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Margaret Cho: Assassin (2005)
She used to be funny...what happened?
Okay, I will officially say that in the legal sense, to be called a comedian you HAVE to be FUNNY!!!! Bottom line! And this was not funny at all, but rather sad.
I have seen Cho's previous films, and I always enjoyed her comedy. Somewhere along the line, she took a huge wrong turn. This film contained no jokes at all, just crude and crass political observations. Cho has stepped up so high on her soapbox that she has forgotten how to tell a joke. Even her impression of her mom was sad and lagging, like even she knew she was beating a dead horse by this time in the show.
Perhaps she should lend her ear to Dennis Miller or Bill Maher, if she is serious about being a political comic, because they know how to be political, and keep it humorous.
Ms. Cho, I will never waste my money on your stuff again.
The Batman vs. Dracula (2005)
Elseworlds animated! And it is good....
Okay folks. Here is my two (or more) cents regarding this film. Let me first start by saying that when I heard that there was an animated film of Batman vs Dracula coming to DVD, I was excited, as this is based from an Elseworlds comic that DC produced many years ago, and I must say that it's one of my favorites. I was also let down when I discovered that this tale would inhabit the world of The Batman. I was so hoping for another animated tale from Batman the Animated Series.
However, my curiosity (and very strong nerd instinct) took over, and I borrowed my friend's DVD to watch, just so that I could scrutinize and criticize this movie. Now, I am not a nit-picker by nature, but The Batman series just never impressed me. The stories had a small spark of originality to them, but the animation was lacking, and there was just nothing there to grab my interest, and I'm a Batman fanatic.
But upon watching this film, I must say that I was very pleased with it. It actually had an exciting feel throughout the film, and the animation was very smooth. The story stayed true to both icons, as Dracula was actually creepy in this film, and seeing the army of the Undead (or Lost Ones, as they are called) brought up memories of seeing them in Batman Dracula; Red Rain, as the artists had to have read this book to make this film.
I do think that Vicky Vale was a bit much for an addition to the film, but I easily overlook it as a Dracula film (or vampire film period) has to have the love interest that needs to be rescued from the clutches of the beast. And of course, I thought that the plot point of finding a cure for vampirism was probably the only point where things get campy, but since this is marketed to a family audience, I can understand that WB doesn't want Batman staking a hundred vampires to death.
Overall, very good film. Give it a shot at least, whether you're a fan of this cartoon series or not. It has earned a place among my Batman DVD collection. Maybe it'll do the same for you.
Robot Chicken (2005)
Oh yes, I have seen the Robot Chicken, and it is good.
If you are a die-hard toy collector....then maybe you shouldn't watch, as toys get mutilated and destroyed. Other than that, this show is hilarious. I urge you to watch, and enjoy the madness. Don't look for a plot, as this kind of show won't really have one, as it's sketch comedy, much like Monty Python, or SNL.
Watching Transformers deal with the problems of prostate cancer is pure madness, and proof that this show will have it's place as a regular in the Cartoon Network Adult Swim pantheon for many months, even years to come. If Toyfare magazine makes it work so good, Seth Green should have just as much luck.
Family Guy (1999)
Trash in its purist form. Also known as pure crap.
The reason that this show is so popular can be summed up in one sentence; People are dumb.
This show is written by people who are racist, cheauvenist, and immature, but smart enough to realize how many men have low intellects, and how to aim this show right at them. It's psychologically similar to showing videos of bananas to chimps. You get a positive reaction.
Now, I say this is aimed at men because I have yet to meet any woman who likes this show. They may tolerate it for their husbands' sake, maybe even crack a smile or two. Read the comments list....I found only one comment that was apparently written by a woman, and her attitude was not in favor of the show. It's like that other garbage called "The Man Show," it's written for dumb men to enjoy.
