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?

Special thanks to all my Passengers

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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!


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…


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…


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.


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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!


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.


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 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.


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.


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!

January 2020 Month in Quiz (Harley Quinn, Monty Python, Wes Anderson)

It’s Friday! Woo-hoo! The welcome gateway to the weekend has arrived and I myself am wondering where I can visit to have some exceptional fun before Monday whizzes back like a boomerang to whack me. But today is a rather eventful Friday, since a shiny new monthly series has been throttled into left gear… The Month in Quiz.

This is the trials and tribulations you will go through to prove you have a brilliant IQ for the latest in geeky news. Dwindling from tough mind-benders to silly stumps, you will receive a number of total points half to the collection of questions you answer correctly, rounding down. For me to determine your points, enter what you believe are the answers in the comments at the rock bottom of the post.

To have better chances of winning the prized jackpot, you’ll need to have decent enough knowledge about these respective franchises, or at the very least an acute talent of spotting our humorously fake answers. Perhaps taking random punts at it can pay off, too! Without more chitter-chatter, determine your strategy because it’s that time to behold this month’s edition of the Month in Quiz…

  1. Star Trek: Picard premiered on CBS: All Access this month. What is Patrick Stewart’s, the actor who plays the titular Jean-Luc Picard, favorite Star Trek movie?
  • The Search for Spock
  • First Contact
  • Beyond
  • Galaxy Quest

2. Monty Python is a legendary British comedy group best known for their sketch series ‘Flying Circus ‘ and movies ‘The Holy Grail ‘ and ‘Life of Brian’. Which one of its members sadly passed away recently?

  • Graham Chapman
  • Stuart Mahoney
  • Eric Idle
  • Terry Jones

3. The trailer dropped for the upcoming superhero -horror flick Morbius sometime this month. Which Spider-Man villain made a shocking appearance?

  • Kraven the Hunter
  • Mysterio
  • The Vulture
  • Tobey McGuire

4. The critics consensus on the DC film ‘Birds of Prey ‘ starring Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn has received positive feedback. Which of the following DC villain does she desire to introduce in an upcoming film with her?

  • Condiment King
  • Emerald Empress
  • Poison Ivy
  • Baby Doll

5. Colin Trevarrow has leaked a story switcheroo for his version of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Which one of these was the change?

  • Palpatine had assembled a army of Rey clones
  • Rey sacrificed herself for Kylo Ren
  • Finn and Rose are in a relationship
  • Rey received training from the reclusive and older Ashoka Tano

6. An uncut, 4K Blu-Ray release of what cult classic horror comedy flick was announced this week?

  • Tammy and the T-Rex
  • The Evil Dead
  • They Live
  • Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

7. Pixar’s next animated feature and first original since The Good Dinosaur from 2015, Onward, is being released this March. Which element of the film got the folks at Disney sued by a artist?

  • The character of Barley
  • Ripping off her original story
  • The design of the two protagonist brothers van
  • Using her song in the trailer without permission

8. Wes Anderson’s imminent new movie, The French Dispatch, is set for July. But, which one of these films did he NOT direct.

  • The Darjeeling Limited
  • Bottle Rocket
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Life Aquatic with Scott Zeller

9. The 1982 John Carpenter horror ‘The Thing’ is in production of being rebooted at Blumhouse. What’s the title of the novel that inspired the original film?

  • Who Goes There?
  • The Shape-shifting Beast
  • In the Mouth of Madness
  • Here Be Monsters!

10. Michael Helfant, a former executive at Marvel Studios, has acquired the rights to what classic action show?

  • Miami Vice
  • Hawaii Five-O
  • MacGyver
  • The Green Hornet

Write your answers down below by Tuesday, February 4th, 10:00pm Pacific Time

RESULTS EDIT: Apparently, only a single passenger, Chris, decided to comment his answers below. But hey, at least I got one!


Q. What is Patrick Stewart’s favorite Star Trek movie? A. First Contact

Q. Which Member of Monty Python recently passed away? A. Terry Jones

Q. Which Spider-Man villain made a cameo in the Morbius teaser? A. The Vulture

Q. Which DC villain does Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn’s actor) want to introduce? A. Poison Ivy

Q. What minor change was in Colin Trevarrow’s version of Episode IX? A. Rey saving Kylo Ren (rather than the other way around)

Q. Which cult horror comedy is planned to be released on 4K Blu-Ray? A. Tammy and The T-Rex

Q. Which detail in Pixar’s Onward got them sued? A. The design of the van (a “Vanicorn” , apparently)

Q. Which of these did Wes Anderson not direct? A. The Life Aquatic with Scott Zeller ( This was a tricky one, I took a movie he did direct, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and changed the name)

