Princess Mononoke (Mononoke-hime) (1997): Collector’s Edition [Blu-Ray/CD/Book]

Twenty years ago, Studio Ghibli and the master Hayao Miyazaki opened my mind up to a new dimension of animation and storytelling that pretty much changed my life. It also inspired me to look toward telling bigger tales with richer characters, because Miyazaki is very much about rich characterization and brilliant metaphor. Much of his films revolve around the love of nature, the vastness of the open sky, and the effect humans can have on the environment and the world around us.

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Death House (2017)

Touted as “The Expendables” for horror fans, “Death House” is a huge missed opportunity that revels in its painfully derivative and clumsy premise. Ripping off “Alone in the Dark,” “Cabin in the Woods,” and yes, even “Jurassic Park,” Harrison Smith manages to do absolutely nothing with the plethora of horror stars that show up for the film. Most of the people that are promoted in the opening credits only show up for thirty seconds at a time with glorified cameos, while folks like Kane Hodder take a back seat to the bland, forgettable protagonists we’re supposed to be rooting for. By the time the movie ended I couldn’t even tell you what their names were.

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The Deadly Mantis (1957) [Blu-Ray]

“But I got a mantis in my pantis.” – MST3K

Nathan Juran’s “The Deadly Mantis” is the antithesis of every single monster movie ever made. It’s aggressively boring, tedious, and doesn’t even have any kind of camp to compensate for the obvious lack of the monster. Even worse, at almost eighty minutes in length, the monster never actually rears its face on camera until about twenty five minutes in. The rest is stock footage, stock footage, and even more stock footage!

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Ranking the MCU Films From Worst to Best

Ranking has become a fun, new tradition I do with all the other fellow geeks whenever a new movie from a series is released. While Kevin Feige of Marvel Studios has declared the upcoming “Spider-Man: Far from Home” to be the official end of Marvel Phase 4, it’s safe to say that I can list this ranking (inspired by “Birth.Movies.Death”) without altering much once the film is released in theaters. I think “Far from Home” will be great, but my top five MCU movies still remain basically the same, even after “Endgame.”

What is your ranking?

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Now That You’ve Seen “Avengers: Endgame,” Watch These Five Marvel Movies

With “Avengers: Endgame” and the Mighty Marvel Cinematic Universe winning the box office and grabbing rave reviews, geeks of all walks of life are currently trying to deal with the emotional level of what unfolded in to the epic finale of the Infinity Gems arc. Now that you’ve seen “Endgame,” here are five animated Marvel movies that will keep the Mighty Marvel high going a little longer.

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Avengers: Endgame (2019)

“Endgame” accomplishes a grand feat. It’s not only a sequel that resolves just about every question we had with “Infinity War,” but it also acts as a wonderful book end to the first ten years of Marvel movies. This movie is a kind of “What If?” if you will, and I loved how the Russo Brothers don’t just make good on closing the epic saga of the infinity stones, but also have some fun tinkering in the Marvel Cinematic Universe established by folks like Joss Whedon, and Jon Favreau prior. It’s a marvelous and brilliant compilation of everything we love about this cinematic universe, plus a dramatic pay off for folks that have come to fall in love with these heroes and villains for of all these years.

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Tito and the Birds (Tito e os Pássaros) (2018) [Blu-Ray/DVD]

Directors Gustavo Steinberg, André Catoto, and Gabriel Bitar deliver an interesting and original animated adventure with “Tito and the Birds” that’s based around very relevant social and political themes. Audiences will find some fascinating messages to be mined from “Tito and the Birds,” as the writers explore the idea of prejudice and hate the potential for disease and misery to be exploited by fascism and greed.

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Justice League vs. The Fatal Five (2019) [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

After years of delivering a new style of animation for a new generation of DC and Warner fans, the DC animation department is going back to the well and reviving the classic Bruce Timm animation style for some brand new films. While they all haven’t been slam dunks, “Justice League vs. The Fatal Five” is a fine return to form for a part of DC Comics Entertainment that almost always delivers. It’s certainly better than the junky 2017 “Batman and Harley Quinn” movie, and even takes the time out to delve in to important overtones about PTSD, Mental illness, and overcoming our fears.

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