The Hole (1962)

The Home ReviewThe Hole Review

 The Hole is a 1962 Oscar-winning animated short film which was directed by John and Faith Hubley. It’s an overrated film.

It features two construction workers at work in the bottom of a hole on a construction site discussing the possibility of an accidental nuclear weapons attack. It is one of the most talkative Oscar-winning shorts and it surely was interesting that it was structured as one giant, prolonged discussion. Some lines were quite interesting.

But most of that discussion was not as interesting as it should have been and not particularly smart or compelling. The voice acting is good, but the ending is subpar and the film is pointless in a way. The animation is its worst aspect as it is so mediocre not only in character designs, but also in imagery which felt choppy and unfinished.

The Hole is an interesting, but mostly failed experiment with choppy animation and not particularly compelling discussions.

 My Rating – 3.2

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Waking Sleeping Beauty (2009)

Waking Sleeping Beauty Movie Review………………………………………………………..

Waking Sleeping Beauty Movie Review

Waking Sleeping Beauty is a 2009 Disney documentary film directed by Don Hahn. It showcases the history of the Disney studio in the 80s and 90s with an emphasis on the beginning of the renaissance.

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I just don’t think anything is quite as magical as a Disney cartoon fairy tale.

There’s just nothing like that.

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Waking Sleeping Beauty Movie Review………………………………………………………..

I love this topic naturally as I am such a huge fan of Disney animation. The Disney Renaissance is truly a special period for the studio and for the American animation as a whole. I love all of the movies released there and although I would have liked to have seen the later Renaissance entries here as well, I still loved that I got to see the makings of ‘The Little Mermaid’, ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘Aladdin’ and ‘The Lion King’, four of their biggest movies.

That footage was fascinating and although I knew a lot of this stuff already, I still loved seeing it on the screen. Jodi Benson’s recording of Part of That World is definitely one of the highlights and of course watching those real lions in the studio was so much fun. I also liked that they showcased their rivalry during the eighties such as Don Bluth and Spielberg and we even got to see some 80s movies here such as ‘The Black Cauldron’ and ‘The Great Mouse Detective’. It is always tragic seeing how the former hurt the studio when it is such a solid film and of course the jokes about the latter’s title were so amusing.

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Waking Sleeping Beauty Movie Review………………………………………………………..

It was interesting learning a bit more about the studio’s troubled history. Of course Waking Sleeping Beauty glorifies a bit too much their own work, but that is understandable as they’ve had such enormous success during the nineties. Of course seeing the Oscar nominations and seeing that ‘Beauty and the Beast’ ended up in the Best Picture race was so emotionally rewarding and such a huge feat in the history of animation.

You learn a lot about Michael Eisner and Roy Disney’s roles which were very important and Roy always seemed so nice to me. But I also learned a lot about Frank Wells and his death was tragic. Jeffrey Katzenberg was well portrayed here and not in an overly toxic manner which they could have done, but thankfully did not. He remains a controversial, but still important figure for Disney and that was well portrayed here. And of course the movie wonderfully showcases the importance of Howard Ashman’s input and his untimely death truly remains tragic and you only can imagine how much more he could have done for Disney had he lived more.

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Waking Sleeping Beauty Movie Review………………………………………………………..

Waking Sleeping Beauty uses archival footage and interviews instead of new interviews and that was truly such a unique and different angle to a documentary feature. Very interesting and it ultimately worked really well for the film. However, the movie remains very troublesome for relying too much on archival footage of the filmmakers and animators and not enough on the films themselves. They should have showcased and emphasized the films more and how they were made and it would have been much more entertaining and much better. But the ending is really moving and the movie was so insightful and a great history lesson for an animation fan like myself so I forgive them for those flaws.

Waking Sleeping Beauty definitely should have focused more on the films themselves instead of relying so much on the filmmakers and animators, but it is still such an insightful and fascinating look at the Disney Renaissance and a big reminder of how important and great that period was. The movie showcased really well the troubled history of each film as well as the various troubles with the studio executives and animators plus it is a unique documentary that relies entirely on archival instead of new interviews.

My Rating – 4

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Swiss Army Man (2016)

Swiss Army Man Movie Review…………………………………………………….

