Your Name (2016)

Your name Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

Your Name Movie Review

Your Name is a 2016 romantic fantasy anime film directed by Makoto Shinkai. It is his weakest film so far without any doubt.

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Your name is…

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Your Name Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

It tells the story of a young man living in Tokyo and a young woman living in the countryside who suddenly start switching bodies on a regular basis. The premise itself was awfully weird. Odd actually as it isn’t particularly appealing. It led to a lot of overly sexual and typical teenage humor which I did not appreciate at all.

But the major problem here is most certainly the romance. We’ve seen this type of romance countless times before as Makoto Shinkai is basically repeating himself here. We’ve seen the theme of star-crossed lovers and beautiful, distant romance before and done much better, especially in his ‘5 Centimeters Per Second’. This is basically a rehashed idea with only the switching of the bodies part being new. But because I found that aspect to be too odd, I ended up not really liking the overall story.

But there are some exceptions to that. Certainly some scenes were way too good that even a non-fan like me has to admit their greatness. Some of the dreams were quite moody and intriguing and the last sequence in particular is very charming and a sweet and romantic way to end the movie.

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Your Name Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

The characters are solid, but not as great as the script demanded them to have been. The supporting characters are all forgettable, but the central duo is likable and their romance is sweet and emotional, albeit not nearly as well developed as I would liked to have seen.

The animation in Your Name is definitely its strongest aspect. The overall animation is so polished and professional, but the scenery is the highlight. Some of the imagery at display here was just gorgeous to behold and I loved the use of both country and city in its settings. That was important for the story and really well utilized visually too. I especially liked its pleasing color palette and a couple of sequences were even jaw-dropping in their beauty.

The soundtrack is pretty solid. The songs aren’t well incorporated whatsoever into the story, but they are catchy and memorable. But they added to this movie feeling like a TV show instead of a film and that feeling I just could never shake and it really bothered me.

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Your Name Movie Review…………………………………………………………….

The voice acting is good and the directing from Makoto Shinkai is pretty good as usual. He does repeat himself here, but at least the film flows well and is well directed as a whole. I found the film’s structure to be naturally important for the film itself, but it was still awfully annoying at times as I strongly dislike the dream structure as a whole. That is why I just could never connect and get into this movie and even some scenes felt boring to me. I definitely can see the appeal here as some scenes are very strong, the romance is pretty memorable and it can be quite sentimental and epic at times, but neither of those aspects were particularly well developed to me personally which is why I found the movie to be just solid and nothing more than that. It is certainly his weakest film so far.

Your Name is by far the weakest film from Makoto Shinkai so far. Yes, the animation is beautiful, its romance is memorable and a couple of sequences are certainly charming and moving, but even though I can definitely see its appeal, I could never get into it personally. The film is way too derivative of his previous works, the dream structure is annoying, the plot as a whole is pretty uninspired and it never felt like a movie to me, but rather like a rushed anime TV show. In the end, it is one seriously overrated anime film that hugely disappointed me.

My Rating – 3.5

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Springtime (1929)

Springtime ReviewSpringtime Review

 Springtime is a 1929 Disney short film in the Silly Symphony series. It is a wild, albeit typical short.

In Springtime, we see a lot of the trees and animals join in a joyful celebration of the spring that has just arrived. It is one of those typical Silly Symphonies where there is no plot or characterization to be had whatsoever and where it was just an excuse for the animators to put as much music and crazy animation and gags as possible.

It isn’t one of the most memorable entries of its time, but it surely is solid owing to its wild approach and many memorable creatures and plants depicted. I liked the score quite a bit and the dances are for once solidly utilized and not as boring as they are in the other entries from this period. The ending is a lot of fun and I liked the character design here.

Springtime is typical for the time period, but quite solid thanks to its good score and very good animation.

 My Rating – 3.5

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The Wolverine (2013)

The Wolverine Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

The Wolverine Movie Review

The Wolverine is a 2013 superhero film starring Hugh Jackman. It is the sixth installment in the X-Men franchise and the second one with Wolverine. It is flawed, but pretty solid.

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How did you know there’s a pool down there?

I didn’t.

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The Wolverine Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

Logan travels to Japan where he meets an old acquaintance and struggles with guilt. The plot is basic and not particularly memorable or great. The conflict is solid and I liked the villain and his goal. It was cartoonish, but better and more dramatic than most of the other superhero villains and their motivations. But I particularly liked the setting of Japan as I loved the country and it was great to get an X-Men film revolve almost entirely in it. It was a good excuse for the series to venture into a different part of the world.

