‘Shrek’ Me Up: A Look Back on the Childrens’ Classic

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

For this Time Warp, I decided I would touch on one of my absolute favorite animated movie franchises. That, of course, is the Academy Award winning film, ‘Shrek’. It’s still funny to me to be able to say “Academy Award winning” to the classic swamp-dwelling ogre that is my man Shrek.

Many who haven’t seen this iconic film may ask why it won Best Animated Feature in 2002. Well, those who have seen it can tell you exactly why.

The mean green fighting machine Shrek (Mike Myers) is an angry ogre who just likes to be left alone, as most people nowadays. But once love comes along, that changes, as with anyone who suddenly finds love. Shrek’s love didn’t come suddenly, of course. It came after a long journey with his new friend – whether or not he likes to admit it – a donkey, whose name is, well, Donkey (Eddie Murphy).

The love interest/self-hating princess in the movie is Fiona (played by Cameron Diaz), who loves throwing tantrums at every moment she can. You may think that it’s obnoxious, but it becomes very easy to love her by the end.

That is the overall plot of the entire first movie, but they do so well developing all the relationships within it. Being able to meet dozens of fairy tale creatures who annoy Shrek to the brink of absolute fury is, even if it’s not to Shrek, completely hilarious to watch.

Half the enjoyability of this movie revolves around the supreme soundtrack that plays throughout. I mean, we have songs like “All Star” by Smash Mouth and “Bad Reputation” performed by Joan Jett. That sells it right there, doesn’t it?

It’s an undeniably enjoyable movie and impossible not to love. It sparked a sequel that is debatably better than the first if not just as good. It’s one of those movie franchises that anybody will want to watch on a lazy afternoon in the summer, with their kids for a family movie night, in the middle of a snowstorm in the winter, or pretty much at anytime. That is how I define a classic.


Film Forecast Friday: June 1st

On Friday June 1st we have…

1. Adrift

2. Upgrade

3. Action Point

4. American Animals

5. A Kid Like Jake

Julia’s Predictions:

This is an interesting week because for the first time in a while there are no big blockbusters being released. Out of the movies that are being released I think Adrift will have the biggest box office numbers. It has notable actors Shailene Woodley (Fault in Our Stars, Divergent) and Sam Claflin (Me Before You, Hunger Games) in it and I’ve seen a lot of marketing for it.

I think Action Point and Upgrade will do alright. I haven’t heard too much about either of them, but Action Point has Johnny Knoxville (Jackass) in it which will likely bring out audiences. Also, Upgrade is a Blumhouse Productions film and those tend to do well.

American Animals is absolutely amazing and I strongly recommend you go see it. We have already reviewed it, so if you need any more convincing to go see it check out our review!

Finally, A Kid Like Jake which honestly I didn’t know was a movie until today. It has Jim Parsons in it so maybe it will attract some Big Bang Theory fans?

Anthony’s Predictions:

I am beyond excited for Adrift with Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin. This will also be the moneymaker for the week at the box office, even if it will not make quite as much as previous weeks.

I have heard so much about American Animals that I’ve gotten very excited to see it. It has such a unique group of actors in it (including Evan Peters!) so I know that I’ll enjoy it already.

I definitely forgot Action Point and Upgrade were even coming out this week. I don’t really have a high opinion on them but I believe they will do about the same at the box office.

A Kid Like Jake won’t be too crazy spectacular, but should be fun because of Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons, as he is in it.

The Rocky Comedic Adventures of ‘Solo’

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

Easily one of the most highly anticipated movies of 2018, Solo had a lot to prove. It definitely didn’t help that most people went into the movie assuming it was going to be bad. I can’t blame it for trying to prove everyone wrong.

In this Star Wars Story, a young Han Solo (played by Alden Ehrenreich, ) is in the initial stages of becoming a smuggler with his best buddy Chewbacca while trying to balance an unfortunate relationship with Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones). He meets Beckett (Woody Harrelson, The Hunger Games, Now You See Me) along the way as well as a very intelligent robot named L3-37 and Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover, Atlanta).

