Missing Link

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Laika is an animation studio that I’ve struggled with. Each time they release a film, I want to love it, but very rarely can. In a world where it seems like just about every studio is pumping out an overwhelming amount of computer animated films every year, It’s incredibly refreshing to see Laika Studios utilize classic stop-motion animation for their films. While each of their film’s technical merits are impressive, the screenplays have never been particularly strong. (Coraline being an exception) Missing Link is only Laika’s fifth film, and while it’s undeniably a visual feast and has its clever moments, it ultimately doesn’t offer much beyond its visual splendour.

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Top Ten Most Anticipated Spring/Summer Releases of 2019: Part 2

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Welcome to part two! Part one of this list can be found here. If you’re caught up with that list, here’s the following five films and TV Shows that I can’t wait to see in the next few months of 2019!

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How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

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2010’s How To Train Your Dragon took the world by storm, and struck a chord with moviegoers in a way that very few Dreamworks films have. I enjoyed the first HTTYD for its unique creature design and likeable lead, but it was the sequel, How To Train Your Dragon 2, that made me a fan of this franchise. I found it built upon the first entry in a wonderful way, providing us with a larger world, a scarier villain, and a more intriguing plot. Because of this, my expectations were high when it came to the third film, and after a very long wait, The Hidden World is finally upon us, and it’s a beauty.

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The Last Laugh

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The Last Laugh focuses on Al (Chevy Chase) trying to convince his old client Buddy (Richard Dreyfuss) to get back into doing stand-up comedy. What follows is a basic road-trip set up where the two friends travel around and perform at comedy shows. The premise of a retired comedian struggling to get back into stand-up after a long absence and rediscovering his craft sounds like it has potential to be not just a good source for comedy, but it also sounds like a good amount of emotional weight could be presented within that story as well. 

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The Prince Of Egypt: Blu-Ray Review

IMG_8469Dreamworks Animation entered the scene in 1998 with two animated features; Antz and The Prince of Egypt. Both films were finally released on the Blu-ray format Last month courtesy of Universal Studios The two releases might seem to be quite random, but the truth of the matter is that this year marks the 20th anniversary of both films. While I’ve never been very fond of Antz, I consider The Prince of Egypt to be one of the most beautifully crafted animated films ever made. Its powerful story, astonishing soundtrack and gorgeous animation has given the film a longevity that few other Dreamworks films can claim to match. (Some would go so far as to call it the studio’s only truly great film, though fans of Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon would beg to differ)

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Despite this, the film has gotten little to no fanfare since it’s theatrical release in 1998. While this is unfortunate, it’s not unsurprising. Unlike Disney, Dreamworks doesn’t appear to celebrate the older animated films in their catalog in the form of special anniversary releases (unless it’s name is Shrek) and for a long time the better part of Dreamwork’s early lineup of films has been unavailable to purchase on Blu-ray. That has finally changed, but is really worth a buy? Eh…depends.

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Let’s start with this tragic cover art. There has been a trend as of late with major studios and their animated film releases, where instead of using the film’s original poster or creating a unique cover, they simply opt to use a close-up of one or two of the characters’ faces. The Prince of Egypt’s cover art is actually one of the nicer looking ones when it comes to this style of artwork, mostly due to the fact that the film’s art style is always a pleasure to see (regardless of how close it’s shoved in your face) but it’s still a shame that such an inspired film has to be settled with such lazy and unimaginative box art.

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Despite this year being the film’s 20th anniversary, Universal Studios hasn’t gone out of their way to provide a beautiful new transfer. Instead, we’re treated with the same slightly grainy picture quality that you can find on Netflix and previous DVD copies of the film, with only a slight upgrade in quality thanks to the Blu-ray’s HD picture capabilities. This is a let-down, but again, not entirely unexpected. The audio quality, on the other hand, fares much better, improving upon the sound from previous editions and giving the presentation a theatrical feel. The bonus features that are included are the same ones found on the previous DVD versions of the film; An Audio Commentary, Deleted scenes and so on. The content itself is very solid, though it would’ve been nice to see a retrospective documentary or something new that looked back on the film’s legacy somehow.

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If you already own a copy of the film on DVD and don’t care about upgrading your entire movie collection to the Blu-ray format, there’s sadly very little reason to pick up Universal’s latest release. The packaging itself is far blander than even the original VHS edition of the film, and the lack of new content and just passable quality really hurts what could’ve been a special release. If you don’t own the film, this is technically the best official version you can currently get, but it could have been a lot stronger. Here’s hoping for a remaster somewhere down the line.

