The Haunted Mansion

Over the past 20 years, there have been decisions made by Disney that left me perplexed, disappointed, and sometimes even perturbed.  After a disastrous run of attempting to remake classic Disney movies from the 50s and 60s, Eisner and Co. turned to theme park attractions for inspiration.  The first such experiment was a made-for-TV movie with Steve Guttenberg and Kirsten Dunst involving the Tower of Terror.  Then there was the disastrous Country Bear Jamboree.  Pirates restored my faith in Disney making a decent movie relating to one of their hallowed rides.  Then they announced The Haunted Mansion.  This is one ride that has an established story that most visitors know.

Then came the news that Eddie Murphy had been cast as the lead.  As much as I loved his early work, Murphy has been downright horrible since Coming To America.  My faith was withering away faster than a hitchhiking ghost in a graveyard.

I did see it in the theater and came away pleasantly surprised.  While not a great movie, I certainly did not hate it and was glad to see how well they stuck to the storyline.

The DVD is an average presentation, with the usual extras, but not much more.

My advice: Not a must-see, but passable if nothing is on and nothing else appeals to you from Netflix…

The Bank Job

From July……

Sometimes life interferes with regular movie-watching — that happened in the spring when this little-advertised movie came out.  Fortunately I found it playing at the dollar-movie theater, so I headed over for an evening of fun.

This movie is based on the events of the mid-70’s that involved a bank robbery in London and a scandal involving the royal family.  Jason Statham plays the main character who is recruited to break into Lloyd’s of London.  He assembles his team and begins the heist.

As with all heist movies, there are twists, turns, double-crosses, and near misses.  I liked the choice the director made in filming the movie in the style of many 70’s action flicks: gritty and unpolished.  He also kept the pacing tight, while allowing for appropriate character development.

My advice: if you missed it on the big screen, check it out on DVD; particulalry if you liked Payback and Ronin…

Top 6 Movies Related to College

As promised with last month’s list, this month’s list is dedicated to my favorite college-oriented movies.

So without delay, here it is:

National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978)

The public’s introduction to John Belushi and Kevin Bacon, this movie gives a comedic look of college life.  While some hate how it depicts Fraternity life, I can look past the boozing and see the brotherhood truly exhibited at Delta house….And yes, that is a pledge pin on my uniform…

Revenge of the Nerds (1984)

Continuing the “us vs. them” theme from Animal House, this movie showed us nerds could be funny.

PCU (1994)

David Spade and Jeremy Piven turn in great performances in this movie that pokes fun at how we as a society try to cater to every little group.  Sadly, nothing has changed in 14 years.  Look for Jon Favreau as a pothead…

American Pie 2 (2001)

What the first one did for high school, this one does for showing us how life changes after that first year of college.  This is probably the strongest of the three movies and has a really good soundtrack.

National Lampoon’s Van Wilder (2002)

Ryan Reynolds and Kal Penn form a fun team to watch.  It almost feels like watching Ferris Bueller at college, with a little more gross-out humor.

Old School (2003)

This one hits home for me in many ways.  I do like Jeremy Piven switching teams 10 years after PCU by playing the dean.