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Doesn't quite feel like Fullmetal Alchemist
By no means is "The Sacred Star of Milos" a bad film. For those wanting to feast their eyes on flashy Japanese animation, or simply to escape from the dullness of everyday life, this motion picture will be a good time.
That being said, at no point does this truly feel like a "Fullmetal Alchemist" film.
Throughout the entire viewing, I felt as though something was off. It wasn't the animation; though "-Milos" utilizes a completely different kind of design and animation than either of the two anime series, once you've accepted that contrast it's easy to marvel at how good-looking it is (almost like a cousin of Ghibli animation). But the story, the characters (old and new), the action, the (lack of) comedy, the (melodramatic) drama...
It feels as though no member of the production had any previous history with the franchise. That alone wouldn't necessarily make this a less-than-awesome film, but the fact is that I never once cared about anything going on on screen does. I didn't care whether our heroes succeeded or if anyone were to die.
In conclusion, "The Sacred Star of Milos" is a better-than-decent adventure film which features some cool animation, but it lacks the emotion to make us care, and - I feel - won't satisfy those expecting another adventure with the Elrics.
Entertaining and emotional, doesn't disappoint
Both among devoted FmA fans and critics, "Conqueror of Shamballa" is often criticized, with some going so far as calling it an unworthy film in the franchise. Personally, I am having a hard time seeing why anyone would dislike it that much.
I consider it far superior to "The Sacred Star of Milos", as it manages to keep the feel of Fullmetal Alchemist despite mostly taking place in our world. It's not a perfect movie (for example, the antagonist leaves a lot to be desired, and the CGI is at times quite annoying), but highly entertaining. It also works very well on an emotional level, with the characters from the manga/anime undergoing both physical and spiritual journeys. The filmmakers weren't afraid of making difficult choices, and the end result is a gorgeous film that certainly satisfied my desire for further Elric adventures.
I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoyed either of the two anime series or the manga.
Kôkaku kidôtai 2.0 (2008)
First up, I want to make it clear that my rating goes to "Ghost in the Shell 2.0" and not the original film. The rating has nothing to do with the original storyline or old animation blablabla but only this new version, which is completely unnecessary in every imaginable way. The classic animation utilised in the original film looked amazing, and removing some of these classic masterpiece animations and intercutting them with new CGI stuff looks and feels, well, wrong.
It's not BAD CGI, but unnecessary, and jarring when intercut with the older (and in my opinion superior) style.
Don't watch "Ghost in the Shell 2.0". Buy the original version and enjoy that one instead.
A thoroughly unnecessary series
Last year, Norwegian television cave us "Mammon", an unusual series with interesting themes, well-written scripts and good actors (and a somewhat disappointing ending, but what're you gonna do). As such, I looked forward to watching another thrilling series.
Instead, I got "Okkupert".
The first two episodes of the series are confusing, boring and disappointing. They are also the greatest episodes of the series.
While I wouldn't go so far as to call this series straight-up bad (I'm giving it a 5 out of 10, after all) I still wouldn't recommend it to anyone anywhere. Neither writing, direction, editing, music or acting truly works, and some scenes are almost laughable.
While it felt as though "Mammon" took inspiration from the terrific Danish series we've gotten recently ("Forbrydelsen", "Borgen" and "Arvingerne" just to name a few), "Okkupert" felt inspired by Sweden. This is not a good thing.
I forced myself to finish the entire first season. I will not return for a second.
The West Wing: Noël (2000)
A dazzling episode and true masterpiece
Throughout its seasons "The West Wing" delivers hours upon hours of highly imaginative and creative pieces featuring excellent writing, acting and direction.
In this company, "Noël" stands out as one of the greatest - if not THE - greatest episode of the entire series. Featuring Josh Lyman - so often the comic relief of the show, the guy who has a witty comment to everything - dealing with some truly difficult issues, this episode takes us on a journey through some of the darker issues brought up on television. Remarkably well written by Aaron Sorkin and Peter Parnell with delicious direction from Thomas Schlamme and award-deserving performances from the entire cast in general and Bradley Whitford in particular, I can't tell you enough just how much in awe I am of this episode. Everything works, down to the sound design and music (not unimportant aspects of the episode).
