Monday, July 28, 2014

Review: Amazing Spider-man 2

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx
Directed by: Marc Webb
Language: English
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 142 minutes

After seeing Captain America: Winter Soldier, I was ready for the next superhero movie of the year. The first movie was still fresh and I really hoped some improvements were made with the second installment since the initial reboot.

After the events from the first movie, Peter Parker finds himself struggling to balance himself and his life as Spider-Man. He continues to investigate the mystery of his parents and their disappearance and the promise he made to Gwen Stacy's father concerning their relationship. Reuniting with an old friend, Harry Osborn, a new foe reveals itself and the further Peter digs he realizes that majority of his problems lead back to Oscorp.

I must admit I had my worries about this movie. Along with the upcoming Superman movie, both movies were suffering from something some call "the after Avengers Syndrome" in which superhero movies try to cram as much content from the source material into one movie. It was a concern, but I was still looking forward to it. If you read my review for the first movie, you would know that I enjoyed it and acknowledged its many flaws. With this movie, I definitely enjoyed it more than the first, but...there are still problems.

Let's start with the positives! The major strength of this movie is the casting. I went into more depth about the cast in the first movie and even compared them to the Raimi cast. The sequel still has a great choice of actors and actresses. I enjoyed the interactions, the tension, and the chemistry, especially between our main characters Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy. I loved watching them together the most. A lot of times romance can really bog down a story that isn't romance based and sometimes it can be a little annoying that I roll my eyes when they're on screen, but with them, I felt very invested and understood the struggle and passion between them. I also love the moments between Peter and Aunt May. The relationship between them also felt very genuine. Aside from the cast that carried over to the sequel, the new additions were intriguing. Harry Osborn had an alluring edginess to him that was different from James Franco in the Raimi franchise, yet just as interesting in most places. Lastly, Jamie Foxx's portrayal of Dr. Edward Nygma Max Dillon was fun to watch. From his unappreciated beginnings to his evil transformation, I was interested on which direction he would go. Outside of casting and characters, the story remained intriguing and I felt like the pacing was good. The visuals were still on par whether 2D or 3D.

Before I get to the negatives, I want to reiterate that I did enjoy this movie...but I'm not afraid to point out its shortcomings. I will try my hardest to avoid spoilers as well. Similar to the first, there were unresolved plot holes. Some of them carried over from the first movie unfortunately. We do get a little more backstory about Peter's parents and their disappearance. It was a great opening scene and brought something new to Peter's story that hasn't been touched on in cinemas. It gave him the extra push to continue on his path as a human being and superhero. Uncle Ben is not forgotten either or Gwen's father, unfortunately the movie continues to neglect Peter's real motivation for this double life: finding Uncle Ben's killer! I have a feeling the franchise will never acknowledge it and if they do it'll probably be sloppily done or a throw away which is quite sad. Maybe because we have Raimi's Spider-man, I felt like Harry's introduction was awkward and a little confusing. I'm assuming we're supposed to feel sympathy for his situation, but we're simply dropped in the middle with a clumsy exposition about his relationship with his father and Peter, his general background, and his personal dilemma. Honestly, his whole purpose is completely rushed throughout the whole movie. The movie simply introduces another useless villain, a few comic book easter egg, and a shameless plug for the movie's future spin off.

What made Harry's transformation so compelling, and maybe a bit heartbreaking, in Raimi's version is that the audience was able to witness his journey and development alongside Peter. We saw him interact with his father, his business, Peter, and Mary Jane. With Marc Webb's version, we get uninteresting exposition that we have to quickly digest, muster up some sort of sympathy, and ultimately feel conflicted in his opposition with his closest friend. That's a lot to ask for. I really wanted to feel something as I really enjoyed Dane DeHaan's portrayal of Harry, but the story and pacing sabotaged any chance of that happening. Max Dillon/Electro was kinda under utilized and his motivations felt weak. As mentioned jokingly before, he reminds me very much of Jim Carrey's character Dr. Edward Nygma/Riddler from Batman Forever. A guy with a passion for science, but receives little recognition, then gets noticed by the hero and instantly becomes obsessed with him. Something goes wrong, he turns evil, and tries to get revenge on society mostly and recognized by the hero. Senpai, notice me! It might sound silly in those words, but it can still be entertaining on screen. Sadly, Electro gets lost in the shuffle and we don't see him in action much. His dislike for Spider-man seems unbelievable and isn't developed very well. Which leads to the bigger problem of that Avengers Syndrome.

