[Traverse's Scrapbook] Movie Reviews and Mayhem

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[Traverse's Scrapbook] Movie Reviews and Mayhem

Postby Traverse on January 29th, 2014, 2:22 am

RowenI do want to see August, and I have never heard of In a World, but now that I looked up the plot that sounds like a super intriguing premise, thanks for the tip!

A look at
Summer Wars

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Preface: So there is is this strange aura surrounding the word 'Anime' that I have always wondered about. Having gone to Anime Boston a couple of times, and having lived and grown up in rural Maine, I've met both ends of the spectrum when it comes to opinions on Anime. In writing this review I simply cannot remember when I was first introduced to it or with what film (truth be told it was probably Pokemon and Digimon), but the genre of film and television is definitely one I have come to enjoy. Now that is not to say I enjoy all Anime, and I can understand why people avoid the genre, or at least parts of it. Shows can be outright obnoxious, sexist, and have some utterly ridiculous plots. What I cannot fathom is when people seem to see the word Anime in a negative light, and clump it all together in one giant heading, acting as if that is a level of nerdiness they cannot stoop to, almost like the classic trope individuals hold of pimply teenage boys in their parent's basement playing D&D.

My room mate is one of these individuals, and most recently had been scoffing at my boyfriend and I watching Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood. So I decided a bit of a test was in order, and we got her to sit down and watch a Hayao Miyazaki movie, specifically Howl's Moving Castle. She told us when we began the movie that if it wasn't interesting she was going to leave in 5 minutes. If you're a Miyazaki fan you're probably not surprised to find she sat through the whole movie, quite content.

Now she won't be becoming a hardcore Anime fanatic anytime soon, but my point was made. I see Miyazaki movies as a wonderful entry point for people with that style of animation and storytelling. Most of them are Disney films one of the reasons why you get the all star voice acting casts, and there is always a sense of discovery and awe around the stories and characters that you can identify with regardless of age.

And what was the point of this rant again...Oh! Well this all culminates in the fact that I had never heard of Summer Wars before Elsa brought it up, but the beautiful art style and unique story line struck me in a similar manner to the pure enjoyment one can receive from a Miyazaki film.

Plot: I should really just copy and paste the back here, because the outset of the plot is a bit much, though the film translates it pretty easily once you watch it. Basically the main character works as maintenance person for this massive online world called Oz that literally houses all of one's functions, sort of like Facebook on steroids. It is for communication, monitoring most any technological device and most city functions such as water, electricity, etc. One's avatar on Oz has the same capabilities that their job merits in real life. The main character gets grabbed by his female coworker to pose as her fiance for a family reunion surrounding the celebration of her Grandmother's 90th Birthday, but crap hits the fan when a rogue AI in Oz starts tampering with the supposedly super secure sever in this alternate world.

Review: I highly enjoyed this movie for several reasons. Firstly the art is beautiful, secondly I always enjoy commentaries on today's evolving technology in relation to the near future. There is also the fact that the main character is sort of wuss the whole movie, and this evolves but doesn't drastically change, which I really appreciated. There is a whole bunch of wonderful supporting characters that all aid in carrying the plot forward, whether that is aiding in the virtual world or fighting like all families do in the real one. The movie is fairly long and story never feels rushed, and despite certain high energy moments, is pretty relaxed as a whole as well with these odd sports metaphors accompanying the film to break up certain tension points as the story progresses. As an avid movie goer there are films that leave you feeling complete when you finish them, and those that do not, this was one of those and more, and I am very glad I went with my instinct and outright bought the film because I am looking forward as much to watching it again as showing it to others.
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[Traverse's Scrapbook] Movie Reviews and Mayhem

Postby Traverse on January 31st, 2014, 2:47 am

So on the flipside of 'Summer Wars' we have...

