Posts Tagged ‘Disney’

Interview Questions 8

June 5, 2017


What is your favorite movie quote?

“I don’t want to kill anyone. I don’t like bullies; I don’t care where they’re from.”
Steve Rogers, Captain America: The First Avenger

This was the most powerful line of the movie for me. It also made me fall in love with the character of Captain America and the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole. The line is in response to Steve being asked whether he wants to kill Nazis. A lot of soldiers probably entered World War II hoping to destroy evil. This line sets up Captain America not as a weapon but as a shield. He cares more about protecting the innocent than destroying evil. As a child of the eighties, I grew up hearing epic stories of World War II. I was one generation removed so there was definitely a more romantic sheen on every story I heard. While war is not ideal, evil prevails when good men do nothing. The Nazis were the ultimate bullies and the world rose up to stop them. It was the last time we had a clear conscience in a fight like that. I still get chills when Chris Evans delivers that line with such passion.


Would you rather spend five days exploring Disney or New York City?

I would take five days to explore Disney World or Disney Land. I am lucky to have been to both New York City and Disney World. I have not been to Disney World for a long time but I have been to NYC off and on for decades. I have enjoyed both places a lot at different times. However, New York City is a real place. It has real dangers and real downsides. Disney World and Disney Land are fascinating as they are wholly manufactured worlds. Every inch of the parks are built for my pleasure and there are a million surprises waiting for me. I would never run out of things to examine and re-examine if I lived there forever but definitely not in five days. New York City is interesting but there is just more of a chance of me searching for treasure and getting disappointment instead. If I am dedicating five whole days, I pick a Disney park hands down. Of course, if we are talking about the fictional Disney multiverse, then I also chose that because that would be amazing (and probably dangerous but whatever).


Would you rather be the most popular kid in school or the smartest kid in school?

I have never been the popular kid. To a certain extent, I have always been part of the nerd and geek subculture which was never at the top of the food chain while I was a kid. I was also never the smartest kid but I was always on the smarter end of the student body spectrum. School just came easily to me. I worked hard but I usually understood things pretty quickly. I enjoyed being smart. Being smart makes homework easier, which left me more time for video games and other extracurriculars. Being smart also makes lectures a little more fascinating and learning a lot more fun. Schoolwork is almost never too frustrating when you are smart enough. However, being the smartest brings the pressure to excel to higher heights but I would be secure that I was qualified to do whatever I wanted. While I pursued being popular as a kid, I was kind of glad that I never really succeeded. Socially, I am more comfortable in smaller crowds. I would hate to have too many people clambering to hang out with me. I like having my solitude when I want it. I would prefer the life of the mind while I maintain my small circle of trusted friends.

Media Update 6/1/2017

June 1, 2017


Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

After finally watching Pirates 4 (see below) the night before, I went off to meet my friends at an IMAX matinee. I was excited for the movie in the same way that I get excited for Fast and the Furious Movies. I love the familiar characters and the impossible antics and this movie showed promise of being that again. Like some reviews have said, the movie is a little long. However, I only noticed that after the movie and I was surprised that two and a half hours had passed. I never looked at my watch once during the movie. It was pretty much a nonstop adventure full of comedy and some poignant emotional moments. Depp, Geoffrey Rush and a lot of character actors return to do what they do best. We also get a new couple for Jack to assist in breaking yet another curse. They were great, played by Brenton Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario who were both totally new to me. We also got a great villain in Javier Bardem who is making a good living playing great villains. If this was the last Pirates film, it was a fitting send-off as it felt like it called back to the first one while looking forward. I definitely recommend it.


Treasure Planet

This was one of the Disney animated movies that I missed because I was off at college and I just fell off from watching Disney movies. I had already read Treasure Island so I am sure that this one would not have interested me so much. It has been probably about twenty years since I have read the book so the movie actually sounded a little attractive. I was right, I had forgotten enough of Treasure Island to be unsure of what was happening next and what parts were added in and what parts were from the book. This is an update, of course, putting the story in space in a setting where extraterrestrials freely mingle with human beings. The animation is really pretty as you would expect. What really got me was the art direction and the character design which felt a little fresh to me which is hard to do with aliens. As the movie went on, I started to remember the book but by then I did not care so much. The voice acting is fun, the animation is fluid and the plot is classic. None of this is surprising from the Writer/Director team of The Little Mermaid and Moana. The music is a little bit too much butt rock to me but it was fine. I recommend it.


Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides

So when I decided to go with my friends to Pirates 5, I knew I finally had to watch Pirates 4. This was something I had wanted to do despite hearing it was a bit of disappointment. My motivations to watch the movie were the same as above. Right away, the movie felt like the rest of the Pirates movies. There was Captain Jack and he was going to have an adventure. It did not take long for me to realize that this was not a normal Pirates movie. Most Pirates movies are about the other characters (for the majority Swann/Turner) doing stuff and Captain Jack trying to do stuff with or against them. This movie was more of a personal story for Jack. For once, he was the male romantic lead and it felt a little weird. Still, as much as I love Jack being a degenerate reprobate, the moments where he actually cares are powerful. I did feel it was a little weird to bring in Blackbeard as the villain but it worked. Penelope Cruz was a pretty strong character as well. It just felt like maybe this one rambled and meandered a bit too much. There were a lot of great moments but the movie lacked the emotional punch the other movies had for me. Still, I would recommend it if you are a completionist like me.

Music of the Week:

Nina Hagen – Naturträne

Amandititita – La Muy Muy

Scissor Sisters – I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’

Run The Jewels – Legend Has It

B.E.R. – The Night Begins to Shine

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is obviously “Disney Pirates”
– I finished Season 3 of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
– I watched more Fairy Tail
– I watched more Glitter Force
– I finished watching The Get Down and I’m pissed that they canceled it
– I started Supernatural Season 12
– I watched more Lucha Underground
– I don’t know if I want to trust Wonder Woman
– I am planning Halloween

Media Update 12/8/2016

December 8, 2016


Suicide Squad

I went into this movie with incredibly low expectations. I still have not seen Batman V. Superman and, at this rate, I may never see it. It helped that the movie was written and directed by a more competent man in David Ayer who made Training Day. The movie apparently had a lot of studio meddling in it. A lot of the movie felt like a music video with supervillains in it. I clocked at least three different popular songs in the first four minutes which just reeks of trying to be more like Guardians of the Galaxy. The highlight of the movie is Margot Robbie who is the highlight of most movies she is in. Her portrayal of Harley Quinn was heavily quotable and brought a lot of life and comedy to what otherwise could have been a much darker movie. A lot of people complained about Jared Leto’s Joker but I really think he did a fine job. What really bothered me was that he did not really need to be in the movie because he barely impacted the plot. They could have reduced his role even more, made the movie shorter and saved him for when he would have more impact later. Viola Davis and Joel Kinnaman also really stood out as Amanda Waller and Rick Flag. Davis was especially great with her nearly sociopathic performance. While it was dark, it was in line with the comics and previous portrayals of the character in media. Kinnaman had a tough job of trying to stand out and remain likable but he really pulled it off. Will Smith should not play bad guys. He just was not believable as a contract killer to me. He was fun but he was not the one for that role. Overall, I liked the movie and I really think they should continue with this franchise instead of the Superman franchise. I recommend it but realize that it is still connected to the current DCU movies.


Yoga Hosers

I never saw Tusk (the first film in this trilogy) because it never appealed to me and I also listened to the podcast where Kevin Smith detailed pretty much the whole concept. I am a huge fan of Kevin Smith. Amid all the dick and fart jokes, a lot of Smith’s movies spoke a lot of truth about life. This movie was written and made while Kevin Smith was smoking a lot of pot and it kind of shows. However, that is not quite a horrible thing. It is a love letter from the US to Canada and also a family affair. This movie is very playful and has a lot of meta, self-referential humor similar to Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. The movie also has a similar kinetic energy to that movie. The power of this movie comes from the chemistry between its stars Harley Quinn Smith (Kevin Smith’s daughter) and Lily-Rose Depp (Johnny Depp’s daughter). The two of them have been best friends in real life since kindergarten and that was definitely channeled into the movie. Kevin Smith and Johnny Depp are also in the movie. Smith is like a Looney Tunes character and his joke gets old but then suddenly gets funny again. Depp transforms into a character from Tusk, a pathetic French detective who enlists the young girls to combat evil. Finally, there was Ralph Garman who managed to work his celebrity impressions into the movie despite it not making any sense but he was still fun. There are also a ton of fun cameos. The movie really makes me want to see Lily-Rose in more stuff. I definitely recommend it for Kevin Smith fans and fans of goofy movies.


