06
Feb
16

Punch Line, From the New World

Punch Line

Punch Line is a comedy show about seeing lots of panties. Unfortunately, it isn’t very funny, and there aren’t many panties.

It tries to emulate the frenetic style of FLCL, and it certainly does in the first episode. After that, things slow way, way down until they nearly screech to a halt.

The main character is a kid who lives as a ghost. His spirit inhabits a — I don’t know what, halfway house, I guess — that is populated by several cute, busty chicks. One of them turns out to be a robot for some reason. One is a huge pop-star (and moonlights as a super hero), but lives in this dump with a bunch of other losers.

Any time one of these hot chicks flashes her panties, the kid gets excited, his nose squirts blood, and the world explodes. Fortunately, the world is reset, otherwise, it would be a pretty short anime.

Despite a unique and crazy premise, they don’t do anything with it. Instead of zany antics set in a Groundhog Day-style world, they have the kid fucking around with cinnamon, avoiding looking at panties (huge mistake for a panties show), and fretting over stupid shit. And one of the girls owns a pet bear. WTF, guys?

Verdict: Shitty

From the New World

I really wanted to like this. Really. I did. But I didn’t. Because it sucked.

I had read nothing but praise for From the New World. But it’s the kind of show that doesn’t know what the fuck it wants to be about.

It starts out in this weirdo version of the future where there is no technology, everyone has psychic powers, and, for some reason, everyone lives a lifestyle not unlike that of feudal Japan. Only the Japanese would be narcissistic enough to think that the people of the future would live like they did in feudal Japan.

Anyway, we follow a bunch of children (naturally) who have psychic powers. They begin to investigate the disappearance of their classmates. When children go missing, suddenly no one remembers them. There is some mind-control shit going on. Their investigation leads them to find some “lost technology” which is an AI library shaped like a translucent pig (facepalm).

The kids quickly forget all about their missing classmates and get involved in a conflict between factions of giant sentient rats. Fast forward several years, and the kids are grown up (12 years old – that’s grown up in Japan) and investigating another mystery. They forget about that one, too. Fast forward a few more years (now they are ancient adults, like 20 years old or something) and all of society goes to war with the giant rats.

A bunch of characters die, but it’s impossible to care. That’s really the underlying problem with this series. None of the characters give you any reason to care about them. As much as I wanted to care about them, they gave me nothing to work with. They are lifeless husks moving a disjointed story along. There is nothing to latch onto to make you emotionally invested.

Plus, they start and stop a bunch of plotlines that go nowhere.

Verdict: Shitty

30
Jan
16

Vikings Seasons 1-2

Mrs. Brik and I love to watch historical dramas. We especially liked The Tudors and The Borgias, rife with murder and sex, and “based on true stories.” Vikings promised to be more of the same, and it pretty much delivered on all accounts.

Vikings is about Ragnar Lothbrok, who is a famous Viking, apparently. I’ll confess I know pretty much nothing about Nordic history. Anyway, it’s about his rise from meager farmer to king of the Vikings. Along the way, he engages in the requisite sex, murder, and conspiracies. All these things culminate to make the show fun.

The thing about Vikings that bothers me is that it isn’t masterfully plotted. It’s like the writer (there is only one, Michael Hirst) sits down at a table and says, “What should Ragnar do this week?” Things herk and jerk episodically. I don’t get the sense that Hirst drafted a season-long game plan. That much should be apparent when the big climax of Season 1 comes halfway through the nine-episode run, and then the final episode ends with some basic dialogue, only to be resolved in the first half of the first episode of season 2.

Continue reading ‘Vikings Seasons 1-2’

23
Jan
16

Shame Should Be Ashamed of Itself

The movie Shame is a nihilistic, pseudo-intellectual garbage bag of a film. It’s one of these movies that thinks if it’s about something controversial, that alone will be enough to make it good. Well, it’s not. You can’t just make a movie about sex addiction and have it automatically be good. It still requires all the other components of good movies: plot, acting, directing, pacing, etc. You can’t just film Michael F. Assbender’s giant dong and expect people to automatically love the movie.

One person may look at a nihilistic movie and declare it to be utterly brilliant. For me, just being nihilistic doesn’t make it good. Shame is a crushing black hole of bleakness without any attempt at having a message or moral or even a fucking theme.

Continue reading ‘Shame Should Be Ashamed of Itself’

16
Jan
16

Homefront, The Descendants

Homefront

The screenplay for this movie was written by Sylvester Stallone about 10 years ago. He put it on a shelf, and when he finally dusted it off, he realized he was too old to play the part. So, it got handed to Jason Statham who stars in this abysmal failure of a movie.

