HOCUS POCUS (1993)

Directed By: Kenny Ortega

Written By: Mick Garris & Neil Cuthbert

Story by: Mick Garris & David Kirschner 

Cinematography: Hiro Narita 

Editor: Peter R. Berger 

Cast: Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, Omri Katz, Thora Birch, Vanessa Shaw, Larry Bagby, Doug Jones, Charles Rocket, Sean Murray, Kathleen Freeman 

A curious youngster moves to Salem, where he struggles to fit in before awakening a trio of diabolical witches that were executed in the 17th century.


This film has garnered a cult following over the years. Unfortunately, I am not one of that crowd. Even though when it came out I was really looking forward to seeing it. 

By all means, this is a film one should hate, but I don’t. It’s not good but it is cute. Perfect for kids who should love it as it fits in with what would seem to be their fantasy. Mildly scary but not violent and it also includes all the ghostly elements of monsters. Not to mention that is who the film is made for.

It also is a throwback to when movies came out aimed at them that were goofy and maybe simple but relied on stars and not so many special effects.

Another reason it’s not a total failure is that it’s almost like watching a bunch of adults playing dress-up. The three main antagonists Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy as a coven of witches watching them. As the witches from the past getting acquainted with modern times and mindsets are silly.

One can admit to having a weakness for Bette Midler movies. Just as some people have a weakness for Barbara Streisand movies. She is just an amazing performer and even as ridiculous as this is. She puts her all into it and seems to be having fun. Her and the cast are the reasons I even watched the film in the first place.

One of the reasons she did this film supposedly is that she passed in the film SISTER ACT. Which revitalized Whoopi Goldberg’s career so she took this hoping for a smash hit. Unfortunately, it bombed and it’s been rare that she has really been on-screen since. Yet over the years, it has become a cult classic.

The film is dated and gaudy but good for children. As it is simple and colorful. If it was made now it would have been a film that would have been a Disney channel original movie.

definitely, a children’s film that tries to be a bigger feature and modernized but ultimately is more a fairy tale or bedtime stories strictly for kids. There is nothing wrong with that. So that it is perfect for it’s core audience.

Directed by Kenny Ortega the movie has certain rhythms which other than having Bette Midler as the star there is a bunch of scenes that revolve around singing or music or group scenes of dancing or crowds moving together.

This is pretty much a Disney original movie you would normally see on their channel. Only at the time when they still made these features for theaters and got big stars to headline. So much bigger-budgeted and higher expectations. So at least it offers a family Film

It has an innocence yet remains dark to a degree. It’s a fun film that never quite got it’s due but finally seems to gain an audience every year due to it being entertaining. You can’t be cynical or dark. Go into this movie or you will miss It’s appeal and nuances

It has a feckless teenage romance story in it that goes nowhere except to maybe appeal to that demographic. Who wouldn’t be going to see this film anyway unless forced to. In the end, the film is perfectly harmless. 

Wait for it on cable or even television, but even they don’t play it that much. But really it’s a movie where looking at the poster you know what you are getting yourself into.

Grade: C+

OLD DOGS (2009)

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Directed By: Walt Becker
Written By: David Diamond & David Weissman
Cinematography By: Jeffrey L. Kimball
Editor: Ryan Folsey 


 Cast: John Travolta, Robin Williams, Rita Wilson, Lori Loughlin, Kelly Preston, Amy Sedaris, Seth Green, Bernie Mac, Matt Dillon, Ann-Margaret, Elle Bleu Travolta

Charlie and Dan have been best friends and business partners for thirty years; their Manhattan public relations firm is on the verge of a huge business deal with a Japanese company. With two weeks to sew up the contract, Dan gets a surprise: a woman he married on a drunken impulse nearly nine years before (annulled the next day) shows up to tell him he’s the father of her twins, now seven, and she’ll be in jail for 14 days for a political protest. Dan volunteers to keep the tykes, although he’s up tight and clueless. With Charlie’s help is there any way they can be dad and uncle, meet the kids’ expectations, and still land the account?

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MONSTER HOUSE (2006)

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Directed By: Gil Kenan
Written By: Dan Harmon, Rob Schrab & Paul Pettler
Story By: Dan Harmon & Rob Schrab
Cinematography: Xavier Perez Geobet
Editor: Fabienne Eawley & Adam P. Scott 


Cast: Mitchel Musso, Steve Buscemi, Maggie Gylenhaal, Catherine O’Hara, Fred Willard, Jon Heder, Jason Lee, Kevin James, Nick Cannon, Spencer Locke, Kathleen Turner 


13-year-old DJ is observing his neighbor Nebbercracker on the other side of the street in the suburb that destroys tricycles of children that trespass his lawn. When DJ’s parents travel on the eve of Halloween and the abusive nanny Zee stays with him, he calls his clumsy best friend Chowder to play basketball. But when the ball falls in Nebbercracker’s lawn, the old man has a heart attack, and soon they find that the house is a monster. Later the boys rescue the smart Jenny from the house and the trio unsuccessfully tries to convince the babysitter, her boyfriend Bones and two police officers that the haunted house is a monster, but nobody believes them. The teenagers ask their video-game addicted acquaintance Skull how to destroy the house, and they disclose its secret on the Halloween night

