Wednesday, November 30, 2016

'Legends of the Hidden Temple: The Movie' Is Enjoyably Nostalgic, but Also Objectively Corny and Dumb

Legends of the Hidden Temple was an awesome show.  As a kid, I extremely loved it.  It was my most favorite game show.  I even created my own version of the “Temple Run” segment, and led my childhood friends to be “contestants” for it.  And even later in life, it still had an effect on me as there was a time when I was a teen that I constantly uttered “Let’s rock!” as an expression (unconsciously stolen from Olmec).

Thus, as a huge fan, I was greatly looking forward to this TV movie based on it.

Hey, 'Ben-Hur' Isn't So Bad

Ben-Hur is a remake of the 1959 classic film of the same name (which in turn was a remake of a 1925 silent film, based on the 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace) that won 11 of the 12 Academy Award categories it was nominated for.  It tells the story of a Jewish prince named Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston) who is betrayed and falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother Messala (Toby Kebbel), who has recently returned to Jerusalem as a high-ranking officer in the Roman Army.  Removed of his status, and separated from his family, Ben-Hur is sentenced into becoming a slave rower of a galley.  After years at sea, he finds the opportunity to return to Jerusalem with the help of a wealthy Nubian sheik (Morgan Freeman) and carries out his intention to seek revenge against his estranged brother, which culminates in a deadly chariot race.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

'Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World-' Isn't Quite a Standout, but Still Fascinating and Entertaining

I had initially put off watching Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World- because of its premise’s similarity with KonoSuba (also an anime series that debuted this year), and I thought it would probably feel like watching a “reinvention” of KonoSuba.  Moreover, if it turns out doing things inferiorly compared to KonoSuba, I might fail to enjoy it by itself.  But with no available new anime series I find intriguing enough to watch, I ended up watching Re:Zero.  And, true enough, I find KonoSuba better – primarily because it’s utterly hilarious and clever.

However, Re:Zero isn’t  bad at all.  It’s quite entertaining on its own.

Monday, November 28, 2016

'The Red Turtle' Is a Visual Storytelling Treat

The Red Turtle is a dialogue-less animated movie about a castaway who is prevented by a giant turtle from sailing away from the deserted tropical island he has drifted into, causing him to establish a new life and start a family on that island.  (Giving further plot details would spoil the story surprises it has.)

This movie is co-produced by Wild Bunch and Studio Ghibli.  And, yes, the only reason that I wanted to watch this in the first place was because Ghibli was involved.  Technically, it’s not an actual addition to their awesome portfolio, as the studio is currently in an indefinite break from making movies (officially on a “restructuring” after Miyazaki’s retirement).  Nonetheless, their “collaborative” influence on The Red Turtle gives the movie a sense of legitimacy as a source of obtaining one’s Ghibli fix while waiting for an official, post-When Marnie Was There Ghibli film (though, it looks like it’ll be quite a while, as Ghibli is seemingly going to focus more on collaborative productions like The Red Turtle in the following years).

All Hail Lelouch! 'Code Geass' Is Returning!

I first learned that a third Code Geass anime series is in the works, titled Code Geass: Lelouch of the Resurrection, from a link shared by a Facebook friend last night (or the wee hours of this day).  Apparently, it’s going to be set a couple of years after the end of Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 – and it would star an alive Lelouch!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

'Hell or High Water' Is a Perfect Neo-Western

Due to being somewhat similar in scope, themes, and impact on me, I’ll say that Hell or High Water is The Town of 2016.

Hell or High Water is a neo-western heist film about two brothers, Toby (Chris Pine) and Tanner Howard (Ben Foster), who conduct a series of bank robberies in order to pay off the debt of their late mother’s ranch and prevent its foreclosure.  Assigned to catch them are two Texas Rangers – the smart, soon-to-retire Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges), who intends to ride gloriously off into the sunset, and his half-Comanche partner, Alberto Parker (Gil Birmingham).  As the Howard brothers draw near to their goal, they are set on the path of an inevitable showdown with the law.

