Friday, February 28, 2020

The Invisible Man (2020)

This was a goooood movie.

I wasn't disappointed a bit leaving the theater, this is how you modernize a classic horror film. Yeah, it kinda breaks my heart we won't have the Dark Universe crossovers but then again Universal has shifted gears and is still willing to give us modern retellings of the Universal Monsters so I'm still going to be on board. And I feel they executed this premise perfectly, as much as I love the original it feels more like a comedy with the characters themselves experiencing the horror than the audience, but this film does it right. It's pretty much a horror movie already, with a young woman named Cecillia who escapes the clutches of her mentally abusing boyfriend and yet still feels like someone is watching her and starts psychologically and physically attacking her. I mean that's kind of brilliant, having a obsessive control freak stalk you is pretty horrific as is but then we add on the element of him being like a super genius in the fields of optics and constructs a suit which renders him completely unseen and that just makes it more scary. This film does understand the notion of what you don't see is far more scary than what you do see, and doesn't waste opportunities with it. Yeah, the movie still relies on the jumpscares but I chalk that more up to modern horror cinema but it does still get on my nerves. If movies just cut the ear raping racket of indistinguishable noise and simply let the visuals work I feel it can be vastly improved. Regardless the effects are done really well, and the film knows when to build up suspense and when to just let loose and run wild, which I very much appreciate. You can tell Elisabeth Moss is not screwing around, this woman acts like she's going through the 9 circles of hell and back again, she just goes for it and is the reason why the movie works so well. Really every performance is done seriously and feels real, with particular love going to Aldis Hodge I mean that guy is great. I just had such a great time seeing this, and really was impressed with how they handled everything, from the premise, to the mechanics, to the story flow, and even the ending gave me everything I wanted, it works so very well. But it does make me wonder what could be next cause you have to remember, the Universal Monsters are majorly in the gothic horror department, so how could they do modern retellings of classic characters? How could they do Dracula? How could they do The Wolf Man, or The Bride, or The Mummy? I'm not saying every movie has to be set firmly in reality and be very serious, but the question does arise. My bet would be doing Creature From The Black Lagoon next, it's a buyable premise that a creature who has survived millions of years of evolution living in the Amazon without change and is soon discovered by explorers could do so well, and be a very entertaining movie. The main thing they need to do is keep it horror centric, make it scary, make it unsettling, make it horrific. That's what they did here, and if Blumhouse wants to keep making classic monster movies with Universal then have a ball my friends cause I'll be there opening day everytime showing my love for the golden age of horror films. 4 stars, a solid 8/10, and I will be waiting for the next one to premeire.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Blue Velvet

My first official David Lynch review, but not my first of his movies. That goes to The Elephant Man.

I'm actually really pleased with this movie. It was friggin' weird at times but I'm so happy to have seen it. Set in an idyllic North Carolina town a young man named Jeffery finds a severed ear and soon gets roped into a bizzare plot of kidnappings, sex, and batshit situations and characters. It's a wild trip, and I can't even imagine the audience reactions in 1986. Hell the producer Dino De Laurentiis had such faith in Lynch and the film that he repurposed a production company to distribute the film because no major studio would come near the thing, that is something you can't say about a lot of people in the film industry nowadays, that's pretty grand. The critical reception didn't really start strong until well after the film was released, but strictly on a first viewing basis I very much enjoyed it. I like the whole 50s aesthetic they present in terms of visuals and music, this isn't the first time a film has presented a perfect small town with a dark underbelly but they handle it very well and the music is very jazzy noir-ish centered which you know I'm a sucker for. I think the performances is what really sells the movie, though of course the story and direction are really dang good. Kyle MacLachlan is a very good lead and juggles the weird mix of emotions pretty much flawlessly, Isabella Rossellini has that perfect edge of vulnerability and I'll give major props to anyone who can go full nude cause I certainly wouldn't have the heart for that I mean talk about bravery, friggin' Laura Dern is in this movie which came out of left field but I'm so damn happy to see her in any movie she's a total cutie in this and I simply adore her, oh my God we get to talk about Dennis Hopper now. Dude. Dude. Whoa. There's no words to describe his performance, it', wow. If ever there were a reason to see this movie, he's it. Wild. They handle the mystery good too, like you're never really sure who's in on it and who's not. Are the cops corrupt and maybe aiding the kidnappers? Maybe. Is there gonna be a heel turning character? Who knows? Will evil win the day in a downer ending? Have to see it for yourself. It's a fine movie, never trying to be more than it is but still having that unmistakeable David Lynch quality to it. 4 stars, 8/10, and I'm so getting the title theme for this movie!

Well it's that time again my friends. A new movie based on a Universal Monster hits theaters this Friday, and while my Dark Universe may be dead and buried no one's ever really gone...

