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 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.
- 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.
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.
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 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.
- 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 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.
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.
X-Men The Last Stand is often hailed as one of the worst of the X-Men series…..but….It’s not ALL bad. Just…poorly executed. It has some merit, some good points to make, but….told in a clumsy way. Let’s talk about it.
- The THINGS THEY GET RIGHT
- An odd thing to mention, but it’s important to talk about what they get right. There’s much more of Ororo aka Storm in this film, with her strong stance of “stay mutant and proud”. Logan gets a nice arc here that’s tarnished because…I’ll get to that. Bobby’s screen time is nice as we see more of his powers but….again that’s kind of countered by him kind of acting like a dick to Rogue by seemingly building a new found romance with Kitty…..Who literally has no personality in this film and is just there. The Professor is the same as always….Though we get to see him a bit more layered here before he meets his….fate….ugh.
- Another thing they get right is The Danger Room-yes we finally get to see this amazing training room in action….for once whole scene.
- New mutants and new powers….We get a whole slew of new and familiar characters from Hank McCoy to a female mutant who has super speed and can for some reason sense other mutants and their power level….Like a combo of Goku and Spider-Man.
- The Action is another thing they get right. From the Danger Room right in the beginning to the final fight at Alcatraz, the action in this movie ALMOST makes up for the piss poor plot. Which reminds me…
- The PLOT
- It has interesting points here and there but…..oh my GOD. It’s BORING. It’s not BAD. But it’s BORING. Believe you me you’ll find yourself fast forwarding throughout most of the film to get to the good key points of the story. They do try to tell an interesting “What if” tale but it’s so clumsy and badly oriented that it just kind of falls apart. Which leads to a LOT of bad.
- The PACING
- Like the plot, the pacing isn’t BAD but….it’s just meh. It’s kind of a slow movie. Normally that wouldn’t phase me….But you have to have an interesting plot. And this movie’s plot….not interesting. Booo.
- The WHOLE LOGAN/JEAN B.S.
- Yep….yep…..Where do I FREAKING BEGIN WITH THIS. Oh man I could rant about this for days. In the comics Logan had like a passing fling type relationship with Jean-she was almost always with Scott-hell in the films before this one he was her fiancee. So to base the whole subplot of him trying to reach her, calm the Phoenix down, and having to be the one to eventually end her life is just…..stupid. I never bought that they truly loved each other I never bought that Logan TRULY loved Jean-maybe it was just his baser instincts or something but that whole subplot in all three of these movies (and in the solo “The Wolverine) is just wasted screen time.
- The ENDING
- The ending sucked. No other way to say it. Stupid cliffhanger is stupid.
- Hey….WHERE’S NIGHTCRAWLER?
- Another thing they’ve done that annoyed me in all of the X-Men films….”Oh hey look at this awesome familiar face isn’t he or she amazing?” yeah don’t get used to them since they don’t show up again in the sequel. Seriously these mutants pop in and out of these movies as if they all had Nightcrawler’s teleporting power. Nightcrawler himself wouldn’t show up again until X-Men Apocalypse and Iceman wouldn’t show until Days of Future Past. Jubilee also doesn’t show again until Apocalypse as well….The cameos are kind of cool, but when it comes to actually having them be part of the main team….It would be nice if the “side characters” stuck around for a film or two.
- The MUTANT CURE….THING
- Now this should probably go into “Meh” but….it needs to be addressed. The whole plot of this film is that there’s a cure for the mutated x-gene. It’s for those WANT the cure. So the whole war between humanity and the Brotherhood of Mutants is….pointless. Completely pointless. You can understand where their stance is coming from, but then you realize they completely forget that mutants can CHOOSE this or not. Soo…..yeah. Awkward.
- The CLUMSY STORYTELLING
- This is kind of a mix of all of those other points above; because the story is so badly told, everything falls apart and it’s all just one big ass hot mess. Wasted potential.
- The DEATHS
- There are a few key character deaths here….Without giving TOO much away…..It’s just handled stupid. Yep….Stupid.
