Posts Tagged ‘cgi

05
Nov
17

The Woman in Black

Horror is a tough genre to do well. It’s mired in cliché and cheese. Either it’s too gory, too dumb, or not scary. Modern horror films have relied too much on startling the audience instead of earning scares. An ever increasing reliance on CGI have made horror films tame. What’s scary about an obviously fake computer generated image? Nothing.

The Woman in Black is by no means a movie that shakes up the genre. It stays firmly planted in all the usual trappings of a standard haunted house film. What this film does well, however, is it generally avoids all the modern pitfalls like startles, stupidity, and CGI.

Continue reading ‘The Woman in Black’

27
Feb
16

Jur-ASS-ic World

I finally got around to watching Jur-ASS-ic World the other night. My lovely wife got me the Jurassic Park complete collection on blu-ray. It was a very thoughtful gift. A nice box set of four movies, and only one of which is any good. Well, that’s what I thought anyway. So, we sat down to watch the Chris Pratt starring reboot, expecting the worst and hoping for, well, not the worst.

It turns out Jur-ASS-ic World is actually pretty good. Of the four films in the series, it’s the second best after the original. The creators of this film managed to do something that most of today’s reboots are incapable of doing: feature nods to the original but do not slavishly adhere to old tropes so much that they create a remake. *coughStarWarscough*

The story is pretty simple: the new theme park, the aptly named Jurassic World, actually opened to the public. People have been able to visit real dinosaurs for years, and nobody has been eaten. It’s a roaring success, and in order to stay a success, the theme park has genetically engineered a new attraction so the masses won’t get bored with the same old dinosaurs.

Continue reading ‘Jur-ASS-ic World’

15
Jan
11

Tron

I’m not sure what the point of this movie was other than to make Disney a lot of money. Tron, the cult 1982 film, didn’t require a sequel. There was no burning need to continue the story of software-engineer Kevin Flynn. Back in its day it made a modest profit and then the public at large forgot about it. In 1982 Hollywood wasn’t as sequel crazy as it is today. Oh sure, they made sequels to stuff like Dirty Harry movies, Star Wars movies, and a shitload of James Bond movies. But today we have shit like Green Lantern getting a green-light for a trilogy before the first movie even finished production. Only the Hollywood of today would make a sequel to the putrid pile of shit that was the remake of Clash of the Titans. So that’s why a modest money-maker like the original Tron didn’t get a sequel. It was fun, people liked it, but then they moved on. There wasn’t this obsessive need to keep beating the dead horse of sequels just because Hollywood thinks it’s easier than coming up with original ideas.

28 years later, we have Tron: Legacy. How exactly did this happen? I have no idea. No one does. It seems like the idea for a Tron sequel came out of the blue. It’s not as if the general public was clamoring for another Tron movie for the last 20 years. Seemingly at random, Disney started to pimp out TR2N promos three years ago. Whose bright idea was this? Nobody’s. This actually confirms a theory I’ve had for quite some time: no humans run Disney. There is just this old IBM computer that still takes 8-inch floppy disks that generates random ideas and scrounges for old shit to remake. Why else would we be getting Pirates of the Caribbean 4? Either that or Hollywood is so starved for ideas they are really digging into the past to find anything to remake/sequalize. I guess that’s why we now have a Green Hornet movie. After all, if you can find a 30-75 year old property that didn’t completely bomb, why not make a sequel to it?! Half the movie-going public isn’t even old enough to remember how much the first one sucked! By that logic, I guess we can expect a sequel to The Beastmaster any day now.

Like any terrible blogger, I decided that I needed to see the new Tron movie. But I barely remembered the old one. All I could recall of it was some guys throwing frisbees at each other, motorcycles that sprout deadly solid lines behind them, and everyone wearing these blue and red light-up leotards. Unfortunately, what I could not recall was if the movie had been any good. I decided to ask my parents, and they remembered just as much about it as I did. I asked a few other people who were adults when the original movie premiered, and pretty much everyone remembered the same stuff. Nobody could actually recollect what the plot was or if it hadn’t been executed well or ineptly. So, I figured my next best move was to watch the original. I queued it up on Netflix… Continue reading ‘Tron’

26
May
10

Last Exile, X, and Serial Experiments Lain

Once again I have three quick reviews for you. Why? Because I’m still too lazy to write a single in-depth review for any of these titles. Really, it all stems from my inability to— ah, fuck it, let’s just get on with it.

