Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Very Special Christmas Present to You All!

Hello People of the Interwebs!

Today, I'm giving you a very special Christmas present! That's right, a brand new review, out on Christmas day! Today, I'm reviewing a movie that I find to be a holiday classic, "Love Actually"!

Image Credit to IMDb

This movie follows so many story lines. I'll just outline them all for you in a sentence or so each.
  • A washed up pop star, Billy Mack (Bill Nighy), rewrites an old song to be number 1 on the Christmas charts, a plan suggested by his manager Joe (Gregor Fisher).
  • Daniel (Liam Neeson) helps his stepson Sam (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) find a way to impress the girl he loves, Joanna (Olivia Olsen).
  • Juliet (Keira Knightly) and Peter (Chiwetel Ejiofor) get married, and Peter's best friend, Mark (Andrew Lincoln), is in love with Juliet.
  • Jamie (Colin Firth) goes to France to write after he finds out that his girlfriend was cheating on him. He falls in love with the cleaning lady of the house in France, Aurelia (Lucia Moniz), and he learns Portuguese to try to propose to her.
  • Mia (Heike Makatsch) is flirting heavily with her boss, Henry (Alan Rickman), who succumbs after a little bit, to the dismay of his wife Karen (Emma Thompson).
  • Karen's brother, David (Hugh Grant) is the new Prime Minister, and he falls in love with his catering manager, Natalie (Martine McCutcheon).
  • Sarah (Laura Linney), one of Harry's employees, is in love with the creative director Karl (Rodrigo Santaro). Her attempt to sleep with him is interrupted by her mentally ill brother, Michael (Michael Fitzgerald), who she has to care for.
  • Colin Frissel (Kris Marshall) decides to go to America because English girls don't like him. Colin's friend, Tony (Abdul Salis) thinks it's a horrible idea.
  • Tony is working with the crew on a film shoot, where John (Martin Freeman) and Judy (Joanna Page) are working as body doubles for a sex scene in a movie of some kind.
  • Rufus (Rowan Atkinson) is... well, he's not really a part of his own story line. He basically is just there to be a hindrance/help to certain characters in some situations. He was originally revealed to be a Christmas angel, but that reveal was dropped from the final script.
The stories interweave very well, and they all connect in one way or another at the very end. They all tell stories of love and hope, in one form or another. The writing is hilarious too! With such exchanges as: "There was more than one lobster at the birth of Jesus Christ?" "Duh!" and "You mean the chubby one?" "Would we call her that?", you'll be rolling in your seat!

The acting is spectacular. Each actor brings something amazing to their performance. There's not much more that I can say about them. Their acting speaks for itself.

This movie embodies everything about Christmas that I love. Hope, cheer, love. Of course there are some painful parts of Christmas, like heartbreak, sadness. All of these are covered in this movie. It's beautifully written, wonderfully acted, and funny as all hell! (By the way, it is Rated R, so don't watch it with young children.) If you don't yet have a Christmas movie tradition, or you want a new one, watch this film! Watching it over and over doesn't dull it; it just seems to get better! You won't be disappointed!

This is the Teenage Critic, signing off!

Well, one last thing. If you're a Doctor Who fan, you probably know that tonight is the Doctor Who Christmas Special, entitled "Last Christmas." I'm going to be live tweeting/facebooking mini reviews of the special. So, follow me on twitter and like my page on Facebook to get all of the updates! Merry Christmas to you all!


Like The Teenage Critic on Facebook here. You can email the Teenage Critic, at criticteen1@gmail.com. Feel free to send me your suggestions for movies to review, or just to send me your opinions and fan mail. Follow me on Twitter, @Thomas_Pflanz

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas!

Hello People of the Interwebs!

Today's review is of the 1977 Jim Henson TV Movie: Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas.

Image Credit to IMDb

I was introduced to this movie by my Uncle, who watched this first as a child, and then all through his life. I sat down with him, my Aunt, my 3 1/2 year old cousin, my mom, my dad, and my sister to watch it.

The story follows a family of poor otters, Emmet and Ma Otter. They do laundry and odd jobs for their town, so that they can just scrape by. All they really have left are Ma's washtub and the tools that Pa Otter left them. They find out about a Christmas Eve talent contest where they could win $50. Each of them want to finally buy a Christmas present for the other, which the prize money would allow them to do. Emmet is given the offer to play in a Jug-Band, but he would have to put a hole in his mother's washtub. Ma wants to sing, but all she owns are rags, so she would need to sell Emmet's tools to buy some new fabric. What happens next, you should see for yourself.

The story is very touching, and promotes a feeling that I feel is important in this day and age. It feels very calming, and I feel warmer and closer to my family. It shows how even if you don't have much you have to take chances to get far, and that no matter what happens you still have your family.

The puppetry is classic Jim Henson. They look creative, but not perfect, giving it a more natural and family friendly feeling. The sets are amazing as well. They feel rustic and folksy. It gives a lovely feeling of homey-ness.

All in all, I find it to be a very sweet and warm film. I'd recommend it to everyone in the family. So sit down, cuddle up to your family, and watch this heartwarming film!

This is the Teenage Critic, signing off!

Like The Teenage Critic on Facebook here. You can email the Teenage Critic, at criticteen1@gmail.com. Feel free to send me your suggestions for movies to review, or just to send me your opinions and fan mail. Follow me on Twitter, @Thomas_Pflanz

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Batman Returns: A Batman Christmas Movie!

Hello People of the Interwebs!

Today's review is of Tim Burton's "Batman Returns".

Image Credit to IMDb

First, a little story. When I hurriedly tried to find a movie to review, I was looking for a holiday themed one. I gave up after about five minutes, saying to myself, "Eh, screw this. I'll watch Batman Returns instead." Well, it turns out, that I did find a holiday themed movie after all.

Now, I'm gonna go at this a little differently this time. I'm gonna start with the acting. Michael Keaton reprises his role as Bruce Wayne/Batman. He once again does a fantastic job at being the dark, brooding Batman, where we learn very little about him. Our villains are: Oswald Cobblepot/The Penguin played by Danny DeVito, Selina Kyle/Catwoman played by Michelle Pfeiffer, and Max Shreck played by Christopher Walken. DeVito is hilarious as the Penguin, bringing an awkward and creepy movement and feeling to the character. Pfeiffer is a great Catwoman, and while she's sexualized a tad too much, I think that's more the fault of the production crew. Walken is brilliant as Max Shreck, a corrupt business man, who only cares about preserving a legacy for himself and his son. All of these actors did a phenomenal job with the roles they were given.

The visuals are beautiful. Tim Burton is know for his magnificent sets and visuals, and these are no exception. They're mysterious, they're just the right amount of dark. And they are very visually pleasing.

Now, the story is fun. It really is. It very comic book-y, and really enjoyable. My main problem is the writing of the film. It's bad. Cheesily bad. I understand the intent, with it being a Batman film, but it's truly a ridiculous thing. And it's entirely sexist. The most feminist line is the penguin talking about how men and women are equal... when their genitals are blown up. Wow.

All in all, it's cheesy, sexist, but really fun. I'd recommend it, but don't take it too seriously.

This is the Teenage Critic, signing off!

Like The Teenage Critic on Facebook here. You can email the Teenage Critic, at criticteen1@gmail.com. Feel free to send me your suggestions for movies to review, or just to send me your opinions and fan mail. Follow me on Twitter, @Thomas_Pflanz

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Miserable Movie

Hello people of the Interwebs!

