Now this took a bit of time to work out, and I can strongly say I feel this is the right decision. With the huge impact this month is taking on me, several films being pushed months back, work hours being cut, this whole social distancing thing closing what little time I actually get out of the house, I do truly feel I need to take some time off. Now I'm perfectly fine, healthy as possible, nothing bad has happened. But I am thinking logically of this, usually I take my break in September when no new movies have come out and I can plan for the only constant in this ever shifting review schedule, October, and square away a schedule leading into the new year, but with this utter and complete train wreck of a month I feel some time needs to be taken off to plan a solid form of action. Now I'm not taking the whole month off, I'll be gone for about 3 weeks and be right back at it on my birthday week showcasing the movies of my favorite childhood actor Jim Carrey. That gives me time to figure out new release schedules for movies, plan a schedule for the reviews, and review some backlog material that can be posted for months to come. In fact, with this course of action I will have not one but two big surprises for you coming this fall which will more than make up for this lost upcoming month. So I'm sorry I couldn't wheel and deal for a full month but new shit has come to light and steps have to be taken to help keep this going. 3 odd weeks and I'll have schedules for May and June, probably even July, plus the off time to square away stuff and get some reviews said and done just waiting to be posted. Which gives me more time to plan later on for the big events coming before and after October and I can't wait to share it with you. I definitely appreciate you and hope this won't bum you out but just know I'll be working regardless and getting out more stuff for the rest of the year. With a heavy heart I step away from this as I normally do every year. And on that bombshell it is time to leave, thank you so much for joining me, good night.
Monday, March 30, 2020
Thursday, March 26, 2020
This was goooood! Oh it was so good!
I am serious man if I had to rank my favorite animated DC movies this is top 5 if not even top 3, no joke this was an amazing movie. Top 3 favorite DC animated movies goes as follows, The Dark Knight Returns, Batman Mask Of The Phantasm, Superman Red Son, and I can't even believe the lukewarm reception this little feature has gotten, with most scores being an average of 3/5 or 6/10. Whaaaat?? This is 8/10 if not 9/10 material, I friggin' loved this movie it is so damn awesome! Which is funny because while I never had an issue with the idea of an elseworlds Superman story about him growing up in the Soviet Union instead of the States, it didn't sound that terribly interesting. So if the book is anything like this I'm reading it immediately! It is a fascinating concept, what if not only Superman was russian but also Batman and even Wonder Woman has strong ties to Russia? And I greatly enjoy how the film handles it, it doesn't spend an indiscriminate amount of time with Superman as an adult, we go through the history of the USSR from 1946 to 1983 experiencing several aspects of the Cold War throughout from Stalin, to the Berlin Wall, to Lex Luthor being elected President after Kennedy is assassinated, and it all works so incredibly well. I had zero complaints through the whole movie, no edgy adult humor or unnecessary swear words just a great story being told. And I can actually roll with everything the movie throws at me because it's an elseworlds story, yeah I can see Lois Lane marry Lex Luthor, I can see Jimmy Olson being a G-man for the government, I can totally buy we get Wonder Woman, Brainiac, and the Green Lantern's in the same story, and it never once feels crowded or rushed. For a movie barely under 90 minutes, it takes it's time to flesh out this reality and make it incredibly believable, I was having a grand time enjoying the story, picking out more references than you can shake a stick at, being surprised and even kind of emotionally connected to certain scenes. The cast is amazing with my man Jason Isaacs being a pretty grand Superman in my eyes, and I appreciate the fact that he still has the same morals as our Superman but bent ever so slightly to fit his growth in a totally different society. Vanessa Marshall is still a queen and I just love that they made Wonder Woman an ambassador again, on good terms with the two largest superpowers in the world and only wants peace, Gail Simone would be proud. Diedrich Bader is a great Lex Luthor, so very different from more popular iterations of the character but still the Lex we love to see and I just love that we have ginger Lex Luthor, a fact which most people never knew about the character. You get the real sense that the writers knew Superman backwords, forwards, inside and out not just simply on a character basis but the lore basis, you see bits from comics, from the Christopher Reeve movies, from the animated series, it's kind of a love letter to hardcore Superman fans. The only reason this does not get a perfect 10/10 is simply because while I liked the idea of a cloned Superman to fight for the americans it did come from out of nowhere and the title they gave him is...wow. Like a colossal unimaginative wow. And he's only there for a handful of scenes so it was a bit superflous but certainly not bad. I could not recommemd this higher if you are a comic book fan, a Superman fan, or just greatly enjoy different takes on classic stories. 4 stars, a very high 9/10 and if I did decimal points on a regular basis it gets a 9.5/10, this is a fantastic movie and well worth buying without a doubt.
What will come next week? Even I'm not too sure but rest assured the show will continue on as usual.
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Holy hot damn. I'd never thought I'd see the day. 5 years, 5 amazing years. I can scarcely believe it! I'll freely admit I had no idea how long this was going to go, I was hoping for a long time, at least one decade but was hoping to make it at least 5 years.