Monday, February 24, 2020

Dead Like Me: Season 2

It does kinda bum me out this only got two seasons.

This really hit every mark I wanted it to, the first season was good but this season really did hit it's stride and definitely is the superior season. It's funny because you think, oh new season new cast and situations, but that is far from it. It still hits the same beats from the first season, but not in a bad way where it just seems like they're treading the same waters but builds upon those situations and characters more. It's safe to say the first season was more drama mixed with bits of comedy, but this season is friggin' hilarious but can still hit you with some emotions and even has kind of a powerful moment which I rarely see in television shows. George is still reaping away with her coworkers, as we see her grow more comfortable with the work and come to terms with her new existence which I think is handled quite well. A bit more time is dedicated to her mom and sister, and somehow Reggie has become my favorite character, with Joy being my absolute most despised character. I didn't really elaborate on them too much mainly because I wanted to see if they got better, but Joy is insufferable and I know people grieve in different ways, that is not the problem, the problem is she does not like how OTHER people grieve. Just put their stuff away in a box, put it in the basement, never speak of it again. That is not how you move on, death is a horrible thing to confront when it involves family you love, but this is inexcusable behavior. And it affects Reggie, cause you see she's still torn up about her sister and she gets nothing for comfort or reassurance from her mom or hell, anybody. I really really was on her side and she was the most involved character of the show for me, (and I may or may not have greatly loved her goth phase because, future daughter goals). So she jumped from best human character to best character period, with a close second by Rube. I really appreciate we get backstory to him and get a better understanding of his character, which is at times very sad. They did such good work on these characters, taking one note stereotypes and building them to be something better and more interesting. I wish more shows had that kind of quality leap. I was just so much more invested in this season because we didn't need to learn anything about the mechanics and relationships, you just get to enjoy the reapers in their element and have a closer connection to the family. That is great! I mean I of course know you need an introduction, you need setup, preamble, information to get you up to speed. But here? That's not required, you just watch and enjoy, and have a great time. This was a pretty damn good show and I really wish they got a third season, but everything has it's time so Dead Like Me was done and over and I have to say the ending wasn't all bad. It does kinda cap off the series in a fulfilling way, and I can rest easy that Georgia and our favorite breakfast eating reapers keep up the good work and that there is hope for her grieving family. 4 stars, 8.5/10, a fine end or perhaps a better beginning.

Dead Like Me: Season 1

I simultaneously liked this show and could hardly watch it.

Now that I've fully watched the first season I can say Dead Like Me is a good show, but man those early episodes were wearing my patience down a bit. And it wasn't even due to lousy production, bad writing, or horrible performances, because quite frankly all those elements are very well handled and good. But ooh boy, let me tell you about them character choices. But first, context. So Ellen Muth plays the second Georgia that dies in a Bryan Fuller show, after a toilet seat from a space station kills our aloof and humble narrator she soon quickly finds out that she was picked to be a reaper. Now obviously this comes as a massive shock and we slowly see her grow into this role throughout the course of the season. Turns out being a reaper in this show doesn't have many perks, you're not immortal, you still have to get a full time job, find a place to live, and have money so you can eat all while keeping the balance of the world. My personal experience in that line of work was a smidge better but I chalk that up to nice upper management. I like how the show sets up it's own mythos to how reapers work, what actually causes people to die, and just the inner mechanics of it all. The fact that they only stick to one area and only number about 5 reapers total, so the list they need to check off is so short it can be written on a post-it note is very different but kinda cool. For lack of a better term this show greatly humanizes the takers of souls, with each character having their own arcs, personal dilemmas, emotional baggage, and ways they like to work. We see Georgia struggle with the position and how her death has affected her family for the whole season as both try to move on in the best way they can. Mandy Patinkin is my favorite of the reapers, his character Rube honestly has good words of wisdom and advice that goes beyond the line of business and you can tell there's more to him than he appears, he just does such fine work in this show. I initially did not like hardly any of the other coworkers that Georgia had, but they dedicate time to them and they do gradually become more likable as we get to know them. Gradually being the keyword, when it takes almost an entire first season to make the main characters not act like asshats most of the time, it kind of hurts the overall experience. I didn't take serious issue with them but they did get on my nerves enough to where it kind of felt like a chore. And trust me Georgia is not exempt from this, her early episodes made me almost quit the show and I know what they were trying to do. Show her make mistakes, show her trying to find ways to cheat the system, show her being a selfish brat, show her not being responsible. Buuut I take severe grievance with that, because I know damn well what the conditions of such a position are and how it works, maybe even too well if I'm being honest. So it seemed like such childish tantrums that she would have and slacked on the job, granted she does get better but it really aggravated the living fire out of me for awhile. I'm much more looking forward to the next season, cause as far as I know cast and situations will not change so I can more fully enjoy that season and more importantly the characters. But there's a lot I appreciate, it's not all about the work if anything the majority of the show focuses on the people in Georgia's, death? Un-life? Ah, screw it. It shows the relationship she had with her not so great family and how it's still affecting her little sister who is easily the best human character in the show. It shows the normal workday events of her at a agency, and the brief or prolonged interactions with other people. So don't get me wrong, this really is a good show but it just took me a little time to fully start enjoying it. I'm still wondering what the hell that one episode was, where we literally flash back for minutes at a time of stuff we've seen on the show before in previous episodes, I mean complete utter stock footage padding if I have ever witnessed it but it didn't damage the show. I'm very happy I watched it finally after probably about a decade of putting it off, and I'm gonna stick around until the end. The story is great, the characters while flawed are still memorable, the interactions is what really makes the show shine in my opinion, and it's just such a different unique approach to a concept that's been around for longer than one can remember. It's definitely more a drama than a comedy, but it did still make me laugh in places and that's okay, death is a serious thing that should be treated with respect and grace. But I think someone has said it better, "Don't pity the dead. Pity the living and above all, those who live without love.". 4 stars, 8/10, and you'll see me again soon.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

