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: Ghost Rider 2: Spirit of Vengeance (2011)

3.6/5 stars, 7/10 from both of us.
5/5 stars,   8.4/10 was what we gave the first movie:
So this one’s worse.
Native rating: 3.7/5 stars, 4.6/10 (ouch) on IMDB:
So the public agrees.
Netflix’s guess for us was 3.8 which is pretty damn close.

It wasn’t as good as the first one, but it was still entertaining.

It was a very over-the-top with the comedy/Nic Cage acting. I wonder if he was still using Brian Bates’ Way Of The Wyrd (basis for Sabbat’s Dreamweaver concept album, which I wrote a 5900 word post about) as the basis of his acting. Maybe not. These are the Crank / Gamer directors now, and maybe they directed him to be more Nic-Cage-over-the-top.

Outlaw Vern, who I usually agree with, liked this better than the original:
http://outlawvern.com/2012/02/21/ghost-rider-presents-spirit-of-vengeance/
His review includes a big quote from Nic Cage about Brian Bates’s book, as well as some mentions of Vampire’s Kiss. Outlaw Vern is right about the CGI being worse. What used to be a cool transformation is now kind of comical at times.

So yeah… This was worth seeing because we love the superhero genre, but it wasn’t good as the original.
Though apparently, some liked it better!

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1071875/

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: John Carter (2012)

Clint/Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 9/10. Clint is considering upgrading to 10/10.
Native ratings: 3.8/5 stars (Netflix’s better guess for us=4.3), 6.9/10.

Based on Edgar Rice Burroughs books, this movie entered development in 1931, and was almost the first animated movie in America. But things got held up for (puts pinky to corner of mouth) ***79 YEARS***. It finally left development-hell in 2010, and they’re already working on a sequel.

I’m glad once the studios finally move (a literal lifetime later), that they are rushing to do as many of these as possible.

BECAUSE THIS WAS EXCELLENT!!!!!!

Would have been nice to see in 3-D, but completely unnecessary. It is a great story, and a long movie that properly fleshes out characters and plots. I’m not going to go into too much detail, but simply: Science fiction done right, with an epic story and an epic budget. I’m still trying to figure out if I should really be rating this movie 10/10, because there’s not really any flaw.

(BTW, You may recognize the main couple in this movie as Gambit and Silverfox from X-Men Origins.)

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0401729/

VIDEO: MOVIE: REVIEW: Event 16 (2006)

New Zealand low-budget time travel movie not available on Netflix.

Got a 3.6/10 on IMDB, but Clint gave it 6/10 and Carolyn gave it 7/10.
We both rated it only 3 stars, but then later Clint changed it to 2.8/3 stars after seeing its rating in comparison to other 3/5 star movies and realizing this is a worse movie.

The effects were super-cheesy — like someone just did it all on their computer. And the story was confusing. David Lynch-level confusing by the end, with characters actually being other characters. And since  it wasn’t directed well enough, I didn’t even understand which characters were becoming which other characters. It was just hard to follow. And the New Zealand accents sounded really bad.

But the story was still kind of interesting, and we are such huge time travel fans that we sought out and found this movie despite its rarity and low rating.

It was still enjoyable.

Just not really GOOD.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0831289/#comment

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Ginger Snaps 3 aka Ginger Snaps 0 aka Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning (2004)

Clint: 3.4/5 stars, 7/10.  (Again deferring to Carolyn’s rating.)
Carolyn: 3.4/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.3/5 stars Netflix, 5.8/10 IMDB.

Not as good as the first one, but on par with the second one.  This was set in the 19th century.  The IMDB trivia says that the second and third movies were shot back-to-back.

Carolyn thinks she liked the third one ever so slightly better than the second one, though she rated both identically. I am unsure, myself.

This movie sacrifices the opportunity to continue moving the original story further forward, and that is a major points against when compared to Ginger Snaps 2.

But by making it a prequel about 2 girls who just so happen to be the EXACT SAME 2 girls (but in the 1800s), they created an opportunity for Ginger to return as a lead character. This brought back a lot of the chemistry and sisterly character interaction that Ginger Snaps 1 had, but that Ginger Snaps 2 lacked.  So that is major points for.

However, they aren’t in high school… Or even modern american culture as we know it. The unique aspects of the original characters don’t shine in the same light when held to a completely different time and culture, and that is points against when compared to Ginger Snaps 1.

In the end, it’s kind of a wash. This movie is good in ways Ginger Snaps 2 wasn’t, and Ginger Snaps 2 was bad in ways this movie wasn’t. They were filmed at the same time too, so there’s no discrepancy in production or acting. So it’s just another sequel that’s really a prequel.

While I would recommend that 100% of people who liked Ginger Snaps 1 *MUST* watch Ginger Snaps 2…….. This movie is not required viewing. However, it does feel more like Ginger Snaps 1 than Ginger Snaps 2 did, so you still might want to watch it if you were a fan.

Directed by Grant Harvey.

Written by Christina Ray & Stephen Massicotte.

The 2 main characters of course remain:

Emily Perkins (Juno, Insomnia, 35 eps of Da Vinci’s Inquest, 26 eps of Hiccups, 3 eps of Supernatural) as Brigitte.
Katharine Isabelle (Freddy Vs. Jason, 30 Days Of Night: Dark Days, Insomnia, Titanic, 1 ep of Smallville, 1 ep of The L Word) as Ginger.

But also, from Ginger Snaps 2:

Brendan Fletcher (1 ep of Smallville) as Finn. He played Jeremy, the librarian in the second movie… Gracious of them to let him return.

The rest were new faces:

Nathaniel Arcand as The Hunter.
JR Bourne (1 ep of Smallville, 1 ep of 24) as James, the douchebag.
Hugh Dillon (Trailer Park Boys: The Movie) as Reverend Gilbert.
Adrien Dorval (Twilight 2, Chronicles Of Riddick, 1 ep of The L Word) as Seamus.
Tom McCamus (Siblings, 2 eps of Friday The 13th: The Series, 1 ep of Puppets Who Kill) as Wallace Rowlands, the leader of the fort.
Matthew Walker (The Wicker Man, 1 ep of Smallville) as Doc Murphy, the doctor.
David MacInnis (1 ep of Smallville) as Cormac.

They sure seem to use a lot of Smallville people…

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0365265/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed (2004)

Clint: 3.4/5 stars, 7/10. (I’m deferring to Carolyn’s rating as I’m kind of unsure of my feelings.)
Carolyn: 3.4/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.2/5 stars Netflix, 6.4/10 IMDB.

Not as good as the first one.  This one follows Brigitte as she deals with being infected by the lycanthropy.  It was still entertaining enough.  It was still good. Just not nearly as good. It was a good horror movie, but they kinda dropped the whole sisterly aspect of the first one that brought much of the interestingness to the original. So the chemistry was completely different, and it didn’t have that Ginger Snaps 1 feel that they brought back with Ginger Snaps 3 (which I’ll be reviewing next).

What this movie has going for it is that it is a continuation of the same original story. It’s canon. Ginger Snaps 3 is not. So this is it. When you watch this movie, don’t be tricked into thinking that the story will continue. That’s it, it’s over, and it’s kind of messed up.

Also, just what was unleashed? If anything, that’s backward. But I digress.

This is worth watching simply as a way to coast by on the good feeling you get from how awesome Ginger Snaps 1 is. I’d definitely recommend watching this. Definitely. You need to see how the story concludes. But this movie doesn’t stand on its own as being particularly special, other than how it connects to the greatness of Ginger Snaps 1.

Directed by Brett Sullivan. Written by Megan Martin.

Only the 2 main characters were from the first movie: Ginger & Brigitte.

Emily Perkins (Juno, Insomnia, 35 eps of Da Vinci’s Inquest, 26 eps of Hiccups, 3 eps of Supernatural) as Brigitte.
Katharine Isabelle (Freddy Vs. Jason, 30 Days Of Night: Dark Days, Insomnia, Titanic, 1 ep of Smallville, 1 ep of The L Word) as Ginger.

The rest were new faces:

Brendan Fletcher (1 ep of Smallville) as Jeremy, the librarian.
Tatiana Maslany (Stir Of Echoes 2, 11 eps of Orphan Black) as Ghost.
Janet Kidder as Alice.
Pascale Hutton (Fantastic Four, 3 eps of Smallville) as Beth-Ann, the mean girl.
Michelle Beaudoin (24 eps of Sabrina The Teenage Witch) as Winnie.
Eric Johnson (24 eps of Smallville, Flash Gordon in 21 eps of Flash Gordon) as Tyler, the guy who returns favors.
Patricia Idlette (Scary Movie 3) as Dr. Brookner.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0353489/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Night Of The Living Dead (1990)

Clint: 3.2/5 stars, 7.2/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.5/5 stars Netflix, 6.7/10 IMDB.

So we are apparently doing this backward. We watched the 2006 3-D remake-of-a-remake some time back. Now we are watching the 1990 remake. Meanwhlie, we’ve never seen the 1968 original.

Definitely one of the small-scenario zombie movies; more old school in that sense. Also old school in that there is some definite cheeziness and bad acting that wouldn’t pass muster these days. But still. This was good.

I really liked the ending… That was quite different than I was expecting. They added a whole social commentary angle to it. It wasn’t profound, but still. It could have just been nothing.

And I like how the main character was a completely different person by the end of the movie, transformed by the events of the movie.

And it was cool to see Tony Todd (“Candyman Candyman Candyman!”) after watching his guest appearance on the underrated awesome sitcom Holliston.

So all in all, I’m glad I finally saw this.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100258/?ref_=sr_1

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