Teletubbies: Bubbles (DVD)

Released to coincide with “International Bath Day,” the Teletubbies release yet another edition of their episodes on DVD. Comprised of six episodes total, this new volume features the alien—monster—children things dancing and singing once again with the help of their special Tubby Custard Machine. Said Machine concocts all kinds of scenarios and fun activities including allowing them to play with bubbles, and dance the new “Tubby Phone Dance.”

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Beauty and the Beast (2017)

It’s surprising how well Disney adapts their own version of the shockingly beloved fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast.” While their Oscar winning animated version reigns supreme, Bill Condon manages to deliver his own interpretation that tweaks the tale here and there for new audiences with a great effect. I was quite stunned at how enjoyable “Beauty and the Beast” ended up being. While it has the familiarity of the 1991 movie, it’s also a unique experience that allows for a new angle on songs that are now deemed legendary. Condon approaches the live action remake/adaptation with a well balanced tone of whimsy and dread, allowing for a very subtle romance between Belle and the Beast.

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Ben (1972) [Blu-Ray/DVD]

There aren’t many movies out there that offer audiences a sequel that is so drastically different in tone. The biggest comparison I can draw is the original horror thriller “Cat People” and dramatic “The Curse of the Cat People.” While “Willard” was basically a twisted thriller involving a dysfunctional young man’s self destructive relationship with rats, “Ben” is a more dramatic family film with elements of horror thrown in. It’s a very tonally confused and muddled melodrama that doesn’t do much to make Ben in to an interesting horror villain. To prove how utterly confused the movie is in terms of intentions, watch the final scene in which Ben stares in to the camera menacingly in the vein of the climax of “Willard” while the sappy “Ben’s Song” from Michael Jackson plays as the credits roll. So—what are we supposed to feel by this?

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Bambi (1942): Anniversary Edition [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

“Bambi” is less a narrative with a lot of characters and morals and more about the hazards of life and the loss of innocence. “Bambi” somewhat celebrates the tradition of “Dumbo” to where we watch the beginning of a young life and his journey to grow up in a very dangerous and unforgiving world. Despite the time it was made, “Bambi” is still a technically impressive drama that paints the wildlife landscape so vividly with a dream like aura that can be inviting and harrowing. The film itself is based on highs and lows centered on the music and turn of events that unfold for young Bambi.

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Sing (2016)

“Sing” is a lot like many of the other movies from Illumination Studios. It’s basically a moving greeting card. It’s cute for a few minutes, and then you’ll eventually find yourself tucking it away and looking for something more stimulating. As per most of the films from Illumination, “Sing” is just a middle of the road film that barely gets by because of the neat animation. “Sing” is cute. And that’s about it. It’s cute. And it packs a humongous soundtrack filled with pop songs both old and new that are meant to basically distract from the fact that it’s a very barebones animated movie with a paper thin narrative, that does little to convey to its audience something more meaningful.

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DC Superhero Girls: Intergalactic Games (2017) (DVD)

For parents looking to introduce their tween children to lighter superhero fare before giving them heavier doses of superhero drama, “DC Superhero Girls” is a nice animated introduction. Based on the hit toy line, “DC Superhero Girls” is set in the superhero high school, where DC Universe’s most powerful superheroes attend to learn how to fight crime. The movie is mostly centered on the female superheroes from the DC Universe including young Wonder Woman, young Batgirl, Supergirl, Bumblebee, Katana, Poison Ivy, and class clown Harley Quinn.

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Violet (2017)

A teen witnesses a murder and must come to terms with what he saw.  Through his interactions with friends and family, he attempts to but can’t seem to find the way.

Violet was written and directed by Bas Devos, for whom this is a first feature according to IMDB.  This film is interesting in terms of how it develops around the lead that saw the murder.  It’s a simple story with strong emotional impact in terms of a teen dealing with grief, survivor guilt, and other hard feelings to handle at such at any age, especially as a teen.  The film explores this with mostly following the lead’s daily life and what he sees while trying to work through this.  The story has good, interesting elements but what really shine are the lead, its actor, and the visuals.

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