Tag Archives: Illumination Entertainment

On The Rise of Gru, Minions and Fatherhood. For Better or Worse, How Bad Can It Get?

9 Jul

Minions The Rise of GruSpoiler Alert

Fans of the Minions’ antics can only take so much before going bananas themselves. Their craziness can’t carry a film from start to end, and the latest (subtitled The Rise of Gru) puts this lead back to the fore–sort of. As a result, we finally get to see why these little yellow guys are adored by him. That’s because their relationship with Felonius (Steve Carell) is steadfast, and it’s cute to see how often they’re helping each other out.

Throughout the film, I was sad to see this boy on his own. Marlena, his mother, doesn’t always give him the attention he needs and she’s even kookier than ever at her young age. Although we know where his other parental unit went (most of that story was revealed in Despicable Me 3), Gru really needs a father figure in his life. All he needs is love.

Pretty soon, we find Wild Knuckles (Alan Arkin) is the man with the plan! His drama and Gru’s are similar enough to help them bond. Continue reading

It’s Time For Sing to Sing 2 a New Beat

4 Apr

Sing 2 poster.jpg

Illumination’s Sing & Sing 2 available to purchase on Amazon USA and available to stream.

Had Garth Jennings’s animate hit series Sing been a CGI animated series, I’m sure there’d be more Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) stories to tell. The sequel wastes no time in seeing this motley crew of talents get their act together and put on a show.

This leader of the gang has his theatre rebuilt and while local critics are raving about his latest show, someone else doesn’t think so. He has to convince Jimmy (Bobby Cannavale), a wolf who runs Crystal Entertainment, that his troupe has what it takes to make it to the big leagues. He also has to pull someone else out of “retirement.” I love the fact Clay Calloway (perfectly voiced by Bono) is a play on Cab Calloway, a jazz entertainer whom The Blues Brothers gave new life to.

This team’s life is a highway and to succeed really means living’ on a prayer. Musical pun references aside, the challenge in keeping viewers invested is in being able to get this film out fast enough so fans can remember what happened last time. This film was ready for a late 2020 release and sadly, nearly every movie got pushed back one or two years. The pandemic is to blame here.

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Top Animated Features to Look Forward to in 2020

22 Jan

nullBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

The 2020 season of animated features is big, and we’re going to see the return of Gru! With streaming video platforms now the norm, distribution is not limited to what’s playing on the big screen. In what I offer is a list of coming works that I’m personally very excited for.

Not a lot of anime is mentioned in this list save for one. They are a unique world onto itself and deserves its own list.

Las Leyendas: El Origen
April 17

Anyone who has watched Netflix’s Legend Quest will be in for a treat! The Hispanic horror-comedy directed Ricardo Arnaiz and produced by Mexican animation studio, Ánima Estudios has gained a loving reputation. It shares the same DNA as Gravity Falls and the character designs are not too different. Instead of a brother and sister team, the tale focuses on a boy who can talk to dead people.

Leo San Juan is your take-charge kind of personality. His companions include a ghost girl, Teodora; a loony old knight, Don Andrés, the mythical dragon (if he can be called that), Alebrije; and two calaveras (skeleton kids), Finado and Moribunda. This film is the origin story about them.

They have to help a human infant who looks trapped in the afterlife. Whether this baby walked through the Espejo Eternal (“eternal mirror”)–a portal that separates the Realm of the Living and the Dead—by accident or not, the details are uncertain. Finando and Moribunda has to protect the tyke from what may be the Mexican version of Charon. As a side-story, I can’t help but be excited for what two skeleton kids can do to keep this franchise ongoing.

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Scoob!
May 15

Yes, I’m a sucker for a good Scooby Doo mystery. In this reboot, we see how a pup without a name get named and how he met Shaggy Rogers. Soon, the rest of the gang are reintroduced in modern fashion. It’s weird to not see Fred sporting his trademark ascot, but with a franchise that’s 50 years old, modernizing it is a must. Even Daphne and Velma get an update to their dated look.

As for whether or not this film is a step in the right direction for keeping interest alive, I’ll take a look. This film brings a handful of classic Hanna-Barbera characters into the fold in a not all to surprising shared universe concept. As long as Captain Caveman and Blue Falcon is done right, it’s all good.

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The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run
May 22

With this third film, the huge selling point is to see when Spongebob met Gary, his pet snail.

There’s more to their relationship which holds them together. When the gastropod gets snail napped by the sea god Poseidon, my biggest question is why? Does the mewing mollusc possess something the god need? Or is Gary a snail on a mission from god?

The shenanigans will no doubt be crazy, but as long as we get a good story instead of a lengthy sitcom, I’m curious in where this film will go and hope I won’t need earplugs in the end.

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Soul
June 19

Joe Gardner is the Soul Man. Well, not quite yet. He’s dreamed of making it big, but is instead a middle school music teacher. When an accident robs him of this life, hopefully his afterlife will be better (or not).

He has to help others who are not as hopeful if he’s to earn his wings. When his heaven (or is that purgatory?) is “You Seminar,” the concept seems scarier than sitting in on a long motivational Ted Falk.

When PIXAR is behind this work, the story will be inspirational. The Jazz soundtrack will no doubt be the driving force behind this work.

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Evangelion: 3.0+1.0
June 27

After 13 long years, the complete Rebuild of Evangelion is finally here! I’ve been holding off watching these set of films (well, except the first).

When Hidiki Anno took time off to make Shin Godzilla. I’m not complaining. He’s a master of his craft, and I feel he can do not wrong. With this final release, I can plan for a weekend of seeing all the films together and try not to cry.

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From Spies in Disguise to Bad Boys for Life…

22 Jan

Image result for spies in disguiseBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Fans of action star Will Smith will get 100% Fresh Prince’d, if not more in Spies in Disguise as Lance Sterling, a top-notch agent. Although I find he rarely strays from this persona over the years, I’m not tired of this fact. He sometimes jazzes his role up by being more macho and that’s enough for me. Aside from Six Degrees of Separation, I don’t think he’s ever deviated.

As a voice over performer, Shark Tale deserves to be locked up in Davy Jones’ Locker. He is who he is, and very much typecast. Spies in Disguise showcases him at his best–cocky. In larger movie metroplexes, fans can see him in a family friendly work (this one) and also Bad Boys for Life, which sees him as a total badass and perhaps ending this set of films. Continue reading

How to Make Christmas Last with The Grinch on Feb 5th!

30 Jan

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

In Whoville, The Grinch watches over all and before his change, he could not wait for the holidays to be over. During the yuletide season, he has plenty to bah humbug about. With the home video release on Feb 5th, fans of Dr Seuss and Grinch can reflect upon all that’s happened and realize the smiles can last year round.

The updated version owes a huge debt to its realization back in 1966, with the first animation voiced by and starring Boris Karloff. While it’s tough to beat the love for the Chuck Jones animated work and the song, “You’re a Mean One, Mr Grinch,” this update by Illumination Studios does a very respectable job. To make this release perfect, Universal should have included the original work (studio ownership notwithstanding). Not only is the song given a hip hop take by Tyler, the Creator but also new characters are introduced. Fred is particularly adorable as a very rotund reindeer which The Grinch uses to get around. The animators would not do this unless they plan on having them come back.

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