RWBY: End of the Beginning (2016)
An episode of unfathomable quality
The English language is flawed. All languages are. To this day, there are experiences and emotions which no vocabulary on Planet Earth can properly describe; we simply lack the tools. This episode is such an experience.
"RWBY 3.12: End of the Beginning" is one of those rare experiences that leave you truly, deeply speechless. I've felt like this before, but only on some very few occasions (first viewing "The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" my all time favourite film was one of them).
I highly doubt that anything else produced in 2016 will come even close to this extreme quality (with the possible exception of the next Volume of RWBY).
The greatest episode so far of a web series that stands superior to any motion picture or TV-series I have seen the last few years. Thank you, Kerry, Miles, Gray, Lindsay, Barbara, Jen, Samantha, Arryn, Kara, Vic, Jeff, Casey and everyone else. Thank you Monty.
RWBY: Heroes and Monsters (2016)
"RWBY: Volume 3" is coming to a remarkable close...
Before the premiere of the third volume of "RWBY" aired I was somewhat skeptical. Following the death of the great, GREAT Monty Oum, could Kerry Shawcross, Miles Luna, Gray G. Haddock and the rest of the RoosterTeeth team truly realize the possibilities of this amazing saga?
I needed not have worried. Throughout the entire Volume each episode has been greater than the last, culminating in this eleventh episode which blew me (and fans all over the world) away. An entertaining, emotional and heartbreaking roller-coaster unlike any other, "Heroes and Monsters" is everything we could have hoped (and feared) for.
I still can't quite process how the cast and crew over at RoosterTeeth can craft series of this unbelievable quality, and remain convinced that at least some of them (Miles Luna, I'm looking in your direction) must be superhumans of some kind or another. Demigods, perhaps.
Watch this episode. You won't be sorry (though you may well cry)...
An achievement beyond my comprehension
I first became acquainted with the RoosterTeeth anime-not-anime when one of my Canadian friends posted the "Red Trailer" on facebook. I assumed it was a trailer for a video-game, but really liked what I saw. I watched the three successive trailers with much delight, but then managed to forget about the series.
Around late 2014/early 2015 I re-discovered the series, and absolutely adored the first volume. There was something about the notion of Red Riding Hood - aided by Goldilocks, Belle and Snow White - decapitating an enormous monster raven by means of a machine-gun-scythe that I found VERY enjoyable.
The second volume continued on the tradition of the first, becoming a highly entertaining and emotionally satisfying webseries masterpiece.
Since then, with Volume 3, Miles Luna, Kerry Shawcross, Gray G. Haddock and the rest of the geniuses over at RoosterTeeth have honoured the memory of the irreplaceable Monty Oum and crafted an unbelievable saga, a truly exceptional experience: well-conceived, well-written, well-directed, well- designed, well-acted, well-composed... I could go on for quite some time.
"RWBY" is, quite simply put, one of the greatest narrative achievements. Ever. Of all time.
RWBY: Beginning of the End (2016)
No, dude, seriously: I CAN'T handle the awesomeness
So... Yeah... That happened... I can't for the life of me understand how the RoosterTeeth creative team somehow manages to make "RWBY" BETTER with each episode. I'm beginning to suspect foul work at play; surely at least one of the staffers must be a deity of some kind. After the awesome-yet-traumatizing experience that was last episode (the amazing "Fall"), this episode serves us a flashback of Cinder Fall & c:o. As well as some cool cameos. And an AMAZING fight sequence. And darkness; so much darkness... It's hard to review this episode without entering spoiler territory, so I'll simply say this: WATCH IT! "RWBY" is now everything I want a good, nay, GREAT series to be. This rivals the best films and shows out there right now, and I'm loving it. I am not, however, fully capable of handling it all. Too much awesomeness, folks, too much awesomeness...
I can't handle the awesomeness
I thought I had a pretty good understanding of "RWBY" before watching this episode. I thought I would be prepared for whatever the show's creative team could throw at me. Boy was I wrong. This episode may be the strongest episode yet of the entire series (which is saying a lot). It's a darker episode than I was prepared for, but for that I am grateful. There's a lot of information to process (and yes, a bit of exposition), but that's fine. The animation and the vocal work of the first half is great. Then the second half comes along... The fight sequence - the choreography, the animation, the vocal work, the frickin' musical score - is amazing, not to mention its aftermath. I loved this episode to death. And now, if you need me, I'm gonna lie down and hyper-ventilate.