Sunday, May 31, 2015

Attack on Titan Live-Action Movie Trailer

Attack on Titan is an upcoming sci-fi/fantasy dystopian action film coming out later this year. Much like last year's Edge of Tomorrow, Attack on Titan is based on a Japanese comic book, referred to as a manga, and from the looks of the trailer, it is rather impressive.

Considering this is foreign film, the special effects are not bad. They might not be Hollywood level, but it is certain better than most. Thankfully, Madman Entertainment has now uploaded this official English subtitle version of the trailer, so that we know what they are saying. 

A few various things about the trailer bother me, but, for the most part, I hope this turns out well. Also, hopefully, the film will receive a wide North America release, so that I will be able to see it. 

What do you think of the trailer? It will be interesting to know what those not familiar with the source material will think of it, as well as fans.

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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Andy Serkis' Role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens Revealed

In a recent interview, Andy Serkis revealed that he will be playing "Supreme Leader Snoke" in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. A picture from Serkis in his motion capture getup has been released as well (picture below). 

Despite the lack of information, the idea of Serkis essentially assuming the role of the Emperor in this new trilogy is brilliant casting. Of course Serkis is going to be fantastic regardless of his role but the idea of a presumably alien leader of the new Empire is interesting. To a degree, this reminds me of the original Emperor from The Empire Strikes Back (picture below) in that the character is mysterious and alien. I am also curious as to what species of alien he will be, unless they create one for the movie.

What do you think of this news? Please comment below and let me know. 


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Friday, May 29, 2015

Point Break - Official Trailer

Point Break's first official trailer is here. Based on the cult classic 90s action flick starring Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze of the same name, Point Break is yet another Hollywood remake that no one really asked for.

My first impression of the trailer is that it looks like an average action flick with fun stunts, at least until the actors try to act. The performances, just from the trailer, appear weak. Maybe the actors are miscast or the director does not know how to direct his actors, or maybe the trailer just took a bad part of the movie. Having not seen the original, I do not know much about the plot, but the movie looks fun. One interesting fact is that the trailer on YouTube is nearly 50% Dislikes to Likes. It would seem that no one else really wanted this remake, and as a newcomer to the franchise, I don't see a reason for it either.

What do you think? Please comment below and let me know.

P.S. Thanks everyone for the comments on my reviews and other posts lately. I will not be online much today or tomorrow, so sorry for my late replies to comments; however, I will continue to post daily as usual and reply to your comments when I return.

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Movie Music and More #12: "Cinderella" (2015)

Hamlette here again, ready to share another awesome soundtrack with you.  This time, it's my newest acquisition, Patrick Doyle's soaring score for Cinderella (2015).  Doyle is one of my favorite film composers, and he definitely did not disappoint me here.

A movie crammed with lush, vibrant detail like this one demands an equally glorious score, and Doyle delivers exactly that.  He tends to favor richly orchestral music, which fits perfectly with this fairy tale world.  Here is one of my two favorite tracks -- I love how it combines a simple, innocent theme with a bolder, richer one.  A lovely musical picture of humble Cinderella joining her famous prince.  I also love that this track includes a little of the song "Lavender's Blue," because that song is really important to the movie's plot.  I do wish there was a vocal version on the soundtrack, but at least it's here a little, beginning at 2:14.

My other favorite track is "Pumpkin Pursuit."  It has all the excitement you'd expect for a good chase scene, with an eager strings section that carries things merrily along.  At the very beginning, it utilizes this little 4-note theme that sounds like the word "Cinderella," and I absolutely love that theme.

In fact, I really wanted that 4-note "Cinderella" theme to be on the soundtrack more because it's used in a beautiful song for one of the trailers.  Happily, you can buy that song as an mp3 single called "Aeon," which I did.  You can listen to it here, and I definitely recommend it because it's such an emotionally evocative track, at least for me.  

That's all for today, folks!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Top 25 TV Shows of 2015-14: Part 1

The 2014-15 television season has been introduced us to many exciting new shows, like The Flash and Daredevil, returning favorites, like Doctor Who and The Blacklist, and final seasons of beloved series like Parks and Recreation. Now, it is time to rank and review everything that I watched from season, and hopefully, you will find some shows that you might have overlooked.

Before starting the list, let me explain the rules. To qualify for the list, the television series in question must have finished airing in the last six months (the fall and winter TV season). Any ongoing television series or ones that aired during the early part of last year will not be included on the list. Obviously, my choices are limited to the television shows that I have seen. I do not have HBO, Showtime, or the other movie channels, and therefore any series from those channels will not be included on the list. 

Since this list ranks every television series that I have seen this past six months, if one of your favorites is not on the list, it literally means that I have not seen it. In addition to my ranking, I will provide a mini-review along with a rating of each series included on the list so you will know if you might want to watch the series. 

Before the countdown begins, I want to talk about the TV shows that I dropped or have not finished and my opinions on them.

Allegiance followed a FBI analyst, Alex O'Connor, whose parents secretly worked for the Russian KGB in the past. Now the KGB wants to use Alex's position in the FBI to gain Intel, and thus his parents are forced to deceive him, otherwise the KGB will tear-apart their family.

Allegiance, while not groundbreaking, provided a new angle on the spy thriller genre with the addition of family drama. It was one of the better new shows from the season, as it progressed through certain plot points faster than expected, as well as featured an entertaining cast of characters.

Unfortunately, Allegiance was pulled mid-season from NBC's lineup earlier this year. It continued to air on Hulu, but I never got around to finishing it. However, if I did, it would have been one of the more interesting series of the year, although nowhere near the best.

Typically, comic book TV shows are an instant must-watch for me, especially ones about my favorite characters like Batman and Jim Gordon. Unfortunately, Gotham's first six episodes were dreadfully dull, poorly acted, and derivative of every other crime procedural. It combined the repetitive structure of procedurals with the dull and lifeless atmosphere of that DC is infamous for.

After the series sat around on the DVR for months, it eventually was lost due to replacing a malfunctioning DVR, and yet I probably would have never gotten around to watching it again. According the reviews that I have read, it seems that I did not miss much by skipping Gotham. However, if Netflix picks it up, I might give it another shot in preparation of the new season.

CSI: Cyber
Aside from watching a few random episodes over the past decade, I have not seen much of the CSI franchise until I started watching CSI: Cyber. As the name implies, CSI: Cyber focuses on the Cyber division as they solve murders and other crimes related to computers.

Conceptually, Cyber is an interesting way to update an aging franchise with a new angle. Even though the series did not present much new, it was a perfectly decent crime drama. Unlike the other series on this part, CSI: Cyber is still sitting on my DVR, and I will probably watch the rest of it when I am out of other things to watch.

The Musketeers - Season 2
Not much to say about season two of The Musketeers other than it is also sitting on my DVR, and I might decide to finish watching it at a later date. With that said, the series' writing can be incredibly daft and full of illogical plot holes. At times, it can be one of the dumbest shows on television, but at the same time, it can be fun to watch.

NCIS: New Orleans
NCIS: New Orleans is a spinoff of the highly successful NCIS franchise. Even though I have seen a few random episodes of NCIS's early seasons when I was a kid, I did happen to catch a few episodes of NCIS: New Orleans, and while it brought nothing new to the crime procedural genre, it was good for from what I watched.

That concludes the first part of the list. Please let me know what you think of list thus far, check back next week for the continuation of the list, as well as my reviews of Elementary – Season 3, Forever, and more!

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Flash - Season 1 Review

The Flash, one of the best new shows on television.

Plot Summary: After witnessing his mother being murdered by a strange yellow lightning as a child, Barry Allen's father is wrongly imprisoned, and Barry is then taken in by Detective Joe West and his family. Years later, Allen becomes a criminal investigator working with Detective West in the Central City Police Department. When a failed science experiment exposed Central City and its inhabitants to an unknown radiation, Barry is also struck by lightning, which puts him in a coma for months and when he wakes up, he has incredible speed.

Plot: 7.9/10- The Flash's first half follows a relatively episodic "supervillain of the week" structure with the seeds of a larger plot being sewn. Many of the episodes are entertaining to watch, thanks to the superhero action and likable protagonists. The second half narrows the plot's focus as the true villain is revealed, which is where the series shines the brightest with unexpected twists and generally effective drama.

Ironically, The Flash is everything that the DC movies are not: funny, colorful, and full of heart. It never hides from the fact that it is based on a comic book, and actually delves into what makes The Flash different from heroes that walk the along the path of moral ambiguity, like the Arrow.

One of my favorite aspects is how The Flash crosses over to the Arrow TV series and vice-versa. The CW have created a universe within their two series, and it makes the two shows feel like reading a comic book where characters can crossover without it seemingly like a big ground event. At times, the ability to crossover opens some plot conveniences, which are occasionally distracting. However, for the most part, the crossovers are absurdly fun to watch since these are characters that I watched in cartoons as a kid, and now they are teaming up in excellent live-action stories!

One scene towards the end of the series is full of emotion that it hits you like an emotional sucker punch. Never before has a live-action DC property managed to make me feel anything to this caliber; it truly shocked me. 

Much like Arrow, many episodes of The Flash displays moments of poor writing that overlooks obvious logic. The biggest flaw is how absurdly overpowered The Flash's powers are compared to normal humans. Example, he can move faster than any normal human's reflexes, and therefore he can dodge bullets and remove weapons before the criminal in question can realize what is happening. This is a problem when fighting enemies like Captain Cold or Heat Wave since he can easily remove their weapons in the blink-of-an-eye, and yet he never does so. Thankfully, these lapses in writing do not tarnish one of the most enjoyable experiences on television.

Characterization: 9.2/10- The Flash's characters is what you keep coming back for, especially Barry Allen, aka The Flash. Barry is, unquestionably, the most well realized DC character in live-action.

From his tragic backstory to his unrequited love of Iris, everything about Barry's characters makes you just want to like the guy, and yet he never falls into the typical brooding hero. One key aspect of Barry's character is his relationship to his family, both biological and adopted. It humanizes the character and makes him more relatable.

The Flash's supporting cast is full of likable characters, particularly Joe West, Barry’s adopted father, who provides a unique parental view that few other TV shows in general feature. Dr. Harrison Wells, Cisco Ramon, and Dr. Caitlin Snow provide Barry a support team, as well as characters to play off of as the plot unfolds.

Unfortunately, aside the main antagonist, the villains range from somewhat forgettable to corny. Captain Cold and Heat Wave are the worst offenders as their dialogue almost delves into the corniness of the 60s' Batman TV show during one episode. Thankfully, however, the series' comic book tone makes most of the villains work.

Acting: 8.2/10- Grant Gustin's performance as Barry Allen (The Flash) is, in large part, one of the reasons the character is likable with his relatable personality. Of all the actors cast to play a DC hero, Gustin is, undoubtedly, my favorite. Aside from some corny performances by the villains, the rest of the cast do a fine job in their roles. 

Special effects: 8.9/10- How do they do it?! The Flash is on CW! It is barely a network TV channel and yet the special effects are better than anything on network TV or even cable in many instances. Of course, they are not movie caliber, but it looks fantastic for television.

Humor: 8.3/10- As expected with a series about The Flash, there is some great moments of humor throughout, especially how Barry uses his powers for everyday tasks.

Entertainment Value: 9.7/10- The Flash is absurd amounts of fun to watch! Every week, The Flash delivered fun superhero entertainment, and the second half set in motion a plot with surprisingly complexity and twists; what more could you ask for?

Overall: 9.0/10- The Flash captures the essence of a superhero comic book, and while the writing might be a little spotty at times, the comic book action and lovable characters make The Flash one of the best shows on television and an obvious Must-Watch recommendation.

Closing Comments: In this Renaissance of comic book television, Daredevil (review here) and The Flash stand tall as the best of superhero on TV. Could there be a better time to be a superhero fan!?

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Monday, May 25, 2015

What Are Your Favorite TV Shows?

What are your favorite TV Shows of the past season? Essentially, today's post is about me wanting to know what are your favorite recently ended or currently airing TV shows. In the coming weeks, I plan to review many of the series that I have recently watched, including, The Flash, Forever, Agents of SHIELD, and several more. 

I want to know what your favorites are both as recommendations for myself and to know what TV shows are popular and which ones I should write about. So, please, if you would, let me know in the comments what are some of your favorite TV shows from the recent season. Thanks everyone for participating, and check back tomorrow for my review of The Flash - Season 1 and Wednesday for the first part of my Top 25 TV Shows of 2015-14.

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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Pixels - Official Trailer #2

Pixels’ second trailer is looking even better than the first trailer. For one, the use of "We Will Rock You" by Queen is excellent, and I am glad to see more of the great Peter Dinklage. The idea of getting together all of the best people for each game should be fun. With movies about misfits being so popular right now, Pixels might actually work, and I certainly hope it does. Also like Guardians of the Galaxy, Pixels is about 80s culture, thus attracting adult audiences from that generation, who will take their kids to see it.

However, I did notice that Adam Sandler and Kevin James are not featured heavily in the trailer, which makes me a little worried the funny parts that we are shown are their only funny parts. Otherwise, I think this will be a relatively fun family-comedy about video games! On a side note, the trailer does interest the causal audience, aka my mother, because she wants to see it (she loves Pac-Man).

What do you think? Please comment below and let me know!

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Saturday, May 23, 2015

New Joker Suicide Squad Photos

Set photos from Suicide Squad confirm that Jared Leto's Joker is the same one from the promotional photo. After the initial negative reaction the official picture of The Joker, everyone was saying the insane tattoos were just apart of the anniversary of the Joker, and obviously, that is not the case. However, these set photos do give me a better impression in some respects and worse one in others.  

For one, what exactly is director David Ayer and Leto trying to go for with this Joker? Based on the photos released, he does not look enough like the Joker for a casual moviegoer to recognize the character. Sure, Ledger's Joker was different than what had come before, but he still retained certain key aspects of the character that made him instantly recognizable. On the other hand, Leto's version barely retains any key features aside from the green hair, although I like the green hair. 

Despite my issues with it, I am trying to stay optimistic that his costume will look better on screen, or that this is from a one-off costume for the character. Hopefully, Leto's performance will propel to at least the quality of Nicholson's Joker (in terms of quality, not similar in any way).

I am starting to like this new look for Harley to a degree. I don't love it, but I like it.

What do you think? Please comment below and let me know!

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Captain America: Civil Wars Set Photos

While filming on location, photos from Captain America: Civil War have been released, and they give us our first look at the new (or not so new) costumes for Cap and Falcon, as well as the our first look at Crossbones.
From first appearances, Cap's costumes is essentially the same one from Age of Ultron. Considering that it looked great in the movie, I do not mind that they are keeping it. However, my theory is that this is only for the opening scenes of the film before something happens, thus setting off the Civil War.

Falcon's costume appears to be the same one that was briefly revealed at the *Spoilers* end of Age of Ultron, so again, nothing new. *End Spoiler*

Crossbones actually looks really cool in this costume. For those that no do want to know the identity of Crossbones spoiled, do not continue reading and move to the comments, although I am sure it will not be important. Frank Grillo returns to play Brock Rumlow, aka Crossbones. After being burnt at the end of The Winter Soldier, Brock returns in his new costume. There is also video of the action sequence between Crossbones and Captain America.

What do you think? Please comment below and let me know. Also, I am sorry for the delay in comment replying. I am working on some posts, so hopefully I can get some quality content out next week.


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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Movie Music and More #11: "Hercules" (2014)

As stated in my review of Hercules yesterday (review here), Hamlette will be highlighting some of the best parts of the Hercules soundtrack.

Hamlette here again, to discuss another enjoyable soundtrack.
I almost didn't go see Hercules (2014) in the theater last summer.  I do enjoy Dwayne Johnson's movies, but I don't know a lot about the Greek gods and goddesses, and the trailers for this didn't really grab me.  But I'm glad I did, because it turned out to be a truly fun movie, not serious, but not too cheesy either.  In fact, I went to see it twice, and ended up buying the DVD too!

The music fits it incredibly well, with lots of gutsy action stuff, bold and epic.  Hands-down, my favorite track is "Arrival at Lord Cotys' City."  It's full of swagger and bravado, and makes me want to hop in a chariot and do a victory lap around the city.

But I also really like "The Lion's Tooth" because it's a complete change of pace from most of the other tracks.  It's soft and tender, a quiet moment in the middle of all the mayhem.  I like soundtracks that don't sound all the same all the time -- variety is important!  Even a big, brawny action movie needs some quiet time, and I like the soundtrack to reflect that too.

That's all for today, friends!  I hope you're enjoying this series of guest posts as much as I am.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Hercules (2014) Review

Hercules, a fun twist on a classic tale.

Plot Summary: Hercules starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is a realistic take on the lore surrounding the legendary Hercules. Hercules and his band of mercenaries are hired by the Thracians to fight a war against the warlord Rhesus but things are not as they seem.
Directed by: Brett Ratner
Genre: Action, Adventure,
Release Date: July 25, 2014
Running Time: 98 minutes
MMPA rating: PG-13

The Good: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is innately likable, Fun and entertaining action, Fascinating twist on a classic story, Throwback to classic adventures flicks, Great use of humor,

The Bad: Predictable, Clichés (especially towards the end), Clichéd villain,

Plot: 6.1/10- Hercules' plot is a simple adventure story of fighting the bad guys. However, its simplicity is its charm. It is like a throwback to the adventure flicks of old like the Adventures of Robin Hood. The final Act is terribly clichéd, and it is predictable, but that does not prevent the film from being fun, which is what matters most with a movie like this.

My favorite aspect of the film is the twist on the classic Hercules story. *First 5 minutes spoiler* After a sequence recounting the Twelve Labors of Hercules, the film reveals that Hercules is no demi-god, but rather just a man with a legend. He uses this legend of being the son of Zeus to strike fear in the hearts of his enemies, and the use of psychological warfare early in the film is a very intriguing idea. *End Spoiler* Unfortunately, the final Act falls into the typical clichés, but the early part of the film is inventive.
Characterization: 6.0/10- Hercules and his band of mercenaries are a likable group of misfits. They are barely developed as characters, but they work within the old school story. However, Hercules does have some depth to his character. The villain, on the other hand, is about as clichéd as they come.

Action/Direction: 6.5/10- Hercules' battle sequences are entertaining to watch. There is nothing inventive about the action, but it does not rely on CGI. Brett Ratner's direction, unfortunately, holds the film back from being something more. Visually, it has a typical Hollywood shine, which is not bad, but the film fails to make the setting believable as it could be.

Acting: 6.0/10- Dwayne Johnson is undeniably likable in the role of Hercules. He plays up the comedic side well, and his innate charm makes him perfect for the A-typical heroic type. The rest of the cast are all okay, but not memorable. 

Special effects: 5.9/10- The CGI was a little lacking in the beginning. However, the majority of the effects are practical, which is always a plus.

Soundtrack: 7.2/10- Fernando Velázquez's score compliments the film well, and you can learn more about the score in tomorrow's Movie Music and More by Hamlette.

Humor: 7.9/10- Thankfully, Hercules does not take itself too seriously, and the humor reflects its sentiment.
There are plenty of corny one-liners and genuinely good comedy throughout. However, the obligatory f-word is comically out-of-place and unnecessary. It almost felt like the movie said, "Okay, stop everything, time to drop the f-word." It was completely out of place in the period setting.

Entertainment Value: 7.4/10- Hercules is a fun movie; no question. It is a true popcorn flick that you can just sit back and enjoy without much effort, and sometimes, you need that kind of old school entertainment.

Overall: 6.3/10- A fun throwback to the adventures flicks of old, Hercules is a lighthearted new take on a classic legend. It might not be groundbreaking, but it is certainly an entertaining one-time watch.

Closing comments: Dwayne Johnson should make more of these old school action flicks. He has the perfect heroic personality for them.

Recommended for: Adventure fans, Greek myth fans, Action fans,

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Steve Jobs Trailer with Michael Fassbender

As shown by this trailer, Michael Fassbender will star in Steve Jobs as the legendary Apple innovator. Originally, Leonardo DiCaprio and Christian Bale were rumored to play Jobs, but, as you can see, Fassbender will star in the role. 

Well, this is an interesting choice. His voice is significantly different than his usual accent to the point where I did not even recognize it at first. However, Fassbender does not look like Jobs all that much, but maybe he will look better in full film, although that is a big problem. Seth Rogen as Steve Wozniak is another unique choice. He is a funny actor, so I am not sure how we will play the awkward Wozniak. The rest of the cast is excellent, so this Steve Jobs film could be something special. 

Even though I have never owned an Apple product (they are ridiculously expensive), I am studying in computers and History of Computers was a course I took, where I learned about the real history, so I am interested in that respect as well. So, what do you think of Fassbender as Jobs and the movie itself? Please comment below and let me know, and check back tomorrow for my review of Hercules.

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Avengers: Age of Ultron - Podcast Part 2

Our second part of the Avengers: Age of Ultron Spoiler podcast where we talk about more characters like Hawkeye, Nick Fury, and our thoughts on Captain America: Civil War. As before, you can listen to the podcast below or download it for mobile devices. Please let us know what you thought of the podcast in the comments, and if you missed the first part, you can click here to listen to it.

Host: James the Reviewer from J and J Productions 1809
Co-Host: Jamie from Through Two Blue Eyes

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Supergirl Trailer

Supergirl, the romantic comedy of superheroes? Supergirl is the latest TV adaptation of a DC posterity, and as the trailer explains, Supergirl is the cousin of Superman. Well, this trailer is certainly divisive. Some people absolutely hate it, while others actually kind of like it. My first thought is that it could be a fun, albeit goofy, superhero romcom, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Unfortunately, Supergirl is airing on CBS, and therefore is not connected to the spectacular CW-verse with Arrow and The Flash. If it was connected, I would be 100% onboard with this series. Despite dropping Gotham due to it being painfully mediocre (and from the reviews, I did not miss anything), I am skeptically optimistic about Supergirl because it looks like it trying to be a classic superhero story with a romcom on the side. The superhero parts look fun, but the other parts look generic. There is potential for an epic fail here, so I am curious if the creators can make it work.

Since DC is apparently incapable of getting their stuff together, Supergirl is not likely to be connected with any other DC series or movie. It uses a lot of Superman references, so I wonder if Superman can ever become a part of the series, but that is also unlikely. Even if he does, it will be an entirely different Superman than the movie version.

What do you think? Please comment below and let me know.

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