THE PRINCE OF EGYPT (1998)

Directed By: Brenda Chapman, Steve Hickner & Simon Wells

Written By: Philip LaZebnik

Cast: (Voices) Val Kilmer, Ralph Fiennes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sandra Bullock, Jeff Goldblum, Danny Glover, Patrick Stewart, Steve Martin, Martin Short, Helen Mirren, James Avery, Eden Reigel 

Egyptian Prince Moses learns of his identity as a Hebrew and his destiny to become the chosen deliverer of his people.


This movie really takes me back as I remember it being a big release at the time and a big holiday one at that. I was working at a movie theater at the time of my first job and remember the shows staying packed for weeks full. Almost every show. 

I also remember how messy yet warm and sweet-smelling the theaters would be afterward. Not only that but constantly hear the duet by Whitney Houston & Mariah Carey on the song BELIEVE.

This embezzled that song into my head and anytime I hear it now it reminds of this movie and takes me to a happy place. 

Shocked, it took me so long to see this last film. As one never watched it in theaters and can tell that was a lost opportunity. As this definitely works best on a big screen. As the story is epic, so is the film. Even for an animated movie, it feels majestic. 

It tells such a grand story in a short amount of time with plenty of impacts. 

Not usually a fan of biblical films but this doesn’t feel preachy. It just feels like a story from history with some supernatural elements. Though still is a story about the strength of character and faith.

Watching the film you might prefer fewer songs that make it feel more like a musical without song and dance numbers but montages and memories instead. 

Which also helps counter and explain its darkness in the second half. 

It allows for more stories to be told in a shorter time. As well as showcase their emotions in the moment and at the time of course most family animated films do have songs to keep kids and some adults from feeling restless though for this film. Not to mention it helps embed the movie into memories through those sing-along songs. This is impressive all-around yet more for adults, there could have been less. 

The animation is impressive and has stood the test of time. 

Even in one of the action scenes such as the final battle scenes and the sandstorm sequences and the miracles/plagues.

Grade: B+

SWEET LIBERTY (1986)

Written & Directed By: Alan Alda
Cinematography: Frank Tidy
Editor: Michael Economou

Cast: Alan Alda, Michael Caine, Michelle Pfeiffer, Bob Hoskins, Saul Rubinek, Lise Hilboldt, Lillian Gish, Lois Chiles, John C. McGinley, Lynne Thigpen 

Michael has written a scholarly book on the revolutionary war. He has sold the movie rights. The arrival of the film crew seriously disrupts him as actors want to change their characters, directors want to re-stage battles, and he becomes very infatuated with Faith, who will play the female lead in the movie. At the same time, he is fighting with his crazy mother who thinks the Devil lives in her kitchen, and his girlfriend who is talking about commitment.


When it comes to Alan Alda. A little is a lot though I am still a fan of the series he starred in M.A.S.H.

He comes off too smug throughout even when trying to be earnest. As A know all. As like him, the film feels like it is speaking down to others and considers itself too intellectual.

This film comes off as Woody Allen lite. It feels too general but too sharp and kind of whitewashed.

Wonder if at the time this was seen as biting humor. Watching it now feels basic.

The film has a light touch with a little depth. Which moves along breezily. As it is full-on comedic 

Lilian Gish as Alda’s mother seems here more to work and to be a big name in the cast.  As her character is another problem for the lead character to juggle. Whose storyline goes nowhere. Not to mention makes his plights more personal. 

Michael Caine is effortlessly charming and aloof. He manages to stay in control of his growing set of affairs. Yet never breaks a sweat.

Bob Hoskins is in full New York City accent mode as a screenwriter trying to make it big. 

The film In its early scenes is more about the behind-the-scenes movie-making comedy. That feels charmed with itself. Before becoming more of an intellectual farce of sorts.

The score is kind of hammy. As this film feels more made for video. As it’s less cinematic and more small-scale simple. 

If not for some language and sexy scenes. This film is clean enough to be a TV movie with a movie star cast. 