First off, the father is not someone who could function in everyday life without several medications and constant supervision (and I must note that I am very tired of any sitcom that dummies down all the men to babbling idiots, though I am sure that some exist, but leave them off the television.) Peter treats his wife like crap. He talks down to her, treats her like a slave, cares little or nothing about how she feels, or her opinions. He has views on women that were common in the 1930's. I've seen him beating her up, ordering her to fix him something to eat, telling her that she can't drive a car because it's illegal for women to drive. He watches Lifetime television, lovingly called "Television for idiots." The writers cleverly pointed out there that women were idiots. He is also racist, but it's OK, because he needs a Jew for only for financial gain. Oh boy, that's funny. Ha ha ha. Now I understand about his singing for "those good old fashioned values." Old fashioned as in decades ago.
Lois is not any better. True, she has some intelligence, but not enough to leave the jerk. But she loves him for who he is. Ahhh, sigh. Get real. She's the dream girl for every dumb man in America; she cooks, cleans, puts out, and puts up with your stupid ass mistakes. The children don't hold any better, as the oldest boy is a clone of his father, and the daughter is self pre-occupied (ok, most teen girls are, I'll give you that). The baby is just a rip off of another big-headed character. I won't say who, but Stewie should have a twin that says "Narf!"
The show is pure garbage. Unlike dysfunctional family shows like The Simpsons and Married with Children, this show lacks any real charm. It's aimed at the lowest common denominator amongst TV viewers, and has no redeeming values at all. Fox made a great move in canceling this show, but because idiots also have a voice, it's making a comeback. I'm half convinced that every guy that likes this show lives in a trailer park, but there aren't that many trailer parks in existence to warrant all of the votes received to bring back the show. That is a truly scary thought.
Criticize my thoughts if you like. But if you really like this show, you probably didn't understand half of what I said, did you?
Why Mulan sticks out as a great Disney film.
I was impressed by this Disney film for so many reasons, too many to list here, but I will go on the record as saying that Mulan has got to be one of the best Disney female characters that ever saw production, in the midst of a colorful and artistic film, that will resonate in your memory.
Mulan sticks out in my mind for this reason. For once, we have a strong female lead, or at the least, stronger than most of them. She isn't counted among the Disney "princesses" line-up. She doesn't want for herself, and she seeks to look deeper within herself to discover her inner being. She isn't like Ariel, who wants to be someone else. She isn't like Jasmine, who sits in luxury, waiting to be swept off her feet by Prince Charming, just like Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and almost any female character that Disney brings to life. And while she does share some traits among this list, she stands out because she does something that these do not. She uses her mind.
Mulan, in fact, has more in common with male Disney leads than the female Disney leads. Mulan is a thinker, and a do-er. She's resourceful, like Aladdin. She is quick to act, like Eric (mermaid.) And she sacrifices herself for the sake of others, like Hercules. She also speaks her mind, even in a culture that does not allow such a thing. She doesn't waste time pining about "will I ever find true love?" Indeed, we see that she has an attraction to Shang (as he was her husband in the legends,) but we see her uncomfortable and unsure of meeting the Match-maker. She begs for her father's life when Chi-Fu came to the village. When you see her make her decision to take her father's place in the army, she does so out of her love for him, valuing his life above hers. She doesn't wish to become a man to see what it is like or for a change. Only to save his life. She later doubts herself and her reasons for going, but she did so because of her inner strengths, something other female Disney leads too often lack. (And it is these strengths that Shang is attracted to at the end.)
This movie also has a simple, but very effective villain, Shan Yu. Though not as memorable as Jafar or Ursula, he is more effective and more menacing because he is not fantastic. By that, I mean that he is not magical, he holds no special power. He is portrayed as a man, and as a man that could have truly existed, performing vicious acts that men do. We see the destruction that his army lays to a village, and when Mulan finds the doll, it shows that Shan Yu left no one living, man, woman or child. This is what makes him so effective as a villain, showing how truly human he indeed is. Granted, the producers did not develop him in any great depth, but they showed enough of him to remind us of his threat to China. Besides, sometimes the better villains are the ones you don't know too much about, or see a lot of.
