Anastasia (1997)

Time to revisit childhood favorites! I’m not going to lie. It might be a little deliberate to have chosen Anastasia since Netflix is doing “A” titles. Consider it a double feature in a way, especially since Anastasia is currently on Netflix (in Canada). Its also a good choice because I need to watch good movies also and not always average movies. It keeps the moral high and motivation even higher. So I’m going to try from now on. When the week is a little more quiet, I’ll work in another movie, hopefully with the same letter title as the Netflix that week. Summer is around the corner so I usually rest up in June to prepare for all the movie reviews in Fantasia Festival in mid-July.

Enough rambling! Let’s revisit Anastasia! ūüôā

Anastasia (1997)
Anastasia

Director: Don Bluth & Gary Goldman

Voice cast:  Meg Ryan, John Cusack, Christopher Lloyd, Kelsey Grammar, Hank Azaria, Bernadette Peters, Angela Lansbury

The last surviving child of the Russian Royal Family joins two con men to reunite with her grandmother, the Dowager Empress, while the undead Rasputin seeks her death.-IMDB

Don Bluth does have quite the magic. When I watched all these animated films when I was a kid or just younger, I never knew much about who directed and voice casts and all that stuff. ¬†Now that I’ve been in the movie blogger world, I know better. Certain names just seem to be the key behind a lot of movies. I never feel like Anastasia is appreciated or talked about as much as it should be. Fact is, Anastasia is really pretty and what shocked me even more is that its not from the powerhouses now. This is a Fox Animation Studios film. If you even look at the voice cast, there is quite a bit of amazing talent here. It even turns out that I’m doing a back to back John Cusack movie, unexpectedly. Much of Anastasia has to go to the beautiful animation and the fantastic music. I may have not seen this movie in forever, probably more than ten years, but I always hum Once Upon a December in sporadic moments. Of course, the whole soundtrack is quite memorable.

I probably should have reviewed Anastasia ages ago because I’ve always wanted to look at ALL of Meg Ryan’s movies and that project and even thought of it has faded away but I do still love Meg Ryan and her movies quite a bit. She voices Anastasia and she is so great in bringing to life our main character here. Anastasia is feisty and tough if not slightly naive also but she yearns to find her family but who knew that things would work out unexpectedly. She not only finds her family but also meets an unexpected guy who is flawed but also has his own secret.

Voicing Dimitri, the guy that Anastasia meets, is John Cusack. I’m going to be honest that I never acknowledged that he voiced this character. ¬†While I have a lot of appreciation for his acting, I still have a lot to learn about the movies he has been in. But, I do like his voice as Dimitri. It carries a cunning but still very sweet character. ¬†However, I do love Kelsey Grammar as Vlad quite a bit also. Vlad is such a charming and funny character, especially his obsession with Pooka. The cutest element of the entire film is Pooka. I guess dogs whether in real life or animated still are just uber adorable regardless.

Anastasia

¬†In any animated film, there’s always some villain and here we have Rasputin, voiced by Christopher Lloyd. While he is evil, he holds a comical value that is suitable for kids to watch. I’m not sure how young it would be suitable for but Rasputin is generically evil but still manages to make me laugh. Plus, he is literally falling apart and with the interaction he has with Bartok, his somewhat faithful bat, voiced by Hank Azaria, it becomes not scary but simply entertaining. Rasputin’s mishaps is what I looked forward to the whole time. ¬†While, Bartok was really just a background character that made witty reactions as the comic relief. Hank Azaria does have a great talent in voices and here he demonstrates it yet again.

Anastasia

Overall, Anastasia may almost be 20 years old but it still holds the charm with enchanting music and charming characters voiced by a wonderful cast. Meg Ryan and John Cusack does a fine job as the leads but Christopher Lloyd makes a comical villain and Hank Azaria does a great silly sidekick. It helps that they added in an uber cute dog Pooka to follow them on their journey. A must-watch animated film! I still love it every bit as much as when I first saw it! ūüôā

Before we leave, its important to add in a song (or two) from the movie!

Have you seen Anastasia?

Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)

I’m not one of those opening day movie goers. ¬†Not because I don’t want to, I just don’t really like the crowds but a few of my friends have been wanting to see this as much as I’ve wanted to so one of them used his coupons and booked us some seats at the VIP cinema. ¬†Its a pretty luxurious cinema experience limited to adults only and you can eat with a little table, more comfy seats for a more expensive price. ¬†Either way, we all got some food, our drinks and sat back to what we shortly before the movie started learned an almost 3 hour movie. ¬†All I hoped in my mind when it started was the the dinobots would kick some ass.

