Redline (2011) Review

This review will be fairly short, because this movie is not something to be analysed, not to be pulled apart. I can’t explain to you why Redline is one of the greatest anime films of all time. There are certain movies that people call an experience and Redline fits that definition to a T. Redline is a movie I want to see in imax and in 3D and I rarely like both of those.
Redline is a racing movie, thats all you need to know, because the story is the last thing you should be caring about. It’s generic as shit and the characters are slightly more then cardboard cutouts, but you won’t care. You’ll be too busy looking at the amazing goddamn animation. The animation drawn by hand and over 7 fucking years. Do your eyes a favor and watch this movie because they will be orgasming.
Redline has its slow moments, but if you let yourself get a little invested in the characters and wait it out, you’ll be treated by a Gurren-Lagannesque finale of epic proportions. The race(s) in this movie are heart-pounding and tense as shit, with moments of awesome that make you want to jump out of your seat. All this excentuated by a fantastic soundtrack that will get your fist and blood pumping.
Do yourself a favor and watch this movie, get your bros together and WATCH THIS MOVIE. It’s an experience that will leave you stunned at the end and engrossed along the way. It’s hard for me to convey, but thats okay, because it’s incentive for you to watch it. Do it. Now.

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Evil Dead 2 (1987) Review

There is nary a film saga in the horror genre more fun then the Evil Dead trilogy. With the first one being a benchmark of independent filmmaking and pretty good blend of camp and genuine horror, Evil Dead 2 had a lot to live up to. It does in every way though, and in the process of making this film Raimi created a classic for decades to come. As I just mentioned camp, right off the bat don’t expect this movie to be serious. It’s a horror COMEDY, but a little more subtle about it the Zombieland or Shaun of the Dead.

Evil Dead 2 “picks up” where the first left off, but not after retelling the first movie (this time with just Ash and his girlfriend) in the first 10 minutes. For those who don’t know, Ash and his girlfriend drive up to a cabin in the woods for a fun weekend together. While there, they find a recording that when they play back summons an evil spirit. This evil spirit possesses the girl and As has to kill her. Holed up in this cabin with no way to escape, Ash fights to survive and keep his insanity until two couples show up to invite more trouble.

Sam Raimi is a brilliant director, not necessarily because he’s great with actors (although to be fair he helped mold Bruce Campbell into a fairly decent one), but because of his brilliant camera and effects work. This movie looks really quite good, with camera angles that make me practically orgasm I love them so much. Raimi is the master of perpetuating mood, if that mood is right and Evil Dead 2 never looses that feeling of bat-shit insanity that Raimi intended. The lighting works extremely well too, with the woods being spooky and the film in general having that undeniably VHS era feel to it.

The effects are phenomenal, even when they suck. It makes me nostalgic for the era of practical effects (even if I was never there) because with the same budget, the cgi would have looked worse. Raimi uses stop motion at several points in the movie and stop motion at it’s worse still has a creepy vibe because of how disjointed it is. CGI when it’s low budget looks like shit, so even if stop-motion looks bad it’s still better. The blood, makeup and various body part movements look amazing, much better then the original. There are a few effects that don’t work that well and actually could have used some CG but there never going to pull you out of the movie.

Evil Dead 2 is a funny ass movie, but it still manages to pull off scares. You’ll be laughing at Ash one second, cheering him on the next and fearing for him the next. It’s really a roller coaster, but it does require you to understand what it’s trying to do. The story is generic, the acting is mediocre, and the inconsistent tone on top of that is what’s going to turn people off. However, if you go into Evil Dead expecting to not take it too seriously then the comedy will be all the funnier and the scares will be all the more unexpected.

Evil Dead 2 hits all the right marks for me. It pokes at horror tropes, exaggerates to the extreme, has beautiful cinematography and features a protagonist that I will forever root for. Ash is one of the world’s greatest badasses and the shit that he goes through in this night makes for some of the most unique viewing you will ever experience. If you’re looking for a fun Halloween movie to watch with your friends or without, then grab the popcorn and pop in Evil Dead 2! Evil Dead 2 is available on Netflix instant and Amazon Instant or your local video store (remember those?).

Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary!
It’s been a great year. The blog has changed from my random thoughts to more review orientated, but despite that I still owe it to the most wonderful woman in the world that I started this gig.
Happy Anniversary of me being infatuated with you.
I hope we have a lifetime more of infatuation and quirky blogging!
Love You! (I was gonna post something to this effect anyways but the anniversary is a happy coinkydink)

ABCs of Death (2012) Review

 

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I have a feeling this review will be short, since with the 26 part anthology ABCs of Death, inconsistency kills a good chunk of analysis without looking at each individual part. Let me make this simple then. Don’t watch this movie. This shouldn’t have been a movie. This should have been a youtube channel of 26 different videos so you could watch just the good ones and not have to sit through the 25 others.

The biggest problem with ABCs is that the time for each vignette is too short. It takes a certain skill to cram a quality story into a couple minutes and a lot of the times it’s just hit or miss. This leads to rushed exposition, nonsensical plot twists, and overall confusion. However, for every one I want to see more time given to, there is a short I don’t want to see extended because of how batshit insane or stupid they are. A lot of the shorts are so incredibly stylized and zany in their “story” that it takes a very specific taste to like it. With a lot of these, a twist is needed at the end because typical climax isn’t exactly an option. This stems back all the way to the EC horror comics. However, most of these twists are FUCKING STUPID. The lack of world building aside, some of them are just terrible ideas.

The technicals are meh most of the time. The camerawork is typically fine, but the effects are rather lacking and the CGI has that overachieving indy filmmaker look to it. Not really much to say on that front. But here’s a fun drinking game for you and your of age friends. Take a drink every time you guess the word the letter stands for at the end of the short correctly. Man, by the end of the movie you’ll be FUCKING SOBER. The title cards make no goddamn sense most of the time and there are even times that some sketches would have been better off under other letters.

A is for Asinine, B is for Bullshit and C is for Completely mediocre. Those are the 3 categories each of the 26 shorts falls under. They’re rarely effective as horror (X), uncommonly effective as comedy (N, Q), and barely ever plain interesting to watch (S, U). These few shorts are not worth the rest of the hour and a half to get through and even if you’re the biggest horror fan ever, the tone is so inconsistent that you’re guaranteed to be unentertained 50% of the time. If you want to learn how to do and not do short films, then by all means start taking notes, but other then that ABCs of Death is another waste of time in the flood of horror anthology films coming out.

Ghost Hunt (2006) Review

Amongst all the paranormal “reality” tv shows out these days, it’s refreshing to find a show honest about its fictionality. The anime Ghost Hunt certainly does cover a topic not often shown in anime, and the eastern perspective is rather refreshing for a paranormal aficionado such as myself. However, Ghost Hunt is little more then a mediocre anime, good for a casual watch, but forgettable at best.

Mai is a high school student (of course) who accidentally interferes in a paranormal investigation and the surprisingly young and narcissistic man in charge named Naru employs her as an assistant. From there they and a team of spiritualists help victims of haunting and possessions, growing closer together in the process. The show follows a case-by-case format, with cases taking between 1-5 episodes to solve. There’s no overarching plot, just small subplots carrying between the cases, and none of those are ever resolved (spoilers!). The cases themselves are predictable as hell and you’re often two steps ahead of the characters. On a few occasions there are twists and turns that are unexpected, but these aren’t nearly as plentiful as I would like. The show is generally engaging, but there are far too many times that I got easily distracted while they were just talking back and forth explaining everything.

Mai serves as our entry level character, allowing all the spiritualists to explain to her and the audience everything thats going on. Besides her ignorance, she also has an obnoxious can-do attitude that leads to her constantly complaining when things don’t go her way. Her high-school drama outlook constantly deflates any tension the episodes start to build and her crush on Naru was annoying to me, but I could see how it would be endearing to younger fans. The rest of the spiritualists are all fairly unique and engaging characters, and a few of them do develop by the end of the show. Naru is the quiet badass, who never does much except solve everything and explain it in a Holmesesque monologue. His backstory is very slowly revealed and most of it in the final episode, leaving you wanting more Naru and pissed that he could have been cool anytime before this. If you let yourself get invested in these characters, the show will pay off in a few touching moments.

