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8 Reviews
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Underrated but superb - one of my favourite films ever!, 1 Mar. 2009
By 
Dr. George L. Sik (Epsom, Surrey) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Matinee [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
I watched this again recently, knowing how much I had enjoyed it before, but I found myself enjoying it even more. It appears to be a simple tale of a cynical but ambitious film producer arriving in a small Florida backwater to promote a horror movie about a man who turns into a giant ant (Mant!) at the height of the Cuban missile crisis. In fact, it's about so much more.

It's a film about the nature of fear, a tender coming-of-age comedy, a nostalgic eulogy to the days of 'atomic age' monster films and their whacky promotional gimmicks (John Goodman's producer is clearly based on William Castle who, among other things, electrocuted his audiences during The Tingler and had a plastic skeleton fly over their heads like an emaciated Mary Poppins in The House on Haunted Hill) and, most of all, it's a film about our love of going to the pictures as eloquent as Cinema Paradiso.

As in Peter Bogdanovich's Targets, the comically ludicrous film-within-a-film and its absurd horror cliches contasts with a much more real horror going on off-screen - here Krushchev and Kennedy taking the world to the brink of armageddon.

Everything about this film is spot on: John Goodman is at his very best and the rest of the cast, though largely unknown, never put a foot wrong. The teenage hero, Simon Fenton, is actually a British actor (perfect American accent) who later appeared in The Bill! The cinema is one you would love to be your local picture house - such a contrast to the multiplexes of today. The satirical critique of mutually assured distruction may be less shrill than in Dr Strangelove but is more human and therefore, to me, more powerful. Even the use of period music is perfect, in particular of The Lion Sleeps Tonight as the crisis is averted and the world sleeps soundly again...for now.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars We want Mant, we want Mant!, 31 Jan. 2012
By 
Spike Owen "John Rouse Merriott Chard" (Birmingham, England.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Matinee [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
Matinée is directed by Joe Dante and written by Charles S. Haas and Jerico Stone. It stars John Goodman, Cathy Moriarty, Omri Katz, Kellie Martin, Lisa Jakub and Simon Fenton. Music is by Jerry Goldsmith and cinematography by John Hora. The film operates on three fronts narratively speaking, set in 1962 it has a wry look at the paranoia created by the Cuban Missile Crisis, pays homage to the sci-fi schlock movies created by William Castle, and dallies in blossoming teenage romances.

It's a lovingly crafted movie by Dante, perhaps more pertinent to those around at the time of the film's setting, or for someone like me who loves those creaky creature features of the 1950s, but surely there's enough to enjoy here for the average film lover? It's three pronged structure isn't a complete success, as the last third starts to feel a bit too chocked full of (sub) plots, but the homages stay warm and the period flavour of the time is expertly created by Dante and his team. It's fun without straining for laughs, while the cast, led by an excellent Goodman as schlockmeister Lawrence Woolsey, deliver the requisite amount of quality to make it work.

A lovely film for film fans, created by a film fan himself. 8/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Matinee is better than "Lobsterman from Mars", 25 Mar. 2007
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Matinee [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
A promoter of movies is coming to town. This is at the height of the bomb scare era. A boy from the near by base in Florida and a mysteriously girl that is a free thinker with a more realistic concept of nuclear destruction strike up a friendship with the promoter.

