Movies: Anna and the Apocalypse, Bathtubs Over Broadway, Mary Poppins Returns

Anna and the Apocalypse

The full title is…Anna and the Apocalypse:  The Scottish Zombie Christmas High School Musical.  The good news is this film and its actors do not take this seriously.  It’s just the right mix of silly and tacky with irreverent and bombastic.  The longer we watched the more entertaining it became.  By the end of the movie it was okay to laugh.  In fact, it’s a hoot!

The cast is quite talented for the most part.  Ben Wiggins, Calum Cormack, Christopher Leveaux, Ella Hunt, Ella Jarvis, Malcolm Cumming, Mark Benton, Marli Siu, Paul Kaye and Sarah Swire.

This film attracted huge audiences in Great Britain.  It is based on a short film by the writer-director Ryan McHenry who died of bone cancer at the age of 27.  He was not able to complete his film.

It is rated R for zombie violence and gore, language and some sexual material.  Its genre is listed as Comedy, Horror, Musical & Performing Arts.  It is not appropriate for younger children.  The run time is 92 minutes.


Bathtubs Over Broadway

Here is a rare and unique movie genre:  Industrial Musicals (sometimes called Corporate Musicals).  These were largely corporate productions for Training, Promoting, introducing new product and motivating employees during the last half of the last century.

This film is the concept of Steve Young, a writer for late night television shows like David Letterman.  What he discovered was the quirky, corporate propaganda productions of the 1950’s through the 1980’s that attracted top talent of its time.  Some of the companies funding these productions included General Electric, McDonald’s, Ford, DuPont, Xerox and dozens more.

This documentary slowly reveals the complex sophistication of the productions along with their “unintentional entertainment value”.

The cast includes cameo appearances from David Letterman, Martin Short, Florence Henderson, Jello Biafra, Chita Rivera, Susan Stroman, Sheldon Harnack, Steve Young and Don Dolles.

The film is rated PG-13 for brief language.  It’s listed as a Comedy, Documentary with a run time of 87 minutes.

Footnote:  Walmart (and a handful of other companies) still use this genre internally today.


Mary Poppins Returns

Well…It was just a matter of time!  The just released Mary Poppins Returns picks up a few decades later when Michael Banks (married and now the father of two) finds himself about to lose his house to foreclosure by the big bad bank where he works.

When out of the blue…Mary Poppins, now played brilliantly by Emily Blunt, floats down on an umbrella and becomes the Nanny to the family of two children…

Let’s fast forward a bit.  The production is the perfect balance between everything you expect from an updated Mary Poppins.  State of the art special effects, an updated cinematography, new and fresh song and dance routines.  A few major plot twists for good measure.

The cast has a few surprises as well.  Dick Van Dyke has a stunning bit part.  Angela Lansbury does too.  Meryl Streep is magnificent as Cousin Topsy.  Ben Whishaw and Emily Mortimer play the parents.  Colin Firth is the CEO of the bank.  Julie Walters was great as the housekeeper.

The film is rated PG with some mild thematic elements and brief action.  The genre is described as Kids & Family, Musical & Performing Arts, Science Fiction & Fantasy.  The film was skillfully directed by Rob Marshall with a run time of 130 minutes.  Walt Disney Pictures creates a new instant classic all over again.


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