For a movie that’s almost as old as I am and features many a flat tops and pastel vests, “House Party” is a movie that’s barely aged. In fact, it’s a movie that so many studios have tried to duplicate but never quite have captured the same magic and enthusiasm. There’s just something about “House Party” that’s kept it a vessel of pop culture, hip hop, and comedy that was shifting from the eighties and in to the nineties. Not even the sequels lived up to what is basically the perfect party movie when all is said and done. The movie advertises itself in the title, but while the movie is centered almost completely on a party, it’s also a pretty excellent coming of age comedy.
Charley Chase was a reigning star of the silent comedy world, but he also carried on well into the sound film era as both an inventive performer and a versatile director. In this episode of “The Online Movie Show,” we explore Charley Chase’s sound films with James L. Neibaur, author of “The Charley Chase Talkies: 1929-1940.”
As a hardcore fan of “The Big Lebowski” I felt it was my duty to check out “The Jesus Rolls,” one of the most inexplicable movies of 2020 so far. For fans of the original 1998 Coen Brothers masterpiece, Jesus Quintana is a familiar name, an adversary of The Dude who is also a very small supporting player in “The Big Lebowski.” For reasons never quite clarified (or even justified), John Turturro who portrayed Jesus, brings the character back for a pseudo-sequel that is kind of a follow up to “The Big Lebowski,” but not quite. It’s a surprisingly saccharine and dramatic film and a pretty dull one at that.
The newest edition from Shout Factory of Universal Horror Collection is really more of four films with mixed genres, and folks looking for strictly horror might be a tad disappointed. It does, in all fairness, feature horror icons like Lionel Atwill, Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Basil Rathbone, Vincent Price (and so many more). However for collectors looking to complete the library being released from Scream Factory, as they continue chronicling a lot of the more obscure and notable Universal horror films, this is right up your alley. It’s light in the supplemental material, but here’s hoping the impending volume four gives us a bit more meat to chew on.
In 2000, Syfy (then known as Sci Fi Channel) was undergoing a transition in programming that included the introduction of “original programming.” Among these new shows was “The Invisible Man,” a series that mixed classic HG Wells’ science fiction classic, with comedy, drama, crime, science fiction, fantasy, and some good old fashioned espionage and heist antics. The story followed Darien Fawkes (Vincent Ventresca), an inept cat burglar who accidentally murders the owner of a condo attempting to steal some jewels. He’s caught by authorities and given life in prison with only one way out: he can go free if he promises to sign up for a clandestine government program by a mysterious government benefactor.
He agrees to the stipulation and is injected with an experimental formula known as “Quicksilver.”
BOOTLEG FILES 720: “The Flintstones: On the Rocks” (2001 made-for-television animated film).
LAST SEEN: On the Internet Archive
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It seems to have fallen through the proverbial cracks.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Unlikely.
In 1960, ABC premiered “The Flintstones” as the first animated sitcom to air in prime time. The show was a riff on “The Honeymooners” set in prehistoric times, and it immediately resonated with viewers who kept it on the air for a six-season run.
After some um—rather interesting internet ballyhoo, “Sonic the Hedgehog” is finally brought to the big screen in what is a shockingly good adaptation. Although I’d argue that the “video game movie curse” ended in 2018 (ahem–“Tomb Raider”), “Sonic the Hedgehog” does open the door for more, higher quality video game movies down the road. While I’d be hard pressed to say that “Sonic” re-invents the wheel, it also dodges a lot of video game movie pitfalls by side stepping cloying pop culture references, and paying homage to the source material.
Director Jeff Wadlow’s (“Truth or Dare”) big screen adaptation “Fantasy Island” is a mess of a genre picture that easily one of the most tonally confused movies I’ve seen in years. Its prologue sets it up as a horror movie, then it becomes a goofy comedy about wish fulfillment, then it’s a character study about a son reconnecting with his father, the next minute it’s a torture revenge thriller, and the next it’s a movie about looking back at what could have been. None of it is remotely creepy, none of it is remotely spooky, and to top it all off, it’s all so painfully boring from beginning to end.