LEGO – T. Rex Breakout 76956

Jurassic Park was such a groundbreaking film to me, and one I don’t think has ever been surpassed. This was the first film that really utilised CGI and changed the future of modern cinema forever. Since then CGI has been used to completely change everything within an environment, but back in Jurassic Park it was just used to bring dinosaurs to life on the big screen in all their glory. Dinosaurs were hella big in the 90s outside of Jurassic Park, whereas kids today probably think of them like dragons and other fanciful creations of fiction. For myself and others, we knew dinosaurs were real and our imagination was limitless, at least we thought so, until we saw Jurassic Park and the horror if we were actually faced with these creatures.

The first time we see the T.Rex on screen is terrifying, even now the scene has me anxiety ridden. It’s such a magnificent movie moment that buying this LEGO diorama set was essential. You also get a mini-figure of Tim, Lex, Alan Grant, and Ian Malcolm. Each of them is covered in a mixture of rain and mud, with alternate expressions, except Alan. I love the Jurassic Park logo print piece and quote piece they have on the front.

Each character has a marker on the ground to show where they belong on the set. I love this for being able to recreate the scene as shown on the box. Even the footing for the T.Rex is easy to place with these markers. Surprisingly this set has quite a few moveable pieces that are not locked down. Both vehicles can be plucked right off the set, however the overturned vehicle is fashioned in place by a perfect lego shaping in the ground for it. That vehicle is also held in place by the T.Rex’s foot, while the other is held in place by cheese wedge Legos.

There are so many fun details to be found in this set from Tim’s night vision goggles, to T.Rex footprints in the ground, and even the chain that held (ahem) a goat. It’s a massive set measuring nearly sixty centimetres in length if you have the tail stretched out straight, so it will take up a bit of room.

All these LEGO images come from the LEGO site, because my pictures look terrible due to poor lighting.

I hope LEGO makes more movie scenes like this in the future and it’s nice to see they are getting into the gaming space as well, with a Horizon Zero Dawn Tall Neck coming next month.

For now I’m going to need to find a space for this incredible set.

Robert Ring

Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein

Looking for a gem on Netflix?

Well, Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein may be what you’re looking for. It has everything. It blends comedy, romance, action, and drama all while holding the air with tension the entire time.

Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein is a show that begins with an unbeatable shootout against the main character, Vikrant (Tahir Raj Bhasin). By seeing the ending we have an expectation that our protagonist is going to do something that will land him in the iron sights of everyones guns. Next we see Vikrant as a normal child at school being pursued by Purva, a powerful politician’s daughter. Vikrant sees Purva as a source of bad luck for him and refuses her attempts at friendship. Many years pass and Purva is a long forgotten memory, as we see Vikrant having just finished college. At this point in Vikrant’s life he has found the love of his life, Shikha (Shweta Tripathi), although their relationship is being hidden as her parents share major political differences to Vikrant’s family. Without a well paying job Vikrant’s father brings him into the politician’s tendrils. Vikrant now finds himself working with Purva (Anchal Singh), who has been counting the days since their last meeting. Every time Vikrant pushes to escape Purva and her family, he is met with life threatening pushback, to him and his loved ones. Finally without his consent he is betrothed to Purva, and this is only the beginning of the story.

This was a show I knew nothing about and decided on it after seeing a preview for it while scrolling Netflix. Sometimes I challenge Netflix shows to captivate me in five minutes before I opt out, and this one certainly did. I finished it over two sessions. Due to the flash forward we see at the start of the show I thought it was going to be a one and done series. However, by the end we don’t see how Vikrant gets to we where we see him at the start. In hindsight it appears that producers saw the potential hit in their hands and opted for a second series to continue the story instead of finishing it off here.

I highly recommend everyone watching this fantastic show.

Robert Ring

Don’t Look Up

Every end of the world movie I adore gives almost no detail as to what will end the world. These movies are more about watching the characters deal with their own existence in the face of a shared extinction. Don’t Look Up spends the entire film talking about the fact that the world is going to end, and barely scratches the surface of the characters. I was hoping for something closer to Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, and instead we got Mars Attacks.

