Film/Arts/Satire*
(*homocinematically inclined)

Monday, August 24, 2015

MD Review: Tiny Toon Adventures

 

Since 1923, the Walt Disney Animation Studios has churned out hundreds of cartoons, earning a trophy case-full of Academy Awards and millions of fans worldwide for generations. Their output, like many animation studios, dwindled in the 1960s, but more and more lately a "bonus short" has been attached to the latest toon blockbuster, a tradition revitalized by the Pixar Animation Studios in the 90s and now even more common at Disney since Pixar head honcho John Lasseter took over the reins at the Mouse House. And now, like Pixar, Disney has gathered these shorts together on one DVD/Blu-ray for diehard Disney collectors and casual family viewers alike.


Amassing twelve acclaimed shorts from the past 15 years, the Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Film Collection runs the gamut both in animation (traditional hand drawn to state of the art computer) and storytelling styles. As the shorts are featured chronologically, from 2000 to the present, this does result, unavoidably, in some jarring shifts in tone, most noticeably from the heartbreaking The Little Matchgirl to the gut-busting How To Hook Up Your Home Theater starring Goofy. Now, the bulk of the set is light-hearted, but Disney should be commended for included their more serious efforts in the mix, such as their beautifully rendered take on the legend of John Henry.


A major treat for longtime Disney enthusiasts is the inclusion of two rare, until now hard to see shorts, Lorenzo and Tick Tock Tale. The former, a surrealistic delight about a snobbish feline who gets his comeuppance when a curse is put on his tail, was previously only seen by those poor unfortunate souls who had to sit through the Kate Hudson "comedy" Raising Helen. The latter, which I frankly had never heard of before, is a Toy Story-ish charmer starring a cast of clocks.

Along with The Little Matchgirl and Lorenzo, the collection also features fellow Oscar nominee Get a Horse!, the zany old school-meets-new school hybrid starring a mouse named Mickey, and two Oscar winners, the sweetly romantic Paperman and the adorable puppy tale Feast. The Rapunzel sequel Tangled Ever After (which finds the animal sidekicks taking center stage and is filled to the brim with hilarious visual gags), The Ballad of Nessie (a cute "origin story" of the fabled Loch Ness Monster) and the Christmas-themed Operation Secret Santa starring the Prep & Landing elves fill out the bill. (Why the latter TV toon was selected over the joyous One by One is beyond me.)


Despite the presence of Mickey and Goofy, the headliners here are Anna and Elsa. The Frozen favorites are front and center on the cover, which will more than likely push the majority of the disc's sales even if their contribution, the musical short Frozen Fever (screened in theaters earlier this year with Disney's live action Cinderella) is slight. It's Princess Anna's birthday, and boyfriend Kristoff, snowman pal Olaf and big sister Queen Elsa go all out to make it a memorable one. They get their wish, but not in the way they intended, for Elsa's cold (how does a Snow Queen catch a cold?) causes her sneezes to magically create tiny snowball critters (ready-made for a toy store shelf near you) that wreak havoc, Gremlins style, on the festivities. Like their Disney theme park attractions and Once Upon a Time guest appearances, this Frozen outing, although generally entertaining, feels rushed and forced, and the song "Making Today a Perfect Day" is no "Let It Go". (Thankfully it sounds like Disney is taking it's time with the two big extensions of the Frozen franchise, the big screen sequel and Broadway musical adaptation.)

All in all, this Short Films Collection will be a welcome addition to the video library of any Disneyphile, amateur or professional. Here's to a "Volume 2".

MD Rating: B+

The Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Film Collection is now available on DVD/Blu-ray:


Review by Kirby Holt, creator and editor of Movie Dearest, The QuOD: The Queer Online Database and the Out Movie Guide.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Reverend's Reviews: Going Psycho

 

Drag actress/auteur (and Movie Dearest fan) Charles Busch has had a prolific, successful playwriting career since the early 1980's, even receiving a Tony Award nomination for his delightful 2001 satire The Tale of the Allergist's Wife. So why have so few of his plays been made into movies to date? Many of them have used classic films and their leading ladies as their springboards and are often inherently cinematic as a result. These include Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, The Divine Sister, Red Scare on Sunset and The Lady in Question, through which Busch has channeled the likes of Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell, Lauren Bacall and Norma Shearer. However, only his Psycho Beach Party and Die, Mommie, Die! have made it to the silver screen thus far.


