FIRST LOOK: Tom and Jerry (2021)

Another day and date release in both theaters and on HBO Max is coming featuring animated characters from the past.

I rarely watched Tom and Jerry, so don’t know that much about the history of the cartoon.

One of the most beloved rivalries in history is reignited when Jerry moves into New York City’s finest hotel on the eve of “the wedding of the century,” forcing the event’s desperate planner to hire Tom to get rid of him, in director Tim Story’s “Tom & Jerry.” The ensuing cat and mouse battle threatens to destroy her career, the wedding and possibly the hotel itself. But soon, an even bigger problem arises: a diabolically ambitious staffer conspiring against all three of them.

Everything You Need to Know About Tom and Jerry Movie (2021)

These animated and live action blended movies are a mixed bag. Sometimes they are good, often they are mediocre. How will this be? The trailer looks promising.

Official trailer:

Are you looking forward to watching Tom and Jerry?

Tom and Jerry will be released in theaters and streaming on HBO Max on January 26, 2021.

Disney+ New Pixar Popcorn Shorts Are What Quibi Should Have Done

It’s easy to play the shoulda, coulda, woulda game with Quibi now that it’s defunct (see: After Quibi Finally Available To Cast To TV They Are Officially Shutting Down – A $2 Billion Dollar FAIL), but what Disney+ has done with their Pixar Popcorn shorts is the equivalent of YouTube: it’s that quick, snappy watch. You can watch and enjoy them quickly.

That was supposed to be the niche Quibi thrived at. You’re at a grocery store in line or in a doctor’s office waiting and want to watch something brief and light. Then again, we already have that — it’s called YouTube.

Here’s the full list of Pixar Popcorn shorts:

“To Fitness and Beyond”: Buzz Lightyear leads an aerobics class for Bonnie’s toys.
“Unparalleled Parking”: The Cars crew have a friendly parallel parking competition.
“Dory Finding”: Dory is delighted to find some trinkets at the bottom of the ocean.
“Soul of the City”: New York City comes to life in the eyes of a minor character from Soul.
“Fluffy Stuff with Ducky and Bunny: Love”: Ducky and Bunny from Toy Story 4 compete for kids’ love.
“Chore Day – The Incredibles Way”: The Parrs do chores, super-style.
“A Day in the Life of the Dead”: Just your average day in the afterlife of Coco.
“Fluffy Stuff with Ducky and Bunny: Three Heads”: Bo’s sheep has three heads. What’s up with that?
“Dancing with the Cars”: The cars show off their dancing skills.
“Cookie Num Num”: It’s midnight-snack time at the Parr residence. So who gets the last cookie?

Disney Plus’ new Pixar Popcorn shorts changed how the animation studio works – Polygon

I liked the idea behind Pixar Popcorn ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and reviewed it positively. Sure, there wasn’t a lot of meat on the bones, but these weren’t intended to be full movies. They aren’t even really anthology short stories, they are shorter than that.

There’s power in brevity.

These animated shorts remind me of flash fiction. I’ve written a bunch of flash fiction stories, even have a book full of flash stories (pictured right) called Flash O’Lantern, for those interested. You can find it on Amazon, but it isn’t my point to self-advertise my fiction work, it’s to draw a parallel between the types of storytelling and length.

Flash fiction is more about the basic story idea itself, or a simple concept, leaving your imagination to do the heavy work and providing at most a scene or three and usually a small number of characters and sparse detail. Often these stories are less than 1,000 words. That’s very word economical considering the average novel is around 75,000 words. Novellas take care of the space between short stories and novels and short stories are everything between a novella and flash fiction. Probably a little less these days, where self-published authors have driven the word count down (and that’s a good thing, IMHO).

I would like to see more movie shorts. There’s value in brevity in storytelling. I would rather see us go that direction for movies than longer, more constipated works like — cough, ahem (Zack Snyder’s 4-Hour Justice League Movie Not Split In Parts?) — 4+ hour director cuts.

I’m not advocating for artificial movie runtimes — because the story should always dictate the length — but personally I believe that 70-110 minutes is the ideal length for the vast majority of feature length movies. Two hours is stretching it. Two and a half is too long. Three hours plus is crazy. Four hours is, well, don’t even get me started.

Once something has gone over a couple hours, it’s time to start thinking of a TV series or miniseries or multiple parts. Those are better platforms for larger scale worlds to build. I don’t think there’s much argument that when a massive work is condensed into a movie when it should have been a miniseries or full TV series that too much can be cut and lost, killing the spirit and depth of the work. Nothing wrong with longer works, just like you don’t use a screwdriver to pound a nail, just use the right tool for the job.

To pull this back to Pixar Popcorn. More, please! What do you think? Would you enjoy seeing more shorter works? Perhaps collections of them like this?

