On the surface "Newsies" has my attention being based around true… MoreOn the surface "Newsies" has my attention being based around true events that are usually ignored and starring a young Christian Bale. While the material doesn't sound riveting Bale is more than capable in providing a compelling performance to carry the film. However, upon discovery it was a Disney live action musical it turned into a worst case scenario that instead of subverting expectation it plays into them. Creating one noisy mess of a film that could have worked for both it actors and the story if it knew to be a drama or musical instead of sloppily meshing the two together.
Newsies is a musical based a true story about the New York City newsboy strike of 1899. Immediately the film begins to crack opening with a poorly written and constructed song about working (oh come on, that lazy Disney formula). Now I'll accept back in 1899 New York City "Newsies" sang on a daily basis on just about anything, ten years old were allowed to hang out in pubs and drink the night away, and I'll even buy Joseph Pulitzer plan to make more money will obviously not work if it all leads to something compelling. It never amounts to much because of the Disneyfication of a film that clearly was meant to be a drama is tailored into an indispensable, uninspired mess. Missing is coherency in its narrative structure to support dialogue dramatics and the musical numbers. Pacing is erratic sometime going for long stretches without a musical number to having too many songs pile up on each other. The quiet moments of the film are filled with indispensable cliches. From the cast of heroes there's a newsboy on crutches, the little kid, the rebellious hero going against the establishment, and of course the hero's best pal that warms up to him, who has a pretty sister. Not to forget the one dimensional villains whose only defining traits are to make money or pick on children. There's nothing wrong with simple morality, but when the characters themselves acknowledge how stupid they act it begs to question what is actually consider morally good by this film standard. Our protagonist, Jack Kelly, lies for a living to make money to not starve to death. A trait that is meant to earn the audience sympathy, but Joseph Pulitzer who makes a honest living selling newspaper and gave kids jobs barely scraping by with their wages in the first place is perceived to be bad. Since Pulitzer is the standard villain who hates people and motivated by money his action have a predictable outcome to the conflict. On both sides you have characters whose action are supported with a weak body of characterization to take them seriously.
In middle of the erratic pacing and cliches it calls characters are the plotlines simultaneously having too much with little breathing room and stretched out beyond repair. Token supporting characters drop in and out at a moment notice. For example, Jack Kelly visit his best sister house falling in love with his best pal sister. All that was needed for Jack Kelly heart to be taken away with his significant other wasn't the growth of their relationship, learning about each other, but occasionally gazing at each other in one scene and they know it's meant to be. It doesn't matter that Jack Kelly shares more scenes with a older man another supporting character than he does with his own love interest. Jack Kelly also has his own arc to overcome which is too kinda organize the Newsies to strike. A job later handle to another character temporarily which goes to display the lack of importance of their position. None of the characters feel important to in fighting for their cause. Every one of them feels disposable and interchangeable with one another. Weak characters, scatter plot lines, erratic, and some badly written musical numbers can create a noisy snooze fest of a film. Top it all off, the motivation to start the strike is thrown away at the climax as if to say I give up.
If judged as a Disney musical it's PREDICTABLE! Anyone not familiar with the "Disney" formula here's how Disney lazy efforts usually play out; It opens with a choral arrangement preferably a work song (Carrying the Banner), characters grow up in a montage over the span of a single song, dead or absent parents that occurs quickly or off screen and probably in a montage with no dialogue or brief mention, a "I want" song sung by the protagonist (Santa Fe), and the gilded cage: you're trapped in this place, probably for your own safety. For me the film did no favor playing it safe by the book. Not one element or plot device used made a difference in how it all played out. In particular the dragged out ending which is similar to "We Are the Champions" by Queens if it only bragged for seven minutes repeating "No times for loser cause we are the champions". The ending is similar to that minus the musical talents of Queens being replaced by off key singers by non professional young stars and poor musical composition, and sound arrangement from the adults putting it together. It should be noted that once a musical number ends the character act back to normal like nothing happened every time making even less sense when seeing our protagonist dance in the middle of the street despite wholeheartedly singing about his past struggles to reach his dream. Like the characters, it best to pretend choreographed musical numbers and songs never happened.
