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Flash Movie Review: Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank

BECAUSE I DID NOT WANT HIM for my partner was the reason, I was sure, I wound up assigned to him by the professor. Maybe the teacher was able to pick up the negative vibes I had toward this student, who I found to be loud and obnoxious. During lectures, this student would make snide or rude comments in a voice only loud enough for the students who were around him. Inevitability, there would be a student who would have to stifle their laughter from the comment, making it hard for the rest of us to hear the teacher. It was not like I was so strait-laced and proper, but this was an ongoing thing that got annoying to me after the first few times. When the professor paired us together for the assignment, I detected a bit of hesitancy on this classmate’s part. We never had any type of interaction; he was just as perplexed about me being selected as his partner. I gathered my belongings and changed seats with the person sitting next to him. The subject of this class was sociology; so, I assumed the professor was making these moves to prove some type of point about society. I only hoped this was going to be a one-time event because I was already missing the comfort of my former seat.      AFTER THE PROFESSOR EXPLAINED THE ASSIGNMENT, the two of us spoke for the first time. I offered my take on what we needed to get to the next step. As I spoke, I noticed on the inside cover of his notebook was the logo for one of my favorite music bands. I asked him if he had drawn it and he said yes. It turned out he was a fan of the band as well. When I mentioned I thought the drawing of the logo was perfect, he smiled then flipped through some more pages to reveal other band logos he had drawn. Each of them was so precise and accurate that I could not help myself from telling him about going to a couple of those bands’ concerts. I could tell by his facial expression, he was surprised to hear how much I was into music; funny, I was thinking the same thing about him. We wound up in this detailed discussion of the various bands’ song choices, momentarily forgetting about the actual task at hand. I would have never guessed we would have bonded over music. For the rest of the semester, whenever there was an opportunity, we would sit together. The cliché, “Never judge a book by its cover” can be applied here as well as in this animated, action comedy.      FORCED BY AN EVIL LORD TO defend a town from a brutal villain, a hound quickly discovers the citizens hate him simply because he is a dog. The townsfolk are all cats. With Michael Cera (Molly’s Game, Gloria Bell) voicing Hank, Samuel L. Jackson (Shaft, Big Game) voicing Jimbo, Ricky Gervais (The Invention of Lying, Ghost Town) voicing Ika Chu, relative newcomer Kylie Kuloka voicing Emiko and Mel Brooks (Blazing Saddles, Spaceballs) voicing The Shogun; this movie was an odd mix. The humor went from the level of young kids to adults; the idea of the story was fun, but it came across like a Kung Fu Panda wannabe with Blazing Saddles by Mel Brooks. The animation was well done and there were pieces of dialog I enjoyed. Underlying all of this was the message behind the story, which I thought was admirable. There also was an easy predictability to the script that kept a steady pace of action and banter going all the time. If I had not connected to the message, I do not think I would have stayed engaged with this picture. There was a short extra scene after the ending credits.

