Tag Archive: Raiders of the Lost Ark


Review by C.J. Bunce

Back in 2006 artist-writer Chris Grine published his first of a two-volume Eisner-nominated comic called Chickenhare, featuring a unique hero in a strange new anthropomorphic world, mixing adventure and dark comedy.  This weekend his hero makes it to Netflix in his own animated movie, Chickenhare and the Hamster of Darkness The creator himself has acknowledged in the past the scripts in development for the movie were different than his source material.  The artwork looks nothing like Grine’s characters.  Fans of Grine will find little in common with the new movie, but it’s relatively harmless for really little kids, or older kids who have already seen far better treatments in the talking animal genre, notably Zootopia and Chicken Run–actually all the Aardman Animation shows–and major studio efforts like Ferdinand.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

The Lost City arrived in theaters a little more than a month ago, but it’s already made its way to streaming provider Paramount+.  It’s a step above your average rom-com, a better than average new release and a worthy unofficial remake of the 1980s classic Romancing the Stone.  If you miss classic rom-coms steeped in adventure and lighthearted fantasy, this should be your next watch, a Sandra Bullock star vehicle with 16 years younger actor Channing Tatum as the potential love interest, a rare and welcome Hollywood choice–when was the last time you saw an older woman with a younger man in a major production?  Add Brad Pitt and Daniel Radcliffe, and some goofy humor and high adventure and The Lost City is movie that would have been difficult for anyone to get wrong.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

With a small but significant first–and possibly only–season now behind us, the latest Marvel series proved the promise of the series opener wasn’t just a fluke.  With unusually fantastic superhero storytelling and backstory, top acting, and unparalleled art production and music, Moon Knight is a serious contender for not only the best of Disney’s era of superhero series, it also springs ahead as better than all the Netflix Marvel series and any series (DC, Marvel, or indie) that came before in the superhero genre, complete with a Dark Knight villain done right, and a Wonder Woman who finally delivered on the excitement and potential of nearly a century of comic book superheroines.  The sixth and final episode of the season is now streaming on Disney+.  We’re only through four months of 2022, and even with some high calibre shows so far, if you see only one series this year, so far this is the one not to miss.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

TCM’s film reference library of books has looked at the best sci-fi and horror movies, dynamic actresses, Christmas movies, summer hits, noir and war movies, plus it’s highlighted more than 100 movies that are the best of the best–with another book that looks at the best of a century of movie directors.  Tomorrow movie fans finally get the first exploration of the greatest stunt work from a century of film and the people behind it all in Danger on the Silver Screen: 50 Films Celebrating Cinema’s Greatest Stunts (available for pre-order now here at Amazon).  From an icy peril in 1920’s Way Down East to a harrowing drive through Atlanta in 2017’s Baby Driver, readers will see how it’s done from contemporary accounts and new interviews.
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Review by C.J. Bunce

The best of the Marvel Cinematic Universe happens when a new writer or director’s vision is something we haven’t seen before.  For the movies, that’s merging into the MCU a quirky space fantasy crew in Guardians of the Galaxy, superheroes with restricted powers as in Thor: Ragnarok, or starring a less than super superhero like in Ant-Man.  In the TV series it’s introducing a unique, cool style like in Luke Cage or featuring an ex-military antihero with serious drama like in The Punisher.  In Disney’s Moon Knight, which is premiering its pilot episode now on Disney+, it’s building an intense, thrilling character who finds that something or someone has taken over his body, and he–and the audience–have no idea why.  It’s a mix of ancient mythology, magic, and adventure of the level of Raiders of the Lost Ark, with the best of today’s actors creating some truly fantastic and exciting characters.  And that’s just the first hour.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Four-time Oscar winner Nick Park and his Aardman Productions have netted stop-motion animation’s finest, most clever, laugh-out-loud creations.  His third Oscar-winning animated short film starring Wallace & Gromit, A Close Shave, introduced the Aardman’s international audience to Shaun, a “teenage” sheep whose adventuresome spirit gets him into trouble and who went on to star in several series and films of his own.  The latest comes directly to Netflix in time for Christmas, Shaun the Sheep: The Flight Before Christmas, a story that mixes the best aspects of the finest holiday classics with a reflection of the trappings of our modern world.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Fans of either of the three stars of Red Notice will probably flock to this latest direct-to-Netflix movie just to see their favorite star in their next picture.  But Red Notice, which arrived on the streaming platform this weekend, is another production that falls into the vibe of the old direct-to-VHS movies–it’s something you’d watch for free on cable but probably wouldn’t pay full movie ticket prices for it.  Going back to the first of Netflix’s exclusive production/distribution projects, Brad Pitt’s War Machine, subscribers began to see this trend, which, despite enormous box office budgets and big-name directors and actors, deliver only ho-hum content.  These include The Cloverfield Paradox, Extinction, IO, Polar, The Irishman, and Mank.  That isn’t to say Netflix never gets it right.  Roma, The Highwaymen, The Trial of the Chicago 7, Extraction, 6 Underground, and Rebecca are exceptions.

But how do you go wrong with Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot?  When that’s the only thing you deliver.

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Raya a

Review by C.J. Bunce

Raya and the Last Dragon is the first animated movie created during the pandemic, with 900 creators working together to make a full-scale feature film from home.  The result is the best Disney animated film to date, filled with a great story combining all sorts of fantasy tropes, great visual action, exciting characters, good humor, blending historic themes with modern ideas and characters.  The entirely computer animated film also sports three strong female lead characters and is backed by an all female technical leadership team.  The result is a movie blending elements of Asian culture on par with Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind with the action of Raiders of the Lost Ark and the fantastical elements of The Lord of the Rings.  Count Raya and the Last Dragon among the creative works that shine brightly despite the adverse conditions of 2020. 

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Notable in part for being the first animated movie out of Disney without the work of creator John Lasseter in 15 years, the next major animated movie from Disney features the voices of two well-known genre stars, and it looks a bit on theme with Disney’s last live-action movie, Mulan.  Raya and the Last Dragon is all computer-animated, and it features the voices of Kelly Marie Tran (Star Wars: The Last Jedi) as Raya, a warrior heroine who is seeking the Last Dragon, named Sisu, voiced by comedy actor Awkwafina (Jumanji: The Next Level), all in a classic fantasy The Hobbit or The Last Unicorn-homage tale.

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