Saturday, May 28, 2016

Captain America: Civil War First Impression

What's up people!? Yeah, I have not been around for a little while, but I'm not dead. And I have a reason for my absence. While I will explain another day, long story short, my best friend from the blogosphere has come to visit, so I've been having a blast. Anyway, I saw Captain America: Civil War! And it blew me away! After things settle down, I will write up a review. For now, if you are one of the few people who have not seen it, go watch it. It might be Marvel's best film yet, or at least Top 5. It's funny, thematically resonant, and emotionally tormenting. Civil War is everything I hoped it would be. Well, that's all for now! What did you think? Please comment below and let me know!

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Friday, May 20, 2016

One-Punch Man Review

Are you tired of overpowered superheroes that always win? Do you want to see a superhero that is a brilliant satire of the genre, while still offering a strong story of its own? Well, look no further than One-Punch Man, possibly the most fun and entertaining TV series of 2015!
One-Punch Man is a 12 episodes television series about an average guy named Saitama turned superhero with the ability to win any battle with One-Punch. Instead of the clich├ęd origin story of learning how to use his powers or overcoming struggles, Saitama, aka One-Punch Man, already wins every battle with a single punch, but as he complains, what's the challenge? He is completely bored with winning every battle and thus he seeks out stronger opponents to battle, while saving the City Z.
As the series continues, we are introduced to many new and inventive heroes that provide both insane action thrills and hysterical comedy. Even though Saitama's battles end in one punch, the other heroes of the Heroes Association create insane action set-pieces. Each of the heroes is unique and highly varied, even for someone like myself who has seen thousands of superheroes across various mediums. The overall plot of the series essentially follows Saitama, and his sidekick, Genos, as they climb their way up the ranks of the Heroes Association. In each episode, they encounter new threats to the city and explore various tropes, such as the overpowered protagonist, the public's view of superheroes, and the massive destruction and casualties caused even after a victory by the heroes. All of this is executed with an excellent comedic tone that fits the series perfectly.

Characterization: 9.5/10- Saitama is a brilliant parody on overpowered characters like Superman or Goku from Dragon Ball Z. But unlike Superman, Saitama doesn't care if he kills the monsters that try to destroy the city. He literally just punches them once and boom, they’re dead, but not before either an epic build up or a hysterical punch-line. As a character, he is used to explore the various tropes of overpowered heroes, as well as creating hysterical situations.

Genos is a cyborg, who is introduced in episode 2, and after seeing Saitama's incredible strength, he begs Saitama to serve as his master and teach him how to be strong. However, Saitama only accepts after a Genos agrees to pay part of Saitama's rent, in a very comical scene. Genos provides many of the best action sequences early in the series, and sets up an interesting plot thread for future seasons.

One-Punch Man's villains are a constant revolving door of monsters and various creatures that threaten the cities. Many of the villains are either absolutely hysterical or extremely badass and inventive!

The supporting cast of heroes is another brilliant set of characters. Whether it is the inspirational Mumen Rider or the highly offensive Puri Puri Prison, you are not likely to forget the slew of insanely fun characters.

Direction: 10/10- Holy crap! One-Punch Man is the most insanely hyped up anime ever. Each battle gets my blood pumping like nothing else! Instead of the Dragon Ball Z type screaming matches and still frames that some of grew up watching, One-Punch Man actually animates the action sequences in high detail. Every episode's battle is a mastery of action animation, and if you like superhero action, you should definitely check out the battles.

Acting: 9.5/10- Unfortunately, there is no English dub as of now. However, Viz Media is known for some solid dubs, so expect this insanely popular anime to receive one in the near future. As for the Japanese cast, Makoto Furukawa as Saitama pulls off the deadpan delivery to absolute perfection! And Kaito Ishikawa as Genos provides the perfect type of over seriousness to make the humor hit even harder.

Animation: 10/10- Studio Madhouse blew everyone away in the first few episodes with animation quality on a level well above what you come to expect. While the action sequences are amazing, later in the series, you can clearly see that a few corners had to be cut during the comedic scenes with very occasional off model moments and a lack of key frames during some of the less action heavy parts. However, these few missteps are a minor blemish on one of the most visually impressive spectacles of animation you will have the pleasure of viewing.