622 reviews written, from Birdman to Jojo Rabbit. And I would like to share the numbers with you on this huge moment, not to gloat but to share how much this little passion project that pays me pennies a month has meant to me. 84 reviews written in 2015, when it was just something I wanted to do but wasn't quite sure how to properly do it. 106 reviews written in 2016, when I was getting used to it and started reviewing movies in theaters. 119 reviews in 2017 when I began to solidify my own stream of concious style of reviews while still going on my tangents and rants. 135 reviews in 2018, breaking my highest new movie reviews record with 30 in theater reviews and still going strong. An all time high of 142 reviews written just last year, a number which I'm not sure I can top this year or like...ever. And currently 37 reviews as of March 25th 2020. And if you've been there at all in those past 5 years, whether from the proto-years or just have stuck around for the past month or so, I really and truly have to say thank you. I may not get to be a well known critic and that's fine by me, I don't do this to be famous or rich or influential, nor will I ever. I just like talking about movies and sharing my thoughts and experiences. I know I'm a very counter culture beast, with my fair share of unpopular opinions but when movies are good I have to praise them. Hell if I helped somebody from not seeing a bad movie and they took a recommendation of mine and liked a movie which I thought was good, that's all I ever want or need in life. You know, I'm not a very talkative person, I'm a much better listener than anything, I'm bad with names and sometimes faces, I forget things so easily when I don't mean to, I've lost track of the movies and shows I've talked about on numerous occasions, I've come to realize opinions can change and looking at things in retrospect can be handy. And while it's not always easy to talk about, I am on the spectrum, I am autistic, I always tell people I'm good at two things: Talking about movies, and giving my opinion, which is kinda true. I go through volleys of jobs and positions because no place has ever really fit me as an individual, who I am in my heart of hearts, not because of cruel or malicious people or demanding work habits but because I do things in my own way and I speak my mind. This is the only real place I can be myself, and feel very comfortable just doing what I love to do and what I can do. I feel that the world does need film critics, or movie critics, or whatever you want to call them quite possibly more than any other medium though I appreciate all forms of art with great respect and admiration. Simply because movies are everywhere, everybody goes to the movies, everybody wants to watch movies, and I feel that you shouldn't have to waste precious hours of your life on something you won't like. When it comes to either time or money, time wins every single way. Do you have to agree with me? God no. Should you always take my recommendations? Of course not. You be you, but if I got you to see something you might not have at first glance or maybe just talked about a movie that you really love and can agree on my opinions, then that means the world to me. It's not a profession that needs to exist or be filled, but it's a profession that certain people gravitate toward and simply want to do. And I was hesitant at first, not sure how to even begin or if I should do it at all. But I got news for you, I would not want my life to go any other way. And I highly encourage people to do their passion project even if for no other reason than just to do it, whether it's art, science, history, politics, mechanics, whatever. Just see where it takes you. I've invested hundreds of dollars and no doubt months of my life just to watch a movie or a show and tell you about it. Do I regret it? Never. And before I wanted to go I just wanted to say you are fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. And do you know what? So am I.
Well I feel like an ass for not seeing this earlier.
When I saw the trailers for this I knew one day I was going to see it, if for no other reason than just to see what Taika Waititi would do with this material. And I can safely say I'm not disappointed at all, Jojo Rabbit is a pretty dang good movie! It's not so heavy on the comedy that there isn't any emotional or quiet moments, believe me there is, but it's also not so heavy on drama that you can't get a chuckle out of it. I really have no idea how he can blend comedy and drama so well, but the juxtaposition is felt throughout. Just the basic idea of a young boy just 10 years of age who is a fanatic for nazi Germany and even has an imaginary friend of Adolf, who is very much confronted about his beliefs by a young jewish girl is interesting cinema and grabs your attention in a death grip almost from start to finish. It genuinely is very funny, the film almost deconstructs nazism during that time during the waning months of World War 2, not exactly picking the holes of the ideology but just the individuals who participate in it. I mean the writing is really good stuff, complete class but without these specific performances I don't think it would have had that strong an impact. Roman Griffin Davis is a great lead despite his age, simultaneously capturing that patriotic spirit of Germany at that time and yet you can clearly see it's not blind faith and that he doesn't agree with everything that they do. It's really something special. Taika Waititi being a very colorful, random, and bizzare imaginary Adolf Hitler has great moments that made me laugh and you can tell he's having fun just being a parody of this man and the fact he himself is of jewish descent makes it that much better. Scarlett Johansson is off her rocker in this movie, she is so odd and yet incredibly endearing and amazing, I mean you know I loved her. Sam Rockwell playing a degraded natzi who isn't near the war effort is as funny as it thinks, this guy is a bit camp, totally non-serious, and kind of is fun to watch no matter what scene he's in. But Thomasin McKenzie just nails it, I daresay she's the best written character in the movie as Elsa and the acting is amazing, you kinda think the relationship between Jojo and Elsa would be more akin to say, The Boy In The Striped Pajamas where they meet and become friends only for the tragedy of war and evil to rip them apart. Far from it actually, they don't get along, they bicker and call each other names, they really get under each other's skin and you can see she enjoys spinning tales for this kid that she can't stand, it's a very conflicted relationship as you think it would be and it takes almost the whole movie for them to put aside their differences. Which is I something I really like, it would have been easy to make them friends and not confront the stigmas of the time period but they didn't do that. I will say the movie hit me and it hit me friggin' hard man, mainly because I had no idea it was coming and when it did it was like someone threw daggers into me, I was shocked incredibly so, I suspected something bad would happen but not really sure what. And while the movie ended on a very upbeat note, I couldn't help but think what would come next for Jojo after all the war ended and the nazi's as one newspaper headliner once put it "call it quits", it reminded me a bit of Grave Of The Fireflies with the young boy just fuming that Japan surrendered despite the cataclysmic horrors that befell the country before that decision. It just really makes you think about that turbulent time for the world, and how much we've moved on since then and I can't really recall a war movie did that for me. This was a great movie, an easy 4 stars, 8/10, I highly recommend this movie and we got one more before the week is out.