Well….It’s not completely and utterly AWFUL. There’s SOME merit to this film. Some. Not a whole lot. It’s kind of just wasted potential…Perhaps that’s why so many like myself half a qualm with this film….There’s stuff THERE but….just not enough. One could tell what they wanted to do with it, but too much got lost in the fray of film making. It’s not as bad as some make it out to be….It’s just….below average. It’s pretty forgettable as far as X-Men films go. Which is a shame after two incredible films before this one. But believe me this isn’t the worst of the X-Men series….Nope.
X-Men The Last Stand gets a 2.5/5 from me….It’s just below average. Not horrible, not good, not enough to be meh. It’s just below that. For me.
After the initial success of the first X-Men film, of course there’d be a sequel. A lot of people look to Marvel’s The Avengers for a great example of “team movies” but I’ll look to X-Men United for that. It’s also a good example of just a good sequel film….But why?
Let’s look at it.
- The CHARACTERS
- There’s a whole slew of new characters in this film. From Nightcrawler’s debut, to Iceman (aka Bobby), and Pyro (John). Seeing all of these new and familiar (to the comic readers) faces is pretty neat. Especially in terms of seeing Nightcrawler for the first time in live action. His signature BAMF teleporting sound is a bit off, and they do kind of hammer in his religious nature, but other than that he is a pretty cool character. Logan makes a return of course, as well as the original team. They all seem to have better chemistry here, than in the first film. Logan of course has his lone wolf streak going, but for the most part he seems to jive well with the students and teachers. Mystique also has much more of a role here, and unlike her New Trilogy younger counterpart, this Mystique knows her stance, and is seemingly a much more confident badass woman to me personally and I like that. I also like that we actually get to see her AS Mystique not as a human cover such as how Lawrence portrays her.
- The ACTION
- Can’t have a superhero without good action sequences. And boy does this film deliver on that. It’s almost like they realized “hey Wolverine is actually kind of a violent person let’s use that” in one of the best action sequences in the X-Men Trilogy. Seeing Wolverine go near berserk was pretty sweet. We also get to see Pyro’s powers be used here as well as Iceman’s-from cooling Coke to creating an Ice Wall. The fight scene between Wolverine and Lady Deathstrike was cool even if Logan was getting his butt kicked for most of it. It’s always cool seeing Logan in action and it’ll be just incredible to see him in his solo film.
- The STORY
- The story here is a bit more fleshed out than in the first film. How they work in Logan’s history is just brilliant; not completely giving the audience the whole story-just enough for them to work it out on their own and realize “shit he really did go through hell….but WHY?” A key phrase as to asking why is “you forget you VOLUNTEERED for this experiment” from Styker….Is he telling the truth or not? We don’t know. It’s also a very interesting story furthering the mutants vs humanity in a well told way-also showing off Xavier’s true strength was a nice touch-several times in the film they did this. They weave little character arcs nicely in the overall story as well. But…..Uggggggh stupid Logan/Jean thing is still stupid and pointless and just because he had a passing crush on her in the comics doesn’t mean that it translates well to film…And it DOESN’T. But that’s for another review.
- The PACING
- The pacing of this film (I believe) is kind of like the first-a bit wonky. It’s a slow burn kind of movie-it’s not always hard core action and there’s lots of character development in this film. It’s not a BAD thing about the movie, but it’s something that needs to be addressed.
- The CHARACTERS
- Because there ARE a lot of characters, some get the limelight, others get the short end of the stick. Nightcrawler is just kind of there, Pyro…..he’s just the typical “Rebel” who seems to only at Xavier’s school because there’s no where else for him to go. Bobby and Rogue’s relationship is nicely touched upon, and the whole frenemies thing with Charles and Magneto is touched on as well. It’s an odd mish mash of characters but for the most part it’s balanced….ok.
- The SOUNDTRACK
- Some movies have a very memorable score, even down to the beats and theme. The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Dr Strange….all have very memorable scores. X2…the theme is nice but that’s about it. The rest is rather mediocre and doesn’t leave an impact.
I don’t think I touched on everything in the film, and I’m probably missing something. But for the big things, character, story, action, characters, progression of story….It’s all handled from ok to well done here. The sequel is indeed bigger and more impressive, and it doesn’t fall into sequel trap of “all old characters are back….with nothing for them to do”. The characters for the most part are handled pretty ok….the action is pretty amazing…..The special effects are actually upgraded here to look much nicer as time goes on compared to the first film. The story is interesting, and ok paced. All in all, X2 is a rather nice follow up to a nice first film.