The characters aren’t the greatest here, but are quite solid and some are very interesting. Again I liked that it features Japanese characters and actors, that was refreshing to see and those characters were some of the highlights. Mariko was a bit dull to me, but Yukio is very likable and I really liked her. She was both a genuinely sympathetic person and a great female character who provided some excellent action sequences.

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The Wolverine Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

Of course I liked the villain as I said. The shared past between him and Logan was well explored and was a solid setup for the conflict. But all of the other Japanese men here were very forgettable and boring to be honest. Viper is quite good, somewhat typical, but a solid and strong villain. As for Logan himself, I still believe that he isn’t suited for feature films and as a main character, but he is here much better developed than in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” which was an immensely weaker film in comparison to this one. And Hugh Jackman is naturally the acting highlight, delivering a strong performance once again. I really liked Rila Fukushima too.

The Wolverine features some quite good and exciting action scenes, especially in the first half. But I agree with almost everyone that its third act was highly disappointing. In terms of storytelling, it was an okay conclusion, but in terms of the action, it was rather weak and bland. Whenever in these movies they fight in a building like this one, I roll my eyes. And the presence of a giant stupid robot frustrated me even more. Another thing that annoyed me was the overwhelming presence of romance scenes which were dull and unnecessary.

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The Wolverine Movie Review……………………………………………………………………

Another problem with this movie is its lack of humor and an overly serious approach. This character has always been quite comedic and here he is too serious and played overly straight. The overall tone to the movie was way too serious and dramatic. But I liked the pacing of the movie. Yes, the film is just too long, clocking in at over two hours which is too much definitely, but it isn’t dull and is almost consistently involving. The pacing is deliberately slow and that was a good choice as it led to a better crafted plot and more memorable characters. The score is not great and the special effects are pretty forgettable and standard, but the movie is otherwise visually pleasing with some very solid city imagery as well as some memorable interiors. It utilized its setting surprisingly well.

The Wolverine is a very flawed movie owing to its overlong running time, overly serious approach with an unfortunate lack of humor and a third act which is disappointing in its bland action, but the action was otherwise well executed and entertaining, the characters are mostly well utilized along with its interesting setting and the film features a solid villain and conflict. It is far from the best entries in the series, but it is solid nevertheless.

My Rating – 3.5

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The Last Battle (1956)

The Last Battle Book Review…………………………………………………………..

The Last Battle Book Review

The Last Battle is a 1956 fantasy novel written by C. S. Lewis. It is the seventh and final installment in the Chronicles of Narnia series and unfortunately the weakest one.

Fake Aslan starts a war in Narnia that turns out to be its last. Now as I said above, this book is easily my least favorite in the series. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. It is actually very good as all of the entries here are, but it isn’t as great as the rest in the series are owing to its very problematic storyline and most especially its last couple of chapters were troublesome.

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They have chosen cunning instead of belief.

Their prison is only in their minds, yet they are in that prison;

and so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be taken out.

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The Last Battle Book Review…………………………………………………………..

But first, let’s start with the beginning. I thought it started off magnificently with a tale that was pleasantly reminiscent of fables. It established the donkey and monkey characters really well and created the conflict marvelously. And I loved the set-up of the battle. I really admired its theme of not believing and how the sudden shift and lack of strong spiritual sense and belief can lead to destruction. It is extreme and surely it is the most religious of all the Narnia entries, but it is still thought-provoking and admirably mature because of that.

I loved how the kids arrived, it was interesting and different for the series. Those first action sequences were actually excellent and the first parts of the battle featured undoubtedly the finest war/action passages ever for the series. Lewis usually struggled to depict action, but here he did it really well. The sequences leading up to the battle were some of my favorites and I loved the exploration of fake religion and how people can use religion in the worse way possible and only for their own benefit. The book truly has a great message, an alarming one really.

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The Last Battle Book Review…………………………………………………………..

It is then such a shame that the conclusion to this story was so disappointing. The first half of the book was so stellar and so incredibly well crafted that if it stayed that way, it would have easily been in my top three of the series. But it ended up being my least favorite owing to the conclusion that was too vague.

Firstly, those scenes when the other Pevensies and Digory and Polly arrived were very odd and not explained well at all. The destruction of Narnia perfectly contrasted the creation scene present in ‘The Magician’s Nephew’ and that chapter was actually very strong and superbly written. But because he decided to still spare Narnia, that was all done for nothing and it was such a typical cop-out that frustrated me. Not only did he elude the more fitting dark ending, but he also made an ending that is admittedly too unclear and ambiguous. I didn’t understand it at all and nobody can actually as it leaves you to decide its meaning on your own.