Christian Bale delivers a good performance. When not requiring to sing Bale brings some likability to Jack Kelly. Charming one moment and alienating the next swiftly conveying his character personal turmoil. He's the only actor who manages to overcome the annoying New York accent making it a part of his character unlike the rest of the young cast where it's a nuisance to listen too. Singing on the other hand Bale voice cracks going for the high notes. However, his crack voice works for his solo number "Santa Fe" showing off some good dancing skills. Bill Pullman is meh in his role, though among the most tolerable not having that New York accent to handicap him. Robert Duvall plays Joseph Pulitzer not making much of an impression. Duvall has little screen time and even less of a personality given the character he has to portray. At best Duvall is one note, though given how standard the role is written in this film there's no way he would have pulled off anything interesting unless it was meant to be intentionally cheesy. The supporting cast has some interesting names from David Moscow, Luke Edwards, Trey Parker, Josh Keaton, and number of others that get tossed to the sideline. Their performances are average unable to deliver the more heavy side of the material with any emotion. Some of them are better singers than Christian Bale, but unlike Bale,when the supporting cast speak in their New York accent it can get annoying. Despite a good performance by Christian Bale the film is miscast. The characters we follow are meant to be children, but all have the appearances of teenagers going against the concept. As for the music it ranges from where the mute button like "Carrying the Banner", to well that just happen song like "King of New York", and finally to that was surprisingly good like "The World Will Know". Hopefully among the few songs made for the film you'll find one you'll like because it'll reuses some of them twice and about five of those musical numbers are performed on the same set despite having of a number of sets that perfectly captures its era. Dancing choreography while well performed, much in vein of the story is uninspired.
Newsies on the surface for me had the ingredients to hold my interest, but once Disney got involved attempting to mesh drama and musical together poorly it became tedious. Anyone who knows the Disney musical formula will find no surprises in this repetitive film that takes no risk nor executed in the manner to make it enjoyable. Even if the plot does interest you the characters are one dimensional cliche and so are the standard villains. Plotlines aren't developed to support itself without a musical number to liven things up. The music is limited and generally badly sung while the drama side of the story tread familiar waters like it a commitment to the end. All in all, Disney tried something different, but at the same time it was afraid to do anything different ending up with a film with the worst qualities of the studio present for two noisy hours of boredom.
Elysium, set in the year 2154, follows Max who agrees to take on… MoreElysium, set in the year 2154, follows Max who agrees to take on daunting mission that if successful can save his life. If you've seen "District 9" you also have seen "Elysium". It's about the gap between the haves and the have-nots. The protagonist nominally works for the overlords, but is discarded when an accident gives him a deadline on his life, and nothing left to lose. He is selfish until a child in a situation gets him thinking about others as well as himself. Taken in by hated second-class citizens, and offered a dangerous, messy form of possible salvation that involves leaving Earth and flying somewhere forbidden. Anyone who's seen "District 9" you sadly seen how "Elysium" plays out even if the order of events are changed. That there alone is the biggest obstacle it never conquers. By copying the framework of another film both by the same director/writer creates a disconnect for the audience when that same framework is dumbed down. It's one thing if another copy a similar framework since it's a different interpretation, but by the same filmmaker it comes of as a more expensive remake that retread discussed themes that was better explored in his previous film. However, the biggest nail in the film coffin is it inability to stand on its own.
Filled with good ideas and a simple to understand metaphor what would have helped it imaginative world become meaningful is if any of it made sense or got developed. The world features a host of neat gadgets like explosive heating seeking discs, rocket launchers that can travel through the Earth atmosphere, organic brain data that can store data, and a medical pods that can heal any sort of disease. These are a couple of the neat gadgets created in this dystopia, but how they are incorporated into the film makes no sense. Those heat seeking explosive disks are only used once in the film despite it being made very clear how useful it is. While it's not a plot hole it does present the world as if high class citizens were all idiots. Also, that rocket launcher that can travel through the Earth atmosphere and into space is "Elysium" defense system. Forget the idea that citizens in the slum can built ships that can travel to space. The real question is this space station for the rich can afford medical pods that heal any disease, but the most their money can buy is a guy on Earth shooting rockets into space. Clearly some corners were cut as despite in one scene four rockets being fired only three are ever shown. Elysium should really get smarter people, a defense system that best fits their needs, better equipment for its officers, and a better citizen identification system. Another neat idea that is superfluous in existence is how an organic brain can carry data similar to a computer. This brain concept is made pointless in the film as it usage of a questionable plot device makes it first action sequence pointless. If extracting data is easy as getting a wifi connection from one's laptop it defeats the purpose for our heroes extracting that same data physically. At least these concepts while nonsensical are nowhere near as bad as some of the other plot points (Max's radiation effect) that get dropped inexplicably.
As a storyteller there are certain and specific techniques that are used to make your audience cheer for the hero. One of the most common and abused to death in this film is giving heroes inferior technology. This is nicknamed the "Underdog Effect" as physiologically superiority can easily be tricked to be associated with pure evil. This film to no extent ever restraints itself in abusing this particular plot device since it's much easier and quicker to make sure your heroes likable if you give them a handicap. It's a useful device if you want to explore complicated themes and expand on your concepts, but seeing how this dystopia came to be, why still Elysium uses an id citizen system that Earth citizen have copied successfully, why those living in the slums don't attempt to steal medical pods, what drove these people to take such drastic measure for class separation, and when did the logic die on Earth all go unanswered. However, there is a counter effect to the "Underdog Effect" if that same character is too incompetent in overcoming his ordeals. Max has a criminal background and at one point referred to as legend in the area he lives in. His skills which other characters brag about are never applied to Max. As a protagonist he's too clumsy in his journey to be get behind surviving numerous possible deaths scenario through sheer luck, plot convenience, and one blatant deus ex machina usage when Max is on the run. When you have a character that can't survive on his own instincts he stops being relatable and becomes a tool when his failure is used to advance the plot. By relying heavily on good luck for survivor Max is never an engaging protagonist which is bad when all of your other characters are one dimensional.