2 ¼ stars 

Flash Movie Review: The Sea Beast

I WAS TOLD TO BE WARY of one of the guests that was attending the gathering, by a friend of mine. He said this guest was going to seek me out to ask about the training I went through to be a fitness/yoga instructor. I was confused, not understanding why my friend thought this could become an issue. The gist of the story is my friend warned me that this guest was going to try and use me to learn as much as he could without actually doing the training and certification process. It turned out my friend was 100% correct. This guest came off as a caring person who wanted to help people reach their fitness goals; but all they were interested in was to set up a fitness studio and make a lot of money. I would have figured it out even if my friend had not tipped me off, but it was good to get a snapshot of this individual. I use the term “snapshot” because that is how I take in other people’s opinions. You know the term, “Never judge a book by its cover?” Well, I try not to do it when meeting someone. If someone tells me about someone before I meet them, I consider their views are an imaginary snapshot that I put in my back pocket. It is only information from a different point of view that I may compare to the opinion I form after being with that person.      THERE ARE PEOPLE, I KNOW, WHO do not go with their own opinion. Instead, they are easily swayed by other individuals’ opinions. Granted, if a friend tells me awful things about someone, I probably will be more cautious around that person if I see them; however, I understand there are at least two sides to every story. I have seen in recent years, more examples of people taking things at face value, believing whatever a person says without checking it our for themselves. I cannot explain it, nor do I understand it. During my school years is when I experienced this phenomenon the most. It would take one person to assign a derogatory label to another student before others would immediately shun them because they did not want to be considered like the victim of said vitriol. All it would take is for someone to say, “You smell funny,” before others would take that as true and act accordingly without every going near the person. Maybe it is easier to believe someone else’s opinion instead of investigating it for oneself? This animated, adventure comedy may have the key towards an answer.      DURING A TIME WHEN THE OCEANS were filled with beasts, a little orphan girl wants to escape her orphanage and join the crew to one of the best hunting ships in the land. She just needs to convince them how serious she is about it. With Karl Urban (The Lord of the Rings franchise, Star Trek franchise) voicing Jacob Holland, Zaris-Angel Hator (Morbius, The Midnight Gang) voicing Maisie, Jared Harris (The Crown-TV, Morbius) voicing Captain Crow, Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Secrets & Lies, Without a Trace-TV) voicing Sarah Sharpe and Xana Tang (Mulan, Filthy Rich-TV) voicing Lea the Lookout; this film was gorgeous to watch. The details in the animation made it hard for me sometimes to figure out if the scene was real or animated; that is how good the animation was in this picture. The story was filled with heart and sure, it was not hard to figure out what was going to happen; however, the story was so beautifully written that I honestly was enchanted by everything. The message was wonderful and relevant, in my opinion. I did not think I was going to enjoy this as much as I did; this easily ranks up there with some of the recent terrific, animated pictures that have come out the past years. Here, I myself was passing judgement before watching the film. I need to work on that.                                                      

3 ½ stars  

Flash Movie Review: The Bob’s Burgers Movie

I WAS SHOCKED BY HER ANSWER, but I was not entirely surprised either. We were guests at a party that was recently held at a Chinese restaurant. She was sitting across from me at a long, dining room table. When the waitstaff came out and placed appetizers on the table, she looked at them and asked what were they? I was the first to answer, naming each item. I could tell by the confused look on her face that she probably did not know the difference between an egg and a spring roll, so I asked her if she had ever eaten Chinese food. She said she had never eaten it. I was so surprised to hear an adult say they never had Chinese food, that I had to pause for a moment and let that digest (no pun intended). Going down a mental list of everyone I knew, there was not one person I could think of who had not at least tried Chinese food. My curiosity came to the forefront; I asked her what were her favorite “go to” foods for a meal. Her answer surprised me; but I could relate to it. She said hamburger was her favorite. Of all the possible choices, I was not expecting to hear that for an answer.      I THINK MY SHOCK WAS HEARING this from an adult. Sure, I knew many people who love a good burger; but it usually was not their “go to” meal. Now it is funny, when I was much younger, I loved hamburgers; I mean, I really loved burgers. Anytime I was given a choice of what to eat, I would always have a hamburger. In fact, on a cross country trip, I ate a hamburger for lunch and dinner every single day of the entire trip. Ironically, even at a Chinese restaurant I ate a burger. Besides the taste, there was something so complete about them. With ketchup, lettuce, pickles, on a sesame bun; it did not require any utensils and you tasted everything with each bite. In fact, I can remember to this day the first time I had a hamburger from a major fast food chain restaurant. Watching the employees at their stations, as part of this assembly line type of set-up; I was amazed with the efficient and quick way food was being assembled and wrapped. I went 20 years eating ground beef until I had three burgers in a row that had cartilage in them. It so turned me off that I stopped eating burgers and all other red meat. I do not miss it at all after all these past decades; however, I can understand and relate to the attraction, which is what drew me to this animated, adventure comedy.      UNDER HEAVY DEBT BOB’S BURGERS NEEDED to sell every burger they could make during the popular season. Having a sinkhole open in front of their shop complicated things; more so when a discovery was made in the hole. With H. Jon Benjamin (Temptation, Next Stop Wonderland) voicing Bob Belcher, Kristen Schaal (The Muppets, Sleepwalk with Me) voicing Louise Belcher, Dan Mintz (Veep-TV, The Goldbergs-TV) voicing Tina Belcher, John Roberts (Fire Island, Gravity Falls-TV) voicing Linda Belcher and Eugene Mirman (Archer-TV, Aqua Teen Hunger Force-TV) voicing Gene Belcher; this was my first exposure to the Belcher family. The first thing that struck me about this picture was the dialog in the script. With the well-versed cast, I felt the main characters had more of an authentic voice. The humorous lines and jokes were quick, plentiful and had a satirical undertone to them. The animation was fine, nothing elaborate or fancy. Where I found this movie enjoyable, I think fans of the show will love seeing it on the big screen. And if the movie theater serves a decent burger, all the better.

