The Ever-Morphing Bodies of Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

We can’t discuss the Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory without noting the vast amount of body dysmorphia happening, both to the featured players and to the cartoon animals. The Willy Wonka story has its various body horrors: Augustus Gloop is squished through a clear pipe, Violet Beauregarde is transformed into a living purple grape that needs to be juiced (before she explodes!), and Mike TeeVee is broken down into tiny pieces and reassembled in tiny form. Plus this doesn’t count the characters that almost float to their doom or are dropped down long shafts into the furnace, nor the tiny orange men who sing songs dunking on the victims. It is a living cartoon, so slots in perfectly with Tom and Jerry. So Tom and Jerry is now forced to both have the signature violent cartoon styles with the addition of running riffs of all the various Willy Wonka gimmicks. What results is a cornucopia feast of crazy body morphing that deserves its own spotlight separate from the main review. Enjoy!

Tom Jerry Willy Wonka Dysmorphia

Tom Jerry Willy Wonka Dysmorphia

Tom Jerry Willy Wonka Dysmorphia

Tom Jerry Willy Wonka Dysmorphia
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - February 14, 2019 at 12:48 pm

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Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Review)

Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Tom and Jerry Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory
2017
Written by Gene Grillo (and the original screenplay by Roald Dahl)
Based on the novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Directed by Spike Brandt

Tom and Jerry Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory
Remember when a poor young boy found a magical golden ticket and embarked on a candy adventure? Also a cat and a mouse were wandering around? That sounds vaguely familiar thanks to the power of franchise mashups! Everyone’s favorite cat and mouse team that isn’t named Itchy and Scratchy are back again to get int hijinks that keep ensuing no matter how hard they try to un-ensue them. And Willy Wonka is there. No, this is not Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, it’s Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory! Yes, we’re literally in the 1971 movie Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, complete with the songs and the look and the costumes and the deviations from the book that the movie choose to do (such as the Everlasting Gobstopper test!) This isn’t even the first time Tom and Jerry have done this, they were running around in a remake of 1939’s The Wizard of Oz a few years back (and that movie got it’s own sequel!!)
Tom and Jerry Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory
This is the future of film. It’s the Marvel Cinematic Universe brought to a whole new level (even as the MCU borrows from the Universal Monsters and Godzilla movies that did it first), except now entire franchises are sandwiched together in a powerhouse of corporate synergy. Expect far more of this in the future, especially once someone at Disney decides the different brands should be more than just cameos in Wreck-It Ralph movies and has Luke Skywalker fight Iron Man. Other notable (and less so) examples include The Lego Movie, various Cartoon Network versions of WB shows, and the legion of parody movies such as The Hungover Games, which get an additional boost of being able to skirt around the edges of different IPs, which weirdly makes them the most accurate version of this type of fanfic in production format (too bad they are almost universally terrible!) But enough of talk of things not this particular film…
Tom and Jerry Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - February 12, 2019 at 6:40 am

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The Stalker Club (Review)

The Stalker Club

The Stalker Club Lifetime
2017
Written by Barbara Kymlicka
Directed by Doug Campbell

The Stalker Club Lifetime
Lifetime does slashers! Throw in a dash of The Internet Will Murder You, toss in a pile of stalking, and pour in a bunch of actual person in a mask killing teens with a knife, then blend it together and top it with a “Lifetime” cherry, and you got The Stalker Club, which proves that Lifetime movies can be any genre they want. For those of you thinking an actual slasher movie would be out of place on Lifetime, this network consistently puts out films with high body counts and crazed obsessives following around innocent teens, this is the natural progression!
The Stalker Club Lifetime
The Stalker Club opens with a riff on the opening of Scream except the masked stalker doesn’t speak and the 80s girl dies by falling down the stairs while hinting she sort of knows whats going on. But it’s too late for her and too late for us because the rest of the film takes place 30 years later! Modern day opens with a montage of the five main teen characters doing a slow-motion cool walk complete with a name title cards for each one, a handy thing to do to get you up to speed with the characters quickly so the stalking and the clubbing can begin. We got Ashley (Kelcie Stranahan), our heroine; Darren (JT Neal), Ashley’s handsome boyfriend; Chloe (Alex Frnka), the bad girl who channels Denise Richards; Mark (Paul Karmiryan), the jock who likes to joke; and Sadie (Lora McHugh), the sensitive goth. The clique is sort of weird because Chloe and Mark are the popular kids, while Darren is new to school and befriended Mark, while Sadie is presented as Chloe’s best friend but doesn’t seem to fit at all. Ashley is the newest one of the group, Chloe doesn’t seem to like her and Ashley has basically abandoned all her former friends to hang out with this cool crowd. Ashley also is mad at her mom (Maeve Quinlan) for daring to have a boyfriend when it’s only been two years since her dad died in a car accident. Seriously, Ashley takes some warming up to before we don’t wish she gets stalked to death.
The Stalker Club Lifetime
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - February 5, 2019 at 6:30 am

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Jailbreak (Review)

Jailbreak

aka ការពារឧក្រិដ្ឋជន
Jailbreak
2017
Written by Jimmy Henderson and Michael Hodgson
Directed by Jimmy Henderson

