Monthly Archives: April 2017

Your Name movie review

Those that know me, know I adore animation above all other types of film-it’s not a genre, it’s art brought to life. And traditionally hand drawn cell animation, is a dying breed of film. Thanks to the rise of Pixar, and DreamWorks, traditional animation has pretty much all but been forgotten. The last hand drawn animation, in terms of mainstream media, was from Walt Disney Animation Studios, a film known as The Princess and the Frog….back in 2009!!!! Which is such a shame for Disney considering it was hand drawn films that got that massive studio off the ground to begin with. But thanks to film companies such as Studio Ghibli, and CoMix Wave Films, Inc, and directors such as Hayao Miyazaki and Makoto Shinkai traditional animation still has a name through anime. Thank GOD.

There’s really nothing bad about this film so I’m just going to give you readers all the good stuff about it. There’e s a lot to go through.

The GOOD 

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It’s films like this, that could put coveted Disney animations to shame. LOOK at the animation!

  • The ANIMATION 
    • It’s….So……STUNNING. It’s STUNNING. It can really put even some of the Old Renaissance Disney films to shame. There’s NO cgi at all-none for these nice wide sweeping shots of Mitsuha’s village, none for the shots of Tokyo or the trains at the train station….It’s just all cell animation and that nearly brought tears to my eyes-it really is heartbreaking seeing traditional animation die slowly and painfully. I’d like Disney to just once make a Traditionally Animated film, maybe one with the Mouse himself but…just a dream. I’m glad Japan is sticking with traditional animation because at least through anime it still lives. Because this film is GORGEOUS. I really can’t iterate that enough every shot in this movie is just filled with beautiful colors and lines and angles it’s just stunning work.
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The two main leads are incredibly likable-you root for them the whole film.

  • The CHARACTERS 
    • All of the main characters are really rather likable beings. The male lead Taki is funny, charming, kind of a wallflower type at first before he gets much more determined to play his part in this body swap film. Mitsuha is funny, and charming as well-kind of shy but not as shy as Taki-they balance each other out real well. They’re friends are also very lovely-you kind of would like to hang out with these people. Mitsuha’s sister kind of got annoying-her role was just kind of waking Mitsuha up in the morning so we can get body humor from her. Her grandmother is great-you get most of the exposition stuff through her, but she explains it in a way that makes sense-if they had a longer run time maybe they could’ve dove deeper into the Japanese mythology of time and the Gods that they worshiped.  Her dad is a prick though. Just putting that out there.
  • The MUSIC 
    • Boy I wish more American pop songs were like translated Japanese songs. Because the two main lyrical songs in this film are catchy, go with the scenes that were used for montage, and help bring out the emotions in the film. The score in the film was composed by Radwimps, a Japanese rock band. At first you wouldn’t think rock fits with love romance story, but it works really well.
  • The STORY 
    • The story is just brilliant. This is a huge “show don’t tell” type of movie-where the director uses film language-camera angles, animation, facial expressions (not dialogue) to get their message across to the audience. The story of these two teenagers experiencing a single day in each other’s lives, which helps them fall in love with the other, is told in a nice simple way that easily gets the messages of memory and self identity across. It’s cute, funny, and emotional. I actually cried at one single scene in this film. For those that have seen it, you might know which scene I mean. It’s a beautifully simple story, and sometimes, simple is best.
  • The VOICE ACTING 
    • Sometimes it’s hard dubbing something from one language to another. Others it’s easy. Sometimes it’s wooden, and rough, and just doesn’t sound pleasant to the ears. Others the words flow nice and smooth. This film in English, sounds quite lovely. The acting sounds natural, and while you may be able to tell they’re in a recording booth, you can certainly hear the passion they have for this film, and that helps with the translation from Japanese to English.

CONCLUSIONS 

Every time I think animation has reached its peak, something comes along and tells me different. Your Name is one of those films-I could easily see this on a list of all time favorite films, on all time favorite animation films, and favorite anime films. The story is brilliant, the characters are wonderful, even the dub from Japanese to English is REALLY really good-sometimes it can come out as wooden or awkward due to these two extremely complex languages, but here it’s natural and the words flow nicely. The music is nice and soft at some points, and the rock songs are lovely to listen to as well. The animation is just STUNNING I really could gush about this film’s animation for hours. Really, this is a near perfect film. There are some plot contrivances, but not enough to really bring the film down at all for most people. It’s a film that certainly lives up to the hype.

Your Name gets a 5/5- an animation that’s practically perfect in every way.