2 ½ stars 

Flash Movie Review: Minions: The Rise of Gru

I SAW HER STANDING ON THE stage above an auditorium of people. The music was loud, but not heart thumping loud and everyone was following her moves. Looking at the audience, I noticed there were people of all sizes and shapes. What impressed me the most was the fact that everyone had a smile on their face, despite sweating and moving continuously to the music. This was a foreign concept to me based on my experiences with exercise. A friend had asked me to come with her to this aerobics class and though I was hesitant, I decided to join her only if we could stay in the back of the room. The classes I had attended in school were less about exercise and more about domination and testosterone, which was the reason for me not being too thrilled to go back into a similar scenario. We walked over to the registration desk where a woman was standing in platform shoes. She was barely over five feet in height, but she had an abundance of personality. I felt welcomed and safe. After paying for the class, we found two open spaces close to the back of the auditorium. From this spot, I figured it would be easy to pickup the exercise routines; I would just need to watch the people in front of me. The music the instructor used was current and fun; it was easy to figure out the steps. I soon found myself having a fun time exercising; it was a feat!      AT THE END OF THE CLASS, I was hooked. The two of us decided to sign up for the monthly pass. The instructor was amazing to me. She had this infectious personality that radiated throughout the room as she coaxed and encouraged us to keep moving. Her exercise moves were easy to follow for the most part. If there was something she thought might be a challenge for the class, she would demonstrate it first before asking us to try it. Up until this time, I had never given thought to becoming a fitness instructor; but, watching how she conducted her class did something to me. Seeing all these women and men, both skinny and large to old and young, enjoying themselves while exercising gave me the idea that I would like to teach. For months, I never missed a class, noticing a loss in my weight that I had not seen for some time. I idolized the instructor because I attributed this achievement to her skills and devotion to all of us succeeding. It was because of her that I moved forward and became a certified instructor. I realize my story is not unusual as you can see by happens to the young man in this animated, adventure comedy.      BEING SUCH A HUGE FAN OF a super villainous group, a twelve-year-old decides to apply for a position when there is an opening. He would need to come with some pretty cool, evil weapons. With Steve Carell (Beautiful Day, Welcome to Marwen) voicing Gru, Alan Arkin (Love the Coopers, Grudge Match) voicing Wild Knuckles, writer and director Pierre Coffin voicing the Minions, Taraji P. Henson (Proud Mary, The Best of Enemies) voicing Belle Bottom and Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once, Last Christmas) voicing Master Chow; this latest installment in the franchise followed its consistent formula for the most part. I will say this was a tight production, everything worked in synch to create an easy level of enjoyment. The cast did a wonderful job with their characters as they went through a steady stream of humorous and fun scenes. When one chooses to see a Minions movie, they already know what to expect so there were no surprises. However, with the excellent animation, cast and script; this was a light, entertaining viewing experience. There was an extra scene during the ending credits.

