Movie · Review

Sharknado 4: We Can’t Believe this is a Franchise Either

I actually like Sharknado and, to a lesser degree, Sharknado 2. It’s a ridiculous idea with ridiculous execution and the acting is actually a little above what one would expect from a Syfy original movie. You have sharks in tornadoes? Blow them up! More sharknadoes? Freeze them! You know what? Let’s just fly a helicopter into a tornado filled with sharks!

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Just ask yourself, which is more ridiculous?
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It was the first one, wasn’t it?

With Sharknado 3 the idea began to get stale, so The Asylum (the studio that made all these movies) decided to make it even more ridiculous and we got sharks IIIIN SPAAAAACE! I’m not a rabid fan of the first two movies by any means, in fact I don’t think I’ve ever rewatched Sharknado 2, but gave me the ironic impression that it was being taken too seriously. The Asylum knew this was their next cash cow and put too much effort into the making of these movies, so that it comes through in the movie itself, which makes all the ludicrousness seem out of tune. They tried too hard to keep people watching this series.

Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens is where it got sad. Yes, the title did its job and warned us of the Star Wars references, but OH MY DEAR YODA! Not even Spaceballs parodied Star Wars this much! Anyone who reads this blog knows that I’m a huge Star Wars fan and after the first five minutes and 3,812 references I was sick of it. And it kept going. And going. And going. I wanted to shoot a proton torpedo into its reactor just to end it.

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Guest Author · Movie · Review

The Not-Good-Looking Dinosaur

It’s like the creators decided to recreate the shots from The Revenant  and insert dinosaurs from an early-2000s direct-to-DVD CGI feature. Never before have I so wanted to look at pictures of the backgrounds from an animated movie. It’s a shame that there were characters.

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So beautiful and peaceful. Let’s hope nothing comes along that stands out like a sore thumb-
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Kill it with meteors!

Now imagine an hour and a half of that.

Tell me if you’ve heard this before: a young animal protagonist tragically loses his father, winds up far away, meets a companion, then eventually finds the courage to return home. The Lion King similarities are really distracting, the flood that kills the father even looks like a herd of wildebeests (yes that’s the correct spelling) considering that it was colored brown and had trees sticking out of it like antlers. Also, what’s that other dinosaur movie? Oh right, Jurassic Park! Lots of shots were taken from Jurassic Park and its sequels.

 

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Guest Author · Movie · Review

Split

I’ve been waiting since January to do this review. Now that M. Night Shyamalan’s latest thriller Split has been released on DVD/digital media, let’s talk about it.

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Yay! Etcetera!

Split is about three girls (the most prominent being Casey played by Anya Taylor-Joy) who are kidnapped by a man with multiple personalities (James McAvoy) for a purpose which is slowly revealed throughout the film. What follows is a slow burn of a thriller which makes the audience wonder if McAvoy’s psychologist (Betty Buckley) can unravel what’s happening in time to save the girls.

I enjoyed this movie when I saw it in theaters several months ago. The acting for the most part (particularly from James McAvoy) is great. This guy deserves some kind of award for this/these role(s). Most importantly you get the impression that each of these personalities is a whole character, not just a name with a gimmick. That’s impressive for a character with twenty-three personalities. Two of three most prominent of these are Dennis, a man obsessed with cleanliness, young girls, and looks like the real-life BTK killer (who is also named Dennis), and Hedwig, a nine year-old boy who has one of the best scenes in the movie. The one which got under my skin the most, however, was Patricia. She gives a constant impression of being unstable yet fully dedicated to acting calm to cover it up. Throughout the running time there are long shots where you see McAvoy’s speech patterns, voice, and body language change as he goes between different identities.

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The most terrifying character in the movie.

After her excellent performance in The VVitch Anya Taylor-Joy delivered again with her role as Casey, a character shrouded in even more mystery than any of McAvoy’s. I’ll be going into spoilers later on, but I will say you feel a chill as you learn more about her. Betty Buckley was also engaging as McAvoy’s psychologist Dr. Fletcher, bringing an intelligence and compassion to probably the most weakly written of the three leads. I say weakly written because a lot of her dialogue is awkward and roundabout (much like this sentence) and, as has been pointed out to me, she should have questioned her patient with an unhealthy obsession with young girls when she saw on the news that three young girls were kidnapped.

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Movie · Review

Batman and Robin: A Secondary Masterpiece

There are two types of lights that we see in the sky. The first is primary sources of light such as the sun or other stars, objects which create their own light. The other type is secondary sources, which reflect light from primary sources. Even though the moon is a secondary source, it is still brighter than most stars to us.
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Also inspires howling. More on that in a minute.
When you ask someone to name a Batman movie, they usually will say The Dark Knight or Batman (1989), to most people the two best films. Surprisingly, however, after these a lot of people will say Batman and Robin, widely considered one of the worst movies of all time. Why? There are plenty of other Batman movies, all of which are better quality.
The most obvious reason is because this movie succeeds so well at being bad. Plenty of critics, Youtubers, etc. have pointed out the reasons why so I won’t go into much detail here. In short the dialogue is a series of one liners, it’s impossible to take Batman (or any characters except Alfred) seriously, and the tone feels like a Looney Toons short. Despite all this, it’s not funny enough to be a clever comedy like the 1960s TV show which I greatly enjoy. Whether something is very good or very bad, as long as it’s extreme enough to stand out it gets attention.
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Whether that attention is deserved is another question…
Not everyone watches Batman and Robin itself, however. This movie has led to multiple parodies and comedic reviews, almost all of which are better than the feature itself. One of my favorites is a review by Nostalgia Critic which includes several comedic outbursts and lampooning of the obvious flaws in the film. In  this way the infamous Batman and Robin is similar to the moon. Its brilliance is not its own product, it’s from other people’s witty observations of it.
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Yes. This happened.
This is a movie that is fun to watch with friends. You can create good jokes and laugh with whoever is around, and you’ll have fond memories of the occasion as a result. It is rare to find such a universally agreed about resource for comedic material. Just…don’t watch it alone.
Guest Author · Movie · Review · TV Show

