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The Call of the Wild (2020)

Having not read the book and only seeing the Charlton Heston 70s movie version when I was in middle school (as well as cheating a bit by scanning the Wikipedia page), I only had a vague idea of the story of "The Call of the Wild" going into this new version, starring Harrison Ford. What I ended up getting was a new appreciation for and interest in checking out the original novel, and a good, fun old-fashioned adventure.

The story is about Buck, a St. Bernard/Scotch Collie who lives a contented life in 1890s Santa Clara, despite being a bit of a headache for his masters due to his destructive size and large appetite. When he is kidnapped and taken to the Yukon, however, he goes through an epic journey involving several masters, that brings him closer and closer to his wolfish ancestors.
Directed by Chris Sanders of "Lilo and Stitch", "How To Train Your Dragon" and "The Croods" fame, its been widely noted how most if not all of the animal animation,…
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My thoughts on the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy

When I originally heard that a Sequel Trilogy was being made, I was excited to see what was going to be done because it felt like the possibilities were endless and it'd be great to see the old cast back. But then when I heard George Lucas had sold Lucasfilm to Disney, I wasn't sure how to feel. While most of his later films weren't the strongest in terms of quality (I like Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, don't @ me), I didn't mind because that tends to happen with any filmmaker. But I just didn't understand at all the vitriol hatred Lucas was getting. Star Wars and Indiana Jones wouldn't exist without him. What would they be like now without him? What was Disney going to do? All I could do was wait and see.

Now having watched all three films in the Sequel Trilogy, I'll be able to give my overall thoughts.

First, I do agree with the major criticism that J.J. Abrams, Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy, or whoever was in charge needed a plan to charter where things …

Star Wars Episode 9: The Rise of Skywalker

I have seen Star Wars Episode 9: The Rise of Skywalker and in addition to covering the film, I'll give my thoughts on the Sequel Trilogy as a whole in a separate post, so things don't get too long. (I recommend reading both just so you're able to get a full sense of where I'm coming from.)

First, Episode 9: In the following weeks since its release, I'd been hearing a wide variety of opinions about the film: some liked it, some hated it, and some were indifferent. so I knew it was going to be an interesting experience either way.

What did I think?: I actually...kind of liked it and had fun, leaving the theater with a big dumb grin on my face. HOWEVER, I do acknowledge that there are also a lot of problems with it.

Does the Emperor feel needlessly wedged in? Yep.

Are cameos from the Original Trilogy here just for the sake of nostalgia and catering to fans? Yep.

Are characters and plot elements introduced just to muddy the waters of how things turn out in the end and in so…

Knives Out

Growing up, I've always been a big mystery fan: Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie, Murder, She Wrote, The Maltese Falcon, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Clue, The Purloined Letter, Encyclopedia Brown, The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, etc. so it's a real treat to see an old fashioned style Whodunit (with a new modern twist) like Knives Out in theaters again after so long. Synopsis: When famed mystery and crime writer Harlan Thrombey is found dead with his throat slit, it's assumed his death is a suicide and nothing more, but when private investigator Benoit Blanc is anonymously hired to investigate, he soon suspects foul play and must navigate a complicated web involving Thrombey's slimy and self-absorbed family members to figure out what is going on. Getting straight to the point (no pun intended), Knives Out is very well done. The cinematography is wonderfully atmospheric, reminding me of the classic Whodunits from the 70s and 80s. The performances and dialogue are all top-notch…

Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Season 1 (2019)

As promised, I've watched all ten episodes of Season One of Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, and boy was it a ride! Some spoilers may be forthcoming but I'll let you know when I'll be talking about said spoilers (and may try to do it at the end as well).

Plot synopsis: A prequel to The Dark Crystal (1982), it has been 1000 years since the appearance of the Skeksis, who have kept watch over The Crystal of Truth, since its keeper, Mother Aughra, has gone off to explore other worlds. But when three Gelfing, Rian, a castle guard/warrior from the Stonewood Clan, Brea, a princess from the Vapra Clan, and Deet, an animal caregiver from the Grottan Clan, discover the Skeksis' horrifying secret, they must band together to convince the Clans to come together, light the fires of rebellion, and fight back before its too late.

With the first five episodes of Age of Resistance, the series starts off very strong, building on and expanding on the lore of the movie, …

Retro Review: Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal (1982)

In preparation for the newly released "The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance" series on Netflix (may review that as well), I decided to watch the original film "Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal" for the first time.

Plot synopsis: In the fantasy world of Thra, the source of all life is The Crystal of Truth, but one day, it is suddenly cracked, losing one of its shards, and turns into the titular Dark Crystal. At the same time, two races appear: the monstrous Skeksis and the wise Mystics, with the Skeksis taking control of the Crystal and using it to drain the life force from Thra's other creatures to maintain their youth.

A thousand years later, a young Gelfling named Jen, supposedly the last of his kind, must find and return the shard before Thra's three suns align, or else the Skeksis will gain immortality and rule forever.

As someone who mainly grew up on Sesame Street and The Muppets, seeing a lesser known entry in Jim Henson's filmography was going to b…

Treintañera (Short Film)

As young adults trying to make our way through the world, two major factors gain focus in our lives: our careers and our romantic relationships. Some become really lucky and are able to fulfill one or both right away, but many have to wait.

As we grow older, however, we may start to question these factors: Am I truly happy where I am? Did I make the right decision? Which one is more important right now?

This last question is one that the protagonist of the comedic character based short Treintañera, struggles with as we follow her through one awkward situation after another.

Valentina, a Latina photographer, laments her unsuccessful love life. Fearing that her granddaughter is cursed for not having a Quinceañera party on her 15th birthday, Valentina's abuela decides to surprise her with one for her 30th, so she can find a man. On the same day, however, Valentina receives her dream job offer of working for National Geographic. Afraid to let her abuela down, she decides to keep quiet, o…