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All reviews - Movies (23) - TV Shows (8) - DVDs (3) - Books (38)

It wasn't THAT bad

Posted : 8 years, 6 months ago on 11 May 2009 03:40 (A review of X-Men Origins: Wolverine)

Okay so it wasn't the greatest movie, or even greatest comic book to movie adaptation thingy. But it's far from the worst. And I wasn't bored so that's a plus. Most of it was really cheesy and lame but this is still a far cry from the blue and yellow tights, which I had secretly hoped would have made an appearance.

I've pretty much been waiting for this movie to come out ever since I read the Origin comic, which says alot considering I rarely read American comics. I remember reading back then that a motivation the writer had for making that particular comic when he did was because he wanted the comic book version to explain Wolverine's back story as a opposed to a movie. I might (most probably) be remembering wrong but I like to think it went something like that. I'm thinking that guy probably made a good choice back then.

But I haven't read Origins since then but alot of things are different in this movie adaptation, no surprise. But I don't really follow comic books so I'm sure alot of things were different. But perhaps this would have been better if it were divided into multiple movies instead of just one, which seems to be the problem with most comic book to movie adaptations. Or even better in my opinion if they had just stuck closer with the Origin comics. That way they wouldn't have had to put all of the extra stuff that ties in with all other storylines relating to the X-Men universe. And it would have been a period drama, which I whole-heartedly approve of.

Still it was kinda hilarious to see Cyclops, or the teenager that would become him eventually, since he was just fumbling his way through Spanish class. The whole brother feud wasn't that bad either. And every now and then I would mentally exclaim "Oh I know that dude!" but that didn't happen very often.

Err. I just rambled along, but that's no surprise since the movie kinda sorta did the same thing. Bare minimum explanations followed by action sequences. Some moments could have really been awesome but others simply left no explanation. There was some whiny Canadian boy and his brother in a war montage and then some random mutant dudes came along and they went to Africa blah blah blah Canadians oh look it's Deadpool.

The one thing I didn't get, which may be a mild spoiler but really wouldn't matter either way is that if Wolverine got that jacket, which he wears in the other movies, from that farmer couple before he lost his memories, then how does he get it back, or remember it's his, after he loses his memory? Because he was not wearing a jacket at the end scene. Rather he was sporting a very fitting wife beater.
Ah well a not so great review for a not so great movie. But not bad. I enjoyed it enough, though perhaps not enough to watch it many times.


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Court trials = Great shows

Posted : 9 years, 2 months ago on 8 September 2008 12:26 (A review of The Magician)

I've never been one for reading descriptions of books usually until I finish reading the book and as a result I often jump into things headfirst without a clue. I found this book randomly used and for sale and was immediately drawn to the guillotine on the cover. I was expecting a fantasy type of story of a magician performing extraordinary feats of magic. I was so far away from the truth of the book it was as if it was a circle and I was actually not that far at all.

There aren't really any "big" events that happen in this book except for the start which is highly exciting and like the last page. As a result the rest of the book reads as just one big build uphill and downhill simultaneously if that makes any sense. I kept waiting for something fantastic to happened but was constantly disappointed by just how normal and boring everything is proceeding. Ed Japhet is essentially this amazing kid with the misfortune of going to a pretty sucky school where the bullies prey on his type. He's an amateur magician and on his prom night he's hired to give a magic show What should have been the best night of his life quickly turns downhill as he's attacked by another student named Urek and what should have been the most straightforward case is quickly thrown in the air because of another magician; in the form of a defense lawyer.

Based on what various media suggests court trials are just flashy shows anyway and not a simple matter of who's in the wrong or right but who has the better lawyer; who can manipulate the jury in such a way to see his side of the story of the way of justice.
It's a great book of the time, highlighting faults in the society of the time that hold true in many degrees in this day. If I had to read Native Son in school I really don't see why teachers shouldn't also add this book to the curriculum.
There can be no happy ending in this shockingly truthful view of fictional events. My edition of the novel proudly proclaims "Soon to be a major movie!" on the back yet as far as I could dig up no such movie was ever created and the book was published more than thirty years ago (with issues that still affect us today). From what I could (not) gather the contents of this book were simply just too intense for movie goers at the time. And too intense for [Link removed - login to see]">Montello, Wisconsin.