Now, that kind of ending is usually very inspired and intriguing, but in this case, it was frustrating because it ended the series of seven books and thus felt too vague and way too disappointing and unsatisfying a conclusion to the entire, epic arc. Some of the imagery here is memorable and it was nice seeing all of those familiar faces from previous installments, but that still felt too convenient and somehow I got the feeling that this conclusion Lewis hastily wrote just to finish it as it felt rushed and underutilized.

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The Last Battle Book Review…………………………………………………………..

Let’s talk about the characters now. The Last Battle features many great character moments and although some do not get their proper due, I liked what he did with most of them. Okay, some may find Susan’s conclusion frustrating, but to me it was very interesting and realistic. Some people just become typical adults that forget their childhood and leave their imagination forever and if ever there was a more suitable character to forget entirely about Narnia, it was her and that was a good choice from Lewis. The other Pevensies aren’t really memorable, but Lucy is as likable as ever.

Digory and Polly were ridiculously underutilized, but Eustace and Jill are actually terrific. She in particular is the best she’s ever been and her more active and even feminist role here I appreciated quite a bit. Tirian was much better and stronger than Caspian ever was and that again I appreciated a lot. Finally we got a memorable Narnia ruler.

I also really liked Emeth and although Tash was such a strong presence, he wasn’t used the best way he could have been used and again those parallels about the different religions and their connections felt unclear to me. Aslan is great as usual and the villains are all terrific with Shift being truly amazing and unforgettable and Ginger being quite solid, if a typical cat personality. I really liked Jewel and of course Puzzle was so sympathetic and I rooted for the little simple-minded guy throughout the whole novel. And I have to say that how the dwarfs were portrayed was so intriguing as the lack of faith was put into fantastical context in such a fascinating manner.

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The Last Battle Book Review…………………………………………………………..

The Last Battle is definitely well written, if not as greatly paced, and it features good dialogue and descriptions. Some of the imagery is effective and the action is very well executed. The themes are strong and the book is extremely clever. I just wish that it was more emotional and that the conclusion was more grand and satisfying as a whole.

The Last Battle is not the greatest Narnia entry owing to its very disappointing and overly vague conclusion, but everything leading up to it is excellent with the battle itself being so well realized, the characters being superbly utilized and the plot is both well crafted and thematically very rich and sophisticated, even if it doesn’t provide the much needed closure in its ending.

My Rating – 4.3

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Battling Bosko (1932)

Battling Bosko ReviewBattling Bosko Review

 Battling Bosko is a 1932 animated short film from the Looney Tunes series. It is a fun short.

Unlike most of the previous Bosko shorts up to this point, this one is actually quite entertaining and interesting. Again we don’t have as much humor or originality needed plus the structure isn’t all that great, but the film is entertaining to watch and putting Bosko in this boxing setting proved to be really amusing.

Honey is so well used and I liked her scenes, the score is quite good and the animation is solid. But it is Bosko who shines here and some sequences with him are quite funny including the action scenes which are very well executed and the ending which is a nice, funny gag. Overall, a pretty solid entry.

Battling Bosko isn’t inventive or great, but it is pretty solid both in humor and in Bosko who is very good and funny this time around.

My Rating – 3.6

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Pagan Moon (1932)

Pagan Moon ReviewPagan Moon Review

Pagan Moon is a 1932 animated short film from the Merry Melodies series. It is an interesting, but not the greatest short.

Again we have a story that isn’t all that great and the characters are pretty underwhelming as well. They are well designed, but really forgettable. The same goes for its humor and action on screen, both of which quite familiar to the other previous entries in the series.

But Pagan Moon benefits from some excellent technical aspects. Those really help it in the long run. The setting is interesting and some of the imagery is memorable, but the animation is very good and both the designs and the scenery look fine. The same goes for the score which accompanies the action rather well. It has its charm, but it is overall not particularly exciting.

Pagan Moon has good technical aspects, but weak characters and plot leading to a solid, but flawed Merry Melody.

My Rating – 3.3

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Review and Analysis of the 89th Academy Awards

Review and Analysis of the 89th Academy Awards……………………………………………………..

Review and Analysis of the 89th Academy Awards

This year’s Academy Awards was not only the most exciting in recent memory, but also probably one of the most satisfying in terms of the wins. 2016 was a really strong year for film and I really liked most of the nominees so I was satisfied with their victories. The Oscars were very evenly spread out among its contenders and it was a nice change in pace to see the upset in the Best Picture category, but more on that later. For now, let’s talk about the ceremony itself.

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Review and Analysis of the 89th Academy Awards……………………………………………………..

