Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Movie Bucket-List Update

Over a year ago, I created a Bucket-List of the movies I wanted to see, as well as your suggestions. Below is my long list of films, starting with the ones that I came up with and followed by the suggestion by you, the readers. If you have more movies to add to my bucket-list, please comment below and let me know! Assuming I have not seen the film, your picks will be added to the list!
  • 12 Angry Men
  • 13 Assassins
  • A Beautiful Mind
  • A Christmas Story
  • A Clockwork Orange
  • American Splendor
  • All About Eve
  • Army of Darkness
  • The Artist
  • The Big Lebowski
  • Bonnie and Clyde
  • Brazil
  • Brick
  • The Cat Returns
  • Charlie Bartlett
  • Chinatown
  • City Lights
  • Clue
  • The Crow
  • The Departed
  • District 9
  • Django Unchained
  • Double Indemnity
  • Duck Soup
  • Edward Scissorhands
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  • Exam
  • Following
  • Fargo
  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off
  • The French Connection
  • Full Metal Jacket
  • From Up on Poppy Hill
  • Ghost World
  • The Graduate
  • Grease
  • Hellboy
  • Ikiru
  • Identity
  • Infernal Affairs
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
  • Ip Man
  • King Kong
  • LA Confidential
  • Legend of the Drunken Master
  • Leon: The Professional
  • Looper
  • Mad Max Trilogy
  • The Man from Nowhere
  • Memento
  • Memories of Murder
  • Metropolis
  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
  • Network
  • Night of the Living Dead
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • On the Waterfront
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
  • Perks of Being a Wallflower
  • Platoon
  • Ponyo
  • Pulp Fiction
  • The Raid: Redemption
  • Raising Arizona
  • Raging Bull
  • Ran
  • Road to Perdition
  • Reservoir Dogs 
  • Schindler's List
  • Scream Franchise
  • Se7en
  • The Shining
  • Singin’ in the Rain
  • Snatch
  • Tales from the Earthsea
  • The Sound of Music
  • The Wind Rises
  • Sunset Blvd.
  • Taxi Driver
  • The Ten Commandments
  • The Thing
  • Trainspotting
  • Upside Down
  • Yojimbo
Reader Suggestions:

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Doctor Who New Companion: Pearl Mackie

The Doctor has a new companion, Bill, played by Pearl Mackie, who is known for well, almost nothing actually. She played in a film titled, Svengali, and in one episode the TV series, Doctors, neither of which I have seen, and she has done some stage work. Basically, she is a complete newcomer, which is usually good. In addition to the announcement, a clip was released of Bill and the Doctor running from Dalek. And here's the problem..... The clip makes Bill kind of obnoxious. Honestly, the blame probably shouldn't go to Mackie, but rather the script writer, presumably Moffat, for that dialogue. Of course, this is only a short clip, and I like to keep an open mind, so we will just have to wait and see. What do you think of the new companion? Please comment below and let me know. 

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Friday, April 22, 2016

The Magnificent Seven Teaser Trailer

The Magnificent Seven, an upcoming remake, of a remake, which has been remade various times, and it stars Chris Pratt, Peter Sarsgaard, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Denzel Washington, and others. Finally, a western! And starring Chris Pratt? Sign me up! 

For those unaware, The Magnificent Seven is a remake of the 1960 film, The Magnificent Seven, which was a remake of the classic Japanese film, Seven Samurai (1954). Usually, Hollywood remaking an old classic is an instant turnoff for many, but I am excited and optimistic. Magnificent Seven is already a remake, so saying that remaking is an awful idea is rather unfair. Actually, taking one of the best westerns and revamping it with a modern cast and some style makes me excited! Antoine Fuqua directs the film, and visually, it looks good, and the all-star already makes this a must-watch. But as a teaser, this trailer has me excited for a rip-roaring western adventure. What do you think? Please comment below and let me know!

