Review: 'Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank' a blazing samurai story puts Mel Brooks back in the saddle
If you don't already love Mel Brooks, first off, what the hell is wrong with you? I'm not sure we can even be friends. One of the few living legends of Hollywood, Mel Brooks is both featured and revered in the new absurd yet hilarious family animated offering, "Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank." It's an absolute gas - especially for those that know and love Mel Brooks, specifically his iconic 1974 spoof, "Blazing Saddles," a movie that could never, ever be made today. Or if it was, it would end up looking a lot like "Paws of Fury."
The genius of "Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank," is that the creators have managed to essentially remake what is now considered to be a "politically incorrect" classic, under the guise of a simple kiddie flick, and miraculously, it works for both children and adults alike. It's subversive, but comes with a positive message of inclusion. It's risky (trust me) but includes lots of laughs for young ones.
It's a surprise, but "Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank" is one of the funniest movies of the year, one of the best animated films of the year, and is one of the best new IPs (intellectual properties) that has come along in several years (considering the characters and the world that is created).
And oh yeah, it also features Mel Brooks who lends his voice to one of the characters.
Two new films are on Netflix as of July 8th, and both are recommended! Read on for quick takes on each of Netflix's "The Sea Beast" and "Persuasion."
The best entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) have been equal parts exciting as well as funny. The character of Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has always played it straight, but has had an underlying element of charm and humor laced within his Asgardian toughness. When director Taika Waititi took the reigns for the first time in the MCU with "Thor: Ragnarok," he leaned the character and the Thor film franchise into the comedy with mixed results.
Now directing the latest Thor film, "Thor: Love and Thunder," Waititi has apparently been given carte blanche by the higher-ups at Marvel to make Thor an all-out parody of itself...an absurd, campy comedy that definitely has some laughs, but does little justice to the character of Thor or to those inhabiting his universe. This is a ramshackle, choppy spoof that would work better if it existed in a vacuum, and not part of an over-arching cinematic universe.
Musically-inclined director Baz Lurhmann cannot be criticized for his Elvis biopic containing "a little less conversation, a little more action."
"Elvis" is a sprawling, swirling, glitzy and glamorous remembrance of the King. It ends up being so fast-paced that it comes across as hollow, but that's not to say there isn't a lot to like about it. Carrying the lyrics to that aforementioned song like a motto for the film, Luhrmann infuses his story of Elvis Presley with "a little more bite and a little less bark, a little less fight and a little more spark."
It's a bit of a spectacle, not quite life-changing but larger-than-life...a whirlwind of flashing lights, gaudy costumes and shaking hips.
In other words, it's exactly what "Elvis" would have wanted it to be.
"Lightyear" is now the 26 feature animated film to come out of Pixar Studios. The brand still represents the cream of the crop when it comes to animation, and while many of its titles have lived up to the reputation in both style and story, some have not...and when a Pixar movie doesn't land, it has quite often been a sequel or a spin-off (while Toy Story 2, 3 and 4 all delivered, many other sequels - like the Cars movies, "Finding Dory" or "Monsters University," have not).
"Lightyear" is the first feature-film to be spun-off of the original Pixar gem, "Toy Story." It's apparently the movie that inspired the Buzz Lightyear toy in the first place (which is why this Buzz is voiced by Captain America himself, Chris Evans, and not Tim Allen who has voiced every toy incarnation of the space-travelling hero). It's a beautifully-rendered piece of animation that once again pushes animation forward, which is a stellar feat considering that it feels at this point like we've seen it all. But unlike several of Pixar's best films that contain deeper meaning, or powerful messages for kids and grown-ups alike, "Lightyear" is a bit muddled and "light" on nuance.
Still, as space adventures go, "Lightyear" is a crowd-pleaser, and probably lands somewhere in the upper-middle of the Pixar pack of films.
"Cha Cha Real Smooth" was one of the breakout hits from this year's Sundance Film Festival, and it lands on Apple TV+ today (as well as a limited theatrical run). It's not hard to see why: There seems to be some real, polished talent at work here from star, writer and director - 24-year-old Cooper Raiff - but it's a hard movie to love due to the unlikability of one major character.
The story of a man creating life is a classic tale, and has been done hundreds of times...sometimes done as horror (think "Frankenstein") and sometimes done for laughs. "Brian and Charles" is a small British comedy about a lonely man who creates and then becomes best friends with his robot creation, and it's done with such sweetness, that it becomes hard to resist.
Director Joseph Kosinski is flying high in Hollywood right now, with the much-needed, record-breaking success of his film "Top Gun: Maverick" now on his resumé. His follow-up film, "Spiderhead" (streaming on Netflix on 6/17) will likely be overlooked, as it should, when studios consider him for future projects, as it seems there was no energy left to give to this mildly clever, but mostly banal, dud of a film following how much he was able to pack in to "Top Gun: Maverick."
HULU Review: Emma Thompson has never been better than in 'Good Luck to You, Leo Grande' a sex-positive rom-com
Yes, Emma Thompson has won two Oscars. But her performance in "Good Luck to You, Leo Grande" (streaming on Hulu on 6/17), is perhaps her best performance yet.
It's also the sort of role that "women of a certain age" have been clamoring for over the years, and with good reason. It has always been said that there are not enough roles for older women in Hollywood, that don't cast them as grandmothers, maids or cougars. We rarely - if ever - see roles this juicy, this compelling or this real. Or this sexually-honest. Thompson sinks her teeth into this one and gives us one of the most freeing performances of the year, opposite a relatively unknown actor who absolutely rises up to meet Thompson's authenticity.
The "Jurassic Park" saga that began back in 1993 finally (and thankfully) limps to its final resting place with its sixth and final chapter, "Jurassic World Dominion."
Gone is the wonderment, the magic of Spielberg's original blockbuster, which in my eyes remains a ground-shattering, masterpiece of popcorn cinema. "Jurassic World Dominion" reduces this franchise to a bland whirlwind of CG, barely containing any remnant of DNA (pun intended) from that first "Jurassic Park" film.
It's fast-paced but bland, familiar but unrecognizable. The intelligence behind the eyes of the franchise is gone, and it's been dumbed-down to swim in the same gene pool as a "Transformers" movie (not a compliment).
If you liked the last, nearly unwatchable mess of a film, "Fallen Kingdom," then you may not mind "Jurassic World Dominion." However, a "Jurassic" film is not supposed to be your average action movie. The bar was set high from the very start, and the audience frankly deserves more, having now been served - in my estimation - four terrible follow-ups with one diamond buried in the middle (I had lots of love for "Jurassic World," but not much for any of the other Jurassic movies since the original).
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