I had the opportunity to view an advance screening of Disney Pixar’s Brave at the El Capitan in Hollywood for ASIFA members over the weekend, and the film does not disappoint.

It covers some familiar territory with some appreciated departures. Pixar doing its first fairy-tale felt quite reminiscent of the brand of tales Disney has given us in the past. It feels a bit like a mash-up of moments from The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast and even Brother Bear. In a very Princess Jasmine-like fashion, the free-spirited, bushy-haired Princess Merida dreads her upcoming betrothal and marriage. It is part of their ancient tradition based on history and legend to keep peace among the warring tribes of the area. Merida must sacrifice her freedom for the greater good of the land and she doesn’t take this idea well. Like her fellow redhead princess, Ariel, she acquires the help of a witch to change her fate taking the story in a whole new direction most will not be expecting.

The big surprises end there however. One problem with the movie is that is very predictable. This is the obvious part of the story where the characters must go on a journey to learn and grow and find reconciliation. Although it is clear where things are heading, it is still a pleasant adventure to undertake. You don’t necessarily know how things will unfold, just the overall direction. Pixar knows how to get you invested with its characters and their emotions.

At the climax, when I knew the film was blatantly manipulating me to feel sad but somehow things were still going to work out, I could not resist the tears. Although the future happy ending is transparent, you still live in the moment and suffer along with the characters. I appreciated its ability to make my care and cry.

One major thing to note is that I was surprised how dark this film was. I took my 5-year-old Godson and he was scared during a lot of the film. He would cover his face, cuddle and refuse to watch. There was one little girl who was crying so much that her mom had to take her out of the theater and they never returned. There is actually a lot of action and violence.

It’s very different from what you see in The Incredibles where the supernatural powers of it all removes it from reality. Here these are real men fighting with bow and arrows, swords and spears against a very vicious, terrifying bear. Sometimes they fought each other, which were the more comical moments and this film has plenty, but the intensity of this bear is definitely frightening to young children.

In usual Pixar tradition the animation is of excellent quality. The visuals continue in their high standard. Some of the shots and camera moves were epic with a bit of a Lord of the Rings feel. They took advantage of the beautiful and lush setting the Scottish highlands have to offer. Rich in folklore, mythology, action, emotion and comedy, Pixar delivers a very satisfying film.

What I appreciated the most about the movie, however, comes from a feminist perspective. This is the first animated princess movie I’ve seen that isn’t a romance. Sure, some other fairy-tales don’t focus on the love-interest initially, but that woman always settles down in the end. We don’t have to end with a sappy wedding or partnership to bring a sense of security and triumph. The pinnacle of a woman’s achievement doesn’t have to always be a husband.

More than the lack of romance, I noticed the presence of motherhood. Moms are always neglected in these types of stories. Most princesses only have dads and the heroines with mothers focus their efforts on dad. Mulan fought in the Chinese army for her father’s honor. Tiana builds a restaurant in her dad’s memory. Aurora and Rapunzel grow up far enough away from their mothers to even have a relationship. This is a real mother-daughter story with fighting, heart-ache, forgiveness and growth. Their frustration and struggles are real and relatable.

Both women have stuff to learn from one another and their dynamic takes center-stage before all the magic and wonder of the rest of the scenery. Pixar has covered father-son, husband-wife and other family relationships well in the past and they give great treatment to this new territory. I appreciate and applaud their efforts to explore this woman-centered tale.

For all the feminism, the boys will still get a kick out of the movie as well. Merida’s triplet brothers are a handful of chaos and bring a lot of energy to screen. King Fergus is a fun and goofy dad. There is plenty of testosterone among the tribes fighting for Merida’s hand. It is a well-balanced movie that will please all genders and ages.

Brave is not as original or ground-breaking as previous Pixar films, but it is still quality entertainment. You’ll laugh, cry, and enjoy the ride. It may not be considered the best cinematic achievement by Pixar, but for me, it may have just become my new favorite.

The film is released in theaters this Friday, June 22.

With Captain America: Civil War coming to theaters this week in the U.S., the Russo brothers are teasing their plans for Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 and Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2!

In an interview with Uproxx, the Russo brothers revealed that they believe that the current titles for the next Avengers films are misleading. Joe Russo stated, “The movies are two very different movies.” However, the current title makes it feel as though it’s the same story just split into two different films. It looks like that’s not what they’re going for, though.

“The intention is we will change it, we just haven’t come up with the titles yet. But, yes, we will change it. And, yes, that is a scoop: we will retitle them,” Joe Russo went on to say in the interview. Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 is currently scheduled for release on May 4, 2018 so it may be quite a while before we learn what the new title is. Thanos will be serving as the main antagonist in both of the films, with the conflict revolving around the Infinity Stones.

Before we even get to Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1, Marvel still has several movies to release. Including, Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, and Black Panther.

Marvel recently pulled Inhumans from their upcoming Phase Three slate. It was supposed to be released July 12, 2019 after the release of Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2. It’s still unclear whether the film is cancelled entirely or if it is simply being pushed back.

Are you glad to hear ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ will be retitled?

Another nail has just been placed through the cable box coffin: Hulu has just confirmed reports that they’re putting together a live TV service.

Speaking in front of advertisers on Wednesday morning, Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins said that live TV on Hulu is in the pipeline and will offer consumers a way to watch network and cable channels live via Hulu’s suite of apps.

Hopkins’ comments arrive on the heels of a report in the Wall Street Journal which first revealed the streaming service’s plans. According to that report, ESPN, ABC, Disney, Fox News, FX are the first channels set to join Hulu’s live TV service. Hopkins didn’t confirm any channels during his presentation this morning.