As far as villains are concern, I would've made the Rhino a minor obstacle and not bring him back after the first scene. He could have the suit or whatever or just cut him completely and save him for the spin-off. Next, stretch Harry's character so we can get to know him and his relationship statuses. Let him stay a good guy until at least the third, maybe even fourth, movie. Lastly, expand Aunt May's role and her relationship with Peter. Their interactions are just as interesting as his exchanges with Gwen. Minor technical complaint are the awkward camera choices during the car chase scene at the beginning.

With two Amazing Spider-man movies out, it seems like they're neck and neck with its predecessor. For a further comparison of the two franchises, check out the Nostalgia Critic's Old vs. New. For the most part, I agree with him. Maybe not completely, but there are some very valid points. To conclude my review, I still enjoyed it despite its imperfections. It was slightly more enjoyable than the first, but sadly suffers similar problems. I am looking forward to the spinoff and the third installment and still hold onto the hope that they'll do less and focus on closing plotlines.

Rating: 3/5

If there's something you want me to review, check out this post on how you can submit requests.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Review: The Purge: Anarchy

Starring: Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zach Gilford
Directed by: James DeMonaco
Language: English
Rating: R
Running Time: 103 minutes

If you haven't read it, I have reviewed The Purge last year and I thought it was alright. When I heard that a sequel was in the works, I was surprised. There was no allusion to a follow up nor much of a need for one in my opinion, but I was still interested in what the sequel had in store.

Once a year, the United States holds an annual purge in the nation. The purge is a 12-hour event where citizens have an opportunity to commit any crime without consequences, including murder. During this time, authorities and emergency services are suspended. Of course, not everyone gets involved in the purge activities. Eva is a single mother and waitress with some financial struggles that tries her best to support her daughter Cali and her sick father. Leo is a grieving police sergeant that is anticipating the annual purge to get revenge for his decease son who was involved in a car accident. Shane and Liz are a couple travelling to Shane's sister's home a few hours before the purge commencement to announce that they will be separated. These five individuals come across each other due to unexpected events once the purge begins and join together as the city of Los Angeles becomes a danger zone for the group.

For the longest time I didn't know what this movie was about until I read it on IMDb as the trailer really doesn't help. Simply judging from the trailer, all I could see was the consistency of the purge guidelines and chaos on the streets. I knew this would be more of an open world compared to the first, but that's about it. Then reading it I gathered we would be following more than one set of people this time around. There was a little concern that the movie would have a hard time balancing its characters and cluttering it with more violence that would appear more unnecessary than intentional. Nonetheless, I was curious what they were going to do.

The movie starts off very nicely by establishing the time frame moments before the annual purge and introduces us to our main characters without straightforward telling you. In the summary for this movie in the review is exactly what you get, and a little more, from just the beginning of the movie. These facts are shown in a simple way that keeps you engaged and established a basic emotion and understanding of our main characters. Too many horror movies and thrillers fail to establish main characters in such a way, so a very big plus. Once you achieve that basic understanding, it piques the curiosity of how these characters will meet and interact with each other. When that happens, prepare for a very exciting, tense ride.

Since this movie is more of an open world than the first, it adds more danger and the movie does a good job keeping tension consistent from both movies. Even though I did enjoy The Purge, the sequel surprisingly improves and adds new exciting moments. There are goals in place throughout the movie and there's constant danger lurking around every corner...almost quite literally. From an organized set of 18-wheelers to a mysterious gang hiding behind creepy masks to people you would think you could trust not to hurt you. You never know who is waiting to release their pent up anger on you. Something that I found interesting that was added to the sequel was the resistance group that pointed out everything I thought in the first movie with my friend. Also, I was very happy there was no rape involved. I was afraid it might happen in a certain scene, but thankfully it didn't. Despite the violence, there isn't a lot of gore, so it stays true to its thriller roots.

