Odds & Ends
By Jeffrey M. Anderson
The following is a list of current titles that I never had time to
review and eventually had to give up on. I'm only human and the time
comes to face reality; there just isn't enough time in the day to watch
everything. I prefer to look at it as a kind of spring cleaning garage
Cheetah Girls (2004)
This Disney Channel teen movie
from Disney features Saturday morning TV idol Raven as a member of a
singing/dancing group who discovers the pitfalls of stardom. It comes
with an alternate ending, five music videos and a "behind the scenes"
Circle of Deceit (1981)
video has released this highly acclaimed early film by Volker
Schlondorff, who had just scored with The Tin Drum. A great cast
includes Bruno Ganz as a reporter who travels to Beirut to cover the
Lebanese war. Film director Jerzy Skolimowski (Deep End) co-stars as
his photographer and Hanna Schygulla (The Marriage of Maria Braun)
plays his lover.
The Day of the Locust (1974)
John Schlesinger directed this film, based on Nathaniel West's novel,
about Hollywood excess in the 1930s. Donald Sutherland stars alongside
Karen Black and Burgess Meredith was nominated for an Oscar. The
legendary Waldo Salt wrote the screenplay, and Conrad Hall (American
Beauty) was the cinematographer.
Everyone tells me
that Miracle is better than it looks, but I had a hard time convincing
myself to invest the two hours and fifteen minutes finding out. It's
based on the true story of the U.S. hockey team beating the Soviet Union
in the 1980 Olympics. The underrated Kurt Russell plays the team's coach
with heavy makeup, hair and accent. Disney's two-disc set comes with all
kinds of making-of materials, but it would have been cool to include
footage of the real match.
Miracle of Marcellino (1991)
This religious family movie is a remake of a 1955 film. During the 16th
century, a group of friars find a baby on their doorstep and raise him.
At age six, he is adopted into the home of a wealthy Count, but runs
away after seeing the violence of a hunting trip. He is injured during a
storm, wakes up in the monastery and takes comfort in Jesus. VCI
Entertainment's DVD comes with a making-of documentary, a trailer,
optional English or Spanish language tracks and English subtitles.
Peter Pan (2003)
really been interested in the Peter Pan story, and there have been two
perfectly good versions already, the 1924 silent version and the 1953
Disney version. I couldn't understand why anyone really wanted to make a
new one, unless it was an excuse to load the thing up with
computer-generated special effects. Most of the actors are unfamiliar to
me, except Ludivine Sagnier, from Swimming Pool. Director P.J.
Hogan has so far had one hit (My Best Friend's Wedding) and one miss
(Muriel's Wedding). In any case, the DVD has lots of kid-friendly
Safe Conduct (2002)
Tavernier's film sounds interesting; it tells the story of two
filmmakers who must decide what to do when WWII breaks out, collaborate
with the enemy or join the resistance. This is a subject that must be
close to Tavernier's heart, but I generally don't like war movies and
Safe Conduct runs nearly 3 hours. Needless to say, it just kept
getting bumped to the bottom of the pile. Koch Lorber's DVD comes with a
photo gallery, a trailer and production notes.
Spider-Man vs. Doc Ock (2004)
Getting ready to hype the new Spider-Man 2, Buena Vista has released
this animated short that also comes with an episode of the old 1967
show. I love Spider-Man as much as the next guy, but I've seen a
couple of these cartoons by now and they don't do much for me.
June 22, 2004