Despite my misgivings, the film Does have its charms as a film about late to middle age angst 

This film would make a great companion piece with the film STATE AND MAIN

Grade: C+ 

GREASE 2 (1982)

Directed By: Patricia Birch 
Written By: Ken Finkelman
Based On Characters Created By: Jim Jacobs & Warren Casey 
Cinematography: Frank Stanley 
Editor: John F. Burnett

Cast: Michelle Pfeiffer, Maxwell Caulfield, Didi Conn, Lorna Luft, Pamela Segall, Adrian Zmed, Eve Arden, Sid Caeser, Connie Stevens, Christopher McDonald, Tab Hunter

Two years after the life-altering events in Grease. Sandy’s cousin Michael, a straight-laced English student, is the new guy at Rydell High. Stephanie, the Pink Ladies’ foxy blonde leader, is about to break up with Johnny, the T-Birds’ leader, but she still likes her men dangerous, even as Michael starts to attract her attention. Now Michael needs to up his game: learn how to ride a motorcycle and transform himself into Stephanie’s hot leather-clad fantasy. Is he up to the task?


Directed by a noted choreographer Patricia birch. Who was the choreographer for the first film. The film’s showmanship is all there unfortunately the film isn’t. As it feels like a rerun of what we have already seen. 

This film is the epitome of 1950’s nostalgia that seems to be big in the 1980s. Though also an unneeded sequel.

I loved this movie as a kid. Watching it so many times. Even owning the soundtrack which I managed to get again a few years ago and enjoying it. As I know quite a few songs by heart. The songs are catchy and actually pretty good, but unfortunately still as memorable as the first film or its songs.

As there it comes off as an inferior copy that isn’t quite as sharp at all. It’s duller and the cast isn’t as memorable as their roles seem more uninspired. Making the t-birds more idiotic and not tough.

Though the characters trying to carry on in the grand legend and showing that they fall short isn’t intentional. It pretty much sums up this movie and its relationship to the first film.

Here they come off as imposing yet more jokes and comic relief caricatures as they Aren’t threatening. It’s an interesting case study in trying to act cool when truly scared in the role that you choose.

Everyone tries to give it they’re all but watching certain things come standing out. Such as it’s set in the 1950s yet Michelle Pfeiffer seems to be the only character who dresses in 1980s (when the film was made) fashion. This also helps showcase her future stardom as she definitely shows star potential more than anyone else. The movie is a true stepping stone for her

Other than most of the cast being obviously Too old to play teenagers. You can tell everyone in the background is a dancer just waiting to start dancing and singing on camera. Especially when it comes to their enthusiastic acting and facial movements.

It’s also ridiculous that no one can recognize the cool rider as Michael. As he doesn’t really change his voice. Only lowers it, and even though he wears a helmet he takes it off and only wears goggles that are barely shaded.

He even makes out with Michelle Pfeiffer and she never still recognizes him. Then singing the big number HANDS OF TIME comes off as one of the most unintentionally overblown ridiculous numbers. 

No one is truly a character. They all play types. It doesn’t help that unfortunately, Maxwell Caulfield has the looks but his singing can’t hit certain notes.

Even his plans to seduce her come off as douche. As they are more about manipulation and falsehoods. Even if the film tries to portray it as some kind of cute romantic turn. As he is basically dishonest throughout with her. 

Though the film is a cash-in. The production also has earnestness and energy. As well as campy as hell. Even if the plan was a quick cash-in and hoping to ride the success of the first film for the producer Allan Carr. Though the script for a proposed third film was resurrected later and made into HIGH SCHOOL THE MUSICAL. 

Grade: C

WOLF (1994)

Directed By: Mike Nichols 
Written By: Jim Harrison & Wesley Strick 
Cinematography: Giuseppe Rotunno 
Editor: Sam O’Steen 

Cast: Jack Nicholson, Michelle Pfeiffer, James Spader, Christopher Plummer, Richard Jenkins, Kate Nelligan, Eileen Atkins, David Hyde Pierce, Om Puri, Ron Rifkin, Allison Janney 

Worn down and out of luck, aging publisher Will Randall is at the end of his rope when a younger co-worker snatches his job out from under his nose. But after being bitten by a wolf, Will suddenly finds himself energized, more competitive than ever, and possessed with amazingly heightened senses. Meanwhile, the beautiful daughter of his shrewd boss begins to fall for him – without realizing that the man she’s begun to love is gradually turning into the creature by which he was bitten.


I remember being entertained when I first saw this movie on video. Watching it now It comes across as instantly dated. As that is only part of the problems one might have with the film. 

Watching this film you can tell Mike Nichols who is a great and legendary director. Is more of a character and actors director more than a genre director. He brings esteem to the proceedings in what could have been easily more exploitive fare. 

