Monday, July 30, 2018

The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh

As with everyone no doubt, I'm very happy to see Christopher Robin this Friday. But what makes so many people love Winnie The Pooh?

Well, the books are classics and written to where anyone can enjoy reading them. These cartoons started as just shorts before they were compiled into one movie and it's done so well you never probably knew. This was one of my favorite Disney tapes when I was young along with The Aristocats, The Jungle Book, and Toy Story so to me and no doubt many many others, they grew up watching Winnie The Pooh. And the joy and love I feel has never diminished over the years. So since the movie is in fact several shorts, each one simple and fun, plot is not necessarily important. Just adventures and happenings in the Hundred Acre Wood with Pooh and all his friends, told incredibly well with an abundance of fourth wall breaks, endearing characters, and a very slow and relaxed pace. I've made a theory that you can tell a lot about a person from who their favorite character is from Looney Tunes, Seasame Street, and Winnie The Pooh, because those are like childhood 101 everyone has watched these things at a young age and made an impression on them. And for the record mine are Taz, Cookie Monster, and Eeyore. These shows stick with us, we all have fond memories of them, and they can still be remembered with affection and fondness. For such a simple idea of a child and his stuffed animals as friends going on adventures, it hits home and is so endearing. The animation style is sketchy bringing storybook pictures to mind, the voices are memorable and wonderful, the stories are fun and can entertain adults, the humor again is basic but hard not to love. My absolute favorite joke which I dare not spoil, is found when you first meet Piglet and it is all due to the fact I never realized the joke until I was way older. It absolutely kills me. There's a wonderful Pink Elephants dream sequence which I loved as a kid and I think I may love it more now, the animation is so well done and the song is catchy. In fact, all the songs are great and I catch myself humming or singing them even now. The only bad thing I could ever say is, I feel they mixed the endings up. The last part, or short of the movie is totally fine but the one before that has a perfect ending that leads to the ending which is easily the best scene in the movie. I know it's nitpicking at best, but I honestly felt it would have worked better! You go from a lovely fun time high, to a very contemplative and deep low. The ending I won't lie, emotionally wrecks me. It's kind of hard to watch because it acknowledges the depressing truth of life, which I sincerely hope the new movie delves into because it would elevate it from a very good family film to one of the best. But we got one more venture into the Hundred Acre Wood before then, so I'll see you soon.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Teen Titans Go To The Movies

Even though it took all day to finally see it, it was still worth it.

I love Teen Titans Go, and their new movie is awesome. In the same vein of The Lego Batman Movie poking fun and satirizing many tropes of superhero films while still telling a good story, I find it just as enjoyable as The Lego Batman Movie. Not better, but just as enjoyable. So we catch up with the team and they are trying to get a movie made about them to be seen as real superheroes and not just a joke. Through several attempts and with no luck they meet a new adversary, Slade who tries to pull a Nygmatech and hypnotize people through a superhero film leading the Teen Titans to leap into action! So much to love in this movie, easter eggs galore, awesome comedy, the animation is so crisp and fresh I want my walls to wear it, voice cast is on point as usual with a surprise guest appearance by Will Arnett as Slade (though I really wanted him to be Batman again) and one more hysterical surprise guest appearance, coupled with so much more to love. In fact, I can only say one bad thing about the movie. They do not credit the original duo that made the Teen Titans theme song. They credit Danny Elfman and John Williams for their iconic scores, and yet no love for Puffy AmiYumi! The Batman and Superman themes play for 5 seconds each, and the Teen Titans theme is played constantly yet you bastards can't give credit to that awesome band?? Fffffffffff-I digress. Beyond that, great movie! Any movie that beats the crap out of Shia LaBeouf.....10/10. 10/10. 100/100! Best film! BEST FILM. Recommended to all but more importantly a certain group. All you fanboys and borderline trolls who constantly belittle Teen Titans Go and praise the original awesome show. I love Teen Titans, in the future I wish to review the whole series because it is so excellent. I also love Teen Titans Go and can appreciate and enjoy what it is, and never look down upon it because it's different. You need to go see this movie. Because this movie, is what will save the original Teen Titans. Tara Strong posted on Twitter that the original show will return if the movie does well, because it shows people want more Titans. a way, this movie could be the finale of Teen Titans Go. I don't think I need to explain further, just go read my Solo review if you don't quite get it. This movie is great, and I will buy it when it hits video.

