‘Soul’ Film Review: Does it miss the Boat?

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“I was born to play”

2020 may be one of the most memorable years for the wrong reasons. Many lives have been changed and for avid movie goers their routine of checking out the next blockbuster in theaters was stripped away from them.

While new movies releasing on streaming services isn’t ideal “Soul” is definitely worth a watch even if the normal Pixar audiences may not enjoy it as much as previous films.

Overview

Joe, a middle-school band teacher has a real serious passion for music specifically Jazz. He thought that by now he’d have accomplished his dream of becoming a well known Jazz artist but he’s fallen a little short.

His life takes quite a turn after he finally gets a real chance to prove himself and along the way Joe must learn what it means to have a soul.

A Visual Masterpiece

To not give attention to appearance of the film would be a huge mistake. From the characters, to the New York environments it truly puts the quick animation cash grabs that come out every year to shame.

The movie feels like it captures the nature of New York and it stands out. For a city that appears in so many films a feat such as that is remarkable.

One of the biggest complaints have is that just not enough time is spent in the city itself.

Very Thought Provoking

This may be the most mature Pixar film to date. The themes addressed require deep thought. You may even find yourself questioning your own life choices.

That is a powerful thing that a film whose designated audience is for the family can even make people think along those lines.

Too Young for the Deep End

After a rather slow start I found myself getting very invested in the story about half hour into the film. As the movie continued one thing kept popping in my head was “who is this for?” Pixar’s audience has always been family. This time I wasn’t so sure.

I don’t know what a five year old will get from this film. The slow nature is bound to turn off many children and impatient viewers. New York while visually appealing is not the only location in the film and without spoiling the other areas don’t feel filled with life.

Some of the best animation uses many colors and blends them beautifully. Because of that plenty of younger viewers can get engaged in some media even if the story is not very alluring to them.

Lastly, the comedy is not enough to keep audiences engaged if that was the deciding factor in continuing to watch the motion picture. The jokes are actually pretty good and they don’t over stay their welcome. However, they don’t come very often.

Conclusion

I feel bad for those who won’t make it through the lengthy introduction. They’re missing out on a very deep film that frankly can cause you to think about your own life.

This story feels relatable what Joe goes through many people do the same thing. It certainly gave me food for thought.

The animation is next level. I don’t believe there’s many other films where New York City has looked this good. All of the human characters have unique looks and possess depth. Most of the characters Joe deals with I wouldn’t be disappointed if they got their own specials on Disney+ they’re just enjoyable.

How many children will enjoy this? While ‘Soul’ is marketed as a family film I don’t believe kids will end up getting it. The messaging is what makes the movie as good as it is. Without it it’d still be a decent film but its maturity allows it to stand out from it’s fellow Pixar movies.

Finally, I think this film will be divisive with people either praising it or letting others know its being blown way out of proportion. I encourage you even if you don’t like traditional Pixar motion pictures to give ‘Soul’ a shot.

Verdict 7.5 out of 10 Stars

‘Onward’ Film Review: A Heartwarming Sense of Déjà Vu

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“‘I think, with a little bit of magic in your life, you can do almost anything.”

From the world-renowned Pixar comes a new adventure filled to the brim with excitement, amusement, and deep heartfelt moments. While the story itself doesn’t reinvent the wheel it still serves its purpose as an entertaining animated film.

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Overview

Two teenage elf brothers Barley (Chris Pratt) & Ian (Tom Holland) must set out on an adventure to spend one more day with their late father. Along the way, Ian must practice his newfound skills while their mother Laurel (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) attempts to get them back.

Magical Chemistry

While the plot is straightforward, along the way are some memorable characters and beautiful locales to boot. Holland & Pratt have both shared the screen together before so it’s not surprising that they play off each other well. From beginning to end I believe in their relationship as people who truly care for each other.

Barley would do anything for his brother and it’s expressed without shoving it in the audience’s faces. Laurel also plays a bigger role than expected in the film, in fact, there weren’t any characters that bothered me while they were on screen.

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Going into the film I believed it would entirely be about the two brothers but I was wrong. The movie benefits from having other characters with big roles. Even some with small roles give the film some added spectacle and its satisfying to watch play out.

