72 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
"A New Hope" for a New Generation
18 December 2015
Ten years ago we never even dared to dream of finding another "Star Wars" movie hitting theaters after "Revenge of the Sith" ended. In fact, many probably hoped/prayed there would never be another opportunity to ruin "Star Wars" again. Then Disney bought Lucasfilm and a new age dawned.

Needless to say the anticipation (as well as anxiety) has been high. For the first time since 1983, there is an actual SEQUEL to the original "Star Wars" trilogy. However, the prequel trilogy left quite the bad taste in people's mouths. This meant it was top priority for Disney to make this movie one of the best they possibly could. Now if they just wanted to make money off of this then making a bad movie wouldn't have mattered much. This movie was gonna make money either way. But it is very clear they wanted this movie to kick-start a new franchise that will live on throughout the ages.

I will refrain from giving any of the plot away because that could detract from the experience of it. Going into this movie completely blind to what you'll find is one of it's many joys. I will say this movie gives us what "Star Wars" fans have been craving: a "Star Wars" movie with the joy, thrills, emotion, and (arguably the most important aspect) fun of the original trilogy.

I will speak very briefly (by briefly I mean a lot) on the huge mount of talent on screen: the entire cast is fantastic. There is not a single weak-link among this wonderful ensemble. The original cast bring a sense of nostalgia with them while the new cast represents the torch being passed down to them. Daisy Ridley is one of these new actors and she is perfect for the role of Rey. As soon as you meet Rey you can tell she is going to be a hero worth rooting for. She is the new Luke for this generation (young person longing for a life of amazement). Throughout the entire movie she gives you reasons of why you should love this character. A great new addition to the cast.

Of course John Boyega is also fantastic as Finn. His charm and humor makes him someone easy to cheer on as well. He is truly a great persona to have on-board. Of course there is Oscar Isaac, Gwendoline Christie, Domnhall Gleeson, and Andy Serkis in great yet limited roles. Their characters are so interesting I cannot wait to learn more about them down the road.

However, out of the new villains introduced, Adam Driver steals the show as Kylo Ren. This villain is almost the exact opposite of Darth Vader in every way. In fact, as a character, you could say he's even stronger than Vader ever was. Driver is able to give Ren a sense of tragedy and pain that never shined through in Vader (mainly because Vader was always meant to be imposing to the very end). Even though Ren does terrible things, you cannot help but feel sympathy for him. However, he is still incredibly imposing, not as imposing as Andy Serkis' Supreme Leader Snoke though. You can tell this being is the big bad of the series now and he is a terrifying figure. Another intriguing character I cannot wait to learn more about.

However, if any character was the heart and soul of this movie it would have to be Han Solo. Harrison Ford is back and I cannot tell you how wonderful it was seeing him back in this iconic role. He brings a sense of weariness and scruffy charm Han never had before. He is the biggest tie to the original trilogy and it is wonderful seeing him again.

The action is also very impressive. JJ Abrams use of practical and CGI effects blends beautifully to create an intense and wonderful feeling throughout the movie. It feels like classic "Star Wars."

Overall, this is the movie we have been waiting for. Filled to the brim with intense action, emotion, humor, and heart. Also populated with fantastic characters both old and new (with great actors in these roles). "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" reminds us (while showing new viewers) why this series is so beloved while giving us greater hope for the future.
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Inside Out (I) (2015)
Pixar Has Returned!
13 September 2015
For the past couples of years we have worried Pixar was losing it's luster. With the over-reliance of sequels it appeared Pixar was on a road to no longer producing gems but coal. However, "Inside Out" proved Pixar's "gem making business" is not over yet, not by a long shot.

The movie deals with a girl named Riley and her move from her hometown in Minnesota to San Francisco. However, the story is mainly told from the perspectives of her five emotions: Joy, Anger, Fear, Disgust, and Sadness. They all work together to keep Riley normal and work even harder to do this once she moves. However, as is expected, something even worse happens leading to a huge adventure throughout Riley's mind.

