Showing posts with label Tim Curry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tim Curry. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Review: "SCOOBY-DOO and the Witch's Ghost" is Kind of Witchy

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 48 of 2023 (No. 1937) by Leroy Douresseaux

Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost (1999) – Video
Running time:  66 minutes (1 hour, 6 minutes)
DIRECTOR:  Jim Stenstrum
WRITERS:  Rick Copp, David A. Goodman, Davis Doi, and Glenn Leopold
PRODUCER: Cos Anzilotti
EDITOR:  Rob DeSales
COMPOSER:  Louis Febre


Starring:  (voices) Frank Welker, Scott Innes, Mary Kay Bergman, B.J. Ward, Tim Curry, Kimberly Brooks, Jennifer Hale, Jane Wiedlin, Bob Joles, Tress MacNeille, Peter Reneday, and Neil Ross

Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost is a 1999 straight-to-video, animated horror-comedy film that was directed by Jim Stenstrum and produced by Hanna-Barbera Cartoons.  It was the second film in the Scooby-Doo straight-to-video film series that began with 1998's Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island.  It was released on VHS on October 5, 1999, then on DVD on March 6, 2001.  In the film, Scooby and the company get involved with a famous horror novelist and his ancestor who was rumored to be a witch.

Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost opens with Mystery Incorporated: Fred Jones (Frank Welker), Daphne Blake (Mary Kay Bergman), Velma Dinkley (B.J. Ward), Shaggy Rogers (Scott Innes), and Scooby-Doo (Scott Innes) solving a case at a San Francisco museum.  There, they meet the famous horror novelist, Ben Ravencroft (Tim Curry).  Velma Dinkley is a huge fan of Ravencroft, so he invites her and the rest of the gang to his hometown of Oakhaven, Massachusetts.

Upon arrival, Ravencroft and Mystery Inc. discover that the town's Mayor Corey (Neil Ross) has transformed Oakhaven into a tourist trap.  The town is even putting on a concert featuring an all-female gothic rock band, the Hex Girls: Thorn (Jennifer Hale), Dusk (Jane Wiedlin), and Luna (Kimberly Brooks).

Oakhaven is like an amusement park with a theme based on the ghost of Sarah Ravencroft (Tress MacNeille), who is an ancestor of Ben Ravencroft.  Ben describes Sara as a “wiccan” who used herbal remedies to heal the poor and less fortunate.  In 1657, the townspeople of Oakhaven believed that Sarah was a witch, and they persecuted and executed her.  Ben has spent years searching for Sarah's medical journal, which he believes will help him prove her innocence.

But now, the ghost of Sarah Ravencroft is really back, and she wants revenge.  Scooby, Shaggy, and the gang are about to discover that this mystery turns out to have plenty of twists and turns.

Like a number of the early straight-to-video Scooby-Doo movies, Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost has a tone that is darker than the franchise's usual fare.  In this film, the supernatural elements are “real” as compared to the usual fake supernatural shenanigans committed by the adversaries in Mystery Inc.'s cases.  Still, I was surprised that the film takes such a benevolent attitude about the modern pagan, earth-centered religion, “Wicca.”  The film's story goes to some lengths to separate Wicca from “witchcraft,” which is generally seen as the use of magic for nefarious purposes.

Beyond that, Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost is a standard Scooby-Doo film.  I find the “ghost of Sarah Ravencroft” to be less impressive than the “fake ghost witches” of earlier Scooby-Doo cartoons, such as “The Witch” in the “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!” episode, “Which Witch is Which?”  I can say that the film does have a nice twist involving Sarah Ravencroft that does darken the film's tone a bit more.

However, as a Scooby-Doo fan, I consider almost all Scooby-Doo productions to be must-see.  And while, it isn't special, Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost is entertaining.  And the Hex Girls are quite nice.

