A Subatomic Spoiler-Free Look At Ant-Man

antman

Big things come in small packages, and that’s something that’s always been true for the hero Ant-Man. The movie adaptation of the hero’s origin, Ant-Man, opens in theaters today,  is a definite treat for the Marvel Cinematic Universe fans who might not have been as impressed with Avengers: Age of Ultron, but were huge fans of Guardians of the Galaxy.  It is the final film in “Phase 2” and as staunch fans will catch on this is with good reason, as Ant-Man will be heavily connected to many aspects of the MCU going forward – some that might not come to any fruition, and others that are going to take us to DEFCON 1.

This is a story about Scott Lang, who in comic books was the 2nd Ant-Man, and the movie sticks with that theme.  He is a self proclaimed “cat burglar” who has just gotten out of prison, and through a series of events ends up breaking into a home where he comes into possession of a suit that he can use to shrink down to a size where he can ride an ant like it is a horse.  Hence his name… get it… Ant-Man.  In a way similar to the comic book also, he is doing this for his daughter… though the circumstances are a bit different.

Comic book fans like myself, those who are familiar with the history of the Avengers have been wondering just how Ant-Man would fit into the MCU.  After all in comic books, the original Ant-Man was Hank Pym, and he was one of the founding members of the Avengers, before Captain America, Hawkeye, or Black Widow were ever members.  In comics he is the guy who created Ultron, not Stark. He has also been several superheroes including Giant-Man, Goliath, Yellowjacket, Wasp, etc.  So the big question for this group was just how were you going to fit this diverse a character back into the mix?

In short, this is handled extremely well.  The pieces of Pym’s story are brought in piece by piece and at just the right times.  In this way you can see the parallels between the growth of both Lang and Pym in the movie.  One thing that this movie helped me with is the Ultron that was presented in Age of Ultron – as I struggled with that interpretation.  Missing was the psycho-drama element of the Pym vs. Ultron struggle – and Ultron was turned into all the worst elements of Tony Stark instead.  Here, in place of Ultron, we have Yellowjacket – who unlike comics is NOT Pym (no spoiler here, this was all over the trailers), and as is true to the MCU is different yet analogous to his Earth-616 (soon to be zero?) counterpart.  As a result he takes on many of the personality traits of Ultron from the comic books.

There is the contingent of people who have been wondering why they should care about a dude who can shrink and talk to ants.  Well because when a dude with a bow and arrow or a gal with a guns and martial arts can stand tall against the likes of a Hulk, everything else in between can work, and a tiny dude can stand tall too. However, in case that’s not enough there are elements added to this movie that are there to help you through this particular issue.  Each a piece of the puzzle to set up so much of what will be “Phase 3” of the MCU.

While I’m sure you’ve already been taking your kids to see the MCU movies, I wanted to say that for younger, even Pre-Teen audiences, this might be the most approachable of all the films to date.  Cassie Lang being the differentiating factor there.  Because there are a lot of elements of the story that are there to make a young girl work within its context younger kids may relate better and understand more of the story.  That said, there are still guns, stuff gets blown up, crimes occur, and people die.  Overall this is a super fun movie, full of a lot of what makes comic book drama great.  MCU fans are going to want to see this.

In addition to doing the web design and programming for the On the Go in MCO website, Todd Perlmutter is a host for the Disney Film Project Podcast.

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A Peek Inside Inside Out

Inside_Out_(2015_film)_poster

For countless centuries humankind has strived to unlock the mysteries of the mind, only to discover is that while we can speculate and conclude, we may never truly know what goes makes us all tick.  That’s not to say we don’t have an idea of how we work, after all we’re the ones who live this life and somehow we get through just fine without truly knowing how we do it.  What we generally find is that, at the end of the day, the cliche is true, “we’re all human”.  Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc., Up) takes all these swirling notions, and… emotions and turns them into the beautifully clever movie Inside Out.

In Inside Out, Docter sets out to answer for us that ageless question of, “What’s going on inside that head of yours?” Great effort was made by Docter to take concepts by both Freud and Jung and combine them into something easily digestible by audiences, as their concepts are often quite convoluted, conflicting, and complimentary at the same time.  That’s not an easy task, some people spend their entire thesis trying to sort such things out.  To do this he reached back to one of his earlier works that many might be familiar with Cranium Command.

To do this the movie is set inside the mind of Riley, an 11 year old girl (based on both Docter himself and his daughter) whose life is drastically changed when her family moves from Minnesota to San Francisco.  Much like Cranium Command, Riley’s mind, and similarly those of her parents, dogs, cats, etc. are all controlled from a control room, Headquarters, by her emotions Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust.  In fact, even the teaser poster for the movie resembles the logo for the closed attraction. Their job is to help define and maintain Riley’s personality.  They do this by creating and storing core memories which drive the aspects of that personality.