See you next week good friends.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Teen Titans Trouble In Tokyo

This is how it happened. This is how the Teen Titans ended.

After several seasons and the conclusion of the original Teen Titans show back in the day, they created one more adventure to end the series. Did it succeed? This wasn't the grand finale, the climax culminating through years of television like they are doing with Steven Universe, the show ended and on a quite somber and unclear setting. People wondered if that was really the end, and the movie doesn't really conclude anything from the series but gives one last fun adventure with the Titans. Released 8 months after the series ended, the Titans are attacked by a mysterious villain that soon leads the group to Tokyo to find out the mastermind behind it all. And the movie is very, very good even if you did not grow up watching the show. The movie is very self contained, and can be enjoyed by all though I do urge you to watch the show because it is well worth your time. All the original cast is present, the excellent and clearly anime inspired animation style brings a really sleek and wonderful view of Tokyo, they delve heavily into Japanese pop culture ranging from kaiju movies with a giant monster resembling Titanosaurus attacking the Titans, not one but two Akira references one more subtle than the other, the police force helmets look like Ultraman, plus a quite hilarious karoake and sushi scene makes it even more enjoyable to me now than when I was 11 years old. I really loved the series and the movie when I was a kid and to revisit it brings back good memories. It's a nostalgia trip for sure, but the movie has it's own merits and is not solely banking on fond memories. The story is good, the characters are wonderful and they show growth from the first episode of the show, the humor is good and I greatly enjoyed the movie, plus it has a long awaited moment for fans of the show leading to quite a rough scene to sit through. It's such a good scene, it gives weight to these character's interactions and it's like well....for lack of a better word if The Dark Knight level of conversations met a Lost In Translation situation. Dude. It's like...really, really good. Teen Titans was a show renowned for it's perfect mixing of humor, and more deep moments. Nowadays you see it all the time, Adventure Time, Steven Universe, but Teen Titans for a lot of kids showed that a cartoon show can be serious, it can talk about character dilemmas, it can go to more mature themes, that's why so many people held it near and dear to their hearts. And probably why most of them think Teen Titans Go is the worst thing invented since nazism, seriously I have never heard so much almost universal hatred and ill will towards a show, let alone a cartoon in my life. And I just don't get it. I love Teen Titans Go, it's a lighthearted comedic romp with comic book characters. Is it as good as the old show? Absolutely not. Is it still entertaining and a good show? Of course! Which is why I'm psyched to see the new movie tomorrow, cause we could have a Lego Batman Movie situation here again with great animation, witty writing, and could be just as good as this movie. But that will come tomorrow so until then, mata ne minasan!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

BONUS: In Retrospect: Ready Player One

I totally forgot about it coming out!

And now I get to pause on every excruciating frame of film and nerd the hell out! Life is pretty good right now. And the movie still holds up and is still pretty awesome! Noticed some more cool stuff, appreciated the story and excellent effects, and of course had fun. I mean it's kinda hard for a massive geek like me to not enjoy a movie such as this, and the inner cinema snob in me is pleased too. I see you Citizen Kane reference, and any film that pays tribute to Stanley Kubrick is clearly a masterpiece of cinema. So even I cannot say even nitpicky things about this movie. It's just that good! And you can feel the love, and passion, and admiration for film, games, and music from that special period of time in the 1980s. It was a whole new fronteir back then, and despite the slight cold war worries, a pretty excellent time to be alive. I myself have a great love for that era and wish I could have lived through it. And the good news is I can still buy Tab in 2029! But the true message of the movie speaks volumes to me, and reality IS the only place you can get a decent meal, so I am going to make some hot pockets and play Nintendo because I'm just in that special mood today.

Monday, July 23, 2018

In Retrospect: Isle Of Dogs

Yes, it's finally out!!

It's felt like forever but Isle Of Dogs has finally hit video and I still love it! It's still just as entertaining, endearing, and funny as before and I would gladly buy it again. I know I talked about the animation before good lord, it is unreal how they pull off this animation! Stop motion is already pretty hard and very meticulous, but they just blow it out of the water with camera movements, environmental effects, large scale animation. It's just ridiculous how good this turned out, you really have to appreciate the work and craftsmanship these people did. It's such a good movie for pretty much any age group, and I notice that stop motion films in particular can be enjoyed by all, which is odd because it's such a rare medium and you think most older people would stay away from it but think of any movie that has had extensive if not complete stop motion effects in them, and ask yourself would you still watch it 20 years down the road. Nightmare Before Christmas, Corpse Bride, King Kong, Mighty Joe Young, Isle Of Dogs,The Lego Movie, any Willis O'Brien or Ray Harryhausen film! It's all done so well and everyone can enjoy it! I had such fun watching this movie again, and I know it is timeless. The usage of Japanese backdrops and culture add a lot to the movie, which you know I'm a fan of. I mean the movie is practically gift wrapped for me, so how could I not love it? I know the film only got a limited release in theaters but now, you have no excuse to go out and watch it now. Seriously, give it a shot.

And apparently our buisness in Japan is not over. I mean it never will be over, but we got one more movie this week set in Japan. So join me for trouble in Tokyo with the Teen Titans.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Ip Man 3

I think with this movie it all depends on perspective whether it is better than the last or not.

I personally think it does, it adds more risk which thusly leads to more intense and kinda stressful fight scenes cause you're not sure what will happen, very important character developments, and has one of the oddest pairings of fighters in history. So we fast forward quite a few years, Ip Man's son is all grown up, his father is still teaching in Hong Kong, but trouble starts brewing when a gang of thugs led by, I swear I am not lying, Mike Tyson start harassing people for their property including Ip Man's younger son's school which turns serious after his young son is kidnapped. Meanwhile, it is soon discovered Ip Man's wife actually has cervical cancer, leading to a pretty rough viewing especially if you have known people close to you who have had cancer. This is the aspect that makes the film better than the last in my opinion. Because we've always had the same actress Lynn Hung as his wife, they don't pull a Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor and have a different actress each movie, and whether or not they planned all 3 movies out in advance or not it works. Because the family element of his life has always been there, his wife tries to keep him home so they can live their life together though he always gets spirited away in events, he tries to balance work and home but fails, especially in this movie it seems their marriage is pushed to the breaking point until she grows more and more sick leading him to spend more and more time with her which is very sweet and a nice change of pace. You know he loves her and wants to be there, but the world has different plans and he is an upstanding guy so he tries to help when he can. There's one scene, I believe not long after he finds out she has cancer and he's sitting out in public, and you can tell this man is contemplating the future of his life without her in it. It's such a very brief scene but it does so much. I know some people have this issue with foreign films of, well I don't know their acting styles so I can't tell if the performance is good. That does not apply here. It's crushing to see this couple go through the worst situation possible, and to see them so emotionally revealed. I think they chose wisely focusing on the family side of Ip Man's life so prominently, though of course there is still many confrontations. Which just throws me off even more cause there is such a powerful story being told just between a man and his wife, and then here comes Mike Tyson herding these hoodlums and challenging Ip Man to a fight. And while it is interesting to see a no bars fight between one hell of a boxer, and a grandmaster of martial arts without all the regulations of a legit boxing match seen in the last movie, it just feels odd. It doesn't hurt the film, but you do ask questions as to why. But ours is not to reason why, ours is but to watch and buy. And all these movies are worth buying if this is your style of movie. I figured it fit the action standard of a summer movie, while discussing a genre of film that I greatly enjoy and admire though I have seen in reality very little. I know there are countless kung fu and mixed martial arts movies out there, some definitely worth seeing, so I wanted to share a more less known movie series that could be interesting and entertaining to watch for even a casual movie lover.