Pixar has not just created another enticing adventure for us but also an engrossing coming-of-age story. Yes, it is brightly colored and filled with hijinks of epic proportions but in the end this is actually a very intimate story of a girl leaving childhood. We all remember those days when we realized our childhoods were ending, and those days were incredibly difficult.

As we grow older we find things changes, some small and others big. And the simple truth is change is scary. In fact, it can be pretty terrifying, and that is what Riley deals with in this movie. This is not some story of a girl being spoiled and throwing a temper tantrum, this is the story of a girl finding everything she ever believed in disappearing.

Watching this happen from inside her head makes the adventure all the more thrilling. Throughout the movie we watch as both Joy and Sadness work together to get back to Riley and save her from whatever catastrophe that lies ahead. To do this they find themselves in some very amazing locations such as Imagination Land and (a very inspired setting) Dream Productions.

These locations add even more layers to the story being told here. Slowly we watch as Riley goes from a happy girl to a child falling into depression. It is very dark, serious subject matter for a kids movie to deal with. In fact, if it was any other studio I doubt they would've had a chance to tell this story correctly.

Thankfully Pixar had this story and they knocked it out of the park. They tell the very simple, yet important, truth that it is important to feel all of our emotions. We watch as Riley numbs herself from the pain of what's happened and that takes her to places she would not have gone otherwise. It makes very complex notions easy enough for children to understand while still maintaining the complexity. A remarkable feat for any movie to do.

Of course the movie would not be half as enjoyable if it was not for the wonderful voice cast. Amy Poehler was born to play Joy. It would be very easy to make Joy incredibly annoying because of her perky attitude. However, Poehler finds the right balance to make her very charming. The entire cast was also fantastic. Phyllis Smith was perfect as the downer of the group, Sadness. Of course I cannot forget Mindy Kaling (Disgust), Bill Hader (Fear), Lewis Black (Anger), or Richard Kind (Bing Bong) who were all so wonderful.

"Inside Out" was the return to form everyone has been waiting for. Pixar has always been known for greatness so when they have a story that jumps out even more so than usual, people tend to take notice. This is no doubt one of Pixar's very best features and it will go down as an instant classic. With a wonderful message about feeling our emotions instead of numbing them, "Inside Out" goes beyond expectations to create an incredibly mature movie going experience for everyone. Yes, the movie deals with these five emotions, but upon leaving the main ones movie goers will feel will be joy and a little bit of sadness.
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The Fosters: The End of the Beginning (2015)
Season 2, Episode 21
Fantastic Finale to a Fantastic Season!
24 March 2015
This truly was the end of the beginning for "The Fosters". With the second season finale we close out one chapter for the Adams-Foster family and enter into another exciting part of their lives.

In the season finale the major stories of the season come together. We have the issue of Callie's adoption go into its climax. Jude and Connor (or as the fandom refers to them, Jonnor) have this part of their arc come to a close. Lena and Stef face hard times ahead. Brandon makes his definitive choice between the band or classical music. And Jesus, Mariana, and Ana find themselves at a critical point for there characters. Basically, this season finale was packed with huge, defining moments for everyone. And was it a doozy.

The issue that could plague shows like "The Fosters" is that all of the stories could come across as a jumbled mess. In my less than elegant description (as descriptive as I could be without giving anything away) above, it would seem pretty clear. Anyone of these "big, defining moments" would be enough to end a season of build up. Doing them all together at once, that is the tightrope trick they are performing.

Happily, I can report they do it with apparent ease. Not one time does each story overstay its welcome and it never feels jumbled. There is a flow to each story here. For example, as we move from Callie's story to Jude's, we can see the connection between them. Then we move on to Jesus and Mariana's story and so on and so forth. This flow works because there is a running theme in every story that connects them.