Friday, November 25, 2016

A Brief Reflection on Taking Risks, Spurring from Watching 'David Blaine: Beyond Magic'

Three years after his last one, David Blaine finally had another TV special, David Blaine: Beyond Magic, which aired earlier this month.  I found it not as fascinating and mindblowing as when I watched his earlier TV specials as a kid/teen, since, at this point, I already have familiarity with what his deal is.  The special was entertaining, but gone was the enchanting novelty.

If you don’t know who David Blaine is, he’s just one of the world’s most famous and groundbreaking magicians of all time.  Through his TV specials, he became well-known for doing shocking close-up street magic, which can only be explained by one of the following reasons: a.) the featured spectators had been part of the act all along; b.) he had sold his soul to Baphomet, and thus, he’s actually performing legit sorcery and telepathy; or c.) he’s simply a real-life amalgamation of every magician in Now You See Me – a master hypnotist, illusionist, and con man rolled into one.

In Beyond Magic, he does a new set of astonishing, seemingly impossible tricks (my favorite was when he does a card trick over a video call, with the one he’s calling the one actually doing the handling of the cards).  This time (like with the case with his 2013 special), the audience he performs his tricks for are celebrities.  Having famous people like Johnny Depp, Steph Curry, Margot Robbie, Emma Stone, Jennifer Lawrence, and David Beckham (to name some) be stunned, frightened, and grossed out by Blaine do make the whole thing more enjoyable than having random, ordinary people.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them' Should Have Solely Focused on Telling a Story About Newt Scamander, Jacob Kowalski, and the Fantastic Beasts

Set about seventy years before Harry Potter, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them focuses on Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), the author of the textbook of the same name used by Hogwarts students during the time of Harry Potter, while he is still in the process of collecting and researching about magical creatures, and writing a book on them.

Intending to release a thunderbird in Arizona, Newt travels to the States.  However, he is hindered from going to his destination, when a No-Maj (American magician term for Muggles, i.e. non-magical humans) named Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) unwittingly opens his magical suitcase, in which he houses many varieties of magical creatures.  Some of these creatures escape, and Newt and Kowalski look for them around New York City to contain them.  Along the way, they tangle with agents of the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA), particularly Porpentina Goldstein (Katherine Waterstone) and the enigmatic Percival Graves (Colin Farrell).

Monday, November 21, 2016

Everyone Should Watch 'Snowden'

Snowden is a biographical film directed by Academy Award winner Oliver Stone (the filmmaker behind the politically-charged, thought-provoking films Platoon, Wall Street, Born on the Fourth of July, and JFK) and stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as whistleblower Edward Snowden, who is known for leaking tons of classified documents to the media in 2013, which revealed how shockingly extensive the US government is spying on and invading the privacy of its citizens and the rest of the world.  The movie covers Snowden’s career of service to the US government, from his failed attempt of getting into the Special Forces, to his work as a computer expert for the CIA and then NSA; his romance with girlfriend Lindsay Mills (portrayed by Shailene Woodley); and how he, after years of struggling, decided to sought the help and collaborated with journalists like Glenn Greenwald (portrayed by Zachary Quinto) to reveal the truth to the world.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

'Pete's Dragon' Is a Superior Remake of a Forgettable Disney Movie

Pete’s Dragon is a remake of the 1977 musical film of the same name.  It tells the story of a young boy named Pete (Oakes Fegley) who was orphaned in a car accident nearby a forest, who was then found and befriended by a green dragon named Elliot.  Six years after Pete and Elliot met, Pete is found by forest ranger Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard), her boyfriend Jack (Wes Bentley), and Jack’s daughter, Natalie (Oona Laurence).  Grace initially doubts Pete’s claims of having a dragon for a best friend, but her father (Robert Redford), who is well-known for telling tales of how he encountered a dragon in the forest when he was a young man, encourages her to trust Pete and help him reunite with his dragon.  Meanwhile, Elliot finds himself being hunted by a party of local lumberjacks led by Gavin (Karl Urban), Jack’s brother.