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Best in Show (2000)
Sassy little gem
I have been in the dog field since I was a teenager, from the time I was 15, when I started volunteering at the local shelter. I am still a shelter volunteer but now work in the dog grooming industry. Let me tell you, this mockumentary nails the colourful array of people that are in the industry perfectly!
I last saw this movie in the early 2000s and I have to say, it gets better with each viewing. The cast is perfect for the roles of each eccentric who throws themselves in the world of Conformation dog showing, form the handlers, to the owners and to the announcers and host. Of course, I can't leave out the gorgeous dogs who steal each and everyone of their scenes.
Goof Troop (1992)
Goof Troop was among the shows in the wonderful lineup that was Disney Afternoon, a staple of many growing up in the 1980s to 19990s. Featuring the classic Disney characters, Pete and Goofy and their families, this was the first animated Disney sit-coms instead of the usual adventure-based story lines, though with the show's lineup, there was certainly adventure of the goofy kind!
Admittedly I didn't pay as much attention to Goof Troop as much as I did with Darkwing Duck, I have grown to appreciate the show now more in my thirties. Along with the engaging characters, the show is very well animated with few flubs that I can see. A recommendation to anyone seeking something lighter to watch!
Fushigi no kuni no Arisu (1983)
I first saw this retro anime series when I was at least seven years old, when it aired here in Canada on TVO. I never missed an episode and thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I have recently rewatched the series and it was just as wonderful as I remember it being.
This series is by far more loyal to the original Carroll Lewis material than the Disney versions of either 1951 or 2010, though not without creative licensing being used. The animation is solid, the characters are colourful and memorable and for the most part, so is the writing though there are flubs here and there; for example, characters that have run into each other in one episode are introduced to another in an upcoming episode.
All in all, a superb show that I highly recommend to anyone!
Rock of Ages (2012)
Just good fun
Every now and then you come upon a movie that just makes you want to get up and dance, and for me, Rock of Ages is just that!
Based on the live stage production with the same name, Rock of Ages follows a relatively simple plot; it's the 1980s, a small town girl goes to LA in hopes of making it big, she finds there's just more to it than that. She meets a beau, and the rest? Well, you'll have to watch it to find out. Along with a catchy soundtrack, the cast is great; there's Russell Brand, Alec Baldwin as support, along with the likes of Catherine Zeta-Jones and Malin Akerman. This is a movie I pop into the DVD player at least twice a year and just feel so good after seeing!
Christmas Town (2008)
On my first viewing of Christmas Town a number of years ago, on the wee hours of Christmas, I wasn't that impressed. You can laugh, but I found my snoozing pet rat at the time more interesting.
However, the second time around, the movie warmed to me. It's a simple story line; workaholic mother and her son go on a trip to visit her grandfather during the holiday season, who happens to live in a very Christmas-sy town. There's Christmassy themed bistros, announcements over the radio about reindeer births, you name it, it's happening there.
The movie isn't a high budget shiny production, but it's a cute romp worth a look or two.
A Gift Wrapped Christmas (2015)
A hidden gem
Every holiday season brings a new wave of specials for you to to curl up under a warm blanket to watch. Some of these movies and specials are real duds, while some others however, are hidden gems.
"A Gift Wrapped Christmas" is one of those hidden gems. I came upon this movie on the wee hours of Christmas morning of 2016 and I really felt it was worth staying up to. While the story isn't completetly original, the cast has great chemistry together and a wicked villainess to watch out for, with warm fuzzies abound and some tasty looking cookies! Only thing I wished was for was for us to see that toboggan ride!
Underrated holiday treat
Every year I watch the same classics as most others do around this time of the year; A Christmas Story, It's a Wonderful Life, Charlie Brown, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, Frosty, just to name a few. But among them, is this little gem.
Taking place in Philadelphia, Fat Albert and friends help a out of luck family when their car breaks down and offers them shelter when the mother is expecting another child. A greedy business owner, wants their clubhouse torn down. However, with the help of Fat Albert and an old friend, Mudfoot, he has a change of heart and allows the clubhouse to remain.