Unfortunately, after moving, Riley’s once “perfect” world starts to fall apart under her and she has to learn to cope with the changes and learn to incorporate them into who she is, rather than let them ruin her life.  As Riley’s world starts to fall apart, so do the core aspects of her personality, depicted as floating island “lands” from a theme park, including a familiar “hub & spoke” design where Headquarters is the Hub.  Those lands crumble, and fall into an abyss of lost and forgotten memories.

The emotions look to Joy, their leader and Riley’s first emotion, to solve the problem.  From there things start to go wrong as Riley’s core memories are rejected by the system in Headquarters and through a series of mishaps both Joy and Sadness are whisked off with those core memories to long term memory with no way back to Headquarters.  Leaving Fear, Anger, and Disgust in control.  From there things turn sour for quite a bit for both groups, and this reflects to Riley in the real world.  Thankfully with the help of one of Riley’s imaginary friend Bing Bong things eventually get fixed, and Riley learns to accept, and move on.

Inside Out great, if not fantastic.  While I wouldn’t consider it Pixar’s best work it is near the top.  It’s extremely clever, with some amazing throw away lines mostly at Jung’s expense.  Everyone who has grown up, become a teenager, lived through a life altering change, etc. should relate to this movie.  In other words, pretty much everyone on the planet.  Something so relatable is really the pinnacle of every artist, and this might come to be known as Docter’s pinnacle work.  Go see Inside Out, you’re going to enjoy experiencing these emotions.

In addition to doing the web design and programming for the On the Go in MCO website, Todd Perlmutter is a host for the Disney Film Project Podcast.

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Take a Trip To Jurassic World With Jeremiah

Many thanks to Jeremiah Good for attending the Jurassic World preview, and for bringing us a review of one of the most awaited sequels!

Jurassic World Poster

Jurassic World opens today, and is by far the best ‘dinosaurs brought to life’ film you will see this year!

 

At this point in our time on this planet you know if you are a Jurassic Park fan or not, so I won’t do a hard sell but I will say SEE IT.
The plot of the film is predictable. Dinosaurs break loose, they eat people, and our heroes Chris Pratt as Owen and Bryce Dallas Howard as Beth work to save as many guest as they can…well mostly just Beth’s nephews who are out among the dinosaurs. But as always the plot of the film is not why you’d go see Jurassic World so much as the awesome dinosaurs, who are very plentiful.
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I have loved dinosaurs since I was a little kid and this film really highlights what would happen if/when a way is found to clone them, they would be cool for a few years and then put in petting zoos. Being a theme park person watching this film struck a chord with me because it points out that a park is only as good as its latest attraction, in this case a genetic hybrid of a T-Rex and a few other animals (always a ominous thought) called an Indominus Rex. Of course the next big thing, as we’ve seen time and time again with new theme park attractions, might still have some bugs to work out even if those bugs are one of the smartest dinosaurs ever created by man or God which to the nearly 22,000 guest on Jurassic World can only be a problem!
While I wouldn’t call Jurassic World a perfect film, I would call it a great summer popcorn flick! As a “reviewer” I would be remiss if I didn’t point out the one biggest flaw in this film, the humans! I realize this film is all about the dinos, but I really had a hard time remembering the names of most of the characters. Unlike Jurassic Park where before you even see the first dinosaur in full, you are introduced to everyone and given enough information to know who they are, what they do, and why they are there in Jurassic World you have about 10 minutes of set up before all you care about is seeing the next dino. Now none of that will change my mind on this being the perfect sequel to the original film and seeing it at least 2 more time before I buy it on blu-ray!
22 years ago I saw Jurassic Park and dreamt of visiting and Jurassic World made my dream even bigger!
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A Look At Tomorrowland

tomorrowland

Walt Disney was always looking toward the future, and it showed through in so much of what he gave to the world.  He designed the original Tomorrowland in Disneyland to allow guests to be able to participate in a glimpse of what the future had to offer in order to provide them a positive outlook on what was to come.  His goal being simple, inspire hope.  In the movie Tomorrowland, Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof have taken that goal and weaved it into a modern tale where hope and despair are at odds, the world is losing, and it needs to be saved.

You can’t look at the world today and deny the underlying statement of the movie that we live in a very negatively driven society.  The movie does paint that view very dark for much of the movie, basically stating that there is no hope, as the world marches ever forward to it’s end.  They even go so far as to put a Doomsday Clock into the movie that counts down toward that end, one which defines the dark side of the movie and providing it a voice that ever counts down.

With that said, the negativity of things as shown in the movie, and the impending doom of the Earth, as mentioned above, despair is not the message of the movie.  The message is actually hope.  The message of the movie is provided to us through the main character Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) who is intended to be that embodiment of hope.  This is in stark contrast Frank Walker (George Clooney) who is a man who has become so obsessed with the impending doom that he is lost in despair.