Dubbed vs Subbed, The Foreign Film Dilemma

I’ve watched a fair number of foreign films and TV shows in my life, particularly anime. These days which anime I watch mostly depends on what’s on Hulu and Netflix, and almost all of it is subtitled. Sometimes its ideal for the show or movie, other times I find myself wishing it had been dubbed over. This leads to the question: which is better?

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Either way, the tentacles remain.

In general, there is no answer between the two. The best option, of course, is to be able speak the movie or show’s original language, though this isn’t a reality for an American audience. Since the majority of foreign films and TV shows I watch are from China and Japan, I will be focusing on works from those countries with one important exception from American cinema which I’ll get to later.

My first exposure to a foreign movie was probably the Godzilla franchise, of which my favorite installment is Godzilla: Final Wars. I’ve tried watching this same movie both subbed and dubbed, and I vastly prefer the dubbed version as is the case for all Godzilla movies I’ve seen. So dubbed is better, right? Not so fast, because I’ve also seen both versions of Kung Fu Hustle, and the jokes are MUCH funnier in the subbed version. OK, maybe subbed is better for comedies and dubbed is better for action movies? No again, as from what I’ve heard Pokemon: The First Movie was deeper and more interesting subtitled compared to the dubbed version I saw (which was borderline infantile in its dialogue). Continue reading “Dubbed vs Subbed, The Foreign Film Dilemma”

Guest Author · Review · TV Show

The OA – Take it Off Your Netflix Queue

So far all of my posts have been of films and series that I like, so it’s time to shake things up a bit.

The OA is a series on Netflix which consists of eight episodes, with only one season having aired so far. The plot revolves around a woman named Prairie/The OA (Brit Marling) who reappears after having been missing for seven years. At the time she disappeared she was blind, but now can see since coming back. Throughout the season she tells a story to five random people about how she became blind, how her life changed as a result, and what happened over the last 7 years to help her regain her sight.

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Are you my mummy?

Mild spoilers from the first two episodes follow.

First, the positives. All of the actors (with one exception) range from competent to excellent in their roles, with my two favorites being Phyllis Smith as the schoolteacher Elizabeth and Jason Isaacs as Hap, a doctor running experiments.

Smith’s character has an extremely sympathetic and effective character arc throughout the season and I wish that she had been the protagonist, maybe someone who had been through Prairie’s story in the past and it came back to haunt her. Her sadness and hope to make circumstances better for her and those close to her stands out throughout the season.

Isaacs brought a charisma, intelligence, and ruthlessness tempered with slight Continue reading “The OA – Take it Off Your Netflix Queue”

Guest Author · Product · Review · Series · TV Show

Super Mario Bros Z (Exactly What it Sounds Like)

Full disclosure: I once donated money to the Patreon page of this series to help fund an episode. Now that that’s out of the way…

Ever wanted to see a Sonic and Mario crossover cartoon series? Officially, we probably never will due to licensing issues. Unofficially, a lot of fans have made a lot of series with this premise. The one that continues to stand out, however, is Super Mario Bros Z by Mark Haynes (AKA Alvin-Earthworm).

In 2006 on Newgrounds.com Haynes released the first episode of this series. It was okay with 2 main draws. The first were the crossover of the two franchises with the arrival of Metal Sonic in the Mushroom Kingdom. The second was the humor from poking fun at the formula seen in the Mario games.

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Who told you I want to kidnap Peach?

The next episode was significantly better and showed what Haynes could do with fight scenes. Both the humor and action improved as the series went on, with the final episode having a fast-paced, creative, and hilarious battle against Bowser’s army. Unfortunately, it ended in a cliffhanger which was never resolved. Years later the series has now been rebooted, which I think is a mistake. Yes, the animation has gotten even better with the newest episode, but I’d rather have seen that quality go into finishing the story that fans have wanted to see for a decade.

The work that was put into this series is astounding, especially when you consider that it wasn’t made by an animation studio but instead by some very dedicated fans who, at least at first, weren’t getting paid. Production time for each episode could take months due to the effort necessary to make the animation work, as well as writing the script and dialogue for the characters.

Haynes is clearly a knowledgeable fan of Sonic, Mario, and Dragon Ball Z as elements from all three franchises are present throughout the series. Sonic and Shadow’s personalities are tweaked enough to make them more closely resemble Goku and Vegeta, respectively. The chaos emeralds are a stand-in for the dragon balls, though a lot of fans have pointed out that this is the intention of the Sonic series anyways. The fighting abilities of all the characters are more fast paced using techniques from all three series and even the Super Smash Bros series a little bit. A fan of any one of these series, or better yet a fan of all three, can enjoy all the references and how the environment and characters are combined to make new possibilities for storytelling.

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CALL ME VEGETA ONE MORE TIME!

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