Don’t Look Up starts with Kate (Jennifer Lawrence) discovering a new comet, which becomes a celebratory event for the observation centre. The celebration ends abruptly as Dr. Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio) calculates the size and trek the comet will take towards Earth. Within hours the two are flown to the White House after the revelation that the comet will become a world ending event on impact. President Orlean (Meryl Streep) refuses to take action after hearing the facts as she is more concerned about re-election. So Kate and Dr. Mindy take it upon themselves to get the news out to the media. Roadblock after roadblock, it’s a fight to be heard so action can be taken throughout the movie and essentially the rest of the film.

Kate and Dr. Mindy are the only characters that share any relatable qualities, as everyone else is purely a satire of the role they are playing. It leaves no surprises and doesn’t play as well as I think it’s supposed to. With every one of these roles filled by star power and over the top acting it seemingly resembles Mars Attacks. By the end every character shows so little intelligence, you may wonder if they’re even worth saving.

In the end, Don’t Look Up is just another film about the government not listening, it’s just the stakes are higher in this one. The characters spend the film shouting to be heard, but we just want to know what they are thinking. It’s fine and forgettable after you see it. It would have been good if the material was thought provoking enough to carry conversations about it long after the film, alas it won’t.

Robert Ring

Hotel Transylvania: Transformania

Ten years after the first Hotel Transylvania we have a fourth and (for now) final instalment. In terms of animated franchises, I have enjoyed this one. For children it’s an animated adventure with monsters, and for adults it’s a parody of the Universal Monster movies. I absolutely chuckle to the jokes that poke fun at holes in each monster everyone has always taken for granted.

Unlike the previous films, Hotel Transylvania: Transformania is skipping theatres and is available right now on Amazon Prime Video. This must have cost Amazon a lot, considering the last film grossed over $500 million at the box office. As a new parent this was a good move for both parties as parents are more afraid to take their children out into public during the pandemic which ebbs and flows. You won’t see this happen with Minions 2 however, as that first film grossed over $1 billion at the box office and they’re waiting to recreate that once more.

Transformania once again is about Dracula’s coming to terms with moving on. And this time it’s about him retiring and passing on the hotel to his daughter Mavis, and son-in-law Johnny. Dracula being afraid of the hotel turning into a chaotic “surfer dude” paradise reverses his decision and tells Johnny that it simply cannot happen because Johnny is not a monster. Now we come to the Transformania part of the movie where Johnny succeeds in finding a way to turn into a monster. The device for turning into a monster can also turn monsters into humans. Dracula and most of the Transylvania gang find themselves turned into humans. For what was simple to become human, becomes a quest to reverse.

The transforming gimmick was a great way at making some of the retreading plots feel fresh this time around. The anchor of these films has always been Adam Sandler voicing Dracula, yet you wouldn’t know that he was absent from this film, as well as Kevin James. If it was because of contract disputes he was easy to replace as Sandler has always played Dracula with a somewhat parody voice of Dracula, so it never felt original to begin with. Besides everyone has always used that Dracula voice at every costume party.

Overall Hotel Transylvania: Transformania is another solid entry in the franchise. It doesn’t give a satisfactory end to the franchise as a whole, but who is to say another one won’t be made in a few more years. It’s worth the watch with your family on the weekend for the price of an Amazon Prime Video subscription and they even have the older entries on the service too.

Happy watching,

Robert Ring

10 Movies to Know Me

These are a list of movies that evoke a type of ecstasy from me. I’m so passionate about these films that they help to define my love of cinema.

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Lawrence of Arabia

This is perhaps the most stunning movie ever made. I have no idea how such a movie was made without the use of CGI. It is without a doubt flawless filmmaking.

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The Assassination of Jessie James by the Coward Robert Ford

I never heard a peep about this movie until watching it on a whim nearly ten years after its release. More people need to see this film. It’s like watching a haunting poem with one of the best film scores ever.

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Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

For many years this was my favourite film. Even after tens of viewings the movie retains the spark of director and writer, Shane Black’s darkly comedic voice.

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La La Land

Musicals are so hard to make good. We only see a handful every year if we’re lucky and maybe a great one every few. La La Land is a great one that combines my love of Hollywood with a beautifully devastating love story. It’s just as somber as it is bright.