Jailbreak
Jailbreak is here to sooth your itch of martial arts mayhem in a confined space while non-stop action goes off. It is justifiably compared to The Raid as it is a film that came out of nowhere and showcases a bunch of martial arts from a country that wasn’t known for producing martial films. In this case, it is from Cambodia, and some of the characters practice an art called bokator. A prisoner escort mission goes awry when outsiders want the prisoner dead and manipulate a mass escape, trapping the heroes inside the prison. What follows is characters fighting their way out and attempting to survive while also reluctantly trying to save the prisoner from also being killed. While Jailbreak does not equal The Raid in the sheer awesomeness of the fighting spectacle, it’s still pretty darn good and will make action fans plenty happy!
Jailbreak
Cop Jean-Paul (Jean-Paul Ly, Jailbreak keeps it simple with the cast names!) has just be assigned to the Cambodian police as part of an exchange program (He’s mixed Cambodian-French from France, and though he speaks French and English, his Khmer is pretty rusty) He attempts to bond with the the main trio of Dara (Dara Our), Tharoth (Tharoth Sam), and Sucheat (Dara Phang), but tough guy Dara rebuffs all his attempts to be friendly. Dara and lady officer Tharoth have a friendship but that doesn’t extend past that, while Sucheat is the comic relief whose non-police look is explained as him just getting out of undercover work. They are supposed to bring a criminal known as Playboy (Savin Phillip) to prison so he can testify later as to who the real leaders of the notorious Butterfly Gang are. Said leader is Madame Butterfly (Céline Tran), who decides Playboy should be Deadboy and makes multiple attempts to have him killed before he even gets to the prison. Due to bad luck and the officers’ paranoia, all the attempts fail, so she’s resorted to bribing the prisoners to riot so Playboy can be killed in the chaos. But when that many bad people are let out at the same time, there is conflict and chaos, and things don’t go according to plan.
Jailbreak
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - January 29, 2019 at 6:28 am

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The Mermaid (Review)

The Mermaid

aka 美人魚 aka Mei Ren Yu
The Mermaid
2016
Written by Stephen Chow Sing-Chi, Kelvin Lee Si-Zhen, Ho Miu-Kei, Lu Zheng-Yu, Andrew Fung Chih-Chiang, Ivy Kong Yuk-Yee, Chan Hing-Kar, and Tsang Kan-Cheung
Directed by Stephen Chow Sing-Chi

The Mermaid
It isn’t really a secret that I’ve been less than enthused with the movie industry coming out of China in the past decade. As more and more Hong Kong stars and directors get lured away by big budget Mainland firms to pump out soulless imitations of Hollywood blockbusters, my interest in what they do great grows less and less. A few directors are working against the trends, but the only one with the clout to basically do whatever he wants is Steve Chow. Though Chow took extended time off in front of the camera to work more on the production side, his return to directing has been a welcome development. First he came back with Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons, and soon after with The Mermaid, where Chow returns to his roots with a love story buried beneath a bunch of other movies. The Mermaid went on to slay at the box office, becoming the highest grossing film in China (not any more, lol!)
The Mermaid
The Mermaid feels like a first draft of a love story that everything else was stapled around. Some of the side scenes are amazingly awesome, while others fall short and seem weird. Overall there just isn’t enough in the rest of the film to seem like a filling meal. Chow obviously saw the Dolphin Cove documentary as we even get actual footage of the dolphins being slaughtered multiple times throughout the film, and the imagery is used again when the humans attack the mermaid hideout. The US military’s sonar that kills sea life is also mentioned, though here it is sonar developed by a company that causes fish to explode and damages the mermaids, leading to their hiding out in a cove. Tossing this stuff into a comedy is a brave move, and while not pleasant to see, helps put actual stakes on the table both within the film and in real life. Some people might think twice about where the food they eat comes from.
The Mermaid
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - January 22, 2019 at 6:34 am

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Red Pier (Review)

Red Pier

aka 赤い波止場 aka Akai Hatoba aka Crimson Seaport aka Red Quay aka The Left Hand of Jiro
Red Pier
1958
Written by Ichirô Ikeda and Toshio Masuda
Directed by Toshio Masuda

Red Pier
It’s Nikkatsu Action time again! The film genre is so consistently entertaining that it will be a constant reoccurring theme here (or at least the films that have gotten releases on digital media are the entertaining ones, as there are piles of films that still don’t seem to have any sort of legitimate release even with 20 years of cinephiles screaming about it. But we work with what we got, and what we got is Akai Hatoba, aka Red Pier, but also known as Crimson Harvest as well as a few other titles. It’s supposedly a reworking of a French film called Pepe le Moko, but everyone who claims this also mentions they haven’t seen that film, and I’m afraid I have to add myself to that total, so who knows? What I do know is director Toshio Masuda revisited this story a few years later with Velvet Hustler in glorious color. But this is the OG yakuza on a pier outwitting his enemies while also being in love with a lady whose brother he helped kill film.
Red Pier
Lefty Jiro (Masuda regular Yujiro Ishihara, I Am Waiting, Rusty Knife) hangs at Kobe Harbor running the joint for his gang. He was formerly from Tokyo, but due to some trouble he’s been hiding out here “keeping a low profile”, in that he’s still involved in people being killed but never with enough evidence for the cops to do anything about it. A cool local policeman, Detective Noro (Shiro Osaka), spends most of his spare time hanging out at the harbor determined to catch Jiro doing something bad, but also sort of likes him as a friend. Noro is always snacking on something, and is around so much the other criminal elements tolerate his presence even if they know they have to do extra work to snark around behind his back.
Red Pier
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Posted by Tars Tarkas - January 15, 2019 at 6:20 am

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