Who brings a well-known and established cast to the movie. Actors who wouldn’t necessarily be bothered to be in this type of film. At the later stages of esteemed careers. 

As much of this movie plays out as a drama and romance rather than a monster movie or horror film. As a first, the film chooses to showcase the peers he gets from being a werewolf that helps bring vitality to him

And his life. Where he stands up for himself. Then it becomes more of a burden in his romance with the boss’s daughter but only after he finds out his wife is cheating on him.

It seems like they either tried to keep the horror elements on the periphery or forgot about it at times and were only interested in the dramatic thriller aspects of the story. Because it seems like there are scenes of it largely being absent, then “oh yeah” moments. 

After a while he has to deal with corporate politics and then being a suspect in his wife’s murder and trying to prove his innocence. 

While Jack Nicholson looks a little ridiculous in his wolf persona. It does make him seem more seasoned and watching him actually get into a battle as one looks a little silly but also reminds you what type of film you are watching. That tries to distinguish itself away from the fantasy elements. As it seems to look more ridiculous when it selves into them, but It’s not like it’s Corporate storyline is all that sharp about a senior getting pushed out by a younger contender who he helped train.

The film ends up playing way too long and very predictable. As the film seems to go through the motions. As it involves mostly main characters, is that a message to the audience that the older you are the more then you take? and the more thorough it must all be. 

As the film seems to want to make an example between the battles of nature and the battles in the business world and how they are similar. 

James Spader does what he does best. Where he puts on a spin on his upper-crust yuppie character image, but once we get to the third act of the movie. You can kind of predict his character arc. Even though when he starts acting peculiar the special effects give it away. Even though he doesn’t act too differently.

Considering the talent involved in this film. This should have been more memorable. As it is actually kind of forgettable. There are barely any memorable scenes. Even though Michelle Pfeiffer is the only one who has a history more with genre films out of the cast. Plus her playing in a werewolf movie after playing Catwoman is an amusing film irony.

Michelle Pfeiffer almost comes across as just another big name in a star-studded well-respected cast because while she is the female lead. She is the damsel in distress throughout most of the film or just simply the love interest. 

The special effects involved make the final fight look ridiculous. Rick Baker designed them and while One can give credit as at least they are practical effects instead of digital. 

This seems to join the ranks with THE HULK films. Just as there isn’t anyone good of those films. It’s Really hard to find a really good to outstanding Werewolf movie but you are more likely to find the latter than the earlier one. Though it is a little long in the tooth when it comes to running time 

Grade: C+

THE FAMILY (2013)

Directed By: Luc Besson  Written By: Luc Besson & Michael Caleo Based in the Book Written By: Tonino Benacquista Cinematography: Thierry Arbogast Editor: Julien Ray

Cast: Robert DeNiro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Tommy Lee Jones, Dianna Agron, John D’Leo, Domenick Lombardozzi, Vincent Pastore, Jimmy Palumbo 

The Manzoni family, a notorious mafia clan, is relocated to Normandy, France under the Witness Protection Program, where fitting in soon becomes challenging, as their old habits die hard.


The film goes from a zany comedic one moment then wants us to believe In The dramatics and tension of situations. They then usually relieve themselves in ridiculous ways. Filled with Italian mafia stereotypes. 

As each character finds their own hustle daughter seems to suffer the most

Just as with the ridiculous ark of Diana argron’s character sets out to seduce her teacher and then when he decides to end the affair for Good reason. She is ready to kill herself in a dramatic fashion. I guess the script is aiming to show the vast emotional unpredictable terrain of teenage girls In love?

Robert DeNiro seems to be having fun once again sending up himself and mob movies

The film has style but shows it rather sparingly and usually only in the action scenes.

The film should be a slam dunk. Though even the lost-in-translation-type jokes and setups don’t work here. As the film seems more of a high-concept comedy that has come too late. Usually, the film is just as appealing and Rich as a bunch of action scenes in a small town. That is when the film at least comes alive

Director Luc Besson is bringing Hollywood-style blockbusters and big action stores to more typical European locales and surroundings.

Here it doesn’t feel like anyone is trying. They more or less seem to be trying to coast on their own laurels. Just as the film seems to try to coast on the big-name cast and be seen as more of a prestige picture

Considering all the talent involved this should have been a slam dunk. It definitely should be better and sharper. Even if dumbed-down, It should definitely be better in the action sequences that director Luc Besson is usually an expert at.

