Based on the comic strip by Fabio Coala, director Jacob Frey adds an almost Pixar twist to the famed strip about a boy and his dog, injecting so much more emotion and a touching final scene. If the original comic weren’t bittersweet enough, “The Present” realizes the concept for a full fledged animated short that deserves a feature film. Jake is a boy who spends most of his time in doors playing video games and avoiding the outside world. One day after work his mom comes home with a present, and Jake is elated to see it’s a puppy. Initially surprised, he’s disappointed when he notices the pup only has three legs.
On March 13th 1997, mass hysteria and dozens of conspiracy theories followed the sighting of a massive series of lights over the city of Phoenix Arizona. Known as “The Phoenix Lights,” said sighting has been a hot topic for UFO enthusiasts for years, and remains a mystery that the government has been very vague about discussing since. Director and writer Keith Arem has a good idea on his hands with “The Phoenix incident” and dares to combine various filmmaking formats including found footage, documentary, and action thriller. While it doesn’t amount to a flawless science fiction thriller, Arem’s ambition and concept is still pretty admirable when you step back and soak in the entire experience.
Kathryn Bigelow’s 1991 action film “Point Break” was never really anything resembling a masterpiece, but one thing you could never call it was boring. It’s garnered something of a cult following over the years, for a reason. It’s a silly, goofy, and fun bromance where Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze bring their A game in one of the most sexless male romance action films of all time. It’s a camp classic despite its major failings. “Point Break” 2015 takes the 1991 original and saps out all of the fun and inherent camp, transforming it in to a tedious, overlong action thriller without a lick of humor about itself. Even “Fast and the Furious,” which copied “Point Break” shamelessly, had a sense of humor about itself and embraced its silly trappings and ridiculous plot line. Coming ten years too late, “Point Break” comes along after about fifteen retreads, and doesn’t really do anything except inspire the viewer to check out the original action film.
I’m not sure who is to blame for this film, but this is a terrible way to close out the “Prehysteria!” series. What began as a novel movie turns in to a piss poor series of kids films with diminishing returns thanks to the budget that gets lower and lower with every film. The original family that discovered the small dinosaurs must not have loved these animals too much, as when the third film opens, they’re once again being cared for by the eccentric old man from the second film who proceeds to lose them once again.
The good and bad news is that the big screen return of Pee Wee Herman has nothing to do with his groundbreaking kids show. It’s yet another phantasmagorical road trip movie that’s nearly impossible to pin down. It’s meta, satirical, tongue in cheek, and embraces the absurdity and absolute nonsensical comedy from Pee Wee Herman. Sometimes it misses and often times it hits. But only if you’re one of the people familiar with Pee Wee Herman’s brand of unique comedy. “Pee Wee’s Big Holiday” is a subtle message to the audience that Paul Reubens is trying to put his character in to new realms and situations. With Pee Wee being in a rut, Reubens tries his hardest to introduce the character to unusual scenarios and it works as a spiritual successor to “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.”
There’s a huge problem when it comes to sitting through “Plan 9.” It’s essentially a remake of the infamous but hilarious Ed Wood disasterpiece “Plan 9 from Outer Space.” While Ed Wood never intended his film to be considered a comedy it ended up being accidentally one of the funniest movies of all time due to the ineptitude of its production. So how does a filmmaker with arguably more resources approach a remake of “Plan 9”? Basically director John Johnson tries to have his cake and eat it too, giving us a movie that’s literally all over the place. Sometimes “Plan 9” is a straight faced zombie movie with real stakes. Sometimes it’s a meta-remake with dark comedy. And other times it’s a pseudo-remake tha acknowledges the original film from Ed Wood exists in this universe. The latter idea makes no real sense when you consider the ideas presented in “Plan 9.”
Like every studio, Moonbeam and Charles Band were seeking their fortune with their own version of “Home Alone” that would bring in the big bucks. With sub-par efforts like “Remote,” there was also the “Prehysteria!” movies which always featured the owners of a foursome of miniature dinosaurs battling evil grown ups of some kind. Set immediately after the original, the foursome of dinosaurs now live with their new family The Taylors in the green house. Seeking to have their chance to feast on the family’s large crop of raisins, they’re accidentally scooped in to a large crate and sent off for shipping by local farmers. Luckily, they’re discovered by bratty but lonely rich boy Brendan, who befriends the miniature dinosaurs, and tries to keep them a secret from his mean house keeper Miss Whitney.
There’s a stark beauty to the animation of Richard Williams that is wildly undercut by the startling violence that ensues. Williams is very talented with presenting very fluid and life black and white animation that is reduced to very horrific scenes of battles and a war ensuing in the middle of a field.