Today's review is of Tom Hooper's Les Mierables. (Sigh. Let's just get this pain over with...)

Image credit to IMDb

WARNING: Spoilers ahead!

Don't get me wrong, I love this musical to death. In fact, I was in a production of it over the summer! It is my favorite musical of all time. But this movie just sucks. The only good aspect is the acting ability of most of the cast. (Note: most.) Also, there are a few good voices, but I'll get to that later.

Les Miserables is the story of a fugitive turned, I dunno, saint? named Jean Valjean, who is constantly being hunted by Inspector Javert. Valjean ends up adopting the daughter of a dead female factory worker turned prostitute, named Fantine. Her daughter, Cosette, lives with the Thenadiers, a couple of unpleasant people with a lust for money. A few years later on, Cosette falls in love with a student named Marius, who is plotting a revolution with his best friend, Enjolras. Eponine, the daughter of the Thenadiers is also in love with Marius, but he doesn't notice. I don't have much to say on the story. I really, genuinely love it. (Well, the love at first sight thing between Cosette and Marius is a bit, you know, cliche.)

The actors in this movie are amazing. (I'm not discussing the singing; that comes later.) The passion with which the actors perform is astounding. Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean has so much power and depth in him, and he portrays Valjean beautifully. The same can't be said for Russel Crowe as Javert. I've been told that he's a good actor, but he just doesn't act. It not that he acted badly, it's that he didn't act at all, However, there is one scene in the "Second Act" where he does show some emotion. Anne Hathaway was amazing as Fantine. She captured that role perfectly. Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bohnam Carter are the Thenadiers. As usual, they bring out the crazy, funny characters very well. Cohen does have some good moments where he seems genuinely... evil, as the character is supposed to end up. Amanda Seyfried as Cosette wasn't a bad choice. It's just that the character is so bland, so there's not much to work with, and I think that Seyfried has quite a bit of acting talent. Eddie Redmayne as Marius wasn't a bad option either, he did the role justice. Arron Tveit was a great Enjolras, and Daniel Huttlestone was a great Gavroche. Last, but not least, we have Samantha Barks. She's the only principal in this movie to have played that role before, and she does it beautifully.

The music. I love the music. But that's just a general note about the musical itself. So let me move onto...

The singing! By god, do I loathe the singing. However, I did mention that I liked some of the voices. Those voices belonged to Daniel Huttlestone (Gavroche), Arron Tveit (Enjolras), and Samantha Barks (Eponine). They all have fantastic voices; especially Samantha Barks. However, the rest aren't good. Russel Crowe can hold a tune, but his voice doesn't fit with the theater style. Hugh Jackman cracks too much, as does Anne Hathaway. Amanda Seyfried's voice is just annoying, as is the voice of Eddie Redmayne. The ensemble's not bad, but the soloists in the ensemble are slightly cringe worthy. Colm Wilkinson is a sort of saving grace at the beginning as the Bishop of Digne, but they changed quite a few of the lyrics for him, so it sounded wrong.

Actually, that brings up and important point. A lot of the lyrics and songs are changed into speaking or just plain silence. While I think that it's fine in some cases, in others, it lengthens the scene. They cut quite a few of the student solos, which was a blow to my happiness with the movie, since in my production of Les Mis, I played one of the students whose solos they cut. 

This movie sucks. Just plain sucks. Even with some redeeming qualities, I wouldn't particularly recommend it. If you really are dying to see Les Miserables, go see a staged production of it.

This is the Teenage Critic, signing off!

Like The Teenage Critic on Facebook here. You can email the Teenage Critic, at criticteen1@gmail.com. Feel free to send me your suggestions for movies to review, or just to send me your opinions and fan mail. Follow me on Twitter here, at @Thomas_Pflanz

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na BURTON!

Hello People of the Interwebs!

I'm back! After my unsuccessful attempt at NaNoWriMo, I'm back to my old ways of watching and reviewing movies. This week, I'm reviewing Tim Burton's 'Batman'!

 Image credit to IMDb

WARNING: Spoilers ahead!

The story of the 1989 adaptation of Batman centers around the Joker. Weird, right? Okay, 'centers around' may be a bit of a stretch. Let me put it this way. In this story we don't find out much about Batman himself, or even Bruce Wayne. Not until later in the movie, anyway. Rather, we see the evolution of Jack Napier, a higher-up in a gang, into the Joker, when he falls into a vat of toxic waste during a confrontation with Batman. This was a really interesting way to format the story, focusing more on the creation of the villain, and leaving the back story of the main hero a mystery until near the end.  This is very different from Christopher Nolan's movie, 'The Dark Knight', where we know everything about Batman's back story, and know nothing about the Joker.

The story follows a photographer named Vicki Vale, as she and a reporter, named Alexander Knox, try to prove that Batman is real. Meanwhile, a mob boss, named Grissom sets up his second in command, a man by the name of Jack Napier, who has been seeing his boss's mistress. Grissom tells Jack to go to a chemical plant, to remove some evidence which connects the plant to the mob. Grissom tips off the police, and they show up to take on Jack's men. A large figure, dressed in a black costume swoops in; Batman has come to save the day! Jack tries to escape but he ends up falling into a vat of toxic waste, and gets flushed out into a river. Napier's face is dyed white, his lips are dyed cherry red, and his hair is dyed green. He goes insane, and kills Grissom.

Okay, I just tried to type out a short synopsis of the story, and it took up two more paragraphs, so, I'll try again. Bruce Wayne and Vicki Vale start dating. Jack Napier takes the name 'The Joker'. The Joker "falls in love" with Vicki, and sets up a trap, which Batman saves her from. Vicki Vale releases a list of beauty products that the Joker had infected with his 'Joker Venom', which makes people die laughing. Bruce tries to tell Vicki that he's Batman, but is stopped by the Joker. Bruce realizes that Jack Napier was the one who killed his parents. Bruce tells Vicki that he's Batman.  The Joker entices the public out of their homes in order to kill them off with Joker Venom in gas form, by offering $20 million in cash. Batman stops him. The Joker takes Vicki Vale up to the top of a clock tower, and has a confrontation with Batman, which ends when the Joker falls to his death from his escape helicopter. 

The cast is pretty good. Michael Keaton's portrayal of the caped crusader is classic, and is very well done. I really enjoy the mysterious vibe he lets off. Jack Nicholson plays the Joker, the best known Batman villain. His performance is of a very cheesy Joker. I really enjoy it, but at times he seems more like a cheesy cartoon-ish version of the Joker, like Cesar Romero's Joker. I may be a bit colored, considering that my first Joker was Heath Ledger. who played the Joker in a very dark and gritty way, leaving an impact on many, including me. The supporting cast is fine, but they're not really anything to hoot at. Vicki Vale is played by Kim Bassinger, and Alexander Knox is played by Robert Wuhl. Commissioner Gordon and Harvey Dent are played by Pat Hingle and Billy Dee Williams respectively. 

The action is fun and cheesy, and that's about it. It reminds me of the 1960s Batman action scenes, in the complexity of the action. It's fairly simple. Punch, kick, throw, choke, etc. Really nothing special about it.

TIm Burton's 'Batman' has an interesting take on Batman and the Joker. It's much grittier than the Adam West Batman, but still has the cheesy comic book-y feel to it. And I think that that's fine. I enjoy the Christopher Nolan film more, mainly because of Heath Ledger's amazing performance as the Joker. He provides what I consider a much more "realistic" Joker, with a more psychotic and frightening feeling. Nicholson's Joker felt funny. He wasn't intimidating, but he was fun. And that's mainly my opinion. It's a damn fun movie to watch and enjoy, with plenty of cool visuals and interesting portrayals of classic characters. 

