All Dogs Go to Heaven (1989)

All Dogs Go to Heaven Movie Review………………………………………………

All Dogs Go to Heaven Movie Review

All Dogs Go to Heaven is a 1989 animated musical comedy film directed by Don Bluth. It is one of the director’s better efforts and one of the most underrated animated flicks for sure.

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All dogs go to heaven because,

unlike people,

dogs are naturally good and loyal and kind

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All Dogs Go to Heaven Movie Review………………………………………………….

It is about a German Shepherd who is murdered, but forsakes his place in heaven and returns to Earth where he teams up with a young orphan girl who teaches him some valuable lessons. The plot itself is far from original, but it is still such a charming, endearing experience that I really liked it nonetheless. This is the kind of film that is one of the best examples of why people mistake Don Bluth’s films with Disney ones as it truly feels like a Disney flick – endearing, heartfelt and with a similar type of animation.

Yes, it does have a couple of edgy aspects to it such as mild violence and that whole gangster angle, but I myself found those elements to be underutilized and the film to be mostly a children’s film. And that isn’t a bad thing because I liked it all the more for it. It is never childish, but rather pleasantly childlike which I loved. The story is engaging and charming to follow, but the plot structure is fairly uneven and the whole heaven aspect to the plot should have been much more utilized as it felt rushed in the end product.

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All Dogs Go to Heaven Movie Review………………………………………………….

Charlie is a typical bad gone good protagonist and while that is familiar, he is still a solidly developed character and his dilemmas are well explored and his relationship with the kid is so wonderful. Anne-Marie is such an endearing girl and I found her to be wonderful and not just a plot device, but also a solid, likable character in her own right. Itchy is okay, but nothing remarkable as the film needed a stronger sidekick. Carface is also forgettable and the rest of the characters are not worth mentioning.

Let’s talk about the animation. All Dogs Go to Heaven is criticized for its animation and I do not understand that criticism as I found it to be really well animated. Yes, once again it is too old-fashioned and too much like Disney‘s earlier works, but that is still a good thing as that animation has always been pleasant and strong. I really liked the colors here as well as the overall soothing look to it. The character designs are typical, but the attention to detail is solid and the overall animation looks pretty good to me and is definitely on the level of ‘The Land Before Time‘.

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All Dogs Go to Heaven Movie Review………………………………………………….

The film doesn’t succeed as a musical because the songs are so subpar. Most of the songs here are pretty forgettable, too long and quite mediocre to be honest, but two of them are worth mentioning and those are You Can’t Keep a Good Dog Down and Love Survives. The first is a solid, catchy tune and the second one is a powerful and in this case a lyrically fitting, meaningful ballad that serves as a beautiful tribute to Judith Barsi who tragically died before the film’s release.

All Dogs Go to Heaven is a solidly directed, well paced movie that is mostly very engaging and entertaining. The first act is somewhat boring and uneven, but the rest of the picture is pretty good and memorable. I really liked its tone, the humor was solid and the highlights for me were the end scene which is so emotionally powerful and bold and the nighttime sequence after the two first met which is so endearing and just wonderful.

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All Dogs Go to Heaven Movie Review………………………………………………….

Yes, the film is emotional and that is one of its strongest points. The songs should have been better as well as the humor, but it does succeed as a children’s drama more than anything else. The dialogue is also solid and the film benefits to transcend its somewhat familiar plot and characters with some strong emotional beats and a great charming tone to it. Overall, it is much better than ‘An American Tail‘ as far as Don Bluth’s 80s efforts go and it is such an incredibly underrated animated movie.

All Dogs Go to Heaven doesn’t have great songs, it is familiar in its plot and characters and it is pretty uneven in some areas, but it is mostly a solid film that benefits from some very emotional and heartfelt sequences, a strong relationship at the center of the film, some very bold choices here and there, a solid animation and a very pleasant, charming tone to it. It isn’t great, but it is perfectly solid and it is undoubtedly one of the most underrated animated films of all time.

My Rating – 3.5

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Lend a Paw (1941)

Lend a Paw ReviewLend a Paw Review

Lend a Paw is a 1941 Disney Oscar winning animated short film starring Pluto and Mickey Mouse. It is such a charming, really good short.

Pluto rescuers a kitten, but is soon starting to get annoyed by how much attention the kitten receives. The premise here is ripe for some emotional as well as humorous parts and the film does succeed because it is so endearing too. Mickey is good here, but it is Pluto who is the highlight as his character is really well put to use. And I loved his relationship with the kitten and his good/bad struggle that is perfectly presented with that classic, funny 40s angel/devil dynamic.

Lend a Paw isn’t perfect, not by a long shot. The humor should have been better as this is far from a funny cartoon. And the biggest flaw is the conclusion where Pluto’s angel is the reason why Pluto acted rightly whereas it would have been much more powerful had it been his decision. That was disappointing. But apart from that, everything else is pretty good with the animation being great and the pacing also being excellent. It deserved its Oscar in my opinion.

Lend a Paw is not only endearing, but also really well executed with a great use of Pluto and an excellent angel/devil dynamic.

My Rating – 4.3

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Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Movie Review………………………………………………

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Movie Review

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Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a 2007 musical horror comedy film directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall and Sacha Baron Cohen. It is solid, but far from the greatest Burton flicks.

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I can guarantee the closest shave you’ll ever know

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Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Movie Review………………………………………………

Sweeney Todd is about an English barber who is also a serial killer who murders his customers with a razor. This is a very weird movie which is expected from the director, but it isn’t always pleasantly weird, but rather odd at times. That is most evident in its genres. This film thoroughly succeeds as a musical because it has some quality songs in it that are well sung and memorable. It also succeeds as a comedy of sorts as it does have a couple of funny moments in it. But what it doesn’t succeed in is horror which is unfortunate as it needed strong horror elements. But it just wasn’t scary or atmospheric to me. Instead, it was too violent and sometimes the gore was not only overwhelming, but also repulsive.

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Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Movie Review………………………………………………

The titular character is a solid, albeit not that well developed creation. But the relationship between him and Mrs. Lovett is quite good. Speaking of her, I really liked her character as she is not only funny, but also an interesting mix of at times pleasant and scary, but mostly crazy and violent. Judge Turpin serves his purpose, but should have been stronger. Beadle is quite solid, Pirelli is memorable and Anthony and Johanna are an okay, but forgettable couple.

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Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Movie Review………………………………………………

The acting is strong here with a fantastic ensemble cast. It is interesting for having more than a couple of Harry Potter stars in it which was fun to see. Johnny Depp is quite good in his role. This is a typical role for him, but it is atypical in the musical format as this is the first time that he sings in a film and he was quite solid in it. In fact, all of these actors did such a good job with their songs which is stupendous having in mind that they are actors, not singers. Helena Bonham Carter in particular is great here and her songs are the highlights. She is quite memorable as well. Timothy Spall and Alan Rickman are quite good and of course Sacha Baron Cohen is as pleasantly comedic and goofy as always.

Let’s talk about the songs. No Place Like London is such a good opening number accompanied by an intriguing scene. It works great at introducing you to the movie and is one of the better songs here. The Worst Pies in London is also a solid, crazy song. Johanna is pretty good and it is a catchy, well sung tune. But all of the other songs are either forgettable, dull or overlong. And that was a problem as the movie is filled with a lot of songs. But at least those that are good are excellent.

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Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Movie Review………………………………………………

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street has too dark photography which annoyed me. Yes, the darker visuals fitted its dark tone, but it was still too dark at times which is a problem most modern movies share unfortunately. But it is well filmed and very well directed by Burton who managed to make a pretty solid musical on his first try which is commendable. The tone is dark, but also sometimes quite humorous which I liked. The gore is overwhelming, but I really liked the imagery here and London looks great. It is well edited and involving to watch, but it should have been more dramatic and more emotional. Overall, it is a solid effort, but not one of Burton’s best.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a solid and even commendable musical effort from Burton with an excellent ensemble cast, good imagery, some excellent songs and the film succeeds as a musical and also as a comedy as it is pretty funny and crazy at times, but it doesn’t succeed as a horror because it isn’t scary nor atmospheric, but rather relies on overwhelming and repulsive gore. Also, not all of the songs are memorable and the film is too weird at times. In the end, it is a solid, but far from great Burton flick.

My Rating – 3.5

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Mutiny Ain’t Nice (1938)

Mutiny Ain't Nice ReviewMutiny Ain’t Nice Review

Mutiny Ain’t Nice is a 1938 animated short from Popeye the Sailor series. It is a refreshingly different, hilarious short.

