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‘Fullmetal Alchemist’: Hunting Philosopher’s Stones



So, here’s the deal. The movie is basically like watching a two-hour-long live-action version of the original anime series, it really is. The problem is those parts where the movie is not like the original beloved cartoon, and some of them are formidable.

Before we say what’s not so great about the film, let’s talk about what really is awesomesauce, where ‘Fullmetal Alchemist’ shines like a philosopher’s stone among the rubble.

Despite magic being used very often in the movie, it is called ‘Fullmtal Alchemist’ after all, the CGI used to show the magical effects is sparing and only to enhance the scene, rather than take the whole thing over. Lust and her claws, Mustang and his conflagration blazes, even Ed and Al and their clap-stone-mosaic-explosion alchemy, it’s all to my eyes actually believable-looking. The one instance where loving CGI enhancement falters a little teensy bit is the reveal of the Tucker chimera, but that’s a major spoiler I won’t go into.

The main storyline is exactly the same as the original show, as I said, and this can only be a good thing. In this world of alchemy as commonplace, brothers Ed (Ryosuke Yamada) and Al (Atomu Mizuishi) Elric, after losing their mother, decide to take fate into literally their own hands and bring her back to life with magic.

Sadly the Law of Equivalent Exchange quite literally costs Ed and arm and a leg, and Al his entire body, to be replaced by a suit of armor Ed managed to scavenge at the last second. This act cements both Elric brothers as alchemical anomalies, and some time later they are recruited by Colonel Roy Mustang (Dean Fujioka) into the army as State Alchemists. Here is where the movie begins, with Ed and Al going off in search of the legendary Philosopher’s Stone, which could in theory get Al his entire body back.

The introductory story of the bogus Father Cornello (Kenjiro Ishimaru), the utter tragedy of what happens to Major Maes Hughes (Ryuta Sato) and his family, the outrageous blasphemy of Shou Tucker (Yo Oizumi), the evil Major General Hakuro (Fumiyo Kohinata), even the introduction of misbegotten Dr. Tim Marcoh (Jun Kunimura), all these important characters are played to their fullest in the live action movie, though with time management issues, it’s hard to give evry last character the emotional reaction they deserve. Especially Major Hughes, but then what happens to him is still considered to be one of the worst betrayals in long-running anime history.

Taking also into account everyone’s favorite automail mechanic Winry Rockwell (Tsubasa Honda), Colonel Mustang’s one-liners and his best aide Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye (Misako Renbutsu), the Elric brothers don’t lack for friends to combat the many enemies beginning to pile up. The Fuhrer King Bradley and his family are mentioned, but not in this beginning film, which can lead us to the hopeful assumption that there will be a live action sequel.

The homunculi are of course introduced in the film, the major ones being the manipulative Lust (Yasuko Matsuyuki), the face-changing Envy (Kanata Hongo), and of course the bottomless pit of Gluttony (Shinji Uchiyama). The extreme cost of making Philosopher’s Stones and Homunculi at all are way too high for the now-moral-minded Elric brothers, and indeed, as the cases the State Alchemists are investigating begin to coalesce, their collective mistaken past may be the one thing that leads the Elric brothers and their allies to saving everyone!

And now for the unmentioned elephant in the room, or live action movie. Much as I enjoyed this new live action movie and all the actors who threw themselves into these much-beloved roles, there is one thing that stands out – the voices. Specifically, the voices of both Ed and Al Elric.

In the anime, which really you probably should’ve seen before watching the live action movie, the Elric brothers are much younger and their voices clearly demonstrate this. Al is at least a few years younger than his brother and it was always so incongruous to hear a youngling voice come out of that empty suit of armor. But both Ed and Al in the film have the voices of teenagers, and seriously, it’s hard to get over.

The costuming is excellent and made with a keen, clear eye to the anime, right down to the summery yellow dress Winry wears and the State Alchemist uniforms of the military. As stated before, it may help to foster fan relations if you see at least an episode or two of the anime before watching the live action film, but all in all, the live action movie is a 2-hour romp through the world of the Elric brothers, made by and for fans that have loved ‘Fullmetal Alchemist’ for decades!

Join the hunt for Philosopher’s Stones in ‘Fullmetal Alchemist’ the movie, on Netflix now!

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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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