Category Archives: Family

Bedtime Stories

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Release Date: December 25, 2008
Runtime: 99 minutes
Rating: PG
Studio: Disney
Director: Adam Shankman
Cast: Adam Sandler; Keri Russell; Courteney Cox; Russell Brand; Guy Pearce; Teresa Palmer; Richard Griffiths; Lucy Lawless

A frothy, family-friendly entertainment that is lively enough for the kids and easy-to-swallow for the adults. Continue reading

Here Comes The Boom

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Release Date: October 12, 2012
Runtime: 105 minutes
Rating: PG
Studio: Columbia Pictures (Sony)
Director: Frank Coraci
Cast: Kevin James; Salma Hayek; Greg Germann; Henry Winkler; Gary Valentine; Bas Rutten

Every so often a movie comes along that takes a marginal star and places them in a story that truly allows them to win us over. Jack Black in “School of Rock”. Anna Faris in “The House Bunny”. And now, Kevin James in “Here Comes The Boom.” This is a movie that has its heart planted firmly in the right place and truly gives James a chance to glow. Continue reading

Oz: The Great and Powerful

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Release Date: March 8, 2013
Runtime: 130 minutes
Rating: PG
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
Director: Sam Raimi
Cast: James Franco; Mila Kunis; Rachel Weisz; Michelle Williams; Zach Braff; Joey King; Bill Cobbs

“The Wizard of Oz” endures. Every few years, a new take on L. Frank Baum’s tales pops up. In 1985, there was “Return to Oz.” In 2003, the musical “Wicked” premiered on Broadway and became and international blockbuster (still running). Now, in 2013, comes “Oz: The Great and Powerful.” A prequel, of sorts, to the familiar movie, that dazzles with its visuals and provides an interesting back-story for how the Wizard got to be so, well, great and powerful. This film takes its cue from the Baum stories, and not the 1939 Judy Garland film, since there are copyright issues that prevent Disney (the studio behind this film) from getting its hands on too much of the familiar trademarks of the classic movie (distributed by MGM, but copyrights owned by Warner Bros. Continue reading

Xanadu

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Release Date: August 8, 1980
Runtime: 93 minutes
Rating: PG
Studio: Universal Pictures
Director: Robert Greenwald
Cast: Olivia Newton-John; Gene Kelly; Michael Beck

Something about this movie draws me to it.  I don’t know if it’s the fact that it was so viciously derided upon its initial release, whether it’s the tack, tack, TACKY sets and costumes, whether it’s the actually pretty likable music and “Solid Gold”-ish style dancing, or my strange obsession with the former Pan-Pacific Auditorium. Whatever the reason, I will always watch “Xanadu” with a smile…not because it’s good, but because it has a sincerity that is endearing in its naivety. Continue reading

Lost Horizon (1973)

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Release Date: March 17, 1973
Runtime: 150 minutes (feels like it!)
Rating: G
Studio: Columbia Pictures (Sony)
Director: Charles Jarrott
Cast: Peter Finch; Liv Ullmann; John Gielgud; Sally Kellerman; George Kennedy; Michael York; Olivia Hussey; Bobby Van; James Shigeta; Charles Boyer

Hoo-boy!  Where to start with this one?

This is Ross Hunter’s infamous musical version of James Hilton’s “Lost Horizon.”  Essentially laughed off the screen in 1973, Columbia Pictures was so ashamed of this movie that they never released it on home video (until they recently decided ‘What the hell!’ and released it on DVD on October 6, 2011 – available at Amazon), even though it clearly cost a bunch of money and had some big name (for the time) stars in it.  In fact, in film circles, this cinematic dung heap is known as ‘Lost Investment.’  Ouch!! Continue reading