He’s a Bully, Charlie Brown (2006)

He's a Bully, Charlie Brown ReviewHe’s a Bully, Charlie Brown Review

He’s a Bully, Charlie Brown is a 2006 animated television special and the 44th entry in the Peanuts series. It is quite a solid entry.

The plot here is pretty good with a couple of reservations. The overall bullying part started off in a good way, but as it progressed, it became more typical and bland. I also thought that this was one of the worst Peanuts specials when it comes to voice acting as I disliked most of the kids’ voices here.

But the characters are so good here. I liked that Charlie Brown won for once and this optimistic approach was refreshing for the series. But the highlights are Marcy and Peppermint Patty. Watching Patty’s jealousy reach the highest degrees yet was extremely entertaining, but the way Marcie played off of that by fooling with her was great as well. Those jokes were so funny and some even hilarious.

He’s a Bully, Charlie Brown features weak voices, but excellent uses of Peppermint Patty and Marcie who are so good here.

 My Rating – 3.5

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Paterson (2016)

Paterson Movie Review………………………………………………..

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson is a 2016 drama film directed by Jim Jarmusch and starring Adam Driver. It is a sometimes wonderful, yet ultimately slight movie.

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She’s okay about it.

She understands me really well.

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Paterson Movie Review………………………………………………..
It follows a bus driver who is an aspiring poet and his wife who dreams of becoming a country singer and opening a cupcake business. Yes, that is the plot here and I myself found it to be overly realistic in the sense that you watch real life unfold in front of you too much that it becomes slow and sometimes quite dull.
There is literally nothing cinematic about this movie. And although that realism is admirable in a way, it ultimately hurt the movie and especially its pacing.

The characters are also too boring. The supporting characters are better and more colorful, but Laura was honestly very annoying and sometimes I wanted to punch her in the face. As for the titular protagonist, he should have never been the focus of the entire movie as he can’t carry it whatsoever. The man is inert, too good and just too passive and boring which are not the qualities of a man you would want to follow for two hours.
Golshifteh Farahani did a good job in her frustrating role and Adam Driver, though sometimes problematic, was mostly really good as is expected from his character. I just wish that he got more to do with.
This is the only movie from Jim Jarmusch I have seen so far so I cannot say anything about the quality of his other work, but here he did a good job and he had good vision but he ultimately made too many wrong choices in the script and characterization.

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Paterson Movie Review………………………………………………..
I know it sounds that I disliked the film, but I actually really liked it in some scenes. It is a solid film which definitely has its highlights. The scene with the little girl is excellent and wonderful and all of the dog scenes were amusing. I also really liked a couple of scenes on the bus as they perfectly showcaced what’s it like to be a bus driver and how many different conversations they overhear during the day. But there are also a lot of unnecessary and weak scenes such as all of those bar scenes and Laura got too many scenes for herself in my opinion. That is why I found the film to be just solid. The two hour format also hurt it immensely.
Paterson is certainly well acted and it has a couple of wonderful scenes including the very interesting bus sequences and the girl poet scene which is heartwarming, but it also has too many scenes which are unnecessary and dull, the film is overly realistic and thus too slow and the titular protagonist is too boring and passive for your main character.

My Rating – 3.5

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Bosko in Person (1933)

Bosko in Person ReviewBosko in Person Review

Bosko in Person is a 1933 animated short film from the Looney Tunes series. It is a very divisive short in my opinion.

This is basically one giant vaudeville performance starring Bosko and Honey. And it entirely hinges on such a premise. I myself am not a big fan of vaudeville so I wasn’t thriller with this episode personally. But I can see others loving it as it truly does have a couple of very inventive and amusing moments from both of these fun characters.

But to me those moments were sparse and most of the film wasn’t as inventive as you would hope from such a premise. It is also very much of its time and half of the jokes I didn’t even get as I am not as familiar with the 30s culture as I should be. That was certainly a problem that prevented me from enjoying it more.

