“The Lion King” Movie Review

Due to a birthday weekend with my daughter this one’s a couple days late. In all honesty there's not really much left to say though after my first thoughts video. Which if you haven't seen you can watch here. Anyway, I still think the best way to sum up this movie is, in a world without the original animated film, I’d be coming to you saying this was a really good movie. However, that said in that world it wouldn't have reached the prestige & greatness of its predecessor. Story wise this thing is pretty much a carbon copy of the classic. Just devoid of anything you wouldn't see out of actual animals. Think the hula scene with Timon. Leading me to the craziest part about this film for me. Dealing with the realistic aspect of the whole thing. Its biggest achievement seemed to also he its biggest flaw. The amazing CGI that led to everything looking so real, that the animals couldn't really seem to keep up emotionally with the material to do it justice. I’m still not sure if that had anything to do with the voice work not really standing out. Mediocre all around with the exception of Oliver, Rogen, & Eichner. Those three were the only ones that kept me entertained throughout all of this, & if no one is getting them together for a film, a big mistake is being made. Wasn’t really impressed with Ejiofor's Scar, & same goes for the whole depiction of the hyenas. This Scar is a pale comparison to the original. While the hyenas, while very frightening, lost their entertainment value it seemed. The main three were my favorite characters from the original. They seemed to adept here. Almost as if they wouldn’t even need Scar in the first place. Cast aside, even the songs fell just short. My favorite going to “The Lion Sleeps Tonight". That whole scene was great. The rest was an alright remake of “Hakuna Matata” & “Just Can’t Wait To Be King”, an absolutely horrible “Be Prepared”, & a “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” duet where one party over powered the other completely. The bad thing is a lot of this could be derived from the fact that I do have a greater version to compare to that's almost a facsimile of. I did enjoy myself still. All in all you have a technological wonder of beautiful CGI on display with a great story. That while it dosen't knock it out of the park, does mange to round at least base. This will be on the list of these remakes that unlike Aladdin & Beauty & the Beast, I’ll most likely grab the animated classic the next time I want to watch Lion King. Curious what others think though. So as you see it please let me know on the comments what you think.

processed_20190713_002844.jpg

“Spider-Man: Far From Home” Movie Review

Alright. Honesty time. With everything going on this week, after my first thoughts video (see here), I completely forgot about this. I usually like to take some time afterwards to write out a more detailed, still non-spoiler review. As much as I’ve been talking about the Marvel Studios/Sony Spider-Man: Far From Home this weekend, you’d figure it’d be impossible, but I forgot nonetheless. Anyway, here we go. My thoughts haven't swayed at all. This film plays the role of epilogue & sequel delightfully. Coming in as a more than solid sequel to Homecoming, while also putting a nice little bow on the 10 years we've decided to call The Infinity Saga. We get plenty of growth from every member of the Homecoming class. Tom Holland is great as Spider-Man, & watching how he develops as Peter Parker has been delightful. He's the perfect amount of awkward to personify the role. Even in his awkward relationship with MJ. It’s not just Holland that displays growth too. The layering to these characters epitomize teenage life. Adding to the cast this time around besides the always perfect Sam Jackson as Nick Fury is Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio. Hero from another dimension. Who also adds layers to this character in a role we’ve never seen the character step into. I love what they do with him. Gyllenhaal is amazing. Even more so, I like how they bring a really good explanation to Mysterio's power set. As with the original incarnation it's based in special FX. Which I always found weird in the books. As much as I love effects, they’re still not real. The way this film gets around this is one of my favorite things about it. Don’t want to get to into it as Marvel is making it harder & harder to review these without accidentally dropping major spoilers. Besides being an almost on par, if not on par sequel to the original, another place this film shines is in its epilogue quality. Capping off 10 years of anything is a chore. They do it perfectly, it feels like the issue that caps off a major comic book event. Basking us in the fallout, while giving us hints as where we could next. I love at one point the villain basically gives a social commentary on how we are in real life with these comic films while talking about people in their world. The two post credit scenes are awesome. The first gives us a look towards the future of Spider-Man, while the second gives us the same for the whole of the MCU. Loved this film though. Can’t wait to see it again. Everything I could've asked for to back up Homecoming while helping come back down to earth after the insaneness that was Endgame. Curious y’all's thoughts? As you see it let me know in the comments, like, & share.

processed_20190708_133330.jpg

"Toy Story 4" Movie Review

After my first thoughts video (here), I usually like to take a couple days before I write out a more full set of non-spoiler thoughts. This time, with Toy Story 4, I took an extra day. Mainly because I'm having trouble getting how I feel about this film across. I watched the originals, 1 a day before going into this one, & that could've been a mistake. Those films, being animated perfection with Rotten Tomatoes scores of 100%, 98%, & 100%, set the bar pretty high. And while this fourth installment is great, I didn't feel it made to that original level. That's where I'm having trouble with this one. It's a really good, if not great film, there's just something about it that didn't give it that extra nudge into perfection for me. Hands down, this was probably the funniest installment. The new characters dominate this latest Toy Story, & they are hilarious. Forky, Ducky, Bunny, & Duke Caboom totally steal every scene. This installment is very heavy on the new characters. Especially if you include Bo Peep with her new look. It's pretty much all them with Woody, & a little Buzz on the side. Bonnie almost even gets more screen time than the rest of the toys we all started this ride with or accumulated along the way. And even though this may be the funniest Toy Story, I feel like ending aside, it just didn't give me the "feels" this series up until now has been known for. A small gripe to have when a film is this entertaining. My only other gripe would have to be tossed aside as having to do with my own expectations going in. I wasn't much on the villain. Though the ventriloquist dolls were terrifying, Gabby Gabby just didn't give me the payoff I was expecting. I don't want to get to spoilery, I'll just say I was expecting more villainy to this character than I got. We seem to do that a lot more now though. I didn't hate it, just was hoping for something far more sinister. There were no extreme gripes at all  really, except for it not living up to perfection status. It's still a highly satisfying film. I do also have to throw in that Pixar is making this whole animation thing look easy now. Insane levels of detail throughout the film has these toys looking almost real at times. All in all while I feel this franchise didn't need a fourth installment, it still manages to pull it off nicely. Turning a great sendoff into what should be a now definite sendoff,  that while may not be a 100% entry, dosen't fall below 95% on my scorecard. That said, as much as I did enjoy this, I'm not sure i want a round 5. No matter the direction they choose to take. Unless they're opening it up for a series maybe. Very funny film though, even the end credits. Any Toy Story fan will leave happy. It's hard to even meet perfect, but this one definitely gives one heckuvan effort. 