Of the rest of the supporting cast, I will only mention four of them as being memorable in any real way. Chi-Fu, the emperor's consultant, was a reminder of the way many men looked at women in this culture. He thrusts his head up when Mulan begs for her father's life, and when she is discovered to be a woman, though she is a hero, he is quick to insult her, and to order her execution, simply because she impersonated a man. The other three were, of course, her comrades, Ling, Yao, and Chian Po. Though they were mainly comic relief (almost like a 3 stooges set,) they remained loyal to Mulan and trusted her fully, even after she was discovered. I like them, because they were not discriminatory to her in any way, even trying to stop her execution. When Mulan told them she had an idea to help the emperor faster, they were the first to her side, even when Shang was still reluctant to do so.
Overall, a wonderful movie to the Disney list. If you haven't seen it, then do so, you won't regret it.
And yes, Mushu was a cool character as well.
**** In Response to an earlier post by Phoenix-1 **** To expect any movie to accurately portray history in any way is lunacy. Even those movies that come close to historical accuracy are flawed in many ways. This was a way of telling a story, as any movie is. It can be argued that it tries to provoke curiosity in another culture, but it is also meant to entertain. I would also like to point out that Mulan is really not "historical," like Joan of Arc, but rather she is a legend, much like Hercules and Aladdin, who also come from the realm of myth, stories and legends. And while there is some difference between the original legend and this movie, your examples of how Disney would butcher tales of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln do not compare to this story in any way. Your arguments for comparison should be better applied to Pocahontas, as she was an actual historical figure.
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
Please, Dear God, someone stop Tarantino before he wastes another two hours of my life!
Whoever told Tarantino that he was a movie director is the same person who told Ms. Cleo that she was a psychic. I'm firmly convinced that the man can't make a movie worth the film it's printed on.
His latest outing is Kill Bill, an homage (cough cough) to old Kung Fu movies of the seventies, but this movie lacks the simplistic charm that old martial arts movies had, insofar that Kill Bill is a poor bastardization of seventies films.
Now, while this film is 200 times better than the sewer slime known as Pulp Fiction, I feel that I must confess that I do like the action and the conflict in the film, however the script was not driven by the actors in the film, and character development was poor. There were many times that I felt that the violence was being gratuitous, and the lawn sprinkler effects of the gushing blood was very laughable, at best.
Uma Thurman gave a very shallow performance in this movie as well, and maybe that helped her character a bit, but it didn't make the bride compelling. And i find it very hard to believe that Thurman could take out the entire Yakuza in a restaurant, when she couldn't take out Alicia Silverstone in Batman & Robin (which is also better than Pulp Fiction). Not to mention that she has very ugly feet (ugghhh!!).
All in all, about 50/50, in my book. I will say that it may be worth a watch, and eventually, when the DVD is in the $5.50 bin at Wal-Mart, maybe even worth a purchase. If you like Tarantino films, you may like this film, otherwise approach with caution.
X-Men: Evolution (2000)
The best X-men cartoon ever!! Claws down!!
For those that despise this cartoon because it takes liberties, then change the freaking channel, bub, and shut the hell up.
For those who remember the early early days of X-men, they were all teenagers in a school, learning to use their powers to benefit mankind. Well, in comic book continuity, these characters have all grown up, married, divorced, died, betrayed their friends, etc etc etc.
This cartoon went back to the basic principle that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby started out with back in the 60's. And it's revamped itself to fit today's standards and cultural influences. I like to see it as an animated version of the "Ultimate X-Men" title that marvel is producing, which does the same thing of reformatting the story to today's timeline.
And each character in this show is well written to the point that I like them even better than some of their comic book counterparts.
Scott -- we're seeing a leader developing here, but he's still a kid learning to deal with who he is and his place in the world.
Logan -- granted, he's toned down a bit, but he's just as gruff as he is in the comics, and has a better voice than he did in the 90's cartoon.
Kurt -- great interpretation. I always thought Nightcrawler was a little stiff for my liking (given his background), so I love to see him be a party animal, and to be one caught goofing off.
Rogue -- BIG BIG BIG BIG BIG IMPROVEMENT!! I'm sorry purists, but the little Southern belle thing annoyed me to no end! Someone commented that they didn't like this version of Rogue because she doesn't say "Suga." It's called good writing. I like Rogue better as a Goth girl, for one basic reason. Given her power, it would seem to me that she would keep herself isolated and sullen, to ward off anyone trying to get close to her, and the dark depressed goth girl would pull that off, not the friendly southern belle. Plus, it makes her an interesting contrast to Jean and Kitty, who are upbeat popular girls.
