Friday, December 25, 2015

Star Wars: Episode 7

Star Wars: The Force Awakens [PG-13]
Action, Adventure, Fantasy
December 18, 2015 - Lucas Film Ltd., Disney
Directed by J. J. Abrams

Grade: C
Up-graded from C

+1: New cast including Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), BB-8.

-1: Fantasy-science of converted planets/ planet-sized constructs that consume entire stars to destroy multiple planetary bodies.

Par: Story pace.

-1: In-movie exposition of characters' histories.

+1: Franchise installment.

Rocky 7

Creed [PG-13]
Drama, Sport
November 25, 2015 - MGM, Warner Bros.
Directed by Ryan Coogler

Grade: A
Up-graded from B

+1: Cast including Sylvester Stalone (Rocky Balboa), Michael B. Jordan (Adonis Johnson).

+1: Boxing choreography.

+1: Story (Ryan Coogler, Aaron Covengton).

Par: Training sequence.

Par: Character development.

The Good Dinosaur

The Good Dinosaur [PG]
Animation, Adventure, Comedy
November 25, 2015 - Disney/ Pixar
Directed by Peter Sohn

Grade: C
Up-graded from C.

+1: Computer generated imagery environments and art direction.

Par: Story (Bob Peterson, Peter Sohn, Erik Benson, Meg LeFauve, Kelsey Mann).

Par: Character design.

-1: World building: herbivore farmers, carnivore ranchers, mute cave people and dog-boys.

Par: Cast including Sam Elliott (Butch).

The Peanuts Movie

The Peanuts Movie [G]
Animation, Adventure, Comedy
November 6, 2015 - 20th Century Fox/ Blue Sky Studios
Directed by Steve Martino

Grade: B
Up-graded from C.

+1: Art direction (Nash Dunnigan).

Par: Story (Brian Schulz, Craig Schulz, Cornelius Uliano).

+1: Cues from classic “Peanuts” specials and movies (animation, characterizations).

Par: Music Meghan Trainor (“Better When I’m Dancin’”), Flo Rida (“That’s What I Like”).

+1: Franchise installment/ reboot.

Mission: Impossible 5

Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation [PG-13]
Action, Adventure, Thriller
July 31, 2015 - Paramount
Directed by Christopher McQuarrie

Grade: B+
Up-graded from B.

+1: Car/ motorcycle chase.

Par: Spy-film double crosses.

-1: Infiltrating/ cracking underwater vault/ server things?

+1: Cast including Tom Cruise (Ethan Hunt), Rebecca Ferguson (Ilsa Faust), Simon Pegg (Bengi Dunn).

Par: Gadgets.


Ant-Man [PG-13]
Marvel Cinematic Universe, phase 2, part 6 of 6 (a.k.a. M.C.U., part 12)
Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
July 17, 2015 - Marvel
Directed by Peyton Reed

Grade: B-
Up-graded from C.

+1: Comedy.

Par: Trip to the Avengers headquarters.

Par: Plot.

Par: Cast including Paul Rudd (Scott Lang/ Ant-Man), Michael PenĂ£ (Luis).

+1: Epilogue scene.

Par: End credit, “Captain America: Civil War” Preview.

Inside Out

Inside Out [PG] 
Animation, Adventure, Comedy
June 19, 2015 - Disney/ PIXAR
Directed by Pete Docter, Ronaldo Del Carmen

Grade: B+
Up-graded from B.

+1: Cast including Amy Poehler (as Joy).

-1: Emotional manipulation through color changing environments.

+1: Visualizing abstract thoughts.

Par: Maintenance workers.

Par: Every body has emotions.


Spy [R] 
Action, Comedy, Crime
June 5, 2015 - 20th Century Fox
Directed by Paul Fieg

Grade: B+
Up-Graded from B

+1: Cast including Melissa McCarthy (as Agent Susan Cooper), Jason Statham (Agent Rick Ford) and Rose Byrne (Rayna Boyanov).

+1: Government building basements.

Par: Spy movie tropes including gadgets, fancy parties, hand-to-hand combat, and betrayal.

Par: Fighting in kitchens.

-1: Gratuitous swearing.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Castle Castle Shining Bright

Yesterday was Mickey Mouse’s 87th birthday!

And speaking of Disney Birthdays, it is doubtful that it has slipped past you that this year Disney’s first theme park, Disneyland in California, has been celebrating its 60th birthday, a.k.a. its Diamond Celebration.

Being the Disneyphile, I composed these two wallpaper images from big splash banners from the Disney Parks site. The first night-time shot showed up at least by July, when it was the official birth day of the 17th.  The second replaced the first by August. I presume that it is a shot taken at dawn, given the lack of people in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle that would otherwise be crowding around it at any given dusk in the 7-day a week run park.

