REVIEW: THE ADDAMS FAMILY (2019)

Starring

Oscar Isaac (A Most Violent Year)
Charlize Theron (Atomic Blonde)
Chloë Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass)
Finn Wolfhard (It)
Nick Kroll (Get Him To The Greek)
Bette Midler (THe Women)
Snoop Dogg (Scary Movie 5)
Allison Janney (Mom)
Elsie Fisher (Despicable Me)
Tituss Burgess (Smurfs: The Lost Village)
Pom Klementieff (Guardians of The Galaxy Vol 2)
Martin Short (Mars Attacks)
Catherine O’Hara (Home Alone)
Aimee Garcia (Robocop)

Charlize Theron and Chloë Grace Moretz in The Addams Family (2019)Gomez and Morticia Addams are chased away with the rest of the Addams clan during their wedding ceremony by an angry mob that disapproves of their macabre nature. Grandmama buys Uncle Fester time to evacuate Gomez, Morticia, and Thing. Gomez and Morticia decide to move from New York to New Jersey, a place “no one would be caught dead in.” There, Gomez, Morticia, and Thing find their “perfect” home in an abandoned asylum on a hill. They meet Lurch, an escaped mental patient whom they hit when Thing was distracted driving the car, and immediately recruit him as their butler.The Addams Family (2019)Thirteen years later, the Addams family continue to live their gloomy lives in isolation from the outside world. Gomez prepares his son Pugsley for his upcoming Mazurka, a rite of passage that every Addams family member takes. Morticia struggles to keep their daughter, Wednesday, from wanting to experience the world outside of the mansion after a balloon and confetti appear on their property, as the fog surrounding it begins to lift.The Addams Family (2019)Elsewhere, reality TV host Margaux Needler, who is building a perfect planned community called “Assimilation” so her show will have a successful season finale, discovers the Addams family’s household and becomes determined to rid the town of it when the family refuses to change. Wednesday then meets Margaux’s neglected daughter Parker and convinces Morticia to let her attend junior high school. Pugsley struggles with the complicated traditions and pressure of his Mazurka, even with the guidance of Gomez and Uncle Fester. Grandmama arrives at the house for the event.The Addams Family (2019)At school, Wednesday defends Parker and her twin friends Layla and Kayla from the school bully named Bethany and befriends them after she resurrects some dead frogs and commands them to attack Bethany. Later on, the two discuss their frustrations and change their dressing habits – Parker becomes more gothic and Wednesday dresses more colorfully – to the shock of both of their mothers. After an argument with Morticia, Wednesday decides to run away in secret and stay with Parker for a while, which Pugsley inadvertently tells Morticia.The Addams Family (2019)Wednesday and Parker discover a secret room under Parker’s house revealing that Margaux has planted hidden cameras in every house she designed in town and has been spreading rumors about the Addams family through social media, claiming that they are freaks. Margaux catches the two and locks them in the attic, but Wednesday breaks them out. Margaux rallies an angry mob to attack the mansion just as Cousin Itt and the entire Addams clan arrive for Pugsley’s Mazurka. Even Grandmama’s sister Sloom will be attending to judge the event.The Addams Family (2019)During the Mazurka, Pugsley fails miserably in front of the whole family, but Gomez reassures him that he is an Addams nonetheless. The mob arrives flinging boulders, severely damaging the mansion and trapping the family inside. Pugsley uses his love of bombs and destruction to defend his family and manages to destroy the mob’s trebuchet. Wednesday and Parker join in and help everyone out of the wreckage safely with help of the living tree Ichabod.The Addams Family (2019)As Margaux tries to take control once more, her treachery is revealed to the people. They see that the Addams are not monsters, but a family, and Wednesday states that everyone is weird in their own unique way. Margaux’s agent, Glenn, carries a message from the network stating that her show is now cancelled because Parker was live streaming the whole thing with her phone. As Fester comes up with a compromise to Margaux, Assimilation’s civilians realize the error of their ways. After they work together to rebuild the mansion, the Addams family and Assimilation’s civilians live in peace. Margaux becomes Fester’s business partner, selling homes to the other members of the Addams clan. Pugsley completes his Mazurka. The film ends with an animated recreation of the intro of the 1964 TV show.Charlize Theron and Oscar Isaac in The Addams Family (2019)I went is skeptical that they were going to take a beloved IP like the Adams Family and reboot it into something modern and new. I was pleasantly surprised! It is an absolute joy to watch. Each Adams has the same style and characteristics we know and love, and they were executed seamlessly in this 2019 adaptation. Demented, funny and beautifully disturbing. Combined with a well executed storyline, this is one you can’t miss!

