“How to Train Your Dragon 2” is kind of like going to a pet store and being swarmed by puppies; you won’t want to leave and when you have to, you’ll want to take them all home with you.
It’s been five years since Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) met Toothless and changed the way the people of Berk viewed dragons. Now, just about everyone has one, even Hiccup’s father, Stoick (Gerard Butler). When a notorious dragon hunter named Drago (Djimon Hounsou) threatens to steal Berk’s dragons, Stoick insists there’s nothing they can do about it, but lay low and keep out of his way. Hiccup, on the other hand, is convinced that reasoning with him could make a difference, so he flies out to do what he thinks is best in an effort to keep the dragons and his village safe.
It’s been over four years since the first “How to Train Your Dragon,” but it’s effortless to fall right back in step with Hiccup, Toothless and the rest of the gang. Any pet owner could relate to Hiccup and Toothless’ connection in the first film and this time around we’ve got an entire village full of people with man’s best friend-type relationships with dragons. There’s dragon racing, a cat lady-like character covered in baby dragons and an abundance of unconditional love all over the place. Within minutes, “How to Train Your Dragon 2” sells Berk as a village well worth saving, almost instantly making you invested in the mission to protect it from Drago and his crew.
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It’s that time of year again; time to look back on the year passed and recognize the best of the best. It seems every year we complain the crop of movies isn’t up to par, but then the time to compile a list of the best of the year arrives and it’s increasingly difficult. This year gave me a particularly tough time thanks to my latest endeavor: film school.
Over the summer, I decided to take my passion for film one step further and enroll in Columbia University’s Film MFA program. It didn’t take long for the education to collide with my work. As I learned more about the filmmaking process, my perception in the theater started to change quite drastically. Misused techniques began to bother me, poor camerawork became as distracting as ever and too much exposition in the dialogue made my blood boil.
Last year I strove to keep my list as entertainment-based as possible. My top ten films of the year consisted mainly of selections that I’d watch over and over again without hesitation. Well, this year is different – slightly. While I’ve tried to keep my focus on films that simply made going to the theater a downright joy, what made this activity enjoyable for me changed a bit. With that being said, here are my top ten films of 2010, the purely fun, the poignant and simply well made.
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Cats and dogs are fantastic pets, but nowadays it’s all about one-upping your neighbor with a more unusual critter. There are designer dogs, micro pigs, lemurs, exotic birds; the choices are practically endless. A tank full of piranhas is a cool thing to show off to your friends, but the fun really stops there. What we need are some cute and loving creatures with a little more going on upstairs. And the ability to talk couldn’t hurt either.
Let’s face it: a nice majority of moviegoers wish, even if it’s just the slightest bit, that their toys would come to life à la Toy Story. Or what about having a trusty magic carpet like in Aladdin? You could also go for Cinderella‘s pals Gus and Jaq, the talented mice who help make her dress for the ball. Like the growing amount of atypical pets out there, the possibilities are endless, but should Pixar, DreamWorks or any other animated filmmakers out there take 3D a step further and turn their creations into a reality, I’ve got a few suggestions for animated characters I wouldn’t mind owning.
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