THE CEREMONY

Unlike the last year’s bore of the ceremony, this one was much different and much livelier. Thematically speaking, the narrative was of course Donald Trump and that was expected. Some speeches were way too political and aggressive in tone for sure. However, I still think that it wasn’t as political as it could have been given that the atmosphere in Hollywood is so hot these days. I thought Farhadi’s speech was on point and I even thought that some jokes were quite good. But because they still managed to put in some homages to the stars and pictures of yesteryear, the ceremony turned out much better than the terrible one from the last year.

Jimmy Kimmel was a fine host. Actually he was one of the better hosts of the decade as he was never as annoying or as plain unfunny as most of his predecessors definitely were. I thought that that bus sketch was just horrible and obviously staged, but other than that, he was pretty solid and even funny at times. I thought his “Meryl Streep is overrated” lines were quite funny and the highlight is definitely the tweet part. I liked the new tweets edition and his tweets that he sent to Trump were very amusing.

As for the speeches, most of them were typical and overly sentimental. Some were better than the others, but as a whole, I thought they were forgettable and not particularly inspiring or original. I am going to talk about the Best Picture category in the next section, but let’s first touch upon the mix-up here. I think I am one of the rare people who still thinks that it was all staged and to me that is obvious mostly because of the acting awards being switched from the usual actress then actor to actress being given last. So obvious. But even though the entire affair looked like some sort of wrestling match, it was still exciting and unbelievable to watch and it is definitely going to leave a lasting impression and become the most memorable thing from the entire ceremony.

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Moonlight Movie Review…………………………………………………….

BEST PICTURE

Unlike last year, almost all of the nominees here were deserving of their slots. I wouldn’t have been angry if La La Land had won, but I was glad that it didn’t as that led to a very pleasant surprise. The last year’s Best Picture choice was also surprising which goes to show that the Academy is finally becoming braver in their choices and original instead of following in the footsteps of the other awards. As for the eventual winner Moonlight, I still think that that film is far from great, but it is still very good and I am fine with its win here. It feels like an Oscar flick, but is groundbreaking in its subject matter. I overall really liked the film and although it didn’t end up on my top ten list for the year, that is because the year was very strong. Moonlight is actually the most deserved Best Picture winner of the decade after ‘The Artist’ in my opinion which is why I was pleasantly surprised.

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Review and Analysis of the 89th Academy Awards……………………………………………………..

BEST DIRECTOR

Damien Chazelle won here for his work on La La Land and even though I found his directing to be not the greatest, I still am fine with him winning as he deserved to win for Whiplash in 2015 and this was basically the Academy honoring him for both of these movies. My pick from the nominees is Mel Gibson, but again, I did not have any objections to their choice whatsoever. What I do find frustrating is that once again they gave two different movies Oscars for directing and best film which is odd and I do not see why they continue to do it. Sometimes that is warranted, but I think them making a tradition out of it is problematic.

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Manchester by the Sea Movie Review……………………………………………………..

BEST ACTOR

Casey Affleck won for Manchester by the Sea which was not as expected as some of the other winners on this list, but I still called that out. I am again fine with their choice, but to me Andrew Garfield was better and I have yet to see Denzel’s performances as I still haven’t seen Fences. Affleck was capable, but not as great as everyone says he is.

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La La Land Movie Review……………………………………………………..

BEST ACTRESS

This was one of the most obvious categories and Emma Stone ended up taking the award. La La Land isn’t the most well acted film of the nominees, but she is very strong in it and although rarely truly great, she still deserved this award as it was about time for them to give her an Oscar. Natalie Portman was much better in Jackie, but she already has one Oscar so I was fine with Emma taking it.

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Moonlight Movie Review……………………………………………………..

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

This was the weakest and most frustrating category this year. Most of the nominees did not deserve to be here, but Mahershala Ali was just such a terrible choice. His is one of the most forgettable characters in Moonlight and Andre Holland deserved to be in his place much more. Ali’s win was expected and unfortunate.

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BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Nicole Kidman or Michelle Williams deserved to take this award as Viola Davis plays the main role in Fences. I do not understand why they continue to do this, but on the other hand, even though I haven’t seen the movie yet, I am more than happy that she won as she is such a great actress who deserved to win for the Help in 2012 and this was their compensation for that loss.

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Manchester by the Sea Movie Review……………………………………………………..

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Manchester by the Sea won for Best Original Screenplay and again I am fine with this choice (see the pattern here). I found some plot elements to be quite poor actually, but as a whole, the film is well told and the script is mostly sophisticated and strong. Of the nominated scripts, it is certainly the best one.

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Moonlight Movie Review……………………………………………………..

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Arrival and Lion are much, much better choices than Moonlight, but Moonlight still has a very good, mostly satisfactory story so I wasn’t angry that it won at all. It isn’t the best, but it is far from a bad choice too.

