Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Day of the Doctor


I'll admit to having a bit of a falling out with the Doctor Who series. I haven't really kept up all that well since the end of the 5th season, and I think that's because it was starting to get a bit too much for me. I think it has a lot to do with what they keep doing with each new season and how they keep on 1 up-ing the last one in terms of stakes. I like the first season finale quite a bit because of how contained the whole situation was even though they had to go up against really tough challenges. Then, the next one involved a war on Earth that got a bit out of hand but it seemed to take place in just one area. The next one involved the entire world being enslaved with the final fix being a rewind button. The next one involved all of time collapsing, though, they actually did get pretty clever in their solution. The next, next one involved an even bigger collapse of time that involved Pandorica's Box and...stuff happens in order to fix that.

It just gets pretty tiring, following a series when it bends and breaks all of the newly presented rules from each new episode.

Still, with how incredibly popular this show has gotten, it's easy to see why it has been working so well even if plays fast and loose with what can happen(pretty much anything can happen long as The Doctor ends up preventing time from collapsing). It's because of the emotional connection that's in every episode. The reason why The Doctor has a companion with him is because that companion acts as a surrogate for your understanding of this strange new universe. These are the people who are incredibly eager to go on these adventures just as much as your eager to wish that there was a Doctor that can take you on these kinds of adventures. A Journey through Time and Space with new interesting planets, life-forms, and technology. That, and the show is also really well written.  Even the filler episodes that don't really affect the overall arching plot line of the series will be some of the best stuff you'll see on television.

So, while I haven't been keeping up too much with Doctor Who lately, I still looked forward to this 50th anniversary special where they bring every doctor in order to fight the good fight. And, no, I'm not going to get into anymore details into the plot if you haven't seen it already. But, suffice it to say, it's pretty damn incredible.

The one word I've heard described after the first time viewing this episode(yeah, I saw it twice. Once at home, the next at the movie theater), the word I heard described was "Epic." When I thought about it, it's kind of an unusual word to describe this particular episode, because most of it takes place in just a couple of rooms where people have long conversations with each other. Yes, there are a lot of glimpses of epic battle scenes, but a lot of the drama and conflict comes from The Doctor...and the other Doctor....and the other other Doctor. It's what's great about this series; it's able to bring out these high stakes and epic moments by conveying it all through just the characters. While most of the plot line revolves around other characters than the title character himself, this episode exclusively focuses on The Doctor.

Weirdly enough, the world didn't blow up when they showed David Tennant(yes, he's back again as The Doctor) and Matt Smith in the same scenes. And their time together is an absolute riot. I've always kind of felt like that these two actors were sort of playing the same kind of Doctor just by the fact of how quirky they like to act(maybe Matt Smith goes a bit on the quirkier side). The way they wrote both of these characters into the story doesn't necessarily confirm that they're playing the same kind of person, but I wasn't wrong to think og how similar they are. Either way, this episode goes to show how great either of them are as The Doctor. I think, by this time, people have finally settled into the fact that Matt Smith really is a good Doctor; he just had the misfortune of having to follow up on David Tennant, even though they both do exceptional jobs(I actually might kind of, sort of like Matt Smith just a little bit more than David Tennant and I'm going to miss him when he's gone, though, I'm looking forward to the new actor).

If it's anything this 50th anniversary special does is that it reminds us of why we like this show in the first place(much in the same way the recent Bond movie did that with its 50 year anniversary special). The creators of the show are just as excited of showing us a new episode as a lot of people are in watching these new episodes. The Day of the Doctor is here to commemorate the show and all of the Doctors and of all of the fans of the show as well. This episode has gotten me excited enough to maybe even get back with the series. The show definitely seems to be looking forward to the shows progress in the future. So, bring it on!

Also, as long as we're on BBC British Television Shows...


Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

So, just a preface, everyone seems to have come out of this movie loving it. I wasn't one of those people. I didn't hate it, I didn't dislike it, but I also didn't really like it all that much either. It's not bad and it has its moments, but, just be warned that you're not going to see the most positive things being said about a movie that you probably really like.

Also, I haven't read the books either, so, feel free to distrust anything I have to say based off of that as well. Though, if there was anything to get me to read the books, then it would be to end on the worst possible way with one giant cliff hanger without any sort of resolution to anything.


Alright...here we go.

This movie had me asking a lot of questions by the end of it all. Questions like:

1. Why did they bother to introduce a bunch of characters and decide not to do anything with them ever again?

2. Why did they decide to make the final shot of having Jennifer Lawrence make one of the most hilarious looking faces since...well, I don't know when.

3. Why is everyone try to say "Peter" in a really bad British accent.

4. Oh, it's "Peeta"...why is everyone's names so silly?

5. Seriously! They introduce a character who carved her teeth to be able to bite people to death, but they never show her again throughout the rest of the movie, as far as I can remember.