It is our decisions that define us and that is what happens here. Callie's decision about how to deal with Robert and Jude's decision about how to deal with Connor both have side effects that will change their characters from this point onward. The same can be said for every other character on the show (Lena, Stef, Jesus, and Mariana). These decisions change the way the family works together and even defines their relationships with each other. There is even a theme of control here. Every character is trying to take back control in hopeless situations and it leaves a lingering sting.

Whether it be Callie taking control from Robert or Jude taking control from Connor's dad, these stories illustrate how desperate we can be for control during hard times. However, there are times we all must deal with the fact we do not always have control and that can impact our decisions greatly. These are very powerful themes for the show to use and, happily, they do not hammer them home but instead let them flow with the story.

Now I keep coming back to Callie and Jude's stories, not because the other stories are small in comparison, but because they have some of the most poignant moments in the episode. Callie trying to hold onto her home while also having a relationship with Robert is powerful. Maia Mitchell plays the hurt, confusion, and even fear that Callie has with great skill. Her performance in the finale is fantastic. Callie is a character that has been to Hell and back and Hell again. This story is a nice way to close off one painful part of her past once and for all. The same can be said for Jude. In the beginning he was shy, confused, and even scared. His character has truly grown from a meek child too scared to stand up for himself against a bully, to a young man standing up to Connor's father demanding to see Connor. Hayden Byerly has done consistently great work throughout the show and here he is no exception. He portrays Jude's confidence and resilience in the face of adversity extremely well. These are two stories that have been two seasons in the making. Both outcomes feel earned and poignant, both stories have ended very important chapters for these two children and now they can start a new chapter in their lives.

Every story here brought something new to the table, and while everyone will be talking about the last few minutes of the episode, the entire finale brought some new possibilities to the table. It is without saying this finale has changed the landscape of the show, for better or for worse. However, whatever they decide to do with season three, it does not change how fantastic the season two finale was. It was dramatic, funny, heart-wrenching, and altogether fantastic. I will definitely be waiting for the third season premiere with bated breath.
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The Legend of Korra: The Last Stand (2014)
Season 4, Episode 13
There's so much more...
18 December 2014
While Nickelodeon will forever be ingrained in my mind as "The Company That Tried Ruining Korra," that happily did not ruin the fantastic series finale for me. It is truly bittersweet to see Korra's journey end, but man has it been one heck of a ride.

With the fate of the world once again hanging in the balance, Korra and her friends must band together to save it. However, this battle might cost them everything.

This has always been (in my opinion) Nickelodeon's best show since "Avatar: The Last Airbender" ended. It has taken on even darker, more mature themes than its predecessor. Throughout the running of the show we are given deeper looks at issues concerning equality, spirituality, anarchy, and even dictatorships. This show has managed to combine very adult themes with a children's show in such a seamless fashion, you can't help but wonder why adult oriented shows can't do that.

This season has been a huge commentary on Democracy versus Dictatorship while also showing the gray areas with both sides. We can actually understand the viewpoint of the antagonist (even though we know what they're doing is wrong). It gives us a true look at the complexities of these themes and shows us how far anyone can fall from grace, no matter how well-intentioned they seem to be. This makes the overall theme of redemption all the more powerful. Redemption proves to be the key needed to end the conflict, however, the creators are still willing to show there are consequences to our actions. So if we want redemption, true redemption, we must be willing to face the consequences of our actions.

This finale put all of those themes on a collision course and they collided with true splendor. We find all of the main characters getting their moment to shine in some fantastic action sequences, along with some great characterization, including some truly shocking events. For me, personally, the last five minutes of the show are what truly got my emotions kicked into overdrive. I shall not spoil anything, but it is a great way to end the show.