My Most Anticipated Films of 2017: 5-1

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Welcome back! Yesterday I shared a few of my most anticipated films of 2017, but today we’re looking at the ones that are on the top of my list. These next five films are the ones that I’ll  go out of my way to see on opening night. (Though to be fair, Kong: Skull Island also falls into this category.) Let’s begin!

Number Five: Thor: Ragnarock

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I know that I’m in the minority on this, but the third Thor entry is the upcoming Marvel film that I’m most excited about. It’s being directed by Taika Waititi, the man who gave us the wonderful “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” last year, and I’m really interested to see how he injects his brilliant sense of humour and heart into the Marvel universe. I’ve also made it no secret that Thor: The Dark World was my favourite Superhero film of 2013, so it seems fairly likely that I’ll enjoy this one as well. Plus, any film with Loki in it is going to be worth seeing. It’s been too long since we’ve seen the best Marvel villain back in action.

Number Four: Star Wars: Episode 8

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Rest in Peace, Carrie Fisher

It’s Star Wars. What can I say? It might even be your most anticipated movie of the Year. The Force Awakens was a fun ride, but what really gets me excited about Episode 8 s the new directions that it will go. We’ll learn more about Rey, Finn, Poe and all the other new characters, but we’ll also finally get to find out what Luke’s been up to all these years. (and can we please see more of C-3PO and R2D2 this time?) Seeing Carrie Fisher on screen will be a touching and emotional experience for many viewers and fans. and with a great director attached, I’m confident that this will be one of the best Star Wars films we’ve seen yet, and easily one of the best of the “Disney-era” of Star Wars films.

Number Three: Untitled Godzilla Anime

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Truth be told, we know hardly a thing about this film. All we have is that it’s going to be the first full-length animated Godzilla film, it’s going to be animated by Polygon pictures (the animation company that worked on the excellent Transformers Prime and several episodes of the Clone Wars TV show) and we have that image above. To be honest, that’s all I need. A Godzilla Anime has been a fan’s dream for years, and only now is it finally becoming a reality. I have a feeling some may be upset that I ranked such a under-wraps film so high, but Godzilla rarely lets me down. Can’t wait for this one.

Number Two: My Little Pony: The Movie 

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Ever since 2011 when I first fell in love with Equestria and the world of Friendship Is Magic, I’ve hoped and wished that at some point we would get a feature Film based on the newest incarnation of MLP. Now, in 2017, that wish is finally coming true. Despite the fact that I think the most recent Season of the show (Season 6) was really poor, I still adore the first few Seasons of the show, and think that the loveable characters, the expansive lore, and the grand story would really lend itself well to the big screen. The animation is going to be somewhat resembling a traditionally animated film, and even has legendary animator Michel Gagné  (Who’s worked on classics such as An American Tail and The Land Before Time) working on the film as an animator. Very hyped for this one.

Number One: Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie 

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YES. Finally. At long last, The Jungle Movie is finally coming out. For those who don’t know, Hey Arnold! Was a wonderful Nickelodeon series from the 90s. The series had a good run and lasted for about Five Seasons. The series finale ended on a cliffhanger, showcasing Arnold finding a journal and a map to where is long-lost parents might be located, but we’ve never gotten a proper conclusion to that story…until now. Series creator Craig Bartlett is heavily involved with the film, and many of the classic voice actors are returning as well. Out of al the films being released in 2017, This is easily the biggest deal for me. (And that’s saying a lot when there’s also a Godzilla and FIM movie coming out in the same year!) The Jungle Movie will be released as a Two Part film (Each part an hour long!) in November 2017.

And there you have it! Those are the ten films that I am the most excited to see this year. Which films are you most looking forward to. Any of my picks make your list? let me know in the comments! Have a great 2017, everyone. Make it count.

My Most Anticipated Films of 2017: 10-6

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Welcome to 2017, everyone! 2016 was a pretty bumpy year for movies. We had some Gems like “Arrival” and “10 Cloverfield Lane” but we also had a heap of disappointments (mostly in the blockbuster department, though). Not since 2015 However have I been so excited for a yearly film lineup. For some. this might not be their most anticipated Year, but for me, there are some HUGE releases coming out, and we’re  going to take a look at my Top Ten most anticipated Films of the Year.