Soundtrack: 9.0/10- Makoto Miyazaki's score is the perfect type of heroic music that makes every battle extremely hyped up! When you hear the hero theme, you know that something awesome is about to go down, and the series never disappoints!

Humor: 9.5/10- Ultimately, One-Punch Man is a satirical comedy, and if you are familiar with either superhero or shounen action tropes, this series is bound to make you laugh. Many of the jokes come from simple things like Saitama going to the convenience store to buy groceries and running into a random monster. And the comedic timing of the series is spot on!

Opening and Ending: 9.2/10- "THE HERO!!" by JAM Project is the perfect hyped up song for such a hyped up series. It is fast paced and gets me pumped up for each and every episode.

Non-Otaku Appeal: If you like superheroes and don't mind some funny weirdness, like a giant crab-man, then give One-Punch Man a shot. If you have any nostalgia for superhero cartoons as a kid or something like Dragon Ball Z, then you should definitely give this series a chance, because it is just fun.

Entertainment Value: 10/10- Honestly, no other anime, heck, no other TV show was as entertaining as One-Punch Man was last year. Each episode got me pumped up, made me laugh, and then got me excited to see the next one! It was the highlight of every week.

Overall: 9.7/10- One-Punch Man is fun, exciting, and full of wit and charm. If you want a visual extravaganza on par with any Hollywood superhero flick, as well as hilarious humor that will leave you in stitches, watch One-Punch Man you won't regret it, and at 12 episodes, it won't take long to watch.

Closing comments: There is a reason One-Punch Man is #2 overall on IMDB's top TV shows, and that's because it is a dang good show! To start watching this insane series, click here to watch it on Hulu or watch it on Hulu in the video below.
Recommended for: Superhero fans, Animation fans,

Note: One-Punch Man contains animated violence and occasional suggestive themes.

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Friday, May 13, 2016

Assassin's Creed Movie Trailer

Finally, after years of announcements, pictures, and whatever else, we now have a trailer for Assassin’s Creed! Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard star in the film and Justin Kurzel directs. As for the trailer, some parts are cool, while others leave me so undecided. The film adaptation of the plot is certainly different, but interesting. It doesn't appear to be adapting any of the Assassin's Creed games, which isn't a bad thing. While I have abandoned the video game franchise after Assassin's Creed IV, Assassin's Creed 2 and 4 are great games with relatively interesting plots. So, for me, the change from the game to the movie doesn't necessarily make me mad. 

Now, back to the trailer. It looks fine. The action is kind of cool, albeit underwhelming from just the trailer. Something about the trailer just does not impress me. It does not make me think the movie will suck, but it fails to make me go, "Wow, this is going to be awesome!" And much like the game, outside of the Animus looks meh and inside it looks fun. But what is up with the stupid harness thing? Honestly, I need to see more before making any decision. However, I am curious as to what others think, especially fans and those who have never heard of the franchise. Please let me know in the comments!

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Movie Music and More #49: "Charade" (1963)

I (Hamlette) am finally back with another delicious movie soundtrack to discuss with you!

Is there any composer at all who embodies '60s cool so completely as Henry Mancini?  Yeah, didn't think so.  And nowhere does his music exude cool so much as in the soundtracks for The Pink Panther.  Be that as it may, today I'm going to talk about a different movie Mancini scored, namely Charade (1963).  It stars Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn and James Coburn and Walter Mathau and George Kennedy, and if you haven't seen it, I'm not going to spoil it for you.  If you like cool '60s movies OR rompy mysteries OR movies with a Hitchcock vibe, then go watch it.  But if you don't have time to watch it just this minute, then just hang out here and listen to a few of my favorites from the soundtrack.

"Main Title" has this sexy, lounge-y theme set over some very tense and insistent percussion.  Like someone telling you to run away from the bad guys, but be sure to look really fetching while you do so.

"Megeve" has that mellow '60s sound going on -- a good rhythm to keep life moving along, but overall it's laid-back and happy to just hang out in the background while you sip a few cocktails and discuss who's cooler, Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin.

