Quick Movie Review: Batman Returns (1992)


1989’s Batman is, arguably, a good movie. It tends to be overshadowed by Jack Nicholson’s Joker, relying so heavily on him that you forget what the actual plot of the movie is.

In Batman Returns, Danny DeVito plays the villain, Penguin, who helps carry this movie (and is actually much creepier than the Joker), but it never becomes solely about him.

Batman (Michael Keaton) tries to stop Penguin and the corrupt Max Shreck (Christopher Walken) from taking full control of Gotham City. Meanwhile, Shreck’s vendetta-filled ex-assistant, Selina Kyle (Michelle Pfeiffer) is figuring out how to become Catwoman.

It’s fun the watch the 1989 film first (and as a completist, I think you should), but it’s far from necessary. There are basically zero references to the predecessor. Luckily.

They’re both directed by Tim Burton, known for his dark and macabre style. Yet, this film does absolutely everything better than the last. There’s an actual coherent story, clearly defined motives, nuanced depth of the characters, and there are several villains to occupy us with.

The script explores much less of Bruce Wayne’s history, yet he seems more filled-out here. Possibly since Keaton appears to have an actual invested interest in both main villains–and so do we as an audience. Batman has no prior history with them, but he seems to have more at stake still.

It also helps that both Catwoman and Penguin are much more complex characters than the Joker. Their stories are more poetic. And so is this movie.

Batman Returns actually has something to say. With subtle jabs at the the media and our headline-grabbing culture.

It’s also more than just a superhero movie, but a character study paying dividends even in its final moments.

It’s also important to note that composer Danny Elfman’s score compliments Burton’s auteur in this film much better than the last. In those three years, he really found and established his style that we all know him by.

Twizard Rating: 100


Quick Movie Review: Beethoven (1992)

This is the type of movie that would have had to be made in the ’90s. There would be no business for it nowadays when non-animated family movies pretty much suck, and even the ones that don’t aren’t dated enough to make us appreciate them. Films are too perfect now. No more leeways in scripts or silly phrases here and there. I miss the good ole days. But I digress. 

Beethoven was good for someone like me who grew up with it. If you were 40 years old when this film came out, then chances are you’re not going to appreciate it besides the fact that your kids enjoy it or that the dog is cute.

The dad is the only character with any depth or development here in the sense that it’s mostly about his relationship with Beethoven and growth when it comes to accepting him. The wife and kids love the dog from the start and there’s no situation that ever threatens that. But this causes for the dad’s actions to be all the more dramatic, although it doesn’t make much sense why the he wouldn’t consult with his wife before taking Beethoven to be put to sleep. His character’s actions tend to be inconsistent and frustratingly unpredictable. The villain’s motives are unclear and, from what I gathered, ridiculous reasons to go on a dognapping spree. I did, however, appreciate some of the director’s attention to detail. The questions I had weren’t his fault, but the screenplay’s. Certain situations were forced into the script in order to execute the desired results more conveniently. 

The script, although porous at times, can be very clever and acerbic, so I’m giving in points for that. John Hughes did pen it after all. The 3rd act includes a killer action sequence all dressed up in ’90s flair.

Overall, Beethoven is a good feel-good family film and a great children’s movie. Watch it with your kids!

Twizard Rating: 80

Quick Movie Review: Encino Man (1992)

This is a really goofy, quotable, off-the-wall comedy that I actually liked a lot. Sure, as a “mature” moviegoer I should probably hate it, but I couldn’t resist laughing at the chaos of everything that was happening in this fish-out-of-water film. 


The reason why I marked it down so much is because the script and story are somewhat lacking. Most of the characters are pretty thin and there is never any real sense of tension. There’s nothing much at steak. Also, there are no real rules in this film universe, and there are some things in the plot that don’t make much sense and can be countered very easily. The third act is abrupt and doesn’t even fully come to be. However, the performances by the cast were really well done in my opinion, and I especially found Fraser hilarious. 


“If you liked Wayne’s World” I’m pretty sure you’ll find this movie funny.


Twizard Rating: 80

Quick Movie Review: El Mariachi (1992)


I know that most people know this, but I still find it amazing that it only cost Rodriguez $7000 to make this film! It’s incredible and it’s proof that storytelling and the writing are the most important things in engaging your audience. Although pretty violent, El Mariachi is a pretty clean cut movie that is a lot of fun to watch and free of a lot of BS that most other action films contain. The acting isn’t great, but it works with the low budget feel of this film. There are a lot of awesome scenes in this unforgettable movie. After watching it you’ll feel like everyone who hasn’t seen it is missing out. Above all, the movie has a lot of self-awareness and never takes itself too seriously!

Twizard Rating: 88

WRONG Tomatoes: Red Dawn (2012)


After 2 months without a post, I now present to you my new segment entitled “Wrong Tomatoes,” where I take a film that I have seen and explain how the score that it’s given on Rotten Tomatoes is wrong. In this first edition I will discuss the current remake of the 1984 film Red Dawn. As of today it has a score of 11% on RT…..eleven. The original holds a 53%.

So, let me explain to you the issues I have with this by telling you what was wrong with the original film. It lacked character development of any kind. Out of the 8-or-so teenagers that made up the guerrilla warfare group called the Wolverines, about 3 of them had a distinct personality. The others neither had any identifiable traits, nor did they have any sort of relationship with each other. This made it difficult to become emotionally attached to any of the characters. If an audience isn’t attached emotionally, they no longer care about the outcome.

Also, throughout the entire film things keep happening that seem like they were included last minute. A scenario that stands out is where, towards the end of the film, Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze’s characters are seen in a playful manner as the former intentionally sprinkles food crumbs onto the latter’s head. They both get a laugh. However, before this instance, both characters hardly even acknowledge the other’s presence. Shortly after this event, Jennifer Grey’s character gets killed, which finally clears up the decision for randomly and absurdly including the prior sequence. It was things like this that really lead me to believe that the creators were more into the IDEA of the film, rather than how they will make it entertaining for the audience.

Now, the remake fixes many problems that the ’84 version suffered from. The story didn’t feel rushed and you actually saw relationships forming between the characters. The issues that they dealt with were more realistic and you saw most of the maturing as the film developed. I mean, it had some issues of its own, but they were minor compared to the distracting and frustrating ones from before.

I know it’s hard to have a film that was so significant and meaningful at one point in time and then have it remade. But compared to some of the most recent remakes such as Footloose or Conan the Barbarian, this one wasn’t too shabby. It threw in a couple of twists to make it distinguishable from the original and, in my opinion, became a better film because of it.

All nostalgia aside, the 1984 version is pretty below-average. Although relevant to the times, the original is far worse than the 2012 remake. I understand that remakes generally suck especially if it is of such a “legendary” film, but despite the significance of this film in a trivial sense (e.g. the first PG-13 release and Charlie Sheen’s first film role), it’s hard to classify it as a classic for anything other than its historical representation.

Now, I urge critics to see the remake as its own film first and then re-watch the original with a new frame of mind to make the comparison. The acting might not be at par, but neither was the ’84 version’s. It’s not, by any means, a perfect movie, and I could probably write a whole article about how it’s not, but it’s hard to believe that it’s worse than the original.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 11%

What it SHOULD be: 64%