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Well Rian I sorta liked it.
Now as just an entertaining little mystery movie I think this film does a good job, I don't think it's trying to be this great crime movie and just wants to be entertaining for 2 hours. And I can safely say I was very much entertained, I had a great time with this movie! The star power worked though even I was shocked how little time anyone got besides Ana de Armas and Daniel Craig, but they all have their individual moments to shine. I felt the mystery aspect was very involved and while you don't exactly need a pen and paper for it, it did take me awhile to learn names but that's because I forget things easily. It's your standard mystery fare, somebody finds the body of a very rich man in his mansion soon after a party, which soon leads to everyone becoming a suspect and a renowned detective tries to crack the case. This is very much a tribute to the movie Clue, which if you've read my review on it is one of my favorite movies but it by no means is a rehash of it, it does it's own thing and in it's own style which works very well. Rian both wrote and directed this movie, and I'll be honest I was totally running with everything and throwing my own theories and statements out which shows that he knows how to do engaging and interesting stories but there was one part....it was the smallest thing but it was the dumbest thing I've seen in a movie for a long time. Trust me, you'll know it when you see it and it made me utter one of my personal favorite quotes, "There's suspension of disbelief and then there's insulting my f***ing intelligence.". Yeah. I just, hwhat the french toast? But beyond that major/minor point, it was a good movie! I'm not sure what accent I like Daniel Craig doing more, the one in Knives Out or Logan Lucky, but he was easily my favorite character. Though Ana de Armas was incredibly likable and great too, very much the normal person in this cast of eccentrics. It's definitely worth a rental, the overall construction of plot works and not just with the reveals, it's a movie that encourages audience interaction, has good production and actors, and is worth your time to see if you can guess who did it. To be perfectly frank, I called the ending and yet still was a bit surprised. Now that's how you do it! 3 stars, 7.5/10, and I will see you tomorrow.
Sunday, March 22, 2020
You know this absolute bollocks going on with this virus I was ready to deal with long term. I didn't care about what I had to do to stay healthy but I was gonna go to the movies opening day and take that risk every damn time. Because while I have significant caution and self-preservation qualities, I wouldn't let it impede my work. And then the theaters shut down. Indefinitely. How the hell am I supposed to review Mulan now? I was gonna do a compare and contrast on two fronts, I was going to tell you how much Beauty & The Beast is a wonderful piece of cinema and tell you how the bullf*** remake was completely unnecessary and beyond terrible, quickly followed by doing the same for Mulan except with hopefully better outcomes in the remake department. Not anymore. I got nothing for this week and I have a plan for April but I feel it will be an almost impossible task with the time I have and the resources I have, meaning I need to scrap it (for now) and desperately try to garner material for the majority of next month. I'm not saying if the theaters didn't close in my town it would have fixed everything like the wave of a magic wand, but it would have made at least this week easier. Thankfully there's probably quite a few movies out on Redbox that I actually haven't watched and could easily get me through this week, but April is looking f***ing grim and I need a miracle to get that project going so I can give you a plethora of content for just one month. And I'm not trying to over exert myself, this was the plan all along, and it's certainly not impossible to put it on hold and do it later this year so I can plan more carefully for the coming weeks but I hate that such a severe setback has occured. So I'll sift through the Redbox and grab a few things for this week but after that it's just up in the air. Not unless the space gods are kind and get my theater opened back up before Friday, then I'll have one more week to plan and act accordingly. Stay tuned to find out, same time same channel, with this warning: the wildest is yet to come!
Friday, March 20, 2020
Holy hell that was good.
