Thoughts On The Mandalorian Season 3 Trailer

Warning: this post contains spoilers. Read at your own risk.

A new season of a beloved television series always brings out feelings of excitement and questions about where the narrative will go.

The trailer for the 3rd season of The Mandalorian was released earlier this week. After breaking the #1 rule in Mandalore of removing his helmet, Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) has to redeem himself. Traveling the galaxy with Grogu (otherwise known as Baby Yoda), politics mingles with meeting up with old associates and new foes.

As usual, the details are being kept close to the vest, which is perfectly fine with me. I would rather wait to know what happens rather than be spoiled.

Am I looking forward to it? Absolutely?

Season 3 of The Mandalorian premieres on DisneyPlus on 3/1/23.

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The Flagmakers Documentary Movie Review

The American flag (or the flag of any nation) is much more than the cloth that is used to make it. It represents everything that the country stands for.

The new National Geographic/DisneyPlus documentary, The Flagmakers, is the story of the Eder Flag company in Wisconsin. Among the employees who create and ship out millions of flags every year are immigrants, refugees, and Americans who have lived in the area for years. Though they are all different, they have one thing in common: they truly believe in their work and the product they are making.

I enjoyed the film. It was a reminder that America is the world’s melting pot. Despite our different familial origins, religious beliefs, or skin color, it is possible to get along. The question is, do we take the opportunity to get to know someone, or do we judge them based on external factors?

Do I recommend it? Yes.

The Flagmakers is available for streaming on DisneyPlus.

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Best New Television Shows of 2022

  1. Obi-Wan Kenobi: The DisneyPlus series answers the question of what happened to Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) in between the events of Revenge of the Sith (2005) and A New Hope (1977). My favorite part of the series was the introduction of Reva Sevander (Moses Ingram).
  2. Anatomy of a Scandal: Based on the Sarah Vaughan book of the same name, this Netflix miniseries follows the investigation of a politician accused of rape.
  3. The US and the Holocaust: This Ken Burns multi-part PBS documentary exposes how the United States failed to help the six million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust.
  4. Ridley Road: This PBS/Masterpiece program is based on the book of the same name by Jo Bloom. It tells the story of a young woman of Jewish descent in the 1960s who goes undercover to stop a Neo-Nazi group from destroying the UK.
  5. Gaslit: Julia Roberts plays Martha Mitchell in this Starz production that tells the tale of Watergate from Martha’s perspective.
  6. Dangerous Liaisons: A sort of prelude Les Liaisons Dangereuses, it started off a bit slow and took a few episodes to get interesting. Unfortunately, Starz canceled it at the end of the first season.
  7. The Serpent Queen: Samantha Morton plays the title character in this Starz series about Catherine de Medici. Wow, that is all I have to say.
  8. Women of the Movement: This ABC/Hulu miniseries told of the murder of Emmett Till and his mother Mamie’s journey to get justice for her son.
  9. Ms. Marvel: A young woman goes from an ordinary teenager to a superhero who saves the world.
  10. Andor: The prequel to Rogue One, the series explains how Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) became the rebel leader who led the fight against the Empire.
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This will be my last post for 2022. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for taking time out of your day to read this humble writer’s work. I’ll see you in 2023.

