Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 – Film Review

It’s been a long time coming, but we now have finally got Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, the third and final movie written and directed by James Gunn for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, before he moves on as head of the DC Entertainment Universe, and it is quite an emotional ride. Being the final part of a trilogy means more stakes, answered questions, and a fitting send-off to our favorite characters, which, thankfully, Gunn knows how to deliver, and the results are more than satisfying, if this is truly the end for the Guardians. Better yet, let’s just stop where we are at and not milk it for what it is worth.

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A Look Back at Super Mario Bros (1993) – Is it Really That Bad?

When people think of bad video game adaptations, 1993’s Super Mario Bros. is likely to come to mind. While it is notable for being the first live-action adaptation of a video game, it was clear that audiences and critics did not buy into it upon release, eventually becoming one of the worst films of all time, and failing to make an impact at the box-office. Though, in recent years, it has gained a cult following for its status and some say it is misunderstood for its efforts. The real question is: Is 1993’s Super Mario Bros. movie really that bad, or is it truly a misunderstood gem that didn’t get the love it deserved until years later?

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The Super Mario Bros. Movie – Film Review

The Super Mario Bros. Movie Poster Features All of Our Favorite Mushroom  Kingdom Characters - IGN

Thirty years after their first outing, The Super Mario Bros. are back, albeit in animated form, which is how it should have been done in the first place. Gone is the gritty science-fiction dystopia of Dinohattan from the ’93 film, and in comes the familiar, bright and colorful Mushroom Kingdom you know and love from the games. Everything about what made the franchise so fun is translated to near perfection here, brought to life by Illumination Studios. While it does have that same style of animation that the studio behind the Despicable Me and Sing franchises going for it, a lot of what is on display looks to be barely tainted; the only update is a crisp, clear tone fit for an animated film. Needless to say that The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a lot of fun, as short as it may be.

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Cocaine Bear – Film Review

Any movie with a title like Cocaine Bear is expected to be insane. What is insane is the story that inspired Elizabeth Banks’ horror-comedy. In September of 1985, a drug smuggler named Andrew C. Thornton III dropped a load of cocaine from a plane into the wilderness, as a way to lighten the load of the plane he was in, and ended up flying out, only for his parachute to fail, causing his death. What happened next was stranger than fiction, as four months later, a 175-lb black bear was found dead in the wilderness with its insides discovered to have been filled with the cocaine that fell from the plane. The bear ended up stuffed and dubbed “Cocaine Bear” or “Pablo Eskobear”, named cleverly after notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar. Someone must have thought that this story would have made for a good movie idea, only instead of the bear up-and-dying, it became a monster on a coked-up rampage in a horror movie. Of course, a straight horror idea would not be taken this seriously, so why not make it a comedy, and have Elizabeth Banks direct it?

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A Look Back on Oliver & Company – Oliver Twist, but with Strays

My introduction to Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist was Disney’s Oliver & Company, though I was unaware of the source at the time. I saw it as a fun little musical about a cat and some dogs (with one being voiced by none other than Billy Joel). Yet as I got older, I noticed that it was a much darker story than I was led to believe. Underneath its jazzy musical numbers, singing dogs, and New York atmosphere lied a story of crime and survival. The story of Oliver Twist was never really lighthearted to begin with, yet the slums of London are replaced with the streets of New York City as people hustle about getting from one place to the next, while the lowest live in the slums. Also, put in a mafia boss setting a race against time, and you have a recipe for what may be Disney’s grittiest film in animation history.

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Avatar: The Way of Water – Film Review

When the first Avatar came out, it was an experience like no other. Becoming the highest-grossing movie of all time with over $2 billion worldwide in ticket sales, dethroning director James Cameron’s 1997 juggernaut Titanic from the top. Over 13 years later, and it is time to return to Pandora with The Way of Water, the second in a planned franchise. While it may not be as groundbreaking as the first Avatar with its visually-arresting atmosphere, The Way of Water is an intense ride once again worth seeing just for the experience, if not for the 3-D. I went with my fiancee and her mom for Christmas and, as expected, they loved it. While I was just along for the ride, just sitting, trying to take in the world I never thought that we would come back to.

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Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio – Film Review

Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio is the latest adaptation of Carlo Collodi’s story of the little wooden puppet who strives to be a real boy, while getting into all sorts of mischief and learning some lessons along the way. We are most familiar with the animated Disney movie from 1940 (which ended up getting a live-action remake just this year), yet Del Toro’s version is a bit distant from its counterpart, being that it is a darker version supposedly closer to the source material. With all the many versions, however, you would probably be tired of seeing yet another film version of Pinocchio. Thankfully, Del Toro’s film is inventive enough to stand out from the rest, as it deals with thematic material, which not even Robert Zemeckis’ Disney remake could not even pull off. I would even say that this may be the best version of Pinocchio I have seen since the original Disney film.

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Disenchanted – Film Review

Enchanted was a delightful, charming film in Disney’s live-action library, poking fun at all the tropes that the brand has cemented in its familiarity, while also having the magic of a Disney film. Its sequel, Disenchanted, may not have much of the cleverness of its predecessor, but it definitely injects more of whatever Disney magic is left, with more musical numbers and fairy-tale pizzazz that kids and fans of the original will definitely enjoy. Yet if there is anything that Enchanted taught me, it’s that less is more. As with most sequels of today, Disenchanted‘s sole reason of existence is because of how many people love the original. It doesn’t particularly rely on nostalgia or fan-service, and has potential for a continuation. In fact, Disenchanted has a bit of delight going for it, but I cannot help reminiscing how truly special Enchanted was.

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Weird: The Al Yankovic Story – Film Review

No other musical artist has changed the game of the industry quite like Weird Al Yankovic. Known for his ridiculous parodies of popular songs, Weird Al has been around since the 70s and is showing no sign of slowing down. Musical biopics have been in demand as of late, with successes like Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman. Now it’s Weird Al’s turn to get the biopic treatment. Yet Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is more in line with Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story than it is with all the rest of the music biopics. It seeks to make fun of all the inaccuracies and hard-partying lifestyles prevalent in those films by being an inaccurate exaggeration of a real musician in only the way Weird Al Yankovic himself could tell it. The story of Weird is not new, as it started off as a Funny or Die sketch starring Aaron Paul as Weird Al, only a decade ago. Now comes a perfect time for Weird to be an actual movie, but with Daniel Radcliffe as Weird Al.

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Wendell & Wild – Film Review

When it comes to stop-motion animation, no one does it like Henry Selick. If that name sounds familiar, it is because he has worked on films such as Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach, and Coraline to name a few. Yet with his style of stop-motion and dark fantasy storytelling, it would be hard to mistake him with Tim Burton. If one were to pay attention, you could easily see that Selick has a particular style that is easy to separate from Burton, from the thin design of the characters to the lanky way they move. While he does not have as much of a filmography, Selick has left his mark in the animation industry as a visual artist. Wendell & Wild comes from a story written by Selick and it just may be his most colorfully clean.

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