Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Goodbye... for now.

(Magyar verzióért gurulj le!)

It has been ten years since I decided to write movie reviews, and eleven since I started my blog. In my first year I just posted things about my high school. I felt really under appreciated in that establishment when I knew that I did a lot for people... I did do a lot. I have to realize now, so many years later, that people did thank me, people were appreciative, but not the right people. Not the ones I wanted to smile and me and say "Good job kid!".  So I lashed out, as teenagers do, that is what we are good at, we are f*cking great at lashing out. You know until this moment, of me sitting down and writing this, I do believe that I was just fooling myself into believing that I am an adult. But I truly feel now that I am getting there, slowly, but surely. That is why I need a change, the way I did back then. I love writing, I really do, it is my dream to be a published author, not just for my academic work, but for my fiction. For a long time I was not happy with that, and this blog was a perfect opportunity to practice, but some 630+ entries later, I do think that I got as much practice as one can possibly get at my age. My blog was here when I needed a change, when I needed my next chapter. 

Last year, 2020, was really difficult, but I did not miss a single week of reviews, my blog was here to keep me sane. It was something to look forward to, really the only thing that reminded me of a life before the pandemic. But 2021 came about and something changed, a different chapter had begun without me even noticing. 

...An Ending...

I had four entries planned for January and I couldn't write the fourth one and was almost late on the other two. That has happened before, but mostly due to time constraints. Here, however, I realized that writing my blog, doing this weekly, was no longer a source of joy for me. After all these years, however, I just cannot go on writing the way I have. Five years ago, when my grandmother passed away, I had a block, I couldn't write for months, and it was movies that got me out of that the same way it was movies that got me into this love project to begin with. And when I had a reader's block, it was writing it out on this very page that got me out of it. This was not just about the movies, it was also about every brain fart I ever had, and I didn't become the most read blog on the planet, but it was My favorite website for sure. I know I don't have fans that will miss me, that makes this decision easy, but I have, however, watched hours and hours of youtube videos from my favorite people talking about burning out and... I don't want to lose my love of writing because I am forcing something that no longer makes me happy. 

Obviously, I cannot stop from writing, but I can stop pretending to be a reviewer. I have learned so much at university, and it definitely improved my writing, even if my English could still do with more practice... but you'll forgive me, reader, and you are one of the ten people who still come here. And hey, thank you for that, there is so much content out there and here You are. 

I decided in January, and had a good half year to sleep on it, that I was gonna write out what I had planned, and that would be the end of it. Because if not now, when? I have several degrees from the same university, all achieved in the past ten years, at the same time as my blog, and that too is coming to an end soon. I don't know how I am going to handle so many changes at once, because I am already scared about being considered an adult by everyone else too. As I told you, I am getting there slowly. Altogether, 10 years just feels like a good way to stop before the resentment comes. 

...The Blog From Now On...

I cannot force weekly entries anymore. It might take months before I actually will get back here again. But I do not want to discard this project completely, mostly because of my love for movies. First, every February, until I run out of things to review, I will look at Sylvester Stallone movies, because that man just makes me so happy. #StalloneMonth has been one of the best things and I can see more and more people using that hashtag on twitter and it is pretty cool. Second, every September 12th I am gonna review a movie by Paul Walker, because I miss him. It's ridiculous how much I miss someone I have never met. And three, I also want to show the same love to some other artists who helped me and people around the world. Some of them passed, but me writing a little tribute to them is the least I can do. Finally, my brain farts won't shut up just because I won't post weekly. Some personal entries are always going to be around, because one thing this blog reflects, is me at my purest form. And because writing is so deeply embedded in my heart, it only makes sense that every now and then I will feel the need to share my thoughts in more than a facebook post, and more than a 280 character tweet. 

My life is about to change, and I am looking forward to it. My blog is about to change, and that is exciting too. If you find this blog, leave a comment, share your love for movies and share your thoughts. 

I'll see you all when there is a new item on my to-do list!

_ _ _ _ _ 

Tíz évvel ezelőtt döntöttem úgy, hogy filmkritikákat fogok írni, és tizenegy éve kezdtem ezt a blogot. Első évben csak középiskolás dolgokról tettem közzé bejegyzéseket. Nagyon alulértékeltnek éreztem magam abban az intézményben, tudván, hogy sokat tettem az ottani emberekért… tényleg így volt, ezt utólag is látom. Most, évekkel később jövök rá, hogy egyesek megköszönték, és értékeltek is, csak ők pont nem azok az emberek voltak, akiktől igényeltem volna. Nem azok, akiktől vártam, hogy mosolyogjanak, és azt mondják: „Szép munka!” Úgyhogy kifakadtam, mint a tinédzserek legtöbbje, hiszen ebben a korban rohadt jól értünk a dühöngéshez. Tudjátok, egészen eddig a pillanatig, hogy leültem ezt megírni, csak áltattam magam azzal, hogy felnőttem. Most viszont már érzem, hogy lassan, de biztosan eljutok arra a pontra is. Ezért érzem azt, hogy változásra van szükségem, ahogy akkor volt, mikor ebbe az egészbe belefogtam. Imádok írni, tényleg, továbbra is álmom, hogy egyszer nyomtatásban megjelenjenek műveim, és nem csak a tudományos szövegeim, hanem a regényeim is. Sokáig nem voltam elégedett magammal, és ez a blog tökéletes lehetőséget nyújtott az írás gyakorlására. Ám több, mint 630 bejegyzés után azt gondolom, hogy a koromhoz képest kimaxoltam a gyakorlást. A blogom mindig itt volt nekem, mikor változásra volt szükségem, mikor új fejezetre akartam lépni.