upload.jpg

"Dark Phoenix" Movie Review

As per usual, after my first thoughts video (here), I've taken a couple days to let Dark Phoenix set in. Then, write a more thorough non-spoiler review afterwards. After hearing all the poor reviews, I'm still surprised how much of this I really liked. Was it perfect? Not at all, but when put I to contrast everything we've got from the past 20 years of X-Men it does more than hold up. Not quite as great as X2 or Days of Future Past, but far from being a X3. In fact, I'd almost go as far to say spin-offs aside, I'd put this at a tie for 3rd place. Everyone holds their own, acting wise for what they're supposed to be. Major standouts from McAvoy's Professor X, & Fastbender's Magneto as usual. They've really held their own in some giant shoes left by their predecessors. There's a lot definite pros & cons to this film though. As I said, it's not perfect. It didn't really stick the landing in my opinion, & I'm only talking last 5 minutes of the climax. In a world without X3, I'd have probably been a little more lenient. However, it felt too close to that film's Phoenix attempt. I also wasn't really feeling Jessica Chastain's character at all. While her alien race made for great canon fodder later in the film, her characters addition felt like it was forced to fill a void. Particularly if we're talking comics, the void of Mastermind & the Hellfire Club to get into Jean's head. We've already done Hellfire Club though in these though. I get they needed a bigger villain, this just wasn't it. Other than that, there things that a just become a token of FOX with the X-Men property. Lack of continuity, & unknown mutants added when they have literal books filled with actual famous & semi-famous X characters. However, all that said, the pros on this film somewhat tilt the scales in its favor. The story, changed a little from its source material, was really good. Alien race aside at least. Much darker tone than expected. It fits the subject matter perfectly though. I loved what they did with Jean's background. On top of that, the Mutant power action side of this film has never looked better. Hands down, this was the best display of the actual original's team's powers in use we've seen so far. And though I don't like their use of no name mutants, they still keep up the fun fan service of characters fans will notice in the background, but unfortunately have no real part to play. That's been a staple since day one. All in all, if you've stuck with the X films so far, you shouldn't be disappointed with Dark Phoenix. I liked it way more than the last installment, & just judging from the epilogue of this film, I'd have continued to follow this cast. That said, am I glad this is it for FOX? The X family are going to get passed into the more capable hands of the MCU eventually? Yes. It's been more good times than bad over the past 20 years with FOX's, but I feel like even when they hit a homerun, they haven't fully reached the X-Men's full potential. I'm glad I went to the theater for this one though. They're going out on a much higher note than they were. I enjoyed a whole lot more of this film than I didn't.

upload.jpg

"Aladdin" Movie Review

As usual I've took a couple days from my first thoughts review video (here), and now it's time to get into my full thoughts on the live-action remake of the Disney Animated Classic, Aladdin after getting some time to let it sink in. I can't believe how excited I still am about this film. It totally lives up to its own phrase, "diamond in the rough". That said, there will be some layers to this review. First, I want to get into how this film stands up to its animated predecessor. This is the part I couldn't believe the more I thought about it. As great as Robin Williams is, I think I now actually prefer this out of the two. Probably because it hits every single beat of the original. With only  slight changes & additions. Changes that seem only there to compliment the realistic nature of live-action, & additions that go on to further the mythology of the tale without changing it any way. It being live-action also gives it room to draw on so much more emotion. In today's context, animated Aladdin is a smartphone, the live-action Aladdin is the upgraded version. Speaking of upgrades. Sees like a good time to get into the music. With the addition of Jasmine's new two part song, along with some amazing dance numbers, this film seem more a musical than the original. All the original songs got a new remix if you will. However, they stayed so true their original counterparts if I played the right snippets, you'd think only the artist performing had changed. Basically there was a very subtle hip hop influence injected into each. Like a 80-20 mix, 80% original, 20% hip hop. It blended perfectly at that rate. One of the things that worried me going in. Jasmine's new song I mentioned earlier was an amazing piece of music performed beautifully. It seemed a strange place to add it, but by the time she was halfway done the hair on my neck was standing up, & I didn't care about its placement anymore. I also mentioned the dance numbers earlier. These were amazing! Also a mix, this time Hip Hop meets Bollywood, & I never wanted to learn a dance in my life until I saw this. This blew me away! I loved the dance choreography in this film. Never really seen anything like this in my life. Now, before I sign off I want to break down the standout acting performances contained in this film. I have to start that by mentioning the overall chemistry between the cast as a whole. The chemistry displayed made it look as if these people had been really good friends for years that just decided to make a movie. I couldn't believe how tight knit they all seemed. I'll break 'em down first with the one everyone was most worried about, Will Smith as the Genie. When he first was cast, I told a lot of nay sayers if we could get old Fresh Prince, Bad Boys Will Smith, he could pull it off. If anyone has the charisma to even attempt to fill those big shoes Robin William's left behind he could, but only if he could tap back into something we haven't seen for a long time. That's exactly what we got. I haven't thought Smith was having a good time making a film in a long time. It was so refreshing to see this return for someone who at one time was one of my favorite acting personalities. He took full ownership of this role & totally made it his own, & the addition of keeping him around throughout to be Aladdin's advisor was a perfect addition. Definitely one of the additions that puts this over the top. Mena Mossoud was also just cast perfect as Aladdin, as was Naomi Scott as Jasmine. You believed every minute of their love story. Not just that though, every other aspect of their characters as well. From his thief with a heart of gold, to her frustrated Princess who's beauty hides her mind. These three carried this film to the heights it reached, but they did definitely have some back up in that feat. Nassim Pedrad was great as the new character & best friend to Jasmine, Dahlia. Even if I did immediately realize why she was there, i loved her role. The biggest one i was worried about going in though was Marwan Kenzari as Jafar. Jafar always came off as downright sinister even in just his look, where this guy didn't to me. What he lacked in sinister look though, he made up for in performance. This guy oozed evilness from the start. They added some extra layer to the character too that worked very well. I noticed at the end af my first thoughts vid that I didn't mention the digital characters of Abu, Jago, & the Magic Carpet. I at least have to mention how real these characters came off. You would totally have thought that they not only trained these animals, they also went out & got an enchantment put on a rug. Beautiful effects abound, & set pieces for that matter. Every place form the alleys of Agrabah to the Cave of Wonders seemed so real. Last but definitely not least though, Guy Ritchie. I think the craziest part of all this is how this stays so true to the animated original, but at the same time is totally a Guy Ritchie film. The chase scenes are absolutely amazing. The storytelling is fluid, with virtually no downtime. Totally Guy Ritchie. Anyway, all in all I completely loved this film. Definitely my favorite out of all the live action remakes Disney has done so far. If they can keep them to this level, I can't wait to see what's next.

upload.jpg

"Avengers: Endgame" Movie Review

Avengers: Endgame. Probably the most anticipation I've ever felt for a movie. If you've seen my first thoughts video (here), you know I not only was pretty excited leaving this film, I highly enjoyed it as well. In fact, I didn't think they could top Infinity War, but this one does 10 fold. If you've been keeping up I like to let these set in a little before coming here & writing out a more full, still spoiler free, review. Spoiler free is going to be hard with this one as every scene could potentially be a spoiler. The Russo brothers were not lying when they said the trailers were pretty much in the first 30 minutes, if real footage at all. I'm gonna handle this one a little different than usual & talk about my only negative first. 

