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REVIEW: Pokémon: The First Movie – Mewtwo Strikes Back

February 25, 2016 Leave a comment
Pokemon: The First MovieDirected by: Kunihiko Yuyama
Produced by: Choji Yoshikawa, Tomoyuki Igarashi, Takemoto Mori; Norman J. Grossfeld (U.S.)
Written by: Takeshi Shud­o; Norman J. Grossfeld, Michael Haigney, John Touhey (U.S.)
Edited by: Toshio Henmi, Yutaka Ito
Cinematography by: Hisao Shirai
Music by: Shinji Miyazaki; John Loeffler, Ralph Schuckett (U.S.)
Starring: Veronica Taylor, Ikue Otani, Rachael Lillis, Eric Stuart, Ken gates, Philip Bartlett, Megan Hollingshead, Stomi Korogi, Maddie Blaustein, Tara Jayne, Jimmy Zoppi, Ed Paul, Lisa Ortiz, Kayzie Rogers, Ed Paul
Based on the Pokémon series of video games created by Satoshi Tajiri and the Pokémon TV series
Year: 1999

 

2016 marks the 20th anniversary of the Pokémon video games, and so I thought I’d commemorate the event.

I used to be very into the Pokémon games and anime. My sister and I used to recite the Team Rocket motto for fun (I can still do it all from memory, inflections and all, in fact), and I used to own all three versions of the original games released in the U.S., not to mention a whole slew of the trading cards (including the three original legendary birds – Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres, which my mom so lovingly sought out by name for my big Christmas present one year – and the Ancient Mew card that came out with early tickets of the second film) and some of the spinoff games. There was also my prized Game Boy Printer, which is yellow and Pikachu-themed and was released only in Japan, where I was living as a very nerdy 10 – 12-year-old when the games initially released. I even had a pair of Pikachu and Togepi boxer shorts, and my first ever email account was pokemonmaster1@hotmail.com – because while plain ol’ “pokemonmaster” was already taken, I didn’t care because I was #1! Read more…

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2014 IN REVIEW: The Films I Didn’t See (May – August)

January 24, 2015 1 comment

Maleficent - Angelina Jolie

I’m not going to waste too much time this year on introductions. For this second part of my review of films I didn’t see, we’re going through the summer blockbuster season, which is typically where a lot of hopeful franchises and big, loud, action-packed spectacles are typically placed. That doesn’t mean that they’re stupid or anything, as some of them look quite good, but don’t expect too many of them to be all that deep or groundbreaking.

Yes, 2014 may have been a record year for me seeing the most movies from that year, but there were still movies I never got around to or never even had the ability to see due to either foreign or limited release. I still like going over them, however, as this process often leads  to me finding some unexpected gems that I might enjoy. Some of these I might become so interested in that I see them before I even get to the films I did see, so there is actually a possibility you might see these films reappear in this 2014 in Review series if that becomes the case.

Anyway, here are many of the films from May to August 2014 that I didn’t see, for one reason or another. It’s by no means complete, but that’s what you get when you’re using Wikipedia and Best of/Worst of lists from other sites. Read more…

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REVIEW: Super Mario Bros.

September 6, 2014 Leave a comment
Super Mario Bros.Directed by: Rocky Morton, Annabel Jankel
Produced by: Jake Eberts, Roland Joffé
Written by: Parker Benett, Terry Runté, Ed Solomon
Edited by: Mark Goldblatt
Cinematography by: Dean Semler
Music by: Alan Silvestri
Starring: Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo, Dennis Hopper, Samantha Mathis, Fisher Stevens, Richard Edson, Fiona Shaw, Mojo Nixon, Dana Kaminski, Francesca Roberts, Don Lake, Gianni Russo, Frank Welker, Dan Castellaneta, Lance Henriksen
Based on the Nintendo video game series created by Shigeru Miyamoto
Year: 1993

You know, there was a lot of controversy in the 1990s, mostly spurred by the 1992 and 1993 release of the first two Mortal Kombat games. Regardless of your feelings on that particular series, however, it did lead to some good: the creation of the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) and the industry wide adoption of its ratings system, which has successfully given parents absolutely no excuse for blaming games for their children acting out… or, at least, that was the idea in theory, but you get the idea. However, perhaps the most disconcerting thing about the early 90s in regards to video games was the sudden proliferation of movie adaptations of video games – bad ones. REALLY bad ones. Double Dragon, Street Fighter, a toned down PG-13 film based on Mortal Kombat and its even worse sequel, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation… It’s a trend that has continued to this day throughout the Resident Evil films, the tax write-offs directed by German anti-auteur Uwe Boll, up to today, with the recent Need for Speed garnering a whopping 22% approval on Rotten Tomatoes. Read more…