A 2020-as év nagyon nehéz volt, de egyetlen héten sem hagytam ki a filmes bejegyzésemet, a blogom segített megőrizni a józan eszem. Mindig nagyon vártam a hétről-hétre közzétett posztokat, ez volt az egyetlen dolog, ami a világjárvány előtti élet ritmusát idézte. Aztán eljött a 2021 és valami megváltozott, anélkül, hogy észrevettem volna, egy másik fejezet kezdődött bennem…

… egy Befejezés…

Négy bejegyzést terveztem januárra, de sehogy se tudtam végezni a negyedikkel, és másik kettővel is majdnem megcsúsztam. Noha történt már velem ilyen, ez általában időszűkében fordulhatott elő. Csakhogy ezúttal szembesülnöm kellett vele, hogy a blogom heti szintű folytatása már nem okoz olyan örömöt, mint régen. Ennyi év után nem vagyok képes úgy írni, ahogy eddig tettem. Öt éve, mikor elhunyt a nagymamám, hatalmas írói blokkom volt, hónapokig képtelen voltam bármit is produkálni. Akkor a filmek hoztak ki a gödörből, ahogy a filmeken keresztül találtam rá erre a szeretet-projektre. Az olvasási blokkomon sem egyszer segített át, hogy ezen az oldalon kiírhattam magamból mindent. Ez nem csak a filmekről szólt, hanem minden random ötletemről, agyszüleményemről, gondolatomról, és persze nem vált a világ legolvasottabb blogjává, de bizony nekem a kedvenc oldalam lett. Az, hogy nincsenek rajongóim, egyszerűbbé teszi a döntést. Rengeteg órányi youtube videót néztem végig a kedvenc embereimmel, akik a kiégésről beszélnek, és…. nem akarom az írás iránt érzett szeretetemet elveszteni csak azért, mert olyasvalamit erőltetek, ami már nem tesz boldoggá.

Természetesen sosem fogok tudni leállni az írással, de azzal igen, hogy úgy tegyek, mintha filmkritikus lennék. Rengeteget tanultam az egyetemen, ami mindenképp javított az stílusomon. Igaz, az angolomon még van mit gyakorolni… de tudom, hogy te, kedves Olvasó, megbocsátod ezt nekem, lévén, hogy te vagy tíz közül az egyik, aki még felnéz ide. És nagyon köszönöm, hogy itt vagy, hiszen annyi tartalom van szerte az interneten, te pedig mégis itt vagy velem!

Januárban eldöntöttem (és fél év alatt jópárat aludtam rá), hogy megírom, amit még elterveztem, és utána lezárom a blogot. Mert mikor, ha nem most? Több diplomám is van, amelyeket ugyanazon az egyetemen szereztem az elmúlt tíz év során, amíg a blogomat írtam, és az az út is lassan a végéhez közeledik. Nem tudom, hogy fogok ennyi változással megbirkózni, egyelőre abba is nehéz belegondolni, hogy már mások is felnőttnek tekintenek. Ahogy mondtam, lassan eljutok oda, hogy tényleg felnövök. Mindent egybevetve, 10 évnyi aktivitás ezen a blogon jó mérföldkőnek tűnik a befejezéshez, mielőtt a megbánás felütné a fejét. 

… A blogom további sorsa…

Túl nagy erőlködés már, hogy heti szinten új bejegyzéseket közöljek. Talán hónapok is eltelnek majd, mielőtt újra visszakeveredek ide. De nem akarom teljesen kidobni a kukába ezt a projektet, főként a filmek iránti szeretetem miatt. Ezért először is, minden februárban (amíg ki nem fogyok az anyagból) Sylvester Stallone filmekről fogok írni, egyszerűen azért, mert ő mindig jó érzéssel tölt el. A #StalloneMonth az egyik legkirályabb dolog az interneten, egyre többen használják ezt a hashtaget Twitteren. Másodszor, minden szeptember 12.-én Paul Walker filmekről fogok írni, mert nagyon hiányzik. Furcsa, hogy hiányozhat így valaki, akivel sosem találkoztam. És harmadszor, szeretnék más színészeket/művészeket támogatni, akik segítettek nekem és embereknek szerte a világon. Néhányan közülük sajnos már nincsenek köztünk, de az, hogy írok róluk tisztelgésképp, a legkevesebb amit tehetek. És végül, a gondolataim, agyszüleményeim, nem fognak elmúlni csak mert nem írok ide heti rendszerességgel. Néhány személyes bejegyzésem mindig lesz, hiszen ez a blog mindig is rólam szólt, a lehető legőszintébb formámban. Mivel az írás mindig is része volt az életemnek, logikusan következik, hogy néhanapján úgy érzem majd, meg kell osztanom a gondolataimat, amelyek talán hosszabbak, mint egy Facebook poszt, vagy egy 280 leütéses tweet.

Az életem változni fog, és valahol már nagyon várom. A blogom is változni fog, és ez is izgalommal tölt el. Ha megtalálod ezt a blogot, dobj egy kommentet, oszd meg a gondolataidat vagy a filmek iránti szeretetedet velem!

Amint új pont kerül a tennivalóim listájára, újra találkozunk!


(Fordította: Hamvas Réka)

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

The Best Disney Sequels

Over the years there were several Disney projects that continued in either a TV series format or a sequel. Now, in most cases, these sequels went straight to VHS, and their quality was not the same as the original. But my family somehow always got ahold of the sequels and they sometimes had a bigger impact on me than the originals, which we did not have in our own collection. Now, this list like many others I have done will not have a numbering, because I see no point. The main reason I decided to write it is to have it as recommendation, because a lot of people might not know about them, I know for a fact that several of my friends didn't when we had a big talk about our childhood and the cartoons that stayed with us. I decided to talk about my favorites, there are several that did not make the list, and trust me, for good reason. So if you are looking to have a nice evening with cartoons and feel good movies, check out this list!