I will admit that this movie does have its flaws, but it doesn't take away from the overall enjoyment. At times, I did get a little annoyed with characters and felt they were dead weight. Since it was easy to slip myself into this situation, I found myself yelling at characters in my head, "Shut up! Please shut up!" and "You're on your own, you're slowing down progress". Also this movie is littered with cliches and predictable moments which almost adds to the enjoyment. You could easily make fun of it and at the same time find it an entertaining joyride of chaos and violence. I think this can be best explained by Brad and Jake's review. [Fyi, there are spoilers in said review]

Overall, this was a very enjoyable movie. There was never a dull moment and its flaws don't bring down its improvements and new additions. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a third movie either, although once again I am quite content with what we have now. Check it out if you want an entertaining, slightly intense thriller.

Rating: 3.5/5

If there's something you want me to review, check out this post on how you can submit requests.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Review: Oculus

Starring: Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Katee Sackhoff
Directed by: Mike Flanagan
Language: English
Rating: R
Running Time: 104 minutes

In the beginning, I was a little hesitant to see this movie. Horror movies have been struggling along in quality for a few years lately with a few shining gems in the theaters like The Conjuring and Sinister. So, does Oculus fall under those rare shining gems or does it continue to contribute to the downfall of the genre?

After being released from a mental institution, Tim Russell reunites with his sister Kaylie and return to their childhood home. Kaylie reveals that she had purchased an antique mirror that was once in their father's office and explains a theory that there's something unusual about it leading to the cause of Tim's childhood trauma. Tim is skeptical as they retrace fragment memories of their family's tragic past.

Due to an entertaining conversation with awesome people, I missed the first 15 minutes of the movie, but it fortunately didn't alter my experience. Also I would like to add that I never go into a horror movie to be scared. I go for the entertainment value like any other movie and I must say...I was entertained. Despite the whole evil mirror concept being done before, the execution was unique and engaging. It may be confusing upon first viewing with its parallel structure, but I think that it adds to its replay value, despite knowing the conclusion. The editing and structure is something I really enjoyed and commend. It paralleled and intertwined the main characters' past and present while expanding and developing them. It also made the concept more interesting. I also enjoyed the small cast. They were very believable actors and made me feel something for them. I miss rooting for the protagonist and feeling sadness when things go wrong. Lastly, the suspense was very satisfying. Not only did it have well executed build-up, it also gave an equal pay off for sitting on the edge of your seat. From time to time there was a good feeling of deception. Did what I see really happen or is it an illusion?

There are a lot of good things working for this movie, but there are a few flaws that I can't completely ignore. Since there is a small cast of characters in this movie, it is important to establish them enough for you to care about them and it does successfully accomplish this factor with the main characters that are part of the family, but I would've wished to see more of an interaction or relationship between Kaylie and her husband. I don't know if this is shown in that beginning 15 minutes that I missed, but it seems like his character is completely thrown in there for the sake of showing that Kaylie and Tim have contrasting futures from their unfortunate childhoods. Another small complaint I have with the movie is the reveal of the "monster". I thought the movie could've prolonged the reveal a little longer and when we do see it, it's a little disappointing. I also thought there were a few predictable moments, but I believe these flaws are made up by the structure and execution of the story being told.

I could be wrong, but from my perspective it doesn't seem like many people have gone out to see this movie which is quite a shame. Pushing all flaws aside, Oculus is a fresh movie for the horror genre and presents a unique and brave storytelling structure with parallel time frames. The small cast of characters gives the audience a better opportunity to connect and emote together throughout the movie. More importantly, the suspenseful moments and pay off are very satisfying.

Rating: 3.5/5

If there's something you want me to review, check out this post on how you can submit requests.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Quick Movie Review

Peeples (2013, USA) | Rating: 2/5

I remember seeing the trailer of this and thinking, "this is just Meet the Parents with black people". I had no real interest in the movie whatsoever, then one day I decided to give it a try. I must was exactly what I thought it would be except without the laughs. I probably genuinely laughed once throughout this whole movie. Acknowledging it is a bit saddening. In short, the movie is pretty standard and predictable. The little changes they made by having the father not be as perfect as you think he is and his family hiding secrets themselves does add a little freshness, but unfortunately it doesn't quite redeem this bland movie. If you feel the need to watch it, it's not terrible, but you honestly won't be missing out if you decide not to.

