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I'm only including TV shows that have finished their run.
So enjoy, my Top Movies, or as close as can possibly be!
Iron Man 2 (2010)
Not up to the standard the first set, but still one to check out.
Two years ago, the first Iron Man movie was released, becoming a surprise critical and commercial success. So, naturally, a sequel was inevitable. The question was, can the sequel fulfill what seems to be the code for comic book movies, and top the first? The answer: Not quite. But that is not to say it was a bad movie at all. It just falls short of great. One of the main issues of the movie was the pacing. There were many points where it lagged, leaving you simply waiting for the next scene. It just felt a little padded out. It just didn't feel as well put together as the first.
Of course, the movie had many good points as well, including Robert Downey Jr pulling out his charisma again as Tony Stark and Mickey Rourke embracing his dark side to play a pretty good villain. Not to mention Don Cheadle doing a fine job stepping into the role of Rhodey that Terrence Howard playing in the first, with this time the character having a much bigger and better role. When the action scenes do finally arrive, they are generally a whole lot of fun, with the exception of the big villain fight, which was sadly very anti-climactic. A big complaint from some people about the first movie was that it had a disappointing villain with a mediocre final fight. Well, Iron Man 2 had a really cool villain, but an even more mediocre final fight. The visual effects were just as good as the first film, but also seemed to be used a lot less.
Also joining the cast list was the likes of Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell and the director Jon Favreau, as Natalie Rushman, Justin Hammer and Happy Hogan respectively. Johansson did a decent job, not bringing a whole lot to the role, but basically all that was needed for the character. Favreau being in the movie was pretty unnecessary, with his character being basically the same sort of offsider that Favreau played in Daredevil. As Justin Hammer, Rockwell did well playing a sleazy Stark competitor.
In closing, the movie is worth checking out, but make sure you don't go in expecting the first movie again. I personally enjoyed myself, despite feeling occasionally bored. I feel that it was the sort of movie that will seem better on repeat viewings, when I'm not just waiting to see when they will give us another action scene. Not that I am only interested in action scenes, it's just that as I said before, certain parts of the movie just lagged a little too long.
A whole different Dragon Ball experience.
As far as entries in the Dragon Ball universe go, this one is kind of unique. Taking place in the alternate future of Trunks, a world torn apart by the merciless Artificial Humans, where almost all the warriors are gone, along with the Dragon Balls, and nearly all hope. Only two warriors remain, Gohan, now a grown man, continuing the legacy of his father, and Trunks, the teenage son of Vegeta and Bulma, who is training in hopes of becoming a Super Saiya-jin.
What makes this movie truly unique in terms of the Dragon Ball franchise, is that death has a lot more meaning here. The majority of the time in the series, when a character dies, it's kind of hard to get emotional about it, because you know as long as the Dragon Balls are around, they will likely be all right in the end. This fantastic TV special shows us what would happen without them. There is also no Goku, save for a small scene of him dying from a heart virus at the start.
With a run time of only about 50 minutes, there is not a whole lot of time to go into too much depth, but it definitely tells you the story that it intends in that time, fitting a fair amount of story into it. We get several of most intense fight scenes of the whole series, which probably owes to the short length, since they wasted no time on time filling power up scenes, as the main series often did.
As usual the voice acting (Japanese) is of a high quality, with Nozawa's voice give adult Gohan a newfound maturity, and Takeshi Kusao plays Trunks well. As far as villains go, Artificial Humans #17 and #18 are brilliantly malicious and evil, treating humans as mere toys for their enjoyment. Being a TV Special, the animation is pretty much at the same standard set by the series, not bad in any sense, but far from groundbreaking.
In the end, the special definitely has a lot to offer, and fans of the series should definitely love it. There is plenty of intensity and emotion, and many memorable scenes. The special portrays Gohan in a new light, very different from his usual timid nature, which has seemed to annoy some fans. Despite being a TV special, it remains one of my favourite parts of the series, which is rare for material that hasn't come from Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama. I'd call this one Toei Animation's greatest achievements in the Dragon Ball franchise.
Lik Wong (1991)
Like the love-child of Bruce Lee and Peter Jackson.
First of all, I have no idea if the director's intent was to make this movie as laughably brilliant as it is. I'd like to say yes, but who knows. Maybe he wanted to make a serious movie with a lot of violence. To be honest, I kind of doubt it. Either way, there's no way I can argue with the endlessly entertaining end result. A ridiculous orgy of overacting, over the top violence and martial arts. The kind of movie you would get if Bruce Lee starred in Bad Taste. If this sounds good to you, don't even bother reading the rest of the review, go out and find the movie now.