It’s been a while since the Popeye series has had a truly unique, different entry which is why this one was a refreshing change in pace to me. Everything here is authentic and different than usual with the strong emphasis on Olive being quite welcome. It isn’t perfect as it wastes those sailors and it could have been a lot funnier having in mind its premise is terrific, but it is mostly great.

Popeye leaves Olive before going to sea because women are bad luck on a ship, but she accidentally ends on it anyway leading to such a hilarious situation. This is great because we finally see his profession on screen as it is pretty odd that the series is called Popeye the Sailor and yet there ain’t that many sailing episodes involved in it. But this is great as Olive is much more action-oriented and funnier than usual and Popeye is again hilarious. And that ending is so funny and a perfect conclusion to this plot.

Mutiny Ain’t Nice is such a different, unique Popeye cartoon with a great use of Olive and such a spectacular premise.                                        

My Rating – 4.2

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Postcrossing: Ross Postcard – Mady Christians

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Postcrossing……………………………………………

Ross Postcard – Mady Christians

Today I sent my first postcrossing postcard. I sent it to one gentleman from Finland who likes pinup girls and film actresses from the 20s to the 50s. I’ve bought the postcards which are collectible items from an auctionary website.

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Postcrossing

Ross  Verlag 1737/1 Actor/Actress Postcard – Mady Christians

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Ross Verlag logo first appeared in the early 1920’s. On the front of the card were the words: Verlag “Ross” Berlin SW68. Verlag is the German word for publishing company. SW stands for Southwest and 68 is an area code in that region of Berlin.

The card numbers of a specific series would be of one particular actress or group of actors or a film (for example, 1028/1, 1028/2, 1028/3 and 1028/4 all show actress Lya de Putti. Usually a set of cards of one or more actors would be from the same film (although not always) or photographer. Some of the film scene cards go as high as 20 cards to a series, but generally each series had far fewer cards. The majority of the cards probably had only one card to a series, especially in the later years.

The actress on the postcard is Mady Christians (1892-1951) was born in Vienna, Austria. Destined to be in films in both Germany and the US, she started out as a stage actress, but soon found new challenges in the world of cinema. Her first film was at the tender age of 16 when she appeared in Audrey (1916). She remained in German films for the next 26 years before coming to the US and starring in The Only Girl (1934). Mady left the film industry in 1948 after finishing All My Sons (1948).

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Postcrossing……………………………………………………..

 The second postcard was printed in England, from the Santoro Company. It travelled from America to Serbia in 2005. It served as a humorous daughter’s birthday card to her father.

 

*This is where I share all the postcards I sent and received thanks to my new addiction: POSTCROSSING! If you’d like to send me a postcard, just e-mail me to exchange addresses – I’ll send you one card in return!

I would like to receive postcards specifically relating to:

– Films and classic actors (Bette Davis, Cary Grant etc.)
– Animation, Anime
– Disney
– Harry Potter

 

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The Time Machine (1960)

The Time Machine Movie Review……………………………………………….

The Time Machine Movie Review

The Time Machine is a 1960 science fiction film directed by George Pal and starring Rod Taylor. It is a solid and frequently great, but ultimately too typical and dated film.

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He’s got all the time in the world

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The Time Machine Movie Review……………………………………………….

Based upon the eponymous book, the film follows an inventor in Victorian England who constructs the time machine and travels to the distant future where humans have divided into two species: the passive Eloi and the cannibalistic Morlocks who feed on the Eloi. I’ve realized that the source material doesn’t contain those trips to the 1910s and 1940s for obvious reasons and those were the highlights for me. Not only were they interesting to watch, but also visually arresting, but I’ll talk more about that aspect later.

But the second half in the future is so underwhelming, clichéd and dated that I didn’t enjoy it. Some aspects and some conversations were great there, but the entire concept is so archaic by now and I personally would have gotten rid of the Morlocks and just stayed with the Eloi and that would have made this movie much better. I liked the structure with the beginning and ending being in present time and the film tied up pretty well, but the entire future segment still felt weak and unfinished.

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The Time Machine Movie Review……………………………………………….

George is a typical protagonist and Weena is very underdeveloped. Even though I really liked their relationship, it was too rushed and underdeveloped in nature. As for the other characters, they are fine and the highlight is the dynamic between the scientists at the beginning and the end of the movie. As for the acting, Yvette Mimieux did not do anything special with her performance, but Rod Taylor is pretty good in the main role.

