Movie Review: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

It’s good to know when to walk away. This is not to say that the “How to Train Your Dragon” series has overstayed its welcome – it couldn’t possibly, they have only made two films up to this point, and both were critical and commercial smashes – but rather that it’s commendable that DreamWorks Animation chose to go out on a relatively high note and preserve the legacy of the franchise as a whole, rather than squeezing the cash cow for every penny before leaving it for dead by the side of the road (ahem, “Pirates of the Caribbean”).

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Dizzy Heights #52: Someday We’ll Be Happy Again – Breakup Songs Part 2 (The Ballads)

I’m bringing the mope this week, love birds. If I know anything about love, it’s that it dies a slow, painful death when the month of February rolls around. Seriously, for two Februarys in a row in college, all of my friends and I saw our relationships come to an end. The following year, we threw a party to celebrate it, and that annual party tradition carried on for another ten years. The breakups, thankfully, didn’t.

Bands making their DH debuts this week include Alison Moyet, The Bangles, Deon Estus, David Gray, Elliott Smith (what), Kate Bush (WHAT), Simply Red, Vitamin Z, and World Party. Wait, really? Sorry, Mr. Wallinger. I just assumed I had played you by now.

The March show is still being built, but I’ll give you a hint as to its theme: the giant crab in “Moana” would approve.

Thank you, as always, for listening.

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Movie Review: The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part

The first time Phil Lord and Christopher Miller take a whack at a story idea, they tend to knock it out of the park. “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” “21 Jump Street,” “The LEGO Movie,” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” (that last one is credited solely to Lord, but Miller executive produced) were all top-notch films, each one funny, heartfelt, clever, and possessing a much larger scale than one would have a right to expect.

Awesome
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Dizzy Heights #50: Heat Beneath Your Winter – Dreams, Vol. I

The idea came, as a lot of my ideas do, from a Duran Duran song. Do I have enough songs to do a full show about dreams? As I quickly discovered, the answer was no. I have enough songs to do five or six shows about dreams.

Artists making their Dizzy Heights debut this week include Asia, Alice Cooper, Bram Tchaikovsky, Cliff Richard, Daryl Hall, A Flock of Seagulls, Freiheit, Paul Williams, The Posies, Pseudo Echo, Rainbow, and Emily Browning courtesy of the Sucker Punch soundtrack.

Thanks for listening!

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Movie Review: Mary Poppins Returns

Let us get one very important thing out of the way, shall we? 1964’s “Mary Poppins” is delightful, and rather ahead of its time in terms of production and art direction, but it’s not a perfect movie. The dancing is largely clumsy, the children who play Jane and Michael are not very good actors, and Dick Van Dyke’s performance, God love him, will likely go down in history as the worst accent ever put to film. So let’s not talk of “Mary Poppins Returns” having an impossible task following up the first film. It doesn’t.

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Movie Review: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

The timing for “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” seemed odd on a number of levels. Sony just released a “Spider-Man” film last year (“Spider-Man: Homecoming”), and they’re releasing another one next year (“Spider-Man: Far From Home”). That makes three Spider-Man films in a span of two years, and he played a prominent role in “Avengers: Infinity War.” How is anyone going to miss Peter Parker when he won’t go away?

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Movie Review: Ralph Breaks the Internet

Disney could not have been happy that Sony beat them to the theaters with an Internet-themed animated film by 15 months. Dueling projects at rival studios is a recurring theme in Hollywood (in the ‘90s, it happened nearly once a year), and the winner is almost always the one to get to the box office first.

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Movie Review: Fantastic Beasts – The Crimes of Grindelwald

The brain trust behind the Harry Potter series knew that they hadn’t put their best foot forward with “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” Even with five years of distance between “Beasts” and the grim, harrowing “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” the whimsical tone of “Beasts” felt wrong, or at the very least unearned. The end of Harry Potter’s story brings with it the end of innocence. “Beasts” protagonist Newt Scamander may still have his innocence (and good for him), but no one watching him does. Cutesy is off the table for now, sorry.

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Dizzy Heights #49: Hot Dog, Jumping Frog, Albuquerque: Royals, Volume I

I make a mention, right away, that I hadn’t played every possible royal family title in a song, which was a complete lie. The first five songs cover them all. I had about 10 minutes to record those first two bits before it was time to pick up the girl at soccer practice. Mistakes were made.

Speaking of the girl, this was her idea. Every song references one royal family member or another (by title, not specific people), and the biggest surprise? How few songs there are with ‘princess’ in the title. I thought there would be tons of them. I had maybe four.

Artists making their Dizzy Heights debut this week. ABBA, Charli XCX (as a solo artist), The Dukes of Stratosphear, Jude, King, The Kings, Juice Newton, and wait, Neil Finn?!?!?! What? (This is actually his ninth time on the show, but his first as a solo artist.)

Thank you, as always, for listening.

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Movie Review: Venom

Venom, as a concept, is a good one. It’s the guy who has a devil on one shoulder and no corresponding angel on the other, trying to teach an alien life form the concept of right and wrong. “Venom,” on the other hand, is heartbreaking. The last Marvel-related film that Sony produced, “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” is arguably one of the best Marvel films to date, but on the Disney Marvel scale, “Venom” ranks somewhere between “Thor: The Dark World” and “Iron Man 2,” and possibly below both of them. It’s unfortunate, because Venom is the perfect character to open up new doors in the MCU, but from a creative standpoint, it’s woefully lacking.

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