Patema Inverted: 4/5
Kingsmen: 4.5/5
The Maze Runner: 3.5/5
Big Hero 6: 3.5/5

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Geek Charming (2011)

Cover of the Adapted Book

                It’s a movie within a movie: movieception. Directed by Jeffrey Hornaday and based off the novel by Robin Palmer (Cindy Ella)Geek Charming stars Sarah Hyland (Modern Family) and Matt Prokop (Furry Vengeance) as stuck-up high school diva and loser film geek, respectively, as they attempt to work together to make a documentary on the lives of popular people.
                The movie’s primary plot is for both Sarah’s character, Dylan, and Matt’s character, Josh, to achieve their goals. Dylan dreams of being crowned Blossom Queen at the spring formal, while Josh aspires to win a film competition to gain a trip to Hollywood. To meet these goals, the two must form an unlikely partnership to create a documentary on Dylan’s quest to become Blossom Queen. However, their respective peer groups warn them against the dangers of mingling.
                The exposition of the movie is terribly misleading. What opens as a cheesy, poorly executed cliché ends up developing into a very moving story about friendship (that’s new for a Disney Channel movie, right?). After watching the first minute of movie, I prepared myself for a grueling two hours of watching corny jokes and overplayed characters. Fifteen minutes into the film, my opinion had not budged an inch. But once the completely unsurprising plot began to unfold, I finally became interested. Don’t misunderstand – Geek Charming is an extremely predictable movie that has been seen an infinite amount of times under other titles. Honestly, one of its more gripping features is that it makes many of its characters so annoying that a viewer cannot help but stay through the entire film in hopes of seeing that character get stabbed through the heart. Alas, the movie being Disney, no such justice prevailed.
                Horrendous acting dominated the first part of the movie, but the characters soon settled into their roles and stopped trying to oversell their given personas. Possibly the best performance in the movie is given by Hyland as she slowly transitions from an incredibly annoying popular girl to a sensitive and relatable average girl.
                 Some well-placed, recognizable tunes paired with overly dramatic visuals save the comedy in the movie from being an utter disaster. The movie provided nothing new for audiences and, while enjoyable, will end up being forgotten in only a few days. The cast, after settling into their roles, performed excellently, at least for a televised Disney Channel movie.
                The one thing unsettling about this movie (aside from the creepy mother character) is the fact that, despite its unoriginality, I began to cry at the emotional scene at the end. Despite what the movie does wrong, it apparently did something right in crafting a story that makes a person care like that. Geek Charming itself would be an unlikely candidate to win any film festival, yet it is a wonderful choice for family movie night. 

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bakuman Volume 7 (2011)


Avery's Review

     Since its first chapter, Bakuman has gone against all standards that characterize shonen manga, a direct contradiction to what the story actually reveals about the world of creating manga. Volume seven is no different in this respect. One of the slowest volumes in the series, it proves yet again that shouted words can be more exciting than gory violence. 
     Many important characters get sidestepped like landmines in lieu of the rest of the cast, which is not atypical for this series. Fukuda got maybe two pages total, if even that, while Miho was not even seen, unless one counts her text messages. This volume truly focuses on Mashiro, Akito, Miura, Ko, and, to a lesser extent, Nakai. These characters all have deep moments in this volume that truly allow their characters to shine. The Ashirogi pair argue heatedly against their editor, Miura, while Ko struggles with some advice given to her by her new editor as well as her own emotions. To add to the already overwhelming cast of characters, old faces reemerge and intersect with the current characters. As a final note on the cast in this volume, the characters appear to be better structured in this volume as opposed to the previous one. 
      It is still surprising that everybody seems to know everybody in this manga. It is like the cast is trapped within a cage that forbids them from interacting with anyone not relevant to the plot. Speaking of being unrealistic, Mashiro and Akito finally seem normal in this volume, at least for a chapter or so, anyway. They enjoy (sort of) free time, go to college, and gaze at girls, just like two healthy teenagers should be doing.
      Volume seven suffers from the same problem as the past six volumes: walls of text.  The daunting amount of speech bubbles found on every page looks intimidating and might frighten readers away. Though, once one gets past this external appearance, one finds that the enormous amount of dialogue, in some ways, helps the manga excel. More content is covered in Bakuman thanks to its large amount of text, allowing readers to get more substance for their eight dollars than other shonen titles.
      Obata and Ohba have twice now proven to the world that all a story needs to be interesting is a solid plot. Excitement does not strictly pertain to action scenes; it can simply be three people sitting in a diner arguing over creative differences. Volume seven, with its superb artwork and even greater storyline, manages to instill a sense of excitement in a reader when exactly that is happening. All in all, this volume won’t make anyone sweat with anticipation, but it certainly will grip at one’s attention and hold it tight, just as any great story should.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Friday, October 7, 2011

Moneyball (2011)

