18 Things To Look Forward To in 2018!

The new year is finally upon us and with it not only do we have a fresh start do do things better then we did last year, but also a years worth of new animations, comics, film and more to look forward to!  So without further ado, here are eighteen things to look forward to in 2018!  In no particular order other then how I feel talking about them.  So let’s get started!

 

 

 

  1. Mary & The Witches Flower.

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The first feature length film by Studio Ponoc is getting an western release through GKids and Fhantom Events on January 18th and anyone who is a fan of animation should be excited about this one!   The film which more or less apes Studio Ghibli’s artstyle seems to be full of not just quality animation but a genuinly enjoyable story with a main protagonist attending a Harry Potter-esque school while also uncovering a dark secret.  The movie based on the children’s book by the same name will no doubt be a delight for animation and film goers of all ages!

 

2. The Snagglepuss Chronicles

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DC Comics has been making the most of their rights to publish books based on the classic Hannah-Barbara Characters as of late with their HB Beyond line which takes the classic toons and revives them with a modern twist and Snagglepuss Chronicles is no different. The book features an even more anthropomorphized version of the classic pink cat who is a gay southern gothic playwright during the “Red Scare” period of American politics.  The series despite being set in the past is extremely relevant to the increasingly disturbing state of American politics as of present and is sure to be a poingent socio-political tale as well as one of the best comics of 2018. So if you are a fan of classic Hannah-Barbara characters and quality socio-political commentary I say check it out!

 

 

3. Craig of The Creek!

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One of Cartoon Network’s new original series for 2018, Craig of The Creek is an animated slice of life adventure series about the titular Craig and his friends as the have various adventures in the forest nearby his neighborhood.   The show is more or less meant to be a stand in for the currently ending series Clarence though the visual style is more akin to that of Steven Universe and the general tone of the series going off the polite is far more relaxed and innocent.  Overall Craig of the Creek is another attempt at a modern version of a series similar to Reccess or Rugrats minus the occasionally manic tone of the latter, with seemingly a tiny bit of Bridge To Tarabithia thrown in, sans the sad parts of course.   If you are a fan of fun and relaxing toons I would definitely recommend checking it out!

 

4. Cosmo

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The latest series for Archie’s all-ages action imprint. Cosmo is a revitalization of a silver age comic series brought back to life by popular Sonic Scribes like Ian Flynn, Tracy Yardly and more!  The series follows a young alien Cosmo and his crew as they go on various intergalactic adventures.  This series is just starting and if it’s anything like Ian and co’s past work it is no doubt to be a hit!  Infact the first issue came out this week so go to your LCS and pick up a copy why don’t yea!?

 

5. Black Lightning

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The latest CW/DC Superhero series which premiers on January 16th stars the company’s first African American hero coming out of retirement to help save his home town from an ever growing criminal element he thought he had defeated.  The series is sure to be the most relevant and socio-political charged series in the DCTV Universe to date and you would be crazy to miss out on it!

 

6. Teen Titans GO! To The Movies!

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While the television series is infamous for being rerun on CN far too often the fact its getting a movie could be good for animated films in the long run.  If this movie does well enough there is a chance WB could be open to more 2D &/or traditionally animated films in the future and possibly more animated films based on DC properties as well. So even if you hate how much CN airs the show on TV, i’d say at least give the movie a chance. I mean, c’mon you do want that Young Justice movie someday…right!?

 

7. Equestria Girls: Digital Series

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The Doug Meets Sailor Moon style Spin-off of My Little Pony which features the characters as candy colored magical teenage girls instead of sentient magical horses recently received a digital series that will be having a new episode every week throughout most of 2018.  With a first season spanning forty-five episodes and a second season currently in production fans of these ponies turned teens are sure to have plenty of laughs and friendship lessons for sometime to come.  *If the Discovery Family App would stop leaking them before they get their YouTube premier that is*

 

8. Krypton

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The long awaited series about The House of El and Superman’s home world pre-explosion is finally going to premiere in March of 2018.  The series has been loosely described as “Game of Thrones in Space” and while that will most likely end up being a bit of an exaggeration the series is sure to intrigue Superman fans both young and old.

 

9. Bingo Love

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An original Graphic novel by Tee Franklin and Jeen St-Onge showcasing the life of a same-sex couple from 1963 to the present day, Bingo Love seems to be setting itself up to be an important and heart warming love story for the ages.