I don’t usually post revews on the weekend but I just wanted to enjoy being the first few to catch a movie on opening weekend. Lets check it out! ūüėČ

Transformers Age of ExtinctionDirector: Michael Bay

Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Nicola Peltz, Kelsey Grammar, Jack Reynor, Sophia Myles, Bingbing Li

Picking up after the last epic battle in Chicago, the world is stricken with fear with the robots in general and the government has decided to not be in line with any robots regardless of which side they stand. ¬†As they pick up their pieces, in Texas, Cade Yaeger (Mark Wahlberg) and his teenage daughter, Tessa (Nicola Peltz) try to live their lives struggling to pay their bills and keep afloat financially. Thats when he finds a broken truck which turns out to be a damaged Optimus Prime. ¬†He decides to try to fix him while the black ops (I think) tracks them and wants to neutralize Optimus. ¬†With Tess’s secret boyfriend Shane (Jack Reynor), they struggle to escape while helping the Autobots reunite and find out who is trying to destroy them.

Transformers Age of Extinction

Referring back to my opening paragraph, it seems that I had very low expectations. ¬†The fact is after the garbage presented in Transformers 2 & 3, I wasn’t too confident about how this one would turn out. However, I had hopes because one, Shia LaBeouf wasn’t part of this anymore and it was replaced with the much more competent Mark Wahlberg and there was dinobots. ¬†Plus, with Michael Bay, there is a certain level of dumb, over the top, CGI-y, explosions and action going on. ¬†Pretty much defines an action movie that is simply enjoyable without having to think much.

Transformers Age of Extinction

As I’m writing this out, I just got out of the movie less than 4 hours ago. ¬†Transformers was everything that I expected it to be and maybe it even gave me hopes of it keeping that quality for following movies. ¬†Sure, there was some cheesy and rather laughable moments that kind of gave me a few shake my head and face-palm moments, like for example, the slow motion low angle shooting the agents coming in with their jackets flapping in the wind or deliberately making Tessa and her short shorts walking slow pace. ¬†Not to mention, the movie was ridiculously long and at about 90 minutes in, I almost felt like it was losing steam. ¬†However, it did come back with some more action as usual.

Transformers Age of Extinction

Lets just say that Michael Bay keeps his signature Michael Bay stuff and this movie is more in line with the enjoyment level I had for the first one and might even have surpassed it. ¬†One of those reasons goes to Mark Wahlberg. ¬†I like Wahlberg a lot. ¬†Seriously, the man is very many. ¬†Like he has a very likable appearance and his acting is pretty good. ¬†I’ve enjoyed a lot of the movies that he has been in and no, I haven’t seen The Happening so I can’t comment. I felt like he brought a lot more than anything that Shia Lebeouf could offer in the previous instalments. ¬†Plus, Wahlberg is diversified as an actor. ¬†He can bring a bit of humor and do good in action and that really is needed in this role.

Transformers Age of Extinction

I’m going to go straight out and say that the cast really impressed me. ¬†I love Stanley Tucci and the man is kick ass funny and just great. ¬†I haven’t dived much into his character but he does have a pretty key role as he ends up stuck with Cade and group as they escape from their many dangers. ¬†Along with that, we have Kelsey Grammar as the second line bad guy. ¬†I kind of found his character annoying but that makes sense seeing as that was the role he was given. ¬†I spent the whole movie trying to figure out where I saw Nicola Peltz and realized as the IMDB page was loading that she was in Bates Motel. ¬†I’m not exactly sure that I like her as an actress or I just didn’t really like it always giving the girls a stupid roles and lines, although I do like her more than Megan Fox. Plus, there’s a smaller role for Sophia Myles who is the main girl in the series Moonlight (that I love although it only had one season).

Transformers Age of Extinction

On the other side of things, in the trailers you see it anyways, which was also a highlight for me is bringing in the whole Hong Kong scene. ¬†For one, there was a few cameos from known actors in the Hong Kong and China entertainment. Then, my friend and I had a bet before of who can identify which buildings were real and which were CGI. While we are talking about this, Bingbing Li has a little role in this one. ¬†I had to add a picture of her just because I believe Mikey@Screenkicker told me he has a thing for Asian girls so here’s a picture for him. She is better than Ziyi Zhang ūüėČ Plus, she’s an actress that I’m slowly liking more and more.

transformers-age-of-extinction-li-bingbing

If you haven’t liked the previous Transformers, I’m going to say that you probably won’t like this one either and I’d say to just back away from it. ¬†You get exactly what you’d expect from a Michael Bay movie and thats an over the top summer blockbuster which is a tad dumb, and over the top with action and explosion. The only difference that gives it a little edge is that it doesn’t take itself seriously and for that, I can sit down and watch this and have a great laugh. ¬†Plus, I really dig this cast and the Chinese actor cameos. Mark Wahlberg brings something fresh to the whole equation and the dinobots kicked serious butt even if they weren’t there for too long. ¬†The Transformers themselves made the movie great as well.

I had a lot of fun with this one. ¬†Its not a masterpiece and I hope that you don’t walk in expecting it to be. ¬†How I feel for this one pretty much measures up to why and how I love silly movies like Resident Evil Retribution and The Expendables. ¬†There’s going to be lots of criticisms about this one. ¬†I’m pretty sure about that but hey, what counts in the end to have fun and I definitely did ūüôā

Have you seen Transformers 4? Do you intend to? What are your thoughts on Mark Wahlberg?