The Y2K adaptation of Psycho Beach Party has just been released on Blu-ray by Strand Releasing. Directed by Robert Lee King (who made the classic gay short The Disco Years) from Busch's own screenplay, it is rough around the edges but campily enjoyable and notable for the future big names among its cast. Essentially a sexed-up spoof of the popular 1960's Gidget movie series, it stars Lauren Ambrose (who would go on to prominent roles on TV's Six Feet Under, Torchwood: Miracle Day and the upcoming X-Files sequel) as the spunky, well-meaning Chicklet. She sets out to prove herself worthy of being the sole female member of the local surfing club just as (a) a serial killer begins hacking up her friends and (b) her split personality begins to emerge. Talk about inconvenient! Naturally, Chicklet becomes the #1 murder suspect in the eyes of local police captain Monica Stark (played by Busch in hilariously full-on Crawford mode) so she and her new surfer buds, who include two sexually-confused cuties prone to wrestling one another and trying on women's clothes, take it on themselves to hunt down the real killer.

Psycho Beach Party's hi-def transfer certainly flatters the male cast members' chiseled bods as well as the film's sunshine-lit Southern California settings, but it unfortunately makes Busch's five-o'clock shadow more apparent beneath his makeup. The movie also could have benefited energy-wise from more dance numbers, of which there is only one not including the excellent opening and closing credits featuring vivacious and curvaceous go-go girl Tera Bonilla. But hindsight also makes apparent the filmmakers' sharp eye for talent 15+ years ago. In addition to Ambrose, cast members Thomas Gibson, Nicholas Brendon, Matt Keeslar and Nick Cornish have all gone on to bigger and better things. Most significant though is the inclusion of young Amy Adams, who has been nominated for five Academy Awards since then, as Chicklet's bitchy friend turned nemesis Marvel Ann. Her prodigious talent was apparent way back then, and she could have been even more fun than Ambrose in the role of Chicklet. As both time capsule and one of only two adaptations of Busch's terrific plays to date, Psycho Beach Party is a must see. (By the way, Los Angeles-area readers can also check out Long Beach Playhouse's revival of the play beginning September 5th.)


Remember when gay-themed movies used to be fun à la Psycho Beach Party? So many of them nowadays are über-serious affairs bordering on the dreary, as evidenced not only by those being released theatrically and/or on home video but also by the majority of features submitted for consideration for next month's Long Beach Qfilm Festival (for which I serve as Director of Programming). Stand, the latest DVD from venerable TLA Releasing, is a well-made but too darn dark story from Russia about two gay partners, Anton and Vlad, whose lives are upended when they partly witness a gay bashing that they later learn resulted in death. Consumed by his guilt over not intervening when they could have, Anton launches his own undercover investigation to find the killers. He initially has Vlad's support but finds himself increasingly alone as he becomes more and more obsessed.

The film's cast of mostly newcomers is quite good, especially leads Renat Shuteev and Andrey Kurganov, and director/co-writer/director of photography Jonathan Taieb gives a chilly air to the proceedings appropriate for Stand's wintry setting. I'm torn over whether the final shot is supposed to be interpreted as a victory or a defeat. I'm similarly torn over whether more serious LGBT movies are an indication of progress given our community's enhanced ability to tell timely stories or an acquiescence to the darker culture at large. I invite our MD readers to take a stand and weigh in with your thoughts.

Reverend's Ratings:
Psycho Beach Party: B
Stand: B-

Psycho Beach Party on Blu-ray and Stand on DVD are now available:


Review by Rev. Chris Carpenter, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and Rage Monthly Magazine.

Monday, August 17, 2015

MD Reviews: The Birds


For almost fifty years, one man has brought to life two of the most popular and enduring characters in children's entertainment: Sesame Street's Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch. The man beneath the yellow feathers and green fur is Caroll Spinney, and that disparate duo are his yin and yang, dual aspects of the master puppeteer as revealed in the entertaining new documentary I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story.


Spinney's life began as the son of a doting mother and abusive father who's love of puppetry eventually led him to a fateful meeting with his idol Jim Henson in 1969, just as Sesame Street was taking shape. Asked to join the eclectic crew of "Muppeteers", Spinney created the childlike Big Bird (along with puppet designer Kermit Love) and the cantankerous Oscar (originally orange) for the groundbreaking public television program (now in its 45th season), winning numerous awards throughout the years and countless young fans around the globe for generations.

