Monday, February 28, 2022

Batman The Animated Series: Season 1

If series 13 of Doctor Who has taught me anything, it's to elaborate fully on my points. So from henceforth if a show deems it necessary, each review will be split into parts. This is most definitely one of those shows and the bulk of this entire series will be contained in the first season.




So, where exactly to start with Batman The Animated Series? Well apologies up front for not reviewing it sooner, given my reputation for all batmedia. I was heavily late to the party when the show was airing in it's hayday, so I strangely enough was introduced to this show not through the Cartoon Network but by one single VHS tape that I still own after all this time. Now keep in mind at such a young age I saw only Batman Forever, Batman & Robin, and Batman Returns, in that order even so my knowledge of Batman was increased tenfold watching the show as I grew up, and the Arkham games pushed it to a partial encyclopedic knowledge roughly 10 years later. The first episode I ever watched actually caps off the first season, and I'm splitting this up not how it was broadcasted but by my good old season collections on DVD, with Dreams In Darkness so we'll come to that in good time. It's almost overwhelming to get to talk about this show because I genuinely could go on for longer than anyone would read. I could easily make a 10 part retrospective on the show's history alone so I'll summarize briefly. In the gaps between the Burton and Schumacher eras plans were set for an animated Batman show that was just as much for adults as it was kids. It kickstarted in 1992 and almost singlehandedly changed the game of animated shows in the first episode. The animation, dark and stylized quite literally being drawn on black paper so every frame is seeped in shadow and black so the animation team had to know better than anyone how to work with light, color, and movement creating a whole new style dubbed dark deco by the creators. It looks good to this day with gorgeous backgrounds, sharp lines, excellent use of color and shading, I think there are videos upon videos dissecting and revelling in this unique animation style. The cast while dipping it's toes in the celebrity department is mostly made up of then not well known actors, but now my God I'd almost dare say this was one of the first shows where people really started paying attention to who was voicing what character. Kevin Conroy has cemented a legacy as the Dark Knight, the voice that has lasted generations and only has just recently stepped into live action, is THE Batman to so many people above even Michael Keaton, living and breathing the character for 30 years now. And lest we forget the clown prince of crime himself, Mark Hamill. Okay. Who.....the hell, thought when they were making this show, you know who we should consider for the archnemesis of Batman? Luke Skywalker. How? Why? What? It seems so out there, but surprise surprise he is in a league of his own, once again pretty much beating out every actor as THE Joker for so many folks, and has secured a legacy of madness that will continue for a very, very long time. 10/10! The cast alone once more could take ages to praise in turn, so I'll throw out my all time favorites a giant round of applause for voicing these villains. Richard Moll as Two-Face solidified him as my forever favorite villain of Batman's rogues gallery, Tommy Lee Jones got me on board but this man made me stick around. Henry Polic the II was the first new villain I knew in this show, introducing me to the master of fear the Scarecrow and maaan what a splendid job he did. I know this is sacrilegious but because of this show if you asked me my top 5 Batman villians even today, the Joker is #5, Mr. Freeze is #4, Riddler is #3, Scarecrow is #2, and Two-Face takes the #1 spot. He did that good a job, not really scaring me too bad but endlessly owning my attention when he was on screen. Scarecrow's episodes are always a highlight for me. Michael Ansara as Victor Fries. I gotta wait. We're gonna talk episodes later on and there will be much to say about Heart Of Ice and this character. Put a pin in that, we'll come back to that. Those were the big standouts for me this season, and I couldn't love them more, both actor and character, and no doubt more will come in the other 3 seasons. Not ever to discredit or shy away from the rest of the cast, Bob Hastings is a great Jim Gordon and was a good addition to Pat Hingle's version. Loren Lester though shockingly only in two episodes as Robin shows not the boy wonder but the Dick Grayson college student version of his character and does it well, can't wait to see more in future episodes. Efrem Zimbalist Jr. gives so much wit and humor to Alfred, and while my heart forever belongs to Michael Gough in the role, with unfathomable levels of love and admiration for both Alan Napier, Michael Caine, and Sean Pertwee's renditions, gives a strong and memorable performance. I can't point out a bad performance, even in a bit player, so onwards to music. I love it, from the opening theme, to the ending theme, to the reoccuring villain motifs, to the score for each individual episode. Shirley Walker and her team practically was 1/3 of the success of the show, giving us that dark moody and even triumphant music that accentuates the adventure. Never once does the music not give me goosebumps throughout the entire first season at one point or another, that's the power we are talking about here. Onto the fun part as we discuss what I consider to be the best episodes of the season. Obviously I have to give a shoutout to On Leather Wings the first epsiode, it has some very good animation and sets the tone for the show perfectly, and once the studio execs saw it they had a heck of a lot more faith in the show. Christmas With The Joker follows up on that and it's actually really fascinating to see the show not give a ton of buildup for these iconic characters, it does the character justice but nowadays it's almost all about the buildup to see a certain character, but it's a very fun episode and gaves us the first hit off Mark Hamill's performance and laughter. After that we have Nothing To Fear which not only introduces Scarecrow in a very good way but is the episode with the honor of having the whole I am vengeance lines, and personally has one of the most hair raising scary Batman moments, I mean sweet lord I actually recommend the episode more for that than the I am Batman part. POV is flat out another animated tribute to Akira Kurosawa this time the influence being Rashomon, and any episode with Renee Montoya is a win for me. I actually will give credit to the show for setting up Harvey Dent several times and not just introduce him when he is disfigured, showing up in the first episode, he dates Poison Ivy which is pretty wild and her introduction episode as well is a standout, but this was it man. This was the episode to cement Two-Face as my favorite, giving Harvey a split personality even before going full on villain and introduced two parters to the series, it's a terrific episode and the entire design of Two-Face is nothing short of classic. The Penguin oddly enough is introduced in one of the more kid centered episodes, of course it's a show for kids but this takes it to another level with two young children saving Batman's life and tries to hide him away from the clutches of the Penguin. It's not a terrible episode, not even a pandering or cheesy episode, but you can tell this one was for the kiddos I mean the title is I've Got Batman In My Basement for crying out loud. But boooooy do we switch gears fast with Heart Of Ice. It literally is just as good as people make it out to be, taking a one off villain from the comics and adding so much pathos and tragedy to it that it's not difficult to see why this is the episode that got this show an Emmy. Michael Ansara knocks it out of the park from line one and it just goes to show how big an impact this character made. I mean every Batman adaptation since, even Batman & Robin does his origin this way, because it has such an emotional impact, because he is such a well written villain, I mean the first season is either getting a 9 or full 10/10 but Heart Of Ice alone gets a 10/10. Then we meet Selina in The Cat And The Claw, again an absurdly good introduction to the character and nails the Batman/Catwoman dynamic effortlessly. Adrienne Barbeau is perfect casting and I like how Selina and Bruce's relationship evolves through this two parter, I genuinely love their interactions and couldn't wait to see her next episode. Now it's time to talk about Beware The Gray Ghost. Holy mother and great scott! Wow wow wow. What a perfect example of art imitating life with Adam West the Bright Knight himself, as the childhood hero of Bruce and teams up with the Batman in his older years. It's a gorgeous and loving tribute to the legend himself, and does dig into what happened after he put up the cape and cowl all those years ago. 11/10, the Gray Ghost is my hero. Feat Of Clay is a solid two parter introducing Clayface, once again introducing an element of tragedy to how he became the way he is and is a story I don't hear many people talk about but it's worth the time. Again sort of following up that case of characters showing up without much fanfare, Harley Quinn just kind of pops up in Joker's Favor, and I betcha' a million bucks no kid or adult who saw it live back then would know how much love and attention this character would get. It does reinforce how much I miss Arleen Sorkin and even I'm a bit perplexed how Harleen got so much popularity in the coming years, and we're talking long before even Margot Robbie got the part, but it's wonderful to see her all the same. Scarecrow appears once again in Fear Of Victory, get used to me shining a lot of light on his epsiodes, with a unique villain plot and once again kind of another blood rushing creepy moment that I can only imagine freaked kids out something fierce back then. An Appointment In Crime Alley is easily one of the best Batman stories to come out of this show, it introduces Leslie Thompkins and without one word of dialogue shows everything you need to know about her relationship with Bruce and it does have in my opinion one of the strongest and emotional endings to any of the episodes. Mad As A Hatter, one of my favorites when I was younger and thoroughly obsessed with Alice In Wonderland, a good introduction to a lesser known villain but made very memorable through the story. Here we go again, Scarecrow part the third with Dreams In Darkness, the first episode I ever saw of this show and man I got a lot of memories about this. I watched it a ton and it really got my imagination going at such a young age, easily the reason why I hold Scarecrow so highly. I love the story, the animation for the hallucinations, I still want that awesome pocket watch, it's another stand out for me and I'm glad to see it get a lot of appreciation. I hope there's been some videos to really delve into these episodes because what they did for animation, television, and comics cannot be understated. It's such a rich show that has so much to offer, even in an episode like The Forgotten you can still enjoy it, it's very well written, innovatively animated, and just fun to watch. I doubt it's no secret the first quarter of this show gets the full 4 stars, 10/10, and I hope that trend continues as we dig straight into season 2 tomorrow.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Cyrano