As expected, all of these characters affect the story in some way or another, whether it be for entirely comedic purposes or actual damage. The comedy in this is, unfortunately, going to have to be one of my negatives.

Star Wars has gotten into this habit of trying to make every single droid as successful and hilarious as K-2SO in Rogue One, when it’s just not going to happen. L3-37 makes some decent jokes (one being about equal rights for droids), but it feels so obvious that the writers are forcing it.

To future Star Wars Stories writers, stop trying to make the droids as funny as K-2SO, it’s not going to happen.

The movie itself wasn’t the most fun to sit through of the Star Wars franchise. In fact, it may be one of the least enjoyable yet. I had never found myself so bored for the majority of a Star Wars movie than I did with this one.

Luckily, it made up for that with its last 20 minutes which were actually pretty entertaining to watch. I say this because it’s in the last 20 minutes that anything wildly important happens, including a plot twist and introduction of a familiar character that I was saying, “uhm… what?” to.

The cinematography was beautiful, as it is in a Star Wars movie. It was beautifully made, even the camera work wasn’t nauseating like some movies have become nowadays. There were plenty of oddly named planets and several mentions of Tatooine, which I thoroughly enjoyed being a hardcore Star Wars fan myself.

Honestly, I have very mixed opinions regarding Solo. I don’t think it was bad, but it’s definitely in the bottom five of Star Wars movies. I wouldn’t go as far as saying it shouldn’t have been made because at the end of the day, it told a story about a character we all loved that we all wanted to know a little more about.

My Rating: 84%

Acting: 3.4/4

Cinematography: 3.5/4

Story: 3.4/4

Enjoyability: 3.2/4

‘Deadpool 2’ Shows Exactly What Superhumor Should Be

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

Deadpool is back at it again with his morbid sense of humor the entire world has come to love in Deadpool 2. This time, he comes with an even more complex story with long-term complications.

In this one, Deadpool (obviously still played by Ryan Reynolds) finds a new villain that he must defeat to save a little kid named Russell (played by Julian Dennison) – or “Firefist” if you ask him – as he struggles with, like, self-identity or something. Basically the X-Men version of puberty.

Regardless, Deadpool is as funny as ever. But it all started with something that most movies don’t put a ton of time in anymore – marketing. Deadpool 2 created dozens of alternate covers for its movie as well as replicas of other movies that were replaced with Deadpool himself. On the cover of War for the Planet of the Apes, Deadpool is seen riding the horse. It’s these marketing decisions that helped build the anticipation for this movie.

I have no complaints about the acting in this movie. Reynolds, the young Dennison, Morena Baccarin, Josh Brolin, and all the other actors/actresses’ portrayals of unique characters were executed excellently. They each brought a lot to the movie no matter how much or how little they appeared in it.

Deadpool is known for his dark humor, which he plays very well. From comparing the new villian Cable and Thanos to understating the power of Hawkeye, Deadpool really brings the shaded joys to the MCU.

Even the cinematography was awesome in this movie. They used tons of different sets and locations to show all the different situations Wade Wilson manages to get himself into while still keeping the feel of his universe.

Finally, the writers hit the bullseye with a story that really has the ability to hook the audience. It jumps around, sure, but a lot of superhero movies do that nowadays. And who are we to complain about that after watching The Avengers: Infinity War.

That’s right, if you liked that story, you have no place to say that Deadpool’s was bad.

Deadpool 2 was definitely better than the first. That, right there, is a huge accomplishment within itself. It incorporates the X-Men storyline better than the first (shipping Deadpool and Colossus with every piece of my soul), and the humor worked even more thought out, adding in constant pieces of attitude towards the MCU. It just knew how to build on characters they already had as well as add in ones that would benefit the story (Brad Pitt may or may not make a cameo appearance… go find out!). Deadpool 2 is easily one of my highest recommended movies of 2018 thus far.

