MINI-REVIEWS OF MOVIES I WATCHED IN 2018 – PART 4

More movies! This time a lot of what I watched came around Halloween time so you’ll notice some not-so-scary “horror” movies that are more silly than spooky mixed in with things like the MHA movie which I got to see in theater and DMX appearing for maybe 2 total minutes to say one of my brother and I’s most quoted lines.

There’s also a surprise HanaKana this time around????

By the way, I made one of these: https://letterboxd.com/TallonKarrde23/

Frozen (2013)

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A weak start, but I do these in the order I saw them so I can’t help it. I was visiting my brother and the kids wanted to watch Frozen so we did, I’ve never seen it before but I do remember the insane craze this movie specifically had for it when it came out. Even compared to other big Disney movies I felt like this was one of the most unavoidable in terms of seeing a billion things of it if you stepped outside, hell, it still is.

Frozen is generic Disney and to make it worse it is maybe the most crammed with songs any of their films has ever been – this may as well have been Fantasia with lyrics, I hate musicals so I’m not a fan of Disney to begin with and this was nonstop song song song. That isn’t to say it was awful or anything, but it just felt like “another Disney movie” in a very bad way especially given I don’t really LIKE Disney to begin with. Even the “twist” of the true love’s kiss being her sister instead of a prince/guy was something you could guess (and I did) from the very beginning of the movie, it’s literally the only reason they are sisters and the entire film up to the point they separate fully when they’re older it spends 90% of the time telling you how much they love each other. I know it’s a kid movie but when adults are also the ones saying it’s so unique and amazing then you have to judge it differently than just another kid’s movie. Also, everyone in it talks like a Californian which really pulls you out of it.

My Hero Academy: Two Heroes (2018)

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I got to see this in the theater, much like Maquia and in the same actual room at the same Harkin’s – though this time I got the big ass nachos and also, as the numbers made clear and have been widely reported, the theater was fucking packed. I intend to write a review of this in full but have been having a hard time, so for now this’ll have to do and hopefully that will eventually come.

Anyway, I loved it. This movie is everything it needed to be, but nothing I expected; it’s not a recap, it’s not a pointless side story, what it is turns out to be pretty much the final passing of the torch between All Might and Deku. I don’t want to spoil the show but in the anime there’s definitely a very well done arc in it to give closure to All Might’s legacy with a fantastic finishing battle and emotional send-off to what he stands for in society. The movie, however, is less about the figurative death of the symbol of peace like that arc is and more about Deku stepping up to take his place. It does an amazing job at this throughout but especially during the big finishing fight against the antagonist which has, from what I recall of the series, the only time All Might and Deku have ever fought together against a foe – which was just such a cool and emotional thing to see after all this time. To make it better, they made sure Deku could go all out in proper Smash fashion and not have to rely on his “shoot” style by giving him some one-off broken-at-the-end arm thing that protected him from destroying his body, which was a really smart choice so the imagery of him becoming the new All Might worked much better. Seeing All Might and Deku go fucking HAM together is one thing, but seeing them both doing Smash after Smash together really elevates it beyond just “a really cool fight” into something really meaningful and emotional.

The rest of the story for the film feels VERY much like the anime-only arcs of Railgun and the setting is super Index/Railgun taking place in what is basically a mini-Academy City on an island off of California, not dissimilar to Arts Island from Index, and it also features a giant tower, which might not be a space elevator but is still big. There are even a bunch of straight out of AC little security and cleaning bots. For the record, I love the anime-only arcs so that’s a compliment. It also circles around what All Might represents and the necessity of him in a world where only Japan – thanks to him – has anything near a livable crime rate and what the loss of him will mean (and we actually see what it means in the show).

Like I said, I’m having a hard time writing a review so I couldn’t write this really well either – but the point is this is an extremely well crafted movie, which is a rarity when it comes to anime films tied to shows which are usually shitty, recap, or completely meaningless. This is actually really important and even the self-contained parts of it tell a meaningful story for All Might and the importance he has which even the show never does a great job of fully showing or explaining to us, while also giving us an amazing battle alongside his protege.

