Friday, May 29, 2020


Good old fashioned 90s anime, it's a hard thing to beat.

This easily the weirdest show this week but I promise if you stick with it you will find an amazing show. It very much mixes genres, with more of an emphasis on westerns mixed with a bit of sci-fi, as we follow two insurance workers Meryll Stryfe (Guess which actress that name sounds like.) and Millie, or as my favorite anime reviewer so hilariously put it, "Giant Jennifer Aniston and regular sized Courteney Cox", on the hunt for an infamous criminal known as Vash. Through consecutive episodes they come to realize the man who has a price on his head of 60 billion dollars is actually the bumbling weird guy they keep bumping into, and they start travelling the desolate, almost Tatooine style planet named Gunsmoke. Yes, like the TV show. They encounter mercenaries, robots, and other weirdos throughout until a personal conflict from Vash's past steps into center stage. What really struck me about this show is that, you don't know anything about the environment the show is set in from the beginning but as the episodes go on you pick up on important details. Humanity has taken to space and starts colonizing worlds, it's so far in the future they use Star Trek style stardates, there are robots and cyborgs abound, but near the end you really start getting the heavy information. And I mean, heavy. Important pieces of information that just sock you right in the face emotionally, and ends on a very impactful note. Needless to say, when I first watched this all the way through I was stunned. And the same goes for the characters, you get a quick handle on who Meryll and Millie are, but with Vash you can tell there's so much more to him than he lets on and it gives you more and more depth to him as the show goes on. You find he's very pacifistic and refuses to kill people which grows more mystery as to how he got his nickname the Humanoid Typhoon, and there's even more beyond that which you want to learn. It's a wild and weird show to be sure, but a very gratifying and interesting watch even on multiple viewings. The animation you can immediately tell is at a time when computers barely had a thing to do with animation. The shading, lines, and coloring are excellent with it not looking super clean and pretty. Which honestly makes sense when you see the world of the show and it's style, but it was just how animation was done regardless of where it came from. I'm actually a much bigger fan of this style of anime, when you know and can tell this was all hand drawn and animated, you have such a strong respect and appreciation for the show creators. Now am I saying anything after 2002 is lazy because they use computers and doesn't look as good as this? Don't be ridiculous. It's just something I like more. Plus it has one of the most hardcore opening intro songs in animation history, I downright challenge you not to headbang to it. It starts out as a fun and charming adventure series but grows darker and heavier to the bitter end. A true classic to many and for plenty of good reason. 4 stars, 8/10! This was a great week to talk about such amazing shows and I genuinely hope you give them a try. We may make you a fan just yet. Back to regular movies next week, see you then!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Samurai Champloo

I'm a complete dumbass for not reviewing this earlier.

Samurai Champloo is such an interesting show with an interesting fanbase on top of that. The show is grounded yet stylized, it's classic but also modern, it's this weird mish-mash of completely different genres and yet inexplicably works. The story takes place in the Edo period of Japan around the early to mid 1800s, where we meet a young girl named Fuu who works at a teahouse when she meets two skilled swordsmen Mugen and Jin and quickly enlists their help to find a mysterious samurai from Fuu's past. That's the basic story but what's fascinating about this show is, certain episodes have a story we've seen before. There's a criminal who steals but only to help his sick mother, there's a woman who is enslaved to work at a brothel and has a heart of gold, there's a sports game with high stakes, very stereotypical stories that we have seen time and time again yet they still hold your interest entirely. I can pinpoint this to two core aspects, the style and the characters. The style is very realistic, there's nothing too weird and out there (for the most part) but the show does take liberties with movements and designs because well, it's animation. The fact that they mix the samurai genre with modern hip-hop culture and music should tell you everything about the mood of the show, personified expertly in the opening titles, but also found in a medley of different characters including Mugen. So when you see these stories being told it's still visually interesting with how they tell it. And the characters is what makes the show, we only have 3 main characters and only technically one side character who even then sporadically appears. We have Fuu who is young, energetic, feisty, and is extremely kind and considerate. Mugen who is very tough, very abbrasive, a wise ass, your typical rough and tough kind of dude. Then we have Jin who is easily my favorite of the bunch, very much fits the profile of a samurai, doesn't say much, has intelligence, doesn't go looking for a fight but has no problem ending one, kind of stoic but has his own charm and humor. The three have such a good dynamic, with Mugen and Jin clashing swords often with Fuu trying to be the mediary, they make a great team. It's because of the characters that you stick around even when you've seen this type of story play out, you wonder how they will fit into these positions and how they will react. What is Mugen going to do in a baseball game? What is Jin going to see in a woman who works in a brothel? How will Fuu help a thief to heal his mother? That's the part they focus on and it pays off in aces. The action is spectacular too, you get plenty of hack and slash scenes which combined with the animation is infinitely awesome and even holds great tension near the end of the series. There's so much I want to say about the show to the point I know I'm going to forget something so let's do a little lightning round here. The music is spectacular, even if you don't watch the show look up the two soundtracks on YouTube. The animation style is rich, gorgeous, and stark with strong lines and supremely fluid motion. The clashing of personalities and fighting styles between Mugen and Jin are worthy of a show all by itself. The ending is emotional and honestly made me stress out a bit. It's 26 episodes long and I wish it was so much longer. If I'm going to go full on nerd which, hi how are you welcome to the show, I'm going to, I desperately want to get my hands on Ghost Of Tsushima so I can just play out my samurai fantasies to the max limit as a tribute to this show. This is such an amazing show, it has attracted fans from all different walks of life even ones who aren't that big a fan of hip-hop or rap or whatever the hell kids call it nowadays. I will say it is for older teens I mean it was showcased on Adult Swim for a reason back in 2004. I was 9 and probably...shouldn't have been watching Adult Swim but I was part of the cool kid's club and dang it I'm proud of that. 4 stars, 8.5/10, give it a shot and groove to the tunes.