It was an interesting experience to watch Cabaret, I knew nothing about it and only heard the name mentioned in passing, so I decided on a whim to review it when I had other contenders because I wanted to know more about it. At first I found the style and direction a bit odd, but as the movie progressed I became more in tune with the movie and greatly appreciated it to the point where when the credits rolled I was thoroughly impressed. But it wasn't so much the story, or characters, or dialogue, or any singular aspect of the film, but all the elements combined as a whole. The story is really bare bones with a british writer living in 1930s Berlin with an american performer who works at a cabaret as a friendship and soon romance build between them. Now that might sound so uninteresting but when you see the film it makes sense. The best and only way I can describe it is the main characters very much live in a bubble of their own, never acknowledging the grim meathook realities of Germany at that time and living absent mindedly. Which is personified in Liza Minelli's character Sally who I totally loved but also at the same time I couldn't fully grasp her character, not in a bad way by any stretch of the imagination because the performance and writing is really good, but she seems very scatter brained and has dreams of becoming rich and an actress while having a very wild personality. It's so different but she feels like a incredibly real person, you don't know everything about the friends and people in your life, unlike in films where every bit of information is dolled out to us, there's for lack of a better word ambiguity to her just like a real world human being. Michael York is quite good too, more or less a blank slate that we see this town and these characters through his eyes but fine work regardless. I would absolutely classify this as a unconventional musical, there are a handful of songs throughout and they do reflect upon certain aspects of the plot, but every musical number is performed at the cabaret or a venue, there is no elaborate song and dance numbers on a sidewalk or a bedroom, everything you see is done diegetically in the real world. Which is not what you would normally consider a musical, and to be honest the best songs are done by Liza but the thing is, a cabaret venue is not where you go to listen to great music, outstanding vocals, or dramatic performances. It is escapist entertainment of the common kind. Which I genuinely appreciate, and the film flat out says you come to the cabaret to forget your lives and troubles and that life itself is a cabaret. That is more accurate now than back then in the 30s. Do you have any idea how much media exists today where it's just there for brief entertainment that encompasses all types of variety? That practically embodies YouTube. And the one song that isn't performed at the cabaret, Tomorrow Belongs To Me caught some heat back then because people thought it was a pro-nazi song and granted you hear this quite nice song being performed by a young boy with a really good voice only to discover he's part of the Hitler youth is kind of chilling, and that entire scene could be a microcosm of Germany at that moment of time. You just don't expect that. And that's how I would sum Cabaret up, an unexpected pleasure. Yes, it's always great fun to talk about the movies you love and enjoy but in my humble opinion the movies you walk out of with so much more than you expected, are the best movie going experiences. I thoroughly enjoyed this film and understand why it practically almost swept the Oscars in 1973, winning almost every category it was nominated for except for Best Picture and Best Script. An easy 4 stars, 8/10! A strong end to this week but what will come next? Difficult to see, always in motion is the future so join me this weekend to discuss plans of action.
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
As a musical it might not be the best, but as a film it is worthy of praise.
Based off of the stage play of the same name, Camelot went through a few trials and tribulations before it came to cinemas in 1967 but I truly believe it is a great movie. The production values are high with sets that look as real as castles that the filmmakers actually shot at in Europe, the costumes are flowing and beautiful, and the star power gives the film a good weight. For me Richard Harris is my definitive King Arthur, many a time in days gone by a good friend of mine would debate with me in my english class that Clive Owen was the best King Arthur of the screen to which I strongly disagreed and said that Sir Richard Harris was the superior version, and every viewing of this movie only strengthens my opinion. Vanessa Redgrave does quite well as Queen Guenevere and while I take issue with the character, her performance and overall acting is very good. Franco Nero might be the best Lancelot I've seen, encapsulating the character's traits as well as physique, and while his singing voice might have been dubbed the acting from him is still very strong. Now the musical numbers I must admit are more miss and less hit, with only a handful peppered throughout the course of a 3 hour film but the way the film utilizes them are where it hits it's stride, the songs summarize who the character is at that moment in time. I Wonder What The King Is Doing Tonight shows that Arthur is a very shy king, not really knowing what to do with the throne and wishes he were doing anything else in life except being a king, C'est Moi shows how highly Lancelot thinks of himself, that he can do no wrong, has never lost a battle, and boasts a very vauntage opinion of himself. How To Handle A Woman expresses Arthur's conflicted emotions about Guenevere and how he doesn't quite know how to make her happy but soon comes to the realization is to simply love her in any way regardless. Which is very odd for a musical because every single musical I have ever seen the songs are either fun fluff that really contribute nothing or it's a character singing their feels in a way to where even a child can fully comprehend how they are feeling, but here without the musical numbers the film would not be affected much. It's a very emotional and morally complex film that is interesting drama because of these characters, we don't really need the musical numbers but simply the story. And once again the plot revolves around a love triangle between our three leads but truthfully the way they handle it is simultaneously brilliant and....bizzare. I'm sorry, as much praise as I can give this film I don't quite get why Guenevere falls in love with Lancelot, it seems more like something you need to read into than the film just telling you. He shows up, they sing a song about how everyone are horny immoral slags in the month of May, they meet and sort of flirt(?), then inexplicably she starts manipulating knights to fight Lancelot to....what exactly? Prove his worth? Does she just get all hot and bothered seeing men fight over her? I have absolutely no idea. But they become a couple and a not so subtle one at that because even Arthur knows but here is where the film gets brilliant. I love, love, love, like love ×1000 the morality system this movie sets up, might for right, violence is not strength and compassion is not weakness, and that revenge is utterly worthless, this is the reason why I will always choose Richard Harris! He is a civilised man in an uncivilized time, and his character moments and his for lack of a better word ethics, is what elevates this movie for me, he knows his wife, his queen is with essentially his best friend and for a brief moment he wants vengeance but he stops and thinks about their lives, their decisions, their own personal pain and he does not wish to harm them in any way because he loves them regardless. It reminds me of when the 12th Doctor tells Clara "Do you think that I care for you so little that betraying me would make a difference?", he looks beyond his own feelings throughout the movie and only tries to do what's right for everybody, those are qualities sorely needed in people today. It's really an amazing performance and he almost singlehandedly carries the film, I could talk about it all day and still not say everything I could ever wish to say about this character. It's a very forward thinking stance for a film made in the late 60s that can still be very much applied today, hell maybe even more so. I think, no I know I'm biased a bit towards this movie, and believe it or not this is the favorite film of my one of my favorite reviewers ever, and I could not more highly recommemd you watch his show if I tried. I heard about Camelot a long time ago by Linkara a cokic book reviewer with an online show Atop The Fourth Wall, and his passion and love for that movie left quite an impact on me and made me resolve to see it for myself and I couldn't agree with him more. He gives a quite powerful and very real statement as to why Camelot is his favorite film, and how it made him a better person. Very few times have I seen such moments but they stick with me to this day when someone just stops for a minute and really just sort of, lays themselves bare and speaks their heart as well as their mind. It's something I appreciate and my love for this film has only grown since I first watched it. The ending is kind of a downer ending, you really have no idea how the story for Arthur ends, I mean it ends with a glimmer of hope but nothing fully concrete which is again very much against films of that era in Hollywood let alone musicals. Musicals are pretty cut and dry when you get right down to it in terms of story, characters, and meaning, and really the only two I have ever seen with depth and this kind of ambiguity to them (that I personally have seen of course) is Camelot and Mary Poppins. Camelot and Marry Poppins don't have basic, plain, two dimensional characters where you know everything about them and how their stories will play out, they focus more on character than just spectacle and fun but they both have their moments, they really break that mold of musicals. They gave better stories than you expected them to give. I love this film, it's by no means perfect but what it does it affects me in a strong way, and I think it deserves more appreciation and love nowadays. 4 stars, 8/10, I am so glad I got to talk about this movie and we got one more before the end of the week. Give it a shot guys seriously.
