Monty Python and The Holy Grail Review – LightTrain

G’day Mate, and welcome back aboard. If you’re new here, I’m your conductor Gavin Nowak; Pleased to meet you! In these stirring times whatever that may mean to you currently, a goofy comedy movie or show is excellent medicine. And the icing on the cake, no side effects! Thankfully I switched on a quaint film that’s full of humor called Monty Python and The Holy Grail, and although it hit hilarious highs it also plummeted rather deep. Now, here’s the Lighttrain take on The Holy Grail: Let’s get this show on the road.

The flick is at its core a collection of segments glued together by a summarized plotline: Located way back in 932 A.D. Britain, King Arthur is searching the land for men who are brave and pure at heart to become his Knights of the Round Table. Along the search, Arthur and his men are given a new quest, to retrieve the holy grail itself. Can the Knights dodge many silly dangers and obtain the Grail?

As briefly mentioned The Holy Grail is unlike the hundreds-of-thousands of comedies in that it’s entirely made up of interconnected, medieval-themed skits. If your craving context, the eponymous ‘Monty Python’ in the title is referencing the lampoon troupe who had previously been known best for their sketch show Monty Python’s Flying Circus on the BBC in the early 1970s. This pretty clearly explains why the film’s structure is like this, since it’s what the Pythons are familiar with. Using the construction of a sketch series can also accompanied by its own pitfalls. For example…

The differing quality of the segments. When the Monty Python gang strike gold, they strike it out well. Scenes like the Knights of Ni, debating about witch hunting, the murderous rabbit, the taunting Frenchmen to even the opening credits are ripped straight out of a mind of comic artistry, and never fails to amuse me. However, a grim chunk of the middle including the castle filled with concupiscent women and Lancelot mistakenly vanquishing attendance at a wedding celebration represent the weeds inhabiting a fruitful garden. Throughout the feature, you may wonder if the climax shall leave a foul taste lingering in your mouth. Without revealing too many facts, it depends on the type of humor you savor though I personally enjoyed it.

The Holy Grail is an explosion of zaniness, and with a feature so galvanizing I think I would say I prefer Monty Python in portions rather than a full length film. Not that it’s necessarily overpowering perse, just that it matches my preferred pace.

While most certainly not everyone’s style, the non-stop enthusiasm is difficult to detest. Sure it has it’s low points, but it resurrects your inner goof with stellar wit and a undeniable talent for what the Pythons have designed. It’s not their most even work, but it might possibly be their funniest.

RATING: 7/10 “Definite Reccomend”

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How My Ratings System Works

1/10 – Garbage Movie

Pretty much unwatchable. Every single element is stained, and redeeming qualities are nonexistent.

2/10 – Awful Flick

Slightly more better than a One. These are usually just as dreadful, but this time around there is at least one redeeming feature, like a specific scene or certain character you liked.

3/10 – Pretty Bad

Simply put: A boring film. You find yourself constantly checking to see when it’s over.

4/10 – Mediocre

Nothing special. Mostly leaves you craving more.

5/10 – Guilty Pleasure

As the name implies, a movie that isn’t solid quality-wise, but a very entertaining and fun watch.

6/10 – Alright

This is the first “Good” rating. Your glad you saw it, but you have no interest seeing it again in a jiffy.

7/10 – Good

A film that you can recommend to anyone. Like mediocre, nothing groundbreaking, but unlike that rating movies with a Seven are still very enjoyable.

8/10 – Great

A solid, entertaining experience. Nothing more, nothing less.

9/10 – Excellent

A near flawless film, but had a spot or two that stained it overall, though very mildly.

10/10 – Golden Reel

It speaks for itself. A very watchable, amusing, heartfelt and beautiful blend of a flick.


THURSDAY, MARCH 26 | Monty Python and The Holy Grail Review

NICKELODEON: How Your Childhood Channel Died -LightTrain

Howdy, I’m your conductor Gavin Nowak here to talk about Nickelodeon. This channel was dominant in the late 80s and all throughout the 90s, offering kids around the globe a wide selection of cartoons, sitcoms and game shows. This dynasty was founded in 1977 but it wasn’t until a couple of years that it became the king of TV. In fact, it originally was called Pinwheel before converting to the iconic Nickelodeon two years later, but even that change didn’t immediately bring in great results. This period the channel was extremely experimental, dishing out many obscure series to find out what clicked with its young audience (a few examples include America Goes Bananaz, Livewire and Nick Rocks).