The Magnificent Seven

Guess who finished the review but forgot to post it? (I was working on review stuff I promise, next Monday you get a double feature.)

I can't even believe they had the balls to remake this movie, what the hell is the point? I'm not saying a story like this couldn't work in a modern times setting but if you're just going to make it cowboys again then just stop. And this is quite a good movie, I daresay even that people who just claim westerns of that time just ripped off Kurosawa films need to take a time out cause shocker, Kurosawa himself gave a glowing review. So I don't want to hear any nonsense about american bastardization of foreign cinema, it's worked before and it can work now. Yes, the main story of a small town besieged by bandits who have to hire seven gunslingers is similar but the movie has enough distinguishing factors in terms of characterization, performances, and setting to make it unique enough. It's similar but it's not derogatory. I really enjoy our main cast, I've actually been a fan of Yul Brynner since I saw Cecil B. Demille's Ten Commandments when I was 5 or 6 years old and I'm always excited when I see his name in a movie's credits because he's such a cool personality, Steve McQueen is still the man and shows he can act in period settings whether it be the old west, World War 2, or the 1950s suburbs, James Coburn is wonderful as well and again he's very much a fun person to have in a movie despite the context and setting, Charles Bronson has already proven to me how well he works in a western movie so I was all for seeing more of him. The chemistry between them all is also really good and come on, how can you get a better western villain than Eli Wallach? But the production is very good too, seeing as how this was the last real decade of western films the quality is still just as strong in any other film of the genre. And it really doesn't bother me that the story follows similar beats, because it's such an enjoyable film from our stars. I doubt there is a western out there that really could top Once Upon A Time In The West, but I'm incredibly happy to have seen this movie regardless. The action is handled well, nothing fancy but certainly not boring or dull either, I do enjoy the characters and the story, this is still regarded as one of the best westerns made and I can't very well argue with that. 4 stars, 7.5/10!

Ugh, this week has been too hectic. It really does bring my blood to a boil when I forget something as important as a review and that sucks because my memory is shot to all hell, and I never want to dissappoint. Next week will be better, movie review, new movie review, television review, all bases covered and I can't wait.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World


There is no way in hell a movie like It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World could be made in today's day and age, it's such a spectacle of it's time bringing in every famous comedian actor to make a ridiculously fun movie, with great stunts, and yet still be grounded a fair deal in reality. The story follows four groups of people who witness a bad car crash and before the man quite figuritavely and literally kicks the bucket tells them of a briefcase filled with $350,000 buried in a park in California, and very quickly they all make a mad dash to claim the money for themselves with a police chief hot on their tails. I very much enjoyed this movie and in no small part due to the quite star studded cast of the time, just about every famous comedian film actor of the time appeared in some form or another which was sort of a big occasion at the time. You just never saw this multitude of talent come together to work on one picture hardly ever, and it's kinda hard to talk about everyone in turn cause we have about 12 main characters that we see throughou. Nowadays the thought of a multitude of famous actors working on one film is commonplace as water, but each performance is a lot of fun and you can tell each actor brought something of themselves in the part. My absolute favorite being Jonathan Winters, and if I haven't said it already he's a terrific guy and I've yet to see him give a bad performance. The stunt work is great at times and regarding the fact they had to work with 1960s special effects, they really had to do almost everything in camera. They really did make cars just wipeout crash, they did fly an airplane through a roadside billboard, they really did crash an airplane into a restaurant, and what I noticed is like 90% of the stunts is stuff that actually would happen. Until the tail end, every stunt is feasible and could actually be accomplished, there's nothing too absurd or out there but even at the end it's so entertaining you don't mind. Easily the best is the gas station fight scene, I mean not only is it hilarious but the fact that an entire gas station is levelled to the ground during the course of a 2 on 1 fight is amazing to behold. The film has had several edits since it's premiere in 1963, with the original cut clocking in at over 3 hours but the most common one is about 2 hours and 40 minutes so it is a bit of a sit through especially for a comedy film but well worth it. Hell the movie even has an intermission, it just really goes to show how much cinema audiences have changed cause nowadays an almost 3 hour movie could be knocked out in one sitting for the majority of people. It's an epic comedy for sure, but the characters are so normal and down to earth that you really could see yourself in their position and the setpieces don't go to extreme lengths of impossibility. It really is a timecapsule of an older generation of cinema and yet doesn't feel that much dated beyond one or two small scenes and a pretty indecent term that there's no way you could say in a movie now, it's a highly entertaining and genuinely funny movie worth your time. It's a wild ride across California, and the true humor of the film is found in how everyday people can do the most absurd and crazy things over something as basic as money. The world is truly a mad place to live when you get right down to it, and all it takes is one crazy or bad day to bring the lunatic out in you. 4 stars, 8/10! A true spectacle of movie making that should be watched by more people.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Harold And Maude