Once again, "Korra" gives us an animated treat filled with intelligent political, social, and philosophical subtext. There are many shows that would collapse under such weighty themes, but "The Legend of Korra" held them up with true skill. This is all thanks to having a wonderful voice cast, fantastic hero and villain (with many similarities between the two of them), highly-skilled team of writers, and daring set of creators. This show will go down as one of the all-time best animated shows in history, and maybe even as one of the best shows in general. It truly is bittersweet to see it end, but it has been quite a ride.
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Hannibal: Mizumono (2014)
Season 2, Episode 13
The End of a Journey.
23 June 2014
Those who know me also know how I tend to praise "Hannibal" a great deal. Before this episode I viewed it as one of the best shows on TV. However, the season two finale has cemented it (in my opinion) as the best show on TV PERIOD. Yes, there are great shows such as "The Walking Dead" and "Game of Thrones" (both of which I adore) however, "Hannibal" is the perfect combination of terrifying and beauty to create a show unlike anything else on TV.

In the season two finale we find ourselves at the end of a journey. A journey that began in the first episode of season one and has been building itself to this moment. Here Will is on the brink of making the definitive choice to either follow or betray Hannibal. The choice he makes will reverberate throughout the rest of the series and change everything he has ever known.

Bryan Fuller pulls no punches with this epic of a season finale. In a age of network TV shows being painfully held back from their full potential, it is refreshing to see Bryan Fuller and crew be so daring with the second season of Hannibal. The already bigger than life feel of the show is brought in full force to remind us how powerful this show can be.

Of course, it is fantastically written drama. Once again the dialog forces viewers to pay attention otherwise they will become lost in the pure sophistication of the story. Instead, if we as normal people can keep up, we become lost in a completely different way. One where we are entranced by the story while scratching our heads.

They are able to deftly blend in themes of codependency (the dangers and healthiness of it) and forgiveness into one event; culminating with these themes completely exploding on one another. Codependency ends up destroying lives more than it creates them and forgiveness still leads to retribution. We see the downfalls of both themes and just how connected they both are. Instead of shoving these themes into our faces, as viewers, we are treated with more respect than that. They trust that we can dwell on the ideas, think on them more, till finally we come to our own conclusions. Expertly done all around.

These themes also come to us through the use of imagery. And on the season finale they make fine use of how they mix both beauty and horror into one thing to make something that is beautiful yet provoking in a startling way. This can be seen especially through the use of water in the episode. Water comes with many metaphors and the metaphors here are clear and beautiful to the eye. One metaphor deals with death (the idea of drowning, being lost in darkness) and the other is about being reborn (such as Christians being baptized, being cleansed of sins; leaving behind the pain and onto something more). Both of these metaphors are beautifully shown throughout the episode with some of the most amazing imagery the show has ever done. This is truly unique to TV and it is on the level of filmmaking quality.

Of course we get some of the best performances the actors have ever done on this show. Hugh Dancy takes the final steps towards Will's inevitable choice. Will appears to know what he'll do (and he does for the most part) but when the time calls for it, he doesn't seem sure anymore. Then this is matched with Mads Mikkelsen to create some of the best work the two do together. Mads Mikkelsen brings new faces to Hannibal Lecter by showcasing him as the evil monster he truly is but also allowing him to be vulnerable. He has found a friend in Will unlike anything he ever thought possible and now he is faced with the possibility he is being betrayed. Something he does not want to deal but must in the end.

Through the use of a ticking clock type soundtrack the intensity is constantly building throughout the episode. From the very first scene to the final after-credits epilogue (which must be seen). The suspense is never-ending and when it does end, it feels like you've become numb with disbelief.

This is excellent quality television to the highest degree. I have never been so awed by a TV season finale as I have been with this one. It is terrifying, beautiful, thought-provoking, wonderfully acted, and just all together amazingly put together. "Hannibal" really raised the bar with this game-changing finale that leaves everything in the air for next season. This is, in my opinion, the best season finale to ever be done for ANY TV show as of right now. I cannot wait for season three to start so I can find the madness again.
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"The Empire Strikes Back" for the "Dragon" Trilogy!
21 June 2014
In a squeaky voice I hear Hiccup screaming to the top of his lungs "ARE YOU READY BUD?" and I end up replying in a soft whisper, "Not sure yet." The shivers of anticipation and fear trembled throughout my body. The fact is the first "How to Train Your Dragon" was so amazing (then again, that is opinion but mine stands) how can it possibly be topped?! Well I found the answer to that question and to Hiccup's question after walking out of the theater. Boy I wasn't ready for it but "How to Train Your Dragon 2" brought it big time. Needless to say, I was in awe with how fantastic this movie was.