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS

CAST (VOICES)

Chris Sarandon (The Princess Bride)
Catherine O’ Hara (Beetlejuice)
William Hickey (Puppet Master)
Glenn Shadix (Fast Sofa)
Paul Reubens (Batman Returns)
The story starts in a forest called Holiday Woods with seven trees containing doors leading to towns representing various holidays: Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Halloween and Independence Day. Halloween Town is a fantasy world filled with citizens such as deformed monsters, ghosts, ghouls, goblins, vampires, werewolves and witches. Jack Skellington, a skeleton known as The Pumpkin King, leads them in organizing the annual Halloween holiday. However, in a monologue, Jack reveals he has grown weary of the same routine year after year, and wants something more. Wandering dejectedly in the woods, he stumbles across the seven holiday doors and accidentally opens a portal to Christmas Town, whose residents are charged with organizing the annual Christmas holiday. Impressed by the bright and cheery feeling and style of Christmas, Jack presents his findings and his understanding of Christmas, to the Halloween Town residents. However, they fail to grasp his meaning and compare everything to their ideas of Halloween, although there is one Christmas character they can relate to: the fearsome lobster-like king of Christmas Town who flies at night, named “Sandy Claws”. Jack is dismayed that no one understands the feeling of Christmas, obsessively tries to study the holiday but fails to grasp any further explanation of it. He ultimately decides that it’s unfair for Christmas town alone to enjoy the feeling and there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be able to, and announces that the citizens of Halloween Town will take over Christmas this year.
Jack’s obsession with Christmas leads him to usurp the role of Santa. Every resident is assigned a task, while Sally, a beautiful rag doll woman created by the town’s mad scientist, starts falling in love with Jack. However, after a vision of a burning Christmas tree, she alone realizes that his plans to run Christmas will become disastrous, but has no luck convincing him. Jack assigns Lock, Shock and Barrel, a trio of mischievous children, to abduct Santa and bring him back to Halloween Town. Against Jack’s wishes and largely for their amusement, the trio deliver Santa to Oogie Boogie, a gambling-addict bogeyman who plots to play a game with Santa’s life at stake.
Christmas Eve arrives and Sally attempts to stop Jack with fog, but fails to do so thanks to Jack’s ghost dog Zero and his glowing nose allowing Jack to embark into the sky on a coffin-like sleigh pulled by skeletal reindeer, guided by Zero. Down on the ground, Sally prays that her premonition does not come true. Jack begins to deliver presents to children around the world, but the gifts (shrunken heads, Christmas tree-eating snakes, pumpkin jack-in-the-boxes, vampire teddy bears, toy ducks with sharp teeth, living wreaths, etc.) only terrify the recipients. The children alert their parents, who call the police, who call the military. The air raid siren is activated, and Jack is spotted with search lights, after which he is then shot at by air raid artillery cannons. Initially mistaking the firing for a celebration, he simply flies higher. However, after a reindeer is hit, and his sleigh is grazed, he realizes that he is being targeted, but the next cannon destroys the sleigh, and Jack falls from the sky to Earth, devastating Halloween Town’s citizens. Thought to have been dead by the attack, Jack crash-lands in a cemetery unharmed. Although he is depressed by the failure of his plan, he quickly regains his old spirit, having come up with new ideas for next Halloween. He then rushes back home to rescue Santa and put things right.
Meanwhile, Sally attempts to free Santa, but is captured by Oogie. Jack slips into the lair and frees them, then angrily confronts Oogie. Almost immediately, Oogie springs several traps on Jack, who manages to dodge them, and Oogie attempts to flee. However, Jack pulls one of Oogie’s loose threads, revealing him to be nothing more than a collection of snakes and insects, which are all incinerated, save for the last one, which Santa squashes with his boot. Jack apologizes to Santa for his actions, and Santa, while still annoyed with Jack, assures him that he can fix things, and leaves to deliver the right presents to the world’s children.
After Jack returns to Halloween Town, the townspeople celebrate that he’s alive, and Santa, after fixing Christmas, returns and makes snow fall over Halloween Town in reconciliation between himself and Jack. The townspeople are confused by the snow at first, but soon begin to play happily in it, finally realizing what Christmas is about. Jack spies Sally heading to the graveyard, and follows her. Atop the graveyard’s big hill, Jack admits that he reciprocates Sally’s romantic feelings for him, and they declare their new found love, and embrace on the hill.
The gothic style of this excellent film has that trademark Tim Burton feel to it, his story is brought to life by animation fan Henry Selick who directs this gloriously dark tale of the pumpkin king who becomes disillusioned by the yearly monotony of Halloween and decides to have a go at running Christmas instead. A Christmas classic.