Q. What was the title of the book that inspired The Thing? A. Who Goes There? (Here be Monsters! Was the name of a book that inspired the 2014 animated film The Boxtrolls, while In the Mouth of Madness is technically the second sequel to The 1982 Thing)

Q. And finally, which action show got their rights acquired? A. The Green Hornet


The Aeronauts Review- LightTrain

What’s up, I’m your conductor Gavin Nowak as usual and I’ve had a bunch of free time ever since the Train’s breaker combusted. In light of this, I settled on watching a few feature films, one of which was The Aeronauts that is streaming on Amazon Prime Video. The second movie I watched I will discuss with you, my patient readers, next week; but for now, let’s dig into this. Also, keep reading until the end of the review for the reveal of a new addition to the Train. Let’s get this show on the road!

This biography centers on meteorologist and pilot James Glaisher, who is determined to hatch up a groundbreaking idea to the World: The scientific prediction of the weather. When he is laughed off, he determines to venture into the skies to achieve his difficult goal. For this risky occasion, he is accompanied by the grief-striken baloonist Amelia Wren as an aid. Will the duo of pioneers succumb to turbulent typhoons, chilling climates, or could someone’s stirring zeal be the cause of their doom?

For your information, this plot originated from a palpable and quite deceased scientist known by the public ear as James Glaisher (Yes, Eddie Redmayne’s character). In typical Hollywood fashion, they borrow that and convolute it into a empty yet remarkably bloated high-flying thrill ride. Yet, I have to admit, it is tough to craft a biopic without filling all the facts or “whitewashing” our lead (if you weren’t aware, this is simply said updating them in a certain way where their counterparts insecurities and despicable deeds are covered up).

Thankfully, the movie doesn’t seem to do that. Thank goodness for that. Instead showing him in a light where his intense fervor tips him off his marbles a bit and if it wasn’t for Amelia’s assertiveness they both would have froze to death. The argument can rightfully be made that a ton of the events are indeed fictional, as Amelia Wren is in fact a character invented specifically for this feature. On the subject of the character of Amelia, who is played by Felicity Jones (but being a avid fan of Star Wars I just refer to her as Jyn Erso), she was obviously ment to be the stereotypical action heroine so the female viewers are entertained. I don’t continually hate Wren or Jones’ performance, but her concepts execution was equally thin as printer paper and just as flat. Well, how about Redmayne?

The two-word answer: He’s fine. This can additionally be used for the movie as a whole, since it’s as fresh as defrosted leftover pizza. Each by themselves is bland, but are they any good together? This will be quite the jiffy because, on the one hand, they DO occasionally have acceptable chemistry. Flipping to the other side, this again only varies very much off and on, so when the brief moment wraps up the audience savors it and moves on to the next scene. When these interactions are examined upon, I notice that they can toss it’s cliche’d story beats in the garbage shute and infuse it with a tad of sporadic yet solid substance.

Another piece I would enjoy tapping into is the effects. They may not be all that fluid, but that is not an issue in the slightest when they’re convincing and give a sense of atmospheric spice. Additionally, I almost overlooked the suspense, which is most definitely going to have you hanging off your rocker to await what will transpire. For example (here comes the spoiler alert!), when the balloon has drifted out of the atmosphere, Wren attempts to release the air from the ice-encrusted zeppelin. However, the hatchet has been frozen shut, and so Amelia must climb up the side of the aircraft since James is too busy losing oxygen. With that, she reaches the top but can’t get the hatch to budge even a wee bit so she jams one of her shoes into the wedge and passes out as the air slowly but surely withdraws. But things aren’t all secure quite yet cause now her unconscious body begins to slide down the surface… Long story shortened it’s effective.

The Aeronauts is a amusing mixed bag. Bizarrely enough, one can assume that this presumably would have worked a great deal further as a television special or miniseries then a full three-act structure. But a smidgen of decent elements like detached character synergy between the hero’s, spine-tingling suspense, and brilliant FX keep The Aeronauts afloat in the choppy water of meager flaws. RATING: 7/10


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C’mon. I know you skimmed through the review. All jokes aside, a new project is coming to the website in an effort to branch out with other endeavors. Drumroll please… I’m in the ideas stage of a webcomic-esque project! Woo-hoo! The working title is “Salamander Snatcher”. The release date is undetermined at the time of this post’s release. It will be a slightly episodic series with various serials and ongoing plotlines, mostly involving character relations. The style will be blend of bizarro, sci-fi, zippy dialogue , king fu, intentionally tacky and obscure stories, the supernatural and much much more. Yeah, it will be quite strange. New episodes will be launched every other week. We will keep you updated on the progress in further reviews.