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Top 25 TV Shows: Part 2

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

20: The IT Crowd
A British comedy about the IT (Information Technologies) department at Reynholm Industries, a fictional corporation in London, The IT Crowd is one of the pure funniest TV shows ever made. With a zany style all its own, The IT Crowd is a unique comedy to be sure. Instead of going the route of quantity over quality, like many US sitcoms, The IT Crowd only features 24 episodes over 4 seasons. Each episode is a setup to several big jokes with the punchline at the end, with many smaller hilarious jokes intertwined. Describing how the series' humor works is difficult, but if you are up for some wacky and occasionally surreal comedy that defies conventions, watch The IT Crowd. 
Warning: The IT Crowd is intended for mature audiences. There are occasional uses of strong profanity, as well as potentially offensive humor (but what comedy doesn't have that?).
Watch on: Netflix, Hulu

19: The Office
Of all the many comedies that I have seen, no other comedy features characters with the level of development that The Office displays. Yes, The Office is hysterical, especially seasons 2-7, and it is full of jokes and quotes that left me in stitches. However, what sets it apart is how you care about the characters as they live their lives and the drama that follows, along with the great comedy. Unfortunately, after Steve Carell left, the series' writing took a massive drop in quality to the point where it was not even funny during the middle portion of the final season. Despite that, The Office is one of my favorite comedies with some of my favorite characters in television.
Watch on: Netflix, Hulu

18: The Flash
While Arrow started CW’s DC-verse, The Flash launched it into the mainstream with, arguably, DC’s best live-action hero. The Flash’s first season took some cues from the MCU and actually made a DC series with fun, humor, likable characters, and heroism. Grant Gustin portrays a brilliant Barry Allen, aka The Flash with humor and likeability not found in other DC works. Season 1 really embracing on the full-on comic book-y fun not found in many TV superhero shows. Unfortunately, Season 2 is struggling a bit more with the writing, especially compared to Marvel’s massive improvements in all of its TV shows. However, The Flash still delivers superhero fun each week with DC’s best on-screen hero to date.
Watch on: Netflix, Hulu, CW

17: The Walking Dead
Despite my initial hesitation about watching the series, The Walking Dead turned out to be a very entertaining television series. At one point, The Walking Dead ranked much higher on my list. Unfortunately, in spite of the likable characters, the series’ writing has been up and down throughout the five seasons. Sometimes, it is thrilling and terrifying in the way a zombie series should be, while other times it can be really dumb. With that said, The Walking Dead is a special series and there is nothing else like it.
Watch on: Netflix, AMC

16: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. started a bit rough. The first half of the first season really lost many viewers, which is unfortunate. As the series continues in the aftermath of The Winter Soldier, it departs from the more lighthearted exploits of the early episodes. In seasons two and three, the series continues to improve with stronger characterization and some truly great usage of Marvel properties on television. In fact, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is easily one of, if not, the best show on network TV. Unfortunately, no one is watching it and judges the series based on that first weak season.
Watch on: Netflix, Hulu, ABC

Are any of these your favorites? Please comment below and let me know!

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Friday, April 15, 2016

Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in Shell

The first image of Scarlett Johansson as the Major in the upcoming Ghost in Shell has been released. Ghost in the Shell has begun filming in New Zealand and will release on March 31, 2017. In addition to Johansson, the cast includes Takeshi Kitano (Battle Royale), who plays the Major's boss Daisuke Aramaki, Pilou Asbæk (Lucy), and Michael Pitt (Boardwalk Empire).
Ghost in Shell is based on a Japanese sci-fi cyberpunk manga (aka comic book) series. However, it is most well known in the west by the 1995 and the anime TV series, which aired from 2002 to 2005. After Akira, Ghost in the Shell introduced many audiences outside of Japan to anime in the 90s, although the film did take a more philosophical approach to the original source material, which blended philosophy, action, mystery, and a bit of humor. Regardless of which direction the film takes, hopefully Rupert Sanders will craft a film worthy of the Ghost in the Shell. And oh yeah, my stance on the whitewashing of the cast is a little negative, but the business reasons are valid enough and ScarJo is a capable actress most of the time, so I will stay optimistic. What do you think? Please comment below and let me know! 

