Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Quick Movie Review

Deliver Us From Evil (2014, USA) | Rating: 2.5/5

Maybe I'm not remembering this correctly or something, but I was watching one of the many movie reviewers I follow and I believe they said that they enjoyed this movie. Originally, I had no interest in it as it just added to the boring possession movies that Hollywood keeps dishing out, but since they enjoyed I figured I'd check it out. They're pretty reliable. I might go back to that review and see if I'm remembering it correctly, because honestly, I lost interests on both attempts. First attempt, I fell asleep and second attempt, I was just bored...and I probably still dozed off. Eventually, I gave up trying to watch it and brought it back for the next person to view it. I guess it does offer a somewhat creative take on these inspired by documentary with a police officer.

Repentance (2014, USA) | Rating: 2.5/5

I noticed this movie was getting checked out quite often and one of my co-workers said that movie was good, but she didn't like the ending that much. I wasn't completely sure what this movie would be about, but one guess was that it might have some sort of religious tie in or something. In short, it was a revenge story with some little twists and turns here and there. I thought the story was kind of unique as it altered some typical aspects I normally would see in movies like this. There are some emotional conflicting moments when it comes to the main characters as there is a slight blur between who is right and wrong. Despite the little unique aspects of the film, overall it is a bit forgettable, but it definitely isn't a waste of time if you decide to watch it.

Anna (2014, USA) | Rating: 2.5/5

Plots dealing with a professional working with a mentally and/or emotionally disturbed patient tend to be hit or miss for me. Sometimes it can be quite silly like Case 39 or deeply intriguing like Identity. I believe this might fall a little closer to The Quiet Ones which is kinda interesting and entertaining, but nothing to get too excited about. I was tempted to avoid this movie for the simple fact that Taissa Farmiga is in it. I don't dislike her, but she can sometimes come off as rather bland or even borderline annoying and this is only basing it on her characters from American Horror Story and American Horror Story: Coven. She did have a little life as Anna, but Mark Strong made the movie interesting and slightly lasting on the mind. Honestly, Strong's character provoked more emotion from me than Farmiga's.

The Double (2013, UK) | Rating: 2.5/5

I don't really care for Jesse Eisenberg. He's like a slightly less annoying Michael Cera. Watching this movie was a slight challenge considering Eisenberg had to play two characters: one being his usual typecast awkward guy and the other being an arrogant, manipulative sleaze. The movie might be a little confusing because of the doppelganger aspect, especially toward the end. The story was indeed interesting, putting all negative bias aside. Eisenberg did a good job interacting and reacting to his other self, even if he is still annoying. If you do decide to watch this movie, it might take a couple tries to grasp everything that happened...especially the end, but don't be surprised if you end up a little frustrated with certain characters either.

God's Not Dead (2014, USA) | Rating: 3/5

Ah, another religious movie. Originally, I was supposed to watch this on my church's movie night, but everyone was tired and it was rather late for the elderly folk. So, I decided to check it out on my own since I've heard some pretty good things about it. The story was quite enjoyable and I enjoyed the conflict the protagonist had to face with his teacher. I think this movie represents Christians well while not bashing other religions to present it in a good light. One problem I had were the side stories that tied into the main plot as they seemed a bit unnecessary during majority of the movie until the final act. A couple actors seemed a bit inauthentic at times such as Josh's girlfriend, but her purpose of being a bit of the unlikable Christian was successful. I couldn't understand why most of the cast were jerks, but I guess you need some jerks to propel the movie forward. Ignore the comments on IMDb and go with your own feelings on whether you want to see this movie or not.

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.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Quick Movie Review

Toys (1992, USA) | Rating: 2.5/5

I guess this is one of Robin Williams' lesser known movies, because I've never heard it nor did anyone I asked about it. According to IMDb, it has a very average score and plenty of commenters defending its social commentary about toys and war and whatnot. I picked this movie for the obvious reason of Robin Williams starring in it and I've never heard of it before. I can see this movie not appealing to everyone as certain moments do seem a bit silly at times, but the silliness has a purpose. It's a sibling rivalry over a toy factory and it seems as though, I'm assuming, older brother doesn't quite understand the purpose of creating toys for kids when they can be used for warfare. I thought the movie was entertaining enough; not enough to revisit any time soon, but it was decent.

Only God Forgives (2013, France) | Rating: 2/5

I've seen this movie on the shelf at my work for a while and that it got checked out frequently when it was brand new. I didn't have much interest in it until I saw a preview for it in another movie. I must say this movie has a lot of visual appeal! The lighting is very stylistic, the fight choreography is exciting, and just overall it is a treat for the eyes. Unfortunately, this movie lacks one very important element: story. There is a plot, a simple one, but it exists. The execution of the story surrounding said plot is very lacking. There's some vague dialogue and a few thoughts expressed verbally, but it's hard to understand what the heck is going on when you listened to what the characters are saying, which is pretty important. It's very sad that this movie has such weak execution with its storytelling, because you really want to like the movie due to its sheer visual appeal.

