It is that time of year again where I talk about the Oscar nominees for ‘Best Picture’. As always, my favorite time of year is awards season, which gives me the opportunity to catch as many nominees as I can before the big night happens. One of the films I have seen over the weekend was ‘Parasite’, a South-Koran comedy-thriller, of sorts, directed by Bong Joon-Ho (‘The Host’, ‘Snowpiercer’, ‘Okja’). It is a twisted, albeit depraved, look at the clash between the rich and poor; a wickedly brilliant satire that welcomes you into its devilish delights. It doesn’t just shock you, it also makes sure you have a good time until you get there.
This is it! The moment you have finally been waiting for! Here are my Top 10 movies of 2019! I apologize if it took me so long to do. I not only had a lot on my plate in terms of work and raising a baby, but I felt the need to catch up on a few movies (and for good reason). Now the wait is finally over, let us begin! Just a side note! These are my personal picks for what I thought to be the best films that came out last year, so if you feel like something is missing, then it probably did not make the cut, as there were much better movies in my opinion. Without further ado, let’s get started!
We are finally in the year: 2020, which not only means a new decade, but also another year of new upcoming films to look forward to. As always, these are the films I am personally looking forward to in the new year, so the films I am anticipating may be different than anyone else’s. Without further ado, here are the ten films I am looking forward to in 2020!
While Black Fox wasn’t the first to receive the simulcast treatment, we got to see this the same time Japanese theaters had it, it is the first time I’ve watched one. Namely because it isn’t tied to an existing franchise and it did look really cool. So when it got a fair bit of hype, I felt confident enough in checking it out. Unfortunately for me, and for Black Fox, the film is the definition of average.
All I knew about this movie coming into it was that it seemed to be about ninjas. When it opened up on a girl being chased by one, and knowing that the girl was clearly the main character, it wasn’t hard to figure out this was some kind of training. The sequence is really good, and in some ways, the best part of the film.
You learn that the girl, Rikka, is expected to take up her grandfather’s legacy and lead the Isurugi clan when she comes of age. However, she has other plans. Her father is a scientist who makes cools stuff like animal drones that have human-like AI. Rikka would like nothing more than to follow in her father’s footsteps.
Flash-forward and Rikka has taken the first major step to achieving her dreams, even if it is to the disappointment of her grandfather, getting into the same school her father attended. Now she’s coming home to share the good news AND celebrate her birthday. Unfortunately, the past has come to haunt Rikka’s father, and I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you where this is going…
In that moment Rikka abandons her aspirations and takes up the blade to seek revenge on the man and all who took her family from her. Which would be cool, except the film abandons this idea in favor of exploring some themes of forgiveness and becoming your own person.
From my summary, you can probably already sense a big problem with the film. It’s predictable. So much so, that it almost feels like a paint by numbers for how to make a successful blockbuster hit. There’s not a single thing you shouldn’t be able to see coming a mile away, and that’s one of the biggest problems I have with Black Fox.
Outside the minor deviation from this just being a ninja movie to becoming something closer to a Spider-Man film, the whole thing is just one trope after another. While none of them are bad or hurt the integrity of the film, the lack of risk or innovation is sorely felt here.
My other gripe is that the whole “revenge” aspect of the film is completely abandoned. It makes sense when Rikka doesn’t kill the first guy she interacts with, but as time goes on, it gets harder to accept that she would give up on it because her robot pets told her to. On the one hand, forgiveness is powerful, and the people she ultimately does forgive, do ultimately deserve it. Though, on the other hand, having it completely removed from the table didn’t feel good, especially as events unfold.
An example is likely needed here. Toward the end of the movie, the bad guy from the evil company (which is so obviously evil it is hilarious) sends an evil drone based on stolen technology from Rikka’s dad after her. It destroys a bunch of the city and everybody can clearly tell the corporation made it. I find it hard to believe that Rikka is going to somehow resolve this peacefully with no casualties.