Sure, We’ll Check Out an Indiana Jones Animated Show on Disney Plus, You?

Raiders Of The Lost Ark ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

As a fan of several animated TV series — and we are currently reviewing an animated TV show every Saturday morning — including those based on familiar IP, I’d very much be interested in an Indiana Jones animated series.

Good to see there’s a rumor that one is under development for Disney+.

…in the eyes of most fans, there’s no Indy without Harrison Ford, which presents a pretty sizable roadblock for the Mouse House to try and work around. However, insider Daniel Richtman now claims that an animated series is in development for Disney Plus, which is arguably the smartest way to carry on the franchise.

Indiana Jones Animated Show Reportedly Coming To Disney Plus

Just a rumor, mind you, but hey. What do you think? Would you be interested?

Honestly, I’m somewhat less interested in Indy 5 (see: Should Indiana Jones 5 be Harrison Ford’s last action film?)

Study Finds That Young Children Are Being Misguided On Dealing With Pain By Movies

Frozen II ⭐️⭐️⭐️

A study looked at how pain is depicted in popular movies for 4 to 6-year old children. What makes this study somewhat interesting is that it relies on the premise that children will learn from watched movies how to deal with pain.

The results were shocking. Pain was frequently depicted, approximately nine times per hour. Seventy-nine per cent of pain instances involved characters being seriously injured or experiencing pain due to violent acts. Although everyday pains are the most common pain experiences young children experience in real life, everyday pains comprised only 20 per cent of the pain instances. Medical and procedural pain, like needles, as well as chronic pains were depicted less than one per cent of the time.

Disney, Pixar and Netflix are teaching your children the wrong messages about pain |

The study seems flawed in the sense that it set out to analyze pain through the lens of fantasy worlds. Movies can be educational, yes, but they are there to tell stories first, not educate young children. Parents could — and should — watch these movies with their children and talk about what happened. What did the children like and dislike?

The movies that our grandchildren have enjoyed lately include. Angry Birds, Moana, Frozen II and others. They unsurprisingly prefer Disney+ as the streaming channel with the most animated movies they are interested in. Most live-action movies are less interesting to them.

I think more children learn about pain these days from what they do most often. If they fall down and get a bump or bruise, that’s a very real pain to be managed and evaluated. Learning about pain could come from movies, I suppose, but it’s more likely from all types of entertainment: games, daycare, playing inside and out, social interaction with brothers, sisters, parents, friends and other children.

This study sort of outlines my general feeling that anything can be studied and biased to a certain type of observation. Not sure how useful most of these studies are other than to make us think about movies as teaching tools. Maybe it’s better to teach children to use their imagination when watching movies than think of them as educational opportunities. What do you think?

Is Live Action Harley Quinn Movie Based on Adult Animated Series Under Consideration?

After seeing the somewhat disappointing Harley Quinn Birds of Prey movie, I wondered why Warner Bros. didn’t just make a live action version of the brilliant adult animated TV series?

Now, I’m reading a rumor that this might be currently under consideration:

…tipster Mikey Sutton claims that the studio haven’t given up on the idea of Harley as a marketable commodity just yet, and WB are rumored to be developing a solo movie for the fan favorite, which will be influenced by the acclaimed R-rated animated series that can currently be found on HBO Max. Given Margot Robbie’s A-list status and the enduring popularity of the comic book character, it wouldn’t be surprising in the slightest for the DCEU to mount another attempt at turning Harley Quinn into the star of her own franchise, but for now, we’ll just have to wait and see what they have planned.

WB Reportedly Discussing Harley Quinn Solo Movie Inspired By Adult Cartoon

If this does happen, then they better not wimp out on the production. I’m talking lay out the graphic violence, language and some (not too gratuitous) lesbian sex scenes between Poison Ivy and Harley. If Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan can do the horizontal mambo in Ammonite, then Harley & Ivy can make names for somebody (Margot Robbie and ___ insert your favorite Poison Ivy actress).

If they don’t go almost all the way to an X-rating, then the live action version will be lame. A good part of what makes the animated series so alluring is how over the top it is.

Hope this is true and hope they go all in. Even if they have to cut down some of the sex, drugs, violence and rock and roll to keep it R-rated, just go as far as they can.

Meanwhile, Season 3 of Harley Quinn is underway. Can’t wait for that to hit HBO Max. That won’t arrive until late 2021 or sometime in 2022 most likely. No official release date has been announced as of this writing.

FIRST LOOK: Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba

Japan only theaters: Oct 16

Here’s another first for our FIRST LOOK: a film we’re looking at exclusive released in another country with no official release date in the United States announced. There is hope, though, so keep reading.

