The Grinch review

You probably know by now that I love the original How the Grinch stole Christmas special from 1966 although my family also enjoys the Jim Carrey version from 2000 but I won’t deny that the Dr. Seuss movies are not very good and considering Illuminations also did The Lorax I wasn’t that excited. I’ll just get this out of the way, Tyler the Creator’s cover of the classic Grinch song sucks. It sounds too much like Despicable Me by Pharrell Williams (weird choice for a narrator). Jordin Smith’s cover was a way better cover.

Benedict Cumberbatch is decent as the Grinch but I feel like they wasted an opportunity on using his deep voice. He also comes off as little too nice especially towards Max. His backstory is simpler and less mean spirited than the 2000 version. There’s also a b plot focusing on Cindy Lou Who trying to capture Santa so she can ask him to help her mother. She sort of feels like a combination of Gru’s daughters. Her arc isn’t that necessary to the movie but the character is still really likable. Speaking of which the whos this time are much more friendly than in 2000 especially Bricklebaum who’s sort of a foil to the Grinch.

Illumination films usually have nice animation but standard humor and the Grinch also falls into that. I like the design of Whoville which looks like a mix between gingerbread houses and no straight lines which looks very similar to the book. The character designs while your standard Illumination character designs still look nice compared to 2000 (the only reason they won the Oscar for makeup was because of Jim Carrey). The comedy again is pretty much like Illumination’s other movies which are filled with pop culture references and slapstick. The screaming goat gag got old even before it screamed.

The Grinch feels more like a Christmas version of Despicable Me. Out of all the Dr. Seuss movies this is probably the least disrespectful of the Dr. Seuss adaptations. I would say this is better than the 2000 version because it’s less mean spirited but I feel like this movies too new to compare it. It’s still a nice Christmas movie for your kids.

Verdict:
+ More friendly Whos
+ Nice animation
+/- Grinch
+/- Cindy Lou Who
– Standard kid jokes
– Tyler the Creator’s Grinch cover

Score: C

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Stan Lee

Excelsior!

Today we lost one of the most famous and beloved person in the comic book industry Stan Lee 😥 He’s created some of the most famous comic book characters of all time. Without him we never would have had Spider Man, the Hulk, or Iron Man. His cameos brought so much joy and laughter to all of us. He was an inspiration not just to me but to so many people and we will miss him very much.

Rest in Peace Stan Lee
December 28, 1922 – November 12, 2018

Bohemian Rhapsody review

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide, No escape from reality.
Open your eyes, Look up to the skies and see, I’m just a poor boy, I need no sympathy, Because I’m easy come, easy go, Little high, little low, Any way the wind blows doesn’t really matter to me, to me.

Bohemian Rhapsody is the biographical movie about how the famous band Queen got started. Queen is one of my favorite musical artists up there with Michael Jackson. My brother and I really enjoy their songs. Don’t Stop me Now is me and my brother’s personal favorite song and I would have given this movie and F is it was absent but thank god they saved it for the end.

Rami Malek is a perfect choice as Freddie Mercury not just because he’s a splitting image of Freddie but also because he gives a wonderful performance. I remember watching Rami Malek play the odd creator of Philbert on Bojack Horseman season 5. He was terrific there and he was terrific here. The rest of the band members are really good too though I could never remember their names without looking them up. The idea of the movie is that were supposed to see the members of Queen as equals like a family but honestly I still only remember Freddie’s name.

The story has a lot of those cliché beats like the disapproving father, the bandleader acting like a jerk, his girlfriend leaving, and the band breaking up. I’m not sure whether some of them really happened or not but they feel distracting anyway. I like how we see them making some of the songs and how experimental the band was. For example the song We will Rock You was made because Queen wanted to make a song that the whole audience can be involved in and with Bohemian Rhapsody they were inspired by opera. While I do think ending the movie at the Live Aid concert is a good choice I must quote Ray Foster “It goes on forever, six bloody minutes!” They play like 3 or 4 songs and it feels like it drags on.

Bohemian Rhapsody is full of great performances and the great classic songs that we still keep banging their heads in the car to. It has faults in the story and scenes that drag but still has the charm Freddie Mercury and his band had years ago.