But not all has been "sunny days" for Spinney, and directors Dave LaMattina and Chad N. Walker don't shy away from, for example, his suicidal thoughts, his messy divorce from his first wife, or a brush with destiny that almost ended his life in one of the greatest tragedies in American history. In the film's most poignant sequence, Spinney as Big Bird is seen heartbreakingly performing "It's Not Easy Being Green" at the memorial service for his mentor Henson, who died unexpectedly at age 53 in 1990.

Now a young 81, married to the love of his life and father of 3 and grandfather of 4, Spinney may have made his name as the most famous bird in the world but his Life is far from "for the birds".


And now for another kind of "bird", of the slangy British female variety...

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is an unusual sequel these days as it features no dinosaurs, superheroes or Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. But it does have Dames Judi Dench and Maggie Smith, along with most* of the original cast of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the sleeper hit of four years ago also directed by John Madden (of Shakespeare in Love fame) that was apparently successful enough with its older art house audiences to merit another visit.

Like the first Marigold Hotel, the second centers on a group of mature English expatriates living in India at the titular establishment, run by an overly-enthusiastic Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) who this time out is even more unbearably frantic as he is is simultaneously preparing for his wedding and (with Maggie's assistance) looking to expand his business with a second location. The rest of the characters have their own little dramas: Judi starts a new career while failing to connect romantically with Bill Nighy, who is still married to Maggie's Downton Abbey frenemy Penelope Wilton; saucy Celia Imrie (seen reading Fifty Shades of Grey, naturally) is juggling two rich Indian beaus; Ronald Pickup is trying to stop a hit on his girlfriend he inadvertently set up with a one-eyed rickshaw driver; and newcomer Richard Gere, who may or may not be a wannabe novelist and/or hotel inspector, has the hots for Dev's mother.

If it all sounds a bit forced and more than a little silly, it is. But the game cast shuffle through the lightly amusing proceedings efficiently enough to make it moderately enjoyable, even if it is mostly a Disney Channel Movie made by and for old folks.

*Tom Wilkinson's gay character died in the first film and thus does not appear as a ghost, à la Obi-Wan Kenobi, nor is he resurrected from the grave, à la Gandalf, in this film. Told you this was an unusual sequel for these days.

MD Ratings:
I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story: B
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: B-

I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story and The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel are now available on Blu-ray and/or DVD:


Review by Kirby Holt, creator and editor of Movie Dearest, The QuOD: The Queer Online Database and the Out Movie Guide.

Monday, August 10, 2015

10 Years of Brokeback Mountain: A Love That Will Never Grow Old

Artwork by Ellygator

 

Ten years ago next month, Brokeback Mountain had its world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival. Based on the acclaimed short story by Annie Proulx, the romantic drama of the secret passion between two ranch hands in rural Wyoming during the 1960s became an iconic, universal depiction of tragic love, gay or straight, and a modern movie classic.


Directed by Ang Lee and featuring heart-breaking, career-making performances by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist, Brokeback was a breakthrough in queer cinema, a "gay movie" (that never uses the word "gay") that was a crossover hit with audiences and a critical darling. It was also a pop culture touchstone, for better or worse. Vaguely homophobic late night talk show jokes about that "gay cowboy movie" and YouTube parody videos of "Brokeback..." versions of other movies were all the tasteless rage for a while after its success. More positively, the film inspired countless coming outs, books and even an opera, and had an influence on the mainstreaming and acceptance of GLBT storytelling in popular entertainment that we are still seeing today.

Artwork by Cataclysm-X

When Awards Season 2005 began, Brokeback Mountain started raking in the gold, from the Independent Spirit Awards to the Golden Globes to the various industry guilds and critics groups. Yes, we all know what happened on Oscar night, but Brokeback did lead the field with ten nominations and won three, including one for director Lee. Looking back at the history of the Academy Awards, one can see that when there was a split between Best Picture and Best Director winners, it is usually the latter that more strongly stands the test of time (for example: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre over Hamlet, The Quiet Man over The Greatest Show on Earth, Giant over Around the World in 80 Days).