This dichotomy carries through the movie from it’s opening where Frank and Casey are shown to be telling us the story of the movie, right until it’s speech at the end.  The message is simple, despite all the darkness there can be hope.  The interplay between the concepts built into Casey and Frank carries much of the movie.  Casey keeping it fun in a way, while Frank is keeping it real – despite all the unreal things he’s doing on screen.

With a plethora of science fiction themes like alternate realities, killer robots, and a steampunk trip to the moon the movie really does carry well throughout most of it.  There’s actually a point in the special effects where I got goose bumps because so much crazy awesome was happening on screen that it was hard not to sit back and think “Wow!”.  Cool concepts when well executed really do help me enjoy a movie more.  You don’t have to really understand how they do X or Y or Z in Tomorrowland, and they don’t take the time to explain it to you.  These combined help the movie not get stuck in exposition, despite that the entire movie is a flashback.

Parents should know that this movie does have quite a bit of in your face violence.  Almost at time for the sake of violence rather than having a purpose.  So this might not be a great film for younger viewers, but keep in mind we’re talking something along the lines of Men In Black or Revenge of the Sith.  The movie is honestly not for everyone, even families may be split. There are some definite lull points that may actually bore some viewers.

That said, I really enjoyed the core story of the movie.  I love the idea of a group of scientists that have, for quite some time, toiled away in another reality so they can expand and grow their knowledge freely for the good of mankind.  It does work to inspire hope, and that’s a good message to put forth.  On the downside it does suffer from the same problem that Damon Lindelof works generally have, the journey through the movie is way better than the end game of the story ever is.  But, I had expected that going in.  It also is a very well constructed story that is both entertaining and fun.  For a more in depth view of Tomorrowland, check out episode 234 of the Disney Film Project Podcast in a few weeks.

In addition to doing the web design and programming for the On the Go in MCO website, Todd Perlmutter is a host for the Disney Film Project Podcast.

 

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A Cinematic Journey Into The Woods

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Based on the Stephen Sondheim play of the same name, Into the Woods is Disney’s big holiday movie for 2014.  The play itself is a tale about morality, vice, desire, and virtue.  Based on the concept that each fairy tale is supposed to teach us or our children a lesson to help them in life.  However the twist here is that several fairy tales collide to create the pillars of a whole new story where the object lesson is centered around the old saying, “Be careful what you wish for.”

I have to be perfectly honest here, before seeing this movie I knew very little to nothing about it.  Having never seen the play before or read much about it, never having heard the songs, I was going in blind.  There had been some brief discussion with my Disney Film Project Podcast co-hosts which contained a great deal of excitement from our own Rachel Kolb, who happens to be a huge fan of the play and knows a great deal about it.  When I’m in this situation I try not to come in with too many preconceptions.

The core story is about a Baker (James Corden) and his Wife (Emily Blunt) and their desire to start a family.  However they quickly learn that they have been cursed by their next door neighbor who happens to be a Witch played by Meryl Streep who really steals every scene she’s in.  Wanting to break the curse, and be able to have a child, the Witch assigns them to retrieve 4 seemingly normal items and bring them to her in 3 days time.  The trick however is that this sends them on a collision course with the fairy tales Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel. 4 items.  4 stories.

The problem however is that the wishes of each of the major characters – the Baker, his Wife, the Witch, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack, and Rapunzel – have consequences.  Each of their stories plays out somewhat as you know them, but it’s what happens after this that matters.  But the wishes themselves are just allegorical wrappings for the choices the characters continue to make throughout the story.  And how they have to learn to take responsibility for those choices.

There is a lot of commentary that discusses the difference between the musical and the movie, from the removal of songs, to the changes of plot elements.  While not having seen the play, I’m guessing this serves 2 purposes; the shorter time a movie has to tell a story, and that some things that work on stage do not work as well on film.  While this is a somewhat dark story that has some moments that you may need to either explain or gloss over to your children, this is still a family film.  I might consider the age and maturity of any pre-teen children before seeing this film with them.  This is a very solid movie, based on a well constructed story, that I greatly enjoyed watching.

In addition to doing the web design and programming for the On the Go in MCO website, Todd Perlmutter is a host for the Disney Film Project Podcast.

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A Heroic Look At Big Hero 6

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It’s become evidently clear that the purchase of Marvel by Disney has turned out to be a huge win for the company, especially when it comes to the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  One of the tasks set by Bob Iger upon purchase was to search through the Marvel catalog to find out what else might be available for adaptation.  Don Hall discovered Big Hero 6 and ended up pitching it to John Lasseter.  Some of the characters had to be dropped due to their movie rights being owned by Fox, and many aspects of the characters were adjusted, but the focus remained on the relationship between Hiro and Baymax.