Monday, March 16, 2020
I figure I'd throw my hat into the month of March musical madness, and look at some musicals I haven't talked about yet.
Well it's official, Phantom is now the longest running show in history, been played for almost 35 years and a special commemorative DVD was released on it's 25th anniversary which we'll look at today. Now I will say I have actually seen the show live years ago and very much loved it, yet even I can't fathom why this show has practically been god tier theatre since it's premiere. I know people say oh Phantom Of The Opera is just dramatic fluff for teenage girls and midwestern moms and while I am slightly biased with me being a major fan of the character in multiple iterations across books, films, and musicals I very much enjoy the story. We start off in the dilapidated opera house as we get some preamble and a tiny taste of mystery before things get spectacular with the unveiling of the chandelier and one of the all time most iconic and awesome musical pieces is performed as we're whisked away to the grand days of the opera populaire, and from then it follows the classic story of the love triangle between Christine Daae, the Vicomte Raoul de Chagney, and the eponymous Phantom. I love everything about it, the songs are wonderful, the acting is mighty fine, even the more hokey things like a fireball casting man in a mask is pretty damn great, big emotional ending, expertly crafted staging, the whole lot. I think it's quite safe to say this is the most popular version of the character, unless you know some hardcore movie fans who know of the Lon Chaney 1925 silent classic, this is the version everyone knows about. The 1925 film saved Gaston Leroux's story from absolute obscurity, and the stage show propelled it to a househeld name. This particular production is the most lavish I've seen of any production, fully utilizing the Royal Albert Hall and modern technology to create a seamless spectacle of music and visuals, and rightfully so with it being that special occasion. We have quite possibly the most beloved and well known actors playing the Phantom and Christine after Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman, Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess. These two are something truly special to see, both with very powerful and outstanding vocals but also very strong acting particularly in Ramin's case. He goes 150% and I love it, I can hear some people say it's a bit much but well...the book version is a drama queen of the highest level so I can accept it. Now with this being a taped event that was actually broadcasted to cinemas around the world, it's shot incredibly well and the camera always knows where to be to show the full range of the performances with the editing being spot on. The musical itself is about two hours long but it has a very special encore that lasts almost 30 minutes with the cast, original creators, and even the man himself Lord Andy to show their appreciation for the fans and their partners in show business which is actually quite sweet and you can tell they have immense love and respect for everyone who made the show possible. I know such a task as filming a live show is difficult to do and I can only imagine how the original run went, but good lord I've seen countless recordings on good old VHS camcorders of the stage show because we couldn't get a high quality official release of it, and I'm not terribly upset that it took 25 years to finally get it because I can understand why and with such a well executed production it does almost make up for it but I'm a greedy fan and always wanted a copy of my own to watch whenever. It's certainly not for everyone, I can admit the source material is flawed but musicals like I've said before are not logical, it's all about suspension of disbelief and the emotions which is the most likely reason this show is still running strong. Is it perfect? No. Is it very entertaining and engaging? Absolutely. The cast is downright amazing, the sets and costumes are extravagant but not to the point of ludicrous taste, the music.....ohh my gawd it is so good! You can say what you will about the story, but no one can deny this is masterfully crafted music in every single scene even if it's not a main big famous song. I was a total nerd for this stuff a decade ago and my love for it has certainly not waned, this is a real treat and if you've always wanted to see it but don't have a theatre production near your home that is about to do it, pick this up and enjoy yourself. I'd give it a high 9/10, what slight issue I take with this can be forgiven due to the craftsmanship and emotion of this play. Certainly a strong start to the week, but what comes next for our musical tribute? Something unexpected but a movie I've been meaning to talk about for quite some time. Until then my friend.
Thursday, March 12, 2020
Why does it get it's own review?
