Fantasia Festival 2017: Dead Shack (2017)

Dead Shack (2017)

Dead Shack

Director: Peter Ricq

Cast: Lizzie Boys, , Lauren Holly, Matthew Nelson-Mahood, Gabriel LaBelle, Donovan Stinson, Valerie Tian

While staying at a run-down cabin in the woods during the weekend, three children must save their parents from the neighbor who intends to feed them to her un-dead family. – IMDB

Described as The Goonies meets Night of the Living Dead, Dead Shack comes as a fun zombie romp with a  young cast fighting to save their drunk father on a camping trip when they accidentally discover their neighbor and her undead family. This femme fatale next door does everything to make sure to keep her family safe and fed. With a runtime of 85 minutes, Dead Shack knows how to pace its movie to be fast and filled with moments of tension, comedy and action.

The young cast here creates a nice balance in characters. Matthew Nelson-Mahood playing the son’s best friend, Jason who is socially awkward as he tries to impress his best friend’s sister, Summer (played by Lizzie Boys) every chance that he has. He captures the role very well and in turn, with his awkwardness, brings in quite a bit of comedic relief along with the banter in moments of panic with the young trio. The three here create a balance of intelligence, common sense and spontaneous reflex and this leads them to really pull up a lot of strength and courage. Its also impressive to see that the story quickly shifts these teens, particularly Jason that starts the movie being told to toughen up and quickly does.

While the young cast is the focus here, the rest of the characters are well-used also. The father, played by Donovan Stinson is the most hilarious part of this movie. He starts off the movie with a lot of funny moments. However, even the supporting roles are there in their oddly disposable way but still have their value, mostly for comedy as well. Its realizes how to capture the humor in spite of the horror tension they want to create here. It also helps make the teens more useful and responsible than their parents.

The setting of the movie is in the middle of nowhere however fits perfectly. While Dead Shack feels like it is riddled with cliches, it uses them to their advantage whether by making some smart comeback in the dialogue or turning it into a comedic moment or adding some common sense that most horror movies don’t have. The music builds the moments really well also whether it is to create tension or the soundtrack that compliments some of the scenes. Along with some clever camera work capturing close-ups and angles, it works wonders for Dead Shack as a whole.

It is a shame that it feels that the enemy is largely underused. While it works because it helps create tension as to wondering when the undead or the Blonde will show up. This movie is definitely more a comedy in a horror setting. While there are more undead as the movie moves along and it never feels like we’re really invested into any of the characters, it still finds a way to make this into a fun romp that surprisingly works really well.

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Fantasia Festival 2017: Free and Easy (2016)

Free and Easy (2016)
Director: Jun Geng

Director: Baohe Xue, Benbin Gu, Gang Xu, Liguo Yuan, Xun Zhang, Xuxu Wang, Zhiyong Zhang

When a traveling soap salesman arrives in a desolate Chinese town, a crime occurs, and sets the strange residents against each other with tragicomic results. –IMDB

A peddling monk, a soap salesman, a reforestation ranger: What do these three characters have in common? Add in a God-loving man who is seeking for his disappeared mother, a jack of all trades kung fu instructor and a tough landlady. Throw together two cops who really seem to be both careless and clueless and this creates the mix of a 99 minutes Chinese movie set in desolate area in Northeast China. Free and Easy is an odd piece altogether. Is it trying to be comedic with its dry  humor? Or is it a societal statement about the world we live in pushing those into paths they don’t really choose no matter how good or bad they are? Perhaps, its a crime story when one of the characters die. Just like the story its telling, maybe the genre also steps somewhere in a grey area.

Free and Easy is however an interesting piece of cinema to talk about. With so many characters on screen, we mostly focus on the soap salesman and the monk at the beginning. The cops are the other end of the spectrum as they truly feel useless in their positions or simply bored. They talk constantly about things they probably shouldn’t and then they also take antibiotics like its candy. Not the authorities that we’d imagine them to be. In a community like this one, desolate and forgotten, even the cops are useless, it is a statement on how everyone has their own way to fend for themselves and survive day to day. They are thrown into circumstances that we eventually realize aren’t quite them however, it is all a sense of digging out that part of them that they need to live. The soap salesman and monk eventually have some insightful conversations throughout the movie that truly point us into knowing them more. Just as the reforestation ranger obsesses over who cut down his trees and we start seeing his mellow character go through a myriad of reactions to the situation. However, with the amount of characters here, the focus moves quickly through them. Their personalities, their facades, their conversations, their tricks all come together as what defines this world because we never know any of them well enough to know their history or even their story. We only know what they are now and those few days in this desolate area.