Due to some contention about live action vs. animation it was decided that Big Hero 6 would be set in its own universe rather than be part of the MCU and thus was born the amalgam city of San Fransokyo.  It’s nice to see creativity on this level and a step toward taking ownership of characters that, while interesting, never really integrated well into the Marvel Universe in the first place.  Each of the characters was reborn as something rooted in their original version, yet they were all now joined together with a common origin instead of having the diverse backgrounds they have in comics.  And they’re all better for it.

The movie itself is a really interesting and enjoyable take on the superhero origin story.  It has a flair to it, much the same way that Wreck-It Ralph did 2 years ago.  Disney is showing a very gratifying trend that takes them away from their “safe zone” of animated movies and starts to etch out new and exciting concepts and creations. And that’s a good thing – diversity of design shows an ability to grow and adapt that once once thought lost to the company.  One thing to look for is that at least 2 of the characters, Aunt Cass and Honey Lemon, look like modified models of prior characters Helen Parr and Lucille Krunklehorn.

I will say that while really great and enjoyable mind candy to a huge superhero fan like myself that Big Hero 6 does not have quite the “Wow!” Factor that Wreck-It Ralph did.  But it does make up for that with a very solid and well engineered story.  So instead of the wild ride that was Wreck-It Ralph at times, what you get is something a bit more grounded.  And that serves the story well, and makes the movie better for it.

The characters in the movie are really strong.  Hiro is a stereotypical teenager – sassy, smart mouthed, quippy, mopey, angsty, etc.  It’s all in there.  He suffers a lot of classic “superhero origin story loss” both on and off screen.   And when he loses his footing in the world he lashes out, and his super friends (see what I did there?) have re-ground him.  The story itself is very procedural, much like any TV crime drama where, and thus it has an endgame that very easy to piece together.  But that doesn’t make it bad, because the intricacies of getting to that point aren’t as obvious as the point itself.  So the fun is the journey in between.

So when you head out to see Big Hero 6, prepare yourself for a little slice of awesome. Your entire family is very likely to find something to make them both laugh and cry in this movie.  The same can be said for it’s opening short Feast which every dog lover on the planet will “totally get”.  Vinyl is in again. Fah-la-la-la-la.

In addition to doing the web design and programming for the On the Go in MCO website, Todd Perlmutter is a host for the Disney Film Project Podcast.

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Bring Home Maleficent Today

Maleficent DVD Blu-Ray

Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of Maleficent for this review. All opinions are my own.

Disney’s beautiful and wicked Maleficent is available today on Disney Blu-ray™ Combo Pack, Digital HD, Disney Movies Anywhere, DVD and On-Demand platforms.

Maleficent is my absolute favorite Disney Villain, and when this movie was announced I was beside myself. I was even more excited when I had the chance to meet her this year at Disney’s Social Media Moms!

Maleficent Disney Social Media Moms

If you haven’t had a chance to see Maleficent, here is a quick synopsis.

Explore the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain in this wickedly fun twist on the classic “Sleeping Beauty.” In an unforgiving mood after a neighboring kingdom threatens her forest, Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) places an irrevocable curse on the king’s newborn daughter, the Princess Aurora. But as the child grows, Maleficent finds herself becoming fond of the girl. And as the conflict between the two realms intensifies,Maleficent realizes that Aurora may hold the key to peace in the land. Journey beyond the fairy tale in this soaring adventure that is “visually arresting, brilliantly designed” (Andrew Barker, Variety).

httpv://youtu.be/_pgmFAOgm5E

The Maleficent bonus features are amazing! I especially enjoyed “Building An Epic Battle” where we get a glimpse into how King Henry and Maleficent‘s opening battle scene was created using gigantic wire rigs and elaborate choreography. 

The bonus features differ based on which release you purchase of Maleficent, so here is a quick comparison of what you will find!

Blu-ray Combo Pack, Digital HD/SD & Disney Movies Anywhere

  • From Fairy Tale to Feature Film – Reimagining Maleficent for a new generation
  • Building An Epic Battle –Creating the clash between Maleficent and King Henry’s Forces
  • Classic Couture – Examine Maleficent’s spellbinding head wraps and jewelry.
  • Maleficent Revealed – Explore the layers of extraordinary special effects.
  • Aurora: Becoming A Beauty – Elle Fanning reveals her lifelong love of Disney’s original animated classic.
  • Deleted Scenes:

– “Stefan In King’s Chamber”

– “Pixie Idiots”

– “Diaval asks about the Curse”

–  “Pixies Seek Asylum”

–  “Suitor”

  • And More!

*Digital bonus offerings will vary per retailer

DVD 

  • Aurora: Becoming A Beauty

Maleficent is an interesting and visually stunning retelling of a story that we all love with the villain we all love to hate, and if you haven’t seen it yet I would definitely give it a viewing!

