“Hot Dog… The Movie” is that film right at the end of the “Animal House” spectrum and the beginning of the “Police Academy” phenom, where every single work place or setting had its own wacky, madcap plot and array of cartoon characters. Most of the eighties were all about taking what worked and truing to copy its success. In the decade the followed, “Animal House” gave way to a large library of comedies (often teen based) that borrowed from its formula. Some of the titles were pure dreck and some of them were humongous gems. “Hot Dog… The Movie” is the absolute former.
I’d be lying if I said that I’m the biggest Scooby Doo fan around. Hell, I’m still stunned that Hanna Barbera has placed so much stock in the franchise for so many decades, but I digress. I had high hopes going in to “Scoob!” as every generation is introduced to Scooby Doo once again in some new form, and “Scoob!” seemed like the right avenue. Not only does it give us a new vision of Scooby Doo, but it makes tweaks to the mythos that I liked, while also establishing a shared Hanna Barbera universe. And yet, at the end of it all, I’d still rather have seen “Scooby Doo on Zombie Island” or “Scooby Doo and the Witch’s Ghost,” again.
TNT undergoes a massive task with “Snowpiercer.” After coming to the big screen as a massively underrated and underseen 2013 science fiction masterpiece from Bong Joon Ho, their next phase is taking the graphic novels by Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette, and transforming it in to a weekly series that puts us on board the Snowpiercer once again. This series’ newest aim is to take us so much deeper in to the lore and world of Snowpiercer, as while the central setting is a train, it’s a massive train that houses its own ecosystems, as well as its own turmoil that threatens the entirety of the haul including the bubble that many passengers have built for themselves.
Ang Lee has always been a visionary director who has challenged conventions with certain genres. While he doesn’t always hit a home run, Lee can at least be appreciated for wanting to take ideas to help usher in classic films. “Gemini Man” should have been a slam dunk. It would have been a slam dunk. But as a film, it’s so much more a concept meant to do pretty much everything but tell a story that’s engaging. It flexes its CGI, as well as Hollywood’s current fetish for de-aging stars and trying to find ways to beat mortality for the sake of cashing in on them as long as possible.
Harley Quinn has been one of the most popular DC Comics anti-heroes of the last twenty years, and for good reason. She went from an abused spouse who served her partner thanks to years of mental abuse, gas lighting and Stockholm Syndrome, to someone who cast off the shadow of the Joker to carve out her own niche. Harley Quinn should be an easy adaptation but DC and Warner haven’t quite mastered it yet. After stealing the show in “Suicide Squad,” she steals the show again in “Birds of Prey” but still never quite comes out unscathed thanks to what is an imperfect and brutally flawed, albeit balls to the wall entertaining action movie.
I was never aware of what “Carnival Magic” was until “Mystery Science Theater 3000” covered it years ago. I’d never seen an alleged kids’ film that was so adamantly uncomfortable, and droning, and inappropriate before. Al Adamson, who was known mainly for adult exploitation films, took his hand at making a children’s adventure film, ends up making in inadvertent cult item that promises to confuse and dumbfound movie lovers for years in the same ilk as “Manos: The Hands of Fate,” and “Troll 2.” I don’t know if I’d call it a cult gem, but it certainly is a cinematic oddity.
After learning recently that “Fast and the Furious” actually had an animated series on Netflix for kids, I was stunned, but not entirely shocked. There’s still some cash to be mined from the series, and there’s room to appeal to kids. In either case, with that and with “Gremlins” also being turned in to animated series, I couldn’t help but think back to five great animated series I watched as a kid that were based on feature films. What are some of your favorites?
Full Disclosure: Film Detective were kind enough to allow us viewing of the digital elements of “Fist of Fear…” for the purposes of this review, since the release of the Limited Edition Blu-Ray and DVD have been delayed indefinitely due to the ensuing worldwide pandemic. Pre-orders are still open and Film Detective are ensuring copies to consumers when they’re given the green light to continue manufacturing.
There’s a hilarious segment in “The Simpsons” episode “Homer Badman” where Homer is interviewed by tabloid reporter Godfry Jones who promises to redeem his image after he’s accused of groping a young girl. Jones expectedly exploits Homer for the sake of ratings, editing the interview to make Homer look bad. But the editing is so awful that it’s an obvious hack job, and you can’t help but laugh at the sheer shamelessness of it all. The same can be said for “Fist of Fear, Touch of Death” the sheer height of Brucesploitation that takes scraps from Bruce Lee’s career and repurposes, re-edits, and splices footage in to just a god awful faux-documentary/sports drama.