Monday, February 29, 2016

Top 10 Academy Award Best Picture Winning Films: Part 2

Leonardo DiCaprio finally wins an Oscar and Spotlight wins Best Picture at the 88th Academy Awards. With yet another Academy Awards coming to a close, let's take a look back at the best of the Best Picture winning films, and if you missed it, click here for Part 1.

5: Ben-Hur
Clocking in at around three and a half hours, Ben-Hur is historical epic that follows the fictional character Ben-Hur on his journey that takes him through various historical events. From the incredible chariot race to seamlessly tying in Christ's resurrection into the film's plot, Ben-Hur truly is an epic in every sense of the word. Ben-Hur even won eleven Academy Awards, which is tied with Return of the King for the most all-time, so there is little doubt that Ben-Hur is one of the best?

4: Casablanca
My first exposure to Humphrey Bogart films, Casablanca is an undeniable classic of the romance genre. While it might not be Bogart's finest film, it is easily one of his many best. If you consider yourself a film fan and have not seen this classic, you are doing yourself a disservice. "Here's looking at you, kid."

3: The Bridge on the River Kwai
Based on the novel of similar name, The Bridge on the River Kwai deals with the psychological, opposed to physical, damage caused by the horrible tragedies that the Japanese put the Ally POWs through in World War II. Despite the heavy subject matter, the film is still very entertaining, largely thanks to Alec Guinness’ brilliant Oscar winning performance.

2: The Silence of the Lambs
As thrilling and it is disturbing, Silence of the Lambs blends a riveting mystery thriller with elements of horror. While the film is certainly not for the squeamish or faint of heart, the plot is brilliantly crafted from beginning to end. Thanks to exceptional performances from Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster, the film's plot was elevated even further, with the Academy even rewarding it the much deserved Best Picture. However, despite my praise, The Silence of the Lambs is not exactly a film I want to watch again anytime soon, if ever, but it is an unforgettable watch for sure.

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 remains, unfortunately, closed in the minds of the Academy. Even though all of the 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. 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.

Honorable Mentions: Dances with Wolves, The French Connection, The Godfather Part II, Patton, The Sting, Rocky, Unforgiven,

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

Sunday, February 28, 2016

88th Academy Awards

88th Academy Awards are tonight on ABC! Well, this year's Oscars are not without its fair share of controversy. #OscarsSoWhite is a big deal this year, and others have written much better informed articles about the topic, so I'll just leave it at that. 

Personally, I have given up on the Oscars for quite a while now. However, this year did have two interesting films nominated for Best Picture, Mad Max: Fury Road and The Martian. Honestly, I'm still baffled by Mad Max's nomination. Sure, there is a lot of critical praise, but at the end of the day, it's purely an action flick, albeit an awesome one at that. I'm not saying it doesn't deserve a nomination, because it does. I'm saying that it's rather shocking that after so long, the Academy nominates a cool action flick. Who knows what that could mean for the future. Granted, Return of the King won Best Picture a decade ago and no other sci-fi or fantasy flick has come remotely close to matching that. And, of course, The Martian is easily my pick of the nominated films because it's just that good. 

The other category that interests me is Best Animated Feature Film. Inside Out will be the obvious winner since Pixar almost always wins, even when it does not deserve it. Sure, Inside Out is a great movie, one of Pixar's best, but it does not stand up to Studio Ghibli's latest, and possibly final film, When Marnie Was There. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it; it is one of the year’s best dramas. So, are you interested in the Oscars? Do you have thoughts? Please comment below and check back soon!

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

Friday, February 26, 2016

Top 10 Academy Award Best Picture Winning Films: Part 1

With the Oscars on Sunday, there is no better time than the present to rank the Top 10 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 the past, and this list will rank my ten 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.

10: 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. Mel Gibson both stars in and directs the film, and his performance as William Wallace is top notch. 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! Braveheart might not be for everyone. However, Mel Gibson's historical (or rather fictional) epic is an inspiring tale of standing up against tyranny.

9: The Departed
Martin Scorsese's crime drama about undercover cops and corruption in Boston is a riveting tale. Despite the two and a half hour long run time, Scorsese's direction is crisp, briskly edited, and well paced with enough twists and turns to keep the audience engaged from beginning to end. Thanks to the exceptional performances by the insane all-star cast of Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, and Martin Sheen, just to name a few, The Departed is a perfect example of excellent talent both in front and behind the camera.

