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Eye opener, v1.00
I found this to be the most approachable of the five features. I found reading the novel after watching the feature to add to the experience. I found the Youtube audio books by BreakingDawnReader1, etc, to add to that.
The dress code of the wolves, at first I found that to be a big let down as it is not explained in the features or the commentary. I am now wondering if it is part of the novels that I have forgotten about. The novel series Animorphs by Katherine Applegate does give a believable explanation in its early episodes and I now import that into my experience of this feature and I can shrug off what used to be a big negative point, to me.
I used to experience the romance of the first three features as fake, unreal. After gradually acclimatising to this feature I can now accept the romance in all of the features. I have now watched it through, the full set of features, a few times and found them all to be okay. I needed this feature in order to be able to do that.
I found the later features of Kristen to be a problem to me due to her acting style. Riley's and Snow White. This feature has enabled me to overcome that. I can now like them more. I will now be wanting to get more of Kristen's later features.
Me rating this feature as 10 out of ten. That is more as a tribute to how it has affected my experience of the series and of Kristen's work.
An average series, v1.01
My first impression was that there were things lacking in this. Recently I have seen Star Wars for the first ever time and I got the same impression and shrugged that off by considering it as a story written by a very effective geek that not surprisingly turned out as geared to 8 year old boys.
So, many still respect Star Wars, I only saw it because of the comments about it in the Scream series and then found ordinary priced second hand copies of a few. Some seem to like Pramface as well, though I do not think that it is intended to appeal to boys of such a young age?
I find Pramface to have several positive aspects in the story details so I will not try to hide from season 2, if it appears on disk. Pramface has some very effective actors, but for me it lacks the support needed for their effectiveness to shine.
Other series that I have seen recently includes Jonas season 1, season 2 not being available yet. I was attracted to this because of Camp Rock. A positive aspect that this shares with Pramface is no canned laughter. For me a big plus. Other than that, a problem as the first ten episodes I really preferred to avoid. But by 1-11, midway into disk Season 1, Volume 2, things picked up and it varied between average and a bit above average. It includes a character with the Disney look best shown by Ashley Tisdale in HSM and Zach And Cody, just for me the look was starting to feel overdone. It did make me wish that season sets of Zach And Cody were available instead of just the two sampler disks. Tisdale has a real magnificence in these.
Shake It Up. I had great hopes for this, just it turned out to be just an average series with canned laughter added. Aarghhh. My DVD is a compilation of seven episodes from seasons 1 and 2 so it is unlikely to appear as full season sets. I was actually a bit disappointed by the lack of sets as season 2 improves.
W.I.T.C.H. animated series. The first few books of the series are available locally at affordable second hand prices, just the DVDs only seem to include a few episodes so I guess it might work out rather expensive to get full season sets, if that is possible. I do like the novels, though, neat second childhood food. The TV version seems really okay too, once I had gotten over my initially hostile reaction.
Sofia's World. A TV series from one of the smaller TV channels, and one that is definitely a step above average. A UK sixth former doing work experience at a teen magazine. My DVD set has a dozen episodes, comprising all of seasons one and two.
Fame. I came across a few of the later episodes of the 1980's TV series when it was broadcast in the UK. The season 1 DVD set tells me that it is way better than I remember it, a lot better than the average TV series, quality, though many appear to disagree on that.
Hi-5. A series from Australia, with some seasons geared to the USA market. This is geared to kids around age 5, though some males in their twenties appear to have a love of it. Is that the age twenty something actors being what some would consider to be attractive or is it recognition of useful second childhood food? First viewing of volumes 5 and 6 I found Hi-5 to be alien, but tolerable on a later viewing.
Six Feet Under, season 4. This has four episodes with the Trachtenberg as a scary popular music singer, guarded by the lover of the gay. I find this series as way above average if not viewed too often.
Gossip Girl season six. As with other seasons I experience this as way above average. This final season is also more approachable than the others. The series finale is excellent.
Surprise. Star Wars, Clone Wars, animated series season 1 volume 1. Instead of being Star Wars disease I found it to be even better than any of these, even better than Gossip Girl, series finale excepted.
Inspiration to , v1.00
Some reviews here consider Tumbleweeds to be too derivative but I experience it as being worthwhile.
I was impressed. I had not written any IMDb comments for several months and this made me start writing. I also started a review of the TV series Pramface that I had high hopes for but which turned out to be only average. In 2013 it was the two Snow White movies and Machete that I found to be inspirational.
