Puss in Boots: The Last Wish review

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is the long-awaited sequel to the 2011 spinoff of Shrek, Puss in Boots. After dying from a fight with a giant Puss finds out that he is down to only one more life and is forced to retire. After an encounter with Goldilocks, he learns about a wishing star that he could use to get his lives back. This film is surprisingly dark in both the comedy and themes of the movie. This along with Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio deal with the themes of death wonderfully. There’s literally a scene where a baker gets eaten by a giant flower and spits out his skeleton.

The animation in the first one was fine but nothing spectacular just your typical DreamWorks animation. The animation in the sequel however is incredibly different and a huge improvement. The cell shaded animation gives this film a much more unique look and you can tell the studio took inspiration from Spider Man into the Spider Verse especially the action scenes. It’s brighter and more colorful. I’m really glad DreamWorks did something new with their animation this year, along with the Bad Guys. I really hope DreamWorks uses this Spider Verse tactic for future films or even try new experimental animation styles.

I love all the new characters this film introduced. They all have great designs and great performances that fit their personalities perfectly. Perrito is very likable and a great foil for Puss. I love the dynamic between Goldilocks played by Florence Pugh and the Three Bears. I also like that they gave Goldi an understandable and sympathetic motive and story arc. I would honestly love a spinoff with this group. Wagner Moura is really cool and legit intimidating as the Wolf/Death and John Mulaney is enjoyably despicable as Big Jack Horner. This film honestly handles the multiple villains very well.

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is one of if not the the best animated movies of 2022. Not only is it also the best Shrek movie since Shrek 2, it’s also the best film DreamWorks has done since Kung fu Panda 2. Anyone who has wished upon a wishing star for a sequel to Puss in Boots has had their wishes come true.

Verdict:

+Darker tone

+The animation

+The new characters

Score: A

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery review

This review contains huge SPOILERS considering this is a mystery film so go watch this film first before reading.

Knives Out is one of my favorite movies of all time, everything from the screenplay, directing and the performances were perfect especially Danial Craig as Benoit Blanc who’s officially one of my favorite fictional characters of all time now. Now Blanc has returned for the sequel Glass Onion. In this sequel tech billionaire Miles Bron invites his friend group called the Disruptors and unintentionally Blanc to his private Greek island for a murder mystery. Blanc solves the game very quickly but another murder happens and now he has to solve that one.

Rian Johnson is a master of great directing considering he directed Ozymandias aka the best Breaking Bad episode ever. Every shot of this film is well crafted and amazing to look at. Rian Johnson’s screenplay is also extremely well written with dialogue that’s both smart and funny. The story is incredibly thought out and everything that’s established in the beginning pays off near the end. If I had one problem with the movie is that the murderer being Miles Bron was kind of obvious. Though I did like how his whole shtick of being smart and complicated when actually he’s a complete idiot to the point where even Blanc is offended by how stupid he is. There is however a great twist where Mile’s former partner Andi is actually her twin sister Helen in disguise trying to solve who murdered the real Andi.    

Every performance from the cast is incredible. Danial Craig is still incredible as Benoit Blanc Every member of the Disruptors has great dialogue, great personalities and motives that make you curious who the culprit is. Rian Johnson really does a great job of making obvious terrible people very enjoyable to watch. Other big standouts were Edward Norton as Miles Bron and Janelle Monáe as both Andi and her sister Helen. Do you think it was a coincidence that this released around the time Elon Musk bought twitter because Elon and Miles are very similar.

This is one of those sequels that you don’t need to watch the first one to fully understand. Glass Onion is a perfect sequel to an already perfect film and one of my top 3 favorite movies of the year. Honestly, I can’t decide whether I like this or the first one better, there both equally incredible. Now we have a new mystery of when Rian Johnson will make the third film.

Verdict:

+Andi twist

+The acting

+The directing

+The writing

-Obvious culprit

Score: A+

Avatar: The Way of Water review

After 13 years, James Cameron has finally released the long awaited to sequel to the most successful movie of all time Avatar. Avatar the Way of Water takes places more than a decade after the first one. After a decade time skip Jake Sully is now chief of the Neytiri and also has a family. Unfortunately, the RDA has returned to colonize the planet of Pandora so Jake exiles himself and his family to seek shelter with the reef version of the Navi the Metkayina Clan. This film has the same problems the first film had. First off, the runtime which is about 3 hours and 10 minutes long. This film is so long that I actually had to find a theater that had recliner seats for my family. This film also retreads story beats from the first one which is ironic because the first one also retreaded story beats from Dances with Wolves and Pocahontas.   