The Time Machine is a visually memorable film and its visuals are easily the standout aspect here. Those time-lapse photographic effects are awesome and deservedly won an Oscar. I just really liked those scenes where we follow how fashion trends changed throughout the decades and the entire first half in the 20th century was so fun and charming that I just wished that the entire movie revolved just around that period.

The future segment contains some interesting aspects to it with the large and unknown fruit being quite intriguing, but the entire Eloi concept of being is very clichéd and I strongly disliked the Morlocks. That entire concept was too archaic for me. But the production values are solid and the score is also pretty good. The direction from George Pal is also pretty good and I really liked the effervescent tone of the picture and that is one of its strongest points. It does have a good adventurous spirit, especially in that first half.

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The Time Machine Movie Review……………………………………………….

The dialogue is solid and at times very interesting, but mostly too preachy and typical for this kind of film. The pacing is good and the film is quite entertaining throughout most of its running time, but once again, those future scenes were sometimes even dull to me and they really diminish the quality and impact of the end product. Overall, The Time Machine is far from the best that 1960s sci-fi has to offer, but it is still a solid, fun and charming flick that is enjoyable to watch.

The Time Machine is a solid, but very flawed movie. The first half is excellent and filled with a wonderful adventurous and charming tone to it, the effects are exceptional for its time and the film is mostly fun to watch, but the second half is quite disappointing with the future segment not only being somewhat tedious, but also pretty dated and clichéd.

My Rating – 3.5

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Hic-cup Pup (1954)

Hic-cup Pup ReviewHic-cup Pup Review

Hic-cup Pup is a 1954 animated short that is the 82nd Tom and Jerry cartoon. It is a solid and at times brilliant, but ultimately tired entry.

Yes, I have to be honest and state that I am by this point pretty tired of Spike and Tyke. The shorts starring them are not only overly abundant by now, but they also rarely differ from each other as they rely on an established formula. This entry is no exception. Once again we get Spike trying to protect his son, this time his sleep. And the cat and mouse are chasing and it is up to Tom to stay silent. Yep, this is clichéd.

But what it lacks in originality, it more than compensates in creativity with a couple of brilliant scenes. First off, that ending is different and this is probably the first time that Jerry not only lost, but also had to flee town. That was unexpected and refreshing. But the highlight is Tom as his troubles lead to many great moments with the scene in which he puts the headphones on the dogs and then screams in pain being such a standout scene, both inventive and hilarious.

In the end, Hic-cup Pup may be clichéd, but some scenes are quite creative and hilarious and those greatly make up for the overall uninspired plot.

My Rating – 4

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Modern Family Season 3 (2011)

Modern Family Season 3 Review…………………………………..

Modern Family Season 3 Review

The third season of Modern Family is much weaker than the previous two, but it still ended up being a pretty good, if not great season with its admirable share of truly terrific episodes.

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Proms are lame,

it’s just an excuse for dressed up dorks to ride in limos and hump each other

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Dude Ranch

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Dude Ranch is such a mediocre opener. It is the first episode in the series’ history that is in my opinion just okay, even if that. Most of the storylines here are forced in their connective themes and some characters are just too annoying in this one. When Good Kids Go Bad is the first truly good and even great episode in this season and a much welcome improvement over the previous episode. It isn’t perfect, but I loved the attack on Pritchetts once again with this time their obsession with winning being put into focus with amusing results.

Phil on Wire is a so-so episode. Some storylines are weaker than others with the highlights being Stella the dog and Mitch and Cam’s diet also brought many laughs. Door to Door is quite similar to the previous episode, ridiculously so, and once again the two dads are the highlights with Cam’s theatrical lines while calling Stella being absolutely hilarious.

Hit and Run is such a forgettable and so-so episode that it doesn’t deserve a bigger attention, but Go Bullfrogs! is the first truly great episode as it is just so incredibly heartwarming and endearing with Phil and Haley’s wonderful relationship. The Latinos are the weakest link here, but Claire is so good here and she’s rarely been this funny and interesting.

Treehouse is a very good episode mostly because of Cam as the other two subplots are both not as memorable. But Cam’s quest to prove his manhood is such a good scenario for the episode and it brings so many laughs. After the Fire has some really funny moments here and there, but is mostly an uninspired excursion.

