The Garfield Movie (2024)

The latest iteration of the seemingly immortal Garfield franchise seems to work less in favor of retelling the classic story of Garfield and more in building a cinematic universe–apparently. Bafflingly, the producers seem to think there’s some merit in building this big world for Jim Davis’ Garfield. While Garfield does have a gallery of characters in his world, I never really thought of his franchise as being this sprawling world with side characters, and spin offs, and one off adventures. I doubt anyone wants a Nermal comedy, or Odie adventure. “The Garfield Movie” misses the key ingredient of what makes this series so beloved, which is Jon Arbuckle.

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IF (2024)

While John Krasinski’s “IF” doesn’t exactly break new ground, nor re-invent the wheel, what he lacks in originality, he makes up for with oodles of charm. John Krasinski has emerged as a very good multi-faceted director, and with “IF” he delivers on a very heartwarming, often entertaining tale about the hardships of growing up and having to say goodbye to certain things that made us happy. “IF” suffers from not having a completely fleshed out idea (it also leaves a sub-plot unresolved), but I loved it mainly for its warmth, good humor, and wholesomeness.

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Ernest & Célestine: A Trip to Gibberitia (Ernest et Célestine: Le voyage en Charabie) (2022) [Blu-Ray]

Now Available from Shout! Factory and GKIDS.

I’ll be the first to admit that I had no idea what “Ernest & Célestine” was or that it had its own series, as well as a feature film. The good thing about “Ernest & Célestine: A Trip to Gibberitia” is that you don’t really have to go back and see the previous material to understand what’s happening. Basically, it’s all so beautifully animated like a moving storybook and is the tale of the love between a big bear and a small female mouse. Named Ernest & Célestine, there is a story of friendship but there’s also an unspoken true love that’s very punctuated in the final scene of the film.

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Shari & Lamb Chop (2023) [Make Believe Film Festival 2024]

The biography of Shari Lewis is long overdue and a story worth telling. It’s a perfect film for people that grew up watching Shari Lewis and Lambchop during various points of her illustrious career. Whether you’re a boomer, Gen X, or Millennial, the odds are you have seen Lambchop at one point in your life. For me, I used to watch her revival show on PBS in the 1990’s and tuned in regularly. I loved Lambchop despite being a tad too old for the intended target audience, but I didn’t care. The story of Shari Lewis is one filled with a lot of happiness, a lot of promise and of course some terrible sadness that befell her later in her life.

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Wonka (2023) [4K UHD/Digital]

Now Streaming on Digital and Available on Physical Media.

What made the 1971 screen version of Willy Wonka so entertaining was that while he was an idealist, he was also a well-worn cynic who hated people as much as he loved them. While he made candy for people, he also understood how ravenous and cut throat they could be. He approached everyone entering his factory with a sense of caution and quiet observation. Even with Charlie he saw something special in the boy but was quick to write him off at a moment’s notice. What’s missing from Timothée Chalamet’s Wonka is that sense of misanthropy; that sense that deep down while he likes people, he understands how nasty that they can be.

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Five Underrated Full Moon Movies

Full Moon is still trotting out films to this day and while they haven’t released a bonafide classic in literal years, they’re at least embracing their history and still give classic Full Moon fans their rewards and due. Being a fan of Full Moon since the old days when me and my family were at the mom and pop video store every Friday scowering the shelves for that evening’s entertainment, I thought I’d list five underrated titles from the whole Full Moon umbrella. This also includes Moonbeam, Pulse Pounders, and Monster Island, et al.

Many of these films can be found on their official streaming service, as well as Tubi TV.

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Demon in a Bottle (1996)

Full Moon and Charles Band always had a knack for delivering entertainment on the cheap side, allowing them to cover a lot of markets. Their family movies, despite being low budget, had a kind of novelty and charm that is still pretty fun. One of the lesser among the library from Full Moon’s sub label Moonbeam was “Demon in a Bottle.” Despite its sinister title, the movie is very much a take on “The Goonies” except with only about ten percent of the budget, I’d assume. It has a small cast, very limited scenery, and only has villains that animated—you know, to spare the whole cost of live actors.

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