"The Drip-Dry Waltz" comes from that super-famous scene where Cary Grant takes a shower.  Oh yes, he does, in his own charming Cary Grant way, and if you want to watch, I can almost guarantee it will make you laugh (and want to watch the whole movie -- that's what happened to me.  I saw this scene in some sort of PBS program when I was a teen and would not rest until I found and watched the whole movie).  But anyway, the song is a frothy little bit of adorableness that perfectly matches the scene in every respect.

If you want, you can listen to more here on YouTube.  Ciao!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

New Han Solo Played by Alden Ehrenreich

Alden Ehrenreich will play Han Solo in the untitled 2018 Young Han Solo film, directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. The 24 year old star has had roles in Hail, Caesar!, Blue Jasmine, Beautiful Creatures, Stoker, and various other independent films and minor TV roles, none of which I have seen. Some may be throwing up their arms in protest and raving about Alden being a “bad choice” for Han Solo; honestly, I have not seen Ehrenreich, so there is nothing for me to say positively or negatively about the casting choice. 
Han Solo is literally my favorite character in all of fiction, and a young Han Solo prequel film does not sound particularly necessary to me. However, Lawrence Kasdan, the screenwriter of The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and The Force Awakens, is working with his son, Jon, to pen the script. In many ways, Kasdan has proven to be the unsung hero of the Star Wars franchise. Even though the film feels unnecessary when we could have a Boba Fett standalone film, until Disney proves otherwise, these Star Wars films are going to be amazing, so why not get excited!? One of my favorite YouTubers, Hello Greed, sums up my thoughts almost perfectly in the video below, so you can watch that for a little something extra. But to sum up my thoughts, Ehrenreich is likely to be a brilliant young Han Solo in yet another stunning Star Wars adventure. After The Force Awakens, my optimism is high for anything Disney makes, so it's hard not to be excited! What do you think? Please comment below and let me know!

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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Coming Soon: May 2016

Hello once again, everybody! The summer movie season officially gets its start this month with some big, fun movies headed our way. But let's recap April first shall we?

Eye in the Sky: An absolutely incredible and riveting film about drone warfare. I passed on covering it in recent months because of a limited release schedule but it's one of the best films I've seen this year. RRS: 10/10 -- Instant Classic
The Boss: I admittedly had a light movie month this month and skipped several films. The Boss, while destroyed by critics, seemed to be enjoyed by those who saw it, though I think it was one of McCarthy's more forgettable films in a string of strong comedies.
Hardcore Henry: Some really hated it -- I even found a couple filmgoers state that it was the worst movie ever made -- but others really enjoyed it. I was part of the latter camp and even went so far as to claim that I was proudly part of the cult that this sure-fire "cult classic" will produce. RRS: 8.5/10
Criminal: Does anyone remember that this movie actually came out this month? Despite some awful reviews and big names, I'm not sure audiences even knew that this generic thriller existed.
The Jungle Book: Opposite of Hardcore Henry, I was part of the pessimist camp on this one. I enjoyed the film, its visuals, and its voice acting, but the plot has never really connected with me. Thus I was left entertained, but not blown away like many others were. RRS: 7.5/10
The Huntsman: Winter's War: I expected it to be useless as literally no one was asking for it, but man did it get ripped apart! I decided to skip it after I saw the poor reviews and it's truly a shame that so much great talent was wasted.
Keanu: Pretty darn funny, if not a little overlong, this is a solid one-time view from comedic duo, Key and Peele. RRS: 7/10
Ratchet & Clank: Will we ever get a good videogame movie? It seems that we'll have to continue waiting for that answer as Ratchet and Clank (the movie) seems to disappoint in almost every way. At least the reboot/remake/sequel/tie-in videogame that released last month scored really well?

Biggest Disappointment: None
Biggest Surprise: Hardcore Henry
Worst Movie: I didn't see either but probably a toss up between Criminal and Winter's War
Best Movie: Eye in the Sky

May starts off with a bang, and easily one of my most anticipated films of the year. As always, click the title for the trailer.

Why It's Worth Seeing: It's the answer to BvS and, given Marvel's insane track record, destined to be better in almost every way. Don't take that as fanboyism -- I'm sure I'll enjoy both for their own reasons -- but at this point, Marvel is unstoppable and have yet to have a major misstep. You can guarantee that this one wont be it and early reviews confirm as much. In short, it's going to be amazing.
What Could Go Wrong: Aside from being chocked full of characters and managing all that, I'm becoming increasingly frustrated with the fact that Marvel has a difficult time "pulling the trigger". And by that I mean: killing off characters. The one in Avengers was essentially a fake out and the Age of Ultron one was real, but with a newly introduced character. It's clear from the trailers that these characters have earned the sincerity and gravitas of our emotions. Now I think it's time for Marvel to rip out our heartstrings and show us that they're not just all fun and games. Kill Iron Man. Kill Cap. Make us all remember where we were when "____" died. They have the power to do it, I just think they're too scared. I also think Civil War is the perfect platform to achieve it successfully and really shake up the Universe. We'll see I suppose! (Let the hate flow through you in the comments section!)

Why It's Worth Seeing: The story is immediately intriguing, if not slightly terrifying, and the cast is great. The initial trailer may give a lot away, but this seems like a tense, thought-provoking thriller.
What Could Go Wrong: Something tells me that, as much as I think I'll enjoy the film, I may not remember it 2-3 weeks later. It comes across as a solid "one-time" view from where I'm sitting and I'll be interested to see how realistic the scenario is as it unfolds.

Why It's Worth Seeing: I actually laughed a couple times during the trailer and I'm impressed with the voice cast that this"movie"...was able to achieve.
What Could Go Wrong: Putting my absolute frustration aside that we get THIS movie before a God of War or Halo film, I just don't think there's enough plot here. It's non existent in the games and seems paper thin in the trailer. Seeing as how Angry Birds isn't exactly "big" anymore, I could see this being both a critical and commercial dud.

Why It's Worth Seeing: If I were to rank some trailers and how hard they made me laugh out of the last 6 months, this one would be near the top. I loved the first film and this looks to be more of the same, but with a sorority providing the rivalry this time. Some great casting aside (I still believe Efron is a comedic genius in the making), this one looks like an absolute riot.
What Could Go Wrong: If it's too repetitive when compared to the first film. Yes, the plot is essentially the same, but if the jokes are the same too, I'll be less enthralled. Also slightly concerned that the script might have been rushed for the purposes of a sequel.

Why It's Worth Seeing: Want to talk about another funny trailer? Look no further than The Other Guys which is written and directed by Shane Black. Featuring two solid leads, what look like some great gags, and some fun set pieces, this could be a great R-rated time-piece comedy this summer.
What Could Go Wrong: I didn't sense this in the trailers, but I'll be interested to see if the film can effectively balance drama vs. comedy. It seems like a straight forward comedy from the trailers, but they could be misleading.

Why It's Worth Seeing: The first one was a visual splendor and tons of fun. Or at least that's what I heard from those that saw it...for some reason or another, I never got around to watching it.
What Could Go Wrong: Tim Burton often doesn't connect with me...more a fault of mine than his...but I find that sometime his creativity overtakes the film and I worry that could happen with a sequel that comes a decently long while after the original.

Why It's Worth Seeing: Days of Future Past was stellar and this looks to continue (and wrap up?) the X-Men story with a formidable foe and, once again, impressive cast. Bryan Singer returning to direct doesn't hurt either.
What Could Go Wrong: Honestly? I don't quite know. But I do know that I have a weird feeling about this one. Despite some great trailers, I just cant get that excited for it and I don't know why. Something about it feels "off" or "recycled" to me.

Must See (in order): Captain America: Civil War, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, The Nice Guys, X-Men Apocalypse
On My Radar: Money Monster, Alice Through the Looking Glass
Predicted Duds: The Angry Birds Movie

Here's hoping that May is one of the best movie months of the year because it certainly looks like it's shaping up to be that way! As always, I'd be really appreciative if you came and followed me through Blogger at RATH'S REVIEWS and like me on Facebook HERE! I follow-for-follow 100%. Thanks again!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Top 10 Star Wars Characters: Happy Star Wars Day

May the Fourth be with You! Yes, today is May 4th; Star Wars day! And to celebrate Star Wars day, let's rank the Top 10 Star Wars characters from the movies, TV shows, video games, and novels!

Honorable Mention: Darth Revan

A central aspect of the Knights of the Old Republic video game, Darth Revan is a fixture of the Old Republic era. Revan's storyline showed me how powerful the Star Wars Expanded Universe could be, and if there is one EU story that should be adapted into a film, it should be Revan's story, or even better, a Netflix original series.

10: Rey
Introduced in The Force Awakens with a mysterious past, Rey stood out the most among the stellar new cast, largely thanks to Daisy Ridley's stunning performance. By the time the new trilogy concludes, I have a feeling that Rey will rank even higher on this list. At this point, we know very little about Rey's past, so we will have to wait and see what happens in the next film!

9: Boba Fett
How does a character with only 6 minutes 32 seconds, 4 lines, 5 complete sentences, and 27 words of dialogue become an iconic villain? Well, having one of the most bad*ss character designs ever and an insanely cool spaceship certainly helps. After the Original Trilogy, Boba Fett's backstory has been fleshed out, and honestly, a Boba Fett movie would be such a better idea than a Young Han Solo film, so here's to hoping!

8: R2-D2
Come on, who doesn't love this plucky little guy? Thanks to the audio editors, Kenny Baker, and the effects team, R2-D2 might not speak a word of English, but he has more personality than many main characters. 

7: Chewbacca
Everyone's favorite laughing fuzzball, Chewbacca is yet another iconic character, who never speaks a word of intelligible dialogue. With his return in The Force Awakens, Chewbacca will hopefully continue to be a lovable supporting character for our heroes.

6: Princess Leia
Revolutionary in many ways at the time for subverting the "Damsel in Distress" cliche by having the "Damsel" actually fight, Princess Leia is a landmark character in science fiction. 

5: Yoda
“Do, or do not. There is no try.” With his role in The Empire Strikes Back being especially noteworthy, Yoda is the exact opposite of the stereotypical "legendary warrior." He is the Jedi Master, the character that embodies everything that a Jedi is. 

4: Obi-Wan Kenobi
Obi-Wan Kenobi stands as one of the few characters to be well represented in the Prequel trilogy, largely thanks to Ewan McGregor. Of course, Alec Guinness brilliantly played the character in Original trilogy, enough so to land an Oscar nomination. Is Obi-Wan Rey's father? Who knows, but we will find out soon.

3: Luke Skywalker
Often considered a "whiny" protagonist, unjustly so, Luke Skywalker is the quintessential example of the Hero's Journey. Each film, Luke progresses as a character, as a hero. He faces trials and tribulations on his journey, conflicted between dark and light, if only briefly. Now, in the new Trilogy, we will soon discover his new role.

2: Darth Vader
A few years ago, Darth Vader would have easily topped this list, and while he is certainly the greatest villain ever in fiction, he is edged out by my top pick. With that said, Vader is such a fascinating character. In Star Wars (1977), Vader's entrance is unforgettable, and arguably one of the best villain introductions ever. At first, Vader served as the imposing antagonist against our lovable heroes. While his past is hinted at the first film, little is uncovered until the ultimate plot twist is revealed. Darth Vader is Luke's father, and the entire dynamic of the character changes, which all comes together with his ultimate redemption in Return of the Jedi. Darth Vader is not just my favorite villain; he is always vying for number one spot as my favorite character of all-time. 

1: Han Solo
Was there ever a question that Han Solo would be number one? Heck, just look at my profile picture, post signature, or any number things and Han Solo is obviously my favorite Star Wars character of all-time. He is witty, bad*ss, a smart-mouth, and just plain cool. Throughout the Original Trilogy and The Force Awakens, Han progresses and develops from the heartless scoundrel that gunned down Greedo in the cantina to actually caring for someone other than himself by Return of the Jedi. However, *Force Awakens Spoilers* ultimately Han returns to the only thing he knows after personal tragedy. And finally, Han's character came full circle with his death by the hand of his son; a poetic end for a beloved character. *End Spoilers* And of course, Han shot first. Was there ever a question?

Who are your favorite Star Wars characters? Please comment below and May the Fourth be with You.

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Monday, May 2, 2016

Top 25 TV Shows: Part 3

My list of the Top 25 TV Shows of All-Time continues with five more entries! If you missed my previous parts, click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2.

15: Parks and Recreation
Parks and Recreation is very much a personal pick as it is a favorite of mine. After watching Seinfeld and the old classic comedies, the new brand of comedies like The Office and Arrested Development never seemed to interest me enough to watch. However, after Guardians of the Galaxy, I desperately needed more of the hysterical Chris Pratt, which led me to Parks and Recreation, and thus my doorway to many modern comedies in the Single-Camera style. Parks and Recreation finds the perfect middle ground between character drama and humor, and while Seinfeld or Frasier might be funnier, Parks and Recreation's characters are incredibly likable and quirky.
Watch on: Netflix, Hulu

14: Jessica Jones
Jessica Jones left me feeling conflicted by the end. On one hand, the acting, characterization, writing, and direction are all excellent with one of Marvel’s greatest villains to date. On the other hand, the absurd amount of unnecessary sexual content really detracted and distracted from the experience for me, especially during the first half. Thankfully, the second half of Jessica Jones focused on the plot and characters to great effect. David Tennant is positively smashing as Kilgrave. His humor, motivations, and powers made him an incredibly unique foil to Jessica’s character. Jessica herself, played superbly by Krysten Ritter, focuses on the character’s lack of heroism and the conflict of whether or not to do “the right thing.” All in all, despite my personal issues with the content, Jessica Jones is a strongly written addition to Marvel’s Netflix series of shows, as well as the MCU at large.
Watch on: Netflix

13: Agatha Christie's Poirot
Based on Agatha Christie's long running series of mystery stories, Poirot follows titular Hercule Poirot, a renowned detective. Unfortunately, I have yet to see all 70 episodes of Poirot’s adventures. However, I have seen a large portion of the series, mostly of the final few seasons. Even based on a little more than half of the series, Poirot is one of Britain’s best television series and mystery shows ever produced. “Murder on the Orient Express” is, quite possibly, the greatest piece of television mystery ever created. It explores moral dilemmas and crafts an excellent mystery. Even if you never watch the series, at least do yourself the service of enjoying one of the best mysteries ever told in watching “Murder on the Orient Express.” If I were to have seen the entirety of the series and not just the later seasons, it might have ranked higher on the list.
Watch on: Netflix

12: Agent Carter
ABC’s criminally under-watched Marvel series, Agent Carter, is easily the best show on television that no is watching! Following Peggy Carter, first appearing in Captain America: The First Avenger, Agent Carter shows audiences what happened in-between the events of The First Avenger and Iron Man with cameos from The First Avenger and hints at what would become big players in the future of the MCU. As a period piece, Agent Carter truly showed a different side of the MCU. Even the commentary of a woman’s role in the workplace of the 1940s is effortlessly integrated into the narrative without feeling out-of-place, which is incredibly hard to do. Peggy Carter, played exceptionally by Hayley Atwell, along with a great cast of James D'Arcy as Jarvis and Enver Gjokaj as Daniel Sousa. Agent Carter needs to be watched, so why aren’t you doing that right now!
Watch on: Netflix, ABC

11: The X-Files
Before the many copy-cats like Warehouse 13, Fringe, and Supernatural, The X-Files created the formula for the mystery sci-fi/supernatural genre, and it still stands tall as the highlight of the genre. Even more than two decades since the first season, The X-Files holds up. Mulder and Scully are classic, iconic characters that stand among television’s best. The X-Files often tells intriguing stories about various mysterious happenings with just enough shown to make things interesting yet leaving much to the imagination. Fox’s recent return of the series was mostly good, albeit not as strong as the early seasons. Currently, I have seen the first five seasons and the recent tenth, so the series might rank higher when I finish the series. However, if you are a fan of sci-fi, you own it to yourself to watch this classic.
Watch on: Netflix, Amazon Prime, Fox

Check back soon for more!

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