Matt Damon is mixed in the leading role. He's never engaging because his line reading varied in scenes where it matter most. At one point Damon is serious when he wants to save a childhood friend, but completely monotone when telling a little girl to stop telling him a story. It's a role that handicapped him severely as his facial expressions never seems to change no matter the scene. On paper it would be easy to blame the xosuit that Damon character has to wear for giving him limitation physically (especially in his movement), but disregards obtained injuries before wearing his exosuit for the film. Jodie Foster is odd in the role. Her accent is inconsistent with recorded dialogue being dubbed noticeably. She's always emotionless which to a degree serves it purpose to hate her more, but without background neither Foster nor the audience knows who she truly is. Her role is just being someone hate is almost like if her portion of the script only had a drawing of a angry face. William Fletcher in his short screen time suffers from the issue as Jodie Foster. Fletcher is told to be display as little human emotion as possible to be hated. Sharlto Copley is energetic portraying a sociopath. His physical appearance alone tells you how much of a lunatic he is, but it is his commanding acting and wrathful voice that makes him a memorable threat. Copley is the most notable actor that overcomes weak writing. Wagner Moura shows some difficulty in saying his English lines, but is one of the few supporting actors whose efforts overcomes weak material. The few action sequences had special effect that were solid. With varied weaponry how an opponent gets taken out were all unique. However, the editing and cinematography of those action scenes are all over the place. In particular there's a fight in the climax that has the middle of it fight cut every three second. Choreography in the fight itself is basic villain is over power, but hero overcome eventually through will power was hard to enjoy with scattershot editing. None of the set pieces flowed smoothly because of quick cut editing that made it a chore to look at and close ups that clouded what was being shown. There were several occasion where you want the camera to pull back, but generally remains to close. Neil Blomkamp vision of the future looks realistic while it characters aren't. His world feels real and distinct when in the dirty slums on Earth to the clean and glossy looking Elysium.
Elysium has good ideas none of which are ever developed to make it message have substance. It feels more like a superficial product of dumb entertainment rather than an intellectual blockbuster it wanted to be. The plot makes no sense and with no developed characters to gravitate towards its message never gets taken to the heart. Visually Blomkamp created a visually realistic future at the cost of any logic behind it. For anyone who seen "District 9" it'll come off as a sloppy remake and anyone who never seen "District 9" will find it ideas intriguing, but without much substance behind them there's hardly a reason to become engaged in what emotions and thoughts it's trying to get across.
Gayniggers From Outer Space is about extraterrestrial beings that… MoreGayniggers From Outer Space is about extraterrestrial beings that travel the galaxy to free men "oppressed" by females to make way for an entirely-homosexual society. That's pretty much sums up the whole movie. I kid you not that synopsis leaves no stone unturned. The only thing left to talk about is the humor. Now the humor wears very thin in the first four minutes which are all about dicks jokes. We are introduced to the crew whose names go as follow; ArminAss, Captain B. Dick, D. Illdo, Sgt. Shaved Balls., and Mr. Schwul are all from the planet Anus. I would make a joke about how the crew names are basically different variations on testicles, but I can't come with up any. Literally coming up with a creative dick joke is hard. My mind is coming up dry. Oh well. It's okay since the film is just that. Rinse and repeat the same dick jokes. There is some political incorrectness like a computer database believing Asian people are yellow. Despite the movie title it's actually not racist. It's humanitarian wanting gay to be accepted, unless if you're a woman. Sexist it could be called since the whole point of the...avoid typing to avoid potential offense is to eliminate women to create a Gay universe. There's something about Lord of the Brown rings and the Holy A*****le, but their potential comedic value gets diminished once expose to the same jokes repeatedly.
On the technical sides it is intentionally design to look like a B-movie. You have cheesy dubbing that's off sync, production design that is absolutely cheap with most of the mini-budget spent on lots of rolls of aluminium foil and cardboard, costumes looking like eighties disco outfits, and shot in grainy black and white that makes it look older than it actually is. Any actor who doesn't play an alien will generally say gibberish in other languages. So in that respect it does something right with b movie production values believe it or not. It even pokes fun of the sepia tone transition to color by the end of the film made famous by "The Wizard of Oz". Other than that the music use is actually good from Jazz to classy music like Richard Clayderman soft piano ballad "Ballade Pour Adeline". Kudos for the film for having such an unexpected high classy track in spite of what the goofy short film actually is.