World Building Done Right

From the opening shot, the audience is aware that their world is similar to ours except it’s filled with magical beasts. From unicorns digging through the trash like raccoons to centaurs riding in police cars, this magical land has been brought to the modern world.

To see these creatures placed in such an environment is refreshing it’s not where you’d expect to see them.

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Same Old Same Old

While the overall idea for the film is fresh this isn’t an animated tale that breaks the mold. At the end of the day, it doesn’t tell a story that most audiences haven’t heard before.

However, that doesn’t make the film bad the idea of a family being able to reunite with their dead father is a story that I didn’t think I’d see from Pixar. At times the film really tugs at some heartstrings and it touched my heart. That’s a mature theme that I’m sure will leave audiences surprised that the film dealt with that.

While it’s great that most will be able to connect to the movie on an emotional level that doesn’t take away the fact that there is manufactured tension between the brothers. In most animated films at some point, the main characters will have a little bit of a falling out.

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Everyone watching knows that they’ll make it up to each other and it’s just a matter of time before they do. I’ll love it when one day writers decide they don’t need to have something separate from the main characters in every film. It’s just exhausting at this point.

Conclusion

The idea for Onward to mix the modern world with magical characters was great. With plenty of sight gags as well as all the magic sequences the film just wouldn’t be the same if the story took place during a different time.

The film is entertaining, to say the least, and the chemistry between Tom Holland and Chris Pratt is strong from the very beginning. Their characters are both some of the best parts of the film and having them on screen together makes the movie even stronger.

Onward doesn’t tell a story that most people who have seen a film before haven’t seen. Many of the story beats are copy and pasted from other films. While I’d prefer for completely new ideas most animated films do fall into the realm of not being entirely original.

Even though the film isn’t too innovative that doesn’t make it non-enjoyable. It’s fun and adventurous you feel like you’re joining the characters on their quest. Not only that you truly support the main duo because at the end of the day who wouldn’t wanna see someone special they lost even if it was only for a day.

Verdict 8 out of 10 Stars

Has Family Guy gone on too long?

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With 18 seasons and counting, Family Guy is one of the longest-running cartoons to have aired. For decades the show has been the cause of many laughs and positive memories. However, in the last few years, many have wondered should the show even continue it’s run?

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Down Hill

It’s no secret that Family Guy does not carry the same quality that it had at the beginning of the shows run. To have a show last that long is not easy and the crazy antics can get stale.

There’s only so many times where Peter Griffin can do something idiotic and apologize at the end of the episode. Only to be met with forgiveness every single time before things start to get a little stale.

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Family Guy still has their fair share of laughs but even 10 seasons ago the series was highly regarded as just a funny show. Today I rarely hear anyone talking about the brand new episode of Family Guy it just does not have the same relevance as before.

Fixing the Issue

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In its 18th season, Family Guy has delivered nothing out of the ordinary. The show in its current state is not worse or better than other recent seasons. Personally, I hate that shows can get away with being just average. This show, in particular, had a pretty great run and could get back to its former glory.

I think that Family Guy needs to feel like it’s writers are genuinely trying to make a quality show. Give audiences more diverse stories and I’m certain it would help. We all know Peter is an idiot but that shouldn’t get every single story on its way. Give us something new while also retaining what the fans have loved from the beginning.

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Conclusion

If Family Guy continues in its current direction then it’d probably be better if the show came to an end. Such a long-running series is bound to run into issues but it seems like the writers don’t care too much about making a quality show. The past few seasons have just been okay which just isn’t good enough.

The future of Family Guy is in the hands of those who make it and only they can choose if they want their series relevant in 2020. If the show can be as original and funny as it has in the past I have no worries about the future of the series however if they can’t then Family Guy will just stay an average adult comedy when it could be so much more.

 

‘Treasure Planet’ Film Review: The Best Film No One Ever Saw

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Have you ever seen a film and wondered why more people haven’t seen it? In 2002, Treasure Planet released in theaters to a resounding whisper as it completely bombed in the box office. Sadly the film was lost in the wide array of Disney films however, I believe it deserves another chance at greatness.