It's been a hot minute since I've seen a movie like this.




I am more concerned less of my own opinion and instead how much exposure this movie will get. This might be the most difficult sell of the year, it's a romance movie wrapped in a period piece with synchronized dancing segments and people expressing their feelings through the power of their voice. It's a musical. Not only that but it does take a super flowery, nary a drop of cynicism or pessimism, classical take on love. So the story is a love triangle between a young lady named Roxanne, a soldier named Christian, and the captain of the guard the eponymous Cyrano. Cyrano has always admired Roxanne from afar but she professes her love to Christian in true love at first sight fashion, and she orders Cyrano to look after him and to make him write her letters. But our Christian has no merit with words so Cyrano writes for him. Basic romance stuff, but done I felt very very well. Maybe it's just the theater kid in me but I was rolling with this movie incredibly well. The setting in France with the buildings, fashion, and cinematography look expertly crafted and beautiful to boot. I thought our main cast of players did a cracking good job with the material juggling drama, romance, and even a good bit of comedy in it and I have to admit the singing was pretty good as well. I didn't really know Peter Dinklage could sing but I was happily surprised and thought he did quite well, but Haley Bennett was the shining star in terms of vocals. Again, my opinion means little because of the particular movie it is. Musicals are hard sellers, but the sheer fact that in 2022 a movie comes along with musical numbers, theatrical drama, and truly old fashioned stances on romance is something that I must admire. Not many people would direct and star in such motion pictures, but they did it adamantly and sincerely. For that it has my respect. And shocker I with great ease was pulling Phantom connections, the most prominent one was a chinese iteration of the Phantom called Song At Midnight, where a similar plot development occurs. A "disfigured" man adores a woman from afar and uses a handsome man to speak through to win her affection, it's almost beat for beat. But honestly, Cyrano is a movie with ample heart, great craftsmanship, and no doubt will have a strong fanbase with drama and theater going folk. I dare even say it could fish an Oscar next year. 4 stars, 8/10.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Studio 666

I'm not sure if I can give it a 10/10 but I want to.