               SPOILER ALERT


Avery's Review 

                Is Moneyball a magnificent homerun or simply a strikeout?
                Moneyball is the story of the general manager of the Oakland Athletics professional baseball team, Billie Beane (Brad Pitt, The Tree of Life), who embraces an unorthodox approach to forming a baseball team. Adapted from the novel of the same name by Michael Lewis (The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game), the movie begins right when three star players on Beane’s team are bought off by rival teams. Frustrated at being so close to the championship, Beane agonizes with his team of scouts on how they are going to make up for the loss of their players. Weighed down by an undersized budget, Beane decides to try and haggle with the Cleveland Indians for some player trades.
                While visiting, Beane encounters Yale economics graduate Peter Brand (Jonah Hill, Get Him to the Greek), a youthful man who uses mathematical formulas to decide which players will best benefit a team overall. After testing the man with a question about his own past as a professional baseball player, Beane buys Brand from the Cleveland Indians. Beane and Brand put faith in some unlikely players based on their on base percentage when they meet with Beane’s scouting team, causing tension between Beane and his coworkers.
                Once Beane gets the players he desires, he informs most of them that they are not going to be playing the positions they formerly did. This requires many of them to be trained to play radically different positions than they are used to playing. In particular, Beane’s selected first baseman, Scott Hatteberg (Chris Pratt, Parks and Recreation), must take on a role entirely unlike his previous ones. Beane and Brand continue to test out their concept for forming a winning team, even faced with the team’s disagreeing manager, Art Howe (Philip Hoffman, Jack Goes Boating), who distrusts this seemingly unreliable approach to baseball and continuously goes against the advice of the duo.
                The team enters into the season with a rocky start, causing Beane’s and Brand’s experiment to be branded as a failure. However, with some rash decisions by Beane, the team begins to win more games than it loses, rocketing it toward a potential record-breaking win streak.
                This movie has heart. Unfortunately, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where that heart is. Beane is miles away from his loving daughter, he faces the possibility of losing his job, and he recounts his days as a failed pro player. These moments are touching, yet not touching enough due to their sporadic placement throughout the film.
                The biggest downfall of this movie is that it’s about forty-five minutes too long. We get some plot, we get some character development, and then we get scene after scene of Beane driving around in circles or breaking something out of frustration. These scenes, as characterizing as they are, are repetitive and plain out boring in most cases. The movie appears to have completely zipped over the editing stage, leaving all of its dull, unimportant moments intact. However, it’s obvious that the movie did in fact see the editing stage when another, almost-as-annoying aspect is brought to light: the muted scenes. About every ten minutes, the movie would go completely silent, probably for dramatic effect. The first time it happened, yeah, it was cool. The second time was plain annoying. The tenth was almost unbearable. Sure, moments in the actual baseball games are mute-worthy, but two people looking at each other when they aren’t even going to duel is not. Speaking of duels, the third and final flaw of this movie is its lack of…anything interesting. I kept waiting for some furious ex-player to storm into Beane’s office and try to put a few bullets in his skull. It never happened. I think the people behind me were actually snoring through part of the movie.
                While this is not a flaw of the movie, it is still worthy of mention. The cast grew from a manageable few to a perplexing many, most of the characters either generic looking elderly men or voiceless baseball players. The number is not why the cast got so muddled; the amount of screentime each received is. Maybe if the movie had not jumped from character to character without looking back on most of them, the characters would have become more defined. In the end, it’s probably a blessing that did not happen or else we would have had a movie with a run time equivalent to Gone With the Wind.
                A major plus to the movie is the acting. No actor or actress failed to deliver. Enough said.
                Lacking in direction as well entertainment, Bennet Miller’s (Capote) Moneyball is not a home run by any means. The movie does not pitch many curveballs to the audience in terms of plot twists, but instead induces drowsiness.  The acting, though, is enough to save this movie from being a total strikeout, though (Too many puns?). There is some comedy threaded into the movie as well, alleviating some of the drowsiness. Sports fans and, well, Brad Pitt fans should go see this movie, for sure. Though, to most general audiences, Moneyball  serves as a mere curveball, distracting them just long enough from even more mundane tasks.                           
                 Well, there goes my theory that sports movies are the best movies. 

Rating: 3 out of 5

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bakuman Volume 6 (2011)

Spoiler Alert!!!

     This is the first review of a book (this time a manga) that we are posting. This is actually Avery's review that was published on another site as a guest review. However, we are deciding to post it here as well. Also, note that this is the review for the English release of the item.

Avery's Review

       This installment finally explores the drawbacks to creating manga while trying to maintain a normal life.
                However, the main characters of Moritaka and Akito are anything but normal, especially the former. They’re incredibly motivated, to a point that truly starts to feel unrealistic. The two seem to rarely get out and actually enjoy life. It’s good to be motivated, but they are bordering on obsessed, if they have not already crossed such a line. This, however, can be overlooked in lieu of the other aspects of the story.
                Plotwise, in volume six, if it was not obvious from the preview in volume 3, Moritaka basically collapses from work overload. He is then rushed to the hospital and finds out he has to have surgery. To make matters worse, the editor has decided to put his and Akito’s manga, Detective Trap, on hiatus until they graduate high school.
                  Whereas the cast in previous volumes have only given glimpses at Miho, this volume finally brings her into contact again with some of the other characters, most notably Moritaka. Her relationship with Moritaka continues to feel otherworldly, yet this volume gives it a more relatable aspect by showing how the two interact with each other. As always, Akito and Kaya (not just their relationship) are pushed to the backburner by Moritaka and Miho.
      At this point, the love aspect of the story seems to be on the backburner. Again, the character interactions and development are what really shine in Bakuman, and this volume sheds more light on some of the characters that have only had a couple panels per volume in the past.
               A lot of characters seem to break their previous personalities in this volume, specifically Aoki, Fukuda, and Nakai. However, it seems that part of these personality changes, at least for the last one mentioned, are due to the stress of creating manga, so it is somewhat understandable. Almost all of the previously introduced characters gather in this volume as a huge source of drama and tension.
                 The art continues to shine in this volume. The backgrounds are not constantly forgotten as happens in other series. The characters’ expressions also show a wide array of emotions.
     Bakuman, despite some trouble it may have with depicting real life, is a great read. Unlike other manga, its pages are actually filled with substance rather than big pictures and sound effects. It is definitely worth the money in comparison with other manga, as it lasts almost three times longer due to the walls of text on each page. The characters are all likeable, and, aside from having a few unstable personality designs, they all add to the drama of the big picture of the manga – Moritaka and Akito achieving their goals. Huge, intense battles are not needed to satisfy a craving for an interesting and enjoyable read in this case – a great story and an even greater cast will suffice just fine.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Lion King 3D (1994/2011)