X2: X-Men United gets a 4/5 from me….It’s really good….But…It’s got a few problems here and there.
Plot: In this direct sequel to the godfather of found footage The Blair Witch Project the brother of Heather Donahue from the first film, believes his sister is still alive, and sets out to the Black Hills Forest with his friends to find her after seeing a video uploaded on YouTube of her in a house in the woods….But they find something sinister instead.
Cast: James McCune, Callie Hernandez, Brandon Scott, Corbin Reid, Wes Robinson, and Valorie Curry
- The TENSION
- This director (Adam Wingard) knows how to just wind the strings of tension until they SNAP. And the ish goes down hard when that string snaps. The way the woods seem to suck you in, draw you in…If you’ve ever been camping there are nights where you just don’t get sleep cause the noises outside. Here they use that to the advantage. And not only that but they do actually FILM what’s going on outside at night when they’re woken up by the noise-in the original film, they just talked about it in the morning.
- The WOODS/SETTING
- The woods just give off this creepy “something isn’t right” vibe. What they were able to do with budget works here as opposed to the original; sure you knew they were in the woods but the area didn’t seem so densely populated with trees. Here the woods are incredibly thick and again it works to the advantage. As someone who used to camp a LOT, I can tell you that you could very easily get turned around in the woods unless you stay on the trail or campsite. What surrounds the woods is unknown, but what they do with TIME was a cool gimmick to psyche out the audience-it even got me thinking “okay how is this possible” along with the characters.
- The SOUND DESIGN
- This is the sole reason to see this movie in theaters. They have this thing called Dolby Digital Surround Sound. When the twigs were snapping, the footsteps getting closer, the off camera screams to the left or right….torrential downpours….the sound mixing is incredible in this film. And having that Surround Sound really helps draw you further and further into the woods; admittedly there were times when I had goosebumps on my arms.
- The LAST TEN MINUTES
- If only the entire film could be like the last ten minutes….it does have beat for beat like the original, but also builds on a bit and makes you think on what you just witnessed as a whole. However having to SLOG THROUGH the rest of the film to get to the ending….meh. Is it really worth it?
- The CHARACTERS
- Oh look a group of people go into haunted woods. And all that was found as said in text form was DV tapes and SD cards and equipment…..Yeah the “characters” Are just bodies that will be picked off one by one. You do get to care about James and you get why he’s there but in the end….You couldn’t care less if they lived or not.
- The PACING
- This is the give and take of haunting movies. If the pacing is crap then you know you’re in for jump scare fest-we’ll get to the jump scares-if it’s slow and methodical like this film then at least the tension is built up to the point where you just WANT it to snap already. This film is that second bit. However when you don’t really care about the characters since you know ahead of time they’re just Witch Bait that will be sequentially picked off one by one….Yeah the pacing can and is a bit of a bore. It helps the film, yet it’s also detrimental to the film as well.
- The GOD DAMN JUMP SCARES
- Stop it. STOP. IT. Hollywood. When the audience reacts to a “jump scare” they jump, scream, laugh it off. Because what they react to is the NOISE not the actual scare. Some movies like The Woman in Black use a jump scare to burn an image into your brain to the point where you won’t be forgetting it for a while. Here it’s literally people just rushing into someone, jumping in front of their cameras, a loud noise used on an edit for whatever reason….They’re the cheapest form of a scare and worthless. Stop it. No. Bad Hollywood BAD.
If you liked the first The Blair Witch Project then you’ll like this film. If you hated the first film, you’ll hate this movie. If you thought the first was meh, you’ll think this is meh. The ties to the original are paaaaper thin at best. The characters are just bodies. The jump scares ruin a lot of the good tension that winds up in the first half of the film. But the last ten minutes, the deaths, the tension, the sound design, all cool and range from awesome, to amazing-in particular the sound design really it’s fantastic. The ending does make you think: is there something going on in the woods or was it just in their heads? But the question isn’t really profound and in the end you’re going to forget this movie the very next day.
In the end, Blair Witch gets a 3/5 from me. It’s an average horror movie with incredible sound design, and tension, yet is beat for beat the original which in the end is detrimental for the film.
