Archive for March, 2004

Disney Goes For a Retro Feel in “”Home on the Range””

March 31, 2004

The number of films using ‘traditional’ animation have become fewer in light of the popularity of computer-generated images. Actually, it’s the not simply the physical appearance of these movies, but something more–an edginess, wit, better developed stories, etc.–that can explain this appeal, for both children and adults alike. Now, the latest animated film from Disney for a retro feel, not just in terms of looks (‘traditional’ animation), but in terms of feel and setting it seems reminiscent of the Studio’s work from decades ago, the stuff that would appear on “”The Wonderful World of Disney””.

This latest flick, “”Home on the Range””, works for the most part. There are plenty of lively characters (though too many at times), the story moves along briskly, fewer songs–only one character actually has a musical number, other songs are relegated to the background–and the humor can keep both children and adults interested. The look of the film may not wow some in light of the work Pixar did, although there are moments, such as occasional panoramic views of both the farm in the surrounding landscape. Again, though, this goes for the feel of the film–contemporary dialogue, but in a setting that was popular (western) that was popular with many older cartoons, along with retro-style character movements.The film generally succeeds, in large part to the casting of the voices. Roseanne, Judi Dench, and Jennifer Tilly do well in the roles of lead cows Maggie, Mrs. Calloway, and Grace respectively. In particular are the contrasting personalities, as can be expected, of the brash yet personable Maggie (Roseanne), and the prim and very British Calloway (Dench) who also has a major hat fixation. Grace, meanwhile, is easy-going, sings a lot (badly) to her co-horts, and has a generally trippy disposition overall; Tilly’s voice suits this character well.Plot-wise, “”Home on the Range”” is simple enough, as it concerns the efforts of the three leading ladies in their attempt to capture cattle rustler Alameda Slim (Randy Quaid) and collect the reward money ($750). It turns out that their home, the dairy farm Patch of Heaven, is about to face foreclosure and be auctioned off unless owner Pearl (Sarah Jessica Parker) can come up with–surprise–$750. After initially suggesting that they enter the local fair, Maggie comes up with the idea of going after Slim with Mrs. Calloway and Grace in tow, albeit reluctantly–and weighing in is Maggie’s own reason for going after the outlaw.Along the way, the three cows deal with Buck (Cuba Gooding, Jr.), the local sheriff’s horse who has a huge ego and is carrying famed bounty hunter Rico (Charles Dennis)–both horse and rider find themselves on the trail of Slim. The bovines must also contend with floods, overeager vultures, steep cliffs, and Grace’s singing. In addition, they encounter a shaman–rather, a peg-legged jackrabbit–named Lucky Jack (Charles Haid) who dispenses advice and um, interesting cooking.[pagebreak]The story, which could easily have been told in a film from a half century ago, still works well. The plot pauses briefly for a musical interlude before picking up, and the action in the film culminates in a roller coaster-esque chase scene. There aren’t as many ‘moments’ such that adults can enjoy the film as well as children–though some may question whether a few of the jokes are appropriate for children.The characters are voiced well–both leads and supporting roles. Noteworthy among the latter are an old goat–literally and figuratively–named Jeb (Joe Flaherty) who continually dishes pessimistic comments, and a businessman who deals with Slim named Weasley (“”It’s pronounced Westley””, he says) who is voiced by Steve Buscemi (the character even looks a little like Buscemi). Also lending vocal talents, albeit briefly, are Estelle Harris and Patrick Warburton–both of “”Seinfeld”” fame–as a chicken and a horse, respectively.The characters are entertaining–whether it’s Maggie’s continued comments (telling a pig with an apple to stay away from a luau), Buck’s war of wills with a buffalo, or the interaction between Slim and his goons–the action is fun, and the animation looks decent–for this type of story anyway. There are still a couple of gripes, with the first being that there are a lot of characters who, given the length of the film are given short shrift–and that turns out to be quite a number of characters (like some of the other farm animals). The other concern is the sight of dancing animals–brrrrr–during the “”Little Patch of Heaven”” song, done by k.d. Lang; the song is o.k., but the dancing around the barnyard is a bit much, a bit too ‘cutsey’.Despite these shortcomings, there is plenty to enjoy here, for both children and adults. This could be Disney’s last hand-drawn animated film, at least for a while, as they focus on the more popular computed-generated animation. If this is truly the case, then this seems like a decent enough send-off, successfully mixing the style of decades ago with a more contemporary attitude.Grade: B+EM Reviewby Andrew Haas4/2/02


favorite authors

March 31, 2004

i think we did favorite books, now what your favorite authors…

some of mine are

jk rowling
mercedes lackey
marion zimmerman bradley
nick hornsby
james patterson
some of stephen king

all i can think for now

TV Land Awards

March 31, 2004

For those who love awards shows with just a touch of nostalgia, last night’s 2nd annual TV Land Awards were just the thing. As with last year, the show opened with a montage of popular TV themes including The Beverly Hillbillys, Moonlighting, and The Facts of Life. Everybody Loves Raymond star Brad Garrett did a respectable job as Emcee. He may not have been as comfortable as John Ritter appeared last year, but his Herman Munster was worth the price of admission.

The show featured cast reunions of The Andy Griffith Show, Mary Tyler Moore, and Gilligan’s Island. Where else can you see all three actresses who played Catwoman on TV, The General Lee, and Gary Coleman wearing a camera strapped to his head ? For the record, Linda Carter looked phenomenal, and Farrah appeared somewhat distracted. If you missed it, don’t worry. I’m certain it’ll be replayed at least as much as Spike replayed its VGA award show. Y’all come back now, ya hear ?

“Passion of Christ” or “Last Temptation of Christ”?

March 30, 2004

As far as I am concerned, Mel took the idea of the movie from a previous one “The Last Temptation of Christ” starring Dafoe (based on the book of Kazantzakis, author from Crete, Greece, the same author of Zorba the Greek)

Vampire Effect: This Chinese Vampire Movie Rocks!

March 30, 2004

Bad: you are the Anti-Vampire League

Century City: Future Law; Present-Day Presentation

March 30, 2004

The cool thing about

“”21 Grams”” worth its weight in gold

March 29, 2004

Told in a traditional linear fashion, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

TV on DVD: Star Trek: Voyager – Season One: Better Than You Remember!

March 29, 2004

Chris Klein and Matthew Ryan Hoge Discuss “”The United States of Leland””

March 28, 2004


the ladykillers

March 27, 2004

another coen brothers movie has hit the theatres

not the best tom hanks film, but it had it’s fun moments..

best two characters: mrs munson and the painting