April 28, 2014
[IMDB link] [Netflix link]
I’m not going to review this movie VERY HARD, because pretty much the whole planet saw it.
PEOPLE: From excellent director Christopher Nolan. His 2nd completely original movie. I haven’t even seen Following (1998), but now I’m thinking maybe I need to check that out.
Yes, that was Ellen Page from Juno / Hard Candy / X-Men. Yes, that was Tommy from 3rd Rock From The Sun, also in Mysterious Skin. Yes, that was Ra’s Al Ghul from Batman Begins.
PLOT SUMMARY: Let’s go into a dream within a dream to plant an idea into someone’s mind so that we can make money.
QUIRKS: A cerebral sci-fi heist movie.
BTW, I really like the use of tops in this movie. That’s a first for me. I was really big on tops in college. We played with them for HOURS. I have a whole collection of all kinds of different tops. They have different genres; magnetic tops, tops that draw, tops that make noise, tops that light up, wide tops that spin slow on steady, short tops that are spastic, tall tops that stay in the same place, battery powered tops that can spin for hours on end, stackable tops (ever spin a top and set it on top of another? I have), etc etc. So I gotta say, using a top as a totem is that much more of an awesome idea to Carolyn and me than to the viewing public in general.
VISUALS: Not as dreamlike as many people would want or expect. If you’re looking for DREAM VISUALS, watch Paprika or Pan’s Labyrinth or Terry Gilliam‘s Brazil, or any other myriad of dreamy fantasy movies. Watch a Nightmare On Elm Street movie. The dreams in this movie are mostly of the realistic kind. There’s a reason for this, and it’s explained in the movie. [highlight for spoilers]→ Basically, if you are invading someone’s dream, you want things to be as realistic as possible, so that they don’t realize they are dreaming.
SOUNDTRACK: I’ve heard so much hullabaloo about the score… analysis of the music… parodies of the music. And honestly, I didn’t really notice it. I was too busy paying attention with all the HEAVY THINKING and events and dialog and layers. I did notice that I had to turn my center speaker to like +1db, when i usually have it set… to -6db or -3db for most movies. Maybe that was why other people felt the score was so obtrusive. Score: +1 for those who watch movies on their own hardware, -1 for those who pay big bucks to see movies in theatres.
MORALS: The moral of this movie is pretty much the polar opposite of The Matrix. Instead of worrying about whether your world is real, you should just sit back and enjoy what’s there in front of you. The Matrix is all about taking the red pill; the conclusion of this movie seems to be that the blue pill is not so bad after all.
POLITICS: Capitalism and money make insane situations worth doing.
GOOD STUFF: The plot. OMG. What a trippy movie! So cerebral. WHAT DOES IT MEAN???
BAD STUFF: The ending perturbed some people. If you didn’t like it, I suggest reading this piece. Basically, [highlight for spoilers]→ the conclusion is that the whole movie is a dream. The character finally found his redemption and doesn’t need to question whether he’s really in a dream anymore. After all, if it’s not real, he’ll eventually wake up anyway, so why not enjoy it? He never should have left limbo in the first place. I wish I could spend 50 years creating a world, like a God, with Carolyn, while my body never ages. That sounds like paradise.
CONCLUSION: FUCK YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Clint: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 10/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 10/10. (She was gonna say 9, but I kinda kept asking, “Why is it only a 9?”, and she decided to change it to 10.)
TwoBeans: Netflix: 5/5 stars. IMDB: 10/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 9.0/10 (Top 250: currently #4! as of writing this review, but it will probably drop down by the time this review is posted, years later); Netflix: 4.5/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 4.7/5 stars).
RECOMMENDATION: OMFG SEE THIS!!! This is one of the best films of the year. If you don’t get it, WATCH IT AGAIN!
SIMILAR MOVIES: I don’t know. This was pretty goddamn unique. People inevitably mention The Matrix due to the “false reality” angle, or “Dark City”. But are all false reality films really that similar to each other, or is the similarity only that they simply use the same gimmick/trope of false reality?
MOVIE QUOTE: “You’re asking me for Inception. I hope you do understand the gravity of that request.”
FRIENDS’ RATINGS: A few people didn’t quite get it, or appreciate it as much as everyone else (B- from Dad?!?! Lauren W thought the ending made the whole movie “directorial masturbation”), but, for the most part, everyone’s response is.. “Wow. Amazing movie.”