Movies like Sausage Party are interesting. They can either be a comedic hit, or just something to be forgotten. This movie certainly won’t be since its’ the first animated film to be rated R. That’s certainly setting a huge precedent for future animated films. Whether Disney and Pixar look at this and say “maybe we can do this in the future” or just ignore it and keep doing what they do is unknown. People seem to like this movie though…..so let us talk about it.
Plot: In a grocery store, food can’t wait to be picked up by human beings known as “Gods” to them. When they learn the terrifying truth that the “Great Beyond” is human beings’ kitchens….it’s up to a sausage named Frank and his friends to save the day and not become someone’s next meal.
Cast: Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, Salma Hayek, Edward Norton, Kristen Wig, Bill Hader, Paul Rudd, and Nick Kroll
- The WRITING/SCRIPT
- In a movie like this, you’ll either like it, or dislike it. You either like Seth Rogen’s writing or haven’t watched a single movie of his cause they might not appeal to you. For me, his stuff is just okay. But this is by far one of this better written movies I’ve seen. I liked The Interview as an okay film and The Night Before was fun, but this is his smartest and funniest film he’s done. Perhaps that funniest part is a stretch but for an animation about food it’s pretty out there. But it’s not just raunchy for the sake of being raunchy. There are so many F bombs it might make one uncomfortable if they’re not used to R rated films. it also has a lot of the F bombs to the point where the joke of food swearing wears off after a while .There are also plenty of movie references in there from Saving Private Ryan, to Superbad to Jumanji.
- There are plenty of racial stereotypes from Nazis wanting to exterminate the juices, to Middle Eastern food and bagels hating each other, and allegories to the afterlife and religion. Yes at its core this movie is about breaking free from the hive mind and going your own way. There are a lot of things that will go right over a child’s head. DON’T TAKE YOUR CHILD TO THIS MOVIE.
- The CHARACTERS
- Most of the characters are pretty one note. Frank (Seth Rogen) is easily the most developed and the one that has his little arc through the movie. Which is good, because he’s the main character. He’s likeable enough to where you root for him and his friends to win.
- The VOICE ACTING
- Seth Rogen and his buddies you’d expect to see in his films at this point all do a top notch job during this film. Comedians shine during animated films as it’s just their voice and that’s all they have to work with. Remember my review of Aladdin and how I said Williams was born for animation? Well you could say the same for some of the actors in this movie. Everyone did a wonderful job with what they were given and they just rolled with it.
- The THIRD ACT
- The entire third act you think “they can’t get away with this OMG” And you just keep thinking “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god.” Just about until the movie is over. There’s sexy times with the characters (like a big orgy scene) and the foods fighting the humans is just a wonderful action sequence.
There’s nothing really BAD in this film…just a few things that just okay.
- The PACING
- While the movie overall is a fun good time, the pacing at times seems a bit wonky. It seems to meander about until it gets to the point in film where Frank learns the terrible truth and then it meanders again until he gets his proof. The pacing isn’t horrible, but it just feels off at times.
- The SIDE CHARACTERS
- There are quite a few characters in this movie. It seems most of the focus was on developing Frank as he was the main character the audience avatar, but it’s important to remember that there are other characters too. Brenda is just there to be the love interest though she has a lot of witty, funny lines, and Barry was the only other interesting cute characters. The rest are just kind of there for the journey.
- The ANIMATION
- This movie had a film budget of 19M dollars. You wonder how that could’ve been pulled off until you hear of the story of how the animators were treated. Perhaps that kind of shows in the movie. At times instead of feeling like you’re watching a nice looking animated feature, you’re watching an hour and a half cartoon. Which I mean that’s what animations are really, but for me, with these films, there is a nice fine line between calling an animated film “Animation” and “Cartoon”. This film, I’d have no problem calling a cartoon over animation. The animation is fine, and even quite nice regarding the characters’ eyes and faces but for the most part it’s pretty standard. Rogen said he wanted to give his film a “Pixar vibe” and there are definitely times where that comes in.
This movie certainly isn’t for everyone. It has more sex, violence, raunchy characters and dialogue, f bombs, and drugs than I think every Seth Rogen movie combined. And that’s saying something. Still it was nice going into a movie this year and be thoroughly entertained even if the pacing was a bit wonky at times. Seth Rogen delivered a nice, funny, smart animated film, and I would certainly recommend it to Rogen fans. If you’re not a fan of his, I don’t think this one would sway you. And children really REALLY shouldn’t be seeing this one.
