The Breadwinner (MovieManDan’s Guest Review)


Intro: Over the past few days; a strong contender in the 2017 Best Animated Feature race has emerged in “The Breadwinner” – the latest film from the folks at GKIDS. This title has been stealing top prize from Disney Pixar’s “Coco” in several of the smaller critics groups and it’s been gaining huge momentum along the way.  This film had its world premiere at TIFF ‘17 where it opened to some great reviews but I don’t think many were expecting this one to be as large of a threat to Pixar’s “Coco” as it’s quickly becoming.  The film was just recently released in Limited Release and so most are seeing this one at home through screeners instead of on the big screen *as they haven’t been given the option yet* but regardless – people are none-the-less seeing it and it’s quickly turning heads along the way. Read more

Wonder (2017) Review



Back in 1999, American author Stephen Chbosky published the novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower. The book, which followed the character of Charlie as he navigates between the worlds of adolescences and adulthood and attempt to deal with poignant questions by those around him (friends and family), did receive commercial success in the literary world, though it was banned in some American schools for its content (i.e. sexuality and drug usage). In 2012, Chbosky’s directed his sophomore theatrical film (the first was 1995’s The Four Corners of Nowhere) and adapted his own book for the big screen in the movie The Perks of Being a Wallflower. The film, which starred Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, and Ezra Miller, was met with positive reviews from critics and moviegoers, sharing a modest success of profiting roughly $33 million against its $13 million production budget. Additionally, Chbosky has also acted in other moviemaking capacities for other feature films, including a producer for 2007’s The Poughkeepsie Tapes and writer for both 2005’s theatrical adaptation of the Broadway show Rent and Disney’s 2017 live-action adaptation of their classic Beauty and the Beast. Now, Lionsgate Studios (in association with Participant Media and Walden Media) prepare for Stephen Chbosky to return to the director’s chair with the film Wonder; based on the book by R.J. Palacio. Does the movie find its stride or does something get lost in its “page to screen” translation? Read more

Daddy’s Home 2 (2017) Review




Toward the end of 2015, the comedy film Daddy’s Home emerged as the one of the last comedy feature films of the year. Directed by Sean Anders, the movie, which starred Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, follow the plights of Brad Whitaker, who seeks to be the best dad for his stepchildren. Unfortunately, Brad’s wishes to be “father of the year” to them is cut short when their biological father, Dusty Mayron returns, causing a comedic “dad-off” between the two in proving which one is the best for the children. While the premise was simply and had potential, especially since this was the second film collaboration of Ferrell and Wahlberg following the 2010 movie The Other Guys, Daddy’s Home was met with harsh negative criticism from both viewers and critics alike. That being said, the movie did prove to be a somewhat commercial success, grossing roughly $240 million at the box office against its $69 production budget as well as being Ferrell’s highest grossing live-action film to date. Now, roughly two years later, Paramount Pictures and director Sean Anders, as well as Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg return for holiday comedy sequel with the film Daddy’s Home 2. Does this follow-up installment improve from its predecessor or is it another dud with a Christmas twist? Read more

Coco (2017) Review



Pixar Animation Studios has been hailed as one of the premiere animated studios in all of Hollywood. Known for their popular big hits like Toy Story, The Incredibles, Monsters Inc, Up, and Inside Out, Pixar has gain the reputation for its high quality of cartoon feature films that have gone beyond the standard status quo of children’s animated movies. From its gorgeous and intricately detailed animation, to the colorful cast of characters, to its thematically and heartwarming signature of a story and / or messages, Pixar has proven that (time and time again) that their animated features, while aimed for kids, are wholesome entertainment for both the young and the young at heart. Unfortunately, while Pixar’s creativity has always been fascinated and well-founded with each and every film they release, the past decade has seen the studio return to its popular hits and used them as “brands” for follow-up sequels with films like Toy Story 3, Monsters University, Finding Dory, and most recently with Cars 3. While there’s nothing terrible wrong with this (finding many of these features to be well-received by critics and moviegoers), it somewhat dulls the sharp originality that made Pixar what stand out from its competition. Now, set to release its second 2017 film, Pixar Animation (in association With Walt Disney) and director Lee Unkrich (as well as co-director Adrian Molina) present the nineteenth feature film from the powerhouse studio with the movie Coco. Does this newest Pixar film find a home within its illustrious predecessors or does it falter in capturing the studio’s signature magic? Read more

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