OTHER REVIEWS: Ian’s review talks about some of the visual effects, and the plot as a whole, without spoiling too much detail. Outlaw Vern reviewed it too, of course. His review has spoilers. (more…)
April 23, 2014
[IMDB link] [Netflix link] Most people didn’t like this — 3.7 on IMDB?!?! I think it’s the use of children in a comedy. It’s a taboo.
PLOT SUMMARY: Negligent school with asshole principal is going to be shut down within a day — unless the powerless non-tenured vice principal can save it.
UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers]→ Embezzling principal tries to sell childrens’ future.
PEOPLE: Rob Corddry (What Happens In Vegas, Harold & Kumar 2, Blades Of Glory, Old School) plays the sociopathic dick of a principal — best described as a cross between Seymour Skinner of The Simpsons and Dwight Shrute of The Office. Jason Biggs (the pie-fucker from American Pie, Saving Silverman, and the awful Jersey Girl) plays the powerless vice principal who must save the school. It’s a coming-of-age story for him, in a sense. Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives) plays a drug-addled, county-level administrator, but I mistook her as Tessie Santiago from The Cell 2. Also with Ed Helms — Andy Bernard from The Office.
There’s also a bunch of minor actors I’ve seen in various spoof and comedy movies, but I’m not going to list them all. You have IMDB for that.
QUIRKS: Crazy random drug use on Eva Longoria‘s part really added some random comedy, but what really made this movie was the children being used in subversive ways, being made to be personal servants to the evil principal, being cussed at by negligent teachers. Usually I can’t stand any movie with kids in it, and would prefer movies to have no children. This movie, however, actually used children in a way I like: subversively. That aspect reminds me of Wonder Showzen.
Was that a montage at the beginning?
BAD STUFF: A lot of people hated this movie, and claimed it was one of the worst movies they’ve ever seen. But 12% gave this movie a 10/10 on IMDB too. And the next 20% gave it 6-9/10. So obviously not everyone feels the hate. However, a whopping 46% rated this only 1-3/10. If you’re uptight and love children, you might not want to watch this.
CONCLUSION: A great comedy movie for those who hate school, aren’t fond of children, and enjoy seeing an 8 year old cussed out by a drunk school teacher. Most people hated this movie, but I liked the subversiveness.
Clint: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 8/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 6/10. Of course, Carolyn was falling asleep during it, and that always causes her to lower her ratings… So I tend to think she could have enjoyed this more. I almost rated it 5/5 stars.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: an astoundingly low 3.7/10, Netflix: 2.5/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.3/5 stars–It guessed right again).
RECOMMENDATION: People seem to either love this or hate it…. And more seem to hate it. We DESPISE children, and thought it was going to be an awful movie because children started showing up. But it was actually awesome the way they used kids. If you’re subversive, you’ll enjoy seeing a teacher call an elementary school kid a whiny bitch.
SIMILAR MOVIES: The inappropriate use of children makes me think of Wonder Showzen. (more…)
April 18, 2014
[IMDB link] [Netflix link]
PLOT SUMMARY: An earth girl, bored of her life, is transported to a magical world where she makes all the difference in the world.
QUIRKS: Based on the anime series The Vision Of Escaflowne & of course on the manga… But different. This one seems to have the most variance from the original manga (which was developed at about the same time as the anime). Basically, all 3 versions of Escaflowne (anime series, manga, and this anime movie) are variations of each other… But this one is the most varied of all. And also the most rushed, as it has the least time to complete its story.
VISUALS: The world of Gaia is neat to look at, but they don’t show much of it. The look looks like generic high-end feature-film anime.
At least it doesn’t have those stupid fucking lines all over the place, like in the manga. Seriously. The manga ruins itself with those stupid lines everywhere. Stupid inexplicable gashes / claw marks on half the frames ever drawn. What. The. Fuck.
GOOD STUFF: Based on a great story. It’s a bit darker than the original. Hitomi is a bit more emotional and brooding.