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Planes: Fire & Rescue Has An On-Time Arrival For The Holidays

Planes: Fire & Rescue

Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of Planes: Fire & Rescue for this review. All opinions are my own.

Planes: Fire & Rescue releases today on Disney Blu-ray Combo Pack, Digital HD, Disney Movies Anywhere, DVD and On-Demand platforms and you are going to want to fly out and grab one! Planes: Fire & Rescue features action, comedy, memorable characters, and never-before-seen bonus features.

In this installment, Dusty Crophopper, the world famous racer, has joined an elite fire and rescue unit and learns what it takes to be a true hero. 

PLANESFIRE & RESCUE” is a new comedy-adventure about second chances, featuring a dynamic crew of elite firefighting aircraft devoted to protecting historic Piston Peak National Park from raging wildfire. When world-famous air racer Dusty (voice of Dane Cook) learns that his engine is damaged and he may never race again, he must shift gears and is launched into the world of aerial firefighting. Dusty joins forces with veteranfire-and-rescue helicopter Blade Ranger (voice of Ed Harris) and his courageous team, including spirited air tanker Dipper (voice of Julie Bowen), heavy-lift helicopter Windlifter (voice of Wes Studi), ex-military transport Cabbie (voice of Captain Dale Dye) and a lively bunch of brave all-terrain vehicles known as The Smokejumpers. Together, the fearless team battles a massive wildfire and Dusty learns what it takes to become a true hero.

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Each release of Planes: Fire & Rescue is a little bit different, so here is some information on what you can expect to find on your copy.

Blu-ray Combo Pack, Digital HD/SD & Disney Movies Anywhere

  • Exclusive Animated Short – “Vitaminamulch: Air Spectacular”
  • “Welcome to Piston Peak! – This mock-umentary promotional piece shows off all the highlights of the acclaimed Piston Peak National Park and its aerial firefighting team.
  • “CHoPs” TV Promo – An in-world TV promo with announce.
  • Air Attack:  Firefighters From The Sky – This high-energy, music-driven behind-the-scenes piece takes an inside look at the real smoke jumpers and firefighters who attack wildfires from the air as Director Roberts Gannaway and Producer Ferrell Barron take us through their journey in making the film.
  • Spencer Lee Music Video “Still I Fly”
  • Deleted Scenes with Filmmaker Introductions:

– “Honkers”

– “Dusty’s Dream No More”

  • Animated Shorts:

– “Dipper”

– “Smokejumpers” 

*Digital bonus offerings will vary per retailer

DVD 

  • Spencer Lee Music Video “Still I Fly”

Exclusive DMA Discover Content:

  • Animated Shorts:

– “Blade Ranger”

– “Piston Peak”

Zoe and I really enjoyed Planes: Fire & Rescue! I thought that this movie had a better feel than the first movie, which doesn’t happen often, and the bonus features were a lot of fun!

For little ones that love cars, planes, trucks, and more this is a great holiday gift or stocking stuffer!

 

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Million Dollar Arm: A Baseball Fan’s View

million dollar armThe crack of the bat, the sweet aroma of freshly mowed grass, the crisp baselines. These are just a few of the things that make me absolutely love our nation’s pastime, baseball. When I heard Disney was going to be releasing another baseball movie, Million Dollar Arm, but this one with Jon Hamm, I was more than a little excited. The combination of my favorite sport and one of my favorites actors set my sights on this May release. From the first time I saw the previews, I was hooked.

For those who aren’t familiar with the story, Million Dollar Arm tells the story of sports agent J.B. Bernstein and his quest to find a baseball player from the untapped market in India. With the help of an investor to back the contest, J.B. (played by Jon Hamm) travels to India to ideally find cricket players to become the next pitchers in Major League Baseball. The movie is one that explores the idea of family, what is most important in life, and do the ends justify the means. While that may sound rather heavy for a Disney film about baseball, Million Dollar Arm addresses them all in a humorous, but poignant manner.

I like the way in which J.B. bonds with the two boys he brings over from India, Rinku and Dinesh, and their translator and wannabe coach, Amit. After a few mishaps due to cultural differences, J.B. ends up taking them in. The game of baseball is the vehicle through which the story develops of the boys and their relationship with J.B. As Dinesh and Rinku have never played baseball before, don’t speak English when they arrive in America, and come from a very different lifestyle in India, you can imagine that it is not an easy journey for these young men.