While, Free and Easy slowly progresses its story and it feels disjointed throughout the majority of it and there isn’t really a character to bond with, one of the best aspects is its landscape and cinematography. The way that the director composes their shots, capturing the wide angles and pulled out space. It truly expands on the desolate and emptiness in this area. Perhaps, it also is done to create a parallel for these characters who each have their own issues and all don’t seem to keen about what life they are in now. No one truly seems happy. However, the scenes here truly capture so much atmosphere and is structured carefully to capture exactly what it wants and hides some of the details off screen. One of the best scenes do go to one of the cops confronting four of the characters as they keep moving on and off screen.

Honestly, there isn’t a lot to say concretely about Free and Easy. The story needs a little more work particularly for the pace they are going at. The sound design is nice and the cinematography captures so much of the atmosphere and the area despite it being desolate and empty. The characters are plentiful but never fleshed out. The dry humor definitely is there however, it never seemed to work enough although humor is rather subjective. Free and Easy is a statement piece about society, at least from the first watch, it definitely seems to be leaning the most in that direction. Its a lot of reading between the lines and listening to the dialogue and conversations. Its a movie for those that enjoy dry humor, slow-paced and reading between the lines.

Personally, this doesn’t feel like a movie that I was meant to like. I do think for its vagueness in many of the issues, it makes it more thought provoking to figure out what they are trying to say. What message is it all about? I’m honestly kind of in between with this one.

Fantasia Festival 2017: Vampire Cleanup Department (2017)

Vampire Cleanup Department (2017)

vampire cleanup department

Director: Pak-Wing Yan, Sin-Hang Chiu

Cast: Babyjohn Choi, Min-Chen Lin, Richard Ng, Siu-ho Chin, Susan Shaw

Tim Cheung joins the Vampire Cleanup Department which is a secret task force for dealing Chinese vampire Goeng Si. He is instructed by his uncle Chau and he saves a female Goeng Si, Summer from her evil lord Goeng Si who buried alive her. – IMDB

For those familiar with the Mr. Vampire series decades ago and their introduction to the hopping Chinese vampires, the recent years has seen a resurgence to seemingly revive or perhaps catch Hong Kong’s own wave of the vampire popularity. In 2013, Rigor Mortis saw the debut directing work of Juno Mak get the cast of the originals and create a serious horror full of gore and symbolism. However, Vampire Cleanup Department this year aims to do the same thing but uses more of the horror action comedy angle, in turns more in vein with the original series while still taking the familiar actors. It feels like a true revival or remaster or perhaps modernized reboot of this Chinese cult favorite and not only appeal to the fans of the franchise but also grab a new generation and educate them about these hopping vampires. Screened in Cantonese, the English subtitles were done well enough to still carry the humor it wanted for the most part. We always like to make sure that the jokes will still carry well to an international audience.

Vampire Cleanup Department does many things right. It is hard to say that anymore in terms of comedy or horror. Two things the Hong Kong industry in general seems to have hit a snag as it settles for ineffective and trope-y horror or dumb and nonsensical humor. However, this movie is littered with clever jokes and puns and most of all, actors that deliver them seamlessly and perfectly. It also uses the CGI that they have access to in order to make these vampires and other action/horror effects feel more authentic and less campy. Its a re-skin and one that is done tastefully. For those who were too young when this released or never quite had access to it before or simply the new generation, Vampire Cleanup Department never forgets to educate its audience as it educates and trains its long awaited new blood. Using this story line works in this situation because we as the audience will also learn about how hopping vampires came to be, how to get rid of them as well as how this secret department originated as a new vengeful vampire is unleashed into the city accidentally.