When I first heard the Foo Fighters were making a horror comedy movie I was all onboard and knew it was going to be good. Turns out it was better. Yes a movie harboring so close on parody yet still giving the creepy visuals and hilarious dialogue done entirely by people who are musicians first and actors second worked a lot for me. So the story goes in producing their 10th album Dave and the band move into a swanky house that has some dark rock history behind it, as more weird and eerie stuff keeps happening leading to Dave being possesed and offing his band mates. Poor Dave, he just can't stop being a hellish demon, first Tenacious D now this, don't worry Dave we still love you. I am kind of waiting for that inevitable review stating this movie is satanic based on the title alone, as a kid who lived through the f***ing intellectual lows of people targeting the Harry Potter series I guarantee it will happen. Sure it deals with demons, occult stuff, pokes fun at the whole rock and roll is Satan's music, but I mean it is a comedy through and through. Two milestones have occured this day dear viewers, this is the first movie I have ever seen in a theater where I was completely alone, and this marks the over 900 review mark for this show. So it's a happy grand time, and I'm endlessly thrilled it was this movie. It's awesome, it's hilarious, it's hokey and offbeat, I kinda am stumped on a rating. I mean the story was good and moved along real good pace fluently, the performances had spot on comedic timing and I was laughing up a storm, the effects holy balls were over the top and yet designed spectacularly, it had good cinematography but nothing fancy, the music was pretty damn great too with particular love going to the title theme and the sort of doom metal/hard rock tune they are working on throughout the movie, I don't have much to complain about here. Spoofs are just as much a credible genre in cinema as a heavy drama or popcorn action flick, and considering it has one foot planted firmly in horror ground and the other in comedy it could easily be dismissed and not seen as "a real movie", to which I reply f***ity bye! 4 stars, 9.5/10!

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Phantom Of The Paradise

Hwhat was even that?




I'm almost at a loss for words, I can't honestly believe how long it took me to finally sit down and watch this movie. Obviously with my severe love of Phantom Of The Opera once many moons ago I heard of this movie, I've seen only a handful of reviews of it so I was walking into this movie pretty much knowing all the major plot beats. So you would think I would have a fair bit to say but I'm floundering here a wee bit. This is a bizzare movie, it's Phantom inspired of course and I could connect the dots from this movie to the source material and all the adaptations more than you can shake a stick at, but it really and truly is a beast all of it's own. Which is odd because I see clear and evident inspirations of Phantom, Faust, even Rocky Horror which didn't even come out until the next year in 1975. It's a smidge campy, a musical, a satire/commentary on the music industry, and a batshit very loose adaptation of Phantom. So the story takes more inspiration from the Claude Rains version as an aspiring composer Winslow Leach has his life's work of a cantata stolen by record mogul Swan to be used in opening his venue the Paradise, and later when he sets out to sabotage the record factory gets horribly disfigured, steals a costume from the Paradise, and terrorizes the venue....for like two scenes. This is where the Leroux Phantom stuff ends, and you're either gonna hate it or love it because of that. Swan basically manipulates Winslow to compose more music with the notion of it being performed by Winslow's love interest/pupil/inspiration Phoenix, and quite literally has Winslow sell his soul to Swan and his record company. I swear I'm not on acid as I write this but by the end of the movie it almost felt like I was. There's actually a fair bit to talk about but this may get disjointed and rambling, so fair warning ye who enter here. Brian DePalma directs, and this was before Carrie but he utilizes the same split screen multi-camera technique seen near the end of Carrie, and that is only the beginning of the camera work being wild in this movie. Films made in modern day wish they could have shots and cinematography like this movie, when the most artsy and experimental they get is a 360° revoultion shot. I'm serious man, like this is almost award winning camera work. There's always mirrors in the background, there's lots of handheld shots, there's flat out a POV Halloween sequence 4 years before Halloween! It's kind of amazing. I think the commentary on the music industry truthfully works better now than back then, and yeah this is a movie unashamedly 70s in every aspect which I'm all there for personally. Paul Williams is such an interesting choice for a villain, but my God does he look like he's having a terrific time playing this devilish oddball of a record producing king. William Finley though not taking up a lot of screentime doing phantomy things is regardless very memorable and does do a good job with the material. Jessica Harper, man that girl can sing good and while she's probably one of the weaker Christine variants she does admirable work the whole way through. Speaking of singing, this soundtrack. F*** me, I beyond any doubt love this soundtrack! It's somewhat in the funky 70s spectrum but when you hear William and Paul sing, and I think that's such a cool effect how when Winslow sings you hear both his and Swan's voice mixed together, it's very timeless sounding with often just piano music for the instrumentation. No joke I had tracks of the soundtrack on my phone before I even saw the movie, that's how good we're talking here. It's an odd fascinating movie to watch but it's influence and love is found in surprising places, Nicholas Cage said this was his favorite Brian DePalma movie and Daft Punk flat out said it was their favorite movie period and how it gave a lot of inspiration in their costumes and music. That's pretty damn cool. It's strange, I have a lot to commend and praise with the movie but I'm having a rough time settling on a rating. It is entertaining and just interesting to watch, the cast is really good, the music is great, the visuals and direction are so specific yet so out there, the story combines bits from many classic horror stories, and I think it probably single handedly is the biggest cult film of the Phantom fandom. I give it 2.5 stars, 7.5/10, I'm gonna lay down and have some wild ass fever dreams tonight.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Airheads

Back on track, and definitely a more unheard of rock movie.




Airheads is a rather interesting movie and most certainly a cult film, but a good time nevertheless. The story follows a rock band consisting of Brendan Fraser, Steve Buscemi, and Adam Sandler trying to get some attention for their music and wants to air their demo tape on the radio, but they have the bright idea of taking fake guns to the radio station and before long we got a hostage situation brewing with all the stops. I think because our main characters are a bit thick, though mercifully not idiotic is why it's a pretty fun movie because there's just some not so good ideas that really spiral out and it has an interesting effect. They keep on good terms with their "hostages", slowly more and more cops roll out to the station, and through it all being live on air a massive crowd also forms outside in full support of the band. This is probably me reading a fair bit into it, bit I got a lot of satire vibes from this movie. Satirizing how the music industry works, how radio stations only play popular stuff and not so much good stuff from even lesser known bands, how difficult it really is to get a modicrum of exposure for fledgling bands and performers, hell even the tempermental relationship of a rock star and his girlfriend, so I feel the movie has some stuff to say and does it in a truly understated fashion. So I kind of applaud it for that, and the performances are what keeps the film together. This was two years after Encino Man for Brendan so he wasn't super popular at that time but he still has that charm and likability that we love him for today and I just gotta say he looks good with the long hair and the leather jacket man, Steve Buscemi is easily the most intense of the lot but is all in to get the band signed and has moments of good humor, and my God an Adam Sandler role I honestly don't hate and I find it really fascinating that this was real early in his career too I mean Billy Madison came out next year so it is easily one of his most downplayed but still traditionally dopey performances but I like how he's used in the movie. I gotta say I was really taken aback though by some of the appearances, you got Michael McKean of Spinal Tap fame, you got Ernie Hudson and they are there for the long haul, but then you see Lemmy Kilmister in the crowd just out of nowhere, and then Harold Ramis shows up and I almost couldn't tell it was him, it was just such a shocking surprise but a very welcome one. I did get a good chuckle when they took a jab at grunge which was pretty popular by 1994 and it seemed metal music was shifting and forming into something else, they even call out Anthrax and Public Enemy's crossover which was...different. Not bad though, but an interesting time period for the genre and really you could argue it took until the 90s were over for traditional metal to make a comeback, it was more death metal bands in the 90s like Cannibal Corpse and Napalm Death that took the stage, and while your Metallica's and your Slayer's were still doing very very good, the scene was shifting, the times they are a-changin'. But enough of my history ramblings, time for the roundup. Good decent movie, I had fun with it and do recommend it for curiosity's sake. 2.5 stars, 7/10, and we got a wild one coming up next time.