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Overview

15-year-old Jim Hawkens (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a rebellious teen going through a rough period in his life. All of that changed the day he found a map that leads to “the loot of a thousand worlds.” Knowing that finding the treasure will flip his life upside down Jim travels across the universe in this thrilling space voyage.

Sets the Tone Immediately

From the opening few moments of the film, you see two ships waged in battle. There’s no water to be seen both ships firing cannonballs out in space. The fight is shown in the form of a hologram being displayed by a book.

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I love the world this story takes place in. Filled with objects that we are used to seeing on an everyday basis however, now they have more of a futuristic take. For example, there are curtains with the flick of a button that can change the background from a flowery meadow to a monstrous volcano.

Deep Themes

When darker themes are discussed in films where the main audience will consist of children I always tend to enjoy the fact that the story was willing to dive that deep. When the writers avoid common clichés like the death of parents it’s truly special and Treasure Planet possesses no such cliché.

Colorful Cast

Right off the bat, we’re introduced to Doctor Doppler (David Hyde Pierce) a close family friend to the Hawkins family. He’s your stereotypical intelligent character who’s also kind of a goofball. However, it’s not fair to say he doesn’t stand out.

He has some of the best lines in the entire film combined with his seemingly constant act of tripping over himself he really takes this character from a forgettable role to a major player in the film.

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John Silver (Brian Murray) is another welcomed addition to the cast. His relationship with Jim is a major contributing factor to why I enjoy the film so much. The best scenes of the movie always occur when these two share the limelight and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Alluring Animation

To say the animation is enchanting is taking it lightly. Throughout a scene, there may be three or more changes to the way the scene is being captured. From using a point of view shot to changing from 3D animation to 2D animation in the matters of seconds is phenomenal.

The leaps and progression that this movie used to stand out from its competition are insane. I’m shocked that even by today’s standards this motion picture wouldn’t be left in the dust animation wise.

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Conclusion

You’re thrown in the world of Treasure Planet from the start. There aren’t minutes and minutes of exposition things are just the way they are which keeps the pacing steady. You begin to just enjoy what you see instead of questioning was that a ship flying? It’s simply a fun film.

Outside of the characters I’ve already mentioned, there are numerous others that deserve just as much praise. The voice talent is immaculate and I still feel chills during tense scenes because of that fact.

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As a child, there are themes I wouldn’t expect you to understand. However, returning to the film older and wiser I can’t help but appreciate the mature themes. Lastly, the animation is top-notch.

To this day I don’t see many animated films that make me want to replay a scene just to watch the film frame by frame to see how the creators completed their task.

Verdict 10 out of 10 Stars

‘Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus’ Netflix Original Review: More Than Nostalgia

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It has been 13 years since the last time we saw Invader Zim. While the show only ended up getting two seasons it grew quite a large audience when it went off the air. For years people have clamored for the return of the green little alien and at long last, he’s come back in full force.

Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus follows the original show’s plot just in a longer format. Zim (Richard Steven Horvitz) plans to take over the earth with his robotic assistant GIR (Rikki Simons) while his nemesis Dib (Andy Berman) attempts to stop him and prove to the world aliens exist.

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Random Humor

The comedy that this series has always gone for is sort of aimless shock gags. For example, two characters could be having a conversation then an explosion comes out of nowhere and GIR screams ‘I LOVE TOAST”.

This movie contains the same kind of humor and it truly does not miss a beat. While this kind of comedy isn’t suited for everyone it’s a blessing that they don’t follow the same comedic routine as every other show. It’s original, to say the least.

Animation

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I did not believe that it was possible but the characters, environments, and action to look even more incredible than the original series. This film ends up feeling like a better-looking episode of Invader Zim and that’s the best we could all hope for.

The designs are not exactly the same but I see no harm done. Unique animation is hard to come by I generally feel that most animated shows or movies can be compared to a multitude of other media.

However, even after all these years, the style of Invader Zim is still pretty exclusive to this series itself.

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Unexpected Depth

I’ve mentioned already that this film is much like an extended episode of the original series but there are some elements that were never really explored in the show.

