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.

Continue reading “Sharknado 4: We Can’t Believe this is a Franchise Either”

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”

Announcement · Ideas · Movie · Series · TV Show · Wedding

Schedule Announcement!

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We are still going strong since my First Post on February 10th with the ambitious goal of posting 2-4 times a week!*

Thank you for the positive response on my Engagement & Wedding Series idea! Me and my Guest Author (or more like co-author at this point) have come up with a schedule that we hope you will enjoy! We’ve even made alliterations so that it’s easy to remember. If you check the TOP MENU, I’ve also added quick links so you can pull up all of the posts under our featured categories. Don’t forget to check out my Rating Rubric page too where you’ll get an idea for how I determine how to rate items.

Mark your calendar folks:

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Guest Author · Movie · Review

A New Hope is Better

A New Hope is my favorite Star Wars movie, even over Empire Strikes Back. That’s not to say that the former is a better made, more thought-provoking film (it isn’t). In fact I consider Empire to objectively be the best written, acted, directed and scored of all the Star Wars movies, and I love it, but let me explain why I still like Hope better. Just for clarity, I mean the original versions, NOT the “”””special”””” editions.

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Clearly this scene didn’t work at all in 1977, the Jurassic Park hand-me-down was the missing ingredient.

One of the more famous debates among sci-fi fans is whether Star Wars or Star Trek is the better franchise. I greatly enjoy both for different reasons. I watch Star Trek when I want to think more about ethical dilemmas, how a complex society works, or to have a (fictional) scientific principle explained. Star Wars films I watch to have fun and enjoy the adventure and characters.

No one who likes Star Wars films can deny the movie version of an adrenaline rush that you get at the ending of A New Hope. The villains are given enough time to be enjoyably evil, we see Luke’s progression from a complaining kid to a war hero, and we don’t think about the millions of people he singlehandedly killed. It’s 2 hours where the viewer can be given the well-paced events of the story and not still be thinking about their implications in the next scene, allowing them to do the same thing throughout the movie.

Also Leia never kisses Luke in A New Hope, that’s important.

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Courtesy of Empire Strikes Back.

In Empire the audience is challenged to think more deeply about the characters and how their relationships will influence the story. The scenes in the cave on Dagobah, Vader and Luke on Cloud City, and Luke and Leia’s connection all raise fascinating questions that, until Return of the Jedi, people could only speculate about. I wasn’t alive in 1980 but I imagine long, heated discussions between Star Wars fans who, in the absence of answers, created their own. We have the luxury today of just watching the full trilogy as well as dozens of hours of the TV shows and even the prequel trilogy. As a result we know what the intent of the story was and it’s hard to imagine alternatives.

This brings me to the 2 main reasons that I consider A New Hope to be the better Star Wars film: it’s a fun adventure and a self-contained story. When Alderaan is destroyed the viewer isn’t thinking about Leia’s psychological torment, the focus is on escaping from the Death Star. When the Death Star’s destroyed the award ceremony is all the follow up you need, there aren’t cliffhangers or burning questions that make a sequel inevitable.

Empire Strikes Back, for these reasons, has more of a Star Trek feel than a Star Wars feel. It began the episodic feel of the series and added a level of seriousness that I think would be better suited for a debate of the Prime Directive in Star Trek.

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I’m totally a better captain than Kirk.

Finally, this may seem like a minor point, but A New Hope  has Empire beat in terms of originality. Yes there were new ship and character designs in Empire, but they’re more of an expansion of the style introduced in Hope. It was in Episode IV that this universe was created and the basis for the series’ sounds and visuals was established. The sound of a lightsaber is (for the most part) still unchanged from its first appearance. The cantina scene showed that the aliens of this universe looked far less human than in Star Trek. These elements set Star Wars apart from other sci-fi franchises.

Like in my Signs review I’d recommend re-watching both Hope and Empire. Try imagining you have never seen a Star Wars movie before and ask yourself which one stands on its own better. If you still say Empire I can fully understand why, but my priorities for what makes a great Star Wars movie are different than yours.