Tag Archives: horror

Spring 2016 Anime Impressions

Since I’m around a year behind in my movie reviews, I’ll post a quick summary of my thoughts on what I’ve seen of this season’s anime and try to keep up to date there!

  • Kuromukuro (2 eps) – a sci-fi mecha show that seems just slightly more realistic in its depictions of characters lives than normal. Just slightly though, and now that I’ve said that, there will probably be a talking alien penguin in the next ep.
  • Macross Delta (1 ep) – I can’t resist Macross! Mecha plus singing and dancing, this time featuring an idol group (whose music quells some kind of berserker syndrome) and the pilots who protect them.
  • Gyakuten Saiban (4 eps) – I’ve played the first game and watched the live action movie, so this series is probably just a retread. The animation isn’t very good, and the translation I’m watching idiotically uses the localized names. However, this series has been fun so far.
  • Hundred (1 ep) – This looks like some kind of standard action-sci-fi harem show, with a very girly boy best friend.
  • Koutetsujou no Kabaneri (2 eps)  – Set in a steampunk zombie apocalypse, the production values are high and there’s some interesting ideas here – though the main character is a bit annoying and the walled cities are reminiscent of Shingeki no Kyojin. The heroine (?) seems cool though.
  • Kiznaiver (3 eps) – I’m watching this one because it’s by Trigger, and after 3 episodes I still don’t know what’s going on.
  • Netoge no Yome wa Onnanoko Janai to Omotta (3 eps) – This MMO-related comedy is probably my guilty pleasure of the season, with the MMO-addicted heroine ranting about how リア充 (normal, non-otaku people with girl/boyfriends) should all just die. There’s enough cringe-humour to keep me coming back so far.
  • Re Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu (3 eps) – The production quality on this light novel adaptation is high (I particularly like how the lighting changes over time, and how Nouto Mamiko’s character moves), and the setup is strange but intriguing; though the Japanese preference for low fantasy here makes you wonder about the significance of the beginning. The light-novel talkiness of the characters does get a bit annoying, especially when they talk themselves into trouble, but that’s what you get from the genre I suppose.
  • Sailor Moon Crystal third season (3 eps) – The animation has improved massively from the last two seasons, and transformations are no longer CGI. Maybe the studio realised the demand for Sailor Moon and decided to pony up cash? The storyline is a little bit more complex this time too.
  • Terraformars Revenge (4 eps) – This was my brainless action series in the last season, but it seems the plot stepped up a little now, so it’s taking more of my attention.

 

 

My favourites so far are Koutetsujou no Kabaneri, Re Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu, and (almost certainly) Macross Delta.

Ninja Kingsman Occulus and Dumber Eyes

While I really enjoyed Kick-Ass and Kick-Ass 2, Kingsman was a miss (though a close miss) for me. The trailers looked like a low-rent James Bond, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was a satirical subversion of the secret agent genre, featuring a working class yob making good. There were many great elements in the movie, but the “hacking solves all the plot problems” and the shallowness in most of the characters were too much for me. I couldn’t get my head around Samuel L Jackson’s Valentine – he seemed too much like a cartoon character, and not a scary one – though it was interesting to hear how the stutter was Jackson’s own idea, from when he actually had one. Gazelle was very cool though.

I used to be a huge Ninja Turtles fan as a kid, but the Michael Bay movie didn’t do it for me.

Occulus was a horror flick with an interesting premise – it starred Karen Gillan, but too much is allowed by the power to cause delusions.

The original Dumb and Dumber was a long time ago, and I didn’t expect to be as entertained by the extremely late sequel to the gross-out comedy as I was. Don’t get me wrong, it’s extremely dumb and your brain cells will receive a punishing, but I laughed.

Big Eyes is an unusual Tim Burton movie, obviously born from his love of the artist. Waltz’s performance carries the movie, and while some elements were a bit on-the-nose, the movie’s gentle mockery of the art world was pretty funny. It was interesting how Margaret agreed but later changed her mind. The self-cross-examination was the highlight of the movie.

Expendable Unfriended Hero of Life

More from the backlog…

Expendables 3 suffered from the tedium and extinct 80s macho-action aesthetic of the previous installments. Cramming a flick with action stars doesn’t mean a lot when there’s no drama, tension, or art to the action.

Unfriended was interesting as a movie-making exercise, but took the easy way out where nothing needed to be explained, and frankly that episode of Modern Family did it better in terms of variety and creativity.

Big Hero 6 was pretty good, with drama, an interesting villain, visual inventiveness, and a unique setting that mashed up San Francisco with Tokyo – not sure if it was for the aesthetic or to combine cities known for technology and robotics. Some of the side characters were a bit thin, but there’s only so much you can fit into a movie.

Book of Life was a solid movie, definitely very interesting due to its cultural influences, though I’m divided on the aesthetic and I generally dislike movies about the afterlife.