Swiss Army Man Movie Review

Swiss Army Man is a 2016 comedy drama film starring Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano. It is an original and sometimes moving, but mostly ridiculous movie.

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You can’t just say anything that comes into your head,

that’s bad talking.

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Swiss Army Man Movie Review…………………………………………………….

It is about a man who, just as he is attempting suicide, sees a corpse wash shore and developed a friendship with it as it is half-alive and possesses a couple of interesting powers. Now the originality here is undeniable. However, there are two kinds of original works. One is admirable and groundbreaking whereas the other is bad or silly. This one falls in the latter category. It is just such a silly premise that you can’t take it seriously and some of its plot points were just too ridiculous to excuse.

Swiss Army Man has its strengths on the other hand. One is the emotion. Most of it is unearned and because the plot is silly, it doesn’t quite get through. But some of it felt genuinely moving and sweet. I liked the relationship between the two characters, it was a nice friendship. Another good aspect in this movie is its score. I just loved this score as it is uplifting, inspired and sometimes even magical. It thoroughly managed to lift some of the scenes to much greater heights because of it.

Daniel Radcliffe continues his quest into weird and odd territory with this movie and he is solid in it, but again probably a waste of his talents. Paul Dano is much better utilized and he was actually rather likable here where he is usually unlikable to me.

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Swiss Army Man Movie Review…………………………………………………….

The direction is okay, but the editing is not and the film felt too slow and not enough happened in it to justify its somewhat long running time. It is too simplistic and the ending, although fun, is probably more ridiculous than the rest of the movie which really says something. Some of the imagery was memorable, but most of it was too hippie and silly. As for its humor, it is horrible. It basically consists of farts and talks about bodily fluids which is why the dialogue is also terrible. Those two destroyed what could have been a much more interesting and better movie.

Swiss Army Man is a ridiculous movie. Some of it was sweet and moving, the performances are good and the score is actually very good, but the film is original in its plot but in a negative way as it was overly silly and sometimes even stupid and the juvenile humor and dialogue hurt it the most in the long run.

My Rating – 3

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Time Bandits (1981)

Time Bandits Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

Time Bandits Movie Review

Time Bandits is a 1981 family fantasy film directed by Terry Gilliam and starring John Cleese and Sean Connery. It is such a frustrating, disappointing film.

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Dead? No excuse for laying off work.

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Time Bandits Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

Now I obviously dislike Terry Gilliam as I do not care for most of his movies and that is why I didn’t like Time Bandits as well. He infuses this movie with his signature and very annoying style and thus ruins what could have been a great family fantasy flick with interesting time travel elements.

The biggest problem is its lack of identity. The film tries to be both a family fantasy adventure and a bizarre, odd comedy for adults and you can’t have it both ways. Some parts were admittedly funny and some scenes were very interestingly conceived and intriguing in imagery and mythology, but for the most part both of these movies failed in my opinion.

That is because the fantasy elements were mostly overly campy and filled with a ridiculous villain and many silly characters such as those dwarfs. Not only silly, but the characters are also annoying and some are even plain unlikable.

As for its comedy, it fails in that regard as well owing to its obvious Pythonian style. And having in mind that I do not like ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’, I naturally disliked that that humor was present here too. So disappointing and not to mention really not fitting to this story.

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Time Bandits Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

Time Bandits does have some inspired scenes with awesome imagery and great effects for its time. Its first half contained some clever dialogue and funny lines. And the overall film is certainly original in plot and characters, but done for better and for worse. I just had such high expectations for this film and it left me feeling cold and even bored. In the hands of any other director, this would have turned out great, but in the hands of Terry Gilliam, it ended up being another frustrating experiment.

Time Bandits is such a frustrating movie and another proof that I strongly dislike Terry Gilliam’s style. It does have some interesting scenes and imagery and you can’t deny its originality, but it is tonally inconsistent as it tries to be both a family fantasy flick and an odd, bizarre comedy and it just never succeeds in either of those areas as the humor is overly Pythonian and the fantasy elements and characters are silly.

My Rating – 3

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Bosko’s Woodland Daze (1932)

Bosko's Woodland Daze ReviewBosko’s Woodland Daze Review

 Bosko’s Woodland Daze is a 1932 animated short film from the Looney Tunes series. It is imaginative, but not as great as it could have been.

