You may have noticed a slow down of posts lately. Truth be told I’ve not been watching many movies. I did catch Guillermo Del Toro’s acclaimed Pinocchio, which I wasn’t that impressed with (Poor), mostly down to finding the wooden boy grating and the singing a bit naff. The animation was decent but didn’t wow me either.
Other than that I’ve been trying to do more reading. I’ve always admired fiction books but have found over the years I haven’t delved into the hobby as much as I wish I had. Well, with the thought of ‘it’s never too late’ and the fact I’m trying to take my own writing more seriously, I’m currently on my second book of the year. I recently finished In The Silence by M. R. Mackenzie , an absorbing murder mystery set in Glasgow, Scotland. Currently I’m working my way through Stephen King’sMr Mercedes, which has me hooked similarly. I’m giving myself a nightly routine and so far getting a great deal out of it.
So this is kind of a new horizon for me and this website. On kindle I’ve given myself a goal of reading ten novels by end of year. Feels a lot for me but we’ll see how we get on. I’ll report back here as I get through each novel, whatever they turn out to be. I do also intend to return to occasional movie reviewing but currently my focus is my own writing.
On that front, book 3 of my Dying Games Saga is out now. See below for a sneak preview. I’d love some feedback if you choose to take the plunge! The novel is called Gemini and I’m immensely proud of how it turned out.
These days, the majority of animated movies are so beautiful looking that it’s easy to rate them all highly. So for me it’s a genre I’m particularly tough on. This latest Dreamworks effort follows a gang of career criminals; a sly wolf, a shark, a piranha, a snake and a tarantula. All creatures feared in society, so they find it easier to embrace being ‘bad guys’. However when their latest heist to steel a priceless award, goes wrong they’re given the opportunity to turn their lives around and go ‘good’.
This comedy-caper has a solid initial concept and is full of energy, action and personality. Voice acting is good, especially Sam Rockwell as the wolf. Add to this the slick, eye-melting animation, seemingly in that similar hand drawn meets CGI that worked so well in Spider-Man Enter The Spiderverse, and on paper this has it all.
However the script isn’t as sharp as it could have been, it leans a bit too heavily on the sentimental, and could have been a lot funnier. It’s never explained also, why animals live and talk like humans, alongside humans (!?). The villain is highly forgettable too. Overall well-made and fun, but not one to rush back to.
It’s that time of year again! What with the pandemic, I feel it’s been a weird year movie release-wise and getting to the cinema has been a struggle. However I watched a total of 79 movies this year (new and old) and coming up with my ten favourite wasn’t easy.
However, the list below are the movies I enjoyed the most. A few may also be slightly older than 2021…
The Empty Man
The Mitchells Vs The Machines
Zack Snyder’s Justice League
No Time To Die
Raya and the Last Dragon
Last Night in Soho
There you have it. Of the movies I was disappointed by in 2021…. There was Bill & Ted Face the Music, Nomadland and Censor.
A family living in the Colombian mountains have been blessed with the magic of the Encanto, all except Mirabel. However, she soon may be the family’s last hope when she discovers that the magic surrounding the Encanto is now in danger.
An interesting premise drew me in and although it kind of falls into typical Disney tropes after a while, I was totally absorbed by the setting and the wealth of ideas and visual spender. Just to look at, this is nothing short of stunning, full of colour and imagination. The character designs, showcasing the multi-cultural people of Columbia is top notch (aided by some great song & dance numbers). Main character Mirabel will also likely become a personal favourite – and I loved the family members and their various magical abilities.
It’s a shame then that it’s in its story where this stumbles. As a Disney movie with no actual villain, the stakes never really seem high, and the reasoning surrounding why Mirabel didn’t receive her magic ability, I was left scratching my head about. However the ending was really feel good and I still managed to have a good time with this.
I’ve always enjoyed animation and few can argue that Disney (and Pixar) still lead the industry when it comes to animated movies. This latest offering tells the story of Raya, a young girl who grows up amidst fantastical tales of dragons who saved the world from an evil force that once turned people into stone. However their actions also lead to their mysterious disappearance, and when warring factions cause a sacred crystal to get damaged, the evil force returns to reclaim the land. Raya then takes it upon herself to seek out the fabled ‘last dragon’ in hope of banishing the evil for good.
With a Far Eastern theme, similar to Mulan, this gorgeous looking, mystical fantasy adventure had it all. An engaging story, fun characters and some great action with a strong influence from Chinese cinema hits like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Raya (voiced by The Last Jedi’s Lisa Marie Tran), at first seems typical Disney Princess, yet develops into a fleshed-out and likeable lead, aided well by a bunch of quirky characters, including a mischievous baby, a lovable warrior from a rival clan … and especially Sifu as the Last Dragon, who proves this movies shining beacon.
It may not re-write the rule book when it comes to this kind of thing, and it’s themes of trusting / believing in one another are cliched … but done particularly well here, especially towards the end where I must admit it got me quite emotional. Another slam-dunk then for Disney, and possibly one of my favourites in a while from the house of mouse.
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