My Rating: 91%

Acting: 3.6/4

Cinematography: 3.5/4

Story: 3.6/7

Enjoyability: 3.9/4

‘Tully’: The Truth About Motherhood

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

Let me start out by saying that this movie is easily in my top 3 movies this year and deserves an Academy Award nomination. No other movie has felt so real and candid while still being enjoyable and fun.

Charlize Theron (Atomic Blonde, Monster) plays Marlo, a mother of three suffering from severe postpartum depression. Her husband (Ron Livingston) doesn’t do much for the kids, except being the homework helper. Marlo’s rich brother (Mark Duplass) sees just how sleep deprived and exhausted his sister is becoming and recommends a night nanny who can take care of the baby at nights so Marlo can sleep.

At first, Marlo is iffy and uncomfortable with the idea. The thought of having some stranger take care of their newborn baby Mia and leave before they even wake up was strange. They decide not to call the night nanny at first, even though Marlo knows she can’t handle it. Eventually this catches up to her and she calls Tully (Mackenzie Davis), the 26 year old “fun facts for fourth graders” night nanny who is ready to not only care for the baby, but to care for Marlo.

That’s the first part of that movie that I find very meaningful. Tully’s overall philosophy is that she is also taking care of the mother if she’s taking care of the baby. This is because, according to Tully, the newborn Mia’s cells will remain in Marlo’s body for years to come. This makes it so they are one whole, therefore another “baby” Tully is here to take care of.

The acting from each of the characters was absolutely phenomenal. First we have Charlize Theron, who is always phenomenal. This movie was different though. It was extremely easy to notice just how much power and dedication she put into this role to give the “postpartum depression” storyline her all, given its sensitive material.

Mackenzie Davis, who has previously been in Black Mirror, gives us a brilliant portrayal of a “light at the end of the tunnel” type of character that everyone absolutely loves. Neither of these characters (Tully and Marlo) would be quite as appealing if the actresses behind them didn’t know what they were doing.

This was a movie where I didn’t have even the slightest interest to check the time on my phone, or question how long it’s been going. I was genuinely interested in Marlo and Tully’s entire story, beginning to end, and you will too.

Tully teaches love, care, neglect, nourishment, and how it is for some people entering motherhood for their first, second, third, or fourth time. It shows that even already having two kids and another on the way doesn’t mean it needs to be easy, persay. Postpartum can come from any child, and it’s important to have either the husband or somebody caring for you when you’re going through that. Nobody should have to go through that alone.

My Rating: 96%

Acting: 3.9/4

Cinematography: 3.7/4

Story: 3.9/4

Enjoyability: 3.8/4

L.A. Noir ‘Gemini’ Lives in Shades of Neon Blue

By Olivia Norwood, Edited by Anthony Peyton

From the successful new production company NEON (I,Tonya, Ingrid Goes West) comes the modern noir, Gemini, where beautiful women, L.A. nightlife, and murder is observed through blue-tinted glasses.

Troubled by the murder of her best friend and reckless starlet (Zoë Kravitz), a young woman (Lola Kirke) finds herself on the search for the killer while trying to prove her own innocence. So far, it seems like a vintage murder mystery. Once you’ve ever heard the soundtrack it sounds like one, too.

But what makes this so unique are the contemporary spins on a genre that has long been forgotten. Instead of the deep shadows in a black and white film, you see a contrast of blues under a neon light. And instead of the light and mysterious sounds of the sax, you get the calming electronic version. To add onto how modern this is, it’s set in the fast-paced city of Los Angeles.

Taking an old genre like film noir and turning it into something modern is a challenge that only risk-takers would subject themselves to and could be comparable to making a Shakespearean play seem relatable to everyday audiences. This seems to be mastered by the director, Aaron Katz, who effortlessly shows how easy it is to do so. By skillfully using cinematography and production design, any filmmaker can achieve the seemingly impossible.