Million Dollar Arm is a welcome addition to the canon of baseball films in my collection. I like the correlations to other sports related movies like Jerry Maguire, Rudy, Hoosiers, Remember the Titans and The Rookie. It isn’t so much about the destination with this movie, as most know, or at least can predict what happens, but it is more about the journey. Even my mom, who isn’t the biggest baseball fan loved this film. It is heartfelt, funny, and has a good amount of baseball references. In the end, the journey is as much J.B.’s as it is that of the boys he brought to this country. Million Dollar Arm hits all the right notes for an enjoyable family film for the baseball fan.

Have you seen Million Dollar Arm yet? Where does it fit in your ranking of baseball films? This one falls in the upper half for me. It isn’t quite up there with The Pride of the Yankees, Bull Durham, The Sandlot, Field of Dreams or A League of Their Own. I like it much better than the already likable The Rookie, one of Disney’s other forays into the baseball world. Check out this film if you’re a fan of baseball, Jon Hamm or Bollywood.

 

httpv://youtu.be/mvFm-RWxZS8

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X-Men: Days of Future Past Movie Review

X-men-magneto-prisonerAs I’ve mentioned before in some of my posts, I love the X-Men. Wolverine is one of my favorite characters in Marvel movies, but he hasn’t always had the best screen time, especially of late. I am not a comic book fan, but adore the X-Men movies. I have seen them all and own all except the two Wolverine movies oddly enough.

What I like best is when the X-Men are working together as a team. This might be why I don’t find the two Wolverine films as compelling as the ensemble ones (excluding The Last Stand). The new film, X-Men: Days of Future Past came out this past week and was set up with a cut scene at the end of the last Wolverine film. The premise is that there is a war in the near future that will take place and effectively eliminate all mutants, imprison humans who help them, and even humans who will eventually have mutant children or grandchildren.

Without getting into too much of the plot so I don’t completely spoil the movie for you, it falls upon Logan/Wolverine to go back in time through his subconscious and prevent the war from happening. In order to do this, Wolverine must unite Charles Xavier/Professor X and Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto in a quest to find Raven/Mystique as she plays a key role in the development.

If one recalls, at the end of X-Men: First Class, Charles and Erik were not exactly the best buddies they had previously been. After Erik accidentally paralyzed Charles with a bullet he deflected, he also ran off with Mystique, who Charles loved like a sister. I really liked incorporating the First Class actors, especially Michael Fassbender as Magneto and Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique in with Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, Patrick Stewart as Professor X and Ian McKellan as Magneto from the original films. The way they handled the “time travel” was cool and I liked the new and old group of X-Men.

All in all I was happy with the movie. It left me asking questions, but in a good way, like where do they go from here. I got everything out of it that I wanted without knowing that’s what I wanted. I even shed a tear towards the end. Nothing had really been spoiled other than what happened (not how) to one character, but it didn’t ruin the story for me at all. I will definitely buy this when it comes out on blu ray and may even catch it again in the theater. It didn’t hurt that Hugh Jackman was in almost every scene either.

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As far as where I would rank this movie in with the other X-Men films, I would put it in the middle. I go back and forth between the first and second films as my favorite, then First Class, then the Wolverine, Last Stand and Origins. I would put this either 3rd or 4th behind either X2 or First Class. For those who have seen it, what did you think of X-Men: Days of Future Past? Where does it rank for you? Where would you like the series to go from here with all that happened in this movie? Let me know in the comments.

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A Non-Spoilery Look At Captain America: The Winter Soldier

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When it comes to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, there are two types of people who will be watching over the coming months.  Those that are comic book fans and those that are not.  This is an important point, because what many believe to be the big reveal is, in fact, not the big reveal for many who will watch it.  Either way, that reveal is to me, an avid (rabid?) comic book fan, is about the fourth most important thing you should have picked up from watching this movie.  My point being this, when you’re watching keep an eye out for some of the smaller things because in a movie about subterfuge, subtlety is often key.

As I mentioned in Disney Film Project’s 2014 Preview Episode, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a movie drawing on a number of key things.  To start with you have to remember that S.H.I.E.L.D. is a spy agency, and in modern culture due to certain events, such things aren’t looked at favorably or heroically.  So it became necessary for the creators of the film to roll with that in order to create a story that will, I promise, lead to a better, stronger, and more heroic organization then what you’ve already seen.  To be more specific would be spoiling this movie and a bit of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

The Winter Soldier was a character introduced to comics in 2005 by Ed Brubaker as part of what was considered to be another revival of Captain America himself.  Pretty much right off fans were excited despite that they knew the “big secret”, because the journey was about Cap discovering it for himself and then working to track down The Winter Soldier and help him to regain his self and sanity by regaining his memories.  In comic books, this involves a Cosmic Cube (movie fans will call this the Tesseract), and is going to be the basis for Captain America 3: The Hunt For The Red Skull (okay I made that title up, but that’s what I want it to be).  By the time you get up from your seat, you’ll know what related device will be the Chekhov’s Gun for that film when it happens.