Last Exile

When I saw that this series came from Studio Gonzo and featured heavy use of CGI, I figured it was going to be a non-stop shit storm on the Gonzo ani-turd express. To my surprise, it wasn’t completely horrible. Did it have Gonzo’s trademark terrible CGI? Yes, but it does have Gonzo’s best CGI to date. It isn’t embarrassingly bad, as much of Gonzo’s opus, but it isn’t top-notch stuff either. How about the story? It was fairly unique and interesting. It centered around two warring states in a sort of Industrial Revolution/steampunk alternate universe. For the most part, I really enjoyed the setting, and the writing wasn’t half bad. And what about Gonzo’s other trademark, that is fucking up the ending? Well, yes, they did. The first half was well written, with great characterization and some really tense moments. The second half slowed down and was less focused, but was still decent. The final episode, however, was a complete mess. Characters died and were later resurrected, a shitload of things happened way too fast, and a number of plotlines were left unresolved. Typical Gonzo. Overall, though, this was a good series, and probably the second best thing Gonzo has ever produced. Their best being Welcome to the N.H.K. Despite having some flaws, Last Exile’s strengths make it worth watching.

Verdict: Good

X

X (and not the terrible movie X/1999) is a series I first watched when it originally aired back in the olden days of 2001. I hadn’t seen much anime then, and I thought this series was badass. After having wasted the subsequent 9 years of my life continuing my downward spiral toward oblivion (i.e. watching more anime), I thought it was worth revisiting this title. I was suspecting that it wouldn’t have held up with the passage of time. In fact, the opposite was true, it was fairly strong. The animation is truly amazing. It was one of the last shows to have traditional, hand-drawn animation, and it looks incredible. It stays consistent throughout, and the quality and level of detail puts many current shows to shame. The action sequences are fun, but a little shorter than I would have liked. The characters are interesting, and I liked the dynamic between the main rivals Kamui and Fuuma.  On the negative side, the story is weak, however, this is really more of a character-driven affair, anyway. Also on the negative side, it is 25 episodes with two, yes that’s right, TWO fucking clip episodes. So it actually comes out to 23 episodes. I feel like they squandered a great opportunity to flesh out the characters a bit more or throw in some more epic battles. But whatever. X is really an intriguing dichotomy of a show. While it is drawn in a style aimed toward female anime fans (and has more than a few scenes where the guys get more than a little close to one another), the story content clearly skews toward male anime fans. It doesn’t hold back. People get slaughtered, they explode in geysers of blood, and characters who you think are going to live end up dying brutal deaths. It’s this dichotomy that helps differentiate X from the slew of other fighting shows.  After so many years, it is still a very enjoyable series.

Verdict: Good

Serial Experiments Lain

I fired up the time machine once again, this time traveling back to 1998 to check out the mindfuckery that is Lain. Although it was my third time watching it, I feel like it was the first time I actually understood what the fuck was going on. The story is complex. And it doesn’t help that a lot of the details are presenting in a very fragmented manner. Key plot points can come in many of the series’ hallucinogenic, Lain-in-the-Wired scenes. Nevertheless, if you pay attention, you can figure it out, and it is very worthwhile. This is not an action series, and it does move slowly. However, I found myself riveted, sucked into a world that was extremely well crafted, with a story that was carefully planned. Lain posits a number of interesting philosophical ideas regarding humanity, evolution, god, memories, and connectivity. Also, this show aired in 1998 (presumably with planning going back a couple of years before that). At that time, the Internet was fairly young and not well defined. However, many of the things they talk about being possible on the Internet are now in place, and are very popular, today. They were fairly accurate in their predictions, and it helps to not date or age the show at all. The animation quality is quite strong. As I revist more older anime, I find that the animation quality holds up better with less digital shit thrown in. I’m glad another old series I revisited turned out to be just as good as I had remembered it. This is an excellent series, and well worth the time of anyone who claims to be an anime fan.

Verdict: Awesome

20
Feb
10

Avatard Me Up (AKA Everyone is an Idiot)

There is a fairly common misconception that nerds are smart. This has been propagated mostly by Hollywood in Revenge of the Nerds, Weird Science, and other countless generic “comedy” films. The truth is, however, that nerds are just as stupid as everyone else, especially when it comes to reviewing movies.

When James Cameron’s latest movie, Avatar, was released, it was expected to create a planet-wide nerdgasm so large it would create a rift in the space-time continuum. Surprisingly, it didn’t. Nevertheless, it was incredibly popular with the masses and nerds alike. But the biggest nerds of all (i.e. the forum dwellers and bloggers) hailed it as a steaming pile of crap. They hurled accusations that it was a big letdown in that it was “not original” and “not thought provoking” enough. Even my beloved NPR had the audacity to compare it to the forgettable pop song Tik Tok by Ke$ha.

It’s like they expected the plot of Avatar to be like the second coming of Christ. James Cameron never said, “I have written the first completely original story in the last 200 years.” The whole point of the movie was not to set the world ablaze with an incredibly original masterwork of fiction. It showcased a very basic plotline that had interesting characters, rousing action sequences, state of the art special effects, and blue alien sideboob. What’s not to like? Oh, I know what you’re thinking, “LOL BUT BRIK TEH PLOT IS EXACTLY LIKE DANCES WITH WOLFS LOL!” But so what? Who gives a shit? Every fucking sci-fi movie has recycled its plot from something else. Hell, Star Trek was described by its creator Gene Roddenberry as Wagon Train in outer space. Sci-fi was never known for original plots.