The first real success Nickelodeon received was through the sketch comedy program You Can’t Do That On Television, which continued to esteem solid ratings and aired on the channel for nine years straight, as well as introduce the quintessential slime that would be associated with the network for many years to come. Despite You Can’t Do That On Television’s success, the channel was still rock bottom in ratings, and the executives decided to give Nickelodeon a much needed makeover. The previous logo of a disco ball fonted by multicolored letters was trashed and replaced by balloon typeface accompanied by an orange splat.

Well, the redesign payed off! Nickelodeon soon boosted up in viewership remarkably and kept pushing forward with it’s live action programming, bringing the likes of Hey Dude, Salute your Shorts, All That, GUTS, The Adventures of Pete and Pete, Clarissa Explains it All, Double Dare, Roundhouse, and Legends of the Hidden Temple. Also popular were the inclusion of Nick Jr., Snick, The Kids Choice Awards and Nick at Nite, which introduced me to some cool shows before my time like Get Smart, Green Acres, and Mad Movies with the L.A. Connection. Another excellent addition were the animated IDs for the network: cartoon jingles sung by the “doo-wop” group ‘ The Jive Five’.

Hello out there from TV Land!

Even with the impressive collection of series the channel aired there was something vital missing, like the final piece of a puzzle, that would break ground for Nickelodeon – Nicktoons. On August 11, 1991, three animated shows premiered; these were Rugrats, a series about a baby’s outlook on life, Doug, about a pre-teens predicaments in his town Bluffington, and Ren & Stimpy, featuring the outrageous exploits of a unstable chihuahua and a dim-witted cat. Originally, Nickelodeon was against creating cartoons because they were a pretty penny to fund, and they were very much right. These shows weren’t cheap in the least but with great risk comes great reward, which was the case for the network as all three were smash hits.

Many more Nicktoons were created soon after; for instance, Rocko’s Modern Life, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, Hey Arnold, KaBlam!, The Angry Beavers, CatDog, The Wild Thornberrys, Rocket Power, Spongebob Squarepants, Invader Zim, The Fairly Oddparents, My Life as a Teenage Robot and Avatar: The Last Airbender. Nickelodeon was an imperial of children’s programming that they could call home, however good things like these don’t last forever and by the early-2000s their empire began to crumble. But, why? How has this channel fallen so far from its original roots? In 1999, a certain Nicktoon listed a moment ago debuted and flipped the competition on Nickelodeon over itself: Spongebob Squarepants. Years earlier, Herb Scannell was bestowed his high title as president of Nickelodeon and progressively made the channel he was now in full control of more corporate then the year previous. This was already an issue, as the executives settled on weeding out more of the channel’s creative shows (specifically Rocko’s Modern Life, Roundhouse and GUTS). When Spongebob entered the stage though, Nickelodeon hit a gold mine.

It instantly became one of the network’s most popular premieres and contained a sense of fun and entertainment that both adults and kids devoured. Herb and his executives learned that Spongebob worked incredibly well, and assigned all of its bets on the show. Two decades later and Spongebob has earned 13 billion dollars in merchandise revenue, over 250 episodes, and two successful feature films from 2004 and 2015 plus a third set to release this year, 2020. It would be insufferable to be a consistent viewer of the channel, since for 20 years straight all you see is never-ending Spongebob episodes. Sadly, Nickelodeon lost any and all variety, and by the 2010s, it was practically a Spongebob marathon every day.

The “first kids network” has had audiences retort it and resort to it throughout the years, and this decade, sadly, it’s definitely been trashed on more than being a creative dominion like days of old. But Nickelodeon hasn’t completely lost all the marbles, since they still offer stellar series’ like The Loud House and Harvey Beaks while also providing The Splat on TeenNick. The Nickelodeon we knew from our childhood may be dead, but I think it’s slowly improving; I’m optimistic for its future.

Nick Nick Nick Nick Nick Nick Nick Nick, Nickelodeooooooon!

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NEXT | “Tis But a Scratch” … The HOLY GRAIL!

Were Remakes Always a Bad Idea? Sequel Speculation – LightTrain

Ahoy, I’m your conductor Gavin Nowak here again today with a topic that is circling many people’s heads – What’s with all these reboots? I want to delve deeper into the subject, specifying how these kinds of movies can be done well and why they’re being pumped out at remarkable rates. Let’s get this show on the road!

