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Devilman: Crybaby (2018)
Depressingly nihilistic, bloody, gratuitous fan service, questionable gender identities, pretentious in seriousness, and boring dialog wrapped around a paper thin story with a brother against brother duality good vs. evil but oh my gosh we ALL can be a little evil at least theme that's been done a thousand times, maybe even more.
Looks pretty though. I will say that the art style reminiscent of Ralph Bakshi is a much needed breath of fresh air to the tired anime conformity.
The highlight of the production is definitely the soundtrack, some great modular synth work by the composers, though the theme song is completely forgettable in typical modern anime fashion.
However when all is said and done, this is a teenager's idea of what "adult" means, all sensationalism with no substance. It checked all the boxes on standard anime ingredients but failed to cook them properly. A failed attempt to titillate instead of crafting a good story. This review is for the first 10 episodes inclusive. Hard pass. 3 stars.
What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
Low budget comedy gold, this is one of the funniest movies I've seen in a long time. The different personalities of all the flatmates drive some fantastic situation comedy. Basically these guys are all stunted at a maturity level somewhere in their 20's and they are vampires, and the jokes just play with that. "The Beast" is a running joke with a great payoff, won't spoil it but it was unexpected for me. This is the kind of movie where the low budget works in its favor, buckets of obviously fake blood and stiff costumes just make everything funnier. Definitely recommended.
Thoroughly enjoyable bit of weirdness. The movie looks great and there is some great comedic timing from a lot of the characters here too. The juxtaposition of peasant superstition and aristocratic "there's an explanation for everything" is a great mix. For most of the movie, what is supposed to be real or an illusion from the story's point of view is in question. This reminds me of parts of Pan's Labyrinth, Naked Lunch, Van Helsing, among others. It does have some flaws in the logic and the pacing at times, and it can be a little confusing separating the characters from their grime to make sense of the story. This is one of those movies that's got a lot of art house in it so it's not going to appeal to everyone, but if you like a unique mix of camp, fx, and writing that leaves some questions unanswered you'll enjoy it. I highly recommend this one. I would go see a sequel in a heartbeat.
Shingeki no kyojin (2015)
This is possibly the most frightening movie I've ever seen. Shockingly badly done. This makes Sharknado look like Citizen Kane. This is the kind of movie you get when people try to cash in as fast as possible on a hot property. The manga is genius. The anime ranks up there with the best. This movie for some reason decided to dump everything from those except the most basic related premise of giant humanoid monsters among us. As a fan of the anime and manga I was expecting much more of this. I have no problem when beloved source material is changed for movies as is so often the case, as long as the result is good. The level of bad here is the kind that seems the film makers had to actively work hard to achieve and in that sense it is an astounding accomplishment. It gets a 2 instead of a 1 from me because, hey, giant monsters ya know. This is one of those rare movies that no matter if you got a free copy, are so bored you can't think of anything else to do, or some other reason... don't watch this, you will regret it. You've been warned.
Luc Besson is the Michael Bay of France
Spectacle over substance. Not much more to say. It's a fun completely brain dead romp of CGI, explosions, and goddess of war woman kicking tail. It is unintentionally funny in many scenes mainly due to the complete lack of any sort of internal logic coupled with an almost Matrix Revolutions level of self pretension and the very wooden acting of the lead character that I can only assume is per direction. This is one of Luc Besson's better recent films but honestly that's not saying much.
"1 + 1 does not equal 2" <--- This is supposed to be a deep quote.
LOL, OK, Luc. Lots and I mean LOTS of psychobabble wrapped in pseudo scientific language. The crafting of the movie is very good but the art behind it is pure dreck.
And then there is... "I'm not sure mankind is ready for it.", that ol' sci-fi movie trope.
This is totally worthy of a parody audio dub if it hasn't been done already, but at the same time it is quite a bit of fun nonsense. If you can squint your brain vision hard enough through the silliness of the whole thing then what's left is worth a Saturday matinée. And of course the lead character is a draw simply because of her looks.