Jungle Book

I have been wary of watching this movie because the original was such a good movie on its own. It has some really good Disney music and some really good animation. It is a classic for a reason. When I saw the trailer for this movie, I thought it looked pretty but it was clear that it was not a musical. I kept hope that it was still a musical but it was not to be. Strangely, there is one single music number almost halfway through and again over an hour in. I would have rather they just left it out at that point. While I kind of missed the musical aspects (the score is nothing special) the movie is stunningly beautiful. It is incredibly hard to believe that this was shot with one child actor and a boatload of computer generated animation. The animals are all so lifelike and well-animated that they feel almost like real animals (except for the speaking perfect English part). The kid, Neel Sethi, is really good for his age. He put in a lot of work and does a lot of good acting and some stunt work. The voice work of all the famous actors they hired is fantastic. Idris Elba, Ben Kingsley and Lupita Nyong’o especially were fantastic. Scarlet Johansson was also excellent but she was only in the movie for less than two minutes. I think they should have cast somebody besides Christopher Walken. Bill Murray was good. I think what I liked about this is how much better the writing is from the original story. It added more lore to the story as well, drawing more of Kipling’s work. I recommend this one for sure.

Music of the Week:
Red Sun Rising – Amnesia

The Record Company – Off The Ground

Eli “Paperboy” Reed – Come And Get It

Blackalicious ft. Chali 2na & Lateef the Truthspeaker – 4000 Miles

Getter – Rip N Dip

Weekly Updates:
– I am now on Season 2 of The Office
– I continued to watch Season 2 of Dark Matter
– I am caught up on Season 2 of Ash vs. The Evil Dead
– This week’s theme is “Unlikely Heroes”
– I continued Season 2 of Parks and Recreation
– I continued Season 1 of Luther
– “Not expecting much but being surprised and happy” is probably a secondary theme this week

Media Update 3/3/2016

March 3, 2016


American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson

I had reached the tender age of twelve when the verdict was read at the end of the OJ Simpson murder trial. Since there was no Baltimore team, I did not care about OJ being a football player but I had liked him well enough in the Naked Gun series. Still, I remember everybody saying how guilty he must be and I remember Saturday Night Live making fun of the dream team. I remember watching the trial in school too. Still, I wasn’t with it enough to really follow the evidence and all of the proceedings to determine whether he was guilty or not. So there’s a mix of discovery and nostalgia watching the show. I know the show can’t be a hundred percent true but it covers a great mix of legend and truth surrounding the trial. John Travolta’s acting and makeup are truly horrible on the show and clearly they should have gotten somebody else. Everybody else is passable so far but Sarah Paulson, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Courtney B. Vance are exceptional at acting like real people instead of caricatures. I would suggest watching it if you’re interested in legal procedure, the media and a semi-fictional historical account.


Tomorrowland

I had high hopes for this movie. The trailer was amazing and made me wonder what this movie could be about while feeling nostalgic for older Disney days. I like George Clooney and all the visuals for the movie looked pretty spot on. I did not see it in theaters and I was disappointed when I got reports that it was not very good. It was deemed 50% fresh by Rotten Tomatoes so I was curious to see if it was really that bad. The movie was not what I imagined it was and that immediately intrigued me. The only complaint I had was that the movie was a little too long. At over two hours the pacing started to feel too slow and that could have been tightened up. Other than that, I liked the comedy and I liked the play between the three main characters a lot. Hugh Laurie was an excellent villain but there was enough gray area to make you think. The movie started out with problems that make you despair and left off with hope which is a great message to put out there. In the end, the movie was pretty good and I liked it. While I don’t outright recommend it, I would say not to be scared of it.

Looper

I felt like watching this movie was inevitable. I had heard so many people talking it up that I would eventually have to watch it and either agree with the crowd or dislike it. Of course, this was oversimplifying things because neither thing happened. I’m not exactly a fan of science fiction and I was trying to figure out why after watching this movie. I think it’s that most science fiction is grim and depressing while most science fantasy is more hopeful and happy. I usually side with science fantasy and this movie had a lot of science fantasy elements but it was definitely grim and a bit sad. The movie drags in places but is overall a pretty good movie. It is certainly a messy movie and I feel like they tried to plug in a few too many sci-fi elements that muddied the water perhaps so they could do a few more special effects. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a great protagonist although they could have done with the awkward prosthetics to make him look like Bruce Willis. Willis himself was pretty good as he’s best with roles where he can grumpily chastise or shoot people. Overall I actually wouldn’t recommend seeing it except to certain people and they have already seen it.

