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Showing posts from July, 2016

Disney Sundays: Fantasia 2000 (1999)

Can I just say we need another Fantasia soon! I love that Disney decided to make a sequel especially considering Walt himself had intended to make semi-regular Fantasia movies. And I think the idea of doing one every few decades to showcase and celebrate how far animation has come is a great idea! It doesn’t have to be too regular, but I think we should get another at least between 2020 and 2025!
          Like it’s precursor from 1940, Fantasia 2000 is a chance for the artists at Disney to really go all out and show off all their skill and creativity. It’s a collection of shorts, some narrative, some abstract, set to incredible works of classical music. In my review of the original Fantasia I glorified how brilliantly the film conveyed the marriage of music and animation in grand, sensational ways. How well does it’s sequel do?
          Well there’s no mistaking animation has come a long way since the original Fantasia, and this movie certainly makes a point of that. Not just in the…

Back to the Feature: The Deer Hunter (1978)

The Vietnam War was the first of its kind so it’s no wonder it inspired a subgenre of movies from the 1970’s on. And one of the earliest and most effective films to touch on this conflict was Michael Cimino’s The Deer Hunter. Though not as iconic or gritty as Francis Ford Coppolla’s Apocalypse Now that came a year later, it’s still a very decent look at how war can transform people.
          The story follows three blue collar workers in small-town America: Mike (Robert De Niro), Steven (John Savage), and Nick (Christopher Walken) who are preparing to ship out to Vietnam. Steven gets married and before they leave they engage in their past-time of deer hunting with another co-worker Stan (John Cazale). Also Mike’s been falling for Nick’s girlfriend Linda (Meryl Streep). Of course despite their anxiety to get there, they eventually discover exactly what kind of hell-hole the Vietnam War is, not only witnessing the horror of guerilla warfare, but enduring a harsh experience as…

Star Trek Beyond: A Sufficient Anniversary Gift

Like Skyfall four years ago, Star Trek Beyond is tasked with representing a franchise on its fiftieth anniversary. And Star Trek is a mighty enough cultural phenomenon that the heat is really on to do justice. This is a media franchise that has inspired some of the great innovators of science and technology in the last few decades, can Beyond appease them as well as those only familiar with this reboot series begun in 2009?
          Three years into their five year mission, the Enterprise is sent on a rescue mission into an uncharted nebula. Once there they are swarmed by a fleet of small ships, attacked badly, and are forced to abandon ship. The leader of these aliens Krall (Idris Elba) captures Uhura (Zoe Saldana) and Sulu (John Cho) as well as most of the crew looking for a relic Kirk (Chris Pine) obtained on a previous mission. Kirk and Chekov (the late Anton Yelchin) are stranded elsewhere, as are Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Bones (Karl Urban). While Scotty (Simon Pegg) me…

The Twenty Best Episodes of Star Trek (Spinoffs!) Part 2

Previously on the Twenty Best Star Trek (Spinoff) Episodes, Deep Space Nine prepares for war, the Enterprise puts a stop to the Warden's Cardassian killings, and Voyager meets the 1990’s! Now the conclusion!

10.“Tapestry” -this is a TNG episode with an important theme that’s really stuck with me over the years. When Captain Picard apparently dies on the operating table and meets Q in the “afterlife”, he is given a second chance to fix the mistakes of his past that led to his needing the artificial heart which is now killing him. It’s interesting to learn of Picard’s reckless youth and even see his younger self laughing at a stab wound through the heart. Picard regrets these actions, his former arrogance and his efforts to rectify that give the episode it’s moral. We all have made decisions in our past that we’re embarrassed of or regret, but those actions have been more important than we realize in making us who we are. Picard realizing that the changes he’s made have turned him …

Disney Sundays: Tarzan (1999)