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Zootopia Movie Review

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BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

This was one of the most obvious categories. Kubo and the Two Strings had some momentum, but thankfully Zootopia won as it is a much better movie. However, both Moana and especially My Life as a Zucchini are much better films so to me this was a disappointing, if an expected turn of events. I just wish that for once some other studio besides Pixar or Disney wins.

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The Salesman Movie Review……………………………………………………..

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

The Salesman is an amazing, hugely admirable film that is one of the best films of the year which is why I was so glad that it won its much deserved Oscar. Asghar Farhadi is one of the best directors working today and he deserves to have two Oscars and I hope even more in the future.

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BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

O.J.: Made in America won for Best Documentary Feature which was expected and unfortunate. I have no intention of even seeing this movie and most of the other nominees sound boring. This was one of the worst years for this category for sure.

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BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM

Blind Vaysha is a better movie than Piper, but Piper is still immensely charming and sweet so I wasn’t at all angry with it winning. It is Pixar’s first win here in more than a decade. But this year was quite weak for animated shorts in my opinion and 2015 was infinitely better.

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La La Land Movie Review……………………………………………………..

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

La La Land won for score which is of course a natural turn of events as it is a musical. Its score is actually better than most of its songs so in my opinion the Academy made the right choice this time around.

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La La Land Movie Review……………………………………………………..

BEST ORIGINAL SONG

City of Stars is an endless bore. It is the worst and most bland song in La La Land without any doubt. My favorite songs from the movie Someone in the Crowd and Another Day of Sun weren’t even nominated, but of the nominees How Far I’ll Go easily should have taken the award as it is infinitely better than all of the other songs on this list.

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Arrival Movie Review……………………………………………………..

BEST SOUND EDITING

Arrival winning here was just so unexpected and such a huge breath of fresh air. That sci-fi has some great and spooky sounds and it thoroughly deserved to be honored for them.

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Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review……………………………………………………..

BEST SOUND MIXING

Another surprise in the sound categories where Hacksaw Ridge got the one for Sound Mixing. Having in mind the nature of the movie, it was a very fitting choice for this particular award.

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La La Land Movie Review……………………………………………………..

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

This is one of the rare awards that La La Land honestly really deserved as it features some excellent imagery, sets and interiors which is why I am glad that it won.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

But this was a travesty! I wasn’t angry as I knew it would happen, but La La Land has some truly horrible and mediocre camera movements leading to such a ridiculous choice from the Academy. Lion should have taken this one instead.

Review and Analysis of the 89th Academy Awards……………………………………………………..

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

Nobody expected that Suicide Squad would win an Oscar, but when you look at the makeup and hairstyles from the movie, you begin to see why it got it in the end.

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

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BEST COSTUME DESIGN

I was just so thrilled with Fantastic Beasts winning here! It thus became the first Harry Potter film to win an Oscar and although that is ridiculous of course, it was still overdue and very much deserved as the film has some gorgeous 1920s costumes that beautifully transport you to this time period. It was an interesting and wonderful choice from the Academy.

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Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

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BEST FILM EDITING

Hacksaw Ridge surprisingly got the Editing Oscar and even though I was glad for that movie, it was still ridiculous that Arrival didn’t get this as it entirely depends on this aspect in terms of storytelling alone and it excels at it. This was in a way both a disappointing and satisfactory choice.

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The Jungle Book Movie Review……………………………………………………..

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

This is the only award that I was immensely disappointed in. The Jungle Book features some very good effects, but Doctor Strange is to me a visually visionary movie that features some of the most innovative and imaginative effects I’ve seen in recent memory which is why its loss frustrated me.

In the end, this was a very strong year for not only movies, but also the Oscars as they picked very good nominees all around. I also admired how unpredictable their choices turned out to be and I really liked Moonlight being awarded Best Picture. As for the ceremony, it was solid and not nearly as annoying as some of the earlier ones so in the end, this was one of the most satisfying and entertaining Oscar ceremonies of the decade.

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My Life as a Zucchini (2016)

My Life as a Zucchini Movie Review…………………………………………………..

My Life as a Zucchini Movie Review

My Life as a Zucchini is a 2016 Swiss animated film directed by Claude Barras. It is such a pleasant, yet dark film that is one of the best animated films from this year.

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No one wants to adopt kids as old as we are

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My Life as a Zucchini Movie Review…………………………………………………..

It follows a boy who accidentally kills his mother and is sent to orphanage where he is bullied at first, but eventually forms friendships and falls in love with a newly arrived girl. Now this is a very interesting film, I have to say that it surprised me with its content. It is basically a film that is not for children aged nine or less as it might be too dark for them, but it is still light enough that older children may enjoy it.