The Lion King 3D

Avery's Review

      Seeing as how this is not really a new movie, this will be a short review. Hooray! 
     Disney, in an attempt to grab up some more dough, brings a favorite classic back into theaters. Audiences roared in delight (Get it?). The Lion King, even as a supposed ripoff (thought not in a bad way for audiences) of the anime Kimba the White Lion, has still found a place in the hearts of almost every American today. Now it reasserts itself in the hearts of those younger moviegoers. 
      I won't go into the plot, since most people already know what this movie entails. Suffice it to say that it's a bit rushed, yet it's such a compelling story that nobody really cares.
     The real reason I am bringing this movie up is the 3D used in it. Blarg. The effects were hardly noticeable. All I recall being better was the opening (only because I was looking for the 3D) and a part where some leaves blow in the wind. The rest of the movie's 3D was lacking. That's what happens when you try to incorporate 3D into a 2D movie. However, my personal biggest disappointment was that kids over a certain age were not allowed to receive the special Lion King 3D glasses. Bleh. At least Harry Potter loves his teen audiences enough to give them special glasses. Even so, the lacking 3D was not enough to make my movie visit outright awful.
     Anyway, if for some odd reason you have not seen The Lion King before, go see it. If you have, go see it again. 3D or 2D. It doesn't really matter. Just go see it.

Rating: 4/5
P.S. This movie borders on a 5. Just saying.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Debt (2011)

     The Debt

Avery's Review

Sorry for the gap since the last review. School and whatnot.
      A short and sweet review? No can do. I’ll try, though.
     Through about half of the movie, my brain was aching from trying to figure out just what in the world was going on. The movie kept switching between two different time periods involving the same three people. It took me about thirty minutes to finally get that much straight. Aside from this, I was not super interested in what was going on in the movie, but I was not bored either. Everything was fairly bland. However, the plot twist that is delivered in this movie is what really got me liking this movie.  However, that affection was soon crushed.
     The Debt  stars Sam Worthington, Helen Mirren, Jesper Christensen, and Marton Csokas, along with others who play those actors’ respective roles in different time periods. The movie revolves around three Mossad agents who were sent to Germany to capture and bring back a Nazi war criminal (Christensen) who had sadistically experimented on thousands of Jews. After thirty years have passed since their mission, they have been celebrated as heroes for their work, yet something dark lingers over all three of them.
The acting is good, to use a bland word. I do not recall a single performance being unbelievable or just bad. I thought Christensen and Jessica Chastain (who portrayed the young version of Rachel, the main protagonist) delivered the strongest performances in the film.       
     I mentioned earlier that there was a huge plot twist that really grabbed my attention. It got me excited for the rest of the movie. However, I was sadly disappointed to find out that the movie’s ending…really did not tie up things. Lots of things were insinuated, but nothing was every fully explained, or rather, closed up. Happenings in the movie seemed too coincidental or unbelievable, even though they were executed well. Probably one of the things I liked most about The Debt was the fact that it portrayed the protagonists, Rachel, David, and Stefan, as normal humans with just a bit of combat training. In other words, when they got injured, they did not instantly jump back up as if nothing had happened. They seemed legitimately human, a rarity in movies nowadays. (I will refrain from talking about how the methods of causing people to become unconscious were not realistic, even if they were better than most movies.) Another pet peeve about this film is that the action happened so fast to the point that the motions were not comprehendible. Maybe we’ll get a Director’s Cut with slow-mo?
     According to my mom, the advertisements praised "Helen Mirren with a gun." I do not recall seeing her with a gun...a syringe, yes. A gun, no. Maybe I just missed something, though.
     Overall, the movie was more frustrating than enjoyable. It was a fun ride, but an ultimately unsatisfying one. Had five more minutes been added onto the feature (which was already of Harry Potter length), I feel that everything could have been cleared up. As a movie reviewer, I’m sorry I am not going into as much detail as I normally would; it’s late, I’m still confused about this movie, and, well, it’s late. Sorry, guys. Maybe I'll be up to par next time. 
Avery's Rating: 3 out of 5

Final Score:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011)