Read More

"Dumbo" Movie Review

So as usual, after my first thoughts video (see that here), I like to let the movie set in awhile before I go over my full thoughts. This time we're talking about Disney's newest live-action adaptation of an animated classic, Dumbo. First off, I really enjoyed this film. Is it perfect? No. It has it's problems. Which I'm gonna go over first to get out of the way. The biggest problem stems from the human element. I'll get more into that as I break down the performances. Next, early on there's some shaky CGI. The crazy part about that statement is to me it had nothing to do with the flying elephant scenes. Those to me were probably some of the most amazing parts of the film. Finally, it felt a little slow to start. Mainly, due to the first 30 minutes or so containing a large & depressing amount of loss. This is also where you hit 95% of all the beats of the original animated classic. Starting from the beginning credits you see the Medici Bros. Circus start up on there tour, & by the end of the credits it's a dilapidated shell of its former self. Followed by the first scene of the kids greeting their father fresh off the train from WW1 to the knowledge he's lost his arm. On top of that we revisit all of the sad notes of the original Dumbo. Which, like I said earlier, pretty much gets summed up in the first 30 minutes of runtime. To me the rest of the story is where this film really shines. As I've been saying leading up to this, out of all the classics, Dumbo really was the shortest on substance. So, from it's announcement, I knew this would be the one to be built on with new content. That's my favorite part about these live-action adaptations, when they're done right. Not changing any of the core storyline, but building onto it, an enriching it that much more. This aspect was my favorite part of this film. This is where you meet my favorite human performance of this film in the form of Michael Keaton's Vandemere. A very realistic wolf in sheep's clothing villain. Kind of an anti-Walt Disney, creator of a steampunk version of Disneyland in the form of Dreamland. He's the epitome of greed, but a realistic version as well. Coming off as a philanthropist out to help everyone succeed their dreams, only to show his true colors once he gets to what he wants. A master manipulater, I loved to hate this character. This performance alongside the poor man's version of pretty much the same character in Danny DeVito's, Medici, were hands down best human presences this film had. They found a way to separate the two. Where while Medici was also fueled by getting a buck any way he could, he still had a since of family when it came to his troupe. His decisions seemed more fueled by his allegiance them,  then the pursuit of wealth. I also found Colin Farrell handled his role well. He was surrounded by so much loss & confusion throughout. I felt like he did well portraying a lost soul, just going through the motions of life. Where this film fell short in the human aspect for me was in Eva Green, & the two kids. I never really cared about Eva Green's character throughout. Much less her "evolution" from beginning to end. More so, in the kids. They just didn't seem to drive the emotion they should have through the course of this film. That said, part of me thinks they deliberately tried to keep the human aspect of this film toned down to make Dumbo the true star. And if that was the case, they did a great job in my eyes keeping him the frontrunner for this film. From the time that elephant take his first flight this film takes off. As Keaton's character said, it made me feel like a kid again. I compared it to the first time we saw Reeve's Superman fly. My favorite part of this film however, was how it was handled by director, Tim Burton. Tim Burton usually has a style all over his films, that you can distinctly notice is his. That said, my favorite Burton films don't have this thumbprint. This falls in that category. If no one would have told me going in this was a Tim Burton film, I probably wouldn't have known until the credits rolled. He really did deliver an aesthetically beautiful film here though. Where I siad the CGI was shaky in the beginning, was immediately made up for. Not only when Dumbo took flight, but also in the amazing steampunk homage to Disneyland in the form of Dreamland. Totally amazing, & the set pieces that made it up were absolutely beautiful. I also loved the way he subtly hit all the points you remember from the original, without beating you over the head with them. His handling of the pink elephant scene is reason alone to see this in the biggest theater you can see it in. So all in all, though not perfect, I highly enjoyed myself through the course of this very good family film. I will definitely add it to my collection, to enjoy with the family many more times. Curious what everyone else thought though? Let me know in the comments, like, & share.

Read More

"Captain Marvel" Movie Review

So, as usual after my first thoughts video, I like to take a little time & let everything set in before I write a more full review. If you haven't seen that video you can check it out here. I feel like Captain Marvel is fighting an uphill battle, even with people I personally know, before they even see it. For some it's the press it's getting, for others it's unfortunately the fact that it's a girl superhero. Both as unfortunate as the other because this was a really good film. I highly enjoyed myself through every minute of this latest Marvel installment. While it's not on the level of an epic Infinty War, Civil War, or any Avengers film, I feel like it easily takes its place by the side of Doctor Strange, Ant-Man, Spider-Man, or any of the introductory MCU films. Those being some of my favorites due to their ease of rewatchabilty. Much like this, those seem to have a fun factor that sets them apart from their longer more epic films. While those are the better films, they do take a certain mind frame to really get in the mood to rewatch. This one itself really shines in the way it deals with its story. It hasn't been a secret that Captain Marvel would be the most powerful hero we've seen so far in the MCU, & she definitely is. She's basically the equivalent of Superman when it comes to power levels in comparison to the rest. That's what's made it so hard to tell compelling Superman stories over the many years of his existence. When you're dealing with an overpowered superhero just their entrance into the game ends all threats. This film found a way to deal with that level of overpowerness perfectly, & that was the amnesia aspect. When this film opens Captain Marvel, the Kree warrior hero is already a thing. However, she has no idea she has a whole human life before all of this. This not only made for a very interesting sci-fi story, it was a great way to keep her overpowering in check until the grand finale. Powers which were so great, without spoiling anything, I questioned the grandness of the finale until they really upped the ante in the final moments. As I said in the first thoughts video, I can't wait to see this character find a matchup on her own level. It'll be an amazing sight. Now, a lot of the actors parts will be hard to really get into without spoilers. So, forgive me if I'm to vague in some character descriptions, as the misdirection in this film's advertising was real. Brie Larson was amazing as the title character. Once she finds out things aren't as she believes her character development is so on point, & she is pure greatness in this role. Samuel L Jackson's Nick Fury stole every scene he was in however. The de-aging process is now perfect, as he just looked like they picked him right out of A Long Kiss Goodnight. His back & forth with Carol Danvers was by far one of my favorite parts of this film. We had a very unique villain with a lot of depth in the form of Ben Mendelsohn's shapeshifting Skrull Talos. I was not expecting his performance at all. I was thinking we'd see some shades of Rogue One, but this character is 100% original in comparison. Jude Law also wasn't at all what I was expecting, & I really hope we get to see more of Yon-Rogg in the future. Annette Bening was one of the biggest surprises to me. Yet, she's also the hardest one to talk about without delivering spoilers. Layers of performance from her though, with bold decisions to the lore that actually work quite well. Can't go through the characters without mentioning Goose the cat, with a top notch acting performance in his debut role. Seriously though, I highly enjoyed, & recommend this film. Even with the comic knowledge filled head I have this kept me on my toes with all the surprises. They took liberties here & there, but all the decisions to stay worked. The 90s aspect brought me right back to my high school days. The moments of comic nostalgia were so naturally added. All in all this film is perfect for fans of the MCU as well as fans of great sci-fi. The Star Trek to Guardians of the Galaxy's Star Wars feel. A must see in the theater as well. The 3D was amazing as well. So, if you're a 3D fan, this is definitely worth the upgrade. Before signing off fully I must address the awesome tribute to Stan Lee. Not only his appearance, but the Marvel title screen. Applause rang out through the theater & almost brought tears to my eyes. Thanks again Stan. Also, make sure to catch both the after credit scenes.

