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Is there hope for the lost?
21 September 2011
I didn't know what to expect when walking into this film, other than that Connie Stevens created it with many others including Tatum O'Neal as the lead actress and Michael Biehn as lead actor. I came out of the theater realizing I had just witnessed a great and legendary picture, with the second greatest performance I have ever had a chance to see. Connie Stevens was sitting directly behind me, as were two of the young actresses who helped bring real life into this film. "Grace" starts out very innocently. We learn that Michael Biehn's character is brother to a woman named Grace who has spent the last two decades confined in a mental hospital. And then we see Tatum O'Neal as Grace, and one can tell this is an extraordinary performance from the very first shot of her. After years of turmoil and bargaining, Grace is finally released back into society into Michael's home where he lives with his wife and daughter, and her friend Carrie played by Rylee Fansler. From the beginning though, this is all Rylee's experience in living with her friend and her family, and her character, Carrie, is based entirely on Connie Stevens; this film was a real part of her life. Grace was a part of her life, and as we learn, not in a truly positive way. As Grace struggles to adjust, the weather is looking grim, and a historical flood causes mass conflict for all. Can Grace cope, or will her actions lead her into the darkest of places? Tatum O'Neal, many blessings to you. She was perfect in her performance and thrilling throughout. The second half of this film is extremely darker than the first, and for that reason I urge everyone to see this film as it heads into theatres and watch the film in its entirety. I hope to see more from Connie Stevens and an Academy Award nomination for Tatum O'Neal, she deserves the best.
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TRON: Legacy (2010)
TRON: Legacy certainly tries hard, but perhaps takes itself too seriously and loses the wit of the original.
29 December 2010
In the early 1980's, Steven Lisberger imagined what it would be like inside a computer and a few years later, Disney came out with Tron. Yes, had some problems, but Tron more than made up for them with stunning visuals (for that time) along with witty characters and exciting sequences. In 2010, Tron: Legacy came out and people are watching it in theaters at this moment. Out of that, truly, came mixed reviews. Hard to know exactly where you stand on it, nothing is typical, the reaction is purely subjective. So now I subjugate you. My parents recorded Tron on a tape years and years ago when it played on Disney Channel. As a kid, I would attempt to watch it and turn it off soon after. Scared me to death. Years later, I picked it up again. And loved it. It took me to places I never had thought about before. As a novice CG artist, the animation blew me away, still does. Tron was funny, had some great lines and moments, and especially had incredible music that I still enjoy to this day. Now we move on to Legacy... I made myself so excited with this and watched the film with an open mind. I was hoping I wouldn't be disappointed, yet I was. Started out AMAZING. I was with it right until Sam Flynn enters the Grid. The CG done on Jeff Bridges was exceptional, the uncanny valley is certainly growing smaller. I could really feel for Sam, the beginning got me emotionally. Having seen the original film numerous times, I greatly appreciated and loved all the references to the first. Felt superior to all the others who had no idea what they were talking about. Legacy worked when it was doing that, that's what a sequel should do. It should not have a completely different feeling than the original and throw in a bunch of failing themes and bad emotional grabs. The only problem with any of the visuals of Legacy was Sam's journey into the Grid. I have to sigh. The original did it so much better... The sequence where Flynn get's sucked into the machine is so breathtaking and lasted around forty beautiful seconds. Legacy sucked in Sam in two seconds in an effect that is incredibly boring compared to the original. It just left me thinking, "This is where they are supposed to show off how fantastic CG is nowadays... And they blew it". The rest of Legacy suffered from boring typical dialogue and choppy pace. There were a few beautiful moments usually involving Olivia Wilde's incredible character, Quorra, but besides her there wasn't much depth or much of anything besides sparkling lights in this Grid. The absolute worst part of Legacy was the music... I'm sixteen, yet I don't understand the music of my generation. Kids nowadays get off to anything that has a pulse. I missed Wendy Carlos' score for the original. It successfully mixed orchestra and synthesizer. Daft Punk barely threw them together, most of their score consisted of a single motif repeated around seventy times with perhaps one chord progression. I'm not lying when I say that I can easily recreate most of their music in Garageband. So simplistic and redundant whereas Carlos sounds like Bach. Daft Punk could have redeemed themselves had they used any of the themes from the original movie. What makes Star Wars and Indiana Jones so classic? The continuing themes. Same composer throughout films. Tron Legacy had no chance to be at the status of those films when it had no music themes to tie it and the original together. I missed the wit of Tron. There were some very creative lines in there and computer and character build, but you forget you're inside a computer with Legacy. It could be the future of earth, for all you know.

Verdict: I appreciated the small allusions to the original movie, but Tron: Legacy is much worse and suffers from issues with pace, story, music, and lack of creativity. Very sparkly and pretty, but where's the depth and heart? Even though the original lacked much of those qualities, it made up for it with wit and those fun qualities that 80's movies had.
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Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days (2009 Video Game)
As Great as if it were on Playstation 2!
30 September 2009
I received my pre-order for this game the day it came out. How excited I was. It was a good move for Square to make another hand-held. But unlike their Chain of Memories game for GBA, this game for Nintendo DS is graphically very similar to their Playstation 2 games. It's amazing. I've been playing for hours, and I don't think I'm even halfway through. Each mission you do in the game is equal to a day in the life of the main character, Roxas. Some of the lines of the script are a little cheesy. There's a lot of lines like,"You ready?" "Let's go!" "Right." that appear right before you embark on your mission. Quite unneeded, if you ask me. But there are some very nice scenes that take place high upon a clock tower. Compared to Chain of Memories, the graphics are 358/2 times better, but I wish it was as mysterious and creepy as Chain of Memories was. Since it's a prequel, we already know what is going to happen. It feels just like Kingdom Hearts 2. More advanced, but lacking in the chilling quality that you used to feel. But I can guarantee that if you liked KH2, you will love this game as well. If you have a Nintendo DS, definitely get it. And if you are new to the Kingdom Hearts series and play this first, you will be bombarded with questions that do get answered along the way. Okay, I've got to go finish collecting hearts on this mission in Agrabah!
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