Although similar in some ways to a Christmas Carol, I am most reminded of the Andy Griffith special in which another old miser gets his nose out of joint with regards to another poor family. This is a charming family friendly feature that is only half an hour; not too much out of our time!
A Chorus of Disapproval (1989)
This is truly a cute little little known that I feel deserves more recognition. It appears this movie was made on a low budge but something about that adds a certain warm quality to it. I had a very hard time finding this movie and had to order it from one of the local music stores here. A truly charming look at small theatre. Jeremy Irons has certainly shown that he is more than capable of comedy; something I'd like to see him in more often! The only drawbacks to this movie is the poor sound (and sometimes lighting) quality; I would love to see a DVD release.
I would recommend this movie to any fan of Hopkins, Irons, theatre or just anyone looking for something different and light in nature.
War Horse (2011)
I have seen so few movies that have affected me like War Horse had done. I believe the last movie which had made almost as big of an impact, was back in 1994 when The Lion King made a lasting impression on me. To say this movie had impressed me and become a new favourite of mine today, would be an understatement.
Although regarded as many as being nothing but sap, I feel this could not be further from the truth. The story is a simple one and in my eyes, this is a good thing. Not every movie has to have a complex storyline to be effective. There is just so much heart in War Horse, which I feel is sadly lacking in too many movies, replaced by cheap CGI.
The harsh realities of war for both man and beast were tastefully shown, and few can deny the outstanding cinematography from the rolling hills of the English countryside, to the stark No Man's Land. The expressions of the very well trained horses were beautifully captured. Who said animals are incapable of showing emotion? I also believe their human counterparts were very well played; both sides are shown to have suffered the terrible effects a war brings.
In short, well done, Spielberg. Well done.
If you haven't already, do consider reading the book the movie is based on by Michael Morpurgo and the stage play, which this movie had made me more excited about seeing in Toronto this upcoming April. All three takes on War Horse are no doubt in my mind, a fine tribute for the millions of horses that had sacrificed their lives in the war.
Remember: they had no choice.
Janguru Bukku shonen Môguri (1989)
A true gem!
When I was in grade three, this series was a staple of my childhood. Each day it was on, I would wake up early to watch it. Even if we had the VCR set to record it, there was nothing like seeing it live.
While Disney's adaptation was delightful to me, I too preferred this version over this. Not only was it more faithful to the original novel, I liked seeing a more in depth look to Mowgli's relationship with his wolf family. By far, my favourite character was Shere Khan. Mowgli had other enemies, including a man who had kidnapped him for a circus and enormous packs of dholes and rogue wolves, but none drew me in as much as the infamous tiger. My young Canadian self was sad to see him go.
The animation was beautifully done, particularly the lush landscapes. The character designs were delightful, sometimes detailed, sometimes simplistic, adding personality to the characters. It is my hope that the whole series is one day released on DVD, creating a new generation of fans!
Black Beauty (1978)
If there had been any movie that had gave me inspiration in fighting animal abuse, this title would be it. I have seen a number of Black Beauty versions, but to this day, this one remains my favorite for the lasting impression it had given me when I saw it when I wast about five years old. I am fickle when it comes to Hanna-Barbara animation, but I have to say, it worked well here. The backgrounds are simple and yet beautiful, watercolour like. In my eyes, this goes to prove, one doesn't need 3D to tell a good, solid story.
A neat little tidbit, Alan Young voices Black Beauty here, and in the 1994 version!
When I was in fifth grade, Aladdin was the staple of my childhood. I was hooked on the original movie still and became just as hooked on Return of Jafar. When news came out there was going to be a television series, I could not be more delighted! Not only was I on an Aladdin kick, I also dearly missed the number of Disney Afternoon shows (particularly Darkwing Duck and TaleSpin) which were no longer in production. I needed another Disney AFternoon show to get hooked on, and Aladdin had filled in that void quite nicely.
Although it has been a number of years since I've last seen the show (I will have to dig out my old VHS tapes of taped episodes), fondness and memories remain. It was the sidekicks in my eyes that truly stole the show for me. I became a big fan of Iago's since the maligned sequel came out, and seeing more of him was a treat for me.
My only flaws for the show were some of the original characters I didn't particularly care for and I felt some of the animation was "rushed" looking, but all in all, a terrific show!
