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The Avengers: Age of Ultron (spoiler free review)

Okay, before we get into the actual movie let’s talk about The Ball. As in, “When are Marvel going to drop the ball?” We are now on the eleventh film set in the shared Marvel Cinematic Universe and the studio has yet to release a flick that was worse than the perfectly acceptable Incredible Hulk or the shaggy-but-still-fun Iron Man 2. And Marvel fans are starting to get paranoid. Sooner or later Marvel’s going to drop the ball, law of averages. One of these movies will eventually flop, and when it does, all we can do is hope that it doesn’t flop so badly that it puts the whole MCU project in jeopardy. And with a movie like Age of Ultron, the stakes are even higher. If Ant-Man tanks, Marvel will walk it off.

If Age of Ultron flops, or even performs below expectations, it could bring the whole thing crashing down. So, as a huge fan of these movies, I was more than a little nervous sitting down to last night’s screening and I knew I was not alone. Looking in the eyes of my fellow Marvel cinephiles I saw the same fear that would take the heart of me. Because one day, Marvel will release a colossal turd.

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Lion-Force

Random posts combine!

Every so often a collection of things I need to say, otherwise too bitty to put in individual posts, will combine together to form a Voltron-esque combined post. This is such a day.
Okay, first order of business…
The Hangman’s Daughter
As many of you know, I finished serialising my novel, The Hangman’s Daughter last month. Big thanks to all of you who read, commented and gave advice and encouragement. I especially want to give a shout out to Sr. Honkengoose and maxy44 who I’m pretty sure commented on every single chapter and gave me tons of good notes. Legends both. Many of you have been asking when you might be seeing more and after giving it a lot of thought I’ve decided that I’m going to start posting chapters of the second novel in the series, The Devil’s Heir.
However, there is a catch.
As I’ve already mentioned before, The Devil’s Heir is not actually finished yet. Worse, it’s still the sequel to an older draft of The Hangman’s Daughter (one where, amongst other things, Mariana was a dude). This means each chapter will have to be revised and edited so that it’s consistent with the most recent draft of HD, and I don’t have time to do that right now because my life has become an endless looping reel that goes worktoddlerblogplaycomicsleeeeeepworktoddlerblogplaycomicsleeeeeeep. So my brother Eamonn has very, very kindly agreed to edit the Devil’s Heir to get it more in line with the story so far and occasionally make changes that he feels improve the material.
“…and then they all died and the rugged, dashing, one-eyed Mouse was king of the universe. The End.”

“…and then they all died and the rugged, dashing, one-eyed Mouse was king of the universe. The End.”

So, starting soonish, there will be a new chapter of the Devil’s Heir going up every month. Yes. Month.
“Hey I gotta life too, y’know.”

“Hey I gotta life too, y’know.”

Moving on!
Age of Ultron
So Avengers 2 is being released in Europe around a week earlier than it is in the States due to…I dunno, the collapse of American hegemony or whatever. Being the massive nerds we are, my wife and I will be at the midnight screening on 23 April and I’ll be posting a review later in the day. This won’t be a full length Unshaved Mouse style review, obviously. Just a few paragraphs about my thoughts on the film and whether I thought it was any cop or not. You know…a review like actual critics do.
And lastly, revenge 
So regular readers will know that I recently learned my entire life has been a charade orchestrated by the diabolical warlock known to the world as Walter Elias Disney. You may recall I swore a blood oath of vengeance against Disney, promising to review the very, very worst movie that bears his name. And I need your help to do it. Sound off in the comments, what is the very, very, worst Disney movie that has ever been released and help me stick it to Walt but good.
See you all on the 14th of May for How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Train my Dragon. Mouse out.
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The fair city…

I’ll (hopefully) be putting up some recommendations for blogs to tide you over while Unshaved Mouse goes on a brief gallstone-enforced hiatus. Of course, if you want a recommendation for your blog from me so badly, why don’t you marry me?  That’s what my wife did, and so I’m now recommending the blog of the person who has been previously referred to in the comments as Spouse of Mouse, a nickname that I do not endorse in any way.
“Thin. Ice.”

“Thin. Ice.”