Bosko is out in the woods with his dog Bruno and falls asleep while the dog plays around. He has a nightmare and eventually wakes up. The nightmare itself had a couple of very memorable moments in it, but should have been much longer in length. The film does have an odd structure and a thorough lack of focus which is something the series has been struggling with from the start.

I loved Bruno, he was so endearing here, albeit not as well utilized as he usually is. The dream was memorable and of course the conclusion is amusing. I loved the animation here which is very imaginative and with some striking imagery. The score was also really good. The film is definitely authentic, yet disappointing as it could have been much better had it had a bit of focus.

Bosko’s Woodland Daze lacks in terms of the structure, but is quite intriguing in its imagery and sometimes endearing.

 My Rating – 3.7

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Three’s a Crowd (1932)

Three's a Crowd ReviewThree’s a Crowd Review

 Three’s a Crowd is a 1932 animated short film from the Merry Melodies series. It is such an inventive entry.

This is an innovative cartoon as it consists of various literary characters popping out of their books and becoming alive. Alice is pursued by Mr. Hyde until Tarzan eventually saves her from him. I loved the animation here, very well realized. The character designs were top-notch and all of these famous characters look great. I also really liked how they were portrayed and the action was fine.

But it is still a disappointing short because there isn’t enough of literary characters used and they could have had some more memorable ones. The score is also not great and the humor is lacking. I found the titular number to be a pretty forgettable song that was used a lot, yet was weak.

Three’s a Crowd features one of a kind storyline, but the execution is not the greatest owing to a weak humor and score.

 My Rating – 3.8

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I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown (2003)

I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown Review

I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown Review

 I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown is a 2003 animated television special and the 43th entry in the Peanuts series. It is a very weak special.

Rerun wants a pet of his own and eventually gets him but realizes that dogs are too much work. I do not get the point of this special whatsoever and it is one of the most troublesome, pointless and overly pessimistic Peanuts specials and that says a lot. Rerun is a fine, but forgettable character and it is a big problem that none of the other characters appear here aside from a couple of good scenes with Lucy and Schroeder.

I liked that it was a dog-centric episode, but other than that and the fact that some scenes are very good, most of the other scenes are either boring or lack any meaning to them plus the special is over forty minutes long and there just weren’t any need for that as the plot is overly simplistic. It truly is one of the weakest Peanuts specials.

I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown has its moments, but it is overlong, pointless and boring.

 My Rating – 3

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Bosko’s Dizzy Date (1932)

Bosko's Dizzy Date ReviewBosko’s Dizzy Date Review

Bosko’s Dizzy Date is a 1932 animated short film from the Looney Tunes series. It is a solid, yet quite forgettable Bosko/Honey outing.

As these two go, I’ve seen much better films. It is still solid and it has some really funny scenes, but overall it is never as hilarious or as entertaining or as charming as you would come to expect from the duo. I found the entire first third or so quite dull, uninspired and uneventful as the core lies in the second half.

I loved the scene where Wilbur the cat mocks Honey’s singing. That was absolutely hilarious. Again the film lacks focus and there is a lot going on towards the end, but most of that action was fun such as the ending where Honey is quite amusing. Bosko is likable here and the two are fun, but never as charming as they usually are.

Bosko’s Dizzy Date has a couple of excellent scenes, but mostly doesn’t utilize its pairing particularly well.

 My Rating – 3.5

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Super Mario 64 (1996)

Super Mario 64 Game Review……………………………………………………………..

Super Mario 64 Game Review

Super Mario 64 is a 1996 platform game created by Shigeru Miyamoto by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64 console. It is an important, influential game which is still very good to this day.

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Super Mario 64 Game Review……………………………………………………………..

It’s a me, Mario!

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So this is a pretty revolutionary game in the video game history as it is one of the first 3D games ever and it influenced the medium of 3D platformers being the granddaddy to them all. It is also one of the first to employ open world exploration in it and non-linear and vast levels and stages. Not everything in Super Mario 64 aged well and more on that later, but the 3D graphics and the overall level designs and gameplay did age stupendously well as they are impressive.