I was quite pleased how I managed to effectively erase superimposed text and things necessary for the site.

The time spent photo cleaning and further by putting them up as computer screen wallpapers, however, I had gotten to stare at them for significant amounts of time, and in doing so picked up on some weird photo editing on them.

In this image, the four lamp post banners with the Disneyland “D” at the top are the same re-sized and fit over what is possibly the original silhouettes of the banners in the original photo. With the two closest of the banners you can see, or rather not see, the drapery on the far turrets don’t show between the banners and lamp posts.

In this image, there are clearly six lamp post banner on the bridge and not just the 4 pasted into the previous image. Also the details of the castle walls including drapery can be seen through the bridge post banners.

However the thing that bugs me is the obelisk/post on the right with it’s strange dark halo against the castle walls. Because of this, that post looks a little too dark and a little too in focus when compared to it neighboring walls. One can only imagine what about that post necessitated a copy and paste upgrade.

Noticing the right-most tower roof, the fluttering flag atop the spire suggests that this is a long exposure picture for low lighting conditions.

You can find official Disney Park themed wall papers at the Disney Parks Blog:

Monday, October 26, 2015

Lenin Staute in Ukraine Gets Darth Vader Makeover

Reported by
Andrew R. Chow, The New York Times, Oct. 25, 2015
Marianne Zumberge, Variety, Oct. 24, 2015
Ron Dicker, The Huffington Post, Oct. 24, 2015

 A statue of communist leader Vladimir Lenin has been transformed into a monument to “Star Wars” icon Darth Vader by sculptor Alexander Milov.

A recent law banning communist symbols led to the makeover. The monument was fitted with the “Star Wars” villain’s helmet and Lenin’s coattails were converted into Th dark lord’s cape. However, the original bronze sculpting remains intact on the inside so that descendants may exhume him if needed.


Friday, August 21, 2015

Banksy's Twisted Version of Disneyland Opens this Weekend

Reported by MessyNessy Aug. 20th, 2015 on

In the British seaside town of Weston-Super-Mare, a place that’s been described as the most “depressing dump” you could ever spend a night in, the world-famous street artist Banksy has taken up his latest residency behind the walls of an abandoned seafront leisure club he used to visit as a child, formerly known as “The Tropicana”, a 10,200-spare foot concrete wasteland since it closed down in 2000.

The exhibition is now open (everyday) until September 21st.

read the complete article:

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Adrian Ropp

Arian Ropp is a Disney Interactive Story Artist and cartoonist, and lots of other things too – according to his blog information.

Chim Chum – Web comic about the adventures of enigmatic fox, Chim Chum, and the Portly Samurai from ancient China.

Check out the comic site:

Check out the blog:

Thursday, August 13, 2015

150 Hidden PIXAR Easter Eggs

Edited together by well-informed YouTuber Space Peguin, 150 Hidden Pixar Easter Eggs video enumerates Pixar’s penchant for pop culture references (a carpet Toy Story is a homage to The Shining), crossover appearances (Linguini from Ratatouille has The Incredibles logo on his underwear), and hints towards future projects, far-less pronounced than Marvel post-credits sequences (A bug from A Bug’s Life can be briefly seen in a storybook a character is reading in Toy Story.).

Published by SpacePenguin July 22, 2015 on YouTube

Reported by Joe Berkowitz on FastCompany’s Co.Create site []

Monday, August 10, 2015


Robot Creates Sand Portrait of Walt Disney | Walt Disney World

Published Aug 7, 2015 by Disney Parks on YouTube

An autonomous “entertainment” robot that can create large scale sand art called Beachbot recently visited Walt Disney World Resort and amazed guests at Disney’s Contemporary Resort by drawing a giant portrait of Walt Disney.

To read more, visit the Disney Parks Blog:

Sunday, August 2, 2015


Tomorrowland [PG] 
Action Adventure, Family
May 22, 2015 - Disney
Directed by Brad Bird

Grade: C
Down-graded from C

-1: Character development.

+1: 1964 New York World’s Fair including “it’s a small world.”

-1: Logic.

+1: Raffey Cassidy as precocious Athena.

Par: Running away from robots.

The Fast and The Furious 7

Furious Seven [PG-13] 
Action, Crime, Thriller
April 3, 2015 - Universal
Directed by James Wan

Grade: A-
Up-graded from B

Par: Cast.

Par: Plot involving something like revenge seeking Deckard Shaw ( played by Jason Statham), Government agent Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) with Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and crew in the middle.

+1: Cars stunts in a high rise building.

+1: Tribute to Paul Walker.

+1: Franchise installment

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Pitch Perfect 2

Pitch Perfect 2 [PG-13] 
Comedy, Music
May 15, 2015 - Universal
Directed by Elizabeth Banks

Grade: C+
Up-Graded from C.