Links of the Week:
BABYMETAL – KARATE
Steve Vai – Ya-yo Gakk
Political Correctness Doesn’t Censor
Lorde – Life on Mars (Bowie Cover)
Hevisaurus – Saurusarmeija

Weekly Updates:
– I did not watch the Oscars
– I need to see Spotlight though
– I agree with all the Mad Max and Revenant wins
– The Oscars need more diversity obviously
– Still don’t care about Batman v. Superman
– I also want to see The Big Short
– Gonna grab the NSP Under the Covers album

Interview Questions 2

February 13, 2016

Alright, this one is the Disney edition.

Which Disney animated villain would you be? Why?

I would have to go with Hades. He keeps a calm demeanor despite being a literal hothead who explodes into violent rage at times. I have had my own anger problems in the past and I know what that fiery rage feels like. I am putting all of that behind me so I won’t let it impair me like Hades. He has a subtle sense of humor that sometimes borders on morbid. I have a sense of humor which can sometimes get dark though I realize I have to curtail that in polite comedy. I love a good laugh as it can quickly bond strangers together and make everyone feel good. He is also tall and I have always been somewhat envious of people who are physically tall. He has magic powers as he is a god and is in tight with the Titans. In a world where I could be King of the Dead, I no longer fear death. He is also good at making plans as evidenced by his near victory over Hercules. I always want to get better at strategy. Like Hades I would strive to better my situation and not be shelved by the other gods.

Who is your favorite Disney Princess? Why?

My favorite Disney Princess is actualy Mulan since I finally watched the movie recently. I had a lot of misconceptions about the character before I watched the movie. Mulan defies a lot of expectations about her but that is not what she sets out to do. She wants to find a good arranged marriage because that is what is best for her family and herself. She’s not excited about the idea but at no point does she rebel against it and even tries her best in her own way. When push comes to shove she does what she feels is right by upholding her family’s honor. Instead of relying on brawn, she puts her intelligence and creativity to the task and excels at combat. She even puts her duty above romantic attraction for a time. Even when she is disgraced and banished she still manages to steel her courage and ride to the rescue. In short, Mulan is a good example of honor, intelligence and determination.

Which Disney location would you most like to live in? Why?

Given the choice I would love to live in Atlantica which is the underwater setting for a lot of The Little Mermaid. Atlantica is nestled safely deep under the sea, specifically the Atlantic Ocean. The ruler of Atlantica is the fair and just King Triton. King Triton is a confident ruler who protects his subjects with intelligence, trust and a magical artifact. Although he is a monarch, he is not completely unwilling to admit that he is wrong and tries his best to rectify the damage he indirectly causes. That is the kind of decisive but thoughtful ruler that I would like to live under. Atlantica is also quite musical as what looks like half the population joins in Under the Sea. That song also illustrates how happy everyone is to live where they are even if they are part of the servant class. That’s an amazing approval rating if only one character out of nearly a hundred is dissatisfied.  On top of that, the deep sea is still a mystery to us humans and I would like to explore that some.

Media Update 11/26/2015

November 26, 2015


AKA Jessica Jones

I’m a huge fan of the Marvel Cinematic/Television universe and the direction Disney is taking all of their properties. There are a few outliers at Fox and Columbia Pictures but those characters are mostly fine where they are. As part of the Netflix Initiative (separate from the celebrated “Phases”) there was supposed to be at least five shows. Daredevil, AKA Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist would each get an order of episodes. Daredevil was successful and already received a second season. The four shows would be followed by Marve’s The Defenders mini-series where all four heroes will team up. AKA Jessica Jones really got me even more excited for what’s to come. I’m not too far in but it’s really, really good. It’s hard to do the imperfect hero. This show takes an alcoholic, anti-social and pessimistic character and makes her inspiring. Krysten Ritter (an actress I already adored) is really believable and doesn’t falter a single step in her acting. In fact, everyone is spot on. The only warning I have is that the show is very, very dark which seems par for the course for Marvel’s Netflix projects. I’m so excited to watch the rest of this and see the future projects.