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: HOME ALONE 2: LOST IN NEW YORK

Starring

Macaulay Culkin (Saved)
Joe Pesci (JFK)
Catherine O’Hara (Beetlejuice)
Daniel Stern (The Wonder Years)
John Heard (Runner Runner)
Diana Rein (Dennis The Menace)
Anna Slotky (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Devin Ratray (R.I.P.D.)
Hillary Wolf (Sunday Drive)
Michael C. Maronna (40 Days and 40 Nights)
Gerry Bamman (Runaway Jury)
Kieran Culkin (Scott Pilgrim vs The World)
Senta Moses Mikan (My So-Called Life)
Brenda Fricke (Inside I’m Dancing)r
Tim Curry (IT)
Eddie Bracken (Oscar)
Rob Schneider (The Hot Chick)
Dana Ivey (The Help)
Ally Sheedy (Short Circuit)
Ron Canada (Wedding Crashers)
Abdoulaye NGom (My Name Is Earl)

Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, and Daniel Stern in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)The McCallister family is preparing to spend Christmas in Miami, gathering at Peter and Kate’s home outside of Chicago. Peter and Kate’s youngest son, Kevin, sees Florida as contradictory to Christmas, due to the lack of Christmas trees in Florida. Later, at a school Christmas pageant, Kevin’s older brother Buzz humiliates him, causing Kevin to retaliate and ruins the pageant. Back home, Kevin storms to the third floor of the house after refusing to apologize to his family. During the night, Peter accidentally resets the alarm clock, causing the entire family to oversleep. At the airport, the family rushes to their plane.Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)Kevin stops to replace the batteries for his Talkboy, carrying Peter’s bag which contains the batteries (along with Peter’s wallet and large amounts of cash). Losing sight of his family, Kevin inadvertently boards a flight to New York City after mistakenly following a man wearing a jacket identical to Peter’s. Upon arrival in New York City, Kevin decides to have fun with his unexpected adventure and tour the city. While there, Kevin meets a homeless woman tending to pigeons at Central Park, which frightens him. Kevin goes to the Plaza Hotel, where he uses Peter’s credit card to check in. Meanwhile, the “Wet Bandits”, Harry and Marv, have traveled to New York City after escaping during a prison riot and now call themselves the “Sticky Bandits”.Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)On Christmas Eve, Kevin tours the city via a limousine and visits a toy store where he meets its philanthropic owner, Mr. E.F. Duncan. Kevin learns that the proceeds from the store’s Christmas sales will be donated to a children’s hospital, and provides a donation. As a token of appreciation, Mr. Duncan offers Kevin a pair of ceramic turtledoves as a gift, instructing him to give one to another person as a sign of eternal friendship. After a run-in with Harry and Marv, Kevin rushes back to the Plaza. The hotel’s suspicious concierge, Mr. Hector, confronts Kevin about the credit card, which has been reported stolen. Kevin flees the hotel after evading Mr. Hector, but he is eventually caught by Harry and Marv. They brag about their plan to break into the toy store at midnight, just before Kevin manages to escape from them.After landing at Miami International Airport, the rest of the family discovers that Kevin is missing. After tracking the whereabouts of the “stolen” credit card, they fly to New York to search for him. Meanwhile, Kevin goes to his uncle Rob’s townhouse, only to find the house vacant and undergoing renovations while Rob and his family are still in Paris. At Central Park, he encounters and befriends the pigeon lady. They go to Carnegie Hall, where the pigeon lady explains how her life collapsed when her lover left her. Kevin encourages her to trust people again, and promises to be her friend.Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)Kevin returns to the townhouse and rigs it with numerous booby traps. He later arrives at the toy store during Harry and Marv’s robbery and breaks the store’s window, setting off the alarm. Kevin then lures the duo to the townhouse, where they spring the traps and suffer various injuries. While the duo pursues Kevin outside of the townhouse, he calls the police before Harry and Marv catch him and discuss how they will kill him in Central Park. Before they can shoot him, the pigeon lady has her pigeons incapacitate them. Kevin sets off fireworks to signal the police, who arrest Harry and Marv. At the toy store, Mr. Duncan finds a note from Kevin, explaining about the robbery.Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)While searching for Kevin, Kate remembers his fondness for Christmas trees and heads to Rockefeller Center. After observing Kevin making a wish at the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, Kate meets him there and they reconcile. On Christmas Day, a truckload of gifts arrive at the McCallisters’ hotel room from the toy store. Kevin reconciles with the rest of his family, and goes to Central Park to give the pigeon lady the second turtledove, cementing their friendship. At the Plaza, Buzz receives the bill for Kevin’s stay and shows it to Peter who calls out, “Kevin! You spent $967 on room service?!” prompting Kevin to run back to the hotel.Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, and Daniel Stern in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992)Home Alone 2: Lost in New York was an absolute blast.  I love this movie and I’m always going to recommend it for a good watch, I think you’ll enjoy it if you give it a chance.

