Jesse B


VIDEO: MOVIES: CARTOONS: REVIEW: My Little Pony: Equestria Girls (2013)

Claire: 4/5 stars, 8/10.
Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 8.6/10. “I am a chick and I like cartoons, so I am allowed to love My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.” (Notice how she leaves me in the lurch there?)
Jesse: 3/5 stars, 7/10. “OK, I actually enjoyed that. It was actually constructed in such a way as to be philosophically relevant.”
Native ratings: 4.7/5 stars Netflix, 6.3/10 IMDB.

My Little Pony:Friendship Is Magic decided to make a movie about Twilight Sparkle becoming human in a parallel pony world. This actually happened specifically because of bronies, yet they were the ones who backlashed the hardest. Bronies be like, “WTF is this shit!?”, and other bronies be like, “Calm down, maybe it won’t be that bad….” and “Trust the writers…” We were somewhat skeptical ourselves.

Then it comes out, and brace yourself…memes are coming! So many unending memes. We finally got to see it, so now the madness will make sense again. Plus we wanted to be caught up on everything prior to attending Bronycon 2013 (with 8407 other bronies).

Anyway, it was pretty entertaining. I didn’t like how the fighting scenes basically had no fighting in them, relying on deus ex machina tropes to resolve things. I didn’t like how super-convenient the plot was with these kinds of things. But I also accept that this was supposed to be a warm piece about friendship and magic, and that if I’d wanted long and gratuitous fight scenes, I should be watching one of the many animated superhero cartoons I regularly watch. It was a neat exploration of “what if non-human characters became human”, a trope that every non-human animated series should explore for at least one episode. Only this time, we got a whole movie out of it.

Carolyn: It turned out that it wasn’t so bad. It was actually pretty fun. I really enjoyed it.

Directed by Jayson Thiessen.

With the standard My Little Pony crew:

Written by Meghan McCarthy.
Starring Tara Strong (Bubbles from Powerpuff Girls, Toot in Drawn Together, Mary Jane Watson in Ultimate Spider-Man, Sym-Bionic Titan, Wolverine And The X-Men, 20 eps of Family Guy, 4 eps of Clerks-TAS, 4 eps of Gravity Falls) as Twilight Sparkle.
Ashleigh Ball (Allura in Voltron Force, Iron Man: Armored Adventures) as Applejack / Rainbow Dash.
Andrea Libman (1 ep of X-Men: Evolution, a bunch of My Little Pony and Care-Bear stuff) as Pinkie Pie / Fluttershy.
Tabitha St. Germain (12 eps of Aaagh! It’s the Mr. Hell Show!, Olive Oyl in Popeye‘s Voyage: The Quest For Pappy, 7 eps of Iron Man: Armored Adventures, 5 eps of Voltron Force, 8 eps of DragonBall Z, The Legend of Zelda-TAS, The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, ALF-TAS, 1 ep of X-Men: Evolution, other My Little Pony stuff) as Rarity / Princess Luna / Vice Principal Luna / Cup Cake.
Cathy Weseluck (Thor: Tales of Asgard, 2 eps of X-Men: Evolution, DragonBall Z, 1 ep of Aaagh! It’s the Mr. Hell Show!) as Spike.
Rebecca Shoichet (3 eps of Iron Man: Armored Adventures) as Sunset Shimmer / Twilight Sparkle – singing.
Lee Tockar (3 eps of Iron Man: Armored Adventures, 3 eps of Beast Wars, 2 eps of X-Men: Evolution, 1 ep of Wonder Showzen, 1 ep of 2 Stupid Dogs) as Snips.
Nicole Oliver (9 eps of X-Men: Evolution, 9 eps of Aaagh! It’s the Mr. Hell Show!, The Vision of Escaflowne) as Princess Celestia / Principal Celestia / Cheerilee.
Vincent Tong (Daniel in Voltron Force, Iron Man: Armored Adventures) as Flash Sentry.
Britt McKillip (other My Little Pony stuff) as Princess Cadance.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2908228/combined

P.S. HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Trance (2013/I)

Claire: 4.4/5 stars, 8.4/10.
Carolyn: 4.4/5 stars, 8.4/10.
Jesse: Seemed to really like it.
Native ratings: 3.3/5 stars Netflix, 7.0/10 IMDB.

I wasn’t sure about this movie — stealing art? Hypnosis? Not my thing. But then it was pointed out to me by Jesse that this was a Danny Boyle movie. Trainspotting, 127 Hours, Sunshine, 28 Days Later, Slumdog Millionaire…. Completely different movies, and all done very very well (though I didn’t see Slumdog).  I should be watching other Danny Boyle movies! What is Alien Love Triangle? That sounds interesting…

Anyway, this was a good movie.  It kept you on your toes.   I really liked it… I can’t say I loved it, but that’s more because it wasn’t quite my type of movie than because of the movie itself.  But this was a good drama/mystery movie that, when watching, was really hard to guess what was going to happen next.

