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A Monster Calls: A film NOT of lighthearted whimsy.

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Release date:December 23, 2016
(limited; wide: Jan. 6)

Studio:Focus Features

Director:Juan Antonio Bayona

MPAA Rating:PG-13 (for thematic content and some scary images)

Screenwriter:Patrick Ness

Starring:Lewis MacDougall, Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell, Liam Neeson, Sigourney Weaver

Genre:Drama, Fantasy

Official website:FocusFeatures.com| Facebook| Twitter| Instagram

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To start things off this is not a lighthearted, whimsical, romp through some fantasy world of elves and magic. This is a film that, right from the start, jumps into some very serious subject matter.

We are introduced to a young boy named Conor, who is brought to us admirably by Lewis MacDougall. This is a young man tormented by bullies, an absent father, an overbearing grandmother, and worst of all an extremely ill mother (Like I said NOT a lighthearted film).

In the beginning it seems as though Conor is running the house due his mother having to work a lot of shifts, but it is quickly revealed that she is deathly ill and he is the one mostly maintaining the house. She does what she can, but her illness greatly limits her abilities.

Conor is is shown to be tortured at school by a band of ruffians, who make it their propose to take out their own insecurities on him, by mocking him and beating him on the regular. In addition to this Conor is plagued by a recurring dream of him standing outside of an old dilapidated church when all of a sudden the earth splits open and begins to swallow up his mother! He rushes to save her, but in the dream, he is unable to. She slips from his grasp into the pit never to be seen again, and he then he awakens. He awakens at the same time every night: 12:07 am (this become relevent later on in the film).

Conor attempts to cope with all of this by drawing. He is shown several times drawing late at night. In fact it is during one of these late night sessions when the “Monster” first appears. Now, of course the Monster is a CGI creation, but I will say that it is well done.

The creature grabs hold of Conor and informs him that he will told 3 stories all of which are designed to help him through this ordeal. Conor, however, (and for obvious reasons) does not care about any “stories”. The Monster, however, is insistent and with each story Conor is given insight to new and different perceptions. There is, however, no “magic” moment of revelation when everything falls into place and they live happily ever after. Every lesson is a hard one, every learning moment comes through pain, and this is something that I greatly appreciated!

This film is definitely one of heavy emotions, dismal situations, firebrand discoveries, as well as pockets of brightlight hope partnered with great warmth and tenderness. I found myself hardpressed not to weep in the theater even though I could hear many others who succumbed.

I highly recommend this film especially because in this era of everything being handed to characters on a silver platter of right now, this film shows the road of stuggle that leads to discovery.

 

 

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Caesar’s Reign Comes To The Big Screen With New Trailer For Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes

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Director Wes Ball breathes new life into the global, epic franchise set several generations in the future following Caesar’s reign, in which apes are the dominant species living harmoniously and humans have been reduced to living in the shadows. As a new tyrannical ape leader builds his empire, one young ape undertakes a harrowing journey that will cause him to question all that he has known about the past and to make choices that will define a future for apes and humans alike. “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” is directed by Wes Ball (the “Maze Runner” trilogy) and stars Owen Teague (“IT”), Freya Allan (“The Witcher”), Kevin Durand (“Locke & Key”), Peter Macon (“Shameless”), and William H. Macy (“Fargo”). The screenplay is by Josh Friedman (“War of the Worlds”) and Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (“Avatar: The Way of Water”) and Patrick Aison (“Prey”), based on characters created by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver, and the producers are Wes Ball, Joe Hartwick, Jr., p.g.a. (“The Maze Runner”), Rick Jaffa, p.g.a., Amanda Silver, p.g.a., Jason Reed, p.g.a. (“Mulan”), with Peter Chernin (the “Planet of the Apes” trilogy) and Jenno Topping (“Ford v. Ferrari”) serving as executive producers.

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Masterchef Is Back! For Halo Season 2

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A quick recap – Halo is set in a war-torn 26th century, where humanity led by the United Nations Space Command or UNSC and their supersoldiers known as Spartans, fights against the onslaught of the alien conglomerate known as the Covenant. The full dust-up of Halo Season 1, can be found here. Onward into the introduction of Halo Season 2!

