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Kimi no na wa. (2016)
The Evolution of Anime
Your Name is the pinnacle of animation, giving new meaning to the word beautiful. Makoto Shinkai has a knack for creating visually stunning anime's. But "Your Name" is without a doubt his best work. Giving his story layers of depth while adding weight to his characters. What starts out as a simple body switching science fiction, evolves into a romantic tale that would put most movies to shame. Breathtaking visuals that make you forget that your watching an animation. Why Your Name stands out is; the lack of exposition, there's very little narration in this film. Makoto gives his audience the benefit of the doubt, trusting that viewers are smart enough to follow the layers of story while engulfed in the stunning world that he has created. The details in this film are overwhelming, in each viewing you notice something new, which makes this an animation you can re-watch. Accompanied by a lavish soundtrack, that gives this fantastic animation immense emotional weight which makes this an anime you won't soon forget.
The Orville (2017)
A Welcome Surprise
I'm a fan of science fiction and I love to laugh and that's why Galaxy Quest is a movie I hold in high regards to this day. When I saw the trailers for this series, I thought; there making Galaxy Quest into a TV show and MacFarlane is producing it? A recipe for disaster... Or so I thought, much to my bewilderment, this series was actually funny and they didn't gloss over the characters. There's actual development. It was refreshing. The show balances drama and humor in a delicate fashion that makes it hard to believe that this is Seth's work. Don't get me wrong, I'm actually a fan of his humor, but his story telling has always lacked a certain facade. The story is about Captain Ed Mercer who gets assigned to a mid-level Intergalactic ship. Where he is appointed his ex-wife as his Executive officer. At it's core the show thrives on it's entertainment value and that is a trait that shouldn't be overlooked. If they can keep the sense of humor and pacing of the series, I believe we are in for a fun ride and at the end of the day that's all we can ask for. If you haven't already, I would recommend seeing Galaxy Quest before/after you see this, there are uncanny similarities and I for one loved it.
Dark Matter: Nowhere to Go (2017)
Knowing too much of your future is never a good thing
What separates this show from most is it's characters, as good as the story is, the narrative is driven by the characters motivation, and the perfect example of this is shown to us in this episode, as Six is willing to give his life for his beliefs. I was expecting Three and Marcus Boone to switch places, but that would have been predictable and I'm glad that the writers can keep us guessing. I love the other side of Two and hope we get to see more of Portia in the upcoming season, although the show has yet to be renewed, I'm certain that they will give this show it's well deserved fourth season, not doing so would be a crime. I know this show doesn't have a big budget, but the visual effects were astounding, particularly in this episode. Perhaps the best aspect of the show is the foreshadowing of future episodes, as seen on episode four where the Android travels to the future and Five tells her of the events to come, and now there all happening. Which leaves me to wonder, is fate inevitable?
Not Bad, Just doesn't live up to it's legacy
If you were a fan of the original film as I was, you will enjoy the small Easter eggs in the film. As for the animation itself, the story was good, mainly because it felt like it was trying to relate to real life. A little heavy on politics and how important leadership is. The major issue with this film is the pacing, I love humor in any film especially action, however in this case I couldn't even crack a smile. Which put a damper on the pace of the film. If this was directed at a younger audience then it would be excusable, but since this is an R- rated animation, I cannot overlook it. That being said, I did tear up a few times, not because of any emotional scene but because of the nostalgic feeling it gave me, quotes like"you want to live forever?" made me recall the original film. Is it too much to ask for a live action sequel to the original.
Uneven Story Telling is Boosted by Spectacular Visuals
Adapted from Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézières long-running French sci-fi comics series Valérian And Laureline. Luc Besson creates a stunning visual feast. Besson's attention to detail is immaculate. And that along side the quirky dialog's between Laureline and Valerian are what keep this film afloat. I might be in the minority, but I prefer my films to be lengthy. However in this case, Valerian feels overstuffed trying to add more depth to the story at every turn. This film might have benefited from a shorter run time. The biggest surprise was Laureline(Delevingne), her character is what kept my interest throughout the film and her acting was actually on point. As someone who was skeptical about her casting, I'm glad to be proved wrong. Not saying it's her breakout performance, Just saying she's improving and perhaps she might have a future as an actress. Everyone deserves a second chance.