This movie has the same concept of spoofing most of our favorite bug movies. It also has an underlying script, which changes this movie from a "Lobsterman From Mars (1990), to more of an "A Christmas Story (1983)" feel. You could have been there in the 60's. And footage is shown from the real films that it is spoofing. And once again the MANT (man-ant) has his appendages where they don't belong.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Lawrence Woolsey presents the end of civilization as we know it. Make that... Proudly Presents!, 31 May 2012
This review is from: Matinee [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
Step back into a time of outrageous movie-theater gimmicks and larger-than-life-B-screen stars in this charming homage to the great sci-fi and horror flicks of the 1950s and 2960s.John Goodman is at his uproarious best as the William Castle-inspired movie promoter Lawrence Woolsey, who brings his unique brand of flashy showmanship to the unsuspecting residents of Key West, Florida.It's 1962, and fifteen-year-old fan Gene Loomis (Simone Fenton) can't wait for the arrival of Woolsey, who is in town to promote his latest offering of atomic power gone berserk, Mant! But the absurd vision of Woolsey's tale takes on a sudden urgency as the Cuban Missile Crises places the real threat of atomic horror just 90 miles off the coast. With the help of Gene and Woolsey's leading lady, Ruth (Cathy Moriarty), the master showman gives Key West a premiere they'll never forget. Anything can happen in the movies, and everything does in this hilarious tribute to a more innocent (and outrageous) time in American cinema.
WHAT CAN I SAY?
This has to be the most under-rated, under-seen film of all time. Funny, touching, nostalgic in a good way, a wonderful tribute to the very joy of film itself and, the clincher, a cast of kids that never get on your nerves. John Goodman has never bettered his performance from this movie.. Goodman captured the essence of a movie showman who always had or wanted to have a gimmick to go with his B movie pictures. Cathy Moriarty(Raging Bull) is excellent as his favorite leading lady If you love the movies, you'll love this film. See it; then see it again and again. It really never loses it's sense of fun. It's quite a touching film really, because it shows how the world has become too cynical for it's own good. Where we can't appreciate anymore the simple pleasures of hired people in monster costumes running through the theaters. Matinée is a film that celebrates the cinema experience
its An underrated gem of a bygone era. and A pleasant stroll down Memory Lane
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5.0 out of 5 stars PRE DIGITAL HEAVEN, 24 Nov. 2011
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This review is from: Matinee [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
This is why we all love Joe Dante right ? Sort of Spielbergian but not to candy floss, Looks like its made for the family but just under the surface there something else going on. But subplots aside this is a great movie about the early sci fi movies and of the imaginative people involved in there creation. John goodman is the perfect actor for the part of the ambitious yet underfunded director/ inventor/ showman and in someways always appearing to be a conman !! And of course the era of the film is the fifties, cold war and worries about the 'H-Bomb' and the hazards of radiation are central to the film, both in the movies being watched in the cinemas ( Giant insects and human-insect hybrids) and in peoples every day lives living in or near an army base. The look of the film may take some viewers a few minutes to adjust (Light pastels and near colour saturation at times) but for those in the know i think they will instantly understand how the creators of the film have tried to get as near to the colour tones of films of that era and i think they succeed in most scenes. Overall a great film with a cult classic feel and for lovers of Dante's other work an absolute essential addition to ones collection.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very funny, deep and respectful to the issues of life at the height of the Cold War, 25 Nov. 2014
By 
Opusmalone (Lived everywhere) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Matinee [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
An astonishing film in so many ways. For those who lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 or remember the chill of the Cold war and undercurrent of nuclear one-upmanship, this will hit home on an emotional level, and I know it's brought tears to the eyes of those who've watched it and remembered the stomach-churning nervousness of their youth. But mostly it's very funny, with evenly-paced writing, some great set pieces, and memorable lines (e.g. shlock Hollywood producer murmuring about new nuclear-mutation B-film title: "Hmm...croc, no...woman..er, girl...gal...alligator..."Galligator!"). Fear, romance, sex, adolescence, innocence, nuclear war, military life vs civvies, right- vs left-wing politics, socialism and how Hollywood both fed and relieved the anxieties of a nation, if only temporarily. Perfect cast. Enjoy!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great fun, 1 April 2011
By 
M. P. Campbell (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Matinee [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
This little-known film is an absolute gem. My son and I used to watch it often on VHS, now I have it on DVD drool :-)

It really is a joy to watch - lush attention to Cuban missile crisis era clothes, cars, everything, plus John Goodman hamming it up marvellously as B-movie producer Lawrence Woolsey in town to hype up his new horror film 'Mant' (half-man, half-ant!!!!!). There is also the boy stuck in dad's navy base and his friendship with Woolsey and the non-conformist little girl. The film cleverly ramps up the background tension with the escalating missile crisis while also moving towards the film's premiere via the relationships of the main characters. The final climax of it all is masterfully staged.
I'd recommend this film to absolutely anyone, from granny to toddlers. No nasty bits, lots of fun, great characterisations.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Matinee, 3 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Matinee [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
Received in Excellent order and an excellent film just what I wanted to make the day seem normal after a John Goodman at his best
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Matinee [DVD] [1993]
Matinee [DVD] [1993] by Joe Dante (DVD - 2003)
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