Statham stars as an ex-Interpol undercover agent or some stupid shit. He infiltrates a biker gang with the worst toupee I’ve seen in a long time. After taking them down in one night, he retires and settles down in the Deep South. Two years later, his badass daughter beats up a bully at school. The bully’s mom gets mad and hires her brother Gator (played with aplomb by James Franco) to get revenge. He, in turn, tells the biker gang where Statham lives so they can get revenge.

The whole movie feels like a setup. It’s like a trailer for a movie that never happens. You keep waiting and waiting for something to happen but it never does. The bikers finally show up when there are only about 15 minutes left. Statham kills them and saves his daughter. That’s it. Everything that came before was all a lead up to that, but there was no sense of dread or suspension or anything else. Nothing happens for the first hour and a half except for two really horrible CGI explosions.

Stallone left the script on the shelf for a reason. He should have realized that he didn’t make it 10 years ago because it sucked. Too bad his poor judgment got the better of him.

Verdict: Shitty

The Descendants

George Clooney plays the head of the King family, a wealthy white family in Hawaii. The rest of the family has squandered their inheritance, and they pressure Clooney to sell their undeveloped land in Kauai to hotel developers so they can continue their lavish lifestyles. Meanwhile, Clooney’s wife winds up in a coma, and he learns that she was having an affair.

The movie is a dramedy with heavy doses of drama and light bits of comedy sprinkled throughout. The story really works and, despite being about rich people, is highly relatable. We all have dysfunctional family members, and we all have faults. This movie portrays real people in a realistic way that makes them into easy touchstones for the viewer.

Clooney expertly maneuvers his way through the chaotic family. His acting skills are in top form as he is able to switch from drama to comedy with ease and not make the changes jarring.

The Descendants is an expertly written and directed movie. The lush Hawaiian setting makes for a nice change of pace, as well. It’s a great dramedy, one of the best examples of the genre. It is definitely worth checking out.

Verdict: Good

09
Jan
16

Star Wars VII: The Remake

Disney: We want to make a new Star Wars movie. Who’s the most generic director working today that won’t offend anyone with a unique style?

Lucasfilm: J.J. Abrams.

Disney: OK, hire him.

Lucasfilm: Done. Here he is.

Abrams: Hi.

Disney: We want you to direct a new Star Wars movie. But you can’t do anything too crazy like the prequels. They have to be exactly like the original trilogy, you know, the movies that people liked.

Abrams: Sure, no problem.

Disney: What ideas do you have for Episode VII?

Abrams: The main character should be a kid who is a genius pilot living on a backwater desert planet.

Disney: So, Luke Skywalker on Tatooine?

Abrams: No, Rey Noname living on Jakku.

Disney: And who will train Rey in the Force? Luke?

Abrams: No, we won’t waste the audience’s time with training sequences. Rey will become a Force master in about five minutes.

Disney: Okay, sounds great. What else have you got?

Abrams: How about a struggle between the First Order and the Resistance for control of the galaxy?

Disney: So, the Empire versus the Rebellion?

Abrams: No, no, this time it’s totally different. You see, the Galactic Republic exists again, and the Resistance backs them. Although why the Resistance would be called the Resistance when they are upholding the current regime is anyone’s guess. And the First Order are super-powerful bad guys who have Storm Troopers and Sith Lords and everything.

Disney: You’ve got to bring back the old characters. People won’t see if it there aren’t any familiar faces.

Abrams: Oh, I ‘ve got that all figured out. We’ve got Han Solo and Chewbacca ready to go. Han looks so decrepit he’s got one foot in the grave. Chewie looks good though. Not a gray hair on him. He hasn’t aged a day.

Continue reading ‘Star Wars VII: The Remake’

01
Jan
16

Awesomest/Shittiest Things of 2015

It’s that time once again, people. Time to look back at the awesomest and shittiest things of 2015. As always, it remains a struggle to find things for the awesome category, and to keep the shitty category to a minimum. Check it out:

Awesome

  1. Gay Marriage Legal in the U.S. – Finally, the U.S. gets with the program and allows all its citizens to marry. It’s been a long time coming. The religious nutjobs in this country wail and moan that this somehow infringes upon their rights to practice their religion or something. I know, it makes no sense. But now we can more easily ignore these assholes, and live it up at our fabulous gay friends’ weddings.
  2. Water on Mars – We’re one step closer to landing on the red planet now. A colony will come next. And then, we’ll all be living out our Total Recall fantasies. It’ll be awesome. Three-boobed aliens for everyone! Oh wait, what was I talking about? Oh, yes, this is a great step forward in space exploration.
  3. Martin Shkreli Indicted for Fraud – This little fucker thought he was a genius by taking a cheap drug and jacking up the price 5,000%. He immediately earned the ire of pretty much everyone in the world. And now, he’s been charged with fraud and arrested. Not for the price hike, mind you, but something else entirely. Hey, at least there’s some justice in the world. I hope he gets sent to a federal pound-you-in-the-ass-penitentiary, but he’ll probably wind up in a resort.
  4. Climate Change Conference – For the first time ever, a group of nations got together to create legislation to help save the planet from ourselves. While it’s unclear if the proposals will do any real good, it’s better than continuing to stick our heads in the sand and pretend their isn’t a problem. Now that we are taking this first step forward, hopefully we will be on the road to cleaning up the mess we’ve made of the world. I don’t want to be living in Kevin Costner’s Waterworld, do you?
  5. 250 People Pay it Forward at McDonald’s – One day in Florida, a woman decided to pay for the meal of the customer in the drive-through behind her. That caused a chain reaction in which 250 consecutive people “paid it forward.” Sometimes, in this cruel, shitty world in which we live, it’s hard to remember that we can be good to one another. At least some people remember.

Shitty

  1. Terrorist Attacks – It seems like you can’t turn on the damn TV without hearing about another terrorist attack somewhere in the world. France got hit twice garnering the most media coverage. But we can’t forget the Middle East where this sort of thing happens on a daily basis.
  2. Mass Shooting in the U.S. – a shooting at a church, a shooting at a holiday party, the shooting of TV reporters on the air, a shooting at an Oregon community college, a shooting at a Planned Parenthood, and probably several more. Yeah, the U.S. totally doesn’t have a gun problem. It’s not like we aren’t the only industrialized country in the world that doesn’t have this problem. Oh wait, we are? Nevermind. HURR DURR WE NEED DEM GUNS IN CASE WE NEED TO RISE UP AGAINST DE GUBMENT HURR DURR SECOND AMENDMENT PROTECTS ALL DE UTHERS HURR DURR.
  3. Refugee Crisis – The Arab Spring hasn’t turned out to be all that great in retrospect. In fact, it’s led to pretty much nothing but violence, terrorism, and civil wars. Syria’s refugee crisis has grown out of that, and has become a worldwide problem. People are deathly afraid to take in the refugees even though they are just regular people trying to get their families out of a horrible situation. If people would grow some balls and start helping these refugees, then maybe we could make the world a slightly better place. Still shitty, yes, but slightly better.
  4. U.S. Political Campaigns – I think I mention politics in every one of these posts. This year was no better. It seemed like the campaign for President began just as soon as Obama was re-elected. Republican doofuses started blasting us with fear mongering and divisive hate speech early this summer, and are only going to double-down as the next year gets underway. With perennial numbskull Donald Trump taking the lead, it’s a true race to the bottom. It seems like the dumber these guys act, the more support they get. Maybe I should move to Canada.
  5. Bill Cosby Charged with Aggravated Assault – The whole Cosby thing blew up last year, but he’s finally been charged. First of all, he hasn’t been convicted yet except for in the court of public opinion. Everyone assumes he’s guilty. He probably is, I realize that, but can’t the guy have a trial first? Second of all, I love The Cosby Show. And so do you. Everyone does. But now I’m suddenly supposed to never watch it again? It’s a brilliantly written show, and one of the greatest sitcoms of all time. Can’t people separate actors from their work? Are they that easily swayed? I guess so. If Cosby’s guilty, of course I want him prosecuted to the fullest extant, but until that day comes, I’m going to be watching reruns of The Cosby Show.

Well, another year has come and gone. 2016 is just getting started. I’m sure there will be many more awesome and shitty things happening during the Earth’s long trek around the sun. Let’s hope, no matter what happens, we can ridicule them with reckless abandon.

21
Dec
15

Death Parade, Shana Final (Season 3)

Death Parade
Death Parade has an intriguing concept. It takes place in the afterlife, or rather the front gates of the afterlife. (Perhaps the bar of the afterlife is a little more accurate?) Anyway, when two people die at exactly the same time, they must go to a place called QuinDecim where they will be judged. One will be reincarnated and the other will go to the Void for an eternity of torment. The two people play a game, and the judgment is based on their actions in the game.
It’s an interesting concept for sure. Some of the deceased know each other intimately, others peripherally, and others don’t know one another at all. They all have died for a variety of reasons. They mostly come across as ordinary people, and no one is inherently good or bad. The characters are presented with voluminous shades of gray. As they play the game, their memories slowly return. The memories are usually painful. The arbiter of judgment, Decim, adds extra stress to the players in order to bring out their “true colors.” Their responses inform his judgment.

Continue reading ‘Death Parade, Shana Final (Season 3)’




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