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A Monster Calls: A film NOT of lighthearted whimsy.



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

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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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No Question Mark Box Here; Super Mario Delivers a 1-Up in Theaters



If you were born in the ’80s, ’90s, or literally ANY decade after those, you know about Super Mario. A cultural phenomenon was brought to life on the big screen this last weekend. One that has not only stood the test of time but reinvented itself time and time again. This wasn’t even the first time it’s been made into a movie but, well, let’s be honest.. some of us choose not to acknowledge the LIVE action adaptation of the beloved game from 30 years ago. 

It was pretty bad… But this was animation. ILLUMINATION animation at that. The Universal company that brought us Gru and his Minions, showed us the Secret Life of Pets, and gave us a reason to SING! Still, I had my reservations and even some concerns, especially when the casting was announced. 

 Eyebrows were raised. As big of stars as they were on paper, could they really deliver on voicing characters from a staple of our childhood? They did.

Chris Pratt and Charlie Day may not be Italian, and Jack Black may not be a King or Turtle creature from the Mushroom Kingdom, but they make the characters their own all while paying homage to the lore of a video game. 

From the jump, the story reintroduces us to the brothers that just want to save Brooklyn one clogged sink at a time. We feel an instant connection and relate to these “underdogs of the plumbing world”. The movie is riddled with easter eggs, each of which tugs on the heartstrings of every generation of Mario fandom. And the soundtrack was beautifully put together to not only make us feel like we’re taking a walkthrough of the game but like an experience all its own with some familiar favorites thrown in.

Every word in the movie is pure eye candy for both those that are casual fans, and those analyzing every frame to see what they’ll catch next. Bowser’s ship, the Mushroom Kingdom, Kong’s arena, and the Rainbow Road.. They’re all meant to give us just enough of a “new” look at these amazing worlds, but stay true to how we remember them.

The movie itself moves along at the perfect pace. Although, if you don’t really know ANYTHING about the Super Mario Bros, you may have gotten a little lost and felt left behind in the green tunnel. But that’s ok! It’s an adventure of the imagination and a classic story of a boy that meets a girl and tries to save the world from a monster that wants to destroy it.

What’s funny is that you could easily say this is a story about two characters who couldn’t be more opposite if they tried, battling to win the heart of a princess. Who would’ve thought that the King of the Koopas was just trying to impress his crush?

And that song? Ohhh THAT song! It’s my new ringtone and deserves the Oscar for Best Original Song.

Back to the movie. 

Universal and Illumination clearly understood the assignment. Is it missing some things or could things have been done differently or even better? Absolutely! We’re the worst critics of the things we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts. But if you’re up for going on a 90-minute adventure through amazing worlds, with awesome music, and characters that’ll make you smile and laugh, then this is the perfect movie to spring you into that warm summer feeling.

Plus there’s the whole part with karts and shells, and banana peels and oh my goodness how amazing was that?? It’s enough to make you want to stand up and cheer, then go home and destroy your friends and family on your favorite track haha.

The bottom line, it pays homage in all the right ways to the little guy with the mustache, while giving us something new and exciting. Take the kids and go see Super Mario Bros. You’ll be glad you did!

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Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023



Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Opening Act Saturday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m. on North 200A. Talent confirmed so far to participate in the post-screening panel is Natalie Alyn Lind (Big Sky, The Goldbergs, Gotham) as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince and longtime RWBY cast member Lindsay Jones (Camp Camp) as Ruby, Kara Eberle ( RWBY: Ice Queendom) as Weiss, Arryn Zech (Detective Now Dead) as Blake and Barbara Dunkelman (Blood Fest) as Yang – along with Jeannie Tirado (Soul, Saints Row) as Green Lantern and Tru Valentino (The Rookie, The Cuphead Show!) as a cyborg. Also attending the panel will be producer/director Kerry Shawcross (series RWBY) and writer Meghan Fitzmartin (Supernatural, Justice Society: World War II).

Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023 with the big screen debut from DC Animated Films: highlights this year include the world premieres of the highly anticipated Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham and Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Part One the weekend of March 24-26 in Anaheim, California. Both screenings will be followed by panel discussions with actors and creators. Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham premieres at The Arena on Friday, March 24 at 6 p.m. Tati Gabrielle (Kaleidoscope, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Uncharted) as Kai Li Cain, Christopher Gorham (The Lincoln Lawyer, Insatiable) as Oliver Queen, David Dastmalchian (Dune, Suicide Squad, Ant-Man) as Grendon, producer/co-director Sam Liu (The Death and the Return of Superman), co-director Christopher Berkeley (Young Justice) and screenwriter Jase Ricci (Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem Across the Multiverse).

Both films will have encore screenings in the Arena on Sunday, March 26. Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One will screen at 12:15pm, followed by Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham at 2:00pm

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Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3



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