Standing the test of time is what the National Film Registry is all about. Established by the National Film Preservation Act of 1988, the NFR is the United States National Film Preservation Board's selection of films for preservation in the Library of Congress. Each year, the NFPB selects 25 "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant films", showcasing the "range and diversity of American film heritage to increase awareness for its preservation". To date, 650 films, from Casablanca and All About Eve to Midnight Cowboy and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, have been selected for the NFR.

Artwork by thegoldentimes

To be eligible for inclusion in the NFR, a film must be at least ten years old. Which brings us back to Brokeback Mountain. Only six films (Raging Bull, Do the Right Thing, Goodfellas, Toy Story, Fargo and the nature documentary 13 Lakes) have been inducted into the NFR the first year they were eligible, and the ten-year-old Brokeback Mountain should be the seventh... and you can help that happen. The NFPB accepts recommendations from the public for movies to be included in the NFR. Public nominations can play a key role when the Film Board is considering their final selections. For example, the selection of the 1986 basketball drama Hoosiers was attributed to a letter-writing campaign from the citizens of Indiana, where the film was set. If Indiana can do it for Hoosiers, we can do it for Brokeback Mountain.

To nominate Brokeback Mountain, just follow the instructions given on the NFR website here. While you're at it, you can also nominate up to 49 other movies you would like to be considered as well; all the information you will need is at that link.

Or, for a quick way to have your voice heard, just cut and paste this statement, "I would like Brokeback Mountain (2005) to be considered for selection into the National Film Registry.", into an email and send it to filmregistry@loc.gov with the subject line "NFR 2015".

A decade later, fans are still finding it hard to quit Brokeback Mountain. With its rightful induction into the National Film Registry, it will be preserved and remembered for decades more.

By Kirby Holt, creator and editor of Movie Dearest, The QuOD: The Queer Online Database and the Out Movie Guide.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Reverend's Reviews: People Who Need People


 

Barbra Streisand may have sung it best, but a handful of new movies in theaters or DVD illustrate the refrain of her hit Funny Girl song "People" in exceptional ways. Phoenix, which has nothing to do with the desert city of my birth, opens today in Orange County and Pasadena and continues to play in Los Angeles and other cities. German writer-director Christian Petzold (Barbara) riffs on a classic theme — the disfigured man or woman who undergoes reconstructive surgery to either their betterment or detriment — in significant ways that resonate beyond its melodramatic trappings.


Set in Berlin in the immediate aftermath of World War II, the resurrection-prone bird of the film's title is applied to Nelly (a terrific performance by Petzold regular Nina Hoss), a popular former singer who returns alive but damaged facially from a concentration camp. She seeks out her beloved husband, Johnny (Ronald Zehrfeld, who in this film bears an occasionally-distracting resemblance to American actor Matt Jones, who plays Christy's ex on TV's Mom), despite intimations that he was the one who betrayed her as a Jew to the Nazis. Johnny doesn't recognize Nelly but believes she bears enough of a resemblance to the wife he believes to be dead to pass her off as Nelly so he can collect her estate. He's clearly not a decent husband but Nelly can't picture life without him... until, that is, she eventually opens her lovingly re-constructed eyes.

Phoenix, gorgeously photographed by Hans Fromm and evocatively designed by Kade Gruber, harkens back not only to the post-war era but the psychological thrillers of Alfred Hitchcock. Despite holes in Petzold's central conceit (OK, so maybe Nelly doesn't look the same but does she sound or move that differently?), the cinematic result is one of the best and most haunting films of 2015. Stick that in your designer pipe, Babs, and smoke it.


Not one, not two, but three new home video releases deal with young gay men reaching out in need to other men for the first time. The Brazilian drama Seashore (Wolfe Video) spins a familiar coming-of-age story about two teens, Tomaz (Mauricio Barcellos) and Martin (Mateus Almada) who set out on a road trip together to the coastal home town of Martin's late grandfather. Several revelations about Tomaz's sexuality and Martin's family come to light during the course of the weekend. The film doesn't offer much new and its climax is somewhat baffling, but the boys are pretty and the intentions of writers-directors Filipe Matzembacher and Marcio Reolon are admirable.


