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Yugio deyueru monsutazu (2000)
Good campy fun... Sit back and enjoy the ride.
I guess I'd always known what Yu Gi Oh was. I was a child of the nineties, how could I not know about the card game? I even played it with the kids I babysat for. (I lost. Miserably.)
But I never watched the cartoon. I didn't even think I'd like it until I stumbled across LittleKuriboh's infamous Abridged Series on youtube. (If you haven't checked this out yet, I urge you to do so. They're hysterical, even if you don't actually watch the show.) After laughing my very bottom off at those, I started getting REALLY curious about the actual show.
I was surprised at how entertained I was. The characters are fun, even if Tea is a bit annoying. I'm still not entirely sure what's up with Yugi's hair, but hey, it's a great visual motif, and if he ever gets into a really tight spot, he could probably poke his opponent's eye out with his pointy bangs.
I'm not that interested in the duels themselves, but the story that rides on them is a lot of fun. For instance, in the first season, Yugi must duel his way to a tournament to rescue his grandfather, and his best friend Joey must do the same to win the prize money to help his sister. These character plot lines get corny and campy at some points, but hey, suspend your disbelief and just go with it. It's a lot of fun.
If you like villains, you're in luck. Yu Gi Oh has a healthy supply of villains, henchmen, anti- heroes, and evil alter egos, you name it. Maximillian Pegasus is just plain campy and ridiculous. Normally, I'd scoff at such a campy villain, but it takes me back to my childhood when ALL my shows had campy villains. Seto Kaiba's also a lot of fun, toeing the line between villain and hero with his smashing good looks and Coattails of Doom, he's irresistible. And who could forget Ryo Bakura? If you are entertained by a sweet overly polite and incredibly effeminate looking guy who periodically gets taken over by an evil spirit who not only makes his hair fifty percent pointier (so you can tell the difference) before getting ready to destroy the world, Bakura's your guy. He does seem to spend a lot of time laughing the standard villain laugh (you know the one) but again... It's all good campy fun. (PS. Bakura's also really hot.)
Don't take this show too seriously, and don't get hung up on the plot points of constant breakage of Duel Monsters rules. It's a lot of fun, and there's bound to be a character or two in there you'll want to stick around to root for.
Entertaining and Unique
I've been a huge fan of these books since middle school, so naturally, I awaited the movie with some trepidation. Would be as disappointing as the Potter films? Would they get the story and characters right? I sat down in the theater to be greeted by cheerfully saccharine musical number involving a claymation elf, and I grinned as the happiness was cut short by Snicket's humorously dark narration. These filmmakers knew what they were doing.
The story was adapted very well. You don't need to be intimately familiar with the books to understand what's going on. Even though the plot changed somewhat, it all served to make the story work better on screen. Some scenes were cut or changed altogether, but all the great characters were done justice(though it seems, alas, that jusice will never do anything to Count Olaf.) The child actors were very likable and relatable, and conveyed a real sibling chemistry. Carrey's Olaf was hilariously over the top, as he is in the book, yet frightening and menacing. It's a difficult balance, because the villain really is kind of absurd, but sometimes, he does something so menacing you really take him seriously. Props to Carrey.
The highlight of this movie for me was the soundtrack. It truly captured the unique feel of Snicket's world. Just listen to the "VFD" track, which sounds like a particularly haunting music box, and you'll feel yourself getting whisked off to this strange mirror of our own world where lies danger and mystery. The soundtrack sweeps through bars of mournful cellos that convey the dark quirkiness of the world.
The costumes and sets were also great. The books don't take place in any particular time. Technology ranges from very modern to very old fashioned. The movie did a great job in using costumes that were a bit of a twist on victorian styles fused in a world with modern sensibilities. It was a great look and feel In short: I want Violet's dress.
The inclusion of Snicket's narration was a real treat. It has always been one of my favorite parts of the book. Seeing Mr. Snicket in the flesh (even if it was only a silhouette, or from the back), sneaking around a clock tower to write down the depressing chapters of the Baudelaire's story was great. Jude Law captured Snicket's voice very well.
This is a fine example to all other filmmakers who wish to make successful adaptations of beloved books. They really outdid themselves.
I wanted to like it, but...
It was very disappointing.
I adored the first movie to pieces. I own the DVD and regularly play it on movie nights with my friends. It's great unexpected fun, quotable, and a visual spectacle. The characters are surprisingly likable, and Depp comes roaring in like a breath of fresh air as Capt. Jack.