Uncharted

Well there I go again, beating my record this time in forgetting to post a review. I may be getting too old for this.




Now I will state, I have never played Uncharted, I know nothing about Uncharted, my knowledge extends to Nathan Drake is a treasure hunter and the gameplay style is a run and gun type with wild setpieces. That's it. So going in this blind would be an understatement, how was it to the uninitiated eye? I thought it was decent, I found the movie very well paced and the story of not just finding gold but possibly reconnecting with Nathan's long lost brother was a strong one for me. I mean the movie practically is Indiana Jones for the modern age and Tom Holland though even an odd choice of casting for myself does a good job with the material and it shows a young and learning Nathan coming into his own so I thought he handled all that well. Marky Mark is a complete asshole and it's great, playing a constantly lying and two timing mentor to Nathan named Sully, he's such a wise ass but a very likable one which I appreciate. Antonio Banderas as a villain somewhat worked for me, because I know him to be more hero orientated and is a nice fella so while the menace didn't fall flat his character was just sorta there. I suppose I was somewhat right in calling the character of Chloe played by Sophia Ali, who I fully 100% pinned as a heel turn and she definitely filled that part but in the end is just as two timing as Sully and just wants to come out on top while working in tandem with our crew. Now Tati Gabrielle knocks it out of the park in my opinion cause I truly did not like her character and that's the whole point, she's a villain and a smug bastard at that so her acting for this role 10/10! Again, I'm not sure if specific elements of the games were adapted or if they crafted something new but it's a decent treasure hunt film and it genuinely did make me interested to play all the games and find out why they are so popular and loved. So hey, it wasn't a total waste. I give it 3 stars, 7/10, and it's probably a terrific time to get my hands on all these games for reasonable prices.

Friday, February 18, 2022

The Book Of Boba Fett: Season 1

Here at last.




I actually have a fair bit to unpack here and not all of it is friendly but I do bring tidings of good news along with it. The Book Of Boba Fett is a solid series, when I saw the first bits of footage of it I immediately thought, crime drama in space, it had a sort of Godfather-esque tinge to it's Star Wars goodness so it had my attention. I really like how the story unfolds picking up not long after the stinger from season 2 of The Mandalorian with Boba and Fennec Shand slowly setting up their criminal empire from Jabba's stronghold, mixed with a compelling and awesome story of how Boba escaped the Sarlaac and gained the trust of a Tusken tribe. That is really damn good stuff, just seeing him learn their traditions and aiding them to where he's kind of a merit adoptive to their people could be a series all of it's own. And when we get to seeing him build his operations, recruit muscle and followers, even though it's more talky than actiony it never got boring because I was interested where the story was going and how it would end. And all the additions both new and recurring to give us fans that wow factor certainly don't hurt the score by any stretch and it was a marvel to behold at times. It's a show made with the same level of love and appreciation as The Mandalorian, and one I will patiently wait for a continuation. Now here's where I start burning bridges. I knew, for a fact beyond any unreasonable doubt, that people were going to shit on this show. I saw it in my mind's eye so clearly that even Master Yoda would commend my vision. Because it's not as amazing or jaw dropping as The Mandalorian even though they are two seperate shows with two seperate agendas, I knew reviewers were going to flood the YouTubes with titles such as, "Was The Book Of Boba Fett A FAILURE??" and I'm already seeing it saying the show is broken, bland, and boring. Get f***ed and f*** off my lawn. Because if it's not great, amazing, spectacular, showstopping, that means it's garbage right? That's how it goes these days and I am officially tired of it. And I will go one step even further beyond and say I have a bone to pick with The Mandalorian, now don't get me wrong my reviews and ratings still stand as the truth. I love that show, however I do not like how it kinda went back on it's sort of main story point. When The Mandalorian was gearing up the creators stated that it would be a Star Wars story from the street level, no galactic politics, no Jedi, no giant space battles, just a story about a simple man making his way through the galaxy. Which is what it did....at first. When we see Moff Gideon with the Darksaber that was the beginning of the end, and now it's gotten too big. Now do I have faith in Jon and Dave as to why they are introducing these big names for hardcore Star Wars fans? Yes I do. Do I understand The Mandalorian is the flagship show that opens the doors to all other shows in it's wake? Absolutely. But people are getting the wrong impression and standard with Boba Fett, they expect it to be a larger scale show with just as much Star Wars fan highlights as Mando's show, when in actuality it gets back to street level Star Wars but still dips it's toes into the large scale stuff. But I feel it's more reserved here and is more or less for the purposes of setting up season 3 of Mando, and I even understand why they wrote it the way they did. I do not have a problem with it. I do still however have problems with the fan community, and I will fully voice my thoughts on that at another point in time. Bottom line, it's a fine show. The story works and is interesting to watch, the effects are still on top form, the cast is excellent with love abound for the king Temuera and Ming-Na Wen the stunning queen, the fanservice is appreciated and gets me excited for future projects, and I do strongly recommend this show. I give it 3 stars, 8/10, and May needs to hurry the hell up.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Hotel Transylvania 4

I got so much to say about this, it's probably gonna get loud so strap in.