This is the Teenage Critic, signing off!

Like The Teenage Critic on Facebook here. You can email the Teenage Critic, at criticteen1@gmail.com. Feel free to send me your suggestions for movies to review, or just to send me your opinions and fan mail. Follow me on Twitter at @Thomas_Pflanz

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Mermaids!

Hello People of the Interwebs!

Today, I'm going to review a different kind of piece than I usually do. It's a 10 minute animation by Alexander Petrov, entitled "The Mermaid". 

The story is beautiful. A young man falls in love with a mermaid that he keeps seeing. His mentor, an old man, recognizes her as his bride from when he was younger. While the story is simple, it's done in a very elegant way. The ending is peaceful and thought provoking, and it should be watched.

The details of the animation are spectacular. While the pictures don't flow together like modern day movies and animations do, it has a very melancholy and natural feeling to it, like each frame was carefully crafted with the tender and caring hands of a passionate artist. It's truly an awe inspiring creation. It brought tears to my eyes as I watched.

You can watch it here. It is very short, and every second of it is amazing!

This is the Teenage Critic, signing off!

(You can like us on Facebook! Go to https://www.facebook.com/criticteen and hit the like button! Every like is appreciated! You can also follow me on Twitter to get instant updates about new posts and other projects that I'm working on! @Thomas_Pflanz)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Old Man and the Old Moon

Hello People of the Interwebs!

"Oh, shadow puppets and fake animals" I thought as I first sat down in my seat, to watch "The Old Man and the Old Moon" by PigPen Theatre Company, at the New Victory Theater. "This is going to be painful". Boy, was I ever wrong.

This well written, well told story is about an old man who fills up the moon every day, so it is always full. His wife wants to go adventuring, but he doesn't. She leaves, and he follows her, leaving the constantly leaking moon unattended.

It truly is a journey of whimsy and magic. All of the actors portray their (multiple) characters with such skill and mastery, that it's hard to believe that there are just seven of them! The show itself filled me with a warmth, and gave me chills the entire time. The set is a simple color, but has a very complex design, and the use of shadow puppets and regular puppets to portray the story is done exceptionally well.

All in all, it's possibly one of the best theater experiences that I've ever had. I've actually now seen it twice, bought their CDs, and had one of the CDs signed. My friend Sydney, whose blog is really good, asked the actors to sign her neck! (They did, by the way!) The actors are brilliant, and really kind. It was such a pleasure to see the show as many times as I did, and to have met the actors! If they're performing near you, go and see this magnificent show!

Check them out at http://www.pigpentheatre.com/, and support them! Their show is at the New Victory Theater in New York City, and runs until October 13th.

This is the Teenage Critic, signing off!

(Come to our Facebook page here, and hit the "like" button! Every like is appreciated!)

Here's my friend, with her neck signed by the actors!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Mean Girls

Hello People of the Interwebs!

Today's review is of Mean Girls!

Image credit to IMDb

This movie is one of the first movies classified as a comedy to actually make me laugh. There's some fantastic comedy in this movie, and it does a good job with its serious moments too! The first thing that got my attention is that the main character is a homeschooler. And I like that. To be honest, if I were to return to school after three full years out of it, my idea of it would be like hers during the scene where she's walking through the halls. Now, let's get into the story!

The story is pretty great. A homeschooler named Cady joins high school and makes new friends with two "outcasts", who, after Cady gets the attention of the popular girls, ask her to infiltrate them. At some point, Cady falls in completely with the popular girls, known as "The Plastics", which is made up of Regina George, Gretchen Wieners, and Karen Smith. After a while, Cady's grades fall, and she falls... in love with the ex-boyfriend of Regina, the leader of the Plastics. After a while, Cady gets fed up and starts sabotaging Regina. That's where it gets a bit more complicated. All in all, the writing and story are quite good! Tina Fey really did do a great job with the script.

The acting is surprisingly good. Lindsey Lohan plays the main character, Cady Heron, and she does a really good job. Rachael McAdams as Regina George, Lacey Chabert as Gretchen Wieners, and Amanda Seyfried as Karen Smith all do great portrayals of stereotypical "popular" girls. The outcast friends, Janis and Damian, are played by Lizzy Caplan and Daniel Franzese respectively, who both do very well. Tina Fey also does a phenomenal job as Mrs. Norbury, one of the teachers at the school. The rest of the supporting cast are very good, and, well, support the film very well.

All in all, this is a really good movie. It's funny and well written, and also very well acted. So, if you haven't seen this, rent it right away! Or, if you have Netflix, it's available there for completely free!

This is the Teenage Critic, signing off!

(You can like us on Facebook! Go to https://www.facebook.com/criticteen and check us out. You can also suggest movies for me to review there!)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Matrix

Hello People of the Interwebs!

"What?" you must be thinking. "Today's a Tuesday! There's not supposed to be a new review until tomorrow!" You are correct; it is indeed a Tuesday. I am changing the release date of new Teenage Critic content to Tuesdays! This is a trial, so I'll see how well it works with my schedule.

Today's review is of the popular (and rightfully so!) action/sci-fi film: The Matrix!

Image Credit to IMDb

WARNING: Spoilers ahead!

I really enjoyed this movie. Like, really really. It's possibly one of my favorite Sci-Fi movies! So, let's get started!

The story is very complex. I barely grasped it and its concepts when I first watched it. It's inventive, it's brilliantly written, and the world and characters are given multi-dimensional personalities. The concepts are also very creative, and I commend the Wachowski siblings for this work of genius.

The acting is also brilliant. Of course, Keanu Reeves is brilliant as Neo, as is Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus, and Carrie-Anne Moss is on par with the both of them. The rest of the supporting cast is very strong. Now, let's talk the villain. As you may remember from my First Avenger review, I praised Hugo Weaving's acting ability. And I add to that claim even more. With both examples of Red Skull and Agent Smith, I must say that I love his ability to act as a villain. 

The action is fantastic. Bullet Time was, of course, a revolutionary technique. It adds to the suspense of the action even further. The rest of the action is pretty great too!

All in all, I really love this movie. It combines revolutionary film making techniques with great acting, and one of the most phenomenal concepts I've ever seen put to film. If you haven't already, watch this amazing film!

Teenage Critic, signing off!

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy!

Hello People of the Interwebs!

Today, I'll be talking about a recent blockbuster hit: Guardians of the Galaxy!

Image credit to IMDb

WARNING: Spoilers ahead!

I genuinely love this film. The basic story is about a Terran (Earth) male, named Peter Quill, who is picked up by aliens when he was a kid. He becomes a renowned thief, and calls himself 'Starlord". He teams up with a group of criminals to stop the warlord Ronan, who is originally under the command of Thantos. 

The story itself is simple, and the execution is pretty much flawless. It's also one of the cheesiest, silliest movie that I've seen in a while. This movie pulls out every cliche, and uses it to its extreme. But, it doesn't seem unintentional. In fact, the movie seems very aware of itself, which can sometimes be bad, but it is very well done here. 