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Parasite

Every year I become overly attached to one film that I want everyone to see and last year it was Parasite. Parasite may have been the best film of the decade. I am so very glad that it will be seen by more and more people after winning Best Picture this year. Mum’s the word on this one, just see it.

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About Time

This is no ordinary romantic comedy, and it’s deeper than any other. By the end of the movie your chest will tighten as your tears seep. There’s a scene that you will relate to if you’ve had a close bond with a parent. For me it’s my grandfather and it makes it all the more hard to watch.

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Paddington 2

There may be no better family film than this. If this was released this year it would be nominated for Best Picture and perhaps even win because it’s the uplifting film the world needs right now.

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The Wizard of Oz

Take me to the land of Oz anytime. If I was to enter any fantasy world, this is the one. There is nothing to dislike in this beloved classic. It’s always a source of inspiration for me.

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Beauty and the Beast (1991)

As I watch and rank the Disney Animated films, I’m yet to see anything come close to the masterpiece that is Beauty and the Beast.

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Shaun of the Dead

It may not be a scary movie, but it is my favourite horror movie. All the horror trademarks are here and they’re hilarious. I can watch this on repeat, and I do.

What movies define you?

Robert Ring

Kakarot

It’s hard for people to expect new things from a series that has been remade countless times before. What they did this time was give us a definitive remake that tailors almost identically to the anime. The difference with Kakarot is that it has a real soft spot for the original Dragon Ball series and you get to meet countless characters from that series and see what they’re up to in Dragon Ball Z. Being a fan of the original series I loved seeing the likes of Nam, Emperor Pilaf, Android Eight and Launch just kicking about in the world.

In my fifty-five hours with Kakarot, I was able to complete the game to completion, which included the PlayStation Platinum trophy. To put this into perspective that’s almost exactly half the amount of time it would take to watch every episode of Dragon Ball Z. The game covers the four main sagas of the series from the Saiyans, to Freezer, to Cell, and finally to Buu. Notably absent is the Garlic Jr. Saga, but was that really a loss? With a season pass in the works, it will be interesting to find out what additional content gets added, my guess is that they will cover the movies.

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The gameplay of Kakarot is similar to the fighting style and movement in Dragon Ball Xenoverse. The world is a segmented open world full of Z Orbs to collect, side missions and battles throughout. These can be completed between the main missions, although some side missions will lock you out of them if you progress too far in the story making them irrelevant. While the game’s title is called Kakarot, you will play through the story as Gohan, Vegeta, Piccolo, and Trunks as well. Depending on where the story goes will determine who you play for the most part until the post-game. There are multiple RPG elements that involve you levelling up your main character, while you can also level up bonus stats by using Soul Emblems.

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The post-game doesn’t have a lot to offer for someone like myself that completed every side quest as they appeared, minus one that I was locked out of. It does let you summon the dragon when you collect the dragon balls to bring back old enemies. There is a Villainous questline that has you tackle very strong enemies that upon finishing lets you tackle a secret boss.

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Every other Dragon Ball Z game has let you relive the epic fights throughout the series in quick succession, but Kakarot allows you to relive the emotion you get gearing up for those epic moments. That difference had me playing this game non-stop. I enjoyed my time with Kakarot and I’m a little sad it’s over. I’ll be sure to check back in when the DLC content releases.

For fans of Dragon Ball Z, this is a must-play, for newcomers, maybe check out some videos of the gameplay first.   

Robert Ring

Available on PS4, XboxOne, and PC

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Marriage Story

Life is full of relationships that at the time feel as if they will last a lifetime. As is natural, things change and people are pulled in different directions. These people we once knew intimately become distant and sometimes better off left as memories. This happens with friends and family, but the one we gamble on is the one we want to spend the rest of our life with. A relationship with a partner you love can go the same way and under the same roof. It’s here where love becomes complicated and leads to the divorcing of two people now out of sync. Divorce easily becomes about two perspectives that turn quickly into two different narratives exaggerating the essence of what was essentially the drifting apart of two people. And this is what Marriage Story is about.