2013 IN REVIEW: The Films I Didn’t See (May – August)

January 18, 2014 2 comments

Monsters University - Mike Wazowski

Blockbuster season. Typically the season where most of the most anticipated films of the year — the ones that were hyped perhaps years in advance — are released. Since 2012 was the year when The Avengers gave us the first superhero team-up film and the year when The Dark Knight Trilogy came to a close, 2013 looked like it was going to be rather underwhelming this time of year. I already mentioned that Iron Man 3 was released in April, starting the season early, but Thor: The Dark World wasn’t coming until October!

So that left us with two major superhero films to look forward to: Man of Steel, which divided audiences and critics alike in its more serious, violent portrayal of Superman, and The Wolverine, which made good on its promise to improve upon its abysmal predecessor and managed to be both coherent and quite entertaining. Pixar and DreamWorks continued their rivalries, however, with the release of Pixar’s first prequel, Monsters University, and DreamWorks’ first sequel to cash-cow Despicable Me. (The less said about Turbo, the better.) World War Z finally came out and, predictably, did very well for itself, what with people being starved for zombie entertainment until the next season of The Walking Dead started. Summer also saw the release of some fairly big “prestige” films, however, the likes of which you’d normally expect to come out during the fall and winter Oscar season: Fruitvale Station, The Spectacular Now, and Blue Jasmine each received widespread critical acclaim.

Perhaps my most anticipated films of the summer were Star Trek Into Darkness, Pacific Rim, and The World’s End, which were all released during this time, and I personally actually enjoyed each of them immensely, though to also varying degrees. This was the time period where I did get promoted at my job and also got a raise, so I was able to see a few more films that I just wanted to see during this time. Nevertheless, I couldn’t see them all, so, as with the last time, here are the films that, as of this writing, I did not see from May– August 2013, in order of release, as noted on Wikipedia. Please note that, as in the past, I still reserve the right to watch any film that is listed here and then re-remark on the film in one of the upcoming articles on films I did see from 2013. So, yes, again, you might see some of these films again, and soon… Read more…

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Sidequest: How to Make a Proper “The Legend of Zelda” Film

November 16, 2011 4 comments

This blog is about film, I know, but, right now, my biggest anticipation isn’t an upcoming film. No. Right now all I can think about is rekindling a love affair with an old flame: video games.

Before I was a film nut, like all kids from the 80’s onward, I was a video game nut. I loved video games so much, I wanted to make them!– up until the end of high school when I got a clue and realized, “Wait, I hate math. I don’t want to program this!” It also became immediately clear that video game development is a black hole for your personal life, too. I don’t think people realize how many man hours go into making modern blockbuster games these days like Modern Warfare 3. Read a few anonymous behind-the-scenes anecdotes on The Trenches (brought to you by the guys who make the video game webcomic,  Penny Arcade), and you’ll see what I mean!

I continued to play them, of course. But slowly obligations began to take over. College took over. And other obligations, like church. And I soon found myself out of time and, most of all, out of energy. Even so, I continue to keep up on most of the latest games and trends in the industry. I look on with envy at games like Batman: Arkham CityAssassins Creed, andUltimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and wish I still had the drive to play video games like I used to. Alas, etc.

But I have a feeling that’s all going to change this coming Sunday. Why? Oh, it’s just a little game series known as…

Yes, I've named my adorable little kitty Zelda, too!

The Legend of Zelda is my all time favorite game series. I’ve owned every official game, and I wouldn’t exactly turn down even the unofficial Philips CD-i Zelda games if I were given the right price! I own versions of the games on other platforms just so I was able to play the games again on other platforms! I lust after this 25th Anniversary Nintendo 3DS that comes with Ocarina of Time 3D, despite the fact that I own the game on both Nintendo 64 and GameCube (…twice!).

You might be asking yourself, though, why am I writing an article about a video game on a movie blog? Well, while I know that it’s a longshot (Pun! Get it? If you played Zelda you would!), I almost feel that it’s inevitable that sometime in the future — some distant time in the future — someone out there will think “We can make that into a movie!” And you know what? I wouldn’t exactly mind.

That is, I wouldn’t mind seeing it adapted if it meant that the filmmakers were able to stick to a few guidelines and avoid the trap that so many other video game films have fallen prey to. And so I offer these rough suggestions as to what needs to be done to make a successful Zelda film. Read more…

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