Avery's Review
     My love toward the Harry Potter movie franchise has pretty much consistently decreased since the third film. While not spectacularly pieced together, the first and second movies were still a fun, magical ride. The third, in my opinion, was excellent all around. Beginning with the fourth movie, I felt that all magical (in terms of wonder and awe) aspects were forgotten in lieu of darkness and grit. I know the books are supposed to become darker as they progress, and I did enjoy the books. Maybe it's because they felt rushed - like items were left out from the books, particularly in The Order of the Phoenix. My opinion of The Goblet of Fire has gotten somewhat better after watching it multiple times as part of ABC's neverending Harry Potter Weekend(s). I loved Deathly Hallows Part 1. I don't know why. I just did. But Deathly Hallows Part 2 seemed to have way too many plot holes for me to completely enjoy it.
     So many things in this movie are not explained. I won't even go into them, but it's like important parts of the book were left out just so we could get straight to the action. It felt really rushed, like many major, or at least semi-important scenes were cut just so we could focus on Harry and not his friends. The only protagonists focused on for any length of time at all besides Harry are Ron, Hermione, McGonagall, and Neville. The rest of the cast make fleeting appearances, so quickly that it's hard to distinguish each individual from another.
     To the movie's credit, the King's Cross part now makes much more sense to me. I had no idea what was going on in the book at that point. I think I missed the whole part about the Deathly Hallow Harry found before facing Voldemort. But Dumbledore was waiting for him there. What? Had Dumbledore just been wondering around there, not passing on for a year just in hopes that Harry would come along soon enough? Must've been super boring in there for a year. But maybe I'm looking at that all wrong. After going to Harry Wiki, I see that the stone had nothing to do with his resurrection. There goes my understanding. Anyway, this isn't important to the review, so I'll move on.
     Alexandre Desplat does a great job with the score again. I liked his score for the last movie better (I'm in love with the Ministry of Magic theme), but this one is still great. 
Rupert, look the other way,! No, the other way! Ah, nevermind.
     Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Tom Felton, Alan Rickman, Ralph Fiennes, Matthew Lewis, and all those fine fellows return to reprise their roles (minus Jamie Waylett, who portrayed Vincent Crabbe in the previous movies) and once again do an outstanding job.
     Once again, the movie differs a lot from the book. But I suppose that is to be expected. One thing to note about this movie is the comedy. There is a good bit of it, placed expertly throughout the movie. The Half-Blood Prince had comedy as well, but not quite as much and only one laugh out loud scene that I can remember. 
     The effects, not just 3D, are great. Seeing it in 3D (at midnight, and in a hot costume no less) with the special Harry glasses was cool. I really only noticed 3D in the beginning parts of the movie, as I think I was too preoccupied with the movie for the rest of its duration, which was surprisingly short.
     Well, I've rambled a lot here, as I usually do, but now allow me to sum it all up. The movie should have been longer to allow for better plot explanations. The plot is loosely the same as the book, just with differences that affect individual elements but not the overall outcome. This movie has enough action to make up for the action that is actually missing. Important characters die, but you don't even get to see how they die. What a bummer. If you're a Potter fan, sure, by all means go see this. It is a good movie. If you're really into Potter, it's a fantastic movie. If you're a casual moviegoer who has not seen a Harry Potter movie in your life, I suggest you either start with the first one or read the books. But if you don't want to, it's up to you. Despite all the movie's flaws and muddled plot points, it was fun. I can't criticize it too much.
Rating: 4 out 5

Zack's Review

     As a person that read only as far as The Order Of The Phoenix and then didn't take the time to read more, and had only seen the 6th Harry Potter movie, I didn't have any sort of expectations for this movie. However, I am glad to say Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2 still somehow surprised me. Unlike some book-to-movie adaptions, it is accessible to all (although I would recommend watching the other movies at least instead of just jumping in like me).
     If you don't watch for the plot, at least watch for the spectacularly epic battle sequences. It was a fantastic movie, not necessarily because of the acting or screenplay, but because it was an excellent joy ride.
     So yes, if you are a super-dedicated Harry Potter fan, it may dissapoint you. However, for casual fans or regular movie goers (such as myself), it is a must-watch-at-some-point-in-time.
     As such, I give this movie a 5 out of 5.
Rating: 5 out of 5

Quick Ratings: None So Far

Final Rating:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Harry Potter Review Delayed

Well, we saw Deathly Hallows Part 2 at midnight for its premiere. But, well, we're a little behind with the review writing, so it'll be tomorrow before the reviews are posted. Sorry!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Super 8 (2011)

Avery's Review

     I went in to Super 8 not really knowing what I was getting myself into. To be honest, the film, the plot of which I had very little knowledge of, sparked only slight interest in me. I sat down with my Popcorn and Coke, sort of expecting some bland dialogue in the way of Lost or something incredibly sci-fi in the way of Star Trek. Super 8 was neither. 
     J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg bring to the silver screen a story about a group of kids who, well, are attempting to bring their own film to the not-quite-silver screen. In doing so, the kids witness a massive train wreck brought on by their honors biology teacher. From the train, an alien is released into the town. As a result, the area is taken over and driven by the Air Force, who want to reclaim the creature (as it was originally under their lock). I won't go any more in depth than that or list the individual actors like I often do, but it's basically sci-fi wrapped in a cleverly disguised ball of drama and slice-of-life. The latter is basically about the strained relationship between the main character Joe and his father after the death of Joe's mother, and the relationship they have with Alice Dainard and her dad. ...And thus I lied.
      About half the cast of kids (there are 6 if memory serves) is new to the acting business, and, well, it shows. Even from the experienced actors and actress (notably Elle Fanning, who plays Alice [I lied even more]) the acting is subpar. However, it actually lends to the film. It's a rare case where the mediocre acting (it could have been a lot worse) actually makes the movie more realistic and believable. I didn't feel like they were rehearsed (they didn't have any powerful, memorable lines), but that they were just speaking what came to mind, as humans often do. It almost makes me wonder if it wasn't intentional. 
       As most people who gave the film negative reviews say, the ending was disappointing. The climax was weak. However, the rest of the movie made up for it, certainly. It really is only bothersome if you hate abrupt endings or feel the need to question the reality of certain events, the latter of which would actually be bothersome throughout the entire film (IE how the spacecraft transforms and why the creature didn't just stay in it's lair, although this last bit is partially explained). Urg, I'm spoiling it again. Well, sorta. 
       Final thoughts are upcoming. You could tell when something was about to jump out at you most of the time - the music and background noises disappeared, one character was alone, it was dark, etc. It wasn't surprising when something did jump out. However, there is one certain instance in the movie that did make me jump, and it is probably one of the most surprising (in the way of making a person jump) scenes I have seen in movies. It's horror wasn't great, but it's energy was definitely there. The film, though, is more about the interactions between the different characters than the actual alien threat, so that's one reason the genre is ambiguous (like the aforementioned "horror" scenes).
     Maybe it's because my hobby is making films and videos, but I loved this movie. Yes, I actually am probably biased on this one (just as I was on Cars 2 when I could not bring myself to give a Pixar film a flat 2 rating). As a great masterpiece, Super 8 does not rank at all. It is by no means a great feat. However, it is a fantastic piece of entertainment, especially the end credits. Just for it's entertainment value, I have to give this film a 5/5, the first 5 I have given on this site. If you are looking for the next Academy Award winner, though, look elsewhere, as this film more than likely won't be seen as such. It's honestly too bad that this film is actually forgettable (just in the fact that it WASN'T a masterpiece), as I would love to watch it again forty years from now.
Rating: 5/5 (unless you are looking for a movie marvel, in which case it earns a 2-3/5, but that's your call, not mine)

