This is one of the very few animated productions where Studio Ghibli’s fantastic storytelling is given a hint of European flavor. While “The Red Turtle” is branded a Studio Ghibli production it garners much of the same elements from Ghibli’s library including a wide open world, a menacing series of creatures and the overtones of the symbioses of nature and humanity. It’s best to think of “The Red Turtle” as a fairy tale, as the movie relies on a lot of inexplicability to tell its thin narrative. The narrative being thin is by no means a criticism as “The Red Turtle” is a lot about raw events, and simplicity at its finest.
Olive Films brings the 1955 Republic movie serial “Panther Girl of the Kongo” to blu-ray form with every episode of the cliff hanger adventures for fans. Phyllis Coates as Jean Evans is the heroine and adventurer who has been taken in to confidence by the African tribe the Utange. There she lives among the natives and begins helping them fend off various threats to their way of life. This includes a mad scientist who uses various monsters and experiments to battle with Evans. He and his cronies will do everything to push the Utange out of their village for the sake of a very valuable diamond mine.
Every time he thinks he’s out, they pull him back in! Keanu Reeves’ action starring vehicle “John Wick” ended up being one of the best films of 2014, and three years later, we’re granted what is essentially “The Empire Strikes Back” of the John Wick saga. When John Wick went in to retirement, violence found him once and he wrought unholy vengeance one last time. Now that he’s been a few years in exile, living alone with his trusty pit bull, his past has returned once again. Italian gangster Santino D’Antonio shows up at John’s door aware of his mission of vengeance and now plans to take advantage of a decades old blood oath he made to him when he was working as an assassin. Handing him a very sacred reminder called a “marker” with John’s own blood in it, he plans to hold him to his oath, despite John’s protests.
2014’s “The Lego Movie” surprised fans two fold, not just by being an excellent movie, but by turning Batman in to one of the funniest supporting characters in an animated movie since—well ever. “The Lego Batman Movie” initially had me very skeptical as to how far they could stretch the hilarious side character in to his own feature film, and shocking enough Lego Batman’s spin off is fantastic. It’s laugh out loud funny, very clever, and has a bonafide appeal to both hardcore fans and new audiences looking for a giggle or two. Like the original movie that spawned it, “The Lego Batman Movie” garners a myriad absurdity and off the wall hilarity that will keep many viewers laughing almost non-stop, but the writing team also injects a lot of heart. While Batman is a self confident, obnoxious, egomaniac in love with his own vigilante persona, he’s also a man who doesn’t realize much of it is hollow without a family or someone to lean on.
I would love nothing more to tell you that “The Adventure Club” is a real gem that deserves discovering. But sadly this is a kids‘ movie that even kids might eventually fall asleep during. It’s not that the movie is fundamentally bad it’s just so bland and listless, no matter how many talented character actors that director Geoff Anderson stuffs on screen. And it’s sad because the movie tries its best to utilize greats like Kim Coates, and Billy Zane to account for the fact that the rest of the cast aren’t too good in their roles. I’m all for a film of this ilk, which encourages curiosity, learning, imagination, and wonder. I love movies that carry the aesthetic of a classic serial, but “The Adventure Club” feels like one of the many clones of “The Goonies” we saw throughout the nineties that would often pop up on cable inexplicably.
If you’re looking for some quick action packed reading this weekend, be sure to pick up my newest novel “Orphan Sword.” It took me two years to properly develop, and write, and it’s the first in what I will hope to turn in to a series. It was originally conceived as a web comic book and was turned in to a novella, changed quite drastically.
“When enigmatic young homeless drifter Noah Grey arrives in Centurion City, instead of finding the answers about his past involving being orphaned at a young age, that he so desperately wants, he finds a sinister presence is kidnapping the homeless in the shadows. When his friend Lucinda becomes a victim of the kidnappings, Noah is forced to use the martial arts and lightning quick sword skills he honed throughout his life to bring her tormentors to justice.”
“Orphan Sword” is an action thriller that is heavily influenced by fiims “Zatoichi,” and “The Man with No Name” series, comic books like “Daredevil” and “Shang-Chi,” and a plethora of other movies and TV series I love. I hope you have a good time reading it, and of course, all money for sales goes toward my goal of buying that purple monkey dishwasher.
Mamoru Oshii’s “Ghost in the Shell” is the natural successor to “Blade Runner,” it’s an anime masterpiece that works both as an action film and a very evocative and thought provoking science fiction thriller. Through very engaging characters and still incredibly stunning visuals, “Ghost in the Shell” approaches themes like the idea of consciousness and existence, and what living is, and how it’s fairly impossible to prove what sentience is or isn’t. In 2029, law enforcement has been enhanced to the point where human beings can transport their consciousness and memories in to cybernetic shells that grant them amazing abilities used to keep law and order.
Setting aside that DC pretty much slaps Batman in to their newest film, “Justice League Dark” is actually a fun celebration of the supernatural element from DC Comics. Taking a much needed peek in to the darker universe from DC, “Justice League Dark” is an adaptation of the acclaimed graphic novel, involving supernatural characters from DC who team up to take on a threat beyond the capabilities of Superman and Wonder Woman. “Justice League Dark” is a fairly well realized horror take on the DC universe that suffers, sadly, from a short run time. With a group of characters filled with such immense, and complex back stories and amazing powers, it’s sad “Justice League Dark” is only allotted a scant eighty minute run time. John Constantine alone deserves a thirty minute introduction.