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: HOME ALONE

Starring

Macaulay Culkin (Saved)
Joe Pesci (JFK)
Catherine O’Hara (Beetlejuice)
Daniel Stern (The Wonder Years)
John Heard (Runner Runner)
Roberts Blossom (Christine)
Angela Goethals (Spanglish)
Anna Slotky (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Devin Ratray (R.I.P.D.)
Gerry Bamman (Runaway Jury)
Hillary Wolf (Sunday Drive)
Larry Hankin (Breaking Bad)
John Candy (Spaceballs)
Michael C. Maronna (40 Days and 40 Nights)
Kristin Minter (Highlander: The Series)
Kieran Culkin (Scott Pilgrim vs The World)
Diana Rein (Dennis The Menace)
Senta Moses Mikan (My So-Called Life)
Hope Davis (Captain America: Civil War)

Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone (1990)The McCallister family is preparing to spend Christmas in Paris, gathering at Peter and Kate’s home outside of Chicago on the night before their departure. Peter and Kate’s youngest son, Kevin, is being scorned by his siblings and cousins. Later, Kevin accidentally ruins the family dinner after a fight with his older brother Buzz, resulting in him getting sent to the attic of the house for punishment where he berates Kate and wishes that his family would disappear. During the night, heavy winds cause damage to the power lines, which causes a power outage and resets the alarm clocks, causing the family to oversleep. In the confusion and rush to get to the airport, Kevin is accidentally left behind.Macaulay Culkin and Daniel Stern in Home Alone (1990)Kevin wakes to find the house empty and, thinking his wish has come true, is overjoyed with his newfound freedom. However, he soon becomes frightened by his next door neighbor, Old Man Marley, who is rumored to be a serial killer who murdered his family; as well as the “Wet Bandits”, Harry and Marv, a pair of burglars who have been breaking into other vacant houses in the neighborhood and have targeted the McCallisters’ house. Kevin tricks the pair into thinking his family is home, forcing them to put their plans on hold.Macaulay Culkin and Joe Pesci in Home Alone (1990)Kate discovers mid-flight that Kevin is missing and upon arrival in Paris, the family discovers that all flights for the next two days are booked. Peter and the rest of the family stays in his brother’s apartment in the city while Kate manages to get a flight back to the United States, only to get as far as Scranton, Pennsylvania. She attempts to book a flight to Chicago but again, everything is booked. Unable to accept this, Kate is overheard by Gus Polinski – the lead member of a traveling polka band – who offers to let her travel with them to Chicago on their way to Milwaukee in a moving van, which she graciously accepts.Meanwhile, Harry and Marv realize that Kevin is alone, and on Christmas Eve, Kevin overhears them discussing plans to break into his house that night. Kevin starts to miss his family and asks the local mall Santa if he could bring his family back for Christmas. He goes to church and watches a choir perform and meets Old Man Marley, who dispels the rumors about him. He points out his granddaughter in the choir, whom he never gets to meet as he and his son are estranged; Kevin suggests that he should reconcile with his son.Kevin returns home and rigs the house with booby traps to take on the bandits. Harry and Marv break in, spring the traps and suffer various injuries. While the duo pursues Kevin around the house, he calls the police and flees, luring the duo into a neighboring home which they previously broke into. Harry and Marv subdue him, but Marley sneaks in and knocks them unconscious with his shovel before they can harm Kevin. The police arrive and arrest Harry and Marv, having identified all the houses they broke into due to the latter’s habit of flooding them.564564465On Christmas Day, Kevin is disappointed to find that his family is still gone, and discovers that Santa is not real due to the untouched state of his cookies and milk. He then hears Kate enter the house and call for him; they reconcile and are soon joined by the rest of the McCallisters, who waited in Paris until they could get a direct flight to Chicago. Kevin keeps silent about his encounter with Harry and Marv, although Peter finds Harry’s knocked-out gold tooth. Kevin then observes Marley reuniting with his son and his family. Marley notices Kevin, and the pair wave to each other. Buzz suddenly calls out, “Kevin, what did you do to my room?” at which point Kevin runs off.lead_960All in all, ‘Home Alone’ is probably the best Christmas movie to rise out of the film industry in the last twenty years. It seamlessly blends humor, pain, emotion, human instinct and some great booby-traps all into one little bundle. This film has stood the test of time greatly.