Connor's Quick Rating: 4/5

Final Score:

Monday, June 27, 2011

Cars 2 (2011)

Avery's Review

              Do you happen to be a college student looking for resource material to aid in the writing of your paper on corporate money-grabbing? If so, this movie is for you. If you are a small child looking for something to entertain you on an otherwise dull (and it may still be) Saturday, this movie is for you. If you are looking for a movie with any depth at all, go see a Dreamworks movie instead. 
                 Honestly, it pains me to say it, but Cars 2 is not Pixar-standard, and I cannot honestly say I liked it. I did not hate it, but I did not like it much either. Obviously, Cars is the Pixar film which sold the most merchandise before, so it makes sense (to everyone but the moviegoers) to make a sequel. It has been said that Pixar executives actually got the idea when they pictured Mater (Larry The Cable Guy) driving down the wrong side of the road on the other side of the world. Such a concept makes an incredibly detailed movie premise, no? No. 
                  Owen Wilson and Larry reprise their roles as Lightning and Mater, respectively. The central idea is that Mater gets Lightning involved in a race around the world (the world being comprised of only three counties), but Mater winds up being mistaken for an American spy by two British spy cars, Fin McMissile (Michael Caine) and Holly Shiftwell (Emily Mortimer). Pixar films are known for being emotionally touching, correct? Toy Story 3 (and possibly Up, I can't remember) brought me to tears. This movie, well, I wasn't even aware that I was supposed to cry. The plot device that is supposed to be sad is that after Lightning gets mad at Mater for causing him to lose the first race in the World Grand Prix, Mater begins to realize that he is, well, an idiot. Yes, I did feel sorry for Mater. But, ultimately, it just wasn't touching. It seemed more like an emotional attempt by Dreamworks than Pixar. Anywho, Mater, Fin, and Holly end up trying to stop a bunch of evil cars who are trying to force the world back into using gasoline (a fuel type which their bodies accept...I think). Honestly, the plot was, no...detailed?....nah, it was just too something for a Pixar movie. Up was ridiculous, but it worked. This is just too...I really don't know. Something about cars pulling levers just seems too far-fetched. 
               As says, the movie is like watching a Chevron commercial that just won't end. I agree in some ways. I was kind of freaked out after the movie ended. Too many things had eyes. Cars, planes, battleships (or carries, I'm not sure on that either...I just know they were boats with eyes), trains, and every other mode of transportation had eyes. It was disturbing!
                The 3D was mediocre. At this point, I'm not sure whether or not 3D in movies is just bad or if I'm just used to it. If I stopped to search for 3D effects (which I did for a minute or so), I did notice 3D, but none of it was "in my face" so to speak. Why is it that Avatar, one of the first movies to get this type of 3D effect in theaters actually had some of the best 3D? I digress.
                 Cars 2 is for the kids. Ultimately it makes a good movie, just not a great movie. I'm biased for Pixar, so I want to give this movie a high score. At the same time, being biased for Pixar, I do not want to hold back my appall. The voice acting is decent enough, the graphics are great, the plot is bad (for Pixar, anyway), the 3D is meh, and a lot of the jokes seem repetitive (I did find some of the stuff in TOWkyo, Japan [props to for noticing that spelling, unless, well, they were making a pun. They could have been.] amusing, particular the bathroom scene). Again, the kids will love it, but I have to base it on my own findings. Sorry, Pixar.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 (I rarely give partial credit, but this movie deserves it.)

Connor's Quick Rating: 3/5

Final Score (unless more reviews come in):

Monday, June 13, 2011

Lack of Reviews

Sorry to the very few of you who actually read this blog. We haven't actually seen any (new) movies recently. They've all either been old or already released for a few months. We're going to try to have some more reviews up for you guys soon. We will be covering the new Harry Potter, and most most likely we will also take on Captain America and The Avengers (if Jordan is so kind as to lend her help again). We might see a few other movies in between, but I just don't know. If any of you would also like to see video game, CD, manga, or television reviews, please comment below. We tried a review on Deadman Wonderland after the first five episodes, which seems like a fairly good system for television series. Anyway, we'll try to start posting again soon. Thanks! -Avery

Monday, May 23, 2011

Deadman Wonderland 1-5 (2011)


Connor's Review

           Deadman Wonderland is an anime directed by Koichiro Hatsumi. It is based off a manga series, and revolves around an 8th grade Japanese student: Ganta Igarashi. He is accused of murdering his entire class, while the responsibility for the crime in fact lies with a mysterious “red man” who snuck in. Ganta is convicted of the crime, and serves out a death sentence in Japan’s only private prison: Deadman Wonderland.

            Deadman Wonderland is a prison that makes a profit as an amusement park, with all its prisoners serving as its carnies. There is an institutionalized currency in place: Cast Points. These are received through a variety of ways, and can be used to buy anything from food, to years off off your sentence, to “candy”. Candy is a bitter tasting antidote that prevents the execution of death-row inmates by 3 days.
            Ganta is a deadman. Deadmen are people who have the ability to control their own blood, and use it as a weapon. Most deadmen were brought to the prison by Tsunenaga Tamaki, the major antagonist as well as the ruler of Deadman Wonderland, who arrests the deadmen under false pretenses. They fight in the main attraction of Deadman Wonderland: the Carnival Corpse Arena. The winner receives a piece of “candy” as well as a large sum of Cast Points. The loser has a body part, chosen at random, surgically removed.
            Ganta’s two main friends in Deadman Wonderland are Shiro and Yo. Shiro is an albino girl from Ganta’s past that, while acting very immature for her age, is capable of fighting most anything when she so feels like it. Yo is a kleptomaniac who works for Tsunenaga as a spy in exchange for Cast Points. He secretly views Ganta with contempt, at least in the first few episodes.
            For an anime about people turning their blood into whips and swords, it has a very improbably plot. For starters, not even an American prison would sentence a minor to death, no matter what the crime. Additionally, nobody seems to hold any suspicion of a 14-year-old boy being capable of slaughtering a class of over 20 people, despite living in a nation where guns are a rarity. I know it may seem unreasonable to hold an Anime of flying blood-wielding convicts the standards of logic, but that’s no excuse for sloppy plot writing!
Rating: 3 out of 5

