Birds of Prey review

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is the first of three superhero movies of 2020 to have a female protagonist (the others being Black Widow and Wonder Woman 1984). Birds of Prey surprisingly hooked me with its opening. One little thing that stood out to me was the opening which shows Harley’s backstory in 2d animation. It’s not that important but for someone that enjoys 2d animation this was really cute.

Harley Quinn who was one of the only enjoyable characters from Suicide Squad is again wonderfully played by Margot Robbie here. She’s crazy, funny, and doesn’t apologize for it. The other Birds of Prey members such as Huntress, Black Canary, and Renee Montoya however are not that interesting. They don’t even join forces until the climax. Ewan McGregor who is one of those actors that I see in a lot of movies lately is so much fun as the villain Black Mask. He’s hammy, threatening and enjoys every minute of it. There’s literally a scene where there about to torture Harley and he’s just sitting down watching while eating popcorn, if that doesn’t overly villainous I don’t know what is. Heck he should have been the villain of Suicide Squad instead of Joker or that stupid Enchantress.

The actions scenes aren’t really that special and just seem like actions scenes that we’ve seen in other vigilante movies such as Kickass or even Suicide Squad. I guess the climax at the carnival is kind of fun since a carnival in general is a fun location for any climax and the car chase afterward was fine too. What is entertaining is the comedy, especially this running gag where whenever we see a new character Harley shows their name, description and grievance (why they hate Harley). There’s also a bunch a fourth wall breaking jokes that would make Deadpool proud.

Birds of Prey is better and more enjoyable than Suicide Squad (even more enjoyable than most of the other DC movies). I do think this should have been called Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey since she’s the real star. It’s not a ground breaking DC films like last year’s Joker (congrats on the Oscars btw) but it’s a small fun movie if you like Joker’s favorite girl.

Verdict:
+ Animated opening
+ Harley’s exposition scenes
+ Ewan McGregor as Black Mask
+ Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn
– Meh action scenes
– Undeveloped birds of prey

Score: B-

BoJack Horseman Season 6 review

Back in the 90s I was in a very famous TV show.

BoJack Horseman has released part 2 of season 6 aka the final season. Each of the main characters have great conclusions to their arcs and very funny, emotional, and memorable moments. The most complex character of course if BoJack. Every bad things that BoJack has done especially the death of Sarah Lynn comes together to drag BoJack to his lowest point in the entire series. It’s so bad that even Hollyhock cuts ties with him and he becomes a pariah in Hollywoo.

The penultimate episode is always the tensest of each season and this season’s penultimate episode “The View From Halfway Down” couldn’t be any more intense. BoJack finds himself in a house with all the characters that have died throughout the series such as Sarah Lynn and his mother. It’s disturbing because you’re not sure if BoJack is dead or not. I almost thought the last episode would just be the other characters reacting to his death. Good news is that he lived the bad news is that he’s sent to prison. The final episode’s title “Nice While It Lasted” pretty much sums up the finale. It’s not epic like Sozin’s Comet or Take Back the Falls, it’s just BoJack having one more conversation with the main characters and it’s a really great way to say goodbye to them. This is one of those shows where I wasn’t sure it would have happy or sad ending and while it’s never addressed what BoJack is going to do after he’s out of prison but there is a feeling of hope in there.

BoJack Horseman season 6 is the bittersweet ending to one of Netflix’s best shows that managed to bookend everything. Thank you Raphael Bob-Waksberg for creating such a smart, thought provoking and wonderful series and thank you Will Arnett for voicing a complex and funny character. Now to look forward to Hilda season 2.

Happy Birthday Kingdom Hearts 3

Ever had it where you realize something you’ve look forward to for so long is now a year old? It’s happens to me a lot. I bring this up because it’s officially been a whole year since the video game sequel that my brother and I have looked forward to for more than a decade has turned a year old today. Kingdom Hearts 3 is the conclusion to the Dark Seeker saga that has lasted over 18 years and 13 games. Kingdom Hearts 3 did not disappoint me and gave me pretty much what I’ve wanted. The new worlds were great especially the Pixar ones though it was disappointing that there was no Gravity Falls world, oh well. A few days ago Kingdom Hearts 3 Remind came out and it added a lot of really cool stuff. I can’t thank Tetsuya Nomura enough for making the conclusion to franchise that has given my brother and I so many wonderful memories. Here’s hoping for Kingdom Hearts 4.