3 stars 

Flash Movie Review: Lightyear

MY JOB WAS NAVIGATION ON THE ship; rarely did I ever take on the role of captain. We were traveling in uncharted space; so, we were under a yellow alert, which meant everyone had to be at their assigned places, ready to go into action. I wound up steering the ship because my commanders were impressed with my instincts and ability to outmaneuver alien spacecraft. Our ship looked like an arrow; it was built streamlined for maximum speed. The front half was a triangular shiny silver shape, and the back half was an oversized cylinder that housed our massive engines. The bridge was at the base of the triangle, slightly elevated above the front half. At the forefront, just under the tip of the front part of the triangle, were a series of weapons that were incorporated into the design of the ship. We as a crew always strived to come in peace; however, if we were threatened, we could quickly become assertive to protect ourselves. On one trip, we encountered an alien ship that was shaped like half a circular dome with two long engines jutting out on one side. The dome had a honeycomb pattern to it. Without warning they started shooting at us, but luckily are protective shields withstood the blasts. I quickly steered the ship to dive underneath the enemy and blast them with our aft laser cannons to disable their craft. It worked.      I NOTICED IT WAS GETTING LATE, so I quickly got up from the floor and put my rocket ship back in the kitchen drawer that held serving utensils. My rocket ship was a pie server. The enemy spaceship was a strainer that I hung back up on its hook in the pantry. There was so much cookware that I was never at a loss for finding something that I could pretend was a rocket ship or alien headquarters. There was a hand mixer that was one of my favorite kitchen items to turn into a rocket ship because by turning the handle, the two beaters would spin and become the engines that would propel the converted ship forward in the air or submerge and propel it underwater. Our kitchen was a treasure trove of objects and things that would stimulate my imagination to create a multitude of outer space adventures. Even ballpoint pens would become rocket ships to help Flash Gordon defeat Ming the Merciless and any other character I had seen or created. The feelings I have attached to these memories were stirred up while watching this animated, action, adventure film.      DESPITE BEING STRANDED ON A FOREIGN planet, the mission still needed to be completed according to Buzz Lightyear, voiced by Chris Evans (Gifted, Captain America franchise), no matter what was taking place around him. With Keke Palmer (Hustlers, Joyful Noise) voicing Izzy Hawthorne, Peter Sohn (Luca, It Starts with Murder!) voicing SOX, Taika Waititi (The Suicide Squad, Free Guy) voicing Mo Morrison and Dale Soules (Aardvark, Orange is the New Black-TV) voicing Darby Steel; this science fiction movie was enjoyable. The animation was outstanding, with several incredible looking scenes. I thought the cast did an excellent job with their characters and was surprised by the emotional depth that was instilled in several of them. My concern with this picture comes down to the story line. The opening scene appeared to steer the story one way, but then there was no other reference to it the rest of the time. With the multiple story lines, I found they were distracting at times and lowered the connection between viewer and character. Granted, the story was not unusual or that exciting; however, the messages being conveyed were touching and the execution of events with its own unique humor made the time go pleasantly by. Though this Pixar movie might not reach the super status level of their previous works, I still found it stimulating and imaginative. There were two extra scenes during and at the end of the credits.                                

3 stars 

Flash Movie Review: The Bad Guys

IT WAS A STORY I HAD seen done in the movies over and over, but now I was witnessing it firsthand. I must tell you it is a classic story and despite being so familiar with how it plays out, I still enjoyed watching the journey of discovery my friend experienced. It all started when she went to a club with a few of her friends. While at the club one of her friends bumped into a friend of theirs, who came to the club with a couple of their friends. Introductions were made and the two separate sets hung out together by the bar. The way she described it to me, her friends and the other friends were breaking off into separate conversations, with her in the middle. When she participated in the conversation with the group to her left, she missed what was taking place to her right; that is, until someone from that group got her attention to ask her opinion. At some point a guy from the other set of friends had gone to the restroom and when he returned, he wound up standing next to her. The two of them found themselves having their own conversation, discovering they both worked in the same industry. The evening ended, but not without invites for a party that was taking place the following weekend.      AS MY FRIEND TELLS IT, SHE was not attracted to the guy she wound up talking to for part of the evening. As she described it, “he was too crazy for her,” whatever that meant. However, with coaxing from her friends she went to the party. This guy was there and her first impression of him stuck; he seemed like a party animal who was going from one room to another, acting out with his celebrity impressions and silly antics. She did not care for him at all. My friend did not stay long and went home early. The following week, the guy called her at work on the premise of it being work related. He needed a credit reference on their mutual customer and for the weeks following their calls at work became more frequent and longer, always starting out with a business question. She learned a lot about him, finding a side of him that he kept hidden out in public. After covering all the initial topics that two recently introduced people discuss, their conversations were being held on a deeper level. Her first impression of him was melting away as the guy’s real personality was emerging. They decided to go on a date. Their first date led to a second and a third and before you knew it, they became a couple. I enjoyed watching their story unfold, just like I enjoyed watching this animated movie that dealt with first impressions.      TO AVOID JAIL, A BAND OF criminals must go through a rehabilitation program to prove to the city they can be model citizens despite how they look. Believing they could fool everyone; the group discovers something they were not expecting. With Sam Rockwell (Richard Jewell, Mr. Right) voicing Wolf, Marc Maron (Respect, Glow-TV) voicing Snake, Awkwafina (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, The Farewell) voicing Tarantula, Craig Robinson (Hot Tub Machine franchise, Pineapple Express) voicing Shark and Anthony Ramos (A Star is Born, In the Heights) voicing Piranha; this adventure comedy conveyed a wonderful message. I thought the script was excellent with its smattering of humor, poignancy, and excitement. The animation was wonderful, and I enjoyed the way the actors melded themselves into their characters. With the different elements, the director still created a solid, even paced film that devoted the right amount of time to each scene. I was surprised how good this picture was put together and as I said, I loved the message it laid out for the viewers. There was an extra scene in the middle of the credits.                  

