September 28, 1989 |
A surreal film from a cult director, a crowd-pleaser based on a true story and an adaptation of a popular novel - that should be enough major new video releases for any one week. But this week they're all topped by a deerly beloved animated classic. BAMBI (1942) (Disney) $26.99. 69 minutes. The cartoon classic that no one under 45 should see without a parent. Bambi is Disney's masterpiece, possibly because it's his only animation in which animals don't ape human behavior.
June 20, 1986 |
"The Karate Kid Part II. " A drama starring Ralph Macchio & Noriyuki "Pat" Morita. Directed by John Avildsen from a screenplay by Robert Mark Kamen. Photographed by James Crabe. Edited by David Garfield, Jane Kurson & Avildsen. Running time: 109 minutes. A Columbia release. In area theaters. John Avildsen, who directed the original "Karate Kid" as well as the original "Rocky," probably is right to assume that audiences don't want their myths altered. His "Karate Kid" is esentially a rehash of the "Rocky" myth, teen division, and Avildsen's new sequel, "The Karate Kid Part II," is the same - a remake of a remake.
August 12, 1987 |
Sudsy Happy New Year is an oldfangled - if not vintage - romance that opens on a Palm Beach-bound train where first-class thieves Nick and Charlie (Peter Falk and Charles Durning) are picking a Frenchman's pocket. The inside joke is that the Parisian happens to be Claude Lelouch, director of the 1973 La Bonne Annee, New Year's acknowledged source. Fortunately for Lelouch, filmmaker John Avildsen (Rocky, The Karate Kid ) is as light-fingered with his material as Nick and Charlie are with a wallet.
February 25, 1994 |
Watching "Eight Seconds," I noticed something interesting about bull riding - the riders stay atop crazed, frothing, gyrating wild bulls longer than most Olympic skaters stay on their skates. Which is roughly eight seconds, hence the title. It seems an injustice, then, that bull riders conduct their lives in relative anonymity, and are poorly compensated by comparison. It seems even more unfair that for all their trouble, bull riders are liable to get gored and have their hearts pierced by a busted rib, leaving them dead.
March 27, 1992 |
The young boxer, shooting for the championship, takes a training run down a crowded street and the spectators cheer him on. Since John Avildsen is the man behind the cameras in The Power of One, you might well cringe at the prospect of another trip down the Rocky road. But mercifully, Sylvester Stallone, whom Avildsen directed in the first and fifth rounds of the Rocky series, is nowhere in sight. This road is a street of shame that runs past the forlorn shanties of a black township in South Africa.
June 20, 1986 |
The best thing about The Karate Kid, the surprise hit of the summer of '84, was the presence of an adult: Noriyuki "Pat" Morita as the instructor. The next best thing was that it reminded Hollywood that it was still possible to touch on important values in teenage movies and make $100 million. That kind of box-office performance gets noticed in Hollywood, and work on The Karate Kid II, the inevitable sequel, began a couple of weeks after the first one was released. The motto in Hollywood these days is "If at first you succeed, do it again," and one had every right to expect that John Avildsen's sequel would be more of the same.
June 30, 1989 |
Mr. Miyagi may spend more time talking to trees than to Daniel these days, but The Karate Kid Part III is still a chop off the old block. The strength of the movies in this series - all directed by John Avildsen - has been that they offer more substance and durability than most films designed primarily to appeal to the young. For one thing, The Karate Kid movies have always urged that the best way to solve problems is through nonviolence and seeking the middle ground. They also have shrewdly played upon the fact that millions of children live in sundered families, to whom the hold of a fantasy father-figure/counselor like Miyagi is strong indeed.
April 26, 1990 |
SOCKING IT TO ROCKY Two stunt men have sued hometown hero Sylvester Stallone and the producers of the upcoming "Rocky V," claiming their bones were broken while filming fight scenes. Todd Champion and Stephen Santosusso said they had been assured they wouldn't get hurt when they stepped in the ring with pro boxer Tommy Morrison, who co-starred with Sly in the flick. But a Superior Court suit filed Tuesday in Los Angeles claims Santosusso's jaw was broken during filming March 14, and Champion suffered a fractured right eye socket when he stepped into the squared circle with Morrison the next day. In addition to Stallone and Morrison, director John Avildsen and producers Irwin Winkler and Robert Chartoff were named as defendants in the suit, which seeks unspecified general and punitive damages and reimbursement for medical bills.
April 11, 1996 |
It is movie music that charges people to stand up and cheer at the screen when Rocky fights back. And it's a theme that has become a soundtrack to more than just a movie. When L.A. Lakers superstar Magic Johnson made his recent comeback, the "Rocky" theme played over the Forum's sound system - much to the delight of its composer-in-attendance, Bill Conti. "I thought, 'Wow, this is OK.' " For Conti, the Baroque-flavored anthem opened doors, bringing this Juilliard grad "everything I ever wished for in this business.
March 3, 1989 |
"Sometimes you need Mr. Chips, sometimes you need Dirty Harry. " So observed then-Education Secretary William Bennett about the controversial high school principal Joe Clark, whose personal principle is to speak bluntly and carry a big stick. In Clark's case, it is literally a three-foot Willie Mays Big Stick, a bat he brandishes like Lt. Callahan's magnum, threatening any who would challenge his authority be they punks or profs. Lean on Me is an unapologetic testimonial to Clark, since 1982 the embattled principal of Eastside High School in Paterson, N.J., where he polarizes students and faculty.