Oh man I feel like an ass not seeing this sooner in my life.

I have no issue saying Harold And Maude is a great movie, though when it opened in 1971 it was favored with mixed reviews but it's certainly a movie you can appreciate more nowadays. It's such an odd little movie and became a cult hit for decades, and for good reason. The story concerns a young man who is obsessed with death and soon meets an older woman who is a bit out there but they inexplicably attract one another and a quite lovely relationship blooms between them. The thing with this movie is while the plot may not seem like much new, it's truly the details and humor that propel it from being a good movie to a really great movie, and I could talk and explain them all day but you just have to see the movie. I almost daresay I shouldn't tell you a thing beyond bare bone basics, just so you have those hard reactions and can enjoy the movie without hinderance. I will say that Bud Cort is amazing and the character quirks and mannerisms he has got me hooked very quickly (not to mention I may have laughed just a tiny bit too hard at certain scenes with him). Ruth Gordon is absolutely brilliant in this movie, so dang funny, so flippin' charming, I really don't think the movie would have worked at all without these actors. And I like the fact that they are weird, they are eccentric, but that's not their entire performance because they have incredibly strong moments where they show that they are still people and not just over the top caricatures. It doesn't come off as a dark and slightly twisted spoof of a romance, it just shows two odd people that find great solace and friendship together despite it being unusual circumstances that brought them together. And yes I do fully support this relationship, they have wonderful chemistry together and have even lovelier moments. The film looks spectacular at times, worthy of being shown in art museums with certain shots, and the editing is actually a bit unconventional of the time. To be honest this is how movies are more edited today than in 1971, though the visuals, music, and cinematography couldn't be mistaken for anything else but the 70s. I can't even imagine how much of a different beast this was in cinemas at that time, it's completely unconventional in almost every way but it still has such a unique charm and wicked sense of humor to keep you watching it. It's certainly a comedy first but there's moments where you get unbelievable bits of wisdom, and it has quiet atmospheric moments to it which just made me love this movie to death. Like this really and truly is a movie made for me in every sense. So you know I'm going to give it 4 stars, there was never a question about it. 8.5/10, I friggin' adored this bizarre sweet piece of cinema, I am no doubt adding it to my Criterion Collection and I really hope you enjoy it. This was a real treat guys and if you got Prime Video you can watch it right now, and I swear it's worth the 90 minutes even if you don't love it. Just...great start to this week and the next two movies can be found there too, so stay tuned for more recommendations.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Sonic The Hedgehog (2020)

Eh, not bad.