6 of 10
★★★ out of 4 stars

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

The text is copyright © 2023 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


Thursday, June 15, 2023

Review: "THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW" is Always Waiting For Us

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 25 of 2023 (No. 1914) by Leroy Douresseaux

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Running time:  100 minutes (1 hour, 40 minutes)
DIRECTOR:  Jim Sharman
WRITERS:  Jim Sharman and Richard O'Brien (based on the original musical play by Richard O'Brien)
PRODUCER:  Michael White
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Peter Suschitsky (D.o.P.)
EDITORS:  Graeme Clifford
COMPOSER:  Richard Hartley
SONGS: Richard O'Brien


Starring:  Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick, Richard O'Brien, Patricia Quinn, Nell Campbell, Peter Hinwood, Jonathan Adams, Meat Load, and Charles Gray

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a 1975 comedy-horror and musical fantasy film directed by Jim Sharman.  The film is written by Sharman and Richard O'Brien and is based based on the 1973 musical stage production, The Rocky Horror Show, for which O'Brien wrote the music, lyrics, and book.  Both the film and stage musical pay tribute to the science fiction and B-movie horror films that appeared in theaters from the 1930s to the 1960s.  The Rocky Horror Picture Show follows a newly-engaged couple who, because of car trouble, seeks shelter at a castle-like country home that is populated by bizarre guests and an even more bizarre host.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show introduces a naive young couple, Brad Majors (Barry Bostwick) and Janet Weiss (Susan Sarandon).  It is late November, and the couple are attending the wedding of their friends, Ralph Haphschatt (Jeremy Newson) and Betty Monroe (Hilary Labow), at Denton Episcopalian Church.  Brad and Janet get engaged after the wedding and decide to celebrate with their high school science teacher, Dr. Everett Scott (Jonathan Adams).

In Brad's car, the duo are en route to Scott's house on a dark and rainy night when they get lost and then get a flat tire.  Needing a telephone to call for help, the couple walk to a nearby castle.  There, they find the place in the throes of a rowdy party.  The guests are both flamboyantly dressed and bizarre.  What is even more bizarre however, is the host, the transvestite scientist, Dr. Frank-N-Furter (Tim Curry), who is about to unveil his latest creation.  There are two things of which Brad and Janet are unaware.  The first is Frank-N-Furter is from the planet “Transsexual,” located in the galaxy “Transylvania.”  The second is that at some point in the future, their story will be narrated by a noted criminologist (Charles Gray).

When The Rocky Horror Picture Show was initially released in the United States in the early fall of 1975, it was not well-received by either critics or audiences.  However, by the spring of 1976, the film's infamous cult following began, thanks to midnight showings, first in and around New York City, and then, spreading throughout the U.S.  Soon, fans in costume were performing alongside the film.

Dear readers, I must admit that I have never seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show in a theater.  I first saw it in the late 1980s via a Japanese import or bootleg copy at the science fiction, fantasy, and gaming convention, CoastCon (I believe), in Biloxi, Mississippi.  It was a wild screening, and I freaked out when audience members jumped out of their seats and started performing bits from the film.

As some of you may know, Netflix is shutting down its DVD-by-mail service – currently known as DVDNetflix or  I decided to spend some of these final months on this beloved service re-watching favorite films and well as trying some older films that I have never seen.  Watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show seemed like the right thing to do as a sendoff to the service that I used to build my movie review blog, Negromancer.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is indeed a tribute to science fiction, B-movie, and monster films.  There are references to such films as Universal Pictures' Frankenstein (1931) and Bride of Frankenstein (1935), RKO's King Kong (1933), Hammer Films' The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958), Fox's The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), and MGM's Forbidden Planet (1956), to name a few.

However, Rocky Horror's punk rock fashions, colorfully dyed hair, corsets, torn fishnet stockings, glitter, androgyny, and sex and violence are more important than its haunted mansion, secret labs, rival scientists, and sci-fi angles.  For me, this film is about having a good time and being liberated.  Sometimes, the film may seem like it is being outrageous for the sake of being outrageous, but one of its final songs personifies the film for me, “Fanfare/Don't Dream It, Be It.”  It's okay to look like you want to and to be what you want to.  And yes, it's okay to be turned on by both Susan Sarandon in her unmentionables and Barry Bostwick in his Jockey classic Y-front briefs.