The movie is filled with cheesy gore galore. It contains pretty much every form of violence you could ever think to put into a movie. I won't go into any detail, since every gory scene is so imaginative (for lack of a better word), that to give any details of them away would definitely take away from the surprise and the sheer entertainment of these ridiculous scenes. But of course, none of this means anything without a certain quality of acting and I don't mean a good one. Luckily, there isn't a quality actor in sight! Fan Siu Wong fills every scene with his over the top mannerisms and laughable emotions. It truly deserves to stand alongside the likes of The Evil Dead and Bad Taste.
I would call the character of Ricky one-dimensional, if his character had any consistency at all. One minute he'll be punching holes in villains begging for mercy, the next he will be claiming that he does not wish to hurt anyone. But in a movie like this, does it really matter? In the end, if you're a fan of Asian cinema, or stupid amounts of gore, or like me, both, you really don't have to look any further. Get a bunch of friends together, grab the DVD and have yourself one hell of a good time. Low budget gut spilling at its best.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
Just a ridiculous amount of fun. (X-Box 360 Version)
It is a pretty interesting situation this game has... the movie (which I actually have not yet seen, so am not going to judge) received very mixed reception, whereas the movie tie-in, which in general are notorious for being thrown together quickly to be released in time for the movie, seems to be receiving unanimous acclaim. After playing it, it's really not that hard to see why. In the first minute of the game you will realise, this was not a game made for the Wolverine movie, this is a game made from the Wolverine character. You will dismember, disembowel, be-head and just cause a large amount of pain all around on your travels through the game. There is enough blood and gore to satisfy the most "hardcore" of Wolverine fans. I'm not one of the people who thinks adding gore is a good way to cover up a game's flaws, but in this case, it is. There are plenty of flaws, but most of the game you will be too absorbed in the coolness of it all to care.
Words can not describe how satisfying it is to slice your way through mass amounts of bad guys in so many different ways. Want your enemies blended? You can do that. Want to pop of an enemy's head like a pimple? It's gonna happen. It's just a game that gives you a great sense of power. Great for those of us who have a bit of low self esteem! Forget drinking your problems away, slice them away through Wolvie! (Remember people, violence may be fun in video games, but it is never cool in real life... so don't be a fool. The More You Know). And this sense of power is evident from the start... wait until you really start to level up! The amount of power you have can sometimes make the game a little easy, and the automatic healing ability helps a lot as well, but there are still some pretty challenging parts and as I have said before (and I can not stress this enough) the GAME IS FUN! When I was playing it, I wasn't thinking "This is too easy," I was thinking "This is too cool!
From a technical point of view, the game is really nothing special... there are little bugs around, like amazing disappearing and reappearing clothed... apparently Wolverine can regenerate a singlet, but it will take him a lot longer than actual skin. The graphics are also nothing special, except in the major cut-scenes in which they were amazing. There were a lot of video game clichés, like platforms that move for no apparent reason and stuff like that. The game's story is nothing fantastic, jumping back and forth a little, but it contained enough fan-service to keep me entertained. Another thing that added to the quality of the game was the voice acting, which was very well done, and I felt Hugh Jackman sounded more like Wolverine in the game than he did in the movie (not that I don't love him in the movies). Also, the controls in the game are very easy and will become intuitive after just a short time of playing.
Apparently a sequel to the movie has been green-lit... as I have not seen the movie, I don't know whether I'm excited or not. One thing I do know is that I desperately hope that Raven decides to do the tie-in game for that as well, so the nerdy heart may smile again.
Ed Wood (1994)
A great movie about an awful yet genuine director.
This is another one of those movies I didn't expect to get as much out of as I did. I'm generally not into biopic movies and stuff like that. I mostly bought the movie for two reasons. The first is that I'm collection the Top 250 on DVD, and the second is that I'm a fan of Johnny Depp and Tim Burton (no, not one of those fans who think he's god because they think he directed The Nightmare Before Christmas, I'm the kind of fan who watched movies like Beetlejuice and Mars Attacks! when I was a kid. I was very happily surprised at how much I loved it.
So why do I love it so much? Well, even I'm not 100% sure of that. I guess it mostly comes down to how much I liked seeing the story of a man that was so genuine a man who wanted to make movies because it's what he wanted to do, not because there was so much money in it. The fact that it's brilliantly quirky and fun definitely would have helped. It also had the great acting behind it, with Johnny Depp doing a great job as the awful director, Edward D. Wood Jr., and Martin Landau doing an absolutely awesome job as horror legend Bela Lugosi.
I can't tell you how accurately it portrays Wood. I don't know much about him outside this movie, and I haven't seen much of his work (other than Bride of the Monster). It's clear that the movie is biased towards Wood, but that doesn't stop the movie from being incredibly entertaining, wonderfully weird and just very well made overall. It has a great score as well! In the end, it's just a very pleasant movie that I instantly fell in love with.
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
Well, didn't see that coming!
I never expected to love this movie as much as I did! I basically bought the movie because I found it real cheap and was curious, and because I'm trying to get every movie on the Top 250. I didn't expect to get much out of it, since it didn't really seem like my kind of movie. After watching it, I realised how wrong I was. It was an absolutely beautiful movie, and really pulled at my heartstrings (although, as I've said in one of my other reviews, I'm an absolute sucker for emotional stuff like this). I won't go into too much detail about the plot, in case you don't know what it is, since it's a great experience going in not knowing about the plot. I'll simply say that it is a great portrayal of what one man can do without even realising it. Jimmy Stewart is in the starring role as the lovable George Bailey, a role that he is charming in. Some of the movie may seem a little corny by today's standards, but don't let that turn you off! It is also probably one of the most thought provoking movies I've ever seen as well. After watching it, I found myself thinking of what effect my own life has had on others, whether I could make a difference in anyone's life. It's the sort of movie that makes you want to be a better person. The movie is brilliant, and I'm glad I gave it a chance. It currently tops my Top 50 movies list, which is funny, considering how it doesn't seem to fit in with the rest of them. I've even been accused of faking my love for the movie! This is definitely a movie that needs to be seen. I've never seen anything else like it.
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
The Muppets manage to show greatness even after the death of their creator.
This is the first movie in what I consider the second trilogy of Muppet movies. The first trilogy consists of The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper and Muppets Take Manhattan. The second trilogy consists of The Muppet Christmas Carol, Muppet Treasure Island and Muppets From Space. What separates these trilogies has nothing to do with plots and such, as the movies don't really have much connection with each other, other than the fact that they of course contain the Muppets. What separates them is the fact that the first trilogy was made before the tragic death of the Muppet creator, Jim Henson, and the second was made afterward. Being the first movie made completely without Henson, and I really have to say, they handled it very well. The movie was directed by Jim Henson's son, Brian Henson, and he really filled his father's shoes well. They also had to use a new voice for Kermit the Frog, Jim Henson's most well known role, and also the other Muppets he voices. Taking over the role as Kermit was Steve Whitmire, who I believe did a fantastic job keeping the character alive.
As the title suggests, the movie is yet another adaption of Charles Dickens' famous story A Christmas Carol. Various characters are portrayed by Muppets, while several characters are portrayed by actual actors, with the key role of Ebenezer Scrooge being played by the brilliant Michael Caine. He did a great job, and it's my favourite role of his. That's partly what makes this movie interesting all Muppet movies before this one were all about the Muppet characters, with human characters in more supporting roles. This movie focuses on a human character, with Muppets in supporting roles (not counting Gonzo as Charles Dickens narrating the movie). Kermit the Frog plays Scrooge's kind hearted assistant, Bob Cratchit, Miss Piggy plays his wife and Robin the Frog plays Tiny Tim.
Part of what I love about this movie is how well they are able to keep the fun of the Muppets, yet still tell a heart-warming story of A Christmas Carol. There are scenes in the movie where I honestly get a little emotional but I am a big sook with stuff like this! I think that this the effort put in by Caine contributed a great deal to the emotional side of the movie. I think, if played by another actor, the end result may not have been as good. That's not to say it's not a well made movie overall, it's great! I'd have to say, my favourite parts of the movie would have to be some of the songs. They're catchy, and I often find myself singing them. My favourite is probably Marley and Marley, performed by the characters Waldorf and Statler (both with different performers, due to the death of Henson and also Richard Hunt, who died in 1991).
If you have children, or if you want to feel like a kid again, you must get this movie, as it is a must see, especially over the Christmas holidays (a time when it was shown each year for a while when I was little). The movie actually makes my Top 50, along with The Muppet Movie and Muppets Take Manhattan (and also Labyrinth, if you want more puppet fun). I've actually caught flack for having them on my list, but it really doesn't matter. I love the movie, and I make absolutely no apologies for it!
Sonic Rush (2005)
Not a bad game just not an overly fun one.