The best part about the film that’s also the highlight of the first one is the special effects. The effects in the first one was good but the effects here are even better. The scenery is gorgeous to look at and the reef setting reminded me a lot of Hawaii. One of the things that also stood out was the design of the Metkayina Clan. They have great little details that make them stand out from the other Navi like having turquoise colored skin and tails that look like fins which cleverly ties in to their ocean culture. It makes me wonder if there are other unique types of Navi on Pandora that I hope we see in the future. I also really like the whale-like creatures named the tulkun. I like the Metkayina Clan calls them their spiritual siblings and each member has their own special bond with one. I also liked the relationship between the son and the outcast tulkun.

Avatar: The Way of Water is probably better than the first one and while it isn’t the best movie of the year but it still has some of the best visual effects I’ve seen from any movie this year. The three hours are worth the 13 year wait, just make sure you get comfortable seats before watching. Hope everyone has a very merry Christmas!

Verdict:

+Special effects

+The tulkun

-Retread

-Runtime

Score: B

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio review

Father when can I leave to be on my own? I got the whole world to see.

Netflix has released Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio on Netflix. I can’t believe that there have been three Pinocchio adaptions this year. Guillermo del Toro’s version is probably one of the most faithful adaptions of the wooden puppet but having it take place during World War II makes it very unique. This movie is visually amazing thanks to the amazing stop motion animation. The style kind of looked like a mix between Laika and the animation from Wes Anderson’s stop motion movies. Alexandre Desplat’s score is also really good and there are a bunch of cute songs. This film also has a huge celebrity cast such as Tilda Swinton, Cate Blanchett and Christoph Waltz. My favorite has the be Ewan McGregor as Sebastian Cricket.

Spoiler warning: My one nitpick is actually a nitpick I have with a lot of Pinocchio adaptions. In order to escape the whale Pinocchio lies in order for his family to cross to the whale’s sprout. This is seen in Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night, Geppetto (Drew Carey), Pinocchio 3000, and the recent Disney remake. I really feel like having Pinocchio lie in order in order to escape or help goes against the whole lesson about not lying. The only time this is done right was in Shrek 2 because that was a parody.

Me and my brother were very lucky to be able to see this on the big screen. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio is by far the best Pinocchio adaption of 2022 and the best adaption of Pinocchio outside of the original Disney classic. If the original author Carlo Collodi was alive right now, I think he would’ve been very impressed and proud of Guillermo del Toro. If anyone says the Disney remake is the best adaption this year their nose has probably grown by now.

Verdict:

+The animation

+The music and songs

+The voice talent

+World War 2 setting

-Growing nose deus ex machina

Score: A-

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever review

This review is dedicated to Chadwick Boseman

Spoiler warning: Wakanda Forever is the final phase 4 film in the MCU Spoilers: Wakanda Forever is about Wakanda trying to defend there country after the death of T’Challa from another country led by Namor. It also focuses on T’Challa’s sister Suri who’s still grieving after not being able to save him. I thought having her be the main protagonist and take up the mantle as the new Black Panther was the right choice. T’Challa’s funeral at the beginning was wonderfully handled and a great sendoff to Chadwick Boseman. The Marvel logo only shows footage of him which I thought was a nice touch. Much like the first movie Ludwig Göransson’s score here is really good. My favorite music in the movie was the introduction to Namor. The music was legit creepy which made the scene even more creepy.

Despite the loss of Chadwick, the first film already had a bunch of other characters that had wonderful performances and the sequel is no exception. The film is full of terrific acting pretty much everyone. Much like her role in Wendell and Wild Angela Bassett managed to nail it out of the park again this year. The newest addition that stood out was the villain Namor. His motivation is understandable and his design is really cool. I don’t think he was as strong as Killmonger but it was still neat that the MCU used one of the very first Marvel characters ever created. There were really only a few problems I had were that the runtime was really long and there are also way too many slow-motion moments that get annoying later in the movie.

While I don’t think this was as good as the first one, I still think this was a nice continuation and up there with Spider Man: No Way Home as one of the stronger film in phase 4. I’d also consider this the best Marvel movie 2022. T’Challa may be gone but his legacy will live on forever.