Marriage Story begins with Charlie (Adam Driver) and Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) both talking about what they appreciate about the other. They say these things as if they’re still together, but we find they are actually separated. It’s amicable and without bitterness. Nicole moves to LA from their New York home with their son Harry so she can shoot a television pilot. While there people around Nicole move her in the direction of divorce lawyers. So Nicole meets with a divorce lawyer and Charlie, blindsided, gets served with divorce papers. The narrative of Charlie and the narrative of Nicole are presented with drama to which Charlie expresses that he feels like a criminal. The gauntlet gets worse and worse of a cautionary tale that happens to many people every day. This isn’t a story of two people that get together in the end, instead, it’s a look at two people transitioning through the ugliness of divorce. There is a lot of heartfelt moments, mixed with humour and sadness that will keep you endeared all the way to the end.

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Marriage Story is a likely Best Picture candidate for all the right reasons, and Laura Dern seems like a lock for Best Supporting Actress. This film will be healing to anyone that has experienced a divorce. The only successful marriage I’ve known in my years comes from my grandparents. Seeing the divorce of my own parents and many others makes you privy to vile perceptions given from each side. Quite often there is a villain in divorce, yet in Marriage Story I think seeing both perspectives shows it’s just about a relationship that has become distant like ones you’ve possibly experienced yourself.

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Marriage Story is available on Netflix and well worth your time.

Robert Ring

Crawl

Horror is that dime a dozen film genre where there is maybe one out of a hundred exceptional films. It’s a genre that can be experimented with by wannabe filmmakers trying to make a name for themselves, but very few succeed in making a career out of them that people actually like. You can name the few that do it with consistency and I think by now we can add Alexandre Aja to that list. Because Crawl is really quite exceptional.

The premise of Crawl sounds as if it’s been made before, but it’s original. The plot sounds ridiculous, of a gator film in a hurricane. And yet, we are carefully pulled into the story feeling the claustrophobic spaces in the basement as our two protagonists try to outrun and outsmart gators. Even when the ridiculous, and I mean ridiculous third act begins we buy it because the filmmaker cared to make us really believe this world in the beginning. Crawl is a tense film that will inflict jump scare after jump scare on you. It was a great experience when I saw this on the big screen with an audience that was screaming, and it worked just as well again at home.

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Apart from the horror, the story surrounds an estranged father and daughter relationship. The daughter was a champion diver trained by her father to go the distance, but we see that in time the coaching seemed to strain their relationship and she doesn’t seem him until he is in life-threatening danger during the hurricane. This gives us people to care about, which is the hardest thing for most horror movies to give an audience.

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I hope we get more monster films like this that have so much care attached to them. If you happen to catch the special features on the Blu-ray disc you will find the set is almost entirely practical, which blows my mind as I thought for sure it would require plenty of CGI. I recommend checking it out when you’re next looking for a monster movie.

Robert Ring

Frozen 2

Frozen was a mega-hit for Disney in 2013. It almost tripled the box-office of Wreck-it Ralph, the previous Disney animated title in 2012. And at the time of its release, it was the fifth highest-grossing film of all time. Therefore it was clear as day that we would get this inevitable second title.

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Anyone that is a parent has no doubt been at the mercy of their children as they play Frozen on repeat and hear the song long after the credits roll. Even Tangled which may have been a better film didn’t catch on like Frozen. Frozen success could be attributed to the release window as it fit the Christmas holiday aesthetically, and the catchy smash hit song Let It Go. I think it may have been the way it broke the traditional mould of seeing a damsel in distress. Frozen is not a film about saving a Princess, it’s about saving a sister. I think the family bond enriched the staying power of Frozen between audiences young, and old. The two sisters also show unique perspectives for empowering women, whether they’re strong or meek.

Frozen 2 takes place maybe a couple of years after the first film. Everyone we grew to love in the first film are all happily settled now in Arrandale. All except for Elsa. Elsa has again become distant as she begins hearing the sound of a lullaby calling to her like a Siren at sea. Elsa’s journey takes her on a discovery of the past and into where her magic originated from. Alongside Elsa is Anna who won’t let her journey alone, while Kristof tries to propose to Anna throughout the movie. The proposal is something that never holds any real drama because we know she would, of course, say yes. What Frozen 2 does is opens the mythology of the story tenfold.