 


Puella Magi Madoka Magica

I’m pretty sure I’ve stated how much I love magical girl stuff on this blog. If not, I really do love that stuff a lot. I have a lot of memories of ditching Dragonball Z and being really excited to watch Sailor Moon everyday instead. I moved on to Card Captor Sakura later as I was pretty sold on the concept. It even works for magical boys too like Ronin Warriors and Saint Seiya. So I instantly put Madoka on my Netflix list as soon as it was available. I didn’t check it out until this week and I was pleasantly surprised. Forgive me as there is no other way to put it but this show is really fucked up. I don’t remember the last time I watched the first episode of the show and yelled “What the fuck!?” at my television with a big smile on my face. The show follows magical girls (aka transforming pre-teen superheroes) who battle witches. However, this show takes a hard look at the realities of using such young soldiers in a dangerous battle against evil. The stakes are high and death is their final reward. It’s pretty chilling and a refreshing look at the genre. I also like that the witches are portrayed by mixed media in the form of fabric arts and western-looking animation. The heroes are portrayed in clean anime style and it makes the situation even more weird and terrifying. I want to watch the second half of this series to see what happens to these girls. I have a bad feeling though.

 


Lilo and Stitch

I really needed something more light-hearted after the above picks so I decided to finally watch Lilo and Stitch. Missing Disney movies when they come out can be a pain in the butt as Disney has a tendency to lock them in a vault. I have legitimately become enamored of Hawaiian and Island culture ever since reading about it as described by Dwayne Johnson. From what I can tell online, the movie is a fair look at modern day rural Hawaii. The movie is very touching and sweet and funny. I’m no longer sorry I missed this one because that means I got to watch this now and not then. Much of the humor, at least for me, came from the older sister who I’m sure I wouldn’t gave identified with when this originally came out. She’s trying her best to manage an unruly little sister and the new addition of a space alien posing as a dog. Lilo and her sister Nani are some of the most accurate portrayals of modern human beings that I’ve ever seen. The alien stuff is merely fun background to three lonely and hopeless characters finding their place in a family unit. Also, the Disney record of making me at least tear up is intact.

Kaizo Trap

Day One

Pigeon Music Party!

Sweet Potato vs. Yam

Trains, Planes and Automobiles – Car Rental

Updates

– I’m really excited for Felicia and Jonah and MST3K
– I still wish that Mike and Kevin were involved
– I got my first Pro-Wrestling Crate and it’s awesome
– I have a few more Disney movies to check out
– Loaded this post on Monday because of holidays
– Happy Thanksgiving!

Top 11 Disney Animated Films

June 13, 2015

Top 11

I have found myself using the phrase “I’m a huge Disney nerd” a lot lately so I thought I’d prove it by doing a Top 11 Disney Animated films. This does not include films produced by Pixar because that’s a whole list by itself. I also don’t include any movies by Studio Ghibli because Disney just did the American distribution. There’s also numerous other studios that obviously won’t make this list.  These are films that were important to me growing up or spoke to me in more recent times.

11 Alice in Wonderland (1951)

I read Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass at a fairly young age but I’m reasonably sure that the Disney cartoon was my first exposure to the stories. The world of Alice is fantastic and illogical while still having a certain logic to it. As I grew up, I realized that the books were filled with logic problems, puzzles and riddles but the first time reading it I didn’t know all of that. I liked the story of a young girl travelling through a world that doesn’t making any sense that grows increasingly scary. As in the book, she realizes that none of it is real and wakes up. As I grew, I often wondered about how much she was willing to believe until she refused to believe anymore. The voice acting was very good (for its time) and I especially liked the proper British speech of Alice.

10 Beauty and the Beast (1991)

From a young age I was very interested in books and reading in general. Reading was something I grasped early on and being transported into other worlds was something I clung to. My life was good but there were people having adventures and my imagination wanted fuel to create adventures of my own. Because of all that, I identified heavily with the character of Belle and I have since identified with a lot of the dreamers in fiction. As a kid the story didn’t really effect me the way it does now and even now it’s not the story that sucks me in. I love the songs and all the little side characters and the bizarre world where all of the inanimate objects are characters. The animation is beautiful and definitely still holds up after all of this time. The music is fun and pretty timeless. The voice actors are all great but I especially love Jerry Orbach and Lumiere. That must have been a lot of fun to do.