The animation isn’t bad, but it certainly isn’t the show’s strong point. What does stand out about it is the way they chose to visualize the various spirits and demons. It was a treat to look at and made me appreciate the capabilities of an anime vs a live action show. The music is fine, it serves well to create the atmosphere, but there are far too few tracks and you end up hearing the same songs over and over. The intro is probably one of the worst I’ve ever seen. It’s nothing more then a mediocre song played over various “spooky” images. There’s nothing interesting there to see and it lasts for far too long.

Now as much as I’ve ragged on this show, there is a certain charm about it that I like. It’s something I haven’t really seen before. It’s a ghost hunting procedural show and surprisingly there aren’t really any shows like that, at least not ones as realistic as Ghost Hunt. Sure you have The real Ghostbusters and Supernatural or even Ghost Hunters, but none of those really show the more realistic type of spirits while investigating like a cop show. I also like how religion is portrayed in this show. Catholicism, Japanese occultism, Chinese practices, and science all work together to achieve various things and common goals. Every religion is on equal footing and that’s something I’ve always subscribed to, but never experienced in the christian heavy western world.

Ghost Hunt is an ok show, with some eye-rollingly stupid moments in it, but if you’re looking for something light to enjoy on and off as you wish, then maybe this is what you’re looking for. It’s very open, go read the manga ending will be infuriating to most, but with all the shitty endings American TV shows are getting these days you should be used to it by now. If you’re into the paranormal then you should definitely check this show out, and even if you just like watching SyFy shows, there will be something here for you to enjoy. You’re not going to want to go out and buy the blu-ray of this show, but some good times will be had. If you really like it, I recommend you check out the manga. It’s not necessarily better, but it does continue the story further and develop the characters a lot more. Ghost Hunt is available for streaming on Netflix, Funimation.com and Hulu.

Dredd (2012) Review

Dredd is the 2013 live action comic book adaptation of the long-time published “Judge Dredd” stories. “Judge Dredd” was also adapted into a Stallone-starring 90s cheesefest whose reputation is likely a big reason for this films low gross. Dredd is considered a box office bomb, but its considerable video sales leads one to take a second look at this movie. Can it really be passed off as a forgettable and shitty action flick like it’s predecessor? No, in actuality Dredd is a fairly clever and fun movie that manages to walk the line between gritty and self-mocking rather well.

In the post-apocalyptic future, humanity has been forced to create a mega city in order to survive. This city is riddled with crime, poverty and all around chaos. The only thing that stands between the citizens and complete anarchy are The Judges, the police force for this city. With their handy gadget equipped guns they both catch and punish criminals at their discretion. Enter Dredd, a long time veteran of the force who is required by his superior to field-test a rookie with unique psychic powers. On their day out, they respond to a triple homicide, which was caused by mob-boss Ma-Ma and her crew. In order to arrest Ma-Ma and stop her drug-trafficking, Dredd and the rookie fight their way to the top of the massive living block, facing a myriad of obstacles along the way. Standard action fare indeed, but what makes Dredd unique is the world it takes place in, the characters involved and satirical manner in which it point’s out its own flaws.

The world of Dredd is a surprisingly believable one. It has enough generic qualities for us to fill in the details, but it’s also unique enough that it doesn’t feel like we’ve seen it a thousand times. The Mega City has character and specifically the Block that the majority of the movie takes place in. You get a feeling for the relationships between the people, criminals and judges, even if the majority of it is delivered in extremely clumsy exposition. Hell, the monologue Dredd gives to tell us all about the city is so generic that the film decides to do it again at the end for funsies, but of course with even cheesier lines.

Speaking of funsies, this film knows that it’s not Apocalypse Now. It knows its tropes and while it doesn’t shove it’s knowledge of it in your face like You’re Next it does utilize humor to point out its more noticeable failings. The one-liners that Dredd gives are so cheesy they couldn’t have been written without intention. I’ve found lately that a lot of movies that know what they are and use a little “winkwinknudgenudge” over the course of the movie, usually end up being quite entertaining (ie. Sharknado) and maybe thats the key when it comes to doing adaptations of clearly generic material like Dredd is.