Of course the plot here is pretty simplistic as it has Mario trying to save Princess Peach who is held in her castle by Bowser. But as platformers go, the plot is fine and the characters are surprisingly well utilized with Mario being memorable and very funny with his Italian speech impediment being amusing. Some of his lines here were just hilarious and they made me laugh almost every time.

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Super Mario 64 Game Review……………………………………………………………..

Now let’s talk about the gameplay. It has fifteen courses and in each one of them there is a possibility to get seven stars and when you get seventy stars, you can unlock the final boss. This star system was incredibly advanced for its time and works so well and proved to be naturally influential. I liked it as it gave you room to explore a lot, but you didn’t have to get all the stars if you didn’t want to. I loved that they gave you that choice. But because you basically have to get seventy starts in the entire game and for each star you have to complete a task of which at least half are quite demanding, the game ended up being very satisfying in terms of longevity. I played it for weeks until finally finishing it.

But another reason why I played it for so long lies in the difficulty level which is tremendously high. It is actually not one of the hardest games I’ve played, but a couple of tasks and levels were some of the most demanding and frustrating I’ve played so far in any game, that’s for sure. Admittedly some tasks felt too irritating in their apparent masochistic tendencies, but mostly its incredible difficulty proved to be a rewarding experience.

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Super Mario 64 Game Review……………………………………………………………..

The problems of Super Mario 64 are twofold and unfortunately both of these problems are so big that they prevented me from giving it a higher grade. One is the level design. It is mostly stupendous and well thought out, but some of the tasks were super frustrating nonetheless because there is no chance in hell anyone could find some secrets and stars and finish those small tricky tasks that felt overly specific and just ridiculous. Nobody could finish this game without looking at internet help and that was really problematic.

But an even bigger problem is the camera. Wow, what annoying camera movements. The game is important for having an advanced camera system for the time, but unfortunately now it is dated and definitely mediocre. They gave you the option to change the view for yourself, but it was horribly implemented so I never used it myself. And the camera moved as it deemed fit and sometimes the choices were horrible and actually could hurt your chances at finishing a particular quest at time and just right.

But there is no denying that the graphics is where the game shines and it truly is a groundbreaking achievement. The stages and courses are so well depicted owing to awesome world building and quite impressive level designs, but the game is fluid for its time with good colors and pretty good character designs too.

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Super Mario 64 Game Review……………………………………………………………..

The sound effects were top-notch and the score is actually very exciting, memorable and fun with many catchy and fittingly fun or dark tunes according to the stages themselves. The game is so well crafted on almost every level technically, discarding only the camera angles. I also really liked its boss fights. Most of the tasks were excellent and sometimes it was wonderful exploring the castle and its various courses, but the boss fights and levels that led to them were the highlights in their closed world, dangerous and demanding approach plus the Bowser fight was just fantastic. It took me a lot to beat him as the level is so hard and perfectly constructed and it was all the more rewarding watching those end credits afterwards. In the end, I really liked and respected this game despite its couple of flaws.

Super Mario 64 definitely felt dated and annoying in its horribly implemented camera angles and some tasks and quests were too specific, but other than that, the game is actually really respectable, groundbreaking in its graphics and so incredibly well crafted on almost every level with great sound effects and such memorable and amusing title character. The level designs were great, its 3D was awesome, the world building is impressive and the game is demanding, yet always fun and charming to play.

My Rating – 4.3

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A Great Big Bunch of You (1932)

A Great Big Bunch of You ReviewA Great Big Bunch of You Review

A Great Big Bunch of You is a 1932 animated short film from the Merry Melodies series. It is a weak short.

After a string of successful, excellent entries, A Great Big Bunch of You breaks that glorious turn with a very weak film with an interesting setting and characters, but they are dull and never well developed at all. I found the film good in terms of the technical aspects such as animation and of course score and sound effects, but it was slight in terms of the story and characters.

It is another one of those Merry Melodies that feature an interesting scenario and intriguing characters, but because it relies heavily on music and boring movements, they never did anything truly authentic or memorable with them so the film ended up being disappointing and quite boring to be honest

A Great Big Bunch of You is well made, but ultimately dull and disappointing in execution.

 My Rating – 3.2

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