Sausage Party gets a 3.5/5 from me. It’s funny (though not always), with a good main character, an insane third act, and a smart movie that’s….not for everyone.
What did you think of Sausage Party? What’s your favorite Seth Rogen film? Let me know below!
So with very mixed reviews of Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, things seem to look bleak for the DC Extended Universe. With Suicide Squad, it could either be the proverbial nail in the coffin, or the spark they needed or just…..middle of the road. So this movie has been out for quite a while, I finally saw it so let’s talk about it….
Plot: Villains are expendable. They’re vile, evil beings that can’t be controlled. Until Amanda Waller comes walking in. She assembles the team of the worst of the worst, figuring she can place the blame on them for when a task they undertake goes wrong. When a being known as Enchantress threatens the entire planet, it’ll be up to the villains to save the day.
Cast: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jai Courtney, Jared Leto, Joel Kinnaman, Jay Hernandez, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Cara Delevingne and Viola Davis
While I CAN INDEED see why critics are tearing this movie apart there are quite a few good things in this movie. Good moments mostly but when there is good in something mostly meh or mostly bad, it’s important to acknowledge that.
- The CHARACTERS: Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, and Will Smith.
- These three MAKE THE MOVIE. Without these three the movie would’ve been a SNOOZEFEST. You could see that Margot was just having fun; she’s Harley Quinn of course she’d have fun. Will Smith is the most charismatic man on the planet it’s hard not to like the man. Viola Davis did a remarkable job as Amanda Waller; exalting nothing but ferocity and power and intimidation. With a few good laughs in from all three. They’re good well developed characters. Will Smith’s Deadshot along with El Diablo easily have the most emotional baggage regarding their families.
- The SOUNDTRACK
- From “Bohemian Rhapsody” to “Sucker for Pain” the movie’s soundtrack is pretty on point. Even the original score at times is amazing and nice to listen to.
- The ACTION
- In a movie where the villains are in the spotlight, you expect to see lots of hardcore action scenes. And for the most part, you see just that. You see this mostly in the character introductions, and in the climax of the movie. As during the second act the plot just halts and meanders.
- The CHARACTERS
- Here’s a thing with group movies. You’re not gonna have time to develop everyone. Even the greats like Lord of the Rings suffer from this. Legolas was relegated to “expository man” aka “Exposition dumper”. Gimli was relegated to comedic relief, and Merry and Pippin were just…there. However, you remember them to this day. In this film…Joker had no point being there which makes the ending complete nonsense. Slipknot was a joke, Katana was cool for the one scene she did something, Boomerang was just there….It’s really the Deadshot, Diablo, and Harley Quinn show. The rest are just there. Also I DID NOT like Jared Leto Joker. He felt WAY too into Harley Quinn and anyone who TRULY KNOWS the nature of their relationship….It’s not a bed of roses whatsoever.
- The PACING
- The pacing is a HUGE problem in this movie. The Squad doesn’t get the Midway City until about halfway through the movie; the first half is painfully slow build up to a not all that good payoff. There’s one good scene in the middle of all this meandering and that’s the bar scene shown in the trailer. But that can also come off as “oh yeah there are characters here we should do something with them.” The pacing is all over the place.
- The ENDING
- Not much to say about this without spoilers but the ending bugged me. A lot. It doesn’t make sense it just feels like they did what they did for the sake of having an ending.
- The MAIN VILLAIN
- Enchantress was wasted. Completely. Sure you feel a threat to the planet, but only cause it’s a supervillain/comic book movie so of course there’s a threat to the planet.
- Badly Translated Mediums
- What do I mean by that? Most of the time, this movie feels like you’re watching a comic book. When working with film it’s important a director understands film language. A writer needs to know how to write to get their message across in book, a director needs to know film language. I get the impression that director David Ayer did not understand how to really translate the Squad into film. And in turn it just felt like I was watching a film version of a comic book which doesn’t help the viewing experience.