Now, what is a remake? Well, to put it simply, it’s a series or theatrical production that is based off a past property which is commonly done to update the original for a modern audience. While this isn’t an issue in the least, like many things, it has been twisted and exploited by the Hollywood business in order to cash in. Yes, I understand that these executives and the production team most likely have families to provide for, but instead of taking the easy route why not make a film that’s actually good. This way, positive buzz, awards shows and cult followings will possibly earn you more in the long term, plus you’ll be proud that you created something which is looked fondly upon decades later. Yeah, those Disney live-action adaptations may have scored big but everyone will undoubtedly return to the classics, leaving them, to quote Roy Batty from Blade Runner , ” … lost in time, like tears in rain .” Sorry, I couldn’t help it!

Am I saying all sequels and reboots are trash? Not necessarily. These flicks can be done well, although it is a very elegant procedure. In the first, establish the setting, our characters, and of course have them overcome whatever obstacles may be in their path. With a sequel, reveal a fact unbeknownst to our protagonists before, as to expand the world, mythos or offer some backstory. In Aliens, Lt. Ripley encounters the Weyland -Yutani marines and the alien queen, in Toy Story 2, Woody discovers he was the star of a television program titled “Woody’s Roundup”. The list includes many others, but these were just a few worthy examples.

To successfully cook up a solid revival you must swap out the original’s minor story beats and characters to refresh it. Plain and simple, but one element that should never be affiliated with the concept is remaking a acclaimed flick. It there is nothing relatively weighing the movie down then there is no real reason to attempt to “update” it since it’s not necessary. It’s like, per say, washing your clothes and throwing in a clean t shirt you found on the floor. Rather, why not use this process on low budget or trashy films? I mean, this is to improve upon the original work, is it not?

In the end though, I just want studios with more authentic features which is crafted by a crew whom are passionate about the project. After all, many of those cult classics and most beloved movies ever released experimented with a unique concept that payed off. Dr. Strangelove, Forrest Gump, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Pulp Fiction, The Matrix. Even Star Wars started out as an independent feature with a maverick director and an unknown cast destined to flop: look where it is now. So in conclusion, remakes aren’t leaving any time soon, but those creative pieces of cinema that explore different outlooks on culture or just keep you laughing the whole way will become those genuine gems we continue to watch for years to come.

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NEXT | THE RISE AND DEMISE OF NICKELODEON

“Great Scott! “: The Back to the Future Trilogy Review – LightTrain

This is heavy. What’s new, I’m your conductor Gavin Nowak and earlier this week I was transported to an alternate reality through a jar of Peter Pan™ peanut butter. There were many differences between this universe and our own, like Pinky and the Brain finally took over the world and initiated global peace. After I marveled at this world ‘s wonders, the whole situation reminded me greatly of Back to the Future Part II. When I returned home, I considered reviewing the Back to the Future Trilogy, but what sealed the deal was a blogging friend of mine, Matt Kaster, suggested to his readers rewatch the original movie in one of his posts. Alright then, I am up for the challenge. So grab your hoverboards and jam out to ‘Johnny B. Goode ‘ because this is my review of the classic film franchise! Let’s get this show on the road.

BACK TO THE FUTURE (1985)

Set in 1985 Hill Valley, California, an easygoing teenager named Marty McFly gets himself in a bit of a jammy. After escaping in his mad scientist friend Dr. Emmet Brown’s time-traveling Delorean, he ends up thirty years in the past, and must be assisted by that time periods Brown to return to the present. Things become complicated when Marty’s future mother gets the hots for him, threatening his very existence. Can Marty reconcile his parents, take down his father’s bully Biff and reach the exact speed and position in the Delorean to travel back to 1985?

The defining quality of Back to the Future is it’s enduring protagonists Marty McFly and Doc Brown. With the added bonus of a seamless chemistry between the two very opposite friends, each has their friendly demeanor and mannerisms that make them relatable and easy to root for their cause. You want Marty to return to the future and by the satisfying finale you’re filled with suspense and crossing your fingers, hoping the effort is fruitful. It’s also remarkably written by the genius duo Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, blending all the ingredients for a perfect sci-fi adventure for children and adults alike: whimsy, humour, action, inventive ideas, and just the right amount of seriousness.

Back to the Future is a cornerstone of pure 80s spirit served to us in a inventive manner and with a raw sense of comedic one-liners and a tall tale ripped out of a retro comic book to fun and entertaining results.