Byzantium (2012, UK) | Rating: 3/5

I only briefly heard about this limited release through Film Brain and what little buzz I heard elsewhere seemed pretty neutral toward the movie. While watching it, I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to add it to my review list...until I got to the climax. This is definitely a different take on vampires and having two female leads was a big step up compared to the usual. The movie is a bit slow, but makes up for the pacing with intriguing characters and progressive dialogue moments that develop the characters further. Once the climax arrives, I felt myself shift a little closer to the action wondering what was going to happen next. The tension building is very subtle, but you definitely feel its existence near and during the climax.

This is the End (2013, USA) | Rating: 3/5

I did have interest in this movie, but I didn't feel too pressed to see it in theaters. Once I finally got around to seeing it, it definitely went a different direction than I thought. There's a lot of apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic movies nowadays. They all have this bleak approach to it and an intense (or at least attempt of) sense of urgency. This was different. Sure, there were stakes up on humanity, but it wasn't robots, zombies, some random disease, or anything like that; it was the rapture. A concept not many mainstream movies would choose as a possible cause for the world's end. Some viewers may be put off here and there with the religious tidbits throughout the movie, but I wasn't personally bothered by it. I found it to be a bold choice more than anything else. The comedic moments ranged from the typical gross, perverted, and drug related humor which got a little annoying or simply boring, but I enjoyed watching these characters interact with each other during this unexpected event. I think it was more amusing that the actors practically made a caricatures of themselves and their relationships with each other in some way, then interlacing it with this religious apocalypse, especially the scene with Emma Watson. If you want a fun little rollercoaster ride with some hilarious actors, I would give this movie a chance.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010, USA) | Rating: 1.5/5

I've been avoiding this movie since its release. As much as it should appeal to me as a gamer, I never had much interest in seeing it. With the overhype from friends and somewhat overrated cult status, I continued to avoid it until now. Well, I thought the editing was unique and exciting and the video game theme throughout the movie was amusing, but the story was very...lacking. Between each fight scene, I found myself not caring about the dialogue or character interactions in between, especially with Scott. Scott was annoying...very annoying. He's not very likeable, he's way too awkward, and I simply don't understand his character whatsoever. Some of the other characters were okay, but then there might've been a couple they didn't have much going for them. So, I don't understand the whole hype over this movie. Maybe it was the monotonous set up with the battle scenes and supposed character development or the fact that Michael Cera is kinda annoying.

Don Jon (2013, USA) | Rating: 3.5/5

I believe this movie came out at the end of the Joseph Gordon-Levitt hype and that this was in limited release. The plot sounded interesting and a bit risque, depending on what direction he wanted to take with this whole "porn addiction" thing. I had some expectations with this movie mostly concerning Jon's relationship with Barbara and I was surprised that it took the slightly unexpected route. I wasn't completely blown away by this independent film, but I was impressed with the subject matter and how it was handled. Sure, there are some extreme elements to this typical situation of settling down and accepting emotions, but it didn't take away from the overall message. I will admit that Barbara's accent can be a little distracting at times, but for the most part I think it deserves a chance. I hope there is another movie in the future directed by Mr. Gordon-Levitt.

If there's something you want me to review (or want a more in depth review of the movies above or previous ones), check out this post on how you can submit requests.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Quick Movie Review