Now comes the part where I plug my obligatory Facebook page and Twitter page, just search the site name and you'll find me to get updated on new reviews and to see the absurd backlog of reviews I've written. See you guys Friday for a throwback 90s anime.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Lucky Star

It has just now occured to me that while I have reviewed tons of anime movies, the television series avenue is sparse at best. So I shall attempt to remedy that with three whole anime series reviews this week.

10/10, go watch it.

What's that? The review is too short? Alright fine. Lucky Star was a beloved and popular manga that originally began in 2007 and still is going strong, and in that same year an animated series was made based on it. The story is incredibly loose, following four high school girls as they discuss random topics, poke fun at each other, and generally just live their day to day lives. In short, it's perfect. I have a lot of favorite shows, shows I have watched time and again whether it be animated or live action and even then I have the slightest of issues with them. Not this show. There is nothing but pure and concentrated joy and happiness when I watch this show. In fact, if I'm being brutally honest....I've seen this show more than any other anime. Combined. Literally I have rewatched the show all the way through more than 10 times, Cowboy Bebop hasn't done that for me, Ghost In The Shell hasn't done that for me, Dragonball Z hasn't done that for me, but this show has. It is utterly fascinating trying to decode why I love the show that much, the animation is simplistic yet detailed with bright rich colors and almost watercolor backgrounds, the voice cast is nothing short of spectacular upping the cuteness factor to unbearable degrees, even the english dub doesn't westernize anything very much keeping every ounce of Japanese culture in it while just translating the dialogue so big brownie points there, and the story or what very very loosely counts as a story is incredibly endearing and no doubt hits home with countless people. We've all had discussions like these with your best friends regardless of age. Literally the first 1/3 of the the very first episode is the girls talking about how you eat certain foods and it is some of the most entertaining dialogue I've ever witnessed. And what I really love is the characters, they are so simply designed but the personality, character, and quirks shoots off the screen (because leap doesn't cut it) to the point where you can identify them beyond their extremely colorful hair. We have Konata, the living embodiment of an otaku and all around lazy butt. Sisters Kagami and Tsukasa, who are total polar opposites with Tsukasa being the soft spoken, sweet, and precious one while Kagami is more rough around the edges, has a lot of attitude, and gets easily flustered, but not like in a bad way at all, sure she gets grumpy but she's still a nice girl. And last but certainly not least Miyuki, quite possibly the most adorable character in the history of fiction, I cannot get over how frick fraking precious and sweet she is, her intelligence is over 9000, she's incredibly polite, heck even the main characters kinda crush on her, she's just a total cutie pie yumness. This show is so gosh dang, gee willickers cute I can barely stand it. How I didn't explode into a cascading shower of rainbows, glitter, and confetti is beyond my mortal comprehension. I'm not even sure if this show took years off of my life because I was laughing so much I couldn't breathe in almost every episode, or it prolonged it by several decades by inducing such laughter and unbridled exuberance and joy. It's a show literally anyone can watch, whether you are familiar with anime or not, it's a sublime piece of television. It's easily the most entertaining show I've ever seen which is odd because it is kind of the Seinfeld of anime, but I personally believe it is a loving rendition of life in all it's silliness and charm. Even I do not understand why it is so perfect, it just is and I can't get over it. 4 stars, 11/10, 105% on Rotten Tomatoes, I would be here for the next decade telling you how wonderful it is and while I don't expect everyone to love it as much as me I still strongly urge people to watch it.

Next time, a anachronistic time warp to the Edo period of Japan.

Friday, May 22, 2020


Damn it nooooo!

Ugh, I wanted it to be better! Guys I wasn't expecting Mystery Incorporated levels of quality but I had hope this would be the one theatrically released Scooby-Doo movie that would be good! It's not. It's slightly above average, I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either. I think the animation is really dang nice, it's fluid and dynamic and the colors are rich and vibrant. The cast takes time to get used to but that's because I know these characters and who voices them, but they do decent work. Even the story on paper isn't bad, Scooby and Shaggy team up with Blue Falcon and Dyno-Mutt to fight Dick Dastardly and foil his plans. That is a simple plot, that is a fun plot, it wouldn't be out of place in a Hanna-Barbera cartoon at alllll, but the humor is what really shoots this movie in the foot. Now I will say it did make me laugh occasionally, but my sweet merciful God this movie is dated and it just came out! How can a cartoon so obviously produced in 1969 be more timeless than this?? Oh by the sainted Hallow's Eve, the humor just needed more work. It's so....ugh, Minions level of humor except worse. This hurts guys, this cuts me on a deep level, I wanted this movie to be good and I had hopes it would be after seeing the trailer, but it fell flat by the dumb choices. It's like if you combined the tropes and characters of Scooby-Doo with a cookie cutter, high budget, star studded 3D animated movie. What sort of topsy turvy reality do we live in when the live action spinoff that looks like it would be hot garbage dead on arrival, is so much more entertaining, fun, and interesting? Daphne And Velma was such a different take on the world of this series, but held up due to the world building it crafted, the different but familiar characters, and surprisingly strong humor! Sure the movie got me with references to The Hex Girls, and a plethora of other Hanna-Barbera cartoons which of course I know all the names of because I'm a friggin' dork (I still wanted to see the Herculoids!), and it filled me with happiness to see these characters even as slight nods in the background, but a good movie that does not make. They don't even have a mystery to solve, we know what Dick Dastardly is up to and why he's doing it which defies everything Scooby-Doo is, yeah the characters are done as they usually are, the voice cast isn't half bad with of course major love going to Frank Welker but also Jason Isaacs (I just love that guy so much), I dig the animation designs, it just seems like all the pieces were there to make a very good if not great movie. But the ball was dropped in places which forces the score to go down lower and lower. I've seen some shit in my day with Scooby-Doo, and this movie is by no means terrible but I cannot in good conscious recommemd this movie even if you are a hardcore, forever dedicated, unconditionally loving fan of Scooby-Doo such as myself. Which could harm seeing a new proper Scooby movie in the future so much. We had to wait about 15 years from Scooby-Doo 2 Monsters Unleashed to this, and now I genuinely shudder to think how long it will be until a new iteration is brought to us on the big screen. This week started off so well, and it went south in a real hurry. But nothing ever is going to stop me from loving Scooby-Doo, I have suffered through the live action movies, Return To Zombie Island, the not so good direct to video entries, and I still stick around. Why? Because I love it, it means the world to me, I couldn't quit it even if you put a gun to my head. 2.5 stars, 6/10. So instead go check out Mask Of The Blue Falcon, check out the other movies I reviewed this week, pick up the Mystery Incorporated series that's like $30 online, I'm gonna go eat some sour cream and onion chips with chocolate pudding and take a nap.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Scooby-Doo And The Legend Of The Vampire