Avery's Review

                   Well, I was hyped for this series. I had heard about it, read about it, and watched the opening credits. It looked right up my alley. 
                      The basic premise is that 14-year old Ganta Igarashi is wrongly sentenced to death for the murder of his twenty-nine classmates. In fact, the slaughter was caused by Wretched Egg, a mysterious red-cloaked figure that seems to constantly break free from its containment. Anywho, Ganta is sent off to Deadman Wonderland, Japan's only (I think) privately owned prison. Deadman Wonderland, or DW for short, acts as a prison and a carnival. The inmates are forced to put on shows or perform in deadly games in order to please spectators, who in turn donate money to the prison. Prisoners who do such activities are rewarded with Cast Points, the currency of the prison. Cast Points are used to buy everything from meals to freedom to candy, the last of which will prevent the poison leaking into the bloodstream from an inmate's collar from killing the inmate for three days. Such inmates are those on death row, such as Ganta.
                         After an emotional show at the beginning, Ganta soon seems to be somewhat, well, calm is a bit exaggerated, but unworried seems to fit. At times, the writers make him sob his eyes out, but at other times he seems perfectly fine with his predicament. 
                       Almost immediately, Ganta befriends two inmates: Yo and Shiro. I won't say much about these two, as that would be spoiling (not that anyone is actually going to go watch this series because of this review). Shiro though is basically a "crazy" girl that runs around in a body suit, while Yo is a kleptomaniac with certain intentions regarding Ganta. Through the escapades of these two, as well as some other characters, Ganta learns that he is a Deadman, one who can wield his or her own blood as a weapon. I don't really know what to say here except that, well, it seems a bit reused, but I guess it works.
                           Next on the list is the music. It's wonderful. However, it really depends on taste. If you prefer more soothing background music, then you will be heavily disappointed. Deadman Wonderland features . . . hard music? I don't really know how to describe it. But it's definitely intense. If you like heavy music, it's for you.
                            Overall, Deadman Wonderland suffers a bit from its shaky premise. However, it tends to carry itself well despite that. The director(s) can tend to get lazy with the scenes, as a lot of the plot is only comprehend-able if you have knowledge of the manga or re-watch an episode a couple times, paying extreme attention to detail. I'm actually referring particularly to episode 6 here, but some parts in the episodes in question are shaky as well. The opening sequence garners bonus points in my opinion, as it is probably the most astounding opening I have scene, both in music and in image quality. The series was not the dream series I had hoped for, but it has proved to be enjoyable thus far. On a last note, I would not recommend this to younger audiences, even if the language is bleeped at times (and subtitled). The violence, while not extreme, can be a bit disturbing for the more squeamish. Honestly, I like the series, but I suppose I have to give a score for the general public here, don't I?
    Rating: 4 out 5 if you like more morbid material, 3 out of 5 otherwise.

Overall Score:
For Those Who Like
More Morbid Material
All Others

Saturday, May 21, 2011

On Stranger Tides (2011)


Avery's Review

So people have been telling me I spoil too much of the movies I review. Well, that’s what Spoiler Alerts are for, but all the same, I’ll try to refrain from so many spoilers in this review. As such, I’ll also attempt to shorten this review as well.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides gains a new director from the previous Pirates trilogy. Rob Marshall does a great job with the movie, keeping largely the same feel as the last three movies.
This fourth installment to the series is the shortest so far, and its plot seems to be the least imaginative. While it is based on the book of the same name by Tim Powers, the film seems to try and involve too many magical elements to the movie. I mean, it’s supposed to be about pirates, not Harry Potter. But I digress.
Of course Johnny Depp reprises his role as the flamboyant Captain Jack Sparrow, and he manages to do a great job as always. Geoffrey Rush, Kevin McNally, Penelope Cruz, and Ian McShane star along with Depp, all portraying wonderful characters, both old and new, as do the missionary and the mermaid Serena, both of whom I do not feel like taking the time to look up who played them.
The basic plot is that Sparrow is more or less tricked/forced into helping Blackbeard and his daughter Angelica find the Fountain of Youth so that Blackbeard may be prevented from dying soon at the hands of a one-legged man, Barbossa. At the same time, Barbossa and Gibbs, grudgingly helping Barbossa, set out for the Fountain so as to supposedly beat the Spanish there, who are also out to get it. It’s essentially a race between the three parties as they all race to the Fountain.
Now, normally I would go more in depth with the plot, but I’m holding myself back.
The movie features big battles and fast-paced dialogue. I found myself unable to understand some of what was said, but I think I got the gist: Help us get what we want, Sparrow, or someone dies. Yeah, I got it. The big battles are good, as expected, but, in keeping with tradition, far-fetched. One of the earliest battles is one between Sparrow and Angelica, and in watching it I had a sense of déjà vu. Didn’t Jack already battle Will on top of rafters in the first movie?
Jack’s character is cocky and sneaky as always. Honestly, the jokes, if you can call them that, aren’t funny, but they do help to lighten the mood. It’s his wit, not humor, that makes Sparrow a likeable character. Blackbeard and Barbossa, well, maybe it’s just me, but I had a hard time telling the difference at times, mainly when the movie continued to switch between parties.
Hans Zimmer does a great, if not repetitive, job with the music. Many of the tunes are just varied tunes of the older movies, yet they still feel fresh.
While I haven’t examined the second or third movie as recently as I have the first and this one, I would dare to say that there is at least one big physics flaw in all of these movies (Will and Jack carrying the boat underwater in the first and Jack escaping from being tied up to a tree in this one). I sat in my seat, sort of spellbound at the flaw. It wasn’t necessarily a physics flaw so much as a logical flaw.
This movie features Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth and mermaids. I won’t say much about either so as not to spoil the movie. I will, though, say that I did thoroughly enjoy the battle with the mermaids, regardless of my suspicions of more scientific flaws.
I saw this movie in 3D and was doubtful as to any improvements. There were no mind-blowing 3D moments, but I did notice that 3D was used in several instances. Just because of that, I would say spend the extra few bucks for the 3D unless you are on a tight budget. It certainly doesn’t use 3D like an animated feature, but at least it tries to give people something in return for their extra money. 
Queen's Anne Revenge with flamethrowers?
Yes, please.
This movie has been highly criticized by critics and fans alike for its short run-time, bland plot, uninspired fights, and confusing, if not improbable, happenings. Even though this movie had many flaws, I found that I truly enjoyed it. While I didn’t end up unintentionally walking like Jack Sparrow as I did after watching the first movie on TV the other night, I did feel an urge to do so. If a movie leaves that kind of impression on me, it must have done something right. Unfortunately, what the movie leaves in characteristics, it doesn’t leave in mind. The movie is honestly highly forgettable. All the same, I did enjoy it.  I did see the movie at midnight for its premiere, and so maybe I was too tired to notice some things (doubtful since I didn’t feel tired), but I’ll see if my opinion changes any when and if I see it again soon. 
Rating: 4 out of 5

