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Movie Review: Brave

Mike Finkelstein wants to be a pretty, pretty princess. He wants all the boys of the kingdom to fawn over him and fight for his hand. Sadly, he soon woke up from his dream and realized he still lived somewhere around New York City…eh well. He’ll just have to live out his thoughts on the movie screen. Here is his review for “Brave”.

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Mike Finkelstein wants to be a pretty, pretty princess.  He wants all the boys of the kingdom to fawn over him and fight for his hand.  Sadly, he soon woke up from his dream and realized he still lived somewhere around New York City…eh well.  He’ll just have to live out his thoughts on the movie screen.  Here is his review for “Brave”.

PLOT: Princess Merida (Kelly McDonald) is a Scottish princess determined to find her own way in life.  So when her firm, inflexible mother, Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson) tells her that it’s time to pick a suitor from the neighboring three clans to marry, Merida decides that she’ll do anything to “fight for her own hand”.  But when that decision leads her to a witch and her deceptive spells, it’s up to Merida to save her mother, her kingdom, and herself.

Check out the trailer:

MIKE’S REVIEW:  Pixar is a name synonymous with excellence.  With ten years of movie memories that include such perfections as the TOY STORY trilogy, FINDING NEMO, and UP, we have grown accustom to seeing films complete with flawlessly shaped stories, loveable characters, and a yearning for our childhood.  So when a movie comes around that may not meet that Pixar standard, even though it may be incredible compared to others, we are nothing short of devastated.

Disney’s BRAVE tells the fairytale story of Princess Merida (Kelly Macdonald), the rebellious firstborn child to parents, King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson).  When Queen Elinor reveals that it’s time for Merida to choose a suitor to marry and carry on the kingdom’s legacy, Merida is determined to find a way out and instead choose her own destiny, even if it means using a spell from an evil witch that ends up going horribly wrong…

From the first frame, it is obvious how far Pixar has come in terms of animation.  Within the intro, alone, seeing Merida riding through the forest as she fires her bow from atop her horse is absolutely gorgeous.  Every aspect of the landscape is meticulously detailed, and when it all culminates in her making her way to the top of a crag to drink from the waterfall, the sweeping shot will leave you nothing short of breathless (one of the few short moments when the 3D added to the film….everywhere else, it did nothing besides darken the screen).  And while all the humans are still shaped with their familiar Pixar style, the wilderness animals are completely realistic, and both humans and animals have all the right emotions (or lack thereof) in their eyes at the right moments.

In terms of characters, you could almost say that this is the female version of FINDING NEMO.  Brenda Chapman is the first female director for any Pixar full length film, and with that, brings us the princess and female equivalent of Nemo and Marlin.  Any mother and daughter pair will be able to relate to Merida and Queen Elinor’s testy relationship, and we yet again get a very cute supporting group to back them up, including Merida’s gruff but lovable father, King Fergus (Billy Connolly), absolutely adorable little devil brothers who get away with everything, and three very unique father and son pairings who come to court Merida (and bring their kingdom’s entire armies along with them…)

But with all that, what BRAVE lacks is the aspect that makes a Pixar film stand out from the rest: a complete and fully fleshed out story.  Everything that you’ve seen so far in trailers and commercials is contained within the first twenty minutes of the movie, and then, suddenly, any real originality the film held was replaced with a seemingly clichéd fairytale predicament.  Granted, we hit every systematic beat we need to between the introduction of the problem and the resolution, but there were no real events or character development to really push us to that end.  Suddenly, moods changed.  Suddenly, people understood each other.  Suddenly, things just…happened.

Amusingly enough, that huge problem doesn’t even make a bad movie!  Little girls will absolutely love the film because it is the new princess movie that Disney swore they would stop making, and a welcome addition at that.  Mothers will love seeing it with their daughters because it comments on the relationship they already have, or are sure to have in the future.  And hell, even guys will enjoy it because it’s Pixar.  But when you leave the theater, something inside you will be churning when you realize that a special something is still missing, and while what you just watched would have been amazing by any other studio standards (trust me, there have been some crappy kids movies lately!), it was not at the ridiculously high standard that any Pixar movie is now held to.

When thought of as a children’s movie, BRAVE hits the nail right on the head.  It has a fun, relevant story with hilarious, adorable characters, and a team of animators that can beat anyone in the business right now.  But what it lacks is the wonderful story and character development that Pixar has been defined by for almost two decades.  We all dug out our toys after TOY STORY 3.  We sobbed uncontrollably within the first ten minutes of UP.  We hugged our fathers after FINDING NEMO.  I have no doubt we will feel those emotions again soon.  This time, however, I’ll smile, nod, and throw this one in the pile next to DESPICABLE ME and KUNG FU PANDA.

GRADE: B+

Mike’s LIKES:

1) STUNNING VISUALS: Pixar has come such a long way over the past two decades.  When you see Merida riding through the forest and climbing that crag, it is nothing short of breathtaking.  I tip my hat.

2) THREE LITTLE BROTHERS: These three are the equivalent of HAPPY FEET’s baby penguins, or the minions in DESPICABLE ME.  They are absolutely adorable and always ready with the perfect moment to make us giggle.

3) BEAUTIFUL MOTHER/DAUGHTER STORY: The female version of FINDING NEMO, mothers and daughters will have a great time together as they see their own relationship in Merida and Queen Elinor.  A must see for any pair…get ready to bond.

4) SUPPORTING CHARACTERS: From King Fergus to the three suitors and their fathers and the evil witch, all the supporting characters bring the funny, and give us another great batch to remember for years to come.