The rest of Dib’s family being Gaz (Melissa Fahn) and Professor Membrane (Rodger Bumpass) are more involved than ever before. Gaz is Dib’s sister and she’s generally a cold individual with that being basically her only mood.

While I won’t get into spoiler territory she acts more like Dib is part of her family and not just some annoying individual that she doesn’t care for. Professor Membrane is Dib’s father and he’s one of the most brilliant minds the world has ever seen.

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Dib just wants to prove to him that aliens exist but his father claims its unscientific. Their bond is nothing special in the show but during this film that changes. He goes from a very minor character that I didn’t have much to say about to a fully-fledged individual.

Conclusion

I’ll say this from the start if you enjoyed Invader Zim you’ll love this film. It brings everything back that made the show so great with tons of passion. You can tell that the creators did not phone this project in. Instead, they put their all into making this worth watching.

The random humor is back at an even higher volume than the original series but not so much that it becomes annoying. It’s very well balanced and I had quite a few laughs through this special.

Animation wise this looks as though they poured every resource into making sure this visually look the part. Honestly, I couldn’t see this looking any better.

Finally, we get some depth which wasn’t needed for this to succeed. However, it does improve the film tenfold.

Verdict 9 out of 10 Stars

 

The Best Sequel Yet!

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As the lights dimmed soon after the film began I see Woody and the gang back together and my inner child wanted to leap out. This is a very different Toy Story from what we are used to. Not only plot-wise but even the tone at times. Hours after watching the film I’m still thinking about the rush of emotions I felt throughout this wonderful adventure.

Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the rest of the group have been given to a little girl named Bonnie and they join her on a road trip with her family and a brand new toy, Forky. Along their journey, both familiar faces and newcomers are met.

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Everyone Laughs

Making jokes for both adults and children is not an easy task. Not only does Toy Story 4 accomplish its goal for being comical for all ages. It surpasses all of the past films with its comedic genius.

While it can be argued that some jokes went on for too long. Personally, I enjoyed the majority of them and the jokes that didn’t fall for me were inoffensive.

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Emotional Rollercoaster

Throughout this series, I’ve never felt this many emotions from one particular film. One moment you’ll be happy seeing some of your favorite characters from your childhood. Then the next you’ll feel heartbroken. Admittedly I did cry twice during the movie and for a bunch of toys to make me feel such a strong emotion must be commended.

Missed Opportunity

I can’t think of anything terrible in this film. The worst that I can think of is just missed opportunities. The main focus of this story is on Woody and a character thought to be forgotten. While having a focused story did benefit the plot it made the huge collection of toys who have been important throughout the series feel wasted.

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New Additions Are Welcomed

I was concerned about Forky during the promotions he just didn’t seem like an interesting character. I’m overjoyed to say that I was wrong and he’s one of the best parts of the film. With his addition, It is my belief that it made the film stand out from past entries.

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Conclusion

While a fourth film wasn’t necessary for this series Pixar made it work. There’s a story to be told here and they weren’t just capitalizing off of everyone’s nostalgia. This film made me laugh, cry, and reminded me why I love movies.

Visually it looks perfect so crisp and so clean. The lengths that the animators went to just to make this film look as beautiful as it does must be appreciated.

While it is my belief that some characters have wasted potential it doesn’t make the film worse. Not to mention the new characters easily pick up the slack. Regardless of age, I recommend this film wholeheartedly it is a fantastic watch.

Verdict 9 out of 10 Stars

 

 

The Most Unique Animated Series on Netflix

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Love, Death, & Robots will be without a doubt one of the weirdest shows you can watch among all of the Netflix Originals. Many episodes leave you in need of answers or at least want a full series based on the particular episode.

This series consists of a collection of animated short stories that range from horror to comedy to science fiction all from episode to episode.

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The Style

Regardless of how you feel about the show as a whole the animation style cannot be underappreciated. Most episodes look very different from the one previous, but it’s never distracting.

The Witness is the third episode of the series and it has a drastically different look from the CGI animation from the first two episodes. It is most reminiscent of Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse with its overall look.