Morgan Freeman should get an Oscar for this, managing to say the lines he does with a straight face and actually pulling off a seemingly real person. Pretty much all the other characters are basic archetypes.
The Boxtrolls (2014)
Fun and creepy, maybe a little too icky on the big screen
I'm a stop motion fanatic and see them all, sometimes twice! So I know what's out there and what's state of the art. This film is extremely well crafted. Maybe not quite at the smooth level of Aardman but pretty close. It's a fun story with some great laughs and the voice acting is pitch perfect. As has been mentioned there's a lot of Dahl darkness to this story.
The cons, the flesh tones and slimy bad teeth faces are just a little too ick on the big screen at 10 feet high. I caught myself thinking the unintentional gross factor was just a little too much a few times. I don't agree with other reviewers that think the movie is a little too scary, it's really not scary at all but there are scenes that exude sliminess and after awhile it can feel like you've got it on you.
I suspect that the sliminess factor will go down quite a bit if watched on the small screen and overall it's a very fun movie that as a rarity actually gets better in the third act instead of falling apart.
So if you aren't a stop motion fan but just want a kids movie to go to is this worth the price of a ticket? Yes I think so. Recommended.
Fun movie, great production values, brought down by reliance on fart jokes
I did like this movie quite a bit, there are some genius moments in it.
I think it can be summed up by the scene where the Love Interest is encouraging the Main Guy to believe in himself. I think if McFarlane had believed in more of his non-toilet humor moments instead of using the farting and cussing as a crutch it would have been a lot funnier. Don't get me wrong, I've got a pretty high tolerance for both but even I could tell he was leaning on them way too heavily.
I expect he'll get there eventually though, I would watch another movie of his because overall the fun parts for me outweigh the negatives. But after the 10th fart joke they did start getting real old.
The casting was inspired and as has been mentioned he and Theron have great chemistry. All the curtain chewing side characters were great, especially Ribisi's. Greatest cameos in a long time too.
I think McFarlane could be this generation's Mel Brooks if he wanted to be, seems a natural at that kind of humor, same level of silliness, slapstick and sarcastic and self referential observations. But Mel didn't wallow as much in the butthole side of things.
I also don't agree with the criticism of McFarlane as a lead actor. I think he has it, just needs more cracks at it. He's got the looks and style for that classic Buster Keaton every-man archetype. It would have served the story better if there was a little less of his character and more of the others, and in that regards it comes of kind of as a vanity project. But overall enjoyable even after cringing at the umpteenth bodily function set piece.
I get the impression that everyone in the movie had a lot of fun working on it and the production values are high, especially the music as is always the case with a McFarlane production.
I know he can do better than this but the question is if he wants to. I guess we'll see in the future.
lots of fun, character driven action
I don't know beans about the video game this is based on other than I'm old enough to remember it in the arcades but as I've never been a fan of that kind of game I never really played it. So my review is as a casual martial arts movie fan...
This is character driven, make no mistake. There is a plot and it's not bad but the bulk of the movie is us all getting to know these characters and their backstories. 90% of the scenes are in one dojo in the woods and if you are craving lots of spectacle you will be disappointed. This is cut more from the old Kung-fu TV series style of cloth, where there are lots of scenes of characters training and struggling with inner motivations on their way to becoming masters. In that sense it follows a grand tradition of martial arts cinema and that's a good thing. A little magic, a bit of action, and a lot of character development is what you get here.
Most of it is set in the 80's with flashes back to the 60's and they did a good job of portraying those time periods without hitting us over the head with "hey it's the 80's". It's believable within the logic of the movie.
It is not without flaws. Pacing is slow and while I get that's on purpose there are some areas where it is just too slow. There is also a bit of scenery sameness, it's pretty much all in the woods. What they did with the budget is amazing but it is still noticeable that there wasn't much of one. And a blond badger apparently climbed onto the head of one of the main leads and died there.
