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The L.A. Complex (2012)
Good so far
The show basically is what the Melrose Place remake should have been. It takes a less glamorized approach (nobody is wearing fancy dresses and lives in big apartments although they are supposed to be broke) in depicting the life of a group of 20-somethings and how they want to make it big in Hollywood. The drama here is more 'real' and honest, less soapy altogether. It still is, of course, an entertaining, escapist kind of show and does not mean to depict reality. The show is well written and the characters are more than the usual stereotypes like 'mean girl', 'nerdy director' and 'naive, new girl'. The actors range from decent to pretty good. Altogether it takes a less PC approach in regards to certain 'issues' (alcohol, sex, stripping, drugs ...) and thus comes across as more 'natural' and doesn't try so hard to create fake drama.
It has the perfect mix of down and dirty, fun and wild without trying too hard to be scandalous or hip, sexy and cool.
Harper's Island (2009)
A great show - entertainment guaranteed
If you like slasher/ thriller type of films ala 'I know what you did last summer' than this show is a must for you. However, expect more murder than mystery.
The show starts off pretty decent and grips you once they reach the island. The concept is a bit like '10 Little Indians' with characters being killed off one by one. Besides the main storyline there are many side-stories that bring the characters to life and ultimately that is the show's main strength. You get to know all the characters and they all grow on you as the show progresses, meaning you care and feel for them when they meet their final fate. The actors are all very talented and do a great job. We have a great cast of diverse characters that are far more than simple clichés and even surprise you as the show goes on.
I know a lot of people on here say they knew right away who the killer was. I say, nonsense. They maybe guessed or had suspicions, but until much later on they in no way could have had more than a hunch. This is what makes the show so good and also re-watchable. You get enough clues and hints as to who the killer might be that when the final twist comes you go 'Ahhhh....' and not 'WTF, that came totally out of the blue'. When you watch it again you pick up on all the clues and see certain scenes in a completely different light.
The location they have chosen is very nice to look at and creates a great atmosphere. The music is decent but could have been better.
Overall the show is pretty good when you know what you are getting into. Many expected more from the final twist (some say it was obvious, others say it made no sense) while some thought the show itself would have more mystery and less killing. The main story is interesting enough and it keeps you guessing while giving clues along the way with some nice twists towards the end. The reason, however, why Harper's Island is better than it actually should be is because of the likable characters (hardly any stereotypes), the performance of the talented cast and the great location, creating an amazing atmosphere.
Yes, some questions (minor ones) are left unanswered. Not everything is spelled out. However, many things people b!tch about on this board can be easily explained and others just aren't important or relevant. Yes, the show has flaws too. Some obvious once like characters making stupid choices (although most of us would in similar situations) and some characters running off although they shouldn't. However, most of the times the show manages to make up 'plausible' reasons for things to happen.
Harper's Island was never meant to win any awards, but it's great entertainment and an awesome show for those who like the genre (slasher/ horror with thriller elements). Why this show (which at least tried to be somewhat new and different) failed while year after year we get yet another stupid 'crime solving show' and another senseless 'look at me' reality show is beyond me.
Nabari no ô (2008)
Could have been so much more.........
Nabari No Ou ('Ruler of Nabari') takes place in a modern setting and is about Miharu Rokujou, an apathetic 14-year-old middle school student, who lives a fairly normal live in a small town. Out of nowhere he is attacked by a group of ninjas and protected by his classmate Kouichi and his teacher Thobari Kumohira, who always pestered him about joining their Nindo club. Miharu then learns of the hidden ninja world Nabari that exists beyond the actual world and of the secret art 'Shinra Banshou' within him. There are different ninja clans, some wanting to assist and protect Miharu, who as the owner of 'Shinra Banshou' is destined to become the leader of the Nabari world, while other factions want to use Miharu for their own personal gain or even plan to find a way to strip him of that power to get it for themselves. Now Miharu must learn about the secret world of Nabari and might even have to learn the secret art of 'Shinra Banshou'.
Sounds interesting? Yes, it is. It's based on a light novel series and as such is rich in story. While J.C.Staff is usually a capable studio the anime itself fails to live up to its own expectations.
The first 6 to 10 episodes move quite fast and there never is a dull moment. Apart from the protagonist, the main characters are well made and interesting to watch. The problem with Miharu is that because he is so apathetic he is hard to care for. However what is really annoying is that a) he looks like a girl, b) often acts like one (to confuse enemies or trick his friends, he acts like a delicate flower - which he essentially is - blushes with teary eyes and makes them feel guilty) and c) is also voiced by a woman. While a) is not that uncommon, b) funny at first quickly becomes annoying and together with c) it's just hard to really connect with such a strange character, who is supposed to be the protagonist. Also while the series moves fast in the beginning and you get all pumped up for what is sure to come, the truth is you then realize that the last - what seemed to be a minor - introduced arc is all there is going to be until the final climax.
Nabari No Ou is full of interesting and likable characters (apart from the protagonist, who is just weird and hard to follow) in a unique - though in the beginning confusing - world. While it doesn't exactly breathe fresh air into the whole 'ninja genre' it still is enjoyable. All the ingredients for a great anime are there, however already in the beginning you feel like something is missing that connects everything. As a supporting character Miharu would work just fine, but as the protagonist - the future leader of the Nabari world - he just doesn't cut it and isn't strong enough to be at the center of everything. That being said, after the first entertaining episodes the anime overall is a let down when it comes to the introduction of the main storyline, which at first doesn't seem more like an interesting sub-plot. The climax, while well done again is over way too quickly.
The animation is overall OK, but not what I expected from such a big studio. Fitting with the rather serious tone and also sometimes violent nature of the anime, no bright colors are used and everything (especially the backgrounds) look like they were colored with crayons. You can clearly see the limited budget especially when it comes to the - as I have mentioned before - often 'sketchy' backgrounds. Overall the fight scenes are well done, but again more money means more movement, more action and ultimately more suspense. Still the director manages to make the most of it and usually succeeds.
Nabari No Ou definitely knows how to build up, whether we talk about the universe it's set in, the story lines, character development and everything else. However it never really 'clicks' and ultimately fails to deliver anything above ordinary. But because of the great ingredients you feel somewhat cheated which makes the viewing experience even worse, because it could have been so much more. The weak protagonist and what turns out to be the main story-arc, followed by a rather sappy ending are the final nail in the coffin and Nabari No Ou becomes one big letdown. What a shame really.
Excels in all areas
Code Geass is set in an alternate universe, after Japan's conquest by the Holy Britannian Empire, with their powerful new robot weapons, the Knightmare Frames, stripping Japan and its citizens of all rights and freedoms and renaming the country Area 11. Lelouch is a Britannian prince who gave up his right to the throne after his mother was murdered, and has vowed to destroy his father, the Emperor, and Britannia. He gains the ability through the mysterious power of the Geass, granted by the mysterious girl C.C., becoming the leader of the resistance movement 'The Black Knights' to fulfill his two wishes: to seek revenge for his mother and to construct a world in which his beloved sister Nunnally can live happily.
But beware, this is only a short outline of what the two seasons of Code Geass are about. Is this really one of the best anime series ever made (if not the best)? I certainly do believe so, because it does excel in all areas. It is a character driven series first and foremost, and here it makes no mistakes. There are absolutely NO STEREOTYPES to be found in Code Geass. All characters are as real as it gets. This is were most anime series fail, but character development is this series best feature. Apart from the two protagonists, we basically have more than 15 characters than can be considered main. As I have said before they are all full fledged and round personalities and even the gigantic supporting cast only consists of fully fleshed out characters. But make no mistake; Code Geass is a story of war and therefore great tragedy and drama. As it is in war, there is no real good or evil, and all the characters have their own motivation for what they do. Betrayal and changing sides, lies and deception can be found around every corner, along with incredible plot twists and character development. But how can the viewer keep track of these developments on such an epic scale? Easy. Code Geass is set in a realistic environment and a believable world is created (despite Geass and mecha action). All the characters decisions can be reconstructed and their motivation is understandable. Be it love, betrayal, pure insanity or maybe all of them.
However, the anime does not offer any sense of right and wrong, good or evil and the characters even deceive themselves at times. There is no ultimate hero to be loved and no real villain to be hated. Everyone is right and wrong, good and bad at the same time when it comes to revolution and warfare; and everyone who is not shamelessly used by others, follows his/her own egoistical agenda. Sides change often so quickly, especially in season two, that you never can decide who to root for. This may seem like a negative point of the series, but that is actually why the story and therefore the entire anime succeeds. Because it never strays and cops out, uses the deus ex machina device or lets characters decide things they wouldn't, just to make them likable. They have to make decisions and accept the result and keep on living. As they say, ''sometimes you have to choose the lesser of two evils'', but since you know all characters so well and what drives them, you still feel with them, but hate and curse them at the same time for their foolishness and weakness. The animation is excellent and the mecha action top notch. It is the first time they actually bothered to make the machines as realistic as possible. Sometimes the animation seems very clean and cold, suitable for the world it creates though.
Everyone seeking an emotional roller-coaster ride get on, you won't regret it. Code Geass is as epic as it gets.
Kaze no stigma (2007)
Maybe nothing new, but it works just as well ! ! !
Ayano is the heiress to the house of Kannagi, which ties to the spirit of fire and whose members are all fire users. All except for her cousin, Kazuma. After he was defeated by Ayano, his father banished him from the house in disgrace. Kazuma ran off and changed his surname to Yagami his only wish became to achieve great power. He formed a contract with the spirit of wind and becomes a powerful wind user. Four years later, he returns.
