Hey guys! I just wanted to share my Captain America: Civil War review I posted to youtube tonight. I will write up a more in depth review after I get to see it again. I was super entertained by the film.
I also did a really fun podcast style video with my friend Matthew where we ranked the MCU films. This is long, 2 hours, but if you are looking for something while doing work or driving I think you’ll enjoy it.
Hi friends! Yesterday proved to be a busy day for me! I filmed and edited 8 videos for this week and participated in a podcast style video discussion. It is the first in a monthly series we are doing leading up to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in November. Each month my friends Abby, Jeremy and Richard will join me to talk about one of the Harry Potter films.
As this is the first month we naturally are talking about the first film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (or Philosopher’s Stone for UK). This is similar to what Jeremy, Abby and I did for our Star Wars series but this time we are joined by Richard who is a blogging friend of mine. He has been doing a detailed chapter by chapter review of the Harry Potter books on his blog so I had to include him. It was so neat to finally talk to him after reading his blog/tweets for years.
It was my first time leading a discussion with 4 people so I was a little nervous about that. Plus, I am no Harry Potter expert but I think it turned out pretty well. I am looking forward to the next videos where hopefully I will continue to improve and so grateful to Abby, Jeremy and Richard for making time out of their Saturdays to do this with me. It really was a lot of fun.
Anyway, as far as the movie itself it’s charming in many ways but in all honesty it didn’t hold up as well as I remembered. I understand Chris Columbus was trying to stay as true to the book but this movie should not be 2.5 hours long. Especially in the quidditch sections I found myself getting pretty bored.
Also Emma Watson and Rupert Grint were in their first movie with this film…and it shows. I hate to say it. They are passable I guess as child actors but you can tell they aren’t like a Jacob Tremblay in Room. It looks a little amateurish.
All that said, the introduction to Hogwarts and the magic world is very charming and fun. The British greats in the adult cast are all wonderful especially Alan Rickman as Snape. The sets and settings feel immersive and fun and the music by John Williams as expected is perfect.
So it’s not a bad film just a little more boring than I remembered.
Overall Grade- B-
What do you think of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and what do you think of our discussion? Thanks!
Hey guys! I just wanted to quickly share with you my latest Obscure Animation review. This is a monthly series I do over on my youtube channel profiling an animated film that is less well known and why you should see it. This month’s pick, Transformers: The Movie, is loved by many but I still feel like it counts as it isn’t as well known as say a Disney or Pixar film.
People might be surprised to see me praise a Transformers movie as I am not a fan of any of the recent live action versions by schlockmeister Michael Bay. It’s frustrating because this film is actually a good scifi movie with emotion and heart which none of the Bay films have and I feel it is maligned by association when it shouldn’t be.
There are a lot of things Transformers: The Movie does right, which the live action films don’t do. First of all, it gets us right into the action. There is no origin story or lame humans finding the transformers. This is a movie about transformers!
Spoiler alert! (It’s 30 years old guys. See it!)
It starts out with the Decepticons and Autobots fighting and Optimus Prime is battling Megatron to protect Autobot City. They battle and it is awesome but Optimus Prime is wounded in the fighting. And then in an emotional scene Optimus Prime hands over the Matrix of Leadership to Ultra Mangus and then dies.
It was a bold move to kill off your lead character but it is handled so well and creates an emotional tie to all the action throughout the rest of the movie. It’s interesting because they had cynical motives of wanting to sell new toys so they killed off a bunch of characters to introduce new characters, but it works. It creates real stakes behind the story and isn’t just mindless dopey action like Bay films.
So Megatron and the Decepticons end up getting gathered by a giant planet transformer named Unicron who makes a deal with Megatron. He turns Megatron into Galvatron and in return he must get Unicron the Matrix of Leadership.
This starts our story (great start right!) and we get a ton of cool characters like Hot Rod, Kup, Ultra Mangus, Arcee, Springer, Perceptor. There are only 2 humans in the film Daniel and his father Spike but they are treated just like any other characters and used sparingly. It really is a scifi story and the story is taken seriously by all involved.
Director Nelson Shin does a wonderful job with the animation which is bright and colorful and the story by Ron Friedman is smart, keeps you guessing and has moments to breath combined with the great action. It’s a movie you can watch multiple times and get new things out of it on each viewing.
The voice cast is iconic with Leonard Nimoy as Galvatron, Orson Wells as Unicron, Judd Nelson as Hot Rod, and Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime. And the music by Vince DiCola is intense and entertaining.
I feel like many reading will discount this movie as silly nonsense but I would encourage you to watch it with an open mind as it is a very good film. It has a good story with action, emotion, and fun. The animation is well done, and it has a nice message about leadership and finding your calling. It dares to take kids seriously and challenge them with themes of death, loss, sacrifice and even war, but it still entertains them at the same time.
Give it a shot. I think you just might like it
Overall Grade- A
(and if you feel so inclined I would love if you watched my video review and left a comment/thumbs up. Thanks. Also, if you have any suggestions for Obscure Animation let me know! Obscure animation doesn’t have to be unheard of but just less celebrated than the Disney or Pixar classics).
I’m very excited to announce my next video reviewing the Oscar nominees for Best Animated Feature Film is up! I have reviewed every year from 2001-2015. Here’s the entire playlist and the Animated Oscars Tag videos people have done. It’s a long video, so perhaps a good one to listen while doing another task. If you like it please give it a thumbs up. Thanks!
A beautiful hand drawn animated film by Ale Abreu that tells the story of a little boy looking for his father. Using basically no dialogue Abreu creates a kaleidoscope of colors and textures as the boy ventures into the city and confronts war, waste, commercialism and fear. Sometimes it can be heavy handed and a bit self-indulgent but it’s also bright, colorful and fun. The music is infectious and will make you smile.
