Sunday, April 6, 2014

The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (Documentary)

Steve Wiebe and family
Oh, I do like a good documentary! This one was too interesting to pass up, and it didn't disappoint. I don't think you have to be a hardcore gamer to enjoy this (I'm not), or even a casual gamer (like me). For me, this is about more than just beating the Donkey Kong record, set in 1982 by Billy Mitchell; it's about an egomaniac douchebag and a nice guy who he's trying to screw over. The 'ole good vs. evil.

Steve Wiebe is trying to beat Billy Mitchell's Donkey Kong score. And he does, pretty early on in the film. But the egotistical, manipulative, sociopath Billy won't have that. It's easy for Billy to get his way when he's treated like royalty, and everyone looks up to him. Although I don't think anyone adores and admires Billy Mitchell more than Billy Mitchell himself.

I think what makes this so satisfying is that you can clearly see what everyone is about, and it soon becomes obvious to them what everyone else is about, whether they've known them for years or not at all. I watched the whole thing (a modest one hour and nineteen minutes) wanting one outcome but having no idea how it would end. Which is a good thing. Highly recommended!

My Grade: A

Billy Mitchell

Friday, March 21, 2014

Almost Human

Oh my god, this movie. This is easily one of the worst films I've watched in a long time. Why was I expecting this to be good? That's what I get for not reading reviews in advance, though. 

Basic plot: aliens! Some dude named Mark disappears in Maine when all of these fancy blue lights appear from the sky and abduct his handsome self. Another friend of his, Rob, also disappears, but they never actually bring it up after the fact. Weird. So, two years later, Marky Mark comes back, but...he's not himself. He's been alienized and starts killing everyone he comes into contact with. So yeah, that's pretty much it. Bad acting, horrible dialogue, silly events, squandered plot. You're pretty much just watching a laughably bad serial killer film with alien noises and weird, jutting alien...things. Yes, there is a thing, and I'm kind of wondering if they stole it from Red Dwarf. Also, that thing goes where no thing should go. I'm temporarily traumatized. I think I need to go to my happy place...if only I had a happy place.

My grade: D

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Don't Find Another Love ~ Tegan and Sara

One of my favorite new songs from one of my favorite bands (although they didn't pen the song themselves, but who cares). Unfortunately, it's from the soundtrack to what looks like one of the most vomit-inducing movies to come along in awhile, Endless Love. Oh well. I'll probably never watch it unless someone bribes me, but I can still enjoy the music.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sherlock Season 3: The Sign of Three and His Last Vow (season finale)

The Sign of Three is probably my favorite episode from season 3. John and Mary are getting married, and Sherlock is the best man, which means it's going to be crazy. It actually ends up being more than crazy, and everything is shown/told in a rather complex way. Sherlock likes to go back and forth in time when telling a story. It's both impressive and showy. Also, I want to say more about the plot, but when it comes to this show, I sometimes feel that saying much about it would be spoiling it. Better to simply watch!

My grade: A

His Last Vow actually got on my nerves at first. Like I said above, Sherlock likes to show off. A lot. It toys with the audience maybe a little too much, catapulting us back and forth (so much!) and hitting us with twists that don't entirely seem to fit, just to shock us. And my god, the way they conduct certain scenes is so fancy and convoluted! Just get on with it! It feels almost overly cocky. Everyone involved in this show knows it's a hit, they know it's smart, quality viewing and that people will love it. I can see why the writers might be a bit smug. But it shouldn't come across in the storytelling. Then again, perhaps I'm the only one who thinks this. I'm curious if anyone else agrees with me on this.

But enough of that! Despite my complaints and initially being a bit annoyed, this was a good finale. Sherlock comes up against a new foe (who we glimpsed in the season 3 opener), and he's supposed to be even worse than Moriarty. Maybe he is, but he isn't quite as interesting or fun, and the conclusion isn't all that satisfying. There are a couple of twists at the end. Everything is meant to shock us, remember? I'm never entirely sure if I like what they come up with it, but so far I enjoy it...mostly.

Now I must wait until season 4 presents itself. Also, watching this reminds me of how much I miss England. I really need to move there.

My grade: B+

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Movie Review: Her

What a strange, thought-provoking, sad, funny movie. Not to mention one of the best movies I've seen in a long time. Her is about a man, Theodore (played by the wonderful Joaquin Phoenix and his equally wonderful mustache), who falls in loves and starts dating his computer's operating system, Samantha. "She" talks, sounds, and behaves like a human, which is disconcerting to him at first, and raises a series of questions later on. She becomes his best friend and girlfriend, and, for awhile, it works for them. I suppose one of the sad things is that I can see how someone could become so attached to someone who isn't real, especially when that person is lonely. Theodore and his mustache need love, you know? 

Scarlett Johansson voices Samantha. At first I was bit skeptical. I'd read how good she was in it, and that she could be nominated for an Oscar, which would be quite unique considering she doesn't physically appear in the film at all. I didn't think a voice could be that moving or effective, but...yeah, she nails it. Amy Adams is in this, too. You may already know that I'm not a fan, but I can take her in small doses. She was good as Theodore's longtime friend. Rooney Mara also appears as his ex-wife. 

One more thing. This film was much more sexual than I expected! Awkward phone/computer/whatever sex. Yup. 

My grade: A

Sherlock Season 3: The Empty Hearse

It's finally back!! It's been way too long, don't you think? It's been so long that I almost forgot about it. Well, in this season 3 opener, Sherlock returns (obviously), startling and further wounding a still-grieving Watson. Poor Watson. He really gets messed around with in this episode. On the plus side, Watson has found himself a nice (and intelligent) woman whom he wants to marry. Rejoice! On the downside, Sherlock must stop a terrorist attack in London, and Watson can't help but get caught up in it, despite wanting to steer clear of everything Sherlock-related.

As for how Sherlock survived that fall in the last episode, well, um...just watch. There are tons of theories, which I think the writers had a lot of fun with.

My one complaint (and this is probably just me) is that I found this episode a little confusing at times. There was some time-jumping involved, and it can be easy to lose the thread if you're not careful. Overall, though, this was a good, funny, entertaining premiere, and I can't wait for Sunday!!

My grade: B+

Friday, December 27, 2013

Insidious: Chapter 2

Stay away from her. I'm serious, run. 

*possible spoilers*

Yes, I finally saw this! You have no idea how excited I was about this movie. My expectations were low given the poor reviews I've seen, but that didn't dampen my spirits. And was I disappointed? No. Chapter 2 is different from the first. By that I mean the feel is different, which you can't really help. No one knew what the hell was going on in the first one. The family didn't know what exactly they were scared of or what was happening to their son. In this follow-up, which takes place immediately after the first, they're still reeling from all the horrors that happened, including the murder of Elise. Unfortunately, the horrors aren't over. The scares are also not quite the same. It doesn't work so well as a haunted house movie like the first one did, but those aren't the only scares to be had, luckily. The real scares come in the form of the backstory. That being said, the ghosts are more aggressive in this, and you just know they want to hurt everyone. Noooooo!

What I love about this movie is that it explains everything, which is risky indeed. Not everyone wants to know the whole backstory, but I found it intriguing and horrific, which it should be. It serves as both a prequel and a sequel, bringing in new, evil characters, and explaining some of the old ones.

Be warned that you might get confused, however. It does flit from past, present, and recent past. Personally, I had no trouble keeping track, but I can see how it would confuse some viewers. Just remember that it's explaining everything. Seriously, everything.

Not everyone is going to like this (and obviously they didn't), but I loved it. Even if you liked Insidious, you might not be as keen about this one. Still, it's worth watching. I guess my only worry is that it will reduce the chill factor of the first one, but hopefully it will have the reverse effect. My mom actually thinks this is better than the original. I'm undecided.

My grade: B+