Wednesday, April 17, 2019

THE ABSENT MINDED PROFESSOR (1961)

Professor Fred MacMurray, who's so absent minded that he borders on being a danger to those around him (during the opening credits alone he blows out the windows to his upstairs classroom and rains broken glass down on the students walking below), fritters his days away tinkering in his laboratory working on god knows what.

As the film opens, he once again misses his own wedding...for the third time!!!  (How this guy ever even got engaged to begin with is a mystery to me.)  Anyway, so while he was suppose to be at his wedding, he was actually at home brewing up something so incorrectly that it blew up his shed and knocked him out.  When he awoke he found that he had invented a form of rubber that somehow creates it's own energy.  He names it "Flubber".  Naturally, the first thing he does with this new invention is make his car fly and then attach some Flubber to the bottoms of the college basketball teams shoes!  This causes the players to start flying all over the place and able to jump 20 feet in the air.  Soon after, all kinds of predators (including the government and a local hoodlum) want this amazing new invention for themselves.  Why they don't just take it from the basketball players, I don't know.  Instead, they chase MacMurray all over the place.

For a light-hearted, early 1960's Disney flick, I enjoyed THE ABSENT MINDED PROFESSOR.  Silly as fook story, good special effects, cute dog, sinister undertones, a political jab about killing "every senator and congressman", maybe(?) a reference to TWENTIETH CENTURY that was probably just wishful thinking on my part, medium pace that could have been sped up a bit, great backlot locations, solid acting (especially by MacMurray) plus lots of great classic movie actors like Keenan Wynn (and his real life father Ed Wynn and his real life son Ned Wynn), Edward Andrews, Nancy Olson, James Westerfield and many others...even Leon Tyler from GHOST OF DRAGSTRIP HOLLOW!

Good lazy afternoon time-waster.

Interesting bit of trivia: THE ABSENT MINDED PROFESSOR was actually nominated for three Academy Awards (including Best Cinematography!), but lost all three.

Part 2 - Son of Flubber (1963)
Remake - Flubber (1997)

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

THE WITCH (2015)

"What is amiss on this farm?"

As anybody who has had the pleasure of reading Robert McCammon's masterful "Matthew Corbett series" already knows: New England back in the day was all kinds of fucked up!  Disease, hostile animals, food shortages, no internet, lack of fresh drinking water, harsh weather and worst of all..witches.

As the film opens, a family (mother, father and four children) are banished from a colony due to unspecified religious differences.  The family sets up shop in a promising looking field near running water and the edge of a forest.  Things go alright for awhile, but then insects start eating the crops and the youngest baby straight up disappears.  Tension among the family grows and grows.  All the while, a large black goat watches the family with a smug look on his evil, furry face that you could just hug to death!  He's so cute!  Yes, he is!!!  Who's the cutest, most evil goat in all the world?!

THE WITCH is an impressive directorial debut by director/writer Robert Eggers, but personally I would have went for a more fucked up ending.  That's just me though.  I always enjoy a steady build-up followed by an explosion of violence and gore.

Mild violence, poorly lit nudity that doesn't even really count, good pace, impressive acting by the entire cast, awesome old-timey dialogue, atmospheric music that added to the creepy feel of the movie, surprisingly low amount of actual witch action.  Also, for some unknown reason, while thinking about the film afterwards, my handsome mind kept going back to the final act of THE BLACKCOAT'S DAUGHTER.  Now that I think of it: that'd actually make an interesting double-feature with this film. 

Recommended.