We had the first Aladdin (1992) and its sequel The Return of Jafar (1994) on the same VHS, and for me it was obvious that everyone knows about the second one, and boy was I wrong. I love the second one, it was a real redemption movie for Yago with awesome songs, but what drew back even more to this story was the third installment, the one about Aladdin's father. It was unique and funny and it continued the originals and showcased a knowledge for the source material as well as giving us more background to characters we already loved to begin with. It is harmless fun!


First, Hamlet, and if you are an English major like me, you immediately after learn about "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead", a play by Tom Stoppard. One of the funniest Disney movies I have ever seen, this is a parody that really knows its source material. Perfectly funny for both kids and especially adults, as the play that inspired it really is about understanding intertextuality.  I watched with a friend a couple of weeks ago and it really holds up after all this time too. Very few have actually seen it, but trust me, it is just the best! And the voice over actors returning is often a sign of a good script. Watching back and forth the first and this is a real treat!


It might be silly to think that people need to see what happens once happily ever after begins... but actually, when you think about all the reunions we demand of TV shows, means that we might actually want to see more from where the story comes from. Now, as I mentioned, many Disney classics got TV series made about them and some of the episodes were occasionally also edited together into a movie. This reminded me of those, as it has three very separate stories, but very important ones. My favorite is the redemption story of one of Cinderella's step sisters and I really liked that. It goes to show that a bad parent does not have to define you and some can learn from their mistakes, when surrounded by good people like Cinderella. I liked it far more than the original!


For some reason not a lot of people liked this, and its a shame. It is just a chapter within the original story, at least it was intended as such, but for me it was always a stand alone story about some other secrets within that big castle. And well, the spirit of Christmas gets me every single time. I found the new characters endearing and the winter setting is the thing that I love the most about the original too. Trust me, you want to give this a second chance!


As it is the case with many originals on this list: they can sometimes be too scary. I have found myself not wanting to rewatch some simply because some scenes were too much... now, I don't remember how old I was when I got this VHS, the only thing I remember is that I rewatched it at least 6 times in a row. The story is about the son of Lady and the Tramp, who wishes to have a life free of chains, not knowing the past of his father. It is a harmless little story about appreciating what we have, but the Italian dubbing had really good songs that I knew by heart one day. It is the perfect sequel in my opinion. But if you can, check out the live action of the original!


I have already written about this, again, the original was too scary for me and I wished for more puppy stories without it being traumatic... and that is exactly what I got with this stand alone story. Cute puppies being cute with a wholesome story, funny interactions, something of a mash up between Home Alone (1990) and an Overboard (1987) were a spoiled dummy has to spend life with everyday people and thus learning a humility that was missing from their life. It is just a whole lot of fun, really, if you watch anything from this list, make sure you watch this one. (Read my review here!)


Based on a quite sad and gruesome book, the original made it more kid friendly, but I still feel that it is one of the scariest kids movie out there. Next to Mulan (1998), it did not pull its punches when it came to the villain. For years I could not bring myself to watching it again. Unlike other Disney cartoons that were somewhat feel good movies, I do think that some of the grotesque and historical moments of the original were greatly adapted. So what about the sequel? Well, that is a feel good movie, but it is mostly about a happy ending for a character that we grew to love. 

I have seen actually a lot more, but those were bad in both quality and plot, unfortunately, but I am sure many would debate me and that is the best. After having written my blog for years and having enjoyed sharing my thoughts with people, I do have to admit that the best thing is when we all have different feelings about a movie, TV show, a song, or anything. These are recommendations, I hope I brought you something you have not heard of yet, something that might give you joy, but if it isn't for you, that is fine too!

... and so, until I have another item on my list!

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

10 Sequels That Are Better Than the Original

The following list is one that I put together while honestly just thinking about movies that I would love to re-watch this weekend. We like to see some movies again, while others less so... having noticed a pattern, that all of these are sequels, I decided to get them together into a list for you all. Here we go:

A) Beethoven's 2nd (1993)

I saw this movie before the original, and when I think of the American Dream, I see this family: their cute dog, with its puppies and the family trip that they take to the lake... this family has sooo much love in it, and the dog has so much personality, much more in my opinion than he does in the first movie. It is just a good family fun film that goes past a cliché "father does not want a dog" story that we all know too well by now. 

B) Father of the Bride Part II (1995)



The original, a remake of an Elizabeth Taylor movie, Father of the Bride (1950), was really fun, but I found it focused too much on just the father and his daughter's relationship, which would not have been an issue, had they not introduced some really great characters along with them. The sequel opened up those characters and allowed for a lot of hilarious interactions as well as endearing moments of a family welcoming new members. As having just become an aunt, I can tell you, I find this movie even closer to my heart now than I ever did before. It was a wonderful sequel, one that works without the original too!

C) Three Men and a Little Lady (1990)



The first installment of this story was quite dark. I can only imagine what it is like to be a single mom, but there was another chapter of a conspiracy with a drug lord... whatever, it is depressing. It is based off of a French movie, and I believe they remade it scene by scene, which means that the sequel was the one that allowed itself more originality. Founded in the US vs. Brits cultural difference cliché, it is one of the funniest movies out there. I love every second of it, its heart, the build up, the character developments, the love these man have for this one girl, their dynamic, and friendship... Everything about it is just a home run. I really hope some of you revisit it cause there is not one bad thing I can mention when it comes to this movie. 

D) Addams Family Values (1993)



As one of my favorite Halloween movies, this has to be mentioned here as well, because I cannot remember the first movie, but I can quote to you line by line this one, that's how much it sticks to you. Joan Cusack is a goddess, and the ideas opened up in the story make it endearing. The best family almost black humor based movie ever made in my opinion. Perfect for Halloween for kids of any age and their parents!

E) Sharknado 2: The Second One (2014)



This is just the silliest franchise out there, however, having seen a couple in the frame of bad movies with my friends, I can tell you, that I genuinely enjoyed the second one because it was aware of its own stupidity. It went over the top because it could. It did what people laughed at the most in the first one and it used its actors and characters to their max. I really felt like keeping this movie for later, whenever I am upset, and being aware of the fact that this is not anchored in reality made the sequel awesome. Some movies are not meant to be academy award winners, but they are hella entertaining!

