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Movie reviews: "The Tiger's Apprentice", "Heroes of the Golden Mask", "Rumble"

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (3 votes)

The Tiger's Apprentice posterLet's review some computer-animated films! Here are trailers for:

The Tiger's Apprentice,
Heroes of the Golden Mask,
and Rumble.

Short version: The Tiger's Apprentice, action, one character has a tiger form, lots of Chinese culture, story is nothing great. Heroes of the Golden Mask, terrible. Rumble, wrestling-sponsored sports comedy, very formula loser-wins story, maybe of interest to furry macro fans.

Movie review: 'The Animal Kingdom' (2023)

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

'The Animal Kingdom' poster The Animal Kingdom (trailer) is a 128-minute live-action French film released in 2023 (Le règne animal). It's the second movie directed by Thomas Cailley, and co-written with Pauline Munier.

Set in modern-day France, there's been a worrying development: some people are slowly mutating into animals, and society has not been adjusting well. The story follows a small family, Émile (Paul Kircher), a disaffected and conflicted teenager, and his father François (Romain Duris), who move to the south-west of France to be near the family's mother, Lana, who's been in government care ever since she began to change. A road accident makes her fate unclear, adding stress to an already stressful situation. With many people heavily biased against the mutations, Émile finds himself starting to change too.

Despite the fantastical premise, it's primarily a drama about the relationship between Émile and his father. I'd hesitate to call it a coming-of-age film, because Émile isn't going to become an adult - at least, not a human one.

Review: 'LAPIN'

Your rating: None Average: 2 (3 votes)

The rabbits of <i />LAPIN.LAPIN (available on Steam) is a 2D precision platformer from South Korean Studio Doodal released in the second half of 2023. In it, you play as the abandoned pet rabbit Liebe who, accompanied by four rabbits who took her in, must go on a journey to find a new home.

Plot

The basic plot: forced to leave your home in the local park due to construction work, you must journey to find a new home, following a legendary rabbit explorer's map. This immediately echoes those childhood staples The Animals of Farthing Wood (reviewed here) and Watership Down; both have bands of animals – also rabbits in the latter case – forced to leave their home and journey to find a new one. Given that the rabbits are constantly searching for "Paradise", there may also be some influence from Wolf's Rain.

'Small Saga' - a simple RPG with a grand story

Your rating: None Average: 2.7 (3 votes)

Small Saga I remember when I first saw the animation of a rat vagabond flipping out the blade of a Swiss army knife, standing before a large orange cat on a kitchen floor. And ever since that day, I looked forward to playing this game. Of course, this came out in a time when ideas and funding campaigns were plenty, and many ideas never made it past that point. So let’s just say, I lacked faith that I’d ever see more than the wonderfully stylized and animated videos.

I’ve never been more happy to be wrong. The team behind this game persevered and gave me a pleasant surprise when the game was finally announced to be released in late 2023. But now that it is out, was the game worth all the hype?

In short, if you like your RPGs with challenging combat, then you may find this one too easy. However, if you play these games for the story, characters, setting, and intrigue, then this one is one that any furry would be loath to miss. In fact, if you’re a regular to this site you probably played it already.

Review: 'Kung Fu Panda 4'

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (6 votes)

'Kung Fu Panda 4' poster I've already seen this movie twice, paying full price both times. Kung Fu Panda 4 is the first movie I've watched multiple times in theaters since Zootopia. I liked it, is what I'm saying. It is part of the Kung Fu Panda series of movies, which would be important to furry movie fans even if they weren't very good. No other fully-anthropomorphic-animal-populated movie franchise out there has gotten to four movies. Fortunately, the series has consistently been one of the better animated franchises, furry or not.

In this fourth instalment, directed by Oklahoma's own Mike Mitchell (with co-director Stephanie Ma Stine), the titular Kung Fu Panda, Po (voiced by Jack Black), first Dragon Warrior of the Valley of Peace, is tasked with finding his replacement by Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffmann) – explicitly identified as a red panda for the first time in the series. Unwilling to accept giving up his role as protector of the Valley, he instead joins sneaky fox thief Zhen (voiced by Awkwafina, Zhen is not one of the "big three" fox species of red, Arctic and fennec, but a rarely-seen Corsac fox) on a quest to defeat the Chameleon (Viola Davis; no bonus points for guessing her species), an evil sorceress with the ability to shapeshift and steal kung fu powers, like a PG funny animal version of Mortal Kombat's Shang Tsung.