Another aspect of this movie, which I think led to its popularity, is it's soundtrack. The soundtrack is mainly songs from the 1970s and 1980s. This lends a feeling of nostalgia to the film. Well, at least... I think it does. I'm about to turn 16, so... I didn't really have a connection to the songs before, or any significant memories of them . However, that's another interesting point by itself. This movie introduces a new generation of people to the popular music from before their time, which their parents most likely enjoyed. I can vouch for that plan myself, as I had no knowledge of these songs before, and I've grown to love them since watching this movie. (In fact, I'm listening to it right now, as I write this review.)

Now, the acting. The entire cast is really quite fantastic. Our heroes are: Chris Pratt as Starlord, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax, Vin Diesel as Groot, and Bradley Cooper as Rocket. These guys are fantastic. Their onscreen chemistry is fantastic, and they all bring fun and clever aspects to their respective characters. 

The villains are: Lee Pace as Ronan, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Djimon Hounsou as Korath, and Josh Brolin (uncredited) as Thantos. These actors are all fantastic, but I'll focus one one that I'm partial to. Karen Gillan. Her popularity really soared after being cast as Amelia Pond on Doctor Who, a show that I love dearly. (If you read my Thor: The Dark World review (http://criticteen.blogspot.com/2014/06/thor-world-of-anti-light.html) you'll know that I'm partial to actors who have starred on Doctor Who.) Karen Gillan shows just how much of a great actress she is, by giving this character a great performance. Another villain that I want to focus on, at some point, is Thantos, my favorite Marvel villain.

The supporting cast consists of: Michael Rooker as Yondu Udonta, John C. Reilly as Corpsman Dey, Glenn Close as Nova Prime, Benicio Del Toro as The Collector, Peter Serafinowicz as Denarian Saal, and Christopher Fairbank as The Broker. Once again, they are all great in this movie.

The action. The action is fresh, fun and innovative, yet with all the cliches packed in. It's a great show of how Marvel can do all sorts of action.

A quick note about the credits scene: Baby Groot dancing was a cuteness overload. Just saying.

One feeling that I get from this movie is that Marvel is effectively saying "Hey, we've been pretty heavy and serious for the past few years. Here's a really cheesy and fun movie, which still adds to the overarching story that we're preparing!" I recommend this to everybody. The audience that this movie reaches is so diverse. people wanting silly, people wanting a good action flik, people wanting good story, wanting good acting, good videography, good soundtrack, etc. I think it's a defining movie for this generation of Marvel movies. So, go catch it while its still in theaters, or buy theDVD as soon as it comes out!

This is the Teenage Critic, signing off.

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Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Robin Williams Tribute

Hello people of the Interwebs!

I'm back! And with that, I have to mention a recent tragedy. Recently, we lost a comedic treasure, Robin Williams. This man was a genius, with a mastery of acting and comedy. There's really not much more I can say to do justice to him, so, I'll move on to my review. In honor of Mr. Robin Williams Himself, I'm reviewing: Dead Poet's Society.

Image Credit to IMDb

WARNING: Spoilers Ahead

This movie is beautiful. It's hard to put into words how this movie makes me feel, but I'll try.

The story is simple, but beautiful. If you don't know it, here it is. A prep school, called the Welton Academy, hires a new English teacher, named John Keating, with unusual teaching principles. He shows his students how to really look at poetry, and at lie, teaching them to make the most of their lives. This inspires the students to restart a "club" of sorts, which was originally started by Mr. Keating when he went to Welton, called "The Dead Poet's Society". This secret society is where students went to recite poetry by the greats, and even some of their own poetry. Mr. Keating also inspires a few single students. 

In the climax, one of the students, Neil Perry, decides that he wants to act, but his father disapproves. Neil performs anyway, but his father gets very upset, and pulls him out of Welton. After being told that he can't live his own life, Neil kills himself. This leads to an investigation into Mr. Keating, where he is subsequently fired. 

Now, this really spoke to my heart. I've always wanted a teacher like Mr. Keating. His lessons, even though in a fiction universe, in a movie, will stick with me. The ending is filled with melancholy, which is really the only way that it could have ended.

Robin Williams is just such a fantastic actor, and his performance in this is no exception. It shows just how well he can do serious roles, as well as comedic ones. He's joined by some other actor's who were fairly new to the acting business, such as Ethan Hawke and Robert Sean Leonard. Both of these actors were just sublime, and gave such amazing performances. The rest of supporting cast is not to be forgotten, as they were fantastically acted as well.

I now consider this movie to be a masterpiece of 20th century film. The beauty and complexity of the scenarios and the characters crafts a feeling of wonder. I'm sure that I will have a spot for it in my heart for years to come.

This is the Teenage Critic, singing off.

May Robin Williams Rest in peace.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Hello people of the Interwebs!

Today's review is of Captain America: The Winter Soldier!

Image Credit to IMDb

WARNING: Spoilers Ahead!

I love this movie! This is my favorite of all of the Marvel movies (as of now)! 

This movie follows Steve Rodgers as he adjusts to modern life. He goes on missions for S.H.I.E.L.D., but he still tries to live a normal life. The story is multi-dimensional, but it can really be boiled down to this: Hydra is in S.H.I.E.L.D. And the Winter Soldier is helping them. I won't say who the Winter Soldier is, because it's just too exciting.

The acting in astounding! Chris Evans as Cap, Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, and Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill are all amazing. New characters introduced are Sebastian Stan as the Winter Soldier and Anthony Mackie as the Falcon (one of my favorite Marvel heroes!), and they both are on par with the rest of the cast.

The action is incredible. It's fast paced, but easy to follow, and is filled to the brim with excitement!

I loved every bit of this movie! I highly recommend that you watch it. It's a thrilling action movie with a good plot.

Teenage Critic, signing off!

(Please leave a comment with a suggested movie for me to review!)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Thor: The World of Anti-Light

Hello people of the Interwebs!

Today's review is of Thor: The Dark World!

Image Credit to IMDb

WARNING: Spoilers Ahead!

This film is... okay. There's nothing offensive about it, but nothing really special about it. It once again follows the story of Thor and Jane, as they try to stop the evil Dark Elf, Malakith, from obtaining the evil substance: the Aether, which can be used to bring the universe back to darkness. The Aether is inside Jane, and they need to make sure that Malakith doesn't get it, so Thor breaks Loki out of prison to destroy Malakith, which ends up backfiring. And that's all you really need to know. Except that Loki dies. Except he doesn't, and he takes Odin's throne. That's all.

The acting is good. Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Natalie Portman as Dr. Jane Foster are fantastic. Tom Hiddleston as Loki is amazing as always. All of the other Asgardians are good. Dennings and Skargard reprise their roles of Darcy and Dr. Selvig. Now, this next opinion is extremely biased. Christopher Eccleston as Malakith. I loved him as the Doctor in Doctor Who. He was, in fact, my first Doctor. And the Doctor is such a different character from Malakith. So I must say, he is "Absolutely Fantastic"! (Tee hee)

The action was more interesting in this movie than in the first. In the last battle between Thor and Malakith, there are portals opening up all over London. The visuals of them transporting between Earth, and the Dark World, and other of the nine realms. 

There are a few funny moments, and some okay story lines. All in all, it's worth seeing at least once.

Teenage Critic, signing off!

(Please comment some suggestions of a movie that I can review in the future!)

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Titanium Alloy Man! (The Third and Final Installment)

Hello people of the Interwebs!

Today's review is of Iron Man 3!

Image credit to IMDb

WARNING: Spoilers ahead!

