Produced by: Haim Saban, Brian Casentini, Marty Bowen, Wyck Godfrey
Screenplay by: John Gatins
Story by: Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless, Michele Mulroney, Kieran Mulroney
Edited by: Martin Bernfeld, Dody Dorn
Cinematography by: Matthew J. Lloyd
Music by: Brian Tyler
Starring: Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G, Ludi Lin, Bill Hader, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Banks, David Denman
Based on the Power Rangers and Super Sentai TV series
The film I’d always been asking for is finally here! … Sort of.
… Okay, let me clarify. A few years ago, I’d gotten all nostalgic about my childhood along with some friends, as people are wont to do, and the idea of creating a serious adaptation of the Power Rangers series we’d grown up with became a topic of fascination – at least for myself. I’d always imagined it as being something between serious and openly campy, acknowledging the series’ ridiculous qualities (“teenagers with attitude,” frenetic gesticulating and dramatic declarations prefacing every action, Rita Repulsa and her frequently giant-sized cronies, etc.) and embracing them alongside the aspects that could be made obviously and genuinely awesome (the action, the Zords, the monster battles).
Years later, we got what I always wanted. It’s called Pacific Rim. And it is incredible.
Now, years after that, we now have an actual Power Rangers movie – one that is somehow a more serious film than Pacific Rim, which is actually based on the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series – Zordon, Alpha 5, Rita, and everything. Read more…
Produced by: Haim Saban, Shuki Levy, Suzanne Todd
Written by: Arne Olsen (screenplay), John Kamps, Arne Olsen (story)
Edited by: Wayne Wahrman
Cinematography by: Paul Murphy
Music by: Graeme Revell
Starring: Jason David Frank, Amy Jo Johnson, Steve Cardenas, Johnny Yong Bosch, David Yost, Karan Ashley, Paul Freeman, Paul Schrier, Jason Narvy, Nicholas Bell, Robert L. Manahan, Peta-Maree Rixon, Richard Wood, Jamie Croft, Gabrielle Fitzpatrick, Julia Cortez, Barbara Goodson, Mark Ginther, Robert Axelrod, Kerry Casey, Kerrigan Mahan, Jean Paul Bell
Ah, the Power Rangers! Probably one of the first TV series to expose me to the fact that a lot of adults could get paranoid over quite a little bit. Remember that story about how Power Rangers inspired kids to stab one another? Or that one about how it encouraged kids to jump off balconies? I sure do. It was also one of the first series many of us likely experienced backlash over, as Power Rangers was a series that kids who felt that they had passed some agreed upon threshold where it was no longer acceptable (or even never was acceptable) to watch the series would tease kids like me who (usually) openly admitted to watching it. Naturally, the Power Rangers’ first theatrical film was a big event for some of my friends and me. It was also the reason for the only time I recall ever being able to make myself cry in desperation. Long story short, my friend did something to piss off our babysitter, and she threatened to not take us to see it. He called her bluff, and she actually called it off. Frustrated because I hadn’t done anything, I worked up a lot of tears, and, yeah… I earned some sympathy points, and we went to see it anyway. Read more…
FINALLY! The moment I’ve been building up to for far too long! It’s been a busy month… and a half… for me, but I’m finally done, and this is my last of my 2013 in Review articles! (Consequently, while none of these are exactly final reviews, many of them may as well be and portions of what is stated here may show up in a future review. For the sake of my sanity and my time, however, I’ve decided to present what I felt the need to write without very many edits!)
The format I’ve chosen for my annual Year in Review articles is a bit insane, I know, but while it’s time consuming, its also quite fun, and it’s just as much about sharing all the films released in the last year (or at least most, as I probably missed some in the sections where I went over films I didn’t get around to seeing) as it is about me locating films that you and I have both overlooked, which is also why a lot of the films I didn’t see this year made repeat appearances, as I couldn’t resist the urge to watch them, and it’s not like I’d be able to do another year in review for them, too, you know? This year, one of those movies I didn’t see at first but did during my writing these articles even made it onto this list, My Top Films of the Year!
So why don’t I call it “The Best Films of the Year”? It’s simple, really – it’s subjective, yes, but it’s also because even I switch around the order at times. I guarantee you that at some point in the past and future, I might have ordered these films differently. It took some time and thought, and this is ultimately what I felt comfortable enough with to publish, but I’ll tell you that this was a hard process, particularly in the top 10.