~originally posted by G.H. Nowak on January 28, 2020~

Ghostbusters (1984) Review: Ghosts, Ghouls, and Giggles – LightTrain

Salutations and welcome back aboard the train. Answer this: Who you gonna call? That’s right, the pizza delivery man. But for real, there’s no doubt that Ghostbusters is a decent mixture of humor, action, and the paranormal wrapped up with a bow. But, why? How is this seemingly silly film starring a gargantuan marshmallow mascot stomping down the many streets of New York have dedicated followers and praising critics? Oh wait – that’s my job to figure out! Let’s get this show on the road…

After losing their jobs at Columbia University, three knowledgeable scientists Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) and Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) begin a pest control business although rather then hunt cockroaches they rid the supernatural. You know, just an average job. But things escalate to extreme measures when a shape-shifting demigod known as Gozer the Gozerian leads a revolt of spirits on Manhattan. In the madness, only the ragtag band of “Ghostbusters” can defend New York against the ghouls before they convert it into nothing but a pile of rubble.

In general, Ghostbusters is a blast. The writers (Aykroyd and Ramis themselves) and the director Ivan Reitman deserve to triumph since this motion picture is plausibly the best blend of multiple genres of its kind. Everyone has a strong performance here, but Bill Murray as the delightfully pompous Peter Venkman is a genuine scene-stealer with his deadpan deliveries and luminance of cynicism. He also has somewhat of an ark; In the beginning of the flick he is portrayed as a womanizing and selfish wisecracker but when the finale took place, he felt like a lesser version of himself from the rest of the film. He ended up a different person out of the film’s events.

This is a well timed lead into one of the movies few flaws: Ray, Spengler and Winston Zeddemore (a fourth Ghostbuster who appeared at the halfway point) feel like the same people they were from their introduction. However, this isn’t a critical issue as they still have terrific chemistry between each other and a vital role in the story along with a sprinkle of exceptional jokes tossed in for good measure. Even the characters lacking in limelight, consisting of Venkman’s love interest Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver), her nerdy neighbour Louis Tully (Rick Moranis) and the Ghostbusters secretary Janine Melnitz (Annie Potts), all are engaging in different ways.

But what is this film without ghosts! As it’s nearing this movie’s 36th anniversary, the practical effects and images hold up miraculously well. The head honcho is Gozer, whom despite having quite a cogent voice, is hardly intriguing at all. Everyone remembers Mr. Stay Puft, the Terror Dogs (Zuul and Vinz), I bet even Slimer ended up being more memorable and he had less time in the spotlight then Gozer. On that note, The Marshmallow Giant (as I enjoy calling him) is if the Pillsbury Doughboy and the Michelin Man had a son who became a traveling sailor. To put it simply, iconic.

Ghostbusters is a near flawless fusion of horror, personality, wit, science fiction and charm in this satisfying meld of a motion picture. Furthermore complimented by outstanding visuals aplenty that flood the video set like a tsunami, Ghostbusters is indeed a movie you must see to believe. RATING: 9/10

~originally written by G.H. Nowak on January 7, 2020~

Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back Review – LightTrain

Greetings and welcome aboard! I’m your conductor Gavin Nowak and today let’s take the train back to 1980 and take a close look at The Empire Strikes Back. As you know the presumed “end” of the saga has just been released recently hence why I have decided to examine probably the most praised entry in the franchise today. Let’s get this show on the road.

Following three years after the destruction of the dreaded Death Star constructed and managed by the Galactic Empire, it’s villainous leader Darth Vader hunts down the force-strong Luke Skywalker in order to turn him to the dark side while his rebel friends consisting of the smug yet skilled pilot Han Solo, Princess Leia Organa, the voluble droid C-3P0, and Solo’s loyal and incredibly hairy co-pilot Chewbacca are on the run from bounty hunter’s hired by the Empire. However, Luke’s Jedi training with Master Yoda on the swamp planet Dagobah is delayed when his allies are captured by Vader himself hoping to lure young Skywalker in…

Not many film enthusiasts can say the sequel is better in quality then the previous installment- especially an instant classic like the original Star Wars. This is a rare case where it examines what the first did well and improve on it. Our main leads on both sides of the spectrum, Luke and Han, go through major development as characters; Luke speaks of more of determination and less of complaints while Han learns to handle more responsibility as well as trailing down a more romantic path with Leia in their relationship. Along with the notably puppeteered Yoda, menacingly intimidating Boba Fett and charming Lando Calrissian, the bundle of remaining characters bring delightful moments to this masterpiece. And we can’t forget the climaxes twist reveal bumping into one of the most quotable lines in not just the chronicle but in film history.

Also loaded into this satisfying Thanksgiving turkey is dazzling special and practical effects that openly flood the screen, which is complimented by John Williams beautifully composed score that pleases the audience’s eardrums quite well. Of course, I am a tad picky about some of the stuffing inside, most notably how it feels to some extent like the middle of a story, with no real beginning or end. Even that is pretty paltry in measure to the monumental and compelling craft.