8: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Jack Nicholson's character, "Mac" McMurphy, enters a mental institution for evaluation. In the institution, the free-spirited Mac teaches the others in the institution to live a little and fight back against the institution's oppressive rules. However, the crux of the story are the relationships Mac builds with his fellow patients. There is humor, tragedy, and cheer worthy moments through the film, and Nicholson's performance pulls everything great about the movie together in brilliant fashion.

Over three hours in length and featuring some of, if not, the best cinematography of the era, Lawrence of Arabia is the definition of a film epic. As the name implies, the film follows T. E. Lawrence, played brilliantly by Peter O'Toole, during World War I. The film captures the personal struggles of Lawrence and his fall into madness. 

6: The Godfather
Despite my expectations that The Godfather would be an overly hyped mess, it actually turned out to be one of the best crime films of all-time. While the film is not flawless, Marlon Brando's iconic performance and Francis Ford Coppola's direction more than makes The Godfather a classic of the medium. Considering that The Godfather is so highly regarded by critics, I recommend the movie to anyone old enough that considers themselves a film enthusiast.

What are some of your favorites? 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 24, 2016

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Spoiler Discussion - Part 2

It's time for Part 2 of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Spoiler Discussion! And as the title suggests, massive spoilers are ahead, so if you haven't seen the movie, what the heck have you been doing with your life!? Go watch it now! Now, let's talk some spoilers!

Starkiller Base
It's the Death Star, again, but bigger. As far as criticisms go, Starkiller base essentially being a bigger Death Star is the most valid, and honestly the only one with much weight behind the argument. Should the central McGuffin been something other than a giant weapon that destroys starsystems? Yeah, probably. Is it as big a deal as some are making it out to be? Nope, it's still different enough, and can you honestly think of something better?

With that said, using Starkiller Base to destroy basically all the politics in the Star Wars galaxy is rather brilliant. Now one of the worst parts of the Prequel Trilogy is completely out of the picture! As it turns out, there were some deleted scenes that take place about the Senate on the planets that were destroyed, which might have added some weight to the moment where they are destroyed, albeit at the cost of pacing. However, we will have to wait until the Blu-Ray to see if the scene would have been worth keeping in the film. But as a whole, Starkiller Base is the one plot point that is a bit too similar to the previous films. 

Poe Dameron Sidelined and Originally Died?
Poe Dameron is hailed as one of the many highlights of The Force Awakens and for good reason. Oscar Isaac made the character instantly likable, and his chemistry with Finn made for an awesome Bromance in 5 minutes! However, according to sources, Poe was said to have died in the Tie-Fighter crash in the original script. Probably after seeing how great of a character the writers had, the script was changed and Poe merely went missing in the crash. Many reviews complained that Poe did not receive enough screen. While I agree to a point, his exclusion is one of the many brilliant decisions that the writers made to prevent the film from being cluttered and overstuffed, like many films are today. Of course, Poe should definitely play a major role in Episode VIII now that Han Solo has died. 

Luke Skywalker
Thanks to the brilliant marketing, no knew that Luke Skywalker would have almost no screen time and zero lines of dialogue! And while some may be disappointed by his lack of screen time, nothing about the marketing alluded that Luke would have much of a role in the film. In fact, not including Luke is a brilliant decision by the creators. The Force Awakens benefits for the limited number of central characters and saving Luke for the next film should prove to be a great asset to the film. While not many people seem to disagree, Luke exclusion from the film was excellently executed.

Millennium Falcon: "The garbage will do"
Easily one of, if not, the best scene in the film is when Rey and Finn are running from the First Order to find a ship, Finn says, "What about that ship?" and Rey shouts, "That one's garbage." The quad-jumper ship that they are running towards explodes, and Rey shouts again, "The garbage will do," as the camera pans towards the Millennium Falcon! First time watching the movie, I literally gasped loud enough for my brother to hear two seats away. Just wow! That is how you introduce the Millennium Falcon! The scene makes the Millennium Falcon an integral part of the story and doesn't just stop everything to have a moment. The Millennium Falcon is shown, only the audience thinks of it as anything special, and the plot continues in possibly the best starfighter chase of the franchise, or at least since Return of the Jedi. Everything about the scene is perfectly executed. It highlights one of the many strengths of the film in that it doesn't dwell on the past to get the audience nostalgic. All of the aspects from the Original Trilogy are incorporated into the story organically.  

