Cartoons


VIDEO: MOVIES: CARTOONS: REVIEW: Spider-Woman, Agent of S.W.O.R.D. (2009) [Marvel Knights]

Clint: 3.2/5 stars, 6.4/10.
Carolyn: 2.6/5 stars, 5/10.
Native ratings: 5.9/10 IMDB (not available on Netflix).

Only 51 minutes; a compilation of 5 motion comics that were about 10 minutes each.

Carolyn thought the dialog was a bit stilted and annoying, but this is really meant to be in the same vein as a comic book, not a movie… So I don’t hold it against it as much.

The artwork was good — Spider-Woman was modeled after Jolynn Carpenter. Did a google image search on her afterward. Yup! Spider-Woman!

The voice acting wasn’t as good.

A motion comic is a really low budget thing… I celebrate additional low-grade stuff vs having nothing.

I could see this as being done as an animated series akin to the Men In Black animated series. I’d watch it.

The conclusion seemed kind of rushed. Like, “Whoa, it’s suddenly over?” I thought more was going to happen but then it suddenly felt like The End.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1673449/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

VIDEO: MOVIES: CARTOONS: REVIEW: Frankenweenie (2012)

Clint: 4.6/5 stars, 8.4/10.
Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Native rating: 4/5 stars Netflix, 7.2/10 IMDB.

All Tim Burton is good (except for his Planet Of The Apes sequel), but some Tim Burton is better than other Tim Burton. For example, Nightmare Before Christmas is better than Corpse Bride.  This one was good, but not his top-notch work. It was good to finally see his 1984 short developed into a full length Frankestein homage feature.

I’m not sure if I’ve seen 1080p black-and-white stop-motion-animation before, it was certainly an interesting look, though I will always prefer the world of color to the world of black-and-white. It did help make the Frankenstein homage more accurate.

Carolyn: Yeah, I thought it would have been better in color, but I guess the black and white was a throwback to black and white horror movies…  I thought this was better than Corpse Bride, but not as good as Nightmare Before Christmas.  I was sad they didn’t find a way to save Mr. Whiskers.  Poor Mr. Whiskers.

Clint: MR. WHISKERS WAS A CUNT

Carolyn: HE WAS A VICTIM OF CIRCUMSTANCE!

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1142977/?ref_=sr_1

VIDEO: MOVIE: CARTOONS: ANIME: REVIEW: Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989) (Japan)

Clint: 3.6/5 stars, 7.2/10.
Carolyn: 3.4/5 stars, 7/10. “Good. No Howl’s Castle or Princess Mononoke, but still.” And that’s about how I feel.
Native ratings: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 7.8/10.

Hayao Miyazaki. Great animator. Great director. Good writer. Huge body of work.

The plot wasn’t super exciting and full of jam-packed action, as it was more character-driven than plot-driven. There was no “bad guy” for example. Just a 13 year old girl trying to live independently for a year, as is the custom with witches.

And if you can fly on a broomstick, why not start a delivery service?

I do feel like it puttered out at the end a bit, which is a trope among anime. Anime is often more about the voyage than the destination, and that remains true here. But less frustratingly so than usual.

This was so lighthearted!

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097814/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Dante 01 (2008)

3/5 stars, 6/10 from both of us.
Native rating: 2.5/5 stars, 4.9/10.
(Netflix’s guess for us was 3.1/5, very good Netflix!).

Directed by Marc Caro, who co-directed The City Of Lost Children & Delicatessen with Jean-Pierre Jenuet.

They used to collaborate together, then they went their separate ways when Jeneut went to work on Alien:Ressurrection. After that, Jenuet went on to do Amelie & Micmacs. These movies are very much in the same cinematic style as Delicatessen & The City Of Lost Children, except they are very whimsical, missing all of the darkness from Delicatessan & The City Of Lost Children.

Apparently, the darkness came from Marc Caro. So we sought to see what a Marc Caro movie was like WITHOUT Jenuet.

The answer: Not as good.

This kind of came off as Chronicles Of Riddick meets Clockwork Orange meets Pandorum. The movie had very good visuals, an interesting moral dillema, and a disturbing, claustrophobic insane-asylum-on-space-station atmosphere — but the ending was a total cop-out that left few satisifed.

And a lot of questions were never answered, which makes the mystery aspect retroactively come off as pretentious. Like, for instance, what was the company *TRULY* doing with the nanotechnology? Adding Christ allegory only makes a movie more pretentious and revolting to me.

I don’t regret seeing it, but my impression is Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet are both incapable of making a single movie as good as when they both collaborated.  They should get back together!

Special thanks to Ian Buckwalter for helping me understand the Jeunet/Caro dichotomy, and pointing out to me that this movie exists in the first place.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0487928/

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)

4/5 stars, 8/10 from both of us
3/5 stars, 7/10 was what we gave Kung Fu Panda 1.
Native rating: 4.0/5 stars, 7.4/10. (Netflix guess for us=3.8, which makes sense since we rated the original lower).

We actually liked this more than 1! Fancy that!

I wonder if this has to do with the fact that we watched Kung Fu Panda 1 during our movie-glut of watching 200+ movies in a year.

We stopped doing that, because we eventually learned (by analyzing our numerical ratings) that watching movies more often makes you enjoy them less. The rating disparity could be completely because we are watching movies at a rate of about 90/yr instead of 200/yr (the rate we held up for several years after buying a 52″ tv – I think the honeymoon finally wore off).

Who knows.

But this was good.
And funny.
And entertaining.
And well-animated.

I forgot just how funny the dialog and attitude of these movies were.