Speaking of the acting, this is what carries the movie through the flaws. You can tell the actors were having fun with their particular archetypes they played out. It is their interactions that make the movie as interesting as it is.
I think if you are a fan of traditional martial arts movies, perhaps not as filled with explosive action as modern fare, you will like this. I hope they make more and I look forward to seeing where they take the characters.
X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
Surprisingly good! If you've seen many of the recent crop of super-hero sci-fi schlock that's been released then you'll understand why this is a surprise.
The premise is that Wolverine is sent back in time to prevent the horrible Terminator style future all the mutants are experiencing. There is plenty of eye candy CGI and explosions and all the usual suspects make cameos. In that way it's similar to other offerings but this one, unlike those, has an engaging story. True there is probably nothing earth shatteringly new here but the deft handling keeps it from ever feeling like a paint by numbers tent-pole.
Wolverine doesn't do much Wolverine, he's mainly used as a POV character for us to bridge the past and the future. Peter Dinklage plays the gov't villain and while I always love seeing him on screen his character seems underutilized. Hugh Jackman carries the movie in terms of character and acting chops though the cast in general was very well chosen, there are just so many of them we only get a little bit of time with each. Young Xavier and Magneto reprise their roles from the previous movie and Mystique looks better than ever and we actually get a bit of character development from her. Giamatti has a great scene chewing couple scenes that are far too short, I can only hope he and Dinklage will be used more in future movies. It would be awesome to see a spectacle genre movie that also let some of these great actors loose.
The world building holds together very well, not as many obvious anachronisms. I didn't feel the effort to hold suspension of disbelief like I have in other recent genre flicks. Special mention for the scenes with Quicksilver showing off his powers, those were particularly effective.
If they can keep this quality up for the future offerings then I will be going for sure. Highly recommended for fans of the genre.
As near perfect TV as can be had
Really just about as good as it gets. Unless you just have a severe aversion to animation then most anyone will be entertained and maybe even provoked into thoughtfulness by this well crafted series.
While mainly revolving around the characters Finn and Jake, a boy and dog pair of brothers, there is plenty exploration of other characters. The world creation is deep, a post apocalyptic world where magic, magical creatures, science, and the only known human all sandbox it out. The characters almost all seem to have a development trajectory throughout the series.
Some of the themes can be pretty heavy if you were to just read them summarized on paper, but the execution is always funny. It never talks down to the audience but adults will probably get the most out of this.
One of the best well balanced shows created. Its high rating and cult status has been well earned.
Unreservedly recommended for all audiences 10 and over. Younger ones may be frightened by some of the imagery, Lemongrab Kingdom I'm looking at you.
300: Rise of an Empire (2014)
Some engaging moments but ultimately focus grouped schlock
Xerxes, what happened to you man? You were a god but in this you are a milquetoast. You were such a great villain in the first movie like some giant flaming transvestite serial killing wizard out of Harry Potter's most embarrassing wet dream. But in this they turned you into some little dude that gets openly mocked by his general! The Xerxes of the first movie would have killed everyone within earshot and then used their ears to cushion the soles of his sandals.
More six packs, more oiled muscles, double the tough talking ladies compared to the first one (2!).
This video game level takes place on ocean world. That's about how the movie hits and just as memorable as seeing the umpteenth stylized trope played out. It comes across as pure exploitation pandering to the 20-something male crowd, at least as the suits that control the money imagine them to be. Basically they said "we must have MOARRRRR!!!" but forgot to include story or character development in that statement.
Sure there are a few nice fighting scenes, the look of the movie retains some of the cool effects from the first one. It just feels soul-less candy that is completely unfilling and rots your teeth. And it's not the good candy, it's the candy that's been on the shelves a little too long and you only eat it because you hope the next bite will be better than the last.
Digital blood in buckets, scowly faced yet perfectly manicured 3 day shadow beards, skinny as heck warrior woman that we are supposed to believe can kick ass let alone walk against a strong wind. Just too many obvious set pieces with nothing to make us care about any of it.
You want exciting sea battle stories? Look at Master & Commander or many other else-wheres. Skip this.
47 Ronin (2013)
Overly earnest, takes itself too seriously, but fun also
This was a fun but forgettable big budget movie with some good stuff going for it but ultimately is bogged down by taking itself way too seriously.
The whole concept of honor that this movie revolves around is so outmoded and divorced from the real world and even history that it can be a little cringe inducing to watch. The choices these people make come across as ultimately stupid, not honorable. For a movie that is supposed to portray a culture with a very long view of things this is even more jarring.
However, the main lead (not Keanu) is a fantastic actor and Reeves does a good job as the second lead but what brings the movie down is how serious they are. This is a mythical exaggerated tale very loosely based on a real story and they tried to play it real but with supernatural monsters and magic. Not a good contrast.
The cinematography is hit or miss, the pacing is not bad, there are some excellent action set pieces and the monsters are awesome designs straight out of anime.
Ultimately though, this movie though fun and worth seeing, will not go down as a very memorable achievement for anyone involved.
Cabin Boy (1994)
Best of the best in absurd comedy, not for everyone but should be
This is a love it or hate it movie for most people. For me it's a classic that does everything right. Pure absurd tongue in cheek self aware with great set design (by Tim Burton!) and comedic actors. The line delivery is often awkward but this just adds to the hilarity. But if you don't like absurd comedy or slapstick or dorky self deprecating sorts of humor then you will likely hate this. My sisters tell me my opinions on movies are suspect forever since I rate this one so highly. Some people will click with this movie and many won't. But if you are one of the lucky few with the properly twisted funny bone then this movie is nothing short of perfect. Highly recommended for fancy lads and ladies.
Many good actors, rough edges smoothed, plot dull as toast
Not much to say. They had a big budget, great actors in support roles (Michael Keaton, Jackie Haley, Gary Oldman), the crafting is good, pacing not bad, etc. Just no plot whatsoever.
They attempted a character study but got lost along the way trying to make it all about the action too. Kind of fails on both fronts. The original movie, though deemed classic by some with retro rainbow glasses, really isn't that great either but it does make a very strong statement about society and violence and the lead actor had way more screen charisma.
The movie gets better when Michael Keaton or Jackie Haley are on screen and you get some glimpses of what this could have been but those moments are few and far between.
This comes across as a paint by numbers focus grouped affair that at the end of the day has very little to say and not enough spectacle.
Save your money and skip this one.
The Lego Movie (2014)
I went in without expecting much, just taking my 6 year old for a fun weekday treat. This movie was absolutely fantastic! I do not know if it was real stop motion, all computer, or the more likely combination of the 2 but the look is pure real lego all the way through. It is silly and fun and very well written with a great voice cast and some good self aware humor thrown in for the adults. This works both as a kid movie and an adult movie. If you like stop motion animation then this will probably be a no brainer choice to go see but for those on the fence I highly recommend it. A rare breed of lighthearted kids oriented comedy that doesn't talk down to the audience. Very well done and if you get a chance go see it in 3D, some very good use of it here. I predict this will have cult status in a few years.
Fun, entertaining but far from a classic, wildly deviates from the source material
Saw the high frame rate 3D version. Very entertaining. But also surprising to me because of how far it deviates from the book. Peter Jackson seemed more faithful to the source with the Lord of the Rings movies than this, this is really more like an "inspired by" instead of "based on".
Still fun though. I thought I'd hate the Tauriel thing but as far as subplots go it was enjoyable. Legolas looks a lot older which is a little jarring. The orc subplot was handled a lot better than in the first movie too, didn't seem quite as shoehorned.