Throughout the film, the most striking aspect that you notice is how blue it is. In every single scene, there is a bluish tint or something in the frame that is blue. It makes you wonder the meaning of it. Maybe it’s symbolic of something much deeper (i.e. American Beauty’s use of red) but my conclusion is that it makes the film overall stylish.

What made the film noir genre so intriguing is how elegant and fashionable it looked with the high contrasts of black and white. In order for Gemini to modernize this, they made it vibrant in a specific color – blue. Whether it is a neon sign or the wall of a late-night diner, if it’s blue then it stands out. This cooler tone is there to contrast with the warmer toned colors, such as pink, rather than have them bleed together. It takes the “not everything is black and white” idea to a colorful approach which Katz uses to paint L.A. as an alluring town filled with dangerous secrets hidden in plain sight.

Gemini proves it’s strength in this reemerging genre by combining the old with the new while reviving an audience’s interest in a long-lost friend of the film industry.

My Rating: 78%

Acting: 2.5/4

Cinematography: 4/4

Story: 3/4

Enjoyability: 3/4

‘Blockers’: Physical Comedy Done Right

By Julia Wilson, Edited by Anthony Peyton

If 2018 has shown us anything, it’s that comedy is alive and well. We’ve had Game Night, Isle of Dogs, and Death of Stalin to name just a few. Now we have Blockers, a physical comedy that toes the line between absolutely ridiculous and slapstick comedy perfectly.

Blockers follows three invested parents, Lisa (Leslie Mann), Mitchell (John Cena), and Hunter (Ike Barinholtz) who stumble upon their daughters’ group chat opened up on one of their laptops. After decoding the flurry of emojis appearing on screen, they figure out that their daughters, Julie (Kathryn Newton), Kayla (Geraldine Viswanathan), and Sam (Gideon Adlon),   have made a pact to all lose their virginity on prom night. This leads them on a wild pursuit to find their daughters and stop them from losing their virginity.

One of the things I loved about this film is that it accomplishes something most comedies can’t: physical, crude humor without going over the top and becoming cringeworthy. This movie is no stranger to ridiculous scenes. This includes one where Barinholtz’s character Hunter pulls up on top of a limo singing Dynamite by Taio Cruz and one where all the teenagers are simultaneously throwing up in that limo. However, these scenes are spread out enough that it works, mixed in with more tame, conversational humor.

The film is the directorial debut of Kay Cannon (writer of the Pitch Perfect series) and I must say I am very impressed. Unlike other films where every single scene is trying to outdo the one before it in terms of absurdity, this film rides the line of ridiculous comedy while still staying sensical.

Not only was Blockers hilarious, but it provided an interesting yet refreshing commentary on how losing your virginity is perceived differently for different genders. Since the film is about parents trying to stop their daughters from having sex, there is a lot of criticism coming from other characters in the film about how females are often thought of as “damsels in distress” and how having sex is a bad thing but when males do it it’s celebrated.

One instance of this is when Mitchell’s wife (Sarayu Blue) finds out what the other three parents are doing and tries to stop them. She points out that if their kids were boys they wouldn’t be having such an extreme reaction to them trying to lose their virginity.

Another unexpected storyline was one about Hunter’s daughter Sam figuring out that she’s gay. Throughout the film there is a girl at her school that she is crushing on, but Sam hasn’t come out to either of her parents, her friends, or really even herself. This subplot of a young girl figuring out her sexuality was definitely unexpected in a movie where there is actually a scene where John Cena chugs beer up his butt, but it ended up fitting nicely and was part of what kept this movie from going overboard.

Blockers really was everything that a big blockbuster comedy should be. It was genuinely funny, authentic, and at times even heartwarming. A true breath of fresh air in a genre that so often goes wrong.

My Rating: 81%

Acting: 3/4

Cinematography: 2.5/4

Story: 3.5/4

Enjoyability: 4/4