F) Deadpool 2. (2018)


I know, I know, how dare I... I think there was too much expectations from the first movie on my part, and although it did meet those on paper, I can tell you, that the second one surprised me much more. I laughed harder connected better to the characters and overall cared more for the story. I look forward to how they will do the next movies in this franchise!

G) Fast Five (2011)



Although I love this franchise and every movie that has come out, having seen them hundreds of times, I do believe that my favorite was the fifth one. I think people should see all of them, but the visual elements, the stunts, behind the scenes, the music and the casting... every single idea in this movie was wonderful in my opinion. It is just the best one by far. Damn, I need to rewatch them again! (Read my review here!)

H) Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995)



As fun as the original was, it was very scary for me as a kid. Even now, as an adult, having seen it hundreds of times, I am still scared when it comes to certain scenes. The music gets to you... and I know not everyone was a fan of the second, but it spoofed a couple of movies, and I just find myself laughing histerically at times and gagging at others. The second movie (aside from the sexual jokes that you only understand once you grow up), it is very smart and very endearing too. Jim Carrey did a wonderful job and I am so sorry that it was not received well, I promise, you need to see it again! (I included this on my list of favorite movies from the 90s, check it out here!)

I) Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)



I do think that this movie did not get the love it deserved, only years later was it reevaluated, although it meant that the franchise with this casting was rebooted. That is a real shame! Both Hellboys were phenomenal, but, the way the second one opened up the universe and I did not have to see someone save yet another American was such a welcome change! The reason I love comics is the fantastical and scifi elements to them, and well, Hellboy delivered over and over again. Make sure you get this movie if you don't have it yet! (Read my review of the movie here!)

J) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)



Arguably... you need the first two in order for this one to exist, but honestly, if I ever were to rewatch the Indiana Jones movies, I would only watch this one. It is exceptionally great. It is fantastic, romantic, adventurous, smart, a portrayal of a beautiful father and son relationship, not to mention the bores of academia which I know all too well. 

Have you seen all of them? 

I want to include one more honorable mention, this is quite controversial as the original is so beloved, but as far as the visuals, the story, the characters are concerned, I have enjoyed Ghostbusters II (1989) far more than the original. Arguably, the characters were established in the first and that allowed for more development, but I would re-watch it much more and really anytime, as opposed to the original. 

After having read this, you might ask yourself, what about Marvel movies?! Big big question mark, I know... well, I do not want to see them again. A lot of them are great, I do think that my favorite will always be Thor: Ragnarok (2017), but for now, when I feel like rewatching things, it is never the blockbusters from the past fifteen years. These might all fall beneath the umbrella of nostalgia, but I don't care. Think of Marvel movies more as episodes rather than as sequels as they are almost always on the same level as the one before, if not, better. Trust me, you want these movies off of your bucket list!

Until the next item on my list. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Top 10 Best Movies From The 00's

For the month of June I decided to just give you all best of lists, and this one was really hard, because there were a lot of good movies between 2000 and 2009, so much so that I will include a list of movies that I recommend you check out, or read my review of the ones that I took a closer look at. I do not want to put these in any particular order, it is more about recommending you guys some awesome things out there. I will keep these short, I promise.

These movies are becoming harder and harder to re-order into just the top ten, mostly because with each year more content is being put out in Hollywood. I know that I am not a big movie buff here, and thus most people are very likely to have very different lists of "must watch classics". I am just a central European movie lover who loves to recommend and to dissect stories. These are all great because of casting, plot, screenplay, music, photography, and every single person behind the camera too. Very few movies hit all the right notes, these do for me:


I have seen a lot of movies about dancing, this is still the most original and the most wonderful out there. Great casting, great story, great characters and just incredible dancing. I just feel like it does not compare to any other story I have seen out there. I sure hope more people see it, so I will recommend it anywhere I can. (Read my review here!)

This movie sure does not need me to advertise it, but there are two sentences that I want to add to it anyway. One, this is probably the best adaption of a book of such length, not to mention, of any Austen story. I love the BBC TV shows, don't get me wrong, but the fact that they are episodic shows allows for them include every detail of the books, which is much harder in a movie. Here, in just a little bit over two hours you experience the couple of years in which this foolish love story took place without it being rushed or feeling that it left out key elements. And two, we all love Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth, and love to debate who is the better Darcy, but I can tell you for sure that for Keira Knightley's Lizzy, Matthew Macfadyen's Darcy was the perfect match. (Read my review here!)

I keep bringing up this movie. It's just wonderful! If you ever saw the musical on stage, you know why this is the best adaptation of a live show, and if you didn't, go check it out and see how this was remade into this charming movie. Although I might never forgive them for cutting my favorite songs, there is no other movie I have seen so many times in the theatre. It's a cult classic by now, I don't need to introduce it to anyone!


I wanted to include a cartoon, of course there were great ones over the span of ten years, as technology advances even better ones have come about, so this decision was really hard. Nonetheless, the one thing I kept in mind is "Which ones do I re-watch almost yearly?", really that applies to all the items on this list. And this cartoon is just so dear to my heart. 

Debra Messing has had an extensive career in television, and she has not done as many movies as I would have liked, but the ones she did are great. This one was just exceptionally fun, heartwarming and I promise, it gave me more advice on life than any other movie I had watched in that period. Great casting, great story, great things all around. (Read my review here!)


When it comes to comedies, Will Ferrell and Jon Heder are some of my favorite people. I find that comedies that are dear to my heart don't always gain the same success with everyone, which is a shame. But when these two themed up they just made one of the greatest movies I have ever seen. It is funny, unique, really, I have seen comedies about sports, but none are as crazy as this one. It's just a good time!