Another great aspect of Vampire Cleanup Department is its veteran actors. Siu-ho Chin and Richard Ng are the main characters in this as they take a supporting role that links to the past. They are fun and entertaining. Siu-ho Chin contributes to a lot of the action as he is the younger of the original crew. Richard Ng brings a lot of the humor. Its truly hard to not feel nostalgic when watching them on screen as they have both been part of memorable films aside from the Mr. Vampire movies. They are the anchor of this film and despite the younger actors seeming to be a focus of the film. The scenes they are in keep the movie grounded as their opposite personalities in their characters also create a nice friction.

The one downfall of this flick truly goes to the young romance, Tim and Summer, played respectively by Babyjohn Choi and Min-Chen Lin. This factor is less to do with their performance but more with the more than familiar romance. Its sappy and redundant. In fact, the humor elements added into their budding romance makes it fun and cute however never lets us feel too invested either, at least not enough to feel emotional about their outcome. Sadly, the romance does take up a decent portion of the movie. While still successfully entertaining us for the most parts, it falls short from what the rest of the movie creates and could of been done a little more concisely.

Vampire Cleanup Department is a treat. Despite its rinse and repeat romance that doesn’t have the connection with the audience it is meant to have, everything else is done very well. It creates a beautiful balance of action, comedy and horror. It revives and reboots this Geong Si, aka hopping vampires, from the late 80s to 90s from the Mr. Vampire series. It also brings in some new blood to possibly (and hopefully) continue the franchise in a modern way. This film has found a way to keep itself self-contained while remembering to honor its predecessors by creating a link of the world the earlier movies created. It brings back the atmosphere those movies had while giving it a fresh look successfully.

TV Binge: Refresh Man (2016)

Man, its been a month since our last TV Binge. I can assure you that I’ve been watching a ton of TV series and just having a lot of fun in general. TV Binge posts are fun but sometimes its hard to share a lot of it. The reason why this one took so long is really on post scheduling issues since there’s been a ton of other things to get in and I don’t want to just be writing about movies or TV every single day. I’ve already expressed myself about this issue before and that hasn’t changed. However, I never give up a chance to talk about Taiwanese TV series, because no matter how generic they are, there are some that just are absolutely incredible and 2016’s Refresh Man is. In fact, I said it already before also in another post but I’m currently slowly watching it a second time. That’s how much I love it.

Refresh Man (2016)

refresh man

Cast: Aaron Yan, Joanne Tseng, Lene Lai, Yun-Ching Li, Roy Chang, Cherry Hsia, Jenny Chen-Ni Huang, Sara Yu, J.R. Chien

In high school Zhong Yu Tang was the overachiever with a bright future ahead of her while Ji Wen Kai was the underachiever. Ten years later the tables have turned when he becomes the new CEO of the cosmetic company Yu Tang works for. – IMDB

It is a little sad that Taiwanese television dramas have not caught on as much as other foreign shows like Korean dramas for example. I’m personally a huge fan of Taiwanese series because they are a little formulaic at times but they also have a lot of creativity and the best ones create a good balance between romance, drama and comedy. Its a shame that I’ve fallen out of it for a while but at the same time, coming back to it these past two years have really opened up my eyes to how well the shows are. There is still a big issue with the industry and one of the actors here have brought it up but I’m going to avoid diving into that issue but focusing on how great this show is because of its colorful cast, well-timed comedic moments and general fun moments.

Refresh man

What I love about this series:

  • Wen-kai Ji (played by Aaron Yan): Aaron Yan is possibly my favorite part of this series. He is so expressive with his motions and reactions. His dialogue was done so well and his chemistry with Joanne Tseng who plays Yu-Tang Zhong is so awesome. Not to mention, he came back based on a promise that he’ll take care of her and the way he is doing that is by pushing her to be better.
  • Yu-Tang Zhong (played by Joanne Tseng): Its hard to find series that I like both of the couples equally as much and in this case, Joanne Tseng does a stellar job. She captures a very innocent girl who is really very smart but has fallen into a comfort zone as an executive secretary. When she is suddenly pulled out of her comfort zone, she accepts her challenge and you see her grow, being stronger and more courageous and eventually become a fantastic woman. What makes her so endearing is her lack of knowledge to her feelings and what people around her feel for her (aka Wen-kai Ji and the other male character, Zi-yu Wang).
  • Sales Team 3: The team that Yu-Tang ends up doing sales is the most rag-tag team of unmotivated individuals. In many ways, they all are the “refresh man” concept here that needs a fresh start and the extra push. They are funny together and truly fun to watch grow as they all find their potential and let it grow as they realize that they can be more.
  • The Romance: I already mentioned the chemistry before but there is so much about the trials and tribulations between Yu-Tang and Wen-kai from their high school years to how they finally owned up to their romance. Its hilarious and crazy and yet so touching to watch. Its one that truly does make us love and ship them. One of the rare on-screen couples that I actually route for fully and completely because they are worth every moment of it. You can feel their pain and their love no matter before they find their balance to be together or after they finally get together and are forced apart. If you watch any of these drama series, you know that it isn’t a spoiler but an eventuality.