Gayniggers From Outer Space is neither offensive nor an entirely painful thirty minutes. The humor revolve around a specific body part which gets repetitive when relying on those same jokes for thirty minutes. It's intentionally poorly made to parody common logic. For that reason you intentionally don't have to bat an eye at it. Of course I won't say to stay away from the film since it's thirty minutes, not much harm will be done. One last thing I might have to address for some that might have the wrong notions. Anyone thinking I'm being harsh on this film, you should know I'm the same person who a gave positive review to a film about killer condoms.
The first Sharknado was a welcome surprise from The Asylum thanks to… MoreThe first Sharknado was a welcome surprise from The Asylum thanks to it understanding of B-movies turned out to be stupid, and fun entertainment. It knew it was stupid, but took itself seriously in its treatment that if done with meta humor wouldn't have taken off the same way it did. With the sequel it follows tradition of going bigger where the main issue arises from. By going bigger the action is no longer focused and supplied in smaller doses unable to top its own opening sequence or its predecessor as desperately as it tries too.
Sharknado 2: The Second One follows Fin and company attempting to save New York from multiple deadly Sharknados. The opening sequence sets the bar high paying homage to the classic "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" episode of "The Twilight Zone". This time with sharknado colliding with airplane. It's a stellar opening sequence quickly providing a dose of the implausible action to come making good use of the setting. I dare say the opening sequence is a work of genius. However, past that opening sequence the remainder of the film is unable to top it until it reaches the climax. This time instead following a single group allowing the shark action to be focused and supplied at a steady stream. We follow three groups in the sequel often cutting back to them over time which also means shorter screen time for B-movie badass Fin Shepard (who gives Martin Brody a run for his money in shark slaying). The action is more scattered and smaller in scale unable to top the opening sequence in its scope until it final stretches. Despite how goofy the series is and will become the writers know what they're doing. Like the previous film, it's self-aware of how silly the idea is, but the treatment for it is taken seriously adding to the humor. Though this treatment does go overboard with all the needless news broadcast thrown at the viewer face. These news broadcast are silly at first and flesh out a bit of the fictional world, but the seventh time logic is attempted to be apply to the disaster known as Sharknado it's worse than beating a dead horse. World building has some success fleshing out the characters. It's nice knowing that once a movie ends the character lives are still worthwhile beyond the closing credits. One of the characters, April Wexler, wrote a bestselling book called "How To Survive Sharknado" off screen. Surprisingly you don't need to be drunk to get through it. Characters are given some sort of development and conflict, but is too thin to carry the film from beginning to end. Because of thin conflict and characterization it's unable to maintain the same level interest as when sharks (plus one sewer gator, don't question the logic it's Sharknado) on screen which time is less.
Ian Ziering returns to play Fin Shepard and does another decent job in the starring role. He's into his character giving a serious performance in the not so serious scenarios. Never once does he ever indicate he's in on the joke keeping in root with the character experiencing it making him the best actor in the cast. Tara Reid performance in the opening sequence is pretty bad especially in a segment that requires her to scream which gets grating. Thankfully pass that opening sequence she does okay. Vivica A. Fox receives plenty of screen time and her performance is also okay. Any actor who plays a large part are okay which involves them running around allot. Compared to Ian Ziering the supporting cast aren't allow to jump the shark as much. There's more attention put into casting unlikely stars in cameos. From the likes of Billy Ray Cyrus, Will Wheaton, Kurt Angle, Kelly Osborne, Andy Dick, D.C. Douglas, Perez Hilton, Al Roker, Jared Fogle (yes, the Subway guy), Judd Hirsch, and so many more get more attention given to them than the actual sharks. The CG is acceptable, though creatively there isn't as many many moments that make full use of the concept. With the opening sequence and climax providing the only highlights there's everything else in between that is not able to live up to its goofy promise. These sharks favorite method of attack is going for the head. How the sharks are used doesn't take full advantage of the possibilities for a majority of its run time. Not even the sight of a flaming shark is enough to forgive the lack of creativity. Though the soundtrack is surprisingly strong getting across that epic feel. Ironic that the music is used for this film given it's better than the film actually needs, but further add positives to its production values.
Sharknado 2: The Second One understands its audience and gives its concept the proper treatment to be entertaining, but provides less sharks in less creative usage focusing more on cameos and is unable to maintain interest due it jumping between three groups of weak characters. While the opening sequence itself is a classic B-movie scene and homage it's also sadly where it peaks declining afterward. And the saddest truth to this sequel is the filmmakers are in on the joke. They just don't know how to keep it afloat in an ironic good way as the first time they told it.