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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009) movie review

So for those that might not remember, there was once upon a time where a writer’s strike took place. This strike was back in the year 2008, and started in 2007. I mention this because it’s an important thing to note when viewing this film-when viewing MOST films that came out in this era.  The Dark Knigtht, Iron Man, Revenge of the Fallen, WALL-E, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince all came out in either 2008, during the strike, or 2009 after the strikes began to end. It’s really quite easy to blame this shit movie on the writer’s strike-that’s what Michael Bay did. Actual Cannibal Shia LeBouf blamed it on trying to go bigger and better without knowing WHERE to go. But in reality, there is one singular actual “noooo” when it comes this movie. And the next. And maybe the fifth one but we don’t know that yet. And it wasn’t the writer’s strike. It wasn’t not knowing where to go from the first film.

It’s called Michael fucking Bay.

I’m sure I’m gonna forget a few things in this review so please if there’s anything I forget that sucks, feel free to comment down below.

The GOOD

This film isn’t inherently awful….Ok yes it is but there are things that work about it. And I can count them on one single solitary hand.

  • The SCORE 

  • Steve Jablonksy has comprised the musical score for the entire series, and states that he’s returned for the fifth installment. And one of my favorite scores from this film “Prime” will supposedly make a reprise in the fifth film. I hope so because it’s gorgeous. At times, the music fits the tone of the film…All epic and bombastic horns and beautiful melodies and lovely choirs because thank you Lord of the Rings. At other times, it’s way too freaking good for this nonsense film. I have the soundtrack to this day and it brings me back…when I listen to the really good scores anyways. If nothing else, give this soundtrack a listen to. It’ll clear your bad mood in minutes.
  • The FIGHT SCENES
    • Few and far between, the fight scenes we do get are pretty kickass. There’s that fight in the….the desert. Alright cool. We get to see amazing human monuments blown the fuck up-awesome. We get to see Devestator-complete with BALLS like as in human/organic ballsacks-completely annihilate one of the Great Pyramids of Giza. We get see a cool throw down between Prime and The Fallen….that lasts for a total of 4 minutes. Yeah. Not even 5 minutes of screen time is devoted to Prime vs his enemy. The fight scene in the forest is cool-we get to see Starscream be kind of badass but not really since he isn’t really given a lot of screen time so….yeah there that is. Optimus vs Megatron is always cool-they are equals in size, strength, and weaponry. This is shown multiple times in the amazing cartoon Transformers Prime; where when they meet on the field in hand to hand, it’s hard for either one to get the upper hand. So what do you do when your opponent is as strong as you are? STAB THAT MOTHERHUGGER IN THE BACK THAT’S WHAT. Yeah Prime is all “I’ll TAKE YOU ALL ON” and he wipes his ass with like three Decepticons before being murdered by Megatron…..Ok.
  • The PLOT………Kind of
    • The only GOOD thing I can say about the plot, is that it EXPANDS. THE UNIVERSE. You can look at Men in Black 2 as a counter for this-they didn’t expand on their universe, in fact in that film, the fate of the world/universe seems small in comparison to the first. Here, in this atrocity, they at least expanded it-gave it more characters, a new villain, a bigger threat than the first; the same threat really just on a larger scale. The annihilation of our sun vs just the destruction of Earth-destruction of our galaxy is a much bigger deal as now the Autobots would have no where to call home as well as humanity would be wiped out. They tried to put some spin where like it was the way they needed energy-I guess there aren’t energon mines on the planet but sun harvesters. Ok. Whatever…cool. Continuity sucks anyways.

The BAD…..It’s….It’s REALLY BAD 

  • The HUMAN CHARACTERS 
    • Oh…..Oh my GOD. I don’t even know where to begin with this. Sam is COMPLETELY. FREAKING. INSUFFERABLE here. He was just kind of ok in the first-just an average shluck who got sucked into something bigger than himself through pure luck….And not even on his part it was Bee who forced Sam to “buy” him. Here….Literally it’s either “sh sh shs sh” or “OPTIMUS!” or ” NONONONONONONNONOONONONO” I no kidding. Mikaela….Ehh…..Eye candy. In the first she did a lot compared to Sam-Hell she freaking cut Frenzy in half, and helped Bee shoot some bad guys when he couldn’t use his legs. Here….fuck it eye candy. Yay. And then there’s Leo….Holy shit. OOhhhhh and Galloway…..Uhhh….Yeah if ever there were a human Prime SHOULD have killed….him. Like….oh that would’ve been SO gratifying compared to Prime shooting and killing Attinger in the fourth. The military dudes aren’t so bad. Lennox is fun and Epps is ok. I like their bits in regards to dealing with Galloway’s shit. The woman Mearing in the third movie is THOUSANDS of times better than this idiot.
      • Even when Sam-Spoiler as if you all actually care-DIES in this damn movie you don’t care-the music tells you you’re SUPPOSED to care….again Steve Jablonksy is TOO GOOD for this movie-and then he dies and you’re like “huh….whatever-wait wait is he in freaking robot heaven? Why is he meeting up with the Primes? Why isn’t Optimus Prime-PRIIIIIIIME there? Is Prime not like an official Prime to be with the Ancient Primes? Oh who cares SAM GET OPTIMUS BACK ALREADY”. You feel more emotion over Prime dying in this movie than Sam…Oh I’ll get to that next.
  • The TRANSFORMERS 
    • Oh….oh ho. Ok. So the Decepticons get much more screen time here than in the first film. Awesome I love the Decepticons. I mean I would totally be Team Prime in real life but they cool. Ok what happens we got Starscream with….Baby transformers in like Alien type egg shells ok that’s kind of out of nowhere. We have Megatron conversing with The Fallen-one of the Original 13 Primes who betrayed his brothers for….uh….stuff. Thangs. And then you have Megatron freaking stabbing Prime in the BACK and then blowing a hole through his chest. I….This is almost a cheap shot because I’m pretty sure they’re going to actually kill Prime off in the 5th movie since Hot Rod/Shot is in it and for those who don’t know in most iterations he becomes Rodimus Prime the next to carry the torch…so….and we all know Prime is Robot Jesus with how many times he’s died and come back somehow-even in Robots in Disguise they did this-Optimus in Transformers Prime sacrifices his life to restore Cybertron because of course it has to be him-and Bumblebee is the new leader of the Autobots for a while, and then Prime comes back. So to kill him off not even halfway through the movie is….yeah cheap shot at getting the audience to actually care about what’s going on. But then it turns into a freaking road trip movie and…..ugggh. Oh oh oh and then there’s Soundwave. What does he do? This.
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Watching this is more entertaining than the movie.

  • The Autobots are just….insufferable. There’s the racist Tom Kenny robots…………..yeah I’m not going to touch that shit……..And then there’s Bumblebee who is just like relegated to Sam’s chauffeur until like big desert battle. Ironhide, Ratchet they don’t pop up that often except for big desert battle. I’d say Optimus is the best but he dies halfway through the film so he doesn’t really do much except just….be rusted metal. Yep. He gets a few badass scenes then gut stabbed by Megatron. Damn.
  • The ENTIRE….SCRIPT. 
    • I mean it’s really easy to deconstruct this movie to the bone and see why it’s so bad.  I could really make an entire separate post as to explain really expain the reasons why this movie is cracked beyond repair. They expanded the universe yes but there’s also no like….Plot. Like if you asked me what the plot of this movie is…I’d stumble around but figure that it’s like “Sam is like trying to figure out his place in life, then Optimus needs his help, then Optimus dies, then they have to find the Matrix (because for some reason Optimus doesn’t already have it) then like Sam has these Cybertronian symbols in his head and Megatron wants him because it’s like Sun Harvester shit because aparently the Transformers don’t mine for Energon they just took suns….I guess. Oh and there’s like tons of battles, and they have to find a way to bring Optimus back to life” I would bet my next paycheck you would check out halfway through that description of “plot”. There’s really no plot more like plot POINTS that the “characters” have to get to. Like save points on a Kingdom Hearts game before the next cut scene. It’s just things HAPPENING. For no real reason. You aren’t invested, you’re not interested, and it’s just boring. Transformers shouldn’t be freaking BORING. You want good compelling story, good compelling characters, where even freaking PRIME gets a good arc? Watch Transformers Prime. It’s so good.
  • The CINEMATOGRAPHY 
    • It’s a simple thing to note here but kind of important. The camera….Does. Not. Stop. MOVING. It’s a simple trick directors use to make a movie seem important or a scene to seem important when it’s fucking not. A great example is ANOTHER Michael Bay film the TMNT 2014 film-the scene where they’re all in the reporting room and the camera is spinning around so much it’ll make you dizzy. It’s like that here; very rarely do we get actual freaking still shots-there’s a good one with Sam when he’s captured by Megatron a few good ones surrounding Prime but….you could really count the amount of still shots on one hand…maybe two. The camera also moves a lot during the battle sequences…..perhaps to make it seem again important but it just makes one sick.

CONCLUSION 

This movie sucks. It sucks hard Devastator balls. Some things are good-again the music is TOO GOOD for this film. But….it just sucks. This film made me ashamed I know as much as I do about the Transformers franchise. You can blame the writer’s strike as Bay tried to do, you can blame lack of direction as Shia tried to do, you could even call Bay Hitler like Megan Fox did. But in the end, when a film is bad, the blame lies squarely on the director, writer, and producer. That’s it. How Bay could look at the final script and go “sure green light that shit” I’ll have no idea. The music is good, fight sequences cool, and that’s about it. That’s about it.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen gets a 1/5 from me. For the nice music. That’s it.

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What is your favorite and least favorite Transformers movie?

Ghost in the Shell (2017) movie review

I’m going to start by saying this-I have no real love of the original anime. I think it’s an average film-with stunning animation, amazing concepts, but with kind of poorly delivered dialogue that caused the film to drag a bit. The characters were interesting, and the world amazing, so I can see why it has a devoted fan base. With this recent adaptation, does it do the first any justice?