Opinion: The top ten movies of 2023

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (4 votes)

2023 movies

This year’s list contains movies directed by Wes Anderson, Greta Gerwig, Hayao Miyazaki, Christopher Nolan and Martin Scorsese.

It also contains two adaptations of toy properties and two Marvel movies! Got to let people know it’s still me.

Fur your Consideration: 12 animation short reviews for 2023

Your rating: None Average: 3.8 (4 votes)

UMA recommended When writing this article for 2022's works, my thought was to help present short furry animations in a way that’d promote organic discussion. I enjoyed doing it, so will try to make it an annual tradition. As I was going through the Ursa Major recommended list, I found these entries had become a bit longer than last year; there were also more of them, so they took more time to review, but for most it was well worth the time.

These are the eleven I felt were most worth a view, plus a bonus, lightly-viewed short not on the Recommended list that I felt worth talking about.

Movie review: Three foreign animated films from 2017-2019

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

'The Angel in the Clock' poster Three foreign animated film reviews! Behold the trailers for:

The Angel in the Clock,
White Fang, and
The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily.

All of these films successfully blend 3D and 2D animation in their own different styles.

White Fang is the most 3D, applying a brush-like texture to characters to create a 2D, painted look. Angel's main characters are 2D, with 3D designs used for the settings. Bears uses 3D for almost everything, then alters its visuals to look as 2D as possible.

A review of 'Migration' disguised as a how-to guide for movie reviews (or vice versa)

Your rating: None Average: 3.6 (7 votes)

'Migration' movie poster How do you review a movie?

Let’s take, as an example, the movie Migration. The purpose of a review is to give the reader an idea of what the movie is like, and whether or not they might want to spend the time and money to watch it. The basic facts of the movie should be listed; so, in this example, Migration is a computer animated movie from Illumination (The Secret Life of Pets, Sing), directed by Benjamin Renner (Ernest & Celestine, The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales). I included examples of the creator's previous work that might give my audience some idea of what to expect. However, this can easily be found on free sources like IMDB or Wikipedia, and a review is not just a recitation of facts.

A brief plot synopsis is usually a good idea. In Migration’s case, the story is about a family of ducks (Kumail Nanjiani as father Mack, Elizabeth Banks as mother Pam, Caspar Jennings as son Dax, Tresi Gazal as daughter Gwen and Danny Devito as uncle Dan) who decide to migrate from their tiny pond to Jamaica. It plays like a road trip comedy, but with ducks. Along the way, they have adventures with a decrepit heron (voiced by Carol Kane) and her mute husband, a one-legged pigeon (voiced by Awkwafina), a caged parrot (voiced by Keegan-Michael Key) and a cult-like group of farm ducks, while being chased by a chef who specializes in duck à l'orange.

Once we have details of what Migration the movie is, we can move on to the reviewer's opinion.

Review: 'The Boy and the Heron'

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (6 votes)

The Boy and the Heron The Boy and the Heron was released earlier in the year in Japan by Studio Ghibli, with no trailer and minimal advertising, the point being made that it is a movie by Hayao Miyazaki from Studio Ghibli. Like, if you know, you know, and if you don't, keep mum because the people who know will judge you. In America, GKIDS is the distributor, and they mostly kept to this same strategy, though as it had already been out in Japan over half the year and had it's Western debut at the Toronto International Film Festival, so they did eventually release a trailer. The film is available in Japanese with English subtitles, or English dubbing; both versions were available at my local cinema, so unless you're situated in a very rural area, it shouldn't be that hard to find your preference. This review is based on the English dubbed version; Ghibli films have traditionally had good English dubbing, and this film is no exception.

Review: 'Five Nights at Freddy's' (the movie, not the game)

Your rating: None Average: 3.4 (12 votes)

fivenightsatfreddys.jpgDo you like scary movies?

I do. A downside of reviewing movies for a furry site is that you don't get to review horror very much, and when you do, it kind of feels like you're stretching more than a little (not pseudo-apologizing for this one, though, it's awesome). What you end up reviewing mostly is movies whose intended audience is for kids, and though the primary audience of Flayrah seems to be adults, its sometimes important to acknowledge that there are limits to what can and can't be done in a lot of more mainstream productions featuring talking animals.