Anyway, if you like things that are jaw-droppingly beautiful you should check out my lady’s photo blog of Dublin. She’s captured some really gorgeous images of our hometown in all its shambling magnificence and it’s really worth a look. Also, it’s our ten year anniversary this month so you’d be doing a bro a solid.
Mouse out.
Keith Thompson

Patron Saints of America (Mouse wrote a movie! Apparently…)

Back in college I wrote a play called Patron Saints of America which holds a unique position as being the oldest thing I’ve written for stage that I can now look back on and not shudder. In hindsight, while I don’t think it’s perfect by any stretch, it’s probably the first thing that I wrote that reads like something I’d write today. It’s where I think I found my voice, I guess you could say (prior to this I was just making exaggerated hand gestures). Now, that play was directed by two friends of mine Finbarr Doyle and Jimmy McNulty.
He is probably the only person on earth who hates The Wire for that very reason.

Who is probably the only person on earth who hates The Wire.

Not too long ago, Jimmy and another friend of mine, Keith Thompsons (who played the character of Bruce onstage) arrived at my house to tell me that, as a birthday present to me, they actually went and turned Patron Saints of America into a short film that they managed to shoot in one night. I know, right? Happy birthday, here is a motion picture.
Now, while I’m obviously biased, I think this turned out kind of amazing. The movie’s below, let me know what you think.
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The Unmitigated Gall

Alright, you’re all  probably wondering why there’s going to be such a long break between now and the next review. So I thought I’d do what I usually do in these situations; hold a hypothetical conversation with a mysterious person who only speaks in boldface.
Hey Mouse, why you no review long time?
Good, if rather ungrammatically worded, question MPWOSIB.
To answer that I need to explain something about me.
If the only information you were provided about me was a list of what I eat in a given week, you would conclude the following: This person is not merely fat. He is SO fat that he can neither lift his arms nor fit in a bathtub, meaning that the only way he can bathe is to get the elephants in the carnival that he tours with as an attraction to stand in a circle around him and douse him with their tusks. The delivery guys know me by name, sight and scent. You name it, I have had it delivered to my door; Chinese Food, Pizza, Fish and Chips, this new restaurant down the road that just brings a barrel of lard to your house and pumps it straight into your stomach…
But, oddly enough, I’m pretty much at my ideal weight for a male of my age and height and have been for pretty much all my adult life. For whatever reason, I kinda just don’t put on weight and you hate me now and that’s good.
"Hate keeps a man alive."

“Hate keeps a man alive.”

 

(more…)

Ah ha ha...really funny guys.

A Troll in Central Park (1994)

(DISCLAIMER: All images and footage used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material. New to the blog? Start at the start with Snow White.)
Previously on Unshaved Mouse: After months of ominous threats and warnings, Mouse finally came face to face with his most determined enemy yet; the mysterious, lethal, Blucatt. Blucatt brutally murdered Gangsta Asia and then revealed himself to be none other than legendary animator Don Bluth, who accused Mouse of destroying him as an animator, a charge which Mouse shockingly did not deny…
“…and another reason why Emperor’s New Groove is the third most under-rated Disney movie…”

“…and another reason why Emperor’s New Groove is the third most under-rated Disney movie…”

  “…and another reason why Emperor’s New Groove is the third most under-rated Disney movie…”

“SHUT. UP. Shut up. You’ve been stalling for two weeks. Now tell everyone why it’s your fault that my movies suck.”

Alright. Alright. I knew this day would come. I’ve talked about Don Bluth on this blog before, mostly in the American Tail review and in passing when I covered The Fox and the Hound. But now it’s time to talk about Bluth’s legacy as an animator and how that legacy was destroyed by many factors.
“By you.”

“By you.”

“By many factors of which I was one.”

“By many factors of which I was one.”

“Funny, I don’t really remember there being that many factors.”

“Funny, I don’t really remember there being that many factors.”

Okay, animation history time. Don Bluth split from Disney halfway through production of The Fox and the Hound, taking a good chunk of the Disney animation team with him.
He told them they were going to pick apples. They never got to pick apples.

He told them they were going to pick apples. They never got to pick apples.

Now this group was known as Don Bluth Productions (and then later on as the Bluth Group) and in 1982 they released Bluth’s first directorial feature, the now legendary Secret of NIMH. NIMH had critics slavering all over it but died at the box-office as it only had a limited release and was released during one of the best years in history for genre movies.
There is no shame in losing to ET.