A new favorite!
I went into this movie with an open mind and heart, and I'm glad I did!
Ever since I have been a small child I have had a deep love for animals. Big cats and elephants? NO exception! This was a very endearing movie who is not short of its heartstrings moments as well. You will be hard pressed to see such a wide variety of big cats all in one movie! The cast was great and the cats truly do steal the limelight -- and your heart. It is with hope that this movie had reached out and touched many others and hopefully inspired them to take better care of the wildlife around us. If you've enjoyed Born Free and the like, I am sure you will love Roar, perhaps even more so.
An Extremely Goofy Movie (2000)
Worth a watch
As I've become a fan of the original A Goofy Movie recently, and have been a Goofy fan for as long as I could remember, I thought I'd give An Extreme Goofy Movie a chance. While I felt it lacked the depth that was in the original had and I preferred the animation and characterizations in the 1995 version, for some fluff, I thought it was still a decent watch. I found myself especially enjoying the subplot of Goofy finally finding a lady friend to be quite enjoyable.
It's just such a shame that it appears that this was the last of the Disney Afternoon based movies. I think there (and are) possibilities to make
A Goofy Movie (1995)
A new favorite!
In spite of having been a faithful Goof Troop regular watcher when it aired, I hadn't watched A Goofy Movie until yesterday, 16 years since it was in theatres. And I have to say, I have no regrets! The movie was far more deeper than I imagined. I expected a lighthearted movie with plenty of laughs, and I got that, and more, and I was impressed by how well they fleshed out the characters.
I would definitely consider A Goofy Movie an underrated Disney movie, in my eyes. Whether or not you're looking for the nostaliga rush that I got when I saw it or just looking for a good family movie to watch with your family, I highly recommend A Goofy Movie!
Mr. Dressup (1967)
A staple from my childhood
There are many TV shows from my childhood in the 1980s that still remain highly memorable to me. One of these shows was Mr. Dressup, one of the many quality Canadian children's programs at the time. I also loved Polka Dot Door, Friendly Giant, Profiles of Nature, Under the Umbrella Tree and Today's Special. Of those, though, Mr. Dressup was undoubtedly my favourite.
When Mr. Dressup came on, nothing, and I mean nothing, could take my attention away Mr. Dressup and his friends. While they didn't view TV as a babysitter, my parents were thankful for this, for it encouraged my creative mind and enthusiasm to learn.
His and Her Christmas (2005)
Nice, light movie
For a few years now it has been a tradition of mine to watch a Christmas special or movie I haven't seen before on the wee hours of Christmas morning. This year, I was skimming through my PVR and thought the summary of this little movie sounded cute, reminiscent of You've Got Mail. So, I gave it a try.
I am glad I did! It was pure fluff and rather a poor man's You've Got Mail, but after the stresses of shopping, it was good to sit down and watch something lighthearted. Not for someone with overtly high expectations and/or looking for a deep storyline, but worth a try. I really enjoyed the storyline and the chemistry between the actors. The lovely shots from British Columbia were a bonus.
The Brave Little Toaster (1987)
Pardon the pun ;) I loved The Brave Little Toaster as a child and no doubt I watched it repeatedly, and it's a true classic piece of nostalgia for many.
Even at the tender age of six, I thought the concept behind dated electronics being the main characters was a incredibly creative idea. There was no snazzy CGI effects, and there was no need for any. The story was so brilliantly told in it's more simple animation style and strong writing.
Don't let the fact that it this is an animated, non-anime movie at that fool you. There are indeed darker scenes in movie, including one in the beginning of the movie that still managed to make me shiver. Watching it again at the age of 27, I have to say I enjoyed it every much as I did all those years ago, if not more so.
Would I recommend The Brave Little Toaster? To say yes would be an understatement!
Shark Tale (2004)
I watched Shark Tale on a rainy day, wanting to catch up on some Dreamworks movies that I haven't seen before but not giving it too high of an expectation. I have to say, though, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.
Yes, it had it's flaws; I didn't care much for a lot of the music, but it still gave me something to smile and laugh at. I thought the voice acting was great, and the animators did a pretty damn good job. The resemblance the characters have to the actors that have given them their voices was almost creepy.