By gosh, this movie is awful. Well, not strictly awful, just really bad. And not really the acting, or the action, just the story and plot twists. I'm not going to lay the story out, as I've done previously. However, I will explain some of the more upsetting plot points.

First, let me ask you something. Does the following story line sound familiar to you: A normal guy is a huge fan of a famous guy, tries to work with him, gets shot down, becomes a villain. Well, do you have your answer? Incredibles. No, I'm not complimenting your amazing deduction skills, I'm saying that it's the plot of the Incredibles. 

Also, the villain that you see for the entire movie is not even the villain! He's an actor that's been hired to portray the "Mandarin". Just lazy, I'd say.

As for the acting, same spiel. RDJ is great, Paltrow is great, and Cheadle is great. The other actors are good,  but not the best. Guy Pearce playing Aldrich Killian and Ben Kingsley playing Trevor Slattery (the actor playing the Mandarin), are probably the best of the supporting cast.

The action is good, not great. It's still fun, though not the best.

I'd recommend against ever watching this, unless you've already watched the first two movies, and want to wrap up the story. 

Teenage Critic, signing off.

*Quick note: I'll start doing requested movie reviews! Please leave any suggestions in the comments!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Avengers!

Hello People of the Interwebs!

My apologies for last week's missing post. It sort of... slipped my mind. Sorry.

Now, for the movie that I've been building to for the past few weeks....... The Avengers!

Image Credit to IMDb

WARNING: Major spoilers ahead!

The Avengers is probably one of my favorite movies from the modern Marvel Franchise. It's fun, it's well paced, it's exciting, it's funny, and the action's great!

The Avengers centers around Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye. They band together to form the team know as the Avengers, who are "Earth's Mightiest Heroes"! There are a lot of story lines, so I won't recount them for you.

However, let's take a look at how good the story is. I think that Joss Whedon did a fantastic job with this film. The story lines don't feel jumbled or crammed into the movie. The over-arching plot is simple and interesting, with Loki trying to take over the world. I also never felt talked down to. The first time I watched this movie, I had practically zero clue about the stories of the characters, and I felt that they explained it neatly, simply, and made it understandable. When I re-watched it, after having seen the other movies in the franchise, I feared that I would feel talked down to. But that didn't happen! The movie doesn't treat you like an idiot, and if you know the information and back story of the heroes already, you can notice little details that they threw in! 

Now, for the acting. Robert Downey Jr. reprises his role as Tony Stark/Iron Man. Also returning to their previous roles are: most of the cast. So, I'll list them for simplicity's sake. Chris Evans as Steve Rodgers/Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson, and Tom Hiddleston as Loki. The newest cast member is Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk. Other side characters include Cobie Smulders and Maria Hill, and Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Pots. To put is simply: I think that the acting and talent in this movie is incredible.

This film has fantastic action. I mean it. It is amazing and deserves much praise!

All in all, I think that this movie is fantastic. The re-watch value is enormous, and I believe that it may last for a long time.

Teenage Critic, signing off!

(Please leave any and all comments)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Man and Mouse

Hello people of the inter-net/web/thing!

Today's review will be something a bit... different. You're probably getting tired of all the superhero reviews that I've been doing. So, here's a review of the current Broadway Production of "Of Mice and Men", starring James Franco and Chris O'Dowd!

Image credit to broadwayworld.com

WARNING: Spoilers ahead!

The story is centered around two men, George and Lennie. (George is portrayed by James Franco and Lennie is portrayed by Chris O'Dowd)

If you're familiar with the book, you probably know the central plot. I, unfortunately, have not read the original book. But, if you've never seen/read either, here's a character and back story overview.

George is clever, but uneducated, and quite irritable. Lennie, is sweet, caring, but has an intellectual disablity. They both have lost their jobs, and are going to start working as farm hands. The reason? Lennie has a bad habit of losing them their jobs. The last one they lost because he loved the softness of a lady's dress, and wouldn't let go, so she started calling out for help, accusing him of rape. Men heard her cries and started hunting for Lennie and George, so they ran. They start their new jobs and make some friends. That's all you really need. The play itself is just amazing, so I won't spoil it for you.

This is definitely the best acting I've ever seen from James Franco; his performance is astounding. The same can be said for Chris O'Dowd. Both actors portray their characters in a heart-wrenching and beautiful way, and their performances complement the bitter-sweet ending perfectly. Other than those few words, I can't really say much else. Their performance really speaks for itself.

The set is excellent as well. It's simple, with very few set changes and settings. The use of the space is very nice, and the portrayals of houses, creeks, and barns adds a very nice, rustic feel to the whole show.  

If you're staying in or visiting New York City, or if you live there, I would highly recommend going to see this beautifully done production. It closes on July 27th.

Teenage Critic, signing off.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Titanium Alloy Man! (Number 2)

Hello people of the interwebs!

Today's review is of the movie Iron Man 2!

Image credit to IMDb

WARNING: Spoilers ahead!

This movie once again follows the exploits of a somehow more narcissistic Tony Stark as he faces a new villain: the super genius son of an old colleague of Howard Stark. 

You're probably wondering how Tony's gotten more narcissistic than before. Well, at the end of the last movie, he revealed that he was Iron Man. You can probably guess what that does to a man's ego. Well, you don't have to guess. I've already told you. 

The story is simple enough to follow. It's also probably my favorite of the Iron Man stories. (Just you wait until my Iron Man 3 review!) It introduces the Black Widow and Agent Coulson, and re-introduces Nick Fury. The villain is Ivan Vanko, a genius who builds an Arc-Reactor, like the one in Tony's chest. However, the one in Tony's chest is slowly killing him. Painfully, I believe. (Don't worry, towards the end of this one, he discovers a new element that's compatible with the core. So he's still alive.) Ivan is arrested, then freed by a rival of Stark Industries, Justin Hammer. He's hired to build an army of Iron Man-esque suits to demonstrate at the Stark Expo. Then James "Rhodey" Rhodes, Tony's best friend steals one of his suits, and Hammer adds weapons to it to make him the WAR MACHINE! Then... You know what? This story may not be as simple as I had originally thought, but I still think it's the best of the Iron Man franchise. 

The acting is better than the first movie. (Of course, Robert Downey Jr. is still good, as is Gwyneth Paltrow.) The actors playing Ivan Vanko and Justin Hammer, (Mickey Rourke and Sam Rockwell respectively), are both amazing villains, both providing similar, but separate challenges for Iron Man. Don Cheedle plays Rhodey, a role played in the first movie by Terence Howard (I don't have a particular favorite; each of them is a fun choice for the role). As I said in my Thor review, Clark Gregg is always a great actor to have in a Marvel movie as Agent Coulson. Scarlett Johansson is a kick-ass Black Widow, and Samuel L. Jackson is a great addition to any movie as Nick Fury.

The action scenes are much better than in the first. (Even though I said I thought that the special effects were great, I think these are better.) The fight between Tony and Rhodey, both in Iron Man suits, is amazing. The final fight scene, with Tony and Rhodey versus the drone suits, and then Ivan himself, is incredible.

All in all, this is probably the best movie in the Iron Man franchise. It's fun, awesome, and gripping. Enjoy watching this super fun, action packed movie, just to hype yourself up for the Avengers!

Teenage Critic, signing off!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Titanium Alloy Man!

Hello people of the Interwebs!

Today's review is of the 2008 movie: Iron Man!

Image credit to IMDb

This movie follows Tony Stark's transformation from complete douche to less of a douche. Watch him get captured by terrorists, build a suit, break out, "convert" to peace, and many other things. He gets betrayed by his father figure, builds a better suit, and, ultimately, becomes Iron Man.