I would say the new Sonic movie does fit into the good video game movie catalogue, I have seen better but I've also seen worse. I truly thought it was a decent movie and when I was on my way home the question arose to me, "What makes a video game movie good?" and the simple answer is it has to have the spirit of the game in it (and we're talking strictly live action here, cause animation almost automatically wins every time) and work in the movie's setting. This actually does, it quickly establishes this isn't a world where humans coexist with Sonic characters but the world Sonic comes from is different and very akin to the game setting. I found it interesting how the golden rings work like basically a Doctor Strange sling-ring, but it was executed well. I will say the story is very basic with no frills, it is quite predictable at times, and there's some glaring plot holes that keep the film from lasting as long as an episode of Sonic X, but it's certainly not bad. Sonic lives in the peaceful small town of Green Hills in secret before he is discovered, and the military call in Dr. Robotnik to seek out the blue devil while Sonic is trying to retrieve his rings to leave Earth. Dirt basic plot but I will fully admit there's good stuff in it. I do like Sonic's voice and mannerisms though to be perfectly honest I think he has psychological issues, from my own diagnosis I saw elements of bipolar disorder, depression, and multiple personalities. I genuinely thought there were cute and endearing moments occasionally from our two human protagonists, Tom and Maddie. And last but certainly not least Jim Carrey. Jim, Jim, Jim I have no issue saying you were the best part of the entire movie. Yes he has his Jim Carrey-isms a bit, but he did genuinely make me laugh quite strongly and is such a strange casting choice that it becomes completely awesome. It was like Edward Nygma 2.0 with 35% more facial hair, and a true craftsmanship with robots. Hell the best scene in the whole film is him doing experiments in his lab and just being his weird crazy self, and in all honesty I really really, without question or doubt, want that friggin' coat he has. Black and red, nothing is more aesthetically pleasing to my eyeballs. The negatives are really just the basic and recognizable plot, coupled with the less than positive tropes of kids movies nowadays. It's not skull peeling, but it has it's moments where you just roll your eyes. When they do the, oop Sonic's dead guys, thing not once but twice....eugh. Yeah it's that kind of movie. Truth be told if they kept that meth head nightmare creation of a design this film would have suffered a much worse rating, and while I am happy they delayed the film to fix the design, here's the double edged sword: They were okay with putting that out there, they didn't do the classic design first and foremost, they were fully willing to spew that bullshit across every theater screen around the globe. Which I find inexcusable from the production company, not the designers. So I would take a half point off just because they thought they could pull that travesty on us and get away with it. Overall, I'd give this movie 3 stars, 6.5/10. It's not garbage but it's not super good either, it's just a decent movie with good elements in it. It's fine for what it is and does have some fun and entertainment, but boy could it have been worse. At least the movie reminded me why I worshipped Jim Carrey in my youth, any movie of his I saw was a favorite of mine and I'd totally love to do some tribute reviews soon. PS. I would not suggest this movie for a Valentine's Day date but if the product placement in the film told me anything, get your butt down to an Olive Garden (Seriously, what the f***?).

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Sonic The Hedghog The Movie (1999)

Well that was interesting.

This is an oddball of a movie, for one it's not even an hour long and was actually comprised of two television specials aired in Japan combined to make this, so it's not even really a movie. It has a bare bones plot where Doctor Robotnik creates a robot Sonic and tricks our favorite blue hedgehog into a confrontation with the mechanical monster, but there's so much weird stuff that goes into it. Now I will give this "movie" some compliments, the animation is actually really really good. It is late 90s animation but with certain art designs and backgrounds that evoke more late 80s anime, it's quite well done and I see bits of Robotech, Castle In The Sky, and Dragonball Z. If I rated animated features on just looks alone this would get an 8/10! The action is at times awesome but only for brief moments. The music is totally rad and kickass but there's no mistaking what decade it came from, and honestly it was my favorite part of the entire thing. The voice acting is....bizarre. Tails sounds like he has the flu and is very nasal-y, Sonic is harboring on country bumpkin and truthfully sounds like if you mixed Major Kong from Dr. Strangelove, Sheriff J.W. Pepper from Live And Let Die, and Boomhauer from King Of The Hill and now I miss Jaleel White, and somehow I don't know how they got Edwin Neal our favorite psychotic hitchhiker from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre to voice Doctor Robotnik. Hwhat?? But wait, there's more! The character designs for certain characters are well how can I say this nicely, ripped off. Sure Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Robotnik look exactly like they should but the original characters, specifically the president of the world and his daughter look incredibly familiar. The president looks like King Hippo from Punch-Out with a lavish general's outfit, and his daughter looks friggin' exactly like Mimi from Digimon. I God, this is such a strange thing to talk about cause there's no real way to understand what I'm talking about unless you see it for yourself. And the funny thing is I know I rented this from Blockbuster back in the day and never once picked up on any of this. In fact, the more I think about it I actually have been a bit of a Sonic fan in my life, I played the second game with my cousin on his Sega Genesis, I rented tapes of the cartoons, I woke up at 6:00 in the morning just to watch Sonic Underground even if there was no school, I played games on both my Gamecube and PS2, Sonic has been a part of my life in even just small ways for a long time and I can't make head or tails of this....I don't even know what to call it! It's not a movie, it's not a show, it's a two part special combined to make one product. It's just an odd little creation from the 90s that's sort of faded into obscurity, you can't even get a physical copy of this unless you find a tape but thankfully someone uploaded it to YouTube. It's really made for the most hardcore of Sonic fans or very young kids, I'd say from the ages of 5 to maybe 10 or 11. Rating wise if I'm being honest, I'd give it 2.5 stars, a decent 6/10. I actually can't believe this was the only thing close to a Sonic movie for the longest time, and while I have no clue what to expect from the new Sonic movie (I haven't even watched either trailer) if it turns out good I'll be surprised and give it a recommendation. But the track record of video game movies have definitely been more miss than hit, so we'll just have to wait and see what comes next. Until then speed demon fans.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Animal Crossing

I was surprised too.