For those who have been around since the old eons if you ever wondered what in the holy high hell happened to my Hotel Transylvania 3 review, well I wrote it and posted it, the damn website only got the first half of what I wrote opening day, and months after the fact I had to slapdash the rest of the review from what I remembered. So I swear to God this review better come out in full. I'm seriously at a loss for words here. I cannot believe any of this. So not only was this film pulled from theaters, not only was it sold to Amazon, but they had the sheer balls to release it in JANUARY. Are you.....are you taking the piss?? Now, I will not give this movie good grief that production started in late 2019, I will not give the animation good grief that it had to be completed virtually in 2020, I will not give good grief for even recasting Adam Sandler and Kevin James in their respective roles. I will however say are you f***ing kidding me? This is the last Hotel Transylvania movie folks. That's it! Ablblbl, that's all folks! What?? This is how you end it? You know that movie franchise that nobody had any expectations for whatsoever and yet turned out to be a pretty good movie, and steadily became a Halloween tradition for a new generation every so years, and had mostly hit sequels? It's gone. No satisfying final ending, no good story, nothing. I really don't want to talk about it. Maybe it's just my senile old ass or these movies are not that memorable, but I was having a very difficult time extrapolating facts from the previous two movies. Is the little ginger kid of Johnny and Mavis a vampire or not? I thought he was but then he got hypnotized. I couldn't remember anything about Drac's new lady friend or what her relationship was with Van Helsing until they had to tell me near the end of the movie. Granted it's been awhile since I watched the second and third movies but it really shouldn't be that big a hurdle to jump in the first place. Alright alright, I gotta back up and relay plot. So the story, God help me, Jesus help me, everybody else help me, the story goes Drac is about to retire and place the hotel in the hands of Johnny and Mavis, cool I like that, we're progressing the story and giving meaningful character progression to people we have followed for 3 movies up to this point. But oh no, Johnny is still a f*** up and Drac doesn't like that though he allowed him to marry his daughter and has been a competent loving father and has been just a lovable fool undoubtedly part of this makeshift family of monsters, so you think after the events of the first movie where Drac lied to his daughter unnecessarily to keep her safe that he wouldn't tell a lie or fib or even slight exaggeration for the rest of his days, but nope. He says Johnny can't share holding the hotel with Mavis because he isn't a monster. Even though his daughter is a monster and joint ownership could still be primarily in her name, but he lies anyway. Great. So Johnny asks kooky old Van Helsing if he has any doohickey that can make him a monster, wonder upon wonders there is, and Johnny is turned into a dragon basically. Despite the fact that Mavis told him he was perfect just the way he is and shouldn't change no matter what, that tired old kids movie message shite. And hijinks ensue resulting in Drac and all his monster pals to become human, oh no it's a wacky time how are they gonna get outta this one? I'm glad you asked slowly drowning will to live, well you see there's a big crystal that powers the transmorpher thing and it breaks but not to fear because they flat out explain there's a crystal finder locator literally built into the contraption itself for no other reason than to expedite the plot, leading Drac and Johnny to travel to South America to find a new kyber crystal. Now. When I heard the premise of this movie, with Dracula becoming human and Johnny becoming a monster I thought it was an okay and could even be a fun premise, they could play around with the jokes for a good chunk of the film and it would be a good plot device for the characters on opposite sides of the board to better understand each other thus becoming more thoughtful and caring individuals in their family unit. Pffffft but why have that story when we can go for the tried and true buddy road trip movie, sprinkled with tired boring family "drama" with the gold standard of hack writing tropes, the liar revealed!! Isn't that great? Isn't that fun, creative, entertaining writing? I'll give you two guesses, and both answers are get f***ed. Ohhhh, ohhhh my soul hurts. It hurts man. I did not walk into this looking to trash a movie from a series I liked! I didn't have skyrocketing expectations, but I thought it would be fun. It's so old hat, and completely shits the bed with the writing. The animation is high energy and still really good, the humor is zany and I mean a loooooot of Looney Tunes inspiration went into this but you know what I like that, the voice cast still strong as ever. But if your story sucks, the movie cannot be salvaged. And I'm frick fraking flabbergasted that this is the end! No more Hotel Transylvania for you! So have fun with that shithead! I'm done, goodbye, good luck, and good riddance. 1.5 stars, 3/10.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

I don't even know what to say!




What the f***, why was that so good??! I loved it! My brain can't form cohesive words right now except I love it! This is pure Kino if I have ever damn well seen it, this movie has zero right being as good as it is and I consider it a new age masterpiece. I don't even think this movie can be properly conveyed and summarized, I'd have to go almost scene by scene but that would ruin the effect and you need to get your ass out there and watch it. Okay, gotta be calm. So the movie basically is about this couple Joel and Clementine, played by Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet, who just sort of meet and odd people make odd couples, yet the movie takes a hard right straight into...I don't even know how to properly describe it. It's like Inception before Inception, and had touches of Memento, and it gets butt wild and I for one love everything about this movie. It honestly looks like an independent film that could have been released in 2019, the cinematography is a masterclass in it's own style and never for a microsecond is boring to the eye. Jim Carrey gives the zenith of his acting skills here, I know Truman Show was the peak for me but naw man, not after this movie. Best performance of Jim Carrey ever. Kate Winslet is a weird girl in this movie and I treasure her to the moon and back, she's so out there and so vocally transparent, and both of them are so undeniablly human in all their bizzare faults and mannerisms, it's brilliant. For years I thought Eternal Sunshine was more a movie of romantic depression, no idea why though cause honestly the movie is really friggin' funny. I was cracking up often throughout, because this cast is such a weird collection of people and as you watch them you just start laughing at the odd stuff they do. Marvel alumni Mark Ruffalo and Kirsten Dunst are in this movie as work colleagues/dating couple and you are witness to some mad shit with them two interacting on screen and by God is it fun. The soundtrack is perfect for the movie, very quiet, bit jazzy bit almost dream like music, and I find that apt because it's a dream like movie. From the visuals, to the editing, to the character interactions, to the plot itself. How....the f***....have I slept on this? I mean you could no doubt read into this movie until the cows come home, maybe it's a giant metaphor or allegorical interpretation of Alzheimer's as you fight for your memories, maybe it's a statement on how memories are what defines you as an individual and is the core basis of your mind and how you can play around with memories inside your head, I don't know. I just know I loved everything about it, this is going right up there with Lost In Translation and Her and you know what that means. 4 stars! 10/10! Goddamn this was a great movie! Happy Valentine's Day to me and do yourself a favor and watch it today.