Number Ten: Paddington 2

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This may seem like an odd choice to start off my list with, but let me explain. Me and my sister grew up watching the Paddington Cartoon on TVO Kids. It was one of the few Channels we had, and Paddington was one of the most charming and humorous shows on that network. Despite this, I was concerned that 2015’s (or 2014, if you live in the UK) Live-action Paddington film would fall flat on it’s face. The advertisements simply made it look like one of this dreadful Alvin and the Chipmunks movies. Thankfully, Paddington turned out to be one of the most joyful and pleasant surprises of that Year, and it even made it into my top ten favourite films of 2015.  Much like the books and show, It was an incredibly endearing and loveable story that had a very Wes Anderson-ey vibe.  The reason I’m so excited for Paddington 2 is because it looks like much of what made the original so great is coming back. Paul King is back in the director’s chair, the whole Cast is making a return and the writers remain the same. I’m not sure if it’ll top the delightful first entry, but with the creative team involved, it’s very likely that it will come close.

Number Nine: Spider-Man: Homecoming

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Spider-Man is by far my favourite Superhero. His Role in Civil War was brief, but a highlight. It’s no surprise that Marvel Studios pushed for a solo Spider-Man so soon after actor Tom Holland’s Civil War debut, and hey, it looks pretty great! The director has stated time and time again that he’s going for a John Hughes vibe with this film, and it shows. The trailer spends a lot of time  establishing the fact that this is going to be a very high-school centric Spider-man story, which is a fresh way to go about it. (The Sam Rami and Marc Webb films also featured Peter Parker in High school, but only for a short period of time.) Michael Keaton looks intimidating as the Vulture (though this is an ironic role for him to take so soon after Birdman!) and the humour looks spot on. Will it top Rami’s Spider-Man 2?  We’ll just have to wait and see.

Number Eight: Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2

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As you can probably tell by this point, I really like Marvel. (This isn’t the last Marvel film you’ll see on this list) 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy was the surprise hit of the summer, and it’s sequel honestly looks like it could be even better. From the gorgeous cinematography, to the vibrant colours, to the hilarious banter between the team that we grew to love back in 2014, this is shaping up to be one of the biggest highlights of the summer. Despite the comedy that will surely be present, director James Gunn has said that this will be a more emotionally driven film than it’s predecessor, which is kind of scary, because the first film’s ending with Groot was one of the most tearjerking moments in Marvel’s whole cinematic universe. Will the sequel make audiences fall in love with Baby Groot? I think it already has.

Number Seven: Alien: Covenant

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Holy CRAP. That trailer was spooky. I know I’m in the minority on this, but I loved 2012’s Prometheus. I loved the atmosphere, the story, and the different approach Ridley Scott decided to take with it. It wasn’t so much a straight up Horror, as much as it was a pure Science Fiction epic. Alien Covenant however, looks like it’s going back to the series roots…and it looks pretty terrifying. It’s going to be a treat to see the Xenomorph Alien a classic Horror movie icon, back on the big screen, but I’m also incredibly excited for the return of Michael Fassbender as the android and the ways this film will bridge the gap between Prometheus and 1979’s Alien. Between this and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, it’s going to be a Galactic summer. (Sorry that was awful. Please don’t stop reading.)

Number Six: Kong: Skull Island

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You know it’s a packed year when King Kong is only at number six. Make no mistake, despite the fact that it didn’t crack into my Top Five, Kong: Skull Island, looks like an absolute blast. As a huge Godzilla/Kaiju fan, i’ve been waiting for a new King Kong film for a while now. We haven’t seen Kong since Peter jackson’s excellent remake back in 2005, but the great thing about 2017’s Skull Island is that  it’s not following the classic King Kong story. Instead, this is an origin story of sorts, depicting a group of people who get stranded on Skull Island and encounter Kong and other Kaiju-like beasts for the first time. The Cinematography looks atmospheric and beautiful, with some very clear visual nods to “Apocalypse Now”. Did I mention that this film takes place in the same universe as Legendary’s Godzilla film, and that the studio is building up to a Godzilla vs. King Kong film? Kaiju fans, we’re living in a golden age, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

And that’s part 1 of my most anticipated films of the year list! Stay tuned for Part 2, and let me know what films you’re most looking forward to! I’d love to read your thoughts! Happy New Year!