Let's begin with the story. For a first movie in a Marvel franchise, it's decent. The character arc makes perfect sense, purely because of what he has been forced to go through. The plot... it's good. The story is consistent, the characters believable and likable, and the villains interesting.

The acting is quite excellent. Robert Downey Jr. is, in my opinion, an amazing actor. (Granted I've never seen him in anything else.) His portrayal of Tony Stark is perfect, and he grasps the character so well; he makes it seem like he's actually Tony Stark. About the other cast: You really can never go wrong with Gwyneth Paltrow. Jeff Bridges is a fantastic Obadiah Stane. And the supporting cast is excellent as well.

The action was great. You really can't go wrong with Iron Man's action. It's well paced, fun, and exciting. And the Mark II is a glorious device that I just love to feast my eyes upon.

Iron Man is good. Not great. (Definitely not the best Marvel story.) I'd still recommend it, but mainly just for the back story for Iron Man 2.

Teenage Critic, signing off!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The First Avenger

Hello people of the inter-webs!

Sorry that this took so long to come out. I promise to start posting regularly on Wednesdays. (My editor just didn't get back to me in time!)

Today's review is of the Marvel movie, Captain America: The First Avenger!

Image credit to IMDb

WARNING: Spoilers ahead!

This film centers around a down-to-earth everyman from Brooklyn named Steve Rodgers. He wants to join the army because his parents served, but died serving. However, he isn't allowed to join because he's unfit. Like, really unfit. They had to CG the actor's body to look shrimpy. It's really weird looking. He gets accepted into the army because of a nice doctor, and after some training, he's selected by the doctor to be a part of a secret experiment to make him a super soldier! (Which, by the way, works.)

The rest of the film is, surprisingly well done! We see his transformation from a mascot for America in the war, (and not actually fighting), to being a leader of an elite group trying to take out Hydra, Hitler's secret scientific branch. This transformation is actually done quite well, as we see him go from nervous in front of an audience to perfectly comfortable. There are comics made about him, movies, TV shorts, lunch boxes, and other collectibles. 

On that note, the movie seems to be trying to tie the movie reality and actual reality together. If I'm not mistaken, Captain America was originally created as a mascot for America, and was used as propaganda against the Nazis and the Axis forces. This just helps pull people into the reality that the film has proposed, with the idea that the Captain America comics were based on a real thing.

When Captain America goes to talk to actual American soldiers in France, they mock and dis him. He then considers going in to save the recently captured troops. He's supported by the attractive British officer, Peggy Carter, working with the Americans, (did I mention that before? No? Oh, well, she's, gasp, the love interest.), as well as Howard Stark, (Tony Stark's Father). Captain America goes to save the soldiers, gains some weapons and friends, and creates an elite, Nazi, sorry, Hydra, fighting team.

The acting is probably some of the best from any Marvel movie I've seen so far. There's not a single character that I didn't love/hate in the appropriate way. Chris Evans as Steve Rodgers, Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter, Hugo Weaving as Red Skull, (which is a performance on par with, well, most other things he's done), and so many more.

The story is, just like the acting, one of the best I've seen from a Marvel film. And here's why. Captain America doesn't have Hulking abilities, or a super gadget-y suit, or god-like powers. He's a normal guy from Brooklyn. His story and character arc are very compelling, and you root for him every step of the way.

Actually, I have to stop and admit something. I used to HATE Captain America with a burning passion. I saw him as propaganda for a nation, (which is something I'm very against, no matter which nation), and I thought his powers were kinda weak. "Wow, he can lift heavy-ish things and throw a shield," I used to say. But now, I have a lot of respect for this hero. His transformation, not physically, but emotionally and mentally, is a very touching one. 

As for the action, well, I can't really say much more without repeating myself. It's well paced, well timed, and the special effects are incredible.

So, strap on your shiny, perfectly circular shield and fire up Netflix (if the movie's still on there), and watch this amazing film about the First Avenger!

Teenage Critic, signing off!

Please leave any comments that you may have!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The god of Thunder!

Hello people of the Internet!

Today's review is of the Marvel movie: Thor!

Image Credit to IMDb


WARNING: Spoilers ahead!

This movie, of course, tells the classic story of the Norse god of Thunder, Thor. Okay, not really. However, the story is pretty okay anyway. It, of course, centers around the Marvel superhero Thor. 

Thor is shown as a young, extremely arrogant, upstart prince, about to be crowned as king of Asgard, which is an alien planet. His brother, Loki, seems to be slightly jealous, but more on that later. 

The central villains are Frost Giants, the ancient foe of the Asgardians, whom Odin had defeated previously. A peace treaty was then made, peace was upheld, etc, etc, etc. 

Our other main characters are Jane, Darcy, and Erik Selvig. Along with those, we have Lady Sif and a whole slew of Asgardian warriors.

The story is simple enough. Thor's an upstart, starts a war with the Frost Giants, and is banished by his father, to the realm of Midgard, or Earth. Odin then sends Thor's hammer, Mjolnir, immediately after, with a message that "whomever may be worthy will wield the power of Thor". Thor then falls in love with a human and kicks some butt, but only after becoming a better person. He then gets un-banished, and defeats Loki, who was the villain the whole time! (Boy what a surprise! Actually it is, but I'll delve into that later.)

The acting in this movie is excellent in most cases. Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Anthony Hopkins as Odin, Tom Hiddleston as Loki. (Basically, all the Asgardians are awesome.) The actors playing humans were, well, at best, they were good. Natalie Portman*, Kat Dennings, and Stellan Skarsgard were decent choices, but the acting could be better. (Clark Gregg as Agent Coulson is always good, though. Coulson is one of my favorite characters in the current Marvel franchise, and Clark Gregg just has his performance down perfectly.) 

The story, well, it's the cliche "Super tough boy needs to learn a lesson, falls for girl, learns lesson" theme. Okay, maybe it's not extremely overused, but still. 

The sub-plot with Loki and Odin, which I won't go into with much detail, is much more interesting. (Here's where I get into the Loki thing, so hold onto your seats!) Loki is portrayed as this kind, innocent, albeit slightly jealous character. He's just a normal... Asgardian. He fights with his brother and their friends, he even stands up for Thor at some point. Which makes his sudden betrayal all the more surprising. I've been saying to my friends, (that's right I do have friends. Yeesh, harsh much?), that if I hadn't watched the Avengers before seeing Thor, I would not have guessed that Loki was the villain. All of which makes for a very interesting character and story arc.

The action is, of course, amazing. The CGI and special effects are pretty awesome, and very visually appealing. The storms, lightning, all of it is excellent. And Asgard itself is a beautiful thing to feast your eyes upon.

All in all the movie is... quite good. Not my favorite of the Marvel movies, but still a good one. If you ignore the cheesy romance story of Jane and Thor, it's sure to be a fun watch! (Unless you like cheesy romance. Which I do, but not like that.)

Teenage Critic, signing off!

If you have any comments, be sure to leave them, so I know how I'm doing!

*Upon further consideration, I've realized that Natalie Portman is a great actor, just this is one of her weaker roles. Any woman who can play against the actor of Anakin Skywalker and not break is one hell of an actor.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Amazing Spiderman (and a new review concept)

Hello internet!

Boy, it sure has been a while... yeah, sorry about that.