Yeah I'd say this is the middle ground for this week.

I didn't hate Legend Of The Vampire, it's a decent little movie but it's certainly the most average of the bunch. So we meet up with the gang as they have just taken a cruise ship to Australia as they lolligag about enjoying the sights before they sporadically decide to attend a music festival at the totally not real location of Vampire Rock, where attending musicians (like discount Jimi Hendrix) have been kidnapped or scared off by a group of vampires that look like Kiss if they had a more psychedelic color palette to work off. They meet up with The Hex Girls again (Huzzah!) and quickly set about solving the mystery. What's really interesting about this movie is it's this very bizarre mix of old and new, the animation style follows the current show at that time What's New Scooby-Doo but the character designs are the 1969 classics, even the sound design is almost ripped straight from the 1969/70 episodes music and all, and it perplexes me cause this has really been the first to do that. Most if not all the other direct to video entries of this series do something original with it's production, maybe 2003 was just a sort of off year where this project got quickly pushed onto the director and producers and they had to quickly cobble it together. But it's not a shoddily made movie, the animation is quite nice, I genuinely dig the original music pieces, it's so goddang great to hear Casey Kasem again as Shaggy, the movie set a precedent with returning original characters with The Hex Girls which is a trend still felt today, I do like the movie but I don't love it. Will however say the gang does not make for very convincing musicians, not only is their look more ridiculous and just plain bad than any 80s hair band ever, but at least Velma has a kind of nice singing voice. All in all, I would only recommemd this to a hardcore fan or if it just sounds interesting enough to you, not bad but not great. 2.5 stars, 6.5/10, and we finally get to the main event with the first 3D animated Scooby-Doo film ever so join me tomorrow for Scoob!

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Scooby-Doo And The Cyber Chase

The ending of a second golden age, but certainly not the end.

I gotta say The Cyber Chase was a fun ride, it's definitely one of the more nostalgic Scooby movies but the quality is still high and it's an interesting new concept for a mystery. I will fully admit though the movie nearly rips off Tron, you see the gang are visiting a computer programmer friend at a university and soon are told of a Phantom Virus which emerged from cyber space and wreaked a bit of havoc, and soon after that they get zapped into the computer. Now they're forced to play the games and finish it if they want to make it back to the real world and promptly delete the Phantom Virus. Seriously this is Tron meets Scooby-Doo, just this time Sark/Clu enters the real world, and true there's no Lightcycles or Recognizers but come on now. But they utilize the concept, with each level of the game having a centerpiece whether it be on the moon, in prehistoric times, a fairy tale landscape, or just a retro city malt shop and all, it's interesting but kind of a shame we couldn't spend time on each level we only really get to see 4 out of 10 with the rest being in a montage but you know what, for a movie that's about an hour and fifteen minutes long I'll cut it some slack. What really bugs the living hellfire out of me in this one is the lazer that zaps the gang into cyberspace, mainly because not only did two university students create it but they are entering it for an invention exchange with the grand prize winning $250,000. Excuse me, whaaaaat?? You...made, created, engineered a device that can digitize literally anything and place it in a computer world which you can program at will and you are content with an award and a small cash reward? I would patent that and make it a trillion dollar business! I mean what in the rings of Saturn are you thinking? I know I know, it's a kid's movie that doesn't bring much real world logic into it. Duh. But I almost say the ending makes up for that major lapse in mental faculties, where the gang meets Mystery Inc. literally they meet themselves dressed as their original character designs which is pretty rad already but then they throw in a handful of classic monsters from various series in the last level. So for a hardcore fan it's a nice surprise and gives you some nostalgic memories, and it's interesting to see these new millenium designs side by side with the 1969 designs with most being very different save for Velma, which is almost identical except for a slightly shorter skirt (No complaints there, you do you honey.) but it's just a neat concept that works. You could very easily make this a bit more dark and grim for the video game characters cause even they flat out say they haven't beaten the game because if they did they'd just start right back at level one, I mean I understand they couldn't do that because of the audience age group but Christ could you imagine? The mystery aspect is significantly better since last time, okay it's not flippin' Agatha Christie but at least they tried and dropped hints throughout going from subtle to, okay we get it shut up. The animation is refined, with a lot more clean lines and vibrant colors than emphasis on shading and scratchy designs, obviously both have their place but for this high tech sci-fi edge, it works better. If memory serves this was the first time Grey Griffin voices Daphne and while my heart will forever mourn Mary Kay Bergman she does great work and has been doing it for almost 20 years so you go girl! All in all, it's a fun movie and does rank in the higher ups with the likes of Zombie Island and Witch's Ghost but like man, we've barely scratched the surface of all the Scooby-Doo movies. 3 stars, 7/10! After this it took about 2 years before another animated Scooby-Doo movie hit video and it has been significant time since I last saw it so I shall be interested to see how Legend Of The Vampire holds up so join me next time!