We begin five years after the first movie ended. Hiccup and his friends are living the good life with dragons for pets being the new norm. However, this new paradise seems to disappear with the emergence of a vicious enemy who aims to create a dragon army for the sole-purpose of world domination. Then of course comes along a mysterious dragon rider causing all types of trouble (if you've seen the previews then this will not be a shock but I shall be kind just in case you have not). Hiccup ends up working with Toothless once again to bring down this enemy and in the process change everything they've ever known.

The way this film builds upon it's predecessor is by simply doing the one thing most sequels do not like doing; continuing the story in such a way that it could stand on its own as a stand-alone film. This film is not the first film, in fact it dives even deeper into the story and world the first film brought us.

A sequel, a great sequel knows how to broaden the story and mature it as it goes along. And that is exactly what they do here. We find Hiccup realizing that maybe he has been naive with certain ideals he carries, he realizes maybe it is time to grow up. Now-a-days coming of age stories are almost ubiquitous, but "Dragon 2" knows how to make it feel fresh. In the first one Hiccup was trying to find himself, he is still doing that here but it is more from a desire to find his place in a grown up world than to be accepted for who he is. The transition between the Hiccup we met in the first movie to the Hiccup of this movie is very well done and completely believable.

And just as Hiccup has grown, the story grows with him by becoming darker and more mature with it's themes. Here we deal with a new form of family discord not really seen in animated films. We find teen romance on the bloom. And the idea of diplomacy over war. This film deals with such complex issues that it can be easy to forget this is a kids film about dragons.

Which leads me to comment on the visuals of the movie. The animation is absolutely breathtaking. From the very first scene showcasing the dragons on Berk to the final epic fight sequence. This is a film of the highest caliber in regard to how animation should look. The clouds mixing with the red and orange of a setting sun, the mountains that touch the sky, and even the giant ice fortress that looks like something from a far away dream. This movie is huge on spectacle but it never forgets the heart of the story.

The characters are just as endearing as they were when we first met them. Some of them have grown up some considering the time-span but this is to be expected. Jay Baruchel is, as always, fantastic as Hiccup. This time he brings a maturity to the role while keeping him goofy and good-natured. The same can be said for the rest of the all-star voice cast. Gerard Butler, America Ferrara, Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, and even new cast member such as Kit Harington (Game of Thrones) are all fantastic.

Amazingly, they manage to keep all of these different factors under control when it could have so easily gone wrong. Once again this films backbone (just like the first) is the relationship between Hiccup and Toothless. This simple, yet vital, relationship could've been lost in the franticness of the plot and the wide range of characters. However, Director and Writer Dean DeBlois nimbly moves around these issues as if there was no problem at all. It is expert filmmaking to the highest degree.

"How to Train Your Dragon 2" put my fears to rest by giving us a story that is darker and more mature than the first. They expanded on the world from the first movie and gave us even more wonderful character moments. Filled with great, sly humor and breathtaking visuals. This movie is filled with spectacle but it never forgets the quiet, tear-jerking moments that made the first movie such a hit. Since both movies are so great there is room to debate for either one. Both have valid points for being better than the other but I would have to say "Dragon 2" is better than the first (as hard as it is to believe). This is "The Empire Strikes Back" for the "Dragon" Trilogy and even (as of right now) the best animated movie of the year. Kids and adults will both be walking away saying one thing "Can we go see it again?" and I'm sure you will.
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Best Marvel Movie Since "The Avengers" and "Iron Man"
7 April 2014
Considering we are now several movies, one mega-sequel to them all, and some direct sequels into Marvel Phase 2; needless to say there was a great amount of hype attached to "Captain America: The Winter Soldier". So did it deserve the hype? Did it live up to the high bar set by movies such as "The Avengers" and "Iron Man"? The only thing I can think of is wow! This movie lived up to them both and then some.