Friday, February 11, 2022

Death On The Nile

Only been 5 years since Murder On The Orient Express. Strange how time flies huh?




As a continuation of that movie I feel it honestly was better than I thought it would be, granted my expectations were low as always and I have no true grasp of the literary character Hercule Poirot, so with that in mind let's talk movies. The story I am happy to announce is not as cut and dry as a standard murder mystery, with Poirot in Egypt who is invited to a honeymoon cruise, where whoopsie daisy people start dropping like flies and it's time to put your thinking caps on. Now you know I don't boast my intelligence like a certain Mr. Nygma, but I had the killer identified before the murder began, but honestly it's kind of obvious who did it but like I said it isn't simple and easy either. That's a delicate balance when writing a mystery, and the way the story progresses and the direction shows you things makes for a decent watching experience. You're not meant to do all the thinking but it invites you to think and deduce, which I admire greatly. Speaking of which, you had balls movie and I'll appreciate the use of said balls for doing the thing you did, well done. The only big detriment the movie has for it is the visual effects, they're not terrible but they are at times very obvious and not that great, but hey do you come to a murder mystery for CGI or for the caper? It does look pretty at times and the whole concept of a murder mystery set amidst the ruins of ancient Egypt is a fine backdrop for the events. I'm not certain if they filmed extensively in Egypt but it works nicely. All the actors I feel commit to the roles and do very good work, in particular Branagh and Armie Hammer who I felt brought a lot of emotional power to his role, and Poirot gets a good fair bit of characterization and backstory which while feeling a bit unnecessary wasn't bad stuff. Gal Gadot still has zero right being as pretty as she is and always is a joy. It was also super nice to see Sophie Okonodo again, and her semi-flirtatious attitude with Poirot was great and I didn't actually mind seeing them together. It's a solid movie, about as good as Orient Express I'd say, but not a bad thing to waste an afternoon watching. 3 stars, 7/10, and we're doing something different for Valentine's Day.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Why have I been sleeping on my ass for the past 7 years before getting to this movie?




I really and truly think this movie doesn't get half the praise it truly deserves, Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a movie worthy of discussion, analysis, praise, and overall enjoyment regardless of age. It's such a unique and bonkers yet brilliant idea to esentially set a real world crime noir in the bright and slapstick world of cartoon characters. Set in 1940s Los Angeles a gruff private investigator named Eddie slowly gets enbroiled with cleaning the name of cartoon star Roger Rabbit as he's set up for murder, but Eddie has a damaged past and cares nothing for toons yet more pieces fall into place and the plot thickens. Already the cast in this movie is what makes half the movie as great as it is, Bob Hoskins is a trememdous lead and effortlessly acts through the film despite that none of his toon co-stars are there in the flesh (in a sense), George Fleischer couldn't play a bumbling yet still very much fearing for his life toon better if he tried, Christopher Lloyd might have his coolest look in this film and it's indeed a different role for him but one I feel to be almost the most effective, and I tip my hat to Kathleen Turner for giving us the voice and personality of Jessica Rabbit in all her glory. Rock on. Now we get to talk about the technicals which is an obelisk sized task in just text, they have entire behind the scenes documentaries on how they blocked, shot, interacted, and implemented all these animated characters, props, and scenery. It is ingenious and any film school that doesn't talk about it in some way is a hack, they had to use in scale to the animation rubber replicas of the characters and I don't know how to describe it, cause they key out the dummy and layer the animation and it looks seamless. And this was a huge huge deal at the time, this was the movie where Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse shared a scene, nothing like that happened before. Even with movies like Space Jam A New Legacy it was still all properties of Warner Bros., but this is where every animation studio chipped in and that was a huge deal before the 90s, and even then it wasn't a common occurence, plus I'm a nerd for this kind of thing so I'm peering in the background naming any characters I can. I will admit it's been a few years since I last saw this movie but, I'm not entirely sure this was made for kids. I mean Looney Tunes were primarily believe it or not, made more for adults but kids loved it and it still worked. The same applies to here, we get some pretty gruesome deaths both seen and implied, Eddie drinks a fair bit, Jessica Rabbit I don't think I need to say much more about her, you get a little bit of language, it just seems more geared towards at least older kids and adults. That didn't stop me though, I must have saw this when I was maybe 10 years old and I absolutely loved it. I loved the story, the characters, the humor, the musical score mother of pearl! Let me tell you right now, real talk, I cannot listen to the first half of Valiant & Valiant without getting in an emotional mess and weeping. It is that damn good, and the music score is very jazzy/bluesy which I adore endlessly. I mean I don't think I need to tell people to go see it, it's an incredibly strong film even if the mystery aspect isn't absolute shall we say, I can't recommend it more. But what's the score? I don't know if I wanna give it an 8 or 9. It deserves either but I'm gonna give it a 9/10, 4 stars check it out!

Monday, February 7, 2022

Doctor Who: Series 13

I know they called it Flux, it's series 13.