I liked that duality present here. The film deals with a lot of important and tragic issues as each and every one of these orphan kids either lost their parents or were neglected and abused. I surely did not expect to see such frankness and raw emotion when dealing with this difficult subject matter and was thus pleasantly surprised by it.

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My Life as a Zucchini Movie Review…………………………………………………..

It also has some quite mature sexual conversations between the kids. To me they were overwhelming and somewhat out of place here, but they still felt realistic as this is how kids talk in real life. But the inclusion of such suggestive dialogue in a supposedly children’s cartoon was quite unexpected.

But on the other hand, My Life as a Zucchini also manages to find light in the vast areas of darkness and that I not only respected, but I found it to be a perfect approach for this kind of film. It is both light and dark with an ending that is so sweet and triumphant that it never felt cheap, but rather earned as the emotion and characterization were more than competent for such an ending to work. It surely is an immensely enjoyable and charming film that is awfully dark and mature in some areas and that juxtaposition was quite innovative in my opinion and mostly handled in a very smooth manner.

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My Life as a Zucchini Movie Review…………………………………………………..

The characters are superb, all of them really well developed and they all left an impression on me, each and every one of them and that was tremendously commendable. Camille is quite likable and a very strong female character. Courgette is overly typical, yet well realized. Raymond the policeman is such a sympathetic, wonderful man and I was so happy that he chose to be the guardian to those two.

I liked that all of the kids had their quirks and especially their problems, that was realistic and also quite tragic to witness. Simon is such a familiar, yet so well utilized bully character and I liked his arc quite a bit. But Camille’s aunt was just way too over-the-top and villainy in my opinion.

The animation in My Life as a Courgette is splendid. It is the kind of stop-motion that doesn’t rely particularly on detail, but it is so well designed in its characters and so polished as a whole that it was beautiful to watch. I found some of the imagery here to be quite memorable and even delightful. The colors are also very well incorporated with some excellent choices. And I admired how they managed to tell this story with minimal dialogue and sometimes being told by visuals alone. That is what film and especially animation is supposed to do which is why this film succeeds entirely on both storytelling and technical grounds.

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My Life as a Zucchini Movie Review…………………………………………………..

My Life as a Zucchini does have sometimes too on-the-nose dialogue and those sex conversations weren’t my cup of tea, but most of the dialogue was surprisingly sophisticated and it felt real to me. The script is great, the direction is very strong and the editing is particularly effective. The film is so well edited and paced that it was never rushed despite its very short running time. But this run time was just enough and fitting for this material and the film succeeds because it never prolongs its scenes. It also features one of the best adapted screenplays of the entire year. In the end, I found this flick not only to be one of the year’s best animated movies, but also one of the best foreign films of 2016 as well. It is that good and a perfect example of a seemingly simplistic film that is actually very complex, emotional and even deep.

My Life as a Zucchini is one of the year’s finest animated as well as foreign films. The script is very strong, the editing is superb, the dialogue is mostly realistic, the characters are so well developed and its animation is charming and wonderful. It is a film that is both light and dark, funny and emotional, childlike but also adult and that juxtaposition of humor and joy with tragic faiths and deep moments led to such an interesting, quite unique and rich film.

My Rating – 4.5

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Ranking Disney Dark Age Films

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Ranking Disney Dark Age Films

Disney’s Dark Age came at a time when the studio really struggled both critically and at the box office. It was after Walt’s death and all the way up to the Disney Renaissance of the nineties. All of the feature films here were released from 1970 to 1988. However, I included The Rescuers Down Under on this list too as, even though it is a 1990 movie and counts officially as a Renaissance entry, I myself disagree with that notion as the film is a sequel and revolves around animals and all of the Renaissance entries are exactly the opposite from that. Plus the movie isn’t that great in terms of quality either. But even though most of these movies are criticized for their quality and truly they usually can’t compare with Disney’s earlier and later efforts, not one of them is truly bad in my opinion as most are very underrated and some are even great. So without further ado, here is my ranking of all nine Disney Dark Age films where I tried to be more critical than personal with a few exceptions.

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Oliver and Company Movie Review

9. Oliver & Company

Yes, this one is undoubtedly the worst of the nine films on this list and is actually one of the weakest Disney films of any age. It isn’t without its strengths as the soundtrack truly is memorable and is actually one of the best of this period with Why Should I Worry? And Once Upon a Time in New York City being such great songs. But the film has too much action, a weaker animation and the characters, although solidly developed, are highly typical and the plot is as basic as it can possibly be. It starts off really well, but the third act is quite weak and the film isn’t bad, but it just isn’t good either and is a passable, barely engaging diversion that is one of the studio’s slightest.