RATING: 9/10


BACK TO THE FUTURE PART II (1989)

Immediately following the return from his accidental adventure, Marty McFly is yet again convinced by Dr. Emmet Brown to be sent throughout the timeframe. This time, he must play the role of his son in 2015 to prevent him from arrest. Easy as pie, right. Well, things get a bit confusing when this future timeline alters the present Hill Valley into a corrupt dystopia. Behold as Emmet and Marty travel back to 1955 for a second go to fix the changes made in the alternate 1985… without intervening with the events of the first film of course!

With all the glory surrounding the original, it seems almost unrealistic that this installment would possibly reach its ranks. But that wouldn’t be a worthy comparison, so how does Part 2 stand as a totally separate feature? The best way to describe it is a very watchable family adventure, but too glum and sporadically repulsive to become a true classic. When compared with the first, it honestly depends on your tastes. While the original was mostly stationary and slow-burning, which makes the climax all the more thrilling, this time around it feels like its on constant fast-forward. One of the consistent good qualities about Part 2 are the performances, specifically those of Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox, whom are full of effort and genuine engagement in the film they’re in. However, the pacing is a blunder to sit through. It feels like a rapid fire game of Bop It, with no reflection on what kind of madhouse they’re in.

Instead of expanding the world or mythos like any second installment should do, Back to the Future Part II offers up a few “What if?” scenarios. Despite decent acting, this flick lacks any soul, to me it’s like a jab to the gut, you’re probably better off without it.

RATING: 7/10


BACK TO THE FUTURE PART III(1990)

Stranded in 1955, Marty acquires a written note from Dr. Brown, who informs him the location of the Delorean and the unfortunate fact that he is stuck in 1955. In the time machine, Marty warps to an old western town where Emmet has gotten tangled up with a gang of thugs led by Biff’s great grandfather and has fallen for a schoolteacher. Using the technology of the time, Marty and Doc must make one final effort to travel back to the future!

Back to the Future Part 3 revives the heart of the trilogy after being almost completely absent from the previous time-traveling escapade, restoring the charm of the first again. Now from what I understand, audiences are split on whether 2 or 3 is the superior sequel, but I personally enjoy this one levels above the second as it is a much more simpler and satisfactory. Also, I want to see more westerns that are fused with another genre, for instance, this flick or Westworld, which is about androids going haywire at a Wild West themed amusement park. No movies spotless of even the most wee of stains, and for Part 3 it’s definitely the sets. It seemed rather cheap and recycled from some 1960s western show. I had zero doubts, nonetheless, that the performances would be pitch perfect for this third swing, with Michael J. Fox, newcomer Mary Steenburgen, and Christopher Lloyd most of all, along with the latter duo’s moments being undeniably adorable.

Back to the Future Part III reduces the volume of Part II’s vigor as well as the unrelenting pacing, wrapping up the brilliant franchise with a neat little ending that will surely leave audiences contented.

RATING: 8/10


BACK TO THE FUTURE: The Animated Series (1991-1992)

Just when you thought the ventures were over, watch as the enterprises continue on Saturday mornings! Dr. Emmet Brown has settled down in a farm located in Hill Valley with his wife Clara and their two young sons Jules and Verne as to keep in touch with his good friend Marty McFly. Learn about scientific studies with Bill Nye, see what the dastardly Biff is up to, and travel through time itself time and time again every episode!

Resting in the category of cartoons that originated from a popular blockbuster that you’ve wiped clean out of your memory with ‘The Mummy’, ‘Jumanji’ and ‘Teen Wolf ‘, Back to the Future: The Animated Series is a shockingly low-level continuation of the pop culture phenomenon. The most aggravating factor of the show is that the personalities we remember so fondly have been twisted: Doc is played well enough by Dan Castellaneta (notable for voicing a good chunk of the characters from The Simpsons) to be given a pass, but Marty… just no with him. Sucked of his quick problem solving skills and filtering that out in turn for him to be “comically” slow witted , Marty may be the greatest sin the series ever did.

This poorly written series is somewhat an insult to the films, with only a single whisp of effort or originality to go around. With all do respect to the segments with Biff and Bill Nye, whom can juice out short-term interest and even a few chuckles, I would recommend the Universal Studios Ride as a more worthy sequel then this dumpster fire any day.

RATING: 6/10


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February 2020 Month In Quiz (Jurassic World III, WandaVision, Joss Whedon)

Do you have the wits to enter the pit and answer these ten movie and TV questions? If so, welcome back to the second edition of the Month in Quiz. Holy mackerel, it’s already the end of February? Feels like it just began last week! Below this intro is the ultimate round-up of the media news from the previous 28 days. Only the few folks wisest in the ways of pop culture will achieve the coveted title of a perfect score, but even the readers whom are floundering in this knowledge can still take a gander at the most likely pick.