Snowpiercer (2013, USA) | Rating: 4/5

My mother told me about this movie after reading a newspaper review and I skimmed over it, noticing a familiar name, Joon-ho Bong. Most would know Joon-ho Bong from the movie, The Host (not to be mistaken for the movie based on the Stephanie Meyer's novel), but I recognize the name from a perhaps lesser known movie, Mother. I didn't know what to expect from this American directorial effort as some Asian directors tend to have lackluster movies for their international audiences. Although this might not be for the casual moviegoer, I found myself enjoying another perceptive of a post-apocalyptic world with class system. The concept is probably getting annoying, but as long as the movie makes it interesting and entertaining, then it doesn't get boring. This movie is set on a train and has some very diverse set of people in each class. There's a possibility I might return to reviewing this movie and giving it a full review, because it has so many layers, great visuals, and some characters that you can easily attach yourself to.

Life After Beth (2014, USA) | Rating: 3/5

Zombies are still in, right? If you're sick of the zombie craze lately, then you should take a pass on this movie. But honestly, it is an amusing comedy with some very funny actors. The story seems pretty simple, but it seems to take a twist and turn here and there that makes this simple story truly entertaining. Although the entertainment factor is pretty good, the lasting appeal is easy to fade from your memory. Aubrey Plaza is funny, but from time to time her character can be annoying. I'm sure that was on purpose though so you can truly feel the conflict of Dane DeHaan feels with her: love, sympathy, and frustration. There's a little more than just zombies presented here, so it does bring something new to the zombie comedy genre. Of course, Zombieland will always be the winner for me.

Mr. Peabody and Sherman (2014, USA) | Rating: 3.5/5

Surprised, yet not surprised that this retro short from the The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show was going to be brought to the big screen as everyone has been digging in the vintage pile of people's childhoods. Unlike the The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle from 2000, this movie is actually good and funny. I was very curious how they would play off this educational animated short, but they managed to create a simple story that ties in those historical elements that adults remember from their childhoods. It might not be overtly or even obviously educational as it focuses more on the simplistic plot, but there's little tidbits here and there to subliminally slip into your children's minds.

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.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Quick Anime Review

Shiki + Specials (2010) | Rating: 4.5/5

I feel like this is a series that people should be talking about. I don't know if they did when it came out, but I will definitely mention my thoughts about it here. Vampire concepts have been done, of course, so the challenge is to make the concept interesting and this anime does that. What they do differently is play on the secondary concept of good and evil, making the viewer decide whether to side with the humans or the "vampires". The choice seems obvious in the beginning, but when you learn more about certain characters, your conscience tends to sway and you want to sympathize with them. The story is very interesting and the pacing is great. If you watch the special episodes, which aren't necessary for viewing, it offers supplementary story outside of the main cast which is just as entertaining to see. Lastly, I want to praise the unique, somewhat dark artwork that complimented the tone of the show.

Tokyo Ghoul (2014) | Rating: 2.5/5

I saw some hype for this show via Tumblr; not as much as Attack on Titan or Free! Eternal Summer, but enough that it has gained attention from avid anime viewers. I was intrigued by the artwork, concept, and the character appearances to check out this show (more specifically Uta). The concept kinda meshed around my brain since I was finishing up Shiki at the same time. So, I guess human eating is a thing. heh The constant complaint I hear from fans is that the anime misses crucial storyline and development that the manga offered. Whether I knew this or not, the story did feel like there were parts missing, which is quite unfortunate because I truly wanted to get into this show. At the moment, it doesn't seem like any American distributor has picked up the manga series for English translator, but I hope the popularity of the anime changes that as I would like to get into it more and perhaps join the Uta love bandwagon.

Free! (2013) & Free!: Eternal Summer (2014) | Rating: 3.5/5

This will be my first entry into the realm of sports anime. Never had a real interest in it, but I was never opposed to it either. The genre just never came to mind really. I heard about this series quite a lot last year and of course everyone and their feels were everyone on social media about the latest season. So, I figured I'd give it a shot and it was actually pretty entertaining. The show is more than just fanservice for lonely otaku girls. It presents a story about friendship and, obviously, the trials and tribulations of competitive swimming. The characters are interesting, fun, and unique and make the story entertaining. So, guys, if you want to watch the swim anime and you're afraid you'll run into some boy love territory, don't worry. Man up and check it out!