Also in 2005, as part of the Ultimate Universe from which much of the Marvel Cinematic Universe derives, came a story called Ultimate Nightmare created by Warren Ellis.  In it Nick Fury pulls together a strike team including himself and three superheroes: Captain America, Black Widow, and Falcon.  Sound familiar? It should, this is the same team that was picked for this movie.  This team is one of my absolute favorites to come from the Ultimate Universe, and it made me extremely excited to know they would be at the core of this movie.  Seeing them on screen, the buildup of absolute trust that they accrue toward each other throughout, and watching their character growth in this movie is one of the major reasons this movie is enjoyable.

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Sam Wilson, a.k.a. Falon, is done fantastically in the film.  He’s always been a hard character to present well, but also since 2005 he’s really come into his own as a solid character who no longer feels like a tag along / second fiddle.  He is after all the second most important Captain America partner (the term “sidekick” doesn’t fit him. Keep in mind too that in comic books he’s not only teamed with Cap, he’s actually put on the uniform and been Captain America, and is actually an Avenger.  He also got awesome mechanical wings and guns which make for some of the best action moments in this film.

After you get up from the film you’ll probably want to look up these names as they most likely play into future Captain America movies based on the way things are going (hint: you’ll already have seen 3 of them):

This movie is just extremely solid for the first part of a storyline that took more than 5 years to tell in comic books.  It is designed in the same magical way that Marvel has created all their movies from Iron Man forward: appealing to movie fans, and appeasing the comic book fan at the same time.  It’s a mix that other movie and comic companies simply haven’t yet, and may never, figure out how to deliver on.  Will everyone like this movie? No, overall a lot of Avengers fans didn’t like Captain America: The First Avenger.  But plenty will love this movie and it is going to rock a lot of socks, and the box office.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6k0kkSHiiPE

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A Warm Look At Frozen

Disney-Frozen

Currently in theaters, Frozen is the tale of two sisters separated by magic, but joined by their love for each other.  Bearing almost no resemblance to it source work, “The Snow Queen” by Hans Christian Andersen, Frozen becomes a new, different, and original story by Disney.  In keeping with the current trend, this movie is completely computer animated, and at some very key moments in the movie it’s clear that this technology has advanced to such a point as to make magic take on a very real feel.

There are some interesting characters thrown into the film like the comedic sidekick Olaf the Snowman – a character I honestly found annoying from the original trailer – that I really enjoyed in the context of the full movie.  Drawing from something that worked really well in the movie Tangled, we get a second sidekick in the form of a carrot loving reindeer named Sven.  Since they were young Sven has been the companion of the ice trader Kristoff – together they have a relationship that reminds me of myself and my dog Jasper (yes including the talking).

Frozen

Arendelle is a very beautiful land that is in many ways made more beautiful when covered in snow and ice.  There are moments where that snow and ice are used to convey the emotion of the characters and the moment that just work so fantastically well, that you’re reminded of that magical element to winter from your childhood.  This coming from someone who can’t stand snow.

Frozen

The music in the movie is really strong, and does a fantastic job in helping to broaden the definition of the characters singing them.  One clever element is that instead of having the manly mountain man Kristoff sing a song about his feelings, his “family” of rock trolls sings it for him.  Anna’s entire drive for the movie is defined in the song “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” which is an ode to her longing for the companionship of her sister.  “Let It Go” is that moment when Elsa is finally able to be herself while at the same time letting us know that she too is lonely.

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For 70 years Disney has been looking for a way to bring the story of “The Snow Queen” to movie audiences, and it’s clear that they have succeeded.  It’s nice to have a story where the core, classic elements of what people perceive to be a “Disney Movie” can be turned on their side some and bring about the sort of depth of to characters that modern audiences crave.  Do I think everyone will like this movie? No. Do I think that Disney fans should go see this movie? Absolutely.  Frozen is a very good movie that tells a strong story using well defined characters that is very enjoyable to watch.

httpv://youtu.be/TbQm5doF_Uc

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Gravity Falls: Six Strange Tales Now On Disney DVD

 Gravity Falls: Six Strange Tales Available on Disney DVD

Six Strange Tales

Over 2 Hours of Hilarious Adventures, Irreverent Humor, and Unforgettable Characters

The popular Disney Channel Animated TV Series Gravity Falls has hit the shelves with Gravity Falls: Six Strange Tales on Disney DVD which comes with an exclusive Mystery Book: Journal #3!

In this animated adventure comedy riddled with mystery, twin brother and sister Dipper and Mabel are sent to spend their summer vacation with their great uncle. Upon arrival, their great uncle, also known as Grunkle Stan, enlists the siblings’ help in running The Mystery Shack, a fun tourist trap he owns that overcharges unsuspecting customers. While Dipper has a hard time getting used to his new surroundings, Mabel’s upbeat optimism comes in handy in her quest to find true love. When Dipper stumbles upon an elusive book, he discovers that it is the key to unlocking the town’s mysterious secrets, and the brother and sister duo soon realize they must rely on one another to navigate the unfamiliar place.