Verdict:
+ Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury
+ Song origins
+/- The other band members
+/- The Live Aid concert
– Familiar cliche beats

Score: B-

Fall 2018 recap

Happy Halloween everybody! I apologize for the lack of movie reviews lately. It’s mostly because I’ve been busy with my job and that some of the movies I’ve seen didn’t have much to talk about. Next month will be better, trust me.

Movies:
The House with a Clock in Its Walls: A basic family fantasy film. Though Jack Black and Cate Blanchett work off each other wonderfully. C

Smallfoot: While it does have an interesting lesson about lies and the truth, it’s still your run of the mill animated movie. C

Venom: Tom Hardy is a way better Eddie Brock and Venom than Topher Grace but the weak story and plot holes keep it from being good. D+

Bad Times at the El Royale: A mix between The Hateful Eight and Baby Driver with a creative narrative structure and wonderful performances. B+

Coraline: This was showing at Mount Hood Theatre (nice small theater)  so I thought I’d see it again. Coraline is my favorite stop motion animated movie because of it’s imaginative animation and story. A+

Halloween: I’m not a huge fan of horror/slasher films but this was a good continuation of the series. Gory but also good direction. B

TV:
Adventure Time Come Along with Me: A nice way to end Adventure Time.

BoJack Horseman season 5: Great continuation of everyone’s favorite horse with a great balance between comedy and drama.

Hilda: To quote Grunkle Stan, “oh this, this is beautiful”. Hilda is one of the most beautifully animated shows right now and one of best cartoons on Netflix. I can’t wait for season 2.

Bad Times at the El Royale review

When watching the trailer for Bad Times at the El Royale it felt like a  mix between The Hateful Eight and Baby Driver. When I saw the movie, it’s pretty much like that with a little bit of Pulp Fiction added into it. The movie takes place at a hotel called the El Royale which stands between the border of California and Nevada. The hotel is a neat location because of how isolated it feels, similar to the lodge from The Shining. I also like the gags where the California side is $1 more than the Nevada Side and that gambling is legal on the Nevada side while alcohol is legal on the California side.

Bad Times at the El Royale has a small batch of characters each given time and their own chapters to focus on them. What helped make these characters interesting was their performances. I think Jeff Bridges as a sort of Catholic Priest was the real stand out of the cast. I also did like Lewis Pullman as the sole worker at the hotel. The movie is structured in chapters. It’s sort of like how Pulp Fiction is told out of order Sometimes theirs a chapter that’s happening simultaneously with another chapter. There are also chapters that show the backstories of the characters when time is right to show them. It’s really interesting storytelling and everything feels put together perfectly. Though sometimes the stories do drag a little. It’s an similar issue I have with BlackKklansman which also had an over long run time.

Bad Times at the El Royale is probably the most Quentin Tarantino-ish movie not directed by Quentin Tarantino.

Verdict:
+ Cool location
+ Great acting
+ Interesting storytelling
– Running time

Score: B+

Hilda review

This summer I’ve watched a few Netflix animated series like the innocent Harvey Street Kids, the hilarious Epic Tales of Captain Underpants, and of course BoJack Horseman season 5. Recently I had the pleasure of watching a new Netflix animated series called Hilda based on the graphic novels by Luke Pearson.  Hilda is kind of the mix between Gravity Falls and Over the Garden Wall with a little bit of Steven Universe and Craig of the Creek.

This show is freaking beautiful!!! Hilda is one of the most visually appealing animated series I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen since Steven Universe. Everything from the animation, the simple character designs, the color pallet, the backgrounds, the music, the sound, and the atmosphere is just perfect. The visual style looks a lot like it was from a graphic novel and it’s impressive. Just by watching the intro (great theme song btw) I was already invested into the world of Hilda.

The show’s characters are also a highlight of the show. Hilda is a great protagonist not just because she has a great design and cute voice but because she’s adventurous, curious, loves creatures, and has a healthy relationship with her Mum. I also like Hilda’s dearfox friend Twig (so cute!). I like Alfur and his love of paperwork and permits is funny. I even like Hilda’s friends Frida and David. All the characters simple designs and personalities help give the world of Hilda life.