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Episodes such as Sonnie’s Edge & Beyond the Aquila Rift are some of the best-looking episodes throughout the whole series. Their CGI look as impressive as feature-length films produced by the biggest names in the business.

The Twists

Often when watching this series there will be a twist that occurred and it becomes something that you’ll to look out for. Sometimes the ending will be pretty obvious but many times my guesses were way off. This show is not trying to give you a happy ending most of the time and at times you’ll think “no they won’t do that” then they do exactly that.

 

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With the show not being so easily telegraphed it interesting to watch each episode all the way through. The suspense really gets to the viewer and the element of surprise is without a doubt one of the best things this series does.

Everyone Has Their Own Experience

When watching this series you’ll have a different experience from most people. There have been a few episodes that have consistently shown up at the top of viewer’s lists but most of the episodes I have seen people rate have been all over the place. The Dump is one of the weakest stories for me, but I have seen many people stand up for the short.

Episodes that I believe have much higher quality than others have been pushed to the side by fans in favor of episodes I believe are weaker. That’s the beauty of this show and good on Netflix to give these creators a platform for their beloved ideas to blossom. I look forward to seeing what other ideas stem from this anthology series.

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Conclusion

This is an odd show but implore you to give it a shot. The genres span between sci-fi, horror, comedy, and fantasy. The visuals are top notch when they want them to be and in the episodes that have cheaper looking animation is done that way on purpose. While some episodes deserve a full-blown series more than others I think that every episode offers something.

Verdict 7 out of 10 Stars

 

The Best Film of 2018

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Regrettably, I didn’t see Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse during the year of its release. I had the opportunity to see the film this past weekend and it surpassed every single expectation. Through the excellent characters, writing, score, and animation this becomes one of the greatest experiences you can have as a Spider-Man fan.

Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) is your average teen who’s entire world gets flipped upside down when he gets bit by a radioactive spider. Thus he becomes the Spider-Man of his reality and must team up with others of his kind to defeat a threat who dangers all realities.

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Different Spider-Man? No problem

Miles breathes new life into the role of the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. He’s biracial but the film doesn’t take advantage of his race to push some agenda. The film isn’t about him being both African American and Puerto Rican but his heritage gives him a little more character.

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He’s a young kid and for an animated film, the mastery of his newfound abilities are pretty grounded in reality. Miles doesn’t start jumping off buildings and swinging throughout the city the second he gets bit. This film could’ve easily made Miles a Gary Stu, but the writers refrain from doing that and the movie benefits from that choice.

Playing safe is a thing of the past

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Many movies fail because they don’t push their respective genres enough. When creating a film that doesn’t try to do many new things you can’t expect to do much better than average. Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse is the furthest film from that state of mind. The movie wouldn’t have been nearly as impressive if they just told us the same old Spider-Man story.

The animation alone allows this film to stand out in a good way. In every scene, you could pause the movie and find a great freeze frame. Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse is filled to the brim with style. There are details that you might only notice after your third or fourth viewing and that is a sign of a film that does more than what is needed. This is a passion project and knowing that this film wasn’t about just making money and that it’s creators just love what they were working on makes me appreciate the picture more.

A Very Effective Soundtrack

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Having a decent soundtrack isn’t special it’s a thing that the majority of films have in common. However, there are very few films whose soundtracks elevate the product they’re played in. If you have a musical itch that needs to be scratched you’ll certainly be pleased while watching. Artists such as Post Malone, Swae Lee, Lil Wayne, etc. offer new songs and long after watching the picture you’ll be trying to look up a few their songs played through the film.

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Conclusion

This will go down as one of the best-animated films ever produced. The characters are varied and all have their place throughout the narrative. Deciding not to make a “safe” Spider-Man film really pays off by giving us an experience like none other in the realm of this superhero. Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse oozes personality at every opportunity and the soundtrack is memorable, to say the least.

Verdict 10 out of 10 Stars

Review: Big Mouth’s Valentine’s Day Special Gives Fans All They Could Ask for

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A Bright Future Ahead

In a show, all about teenagers going through puberty in a comedic fashion the idea for a Valentine’s Day special is genius. If this is a good representation of the following season I am incredibly anxious to see the continuation of this series. The controversial comedy this series is known for has not lost its knack to leave you speechless. So much so that you’ll have to ask yourself if you really should be laughing at times.