Furthermore, as an aside, can I just say that it is so stupid that when the people confront the corporation about the evil robots that all the doubts and outrage is dispelled because the corporation says they’ll pay for all the damages, help rebuild, etc… Then the CEO or whatever he is also announces that they are changing the name of the city to be his name. It’s so stupid, I honestly don’t get this part at all.
This is probably an issue more specific to me, but it all felt incredibly cheesy. Perhaps this wouldn’t have stuck with me as such a big deal if Black Fox actually had any resolution. That’s right folks, the film doesn’t have an ending. It “resolves” an arc of a much bigger story, but it also doesn’t seem like the movie will be getting a continuation as one hasn’t been announced (at least to my knowledge).
After doing a bit of research, it seems like this was the product of a failed TV show, which is likely why this occurs. But then, I have to ask, why was this even released? I just can’t help but feel that this is a half-baked product that teases more that may never come. Perhaps the popularity of the film, as it was pretty well received in general, will get it there, though I can’t say I’m looking forward to more.
Look, it’s not like Black Fox is a bad movie. The animation is really good and the story it tells is tried and true. It just needed more, and I don’t just mean the runtime, I mean this in almost every respect. That’s why I can’t ultimately recommend the film. While you may enjoy it, the experience ultimately feels lacking.
That’s it for Black Fox. How did you enjoy it? I know that I wasn’t the only one who felt a bit baffled by this, but maybe you saw something I didn’t. I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you want to support my efforts here, please click one of my donation buttons below as the support is appreciated. Thank you so much for reading and I hope to see you again soon!
Three decades. Nine movies (not counting the anthology films). One epic franchise. We have finally reached the end of what has been called “The Skywalker Saga”. With its popularity, there is no doubt that more characters and worlds will be explored in the form of shows and spin-offs (There is reportedly a Kylo Ren prequel series in the works, but with so much news, how can you trust the internet anymore?), yet somehow, this truly feels like the end of a much-beloved franchise. As perfect as it seems, the journey, however, can be a long and winding road filled with so many paths and choices that, as you go, you start to wonder if you have taken the right turn.
It is easy to dismiss ‘The Addams Family’ as yet another unnecessary reboot since so many people are more familiar with Barry Sonnenfeld’s 1991 film and its 1993 sequel; yet, in actuality, this “creepy, kooky, mysterious, spooky, and all-together ooky” family has been around since cartoonist Charles Addams brought them to the comic pages in 1938. Though nothing is more familiar than the 1964 television series with Carolyn Jones as vampiric matriarch Morticia and John Astin as the suave and debonair Gomez and its theme song which still causes fingers to snap along every time it plays. No matter which version you prefer, it is clear that the legacy of the Addams’ still lives on.
Even after six years, “Frozen Fever” has never really died down. Just like a snowstorm from Elsa’s ice powers, a sequel to Disney’s gargantuan hit was inevitable. You would think that another feature would be dished out as soon as the iron struck hot (or in this case, cold), yet being Disney, time has to be taken to improve a craft to make sure that their newest moneymaker is better. In a way, it shows here. Not only does the animation look gorgeous and lifelike, the adventure seems to be more treacherous and the stakes are higher. Sadly, that is all I can say about this attempt to make snow fall twice.
When it came time to adapt ‘Doctor Sleep’; Stephen King’s sequel novel to ‘The Shining’, Mike Flanagan seemed to be faced with some tough decisions when writing and directing. Not only were King’s original novel and Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 adaptation two different beasts, but they were so dissimilar that the author famously hated Kubrick’s take on his work. However, it seems that Flanagan has succeeded in crafting not only a worthy sequel nearly four decades after the original, yet a movie that seems to work on its own terms (Hey, if it is enough to please the “King”, then I am sure it will work for modern audiences).