But now, behold, there is a rather unique present for the tip toppers. If you manage to triumph over at least 8 of the 10 questions featured, I will send you a drawing of your choosing made by me myself-No joke! All that’s required to receive an illustration is to: A) Comment your answers for the quiz in the comments section at the bottom of the post before March 5; B) If you score a total of eight of more points according to the results (which are attached to this post on the deadline), email me what you would like your drawing to be and add your address so I can mail the art piece straight to your doorstep.

Well, you’ve heard me ramble on enough. Let’s begin with the quiz at hand, shall we!

  1. Jurassic World III is being released this July. Now, what is the official full name of the film?
  • Jurassic World: Extinction
  • The Jurassic World
  • Jurassic World: Dominion
  • Jurassic World: When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth

2. Another remake based on the classic black-and-white flick Bride of Frankenstein is in development. What was the “bride’s” defining quality?

  • Her remarkably snarky attitude
  • She was a TV personality
  • Her ability to presumably glide over the ground’s surface
  • Her out-of-control and poofy hairdo

3. Which one of these fast food chains has jokingly banned Joss Whedon from their stores to show their support for Zack Snyder’s cut of Justice League?

  • Subway
  • White Castle
  • Fuddruckers
  • Panda Express

4. No Time to Die, the latest James Bond adventure, will have a wide release on April 10. Which modern hit artist will have their version of the iconic theme in the movie?

  • Billie Eilish
  • The Cars
  • Cage the Elephant
  • Silversun Pickups

5. Which of the following long running BBC shows is not in danger of being cancelled, despite declining ratings?

  • The Sky at Night
  • Dr. Who
  • EastEnders
  • Mastermind

6. WandaVision is a upcoming Disney+ exclusive series influenced by retro sitcoms such as ‘Bewitched’. Which two rival shows did Bewitched tie with in the ratings for it’s 6th season?

  • The Beverly Hillbillies and Captain Kangaroo
  • NBC Saturday Night at the Movies and The F.B.I
  • Mission: Impossible and The Red Skelton Show
  • Clutch Cargo and Daktari

7. Robert Englund would be interested to return to voice act for what animated version of this popular horror movie character?

  • Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th)
  • Norman Bates (Psycho)
  • Freddy Krueger (Nightmare on Elm Street)
  • Michael Myers (Halloween)

8. Season 3 of the critically acclaimed series Westworld is premiering on HBO March 15. So now for the million dollar question, what is HBO an acronym for?

  • HyperBole Only
  • High Brow Order
  • Hawaiian Broadcasting Outlet
  • Home Box Office

9. Which film genre is Bob’s Burgers: The Movie spoofing in it’s very own feature?

  • Road Trip Comedies
  • Musicals
  • B-Movies
  • Biopics

10. You’re almost complete with the quiz! But first and finally, which cast member from the series The Office has an idea for a reunion special?

  • Brian Baumgartner/Kevin Malone
  • Jenna Fischer/Pam Beesly
  • Rainn Wilson/Dwight Schrute
  • John Krasinski/Jim Halpert

Write your answers down below by Thursday, March 5th at 10:00pm Pacific Time

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The Peanuts Movie Review: Is it Deserving of a “Good Grief”? – LightTrain

Bonjour, I am your conductor Gavin Nowak yet again returning to my helm of reviewing movies for your information and entertainment. Whether you’re a longtime fan of the Peanuts comic strip or are just familiar with the holiday specials, I would recommend its first feature length endeavour [since 1980s Bon Voyage Charlie Brown (and Don’t Come Back!) that is] to viewers of all ages, including you. But you did come here to note my opinions on the movie, did you not? So, did Charlie Brown and Co. manage to integrate the classic’s melancholy charm or do the complete opposite? Well you’re in luck ’cause I’m prepared to answer all your questions that you may have. Let’s get this show on the road!

In a collection of straightforward vignettes, the all-around determined yet unlucky “blockhead” Charlie Brown has his heart melted by a little red-haired girl who has recently moved into his neighborhood. With the advice of his tormenting friend Lucy, Charlie Brown attempts to impress his newfound crush through many a means. Meanwhile, Brown’s loveable pet beagle Snoopy uncovers a typewriter and writes a tale of action and romance in which he falls for a fellow British poodle pilot named Fifi and gets tangled in a high-flying adventure to rescue her from his lifelong nemesis The Red Baron.

When it comes down to an essential element of Peanuts, the tone takes the cake. They always have that solemn innocence that aren’t afraid on touching upon human feelings, most notably failure. However, this is the age of fast-paced cartoons that constantly urge to crack in as many jokes as they can, does The Peanuts Movie do this? Well, yes and no. The humor is centered like one of Shultz’s strips, and is never over-the-top or obnoxious. It also never fully commits to the idea of defeat in the way other TV specials and comics do, mostly toning down its major themes into a feature more light-hearted than usually portrayed.

And what’s a Charlie Brown and Snoopy to do without any of the supporting ensemble of children! Their personalities are perfectly capsulized in a sundae that have the strength of being relatable to represent a cherry topping it off. Returning to the humor The Peanuts Movie displays, a collective sum of the viewer’s hearty chuckles come from jokes that are character-based. In the end, Lucy panicking after attaining very discomforting “dog germs” will always score over a pratfall for me. In the case of The Little Red-Haired Girl, her facial appearance is left anonymous which I thought was a decent detail. On the matter, I am very much pleased that she grows to like Charlie Brown because of his selflessness, honesty and kind nature, which I would enjoy to see more of.

Speaking of this beloved cast, their transformation to 3D is a rather clever middle ground that respects days of old while also providing audiences with the current cartoon treatment. In addition, they stand out against the simplistic backgrounds as do some pretty great traditionally drawn animated pieces like the falling snowflakes in the opening scene. In my opinion, I genuinely believe that Charles Shultz himself would be quite proud of his relatives and the team at Blue Sky Studios work on this testament to his classic work.

The Peanuts Movie is a welcome surprise recognizing Charles Shultz’s quaint comic classic, even more so doing what has never been accomplished before, cleanly transitioning from its hand-drawn nature to CGI without updating and sucking the charm. It probably won’t satisfy devoted fans cravings of melancholy magic Mr. Shultz accomplishes so well, but when the final result is this, what’s there to peck?

RATING: 8/10

~originally written by G.H. Nowak on February 17th, 2020~

What’s This? Another Update!

Yes indeed folks, more news on my comic is here! The title has been settled, and it is ‘VOLT VULTURE ‘. I also have something of a teaser for you, so here it goes…

Thanksgiving. A time where family and friends gather to chat, make ends meet and eat from a wide selection of meat, sauces and stuffings. But this holiday season, step aside turkeys because there’s a new bird in town. Behold, “Volt Vulture” . What do a kung fu kingpin, a stunt man mercenary, a trio of golf and milkshake junkies, a cop couple, a remorseless vigilante, and a slow-witted gun runner all have in common? They’re all featured in the most obscure and zippy series of the year! From Gavin Nowak comes of loyalty, betrayal, action, and the bizarre. Coming November 14 is…”Volt Vulture” : Any questions?

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10 Followers! Thank You

Woo-hoo! Ten followers, that’s great. Well, I do suppose that isn’t amazing compared to other blogs but I don’t care. We here at the Train are thankful for everyone who chooses to support my work: To me, every subscriber counts!

A special thank you to all of the following: Adhdlifeforever, Cnowak, Todd Russel, Lordvocemofbeyond, Simple Ula, Matt Kaster, The Ebook Way, Cathy Sirvatka, AllSuperInfo, and all my friends and family who have been incredibly helpful and encouraging. Don’t forget to tell your friends about the LightTrain, as so I’ve heard “The more the merrier”. Again, thank you very much for tuning in. Hope you enjoy your visit! Catch you later.

A Roger Rabbit Retrospective, and 3 Points of Living Animation – LightTrain

Clickety Clack Down the Track and welcome aboard once again! Just a brief reminder: I am not talking about the Oscars this year, as everyone else seems to pump out articles about it left and right and my posts take a longer time to make. For now, here’s one of my backup posts where I chitter-chatter about Who Framed Roger Rabbit’s technical achievements and such…

Since way back in 1900 when the first mix of animation and live-action film, The Enchanted Drawing, there’s always been attempts of integrating 2D characters in our real world. There are a number of examples, however none of these before nor after have ever inched close to the technical brilliance of the Robert Zemeckis and Richard Williams film, ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?’. Today, I’m proud to list the three major foundations the feature utilizes for fusing together two very disparate mediums seamlessly. Let’s get this show on the road!