Par: Individual lead characters’ storylines: Becca’s (Anna Kendrick) internship; Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) finding love; Emily (Hailee Steinfeld) freshman to leader arc.

+1: Underground a cappella competitions.

+1: Commentators John and Gail (John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks).

-1: Character development of non-featured team-members.

Par: Franchise installment.

Mad Max, Ver.2, No. 1

Mad Max, Fury Road [R] 
Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
May 15, 2015 - Warner Bros.
Directed by George Miller

Grade: A-
Up-graded from B

+1: Cast, including Charlize Theron (as Imperator Furiosa).

+1: Car stunts in the desert.

Par: Vision of a post-apocalyptic future.

Par: Simple politics of a water-based economy.

+1: Franchise installment as a reboot.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Hobbit 3

The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies [PG-13] 
Adventure, Fantasy
December 17, 2014 - Warner Bros.
Directed by Peter Jackson

Grade C-
Down-graded from C

-1: Stuff for Bilbo (Martin Freeman) to do.

+1: Smaug.

-1: Five battling C.G.I. armies.

Par: Cast.

Par: Franchise installment as the last in the series.

The Hunger Games 3.1

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - part 1
[PG-13] - Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
November 21, 2014 - Lionsgate
Directed by Francis Lawrence

Grade: C
Down-graded from C

Par: Cast.

+1: Character development (Katniss).

+1: “The Hanging Tree” ballad.

-1: Pace.

-1: Franchise installment as the first half of the last part.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tulle Fabric Portraits by Benjamin Shine

Reported April 20th, 2015 by Benjamin Starr on

By pleating and pressing tulle - the same type of fabric used in a ballerina’s dress - Benjamin Shine plays with the fabric’s intrinsic translucent and opaque qualities as it is layered ever thicker. As if this wasn’t challenging enough, he goes one step further by using only one uncut piece of fabric for an entire portrait.

[Benjamin Shine’s site]

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Pancake Art - Elsa (Frozen)

Published by Tiger Tomato May 16, 2015 on YouTube

Tiger Tomato
- “We draw. We sculpt, We fry.”

Tiger Tomato has several videos demonstration of cartoon characters done in the delectable medium of colored pancake batter.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Supernatural Parody by The Hillywood Show®

Published by The Hillywood Show May 21, 2015 on YouTube

Supernatural’s, Dean Winchester, struggles with the effects of bearing the Mark of Cain. Until Sam and Castiel find a cure, Dean has no other choice but to just “Shake It Off!” The Hillywood Show® brings the SPN Family a parody of epic proportions, that includes, Angels, Demons, Crowley, the Chevy Impala and fan favorite moments from the CW’s Supernatural!  

Starring, Osric Chau as “Sam”, Rob Benedict as “Cain” and special guest cameos from the Cast of Supernatural, including Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins and more!

Created by Hilly Hindi and Hannah Hindi
Director: Hannah Hindi
Editor Hilly Hindi
Screen play: Hilly Hindi

• Executive Produced by 

• “Shake It Off” Cover by Twenty One Two:

• Supernatural Parody Official Lyrics:

Share this on Twitter: 
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Use the hashtag - #SupernaturalParody

Dean Winchester - - - Hilly Hindi
Castiel - - - Hannah Hindi
Sam Winchester - - - Osric Chau
Cain - - - Rob Benedict
Crowley - - - Adam Stuckey

Special thanks to the amazing cast of Supernatural for being a part of this production:
Jared Padalecki  -  Jensen Ackles
Misha Collins  -  Rob Benedict
Matt Cohen  -  Osric Chau
Gil McKinney  -  Tim Omundson
Tahmoh Penikett  -  Samantha Smith
Richard Speight, Jr.  -  Sebastian Roche
Lauren Tom  -  Mark Pellegrino
Travis Aaron Wade  -  Tyler Johnston

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Avengers 2

Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 2, part 5 of 6
Avengers: Age of Ultron [PG-13] - Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
May 1, 2015 - Marvel
Directed by Joss Whedon

Grade A-
Up-Graded from B

+1: New characters: Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Vision.

+1: Ultron, the indestructible robotic villain with artificial intelligence (James Spader). 

+1: 3 big team battles + Hulk vs. Hulkbuster Iron Man.

-1: The Avengers defeat the Ultron(?)

Par: Serial franchise installment.


Home [PG] - Animation, Adventure, Comedy
March 27, 2015 - DreamWorks
Directed by Tim Johnson

Grade: C-
Up-graded from C

+1: Art direction and character design.

Par: Cast including Jim Parsons (Oh), Rihanna (Tip), Steve Martin (Captain Smek).

-1: Soundtrack.

-1: Nearly complete alien invasion and relocation of native inhabitants (humans).

