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'The Good Dinosaur': a movie review

'The Good Dinosaur' (Credit: Disney/Pixar via Youtube)Disney Pixar's newest offering, The Good Dinosaur, faces a difficult task from the start as it will inevitably be compared to the company's last movie, Inside Out, which has been hailed as one of the better animated films in many years. On top of those insurmountable comparisons, the film had to go through several re-writes that saw many of its original voice-cast replaced before the final version. Despite those trials, it is still an enjoyable family film that, in typical Pixar fashion, makes the audience laugh one minute and fight back a few tears the next.

The Good Dinosaur is set in a world where the asteroid believed to have wiped out the dinosaurs narrowly missed the planet. Instead, they were given the chance to continue evolving and, by the time the action picks back up a few million years later, we find a family of apatosarus (think brontosaurus but a bit smaller) clearing land for their farm. The film centers on the story of Arlo, the runt of the family, who wants so desperately to make his mark by contributing something of value. His mother and father assure him that his time will come and that he has the potential to do great things, but he is constantly constrained by the limitations of his own self-doubt and fear.

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'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2': a movie review

The Hunger Games Mockingjay - Part 2 movie poster with Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen (Credit: The Hunger Games/Lionsgate Pictures) The final installment in The Hunger Games franchise was released in theaters on Friday. It's the fourth film in the movie adaptation of Suzanne Collins's book series and offers a fitting conclusion to the journey that began back in 2012. It picks up where Mockingjay – Part 1 left off and if you haven't seen the previous films, I would recommend doing so before seeing the finale. While it's possible to gain a basic understanding of what occurred in the previous stories simply from watching Part 2, the experience will be far more enjoyable if you're not trying to play catchup.

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'Spectre': a movie review

007 James Bond in newest fil 'Spectre (Credit: Columbia Pictures) Spectre, the twenty-fourth movie adaptation of Ian Fleming's James Bond (there was a twenty-fifth that is thankfully not considered part of the official series), was released in American theaters on Friday after spending a week generating headlines and raking in revenue overseas. It opens with a traditionally exciting and exceptionally well-filmed sequence during Mexico City's Day of the Dead parade. We find James running through crowds and across rooftops on his way to foil a terrorist plot and uncover information on the shadowy organization he has pursued since 2006's franchise reboot Casino Royale.

From there the film proceeds in the same fashion as recent iterations with Bond going rogue-agent in order to do what's necessary despite the objections and orders of those nominally in charge. The entertaining journey is full of beautiful scenes, captivating action sequences, and homages to the previous films. In fact, those allusions to the franchise's history feel, at times, like the primary goal of the film and often come at the expense of crafting a more coherent plot. While they are likely to provide great enjoyment for fans of the older films (guilty), they leave Spectre feeling a bit incomplete and jumbled.

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