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Best Movies of 2022

  1. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever: After the death of Chadwick Boseman (T’Challa/Black Panther), the questions on how the IP would continue without its leading man seemed endless. Black Panther‘s sequel is both the perfect memorial to Boseman and a continuation of the narrative.
  2. Avatar: The Way of Water: The 13-year wait for the follow-up to Avatar was worth it. The themes of climate change are just as relevant now as they were in 2009.
  3. She Said: Based on the book of the same name, it tells the heart-pounding story to uncover the sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein. NY Times reporters Megan Twohey (Carey Mulligan) and Jodi Kantor (Zoe Kazan) take on Weinstein and the Hollywood machine in a way that is jaw-dropping.
  4. Elvis: Austin Butler transforms himself into Elvis Presley, adding new layers to the music icon.
  5. Call Jane: Elizabeth Banks plays a housewife whose pregnancy is not going well in the days before Roe v. Wade. Denied an abortion by the local hospital, she finds an underground group and soon joins them in their mission to help women.
  6. Hocus Pocus 2: After 29 years, the Sanderson sisters are back. It has enough of its predecessor while holding its own in the best way possible.
  7. Mr. Malcolm’s List: Based on the book of the same name by Suzanne Allain, Mr. Malcolm is the most coveted bachelor in this Jane Austen-inspired narrative. In order to fend off marriageable young ladies and their match-making mamas, he creates a list of qualities that his wife should have. Little does he know that it will soon be moot.
  8. Downton Abbey: A New Era: This second film in the franchise opens the door to new stories while closing old ones in perfect fashion.
  9. Cyrano: This musical adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac starring Peter Dinklage adds new flavors to the well-known tale.
  10. The Tragedy of Macbeth: Shot in stark black and white, Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand star as the power-hungry and bloodthirsty Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.
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Hocus Pocus 2 Movie Review

Movie sequels have a tenuous reputation. They can either further a beloved narrative (i.e. The Empire Strikes Back), or they can be a supposedly easy cash grab that nearly destroys the reputation of its predecessor (i.e. Independence Day: Resurgence).

Last weekend, fans of Hocus Pocus were finally rewarded for our patience. The long-awaited sequel, Hocus Pocus 2, was released on DisneyPlus. Nearly thirty years after the Sanderson sisters, Winifred (Bette Midler), Mary (Kathy Najimy), and Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) were vanquished, they are brought back again by a couple of teenagers.

This time it is Becca (Whitney Peak) and Izzy (Belissa Escobedo) who light the black flame candle. The only way to stop the witches is with the help of their friend, Cassie (Lilia Buckingham), who has been spending all of her free time with her boyfriend. Working with the sister’s fanboy Gilbert (Sam Richardson), they know that Winifred, Mary, and Sarah must be stopped for good this time.

I could not help but smile during the film. The wait was worth it. It is as if the last 29 years have not existed. Midler, Najimy, and Parker slipped back into their roles as one would put on a beloved piece of clothing. The narrative is an organic continuation of the 1993 movie, taking the story in new directions in regard to the main characters.

The new characters also work well and are a nice extension of the original teenage protagonists. Becca, Izzy, and Cassie are an interesting mirror image of Winifred, Mary, and Sarah. For his part, Gilbert represents the myth of the witches that have grown within this world and within the fanbase.

It is a fun, exciting ride that takes the audience on a ride and ends in a manner that is lovely and unexpected.

The only thing that would have made it better would have been cameos from the original kid actors.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Hocus Pocus 2 is available for streaming on DisneyPlus.

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Andor Review

There are two arguments when it comes to a prequel. One is that it allows a formerly minor character to get a little bit of time in the narrative spotlight. The other is that it is a cheap copout by the studio. Instead of giving voice to new stories, they are relying on a known (and perhaps too reliable) IP.

Andor premiered last Wednesday on DisneyPlus. In short, it is a prequel of a prequel. Five years before the events of A New Hope, it follows Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) as he becomes the rebel that we know him to be in Rogue One.

While getting on the bad side of bureaucrat Syril Karn (Kyler Soller), he joins the rebellions by way of Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgard) and Bix Caleen (Adria Arjona).

So far, the first three episodes have been released. The connective tissue between the boy he was and the man he has become is starting to come together in a way that feels right for the character.

My favorite character so far is Maarva Andor (Fiona Shaw), Cassian’s adopted mother. She is not blind to what is happening and though she does not appear to have one, she has a spine made of steel.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

New episodes of Andor are released every Wednesday on DisneyPlus.

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Thoughts On the Disenchanted and The Little Mermaid Trailers

It’s easy to be cynical in an adult and complicated world. Then you put on a Disney movie and you become the child believing that anything is possible.