Which makes it even wierder to finally get to a wide-release horror movie featuring a bunch of characters the furry fandom has embraced (if e621 is any indication), and my most positive response is, "yes, but the kids'll love it!"

Five Night's At Freddy's is a (very soft) PG-13 horror movie, directed by Emma Tammi, and is an adaptation of the 2014 horror video game of the same name, created by Scott Cawthon, who is a credited writer on this movie. The premise features an abandoned "dinner and a puppet show" pizzeria and arcade haunted by ghosts who possess the old animatronic puppet attractions. Though given a theatrical release, it's also available on the Peacock streaming service.

Review: 'Captain Laserhawk: Blood Dragon Remix'

Your rating: None Average: 3.8 (4 votes)

Captain-Laserhawk-A-Blood-Dragon-Remix-Season-1-How-Many-Episodes.jpg

Captain Laserhawk: Blood Dragon Remix is a Netflix animated series from Ubisoft Film & Television. The executive producer, Adi Shankar, previously worked on Castlevania, another Netflix animated series. The show is loosely based off of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. In fact, this show references multiple Ubisoft franchises, which has led to the show gaining interest online. Most of the notoriety that this show has been gathering has been its depiction of Ubisoft's former mascot, Rayman. I know seeing Rayman swear like a sailor piqued my interest for the show. Luckily, the show is a lot more than just showing beloved gaming mascots swear.

Lookouts - Furry Western where Romeo and Juliet gets a hint of Brokeback Mountain

Your rating: None Average: 4.2 (5 votes)

Lookouts.jpgLookouts is a visual novel Western adventure where you play as a one armed wolf scout for a notorious gang. The 2022 Ursa Major nominated game is available to play in browser, or pay what you want to download at itch.io. It features art by Coldoggo, music by Jamie, and ParanoidHark composing the story and programming.

The art seems to take inspiration from Northwest Indigenous styling to form simple and effective character silhouettes for use in the story. The form not only lends itself well to the Western format, it makes the artstyle instantly recognizable and stand out from its other visual novel peers.

Review: 'Strays'

Your rating: None Average: 2.3 (4 votes)

strays.jpgReggie (voiced by Will Ferrell) is a cute, scruffy little mutt who lives with his owner, Doug (Will Forte), who hates Reggie. Reggie was actually adopted by his ex-girlfriend, and Doug blames Reggie for her leaving him, despite the fact that he is generally a terrible person himself. He only kept Reggie around just to hurt her.

Doug continuously tries to get rid of Reggie, who believes the frequent trips far out into the country ending with a tennis ball thrown into a random field followed by Doug not waiting for him to bring it back is a game. Reggie seems not to realize that this is not fetch until, out of desperation, Doug leaves him in a city over two hours away. There, Reggie meets Bug (voiced by Jamie Foxx), who finally is able to explain to him that what’s going on here is so not fetch. Reggie and his new friend, as well as Hunter (voiced by Randall Park) and Maggie (voiced by Isla Fisher), decide to make the arduous trek back home, not to reunite Reggie with Doug as dog and master, but so Reggie can seek revenge for his mistreatment, specifically by biting Doug’s penis off.

Movie review: 'The Great Wolf Pack' (2022)

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

The Great Wolf Pack ®: A Call to Adventure is a 45-minute 2D animated mini-movie produced in 2022 by Great Wolf Resorts, an American chain of family-friendly hotels featuring indoor waterparks. Most of the animation was outsourced to Mexico, directed by Chris Bailey and written by Kent Redeker. The IMDB page mentions an additional writer I couldn't find in the closing credits, M.J. Offen.

The movie is for young kids and can pretty much be skipped. There's a group of young animal friends in the forest: Violet the wolf and Sammy the squirrel (action girls), and Oliver (a raccoon tinkerer who always talks using the most loquacious and unnecessarily wordy vocabulary), who are joined by newcomer Wiley (the coyote wolf), and finally Brinley, a young bear with self-confidence issues, who of course gets chosen as the Special One by a spoon-wielding spirit and is given the Magical Rock to guide them on their quest.