Frankenweenie (2012)

frankenweenieStarring Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Martin Landau, Charlie Tahan, Atticus Shaffer, Winona Ryder, Robert Capron, James Hiroyuki Liao, Conchata Ferrell

Directed by Tim Burton

Expectations: Fairly low. I’m only watching this because my girlfriend thought I should see it because I love the Universal Monster movies.

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The simple fact of Frankenweenie‘s existence as a 2012 feature brings up some questions in my mind. Having spent the last decade or so making adequate to poor movies, Tim Burton decided to return to his roots and remake his 1984 short film, Frankenweenie. It’s a great idea for a film, and with the short never having the release it deserved, this version of Frankenweenie represents a good way for fans to experience this inspired homage to the Universal Monster movies from the young/old mind of Burton. But to return to his roots at such a creatively bankrupt time in his career is also somewhat distressing. Is this merely a remake aimed at eliciting some response from those that grew up adoring the likes of Beetlejuice, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure or Batman?

The answer, for me, was a bit of both. Frankenweenie is a gloriously made film, perfectly evocative of the era it seeks to recreate and pay homage to. At the same time, it also seems to be aimed directly at fans already familiar with his work, with visual, audio and story references to his previous, iconic works. But despite my reservations, this resurrected version of Frankenweenie does have that old Burton magic throughout. It’s easily his best film in years, and one hopes that this is a sign of things to come in the future. The fact that his next film will reunite him with the Ed Wood screenwriters for a biopic starring Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams definitely piques my interest more than most of this other recent films have.

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Cyclone (1987)

Starring Heather Thomas, Jeffrey Combs, Ashley Ferrare, Dar Robinson, Martine Beswick, Robert Quarry, Martin Landau, Huntz Hall, Troy Donahue, Michael Reagan, Tim Conway Jr., Dawn Wildsmith, Bruce Fairbairn

Directed by Fred Olen Ray

Expectations: Low. I’m expecting some low-budget action trash.

On the general scale:

On the B-Movie scale:


Prior to seeing Cyclone, I had heard the name Fred Olen Ray, but I had never seen any of his work. From the stories I surmised that Cyclone would be ultra low-budget and ultra stupid, but instead it was fucking awesome! It’s definitely low-budget, and high-brow motherfuckers will turn their noses up at its ridiculous plot, but in terms of entertainment value, this is one of the better films I’ve seen in the past few months. Seriously. Maybe this is just disappointment and indifference talking after seeing The Adventures of Tintin and Melancholia in the theaters, but Cyclone is actually a really well made and produced film, featuring incredible car stunts, explosions and a bevy of quality actors.

Cyclone tells the story of Teri (Heather Thomas) and her inventor boyfriend Rick (Jeffrey Combs). Rick has built an incredible motorcycle fitted with armor plating, laser guns and missiles, and now that it’s complete he starts receiving death threats. The couple goes out to celebrate Rick’s completion of the project, but instead of a champagne toast he receives an ice pick to the brain. Now Teri’s duty is to protect the Cyclone from falling into the wrong hands, but in a world inhabited by greedy people, there’s no telling who she can trust.

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