 

10.  BumbleBee

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A Transformers Movie focusing on a fan favorite character and NOT directed by Micheal Bay!?  This could be a TF fans dream if things come true and with some of the same talent that worked on Kubo & The Two Strings behind the helm we might just get our first genuinely good live action Transformers film!  Fingers crossed!

 

11.  Summercamp Island

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Yet another Cartoon Network Original Project Summercamp Island is a surrealist slice of life fantasy series about two friends at their first summercamp which is much more than meets the eye.  With a visual style hearkening back to old Nick Jr. series such as The Busy world of Richard Scary and Little Bear and a cute meet weird style reminiscent of Adventure Time I have no doubt that Summercamp Island will be another hit for the network!

 

12. Aquaman

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The King of the seas is finally getting his own film and with this James Wan helmed film we are no doubt going to get an entirely new take on DC’s classic character!

 

13. Sailor Moon: Eternal Edition

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A new deluxe edition style re-release of the classic Sailor Moon manga with a new translation, color pages and more.  This is the definitive edition of the Sailor Moon manga and a must have for fans of the pretty sailor gaurdians

 

14. Miles Morales: Spider-Man

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Sony Animation’s first super-hero film may just end-up being their best film in years!  Though it still doesn’t make up for that gosh awful Emoji Movie!

 

15. Persephone

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An original graphic novel taking inspiration from greco-roman mythology sure to delight readers of all ages!

 

16.  Unikitty

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The popular Cartoon Cat-Unicorn and her friends from the LEGO Movie finally have their own cartoon and it is awesomedorable!

 

17. Sonic The Hedgehog

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IDW is bringing back the 90’s gaming Icon in comic form and it’s sure to be a blast for readers young and old!

 

18. Black Panther

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I may despise Disney but even I realize the success of this film is bigger then one studio.  Black Panther performing well could mean a better chance of more diverse and progressive leads in films to come.  Plus it might finally convince DC to green-light a Vixen or Static Shock flick, so there’s that as well.

 

 

And ther you have it.  Eighteen things to look forward to in 2018!  There will of course be plenty more to enjoy that’s not on this list but this should be a fun little taste none the less. Happy new year everyone!

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Critique VS Criticism: The Ever Changing Art of The Review.

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Criticism is as old as the arts themselves.  We humans love to voice our opinions on the world around us just as much as we enjoy taking in all the sights and sounds.  However over the past century with the advent of things such as film and television we have seen much of our efforts in this aspect dedicated to both the analytical dissection of these mediums as well as the unabashed praising or crucifixion of works depending on our outlook of them.  In modern times with the advent of the internet age any of us for better or worse have the ability to do this with ease. “Everyone is a critic” as we finally see the old saying come to fruition.  While this can be a positive thing as it helps give us a diverse range of voices and opinions towards a work I also personally feel there has been a negative effect to this as well in regards to the actual profession of film criticism.

 

In theory a proper critique of a film is an analytical dissection of the work, with the reviewer going through and sharing what they saw as strengths and weaknesses in the film and giving their piece on what possible paths could be taken to avoid any potential repeats of these mistakes in the future.  While still subjective as all opinions are a professional critique is meant to be more or less similar to a teacher grading or reviewing a students work.  It is meant to come from a good and helpful place, it is meant to be a way for those who enjoy a form of art to contribute their voice to help it grow and improve in the future.  More or less critique is meant to be a good thing, not a bad, even if the overall review of a work is more negative than positive, it still comes from a good place.  This however no longer seems to be true in modern film reviews for the most part as helpful critique is far too often set aside for more brash, cruel and mean-spirited criticism on sites for easy clicks.

 

Modern film Criticism often goes beyond helpful or professional analytical critique as many big sites and names put aside calm professionalism and instead bathe in the volatility and toxic miasma of modern internet culture. And while a desire to be more casual and honest with ones opinions is indeed admirable, the fact that for better or worse many of these professional critics and big sites can have an effect on the box office of a film to some degree is a dangerous thing given the fact that there is increasingly blurred line between a traditional “professional critic” and the rest of us ranting and raving on our blogs, twitter & YouTube channels.   The truth is though we need that divide stable to some degree. We need film critics to be more analytical and balanced in their criticism of film instead of spending so much time and effort to attempting to destroy a film before it even comes out or attacking it or anyone who enjoys it long after it  is released.  Again, critique should come from a good place, a desire to see the form of art you enjoy improve and succeed in the future.  I know all to well film can easily disappoint and emotions are just as much as part of what make a film good or bad for us as the characters and the narrative.  But even with that in mind it is important for mainstream critics to be better then the rest of us on the internet, for their reviews to not be born out of spite, but to come from a place of good intent the same way a good teacher would want a student to improve.