In the end, Suicide Squad isn’t TERRIBLE. But it’s not entirely great either. It’s not the slam dunk DC/WB was hoping for critically-box office wise it made the money they needed so they’re just going to continue doing what they do. However it wasn’t the nail in the coffin either. But they need to focus more on the characters themselves. The reason why we love all of these characters is because we get to know them and relate in some way. They’re people not plot devices. The biggest problem with this movie is that it just meanders and the payoff isn’t good. You see it being part of the DCEU but only cause it has the Batman (who is still for whatever reason called “The Bat” in this universe) and the Flash in this. In the end it falls just short of being average.
I’m going to give this movie a 2.5/5. It’s….just not for me. If you liked it, then great. But for me, it falls short of being average.
What did you think of the latest DCEU film? Let me know below!
For some, when it comes to the quintessential Robin Williams performance, you think of a few movies. Jumanji, Good Morning Vietnam, Good Will Hunting, Mrs. Doubtfire, and of course Good Will Hunting. However, for most there’s one standout performance that either shoved him into the limelight for a lot of young people or just made him EXPLODE for everyone else. For me, the one that sticks out the most…that performance, was Genie. He so made The Genie his character that it’s said that the Genie was drawn FOR Mr. Williams and the two just fit like a glove. But more on that later let’s talk about the actual movie here.
Plot: Young “street rat” Aladdin has high hopes and dreams of escaping his hum drum life…Princess Jasmine daughter of the Sultan, has high dreams of escaping her life. When the two meet, they have a few sparks fly….Aladdin will do anything to be with her….When he meets the Genie everything in his life changes.
Cast: Scott Weigner, Linda Larkin, Johnathon Freeman, Gilford Gottfried….And Robin Williams.
- The CHARACTERS
- For the most part, the two mains Aladdin and Jasmine are just okay but they’re still good characters you care about them and what’s going to happen to them. Scott Weigner as Aladdin and Linda Larkin as Jasmine both do wonderful jobs and Jafar of course is iconic for a reason. However, it is when the movie gets to the Genie…..THAT’S when the movie just EXPLODES. The movie is fun and fine on its own but really the Genie completely and utterly steals the show. Most minor characters they know they’re place. Sometimes they’re not even on the poster or cover of a Blu-Ray. Genie? Nope. His place is to be the biggest damn character on every Aladdin thing you see ever in existence. There’s reason why most people think of the Genie when we think of great Robin Williams performances. He was born for voice acting, and completely and utterly makes the Genie HIS character. So much so that Disney couldn’t even submit this movie to the Academy for Best Adapted Screenplay. In the end when Jafar gets the lamp it’s not like Genie just said “Screw Aladdin” and went turncoat no you could see the pain in his eyes and hear it in his voice and see it on his face it hurt to do bad. Another animation did that in 2014 and let’s just say this one did it first and did it better. It’s just another thing that makes the Genie a great character.
- The ANIMATION
- When reviewing an animated movie it’s important to take into consideration the quality of the animation. For instance when people talked about The Killing Joke adaptation, it’s often said (and I agree) that the animation at times felt and looked a little wonky. And different quality of animation in some scenes can be distracting. However, this movie suffers from none of that. From the first shot of the film, to the action sequences in the Cave of Wonders, to the final showdown with Jafar, to the characters themselves (particularly again the Genie he looks great) the animation quality is still amazing all these years later. Keep in mind this film premiered in 1992, and was made several years before.
- The SONGS
- This movie comes standard with the quintessential Disney song pack. The love song, the I want song, the cool sounding song, and the reprise song. There’s no villain song in this movie, but Jafar is one of those villains like Hades who doesn’t really need a song. The songs that are there “Prince Ali”, “A Whole New World”, “Something More”, and of course “Friend like Me” Are all wonderful and catchy and memorable. “Friend Like Me” is fun but the Las Vegas theme feels a touch out of place. Which is odd considering that seems to be a small motif of the film. However I still catch myself humming that song from time to time.
There’s nothing really BAD within this film, so there’s no point in having a “The Bad” section….However there are some problems with the film….Some of them sadly are pretty major.
- The SCRIPT
- It’s not an inherently bad script or anything, it’s that the story….Without Genie there it’s just okay at best. At times this movie feels more like GENIE’S story rather than Aladdin’s. Which could very well be the case as it was confirmed that the merchant at the beginning WAS in fact the Genie in a different form, telling Aladdin’s tale. But if it’s ALADDIN’S story then it shouldn’t also feel like someone else taking over. Even if that someone else is as cool as the Genie.
