Saturday, February 28, 2015

Amagi Brilliant Park Review

Yet another fall anime review is here with Amagi Brilliant Park.

Amagi Brilliant Park
After being forced to visit an amusement park, Amagi Brilliant Park, by the mysterious Isuzu Sento, Kanie, a former child star and perfectionist, is asked to become the manager and save the park, which will be closed if the park does not reach a certain number of visitors in three months. He is also told that the park is run by the refugees of the magical realm of Maple Land, who live on the happiness of others, so without the park, they will likely die.
Amagi Brilliant Park is a fun anime with an original concept. Even though reaching a certain amount of visitors and one other element revealed later in the series are constant themes throughout, many of the episodes are episodic with each one being about either Kanie's schemes to get more visitors or something related to the park, which often produces great comedic situations.
In terms of comedy, it is most definitely funny with most of the humor relying on slapstick. However, unlike other comedy anime, like Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, Amagi Brilliant Park does not seem to focus primarily on the comedy. This is not a bad thing per se, but if you are expecting something like Gekkan or D-Frag, then Amagi Brilliant Park is not it. With that said, the series is still very entertaining and amusing.
As for the characters, Kanie is driven to make the park reach its goal, and while not a deep character, he is fun and not particularly archetypal. Isuzu Sento is the female lead that waves around her magic musket, and even though a romance between her and Kanie is hinted at in the series, it does not go very far, unfortunately. Amagi Brilliant Park’s supporting cast is full of colorful (in more ways than one) and wacky supporting characters that produce a lot of the humor. 
As expected, Kyoto Animation's work on the series is beautiful! Finally, we get to see what KyotAni's character designs in Free would look like for female characters, and the results are stunning. With that said, this is also the first time KyotAni has had true fanservice, and while it is not a major issue, it is still there. However, the rest of the animation from the background art to fluidity is truly top notch.
On a side note, for some reason, the final episode plays out more like an OVA that is disconnected from the main narrative with the second to last episode being the true finale, so do not expect a real finale while watching the series.
Overall, Amagi Brilliant Park is a fun and entertaining anime with an original concept. While it might not accomplish anything spectacular and the conclusion might be a tad disappointing, the stunning art style and slapstick comedy made it more than worth my time.
Watch if you like: KyotoAni, Amusement parks, Fantasy, Full Metal Panic,

More Fall Anime Reviews:
Fall Anime Review: Part 1
Fall Anime Review: Part 2
Fall Anime Review: Part 3

Friday, February 27, 2015

Ping Pong: The Animation Review

Ping Pong: The Animation, possibly the most horrifying anime of all-time....
Ping Pong: The Animation follows the story of four high school ping pong players, Peco, Smile, Ryūichi Kazama, and Kong Wenge.

Ping Pong: The Animation is a series that has been lauded by critics to be one of the best of the year, and generally, I agree with critics about which anime are good, so obviously I expected Ping Pong to impress, but does it?

The Good: Unique use of symbolism, Good opening song, Three interesting characters, Solid soundtrack,

The Bad: Historically horrible animation style, Lack of narrative cohesion, Horrendous character designs, Technical ping pong terms without explanation, Several dull characters, Often hard to look at, Reused animation, Inconsistent character models, Dull vocal performances,

Plot: 5.4/10- Ping Pong's narrative is a relatively straightforward sports narrative, and it is, unfortunately, predictable. Where it differs from the norm is that there is a ton of symbolism where each character is represented by a different symbol, and it tries to tell a character study. To a degree, the symbolism and metaphors add a unique quality to the series that is not often found in anime, although other anime have been it much better. Unfortunately, the creator goes completely overboard with the use of symbols to the point where the narrative structure and characters are left to the wayside. All too often works of fiction that are lauded for their "deep themes" and "stunning symbolism" seem to be so obsessed with said metaphors that the quality of the story suffers.
As for other issues, during the anime, a year passes, and yet there is little sense of progression until the characters actually said, "a year has passed," which is quite a ways into the time-jump. With the time progression aside, the narrative lacks cohesion. Events happen without flowing naturally. Aside from the two tournaments bookending the series, the events in-between just happen without any real structure, and it leaves the viewer both confused and bored.