You know my love for musicals already, well, this one took a long time to cross my path, even though I knew about for years before. I feel that I did, however, see it when I was supposed to. There are those songs, movies, and books that find you at the perfect time. This is just a precious gem, and if you find out more about the background of this musical the more you'll feel just how precious it is. I hope more and more people discover it when they do, and how they do! (Read my review here!)

Bandits (2001)

I don't think there is need to introduce Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton and Cate Blanchett, but I sure you might need an introduction to this movie. I  have written about it a couple years ago (read my review here!), but there are no words that can do justice to this awesome movie. Everytime I mention it my mom starts to laugh, its just a family favorite: drama, comedy, romance... it has it all! 


This is a remake of a Korean movie, Yeopgijeogin geunyeo (2001), which was translated into My Sassy Girl, and the American version starred the awesome Elisha Cuthbert and the wonderful Jesse Bradford. This has got to be my favorite romantic comedy of all time. It's funny, there is a tiny twist there, it makes me cry every single time, the dialogue is simply superb, and the chemistry between these two is quite unique. I cannot help but love it.


This is a Hungarian movie, that got some remarks and has been around with subtitles on some platforms. To me it is still the best Hungarian movie ever made, period. I am just turning the age that the main characters were and it resonates with me even more, making mistakes but learning to live with them. I have been cheated, I have been robbed in my life before, but I also found love in the people who were there when I was an idiot, and if that isn't the definition of family, I don't know what is. If you get the chance, make sure you watch it! 

What is your top 10? 

Until my next top ten!
_ _ _ _ _

Here is the list of movies that did not make the cut, but actually, they could make a whole new list of themselves. Just make sure you watch them if you hadn't!

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Top 10 Musical Scenes from Movies

A lot of movies, that are not actually musicals, have one scene that sticks with you: one song, one dance, one lip-synch, one karaoke, one duet that just uplifts the movie. Those scenes quite rarely make it into the trailers, as the movie is not intended to be musical in its nature, but as an audience we react very strongly to music, it is something that connects us all, and it stay with us too. I personally remember movies by soundtrack and original score much more than plot or casting decisions. Even if, admittedly, it is the actors who bring those scenes to life. It is really an amalgamation of a lot of little details that come together at the right time. But when it does, thanks to the script, the director, the actor, the music... it just makes it iconic. So let's talk about the top 10 musical scenes from movies that we all sing together to even years later:

10) "You Make My Dreams Come True" (500) Days of Summer (2009)
I remember when I watched this movie for the first time, and how I immediately connected with the scene where Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) dances in the park after he spent the night with Summer (Zooey Deschanel). The best thing about this scene is that I have personally felt that way before, wanting to dance in the middle of the street, trying to express emotion through dance. It is just a super fun scene that highlights the emotional ups and downs of a relationship.

9) "Touch Me" Wayne's World (1992)
This might not have stuck with everyone, but it was definitely stuck with me. This is one of our favorite family movies, something we re-watch yearly and just cannot grow tired of it. In it, Wayne (Mike Myers) falls in love with a singer he sees on stage at a club, as she is singing this song. She was Tia Carrere, playing Cassandra, and the original is by Private Life. I hope you give this scene a chance because this song is simply awesome.

8) "My God (My Guy)" Sister Act (1992)
Arguably this movie is much more musical than the others on the list, but it was definitely the musical pieces that made it so memorable. And also the ones that made it possible for it to actually be turned into a musical - many years later. But aside from the wonderful casting and dialogues in this kick-ass movie, one or two songs just stay with you more than anything else. One of those was probably the minute the nuns turned a new leaf when Deloris (Whoopi Goldberg) helped them perform for the first time under her guidance. God I love this movie!

7) "Pop! Goes My Heart" Music and Lyrics (2007)
In this hilarious movie about music, there is one song that simply made the movie just ten times better than I could have hoped for. The main character, Alex Fletcher (Hugh Grant) was big in his 80s pop band, but they were more of a one hit wonder, and their biggest success is at the beginning of the movie. Of all the 80s parodies I have seen this by far the best one out there. And I say that being the biggest fan of the 80s: the music, the hair, the videos, our collections of tapes, the colors, all those stars who broke and still, up to today are among our favorites... this one 3 minute song revived all those emotions in me and I am sure it did the same for others.

6) "Cuban Pete" The Mask (1994)
Of all the criticism that might fall on this movie years later, as it did not hit all the right notes with everyone, I can still tell you that everyone remembers the dancing scene where the Mask (Jim Carrey) enchants the police in order to run away from them. This scene just makes me so happy and I love to sing along to it, I don't even mind if it gets stuck in my ears!

5) "I'm Checking Out" Postcards From The Edge (1990)
I remember when people were shocked that Meryl Streep is going to star in Mamma Mia! (2008), and I knew already that she had the pipes for it and my research was based on this wonderful movie. In it, Streep plays Suzanne Vale, an actress who decided to leave her singing career behind for a career in acting. Having been assigned to the care of her mom after rehab, she ends up performing and also taking a role where she sings, something that in the end takes her back to herself. 

4) "I Love You Baby"10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
I do believe that people fell in love with Heath Ledger here and they never stopped loving him ever since. I don't even see the point in talking about this scene, you all know it, you all love it, you should probably re-watch it, here we go:

3) "Say A Little Prayer For You" My Best Friends Wedding (1997)
Well, after number 4, the next one that I am sure you all cannot help but sing along to, maybe so much that you actually recall this scene instead of the original when you hear covers of it on the radio. That's right, we still listen to the radio, you know you do, without noticing even, radio will always be in the background for us. That said, this is just such an iconic silly scene, that encaptures so many emotions... each time I watch it I notice yet another character going through something, because this song has a meaning for everyone, and it is different for all. I just love Rupert Everett in this scene. 