A smashing achievement by George Lucas and his band of filmmaking virtuoso’s, ‘Empire’ manages to continue the legendary adventure of cosmic wizards and starship skirmishes with special skill. RATING: 10/10 “Gold Reel”

~originally written by G.H. Nowak on December 28, 2019~

Frozen 2 Review: Solid Sequel, Messy Movie – LightTrain

“Advancing Technology will be our Saviour and our Downfall”. -Olaf the Snowman

Hello and welcome aboard the train; I’m your conductor Gavin Nowak. Today we will be looking at Frozen II which is the 58th Walt Disney animated feature and a follow-up to the universally beloved Frozen from 2013. I think that Frozen is a satisfactory cartoon adventure musical, it was never really my cup of tea but I understand that it has a audience who love to watch it time and time again. Can Frozen II warm my ice-strucken heart this time around? Let’s find out. ( SPOILER ALERT)

The film follows Queen Elsa and her energetic little sister Princess Anna, who along with their troupe of best friends Kristoff, his reindeer Sven, and the hilarious Olaf who’s Frosty’s only real competition for most popular talking snowman, on their venture to discover a mysterious voice which Elsa believes could be the roots of her ice powers.

First off, the animation. What do you expect from Disney? It’s gorgeous and really shows how much the art of computer graphics has grown since the classic Toy Story from 1995. I especially relish the vivid backgrounds in the Enchanted Forest and the Autumn theme with leaves as orange as a pumpkin. The character movements and expressions have been enhanced since the first movie, too. But I don’t like judging a movie by just effects alone, so let’s dive into the rest shall we?

The music is on par with the first overall, but come on, everyone knows “Into the Unknown” was trying hard to be the next ” Let It Go”, but luckily Into the Unknown is actually a good song and does it’s own thing (my favorite song from the bundle honestly). The characters are also given an upgrade from the first in their animation and personality. Elsa got the biggest boost and I can tell ’cause I actually liked her dynamic in this one way more than Frozen. Olaf is also better in this one because of his self-refrientral humour in this film like the line in the beginning of the post. Everyone else didn’t make much of an impact. Also, am I the only one who knew that Olaf wouldn’t stay dead or did you notice the trope as well, let me know!

In the end, I personally prefer Frozen II to it’s predecessor because of it’s improvement of the cast of protagonists, the dazzling animation, and the story that builds upon the first ones mythology and universe. I’m giving Frozen II a 7/10! Thank you lots for reading the post, he sure to check out more, and write down your opinions in the comments below.

Aladdin 2019 Review – LightTrain

Nostalgia is an odd topic, isn’t it. The folks over at the Mouse House -as many media buffs like me know – Love to exploit nostalgia in their audience to make them multi-billionares. One case out of many is their live-action incarnation of Aladdin, which is adapting the 1992 ‘toon classic by the same name (which itself is based on the folk tale from One Thousand and One Nights). However, audiences are seemingly starstruck with this remake, and I want to find out why.

The film follows Mena Massoud as our protagonist Aladdin, a “street rat”, who falls for Princess Jasmine( played by Naomi Scott) as well as befriending a wisecracking, wish-granting Genie (played by Will Smith). This leads Aladdin on a power trip utilizing the Genie to impress Jasmine, while also duking it out with the dastardly Jafar.

Probably the movie’s best trait are the actors and their stellar performances. It would be quite a feat to fill the shoes of the late and great Robin Williams, so I respect the decision of taking the risk of replacing William’s shtick with Smith’s. And thankfully, Will Smith does an excellent job at bringing a lighthearted energy to the film (despite the substandard CGI animation). Naomi Scott actually does…well…give the character of Jasmine a personality which is one nitpick of the original I and others had. While Massoud isn’t anything special, his chemistry with Smith is delightful so I’ll give him that. The only real sore thumb in the cast is the baddie Jafar, who lacks his counterparts sort of hyperbole (his eye-rolling puns during the cartoons farcial climax) that made him an entertaining villain.

The musical numbers are also dull, except “Friend Like Me” which is the only one in the batch that captures the originals fun. Another thing, ( It’s really a small quibble so take with a pinch of salt) the film is extremely bleak in it’s colors compared to 92’s eye-popping backgrounds and colors, but it is because CGI looks better in darker shades so I guess it makes sense. I am comparing the two films a lot so I thought that I should look at this movie without acknowledging the classic to see what my new perspective would be. And with that, I would say it is a high-budget CGI Hollywood blockbuster that is an overall fun time at the movies, even if it is incredibly over the top.

I am awarding Aladdin(2019) a 7/10! Thank you for reading and remember to tune in weekly for new reviews and all things film.