9 The Lion King (1994)

The Lion King came very near the height of my animation hysteria in the part of my childhood when I thought I might be an animator later on. The Lion King’s animation totally blew me away with how fluid and beautiful it was and, as Frank Sinatra sang, the best was yet to come. Still, Disney really outdid itself with this movie. The voice acting is really great even though they succumbed to the pitfall of using celebrities instead of seasoned voice actors. The music was really well done and I sang along to Just Can’t Wait to Be King and Hakuna Matata everyday for a little while. One of my big problems with the movie is that the main character is kind of entitled and looks forward to adulthood for all the wrong reasons. Of course, part of his journey is learning from those mistakes and earning his place of honor. As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to respect the character Scar more as a dynamic and fun villain and the probably the first villain song I really enjoyed.

8 The Little Mermaid (1989)

Once again, yearning for a new world and wondering about a life beyond what I saw around me were themes that resonated with me. It’s not that I had a bad childhood but nobody has a childhood that’s without its bumps. Like many children I felt unpopular and unliked as a kid, a feeling that actually grew well into high school and in some forms exists today. When Ariel sings about the world “Up There” I think about all the times I wasn’t invited to a party or when I was picked last for kickball games. Don’t get me wrong, I always had friends but every so often I wondered what being a popular kid was like. At the same time, like Ariel, I wanted to be different and I really reveled in the differences between me and the other kids. Of course, I realized all of that later in life, when I was a teenager. The main thing that actually attracted me when I was younger was the music. Jodi Benson, Samuel E. Wright and Rene Auberjonois (no really, Odo had a cameo as a French chef) made songs that were a lot of fun to sing along to and enjoy.

7 Tangled (2010)

Depression is a hell of a thing. Depression lies. Even now I hesitate to call what I have bouts of “depression” because depression just calls me an idiot and to stop faking for attention. I don’t feel depressed right now but I definitely go through it from time to time. It’s just bad brain chemistry and it’s hard to get through but one thing that has always helped me fight it off or pull out of the pit is a good song or a good movie. That’s why I talk so much about the stuff I love here, because it really, really means something to me. Tangled was a movie that briefly cast sunshine on a dark period in New Jersey where I had very conflicting feelings about my life. The fluid animation, great music and slapstick humor almost always elicits a smile. The ending just feels really good to me too but I won’t spoil it here. The music is very good and a lot of it feels spontaneous and improvised while being polished at the same time (if that makes sense).

6 The Princess and the Frog (2009)

I love jazz music I like it a lot but not enough to listen to it regularly as many other genres float my boat more regularly. I love the big band sort of jazz that is loud and brassy and full of vibrating, bubbling energy. I love the kind of music that Dr. John sings. What a coincidence, Dr. John sings the very first song in the movie!  I have never been to New Orleans but it’s always been spoken of with almost mythical reverence, especially by the jazz community. The art style and voice acting does a great job of setting the scene in a unique setting. It also takes us back to a different time period pretty effortlessly. The music is downright infectious and I especially like “When We’re Human”. I like the different twist on an old fairy tale with the added theme of working hard to make your dreams a reality but not too hard.

5 Wreck it Ralph (2012)

I love video games. I have loved video games ever since I laid eyes on (but was not allowed to touch) the Atari and watched somebody play Donkey Kong. Not long after we got an NES and I was hooked for life as a console gamer. I also hung out with my brothers and friends in several different arcades around town, pumping quarters for another few minutes of fun. This movie made me so nostalgic for those days of playing the hardest games kids were ever tortured with. The movie itself is really funny and also endearing and charming. I have to admit that I’ve done things in my life solely for the reward. I once ran for class president in high school just to see how many votes I could get. I’m not proud of it nor am I proud of hounding the teacher in charge when I never got an exact count. Later that year I actually won an award for service in the drama department and that felt way better. So I really love the theme of not trying so hard to be something you’re not and instead being the best you that you can be.

4 Big Hero 6 (2014)

This is the most recent animated Disney film I’ve seen. The art style, while similar to other recent movies, is also kind of infused with an anime feel which makes sense. The movie takes place in a mash-up of San Francisco and Tokyo. I read some of the first run of the comic and Big Hero 6 was supposed to be Japan’s official superhero team. While that movie would have been cool, the movie we got was incredibly creative and had a ton of heart. The movie dealt with a lot of tough issues like death in the family but managed to stay lighthearted enough to not get me down. It’s definitely not your typical superhero movie but Disney’s Marvel Studios has proved that it doesn’t always go where you think they will go. This movie surprised me with how good it was and I think it really deserved to win the Academy Award. I really hope that they can write a successful sequel because I will definitely see it opening weekend.

3 Aladdin (1992)

Aladdin was the first soundtrack I ever owned and listened to until the casette tape was nearly worn out. I can sing along to most of the songs (except Friend Like Me. How did he breathe during that?) and I really enjoy doing so. This movie both started my extreme fandom of Robin Williams and it was also the first time I realized that voice actors are people. Aladdin is the story of a poor kid making it to the top with luck and his wits. It’s also the story of being rewarded for both being true to who you are and a good person. The main characters are flawed people but come through fire. Besides the great music, great story and great characters, I also have a very personal connection with this movie. When I had heart surgery in fifth grade to fix the double aortic arch that I was born with, this was the movie they let me watch in the ICU. So it’s also the only Disney movie I’ve watched on heavy drugs.

2 Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

I think this might be the movie that I’ve mentioned most in this blog and it is a movie that I will probably always be fascinated with. As I’ve grown older, I’ve discovered more and more that I like about it. When I first saw it, I was a huge Tim Burton fan and fascinated with the macabre elements of Halloween. As I grew up, I still loved the dark elements married to the comedy elements but I began to appreciate the craft of stop-motion animation. I started to understand the story more and that led me to imagine the world they had created beyond the bounds of the story. What was Easterland like? What was Thanksgivingland like? As I watched it again in my adult years I now understood the parts about depression and self-discovery and creativity. I am always inspired by this movie and I love consuming anything connected to it.

1 Frozen (2013)

What more can be said about this movie? The movie became a phenomenon overnight and most people I know either love it or are apathetic. I actually thought I was going to hate it because the early trailer absolutely turned me off. It said nothing about what the movie was about but that actually worked in my favor. I wrote the movie off and filed it away somewhere in my brain. It came into theaters and left and I still had not watched it. Now, I had no idea at the time that Kristen Bell played Anna in the movie which would have swayed me as a Veronica Mars superfan. Also, had I known that Frozen had the same songwriters as Avenue Q and Book of Mormon I might have taken notice. No. I heard rave reviews and just decided to watch it one day. I love it now. The characters are so interesting, the acting is excellent and the story is a little bit different from what I’ve seen before in Disney movies. They’re are deep psychological stories being told just under the surface of a straightforward tale about the bond between two siblings. The music is amazing and Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel blew me away with how well they did with it. I definitely recommend this one and I promise I won’t get mad if you don’t like it. Just ask my brother.

Top 11 Movies I’m Excited About in 2015

January 7, 2015

It’s been a while since I followed the lead of my friend Joe so I thought I’d talk about the Top 11 movies that I’m most excited about.  There’s a lot more movies that I saw while I researched this.  Mad Max: Fury Road, Pan, Cinderella, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and the Jungle Book really look good too but didn’t make the list.


1. Avengers: Age of Ultron (May 1)

Avengers is in my top 5 favorite movies and I’ve loved every single part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far.  I am interested to see the characters reunite after what they went through individually during Phase 2 and how the group dynamic may change and evolve.  Now that they more or less trust each other, it will be interesting to see them fight Ultron instead of each other.  Also, it will be interesting to see what they do with Quicksilver since he was already a huge hit in the recent X-Men movie.  We haven’t seen a cinematic Scarlet Witch yet so that should definitely be exciting.


2. Ant-man (July 17)

I’m sure we’re all disappointed that Edgar Wright didn’t get to do his take on Antman.  I would have liked to see that version but I think in the end it will be for the best.  While Hank Pym is an interesting character he also has kind of a history of being an asshole so I’m glad they are focusing instead on Scott Lang.  Having to take up the mantle of one of the smartest men on Earth has always made for a good story.  Besides, I loved Lang’s stints in the Avengers and the Fantastic Four and his relationship with his daughter Stature.  I have faith in this movie.


3. Inside Out (June 12)

I used to say “Pixar can do no wrong” and then Cars 2, Monsters U and Planes came along.  Still, they are the best animation studio on the planet.  (They were tied with Studio Ghibli in my heart but that’s over now)  The shots that I’ve seen of Inside Out so far have shown some smooth character design and animation and it will probably have that usual Pixar flair.  I don’t know a lot about the movie but I prefer to shelter myself from Pixar spoilers before I see the finished product.