It’s currently the #1 film in Japan’s theaters.

Domestic box office sales for a film, prior to the pandemic, used to be a good indicator of performance. Studios and even movie theater chains base their results at least in strong part by domestic sales.

Since the market in the US has been severely handicapped by a wide variety of factors — theaters closing, uncertainty from moviegoers about returning, local government restrictions, etc — box office performance internationally is dramatically outperforming success in the United States.

Case in point, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. A movie that’s made over $100 million in its Japan only debut so far this month.

Currently, Demon Slayer has the biggest opening day and opening weekend at the [Japan’s] box office. The movie is already the highest-grossing flick of 2020 and even managed to top the global box office upon its opening. Now, fans are wondering if Demon Slayer can overtake Spirited Away and Your Name to become the highest-grossing anime movie to date.

Demon Slayer Movie Retains Number One Spot at Box Office

This release strategy is puzzling to me given our current times. I realize movies traditionally are released in foreign markets all the time and never appear in the United States. The thinking is that it won’t appear to a wide enough viewing audience in America. We’re a melting pot of moviegoers here, however. Yes, it might not be a large audience that’s pays to see films like these in America, but there are definitely interested moviegoers. Yes, especially in the middle of a pandemic.

Bring Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. to US theaters and other international markets ASAP. Bring all new foreign movies to American theaters, even if its only for a brief screening cycle.

I mean, seriously, we’re in a drought of new films in theaters — according to the theaters themselves — and the #1 theater chain in the world, AMC, isn’t showing this film everywhere that it can globally?

(I get it, they can’t .. it’s not been made available yet — and that’s dumb)

Official trailer:

Over 9.2 million views for the official trailer on YouTube — and yes, this is subtitled

Given it’s just the trailer, but this looks good. I’m a fan of anime, having covered some of it here at this site and interested in expanding that coverage. I’m not deeply immersed in the genre, but more than a casual fan and interested in watching more and digging deeper into the genre. Fortunately, some of this is being made available on streaming channels.

Kara might not be as interested in seeing this, but I’d reserve a ticket to watch this right now, if only it was playing in theaters.

A little digging around revealed this:

Aniplex of America and Funimation revealed at the Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Panel at New York Comic Con 2020 that the highly anticipated Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Movie: Mugen Train is headed to U.S. and Canadian theaters early 2021!

Demon Slayer – Mugen Train website

Can somebody please take a minute or two and explain the logic of delaying release in the US in the comments? (Artificial scarcity, maybe?) I get that this is based on a popular anime TV series in Japan and the film will obviously be met with the most familiarity and likely sell the best there, but why nor share that success worldwide immediately? Or at least within a few weeks or month of the exclusive release? Share it!

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is available in Japan theaters only as of October 16, 2020 and scheduled for release in the United States and Canada in early 2021.

TV SERIES Review: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? S1E17 – That’s Snow Ghost ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 1
January 17, 1970

Episode 17 – “That’s No Snow Ghost”

The gang wants to do some skiing and the only place, conveniently, open to go is some creepy, barely inhabited ski lodge. They talk to the owner who warns them to keep their windows locked or the Snow Ghost might get them. The snow ghost will turn them into ghosts

(Never thought about this when younger about why a Yeti would want to turn others into ghosts. As an adult, it just doesn’t sound right, but hey in 1970 maybe this was spooky)

Turns out there is a legend of a Yeti in the area, and the creature is responsible for haunting the lodge. The gang isn’t buying it, and decides to solve the mystery.

While following tracks, it leads to a chasm and they run into the Snow Ghost and, Fred exclaims, “he can fly!”

They find a cave and a monk Mr. Fu Lon Chi, from Tibet tells the gang about the ghost of the Yeti.

After all this weirdness, will the gang solve the mystery of the flying, ghostly Yeti? Why is the Yeti scaring people away from the lodge. What’s with the Tibet cave?


Yeah, this is an odd episode. Maybe the most odd story of the entire first season as it’s just a bunch of different myths mashed up. The Yeti creature would have been fine, I’m not sure why we needed the Yeti to fly or the whole idea of him turning others into ghosts, but hey.

Scooby antics are toned down as well. Although there is a fun exchange where Scooby takes Mr. Chi’s wolf’s bone.

Scooby works to save Velma from being chopped up in the sawmill

This episode is kind of weak to end the first season on. Like they threw in every remaining idea they had just in case this series wasn’t renewed for a second season. Still, it’s original Scooby Doo and the gang, so at it’s worst, it still is recommended watching. The saw mill Scooby scene alone is worth recommending.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Screenrant ranks 13 different versions of Scooby Doo series. #1 is obvious, but the rankings of some of the other series throughout the year is interesting. It seems hard to believe that they are still making different versions of the show. Recently, I caught an episode of the newest Scooby Doo series on the Boomerang streaming service.

