Jungle Emperor Leo – Review

Before rewatching the Lion King movies in preparation for the remake’s release I decided to use this as an excuse to finally get around to watching this movie of the franchise that The Lion King ripped off that was in production around the same time as The Lion King.

I’ll admit I never watched or read the original series of Jungle Emperor/King of the Jungle/Kimba the White Lion so there were a lot of details about this film that were made with the audience’s familiarity with these characters, a detail made especially clear when a freaking Mammoth shows up and all the animal characters are already familiar with her with no explanation for how a Mammoth is still around.

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Something people who have only heard about this franchise through its comparisons to The Lion King is that there are humans in this movie, in fact they’re the main focus of the film’s theme as both the main storylines cover animal characters learning that humans can be capable of being kind or cruel rather than just the side they’ve experienced. The human designs are where Tezuka’s iconic art style really stands out and you can see the amount of love for his work that went into this film.

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As for the scenes that influenced The Lion King there’s less of them in this movie with most of the more blatant stuff coming from earlier in the series when Leo is younger but there’s still a few scenes very early in the film that you do notice the influence. But overall the story is very different and worth seeing for its own reasons, though it might be worth watching some of the original anime first to get a better introduction to the world.

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Spider-Man: Far From Home – Review

And so we get our first post-Endgame MCU movie. While I certainly was looking forward to this movie I’ll admit my excitement wasn’t quite on the same level as my excitement for Captain Marvel and Endgame. Still once Endgame came out the interest in seeing what the world would be like after the events of that movie and really Spider-Man is the right character to do just that.

It’s very good. The comedy is just as funny as it was in the first film with the right balance of high school movie comedy and MCU comedy. Peter’s story is a fitting next step after not just his last film but certain changes to his life after Endgame. As you might expect from a Marvel movie there’s two bonus scenes in the credits with the mid credits scene being one of the best bonus scenes in the entire MCU.

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The stuff the movie does with Mysterio is really impressive taking advantage of the sort of visuals a character like Mysterio offers. There’s one especially great fight scene that is exactly what you’d want from a Mysterio fight, it’s like something out of a music video or anime opening. Jake Gyllenhaal does a fantastic job playing him too, especially when his true nature is revealed.

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The romance subplot between Peter and MJ is cute, especially with other people in Peter’s life having a more successful love life than him. Zendaya was great as MJ in the first movie and this storyline allows us to get to know her better as a character. I don’t know what’s next for these two moving forward, I just hope things end up better than the previous two Spider-Man movie romance subplots. On that note

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This makes it into my top 3 Spidey movies. Looking at what’s next for the Spider-Man franchise while I’m looking forward to more from MCU Spidey and the planned sequels and spin-offs of Into the Spider-Verse next year we’re apparently getting a Morbius movie and if this is going to be another Venom style movie it’s just going to be a regular vampire movie without Spider-Man.

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While it’s less clear what’s next for the MCU with no schedule for Phase 4 announced yet everything we do know about is exciting, especially with James Gunn being back to finish his trilogy.

Yesterday – Review

I’m sure the thought about what you’d do if you were the only person with knowledge of something has crossed most of our minds before, mostly in the “what if I relived my life but with all my memories” form. It’s a good premise for a movie but the question was if the trailers more or less explored all the fun with it that’s in the movie or not.

It doesn’t, in fact it’s one of those comedies where some of the jokes in the trailer are funnier in the movie (the Googling sequences being a great example, especially when he looks up other bands). The overall story is enjoyable though a very typical rise to fame story, I’ll give the film credit though that when the romance hits its obstacles it doesn’t destroy their friendship and has nothing to do with a misunderstanding. These aren’t criticisms though as it tells this story very well thanks to the concept.

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Outside of the premise the music industry scenes are pretty standard though there are some pretty funny jokes made during them. Ed Sheeran’s extended cameo as himself is decent but after Keanu Reeves’ in Always Be My Maybe this does feel like a bit of a step down as while there are some funny jokes surrounding him most of the time he’s just part of the supporting cast. But again not really a criticism, just unfortunate timing. The cast are all very good and the songs are performed well.

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If you like The Beatles, the premise, Ed Sheeran or any of these actors you’ll probably enjoy this but considering the other movies currently showing and about to come out I wouldn’t consider it a priority for seeing in the cinema. If you are capable of seeing multiple films though I think that it is worth seeing, this review may have seemed more critical of the film but that’s only because its strengths are tied to jokes and performances which are harder to elaborate on without spoilers.

Toy Story 4 – Review

It appears to be a requirement that every Toy Story 4 review needs to start with how Toy Story 3 was such a great ending and how it led to concern about having another movie. Except I didn’t have that concern, I’d already seen from the shorts that Toy Story stories after Toy Story 3 can work and that the other Pixar sequels while not great are still enjoyable movies. Really another Toy Story movie just means that what used to be called the Toy Story trilogy can instead be called the Andy trilogy.