refresh man

Refresh Man is a great series, probably one of my absolute favorite. Its great to see that Netflix has acquired some good ones. This was a fun spontaneous discovery and I quickly binge watched it twice in a row. Joanne Tseng and Aaron Yan are awesome actors and they capture their role perfectly. The script is charming for the most part and still pretty predictable however, there are some spontaneous bits that will take you by surprise here and there. There is also some odd moments that make us wonder why it was done that way. However, whether you find it funny or entertaining or downright warm and fuzzy (or maybe a little in pain when things go wrong), Wen-kai and Joanne Tseng are characters that come to life who make us want them to win whatever challenge is in front of them. When they aren’t in the romance thing, which actually is in the background a lot more, Sales Team 3 will make you want to cheer for them to pick up their slack and succeed in their almost impossible task of selling a product that no one really cares for anymore.

Overall, a great show and one that deserves to have great appreciation. I’m glad to see that Aaron Yan has grown so much from the first series I saw him in till this one. Joanne Tseng also looks familiar and yet I can’t place where I’ve seen her before but she is fantastic and I’m going to look for more of her series. If you do like Taiwanese series, this is one to check out.

Addicted to Screwball Blogathon: Addicted to Love (1997)

Today is the anniversary of Addicted to Love and in honor of that, Paul at Pfeiffer Philms and Meg Movies has put together this Addicted to Screwball blogathon event. You read more about it here or by clicking on the banner above.

Now, before I start, I do want to be completely honest that I really have a lot of classic movies to catch up on and seeing as the rise of screwball comedy also lies in a lot of these iconic titles that i haven’t seen, I am almost completely unfamiliar with this subgenre. However, Paul did give me some suggestions and I ended up choosing to write about Addicted to Love with Meg Ryan.

Lets check it out!

Addicted to Love (1997)

addicted to love

Director: Griffin Dune

Cast: Meg Ryan, Matthew Broderick, Kelly Preston, Tcheky Karyo, Maureen Stapleton

Maggie’s and Sam’s former partners are in love; she wants revenge and he wants his lost love back, so they work together to break up the happy couple. – IMDB

If screwball comedy is what Addicted to Love is, count me in for more. Addicted to Love is such a great film. It is a ton of fun to watch with a lot of great characters. I love Meg Ryan and this movie is exactly why. She is so versatile in her acting capabilities. In Addicted to Love, there is a completely different side to her that we don’t see in some of the other romantic comedies. Let’s face it, maybe I don’t know how to talk about this in the whole screwball comedy spectrum but I’m watching this because there’s Meg Ryan.

Addicted to Love

Here’s a good time to switch over to talk about the characters and performances on Addicted to Love. Our leading lady here is Meg Ryan who delivers a great character, Maggie who is the opposite that needs to accomplish this sabotage plan. On the exterior, Maggie is calm and calculated with the plan. She is determined to achieve her revenge on this man that used her and broke her heart. A lot of who she is is already shown to us by how she makes her entrance into the movie as she breaks in and appears in her motorcycle get up and starts getting straight to work. Deep down, there is a softer side and as the story goes on, she has these layers that we see. Now that I am done fangirling over Meg, Matthew Broderick also delivers quite the performance. I always have a hard time pinpointing where I have seen him before in movies but his role here as Sam is a lot of fun. Sam is the opposite to Maggie in many ways. He really is calm but also a scientist so he believes in charts and predicting when certain signs will mean a breakup. He believes it will end naturally until he realizes that everything he believed in doesn’t apply in love. Sam’s character breaks out of this shell and becomes more daring as he turns into the guy who starts off lacking discretion and letting his feelings get in the way of the plan but turns into the guy who hatches the ultimate plan.

