Toy Story 4 Movie Review: A Tale of Loss and New Beginnings

Toy Story 4 is an extremely strong chapter in this franchise, and serves as a beautiful coda to a trilogy of films that meant the world to me growing up.

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Welcome back, partners.

415. That’s the number of movies I’ve logged in my Letterboxd account since writing my last movie review for Alien: Covenant, back in May 2017. There have been multiple instances where I’ve felt the twitch to write again — from Phantom Thread (very good) to X-Men: Dark Phoenix (very bad) — and I have threaded my thoughts sporadically on Twitter, but it wasn’t until the credits rolled on Toy Story 4 that I actually felt compelled to sit down and type up a proper review.

If Woody and the gang can come back after a 9 year absence, then I can come back after 2 years.

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Alien: Covenant Review | Prometheus Evolved

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

Man. I’m not even sure where to begin. Having just got back from seeing Ridley Scott’s third installment in his Alien franchise, the overriding impression is that Covenant is the film Prometheus tried to be. That’s not to say Prometheus is a bad film. I wrote a 1200-word exposition on the film because I love it that much, but CovenantCovenant is a different breed of cinema. It takes the horror of Alien, the action of Aliens, the drama of Alien³, melds it all together with the philosophical ponderings of Prometheus, and the final product is nothing short of amazing.

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Prometheus Revisited | Life, Longing, and the Search for Truth

I remember when I first saw the Prometheus trailer. That massive ship, the striking visuals, hell raining down from the sky as the title faded into view across the screen. It was like nothing I had seen before, and I was instantly sold. I’d never seen any of the Alien films at that point, but now I wanted to, so I guess the trailer worked in that regard.

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A New Kind of Writing Process (and Purpose)

I have a bad habit of stopping things before they’re finished. This happens with books, movies, television shows even updating this blog you’re currently visiting.

I get bored, or tired, or lazy, or something else will happen that I use as a road block for getting stuff done. Momentum is a tricky thing like that. Once you lose it, it gets harder and harder to get your shit back together and get back in the game.

The truth is that it’s easier to give up than persist. It’s easier to blame every known external factor instead of confronting the voice in your head and owning the fact that there’s nothing else to blame for your lack of progress. You’re the one watching Bojack Horseman for the fifth time.

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Yes, I know that show is amazing. Why do you think I’ve started watching it for the fifth time?

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Moana Movie Review | She Knows Her Name

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In an age where Frozen is still the most beloved and popular (modern) Disney princess tale, it’s hard to imagine a film that could topple it. Tangled is still preferred by many as a better, more evenly-paced film, and Zootopia won people over with its beloved protagonist, Judy Hopps, but Frozen is still the king (queen?) of the Disney hill. However, it’s my prediction (and hope) that Moana will overthrow the icy film that has plagued many a parent’s sanity as Disney’s single-best animated film of the last two generations – princess, musical, or otherwise.

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Review | Textbook Turned Franchise

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There are a lot of things J.K. Rowling’s latest foray into the wizarding world gets right. The world building is immeasurable, the action is top-notch, and the tone of the story equally dark and hopeful, proving that Rowling is more than capable of delivering yet another gripping magical tale. But for all that Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them gets right, there are some very clear missteps in the first of this five-part franchise – and I am not too much of a fan to admit that this is not a perfect film. In many ways, this movie feels like elaborate scene setting instead of a proper first installment to a new franchise.

But I’d be lying through my teeth if I said I didn’t enjoy every last moment of it.

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Arrival Review | A Closer Look at What it Means to Be Human

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As the credits began to roll and people stood up to leave the theater, I sat in my chair on the verge of tears, the calming, quiet music washing over me while the full impact of Arrival started to sink in. The last time this happened to me was when I saw Interstellar for the first time – which is ironic, considering it’s another film about the unknowable nature of space and how humanity fits into the grand scheme of things. But Arrival has a different, though equally compelling story to tell.

A story I think couldn’t have come at a more appropriate and needed time.

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Ori and the Blind Forest Review | Mario Meets Ghibli

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One of the hardest parts of growing up is being forced to find the time for all the things you want to (or should) do. You feel pulled in a million different directions, and each option feels just as important as the one before it and the one after. Indecision becomes the bane of your existence, until you finally slump in your chair with a mighty sigh and resign yourself to your selected fate. Unfortunately for me, video games got the short end of the stick.

I’m not of the mind to say that video games are solely for children. I think if you’re going to spend 12 hours binge-watching the latest Netflix drama, you can’t point your finger and tell adult gamers that they’re wasting their time on games instead of being “responsible.” But there’s still a stigma, at least for me, where I feel like I should be doing something else, something better with my time. So I stopped playing video games.

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Timeless Episode 2 Review | The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

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In case you didn’t read my review of the previous episode, Timeless delivered a really strong pilot that covered a lot of ground very quickly. With barely a moment’s notice, you’re thrust with the three main characters into the unknown and you flounder alongside them as you try to figure out what’s going on – but the show doesn’t let you sink. Timeless does a wonderful job giving you just enough information to help you stay afloat, while leaving room to let you swim and figure it out on your own. This is true for the pilot, and it’s truer for Episode 2 – in fact, I would venture to say that The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln expertly capitalizes on the pilot’s momentum, while delivering a less convoluted story. The end result is a cleaner, more refined narrative, and the show soars because of it.

Also, there are spoilers in this review. You have been warned.

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Muddlers Beat Volume 1 Review | Literally Everything Is Outside My Comfort Zone

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I love comic books. I think they’re an incredibly inventive medium through creators can tell some of the most unique and compelling stories – from the artistry, to the page layout, to the placement of the text bubbles. I love seeing how all these different elements come together to tell a cohesive story, even though I don’t read as many as I should. I grew up reading the funny section of the Sunday newspaper, and for quite a few years I followed the online comic Ctrl+Alt+Del as if it were my religion.

But I was never the comic book kid. I read wiki entries for popular DC and Marvel storylines, but I didn’t have a collection of books. Even now, the only series I stay current with is Avatar: The Last Airbender because I can’t get enough of those characters and world. So, when Tony Breed sent me a review copy of Muddlers Beat Volume 1 (a compilation of his online comic, Muddlers Beat) I was super excited to dig into it to see what he had concocted – and I must say, I was thoroughly impressed.

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