Toad -- they took one of the worst characters of comicdom, and made him likable. He works better as a lovable loser, who just can't get a break.
I will also give honorable mention to a couple other characters, like Magneto, who is actually a threatening presence in this cartoon, and Beast, whose transformation in this cartoon makes more sense than in the comics.
The best animated X-Men yet, and it will be very hard to top.
The Dukes of Hazzard (1979)
One of the best!
A lot of people view this show as cheesy crap, full of stereotypes and short shorts, however, it is a great example of people making a show that is just plain fun.
I was very young when this show was on in prime time, and my memories of this show aren't just watching the car jump a creek, blaring the famous "Dixie" horn, but it was a show that I enjoyed watching with my father every Friday night (and when the President was on, we were both ticked off). The plots seem a little too complicated for rural Georgia, but this was never meant to be high drama, only an hour of fun and escapism.
I haven't watched the Dukes in years, but I am still affected by how much this show had an impact on me. My dog breed of choice is a Bassett hound, I always like to gun the engine of my car a little, and my eyes are always drawn to the color orange. Aren't yours?
My friends and wife question my ongoing love of the series, often saying the show is crap. It isn't, it's just very dated. My fondness of the show however, isn't just the show itself, but remembering the good times that revolved around it between my friends and my father. It represents a time in my life when I was as carefree as the General Lee on the back roads of Hazzard. Call it what you will, but it still feels like home.
BETTER than the comic!!!
Whereas the comic will leave a dry feeling in your throat by how flat its writing is, the movie breathes fresh life into the idea set forth by Alan Moore, and makes it live.
Yes folks, I am a fellow comic book nerd, I love Alan Moore's stuff, but this time, the movie outdid him.
Why am I saying this? I stopped reading the comic some time ago, not because I didn't understand it, or anything like that. It was just very dry. Granted, its supposed to feel like Victorian literature, so it succeeds by being dry and unmoving in the style of said era, but makes a laborious read. I love all the characters Moore pulled into his amalgamation, and his idea works to a point. However, the way he writes the characters, it's hard to relate to them. I never once felt any emotional attachment to any of them, and could care less what happens to them. I just stopped putting money on the book out of boredom. I like to engage what I am reading.
This is why the movie succeeds. The characters are fleshed out, and are not stiff. You can believe that they actually existed, and not as just figures of literature. Skinner is more likable than his comic book counterpart, and shown to be more useful; Quartermain is a hero figure as he always was, not a pathetic junkie rescued from a slow death by Mina. The characters were preserved as literature wrote them, not how Moore used them to his liking. Maybe that's why I like the movie more than the book.
In any case, definately worth a watch. Trash the comic.
A Christmas Story (1983)
If you hate it, then you are a Grinchy Scrooge!
After reading the comments posted for this movie, a vast majority of people really love this movie. And the majority rules! For those that hate it, their hearts may be two sizes too small.
This movie is a classic due to its ability to hold through the test of time. It captures an innocence that is no longer portrayed in family Christmas movies (some dumb cluck listed that Die Hard is a Christmas movie, showing how rednecks regard the holiday joy).
For the ones who hate it, they mostly hate it because they don't know the point of the movie, showing that they won't allow their inner child to enjoy it. The movie stands out from other Christmas films, because it shows Christmas through the eyes of a child, rather that an adult character, a family struggle or third person. Granted, the narrator is the child grown up, and remembering that year in his life, but he remembers his thoughts about his struggle to achieve that one present that meant more to him than anything else. Think to when you were a child, and there was one Christmas that you wanted something more than anything else in the world, so much so that you bribed your parents, cleaned your room, wrote letters to Santa, hit up your grandparents, and any other angle that you could think of to get that gift! If you can remember that Christmas, and what that gift was, then that is why you would love this movie, because you can identify with Ralphie, and his quest, you can remember your own childhood longings at Christmas, and that will bring you into the movie, and bring the movie into your collection.
I give it a 12 out of 10! You should as well.