Characterization: 6.2/10- Ping Pong focuses on several different characters, each of whom have a nickname, which is reflected by symbolic imagery, ranging from a robot for the character that is robotic in his actions to a dragon for the character nicknamed the dragon.
While watching the series, it felt as though the audience was presented with the beginning of the interesting character arcs and then the series skips straight to the end with the symbolism replacing the actual character development in-between. We are goaded into thinking that the character progression is “compelling” because there is symbolism, but we are instead given something with potential and are mostly left unfulfilled. 
Of the characters, only Peco, Smile, and the old teacher Koizumi have somewhat well executed character arcs, while the others are forgettable. 
One key aspect that prevents the characters from connecting with audience is that the designs of the characters lack the ability to express relatable emotion, which is further explained later.

Acting: 3.7/10- With the character models being unable to express real emotion, the brunt of the task is on the cast, and unfortunately, they fail as well. Kōki Uchiyama as Smile brings his monotone performance from his previous role as Meruem in Hunter x Hunter, and he, along with Fukujūro Katayama as Peco, are the best of the cast, although still only just above average. Shunsuke Sakuya is decent as well, and casting a Chinese actor to play the Chinese character was a great choice. As for the rest of the cast, they range from barely average to noticeably subpar. At many times throughout the series, they break any possible drama during their scenes due to their unnatural performances. 

Animation: 1.5/10- Frankly, Tatsunoko Production's style is hideous. Unique animation styles, like Gankutsuou or anything by Shaft is great, but Ping Pong's style and animation is simply lacking in quality (a lot of these gifs are among the best footage from the series). 
The character designs are some of the most horrifying things in the history of modern Japanese animation. Even if you like the style of the series, there is a lot of reused animation, and the character designs are incredibly inconsistent and constantly change the proportion. Also, as stated previously, the character designs’ inability to express emotions prevents the characters from connecting with the audience.
If you feel that animation is not an important factor in the quality of anime, hear me out. Animation is the equivalent to cinematography and direction in live-action. For example, image if you take Christopher Nolan's film Inception, which won Best Cinematography at the Oscars, and was directed by someone who does not know anything about cinematography or how to direct actors; that’s what you have with Ping Pong: The Animation. There are good elements, but it is, unfortunately, destroyed by the poor visual element and unnatural performances.

Soundtrack: 7.2/10- Kensuke Ushio's score is actually one of the high points of Ping Pong. Not all of the tracks work, but there are a few that make the Ping Pong matches more entertaining to watch.

Humor: N/A- Ping Pong occasionally has moments of humor, which do succeed, but it is mostly humorless.

Opening and Ending: 7.0/10- The opening song, "Tada Hitor," is a very good, well, at least the first several times that I listened to it. As the series dragged on, it started to annoy me at times. As for the animation of the opening, it is just as hideous as the rest of the series.

Entertainment Value: 2.4/10- Anime is something that I generally consider to be entertaining, even weaker series, and unfortunately, Ping Pong's main source of entertainment came from my internal critique while watching it, not the series itself.

Overall: 6.0/10- On paper, Ping Pong: The Animation should have been amazing. The characters had potential for compelling drama and the use of symbolism is occasionally effective. Unfortunately, due to the previously mentioned poor execution, a lack of narrative cohesion, and historically awful presentation, the series’ ideas are ultimately undermined. With that said, Ping Pong is not a bad anime by any means, just a disappointing one in my eyes.

Closing comments: If you actually find the animation not repulsive, then maybe you can enjoy this series; otherwise, keep your distance.  

Recommended for: Ping Pong enthusiasts, Those interested in the unique style and symbolism,

To read more of my anime reviews, you can click here.
Also, if you have reviewed this anime, leave a comment with a link to your review and I will post it here (providing it does not contain any explicit content).
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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Hitman: Agent 47 Trailer Review

Wow, these new movie trailers are continuing to surprise, and today's review is for Hitman: Agent 47! Hitman: Agent 47 is based the video game franchise of the same name about an assassin named Agent 47, who only lives to kill his target in smart and strategic ways. As for the trailer itself, the trailer looks like an impressive over-the-top action film with action reminiscent of Wanted. In 2007 there was a Hitman adaptation, and while it was not a bad action film, it was a poor adaptation, and it seems to have no connection with this new film either (thankfully). As for the new film, Hitman: Agent 47's trailer does not look like it is all that true to the source material with Agent 47 being nothing more than a super-soldier. However, as a mindless action flick, this does not look that bad, and maybe Agent 47 is smarter than what is being shown thus far. With that said, most likely, this will be yet another poor adaptation of a video game. Well, we can still hope that the Assassin's Creed film will revolutionize the video game film genre! What do you think of the trailer? Please comment below and let me know.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Movie Music and More

Today I introduce a new post series to J and J Productions, Movie Music and More! On this new series, I will post a track or two from a film, television, or other media. Some of the tracks are from an underrated score, while others might be lesser known tracks from a well known movie, like today's pick from The Avengers. Alan Silvestri's score for The Avengers is very underrated as a whole for giving us a score that matches the epicness of the heroes themselves. However, the track above, "A Promise," is an all too often overlooked track from the film's score. It is played near the end during one of the film's most impactful scenes, and it is one of my favorites from Alan Silvestri's body of work. Hopefully, unlike my previous failed attempts, this post series will actually become popular enough to continue in the future, and please let me know what you think of it in the comments below.

If you want to contact us or have any questions please send an e-mail to

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Gone Girl Review

Gone Girl, the most recent Oscar nominated film from the award winning director, David Fincher, the mastermind behind such cult classics as Fight Club and Seven.

On the day of Nick Dunne fifth wedding anniversary, he arrives home to find his wife Amy missing and parts of the house in disarray. Amy's disappearance receives a lot of coverage in the media, where the media criticizes Nick's every action to the point of accusing him of murdering Amy. The film later reveals flashbacks from Amy's point-of-view as the truth is slowly unraveled.

As with Fincher's other films, you want to know as little as possible going into the film as possible, and as such, I will keep my review as board and spoiler-free as possible until the spoiler section at the end.

Directed by: David Fincher
Genre: Mystery, Drama,
Release Date: October 3, 2014
Running Time: 149 minutes
MMPA rating: R

The Good: Brilliant plot twists and turns, Oscar worthy performance by Rosamund Pike, Menacing atmosphere, Interesting commentary on the news and media, All around exception direction by David Fincher, Makes you question the truth, Characters are you genuinely hateable characters for all the right reasons,

The Bad: Slightly bloated First Act (45 minutes), Neil Patrick Harris does not belong, Lacks staying power,

Warning: This film is rated R and is only recommended for mature audiences.

Plot: 9.0/10- Through the film's use of flashbacks, it constantly makes you question what you originally thought to be true at the beginning of the film. At one point you might think you have it figured out and then something is revealed to mix things up, and this type of film that keeps you guessing is exactly my thing. Unlike a lot of modern mysteries, it gives you enough information to figure out the mystery without being too obvious.
The other element of the story is the commentary on how people view cases such of this only through the lens of the media, which often leads to wild and unfounded accusations. In this respect, it portrays said theme very effectively by incorporating it organically in the story. It criticizes the news writers and other people that make these wild claims that can often ruin the lives of the people that are involved, and in my opinion, it is a real problem.
However, Gone Girl's slow burn storytelling of the first 45 minutes was a little too slow. Most of the information present is necessary, but still felt a tad bloated. Also, the early parts of the film shows the romance between Nick and Amy in flashbacks, and it more or less falls into the standard corny romance that we have seen, although those scenes are brief before the important aspects of their relationship are revealed. Other than those early parts, the movie is paced fairly well.

Characterization: 8.8/10- Gone Girl has some of the worst and most hateable characters that I have seen in a long time, yet you hate them in the best way possible. They do immoral things, which makes you not want to like them, but the complexity of the characters and their motives are fascinating to see unfold. Of course, these characters do not do blatantly evil things like a villain in a story would to make you dislike them, but rather realistic things.
Nick Dunne is the main character and most of the film takes place from either his point-of-view or Amy's in the flashbacks. Even though you see a lot of the events unfold from Nick's POV, you are still presented with the question as how he is actually connected to Amy's disappearance as you ultimately end up analyzing his actions along with the media.
Amy's story is mostly told from flashbacks, and yet she is the best and most intriguing aspect of the film. Everything about her character just works for what the filmmaker goes for, although that has a lot to do with Rosamund Pike's performance.
The rest of the characters mostly serve to be components in the plot, with the exception of Nick's sister Margo, so none of the others receive much development, but that is not a bad thing.

Acting: 9.2/10- Rosamund Pike, hands down, wins Best Actress at any awards in my mind, and the fact that the Oscars did not give her one is a shame. Pike is so far above everyone else in her field last year that it is not even funny, and she steals the every scene that she in with her charm and unique voice.
Ben Affleck’s performance as Dunne starts out as very aloof and dopey, and while he almost overplays the aloof husband aspect, it mostly works for the type of character that he is trying to pull off.
Tyler Perry is, shockingly, not bad in his serious role. On the other hand, Neil Patrick Harris is just wrong for his role. I have not seen "How I Met Your Mother," so that has nothing to do with me not being able to separate this role from his previous ones; he is just wrong for the role and almost breaks the film's serious tone at times.

Special effects: N/A- David Fincher's direction and cinematography is all around exceptional. He does everything right with his framing of each shot.

Soundtrack: 7.8/10- Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross' score is great in that it creates an ominous atmosphere, but on its own, it is completely forgettable.

Entertainment Value: 8.0/10- Aside from the pacing issue in the early part of the film, Gone Girl's mystery kept me hooked, yet not enthralled, for the majority of the film. With that said, it does not the staying power to make me want to watch it again anytime soon or even make think about more than a day or two after watching it.

Overall: 8.5/10- Describing my favorite part of Gone Girl would be a massive spoiler (which I discuss below), so I will leave you with this: Gone Girl is both a fascinating look at how the problems with today's media and an intriguing mystery that will keep you interested throughout, despite the flaws that are present.

Closing comments: Even though there is a lot to like about the film, and it is one of my favorites from last year, several weeks after my initial viewing, Gone Girl has not had the staying power of other films that are among my favorites. It is a well made film, but it is not one that I want to watch again anytime soon unlike Fight Club or Hitchcock's classics. 

As with my review of Fight Club (which you can read here), I almost feel handcuffed as a reviewer due to the potential for spoiling the film, so, if you have seen the film, continue reading; otherwise, skip to the comments and wait until you actually see the movie.

Recommended for: Mystery fans, Fincher fans, Drama fans,

*MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD* Again, if you have not seen the film, scroll down and leave a comment. Now, my favorite part of the movie is the twist that Amy is, in fact, alive. Having no prior knowledge of the source material or having heard any spoilers, I suspected the twist 30 minutes into the film and figured it out for certain about 15 minutes before the reveal. However, the fact the movie provided just enough clues to figure out the mystery without giving it away is a testament to Fincher's direction and the original author's writing (amusing it was done in a same way), because the twist does not feel unreasonable. After said twist, Amy is the type of femme fatale that I can't get enough of in fiction. Her plan is brilliantly thought-out as she manipulates Nick in the end to get her way. Finally getting to see an ending where the antagonist essentially wins is great, especially if said antagonist is one of my favorites. You hate her, but at the same time, you enjoy (or at least I did) how much I dislike the character and respect the writers and Rosamund Pike for crafting such a brilliant villain, which the main reason I enjoyed the film. Also, as you could probably tell, some aspects of my review described certain things slightly inaccurately in regards to Amy’s involvement as to not spoil the film for others.

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Monday, February 23, 2015

9 Ant-Man Movie Facts

Hello everyone, today J and J Productions is having a special collaboration with Lights on Location, and they have written some fascinating facts about the upcoming Ant-Man film along with an infographic!

Ant-Man Movie Coming to Theaters this July 2015
Ant Man is an upcoming movie about a superhero based on another Marvel comic character with the same name. It stars PaulRudd who plays Scott Lang who will be the said superhero.

In the movie, Scott Lang aids his mentor Dr. Hank Pym in protecting the Ant-Man technology from those who threatened to steal it. Other than this, as Ant-Man must also protect the world from an evil plot which plans to use the said technology for destruction.

Development of Ant-Man started on April 2006 when Edgar Wright was set to direct and co-write the story with Joe Cornish. In April 2011, the two were able to complete three drafts. In July 2012 Wright started shooting footages in different filming locations.

Rudd was casted for the role of Ant-Man on December 2013. Even if Wright left the project on May 2014 due to creative differences, his task was taken up by McKay. Principal photography happened around August to December of 2014 in San Francisco and Atlanta.

Ant-Man the Marvel Hero
Since the movie Ant-Man will be coming up, here’s a little background on the comic book hero where it will be based on.

Ant-Man was originally the persona of Hank Pym, the scientist who invented the substance that helped him decrease in size but even increased his strength. He was created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby and first appeared in the comic book Tales to Astonish #27 which was released in January 1962. After Pym’s retirement, Scott Lang inherited the technology to become Ant-Man. Other than Lang, Eric O’Grady also took on the role of Ant-Man.

Thanks Lights on Location a website where filmmakers can find filming locations to film their movies and other media with easy to use search tools. You can check out Lights on Location by clicking here, or on the following link:

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

The 87th Oscars are Tonight!

The Academy Awards, where snobs and "critics" get together to award the most Oscar bait worthy films of the year, and the winners are revealed tonight at the 87th Oscars. All jokes aside, although my opinion of the Academy is not necessarily positive, I do not agree with them most of the time, or at least not since The Return of the King won Best Picture. However, I generally agree the Academy's picks during the 90s, 70s, and in the past. Anyway, tonight is the Oscars, and even though I do not plan to watch them, I will be interested to see the winners. However, I am surprised that Gone Girl only received one nomination, which was for Rosamund Pike in Best Actress in a Leading Role. Fincher should have been nominated for Best Director and maybe even Cinematography. With that said, if Rosamund Pike does not win, it will be the biggest mistake of the Oscars of the year; well, except for certain a snubbing, which I will get to in a minute. She was incredible in her role, and speaking of Gone Girl, look for my review of that film on Tuesday.
As for the snub, how the heck did The Lego Movie not get nominated for Best Animated Feature!? Seriously, almost everyone loved it, so tell why it was not nominated!? It was nominated for Best Original Song with "Everything is Awesome," yet it failed to be nominated for Animated Feature! Yes, I have read the reasons for it getting snubbed in Variety's article, but even Rotten Tomatoes rated it higher than any other animated film last year, so there is really no excuse. With that said, at least The Tale of the Princess Kaguya was nominated. Despite being one of Studio Ghibli's weaker efforts, maybe it can win to make up for the last year's travesty of Frozen beating The Wind Rises. 
Obviously, the Academy did not nominate any of the amazing blockbusters except for Best Visual Effects, but it is not like that is ever going to happen.

What do you think of the nominations and snubs? Please comment below and let me know, and be sure to check back Tuesday for my review of Gone Girl.

If you want to contact us or have any questions please send an e-mail to

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Winter Anime Overview

Now that my winter anime impressions are finished and that we are halfway through the season, it is time to take a look at all the anime of the season and decide whether or not you check them out based on how good they are at the mid-season mark. Instead of ranking each one individually, I am categorizes each anime by quality with the score range beside the category. Of course, this is my opinion, so let me know your thoughts in the comments. Also, sequels and two cour anime from last season are not listed among the main group. 

Must-Watch (9.0-10)
Death Parade

Highly Recommended (8.0-8.9)
Saenai Heroine no Sodate-kata (Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend)
Yoru no Yatterman (Yatterman Night)

Worth Your Time (7.5-7.9)
Ansatsu Kyoushitsu (Assassination Classroom)
Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love! (Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!)
Koufuku Graffiti (Gourmet Girl Graffiti)

Good not Great (7.0-7.5)
Junketsu no Maria (Maria the Virgin Witch)

Slightly Above Average (6.0-6.9)
Kantai Collection: Kan Colle

Average/Mediocre/Not bad for a Harem (5.0-5.9)
Absolute Duo
Juuou Mujin no Fafnir (Unlimited Fafnir)
Seiken Tsukai no World Break (World Break: Aria of Curse for a Holy Swordsman)
Shinmai Maou no Keiyakusha (The Testament of Sister New Devil)

Dropped Anime (0.0-4.9)
Sengoku Musou (Samurai Warriors)

Unrankable (Watch only if you are a Kunihiko Ikuhara fan)
Yurikuma Arashi

Sequels I'm Watching
Aldnoah.Zero 2
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders - Battle in Egypt
Kamisama Hajimemashita◎ (Kamisama Kiss Season 2)
Kuroko no Basket 3
Tokyo Ghoul √A

For my impressions of each series listed (well, most of them), you can click on the links below.
Assassination Classroom: First Impressions
Death Parade Episodes 1-3 Review
Kantai Collection: KanColle: First Impressions
The Rolling Girls: First Impression
Winter Anime Impressions: Part 1
Winter Anime Impressions: Part 2
Winter Anime Impressions: Part 3
Yatterman Night: First Impression

Please let me know what you think of the season's anime in the comments and if you want to see this overview concept used again. 

If you want to contact us or have any questions please send an e-mail to

Friday, February 20, 2015

Top 5 Best Picture Winning Films

With the Oscars on Sunday, there is no better time than the present to rank the Top 5 Best Picture winning films. Even though the Academy have gone with safe picks for most of the last ten years, they did actually give the award to quite a few films that deserved it in my eyes in the past, and this will rank my five favorite. Of course, I have not seen ever Best Picture winning film, and these are my personal favorites, so please let me know what yours are in the comments.

5: The Godfather
Often considered one of the best films ever made, The Godfather might not live up to its reputation but is certainly a great film in its own right that revolutionized the crime drama genre.
Plot: 8.8/10- The Godfather's first 20-30 minutes are mostly setup the rest of the film by establishing the characters as well as the setting. Fortunately, however, the movie begins to pick up the pace a little as the story finally grabbed my attention by the 30 minute mark and after that, it was an entertaining experience. The plot took some unexpected twists and turns, and despite the long running time and occasional pacing issues, The Godfather did not feel like a long movie. Also, the conflict between the crime families is one of the more entertaining aspects as they each use calculated attacks to affect the other’s businesses or family. 
Characterization: 8.5/10- In general, the characters of The Godfather are mostly well established characters for the type of movie being made. However, only three or four of the characters are actually memorable and identifiable, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Vito Corleone, head of the Corleone family, is the most memorable character, and he has many unforgettable quotes. Michael Corleone is the character that receives the most development throughout the course of the film, and he is the one that the audiences can connect with the most.
Overall: 8.8/10- Despite being overrated to a degree, The Godfather is undeniably a well crafted film with excellent performances and surprising entertainment value, providing the long running time is not a turn off for you. (For my full review, you can click here to check it out).

4: Braveheart
While it not the most well liked film, Braveheart is a personal favorite of mine. Some of the appeal is that my ancestors fought on both sides of the real war that the film portrays, and even though the movie itself is grossly historically inaccurate, what matters in the end is that it is a great film. 
Acting: 8.7/10- Mel Gibson both stars in and directs the film, and his performance as William Wallace is all around great. He manages to balance the stoic nature of the character, while still providing the human aspect. Plus, no one else could deliver such an epic speech other than Gibson!
Soundtrack: 9.7/10- James Horner's score is one of my favorites. The main theme is easily the most memorable tracks, and it is fittingly epic and sweeping to fit the stunning cinematography.
Overall: 8.8/10- Braveheart might not be for everyone. However, Mel Gibson's historical (or rather fictional) epic is an inspiring tale of standing up against tyranny.

3: Gladiator
Much like Braveheart, Gladiator is the type of epically manly movie (not to say that it excludes the female audience in any way) that has both great spectacle and a well told story of revenge.
Action/Direction: 9.3/10- Ridley Scott's direction is superb. From the impressive cinematography to the thrilling gladiatorial battles, everything in Gladiator looks fantastic. Even though the opening battle sequence is often overrated, the rest of the action sequences throughout the film feature well choreographed battles and well framed shots. 
Acting: 8.9/10- Russell Crowe's Oscar winning performance as Maximus Decimus Meridius is still his most iconic role.
Overall: 9.0/10- Gladiator is an impressively filmed and well told tale of revenge that never fails to entertain, and yes, "We are entertained."

2: The Silence of the Lambs
The first horror film to win Best Picture, The Silence of the Lambs surprised me by delivering a disturbing thriller that does not forget about the characters or plot.
Plot: 9.5/10- Silence of the Lambs is one of the most perfectly paced films in the mystery genre. Despite a plot that can be perceived as slow moving with dialogue sequences progressing the majority of the plot, the direction and performances maintain the audience’s attention as details of the mystery are slowly revealed. The direction the story goes is occasionally predictable, and the main character can seem a little slow at figuring out the plot for herself, but it rarely detracts from the tension and intrigue of the film.
Characterization: 8.9/10- Even if you have never seen the Silence of the Lambs, you would be hard-pressed to have never at least heard of the legendary character of Hannibal Lector, and he certainly lives up to the legend, largely thanks to Anthony Hopkins' Oscar winning performance. 
Overall: 9.0/10- As thrilling and it is disturbing, The Silence of the Lambs is not necessarily an entertaining film, but rather an intriguing and exhilarating one. However, it is certainly not for everyone due to the disturbing nature of the film, and it is not one that I would want to watch again anytime soon. (A full review coming at some point)

1: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Could there be any other? The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King provides a fittingly epic and emotional conclusion to one of the greatest achievements in the film history. Despite being the first fantasy film to win Best Picture, the gateway to science fiction, comic book, and other fantasy films is, unfortunately, still closed in the minds of the Academy. Even though all of LOTR films should have won Best Picture, since they all are equally amazing, The Return of the King more than deserved it the year it won.
Characterization: 10/10- The Return of the King's large cast of characters all have their character arcs brought to a satisfying conclusion that reflects of the themes that Tolkien instilled in his original novel.
Overall: 10/10- The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, along with the other LOTR films, are the closest thing we have seen to a flawless masterpiece of film in the 21st Century, and while others have made a valiant effort, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy still reigns supreme.

What are your favorites? Please comment below and let me know!

Honorable Mentions: Ben-Hur. The Bridge on the River Kwai, Casablanca, Dances with Wolves, The French Connection, The Godfather Part II, Lawrence of Arabia, Patton, The Sting, Rocky, Unforgiven,

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Winter Anime Impressions: Part 4

My final winter anime impression post is here with reviews for Koufuku Graffiti, Isuca, Kuroko no Basket 3, and Miritari!

Koufuku Graffiti (Gourmet Girl Graffiti) 
Koufuku Graffiti, translated as Gourmet Girl Graffiti, is an anime about food that follows Ryō Machiko, a middle school girl who lives by herself after her grandmother past away. Ryō loves to cook, but feels that her cooking does not taste as good as it could, until her she meets her cousin, Kirin Morino, for the first time, and thus begins a pleasant slice-of-life anime with artistic visuals.
From Studio Shaft, the masterminds behind the Monogatari series and Ef: A Tale of Memories, Koufuku Graffiti mixes the moe "cute girls doing cute things" genre with their stunning visual style and kinetic editing, and the results are surprisingly entertaining. Even though a lot of people do not like Shaft's style, I absolutely love it! Therefore, if you already dislike Akiyuki Shinbo and Shaft's style, Koufuku Graffiti might not be for you.
With that out of the way, Koufuku Graffiti is one of the more entertaining anime of the season. The food in the series looks absolutely amazing! It is like fanservice for food, or rather "food-service," and you it makes you want to reach into the screen and eat it! 
The main source of criticism that the series gets is that the way the girls eat the food is overly "suggestive," and while it might go too far on occasion, it is not that nearly as bad as people make it out to be. Sure, it is overly stylized for some, but it is such a fun and relaxing series to watch that also makes you hungry.
As for the characters, Ryō, Kirin, and the other characters are not especially complex. However, they are likable, and the series focuses a lot on how Ryō changes from being a loner thanks to Kirin. Her progression is not the most compelling thing ever, and episode six was basically all filler, but it is hard to dislike Ryō and Kirin. 
Ultimately, Koufuku Graffiti is a standard slice-of-life anime with a ton of style that elevates it above the rest, and if you are interested in Japanese food or Studio Shaft, then this is a must-watch.
Watch if you like: Food, Shaft, Moe, Akiyuki Shinbo,

From the illustrious studio Arms that has brought us such classics as Ikki Tousen, Queen Blade, and Master of Martial Hearts comes Isuca, and if you know anything about the anime I just mentioned, you know that I am being sarcastic, because Studio Arms is known for delivering utter fanservice garbage, with the possible exception of Elfen Lied, and Isuca is no exception or is it?
Isuca is about Shinichirou, a high school guy, and after encountering Sakuya, a girl that hunts supernatural creatures, Shinichirou discovers that can transfer massive amounts of power to whomever he kisses. A cat girl and Sakuya's cousin gets thrown into the mix and you have an utterly terrible anime that is so bad that it is almost good. The first episode is straight up just bad, even for an ecchi. It has every bad ecchi cliché, and it is portrayed is worst way possible. However, the following episodes actually goes so far that it turns from being just bad to so absurdly bad that it is almost good in that weird kind of way. Everything about the series is terribly written, but it is just so poorly written that it is entertaining to just laugh at. Other than, the show is just not good. Studio Arms' animation is a little below average, and nothing to write home about.
Isuca is only good for one thing: laughing at how bad it is, and unless you are dying for something this bad, just do not watch it!
Watch if you like: Ecchi,
Warning: Recommended for 18+ mature audiences.

Kuroko no Basket 3 (Kuroko's Basketball 3)
There is not much to say about Kuroko no Basket 3. It is the third season of Kuroko no Basket, and it picks up directly where the previous seasons left off. As for the previous seasons, Kuroko no Basket is the sports series that got me hooked on sports anime. Each basketball game is absolutely intense! Even though it is a sports series, it is more suspenseful than most action anime, and I dislike basketball as a sport, so the fact that this is one of my favorite anime ever is saying something. The characters are likable, the comedy is great, and the animation is beyond amazing! If you want to get hooked on the sports genre, watch Kuroko no Basket!
Watch if you like: The previous seasons, Sports anime,

Miritari! is a comedy short where Yano Souhei's father is caught up in a conflict between the fictional countries of Krakozhia Dukedom and the Grania Republic, and to protect Souhei, First Lieutenant Ruto and Second Lieutenant Haruka are sent to protect him from enemies like Shachirofu. What ensues is a series of comical explosions and gunfire! 
What makes it a comedy is that the soldiers protecting Souhei are cute moe lollies, and the same goes for the enemies. With only three minutes for each episode, you can quickly watch a comedy skit, often with the lollies fighting each other and destroying Souhei's house. Most of the episodes are very funny, while a few are only mildly funny. The lollies characters are a lot of fun to watch, but, as with most shorts, there is nothing beyond the comedy, so whether or not you will enjoy Miritari! will depend on how funny you find the humor. The jokes are not all that smart, but it is good random fun, and with such low time investment required, I am going to finish the series!
Watch if you like: Comedy, Lollies, Shorts,

More Winter Impressions:
Assassination Classroom: First Impressions
Death Parade Episodes 1-3 Review
Kantai Collection: KanColle: First Impressions
The Rolling Girls: First Impression
Winter Anime Impressions: Part 1
Winter Anime Impressions: Part 2
Winter Anime Impressions: Part 3
Yatterman Night: First Impression

What winter anime are you watching? What do you think of the ones that I reviewed? Please comment below and let me know.

If you want to contact us or have any questions please send an e-mail to

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Top 10 Comedies: Part 1

More so than any other film genre, comedies are incredibly subjective and entirely based on the viewer's taste in humor; a joke that one person finds absolutely hysterical might not even be funny to another person. My personal taste in humor lies in several genres mainly, satire, British wit, and classic slapstick/farce. However, crude comedies are not something that I find all that funny, because it is just not my thing. If you enjoy them, that's fine, but it's not for me. With that out of the way, for the list, I am only including films that are strictly comedies, which means action comedies and films like Back to the Future and The Princess Bride will not be included on the list. Also, even though a movie with a higher rating might rank below one with a lower rating, this list is focusing on the comedic element more so than the overall plot, characterization, ect. Now let’s get this list started!

10: Airplane!
1980s' Airplane! is a classic in the parody genre. While Airplane! is likely the film that spawned many of the unbearable modern parody flicks, it's quotes like "Surely you can't be serious. I am serious. And don't call me Shirley" are unforgettable classics, and the film is partially responsible for launching Leslie Nielsen's film career.
Plot: N/A- Being a straight parody film, Airplane! does not really have much of an actual other the pilots on a plane are sick and someone must bring the plane down safely, although this plot is among the absurdity of continuous parody.
Humor: 9.2/10- With my knowledge of classic films, recognizing most of the films that were being parodied was not all that difficult. However, if you are not familiar with many of the films referenced, you will probably not get many of the jokes. With that said, Airplane! certainly made me laugh a lot throughout the film. 
Overall: 8.0/10- As far as parody films go, Airplane! is the one of the first and still one of the best, and if that sounds interesting to you, give it a watch.
Warning: Recommended for 18+ mature audiences.

9: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is, hands down, the funniest Christmas movie ever, for at least, and my favorite in the National Lampoon's Vacation series. Also, I considered including Elf on this list, but I am not sure if it is enough of a comedy to be included.
Acting: 8.5/10- Chevy Chase as Clark W. "Sparky" Griswold, Jr., arguably his most iconic role, gives his best performance of the franchise with even a scene or two of surprisingly competent drama, but of course his comedy scenes are the highlight. Randy Quaid returns as Cousin Eddie, and if you have seen any of the Vacation films, you know that he is always the best part!
Humor: 9.4/10- Christmas Vacation is full of the jokes and humor that you come to expect from the franchise. Even though humor lies more in the cleanish lowbrow territory, which is not what I usually enjoy, it makes me laugh, and it is the type of film that is enjoyed most while other watching it with others. 
Overall: 8.1/10- National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation is the principle of comical Christmas disasters with plenty of humorous Holiday antics.

8: Clue
Of all the movies on this first part of the list, no others are as witty and well written as Clue. However, being that the film is not strictly a comedy like the others on the list, it is not ranked as high. 
Plot: 8.8/10- Clue's plot is somewhat of a standard whodunit murder mystery, with a few plot twists along the way full of murder and scandal, and it actually rather competent. What sets it apart is the inventive ending, which I will not spoil. 
Humor: 9.3/10- Most of the humor is through the smart and witty dialogue. Some of the humor is black comedy with some very funny moments with the murder victims, although most of the comedy (and even the deaths) are played in a very lighthearted tone. However, unlike a lot of comedies, the humor is not constant with a large part of the movie focusing on the mystery. As with all comedies, humor is subjective to one's taste, but to me, the witty, dry, and occasionally dark humor is positively hilarious.
Overall: 9.0/10- While not groundbreaking by any means, Clue is an all around entertaining, funny, and intriguing whodunit mystery. Not everyone will find Clue nearly as enjoyable, but that is the case with many cult classics.

What are some of your favorite comedies? Do you like any of these films? Please comment below and let me know. Also, please let me know what you think of this new list format.

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