We find Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) two years after the battle of New York from "The Avengers" and he is working with SHIELD now. While on a mission with Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) he discovers that some things are not quite right deep in the ranks of SHIELD. On the run, he must uncover the conspiracy going on within SHIELD and deal with his greatest adversary yet; the Winter Soldier.

While I enjoyed the first "Captain America" I have to say this movie went above and beyond what I was expecting. Not only do we get a deeper look at one of the greatest superheroes of our time but we get a look at the ideals that have shaped our country into what it is now, and even leaves us pondering if what we are is something good or not. This message is loud and clear especially when Steve Rogers begins questioning everything he ever stood for. One line in particular stood out to me from the movie. In a conversation with Nick Fury, Rogers states "We fought for freedom, this is fear" while discussing new weaponry being used by SHIELD, to which Fury replies "We do things for the world we live in, not the one we dream of." Most likely I messed up the wording in there somewhere but that is the gist of the conversation. This conversation really surprised me because it was showing that Marvel has no problem taking on deeper ideas when the time comes for it. I applaud them for it.

However, the ideals being used would mean nothing if it wasn't for the fantastic performances by the leading cast. Scarlett Johansson reminded us why we love Black Widow. She brought the right amount of flair, depth, and even humor to a character that proves women can be just as tough (even tougher) than men. But Chris Evans is the heart and soul of the film. His portrayal of Steve Rogers really showcased why he is the best person to be the leading man in this series. He took on Rogers patriotism, heroism, fears, and even questioning with elegance in every stride. He made us love a character even more when we already did.

This is without a doubt the best Marvel movie since "The Avengers" and "Iron Man". Instead of a regular superhero movie, we got a "Jason Bourne" type of espionage spy thriller with Captain America as the main character. Filled with intense, inspired action while also being a surprisingly intelligent film with fantastic performances; "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" soars above and beyond expectations with shocking twists that will be felt throughout the entire Marvel cinematic Universe. I am still in awe of it.
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Hannibal (2013–2015)
A macabre world filled with intelligent twists.
13 February 2014
I have to say I am very impressed with how the spin-off series of Hannibal Lector has turned out. While I was a little worried at first after hearing the idea to create a series based on the most famous cannibal in the history of film, the series have placed my fears to rest.

The series follows Will Graham, a profiler for the FBI, and his journey into the minds of the darkest criminals. It is his daily job to think like the psychopaths they deal with and this has left a great toll on his mind. To protect what sanity he had left, he decided to leave. However, once he is manipulated into coming back to the FBI, he must learn new ways to protect himself from the dangerous profession he is involved in. So along comes Dr. Hannibal Lector, a psychiatrist who Will becomes close to. While Will confides in Dr. Lector his deepest, darkest secrets, he has no idea that the man he is speaking to is actually one of the greatest serial killers (and cannibals) the FBI has ever searched for.

With such a dark story leading the way for this show, the fear would be that NBC just isn't free enough to do the material justice. A show such as "Hannibal" would be more suitable for cable TV channels such as AMC or FX, that would be the thought at least. However, NBC proves naysayers otherwise by showing just how fearless they can be when the time calls for it. They truly dive deep into a world that is dark and macabre in ways that even match "American Horror Story" by creating an atmosphere that is chilling and disturbing. They especially do this with terrifyingly graphic imagery. Honestly, with how far the show seems to go at times I am amazed they didn't end up having to tone things down or risk getting booted. Happily though, the show is still going strong with its wonderfully macabre world still intact.