2) "You Don't Own Me" The First Wives Club (1996)
God I love this song, and I remember when recorded it on VHS and I literally rewinded to the beginning of the song 19 times in a row, just so I can listen to this song. Of course, the whole movie is just awesome, but the song just empowers you in a way that I cannot put into words. You gotta see it, trust me, so make sure you check it out now if you haven't yet:

1) "Inva Mula (Lucia di Lammermoor)/The Diva Dance" The Fifth Element (1997)
There are of course so many movies that feature performances too that the protagonists experience. Very few of those, however, have the same impact as when it is actually performed by someone in the cast. Nonetheless, those performances make it to the soundtrack and scores - I mean if it is available at all, most of these awesome covers only exist in the movies -, and because of that they still count into my list. The best performance, however, also has to be the number one on this list, and that is by the Diva in The Fifth Element in the third act of the movie. As she sings a fight montage ensues, but at the same time, were are just sitting there with Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis) taking in the song and feeling every note as the goose bumps show up. It is just a great example of a director knowing what he is doing.

So these are my favorites. Admittedly, most of them are from the 90s, my childhood, but hey, this is not a defintie list, feel free to add anything and help me out to make this even better. Feel free to help me out in the comments below. 

Until my next top ten!

Monday, May 24, 2021

What's Next On My List? Solo: A Star Wars Story

For the month of May, I decided to go with the most obvious choice, starting from May The Fourth (Be With You), I will look at the rest of the Star Wars franchise through TV shows, movies and games I have not yet reviewed. Because of Disney there is plenty more to come, and well, just books and comics alone have already given us an extended universe that is... as big as the universe. So let us see, what is there to talk about?

I took a long time to see this. I was not interested in the project at all, and somehow I felt that it was not gonna be the home run that they think it will be. First, I really hated that they moved to a May screening instead of the usual December, which has become the biggest grossing season for any new Disney movie. That said, having now seen it, I decided not to tell you much about the plot, because I myself did not know a lot going in, and well, I think that is part of the magic of the movie. I definitely would recommend that you watch it and go in wanting to have fun, and trust me, you will. 

What worked?
The visuals and the colors in this movie are effing fantastic. I loved that they did not go to a single boring planet from any of the other cinematic movies. I also loved the casting, nothing against Alden Ehrenreich (Han Solo), but he had to play someone too iconic unfortunately. That said, he committed to the role, and all the other people in the casting were just wonderful. Everybody committed and it was not just a paycheck, that is clear. I love Ron Howard's movie, he is a fantastic director. The music was great and the heist itself was smart and well delivered. And most importantly, the movie was heavy. It really was. It did commit to giving you depth - something that the new trilogy refused to do. The minute there was something serious, IMMEDIATELY they lit up on the tension, and the movies greatly suffered for it. This film... this film was no shy of tension and depth and it was simply wonderful. I even liked the implied background and the way the characters' backstory was rewritten. My favorite was definitely Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover)'s droid, L3-37 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge), she was just so much fun. The best character and droid in the Star Wars universe by far. If Lando ever gets separate stories, I hope to see her again. Finally, I did not want to see a movie about the Kessel Run, and in fact, it was not, and I am eternally grateful for that. 

"- Just did the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs.
- [Chewie growls].
- Not if you round down, buddy."

What didn't work?
Unfortunately this movie committed the same mistake that DC movies do: they think that their audience is stupid. And Disney is not like that usually, so that made me enraged in more ways than I can say. There were at least 5 scenes where I felt that there was a huge neon sign blinking over the head of the characters saying "FAN SERVICE, THIS IS A REFERENCE, DID YOU GET IT? LET ME EXPLAIN TO YOU SOME MORE." Oh he needs a fast ship? Oh he is 'alone', perhaps his name could reflect that? Oh he thinks Chewbacca is toooo long and wants to use a nickname??? And all of these were just stupid, because you did not need to know about the extended universe to understand any of the reference. The one I hated the most was when Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke) started to introduce a smuggler - which we all knew was going to be Lando - and she starts to say how smart and sexy and attractive he is and ... make Han jealous by showing us, he is jealous and do not tell us viewers what to think of him. I spent the last 130 days watching over 230 movies and the biggest mistake any can make is to tell and not show. Movies, visual medium is supposed to show not tell. And this further explanation of the most obvious things was super annoying. Somebody came into the writing room and convinced everyone that the audience is stupid. And it is a real shame, because if I could edit out all those stupid scenes this movie could be as good as Rogue One (2016)

So watch it? Most definitely. I think it is a super fun heist movie set in a universe that we love and cherish. It is really a shame that Han Solo is so engraved in our heads, but there are a lot of people behind this project that really wanted to do their best and it shows. 

Until the next item on my list!

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

What's Next On My List? Star Wars: Rebels

 For the month of May, I decided to go with the most obvious choice, starting from May The Fourth (Be With You), I will look at the rest of the Star Wars franchise through TV shows, movies and games I have not yet reviewed. Because of Disney there is plenty more to come, and well, just books and comics alone have already given us an extended universe that is... as big as the universe. So let us see, what is there to talk about?

Star Wars: Rebels [Season 1-4] (2014-2018)

My best friend showed me a scene from the end of the third season, and immediately I decided that I have to see this. At first, I was not a big fan of the animation, but I have to admit, that it grows on you. Not to mention that as more money was put into the project, the better the animation became. The first season was reminiscent of the episodic space tales of Firefly (2002), the second was truly an homage to all those who watched The Clone Wars, giving us cliffhangers but also a long awaited encounter between Ahsoka and her former master. Whiles season three and four brought us the most beloved and feared admiral in all of the Star Wars extended universe: Thrawn Starring the wonderful cast of Ezra Bridger (Taylor Gray), Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze Jr.), Hera Syndulla (Vanessa Marshall), Zeb Orrelios (Steve Blum), Sabine Wren (Tiya Sircar) and of course the best returning character, the lovable Rex (Dee Bradley Baker).