This is when the story starts. Kazuma made a name for himself as a demon-like wind mage, who does not hesitate to hurt others as long as it helps him to complete a task. However, his personality begins to turn for the good again after returning to Japan and meeting a now 16-year-old Ayano. Through a series of events - the different families are constantly fighting with each other and also it is Anyano's duty as a heiress to investigate supernatural happenings - they start to work together. However she is arrogant and irrational, usually taking action by herself. Despite her claims to hate Kazuma, Ayano develops a crush on him, but is often irritated when he makes a move on her and erupts in anger when he gets close to another woman. Kazuma is also the only person she sees as stronger in power and presence than the leader of the family clan, her own father, who always tries to hook them up with each other. He thinks Ayano's hot-temper needs someone as calm as Kazuma. Of course Kazuma sees right through this and doesn't seem too averse to this idea, however Ayano is absolutely oblivious of her father's attempts.
Yes I know. It has all been done before. The story is not groundbreakingly new, but what makes this anime work is that it is so character driven. You don't have endless stares and shots of nothing really happening. The 24 episodes are full of action, a good main story arc, fully developed and likable characters (girls will love Kazuma, the ultimate badass, while Ayano is entirely from another world). On top of that you get a lot of slapstick humor (I love Ayano ^^) and you get a small dose of romance. So Studio Gonzo definitely doesn't show us something we haven't seen before, but the anime is still very well done and enjoyable throughout. A respectable work, one might say. It maybe won't become you No. 1 favorite anime, but I assure you, you will nonetheless have enjoyed a fun ride.
It's definitely worth checking out and because of the likable and well rounded characters and the overall setting (great chemistry all around) it is worth adding it to your anime collection.
The genre is difficult to pin down. While the light novel series the show is based on is published in a seinen magazine (for adults), the anime is definitely not as dark and violent. However in Japan - although undeservingly IMO - it still was aired in a late night slot. So expect some violence but it is nowhere near let's say Elfenlied or Black Lagoon, more in the league of Darker than Black.
Pretty good so far, but hard to judge yet
Mhm, it's hard to judge a show by only having watched two episodes. I never followed the original, so I can't really compare them. Until now 90210 kept my interest. The first episode was dreadful IMO, but already the second one shows a lot of promise. I will definitely keep on watching the show because I think it has a lot of potential and interesting characters. I hope that the story lines get better quickly, but the show just started so we might have to wait a little bit. Already it's far better than the dreadful Gossip Girl. The actors and actresses range from average to good. Especially Jennie Garth, Jessica Stroup and the Naomi girl stand out.
The only thing that bothers me, is that it adds NOTHING new to the genre. I mean Gossip Girl has the narrative style, The OC the music and parents etc.
Captivity fails on all levels, well if there would be some levels to speak of
Captivity brings nothing new to the table of this horror genre (Saw, Hostel). Then again, not every movie has to and still it could be good by by at least using what has been done before in a solid way. Well, this film fails to do so. How this flick managed to be released in theaters is beyond my imagination. There is almost no story and no direction, all crammed together with crappy dialogue and acting. I really don't know what happened with Elisha in this. She definitely deserved the RAzzie for Worst Actress. Her character was not particularly difficult to play; just your average horror film performance was needed. Usually I'm not quick at rating a movie 1 out of 10, because most movies have at least ONE redeeming quality. Well, Captivity hasn't. Stay away from this crap. If you are not a die hard Elisha fan and/or a sucker for the Hostel and Saw flicks, you will get nothing out of this movie.
Wrong Turn (2003)
Definitely above average
Why do I like Wrong Turn: First off, something you will notice right away is that the acting is really good. That's why back in the days I know what you did last summer was watchable. All the actors in Wrong Turn are talented and well above average. Most of them have already an impressive resume.
Wrong Turn doesn't waste any time trying to come up with absurd explanations to why these mutants actually kill people. I always hate it when movies that are meant to be pure entertainment take themselves to seriously and ruin the fun by stupid explanations. A teenage-slasher movie doesn't usually need any details. Nobody comes in the theater expecting some groundbreaking backstory.
The gore is bearable. I hate PG 13 horror movies, because they usually are nothing more then thrillers for kids. Bit I don't like gore movies like Cabin Fever or Hostel. Wrong Turn is in between; it shows a little gore without being to excessive.
The only thing that stops Wrong Turn from being perfect are the death scenes. They are not really surprising or original. So excitement does never really build up, because the characters mostly die right away.
Other then that, Wrong Turn is a must-see for teenage slasher movie fans, who are sick of the recent PG13 movies ala Prom Night.
Power Rangers - The Movie, or something like that
The only reason why I rented this movie was Jason Behr. I remember him from the Roswell days and wanted to see him in a movie as a leading actor.
