Blu-Ray Review: Little Shop of Horrors (1986) Director’s Cut

Director: Frank Oz
Screenplay: Howard Ashman
Based on a film written by: Charles B. Griffith
Starring: Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene, Steve Martin, Vincent Gardenia, Bill Murray, Levi Stubbs
Country: USA
Running Time: 94 min (theatrical cut) 103 min (director’s cut)
Year: 1986
BBFC Certificate: PG

I think I’ve mentioned this in a review before, but I’m not the biggest fan of musicals. I love music and love films, but putting them together too blatantly doesn’t always work for me. I think it’s mainly the stereotypical squeaky clean Rodgers and Hammerstein style that I don’t go for though as there are a couple of musicals I truly adore. Singin’ in the Rain is one of them and another is Little Shop of Horrors. The more often I watch it, the more I come to feel it’s my favourite musical. Yet it’s a film that’s largely only ever been available to watch in a form not originally intended by its director. Frank Oz’s Little Shop of Horrors was written and first shot with a particularly downbeat ending in line with the original short story, non-musical Roger Corman film and off-Broadway stage version. However, the bleak finale didn’t go down well with test audiences and the producers forced Oz to re-edit and reshoot the ending to be much more sugary.

Now I’ve never had a problem with the happy ending I’d seen several times previously, even though I was aware of how it originally concluded. Nevertheless, I was always intrigued to see Oz’s intended version of the film and my wish has been granted by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment who have released Little Shop of Horrors in a Premium Collection version, complete with the director’s cut, which is what I chose to watch for this review.

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Cinecast Episode 456 – So Far So Good…

The summer of 2016 officially winds down to a stop (thank the maker) as The Toronto International Film Festival comes to a close. Kurt spends a good chunk of this episode going through the best of the fest (from his perspective) and one or two things that didn’t work out quite as well as one would hope. Before we get there, we join Antoine Fuqua and his Magnificent Seven as they attempt to defeat the evil, mining industrialist, Peter Sarsgaard. It’s as close to an A-list cast as one can hope for these days, so does that pay off on the IMAX screen as it once did for the Western Blockbuster (if there ever was such a thing)? Lastly, Andrew has clearly had some time away from recording and producing to see quite a fair number of films. And breezes through a half-dozen of those before the boys call it a done deal. Regrets for not tying off the DePalma retrospective with a Scarface ribbon this week as promised; though that is in the works for next episode.

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!

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Those Near and Far Wars…

Taking off his X-Wing pilot’s helmet, and putting on his Llewellyn Davis scarf, Oscar Isaac shows why he is one of the most cool actors working today by covering Bill Murray’s SNL sketch, but bringing an understated bohemian coffee shop vibe while covernig Murray’s overbearing Nick the Lounge Lizard act. Star Wars is everywhere this week, but this little bit of updated nostalgia is all class.

Review: Aloha

Director: Cameron Crowe (Say Anything, Jerry Maguire, Vanilla Sky)
Writer: Cameron Crowe
Producers: Scott Rudin, Cameron Crowe
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Bill Murray, John Krasinski, Danny McBride, Alec Baldwin
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 105 min.



My original posting of this review can be found on LetterBoxd


If the “write what you know” credo is true for Cameron Crowe, he must be living a pretty solid life. Films like Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous have deservedly lasted as cultural touchstones, but even then their conflicts seemed pretty inane in the grand scheme of things. It’d be something of an understatement to say that he’s been on a decline over the past decade, since at least the release of the dreadfully vanilla Elizabethtown demonstrated a complete lack of bite that had always been present in his work but only then had reached its apex to a resounding chorus of “who cares?” It took him six years to follow that up and while We Bought a Zoo wasn’t quite the piteous experience, it remained clear that Crowe had reached a point where his nascent charm had been too buried by sentimental earnestness that aroused as much rolling of the eyes as it did guilty smiles under a veil of confection.

It’s hard to argue that Aloha, his latest picture after another lengthy break, doesn’t continue the trend. Starring Bradley Cooper as a hotshot military contractor who returns to Hawaii after a disastrous setback in order to regain his mojo and respect, Crowe populates the luscious setting with as many pretty white faces as he can find. Emma Stone is the Air Force liaison sent to babysit Cooper’s Brian Gilcrest, Rachel McAdams is his former flame who is now shacked up with John Krasinski and their two adorable children, and even Bill Murray and Alec Baldwin pop in to steal a couple of scenes. While Aloha is (over) cluttered with a dense tapestry of plots ranging from nuclear arms in outer space to mythical Hawaiian legends, there’s always the pervading feeling that none of it really matters because everything will turn out okay in the end. Personal crises may be wreaking havoc on poor Gilcrest, but all you have to do is put on a Hall & Oates song and you can watch Emma Stone and Bill Murray deliver a deliriously entertaining dance sequence to make you forget all of your troubles.

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After the Hype #85 – Space Jam



Hey guys, sorry for the delay! We’re joined this week on AFTER THE HYPE by Graham, Anthony, and a special guest known ONLY as “Craigypoo.” He picked our flick this week – SPACE JAM – and we decided to invite him on the episode to share this national treasure with us.

To be fair, this episode is pretty looney.