Kuroshitsuji II + Specials (2010) | Rating: 3/5

I enjoyed the first season, despite the gripes some fans had about the series compared to the manga. I will admit as I delved further into the manga, I started enjoying it more than the first season as well, but I didn't dislike the first season. Since Kuroshitsuji: Book of Circus came out this year, I figured I'd catch up on the rest of the anime. It took me a while to get into the second season, mostly because I disliked Alois Trancy's personality a lot. Claude Faustus was an interesting butler for him and Hannah and the triplets added something a little different, but they just can't compare to the undeniable chemistry that Ciel and Sebastian have. It wasn't until the end half of the series that I got a little more involved with the series. Compared to the first season, it seemed a bit unnecessary. As for the specials, those were quite entertaining, non-cannon stories.

Zankyou no Terror (2014) | Rating: 4.5/5

Similar to last year, I didn't watch everything or even close to every new series this year, but I would declare this series the best of 2014. Like Danganronpa, I don't think this series was talked about that much, which is a shame. Before going into it, I didn't know much about the story, but the behind the scenes element was leading toward a winning series. You have the director of Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo Shinichiro Watanabe and acclaimed composer Yoko Kanno doing the soundtrack. That's a win-win already! The story and art is fantastic and presents a more serious tone that is not seen in Watanabe's well known series I mentioned earlier. Those series have serious moments with a dash of comedy relief, but there is no laughing matters in this daring anime. I highly recommend this series for those who are fans of Watanabe or anime fans who want something more mature and serious.

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

Monday, December 1, 2014

Quick Movie Review

Let Me In (2010, USA) | Rating: 2/5

I heard about this movie through a friend and was told to avoid the American remake, but I got curious and wanted to compare. I know I didn't review the Swedish original movie as I didn't have much to say about it. It wasn't a bad movie at all, it was more so I didn't know what to talk about. It was a good movie and explored some new areas with vampires that not many mediums touch on. In the remake, it seems a bit lackluster in places. The characters aren't as interesting and they wanted to make matters a bit more gruesome. Chloë Grace Moretz didn't give her character much depth or offer the viewer some sort of emotional attachment compared to the original and Kodi Smit-McPhee's character was either bland or a little annoying. In short, the remake was unnecessary, so I suggest to watch the original Swedish version. There is an optional English audio track, so there's no excuses!

Grand Piano (2013, Spain) | Rating: 2.5/5

This is the second Elijah Wood film I've watched recently that I've never heard about. At least, not in mainstream movie news. I was intrigued by it because he's in it and the premise seemed simple, but somewhat interesting. The movie presents a slightly unique hostage take with a piano performance. Wood's character has been on hiatus from playing and is part of a special concert, but a threat shifts the atmosphere of his return performance as an avid fan or piano enthusiast threatens Wood's character through his phone. Despite the simplicity of the plot, there's some good tension going on, even if you can somewhat predict what is going to happen a few steps ahead of the movie. I thought the movie was entertaining enough, but probably isn't all that memorable compared to the last movie I reviewed of his, Maniac. Of course, it doesn't compete with The Lord of the Rings series or even The Good Son. If you're curious, I will not discourage anyone from seeing it.

The Dark Crystal (1982, USA) | Rating: 3.5/5

I know this Jim Henson classic has been a part of many people's childhoods, but I've actually never seen it until now. Since watching Syfy's Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge, it made me interested in watching more of his movies. I know this movie is one of people's favorite childhood movies and I can understand why. It might seem a little dated at times, but honestly the puppetry is still very effective to this day and the story is very simple for children. It isn't too dark, but it has a tiny sense maturity for an older set of children. The characters are easy to distinguish and feel the appropriate feelings for. I can also understand the nostalgic feeling this movie brings, even if you've never seen, but have seen something similar to it.

Frankie & Alice (2010, Canada) | Rating: 2.5/5

I don't really pay attention too closely to a lot of actors, but I may be wrong on this one, I think Halle Berry might've hit a little slump with movies lately. I remember seeing previews for this, but never spotted it in theaters, so I'm wondering whether it didn't do too well in the box office or it was simply a limited release situation. Nonetheless, I'm surprised my workplace had it in its collection and I proceeded to check it out. Even though multiple personalities have been tackled in movies, I thought it had a nice little variation on the subject matter. Halle Berry did a pretty decent job with the material given. The movie in general wasn't anything spectacular, but it is worth giving a chance. The subject matter does deal a little more than just multiple personality disorder, but other potential problems that Berry's character is facing with her family and past.

Son of God (2014, USA) | Rating: 3/5

This is probably a rare sight to see. A religious movie! Yeah, I saw this one with my church as a favor to my mom and it was pretty good. I vaguely remember this movie being taken from a television mini-series, The Bible. To the trained eye, you can tell that this was a made for TV movie by the way it is shot, but there are hints in the way the story flows that this was taken from somewhere else. I enjoyed the content presented in the movie, but the editing isn't very smooth as it feels like fragments from something bigger, which it is. I think I would rather watch the series to fill in the gaps and see the story flow more smoothly. Despite the progression, the content itself is enjoyable and the actors did a great job with their roles. I also want to applaud the casting director for the diversity as well. Too bad Exodus didn't do the same thing.

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.