- The PACING
- For a while, the movie feels like it meanders before it gets to plot point a then b then c. There are songs to help move the story along, but unlike most musicals the songs don’t TELL the story they’re just filler. But if a script is good then it shouldn’t need all that much filler, which can work against it. Again without the Genie, this could’ve been a very boring film, which is a fact one just has to accept. Yes films like The Lion King and The Little Mermaid meander at times as well, but those films’ main characters are interesting enough to make it feel like those scenes have merit.
In the end, Aladdin is a fine film. For some, they only watch it for Jafar. For others it’s the song sequences. For most people though, they watch it for the Genie. He taught people watch friendship can be like, he also taught audience members (The general moviegoing public anyways) that the minor character can completely and utterly steal the show. The rest of the film like Aladdin himself and Jasmine are okay. But part of me wonders without the Genie how would this movie have fared.
Aladdin gets a 4/5 from me. It’s good. But without the Genie…Hmm.
What’s your favorite Robin Williams performance? Let me know down below!
Plot: Harry Potter was just a normal boy….Until his 11th birthday. On that night when he learns he’s truly a wizard, everything changes. He’s brought to a magical school known as Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, makes friends and enemies, and learns there’s something sinister lurking within the school. He must then save the day with his new friends Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger.
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Tom Felton, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith and Richard Harris
It’s hard to imagine just what kind of firestorm phenomenon this series would create. Based on the beloved children’s books of the same names, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone would be the first of many hits throughout the decade. An era of magic that ended in 2011, and started in 2001. With Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them on the way it’s time to look back at a series that captivated the world…Are these movies as good as we remember? Let’s take a look.
- The CHARACTERS
- The characters for the most part are pretty simple here in this first movie. Harry, Ron and Hermione are established well enough. The minor characters, such as Dumbledore (yes he is a minor here), McGonagall, Malfoy are all interesting as well. The rivalry established between him and Harry seems petty in this movie compared to what it will turn into as the series goes on. For the most part though, the characters are intriguing enough to keep your interest.
- The WORLD
- The world of Harry Potter is fascinating. Unlike its counterpart Lord of the Rings, which is indeed for a bit of an older audience for the time, and set in the middle ages or heavily takes from it, Harry Potter is set in more modern times. A contemporary piece rather than period. Fantastic Beasts looks to be more of a period piece than contemporary. The setting up of Hogwarts, Quidditch, magic in general is almost brilliant. This first movie is full of wonder and enchantment….And the world in which Harry lives and interacts with reflects that.
- The FAITHFULNESS
- Aside from a few scenes here and there, the movie is surprisingly faithful to the novel. The novel is short, especially compared to the later books of the series. But the movie takes the novel and makes it really work for the silver screen. You read some of these scenes such as the first Quidditch game, Harry and Ron vs the troll, and you hear about Dragons, and Cerberus like dogs, and unicorns and wonder “how would they ever pull off this?” and for the time….it worked. Really well. A lot of people nowadays complain that too much is changed from the book to film….but what one has to realize is that things HAS to change since film is a visual medium and has to be translated differently. And the translation from book to film is rather well done here.
- The MAGIC
- While there is definitely more magical scenes in the book (the imagination of the author knows no limits) the magic shown in the film is memorable and thrilling. High paced Quidditch scenes that make you wonder if there are any rules regarding player safety and why they don’t implement red or yellow cards, an evil wizard after nothing but power and eternal life, giant chess pieces that move and become dangerous when they take each other out, a three headed dog, levitation, a room full of keys, owls, and spells galore. The magic in the movie feels real, and that’s because of the universe this world is built around. JK Rowling did a marvelous job creating such a unique world, and the producers and director did a marvelous job bringing that world to life.
- The PACING
- Some of the pacing is a bit meh in this movie. The movie DOES take time to establish the world, and sometimes that’s all this movie feels like. Nothing more than a stepping stone to the later movies you know are down the road. At times it feels as faced paced as the Quidditch game you witness, others it feels slower than a troll rumbling down the school hallways.
