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It's about time for a 'Mr. Peabody and Sherman' review

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mrpeabodyandsherman.jpgI had a friend in high school whose name began with an “S”. This friend, as it may not surprise readers to find out, was more than a bit geeky and nerdy. His name was not Sherman, but my dad once admitted to often forgetting his real name and replacing it in his mind with Sherman. He was reminded of the character from the old The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show segment “Mr. Peabody’s Improbable History”.

I never really cared much for that old show, and I don’t know if dad was actually a fan of it, or just found it unavoidable during his own childhood and adolescence. I doubt he’d admit to being a fan even if he was. That’s just the way my dad is. He is not, thank you very much, likely to be described as geeky or nerdy; so, his apparent remembrance of this show, and a strange fondness for the Vger twist from the first Star Trek movie are the only hints that there might be that side to his personality, so I was mildly excited about this movie for that reason, as well as the fact that Robert Minkoff, one of the co-directors of The Lion King, was helming it.

But, at the end of the day, this movie was just okay. I don’t regret seeing it, but I don’t have any especial need to see it again. It’s just an okay movie; nothing more, nothing less.

Furry Movie Award Watch: November 2013

Your rating: None Average: 2.3 (3 votes)

Since this is so late, I’m going to somewhat use hindsight; however, I’m going to be honest with what I thought was going to win at the time (for instance, I would have put money on My Little Pony: Equestria Girls winning the Ursa Major right until the end). However, back in November, it became clear that Frozen was going to take the two animated awards (I don’t think anyone could have predicted how unfurry the furry award would get).

For the record, it’s a boring movie, and the fact that both the Oscar and the Ursa Major have gone to movies trying to eat their cake and have it to on the “feminist” Disney princess thing is pretty much the saddest outcome ever. At least it wasn’t an upset this year at the Oscars.

Review: It’s the Muppets again in 'Muppets Most Wanted'

Your rating: None Average: 2 (1 vote)

Muppets Most WantedThe latest Muppet movie begins at the end. Not like in media res, I mean like the first thing you see in this movie are the giant words “THE END.” We’re back at the end of the last Muppet movie, and it slowly dawns on the Muppets that the cameras are still rolling. This could mean only one thing!
Obviously, James Bobin forgot to shout cut.

No, wait, the Muppets are doing a sequel! So, the movie begins with a meta moment when the Muppets realize they’re now in a sequel, and they sing an absolutely hilarious song about this fact entitled “We’re Doing a Sequel.” So now they’re puppets, who are actors, who are playing themselves in a movie. It’s kind of like This is The End, except I don’t think James Franco is a puppet. At least I’m pretty sure he’s not.

Anyway, the best part? This movie was going to be called The Muppets Again! Because it’s about the Muppets, again! It’s so absurdly stupid it’s kind of brilliant, which is why it was changed at the last moment to Muppets Most Wanted. They went with a more descriptive, less generic title that somehow managed to be less descriptive and more generic.

Everybody got that?

Good, now explain it to me.

Animation: 'Thunder and the House of Magic'

Your rating: None Average: 2 (1 vote)

Jerry Beck has just announced on his Animation Scoop website that Shout! Factory will release the December 2013 Belgian-made (for Christmas 2013 release in French-speaking parts of Europe) 85-minute animated feature The House of Magic, retitled Thunder and the House of Magic and dubbed into English, in theaters in U.S. “selected cities” on September 5. The selected cities include New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boston, Houston, Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. Shout! Factory is primarily a DVD releaser, so presumably this will become a generally-available DVD release shortly after that.

Under either title, this looks like a kids’ CGI animated feature that furry fans will enjoy, with an anthropomorphized kitten, rabbit, mouse, dog, doves, and lots of Toy Story-type toys saving an elderly stage magician’s house from being sold out from under him by a greedy nephew. The movie is made by Brussels’ nWave Pictures, which made the 2010 A Turtle's Tale: Sammy's Adventures and the 2012 A Turtle's Tale 2: Sammy's Escape from Paradise features that have already become children’s DVDs in America.

Review: 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' is in the top five TMNT movies

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Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesIf I were to rank all five TMNT movies, this movie would come in dead last.

This is not to say I did not like this newest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie; I like all five of the movies just fine, thank you very much, and this one is no exception. It’s quite possible that I may not be capable of disliking a movie involving teenage mutant ninja turtles.

I’d like to point out for the record that I have put forward reviews of the two most recent incarnations of the turtles’ story; I have been overwhelmingly positive towards both of them. Heck, the IDW comics are a reboot featuring ancient aliens mucking around with Earth’s history, and if I had to pick two storytelling devices I hate most, it would probably be those reboots and ancient alien stories. And yet, I not only loved that incarnation, I especially pointed out this newest origin story as a positive.