I can certainly point to Tim Curry's legendary performance as Dr. Frank-N-Furter, but everyone, from the filmmakers, cast, and crew to the artisans, craftsman, and technicians that brought the sets and costumes to life, made The Rocky Horror Picture Show memorable and, for many, unforgettable.  I can't forget the songs, so I need a soundtrack album.  Meat Loaf makes the most of his short time on screen.  The narrator turns out to be hoot.  Even the passing of DVDNetflix won't stop me from seeing this show again.  The music, the songs, the cast, and the setting seem as if they will never let me forget that part of me belongs, at least for a little while, at The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

8 of 10
★★★★ out of 4 stars

Thursday, June 15, 2023

2005 National Film Preservation Board, USA:  National Film Registry

The text is copyright © 2023 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for syndication rights and fees.



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Friday, January 17, 2014

Review: "The Hunt for Red October" Still a Goodie

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 3 (of 2014) by Leroy Douresseaux

The Hunt for Red October (1990)
Running time:  134 minutes (2 hour, 14 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for some intense action/violence and language
DIRECTOR:  John McTiernan
WRITERS:  Larry Ferguson and Donald Stewart (based on the novel by Tom Clancy)
PRODUCER:  Mace Neufeld
EDITORS:  Dennis Virkler and John Wright
COMPOSER:  Basil Poledouris
Academy Award winner


Starring:   Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, Scott Glenn, Sam Neill, Richard Jordan, Peter Firth, Tim Curry, Courtney B. Vance, Stellan Skarsgard, Jeffrey Jones, Fred Dalton Thompson, Daniel Davis, Gates McFadden, and James Earl Jones

Advertisements for the upcoming film, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, tout it as the return of the Tom Clancy thriller to the big screen.  That little bit of hard-selling made me want to see the first Tom Clancy thriller to hit movie theatres, again.

The Hunt for Red October is a 1990 naval thriller and action movie from director John McTiernan.  The film is based on The Hunt for Red October, a novel by the late author Tom Clancy that was first published in 1984.  The Hunt for Red October the movie focuses on a rogue Soviet submarine captain and the young CIA analyst who is trying to figure out his every move.

The Hunt for Red October opens in 1984 in the USSR and introduces Captain Marko Ramius (Sean Connery).  He commands the Red October, a ballistic missile submarine that is virtually undetectable.  The ship’s first mission is to be part of USSR war game exercises, but early in the mission, the Red October disappears.

In the United States, a young CIA analyst, Jack Ryan (Alec Baldwin), gets an assignment from Vice Admiral James Greer (James Earl Jones), CIA Deputy Director of Intelligence.  Ryan must discover Ramius’ intentions before a war breaks out between the Americans and the Russians over the missing Red October.  Is Ramius trying to defect, or to start a war?

Tom Clancy’s intrepid CIA agent, Jack Ryan, makes his first big screen appearance in The Hunt for Red October.  Actor Harrison Ford would play the character in 1992’s Patriot Games and 2004’s Clear and Present Danger.  Ben Affleck would play Ryan in The Sum of All Fears (2002), which I have not seen as of this writing.  Clear and Present Danger is one of my all-time favorite movies, and honestly, I can’t say if I like Baldwin or Ford more as Ryan, because both are among my favorite actors.

The Hunt for Red October is not a great movie, but it is greatly entertaining.  It is skillfully directed by John McTiernan, who, for a time from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s, was one of the supreme directors of big, masculine, and loud action movies.  The expert film editing in this movie reveals McTiernan’s efficiency at creating a story that is part clever and deceptive game and part espionage thriller – all wrapped inside the mechanics of a military film.