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Scooby-Doo And The Alien Invaders

Yeah sorry I couldn't get the Scoob review out last week, I really had no idea how I would see the movie until I already posted my Legend Of Boggy Creek review, so this is to make amends.

Boy is this movie a ride. Yet another classic in my eyes and collection, I've held onto this tape for about 20 years now, and I'm still grappling with that little fact but let's not dwell on that and get to the review. This is another strong entry for me, it's odd looking at the runtime for the Scooby-Doo movies cause 9/10 times the movie is barely over an hour long and it so did not feel like that when I was a kid. True the mystery aspect is so weak that it takes just one single clue for Velma to bust this case wide open but the appeal it has is more in the characters than the setup. So the gang is travelling through....Utah? It really doesn't state where they are but the topography screams of Wile E. Coyote to me when suddenly the van breaks down and mysterious lights are dazzling the sky leading the gang to investigate the small town and the nearby satellite dishes. Why? Because why not. I immediately have to mention the animation cause it really is pretty dang good with excellent colors and the shading works wonders, every background looks weathered, old, and used like there's actual grit on the animation cells. It looks awesome! But back to the story for a bit, pretty soon Shaggy and Scooby meet up with a hippie girl and her golden retriever and shock of all shocks, romance blooms. This is why this holds up so well for me, cause how many times have we seen Shaggy and Scooby head over heels in love? Not too often. It's such an interesting dynamic to go with and the chemistry between them goes hand in hand very easily, to the point where Shaggy is ready to settle and spend his life with this woman. That's wild man, and I was living for it just as much back then as I am now. We even get a Xanadu-esque music number and the visuals are so damn late 60s it is incredible. I'm pretty sure if you asked people what they remember most about the movie it will be the romance. But truthfully, the rest ain't bad either. I like the designs of the aliens, granted they look like broccoli heads with blood red eyes but I dig it. The locales are nice, the side characters can be fun, and the twist is kind of awesome in my eyes. But let me tell you something, I have never seen an animated Scooby-Doo movie with quite a few instances of innuendo, I mean Jesus this was a bit of an eye opener watching it all these years later. From..."positions" of characters, to dialogue, it's a bit randy! But nothing can really take away from the ending which is honestly very depressing, I mean I was bummed out by it as a kid and it nearly shattered my heart as an adult. It's a downer man, not to the point of other movies I've reviewed but plenty sad enough. I give it 4 stars, 7.5/10, well worth a watch if only just once. And by my count I only have one more Scooby-Doo movie left from this second golden age, so tune in tomorrow for Scooby-Doo And The Cyber Chase.

Friday, May 15, 2020


Sweet Jesus.

I'm speechless guys I really am. Targets is a whole different breed of horror movies, it works so well and sometimes for the most horrible reasons. Essentially the film is about an aging horror icon Byron Orlok played by Boris Karloff, as he comes to terms with where the world is at right now and that his fashion of horror is not appropriate or as potent as it was, as we see with an ideal young man of that time and place in the world commit nothing short of assassinations on innocent normal people. It's a great movie with lots of layers to enjoy, the fact that the character Boris Karloff plays is essentially himself with scenes of his films being played and all, is really meta and is such a good analogy of those shifting times in the genre of horror with a claim that is 150,000% correct by Karloff, and also how this killer is potrayed. He's a very young man, has a wife, is respectful to his elders, has an upbeat and kind demeanor, literally looks like any person you could pass in the streets, and he takes a rifle and starts shooting people. And we never know why. He just does it. know I've reviewed a lot of movies, quite a few with gunfire, and shootouts, and stuff like that, but nothing quite like how this movie does it. It reaches a point where it's not a movie anymore, you're seeing 16mm film of a man murdering people. And you might be saying, oh well there's not blood with every gunshot and the effects aren't that convincing. F*** the effects. This film got an R rating, and it wasn't for the brief glimpses of blood and there's no bad language in it, it got it because of what the film is potraying. No matter what damn movie you are watching, you can tell with the shootout scenes it's still a movie. Heat has one of the best running firefights in film history, the sound design is perfect, the action is well shot, it keeps the tension up, but you still see it as a movie. Any 80s action flick, Rambo First Blood Part 2, Predator, Death Wish 3, you can tell it's just a movie. This pushes that barrier, we see an extended scene of this guy on a fuel tank tower, with 5 different rifles, a bottle of Dr. Pepper and a sandwhich, and we watch him take potshots at motorists on a highway. There is no music, there is no sound effects save for the gunshots and a few engines, you can't hear anyone scream or react because they are so far away, you are with this guy watching him do these horrible things in almost realtime. It kind of stops feeling like a movie and I've never had that happen before. This is a horror story that is scarier than any monster, slasher, or supernatural force. Because it is far too real, this could happen tomorrow. And worse of all, it could happen in your town, where you live. I can't think of a goddamn thing more scary than that. For a Roger Corman film, this is a cut above your standard horror film and I love Roger Corman, I love Boris Karloff, and I love Targets. This is a 4 star movie, an 8/10 without a shadow of a doubt, and this was Boris Karloff's swan song to the genre and what a strong note to go out on. This is an underrated classic in my eyes, and I hope it gets more attention in the future.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

The Helter Skelter Murders

This was a very different kind of picture.

