Manny (2014) – Review

As seen on CinemaParadiso.

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Floyd Mayweather Jr., Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier. We have all heard of these world-renowned boxers. But there is one name that is quickly growing in fame and popularity, and that name is Manny PacquiaoManny is one of the better feel-good and inspirational sports films that has been released of late, and is one that can be watched by everyone in the family.

The film Manny follows the life of Manny Pacquiao. This – for some time relatively unknown – Filipino boxer has his story translated by Hollywood alum, telling the tale of his rise from impoverished teen who began his boxing journey just to feed his family, to a thirty-five year old eight-division world champion. We follow him as he becomes known by the world, and furthers his career, entering politics and film. The film deals with the ups and downs that go with becoming a professional athlete, and the more personal side of it.

Even from just watching the two-minute trailer, you can feel the way the film gathers you and inspires you. It does more than make you want to watch the film, but also to get out and make something more happen for yourself. If Manny can do it, you can do it.

This film has some Hollywood bigwigs behind it, powering it out of the plain ‘documentary’ world, and onto the stage with other feature films. The famous faces help us to connect with the rising figure that many probably haven’t heard of before. These stars include Liam NeesonMark WahlbergJeremy Piven and Jimmy Kimmel, who aid us in relating to a film that is in another language. Manny also featured original music by Lorne Balfe, whose name is on Inception, The Dark Knight, and Iron Man – to name a few. To have this kind of power backing you, Manny Pacquiao must be a big thing.

The colour and cinematography of the film also raise it to another level. It feels like a feature film with the odd-angles and slow-motion sequences, and it makes the experience all the more entertaining and enjoyable.

One thing people need to remember before taking their young children to see this film, is that it definitely involves violence and blood. For some, it is inappropriate, and for others, it just isn’t their cup of tea. However, there are also those that will only care about the boxing and not about Manny’s political, etc., successes and aspirations.

There is a lot of anticipation and expectation around this film, which comes to me as a surprise. I was surprised by the attention, by the A-lister stars, and then by the story. Manny has what it takes to be a hit. The film points out how successful Manny Pacquiao has been in boxing, politics, and as the representation of the low-income people of the Philippines, and it wouldn’t be too much of a leap for Manny to gain a healthy film following too.

3 out of 5 stars

Crayola Easy Animation Studio – Product Review

When you think of animation, you think of hours of hard work to create simple second-long videos.

Not anymore.

While wandering through Target the other week, I found the Crayola Easy Animation Studio.

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It immediately caught my interest, and with it only costing $29, I figured I would give it a try.

Inside you will find – Manny the Mannequin (with a stand to clip him into), Crayola Twist crayons, a stand for your phone/tablet, and a book full of characters and backgrounds for you to colour-in. You will need to download a program on your smart-phone/tablet, but it’s free.

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Inside the book –

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*Helpful Hint*
I wanted to make something really cool, so I decided to make Captain Hammer from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog (2008). Unfortunately, I used other brand crayons as well, and I think that put-off the system, so always use Crayola crayons.

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I’ll take you through step-by-step making an easy short animation.

STEP 1 – Character

Either colour your own character, or use one provided on the program.

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STEP 2 – Background

You can choose a background from the book, use one on the program, or you can even take a photo of your house and your character can be there with you.

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STEP 3 – Actions

There are a bunch of actions you can choose on the program, or you can use Manny to do it yourself. The program works by capturing images of Manny in positions, and filling in the blanks.

It works best if you keep the smart-phone/tablet still, and have Manny facing a window with light.

*Helpful hint*
You’ll have to be patient while capturing the positions, as it needs time to figure out where Manny’s limbs are (through the symbols on his limbs). Here is what happens when it is having trouble:

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To make your character wave, capture Manny in these three positions:

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STEP 4 – Voice

You don’t have to do this, but you can record some audio. I record “Hello” in my best bear-voice.

STEP 5 – Save

It only takes a second to turn it into a video.

And voilà, here is my video: