Monday, September 30, 2013

Brave Review.

Thoughts: Brave, what is generally considered by many critics to be one of Pixar's worst movies not named Cars. My opinion of Pixar has been a mixed one for sure. While I am not the biggest fan of their work, a few of their movies are quite good, particularly the Incredibles and the Toy Story trilogy.
Brave's first 30 minutes where surprisingly good, setting up some interesting character, which made me wonder why most critics where not thrilled about the movie, then, at the 30 minute mark, the movie went completely downhill into a complete kid's movie. While Brave was not a complete "Disney Princess" movie, there where certainly elements that made it feel that way, which obviously did not appeal to me in the slightest. There was a huge missed opportunity with the movie because of the direction it took.
Something else to take note of is that I usually enjoy movies set in Scotland since some my ancestors come from there, although all of my ancestors immigrated before American even became a country, but that is beside the point. In terms of how it looked, the Scottish setting looked excellent.

Directed by: Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman
Genre: Animation, Fantasy, Adventure, Comedy
Release Date: June 22, 2012 (2012-06-22)
Running Time: 93 minutes
MMPA rating: PG

The Good: Great first 30 minutes, Visually striking animation,
The Bad: Falls apart after the first 30 minutes, Half of the humor falls flat,

Plot: The following plot summary is copied from
In Scotland, a young Princess named Merida of the clan Dunbroch is given a longbow by her father, King Fergus, for her fifth birthday, to her mother Queen Elinor's dismay. While practicing, Merida ventures into the woods to fetch a stray arrow, where she encounters a will-o'-the-wisp. Soon afterwards, Mor'du, a giant demon-bear, attacks the family. Merida escapes on horseback with Elinor, while Fergus fights off the bear at the cost of his left leg. Eleven years later, Merida has become a free-spirited, headstrong sixteen-year-old with much younger identical triplet brothers, Hamish, Huburt, and Harris. Elinor informs her that she is to be betrothed to one of her father's allied clans, against her will. Reminding Merida of a legend about a prince who had ruined his own kingdom by pride and refusal to follow his father's wishes, Elinor warns her that failure to consent to the marriage could harm Dunbroch, but Merida is still unhappy with the arrangement.
Watch the movie to see what happens next.

Plot: 5.0/10- The plot is Brave's weakest aspect because after the first 30 minutes, it completely went off the rails smack into a kid's movie. Some of the mother/daughter relationship part was done well, and the ending almost brought the movie back to its previous level, but, in the end, the story was not impressive.
Action: 5.3/10- There was some action and it was animated well, but nothing noteworthy.
Acting: 6.4/10- According to critics that know what Scottish and Irish accents sound like, Kelly Macdonald as Merida sounded more Irish than Scottish, even though Kelly is Scottish. Other than that, her performance as decent I suppose, nothing remarkable though. Billy Connolly as King Fergus was the best actor in the cast, giving an often humorous performance. All of the other voice actors where neither good or bad, just kind of there. Overall, Pixar's films usually have a strong voice cast, but this one disappointed.

Art Style: 9.5/10- In typical Pixar fashion, the animation is positively brilliant! From Merida's realistic hair, to the detail of the Scottish castle, the animation was fantastic. My only problem is that the bear looked subpar to the rest of the animation.

Soundtrack: 7.9/10- Patrick Doyle's Scottish inspired soundtrack is often quite good, however there where few memorable tracks in the film.
Comedy: 6.9/10- There where several moments where I did laugh-out-loud, however the rest of the humor just kind of fell flat. However children will no doubt enjoy the movie a lot.

Would I Watch This Again: No, there is absolutely no reason to watch it again.

Overall: 5.8/10- Overall Brave had the potential to be one of Pixar's better movies, but alas, it failed. While it is not Pixar's worst movie by any means, it is just generic and lacking of anything remarkable. 

Closing comments: Although certain demographics, like girls and children, will certainly find more enjoyment out of the movie, it is still worth watching if you are a Pixar fan, just for the animation alone.  

Recommended for: Pixar fans, Disney fans, Fantasy fans, Animation fans,

Below is a review by one of my favorite film critics, Jeremy Jahns, and I have to say that I agree with just about everyone he has to say about Brave. 

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

900th Post! And List Teaser Posters

This is my 900th post! Wow, 900 posts in lest than three years, that is a lot of blogging! Thanks everyone for reading and commenting on all of my posts. J and J Productions has really grown in popularity over the last several months with most weekday posts featuring 9+ comments, which is awesome. To celebrate, I have some teaser posters for my up coming lists on the blog, while many of them are still work in progress, the Top 30 TV Shows list will be coming within the next two weeks.
A big thanks to one of my best friends, Jamie, for introducing me to the photo editing program, Fotor. Fotor makes it easy to create collages and add text to photos, so I will be using it to make teaser posters for my list posts. You can check out Fotor here. The purpose of these is to show a brief preview of a few things that will be on the list, however the pictures are not an indication of which shows will be at the top and order does not matter. Please tell me what you think of the List previews and check back tomorrow for my review of Brave.

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

New Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer.

The official teaser to Avengers: Age of Ultron has been released! At Comic-Con this teaser was shown announcing the new title of the Avengers sequel. Since the film has not begun production yet, there is obviously no real footage shown, however the image of the Iron Man helmet being shaped into Ultron's head is cool. Also the sound clips are from the Avengers film. Even though the teaser does not show much, it is cool to see Ultron's head, which looks just like the comics. On other news, my copy of Iron Man 3 has just arrived so I might have a review of the special features and Peggy Carter One-Shot sometime in the next two weeks. What do you think of the new teaser? Please comment below.
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Friday, September 27, 2013

Gotham Commissioner Gordon TV Series

 A Gotham TV series following a young Commissioner Gordon before Batman has been green lit and will air on Fox around this time next year. Unlike most DC comics TV series other than Human Target, Gotham will not air on the CW, where Arrow and the upcoming Flash series air, therefore it is not set in the same universe. While it is not been confirmed, the likelihood of the series taking place in the same universe as the new movies is slim, because Warner Bros. really cannot get their stuff together. As for the show, I am cautiously optimistic because a Gotham about Commissioner Gordon is something I have always wanted to see. In the Nolanverse films, Gordon was one of my favorite characters, I actually liked him more than Batman, and he is a great character in the comics. According to sources, the series will feature famous villains from the comics and I hope that they go with the more comic book style to differentiate itself from the Nolanverse's version, but still have a somewhat grounded setting. One of my main concerns is that this is just a quick cash grab to compete with Marvel's Agents of SHIELD. Regardless, I am going to watch the show. Are you excited for the new show? What are your thoughts?
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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Pilot Review

Thoughts: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has a to live up to. It marks a landmark in television and movie collaboration being Marvel's first TV tie-in into the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe that needs to retain the quality of the films that preceded it. It also marks Joss Whedon's return to television. Does the show live up to the extraordinary expectations? Oh yeah, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. delivers everything that was promised and then some. Whedon's humor is present throughout the pilot, as well as an absurd amount of nerdy jokes and references that can make even the most reserved fans giddy. Because a few readers may not have seen the episode yet, my review will have spoiler warning if anything beyond very basic plot points are revealed. However, if you have not seen it, scroll down to the bottom of the page where I have the full episode posted, unfortunately it only works for North American viewers, unless you have a IP changer to make it appear as though you live here. Also, try this link and see if it will work. I am not sure since this is from ABC.

The pilot episode sets up the new team of already likeable characters including fan-favorite, Agent Phil Coulson, who is even more likeable and humorous than before. Just the fact that Clark Gregg will be receiving significantly more screen-time than before is great, but the rest of the show delivers as well. Even though the series has only introduced the audience to a few of the supporting characters, we were given plenty of information to get the basics of who each of them are. Obviously, as the series progresses, more will be revealed about the characters. Although the production value is obviously lower than the movies, the tone was spot on with the movies. Except for the slightly TV look, the Agents of SHIELD captures what made the Avengers amazing, albeit on a small scale. Despite my absurdly high expectations, the episode satisfied me on every level as a fan. However, casual viewers should enjoy the series as well.

After the show opens showing how the world has changed since the Battle of New York in the Avengers, it introduces us to new "problem of the week" character, Mike Peterson, a guy that apparently has the powers of super-strength and durability. Peterson is an original character for the series and is not one from the comics, however he does share some similarities with the characters that where given powers by the villain known as The Power Broker.
The lone wolf character of the SHIELD team, Agent Grant Ward, is introduced in a fun action scene that shows off Whedon's tremendous ability to blend multiple tones into a seamless product. Ward actually reminds of the character Jayne Cobb from Firefly in that he is a tough guy that prefers forceful methods, which hilariously clashes with Coulson's more reserved ideals.
Cobie Smulders reprises her role as Maria Hill in a cameo role. Since Smulders' show, "How I Met Your Mother" is in its final season, maybe she will have a more recurring in the series. Also Firefly vet, Ron Glass, makes a brief and welcome appearance as a doctor.
A short dialogue sequence apparently reveals how Coulson survived being "killed" by the "Asgardian Mussolini." However, after Coulson leaves, Hill and Dr. Streiten say something about how Coulson must never discover how he actually survived, so his survival is still a mystery.
Coulson's car, Lola, is revealed to be a flying car at the end of the episode, which is actually just like the flying cars that SHIELD used in the 60s and 70s comics and it was awesome!
There are so many hilarious and memorable scenes and quotes through the episode, which is a trademark of Whedon it would seem. The episode was loaded with references to the other films like the reference to Romanoff's (Black Window) scores in espionage. What surprised me is how many tie-in there are to the movies. The main plot point of the episode included aspects of the Super Soldier Serum, Gamma-rays, Chitauri tech, and Extremis from Iron Man 3. Among the other nerdy things referenced are, Cosplay, Harry Potter, and Terminator, which where very humorous. However, my favorite just might be Skye's quote about great power: "With great power... comes a ton of weird crap that you are not prepared to deal with." When she first started saying the line I was almost shocked that they could the famous line from Spider-Man, but her funny twist made me laugh hysterically.
The only negatives I noticed was Peterson's line, "No, its an origin story," which could have been delivered better by the actor, although breaking the fourth was funny.
*End Spoiler*

While I will go into further detail in a future posts about each character, I say that they where all fun and had chemistry. In short, Skye was funny and likeable, Grant played Coulson's opposite well, Melinda May has a cool mystery about her character, and Fitz and Simmons are fun characters that act like twins with all their techno jargon.

For my Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. reviews, I am changing my usual review format slightly. Instead of giving actual values to the individual aspects of the series, I will just discuss that aspect.

Action: There was one fun fight scene early in the episode with Grant, and compared to most TV fight scenes, it was very well done. The other brief action scenes where well done, however I doubt this is the best action we are going to see.

Production Value/Special Effects: The special effects are the only drawback to the entire episode. The opening scene looked a little cheap, particularly the superpowered guy climbing the way. Later in the episode however, the effects where much improved, even though they no where close to movie quality, which is to be expected. Also the sets look about on par with that of the other SHIELD things we have seen in the past.

Soundtrack: Although an official soundtrack has yet to be released, I really enjoyed the themes used during the show. They reminded me a little of the Avengers' soundtrack and I want to be able to buy the full soundtrack.

Humor: Joss Whedon is the king of perfectly placed humor and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is no exception; the humor is its strongest asset. There are so many quotable lines in one episode, it is ridiculous!

Note: Since this is the pilot for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and there are no other episodes to compare it to, my rating is compared to other TV pilots, to which Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has no equal.

Overall: 10/10- Despite lower production value than the movies, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has the making of everything needed for an awesome Joss Whedon TV series. It was hilarious, filled with likeable characters, and had a healthy dose of geeky awesomeness, what more could you ask for in a pilot? Without a doubt, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is the best pilot episode of a series I have seen in a long time, maybe ever.

Closing comments: If you have seen the Avengers, have any slight interest in Joss Whedon's work or want watch something immensely entertaining, do yourself a favor and watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Recommended for: Avengers fans, Whedon fans, Everyone, Comic book fans, TV fans, Fan of entertainment,
Here is the full episode if you have yet to see it (refresh the page if it is not working). 
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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Agents of SHIELD Full Episode!

If you were unable to watch the premiere of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. last night, here is the episode in full from Hulu, and you do not need HuluPlus to watch it. Basically, if you have seen the Avengers, watch the show, simple as that. It is the new must watch show on network television. Except for a few subpar special effects, the pilot episode was fantastic. Hopefully tomorrow I will have my full review up for the show.
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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

New Thor Posters and Other Marvel News.

Finally, Agents of SHIELD premiere tonight! Will you be watching? After my review of Brave tomorrow, I  will hopefully post a review for Agents of SHIELD Thursday, and I will try and post a link to the full episode once I find it.
Now for some Marvel news, New Thor: The Dark World posters of Jane and Lady Sif have been released, which are at the bottom of the post. I am a little surprised that a Loki poster has yet to be released. On other Thor: the Dark World news, director, Alan Taylor, admits to having problems with some scenes in the film and called in Joss Whedon to help with rewriting the script. While it is always a great idea to bring in the Great Joss Whedon to help with anything, it is not great news that they had problems at all, despite this, I am still majorly excited for the film. Below is a video with the story.

On other Marvel news, the Ant-Man film has been moved up to a July release date opposed to a November release to replace Pirates 5 and Star Wars Ep. 7, which are behind schedule. Hopefully Edgar Wright can get the film finished in time, rushing anything is always a bad idea. For more information on the Ant-Man release date check out the video below where you can also find more information on Star Wars, Pirates 5, Katee Sackhoff as Miss Marvel, which is something to cover in a whole other post.

Note: Due to the massive amount of spam comments, comments on this post have been disabled.


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Monday, September 23, 2013

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog Review.

Thoughts: Since Joss Whedon's Agents of SHIELD is premiering tomorrow, it seemed like a good time to review one of Whedon's many fantastic works, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is a internet film created by Joss Whedon (aka King of Nerds), who directed and wrote The AvengersDuring the writer's strike of 2008 Joss Whedon and his brother Zack had the idea to create something small and inexpensive, yet professionally done, in a way that would circumvent the issues that were being protested during the strike, so they made Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. The movie was originally released in three parts, however it has since been released as a full 42 minute movie. Because of this, you can watch the entire movie on YouTube, and I have the video posted below. Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is a deconstruction, satire, and parody of the superhero genre, and leave it to Whedon to make it a musical. As I have said before, I cannot stand musicals in general, however, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog managed to be the only musical that I genuinely enjoy. The songs, humor, and story are all perfectly executed with Whedon's usual wit and likeable characters.
Since the movie is a satire, the tone is intentionally corny and over-the-top, which is one of reasons why the movie is positively hilarious!

Directed by: Joss Whedon
Genre: Comedy, Musical, Superhero
Release Date: July 15, 2008 (2008-07-15) – July 20, 2008
Running Time: 42 minutes
MMPA rating: Would be PG-13

The Good: Several hilarious jokes and songs, Witty dialogue and humor, One particularly excellent song, Perfect ending, Unique story, Completely the opposite of what you would expect, Catchy songs,

The Bad:

Plot: The following plot summary is copied from
Dr. Horrible is filming an entry for his video blog, giving updates on his schemes and responding to various emails from his viewers. Asked about the "her" that he often mentions, he launches into a song about Penny, the girl he likes from the laundromat ("My Freeze Ray").
The song is cut short by his "evil moisture buddy" Moist, who brings up a letter from Bad Horse, the leader of the Evil League of Evil. The letter informs Dr. Horrible that his application for entry into the League will be evaluated, and that they will be watching for his next heinous crime ("Bad Horse Chorus").
The following day, Horrible prepares to steal a case of wonderflonium for his time-stopping Freeze Ray by commandeering the courier van using a remote control device. Penny happens to be on the same street ("Caring Hands"), and appears asking him to sign a petition to turn a condemned city building into a homeless shelter. However, the remote requires his attention, and he appears uninterested in her and her cause. As Penny leaves, Horrible is conflicted, but opts to steal the wonderflonium, telling himself that 'A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do' ("A Man's Gotta Do").
Watch the movie to see what happens next.

Plot: 8.6/10- Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog's story contains a surprising amount of depth and commentary on the superhero genre, despite the absurd concept and setting. The characters are likeable and well developed considering the amount of time given to each one. Unlike most superhero movies, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is from the perspective of the villain, Dr. Horrible, which makes the movie unique in terms of how it executes the narrative devices. Also the songs manage to progress the story as well. It is also important to mention that the ending is basically perfect. Additionally, the ending is amazing, one of the best ones I have seen.

Action: 4.0/10- Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is not an action movie, however there is some humor through Captain Hammer beating the crap out of Dr. Horrible.

Acting: 8.2/10- Neil Patrick Harris as Dr. Horrible plays Dr. Horrible perfectly, and he can sing well. Nathan Fillion as Captain Hammer gives a hilariously hammy performance in his role. His singing is also intentionally hammy and over the top. No one else could have played the role better than Fillion. Felicia Day as Penny is that extremely likeable character that most of Joss Whedon's work typically has, and, of course, Felicia kills it in her role. Also she is the best singer of the group, although the others are also great. Fun fact, Joss Whedon originally considered playing Captain Hammer but decided to bring in Fillion for the part instead.

Special effects: 7.3/10- The movie does not use many effects and much of the set design is intentionally corny, however the few effects that are present get the job done.

Soundtrack: 9.5/10- As I have said before I highly dislike musicals but Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is an exception. The songs are often humorous, witty, and superbly executed in the scene. Several of the songs are among my favorites of all-time, especially "Brand New Day."

Comedy: 8.6/10- Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is an often hilarious film! Although the movie is not an entire laugh-fest, Whedon's typical genius sense of humor is present in both the songs and dialogue.

Would I Watch This Again: After watching Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog over a year ago, I have seen it at least three or fours times, as well as listening to the entire soundtrack a few more times, so yeah, I will watch and re-watch the movie many times.

Overall: 8.9/10- Overall Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog is fun, entertaining, witty and the best parody of the superhero genre around, plus the ending is amazing, basically watch the movie!

Closing comments: Coming from a guy that usually dislikes all musicals, the comic book jokes and reversal of the normal narrative structure makes Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog one of my favorite movies ever.

Recommended for: Joss Whedon fans, Superhero fans, Comic Book fans, Musical fans, Nathan Fillion fans,

Warning: The movie does contain a few inappropriate and suggestive comments, although it would only be rated PG-13 or the standard modern comedy in terms of content.

Click here to check out more of my movie reviews.
If you have seen the movie, please comment and let me know what you think. Also full spoiler comments are encouraged, especially about the ending.

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Tolkien Blog Party of Special Magnificence.

Today is Bilbo Baggins' birthday and Hamlette at The Edge of the Precipice is having a blog party and giveaway over on her blog to celebrate. To enter the giveaway answer the questions and then go to her blog signup for the giveaway. Below are my answers. Also if you are new to J and J Productions, please check out my other posts. I post daily movie reviews, news, and many other things in the nerd culture.

1. Have you read The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit? If so, how many times?
I have the Lord of the Rings once but not the Hobbit.

2. Have you seen any movies based on them?
Of course, they are some of my favorite movies. I have seen each of them at least seven times plus the Extended Editions.

3. Who first introduced you to Middle Earth?
In 2001 when I saw the Fellowship of the Ring in theaters and I have been a fan of the franchise ever since.

4. Who are your three favorite characters? (Feel free to elaborate on whys.)
1: Samwise Gamgee
2: Gandalf
3: Gollum

 5. What's your favorite Middle Earth location?
The Shire

6. If you could belong to one of the races of Free Folk (Men, Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits, Ents), which would you choose?
Probably Hobbits or Elves, they are both cool.

7. Would you rather eat lembas or taters?
Lembas for sure, I have always wanted to try it.

8. If you lived in Middle Earth, what weapon would you prefer wielding?
A wizard's staff.

9. What draws you to Tolkien's stories? (The characters, the quests, the themes, the worlds, etc.)
Virtually everything about the story. There is not one single aspect that draws me to the Tolkien's stories but a compilation of multiple ones.

10. List up to five of your favorite lines/quotes from the books or movies.
"You shall not pass"
"My precious!"
"I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you."
"A wizard is never late, nor is he early, he arrives precisely when he means to."
"That still only counts as one."
The Edge of the Precipice
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Underrated Soundtrack and Posting Schedule.

It is time for another entry in my Underrated Soundtrack and Posting Schedule series! Today's featured soundtrack is Assassin's Creed 3. While the other Assassin's Creed game had great soundtracks, AC3's Revolutionary War setting influenced the more classical tone of the score. Below is the upcoming posting schedule, which is subject to change.
Monday: Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog Review.
Tuesday: Agents of SHIELD Post/Marvel Movie News
Wednesday: Brave Review
Thursday: Agents of SHIELD Review
Friday: Firefly Post (which I have been continually forgetting to post)
Saturday: Movie News

The main theme for the game is brilliant. This is the type of music that makes you want run through the forest or over rooftops.   

The classical Irish rhythm just makes you want to start a fight or something. The fast paced use of the violin amazing.

Here is Lindsey Striling's rendition of the AC3's main theme.

You can listen to the entire score for the game here.
Which was your favorite track? Did you like the music? Please comment below.
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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Saoirse Ronan in Star Wars Ep. 7?

Saoirse Ronanis heavily rumored to be reading for the part of a lead villainess or heroine in the upcoming Star Wars Ep.7. Since Saoirse reportedly turned down the role of the Scarlett Witch in Joss Whedon's Avengers sequel, it would only be logical to think that maybe a possible role in Star Wars is the reasoning behind her discussion. She is not that well known enough for me to consider her too "famous" for the role, but at the same time Ronan's performances have been great, even though I am not a fan of some of her movies. Despite her movie "Hannah" being a nonsensical attempt at an art-house action flick, she can certainly handle an action role and her acting was still very good in the film as well as in "The Way Back." She also received critical praise for "The Lovely Bones," which I have not seen. The blight on her résumé is that was in the critically panned, "The Host," which was based on a book by Stephenie Meyer, but I would not hold it against her. So, other than that, Saoirse Ronan would be a great addition to the Star Wars franchise. Maybe she could play fan-favorite Jaina Solo. There is a striking resemblance between the two, especially when she has her hair dyed brunette. Overall, this is probably the best casting news I have heard coming from the film outside of the original cast returning. Below is a video with more about the story, along with the possible role of Benedict Cumberbatch. What is your opinion of this rumor, disappointed or excited? Please comment below.
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Friday, September 20, 2013

Agent Carter TV Series and Agents of SHIELD.

Breaking Marvel news, an Agent Peggy Carter TV series is rumored to be in development. The current rumor is that Hayley Atwell might be returning to reprising her role for a television series that will obviously air on ABC. The recent positive reaction to the Agent Carter Marvel One-Shot short film, which is included on the Iron Man 3 Blu-Ray, is said to be the basis for the television show similar to how Item 47 served as the pilot for Agents of SHEILD in a way. Since Carter works for the an early incarnation of SHIELD, the series could parallel the upcoming Agents of SHIELD TV series and possibly feature connected storylines, although that is just my theory. Hopefully Dominic Cooper would reprise his role as Howard Stark as well. Because a feature film staring a female is somewhat of a risk, launching Carter in a TV series makes more sense, since female leads on TV are not uncommon. Just the thought of a science fiction-ish World War II/Cold War spy series is just too awesome to not hope for. Taking the less-super characters of the Marvel universe and sending them into the realm of television is a brilliant idea by Marvel and Disney, providing the quality remains as stellar as it always has been. Below is a video covering the story. 

Joss Whedon's and Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series will be premiering this Tuesday at 8:00pm (check local listings). Do you plan to watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? I plan to review the first episode hopefully on the following Thursday or Wednesday. Since the series airs on ABC, anyone with a TV and a antenna in the US should be able to watch. If you are not able to watch the series for what ever reason, I will try and find a way for you to view the series online and post the link here tomorrow or the next day. Hopefully, ABC will feature full episodes on their website a few days after the original air date as they do for most other shows.

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time Review.

Thoughts: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is an anime adaption of the 1967 novel of the same name. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is a film that I happened to come across on several "Best Anime Movies" lists, and then I found it on YouTube and decided to give it a shot not knowing much about the film beyond the obvious time-travel element in the title. Was the film any good? Yes, most definitely yes; it is easily one of the best animated movies I have ever seen. Also, if you do not like anime, try not to think of the film as an "anime" since the art style is not over-the-top like many films or shows.
Directed by: Mamoru Hosoda
Genre: Sci-fi, Fantasy, Comedy, Time-Travel,
Release Date: July 15, 2006
Running Time: 98 minutes
MMPA rating: PG-13

The Good: Incredibly unique concept, Quirky sense of humor, Likeable characters, Fluid and charming animation style, Strong English dub cast, Several hilarious scenes, Unexpected plot twists, Fantastic soundtrack, Relatable story,
The Bad: Occasionally focuses too much on the teen drama,

Note: Do not watch the trailer, just watch the movie, it is great.

Plot: The following plot summary is copied from
Seventeen-year-old Makoto Konno (Riisa Naka/Emily Hirst) lives with her family in the Shitamachi area of Tokyo, Japan. Makoto lives with her parents and younger sibling Miyuki (Yuki Sekido/Shannon Chan-Kent). Her aunt Kazuko Yoshiyama (Sachie Hara/Saffron Henderson), is an art restorer at the Tokyo National Museum. One day, when Makoto discovers a message written on a blackboard at her high school, she inadvertently falls upon a mysterious, walnut-shaped object. On her way home, Makoto is ejected into a railroad crossing when the brakes on her bicycle fail and is struck by a train. She is transported a few minutes back in time to before the accident. Kazuko explains to Makoto that she has the power to "time-leap", to literally leap through time. At first, Makoto uses her power extravagantly to avoid being late, to get perfect grades on tests, and even relive a single karaoke session for an entire hour, but Makoto soon discovers that her actions can adversely affect others.
Watch the movie to see what happens next.

Plot: 9.8/10- The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is obviously about time-travel, however it is not a massive time traveling adventure along the lines of Doctor Who or Back to the Future. It is more about changing things that have happened relatively recently in the user's past and therefore alternate versions of themselves are not present. At first you might expected a fun romp, *Minor Spoiler* the plot takes several surprisingly dark turns later in the film. *End Spoiler* While the film does not delve that deeply into the mechanics of time-travel, the explanation is acceptable and works for what the film tries to accomplish, because time-travel is not the real focus of the plot; it is the led character Makoto Konno's life and how she uses her new found power for smaller things such as avoiding unwanted conversations and other trivial things. Actually, there are many times in everyday life where I wish I could go back in time just to change a small mistake I have made and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time really capitalizes on that concept and the relatability many audiences members have. Occasionally, the film focuses a little too much on the teen drama and romance, and one minor point is not explained as much I would have liked, but overall the plot is incredibly clever and smart.

Action: N/A-

Acting: 9.2- The Girl Who Leapt Through Time has one of the stronger English Dub casts I have heard. Emily Hirst does an excellent job as Makoto giving the character a certain likeability that made the character seem like a real person. As for the other members of the cast, there was not a single weak performance of the group.

Art Style: 9.6/10- While it is not the most detailed animation, Madhouse productions produced some of the most crisp and fluid animation to date. Except for a few parts, the animation is surprisingly restrained in terms of being unrealistic, which gives the film more believability.

Soundtrack: 8.4/10- Although some the songs that where used became a little annoying at times, they worked well to set the tone and emotional for the film. The score by Kiyoshi Yoshida is excellent, and it perfectly compliments the film's themes.

Comedy: 8.2/10- The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is a boarder line comedy featuring several hilarious scenes as well as a quirky sense of humor throughout. While you may not find yourself laughing through the entirety of the film, there is plenty to never make the audience bored. Some of the themes in the film reminded me of Groundhog Day, except darker.

Would I Watch This Again: Yes, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time will be a film that I re-watch several times.

Overall: 9.3/10- Overall The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is an original and fun time-travel movie with several surprising twists. Anyone interest in high-school (not usually my preferred genre) and time-travel need to give the film a viewing, even anime is not typically your thing.

Closing comments: Basically, what the film, below is the entire film uploaded on YouTube in good quality.

Recommended for: Sci-fi fans, Time-Travel fans, Anime fans, Animation fans, School drama fans, Comedy fans,

Warning: Although it is animated, the film is rated PG-13 and therefore not recommended for those under than age.

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Jack the Giant Slayer Review.

Thoughts: Jack the Giant Slayer is a retelling of the classic "Jack and the Beanstalk" story, except on an epic scale. There is not a lot to say about Jack the Giant Slayer, it was fun, entertaining, and an all around solid adventure movie, but there is nothing particularly special or original about the story except that it was told well enough with a lot of adventure.

Directed by: Bryan Singer
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure,
Release Date: March 1, 2013
Running Time: 114 minutes
MMPA rating: PG-13

The Good: Fun adventure throughout, Epic final battle, Surprisingly dark at times,

The Bad: Predictable story, Overly cartoony giants,

Plot: The following plot summary is copied from
In the Kingdom of Cloister, Jack, a young farm boy, is fascinated by the legend of Erik, an ancient king who defeated an army of invading giants from a realm in the sky by controlling them with a magical crown. At the same time, Princess Isabelle becomes fascinated with the same legend.
Ten years later, Jack goes into town to sell his horse to support his uncle's farm. There, Jack spots Isabelle and develops a crush on her, after defending her honor from a group of thugs. Meanwhile, Lord Roderick returns to his study, only to find that a monk has robbed him. The monk offers Jack some magic beans he stole from Roderick as collateral for Jack's horse. Back at the castle, Isabelle quarrels with her father, King Brahmwell, as she wants to explore the kingdom, but he wants her to stay and marry Roderick. Likewise, Jack's uncle scolds him for being foolish before throwing the beans on the floor and leaving the house.
Determined to be free, Isabelle sneaks out of the castle and seeks shelter from the rain in Jack's house. As it rains, one of the beans takes root and grows into a massive beanstalk that carries the house and Isabelle into the sky as Jack falls to the ground.
Watch the movie to see what happens next.

Plot: 5.2/10- Predictable but fun story delivers the thrills you would expect. The retelling of the classic story was well done with plenty of new material added to make it more epic. Pacing of the film was quite good, and there was never a dull moment. The dialogue left much to be desire because a lot of it was cheesy.

Action: 7.8/10- The final battle was well filmed, albeit CGI heavy and some of the other fights were fun. While there was nothing amazing, the action gets the job done well.

Acting: 6.5/10- Nicholas Hoult gives the standout best performance of the cast giving a solid. Ewan McGregor gave a fun performance; his character was fun to watch. Eleanor Tomlinson did not have a lot to do in the film, but she played the beautiful princess role well. Stanley Tucci and his lackey were over-the-top and very cartoonish, fortunately neither character was used all that much.   

Special effects: 6.7/10- Even though much of the movie looked great, the giants were far too cartoony. The giants looked like something out Sherk, not a live-action film.

Soundtrack: 7.5/10- John Ottman produces a fun adventurous soundtrack to match the adventurous tone of the film.

Comedy: 6.8/10- While some of the fell flat, there were a few humorous parts.

Would I Watch This Again: Probably not, the movie is fun but forgettable.

Overall: 6.2/10- Overall Jack the Giant Slayer is a fun romp that is sure to entertain and turns out better than most would expect.

Closing comments: While nothing particularly special, Jack the Giant Slayer is a watchable and fun movie that never bored me.

Recommended for: Fantasy fans, Adventure fans, Action Adventure fans,

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Top 10 Actresses: Part 2: 5-1.

Here is the second and finale part of my Top 10 favorite actresses list.
At Number 5: Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman has been one of my favorite actresses for about as long as I can remember. Even though her performance in the Star Wars Prequels could have been better, she is one of those actresses that I just enjoy watching in almost any movie she is in. Also her role as Jane Foster in Thor is another one of my favorite roles that she plays. Léon: The Professional is one her films that I am interested in seeing sometime.
Best Movies: Star Wars Prequel Trilogy, Thor,
Best Roles: Padmé Amidala, Jane Foster,

At Number 4: Felicia Day
Felicia Day is an odd choice for a list like this and if I where choosing favorite celebrities, not just actresses, Felicia would be at the top. Day created, wrote, directed, and starred in my favorite webseries of all-time, The Guild. Also she has worked with Joss Whedon in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, the only musical that I like. Other than her acting abilities, Felicia runs the YouTube channel, Geek and Sundry, where she makes several nerdy web shows, and Felicia herself is one of the biggest celebrity geeks around.
Best Movies/Webseries: The Guild, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog,
Best Roles: Codex, Penny,
At Number 3: Summer Glau
How can so much bada**ness be packed into such a small package?! She has played two of the coolest butt kicking heroines in science-fiction, River Tam and the Terminator Cameron! Glau's performance as River in Firefly/Serenity is amazing; she goes from a terrified girl, into a freaking death machine in a matter of seconds. At first you might think that there is no way an actresses like Glau could play a Terminator, but she is just about as awesome as ol' Arnie himself in the role of John Conner's protector.
Best Movies/TV Shows: Serenity, Firefly, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Alphas,
Best Roles: River Tam, Cameron, Skylar Adams,
At Number 2: Scarlett Johansson 
Scarlett Johansson is, hands-down, my favorite actress in the business right now. When I first saw her in the role of Black Window in Iron Man 2, I was not sure if she had the acting ability to play the role. Thanks to Joss Whedon's excellent writing and directing in The Avengers, Johansson really blossomed in the role, as well as other roles she has played. Despite the haters, Scarlett Johansson is one of my favorites and I hope to see her in a standalone Black Window film in the future.
Best Movies: The Avengers, The Prestige, Iron Man 2, We Bought a Zoo,
Best Roles: Black Window, Olivia Wenscombe,

At Number 1: Carrie Fisher
Although I have only seen Carrie Fisher in one role, that is enough because she has played the most iconic heroine in the history of cinema, Princess Leia in the Original Star Wars trilogy. Her role changed cinema forever and no one else could have played the part so perfectly with her feisty charm and witty remarks. It will be difficult for the now 56 year old Fisher to capture what made her character so great over 30 years in the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VI, but we can certainly hope that the Force will be with us! 
Best Movies: Original Star Wars Trilogy,
Best Roles: Princess Leia,
Are any of these actresses among your favorites? Who are some of your favorite actresses? Please comment below 
Note: Because I have a math exam today, I will not be able to reply to comments until later today, but thanks everyone for all the comments yesterday!
Honorable Mention: Maegen Schmidt, Liv Tyler, Ashley Eckstein, Audrey Hepburn, Emma Stone, Ellen Page, Angelina Jolie, Olivia Wilde, Anne Hathaway, Linda Hamilton, Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall, Eva Green, Katharine Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman, Helena Bonham Carter, Carrie Anne-Moss, Marion Cotillard, Karen Gillan, Hayley Atwell,
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Monday, September 16, 2013

Star Wars Origin Films: Han Solo, Yoda, and Boba Fett.

According to reports, the standalone Star Wars films that are set to be released between each of the main trilogy will be Origin movies featuring characters from the Star Wars universe and their origin stories. Some of the possibilities that have been thrown around for the origin films are Han Solo, Yoda, and Boba Fett. Why is Disney doing this!? I suppose it is an easy cash grab to make entire movies about some of the most popular characters of the franchise. My biggest problem with this entire concept of origin films is that prequels almost never go well. How many prequel movies have been generally considered better than the originals? Basically none! I wish Disney would make a standalone movie about entirely new characters, minor characters in Ep. VI, or adapt a popular expanded universe story, and not make origin stories. Okay, below are my thoughts on each of the possible origin films along with other ideas.
Note: To clarify, I do not want any Star Wars Origins films with the exception of maybe Boba Fett. I am just entertaining the idea for thought.
Han Solo Origins
Among the characters that might receive an origins film, Han Solo is the one that needs it the least. Making a Han Solo: Origins film is the absolutely worst thing that Disney could do outside of a Jar Jar Origins. Han cannot be recast, end of discuss, Han Shot First! No actor will ever be able to live up to Ford's portrayal and why does there even need to be an origins movie? There are no positives to this scenario when there are so many better ideas for Origin films.
Boba Fett Origins
Heck yeah, a Boba Fett movies would be awesome! Since Fett's background has already been covered rather extensively in Ep. II and the Clone Wars, there is absolutely no reason to have the film take place before Ep. III. My preferred idea would be to bring in fan favorite Cad Bane and make a Boba Fett x Cad Bane team up film. The film should take place a few years after Ep. III and be about Boba Fett and Cad Bane hunting the last of the Jedi for the Emperor. If Cad Bane could be pulled off in live-action, the movie could be amazing. Captain: the First Avenger director and original creator of Boba Fett himself, Joe Johnston should direct the film. He has pitched a Boba Fett film in the past, so he knows the character. Even if Cad Bane is not part of the film, just a Boba Fett movie would be awesome. Jango Fett actor Temuera Morrison should play Boba Fett. Even though Morrison is a little old for the part, his age could be explained as being a side affect of the cloning process. 
Yoda Origins
The idea for a Yoda origins films has been thrown around for sometime now, so it would be not out of the realm of possibility. While a Yoda origins movie would not be my first choice, it does offer the widest range of possible stories since Yoda lived over 900 years and his origins have only been slightly hinted at and covered in minor EU stories. Also Yoda's species does not even have a name, that is how secretive they are about his origins. My biggest concern with a Yoda movie is that it would basically be an animated film, since Yoda would have to be computer animated. Even though Yoda is one of my favorite characters and a movie would not the a bad idea, I find it difficult to grasp
how Disney would pull it off.
Jar Jar Binks Origins
Okay, here is the setup: The movie opens with Jar Jar and about 15 seconds later he is killed by every character in the Star Wars universe. Obviously this is a joke, but if Jar Jar appears in the any of the new movies I shall be angry, unless it is in a clever joke.
Another that could have a cool Origin story would be Mace Windu, and Sam L. is said to be up for it.
What are your thoughts on the possible Star Wars Origin films? Which Star Wars characters deserve an origin story? Pease comment below.
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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Underrated Soundtrack and Posting Schedule.

Because my posting schedule posts have become rather dull in comparison to my other ones, I have decided to change things up by adding some of my favorite underrated soundtracks. For those that do not know, I am not a fan of most modern or pop music and the like. My favorite music is often film, TV, and video game soundtracks and I am not talking about songs in musicals, but real orchestra or instrumental music. While I have nothing against modern music and other songs, I do not listen to songs all that much, with the exception of a few TV theme song. For this post series, I will usually be highlighting the music that I am listening to most that week, which usually features more obscure tracks. This week I will be highlighting a couple of tracks from one of my new favorite television series, Code Geass. On a side note, I have reviews written for both season one and two of the series. Please comment below with what you think of this new soundtrack idea. Also here is the schedule below.
Monday: Star Wars Origin Films
Tuesday: Top 10 Actresses: Part 2: 5-1
Wednesday: Jack the Giant Slayer Review
Thursday: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time Review
Friday: Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog Review
Saturday: Movie News

For a science fiction show, Code Geass' score is incredibly unique. Honestly, it is difficult for me to even categorize the soundtrack into any specific genre of music, maybe Spanish inspired, but I do not know. Despite this, I cannot stop listening to this "Zero" track! The unique combination of instruments work for me for some reason, I love it. Every time the tracks starts in the series you want that Zero is about come up with some clever plan of escape; it fits those scenes so perfectly. Below is an extended version of the song.

"Nightmare" is somewhat similar to "Zero," however it is used in a different context. This track is often used during the battle to great effect. Although it might sound odd for an action theme, every time the track starts up it gets me seriously pumped for some epic mech battles. Below is an extended version.

Here is the entire soundtrack to Code Geass, enjoy.

What did you think of the music? Is this a worth while idea for future posts? Please comment below.

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Harry Potter Spinoff Movie Series Announced.

A Harry Potter spinoff movie series is in the works based on the "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" book. The film is set to be written by the creator of the Harry Potter franchise herself, J.K. Rowling. The movie is said to be neither a prequel or sequel to the Harry Potter films, but rather a standalone story set within the Harry Potter universe before the events of the Harry Potter films. According to the description, the book "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" is a book within the Harry Potter book, as well as being a published book, so it is basically "Bookception!" The movie will star the character Newt Scamander. Although I have not read the Harry Potter books, I am a fan of the movies, therefore this news excites me to a degree. Hopefully, the film will continue the darker trend that the franchise took in the last four films and have director David Yates return because he did such an excellent job with the movies. My main concern is that the book has a somewhat childish name, however I am still hopeful that the movie will turn out well. Just a few weeks ago, Shena Tokala and I briefly discussed the unlikelihood of another film set in the Harry Potter franchise in my Podcast, which you can see here. Considering that Man of Steel was not the mega hit that Warner Brothers hoped for, it does make sense to revive the Harry Potter franchise, since it is the highest grossing franchise of all-time. What are your thoughts on this surprising news? Please comment below.
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Friday, September 13, 2013

The Wolverine Review.

Thoughts: After the previous Wolverine movie disappointing, few expected much from the Wolverine, however the movie surprised many by how good it was, particularly me. The Wolverine finally gives fans the Wolverine movie that fans have been waiting for; one that focusing on the character and his inner struggle.

The Wolverine takes place after X-Men: The Last Stand and the movie fortunately does even not reference X-Men: Origins, therefore, if you have only seen the X-Men trilogy, you can watch the Wolverine without any other prior knowledge.

As for the movie itself, the Wolverine satisfies on so many levels, from its brutal action scenes, to the slower moments where the film develops the characters. The Wolverine is loosely based on famous Wolverine comic where he travels to Japan, and while it adapts the source material well, it is more inspired by it rather than holds to it, which is good. Because most of the film is set in Japan, there is a unique tone and feeling to the film that most other comic book movies do not have. While the Wolverine does lean towards the "comic-book-y" story near the end of the film, the rest of it is more of a unique action film with the Wolverine character in it.

The Wolverine does not shy away from the brutality of the character and his violent featuring some impressively violent scenes for a PG-13 film. We finally get to see blood on Wolverine's claws, which may sound morbid, but Wolverine is a brutal character and the film shows that aspect.

Directed by: James Mangold
Genre: Action, Action Adventure, Comic Book,
Release Date: July 26, 2013
Running Time: 126 minutes
MMPA rating: PG-13

The Good: Surprisingly deep character development and themes, Brutal and violent, Incredible action set pieces, Gritty and realistic tone, Hugh Jackman is even better than usual, Great soundtrack, Nice slower section, Humanizes the character, Japanese setting, James Mangold's direction, Epic after credits scene, Outstanding sound design, Believable romance, A lot of practical stun work, Easy to invest in the character and story,

The Bad:

Plot: The following plot summary is copied from
In 1945, Logan, the Wolverine, is held in a Japanese POW camp near Nagasaki. During the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Logan rescues an officer named Yashida and shields him from the blast.
In the present day, Logan lives as a hermit in the Yukon, tormented by hallucinations of Jean Grey, whom he was forced to kill in X-Men: The Last Stand. He is located by Yukio, a mutant with the precognitive ability to foresee people's deaths, on-behalf of Yashida, now the CEO of a technology corporation. Yashida, who is dying of cancer, wants Logan to accompany Yukio to Japan so that he may repay his life debt.
In Tokyo, Logan meets Yashida's son, Shingen, and granddaughter, Mariko. There, Yashida offers to transfer Logan's healing abilities into his own body, thus saving Yashida's life and alleviating Logan of his immortality, which Logan views as a curse. Logan refuses and prepares to leave the following day. Watch the movie to see what happens next.

Plot: 9.6/10- The Wolverine's plot is a deeper character study rather than a big flashy comic book film, which worked to the movie's favor. During the Wolverine, I was completely invested in the character throughout the entire film. I was completely involved in the story wondering what was going to happen next. The Wolverine is a much smaller scale film compared to most others in the genre, which is rather refreshing. Do not get me wrong, big epic movies like The Avengers and the Dark Knight Rises where an entire city is in danger is great, but the Wolverine gives us something new and original in that respect. To my surprise, the romance was actually really well done and very believable.
Because of the Japanese setting, the tone and setting reminded me of a samurai film and I loved that because I am a fan the genre and the Japanese warrior culture. I was surprised by much of the movie was set in Japanese, and while I am not crazy about subtitles, they gave the film an authentic and realistic feel. Also the movie contained a few western motifs, which were great. My only real problem with the plot is that the villains where a little underdeveloped and not as good as they could have been. However, the film places the focus where it should be, on Wolverine's character.

Action: 9.7/10- The Wolverine's action scenes are raw and intense. While there is an occasional shot or two that could have been framed better, the majority of the action and its directing was spot on. Logan finally has the chance to unleash his full fury with somewhat realistic action scenes up until the final Act. The final battle was impressive and fun to watch, even though it was a departure from the more grounded action previously setup in the film. Despite how terrible the train fight scene looked in the trailer, it was actually an awesome action scene.

Acting: 9.3/10- Hugh Jackman as the Wolverine is the modern definition of manliness; the dude is seriously bada**. After 13 years of playing the character of Wolverine, Jackman still has it in him and he gives the character more depth than ever before with his performance. It is refreshing to see many new faces from the predominately Japanese cast. Tao Okamoto delivers a compelling performance as Mariko, and she has great chemistry with Jackman. Rila Fukushima as Yukio was great! She turned out to be one of the better characters in the movie. Svetlana Khodchenkova as Dr. Green / Viper was not bad nor was she all that great either; she was just kind of there.

Special effects: 8.8/10- Shockingly, the Wolverine does not rely heavily on big flashy special effects as other superheroes movies do, which is kind of cool actually. There are a lot of practical effects and stun work used during the action scenes, all of which was excellent. The train fight that looked terribly fake in the trailer actually looks realistic and believable in the movie, one of the better action sequences.

Soundtrack: 8.8/10- Marco Beltrami's score perfect compliments the Wolverine tone and setting. The music sounded as though it featured many Japanese tunes and instruments, which added to the Japanese setting.

Comedy: 7.5/10- While the humor is not prevalent throughout the film, Jackman has several hilarious and memorable moments throughout the movie.

Would I Watch This Again: The Wolverine is a film that I will definitely be buying on Blu-Ray and one that I will watch many times.

Overall: 9.6/10- Overall the Wolverine perfectly portrays the character as well as producing something new and original in the genre. The Wolverine focuses on the character's inner struggle and smaller more personal story that surprisingly turned out perfectly. Although I know that I am in the vast minority when it comes to my opinion of the Wolverine, I do believe that James Mangold made a film that stands up on multiple levels, even if the ending was a little lacking.

Closing comments: For those who are not fans of the character, the movie would rate more around a 8.5/10 in terms of being a great action film with a deep character driven story; fans of the character, however, should love the movie as much I do did.

Recommended for: Comic Book fans, Hugh Jackman fans, X-Men fans, Wolverine fans, Action fans, Samurai film fans,

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