Bosko in Person is certainly inventive at times, but mostly not enough and it is a film that you either love or don’t care for and I fall in the latter category.

 My Rating – 3.3

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The Edge of Seventeen (2016)

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review…………………………………………………….

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

The Edge of Seventeen is a 2016 teen dramedy directed by Kelly Fremon Craig and starring Hailee Steinfeld and Woody Harrelson. It is one of the year’s better films.

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“I am an old soul.

I like old music and old movies and even old people.

Bottom line is that I have nothing in common with the people

out there and they have nothing in common with me”.

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The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review……………………………………………………..

I really liked this movie despite its obvious shortcomings in terms of storytelling. The script is actually very well written, but some parts of it were too typical and obvious such as everything surrounding the protagonist’s brother for instance. But I liked that it was mostly sophisticated with many great scenes of which the highlights were the calmer scenes with the protagonist as well as the happy ending which is just beautiful in its subtle approach and execution.

The character development is surprisingly great. I loved Mr. Bruner, but I would have liked to have seen more scenes from him. Darian is not my favorite and the mother was also clichéd, but Krista is fine and of course Erwin Kim is such an interesting, different boyfriend than usual. I loved that he was Korean and that his profession is animation.

But naturally the highlight is Nadine who is the main and most fascinating character of the bunch. Now, teenage angst is a familiar subject matter by now. But what differentiates her from the others is her more reserved nature. And watching her have trouble connecting with other people and especially in huge parties made me connect with her as she is so similar to the teenage version of myself. That is why the movie was relatable and all the more powerful to me.

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The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review……………………………………………………..

The acting is top-notch. All of the actors and actresses did a really good job, but Woody Harrelson is as likable as ever and he gave one of the year’s better supporting performances. Hailee Steinfeld is so good! It was so great watching her six years after ‘True Grit’ and realizing that she is still great and even better than before which is a rarity for child actors. Her performance here is so great and believable that it is one of the year’s best female performances for sure. So underrated.

I would have gone with less of that typical friend dating a brother thing, but all of the other subplots worked great with the highlight being the exploration of her character and her problems. The way she overcame them was emotionally rewarding to follow and that is why the ending is moving. The script is deft here and the direction is surprisingly strong for a newcomer.

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The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review..……………………………………………………

The editing is also terrific as it is such a well paced and always very involving flick. The Edge of Seventeen also features excellent dialogue with some of the lines being clever and some being immensely relatable. Some of the things she said seemed to come right out of my mouth when I was that age. I also really liked its humor which was surprisingly pretty dark and edgy for a teen movie. And of course the movie is very emotional at times, but never overly sentimental which I hugely appreciated. Yes, it could have been more original in some spots, but it is so well made and so relatable and dramatic that it is one of the better teen films that I’ve seen, from any age. It is also one of the best that 2016 had to offer as a whole.

The Edge of Seventeen could have been more original in some plot points which felt obvious, but other than that, this film is one of the better teen flicks that I’ve seen. The dialogue is strong, the acting is terrific with Hailee Steinfeld being so great and the ending is wonderfully subtle and emotionally rewarding. The character development is fantastic and the main character was so well realized and some of the things she said were very similar to what I would have said at that age. That is why the film was relatable and all the more powerful to me personally.

My Rating – 4.5

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One Step Ahead of My Shadow (1933)

One Step Ahead of My Shadow ReviewOne Step Ahead of My Shadow Review

One Step Ahead of My Shadow is a 1933 animated short film from the Merry Melodies series. It is a very disturbing movie.

It follows several Chinese men who dance around until a dragon attacks them. Now this is a typically musically oriented Merry Melody that is lacking in characterization and plot. But it does feature an interesting Chinese setting which was very refreshing to witness. And it isn’t as racist as I thought it would be. I loved the animation and this is probably the best animated Merry Melody so far! The imagery is beautiful and they perfectly recreated their customs, clothing and architecture.