When studying writing one aspect that varies upon discovery is the… MoreWhen studying writing one aspect that varies upon discovery is the usage of formulas and learning how different plot devices work in conjunction to each other. One area where the discovery of formulas is the most deadliest and most uncertain is comedy. If the punchline to a joke is foreseen before it delivery in the way expected than the joke fails. However, comedy is a tricky area to fully understand for a non comedian as even the most tire jokes can be made funny again if done right. In the case of the Mr. Peabody & Sherman it's a well made film weighed down heavily by subpar writing.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is about an advanced canine and his adopted son attempting to fix a time rift they created. One immediate thing is made clear early on is the lack of sufficient material to sustain a ninety minute runtime. Everything in the film from characters, humor, and conflict are rushed. So insecure about its own material that if it were to take a breather it would lose the audience. The main duo of intellectual dog Mr. Peabody and his dumb son Sherman aimed to present a meaningful relationship despite the odd setup. It's intention are well meant, but as the characters stated themselves it's just presented as child causes overblown issue and parent has to fix it. It's not a father son relationship where the conflict actually helps strengthen the relationship or aptly show how this duo interact with each other outside of conflict. Rather it serves to highlight one's very useless and the other is god like. There's no dilemma ever arising in this relationship because Mr. Peabody written to be a perfect character. Instead of putting effort to make Peabody near perfection in everything he does be part of the conflict it becomes a tool for an easy fix. Leading to convoluted filled acts. Without good characterization in general filling up supporting characters with specifics humor functions what it main characters feel never become organic. This same issue pops up when we're being told how much Mr. Peabody and Sherman care for each other when a good scene itself can get that across much better. While the idea behind Mr. Peabody as a parent is worth exploring the execution of it undermines the value of parenthood.
The biggest disappointment with this film is its uninspired take on a good premise. When you have time travel and characters who are interested in history the possibilities should be endless instead of recycled. Filled with humor revolving around the rule of three (writing principle that suggests that things that come in threes are inherently funnier) invents a formulaic immunity through it course. Usage of the rule of three come around frequently enough that jokes revolving around the rule become tiring. Once you get used to the formula it stops being funny. Another area it builds its humor around are puns. These puns are very lazy and not given much thought which goes against the characters the film consider to be smart. It's a lot dumber than it admirably wants to ignore. Historical figure were welcomed in the film, but the setup and delivery of them not as much. When Sherman gives a speech about second chances Bill Clinton appears in the background saying "I've done worse". Out of all the possible jokes it chose to make a safe one. Which best describe the humor in a nutshell. Jokes are predictable, safe, reused periodically, and foreseen making their delivery fall flat. Though the biggest nitpick for me stems from the fact there's not a single female character that's well written. Penny Peterson has the biggest role out of any female character and she's a tool to set the chain of events going. She changes quickly at the whim of the story demand, never redeem despite what she does early on in the film, and her only contribution in the story is negative.
Ty Burrell voices Mr. Peabody and his performance is excellent. Everything about he exquisitely voices judgement, from the way he sprints through Peabody's scientific exposition, but never so quickly that he confuses the viewer, to the way he unveils the dog's wretched puns is spot on. Max Charles who plays Sherm is also good in the role. His performance is filled with energy and sincerity. Ariel Winter voices Penny Peterson who despite being given a poorly written character her performance is one key. She's bratting when the script demands it and caring when the scene demands it. Winter portrayal is more dynamic and much better than the material provided for her. Supporting cast are fine having the kind of voice actors ranging from the loud beefy character, the snooty evil character, the hyperactive inventor, and so forth. Animation is a bright spot even if the style isn't impressive. Characters are allowed to be expressive and movement is smooth especially in the film chase like sequences. It's colorful that's easy on the eye. Another great spot on the animation department are the vastly time era that are provided different looks. The score won't register much, but it is diverse in the sort of music provided depending on the era the film is currently in.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman themes and humor are undone by its predictable formula and lack of working characterization. The cast of the film elevate the material with their performances delivery some good dramatic scenes and laughs even if the material doesn't accomplish that task to the same extent. It's a well made film, but one that's really needed more thought put into it that would match its characters intellect and make good use of its premise.
When in doubt in what to see I go back to a series I have yet to… MoreWhen in doubt in what to see I go back to a series I have yet to complete. Naruto is a different case since the film adaptations tend to leave out vital information about the world, the characters, and how it function translating poorly for newcomers. So what's better way to familiarize myself with the series than playing videos-games based around the series which helped me understand the world of Naruto allot more than I originally did. However, even after doing some homework on the series it didn't help that this film is inaccessible for the uninitiated, receives another downgrade in production values, and its story will leave you stupor by the end of the whole ordeal.