I think Peter Jackson really wants to direct movies like Spartacus or The 10 Commandments, big war movies with thousands of people wearing sandals. In all this spectacle, admittedly entertaining, he seems to have lost the heart of the book.
Knights of Badassdom (2013)
Wow this is so bad it peels paint from the walls
OK I went into this expecting a lot more. I mean Dinklage, Zahn? Both great and funny actors with lots of charisma. I wouldn't say they are going through the motions here but the material they were given is awful and their characters have zero depth, there's nothing for them to do in this movie. There was no reason for them to be in this movie. There are some funny self aware moments and maybe if you are into this LARP stuff the movie will speak to you more than me, but overall this is a major low budget cheese-fest. Jimmi Simpson was the main bright spot in this movie, playing the "villain" (kind of) in such an over the top manner that you can't help but chuckle every time he says something. I would have liked to see what the Super Troopers guys would have done with the same budget and characters, I have no doubt that it would have been 100x better, and their movies are hit and miss too. The movie itself outside of the LARP setting is a purely paint by numbers affair targeted to the frat boy stoner demographic. Pacing is not bad and the film makers have a handle on the craft part, but there is no story and very little humor. And in that stoner genre there are WAY better movies, the aforementioned Super Troopers for one, and the Harold and Kumar movies for another. Don't waste your time. This is barely on par with straight to cable "ScyFy channel" crud.
The Musketeer (2001)
Fun popcorn muncher
I'm a huge Dumas fan and watch every one of the adaptations but I missed this one originally. Just caught it on netflix and it's nowhere near as bad as it's made out to be. Yes, the lead is a little off and there isn't much chemistry between him and Mena Suvari who isn't at her best either. The wire based fight scenes look dated and there are a few scene pacing problems.
But overall this was quite fun. There *is* chemistry between the Queen and D'artagnan thanks to Catherine Deneuve who exudes star quality in every scene she's in. There are some nice performances from most of the character actors, the original 3 musketeers are great, and the humor if not the plot is very in keeping with the book.
I first thought this was a made for TV movie because of the credits at the beginning so I wasn't really expecting much and this definitely beat my expectations. The movie looks good and aside from a few characters most of them seem fairly real, the balance between schtick and too- serious was handled well.
Overall, too many faults to be a classic but definitely enough class and fun to be very entertaining. Recommended for fans of period movies and the tongue in cheek dramedy.
Rock Jocks (2012)
Hilarious and uneven
When this movie hits, it hits the funny bone right on. And on the balance there's a lot more hits than misses with this movie.
The humor is often juvenile and obvious so don't watch this if you want subtle or wry. I think many females will enjoy this movie just as much as males will but the sexual humor makes it seem targeted to males of a certain demographic. What females will like is the female character portrayal gives as good as she gets. And the one liners are really funny.
The cast for the most part is well chosen, and their character's quirks all bounce off each other nicely. The only miss in the cast department is the government watcher guy, not that he was bad but in a movie like this where everyone is basically insane you kind of need even the straight characters to be a little deeper. I really liked Alien Jesus also.
This is a low budget movie, glaringly obvious, but at the same time it's basically dialog driven comedy so who cares really. It's just a fun movie, not a classic, but not bad.
Creepy, well crafted and acted, solid drama
Interesting movie, full of dread and plays with the question of who the prisoners really are. Everyone is pretty good in this. Wolverine bares some claws but really doesn't channel Wolverine, we get to see some more range. Terence Howard was underutilized in a key and understated role that was very well done I thought. The main detective character was the most charismatic but the other characters seemed more real.
There are other similar movies that deal with different elements of this one, such as The Vanishing and The Orphan, neither of which I want to see again though they were very well done. As a parent the idea of a child being abducted with no trace is of course very disturbing and the film makers obviously play that up a bit. Lots of crying and various people coping or failing to cope in various ways.
The scenery is bleak, rainy Midwest or Canada, we get a sense of the cold and grime in these middle class people. The overwhelming flavor of this movie outside of the main plot is the essence of abuse and mental illness. We get lots of doses of that.