So last series for Chibbers and kinda of a throwback to classic Doctor Who, not so much in terms of story but format. Instead of a regular series of 13 odd episode, this series comprises of only 6 epsiodes each picking up immediately from the last. A true serialized return of Doctor Who, so how is it? Honestly I thought it was pretty good, I do feel it went too fast in certain episodes but it was still enjoyable and brought a lot to the show that I loved. So after the tremendous reveal of Series 12, the Doctor is thrown head first into the deep end with an unparalleled cataclysm known as the Flux, an oncoming storm that is destroying the universe planet by planet as enemies from her unknown life reemerge forcing our hero to try to figure out how to avert the disaster and defeat the villains. I honestly do not think the Doctor has ever been on the backfoot, backed into the corner so much before in all of Doctor Who, I mean she has quite a lot to contend with and is constantly going 1 million miles an hour to keep up with the insurmountable odds. Now I will say I haven't seen stories like The War Games or The Key To Time, very expansive and involved stories but it's cool to see this format back. And thusly we get a new good sized cast that spans the majority of this series, we still have Yaz and I'm all for seeing her continue on with the 14th Doctor. We get John Bishop as Dan who I really loved, a true down to earth bloke swept away in the madness, he was great and I hope to see more of him. We get a brief semi-companion Vinder played by Jacob Anderson, I don't think we'll see him beyond this series but his story is a strong one and it's nice to see another companion well versed in the spacey stuff. Now we get to the villains, hell yes. The second I saw this bizzare, purple skinned, crystal faced alien I was pretty much hooked, and the performances of both Sam Spruell and Rochenda Sandall no joke honestly make these the best original villains of the Whittaker era for me. I cannot tell you how much I love the design, the character, the stakes they bring. When the Doctor asks what they want for Swarm to only reply, "To reign in hell!" I was like well f*** I don't know how she's gonna beat these guys. Excellent work on that front. But let's talk episodes now, we start off pretty wild with all the seperate threads of the story and characters setting up each one, so it goes quite quick and it does make you question a lot but the intrigue works and I was very interested to see what happened next. We then get a mostly standalone epsiode with the Sontarans in beautiful classic Who garb, doing what they do best perverting the course of human history, fun and simple, bring on the next! The thrid episode is when we hit the mental time f***ery, it's a bit complicated but can be simplified as such: universe is going to hell, Swarm and Azure want to screw the universe even harder, companions escape into a constantly shifting avenue of memories, get some backstory on Vinder, one more seed is planted for the story, once more unto the breach my friends! The time of angels is upon us once more in a pretty good episode with time displacement, excellent touches to the already established mythos of the angels, has some long occuring outcomes for our companions, and one hell of a cliffhanger for the Doctor. The penultimate episode follows our companions travelling linearly through time adventuring and treasure hunting, parallel to an alien force inadvertantly forming UNIT which brings back Kate. My love, my dearest, I forgot how much I missed you so and you are more beautiful as each day passes. And she eventually meets up with the Tardis crew and deals with her alien problem while the Doctor is faced with her old life in more ways than one. Time for the endgame. Final episode, still neck breaking speed with some big events happening both personally to our cast and the universe as a whole, but it eventually wraps itself up and not super horribly at that. Though you bastards are tickling my good spot bringing up the Master, and I genuinely can't wait for series 14. But we got a special to talk about before the wrap up. A good concept with a Groundhogs Day premise yet still keeping a ticking clock, I absolutely cherished Aisling Bea she was brilliant and I would not mind if she got to be a permanent companion, I think I liked Revolution better than Eve but it's a decent special and I lost my fudge when we finally get the Sea Devils back. They should have showed up in Praxeus but screw it, I'm happy. I'm not entirely sure why this series was 6 episodes, maybe Chibmunk had other writing matters to attend to, maybe they just slashed it to have a bigger budget for a shorter story, so it has some pros and cons to it. Good villains, interesting story, but it goes too fast at times which I feel is the biggest detriment to the whole thing. If this story was expanded even by just 3 or 4 episodes the problem wouldn't be as prevalent. I still say series 12 is my favorite Jodie series but time will tell if her last few stories tip the balance. 3 stars, 7.5/10, and we'll dip our toes in the mystery pool next time.

Friday, February 4, 2022

Jackass Forever

I'm somehow even more stumped on how to review this.



You think after 3 movies I would know what the hell I'm talking about, but I'm speechless. Did it surpass the third? On first viewing yes, heavily. Now on repeated viewings through the years that might change, if they even can show this on TV. I haven't seen that much c*** in a feature film since Chicken Run, and yet nowhere nearly as inventive as I was seeing it here. So the final(?) Jackass movie, how was it considering it was the first one of these I ever saw in theaters? Honest to God, it was my favorite and made me laugh not only the most frequently but also the hardest out of all of them. But I wrote the reviews for the last 3 after seeing them multiple times, so seeing something new and unexpected has a stronger power over your perception. Staying true to the Jackass series, it pushes for more constructed segments without going so big and over the top which I'm happy didn't happen, they only do big segments for the opening and closing act which I feel is infinitely wise in showbusiness. We got some new faces to our crew, most notably Zach Holmes who I believe was only a recent introduction but fits in perfectly with the group, and Rachel Wolfson our first female inductee who isn't as prevalent as the guys but also isn't some token girl in the mix. She licks a friggin' taser like a champ, and got stung about 4 times by a scorpion, an admirable start to her Jackass career. I easily had the most fun watching this in a theater with while primarily a 20 something year old male audience, the reactions people gave had as much entertainment as the film, so I would strongly suggest seeing this in a full theater. Not many named segments so I'll just tell you the one that got me hardest (Easy now, you pervs.), where they strap Ehran to a chair and bring in a bear to eat honey and salmon off him. I don't know why but I laughed so hard I was wheezing and losing air, it just floored me. You can tell they had some fun hashing new ideas and evily clever ones at that, and they don't waffle on about, "We're old now LOL" and just carry on business as usual so thanks for that. Solid production with props and camerawork, good additions to the cast, very funny, I say we ended strong this week. I give it 3 stars, 7.5/10, and next new movie should be Death On The Nile so maybe I'll dig up some murder mystery movie next week.

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Jackass 3

I'm not the person to bash a continuation but Jackass Forever will have a lot to live up to when the ending starts.