Next week, is sort of a mixed bag. It's either gonna be 1 or 2 In Retrospect reviews with 2 movie reviews including one coming out in theaters next Friday. May have some controversial opinions about the new movie for some, but hopefully you will not hold that against me.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Ip Man 2

I think I would say this film is better than the first.

So the story picks up not long after the first with Ip Man living in British occupied Hong Kong where he begins a new school and starts taking pupils. He encounters various other Masters, and through altercations with one's students they form a rivalry which soon turns to respect and understanding. And a boxing event is announced which leads to the clashing of two styles, western boxing and eastern martial arts with Ip Man fighting not for superiority but for respect. And you may notice a....shall we say a specific pattern with this movie. Now granted, film is a langauge that surpasses all barriers, and no idea is truly original. And while the factual events happened decades before, this film combines plot from Rocky 1 through 4! Two fighters form a rivalry, they rematch while hero's wife is preggers, rivals become friends and find mutual respect for one another, one friend dies in a fight and the other must avenge him. They even do a slow-mo run for crying out loud. But does that hinder my enjoyment of the movie? Actually no, you feel this palpable passion to see Ip Man win this fight. And the fights really up the ante this time around, being much more elaborate in the use of objects and even camera placement. There is one scene I especially admire where Ip Man explains to one of his pupils the importance and values of Wing Chun, cementing even more his calm, nonviolent, and all around kind demeanor. Which is why in my opinion, they casted Donnie Yen perfectly, he really is one of the nicest people you will meet like, ever. Plus they throw in a few familiar faces from the first movie, which is always appreciated. It's just a really good movie, a little more or less action depending on your point of view, but worth your time nevertheless. But we got one more, so let's see if the 3rd ends on a high note.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Ip Man

Well I figured we needed at least one action movie series before July ended.

Now I must admit, though my love and appreciation for martial arts film is high I surprisingly have not seen a lot of it. I want to, I know there have been tons of well done, well told, very good films with martial arts fighting in it that is unbelievable but I am glad I have seen this one. Not only does Ip Man have very impressive and incredible fighting scenes, but the story delves deep into the history of one of the most well known teachers of Wing Chun. So the story takes place in 1937, Ip Man has been living a quiet life teaching at his school until the Japanese invade China and occupy his city, where the general of the Japanese army challenges every master of every school to a duel to prove Japan is superior in every way. But Ip Man is surprisingly not a competitive and eager to fight kind of person, they do justice to the man and show him as kind, understanding, and respectful but has his limits like any person and will fight because it is the right thing to do and defeat the general. Now of course this is a trope in film, but all tropes have some basis in reality. He of course sees Wing Chun as something more than pure physical strength and power, and never oversteps his boundaries. His fighting style shows prowess and reservation, more about draining his opponent and finding openings to attack than a pure outpour of energy and strength, you can tell an awful lot about a person from how they fight. Almost as if their fighting styles and techniques are just further extensions of their character. To pit against a western point of view, Rocky Balboa is a southpaw, unorthodox, can take hits and dish them out twice as hard, unbelievable will and determination to win. You can tell a lot about Rocky from his fights, the same with Ip Man. And the fights are outstanding, with such speed and quick editing but never so fast you have no idea what is going on. The shots are well placed enough to encapsulate the entire fight, and the editing adds power and style to make every fight exhilirating and have a purpose. Now obviously martial arts is the name of the game, you go see a movie like this to view such well executed fight scenes, fights can occur from something like the dropping of a hat, but this movie's fights progress the story and be highly entertaining. That is in my opinion, the true virtue that makes a great martial arts movie. And I do highly suggest you watch the subtitled version, granted there is nothing wrong with the dub, but to appreciate the acting and story better that's the one to go for. If these movies are a guilty pleasure or something you greatly enjoy, if you haven't seen it you probably should. And we got 2 more before the week is out so stick around.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Hotel Transylvania 3

Happy Friday The 13th, and what a better day to begin celebrating the coming of Halloween.