I had put this off for a long time. Probably because of how nonplussed we were by episode 1 of the animated series.

But it turns out this is really good!
And you get to learn more backstory about Po (the kung-fu panda).

I’ll have to remember NOT to pass up movie 3 when it comes out. This franchise is better than we remember.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1302011/

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: The Smurfs (2011)

Clint & Carolyn: 3/5 stars (Netflix avg=3.6, guess for us=3.3).
Clint: 6.4/10 (high 6)
Carolyn: 6.6/10 (low 7)
IMDB: 5.3/10.

There is so much wrong with this, but could I really refuse to watch a Smurfs movie because I think it MIGHT be lame? No, I could not. Especially with Hank Azaria, Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays (Hiro’s perfect match from Heroes), and Sofia Vergara.

And was it lame? Yes, in some ways.

Of course, the original 80’s cartoon is pretty goddamn lame if you sit down and watch an episode of it in 2012, so one could argue that this movie was actually an improvement. The problem is peoples’ rose-tinted nostalgia that causes them to reject everything made on an old idea. But The Smurfs WERE ALREADY AN OLD IDEA when they came to American television. The Smurfs as a franchise are 50 years old; the cartoon is only 30 years old. It was already an adaptation before it was adapted for this movie. So get over it. The movie was fun.

They went into the real world, which is a cheesy plot device used in so many cartoon movies, as well as an excuse to cheap out on the animation budget by using live-action people.

But there was also a real charm in seeing Gargamel as a ridiculous live-action person caught in a world he doesn’t belong to. He assumes homeless people are other wizards. It’s funny, in a 3rd Rock From the Sun Season 1 kind of way, to see someone try to figure out a world they don’t belong in.
And the CGI on Azrael was really cute.

When all is said and done, we have to admit to liking this movie, even if it wasn’t great.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0472181

 movie coverI'd rather be watching TV![IMDB link #2 #3] [Netflix link] This is where The Matrix got its ideas from, or so I hear.

PLOT SUMMARY: A young biker stumbles onto a prototype motorcycle with a hidden function that has a link to the true nature of his world, which is not what it seems.

The red pill is now a motorcycle.

QUIRKS: Sci-fi anime.

VISUALS: Cheesy early 1980’s anime style. They look like a bad Robotech episode. Actually, movie #2 has an improvement in the animation sometimes — even if the characters look like they came from Tromaville (just like Hobo With A Shotgun).

SOUNDTRACK: Cheezy 80’s music. With J-Pop interludes.

ADV did the English dubs for movie #2 and movie #3, so if you like Super Milk Chan and Ghost Stories, it may be worth checking it out in English. We, however, watched this in Japanese, as we do with all anime. Then again, #3 in particular was so much worse that perhaps hearing the familiar ADV voices would have made us pay more attention! Apparently the ADV dub for #3 was 30-40 minutes longer! Damn!

POLITICS: Fuck the military.

GOOD STUFF:

At least with movie #1, the Matrix-like reality-reveal is quite amazing and interesting. And it’s not identical to The Matrix, either. And in movie #2, they have a scene that could be analagous to Neo’s talking with The Architect in The Matrix 2 (one of my favorite parts of The Matrix trilogy, though thankfully I didn’t see The Matrix 2 in the theatre, and was able to watch The Architect scene 2 times in a row to fully comprehend it).

An all-cgi pop idol (and I don’t mean the character is animated via cgi in the movie, but that in their world, this character is completely computer generated) that the public doesn’t know is a computer program. This mimics real life a bit, where a Japan pop idol was recently found out to be a computerized face.

BAD STUFF: An increasingly bad franchise. Movie #3 had parts where we were both drifting off and not paying attention — because it wasn’t that engaging. New characters. It’s hundreds of years later (though they don’t really make that known when they should). Unexplained plot points. The most interesting thing in movie #3 is the Eve character — which says a lot, because I found her to be one of the less interesting things in the first 2 movies.

Carolyn adds: “Also, I was annoyed at the second movie when they had the same 2 characters, but they looked completely different.  Yui had blue hair in the first movie, and light brown in the second.  It took me a bit to figure out they were the same characters, and not some new introductions…..  it was kind of lame…. then the third movie actually was different characters, and you were confused by that..”

CONCLUSION: Worth seeing movie #1 at least, in order to see the early inspiration for The Matrix, The Truman Show, Dark City, and the like.

RATINGS:

Clint: Movie 1: Netflix: 4/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10.
Carolyn: Movie 1: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 7/10.

Clint: Movie 2: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 6/10.
Carolyn: Movie 2: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 6.5/10.

Clint: Movie 3: Netflix: 2.4/5 stars. IMDB: 5/10.
Carolyn: Movie 3: Netflix: 3/5 stars. IMDB: 6/10.

The native public rating for these 3 movies are: IMDB: 7.5/10, 8.0/10, 8.0/10 (which is totally fucked up, as the first is the best–but some of these only have 40 or so votes); Netflix: 3.3/5 stars (Netflix‘s predicted rating for us was 3.0/5 stars).

RECOMMENDATION: Watch the first movie, skip the rest. If you really liked the first movie, watch the second. Ignore the 3rd, unless you’re really in love with the Eve character (and even then, you will probably be disappointed) (but watch the ADV dub to get the full, un-cut version with 30-40 extra minutes).

SIMILAR MOVIES: The Matrix (barely though).

FRIENDS’ RATINGS: EdSquid recommended this to us, and felt similarly. 1-2 good, 3 not so good. He couldn’t fully pay attention to 3 either. He did mention he liked the animation and character desgins in 2. (more…)

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