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Overall, Frozen 2 continues the story in a competent way. In my mind, the movie sets itself up for a third movie and that one could potentially rival the first one whereas this one is trying to add too much new stuff. It is still a good time, but I question whether scenes were cut near the end and replaced with some hastily written songs.

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Frozen 2 is good and has already made an incredible $740 million within the first ten days of release. These records if anything has greenlit a third theatrical movie. Hopefully, you enjoy this slightly darker and more mature Frozen 2.

Robert Ring

Disney Plus

Disney Plus is finally here in Australia, and the age of the Disney Vault is behind us.

The line-up available mirrors most of the Disney Plus US titles. There are heaps of 4K titles on here and the price is covered in the subscription at no extra cost. I watched my Blu-ray edition of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace last week, so I scrubbed through the 4K edition on Disney Plus to compare and it absolutely pops in 4K. All the movies appear to be presented in at least High Definition while there are Standard Definition showings in the television series from the 90s.

They have already begun putting some of the Fox films into the Disney library like The Sound of Music, and Home Alone. I’m sure we’re going to see a lot more of these make the move over in the next couple of years. There is also a slew of classic live-action Disney films such as Babes in Toyland, Treasure Island, and The Shaggy Dog (1959).

Anyway, here are a few movies and shows that have me excited to revisit.

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First of all, I think everyone that has not seen the documentary Free Solo should make it their first pick on the platform. There is usually one stand out documentary every year, and last year it was Free Solo. The film is about a rock climber that dares to climb without the use of a harness and it’s an incredibly gripping watch that will have your body tensed to the max in that last half hour.

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Heavyweights is that movie alongside Good Burger that I loved watching on repeat. I haven’t been able to see it since I was a child, so I sure hope it holds up, and it’s the first movie I’ll be watching on there. Basically, this one is about a group of overweight kids that are sent by their parents to a “fat camp,” but it’s a fun, laugh-filled ride.

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DuckTales The Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp is another hard to find gem, I purchased the DVD from the UK because it hasn’t seen a release here since the original VHS. It is probably my favourite straight to video movie from Disney. This one is a movie to the tv series DuckTales and it involves Scrooge finding a genie in a lamp.

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The Love Bug is the classic live-action Disney movie that stands out to me the most. It’s been so long since I’ve seen it now, but I’m looking forward to seeing it again, and perhaps even the sequels too. It’s titles like these that I’m happy that children today will get to experience on Disney Plus.

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Return to Oz is one of my favourite childhood films. It’s the darkest take on the Oz story as Dorothy returns to find Oz in ruins. I own this one on DVD, but scrubbing through this HD version is like getting to watch it all again for the first time and I can’t wait.

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Quack Pack, like most of the television shows on my list, was a part of the Saturday Morning Disney in the 90s. Starring Donald Duck and his three nephews. The nephews are all teenagers here so they are even more mischevious then they were in DuckTales.

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Goof Troop is another terrific show that even spawned two Disney movies. It seems like an odd choice to have made a show about Goofy with a son, but it works.

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DuckTales is something I never really saw although if it’s anything like the movie I’m going to love it.

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Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears is another show with a peculiar premise that I adored as a kid. I’m not sure if my nostalgia for it matches how it’ll be for me today, but you never know. Get this, the show is based on the Gummi Bear sweets, and you wouldn’t know it because that’s as far as it goes, the name of the show.

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The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh was something I watched on LaserDisc and it’s just charming.

The problem Disney faces with Disney Plus is the lack of content for adults. However, that will likely change in time as they begin feeding more Fox films into the mix, as well as the other film studios they own under the Disney umbrella. For now, this bodes well for Netflix and the rest of the streaming platforms as it becomes clear that Disney is not competition in the streaming space, just yet. The one gripe I have is how The Simpsons has been handled as they’ve zoomed in on the image to fill the screen. Since the outcry was overwhelming in the US they have decided to give us the option to watch it in 4:3 at a later date. The other problem I have is with the censorship of Stark Raving Dad in The Simpsons, by not having it available at all because of the presence of Michael Jackson. That one I’ll discuss at a later date.

Also, I’ve been reviewing some of the classic Disney Animated films listed on this page HERE.

For now, hopefully you enjoy the library from Disney Plus

Robert Ring