I had no idea Animal Crossing got a movie, and apparently a new one is coming out next month with JonTron himself voicing a role, and I just wanted to look at more examples of video game movies with the new Sonic movie hitting theaters this Friday. This film comes from Toho, and sadly has not gotten any form of release outside of Japan which I feel to be a real crime cause this movie just stole my heart and I adored it. I recall making a point once that Pokemon is one of the most genius video games to base a film on because there's just no central story and can really do whatever it wishes. Animal Crossing is the sheer epitome of that logic, and for those not in the know Animal Crossing was a breakthrough game for the Nintendo Gamecube back in the day, essentially a sims game where you the player travel to a new town populated with anthropomorphic animals and just live in this little town, no story, no dilemma, just you doing what you want in this serene village. Want to go fishing or catch butterflies? Go for it. Want to spend the day with friends you made? Have a ball. Want to just explore and enjoy the environments the game presents? Knock yourself out. It's an incredibly fun and charming game to just relax and play and that is exactly what this film's story is like! A young girl named Ai travels to Animal Village and just spends a year there, making friends, having an adventure or two, and just living her life and it hooked me immediately! In fact I got very emotionally invested and a certain thing happens with a relationship of our main character, and I just got bummed out man. Like genuinely upset, and even though it did have a total bittersweet end to it I did not only like it but heavily appreciate what it did. If you've seen enough examples of animation you can quickly tell this was made in the early 2000s, it's difficult to describe in words but the way the backgrounds are animated and the characters are designed, it screams of the time period. Hell I almost kind of expected this to be on a cartoon block with western and eastern animated shows, like Kids WB or Cartoon Network. This movie reminded me why I love animation so much, the colors are vivid, bright, and absolutely beautiful, the backgrounds are outstanding and look like pages from a storybook, the character designs are simplistic but refined and downright cute. It has a lot of heart in it, it reminds me a great deal of Rilakkuma And Kaoru with the emotion it made me feel. This is an incredibly sweet and endearing movie, but not cuteness overload it just gives you that warm loving feeling that you're seeing something simple but special. It's not trying to be something big, it's just telling a nice story with lovable characters. It's an absolute treat to watch and you can find it easily online since there's no real way to get your hands on a copy unless you live in Japan and even then it probably isn't easy. It clocks in at less than an hour and a half, and doesn't waste a second. You get these characters immediately, the scenery and environments are lovely, this animation just floored me man I just couldn't stop praising it. I can't say a bad thing about it. Simple stories can have profound effects, a story about a girl living in a small town, that is interesting and can be a good movie. Some people might just call it fluff with no substance, but I highly disagree. I am quite full of stuff and fluff, and never mind having a bit more. 4 stars, 10/10 I'd go higher if I could, I do not feel like a broken old man and for that it has my love.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Birds Of Prey (2020)

No, I'm not writing the whole title I mean can you even imagine the acronym for this movie?