BAD STUFF: Varies from the great story too much. Too rushed. The ending is actually kind of boring. They don’t even have the two huge armors finish each other off in battle?!?!! C’mon! The animal race characters — I don’t remember them from the manga at all, but I do remember Merle from the anime series as being “an annoying cat girl”. The animal races weren’t part of the original manga (at least, not the original 4 books that I read, which are the first 16 or so “visions”). WTF is with people having wings? I don’t remember that from the manga, but maybe that’s because I didn’t read the whole series.
Still, I wish this was based on the manga more than the anime series. I’d like to see Hitomi as the energist, in Escaflowne, turning into a blonde when she powers up.
CONCLUSION: A darker, but ultimately disappointing adaptation of the original manga and anime series … But at least it’s nice to see the story in motion again. This might be less cutesy than the anime series, which I watched a decade ago. But it’s definitely not as good as it could be, based on recently reading the first 4 books of the original manga.
Clint: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 6.8/10. (Which, strangely, is IMDB‘s exact rating!)
Carolyn: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 6.8/10, Netflix: 3.7/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.0/5 stars–How well Netflix knows us! That’s our exact rating!).
Andy C: i didn’t really like the movie either. if you liked the anime though, check out eureka 7, which i think is a much better take on the whole “boy meets girl, blah blah” anime storyline.
RECOMMENDATION: Only watch this if you already watched the anime series The Vision Of Escaflowne… or if you’ve read the manga.
April 17, 2014
Posted by Clint under Politics
This article makes me angry. On the one hand it’s telling women to be more confident and just “act”, on the other it is admitting (rightly) that: “When women do behave assertively [telling that the authors didn’t use the word “confidently” here], they may suffer a whole other set of consequences, ones that men don’t typically experience. A host of troubling research shows that they can still pay a heavier social and even professional penalty than men do for acting in a way that’s seen as aggressive. If a woman walks into her boss’s office with unsolicited opinions, speaks up first at meetings, or gives business advice above her pay grade, she risks being disliked or even—let’s be blunt—being labeled a bitch. The more a woman succeeds, the worse the vitriol seems to get. It’s not just her competence that’s called into question; it’s her very character.”
So quit putting more pressure on women to “act” [and then get fired] and put it on society to accept confident women!
April 16, 2014
Posted by Clint under Carolyn
| Tags: cardGames
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April 9, 2014
[IMDB link] [Netflix link] Another Japanese gore flick with the word “Girl” in the title. This movie is very similar to The Machine Girl, except worse.
PEOPLE: Written and directed by 2 Japanese b-movie directors, the first of which served several roles [but not director or writer] in The Machine Girl. So of course there are similarities. The actors are Japan B-movie actors. The vampire girl is very, very beautiful, but in an unassuming way that you almost don’t notice. The Frankenstein girl is “cutesy high-maintenance girlie-girl” hot. Someone you’d take home, but not marry. So the casting of these 2 characters is at least done very well — they are arguably hotter than the 2 hot girls in The Machine Girl.
PLOT SUMMARY: Really, the whole plot is a huge contrivance made up in order to have a battle between VAMPIRE GIRL and MACHINE GIRL.
UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers]→ Serial killer trades up boyfriends.
QUIRKS: Japanese B-grade gore, with an emphasis on vampirism and utterly ridiculous situations that make no sense. Apparently, this might be based on a manga. Ha!
VISUALS: It was very colorful. They sometimes used virtual sets — which were neat, even if they looked fake. There were way more hot girls and colorful costumes and different types of people in this movie (compared to The Machine Girl). And the racist club of Asians who made themselves look like racially-stereotypical black people was a sight none of us will ever forget (more on that below). The wrist cutting club was pretty awesome too. The visuals are a 7/10 — but not enough to save this movie.
Of course, the special effects were all really bad. Some things didn’t even make sense. Poor CGi blood, and poor spurting “analog” blood as well. This really reminded me, exactly, of The Machine Girl.
SOUNDTRACK: Weird out-of-place songs. It was more interesting than the soundtrack of The Machine Girl.
POLITICS: Racist humor apparently flies over much easier in Japan. The “black Asians” club was some of the most ridiculous shit I’ve ever seen. Especially when they started talking about Obama, and chanting “Yes we can!” over and over again in Engrish. Oh. My. God. That was so over-the-top. They’d be scared to be this funny in America, where you can wear any color on your face except black. Of course, this is merely an over-the-top depiction of the ridiculous-in-real-life Ganguro Japanese subculture. Just click the word to see pictures of these real life Japanese girls. Yup. They definitely need to be made fun of. To quote one IMDBer, it was the “most mindbogglingly racist thing that I’ve seen on film in the last 40 years that wasn’t a parody.” But of course, this movie is a parody of good movies, and they were a parody of Japanese Ganguro girls, so his statement might not be valid.
