Movie Review | ‘Out’

Disney and LGBTQ+ theme content has not always been positive. The “Love, Simon” spin-off was shipped off to Hulu instead of Disney+ due to feeling that it wouldn’t appropriate for families to watch with their children. While I rolled my eyes hard at this, their subsidiary Pixar produced an LGBTQ+ for their short film series on Disney+ streaming platform just in time for Pride month.

“Out” is a nine-minutes short written and directed by Steven Hunter, who is best known for animating “Finding Nemo” and “Wall-E.” It’s the first Disney and Pixar movie to feature a gay main character and on-screen same-sex kiss. The short is apart of Pixar’s “SparkShorts” series on Disney+. The series is a program present by Pixar employees where they have six months and a limited budget to produce short films. These short films are personal and based on personal experiences. “SparkShorts” and the program was created to produced new filmmakers.

“It’s somewhat based on my coming-out story, and yet it’s nothing like my coming-out story,” Steven told Entertainment. Weekly, “I was trying to make a film for my 17-year-old queer self, the guy who needed to see something of himself in a film,” 

The film follows Greg as he and his boyfriend Manuel are boxing up Greg’s home for a move. Greg’s parents surprise him by showing up at his doorstep. Greg hides his life with Manuel as Manuel leaves through the backdoor due to him not being out with his parents. As he tries to keep his parents from finding out that he’s gay, he and his dog end up switching places due to a magical cat and dog.

This film is adorable. When I first watched it, I wasn’t too sure about it because of Disney’s past with LGBTQ+. The story is something that hit homes for everyone LGBTQ+ has to deal with – Coming out. It deals with it sweetly. Because it’s an animated film, the director was able to take a different approach to the coming out theme. We have never seen a “Freaky Friday” take to it. I mean, there are not that many films to deal with coming out, but that is beside the point.

My biggest complaint with it isn’t with the content of the film but rather how it sugar-coated for Disney. The film has a PG rating. The rating is because of the fact two men kiss in the movie. I don’t see how why parent guidance would be needed just because of the kiss. There are many worse animated things that Disney has on Disney+ than two men kissing. Frankly, the film is more of a G rating.

The PG rating just perpetuates the notion that being LGBTQ+ isn’t right. You don’t need to have a conversation with your kids about being gay unless they are. It’s not something you need to talk about like it’s a lesson. Now if they are being homophobic, then that is something that needs to be addressed. But treating two people of the same gender as something parents need to discuss with their children is wrong. While Disney made a step in the right direction with “Out,” the rating isn’t.

There is also a pacing issue with the film. It is trying to get much information and tell the store in under 10 minutes. The film starts well, and then it kind of rushes in the middle and once Greg switches bodies with his dog. It is not a big pacing issue, but it seemed like they wanted to spend more time with Greg in his dog’s body but ran out of time and had to wrap it up. I also want to know more about the magical dog and cat. That was just random. There is probably no meaning behind them besides just being a plot device to how Greg and his dog traded bodies.

Verdict

“Out” is an excellent short film that I think everyone needs to watch, whether they are LGBTQ+ or not. It is just a sweet film that we need more of it in the media. I hope that Disney and Pixar do more LGBTQ+ movies/series, only without the slightly problematic rating. I do wish that the film was longer because it has a slight pacing issue. “Out” is currently available only on Disney+

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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Movie Review | ‘Sonic The Hedgehog’

Every decade, Hollywood tries to make a popular video game series into a movie franchise because they need to make money. Hollywood couldn’t help but try to start this decade bringing in the money. So they took the popular Sega franchise “Sonic the Hedgehog” and turn it into a live-action movie. Something no one really asked for or wanted.

Sonic’s the name. Speed’s my game

“Sonic The Hedgehog” is based on the popular video games from the 1990s. The movie has been in the works since 1994 when the games were at the height of their popularity. It wasn’t until 2013 that the movie actually started got picked up by Sony Pictures and it entered production five years later.

The movie follows Sonic (voiced by Ben Schwartz) as tries to escape Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) with the help of Tom Wachowski (James Marsden). While working for the US government, Dr. Robotnik is trying to harness the power in Sonic to take over the world and enslave mankind with his robotic army.

With a PG rating, this movie is extremely kid-friendly. This is ironic because the people watching this movie are the parents of the children that this movie is geared towards. “Sonic The Hedgehog” isn’t a horrible movie but it’s not an excellent movie. In fact, I would say it’s a movie that you should just watch and then movie once and then that’s it.

The plot of the movie follows the source material when it comes to Sonic and Dr. Robotnik. But other than that, the plot is flimsy and not very good. There are parts of the movie that good and funny. And then there are parts that aren’t very good. It’s a PG movie that really should have been a G movie. The plot just makes the movie so bland and forgettable.

The acting and presentation in the film are extremely good. The only thing that I didn’t like was Jim Carrey’s portrayal of Dr. Robotnik. Granted, I’m not into/never was into crazy, over the top, Jim Carrey. I found him annoying and that’s what I thought of him in this role. He got on my nerves. It took me out of the experience.