Since my first story at Flayrah back in 2010, this is my third review of a Ninja Turtle origin story; that’s almost one per year, for those of you who don’t like math in their movie reviews. Thank God this movie is doing well at the box office and the next movie will be a direct sequel with the origin story of the turtles all taken care of. Hopefully this time it lasts a while, and we don’t get a Amazing Spider-Man type situation. Because that would suck.

I’ve already talked about positive bias in movies, and it’s not really fair to compare this movie to previous incarnations of the franchise, but like that’s going to stop any of the hundreds of other amateur fanboy reviewers (and even a few professional fanboy reviewers, I’m sure) from doing just that, so I might as well.

'Watership Down' may be joining Criterion Collection

Your rating: None Average: 4.8 (5 votes)

Watership Down Criterion CollectionEarlier this month, Criterion released Watership Down to iTunes; a full Blu-Ray/DVD release has not been announced at this time, and Criterion's own site doesn't list it as yet part of the collection, even as "coming soon". [Tip: InkyCrow via Newsbyte]

If this does make Watership Down part of the Criterion Collection, it would be only the third animated feature in the collection, after Fantastic Mr. Fox and the no longer available Akira.

The movie is an adaptation of Richard Adams' bestselling novel; it's main competition was in the bestsellers list was Peter Benchley's Jaws, which it beat, despite being about rabbits. Though both novels were later adapted to movies, they didn't directly compete at the box office, which is probably a good thing for Watership Down.

It was directed by Martin Rosen, who went on to direct a second Adams adaptation, The Plague Dogs. It features the voice of John Hurt as Hazel. Hurt is probably best known for his memorable role in Alien as the ill-fated Kane, though he recently played the 8 1/2 incarnation of the titular character in the long running BBC series Doctor Who as the "War Doctor."

The rabbits of Watership Down speak their own language, words of which have been known to be repurposed by furries.

Review: 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Visual History', by Andrew Farago.

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TMNT: The Ultimate Visual HistoryThis large, full-color book is published both for the 30th anniversary of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book, which was first published by two comic-book fans at a comics convention in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in May 1984, and for the release of the fifth Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theatrical feature opening this Friday.

This is one of those “all you want to know about” books. It is not so much about the characters themselves as it is the official history of the TMNT phenomenon, or franchise, or whatever you want to call it. Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, the TMNT’s creators, are collectors as much as anything else, and this book is full of original sketches, the flyer for that 1984 comics convention, comic book covers, storyboards and cels from the TV animated series, posters and stills from the theatrical features, photos of all the TMNT merchandising items and so on.

Personally, I would have preferred more profiles of the anthropomorphic supporting characters besides Splinter the rat sensei, such as Bebop the warthog, Ninjara the vixen, or Dogpound and Fishface, who are not described because, with names like that, who needs to? Or plot synopses of the stories in the comic books, the TV series (or selected episodes; I suppose that asking for a synopsis of every TV episode would be too much), and the theatrical features.

Foreword by Peter Laird, San Rafael CA, Insight Editions, June 2014, hardcover $50.00 (192 pages).

A completely biased review of 'The Guardians of the Galaxy'

Your rating: None Average: 2.8 (4 votes)

Guardians of the GalaxySo, there was recently an article on Flayrah I can’t link to anymore since the author asked it be removed, but the general gist of it was that bias in criticism is bad. Not going to argue that point one way or another, but argue a side tangent; the article never really said so, but the argument the author was really making was that negative bias is bad. Positive bias is either okay, or just doesn’t exist.

I don’t like onions, so I would be a terrible person to ask if an onion is good or not. However, if you liked onions, and they were your favorite food, you would also be a terrible person to ask for a review of a particular onion. I would say this onion is bad, because to me, all onions are bad. You would say this onion is good, because to you, all onions are good. Together, our reviews of the onion have told us nothing about this particular onion.

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been waiting for this movie a while; you could say I’m biased for it. So, by my very argument, I am unqualified to review this movie. I’m going to do it anyway, because I can, and besides, if one person has a bias, the odds are that many other people share the same bias.

Besides, this isn’t my first rodeo; I know what I’m doing, and believe I am capable of looking past my biases and giving this movie a fair review. Not like it can complain; I’m going to say this movie is awesome, after all.

But, fair warning; this is a biased review. Also, never ask me to review an onion.

Ooga-chaka, ooga-chaka: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' trailer collection

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With Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy featuring Rocket Raccoon hitting theaters on August 1, here's a look back at the movie's trailers.

Trailer 1

This teaser trailer appeared during Jimmy Kimmel Live! back in February and reintroduced the world to Blue Suede's "Hooked on a Feeling".

Review: 'Walking with Dinosaurs' is a bit literal

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

Walking with Dinosaurs What is it with cartoon dinosaur movies and migrating?

Ever since The Land Before Time1 featured a group of dinosaurs migrating through a barren wasteland, animated prehistoric animals have been moving en-mass just ahead of some sort of astronomical, geological or climactic cataclysm – all three at once, if they’re unlucky – that is implied will lead to the extinction of all creatures not our heroes, whose species will die out with them. A rather bleak fate, actually.