6. Why are all the good guys normal looking people while all the bad guys look like they are one step away from being a part of The Rocky Horror Show?

7. If The Hunger Games take place in a dome, and it seems like they can create what every they would like, why do they always choose the most boring settings? The first time around, it was a forest. The second time around, it's another forest but with a body of water in the middle.

8. Seriously? They're going to end it right there?


So, it's half past the future and people are living in this dystopian world where the poor kids get sent off onto this reality TV show, called The Hunger Games, where they have to kill each other for the rich people's entertainment. The main character, Catfish Jellybean, gets caught up in one of these things, but, in order to survive, she pretends to fall in love with one of the other contestants, Pita Bread, in order to win the emotional support of her audience and to get help from sponsors. Usually, only 1 of the 24 people survive The Hunger Games contest, but Catnip and Pita Bread manage to both survive. Now, in the second part of this story for the second movie, Cataract has given people hope that they can somehow end The Hunger Games once and for all when she managed the unthinkable of having more than one person survive the last game. The richest of the rich people doesn't like that, so, he decides to throw her into another one of these games, only this time, it's with contestants who have already won before.

To be fair, there were a lot of things that I actually did like. Kit-Kat and Pizza Crust get caught up in the whole reality TV show thing where they really have to sell it to the audience that they're just hopelessly in love. It's a great satire on reality TV shows of today and just how BS the whole thing really is. Also, there are some things about class disparity, so and and so forth, but the whole reality TV show thing was really when the movie actually felt like it was trying to do something interesting

Other than that, the movie just kind of sits around, almost providing us a near identical experience of the first movie, and then finally goes, "Oh yeah! Hey guys, make sure you come around for the next movie, because that's going to be pretty cool and stuff...so, umm, see ya then" It's all well made and it's got good leading characters, but the movie just never really clicked with me. It brought up some good ideas, it likes to play with some interesting science fiction concepts, and a lot of the scenes(particularly the actions scenes) are even better staged than the last movie(even if it's just a small improvement).

Writing this part, I literally just saw the movie a couple of hours ago, and I'm already forgetting most of everything that happens other than the broad strokes of the plot and a couple of the characters names. This pretty much happened to me with the first movie as well. I could tell you that The Hunger Games was about a bunch of kids killing each other for rich people's entertainment, but having just re-watched it yesterday(in preparation for the new movie) I completely forgot about the relationship between Katniss and Peeta and how Peeta actually does start to develop feelings for Katniss, even though she's really only pretending just to help her survive. These things aren't exactly small plot points for the movie either.

Also, that ending. So, someone compared it to the Empire Strikes Back and how that sort of ends on a "To Be Continued" note. But that movie actually had a complete story and experience, even if the movie didn't exactly end with complete closure. It had characters and plot points that actually came into full circle in the end so it can open up a new story with its own plot points that come into full circle. Catching Fire, even if the entire movie was 2 and a half hours long, feels like it stops right in the middle of it all so it can force us to wait for the next part of the story...and then the one after that(Yes, they're splitting the last book into two parts for some, inexplicable reason).

I know it sounds like I'm being harsh and dissenting of a popular movie just for the sake of being harsh and dissenting, so, let me just clarify by saying that this isn't a bad movie at all. There were things that had me scratching my head, but it's all competently made and I was mildly engaged while watching it. But, it feels kind of weird when people get incredibly excited after the whole experience(there was a lot of cheering in the screening I saw) while I'm just kind of sitting back just thinking "Well, that was alright, I suppose."

The entire movie is really just fine. Sure, the movie is 2 and a half hours long, but it does go by at a good pace and I was engaged through most of it. Other than that, it is really hard for me to conjure any more of a reaction than just "Yeah, it was okay." It almost feels like a movie that was made because the books have gotten so popular and not because some people really wanted to bring these books onto the big screen. It is cool that a lot of people really do seem to be enjoying these movies and are even getting really excited for the upcoming parts. Hell, I'm at least looking forward to the next part. But it just sort of feels like these movies can do with a little more bite, if that makes any sense.

So, I liked it enough, I just didn't have that explosive experience that everyone else seemingly got. So, let's just say this movie gets my shrug of approval.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Summer Wrap-Up

So...I just met a guy who has a blog called "Sharks With Laserbeams" Now I feel a bit more obligated to go back and do this thing again. Also, you should be checking out that guy's blog as well, because it involves sharks with laserbeams. You also get more insight from somebody else rather than my boring opinions.

Anyways, let's get through all of the movies that I didn't get around to talking about because I got lazy and didn't really want to do anything for a while.

Man of Steel: Well...you know everything you like about Superman with his optimistic heroism and his stance for the greater good and justice and stuff? Well, none of that appeared in Man of Steel. It's not a bad movie, it's definitely an interesting visual experience, but it does have a really messy story and screenplay. The thing is, the movie is such an interesting and fascinating experience, I almost want them to just try again. But, it looks like they are trying to do interesting things in the future, but, those movies are going to be carrying the heavy sad weight that Man of Steel introduced.

