Nickelodeon’s “Hey Arnold!” was one of the banner animated series from the heyday of the 1990’s. It was a subtle, sweet, and often funny coming of age show with a lot of heart and some brilliantly memorable moments that evoked pure emotion from its audience. Despite ending in 2004, Nickelodeon gave the series a final send off in 2002 with a flimsy and absolutely wretched big screen film that did nothing to close the world we’d come to love. Most of all, it did nothing for the story arc of main character Arnold, who spent a majority of the series under the care of his elderly eccentric grandparents.
Mid-way through the series, we learned that Arnold’s parents were explorers who spent their days traveling, and the last they ever saw of him was before they left for one last adventure to help a village suffering from a mysterious illness.
I’ve seen so many hours of Looney Tunes that it’s obscene. My mom bought my brother and I about five or six Looney Tunes compilations on VHS when we were kids and I saw them at least eighty times a week. When I got cable television, I watched looney tunes almost obsessively. From the “Bugs & Tweety Show” Saturday mornings, to various hour blocks on Cartoon Network like “Toonheads” and “Acme Hour,” to twenty two day blocks of Bugs Bunny called “June Bugs” my appetite was insatiable. One of the big things you learn being a Looney Tunes fanatic is that Bugs Bunny was not the OG of the Warner animated gallery, it was in fact Porky Pig.
I was not at all a fan of the original “Batman” animated movie, as I felt it was somewhat unfocused. Thankfully “Batman vs. Two Face” not only gets the idea more about the Batman series, but uses Two Face quite cleverly. As most fans know, the original Adam West Batman show wanted Clint Eastwood to play Two Face, but deemed the character too disturbing for viewers. Producers for this animated movie go back to re-cast Two Face for their show, but bring aboard another television icon to play the villain, William Shatner. Shatner is perfect for the role of the duplicitous deviant ne’er dowell known as Two Face, and what makes the pot even sweeter is that he’s turned in to an allegory for homosexuality.
The life of cartoonist Mr. Fish has seen through his eyes and those of his loved ones, co-workers, and a few other people.
From director Pablo Bryant, this documentary mixes interviews with a lot of visual material, giving a good idea of who Mr. Fish is, how he thinks, and how he creates. The film covers his life from childhood until now and shows not only how he works but also his home life which has an influence on his work and vice versa. This is done in a way that gives a good, unobstructed view of things and lets the viewer make their own mind as to if Mr. Fish is doing things right or not. Of course, the film does come at the subject from a specific angle and has its own agenda, but that does not keep it from having an openness about its subject.
With so much television available at our finger tips, there is always a demand for the revisiting of the golden age of television where everything was more simple. Mill Creek Entertainment has taken everything they could find in their catalogue and have built two rather large television time capsules and experiences that are suitable for audiences that grew up during what they call the “golden age” of TV. The “Watch Around the Clock: 24 Hours of TV” pair of box sets even includes the original commercials and ads for various products from the era, and there’s even a small fold out guide that allow you to view what TV shows are available through the entirety of the twenty four hour block.
The long out of print “Rock-a-Doodle” from animation master Don Bluth has finally stormed its way on to HD thanks to Olive Films, and it’s a blast to the past for me. I fondly remember seeing a lot of the ads for “Rock-a-Doodle” as well as coming across TV spots and ads in comic books. Sadly, the actual cinematic experience was a bust, even for an eight year old moi. It was a dull, awful movie then, and it’s a pretty dull and awful movie, now. I doubt even the best of nineties nostalgia geeks can find a gem in this mess of a movie. I spent a good number of years putting “Rock-a-Doodle” in the back burner of my memory, and I realize it was for good reason.
“Justice League: The New Frontier,” adapted from the late great Darwyn Cooke’s graphic novel is an attempt at a new approach toward the DC universe the heroes behind DC. It’s an engaging, poetic, often brilliant animated film with an adult sensibility and intriguing psychological analysis that features a world on the brink of a new frontier, and its heroes and protectors facing the prospect of not being needed. On the opposite spectrum, their views of humanity are waning and devolving as they see endless cruel violence, and hatred take form through horrendous racial crimes. Director David Bullock and co. dare to present a film that takes a step back looking at the humanity that is affected by a world inhabited by DC heroes.
For the respective Three Stooges buff looking for a good holiday gift, or for someone just seeking some good old fashioned laughs and gaffs, Mill Creek offers up a forty hour compendium of some of the more interesting three stooges entertainment. While it’s branded the “Complete” collection, I doubt that we’ll ever have a complete collection considering rights issues, but “Big Box of Nyuks” is still a very impressive addition to anyone who adores these knuckleheads and their antics that have managed to garner a new fan base for every generation. It’s an exhaustive look behind the Stooges legacy and also celebrates their comedy when they were at their peak and at their unfortunate worst, but it’s a great collector’s item.