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Review: The Grand Budapest Hotel

An enormous hotel perched at the top of a mountain, a grand old European country on the cusp of war, headlines sprawled across the local broadsheet, the one with the charming moniker of the Trans-Alpine Yodel: Wes Anderson’s latest is a truffle of pageantry which barters the pathos intrinsic to his previous work (Moonrise Kingdom, The Royal Tenenbaums, even Fantastic Mr. Fox which is this films closest analogue in the auteur’s growing oeuvre) for the overstuffed frippery and copious quirk that his critics tend to use as a bludgeon when fail to see the trees for the forest. Like Mendl’s chocolates so often on display in The Grand Budapest Hotel, everything is elaborately packaged and constructed out of tastefully ostentatious pastel, and contains far more empty calories than actual nourishment, but no matter, they are ‘the finest.’

The film is more ephemeral than anything the director has ever done; it is that murder-mystery party you and your pals dress up for in a suburban living room as a convoluted excuse to hang out without the bother of attempting any kind of meaningful conversation. All that being said, the The Grand Budapest Hotel is also effervescent, pitch perfect in its pacing, celebratory in its bursts of vulgarity, and hilarious with its mannered turns of phrase. It would be dishonest, and a tad uncharitable of me to deny that I had an absolute buzz on during its fleet 100 minutes and laughed out loud far more time than any comedy made in the past 15 years.

Gustav H. is said to be the most perfumed man in Europe and is gainfully employed as the fussy head concierge at the eponymous Grand Budapest – a hotel situated near the painted backdrop of Carpathian peaks in Hungary, accessible by funicular. Ralph Fiennes becomes thoroughly immersed in the comedy and pomp of this mythic character, and plays the type of control freak that director Wes Anderson has self-deprecated himself in a series of Visa advertisements from a few years ago. Gustav H. glides, perhaps even plows, through the high ceilinged lobby of the GBH making quippy criticism and snappy correction of the aesthetic choices of the staff, elaborating on proper posture and behaviour, and in confident command on how the entire hotel-machine is run; this without so much as getting winded. He is a man on a beer budget with champagne taste who has a habit of discreetly wooing the elderly rich and royal guests, perhaps as a way to ‘inherit’ his way out of his class-situation. One of these matrons, Madame D., is played by Tilda Swinton, sporting impeccable old-age make-up to bring her up to an octogenarian state, who promptly kicks the bucket and leaves a large fortune and an even larger number of heirs (and estate staff) looking for what is theirs. Madam D.’s last will and testament consist of a heaping pile of scraps of paper that is cumbersomely carted in by her lawyer (Jeff Goldblum with notable spectacles, wondrous facial hair sitting at a desk made entirely from antlers), that will take ages to disentangle, but her top priority, the last thing she wrote was to gift a priceless painting (“Boy with Apple”) to Gustav H. much to the chagrin of Madame’s eldest son, Adrien Brody; here repurposing his Salvador Dali caricature to great effect as a blustering, rather ineffectual villain.

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Cinecast Episode 343 – Listen, Do You Smell Something?

Hope you like gigolos; cause we talk about it again. Matt Gamble joins us with eloquence and a the usual splash of tom-foolery. Non-Stop is ostensibly the main topic of discussion today; but the Oscar recap (45 minutes worth) and “True Detective.” get the lion’s share. After all that noise, Harold Ramis and Bill Murray get the spotlight in Ghostbusters, as the 1984 Project trucks on; also starring Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson and Sigourney Weaver and Annie Potts and Rick Moranis and Richard “Dick” Thornburg. The film is of course beloved but Andrew struggles with the fact that he’d rather be watching Rocky Balboa (Fuckyea) If that simply isn’t enough for you, we have “Breaking Bad”, Wong Kar-Wai, The Oscar-bait Bottleshock nominee Omar before Andrew sheepishly admits his desire to see 300: Rise of an Empire. You have been warned.

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!



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Full show notes are under the seats…
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Friday One Sheet: February Blues [Groundhog Day]

With tomorrow being perhaps the silliest North American ritual (that is saying something) of watching a rodent come out of a hole to see if he goes back in or stays out, I offer you some alternate posters on Harold Ramis’ now classic philosophical/existential comedy, Groundhog Day which turns 20 this year!

The quite melancholic one above reminds me of Wim Wender’s Wings of Desire, which is kind of amazing. And while I am ignoring the garishly ugly original poster because it is something I do not wish to keep reliving over and over again, there are plenty more alternate and fan designs tucked under the seat, albeit none featuring Michael Shannon, which is a shame.

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Cinecast Episode 262 – Sturdier!

Aaron Hartung, friend and (literal) neighbor of Rowthree, joins the cinecast as we discuss Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom. After basking in the warm gloss of Anderson’s 1965 New England island adventure, Aaron cannot help himself (like Donnie in The Big Lebowski) and asks a few more plot questions regarding Prometheus before Gamble gives a middling summary of Timur Bekmambetov’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. The Watchlist varies from pleasant if forgettable Dreamworks Animation, political backroom strategy, Ben Kingsley’s libido, The Rock’s ukulele skillz and from Technicolor meta-westerns to Danny Boyle’s resume for the London Olympic Ceremonies. Important questions such as who has a sexier voice (Aaron vs. Andrew) are addressed, as well as when is a fish hook simply a fish hook, or a shoe just a shoe. Riveting stuff folks and it is all here.

As always, please join the conversation by leaving your own thoughts in the comment section below and again, thanks for listening!



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