The show is kind of episodic but with stuff that carries into the next episode which leads to my biggest problem with Hilda. The last two episodes focus on Hilda and Frida’s fallout from episode 9, Frida’s new witch friend, Hilda trying to receive a badge, a species called the Nisse and the mysterious black hound. The episodes try to tie these plots together but I feel like they could have worked better as their own separate episodes. The episodes are still good though.

Hilda is one of the best Netflix shows I’ve seen. Its beautiful visuals and likable characters made Hilda a lot of fun to watch. Please give us Hilda season 2!

Boack Horseman Season 5 review

BoJack Horseman returns for its fifth season and much like the seasons before it does not disappoint. After BoJack finally getting a somewhat happy ending last year, we are reminded that this is still reality and that there are not always happy endings.

BoJack Horseman has a strong main cast and each of them (BoJack, Diane, Princess Carolyn, Todd, and Mr. Peanutbutter) have their own story arcs that are all well written and interesting. Will Arnett is always great as BoJack but I think Alison Brie as Diane really shined this season. When she becomes a writer on Philbert she gets suspicions about what BoJack did in New Mexico and her relationship with BoJack becomes tense.

There are also many great episodes that feel unique from each other. Some of the best episodes include one there BoJack gives a eulogy to his mother for the whole episode and another where we see four Halloween parties from different years. But who could forget an important tradition in the show? The 11th episode titled The Showstopper and boy did it not disappoint. What made this episode great was that it keeps taking place in real life and then the fictional show Philbert so much you couldn’t tell what’s real or fiction. It gets really deep as usual and it all climaxes to another tradition in the show the f-bomb where BoJack strangles Gina.

The ending in my opinion sums up the tone of the show. BoJack goes to Diane demanding that she’d write an article about how bad he is but she makes a speech on how there’s no such thing as good guys or bad guys, just guys that do good stuff and bad stuff (between good and bad if you will). Diane then takes BoJack to a rehab center to get help. It doesn’t feel too happy or sad it just feels in between. Much like the ending the show doesn’t go too comedic or too dramatic, it feels in between. I love and respect shows such as Avatar the Last Airbender, Steven Universe and this that find a balance between comedy and drama.

BoJack Horseman season 5 is a satisfying look on the blurred line between reality and fiction and drug addiction. I not sure how I’d rank each season, season 1 is probably my least favorite but seasons 2 through 5 are tricky. It’ll be great to return to BoJack’s wacky yet realistic world in season 6.

My Top 10 Favorite Computer Games I played as a Kid

I’ve never made a top 10 video games list before because I don’t play video games but I played a lot of children’s computer games. I think I loved these games because something about their worlds and atmosphere feel so immersive, kind, and welcoming. It makes me angry that I can’t play these on new computers. At least I have my memories.

Honorable Mention: Cluefinders 3rd Grade Adventures: While I own some other Cluefinders game (even a cut version with only Monkey Kingdom) I’ve only played 3rd Grade Adventures (which is probably my favorite of the games) at school.

10. Arthur’s Wilderness Rescue: Only at number 10 because all three ideas are mostly similar and the same music plays throughout the whole game. I did like exploring the camp though.

9. Blue’s Treasure Hunt: I loved Blue’s Clues as a kid and the treasure hunt game was my favorite. Heck the Blue’s Clues games led to me playing Humoungous Entertainment games.

8. The Game of Life: While the CGI is outdated it’s still fun. I recently found the PlayStation version at a used game store and I still love playing it.

7. Tie between Fisher Price Great Adventures Pirate Ship and Wild Western Town: Both short and simple games about finding map pieces or gold bars but incredibly innocent and fun to play. I use to own the Wild Western Town toy set.

6. Tie between Disney’s Animated Storybooks: Toy Story and 101 Dalmatians: These two were the animated storybooks I owned. Toy Story surprisingly had good CGI and I like how 101 Dalmatians combined the 1961 and 1996 version. It’s also so much fun to click on stuff.

5. Dr. Seuss Kindergarten: While short, it’s very colorful and innocent just like the books. I’ve met Charles Martinet who voiced the Cat in the Hat, I bet you didn’t know that.

