Sucker Punch

2011, 110 minutes, Action, U.S.; Directed by Zack Snyder; Produced by Deborah Snyder, Zack Snyder; Legendary Pictures, Cruel and Unusual Films; Dist. by Warner Brothers

Usually good and solid films, even ones that are considered “intelligent” or “intellectual” in nature, are presented in the fashion that even someone with the I. Q. level of a third grader can understand what’s going on. I’m not discussing a third grader’s level of experience, as there are a lot of situations presented in some films that a third grader would have never had the opportunity to know about. But a third grader could understand the way it’s being presented.

For example, if a film shows a shot of the outside of a large mansion, then cuts to another shot of a large group of people sitting at a long dinner table, it’s suggested that the large group of people sitting at the table are also inside of the large mansion. This technique has become a common tongue in the language of film is used naturally all of the time in modern filmmaking to present all sorts of situation in a fashion where everyone would be able to understand what’s going on.

For better or for worse, Zack Snyder attempts to push those boundaries of editorial story-telling in his film Sucker Punch, a film about a girl trying to escape from the confines of a mental institute where other perfectly sane girls are commonly given in the care of and lobotomized in order keep them out of the way of those who don’t mean well in society. Read more of this post

Twins Effect II

"I just woke up from the strangest movie..." said Gillian Chung, as she grasped her neck.

Back when Forced Perspective was still in its teething phase, I gave Dante Lam’s 2003 film The Twins Effect a glowing recommendation – albeit, a recommendation as a guilty pleasure. In hindsight, I still feel Lam’s film is more of a “silly” film than a “bad” film for many of the same reasons I’d stated earlier: despite the subpar plot and acting, it’s technically well-crafted and doesn’t take itself too seriously. I’d even forgotten to mention how entertaining Anthony Wong was.  The film was a financial success as well, so it is no surprise that less than a year later Emperor Motion Pictures sprung forth Twins Effect II, a sequel-in-name-only directed by Corey Yuen and Patrick Leung. Like the original, it combines a carefree silliness with a sense of technical skill. The big difference between the two films is that Twins Effect II genuinely sucks.

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Alternate Perspective: Summer Wars by JH

“Anime? You mean the Japanese cartoons like Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh!” or “Anime? You mean the Japanese cartoons full of sex and violence?” are probably the two most common responses by “normal” people when they find out that someone watches anime; I can’t help but find the polar opposite associations rather hilarious. Nobody would ever say “oh, you read poetry, you mean that stuff about flowers?” or “oh, you read poetry, you mean that stuff about wars?” The Association stem from the confusion that anime is a genre rather than simply animation from Japan; it’s no more a genre than French films are a genre. Once I’ve explained that to people unfamiliar with anime the next question is inevitably “why do you watch cartoons?”.  Indeed, the stigma against animation has something only suited for kids or outrageous satirical comedy is pervasive in most of the West. The simple answer behind why I watch it is that the creative freedom inherent in animation, and frequently expressed through animation, far outweighs that in the vast majority of live-action films, and Mamoru Hosoda’s Summer Wars is a prime example of that imaginative explosion. Read more of this post

Macross Plus

If someone were to ask me to compile a list of the best OVAs ever made, there are a few titles that would immediately leap to my mind.  Gainax’s landmark 1987 anime Gunbuster is one, and so is Giant Robo, which had its first episode released in 1991.  FLCL (2000), Time of Eve (2007), Green Legend Ran (1992), Cat Soup (2001), Key: The Metal Idol (1991), and Bubblegum Crisis (1987-92) would each probably have places on that list as well.  It isn’t that there must be anything of profound substance in a work, nor even any incredible feats of narrative brilliance, for me to consider it worthy of inclusion among the “best ever made”.  A lot of it comes down to sheer enjoyment, I’ll admit, but the compilation of such lists inevitably involves some amount of subjective preferences.  But there’s no denying that a lot of that enjoyment relies on things such as animation quality, the uniqueness or quality of the cinematic form, the adroitness of the writing, the development of the characters and the presentation of the themes, etc.  And while I’d certainly consider these titles—and others, probably—as being within the top ten or twenty, I don’t believe any has what it takes to be the best ever made. Read more of this post

The Guilty Pleasure Pile: Carnosaur 2

Science Fiction, Action; 1994; 83 minutes; U.S.; Directed by: Louis Monaeu; Produced by: Mike Elliot; Executive Produced by: Roger Corman; The Pacific Trust; New Horizons Home Video

Actual Quality

Guilty Pleasure Quality

In 1993, Roger Corman’s Carnosaur compared itself greatly to Jurassic Park, which in turned showed signs that Spielberg was more directly inspired by Comran to come into the world of executive producer and increasing his quantity of film in his filmography. It was a rather unlikely turn of events, but it happened. Elements from Carnosaur were even taken and placed in a mock script for Jurassic Park IV, which greatly infuriated fans in 2003 when they thought that it was the actual production script for the film; a film which never came came to realization in any form of production as of yet.

Corman quickly went into production with the sequel simply titled Carnosaur 2 much faster than Spielberg came to production with his sequel film The Lost World: Jurassic Park. In fact, the film was released in 1994, only roughly one year after the release of the both the first Carnosaur and Jurassic Park films and 3 years before Spielberg would release his Jurassic Park sequel in 1997. Despite Corman’s film again starring dinosaurs, the film’s creative team decided to take a different approach to their sequel film by “paying homage” to the techniques and films of director of James Cameron, specifically his 1986 film Aliens and 1991 film Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

Carnosaur is a sequel ripping off both an Alien sequel and a Terminator sequel, and was released during the announcement of a Jurassic Park sequel. Considering the first installments to all of these three franchises, that’s a scope of at least 8 movies. And that’s not considering the other sequels that all four of these franchises later put into production. Could this review get anymore crowded? Read more of this post

Megamind

Science-Fiction, Action, Comedy; 96 minutes; 2010; U.S.; Directed by: Tom McGrath; Procuded by: Lara Breay Denise, Nolan Cascino; DreamWorks Animation, Pacific Data Images, Red Hour Productions

There are two things I’ve never enjoyed in Hollywood matter how hard marketing tries to make me enjoy them: Will Farrel movies and DreamWorks movies.

Well, that last one is a slight exaggeration. The first two Shrek films were enjoyable for me when they were funny. But the franchise was quickly exposed to be no more than a mindless and spiteful Disney mockery when their jokes failed to entertain those watching them, even if the viewers did tire of the Disney formula that DreamWorks was trying to demolish in their own jerky way. And as for Will Farrel, I’ve never enjoyed him in… anything. To me, he just comes off as a sick joke that’s trying too hard to be funny. Heck, I didn’t even like Elf, and that movie was trying to stay away from Farrel’s usual tacticks.

So why would I even watch a film that packaged these two annoyances together into one set for the Hollywood studio to throw at me? Well to be honest, I don’t quite know why myself. But I’m sure glad I watched the new DreamWorks film starring Will Farrel: Megamind.

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Dirty Pair, or Why Aren’t You Watching The Lovely Angels?

The magic of the Lovely Angels is difficult to describe.  There’s something irrationally appealing about the mannerisms of their characters, the intonations and inflections of their voice actors, and their general screen presence.  It extends beyond mere lines and color on two dimensional cells, and it’s something less concrete than the pleasantly eye-catching character models.  The infectiousness of this attachment blurs on the fringes of moè tinged with no small amount of the erotic, facilitated no doubt by provocative costumes, hot women in dangerous situations, and their seemingly effortlessly-written banter.  Kei & Yuri are fantastic characters, to say the least, as admirable as they are humorous and sexy.

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