Star Wars Resistance Rebuilding the Resistance Review

I’ve written before that I found it concerning that there is so little time now to flesh left out the major conflicts of Star Wars Resistance. Which is why “Rebuilding the Resistance,” which can be considered a penultimate chapter before the two-parter series finale, pulls off an impressive feat as it picks up on the slack of more underwhelming developments of the past season.

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Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts Review

Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts on Netflix feels like a pastiche of everything recognizable in the last decade of the greatest children’s animation and it achieves a refreshing mix. I sensed the cryptic spirit of Over The Garden Wall and Infinity Train, the post-apocalyptic chill vibes of Adventure Time, and the kick-butt humor like its fellow DreamWorks TV series She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, all with their overlapping traits of weird musicality, priceless zingers, life lessons, and optimism. Created by DreamWorks storyboard artist Radford Sechrist, Kipo and its Mad Libs world-building, wholesome embrace of the scary and the light, and ambitious storytelling are familiar and fresh. 

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The off-Broadway musical adaptation of Sing Street at the New York Workshop Theatre carries on the starry and head-banging spirit of John Carney’s 2016 indie hit. The stage script is adapted and expanded by Enda Walsh, who also penned the Tony-winning stage musical treatment for Carney’s Once

It’s 1982 in Dublin, Ireland and the family of 16-year-old Connor (a stellar Brenock O’Connor) is among those caught in the waves of economic despair. To conserve their savings, his parents (Amy Warren and Billy Carter) pluck Connor from a fee-required private school and place him into a free Catholic school on Synge Street where he is singled out by a bully (Johnny Newcomb) and the austere headmaster, Brother Baxter (Martin Moran). Later, he spies 18-year-old Raphina (Zara Devlin), an aspiring model, posing coolly against the wall with her flashing sunglasses. On the fly, he forms a band so that she may model in his music video and she happily tags along. Raphina is the catalyst to find his song, but his band isn’t so much about winning the girl as it is finding an outlet for malaise.

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Infinity Train Season 2 Review

Owen Dennis’s animated anthology series Infinity Train stretches as infinite as its possibilities. A new world—or restored—order infuses the adventure aboard the Infinity Train after the events of season one. The rollie spherical droid One-One (Jeremy Crutchley as Glad-One, Dennis as the Sad-One) has reclaimed his rightful place as the Conductor. 

As it went in Book One, humans who suffered a trauma like its first protagonist and are in need of life lessons are taken aboard a cryptic train of limitless cars, each housing surreal worlds and inhabitants. Humans are tattooed with a glowing number on their palm that can go up or down. Passengers must do good deeds or mature in emotional understandings to lower their score to zero and activate their exit door so they may return to the normal world as a healed or reformed person. Now that One-One has his Conductor mantle back, he has prepared his human charges instruction videos with more clear-cut guidelines, but his guide isn’t quite clear-cut for some individuals in the ecosystem. The natural order must be that the train denizens must help the human passengers, but one denizen is an individual disruptor of the idea.

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Star Wars Resistance The New World Review

After fleeing the First Order untold times, the Colossus seems to have found a permanent home on an aqua planet low on the First Order radar—or so Captain Doza (Jason Hightower) assumes—and endowed with freshwater and food sources. Kaz (Christopher Sean) is naturally skeptical about a return to the old relative status quo. First, they have to face the humanoid amphibious natives who are still ailing after a First Order assault and are unhappy about new visitors. And second, the First Order increased their surveillance so that even a planet they already accounted for is still probed.

With “The New World” and “No Place Safe,” Star Wars Resistance grapples with the attempt to return to the status quo while challenging it. Both episodes echo Star Wars Rebels “Mystery on Chopper Base,” a slice-of-slice episode that featured action while meditating on the dramatic stakes.

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After dropping two lighthearted breezers with light at the end of the tunnel, Steven Universe Future heaved out a double-feature of darker antics with its two latest episodes. As his familiar community of Beach City fades around him, Steven (Zach Callison) bottles up his turmoil instead of talking things through.

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Star Wars Resistance The Mutiny Review

The end is near for Star Wars: Resistance and there’s a new problem aboard the Colossus. As foreshadowed in “Hunt on Celsor 3,” Captain Kragan (Gary Anthony Williams) and his Warbird pirates are set on committing mutiny on the Colossus. 

Defying the lockdown orders, Kragan and his gang, sans their token renegade Synara, travel to an asteroid where the Captain makes a dealing with the red-clad Sidon Ithano, part of the Crimson Corsair (whom movie-verse viewers will recognize as the being who offered safe passage for Finn in the Force Awakens to flee the First Order). Kragan purchases Clone Wars-era B2 bots, recognizably Separatist droids, to take over the Colossus. Naturally, Captain Doza (Jason Hightower) is suspicious about Kragan’s clandestine trip, and Synara (Nazneen Contractor) faces her true loyalties.

Written by Mairghread Scott, “The Mutiny” brings out the fun but also has glaring shortcomings that reflect upon the series’ overall consolidation of character arcs.

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The 10 Best Children’s Animated Series of the Decade

Best Children's Animated Series of the Decade

(This article is part of our Best of the Decade series.)

Animation is for kids…but it’s just not for kids. It is for the kids within the adults. The “children” in children’s animation is both a specific and universal term, aimed toward childlike spirits and open to all. Animation makes characters move, worlds breathe, and the heart dance in ways that live-action can’t.

Welcome to our list of the best animated children’s shows of the decade Many illustrate wondrous worlds, many are rib-crackingly funny, many sing sweet songs, many are dark rabbit holes into weirdness, many test the boundaries of storytelling, and many deliver validation for its young—and old—audience. Their gags, stories, and themes will grow even richer when their child viewers adulthood.

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Steven Universe Review - Snow Day

Growing up for Steven Universe (Zach Callison) is no picnic. What happens in “Snow Day” is minuscule but momentous, yet another idyllic day-in-the-life without punching antagonists. 16-year-old Steven is so frazzled and focused on the Little Homeworld school that his childlike spirit has been siphoned away. He is no longer partaking in the child relics of Steven Universe. He rebuffs Pearl’s (Deedee Magno) attempt to dress him, the Gems whipping up the infamous Together Breakfast, Garnet’s (Estelle) offer of pepperoni pizza (Steven is now vegetarian), and the Crystal Gems’ insistence to play tag.  Read More »

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For me, Richard Curtis’ 2003 film Love Actually is half “guilty pleasure with twinkles and earned fuzzies” and half “cluttered product-of-its-time with stand-out problematics.” 16 years after its theatrical premiere, Love Actually represents cheesy holiday cheer for some and eye-rolling for those who don’t find romantic comedy their thing. It weaves a loosely threaded web of nine pairs pursuing, maintaining, saving their love—mostly romantic but some platonic—as Christmas creeps around the corner. It boasts a pageant of celebrities: Martine McCutcheon, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Rowan Atkinson, Bill Nighy, Hugh Grant, Billy Bob Thornton, Laura Linney, Keira Knightley, and Andrew Lincoln. 

Now comes Love Actually? The Unauthorized Musical Parody in the snug space of the Jerry Orbach Theater. It asks, “Is [the movie] a tragedy? Maybe a comedy? Or a guilty pleasure or worth it ever?” 

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