Maleficent (2014, USA) | Rating: 3.5/5

It was sad to see that another slow summer of movies were coming in this year. I've been so accustomed to having to visit the theater at least every, if not every other, weekend, but nothing too exciting is flooding the summer line-up. The reason I'm bringing this is up is because this is one of the few movies I've been looking forward to. Unlike most movie goers who were excited to see this live action adaptation of one of Disney's beloved, and perhaps one of the most feared, villains on the big screen, I don't recall ever seeing the retelling of Sleeping Beauty, so I had nothing to compare to. I know the basic storyline of it, but I felt like I was at an advantage not having that to draw back on as a couple reviews I've seen mentioned to not compare the two as they are completely different and this is more of a reimagining of sorts. Hopefully, if you haven't seen it yet, please keep that in mind. In short, I really enjoyed this movie. It had a simplistic fairy tale storyline that was easy to follow along and Angelina Jolie nailed the essence of Maleficent. The atmosphere of the movie didn't feel too much like Alice in Wonderland, which was a little fear I had. I could nitpick the story, but I don't feel like it deserves to be picked apart in such a way. Instead, I will mention that the graphics for the three fairies were a little out of place and the personalities were borderline too silly for me. Also, I thought Prince Philip was useless and devoid of personality. Aside from that, I think it deserves the praise it has received and recommend anyone who hasn't seen it to check it out!

Carrie (2013, USA) | Rating: 2.5/5

When I heard the news about this remake, I groaned and rolled my eyes at this contribution to the hundreds of Carrie remakes over the years. Although I haven't seen any of the other remakes, I was content with settling with the original reigning supreme. I picked a copy up from work, wanting to give this retelling a chance, and found nothing groundbreaking. It isn't a bad movie in the least, but compared to the original, it was very unnecessary. Most of the same elements are shown, but there is a shift in focus as well as slight tweaks to making it more modern day with cellphones and YouTube as well as personality traits to the characters. The movie is more brutal and a bit darker in color. The mother is still crazy religious but it isn't as in your face as the original, it is replaced with this awkward need to self harm throughout the film. Carrie ranges from being ignorant to the modern day world to knowing how things work. Either way, for an average film, it's clearly forgettable and a waste of time for everyone who worked on it.

The Bling Ring (2013, USA) | Rating: 1.5/5

From what I can see, a few commenters on IMDB compare this movie to Spring Breakers and I can understand why...a little. There is a common theme of teenagers participating in theft, but that's about it. This movie is based on a true event and it was an interesting film to watch. I came in with no expectations, so I wasn't susceptible to disappointment or overwhelming feelings. The way the movie started was interesting and I didn't know where it was going to go. I was excited to learn more about the main characters, but unfortunately Sofia Coppola only scratched the surface with the topic at hand. I barely know anything about these characters, therefore I feel nothing for them when they break into celebrities' homes or get torn away from their families while being arrested. It's all very superficial and surface based. The editing skims over situations as well and appears a bit too formuliac: characters look at celebrity events online, look up their address, break into their home, escape, insert achieve footage of celebrity, rinse and repeat. It's not that exciting and it's a shame as the characters seem very capable of being these real life people. So, if you want to compare Spring Breakers and this movie, I think Spring Breakers had more to offer.

One Hour Photo (2002, USA) | Rating: 4.5/5

Along with Insomnia, I've been meaning to see this movie with a more serious, perhaps villainous Robin Williams. I enjoy him and his humor, but it's interesting seeing comedic actors you enjoy being quite the opposite like Jim Carrey in The Number 23. Aside from excitement, I had no idea what to expect, which was a very good thing. After I watched it, I was very grateful I didn't watch this at 3 am the previous night because it was pretty disturbing toward the end. This movie is a good example of how to creep out your audience without using gore, blood, or anything like that that's plaguing horror movies now. The psychological elements are more than enough to make you unsettled, yet you feel conflicted with feelings of sympathy and fear as you follow the main character and antagonist (perhaps) Sy Parrish. The story isn't drawn out too long, timing in at a little over the hour and a half mark, and it delves into all the characters properly that you understand their motives, feelings, and so forth. This is a definite watch for you psychological thriller lovers and those who want a break from the blood filled horror films.

Now You See Me (2013, USA) | Rating: 3.5/5

When this first came out, I didn't have much interest in this movie. I didn't think it would be bad or anything, just no interest. The first time I saw this movie was on TV when there was nothing on and to my surprise, I really enjoyed it. So, I decided to watch it one more time and pay more attention to the movie than anything else. To sum it up, it reminded me of Ocean's Eleven with magic. The characters were interesting, but the main focus was the cat and mouse game between the Four Horsemen and the authorities. Learning how they pulled off their magic tricks and how carefree they went about executing their Robin Hood-like crimes was an enjoyable ride, especially when you get to the surprising conclusion. Sure, you might not get to learn too much about the magicians, but I can ignore that and recommend this as simply a good popcorn flick.