I thought this movie was pretty good. Several of the new characters are hilarious in very different ways with some new comedic spins on existing characters (such as the Buzz’s inner voice running gag). Also while both of the previous sequels had twist villains this one makes it clear right after introducing her that Gabby Gabby is the antagonist and then proceeds to take her story arc in an interesting direction.

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For those wondering where they could take the story after Toy Story 3 the answer is that it focuses on a different story than the one Toy Story 3 ended, one that was left in a satisfying place but still had potential to move forwards. With that in mind while this movie is also an ending to another story arc I could still see them making Toy Story 5 in a few years, though things would be very different after this one.

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But if this is the last Toy Story I think it’s a nice place to end it. If you have your doubts you should at least give it a chance, at the very least watch to see all the new characters and Bo Peep at the best she’s been in the entire series.

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While I do have a ranking order for these movies now this is another franchise where they’re all great films. I’d do an image for Pixar as a whole but I still haven’t seen any of the Cars movies and would need to rewatch more of the other films I haven’t seen in a while. I’ll make sure to have one ready for when Onward comes out next year.

Men in Black: International – Review

This film’s release was a nice excuse to revisit the Men in Black movies to see how my opinions on each of them have changed since I last saw them. One thing this marathon really highlights is how Men in Black II really is the weakest of the franchise being the only film to actually undo the events of the previous film. I was able to appreciate the first film more than I did as a child and while I still think Men in Black 3 is a good movie I don’t think it was top 10 movies of 2012 good anymore.

I liked it. I don’t think it’s on the same level as the first movie but it is a decent film and a good change of pace for the Men in Black franchise. It can be pretty predictable at times and that can be a bigger issue for some people but wasn’t really one for me. Do I think it had the potential to be better? Of course, but I’m still happy with what we got.

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The main strength of the film is the two leads. As anyone who as seen Thor Ragnarok will know Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth work really well together and it’s fun getting to see them in a different setting. I also like how the dynamic of M and H is very different from J and K’s with a story that leaves things open for a potential sequel without an Men in Black 2 style undo button.

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Considering the negative reviews this has been getting it’s clear this isn’t for everyone. If you liked the look of the film from the trailers you’ll probably like this, if you feel like this is another pointless attempt at reviving a franchise I’m genuinely surprised you’re reading this review.

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I don’t know what’s in store for the Men in Black franchise after this, even if we don’t get a sequel to this film specifically I’d still be happy to see another set of agents. As for me I’ve got another rewatch marathon to start, another former trilogy is about to get a 4th instalment.

The Three Caballeros – Review

While I’m currently in the middle of a rewatch marathon I visited a friend’s house for a Discord gathering/birthday party and one of the many things we watched while we were there was this classic Disney film, along with the recent Ducktales episode featuring the titular trio and a lot of silly YouTube videos. While I’d seen bits of this movie before (including during a trip to Disney World) this was my first time watching the whole thing.

To say this is a very bizarre movie would be an understatement. Like many Disney films at the time it’s mostly a collection of short stories with the common theme being Donald Duck learning about Latin America. As the movie progresses it gets more and more surreal, making it a great film to watch with a group of friends.

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Of course the main selling point of this movie is the beginning of Donald Duck’s own trio of friends with The Three Caballeros themselves. Most of the stuff I’d seen from this movie before was connected to these three and their interactions with the live action cast. While Panchito and José aren’t exactly regulars of the Mickey Mouse cast they’ve still made a fair amount of appearances since this movie came out and have a fanbase of their own, including of course our gathering’s host.

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If you’re a Disney fan, especially a fan of the Disney ducks, this is worth checking out. It’s worth noting that like a lot of Disney movies from this time there are elements of it that haven’t exactly aged well, though if you’re watching it with a group of friends like I did those moments are actually part of the fun. My next review will make it clear what movies I’m in the middle of rewatching.

Booksmart – Review

I missed seeing this as a Screen Unseen movie last month and since then I’ve heard good things about it from a fair amount of people including one of my cousins in a conversation yesterday which is why I went to see it today.

It’s really funny and without a doubt the best comedy movie of the year so far. A few people have compared it to Superbad which it does have some plot similarities too but while I liked Superbad I think this is a much better movie. It also has a lot of heart and knows when to pause the comedy so a serious scene can have the impact it needs.

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There’s a lot of great performances but of course the stand outs are Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever as Molly and Amy. The two of them spent several weeks as roomates developing a real friendship for the movie and it really shows in their performances. It’s also nice to have a high school storyline for a gay main character that isn’t a coming out story.

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This movie was a lot of fun and I do recommend seeing it if it’s showing in your local cinema. Also while comedy is of course very subjective the various movie critics I follow that have reviewed it all have positive opinions on the movie too and a 97% Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes so this is a recommendation I can feel comfortable making without an “it’s not for everyone” disclaimer.