upload.jpg

"Mary Poppins Returns" Movie Review

So, if you haven't seen my first thoughts video on Disney's follow-up fifty plus years in the making you can see it here. As always though I like to let these sink in a little more, & write out a more full review. Mary Poppins Returns will be no exception to that, even though I might have took an extra day or two this time around. As I said in my first thoughts many times, this film had an uphill battle from its inception. To try to follow up a classic, 50 plus years old no less, that has stood that test of time in almost every way, is no easy feat. And even though this one doesn't quite measure up to match its predecessor being practically perfect in every way, it does manage to hold it's own as a more than solid, highly enjoyable sequel. I'm gonna break this down into sections starting first with the overall story. This is where this movie really shines. It picks up with a grown up, widowed Michael Banks just finding out he's losing his childhood home to the bank, while at the same time raising his own three, highly grown up for their ages, kids of his own. Of course his sister Jane is by his side to help out, but the Banks kids are once again in need of Mary Poppins. Oh, and Michael's kids are too. What sounds like a simple story on paper, as they try to find lost bank shares to help pay for the house, turns into a at times heartbreaking tale, filled with magic & lessons abound. The real beauty to it being how well it not only picks up in a perfect place, but totally parallels the original's theme, without taking the easy way out of just copying its successes verbatim. On top of this, the film is absolutely beautiful. From the animated scene, to the dance choreography, to even just the overall use of color, saying this film's beautiful is an understatement. Now when it comes to the acting Emily Blunt owned this movie in the title role. She made this movie Mary Poppins' movie. Which I always thought of the original as Mary & Bert's film. With Dick van Dyke stealing the scene just as much as Julie Andrews. Not the case in this film. There will be no argument, this was Emily Blunt's film. And she was perfect, fully resisting the urge to just copy what Andrews had already done, she made this character her own. There were times it was so her own, I felt she was almost even out if character, but then I would tell myself that Mary is here for different reasons this time around. So as much as she comes when she's needed, she comes in the form she's needed as well. The more I think about it, the more I really like this extra layer to the character. Another shining piece of performance goes to the three kids, who were absolutely amazing. They struck acting gold with those three. Lin-Manuel Miranda was good, but as the main side character to Mary I feel he just fell a little short. His singing & dancing was great. It's just his acting fell a little short when you compare him to his predecessor Bert. He held his own, but he couldn't quite get on that level to rival Blunt. Which would have made him that equal part like Van Dyke did in the original. A major example of that was Dick van Dyke's cameo in this film, where he steals the scene from everyone. Two major differences in this film were an actual villain, who demands your hate, & the fact that this one was a little more Broadway than the original. I mention this Broadway feel now because there was one spot that I feel this negatively affected the film. And that's in Meryl Streep's character. She was the one dance scene to many in my eyes, & I would have loved to see her character used much like Ed Wynn's in the first. I think using her in a strictly comedic role, light on the music, would have added much to her role, & to the film as a whole. The tea party on the ceiling was actually one of my favorite parts of the original, & this would have been a perfect place to pay homage to that scene. Now this is a musical, so we have to mention that. I walked out of this with the original music still stuck in my head. Now, that said, I enjoyed all but one song in this film. However, none of the music was quite up to the original's. An impossible feat by the way, as the original had some of the best music to ever be put on film. One of the songs is just guaranteed to bring tears to your eyes, but a lot of this music had more of a Broadway feel in my opinion. Not a bad thing, just something I noticed. Out of all of them i absolutely loved "Trip the Light Fantastic", & the choreography that went with it. An amazing scene. Overall, I highly enjoyed this film, & would recommend it to anyone. You'll just feel better about life as a whole after watching it. It didn't hit the impossible goal set before it 50 plus years ago, but that by no means is a failure. This is a great film, & as sequels usually go, it's even better than that. I'd love to know & discuss your thoughts as you see the film. Put them in comments, like, & share.

upload.jpg

"Ralph Breaks The Internet" Movie Review

So, if you haven't seen my first thoughts video, you can check it out here. The only thing that has changed between then & now is, the more I think about Ralph Breaks the Internet , the more I love it. This is truly a spectacular follow up to the original Wreck-it Ralph . I'd have to see it again before I'm sure, but there's a chance this might've surpassed its predecessor. Not just in terms of success, but also in animation, story, & especially in the comedy department. After decades of not so great animated sequels (understatement), it might be safe to say Disney's starting to figure this out. The first & biggest example of this is how well thought out this sequel is. It takes the foundation layed in the original, & just runs with it. The result being a sequel that felt like a perfect segway from the first. You can tell they really wanted something that felt like a logical, natural direction. And what could be more natural for retro-gaming, than a trip to world wide web? A trip for Ralph & Vanellope to fix the broken "Candy Rush" via Ebay to be pricise. A trip that winds up being the best social commentary on the state of the internet & how we use it I've ever seen. Literally laugh out loud funny throughout, I even felt like this movie was more accessible than the first. Not everyone grew up with or was into retro games, but you've been under Pride Rock if you haven't used the internet in one form or fashion. On top of more relatable, this film returns the amazing performances of the original, & they don't skip a beat. As much as I love me some Sarah Silverman & John C. Reilly, I don't think they will ever be as great as they are in these roles? These characters have so much heart & soul you almost have to remind yourself they're animated. The most surprising part of this whole film for me though, was once again, just how funny it was. It's hard to make a classic Disney animated film genuinely hilarious. Sure you can add some humor here & there, but it takes some talent to write a straight up PG rated comedy film for everyone. For me, this was this films greatest achievement. The jokes just keep going from beginning to end. Disney even pulled out every franchise from Star Wars to the Princesses  to keep the yucks going. The original Princesses actually all coming back to reprise their roles for what turned out to be a much bigger role than I thought it would be. Speaking of new roles, Gal Gadot didn't disappoint either as the tough as nails Shank either. In fact I think my only gripe with this film was wanting even more. Specifically in the form of Fix-it Felix & Calhoun. Who had potential for some awesome comedic scenes. The set up was there for what I can only hope will be in the special features of the BluRay release. Anyway, I loved this film. Much like the Toy Story  trilogy or Incredibles 1 & 2, I'm sure I won't be watching one without the other. These will go hand in hand from now on. I would not only recommend this to fans of the first, I would recommend it to people who haven't even seen the original. That said, I'd love to know others thoughts as they see it. So, sound off in the comments, like, & share.

upload.jpg

"Christopher Robin" Movie Review

Took a little while extra to get to this one. There's a lot going on right now. That was actually the best thing about for me about Christopher Robin though. It totally took me to another place. This is the definition of a feel good movie. If you haven't seen my first thoughts video you can see it here. First off, I'm a huge Winnie the Pooh  fan. If you find yourself in that category at all, you're going to love this movie. It captures the spirit of the Hundred Acre Wood in all it's glory. Jim Cummings absolutely shines as Pooh. Completely stealing the whole show. Every time Pooh was on screen you begged for more. There's a lot of wisdom in that silly ol' bear's childlike ignorance. He says the most simple, yet deep things throughout this film's course. Pooh's supporting plush cast were depicted pretty much exactly how you know & love. Nothing really new. Except Eeyore, he served as kind of a fourth wall breaker. A little more aware than the rest of the crew. His comments here & there were so matter of fact, & the timing was just perfect. The human side of this worked, even though you really just want as much Pooh as possible as this goes on. As I say in the video, my hat's really of to Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, & the girl that plays their daughter. Considering most of their acting & responses were to inanimate plush objects, they were amazing. Same goes for the people who notice the talking plush in the streets. Great reactions. The overall story was a little old hat. It resembled Hook  with its child becomes adult, gets over wrapped up in work, & neglects the family he's working for. They do go out of their way to justify it this time. Instead of a dedication to the job in the name of success, it's for the preservation of other families jobs. Humanizes it bit more, but doesn't change the similarities. We have a lot of of similar films though, some carbon copies. So the real question is did they pull it off. The answer would be a resounding yes. This movie tugs at your heartstrings, playing with every emotion. The whole time surrounded by the most hilarious, innocent comedy. The packed house we were in was a combination of awes, hysterical laughter, & uncontrollable sobbing. In the end, everyone erupting in applause. All in all, this film was everything I could've asked for. A family, feel good film that brought the Hundred Acre Wood to life so well you'd swear they did just that. I'm sure I will be enjoying this one for years to come. That's my full thoughts, I'd love to know yours. Put 'em in the comments, like, & share.