I was thinking a lot, though. I needed to make my reviews detailed, but not to the point where I'm just reciting the plot. So, I'll start my new type of reviews with a movie about my child self's favorite Super Hero: The Amazing Spiderman.

Image Credit to IMDb

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!

This movie is slow. And awkward. Extremely so. Andrew Garfield adds a whole new level of lanky, awkward nerd to the role of Peter Parker. There are scenes of just Peter stuttering to Gwen Stacey. Just the stuttering.

However, the new back story about what happened to his parents is quite intriguing. Peter's dad, a top secret scientist? Awesome!

And the action is fun and well paced. So, I'll give it that.

The story, while interesting, moves very slowly. You would think that it would provide a good contrast to the action, but the action isn't fast paced. Just well paced. Well paced action, tied with slow paced story. Not a very good combo.

The ending does wrap the story up nicely, but leaves room for the new movie coming out later this year. I won't spoil the ending, but it's worth the time before it.

So, in conclusion, The Amazing Spiderman is slow paced, story wise; well paced and fun, action wise, but all in all, a fun romp with your favorite web slinging hero! I'd say that the story about Peter's father is what will have me watching the sequel! (Along with the awesome looking villains they're throwing at us)

Teenage Critic, signing out!

(P.S. Three more things: 1. You'll be getting a whole wave of Super Hero movie reviews. I recently binge watched a ton of them. 2. The video review that I mentioned? Yeah, it may take a while, or it may never be up. 3. Perhaps a review of a book or play is long overdue...)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

Well, hello again, people of the internet! My newest review: Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog!

Now, I've been wanting to watch this, I guess, mini-series, for ages. My sibling would turn it down, but recently they watched it without me. So, while hanging out with my friend, we decided to watch it! My first impression was roughly: "OMG! This looks SO good! Neil Patrick Harris as an evil villain who sings! What could go wrong?" So, I watched it. And... well, see what I thought.

Image Credit to IMDb

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD

Let's start with Act 1-

We open with Doctor Horrible, a "super-villain" (wannabe), is making a new episode of his, I'm assuming, Video Blog. He talks about upcoming schemes, and answers Fan-Mail. When asked about a "Her" that he always speaks about, he gets emotional. He breaks into an emotional song about a freeze ray, and how he'll get the girl, Penny. He reminisces about his time seeing her in the laundromat. 
His buddy, "Moist", (With "moisture" powers), interrupts, bringing in the mail. Dr. Horrible is particularly interested in a letter from "Bad Horse", the leader of the "Evil League of Evil". There is an absolutely brilliant interjection of song by "The Bad Horse Chorus". I thought that this was just such an excellent interjection, I was laughing my butt off! Anyway, the Bad Horse Chorus tells Dr. Horrible that the Evil League of Evil will be watching him, and will accept him if he commits a heinous crime. 
Dr. Horrible plans to steal a case of wonderflonium for his time-stopping Freeze Ray. He has a remote control that he needs to concentrate fully on to use. Unfortunately, Penny is getting signatures for a petition to make sure that a building that is planned for demolition is re-purposed as a homeless shelter. She runs into him. He introduces himself as Billy, and Penny asks him to sign the petition. He obliges, but focuses on the remote control more than her. She leaves, and he is left alone. he is conflicted for a moment, but chooses to focus on the wonderflonium. 
As Dr. Horrible remotely drives away the van holding the wonderflonium, Captain Hammer jumps on to the van, and smashes the device allowing Dr. Horrible to control the van. The van starts careening around streets and corners, almost crashing into many people. However, the van begins rushing towards Penny. Captain Hammer jumps in front of the truck, pushes Penny into the trash, and puts his hands out. Dr. Horrible begins rapidly pushing the "Brake" button, and the truck stops. Penny thinks it was Captain Hammer that stopped the truck, so she goes to him. Hammer forgets about giving a pounding to Dr. Horrible, and instead joins Penny, and they serenade each other. Dr. Horrible goes off, and escapes with the wonderflonium.

I don't have much to say about this Act. The jokes were just right, the songs well written and well performed, and Nathan Fillon was such a great pick for the douche of a man, Captain Hammer. Now...

Act 2-

Dr. Horrible begins to stalk Penny and Captain Hammer on their dates. This leads to a great song number, viewing both aspects of love, from the inside perspective of the girl, and the outside perspective of the boy crushing on the girl. This two perspectives are a perfect medley of a real life love triangle, or a fake one, whatever suits your taste.
Now, Penny and Billy are talking as friends, at the laundromat. They eat frozen yogurt, wait for their laundry to finish, and talk about hopes and dreams.
On his blog, Dr. Horrible talks about where and how he is going to use his freeze ray. The next post, which you see a second after he posts the other one, he talks about how he didn't realize that Captain Hammer and the Los Angeles Police Department watch his video blog, and were waiting for him. He then receives a call from Bad Horse, who tells him that the only way to get into the "Evil League of Evil", he has to assassinate someone. Dr. Horrible is not sure who he would kill, I guess he's conflicted? He doesn't really want to kill someone, but he really wants to get into the "Evil League of Evil".
Billy talks about his troubles with Penny at the laundromat. Penny drops the fact that Captain Hammer is going to drop by later, and Billy panics and tries to leave. Unfortunately, Captain Hammer arrives, and blocks Billy from leaving. He and Billy feign ignorance, and pretend to be meeting for the first time. However, after Penny goes to take care of her laundry, Captain Hammer taunts Billy, ah, I mean, Dr. Horrible, about his crush on Penny. He tells Dr. Horrible that he doesn't really care about Penny, but will have sex with her out of spite. (This is told through a series of fantastic comedy, and I would ruin this if I were to tell you.) This leads Dr. Horrible to not be conflicted any longer. His vision is set on...... killing Captain Hammer!

By gosh, this is just getting better and better! The songs are perfect, well written, and fantastically placed.

Act 3-

Captain Hammer has elected to help with the Homeless problem, mainly by signing the petition to open the new homeless shelter, thus making him the new "Hero". Penny thinks about her relationship with Captain Hammer. Penny is alone during this pondering, due to the fact that Billy has gone into overtime, working on his new and improved DEATH RAY (To kill Captain Hammer).
At the grand opening of the new Homeless Shelter, Captain Hammer gives a speech, to raise hopes, or... something. It's more of a downing, douche-y speech, condemning normal people. But, to the ears of his adoring crowd, it's awe-inspiring.
Suddenly, Dr. Horrible pops out, and freezes Captain Hammer. He rants about how Captain Hammer's disguise is slipping... I think. I was very confused about this song in particular. Dr. Horrible reveals the Death Ray, but just then, the freeze ray malfunctions, and Captain Hammer punches Dr. Horrible. As Captain Hammer points the Death Ray at Dr. Horrible, it backfires... ish. The Death Ray explodes, sending Captain Hammer flying backwards, as well as pieces of metal. Dr. Horrible runs over to Penny, lying and bleeding from a wound, caused by a piece of metal. She dies. Captain Hammer runs off, feeling pain, from the gun, for the very first time.
Dr. Horrible begins committing crimes, and gains infamy.
With Captain Hammer seeks psychiatric help for his new feeling of "pain".
Dr. Horrible joins the Evil League of Evil. He realizes that the death of Penny was exactly what he needed, but not what he truly wanted, to be able to join the League.

I love this ending. It shows how Dr. Horrible, at the beginning, wants the position more than anything. However, throughout the course of the series, he begins to realize that Penny is more important. When she dies, he realizes that his true desire wasn't being in the League, but to have Penny. But, he does enter the League. The way that the shots are done, and the music, it sets his mood. Perfectly.

