Saturday, February 25, 2017

There Are Many Great Things About 'Terror in Resonance' That It Seems Perfect Even When It's Not

I missed Terror in Resonance (also known alternatively as Zankyou no Terror and Terror in Tokyo) when it first ran in 2014.   I already got wind of it in the past, and was curious, but never had a chance to follow up on it, and eventually forgot about it.  But recently, I was reminded of its existence while surfing some anime stuff, and my interest was renewed.  Discovering the fact that it was directed by ShinichirĊ Watanabe – whose past works include Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, and Kids on the Slope, which are all anime I’ve loved – was the clincher for me to watch it.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

'Assassin's Creed' Is Another Video Game Movie Disappointment

Based on the hit action-adventure video game franchise, Assassin’s Creed tells the story of a suspected murderer named Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender) who is plucked from death row and then thrown into an age-old secret war between Assassins and Templars.  Abducted by the Abstergo Foundation – which is run by modern day Templars – Lynch is fastened into the Animus, a machine that lets him tap and relive the genetic memories of his ancestor Aguilar de Nerha (also played by Fassbender), an Assassin during 15th century Spain.  Through exploiting Lynch – or rather Aguilar’s memories through him – they intend to find the location of the “Apple”, which supposedly holds the genetic code for free will, and use it to control the world.  However, the more Lynch gets to access Aguilar’s memories, the more he learns the secrets and combat skills he needs to topple his Templar captors.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Top 10 Fictional Families

This can be somewhat considered as a sequel to my series on fictional ensembles.  For while I was making those four lists, I consciously avoided including any families, since I thought they deserve a list of their own.  This is that list.

Just as families are the most basic unit of society, families are also the most basic ensembles in fiction.  Thus, there are dozens and dozens of notable fictional families.  For this list, to narrow the pool down, only literal families (i.e. kin of each other, or at least functioning in accordance with the traditional definition) are considered, while thematic families (e.g. the Bat-Family, Vongola Famiglia) aren’t.  Moreover, priorities are given to those that are the most “nuclear” or “immediate” (per the words’ definition in relation to the context of family).

Honoroble Mentions:  The Sons (Dragon Ball Z), The Griffins (Family Guy), The Sungcals (Pugad Baboy), The Thornberrys (The Wild Thornberrys), The March Family (Little Women), The Munsters (The Munsters)

I rewatched The Stupids last year.  I chuckled but barely laughed.  It was hard for me to imagine that, as a kid, I thought it was immensely hilarious and worth rewatching several times (which I did).  Nevertheless, I let them have the tenth spot over the Munsters due to the reason that there was a time that I really believed their name-embodying behavior is the funniest thing ever.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

'The Lego Batman Movie' Makes Nonstop Batman Jokes and References

2014’s The Lego Movie was surprisingly awesome.  And one of the best things about it was its brilliant, satirical depiction of Batman, fantastically voiced by Will Arnett.  Back then, I thought it would be great if an entire movie could be dedicated to the character.  I guess many felt the same way since a spin-off movie was indeed made – The Lego Batman Movie.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

'Allied' Is Not Worth Brangelina's Breakup

Allied is a romantic spy thriller set during World War II about a Royal Canadian Air Force intelligence officer named Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) and a French Resistance fighter named Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard) who fall in love while on a deadly assignment in Casablanca, Morocco, posing as husband and wife.  After the mission, they get married for real, settle in London, and have a baby girl.  However, their marriage is threatened when Max is informed by British intelligence that Marianne may be a German spy all along.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

'Passengers' Is Carried by the Chemistry and Charisma of Its Two Leads

When I first learned of Passengers, I was intrigued – immediately making it an anticipated movie of mine back in 2016.  Even before any trailers, just reading about it, that it’s going to be a love story about two people travelling on a ship heading to another planet and would star Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, I was pretty much digging it.  But its lukewarm reception brought me to put off watching it.

Passengers is about two passengers of the Avalon, a luxurious ship transporting colonists to inhabit a planet 120 years away from Earth named “Homestead II”, who find themselves waking up from hibernated sleep many years too early.  Thus, they find themselves having the ship and its conveniences all for themselves, but are set to die of old age before the ship can reach its destination.  Also, they fall in love.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Episode That Cemented Aladdin and Jasmine as the Greatest Disney Couple Ever

The greatest Disney couple ever is Aladdin and Jasmine.  Period.  And it’s really not even close.

As far as exploration of a romance is concerned among Disney movies, the best is easily Beauty and the Beast.  Second is Aladdin.  But what allowed Aladdin and Jasmine to reign above Belle and the Beast, as well as the rest of Disney couples, is the advantage of having their story continued in two direct-to-video sequels and an animated series.  Sure, other Disney animated movies have those, too, but the Aladdin trilogy is definitely Disney’s best “classic film with (often) sufficiently fun but not-as-good-as-the-original (sometimes even plain bad) direct-to-video sequels” animated film series.