But it is the chemistry between the two leading actors that really sells the show. Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen do fantastic work in the leads. Dancy shines as the poor Will Graham. You can really see the tragedy behind his eyes as he goes deeper and deeper into a dark world where he might never come back from. And that is what makes him very different from the team on CBS's "Criminal Minds." Throughout the series you can see him as a truly broken man and what little of him that's holding together is also crumbling. All the while it almost seems he is entirely alone through this situation. However, he does have someone and that is Dr. Lector. Mikkelsen does some truly fantastic work as Lector. He brings the charisma and cultured intelligence that is Hannibal Lector to new life on screen. Of course he comes into the picture in the shadow of the great Anthony Hopkins who made this character what he is today but Mikkelsen does a great job at making this character his own. Both of these actors do great jobs at giving fresh spins to two very well-known characters. Fantastic work by the both of them.

This is a great piece of television here. We find ourselves completely immersed into a world that is haunting on many levels and that is why this show works. The show succeeds by giving audiences an intelligent look into the mind of a man going slowly insane while giving us a look at one who has already gone insane.
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Funny, surprising, and absolutely charming.
9 February 2014
I think it's safe to say that most movies based off of toys never really end well. So that brings up the question: does "The Lego Movie" fall into the same sad category such as the "Transformers" series and "Battleship" or does it break that problem that has plagued toy adaptations for years? The answer is, happily, the latter.

"The Lego Movie" is about the journey of one tiny Lego figure named Emmet. In an ancient prophecy it was foreshadowed that a mighty hero would come and save the Lego Universe from a terrible villain who planned on gluing the entire universe together.

Just like the toy that inspired it, this movie was brimming with imagination from top to bottom. From the Lego city that Emmet lives in to oceans of the Lego Universe this was imaginative all the way through. And honestly, that alone is worthy of praise. Many films now are mainly just recycled ideas without any true inspiration put into them. However, this was not the case with "The Lego Movie". Watching this movie you can tell the filmmakers had an absolute blast going into such an imaginative world. The possibilities were endless and that is really what made the difference.

On top of imagination, this film is also filled with an intelligent (and even satirical) look at everyday life and a look at the role of the government (and our roles included). Just having a look at Emmet's life in the city you could tell this made fun of ordinary life, not in a mean way but an honest way. We wake up everyday and go throughout our daily lives greeting people, working at our jobs (whatever they may be), going home to relax for the next day alone or with people we care about, and getting up the next day. This sequence was exquisitely done, from the first scene of the President giving a vague, yet threatening, message to his people being undermined by the plain brainwashing of his people to the overall idea of being who we truly are. Wonderfully done.

A lot of this is due to the excellent work by its A-list voice cast. Chris Pratt did wonderful work as Emmet, with him portraying the poor naivety of the Lego piece and his transition to someone willing to think for himself. The same can be said of Elizabeth Banks (hilarious as Wyldstyle), Will Ferrell as the villain, and Will Arnett (as Batman who ironically enough became the funniest character in the movie). Thanks to the great cast these characters will definitely be remembered for a very long time.

So adults, I just want to remind you that this is a movie that you will enjoy, maybe even more than your children will. Not only is it a smart satirical look at government and everyday life but it also has a self-aware humor mixed with pop culture references that will have you rolling on the floor laughing. A prime example of this is Batman and the wonderful way they play to his cynicism. In the movies and comics we know Batman as the cynic he is but in such a colorful world there is just so much material to play off of it would've been a miscarriage of justice to ignore it. Well done Lego.

In the end, this is a wonderful way to start off animation for 2014. Already at a stronger place than animation was this time last year, "The Lego Movie" has definitely raised the bar where toy adaptations (and maybe even animated movies in general) are concerned. Wonderful storytelling mixed with great characters, beautiful visuals, plenty of humor to spare, and a great message about finding the hero in all of us; "The Lego Movie" has proved that there is life for toy adaptations after all.
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An Epic Love Story on the Same Level as Titanic
30 January 2014
Every generation has that defining forbidden love story. For Shakespeare's time it was "Romeo and Juliet," a story about two teenagers from different families but from the same world. "Titanic" is from the 90's and is also about two young people falling in love except this time they're both from very different worlds. "Brokeback Mountain" is the forbidden love story of our generation and this time both lovers are from the same world, sadly, that is the problem.