This mini-series is just perfect. The music is awesome, the acting is perfect, and the cinematography is fantastic. There's not much else that i can say. Just.... Watch the Hell out of this mini-series!

Happy watching! And, again, Thank you for reading!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Prince of Egypt

For my first review: A movie fairly new to me. The Prince of Egypt!


WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS!

Image Credit to IMDb

This Movie opens with the killing of the babies of Hebrew Slaves, in Egypt. We see our "Hero", (I'll get to why that's in quotations later), Moses, as a baby, being set adrift on the Nile by his mother. She sings a touching lullaby, as he floats downstream. His sister sings a prayer that he be safe, and Moses is found by the Queen. This whole scene gives us plenty of back story, which we need to understand the 'Hero's" past. The songs in this, I'm not a huge fan of. They are often off beat, and sung not-quite-so-on-key.

We skip forward to many years later, where we see Moses, and his older brother, Rameses, racing chariots. They destroy priceless Egyptian architecture, and end up in trouble with their father, the Pharaoh, named Seti. (Seti is voiced by Patrick Stewart, I thought you ought to know) Moses takes the blame, but Seti still scolds Rameses, because he believes that it is important for Rameses to learn some responsibility. Still, Moses convinces Seti to give Rameses a chance. Seti ends up appointing Rameses as the Prince Regent, and Rameses give Moses the position of Royal Chief Architect as thanks. The two priests, Hotep and Huy, (the comic relief... I think?), bring the young woman, Tzipporah, as a gift to Rameses. After a very violent exchange, Rameses gifts her to Moses, and she gets sent to Moses's room. Upon entering his room, Zipporah escapes, leaving Moses with a tied up guard. Nevertheless, Moses helps Zipporah escape. (I sense some foreshadowing/contrast coming up!) Upon doing so, Moses stumbles upon his sister, Miriam, and brother, Aaron. Miriam tells Moses who he really is, and he doesn't believe her, until she sings the lullaby that their mother sang as he was being sent down the river. Somehow, he remembers it, and believes her.

That night, Moses has a beautifully animated dream sequence. Actually, let me talk about the animation for a bit. The animation is gorgeous. I mean it. DreamWorks has almost never let me down, and this is a prefect example of that. The way that the characters move, the tears when they cry. Oh! And the scenery! The scenery is wonderful! The way that they capture Ancient Egypt, at least aesthetically, is just glorious! It brings that ancient wonder to life. And the desert, the waters and seas, the sky, the rocks. All just wonderful.

Okay. tangent over.

Where was I.... Ah! The dream! Moses has a dream about the kidnapping and deaths of the Hebrew slave's babies. The sequence itself is wonderfully designed, with an obvious lean toward Ancient Egyptian art on temple and pyramid walls. This dream shocks Moses, and visits he room with depictions of Pharaohs and the laws that made them great. In that room, is a large portrayal of Seti, ordering the Hebrew babies to be dumped into the Nile. Seti comes and attempts to explain to Moses about how things must be done for the greater good, no matter how awful they seem. However, Seti is very harsh about the Hebrews, and Moses realizes how Seti views them: as inferior beings. This leads Moses to, the next day, push a guard to his death, for whipping a Hebrew slave. While whipping someone is not okay, killing someone is worse. This begins my rants about the "Hero". But the details come later. Rameses says that he can pardon the murder, but Moses says that he can't handle himself. Moses leaves, and begins walking through the desert.

Let me just take a break here, and talk some history. I'm not going to go into the historical accuracy of Biblical figures, because I'll have people all over me. But, I will discuss the historical accuracy of the movie, in the context of: Slavery. The Egyptians didn't keep slaves. Not a single one. The building of the pyramids; done by a paid work force. Warriors; paid work force. Farmers; paid work force. Do you see the pattern? They weren't big fans of slavery. Anyway, moving back to the film.

Moses walks for miles and miles, and eventually reaches the village of the Midianites, where he rescues some girls from some bandits. It turns out that those girls are the sisters of Tzipporah. Moses is welcomed into the tribe, and becomes a Herder. He and Tzipporah get married, he loves his life, has fun, etc. etc. etc.

But one day, as Moses follows a stray sheep, he comes across a cave, with a shimmery light. He enters the cave, and has some spiritual thing with a tree inside the cave. I'm not a big spiritual person, so I won't go into the details. I won't do it justice. In the end, God does some stuff on Moses's staff, and it will "wield his might", or something like that, and gives Moses the mission to free the Hebrews from slavery. Moses goes back to the village, and tells his wife. She decides that she will go with him. they ride off, towards Egypt.

Upon arriving in Egypt, Moses goes to see Rameses. Rameses greets him like a brother, and they embrace. Moses demands that the Hebrews are to be set free, and turns his staff into a snake. Hotep and Huy turn two other staffs into snakes, to prove the might of the Egyptian gods. Moses's snake eats the other two. (It's more of a detail, but I think it's symbolism of some kind?) Ramses pulls Moses aside, and asks him what he was really there for. Moses explains that he is serious, and Ramses decides to double the work load of all of the slaves. I... I don't understand that train of thought. I think it's just to show that Rameses is meant to be the villain. Or something.

WARNING: This next bit is a slight non-sequitur.

Moses is attacked by the slaves, but Miriam stands up for him.
As Rameses passes on the Nile in a boat, Moses turns the water to blood. Hotep and Huy use red dye to make plain water look bloody.

Moses, now quite slightly peeved-ish, sort of, brings multiple plagues upon Egypt. Even the innocents. This is where the "Hero" part comes in. While some people may see Moses as a Hero, saving the Hebrews, I don't. Just from this movie. All of the other stuff I've heard, like Exodus, he seems like he's doing this all, but with regret. The Moses in this movie seems not to care. He doesn't care that he's hurting thousands of innocent people, hard working people: farmers, scholars, boatmen, soldiers.

Then, after Rameses refuses another time to release the Hebrews, Moses makes a threat, to bring the worst plague yet. In front of Rameses's son.

Now, here is where I cried. I cry often during books, movies, shows. I'm a big softie. The thing that saddened me the most is the animation. That's right. The fantastic animation is what made me cry. Why? you ask. I'll answer: The visuals of the plague. The white mist descending on the homes of families. Seeing the children's lives being taken away. Hearing the smashing pot as the child falls to the ground, then seeing his tiny, fragile arm fall limp out of the doorway.

What made me cry the hardest was when Rameses was carrying his son's tiny, limp body to the table, and covered it with the cloth. As I said before, the crying is superbly animated. As Rameses's tears stream down his face, and he cradles his son's dead form, Moses approaches him. Rameses gives the Hebrews permission to leave.

Moses leads the Hebrews to the sea, where they think they are safe. Suddenly, Rameses appears, having followed the Hebrews. You all probably know the story from here. Moses parts the sea, Rameses follows, Egyptians get drowned. (Rameses gets swept up onto a rock.)

Moses leads the Hebrews through the desert. The movie ends as Moses comes down the mountain with the Ten Commandments.

Wow. Just. Wow. This movie was... actually really good. Despite the crying, and the slight historical inaccuracies, the movie holds up. The animations are just phenomenal, and the story gets across. But, a fair warning: the songs are all pretty much awful. Try to focus on the message or visuals of the song, rather than the song itself.

Happy watching! And thank you for reading!