When it launches, Hulu will likely have one of the best shots at making a live TV streaming service take off, and it may seriously disrupt the traditional cable box business. The only other major service currently offering live TV via streaming is Sling TV (with plans starting at $20/month), but unlike Hulu, Sling lacks brand recognition.

Over the past couple of years it’s been widely report that Apple has made several attempts at creating a live TV service like the one Hulu is trying to put together, but the iPhone maker has run into trouble striking deals with the various networks.

Hulu’s current packages allow consumers to watch TV shows from most of the major channels the day after they air on traditional television. Plans start at $7.99 per month.

For some fans, watching TV shows live is important so they can live tweet or discuss their shows elsewhere online immediately after they air. A live TV service from Hulu could cause many people to get rid of their traditional cable boxes, which tend to come saddled with bad user interfaces and extra fees.

Are you tentatively interested in Hulu’s live TV service?

The price of the service will be an important factor in how many people subscribe, of course. Hopefully it’s cheaper than most cable subscriptions.

What Jon Snow’s fate means for the future of ‘Game of Thrones’

Oh, the places we'll go, the things we'll learn!

11:00 am EDT, May 4, 2016

This week, Game of Thrones continued to create more questions out of answering others.

Now that we finally know for certain what we all predicted, it’s time to speculate how this will impact Game of Thrones going forward. Yes, of course I’m talking about Jon Snow’s resurrection.

There are larger implications for the future of the show besides the fact that Jon is an active character again. Aside from how different Jon himself might be, we also must consider what his presence means for other characters and plots.

First thing’s first, Melisandre is going to die. She has two things working against her. 1) She did her part in bringing Jon back, so her purpose is done. 2) She’s getting a sympathetic edit, and that never bodes well. Start preparing yourself now, because Melisandre doesn’t have long for this world. It is known (wait, no, wrong religion!).

Now let’s talk about Jon. What Jon Snow are we getting back ? Resurrection is not new to Westeros. Most recently we saw the Mountain brought back to life through ‘scientific’ methods, and he appears to be quite obedient. He’s mute and just does what he’s told, a mere killing machine (although, you could argue that’s all he was in life too).


Then there’s Beric Dondarrion, resurrected by Thoros through magical means in more or less the same way as Jon. Though Thoros was adept at this feat (he’d done it enough times), every time Beric came back, he lost a bit of himself. Memories would go, and he seemed only capable of (re)living for a singular purpose: revenge.

This was Melisandre’s first attempt at bringing the dead back to life, so it’s possible she might have screwed up somewhere in the ritual, causing Jon to come back a little different from the Jon we know. Even if she did it perfectly, Jon is likely to be a changed man.

Having died, he has no Night’s Watch oaths to maintain, and seeking revenge on those who killed him would understandably be a high priority. We’ve known Jon to be more merciful than merciless, but will this be reversed after losing a part of himself in death?

And will Jon’s return impact other characters? Sansa is on her way to Castle Black, and after hearing what she has to say (assuming they actually do reunite), Jon will have more vengeance to seek. The Boltons have taken over his home and hurt his family, so it’s likely he’ll rally all he can to help him go after them.


Back home in Winterfell, Ramsay is planning on storming Castle Black, and if he’d done it earlier, he just might have won. The old Jon probably wouldn’t have been prepared for a man like Ramsay, but the new Jon will give no pity and show no mercy. After having died, Jon might feel he’s nothing to lose, that this is a second chance and he’ll take it guns blazing (swords slashing?). It would be the perfect contrast, the two Snow bastards who each believe Winterfell is theirs, fighting to the death.

Jon coming back is also almost solid proof that R + L = J. From the beginning we’ve heard tidbits of information about Lyanna Stark, Ned’s sister, and the mentions last season were particularly blatant and frequent. Even this season, already, we’ve gotten a Lyanna reference, when Bran visited the past. Unless it’s a giant red herring, there’s obviously a reason a long dead woman with seemingly no relevance keeps getting a shout out.

Of course, if it is true that Jon is a Stark and Targaryen, then Dany is not necessarily the ‘rightful’ heir to the Iron Throne. Being half Targaryen also means that Jon has the blood of the dragon, and he has a claim to the Throne and to one of Dany’s dragons.

Side note: He probably won’t get Drogon, since he’s Dany’s favorite. But how funny would it be if Jon just strolls in and Drogon immediately bows down and does what he’s told? That’ll teach Dany the importance of training!


Having been resurrected by the fire god and having the blood of the dragon also poses an interesting notion of Jon’s overall purpose. It’s long been postulated that the “Ice and Fire” referenced in the book series title is Jon and Dany. But what if it’s just Jon? Jon has gotten ‘looks’ from both sides: Melisandre stared him down when she first saw him, and believes him to be Azor Ahai. The Night’s King also shared what seemed like a telling look with Jon at Hardhome.

We know the war between ice and fire is coming, so what if Jon is a link that connects them? He’s the undead brought back to fight the undead, and put an end to this war. He won’t do it alone, either. Azor Ahai needed a weapon to fight the darkness, and he had Lightbringer. If we’re to assume Lightbringer is a physical sword, it’s most likely Longclaw. In season 5, both Jon and a White Walker were surprised to see Longclaw kill the White Walker. We thusly learned that Valyrian steel can kill White Walkers. But what if it was more than just being Valyrian steel? If Jon is Azor Ahai, why couldn’t Longclaw be Lightbringer, the ‘hero’s sword’ meant to fight the darkness?

Jon coming back opens many doors. There are so many possibilities his presence brings to the show. Is Melisandre finished? Will Jon be the one to kill Ramsay? Is Jon really half Targaryen? And most importantly, will he ride a dragon?!

How do you think Jon’s resurrection will impact the future of ‘Game of Thrones’?