But there is one thing here that almost traumatized me. In one final scene, a dynamite goes into a fish bowl and after it explodes, we see two fish still swimming around, but now as skeletons. Yes, that actually happened here! Wow, I was left speechless. I know that Merry Melodies and Looney Tunes certainly did have a strong edge during the thirties and afterwards as well, but this was just too much. And it was presented as a gag? To me it wasn’t funny at all, but just unnecessarily brutal.

One Step Ahead of My Shadow is beautifully animated and featuring an excellent Chinese setting, but it also has a “gag” that was unnecessarily brutal and just too much.

 My Rating – 3.7

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Saturday Night Fever (1977)

Saturday Night Fever Movie Review………………………………………………………

Saturday Night Fever Movie Review

Saturday Night Fever is a 1977 musical drama film directed by John Badham and starring John Travolta. It is one of the year’s finest films.

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There’s ways of killing yourself without killing yourself.

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Saturday Night Fever Movie Review………………………………………………………

What surprised me about this film is the script. Yes, it does revolve a lot around the disco club and it follows preparations for and the eventual disco competition, but it is also so much more than that. It is at its core a drama film much more so than a musical.

Tony Manero is such a great protagonist, a realistic man from this period. His frustrations with his family as well as friends are so well explored and you definitely feel sorry for him. The film is very emotional and some of his scenes are great such as the penultimate and very moving scene when he drives around the city.

The parent’s favoritism of one child is so well explored and in his brother’s story, you also witness the mother’s refusal to accept his decision to leave priesthood. It is a raw, honest and still relevant portrayal of the parents’ unwillingness to accept their children for who they are and to accept their different life decisions.

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Saturday Night Fever Movie Review………………………………………………………

In Stephanie, you’ve got an exploration of pretentiousness and I really liked the relationship between the two plus it ended on a very heartwarming note. Annette as this deeply insecure girl is another strong character. And of course Bobby is a tragic character and especially evocative of this time period when abortion and promiscuity was at the highest level.

John Travolta gave quite possibly his career best performance here and certainly deserved his Oscar nomination. He surprised me with his performance here as he is charismatic and he sold both his dancing as well as his emotional scenes. John Badham’s direction is very good and the film is so well shot with the disco sequences being the immersive highlights. It is also well paced, but I myself didn’t like the first half as much as the second one as it definitely was inferior and more familiar in story. And the protagonist was fairly annoying and typical at first.

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Saturday Night Fever Movie Review………………………………………………………

Saturday Night Fever also succeeds as a strong musical owing mostly to its killer soundtrack. This soundtrack is so great that it is in my opinion one of the finest in film history despite it being not original as all of the songs were released prior to the film’s release. But it uses some of the best disco songs and thus it becomes essential for every fan of this genre.

Most of the major hits from Bee Gees are used here. Stayin’ Alive was a perfect choice to open the movie and that opening sequence is highly memorable and it instantly hooks you in the story and its main character. How Deep Is Your Love is also great, If I Can’t Have You is used at just the right time in the story and matching its scene fittingly and the major highlight is Night Fever as it provides the most eclectic and fun scenes in the movie.

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Saturday Night Fever Movie Review………………………………………………………

The soundtrack is great, but the songs are utilized superbly within the story and the cinematography is so good that it transports you wonderfully to its time period and setting. The disco scenes are so beautifully shot with some gorgeous shots and imagery. It has a great attention to detail from the songs to the clothes and it is a quintessential seventies movie when it comes to it being representative of its period and I loved it for that.

Saturday Night Fever is a stupendous movie. Thanks to its terrific attention to detail, great cinematography and a killer soundtrack filled with great disco hits, it succeeds as a strong musical. However, it is in the drama department where the film shines through as its characters are very strong and their issues are so well explored. From promiscuity and abortion to frustration with your current life to the parents’ selfish expectations for their children, this is one surprisingly thoughtful and clever script. Couple that with its many highly emotional scenes and you’ve got one of the best films from this period.