Naruto Movie 3: Guardians of the Crescent Moon Kingdom follows Naruto Uzumaki, Kakashi Hatake, Sakura Haruno, and Rock Lee mission to escort the prince of the Land of the Moon, Michiru, during his trip back home. Like the previous film, unless you're familiar with the material the film will make no effort in providing even the basics. The opening of the movie tells the audience who assigned the heroes their mission and its importance through narration that gets dropped early on, but that's where all the explanations end. How our heroes abilities work and the extent of those abilities aren't discuss. In context of the anime series and manga it eventually explains these things, except in this film any new superpower ability shown is a plot convenience. Taking away any possible enjoyment from any fight scenes since it comes across the writers are just making things up as they go along. Past the film opening you're left with a story with no substance. Suffering from having too many underdeveloped characters and one dimensional villains that get sideline. Once again, in the form a film Naruto and his group aren't engaging characters. Naruto is given the center of attention from the entire team and what screen time Naruto does have paints him negatively. He's not the likable goofball, but an annoying weakling. In this film Naruto picks on a little kid making him look bad. He has the abilities to turn his shadow into clones, but the little spoiled kid he picks on can't even fight. Yeah, that's the sort of hero I want to get behind. Sadly his character doesn't improve falling victim to receiving a beating in nearly every fight he's in. It's hard to overlook how amateur Naruto ability are when the opening of the film said these ninja from a specific clan trained for years.
Among this mess of a story that can't mesh family drama, growing up, ninja, possible war torn country, and marriage there's an idea for an engaging story. The characters that receive the most development are Michiru and his son Hikaru who are of rich royal blood. Both of these character arcs play like a coming of age story growing up from their previous ways into maturity. If one were to remove anything ninja related than there's enough ideas to make at least a decent story. As is the case it's not close to average. One plot element that gets toss aside is the trouble marriage that Michiru is facing with his wife leaving. Aside from when it's introduced never again is it brought back. Around the thirty minute mark it felt as if the film would have better fitted being an episode of it rush pacing. Another plot element that is dropped is the whole group dynamic of the team. When it does feature the team dynamic it's the equivalent of sentimentality saying friendship is magic. The character Rock Lee is only in the film for comic relief which is allot more than I could say for the like of Sakura Haruno who once again gets the short end of the stick. Although, it's a slight improvement over the previous film actually beating up a villain henchman with her abilities. These two characters don't have much to do and the team interactions is sparsely spread across. Than the climax overstays its welcome highlighting just how cardboard the characters are and how weak and stupid the villains are. I mean seriously, the villain whole desire is to simply kill a specific person, but simply delays it even receiving that specific person at day time. After a couple of scenes it's night time and cuts back to the villain and he still hasn't killed the one person he wanted to kill the entire time. So mixing incompetent heroes facing against even more incompetent villains.
So far the Naruto films have been consistent in downgrading their production values with every preceding film entry, especially the animation department. Once you get past the first three minutes you finally glance at it undetailed art style. There's no depth of perspective making everything look flat. Backgrounds are blurred to cover up dead space and characters designed are more simplified giving them less expressions. Movements are stiff and whenever there's a fight a scene the action moves slowly. It's movement is so bad the film story makes up an excuse for why in a particular scene since it's worse than usual. Action scenes are a huge disappointment with very little usage of jutsu/superpower abilities in fights. Every one of them is rushed, poorly choreographed, and usually only has one person moving while the defender is static until it's their turn to attack. None is more harmful than the climax in which it cuts between three fight scenes and they all play out the same. That's just lazy on the animators part. The only aspect that can't entirely panned is the voice acting. Both the Japanese and English deliver some good performances from the cast. None of them outstanding due to the poor material, but effort is definitely evident by the cast. A technical area that won't register is the music. There's not a single track that will stick with you, but are all place in the appropriate scene.
Naruto Movie 3: Guardians of the Crescent Moon Kingdom regardless on your exposure to the series will make you see the closing credits knowing its over. Characters are cardboard, the story is unengaging dropping plot points or leaving them underdeveloped, and the animation is very poor. Not even the action scenes make the endeavor worth sitting through having received a serious downgrade in its visuals and delay movements regardless of what occuring on screen. While fans of the series might be more forgivable to it lack of development in certain area it's story and action is the one area where it completely fails to deliver for any sort of viewers.
In every rare viewing of a bad film there are things you never… MoreIn every rare viewing of a bad film there are things you never expected to see and ponder thoughts you never believe would come to mind. For me it's perhaps the first time I actually wished a film would fully commit to ripping off another film because of how unsalvageable the original material was. "Ninja Apocalypse" takes ninja with superpowers, an apocalypse setting, an underground military bunker, and zombies committing the unimaginable sin combining all of those elements into a boring film.