When Disney’s Tarzan came out, I wasn’t really excited for it. Mainly because to my little kid eyes it looked a lot like The Jungle Book, and I already had The Jungle Book. But eventually I did end up seeing it and wound up enjoying it. Like The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Tarzan was Disney’s take on a property that had already been done a number of times on film. The famous jungle man from the Edgar Rice Burroughs novels had been the focus of a ton of movies from the earliest days of cinema. Because of Tarzan’s popularity, this was one of those instances where Disney had expectations to surpass. And checking out the movie again so many years later, I’m perhaps more surprised than you would be that Tarzan is actually pretty good.
          The story begins with a British couple and their infant son escaping a burning ship. After building a home for themselves on an isolated land, the husband and wife are killed by a leopard called Sabor, but their son is found by a gorilla Kala…

Penny Dreadful Reviews: "Verbis Diablo"

This is another episode of Penny Dreadful that mixes the incredibly goofy with the incredibly gruesome. That principal thread by the end of the episode is both disturbingly shocking and absurdly strange. That’s certainly going to make the episode stand out, but the curious developments in other areas aren’t to be ignored. 
          So apparently that visitation the previous night didn’t physically harm Vanessa but left her very shaken. To get her mind off things, Sir Malcolm takes her to an underground hospital where they help treat victims of cholera. Sir Malcolm claims he does this often. But Madame Kali, whose real name is Evelyn Poole (Kali sounds more witchy) still has plans for Vanessa. She’s also beginning to manipulate Sir Malcolm by continuing to run into him. I enjoy these scenes not only for the chemistry Timothy Dalton and Helen McCrory have, but for the fact that we get to glimpse other parts of this Victorian world. Miss Poole has a lot on her plate though, as in additi…

The Twenty Best Episodes of Star Trek (Spinoffs!) Part 1

I think it’s safe to say that Star Trek has changed the world. What was once a utopian idea of humanity’s future that existed solely in the head of Gene Roddenberry has become a long-lasting franchise encompassing six TV series and with the upcoming release of Star Trek: Beyond, thirteen feature films. And there’s a reason it’s been able to last. There’s an optimism and a wonder to series quintessential theme of discovering the unknown for its own sake, as well as how creative worlds, aliens, and conflicts can tell us something about ourselves and the world in which we live. That’s one of the primary goals of art after all, to encourage a reflection of society, culture, our own outlooks, to help influence a better future. And that better future is seemingly the setting of Star Trek. Because of these themes as well as its ground-breaking stories and cast diversity, it’s inspired people, technology, and even politics for fifty years now. 
          So on this fiftieth anniversary of suc…

There's Something Strange in the Neighbourhood

I don't think any movie envies this one. Not only does Ghostbusters have to overcome its extremely poor marketing but it’s a reboot of one of the most beloved comedies of all time. Which is a lot going against it. We were even wondering for a while whether this was going to be remake or a sequel.
          Make no mistake, it’s a remake.
          The story is about three scientists with an interest in the paranormal who after being fired from their research jobs start a business called Ghostbusters. They hire a fourth person to assist them as well as a receptionist and are soon tasked with stopping an apocalyptic event in New York while facing opposition and criticism.
          This, some of you may remember, is the exact same plot as the original Ghostbusters and in fact this film especially in the first half, replicates the original scene for scene. From the plot points, to where they come into play, to a haunting victim screaming just as the title comes up. It’s pre…

Disney Sundays: Mulan (1998)

Chinese mythology doesn’t seem like that unusual a place for Disney to go after ancient Greece. For a while it did really seem like Disney was trying to hit every culture’s history, literature, or folklore. Like the Greeks, the Chinese offer a lot of rich interesting stories through their myths and legends. And the tale of Mulan is one such story. I don’t know how much justice Disney’s film does to the figure (my guess is it’s very loose), but it’s certainly a better result than Hercules. That being said, while no one really hates Mulan I don’t know if anyone really loves it either. Most seem to think it’s okay, not bad but not great. And I too am just sort of in between, because everything it does well and everything it does poorly pretty much evens out. 
          Set in ancient China, a period that’s always naturally fascinating and atmospheric, a young woman called Fa Mulan struggles to behave like a proper lady. When the imperial army conscripts a man from each family to fight in…