3 ½ stars 

Flash Movie Review: Sonic the Hedgehog 2

TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH, I was flattered and getting a bit smitten from all the attention. We had met at a bakery café. We both ordered the same thing, a double chocolate dessert. After the initial introductions, the conversation settled into an easy flow of comments, thoughts, and opinions. I was impressed by the fact they had no issue disagreeing with a couple of my opinions; it showed me they had strength in their convictions. In a previous relationship, whatever opinion I had about a topic the person quickly would form the same opinion. It was rare for them to disagree with me, and it used to drive me crazy. I wondered how someone could change their opinion so easily without even letting me express the reasons for having my opinion. Meeting someone who was not afraid to express their opinions and feelings was refreshing to me. After we finished our desserts, neither one of us made a move to end the date. We just continued to sit and talk about a variety of subjects. Finally, I had to be the one to say my goodbyes due to my schedule. It was decided we would get together for a full meal next time. I felt good about our meeting and decided to reach out in a day or two to set up another date.      OUR SECOND DATE WAS EVEN BETTER than the first; it was dinner and a movie. A few days after it, I was leaving for work and found a box sitting on my front porch. They had signed their name on it with a message that said, “Thought you would like these fresh out of the oven.” I brought the box inside and opened it. Inside sat a bakery box of chocolate chip cookies, my favorite. I was both surprised and touched they went out of their way to drop off a box of cookies on the way to their office. I was getting bowled over with the attention and we soon fell into a dating relationship. At some point, I was asked to attend a family event. Though feeling a little apprehensive, I agreed to accompany them. During the event, I was introduced to a man who was their former boyfriend. Without knowing their history together, I was unsure of how to act; however, I remained cool about it. On the drive to drop them off at their home, we talked about it briefly and I felt relieved. It was short-lived because the very next day I received a call from them to tell me they decided they were going back to their old boyfriend to give it one more try. I had to wonder if my sole purpose was to be brought to the family event, to be used as a catalyst to restart their relationship. It did not feel good which will explain why I felt sympathy for one of the main characters in this animated action adventure.      BEING LEFT ALONE AT HOME FOR the first time showed Sonic, voiced by Ben Schwartz (Night School, The Afterparty-TV), he could be trustworthy. Unfortunately, it was short-lived when the evil Dr. Robotnik, played by Jim Carrey (Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Dumb and Dumber franchise), made a house call. With James Marsden (Shock and Awe, Accidental Love) as Tom Wachowski, Tika Sumpter (The Old Man and the Gun, Ride Along franchise) as Maddie Wachowski and Idris Elba (Concrete Cowboy, The Harder They Fall) voicing Kunckles; this sequel provided the same level of entertainment as the first film had done. Having never played the videogame this film franchise was based on, I might have missed a few inside references. However, I do not think it mattered. The action scenes were fun, and I thought Jim Carrey was exceptional good with his character. His performance almost appeared as if it was adlibbed, it was so zany. Also, I thought Idris Elba did some of the best voice work I had ever heard on film. On the downside, there were several scenes that did not move me much, having found them to be bland. This could have been due to the similarities between both movies. Nonetheless, I did not feel used, that the movie studio did try to elevate the story so that the franchise could continue to survive. Proof being, there was an extra scene in the middle of the ending credits.