Robin Hood Movie Review 8. Robin Hood

Now even though Robin Hood comes this low on my list, I actually changed my mind about this film upon second viewing. Whereas I at first considered it to be barely okay, now I consider to be quite solid and I bumped its rating from 3 to 3.5. The songs here are really good and very fitting to the time period with The Phony King of England and Oo-De-Lally being underrated gems. The film is also quite funny and even charming in a way, but the problems here arise in the technical aspects with the animation being very subpar and even derivative as it steals from previous Disney films. And I found it to be too foolish and silly at times and the tone here is very unevenly handled.

The Aristocats Movie Review7. The Aristocats

The Aristocats is quite similar to Robin Hood in terms of quality. It is a movie that is definitely solid and pretty charming in some areas, but you can’t deny its slight plot and typical characterizations. It has a couple of pretty solid musical numbers, but it also has one of the stupidest Disney villains ever in Edgar. I liked the film quite a bit and there are some genuinely charming moments to be had here along with its fine setting, but you can see that this movie was the first to come after Walt’s death as the originality and the energy just isn’t there anymore and it signaled the beginning of the Dark Age.

The Rescuers Down Under Movie Review6. The Rescuers Down Under

I stated above why I included it on this list, but now let’s talk about the movie itself. It is a perfectly solid adventure film that actually serves wonders in that genre with a very adventurous spirit to it plus some beautiful and interesting locations. As a sequel, it really is stupendous and you get again memorable characters and humor. Of course the highlight is the flying sequence accompanied with some of the best score that Disney ever created. However, it is still inferior to the original movie as the plot is weaker and it has way too much action here. But the biggest problem is that it feels way too much like a product of its time and it is unfortunately one of the most forgettable Disney flicks.

The Black Cauldron Movie Review

 5. The Black Cauldron

Coming in right at the middle of my list is one of the most underappreciated Disney films of all time which is The Black Cauldron. The film is obviously flawed and mostly in terms of characterization as the characters are so flat and forgettable that they really hurt the movie, but it still has a lot to offer, not the least of which are its technicalities. The animation is simply gorgeous and the score is absolutely magnificent. Above all else, it is a very dark and unique Disney film that differentiates itself from all of the others with such a genuinely frightening villain, a very good mythology and a creepy, highly memorable imagery. Whether you like it or not, you at least have to respect it for its authenticity.

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh Review

4 The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

Yes, the nature of this film isn’t the greatest as it is basically a package film, a compilation that consists of three previously released shorts. But the movie is still surprisingly well connected despite its origin and it doesn’t feel like a package film as much as Disney’s wartime efforts felt. Everything concerning Winnie the Pooh is childish and this movie is very childlike, but more often than not, that is its strength as it has a big heart and such a charming feel to it. I liked all of the characters here and the plot is quite solid, but the soundtrack, although consisting of too many songs, is pretty good overall and the ending is particularly memorable – it’s heartbreaking, resonant and filled with a beautiful imagery and heartfelt dialogue.

The Rescuers Movie Review

 3. The Rescuers

 Whereas The Rescuers Down Under is a solid sequel, the original Rescuers is much better. The film doesn’t have the best developed protagonist and the songs are too sad in tone, but the animation is charming and the highlights are Miss Bianca and Bernard who are two of Disney’s best characters during this period and they topped my character list. Such a charming duo that lifted this movie a lot. The film works as a rather pleasant adventure flick that is quite emotional at times, but mostly really well executed in action and drama. It garnered the best reviews of all of Disney Dark Age films, but to me two films from this period are better.

The Great Mouse Detective Review

2. The Great Mouse Detective

Now The Great Mouse Detective isn’t the most memorable Disney movie and it surely isn’t original at all, but it’s still a rather good Sherlock Holmes retelling with a couple of things that really stand out – one is the music which is quite good with The World’s Greatest Criminal Mind being one of the best songs of this period and another are its characters with Ratigan being superbly voice acted by Vincent Price and he’s one of the best Disney villains of all time in my opinion. This flick has a big heart, a genuinely dark tone at times and many great action set pieces and all of those quite successfully overcomes its problematic pacing and a familiar narrative. It for me comes in second place as the first slot has to go to…

The Fox and the Hound

1. The Fox and the Hound

This is it, the very best that Disney animation had to offer during the seventies and eighties. This is one of my childhood favorites and I love it to this day. It features the best message of probably any Disney film, some very likable characters and watching Tod and Copper as friends and then as enemies was an emotionally devastating journey. The film is one of the most tragic Disney films ever and it destroys me every single time I watch it. But it is also very well made with good animation, some very good voice performances and a solid, if not the greatest soundtrack. The Fox and the Hound is not only the best film from this period, but it is also one of my ten personal favorite Disney movies, their most underrated and one of their most emotional and mature movies. An underappreciated classic that deserves the first place here as it is so much better than any other movie on this list.

