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The Lego Movie(Everything is Awesome!)

10 Feb

It’s a rare sight to see the stars align for a film, but when the gears mesh they sing like angels, and what better movie to represent this allegory then The Lego Movie.

Released on Feb. 7, The Lego Movie is a computer-animated adventure comedy film based on the Lego construction toys and the different licensed products made from them. From the trailers and initial speculation The Lego Movie seems like a hodgepodge of references and nostalgia, with a little star power thrown in for extra measure.

The Lego Movie actually houses a cleverly written and engaging world built with enough fervor and heart to rival the Pixar classics. The film tells a familiar yet unique story about an average construction worker, Emmet Brickowski (Chris Pratt), who goes about every day following the instructions given to him and never going outside the lines. Eight and a half years before this, an evil dictator by the name of Lord Business (Will Ferrel) steals a weapon called the “Kragle” and wants to use its power to make the Lego world perfect by his personal instructions. Emmet becomes wrapped in a prophecy foretold by a wise man named Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman), who sees a chosen one called, “The Special,” as a the one who will use an artifact called the Piece of Resistance to destroy the Kragle and defeat Lord Business.

Seems simple enough but looks can be very deceiving. First off the first surprise of the film would be its cast and its refreshing lack of celebrities. Sure there’s Liam Neeson and Ferrel but the main cast consists of TV actors such as Pratt and Will Arnett as Batman. The best part is that The Lego Movie uses these actors to their full comedic potential and several scenes will have you chuckling throughout the movie.

Which goes by quick with a frenetic pace that seems to fit the movie perfectly as the beautiful faux stop-motion animation direction is incredibly fun to watch. But nothing is perfect and the film does lead to a few flaws such as the fact that since it has such a fast paced feel, the more slow moments seem out of place. The sound design seems a bit muffled and it’s not clear whether this was intentional or not.

Regardless of personal taste or the want for something that “seems” original The Lego Movie is a must watch for anyone looking for a fresh idea and film that stays 100% true to its name.


The Last(PS3 Game) of Us

10 Feb


It’s not surprising that the team at Naughty Dog, the people responsible for the beloved Uncharted series, to pull off a game that not only keeps the player engaged with great gameplay but also legitimize story in games. In games it’s rare to come across a good story since it’s just a framing device to get the players in the game that you don’t mind sitting through but it’s different in the case of The Last of Us. At face value TLOU may look like your typical, generic zombie shooter, but it looks can be deceiving as it’s played.

In TLOU you play as Joel (Troy Baker), a middle aged man who, after 20 years of surviving the disaster of the cordyceps virus that creates the zombie-like hordes, must escort a young orphan girl Ellie (Ashley Johnson), who was born and raised in the new desolate world, to a group of mercenaries in order to get a weapons cache. The pathway there is rife with zombies and the occasional group of “sane” survivors who will shoot first and ask questions later.

Speaking of the zombies, they come in three flavors: Runners, which are basically feral humans in the first stage of the virus; Clickers, who are the iconic cauliflower, faced biters that cannot be engaged physically; and finally the Bloaters that throw fungus bombs with pinpoint accuracy and God help you if it gets a hold of you.

The gameplay is probably the best thing about the game as you have to make do with what you find in a wonderfully realized scavenger system. Everything you use from health items made of rags and alcohol to more Macguyver-esque smoke bombs made of fire crackers and sugar is crafted in real time. As for the firearms you use, it’s all up to what particular ammunition you can find and you’ll want to horde every bullet and only use it in last resort scenarios.

The reason for this being that the shooting is less arcade and more simulator, with aiming being more realistic, jostling with natural movement and the fact that it takes multiple bullets to take a human down unless you get a headshot and good luck with that.

The game also emphasizes stealth and that the fact that there is always different ways to go about different situations. All that is well and good but what about the game giving you an A.I. companion that runs around in tense situations? Thankfully Ellie doesn’t technically exist as she’ll give her position away but not make the enemies alert which is one of the smartest decisions made in game design but will inevitably make the games immersion break from time to time.

On top of all the greatness there is still room for a game that looks absolutely gorgeous. A perpetual sunset beams across the dilapidated buildings covered in luscious overgrowth and water effects that look like water and not bunches of paper Mache.

TLOU is a beautiful game that keeps its finger on the tension and applies more pressure as you explore the world in an effort to face past problems and create a more enjoyable future.

See you later!


Oz the (Not so) Great and Powerful

19 Mar



Everyone knows the original 1939 classic film, The Wizard of Oz which featured the story of Dorothy and her adventure through the land of Oz, and of course, Wicked, the popular Broadway play which detailed more of the witch’s story. Now it’s time for the wizard himself to get a backstory in the new movie directed by horror auteur Sam Raimi.