As far as this type of genre goes, this one is more hopeful than many, there is little to no gore (one dead body that's been dead for awhile). The movie doesn't work in sharp pokes but one long slow dread buildup and it's pretty good at that.
There is lots of character study here but over all I'd say it's more plot driven than character driven. The ending which I won't spoil seems to make some people think there is ambiguity but I didn't see it that way, seemed pretty clear what was going on at the end.
Flash Gordon (1980)
This is one of my favorite movies from the 80's time period. I watched it when it first came out and loved it then and now watching it decades later it holds up very well. The sets are really outlandish and over the top, exactly what you would want from an updating of the serial and this kind of spectacle in what is basically a comedy is almost never seen anymore.
All the character actors did a great job in this, from Timothy Dalton to Brian Blessed to Topol. Ornella Muti never looked so gorgeous before or after. All the crazy accents and scene chewing makes for a fantastically entertaining movie.
I was always disappointed they didn't make more of these but perhaps it is best that this stands as a pinnacle of 70's/80's kitsch done right.
This movie is a true classic.
Dead in Tombstone (2013)
Trejo and Rourke fail to carry film through bad plot and pacing
I'm a huge fan of both Trejo and Rourke and seeing them on screen together was a lot of fun. But their star quality charisma sadly fails to lift this movie out of the muck of poor writing and pacing.
The production seems to be about on par with a Sy-Fy channel "original" movie, better than a straight to DVD production but not by much.
The western elements are played for full cartoon caricature stereotype and look decent enough while being obviously anachronistic, there's just no real excitement to the movie at all. It's very standard revenge plot action wannabe without the budget and flash to carry it off. You know everything you need to know in the first 5 minutes of the movie and if you are like me and have seen a lot of action movies you'll even be able to accurately predict many of the set action sequences before they happen.
I would have liked to see a less action oriented flick with the same premise that let Trejo and Rourke's acting chops shine. As it stands the movie is pretty forgettable.
Pacific Rim (2013)
This movie had lots of promise and has some fantastic well done elements. The look of the movie is great as has been noted by just about everyone. However at the same time it feels derivative. Like a great master craftsman making the same artifact over and over, each one better than the last but ultimately all being the same thing. We've seen this movie before, just not as polished.
Idris Elba and Ron Perlman steal the show, their characters define the extremes of the human world better than any of the others and they chew scenery with the best of them. Elba especially managed to perfectly embody the anime archetype of the pained father figure general without making it ridiculous, I don't really know how he managed to do it even though I watched it happen. Perlman was just fun in every scene but his scenes worked best when his insecurity was on display rather than the Hellboy persona he channeled for other parts.
The two scientist dweeb types while fun and entertaining still feel shoehorned in for stereotype. The main leads are frankly forgettable cookie cutter jock types that seem better suited to TV sitcoms or police procedural. The "wacky" secondary characters such as the other crew or mission ops guy we never really see enough of to care about.
Plot? Well, not much of that going on here. Pretty standard alien invasion/giant monster fare with the we've-seen-it-a-million-times lone wolf character coming back for redemption. This is basically a good Godzilla movie wrapped in a live action Anime design.
Still, as popcorn munching fun it was pretty good. If it were any other director/writer I'd give it a higher rating purely for glitzy cartoon style entertainment but I expected a little something deeper and cerebral, if only in passing, since Guillermo Del Toro was the creative driver. The theme of merging neural pathways of 2 or more people to drive a giant robot has rich possibilities but the movie never mines this idea beyond the surface.
If they managed to make a sequel I'd go watch it but I'd temper my expectations.
One good thing after watching this movie, I'm not as bummed as I was before that Del Toro doesn't get to make Lovecraft's Mountains of Madness.
In the credits James Cameron is thanked (among others) and I think that can clue you into what this movie is, grand spectacle extremely well crafted but very linear predictable story.