When you first log in to Disney+, one of the first things you will see in the streaming competitor to Netflix’s featured category is their “original” film, ‘Lady and the Tramp’. You may either see it as yet another unnecessary live-action remake of a perfect, well-beloved animated classic, or you may bask in its warmth and glow, as you watch two rescue dogs with mouth movements more animated than Jon Favreau’s remake of ‘The Lion King’ (and voices of Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux ) trade witticisms, kiss over a candlelit spaghetti dinner, and fall in love yet again.
With My Hero Academia about to enter its fourth season later this year, I thought it’d be fun to finally get around to watching the film that was released last year in 2018. It was a nice way to get excited for season four that felt like watching an extended episode of the show. However, I can’t help but feel the film had a lot of issues which I’d like to discuss today.
First and foremost, this was a good movie. If all you are looking for is a recommendation, then you’ve got it. I have to spoil some of the movie to talk about some of the things I’d like to, so you’ve been warned.
In case you need a refresher, the film sees Deku and All Might going to “I-Island” in order to visit an old friend of All Might’s, David Shield. The island is known for the technological research that’s conducted there and a big event is also going to be held during the visit. Additionally, the island is very safe, so naturally, nothing will go wrong… right?
I do want to say that it was really nice to see some more backstory on All Might and the time he spent with David Shield during his visit in America when he was younger. The two were a good team, and you can see that All Might really inspired David. Unfortunately, this is also one of my biggest complaints with the film
David is such a big character, along with his daughter, Melissa (who spends a lot of time with Deku) that it is weird for them to not play any roll outside of this movie. This film takes place between S2 and S3 events, yet it is never mentioned in the series cannon, despite being, well, cannon.
Everything that happens in Two Heroes is because David is worried about All Might losing his power, and thus, having the world lose its symbol of peace. Really though, he’s worried about losing this figure that he looks up to. While this makes for a great story beat, it was weird that David’s consequences are not at all explored.
Then there is Melissa. She hits it off with Deku and they really seem to be a great team, mirroring what we see with her father and All Might. To not have her influence things in later seasons of the show felt unnatural and clunky with retrospect. If you hadn’t seen the film, then that works, but if you had…
This is most noticeable in the support item that Melissa gives Deku. It’s basically a power glove that lets Deku use 100% of his power without injuring himself. It had me wondering just how they would explain that away since he couldn’t take it off and it was capable of “withstanding 3x the power of Uncle Might’s punches”. The solution was to just have Deku punch so hard it evaporates, which was kind of lame.
Another thing that bothered me was my chief complaint about My Hero Academia as a series, and that would be the amount of recap it has. The film recaps a LOT, which does hurt the runtime, inflating that 1 hour and 36 minutes.
To the film’s credit, this did make the movie watchable if you had seen none of the show before. A movie should be able to stand on its own, and to that effect, it was successful. It just wasn’t great to have so much recap. Really, there’s probably close to a little over an hour of actual film here, which is basically two regular episodes.
At one point I even jokingly mentioned how there was a spot where the credits felt like they should play, because it was an obvious break where an “end of episode” ED would go. This really could have just been a two-part episode set for the series proper.
Finally, the film had to contrive a way to get a lot of its cast to I-Island, which made some things feel kind of forced. I almost rolled my eyes at how some of it was executed. It does make sense for some characters like Momo, Iida, or Todoroki to attend this important conference, but beyond that everyone else is just kind of there.
Past that, everything is solid. The animation, music, and story is a great time. What I’d like to see moving forward, especially with the announcement of a second film, is having these mean more to the series. I’d like to see more of the Shield family, and the additional world details play a more active role in the story proper. This was a nice holdover until season four finally comes out, and I’m really looking forward to spending more time with Deku and friends!
What were your thoughts on Two Heroes? Did you agree with my complaints? I’d love to hear from you in the comments. If you enjoy my writing, please consider a small donation by pressing the Ko-fi button below. Thanks you once again for reading and I hope to see you again soon!