The problem with the third movie (as well as the second) is that it lost touch with it's roots. The first movie, while heavy with the supernatural stuff, was still pretty grounded in a fairly accurate real world. The characters were over the top, yes, but still believable, and above all, relatable. Their motives and predicaments all made a great deal of sense (i.e. Elizabeth wanting to marry Will, Barbossa wanting to be free of the curse, Jack simply wanting to get a boat so he could live his life of freedom). Unfortunately, in the new movies, the writers have lost touch with the first movie's charm. The plots are so convoluted it's difficult to decipher, much less remember, a character's desires and motives. It's much less emotionally grounded. It has also become so thick into this supernatural fantasy land that it has hardly any link to the real world at all. This would not have been a problem were the filmmakers not so intent on special effects and visual spectacles that they forgot to tell a good, solid story.
I believe this movie would have been better if the writers had kept to a more straightforward plot and toned down much of the "grand spectacle" stuff which really dominated the movies.
Spider-Man 3 (2007)
Not the best Spidey movie ever, but still worth the ten bucks.
This didn't really measure up to the first two movies, but that's not to say I didn't enjoy it.
The fight scenes are incredible. They whirl across the building tops of the city, and the blows are believable and painful to watch. (For example, when Peter trips Harry with a web, and he falls down, I winced.) It's definitely worth watching for the action scenes alone. They are well choreographed, the CGI is breathtaking, and it's just great to see the characters butt heads in a fight. The Sandman vs. Spidey scene was great, as was both of the Harry vs. Peter scenes (these were actually my favorite, because we've had three movies to get emotionally invested in both characters.) While I liked the individual stories, I think the movie overall was too cluttered. Separately, I think each story would have worked better.
The Sandman story is brilliantly written, touching, and sad. Great acting, great character. I hope he turns up again.
I really enjoyed Harry Osborn's character arc in this film. It's been building up all throughout the franchise, and it has finally come full circle. I've always had a soft spot for dark little vengeful Harry, and it was fun to see him go all the way, allowing revenge to completely consume him, to rising to the ranks of a hero. Amnesia!Harry was both touching and amusing. The scene where he and Peter dribble a basketball through the Osborn penthouse is one of my favorites. All bitterness has been forgotten. They're just two high school outcast best friends again. It was sweet. And I'd be surprised at anyone who didn't grin when he showed up at the end in Goblin garb and fought alongside Peter. I'm really sad he won't be around anymore, as he and Spidey made a pretty awesome team. Loved the character, loved James Franco, who managed to make a half-deformed face really hot. Seriously, the Phantom of the Opera's got nothing on him.
There was a lot of silly slapstick in the background of this movie. You'll enjoy it.
Beware of the cheese. Normally, I don't mind cheese too much, but it goes a bit overkill in this movie. I mean, the other two movies could be cheesy, but sometimes, cheese it good. Like cheddar. Mmmmm, cheddar...
It's a fun movie, probably good to see with friends. If you want to laugh at the cheese, don't be afraid. Don't hold it against the other two movies, just enjoy it for what it is.
Oh, and Bruce Cambell is awesome. Worship the Bruce.
An amazing and under-appreciated show.
How would I describe Supernatural? It's like Hardy Boys meets X-Files meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer... It's pretty cool. It definitely fills the niche of several paranormal themed shows in the past, but it really has its own look and feel.
This show has a lot of good things going for it: good cinematography, hot leads, scary monsters, urban legends come true, witty dialog (especially from Dean, God how I love him.) But a lot of crappy shows have that stuff too. There's something about this show that makes it more than just another one of its genre: This show never forgets that the monster is not the most important thing- the characters are. Sure, we want to see how they exorcise the ghost and save the damsel in distress. But what's more important is the Winchesters. The demons/monsters/ghosties on this show all serve the purpose of advancing the Winchester's story. They place them in moral dilemmas, fights with one another, and put them head to head with their old skeletons in the closet.
This show also has a great balance between dialog and action. Too many shows are so action packed, you kind of forget why the characters keep hitting one another. This show has plenty of talk, but not too much. You always understand the characters, and that makes all the action scenes hit home emotionally. You know exactly what Dean means by "shooting Casper in the face." The chemistry between the two (and occasionally three) Winchesters is solid. Above all, this show is about a torn up family that have pretty much been through hell for and with one another. You can sense a history and a deep relationship. (I love the way Same and Dean kind of communicate and nod at each other while interviewing a witness.) But it avoids the chick-flick-ness. It's just very real. Sam and Dean will risk their neck in a second for one another; but they have absolutely no hesitation in teasing the other to death. Very brotherly.
So, if you're looking for an entertaining show with good characters and interesting plots, you should definitely consider this one.