Final Score:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fast Five (2011)

Spoiler Alert!!!

Alan's Review


             I've never written a review about a movie before, but I'll do my best.
          The movies was really, really good. On my scale of rating, from a 1 to 10, I give this movie a 10. This is a must see movie. It keeps people on the edge of their seats! The action of cool and fast cars are still there, some awesome stunts are made, and plenty of explosions! Not only that, for the guys, there are some pretty hot girls in the movie. ;) For the girls.....well, they got 2 big muscular guys and a FBI agent that they might find attractive. (I'm a guy, I don't know if he's attractive to girls or not!) Anyways, I have to say this is a must see movie. 5 out of 5 movie.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Sorry that there aren't as many reviews for this movie as the rest. We may or may not receive more on this movie. But for now:

Final Score:

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Thor (2011)


Avery's Review

I went into this movie half-heartedly. While I know that Thor, by legend, is a deity, Marvel’s character is a superhero. Generally, superhero movies don’t excite me. Heck, I was disappointed even with The Dark Knight. Inception provided me some newfound love for Nolan’s Batman movie, however. Anyway, Thor is a superhero movie, and that is why I was a bit reluctant to see it.
The movie opens with these three scientists (whose actual intentions I am still a bit unsure of) who are out looking for strange astrological phenomena. They find this big aurora from which a tornado comes out of, and in that tornado is Thor. After the scientists, Jane, Darcy, and Erik, literally run into Thor, the movie decides then to explain to you why Thor is on Earth. 
From that, we get about a half hour of some ice beings (I’m not even going to try to spell out their race) who infiltrate the land of Asgard. They are quickly defeated, but Thor, against his father Odin’s will, takes a small group of people with him to the land of the ice beings to wage battle. Ultimately, war is declared between the two groups. As a result, Odin banishes Thor to Earth to teach him virtues (I think), saying that Thor is unworthy to be his successor.
That is how the humans met Thor. Past that, the plot basically revolves around Thor trying to get back his hammer, which is in the hands of the FBI, Loki taking his place as ruler of Asgard as Odin falls ill, and the ice beings making a pact with Loki.
This movie has its visuals working for it. All of Asgard is amazing to look at, especially Bifrost. Even the small town on Earth is an impressive sight. The acting isn’t exactly incredible, but it gets by. The movie suffers most from its plot, though. After Thor gets banished, a jealous Loki decides that its time for him to take his place as ruler. To prove himself to Odin, Loki plans to wipe out all of the ice beings. When Thor makes it back to Asgard, his viewpoint has completely changed, something that, well, just doesn’t happen. I find it similar to Unknown, where the main character, after finding out that he was a criminal/terrorist before his amnesia, decides to remain good. Once bad, always bad. In this case, once hotheaded, always hotheaded. I just found the whole movie a bit jumbled, but maybe that’s because I never read the comics. Probably someone with a better understanding of the original Marvel comics might appreciate such happenings more, but never before (except in an anime) have I ever been acquainted with Thor, Loki, and Odin.
Throughout the movie, I constantly saw/heard: This is madness! Madness?
I just kept waiting for them to say: This IS Asgard! and kick someone into a giant pit. Alas, it never happened.
The 3D looked, well, blah. There was really nothing that truly utilized the 3D, except the credits at the end. So, my opinion would be to see the movie without the 3D if you’re on a tight budget. If not, enjoy the slight improvement.
Also, the metal guardian that Loki sent out to kill Thor… Well, it shot lasers. But physical contact by it did more damage to a person than its laser, which seemed only good for blowing up houses instead of actually killing people.
The FBI agents seem largely unimportant. While they do keep custody of the hammer, an annoyance to Thor, they serve no other purpose, really. After they confiscate all of Jane’s work, they end up giving back in the end without even a fight.
Ugh, looking up, I’ve just kinda rambled on different topics. I’ll close before I say more useless garbage. The visuals are great, the acting is passable, the plot is decent, and the music, well, I didn’t really notice the music. If you like superhero movies, go see Thor. If you’re like me, I don’t really know what to tell you to do. The ending of the movie terribly disappointed me in some ways, as the movie ended without warning. But, the fact that there was a fight that didn’t involve Thor made me happy. I’m a sucker for non-main character fights. Oops, more rambling. Eh, I'm a bit tired, so this cruddy review will have to remain cruddy.
Rating: 3 out of 5

Also, Jordan corrected me. They are called Frost Giants and they are from Jotunheim. And the FBI people are SHIELD. So there. Haha.