Addicted to Love

Addicted to Love is charming because of these two leading roles however, the charm extends to the outrageous scenes that are set up here. While Kelly Preston plays the not very special Linda, playing opposite her is the odd French chef who seeks perfection, Anton. Anton does catch most of the heat in the situation as they make him suffer mostly and creating the most unbelievable situations for him to explain his way out and create suspicion. Anton himself gets more screen time and much more focus in the last third of the movie when things start spiralling apart from the revenge/stalker plot of the exes team-up. The dynamic was turned around and we actually get to learn more about this character of Anton. The goal is not to care about him but rather to guide Maggie and Sam to realize what they have/feel for each other.

Overall, Addicted to Love is a really fun romantic comedy in the veins of a revenge of the exes storyline. While many things are still foreseeable, the charming cast particularly Meg Ryan’s Maggie shines as she takes on a fun and tough role opposite Matthew Broderick as Sam, an astronomer who breaks out of his own shell. There is a good blend of outrageously fun scenes and a lot of humor.

Ella Enchanted (2004)

Ultimate 90’s blogathon is done and wrapped up. It is time to embrace some movie reviews. I have to admit that I actually didn’t watch a lot of movies over the last three weeks. I took the opportunity to catch up on TV series and gaming, which was a really nice change in pace.

I am a fan of Anna Hathaway and especially in those Princess Diaries days and I am also a sucker for princess/Cinderella stories which makes Ella Enchanted all the more fantastic. It has been a while that I’ve wanted to see this one so I was excited to see it land on Netflix! Lets give it a go!

Ella Enchanted (2004)

ella enchanted

Director: Tommy O’Haver

Cast: Anne Hathaway, Hugh Dancy, Cary Elwes, Minnie Driver, Aidan McArdle, Joanna Lumley, Lucy Punch, Jennifer Higham, Eric Idle, Vivica A. Fox

Ella is under a spell to be constantly obedient, a fact she must hide from her new step-family in order to protect the prince of the land, her friend for whom she’s falling. – IMDB

Ella Enchanted is an innocent fun movie, actually much more than my first impressions that I remembered of it back when it released. While it does give a Cinderella-esque story, Ella embodies quite a few princesses we are familiar with. She does have an evil stepmother who brings two stepsisters and they do push her aside but Ella also has a fairy in the household and ends up getting a curse, like Sleeping Beauty except her curse is one of being obedient. While it seems great as a baby for their parents, as she grew up, it started to cause her to do many things she didn’t want to. Ella lived with no choices and under people’s desires because of this curse. However, she is very kind and accepting. It is hard to not cheer for Ella when she sets out on her journey to find Lucinda, the fairy who granted her this “gift” and feel bad for her predicament when she gets caught up in bad situations.

Ella Enchanted

Anne Hathaway does a great job at being Ella. There’s a bit of the whole innocent and Princess Diaries’ vibe in her at this point. It is a likeable trait and shows lot of potential in being more as an actress. We do know that she is capable of bigger and more mature roles nowadays. Most of the scenes with Ella as some of the best because she is so fun to watch. Along with the fact that her and Hugh Dancy have pretty good chemistry that it makes their love story even more appealing. I haven’t seen Hugh Dancy in a lot of movies. The one I remember slightly might be a few years ago when I saw Confessions of a Shopaholic (and then IMDB tells me that I’ve also seen him in Blood and Chocolate and The Jane Austen Book Club, oh well). He is a charming man for sure and fits well in the role of Prince Char. Perhaps the most entertaining part of Ella Enchanted is watching these two characters. While over the top to a certain degree, still manages to remain believable.
Ella Enchanted

Aside from our main characters, Ella’s crew of friends that she makes along her journey probably are the silliest. She has a magical book that is her household fairy, Mandy’s (played by Minnie Driver) boyfriend. There’s an elf who wants to be a lawyer and not sing and dance. There’s some silly orcs (I think) and of course, some friendly giants. The story is that Char’s uncle is ruling over the kingdom before he comes into coronation, which is pretty much when the story is set and he has decreed rules that make the other species feel repressed and treated cruelly. These friends while filled with a heart of courage and help with making this funny, sometimes can be a little off beat from the story. It still is fun and innocent especially seeing as this is a truly harmless story and one that we’re pretty familiar with.

