‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ Film Review

Grade: C+

Anthony Daniels, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Keri Russell, Oscar Isaac, Jimmy Vee, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Kelly Marie Tran, Daisy Ridley, and Naomi Ackie in Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

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.

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‘Frozen II’ Film Review

Grade: C+

Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad, and Jonathan Groff in Frozen II (2019)

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.

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‘Lady and the Tramp’ (2019) Film Review

Grade: B

Justin Theroux and Tessa Thompson in Lady and the Tramp (2019)

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.

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‘The Lion King’ (2019) Film Review

Grade: D+

James Earl Jones and JD McCrary in The Lion King (2019)

For anyone expecting better from Jon Favreau’s remake of Disney’s ‘The Lion King’; no matter how much we would like to see photo-realistic recreations of our favorite animated characters recreate a masterpiece, looks are not everything. As a high-definition remaster, it succeeds in the visual department, yet lacks the heart, emotion, and energy that made the original so beloved in the first place. What was once epic and masterful has been drained of life. You can blame it on the money-milking machine that is Disney for unnecessarily remaking the films we have once held dear in our childhoods, however, as long as audiences clean their wallets for the sake of nostalgia, the studio will not stop until there is nothing left.

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‘Toy Story 4’ Film Review

Grade: A

Tom Hanks, Keanu Reeves, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, Christina Hendricks, Keegan-Michael Key, Ally Maki, and Jordan Peele in Toy Story 4 (2019)

You would think that ‘Toy Story 4’ was nothing more than a pointless cash grab, but in the case of this continuation of a sweet conclusion to a trilogy, you would be surprised. ‘Toy Story’ is Pixar’s most beloved and meaningful of its properties. Not only did it put Pixar on the map and pave the way for computer animation to be the new norm, it also manages to appeal to both children and adults. Just the name “Toy Story” alone is enough to bring joy into the hearts of those who hear it being mentioned. To ruin such a beloved trilogy for the sake of money and merchandising is basically a crime against humanity. Thankfully, ‘Toy Story 4’ still has enough heart to keep the franchise alive.

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Lost Song – Straight Forward Children’s Fare?

Critically Panned

Image result for lost song anime reviewContinuing my journey with anime on Netflix, I decided to watch Lost Song after the disaster that was Hero Mask. The description got me interested in this because it said there would be singing and a quick cursory look at the staff revealed that Yukari Tamura (you may recognize her vocal performances in shows such as Island or Higurashi) would be a prominent character. While not every roll of hers involves singing, this one seemed like it obviously would, and that was enough to get me to watch. Unfortunately, the show had a lot of bad reviews, but I was convinced there might be something to this one. Continue reading “Lost Song – Straight Forward Children’s Fare?”

‘Dumbo’ Film Review

Grade: A

Danny DeVito, Danny Elfman, Michael Keaton, Colin Farrell, Derek Frey, Rick Heinrichs, Ehren Kruger, Chris Lebenzon, Deobia Oparei, Roshan Seth, Ben Davis, Eva Green, Joseph Gatt, Frank Bourke, Sharon Rooney, Ragevan Vasan, Nico Parker, Finley Hobbins, and Zenaida Alcalde in Dumbo (2019)

When it comes to remaking a Disney classic such as 1941’s ‘Dumbo’, extra care should be taken to ensure that its touching story of a baby misfit elephant with huge ears never loses its charm or heart. Never have I expected Tim Burton to take on the task, especially since he has had bad luck with remaking certain movies (‘Planet of the Apes’, ‘Alice in Wonderland’). The task of making this animated classic live-action fare seemed like a hit-or-miss, yet Burton is known for adding whimsy to his work, which his most recent remake is full of. Needless to say, I was touched, amazed, awe-inspired, and even teary-eyed.

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‘Mary Poppins Returns’ Film Review

Grade: A

Emily Blunt in Mary Poppins Returns (2018)

“Supercalifragilistexpialidocious”, “Practically perfect in every way”, “Wonderful”. All these words could be used to describe the character of Mary Poppins as well as her feature debut back in 1964 (She used to be a character in P. L. Travers’ series of books). Her return in this sequel is just as glorious and spectacular. Though, this time, Emily Blunt dons the uniform that Julie Andrews wore, as well as that chipper English delivery she won the Academy Award for. While time will tell if ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ gets nominated for a majority of Oscars, as far as I am concerned, I enjoyed this movie and will call it “delightful”.

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‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ Film Review

Grade: A-

John C. Reilly, Ming-Na Wen, Brad Garrett, Irene Bedard, Kristen Bell, Jodi Benson, Bill Hader, Jennifer Hale, Taraji P. Henson, Linda Larkin, Jane Lynch, Kelly Macdonald, Idina Menzel, Mandy Moore, Paige O'Hara, Anika Noni Rose, Sarah Silverman, Alan Tudyk, Pamela Ribon, Jack McBrayer, Kate Higgins, Gal Gadot, Timothy Simons, Ali Wong, and Auli'i Cravalho in Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018)

Out of all the modern Disney movies that has come out in recent years, none has ever tackled the subject of the internet more than ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’, the long-awaited sequel to ‘Wreck-it Ralph’. While most people are looking forward to ‘Frozen 2’ (Seriously, who was?), I was waiting for ‘Wreck-it Ralph 2’ to finally be made. Though, one could argue whether a sequel was truly necessary when the first film was great on its own. Thankfully, ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ does not lose its sense of social commentary or charm when compared to ‘Wreck-it Ralph’.

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‘Christopher Robin’ Film Review

Grade: B

Ewan McGregor, Brad Garrett, Jim Cummings, and Nick Mohammed in Christopher Robin (2018)

Winnie the Pooh and friends return in yet another live-action remake of a popular animated Disney classic, only this time, it is more of a sequel than a straight remake. In it, Christopher Robin is all grown up (and played by Ewan McGregor), with a wife (Hayley Atwell) and daughter (Bronte Carmichael), and a job as an efficiency expert at a company run by Giles Winslow (Mark Gatiss); though his job gives him little to no time with his family. Christopher Robin feels stuck in the hum-drum of work. But who better than Winnie the Pooh (Voiced yet again by Jim Cummings) to save the day, and show Christopher what he has been missing?

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