But what significantly fleshed Aladdin and Jasmine out as individual characters and as a couple – or the entire Aladdin universe and characters, for that matter (seriously, Aladdin and friends are one heck of an action, adventuring squad) – is the Aladdin animated series – one of my favorite TV cartoons, and objectively Disney’s best TV series based on a hit movie.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Super Bowl LI Could Be the Most Incredible Game I've Ever Seen in Professional Sports

I enjoy American football.  I’ve developed fascination with the sport thanks to movies like Any Given Sunday, The Longest Yard, and The Replacements, and, most especially, the manga and anime of Eyeshield 21 (in fact, three of my most favorite fictional sports teams are American football teams).  It’s also through these media that I’ve gained basic understanding on how the sport is played.  Pop culture was also my gateway to the sport of basketball and into NBA fandom.  However, I just wasn’t able to get into closely following and becoming familiarized with the NFL as I did with the NBA.

Thus, my annual NFL watching is limited to Super Bowls.  And since I’m not quite an NFL fan, I really don’t have a team I get behind on.  But Super Bowl LI was different.   I was kind of rooting for the Patriots.  For two reasons.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

After Two Episodes, 'Riverdale' Has Established Itself as a Must-Watch Show

I admit that I wasn’t too keen for Riverdale at first.  Despite being developed by Greg Berlanti – the man behind the DCW Universe – I had doubts.  I love my Archie Comics to be more light-hearted and fun, and Riverdale seemed to be going the route of a teen soap brimming with angst and madness.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

'The Love Witch' Is a Gorgeous 60's-Style Modern Movie

When I first saw the trailer for The Love Witch, I thought it was another one of those dreadful low-budget direct-to-video movies – dim-witted, inept, clumsy, and lifeless.  But it did strike me that it seemed to have the makings of a “so bad, it’s good” movie.  I thought I would probably enjoy mocking its awfulness.

To my surprise, The Love Witch isn’t necessarily an objectively bad and incompetent movie.  For the “bad movie” indications that I noticed in the trailer is very much intentional.  Telling a story about a young witch named Elaine (Samantha Robinson) who uses dark magic to make men fall desperately in love with her, the movie serves as both homage and parody of campy 60’s horror-thriller films.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

'The White King' Has the Intriguing Premise of a Boy Growing up in a Totalitarian Dystopia, but Isn't the Interesting Coming-Of-Age Film That It Could Have Been

I have a soft spot in my heart for small-budget, indie-type science fiction movies.  A couple of times, I found them to be extremely engrossing and thought-provoking despite not having the production advantages of a big-budget blockbuster (best example: the time-travel movie Primer, which was only made for $2,000).  Every year, there’s at least one of such movies, and I try to seek as many as I can.  And this 2017, The White King is my first prospect.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

'Royal Rumble 2017' Was Genius Booking

In general, I really don’t care if WWE pay-per-view results are spoiled to me.  Except for the Royal Rumble.  I still don’t mind being spoiled, but with this one pay-per-view, I prefer to go watch it knowing as little as possible what’s going to happen.  This year’s winner was spoiled to me in my Facebook newsfeed, which I thought was going to be drowned by Miss Universe posts last Monday.  Anyway, I proceeded to watch it on Tuesday, aware of only two things: John Cena won his 16th world championship (might write my thoughts on this later, but this post is all about the Royal Rumble match), and that Randy Orton won the Royal Rumble.

I tremendously enjoyed Royal Rumble 2017 as a whole, but most especially how the Royal Rumble match turned out.  And not only because of the fact that Randy Orton – who is probably my most favorite wrestler currently working in the WWE – won it, but because I genuinely think it was a well-thought-out booking.

Monday, January 30, 2017

For a Show About Relentless Misery, 'A Series of Unfortunate Events' Is Ironically Delightful

Before I got to read the books, I saw the movie Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events first.  I moderately liked it, but didn’t quite “get” it.  Aside from Jim Carrey’s performance as Count Olaf, nothing else about the movie struck me.  Later on, I was able to read some of the books (though, as of writing, I only own one), and enjoyed them tremendously.  As a children’s book series, I found it very unique and smart.  It dares to be tonally dark and narratively complex, and then trusts its young readers to handle them and to appreciate its satirical nature and inherent cleverness.  Thus, afterwards, I gained a better appreciation of the film when I watched it again.  However, since then, I also maintained the opinion that a TV mini-series – whether animated or live-action – would have worked better.

And now, that finally happened with this new Netflix series.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

'A Monster Calls' Is a Powerful Modern Fairy Tale About Life and Loss (Plus, It Has a Groot-Like Monster!)

A Monster Calls is a modern fairy tale about a giant tree-like monster (voiced by Liam Neeson) – who will remind everybody who has watched Guardians of the Galaxy of Groot – as he haunts/befriends a 12-year-old boy named Conor O’Malley (Lewis MacDougall).  This premise may seem ridiculous or common on paper, but the film is genuinely insightful, moving, and engrossing.

Friday, January 27, 2017

'The Legend of the Blue Sea' Works Wonderfully Despite Its Cheesy Romance and Problematic Writing

The Legend of the Blue Sea, the latest “big-event” K-drama, has just ended.  It got 20 episodes, and that only happens when a K-drama is getting much hype and ratings.  The assumption is that a K-drama must be pretty remarkable and immensely enjoyable for getting 20 episodes.  I personally find that’s not necessarily case. Sometimes, it is; sometimes, it’s not.  Fortunately, The Legend of the Blue Sea is justified enough to belong to the former category.