4. Tomorrowland (May 22)

This movie has been the subject of a lot of speculation since it was inadvertently announced.  When the name first appeared on some crates at a Disney exhibit, the press guessed that it was part of Star Wars 7.  They were corrected and informed that it was a science fiction movie that has nothing to do with aliens.  Then Disney pretty much went radio silent on the movie for a while.  I am a huge Disney nerd so I’m intrigued about this movie especially after learning that filming was done at both Disneyland and my beloved Disney World.


5. Spectre (November 6)

I like James Bond.  Sure some of the movies sucked and were a total waste of time but at least they were memorable.  The current iteration is miles ahead of Pierce Brosnan’s tenure and I’m interested to see where they go.  They’re both retreading stuff we’ve seen before and showing us a lot of stuff we haven’t seen before.  It’s been all but confirmed that we’re getting the first appearance of Blofeld in this new continuity and that will be intensely interesting.  I hope he can at least match what


6. Jurrasic World (June 12)

I have unashamedly loved every single Jurassic Park movie.  Before you ask: Yes, even Lost World.  I have never regretted watching a Jurassic Park movie and I don’t expect that is going to change anytime soon.  This time, instead of Jeff Goldblum or Sam Neill, we’re getting Chris Pratt which is kind of sad and kind of awesome.  Guardians of the Galaxy quickly shot up to my top 5 movies ever so I’m excited to see more of his career.


7. Kingsman: The Secret Service (February 13)

Even if Matt Vaughn recently put down my beloved Dark Knight, he still puts out a really good comic book movie.  This looks really good and I like a good spy/action film.  It could end up giving Bond a run for his money but I won’t hold my breath.  Unfortunately it will be released the same week as Fifty Shades of Grey which is Valentine’s Day weekend. Yeah, let that sink in.


8. Furious 7 (April 3)

I am not defending this one because fuck you. I have grown to love the later Fast and Furious movies especially the last two.   The earlier ones were kind of boring but, as the movies got more ridiculous, they got more entertaining.  This is the part that Vin Diesel was born to play (that and XXX but I digress).   The movie will be loud, corny and flashy and will have the Rock in it.  I’m sold.


9. Mission Impossible 5 (December 25)

The Mission Impossible series has just gotten better as it has continued but in the opposite way that the Furious series has.  It has gotten a little edgier and a little more serious with each movie.   I loved the addition of Jeremy Renner and Simon Pegg in the last movie and that will continue in the next movie.  At the same time they are bringing back Ving Rhames and adding Alec Baldwin.  I like to think that we can all just accept that Tom Cruise is a nutball who makes decent movies.


10. The Hateful Eight (November 13)

I’ve enjoyed everything that Quentin Tarantino has ever done in his career from top to bottom.  Tackling a western is actually pretty logical for him after Django Unchained and I’m interested to see what he can do with it.  Tarantino will also reunite with Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Madsen and Kurt Russell while taking on Channing Tatum and Jennifer Jason Leigh. I could go on listing all of the neat casting choices he’s made but I’ll spare you.  He has a history of getting good performances out of unlikely actors and actresses so I’m excited to see what is probably his take on the Magnificent Seven.

macbeth

11. Macbeth (Sometime in 2015. Also no trailer yet so.. hmm)

I have studied Shakespeare since I first put my hands on Romeo and Juliet at age 14 and I have worked on a lot of stage productions of his plays.  I own at least two copies of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare and I have visited his birth home and his marriage home. I would have visited the Globe but it was under renovations at the time.  Macbeth is the bad luck title but since this is the internet and not the theater we’re ok.  I watch pretty much every version of Shakespeare that hits theaters except for some of the obscure modernizations.  This one stars Michael Fassbender and Marion Cottilard who are both on point.  I always thought Macbeth was a more interesting story than Hamlet or Romeo and Juliet which sometimes unfairly get more press.  We’ll see how this one turns out.

Bonus:

Yes I left off Star Wars 7.  I am really hesitant about this one.  Don’t get me wrong, I was a huge fan of Star Wars as a kid and I owned a lot of the action figures and watched the original trilogy over and over.  (God I wish I had those figures now so I could eBay them so fast)  Also, I didn’t hate the second trilogy as much as a lot of people did. Sure, Phantom Menace was a disappointment but it had some cool moments.  The trilogy more or less redeemed itself as it went on despite some really cheesy moments that I just conveniently repress.  The thing is, I thought Star Wars was all done and I had accepted that.  Maybe I’ll get more excited as we get closer.


susanne matthews

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