Well you'd honestly think that this would be the final episode of season 2 but surprisingly, this finale took about 11 months to air after the last episode of season 2. Yeah, that really raw emotional ending was how Vicious ended for 11 months for audiences in Britain. Jesus. So this is half special/half finale, all lovely. It sort of time jumps between the seasons, in Spring we see Freddie and Stuart still very much in the honeymoon phase being very kind, attentive, and content with each other before we head on over to Summer where we see Freddie having a birthday party and we get quite a few nice moments in this series before we get to the heartbreaking part, Autumn comes and Ash breaks the news that he will be moving to the States to attend university and what follows ripped my hearts out and shredded them to pieces. I mean I thought the season 2 ending was sad, this f***ed me up, Vicious broke me in less than 60 seconds and I never really recovered from it throughout the rest of the special. And yes it was like THAT scene, you know the one you've been here long enough to know. Thanks show writers, I'm not depressed at all or anything! And then we come to our final season in Winter where we see this bizzare, sometimes cruel, but always loving family celebrate Christmas together and I'm kind of really upset that Ash didn't come back for Christmas, but the show truly ends on a understated but nevertheless happy ending for Freddie and Stuart. It did kinda catch me off guard when credits rolled, but I wasn't upset or disappointed even a microscopic bit, it ended in a very sweet but very real way. I can't quite remember seeing a time when a show ended and it wasn't made a big deal out of, but this just goes quietly into that good night and I really liked that. Vicious is a special show and one full heartedly worth watching all the way through, the special gets a 10/10, I'm somewhat depressed now and yet simultaneously very happy. It's bittersweet to say the least, and if there's anything I'm weak for it's a bittersweet ending. Thank you so much for joining me, goodnight.
Wednesday, March 11, 2020
I almost fully recommend watching this season for the last scene. Season 2 is really and truly an improvement over the last and the last season got a 9/10, so think about that for a minute. I actually really appreciate what this season did, it goes from the sitcom format to more of a drama with the comedy still in it, this season put these characters in situations and places they've never been before and it is handled so incredibly well. Freddie and Stuart continue living their lives together but at the end of just the third episode we get kind of an unexpected bombshell, Freddie asks Stuart to marry him. And then the rest of the season is them just getting prepared for it, which is not only funny but I was very shocked at how many little character moments there are when if only for just a few moments these characters can have sweet and touching moments that give them so much more likability and enjoyment from the audience. It still has it's snarky humor and fun dialogue but it really pushes for this to be a much better show. I do feel it makes that full leap from a 9 to a 10/10, and I have to say the wedding was very nice. I kinda like how not a lot is made of it, it's not trying to be this television event of the decade because these two people have been together for 50 years so they don't need anything extravagant or put a lot of worry into how the wedding will turn out. They're just happy to be doing it. I wish more shows did that instead of trying to be ratings gold and make it into something more than it really is. And the final scene of the season is one of the most heartbreaking things I've seen in a predominantly comedic show, it's brutally real and doesn't pull any punches to manipulate your feelings. It's a truly human moment that countless individuals can identify with and is something everyone must one day face. The whole season was excellent, but that simple moment alone gets this to be a 10/10. There is no doubt in my mind that it deserves it, and I'm just so happy to talk about it and share it with others. When you've been doing this for almost 5 years you occasionally think of this as a job, but then there's moments like this where you can really appreciate the material you're talking about and take great pride in sharing it with other people. And I'm just so happy to show my love for this wonderful little show that quite honestly always deserves more recognition in my eyes. But this story has yet to truly end.
Tuesday, March 10, 2020
How in the living hell have I not reviewed this?
I would have put my very soul on the line that I reviewed this first season many years ago, but thankfully my soul has been gone for quite some time so no bother. This is a personal favorite of mine, introduced to me as a Christmas present simply because of the acting talent in it. Vicious is an ITV series that quickly got brought to the States through PBS which is very odd because it's not exactly family friendly, but entertaining as all hell. Starring our favorite wizard/mutant Ian McKellen as Freddie and the one Master I desperately want more of Derek Jacobi as Stuart, two aging partners living in a flat in London as they spend time with friends, family, and a newcomer to their area, a young man named Ash. It definitely fits more the sitcom style of comedy, laugh track and all but the biggest selling point is the amazing actors in it. Don't get me wrong the show is hilarious at times and never once gets dull, but it is the performances that bring such life to the dialogue. No doubt you'll recognize another familiar face with Frances de la Tour with you Harry Potter fans out there, who I simultaneously adore and yet beg to please just stop, I mean this woman is the epitome of a hot mess but I honestly wouldn't have her any other way. Ian and Derek have such excellent chemistry together, and it's that special kind of relationship where they say cruel things to each other but never ever mean it once, which in my opinion is the height of a relationship. I can't explain it, I just worship those types of relationships, I aspire to have a relationship like Freddie and Stuart in my years. Oh my God, and you better believe I am on the verge of dancing every single time this theme tune plays. I will however say you have to have a very specific type of humor for this show, otherwise you'd just be shocked at the verbal abuse these two fling back and forth at each other, but I do believe anyone can watch it and enjoy it. It kinda breaks my heart that this show only got 2 seasons, and each season is seven episodes long with about a 25 minute runtime, you could literally knock this entire show out in a single day. Because I love these characters, I love their wit, their sarcasm, their biting humor, it's an absolute joy to watch at times. Easily the best episode is the 5th one, to see Ash and his girlfriend be juxtaposed with these total nagging queens is absolute gold in my book. It's funny, because both Ian and Derek were in the same acting class years ago and had big crushes on each other and to see them play a couple is actually quite sweet. Sometimes you can play roles that fulfill dreams. It's a simple, basic, no frills show but has heart and humor to it and it didn't even take two episodes for me to fall in love with it. This of course gets 4 stars, I dare even give it a 9/10, it may not be everyone's cup of tea but I could personally watch years of this programme if I had the chance.