TV SERIES Review: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? S1E16 – A Night of Fright is No Delight ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 1
January 10, 1970

Episode 16 – “A Night of Fright is No Delight”

The mystery gang is boating to a creepy mansion on an island because he’s an heir to a million dollar fortune. The catch, the gang find out, is that he must spend a night in the haunted house. If he doesn’t stay then he doesn’t share in the inheritance.

The names of the characters in this are more than a bit leading “Mr. Crawls” and “Mr. Creeps” lol, yeah, those are normal names. The nice thing about this episode is there are a lot of possible characters offered, so that solving the mystery of who is really haunting the house provide more possibilities than most episodes.

There are a few signature gags like when Scooby, Shaggy and Velma discover a cave filled with old confederate items and a suit flies up and at them. They run away at first until Scooby gathers courage and unmasks the source.

Haunted clothes? Scoob is scared and then turns brave … and unmasks the flying culprit!

Is it one of the other heirs responsible for haunting the group, wanting to keep more of the prized loot? Why do they have to stay the night? What’s with the secret passages under the house? These questions and more are answered on this ghostly episode.


Good cast of characters and possible villains, some humorous gags and Scooby and Shaggy’s antics front and center.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

TV SERIES Review: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? S1E15 – Go Away Ghost Ship ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 1
CBS (HBO Max, Boomerang)
December 20, 1969

Episode 15 – “Go Away Ghost Ship”

The mystery gang is at the malt shop and reads a newspaper story about local shipping magnate, C.L. Magnus, being haunted by the ghost of pirate Redbeard. They decide to help solve the mystery. They visit C.L Magnus to learn more about the legend of Redbeard. Velma asserts to Magnus that “ghosts are our thing.” And off they are to expose Redbeard.

Why is the ghost pirate haunting the shipping magnate? What is dry ice doing on a ghose ship? Will the mystery gang make us laugh while they try to solve the mystery?

Scooby scared by Redbeard in the old it’s not a picture, it’s the real thing gag


Funny gag with “fog so thick you can cut it like a knife” and Scooby tests that out with a knife literally cutting through fog.

Scooby takes a knife to fog.

Scoob and Shaggy being forced to eat Redbeard’s ghost pirate bubbly stew is also a smile-worthy moment. Shaggy puts on a paper pirate hat and imitates the voice of Redbeard and more.

This episode leans heavy on the Shaggy and Scooby gags, which adds to the fun, but the mystery isn’t as much fun. Again, there aren’t enough suspects to make the reveal the surprise it needs to be. Still, this episode proves again they can pack a ton of story into 21 minutes. Recommended.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

When will Harley Quinn Season 3 Arrive Plus More Poison Ivy Teased

Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy in the adult animated show Harley Quinn, season 3 is coming!

Harley Quinn Season 3 could — and probably should — have been greenlit back in April, but fortunately it was greenlit (see: Harley Quinn finally receives much deserved season three renewal and DCU will become comics only). There are several good shows that don’t get renewed.

Once renewed, the questions turn to: when will we be able to see it? Production on an animated series is a little easier than a live action movie, because you aren’t dealing with setting logistics and voice talent can be recorded remotely. It’s a little like a band making music in 2020 using Pro Tools. If you google it, you’ll find plenty of artists talking about how the way music is recorded has changed. It’s not in a studio.

Back to the “when” question. Harley Quinn showrunners Justin Halpern and Patrick Shoemacher are giving us some ideas in an interview of when possibly it could appear, and the answer is “optimistically” no early than a year or so from now: the end of 2021. Of course they won’t decide on release dates, that will be up to HBO Max. My guess is HBO Max will want that new content ASAP, so there aren’t a lot of reasons to speculate that it will be delayed that long into 2022, assuming the episodes are completed of course.

Now, let’s dig into what Season 3 will be about. The showrunners are teasing it will have (much) more to do with Poison Ivy.

“We spent two years digging into Harley, and Ivy was her own character, but her stories were told mostly in relation to Harley. So, I think in this third season, it’d be interesting to flip that, and dig deeper into Ivy and her life, and tell some stories through her point of view,” said Halpern. “So, we’re excited to be able to do that because it feels completely new—somewhere to go that we haven’t gone, that isn’t going to make the audience feel like, “We saw two seasons of that. What the f**k is this?””

Harley Quinn showrunners say we have quite a wait ahead for season 3

This seems like a creative direction to take the show. We want to learn more about what Harles and Ive will be up to. Are they going on a Gotham road trek? What will happen to the crew? So many questions to explore. Can we just fast forward to 2021 and 2022? Somebody get Marty McFly’s time traveling Delorean!