Do you have any thoughts on these topics about Star Wars: The Force Awakens? Please comment below and check back soon for more spoiler discussions!

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

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Movie Music and More #45: "Wolf Children"

Hello, all! It's me Jamie again! Today I have two musical tracks for you all today from the stunning film, Wolf Children. Wolf Children is a gorgeous story of motherhood, told through fantasy and realism: a must-watch film to be sure! From it's OST for you today, I'm sharing two of my favorite tracks!
Ki Toki To – Yonhon Ashi no Odori. There is no other word to describe this piece but pure joy. The strings fly and the piano triumphantly plays waterfalls up and down the scale. The flutes and harp literally create the sound of the wind in your ears. And the symbols give the magic an extra oomph! I can almost see the wolf children and their mother joyously fly down the side of the snowy mountains, eating up the ground in the happiness of fresh snow. This is the sound of sentiment and adrenaline: but most of all, it's the sound of joy.
Oyosute Aina. This second piece isn't as spirited and galloping as the last. Yet it certainly doesn't lack emotion in the least bit. A steady ticking like a clock keeps tempo as the piano enthusiastically, yet gently, trickles up and down the scale. A soft guitar and intriguing vocals join in, creating a warm, gentle ambiance. It nearly conjures the images of summer and wafting curtains in the kitchen. At moments the song is almost loud with excitement before mellowing out again. To me, this track's emotion, or sound, is hope. The tension of hope, the joy of hope, the peace in hope. and the expectation of hope. All in all, it's a truly peaceful track.
Hope you enjoyed those! If you enjoy soundtracks, you can find plenty of suggestions for others on my blog Jamie Talks Anime; I post a weekly series of music there! I also blog about my life in general at Through Two Blue Eyes and music pops up there quite often as well. Thank you for reading!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Top 10 Most Anticipated Movies of 2016

My countdown of the Top 10 Most Anticipated Movies of 2016 continues with my Top 5 most anticipated movies of the year!

5: Suicide Squad
DC's Suicide Squad had me swaying back and forth on whether I should be excited or dreading it, and as apparent by the placing on this list, my expectations for Suicide Squad are fairly high! The recent trailer has me majorly hyped for DC's movie about the villains! Seriously, that is one of my favorite trailers in a while, and one that makes me want to watch the trailer multiple times. Of course, knowing DC, the movie could be utter garbage, or it could be DC's best since The Dark Knight. Either way, I know where I am going to be on the week of August 5th....

4: Doctor Strange
Assuming Disney and Marvel can continue to produce exceptional standalone films like Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man, then Doctor Strange should be one of the best of the year! Horror director, Scott Derrickson, should bring a creepy vibe to the Doctor Strange film. With fan favorite, Benedict Cumberbatch, playing the titular character, my hopes for Doctor Strange are high! However, some of the casting choices are a bit on the odd side and some of the source material are questionable as well. With that said, when Marvel's biggest disappointment in nearly three years is the incredibly entertaining, albeit somewhat flawed, Age of Ultron, you know that your standards are high, so Doctor Strange is almost certain to deliver! And also don't worry about the director's lackluster track record; James Gunn did not make any good movies before Guardians of the Galaxy either and we all know how awesome that turned out!

3: X-Men: Apocalypse
Bryan Singer brought back the X-Men franchise to new heights with Days of Future Past! And X-Men: Apocalypse will introduce one of the most iconic villains in the X-Men universe! Sure, some might be wary because of how weird Apocalypse looks, but with Singer directing and the brilliant casting of Oscar Isaac, it should be great. Yes, the likable Poe Dameron is going to play one of Marvel's most evil villains! The recasting of the younger X-Men characters also gets me excited to see what the film has in store. Hopefully, the Biblical references are minor and won't tick some people off.

2: Captain America: Civil War
Heck yeah! Even when everyone was hyping up Age of Ultron last year, we all knew that Captain America: Civil War was the Marvel movie that we were most excited for! And from the trailers, the Russo Brothers are not going to disappoint! Civil War might be departing from the source material more than expected, yet I'm not too worried. As long as the film is not dragged down by unnecessary side villains, Civil War will should be an emotionally riveting battle between comrades!

1: Star Wars: Rogue One
Duh, how could Rogue One not be number one? Star Wars: Rogue One, or as it is officially titled, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, will follow the group of Rebels that stole the Death Star. It is said to be a Star Wars war film, and with its diverse and fascinating cast, Rogue One will kick off the beginning of Star Wars' standalone films. Whether or not Rogue One is a critical financial success will determine how everyone will view these standalone films. On one hand, Rogue One could end up being a very fun and entertaining film, like say, Ant-Man for example. Or it could turn out to be another modern classic like The Force Awakens. Only time will tell. Either way, there is absolutely no film that I am more excited for than Rogue One! It even features several of my favorite obscure actors, like Donnie Yen, Alan Tudyk, and Mads Mikkelsen, so that makes even more hyped!

What films are you looking forward to the most? 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 17, 2016

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Spoiler Discussion - Part 1

Welcome to part one of my multi-part spoiler discussion of Star Wars: The Force Awakens! If you have not seen The Force Awakens, go watch it now and then come back because major spoilers are ahead. For everyone else, this post is intended to discuss spoilers, so go crazy with spoilers and thoughts in the comments. This discussion series will focus on specific characters, moments, and points of discussion.

Supreme Leader Snoke and Crazy Theories
If one character could be changed, it would be Supreme Leader Snoke. Based on what we see in this film, having the brilliant Andy Serkis play a motion-capture character seemed unnecessary. Making him a CGI character might pay off in the sequels. However, the CGI quality was somewhat lacking in The Force Awakens. Then there is that moment when everyone wonders: "IS HE IS A FREAKING GIANT!? PLEASE NO!" Thankfully, it was a hologram, so he was probably just compensating for something.... But yeah, even if the creators were planning on making him a giant, hopefully they are listening to the backlash against the idea, and Snoke will either be small in stature or relatively normal.

Other than whether or not Snoke is a giant, the biggest thing about the character is the question of who the heck is he!? Is he Darth Plagueis? Or Palpatine? Heck, why not Jar Jar Binks? I'm sorry, but all these fan "theories" are getting a little out of hand! Some have even said Darth Vader or Mace Windu, which is absurd! And don't get me started on how dumb the time-traveling Kylo Ren "theory" is! My guess is the logical one: Snoke is a new character! At this point, people might end up disappointed if Snoke is not related to a preexisting character, but as long as Snoke is an interesting antagonist, I'll be satisfied. And Disney, please make the CGI look better in the next film!

Han Solo Dies
"NOOOOOOOOOOOO" HAN SOLO DIED!!!!!!! My favorite character in the history of fiction is dead! His death has even gotten me to change my profile picture back to a new picture of Han! But wow, watching my favorite character die was an experience! Thankfully, I did not hear any spoilers before seeing the film. However, believe it or not, I called his death as soon as a new Star Wars movie was announced. Sure, you might not believe me, and as crazy as it sounds, I never wanted to write about it because if I was correct, I might spoil the film for someone other than my brother. Heck, I never even told my friends, only my brother, Jacob.

With that aside, Han Solo's death was apparent to me as soon as he walked toward Kylo Ren on the walkway. However, giving almost a warning to audience was intended and created incredible amounts of tension as Kylo handed Han the Lightsaber. What made it all the more powerful is Ford's surprised, yet not sad, expression, as he helped his son in some way. It was painful to watch in the best way possible. Chewbacca's wail of anger and despair as he shot Kylo and mowed down some Stormtroopers was the perfect way to bring the audience back from the shock of Han's death. All around, a superbly executed scene with so much emotion! And Harrison Ford finally got to kill off his character like he and the writers wanted to in Return of the Jedi.

Leia and Chewie not Mourning
Han's death did lack in one area.... After Chewie, Rey, and Finn returned from the battle, Chew walks right past Leia! He just walks right on past as Rey hugs Leia. This is such a missed opportunity! Leia and Chewie knew Han better than anyone. As Chewie walks off the ship, Leia and Chewie should have embraced and mourned briefly, or something like that. Honestly, if there was one thing that I could change about The Force Awakens, this is it!

Do you have any thoughts on these topics about The Force Awakens? Please comment below and check back soon for more spoiler discussions!

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

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Star Wars: Episode VIII Production Teaser

Star Wars: Episode VIII Production Teaser dropped with a brief clip from the new film! Obviously, if you have not seen The Force Awakens, spoilers are ahead. Now this production announcement is an interesting idea. How often does a film announce that filming has started? But this is Star Wars, so it makes sense. As expected, the clip is not anything new or particularly exciting, but it is an interesting piece marketing. Do you have any thoughts? Please comment below and check back tomorrow for the first part of my spoiler discussion of The Force Awakens!

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

Monday, February 15, 2016

Movie Music and More #44 : "The Adventures of Robin Hood" (1938)

I (Hamlette) am here today to discuss a film score that is a classic in every possible way a soundtrack could be.  From long ago, still enjoyable today, and something others might try to imitate but can never duplicate.  And it even comes with an adventure story of its own, separate from the one in the movie it accompanies!

Composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold and his family escaped Vienna just before the Nazis invaded in 1938 thanks to this film score.  According to the liner notes of my copy, Korngold was offered the job of composing the score for The Adventures of Robin Hood in Hollywood, and he took his wife and younger son along, leaving his older son with family in Austria.  They arrived safely in California, where Korngold promptly turned down the job because there was too much action in the film!  He wrote operas and scored romantic movies, not action films, and he didn't think he could match the studio's needs and expectations.  But they prevailed on him to try, so he stayed, and wrote the entire score in six weeks.  During that time, Hitler invaded Austria, and they learned that their other son had escaped with his grandparents to Switzerland just in time.

This score went on to with Korngold his second Oscar, which is amazing when you think that he wrote it in a relatively short time-period and didn't want to write it at all at first.  It's a very sweeping, lyrical score, one I enjoy listening to on a glum morning to help boost the mood for me and my kids.  They're actually the reason I bought this album in the first place -- they love the movie and kept asking why I didn't have the soundtrack.  Well, I didn't have it because the original recording isn't available -- all you can get are re-recordings.  I did some research and consulted with a knowledgeable friend, and learned that the 1988 recording available from the Varese-Sarabande label is the best available, so that's the one I got.  It was produced by George Korngold, the composer's young son who accompanied him to Hollywood on the trip to compose the score.

When we listen to this, my kids will tell me exactly what's happening in the movie during different parts of the music, and sometimes act it out :-)  Very fun, though sometimes a bit disruptive of breakfast.

The first cue, "Prologue (Main Title)," begins with a lot of rollicky, boisterous prancing that lets you know this is the sort of movie that will make you bounce up and down in your seat and cheer.  Then the mood shifts and a softer theme weaves its way in, alerting the audience to the fact that yes, there will be a love story here too.  But that doesn't last long -- the piece ends with a some bold and vaguely regal flourishes.

This score has some of the most cheerful action music you'll ever hear.  "Escape from the Castle" is a joyous romp from start to finish, lots of flourishes and musical galloping.  

My favorite track is "The Archery Tournament."  It's brash and playful and ready to have a good time.  Rather like Robin Hood (Errol Flynn) in this version, come to think of it.

This is a really fun movie.  If you haven't seen it, I strongly encourage you to!  You can read James' review of it here (on this blog), and my own thoughts here (on my own blog) if you want to know more about it.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Top 10 Most Anticipated Movies of 2016

2015 was an awesome year to be a geek with the return of Star Wars and 2016 is shaping up to be another year full of strong movies! And even though the year is already underway, most of the movies that I'm excited for aren't coming out for a few months, so this let's get this list started!

10: Assassin's Creed
Video game movies have basically all sucked up until now. Sure, a few good movies featured video game characters, like Wreck-It Ralph, but no film has been specifically based on a video game and not sucked. Will Assassin's Creed break the trend of terrible video game adaptations? Well, I'm honestly not sure. On one hand, video games movie have never worked. But on the other, Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, and Jeremy Irons are all top notch actors, so if video game movies are going to make a comeback, it is going to be Assassin's Creed! Or maybe Warcraft will do it. We will have to wait and see!

9: Passengers
Currently, we know almost nothing about Passengers. However, there are two reasons why I am excited for the new movie: Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. While I am not the biggest J-Law fan, she is unquestionably one of the biggest stars in Hollywood right now and a very capable performer. And when you combine the biggest actress in Hollywood with rising star, Chris Pratt, good things are bound to happen, right? Pratt is one of my favorite actors right now, and he is a brilliant comedian, so a sci-fi romcom set in space should be incredibly entertaining!

8: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice... *sigh* Well, here it is, DC's big movie that will essentially set the DC movie universe in motion. Here's the thing. So many people are excited to see Batman face off against Superman, and while the novelty of it is appealing, my hopes for the movie itself are incredibly low. It's hard not to be negative. But hey, going in with low expectations means that anything good will be even better. Ben Affleck is sure to deliver as Batman and Snyder's action will be blast to watch. Otherwise, my mentality is to not expect much and wait to see how the movie turns out.

7: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
A Harry Potter spinoff by J. K. Rowling herself? Heck yeah I'm excited! While Harry Potter might not be my favorite franchise ever, it's still Harry Potter! And a period New York setting is a perfect way to breathe new life to the franchise without feeling like a retread or too attached to the previous films. David Yates returns to direct the film, so we know it will look like Harry Potter and older characters and darker tone should deliver a very fun film!

6: Jason Bourne
After The Bourne Legacy failed to capture the same level of quality without Matt Damon and director, Paul Greengrass, both Damon and Greengrass return to revive the popular spy thriller franchise. Personally, the original Bourne trilogy one of the best action franchises of the previous decade, so yeah, I'm excited for this! Considering that other action franchises like Mad Max and Mission: Impossible have made a triumphant return over the past few years, my hopes for Bourne are very high! Hopefully, it will combine the visceral action of the previous films with the new rend of death-defying action stunts.

What are your most anticipated movies? Are you excited by any of these? Please comment below and let me know!

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

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Second Thoughts

Well, I have seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens again! After the local theater waited the mandatory four weeks (read here for details), The Force Awakens came to town and I went to see it again with my brother, along with our friend, who has yet to see it. And this second viewing, after watching countless in-depth reviews and analysis videos, has given me even more to say about the film. But today's post is a non-spoiler discussion of my thoughts on a second viewing.

Overall, my opinion expressed in my initial review is still very much my opinion. Is The Force Awakens flawed in a few very minor ways? Yes. Do the minor issues take away from a mostly brilliant film? Heck no! Every film is flawed in some way, even the best. But that's a discussion for another time. 

As for my second thoughts, basically, the second viewing reaffirmed that The Force Awakens is, by far, the best movie of 2015, and one of the best movies in years. The filmmaking is absolutely breathtaking. So much of what's on screen are real, tangible, props. Not since the 80s has a FX heavy sci-fi movie used so much practical effects on this scale. It's mind blowing! And my qualms with the CGI characters are for the spoiler discussions. Basically, The Force Awakens is even better on a rewatch. The second viewing did give me the opportunity to look at what was going on in the background and admire the incredible craftsmanship, and pay attention to the performances throughout the film. Initially, John Boyega as Finn was my favorite new character from the film. However, after paying close attention to Daisy Ridley as Rey, her performance blew me away. While there will be more detail in the spoiler review, her acting through expressions is rather amazing. So much is expressed without words. It has been a while since I have seen a young actor deliver like this, and of course Rey sets the new standard for heroines in film, but again, more on that later!

Watching in 2D, opposed to 3D, was roughly the same experience, although the mo-cap characters looked a little better in 2D. Otherwise, there is little difference between the two viewing experiences. However, the starfighter battles are marginally better in 3D.

Overall, Star Wars: The Force Awakens brings Star Wars back to its former glory! It has the likable characters, adventure, emotional pull, deeper meaning, and visual symbolism that Star Wars is known for! Expect a series of spoiler discussion posts whenever I feel like writing those up during the month! If you have any specific points of interest to discuss, let me know in the comments!

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

Monday, February 8, 2016

The X-Files Season 1 Review

The X-Files has returned to television with a new six-episode event, so it’s time to take a look back at the very first season of the legendary sci-fi television series.
For those unaware, The X-Files is the cult classic science fiction series that has spawned a thousand imitators, including recent fan favorites such as Warehouse 13, Fringe, and even Supernatural. 

The X-Files follows two FBI agents, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, who investigate unexplainable cases ranging from aliens, to the supernatural, to genetic mutation, which are referred to by the FBI as The X-Files. Essentially, The X-Files is about anything strange and unexplainable with each episode featuring a wide variety of different strange phenomenon. If you are interested in the paranormal, chances are at least one episode covers something that you will enjoy.

The Good: Realistic feel, Revolutionary concept, Thought-provoking and solvable mysteries, Strong character development, Endlessly intriguing sci-fi and supernatural concepts, Wide variety of mysteries, Using real life aspects, Iconic opening theme, Many notable guest stars,

The Bad: Occasionally weak writing,

Plot: 9.5/10- Despite an often episodic crime drama format, The X-Files' wide variety of different cases and concepts range from a creepy horror tone to mystery suspense to more familiar crime drama elements. Every episode introduces something intriguing which sends my mind racing to figure out what it could be. The series is not predictable, because not every case is sci-fi or supernatural. Unlike almost every other crime drama, however, each episode is often so unique that it never gets boring. The only common element is the "Monster-of-the week" format.

As someone who is interested in, and knows about the real life paranormal conspiracy theories about UFOs, ghosts, and bigfoot, X-Files’ way of expanding upon reality, yet still remaining subtle, is often executed with excellence. Of course, it is all fictional, but the basis in reality and the realistic tone gives The X-Files a sense of reality not found in many other sci-fi works.

The only weak element of The X-Files’ plot is the occasional smaller things in a few episodes that do not always make sense, but again, that is typical for most 24 episode series.

Characterization: 8.2/10- In the first episode, FBI agent Dana Scully is assigned to be Fox Mulder's parent to investigate the X-Files. When Muler was a child, his little sister was abducted, by what he believed were aliens. Years later, Mulder joined the FBI in order to pursue his life's goal of finding and exposing the truth behind extraterrestrials and other paranormal coverups. On the other hand, agent Dana Scully, who is a skeptic that often tries to explain things through science, is assigned to the determine whether or not the X-Files project is worth continuing. Being a skeptic, Scully clashes with Mulder, but not in an annoying or obstructive way. As the season continues, their working relationship develops well in a platonic way (at least so far, don't spoil it for anyone), which is nice to see, and I wish that would happen in more modern series. 

According to what I have read, Scully's role was somewhat revolutionary at the time in terms of roles on TV, which makes sense. She is one of my favorite types of heroine because the series rarely draws direct attention to the fact she is a woman working in the FBI, but rather just another agent in the bureau. Both Mulder and Scully receive a solid amount of develop, especially Mulder. While there are a few minor recurring characters, Mulder and Scully are the only ones that receive much time; however, each episode introduces new characters, most of which are interesting.  

Acting: 7.9/10- David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson take some time to grow into their roles, but once they do, their acting improves and remains quite good throughout the series. The first season alone of The X-Files features many guest stars, who would later become notable actors in other media including, Seth Green (Mass Effect, Robot Chicken, Family Guy), CCH Pounder (Warehouse 13, Avatar), and Roger Cross (Arrow, Continuum).

Special effects: 7.9/10- Despite being more than 20 years old, the special effects hold up relatively well overall. Being that most of the science fiction elements are obscured and mysterious, special effects are not often used, but rather mysterious things are briefly glimpsed.

Soundtrack: 7.5/10- Some of the tracks are effective at creating an eerie atmosphere, although most of them are not worth listening to on their own. On the other hand, the opening theme is iconic and perfectly fitting the series mysteriousness.

Humor: 7.3/10- The X-Files contains some good bits of humor throughout the interplay between Mulder and Scully, although the series is mostly serious.

Entertainment Value: 9.2/10- The X-Files is my type of TV series. It’s mysterious, intriguing, and dark, yet not overly dark, and containing enough wit and characterization to constantly hold my interest.

Overall: 8.9/10- The X-Files is an intriguing, entertaining, and unique twist on the standard crime drama that no other copy-cat has yet to best in terms of quality. Even today, season one of the X-Files is worthwhile viewing experience for fans of science fiction, supernatural, or crime drama. Nothing else is quite like it.

Closing comments: Remember everyone, "Trust no one," and "The Truth Is Out There."

Recommended for: Sci-fi fans, Crime drama fans, Anyone, Supernatural fans, Warehouse 13 fans, Fringe fans,

Click here to check out more of my movie reviews.

If you want to contact us or have any questions please send an e-mail to
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...