Would I recommend this? Yes I would! Go into it without comparing it to Finding Nemo and without having too high expectations.
The Dog Who Saved Christmas (2009)
Had it's moments
The Dog That Saved Christmas is not a great movie by any stretch -- I didn't go into this one with high expectations -- but it did have its cute moments despite the cheese galore. Mostly it was an upbeat Christmas special, up until the mother gave up on poor Zeus for his lack of barking and misbehaviour.
The acting was alright, better than I thought it would be. Due to its small budget there were no CGI effects for the talking animals, but I let this pass.
Don't expect much more than fluff; there was plenty of cheese galore throughout the movie; basically it's a Home Alone with a cute dog. I have to say though, I do like the message that rescued dogs can be heroes!
The Black Cauldron (1985)
Without a doubt, The Black Cauldron has has got to be Disney's darkest movie yet. There are times that I didn't think I was even watching one. In addition to the movie's dark theme, there are no musical numbers. Of all the villains that the studio has put out, The Horned King has got to be the most menacing ever, thanks to the combined efforts of animator Andreas Deja (who also designed Lion King's Scar and Aladdin's Jafar) and John Hurt who provided his menacing voice.
This is a movie that is without a doubt a forgotten gem. The animation is wonderful, and reminiscant to me of Snow White; no doubt the use of the multi-plane camera had a play in this.
I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone looking for something out of the ordinary!
This is another movie I went in with moderate expectations; expecting every day entertainment, but nothing more than that.
I was wrong. So wrong.
When I saw Hercules , I was taken aback by the animation style. It was so much different than the styles I was used to in Pocahontas, Lion King and Hunchback of Notre Dame. Subsequently, my family and I didn't give Hercules a go on our yearly Disney movie viewings.
Today I decided to watch Hercules, and I was pleasantly surprised. The animation style really worked for this movie and I ended up really enjoying the Mowtown-esquire nature of the songs. Pay attention to the lion's skin that Herc is wearing while posting for a painting on a vase -- that's Lion King's Scar! All the characters were truly endearing, even Hades who was one of the most entertaining villains I have seen brought out by Disney. In many ways he reminds me of another favourite villain from the studio; Darkwing Duck's Steelbeak with his suave personality that can errupt into anger.
Hands down, another personal favourite that I would recommend anyone to watch.
Open Season 2 (2008)
Perhaps not as good as the original, but . . .
Still damn entertaining! There as a serious shortage of Boog to go around, but the addition of a poodle with a serious Napoleon complex, voiced by Crispin Glover, almost makes up for it. Fifi steals the spotlight; speaking as a groomer's assistant, do not underestimate the power of a small dog!
As some have pointed out, the animation isn't as smooth as the original, giving the movie a rather "rushed" feel to it. All the original animal characters are back, but with a different cast for the voice work.
The storyline in a nutshell; the gang is set out to rescue Weenie from the clutches of his owners, interrupting the marriage ceremony of Giselle and Elliot.
Not a perfect movie, but one that may still be able to give you some smiles and laughter.
Open Season (2006)
Just a fun flick
I got a lot of enjoyment out of watching Open Season, getting a lot of much-needed laughs. Likewise, with people all too often thinking of themselves being the most superior beings on earth, it was refreshing to see animals get the upper hand for once!
There are stereotypes in this movie, from redneck hunters and Scottish accented battle-happy squirrels. While others may complain about them, I thought they made the movie all the more funnier.
I would recommend this movie to just about anyone who is in need of a laugh and can appreciate visual eye candy as well. I thought The animation is cute, and the backgrounds and water were well done.
See Spot Run (2001)
I must admit it has been a number of years since I had last seen See Spot Run, but I gotta say, it did make me laugh more than I thought it would.
Sure, the movie's storyline may be cheesy, but it wasn't intended to be a deep, thought-provoking movie. It was a movie aimed at kids while also to be entertaining to their parents as well. With the hard-hitting issues that the world is facing, I think we could all agree that there is a need for more laughter. Without giving it away, the pet shop scene was especially funny.
Although I thought the casting was good, the dog truly steals the show!