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Watch It! One of Rick's Mixed Bags!

Hey Everyone, Rick here with my look at some movies that I can definitely say that I am happy to have them in my regular rotation.  I watch these movies once every couple of years as that is how long my rotation of movies is.  That being said, here is a mixed bag of movies that I hope you will enjoy.

The Karate Kid (1984)
On the heels of the release of the remake of the Karate Kid, I decided to watch the original film from 1984.  You know, I have to say that both of them stand on their own quite well.  The fact that Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) is the most unexpected martial arts trainer is what really appeals to me.  In the remake, you kind of know that Mr. Han (Jackie Chan) is capable of kicking some ass.  Anyway, The original Karate Kid is directed by John G. Alvidsen, who is best known for his work in the Rocky films.  This one is just as good as the Rocky films in my opinion. The relationship between Daniel and Mr. Miyagi is incredible and you see these characters develop through the course of the movie. So many iconic lines come out of this movie.  "Wax on, wax off" is just one of many.  This is a cherished classic of my childhood and it has only gotten better for me with age.  This and the sequel Karate Kid Part 2 are easily the best of the series.   

Oh man, James Gunn made easily one of the most disgusting and dementedly hysterical movies I have ever seen with Slither.  Here is my review of Slither from last year when I did my "31 Days of Horror" series for Amazing Comicast:

The Skinny: Near the deer hunting season in the small town of Wheelsy, a meteor falls on the woods with an egg of alien worm. Along the night, the local Starla Grant refuses to have sex with her husband Grant Grant and the upset man goes to a bar to have some drinks. He meets his acquaintance Brenda Gutierrez, the younger sister of his former girlfriend, who has a crush on him, and they go to the woods, but Grant does not have sex with her. He sees the weird egg on the grass, and when he touches it, the egg releases a dart with an alien parasite that dominates Grant's brain. Along the next days, Grant has an insatiable hunger for meat, and while his hostage body is transforming, he builds a nest in his cellar for some odd reason.

The Good: I absolutely love Slither. It's funny and gross and scary and all this at the same time. Slither consistently hits all the right notes line for line, scene for scene and it does not disappoint. 
The writing is superb and there are some genuinely surprising moments (both of the funny and scary varieties). Nathan Fillion is incredibly funny as the lead.  He gets a lot of the best lines and he delivers them with his trademark dry humor that it just makes the movie all the funnier.  Jenna Fischer is in a tiny role and I wish she had been in the movie a little more.  Elizabeth Banks is wonderful in the female lead role.  But the standout is Michael Rooker who had to endure hours of makeup to look like the end result of the movie.  His performance is creepy through and through.  The make up effects are excellent.  This movie is all high notes, not a moment that I could consider a low point at all. Highest possible recommendation.  An excellent and brilliantly funny horror movie that is a love letter to the creature features of the 50's and 80's horror.  

The Bad: None.  I could nitpick but it's just not worth it.  This movie is great.  The only disappointing thing is that it didn't find the audience it needed when it came out in theaters and I wasn't able to see it in time before it got pulled.

My final verdict: 5 mind controlling zombie worms ouf of  5.

Cannibal: The Musical
Admittedly, I went into this movie with some semblance of trepidation. I had no idea what I was getting into with a Troma film called Cannibal the Musical.  Then I saw who wrote it.  Trey Parker and Matt Stone!  The guys behind South Park! This has to be good, right? It is utterly hysterical and the songs are brilliantly funny.  I won't go into specifics with the movie.  It just needs to be seen to be be believed.  Any movie where one of the lead characters starts to go insane and starts singing a song about how they should build a snowman and the fact that they can name it Beowulf, is one that should be seen quite a bit.  It is up there with South Park.  Keep in mind that the humor is very reminiscent of South Park but as some of those episodes are done, with great subtlety being used throughout the proceedings.  Highly recommended!

The Rocketeer
This is required viewing for you comic book geeks out there.  The Rocketeer was Disney's version of a much beloved comic character of the same name created by the late, great Dave Stevens.  Cliff Secord (Bill Campbell) an ace pilot finds a jetpack that belongs to Howard Hughes (Terry O'Quinn, Locke from Lost) and is sought after by the Nazis.  This movie is absolutely brilliant and fun and easily one of the best comic to film adaptations ever made in my opinion.  The cast includes Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin and Timothy Dalton.  The director is Joe Johnston who is the director of the upcoming Captain America movie due out next year.  It was because of this movie that has me saying that Johnston is by far the perfect director for the Captain America movie because he was ablt to capture the era extremely well.  This movie is also notable because no CG effects were used in this movie and it is one of the last films to use entirely practical effects before the monstrosity that is Jurassic Park (and I mean that in a good way) came thundering into theaters heralding the arrival of CG effects in movies.  The musical score by James Horner is absolutely beautiful, and inspiring and one of the most memorable of his storied career.  I cannot recommend this movie enough. While it tanked in theaters in 1991, it is an underappreciated gem of a movie with plenty of action and superheroics to entertain everyone.  It really is that great.

Dick Tracy
Another attempt at a comic book franchise made by Disney with Warren Beatty as the title character and a whole universe of talent as the villains.  I am talking Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, William Forsythe, R.G. Armstrong, James Caan, Mandy Patinkin and Henry Silva to name a few.  The real appeal to this movie and why I am recommending it so much is the make up on these talented actors and the artistry involved in making these guys look as grotesque as they did in the classic comic strip.  Also the color palette was unique as it was limited to just seven colors (primarily red, green, blue and yellow) in order to capture the look and colors of the comic strip accutately.  It is absolutely beautifully handled.  Sure it has some minor dull moments but it really is a fun movie watching these actors play as broadly as they possibly can.

That's it for me right now.  Next will be a look at some reommendations of foreign films that I happen to like quite a bit.

A great bag of movies! All of these are films that I love except "Cannibal" - I have not seen it. "Slither" stands right up there with "Tremors" in my mind as wonderful homages to the monster movies of the 1950s. We had to drive to Arlington to see it in an empty theater as it wasn't playing anywhere in Ft. Worth. "Dick Tracy" didn't have that great a script, but has there ever been a movie that looked and felt so much like the Sunday comics? The colors are just amazing. In my opinion, it is the best film based on a comic strip other then Robert Altman's briliant "Popeye".

I agree. The story in Dick Tracy was not the best but the visuals, the make up, and Pacino's truly insane performance more than makes up for the story issues. In regards to Slither, it was showing very briefly in Hurst at the Rave theater there but I never could get away to go see it. As soon as it came out on DVD though, I definitely bought it!

I saw Rocketeer in the theater when I was 11. I remember my dad commenting that it reminded him of old movie serials. He said he kept expecting the announcer to cut in and say "Will our hero survive? Come back next week for the thrilling conclusion!"

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