Tumbleweeds does not give a polite interpretation of some aspects of USA male society. Some might experience it as threatening. This talks of a time when many mature males are likely to have been reared by the 'Cave Man' methods of 'Dr Spock'. The men who the mum of this story had relationships with, something is tragically predictable there.
The mum in this ends up feeling that she has no option but to swear off romantic relationships with men. My interpretation, the story does not say that, one uses one's imagination.
The past year, the UK pogroms included actions against some people with disaster level sexual skills and some key UK figures pointed to were very respected BBC radio popular music DJs. The disaster that the mum faces in this has counterparts in the UK, though the disaster does not seem identical.
In the UK I call what is happening a Pogrom because it points to behaviour that is often obviously junk and encourages the population to feel secure in drawing fairly puritan conclusions about these bad guys. For me the 1990's was showing me how tied up people can get, with a lot of pressure to get tied up to sexist or puritan ways. I would have expected the modern world to be moving towards healthier ways to clean up the disease. Instead, the UK seems to be as bad as the Middle East, diseased; rooted in puritan disease and fighting the good fight against those with different disease.
This story is from the point of view of the mum and daughter. As a tangled male to female under pressure to get tangled even more I do not find this story to be threatening. The issues are very real 'modern world', to me. I am finding it a fun way to consider related aspects of the wider world.
I feel a need to compare this story with Machete (2010). A fun story about immigrants, mostly illegal, which I prefer to interpret as a parable about the apparent impossibility of moving to the symbolic New World, for me the promised land of transgender working out okay, not getting excluded from key aspects of reality.
Machete ends with a big shoot up and if that happened in the real world the immigrants would just get messed up badly. As is, it makes for a fun story.
The land of ice and penguins. Features such as Independence Day (1996) by Roland Emmerich remind me of parables where symbolic beliefs are portrayed as solid reality. At the end of 2013, Yahoo showed some 1990's pictures of the new sea level if all of the permanent snow and ice melted. A rise of sea level of around 300 metres, lots of coastal land submerged. For that to be physically true it would call for the permanent ice to have an average depth of several kilometres, which I consider to be inaccurate in a really huge way. I just do not believe it.
I assume that is a symbolic belief. Likely talking about iced up individuals, fears of what would happen if the chained were liberated. Tumbleweeds includes several different types of ice-scream-victim in need of liberation and the world has always been under pressure to notice big reasons to fear their liberation.
Praise the effective, penalise the crippled. Vomit, but the previously crippled mum is moving to a position where she can start to appear as effective.
Horrid Henry: The Movie (2011)
Mightily foul, magnificently putrid, v1.00
A Brit story about foul people, not uncommon these days. Just this is a rarity, one that I can love. No pain to watch this one, for me anyway. Even Henry's greatest enemy, Moody Margaret, is so totally magnificent.
The IMDb rating for this, August 2013, was 3.5. That is maybe to be expected, these stories are nearly always rated lower than the target audience would give. As a balance I chose to rate it as 10 just because of that. It is my prediction of how the target audience might rate it.
A more natural for a rating of ten is Aquamarine, but Horrid Henry still has a lot going for it.
The question of whether England is really as putrid as this comedy shows is totally not relevant, but during the summer there was a special season for political policy re those on a low income. The ruling party started the summer extremely low in the popularity charts and by the end of the summer they were flying high, it was the opposition who had sunk really low. News said that Britain was on the way to economic recovery. Meantime those on the lowest income prepared for a future of an even lower income.
England is difficult to understand if one happens to be dispossessed, it is way to easy to misinterpret reality. Another big story of the summer was that of Whistle-blower. I find it easy to consider it foul that he was telling stories based on privileged information, the dispossessed often get messed up by that and by misinterpretations of that. But the information had stuff such as the UK spying on visiting politicians when they came here to talk international politics, that is so horrid that I can totally expect it of modern Brits. When a key aid of Whistle-blower, David Miranda, was arrested this summer I noticed lots of Brit comments to the news being that these were all accepted and normal practices, that the arrest was proper, that the Official Secrets Acts was meant to protect the government when they snooped on their neighbours, that the secret information could lead to terrorist attacks if released.
I personally find it easy to consider Horrid Henry to be saying things about day to day Brits, but that is not the point.
This is a story for pre-teens. Me being a second childhood type at retirement age I consider that there are not enough quality features for these. I also consider it to be quality and also fun. It was also much more affordable than most other video disks. Pointless vomit that I also consider the story to be worthwhile.
If such features are often an important part of the training ground for future actors then one can hope for great things. I do not say great and terrible things.
Carly Schroeder. I consider Lizzie McGuire to have some retrograde aspects, grit stemming from the blatant vengeance culture approach of Lizzie's family. It was a step towards me considering modern Disney to be highly suspicious, but a few years on and I have to find Disney's Lizzie McGuire, also Nickelodeon's Zoey 101, still to be head and shoulders better than most other television series for kids that I have on DVD. Carly occasionally appearing as 'Melanoma', a memorable and very beautiful but scary friend of Lizzie's scary little brother.
The past two years I have looked to see if Carly had anything else out on disk. I found Firewall, which did not appeal to me. Now I have obtained this.
This story shows that she can handle a very different role to Melina. Not that all who have commented on this would agree. In this her beauty is usually tamed down but she is trying to head in directions that often feel to be sensible. The people around her have different understandings of sensible. For me, this is the power of the story.
There is a lot of grit in this story as well. It is based on the 1970's and the males remind me of the males in such as Detroit Rock City, alien and really vomit level aggressive cavemen. The football field is not understood as a place with rules of good conduct, it is more a battlefield where the opposition are tough and players are tough even to players on their own team who they do not consider to rate good conduct. They are supposed to be tough, skilled but tough. This would never be a Dr Spock understanding of manly male? This is nothing like the bits of football or UK rugby league that I used to occasionally go to in the 1960's.
It reminds me of the world of battling 'heroes' that I occasionally noticed in sports posters, local UK in the 1990's. An alien world. In the UK 1970's I did not notice the violence in people, it was there but more a hidden thing, silent and deadly.
In this, lead character Gracie is damaged by the violence, it knocks her down for more than half a year. She shows herself as having what it takes to gradually become a survivor. For me that is not the important part of the story, what counts more as this being a story that I can find okay on a second or third viewing. It is an okay way to pass the time.
Add the soundtrack including the sort of 1970's related music that I can rate as hot.
The bird is an American Kestral, aka American Sparrowhawk. A young male, not European but very common in the USA. The commentaries add detail. These are more real than one's average commentary.
Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)
Fun inspiration for fantasising about the modern world?, v1.01
Spoilers due to a lot of personal opinion about what I see as parallels to stories like this one.
Snow White And The Huntsman (2012) and Mirror Mirror (2012), two stories that take a common theme from different angles. Mirror as nice and fun, so why do I find it easier to re-watch the other, this scarier one? Taking them as abstract, pure fiction, then Mirror. Except that I tend to prefer to consider these as stories about the real world.
England, the 1980's, I tended to wonder if the UK was redressing social imbalance by not identifying the real flaws in the old regimes, just hitting back. Not really Snow White, but it seemed so at the time.
The 1990's, when I ate up travel stories about Romania I came across a description of that country having been in the middle ages. I did not know how to interpret that but England in 2013 is starting to tell me something about it. Finian's Rainbow (1968) has the memorable phrase, 'Forward To The Past'. Some supporters of the current UK regime definitely dream of returning to an England of the social structure of the time of Jane Austen. This Snow White speaks a lot to me of the England of 2013. I interpret Government frugality as creating a middle ages condition rather than solving any other economic aims, a view that stems from me knowing nothing about Economics.
Different possibilities. When a storyteller talks of a big bad witch or an alien I often wonder if the bad guy is just the underclasses, the dispossessed, being given a black paint job yet again. England has many scapegoat classes these days. I distrust Occam, but the Occam interpretation that I make is of the witch symbolising the de facto power structure, supposedly Westminster in the lead but who knows how many power interests are pulling hidden strings. Does that say that I should interpret Westminster as an inert puppet fighting scapegoats? Very Huntsman and Mirror, Mirror, it would also explain a lot about modern Britain, leading politicians are supposed to be sensible and worthwhile?
So, these two stories, I find that they do have a lot of scope for triggering harmless daydreaming about the nature of the modern world. Welcome To The Rileys (2010), ditto, Kristen portraying a gargoyle who was created from age four by way of a hard knock life.
The modern world is getting torn apart by fundamentalist droves of a whole range of types. Slytherin is dominant. Those who still try to live by religious beliefs appear to live in a minefield that can sweep their sense away. Political fundamentalism since the 1980's appears to have been moving Britain towards the violent world shown by such as Detroit Rock City (1999) of the USA worlds, the population encouraged to get corrective with the scapegoat classes. One law for the population, another for the scapegoats. Mirror, Mirror, Snow White. I tried to face that in my IMDb review of Alexa Vega's Innocent (2009) but something in my review, who knows what?, got it bombed out. Rather than try a version 2 of that I am writing this review about Snow White and Mirror Mirror instead. Not that Kristen and Alexa are actually locked up in prisons in Snow White's world. Or are they? The UK as schizophrenogenic. Sin City (2005).
Innocent, a clear part of the modern world. The police not being able to respond fast enough because of access hurdles. Two police who allowed their hungers to sidetrack them away from good practice. The bad guy, just released from prison, who is a puppet emptied of sensible ways. Urgh aarrgh.
The words urgh and argh or aarrgh or aaarghh, etc, are not in my UK dictionary of 1998. My loss, but they are in some internet dictionaries. I would not be surprised to find it in this or Mirror, Mirror. Not in Innocent as that is way more serious. I mention that because of the reaction that this feature inspires in me. My general viewpoint is that English society has been mauling itself on the two fangs of how I interpret Genesis Cain. My viewpoint is near certain to be askew as it is based on the religion in Genesis and I tend to get religion wrong in a big way. The 'good' getting corrupted by such as 'vengeance culture', it is Huntsman that has clear comments about this aspect.
Arthur et les Minimoys (2006)
Purchase Your Disks From France, v1.02
I first purchased the version made for England, locally as a second hand DVD. It was a speculative purchase, it seemed like it might be okay.
I liked it, but mostly when I re-watched it I started from when Arthur was preparing to go into the Minimoys' land and ended at the start of the journey to Necropolis.
I noticed that many UK reviews either were not impressed or considered that the French soundtrack was way superior. Those views did not make much sense to me.
I then purchased the Blu-ray of Arthur And The Great Adventure and found it to be fairly empty. A wasted purchase. But I remembered the comment about the French language. It was a long shot, but I checked out the Arthur series in Amazon France and purchased the triple DVD box set from there. My plan was to listen in French but watch with the English subtitles on, just the subtitles are only in French so I put my disk set to one side.
December, the horror season. For Christmas I decided to check through my disks for Barbie stuff that I had not watched much yet and I also added the Arthur set to the collection, together with seasons 3 and 4 of Trachenberg's Gossip Girl. Apart from bits of GG, Christmas turned into something other than horror. I do like Barbie movies.
None of the Arthur disks from France were anything like the stuff that I purchased in England. Feature 1, Arthur Et Les Minimoys is longer and includes a different dialogue to the version for England. It gels as a story. I tend to watch it all the way through, not just the middle bit.
My Blu-ray of Arthur And The Great Adventure turned out to be a weak edited version of the two remaining stories, Arthur Et La Vengeance De Maltazard (2009) and Arthur Et La Guerre Des Deux Mondes (2010). If I do not re-watch episode 1 so much is because I tend to head to these as well. I also look to the final 15 minutes of Arthur Et La Vengeance De Maltazard as that has a lead in to a magnificent end credits song.
One big difference between the French and the English is the romance between the 10 year old Arthur and the thousand year old Selenia. In English one accepts that there is a romance because it says so, the French version shows it. It is a real romance type adventure story, in the first feature especially.
From other reviews, I get the impression that the version made for France is the cinema release version that was shown in England.
Some Prefer Cake (1998)
The beginning of a long night, v1.00
The DVD cover says that this is a seductive tale. I personally experience it as a frozen void.
This is set in San Francisco, but it reminds me more of modern British history.
Once upon a time there was a freeing of slave classes, people such as the mentally ill were suddenly able to participate in society, unchained, though without the abilities and defences that allow people to remain unchained.
UK, Blair Witch, this was during a time when the recently re-chained were inspired to discover a range of helps to allow them to gradually learn to stand on their own feet again, maybe. We also appeared to be thrown towards the gates of the LGBT and P worlds. This was a time for discovering that The Mikado was a hint of some really disastrous ways in UK society.
The date of release surprised me, this will have been made before I personally reached the gates of the LGBT. It reminds me of my time in their worlds, of me falling out of their worlds.
First viewing, the story felt empty. Sort of watchable but empty. Central character Kira was sunk, her ways would be certain to cause alienation from her. The people around her, her friends, were not really there.