The Helter Skelter Murders was an independently produced film centering around the Manson murders, with the rare distinction that the film was being made while the trial was still going on. It's a sort of grim reality when there's a mad rush to make the first film to capitalize on a tragedy, and the Manson murders were front and center on every newspaper at that time. But to be fair, it's really not entirely the film you would expect. It's this odd mix where it's 1/3 courtroom drama, 1/3 home invasion movie, and 1/3 student film. Eventually it does lead up to the Tate murders and you figure it will be a total bloodbath for just exploitation sake but the director takes a different approach. A lot of the film is silent, and the black and white cinematography is quite honestly handled really well, with great use of shadows and one of the best examples of a film turning to color since Wizard Of Oz and don't even ask me how they achieved that. It was impressive in the 30s as much as it is impressive in the 70s. The entire climax of the film follows the events of the crime very accurately, building a lot of suspense and tension before the brutality begins. I will say you pretty much need to know the case backwards and forwards, none of the criminals or victims are named so you could honestly show this to someone who has no real knowledge of the Manson's and get their opinions on it. I'll tell you this much, it warrants that R rating big time, there is plenty of nekkid parts to almost qualify this as softcore porn and the murders did actually elicit a strong gut reaction from me. I know we could argue on the moral dilemmas of making films like these, potraying real life crimes but to what end or means, but it seems to me the director wanted to document the event and put his own style and substance to it, which does make for a memorable film. The visual style is really damn good, the soundtrack is chock full of late 60s music some of which is worth owning, it treats the material seriously and doesn't shy away from the events, and I've just never seen a movie quite like this before. You can find it totally free on the Internet Archive, a majorly helpful tool in my review history and I do recommend it if only just to see something different. 3 stars, 7/10, and I will be back next time with quite possibly the best of the lot as we see a seamless blending of fiction and reality.

Monday, May 11, 2020

The Legend Of Boggy Creek

Man it's great to finally see this.

Welcome to another week of movie reviews where this time we look at underrated cult films that deserve more attention, starting with one of the most famous examples. The Legend Of Boggy Creek is nothing short of a fascinating film, a strange mix of horror film and documentary footage centered around the real town of Fouke, Arkansas where stories are recounted by the real people who live there in that town of the strange creature that lives in the Sulphur River region. Filmed on a budget of about $100,000 the film grossed 20 million dollars in 1972 and through the years has kept a sturdy cult following through almost strictly word of mouth. The version I watched was a complete restoration done in 2018, and my God does it looks amazing. I highly praise the work done on this film, and while it still has the film grain of a 35mm film stock, the colors, the crisp focus, and the overall quality is a true treat though I have absolutely nothing against the original release. But the atmosphere that is built so deeply into the film in almost every way is complimented so well by the restoration, it gets very moody and firmly sets you in this small town. Fouke is a town of about 350 people and you get to know this little town well, spending most of it observing the gorgeous and yet slightly unsettling landscape of the bottom lands, and the movie does such a great job putting you in that time and place in the world. And I gotta say, for real town folk with zero acting experience I quite enjoyed every person we met, again it's this odd mix of real life people playing themselves in a movie that is this fiction/non-fiction film about bigfoot so really there's not much acting in the film. It presents itself as a recounting of various stories by the people tethered together by a narrator to form a cohesive story. It succeeds in my opinion, because it feels real enough with the camera footage and narration, but still feels like a movie with this guy in a fur suit that would put Peter Mayhew to shame and a few recreated stories that go on for a bit. Yet it has a strange power, you stick with it and want to know where this film is going, it doesn't perpetrate itself as a true story and that these things really happened but suggests that it possibly could be true. Hence the title of The Legend Of Boggy Creek. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, the visuals are lovely, the music is so good I truthfully have a few tracks on my phone, the story proposed is a fun spooky one, and the director did a fine job creating this vision plus the narrator might just have the best voice I've heard for this sort of thing. I am so sorry Morgan Freeman, I still love your acting but this really gets you in the right frame of mind for a movie like this. The funny thing is Fouke is pretty dang close to my hometown, only a bit more than an hour and a half drive and I'd be interested to visit there just to see how much the town has changed in the subsequent 48 years. Regardless, this is a fine movie and I give it 4 stars, 7.5/10, so check it out and I'll be back with a lesser known film about a infamous murder case also made in the 1970s.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

In Retrospect: The Rise Of Skywalker

I don't care. It's still a good movie. (PS. Full spoilers ahead.)