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Doctor Strange Trailer Review

Doctor Strange's first trailer is here and it is....... Strange....... Yeah, sorry, had to do it, but seriously, this trailer is unique and weird and fascinating! The film barely looks like a Marvel movie, which is fantastic. It will surely have more humor, but the visual aesthetic and visual effects are insane. Sure, it might look like Inception at points, and that's only because of those two effects scenes. Otherwise, Scott Derrickson is crafting a mysterious film about magic that departs fairly far from the typical superhero romp. Benedict Cumberbatch sounds very different than usual with an American accent, and Tilda Swinton actually shaved her head. The visual style gets me so excited to see what exactly Doctor Strange will be or do. What do you think? Please comment below and let me know.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Top 25 TV Shows: Part 1

Television is a fascinating form of media. Whereas film only allows a few hours to tell a story, television can tell a much larger narrative or many episodic stories, yet is often restricted by budget and cancellation. However, television has given us many of fictions greatest characters and stories and the extra time TV affords, we have often spent more time with television characters than any film or novel can provide. Some shows span years, while others are cut short, well before their time. Today, my list of the Top 25 TV Shows will kick off!

Before we get started, here are some rules and things to remember. The television must have aired a complete first season at this time, and miniseries are not included. Please note that shows that have aired on movie channels, like HBO, are likely not on the list because I have never had those channels. Lastly, ranking television series that aired before I became a critic is difficult, therefore many series featured are relatively new or currently airing. So, with that out of the way, let’s get started!

25: Arrow
CW's first series that launched a larger DC universe on television, the CW-Verse, Arrow tells the story of Oliver Queen, who becomes the Arrow to protect Star City. Arrow opened strong with a solid first season, a great second season, a lacking third season, and a fun, yet imperfect, fourth season, at least thus far. Arrow isn't exactly masterpiece television, but it is an incredibly fun and entertaining action series. The writing can be inconsistent, yet I thoroughly enjoy most episodes every week. What can I say, I enjoy superheroes and fun! DC's Legends of Tomorrow would have made the list if it was not so short, but it is definitely better than Arrow's current season.
Watch on: Netflix, CW

24: Fawlty Towers
If you want to laugh and only have to watch 12 episodes, look no further than the British comedy classic, Fawlty Towers. Starring Monty Python veteran, John Cleese, it is possibly Cleese's best work, and considering how hysterical his other works are, that's saying something. Fawlty Towers' premise is simple. It follows Basil Fawlty, his wife, and the people that work at his hotel and all the hilarity that ensues! If you want a short and easy to watch example of the Brit's quick wit, look no further than Fawlty Towers.
Watch on: Netflix

23: Stargate SG-1
After Star Wars, Stargate SG-1 was probably the biggest influence on my love of science fiction when I was a kid. While it is certainly an adult show, it was my favorite show for years until I watched the Doctor Who reboot in 2005. Stargate SG-1 is somewhat of a sequel to the 1994 Roland Emmerich film, Stargate. However, you do not have to see the film for it to make sense. Stargate SG-1 mixes military and exploration as the Stargates that the characters travel through takes them to many alien planets with a deep mythology based on Egyptian and Nordic lore. For an often overlooked sci-fi series, check out Stargate SG-1.
Warning: Since the first season aired on Showtime, an uncensored channel, the first episode contained one scene with 18+ content; however, the rest of the series is mostly TV-14 content.
Watch on: ?

22: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
Taking place after the first two Terminator films, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles completely changes the timeline and essentially erases the mediocre T3 and Salvation. While the films are more action heavy, the series adds in more dramatic and intrigue, yet still retaining many of the core aspects of the films, especially with the cast. Summer Glau is an exceptional take on the “good” Terminator as the series humanizes her character, and Lena Headey, of Game of Thrones fame, superbly replaces Linda Hamilton's iconic role of Sarah Connor. Fox, "Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal" for cancelling yet another fantastic series after only two seasons, especially since it ended with a cliffhanger!
Watch on: ?
21: Batman: The Animated Series
Sure, it may be animated, but that makes Batman: The Animated Series a no less brilliant television series. Interestingly enough, as a kid, I disliked the series and never watched more than a few episodes. It was not until my late teens did I discover the true greatness of Kevin Conroy and Bruce Tim’s take on Batman. In many ways, Batman: The Animated Series portrays Bruce Wayne/Batman is a more dynamic way than even Nolan’s trilogy. Mark Hamill is an incredibly iconic Joker, and defined the character in many ways. The series even influence the comics by introducing the fan favorite, Harley Quinn, and redefined Mr. Freeze’s origin and character. While it might be dated, Batman: The Animated Series’ influence on Batman comics and American cartoons as well.
Watch on: Amazon Prime

Are any of these your favorites? Please check back soon for the continuation of the list!