ALFatar: The epic sequel to Avatar.

And then nerds start bitching about how the acting is terrible, the characters are generic, and the drama is completely flat and uninspiring. These, of course, come from the same people who absolutely adored Transformers 2. I shit you not, these are two real posts from the same individual on a forum:

INTERNET IDIOT in the Avatar Forum Thread: You know I just thought Avatar’s plot was super generic. There were just a bunch of explosions and nothing to really think about in the plot.

THE SAME INTERNET IDIOT in the Transformers 2 Forum Thread: I don’t see why you guys are all hating on Transformers. So what if its just a bunch of shooting and explosions. Its not supposed to be deep. You aren’t supposed to think about it. Its just supposed to be fun!

This is the kind of thing that really pisses me off, inconsistency. Just be consistent, people. If you are going to hate on Avatar for thinking the plot sucks, then don’t run off to defend Transformers 2 for having a weak ass plot. This is why I hate nerds. Actually, this is why I hate everyone. People just don’t have the ability to remain objective at all. They like to jerk off to giant robots, so Transformers’ failings are forgiven, but they don’t like to jerk off to blue CGI babes, so Avatar is crucified. It’s ridiculous.

What’s even more ridiculous are the criticisms that have come from non-nerds. The idiots really came out of the wordwork across the planet to take aim at Avatar. Here is a list of some of the most moronic complaints I have read about the film:

HINDUS: The word “avatar” is used in our religion, and we don’t like that it is the title of this movie. Never mind that the term “avatar” has been circulating on the Internet for years. BAWWWWW!

AMERICAN REPUBLICANS: The villains in this movie are United States Marines. Therefore, this entire movie is Anti-American. Never mind the fact that in the movie the villains are actually mercenaries. BAWWWWW!

AMERICAN REPUBLICANS PART 2: This movie preaches environmentalism. The Bible proves that environmentalism is bad. DESTROY THE EARTH! THAT’S WHAT JESUS WOULD DO!

CHRISTIAN FANATICS: Avatar has a New Age, pagan, anti-capitalist message that promotes goddess worship and the destruction of the human race. Never mind that we issued this criticism before the movie was ever released or seen by anyone. BAWWWWW!

THE NEW YORK TIMES: This movie reinforces stereotypes about colonialism. It shows that tribal people need the White Messiah to help them overcome adversity. We still live in the 1960s and are so politically correct that we think everyone constantly obsesses over race. We are huge tools! BAWWWWW!

CHINESE GOVERNMENT: This movie depicts us as evil, and the good guys are clearly meant to be Tibetans. We must immediately ban this movie from all Chinese cinemas. BAWWWWW!

PALESTINIANS: This movie is a perfect depiction of our plight! Yay, Avatar has sided with us against the Isrealis! (Oh wait, I guess that isn’t a criticism, is it?)

PRETENTIOUS FILM FAGS: I can’t believe this was nominated for Best Picture! It doesn’t even have two gay cowboys eating pudding! BAWWWWW!

HISTORY FANBOYS: Hey, look! They stole the Pocahontas story! BAWWWWW!

AVATAR THE LAST AIRBENDER FANS: They stole the title of our live-action movie! BAWWWWW!

To sum things up, everyone is an idiot. People from all corners of the globe have made the most ludicrous criticisms of a fucking sci-fi action adventure movie. You are all reading way too much into this. OK, sure, the story is just like the Pocahontas story. And yeah, it isn’t groundbreaking in terms of originality. But who gives a fuck? What was the last movie you saw that was totally original? Nothing. Because every story has already been done. And it has already been done a million times over. James Cameron was able to synthesize a bunch of old movie cliches and frame them into something exciting and (relatively) unique. It’s something that 99% of the turds Hollywood shits out every year can not achieve. Why should this one film be held to a higher standard than Transformers or other generic crap Hollywood can produce?

Just in case you were thinking that I am one of those Avatard’s who worship the movie like the holy grail, think again. The people who put it upon a pedestal are some seriously cracked-out buffoons. They, like everyone else, are idiots. Here is an actual post from an Avatar forum:

AVATARD: I cant stop thinking about all the things that happened in the film and all of the tears and shivers i got from it. I even contemplated suicide thinking that if i do i will be re birthed in a world similar to Pandora and the everything is the same as in Avatar.

Behind the scenes of the Avatar porno.

Avatar was a lot of fun to watch. That’s all I care about. I don’t care if it is or isn’t a critique on the Iraq War. I don’t care if it has an environmentalist message. And I certainly don’t give a crap about the whole 3D experience. I hope that it will be the next movie fad to die a quick death. But what I do care about is that my movies are entertaining and memorable. Avatar is both of those.

Verdict: Awesome

P.S. For those of you who don’t agree with me, here is a message from Sexman that is sure to change your mind.




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