 

Infinity Train season 2 review

Infinity Train is a show that once was supposed to be a miniseries turned into an anthology series due to the popularity of season 1. Book 2: Cracked Reflection focuses on Tulip’s reflection MT who was first introduced in season 1 episode 7 The Chrome Car. She wants to have her own identity but is constantly being chased by the reflection police. She meets up with a passenger named Jesse and a magical deer named Alan Dracula.

I said this in my season 1 review that Infinity Train is kind of like a video game with the different cars being like levels. The cars in this season are still fun like the map car, the lucky cat car (carnival themed) and the toad car which is nothing but an empty room where the only way to open the door is to kick a toad. It’s so stupidly simple yet creative. I think the video game theming also ties into MT’s arc. I might be reading too much into this but I think her arc is a deconstruction on the video game ally/NPC. You really feel for MT since all she wants is to have an identity and her emotional breakdown in tape car felt very genuine and when she finally got her number and went left with Jesse it felt so earned.

I think having MT as the main character was a clever way to keep Ashley Johnson who also voiced Tulip. Jesse was nice but I think Tulip and her dilemma was more compelling. I also think the conductor/Amelia was a more interesting villain than the reflection police.  My favorite character has to be Alan Dracula due to his random and bizarre powers. I also like how there’s no context to this deer but who cares he just exists.

Cracked Reflection is a great 2nd season to Infinity Train and is nothing like the Polar Express let me tell you that. I hope they’ll be a season 3 considering there are infinite cars (it’s not called the Infinity Train for nothing). It was a fun train ride and a fun way to begin 2020.

My Top 10 Anticipated Movies of 2019

Here are my top 10 most anticipated movies of 2020.

Honorable Mention- Bob’s Burgers the Movie: Where’s the trailer?!?!

10. Scoob!: Hopefully better than the live action Scooby Doo movies.

9. The King’s Man: Why does every Kingsman movie get delayed?!

8. Onward: Seems like a fun 80’s like fantasy movie.

7. Free Guy:  Ryan Reynolds is always fun.

6. Black Widow: I already love Red Guardian.

5. No Time to Die: I might have to re-watch some of the James Bond movies to get ready for this.

4. The Mitchells vs. the Machines: I’m mostly excited because the director worked on Gravity Falls.

3. The Eternals:  The father away the release date the most excited I am.

2. Raya and the Last Dragon: Finally a non-sequel Disney animated movie.

1. Soul: This looks like a great predecessor to Inside Out (same director btw).

My Top 10 Favorite Movies of 2019

Happy New Year! 2019 has come to an end and 2020 has just begun. So as usual here are my top 10 favorite movies of 2019. While some of these movies I expected to end up on this list, there were ones that surprised me ended up here too.

Honorable Mentions:

10. Jojo Rabbit:

This has great directing and writing thanks to Taika Waititi. I liked Jojo’s passion on being a soldier but then realizing the side he’s fighting on is bad. It makes for a really good coming of age story. Roman Griffin Davis plays Jojo wonderfully and the rest of the performances were also great and funny especially Taika Waititi as Hitler.

9. Pokemon: Detective Pikachu:

I may not be the biggest Pokemon fan and the mystery and who the villain is was kind of obvious, but this a fun lover letter to the series. Ryan Reynolds is fun as Pikachu. Rhyme City had good world building and the whole humans and Pokémon living together was clever. I also really like score composed by Henry Jackman.

8. Toy Story 4:

This didn’t have to exist since I think Toy Story 3 was an excellent conclusion to the Toy Story series, but Pixar still put there all into this. Forky was very likable and I like how embodies the comfort toys have to children especially through hard times. The ending is also very bittersweet and another emotional goodbye to the characters.