The hynopsis stuff got somewhat confusing, but that also kept it interesting…  Spoiler talk: Carolyn still doesn’t understand if Franck was hypnotized also…. When the burning car got pushed into the water, why did it flash to Franck waking up in his pool?  She didn’t understand if that was explained ever….  (I never even got to the point of asking that question, oops.)

Regardless… Lots of thrills and twists. Well done, writers.
Also, for the record… Rosario Dawson, full frontal nudity. Even before the full frontal nudity, I was thinking — she’s getting better and better looking as she ages. She is especially hot in this movie.

Starring James McAvoy (Charles Xavier in X-Men: First Class, Mr. Tumnus in The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, 1 ep of Band Of Brothers) as Simon, the protaganist.
Vincent Cassel (Black Swan, Oceans 12 & 13, Renegade aka Blueberry, Monsieur Hood in Shrek 1) as Franck, the antaganist.
Rosario Dawson (Sin City, Clerks 2, Kids, Men In Black 2, Death Proof, Grindhouse, Persephone in Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, The Haunted World Of El Superbeasto) as Elizabeth, the hypnotist.
Wahab Sheikh (Red 2) as Riz.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1924429/combined

 

VIDEO: MOVIES: CARTOONS: EVIEW: Iron Man: Rise Of Technovore (2013)

Claire: 3.6/5 stars, 7.4/10.
Carolyn: 3.4/5 stars, 7.4/10.
Jesse: ??
Native ratings: 3.0/5 stars Netflix, 5.2/10 IMDB.

An animated Iron Man movie is something to look forward to. Unfortunately, this was very anime-ish, which meant storytelling flaws — like most anime. Things seemed to happen a little too conveniently, with so much of a lack of an explanation for why a situation-solving event would happen that it may as well be a deus ex machina.

You’re probably better off watching the Avengers and Iron Man cartoon series than this… However, this has some blood and death, and is a full length movie, and is starring one of the Walking Dead cast members as The Punisher, who plays a fairly prominent role in this movie. These are some of the good aspects. The first act is the strongest, and the movie gets weaker through the deus ex machina-ish ending.

There is still value in this movie, though.

Directed by Hiroshi Hamazaki. Written by Kengo Kaji.

Starring Norman Reedus (Daryl from The Walking Dead, Boondock Saints movies, Pandorum, Mimic) as Frank Castle / The Punisher.
Matthew Mercer (Tygra in the new Thundercats, Resident Evil: Damnation, some video games such as Soul Calibur 5, Call of Duty, Mortal Kombat 9) as Tony Stark / Iron Man.
Eric Bauza (Lord Stingray in Superjail!, Stimpy in Ren & Stimpy Adult Party Cartoon, 4 eps of Adventure Time, 3 eps of Gravity Falls, 1 ep of Ultimate Spider-Man, 1 ep of Iron Man: Armored Adventures, 1 ep of Black Dynamite-TAS) as Ezekiel Stane / Technovore.
Kate Higgins (Scarlet Witch in Wolverine And The X-Men, Yukio in the Wolverine anime, 1 ep of The Legend Of Korra, Barbie in Barbie: Life In The Dreamhouse) as Pepper Potts.
John Eric Bentley (Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen, 3 eps of Tron: Uprising) as Nick Fury.
James C. Mathis III (Black Panther in The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, 4 eps of Star Wars: The Clone Wars) as James ‘Rhodey’ Rhodes / War Machine.
Kari Wahlgren (Gladys in The Life & Times Of Tim, Milan in Good Vibes, 14 eps of The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, 5 eps of Gravity Falls, 2 eps of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Tigress in Kung Fu Panda: Legends Of Awesomeness, 5 eps of Sym-Bionic Titan) as Maria Hill.
Clare Grant (5 eps of Mad, 4 eps of Robot Chicken, 3 eps of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, 1 ep of Warren The Ape) as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow.
Troy Baker (Hawkeye in Marvel’s Avengers Assemble, Yellowjacket in The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Loki and Hawkeye in Ultimate Spider-Man, 6 eps of the X-Men anime, and 1 ep of the Wolverine anime) as Clint Barton / Hawkeye / J.A.R.V.I.S..
JB Blanc (Barry Goodman in Breaking Bad, 8 eps of the Wolverine anime, 2 eps of the Iron Man anime, 3 eps of Black Panther, 5 eps of The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes) as Obadiah Stane.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2654124/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Sightseers (2012)

Clio: 2.3/5 stars, 4.4/10.
Carolyn: 2.0/5 stars, 4.4/10.
Native ratings: 3.4/5 stars Netflix, 6.6/10 IMDB.

Bonnie & Clyde meets Dumb & Dumber? If I’d known this was British, I might have [correctly] decided to skip this one. British comedies are rarely as funny. Awkward, subtle, dry humor is indeed hilarious, but overt, in-your-face, ridiculous humor is more hilarious.

This movie wasn’t that good.  We thought it would be funnier, but it was mostly just awkward and creepy.  None of the characters were likeable or relateable — which is okay — but the characters were one of many aspects of the movie that just didn’t do anything for us.  It was slightly interesting at times, but mostly pointless.

Girl meets boy. Roadtrip. Girl finds out boy is serial killer. Girl accepts boy.  That’s the whole movie. Well, there’s some interesting aspects I’m not sharing — and some slight twists that you wouldn’t expect… But for the most part, this is not a comedy. This is just a set of fucked up circumstances that conclude with no more message or afterthought than nihilism itself.

Directed by Ben Wheatley. Written by Steve Oram and Alice Lowe.
Starring the movie’s own writers: Alice Lowe (Hot Fuzz) as Tina and Steve Oram (1 ep of Life’s Too Short, 1 ep of The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret) as Chris.
Jonathan Aris (Gulliver’s Travels, 1 ep of Bob & Margaret–how weird) as Ian.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2023690/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: The Host (2013)

Clio: 4.6/5 stars, 8.6/10.
Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Jesse: 3.4/5 stars, 7/10.
Evan: 4.1/5 stars, 8/10.
Native ratings: 3.7/5 stars Netflix, /10 IMDB.

Written & directed by Andrew Niccol, which had me hyped up to see the movie! We’ve seen every movie he’s directed (Gattaca, Lord Of War, In Time, S1m0ne), and also half the movies he wrote-but-didn’t-direct (The Truman Show, but not The Terminal). It is all excellent stuff, though we enjoyed some (In Time) more than others (Lord Of War, S1m0ne).

This movie, strangely, is based on a novel by Stephenie Meyer, the woman who wrote the Twilight Trilogy. Really?? This knowledge alone causes a lot of people to hate on the movie without watching it. Such sheep behavior is sad to witness.

This is Twilight-esque in the sense that teen romance is inserted into a genre that it is not normally so prevalent in. Is that a crime? Is mixing genres a crime? Should an action movie have no comedy? Should a comedy movie have no romance? Should a horror movie have no comedy?

So yes, this is a sci-fi movie about parasitic symbiotes taking over the planet by taking our bodies from us, but it is focused more on a few specific characters, and the love story that ties them together. There are no explosions or big gun fights. It’s about a race taking over humans and controlling them. They aim to live along with us and bring us further than we would get left to our own devices, but they also basically genocide us by killing our consciousnesses and replacing them with their own.

But some of us resist. The alien parasite hears the voice of the original human in their mind. It’s rare. And that is the case here.

Apparently a lot of people just reduce that to “watching a girl talk to herself”, which is a sad reducto absurdum applied to an idea that is actually far more interesting than that. I think it requires a litte bit of empathy that some people don’t have. I don’t find it a valid complaint.

There is REALLY a lot of hate here. The anti-Stephanie Meyer bandwagon is kind of pathetic. It’s like they are scared that someone might like something she’s involved in, because it would invalidate their own opinions — which are often themselves based on groupthink and expressed by people who have never seen one of her movies or read one of her books.

Fuck those guys. This was a great sci-fi, and had an unexpectedly interesting emotional/relationship angle, that most sci-fi movies don’t have. Good for Andrew Niccol — keeping his track record intact. Good for Stephanie Meyer — improving her track record, which needs it.

Evan: “I really liked the concepts and the story was good, but I’m going to have to knock it down a bit for the cheesy teen-movie moments.”

Saoirse Ronan (Hanna from Hanna, the voice of Arriety in The Secret World of Arrietty) as Melanie Stryder / Wanda.
Diane Kruger (Adult Anna in Mr. Nobody, Inglourious Basterds, National Treasure, Helen in Troy) as The Seeker / Lacey.
Chandler Canterbury (Repo Men, Benjamin as age 8 in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) as Jamie, Melanie’s little brother.
Jake Abel (Luke in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief) as Ian O’Shea, [highlight for spoilers] Wanda’s love interest.
Max Irons (Dorian Gray, 9 eps of The White Queen) as Jared Howem, Melanie’s boyfriend.
William Hurt (The Village, The Incredible Hulk, Dark City) as Jeb, Melanie’s uncle.
Frances Fisher (Sex & Death 101, 1 ep of Childrens Hospital) as Maggie, Melanie’s aunt.
Scott Lawrence (The Social Network, Avatar, Cloverfield, Star Trek Into Darkness, 2 eps of 24, Darth Vader in a bunch of Star Wars video games) as Doc.
Rachel Roberts (Simone in S1m0ne, In Time) as Soul Fleur.
Marcus Lyle Brown (Snatched) as Healer Fords.
J.D. Evermore (Django Unchained) as Trevor Stryder.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1517260/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Spring Breakers (2012)

Clio: 3.4/5 stars, 7.6/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Jesse: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.7/5 stars Netflix, 5.9/10 IMDB.

Written & directed by Harmony Korine (Kids, Gummo, Julien Donkey-Boy), but to tell the truth, this movie is, to me, exactly what it would be like if Harmony Korine directed a Gregg Araki movie — especially something from Araki’s Teen Apocalypse trilogy (Totally Fucked Up, Nowhere, The Doom Generation). The feel of this movie REALLY reminded me of the fatalistic feeling found in Aaraki’s work.

Compared to Korine’s other work, this had wayyyyy more structure than Gummo. Korine has matured, and his movies now actually have specific plots.

Carolyn thought it was somewhat drawn out with the monologues and repeating phrases. “But it seemed right when I would start to get actively annoyed, they would finally move on.” I really disagree with that critique.

Plotwise, It’s worth watching. An interesting plot that captures the feel of Spring Break, but then diverges into a totally different, crime-related angle. And a strange romance — of sorts. “You guys are my soulmates.”

Ultimately, it is entertaining yet artsy at the same time. Which is what I’d expect.

Also: Bonus points My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic appearing on screen TWICE during this movie! The Elements Of Harmony..Korine!

Outlaw Vern’s got a good review of the movie, which is what caused us to watch it: http://www.outlawvern.com/2013/03/26/spring-breakers/

Starring:
A barely-recognizable James Franco (127 Hours, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, Oz in Oz The Great And Powerful, Date Night, Pineapple Express, Harry Osborn in the Spider-Man movies) as Alien.
Selena Gomez (Justin Bieber’s girlfriend, Barney & Friends, Wizards Of Waverly Place) as Faith (the brunette).
Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical, Sucker Punch) as Candy. I think she’s better as a blonde.
Ashley Benson (13 Going On 30, Days Of Our Lives, 75 Pretty Little Liars, dated Justin Bieber’s “swagger coach”) as Brit (the other blonde).
Rachel Korine (Harmony Korine’s wife) as Cotty (the pink-haired one).
Heather Morris (Glee) as Bess.
Real-life rapper Gucci Mane as Archie, Alien‘s rival.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2101441/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Black Death (2010)

Clio: 2.4/5 stars, 4.6/10.
Carolyn: 2.4/5 stars, 5.6/10.
Jesse: 2.4/5 stars.
Native ratings: 3.4/5 stars Netflix, 6.4/10 IMDB.

This was recommended to me. It held promise, but just wasn’t that special. It was way, way too slow (an hour passed without much happening), relyed too much on mood over substance, and kind of droned on.

Jesse seemed to like it about half-way through, but then by the end he had changed his mind and thought he didn’t like it.

It wasn’t very action-packed, except for a few brief, awesomely visceral fight scenes.

Moreso at the beginning, it reminded me of the Dreamweaver album’s plot, which filled me with naive, inspired promise, but ultimately things didn’t go in the direction I’d hoped.

The movie does have a few neat structural tricks up its sleeve.

But still. I’d rather have my time back. I was (unfortunately) reminded of Valhalla Rising.

Directed by Christopher Smith (who directed and wrote Triangle, which WAS FUCKING AMAZING).
Written by Dario Poloni.

Starring Eddie Redmayne (8 eps of The Pillars Of Earth) as Osmund.
Sean Bean (Game Of Thrones, Boromir in Lord Of The Rings, Zeus in Percy Jackson, Silent Hill, Troy, Mirror Mirror) as Ulrich, the emissary of the bishop.
John Lynch (Shades [the one who dropped acid] from the movie Hardware!!!!!!) as Wolfstan, the older soldier who survived to the end and was also the narrator.
Carice Van Houten (Game Of Thrones, Carol from Repo Men) as Langiva (anagram for vaginal?!), the necromancer.
David Warner (Archmage in Gargoyles, Ra’s Al Ghul in Batman, In The Mouth Of Madness, Lord Downey in Hogfather, Sweeney Todd, Avatar, 9 eps of Men In Black: The Series) as Abbot.
Kimberley Nixon as Averill, the Osmund’s girlfriend.
Emun Elliott (Prometheus) as Swire.
Johnny Harris (Snow White And The Huntsman, Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Dorian Gray) as Mold.
Andy Nyman (1 ep of Holliston, Death At A Funeral) as Dalywag.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1181791/combined

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