Saturday, July 23, 2016

'Assassination Classroom' Is the Ultimate Teacher Anime

When Assassination Classroom debuted last year, my review of it concluded with the words, “I’m definitely along for the long ride.”  I had no idea that it would only have two seasons (I thought the manga was still ongoing).  But that just might as well, since the fast pacing was one of the reasons I got to love this anime.

I also loved its strange, fresh premise – which was what initially intrigued me about it.  When I read a synopsis that states it’s about this class in which the students are being trained and challenged by their weird teacher to kill him, I just got to see it.  And when I did, I immediately find it an extremely great watch.

Centering on the bizarre, ironic teacher-students dynamic between Koro Sensei and Class 3-E, the anime has an endearing story to tell.  The former is sincere in his desire to be a great teacher, to bring the best out of his students, and see them succeed.  However, his methods are beyond unconventional: he threatens to destroy the world at the end of the school year, and the only option to stop this from happening is if the students will be able to kill him before that.  With this goal forcibly given to the students, he proceeds to teach them the art of assassination, which principles he then uses to help them learn their school lessons.  Thus, not only do these students begin improving academically, but also gradually transform into genuine, highly-skilled assassins.  Meanwhile, Class 3-E – who are deemed “losers” by others – get to respect and love this teacher who chooses to see their potentials and does his best to develop them.  And the only way they can honor and repay him?  By succeeding in assassinating him. (It’s truly a quite peculiar setup, even for an anime, and it’s probably impossible to fully make sense out of it without giving major spoilers.)

Saturday, July 16, 2016

The 'Ghostbusters' Reboot Is Part Quirky, Part Stupid, Part Funny, Part Annoying

The trailer for the Ghostbusters reboot (sometimes subtitled Answer the Call) – featuring four female Ghostbusters instead of four males, as what the original 1984 Ghostbusters had – has become the most disliked movie trailer in Youtube history.  There was much extensive displeasure for this movie even before actually being released.  People were already hating the mere fact that this movie existed.  As for me, I chose to reserve my judgment until I could finally get to watch it, and now that I just did, here are my three main assessments of the movie:
1.) It’s nowhere near deserving of the hate it’s getting.  It’s not atrocious at all.
2.) However, it’s also nowhere near the fun, charm, and wit of the original movie.
3.) It’s also not as good as what the current Rotten Tomatoes score is telling (as of writing, 73% rating out of 160 reviews; for me, it should sit at around 60%).

Friday, July 15, 2016

As I've Expected, 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' Ultimate Edition Is Barely an Improvement

When I saw the theatrical cut of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice earlier this year, I was disappointed.   Though I don’t agree with the intensity of how critics panned it (it’s a mess, but it’s not Fant4stic bad), I nonetheless think it failed of being a satisfactory vehicle for showing the “DC Trinity” together in the big screen for the first time.   It did have aspects that were genuinely exciting and entertaining, but they weren’t sufficient to redeem the movie as a whole.

When it was announced that this movie has an R-rated, extended “director’s cut”, there was an anticipation among fans that this would mightily improve the otherwise underwhelming theatrical version.  As for me, I was doubtful.  True, its problems with pacing, editing, and poorly developed plot points and character arcs would probably be remedied by a director’s cut.  However, BvS had other significant flaws that were rooted at its core, making them impossible to address without completely overhauling or changing the movie itself.  Examples are the gritty tone that doesn’t mesh with the silly plot points; the shortage of clever or powerful dialogue; the bad characterizations; the missed opportunities; and, to some extent, the inorganic scenes that don’t really fit to the narrative but are just obviously there in order to set up future movies.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Contrasting and Comparing Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan

There’s something poetic about Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan retiring after the same season – and the manner they did.