If there's something you want me to review (or want a more in depth review of the movies above or previous ones), check out this post on how you can submit requests.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Hiatus Update

Good morning, my lovely Cult followers!

It seems as though this hiatus is lasting a little longer than expected. So, I feel like I should give you guys an update on what's going on. I wanted to do a v-log instead to explain things, but I can't. Therefore text will just have to suffice, right? First of all, Muddy Cult is not dead. I'm still planning on posting a ton of stuff. Some of it is handwritten at the moment and awaiting to be typed. So, keep those questions, requests, comments, and what have you coming!

Finals are over and graduation has past. I have transitioned back to my simple life on the sandbar and getting settled day by day. Unfortunately during finals week, two of my keys decided they wanted to be unresponsive. Currently, my precious laptop is getting its keyboard replaced and I am borrowing one in the meantime. Because Google controls both YouTube and Blogger, it makes it difficult to be on both accounts at the same time and I feel uncomfortable installing anything on a laptop that isn't mine. Until I get my laptop back, I will remain on hiatus.

Thank you once again for your patience and support! You have no idea how much that means to me and I hope that the future content I have planned for Muddy Cult will make up for my lack of activity during this uncontrollable situation.

Your Cult Leader,

Wednesday, April 30, 2014


What's my lovely Cult followers!

Sorry things have been dead around here lately. Finals are coming up and I need to really focus on succeeding this semester as I'm planning on it being my last. So, I will be taking a couple weeks hiatus from blogging, then resume playing catch up when the semester is over and settled back at home.

Just because I'm on hiatus doesn't mean you can't leave me questions, requests, suggestions, comments, or anything else you want to send me.

Thank you all for your support and patience! Good luck to everyone else dealing with finals as well and I'll see you guys soon.

Your Cult Leader,

Monday, April 21, 2014

Rant: What is a "True Fan"?

There are many types of fan labels out there. Some describe the dedication level put into a fandom and some may describe the enjoyment of the artist, group, or whatever. In this little rant, I'm mainly going to focus on music fans, but some of these instances can apply to fans outside of music as well.

When looking deeply into two of my favorite bands, Linkin Park and Dir en grey, and even glancing over kpop fan comments, I tend to see pretentious claims of true fanaticism. Usually people base true fan status on CD ownership, the amount of merchandise collected, artist/band knowledge, years of support or involvement, shows attended, and perhaps other various attributes. To me, I think a true fan has certain attributes of all these things, but the main point is that there is no measurement. Once numbers are incorporated with these traits, elitism is formed and new fans may be discouraged to join the fanbase or even label themselves as a "true fan". So, what do I believe makes a true fan?

Historical Acknowledgement
You don't necessarily need to know what age Taeyang and G-Dragon were when they were trainees or that Kai was not the original drummer of the GazettE, but I believe that a true fan should at least acknowledge a band's past. Don't start an argument about Dir en grey not being a visual kei band, because they were and it will forever be part of their history despite their musical and visual transformation. Don't claim you know everything about a band when all you know is what America puts out or your knowledge is based on recent material, like the last 2 years recent. I've seen a lot of fans like this.

Financial & Emotional Support
Not everyone has a disposable income to splurge on discographies, rare items, and attending nearly every show, but everyone is capable of giving emotional support. So, you want to buy the new limited edition Alice Nine album, but you don't have the money for it right now. Don't worry, your heart is in the right place and maybe that album will still be available when you do have the funds for it. Another way to support the band is to tell other people about them. Show them where they can buy their CDs and DVDs. Imports are expensive, but as long as you're trying your best with emotional support then it's okay. Musicians are usually overjoyed when overseas fans know their lyrics, names, and costumes. This encourages them to continue forward. Even your attendance at shows and fan events is great emotional support. If you own something of theirs, that's great, but don't be all high and mighty because you own all of these obscure cassettes or vinyls and you've attended more than 30 shows.