5) LA LUNA: This short film is absolutely spectacular.  Picking up the baton from “Day & Night” before TOY STORY 3, we have yet another beautiful, emotional short that is breathtaking both in its vision of family, as well as its visuals.  This one is a new peak of perfection in the world of Pixar shorts.

Mike’s DISLIKES:

1) 3D: Besides the first scene of Merida riding through the forest (stunning), the 3D was absolutely useless.  It just made the screen darker and harder to see, and with such robust colors filling the screen, I’d rather sacrifice the depth for the imagery.

2) PLOT DEVELOPMENT: The first half hour may have been on the right track, but somewhere along the line, the plot development seemed to disappear.  Plot points were hit because they had to be hit, not because the characters got there.

3) NOT A PIXAR MOVIE: Pixar seems to be the golden standard of animation.  To be a Pixar movie says a lot about your film.  While BRAVE was an excellent film by any other standards, a Pixar movie it was not.

EXTRA FACTS:

1) The Pizza Planet truck, which can be spotted in every Pixar movie except THE INCREDIBLES, can be spotted in the Witch’s Hut.

2) The first Pixar film to have two directors, as well as a female director.  Brenda Chapman left the film in the middle of production, due to creative differences…I wonder how the film would have turned out if she had stayed…

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The Pentagon Has Released Official UFO Videos Because 2020 Is The Absolute Worst

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Aren’t swarms of locusts supposed to be the next installment of this plague?!

Can we finally declare 2020 as the worst year ever? In January there were fears of a third World War. In February the coronavirus began its rapid spread. In March the world essentially shut down due to social distancing and quarantining. And now in April…with only two days left in the month…we have official government footage of unidentified flying objects. I’m sorry but Milton Bradley’s game of “Life” never prepared me for any of this!

The Pentagon has confirmed the authenticity of three videos that have been circulating the web but didn’t really answer what is visible in them. In the videos, now declassified by the Department of Defense, navy pilots capture “unidentified aerial phenomena” aka unidentified flying objects aka UFOs! Pentagon officials were sure to state that the videos do not show “any sensitive capabilities or systems,” meaning we probably won’t be seeing any little green men any time soon.

The first video dates back to November 2004 and the other two from January 2015. Of the Pentagon’s confirmation of authenticity, Pentagon spokesperson Sue Gough said the videos were released “in order to clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage that has been circulating was real, or whether or not there is more to the videos.”

So great. We now know that these strange videos are real but what exactly are we looking at? Well, the Department of Defense says it has no concrete answer as to what might be floating around the skies and has classified the phenomena as “unidentified.” And…just like that I suddenly feel less defended.

Social media is having a field day with this revelation of course. The #AliensAreReal has been trending high on Twitter since the news broke. One user referenced Independence Day and said the aliens are “getting ready for July 4th.” Of the bad timing, another wrote “Et tu aliens?” And finally one user couldn’t help avoid sarcasm and wrote”Where’s the space force when you need it?”

Well 2020, you have worked your awful black magic once again. What’s next, cat videos get banned from the internet?! You’ve taken everything else from us!

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Priest Accidentally Forgets To Turn Off Filters Before Live Streaming Mass

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The internet is having a field day with the innocent mistake of biblical proportions.

With new social distancing guidelines, many churches have closed to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. And while that doesn’t justify all the wine you’ve been chugging during your self quarantine, it does have many people practicing their faith from their homes. One Italian priest was just trying to recite a little prayer for his followers when he accidentally left a filter feature on during the broadcast! In the clip the priest is digitally adorned with a space helmet, workout gear, a fedora and sunglasses and more.

Social media went nuts for the video, which has now gone viral. One comment reads “He just doubled his holy power.” Another reads “Father, Son and Holy Influencer.” One commenter couldn’t resist a good pun and said the video is having a “Mass effect.”

Enjoy your daily blessing and take a look at the funny video below!

 

Priest in Italy live streams mass, activates filters by mistake from r/funny

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Danny DeVito Passionately Urges New Yorkers To Stay Home…And Twitter Agrees!

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For the love of Danny DeVito, stay home!

The world is in a dark place right now and I am not sure how much more bad news we can handle. That’s why when I saw Danny DeVito’s name trending on Twitter I froze. Our great nation could very well crumble if anything bad was to happen to such an icon right now. With extreme trepidation I clicked on the social media link and was relieved to see that good ol’ Danny boy is just strumming up hype because he is passionately urging New Yorkers to stay home.

Amid the coronavirus outbreak, Governor Andrew Cuomo has been driving New Yorkers to stay home and has taken every precaution short of shutting the state down completely to help prevent the virus from spreading. Because New Yorkers can be hard headed, it doesn’t hurt to have some famous friends reiterate your message. Big names like Lala Anthony, Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller have all made appearances on Cuomo’s social media pleading with New Yorker’s to heed the governors warning. Only one celebrity was able to make it to Twitter’s trending page however and that was none other than Danny DeVito. DeVito’s message is simple…stay home! In the two minute video, DeVito reminds fans that it’s not just up to the elderly to isolate themselves. “Young people can get it and they can transmit it to old people and the next thing you know – I’m out of there” says the actor. We must save him!

Twitter went into a frenzy with many users agreeing that we need to stay home for Danny. One user wrote “When Danny speaks, I listen.” Another passionately wrote “If you idiots kill Danny DeVito I SWEAR TO GOD.” One promoted DeVito from the icon status I previously awarded him and said “WE GOTTA PROTECT WORLD TREASURE DANNY DeVITO.” 

Take a look at the video below and for the love of the newly minted national treasure, stay home!

 

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