I literally had no idea this movie was rated R until I was walking into the thing, it's true I don't give ratings attention much especially when it comes to comic book movies but I was kinda shocked. And I kinda felt bad about the mom who brought her 8 year old to see this, but live and learn. How was the movie? I really liked it, the title is a bit of a mislead, yes the Birds Of Prey are in it but it's more of a Harley Quinn movie with Birds Of Prey characters as the supporting cast. Now I have nothing against that at all, they handled the material quite well I believe and delivered a total popcorn flick of a comic book movie. I have great respect for that! Not every comic book movie has to be this big, grandiose, universal stakes epic it can just be a fun movie. And that's really how it was until about 11 years ago, and I have to admit I miss it. Just bring a timeless character to the big screen, Superman did it, Batman did it, Iron Man did it, the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies did it, why so serious Hollywood? What's wrong with a story about Harley breaking up with the Joker and quickly finds that almost everyone in Gotham wants her dead including Black Mask, and soon teams up with Black Canary, Huntress, GCPD officer Renee Montoya, and very Jason Todd-esque pickpocket Cassandra Cain? Nothing! It's a good but basic story, with the new characters having their moments to not only shine but have vignettes about their backstories for new audiences, slightly absurd fight scenes (I swear Harley is a secret grandmaster of geometry), colorful visuals, and a good sense of humor. I enjoyed it a lot, and genuinely hope it does very well in theaters. I thought the characters were handled very well, they don't tell you every detail of their character but they don't need to, you get a quick sense of who they are and how they operate. Of course Margot Robbie is an absolute dream and reminds everyone why they fell in love with her performance in the first place, she just encompasses every Harley Quinn since her inception. I actually really like the fact they upped Montoya's age, from young detective at the GCPD to a more mature, weathered, and no nonsense detective with Rosie Perez really making the part her own. Huntress gets her original backstory so sorry Bruce X Selina shippers, and though I felt the acting was a bit distant and cold it kind of makes sense from a character standpoint so no points deducted from Mary. Black Canary is a friggin' ass kicker per usual and Jurnee Smollett-Bell does fine work. I found it interesting that they took Cassandra Cain, one of the most visually striking and fascinating iterations of Batgirl and made her a skilled pickpocket, I know they couldn't have done Selina Kyle at that age but the more I think about it, why not Catwoman? Selina has been a member of the group before and considering the item of interest for the movie is a diamond, that kind of fits her MO to steal it from Black Mask. Though of course not to bash Ella Jay Basco, I did enjoy her and like the weird mentor relationship thing going on with Harley. My boy Ewan McGregor is a wild ride in this movie and the movie gets a point just because of him! The movie hooked me from the Fleischer styled animated opening to end credits, it's a very fun movie, and I didn't get all uppity about the langauge too much because it's not animation and clearly not meant for kids. In fact I haven't seen this much face removal since Arkham City. I was kinda bummed out we didn't get Bud and Lou, but hey one hyena is better than no hyena's so I'll take what I can get. Final score, 4 stars, 7.5/10, definitely a thumbs up from me! Will say I'm looking forward to what comes next for our dear Harley and hope she makes it in the next Suicide Squad movie because I still stand by my opinion, it's a good movie. Seriously what the hell is with the hate? Did I miss a memo? Did the movie touch you in a bad place? It's fine, it's not great but it ain't bad either! I'm out, see you next week.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Birds Of Prey (2002)

I am downright offended this didn't get a second season.

Birds Of Prey is such a black sheep of DC, it was a very dark time for the publishing company, Batman & Robin ended their film history for 7 years (and technically didn't get good for 8), there was nothing television wise after 2001, and while the comics were still going strong if you wanted visual mediums you had to get your hands on past films. Literally the only thing DC had in 2002 was this show and the animated Justice League show on Cartoon Network. Damn. That's kind of mindblowing, but what's even more mindblowing is this show literally had it's 18th anniversary. And now if you'll excuse me I'm going to have an existential crisis now that I realize I'm a broken old man. I always knew I was going to watch this show one day and I am so dang happy I did. Stylistically it's like if you put elements of Charmed, Gotham, and Batwoman with a nice sprinkling of early 2000s culture and blended them together, and my God is it genuinely good. I was very impressed and entertained throughout this 13 episode series which you can knock out in about 9 hours, it's recognizable enough to Batman fans who are familiar with the main characters but different enough to not know where the show will go or what will happen. So it's been 7 years after Selina Kyle has been murdered, Barbara Gordon has been paralyzed by the Joker, and the Dark Knight himself has mysteriously vanished when we meet up with Barbara, Bruce and Selina's child Helena, and newcomer to Gotham Dinah as they fight crime and live their lives as the Birds Of Prey. It's a pretty good show and if you stick with it to the end you'll probably be upset there was no second season, the show had great ratings at the start but soon plummeted to where they had to wrap up and end the series with only 13 episodes. I greatly loved the cast of characters, Ashley Scott is the best Huntress to me though I've seen little adaptation of her and quite frankly swept me off my feet, Dina Meyer is the second live action Barbara Gordon (Alicia Silverstone doesn't count because she was Alfred's niece not Jim's daughter) and is the best character in the show, Rachel Skarsten fills the teen demographic very well and she grows to be a highly capable and awesome crimefighter, Shemar Moore I swear literally walked from this show to Criminal Minds the characters are that similar and he's always awesome, and Ian Abercrombie who I know best as the ol' Senate himself in The Clone Wars is genuinely a fantastic Alfred and may he rest in peace. A strange casting choice in my opinion but Mia Sara, most known for being Ferris Bueller's girlfriend, plays Harleen Quinzel and I feel....conflicted about her. All the character interactions are great, you feel a true sense of baggage and history to these characters, but with Harley I can't make heads or tails of what she is. Now here's the thing, she's not the Harley we know, she's a psychiatrist bent on ruling Gotham, she dated the Joker but we never see her in costume, and absolutely no one knows that she is a villain. So...did she not do crimes with him or anything? It's so bizarre, and it kinda bugs me how they handled her, it's just not what you would consider Harley Quinn. Do I still like what they did with her? Actually yeah. This show takes liberties and does things it's own way, but it never seems stupid or out of place in the mythos of Batman. Now granted there's some early 2000s cheese to this with totally cutting edge CG transitions of Gotham, the fight scenes are simultaneously absurd yet totally kick ass, the soundtrack screams of the time period, and the production seems very akin to shows like Buffy or Charmed. You can tell this was a lower budget show because the sets are very closed in and used frequently, and transitions and certain shots are repeated throughout the entire series. You could honestly make a drinking game out of it that's how often it occurs. But honestly I didn't mind at all as I kept watching the series, I noticed it but I accepted it. What surprised me is how the very early episodes use elements of previous Batman media, the batsuit you see is the Val Kilmer batsuit, you hear Mark Hamill's voice dubbed over an actor, you hear the opening notes of Mask Of The Phantasm's theme and even slight hints of Danny Elfman's music. But as the show goes on it forms it's own identity and niches, which I greatly appreciate. I really and truthfully had no idea what the show was going to do or how it was going to end, and the actor's really sold me on seeing these classic kickass women of Gotham being a bit more mature and trying to have lives outside of the crimefighting business. I was completely losing my damn mind by the last episode and couldn't believe how the story was going, I loved it guys. God help me I loved it so. It's so different to the DC shows we have now and the style is worlds apart from where we are now, but I still strongly recommend this series and I'm just gonna say it, the new Birds Of Prey movie has some stiff competition when it comes to the treatment of these characters (except for Harley because Margot Robbie is f***ing royalty). It's a bit cheesy and dated, but when you focus on the important things which are the characters and their dynamic with each other you actually get a pretty damn good show that I'm honestly pissed that there's no second season. DC if you have the opportunity to bring these amazing ladies back in a revamped continuation of the series, I'll be there every week watching it. 7.5/10, 4 stars check it out!