All of this year’s Best Picture Academy Award nominees are on this list. Seriously – I’ve even decided to mark the Oscar nominations this year. They were all very good and justifiably nominated, and while I might have my preferences as to who should win, they’re all remarkable, worthwhile films if you should ever consider watching them. Some of the other movies on this list, however, are also quite awesome, some of which I like better than the films that were nominated, and one of which I’m still very annoyed didn’t at least get the tenth vacant slot in their nominees list, just out of principle for how awesome it was. (I’m just going to tell you now, that movie is Inside Llewyn Davis.) How annoying!
So what of the rankings? Lists like these tend to demand them, so I include them, and I do think they are helpful in making priorities in our very busy lives as to what to see first and give preference to. Since the rankings are so subjective and sometimes even arbitrary, my main rule is to go with my gut on these things. Seriously. That’s what it boils down to. It’s a mixture of favoritism, enjoyment, entertainment, and, yes, the actual skill behind the scenes and within them. As such, films that were without a doubt brilliant masterpieces that will go on to receive tons of accolades and be remembered forever may be outranked by flash-in-the-pan popcorn films that have very little to say except, “Hey, look at this awesome thing we did!” but were also very skilled at doing so and are films that I will revisit time and time again whenever I want to be entertained. It’s hard to rank films of these sorts against one another, and if I felt that I could be that much more objective about these things and take out the entertainment factor, I would probably top load this list with all the heavyweight dramas and such. But I don’t think I can, so I don’t put up any airs of being able to do so.
But, you know, I think that’s alright. Variety is the spice of life, you know, and to say that dramas should be exalted at all times above the comedies and action films is, I think, false doctrine when it comes to film criticism and lessens the true value of joy and wonderment that isn’t always found in those serious dramas – so long as that joy and wonderment is done very well, of course.
So, with that all in mind, I feel I’ve prepared you for this eclectic list of my picks for not just the best films of the year, but also the ones that are my favorites, the ones I find most enjoyable, and the ones that blew me away with their spectacle. Read more…
Produced by: Shinichi Iguchi, Hiroaki Inoue, Hiroshi Kakoi, Hirotake Kanda, Keiji Kusano, Minoru Takanashi
Written by: Sukehiro Tomita
Art Direction by: Hidenori Nakahata
Cinematography by: Kazuhiro Konishi
Music by: Shirô Sagisu
Starring: Tsutomu Takayama, Hiroko Kasahara, Yumi Tôma, Yoshisada Sakaguchi, Bin Shimada, Yukio Satō, Ryūzaburō Ōtomo, Takeshi Kusao, Yoshisada Sakaguchi, Tōru Furuya, Ryōtarō Okiayu, Takeshi Watabe, Aya Hara
This is honestly the first non-Studio Ghibli, non-video-game-related anime movie I’ve ever really sat down to watch with the intention of actually watching the thing all the way through to the end. My friend who had suggested K-PAX a while ago had originally suggested the original Macross movie (actually a TV program edited into a movie which is more accurately named The Super Dimension Fortress Macross, but… well, we’ll just stick to Macross for this review), but, upon browsing Netflix, it looked like all they carried was the series version that spanned 8 discs – and there was no way I was going to watch all that. Hence, the coaxing of his left field suggestion of K-PAX. But, lucky for me, my friend had figured out that, yes, there is actually a Macross movie I could review, and he just so happened to own it: Macross II: The Movie (a.k.a.: The Super Dimension Fortress Macross II: Lovers Again, though, again, we’ll just shorten it to Macross II). Read more…
Produced by: Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni, Guillermo del Toro, Mary Parent
Written by: Travis Beacham, Guillermo del Toro
Edited by: Peter Amundson, John Gilroy
Cinematography by: Guillermo Navarro
Music by: Ramin Djawadi
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Burn Gorman, Robert Kazinsky, Max Martini, Ron Perlman, Ellen McLain (voice)
In a year that’s been packed to the brim with follow-ups and counterparts to fan favorites, so far, I have to say that, as much as I may have loved movies like Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, and even Star Trek Into Darkness, I can declaratively state that one of the best things I’ve seen so far was this giant machines vs. giant monsters film that, despite alluding to anime like Gundam and giant monster movies like Gojira, is a completely original thing. This makes it all that much more of a tragedy, as in its first weekend, it has already fallen behind two sequels – Despicable Me 2, which had already been out for longer than a week but at least has a built-in family audience, and Grown Ups 2, which by all means really shouldn’t be a thing that exists based solely on the amount of figurative and literal human waste that went into making the first, let alone be more popular than something as magnificent as Pacific Rim. (Seriously, all you who looked forward to watching a sequel to the glorified home movie that was the first probably have some kind of issue. Seek help. Also, I hate you.) Read more…