Rather unusually for a movie of this caliber, there are only three characters worth talking about in this movie. Ma-Ma, Dredd, and the psychic woman Anderson. Anderson is an odd duck, not really played for the naive, innocent rookie she could have been or the sensitive girl psychics usually are portrayed as. To the contrary, she’s quite brutal at times and even though her psychic powers clearly define her character, she still develops by the end of the movie. Ma-Ma is the generic villain, but her clumsily delivered back-story does give you a sense of meaning behind her actions and for that I applaud the actress for her mediocre, but still effective performance. Dredd is another story. He’s somewhere inbetween Batman and Punisher, but still has a unique enough of a flair to him that you can tell there’s a person behind that helmet and not a robot or Christian Bale. While he doesn’t develop per-say by the end of the movie, we do get to see a range of reactions from him that help us understand who he is. He’s a character I would love to see in another movie, even if he isn’t accompanied by Anderson.

Amongst the 3D craze taking Hollywood by storm, and to some extent driving it into the ground, it’s rather rare to find a movie actually made with 3D in mind and not just translated in post for extra cash. Dredd is one of these rarities, throwing all kinds of shit at the screen and utilizing slow motion for added effect. It’s a film in retrospect I think most would want to see in 3D, but maybe not for the price of 3D. The aforementioned effects are rather good. They’re not state of the art by any means, but they are utilized in a unique way and are ultimately effective, which is what counts. The visual style is also unique when it comes to the slow-mo drug or action sequences and this style really makes it feel comic-booky somehow, even if I’m not sure why.

If you’re looking for a fun evening with friends, then by all means check out Dredd. It’s a fun hour and a half with brutal violence and action scenes, but enough engaging story points and characters to keep you interested even when the guns aren’t firing. Dredd is an underrated gem in the rough and I think its cult following is only going to grow, even if a sequel is naught to be. Dredd is currently available on Netflix streaming and Amazon Instant, as well as Redbox and Blockbuster.

I wish

I could be as immature as you.I wish I could lash out and be an asshole. Just to release. But that would hurt you and thus me too, so I can’t ever.

This is the most immature I guess I get to be and I’m sure the backlash from this will be loads of fun.
I’m sorry.

Attack on Titan (2013) Review

Attack on Titan is the blockbuster summer anime of 2013. It’s the show everyone is talking about, and above all, raving about. In fact it almost seems like if you aren’t watching this show, you’re missing out on the coming of Christ. But is this show as amazing as everyone claims it to be? Welllllllll…

Attack on Titan drops us into a world where humanity is almost extinct and their natural predators are creatures called titans who are as tall as buildings and only exist to eat humans. Due to this danger, humanity has safely confined itself inside 3 incredibly huge walls, that is until an even larger titan shows up and smashes a hole in one of them. Here’s where we meet Erin Jaeger who barely escapes the destruction of his hometown with his two friends Armin and Mikasa. After witnessing his mother become titan lunch, Erin vows an oath to kill all the titans and thus he and his friends join the military. From there we encounter many an epic battle with the titans, but for the sake of spoilers I won’t go into details.

Attack on Titan utilizes a few incredibly long and extremely well paced story lines over the course of its 25 episodes. The almost nonstop action makes it extremely hard to not marathon this show. Well that and the infuriating cliffhangers that always manage to completely fuck over everything you thought you knew. It’s safe to assume that the strong pacing is thanks to Attack’s director Tetsuro Araki, whose other works include Death Note and High School of the Dead. If you’ve seen those shows, you’ll see his fingerprints all over this. Now that doesn’t mean that Attack is nonstop action. There are many points where the plot comes to a dead stop and we get some character interactions or back story, which actually service the show nicely.

Speaking of characters lets take a look at them shall we. Erin is the protagonist, yes, but it takes a really long time for him to develop beyond “Kill Titans!” and that journey is a rather inconsistent one at that. In order to progress his character we’re usually subjected to a confusing monologue about humanity or what-have you, but for the most part he just gets you pumped up with his screaming about willpower that makes you wonder if he’s going to put on a Green Lantern ring halfway through the battle. It’s not that he’s a bad character, just that he’s not as developed as some of the others tend to be, for example Armin. Armin is probably the most well rounded character in the show, starting out a Shinji-esque coward and growing into a loyal and brilliant tactical mind. Mikasa is portrayed as being flawless, and thus is the stone cold one of the crew as per anime clichés. Her lack of flaws is probably her greatest flaw, and although she had the opportunity to grow into a great character, the story unfortunately got in the way. The greatest and worst part of Attack is that any character can die, and thus talking about the supporting cast is almost impossible beyond generalizations. We meet a lot of people while the trio is in training and even more after they officially join, and it becomes hard to keep track of al of them. Unimportant characters become important, important ones fall to the wayside and amongst all the dying, it’s hard to keep track of who we’re supposed to care about. The rest of the people who exist in the world tend to only serve as an obstacle to our heroes, thanks to their stupidity, which comes off as just being human, so I can’t call it bad writing.

The animation is done by Studio Wit, a small offshoot of Production IG and for a fairly new studio, even with IG’s help, this animation is fucking gorgeous. The art style is rather unique, going for thick black outlines around all the characters to help distinguish them from each other and the background. The characters themselves have an inconsistency to their design, with varying degrees of how western they look. Some characters have more realistic faces, while others have the typical large anime eyes. This inconsistency is also reflected in the titan designs, as they vary from creepy joker to kawaii. If anything this is what will be off-putting to people watching the show. The art style of the characters complements the medieval setting and really makes it seem European or Germanic in its influence, particularly when the choirs boom in. One of the most unique concepts the show has is the 3D maneuver gear, which the soldiers use to get around and battle in. These enable them to fly through the air like Spider-man and whenever they use them in battle, the animation quality soars to an orgasmic degree as the camera zooms and rotates with them, all the while maintaining a fluidity and consistency that is truly movie quality. All these great shots come with a price though, as during the more quiet parts the animation becomes non-existent, with characters talking over pictures or just two pictures moving like a motion comic. And while this can be distracting, it is totally and utterly worth it.

The music is amazing with all the tracks able to emotionally manipulate you in just the right way. Even without the scenes to complement them, the songs are all high quality, with a spectrum ranging from rock and roll to orchestral choir being represented. The music may be a little distracting because of how powerful it tends to be, but fuck it who cares? The intros are both amazing, probably the best I’ve ever seen. The first intro is one most effective ever at being able to pump you up for the upcoming episode. It also, once again, features many Tetsuro trademarks, which is fine by me since he creates fantastic openings. The second intro is not as appropriate, but is more musically diverse and the accompanying animation makes it downright cinematic. The outros are less impressive, but they really don’t matter since you’ll be skipping to the next episode anyways.

What Attack on Titan does better then probably any anime I’ve seen to this point is creating a world for you to invest in and for it to construct and deconstruct at will. It’s a fairly basic military-fights-evil-plot at its core (i.e. Starship Troopers, FMA), but it also contains some of the most unique ideas I’ve encountered in a while. It’s got one of the best beginnings an anime has had, with a momentum that doesn’t stop until halfway through the show. Every world-shattering cliffhanger works because they’ve made the world seem comfortable despite the danger. It’s only until the second half where the momentum wears off that you can really see both the flaws and intricacies of not only the world, but the show itself. Attack on Titan is an action-filled blockbuster of anime, yes, but also has a strong story, beautiful animation, and decent characters to back it up. Is it perfect, by no means, but it’s one of the most enjoyable anime to watch and a thrill-ride that should not be missed. The ending is unfortunately non-existent, with the series before us feeling like a part 1 and 2 of a much greater story. Thanks to the popularity of this show, it’s hard to imagine it not getting a second series. A second series would hopefully alleviate many of the problems I have with the show, but we’ll have to see. If you don’t want to read the manga, I would recommend you hold off on watching Attack on Titan until closer to that imaginary second series’ air date, unless you want to join in with the legions of Otaku worshipping this show. Nonetheless, if you do choose to watch it now or whenever you’re reading this be prepared for a long marathon ahead of you, but please don’t let the hype raise your expectations too far. Attack on Titan is currently available from both Crunchyroll and Funimation.com as well as having been licensed by Funimation for an upcoming DVD/Blue-Ray release.