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The Nut Job (2014)
Total Fun-Filled Escape! (**May Contain Spoilers**)
The Nut Job may not be an epic masterpiece, but it's a load of fun! Featuring top-notch voice acting by Will Arnett (Arrested Development, Despicable Me, Up All Night, The Millers), Brendan Fraser (Encino Man, The Mummy, Furry Vengeance, Looney Tunes: Back In Action), Katherine Heigl (Grey's Anatomy), and Liam Neeson (The Chronicles Of Narnia), it's a fun-filled escape from the trials and tribulations of daily life! The animation is fantastic, and it even has a couple of heartwarming, tear-jerking moments as well. The Nut Job might not be in the same league as films from major CG studios like Pixar, DreamWorks, and Blue Sky, but it still holds up as a fantastic movie! Glad to hear there's a sequel already planned, and there's supposedly a T.V. series in the works (that may have been scrapped, but hopefully it's still in the works). Go see it, you will not regret it!
Free Birds (2013)
Fantastic Animated Film! (Possible Spoilers)
While Free Birds may not be an epic masterpiece, it's totally enjoyable and very family-friendly (except for one gag involving a Native American's private area, but it's a minor gag and doesn't deter from the rest of the film). It has a ton of very funny moments, pretty good character development, and a couple of tear-jerking moments as well. As far as any slams against religion or perceived liberal propaganda, people are taking this movie way too seriously and things are being taken out of context in my opinion. It has a lot of moral lessons such as appreciating your friends and family, giving up selfish desires, and sacrificing yourself for others. Free Birds is definitely on par with other CGI animated features, and for the first full movie being released by Reel FX (until now the studio has only done client work for other studios like 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., etc.), they've hit a home run right out of the gate! It may have a few flaws (but what animated film doesn't), but it's a definite must-see! Hopefully there'll be a sequel and/or a T.V. series!
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time (2013)
Fantastic Game! (Please Make A 5th Game)
Sly Cooper 4: Thieves In Time is totally excellent!
After a 7 year absence, our favorite thieving raccoon is back for an all-new adventure. This new game stays true to the spirit of the original PlayStation 2 trilogy, and adds some new, exciting elements at the same time. This game is a total blast for long-time veterans of the franchise as well as newcomers. Another plus is the cutscenes are very funny and entertaining. Also the old characters are their same old selves, and the new characters are engaging as well. But one caveat is there is no strategy guide or printed instruction manual (there's a downloadable digital instruction manual on the disc). Hopefully Sony will release a fifth game soon! Go out and buy it today!
Rise of the Guardians (2012)
A Classic Family-Friendly Film For All Ages!!!! (Please Make Rise Of The Guardians 2!!!!)
"Rise Of The Guardians" is a fantastic film based on the "Guardians Of Childhood" book series by Bill Joyce and it features top-notch animation, storytelling and voice acting. It has plenty of heart and a few mildly funny moments and quite a few tear-jerking moments as well. (You probably want to bring a box of tissues with you to the theater, just in case.) This movie is quite a departure for DreamWorks Animation due to the fact that there are no pop-culture references or crass potty humor whosoever. This is a truly wonderful timeless film that will be enjoyed for many generations. Hopefully DreamWorks will make a sequel and a T.V. series like they've done with some of their other franchises because these characters deserve to have more stories told about them on screen!
Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012)
Another Home Run For The Ice Age Franchise! (With A Couple Of Minor Flaws)
In this new installment, we find our favorite main characters from the previous films (Ray Romano," Everybody Loves Raymond"; Denis Leary, "Rescue Me"; John Leguizamo, "Carlito's Way") on board for another exciting, fun-filled adventure. What I really liked about Ice Age 4: Continental Drift is the repeated theme of family and loving one another no matter what, which is a great message for all ages and the movie delivers it without being preachy. And even though it's not as funny as the previous three movies (due to there being more dramatic elements, which made me feel for the characters more), there are still plenty laughs to be had.
Now for the (very minor) flaws:
1.> The teenage mammoth characters (voiced by rap/R&B singers Drake and Nicki Minaj and "Glee's" Heather Morris) are completely annoying and useless, and they drag the movie down a bit.
2.> The relationship/romance between Diego (Leary) and Shira (singer/actress/"American Idol" judge Jennifer Lopez) didn't get much screen time or development.
3.> The scenes with Scrat weren't as funny this time around, probably because he's been overused, but he does get less screen time compared to the first two movies.
4.> Overall the movie tried to cram too much into too little time.
Overall Ice Age 4: Continental Drift is a really good movie, you won't regret seeing it.
Now please bring on Ice Age 5!!!!!!
Best Madagascar Yet!!!!
In this latest installment of the Madagascar franchise, our favorite zoo animals are still trying to get back to New York, and in the process have to stow away with a run-down traveling circus to hide from a deranged animal control officer who wishes to hunt them and kill them. Along the way the circus animals regain their passion for performing, and the zoo animals learn the importance of family and friendship. Unlike the 2 previous movies, this one has plenty of heartfelt moments that will pull at your heartstrings and even make you misty-eyed in some parts. It also has some gorgeous special effects to boot. Even though it has a "happily ever after" ending, there are plenty of possibilities left for these characters, so hopefully DreamWorks will make a 4th one!
The Bill Engvall Show (2007)
Another Great Show That Was Cancelled Too Soon!
Bill Engvall is one of my all-time favorite comedians, and this show was a fantastic showcase of his sarcastic down-home humor from his comedy albums (and it was a million times better than his buddy Jeff Foxworthy's self-titled mid-90's sitcom on ABC & NBC). What was great about this show is that it didn't resort to toilet humor, excessive profanity, and sexual innuendo like most modern "sitcoms" that are cluttering the airwaves today, and it was a fantastic alternative to the reality garbage on TV. TBS should be ashamed for pulling the plug on such an awesome show, and hopefully Warner Bros. will put the remaining episodes on DVD soon.