Monday, February 3, 2020

Batman And Harley Quinn

Before I start this review I would just like to say, what the f*** was that??

Okay I'm gonna level with you, I really really, let me say that one more time, REALLY did not think this was going to be good. I saw the trailer for this and it looked like hot garbage, and I was half correct. At some points I was very much enjoying this little animated feature but other times I just rolled my eyes and wanted it to end prematurely. I know my history with the DC animated movies is peppered at best, but I just really haven't strongly agreed with the way they do things. Now am I saying they can't make something incredibly interesting and entertaining? Of course not. But this is the prime example of what I would call a hot mess. But what's the story for this oddball cartoon? Well Poison Ivy and the Floronic Man are creating a special serum to transform all fleshy creatures into plant hybrids, with Batman and Nightwing getting the help of Harley Quinn for some weird ass reason to stop them. Now the idea of a Batman/Harley Quinn story could be incredibly interesting if used properly, and indeed the character interactions for the most part are handled very well and even the humor hit more than missed, but...whew, when they strike out they strike out. So let's talk about the good stuff first. The cast is actually really damn good, of course we have Kevin Conroy as Batman and gives his stamp of quality, I did give Melissa Rauch some good grief over her voice the first time I heard it but she won me over quick as Harley and din't bother me at all, Paget Brewster I think is one of the best voices of Ivy in the past decade, and Loren Lester is a bit of fun as Nightwing. The animation style is a dream, bringing back The New Batman Adventures sleek and modernized character designs with classic additions from The Animated Series throughout, it was a joy to see that gorgeous car again some 15 years later. And I won't dare even spoil how Harley turns Ivy off this evil plan, but it is so goddang funny I could barely breathe. Again, the character interactions are done well and do still feel like your watching an extension of The Animated Series, and the humor struck more than missed for me. However! On the flip side some of the character interactions wanted me to bleach my eyeballs and bash my head in with a meat tenderizer. And when the humor fails it's almost uncomfortably bad, but I find it only fails when they force a stupid joke instead of it just being humorous dialogue between characters with a history. It's ridiculously short, barely clocking in past one hour so it keeps the momentum and pace incredibly quick and never once does it get dull. It's just such a mixed bag, and a hot mess to boot. I just really hate how they try to shove so much adult stuff in there, like I swear to the celestial beings if I took a shot every time I saw Harley Quinn's ass I'd be pretty hammered. The language isn't that big a problem for me but sometimes it does feel like a lot. I thought the point of animation was to market your product to every age group possible not just "adult" angsty teens who love to hear cuss words. Which is why I'm really super hesitant to watch that animated Harley Quinn series, it's embarassing. We don't watch animated films for sexual situations and adult language, we watch them to see good animation, and really good characters. Now we did get that in this movie but it is bogged down just a teeny tiny little bit with the other stuff. Did I still nerd out over the throwback aesthetic and easter egss, oh hell yeah. Would I probably watch it again, hell no but I walked away with a mostly positive experience anyway. Personally, I would say just watch a few clips of it on YouTube and call it a day. 3 stars, 6.5/10, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be but I still had issues and unfortunately I'm out of tissues. I am also severely dissapointed in you if you thought that was a dirty joke.

Next time, a short lived series that may have something to it.