The Jungle Book and Friends Collection (DVD/Digital)

With Disney remaking their remakes of classic fairy tales and adventure novels, stories like “The Jungle Book” are all the rage these days. For folks that want to branch out from the Disney umbrella and check out what other companies have adapted these classic stories, Mill Creek Entertainment releases a collection of animated adaptations of legendary adventures and fantasies. It’s especially good if you’re looking to save a few bucks while expanding your animated horizons beyond the House of Mouse.

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Jungle Emperor Leo (Janguru taitei) (1997)

I’ll plead ignorance by admitting that I wasn’t aware that “The Lion King” was controversial for being touted as plagiarizing “Kimba The White Lion” and “Jungle Emperor Leo” since the aforementioned film’s release. There are even reports of Matthew Broderick explaining his new project as a remake of “Kimba.” As for other similarities explained by anime fans, you really can’t deny the shocking similarities. “Jungle Emperor Leo” is worth viewing not just because of its inherent entertainment value and great animation from Tezuka Productions, but the fact that it bears shocking similarities to “The Lion King.”

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Millennium Actress (Sennen joyû) (2001)

Satoshi Kon’s contribution to the animation medium was nothing short of absolutely breathtaking, as the director created films that blurred the lines of fantasy and reality and placed great emphases on the feminine energy. After the mind blowing “Perfect Blue,” Kon delivered what is arguably one of the best animated films ever conceived. Now bring granted a limited run in theaters nationwide, “Millennium Actress” is a wonderful experience you have to see for yourself, as it’s stunning, and absolutely surprising in the way Kon celebrates the adventure that is life.

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Five Great Movies You Can Watch in lieu of “The Hunt”

Universal Studios pulled a very controversial and polarizing move recently by pulling their survival thriller “The Hunt” from its release schedule amidst the recent mass shootings, once again proving that Hollywood just doesn’t get it. In either case while many folks (me included) were excited for the film and are now angered at its being pulled and most likely shelved indefinitely, I thought I’d recommend five great films in the vein of “The Hunt.”

Films (and media) revolving around men hunting other men and or people have been in the medium since the silent era. I even read “The Most Dangerous Game” from 1924 by writer Richard Connell back in 1998 for high school. Here are merely five of dozens of great films in this sub-sub-genre.

What are some of your favorites in this ilk? Let Me Know.

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Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019)

Nickelodeon has been in a tricky scenario over the last five years, in where the audience that once watched their hit shows is now becoming adults. Now they’ve scrambled for ways to appeal to a new generation, even aging their banner characters a bit. With “Dora the Explorer,” Nickelodeon has taken great pains in allowing her to blossom with her audience, and then revert back to the original formula that made her such a hit. With this feature film adaptation, they manage to pull off what is a loving tribute, a fun action adventure film, an adaptation that is never afraid to poke fun at itself every now and then, and a spotlight for latinx movie heroes we can root for.

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Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie (1997) [Blu-Ray]

By 1997 the “Power Rangers” had reached the nadir of their popularity and with the appeal of the franchise dying down as fans grew older, “Turbo” was a last gasp cash grab. It didn’t just bring the old and new Rangers (for the most part, anyway) to the big screen, but it also rebooted the Power Rangers in to a auto-centric kind of Power Rangers team that would do nothing but go downhill from here.

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White Snake (2019) [Fantasia Festival 2019]

I don’t know what Warner are planning for a domestic release, but “White Snake” (Warner Bros. first animated feature made completely in China) is far too complex and adult for a family friendly audience or broader crowd, and way too briskly paced for movie fans that appreciate the more subtle tone of Pixar and Studio Ghibli. As someone genuinely looking forward to “White Snake” I loved the animation and genuine sentiment behind it, I just wish I wasn’t so bored by it half the time.

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Away (2019) [Fantasia Festival 2019]

Gints Zilbalodis’s “Away” is one of the most dazzling and fantastic animated movies I’ve seen in years, and I’d be stunned if it isn’t appreciated as a masterpiece down the line. Zilbalodis spent years on this work of love committing to every facet of the production himself, and completing what is a tightly packed and briskly paced epic adventure film that is also deceptively simple in its presentation and delivery.

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