MOVIE: Soul (2020)

Soul Year: 2020 Rating: PG Length: 100 minutes / 1.67 hours I'll give Pixar credit: they know how to make trailers that give away almost nothing about what the plot is. Sure, I could roughly gauge what Soul (2020) was about, but I could never have guessed it would be this deep. Of course, when dealing with concepts as heady as the afterlife, Pixar had to really balance the line between adhering to any particular religious belief. Be prepared to tear up at least a few times because Soul can hit hard when it comes to life itself. As is the case with any Pixar film, I usually watch for CGI modeling/technology advancements. In Soul, they took the time to perfect the look of some of the most difficult hair to animate, and it shows. This isn't to say that we're getting closer to jumping the uncanny valley (of which they can probably do by now) because this would also ignore the mind-bending "architects" who...
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MOVIE: Mewtwo Strikes Back—Evolution (2019)

Mewtwo Strikes Back: EvolutionYear: 2019Rating: PGLength: 98 minutes / 1.63 hours Growing up with the Pokémon franchise during the peak of its fervor, I definitely remember going to see the first movie when it came out in theaters. Consequently, there is an amount of nostalgia that I associate with this first forray of the franchise onto the big screen. When I saw that Netflix had recreated the 2D anime of my childhood with their style of CGI animation, I was intrigued enough to check it out. Much like in the recent CGI version of The Lion King (2019), just because a movie was faithfully recreated using newer animation technology does not make it a better movie. Additionally, I believe the fact that I had aged since I first watched this movie made it so I could see it through a more objective lens. What I found was that the story was incredibly light, and the only thing that made it worth watching...
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MOVIE: The Lion King (2019)

The Lion KingYear: 2019Rating: PGLength: 118 minutes / 1.97 hours Many years ago, I learned that The Lion King (1994) was basically the plot of Hamlet reenacted with animals. And while many people consider the original 2D animated version of this story to be one of the greatest Disney movies ever created, I never really cared that much for it. Fast forward to 2019, and the new "live-action" version of The Lion King is released. Again, I wasn't really wowed by anything in it because I was ambivalent to the whole story anyway. I did find it odd that they marketed it as "live-action" when it was completely CGI. It was an animated remake of an animated movie. Perhaps my biggest issue with this new version of The Lion King was that they didn't really change anything. It felt like the 1998 version of Psycho (1960) that recreated the whole movie shot-for-shot in color. While it was technically as close to the...
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MOVIE: Onward (2020)

Onward Year: 2020 Rating: PG Length: 102 minutes / 1.70 hours I always look forward to Pixar films, mostly to see how visually stunning a movie created entirely in a computer can look with each passing year of technological and programming advancements. The other reason I will always go to see a Pixar movie is their dedication to a good story. Sure, there have been some missed steps over the years (The Good Dinosaur (2015) being the latest example), but their track record has been good enough to warrant me seeing their films in the theater. While I was looking forward to this year’s offering of Onward (2020), the result felt a little lackluster overall. Choosing to explore a storyline with a deceased parent was odd in that it felt like something that had rarely been addressed in movies geared toward children while also having a strong “after school special” vibe to it. Either way, putting it in a pseudo-Monsters, Inc. (2001) fantasy world was a fun way to...
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MOVIE: Hero (2002)

Hero Year: 2002 Rating: PG-13 Length: 107 minutes / 1.78 hours After the success of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) in most of the worldwide markets, it’s no wonder that a film like Hero (2002) would make an appearance. Capitalizing on the choreography and visuals that brought Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon success, Hero takes these acrobatic battles to the next level, even to the point of them becoming ridiculous and semi-cartoonish. Add to this the deliberate color theming for each of the film’s different sections, and Hero almost becomes a piece of art in its own right. It’s almost a shame that there haven’t been more movies like this in the years since. While some of the CGI hasn’t aged well since 2002, and the acting can sometimes be too flat or too over the top, the story is still entertaining. The language barrier did make it slightly confusing at times, but the twists were top-notch. It did help to have the “framing” of the throne room to not only show the...
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MOVIE: Avatar (2009)

Avatar Year: 2009 Rating: PG-13 Length: 162 minutes / 2.7 hours For being 10 times the amount of money I would normally spend on a movie, I had hoped that this would be worth it. As per my previous stance on 3-D, I was hesitant on going to this film when it first came out. However, since I did some reading up on what forces went on behind this film, I decided to give the 3-D experience a try. What an experience it was! I can see why the film industry was really pushing for more movies to be in 3-D because it is spectacular. The glasses weren't uncomfortable, and if you took them off for a second, it wasn't a terrible color-shifted image, it was just slightly blurry. Although, one thing that 3-D cinema is going to have to fix is to have more things in focus. You can't rely on previous film-making techniques here. At any rate, if you can get over the blatantly...
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