My Rating – 4.5

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Futurama Season 6 (2010)

Futurama Season 6 Review………………………………………………………………

Futurama Season 6 Review

The sixth season of Futurama is by far the best of the entire shot thanks to the largest amount of terrific and some even inspired episodes.

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I guess it’s time to indulge in some end-of-the-earth debauchery.

Who’s up for an orgy?

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Futurama Season 6 Review………………………………………………………………

It has twenty six episodes in it which is the highest amount so far, but let’s dig in. I found Rebirth to be a solid introductory episode to the newest season that many doubted would even arrive and it has some very interesting plot points in it, but it was crammed with too many things and characters in it and was definitely overstuffed. In-A-Gadda-Da-Leela was superb. There wasn’t nearly enough of Zapp in this season as I wished for, but here he stole the show with his elaborate schemes to have sex with Leela, the most elaborate one yet. This episode serves as the culmination of sorts of all of their sex-episodes.

Attack of the Killer App is very good. It finds a very good use of Mom and it features a terrific scenario with a couple of excellent humorous scenes in it. Fry is the highlight here. Proposition Infinity is excellent. Yes, Amy and Bender’s sexual relationship definitely felt abrupt, but it was great for featuring such a hilarious and applicable robosexuality storyline and it was great to finally see Kif question his relationship with Amy as it was definitely realistic and needed to happen even sooner.

The Duh-Vinci Code is absolutely fantastic. It is one of the most imaginative and actually quite innovative episodes in the show’s run featuring a great use of Leonardo and a storyline for the ages. It has humor, history and science all meshed so stupendously well into a fun whole. Lethal Inspection is so weak and not my cup of tea which was obvious as soon as I saw Hermes. He has a large role here and pairing him up with Bender was also not a wise idea.

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Futurama Season 6 Review………………………………………………………………

The Late Philip J. Fry is just mesmerizing to behold! Featuring probably the best animation the show ever did and the most imaginative and meticulous story ever (not to mention epic and ambitious), it was a true wonder to behold and such a perfect futuristic history lesson while also being a good vehicle for Fry and Leela’s relationship. That Darn Katz! is a simple episode but with a high-concept, funny idea – cats are actually smart aliens. That was hilarious and so fitting and the use of cat humor was great here.

A Clockwork Origin is another absolutely amazing scientific episode in which we follow evolution in a quicker manner. It is such an original, very well animated and smart episode and I wish that the previous seasons featured more of these high-concept scientific episodes such as this one because Futurama absolutely thrives in such scenarios. The Prisoner of Benda is such a hilarious episode with a fun concept this time around – switching bodies. The highlight of course was seeing Zoidberg and the Professor in bed together.

Lrrreconcilable Ndndifferences features Lrrr and Ndnd and whenever an episode focuses on these two, I am bound to have a good time which I did. I love these two and this time the nagging subplot was perfect for the duo and it saw a great use of Leela. The Mutants Are Revolting isn’t the greatest episode as we’ve seen these types of political correctness episodes before and done much better.

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Futurama Season 6 Review………………………………………………………………

The Futurama Holiday Spectacular is by far the worst episode of the season which was otherwise stellar. Futurama and Christmas do not go hand in hand and this episode is a proof of that. It was boring and forgettable. The Silence of the Clamps is another weak episodes because having Bender and mafia together was not a great mix and I dislike gangster plots.

Mobius Dick features an interesting usage of the titular novel, but the execution isn’t the greatest and it focused too much on Leela who was tedious here. Law and Oracle is a solid episode which isn’t particularly original or funny, but it has its moments and Fry is the highlight.

Benderama threw in an overly cruel fate for that poor giant, but other than that, it was a good use of Bender and actually he got probably the best role of the season in this episode and was quite funny. The Tip of the Zoidberg somehow felt odd, yet mostly very satisfying as it was emotionally rewarding seeing the roots of Zoidberg’s and Farnsworth’s relationship.