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Season One Review (Rant)

Posted : 9 years, 4 months ago on 10 July 2008 04:31 (A review of Black Lagoon)

A word of caution, this show probably isn't for you if you can't stand guns, coarse language, and general violence. So don't bother checking it out if you are queasy about that stuff or you know you will get offended.

Anyway, Rokura Okajima was just your normal boring white collar worker until he was kidnapped by the Lagoon Company. Blah, blah, blah, he realized his true calling in life and became a member of the Lagoon Company, a company that specializes in delivering goods across the seas of Southeast Asia, regardless of the law. You see pirates these days aren't dudes with peg legs and eye patches no, they are mofos who go around shooting people in a torpedo boat. Sounds like fun.


(Revy, with her two guns)

If you were to only watch the Opening and Ending credits one might get the false impression that it's all about Revy (pictured above) since both credit sequences are almost entirely devoted to her except for that random shot of the guys that's only on for a few seconds in the Opener. But that's just a trap to lure in (un)suspecting viewers in. Probably.

(the guys as seen seemingly randomly for a few seconds in the Opening credits)

And just to prove this show is really badass there are [Link removed - login to see]">nuns with guns, [Link removed - login to see]">crazy spanish maids with guns (aka killer robot maid from the future), and people with guns in general. I think the only person who doesn't actually use a gun was [Link removed - login to see]">the Chinese lady who specialized with knives. There was an Irish(?) guy at some point but instead of getting drunk all the time he was always high so it might be inaccurate in that respect. And it also has Nazis, and not just normal Nazis but [Link removed - login to see]">Neo-Nazis. Additionally it has appearances of just about every single major criminal organization, especially the Russians. Oh and terrorists.

If you get a chance to watch this with the English dub, please do since it's more insulting. The Japanese dub is okay but it just doesn't cut it for this type of show.

In real life, this stuff is rather frightening, even more so since there's a part of you that realizes that it probably is happening. But somehow this show portrays the life of the criminal underworld in a both glamorous and unglamorous way that is balanced such that it's entertaining. I mean everyone smokes like chimneys but this has no effect on their stamina and lots of this stuff is highly controversial, but anyway from what I've seen from the first season, this is a pretty intense show. Kinda like [Link removed - login to see]">The Transporter meets [Link removed - login to see]">Cowboy Bebop or something like that. Not really but eh...

(from left to right: Benny the Mechanic, Rock the ex-Businessman from Japan, Revy the Two Hands, and Dutch the Boss)

Now I can't wait for the second season which promises (vampire) child soldiers. Fun. Fun. Fun.


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There Will Be Boredom

Posted : 9 years, 5 months ago on 31 May 2008 04:58 (A review of There Will Be Blood)

I had heard from numerous sources that this was an "amazing" film and an equal amount of sources that truthfully didn't care much for it. I'll come out and say it now; I'm of the latter faction.

I'm not sure it's a fair assessment to say that if one were to denounce this movie that they clearly have no real appreciation for masterpieces and would much rather watch blockbuster hits. It's probably a great film, perhaps one of the great ones even but that doesn't mean I have to like it or enjoy it.
I saw the Mona Lisa once and aside from the fact that it was tiny and hidden behind a glass casing, not to mention surrounded by hordes of people, I understood the fact that for some apparent reason I'm not aware of many other people have named it a great piece of art. I can say well "It's decent enough," but it's not something I can enjoy on a deeper level. I can't connect with the Mona Lisa like I can connect to a poorly drawn but humorous image of a dancing banana. Sure it's not "high class" but it's certainly more enjoyably approachable.