upload.jpg

"Ant-Man & The Wasp" Movie Review

Took a little longer for this one. Got a lot going on, & after going on for almost 20 mins in my first thoughts video (see here), I decided to take an extra day. Crazy thing is, the more I keep going over Ant-Man & the Wasp in my head, the more I realize how much I loved it. From the time it started all the way to the amazing end-credit scene. This is not only perfect follow up to the first  Ant-Man, it even feels like this spot is the perfect spot in the MCU for this to land. Taking place during the events of Infinity War this film offers a much needed counter to the weight of the SNAP. Very few times do comedy sequels live up their predecessors, but this one makes it look easy. This thing fires joke after joke, but the jokes are so natural. It's "real world" comedy based off the amazing personalities of these characters. Evangeline Lilly's Wasp really steals the "superhero" side of this one. She kicks @$$! Her fight choreography paired with the shrinking, growing, shooting, & flying was amazing on so many levels. This actually goes for all of the films choreography. From the fights to the chase scenes to all of the various uses of shrinking of growing, this film felt like it never even thought of taking a break. With Wasp playing the heroics Paul Rudd was able to spend more time being Paul Rudd. On house arrest for helping Captain America in Civil War, all he wants to do is spend some time with his daughter. This sets up his relationship with Randall Park's CIA agent. Between that & his relationship with Michael Douglas's Hank Pym, I couldn't figure out which I enjoyed more. These guys are hilarious together. Speaking of hilarious though, Michael Peña's Luis is my favorite MCU character. His crew backs him up great, but I totally sponsor his character doing a full retelling of the MCU to this point at the opening of Avengers 4. Newcomer Hannah John-Kamen's Ghost serves up a villain that we haven't really got in the MCU. Her motives are so relatable it's really hard to look at her as a true villain. Adding more layers to what takes the films center. The hunt for Hank's wife, the original Wasp, played by Michelle Pfeiffer who was lost in the Quantum Realm years before the first. And actually, the Quantum Realm should also get some credit for this one. I've never seen something as complicated as quantum mechanics handled so beautifully, making it almost simple to understand. All in all if I even had a drawback for this movie it'd be the same one that the whole MCU faces now. With each film some of these become more inaccessible. There's at least 4 movies mandatory you have to see to fully appreciate this film. That number keeps growing. For me, I don't care, I love all these. I've seen them all, multiple times for that matter. For a newcomer though, at some point this might become overwhelming. We're not there yet with this one though. Great follow up. Especially if you look at it as just a comedy film sequel. There it stands with an elite few when it comes to comedy sequels. I do wish I would've seen this in 3D. I just feel like I missed something special there in the Quantum Realm. I would highly suggest a theater visit for this one. Prepare to laugh. When you're done let me know your thoughts. Put it in the comments, like, & share.

upload.jpg

"Incredibles 2" DOUBLE FEATURE Movie Review

Alright, after getting my first thoughts out (see here), I've took a couple days to really let the Incredibles 2  DOUBLE FEATURE sink in. Since we're dealing with 2 films & a short I'm gonna break this into 3 sections.

Incredibles:  This was my first experience with the classic Pixar film on the big screen, & it was impressive on a while new level. The story, action, & comedy stand up to time so well. In fact, the only sign that this was a classic, was the dated Pixar animation. Which even 14 years ago would stand up against any other animation studio today. The movie blends classic golden-age superheroes, James Bond like locales, & a strong family dynamic seamlessly. I still say to this date, this is actually the best Fantastic Four  film we have recieved. Set in that golden age of heroes like the old Superman cartoons from the 50s, superheroes have been made illegal due to ever growing lawsuits against them. Honestly, the most realistic reason ever, & then the "Supers" are out on a form of Witness Protection. Part of the catch is they can't use their super powers any more. Mr. Incredible can't stop dabbling in heroics though, & eventually requires help form the whole fam. That's the ultra simple version of an animated film that holds it's own with major live action comic book films of today. Ultimate storytelling in what is one of Pixar's best. The cast of characters are intriguing, with so much depth for animated characters, that only Pixar can add. Seeing this on the big screen gave me a even bigger love for this movie. Depending on what day I wake up, this goes back & forth with Toy Story  & Coco  as my favorite Pixar film. If you haven't seen this film, where have you been for 14 years? Anyone with a love for superheroes, golden age heros, Pixar, James Bond, or just all around great feels all around films this one is definitely for you, & leaves you begging for more.

upload.jpg

Bao:  For me this short film was an intermission film. For anyone seeing a non-DOUBLE FEATURE, this will be what opens Incredibles 2. In a nutshell, without spoiling it, this short is about a lady who makes a dumpling that comes to life. She raises this adorable dumpling as her own child. From there the clip uses this as a metaphor for growing up & letting go. I never knew so much emotion could be contained within about 5 minutes. You could feel the emotion radiating throughout the audience when this was over. It's a very powerful short, quickly becoming one of my all time favorites. 

upload.jpg

Incredibles 2:  Here it was. We had all waited 14 years for this. 14 years, & they definitely made it worth it. Picking up exactly where the first left off to the second, there was one notable difference. Pixar has come a long way in 14 years, & it shows in the best ways. This was probably easier to see due to the DOUBLE FEATURE aspect, but the difference was like HD versus classic film. Everything immediately looked so much more alive. Other than that though, if you wouldn't have told me this was part 2, I'd have thought I was watching an Incredibles  extended edition. Not only does this pick up right after, it just take the ball & keeps running. The story progression feels more natural than almost any sequel I've seen. The story takes those moments at the end of the first to segway right into fixing the illegal superhero problem. With a brother/sister pair enlisting Elastigirl to put Supers back in the limelight. This has Mr. Incredible playing Mr. Mom while wifey does all the hero stuff. Opening up the reveal of baby Jack Jack's powers by the way. Had me laughing in tears for what felt like a solid 5 minutes. All the main characters return, not skipping a beat. Meanwhile, favorites Frozone & Edna Mode get some more screen time this time around, sprinkled along with some new Supers. There was an awesome villain that felt straight out of Batman, even if the reveal was a little telegraphed. All in all, this movie was as good, if not better than its predecessor. I've got my fingers crossed we don't have to wait another 14 years to cap this as a Trilogy. I do suggest to anyone that does see this film, it benefits highly from coming directly after the first. Revisit Incredibles  as soon as you can prior to seeing the sequel. I'll probably never watch these films another way. That's my full thoughts though. Love to know yours. Put em in the comments, like, & share.