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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Teaser Trailer

The first official teaser trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is here! And it is exciting! Wow, Rogue One looks great, and the grittiness of the Imperial era Star Wars is perfect. It looks dirty, low-tech, and everything that Imperial era Star Wars should look like. In fact, the film looks and feels very much like the Battlefront video games, since those gave players the perspective of a soldier in the larger battle.

As we already knew, the film follows the group of Rebels that stole the Death Star plans, and the cast is absolutely incredible and many of them are not even shown clearly yet. Ip Man actor and martial artist, Donnie Yen, shows off his considerable skills in the trailer, which is exciting. Also, I have seen some people associate the famous quote, "Many Bothans died to bring us this information" with this film, but actually, Mon Mothma said that in Return of the Jedi in reference to information about the second Death Star, so Rogue One has nothing to do with that quote. Otherwise, this trailer is exciting! But it also does not spoil anything really, or at least it does not appear to. And maybe I will write more about the film and this trailer later in the week, but for now, comment with your thoughts below! 

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Coming Soon: April 2015

Well that was certainly an entertaining March! A few films disappointed me, a couple met expectations, and one was a surprise. Let's take a look before we dive into April. 

London Has Fallen: Destroyed by critics, merely "liked" by me. This was another violent, brutal entry in the Gerard Butler action franchise, but I didn't enjoy it as much as the first even if I looked past some of its faults more than others. RRS: 6.5/10
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: Mixed reviews and a crowded weekend didn't do much to help this film succeed. I dont think it was hater or loved by any critics, but ended up being somewhat average, despite a stellar Tina Fey performance.
Zootopia: The surprise of the month even though I guess it wasn't really a "surprise" at this point in Disney's track record. A run and gorgeous animated film that has a strong, if not blunt, message to deliver. And it's pretty darn funny too. RRS: 9/10
10 Cloverfield Lane: I hate that I'm so disappointed by this one because there's actually a stellar, effective thriller here with a strong cast and premise. But it's lack of connection to the original really left a sour taste in my mouth. RRS: 7/10
The Brothers Grimsby: Just as I predicted...forgettable and not all that funny. This Sacha Baron Cohen film came and went with little to no fanfare. 
The Divergent Series: Allegiant: Gorgeous at times with a few neat ideas is about the only thing going for this one. It's the poster child for why a book shouldn't be split into two films. RRS: 5.5/10
Midnight Special: Wish I could say that I saw this one but an increasingly frustrating limited release schedule is slowly diminishing my will to see it. Those who did catch it are claiming that it's a well made, unique, sci-fi film.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice: The highly controversial film was unfairly destroyed by some critics...though its final averages on accumulative sites are average. It's a film that SHOULD have and COULD have been great, but instead ends up merely ok/good with bits of greatness scattered throughout. Main culprits: Jesse Eisenberg, editing, and plot devices. RRS: 7.5/10
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2: Never saw the first one, though many critics and fans of the original say that this one is just as enjoyable as the first, just maybe half a decade too late. 

Most Disappointing: Personally, 10 Cloverfield Lane
Most Surprising: Zootopia
Worst Movie: Allegiant
Best Movie: Zootopia

So what's coming in April? Well, for starters there's nothing coming out the first weekend of note, but let's check those other Fridays! As always, click the title for the YouTube trailer. 

Why It's Worth Seeing: These initial previews have been funny and it actually looks like a bit of a different role for McCarthy. She's proven enough that, with the right script, she can be hilarious.
What Could Go Wrong: It really does rely on that script for this one. McCarthy, to no fault of her own sometimes, just isn't funny with poor material and unfortunately it seems like that happens more often than not. 

Why It's Worth Seeing: I'm super pumped to see this because the trailer is electrifying. If the head bob is managed well and the overall length is tight then this could be an awesome experiment
What Could Go Wrong: There's a lot of ways it could go wrong, but the one I'm most concerned about is length. At 96 minutes it should be just about right, but that's still a long time to be in FPS mode. Too much? Guess we'll have to see.

Why It's Worth Seeing: The cast is solid and there's always potential for a film like this, with an aged star (Costner) turns out to be the next Taken.
What Could Go Wrong: The cast could just be getting a pretty penny and it could also be dumb and lifeless, just like the trailers seem to indicate. They certainly aren't doing the film any favors.

Why It's Worth Seeing: Its trailers have been nothing short of mesmerizing and it looks gorgeous. On top of that it looks like a "realistic" approach to the Disney classic and the cast is top notch.
What Could Go Wrong: It looks CGI-heavy, obviously. But will it be great CGI (like in the trailers)? Or will there be a lot of obvious green screen with a brand new child actor? That sounds like a slog to me...

Why It's Worth Seeing: The first film was actually quite entertaining if not completely forgettable. This one has the added value element of Charlize Theron, Emily Blunt, and Jessica Chastain as female leads so it could be a damn good time if they all decide to ham up their roles a bit.
What Could Go Wrong: From the trailers, the story sounds kind of stupid to me, and I'm not quite sure why Hemsworth is there. Is there a reason for this film to exist beyond the $$ and pretty visuals? Hopefully yes.

Why It's Worth Seeing: I personally find that initial trailer hilarious and Key and Peele are consistently funny. This being their first feature film, I'm hoping that trend carries over to larger "skits". Also, that cat. So cute and I hate cats.
What Could Go Wrong: Early reviews are lukewarm so I'm wondering if their jokes can't sustain themselves for the film's entire runtime.

Why It's Worth Seeing: Based on the popular PlayStation game, this one is quietly dropping at the end of the month. Other than a commercial here and there I haven't seen too much, but what I have seen seems to capture the game's essence well and I've laughed.
What Could Go Wrong: The target audience seems confused. Are you aiming for little kids who probably haven't played one of these games or are you aiming for the older audience that enjoyed them back in the PS2 and PS3 era? Those are two really distinctive crowds and if the film is confused, it will be forgettable.

Must See (in order): Hardcore Henry, The Jungle Book
On My Radar: The Boss, The Huntsman: Winter's War, Keanu, Ratchet & Clank
Predicted Duds: Criminal

Check back in May when the summer season starts to get warmed up with some big, exciting films. As always, I'd be really appreciative if you came and followed me through Blogger at RATH'S REVIEWS and like me on Facebook HERE! I follow-for-follow 100%. Thanks again!!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Movie Music and More #46: "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice"

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hit theaters recently and so did Hans Zimmer's latest, and apparently last, score for a DC flick. As a whole, Zimmer's score is good, albeit a bit generic at times, but there are a few specific tracks that standout. My personal favorite is, "Is She With You." If you have seen the film or trailer, it is played when Wonder Woman first appears in costume. The use of, what I assume, is the electric guitar captures the mystery of the character perfectly. During the scene, the music was noticeable and made me want to find it as soon as arriving home from the theater. Sure, the track itself isn't a masterpiece, but it contains a unique blend of instruments that appeals to me. Even though Zimmer will not scoring Wonder Woman, hopefully a variation on the theme will be used for the film. 

Above is one of the stronger atmospheric tracks from the film. Contained within the embedded video is the rest of the soundtrack in a playlist. After listening to the entire score, there are not that many memorable tracks, aside from "Is She With You." It is quite good at times, yet never finds a true theme that carries across the film. During the film, the score is fine, but after listening to it, it lacks a central theme, like Alan Silvestri's Avengers main theme. Maybe I am missing certain cues in the music that others have picked up. What do you think? Please comment below and let me know! And if you missed it, click here to read my review of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

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Friday, April 1, 2016

Star Wars on Netflix - Season 1 Official Live Action Teaser Trailer

Star Wars is coming to Netflix! Coming soon, Netflix and Disney will release a Star Wars series live-action series title, "Star Wars: Fury of Maul," obviously starring Darth Maul. No word on the release date yet. However, as the teaser shows, it appears to be following Darth Maul after the events of The Clone Wars. Will a Netflix budget be able to handle the special effects required for quality Star Wars content? Considering how Daredevil is one of the best things to come from Marvel, a Star Wars Netflix series could be amazing! With that said, the trailer's effects and production design are lacking a bit, so who knows. What do you think of this breaking news? Please comment below and let me know!

Happy April Fools Everyone! Hope y'all liked that!

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