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Top Ten Disney Dark Age Songs

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Top Ten Disney Dark Age Songs

When it comes to Disney’s first Dark Age, the music was easily one of its weakest qualities. So making this list was quite easy as not a lot of the songs present here are all that great. With that said, of those that ended up in the top ten, most are pretty good and some songs here I really like. I managed to include every eligible movie that has songs in it and you’ll notice that Disney songs during this period are mostly childlike, energetic and fun instead of being emotional ballads that would define the next period. So here is my personal ranking.

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10. Goodbye May Seem Forever

The only song from The Fox and the Hound on this list (another one is in the honorable mentions), this number is too short and again not particularly memorable as that movie doesn’t have a particularly good soundtrack, but it has absolutely heartbreaking lyrics and is accompanied by such a tragic scene.

9. Winnie the Pooh

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh has way too many songs and most are of mediocre quality, but this song named after the titular bear differentiates itself from the others easily as it is not only incredibly catchy and exuberant, but also wonderfully childlike and you couldn’t wish for a better and more fitting tune for the silly old bear.

 8. Thomas O’Malley Song

 The Aristocats is one of those Disney movies that is overall not inspired nor memorable in plot and characters, but the music is its biggest strength. Thomas O’Malley Song is the first song from this movie of the two on this list and it is a blast to listen to and watch. The lyrics are fun, the scene is amusing and it is very well sung and catchy plus it defines the character really well.

 7. Oo-De-Lally

Robin Hood is very much like the aforementioned movie – weaker overall, but with some great tunes. This one opens the movie stupendously well thanks to such a wonderful scene, an infectiously catchy tune and solid lyrics. It is a childlike song, but done tremendously well and very fitting in tone to the movie’s time period.

6. Ev’rybody Wants to Be a Cat

Of course this is the finest song from The Aristocats and it is one of the most different songs for Disney both in its genre and in its high length. The sequence is extraordinary and it is the most entertaining and memorable part of the movie. It makes use of this cat gang superbly and the number is both catchy and well constructed, going from slow to fast in a stellar manner.

5. The Phony King of England

As probably the most underrated song on this list and of this whole period, The Phony King of England is Robin Hood’s best and most wonderful number. It recycles animation in its scene from previous movies, but as a song, it more than succeeds and I grew to like it recently quite a bit thanks to solid lyrics and such an infectious chorus.

4. Rescue Aid Society

The Rescuers’ songs are too melancholic and sad, but this one is different and sets itself apart because of its very happy and fun tone. This is where we meet the two mice for the first time and they are accompanied by excellent mythology-building words and it’s an incredibly catchy, just amusing tune that always brings a smile on my face.

3. Why Should I Worry?

Oliver & Company is undoubtedly the weakest Dark Age movie, but it also admittedly has the best soundtrack out of all of them. Why Should I Worry? is a rock song which is rare for Disney to do and it sets up Dodger’s character just perfectly thanks to fittingly hedonistic lyrics. It is so fun to sing along and it’s just such a great 80s tune.

2. The World’s Greatest Criminal Mind

The second place goes to this song from The Great Mouse Detective, sung by Ratigan. It’s a catchy and pleasantly old-fashioned musical number so well sung and filled with many great lines in it. It serves both as a fun musical piece and as a great character study with a scene that is both dark and light. It is without a doubt one of Disney’s finest villain songs.

1. Once Upon a Time in New York City

I just had to put this song in the first place. It is probably the most underappreciated song here and is the very best that the movie has to offer. It is an opening number for the movie and it introduces us to cute Oliver so well, making us care for him. But it is just beautifully sung with such a heartwarming voice, the lyrics are good and the tune overall is catchy and yet warm and majestic in style, very different from the others on this list and more in tune with the Renaissance numbers which is why I love it so much. Once Upon a Time in New York City may not be regarded particularly strongly by others, but it is to me a masterpiece and the best Disney number of the 70s and 80s.

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Honorable Mentions:

The Aristocats – This is such a pleasant, traditional number that opens the movie in a charming manner and benefits from a fittingly French tone and sound.

Best of Friends – This song is so wonderful as it cements the friendship between Tod and Copper through its charming tone and moving lyrics.

Love – This ballad from Robin Hood is too short and not as great as it should have been, but it’s still very elegant in style and it is both romantic and catchy.

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