A look at
I, Frankenstein

Image


Disclaimer: Now I have the tendency to not mind movies that are for a lack of a better word crappy. The kind of flicks that don't have the best money wise, aren't setting out to be block busters and don't have phenomenal stats in any categories. 'I, Frankenstein' was made by the folks that made the Underworld movies, which of the four they've made I enjoyed the first 2, the original being the best out of all of them.

So going into this movie I knew the acting wasn't going to be super awesome, the story line was probably going to be borderline atrocious, and overall the film probably wasn't going to knock me out of the park, but I figured the action sequences would be enough for me to enjoy the film overall.

Review:

HOLY PETCHING SHYKE WAS THIS MOVIE HORRIBLE.

Now to elaborate:

I don't know if you saw any of the trailers for this flick, but those gargoyles flying aorund? They're the good guys. Did not get that at all from the trailer, but whatever. So there is war between gargoyles and demons...apparently they didn't want to go with the cliche of angels v. demons so they picked the much more elegant and so underutilized order of angel-named gargoyle warriors instead.

That is about as much of the plot as I care to divulge because it isn't worth explaining. Frankenstein, Aka Aaron Eckhart is this taciturn dude drawn unwillingly into the war. He's had 2 centuries to train and apparently even though he's made it his life's work to hunt the demons that are trying to hunt him all he does is get thrown into buildings, through walls, onto cars, etc ad infinitum.

The fight scenes to which I looked forward to were simply badly choreographed entirely CGI fights which end in explosions of light (blue sparkles going up into the sky for the oh so good gargoyles, explosions of red smoke traveling into hell for the demons). The coolest moment in these fight scenes is not when Frankey slays the second in command gargoyle, nor Bill Nighy (Pirates of the Caribbean, Love Actually) who plays a demon prince and the head bad guy, but when he punches a flying gargoyle into a car.

There's a sort of half romance with a pretty female scientist that works under Bill Nighy, and all I could think of the entire movie was how much she looked like a blonde version of Miranda Lawson from Mass Effect. Turns out she is the voice actress for her, Yvonne Strahovski, I did not realize how closely they made her model look to the real life thing (wee bit of tangent there aye?).

All in all the movie was just one big 'ehhhhhhhh' reaction from me, I mean I enjoyed Hansel and Gretel more than this and it was in the same classification of cheesy action/horror.

And that is about as much time as I want to spend on this review. Most of you are probably clever enough not to spend any money on this film in theaters or otherwise, I unfortunately learned the hard way :D
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[Traverse's Scrapbook] Movie Reviews and Mayhem

Postby Gossamer on January 31st, 2014, 4:14 am

Lol. Best... review... yet.
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[Traverse's Scrapbook] Movie Reviews and Mayhem

Postby Memento on January 31st, 2014, 3:16 pm

Good thing I read this review. I was going to the watch this movie when it came out here.

Not going to anymore, though.
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[Traverse's Scrapbook] Movie Reviews and Mayhem

Postby Strange on February 5th, 2014, 12:52 pm

Image
Okay, I've been reading your reviews for a little while now and when I saw you're positive review of Frozen I decided to watch it and oh my... What an excellent movie! It's simply beautiful art style and music. I loved it. I've always had a bit of a thing for Disney movies but my relationship with Pixar has been tenuous at times but I am sooo glad I decided to watch this movie. So just wanted to thank you for turning me on to the movie, Traverse. It was a wonderful hour and a half of my life :D
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[Traverse's Scrapbook] Movie Reviews and Mayhem

Postby Traverse on February 5th, 2014, 1:32 pm

StrangeThat is wonderful to hear, I am glad these ramblings aren't...just that haha

A look at
The Croods

Image


Overview: So this was a film that I sort of wanted to see in theatres, but let it slip by. The other night my roomie and I turned on Netflix and it was the first thing to pop up so we figured, 'hey, why not?'