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Punkin Chunkin Modern Family

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Punkin Chunkin is a big success. Not only is this such a return to form for the series with a classic, old-fashioned approach with all of the families gathering together in the end, but it also has a really good message and it represents all of the characters in a really good light. The character dynamics continue to be great in Express Christmas which is another awesome episode. It isn’t the funniest part, but it surely is one of the sweetest with such a good ending.

Lifetime Supply is one of the weakest points of this third season with neither of the storylines being particularly interesting nor funny. Egg Drop is such an improvement with Claire and Jay being particularly memorable here and once again proving us how similar they are in nature.

Little Bo Bleep has such a hilarious turn from Lily with her unexpected, but sweet cursing plus the subplot with Stella is once again pretty good and I don’t understand why they don’t use her character more often. The show really needs some pets in it. Me? Jealous? is a harmless little episode with a hilarious and very refreshing Claire and Phil subplot, but the other characters are unfortunately not as well utilized.

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Aunt Mommy Modern Family…………………………………..

I absolutely adored Aunt Mommy! It is easily one of the two best episodes of this season due to Jay finally confronting Gloria about her questionable raising methods of Manny and of course a hilarious scenario with the rest of the characters in a plot that is creepy, but presented in a delightfully hilarious way. It is probably the funniest episode of the season as it is just constantly funny. I also really liked Virgin Territory. All of the characters are quite good here, but it is once again the focus on Phil and Haley’s relationship that is the highlight.

Leap Day is incredibly sexist, really, really sexist and it is something that the show is definitely guilty of. I know that the same can be said for their handling of gay and latino people, but this here crossed the line in my opinion. It was at times funny, but too aggressive in nature and just too ridiculous. But the other characters are quite well realized with both Gloria and Mitchell being the standout ones here.

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Send Out The Clowns Modern Family…………………………………..

Send Out the Clowns has every one of the three storylines working wonderfully with Cameron being really funny and Phil being the highlight. Mitzi Roth is one of my favorite supporting characters and I hope I’ll see more of her in the future as she was absolutely amazing and brought the best in both Phil and Luke. Election Day doesn’t have the most likable Claire around which is one of the problems of this entire season, but at least others do give us some amusing scenes.

The Last Walt is one of the best episodes of the season without a doubt. Claire is once again the weakest link as she is too odd here and quite unlikable once again and that is really getting frustrating. But I loved that we get to see Phil and Alex spend some time together for the first time and I really liked that the show addressed that. I really love how Phil is finally having some quality time with his daughters in this season as that wasn’t present before. And as for Cameron’s father, he is a great character and I respected this episode a lot for showing us a realistic look at the fathers of gay sons and those scenes were just so grounded in reality and all around fantastic.

Planes, Trains and Cars finally sees a likable Claire, but unfortunately at the expense of Gloria who is merely reduced to the role of a sexual object this time around. The gay dads are the highlights as their story is so relatable and so well realized. Disneyland is finally a good travelling episode with each and every character being fairly well utilized and funny.

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Tableu Vivant Modern Family…………………………………..

Tableu Vivant is a really good episode and so wonderfully wraps up its storylines. Cam and Claire arguing over their parenting methods is easily the funniest part here. As for Baby on Board, it just might be my favorite episode of the season. It is a quintessential example of Modern Family’s winning formula – mixing the hilarity with heartfelt stories and some genuine, relatable drama. Everyone here is simply wonderful and I just loved Jay and Lily’s sequences as they were so sweet to witness. But of course Mitchell and Cameron are the ones who are the best here. Their quest for the second baby ended on a sad note and I really admired this episode for at first being crazy and hilarious with its excellent parody of telenovelas, but afterwards ending it on such a heartbreaking and serious note with the scene with these two lying on the grass being one of the best and most poignant scenes in the show’s history. And while they did not get a baby, Gloria will be having one soon as witnessed by its unexpected, but satisfying twist ending.

Overall, Modern Family Season 3 is never as good as the first two seasons as it takes its time to get there owing to a weaker first half, but some of the later episodes are just fantastic and so amusing. Yes, some characters aren’t the best here (Claire and Gloria), but others are great with Mitch and Cam being the highlights. It is mostly a good season with some episodes being stupendous.