Sean Connery as Ramius and Alec Baldwin as Ryan are convincing and proficient, and while this is not their best work, they create characters we want to be next to and follow into adventure.  I had not seen this movie in years, but it is as good as or maybe even better than I remember.  The Hunt for Red October is the techno-thriller that does not require the viewer to be smart to watch it.  That is not a slap at the audience; that’s a compliment to say that The Hunt for Red October is a smart movie that is also successful at entertaining.

8 of 10

1991 Academy Awards, USA:  1 win: “Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing” (Cecelia Hall and George Watters II); 2 nominations: “Best Sound” (Richard Bryce Goodman, Richard Overton, Kevin F. Cleary, and Don J. Bassman), and “Best Film Editing” (Dennis Virkler and John Wright)

1991 BAFTA Awards:  3 nominations: “Best Actor” (Sean Connery), “Best Production Design” (Terence Marsh), “Best Sound” (Cecilia Häll, George Watters II, Richard Bryce Goodman, and Don J. Bassman)

Friday, January 17, 2014

The text is copyright © 2014 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Review: "Scary Movie 2" Bad and Funny

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 9 (of 2002) by Leroy Douresseaux

Scary Movie 2 (2001)
Running time: 83 minutes (1 hour, 23 minutes)
MPAA – R for strong sexual and gross humor, graphic language and some drug content
DIRECTOR: Keenan Ivory Wayans
WRITERS: Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Alyson Fouse, Greg Grabianski, Dave Polsky, Michael Anthony Snowden, and Craig Wayans (based upon characters created by Shawn and Marlon Wayans, Buddy Johnson, Phil Beauman, Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer)
PRODUCER: Eric L. Gold
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Steven Bernstein (D.o.P.)
EDITORS: Tom Nordberg, Richard Pearson, and Peter Teschner


Starring: Anna Faris, Marlon Wayans, James DeBello, Shawn Wayans, David Cross, Regina Hall, Christopher Masterson, Tim Curry, Kathleen Robertson, Chris Elliot, James Woods, Andy Richter, Tori Spelling, and Natasha Lyonne

The subject of this movie review is Scary Movie 2, a 2001 comedy and parody film. Directed by Keenan Ivory Wayans, this movie is a sequel to the 2001 hit film, Scary Movie, and is a spoof of horror-thriller films.

The four survivors from the first Scary Movie: heroine Cindy Campbell (Anna Faris), gay jock Ray Wilkins (Shawn Wayans), pot head Shorty Meeks (Marlon Wayans), and his sister Brenda (Regina Hall) endanger themselves again when a college instructor, Professor Oldman (Tim Curry), and his wheelchair bound assistant, Dwight Hartman (David Cross), recruit them to spend the weekend in an old mansion called Hell House for a research project on insomnia. Cindy’s new admirer Buddy (Christopher Kennedy Masterson), Theo (Tori Spelling), and hottie Jamie Lee Curtisto (Kathleen Robertson) join them for the hijinks.

If a really bad movie can be really hilarious, this one is. How bad is it, one might ask? Well, that wouldn’t be a rhetorical question. The filmmakers nearly discard story and plot and replace them with dumb sight gags and gross humor, primarily of the bodily functions and bodily fluids type.

Directed by Keenan Ivory Wayans, Scary Movie 2 is at times quite funny, even hilarious; at other times, it is embarrassing in it over reliance on bodily fluids and sex jokes. After seeing a masturbation scene, simulated oral sex, an appearance by Lester “Beetlejuice” Green, one can only wonder if the filmmakers used a single 13-year-old American boy’s brain to create this film and passed it around during production.

Director Wayans specializes in taking scenes from other movies and parodying them with visual puns and gags, and he continues that here. He has become over time more skilled at stringing together longer strands of gags in lieu of story in his movies. He isn’t a strong storyteller. When the jokes run out, his movies rapidly run out of energy, as was the case in the I'm Gonna Git You Sucka.