The movie is dedicated to Ray Harryhausen and Ishirō Honda which is another clue what this film is, a love letter to giant monster movies, and frankly that works for me.
Recommended with some flaws.
This Is the End (2013)
Hilarious, if unbalanced, skewering of Hollywood
First things first, this is a gory movie in a very camp unrealistic way. So don't take the kids to it (do I even have to say that? yeah I guess I do these days).
The jokes center around drugs, absurd situations, booze, farts, sex, and more drugs. So on the surface it's pretty immature. Though if you like that kind of humor you need look no further as it's done well. But there are a couple things that make this movie worth a deeper look.
First, the whole theme of the movie is satirizing the self importance of young Hollywood stars. There's a reason the apocalypse happens to them. It's a quite brilliant setup that they manage to work through the whole movie.
Secondly, the ensemble improv acting of a bunch of real life friends playing alter-universe versions of themselves is a hoot to watch. There are some moments presumably due to the improv where scenes don't work quite as slick as they could but this isn't a tight plot driven movie. Overall the effect is that we've been invited to hang out with them while they just have fun making a movie. I love that when that happens but some people may not, it's a taste thing.
And the endless cameos of current young stars are a treat, particularly Michael Cera's bit part of insanity. However, Craig Robinson and Danny McBride steal the show here. They exude comedy in every scene they are in, whether deadpan or mugging.
As I said the movie is not without it's flaws. It does drag a bit here and there, some of the scenes could use tightening and joke pacing is hit or miss occasionally. For all that though I recommend it for fans of the absurd like Hell Baby, another partly improv'ed recent comedy.
The FP (2011)
Funny and subversively smart low budget flick
First off, this is loooowwwww budget and it shows. The sets are repeated over and over which makes the film feel a little claustrophobic given the story setting.
That said, it is really smart and clever in the way it was put together with some genuinely hilarious moments. But this isn't really a movie with a string of sitcom style setups to laugh about. It's more like one big long joke because everyone plays their characters completely straight within the context of a ridiculous world.
The standout character is the hillbilly/gang-leader villain guy. He's so over the top you can't help but smile when he's on screen being a total d'bag the entire way.
The main lead's nod to every anti-hero movie (and noticeably Snake Plissken from Escape from New York) is a running gag. The incongruity of these kids' lives is even more apparent when they have to interact with the occasional middle aged adult who (with the exception of crazy dad) all look pretty much like anyone you'd see today.
The plot is window dressing for the world building and seems mostly an homage to martial arts revenge flicks, with the dance video game taking the place of martial arts.
Where this movie stands out is in 2 places. 1. The music. It's fantastic. They knocked it out of the park with the electronic house/trance compositions that simultaneously nod to John Carpenter's moody soundtracks and bring it completely modern/futuristic.
2. The dialog. It's not quite as genius as Clockwork Orange in this department but it's in that direction. The kids all without exception speak their own dialect that can only be described as street ghetto. It will will be recognizable to Americans who will have heard lots of it in daily language but this is over the top constant. What sets it off as more than an affectation of the movie is the complete lack of black people that you would presume originated the style of language. Not one. There are whites and asians but no blacks. I can only think this is a purposeful move on the writers part and it does make a statement about language and co-opting 'cool'. This combined with the redneck/gangster stereotypes mixed in throughout the movie successfully give this movie a futuristic alien feel. Warning for the sensitive types there are a LOT of N'bombs dropped. However, through all the ridiculousness it hangs together with a weird logic.
Quite an interesting and enjoyable flick full of smiles but few laugh out loud moments. Most of the people in the movie seem to be able to act and they greatly help with the suspension of disbelief.
The last scene is quite hilarious.
If you don't like dry, wry, cerebral parodies then you probably won't like this much. It does drag here and there and the budget is glaringly obvious but I look for really good things from the Trost brothers in the future.