Friday, March 6, 2020
God this hurts to say.
I feel a bit disillusioned with Disney and Pixar lately, and Onward hasn't exactly helped. Now I am not saying this movie is bad, because it's not. The animation is quite good and can look atmospheric at times, the characters are very basic but the performances help out a bit, the story while predictable at times isn't a half bad story, and while the humor didn't get me too hard I got a good laugh at a few instances. But Onward is just sorta, ehhhh it's okay. If I'm being brutally honest, this would not make it in the top half of my favorite Pixar movies. In fact since we're doing this and I mean I am going to level with you 120%, this is not a movie you go see in theaters. This is a movie you rent, or buy bargain priced a year or two after the film is released and watch it maybe once every 4 or so years. And I wasn't expecting an amazing film, I've explained this before so don't say, well you went in with too high of expectations because it's Pixar. Far from it. I saw the trailers, it looked average but could have potential to be a really good if not great movie, but it just fell flat for me. It's not bad, it's okay. And that just sucks to say about a movie from Pixar. In fact you know when I last watched a Pixar film and absolutely loved it? Inside Out, and that was in 2015. And the Disney proper films have not been much better for me, I haven't seen every film they've released in the last decade in fact there's probably films that would reinvigorate my love for Disney movies, but it looks grim now. But Onward is a decent movie, it's not a wholly original setting but the story works, it has nice moments, the mom is easily the best character in the movie period and always held my attention when she was on screen, the animation is nice with some of the best CG hair I've seen and if you know anything about animation it's that hair is damn near impossible to look really good, I can appreciate it for what it did but as of now this was kind of a run of the mill family film for me. 3 stars, 7/10, maybe I'm talking straight out of my ass Jim Carrey style but it's how I felt. When the movie ended and credits rolled, I didn't feel much, I wasn't happy or sad or even kind of mad, it was just adequate. But believe me I'll take adequate over bad everytime. So take from it what you will, if you wanna see it by all means go, but all I'm saying is you can wait.
Wednesday, March 4, 2020
Yeah, bet you didn't see that coming.
I had the opportunity and took it, I sat down and rewatched all of series 12 after initially watching episode after episode every week because who wants to wait for the DVD release which I'm still going to buy? And let me just start by saying I told you so, set the wayback machine a few months ago, I said that the showrunners and producers wanted a very easy going and not very high stakes first series for their lady Doctor so they could gauge people, and they would hit us with the big stories later on. Turns out I was right! Series 12 is a definite improvement over the last one, though I actually did not hate it, I fully accepted it was an entirely different beast while still remaining positive and pointing out flaws. But this series immediately grabs you with a great 2 part opening that not only is a cute nod to the Bond series, but firmly sets up events for the entire series and no doubt the next one, reintroduces a new incarnation of the Master (and that's not a spoiler it happens at the end of the first dang episode), and gets you hooked to see what all will come next. I kinda feel that the writing is getting back to the Steven Moffat era, with plenty of references to past stories and carefully planted moments that get paid off throughout. Spyfall is an excellent opening, and I'm just gonna say it, gives us the best modern Master. Sacha Dhawan is spectacular, he crafts his own version but you see bits of Roger Delgado, Anthony Ainley, even bits of Eric Roberts, of course John Simm, and touches of Michelle Gomez, I just can't get enough of him. Might be my favorite part of the whole series. Granted it kinda rolls down a very steep hill after that with Orphan 55, a very blah episode that reminds me of the 7th Doctor story Paradise Towers (which I actually really enjoy) mixed with Aliens, will say however the monster design is damn good and thank the maker for practical effects, but here's a fun game: take a shot every time this old lady says the name Benni. I recommend vigorous water intake beforehand. Nikola Tesla gets a good episode that goes for an un-romanticized potrayal of both Tesla and Edison, it just tells the facts of who they really were and their ideologies while still throwing in a cousin species of the Racnoss played by a former Sarah Jane Adventures actor. Here comes the big one. I'm not gonna spoil it but Fugitive Of The Judoon works totally fine until a certain point. I understand why they showed what they showed but it does severely screw with the continuity of events, if they changed it I would have really liked it way more. Plus I was kinda hoping The Rani would appear, though I know Kate passed away a few years ago it would have been such a cool twist. And I'll fully commend the show for putting the Doctor in these very mentally draining and emotionally damaging situations, Jodie does such great work in this series and really does capture that wounded and severely hurt persona to the point where she kind of relapses into PTSD 9th Doctor territory. Praxeus was much of the same as Orphan 55, give a hoot don't pollute, got it, byeeee. Next! Can You Hear Me wasn't bad but also wasn't very good, kind of middle of the road and while I did very much love the name drops and dig that wonderful animated story sequence, it just sort of ends. In fact a handful of episodes do that, you think they're going to wrap up and give us some down time before credits roll but nope it's just over! It's very odd and I can't discern why it felt off for me, just feels like the ending was rushed. The Haunting of Villa Diodati was a great spooky bizarre ride with chilling moments and even got a scare out of me but it's really the first part of a triple feature