Hello everyone, and welcome to 111 Archer Avenue. What started as a film review blog has become my online judgment forum. I will review the occasional movie or DVD, post an interesting trailer, critique a newly-read book, talk about sports, and share my thoughts and opinions on random issues. You can also follow me on Twitter (@OlieCoen) or check out my work on DVDTalk.com. Thank you and enjoy!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Movie Trailer - Reach Me

Director: John Herzfeld
Starring: Tom Berenger, Kevin Connolly, Sylvester Stallone
Kyra Sedgwick, Thomas Jane, Lauren Cohan, Terry Crews
Release: November 21st, 2014

I can't think of an ensemble cast I'd less like to have working on my film.  This is a horrible group of quasi-actors who have absolutely no chance of producing a believable film.  And believable films are not what John Herzfeld is good at anyway.  He directed 15 Minutes and 2 Days in the Valley, solid movies about crime, not self help.

Movie Review - Peter Pan

Director: Clyde Geronimi
Starring: Bobby Driscoll, Kathryn Beaumont, Hans Conried
Year: 1953

You can't get much more classic than Peter Pan.  When it comes to Disney movies, not many can claim to be more iconic, more pivotal, and more defining.  The films of the 30s & 40s will always be a part of history: Snow White, Pinocchio, Dumbo, Bambi, Cinderella.  But Peter Pan would go on to become the face of Disney, the example of never growing up.  And Tinker Bell spawned a franchise all on her own, as my daughter could attest to.  Pixie Hollow is a huge hit, and Tink flies at the beginning of every single Disney film.  So when judging animated movies, I know of none better to put at the top of the list than this film, a movie that all other fairy tales aspire to me, a story that will live on forever in the hearts of those who refuse to age completely.

Based on the book & play by J.M. Barrie, this is as well known a story as can be found in America, a borrowed masterpiece that has swiftly become part of our culture.  The plot of the film varies a little from the plot of the novel, but the basic premise is the same.  The Darling children (Wendy, John, & Michael) love to play Peter Pan.  Wendy tells his tales, the boys become the characters, and the entire imaginary world of Neverland lays open to every dream.  But the children are about to discover that Peter is no fictional hero.  He's real, he visits their home, and he has recently lost his shadow.  Entering the nursery to retrieve it, the boy who never grows up meets the trio of English youngsters, inviting them to come with him to Neverland.  There, adventures abound, as the Indians are always on the warpath, the mermaids laze the day away in their lagoon, animals prowl the jungles, and the pirates constantly plot to defeat Peter and his Lost Boys once and for all.  The Darlings enter into this world with the innocence of a babe, but with vicious Captain Hook on the loose they had better be on the lookout.  Excitement waits around every corner and Peter Pan is king of it all.

What a wonderful story, one that's as whimsical as it is marvelous.  The plot, the setting, the island, the narrow escapes, the buccaneers, the Lost Boys, the jealous fairy, the hideouts; all the pieces come together to entertain all ages any number of times over.  Here is a film that doesn't get old and never changes, capturing the spirit of Neverland in a way that even the filmmakers couldn't have imagined.  It pays homage to the amazing original story and yet somehow becomes a project all its own, a stand-alone film that can be loved just as much as the original text.  Perhaps it's the music that allows this to happen, as the soundtrack is as strong as there is in any Disney movie.  The Second Star to the Right, You Can Fly, A Pirate's Life, What Made the Red Man Red, Your Mother and Mine; incredible songs that come one after the other in a procession of unforgettable music.  I don't think it'd be possible to watch Peter Pan without having a positive response, without feeling good and happy that you sat down for a bit.  It's a film that is beloved by children, that can be appreciated by adults, and that never gets old; a classic through & through.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Movie Trailer - Focus

Director: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Starring: Will Smith, Margot Robbie
Release: February 27th, 2015

This looks like a silly movie, one that's been done a million times.  But there's something about heist movies, about cons & marks that gets us all excited, that makes us think we're cool when we're definitely not.  And there's also something about Will Smith; the guy just has the "it" factor, has always had talent beyond measure.  Oh yeah, and Margot Robbie is maybe the hottest actress on the planet.