What do you want from me? Rise Of Skywalker is a mighty good Star Wars movie. In fact I enjoyed it much more this time around. The pacing wasn't as quick to me, I recognized parts I didn't the first time, and I got more emotional throughout the film. What's the issue here? What did this movie do to you? Cause from the reactions I've seen you could have sworn this film burned fan's homes to the ground, murdered their pets, and stole their spouse. It's laughable. Is it perfect? God no. No Star Wars movie is perfect and this is coming from the biggest nerd for this shit. The weird Goonies dagger was a bizzare but shameless mcguffin, Finn having the Force was hinted at well but I kinda needed a smidge more, yeah Hux goes out like a bitch but honestly he goes out in a much more stupid way in the original script, we needed so much more Ian McDiarmid like it wasn't even funny you teased him so you better give him a lot of screentime, but really the only real problems I have with this movie was the dagger. I enjoyed everything else and could understand everything else. The fight scenes are fun, dramatic, always visually interesting and never once got dull. The characters are so damn likable and I just want more of them after this. Seeing Finn be more comfortable in his military position and him finding he is not alone in this universe with the group of defected stormtroopers was super nice. I liked the bit of backstory Poe got and seeing him come to terms with being the leader of the Resistance was fulfilling after his arc in Last Jedi. C-3P0, Lando, and Chewie were great as always and I'm truly happy none of the heroes died off in this movie. I hear people bitch about that but would you have been really happy if Chewie died in that undignified way, would you be happy if C-3P0 forever lost his memory? No. And I can somewhat applaud the effort from the filmmakers to give that emotional push to the story. Seeing Leia again actually got me several times even with a non-emotionally charged scene, and the send off she gets and the impact her past and present actions do for the story I greatly enjoyed. Kylo's journey becomes complete from total badass Sith to redeemed hero and while my own dream ending would be to have the Empire win, the shift was believable the scene with Han I daresay is one of the best and most heartfelt moments in Star Wars history, and no I still haven't gotten over that he died but I understand why he had to. Palpatine is just as cunniving and powerful as ever with Ian McDiarmid doing such a fantastic job bridging the entire series together, Palpatine has always been the puppet master since before even Episode 1 so I dig that he created Snoke, formed the First Order, and returned in a clone body. I even can believe he had a son, you're telling me when he was appointed Supreme Chancellor he didn't have a little hey hey with someone and tried to cover it up? The timeline works so I must give credit where credit is due. Now we come to Rey, good lord almighty it's great to see her in this movie fully embracing the Jedi persona and having her own dilemmas and doubts be overcomed is great to see. And yes, I do stand by her last name choice. Sure I can completely and utterly respect her choice of being called a Skywalker cause well let's face it guys, the Skywalker family has really been her only family, Han was like her dad, Leia was not only her master but a loving mother figure, Luke was kind of a grumpy uncle but someone she could confide in and helped pull her through a dark time, it makes sense why she would honor them in that way. But I also would have liked to see her claim her rightful place as a Palpatine, yeah the Skywalker thing is a good big middle finger to your grandpappy Palpy, but I would have liked to see her prove that a last name means nothing, that you could be a Palpatine and still be a beacon of hope and goodness. I know a lot of people were upset that Rey was indeed not a nobody, but to be perfectly frank I would have enjoyed it either way, so what if she comes from an important family? So what if she doesn't? It's not about who you were but who you are as of right now. It's a strong good theme peppered throughout the film. I still get goosebumps seeing her yellow lightsaber, because if I was ever a Jedi (God help me if I do) my color would be yellow so to finally see it on the big screen is a big deal for me. I just absolutely loved this movie, and still stand by my ranking. I still fully concede this is for more hardcore Star Wars fans, I can see normal movie going people having several questions and concerns about the information given in the film which is fine, I totally get it. It's partly reason why I strangely love debating this movie with people, "Oh it's garbage, it's an embarassment" (yeah because clearly Star Wars has never screwed up in the past), because I like exchanging of ideas and lines of thought as long as it's in a respectable and civil way. I got some heat for my Clone Wars comments but I explained why I felt that way and even some people agreed with me likewise as I agreed with them on several points. I've heard people practically shriek this is the end of Star Wars, and I have never laughed so boisterously and hard in my entire life to such statements, if anything I'm more excited for Star Wars now than ever. Because, we're done with this story. They can go in any direction possible and not have to tie it back in with the original trilogy. Sky's the limit, I have hope we'll get grand stories, fun ideas, lovely characters, and pieces of media that will forge memories forever. Star Wars is not perfect, but it's uncanny ability to make people connect and identify with this batshit crazy universe is what has kept it going, and every avenue you take in terms of the different pieces of media leads to universes unto themselves. Yeah I feel like a jackass for not reading the books until I was in college, I still have plenty of video games I would love to play and experience, the upcoming shows keep my interest peaked and the old shows never fade. But at the end of the day, Star Wars is my one and only. It is unavoidable, it is my destiny.

PSS. I highly recommend the Cinema Wins video on this, it brings up brilliant points and might change your certain point of view.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

The Clone Wars: Season 7

I'm a bit disappointed guys.