The GOOD 

  • The WORLD 
    • The beauty of the world of GITS is brought to life wonderfully here. From the opening scenes that nearly mirror the animation, to wide sweeping shots of the city, you FEEL like you’re in this cool ass world. It does a great job of sucking you in.
  • The MUSIC 
    • They brought in some of the original music into this movie, and it really helps in setting up the tone of the film.  But it really only takes from the original score here and there. Clint Mansell did and AMAZING JOB with the score. It’s stunning to listen to.
  • The EFFECTS 
    • I do have an appreciation of CGI-Without it some of the more iconic-for better or worse-moments or characters in film can’t exist. Hell without it The Jungle Book 2016 couldn’t exist at least not to the level it is. We couldn’t have Harvey Dent’s messed up face, we couldn’t get Optimus Prime, we couldn’t get any of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. But, if it overstays it’s welcome, it can become noticed. Here….It blends STUNNINGLY with the practical effects of the film. To the point where you question-was that actually CGI? It’s not Avatar good in terms of the blending of computer generation with live action but it’s close.
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They really develop the Major here. She’s much more complex than in the Original.

  • The CHARACTERS 
    • I’m mostly going to touch on The Major here. Just like in the original film, The Major here, is extremely conflicted-she’s remembering things from her past, but she views them as glitches-not sure if they’re real or not. Just like in the original film, this film really dives into the line of humanity vs AI-should there be a line drawn. There’s a particularly funny line where one of the members of Sec 9 states “you get a modification so you could drink more?” it’s quick, but it makes a statement of “what would you get done if you could change something of yourself?” would it be your eyes so you could enhance your vision, your fingers to get more stuff done, your arms for strength-this film more so than the original touches on those types of questions-on what makes us human.
    • The Major here seems to have more character too. It’s been a while but from what I remember, the Major in the original, was almost like a blank slate. Here you feel more compassion for her, as she’s trying to figure out who she is. ScarJo does a great job on bringing her to life-keeping to the almost constant monotone of the original, while having little moments of humanity thrown in.
  • The ACTION 
    • This movie takes scenes straight from the original animation-and it’s kind of a double edged sword. Sometimes, it really works, such as the opening with Major on the rooftop and such. Other times, it’s really noticeable. But in terms of the action as a whole, it’s few and far between, but really well done when they’re all throwing down-they aren’t afraid to show that one of the reasons why so many people love the Major is that she’s just kind of a badass. I do not know for certain if she did most of her own stunt work here as in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case.

The MEH 

  • The DIALOGUE 
    • There are only like three things wrong with the film. But they’re kind of biggies for a film. The dialogue in the original, was pretty heavy stuff-dealing with sexual identity, as Motoko did not really view herself as a woman, it dealt with again as I mentioned earlier, the line between humanity and AI-on what is considered human. Can you still be considered human if part of you is mechanic? Here…….The dialogue is dumbed down a bit so I’m assuming the Joanne and Cleatus of movie goers can actually understand the complexities of the film and this world the characters live in.
  • The STORY 
    • The story is kind of basic-it’s a more black and white good guy vs bad guy thing. Nothing entirely BAD, but a bit basic when compared to the original. There is a nice twist-a common thing in screenwriting noted as “twist in the third act”-where it shows that even the supposed good guys can have and ulterior motive. The twist is sometimes needed and important, as it provides yet another conflict for the main to get through, without dragging the plot. Here, the twist actually helps develop Major’s character, but the impact wasn’t as big as I was hoping it would be.
  • The PACING 
    • Like in the original film, there are parts that kind of lag. Not enough to bring the entire movie down, just little moments where I wanted it to focus more on the entire big picture, rather than the little scene that was going on. But I suppose in a big film like this, you gotta have some downtime for the characters, so it’s understandable that a film would “Drag” so to speak to allow plot and character development. But those two things should happen seamlessly.

CONCLUSION 

If you’re a hardcore fan of the original, this might not be for you. There are scenes that take directly from it, but while others might appreciate that, you might find it insulting. The dialogue has no doubt been dumbed down for American audiences, so that is another downside for hardcore fans. If you appreciated the original film, this might be for you. It’s a good adaptation of the original, and actually improves on the Major’s character in the live action film. If you have no idea what this whole thing is about but your curiosity is piqued….I’d say check this out-it might surprise you.

Ghost in the Shell 2017 is a good adaptation and in fact one of the best out there-which isn’t saying much. The action scenes are good, the score incredible, the world beautiful. Scarlett Johansson does a great job in bringing the Major to life on the big screen and I personally think this is a faithful adaptation.

Ghost in the Shell 2017 gets a 3.5/5 from me-it’s a good film, but a few things keep it from being great.

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