Ella Enchanted

Finally, our villain. All fairy tales have one. Ours is none other than Char’s power lusting uncle Edgar played by Cary Elwes. And he also has a sidekick which is a magical CGI snake called Heston. Are you sensing an Aladdin’s Jafar feeling here with his Iago? Either way, Ella Enchanted is very lighthearted and even in its most sinister and dark moments still manages to keep it light and funny. Edgar is completely comedic in many ways. The other villain, in some ways, is the stepsister played by Lucy Punch who really just wanted Ella out of the way in order to get her hands on Prince Char for herself. Nothing too threatening about this character other than the fact that she’s merely a pawn in the whole ordeal to Ella’s dilemma. What makes sure that we are definitely watching a mash-up princess movie and not Cinderella is that our villain isn’t the stepmother who would mimick the role of Lady Tremaine but really has a small role here and who is not at all threatening.

Ella Enchanted

Ella Enchanted is an innocent and fun movie. It never lets us forget that we are watching a fairy tale story with an impressive heroine geared towards a younger audience. It keeps it light by staying comedic and making it a funny affair to watch. There is good chemistry between Anne Hathaway and Hugh Dancy who are clearly the strength of this film. The story is familiar and simple and quite predictable and yet, there’s something charming about it. Perhaps it is because fairy tales, especially live action ones nowadays are getting so dark that its nice to visit one that remembers to keep it fun and fantastical.

Have you seen Ella Enchanted?

Ultimate 90’s Blogathon Kickoff: Robin Williams Triple Feature

Welcome to Ultimate 90’s Blogathon! 

Ultimate 90's blogathon

We’re officially kicking off the blogathon.  It will run for the next few weeks from Monday to Saturday both here and on my awesome co-host, Drew from Drew’s Movie Reviews. Today, we kick off together with our own reviews. We will be alternating reviews here and over there from all of our fantastic participants. A huge thanks is in order for all the reviews we’ve seen. There are some great selections to look forward to. Over the next few days, I will be creating a page on the menu for Ultimate 90s Blogathon and will update the posts as they go so if you miss any, just head over there to find it.

Let’s get this started!

I was born in the mid 80s, meaning I did most of my growing up in the 90’s. Its where I can relate the most and also why this blogathon means so much more to myself. The 90’s was filled with iconic actors and roles/characters and some great movies. My childhood wouldn’t have been the same with this actor though. Life wouldn’t have as many laughs and happiness going on in our house. Robin Williams was a great comedic actor taking on fun and inspiring roles and there are so many that it is hard to choose from. It is why I decided to choose three that meant the most to me, be it memories of spending time with my family or just movies that I can’t get enough of today. These are iconic roles that he took on. I’m sure it will differ for each of you. I know Drew and I both had different choices as well. So will you. If you are a fan, share which of his movies you loved and which would be in your Robin Williams triple feature. Now, for my choices and they are in no particular order!

Aladdin (1992)

aladdin

Director: Ron Clements & John Musker
Voice cast: Scott Weinger, Robin Williams, Linda Larkin, Jonathan Freeman, Frank Weller, Gilbert Gottfried

When a street urchin vies for the love of a beautiful princess, he uses a genie’s magic power to make himself off as a prince in order to marry her. – IMDB

Aladdin is a true Disney classics. It left us with not only a princess movie which it does have a male protagonist as a focus, many renowned songs including the wildly catchy Prince Ali or the uber romantic A Whole New World but also a fast talking somewhat silly genie voiced by Robin Williams. Aladdin is fun and fast-paced. It has a villain, Jafar with his goofy sidekick. The Sultan is kind of a clueless father with a pretty pure heart that really has the best intentions for his daughter, Princess Jasmine. While Jasmine is not one of my favorite princesses but she is strong-willed and I love tigers so her pet tiger Raj stole my heart. However, the showstopper is the dynamic and enthusiastic and incredibly funny Genie. Robin Williams uses his many voices to give this character life and makes him interesting to watch with a lot of fun moments.

Aladdin doesn’t only have a love story. Its more than that. It looks at greed and power. It has sneaky creatures and misguided authority. There is ignorance among some characters and only seeing and judging the physical appearance than the true nature. The dialogue itself is sharp and comedic and fun thrown in with hints of emotions as we learn out characters and how they change. The vibrant characters are not limited to their main players but even Raj and Abu, Aladdin’s pet monkey shows companionship and teamwork. Wrapped up in a fun package but still full of excitement and tells an adventurous story, Aladdin is excelled by Robin Williams but also is one of the great Disney offerings in the 90’s.

Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)

mrs. doubtfire

Director: Chris Columbus
Cast: Robin Williams, Sally Field, Pierce Brosnan, Lisa Jakub, Harvey Fierstein, Matthew Lawrence, Mara Wilson

After a bitter divorce, an actor disguises himself as a female housekeeper to spend time with his children held in custody by his former wife. – IMDB

The lengths that a desperate father would go to be with his children brings a lot of great moments, both comedic and heartwarming as he transforms himself into a housekeeper. Mrs. Doubtfire is an iconic role in itself. She was a feisty housekeeper that tried to classy but also stood her own because she was actually a he. Whether is Mrs. Doubtfire dancing around cleaning the house or burning up her breasts or even throwing a fruit at the back of Pierce Brosnan’s head, it all adds to how fantastic this character is. At times, we even forget about the man under the transformation.

Stepping out of Robin Williams iconic role, a cornerstone of 90’s child actors was Mara Wilson who plays the youngest child. Mara Wilson did a few roles in the 90’s, like Mathilda and Miracle on 34th Street. She is one of those unforgettable child actors that was so cute and smart. Of course, we also had our James Bond of the 90’s, Pierce Brosnan as their mother’s new love. And mom is played by Sally Field. Lots of big well known names here. The kids are incredibly fun to watch and everyone delivers a great performance paired up with some amusing and entertaining dialogue that really touches us and tugs some heartstrings at the end. Its really hard to not love. Mrs. Doubtfire is a film that I watch over and over again and still remains as entertaining every single time.

Jumanji (1995)

jumanji

Director: Joe Johnston
Cast: Robin Williams, Jonathan Hyde, Kirsten Dunst, Bradley Pierce, Bonnie Hunt, Bebe Neuwirth, David Alan Grier, Patricia Clarkson

When two kids find and play a magical board game, they release a man trapped for decades in it and a host of dangers that can only be stopped by finishing the game. – IMDB

Jumanji is irreplaceable. It is adventurous and dangerous. There are scary things that can be summoned from the board game. Jumanji itself is a pretty eerie concept of having a board game that is alive on its own and has created a whole world of its own to thrive for its players. However, Jumanji is a Robin Williams favorite because he plays Alan Parish who comes back after twenty odd years of being trapped in Jumanji’s jungles and need to pick up the courage to get back into the game to finish it and hopefully reverse all the damage already done. Movies that feature someone in the past going to the present or the present going to the past will embrace changes from the sudden decade shift and usually, hilarity ensues. That is the winning formula of this movie.

Jumanji does also boast some great performances from Bonnie Hunt who plays as the girl who ran off in fear when Allan was sucked into Jumanji and has to finish the game also. Her fear and denial are the things that make her funny but we do see her character development as she finds the courage to be more. Kirsten Dunst plays the little girl, Judy who just moved into the old Parrish house with her aunt and starts the game without knowing that she is only continuing a previous game. Her brother, Peter, played by Bradley Pierce is a rather quiet character. Everyone in this movie learns to face their fears and find a deeper courage to keep going on and persevere towards your goal. There is a family theme as well. This action adventure keeps us on our toes as we watch each of them roll the dice and wonder what else can come out of this game. Even if I’ve seen it before, I still sit at the edge of my seat anxiously waiting for what happens as if I didn’t know before.

What 90’s Robin Williams movie do you like?

Remember to head over to Drew’s Movie Review to look at this Ultimate 90’s Blogathon Kickoff review HERE!