Really? R-really?? This is the last season of Clone Wars, you ended it the way that you did, the show can never come back, and this is how you handle it? Don't get me wrong the last 4 episodes are spectacular, gorgeous, outstanding, amazing, some of the best Star Wars media I have ever seen in my days. But the other 2/3 of the series? Jesus. I don't know what to say. Okay, so we pick up after season 6 with three story arcs, one focusing on a group of clones called The Bad Batch as they work with Rex and Anakin on just a standard mission with the possibility of rescuing a familiar face, one where we see what Ahsoka has been doing in the most mind numbingly worthless arc I have ever witnessed in The Clone Wars, and the final arc where events are interwoven with Revenge Of The Sith as Ahsoka faces off against Maul and fights for her survival. I'm absolutely dumbfounded at the choices presented. Granted the animation is breathtaking at times like we're talking better than Pixar level quality and you just think about that for a second! I thought the animation was pretty great from the last two seasons but this is just through the stratosphere in terms of quality. I could not dream of better animation with slight but still logical design changes to the characters. The voice acting is still excellent with all the regulars returning, with huge love to Ashley Eckstein and Dee Bradley Baker this time around. But the stories are what murders this season before my very eyes. I just....this should not be how it ends. I feel like I jumped dimensions where this is the reality where the last season of Clone Wars was just an underwhelming and mostly disappointing finale to a beloved and frankly amazing show. You know, all seasons of Clone Wars have dud episodes that you can skip, that is just the world of TV series. But I just feel like we wasted more than half of this final season on superflous stuff. I could have never watched this show weekly because I think I would have quit real early on. In fact it took me considerable time to actually get into the Bad Batch arc, for the first time ever I was actively rooting for the clones to die, they were such annoying dipshits with way too much of a 80s action hero vibe to them to the point where I was facepalming regularly. Do not lie to me or to yourself, he was Rambo. I will say I was in love with their armor, and I liked seeing Anakin and Rex one last time, and even the ending was strong. But after the second arc I was seriously becoming more appreciative of the first arc. So we get an arc with Ahsoka (Hurrah!) where we see what she's been up to since leaving the Order which consists of helping two completely f***ing useless characters from getting killed after they get roped into dealing with gangsters. Seriously, I was fuming mad at these sisters and their uncanny quality of being absolute dipshits with no substance of character or even enjoyment. It is without a shadow of a doubt the most worthless episodes I have ever seen in this show. They did nothing! All it was was to set up the vastly superior next group of episodes. We don't get hardly any interesting character development, or fun action and banter, or compelling stories! You get nothing!! You lose! Well at least we don't get some forced romance bullf***ery. But then comes the last four episodes, exceeding every expectation and reality in crafting one of the best stories in Star Wars history, with lots of character moments, compelling action, well written dialogue, and truly engrossing storytelling. So riddle me this, why was this all that we got? I really would not have much to complain about if either A.) We got more Clone Wars episodes so we can get more stories like that, or B.) If this wasn't the last season, which to be perfectly frank I was gonna call quadruple bullshit on because I had a suspicion they were going to give us one more season after this, but the story elements and how the show truly ends quickly put that theory into it's grave. This is it. This is the end. It's never coming back. I hope you enjoy that Disney+ subscription because I can gurantee you that if this was the only reason you got it, then you have mostly wasted your money. I understand that these stories were created before the show got cancelled on Cartoon Network, I understand that the 6th season was finished but premiered on Netflix and was released on video, I understand why they chose these stories. We get a focus on the clones, and the survival of a character. We get an Ahsoka arc where she's still dealing with leaving the Jedi, meets other people who kind of prove why she left, and we get some cool Jedi Fallen Order stuff with her trying to hide what she is. We have a story that caps off not only the event of the clone wars but also the show with every ounce of drama, action, and character you could squeeze out of it delivering a truly unforgettable story. But were the first two stories the best that could be told? You get to wrap up your show that you have been creating for years, you get one shot to make the biggest and best season of this show ever, and this is what you do with it? Because when you boil it down to each little story goes as follows, a no stakes, average at best, somewhat retconning arc. A worthless, almost devoid of character, complete roundabout that accomplishes nothing or says anything (seriously take a shot everytime one of these people get caught). And a spectacular weaving of both film and show, with strong characters, excellent action, and enough intrigue and excitement that does not disappoint, culminating in a final end to the series. This pains me to say but the final season of Clone Wars is average. Because what happens if you add a great and bad arc? It equals an average, and what happens when you add average with average? You get middle of the road. I can scarcely believe it. Is this how people felt with the final season of Game Of Thrones or how people felt with The Rise Of Skywalker? My love has not waned for Rise Of Skywalker but this could be the hardest slap in the face I have endured as a fan since the word "midi-chlorians", in fact I sensed something was going to be off just based on the episode count. When I heard there was only going to be 12 episodes I was nervous, how do you wrap up a show in 12 episodes? You better have crafted one of the most tightly written stories, dialogue, and action ever, akin to more like a mini-series style of writing, which they did....only in the last 1/3 of the season. How could it be that hard? You've had 4 to 5 years, 5 years since the last episode aired on Cartoon Network, 4 years since season 6 hit video, and this is all there is?? Oh my God! I know Dave Filoni was busy with Rebels but if anything that should have given him even more ideas to connect back to Clone Wars that we could see and admire, maybe not a lot but just a few bits. To be honest by my count, Filoni only wrote the last 4 episodes which shock of all shocks were the best ones but he didn't write the others. Dave Filoni gets Star Wars, the man can create brilliant stories with everything great about Star Wars incorporated into it. So I am not hating on Dave. It just feels underwhelming when it's supposed to be a climactic end to an event that literally shaped the galaxy. Now what would I have done personally? Pretty much keep the mini-series aspect of it, kind of half and half with the second half focusing on Episode 3 with the battle over Coruscant and Order 66 happening across the galaxy and the drama coinciding with that, still keeping the Ahsoka and Maul plot of course, and the first half would be focusing on Anakin and the clones showing him and the 501st in action alongside Obi-Wan as we see the toll of the war on Anakin and how he is getting a bit more violent and dark on the battlefield as an ominous mood hangs over our heroes that we have been watching for years. Really pull on the heartstrings and infuse drama as we witness the climax and fallout of the end of the clone wars. Now I will say with nothing but sincerity and love, the actual ending was perfect, I could not have dreamed of a better ending in a 1,000 years. No dialogue, just scenery, music, and emotion. It was ridiculously good and the perfect way to showcase the end of an era. But even that cannot save this mixed bag. 2.5 stars, 6.5/10. I still very much urge people to watch it and come to your opinions because I know a lot of people really enjoyed this season, and while my feelings were in a practically nonexistent niche you just gotta do you. Next time, we revisit the rise of Palpatine, uh I mean Skywalker.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Empire Of Dreams

I'm running out of Star Wars stuff.