Good Time (2017)
Pattinsons Breakout Performance
This is an intense film that draws you in from the opening shot to the ending credits. Connie(Pattinson) manipulates his girlfriend Corey(Jennifer Jason Leigh) into paying Nicks bail money, However he's unaware that her mother is onto him and she blocks the credit cards before the payment can go through. Connie desperate to get his brother out of Riker's. When his brother is transferred to Elmhurst Hospital, Connie must resort to violence to break him out. This is a thought-provoking film. Which ultimately makes you ponder the question: How far would you go to protect someone you love? I'm going to be blunt, I've never been a fan of Pattinsons acting. However, I'm big enough to admit that I've judged him too quickly. And after you see his performance in Good Time, you might just agree with me.
The Safdie brothers have created a film that will keep you invested in the story almost as much as the characters, quite frankly I've never heard of these directors. However after this film I will be Keeping an eye out. The screenplay is also worth mentioning this might not be the most original film, but the dialogues keep the clichés at bay.
My Fight is Over
What starts at a gradual pace, quickly escalates into a run for survival. Even if that means leaving someone behind. The show has always been centered on the premise of survival and in the epic season finale we see the lengths they are willing to go to. I'm going to be honest the episode was average, but the ending. I'm going to say perfect. I know, That might be a bit far but to see Clarke at peace in this show, it was like a moment we've been waiting for since the beginning. Even if it was short lived. I relished every second of it. The prison transport was a nice twist. Also who was the night blood next to Clarke? Questions that will be answered in the next season I suppose.
I gotta give credit to these actors they've really flushed out these characters. In particular Eliza Taylor, I might be biased though, Clarke has been my favorite character since the beginning. I don't know if I could say this was my favorite episode because there were a lot of great(not a term I use loosely) episodes this season. Although in my opinion this was the best ending in the series. I look forward to the adventures that await us in the future.
The 100: The Chosen (2017)
From The Ashes We Will Rise
This episode felt like it was setting up for the season finale, as the race to save Raven begins with our heroins being ambushed by grounders, who intend to take there suits to survive. Just when you think that hope is lost, Echo comes racing. Say what you will about her, but you gotta admit she's a survivor. Perhaps the highlight of the episode was Kane's decision to gas his people. You can tell that it wasn't an easy choice. I like the idea for the season finale, not every show can come full circle after four seasons. I have high hopes for the future of this show, suffice to say, it's gonna be hard to topple this season. Five years in space is going to be a challenge, to say the least. Than again, they were born there. After the hell they went through on the ground, Space is gonna be serene(yeah right). Also, they might wanna give the bunker a heads up before going along with this, I mean there spots were reserved. So you might want to bring back some of the people they threw out. Preferably before they wake up.
I don't think it would be feedback if I didn't point out a flaw. In this case, it's Abby. She seems suicidal. I mean yes, she want's to clear a spot for someone else and that's noble. But she's a doctor. Who's more valuable than that? Doesn't she know that she would be a major asset if she stayed. It just seemed out of character.
The 100: Die All, Die Merrily (2017)
The writers have outdone themselves
This is without a doubt the best episode of the season and maybe even the series. It feels like the writers have blended the best elements of the previous season and created a story where they meet. For instance Clarke's rash decision to take the bunker, Some might argue that it was against her character, Yet she has always been willing to do whatever it takes to survive and this episode dug down on those roots. Which brings me to why she didn't take Octavia with her, perhaps she was worried that someone would notice her absence? Or maybe she thought Octavia would never go along with this plan, then again, will Bellamy? This is the only issue I had with the episode. Also the conflict between Octavia and Clarke would be an interesting story to explore in the future(season five?).
I'm going to be honest, I was skeptical when I started this season, But the writers have brought back the sense of adventure we used to love. As well as keeping the show unpredictable and sophisticated, which in my opinion is the best aspects of this show. On a side note, it was nice to see the Blake's take a step toward redemption. Hate to see siblings at odds. The writers have built a strong foundation, not just for the season finale, but for the next season as well.
As funny and charming as the first
As someone who was floored by the first film, I was eager to see how the second installment in Gunn's trilogy(yes, it's a trilogy now) would pan out. To be honest, I was a bit anxious, as we are familiar with Hollywoods track record when it comes to sequels. However there are rare moments when the sequel lives up to it's predecessor. As is the case here, as Gunn delivers the same charm, humor and emotion as the first film. The big difference is the focus on Peter's story, As our heroin meets his long lost father Ego(brilliantly played by Kurt Russell), who shows up at the knick of time, as Rocket pisses off Ayesha(Elizabeth Debicki) who sends a space armada after them. To add the cherry on top of this pie is the soundtrack(Sam Cooke's Bring it on Home to Me), that was meticulously chosen. If you were a fan of the first, don't doubt, Gunn delivers a space opera that lives up to it's hype. I have high hopes for the future of the MCU, it's clear that the studio let Gunn's creativity speak for itself and boy did he have a lot to say.