THE FIRST FACTOR: PHYSICAL INTERACTION

With every slight movement from a ‘toon’, there triggers a reaction from various concrete objects, causing boxes to tumble, windows to shatter, and plates to smash. This allowed for the special effects team to craft custom mechanisms for each to mirror their actions. As an example, Baby Herman’s cigar was employed by a servo-controlled copycat automation capable of inhabiting the couple of different degrees, something that couldn’t be accomplished with string or marionettes. And, yes, this proved to be quite a challenge, but the crew behind the scenes of Roger Rabbit knew the fictional universes rules. They most definitely could’ve treked down the simple route and allowed Herman to carry a cartoon cigar or the weasels wield animated guns but they refused to. Secondly, a issue most live action/animation hybrids fall into is that the animation seems to be inhabiting a different plane then the actors, failing to blend the methods and end up sandwhiching them together. This is commonly noticeable when the camera shot is stationary, but luckily Roger Rabbit is filmed like a real film; camera motion is what transforms these moments into something fully cinematic and the cartoon elements didn’t dwindle that. This is substantially more impressive when bringing up their layer composition, which smoothly transitions us into…

THE SECOND FACTOR: SHADOW

Or more specifically Shadow and Light Accuracy, this is a rather vital pillar in every single drawing. It bestows the 2D illustration the illusion of being 3D, and I studied the art of shading in myriad ways, exclusively comic books. This is what puts Roger Rabbit into a league of its own: All the toons are a separate layer by themselves but there is also 5 extra shadow and highlight layers mixed with each other, almost baring similarity to a watercolor painting. The layout begins with a dark matte as a blacklight, a shadow mask, an additional mask acting as a cast shadow, an interpositive, and finally a distinct shadow for any physical interaction between them and an actor. When composed, it gave the characters a special three-dimensionality that was never crafted before. Now, watch this short clip from the film below:

“Bumping The Lamp”

“Bumping the Lamp” was a phrase coined by the Disney executives during Roger Rabbit’s production which meant the animation team breaking all expectations of what was expected from them. For this scene, they actually took the time to shade everything from Roger’s limbs to his head differently with each frame due to the shifting light rather than just give him one shadow design throughout the entirety. Those subtle little details is what convinces your audience that the whole cast whether toon or not are sharing one expanse. And last but not least…

THE THIRD AND FINAL FACTOR: EYE-LINE

This was important for a variety of reasons: It establishes an emotional connection between the characters, gives a blocking reference for the animation team, and, yet again, settles the delusion that they are hanging around in the same semblance. When this works, it’s convincing synergy, but when it falls short it may pull you out of the atmosphere. This is more often than not the case with the 1964 musical classic, Mary Poppins, as you can clearly pinpoint that, despite all its charm, Julie Andrews constantly seems as if she’s glaring at dead air. Parts like this popped up every so often while filming Roger Rabbit, as well, though the brilliant animators would find a way to work around it, like in the time frame when Eddie and Roger arrive outside Maroon Studios, Bob Hoskins barely missed Roger’s eye contact, and so they had the titular role stand up on his toes against the wall, they thought that up.

It’s easy to say that the public wasn’t anticipating Roger Rabbit’s remarkable level of realism in 1988. But ultimately the best element about this movie is that – even if you have zero knowledge of filmmaking or animation manner – it hardly effects your enjoyment of it as a whole. The true movie magic stems from the storytelling and the heart and the humour, whilst the dedication to the art and the technical nuances is what will inspire up-and-coming artists, and that is something I believe we can all admire.

PASSENGERS WHO PUNCHED A TICKET

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Thanks for tuning in!

Super Bowl Trailers – Sonic, Groundhogs, and Minions – LightTrain Extra

It’s the Super Bowl again. Why do most people appear to jammies for the Big Game even if they aren’t football fans? Well, for the previews, what else?

Movie trailers have been peppered throughout the Super Bowl since 1996, when the memorable quote followed an ad for the upcoming blockbuster Independence Day: “Enjoy the Super Bowl, since it just might be your last… ” which began the popular trend. These were made for those who don’t mind for the Big Game, the pretentious celebrity halftime show, or the various over-the-top chip and beer commercials, and even today they are still expected to pop up during the myriad breaks.

Despite the money that’s required raising extensively, some studios still believe that the bargain is worth their buck. Let’s examine this year’s offerings and talk about a couple of them, in no particular order, for your mere entertainment. Let’s get this show on the road!