Verdict:

+Chadwick Boseman tribute

+Ludwig Göransson’s score

+Namor

+Terrific acting

-Runtime

-Slow motion moments

Score: B+

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story review

Some people consider Citizen Kane, Star Wars, and the Emoji Movie as the greatest movies of all time and others say there’s no such thing as the perfect movie. That has all changed when Weird: The Al Yankovic Story released. Weird Al Yankovic is considered the greatest musician of all time and it was about time someone made a film about his amazing life. Everything about this movie is perfection!

Unlike other musician biographies such as Bohemian Rhapsody, Rocketman, and Elvis which added forced story beats just to follow the typical story structure, this movie managed to do it without adding unnecessary cliches. Everything that happens in this movie is completely true from him traveling the Amazon to save Madonna from Pablo Escobar, his first original song “Eat It” being ripped off by Michael Jackson, and his tragic death at the hands of Madonna. The dialogue in this movie felt like it was written by Shakespeare himself.

Unlike those other biographies which miscasts their musicians, the casting in this movie is absolutely spot on. It’s like they actually got the real musicians to play themselves. Daniel Radcliffe infamous for his mediocre role as Harry Potter was destined to be Weird Al. Daniel Radcliffe also shares the spotlight with many amazing actors such as Evan Rachel Wood as the devious and manipulating Madonna and Rainn Wilson as Weird Al’s wise mentor Dr. Dimento.

This film is so great that the film has just won the Oscar for every category this year. The Academy Awards didn’t even bother selecting any other nominees because this film would’ve beaten them anyway. Weird: The Al Yankovic Story isn’t just my favorite movie of all time; it is also my favorite work of art of all time.

Verdict:

+Faithfully depict Al’s life

+Perfect screenplay

+Pitch perfect casting

+Weird Al’s engaging character arc

-NOTHING!

Score: A+++++++++++++++++++++

Wendell & Wild review

Happy Halloween everyone! Henry Selick is known for directing beloved stop motion animated movies like the Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline and his new film Wendell & Wild was the first film he’s directed in 13 years. It is about two demons named Wendell & Wild that come to the world of the living to make a deal with a trouble teenager Kat who has just become a hell maiden. This film is rated pg-13 which is rare for an animated movie but there are a bunch of scenes that earned that rating.  

Spoiler alert: I think my main problem is that there is so much going on in this movie. One subplot involves Wendell & Wild trying to start their own amusement park. There’s a prison company that wants to tear down the town that’s may also be tied to a brewery fire conspiracy. There’s also this demon hunter janitor that Sister Helley helps out that reminds me a lot of Ansem the Wise from KH2. As you can see there is a lot this film juggles. I did like the use of hair cream that brings people back to life. It’s a very unique plot device.

I really liked the characters in this movie. All of them have great personalities, character designs, and great voices to go with them such as Ving Rhames, James Hong and of course Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele. The duo Wendell & Wild were big stand outs of course but the character I personally think stood out the most was Angela Bassett as Sister Helley. She acts as a very wise and caring mother figure towards Kat and the relationship between them is great. I did notice on my 2nd viewing that the character animation looked very similar to stop motion legend Will Vinton. Speaking of animation, the stop motion animation like most stop motion movies is also great with a lot of great visuals. One of my favorite visuals was the amusement park that’s located on top of a giant demon’s belly. Another favorite visual was the giant shadow version of Kat that’s made out of all her memories. It’s an awesome design that needs to be seen to believe.

Wendell & Wild has great animation, great characters, and great scary but fun moments. Pretty much everything that makes a great stop motion horror film. It there’s any scary good fun movie to watch tonight on Halloween Wendell & Wild is the perfect one for you.

Verdict:

+Great characters

+Great animation

+Hair cream

-Complicated story

Score: A-

Nope review

Jordan Peale of Key and Peale is not someone you would expect to direct and write horror movies. Nope is Jordan Peale’s third film he’s directed and wrote. Unlike his previous films that are more psychologically scary, Nope I think I can best compare with is Jaws in terms of horror. I really liked the dynamic between the siblings OJ Haywood played by Daniel Kaluuya and Em Haywood played Keke Palmer. Both characters are great foils to each other and both actors do a terrific job.  

Spoilers: The central themes of Nope are about spectacle, animal cruelty and trying to train the untrainable. The flying saucer named Jean Jacket wonderfully embodies these themes. This is such a great unique take on UFOs where unlike something like Close Encounters, there’s no aliens in the UFO, the alien is literally the UFO. I also love how it sometimes changes shape; one point it looks metal but the next it looks soft like one of those parachutes’ kids play with at school. I think my main gripe involves the chimp Gordy. Actually, I think Gordy brilliantly ties well into the theme of trying to control animals. The problem is mostly that the incident doesn’t factor into the story and it’s just dropped after Jupe dies.