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Futurama Season 6 Review………………………………………………………………

Ghost in the Machines features a very good use of Robot Devil whom I usually dislike plus it has some of that classic Bender/Fry dynamic which yielded very solid results this time around. Neutopia sees the two sexes switch and watching the men become women in particular was absolutely hilarious with Scruffy being the standout here in my opinion. Such a funny episode.

Yo Leela Leela has another winning high-concept idea and a rather solid use of Leela. I loved the plot here and it was very well thought out. It wasn’t particularly funny, but it was imaginative and really well written. Fry Am the Egg Man is a heartwarming creature episode with a killer Harry Potter reference in the form of a yell which I just loved.

All the President’s Heads is a time travel story where the crew goes back in time (specifically to 1775) to thwart the Professor’s cousin. I just loved this historical episode and it features probably the best joke of the season in that moment when we realize how small New York was back in that time period. Cold Warriors is another overly sentimental Fry piece, but done mostly well and with a solid plot to it.

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Futurama Season 6 Review………………………………………………………………

Overclockwise is too Bender-centric and it has a thorough lack of focus. A weaker episode for sure. But Reincarnation is one of the series’ best and most highly authentic. It features three segments, all done in a retro animated style which I just adored. Surely the third 80s anime was overly aggressive and not as great as the previous two, but the 1930s Colorama part was just wonderful and so charming. The highlight is the 1980s video game style segment which features a terrific plot as well. Not only are there three segments stupendously well animated and original, but they are also well plotted which is another giant plus.

This season is not as uneven as the previous ones. Yes, some episodes were quite weak and it had too much Bender in it and not enough of the supporting characters, but most of the episodes were genuine classics and it is the season that finally made use of its science fiction genre properly featuring an abundance of highly imaginative and pleasantly scientific, clever storylines. But it also has quite a lot episodes that were just meant to be funny and most were hilarious. For all of those reasons, it is without any doubt the best season that Futurama has ever produced.

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Worst Episodes: Rebirth, Lethal Inspection, The Futurama Holiday Spectacular, The Silence of the Clamps, Mobius Dick and Overclockwise.

Best Episodes: In-A-Gadda-Da-Leela, Proposition Infinity, The Duh-Vinci-Code, The Late Philip J. Fry, That Darn Katz!, A Clockwork Origin, Neutopia, All the President’s Heads and Reincarnation.

My Rating – 4.3

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Birds in the Spring (1933)

Birds in the Spring ReviewBirds in the Spring Review

 Birds in the Spring is a 1933 Disney Silly Symphony film. It is a clichéd Silly Symphony.

We follow the hatchling of the birds, then we see their parents teaching them how to sing and afterwards one baby bird wanders away and encounters a rattlesnake and hornets. It ends with his father spanking him. Again we see Disney’s early obsession with spanking and again we follow birds and the parents are as annoying as ever. Its message in the end is typical and all of the plot points that happened here are beyond familiar and obvious.

The birds sound as great as ever as the sound effects are terrific. And of course the animation is expectedly splendid. I loved its colorful  style and not only do the birds look endearing and well designed, but the backgrounds are surprisingly crisp and polished as well. The technical aspects elevate an otherwise tiresome flick.

Birds in the Spring is technically terrific with great sound and splendid animation, but the message is obvious and its familiar story hurt it in the long run.

 My Rating – 3.3

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Heidi (1881)

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Heidi by Johanna Spyri Book Review

Heidi is an 1881 Swiss children’s novel written by Johanna Spyri. It is a famous and still popular book for many valid reasons as it truly is a great work.

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Because I would rather be with my grandfather on the Alps

than anywhere else on Earth.