Plot: This is the story of what I can only assume are the last cavemen, though this is never stated. Eep (Emma Stone) is a typical rebellious teenage daughter who doesn't want to follow the very carefully placed set of rules that her father, Grugg (Nicholas Cage) has made in order to ensure his family's survial. Unfortunately the safety of the Croods is changed irrevocably as an advanced case of continental divide destroys their home and forces them to take a trip to a mountain that symbolizes safety, guided most every step of the way by Guy (Ryan Reynolds) who is sort of the example of how humanity evolved into a more thought processed being.

Review: This movie is just plain fun. The animation is wonderful, the humor fantastic, and has a wonderful cast that do a great job bringing this host of characters to life. The jokes both mock modern society and take advantage of the ancient time period it is set in, which I could appreciate, and the wide array of creatures they make up for the sake of the environment range from silly and ridiculous to jut plain adorable. There is a nice little romantic factor to the movie, but the focus is a father-daughter theme which they unfold nicely.

I was expecting to be mildly amused by this movie, but my room mate and I enjoyed it so much we watched it a second time with my boyfriend. If you have the chance I'd highly reccommend it.
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[Traverse's Scrapbook] Movie Reviews and Mayhem

Postby Traverse on March 2nd, 2014, 2:28 am

A Dragon Break


I have some movie reviews to put up, I went and saw 'Winter's Tale' and 'ROBOCOP' recently and I should really throw up my thoughts on them, I enjoyed both to varying degrees, but I just aint feeling it presently. I just finished watching 'How to Train Your Dragon' for the second time, however, and just wanted to throw up this instead:

Image


This movie has morphed into a television show, and a second film will be coming out fairly soon as well. You can find cards, toys, and stuffed animals, mostly focusing around Toothless, who is probably the cutest bad ass dragon you've ever seen. I mean this guy can probably move at the speed of a jet plane, shoots crazy fire balls in the form of laser pulses, and has the mannerisms of a cat, coupled with those big eyes there's not much you can't love about him.

'How to Train Your Dragon' uses pretty obvious tropes to get its audience to fall in love with that adorable black blur, but I don't think anyone really minds, and I am actually pretty jazzed for the second movie.

What was even my purpose in posting this? I have no idea now, I think it started out having a point, but in the end I just like dragons, and that one is. so. cute.

Yup.
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[Traverse's Scrapbook] Movie Reviews and Mayhem

Postby Strange on March 3rd, 2014, 11:41 pm

I didn't expect How To Train Your Dragon to be very good when I saw it was on Sky Movies one day but I was feeling sick and there was nothing else on good so I gave it a shot. I have to say it was much, much better than I expected. As I was watching it I found myself happy at the happy bits, sad at the sad and splitting with laughter at the funny bits. It's not my top animated film but it's good enough to get me to go see the next one in the cinema. My point? Yes, I agree with what Traverse and everyone should go give the first one a try if they haven't already. Might surprise you.
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Postby Traverse on March 14th, 2014, 1:49 pm

Alright so this one's going to be a two for on on reviews even though the only thing either of these movies have in common is Sean Penn being in them:

A look at:
This Must Be the Place

Image


I'm going to skip an overview becuase if you haven't heard of this movie (I know I certainly hadn't) just its description should be able to give you an idea of the kind of movie we're looking at.

Plot: The main character, Cheyenne (Sean Penn) is a faded music star who still wears his make up and hair that way. He finds out early on that his father, who he hasn't talked to in years is dying so he flys over to see him, only to arrive too late. There he discovers that his father (A concentration camp survivor in WW2) has been hunting down his Nazi persecutor his entire life, and thus, Cheyenne goes a Nazi hunting.

Review: This movie is...different. I actually enjoyed it, but not in your traditional movie sense. Sean Penn looks like a 75 year old woman, and talks like one too. In the beginning of the film you realize he walks everywhere with this little cart, so he really looks like this weird bag lady traversing the city. It's basically a coming of age story, because you realize that Sean Penn is really just a child that never had to grow up because he's never had to work or do much of anything. The pacing, writing, and plot are all off kilter, but it fits with the very off kilter protagonist. If you just want to see something that shoos away normal cinema plots and ideals I would give it a go.