I don't mean to imply that There Will Be Blood is an epic masterpiece in cinema; it tries too hard to be that. There was some superb acting here but I just couldn't feel the connection. No doubt about it Daniel Day-Lewis did give a stellar performance and I did enjoy Paul Dano as Eli the crazy preacher dude (he screams like a girl) but I was still bored out of my mind. Had it not been for the creepy but fantastic score I would have given up within the first half hour.
The score, composed by Jonny Greenwood from Radiohead, is hauntingly amazing. Plus there were excerpts of (string ensemble?) pieces by Brahms and some guy named Arvo Part. It just didn't seem to fit right in the whole setting of the film but perhaps it was this discord that made it work the way it did. Every time I heard those tense strings I kept expecting something big to happen (and nothing ever did). It was as if I were watching a different sort of film with more horror and ghastly creatures waiting to pounce one people and stuff. That might have been more fun if Eli was a leader of a zombie cult that was out to kill anyone trying to drill in their land. And maybe if they had a pyromaniac who was the last salvation against the zombie invasion. Oh and if siblings got along better to ward off said zombie invasion. Then it'd be better. Maybe.

But no. Instead I was watching an unconventional film about a guy who digs oil and stuff. Some creepy evangelical prophet and subsequent blind followers. Throw in a little boy and some "brothers" for good measure. That in itself wouldn't warrant my boredom but the film was too long and the pacing way too slow for me to enjoy it. I like me some different movies but this just didn't work out for me.


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It needed more Lee and Grant

Posted : 9 years, 5 months ago on 28 May 2008 03:46 (A review of North and South)

To avoid confusion this is NOT the North and South as written by Elisabeth Gaskell which dealt with England but rather the first volume in John Jakes' epic trilogy about the Civil War. I first heard about this book through the miniseries and afterwards on a whim I got it and eventually due to boredom I ended up reading it.

Just coming out of a rather rigorous class of US history this book added a great dramatic backdrop to my historical knowledge of the time. There's a wide cast of characters and mostly they are either a Hazard or a Main. The Mains are an old southern aristocratic family whose wealth is based on a large plantation run on slave labor. The Hazards have this giant fortune from their Iron factories and in lieu of slave labor they use the alternative labor force of desperate immigrant workers.

Somehow or another a son from each family meets en route to West Point military academy and become fast friends. If one watched the miniseries they might be a bit confused since many physical traits and other things of characters have been altered but I can't go into much detail in that seeing as I've watched little of the miniseries.

The most interesting parts of the novel are focused on the character interactions, primarily between the Hazards and Mains. The regional differences sometimes prove to great for even the greatest friendships to bridge. It plays very much like a soap opera and everything seems endlessly dramatized and sexual. Oh and everyone is horny like all the time. Especially Ashton. She can do seven in an hour and a half. Sexual urges play an important role in this book but thankfully "tru luf" can cure nearly all. Nearly anyway. Nearly everyone is destined for one true love though sometimes it never works out in a fairy tale manner. Oh and did I mention that the back drop for this novel is the antebellum period of American history?

For the not so heavily learned in US History the antebellum period refers to the time prior to the (American) Civil War. Unfortunately for the novel for all its lovely overly-sensualized dramatic characters it sometimes feels the need to become a history book. Not that history books are bad or anything but it just feels out of place and it's rather boring to tell the truth. Sometimes it'd sneak in through a seemingly innocent allusion to some political figure or through the constant bickering about North and South that frequently occurs or through an outright history lecture! Some little history may be given to add to a further understanding of the novel but once it sounds more like a textbook than a richly engaging drama it gets tiring. I admit that understanding the political climate is integral for fully understanding the all the turmoil going on but people can get the gist of things and still fully appreciate a good story when one is told.

Perhaps the greatest disappointment was that despite the title being North and South it didn't actually get into the Civil War, at best getting to Lincoln's election to the very and and South Carolina's subsequent succession. Even more disappointing was finding out there were two more novels to read to actually reach any satisfying conclusion about the characters. For me, it's simply not worth the time to read the other novels. It was simply too long and the history lesson was a bit much.


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MACH GO GO GO

Posted : 9 years, 6 months ago on 19 May 2008 12:21 (A review of Speed Racer)

If one had to describe this film in one sentence they'd probably say something to the effect of "It was very colorful," and indeed, it was very colorful. From a visual standpoint of course, plot wise, it's a bit bland and dull.

Speed is this guy who for all intents and purposes is an idiot with a huge brother-complex. You see, his brother Rex, is a badass racer, or was until he met his seemingly tragic demise. But what Speed lacks in everything, he makes up for in racing skillz. And he's quite the talented racer. And it helps to have souped up cars.

Speed believes in racing and that it comes for the heart, which leads him to refuse a ludicrous corporate sponsorship offer from Royalton. Accourding to this Royalton fella racing is about who has the biggest sponsor and actual racing ability plays an insignificant role to as who wins the race. Naturally our protagonist is totally against this and seeks to disprove him.

Joining him in this perilous endeavor is Speed's family and long time girlfriend since childhood, Trixie. One thing I liked in this film was that the love story was not an important part in the character development. They showed a small flashback from their childhood and bam they were an inseparable couple and we don't have to worry about that anymore and Speed seems to single-minded to notice any other girl anyway. Oh and there's a chimpanzee, I'm not quite sure why but there is. There's also Racer X, who is TOTALLY NOT REX, and his agenda is to expose the evil corporate conspiracies surrounding the races. Somehow second rate ninjas are involved and just about everyone knows some martial arts or something, except the mechanic with the funny accent.

And somehow there's this Japanese pop star, err, racer who's motivated because of his father's company or something. He's not really a pop star but I half expected him to jump into a song since he kinda looks like the type. But my observations were not that far off seeing as the actor himself is a Korean pop star of sorts. Anyway, I think he played an important part in the film because he kept popping up alot, but I couldn't really tell whether or not he had an important role. I'm still trying to figure out the whole chimp thing.

RACER X IS TOTALLY NOT REX.

The film had this strange way of transitioning scenes and stuff where they'd show someone's head and they'd move around the head and the background would change. It was pretty neat the first few times but then it just got old and annoying. And there was alot of talking that may or may not have been advancing the plot but I felt it could have been cut out in lieu of more action scenes.

Thankfully the action scenes were pretty neat and cool to look at, even if I couldn't tell what was happening half the time. The plot just seemed like a big excuse to have cool looking action scenes and the action scenes themselves were too trippy looking to actually figure out what is going on. But if one is intoxicated perhaps it'd make more sense.

The music was fairly enjoyable. Every now and then the original theme from the cartoon would surface and it was all fairly catchy. Perhaps it needed a bit more eurobeat or something.

It wasn't trying too hard to remain faithful to the original anime (actually I have no idea since I haven't watched it) but it wasn't trying to get rid of the corniness. Alot of anime of this period was indeed marketed at an younger audience and they had an obligatory annoying kid character, supposedly it was so the younger audience can connect better to the show. While I may not have watched the original anime I'm guessing this aspect carried on to the film and the childish antics really didn't appeal for me but maybe a younger audience might dig it if they aren't bored because of its length (I sure wasn't but I may be the most immature of them all).

It's not trying to be an amazing film but with the lame plot, funky colors, and cool confusing action scenes, hey, it's slightly worth it for the cheesiness of it all. I was expecting a little more but I figure it could have been worse. At least it was pretty looking and its kinda funny seeing snakes in a car and the defiance of the rules of gravity.
And yeah, Racer X is totally not Rex his older brother.


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It was okay

Posted : 9 years, 6 months ago on 16 May 2008 09:49 (A review of Snow Falling on Cedars)

I haven't read the book it was based on but sometimes things in books work better in books and things in movies work better in movies.

No doubt the movie was beautiful from it's long drawn out scenes of a bunch cedars and stuff. And it's rather brilliant in it's telling of the story through EXTREEMME flashback mode.

Kazuo Miyamoto is on trial for killing Carl Heine, who may have been his friend at one point, I couldn't really tell. The backdrop is some small fishing island town in Washington post WWII and anti-Japanese sentiments still run strongly in many people. And the Japanese can't be all too quick to forget the years spent in internment camps during the war. Oh and you have the one armed newspaper guy wonder Ishmael, who just can't seem to get over his old girlfriend Hatsue, who so happens to be Kazuo's wife.

The story is told in a dizzying manner of flashbacks and court proceedings. A good indicator of whether or not something was a flashback is to see whether or not Ishmael still has both arms. The shifting from past to present to both is constantly washed over with great tidal waves of tense strings. Much of the score includes expansively tense strings and other parts of the movie subject the viewer to talking over talking to mere silence to the annoying tick tock of a clock.

Too bad while all that was wonderful, it was quite boring at times to watch. It's not very confusing if one pays attention but it's confusing nonetheless and it seems to drag on and on with no end in sight. I hear the ending though is similar to the book but it seems like such a copout, though we have obvious signs to it being that way early in the film through Ishmael's own private investigating.

Maybe some people will really dig the disjointed storytelling and delightfully tragic romance being told but for others, maybe not so much.


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This is a book about MEN

Posted : 9 years, 6 months ago on 27 April 2008 01:32 (A review of Dirty White Boys: A Novel)

A while back this guy Stephen Hunter comes to our school as part of this literary food thing or something of that nature. I myself was excited since I'd be getting out of class but I realized oh this guy is pretty chill after all. What brought my attention to this book was I believe he mentioned something about it coming out as his son was entering high school and how his son had gotten in some sort of trouble or another because of the first sentence of this book. Apparently said sentence was inappropriate for school so I had to go out and read the book myself to find out what was this sentence. And plus you really can't go wrong with a book titled Dirty White Boys.

First of all before reading this novel one has to first gain an appreciation of manly things. Like lions.

By staring at that image for several hours not only will one get a greater understanding of the novel but one will understand being a man.

Next to take into consideration is the first sentence of the novel:
"Three men at McAlester State Penitentiary had larger penises than Lamar Pye, but all were black and therefore, by Lamar's own figuring, hardly human at all."
The rest of the first paragraph is about how amazing and scary this guy's penis is. Already the book establishes itself as being a book for men, and only the most manly of men.

Lamar's penis continues to be a recurring theme popping out when you least expect it but the main theme is being a man. Lamar is the MAN, but he was so manly that he had to escape from prison with his very cousin Odell, who's missing ALOT of screws up there, and Richard Peed. A sad pathetic creature that was saved by Lamar only because of his drawings of lions. Oh and you got the badass cop man named Bud who is also having an affair with his partner's wife.

The novel alternates between telling the story between Lamar and crew's point of view and Bud's point of view. Personally the Lamar and crew point of view was much more enjoyable and I really didn't care much for Bud's crusade of being a man, but you gotta put the book down sometime and Bud kinda grew on me after a while. There's alot of gun jargon that just went over my head but otherwise provides a sense of realism in this story. Lots of comedic moments too. More of situational humor though than anything. I mean most of the escapades of Lamar and crew is Lamar being amazing, Odell being Odell, and Richard cowering in the corner in fear. And later Ruta Beth making cookies. Or something like that.

I enjoyed this book more than I ever thought I would and for such a manly book such as this. Highly recommend if you are into these high action thrillers with an otherwise unlikely protagonist. You gotta remember though, it's all about the lions and it's all about the attitude. Only then will one achieve true manhood. Not really but I like to think so anyway.


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Oscar Wilde = Space Alien

Posted : 9 years, 7 months ago on 24 April 2008 03:30 (A review of Velvet Goldmine)

I'll be quite honest. I didn't understand it, and I doubt I will ever able to from a single viewing. But perhaps in the future when I rewatch it, it might make more sense; all that I took away mostly was that clearly I was missing something in my life before I listened to this type of music. I'm quite shocked and surprised I enjoyed it as much as I did, it reminded me very much of Across the Universe, which personally I didn't really care much for but somehow this movie clicked with me. But I have sneaking suspicions that it has something to do with Oscar Wilde being a space alien. That enough is to make any movie epic.

Apparently it's supposed to be slightly based of David Bowie or something but I really can't tell you since I'm not all that familiar in this genre of music. All I gathered is that Brian Slade, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, is this glam rock icon of sorts but he kinda has feelings for this other rock dude Curt Wild who so happens to be played by Ewan McGregor. He's kinda insane apparently since at the age of 13 he underwent electro shock therapy after "servicing" his brother in the loo. Obviously it didn't help much since he's insane. Christian Bale plays the awkward looking fanboy turned journalist named Arthur or something.

The story is told mainly in a flashback type of mode as Arthur, now a normal looking dude, is a journalist researching about Brian Slade and his subsequent disappearance after a "faked" murder stunt. It's funny I thought that he appeared much younger looking in the "present" scenes than in the "flashback" ones. He just looked like a kind of sad pathetic thing looking for his place in society. Maybe he too was a space alien. That'd make sense.

Throughout it all we gain insight on who this Brian Slade character really was through other people and from Arthur's own memories of the time back then (He was a pretty big fanboy). Lots of fops and dandies make appearances and glitter and feathers randomly fall from the sky. Oh and there's a fairy. Like seriously, this guy's last name is Fairy. He too might be part of the alien conspiracy.

It's just a really really long music video type thing. Some I suppose are covers of other songs and others are original to the movie performed by some musicians of noted merit and the main leads in the film. Lots of drugs, sex, and that sort of stuff. Maybe a bacchanal or two. The important thing I understood from a single viewing was that Oscar Wilde was a space alien, and suddenly everything makes sense.


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Interesting Choice of Music...

Posted : 9 years, 7 months ago on 2 April 2008 02:38 (A review of Dororo)

So I kinda forced this movie upon my friends, to much resistance might I add, and by the end they had such large groans. And it wasn't because the movie was so bad or anything but because they realized that they would have to wait for TWO more movies to finally reach the satisfaction of an ending.

I've been wanting to watch it for a while now and through magical means I was able to. The music choices were certainly interesting and while I might listen to them in my off time I just felt that the music was not quite right with the scene but you get kinda used to it. Plus I really dig the weird Mongolian guttural chanting thing... and at the end no better way to end the movie than with some Jrock!

What I thought was really annoying though was Dororo. I know it's based on a manga by Osamu Tezuka and if I know Tezuka like I thought I do there's normally some obligatory annoying character used for comedic relief of sorts. This is Dororo. And she's also kinda a main character. But I can overlook such things because it's slightly better than having a much younger person playing Dororo. That'd be even more frightening and annoying.

So apparently this failure of a father wants to be like the strongest so he exchanges 48 body parts of his then unborn son in exchange for like the power in war or something. And so this stump of a body is born and found in a river by this amazing doctor dude who gives him these amazing living prosthetic limbs. So the rest of this movie is essentially him finding the rest of his body parts. Spoiler, they don't find them all (Hence parts two and three in production). These demons are using Hyakkimaru's (that's the name of this kid with no body parts) body parts and wreaking havoc upon humans so he has to find all his body parts back and hopefully find his real family.

The demons and other uh.. spiritual things range from ridiculous to oh that's pretty neat looking. There's this good montage of him fighting a bunch of them in the middle of the film set to weird music that doesn't quite fit I suppose fits the nature of this weird film. Oh and Dororo's there for moral support and drum bashing. And yelling... alot... and beating on the drum. But mostly yelling.

A pretty enjoyable fantasy journey type film. Plus the actor for Hyakkimaru, Satoshi Tsumabaki is really cute. But then again I'm a female and many of my other female friends came to this same conclusion. But that's not surely the only reason why I wanted to watch this film. I haven't read the original manga this was based on but I have a renewed hope for other comic based movies. Probably not the greatest film of this type but I enjoyed it well enough and look forward to reading the original manga.


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