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

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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: