I didn’t think it was possible, but “Paddington 2” is just as good as the original “Paddington.” It doesn’t repeat the same beats from the original film, but expands on the world we engaged in when we first met the friendly bear. Director Paul King is back and could easily have suffered a sophomore slump with a sequel that was filled with redundancies and pandered to a more mainstream crowd, but thankfully “Paddington 2” stays true to itself, following the adventures of our good hearted bear as he attempts to spread love where ever he goes, and find the good in people.
I was never much of a big fan of the animated series or books featuring “Paddington” and it never quite crossed my path as a kid as much as Dr. Seuss or Curious George did. It’s a shame because “Paddington” is such a pure and wholesome hero whose good intentions always reward him time and time again. Too often do we see good intentions repaid with disaster, but in “Paddington” it’s refreshing to see a hero like Paddington attempt to do good and fall in to love, appreciation, and a bonafide family.
Whether you love or hate “Batman Ninja,” you have to admit DC is at least going for something completely different and radical this time around. With a different crew and approach toward the mythology, “Batman Ninja” is a unique time traveling tale that finds Batman at his most godlike, worshipped as a near invincible warrior in Feudal Japan. Beautifully directed by Junpei Mizusaki, “Batman Ninja” puts the entire aesthetic of the DC character in to some of the wildest anime filters, and it works most of the time. Some concepts land with a thud, but when “Batman Ninja” soars, it’s quite spectacular.
The Fish Curry (Maacher Jhol) (India) (2017)
A man about to come out to his more traditional Indian father cooks him a fish curry, his favorite meal, as a way to soften the blow. In this short directed by Abhishek Verma and written by Jayesh Bhosale and Abhishek Verma, the traditional and the new meet in a clash of beliefs. The way this is done on screen is beautifully animated and the emotional impact of the man coming out to his father. It also shows the power of a good meal and the love of a family in accepting each other for who they are. On a last note, the film’s music by Ers 126 is beautiful and fits the story and its images perfectly. The film has a touch of whimsy that helps deliver its message of acceptance and love.
“Hell to Pay” is chapter two in what is one of the more under appreciated animated DC series currently in stores. While DC mainly focuses on Batman and Superman, we’re given a second shot with “Suicide Squad” who DC is thankfully not above sharing for the home entertainment audiences. After the very good “Assault on Arkham,” the team known as Task Force X return with a premise that—let’s just say it—should have been the premise for the live action movie. It’s a small covert team, they should do small covert operations that involve the DC Universe, for crying out loud.
“Up in the sky, look! It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s Superman! Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, this amazing stranger from the planet Krypton, The Man of Steel: Superman! Empowered with X-ray vision, possessing remarkable physical strength, Superman fights a never-ending battle for truth and justice, disguised as a mild-mannered newspaper reporter, Clark Kent.”
John Jordan’s short animated experiment is a film that would have pretty much benefited from a longer format, some original voice work, and perhaps better dialog in the end, but for what he serves up in the form of original animation and the public domain cartoons, “Superman vs. The Giant Robot from Outer Space” is a great short for the Super Geeks out there.
Back in the nineties, there was this strange movement to take pulp and serial heroes and revive them for a modern audience. Everything from Flash Gordon to Doc Samson were revived. Some of them, like “Zorro,” were big hits, while a lot of them surprisingly missed with audiences. I’ve always loved the pulp and serial heroes, but a lot of the box office and ratings for movies and television decided that they were best left in their era. One of the bigger movements was to place serial heroes in to the future. So, The Phantom was placed in to a futuristic setting, and Sherlock Holmes was brought back a la “The Demolition Man.”