The movie has no real story whatsoever and actually nothing really happens. The heroes have to do nothing at all to achieve a happy ending and save the world.
The entire budget was spent on the CGI, which was definitely below average. The creatures itself were pretty good, but they didn't really fit in the scenes and looked totally out of place.
The acting was horrid at best. Amanda Whatever was one of the worst actresses I ever had to watch. She has no screen presence and not emotions. Jason Behr was also really bad. It looked like he was thinking ''Whatever happened to my career'' the entire movie. It looked like work and he did it to get paid.
Somehow the director though that many action scenes equals a good movie. Well Dragon Wars is an Oscar winner then when using this measure. The ENTIRE movie is made of action sequences with no connection whatsoever. No storyline, no dialogue, no twists, no character development, NOTHING.
All in a all it looked like a film made for TV. All the creatures and 'men in stupid looking costumes' looked like they came straight out of a Power Rangers film.
10,000 BC (2008)
10.000 BC or something like that
Okay first I have to say WHAT IS IT WITH YOU PEOPLE!, seriously complaining about historical accuracy, that they speak English and that their teeth are too good?!? What do you expect from a blockbuster by Roland Emmerich? Go and watch Discovery Channel if you want to see the real deal.
I'm actually quite defensive when it comes to movies like 10.000 BC because some people just can't judge a movie for what it is trying to be and this movie was certainly not trying to be a documentary. If I watch a movie like this I allow myself to be lead into an alternate world and enjoy it as what it is, or in the case of 10.000 BC what it was trying to be.
When I sat down to watch this movie I was pretty sure that I was going to like it, or at least enjoy it, because I was bringing the right attitude or so I thought. Since it got so many bad reviews my expectations were low and I only expected to be entertained. Well, I was wrong.
10.000 BC is about some guy going after some girl he is in love with (why we don't know exactly), because she gets kidnapped (why should we care) along with other villagers by some slave traders. He, of course, sets out to rescue her and to free all slaves. Okay, normally I don't write summaries in my reviews but since it is so easy to do for 10.000 BC I thought , what the heck. Don't be fooled this is not a plot outline. Nothing more happens, there is no side story, subplot or twist. Needless to say the story is like something a 12 year old might have written. Shame I can't say the same for the dialogue, which is FAR worse. I can't say cheesy or corny, because that's what I expected, it was just plain awful.
The acting was so bad I could hardly bear watching it. HAlf of the reason why I was watching it in the first place was because of Camille Belle. She basically carried the entire When A Stranger Calls remake, but in 10.000 BC it was like she didn't bother to do anything besides being physically there in a scene. I know I know, many say she probably realized what a crappy movie this is going to be, but she is a professional actress and she should behave like one.
The CGI was acceptable at best. The creatures always seemed out of place and just didn't fit with the actors. They looked like they were cut out of a video game (not a recent one considering the quality) and copied into the movie.
The score was HORRIFIC. This boring movie could have been saved by a good score. All those journey scenes and fights, nothing, there was nothing that got the feeling across. Whoever was responsible for that shouldn't be allowed near a film EVER AGAIN.
The costume designs where terrific and so was the make-up. Of course many complain that the actors, especially Evolet was too clean, but c'mon, it's a typical summer blockbuster, what did you expect? I think they went as far with 'the dirt' as possible and endurable by the audience. Nobody complains when the hero in an action movie gets kicked and hit hundreds of times without any serious damage done. Remember, they are movies, not reality and should be treated as such. The scenery was pretty amazing and really beautiful. Even though it is kind of weird we start off in the alps, go through the jungle into the desert, but at least it was beautiful right?!?!
How can a screenplay like that be green-light? Were the actors drugged? What's up with the weird accent? Did they think nobody would notice that it is English? Many complained that it would have been better with subtitles, but I disagree. If I want to read, I buy a book not a movie theater ticket. The whole ''Why do they speak English'' problem seems to be only an issue in English speaking countries anyway. I don't mind watching the US president talk German in my movies. We dub everything, from American to Asian movies, including the new Bollywood flicks. We never have a subtitled film.
The action scenes are without action really. Whoever made the trailer did an amazing job because 10.000 BC looks action packed. Believe me, it isn't; not even the final climax battle.
All in all it's a bad movie. But not even enjoyable because it was so god damn boring. Definitely not a 1 out of 10, but also not really worth watching. I actually can't see a movie with this theme being good anyways, unless it wouldn't treat itself too seriously and that is the BIGGEST mistake of 10.000 BC. It tries to be this huge epic (without being huge, whatever they did with the budget only God knows) and also offers us a lot of fantasy and myths including weird prophecies. They should have treated it as a fun, entertaining movie in order to succeed. Noboby can judge a movie to be dumb if it's all it wants to be: entertainment.
My advice, stay away and do not rent or (god forbid) buy the DVD.