TV Roundup Fall 2015

My favourite shows this season:

Scream Queens – I love this self-aware over-the-top caricature of the teen slasher genre. It’s satirical and parodies familiar tropes and motifs but obviously loves them too, keeping you guessing as to what’s going on, and alluding to classics of the genre. Jamie Lee Curtis is very clearly enjoying and relishing her role as the calculating, ambitious, sexually voracious Dean, and Emma Thompson captures the dichotomy of a needy girl badly treated by her moronic Preppie boyfriend, and a monstrous, Machiavellian bully with an unending stream of hilarious put-downs. There are fantastic side characters too, Denise the wacky security guard is amazing, and I love Abigail Breslin’s put-upon weak-link of the clique “Chanel Number Five”.

Supergirl – It’s probably aimed at a tween audience and has some cringey chunks of pop-feminism, but Melissa Benoist carries the show with her charm, playing an awkward character finding her way in life, professionally, personally, and in the shadow of her more famous cousin.

iZombie Season 2 – I really loved the first season, which adapted a supernatural comic book into a police procedural (which seems a completely random thing to do, other than the fact that police procedurals keep audiences), with some charming characters, a weird side of gore, some unexpectedly dark turns, and a great underlying storyline. Rose Ivers mugs a little bit for the personalities her character Live Moore (and that’s not the most on-the-nose name) takes on, but the fun she has with the role is infectious.

Gotham Season 2 – I don’t usually watch crime shows, but this mixes with police procedural and pulls in lots of colorful comic-book-like characters. The storyline is interesting – especially this season with an overarching villain, and Gordon’s character is easy to cheer for (even when he bends the rules or goes too far). The Penguin gets less screen time, though he’s still a great character.

Horrible Unfriended Maze Penguins Untold

Dracula Untold was a weird fictionalisation of Vlad the Impaler that seemed to incorporate vampires at the last minute, and then lead nowhere. Charles Dance plays a Mephistopheles-type character who ends up implying that whatever comes after the movie will be much more interesting – a strange story choice.

Horrible Bosses 2 focused on the characters from the first movie rather than emphasising the theme that people relate to much better – horrible bosses – and suffered for it.

The Maze Runner is another one of the YA adaptations that’s no doubt a movie because of the success of The Hunger Games. The setup is interesting, but so little was divulged before the movie ends and promotes the sequel that I struggle to understand the point of it.

Penguins of Madagascar is a forgettable animated flick aimed at fans of the characters, which I am not. It transposes them into a parodic spy thriller with middling results.

Unfriended is more interesting as a film-making experiment (everything shown is from a computer screen) than as a horror movie – (spoiler) I was waiting for something other than a supernatural monster-can-do-everything explanation, but that was not to be. Arguably the Modern Family episode did this conceit better.

Spiderman 2 and Others

While it sounds like Andrew Garfield is out as Spiderman (according to those leaked emails describing how he snubbed the Sony head), I never grew comfortable with him having seen the Tobey McGuire films seemingly so recently. On the other had I really like Emma Stone’s down-to-earth schtick.

Anyway, Spiderman 2 is a mess, with too much crammed into it and too little that matters. The treatment of Stone’s character’s pivotal moment seemed tacked onto a movie already overstuffed with superficial CGI sound and fury.

A Million Ways to Die in the West was okay – the modern sensibility was refreshing in a way, but the jokes were a bit flat.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 was an able sequel to the first movie.

Walk of Shame was a romantic comedy that wasn’t as terrible as it could have been. There were some nice cringey situations but the ending was weak.

Transcendence was a predictable sci-fi flick about nanotechnology that featured underdeveloped characters.

Occulus is a horror film over two time periods starring Karen Gillam. Unfortunately I disliked the ending, and the it’s not easy to make much of the reality/delusion problem.

The Collection of the Nile, Ridicule-chanbara

I’m around three dozen movies behind so I’ll give some short reviews of a bunch of them at once.

The Collection is the sequel to the grisly horror flick The Collector, and is a bit more action and less horror than the original, which suited me fine. Aside from the disgusting parts I thought it was decent, and liked the ending.

The Jewel of the Nile is an old adventure romance featuring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner – apparently it was widely disliked but I didn’t mind it. Though I couldn’t work out how old the leads were supposed to be – Turner was in her 30s and Douglas in his 40s at the time!

Ridicule is an unusual French film about the Court of Versaille and how important “wit” is to social position. While the historical setting and concept is interesting, there is disappointingly few witty remarks over the course of the film.

Oneechanbara The Vortex is based on the Japanese beat-em-up videogame and suffers from being a zombie B-movie, a video game adaptation, and a low-budget Japanese flick. The visual effects are annoying, the story is senseless, and most of the fighting is plain boring.