 

HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: MONSTER HOUSE

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CAST

Michael Musso (Squirrel Boy)
Sam Lerner (Project Almanac)
Spencer Locke (Resident Evil 3 & 4)
Steve Buscemi (Fargo)
Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Dark Knight)
Catherine O’Hara (Beetlejuice)
Jason Lee (My Name Is Earl)
Jon Heder (Blades of Glory)
Kevin James (Paul Blart)
Nick Cannon (School Dance)
Kathleen Turner(Serial Mom)
Fred Willard (Anchorman)

Image result for monster house12 year old “DJ” Walters spies on his elderly neighbor Horace Nebbercracker, who confiscates any item landing in his yard. DJ’s parents leave town for a dentist convention, leaving him in the care of Elizabeth “Zee”. DJ’s best friend Charles “Chowder” accidentally loses his basketball on Nebbercracker’s lawn. DJ tries to recover it, but Nebbercraker rages at him, before suffering from a heart attack, and taken away by an ambulance. That night, DJ receives mysterious phone calls from the house with no one on the other end. Eavesdropping on Zee’s boyfriend Bones, DJ hears him tell Zee about losing his kite on Nebbercracker’s lawn when he was younger, and that Nebbercracker supposedly ate his wife. Later, Bones sees his kite in the doorway of Mr. Nebbercracker’s house, but he is consumed by the house while retrieving it.Image result for monster houseThe next morning, a girl named Jenny Bennett is selling Halloween chocolates. DJ and Chowder see her going to Nebbercracker’s house and rush out to catch her before she is eaten. Jenny calls the police but they do not believe their story.Image result for monster houseThe trio seek advice from Reginald “Skull” Skulinski, supposedly an expert on the supernatural. They learn that the house is a rare monster created when a human soul merges with a man-made structure and that it can only be killed by destroying its heart. They predict that the heart must be the furnace. Chowder provides a cold medicine-filled dummy that should cause the house to sleep long enough for them to douse the furnace. Police Officers Landers and Lester thwart their plan and they are arrested when Landers finds the cold medicine stolen from Chowder’s father’s pharmacy inside the dummy. When the officers go to examine the house, it eats them, including the trio placed in the car.Image result for monster houseWhen the house falls asleep, the kids begin exploring. In the basement they find a collection of toys accumulated from Nebbercracker’s lawn, as well as a door that opens to a shrine containing the body of Nebbercracker’s wife Constance the Giantess, encased in cement, which fully convinces them that Nebbercracker had murdered his wife. The house realizes they are inside and attacks them. DJ, Chowder and Jenny force the house to vomit them outside by grabbing its uvula. Nebbercracker arrives home alive, revealing that Constance’s spirit is within the house and that he did not eat her but instead had given her some of the happiest times in her life. As a young man, he met Constance, at a circus freak show, and fell in love with her despite her obesity. After he helped her escape, they began building the house. One Halloween, as children tormented her due to her size, Constance tried chasing them away, but lost her balance and fell to her death in the basement. Nebbercracker had finished the house, knowing it was what she would have wanted but, aware that Constance’s spirit made the house come alive, he pretended to hate children so as to keep them away.Image result for monster houseDJ tells Nebbercracker it is time to let Constance go, but the house overhears this. Enraged, it breaks free from its foundation and chases the group to a construction site. Nebbercracker attempts to distract the house so he can dynamite it, but the house notices and attacks him. Chowder destroys it with an excavator and DJ is given the dynamite. However, the house reassembles itself and disables the excavator. While Chowder distracts the house, DJ and Jenny climb to the top of a crane and DJ throws the dynamite into the chimney, actually destroying it. The trio then see Nebbercracker with Constance’s ghost before she fades away. DJ apologizes to Nebbercracker for the loss of his house and wife, but Nebbercracker thanks the kids for freeing him from being trapped for 45 years. That night, children in their Halloween costumes are lined up at the site of the house, where DJ, Chowder and Jenny help return the toys to their owners. Jenny leaves, and DJ and Chowder go trick-or-treating in the neighbourhood, which they previously felt they were too old for. Those who were eaten by the house now emerge from the basement.Image result for monster houseThe animation looks great. They certainly aren’t ground breaking. But they fit the movie well. However, I will say that some scenes looked quite amazing. If you are looking for a fun, clean movie with plenty of laughs and chuckles, this is definitely one you don’t want to miss!