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Heidi by Johanna Spyri Book Review………………………………………………………………

It is about the events in the life of a young girl who comes to the Alps to live with her grandfather. It is a simple, yet wonderful story. I loved all of its parts. The first half is great as it is such a peaceful part where we follow Heidi adjusting to the life in the country and we see all of its aspects such as her relationship with her grandfather as well as her friend Peter and goat herding. The descriptions of the mountain are beautiful, but more on that later.

I loved its second half as well. It introduced us to Clara and her family while also presenting a good look at Frankfurt. The part where Clara arrived to the mountain and the chapters afterwards were probably my favorites, so sweet. But the ending is of course terrific. The novel does have a great, very well written first chapter, but it also gives us closure with the last, very satisfying and moving chapter.

Let’s talk about the characters. Of course Heidi is lovely and endearing and Clara was a fine companion and the two were wonderful together. But the only problem here is that Clara isn’t as well utilized as she should have been and both of the girls were just too good on my opinion. That is why Peter is the better and more interesting character. He pushed and broke Clara’s chair out of jealousy and that subplot is amazing as it was perfectly executed. We follow his guilt, his anxiety and eventually his confession. That event made his character a lot more relatable and realistic. He is certainly the most fascinating kid in the book.

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Heidi by Johanna Spyri Book Review………………………………………………………………

As for the adults, of course the grandfather is warm and caring and Clara’s father is just as sympathetic. Dete serves her purpose and Rottenmeier was typically over-the-top and excessively so. But the two old women were wonderful and I have to say that the doctor was my favorite. You just root for him as you witness his loneliness and unhappiness and I loved all of the chapters with him.

Johanna Spyri wrote this novel beautifully as Heidi is surely a wonderful read for both kids and adults. It is childlike and never childish, it is simple, yet never overly simplistic and it does have a couple of wonderful messages for the little ones in it. The religious overtones were aggressive sometimes, but other than that, Peter’s story as well as all of the country lessons were well depicted.

But the descriptions are the highlights. She is such a great writer and the way that she depicts the mountain, the goats, the weather, the trees and of course the cottage is just mesmerizing. The book is clearly pro-country as it clearly states the health benefits of living at the mountain and in the village which is why the city parts weren’t as richly depicted. But the cottage was just so heartwarmingly depicted that it transported me right into it. Heidi has such a powerful carrying quality to it that it made me want to visit the Alps immediately. That’s how strong its writing and the descriptions are! I also found the meals beautifully described and again quite inviting.

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Heidi by Johanna Spyri Book Review………………………………………………………………

If there is one problem I’ve had with it is that sometimes the titular character was overly happy and ecstatic and most of the characters were just too good and unrealistic which is why Peter is better than most of them. And some of the Frankfurt chapters either felt like detours or were over-the-top. But other than that, the book is terrific with solid dialogue and excellent pacing (it is always engaging) and is easily one of the best that children’s fiction has to offer.

With striking imagery, absolutely mesmerizing and beautifully written descriptions, a very inviting setting and likable characters, Heidi is also moving and wonderfully childlike while also being pleasantly simple and rich in messages for the kids. It is so well written and so wonderful that it’s one of the best children’s books ever written and a genuine, timeless classic.

My Rating – 4.6

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Bosko in Dutch (1933)

Bosko in Dutch ReviewBosko in Dutch Review

Bosko in Dutch is a 1933 animated short film from the Looney Tunes series. It is a solid and interesting, but uneven entry.

I will first state the problems here. For a self-proclaimed Dutch title, there isn’t anything Dutch in it until the second half of the film. That was a problem. Actually the entire first half in and of itself is problematic as it basically sees Bosko ice skating accompanied with typical music of its time and that was just not particularly entertaining.

But the second half is so good that it saves the movie. I loved the use of Dutch shoes, I loved Bosko and Honey and their dance sequences were charming and I really liked the final action sequence because of just one thing which is that help sign. That was such an unexpectedly inventive and funny moment that was the defining part of the entire film.

Bosko in Dutch has a weaker first half, but the second half is charming and quite inventive in its one very amusing moment.

 My Rating – 3.8

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