You know, if they said there would be no Hotel Transylvania 4....I would be glad. By no means is this movie bad, it's a decent ending(?) to a good series. So a bit of time has passed since last we were at the hotel, and Mavis has set up a holiday cruise for Drac and family to unwind and relax a bit while Dracula has formed an attachment to the ship captain, who is of course a descendent of Van Helsing. I think the filmmakers knew hey, we've had 2 movies with nary a drop of conflict we need to actually do something this time around. And I do think they did a good job with it, since there's actually plot and conflict going on. And you know what I noticed? Now I have to be clear, I know every character has their own design, that is to be expected but in the case of Ericka Van Helsing there was something off about her and I figired it out. She looks like a Dr. Seuss character, with her off set oval shaped eyes, exaggerated chin line, the hair, it all screams Dr. Seuss drawing to me. That's not a bad thing by any means but you look at Johnny and his family in the last movie and they look pretty standard. I found that really interesting and the fact that she is voiced by Kathryn Hahn just makes her a bit better though oddly she doesn't get all zany on us. I think it was just fun to see all these classic monsters in such a fresh new environment, you know outside the castle and the woods, and they take advantage of it which gives more variety and sort of development for all the characters. It's a entertaining fun movie, perfect for adults with or without kids, I mean honestly this series has kind of done remarkably well given all the circumstances and audiences do genuinely like these movies. Not to say the first one had no appeal whatsoever and it was a miracle it was a hit, but this could be a very decent end to a loved, well done, and very enjoyable series. So of course I urge people to see it, definite two thumbs up, perfect for a weekend with the family or small ones. And of course this is a good preamble to the spooky goodness of the future, which I am of course excited for. Until next time monster lovers.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Hotel Transylvania 2

You know if we follow this trend I seriously think Hotel Transylvania 3 could be the best of the series.

I had a major blast watching Hotel Transylvania 2. It is a fantastic, highly entertaining, very funny movie that does what any great sequel should do. So Mavis and Johnny get married, we fast forward a year and they have a son Dennis and speculation starts on whether he will be more on his mother's side or not. Drac of course, wants a vampire grandson so he tries his best to bring out the fangs in the kid before Mavis and Johnny move away. For a basic plot, very much like the first with no real conflict, it is surprisingly entertaining and holds your attention from beginning to end. It's more about the adventure than a central conflict, which is one of many reasons why I love this series. I'm already a sucker for monsters, but you add in very good comedy, fun characters, and just this sort of ramble on story with no real problems, and you got a movie that could not be up my alley more. I especially love the true sense of love and family between Mavis, Dracula, and Dennis though Johnny is there he is surprisingly more in the background. I don't know, it's very easy to experience the movie and enjoy it so much and yet very intangible to explain why I love it so much. It's just fun, and there is much to enjoy whether a horror fan or not. I love the relationship between Dennis and Winnie, it is so friggin' cute I can barely stand it, I love the sort of underlying I guess situation where old school parenting meets modern parenting, for some weird reason I crack up when the gps has the voice of Peter Lorre, seeing Mavis experience human culture is a lot of fun, there's just so much to love. The animation style is still energetic and fast, the colors are vibrant with my own special favorite being California at dusk, the jokes are fun and hardly ever crass, and it just makes me excited to see the 3rd movie this Friday. I of course highly recommend this series and this movie, 2 thumbs up, and I will see you this Friday.

Thursday, July 5, 2018


Well we ended the week on a high note at least.

Well I finally saw Caddyshack, and to be honest I wasn't disappointed. It's a very good movie, and you know what I really noticed this week? All the movies have like, no real conflict until maybe the last 30 minutes or so. Stripes, Animal House, and Caddyshack are very laidback movies. The plot is this sort of ramble on, wandering, meandering story and it works for each film. It gives ample time to get to know these characters, enjoy the comedy and situations, and you don't need to pay that much attention so they are perfect for background playing at parties or while you're working on something. That is exactly what Caddyshack is, you can watch it and be fully invested but you can also screw around and do other things and the enjoyment factor is still strong. So really the true plot only happens about 30 minutes before the credits roll with these uppity golf club owners betting on a game against two regular guys who give the golf club owners grief. There's a lot that happens and yet little that happens. It's more a character movie than a plot movie, you get to know these people well and enjoy them throughout. The actors take kinda simple roles and bring a lot to them. You got Ty played by Chevy Chase, which could be the best character in the movie. Rodney Dangerfield improvises constantly and is just rambunctious fun. Bill Murray is friggin' out there man, like you hear these behind the scenes stories and people were just freaked out around him, which just makes his character more fun to me. The script is what really makes this film, I was surprised because the people talk and act like real people, I can't really say I've seen a film where a conversation between two people has ever felt more real. Caddyshack is without a doubt a must see film, Animal House is more for a movie party with friends, and Stripes I would say is good to watch with your best friend. So definite two thumbs up from me, and I will see you guys next week.