The film focuses on two young cowboys in 1964, Ennis and Jack, who are working together for a summer herding sheep. During their time together they become close, so close they fall in love. Instead of living together they go their separate ways to live their own lives. They both get married, have children, and have decent jobs. However, they never forget each other and every chance they get, they get together on Brokeback Mountain to spend time together in anyway possible.

I am one to openly state that I do not like western movies. I personally feel that the characters are unrelatable and stiff in western movies. And this is not just from watching one western, I have tried watching more than one an they all feel the same. However, I was completely engrossed in "Brokeback Mountain." This was a movie filled with fascinating characters and a story that made them as relatable as any real person. We have all been to a point in our lives where we fall for the person we know we can't have. The bad boy or the good girl, vice versa, and that is how they treat the characters in this film. Both of these men love each other wholeheartedly and there is a sense of melancholy surrounding their relationship because you know it will not end well for them. Watching them made me feel like I was watching "Titanic" again and that I was looking at this generation's Jack and Rose.

Of course, this would not have been possible if it was not for the fantastic performances of the leading cast. Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal gave some of the best performances of their careers in this movie. Heath Ledger was heartbreaking as the obviously distant and maybe even hollow Ennis. A man who detached himself so much it was as if he was not even alive. That is until he was around Jack (played wonderfully by Jake Gyllenhaal), then he would light up with such a joy you would believe this man had never experienced joy like this before. And of course Jake Gyllenhaal also gave an equally powerful performance as Jack. A man who was willing to give up everything for Ennis, risk his life and future because he was madly in love with him. Yet, this also makes him equally as tragic. A man who cannot hide his feelings as well as Ennis and ends up trying to be himself while holding onto the life he has now. This movie would not have been what it was without these two amazing actors. Such fascinating characters.

In fact, I was so utterly fixated on their characters I (even though tragic love stories have taught me differently) was hoping that they would find a way to be together in the end. That they would find the happy-ending they deserved. And that is why it works. If a tragic love story does not make you hope the best for the couple in question then it is not doing it's job. Even though I've watched "Titanic" a hundred times, I root for Jack and Rose, I want them to find their happy ending because I am that invested in the main characters and their love story.

I keep going back to "Titanic" because I feel that "Brokeback Mountain" is our generations "Titanic." We have ourselves one of the most beautifully told love stories in years that makes us root for them even though we know it will not end well. That is the beauty of this film. It makes us believe in true love while showing us that sometimes it isn't enough. Sometimes people need to change for love to live on.

Also, I cannot forget the magnificent performances of the supporting cast. Michelle Williams gave a fantastic performance as the wife of Ennis. A woman who is definitely in love with Ennis but heartbroken by the truth of their relationship. The same can be said of Anne Hathaway and her riveting performance. She starts out as young woman in love with Jack but soon she realizes just how distant he really is from her. It is powerful to see her go from a young woman full of life to an older woman filled with bitterness. Both women are fascinating. And the filmmakers show us that it is not entirely anyone's fault when things fall apart. It's the fault of the fear of what's different, fear deep in a society.

This is the type of movie that will open people's eyes to the truth about love: it is universal. It doesn't matter if the relationship is heterosexual or homosexual, love is the driving force in relationships. However, it is a reminder that society is the main force that can tear relationships apart. Whether it be because of social class, feuding families, or even whether it be of the same-sex. As a society, we must learn to accept love for what it is.

I highly recommend this movie to anyone who wants to find a great romantic film to watch. "Brokeback Mountain" gives one of the most honest portrayals of a homosexual relationship to ever hit the screen. With such an honest view it made the issue all the more universal and relatable. On that note alone I commend the fantastic team behind this wonderful movie. With wonderful performances, sensitive direction, and a beautifully written script; "Brokeback Mountain" soars to it's proper place among classics such as "Titanic." Bravo.
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