Sunday, January 11, 2015

Rebels Vs Clone Wars (Star Wars)

Rebels vs Clone Wars


It probably isn’t fair to compare Clone Wars and Rebels since the Clone Wars had over 5 Seasons and Rebels is just at the halfway point of its first season.  but it is hard not to since Rebels basically replaced Clone Wars.   So compare them I shall.

What is Rebels about?  Rebels takes place in the era leading up to the original Star Wars….The Empire is still alive and well and the Rebellion is slowly starting to form.   Where Star Wars obviously influenced Firefly ---Firefly clearly influenced Rebels.   It follows the adventures of the crew aboard a ship called The Ghost.  As they try to earn a living and stick it to the Empire at the same time.  The series has been good so far. I especially like the  character interactions and relationships of the crew and Esra  (which is basically an Aladdin with Jedi powers) learning how to use his powers. 

More Kid Friendly?

Rebels definitely feels more aimed at kids than Clone Wars did and a main part of that may be as result of the main character Esra’s age.  It definitely feels like Star Wars which is a good thing and I’m sure like any new show it will take awhile to fully get involved with the characters.  Rebels unlike the Clone Wars –which basically focused on characters we already knew from books and movies –has a brand new cast of characters -so instead of jumping straight into the adventures of Anakin and Obi Wan with no need for character development ---this time around we need to spend time learning who these characters are.

The Action

The show has had some really good lightsaber battles involving the main villain The Inquisitor.   They have been able to display some exciting action sequences in the show so far ---but again not on the level of some of the stuff from Clone Wars.  Rebels is definitely more simplistic in its action sequences.   Clone Wars had big epic battle pieces like the assault up the side of a cliff in the Clone Wars pilot movie.  I just haven't seen anything on that level yet in Rebels.

Side by Side Comparison

I recently got to re watch some of the Lost Episodes of Clone Wars and I really just like the animation style of Clone Wars better than Rebels.  Clone Wars always looked  and felt very cinematic.  Rebels feels more like a cartoon (which is fine).  I think one of the differences is that the background details in Clone Wars were more defined.  Clone Wars was an extremely expensive show to produce and  I know that they wanted to scale back the production costs for Rebels --but unfortunately it shows on screen.  I used to say that I would literally go to the movie theaters once every 3 weeks to watch story arcs of Clone Wars on the big screen.  Rebels seems like it belongs on TV.   Don't get me wrong I'm enjoying Rebels and I watch it every week-- I just feel that in comparison to Clone Wars that it just isn't on as epic a scale.  One reason for this is probably the a result of the story for Rebels focusing on the crew of a single ship ---where Clone Wars took you all over the galaxy and focused on many more characters.

I will continue to watch and enjoy Rebels as we get more involved in their story.   As a huge Star Wars fan I recommend watching both series if you haven't already.

Take a look below and compare the animation styles of the 2 shows for yourself

Here is a trailer for Rebels

And one for Clone Wars now on DVD and Netflix

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Saturday, January 10, 2015

Dolphin Tale 2011 8 out of 10 and Dolphin Tale 2 2014 7 out of 10 (Family Movie Review #10 and # 11)

Dolphin Tale 2011  8 out of 10

An inspirational movie about an injured dolphin that has to have his tail removed and then needs to have a artificial tail created for it in order to survive. It is based on a true story, but with elements added that were typical Hollywood conventions. It is very similar to Free Willy in that a young boy ends up making a connection with a Cetacean. The movie grabs your heart from the moment you see the injured dolphin stranded on the beach. Dolphins are beautiful intelligent creatures which makes them so easy to get emotional about. 

The movie is not just about the dolphin's tail though it also is about the boy finding something to care about in life again while he has struggled to find something to connect with after the loss of his father. He is a lost soul until this connection with the dolphin changes his life. It is also about the journey of his older cousin that was a potential Olympic swimmer until he suffers a crippling injury while overseas fighting for our country and how he learns to accept his handicap. It is a touching story that is well executed in its telling

Dolphin Tale 2   2014 7  out of 10

When I heard that there was going to be a Dolphin Tale 2 -  my first thought was  "Is that really necessary?"   The first movie didn't really need a sequel since it was such a good and complete story- but after renting it for Family movie night, because my step daughter wanted to see it --it was definitely worth a watch.    Dolphin Tale 2 continues the story of the inspirational dolphin Winter as see deals with the loss of a fellow dolphin.   This is a common thing that many dolphins in captivity deal with since they are very social animals.   After the death of her dolphin friend she goes into a deep depression and they need to find a new dolphin for her to socialize with.    This movie didn't have the same strong storyline as the first movie, but was a good family film anyways.   I love dolphins and have found them fascinating my whole life.  They are so amazing that I was instantly pulled back in and cared deeply what was going to happen to Winter.    No big spoiler here...since the other Dolphin is shown in the poster ---Hope the stranded baby dolphin that they rescue and Winter ends up bonding with --was a predictable yet satisfying end to Winter's story.

I liked the movie for the dolphins ---my wife liked it for Harry Connick Jr.  --- a win -win situation.

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Agent Carter: A TV show review "As good as a movie"

The Story
Agent Carter hits the ground running right out of the gate.  
It's companion show Agents of SHIELD took awhile to develop before it was firing on all cylinders.   Agent Carter hit the airwaves in full stride from the beginning.   This 8 episode show that is taking place in the middle of Agents of Shield's season is big screen worthy.   The show follows the adventures of Captain America's old flame from the 1940's  Peggy Carter (played by Haley Atwell).  The premiere episode starts out with Howard Stark (Iron Man's dad) being accused of being a traitor as many of his secret projects are being sold to enemies.  Howard enlists Peggy Carter to prove that he is innocent.  The story sets up that several of Howard Stark's secret projects have been stolen and Peggy Carter has to make sure they don't fall into the wrong hands.  The plot is perfect as each week there will be a Macguffin for her to go after,  while trying to prove that Howard isn't a traitor.   Peggy Carter kicks ass with the help of Howard Stark's butler Jarvis (yes the same name as Tony Stark's robot butler from the Iron Man movies.)    The only thing that I don't like is that currently there are only 8 episodes --because this is my new Must See TV Show.  I can't wait to see what happens in the upcoming episodes.  It seem to be leading towards the moment in the Marvel cinematic universe where Howard Stark enlists Peggy Carter to start SHIELD.   I also love how it ties in with the other show and the films.  The fact that Marvel brought in big creative guns that worked on the Captain America movies --really makes it feel like it is a part of the movie universe.

The Look and Feel of the show
The stylish look and feel of the show are terrific.  The 1940's setting gives the show a feel like the classic film Rocketeer or the original Captain America  (both directed by Joe Johnson).  It's film noir coolness and kick ass spy intrigue.   This show feels like a movie series and I liked it better than the original Captain America movie (which it used some footage of for Captain America flashbacks).    Check out the trailer below and check it out on ABC.

After watching the show check out a weekly podcast about the show as well.  Agents of Shield: Case Files which does a Podcast about Agents of Shield also is covering Agent Carter as Well

Also check out our own Podcast where we recently covered upcoming Marvel projects from this Marvel Universe that is doing such an amazing job with it's movies and TV Shows.

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Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Maze Runner ...Better than the Hunger Games? 2014 8+ out of 10

The Maze Runner  2014  8+ out of 10

The Maze Runner is basically Lord of the Flies meets the Cube which is a satsifying combination.  A teenage boy finds himself in a metal elevator being released into the middle of a field with no memory and surrounded by boys with spears.   The boys have created a mini society for themselves with rules and duties.  Their little world is a forest surrounded by a giant ever shifting and changing maze.  The workings of this mini-society are interesting to watch as the boy's arrival mixes things up a bit. 
The movie was a solid sci-fi mystery as the boy is too driven to just except his fate in this new situation and wants to figure out the Maze.  Like many sci-fi movies the plot is driven by an individual that won't except that life is just how it is and drives for answers. 

 This thriller which is based on a young adult book series is yet another attempt like  Hunger Games to cash in on similar success.   The Maze Runner is more interesting and enjoyable then The Hunger Games.   The mystery being the Maze is an interesting one that keeps the viewer engaged and drives the story along.  I gave up on the Hunger Games after the second movie Catching Fire which was just boring to watch.  

The Ending
 Without giving anything away the end of the movie has a cool reveal and gives some answers, yet opens up more questions that made me anxious to see the sequel that should be out in 2015. The movie gives you just enough to make you feeling interesting on what is really behind The Maze.  Are the creators of the Maze good or bad? I guess we will have to turn into the sequel to find out. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire was too much a less interesting repeat of the first movie with the second movie being a lot slower and less interesting.  By the end of Catching Fire - I didn't care what happens to Katniss going forward.   The Maze Runner ---makes me want to see the next movie right away.

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Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Watch 2012 8 out of 10

The Watch 2012   8 out of 10

Sometimes you can put a bunch of talented comedians and get a movie that just doesn't work.  This isn't an example of that.  The Watch was very watchable.    It was a good solid comedy movie with a strong cast of comedians.  Ben Stiller is he controlling OCD type that starts the group.  Vince Vaughn plays a less cocky version of his normal self and Jonah Hill as a total weirdo.   Ben Stiller's character decides to start a neighborhood watch after his coworker is killed at Walmart.  A group of guys join his watch, all for their own reasons and make up a good comedic team that while trying to investigate the murder stumble across an alien invasion.  The onscreen chemistry of the characters works well and the comedy and action of the movie are well balanced.    I especially thought that Vince Vaughn (who has a Bill Murray like ---Sometimes great ---sometimes annoying  thing going for him)   was great.    The movie had some quality comedy sequences in a plot that was well paced.  The funniest segment is when they capture a "Dead" alien and take a bunch of super weird pictures with it.  The special effects were also solid in this film and the aliens were more menacing than one would expect in a comedy like this.

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Let's Be Cops 2014 8+ out of 10

Let's Be Cops  2014  8+ out of 10

The trailer for this comedy looked funny and the movie for once actually lived up to the trailer.  Damon Wayons Jr. and Jake Johnson star as two pals that feel like they are going nowhere in their lives.  Jake's character is literally going nowhere and Damon's character is working as a game designer at a video game company that can't seem to speak up to get his ideas heard.   They dress up as cops for a Costume party that wasn't really a costume party and end up getting addicted to being fake cops.  It is a disaster waiting to happen (They could totally go to jail for this).   Jake's character ends up taking it a step further and buys a cop car on Ebay and drages Damon deeper into their fake roles.    The movie had some genuinely funny scenes including having to break up a girl fight and the naked Sumo Wreslting takedown.  The chemistry between the actors is great, of course they already work together on the silly sitcom "New Girl" on Fox.   As a fan of "New Girl" this movie almost felt like an extension of those same characters - just taken to a rawer, crazier level.   If you are a fan of that TV show --it is a sure thing you will like this movie.

 The third act of the movie gets serious as their adventures as fake cops takes them into dangerous territory as they uncover an evil gang.  This tonal shift actually worked while and despite the film getting more serious than any of the trailers would have suggested it didn't take away from the film.  The very end of the film was able to bring things back to a fun comic level and the extra scenes during the credits were a blast as well.  

 I would love to see the Jake and Damon in another movie together.

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