upload.jpg

"Solo: A Star Wars Story" Movie Review

It's been a couple days now since I posted my first thoughts on Solo: A Star Wars Story. (You can see that video here.) Now that I've took some time to fully digest it, & I really didn't think I was going to enjoy as much as I did. All the problems it faced during production coupled with the long list of Star Wars characters & timelines I'd have rather seen, had me expecting a mess. What I got was a way better than decent film though. This totally lived up to the Star Wars name. The only other "anthology", or Star Wars Story I have to compare this to is Rogue One . That said, though I enjoyed Rogue One , I enjoyed Solo more. Not only does this film feel more rewatchable, it does things Rogue One tried to do, but better. For instance, it gives a better feel of what it's like to live on an Empire controlled world. For more than just our main characters. Not only that, I fell like it did a perfect job of feeling like something different, while still holding onto Star Wars . Breaking it down character for character, of course you start with Alden Ehrenreich as Han. He was my biggest worry going in. Obviously, he's the make it or break it of this film. He definitely made it. His performance is what really got me into this first. The movie's different from your typical Star Wars  film, & I think his performance as Han is what steered in into the right direction early on. Next up there was Kira, Han's love interest, & really a driving piece of the film. I enjoyed seeing how her character, & all these characters for that matter, help shape Han into the smuggler we all know & love. No one more so than Woody Harrelson's Beckett. He was great as the mentor character. Harrelson was one of the only things I wasn't worried about going in, & he totally lived up to that. There were three more people that really impressed me in this film as well. One is Joonas Suotamo. He filled the mighty Chewbacca's shoes, & I feel like I've never seen this range out of the wookie co-pilot. In this age I don't know how much was digital & how much was him, but there was a level of emotion there that I've never noticed. The second is Paul Bettany as the villain. I couldn't believe he was a last minute addition, as he was amazing. I honestly couldn't think of anyone else in this part. Which is the same, exact thing I can say for the third, as he totally steals the show. Donald Glover, or Childish Gambino, as Lando was hands down the best part of this film. I went into this wanting a Lando movie, & came out wanting one even more. Glover channelled the essence of Billy Dee & totally delivered. However, his character came equipped with an example of how some parts of this film had to grow on me. His droid companion L3-37 had some good moments toward the end, but I wasn't the biggest fan early on. There were other spots here & there that had to grow on me, mainly the very beginning, but she was the biggest. There weren't any real deal breakers in here for me. I can't get over how much I did enjoy this movie. I'm really looking forward to not only giving it another watch, but seeing more. And the last thing I thought I'd be asking for were more Solo films going into this. Especially after the big reveals in this one. There's two characters put in just for us crazy comic & cartoon fans, & I want them to build on them so bad. All in all, I think this was a great start to the character driven "Star Wars Story" films. I not only hope that Boba Fett & Obi-wan wind up being this good. Part of me hopes there's a plan to all eventually end them all together on Tatooine. Leading into A New Hope . That's just hopeful thinking though. I really enjoyed this movie, I'd definitely recommend to see this at the theater. IMAX if at all possible. Side note, I went to the fan party at AMC. Which for a $25 ticket they threw in some dice like Han's, movie buttons, a movie poster, & free popcorn. Worth the extra. You also get to see the film an hour earlier, packed with a load of super-fans. Loved this movie though, want more. Let me know your thoughts. Put 'em in the comments, like, & share.

upload.jpg

"Avengers: Infinity War" Movie Review

I took an extra couple days from my first thoughts video (which you can see here), before I wrote this. I wanted to let this set in, so I could think about it, & really get into it, still without delivering any spoilers. This is probably one of the most spoiler heavy movies I've ever seen. As long as it was, I still don't know how they've crammed so much into this film. That's one of things you get going into Avengers: Infinity War . You get this sense immediately of how big this film is. Not just in cast, but in scale. From the time it starts, you can feel this is different from anything Marvel's done. Taking place directly after the end credit scene of Thor: Ragnarok , there's an essence of grandeur right from the beginning. This is almost immediately followed by a setting of the stakes. They want you to know that nothing is off limits, no punches are being pulled, & this is the beginning of the end. Or at least the end of the Marvel universe as we know it. Everything was leading up to this. All roads were leading to Thanos, & from the time he appears he makes it known that he is a force to be reckoned with. It doesn't take long at all to realize why we need the Avengers, the Guardians, & anything else we can throw at him. Thanos is not just an awesome display of power though. He is perfectly brought to life by Josh Brolin. A man who is starting to look like is incapable of not delivering some of the best performances we've ever seen. He brings so many layers to the Mad Titan, you almost start to empathize with him. That's a hard feat for a guy that wants to gather all the Infinity Stones to wipe out half the life in the galaxy. Thanos definitely steals the show when it comes to this film. Totally making it his film. That's not selling anyone else short either. All the heroes came to play as well. We're just at the point now where most of them ARE their respective characters now. It's hard to not see Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, or Chris Hemsworth as Iron Man, Cap, & Thor. The same goes for the whole Guardians cast. Even the newcomers in Tom Holland as Spiderman, & Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther have not just taken these roles, but own them. This is even the first time I really cared about Olsen & Bethany as Scarlet Witch & the Vision. The evolution of the whole Hulk story takes an unexpected turn in as this as well. Remember he's been gone through all of Civil War , so he don't even know about the split yet. Banner has a big role to play in times to come. The reunion between him an Widow was something I was really waiting for too. This film also has propelled Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange as one of my favorite Avengers. He keeps proving he was the only person for this role. Finally, on the side of good there were the Guardians of the Galaxy. This was one of the two most curious things for me going into this movie. The Guardians films have a certain distinct feel to them, different from the rest of the Marvel universe in a major way. I was wondering how seamlessly those styles could mesh, or if one would just have to borrow the others? They meshed perfectly. I couldn't believe how perfect. Some of the best parts of this film where in how perfectly these characters interacted, & it was their differences that made that so. The other curiosity I had going in, by the way, was the use of the Guantlet. If your not in the know on this one the Guantlet with the Infinity Stones allows the wielder power over everything. The mind, time, space, reality, the wielder has the powers of a God. This is a tricky thing to display in comics, much less film. I was glad to see them once again defy odds, & pull it off without flaw. Thanos uses every aspect of the Guantlet, & each effect is spectacular. Thanos isn't alone by the way. He brings his children into the fray as well. None shining more for me than Ebony Maw. Going up against Doctor Strange, this guy was every bit the stuff of nightmares. I wasn't really 100% invested in the others, but every action film needs cannon fodder. And action this film definitely delivers, while I've mentioned it. This movie opens fast & hard, & doesn't stop going at that pace until the credits role. The isn't a rollercoaster, it's a drop from a friggin elevator. In the third quarter this thing starts bouncing back & forth between an epic sci-fi battle, & an all out Lord of the Rings/Braveheart battle. Only for all of that to get totally overshadowed by a fourth quarter slobberknocker falling right on top of it all. This film has quickly moved to the number 1 spot on my personal Marvel list. From beginning to end & all the little surprises in between, I loved this movie. Might not choose the Fan Event next time though, as my only regret is I didn't see it in IMAX. This movie deserves to be seen as big as it can possibly be. They have their work cut out for them if they're going to top this in Avengers 4 , whatever it's SECRET name winds up being. Keep em comin Kevin Feige. Don't ever leave us. Anyway, that's my full thoughts, I'd really like to know yours as well. Put it in the comments, like, & share.

 

 

upload.jpg

"A Wrinkle In Time" Movie Review

If you've already seen my first thoughts video (here), then you know I rather enjoyed Disney's A Wrinkle In Time for what it was. If you haven't, there's that really big, "for what it was" attached. That's because this movie was definitely for a younger audience, & therefore needed to be watched through younger eyes. That in mind, I thought this was a good family fantasy film. Not great, yet not horrible, it falls into the good category. Which in some people's minds is ceasing to exist. Speaking of that younger audience though, I felt like this film was really targeting the early teen age group of it's main star, & it should be a must see if you have early to mid teens. That being said, this is way to whimsicle & cute in the trailers to ever be on their radar. Sad thing, because this film contains an amazing message on growing up & loving yourself. The film is a beautiful spectacle when it's really on, but that goes against itself when it gives you some uninspired backdrops in key places. Most noticeably in the scenes with the Happy Medium & the film's climax. However, I will say those scenes were highly helped while viewing in 3D. It added depth to what would've looked flat & basic. In fact, if this is released in 3D will probably be the deciding factor on whether I buy this or not. Now, actor for actor, Storm Reid's Meg steals the whole show. This little girl is amazing, putting up experienced, adult level acting. Levi Miller was good as her friend Calvin, but really could've used some more development to his character. As well as Reid, keep an eye on Deric McCabe who played Meg's little brother Charles Wallace. He also delivered on an amazing level considering his age. Chris Pine played the lost father that inspires the journey. He was great as usual, but he wasn't really in too much of the film. This was really the kid's movie. They were the driving force. Even the "otherworldly beings", for lack of words, we're supporting characters. Reese Witherspoon's Mrs. Whatsit totally steals the show from the 3 beings that help Meg on her journey. She's great in this role, closely followed by Mindy Kaling's Mrs. Who. Who speaks in famous quotes, & it's really fun when you know one, but takes a lot a work to decipher meaning into so me the first time around. Oprah was regal as Mrs. Which, but shows one of the dangers of getting someone that big to play a part. Every time it was her time to speak, & especially when they are giving Meg gifts, I was waiting on her to start giving out cars to everyone. Took me out of the film, & made me chuckle many times. Other notable performances go to a toned down Zach Galifianakis, which I noticed I like when he's not over the top, as the Happy Medium & Michael Pena as Red. And Michael Pena? I love Michael Pena in whatever you put him in. I could've used more of his character, but he does remind me. If you're taking smaller children to this film there are some spots that are pretty scary. A little too intense for some kids, I'm thinking. Overall, like I've said, I enjoyed this movie for what it was. Far from perfect, but also far from horrible, I wouldn't pass on this one. Especially as a film for the whole fam. I don't know if I'd say rush out to the theater to see it, unless you're seeing it in 3D, but I would definitely say take a chance & watch it. It's not great, but I thought it was a very enjoyable, family film.