There is no shame in losing to ET.

In fact, between ET walloping NIMH at the box-office and an industry wide animators-strike, Bluth had to declare bankruptcy.  NIMH was therefore a once-off. Don Bluth Productions did not release any other feature length animations; the rest of their output during this period was stuff for TV like Banjo The Woodpile Cat (no, I’m not reviewing it. I’m done with cartoon cats for a good long while), the computer games Dragon’s Lair and Space Ace and animated sequences for the movie Xanadu. Most of what people consider “Don Bluth movies” were actually made by a company called Sullivan Bluth. Well, you all know who Bluth is, who the fruck was Sullivan? Sit down and I’ll learn ya.
By 1983 Bluth had managed to turn things around thanks largely to the phenomenal success of Dragon’s Lair and Space Ace.Sure, they played like mules on Quaaludes but those games looked a good two decades ahead of anything else on the market. But then, the video game market imploded in late ’83/early ’84 thanks in no small part to the white-hot grease fire of pure failure that was the Atari tie-licence game of…ET.
Man, Don Bluth must have hated that alien so much.

Man, Don Bluth must have hated that alien so much.

“Hes next on my list”

“He’s next on my list”

This left Bluth bankrupt again and it’s at about this point in the story that Sullivan enters the picture. Morris Sullivan was an Irish-American businessman who was also an avid cartoon nut who decided to invest in Bluth. To bring down costs and also to avoid the kind of industrial disputes that had plagued NIMH (and were also causing trouble for the early production of An American Tail) Sullivan convinced Bluth to move the newly formed Sullivan Bluth Studios to Dublin, Ireland*. This was pretty much the big bang for Irish animation, and the impact is still being felt to this day. Bluth set up an animation course at Ballyfermot Senior College that trained a whole generation of Irish animators. Nor was Bluth by any means the only animation company that set up shop here to take advantage of generous government support and an underemployed, English speaking workforce desperate for wages to pay the landlords and their thrice cursed gombeens.
The Bluth Animators circa  1989.

The Bluth Animators circa 1989.

They were daycent, hardworking animators. Quick with their fists, and quicker with their brushes. Why, you might even have heard of some of the movies and TV shows they created…
Remember this little thing? Rather popular at the time if you can believe it.

Remember this little thing? Rather popular at the time if you can believe it.

So, what’s all this got to do with little ol’ Mouse? Well, Sullivan Bluth employed hundreds of Irish people and one of those was my aunt**. So I guess you could say I had a very personal relationship with these movies growing up. I was able to hold the original cels from An American Tail and Land Before Time that my aunt kept around the house. I was at the European premiere of An American Tailin Dublin with my massive plushy Fievel Mousekewitz and wearing a Sullivan Bluth An American Tail kid’s T-shirt.
Mouse. Pre...mouse.

Mouse. Pre…mouse.

I saw all of Don Bluth’s movies. And the weird thing about that is I saw them even though they all TERRIFIED THE SHIT OUT OF ME LIKE RIGHT OUT SHIT EVERYWHERE.
I mean, I’ve already told you what a nervous child I was.
“I believe the term is “snivelling coward”.”

“I believe the term is “snivelling coward”.”

So how do you think I handled this?
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Ah, there's that good old-timey Bluth terror.

HELLO!

Ah. There's that old timey Bluth terror.

The_Hellhound

These movies were not fun for me! They were endurance tests! Which is why…
Oh boy…
Okay, so…you’ve all heard of Rock A Doodle? You know the bits at the beginning in live action with the little blonde kid who makes Jake Lloyd look like Laurence Olivier? What you probably don’t know is that originally that movie was going to be all-animation. So, like when they brought deer and lions into the studio at Disney when they were making Bambi and Lion King, Don Bluth had a load of kids brought into the studio to run around and tumble and generally act like little idiots so that the animators could get an idea of how kids walk and run and act like little idiots.
And…I was one of those little idiots...
 dramatic chipmunk
And it was during this child-zoo that I found myself face to face with Don Bluth. And I told him his movies were too scary.
Now, you gotta understand, by then the Disney renaissance had started and Bluth had just been pummelled by Oliver and Company and The Little Mermaid. Things were looking grim and I can only imagine that Bluth was trying desperately to figure out a way to get back in the lead. Something, anything. And here’s a member of his target audience telling him to his face that his movies are just too damn scary.
Shortly after that, pre-production started on Thumbelina.
Guys, I’m sorry.
I am so, so sorry.
“After that everything fell apart. My movies became saccharine dreck. It was like I was cursed. That’s when the Horned King approached me. He offered to give me a world where I could rule for all time and all I had to do was slowly torture you for all eternity. It was win win. Win fucking win. But you couldn’t even let me have that, could you? You had to escape and ruin everything.””