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Worst Episodes: Dude Ranch, Hit and Run and After the Fire.

Best Episodes: Go Bullfrogs!, Aunt Mommy, Send Out the Clowns, Tableau Vivant and Baby on Board.

My Rating – 4.1

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Conan the Adventurer Season 2 (1993)

Conan the Adventurer Season 2 Review

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Conan the Adventurer Season 2 Review

The second season of Conan the Adventurer is more of the same, but is definitely inferior to the first season and certainly more disappointing. 

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Sorry, didn’t mean to get you wet.

I know how seldom you Cimmerians bathe

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Conan the Adventurer Season 2 Review

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This season has the same problems that the previous one had which are mainly the animation and the voice acting. Both are so bad. The animation never improved and some of the backgrounds are quite horrendous whereas the colors and the designs remain the same throughout its run. I really disliked its unprofessional look. And the acting is mediocre to say the least. There are some good performances here and there, but it is for the most part a really poorly acted show.

I’ve had some major issues with its plot. Too many episodes are repetitive and focus on similar storylines and the ending left me wanting for more. It was so disappointing how it ended and that last trilogy of episodes was so disappointing. Not bad, but definitely lacking. I disliked some of the new characters with the Thief of Shadizar being so annoying and Mesmira also being frustrating. She is such a one-note, bland character. Windfang continued to be the strongest one here and I liked him quite a bit once again.

As for the main characters, we get more of the same with Conan and Jazmine, but Needle got progressively annoying as the series progressed. Wow, he is such a frustrating creature. He is such a clichéd sidekick and his speech manner got more annoying as it went on. And while Dregs is also an archetypal henchman, he was much better than Needle and way more enjoyable plus some of his episodes were some of the best of the season.

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Conan the Adventurer Season 2 Review

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Gora was good, but not as good as before. As for Ram-Amon, I never got his character and he is forgettable and disappointing. And Wrath-Amon could have been much better realized this time around, but he is still solid. And the use of Set is good. And Torrinon was very annoying. As for Greywolf, he is fine, but some of his stories were too repetitive and those episodes with his brother and sister were pretty good, but went on for too long. Snagg is criminally underused as is Zula.

Some of the highlights in terms of the episodes are Once & Future Conan which is such an interesting, really well crafted experience, Dregs-Amon the Great is delightfully campy and The Vale of Amazons is such an entertaining feminist episode. Return to Tarantia is also good as a fine Jezmine vehicle. And Birth of Wrath-Amon is such a great backstory for this villain.

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Conan the Adventurer Season 2 Review

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Speaking of campy, this show is too campy for my taste. I loved it as a child, but now I was kind of hate-watching too many of its episodes as their quality is poor. Because the animation and the acting is poor, I now do not appreciate it as an adult and the fact that the quality of its episodes is very uneven certainly doesn’t help. Some episodes are pretty good, but for every good episode, we get another one that is bad or even horrendous. But I liked this series for the most part and although the second season was disappointing, it still had its moments and a lot of its episodes were certainly fun to watch.

In the end, the second season of Conan the Adventurer has way too many episodes than the first one, but is inferior to its predecessor because of too many bad or mediocre episodes and once again awful animation and voice acting. But some of the characters were entertaining, some episodes were great and it was entertaining and certainly fun to watch.

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Worst Episodes: Hanuman the Ape God, Down to the Dregs and Torrinon Returns.

Best Episodes: Once & Future Conan, The Vale of Amazons, Return to Tarantia and Birth of Wrath-Amon.

My Rating – 3.2

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The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005)

The Death of Mr. Lazarescu Movie Review

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The Death of Mr. Lazarescu Movie Review

The Death of Mr. Lazarescu is a 2005 Romanian drama film directed by Cristi Puiu and starring Ion Fiscuteanu. It is an absolutely fantastic, truly one of a kind work.

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You know what they say…

Mascara doesn’t help you if you don’t know how to speak.

Doesn’t help if you have no manners

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The film is about an old man who is carried by an ambulance from hospital to hospital all night as doctors keep refusing to treat him. This premise sounds dark and depressing and the eventual movie is just like that too – incredibly depressing and sometimes even difficult to watch. But it succeeds as a drama because the situation here is presented in the best and most suitable way possible – in a naturalistic style. Also, it is perfect because not only is it obviously realistic, but also because it’s just so heartbreaking and so relatable and important.

