APOLLO 10 1/2: A SPACE AGE CHILDHOOD (2022)

Written & Directed By: Richard Linklater Cinematography: Shane F. Kelly

Editor: Sandra Adair

Cast: Jack Black, Zachary Levi, Glenn Powell, Bill Sage, Milo Coy, Lee Eddy, Josh Wiggins, Natalie L’Amoreaux 

The story of the first moon landing in the summer of 1969 from two interwoven perspectives. It both captures the astronaut and mission control view of the triumphant moment, and the lesser-seen bottom up perspective of what it was like from an excited kid’s perspective, living near NASA but mostly watching it on TV like hundreds of millions of others. It’s ultimately both an exacting re-creation of this special moment in history and a kid’s fantasy about being plucked from his average life in suburbia to secretly train for a covert mission to the moon.


This film feels more like a loving living memory. That is more an autobiographical look back at childhood in 1969. Nothing about the culture, times, and family life of those times.

As obviously this is a project close to writer/director Richard Linklater’s heart. Where the side plot of a kid experiencing space exploration is to give the film more of a center and a kind of big plot to attract audiences.

That eventually makes good on the promise of that story but is treated more as an afterthought. As not only is it more wish fantasy but also is kind of a metaphor for the last days of innocence before getting older and into not only adulthood but young adulthood where responsibilities pile up and things become more concrete. Though it is handled here as just another episode as part of the character’s youth. 

The film uses rotoscoping animation, a technique the director has used before in previous films WAKING LIFE, and his adaptation of A SCANNER DARKLY. Here it is used more personally which gives the film and its characters a more vibrant life and flexibility that might have been harder to create in live-action. Plus it allows for that time to seem more like an otherworldly fantasy. 

Though its use here is not as outlandish and surreal as his previous projects with it. 

The film is impressive but never quite exciting even though it isn’t designed to be. It more feels like the Billy Joel song WE DIDN’T START THE FIRE. With it being a pop song to groove to but also made up of so many historical references you want to look up the ones you don’t know. So in effect a kind of lesson of sorts also of all that has happened since then. A nice memorial to those times.

Grade: B

THE PRINCE OF EGYPT (1998)

Directed By: Brenda Chapman, Steve Hickner & Simon Wells

Written By: Philip LaZebnik

Cast: (Voices) Val Kilmer, Ralph Fiennes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sandra Bullock, Jeff Goldblum, Danny Glover, Patrick Stewart, Steve Martin, Martin Short, Helen Mirren, James Avery, Eden Reigel 

Egyptian Prince Moses learns of his identity as a Hebrew and his destiny to become the chosen deliverer of his people.


This movie really takes me back as I remember it being a big release at the time and a big holiday one at that. I was working at a movie theater at the time of my first job and remember the shows staying packed for weeks full. Almost every show. 

I also remember how messy yet warm and sweet-smelling the theaters would be afterward. Not only that but constantly hear the duet by Whitney Houston & Mariah Carey on the song BELIEVE.

This embezzled that song into my head and anytime I hear it now it reminds of this movie and takes me to a happy place. 

Shocked, it took me so long to see this last film. As one never watched it in theaters and can tell that was a lost opportunity. As this definitely works best on a big screen. As the story is epic, so is the film. Even for an animated movie, it feels majestic. 

It tells such a grand story in a short amount of time with plenty of impacts. 

Not usually a fan of biblical films but this doesn’t feel preachy. It just feels like a story from history with some supernatural elements. Though still is a story about the strength of character and faith.

Watching the film you might prefer fewer songs that make it feel more like a musical without song and dance numbers but montages and memories instead. 

Which also helps counter and explain its darkness in the second half. 

It allows for more stories to be told in a shorter time. As well as showcase their emotions in the moment and at the time of course most family animated films do have songs to keep kids and some adults from feeling restless though for this film. Not to mention it helps embed the movie into memories through those sing-along songs. This is impressive all-around yet more for adults, there could have been less. 

The animation is impressive and has stood the test of time. 

Even in one of the action scenes such as the final battle scenes and the sandstorm sequences and the miracles/plagues.