REVIEW: PENELOPE

Starring

Christina Ricci (Lizzie Borden Took an Ax)
James McAvoy (Glass)
Nick Frost (Hot Fuzz)
Catherine O’Hara (Beetlejuice)
Reese Witherspoon (This Means War)
Richard E. Grant (Logan)
Ronni Ancona (Skins)
Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones)
Simon Woods (Starter for 10)
Nigel Havers (Pope Joan)
Burn Gorman (Pacific Rim)
Russell Brand (Army of One)
John Voce (Crush)
Lenny Henry (Chef!)
Martin McDougall (Batman Begins)

Christina Ricci in Penelope (2006)Penelope Wilhern (Christina Ricci) is a young woman from a wealthy family. What sets her apart is that she has the ears and nose of a pig. Generations ago, an embittered and vengeful witch (Michael Feast) placed a curse on the Wilhern family after their son had an affair with his daughter, one of the Wilhern servants. He was talked out of marrying her by his arrogant and disapproving family, abandoning her and married someone of his own status. The heartbroken and pregnant servant girl then threw herself off a cliff. Furious, the witch then cursed the Wilherns so that the next daughter to be born into the affluent family would have the face of a pig. For five generations, the Wilherns produced only sons, until Penelope was born with her “ugly” face, stricken with the curse. It is said that the curse can only be lifted if ‘one of her own kind’ learns to love her, which her parents interpret as meaning that Penelope must marry a man of noble birth.Christina Ricci and James McAvoy in Penelope (2006)A tabloid reporter named Lemon (Peter Dinklage) begins stalking the family to get a photograph of the infant Penelope resulting in Penelope’s mother Jessica (Catherine O’Hara) blinding his right eye after he breaks into their house. Then Jessica and Franklin (Richard E. Grant) decide to fake their daughter’s death and cloister her away in their mansion where Penelope spends her life immersing herself in intellectual pursuits such as literature, horticulture, and music. When Penelope becomes an adult, her parents attempt to introduce her to possible suitors, hoping that one of them will fall in love with her and break the curse, with the help of a matchmaker named Wanda (Ronni Ancona). Unfortunately, every man who lays eyes on her flees in terror, including Edward Humphrey Vanderman III (Simon Woods), a spoiled, arrogant snob who finds her repulsive (even enough to believe she has fangs). Normally, Jessica and Franklin’s butler Jake (also Michael Feast) catches them before they leave in order to force them to sign an agreement that they will not discuss Penelope’s appearance, but he fails to catch Vanderman.Christina Ricci in Penelope (2006)Vanderman’s panicked flight from the Wilhern house results in a newspaper article dubbing him insane. To redeem his name, Vanderman decides to team up with Lemon (who is now wearing an eyepatch over his right eye) in an effort to get a photograph of Penelope. The two of them track down Max Campion (James McAvoy), a young blue blood disowned by his family because of his gambling problem and in desperate need of money. Lemon and Vanderman pay Max to pose as a new suitor for Penelope, hiding a camera in his jacket so that he can steal a picture of her. After talking to Penelope through a one-way mirror, Max is unexpectedly caught off guard by her sweetness and charm, and Penelope also trusts him enough to show him her face. Though Max is not frightened of Penelope, he accidentally triggers the camera in his jacket, which causes him to retreat.Christina Ricci in Penelope (2006)A heartbroken Penelope believes that Max too finds her monstrous and instead begs him to marry her simply for her status and in order to break the curse, even promising to kill herself if the marriage doesn’t break the curse. Max, though obviously torn, insists that he cannot marry Penelope. He then calls off his agreement with Lemon and Vanderman and destroys the camera, realizing that their attempt to exploit Penelope is wrong.1_L-XwBXUvSEsTGI2ihATNPAMeanwhile, Penelope, inspired by Max’s conversations about the outside world, decides to flee the protection of her parents’ home, and journeys out into the city, naive and ignorant about normal life. She uses a scarf to cover her face. While at a bar, Penelope ends up befriending a delivery girl named Annie (Reese Witherspoon) who becomes her “real world” mentor and best friend. Having no money and seeing that Lemon and Vanderman are offering a reward