Alpha and Omega (2010)
Alpha & Omega Rules!!!! (Possible Spoilers)
Here are my views on this very good animated film from producer Richard Rich (The Fox & The Hound, The Black Cauldron, The Swan Princess, The Trumpet Of The Swan):
The Pros: Fantastic characters, excellent voice acting from such well-known Hollywood names as Justin Long (Live Free Or Die Hard, Alvin & The Chipmunks, Planet 51), Hayden Panettiere (Heroes), Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon, Pure Luck, Angels In The Outfield, Operation Dumbo Drop), Vicki Lewis (Home Improvement, NewsRadio), Christina Ricci (The Addams Family (1991)), and the late, great Dennis Hopper (Easy Rider, Hoosiers, Speed) (in his final role), and a lot of humor and heart.
The Cons: The animation could have been a little better, there's a little mild sexual innuendo (the lines about repopulating, but it's not all that bad), and an unnamed minor character says "oh my G**" in one line early on (which as a Christian, I find highly offensive, but that can be muted when the film comes out on DVD/Blu-ray or censored with TV Guardian), and there's some potty humor, but it's very very mild and kept to the absolute bare minimum.
Overall, Alpha & Omega is a pretty good animated film and you should definitely go see it! You'll laugh and may even shed tear or two! It might not be completely on par with Pixar or DreamWorks, but it's still a great must-see film.
El lince perdido (2008)
Excellent Movie!!!! (No Spoilers)
The Missing Lynx is a fantastic film about a group of animals who have to outwit an eccentric millionaire and a vicious hunter he hires to capture them. It was originally released theatrically in Spain in December 2008 and finally released on Region 1 (U.S. and Canada) DVD/Blu-ray in July 2010. This movie has great characters, and a lot of action, humor, and heart. Even though it's produced by a small, independent studio, it's right on par with films from major Hollywood CGI studios like Pixar, Blue Sky, and DreamWorks. Hopefully they'll make a sequel and a TV series. If you buy this movie, you will not regret it!
Planet 51 (2009)
Some Minimal Objectionable Content-Good Movie Overall
Planet 51 is a good movie overall, but there are a couple of objectionable things in it that are not appropriate for a family movie:
The Bad: There are 2 scenes in which one alien tells another alien to stick a cork up his rear to keep from being probed, and in another scene when the astronaut (who is apparently naked (nothing is shown)) climbs off the table after almost getting his head cut open, an alien says "that's a funny place for an antenna" in regard to the astronaut's "unmentionable area". (Don't worry, these scenes are very minimal, and can be censored easily when the DVD comes out by hitting mute or fast-forward.)
The Good: Overall Planet 51 is a fairly good movie about friendship, loyalty, sacrificing to do the right thing, and the folly of prejudice.
Final Thoughts: I probably wouldn't let small children see it due to the 2 or 3 vulgar scenes mentioned above, but it's still a pretty decent movie for the most part.
Surf's Up (2007)
Fantastic movie!!!! (May contain spoilers)
Surf's Up is DEFINITELY one of the greatest animated movies of all time. It has great character designs, tons of humor, and plenty of heart. This film also has superb, quality voice acting from many popular T.V. and movie stars (one refreshing thing about this movie is that Sony doesn't use the celebrities' names to overshadow the film like other studios usually do) including Shia LeBouef (Holes, I Robot), Jeff Bridges (The Last Unicorn, The Big Lebowski), James Woods (Straight Talk, Ghosts Of Mississippi, Hercules), Diedrich Bader (The Drew Carey Show, The Country Bears), and Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite, The Benchwarmers). Another good thing about this movie is it doesn't rely on puke and snot to get laughs. Even though it's somewhat predictable, it's not just another penguin movie, the "mockumentary" angle gives it a unique twist. This movie is a MUST-SEE!!!! Don't wait for the D.V.D., please go see it now. WAY TO GO SONY!!!! Hope there'll be some sequels and a T.V. series someday in the future.
(Note: even though the movie is fairly family-friendly, it does have some mild innuendo and the movie's villain says part of a curse word before getting cut off.)
Over the Hedge (2006)
DreamWorks' best animated feature!!!!
I just went to see "OTH" and I have to say it's a fantastic movie with top-notch voice acting, superb visuals, a lot of fall-out-rolling-on-the-floor funny moments, and it also has plenty of heartfelt tear-jerking moments as well. Another great thing about "OTH" is the movie keeps the gross-out humor and pop culture references to the absolute bare minimum, unlike a lot of CGI films. This is definitely one of the greatest animated films of all time. Forget the overrated stuff like Shrek, Monsters Inc., and Finding Nemo, this CGI flick is one of best! I give it a perfect 10 all the way! Don't miss it, you won't be disappointed. Also buy the DVD whenever it comes out. The ticket price and the DVD price are worth it.
P.S. Hopefully there'll be some sequels and a T.V. series before too much longer.
Excellent Family Movie
While this movie may not be the same as Disney's classic "Song Of The South", this direct-to-video film from Universal Studios is a beautifully animated, clean, wholesome, entertaining family film. This movie is filled with very memorable characters, plenty of adventure, a lot of captivating stories, great moral lessons, and superb animation. This film also has a lot of clean humor without any of the sexual innuendo, lame puns, or gross-out humor that's found in many animated T.V. shows and films nowadays. Even though this film is aimed at small children, you can enjoy this movie whether you're 4 or 40, and it's great for the whole family to watch together (or by yourself). On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this film a 10 all the way! You will not be disappointed. (Hopefully Universal will decide to make a whole series of movies.)