Gravity Falls: Six Strange Tales has six episodes that are shown in order, because it is definitely a show that you have to pay attention to as little things reappear in later episodes. The Six episodes on the DVD are:

1 – “Tourist Trapped”

2 – “The Legend of the Gobblewonker”

3 – “Headhunters”

4 – “The Hand That Rocks the Mabel”

5 – “The Inconveniencing”

6 – “Dipper vs. Manliness”

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Gravity Falls has definitely become a favorite show in our house, as it has great animation, storytelling that is funny & compelling, and jokes that make everyone giggle.

Gravity Falls: Six strange tales is 155 minutes of great fun that any fan of the Disney Channel Animated TV series will want to own!

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Phineas And Ferb: Mission Marvel Review

Two worlds collide as Phineas and Ferb team up with Marvel Super Heroes in Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel

Phineas And Ferb: Mission Marvel

Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel is the first animated Marvel Crossover created between the Disney Channel and Marvel, and it is sure to please fans of both franchises

Phineas And Ferb: Mission Marvel

The fate of the Tri-State area – and the world – hangs in the balance as Agent P and Danville’s most dynamic duo team up with four of Marvel’s greatest Super Heroes- Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, and Spider-Man – in one awesome full-length adventure. 

After Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s latest “-inator” scheme accidentally removes the powers of some very well-known Marvel Super Heroes (Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, and Hulk), the heroes enter the world of Danville and team up with Phineas and Ferb to relocate their powers, defeat the Marvel Super Villains (Red Skull, MODOK, Whiplash and Venom) – who have also shown up to steal Doofenshmirtz’s power-draining technology – and save Danville from ultimate destruction!  

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The episode is full of great nods to each Marvel character and their backstory, shout-outs to several sci-fi shows and movies (I’m looking at you Dr. Who and Howard the Duck), and even a required cameo by Stan Lee!

Helping Super Heroes bust Super Villains is what they’re going to do today!

In addition to the Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel full length adventure, there are six other full episodes of Phineas and Ferb on this DVD that make up 145 minutes of fun sure to keep big and little ones hooked!

Another fun feature of Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel is that inside each DVD is a Collectible Comic Book featuring characters from the episode, as well as one of three distinct and exclusive Marvel Posters. For collectors this is a huge bonus!!!

Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel is available now on Disney DVD, and if you are a fan of Phineas and Ferb or Marvel you are going to want to grab this song filled, action packed DVD for your collection!!!

Phineas And Ferb: Mission MarvelDisclaimer: I received a copy of Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel to review for this post. All opinions and fandom are my own!

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The Muppet Movie on Blu-Ray Now

The Muppet Movie was one of my absolute favorite movies growing up, and it holds a truly special place in my heart. The NEARLY 35th Anniversary Special Edition is out now on Blu-Ray, and it is a great way to share this movie with your family and to see some great bonus features!

The Muppet Movie Blu-Ray

If you haven’t seen the movie…shame on you!!!

The Muppet Movie is a 1979 classic, that gives you a hilarious peek at where some of your favorite Muppets, like Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, and Animal to name a few, came from when they were just getting started!

In The Muppet Movie the gang hits the road on a funny and at times emotional road trip to follow their dreams to Hollywood to become stars.

The Muppet Movie is full of heart, funny gags, and songs that will fill your eyes with tears and put a smile on your face!

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What makes the The NEARLY 35th Anniversary Special Edition of The Muppet movie truly great are the MUPPETASTIC Bonus Features!

In addition to the original trailers and Doc Hopper’s full commercial, you also get Frog-E-Oke Sing-Along where you get to join the Muppet Gang in some of your favorite songs, Pepe Profiles Present: Kermit-A Frog’s Life which is a classic feature that is a ‘Hollywood Biography’ with interviews from Kermit the Frog and other special guests, and the Disney Intermission feature is a fun way to get a few laughs in when you have to pause the movie!

However, the gem of The NEARLY 35th Anniversary Special Edition of The Muppet movie is Jim Frawley’s Extended Camera Test! This is a little over 15 minutes of footage that features Jim Henson, Frank Oz, and others as they take a few Muppets for their first outdoor screen tests. It is so much fun to see these characters being themselves. Since this is a camera test, you can occasionally see a peek of Henson and Oz having fun and doing what they love!

With the Muppets Most Wanted coming soon, The Muppet Movie is a great place to start your film journey to get prepared for what is sure to be an awesome movie!

The NEARLY 35th Anniversary Special Edition of The Muppet movie is a Must Own for any Muppet fan!

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