So the final season of Castlevania came out today, and I was beyond satisfied. Incredible animation, good use of CGI to create vibrant and enthralling scenes throughout each episode, and a story that makes perfect sense within the established universe. This final season left no one out, making sure every character got a fitting resolution to their story. My favorite characters at the end are definitely Isaac and Alucard, as they did the most growing throughout the story, becoming the best possible versions of themselves they could become. I give this season a 9.4/10 and the series as a whole a 9.5/10. It’s practically perfect!
So I’m a few days late, but I just finished Godzilla vs Kong, a movie I’ve been hype about since I saw Skull Island in theaters. I love monster movies, they remind me of my favorite video game from middle school War of The Monsters. My one complaint with monster movies, is the same as my complaint with Transformers, certain comic films, etc. These types of projects used to be referred to as “popcorn flicks”, then later called “blockbusters”, and now called “event” films. Many in Hollywood seem to have a problem with these films in a post MCU era, and some seek to humanize them. That line of thinking is what causes flops like the 2005 King Kong with Jack Black, or every Transformers movie after the second one. The problem? Too much human, not enough “the thing we bought a ticket to see”. I don’t care about the sad divorced wife in King of Monsters, or the terrorists with really weird motivations, I just want to see Godzilla shoot his atomic breath and roar at a big monster.
This may be the very first monster movie to get the balance completely right. In all honesty, this is the best application of the MCU formula (aside from the MCU itself). Bringing back characters from both of the previous films and giving them important, yet not distracting, roles to play in the plot. I was able to enjoy their time on screen unlike previous films where I couldn’t wait for them to go away. The action, story, character motivations and everything else in this film is honestly perfect for a blockbuster monster movie. I enjoyed every second, even when I could predict what was coming, because that’s the point of movies like this. We don’t watch these to feel something, be left guessing at Easter eggs, or receive social commentary, we watch because the idea of King Kong punching Godzilla in the face is fucking awesome, and this movies absolutely delivers that awesomeness.
So, I only watched this movie out of boredom and TikTok showing me a trailer times. If I’m being honest, I didn’t expect to enjoy it, Say what you will, but I still have bad tastes in my mouth from Tall Girl and The Kissing Booth (I refuse to watch the sequel) but I figured reviewing a bad movie with a lot of buzz would generate some traffic. Yes I confess, I did it out of boredom and clicks. Imagine my surprise when this one actually turned out good. Let me repeat, it’s good, but not great. The parts that work, work pretty well, but there’s a handful of parts that didn’t work for me. There’s a trans woman character whose story is incredibly valid ad non-offensive, but they only give it a single scene, there’s a beautiful LGBT moment that never gets more exploration, and even though the main girl did create the thing, a group of black women are the ones who turned it into a movement. The best moments are honest the ones that break your expectations and make the film more about intersectional feminism and not just a rebellious white kid. I won’t spoil it for you, but there’s a truly great scene in the later half that brings up the always avoided issue of race.
Personally I hope this movie gets a ton of buzz and becomes the generation girl film it wants to be. It’s a thousand times better than the mess my generation got (Mean Girls is TRASH and I will die on that hill) and way better than a lot of other movies being pushed to teens right now.
So I want to start off by saying this is going to be full of spoilers. I know I usually keep them as minimal as possible but that’s impossible with this film. This film is a masterpiece, and I can only speak of it fully and without restraint. But before I get into the film I want to address the elephants in the room. Yes, there is an age difference between the two actors and if that bothers you, go back and look at how old Margot Robbie was in Wolf of Wall Street. Yes, the writer of this film is Sam Levinson, a white man, but this movie came equally from Zendaya herself so please don’t limit it with woke race discussions, and yes, this movie was made with a skeleton crew during a global pandemic and the crew was given back end points on the film so they could make more money and take care of their families in a pandemic that is still leaving hundreds of thousands of people financially destroyed.