Ninja Apocalypse follows The Lost Clan gang from...it's never clarified where the movie takes place so lets us pretend New York. So a charismatic leader summons several gangs in a post apocalyptic world in a bid to overtake their rivals. When he is killed, The Warriors are falsely blamed and now must fight their way home while every other gang is hunting them down to kill them. My mistake I meant The Lost Clan not The Warriors. It's hard to believe even though it rips off the basic premise it manages to make whatever material it steals from "The Warriors" come across as the most competent components in its script. Except this time the context and the setting are extremely nonsensical. Then again should one really judge the logic of "Ninja Apocalypse". Yes it should be judged because if there's one thing it lacks is a working brain cell. Now aside from the basic premise and three plot devices (the sacrifice, seduced by women wanting to kill males characters, the ending) calling it a ripoff of "The Warriors" would be praising it instead of criticizing it. Yes, the fact it didn't ripoff "The Warriors" successfully is a negative. Especially in regards when it comes to the film "plot twist" in the end finally revealing who shot Cyrus, I mean Fumitaka. It's a failure of twist because the character doesn't appear for a majority of the film and whatever recurring characters do reappear in the film don't get enough characterization to make audience guess who the culprit is. Part of the fun of a "who done it" is guessing who actually committed the crime which you can't do if you aren't provided anything that'll allow that.
I'll buy the utter nonsense premise like anyone who likes seeing B-movies, but stocked characters, plot exposition upon plot exposition filled dialogue, attempts to add humor only to discard it within ten minutes, and bereft of a story can't be overlooked. Our cast of heroes consist of two brothers, a woman, a deaf mute blackman, and a ninja with questionable loyalty. From that selection of characters their background are simply mentioned. It never elaborates on Cage having a family or ever goes into detail in how he became the leader of "The Lost Clan". The same applies to all of its characters where it simply mentions moments or characteristic than moving on without elaboration. Another area it lacking is logic. Now with a title like "Ninja Apocalypse" of course it shouldn't be taken seriously, but radiation doesn't work the way this film believes it does. In this film ninja have powers so it would safe to assume it's a result of radiation. Except later on in the film it is said by our heroes that radiation basically turned people into zombies. Not just any zombies, the kind that if cut in half can duplicate. So if the radiation turns people hundred of feet in an underground facility into zombies how in the world are people not below the earth not zombies! Radiation does not work like that! If it was just this oversight I would have not given it another thought. Than it claims the lowest level of the underground facility contains radiation. Hmm....so the inside of an underground facility consisting of hundreds of level below the surface of earth contains radiation yet the surface doesn't. These writers can't seriously be this stupid...oh yeah they probably are given they were to lazy to fully commit to ripping off "The Warriors".
On a technical level everything about it will come across as low budget not for the reasons you expect. Yes everything looks cheap from the convenient store bought costumes, the fake weapon props, and the very shoddy CGI effects. It's the tinier details that also display the lack of funds that even with it budget wasn't enough to make such a simple movie. For instance there's a fight scene consisting of several gangs against "The Lost Clan" and in the background it's visible the performers are standing still. Only to be moving when they see some sort of signal off screen. Issues like these are always present in the action scenes despite taking place in the same location bodies will sometime disappear in a cut. Details like blood spatter on a wall will disappear immediately in the next cut in the same fight scenes. Adding to the problem are the slow performance of the action scenes that make these issues noticeable. Fight choreography is below average and these fight scenes instead of diverting your attention from the inconsistencies is build around that to reuse as much as resources as possible. In context the characters power aren't used to diverse the kind of fight scenes you see all usually resulting in a fist fight or sword fight. The most visually annoying about how it shot are the dozen of lens flares and few instances of white flash effects. If the story or acting was any good the lens flares wouldn't have been much of an issue since there's something to divert from that issue. However, like everything else the lens flares are a results of visible light posts in every scene. Intentional or not they get distracting.
Late in the film there's a scene that can causes seizure if seen in the dark because of how much white flash effect are onscreen in less than ten seconds. Set design, much like the performers in costumes, reused the same textures, material, and structures. Actors have to go around in circles to give off the illusion the set is actually a lot bigger than it actually is. The acting is no better. All of the performances are stiffed and wooden. Christian Oliver is incapable of selling himself as the film heroes. Even when he's angry there's no ferocity in his delivery. If anything Isaac C. Singleton Jr. does the best among the hero cast given he can't speak or listen to sound. Not to forget Ernie Reyes Jr. who plays the villain is weak. If "The Rundown" could make Ernie Reyes Jr. beating up Dwayne Johnson look convincing with less screen time what's this film excuse. Even Reyes Jr. fights against Christian Oliver whose physically same size as him never comes across as a threat. Just everything in this film is poorly assemble together.
Ninja Apocalypse fails as a ripoffs not coming close to duplicating anything with success from the source its copying from and fails as a b-movie due to it's failing in every area without entertainment to be found. It could have been a ripoff, it could have been a entertaining b-movie, but in the end is devoid of anything positive from a filmmaking and entertaining perspective.
Santa Sangre follows a young man named Fenix from his traumatizing… MoreSanta Sangre follows a young man named Fenix from his traumatizing childhood through the present attempting to live a normal life. The film narrative is straightforward while the way it tells it story is surreal. Right from the introduction of Fenix we understand this young man is not well. Once the flashback begins you receive the foundation that structures religion, sexuality, obsession, and identity into it central themes. Each introduce in odd context that triggers an array of emotions. One scene in particular that stood out occurred after the funeral of a circus Elephant. A huge coffin carrying the corpse is hauled by a truck to a ravine and tipped over the edge to get eaten by the locals in a shanty town. Not only does this easily telegraphed how distraught a young Fenix must be feeling, but also illustrate the contrast between the joyous surreal circus life and the cruel reality when it comes into the picture when Fenix is a full grown adult. It's a scene that imprint an odd image as much as it does fuel interpretations on its possible meaning. Every scene is easy to read and the meaning upon receiving development become layered. It's a film that while reliant heavily on metaphors has dialogue that directly gets across the main story. While the metaphors are tackling the subjectivity behind faith indirectly. In the center of attention is the more direct physiological torment of Fenix. Whose unable to free himself from the control of his mother. Fenix and his mother are in hindsight very complicated characters. One lives with a mask of following a faith she herself doesn't live purely by her faith. Another is a man whose unable to form an identity of himself.
Characters arrive in all forms of personality further adding to that surreal nature of the narrative. Fenix and his mother have the most prominent roles in the story being told. Together these two offer a story about redemption and revenge. In hindsight, Fenix childhood sneakily provides clever characterization or a physiological regression. As a young boy, Fenix wears a man's moustache to imitate maturity. During his childhood he shows the least amount of childlike fear or sadness arguably in his mentally assured state. As oppose when Fenix becomes an adult he's unable to detach himself from his mother influence for his own livelihood. Another usage of Fenix characteristics are the usage of birds. When we first meet Fenix, he is locked in a nuthouse, living like a human bird. His obsession with the mime-faced deaf/mute girl centers around her graceful panto of a hawk. Until the birds disappear from visual sight to juxtapose the trap Fenix is in - mentally and physically - with the freedom of being unable to simply 'fly away' from his mother control. The best aspect about these birds narrative usage is even if its missed the same intention gets across. Fenix mother, Concha, is positioned in the story in such a way where nothing ever feels lost when it narrative reaches it conclusion. Concha is a given a backstory that conveys her upcoming downfall and a motivation that is shown in developing in her scenes. Becoming a fleshed out character with her own arc. One key moment in the film that is rather genius is the film twist. I was able to catch the usage of birds as metaphors, but this twist genuinely caught me off guard. Not only does the twist has the potential to catch any viewer off guard, but it's rather fitting for the film surreal nature. Closing the story metaphorically on its themes while directly closing the conflict Fenix faces.
Alejandro Jodorowsky lets his visuals do the speaking more so than his dialogue. The rich color palette adds to the almost otherworldly elements of the visual narrative. Mixing colorful costumes and set designs against the dark context of scene. From the sterility of the hospital gives way to an explosion of vivid colous when we fly to the circus. Before long, this multihued vibrancy is then itself with the bizarre 'elephant funeral procession' is burdened with sobering blacks and charcoal complete with a grey American Flag. Jodorowsky visuals is a story tool giving it more meaning than just simply looking pretty. Laid on top of the visuals is an incredibly convincing musical score. Simon Boswell's soundtrack fluently bonds with the varying moods to become immersed in the Mexican fantasy. Blanca Guerra is excellent in the role of Concha. Her ability to convey far surpasses her co stars who all play characters with their arms in tact. Axel Jodorowsky delivers a more subdue performance which he pulls off. There's hardly a moment of certainty in the way he deliver his lines going hand to hand with his characters. Where these two actors shine are their scenes working in perfect sync. Using Axel Jodorowsky hands to convey the illusion of Blanca Guerra hands movement in several are synce in movement and emotion. It's a convincing sight to behold when the actors have great chemistry and can in sync in such scenes so perfectly.
Santa Sangre (Holy Blood) covers various themes both directly and indirectly that is not accomplished very often in filmmaking. It's a film that has a straightforward story and the viewer understands there's plenty of layers behind the way it's made, but never does it offer a moment of doubt in its execution. Not everything Santa Sangre touches on will immediately come around in full circle for a revelation in how it balanced all of it themes. Neither is it lost on the audience telling a straightforward story that even if not the pieces come together the intention of it is never lost. On a technical level it's an achievement of captivating visuals, the performances are outstanding, and the narrative very fulfilling even without all its meaning being found. Plain and simple it's a masterpiece.