“After that everything fell apart. My movies became saccharine dreck. It was like I was cursed. That’s when the Horned King approached me. He offered to give me a world where I could rule for all time and all I had to do was slowly torture you for all eternity. It was win win. Win fucking win. But you couldn’t even let me have that, could you? You had to escape and ruin everything.””

“Look Don, I dont know what to say. I was a stupid kid. I didn’t know what I was talking about.”

“Look Don, I don’t know what to say. I was a stupid kid. I didn’’t know what I was talking about.”

“Alright. Well, the important thing is that you learned your lesson. Bye.”

“Alright. Well, the important thing is that you learned your lesson. Bye.”

"Really, thats it?"

“Really, that’s it?”

““HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…no. No, revenge will be mine. You’re going to review A Troll in Central Park.”

““HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…no. No, revenge will be mine. You’re going to review A Troll in Central Park.”

“Never heard of it.”"

“Never heard of it.””

“Stanley’s Magic Garden.”

Stanley’s Magic Garden.”

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO…”

“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO…”

Make Mine Music Video Review

The Make Mine Music video review is now up and here and waiting and let’s go party YAY! Erik’s really done a fantastic job with this one so be sure to check it out.

 

The Hangman’s Daughter Chapter 45 & Epilogue

CHAPTER 45: FATHERS AND DAUGHTERS

 

Isabella seemed to not even notice him, and ran out into the field of dust. She could feel the grains of the dead on her bare feet like sand but she paid it no mind. She glanced around. Nothing.

She bit her lip so hard it almost bled.

“Bella!”

She turned.

Cole stood there, leaning against a wall and struggling to breath. She couldn’t believe it, he was half dead with exhaustion and he had actually run after her.

Then she realised that he was pointing behind her.

She turned, and her heart broke a little with happiness. Footprints, leading through the dust, away from the chamber.

“He’s fine, kid.” Cole wheezed “He made it. He probably didn’t feel like staying and chatting with Mabus. You know how awkward these reunions can be.”

“He’s alright.” Isabella whispered.

“He’ll be back.” Cole promised her “Just give some time to lick his wounds. Come one.”

He stretched out a hand to her and she took shelter under his arm as they walked back to the courtyard.

On an impulse, she gave him a hug.

He hissed like a kettle “For the love of God, please don’t do that.”

(more…)

The Hangman’s Daughter Chapter 44

CHAPTER 44: THE LAST STAND

 

They didn’t speak.

Marie simply stared out at the passing city. Isabella rested her head on her shoulder and closed her eyes.

Cole was still exhausted, the battle had taken everything out of him. And the thought that it was not yet over made him feel like his insides were rotting. He thought about how many people he had killed today. For the first time in his life, he was sick of it all.

Only Joriel seemed upbeat.

“Don’t be too downcast.” he told them “There is always hope, always. I am proof of that.”

The girls didn’t answer, but Cole had a thought.

“Hey Joriel?”

“Yes?”

“How’d you get in that cage in the first place?” Cole asked.

“Mabus and I have been enemies for a very long time.” said Joriel.

“Why’s that?” Cole asked.

“Many reasons. But I guess you could say it started when he stole my wife.”

Cole looked at him.

“You serious?”

“Oh yes.”

“Angels have wives?”

“Some of us. Yes. Other do not.” said Joriel, a little irritably “We’re like people that way.”

 

“What are you thinking about?” Isabella asked.

“Virgil.” said Marie.

“Virgil?”

“He was the one who told me we were trapped in there.”

“Are you sure?”

“I’m sure. He was real, he wasn’t one of Mabus’ fakes. He was really there and he’s the reason we were able to get out.”

“So where is he now?”

“That’s what I’ wondering. I was expecting him to be here when we woke up.”

“You don’t think he’s…”

“Dead?”

“I mean, you know…”

“Deader.”