- The CLIMAX
- The “final showdown” between Harry and Quirll/Voldemort is just okay. It’s a lot of word play, a lot of mind games and for some that’s just as exciting as actual action. And for an 11 year old, trying to see reality from lies can be hard. But Harry seems to easily outwit the dark lord. And the way he does eventually win seems like a bit of a cop out….And understanding cop out but a cop out nonetheless.
- The MUSIC
- Aside from the iconic theme created by John Williams (of course) the music is just average at best.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to some is a story they already know. To others, it’s one they don’t want to know. To most, it’s a story that’s just mediocre. Others it’s downright brilliant with no problems whatsoever. For me….it DOES have a few issues here and there. But the issues it has don’t detract from the overall story of a boy who learns he’s part of something much greater than himself. A story that would span at least a decade. One of love, thrills, magic, and wonder. Its’ a good set up to an epic universe. If only we knew just what we had gotten ourselves into with this film.
I’m going to give Sorcerer’s Stone a 4/5. It’s a good film-perhaps even a classic. But it does have a few issues here and there. If nothing else this is a good start to something incredible.
Plot: Siblings Rebecca and Martin are being haunted at night by this supernatural entity. When they all discover that this being holds a mysterious attachment to their mother, they realize that this being has returned to torment the entire family….But the catch? She can only function and attack in the dark.
Starring: Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman and Maria Bello
- The PREMISE
- The sheer premise of “ghost terrorizing family” but with a new mechanic is just brilliant. “Ghost terrorizes family” is nothing new. But the mechanic is. The mechanic? This ghost known as Diana can only be seen in the dark, and is hurt by the light. Anything or anyone that’s in the dark with her? COMPLETELY SCREWED. And there’s an actual in universe reason for her to fear the light as a ghost. That’s also well thought out. It stems from our times as hunter-gatherers who had no choice but to go out at night sometimes. We fear what we don’t know, and we don’t know and can’t see very well in the darkness. Dark allies, dark parking lots, parks, you name it we stay away from anything that’s in darkness. The light makes us feel safe, and this movie does a brilliant job of playing on that fear and anxiety.
- The CHARACTERS
- The characters feel layered and real. The only meh one is the kid but for a kid actor he does okay. Rebecca played by Palmer is an interesting character enough to actually make you care about her, and the mother is a good character as well. You can instantly tell something isn’t quite right in the beginning and then they just kind of hit you on the head with her depression and such. I actually liked Becca’s boyfriend as well. In horror movies like this, it’s easy to just throw away characters for the sake of jump scares, but these guys have personalities and layers to them and that makes them feel real and makes us care about what happens to them.
- The SCARES
- When it comes to reviewing horror movies, the scares should be taken into account. If a movie fails to do its job, it wasn’t executed very well. But in this movie, with the producer being James Wan (who is arguably the most important modern horror director of our generation) there’s real tension throughout the entire film. Sure there are these jump scare moments with the loud noise that freaks people out but there were quite a few moments in this movie that had people in the audience including me go “oh holy shit no no nonono”. One young man was leaning out of his seat clutching his hair during the last act. Another girl was curled up in her seat with her knees tucked in her chest. When the tension was building up you could FEEL it in the air. Or perhaps that was because of my theaters surround sound system….
- The PACING
- I was never BORED in this movie. There are a few weird jumps in terms of the pacing, but overall it allows you to know the characters enough for yourself to make a few leaps (as in the movie doesn’t think you’re completely stupid who just needs a few good jump scares) and it does a good job building up its universe and the reasoning behind the main characters being haunted and the backstory behind Diana. You feel some sympathy for her, but not enough to where you want her to win. It’s a short movie but doesn’t feel short. The only issue is the ending where it just ends on an odd note. But give what happens….Understandable.
Lights Out isn’t your typical horror movie. It isn’t just jump scare fest where you scream and laugh it off. There’s tension throughout the movie, and the sheer anxiety you feel is there throughout the movie as well. The third act is really good, and the build up to that final showdown is near wonderful. It has everything one would want in a haunting horror movie and then some with the added layers to the characters. In the horror genre these days, you really have to stand out. And with its mechanic of “she can only be seen in the dark” and the good characters, this film certainly does.
Lights Out gets a 5/5 from me. A good haunting movie that totally reignites your childhood fears of the dark.