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Bishôjo senshi Sêrâ Mûn (1992)
Say what you will about SS, it's still very kawaii to me
Out of the four seasons commercially available in the U.S., Sailor Moon Super S is often regarded as the worst or second worst. I won't argue with the reasoning of the naysayers, because they've got a point. The series does suffer for its focus on Chibi-Usa, and the often unimpressive "Remless" contribute to a "Monster of the Day" syndrome in many episodes. There aren't a lot of the filler episodes that focus on the inner senshi and their development, which I miss, and let's not even talk about the "little elephant" incident.
However, a lot of elements are quite strong. The philosophy on dreams, while repetitive, is fairly interesting, and the adulthood/growing up themes resonate in my ancient twenty-two year old soul. There's also some interesting episodes concerning music and art. The soundtrack retains some classic tracks, and the first ending song, especially when used within episodes, always gets an emotional reaction. (Especially in #31, "The Secret of Pegasus! The Handsome Guardian of the Dream World," where Chibiusa becomes an adult and Usagi becomes a child.) Although, the second ending song is quite forgettable. Even though Nehelenia and Zirconia are not that interesting, the main henchmen (the Amazon Trio & the Amazonness Quartet) are decently fleshed out, and become sympathetic characters by the time their "Stage Out" comes along.
So, even though Super S isn't the best, it's still worth watching if you like to see a lot of cute moments interspersed with the standard SM action, romance, and love/friendship celebrating that we've come to know and love. Nevertheless, I should say that my positive comments only apply to the Japanese version. Not only have I not seen the English version, but my theory is that if the Japanese version was weaker than the other seasons, the English will certainly be very bad. The English voice of Chibiusa, in particular, is somehow even more annoying than she was in R.
The Hot Chick (2002)
Hit and miss comedy, but not the worst ever
My perception of "The Hot Chick" was quite similar to my perception of Schneider's earlier film, "Deuce Bigalow: Male Giggalo." It's a comedy that's not the greatest, with some good and funny moments in a sea of overdone, lowest-common-denominator humor. The movie did a good job satirizing the trappings and formalities of high school and the behaviors of teenaged girls and guys. As other reviewers pointed out, it was somewhat disappointing that there wasn't more shown of Rachael McAdams as she attempted to play a male character. It would have added a little more balance to the plot. At many moments, I felt like the movie could have had potential to do better, but decided to take the low road or carry a gag too far. For instance, the scene where she's listening to her dad talk about his marriage would have been good if they hadn't started going into too many details. . .the restroom scene was a little too much. . . and in general, they could have had Jessica starting to respect people outside her own race and class a little more. Anna Faris also puts in a good turn as Jessica's best friend, and the quasi-lesbian romance is rather interesting. Still, I got the suspicious feeling that the movie was a vehicle for Rob Schneider to have pillow fights with relatively young actresses, and I recommend that you do something else, like ironing, while watching it.
Great Expectations (1998)
How about South Park's version. . .?
Great Expectations '98 was a decent film on some levels--the cinematography of the Florida scenes, particularly the crumbling mansion; the acting was reasonable, for the most part, and that first kiss scene had me "aww"ing like a Full House audience. However, even though I've never read the book (see location above), I still got the feeling that it was being heavily distorted and bastardized in the transition to film. I have some inclination to read the book, but maybe I should just watch the old film instead.
P.S. I'm glad someone else noticed the Bryan Adams lyric use.
Brian's Song (2001)
Where'd the music go?
Although this remake falls a little bit short of the original in several departments (that others have brought up, such as the casting and the watering down of the racially charged dialogue between Sayers and Piccolo), it stays fairly true to the core story, with some new parts about their families and a more extensive portrayal of Piccolo's illness. "Brian's Song" has often been described as a "Love Story" style tearjerker for guys, and the new version managed to pull this off with me, in the night scene where the two are talking alone on the field, and we hear just a few notes of the Michael Legrand theme from the original. This brings me to my main point. . .why not more of that music? That theme (called "the Hands of Time") is, in my opinion, one of the most poignant and emotionally touching bits of music I know. If one listens carefully, you can hear some examples of derivative composing in movies such as "Lilo & Stitch" where other composers try to cash in on the Brian's Song theme.
An epic quest. . .
When I first saw "The Matrix," I was immediately reminded of the opening graphics of this high-quality cartoon show. This show never disappointed me with its smart writing, very good animation, and its storyline. . .it has a more or less continuous plot, at least towards the end. My favorite two episodes were "Less than Zero," where the team seeks after ghosts in a huge Venetian island mansion (kind of a fusion between "Ghostbusters" and "The Shining") and an episode where the team lands on an island that has, again, a haunted house. Johnny and Jesse become possessed by two dead lovers, and in a very cute scene, find themselves kissing as the spirits leave their bodies. It's a shame that the lowgrade animation and lowest common denominator catchphrase spewing humor of shows such as Powerpuff girls and Dexter's Laboratory are what we get these days. P.S. It may be sacrilage, but I daresay that "Real adventures" was BETTER than the original Johnny Quest.
Super Mario Bros. 2 (1986)
Very good. Very Challenging.
One of the reasons I wanted Super Mario All-Stars was simply to play this game. Nowadays, I can breeze through any of the other Mario games with minimal difficulty (aside from Yoshi's Island, haven't played that one too many times). It retained the feel of the original classic, but with several new twists, such as poison mushrooms, wind, powerful spring boards, "maze" effects in open air levels (i.e. 7-3, C-3), and in one case, a goal that's on a different plane than the level's starting point. It took me probably over 20 times to beat level 8-4 (Mario 3 blatantly rips off the "jump off a ledge and angle yourself left into a pirahna plant to avoid falling into a pit" situation), but I managed to beat that, the "secret" world 9, and the greater challenges of levels A-D (although D-4 doesn't have the same sting as 8-4). The only problem is that the save feature on the Super Nintendo is essentially unlimited lives, as it allows you to save after each individual level. Still, very much worth playing if you like Mario games and miss the old days of 2-D sidescrolling platform games.
Autumn in New York (2000)
Not much redeeming value. . .(some spoilers)
I knew this film wouldn't be too good when I saw it, but I figured, "Might as well. . ." To be fair, the acting of the leads and supporting roles is on a moderate to good level, and the story did create a few genuine moments of sadness. However, the story has been done a million times before. . ."Love Story," "Sweet November," "A Walk to Remember," and so forth. All "Autumn in New York" did was put the age difference spin on it, as well as the quasi-incestual component which other commenters have mentioned. *Minor Spoilers ahead* The ending is, of course, utterly predictable, and it really felt like a movie and its suffering audience were simply being put out of their collective miseries. And on a final note, I just want to complain about the preponderance of New York movies. Sure, some are set there because some feature of the city is necessary for the plot (Wall Street in "The Family Man", Madison Avenue in "Splash", Central Park as an improvised road in "Die Hard 3", and so forth), but that was not the case in this movie, aside from forming a basis for the rather uncreative title. Maybe someday, studios will realize that there are a few other good-sized cities in the US other than NYC, LA and Chicago. If this movie had been called, for instance, "St. Louis Twilight," I might have been more willing to see it. And not to kick a city while it's down, so to speak, but I think we've all seen enough of the Big Apple.
Sidewalks of New York (2001)
Interesting, but fell a little short
Like many other commentators here, I got that Woody Allen feeling while watching this movie. "Sidewalks of New York" had some likeable and some dislikeable elements. It did provide plenty of interesting commentary on the rather sad state of modern relationships, but at the same time, this relationship banter included a preponderance of sex talk, to the point where I wanted to yell at half the characters, "All right, we get it! Stop whining already." The acting was fairly good, even from Heather Graham, surprisingly enough. Brittany Murphy, as well. The "documentary" feel, despite jittery camera shots, gave the film a refreshingly different atmosphere, that saved it from descending even farther into the depths of melodrama. My final complaint is one that I have about a lot of movies, so it isn't entirely specific to this one: Why New York? Why is it always New York? Of course, I understand the budget concern here, but the story would have worked in any city of appreciable size. Let me say, I would lay down my money at a theater if I knew a movie was set in a place such as Denver, St. Louis, Kansas City, Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Seattle, or practically any city outside of L.A/S.F or the Boston-DC region. (For movies set in NYC, though, I liked "The Bone Collector" because it showed the seedy, older sides of the city, not just the glitzy Manhattan Skyline)
The Truck Farmer (1954)
Worship the truck farmer! Bow down before him!
An interesting little short about the exploitative system of the 1930's-50's that used cheap Mexican workers (that "cross the border on temporary work permits to *help* with the harvest"). Between the excessive chemicals and the water hose (that will later be used to beat back the workers), there's no end to the laughs when MST:3K features this before "I Accuse my Parents." Great lines abound, such as "A preteen is put to work. Her Beauty will soon fade" and "It's Killdozer! Clint Walker, no!"
Holiday in the Sun (2001)
"Does not represent best work"
Although the Olsen twins are their generally adorable selves in "Holiday in the Sun," the movie was a bit of a disappointment. The other comments have some truth in them. . .it does seem very much like an advertisement for the Atlantis Resort. Let's see, what else. . .the "Cyrano de Bergerac" romantic plot was done better in "Whatever it Takes," and came off rather awkwardly here. As for the editing and home video-style shots, that's something of a Mary-Kate & Ashley trademark (see "So Little Time"). What bothered me most is that there wasn't an ongoing sense of tension or conflict present in some of their other films; this one is a lot of playing around, with a bit about antiquities smuggling thrown in at the end. So, if you're going to bash the twins, don't judge by this one alone; at least see some other ones, like "Our Lips are Sealed" and especially "Winning London" first.