7. Knives Out:

Now this was a good mystery story with many well-crafted twists that I won’t spoil it here. This is another film that has great writing and directing thanks to Rion Johnson. It’s full of great performances from the cast especially from its two leads Ana de Armas and Danial Craig. Marta Cabrera is very sympathetic and Benoit Blanc is like a modern Sherlock Holmes.

6. Shazam!:

DC has surprisingly made two great movies this year. Those being Joker and my favorite of the two Shazam! Zachary Levi is really fun as an older Billy Batson and his younger self is great too. This is definitely the most fun as DC movie has been in forever and it’s a nice change of pace from the other dark and edgy DC movies.

5. Spider-man: Far from Home:

How fitting that this is about Spiderman going on vacation to Europe since we all needed one after the awesomeness of Endgame. Tom Holland is still terrific as Peter Parker/Spider Man and Jake Gyllenhaal is awesome and devilish as Mysterio (even if the reveal was obvious). Also the J. Jonah Jameson cameo at the end was a brilliant way to bring back J.K. Simmons.

4. Steven Universe: The Movie:

It would’ve nicer if this had a theatrical release but at least TV’s free. Aging Steven two years was a great move. The animation is still colorful, the songs are really great and I really love the old style Disney opening credits at the beginning. Spinel is in my opinion the best villain from the show and maybe even my favorite villain of 2019.

3. Avengers: Endgame:

It hurts me to put Endgame this low but I still loved it. Sure the runtime is really long but it feels like it needed to be this long. Iron Man’s death was an emotional and bittersweet conclusion to his decade long arc. The final battle where all the heroes fight Thanos is the best climax of 2019 and the Marvel series in general.

2. Klaus:

I love the animation and the character designs. This really feels like a Disney movie not just in the animation but also the heart this movie has. The two leads are also great. Jesper played by Jason Schwartzman while starts off as a jerk becomes very likable and J.K. Simmons is such a wonderful Santa Claus. Klaus is one of the best Christmas movies I’ve ever seen and I can’t wait to watch it again next Christmas.

1. Promare:

I am so grateful to my brother for driving me to Vancouver to see this because this movie is awesome! The characters are likable and have moral principles. The animation is amazing and gives us some really awesome action scenes. I even love the songs especially Kakusei and Ashes which actually plays during a scene that almost made me tear up. Promare is one of the best anime movies I’ve ever seen and my favorite movie of 2019.

I wonder what movie of 2020 will be my favorite?

2019 Holiday recap

Movies:

JoJo Rabbit: Taika Waititi managed to make Hitler fun. A-

Doctor Sleep: The first 2 half’s are find but the third half at the lodge is great. B

Klaus: Great Christmas movie with great animation. A+

Frozen 2: Not as good as the first one but does answer the questions I’d had since 2013. I still enjoy listening to Into the Unknown. B+

Knives Out: A Great mystery with 2 great leads and great humor. A

Jumanji: The Next Level: Pretty much the same as the previous one but with some good role switcharoos. B-

Star Wars the Rise of Skywalker: While didn’t live to my expectation it’s still a nice conclusion to the Skywalker Saga. A-

Spies in Disguise: Kind of your standard spy movie. I did like the James Bond like intro though. B

TV:

Green Eggs and Ham: Pretty much the best Dr. Seuss adaption since the old animated specials. Though it is odd that they made Sam I Am kind of a villain. It also has great animation that feels like an animated movie.

Rick and Morty Season 4: I love every episode of season 4 so far (especially the heist and snake episodes), honestly all these would be in my top 10 favorite episodes or even honorable mentions.

Steven Universe Future: A great epilogue series to this great show that ties lose ends. Hope this returns soon after that cliffhanger ending.

See you all in 2020!

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker review

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….

2019 has seen the conclusion to a lot of franchises that I love such as Kingdom Hearts, My Little Pony Friendship is Magic, and the Avengers (sort of) and now The Skywalker Saga has come to a close. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker unfortunately suffers from the typical third film being the weakest trope. The first half did have some pacing issues especially the first half which felt rushed. I did kind of like the warp speed action scene at the beginning though. Actually the rest of the actions scene are really great. There’s fun chase scenes, intense lightsaber duels and the climax with all those Star Destroyers is humongous in scale and it’s pretty much exactly what the climax to this saga should be.