I have been thinking hard about what to write into this review because I don't want to and can't spoil things, I just really want people to see it. In regards to rumors about the future of The Mandalorian and the Ahsoka shows Dave Filoni said something about how Star Wars is not linear. And that stuck with me, because I watched this series before I saw The Clone Wars. So many characters returned, but they had a new face to them, a new approach through the eyes of the main characters of this show: the pirates, the clones, the Empire, all felt new but still familiar. And because they were all well established characters, they worked without Clone Wars too, and that is a testament to the writing of both this TV series as well as its predecessor. 

So watch it? If this is the only thing you ever watch of the Star Wars universe, trust me, you will not be disappointed. This show was just four seasons of pure gold, the real heart of the Star Wars universe, the real depth of the genius of this universe, the creatures who live in it, the stories that it can tell... I will re-watch it everytime I can and recommend it to everyone. 

Until the next item on my list!

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

What's Next On My List? The Clone Wars

For the month of May, I decided to go with the most obvious choice, starting from May The Fourth (Be With You), I will look at the rest of the Star Wars franchise through TV shows, movies and games I have not yet reviewed. Because of Disney there is plenty more to come, and well, just books and comics alone have already given us an extended universe that is... as big as the universe. So let us see, what is there to talk about?

Before the seven season TV series begun that was aired over a run of ten years, there was a movie that begun the story of the relationship of Anakin Skywalker (Matt Lanter) and his padawan Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein). Now, this movie on its own is not a big thing, I watched years after the TV series, and thank god that I did. This adventure, AGAIN, took us back to Tatooine. Now, I know for a fact that I would not have enjoyed this as much, right after Episode II Attack of the Clones, when it is supposed to be playing out, because we just had him be on Tatooine to avenge his mother. Seeing it years later made it a very interesting story, seeing someone like Anakin detest the desert, but someone like Ahsoka seeing the beauty of things, her inexperience, her pure heart. Ahsoka's story was beautifully developed in the series, and this is the star of it, but even without this movie (essentially a 3 episode chapter) is not a must watch. It is just the beginning of a wonderful series about the complicated and multilayered characters that live in this universe. I could tell you more about the plot, but I would much rather you went and checked it out for yourself, make your mind up about it. Honestly, the setting of the story was my biggest issue, but the characters delivered, as always.

The Clone Wars [Season 1-7] (2008-2020)

With that I want to move on to the series, because, after all, it's main character was Ahsoka Tano. For a character that did not even make it to live-action until 2020, she is probably the most famous Star Wars Jedi in existence after Yoda. And there is a good reason for it! The whole Clone Wars series was constructed by chapters of 3-4 episodes, which had a middle a beginning and an end, and sometimes characters would come back or cross-over to other chapters. It also included a lot of characters who were already introduced in live-action, or those who later would make it there. The series did suffer from two major issues: 1, it was not aired in order, which is not the fault of the creators, but it did not help its first three seasons; 2, it was originally aimed at more of a young audience, much younger than the hardcore SW fans or those who joined by having the prequel trilogy be the defining SW series of their childhood. However, up to season 3 I think they realized that everyone was watching this, no matter the age, so they decided to up the maturity of the stories. But if one starts to watch it, they might give up before the show gets good, due to the fact that the first two seasons do not have the same depth, it does however lay the ground work for one of the best series ever made in history, so I wish everyone would stick with it. 

There were a couple of chapters that were better than the others, but what this series achieved is quite phenomenal: it expanded and fixed many of the rushed mistakes George Lucas made with the prequel trilogy. I maintain that had he not established a great world to begin with, all these projects would not have been possible, so we can debate casting and dialogue decisions in the prequels, but the story is solid and it was the start of something new for sure. I enjoyed the romantic story and I had no problem believing Anakin's turn to the dark side. Obviously, it would be better to not have to read countless books and wait for several series to fix the mistakes, but thank god that they did, because seeing the famous Clone Wars was truly a gift for the SW fans.
First, the voice actor for Obi-Wan Kenobi, James Arnold Taylor has to be mentioned among the greatest things in this series. We immediately think of Ewan McGregor now, or depending on your age, Alec Guinness when thinking of this iconis character, but making sure that his legacy is held up, this fantastic voice actor delivered some of the best lines uttered by the character. The friendship between Anakin and Obi-Wan, the one we just had to imagine in the movies, was so beautifully presented and in such depth ... I have re-watched and cried over several episodes. Second, of course, the wonderful story of Anakin having to train someone just as hard headed as he is, and learning through her, while jugling a forbidden marriage. Third, the story of Ahsoka, no longer a Jedi, because of the blinded judgement that fell on her from people she trusted. And fourth, most importantly, allow me to give all the awards to voice actor Dee Bradley Baker, for bringing to life the best clone troopers this war has ever seen. The amount of work this voice actor put in is through the rough, and every character he landed his talents to had his own personality, his own characters traits, his own story. These clones were the same, at first look, they were everything but in reality, and that is the most beautiful thing about this series: its humanity. 

So watch it? If you keep in mind that the first two and say half a seasons are more for a younger audience and it just jumps into the depth of the Clone Wars, than trust me, you are in for a threat. The 3-4 episode set ups are basically separate movies with incredible stories. Most important of all, these nameless clones become people in front of your eyes and not only you start to despise both the Jedi and the Sith, but a sense of justice and pain comes with seeing these soldiers die. 

Make sure you check out The Bad Batch, just started this May the Fourth on the Disney+, a story right after that of the Clone Wars. The first episode already held up the quality that we have been shown in series created by Dave Filoni. I am very happy that he is heading up projects now. 

Until the next item on my list!

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

What's Next On My List? (Games) Lego Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens

For the month of May, I decided to go with the most obvious choice, starting from May The Fourth (Be With You), I will look at the rest of the Star Wars franchise through TV shows, movies and games I have not yet reviewed. Because of Disney there is plenty more to come, and well, just books and comics alone have already given us an extended universe that is... as big as the universe. So let us see, what is there to talk about?

