Posts Tagged ‘review’

Lost and Found

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Lost and Found (2008/ Dir. Philip Hunt/ Entertainment One and Studio Aka)
Here is the short version of this review: Go buy this, it’s excellent.

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This isn’t going to be one of the fun reviews, with lots of screen caps and funny captions that people can put on pintrest. I’m going to take this thing to task, but not in a fun way. I didn’t even want to do it, but I came across something I wrote in a piece of fiction a few years back.
“If you have a talent, you’re responsible for how, or if you use it. Letting it go to waste is as bad as misusing it.” And I have a talent for explaining why things are bad. As far as I can tell, I’ve never been able to convince someone that a movie is good, but I can convince them something is shit! Not an enviable position, perhaps, but I’ve got a talent and I’m going to try to use it for good this time.

I’ve decided we’ve got to talk about this, we have to have a conversation about this thing because it’s evil and wrong and if I don’t warn people, I might feel responsible later. Let me be frank about this, so that we don’t misunderstand things. This is not a fun little cartoon, it is harmful, it is DANGEROUS! You should not watch this damn thing, no one should watch this thing. This is less a review and more of a warning, because watching this could drive someone to suicide. I’m going to discuss this in personal terms, since that last sentence seem hyperbolic, so I’ll explain….

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World War Z mini-review

Posted: June 21, 2013 in Movie Review
Tags: ,

So we saw World War Z and I actually liked it. I read the book about a year ago (maybe more, hard to tell these days) and I liked that too. I recognize that the movie is not the book though, it’s sort of inspired by the book.

It’s not a bad little zombie movie, but it’s only tangentially based on the book of the same title. That didn’t bother me, because if they really did exactly the book, it would be either an anthology of stories, or a Ken Burns Documentary. Either of those could be interesting, but would fail to catch the summer blockbuster crowd. I did miss the Battle of Yonkers, and some of the more interesting concepts and ideas went the wayside. I think they want a sequel, and if they get one they’ll do some of the later half of the book stuff. It really felt like someone wrote a global zombie movie, then someone pointed out the book existed, and they bought the rights to the book to cover their butts. I say this because some five writers (including Brooks) are credited in the opening titles. It felt like this went through a LOT of re-writes, and the internet says I’m right about that one.

Shall we do bullet points? We’ll try for spoiler free…

Forget the book, this isn’t the book. If you can divorce yourself from the book, you might enjoy it.

The family story didn’t work for me after the first act, but it didn’t hurt things either.

The movie made running zombies interesting to me for the first time.

The suggested solution to the whole zombie thing is… actually pretty interesting.

Oh man, then you sort-of kind-of tried to set up for a sequel, and I’m not sure that’s gonna work babe.

Because of a scheduling issue we saw it in 3D, which is… whatev. Didn’t hurt, didn’t help.

Can I be the only one who heard that speech about Mother Nature being a serial killer and perked up thinking “Oh! So some of what J. Michael Straczynski wrote made it to the screen!” as that speech was unraveling? I can’t say that was for certain his work, but it sounds like him.

Also, alternate title for the movie – “Ain’t Shit Gonna Go Right For Brad Pitt Today.”

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Goyokin 1969/ Toho/ Dir. Hideo Gosha

For reasons of my own, I was watching some heist movies. I like a good heist flick, and there aren’t enough of them. There are lots of heist flicks, but only a few good ones. I had gone through the usual line-up of movies, and after I had exhausted my supply I still felt the need to go once more into the heist film vault. So what I did was examine what you need for a good heist movie. That led me to this Japanese samurai movie set in the 1800s. As opposed to a French samurai movie set in the 1460s I guess? Well, some samurai movies are set during the 1600s, that seems to be the two times we generally get. During the early days of the Tokugawa shogunate or just before the Meiji Restoration, which is the end of the Tokugawa shogunate. Soooo, during the Tokugawa shogunate. You know what? Forget this part! I’ve already said shogunate way too many times.