Blackbird, directed by Patrik-Ian Polk of Noah's Arc fame, is now available via Amazon Instant Video and DVD. Adapted and updated by Polk and Rikki Beadle Blair (Metrosexuality) from Larry Duplechan's acclaimed novel, it follows an African-American teenager as he tries to reconcile his budding homosexuality with his strict Southern Baptist upbringing. Newcomer Julian Walker gives an affecting performance as gay protagonist Randy Rousseau, with Academy Award winner Mo'Nique (Precious)and reformed homophobe Isaiah Washington (Grey's Anatomy) playing his separated parents. Again, this is fairly standard if accomplished coming-of-age stuff, although Randy's interracial first romance with an older, white aspiring actor (Kevin Allesee) adds some needed complexity.


The best of these new gay-themed releases is Hidden Away (TLA Releasing), a Spanish film about a high-school student who falls for a Moroccan immigrant playing on a rival water polo team. Mikel Rueda's sensitive, non-sexual but still sexy drama addresses the requisite aspects of struggling with one's sexuality while adding a social justice element in which Ibrahim, the Moroccan, is constantly under threat of deportation. Rafa, his Spanish friend, becomes willing to sacrifice everything in order for Ibrahim to live in peace. Most notably, Rueda beautifully captures such seemingly innocuous but sexually-tinged adolescent rites of passage as sharing a first cigarette, playing sports together, and being caught in the middle between the heartfelt devotion of one's best friend and the object of one's affection. Friends in need indeed.

Reverend's Ratings:
Phoenix: A-
Seashore: B-
Blackbird: B
Hidden Away: B+

Seashore, Blackbird and Hidden Away are now available on DVD:


Review by Rev. Chris Carpenter, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and Rage Monthly Magazine.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Reverend's Reviews: Four-Legged Friends on Film

 

Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, Benji, Flicka, Tarzan's pal Cheetah, Babe the sheep pig... Animals have played important roles in many movies since practically the medium's birth. The Doctor Dolittle films (1928, 1967 & 1998-2001) each showcase a menagerie of furred, feathered and finned creatures, and an entire zoo is featured in the aptly-titled 2011 family drama We Bought a Zoo. When you add animated renditions of our non-human friends courtesy of Walt Disney and others, it is hard to think of a movie that doesn't feature at least one animal character.


This is no less true when it comes to the films our LGBT community holds dear. Brokeback Mountain wouldn't feel as authentic without the horses ridden by cowboys-in-love Ennis and Jack, nor without the flock of sheep they were so fatefully hired to shepherd together. Dorothy couldn't have escaped the clutches of the Wicked Witch of the West without the help of her devoted little dog Toto in The Wizard of Oz. And where would Audrey Hepburn's Holly Golightly have ended up in Breakfast at Tiffany's, adapted from a novella by gay writer Truman Capote, without the similarly free-spirited cat who leads her to a sexy new neighbor played by blonde and beautiful George Peppard? (On a side note, Tiffany's Orangey the Cat is the only feline double-winner to date of the PATSY Award, given by the American Humane Association's Hollywood branch to the best animal performer of each cinema year; her other win was for the 1951 film Rhubarb.)


Yes, animals may be trying to rule the world (at least according to this summer's hit TV series Zoo) but they long ago conquered the silver screen. Dogs, a.k.a. man's (and woman's) best friend, have been natural scene-stealers in many movies. There's The Thin Man's Asta, the unforgettable Old Yeller, the similarly tear-jerking My Dog Skip and Marley & Me, and Annie's rescued buddy Sandy, among many others. However, two canine stars stand out in gay circles despite controversy over one of them. The Silence of the Lambs was met with heavy criticism from GLAAD and others upon its release in 1991 over the thriller's depiction of a transsexual serial killer known as "Buffalo Bill." However, Bill's scruffy poodle-mix Precious served to both help humanize the disturbed character and provide an opportunity for one of his would-be victims to escape. The escapee ends up adopting Precious as the FBI moves in on the killer.

Verdell, the adorable Brussels Griffon co-star of 1997's As Good as It Gets, similarly helps to soften the film's initially detestable leading man Melvin, a dog-hating obsessive compulsive writer played by Jack Nicholson. It falls to him to care for Verdell when his gay neighbor (played by Oscar nominee Greg Kinnear), who is also the dog's owner, is brutally attacked and hospitalized. With Verdell's help, Melvin gradually overcomes his anti-animal, anti-gay and generally anti-social ways.