The story: Starting from the Battle of Endor, the game replays the plot of Episode VII, Rey befriends a little droid by the name of BB-8 and helps him and Finn, an escaped stormtrooper, get him back to the Rebel Alliance, to help them stop the rise of the new threat to the galaxy: the First Order. 
Game play: The game replays the story of the movie, but it offers sooooo much more. First, there are three bases where you can stop and just collect money and items. And it also has a series of extra mini-mini games. I adored unlocking all kinds of achievements, some I had no idea about, and finding all the canon characters. Actually, the best part was in fact collecting the frozen carbon boxes and revealing all the famous characters, Darth Maul, Obi-wan Kenobi, Leia Organa and so on... The gameplay is clean and beautiful, it is just as great as all Lego games. 

What didn't work? Achieving 100% is almost impossible on many of the stages, even after unlocking all the characters necessary to collect all items. I did like replaying some stages, but others felt neverending, and I can tell you that I cut up everything destroyed all boxes, any piece that was movable, but I still fell short a lot of times. Being single player and having to chage among characters left and right was a bit tedious on certain stages. Next time I definitely want to replay it with someone by my side.
What worked? Literally everything. I bought this game a year ago on May the 4th, and boy am I happy I did! I wanted to be immersed in some more SW games after Jedi Fallen Order and this game with its humor, colors did just that for me. I really liked the first movie of the new trilogy, it was nothing extra, but I liked the planet and the characters it introduced. This game allowed for me to see more of it and have fun while I explored. And having some canon characters available really spoke to how well they actually know their audience when making these games.

So, if this May the 4th you find a sale I suggest you take it because it is simply an adorable game that makes for a lot of fun moments while playing. With this pandemic and with video games enjoying difficulty settings that make the game near impossible - and thus not enjoyable at all - I just really had fun playing something where I couldn't die for a change. 

Until the next item on my list!

MAY THE 4TH BE WITH YOU!

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

OLD vs. NEW: Mulan

A while back I started a thread of reviews where I compared originals and remakes. Now, seeing that this summer I will conclude the weekly run of my blog, there are a couple of movies I wanted to get off my chest. March was about franchises, now let us look at movies that remade - for better or worse - and see how they compare. Here we go:

Mulan (1998/2020)

I remember, as this was the first VHS tape we got when we moved to Italy, and I just loved Mulan, really, it was unique, and fierce and just a wonderful female protagonist. We can argue all day about the issues stemming from horrible casting until recently, indeed, representation was more than lacking, and there are still fights to be won even today. That is why, when it comes to this live action version, I first of all am proud of see a cast of all Asian or Asian-American actors. There are hundreds of them in Hollywood, one better than the other. Stop just casting them in movies about the yakuza, not caring at all whether they are actually of Japanese descent. After the casting, what else good is there to say about the new Mulan? ... very few things, unfortunately. The colors were gorgeous, the costumes, make up and the environment for one... the cinematography knew what they were doing. I really liked Yifei Liu in the role of Mulan, and it isn't her fault that the script was the way it was... I also loved that Mulan's horse looked the same as its cartoon predecessor. That's about it when it comes to the positives.

Before I go on with my comparison, allow me to recommend to you the reviews of Amanda the Jedi, who also references the review of Accented Media. and finally the pitch meeting on the Screen Rant channel. All of these do a much better job at summarizing what I will talk about, and have also helped me in formulating my thoughts. 

Let us look at what people loved in the cartoon Mulan:
  • The tale of a woman who prevails simply by using her mind and skills.
  • Beautiful music.
  • Funny characters, who are also wholesome and bring the plot forward.
  • A possible love story, but more importantly, that of trust among soldiers and friends.
  • The price of betrayal and learning to face its consequences.
So the new Mulan had NONE OF THESE. And I haven't even mentioned Mushu or the lucky cricket... most of all the best thing about Mulan, in my opinion, is the enemy, Shan Yu leading the Huns, who does not speak, he strikes fear in the hearts of others, he does not leave anyone alive, and he cannot be outsmarted by men. There is actually a need for Mulan, someone who does not think like men, in order to finally stop him. The villain in the live-action... was and idiot. He did NOTHING. I did not fear him, I did not care for his stupid revenge plot, if that is what he was doing... The reason Shan Yu is a fantastic villain is because of the metaphor for war being a faceless enemy. And also the underlying message of the fact that evil does not need to have a sad backstory for it to be deadly, was lost completely in the live-action. I remember being scared of that enemy, while here he was simply laughable. 
And I am just FURIOUS because all the changes in the live-action made absolutely no sense. I have read and watched hours of reviews on how Disney has been trying to "amend" for criticism of the films that it had made before the 2000s. And OK, I am biased because I just love everything about the original, but if I force myself, the only criticism I can bring is the historical accuracy, or the lack of it. So, perhaps, if you were to remake this story, I would focus on that more... Now... giving Mulan Jedi powers feels like the f*cking opposite of historical accuracy. I could give a list of the issues with the new movie, but I am going to just mention one, the biggest, and that comes back to the historical background. What was this movie about? Who is the target audience? It is not a war movie - which would have made sense; it is not a comedy; it is not a musical; it is not a romantic; it is not deep enough to be dramatic or tragic even... Who is the intended audience for this movie? I cannot get over the fact of how the plot was absolutely about nothing. 

So watch it? No. Just don't. I decided to because so much bad criticism hit the movie that I got curious to see if indeed it was as bad as they say, or if perhaps this too was a victim of internet trolls or high expectations. Well... it was not. I think this movie would have been great, but as I have written in some of my reviews before, the more people try to remake cartoons by trying to conform to new social norms, the more plotholes they contain, leaving behind something very hard to watch or enjoy.

Until the next item on my life!