Jordan's Review

Thor was a remarkably made movie. It was surprisingly accurate to the comics, and it ties in with the string of Marvel movies that have been and are to be released. Unlike most movies, Thor does not let the romance between Thor and Janie overshadow the entire purpose of the movie. (SN: Why cast Natalie Portman as Janie, besides the fact that she looks just like her, if she already said she will NOT return for any other movies that involve Thor? I.E. Thor 2 and the Avengers) I digress. Anyway, Thor, for me, has everything that should be in a superhero movie. It has elements of futurism and present-day. There is no damsel in distress. It allows comic relief at just the right time. The effects are absolutely marvelous. Thor really started off the summer movie scene for me. I waited months upon months for the release of this movie, and I was not disappointed AT ALL. The fact that Thor and Janie's relationship was not the center of the movie was great; its focus on Thor and Loki's relationship was incredible. Hemsworth and Hiddleston really portrayed the relationship of Thor and Loki, where Thor trusted and respected his brother, and Loki... not so much. Tom Hiddleston as Loki really made the movie for me, but Chris Hemsworth portrayed Thor beautifully as well. I was so happy that the hero was actually able to keep up with the villain in this movie (I am usually partial to villains.) Over all, I think Thor is probably one of the best movies I've ever seen because it keeps the action going through out the movie, but the relationships are what keeps you interested. Another huge success for Marvel!
Rating: 5 out of 5

Final Score (Unless More Reviews Come In):

Yeah, I couldn't figure the font out.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Limitless (2011)

Avery and Zack traveled for over an hour to find a theater showing Limitless. Here are their thoughts:

Avery's Review
Limitless is like taking A Beautiful Mind and combining it with Wall Street. Bradley Cooper stars as the film’s protagonist, Edward Morra. Edward, or Eddie, is a struggling author living off basically nothing. He’s written not even so much as a punctuation mark for his book and his girlfriend leaves him almost as soon as the opening credits are finished. His life is essentially one big rat hole.
This film is directed by Neil Burger, who also directed such films as The Illusionist and The Lucky Ones. Burger manages this time to deliver a movie about stocks, but with drugs.
The movie opens in medias res with Morra about to jump off his balcony into the traffic below while some people are trying to break into his apartment. We then flash through a cool, yet a bit sickening, title sequence to quickly learn just how bad Eddie’s life is. His girlfriend, Lindy, played by Abbie Cornish, dumps him and he continues to struggle with his book. By chance, he bumps into the brother of his ex-wife on the street. After telling this brother, Vernon Gant, portrayed by Johnny Whitworth, about his problems in writing his book, Eddie is offered some assistance. Vernon gives Eddie a pill, ZNT, which supposedly will unlock all the capabilities of his mind. Eddie is doubtful, as a well as a bit suspicious since Vernon was previously a dealer.
Eddie ends up taking the pill, and he is overwhelmed by its effects. Seeking more of the pill, he visits Vernon, only for someone to murder Vernon while Eddie is out. Taking Vernon’s supply of pills and cash, Eddie hits the streets to make it big in the world, making enemies of a Russian thug, Gennady (Andrew Howard), and a man in a tan coat (Tomas Arana). Ultimately, Morra begins to experience the dangerous side effects of the pills.
That is the basic synopsis. Sure, I left out various characters, but that would take me a college-level essay to explain. The acting in this movie is great. Cooper, DeNiro, and Howard all deliver powerful roles in the movie. The plot dragged at times, but at the same time I feel that there are things that were left out in order to shorten the film. The music, while many of the songs sound the same, is enjoyable. Paul Leonard-Morgan delivers an intense techno theme to the movie.
About what I said about the plot dragging, I came into the movie not expecting an action flick, but I was also not expecting a movie so much about stocks and big business. I found my patience being tried constantly, and even the action scenes weren’t amazing, except the last one. Again, though, the film is not an action flick, and should not be critiqued by the standards of one. As its own movie, Limitless has a great cast, an enjoyable plot, a bit of real-world insight, and good story pacing.
I felt that Morra was constantly getting more pills from ridiculous places or even just making them appear out of thin air. He did not have as many as he supposedly used to begin with, at least not that I could see. Too many of the characters, only four or so, were on the drug at one point in time. I felt that that made it a bit unbelievable, but nonetheless it did characterize today’s society. As a sixteen-year old, I was confused by a lot of the political talk, mainly at the end of the movie. The ending was seemingly rushed in an attempt to make you not realize that questions were not truly answered.
In the end, this movie should be enjoyable for most people over the age of thirteen. Kids would certainly be confused throughout its run. Those with little patience might fall asleep or even leave all together. But those people were probably expecting something along the lines of Inception. As a techno-psychological thriller, Limitless delivers. I give Limitless a 4/5. My expectations for the movie were insanely high, and the movie could not possibly have lived up to them. I came out of the theater disappointed, yet I wanted to love the movie so much that it still manages as one of my favorites. I think I’m somewhat blinded by my own desire. But for its genre and intention, Limitless truly deserves a 4/5. The only problem is that it’s really bound, ironically, by the limits of its own genre.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Zack says he gives the movie a 4.5 our of 5. So............

Final Score: