Review : Ghost in the Shell

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“In the near future, Major is the first of her kind: A human saved from a terrible crash, who is cyber-enhanced to be a perfect soldier devoted to stopping the world’s most dangerous criminals.”

Amidst all the scandal and issues surrounding this movie, and after all the editorials I myself have written about it, I’m really going to try and just review this movie as a movie. And mehh. Lets start with the positives, this movie is gorgeous to look at. This movie if it does nothing else, does truly capture the visual essence of the manga and more so anime that it is based on. The city, to the costuming, to the lighting is all ripped straight out of the anime of the past. However, visually is really as close as this movie gets to the Ghost in the Shell property that it is based on, and thats a real bummer if thats what you were hoping for (like me). If you’re not really a fan or familiar with the source material, you might find things a bit more interesting, but this movie just has a kind of shallowness to it and that lack of depth isn’t something that this property on a whole is known for. The action is solid, and they do recreate many of the signature shots or sequences from the anime that you may also know, and its really nice to see these moments, but they stand out to me as few and far between because of how shallow the rest of the narrative here is. If this movie didn’t have the Ghost in the Shell badge on it, it would probably float up a bit higher, but even without it, this still wouldn’t be a great movie. All in all Ghost in the Shell in this newest iteration is a slow and shallow replica of a much deeper and beloved property and while it can compare visually, it can’t in any other way.

Review Score : 5 out of 10

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Review : (Saban’s) Power Rangers

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“A group of high-school kids, who are infused with unique superpowers, harness their abilities in order to save the world.”

I’m gonna be real with you guys, I almost cried three times in this movie, and got goose bumps twice…seriously. Its 2017 and our beloved Power Rangers have finally returned. Now this isn’t some 10 out of 10 masterpiece of cinema, but I think I got just about everything I could have wanted from this movie, delivered in a pretty well done package. The movie is directed by Project Almanacs’ Dean Israelite, and if he has shown us anything between these two movies, is he has a definite love for that Breakfast Club feel, mixed with all the teen drama of a 90s to early 2000s teen movie. This is mostly a good thing, as things like certain characters sexuality and other similar tricky subjects are handled surprisingly well for a movie like this. The nostalgia in this movie is also really, which explains me roller coaster of emotions while watching it. Any fan of the Power Rangers franchise I think is bound to enjoy this movie. None fans I think are gonna feel hit or miss as some of the more cheesy and champs bits than fans of the series have come to know and love, maybe not play as well with others. Power Rangers isn’t going to break any records, and it shouldn’t, but what it is, is in my opinion at least, the best on screen adaptation we’ve ever gotten of the material. The 5 “leads” here also have to get their praise as they are all more or less unknowns who really step up and flesh out these characters, making them feel real and grounded. All in all, this movie gave me everything I wanted to see from a big screen version of a childhood classic, sure some people might not be huge fans of the suits or to some of the changes made to the storyline but come on guys we got a big screen version of the Power Rangers and IT DOESN’T SUCK.

Review Score : 7 out of 10

Review : Beauty and the Beast

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“An adaptation of the Disney fairy tale about a monstrous-looking prince and a young woman who fall in love.”

Its no secret that the original 1991 Beauty and the Beast movie is a great movie. It was even the first animated movie to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, so no one is disputing its quality. That means that the 2017 live action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast has a head start on being a good movie, but it also has some really big shoes to fill. This new version of the movie is a hard one to review. For one thing, this movie has some new magic to it, and some that it loses. It has the benefit of modern technology that even allows a live action version of this movie to exist. That technology allows for this movie to be extremely lavish and detailed in its setting and environments with an attention to detail that traditional animation could have never achieved. That same modernity however robs the ability of it to truly have some of the moments of awe because we’ve simply seen them before. As much as the rolling hills of France looked amazing, I can’t help but know I’ve seen this scene before. This effect does come and go however, because some of the moments as much as I know them, are still a wonder to behold can actually be something new and different because of the actual acting that we can have here. This version of the movie also allows for them to pause on some of the more tender moments of the story, which does help add to the splendor and magic of this classic tale. All in all, Beauty and the Beast the modern retelling, is a real and true fantasy in most every way possible, and it does definitely bring to life this age old animation even it’s just short of being able to replace it and usurp it.

Review Score : 8.5 out of 10

Iron Fist and the Netflix Defenders Universe

So with the recent release of Iron Fist, we have now officially had all the proposed entries that lead up to the much anticipated Defenders cross over series. I though it then only right that now was perfect time to put my two cents into the ring. In an overall sense I must say I’m more pleased than anything about the 4 series we have received, but I think there are clear highs, clear lows, and some restructuring that should be done to make most all of these shows better in their future iterations. I’ll start with Iron Fist as its freshest in our memories. If i had to review the series the way i review movies i probably score it somewhere around 6 or 7 (because I try very much to rate things not just on there worth but on their potential) and I think that would be a fair score. I have a few beefs with the season and I’ll go over them all. First off with the exception of Daredevil, I think all three other series have shown that without the same depth of narrative that are available to Daredevil, they don’t have the content to support 13 hour long episodes and they would all have been better in a series order of 8-10 episodes. I applaud the effort in what Iron Fist tried to do with its combat, but I think it suffered from not having the time to truly get some of these actors to level they needed to be to be 100% effective and compelling in their fighting style and ability (we can even see the difference in Danny’s body over the course of the series, showing he didn’t start where at the level he should have). In another show that might be less of a problem, but when the show is Iron Fist, the fighting is really important. I think Iron Fist also suffered from the lack of a truly major villain over the course of its story as it constantly swaps them in and out and that causes a constant loss of momentum. My biggest beef though, is the lack of a scene like this:

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and to make matters worse, we were constantly teased a full Danny lose control rage out scene, that just never happened. Its not all gloom and doom however, I do think Iron Fist has one of the most organic romances to date in these series. I truly felt that there was a connection between Danny and Colleen, even when he was preoccupied with revenge. The series also had the task of introducing a lot of the mystic elements into this world, and it more or less does its job.

Like I mentioned earlier, I do think Luke Cage and Jessica Jones would have benefitted from a shorter run of episodes. Luke Cage I think was the most egregious of these two as I think the series took a drastic turn for the worst after the removal of one of the main characters, and replacing him with what was more caricature than character. Jessica Jones I think is the second best of the series thus far, because even though I think it could have been shorter, I don’t think it ever strayed too far from what it was or tried to be. Also, its decision to take on the issues it did I think was a welcome change to what we might have expected from a series like that. And then there’s Daredevil, the gift that keeps on giving. After giving us season one, it came back with an arguably as strong second season, but with the addition of great characters in The Punisher and Elektra, one of which was so strong he got his own series to come.

Now that the all the pieces have been set, I’m very interested in what the Defenders will bring. Say what you want, we have a pretty interesting and eclectic group of heroes here, all anchored by fan favorite Rosario Dawson and her night nurse character. It will only have an 8 episode run which I think should keep a lot of the problems of these other series from being too much of a problem, so I have nothing but high hopes for it. Have you all seen Iron Fist as yet? Are you excited for the Defenders cross over, or could you take it or leave it?

Cheers

 

Review : Kong – Skull IslandĀ 

“A team of scientists explore an uncharted island in the Pacific, venturing into the domain of the mighty Kong, and must fight to escape a primal Eden.”

Kong Skull Island is a stand alone King Kong story, that’s meant to serve as a building block for a new set of monster and monster mash up films to come in later years. As such it does do well to add to some of the myth and lure created by the 2014 Godzilla. This being a stand alone movie however does mean it needs to be able to be a good movie without any help and it does do so. This addition to the monster universe is much more of an in your face, action adventure that I think seeks to bring back some much missed fun to the genre. Kong himself is presented extremely well here and comes across as a great character on his own. The movie also does a great job at building up skull island to a place of real beauty and peril. The cast is fairly large, and that does lead to some pacing and character development issues, but nothing that get so in the way that you can’t enjoy what in display here. If you’re a fan of either these characters or this genre, Kong skull island should be a fun if not too serious ride. PS there is an after credit scene so you can stay till the very end if you’re interested.

Review Score : 7 out of 10

Review : Get Out

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“A young African-American man visits his Caucasian girlfriend’s mysterious family estate.”

My word… what a movie. So first off, Get Out does present itself as simply as that tag line suggest, but thats merely the surface, and these waters run really deep. I can only say so much about the plot itself in this review, because I really don’t want to give anything away, that being said lets really get into it. This movie I see categorized mostly as a Horror, and it is, but I think it really works as a Horror, a Thriller and a Mystery. This movie is also extremely subtle in its build up, in both its acting and its directing. It perfectly builds tension to such a high strung level that when it does inevitably snap, it really does sting. The movie also does an amazing job of using real life issues that people have, and turning them into something even more sinister. A perfect example of this is the way the film uses “micro aggressions” that are already a bad thing, but adds another layer of of intrigue and deviousness to it, that you really only see in retrospect. Get Out also does a really great job at exploring the truly layered concepts and issues that are race relations in our current time. There is a real attention to detail in this movie also, that gives this movie a lot of replay value, and a lot “oh shit that’s what that means” kind of moments. Get Out is honestly like nothing you’ve likely seen before. All in all, Get Out isn’t just an amazing directorial debut from Jordan Peele, its an all together amazing movie on all levels and deserves all the attention and money.

Review Score : 9.5 out of 10

March Movie Madness

Many months of many years give us more than one great or greatly anticipated movie. Most of the time they’re one of the summer months of June, July or August. However, as time has gone on, and the summer movie block has gotten more and more competitive, movie studios have had to look all over the calendar for suitable dates that get their movie both space from other tent pole films, but also at a time of year that people are going to the cinema. Thus the start of the summer block has constantly been pushed more and more towards the start of the year than the middle. Studios started opening 100+ million dollar movies in May, and have been seeing good returns. But now, even that patch of time is getting too full and competitive. The Answer? EVEN EARLIER MY FRIEND. After The Avengers opened in May and destroyed the box office, Furious 7 opened in April and went on to break records itself. Then when Batman V Superman broke the bank opening in March, the flood gates for March releases opened wide. All of this culminating in the super stacked March that is March 2017. With a combination of highly anticipated sequels, remakes, new takes and first time live action movies, March 2017 seems to have something for everyone, and could go down as one of the greatest months in cinema.

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Logan

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Kong : Skull Island

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Beauty and the Beast

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T2 Trainspotting 2

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Power Rangers

GHOST IN THE SHELL

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So what do you think about the March 2017 line up? What do you want to see the most, and how well do you think this month is gonna do.