Literally, after season 7 of Clone Wars and an In Retrospect of The Rise Of Skywalker, that's it for Star Wars here until season 2 of The Mandalorian. I am not brave enough to watch the Ewok stuff so this is the end. But I have to say this is a fine documentary, the first I ever watched concerning my favorite movies. It only centers on the first trilogy, mainly the first film, and with a run time of 2 and a half hours the information that you get is good and seeing the formation of this franchise is entertaining, enlightening, and really puts this whole series in perspective. I am going to say this once and only once, I hate how people take Star Wars for granted. I could rant for hours about how people take this so seriously, and this is coming from a die hard Star Wars fan. This really and truly does put the entire franchise into perspective, people always assume, oh Star Wars was planned from episodes 1 to 6 immediately and never had to be revised or changed, oh Star Wars was widely accepted during production and didn't have any problems or trials to overcome, oh the special effects were done with a mass of materials to be used. No! Noooo!! Damn you a thousand times no! This might be an odd thing to say but this is a documentary that flat out tells you the truth, there is no bullshit here and they tell you how Star Wars came to be in the most un-dramatic, straightforward, and sometimes even humorous way. The "script" for Star Wars was a very basic cliffnotes version of the story we know that was radically different than what we got on screen, the production was a huge hassle that hardly anybody believed it would have even gotten half of it's money back, the special effects guys for this film are absurd with how they didn't have a single thing to work on beyond sketches and artwork and made some of the best special effects ever like friggin' EVER, the imagination and creativity they had to make this passion project a reality is nothing short of unbelievable. Like man, if one single aspect of that finished film was off....Star Wars would not be here today. It would have come and went with zero fanfare, zero fans, zero recognition. And you know, there are some unsung heroes in this that deserve recognition, Alan Ladd Jr. is the man who made Star Wars possible cause without that guy George Lucas could have never made the movie. Period. Not with the kind of budget he got. Ralph McQuarrie has been getting more recognition through the years but it was his initial paintings and artwork that got people onboard for this science fiction movie in a time where such a film would have been laughed out of every studio and theater in America. Just...I have to give props to the editors, producer, and visual effects team so much for getting this film finished. Yes George Lucas deserves huge recognition for his ideas, ambition, and the scale he wanted this movie to be but I really, truly, very much believe this film wouldn't have gotten anywhere without these people. Star Wars didn't have a road map, not really, because as time progressed ideas and concepts changed, shifted, were dropped, or improved as the scripts were being rewritten and all for the better in my opinion. In fact there is a comic series I believe it is just called The Star Wars where the original original story that George Lucas penned, design choices and all, was published and booooy is it out there. Thankfully you can find the documentary totally free on YouTube, and it is worth the time to watch. I got a little choked up seeing Carrie again, just being her ridiculous awesome self and it brought up points I knew, I never knew, I knew but then I forgot, it's absurd how much this simple story grew in now over 40 years. It's a big reason why I think people need to chill the f*** out over the sequel trilogy, it really ain't all that bad when you get right down to it. We've seen worse in this series and The Last Jedi ain't one of them examples and I'm talking everything here, not just the films. But what the hell do I know? Maybe I'll make a review in 10 years time that will start something like this: "Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker was the most disappointing thing since my son. I mean how much more could you possibly f*** up the entire finale to Star Wars? And while the prequels aren't bad on paper, the unfortunate reality is that the sequels will be around. Forever. It will never go away, it can never be undone. If you're someone under the age of 20 and say you don't remember a time when Disney didn't own Star Wars and that you thought all of them were good, then I suggest you turn this review off right now before I carefully explain how much of a f***ing idiot you are.". But as of now, I very much like the sequels, I love the original trilogy, and I of the prequels. But Star Wars is bigger than that and no doubt will entertain the world for decades to come. But take a look at the source and how it all came to be, if only to appreciate where we are now. May the Force be with you always.

Friday, May 1, 2020

The Cable Guy

This was the one man.

Can you believe that? This movie above all others was the one that nearly tanked Jim Carrey's career and nearly also Ben Stiller's directing career. It's really not that bad! I really and truly wish I could have seen this as a kid just to see if I would have loved it or not, because I have seen movies where Jim is an absurd funny man but also an actor that can do other things beyond comedy. Obviously The Truman Show comes to mind, but I saw him do a romance movie with still plenty of comedy in Yes Man, so how would this have stacked up for me? Cause for a lot of people back then, they did not like it. At all. Why is Jim Carrey weird? Why is he creepy and awkward? He's not being himself on camera. And on one hand I can see why they thought that, his catalogue of films were very similar in tone and this pushed it somewhere far out and weird, but on the other hand and this is the bad part folks, human beings are creatures of habit and we don't like things that are different. To see Jim Carrey play a cable guy that stalks/befriends a client played by Matthew Broderick, and just be a socially awkward, over the top, and kinda weird dude (which to be perfectly honest ain't much different from his other roles) threw people off. Now I personally very much enjoy this film, and I don't think I have ever said this in a review before but this movie, for lack of a better term, was ahead of it's time. How many people do you know nowadays that are like Jim Carrey in this movie? The person who is socially weird, is obsessed with old TV shows, has an odd sense of humor that only he gets, and is generally an absurd personality. Now think about how many people you knew who were like that either when you were a kid or living in the 80s or 90s. To be fair, Jim Carrey is a riot in this movie for me, I was laughing a lot and I'm not sure what this says about me as a person but I identify with this guy. I was babysitted by television, I do quote countless shows and movies just on a whim, I am a bit socially awkward granted not to this extent, but I really understood what character the writer and director was going for and watched Jim bring it to life. Matthew Broderick is a good lead, I'm always happy to see Leslie Mann in friggin' anything because that woman is an absolute treasure, Jack Black has a kinda fun role, and the supporting cast through different scenes do good work. The comedy was on a roll for me, I probably laughed more at this movie than any others this week! Hell the movie was ahead of it's time by flat out calling how the future was going to be, usually in movies or shows when people talk about or show the future they are way off, not this movie! Jim has a bit of dialogue where he talks about how television, computers, and phones will work hand in hand with the ability to watch two things at the same time, that you can do your shopping at home, and you can play Mortal Kombat with a friend halfway across the world. Damn. If that ain't serendipitous, I don't know what is. Honestly if this movie got a modern retelling, it probably would get recieved well and have a good run in theaters and on video. Jim Carrey is a versatile actor and not just in a comedy sense, which is what really aggravates the living daylights out of me because people just wanted the same shit. They wanted more dumb fun, goofy, wild haired comedy and wasn't willing to see an actor try something similar but different, cause God forbid an actor wants to break from a certain role and do something totally different and show they have further and better acting talents. Now you may be saying "Well Dude why are you so upset in this instance?", well because Jim's other movies worked! Truman Show was funny but could pull off strong drama with good characters and a great setup and got almost glowing reviews and audiences loved it, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind was way darker than this and won an Academy Award and is regarded as some of his best work. So I urge and beg people to watch this movie again and re-evaluate it, which is why I said I wish I watched it when I was younger. Would I have had the same reaction? Would it have scared me when I see Jim Carrey with glowing green eyes (Probably yes, but let's not dwell on that.)? Would I have adored it just as much as The Mask and Ace Ventura? I'll never know. But damn it, I think this is a really good movie, 4 stars, 8/10! It is well worth the time and money and I seriously hope it gets a bigger cult following and more appreciation.