Pearl (2016)

ACADEMY AWARD NOMINEE – Director Patrick Osborne gave audiences the beautiful and sweet animated short “Feast” about a dog’s love for food and his owner. With “Pearl,” Osborne breaks out of that smaller narrative to create a sweet, touching, and incredible ode to music and the power of family. Patrick Osborne created “Pearl” as one of the first VR animated short films that allowed audiences to experience the movie in 360 degrees.

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Dirty Dancing (1987)

Returning to the big screen on January 29th and February 1st for a 30th anniversary presentation from Fathom Events and Lionsgate.

“Dirty Dancing” represents a lot of what made eighties cinema so great. There’s the obsession with the sixties, Jennifer Grey, Patrick Swayze, a pretty brilliant soundtrack, and of course a story about the guy from the wrong side of the tracks and the upper class girl above him in certain respects. Sure, “Dirty Dancing” can be silly, but it’s silly in a good way, and it’s bold in its approaching abortion as a key story element that sets the narrative in to motion. “Dirty Dancing” is one of the best movies about the love of dance and music ever made, and while it’s definitely associated with the chick flick label, it’s a movie that just about anyone can enjoy. And how can you not love “(I Had) The Time of My Life”?

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5 Movies in 2016 I Liked That Everyone Else Didn’t

With movie critics getting more and more stigmatized by bitter movie studios and petty film directors, it’s a good thing to know in the end that they’re all just opinions. This year I watched so many movies, and as always, my opinion is never gospel or the final word on any film. In 2016 I managed to like a few movies that were critically destroyed and I don’t apologize for finding value in these flops. I probably won’t go out to buy them, but I won’t flip the channel if they’re ever on cable, either.

What were some movies you liked that everyone else didn’t? Let me know in the comments.

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Josie and the Pussycats (2001)

“Josie and the Pussycats” is kind of a “They Live” of its sub-genre, taking a cute premise and turning it on its head to show a decent rock trio and how they become consumed by corporations, merchandising, and the all consuming hunger of the fans that follow. Sadly in 2001, the world was inundated with endless boy bands and pop princesses, all of whom were Caucasian, very blond, and very young, and were always on MTV grinning and getting their fans to spend, spend, spend.  So, “Josie and the Pussycats” sadly got lost in the shuffle considered something of a celebration of consumerism, when really it kind of mocked the whole idea.

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Rock & Rule (1983)

“Rock & Rule” is a wonky, surreal, and entertaining animated musical that feels like Ralph Bakshi, Don Bluth, and “Heavy Metal” magazine were combined in to such a frantic cult gem. The 1983 movie has gone through years of being an underground classic, and has finally been embraced for such an ahead of its time science fiction tale. The animation for “Rock & Rule” is completely out of the box, resembling rotoscoping in many aspects, and opting for character models you don’t often find anywhere else. “Rock & Rule” is a science fiction, punk rock, steam punk tale set many years in the future after world war III wiped man off the face of the Earth. The only surviving species are cats, dogs, and rats. They have evolved in to anthropomorphic mutants, all capable of thought and speech.

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La Bamba (1987)

I admittedly have a lot of sentimental value and nostalgia attached to Luis Valdez’s “La Bamba” as it’s a film that not only was continuously played in my family, but the soundtrack on record was also constantly replayed. “La Bamba” itself is a solid bio pic of Ritchie Valens, an LA teenager and Chicano rock and roll star who skyrocketed to fame, and died in one of the most infamous plane crashes in world history. Valens’ life was cut short way before he could even reach his twenties, but director and writer Luis Valdez does his best to explore the life of Valens before he stepped on to the ill fated “American Pie” with Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper.

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Tommy (1975)

Ken Russell’s adaptation of The Who’s rock opera “Tommy” is surreal, vivid, out of this world, and incredibly phantasmagorical. It’s everything you’d expect from Russell, and “Tommy” is every bit as unusual and mind blowing as the original rock opera is. What can you expect from a story about a young boy stricken deaf, dumb, and blind by his uncle Frank and mother Nora. With an irreversible disability, Tommy is left without the sensation to feel, or understand, or comprehend most things, so he’s a victim to everyone in his life, most of who are predators and sadistic monsters. Eventually Tommy becomes something of a deity when he gains the ability to sense certain elements of his environment, including the game of pinball.

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Times Square (1980)

If anything, at least, “Times Square” is a remarkable time capsule of the titular New York block. In 1980 before Giuliani sold the city to the highest bidder to turn it in to Disney World, Times Square was a rough area with porn theaters and dark corners every which way. Director Moyle is able to film New York brilliantly, with a lot of great wide shots and dolly shots of the corners of New York and the setting for the film. In the film we meet Pamela, the mentally ill daughter of a local politician who is hell bent on cleaning up Times Square for the mayor. When she’s locked up in the hospital for mental evaluation, she meets street girl and musician Nicky, a rebellious and raucous punk rocker who is carried away by police after trashing a vehicle.

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