Last week, the trailers for Disenchanted (the sequel to Enchanted) and the live-action reboot of The Little Mermaid were released.

The premise of Disenchanted is as follows: It’s been ten years since Giselle (Amy Adams) and Robert (Patrick Dempsey) had their happily ever after. But when Giselle starts to question that happiness, things go horribly wrong.

When it was announced some time ago that Halle Bailey was taking over the role of Ariel, I was not sure about that casting. To be perfectly honest, it was simply about the hair color, nothing more. If it came off as racist, I apologize. That was not my intention. Ariel is such an integral part of my childhood that she is a part of my essence. I just feel very protective of her.

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Though it is only a teaser trailer, I have seen enough to be excited. Bailey has a beautiful voice and I look forward to seeing the film when it comes out next year.

Disenchanted will be released on DisneyPlus on November 24th. The Little Mermaid will be in theaters next May.

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Pinocchio Movie Review

Within every fairy tale is a morality tale. The purpose is to teach our children (and our adults) how to behave.

The new film, Pinocchio is a live-action reboot of the 1940 film of the same name. Based on the story by Carlo Collodi, Geppetto (Tom Hanks) has one wish: for a child of his own. He gets his wish when the Blue Fairy (Cynthia Erivo) brings Geppetto’s newest creation, a puppet to life. Named Pinocchio (voiced by Benjamin Evan Ainsworth), he wants nothing more than to be a real boy and make his father proud.

But like any child, temptation pulls him in other directions. Jiminy Cricket (voiced by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) tries to guide his charge to do the right thing, but he can only do so much. Will this puppet become a real child or is his fate to be just pieces of wood that only slightly resembles a human?

There is a nice balance of updating the narrative for our time while remaining true to the original cartoon. As usual, Hanks is the MVP, playing a complete 180 from his last film.

I noticed a couple of things that I obviously would not have seen as a child. The first is praying to a higher power or the universe (whichever one believes in), may actually bring in the desired results. The second is that you have to work for what you want. Pinocchio was not automatically turned into a human being, he had to earn it.

I haven’t seen the 1940 film in decades, but the message came through loud and clear. Though the story could be seen as slightly moralistic, the idea of listening to your gut applies to anyone of any age.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Pinocchio is available for streaming on DisneyPlus.

P.S.: Keep an eye out for easter eggs.

Light & Magic Documentary Review

When we think of films or TV shows, we often think of the boldface names at the top of the credits: the director, the actors, the producers, the screenwriter(s), etc. For every name that is in large letters, there are many others whose work is important, but unknown by the audience.

Light & Magic is a new six-part documentary about the creation of Industrial Light & Magic, otherwise known as ILM. Started by George Lucas, the company started out as a way to create special effects for Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope. In the beginning, they were a bunch of young rebels living off of dreams, hard work, and a limited budget.

Over the decades, ILM would not just become the pioneer for special effects. The company would also be behind the success of some of the biggest movies of our era, creating visual imagery that has caused multiple generations of fans to ask “how did they do that?”.

I enjoyed this documentary. It proves that determination, creativity, diligence, and coloring outside the box can change the world.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Light & Magic is available for streaming on Disneyplus.

Lego Star Wars Summer Vacation Movie Review

Summer vacations, in their many forms, should be simple. A chance to get away from the every day, see something else, and generally take a breather. But anyone who has ever gone away will tell you that it can be far from simple.

Lego Star Wars Summer Vacation recently dropped on DisneyPlus. In this 45-minute kid-friendly film, Finn (voiced by Omar Miller) is more than excited to get away with his friends for a little while. But then they all scatter and Finn is left to wonder if his expectations were just a little too far from reality.

This movie is so much fun. it is adorable and fans of all ages will love it. The humor is mostly directed at a younger audience. However, there are a few easter eggs that the adults will recognize and get a chuckle out of.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Lego Star Wars Summer Vacation is available for streaming on DisneyPlus.

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