A somewhat cynical yet thought provoking stop motion animated film from Charlie Kaufman for adults. The animation is fluid and smooth as it focuses on a man named Michael who has become disenfranchised with the people in his life. Everyone looks, behaves and even sounds the same. Then he meets Lisa who is different and this excites him. Some of the adult content I felt was distracting from what really made Lisa special. We could have dug deeper but instead we get superficial differences like a scar or voice. Still, it will definitely make you think and if you can handle the content worth a watch.
I don’t know how I could say more about this film. It was my favorite film of 2015 and it is rapidly becoming one of my favorite animated films of all time. I have found myself watching it most weeks since I got it on blu-ray. There’s just something about the dual stories of Riley and Joy that doesn’t age for me. It improves each time I see it. I love the humor, visual splendor, and heart. The end when Riley admits to her parents ‘I miss home’ is perfect. Joy’s journey when she finally realizes that happiness requires sadness is equally strong. Perfection from Pixar.
A delight from the team at Aardman. A spin off from the TV show (which is great and you can watch on Amazon Prime) Shaun is tired of his boring routine and wants a day off. So him and his friends go to the big city and have an adventure. It has the spirit of a silent comedy with minimal dialogue and some great visual jokes. I loved when the Farmer becomes a barber to the stars. It’s a sweet, simple, endearing film. And of course, the animation is wonderful as is usually the case from Aardman. I wish more people in US saw their great films.
This film really impacted me emotionally. Seeing the journey of Anna as she struggles with deep depression and her family’s effort to save her is very beautiful. The main message is that we all have love in our lives. The key is recognizing that love, both here on earth and from those who have passed on. We all have love, and that love has power to rescue. The animation is stunning. I particularly loved the sound mixing and how lush everything felt. The ending may not work for everyone but I thought it was pure truth. Great way for Studio Ghibli to go out. The music and song by Priscilla Ahn is gorgeous.
So 5 wonderful films! It’s funny looking over these 5 nominees I feel 2015 is a bit of a an underrated year. It certainly was a diverse year especially when you consider 2 very strong films, Peanuts Movie and Good Dinosaur, that were not nominated. And how amazing is it to have a year with only 1 CG film nominated for Best Animated Feature Film. 2014 only had 2. Take that 2D animation is dead crowd! 😉
Anyway, I think you guys know Inside Out is the clear winner in my books; although, I think all 5 are quality films. As I said earlier, Inside Out is a game changer for me. A film I will never forget.
What about you? What do you think of the nominees and do you think the right film won?
My friend AJ joined me to talk all about Zootopia today. We dive into the nitty gritty talking about the plot in detail, so this is very spoilery! We talk about the messaging and some of the complaints between both sides of the political spectrum. We talk about the imagery, character design, story and Zootopia’s place in the history of Disney animation. I am going to write up this breakdown in essay format later in the week in a spoilery review but I thought you might enjoy listening to the video.
It’s more the kind of video you listen to while doing other things or driving because it is an hour and half.
Let me know what you think of our discussion and the points we bring up.
Hey guys my youtube friend Nels just finished this awesome series where he ranks all of the best picture winners. I don’t agree with all of his placements but I respect his reasons and I love that he goes over all the nominees of each year. It’s amazing for how young he is how he has seen all of the nominees and has thoughtful opinions about them. They deserve more hits so give them a view and a thumbs up!
There are a few videos I haven’t shared with you guys from my youtube channel that I thought you might like. I’ve been working really hard to improve the quality of my videos and get one posted every day. Some stuff I post simultaneously on this blog and on the channel.
Other things I stagger and other things I post on one or the other. I’ve been doing some really fun stuff on the channel including my weekly Disney Canon Project, Family Movie Night and Obscure Animation Monthly pick. There are other videos but I don’t want to push my luck. Subscribe to the channel and you will get alerts on the daily posts.
Some of my Disney Canon Project reviews are different than my blog reviews. Things can feel different on a rewatch and with my blog reviews I was grading based on Disney films not on films at large. You will find that in general I am a bit more generous in the video grades than on the blog for that very reason. At the end of the day, it’s still Disney animation and there is almost always something to entertain me even in flawed films.
I don’t expect you to watch all of these but if any of them look interesting give them a watch. I’d be so grateful and if you feel so inclined give them a thumbs up.
Also if you have any suggestions for Obscure Animation or Family Movie Night please put them in the comments section. For March we are watching Transformers: The Movie for our Obscure Animation. Admittedly this is more under-appreciated than obscure but I think it still fits. I would love any feedback or comments you can give. Thanks!
Hi guys! I had the cool experience today where I got to interview screenwriter Melissa Leilani and find out what it is like to write a script. She was the main writer for a film I loved in 2015 called Freetown.
Freetown is a faith-based film but one that is approachable to anyone. It tells the story of a man who must smuggle 6 missionaries out of Liberia during their brutal civil war. Things are tense and Brother Abubakar is a man of practical faith mixed with a healthy dose of skepticism. It makes him a very compelling character.
What I really appreciated about Freetown is that it told a compelling story and let the messsaging take care of itself. Unlike many faith based films (that I still find some value in) I didn’t feel it was preachy or forcing a message upon me. In fact, my friend Yusuf who is Muslim liked the film as much as I did.
Here are both of our reviews:
I think you might find it interesting to watch the film and then listen to the interview about her experience. However, I also think it will be interesting if you are just interested in screenwriting or writing in general. We do get off topic a few times (we have very similar movie and theater taste!). She has a theater background so her transition from playwright to screenwriter was very interesting to me.
Anyway, this is only the 3rd interview I have done, so if you have any feedback that would be great. I hope you enjoy it.