It’s been six months since the forced separation of Spartan Masterchief John (Pablo Schreiber) and Cortana (Jen Taylor), and the Silver Team has been sent on a mission to evacuate residents of the planet Sanctuary before the Covenant glasses the whole thing. This comes with its own set of challenges, given the resistance of the planet’s inhabitants, and it doesn’t help that Masterchef starts seeing things right in the middle of trying to save some marines. Or is he? Those energy swords the squad of Elites were carrying looked worryingly real.

Back on Reach, the Silver Team is entirely dismayed to learn they have a brand new Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) representative come in as the new boss, to finally replace the traitorous Halsey, James Ackerson (Joseph Morgan). And of course, Ackerson manages to immediately get under Masterchief’s skin, by not only expressing far too much interest in John’s relationship with Cortana but also apparently disbelieving of John’s report of his encounters on Sanctuary. That just means Masterchief has to go around, if not entirely over, Ackerson’s head.

Elsewhere, Soren (Bokeem Woodbine) is trolling the slave markets in his boredom, only to stumble across a soon-to-be indentured servant who claims he knows the whereabouts of the UNSC’s most hunted human, Catherine Halsey (Natascha McElhone). That should bring a huge bounty, but really, Soren should’ve known better by now.

Halo Season 2 premieres Thursday, February 8th, 2024, and will continue to air every Thursday, only on Paramount+!

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Reborn as a Vending Machine I Now Wander the Dungeon’: I look forward to your next use!  

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If the title of this delightful little isekai anime entry didn’t give it all away, our nameless protagonist is a vending machine fanatic who, after being killed by a vending machine, gets reincarnated in another fantasy-style world as one! 

Japan has a tendency to give birth to all sorts of crazed fads that can last for decades, and no one does better when it comes to the vending machine industry, too. These days there are vending machines that will serve you sushi you can actually eat, hot pizza in the box, wagyu steaks, freshly popped popcorn, and a whole mind-boggling array of tasty treats, and other non-edible but still useful items! Umbrellas! Condoms! Oxygen masks, sterile bandages, shoes, and emergency clothing! Actually, far more things that we use on an everyday basis, could be considered as technically a vending machine, and the anime explores that beautifully. Into the world of vending machine fanaticism, we dive! 

So our poor protagonist never gave a name, and inevitably when he’s discovered by his first official friend the starving hunter Lammis, she dubs him “Boxxo”. Like many isekai that seem to take inspiration from video games and RPGs, Boxxo discovers he ways he can communicate, level up his existence, and even evince magic-like powers and attack and defend against monsters and enemies. Though in the beginning, and as an underlying theme throughout the show, Boxxo is primarily concerned with providing unique never-before-tasted-in-this-world food and drink to the amazed folk, human and otherwise. 

Boxxo’s prices are entirely reasonable and hey, he can even choose to give out his wares for free on occasion, so his popularity immediately skyrockets. Lammis with her awkward charm and prodigious strength blessing, introduces Boxxo to other friends of Clearflow Lake Village and associates along the way – Director Bear, an actual bear-monster who’s the head of the Hunters Association; Lammis’ friend Hulemy, the insane genius magic item engineer; the Bearcats Suco, Pell, Short and Mikenne, cheerful hunters with astronomic appetites; even suspicious Kerioyl, leader of the Menagerie of Fools party. 

The show approaches the practicality and versatility of the true vending machine with amusement, but also with the love true fans display for things they’re passionate about. Certainly, things like a brothel needing a condom vending machine exist in our world, but to toss them into a potentially more innocent other-world isekai is a welcome and often hilarious treat. The show celebrates the cheerful idiocy and devotion of the fans to their chosen fandom, in this case, yes vending machines, but also the spirit of the lonely otaku finally finding their Tribe! 

Pay your coins to watch ‘Reborn as a Vending Machine’ on Crunchyroll now! 

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