It portrays a woman capable of some relationships, she did better than me. She does not have the skills to move forward, instead she is sinking. She needs help and the help is not what she needs.
To me, this is looking at the influx towards LGBT and P from the viewpoint of those already there. A wave of horror heading their way. If one was among the debris then one really needs other. A freeing of the slave classes, but this was also the beginning of a long night. Lots of opportunities for getting tied up in knots.
I expect that the central character has been the target of gargoyle creation. That would include the would be gargoyle being painted with 'black' ways and then quality communication skills would be used to show that the 'black ways' are real, that this is a true gargoyle. Some Prefer Cake reminds me of the middle stages of this sort of process, one does not need to look far to see examples of what can be interpreted as pure gargoyle.
There is a song, Strasdas, the Lithuanian entry to Eurovision 1999 (You Tube) which feels to me to be a more emotional variation on this theme. A blackbird is sitting on a branch and its feet are frozen.
XXY and Transamerica, v1.01
A very watchable story, for that it rates a high score.
The detail, first viewing it did not gel fully as the story is told, I needed to head towards symbolism in order to consider the story as fitting together well.
I first heard of XXY genes in the mid 1960's. I used to read a weekly science magasine at our school library and there was a short piece about the gene being mostly liable to be found among the inmates of prisons. The IMDb Message Board for this feature considers that as a dated understanding, theory has moved on a lot since then. The MB also discusses why the title XXY is unlikely to refer to genes.
I get the impression, the last decade or two, that the transgendered and intersex, maybe the gay world too, are under pressures to become criminalised. I liked how XXY feature can be an illustration of part of that. This is an teen intersex boy under pressure. Some do not consider that he should be a boy. Some consider that they have a right to walk over him. A formula for a teen to explode, but who will get the blame for that? So there is also the teen self identity problem.
Transamerica (2005), also extremely watchable, has the central character moving towards gender related surgery while still having closet type trans fears. As in XXY, this is someone who needs a healthy maturity, but the pressure is against that happening.
This shows what I now understand to be a not unusual problem for trans to have to come to terms with, just one does not get a sympathetic view of the closet type fears. When the UK gender recognition bill was going though Westminster the trans discussion was very hidden, even in the trans world. The major trans influence on the bill was to allow secrecy, and that is there in the resultant law, but pushing for that appeared to make the law makers less sympathetic, the new law is much less inclusive than what I really need.
I have not come across a worthwhile and sympathetic analysis of these fears sometimes still being prevalent in what would appear to be the more mature trans. From a trans point of view the fears can easily appear to be justified, we live in an area were accepted critical ways of society are typically destructive to us. The underclasses have a similar problem.
Bad shall be stopped, bad shall be overcome, an imperative that has to be good so why do I consider that the underclasses and LGBT tend to be thrown into everlasting living hell because of that? Why do I consider that good is often a special form of bad.
Monte Carlo (2011)
Presented like a sweet pancake?, v1.00
As a starting point, Princess Protection and Another Cinderella made me hope for a lot from Selena Gomez features. Waverley told me not to always expect that.
Compare Ramona And Beezus (2010) with this Monte Carlo (2011)
First viewing, both felt watchable but not all that special. From the second viewing Ramona And Beezus took off, for me. I now consider it as impressive wow level, even better than what I hoped for. I am surprised that I could not find a Blu-ray of this.
Monte Carlo, why does this still feel as not all that great? It starts in a way that says I should expect a lot, the opening set to Blow Away, by A Fine Frenzy, a Selena sound-alike of pure positive magnetic appeal. Except that soon I was finding the story to be watchable but not so magnetic, other than when soundtrack stuff such as Tweedle Dee, by Line Renaud, is happening.
The final end credits music might be a clue. This is Who Says, by Selena Gomez & The Scene and it feels flat. Empty. There is another version of this at You Tube and, predictable, that is not flat at all. The movie ends with a soundtrack song at the level of the best of the rest, just in the movie it feels to have been mixed to be flat, despite it also being a very fine frenzy.
Except that when I was going slowly through the feature to try to identify which soundtrack song was where, the whole thing seemed to have power at the level of Ramona. Even the final end credits song by Selena, not pancake flat at all.
Looking at the recent IMDb reviews, some others do not appear to have noticed a problem, while others noticed the flatness and understood that in different ways. For now I read it as showing how difficult the post production stage is to get right. This feature has a fairly low IMDb rating, but it is also capable of being extremely enjoyable.