Thursday, May 25, 2017

Top 10 Female Gunslingers in Fiction

In my two lists for fictional gunslingers, no female characters were able to make the cut.  Yet, there are indeed some cool female gunslingers out there, and they deserve their own list.

To make this list, these broads don’t necessarily need to be from a “Western”, but the fact that they wield guns should have been a notable factor in defining and celebrating their characters.  Moreover – as with the implied standard of the past two lists – their preferred weapons must be handguns (though it’s okay if they also use other auxiliary weapons occasionally), since the term “gunslingers” are more associated with revolvers or pistols (there’s nothing technically incorrect about a gunslinger using a rifle, but it just doesn’t feel right).

Domino, who is prominently associated with the X-Force, is a mutant that possesses “subconscious telekinetic probability manipulation.”  It means, on her feet, her subconscious is telekinetically manipulating tiny, random things to happen in the vicinity – which, on their own, are very improbable to occur – in order to affect events in her favor.  Simply, this gives her “good luck” and her opponents “bad luck.”  On top of this, she’s a highly proficient sharpshooter, making her very reliable in combat.  She’s adept in using different kinds of firearms, but she’s often portrayed with using handguns.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

'John Wick: Chapter 2' Is an Awesome Sequel

John Wick: Chapter 2 is the sequel to 2014’s most surprising action gem.  This time around, super-assassin John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is just beginning to re-settle down to a life of retirement, when he’s once again forced out of it by Italian mob boss Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio).  Soon, he finds himself reluctantly immersing once more into the secret, colorful criminal underworld he intends to leave behind, treading on another path of revenge while the world’s most dangerous killers are on his heels.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

'Kill Switch' Has Some Decent Sci-Fi Action Thrills

The dazzling, talented Dan Stevens.  Parallel universes.  Unlimited clean energy.   Boats and trains randomly dropping from the sky.  First-person shooter view (a la Hardcore Henry).  High-tech killer drones.   Saving the world.  If all those phrases sound good to you, then you might enjoy the science indie film Kill Switch (also known as Redivider).

Monday, May 22, 2017

Top 10 Fictional Heptads

See the previous lists in the series:

I will be closing this series of lists on small-sized ensembles with one for heptads or septets – i.e. seven-member teams.

Honorable Mentions: The League of Evil Exes (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), The Humunculi (Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood), The Ant Hill Mob (Wacky Races, The Perils of Penelope Pitstop), The Shichibukai (One Piece)

In Yu Yu Hakusho a.k.a. Ghost Fighter, ex-Spirit Detective Shinobu Sensui formed the Sensui Seven to help him in his vision of letting the human world be overrun with demons.  Understandably, current Spirit Detective Yusuke and the rest of Team Urameshi set off to stop them.

Aside from Sensui a.k.a. Dark Angel, the team is made up of Itsuki a.k.a. Gatekeeper, who has dimensional powers; Sadao Makihara a.k.a. Gourmet, who devour others to gain their powers; Tsukihito Amanuma a.k.a. Gamemaster, who can bring video games to life; Kaname Hagiri a.k.a. Sniper, who can make projectiles out of erasers, pebbles, knives, and other objects; Kiyoshi Mitarai a.k.a. Seaman, who can summon water monsters, and later switches sides, joining Yusuke’s group; and Minoru Kamiya a.k.a., who can manipulate biological chemistries.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

'Fist Fight' Is a 'Three O'Clock High' Rip-off

Back in the 90’s, one of the movies I saw during my regular HBO binging sessions was an 80’s teen movie called Three O’Clock High.  It’s about a meek high school student named Jerry who inadvertently pisses off a new student named Buddy, who happens to be a bully.  As a result, Buddy challenges Jerry into a fight after school – 3 o’clock – at the parking lot, and the news spread across the student body.  Jerry then spends the next six hours trying different ways to avoid it, including reasoning, running, and bribery.  However, in the end, he finally gets fed up with how pathetic he is, mans up, and decides to fight Buddy.  In the aftermath, Jerry earns the respect of Buddy.

'Hounds of Love' Is a Horrifying, Uncomfortable Watch

Hounds of Love is an Australian crime horror film set in mid-1980’s suburban Perth about a sadistic, murderous couple who abduct young girls to torture and ultimately kill.  Vicki, who has sneaked out from her house to go to a party, becomes their latest victim.  Chained on a bed, the horrified teen must observe her captors and figure out a way to drive a wedge between them before they get around to murdering her.

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Charming Novelty of 'The Boss Baby' Wears Off Quickly

I found the trailers for The Boss Baby charming.  The concept of a baby having the mentality of an adult, shady executive and voiced by Alec Baldwin seems to be hilariously adorable on paper.  A lot of the trailer’s featured gags worked.  I particularly liked the meta-joke referencing Baldwin’s role in Glengarry Glen Rose.

'King Arthur: Legend of the Sword' Is a Fun Mess

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is writer-director Guy Ritchie’s take on Arthurian legend.  It portrays Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) having to grow up in a brothel and be raised by prostitutes after his parents – the King and Queen of England – are murdered by his uncle Vortigern (Jude Law).  With Vortigern usurping the throne, Arthur is left unaware of who he truly is.  His upbringing and tough environment develops him into a proficient fighter and to be street smart, and he basically becomes a mob boss in Londinium (medieval name and site of London).  But fate would lead Arthur to reunite with Excalibur – his father’s magical sword, which is now rightfully his – setting him off towards the path of saving England from his power-hungry uncle’s tyrannical rule and becoming who he’s destined to be: King Arthur.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

'Voltron: Legendary Defender' Is a Nostalgic, Addicting Reboot of a Notable 80's Cartoon

Voltron: Defender of the Universe is one of the most notable 80’s cartoon reruns I had watched when I was a kid in the 90’s.  Outside of Power Rangers and Super Sentai, it was my first encounter with the “piloted, themed vehicles combining into a giant robot” trope.  However, when its reboot Voltron: Legendary Defender first aired last year, I wasn’t too enamored to check it out immediately.  It took me a few months after season two ended (last January), and after seeing high praises for it here and there, before I decided to check it out and binge its 24 episodes so far.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

'Before I Fall' Is a Competent Stuck-in-a-Time-Loop Drama

Ever since Groundhog Day introduced and perfected the “being stuck in a time loop to relive one day over and over again” premise, only two movies – Source Code and Edge of Tomorrow – came close in really innovating the concept.  Even so, they didn’t quite utilize it in the same pleasing and flawless manner that Groundhog Day did.

Now, this year’s Before I Fall is the latest movie to attempt making something fresh and interesting about the reliving-a-day-repeatedly concept.  Did it succeed?

Monday, May 15, 2017

'A Silent Voice' Is an Amazing Arthouse Anime

A Silent Voice, also alternatively known as The Shape of Voice, is an anime film revolving around a forlorn, socially inept high schooler named Shoya Ishida.  In elementary, he used to bully a deaf classmate named Shoko Nishimiya, and because of the constant torment that she received from him, she had to transfer to another school.  Though Ishida is her prime bully, the other students also contributed in varying ways to create an environment of persecution for her.  Still, the blame was promptly and fully put on Ishida by the class and teacher.  As a result of this, his friends abandoned him, and he became a social pariah from then on.

Regularly shunned and bullied well into high school, Ishida is left emotionally and psychologically wrecked.   He develops severe social anxiety and self-loathing, and he even arrives to a point where he considers committing suicide.  But one day, he reunites with Nishimiya, and learns that she’s still dealing with the social and emotional problems brought by her disability.  Desiring to redeem himself for his past sins, he manages to find the courage to befriend her.  From that point, the two begin a journey of friendship, healing, and rediscovery for the beauty of life.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Documentary ‘Batman & Bill’ Tells the Story of an Unsung Hero (the Secret Co-Creator of Batman) and Another Man’s Batman-like Crusade to Bring Justice to His Legacy

Being a huge fan of Batman, and comic books for that matter, I’ve been familiar with this fact for a while:  Bob Kane – who had been exclusively credited for being Batman’s sole creator for many, many years – apparently had a secret collaborator, and his name was Bill Finger.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

'Riverdale' Is Awesome and Special Because of Bughead

The debut season of the new, addictive teen drama Riverdale has just ended.  And it left a lot of questions.

Friday, May 12, 2017

‘Their Finest’ Is a Touching, Pleasing, and Meaningful Movie About the Production of a Touching, Pleasing, and Meaningful Movie

Their Finest is a British war drama about a team of Ministry of Information filmmakers tasked to make a propaganda film that is based on the remarkable news story of twin sisters who sailed their father’s boat to take part in the miraculous Dunkirk evacuation.  The central character is Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton), a scriptwriter hired by the Ministry to provide the “woman’s touch” on their films.  For this project, she’s partnered with the cynical, veteran scriptwriter Tom Buckley (Sam Claflin).  As they clash wits as well as develop respect and affection for each other, they maneuver through the hassles of that particular time’s filmmaking process – like constant script revisions ordered by higher ups; handling problems with the cast, including a vain ex-matinee idol named Ambrose Hilliard (Bill Nighy); and the constant bombings of the Germans – so that an epic movie that would successfully boost the morale of a nation at war can be made.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Deterioration of 'Sleepy Hollow'

In 2013, a TV series called Sleepy Hollow – an absolutely batshit reinvention/adaptation of a short story written by Washington Irving (i.e. “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”) – kicked off.  Surprisingly, it turned out being highly entertaining.