Finally Watched It: Felidae (1994)

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This movie tells the story of a cat named Francis investigating a string of cat murders in his new neighborhood.

This movie absolutely has a “what the fuck just happened” sort of vibe. The animation style is wonderful and the entire thing is a testament to how animated stories can and SHOULD be used to tell stories to children AND adults. There’s graphic murder, sex, blood, and a fucking CULT. But its all cats!

This is a short watch, only about an hour and twenty minutes and is a German movie; even though I watched it with the English dub and found the voice acting to be pretty good. It reminded me of The Great Mouse Detective. It is also based on a book, which is on my list of things to read, and even though it’s demented and kinda predictable, it’s a cool movie! Just don’t let your kids watch it. It’s more adult than Watership Down and has just as much nightmare fuel.

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Finally Watched It: American Pop

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If I were to describe this movie, it would be a sad but loving send up to music and musicians. This movie uses music to tell the story of four generations of an immigrant Jewish family in order to show how American music changed and grew in the 20th century.

I can’t believe I missed this one but it did come out the year I was born and is NOT intended for children. There is rampant drug use, war, sex, murder, and hell, even the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire! I was able to pick out some of the rock stars Bakshi was inspired by to create some of these characters; the most obvious to me being Janis Joplin. Between the music and the gorgeous animation (which holds up fairly well, in my opinion) I was absolute awe. It’s one of those movies that really leaves its mark and I am SO glad I made time for it. Heck, I may buy it so I can watch it whenever I want. If you’re a fan of animation, great storytelling, and awesome music and you haven’t seen this? Check it out. You won’t be sorry.

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Underrated Movies: “The Great Mouse Detective”

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I’ve been on a kick lately of making my kid watch the movies I grew up with to see if she likes them and if I still get any enjoyment out of them. We’ve done Return to Oz, Secret of NIMH, Jurassic Park, Labyrinth, and Flight of the Navigator so far. It’s been one heck of a trip for me, let me tell you. When I remembered this title, I couldn’t wait to pop it in.

Watching it now, it is certainly darker than I remember. When Olivia’s father is kidnapped, it’s scary, Rattigan orders one of his henchmen eaten alive by a cat, that henchman is shown drinking and is quite obviously drunk off his ass, Basil smokes AND drinks beer and there’s this part that I TOTALLY forgot about:

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Let’s face it; she’s a burlesque dancer.

She does a frikkin strip tease. That’s what it is. No sugar coating.

I am not saying these are bad things by any means but none of this would fly in a kid’s movie today. However, this sadly overlooked Disney film is so much fun and it’s a shame it’s not mentioned more often. There’s just something about older kid’s movies (some of them anyway) that seemed to expect more from the kids in the audience. Basil’s flagrant use of science, math, and SAT level vocabulary are offset by his huge ego and selfishness. Rattigan is genuinely frightening but he’s voiced by Vincent Price. He HAS to be scary then. Dawson is the perfect foil for Basil and Olivia isn’t just an annoying kid; she tries her best for just a child. The animation is beautiful, the story has layers I didn’t see before as a kid, and man I could SO see a spin-off TV series with this.

All in all, great movie that is just fun, heartwarming, and well done. It even got me talking about Sherlock Holmes, which now my kid wants to read. And hey, if a movie is good enough to inspire a 9 year old to read classic literature, I’m all for it.

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Finally Watched It: Batman: The Killing Joke

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Based on the graphic novel of the same name, this feature was touted mainly for its R rating.

And I don’t think that rating was even earned. To me, this is PG-13 level curses here. And the very random sex scene wasn’t even graphic!

First off, I was not impressed with the animation quality. It was fairly standard. With all those other DC animated movies out there, I expected better.

Secondly, this isn’t so much “Batman: The Killing Joke” as it is “Batgirl: Batman: The Killing Joke.” I do NOT understand why the first half an hour or so of this exists because it would have been overall better to cut the whole damn thing.

Thirdly, this is the most sexist portrayal of Batgirl I’ve seen. According to the movie, she’s been at the vigilante scene for three years, right? Three years and she still feels the need to whine to Batman that she needs to prove herself? She still gets triggered by some random trash talk a lowly mobster throws at her? He asks”Where’s your boyfriend?” so she can squawk “He’s not my boyfriend!”, he makes jokes that she’s on her period, they write her so she gets mad when he calls her cute… This isn’t Batgirl. She’s every lazy female and sidekick stereotype poured into a batsuit. I was screaming at the screen and rolling my eyes.

Fourthly? You snagged the “swear to me” line? *sigh

And lastly, the back story of why those freaks in the carnival were working with the Joker would have been a bajillion times more interesting than this Bats in the City nonsense that filled the first half hour. They even gave Barbara a pet gay best friend; which was a trope I thought we had thankfully grown out of.

If you skip all the Batgirl stuff, it wasn’t bad, it was just ok. Mark Hamil and Kevin Conroy are of course as excellent as always and the adaptation of what was actually IN THE GRAPHIC NOVEL was entertaining. But by the time they got to the story in the book, I was so pissed, I found it hard to enjoy the rest.

Next time? Stick to the book, guys.

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Finally Watched It: “Justice League vs. Teen Titans”

I guess this technically doesn’t count as a ‘finally’ watched it since this isn’t an old movie I should have watched but it is something that I’ve been waiting to get my hot little hands on and it’s my blog, so there!

 

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In this movie, Robin (Damien) is sent to train with the Teen Titans and while he’s gone, Raven’s father Trigon sends demons to possess the Justice League.  Before they can take down Trigon, the Teen Titans have to take down some of the greatest heroes in the world.

I seriously believe this movie was made to give Teen Titans a chance to shine where Teen Titans Go is such a massive fail. The animation is fantastic, the voice acting is on point and all the characters are interesting and fun to watch. Seeing the Titans at different ages – including an adult Starfire – was an experience. It was like finishing the Teen Titans show then coming back to see how they’ve grown since then and starring in this new adventure. The story is cool and you can tell the people that made this meant to make a good movie and not just fart out another straight to DVD release to make a quick buck. I could see myself watching this multiple times and this finally cleansed my brain after that Monster Mayhem crap. More movies like this please!

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Finally Watched It: “Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem”

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I’ve been trying to make sure I watch all or most of these direct to DVD DC movies but I’d avoided this one for a long time. My kid convinced me to borrow a copy and I see my instincts were correct to steer clear of it.

The Joker has a computer virus and it shuts down the city. Batman and company have to go save things and I just never got invested. Everything about this just grated on me. The setting is like a funhouse mirror version of the Batman Beyond universe, the puns are cringe worthy, the jokes are horrible, and even for a kid’s movie, this felt pandering and tiresome. I laughed once and that was when Joker kissed Solomon Grundy (ehrmahgerd, spoilers) and that was more out of ridiculousness than humor. The only other time I laughed was at the end when I asked if my kid liked it and… This is an actual quote: “It made me feel like this >does Running Man< It was action packed.”

That assessment is technically correct. A lot of stuff happens. That’s the best impression I can give you. The voice acting is ok, the animation style my annoy my eyes but it was cleanly done. I just couldn’t get into this one as much as I could Public Enemies or Crisis On Two Earths. Monster Mayhem made me long for the days of Batman: The Animated Series. I wanted to go back and watch Joker Fish so bad…

Anyways, I did it and now I don’t have to do it anymore! Yay! I’m sure there are other DC movies I haven’t seen and I’ll work on digging them up. Another movie will be up next Friday!

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