Grade: B+

ANTZ (1998)

Directed By: Eric Darnell & Tim Johnson 
Written By: Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz & Todd Alcott 
Editor: Stan Webb

Cast: (voices) Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Sylvester Stallone, Jennifer Lopez, Christopher Walken, Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtain, Anne Bancroft, Danny Glover, John Mahoney, Paul Mazursky, Grant Shaud, Jim Cummings 

Z, the worker-ant strives to reconcile his own individuality with the communal work ethic of the ant colony. Falling in love with the ant-Princess Bala, Z strives to make social inroads, and then ultimately must save the ant colony from the treacherous schemings of the evil General Mandible that threaten to wipe out the entire worker population. Themes of individuality run rampant.


This was one of the first animated films to really have an all-star cast of voices and really put the film out like a blockbuster with real stars. It is a hit most studios thought that that formula would work. It worked for a short period of time until the audience realized the story matters too. 

While the ensemble all-star cast is here some are odd casting choices that reek of Stunt casting at times and are More like picking actors who would never co-star together regularly.

One of the reasons now anytime an animated film comes out that it is successful for the most part is more than it seems as there are no purely live-action kids films. Animated is usually the only form of children’s entertainment that is coming out unless you count fantasy films though those are aimed at the whole family.

Woody Allen perfectly cast this as his comedy film with broad humor and from an outsider viewpoint amongst his peers, again an unbelievably gorgeous female lead he gets to romance. Though essentially it also feels like a Woody Allen Movie. Only with more action and outside of New York and of course for a younger audience. 

This film came out against the similarly themed A BUGS LIFE life from Pixar.  which I will admit is more impressive visually, but I find this film to be more all-around enjoyable. This is more pedestrian and not as impressive in the animation. This is kind of basic. Not made to be so special. Full of more enjoyment.

A BUG’S LIFE seemed to think visuals first story second believing the audience to be so enraptured by the animation they won’t care about the other details as much. The same type of thinking that reminds me of the film AVATAR

Grade: C+

ANTZ (1998)

Directed By: Eric Darnell & Tim Johnson Written By: Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz & Todd Alcott

Editor: Stan Webb

Cast: (voices) Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Gene Hackman, Sylvester Stallone, Jennifer Lopez, Christopher Walken, Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtain, Anne Bancroft, Danny Glover, John Mahoney, Paul Mazursky, Grant Shaud, Jim Cummings 

Z, the worker-ant strives to reconcile his own individuality with the communal work ethic of the ant colony. Falling in love with the ant-Princess Bala, Z strives to make social inroads, and then ultimately must save the ant colony from the treacherous schemings of the evil General Mandible that threaten to wipe out the entire worker population. Themes of individuality run rampant.


This was one of the first animated films to really have an all-star cast of voices and really put the film out like a blockbuster with real stars. It is a hit most studios thought that that formula would work. It worked for a short period of time until the audience realized the story matters too. 

While the ensemble all-star cast is here some are odd casting choices that reek of Stunt casting at times and are More like picking actors who would never co-star together regularly.

One of the reasons now anytime an animated film comes out that it is successful for the most part is more than it seems as there are no purely live-action kids films. Animated is usually the only form of children’s entertainment that is coming out unless you count fantasy films though those are aimed at the whole family.

Woody Allen perfectly cast this as his comedy film with broad humor and from an outsider viewpoint amongst his peers, again an unbelievably gorgeous female lead he gets to romance. Though essentially it also feels like a Woody Allen Movie. Only with more action and outside of New York and of course for a younger audience. 

This film came out against the similarly themed A BUGS LIFE life from Pixar.  which I will admit is more impressive visually, but I find this film to be more all-around enjoyable. This is more pedestrian and not as impressive in the animation. This is kind of basic. Not made to be so special. Full of more enjoyment.

A BUG’S LIFE seemed to think visuals first story second believing the audience to be so enraptured by the animation they won’t care about the other details as much. The same type of thinking that reminds me of the film AVATAR

Grade: C+

JUSTICE LEAGUE: DOOM (2012)

Directed By: Lauren Montgomery
Written By: Dwayne McDuffie
Story By: Mark Waid
Editor: Christopher D. Loszinski

Featuring the voices of: Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly, Nathan Fillion, Carl Lumbly, Alexis Denisof, Michael Rosenbaum, Bumper Robinson, Phil Morris, Olivia D’abo, Juliet Landau

Vandal Savage steals confidential files Batman has compiled on the members of the Justice League, and learns all their weaknesses.


The Justice League is a team of great power, but also of personal secrets they thought safe. That changes when the immortal supervillain, Vandal Savage, has Batman’s Batcave secretly raided to learn them all and more. Soon, the Leaguers are individually beset by their enemies who attack them with inescapable death traps specifically designed with that information. With that, all seems lost until an indomitable Knight and a young Titan combine to deliver salvation even as Savage uses the opportunity to implement a far grander scheme.

