Friday, November 17, 2017

'Logan Lucky' Is Basically Redneck 'Ocean's Eleven'

Logan Lucky centers on a West Virginia blue-collar man named Jimmy Logan (Channing Tatum) who, after getting laid off, assembles a crew – which includes his one-armed Iraq War veteran brother Clyde (Adam Driver), sister Mellie (Riley Keough), incarcerated explosion expert Joe Bang (Daniel Craig), and Joe’s dim-witted brothers (Brian Gleeson, Jack Quaid) – to pull an ambitious heist on the Charlotte Motor Speedway during the hectic Coca-Cola 600 race.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

'Blade of the Immortal' Is Gritty, Gorgeous, and - Most Importantly - a Good Adaptation

One of the reasons why Dark Horse is one of my most favorite comic book publishers is because it introduced me to Blade of the Immortal, which it republished in English back then.  Now, I haven’t got the chance to see the anime adaptation, but the manga series had been an epic read for me.  Consequently, Manji, the titular “immortal”, has become one of my most favorite fictional samurai characters.

Thus, ever since I learned there’s a live-action film adaptation out this year – and helmed by Takashi Miike no less (I really liked his 2010 film 13 Assassins) – I was excited to watch it.  Seeing Manji be an unstoppable badass in live-action made me salivate in expectation.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Final Thoughts on 'Inhumans'

I already wrote what I thought of Inhumans after watching its first two episodes, which is basically: it was so shockingly awful and painfully disappointing that I wanted to stop watching it.  However, though I was 99.999999999999% certain that it was never going to turn itself around, I was induced by the Marvel zombie in me to watch the remaining episodes.  Yep, fandom is a curse.

So with its first (and, hopefully, final) season finally wrapped up, let me share my final thoughts on it.

36 Years Later After Its Release, 'Chariots of Fire' Finally Gets a Sequel in 'On Wings of Eagles'

Long before I saw or was even made aware of the Academy Award-winning 1981 classic Chariots of Fire, I read a biography on Eric Liddell.  His life was an inspiring story of Christian faith, and I remembered being very moved after reading the book.

When I finally saw Chariots of Fire, I found it utterly beautiful.  For ordinary film buffs, its merits must have been limited to its dramatic, stirring sports plot and the iconic rousing music.  Some may even find it overrated.  But, by revolving around a faithful depiction of Liddell’s faith, the film’s themes are actually quite deep and resonating – an aspect that Christians will particularly grasp and appreciate.  But great a film it may be, I was also a tad disappointed because it simply focused on Liddell during the 1924 Olympics.  Having read about him, I know his life as a missionary after his running career is just as remarkable and moving, though not in a similar “feel-good” way.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

'Steins;Gate: The Movie − Load Region of Déjà Vu' Is a Sentimental Follow-Up to the Anime Series

I’ve just recently become a Steins;Gate fan, and it’s only imperative that I also check out Steins;Gate: The Movie − Load Region of Déjà Vu, a.k.a. Steins;Gate: Fuka Ryōiki no Déjà vu, the feature-length follow-up to the anime series.

It’s set a year after the OAV epilogue, and starts off with Kurisu returning to Japan for a seminar, allowing her to reunite with the Future Gadget Laboratory gang.  Meanwhile, Okabe’s “Reading Steiner” has begun to overload – an intense, grave side effect from the substantial time traveling that he underwent a year ago.  He gets severe visions of the events in alternate worldlines, causing his existence to fluctuate in and out of the “Steins Gate” worldline and ultimately getting erased.  This time around, the roles are reversed: it’s Kuriso who needs to do the time traveling in order to save him.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

'Birth of the Dragon' Gives B-Movie Treatment to a Controversial, Legendary Kung Fu Fight

Birth of the Dragon is a martial arts action film about the legendary closed-door fight that supposedly happened between Bruce Lee and Wong Jack Man.  This event was pretty controversial because it was unrecorded, and its reputation and details were limitedly hinged on Lee, Wong, and the handful of witness’ conflicting accounts.  Thus, this movie isn’t an attempt of a biopic.  Rather, taking some of the elements from those varying reports, it’s a fictional depiction of the motivations and catalysts behind the fight, the unfolding of the fight itself, the aftermath, and the resulting reflections.

Monday, November 06, 2017

'Kyōsei' Fails 'Digimon Adventure tri.'

Kyōsei – “Coexistence” in English (“Symbiosis” in other translations) – is the penultimate movie in the six-part Digimon Adventure tri. series.  The plot involves the berserk Meicoomon, having digivolved to Meicrackmon (then later, Raguelmon), leaving the DigiWorld through a distortion to terrorize the human world.  Meanwhile, the DigiDestined and their Digimon are harassed by the troubled DigiWorld, which is trying to expel them.  Eventually, they get to return back to the human world and confront Meicoomon.  In addition, Hackmon/Jesmon – sent by Homeostasis – and Alphamon joins the fray, leading to a Digimon free-for-all.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Pros & Cons of 'Stranger Things 2'

It’s already a full week since I binged Stranger Things 2, the second season of the Duffer Brothers’ Netflix hit, but let me now share the things I liked and didn’t like about it.