upload.jpg

"Black Panther" Movie Review

A little later on this one than usual. Got a lot of exciting developments going on right now. Made sure to get out my first thoughts video for Black Panther over here, but I like to give it some time to settle before I write about it. Usually that time helps me get a better handle on what I liked versus what I didn't.  This time however, I'm still coming up short on the latter. I can't find anything I didn't like about this movie. I'm a sucker for origin stories, & in all honesty this really might have been Marvel's best yet. It takes up directly after Captain America: Civil War  with T'Challa returning to Wakanda to take his place on the throne after his father's death, as well as the mantle of Black Panther. The beauty of this is even though this picks up right after those events, the film really stands on it's own. You need no knowledge of the Marvel Universe prior to fully enjoy this movie. In fact I'd almost say this movie would've worked without being a super hero film. The story feels like an amazing fantasy-adventure film that takes place in Africa. Chadwick Boseman is amazing in his title role, even more so than Civil War. Almost too cool for the screen, he was the epitome of royalty. He's such the perfect pick for this role, it reminds me of Downey Jr. as Iron-Man/Tony Stark. Coming in right under him would be did antagonist in the form of Michael B Jordan's Killmonger. I will admit I was a little thrown off by Jordan in the previews, as he felt like he didn't belong. Proving everything is a slave to context though, I found I was right, but at the same time, that's also what his character was supposed to be. Unfortunately, I feel as if I would have to label him as the most "American" character in the film. Which in all honesty, is what contributes to him being such a relatable villain. You totally understand where he's coming from. This is the point I stop selling Jordan short as Killmonger immediately jumped to the top of memorable villains on Marvel's list. He was amazing, & the dilemma involved gives two sides to a controversial topic, but also showing the real high ground in the long run. Anyway, your leads really shined, but the supporting cast did more than play their part. The women of Wakanda were amazing. Lupita Nyong'o is growing into a better actress every time she's on screen. Her Nakia is probably the most interesting female interest in Marvel Studios to date. The only person giving her any challenge for that would be Pepper Potts. Danai Gurira's Okoye commanded T'Challa's bodyguards with authority, serving up some of the best action of the fim. Two others that really stood out to me were CIA agent Everett K Ross (Martkn Freeman) & Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis). Ross wound up having a way bigger part & impact than I thought his character would. While Serkis was amazing as Klaue. Not did he play this part to a tee, the realistic world sonic arm from original comic character looked great. All in all though, the real star was the land of Wakanda. Showing a mix of traditional Africa with a futuristic sci-fi like environment, Wakanda looked amazing. The tribes of Wakanda's costumes better get some award love next year they were so amazing. I thoroughly loved every second of this film. Even the soundtrack & score couldn't go without being noticed. They commanded attention, & neither remotely disappointed. The craziest part to me though, is how as much as this movie stands alone, when all is said & done the outcome will have more ramifications on the Marvel Universe than a majority of the solo outings. Even crazier than that, we're only months away from seeing the Panther again in Avengers: Infinity War. This was as epic film though. See it as big as possible, & don't worry if you don't know Marvel or aren't a fan, this almost doesn't even feel like a super hero film. Just a great Fantasy/Action/Adventure flick. Make sure to check out our Black Panther T-Shirt Contest going on for a month. Just click here, read, comment, like, & share for your chance to win a one of a kind shirt.

20180216_204450.jpg

"Star Wars: The Last Jedi" Movie Review

I've took a little more time than usual to do the written review on this one. My first thoughts video is here, but I wanted to really let all of this sink in before I addressed it again. Star Wars: The Last Jedi has now become the second most successful opening weekend ever, & fans seem to be a little mixed on how they feel. I don't blame them at all either, this movie is not only a lot to take in, as it turns everything upside down on it's head. Really big decisions were made in this film, so many it makes it hard to review without spoiling the whole thing. Mainly because, it's especially built on a lot of surprises, delivering a spoiler worthy moment a least every 20 minutes. You will get answers to almost all the questions you wanted, you just won't get the answers you wanted. Honestly, that said though, you will get the answers you needed. Rian Johnson proves not only he understands the Star Wars galaxy, he probably even understands it more so that George Lucas understands it now. In my opinion he has breathed a new life into Star Wars, passing the torch more beautifully & perfectly than I've ever seen a franchise pass the torch. Most all of the characters really shine with emphasis on the main three. Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker gives the hands down best performance he has ever given as the farmboy turned Jedi, Adam Driver is absolutely amazing as Kylo Ren/Ben Kenobi delivering on every level of intensity, & Daisy Ridley, much like Luke in the original, seems as if she was born for this part. Other characters really played their parts, Leia's first appearance almost brought tears to my eyes, Poe proved he was the best pilot in the Resistance, & Benicio Del Toro's character grew on me enough for me to want more. I didn't care for Finn & the new girl's storyline, I just didn't really find interest in them as characters. They weren't bad, they were just forgettable in the whole mix of everything else going on. Phasma was once again wasted with hardly any screen time, I guess she's at least there though, more so than last time around. Even with those two missteps though they weren't at all enough to be called bad. Phasma still was cool, like last time around, & this time she at least gets some action. The Finn thing, like I said character wise I just didn't really care, but their mission on Canto Bight was awesome. The last character to mention would have to be Snoke, as I think they're going to treat him as the original Emperor, giving us no information at all. He does display power on a level that is beyond the Emperor though, intriguing me more than ever with his character. His throne room bothered me a lot for some reason, & I so need a reason for his face, but other than that Snoke was impressive for a fully digital character. So were creatures of this film. Namely everyone's new favorite porgs & the vulptices. The porgs were adorable, with the little space penguins reminding me Star Trek's tribbles. The vulptices I wish were used more as they were beautiful creatures on the salt planet of Crait. Bringing me to the planets landscapes. With this one you get three, Crait, Canto Bight, & Ahch To. Ahch To, you've seen before, as the planet Rey found Luke on in The Force Awakens. It is a spectacularly beautiful place that shines on film. Then there's Crait, you've seen Crait, in the previews with the red dust flying everywhere. At first, it's pretty underwhelming like Hoth, but once the salt starts flying with the red dust it really helps the battle's effects. Last but certainly not least, there's Canto Bight. This is the casino planet that is the polar opposite of Mos Eisley, a casino planet where all the high rollers go to kick back, drink, & gamble. I love any time we get to see regular life around the galaxy. It adds more reality to everything going on in Star Wars. Overall, I really enjoyed this movie. More so, I enjoy where this is all going. I read many hypothesizes on what was going to happen, & they were not only wrong, they were entirely in the wrong direction. I like that, I would rather no one be able to figure out where these are going next. It's fun to guess, but it's even better to be completely blindsided in the theater. That unknown is what makes it so entertaining. I know I liked this more than the prequels & Rogue One. However, that said I'm going to have to see it again before I can figure it's place with the original trilogy or The Force Awakens. As of now it's a great movie in my opinion, but I want to know what y'all think? Put it in the comments, like, & share.

