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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Jacob’s Top 10 Movies of 2022

It’s that time of year again where I talk about the best films the previous year had to offer, and 2022 had plenty of good films, ranging from multiverses to fine dining, and even a murder mystery or two. With that being said, here are what I think are the best films of 2022!

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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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Jacob’s 10 Most Anticipated Movies of 2023

We are only a month away until 2023, which means a new slate of movies to look forward to! With so many releases, it is clear that there is a lot to look forward to! Yet only ten could make the list as to save typing space. With that being said, here are the 10 movies that I am looking forward to the most!

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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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Hocus Pocus 2 – Film Review

After 29 years, we finally get a sequel to Hocus Pocus, Disney’s little movie that could. While the original film wasn’t a huge success at the box-office (a major factor being that it was released in the Summer of 1993), it managed to become a staple of Halloween movie nights, thanks to being shown on the Disney Channel and ABC, where it has achieved a cult following, eventually being a juggernaut for the month of October. With all the nostalgia for Hocus Pocus, a sequel was indeed inevitable, with Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy returning to reprise their roles as the devilish Sanderson Sisters, as they wreak havoc in the sleepy town of Salem, Massachusetts, yet again.

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‘Pearl’ Film Review

Pearl may be the most unique villain origin story ever put to screen. We only got to know the character of Pearl as the creepy old lady from X, which was released earlier this year. She doesn’t have the same iconic status as the Joker, or a Disney villain, yet her backstory serves as an intense, if not, compelling feature. Written by director Ti West and star Mia Goth (who both collaborated on X) during the pandemic, Pearl was given the green light and shot in secret, back-to-back, with X; an unusual move for sure, but a welcome one at that. While X had the grainy feel of a 70s horror movie in the vein of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Pearl was made with the technicolor CinemaScope style of a 50s or 60s movie in mind. Beneath Eliot Rockett’s dreamy cinematography lies an unsettling nature that could only come from a slasher film. The character of Pearl (Once again played by Goth) is a young woman with hopes and dreams, yet hiding within the farm getup, innocent Southern drawl, and schoolgirl smile is a sense that something is not right. All we can do is just wait for a firecracker to go off.

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