Breakfast at Tiffany's aside, cats have more often than not played villainous movie roles. Think of Dr. Evil's partner in crime Mr. Bigglesworth in the Austin Powers series or Mr. Tinkles, who is bent on world domination (and voiced by out actor Sean Hayes) in 2001's Cats & Dogs. Cinderella's Lucifer notwithstanding, Disney helped give them a more positive image with such films as That Darn Cat!, The Cat from Outer Space and The Aristocats. A heroic feline has a prominent role in Hocus Pocus (1993), another Disney movie that has garnered a sizable gay following thanks to its campy star turn by Bette Midler. Binx is actually a 17th century boy transformed into a black cat by Midler's wicked witch and her sisters. 300 years later, Binx enlists a group of teenagers to help finish the job he started and destroy the resurrected sorceresses once and for all. More recently, Ben Affleck takes solace in the companionship of his devoted cat after the mysterious disappearance of his over-privileged wife in last year's Gone Girl. And when it comes to big cats, who can forget Katharine Hepburn's pet leopard of the title of 1938's comedy classic Bringing Up Baby or Elsa the lioness from Born Free?

Rabbits have made memorable appearances (and in one famous case, a non-appearance) in a number of films. There's the unfortunate pet bunny belonging to Michael Douglas's family that gets boiled alive by Glenn Close's psychotic jilted lover in Fatal Attraction (1987), the scary oversized rabbit that haunts Jake Gyllenhaal's dreams in the cult classic Donnie Darko (2001), the even bigger mutated rabbits of 1972's Night of the Lepus, and the decidedly cuter and more docile Bunzo, companion to the title character in this year's excellent Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter. A new gay-themed movie currently making the festival rounds, Xenia, also features a bunny that helps its teenaged owner along the difficult road to maturity. One also mustn't overlook Watership Down (1978), the animated saga about a colony of British rabbits migrating to a safer new home.


Arguably, the most beloved big-screen rabbit of all time is never actually seen except in an artist's rendering at the very end of the film. Harvey, released in 1950, stars Jimmy Stewart as an eccentric, alcoholic man whose best friend is an invisible six-foot tall rabbit for whom the movie is named. Harvey is actually described as a pooka, a mythological creature drawn to social outcasts. Naturally, the townspeople think Stewart's character is insane and try to convince him Harvey is not real. Friendship wins out though, and one can view the movie today as something of a pro-gay parable with its leading man's insistence on remaining faithful to his "unnatural" relationship.

Apes, chimpanzees and primates of various species have long roamed, swung and charged across the silver screen. There are the numerous TarzanBomba the Jungle Boy and Planet of the Apes movies of course, as well as various incarnations of The Jungle Book (new versions of both Tarzan, starring True Blood's Alexander Skarsgård, and The Jungle Book are due in 2016). Gay actor Tommy Kirk starred as the title character of 1965's The Monkey's Uncle, whose "nephew" Stanley is a chimp smart enough to help their college's failing football players to pass their exams. More serious to be sure are the socially-conscious 1980's dramas Gorillas in the Mist, with an Oscar-nominated Sigourney Weaver as murdered gorilla conservationist Dian Fossey, and Project X, in which Matthew Broderick and Helen Hunt confront the abuses suffered by apes subjected to military testing.


This overview truly provides a mere sampling of the significant part animals have played in cinematic history. I haven't even mentioned the equine stars of National and International Velvet, The Black Stallion and War Horse; the ursine players in Grizzly, The Edge and The Bear (does Ted count?); the titular deers of The Yearling and Bambi; undersea heroes (Free Willy, The Incredible Mr. Limpet, Finding Nemo) and villains (Jaws, Orca, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea); and the lovable birds of March of the Penguins, Fly Away Home or Samantha the Goose in one of my all-time favorite films, Friendly Persuasion (1956). Whether friendly or ferocious, animals can be movie stars too.

By Rev. Chris Carpenter, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and Rage Monthly Magazine.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Monthly Wallpaper - August 2015: On the Road



The summer is fast coming to an end, so it's time to get On the Road again with our Movie Dearest Calendar Wallpaper tribute to our favorite road movies.


Whether it be by train, automobile, mobile home, motorcycle or a bus named Priscilla, the characters in these classics all embrace their feelings of wanderlust and set out on the open road to take a journey... a journey to silver screen immortality.

All you have to do is click on the picture above to enlarge it, then simply right click your mouse and select "Set as Background". (You can also save it to your computer and set it up from there if you prefer.) The size is 1024 x 768, but you can modify it if needed in your own photo-editing program.

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