2 ½ stars 

Flash Movie Review: Sing 2

I KEPT ENCOURAGING HER TO CONTINUE delving into designing jewelry. She really had an eye for creating unique earrings and necklaces. The problem was she did not have the confidence or the belief that she could actually do it and possibly do it for a living. The only person she designed for was herself, except for the occasional friend or relative celebrating a birthday. I made a point of commenting on the jewelry she was wearing anytime we got together; not because I felt I had to, but because her pieces were striking. She created interesting patterns using tiny colored beads and crystals. There was one pair of earrings where she had a series of hoops from small to large hanging together that had rows of beads on each one. When the beads were perfectly aligned, they would create an image; it could be of an animal, a human’s face or some object. The idea was when the person was moving their head the beads would separate a little, distorting the image; but when the person was still and the beads settled down, an image would appear. They were the coolest things, and I really thought my friend could do something with them. I suggested she could sign up for a couple of art fairs or see if there were any boutiques who would take her creations on consignment, but she was too afraid.      BEING AFRAID WAS SOMETHING I WAS familiar with, so I understood where she was coming from with her fear of failure. I get it that no one wants to set themselves up for failure; but I also feel no one wants to look back at their life and wonder “What if…” My journey into the fitness world was not easy for me, since I had flunked PE twice in high school and tried avoiding all physical classes through the rest of my schooling. It wasn’t until I was with a friend at a small local aerobic class years after I graduated, where I got my first taste of how exercise could be fun. The class was held in a temple’s meeting room on a hard linoleum floor. The instructor/owner was this bubbly, friendly woman who encouraged each of us to simply do our best, not what we think our classmate thinks is best. She was a big influence on me because she was the first “teacher” I encountered in a fitness class who genuinely wanted to see me be happy with myself. It was an extraordinary experience for me. I think because of my experience with her, I enjoyed this sequel as much as I did the first one.      HAVING ACHIEVED SOME LEVEL OF SUCCESS on the local level, theater owner Buster Moon, voiced by Matthew McConaughey (Killer Joe, The Beach Bum), has his sights set on the big city. But he soon finds out the only way he can put on a show is to get a musical icon who has not been seen in years. Buster may be putting more on the line than he thinks with this new show. With Reese Witherspoon (Wild, Water for Elephants) voicing Rosita, Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story, Black Widow) voicing Ash, Taron Egerton (Rocketman, Eddie the Eagle) voicing Johnny and relative newcomer Tori Kelly voicing Meena; I got swept into this film with all its musical numbers and fun animation. Though the script was not clearly defined in parts, I found the story to be both joyous and touching. Granted if you have seen the first film then there will be no surprises in this one, but it still was a charming, sweet picture. And for no other reason, the musical numbers were spot on. Conveying a wonderful message wrapped inside a colorful exciting palette, there is no need to be fearful in seeing this well-done sequel.

3 stars 

Flash Movie Review: Encanto

EATING ON SNACK TRAYS WAS NEVER part of any of our family meal get togethers. It was just not acceptable. Getting together with the relatives meant adding leafs to the dining room table, plus a folding buffet table and if need be a couple of folding card tables. The goal was for all the family members to sit down to eat a meal together. I can remember times where we would be so packed into a room that some of the kids would have to crawl under the table to get out from their seats. At some point during my childhood, the older relatives decided the kids should sit together at a table by themselves. Each of us felt so grown up because we had our own space to eat without the adults looking over us. I never knew what the age limit was; but at some point, a kid at a certain age would be moved out from eating at the children’s table and given a seat with the adults. It was almost like a rite of passage. Once everyone was seated the food would come out from the kitchen, almost like an assembly line. Plates, bowls and platters of food would be handed off to whoever was sitting the closest to the kitchen. Once they took what they wanted, they would hand off the dish to the person next to them and so on, all the way down and back the entire length of the tables.      I CAN LOOK BACK AT THOSE family meals with fondness and amazement; there were many times no one ever left the table. Whether it was the conversations or wanting to be one of the first to grab the desserts; everyone enjoyed sitting together and talking the entire evening. Or at least I thought so. It was later in life, after the older generation was gone and everyone moved up to the next level of their life expectancy, that I discovered how many relatives had a different perception of those times when we came together to share a meal. Within one branch of the family, the siblings were fighting amongst themselves and did not want to sit with each other. Their spin on their contribution to the evening’s conversation had a negative slant to it. That negativity would filter down into conversations where individuals would misinterpret a relative’s words and opinions. It was only recently I realized this took place because I was eating lunch with a relative and we discovered we had opposite opinions about one of our family members. Despite the different perspectives, it didn’t change the fact that we were all part of the same family, just like the family in this animated, comedy family film.      EVERY CHILD IN THE MADRIGAL FAMILY had a magical power except one named Mirabel, voiced by Stephanie Beatriz (In the Heights, Brooklyn Nine-Nine-TV). Because she did not have a special power, she found herself in a unique position when the magic around the family began to decay. With Maria Cecilia (Amas de casa desesperadas-TV, La Bruja) voicing Abuela Alma, John Leguizamo (Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge) voicing Bruno, relative newcomer Mauro Castillo voicing Felix and Jessica Darrow (Feast of the Seven Fishes) voicing Luisa; visually this movie was exquisite. The variety of colors and the lush settings were the real magic of the story. The musical score was upbeat and fun which only added more to the scenes. My only complaint was the story/script. I thought the message the writers were conveying was wonderful, but I felt there needed to be more variance to the drama level. It seemed as if most scenes were on one emotional level; where I wanted to feel more excitement, more thrills and more passion. It almost felt like a lite version of the studio’s usual depth in its animated films. Despite it, the overall movie watching experience was very good.                              