Utilizing as many joke and gag writers as Walt Disney does for its animated films, Wayans turns his movie into a dirty joke book, and certainly doesn’t get the smart and sassy results Disney gets in one of its films. The plot, about a weekend experiment in proving life after death or some such lie, is merely a weak idea upon which to hang this film’s nasty proceedings. The story, if written, would only be a few lines in length, and the plot is merely a path by which Wayans and his accomplices laid out the yucks and giggles.

Small roles by James Woods and Chris Elliot are painfully embarrassing to watch, so filled with vileness and sickness as they are. Still, this movie has moments that are truly uproariously funny, and this makes the movie slyly attractive. The filmmakers certainly succeeded in making a funny movie, but they chase off many viewers with their determination to be hardcore funky. Most of the cast is actually up to the task of making the movie be what it’s supposed to be. Do we dare call that good acting?

What else is there to say? Scary Movie 2 is really bad and really funny. But beware; it is a humor that turns off many viewers.

5 of 10

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Review: "The Wild Thornberrys Movie" More Than a Spin-Off

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 22 (of 2013) by Leroy Douresseaux

The Wild Thornberrys Movie (2002)
Running time: 85 minutes (1 hour, 25 minutes)
MPAA - PG for some adventure peril
DIRECTORS: Cathy Malkasian and Jeff McGrath
WRITER: Kate Boutilier (based upon the characters created by Arlene Klasky, Gabor Csupo, Steve Pepoon, David Silverman, and Stephen Sustarsic)
PRODUCERS: Arlene Klasky and Gabor Csupo
EDITOR: John Bryant
COMPOSERS: Randy Kerber, Drew Neumann, and Paul Simon
Academy Award nominee


Starring: (voices) Lacy Chabert, Tom Kane, Cree Summer, Tim Curry, Lynn Redgrave, Jodi Carlisle, Danielle Harris, Flea, Crystal Scales, Kimberly Brooks, Alfre Woodard, Brock Peters, Marisa Tomei, and Rupert Everett

The subject of this movie review is The Wild Thornberrys Movie, a 2002 animated feature film. This hand-drawn (or 2D) animated movie is based on the long-running Nickelodeon animated TV series of the same title, The Wild Thornberrys.

The film's winning story finds The Thornberry clan on safari doing what they usually do. Nigel (Tim Curry), the father, hosts a nature show, and Marianne (Jodi Carlisle), the mother, films it. Elder daughter, Debbi (Danielle Harris), is annoyed to be in Africa instead of back in civilization. Adopted wild boy, Donnie (Flea), is doing his wild boy thing.

Eliza (Lacey Chabert), ostensibly the lead character, explores nature with Darwin (Tom Kane), her chimpanzee best friend. You see, Lacey rescued a tribal shaman and he bestowed upon her the magical gift of being able to talk to animals. When a poacher snatches a cheetah cub, Eliza and Darwin launch a daring rescue mission that takes them from Africa to England and back to Africa, where Eliza discovers that the poaching of the cub was just the beginning of a larger conspiracy to massacre thousands of elephants for their tusks.

That many people looked at this film upon its release in 2002 as merely a film spin-off of a TV show is a shame. The Wild Thornberrys Movie is simply a great animated feature film, especially when compared to 9 out of 10 American-produced animated films released since 2002. Producers Klasky-Csupo, the two directors, the screenwriter, and the creative staff envisioned a mini-epic that spans two continents and takes the viewers through a multitude of environments.

The thrilling action starts in sprawling grassland of Africa and heads to a boarding school in the English countryside. The sprawl of central London leads to a subway ride, which becomes a plane ride. Then, a train ride back to the plains of Africa leads deep into the jungle and finally into a hidden valley for the showdown. It's a breathtaking action adventure that recalls Raiders of the Lost Ark and the older films that inspired Raiders.

