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Review: Bright

A bright is a being that can hold a magic wand without exploding. Magic wands are so powerful that only a few people can touch them, and everyone else wants to control it because of the immense possibilities of it. And if you get all five in one place you can summon the dark lord, and enslave the humans once more.

So when a wand turns up on the wrong side of town everything goes wrong, and there are only two cops standing in the way of the destruction of an entire city.

The premise had me from the first commercial. An orc cop? Yes, please! Fairies stealing from bird feeders? Okay! Elves and centaurs on LA streets? Sign me up!

I was not disappointed. The story line was good, even if the ending was a bit predictable. The main characters were well fleshed out, and I loved the interaction between the orc and main cop. Of course the orc has problems of his own since everyone wants him gone, especially other cops.

If there was one disappointment it was that magic was mostly window dressing. There are a few integral scenes where magic plays a roll, and the orc civilization is fairly fleshed out, but we know very little about elves (other than they are rich snobs) and other races are only briefly mentioned or seen in a couple frames standing still.

Overall worth watching, and I hope for a sequel.

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Posted by on December 25, 2017 in On Writing

 

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Review: Spectral

netflix-spectral-prostokat Part war movie, part sci-fi ghost story, Spectral was an amazing cross genre movie. A lot of action, a lot of mystery, and a whole lot of “what the heck just happened?” in a good way.

Set in a somewhat futuristic society where troops are trying to protect yet another city from displaced insurgents, a loan engineer finds himself stuck between a rock and a hard place. Go back home and forget he saw anything, or stay and help figure out what’s killing soldiers and civilians alike. Ghost like apparitions that could be soldiers in invisible camouflage, or….something else.

The main focus of this movie is the battle between the soldiers, and the apparitions, less about the personal interactions. You won’t find a sappy love story, or heart warming coming to know yourself. This is all about the action. And there is a lot of it.

spectralgrenadesThe “ghosts” are grounded in some pseudo science, giving some explanation as to what they are and where they came from. As is the weaponry the soldiers fight with. But the pseudo science is really glossed over, and you can’t take a look at it too closely or you might see just how unrealistic it is. However, some of the visuals they use to get the science across is pretty amazing. Weapons, armor, and techno gizmos are awesome to look at, and a cos-players dream.

Being as this was an action movie, above all else, I had to appreciate some of the military tactics, while scoffing at others. They do make a convincing formation moving into a building. They do not, however, utilize tactics for entering an unknown location. Information is the key, and they didn’t seem to have much before rushing into a building headlong. Plus one of the scientists is so head strong that she takes some stupid risks to prove her point. Bad tactical risks.

I also found it curious how quickly their engineer was able to whip up a bunch of gadgets. The world is about to end and he has time to make enough weaponry to outfit an entire battalion? Hard to suspend your disbelief on that one, but the ending battle was glorious because of it.

For all the pseudo science, I did find the lore of the ghosts to be interesting. I liked how they presented them, and how they stopped them. The visual effects were beautiful, as well. The ghosts had just enough weak points to made the battle scenes more interesting, but were still a formidable foe. It was only the Achilles heel that managed to take them out in the end.

Still, for a military sci-fi movie, it isn’t so overbearingly military that I lost interest, and the paranormal has enough of an interesting angle that it might keep more action junkies happy to the end.

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2016 in Review

 

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Review: Jessica Jones

Jessica JonesI finished watching Jessica Jones just last month and I have to say that it is one of my favorite shows to come out last year.

They did a great job of setting the series up. Here we have a bad ass woman who doesn’t take crap from anyone, and has the strength of a hundred men. Then someone mentions Killgrave and she’s visibly terrified. This bad ass chick that just lifted a car, jumped to the second story of a building without a problem, and gives no fucks about anyone or anything, is terrified of this guy. This guy must be really dangerous if she’s scared of him, right?

Then we start finding out what kind of a completely messed up guy this really is, and what he does to his victims. Mind control with absolutely no conscious, no empathy. It’s horrifying. He thinks nothing of telling people to kill themselves, or others, or having children sit in a closet and die of starvation, unable to move or call for help just because he told them not to. It’s one of the most sadistic villains I’ve ever seen in a super hero movie or TV series.

Jessica Jones at first decides to run. She wants to get as far away from Killgrave as possible, but even in running we see that she has altruism at heart. She isn’t running because she’s afraid of what he’ll do to her, he’s already raped and tortured her, and while that’s terrible it isn’t the worst he can do. She’s terrified of what he will make her do to other people.

This is the crux of the entire season of Jessica Jones. She isn’t fighting for herself, I sometimes wondered if she could fight for herself. She’s motivated by helping others, and trying to stop Killgrave from harming anyone else.

The creators of Jessica Jones really did their homework on the psychology of abuse victims. While not everyone reacts the same to abuse there are some similarities that they portrayed throughout the season. There are a group of Killgrave’s victims that come together and discuss what happened to them, and try to overcome their problems together. Then there is Jessica Jones who shuns such help, and would rather drink away her memories. The sharp contrast serves to set her apart from everyone. She doesn’t want their help, even if she sometimes needs it.

Krysten Ritter does a phenomenal job of portraying Jessica Jones, a smart, sassy woman who’s tough as nails and broken at the same time. Her opposite, Killgrave, played by David Tenant, does a fantastic job of bringing a horrible villain to life with all his quirks and idiosyncrasy. Together they make a nail biting series that I just could not stop watching.

They even play homage to the origin of the characters. Killgrave, once The Purple Man, is seen wearing purple suits in a couple of episodes. Jessica Jones’ sister brings out a costume for her to wear, a copy of the Jewel costume that she wore in the comics.

Like Dare Devil before this, Jessica Jones is one of my favorite super hero shows. I think Marvel did the right thing in giving Netflix the go ahead to make these series. With more planned I feel that my subscription to Netflix is the best value in TV I can get.

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2016 in Review

 

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Review: Between

I’ve been watching a lot of Netflix originals lately. They are usually great shows with interesting plots, great writing, some fantastic directing, etc. Daredevil and Jessica Jones are fantastic. Hide of Cards is captivating. Etc.

So tonight I sat down to do some Christmas decorating and thought I’d try “Between”. The premise seemed interesting. An unknown disease kills off everyone in a small town over the age of 22 leaving the children and young adults to fend for themselves. The government swoops in with promises of a cure and quarantines them.

Add in some tensions between some of the high school boys, a couple of love triangles, and a couple of mysteries and you have yourself a TV show, right?

Well, no. Not a good one at least.

I’m kind of sad because it has some interesting story elements, but the writing for this show just goes flat. The characters aren’t believable, and half the things going on are just contrived. In the six episodes there are a handful of interesting moments, but often the bad plot line or mediocre acting gets in the way.

I could have lived with mediocre acting. But the story and unconvincing character lines just couldn’t make up for it. In the end I have to say: don’t watch it. Go watch Jessica Jones instead.

Want an example? One of the main guys is a “rich boy” that almost kills someone by speeding past them, then gets out of trouble because money. Then when his parents die he suddenly wants to take charge, and he gets ahold of a bunch of guns to do it.

Then there is the sisters, one a teen pregnant and about to give her child up for adoption. The other a ministers daughter to the core constantly going on about her sister needing to repent.

Most of the characters are stereotypes. It’s incredibly lazy writing. And I kind of wonder if the director didn’t take half a vacation while this was being edited. It’s that bad.

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2015 in Review

 

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