“Yeah.”

“I don’t know.”

 

The strum of the helicopter’s blades had faded into the background a long time ago, so when the shrill alarm sounded it took them all by surprise.

“What’s that?” Marie said, starting.

“This light started flashing.” said Joriel “A moment please.”

He crushed the insolent light with his thumb and it cracked like a sparrow egg, a thin trail of smoke curling upward. But the alarm still shrieked.

“We’re out of gas.” said Cole “Find a place to set us down.”

Joriel grunted assent, and the helicopter began to lose altitude a little faster than either Isabella or Marie were comfortable with.

“Damn. Damn, damn, damn.” Cole muttered.

“What?” Marie asked.

“You see that over there?” Cole pointed. In the distance they could just make out a large grey mass behind them, creeping inexorably like algae.

“Must be nearly a thousand in that mob. And they’re headed right for the chamber.”

“But we can beat them to it, right?” said Isabella.

The chopper touched down with a vicious jolt.

“Run.” said Cole.

 

Thomas was back on top of the world.

His bruises, to his body and his pride, were already forgotten.

His knife was in his hand, and to his back an army of a thousand men were chanting his name.

Ave Tomas! Ave Tomas!

They shook the stone sky with their voice.

The earth trembled at their step.

This time, Marie, he thought, this time I will keep my promise to your father.

(more…)

Felidae_moviecover

Felidae (1994)

(DISCLAIMER: All images and footage used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material. New to the blog? Start at the start with Snow White.)

"Let me in you oversized landmass! I have to talk to Mouse!"

“Let me in you oversized landmass! I have to talk to Mouse!”

"Not happenin' man. I'm handlin' Mouse's security. And until we know who this Blucatt guy is no one sees Mouse. Got it?"

“Not happenin’, man. I’m handlin’ his security. And until we know who this Blucatt guy is no one sees Mouse. Got it?”

"But that's why I need to see him! I know who Blucatt is!"

“But that’s why I need to see him! I know who Blucatt is!”

"So spill. Who is he?"

“So spill. Who is he?”

"I can't tell you. I have to tell Mouse in person."

“I can’t tell you. I have to tell Mouse in person. He has to know why I…”

"Why you WHAT, Moustache Man?"

“Why you WHAT, Moustache Man?”

"Forget it. Just...give him this note."

“Forget it. Just…give him this note.”

"Aiight. But I won't have a chance to until he finishes reviewing Felidae."

“Aiight. But I won’t have a chance to until he finishes reviewing Felidae.”

***

Guys…I…I think I may be going crazy.

I mean, really, I think I might be starting to lose it. First there were all those weird messages appearing, and then this whole stuff with Blucatt and then suddenly there’s Foodfight! fanfiction appearing on my blog (who would even do something like that?)…

I’m starting to feel my hold on reality loosening and I don’t think it can be entirely explained away by the fact that Class A drugs were briefly legal in my country. Which brings me to today’s movie; Felidae. I knew next to nothing about this movie going in but my research seemed encouraging. Most expensive animated film ever to come out of Germany, based on one of the best selling German novels of all time. Large cult following, 7.9 rating on IMdB, 85% viewer approval on Rotten Tomatoes (though no reviews from professional critics). The consensus seems to be that this was a dark, engaging film noir murder mystery with cats. Okay, sounds cool. I can dig it.

And then I watched it.

What. The. Close. Up. Mouth. Whore. FUCK?

People like this? People? Actual people?

Because I can honestly say, without a hint of hyperbole, that I have never reviewed a movie for this blog that I hated more than this one. No. Not even Home on the Range. Not even Dinosaur. Not. Even. Foodfight!

Now I know what you’re thinking. “Mouse. You’ve lost it. You’ve gone nuts…”

Yes, did you not read the first lines of this review?

“Shut up and let me finish. You gave Foodfight! 0%. Zero. The big goose-egg. How can this possibly be worse than that?”

Well I didn’t say it was worse. I said I hated it more. Foodfight is just total, utter failure on every level. Felidae is not like that. There is a base line of competence that it never goes below. But…that actually makes it more unpleasant. Because they succeed in what they set out to do. It’s relentlessly, repulsively nasty and it’s good at it.

It sets out to appall you and it succeeds. 

How bad is it?

Let’s take a look. But you won’t thank me.

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