3 stars  

Flash Movie Review: Paw Patrol: The Movie

FUR, PURR, PAWS, BARK, CUDDLES; THAT is enough for me to fall in love. I am an animal lover. Whether it is a cat or dog, doesn’t make a difference to me. A friend of mine had a dog that knew to lie down anytime I said, “Do you want a doggie massage?’ Of course, I would then rub him down, including his limbs. This dog became my shadow anytime I was over at my friend’s house. I guess if someone was going to offer me a massage, I would do the same thing! The dog was a real sweetheart; he rarely barked and loved to play fetch. Another friend of mine had a dog that was also sweet but feared many things. She refused to go outside if it was raining. And if there was thunder, she spent most of the time under a bed. Where most dogs walk into a room, she would slink in by staying close to a wall. In fact, it took months before she let me even pet her. I would squat down with my hand extended out for her to sniff. My friend would even let me give the dog a treat, but the poor thing would only come near after I would place it on the floor and step several steps back. I couldn’t get upset nor would I because she was so cute.      MY LOVE OF DOGS IS MATCHED by my love of cats. A relative of mine had a gorgeous cat that loved to snuggle around my neck. If I was sitting on the sofa, the cat would jump up to the back of the couch then walk behind me before curling herself around my neck. She had one of the loudest purrs; it sounded like a low motor. On the opposite side, a friend of mine had a cat who hated people coming over to their house. I know that sounds strong, but she did not like people except for her owner. My friend told me the first time his girlfriend stayed over for the night; the cat was a terror. When the two of them were in bed, the cat would jump up and start walking on top of his girlfriend who was not amused. My friend would grab hold of the cat and put her down on the floor, but she would immediately jump up again. There was no choice after going through this a few times; my friend put the cat in the hallway and closed the bedroom door. Their night was mostly filled with the cat meowing non-stop outside the door. The girlfriend wasn’t really a cat person I was told and evidently the cat knew. My friend and I felt it was her loss. Some people prefer one animal over another and act accordingly. You can see how that plays out in this animated adventure comedy.      THE PAW PATROL WOULD HAVE THEIR work cut out for them when Adventure City elected a new mayor who loved cats. With Tyler Perry (Gone Girl, Good Deeds) as Gus, Ron Pardo (Hairspray, Undercover Brother) as Cap’n Turbot, Will Brisbin (Forbidden Playground, Abducted) as Ryder, relative newcomer Kingsley Marshall as Marshall and Keegan Hedley (Never Saw it Coming, Odd Squad-TV) as Rubble; this film reminded me of my youth, sitting and watching the Saturday morning cartoons. I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. The visuals, the soundtrack, the mix of excitement with fear; everything blended well to the point I became vested in the characters. I especially enjoyed the inventiveness of the gadgets. With elements of charm similar to those good old-fashioned cartoons, I appreciated the message the writers were conveying. Young children will absolutely enjoy this movie and I feel their parents will as well. With so much going on in the world, I think my enthusiasm for this picture was heightened because of its simplicity and G rating.

3 stars

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