Unfortuantely, I don't have that much to review next week. All I got is the other Hotel Transylvania movies, and that's about it. So I'm excited for that, I'm excited to see Hotel Transylvania 3, it's gonna be a good week!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Animal House

And yes in my eyes Animal House is a spoof, it has several moments where it's pure exaggeration and ridiculous stuff. Very funny, but nowhere near real. I means seriously, the pillow fight scene......what even the flying circus??

Okay, Animal House. Very fun, that's how I would describe it above even being funny, it's just a fun movie. Concerning a rugged, rule breaking fraternity that is trying to be put down by the stuck up dean. Dirt simple story, but you don't watch Animal House for story. You watch it for good comedic actors playing fun characters, pretty crazy situations, and to have a blast with friends during a movie night. At first I didn't laugh or enjoy the movie much, yet strangely the more I watched the funnier it got. It's harmless fluff really, though it does probably disappoint many who picture college like this. Now I'm sure there are colleges, or universities, whatever the hell you want to call them who do have frats like the ones in the movie, both the preppy rich stuck up jackasses, and the down and dirty fun loving and mainly alcoholic party people. But honestly I did 3 years of community college, and that was enough for me. Which is hilarious cause I just love that line, "7 years of college down the drain." cause I do believe there is a sort of subtle message, the movie setting is in 1962 so the hippie culture is in swing, Vietnam is right around the corner, there was a lot of stuff going down back then so when the Dean threatens them with expellment and military recruitment, you do get this sense of oh shit, a good portion of these guys could go to Vietnam and not make it back. And they actually do tell what happened to the main characters in later years, some are more surprising than others but yeah that was kind of a brief but deep scene for me. Even in comedy movies, you need a point to get back down to reality but the comedy is very good! It's not gut busting funny, and I'm not that much of a snob who can't stand college movies (I'm only sort of a snob who can't stand college movies. Looking at you Van Wilder....) but I still laughed and had fun with it. It's prime material to watch with lots of friends and lots of alcohol, but kids don't get that excited.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018


That was the oddest "war" movie I ever seen. Sure it has soldiers and the U.S. Army in the forefront but it's so obviously just a pure comedic film.

Okay so Stripes, a more underrated 80s film starring Bill Murray who after quite a terrible day where he loses his job, car, apartment, and girlfriend in that order decides, screw it I'm joining the army. He takes his best friend played by Harold Ramis along for the ride, cause I guess he didn't have anything going on in his life(?) and so begins bootcamp for them. They train, argue with their superiors, chase love, and do their duty. A pretty basic movie, yet it has charm to it and can keep you invested for the 2 hour run time, primarily just to see Bill and Harold roam about with John Candy. I did have to admit I was kinda shocked that it was rated R, I thought it was like PG but you get to see a lot! Mmmm, love that 80s bush! Jesus Christ. I do recommend it for a fan of either Bill or Harold and want to see some of their earlier work that not a lot of people talk about. We get more popular tomorrow with Animal House, but I never saw Stripes and heard good stuff about it so I decided to talk about it. Not disappointed, but it's for hardcore fans. And I got news for you, I never seen Animal House or the other movie I'm reviewing. How did I go so long without seeing prime examples of comedy movies? That's a very good question, and the answer to that question is......ehhhhh; this is The Dude saying there's no such thing as a stupid movie until you watch it.