Mr. Lazarescu himself is such a realistic and well realized character and I really felt sorry for this man. You could easily see the pain in his eyes as the doctors evidently aren’t giving their best to diagnose his illness, let alone treat him. The  main reason why this character is relatable and why you feel sorry for him is definitely the performance from Ion Fiscuteanu who is absolutely magnificent in the main role. His delivery of lines is excellent, but the highlight is his eye contact and what he manages to convey just through his eyes and that was just heartbreaking to witness.

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The Death of Mr. Lazarescu Movie Review

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As for the other characters, I found his neighbors to also be unfortunately realistic. They wanted and did help him, but their hatred towards animals and his way of life was evident and some of the things they said behind his back are hurtful, but nonetheless real. Mioara the nurse is the only person here who genuinely wanted and tried to help Lazarescu which is why she is the most likable of the bunch. Yes, she did give him some hard time frequently, but she was still obviously a caring person and I liked that.

Let’s talk about the doctors and their depiction and what it all means and what the movie is trying to say. First off, I did feel that at times the doctors were a bit too vilified, especially the first one. But even though it may seem blown out of proportions, the depiction of the doctors and the overall health care system is hurtfully realistic, especially for its country Romania and some other similar countries. The way they gave the patient a cold shoulder was harsh, but all the more important as that really happens.

The first doctor, although too vilified as I mentioned above, is still important as his attitude toward Lazarescu’s drinking and the refusal to treat him because of that are all relevant. You also get some sexism as the man is evidently gravely ill and the nurses still proclaim him to be behaving like an old woman. Another statement here is the cramming of the hospitals and how they treat the most urgent situations right away and thus not living room for others to treat. But the overall apathy they exhibited toward the patient is what strikes the nerve here. It was, yes, very difficult to watch, but also incredibly important, real and such an urgent, real life problem that needs to be seen on the screen and the movie succeeds for presenting its problem in the most realistic, most brutal way possible.

The Death of Mr. Lazarescu isn’t a perfect film as it has its problems. One of them is the too negative portrayal of the first doctor and the other one is its ending. I just found the ending to be incredibly disappointing and subpar when compared to the rest of the picture. First of all, they didn’t need to show the preparation for the operation as it was unnecessary in my opinion. And secondly, the whole conclusion just felt abrupt and not like a closure that I wanted to have with this film. Also they could have lessened the number of hospitals they visited and the effect would have been a bit stronger. But other than that, the film is incredibly strong in all the other areas.

Romanian cinema is very strong and this is one of their best films and I entirely agree with that. This is not only the finest foreign or drama film I’ve seen recently, but also the best film overall that I’ve seen in weeks. It is just that special and that incredible. The direction from Cristi Puiu is especially strong and he just delivered in spades with this movie. The entire film is about two and a half hours long which does seem too long for such a small story, but the execution of it is so good, the editing is so deft and the film is just so involving to watch that its length did not bother me in the least. In fact, it is one of the most interesting and best edited dramas I’ve seen in a long time.

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The Death of Mr. Lazarescu Movie Review…………………………………….

Of course, its naturalistic style is just mesmerizing. I loved how observational it was with such a terrific attention to detail in the portrayal of its characters and their conversations. The dialogue in The Death of Mr. Lazarescu is top-notch – always realistic and engaging to follow. The emotion is evident as the film is tragic and heartbreaking and it will leave no one untouched. I disagree with the critics for classifying it as a dark comedy as to me its humor isn’t that evident and the film is most certainly a pure drama, at least it was for me. The tone may be too depressing for some, but I liked that it didn’t involve any light moments as this kind of story needs to be incredibly melodramatic and dark. It is so well filmed and so real in its dialogue and style that I just loved it as it really is a tragic, important, seemingly real story that needed to be told.

Tragic, difficult to watch and depressing, but also incredibly well directed, deftly edited, wonderfully acted and filmed in such a fantastic naturalistic style, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu is such a heartbreaking and relatable, important movie that is filled with such raw realism and urgency that it can easily be overwhelming to some. But to me it was a fantastic film that explores the inadequacy of the health care system and the hurtful apathy of its workers in the most brutal, yet honest and urgent way possible and gives us such an involving, important and mostly top-notch movie in the process.

My Rating – 4.5

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