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

(Not) A Guilty Pleasure: Raptor

You don't really care who made this, and to be honest, neither do I. So instead here's a snarky rebuttal to the above poster about stock footage never being extinct either.

No "Guilty Pleasure Quality" this time. I really hate this movie. Only in the category for consistency's sake.

I’m really not sure how to introduce Raptors, the 2001 spin-off film following the Carnosaur Trilogy. Other than that it’s low production values and mindless casting were even too much for me, as I’m knocking this film out of The Guilty Pleasures. That’s right. It was so bad I couldn’t even enjoy it as cheap and silly entertainment. The way it was shot, the way the actors walked, and the clues to major cop-outs later on down the film just turned me off from the very beginning. I would say that Roger Corman should have stay Executive Producer rather than moving to Producer for the film, but that would suggest the other Carnosaur films were any good. Raptors was just as bad but simply far less enjoyable.

I shouldn’t be criticized for not knowing how to introduce such a film, as even the filmmakers didn’t even seem to know how to introduce the movie. So rather than trying, they simply re-used footage from the first Carnosaur film to show a bunch of teens in a Jeep getting slaughtered by the dinosaur. In fact, much of the story is recycling a lot of elements from the first film simply so the filmmakers could reuse old footage when needed to cut down on production costs. The plot revolves around a mad scientist trying to clone dinosaurs back to life. Sound familiar? (I’m not even referring to Jurassic Park.) 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

The Guilty Pleasures Pile: Carnosaur

Science Fiction; U.S.; 1993; 83 minutes; written and directed by: Adam Simon; based on the novel by: Harry Adam Knight; produced by: Mike Elliot; Executive produced by: Roger Corman; New Horizon Home Video

Actual Quality

Guily Pleasure Quality

There are some movies that defy all thought and predictions. Films that go beyond the boundaries set for them by their contemporaries. Films that literally boldly go where no respectable person has gone before. (Mainly because respectable people know better.) These are films that are so bad they’re good. You laugh at they’re vain attempts to make you care, the silly ideas that are meant to scare you, and performances that no one, not even the actors and director, seemed to know what they were going for.These are the films that find themselves in our Guilty Pleasures Pile, and though many on this film blog have already thrown stuff into the pile, I’m going to make my first contribution in a while to the stash with a little mockbuster film Roger Corman executive produced en lure of Jurassic Park called Carnosaur. In fact, it’s fun to see how these two franchises kept butting into each other’s territory.

Corman was known in the olden days as the director who looked for one thing from his actors and one thing only: Stand on the tape mark, you turd. Actually, he was a wonderful guy to work with and lot of fun, but you had to hit your marks. He didn’t care what your line sounded like, he didn’t care how you did what you did… he just wanted you to stand on the tape mark and say your piece so he can say “cut”. 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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Never Let Me Go

Very early on while watching Never Let Me Go I was struck with the realization that I must be watching an adaptation of a novel. There’s simply a certain quality that such adaptations have that original screenplays don’t. They’re marked by a certain stately elegance, a temporal broadness (for whatever reason, feature film screenplays tend to stay rooted in one time period), and, most of all, a feeling that the visuals are struggling to capture the original prose and say more about the characters than are possible through a camera lens. Other such films in the past decade that also had these qualities were Chocolat, The Hours, Atonement, The Reader, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Perceptive readers might note all of these films were nominated for Oscars as well, and there’s a part of me that’s surprised Never Let Me Go wasn’t. Read more of this post

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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