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HAPPILY N’EVER AFTER (2006)

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Directed By: Paul Bolger, Yvette Kaplan, Greg Tierman & Dino Athanassiou
Written By: Robert Moreland & Doug Langdale
Based on a story Idea By: Andre Sikojev
Cinematography: David Dulac
Editor: Ringo Waldenberger 

Cast: (Voices) Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, George Carlin, John Dimaggio, Andy Dick, Jill Talley, Tom Kenny, Sigourney Weaver, Wallace Shawn, Patrick Warburton, Jon Polito, Rob Paulsen 


As the story begins, an alliance of evil fairy tale-doers, led by Frieda, looks to take over Fairy Tale Land and take control of. But when Ella A.K.A. Cinderella realizes her own evil stepmother is out to ruin her storybook existence, she takes a dramatic turn and blossoms into the leader of the resistance effort.

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SO UNDERCOVER (2012)

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Directed By: Tom Vaughan
Written By: Daniel Pearl & Allan Loeb
Cinematography: Denis Lenoir
Editor: Michael Berenbaum & Wendy Greene Bricmont 


Cast: Miley Cyrus, Kelly Osbourne, Jeremy Piven, Alexis Knapp, Mike O’Malley, Megan Park, Matthew Settle, Autumn Reeser, Eloise Mumford, Josh Bowman 


Molly is a teen who works with her father, an ex-cop turned P.I. One day an FBI agent approaches and wants her to work for them. They want her to keep an eye on the daughter of a man who is going to testify against a criminal. So they send her to the college where the daughter is attending. And she tries to fit in while keeping an eye on her and trying to see if there’s someone there who doesn’t appear who they are
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NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM (2006)

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Directed By: Shawn Levy
Story & Written By: Thomas Lennon & Robert Ben Garant
Based On The Book By: Milan Trenc
Cinematography: Guillermo Navarro
Editor: Don Zimmerman

Cast: Ben Stiller, Carla Gugino, Robin Williams, Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney, Bill Cobbs, Jake Cherry, Ricky Gervais, Rami Malek, Kim Raver, Paul Rudd, Anne Meara, Steve Coogan 

A newly recruited night security guard at the Museum of Natural History discovers that an ancient curse causes the animals and exhibits on display to come to life and wreak havoc.

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MIRAI (2018)

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Written & Directed By: Mamoru Hosoda
Editor: Shigeru Nishiyama 

Cast: Voice Actors: Rebecca Hall, Daniel Dae Kim, John Cho, Crispin Freeman, Koji Yakusho, Jaden Waldman, Victoria Grace, Kumiko Aso, Masaharu Fukuyama 

The movie follows a 4-year old boy who is struggling to cope with the arrival of a little sister in the family, until things turn magical. A mysterious garden in the backyard of the boy’s home becomes a gateway allowing the child to travel back in time and encounter his mother as a little girl and his great-grandfather as a young man. These fantasy-filled adventures allow the child to change his perspective and help him become the big brother he was meant to be.

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BLENDED (2014)

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Directed By: Frank Coraci
Written By: Ivan Menchell & Clare Sara
Cinematography: Julio Macat
Editor: Tom Costain 

Cast: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Bella Thorne, Kevin Nealon, Terry Crews, Wendi Mclendon-Covey, Shaquille O’Neal, Joel McHale, Abdoulaye N’Gom, Jessica Lowe, Braxton Beckham, Emma Fuhrmann, Alyvia Alyn Lind, Allen Covert, Dan Patrick, Tim Herlihy, Alexis Arquette, Lauren Lapkus, Michael Buscemi, Rob Moran, Jonathan Loughran 


After a blind date gone horribly wrong, Jim and Lauren agree they never, ever want to see each other again. Well, that’s all about to change when the two find themselves and their respective families (including children) all stuck together in one suite at an African Safari vacation spot.

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ZAZIE DANS LE METRO (1960)

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Directed By: Louis Malle
Written By: Louis Malle & Jean-Paul Rappeneau
Based on the Novel By: Raymond Queneau
Cinematography: Henry Raichi
Editor: Kenout Peltier 


Cast: Catherine Demongeot, Phillipe Noiret, Hubert Dechamps, Carla Marlier, Annie Fratellini 


With her mother away for the weekend, a brash and precocious ten-year-old country-girl sets out to explore Paris during a Métro strike, under her uncle’s not-so-watchful eye. Can a little girl cause so much chaos in the heart of the city?

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MR. PEABODY & SHERMAN (2014)

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Directed By: Rob Minkoff
Written By: Craig Wright, Michael McCullers, Thomas Lennon & Robert Ben Garant
Based on Characters Created By: Ted Cay
Editor: Michael Andrews
Music Score By: Danny Elfman 

Featuring the voices of: Ty Burell, Ariel Winter, Stephen Colbert, Leslie Mann, Denis Haysbert, Stephen Tobolowsky, Allison Janney, Patrick Warburton, Stanley Tucci, Lake Bell, Mel Brooks, Tom McGrath, Thomas Lennon, Robert Ben Garant

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