The film actually has a good storyline. This is understandable as you are able to get away with grand scenes in animation that would cost hundreds of millions in live-action films. This might be the reason that live-action films with a bunch of CGI in them look practically animated.

The film has a few great emotional individual scenes that actually manage to greatly affect the audience. Not in an artificial or manipulative way. You have already gained knowledge of these characters hopefully before the film if not they fill you in with information now and then. So you don’t have to go through everyone’s origin story.

The villain’s introduction as the Legion of doom is much different than the one I grew up with most in the Justice League cartoons of the ’70s and 80’s Lex Luthor is noticeably missing as well as Sinestro. Lex Luthor who was the leader has now been replaced entirely. At least this leader seems to actually have superpowers though. It seems this league is more like some second-string villains. Who comes off as rather vague I will admit I am not the comic fanatic that I once was but I only actually knew quite a few when it comes to this film.    

Batman once again proves to be the brains and most vital member of the team. His character also shows that brainpower is superior and more powerful than any at times.

Though it can be harshly violent at times the film is a bit lighthearted.

Watching the film just makes me wonder why they haven’t made a Wonder Woman or Flash Film yet, They both got Tv Series and The Flash seems perfect for a film. He always has a one-liner and smart-ass remark. He can be serious when needed to be but rather silly and playful too so that he doesn’t seem like he is brooding all the time like most, It would have been more spot-on casting for Ryan Reynolds to play the Flash instead of the green Lantern. He is also popular among the Dc Universe heroes.

I can’t say I know much about Wonder Woman. I realize they are trying to avoid a Catwoman type fiasco but she is needed would be a good role model for young girls. Who finally would see themselves represented in films as more than just a girlfriend they can be heroes too not always the victim or damsel in distress. There was an attempt to reboot the series but it failed miserably plus had a lot of fan backlash. It just seems they can’t get the formula correct.

This is a pretty good animated film as long as you’re a fan of the characters. If not it will not be as interesting.

The thing I found really shocking that this film. While being a fantasy story has real graphic violent characters/Superheroes bleed and are actually murdered violently that is actually shown not as usual in these DC Comics animated movies, Where it is implied or cut away from the fight before it happens.

Sorry, no bizarro in this film. One of the problems is that the film feels a little inspired by the watchmen especially Batman’s other world double who reminds me a lot of the nite owl.

One of the film’s major problems I had with the movie overall is that usually in these films. The characters are voiced by the same actions here quite a few are voiced by different actors particularly batman and not only did that throw me off, but the actor they got to voice him makes him seem like an old man. The film is never boring. It’s filled with action, but it never feels like there is any real danger. It doesn’t feel pulse rounding nor do you get a feel of urgency.

If you collect or are a fan of the comics. This film feels like a monthly issue that you feed but nothing important really happens. No real threat or any seeds laid for future developments.

For the Justice League members that appeared in both the original comic storyline and the film, the contingency plans that Batman developed differ between each version. A few examples from the comics are that Superman was exposed to special red kryptonite that caused his skin to turn red as a result of absorbing too much yellow solar radiation or that Green Lantern’s ring caused him to go blind due to a post-hypnotic suggestion that made him believe he was blind which was placed while he was sleeping. In the film, Superman was shot with a Kryptonite bullet, and Green Lantern was made to doubt the powers of his ring by giving into fear. in the comics, it was Batman’s enemy Ra’s al Ghul that got ahold of Batman’s secret files regarding his Justice League teammates and their weaknesses instead of Vandal Savage.

In the original comic book story-line, it was Kyle Rayner and not Hal Jordan who was serving in the Justice League as Green Lantern since this took place after Hal Jordan had become Parallax and then Spectre prior to this storyline’s release and he wouldn’t serve as Green Lantern again until the Green Lantern: Rebirth story-line that was released five years later.

While most of the film material is completely original, the plotline of Batman developing countermeasures against his Justice League teammates as a deterrent, only to have the plans stolen and used against the Justice League is based on the 2000 JLA storyline “Tower of Babel”. The other animated films created so far had that even though they still had predictable endings.

