What is Christmas without an Ice Cream Bunny?

Think watching The Star Wars Holiday Special each year it’s not the hipster “christmas tradition” it was before? If so, i will propose something that’s also not new, as it has a cult following, but very very smaller in comparison, since it doesn’t have the Star Wars branding.

Santa and The Ice Cream Bunny.

If this didn’t trigger a PTSD-like reaction, i’m here to share my cursed knowledge upon you, because in a way this fits the Christmas period, and its deranged insanity.

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[EXPRESSO] Yaya E Lennie – The Walking Liberty (2021) | Jungle Rebel Yell

Time for some ambitious animation cinema from Italy, from director Alessandro Rak, the brand new Yaya E Lennie – The Walking Liberty, that premiered at the prestigious Locarno Film Festival this year, and had a limited theathrical run as an event screening here in Italy.

Produced by neapolitan studio Mad Entertaiment and animated in 3D CG via Blender, the movie follows the titular duo, a crafty girl and a gentle giant with the mind of a child (a direct reference to Lennie of Mice And Men) that travel this post apocalyptic jungle world with a free spirit, living day by day in a world where aside from the dangerous but free jungle also roam soldiers of the Institution, a military regime clinging to a fascist sense of order in a world newly remade primeval, and bent on bringing civilization at any cost to everyone everywhere.

It’s a children enviromental fable about the importance of freedom in spite of poisonous “progress”, and all that it entails, and it’s a pretty good one, it concedes to some of the animated children movies staples with a proud neapolitan angle, but also doesn’t really pull punches on the matters, uses a good amount of cursing, and also the Chaplin monologue at the end of The Great Dictator. So it’s definitely not pandering itself to toddlers, and manages to earn what it wants to represent, instead of just assuming it can without the actual work.

The characters are quite likeable, the art direction it’s great, there’s even a few lines that will get a chuckle out even the older kids, the story it’s solid enough, the only gripe it how the animation still has that issue with most 3D CG, as in it feels very robotic and “laggy” at times. Even so, it’s good work.

[EXPRESSO] Jungle Cruise (2021) | Steamboat Amazon Ride

Time and time again, Disney comes back to the familiar well of turning Disneyland rides-attractions into live action movies, hoping to avoid another The Country Bears and strike that sweet, profitable Pirates Of The Carribean lightning once more.

Can’t say i’ve ever even seen this ride in person, but then again i’m not even sure i even went to Disneyland to begin with, and this doesn’t matter anyway.

This time we have a throwback to 40-50s jungle adventure films, with steamboats, fearless guides with pith helmets, treasures guarded by perilous jungle animals, cursed soldiers, evil german royalty (not nazis since this is set during WWI, but it makes virtually no difference if they were), adventurous researchers and natives in “ethnic get up”. And Dwayne Johnson.

It’s as generic as it looks and as generic as they come, clearly prioritizing spectacle and action in order to avoid the audience NOT being stimulated, even if the scenes don’t call for action, there is it anyway, just shovel it in. This is through and through a manifactured Disney summer blockbuster, as obvious as me pointing it out (as if was needed), and ones expectes it to be just a fun, throw-away experience to kill 90 minutes.

BUT i gotta admit it’s fun, it manages to incorporate ride-like elements into the plot, often giving them some minor little twists to the usual cliches for fun, the cast is clearly overlyqualified for the roles and the dialogues, but they clearly have fun with the stock characters and the often silly lines (or deliberately bad jokes), it made genuinely laugh in more than a couple occasion.

It’s quite cute, it’s pretty much what it says it is, it’s a cute, mild, fun little adventure while it lasts, one you’ll quickly forget in any detail after watching.

[EXPRESSO] Tom & Jerry (2021) | Featuring Paolo Bonolis from the Paolo Bonolis series

Oddly they decided to release in theathers here as well now, so why not. It’s bound to be more interesting than Cruella or any of the direct-to-video Tom & Jerry movies where they just put the characters in other famous stories, and it could make for a memorable disaster, even more since it’s directed from Tim Story, better remembered for his Fantastic Four movies.

And this is actually the second theathrical movie for the cartoon duo, almost 30 years after the last one, so i was indeed curious.

Plot sees Jerry take refuge into a fancy hotel, which prompts a young employee of the estabilishment to team up with Tom in order to get rid of the mice problem before a big wedding takes place, but eventually they have to put aside their differences to fight the real “villain”, who’s cospiring to ruin the wedding for its own gain.

I wasn’t sure why they eventually went with the hybrid of live action people and computer animated cartoon characters….i guess mostly to enhance the slapstick due to the juxtaposition of cartoon characters (sporting very old school designs too) still adhering to cartoon logic even when interacting with real world people and locations.

Maybe.

This could (and should) easily have been a fully animated feature, but despite the very predictable plot (complete with the “liar’s reveal”) and token human characters, it’s not that bad. At least it has some funny moments (including the by now expected but always welcome Droopy cameo), it keeps Tom and Jerry as a non-talking slapstick duo, the slapstick itself it’s pretty decent, the music is surprinsigly well chosen, and the animation is decent.

To be honest, it’s not good, but it’s arguably a bit better than the 1992’s movie most people from my age have nostalgia for.

Yeti: The Giant Of The 20th Centhury (1977) [REVIEW] | Italo Disco King Of The Kong

It’s still january, it’s still cold as hell (proper Dante Alighieri hell), so it’s time to shovel up and unearth a yeti movie from the motherland, with the forgotten Yeti: Il Gigante Del 20° Secolo from director Gianfranco Parolini (credited as Frank Kramer), often called just “Yeti”, “Big Foot” (yeah, that helps a lot, thanks) or with a direct – and accurate – translation of the title in english, as Yeti: The Giant Of The 20th Centhury,

Italian-canadian kaiju yeti-xploitation, can’t go wrong with that!

Yeah, digging this gem out to also celebrate the new trailer for Godzilla VS King Kong !

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Dino Dicember #23: My Pet Dinosaur (2017)

You may argue that most of the crappy dinosaur movies featured in Dino Dicember are “puerile excuses for entertaiment” or some crap like that, so you know what, let’s actually review a dinosaur movie made for kids or intended as a “family picture”. No, not the Land Before Time series (yes, it’s a series). No, not “We’re Back! A Dinosaur Story!” No, there’s not a live-action movie adaptation of Cadillac & Dinousars.. yet, you never fuckin know with the nostalgia market.

Because i’m stupid, we’re gonna do something less known and far more recent, the austrialian My Pet Dinosaur, directed, written and produced by Matt Drummond, who previously directed Dinosaur Island (2014), and cured visual effects for TV documentaries and TV movies like Attack Of The Sabretooth.

Never heard of them either, so no harm no foul.

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