All of these films manage to balance being both really scary and really funny. Nope is no exception. Jordan Peele is one of those directors that so far has not wrote and directed a bad movie yet. The title may be Nope but this film is ironically gets a giant YES from me. Also who ever thought up the “Jupiter’s Claim” website to promote the movie should get a promotion.

Verdict:

+ Funny

+ Jean Jacket

+ OJ and Em Haywood

+ Scary

+/- Gordy

Score: A

Thor: Love and Thunder review

I’m Thor, Your Thor? Well it hurts.

Taika Waititi has started to become one of my favorite movie directors thanks to movies like JoJo Rabbit and Thor Ragnarök which is one of my favorite Marvel movies. Heck I’d even say he’s my favorite MCU director with James Gunn as a close 2nd. So, I was really pumped up when he announced he’d be directing the fourth Thor movie. Thor Love and Thunder is about Thor returning to New Asgard to protect them from Gorr the God killer who wants to kill every god. Thor also comes in contact with his former girlfriend Jane Foster who is now able to wield Mjölnir.

I really like the idea of Omnipotence City which acts as a sanctuary for different kinds of gods. Zeus perfectly embodies why Gorr hates the god. Speaking of which Gorr played by Christian Bale is the biggest standout in this already fun cast. He was both intimidating but also one of the most tragic villains in the MCU. His also which is all black and white is really cool and makes for a great setting for a great fight later in the movie. Much like Taika Waititi’s other films this one has the same charm, humor and heart that made his other films so entertaining. There’s a humorous love triangle between Thor, Mjölnir, and stormbreaker that’s pretty funny. Though I will admit the running gag with the screaming goats did get old. I will admit there were some problems with the movie. Also, the Guardians of the Galaxy. The problem isn’t that they were barely in the movie since this is Thor’s movie but mostly that the movie doesn’t really do anything cool with them.

While Thor Ragnarök is still my favorite Thor movie, Thor Love and Thunder is probably my 2nd favorite Thor movie and my favorite Marvel movie of the year so far. If this were the final Thor movie I’d say Love and Thunder was a great conclusion to our favorite Norse superhero.

Verdict:

+Christian Bale as Gorr

+New locations

+Taika Waititi’s charm

-Thor weapon love triangle

-Guardians of the Galaxy

-Screaming goats

Score: A-

Lightyear review

For anyone who’s seen the Fairly Odd Parents, does anyone remember that episode that showed the origin of Crash Nebula? It was also a pilot for a failed spinoff and for good reason, it kind of sucked thanks to the high school cliches, weird animation, and bland characters. Pixar’s Lightyear is not like that fortunately. Come to think of it, did Butch Hartman predict the future or did Pixar took inspiration from him?

Lightyear is Pixar’s first spinoff movie and the first theatrical released film since Onward. Honestly, it was such a relief to see it on the big screen instead on only Disney+. Some of the stuff that’s usually good in Pixar are good here such as the animation which looks very realistic. The voice talent in this film is also really good. Chris Evans does a good job as Buzz Lightyear though he did seem very similar to Captain America. The stand out to me was Peter Sohn as the robot cat Sox. Peter Sohn brings a lot of humor and heart to this character and considering I’m a cat person this was a huge plus for me.

This film does have problems though. The film only takes place on this generic alien planet that honestly doesn’t look interesting to me. That kind of ties to my other problem that is the film’s scale feels small. I feel like Lightyear should’ve have had more planets, more different aliens, and a more 60’s retro sci fi feel like from Star Wars or Star Trek. Heck the Buzz Lightyear animated series from 2000 had a larger sci fi scale compared to this. Spoiler Warning: I’m sort of mixed with how they did Zurg who’s actually a future Buzz. I did like how he’d tied into Buzz’s arc however he seemed too similar to Rex Dangervest from Lego Movie 2.

Between the two Pixar movies that came out this year I’d have to say Turning Red was the better. Mostly because it has a unique animation style and an appropriate smaller scale. That doesn’t mean Lightyear is bad though. Lightyear isn’t the most groundbreaking film in Pixar but it still has a lot of the charm that made Buzz Lightyear one of the most beloved characters not just in Toy Story or Pixar but in all of Disney. Anyone who’s loves the character will enjoy this for infinity and beyond.

Verdict:

+ Realistic animation

+ Sox

+ Voice talent

+/- Zurg

-Bland planet

-Small scale

Score: A-