Tag Archives: Frank Marshall

Battle at Big Rock (2019, Colin Trevorrow)

Battle at Big Rock is a reminder the Jurassic Park Franchise Part 2 isn’t over yet. It’s a suspenseful nine minutes where director Trevorrow puts the preserving lead characters in danger—a family, of course—culminating in an allosaurus about to eat a baby. There’s also the precocious kid Melody Hurd, who’s a caricature but it doesn’t matter because Hurd’s so good, which is kind of the whole thing with Big Rock. It’s marketing, but it’s well-executed marketing. It’s the promise of R-rated danger with at most PG-13 ratings. It lionizes parents to the point they should be empowered enough to bring the whole family to the next movie because of its positive messages. And it’s not like dinosaurs are real, they’re not going to eat a baby out of its crib. We can just pretend.

And it does a great job of it. Dad André Holland and Mom Natalie Martinez are perfectly good movie parents for a terrifying short about dinosaurs getting up higher than they’re supposed to be (two years since Holland and Martinez Brady Bunched, presumably because of dead spouses)—oh, it’s like A Quiet Place. Oh. That’s dumb.

Whatever. Both Holland and Martinez are fine. Once Trevorrow reassures they’re not going to be running scenes without dinosaurs too long.

Things get scary, they get desperate, then they get silly. And all of a sudden, you get an imagine of the next Jurassic World movie and you wonder if somehow Universal is trying to make itself pretty for Disney.

But it’s all well-executed. Larry Fong’s photography, Stephen M. Rickert Jr.’s editing, it feels like Jurassic Park enough. Like a good Jurassic Park commercial. Amie Doherty’s “just pretend I’m John Williams” music is good too. It’s like homage; soullessly corporate homage but… whatever, it’s nine minutes. If the ending didn’t cheap out it’d be actually good. As is… it’s not bad.

So it’s technically, if unenthusiastically,

2/3Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Colin Trevorrow; screenplay by Emily Carmichael and Trevorrow, based on a novel by Michael Crichton; director of photography, Larry Fong; edited by Stephen M. Rickert Jr.; music by Amie Doherty; production designer, Tom Conroy; produced by Frank Marshall and Patrick Crowley; aired by FX.

Starring André Holland (Dennis), Natalie Martinez (Mariana), Melody Hurd (Kadasha), and Pierson Salvador (Mateo).


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Roller Coaster Rabbit (1990, Rob Minkoff and Frank Marshall)

Roller Coaster Rabbit is exceptionally overproduced. The animation is technically outstanding, just without any gags–Roger Rabbit makes a terrible cartoon protagonist because he’s an unlikable moron–but at the end it takes an odd turn towards the CG. There are some fire effects, there are a lot of spark effects, it’s as though Minkoff gave his traditional animators a break and let the tech guys handle the rest.

The paltry story involves Roger babysitting Baby Herman at a carnival. Baby Herman wants a balloon, which leads to a lot of trouble. Even though the initial gags aren’t funny, they’re more imaginative than the final one involving an endless roller coaster (hence the title). Four credited writers apparently couldn’t come up with a gag to break up the monotony.

Some of Minkoff’s direction is fantastic; while too infrequent, there’re a few outstanding shots.

And Charles Fleischer sounds bored as Roger.

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Rob Minkoff and Frank Marshall; screenplay by Bill Kopp, Kevin Harkey, Lynne Naylor and Patrick A. Ventura, based on characters created by Gary K. Wolf; edited by Chuck Williams; music by Bruce Broughton; produced by Donald W. Ernst; released by Touchstone Pictures.

Starring Charles Fleischer (Roger Rabbit), Kathleen Turner (Jessica Rabbit), April Winchell (Young Baby Herman / Mrs. Herman), Lou Hirsch (Adult Baby Herman), Corey Burton (Droopy Dog) and Frank Welker (Bull).


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Tummy Trouble (1989, Rob Minkoff and Frank Marshall)

Tummy Trouble goes out of its way to pay homage to Tex Avery (down to a Droopy cameo) and director Minkoff does a decent job of it. Not to say Tummy‘s successful, however. While Minkoff apes Avery all right, it’s a combination of too obvious and too reverential. Outside being an “original” Roger Rabbit cartoon, there’s no creative impulse behind Tummy.

It’s also way too exquisite in terms of the animation to be a good Avery knock-off. Looking at the frames, it’s clear a lot of time went into illustrating the animations and not enough went into plotting out the gags. It’s just not funny. There’s not a single good gag.

And since Tummy is a Roger Rabbit cartoon, there’s an obligatory live action section at the end. It feels self-congratulatory, which doesn’t many any sense… Tummy Trouble‘s nothing to pat oneself on the back about.

1/3Not Recommended

CREDITS

Directed by Rob Minkoff and Frank Marshall; screenplay by Kevin Harkey, Bill Kopp, Minkoff, Mark Kausler and Patrick A. Ventura, based on characters created by Gary K. Wolf; edited by Donald W. Ernst; music by James Horner; produced by Don Hahn; released by Walt Disney Pictures.

Starring Charles Fleischer (Roger Rabbit), April Winchell (Young Baby Herman / Mrs. Herman), Lou Hirsch (Adult Baby Herman), Corey Burton (Orderly), Richard Williams (Droopy Dog) and Kathleen Turner (Jessica Rabbit).


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Arachnophobia (1990, Frank Marshall)

Is John Goodman doing an impression of Bill Murray from Caddyshack?

Arachnophobia is so all over the place, it wouldn’t be a surprise to find out Frank Marshall directed him along those lines. The movie’s a mix between The Birds and a little Gremlins. Not to mention some proto-Jurassic Park. Unfortunately, Marshall doesn’t bring these elements together cohesively.

The first problem is the tone. It’s supposed to be kind of cute, especially once Trevor Jones’s score gets sappy (and bad), but it’s about a terrible spider infestation.

The second problem is those spiders. There’s a lack of science… and a lack of smarts. The lack of smarts goes so far as to show the protagonist, a doctor (played by a passable Jeff Daniels), doesn’t know what the Richter Scale is called. Those kind of dumb jokes (along with Goodman’s goofy exterminator) make Arachnophobia a chore.

Worse, it’s boring. It goes on and on and on. And once it does get going, Julian Sands comes back. He’s in the prologue, where Mark L. Taylor acts circles around him. But when Sands gets back, there’s no one near as strong as Taylor to make up for his awful acting.

Arachnophobia‘s big problem, besides Marshall’s general inability, is the acting. Mary Carver gives the film’s best performance. Besides Sands, Stuart Pankin gives the worst. Brian McNamara isn’t bad, but Harley Jane Kozak is mediocre. It’s probably the lousy writing of her character.

Still, the pre-CG special effects are absolutely stunning.

1/4

CREDITS

Directed by Frank Marshall; screenplay by Don Jakoby and Wesley Strick, based on a story by Jakoby and Al Williams; director of photography, Mikael Salomon; edited by Michael Kahn; music by Trevor Jones; production designer, James D. Bissell; produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Richard Vane; released by Hollywood Pictures.

Starring Jeff Daniels (Dr. Ross Jennings), Harley Jane Kozak (Molly Jennings), John Goodman (Delbert McClintock), Julian Sands (Doctor James Atherton), Stuart Pankin (Sheriff Lloyd Parsons), Brian McNamara (Chris Collins), Mark L. Taylor (Jerry Manley), Henry Jones (Doctor Sam Metcalf), Peter Jason (Henry Beechwood), James Handy (Milton Briggs), Roy Brocksmith (Irv Kendall), Kathy Kinney (Blaire Kendall) and Mary Carver (Margaret Hollins).


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