2 Guns: HOLY CRAP! Did this movie SUCK! Okay, it's not exactly bad, but it's boring as all hell. It's not really worth getting into details, but, suffice it to say, I saw this with a couple of friends and they seemed to like it. After a couple of months, I brought this movie up in a conversation and they forgot that this movie even existed. They were incredibly sure that we did not even go see a movie together. "Sean, I swear, we did not go see 2 Guns!" After a while, at least one of them remembered. Shouldn't this be a crime or something? Two hours where it puts people in an unconscious phase that they'll never remember again.


The Lone Ranger: I really don't need to go on about this one. We all know it's pretty terrible.

Elysium: Hard, sci fi action? Awesome!

Kick Ass 2: If there's any reason why this movie is not as good as the first one, it's because there's never really been any other movie to sort of bring anything like the original Kick Ass. The original was shocking, disturbing, but also a lot of fun while also going into a weird, dark commentary on the super hero genre. The sequel is really just there to be a lot of fun. It doesn't have the same impact as the original, but something good has to be coming from this movie when I left in a really good mood.

World War Z: A complete waste of time. Not entirely bad, but nothing worth watching.

Monster's University: I'm still convinced that Pixar hasn't really been even trying ever since their super-good movie that was Toy Story 3. It's funny and even engaging and not a Car Sequels, but, maybe Pixar will get around to picking up the ball again.

The Wolverine: Probably worth watching so you can get a taste of what they're planning with their next movie. It's probably got some of the most well directed action scenes(The one involving a train was kind of awesome!), but, other than that, it's not much more than just a competently made movie. It's fine, it passes the time, and it's got Wolverine cutting people up with claws. Good enough for me!

Riddick: Weirdly enough, I just got done watching most of this today(People were watching this in the lobby of the college dorm place of where I'm staying) and it's just okay...It does have some genuinely awesome scenes(especially one involving a box), but, other than that, there's nothing really too special about this movie.

Prisoners: Go see this movie!

The Conjuring: This one is pretty interesting in the way that it does do a lot of things right but I still can't get away from that feeling that it kind of didn't work for me. It actually got an R-rating, not because it had excessive gore, violence, or swearing, but because it was too scary. Well, I wasn't really scared at all. It's got good jump scares and it understands that subtlety is power, but I really can't say what it is that kind of made this movie not work. It seemed like it was going to get more interesting than it was in how the movie is about Paranormal Investigators and that almost kind of play to "Is stuff here really happening?" but it turns out that things really are happening. I can't speak for people since it's kind of hard to scare me, but I guess I could say it's fun to watch....

You're Next: This movie has been growing on me, even though I've only seen it once. I really can't say anything about this movie without spoiling it, but it's pretty damn good!

Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters: I actually liked this one. It's not particularly that good, but I liked the first one and I'm looking forward to their next movies.

Machete Kills: I LOVED the first movie. It's hilarious, violent, and even insightful. This new movie just goes all out meta. It's definitely funny and it gets pretty creative on how to stack up a body count, but it never really rises more than just a one note joke. Suffice it to say though, it manages to be funny all the way through.

Carrie:....the original is on Netflix. You're probably better off watching that instead.

Maniac: This one I caught on Netflix and wow....it's definitely really good and it has its impact, but this is really, REALLY not a movie for everybody. It's an entire movie where you see through the perspective of Elijah Wood as a serial killer, and, mostly because of this, this is NOT a fun movie to watch. But it is incredibly memorable(probably because of how provocative it's trying to be), but it's also fascinating and interesting in a good way(unlike Man of Steel). So, I'd recommend it, but, just know what you're getting into.

Pain and Gain: Michael Bay actually made a good movie. Who knew?

Gravity: Go see this movie!

Don Jon: Joseph Gordon-Levitt turns out to be kind of a really good director. I kind of wish that it didn't get a bit too predictable in its ending, but the entire movie does carry this sort of honesty that pretty much anybody wouldn't really be brave enough to say out loud.

The World's End: My favorite movie all year this year! Yeah! REALLY go see this movie!

Also, I'd like to apologize to anybody who I convinced to go watch Now You See Me. I probably gave that movie a little too much credit than it was worth. I'd like to see it again to see if I'd still have the same reaction, but, honestly, I really don't want to. I'd probably just come to the conclusion that it's really just a sort of "not there" kind of movie. It's pretty hard for me to stay mad at it even if I did watch it again and I would end up hating it because of how forgettable it is.

Oh well!

Oh, and judging by the Box Office of Thor: The Dark World, you've probably already seen it and would know there really isn't much to say about it other than that it's good enough to bridge the gap of Thor's storyline for The Avengers.