finale. Ascension Of The Cybermen was quite good, had some off stuff here and there but I quickly got over it when seeing the new Cybermen designs. These are easily my favorite designs of the modern series, I didn't hate the Series 2 Cybermen but I didn't fall in love with the designs, I could not f***ing stand the Nightmare In Silver designs, so I finally got my own combo of retro and updated, scary, strong, badass Cybermen that I can call my favorite. And yes, I do ship Graham and his lady friend, I really want them two together. Make it happen BBC, I'll be your best friend! You make a tissue compressor toy, I'll do favors for you. And now we come to the finale. I loved it. I had no issues with it whatsoever, they did something bold and different but didn't piss away decades of lore. Now I will freely admit I read up on the lore, I read pages upon pages of Gallifrey and Time Lord history and origins, I knew it quite well with the three founding figures of Time Lord society. I read the famed Cartmel plan and originally took grievance with it but now I wouldn't have it any other way. They kept those bits intact but still told something new. It's actually worth rewatching the series I feel, cause you pick up on all the hints and moments that you get payoff for, and it goes beyond the finale just watch Sacha's performance in the season opener knowing what you know at the end of the second part, it's just awesome. The production side is not quite as cinematic as series 11 but there's still some very fine shots here and there and the effects are still strong. As I said Jodie continues to become better in the role and I really and truly wish for her to break the 3 series curse that almost every Doctor has endured before they leave. Bradley Walsh is still the best companion ever, though I still love you Wilf, he is the highlight of both series for me. I just call him King Graham now cause he is flippin' royalty (I hope you got a chuckle out of that King's Quest fans.)! Yas gets a bit of backstory and a few quite good character moments, yay! Ryan....not so much, it's kind of a trade off, Ryan got lots of moments in series 11 where Yas got hardly anything and now it's swapped. Balance in all things. Supporting cast ranges from bad to really good depending on the story, and the writing has ups and downs too. I still love it, I have had a LOT of fun watching it, yes it has a few duds but when it strikes true it's done so well. I'm gonna get hate mail over it, but I really would place this high up on my series rankings list. They did so much right, and while there were bumps I would say this was a great series. 4 stars, 8/10, cannot wait for the next special with our favorite screaming blobs in pepper pot casings, and no doubt we will see her again soon.
Monday, March 2, 2020
One more film from my collection marked off.
I needed some fun and this fipm certainly delivers. I was a huge fan of Mr. Bean when I was in my british television phase during my early teen years, that brand of silent and unconventional physical comedy has a wide appeal which this film carries more than the very americanized first movie released in the 90s. Our favorite bumbling and sometimes walking disaster Mr. Bean has won a raffle contest and is quickly in France trying to get to the French Riviera but quickly gets sidetracked when a young boy gets seperated from his father and what could only be described as an odyssey begins. I truly feel that word fits this film so much more than an adventure, an odyssey being a long and eventful journey which certainly fits the bill here with train travels, film festivals, performing arts, and plenty of other occurences. Rowan Atkinson is on top form in this movie, honestly getting strong laughs throughout and his characterization of this odd man is what keeps the film interesting. Which is funny because you can't really describe the Mr. Bean series, it's just several setpieces around this one man who's a bit daft and childlike as he tries to overcome obstacles his way. Hell I think the first episode of that show was him just trying to take a test and it is really funny. So you would think that putting that format on film wouldn't really work but it flows almost flawlessly, and since the movie doesn't even run for a full 90 minutes it's a short and sweet fun ride that really could be viewed and enjoyed by anyone. Now have we seen film's like this? Absolutely. But it does have this charm to it that doesn't make you want to stop watching, it has enough variety to where you won't really know what's coming next but even the bits we have seen are still really funny. The supporting cast though minimal does fine work with particular love going to Emma de Caunes, she is downright lovely and I enjoyed every second of her on screen. The more I think about it the film is practically a foreign film, and not simply just because it stars a british character. You see quite a bit of France beyond Paris, hardly any person speaks english, there is a strong need for subtitles, you get some elements of the culture. You know what it's like? It's like if you took a silent film, a foreign film, and mixed in bits of a found footage film. Yeah surprisingly, there is a bit of footage shot entirely on a real camcorder and not even slightly tampered with, we see it from the lcd screen perspective and it's sprinkled all through the movie. This was quite a while before that type of movie got big, friggin' Cloverfield wasn't even out yet so Mr. Bean's Holiday kinda did it first. And despite being made in 2007 it still holds pretty good with nothing terribly dated beyond the cell phones of the time and a certain popular song around that time which I have to admit I was fully grooving to. It's just a fun little movie that has kind of been under the radar for over a decade, and you know I'm an advocate for giving lesser known films more attention and love. This easily gets 4 stars from me, 7.5/10, I had a wonderful time and really hope you do too. And by all means give the show a whirl, Richard Curtis of Blackadder fame worked on it and it's definitely worth your time.
Next time, something you might not have expected quite so soon.