4. Disney’s Ready to Read with Pooh: You know I love Winnie the Pooh and this game has nicely drawn backgrounds that help immerse you into the Hundred Acre Woods and games that help you with reading.

3. Richard Scarry’s Busytown: Best Math Program Ever: Busytown is just so innocent and fun. Finding all the parts for the math machine is worth it because the math machine is fun and helps kids with  learning math.

2. A Bug’s Life Active Play: When I play this game I feel like I’m immersed into the world of a Bug’s Life. I like how the puzzles aren’t spelled out instead you have to figure them out.

1. Humoungous Entertiantment: Here’s my short sum up, different paths, clever puzzles, and great backgrounds. Click here if you want to hear my thoughts on these games.

Summer recap 2018

Movies:
Action Point: Not a lot on story but still fun. C+

Hotel Artemis: I like how it all takes place in one night at a location full of morally gray characters. B

Incredibles 2: Incredible, enough said. A+

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom: The manor is cool but it still can’t beat to original. C+

Ant-Man and the Wasp: While it has small stakes (pun intended) it’s still entertaining. B+

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation: Not the same spirit as the first two and also the design of Van Helsing is so creepy and freaky. C

Teen Titans Go! To the Movies: Seemed more like a movie for TV than theatrical. C-

Mission: Impossible – Fallout: Though the villain was obvious it has great action and surprisingly great music. B

Christopher Robin: Doesn’t have the same heart from the original. C

BlacKkKlansman: Great acting and a shocking yet true ending. B+

The Happytime Murders: Not strong but give credit to Jim Henson for doing this. B-

Shows:
Harvy Street Kids: A very innocent and fun Netflix cartoon that reminds me a lot of Ed Edd n Eddy. I can’t wait for season 2.

The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants: Fun, and faithful to the books.

Steven Universe Reunited: Best episode of the series!

The Happytime Murders review

I loved Sesame Street as a kid (before that stupid fairy was introduced) and I’ve seen the Muppet movies (Muppet Treasure Island is the best!). So hearing that Jim Henson’s company was doing an R-rated movie with puppets was interesting. I give props to the Jim Henson Company for doing this because if it was just some other random studio parodying the Muppets it would just feel standard. Unlike Meet the Feebles which took place in an anthropomorphic and where all the characters were puppets, the puppets in the Happytime Murders are literal puppets.

The caste particularly three of them help make the movie enjoyable. Phil Philips played by Jim Henson puppeterr Bill Barretta does a good job being grumpy but also funny. His ex-partner Detective Connie Edwards played by Melissa McCarthy is good too though it’s Melissa McCarthy she’s usually enjoyable. They both work off each other very well and are fun to watch. Phil’s secretary Bubbles played by Maya Rudolph is also really enjoyable. The humor is hit and miss for me. Most of the jokes (in the trailers too) are swearing, and vulgar (silly spray cum, really?). However some good comedy comes from the fact that there are puppets, for example Phil’s twin brother gets torn apart by dogs. It’s not gory like Meet the Feebles it’s all fluff. I’d totally see a puppet die like that.

Spoiler warning since this is a mystery movie. The trouble with mystery movies is that it’s obvious who the villain is. At the beginning of the movie Phil is asked by a female puppet named Sandra to investigate who’s murdering the Happytime gang members. It turns out that she was murdering them so get revenge on Phil for accidently shooting her dad. I feel like her reasons for killing the cast members to get to Phil feel very convoluted and it makes for a weak story.

The flashback scene is probably my favorite scene because of how it ties a lot of plot elements together. Earlier Edwards mentions having a puppet liver, this is assumed to set up a gag but then you find out that she got it from getting shot and taken to a puppet hospital. The flashback also shows why Phil got fired, why puppets aren’t allowed on the force, and the villain’s motivations.

The puppeteering while it doesn’t stand out is still pretty good considering it’s from the Jim Henson Company. THM is a decent Muppet parody at best. It’s definitely better than MTF in every way (I’ve neverheard of MTF til the day I saw THM).

Verdict:
+ The Cast
+ The flashback
+/- The humor
– Weak mystery and story

Score: B-