A look at
Gangster Squad

Image


Overview: Now on the flip side we have a very stereotypical movie, though I get the idea that all of these typical roles and stories was very purposeful. Gangster Squad is a violent, classic action movie set in 1949.

Plot: (I'm mostly going be referring to characters by the actors name, just for reference lol) The plot is very cut and dry, we have Mickey Cohen (Penn), the ultra violent, easily angered mob boss who has slowly been tightening his grip on the City of Los Angeles any way he can. Nick Nolte is a straight edged Police Chief that gets Josh Brolin, the justice imbued cop, to make an elite team of also straight edged cops to make a secret (Gangster Squad) to take out Penn, law be damned. You also have Ryan Gosling, a cop unwillingly drawn into Brolin's team who happens to have a thing with Emma Stone, the pretty girl that happens to one of Penn's objects of affection. I think that about sums it up...

Review: I'm not sure what it was about the movie, perhaps the overdone formula, or perhaps that I've been so desensitized to violence that 1950's gang shoot outs weren't doing it for me, but I was rather bored by this film. I enjoyed sections of it, the moment that draws Gosling into the conflict, the outfits and cars, some of the action, but there was little mystery or surprise. There was this side plot of Brolin's pregnant wife begging him to stay out of the fighting, which turned out to be a moot point because he never did, and there was the team, which was interesting, but whom you didn't feel a lot of camraderie towards because the movie went a bit too fast for you to get really attached to any of them. If you are into mob movies I would reccommend it, otherwise it was overall a lackluster flick.
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[Traverse's Scrapbook] Movie Reviews and Mayhem

Postby Traverse on March 27th, 2014, 12:59 am

A bit about Anime Boston as well as a look at:
Wolf Children

Image


So I realize I don't talk a lot about myself in this scrap, which is really (and maybe debatably) what they're really about. But I'd figure before the movie review I'd give a little bit about my weekend at Anime Boston.

Despite the name and the intrinsic focus on Anime, this convention is really just a nerd fest. I am a middle of the road Anime fan, liking some, avoiding others, and honestly a lot of the cosplay that went right over my head. There was a clear focus on Attack on Titan this time around, but you see folks dressed up from every video game, Deadpools, Adventure Time, etc. I learned this time that there is a Sexy Professor Layton (basically tanned, and toned as he was walking around with the signature hat shirtless) that apparently goes pretty often and he...was not hard on the eyes let me tell you.

Anyway the group of friends we go with I was actually ushered into because they are my BF's highschool buddies, which I can now proudly claim as my own friends and not solely his. We had a blast, attending panels, shopping through a veritable cornucopia of nerdy gear. My treasures were some indie comics signed by the writers and artists, (I haven't read one series yet, but one called Spinerette is very wonderful) and a stuffed Mabari war hound from Dragon Age.

So yeah, though it was a weekend that left me exhausted it was super fun, and got me all hyped to come back to Miz.

Aaaaaaaand greatly timed segway I saw Wolf Children there, which is by the same folks that made Summer Wars so I figured I'd give you the scoop on that.

Plot: The plot is that this chick meets a wolf in human form and falls in love with him, he with her. They start a life together, have a couple kids, and then he perishes leaving her to raise two wolf children alone and figure out exactly how that all works.

Review: This was a strange movie at times, but ultimately a very fun family film. It is serious at times, but always inserts a good deal of humor here and there so as not to make the viewer fret too much. Despite the plot being relatively fantastical, there is something very real about the mother's plight as she raises these two semi-wild wolf children. She refuses to go to a hospital to give birth to them and there are wonderful comical moments like when one of her children gets sick and she doesn't know whether to seek help from a doctor or a vet. You also get a rich story of botht he mother's story and development, but also of the two children who both find different ways to solve the problem of what they are in regards to human society. The art is beautiful and altogether you get a sweet sort of melancholy tale of this coming of age family story with a twist. I would definitely recommend it.
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