Music Appreciation
Musicians' styles change and evolve (and sometimes devolve), this can't be helped. Not everyone is going to like these changes and that's perfectly fine. Just because you disagree with an artist/groups' direction or you dislike some songs that does not make you a bad fan. Musicians are not perfect and some experiments don't go as planned sometimes. If you look back at my post about Miyavi, I mentioned how much I love him, but I openly admitted that I wasn't particularly fond of the direction he was going with his Kabuki Boiz and even some of his current style [pre-Miyavi era]. Honestly, I think it's good to be critical of the music you love, especially when the musician sets a certain expectation with each release.

Level of Seriousness
It's okay to make fun of an artist in a positive, loving way. Musicians say and do silly things all the time. Kyo and Ruki's English isn't the best, so there have been parody videos made with fake subtitles of what the words might sound like to native English speakers to laugh at . KPop artists do silly things on variety shows and even poke fun at each other like Big Bang's Seungri imitating his bandmates. There's even performances of trot versions of popular kpop songs and parody subtitles of new kpop music videos. If artists can laugh at themselves, why can't fans? You can make fun of musicians you enjoy in a non-malicious manner. I do it all the time. Just remember there's a difference between bashing and making a joke.

All Around Respect
This might be the most important factor of being a true fan. If you claim that a musician holds a high place in your heart, then you can show them that by respecting their craft and personal wishes. Let's say that you've obtained some leaked music and you want to share it with the fandom. It's best to wait until the release date and don't outwardly expose the news to the musician. Or even better, don't share it at all! During lives, don't grope the musicians or damage their costumes or instruments. During softer songs or acapella moments, show some self control and don't yell out your love confessions or disapprovals. Have some common sense! If you see your bias offstage somewhere, don't harass or stalk them. It's fine to approach them, but there's a time and a place. They are human just like you and me and you wouldn't want some random girl peeking through your windows, harassing your family, or interrupting your dinner with a long time friend. Along with the musicians, show respect for each other. We all share one common love and that is the band/artist/group. Everyone has to start somewhere, so don't make fun of new fans who are just getting into them. As a fandom, we should support each other and together show our love and appreciation for music. Also, show respect for other fanbases even if you dislike what they like.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Horror Movie Annoyances: Jump Scares

I wish I could pinpoint a specific time when jump scares became the prevalent source of fear in horror movies, but my mind is overwhelmed with various information and tidbits that I can't think. Sure, jump scares have been around for decades, otherwise we wouldn't have my favorite cliche: the bathroom mirror. The bathroom mirror jump scare is when, usually, the main character goes into the bathroom for whatever reason, opens their medicine cabinet, and closes it, revealing someone is behind them or inside the mirror that's either a friend of foe. This cliche has been modified in some instances such as building suspense for the cliche and nothing happens until the character moves elsewhere for the scare, the rule of threes where the character experiences the same action 3 times and nothing happens until the third time, or nothing happens at all.

While I don't dislike jump scares as a whole, my annoyance with them is how movies have relied on them for majority, if not all, of their scary parts. Because of this, they lose their initial effect on the viewer and simply become that annoying person who jumps out from around the corner and yells "Boo" to get a cheap thrill.

Aside from cutting down the usage, jump scares lack build up to be legitimately scary. Like I said, they're just irritating. Good build up requires a certain tone and atmosphere. It also helps if the viewer and characters have a close relationship to experience the tension together and it does not have to rely on a musical sting to make it scary. A simple scene of a character wandering in the dark with a tiny source of light for a long moment ends up being scared by the antagonist is usually an effective jump scare. Running away from a cult into an amusement park and looking at a bloody bunny mascot that eventually moves, then suddenly have the character waking up to realize it's a nightmare and the scene fades to black then opens to a PopTart coming out of a toaster is an annoying jump scare.

Good sources for effective ways to build proper suspense is to check out The Strangers and Sinister. Movies like Silent Hill: Revelation, which is described above, and Jeepers Creepers 2 are littered with ineffective jump scares.