Par: Impossible mechanics of space e-mail.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Fruit Fight

 Published by Kristen Cook on YouTube, April 27th, 2015 

 Music Video by Kindie Childrens Music Artist Kristen Cook, featuring animation by Dean Velez and the students at The Anvel. It was written and performed by Kristen Cook (, with additional lyrics by Jesse Friedberg.

The song was produced and engineered by Michael Seifert at Ante Up in Cleveland, OH.

 Support Independent Kids Music! Buy 5 Fresh, Fun and New Kindie Music Tracks by Kristen Cook, including Fruit Fight, for under $5 here:

Sunday, April 26, 2015

What If "Man of Steel" Was in Color?

What would Man of Steel look like with more natural color? That’s what the gang over at VideoLab wanted to see. So, they took clips from the film, played with the color balances and saturation and came up with some pretty interesting results.

Posted by VideoLab on YouTube April 21st, 2015

There is currently not a lot of information about the Folk(s) of VideoLab. Maybe this is a one-off experiment by a film student? Maybe there’s more coming?

The point, in any case of course, is how different a film can be by how it looks.

[reported on by TJ Dietch Apr. 25, 2015]

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Play It Forward

“Play It Forward” by Kristen Cook is a recently released EP of 5 original songs that will inspire children to be the best versions of themselves.

For more about the EP, go to her Bandcamp page:

To learn more about her live shows, music and more go to:

“Play It Forward” is available on iTunes.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Frozen Told by Emoji

Published by Disney February 27th, 2015 on YouTube

Join emoji-fied versions of Anna, Elsa, Olaf, and the rest of out favorite Frozen friends as they retell the story of Disney’s Frozen with performances of “Let It Go” and “Do You Want to Build a Snowman.”

Monday, March 30, 2015

5-Point Movie Review, 2014

Last year, 2014, I went and saw 26 movies. This time around I included 3 movies viewed on Netflix movie steaming service, and by this I mean that I sat down and really watched them unlike like other Netflix content where I let it play while I do something like art up something at 3:00 in the morning. “Art up” is a proper verb isn’t it?

For a break down of my grading process, you may refer to my 2013 roundup.

Averaging about a movie once every other week seems like a lot. However, about half way in the year I decided to avoid my local AMC Theartres’ $2.00 surcharge on films with showing times after 4:00 p.m. when paid with a gift certificate/ voucher. So I wasn't hitting them after work as I had been doing and instead I attended a Pacific Theater, which was a little less convenient. Other wise, I figure that I would have seen at least a half dozen more movies last year.

The abundant up-graded reviews (in white) shouldn’t be surprising, since by now I pretty much know what kind of films I like/ will pay to see. Which makes the three down-graded films (in black) particularly disappointing. On the other hand, I see ever fewer surprises in films with each year, and struggle to not down-grade something because I guessed the twist ending and rather more justly grade the quality of how well the twist ending was handled.

I graded both The Lego Movie and Big Hero 6 an “A,” and probably enjoyed The Lego Movie a bit more.

I down-graded Maleficent by three levels. Besides not understanding why the characters were depicted as they were (Maleficent, the misunderstood hero), I could not imagine the creative reason why it needed to be made.

You may note that I gave most of these a starting grade of “B.” In other words I’m saying this: “Congratulations, guys, you’ve went and made the film you wanted.”

To select one film of this batch as my “If you missed it, you should check it out” recommendation it would be Edge of Tomorrow a.k.a. Live, Die, Repeat, even though I bumped it up only one level. I think it earns that position just by being a decent film that was so difficult to market or in a concise way describe the film as something a lot of people would be interested in seeing. Interstellar, by contrast, as marketed was “Christopher Nolan’s weird space and time travel movie,” and audiences understood that. Certainly, in Edge, Tom Cruise brings his “Tom Cruise” brand of actioning, but it’s like the director uses that bit of familiarity as a set-up for a surprising pay-off.

Now, I’d love to continue ranting on about AMC Theatres’ policies, but I’ll stop myself.

Thank you for reading.

Thank you for watching.


Cinderella [PG] - Drama, Family, Fantasy
March 13, 2015 - Disney
Directed by Kenneth Branagh

Grade: B+
Up-graded from B.

+1: Costumes (Sandy Powell) and Art Direction (Gary Freeman, Leslie Tomkins).

Par: Story (Chris Weitz, screenplay based on Walt Disney’s Cinderella (1950) and Cendrillon by Charles Perrault).

+1: Cate Blanchett (as Lady Tremaine).

Par: Magic.

-1: Musical moments - lack of.

Note: Bryan is employed by Disney Consumer Products, sister company to Walt Disney Pictures who produced this film. Opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by The Walt Disney Company or any of its divisions. This blog is not associated with the Walt Disney Company or its divisions.