I think the selling point of this game was just how similar the gameplay was to the classic Sonic the Hedgehog games. Run through (mostly) 2D environments, jumping on enemies and such. They even introduced a new Boost system that was really cool. But the issue I have with this game is that it doesn't seem like they put enough effort into making the game fun. And that's not exactly my only issue. Anyway, when I say that they didn't work hard enough at making the game fun, I mean that there aren't enough areas where you can run really fast free from enemies, like the older games had. There always seemed to be enemies placed in areas that you are made to assume are for experiencing the speed side of the games. You find yourself running into enemies without seeing them coming. There are just some really irritating enemy placements in the game. Add that to an overload of bottomless pits and other obstacles that will just make you die a little inside every time you die in the game.
The bosses are fairly generic, making you dodge their attacks until they give you an opening to take down one of their eight health points. What makes the boss battles even worse is you have either Cream or Tails at the bottom cheering for you, and making comments every time you get hit or hit the enemy. It was just completely unnecessary to have them there. There was only really one boss battle that was actually that fun, and it was one of the last ones. I liked the bonus rounds of the game, where you use your DS stylus to collect rings in a Sonic 2 Bonus Stage type environment. This could also get frustrating at times with the obstacles, but all in all, the stages were pretty good.
The music in the game was not good. It went for a very "funky" style of music that just doesn't fit with a Sonic game. It lacked any of the charm the older Sonic music had, and it was just plain annoying. The storyline of the game wasn't much to talk about either, but in the end, I don't play Sonic games for their story, I play them to have fun. I just wish I could have had a bit more fun playing this game. I mean, it would be a lie if I said I didn't have any fun playing the game at all, it's just that by the end, I was playing the game because I wanted to beat it, not because I enjoyed playing it. It's just that it was a game that was so easy to get frustrated with. There were times when I just felt that the people who made the game wanted to see me suffer! In the end, it's far from a bad game, and it was a step in the right directions for Sonic games, but there was a lot of room for improvement. Luckily, they made use of that room for improvement for the sequel, Sonic Rush Adventure. For more on my views of that game, check out my review for it.
As a lifelong Sonic fan, I never regretted buying Sonic Rush, and I liked the gameplay enough to spend money again on the sequel... although that was in part due to the fact that I had already heard that they had made improvements. But I probably would have bought it anyway.
The Forbidden Kingdom (2008)
A Fun Movie That's Worth Looking Past Its Many Flaws.
The marketing for this movie basically wrote itself. Martial arts superstars Jackie Chan and Jet Li starring in a movie together at last! The movie poster caught my attention as a kung fu lover straight away. I love Jackie Chan! Have since I was a kid. Admittedly, I didn't know much about Jet Li yet, but I knew he was good. But when I watched the movie, I realised that it wasn't exactly what I expected. Li and Chan's roles were basically as supporting characters, albeit extremely important ones, to the fairly unlikeable character of Jason (Michael Angarano, of Sky High fame), a martial arts movie loving American teenager who has been transported to this ancient world, where he must return an ancient staff to the Monkey King, Son Wukong (Jet Li), who is the hero of the old tale Journey to the West. He does this with the help of and old immortal (Jackie Chan), a Monk (also played by Jet Li) and a young girl (Liu Yifei) out for revenge against the villain of the movie, the Jade Warlord (Collin Chou) and his gang. That's all I'm really going to say about the plot.
Now, the problem I have with the character of Jason is not so much that he's some American kid who seems too out of place in the movie, it's more that the character is very flat and uninteresting. There is nothing that really sets him apart from most other teenage movie heroes (including his own character from Sky High). A lot of his scenes in the movie are cringe worthy, and he brings the movie down a little. Although, it's not all bad, he does actually have some pretty cool action scenes of his own, so he's almost made worthwhile there. It's kind of hard to tell how well he was acted, since it seems he doesn't have much to work with. Now, Jackie Chan was awesome as always. His character was a lot of fun to watch on screen, and he brought the same charm he always seems to bring to his movies. Jet Li did a great job as well, both as the Silent Monk and the Monkey King. Chan and Li worked really well together, and had great on screen chemistry. I hope to see them re-teaming for more movies in the future. Liu Yifei didn't really do a bad job playing her character, it's just that the character wasn't really necessary, and only seemed to be there so the group would have a female. Collin Chou played the "paint by numbers" villain decently, as well.