Although Kobe and Tim weren’t drafted in the same year (’96 and ’97, respectively), they are essentially of the same crop or generation of NBA players.  They were able to play in three decades.  They were able to play against the likes of Michael Jordan and Karl Malone, and then the likes of Allen Iverson and Kevin Garnett, and then the likes of Dwayne Wade and LeBron James, and then the likes of Kyrie Irving and Anthony Davis.  And they served as embodiments of two different player types at the opposite sides of the spectrum.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Danielle Cage Is the Best New, Alternate Captain America

Steve Rogers passing the “Captain America” name and shield to Sam Wilson never made sense to me.  I really tried to give this new Cap a chance, but up until now he hasn’t won me over.  The “wings + shield” look doesn’t aesthetically appeal to me – to be honest, I find it cheesy.  He doesn’t have the characteristics and history that made Steve Rogers an impeccable fit to the idea and essence of “Captain America.”  In fact, among all the dramatic status quo changes that happened to Marvel’s A-tiered heroes in the past few years – Jane Foster replaces the Odinson as Thor (keeping fingers crossed in seeing Portman in that role), X-23 take’s the name (and costume) of Wolverine after Logan’s death (plus, Old Man Logan is around), Amadeus Cho replaces Bruce Banner as the Hulk – only Sam Wilson as Captain America didn’t work for me.

I understand that the move to make the former Falcon the new Captain America is just part of Marvel’s recent inspired initiative to inject diversity to their comics.  However, if diversity was the main rationale, I believe Marvel had only been months late in introducing the new Captain America who perfectly nailed that intent.

In the 2015 underrated mini-series called Avengers: Ultron Forever (Sam Wilson debuted as Captain America months earlier, in December 2014), wherein various Avengers from different time periods team up to fight Ultron, the Captain America of the not so distant future was introduced…

Sunday, July 10, 2016

'The Nice Guys' Is So Good, It Deserves a Franchise

I’m somewhat of a fan of Shane Black.  His work has this appealing, unique flavor in it; he’s quite good in making witty, violent, fast-paced action comedies.  He wrote the first two movies of the Lethal Weapon franchise (which is arguably the definitive buddy cop action comedy) as well as The Last Action Hero, which are among my most favorite action films. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, which he both wrote and directed, is immensely entertaining and clever.  Also, for me, his Iron Man 3 is the best Iron Man installment.

Thus, I understandably had big expectations for The Nice Guys (which he both directed and wrote).  And he delivered.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

'Criminal' Has an Interesting Cast and an Intriguing Premise, but Fails to Be an Enjoyable Thriller

Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones, Gary Oldman, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot.  That’s Jonathan Kent, Two-Face, Commissioner Gordon, Deadpool, and Wonder Woman.  This cast in a science fiction action thriller sounds a lot of fun, right?

Criminal is about a sociopathic criminal named Jericho Stewart (Kevin Costner) who is implanted with the brain patterns of deceased CIA agent Bill Pope (Ryan Reynolds), allowing the former to assimilate the latter’s memories and skills.

Friday, July 08, 2016

The Sulu Problem

Yesterday, it was announced that Star Trek Beyond will reveal that the nu-Star Trek version of Hikaru Sulu (played by Jon Cho) is gay.  This was supposed to honor George Takei, the original actor of Sulu, who is gay and an outspoken LGBT activist.

Ironically, Takei said in a recent interview that he doesn’t want Sulu to be made gay.   He declares that this “twisted” Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry’s intention for the character.  He even appealed to the team behind Star Trek Beyond to not to do it, but instead create a new character who happens to be gay.  He urged them: “Be imaginative and create a character who has a history of being gay, rather than Sulu, who had been straight all this time, suddenly being revealed as being closeted.”

Sunday, July 03, 2016

'Central Intelligence' Gives a Glimpse of That Awesome Rock-Headlined Buddy Action Comedy Movie That Is yet to Be Made

Central Intelligence features the first on screen pairing of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Kevin Hart.  It tells the story of two former high school classmates whose reunion escalates towards a crazy, world-saving, espionage adventure.