The Pagemaster (1994)

When I was a kid whenever councils or committees tried to encourage kids to read, they always invented some kind of mascot, and for me it was Cap’n O. G. Readmore. Every Saturday morning after the cartoons, he’d show up to remind kids to read, and explain how much fun reading was. “The Pagemaster” has good intentions but deep down it feels disingenuous and an awful lot like a glorified Saturday Morning special turned in to a big feature. At barely eighty minutes in length, it’s a mediocre, dreary, occasionally boring film that you can’t help but feel like it could have been shown as a TV movie.

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Remembering Sozin’s Comet: The Avatar’s End

“Avatar” was and is one of the most interesting animated epics on television in years. With an industry looking to bring nothing but disposable cartoons and lame comedy even years after its end, it’s rare that we were able to sit and watch animated epics. “Avatar” was engaging, beautiful, and often very emotional. As a person who fancies himself an animation aficionado, it’s rare to find excellent storytelling in the medium anymore beyond movies, and “Avatar” proved me wrong in many instances as a simple children’s fantasy series.

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Shaft (2019) [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

In 2000, the late great John Singleton’s mediocre reboot of “Shaft” seemed like a great vehicle franchise for Samuel L. Jackson to bring to life one of the most popular anti-heroes of the seventies. Then suddenly nothing. And there was nothing for a long time, no sequels, or follow ups, or even a TV show. Twenty years later, the fans finally get a follow up, but nothing more than a cheap, lazy, and ridiculous legacy sequel/soft reboot by Tim Story that completely undoes a lot of what we saw in the 2000 Singleton version, right down to the gritty crime atmosphere.

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Blood Machines (2019) [Fantastic Fest 2019]

A sequel to Carpenter Brut’s video for their track “Turbo Killer,” the sequel titled “Blood Machines” is a wonderful and beautiful feature. Written and Directed by Raphaël Hernandez, and Savitri Joly-Gonfard, “Turbo Killer” is a memorable amalgam of cyber punk, science fiction, fantasy, erotica, and so much more. The movie, at fifty minutes, is very hard to peg down and that’ll be a benefit for Carpenter Brut fans that want to see a follow up to “Turbo Killer.”

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Good Boys (2019)

It’s not many directors or studios willing to display what twelve years olds do when adults aren’t looking, and “Good Boys” thankfully doesn’t waste the opportunity. “Good Boys” has every chance to be just a crude one note gag that involves just a bunch of foul mouthed tweens, but “Good Boys” is a fun and very funny peek I to a new generation of young adults, all of whom have different problems than we did, but also surprisingly face the same hurdles including growing up, moving on without our childhood friends, and learning to accept what we are.

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Aladdin (2019): Ultimate Collector’s Edition [4K UHD/Blu-Ray/Digital]

Disney remaking their loose adaptations of classic fairy tales and folklore is their newest confusing trend, and as a behemoth of a corporation they’ll keep churning them out. Because they know audiences will go see them. “Aladdin” banks heavily on the nostalgia of the nineties much like previous Disney efforts. And like previous Disney remakes, “Aladdin” is fine. It’s just fine. I’ve yet to see a Disney live action remake that has completely outshone their original effort; compared to “The Lion King,” Guy Ritchie’s remake is mediocre, time filling fodder and that’s about the best compliment I can give it.

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Aladdin (1992): Ultimate Collector’s Edition [4K UHD/Blu-Ray/Digital]

Over twenty five years later, “Aladdin” is still one of the best animated films of the Disney golden age of the late eighties and nineties. Whether it’s on the big screen or the small screen, Jon Musker and Ron Clements’ adaptation of the original series of fantasy tales is engaging, and fun, but also excels in its simplicity and accessibility. Aladdin is also one of the most underrated Disney heroes in their staple, it’s a shame he doesn’t get mentioned too often.

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Batman: Hush (2019) [4K Ultra HD/Blu-Ray/Digital]

It’s not often I sit down to watch a DCAU movie and want to immediately desire the original source material instead. I’ve never read “Batman Hush” but from what I originally gathered it was an iconic storyline that made waves in the aughts. The movie however is a disappointing, half baked and painfully boring Batman adventure that never really goes anywhere. Rather than treading new ground or giving us something completely different, “Batman Hush” just feels forced and never quite rises above the anemic energy.

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