter was a good Peter, it was a bit weird seeing Peter played by a boy since traditionally Peter is played by a girl.

Conclusion:  This is a great retelling of the Peter Pan story, and I recommend it to anyone.  I’ve heard that part of the reason for it not being more popular is that it was buried by Lord of The Rings: Return of the King which was out at the same time.

Trivia: Bruce Spence, the Gyro Captain from The Road Warrior  plays on of Hook’s  pirates.  Also, Captain Hook is played by Jason Isaacs who played Draco Malfoy’s father, Lucius in the Harry Potter series.

 

 

Frank’s Ratings

(1-5)

Characters 4
Story 3
Special Effects 3
Would Watch Again? 2
Average 3
Feb 262012
 

Director:  Thom Eberhardt

Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 95 minutes

Release Date: 11/16/1984

Genre:  Comedy, Science Fiction, Horror

Cast: Regina ‘Reggie’ Belmont (Catherine Mary Stewart), Samantha ‘Sam’ Belmont (Kelli Maroney), Hector Gomez (Robert Beltran), Audrey White (Mary Wornov), Dr. Carter (Geoffrey Lewis)

Synopsis: In this nearly forgotten 1984 flim, two sisters, Reggie (Catherine Mary Stewart) and Sam (Kelli Maroney) wake up the morning after a much hyped comet has passed over earth.  They find that they are among the few survivors in Los Angeles, and almost everyone else has been turned into red dust or are murderous but disintegrating zombies due to strange radiation emmenating from the comet.

Quickly shrugging off the death of everyone they know, Sam and Reggie have fun in the deserted city by getting expensive clothes and driving fast cars and find survivors.  Another survivor, Hector Gomez (Robert Beltran), meets them a unmanned but automated radio station and despite initial distrust they band together.  Another group of survivors, former stockboys at a department store, are not as friendly and Sam and Reggie barely get away from them.  Luckily the girls know how to use firearems and are now packing some  serious heat and are able to outgun the opposition.

Later, they encounter a group of scientists led by Dr. Carter (Geoffrey Lewis).  After some trickery,  Reggie is taken back to the scientists’ base while Sam and scientist Audrey White (Mary Wornov) wait for Hector to meet up with them.  Audrey tells them that the scientists were exposed to the comet radiation and are performing dangerous experiments on survivors to help find a cure and that Reggie is in danger.

While Reggie is being menaced by a degenerating Dr. Carter, Sam and Hector break into the facility.  After much chaos and shooting,  Sam and Hector rescue Reggie and two kids, and in a spectacular explosion, kill all of the rest of the scientists.

Since all threats have been removed they throw their weapons away in a trash can.  Reggie,  Hector and the kids  have become the last nuclear family on earth, but Sam is alone.  As they are crossing a street, Sam is almost hit by a fast car driven by the only other living man and they drive off into the sunset!

Pro: I loved this movie, when I first saw it in 1984, I thought that all Reggie and Sam were really cool, that the special effects were awesome and the story written by the smartest writers in the world.  Since then, I have ended up seeing it about once every 5 years.  My opinion of it has changed during that time.  I still really like it, but I see it more as a time capsule from 1984 and when I want to explain 1984, I show people this movie because;

  • I think that the comet reflects the fear of nuclear weapons and that everything could be destroyed in an instant.  The comet even killed with radiation and the surviving victims were falling apart like those hit by a real bomb.
  • Contains a music montage consisting of Cyndi Lauper’s, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” while Reggie and Sam are trying on clothes.
  • Reggie’s obsession with the arcade game Tempest and anger at someone else taking the top spot on the scoreboard.
  • Geoffrey Lewis being in it, because I think that he was in most films from the early 1980s.

Con: I already mentioned that even though I thought it was the greatest film ever, but it has some major flaws;

  • The dialogue is horrible in general.
  • Some of the special effects are not top notch, even by the standards of the day.  In particular, I’d say they did a really bad job with the funky looking skies.
  • The fact that the survivors were safe because the happened to be inside metal structures with no special air system, but the fact that the scientists happened to have the windows open they were doomed seems a bit of a stretch of the imagination.

Conclusion: Night of the Comet is pretty typical of 1980s horror, but I think that it does things better than most of the genre.  Even though it is rarely on tv, this is one of my guilty pleasures, and I will watch it every time!

Bonus Trivia: Geoffrey Lewis is the father of Juliette Lewis and also, in 2005, Geoffrey Lewis and Mary Woronov both appear in the Rob Zombie movie, The Devil’s Rejects

 

Frank’s Ratings

(1-5)

Characters 3
Story 2
Special Effects 2
Would Watch Again? 4
Average 2.75