It's amazing how these movies kept getting made, cause after the show and the first movie all the cast and the creator Jeff Tremaine were done with Jackass. They got their big movie, it's over. But years passed and he asked Johnny if you want to do another and he was game, so every 4 years a new Jackass movie in theaters, and this easily is the one I've seen the most. MTV played the extended 3.5 version all the time, about as regularly as FX showed Batman Begins and Ice Age once upon a long time ago, so it may have a contributing factor as to why I like this one best. Though surprisingly, it doesn't have the number of segments I loved from the second movie, having only 5 I loved. Bungee Boogie, Jet Engine which might be my favorite solely because of the comedic extent they can make out of it, Electric Avenue which is so evily crafted it might as well be in a Saw movie, Snake River Redemption, and Ram Jam. And since I was only reviewing the theatrical cuts there no doubt was more bits and skits present in the extended versions, so if that sounds more your game then I say pick em' up. I will say it is night and day between the quality of the first movie and this movie, hell I could probably make the same case between 3 and 4. Proper good cameras, enough money to get even wilder at times, I like how they make it better each time without necessarily going bigger and bigger. They can do something as simple as have Knoxville get flung ass over tea kettle by a bull while still doing something elaborate like taking potshots at people launched into the air to simulate a duck hunt. Another point the 3.5 version has, you get a lot of behind the scenes interview type stuff with the guys and you do feel that yeah, they do really stupid and supremely hurtful things to each other but they're being idiot friends and they don't hold grudges. I think the big reason why they didn't make another Jackass movie for such a long time was the very tragic and sudden death of Ryan Dunn who was in a car accident just a few months after this movie was released, I can't fathom what it was like to those he was closest to and it is pretty rough seeing him now. Even when they did the spinoff movie Bad Grandpa they dedicated the film to Ryan, and in recent times it seems like the Jackasses are the entertainment we need after the last few years. There's always going to be problems with the world but if you can have a nice distraction, where misery is comedy and friends gather round, it can be a real nice thing. 3 stars, 7/10, one more time for old time's sake.

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Jackass Number Two

This is weird to say but Jackass is one of those movie series where the sequel is better than the first.




It goes to show how much the quality got a boost, it looks to be shot on a better camera, the stunts are more varied, it's a good strong production. I actually love a good few chunks of the segments, with rarely any of them falling flat for me, pun fully intended by the way. But boy does the pain from the first movie seem like a stubbed toe, I mean dayum! The impacts and pain is visceral, and bloody too sometimes so once again I have to show some respect for the cast going through so much hell strictly to entertain. I feel like Steve-O got the most punishment mainly because he's the one wild card down to do anything, and even I was surprised how many of the cast refused to do certain stunts. Granted I don't know how the name game goes for who does what, but even these guys have their limits. And this is just a sidebar but I kinda hate the public stunts and jokes not so much because of the performers, but I can't see comedy in people who don't give a shit and give zero reaction to some weird ass stuff on the side of the street. At least in the first movie, when they were in Japan people laughed, people kind of rolled with the joke in some situations, that's why I liked those segments so much. Am I just gonna be one grumpy old bastard and say get off your phone and pay attention, cause I could have sworn people sure as hell did before they were invented. Back in my day I wasn't a broken, bitter, old ass about people and now I'm all for everybody getting a pro footballer kick to the groin. I do however love seeing Bam's mom April, she is precious and a caring individual who puts up with these f***s, and never fails to make me laugh. Favorite segments, we got a list here: Bicentennial BMXing, Lake Jump, Riot Control Test which was horrifying, The Magic Trick with special guest magician John Waters (I love that man), The Gauntlet, Toro Totter, and Big Red Rocket which I feel should have been the finale. I mean that's a lot of segments, and each have their own way of entertaining to the point where despite the no doubt bigger budget, the third movie has a lot to surpass in terms of segments. So definite improvement, had more fun, and we got one more before the opening day. 3 stars, 7/10.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Jackass The Movie

How the hell do we talk about Jackass?




It kinda defies reviewing but I was game to see the fourth movie so why not have some fun. And it still to this day boggles my mind how this got a feature film shown in theaters, not direct to video, not broadcasted strictly to MTV, but a proper movie. I was 7 when this movie came out and even younger when the show was on so I had zero concept of this show for some time, and I still don't know how succesful the show was. I don't know if it was a surprising big success or more of a cult hit show that had a small but very dedicated fanbase, but obviously it has had some legacy. And it is nothing short of interesting to see the evolution of quality for these movies, cause honestly the first movie isn't that big and wild, more of a feature length episode of the show and boy it doesn't look much different. There be no Cinemascope here good buddy, this is shot on the same video cameras the show was and it is gloriously early 2000s in quality. I'm serious man I'm actually a fan of the lower quality, and it suits the filmmaking too cause it's documentary-esque, with just these dumbasses going out and shooting this stuff wherever they could. I will admit this is the one I've seen the least out of the three soon to be four movies, not at all because it doesn't stack up well to the other two despite the budget of $5 million which actually turned a profit of almost $80 million worldwide which is unbelievable. It barely has a set up better than home movies but it's the actions and antics that count. My favorite might actually be the Night Pandas segment, it hit my funny bone in just the right place and if anything looked like the most fun anybody had shooting. And of course it was in Japan so that helps, though I'm kinda bewildered they decided to shoot in Japan to begin with, cause just what? But screw it I liked it. A close second goes to Sweaty Fat F***s, just seeing these guys in bulky fat suits doing skateboarding tricks and BMX bike stuff made me commend the talent. I'm naturally big and I would have a hard time standing on a skateboard. It's gonna be interesting seeing how much it changes from movie to movie, it starts off humble but it gets more involved which only makes sense, you gotta raise those stakes. All good if not even great comedy stems from misery, it's f***ed up but if you saw some guy run face first into a wall, you'd laugh. And not many people would actively not only subject themselves to very physical damage but film it solely for the purposes of comedy. You could walk straight up to me and be like, "Dude, $10,000 bucks cash for you to go one round with this badass japanese kickboxer chick." and I would tell you to get the hell off my planet. No way. Are they masochists? Probably. Apparently the secret of dealing with pain is to laugh, who woulda thunk it. I'm stumped. I don't even think I know the right way to watch these movies, cause I've done it solo and in a group but I think the core matter is state of mind. If you wanna see people go apeshit and rough their bodies up and well...act like braying jackasses, have at it. There's a place for everything, from cinematic classics to sleazy exploitation and I'd put this somewhere in the middle. 2.5 stars, 6/10, part two coming up tomorrow.