Daily Archives: March 30, 1990

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

It seems like a marriage was made in heaven between Hong Kong’s Golden Harvest Films and Jim Henson’s Muppetry. The delightful offspring is a live-action romp based on Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s comic book characters, scripted by Todd W. Langen and Bobby Herbeck with the sort of goofy wit that suggests that Thomas Pynchon could have made pseudonymous contributions to the dialogue, and directed with skill and assurance by Steve Barron. The plot involves a TV investigative reporter (Judith Hoag), a rise in thievery in Manhattan occasioned by a teenage gang known as the Foot (masterminded and exploited by a ninja villain called the Shredder), and the noble adversaries of the thieves — four teenage turtles and their rat ninja master who dwell in the sewer system and reached their abnormal size through exposure to radioactivity. Also involved is the reporter’s son (Michael Turney), split between no less than three rival father figures, and an independent vigilante (Elias Koteas) who joins the turtles. The results are high-spirited martial arts and comedy, with heavy doses of Star Wars and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and music by M.C. Hammer, Johnny Kemp, Hi Tek 3, and Orchestra on the Half Shell.… Read more »

A Major Talent [on SWEETIE]

Top-of-the-Lake-011

From the Chicago Reader (March 30, 1990). I must confess that  I was disappointed for a long time that none of Campion’s subsequent films lived up to the promise of Sweetie, in spite of the virtues of some of them, at least until her wonderful 2014 miniseries Top of the Lake, which I’ve just belatedly caught up with. (I’ll never forget a bitter comment Jean-Luc Godard made to me in Toronto in 1996, citing Campion as a perfect example of a talented filmmaker “completely destroyed by money”.) But then again, to cite someone cross-referenced in this review (and also significantly cross-referenced in Top of the Lake, a kind of feminist response to Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks), it’s also hard to think of many David Lynch films that have lived up to the promise of Eraserhead, at least prior to Inland Empire….I suspect that the collaboration of writer Gerard Lee on Passionless Moments, Sweetie, and Top of the Lake has something to do with what makes all three of them stand out so vividly in Campion’s oeuvre.– J.R.

SWEETIE

**** (Masterpiece)

Directed by Jane Campion

Written by Gerard Lee and Campion

With Genevieve Lemon, Karen Colston, Tom Lycos, Dorothy Barry, Jon Darling, Michael Lake, and Andre Pataczek.… Read more »