Let’s see… Disney’s Dinosaur featured a mass migration after an asteroid strike and a horrible drought. And this doesn’t just extend to dinosaurs; when I said prehistoric animals, I meant prehistoric animals. The first Ice Age and at least two of its sequels featured mass migrations ahead of disaster (I still haven’t seen the one with actual dinosaurs, but I assume migration plays some part); even prehistoric humans are not immune, as The Croods proved last year.

Now comes Walking with Dinosaurs (sometimes retitled Walking with Dinosaurs: 3D or Walking with Dinosaurs: The Movie), which is about dinosaurs putting on a prehistoric stage production of Les Misérables.

Just kidding, they migrate.

1 I’m sure there are earlier examples, but as child of the eighties, my knowledge of pop culture abruptly begins circa 1985; nothing, as far as I know, exists before - just like the rest of the Internet.

The FIRST Foul-Mouthed Teddy?

Word is spreading fast that the creators of the Ursa-Major-nominated film Ted are facing a lawsuit. “The creators of web series about a foul-mouthed teddy bear with a penchant for drinking, smoking and prostitutes have filed a copyright infringement suit against Seth MacFarlane, Universal Pictures and the producers of Ted, the 2012 film about a foul-mouthed teddy bear with a penchant for drinking, smoking and prostitutes. Bengal Mangle Productions claims that Ted ‘is an unlawful copy’ of its own animated teddy, who was featured in two different web series, Charlie The Abusive Teddy and Acting School Academy. The suit, filed today in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, states that those web series aired in 2009 and 2010 on You Tube, FunnyOrDie.com and other streaming websites.” Any merit to this? So far the targets of the lawsuit haven’t responded, but you can visit Charlie’s official web site and check things out for yourself.

image c. 2014 Universal Pictures

image c. 2014 Universal Pictures

Apes and Ladies and Bad, Bad Sci Fi

What more could you ask for on the weekend? Somehow we missed this: Empire of the Apes, directed by Mark Polonia. “In a distant galaxy three escaped female convicts crash land on a primitive world inhabited by a race of warlike apes. They fight for survival as the humanoid apes fight for their possession, body and soul. A daring escape is their only way out. Hot on their heels are the blood lusting gorillas and a prison warden bent on their return to the prison ship they escaped from.” Got it? You have got to see the trailer for this thing! Could its release on DVD have anything to do with the new Apes movie coming to theaters this summer? Nah! Well anyway, the DVD is available on Amazon.

image c. 2014 Sterling Entertainment

image c. 2014 Sterling Entertainment

'Beyond Beyond' takes rabbits to the Feather King's realm

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

'Beyond Beyond' poster It looks like 2014 is not only the year for animated features, it is the year for animated features featuring anthropomorphic animals – and fruits – and rolls of toilet paper.

Here is the 1’32” trailer for the Swedish 79-minute Resan Till Fjäderkungens Rike, or Beyond Beyond, directed by Esben Toft Jacobsen, released March 21 in Sweden, and expected to screen at international animation festivals throughout the year.

Judging by the publicity so far, this is a strong contender to become the Ernest et Célestine of 2014. It’s got seagoing and circus-performing rabbits, and a giant furry bird, and a frog sea-captain, and… trolls? And what are those little blue things? Anyway, it looks like a feature that furry fans will love.

Animation: 'Lisa Limone and Maroc Orange: A Rapid Love Story'

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Hah! I have always said that Estonian animation is ununderstandable! Incomprehensible, even. Here is a 4’47” trailer for a 72-minute 2013 stop-motion animated grand opera about the star-crossed love affair between an anthropomorphized rich-girl lemon and a poor refugee orange, directed by Mait Laas. Lisa Limone’s cruel father (a lemon with a comic-relief moustache) runs a slave-labor tomato plantation and ketchup factory.

Don’t worry if you don’t speak Estonian. Nobody understands the lyrics in opera, anyway. Besides, the trailer is subtitled in English.

Review: 'The Hobbit 2: Hobbit Harder'

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug I went back and forth on whether I was going to review this movie for Flayrah. I meant to when I watched it, as I knew it would contain quite a few talking animals, including the titular dragon, but then I got behind, and I wrote my top ten list, where it fell at number eight, so I figured that was good enough.

Then it was nominated for the Ursa Majors (which I called early, by the way), and wound up as the second-most-furry nominee of the year (after the still-not-very-furry My Little Pony: Equestria Girls), so I decided to review it for Flayrah after all. Better late than never. That doesn’t mean I’ll be reviewing the other nominees, even though I did enjoy three quarters of them (and, surprisingly, it’s not the Pixar movie I’m hating on here); I just didn’t find them sufficiently furry, or even furry at all, and am a bit perplexed at their nomination over furrier fare like Ernest and Celestine, Epic, Turbo, Free Birds, or even The ABCs of Death.

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