The film feels so middle for the road, lazy and lacking effort. Its tone is all over the place and the humor seems obvious or just lost in translation. 

Every character goes their own way and eventually abs their own secrets. Breaking the rules they hold each other to. Except for surprisingly Robert DeNiro’s character who all the other characters think will. 

The film feels like they should men ore for character considering the talent. Instead, the film just feels thin like an idea without true follow-through very 1980s and 1990’s.

Grade: F

STARDUST (2007)

Directed By: Matthew Vaughn
Written By: Matthew Vaughn & Jane Goldman
Based on the Novel By: Neil Gaiman
Cinematography By: Ben Davis
Editor: Jon Harris

Cast: Ben Barnes, Robert Deniro, Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Charlie Cox, Sienna Miller, Henry Cavill, Mark Strong, Jason Flemyng, Rupert Everett, Peter O’Toole, Ian McKellan, Ricky Gervais

In a countryside town bordering on a magical land, a young man makes a promise to his beloved that he’ll retrieve a fallen star by venturing into the magical realm.


For the grand adventure that the film is. It lacks an epic feel or grandiose locations and sights. Half the time it feels like the surroundings are sets. The film does end up better then you’d imagine though.

The lead Ben Barnes seems to be miscast. He feels weak and in effect unbelievably when he eventually becomes heroic. Especially when all the supporting characters are much richer and entertaining than the lead. Who lacks charisma and never comes close to being dashing. Though they try to make him so. Maybe that was the intention to go against type but it ends up not working at all.

What I really appreciate about the film is it’s macabre sense of humor and a mean streak to go with all this fantasy. While keeping the film fu adds a general sense of danger rather than films like THE PRINCESS BRIDE. Which while funny feels almost childlike and storybook clean. Whereas this film is a storybook and fantasy fairytale but with a bit of an edge. so that the film plays more for teens and adults.

Words like cute and fun come to mind while watching the film. Though it’s not what I would expect a director like Matthew Vaughn to make especially after his debut film LAYER CAKE a gangster film. He went to make this a full-fledged fantasy adaptation which is a wise choice showing he has range. In his talents though so far all of his films are adaptations. He is showing a diverse resume as he hasn’t made a truly bad film yet. So he has shown his talent which I would expect as a former producer of Guy Ritchie films.

The film is a fun little fantasy that you can get lost into the universe of and enjoy yourself. Which is rare these days. At least without it seeming processed and set up to sell toys.

It’s better than I personally thought it would be. The world they live in is never clearly defined. We never get to know the characters some of whom just seem like ideas more than developed characters integral to the story, Almost like distractions to pad out the story and have us not realize how thin the main story is but letting us get caught up in the situations, though the film is quite likable. The film stays within the fantasy limits but also tries to come off as smarter or more winking to the audience then most films of it’s type.

Though disappointingly another fantasy world that lacks minorities. It’s not a huge point but one I’d like to note probably not entirely the filmmaker’s fault but more could try. Minorities are underrepresented or not represented in most Fantasy Sci-Fi leaving you to wonder are they afterthoughts or in these so-called fantasy worlds are they Aryan wonderlands. Sorry to go off on a rant just a point that needed to be expressed.

Terry Gilliam Also almost directed the film which is a perfect example of the right director with the right material, but after directing THE BROTHERS GRIMM he was wiped out creatively. This would have been actually better for him to make.

GRADE: B

DARK SHADOWS (2012)

darks

Directed By: Tim Burton
Written By: Seth Grahame-Smith
Story By: John August & Seth Grahame-Smith
Based On The Show By: Dan Curtis
Cinematography By: Bruno Delbonnel
Editor: Chris Lebenzon
Music By: Danny Elfman 


Cast: Johnny Depp, Eva Green, Jackie Earle Haley, Michelle Pfeiffer, Bella Heathcorte, Helena Bonham Carter, Johnny Lee Miller, Chloe Grace Moretz, Christopher Lee, Hannah Murray

*Please note that some trivia and facts have been republished from imdb among other sources In this review

Dark Shadows is a melodramatic comedy following the misfortunes of a vampire named Barnabas Collins. Centuries ago a witch had sought revenge upon the Collins family following her and the man’s discontinued love affair. To his travail she set a curse on Barnabas turning him into a blood feeding monster and locking him away for years. Later he escapes from his imprisonment and sets out into his evolved hometown. And nothing is as it once was.

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