Every Bugs Bunny Ever: Buccaneer Bunny (1948)

Buccaneer Bunny (1948)
Directed by Friz Freleng
Written by Michael Maltese
Music by Carl W. Stalling
Animation by Manuel Perez 

Yo, ho, ho, and a bottle of–Ma’s old fa-shioned ci-der! Ma’s old fa-shioned ci-der!

I have great sentimental value for “Buccaneer Bunny” as it’s one of the array of Bugs Bunny shorts that were often played during the Bugs and Daffy Show every Saturday morning when I was a kid. “Buccaneer Bunny” is edgy enough to still be hilarious but never crosses any lines. And we also get Yosemite Sam once again! That’s always a plus. Watching this short takes me back to when I was a child winding down from Saturday morning cartoons and greeting the early afternoon with the hour block on ABC Network. “Buccaneer Bunny” is still utterly hilarious and stands as one of the shorts from Bugs that hasn’t aged a bit.

Even with its stripped-down premise, the short is a masterclass in the excellent dynamic that Bugs and Yosemite Sam have together.

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Every Bugs Bunny Ever: Rabbit Punch (1948)

Rabbit Punch (1948)
Directed by Chuck Jones
Written by Ted Pierce
Music by Carl W. Stalling
Animation by Phil Monroe

The bad new is that Chuck Jones re-uses a lot of the material from “Baseball Bugs” for “Rabbit Punch.” The good news is that “Rabbit Punch” ends up being very funny and memorable just the same. If you watch this and “Baseball Bugs” back to back you’ll see the obvious cut and paste, but this short is helped by the hysterical animation which really helps punctuate the hilarious physical gags and sight gags. There are some subtle bits of comedy that I still chuckle over. The frame as Bugs is hit by The Champ’s brick fist is absolutely priceless, and the POV of The Champ getting hit with a boulder by Bugs’ slingshot is just genius.

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Every Bugs Bunny Ever: A Feather in His Hare (1948)

A Feather in His Hare (1948)
Directed by Chuck Jones
Written by Michael Maltese
Music by Carl W. Stalling
Animation by Ken Harris

We’re so late in the game and we’re still doling out these hideous racial stereotypes for these Looney Tunes shorts. “A Feather in his Hare” reminded me a lot of “All This and Rabbit Stew” except this short elicits a ton of hideous Native American stereotypes without ever actually building an interesting villain. By now we’ve had Elmer, Yosemite Sam, and many more foils, and we’re still being fed this kind of muck. And it’s not just that “A Feather in His Hare” is awfully racist, but it’s awfully unfunny as well. It’s just a lot of exploring how many Native American stereotypes can be squeezed in to eight minutes, and none of it ever amounts to even a mild chuckle.

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Last Night at Terrace Lanes (2024)

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

An obvious but loving ode to “Assault on Precinct 13,” Jamie Nash’s horror survival comedy is probably one of the more entertaining indie films I’ve seen in a while. It’s a movie that is obviously small in budget, but makes the most out of a single setting horror film through the end. I was surprised by how much director Jamie Nash was able to pull out of this premise as they’re able to really justify why the film is confined to one place and is set during one night rather than multiple days. “Last Night at Terrace Lanes” is that classic siege horror film but with a dose of familial drama and coming of age.

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Even More Great Minority Movie Heroes

It’s Black History Month once again and in honor of the occasion I continue the series of “Great Minority Movie Heroes” which we have been running over and over for years, now. What better occasion than Black History Month than to continue listing movie heroes that are people of color? Be sure to check out the past editions of the series and let us know what some of your favorite minority movie heroes are.

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Turning Red (2022)

Will be in Limited Re-Release on February 9th; will be preceded by the Sparkshort Kitbull. Check Local Listings.

You gotta give it to Pixar, when they decide to do something new, they approach it head on and go all the way. Although subtlety was never their strong suit, here “Turning Red’s” one big noticeable element is that it’s about as subtle as a brick on the head. With Domee Shi directing, “Turning Red” is a decidedly very Asian flavored coming of age film that’s drawn in the style of anime and Manga.

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Every Bugs Bunny Ever: Gorilla My Dreams (1948)

Gorilla My Dreams (1948)
Directed by Bob McKimson
Written by Warren Foster
Music by Carl W. Stalling
Animation by Charles McKimson

It’s interesting to reviewing “Gorilla My Dreams” as it’s a fun introduction of the ape villain Gruesome. While Warren Foster does a good job of bringing us new Bugs Bunny foil, Gruesome and this whole premise was applied so much better in the 1959 remake “Apes of Wrath.” I could swear I had seen this short before, but for a long time it was always the aforementioned. It goes without saying that set up for “Apes…” is so much cleverer than the one we get in “Gorilla My Dreams.” That’s not to say that this short doesn’t bring with it its own merits. It’s not a terrible short at all, all things considered.

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Departing Seniors (2024)

In Select Theaters & VOD/Digital on February 2nd.

Director Clare Cooney’s “Departing Seniors” is an ode to the classic giallo pictures of the seventies where someone is having psychic visions of a lurking masked killer. This masked killer though is lurking inside and around a high school, while the protagonist is a young man who is grappling with his own trauma involving his sexuality. While I give big respect to Joe Nateras for writing a movie that evokes the giallo pictures of the seventies, “Departing Seniors” misses on every other front. It’s a horror comedy that completely fails to keep its eye on the ball, centering so much more around teen drama and forgetting that it’s also supposed to be a horror movie.

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