It was a fantastic movie especially as a tie-in to a series, but also seeing it in a nearly full theater really added a surprising amount of fun to it. MHA is definitely something that gives an audience moments to react, and the movie is no different – surprisingly the crowd was not cringy at my showing and added to the experience. Ranging from fat sweaty fujoshi swooning over the boys showing up in their snazzy suits and everyone laughing about Mineta going insane over the idea of earning a harem by helping out to the moment that was obviously gonna happen of everyone yelling out Plus Ultra when it happened in the movie. It was fun.

Return of the Living Dead (1985)

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Another one I watched with Vinny and the crew’s Film & 40’s commentary. This was surprisingly fun, watching it with the Film & 40’s commentary over it definitely added something, but the movie itself definitely holds up even to someone who hasn’t seen it before. The whole time it’s really just fun and never tries to be a serious horror film at all, yet at the same time it presents what might be the most scary-if-real zombies imaginable. They can run, they can speak fluently, they can use weapons, open doors, use radios (such as using a dead officer’s car radio to request that they “send more cops”) and they can even set up fucking ambushes. It’s actually pretty frightening conceptually, but the movie never feels like it’s meant to be scary.

I really liked the “tar-man” zombie in the basement, they did a fantastic job with his look and he’s also the most threatening – plus does a great job at being the very first sign of intelligence in these undead. Good movie with a great tone to it. Also the ending was absolute kino.

Goon (2011)

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Goon is interesting, it seems like a simple comedy about a dumb maybe literally retarded super sincere sweet guy who ends up becoming a hockey enforcer because he’s got nothing in his life but his strength – but it’s much more than that, and by about halfway you’ll notice the comedy quickly fading with just small occurrences of it. It sort of transforms itself into a mix of a sports drama with a character study of this guy and what this team and the sport end up meaning to him ultimately ending up in an awesome literal duel on the ice for his team, his friend, and arguably most importantly his own self worth as the final moments of the film.

While I sadly am not as into hockey as I intend to be some day or always meant to be, I’ve always loved the sport, been to a handful of games, and even was going to play it back in high school for, maybe unsurprisingly, the exact same reasons the main character in Goon ends up doing it and finding his place there. I ended up being a lineman and playing a similar role anyway for the same reasons, but what I’m saying is this is already a great movie but for me there was some bit of a personal connection to this character. He’s fucking stupid, he has no future, he has no place he belongs – and he somehow found everything he needed just by being on the ice and fucking people up for his team, something I similarly found in my youth on the field instead. I mention it not to remind you I’m an old man who pretends he’s still cool from his high school days but because, for once, a movie gets across the feeling that this does very well so it’s authentic even for people who haven’t gone through it themselves and can be a good look into that type of life.

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It’s also pretty fucking violent and bloody – rather than holding back on that aspect which is also something I liked about it. I’m not some Berserk fan who loves gore and thinks that makes something good or mature, but in this case the violence is such an important aspect that it would be against the story itself to tone it down at all. I mean the entire story is about how this guy is good for nothing aside the fact he’s a Big Guy and can make things extremely painful For You.

I ended up really loving this movie and can see why many hockey fans treat it as the best film in the genre, even against vastly more famous titans of hockey films like Mighty Ducks, Slapshot, or Miracle (the latter two I’ve yet to see somehow).

Romeo Must Die (2000)

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Okay, this one I’ve definitely seen at least a few times but it’s been so long that all I remembered was that DMX, Aaliyah, and of course Jet Li were in it – and of course the fact that if they start blastin off ain’t none y’all gonna make it home. While it is the weakest of the DMX x Jet Li trio by Bartkowiak, it’s still a really fun-dumb movie, the worst thing about it really is the lack of DMX as he barely is in this one.

While I recommend it, I more highly recommend Cradle 2 The Grave and the other one which I forgot the name of. All 3 are good and the other 2 involve DMX as a lead.

Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988)

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Yet another of the Film & 40’s Halloween special commentaries and another movie I’d never have bothered watching otherwise, which would be sad because this is actually good. It’s easy to assume things based on the name – like that it’s a parody or some so-bad-it’s-good thing, but Killer Klowns is actually just an early horror-comedy and it does a great job of it. Very fun and plays with the genre really well.

Jason X (2001)

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This is the only Jason movie I’ve seen, I don’t watch horror films (as I’ve said a billion times) because I don’t like spooky shit, even dumb slashers. However, this one also got Film & 40’s treatment and I heard it’s not really horror-ish at all and is more meta and comedic and is “that one where Jason is in space” so I watched it anyway. Mostly for the Jason in space thing.

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I have to say, just like with Killer Klowns, I’m glad I watched this. It’s fucking retarded but also great – while its definitely self-aware it doesn’t feel like it’s going the route of the lame bullshit “LOOK IT’S BAD SO IT’S FUNNY WE KNOW IT’S BAD SEE HAHA” style or anything. Here it’s mostly just being aware of what they were making and having fun with it, there’s this constant feeling of them knowing this franchise has gone way too goddamn far to the point that they’re now making a film where Jason is in fucking space 500 years in the future slashing up space marines and robot-girlfriends. There’s an awareness of how stupid it is without being TOO stupid and with only a few jokey references to tropes and cliches of past Jason/Friday the 13th movies and similar slasher franchises instead of being parody.

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I ended up watching it again a week later, forcing my brother into watching it who ended up loving it too. It was just as good a second time. It actually got me interested in watching the other movies with Jason too, and is probably a movie I’ll come back to every Halloween.

Dying of the Light (2014)

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Never heard of it? Me neither, and there’s a reason why – this is another of the hundreds of random Nicolas Cage movies that just sort of existed without anyone knowing it ever did that seemingly bubble up out of nowhere years later all of which I eventually watch. In this one good ol’ Nicky C plays a CIA agent who, after a mission, ended up behind a desk for 22 years after the torture got to him and now he’s out for revenge after all this time thanks to new evidence showing the guy he was after actually survived – but the bad guy has some anemia disease killing him and Cage has frontal lobe dementia and goes to the wrong Ruby Tuesday’s.

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It was alright and had plenty of fun scenes and lines, typical of mid-level Cage movies, I appreciated that it really was a Cage movie too – some of these weird obscure ones try to pretend he’s a real character and then he’s barely in them, but here he’s there basically the full run-time with rare exceptions.

Kimi ga Inakucha Dame Nanda (2015)

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You probably think you’ve never heard of this, but chances are back in the corner of your mind it is there – this is the film debut of the beloved seiyuu, HanaKana. Of course, it’s only like 55 minutes so it isn’t really fair to call it an actual movie.

The best way to really explain how this would be simply that what they were going for was something far greater than what they were able to achieve. The directing is just a bit too sloppy to handle the twist its trying to pull off and the run-time isn’t nearly enough to make it very emotional. That’s not to say it was a waste of an hour at all, nor that it had NO emotional impact – its just a little disappointing that once the twist clumsily and awkwardly shows up you realize this could be so much better. Like as a 90 minute thing or even maybe just an anime this could have spent a lot more time on things.

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Here it feels like a lot of it simply works because they were smart enough to hire HanaKana. She brought a very unique viewership to this; people who will view her in a way that already has a lot of emotion attached because it’s one of their favorite seiyuu and her debut acting role. What the character lacks in emotional depth for the viewer the actress makes up for by being someone you already care about because it is who it is and given an extra boost by the power of cutely and endearingly trying her best to be an actress, something nobody else could have really brought to the role. Though this also got in the way of the ‘twist’ because the character whose face is just always out of frame has VERY OBVIOUSLY Hanakana’s voice which is so easy to notice when you are a fan.

If you like HanaKana it’s probably worth it just to see and hear her doing exactly that for 55 minutes and being in a lady suit for a few of those. I will say she starts off seeming nervous and stilted, but as the movie goes on her acting gets a little more natural.

There’s a nice song from HanaKana at the end too but it was muted out of the subbed version I watched, presumably to avoid copyright strikes.

211 (2018)

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That black guy is practically an extra, he has like 2 lines in 1 scene, I don’t know why he’s on the cover.

Some more Nic Cage. This time in what is yet another amazing example of just how bad every actor hired to work in movies Cage is in are at acting. Honestly it might be the biggest ever example of it, absolutely NOBODY can act – worse, they’re all actively SHIT at acting and they’re accompanied by horrible scripts and what appears to be a terrible director. It’s hilarious and makes for a David Cage esque level of fucking stupid but in the best way.

The writing is bad, nothing that happens makes any sense or has any believability to it, everyone speaks like a retard trying to read a script but even that seems beyond their abilities aside Cage, and even the fucking cinematography is shit. Best of all the main antagonist – one of the 4 soyboys they hired to attempt to look like ex-spec ops but come off looking like they just got done fucking each other in a Starbucks bathroom – sounds like a flamboyant gay guy who just got his jaw dislocated but also has a cock in it the whole fucking time and is mean to be really intimidating while also having a thick slav accent. Its like everyone in this movie aside Cage is a foreigner trying to speak as an “American”, not just “American” but like they’re all from Boston (this does not take place in Boston) while also trying to sound threatening, powerful, etc. At times they clearly couldn’t even follow the script because they don’t speak English natively – “how many killings did you get?”. The fuck does that mean?

Absolutely every scene makes no sense and every event is nonsense every step of the way because the directing is so stupid. I can’t even try and pick some scenes to describe because it’s just a constant onslaught of retarded bullshit. One of my absolute favorites though is this buildup by the interpol lady about how NO THESE GUYS KNOW HOW TO DO THIS, ESCAPING SITUATIONS LIKE THIS IS THEIR SPECIALTY YOU GUYS AREN’T READY FOR THEM and SWAT tells her to fuck off…and they end up right in the most hilariously stupid way. Guess what the plan of the bad guys was, this SUPER TEAM OF SPEC OPS MADMEN…it was to lightly jog, one at a time – yes, specifically one at a time – out the FRONT DOOR OF THE BANK INTO THE ALREADY CONSTANT GUNFIRE OF LIKE 50 SWAT MEMBERS WITH ASSAULT RIFLES SHOOTING AT THEM. What a surprise when it turns out this gets them all killed one by one. Even the last one left does the same thing.

However, luckily not only is this movie stupid enough to keep you interested because it’s retarded, and not only does it have David Cage tier “I am not an American and barely even know English but I am portraying an American who also has a specific dialect” acting to it, it’s got a lot of Nicolas Cage. This isn’t like that shitty “Vengeance” (I think that was the one) where Cage was in it about 8 minutes total and even then he was in not-giving-a-shit mode, here Cage is actually acting and he does a good job as usual for his middling films and he’s in it almost the whole time which makes it fun especially paired with all the goddamn stupidity surrounding him. If you love shitty movies with Cage awkwardly actually-acting in them while everything around him is retarded, this is definitely on the high end of those.




And, well, that’s kinda it for this one. However, because I kept watching more movies than I expected given this was supposed to be the last ‘part’, there will be one more part with whatever I’ve seen since 211 and do until the last week-ish of December. It’s already got like 4 things on it so it made this way too long to just leave it all here.

2 responses to “MINI-REVIEWS OF MOVIES I WATCHED IN 2018 – PART 4

  1. Pingback: Friday The 13th Film Series Mini-Reviews (1-7, X) |·

  2. Pingback: MINI-REVIEWS OF MOVIES I WATCHED IN 2018 – PART 3 |·

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