GOOD STUFF: It was funnier than last night’s movie too. i was originally thinking 7/10. The wrist cutting club was one of the funniest things I’ve seen in awhile.
BAD STUFF: So now vampires can walk in the sun, die from falling, and can control their own blood in a telekinetic manner? Who decided this? Well, I’ve always been one to preach that every vampire movie has different rules… But making swords out of your own blood and fighting with them is, to me, lamer than sparkling in the sun.
In general, this went for “shamelessly ridiculous”. We actually thought Machine Girl was shamelessly ridiculous, but it turns out that movie actually had shame. You wouldn’t know it until you watch this one, but this movie is like what Machine Girl would have been, had they not exercised artistic restraint. It’s quite amazing how this movie’s main function seems to be to make The Machine Girl look better in comparison.
The dialog is worse. The acting is worse. The writing is worse. The costumes are better, though. The film looks better, though. The best effects out of the 2 movies are in this one, even though they are bad in both. So you really gotta be prepared to be underwhelmed when watching this.
CONCLUSION: This movie beats Machine Girl in the categories of ridiculousness, bad acting, bad writing, and bad plot, but also beats it in the category of hot girls, “shit you never thought you’d see in your life”, colorful visual effects, racist humor, and shamelessness. I think this movie’s primary function is to watch after watching Machine Girl, just to see how much worse Machine Girl *could* have been, had they abandoned all shame and restraint. Either way, both movies are ridiculous gorefests full of laughs. This one is arguably more interesting, but not as good. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.
Clint: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 5.6/10 (a low 6). Though visually, I’d rate it 4/5 stars, 7/10. Too bad for the sake of Vampire Girl Vs. Frankenstein Girl that a movie is more than just how pretty its pictures are.
Carolyn: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 5/10. “It had some slightly funny moments, and it was entertaining, but it was ridiculously over the top. And not in an especially good way like Troma movies, or even Machine Girl.”
The native public rating for this movie for IMDB is: 6.2/10 [Machine Girl got 6.0/10]
The native public rating for this movie for Netflix is: 3.0/5 stars [same as Machine Girl].
(Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.2/5 stars, unlike the 3.9/5 prediction for Machine Girl. Netflix is smart!)
RECOMMENDATION: Watch this after watching The Machine Girl, just to see the “right” way and the “wrong” way to make a Japanese gore B-movie. Both movies are very interesting and hilarious, yet this one is clearly worse. I have no idea how this one managed to be rated as good as Machine Girl. It may be by virtue of the fact that it simply looks more modern [despite both movies coming out within a year or two of each other]. Apparently, you can enjoy with with the subtitled turned off as well. I think you’d get less out of it — but you’d also manage to escape some cheesy dialog.
SIMILAR MOVIES: The Machine Girl – a more serious, less ridiculous, less funny version of this movie. By the way, I never in a million years expected to use the adjectives “serious” and “less ridiculous” for Machine Girl. Never in a million years. Let alone 24 hours.
MOVIE QUOTE: Kenji Furano: “Dicing one’s daughter is true happiness!”
April 8, 2014
[IMDB link] [Netflix link] A girl gets her arm replaced with a machine gun. That’s it. That’s enough to make me watch a movie, no matter how bad it may be. LET’S GO!
PEOPLE: Written & Directed by Noboru Iguchi, who has some 40 titles under his name. Quite a few with “Girl(s)” or “Boy(s)” in the title.
PLOT SUMMARY: In the land of the Yakuza, the one-armed woman is queen.
UNCOMFORTABLE PLOT SUMMARY (inspired by this): [highlight for spoilers]→ Serial killer kills serial killers.
QUIRKS: So ridiculously campy, it’s almost like watching a bad comic book in movie form. Was this inspired by the character in Grindhouse who had a gun replacing her leg?
VISUALS: It was well shot, but then there were the CGI special effects. Bad CGI special effects. Even some of the non-CGI special effects were bad. Like, so bad they looked like they came out of a different decade than the film itself. I am hoping this was deliberate campiness for cheeziness’s sake. Still, I felt it detracted from things. At least in a Troma movie, things are consistently bad. But this was shot in high-def, with decent cinematography — looking like a 2000’s movie — but with effects that looked like 1980’s Troma movies effects. The blood is either analog “real” blood that spurts out like a sprinkler in an utterly ridiculous and unrealistic fashion, or it’s digital fake blood that’s rendered so poorly that the blood in the weightless ship-fight scene in Star Trek 6 (or was it Star Trek 5?) — a movie that came out ~10 yrs prior to this — actually looks good in comparison.
The 2 main female characters (Ami, Miki) were indeed quite hot.
MORALS: Non-violence doesn’t solve all problems. Sometimes, violence is the only solution. And sometimes — it is the best solution.
POLITICS: Yakuza seems to have too much power in Japan!
GOOD STUFF: Soo ridiculous, so much girl-fightin’ action. Utterly campy. Often in a good way. Ninjas with track suits? Yes. Lots of blade fights. Knives, scythes, swords, you name it. Lots of gunfire too.
Man, the bad guys are SUCH ASSHOLES in this movie. Needless assholes. This movie is really good at making you hate the bad guys… So that you enjoy seeing them meet their just desserts later.
BAD STUFF: The special effects and fights. They were so poor as to actually detract from a movie that is already obviously going for cheesy camp. That’s a big mistake.
They obviously don’t know how throwing stars (shurikens) work. In this movie, I referred to them as “tossing stars”. Really, it’s so unbelievably bad you have to see it.
The writing is bad. The dialog isn’t great, either.
Also: The ending. She doesn’t [highlight for spoilers]→ kill herself because something rustled in the bush? Really? That’s the worst “reason to live” I’ve ever seen in anything ever.
This is, most definitely, a very flawed film.
30 ROCK: Also, look for a clip of Machine Girl in the background of a bar in 30 Rock S3E13.
CONCLUSION: Despite its flaws, Carolyn & I still both “really liked” this movie, but not as much as most movies we “really like”. The cheesiness was cool, but then they over did it to the point of making it distracting and detracting. Still, it’s quite an awesome action movie for being SO UTTERLY RIDICULOUS. It’s like watching a bad comic book unfold in a Troma-esque way. The end also isn’t as good as the middle. The blood was ridiculously bad. All the effects were ridiculously bad. This seems to be an obvious tribute to the American Grindhouse-style movies of the 1970s — much like Machete (which was way way way better than this). That’s what saves it. Well, that and hot Japanese girls covered in blood.
Clint: Netflix: 3.6/5 stars (“a low 4”). IMDB: 6.6/10 (“a low 7”).
Carolyn: Netflix: 3.6/5 stars. IMDB: 6/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 6.0/10, Netflix: 3.0/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.9/5 stars–nice job, Netflix!).
Neal D: “i watched this movie earlier this year, i loved it”
RECOMMENDATION: If you want ridiculous Japanese girl action, done in a grindhouse style — go for it. But be prepared to laugh at the bad special effects.
SIMILAR MOVIES: Look for the 22-minute “spinoff sequel”, Shyness Machine Girl aka The Hajirai Machine Girl (2009) (rated 5.6/10 on IMDB, vs 6.0/10 for this movie). It does not feature the same Machine Girl from this movie, except in flashback scenes.
LET’S REVIEW THE SPINOFF!
LET’S REVIEW THE SPINOFF!
SHYNESS MACHINE GIRL: Okay, we watched it the next day. It’s too short to warrant a separate blogpost review, so here’s our mini-review:
Wow. That was retarded. Just flat out retarded. And oh, everyone killed in the movie who appeared in this movie miraculously had an operation resurrecting them from their deaths in The Machine Girl. A butt-gun? Bullets that don’t leave any wounds? Embarrassment as a combat tactic? Eyes popping out? Again: A butt-gun?!?!? Basketballs and machine guns falling out of the sky? Tokyo Tower up her ass? What?!
Clint AND carolyn: Netflix: 2.4/5 stars (almost liked it, but ultimately didn’t). IMDB: 4/10.
Carolyn: Netflix: 2.4/5 stars. IMDB: 6/10.
The native public rating for this movie is: IMDB: 5.6/10.
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