'Brigsby Bear' Examines the Power of Pop Culture Fandom Through a Brilliant, Quirky Story

Brigsby Bear is a comedy-drama film that centers on James Pope (Kyle Mooney), a man who has spent his whole life living in a bunker with his parents Ted (Mark Hamill) and Alice (Jane Adams) and grew up exclusively watching Brigsby Bear, an educational science fantasy children’s TV show.  Considering his situation, it’s understandable that he has become a die-hard fan of the show – his room packed with every Brigsby Bear VHS cassette tape, merchandise, and memorabilia.  After the abrupt cancellation of the series, it has become James’ obsession to bring its story to a close.  Thus, the main storyline of this movie is about James setting off to accomplish this by making a movie.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

'Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets' Has a Cool, Gorgeous World... Aaannnd That's About It

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is a science fiction film based on the French comics Valérian and Laureline.  It follows Major Valerian (Dane DeHanaan), a special police agent of the Human Federation, and his no-nonsense partner Sergeant Laureline (Cara Delevingne) as they investigate a mysterious threat developing at the center of Alpha – a gigantic space-faring city that evolved from the International Space Station in which countless races from various planets are living peacefully and exchanging their knowledge and cultures.

Friday, November 03, 2017

Time Travel Anime 'Steins;Gate' Is a Flawed Masterpiece

I seldom watch and review anime series that were released in past years and are no longer ongoing.   I only do so when there’s much “must-see” vibes going for it, making it seems like it’s very rewarding and I’m missing out on something of extreme significance.  Such is the case with Steins;Gate, which caught my interest because it popped up in many “best anime series” lists I read.  So I checked it out.  And I loved it!

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

'Better Watch Out' Is a Warped Spin on 'Home Alone'

Better Watch Out is a horror-comedy home invasion thriller film from Australia.  Set during the Christmas holidays, it is about a 12-year-old boy named Luke (Levi Miller), his bestfriend Garret (Ed Oxenbould), and his teenage babysitter Ashley (Olivia DeJonge) who found themselves besiege by mysterious intruders.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation

Happy Reformation Day!

This year’s holiday is particularly special because it marks the 500th year since Martin Luther supposedly nailed his Ninety-five Theses on the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenburg.  Some say that the act of nailing them on the door is just a legend.  Regardless of whether this account is literal or not, the point is, Luther had made known on this date the strong opposition he had for the Roman Catholic Church’s practice of selling indulgences and challenged them for debate.  Thus – though there were various figures prior to Luther that attempted to challenge and reform the Catholic Church, like Jan Hus and John Wycliffe – the event has become widely considered as the start of the Reformation movement.

Monday, October 30, 2017

'Thor: Ragnarok' Is Thunderously Terrific

Thor: Ragnarok is the third solo Thor movie of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Here’s a somewhat SPOILER-y synopsis: Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has been constantly dreaming of “Ragnarok”, the prophesied doom of Asgard, since Avengers: Age of Ultron, and has sought to prevent the event.  Believing he has done this, he returns home to Asgard, in which he exposes his adopted brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), who has been posing as Odin (see 2013’s Thor: The Dark World).  But after finding the real Odin (Anthony Hopkins) with the help of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), they discover a shocking truth suggesting that the Ragnarok may still be happening after all, at the hands of Hela (Cate Blanchett), the extremely powerful goddess of death that has been written out of Asgardian history.  Thor and Loki are effortlessly defeated by Hela, and are exiled to the other side of the universe, leaving Asgard free for her to conquer.  Soon, Thor finds himself in the planet Sakaar, where he’s captured by Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and sold to the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), who intends to put him in a gladiatorial match against his invincible, unbeaten champion.  This champion turns out being the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), who mysteriously got to Skaar after the events of Age of Ultron.  Now, Thor must appease or defeat a rampaging Hulk, recruit a couple of unlikely allies, and figure out a way to get back to Asgard in order to stop Hela and save his people.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

'Happy Death Day', a Satirical Slasher Film with a Stuck-in-a-Time-Loop Twist, Is Cheesy but Extremely Entertaining

Happy Death Day revolves around Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe), an obnoxious, Mean Girls-type college student who gets stuck in a time loop on her birthday.  Before the day ends, a spiteful hooded killer in a baby mask murders her, and she subsequently wakes up in the same time and place she has awoken from the first time around that day: 9:00 am, in the dorm of a random dude named Carter (Israel Broussard).  And thus, she has to relive the day over and over – and die over and over – until she can figure out who is the mysterious, masked killer that is killing her and survive the day, which she hopes would allow her to finally escape the time loop.