 GRADE: B

I LOST MY BODY (2019)

ilostmyb1

Directed By: Jeremy Clapin
Written By: Jeremy Clapin & Guillaume Laurent
Based On The Novel By: Guillaume Laurent
Cinematography: Benjamin Massoubre 


Cast: (Voices) FRENCH VERSION – Hakim Faris, Victoire Du Bois, Patrick D’Assumcao, Bellamine Abdelmalek, Nicole Favart. 


AMERICAN VERSION – Dev Patel, Alia Shawkat, George Wendt, Johnny Mars, Jaarod Pistill 

A story of Naoufel, a young man who is in love with Gabrielle. In another part of town, a severed hand escapes from a dissection lab, determined to find its body again. Continue reading “I LOST MY BODY (2019)”

MONSTER HOUSE (2006)

monster-house-9

 

Directed By: Gil Kenan
Written By: Dan Harmon, Rob Schrab & Paul Pettler
Story By: Dan Harmon & Rob Schrab
Cinematography: Xavier Perez Geobet
Editor: Fabienne Eawley & Adam P. Scott 


Cast: Mitchel Musso, Steve Buscemi, Maggie Gylenhaal, Catherine O’Hara, Fred Willard, Jon Heder, Jason Lee, Kevin James, Nick Cannon, Spencer Locke, Kathleen Turner 


13-year-old DJ is observing his neighbor Nebbercracker on the other side of the street in the suburb that destroys tricycles of children that trespass his lawn. When DJ’s parents travel on the eve of Halloween and the abusive nanny Zee stays with him, he calls his clumsy best friend Chowder to play basketball. But when the ball falls in Nebbercracker’s lawn, the old man has a heart attack, and soon they find that the house is a monster. Later the boys rescue the smart Jenny from the house and the trio unsuccessfully tries to convince the babysitter, her boyfriend Bones and two police officers that the haunted house is a monster, but nobody believes them. The teenagers ask their video-game addicted acquaintance Skull how to destroy the house, and they disclose its secret on the Halloween night

Continue reading “MONSTER HOUSE (2006)”

HAPPILY N’EVER AFTER (2006)

happily-never-after

Directed By: Paul Bolger, Yvette Kaplan, Greg Tierman & Dino Athanassiou
Written By: Robert Moreland & Doug Langdale
Based on a story Idea By: Andre Sikojev
Cinematography: David Dulac
Editor: Ringo Waldenberger 

Cast: (Voices) Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, George Carlin, John Dimaggio, Andy Dick, Jill Talley, Tom Kenny, Sigourney Weaver, Wallace Shawn, Patrick Warburton, Jon Polito, Rob Paulsen 


As the story begins, an alliance of evil fairy tale-doers, led by Frieda, looks to take over Fairy Tale Land and take control of. But when Ella A.K.A. Cinderella realizes her own evil stepmother is out to ruin her storybook existence, she takes a dramatic turn and blossoms into the leader of the resistance effort.

Continue reading “HAPPILY N’EVER AFTER (2006)”

FRANKENWEENIE (2012)

FRANKENWEENIE

Original Idea & Directed By: Tim Burton
Written By: John August
Based On The Original Screenplay By: Leonard Ripps
Cinematography By: Peter Sorg
Editor: Mark Solomon & Chris Lebenzon
Music By: Danny Elfman 

Cast: (Voices) Charlie Tahan, Atticus Shaffer, Martin Short, Catherin O’Hara, Winona Ryder, Martin Landau, Conchetta Ferrell, Tom Kenny

When young Victor’s pet dog Sparky (who stars in Victor’s home-made monster movies) is hit by a car, Victor decides to bring him back to life the only way he knows how. But when the bolt-necked “monster” wreaks havoc and terror in the hearts of Victor’s neighbors, he has to convince them (and his parents) that despite his appearance, Sparky’s still the good loyal friend he’s always been.

Continue reading “FRANKENWEENIE (2012)”

BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE (2016)

batman

 

Directed By: Sam Liu
Written By: Brian Azzarello
Based On The Graphic Novel Written By: Alan Moore
Based on the Graphic Novel Illustrated by: Brian Bolland
Based On Batman Created By: Bob Kane & Bill Finger 

Voices: Mark Hamill, Kevin Conroy, Tara Stong, Ray Wise, John DiMaggio, Bruce Timm, Maury Sterling, Brian George 


 As Batman hunts for the escaped Joker, the Clown Prince of Crime attacks the Gordon family to prove a diabolical point mirroring his own fall into madness.

Continue reading “BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE (2016)”