The film stars James Franco as the titular Oz whose real name is Oscar Diggs as a greedy con artist magician of a traveling circus who wants to become a great man and be remembered throughout history. After a botched performance Oscar’s playboy antics get him into trouble with the circus’ strong man. Oz attempts to escape in a hot air balloon only to be caught up in a tornado that transports him to the Land of Oz akin to that of the original film. There Oscar meets up with Theodora, played by Mila Kunis, who tells him that he is to fulfill a prophecy in which he will vanquish the evil witch Glinda, Michelle Williams, and bring about peace and become the new King of Oz which would also entitle him to the vast riches of the kingdom. Along his journey he meets with several companions including a flying monkey, played by Zach Braff and an animated china doll.

This film in its entirety is one of the more sloppy productions to come out of Hollywood and can’t be bothered with explaining certain things like character motivation, plot details, or even a solid direction. For instance the reactions and character arc of Theodora, who is either fish memory stupid or blind, can’t tell that Glinda is a good witch or that it’s her sister who controls the flying baboons causing havoc across the land doesn’t make any sense.  

This isn’t surprising given that the director, Sam Raimi, is more of a spectacle director and is good at conveying horror or adapting a pre-existing story like the Spiderman films. Here however his talents seem wasted or phoned in the very least and what is an interesting idea quickly becomes a mess on the screen in terms of bad acting and distracting visuals.

The casting doesn’t make much sense either as different lead actors go through the movie in character types that are not fitted with their acting styles at all such as James Franco being portrayed as a lovable scamp comes off as a terrible and unlikable person until the end. Not that it’s their fault since the actors seem to be just as lost in the confusing plot as the audience.  This film try’s to make a solid coherent story but fails as it goes in different directions trying too hard or too little to gain audience reaction. Confusing plot holes also distract and leave the audience whiplashed into who to actually root for until halfway throughout the two hour long film.

That’s not to say the movie is all bad as it has some genuinely funny and heartfelt moments unintentional or not and isn’t ugly by any stretch. But problems still prevail since 90 percent of the film is shot in front of a green screen making the sets look faker than a Pixar movie.  Certain hand held props and costumes also look obviously touched up in post-production.

At its base the film is extremely paint-by-numbers and is filled to the brim of tropes that viewers have seen a million times in other films. The liar reveal cliché, the band together at the end cliché, and probably the worst offense is the turn evil for trivial reasons trope.  It won’t impress any critic and fans of the practical effects of the original should stay away, but it serves its purpose as a backstory and a pretty pacifier.   

Two Thumbs Down.

This has, is, and always will be my opinion.

Thanks and see ya later!


Ob(eautiful)livion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror

22 Aug



It appears that no one can fault me for watching a kids movie imported from japan and dubbed by the merciful gods of english anime known as Funimation, however I can find fault with said movie when it decides to take over the advertisements of my usual internet programming. A little backstory is required as I ussualy stick to the mainstream, as I said this movie has had a lot of marketing on the internet and even a blu ray release here in the states so who am I to judge a book by it’s cover. A free viewing of the dubbed version on Funimation’s website allowed me to experience this little gem of a film but all the while I was watching it I couldn’t help but notice a lot of cliches taken from earlier animated Disney movies. We got Alice in wonderland, little mermaid, lion king, and even some miyazaki flare to go with it. The story is about Haruka a young japanese girl who had lost her mother at a young age, which prompted her to indulge in a legend that putting eggs as an offering to the fox thieves will bring her back, oh theres a mirror to but that can’t possibly be important. Feeling resentment towards her overworked father she develops a rude personality that let’s her give in to fits of rebellion and stay away from her empty home one night and go to a shrine to do what the legend says except this time she wishes to have the mirror back instead of her mother( She probably watched FMA and learned from their mistake) accepting her death and moving on. I don’t want to spend the entire review explaining the convoluded plot but basically through some magical, coincidental, convenient action Haruka gets literally sucked down a portal via sacrificial egg(You see what I mean?) which lands her in the magical world of oblivion island which is made up entirely of lost(stolen) junk which the fox people justify since it was neglected which is not really the point. The point is that this movie is gorgeous and filled to the brim with semi painted/animated backrounds and the cg charecters even have a good variety in look, my favorite being the villian known as the baron who wheres a humanoid costume and make to make him look like a kabuki lord. Nice touches all around cliches and all but it falls to one degree in its completely boring story. I can’t even see kids watching this in one sitting but what do I know about kids. If your a fan of anime and good art this a must see, if your looking for a nice family film this works too, but if your a bored lonely 20 year old blogger who’s social graces are sub par at best you’ll probably want to skip it. Thumbs up for effort though.

This has, is, and always will be my opinion, thanks and see ya later!


The Dark Knight Rises(to the occasion)

20 Jul


Words cannot describe the feelings that this movie makes me feel, but I’m sure going to try. This movie deserves the sort of lackluster reception it’s been receiving if only to catch movie goers off guard when this movie decides to sucker punch some of the best character interactions and plot lines into the audience’s face. This movie begins eight years after the events of the last film and in a time of peace and safety due to the sacrificial attitude of The Batman, the city feels as if it has nothing to fear. That is until the war mercenary known as Bane decides to ruin everyone’s fun by declaring war on the reclusive 1%’s of the city. While the introduction of this villain and Catwoman into these movies has left fans of the Batman including myself with a feeling of dread as they enter the theater, I will give my word that martyrs and casual fans of the bat have nothing to fear and should feel excited to see this new installment and that is in no small effort to the excellent cast. While Bale brings the gravel voice back he tones it down enough but it has no place anywhere in these movies. Anne Hathaway does a phenomenal job filling the cat’s stilettos and made me wish that she had her own movie to spend time with her and that catsuit she sports. I have to give credit to Tom Hardy as a more sinister and intelligent version of the Hulk wannabe, and still finds room to ham it up with his triumphant poses and Sean Connery voice. The series mainstays like Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Gary Oldman act their hearts out giving a good shot of heart to the film that it needs to keep it from being too gritty. This movie may not be better in a plot aspect than the second film, but it is a testament to Christopher Nolan’s ability to avoid giant pitfalls when it comes to handling these characters. If you liked the other films or are a batman enthusiast then this Movie is a must see, and if you didn’t realize from the review I give this movie two swollen thumbs up and give an immediate recommendation to anyone who wants a break from the midsummer movie lull.

This has, is, and always will be my opinion. Thanks and see ya later!


The Amazing(ly bad) Spiderman

5 Jul


What’s “amazing” is the degree at which this movie, if I have to be completely blunt, kind of sucks. While this movie gets points in the execution of certain scenes, they are too far and few between to help the rest of the movie from falling into completely tedious experience. Of all the phoned in performances I’ve seen in my 19 year life as a movie lover this earns some awards in that respect. Not only does the new cast of actors fail miserably at capturing the enticing portrayals as the Sam Raimi movies, but it also tries to keep both the comicbook fans and newcomers alike happy at the same time which if it hasn’t been found out yet is impossible. Spiderman should be seen in the same light as Batman and that even if noone’s a fan they should still know every basic thing about him.  The plot tries to develop too many characters by shoehorning in too many cute jokes that instill a bad attempt at exposition and ultimately left me yawning throughout the majority of the film. This time around they try to “follow the comics” and have Spidey’s web be an artificial mixture made by his father and his suit looking more realistic and practical, and introducing the characters of Gwen Stacey and Kurt Conners in leading roles. The motivation of the films villain, “TheLizard,” is pulled out of nowhere and doesn’t fit the character in any way shape or form and set pieces are made to hammer the point home to the audience that, “yes he IS Spiderman,” and while the older movies did this to good and decent effect they’re just annoying and tedious here. Of course I had the “pleasure” of seeing this movie in 3D and like every other movie I’ve seen in this “marvel” of technology it does nothing more then put a barrier between me and the screen, and while it has a place somewhere this isn’t it. The only good thing that comes from this movie is the direction of the Gwen Stacey character as more than just a dumb damsel in distress, not to mention one of the funniest Stan Lee cameos to date. I can’t expect too much from this movie as the stars that had aligned for the Sam Raimi films have been scattered to the far reaches of the universe, and the only thing to say about this reboot is that it was completely unnecessary and gets a thumbs down. This has, is, and always will be my opinion. Thanks and see ya later!


Snow White and Th(or)e Huntsman.

13 Jun


A surprising twist on the classic fairytale which features a cast of actors that seem made for the roles they are put in.Kristen Stewart does an outstanding job making a compelling character out of the paint by numbers damsel and with this has surely shed some of the weight of the terrible Twilight films but even though, her character still seems unsure of what she is supposed to do throughout the film. Chris Hemsworth feels right at home playing the drunken warrior that is the huntsman and never once did I feel as if he was falling back on his Avengers success in order to get through the movie and does his acting well if not only to be here because he’s one of the Avengers. Special mention must go to Charlize Theron for the part of the evil queen as she steals the show even more so than most female villians and the emotional girth of her character allows for sympathy as well as hatred. The much needed comedy in the film is provided by the Eight(?) Dwarves who are brought to life with the most beautiful looking blend of CGI and green screening in order to seamlessly blend these regular sized actors into realistic little people. The movies flaws glare through the plot points and the actual connection between the three main characters and what ultimately boils down to a halfhearted conclusion to an otherwise great film. I give the film a thumbs up and a recommendation if only to see a refreshing take on an ancient tale.