Now, the action scenes are what really bring the movie up to a good level. The great Yuen Woo-ping choreographed the action sequences, which is a big plus, as he was the director of one of my favourite martial arts movies, Snake in the Eagle's Shadow, as well as the fantastic Drunken Master. Those are definitely some to check out, if you haven't already. Back to the movie at hand, it had some great fights. The highlight of the movie was easily the long fight between Li and Chan, which made my heart cry out in joy. It was easily my favourite fight scene of 2008. A lot of the action was different to many other martial arts movies, with characters using magic and Chi and such to attack, which I really dug.
All in all, it's not exactly a great movie, and there are a few scenes that may make you groan, but there is a lot of great action, as well as a lot of the typical Jackie Chan style humour throughout the movie, with Li showing a more comedic side as well, making the movie a lot of fun. If martial arts and such aren't really your thing, than I can safely say you should give this a miss, but if you're into it, then there is a good chance that this movie is worth a watch, if only for watching two kung fu geniuses duke it out.
I actually don't mind it.
Now before I start, I just want to make this clear: I adore the original movie. For me, it's one of the definitive horror movies, and is my second favourite horror film, ranking only just behind Dawn of the Dead (Sorry Michael, I just love them zombies). I was kind of disappointed to hear they were remaking it, but was still looking forward to seeing the movie, as I generally am. Remaking Halloween was a move that was always going to cheese off a lot of fans of the original. It was unavoidable. But I can respect this movie, due to the fact that I could tell Rob Zombie had a direction he wanted to take the story in, rather than just a straight up remake, made only to make a tidy profit. And yes, I do understand that the direction it was taken in really missed the point of the original. As Zombie said himself, he set out to make Myers similar to the likes of the Wolfman and Frankenstein, a sort of sympathetic character. So, they've given him a face and a back-story. It's not something they should have done, because what made the original so scary was that to us, Myers was nothing more than a mask, a shape, a figure of nothingness. To make us feel sorry for him is not such a good thing. But at least it's easy to view as an alternate story, rather than a canonical past for Michael Myers. Had it been a sequel, there may have been issues there, even though I don't really consider most the sequels to the original canon. The last thing we needed was another Halloween Resurrection. Ugh.
So, regarding all that, I figure I will do the rest of the review treating this as a stand alone movie, and try to avoid any more comparisons to the original, since it's just too dang hard to compete with. Alright, one more comparison... There was too much grunting and moaning from Tyler Mane's Myers. He was scary because he was silent in the original. Sorry... I'm done now.
The back-story given to Myers was not a very revolutionary concept. Just a kid having a rough childhood and such. It wasn't really that bad. It had some pretty cool moments, and the kid who played young Myers didn't do such a bad job. He was portrayed as a little too much of a Momma's Boy for my tastes, but I guess that's what they wanted him to be. I guess in the end, he did well for the role he was playing. He was shown to be more mentally unbalanced that downright evil, which again, was the direction they stated they wanted to go with. The parts of the movie with Myers childhood started off a little lame, but gradually got better, especially when we started getting some gnarly kills. Sheri Moon Zombie did a pretty good job as Michael's mother, when she wasn't shouting and swearing in an over the top manner.
After the "prequel" sort of scenes, the movie became more of a remake of the original, except with plenty of little tweaks made to the story. Overall, I preferred this section of the movie over the prequel-like scenes. Tyler Mane did a good job playing the serial killer... I won't say he did a good job playing Michael Myers, since he was very different. Mane's Myers was much more.... angry. He would wreck stuff and throw things to get to his target, rather than just lurk in the shadows. Oops, does that count as a comparison? Sorry! But yeah, I guess what I mean is, he did well playing the dangerous, powerful killer that he was meant to play in the movie. He wasn't extremely scary, but he was pretty cool. Kind of like the movie itself. I know that may not seem good enough for some people, but it was all I was willing to hope for when seeing the movie. It was good to see Brad Dourif in the movie, who is famous for playing another killer I love, Chucky! I also really liked Malcolm McDowell's performance as Dr Samuel Loomis, Michael Myer's psychiatrist. The rest of the acting in the movie was nothing great, typical horror movie stuff.
Overall, I think it was a good slasher movie, which is a genre that I'm really into. As a remake, you will probably hate it, but as it's own movie, I really don't think it's that bad. This is not a fantastic movie, but it's entertaining enough. I am really glad that we are getting a sequel as well, since it will allow the franchise be taken into a different direction, and I look forward to seeing what Rob Zombie does with it. I think it is a good way to revive a franchise that died years ago, and with any hope these new movies will help push people towards the original for years to come.