 

In closing I beseech thee dear reader to take all reviews in modern time be they from some nobody like me or a big wig on Variety or Rotten Tomatoes with a hefty cup of tea. At the end of the day art in any form will always be subjective and no one can truly decide weather a film is good or bad in your eyes but you.  In an age when very few critics are much better than a twelve year old or a madman like myself rambling on twitter, the best person to trust about your feeling towards a film, be it positive or negative is indeed yourself.

Thoughts on: Wonder Woman (2017)

  Warning: This Post Contains Spoilers!

 

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This weekend the long awaited solo outing of everyone’s favorite Amazon Warrior Princess started in theatres and sufficed to say it has made many positive ripples over its short stint in movie houses so far, so lets take a look at Wonder Woman and see if it is sensational as everyone says?

 

The film starts off with Diana Prince in modern day monolouging about the world and the nature of man as a briefcase is delivered to her with the original copy of the photo Bruce found of her in BVS inside.  This leads to the flashback that starts the main story of the film with Diana reminiscing about her life from childhood to adulthood growing up on Themyscria with her mother and the other Amazons.  We also get a brief retelling of the Amazon’s origins from Hippolyta.  As expected we also see Steve Trevor crash on the island which starts the whole thing off.  A Small group of German’s trailing Steve land on the island and are quickly slaughtered by the Amazons though not without the mighty women losing a few of their own to the attack, including Diana’s teacher and aunt Antiope.     This leads Diana to leave the island with Steve and help him try to stop the war.

 

Without spoiling too much more the rest of the film shows Diana learning more about the world of man both the good and the bad which over the course of the film is the sole push for Diana’s character growth not just as a hero but as an individual as well as she has to accept the world is a much more complicated place than she first thought and everyone has both good and evil within them, coming to the conclusion that as long as there is love there is still hope to save the world.

 

Overall the story of the film is well written, it faithfully follows Wonder Woman’s comic book origin while only making the necessary tweaks and additions to help serve the greater narrative of the film or have it fit into the DCEU continuity.  Gal Gadot gives a solid performance as Diana giving off a sense of both youthful naivety while also coming off as a strong and confident woman.  Chris Pine is also an excellent Steve Trevor and shows us a version of the character who despite being psychologically worn out from the war still does his best to try to stop it. And while only in the beginning of the film Ronnie Wright & Connie Nelson give solid performances as Antiope and Hippolyta respectively.  The supporting cast of characters like Etta Candy, Chief, and the villains like Doctor Poison. General Ludendorf and later on Ares all fit their role quite adequately as well.

 

The cinematography still manages to have the same natural tone the past DCEU films have had while having just enough color pop out to help make the characters more defined in the dark backdrop of war.  The slow motion moments in fight scenes somewhat reminiscent of Guy Ritche’s Sherlock Holmes are also well choreographed and welcome additions .  The special effects are also spot on for the most part making the battles feel as if they have real weight and depth to them.

 

The costume design is also impressive as both the Amazons and early 20th century citizens look authentic which helps add to the atmosphere of the film.  And the colors of Wonder Woman’s outfit pop every time they are on screen making the armor as visually appealing as the character of Wonder Woman is inspiring.

 

The only minor complaints I could find with the film would be that Ares has a really really stupid mustache that even his nice and somewhat comic accurate armor couldn’t completely hide and this prevents him from looking as intimidating as he should.  And the end scene before the credits being a traditional Superhero in silly pose while jumping really cliché was somewhat off putting.

 

Overall though Wonder Woman was a delight to sit through the first time and just as much if not slightly more so the second.  Patty Jenkins, Zack Snyder and co did a genuinely great job with this film as despite the dark topic of war it never loses its sense of love and hope and truly showcases what makes Wonder Woman such a great and inspirational hero.  If WB & DC are smart they will keep Mrs. Jenkins on as long as possible as she has proven that not only can female directors play ball just as well as the big boys, in some ways they can throw even better!

 

Final Grade

Cinematography: 8 out of 10

Story: 10 out of 10

Overall: 9 out of 10

Wonder Woman is now in theatres nationwide and will be rolling out worldwide over the coming weeks!