Why do I call this a heist movie and not a samurai movie?
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The Black Cauldron (1985/ Disney/ Dir. Ted Berman & Richard Rich)

The Black Cauldron made basically no splash when it came out, much to Disney’s dismay. Also, to the dismay of people like me, who sort of wish Disney had kept up with what it was doing. If you remember, the early 80s were a period of interesting experimentation for Disney. Granted, most those experiments were box office flops, but they were at least interesting and some of them were even good. This is an example of one of those experiments that was actually sort of good. Not great, I didn’t say great, but it is good and it contains things you rarely saw at the time.

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The Christmas Orange (2002/ Bardel Entertainment/ Dir. Ian Freedman)

So here we have something so obscure that I may be the only person who actually bought the DVD. Not only am I the only owner of the DVD in America, I bought it 10 years after the product came out. And I only bought it for a few dollars, on a whim because I’d never heard of it and reviewing things that say “Christmas” on them is a thing I do. So I decided to give it a try. Given the product was only $6, given that it was a one shot for Canadian TV, and given that it was 10 years after it was first broadcast, I wasn’t expecting to find a huge amount about the cartoon. It’s based on a book, that’s what I found out. It’s not a bad product, we’ll get that out of the way for starters. I’m not sure how good it is though. Let’s examine The Christmas Orange…

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The Fat Albert Christmas Special (1977/ Filmation/ Dir.Hal Sutherland)

Doing holiday specials is a tough gig. Quite often, they’re produced as a fast buck idea. Something to throw at the screen during December, and if possible, break up the McDonald’s Commercials a little. Most the specials I have seen, and I’ve seen WAY more than I should, fit into this category. Particularly existing properties, like the Smurfs or He-Man, fit this mold.

You know what? We’re not going to mention another holiday special for the rest of this review. I’m going to show my hand early and just say it. This is good. I don’t want to taint that by comparing it to something less good. If it’s really good, it should be able to stand up on its own without putting something else down. And I think this is good, and I think it goes beyond a cynical cash grab, and I think it might really be worth your while.

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The Snowman (1982/ TVC London/ Dir. Dianne Jackson)

This is a cartoon for which I have no nostalgia. I only saw it for the first time last year and was so exhausted that I fell asleep during part of it. If I can offer an untainted perspective on any holiday movie, this HAS to be it. I only bought it because it has a tremendous reputation. The fact that it came on a DVD with The Nuttiest Nutcracker had nothing to do with it. I still haven’t watched that second feature, mainly because I watched the trailer. But we’re talking about something that I’ve been told by English and Canadians is the height of their VEWPRF season. So I bought it and watched it, and now I shall write my review of that movie. How did I think it help up? You’ll have to wait and see…

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The Smurfs Christmas Special (1982/ Hanna-Barbera/ Dir. Gerald Baldwin)

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. My first holiday special review in two years… it was supposed to be a momentous occasion. It should have been filled with joy, and laughter, not this. I said some time ago that I was sort of done with reviews that only amounted to complaints. I mean… look, The Avengers happened and we’re liking things because we like them again, not because we hate them and want to imagine we’re superior to them. I want you to know, I started this with the purest of intentions. Sadly The Smurfs Christmas Special did not hold up.

There is no way to properly summarize this, no way to discuss it on its merits, or play on the themes. Mostly, because I have no idea what happened. The best I can hope for is a synopsis, going down the line point by point. Maybe, together, we can reach an understanding. Just remember the mantra “I do believe in spooks, I do believe in spooks, I do believe in spooks!”

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I liked Wreck-It Ralph, let’s talk a little.

1. I thought the opening short was too good. I thought it might diminish the feature. It didn’t, but it was an utterly charming little bit of animation.

2. Going to have to buy this on DVD so I can catch all the little jokes and references they threw in.

3. “She has the most tragic backstory of all time.” That line killed.

4. They did their homework. Even if the people who worked on this are all about my age and as such are gamers from when I was gaming, they did their home work. There are a lot of gags, references, and an overall understanding of how video games work here. These guys knew what they were doing.

5. Most the jokes were funny, most the characters were interesting, most the story works really well.

6. Some of the characters move like their video game counter parts would move. They have no middle animation they just go from their hands out, to their hands raised, just like 8-bit.

7. The one human gamer we really see was a girl… BUT GIRLS DON’T GAME! my mind=blown!

Now, below there will be spoilers. (more…)