FAST AND FURIOUS 9 (F9: THE FAST SAGA)

Premiering last Friday was the highly anticipated look into the eighth sequel in this thrilling franchise. The synopsis is rather doddle to piece together, the key points being that Cipher, the antagonistic wrench from the team’s previous venture, is roping Dom’s long gone brother Jakob (played oddly enough by John Cena) into hunting down his sibling’s crew. With this in hand, Dom is yet again forced into reassembling his team to rid of this pest once more. If you noted the structure I framed that phrase , you might assume that my most noticeable issue with this trailer is that I believe that this series is shrugging off a quality story… Your right. Although the stunts and entertainment values seem tolerable, I always desire the flicks I watch to depict a brilliant story, and F9’s is nothing short of creative rubbish. Oh yeah Han’s there, too.

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG

Apparently, fewer trailers are starring in the spotlight this year due to the price to fill a spot surging excessively. Paramount Pictures has taken leverage, notwithstanding, by aiming to air their ads during the cheaper pre-game slots, one of these being Sonic the Hedgehog, which stems from the popular SEGA character. It features multiple athletes advocating for a fellow who sounds like some true competition, before questioning what they’re even touting for. Wa-la! It was merely the blue blunder directing the whole thing, although this evokes a bit of query, like how did they somehow draw a blank when he’s sitting amongst you. No matter, since it soon presents random segments plucked from the film and then concluding without much explanation. The promos best element for me is Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik; he’s clearly having fun in this role and his campy mannerisms remind me of some of his most notable performances in ‘The Mask’ and ‘Batman Forever’. Otherwise, we’ll have to await if this possible trainwreck will hold audiences attention.

THE SPONGEBOB MOVIE: SPONGE ON THE RUN

The third movie profiting from Nickelodeon’s long-lived mantle since 1999, Spongebob Squarepants, is set to flow into cinemas this Summer. And, in the same light as David Hasslehoff playing a minor role in the first flick branched from the brand, ‘Sponge on the Run’ features cameos by Snoop Dog and Keanu Reeves (his disembodied head, no less). There’s also plenty of miscellaneous goodies sprinkled across the board to, as listed above, however our goofball’s pet snail, Gary, has all but vanished. The animation is like nothing I’ve witnessed before on the silver screen before, and if anything, experimental animated features have proved to be quite marvelous (examples of these include ‘Klaus’ from SPA studios and ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse ‘ from Sony Pictures Animation). I’m not too passionate about seeing this, as I’ve only managed a couple classic episodes of the show on the tellee, but I am pretty hopeful for it’s success so that mainstream companies will take a gander at freshly bizarre styles and techniques.

THE SEQUEL TO GROUNDHOG DAY, BUT NOT REALLY

As today is not only the Super Bowl but also Groundhog Day, this commercial was shown to pay tribute to the original film. Basically, the entirety stars Bill Murray, returning as weatherman Phil Conners, accompanied by his furry friend getting warped in the loop again, but are able to transform each duplicate day into an adventure in a Jeep Gladiator. I’ll repeat that again, Bill Murray and his furry friend are able to savor every identical day in a Jeep. Bill Murray and his furry friend are able to savor every identical day in a Jeep. Bill Murray and his furry friend are able to savor every identical day in a Jeep. Oh no – I’m trapped in a loop myself! Bill Murray and his furry friend are able to savor every identical day in a Jeep. Bill Murray and his furry – Stop this! – friend are able to savor every identical day in a Jeep. Bill Murray and his furry friend are able – Why me! Why me! – to savor every identical day in a – (sigh) – Jeep.

MINIONS: THE RISE OF GRU

It’s the final countdown! Yes, this is the last ad I am talking about, and boy was it – something. When this first came up on the screen, I was chit-chating with a friend but I caught this in the corner of my vision, and began looking back and forth between the tellee and my buddy. When the whole thing wrapped up I could only say: ” Wait, what? “. On second viewing, it was muted by a circulating voice in my mind whispering “Who even wanted this? Are people still going to pay for these enlarged yellow tic-tacs?” . Now, this movie looks like utter nonsensical garbage but there is components I can admire ranging from what I would assume is a recognition of blaxpoitation and king fu aspects to the wee easter eggs like a hidden display of golden era Mad magazine. Will the movie be good though? I think not.

Thank you very much for tuning in and I hope you can check out more editorials and reviews from the Train or become an email subscriber if you would like to. Later!