L to R: Pre-Twitter rage Sonic; Post-Twitter rage Sonic

There were also some plot points that were introduced in the end credits to set up plot points that were really better than most of the movie. Again, this movie isn’t horrible bad but it just isn’t really any good. For all the hype with the change of how Sonic was designed in the beginning, the movie fell flat.

I do recommend checking out “Sonic The Hedgehog” but I would honestly just rent it. It’s good for a one-time viewing and that’s pretty much it. The plot isn’t great, it faithfully follows the plot of the video game with good presentation and acting. It also suffers from not knowing who the audience is for it. It’s a popular 90s character that gears towards kids who have little to no knowledge about him. Pretty much, this movie is a poorly done cash grab for video game sales.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

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Movie Review | ‘Birds of Prey’

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With the release of the 2016 movie “Suicide Squad,” my expectations with anything revolving them were low key low. The film itself wasn’t great by any means, and Jared Leto as The Joker confused me. I heard they were going to add my beloved Black Canary to the universe, I wasn’t that thrilled. DC Movies aren’t the best movies in the world. I hoped that “Birds of Prey and the Fabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn” would do her justice.

Behind every man, there’s a badass broad

“Birds of Prey and the Fabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn” was directed by Cathy Yan and is the eighth film in the DC Extended Universe. For those who don’t know, DC Extended Universe is the shared universe where all of the DC Comics movies take place. This is also the first movie to have an R rating.

The movie follows Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) as she deals with the aftermath of her breakup with The Joker. Wanted by Gotham’s top mob boss, Black Mask (Ewan McGregor), she makes a deal to help him find his lost diamond. Things turn for Miss Quinn as she finds herself working with Renee Montaya (Rosie Perez), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) and The Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead).

This movie got a lot of hate from critics, and frankly, it’s uncalled for. I immensely enjoyed this movie. Was it a blockbuster? No, and it didn’t need to be. This was just a fun movie that had great action. The acting was excellent, and all the characters were enjoyable and likable. There are some things I would have like to have done differently, like the fact you only have the Black Canary do one Canary Cry. You get a brief back story of the characters. There’s are some things that needed to be dived deeper into, and the movie just isn’t.

Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn is the best part of the entire movie. The way that she portrays the character is just fantastic. Gave Harley Quinn depth and just made her shine. Harley Quinn needs to have her own movie is what we need. Margot Robbie could and can carry a Harley Quinn solo movie. Spoiler: There’s a new Suicide Squad coming out with Margot in 2021.

The biggest complaint I have with this movie is the plot/story. It’s all just bizarre. The first part of the movie is setting up everything. You get to what really should have been the first part, and the movie is almost over. It could have been paced out better. I appreciated the setting up. I just wish they didn’t spend most of the movie doing it.

Verdict

“Birds of Prey and the Fabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn” is a movie that you need to see if you are big into superhero movies. It’s a step in the right direction for DC Extended Universe. While the pacing and the plot weren’t the greatest, you need to watch it just for Harley Quinn. She’s the true queen of the DC Extended Universe. The movie is also a fun time.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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Review | ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’

It’s the end of an era. It’s time that we cross into the final chapter of Star War’s Skywalker Saga. “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” has gotten a lot of mixed reviews. Some liked it, others didn’t really enjoy it, and some just thought it was meh. Now that it’s out digital, it’s time to review it because that’s the kind of guy that I am.

The force will be with you, always

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” was directed by J.J. Abrams, who also directed “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and executive produced “Star Wars: “The Last Jedi.” It’s the ninth episode in the saga. Yep, there’s been nine movies. The cast from the first two films in the sequel trilogy return and reprises their roles. Carrie Fisher is also in this movie as they used unused footage from “The Force Awakens.” She passed away back in 2016.

The movie picks up after the events of “The Last Jedi.” Rey (Daisey Ridley) leads the resistance against Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and his First Order. The First Order got a little more powerful after a Sith emperor returns to lead Kylo to end all Jedi once and for all.

The movie itself isn’t bad. The primary thing that holds the film back is the pacing. It starts off high speed before hitting a roadblock in the middle and slowing down and just drags until the finale. The movie is 142 minutes, or two hours and 22 minutes. Because the central act drags, it just brings the film down. The central act is still short, but it doesn’t feel that way.

It’s an instinct. A feeling. The Force brought us together.

Finn

The story of the movie is still impressive. There’s just so much plot, and it directly ties all nine movies together. While the callbacks to previous films are good, it’s rather too much. Fan service for the point of fan service. It’s kind of like they decided to throw out a bunch of things just to tie up all their loose ends. And the ideas to tie up loose ends aren’t bad, in fact, they are rather interesting takes on it. I just wish they decided to use the ideas earlier on in the sequel trilogy.

The issues with the story have to be due to “The Last Jedi.” It wasn’t done by J.J. Abrams. They really don’t reference much of the story from the eighth episode, besides the significant plot. Even then, this movie undoes that so that happened. Frankly, it’s kind of a hot mess. It’s not an unwatchable hot mess but a hot mess nevertheless.

The acting is excellent, as well as the action scenes. They live up to what we all come to expect in a Star Wars movie. But it’s the pacing and the story that hurts “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” The ending is fitting of the Skywalker saga, but it could have had a more cohesive trilogy to end to it. I do recommend watching it as it’s really not a bad movie.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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