The voice acting is good top to bottom (although Chabert, Kane, and Harris are personal favorites), and the soundtrack is a tasty gumbo of world music and cross-cultural jams. The inventive character design captures both the fun and imagination of cartoons. The animation (by Korean studio Sunwoo Entertainment) moves in a smooth, brisk manner, and the digital color emphasizes earth tones and golden hues that are pitch perfect with this film's story and message. The Wild Thornberrys Movie, a treat for young and the young at heart, is both a pastoral and a call to get in touch with the wild.

9 of 10

2003 Academy Awards: 1 nomination for "Best Music, Original Song" ("Father and Daughter" by Paul Simon)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Review: 1993 Version of "The Three Musketeers" is Surprisingly Fun

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 87 (of 2011) by Leroy Douresseaux

The Three Musketeers (1993)
Running time: 105 minutes (1 hour, 45 minutes)
MPAA – PG for action/violence and some brief sensuality
DIRECTOR: Stephen Herek
WRITER: David Loughery (based upon the novel by Alexandre Dumas père)
PRODUCERS: Roger Birnbaum and Joe Roth
EDITOR: John F. Link
COMPOSER: Michael Kamen

HISTORICAL/ACTION/COMEDY with elements of drama and adventure

Starring: Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland, Chris O’Donnell, Oliver Platt, Tim Curry, Rebecca De Mornay, Gabrielle Anwar, Michael Wincott, Paul McGann, Julie Delpy, and Hugh O’Conor

The Three Musketeers is a 1993 swashbuckling comedy film from Walt Disney Pictures. It is based upon Alexandre Dumas père’s 1844 novel, also entitled The Three Musketeers.

The film opens on young d’Artagnan (Chris O’Donnell) who arrives in Paris with dreams of becoming one of the Musketeers, a band of men sworn to protect and serve the King of France, as his late father was. However, the king’s minister, Count Richelieu (Tim Curry), has just disbanded the Musketeers. This is part of Richelieu’s plot with the Duke of Buckingham of England to overthrow King Louis XIII of France (Hugh O’Conor). Richelieu wants to become the new king after the coup, and he also plans to take Queen Anne of Austria (Gabrielle Anwar) as his queen.

Through a series of misadventures, d’Artagnan joins the three best Musketeers: Athos (Kiefer Sutherland), Porthos (Oliver Platt), and Aramis (Charlie Sheen) to stop Richelieu’s evil plot. First, they must intercept Richelieu’s spy and secret agent, Milady de Winter (Rebecca De Mornay), from delivering a signed treaty to the Duke of Buckingham. However, it seems as if the entire country is set against d’Artagnan and the Three Musketeers as they try to save King and Country.

When this version of The Three Musketeers debuted back in November 1993, I was too much of a snob to see it. To me, it seemed like it was going to be nothing more than trash, but 18 years later, I enjoyed watching it. However, it turns out that I was right about some of my misgivings. Three of the four lead actors: Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland, Chris O’Donnell are just awful, with the lone exception of quality being Oliver Platt’s largely comic performance. Even Tim Curry is way more over the top than he needs to be, while Julie Delpy’s Constance is hardly in the film. Rebecca De Mornay actual makes the most of her scenes and turns in quite a nice performance as the femme fatale, Milady de Winter.

Early in the film, either because of the direction (by Stephen Herek) or the editing, the pace of the film is clumsy and awkward. Then, as the story goes on, the film settles into being a rousing adventure with a delightful comic mood. The film’s art direction and set decorations make this a surprisingly beautiful film, and the English and Austrian shooting locations offer viewers some lovely scenery. Plus, there is even a cool song for the soundtrack, “All for Love” sung by Bryan Adams, Sting, and Rod Stewart (written by Adams, film composer Michael Kamen, and Robert John “Mutt” Lange).

There isn’t much else to say. In most ways, this 1993 version of The Three Musketeers is just an average Hollywood flick, but I like it.

6 of 10

1994 Razzie Awards: 1 nomination: “Worst Supporting Actor” (Chris O'Donnell)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011