Reeling: Disneynature's 'Chimpanzee' (2012)

Disneynature's "Chimpanzee" is a remarkable documentary, three years in the making with many more spent in preparation. This motion picture is an alternately sad and heartwarming true-life adventure captured by superlative cinematographers slogging through an African rain forest to observe their subjects. It already claims an Oscar.

"Chimpanzee" (2012) Movie Trailer via YouTube

The tale is suitable for most ages (which, after much bawling and promises to tidy my room, includes me).

Any extreme violence is left off-screen, but next time I'll be watching with my plush Thumper doll nearby. Somehow his presence feels appropriate.

"Chimpanzee" begs to be seen in high definition. You'll miss out if you do not. A Cheetah suit is not required, but appreciated.

I have fresh empathy for our distant chimpanzee relatives and thank them for the cool new table manners.


Reeling: "Comes a Horseman" (1978)

We enjoyed "Comes a Horseman," a World War II era western I chose to revisit after 30+ years and share with The Sweetie®.

This is the tale of a ruthless cattle rancher / oil-baron-in-waiting (Jason Robards), matching wits and determination against underdog cowpokes (Jane Fonda, James Caan).

The film is entertaining, engrossing, and inadvertently puzzling. Our minds are engulfed in the mystery surrounding the numerous similarities of this screenplay to the television series "Dallas," which debuted in 1978, too. Neither production appears to be officially related to the other in strict plotting or behind-the-cameras lineage or source material, but one can't miss the coincidences, among them:

  • Robards' villain is named Jacob Ewing, phonetically close to Dallas patriarch Jock Ewing. Introducing Robards alternately as J.W. Ewing, as he is, can't help but suggest Jock's given name, John Ross Ewing, Sr. or J.R. Ewing.

  • Fonda's character is Ella, Ewing's desirable land owner prize. The "Dallas'" counterpart is Ellie, Ewing's desirable land owner prize.

  • Crusty Relatives: "Comes a Horseman" has beloved "Dodger." TV has beloved "Digger."

  • Actor Jim Davis, Jacob Ewing's evil henchman, was subsequently cast as Jock Ewing -- whom, I might add, looks EXACTLY the same!

What are the chances of that happening?


'My Dad's an Alien'

Here's my favorite film of late, clocking in at 30 seconds.

Noooo, there won't be an Intermission.

Just hold it, will ya?


"Audi: My Dad's an Alien" Commercial via YouTube


Some Like It Spot

The new GEICO commercial is nearly a home movie for us, having traveled five times to this exact setting in Arizona-Utah's Monument Valley, our favorite American destination.

"GEICO: The Roadrunner and the Coyote: The Gecko's Journey" via YouTube
We didn't meet these big time celebrities along the way, sadly, but the video may explain my desert headaches.



Happy Birthday, Ozoners!

Seventy-nine years ago tonight, the world's first drive-in theatre or ozoner, as we in the motion picture exhibition business call them in-between making fun of the idiots paying our ridiculous snack prices, opened.

Wikipedia tells how moon movies flicked forth:

Richard Milton Hollingshead, Jr. (February 25, 1900 - May 13, 1975) was the inventor of the drive-in theater.

In the early 1930s, he was working as a sales manager in his father's auto parts company, Whiz Auto Products. According to one story, his mother was a large woman who was uncomfortable sitting in a regular movie theater.[1] So he began experimenting at his home in Camden, New Jersey, using his car, a 1928 Kodak movie projector, and two sheets nailed between two trees for a screen. Eventually, he came up with a ramp in each parking space, so that patrons could elevate the front of their cars to see the screen without being blocked by other vehicles.[2] He applied for a patent on August 6, 1932[2] and was granted number 1,909,537 on May 16, 1933.

With three investors, his cousin John Smith, Edward Ellies, and Oliver Willets, he formed a company called Park-It Theatres, Inc.[2] Their 400-acre (1.6 km2) "Automobile Movie Theatre"[3] opened on Admiral Wilson Boulevard in Camden on June 6, 1933. RCA Victor provided three six foot (1.8 m) by six foot speakers to go with the 40 foot (12 m) by 50 foot (15 m) screen. The first movie shown was "Wives Beware," starring Adolphe Menjou. The charge was $0.25 per person and $0.25 per automobile, with a maximum cost of $1. Hollingshead sold the theatre in 1935 and opened another one.

Park-It Theatres licensed the concept to Loews Drive-In Theatres, Inc., but had trouble collecting royalties in 1937. Eventually, after Loews was taken to court, Hollingshead's patent was ruled invalid in 1950.

And thanks to same Mr. Hollingshead, Jr., lifelong funding efforts for my global countryside chain of pogo stick-in theatres have come to, basically, nil.

More: Mike's Video: "Scenes From a Drive-in Movie"


Hubie and Bertie's Mouse Chronicles

Forget "Gone With the Wind." Forget "Star Wars." Forget "The Lord of the Rings." The greatest of all movie sagas follows the adventures of Hubie and Bertie, cartoon mice.

The boys' seven classic 1943-51 animated episodes, based on the sacred books of "The Mew Testament," my cat Morty tells me, are coming to Blu-ray home video later this summer.

I've pre-ordered "Looney Tunes: Mouse Chronicles" because Hubie and Bertie are terrific and overdue for a renaissance. I want to do my part to help and subliminally cue the wife to serve cheese.

Here's a shining example of director Chuck Jones' rambunctious rodents hard at work in "Mouse Wreckers" (1948).

"Mouse Wreckers" via YouTube

Hubie and Bertie's Warner Bros. colleague and fellow mouse, Sniffles, is also seen in this two-disc set. All nine of his cartoons offer something to sniff at.


Big Weekend

Big weekend, anticipating "Hatfields & McCoys."

Spent hours in the chair having my hillbilly beard fleaed.

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