for a photograph of her, she decides to collect on the reward by producing a photo of herself while remaining anonymous in public with her scarf. Penelope’s courage in going out to the world then acts as an inspiration for Max, who quits gambling and starts work in an old theatre. When her parents see Penelope while trying to find her and take her back home, she runs from them and then passes out in a bar with Annie, causing Penelope’s scarf to be removed. To her surprise, Penelope becomes an overnight celebrity, flocked by adoring fans who are not disgusted by her face.pen_31Meanwhile, Vanderman’s father Edward Vandermann II (Nigel Havers), seeing the public’s fondness for Penelope and embarrassed by his son’s vocal cruelty toward her, coerces Edward into proposing to the girl. Lemon eventually discovers that the man he and Vanderman recruited to photograph Penelope is not Max Campion, but actually another man named Johnny Martin who took the job for money while the real Campion (Nick Frost) is in jail. On Penelope’s wedding day, he provides the information to Jessica and Wanda. Though Wanda wants to tell Penelope the truth, Jessica forces her to keep it a secret, believing that Edward is Penelope’s only chance to break the curse. Penelope nearly marries him, but backs out of the wedding at the last minute when she realizes that she does not want to marry simply to break the curse. Though Penelope’s mother urges her to marry Vanderman and at last lead a ‘normal life’, an exasperated Penelope says that she likes herself the way she is. This breaks the curse, as Penelope has at last been loved by ‘one of her own kind’ – herself – and her pig snout and ears disappear.MV5BZjZlMzRlOGQtMzViMS00NDk4LWFmOWUtZDRiZWZjYWE3Y2ZhXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyOTYxNzc0NjU@._V1_As the months pass, Penelope moves on with her life, becoming a horticulturist and teacher, and the spectacle of her former appearance is gradually forgotten by the public even when the news of a gorilla boy being found in a laundry hamper eclipses it. After he quits his job after 25 years, Jake is revealed to be the witch who had cursed the family long ago and renders Jessica unable to speak with magic. After realizing that Jessica can no longer speak, Wanda breaks down and tells Penelope about Johnny Martin. That Halloween, Penelope finds several of her students dressing up as her old pig self, and dons a “Penelope” mask as she goes to reunite with Johnny, who she discovers lives nearby. Johnny, not knowing that the curse has been broken, kisses Penelope and apologizes to her, saying that he does not have the power to break the curse. Penelope then reveals that she had the power to lift the curse all along, and the two share a passionate kiss, beginning a romantic relationship.penelopeIn the final scenes, Penelope concludes telling her story to a group of children in a park-like area. When Penelope asks her class what the moral of the story is, they give out answers like “rich people stink” and “it’s always the mother’s fault”, until one bright boy replies, “it’s not the power of the curse, it’s the power you give the curse”, Penelope acknowledges the answer. After the children are dismissed, Johnny and Penelope walk up the hill to a swing, where he is seen happily pushing her. Meanwhile, on a nearby lake, Lemon rows up in a small rowboat and is about to take a picture revealing to the world what has happened to Penelope. Observing their happiness, Lemon decides to leave them alone as he rows away.

l_2ecb2b84-4a72-41b0-9c2e-83a750ad9684All-in-all, this movie is as good, and as endearing, as ‘Edward Scissorhands’ was over generation ago. A definite must-see!

REVIEW: DICK TRACY (1990)

CAST

Warren Beatty (Bonnie and Clyde)
Al Pacino (The Godfather)
Madonna (Evita)
Glenne Headly (Sgt. Bilko)
Charlie Korsmo (Hook)
Seymour Cassel (Boiling Point)
Michael J. Pollard (Scrooged)
Charles Durning (Attica)
Dick Van Dyke (Mary Poppins)
Frank Campanella (Capone)
Kathy Bates (Misery)
Dustin Hoffman (Rain Man)
William Forsythe  (The Devil’s Rejects)
Ed O’Ross (Another 48 hrs)
James Tolkan (Masters of The Universe)
Mandy Patinkin (The Princess Bride)
R. G. Armstrong (Predator)
Henry Silva (Ocean’s 11)
Paul Sorvino (The Gambler)
James Caan (Elf)
Catherine O’Hara (Home Alone)
Robert Costanzo (Batman: TAS)
Stig Eldred (King Kong 2005)
Chuck Hicks (Star Trek II)
Colm Meaney (Star Trek: DS9)
Neil Ross (Batman: TAS)