The movie takes risks that could’ve been emotional moments for the series like killing off Chewbacca and C-3PO gets his mind erased but ends up playing safe with them. This movie would’ve been more powerful if they went through with these risks. Speaking of safe, remember the twists from Last Jedi which I found disappointing (like Snoke and Rey’s parents)? Well this film retcons them with Snoke being a clone and Rey being related to Palpatine (I feel sorry for whoever Palpatine hooked up with). It did however feel like J.J. Abrams to just trying to please those who didn’t like Last Jedi.

The best characters of the movie and the trilogy as a whole are of course Rey and Kylo Ren. Daisy Ridley’s arc about destiny and where she’s from is handled very well. Adam Driver is still threatening as Kylo Ren but also tragic as Ben (especially in the scene where he reunites with his Father Han Solo).  Both characters work off each other wonderfully and their communicating though the force (also with the ability to grab stuff too) makes there dynamic strong.

This paragraph contains Spoilers for the ending: Rise of Skywalker ends with Rey burying Luke and Leia’s lightsabers on Tatooine and making a new one for her and inheriting the Skywalker name. Everything about this ending is perfect. The final line is perfect, the final shot with Rey watching the two suns is a perfect call back to A New Hope. It’s such a great book end to this wonderful series.

If I could sum the sequel trilogy it would be that this trilogy is a love letter to the original trilogy. I thinks it’s mostly the inner Star Wars fan in me that likes this more than others. Is it the best Star Wars movie? No, but I still think that Rise of Skywalker is a satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga and an emotional sendoff (for now) to the characters and galaxy we’ve grown up with for 40 years.

Verdict:
+ Action scenes
+ Ending
+ Rey and Kylo Ren
+/- Last Jedi twists retcon
– First half’s pacing
– Too safe

Score: A-

My Top 10 Favorite Christmas Movies

Christmas is almost around the corner and I’m spending my time hanging out with my family and watching Christmas movies. I’ve already done my top 10 favorite Christmas specials years ago so now I’m doing my Top 10 Favorite Christmas Movies of all time.

10. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000 version): The animated version is obviously better but this is honestly a guilty pleasure to me. I like Jim Carrey especially his makeup and sets are also nice. The 2018 version is safer but this one is more memorable.

9. The Muppet Christmas Carol: While Mickey’s Christmas Carol is still and always will be my favorite version of this story, this is my favorite film adaptation. Michael Caine is a good Scrooge and the Muppets do their part too.

8. Home Alone: While I do think this taking place any other month wouldn’t change the plot it would lose its Christmas charm. The traps Kevin makes are funny and I’ll never get tired of that aftershave scream.

7. The Christmas Chronicles: Kurt Russell pretty much steals the show as Santa. I also like how he knows what gifts the characters wanted for Christmas and the tech he uses. I will admit the elves do look freaky.

6. The Polar Express: Sure the CGI is a big odd but there’s such a magic to this one. Tom Hanks is great even if he’s playing most of the character. I also like the boy’s arc about believing in Santa being a challenge of fate.

5. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation: Nothing ever goes right for the Griswolds am I right? This movie perfectly shows the frustrations with Christmas without the film being too mean spirited. The jokes are funny, and every family member is enjoyable.

4. A Christmas Story: One of the first Christmas movies I’ve seen. There’s not really a structure just memorable moments that remind you of your childhood. Watching now I’ve noticed that it does look like it was filmed in the 50s.

3. Klaus: Read my review to hear my thoughts.

2. Arthur Christmas: Nostalgia Critic made such a great video about why this movie is so great. Arthur is such a likable main character. I also love the battle between three Santa’s and their methods without making them villains and the use of compromise.

1. The Nightmare before Christmas: Just think about it, the best Christmas movie has to be a movie you can watch not just at Christmas but also at Halloween. The stop motion animation is still great, the story is great, the songs are great, and the main character is likable and relatable. It’s the ultimate holiday movie!