20171216_124149.jpg

Went to an AMC Fan Showing where they gave us packs of these cards, & then of course I had to purchase all three popcorn tins

"Coco" Movie Review

If you haven't seen my first thoughts video on this amazing animated film from Pixar, you can do so here. This is where I like to give a more detailed look after I really get to sit & think about it. First, we'll start with the opening, not so short, short film that opened the film, Olaf's Frozen Adventure. There's been a lot of controversy, & hate thrown at this short. Most of it seems to fall under a little cynicism it seems though. Mostly complaints about the length, or not knowing it would be there in the first place. I thoroughly enjoyed it though. Olaf is quickly becoming one of my favorite Disney characters. The way he sees things wrong, yet at the same time sees things more right in the process is just great. He goes to find holiday traditions for Elsa & Anna, & some of his descriptions of them are hilariously on point. The music was alright, really good for a holiday special. I found myself really liking the song sang while building the ice-tree. All in all I really liked this long short. It will definitely be on my Christmas list of must watches every year. I love the fact that Disney & Pixar have restarted the use of opening shorts, I hope the reaction to this one's presence doesn't hurt the chances of future ones. I don't even care if they're this long. If you want to give me a free movie in front of my movie, then thank you. Especially if it's as laugh out loud enjoyable as this was.

WP_20160506_17_34_18_Pro.jpg

Now, with that aside, we can get into the main feature. Coco is quickly going to jump to the top of many people's Pixar lists for so many reasons. This movie has filled itself with so much Mexican culture, I'm going to have to see it again just to attempt to catch all the many references. The first real standout is the music. That & family is what this film's all about, & it shows. I purchased the soundtrack early, something I usually don't do, & never regretted it. I not only can't find a favorite, I can't find a song I don't like. My only drawback to the soundtrack is there's not more of it. The amazing music just highlights the beautiful animation. In which, Pixar really out did itself. The Land of the Dead is one of the most amazing things I've seen that studio do. Speaking of the studio, this is really what I want to see out of Pixar. Though animated, this movie plays like a live action feature film, pulling no punches. In fact, at one point when I was figuring what's the big deal, this film blindsided me with some very well done twists & turns. I want to say, that's probably do to the amazing voice performances all around. You're so tuned into them, you don't even see the curveball coming. And that's just on top of trying to soak in all the many details placed literally everywhere. I'm sure there will be some that frown on some of the "novella" aspects of this movie, that at times seemed a little mature (especially after Cars 3). At it's heart though it is all about family & understanding, containing very strong messages for both children & adults. Strong messages, that I hope aren't wasted. Like I said in the video, I dare the strongest person to not shed a tear throughout this film. You are devoid of all feeling if you can attempt this feat. I want to go into more, but I'm too scared I'll get into spoiler territory. And I would hate to spoil anything about this masterpiece. Enjoyable for all, I would suggest this film to anyone. I can't wait to own this one, so I can check it out again & again. I saw this in 3D, & if that's not your thing, I still suggest going to see this in a theater, & bring your family.. That way you can see all the beauty of this amazing film as it was meant to be seen.

WP_20171129_15_17_44_Pro.jpg

"Thor: Ragnarok" Movie Review

Before I start I want to take a couple moments to mention a couple things. First, we've been trying to attend the AMC Fan Events for every opening as of late. I haven't been mentioning it as of late, but they're awesome. You usually get a small gift & a "backstage" looking lanyard. This time around we got a Thor: Ragnarok coin & they through in a large popcorn for every ticket purchased. The real treat to these however, is the fact that these are the people you want to watch these movies with. It's so much fun being surrounded by the biggest of fans. Costumes, interactions, & just the overall excitement in the room throughout is worth the extra price. The second thing I want to mention was basically what I wanted to start off with. There was one thing I left out of my first thoughts review video (see here) that I wanted to make sure I mentioned in this. So we will start the review with the music of Thor: Ragnarok. The music selection was awesome. Not something I'm going to rush out & buy, like the soundtrack to Guardians of the Galaxy. It's not my thing, but for the film? It was amazing. Like Guardians, the use of the music was so on point to the tone, & used at the perfect moments. Speaking of the tone of this movie, it was surprisingly hilarious. I wasn't expecting to use that word describing a Thor film, but this one is definitely a comedy above all. The crazy thing is in the moments that you're not laughing, this thing gets at sometimes jaw droppingly  intense. It was almost like it kept you laughing just to take away how dark this film actually was underneath the surface. Dealing with not only some serious revelations, but having an aftermath that will be felt throughout the whole Marvel Universe. The characters were amazing. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) felt like the Thor we see in the comics who is so cocky that no matter how bad it gets, he's still having fun. Loki (Tom Hilddleston) was as Loki as Loki could be. I think I loved, hating, loving, Loki in this film more so any other time he's appeared in the Marvel universe. Grandmaster (Jeff Golblum) was great running the planet Sikar. I can't wait to see him come into contact with his brother The Collector (Benicio Del Toro). The best way to describe Sikar is bringing up them up again, it's a very Guardians-film looking planet. It's the setting for most of this film, & where we first run into a Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson). I make sure to say a Valkyrie because this is not the Valkyrie you're used to. It actually took me awhile to really accept this iteration, but by the end of the film I'm all in, she's great. Sikar is where we also see the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) join the fray, the highlight of the previews. Hulk was the second best part of this movie. This was comic book or cartoon Hulk. This is the Hulk as we've been waiting to see the Hulk. They've teased a three-part Hulk story that started here & runs though the Avengers: Infinity War & Avengers 4. I now can't wait for this to occur. This will be one of the highlights of these next films for me. Now we get to the best part of this movie, Hela (Cate Blanchett). First & foremost Cate Blanchett looked amazing, I don't think I've ever seen her look that good. And Hela? You've been wanting a villain? This villain was worthy of the attention of the whole Avengers team & more. Just in her introduction to Asgard there's more destruction involved than we've seen out of one person in the Marvel Universe so far. I absolutely hope we see more of her. How does one kill the Goddess of Death anyway? I know it feels like I'm leaving out Odin (Anthony Hopkins), but it's Anthony Hopkins you already know he's going to deliver. Overall, I loved this movie. I would go as far as to say it's the best Thor movie, but that's where I have to stop, because I just can't. For the same reason I couldn't call Civil War the best Captain America film. You have to see so many films other that Thor to make this movie work the original Thor wins best Thor film by default. That saddens me because I loved the first Thor, I think it's the first Marvel film designed for a movie audience. It really drew in some fans that otherwise would avoid comic movies. Even though I enjoyed myself more watching Ragnarok, it's because of a lot more than the Thor films. Kinda makes this more of a Marvel Universe film than a Thor film to me. That takes nothing away from this amazing film. It didn't steal a spot in my top five Marvel films, but if you change those ratings to rely only on pure enjoyment while watching, it would easily be in the top three. I had so much fun watching this, but I'd really like to know what y'all think too when you see it. Put it in the comments, like, & share.

thorragnarokopeningnight.jpg