war-of-the-worlds-1953-martian-hand-on-shoulder-sylvia-van-buren-ann-robinsonAt an illegal card game, a young street urchin witnesses the massacre of a group of mobsters at the hands of Flattop and Itchy, two of the hoods on the payroll of Alphonse “Big Boy” Caprice. Big Boy’s crime syndicate is aggressively taking over small businesses in the city. Detective Dick Tracy catches the urchin (who calls himself “Kid”) in an act of petty theft. After rescuing him from a ruthless host, Tracy temporarily adopts him with the help of his girlfriend, Tess Trueheart.
ww-53Meanwhile, Big Boy coerces club owner Lips Manlis into signing over the deed to Club Ritz. He then kills Lips with a cement overcoat (referred to onscreen as “The Bath”) and steals his girlfriend, the seductive and sultry singer, Breathless Mahoney. After Lips is reported missing, Tracy interrogates his three hired guns Flattop, Itchy, and Mumbles, then goes to the club to arrest Big Boy for Lips’ murder. Breathless is the only witness. Instead of providing testimony, she unsuccessfully attempts to seduce Tracy. Big Boy cannot be indicted and he is released from jail. Big Boy’s next move is to try to bring other criminals, including Spud Spaldoni, Pruneface, Influence, Texie Garcia, Ribs Mocca, and Numbers, together under his leadership. Spaldoni refuses and is intentionally killed, leaving Dick Tracy, who discovered the meeting and was attempting to spy on it, wondering what is going on. The next day, Big Boy and his henchmen kidnap Tracy and attempt to bribe him; Tracy refuses, prompting the criminals to attempt to kill him. However, Tracy is saved by Kid, who gets prized by the police with a Honorary Detective Certificate, which will remain temporary until he decides a name for himself.
16-215041_0x420Breathless shows up at Tracy’s apartment, once again in an attempt to seduce him. Tracy shows he is only human by allowing her to kiss him. Tess witnesses this and eventually leaves town. Tracy leads a seemingly unsuccessful raid on Club Ritz, but it is actually a diversion so officer “Bug” Bailey can enter the building to operate a secretly installed listening device so the police can hear in on Big Boy’s criminal activities. The resultant raids all but wipe out Big Boy’s criminal empire. However, Big Boy discovers Bug and captures him for a trap planned by Influence and Pruneface to kill Tracy in the warehouse. In the resulting gun battle, a stranger with no face called “The Blank” steps out of the shadows to save Tracy after he is cornered and kills Pruneface. Influence escapes as Tracy rescues Bug from the same fate given to Lips Manlis, and Big Boy is enraged upon hearing that The Blank foiled the hit. Tracy tries again to get the testimony from Breathless he needs to put Big Boy away. She agrees to testify only if Tracy agrees to give in to her advances. Tess eventually has a change of heart, but before she can tell Tracy, she is kidnapped by The Blank, with the help of Big Boy’s club piano player, 88 Keys. Tracy is drugged and rendered unconscious by The Blank, framed for murdering the corrupt District Attorney John Fletcher, and is detained. The Kid, meanwhile, adopts the name “Dick Tracy, Jr.”
war-of-the-worlds-1953-martians-attack-humansBig Boy’s business thrives until the Blank frames him for Tess’ kidnapping. Released by his colleagues on New Year’s Eve, Tracy interrogates Mumbles and arrives at a shootout outside Big Boy’s club where his men are killed by the police and Tracy. Abandoning his crew, Big Boy flees to a drawbridge and ties Tess to the gears before he is confronted by Tracy. Their fight is halted when the Blank appears and holds both men at gunpoint, offering to share the city with Tracy after Big Boy is dead. Big Boy takes advantage of a distraction and opens fire before Tracy sends him falling to his death in the bridge gears. Mortally wounded, the Blank is revealed to be Breathless Mahoney, who kisses Tracy before dying. All charges against Tracy are dropped. Later, Tracy proposes to Tess when he is interrupted by the report of a robbery in progress. He leaves her with a ring before heading away with Dick Tracy, Jr.dicktracy_727Overall, a really fine movie that has become misunderstood over the years since its release and is incredibly underrated. This is a perfect example of capturing the essence of a comic book, from style to eccentricity.