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Chemistry is at an all-time high

The relationship between Andrew (John Mulaney) and Maurice (Maya Rudolph) has easily been one of the best parts of the show since it’s inception. Andrew’s weird sexual obsession with almost anything as well as being convinced to do things he wouldn’t normally by Maurice never gets old. Maurice himself is unpredictable nothing is off the table and that reminds me of the early seasons of Family Guy. The creators of Big Mouth aren’t afraid to be bombarded by today’s sensitive people all over the internet and that’s the only way to make a show of this nature.
While Andrew and Maurice are a great pair this special brings us another interesting relationship being Nick (Nick Kroll) and Connie (Maya Rudolph). Both of these characters have been on the show for quite a while, but with Connie being Nick’s new hormone monstress plenty of new problems arise.

Valentine’s Day is the Worst

This particular holiday is generally disliked by many people and it’s not hard to know why. For people not in relationships, a day that focuses on the love in the air can be frustrating. There are people that to step outside of their comfort zone and finally ask that person out that they’ve always wanted only to get rejected. This day isn’t just hard for people who aren’t in relationships it’s hard for people with partners as well because they are expected to be as romantic as possible. Seeing these ideas explored during this episode is not only relatable but entertaining to see play out.

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Conclusion

The no holds barred comedy is back and is the best it has ever been. New relationships have been forged and have only changed the show for the better. The odd musical numbers and taboo topics make their return as well. Fans of Big Mouth will be pleased with this double episode and if the following season can keep to the standard of this special we are in for the best episodes of this show yet.

Verdict: 8 out of 10 Stars

My Most Anticipated Films of 2019

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Last year, was a great year for the cinema. With movies such as Avengers: Infinity War, A Quiet Place, and Incredibles 2 just to name a few. To say I have high expectations for this year would be an understatement. Disney is coming out with live action remakes of their animated classics from years and years ago. Movies series that we thought were finished are getting sequels. There will definitely be a wide variety of fans in the theater.

Toy Story 4

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This movie series has been around for quite a while. The first film dates back to 1995 and now 24 years later its fourth installment is going to be in theaters. I think what’s so surprising about this entry is that most people thought the series had been concluded. The third movie seemed like a great place to end this series off, but hopefully, if they really have a reason to bring this franchise back then I believe this sequel will be great.

Spider-Man: Far From Home

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A couple weeks ago a trailer dropped for Spider-Man: Far From Home and it was everything I could’ve hoped for. Tom Holland is my favorite representation of Spider-Man on screen. He captures the character as I remember from my childhood watching the cartoons. Just the fact that he has to deal with high school drama along with being a superhero is a huge plus for me.

In the trailer, Peter Parker and his class take a trip to Europe when they are interrupted by Mysterio, a famous Spider-Man villain. Not much else is known about the story details, but this is the first time that Mysterio has been on the big screen. I’m interested in finding out if his first appearance will be a good one. I loved the previous film so it’s hard not to have high expectations. If they can capture the magic of the first film then this will be a good flick to see.

Star Wars: Episode IX

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I think that it’s pretty well known that Star Wars has the worst fanbase in movies and on the internet. The new trilogy has been met with tons of hostility and it’s a shame. I really liked the past two movies. I hope that this final installment in the main line of Star Wars will be better accepted than the past couple of films.

Avengers: Endgame

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This is easily my most anticipated film of 2019. Avengers: Infinity War blew me out of the water last year. I didn’t watch it expecting to like it so much. The entire film I was glued to the screen watching these superheroes just work together to save the earth was a spectacle. That along with Thanos being the greatest villain in the MCU makes for a film worth watching.

The trailer posted shows Tony Stark drifting in space with his oxygen depleting the end seems near. The Avengers are broken and defeated which is just an interesting premise in the first place. The rest of the Avengers plan to find a way to bring back their past allies to defeat Thanos. My expectations for this film are average simply because I don’t want to be disappointed when it doesn’t live up to previous Avengers film. If it does manage to surpass Infinity War that would be a welcoming surprise.