I’ve been in some toxic relationships, I’ve had friends in toxic relationships, and this film captured that situation perfectly. Nights that should be happy turn into wars, conversations become minefields or rabbit holes, and even though you know you should leave, you’re so in love you stay put. In my own life, I’ve had many nights devolve into partners crying to me, asking me to talk them out of suicide, and when it was all said and done, I was left alone, now full of misery, with no one to talk me off the ledge. Malcolm is a man who thinks everything should be good because he just released the best film of his career, but he’s also a confident and somewhat entitled educated man whose hubris blocks him from seeing and understanding fairly obvious things. Marie is a broken and damaged woman who at the end of the day, just wants to be appreciated. Disagreements, years worth of pain and trauma get put on display as the couple has the most honest and raw fight I think I’ve ever seen in a film. Even the music in the film is an extension of the fight.
This was my first time seeing John David Washington on screen and I am thoroughly impressed. As someone whose been a fan of Zendaya for quite some time now it was truly inspiring to see these two talents do this torturous, relentless, yet beautiful dance. With genius lighting and camera work this film is a game changer for cinema and should definitely be on everyone’s lips during award season
Fav scene: The knife
So, I’m a huge MGK fan, and his latest album Tickets To My Downfall is one of the main pieces of media that helped me survive 2020. I’ve been obsessed with the album since he first tweeted about it as an idea back in 2019, and it’s probably my favorite album from last year. So of course I had high hopes for his debut film Downfalls High, and after watching this morning I can say that while it’s not what I expected, I did very much enjoy it. Without spoiling anything, I’ll say that it’s not the visual album experience I was originally expecting, something kinda like Fall Out Boy’s Save Rock & Roll project, but it doesn’t have the full realization that I think it deserves either. The project was made in four days in pandemic conditions which is truly amazing, the story and characters are well written and performed, I just wanted more of it. It felt unfinished, there’s no real sense of closure. It’s a rushing flood of different emotions that hits for the entire runtime and then credits. It feels like a show that’s season finale was a cliffhanger and then didn’t get another season.
I NEED MORE
I had no idea what this show was about, but I’d heard from a lot of people I respect that it was, at the very least, really pretty. Holy shit! Not only is every single frame of this show drawn in great detail, but the mixture of 3D models works so well it’s barely noticeable. I’m generally not a fan of using 3D elements in anime because it can look weird and be a bit jarring to my eyes, however, every frame of Violet Evergarden is a masterpiece. I never looked away from the screen because it’s just so unbelievably beautiful. The story structure as well is a kind of one off episodic style I usually hate because it reminds me of sitcoms, but Violet Evergarden uses this formula in a way I’ve never seen before. The main plot of this series isn’t a mystery, or a great evil, it’s Violet herself, so everything that happens is important, no matter how trivial it may sound. This series might honestly be in my top 5 of all time, just waiting to see the final film later this year.
So I sat down to watch Soul last night, and I have to say it was really incredible. I was absolutely delighted at the artistry and the unique depictions of many black characters, as well as how genuine the writing felt. This was a genuine depiction of blackness used to tell a marvelous story. Also, to those who were worried, no, Joe doesn’t spend the whole movie a blue blob. Jamie Foxx plays the best version of himself he’s probably ever done and I loved hearing so many black voices I recognized like Daveed Diggs, Questlove, and more. My only complaint with the film is a deeply personal one, it was actually too relatable.
I suffer from a myriad of mental illnesses, and my biggest fear is death. Not the act of dying, but what happens when we die. Do we go somewhere? Does our existence just stop? I’m fighting a panic attack just writing these words. The finality of existence is the one thing I have never been able to come to terms with, and it’s something that we all face no matter what choices we make while we’re here. I believe in some kind of higher power but organized religion just never worked for me, and my greatest wish in the world is to be immortal, or to have someone from the other side tell me what’s coming. So a movie all about death, and the finality of life, especially one done so well, was honestly deeply uncomfortable for me. I’m glad I watched it but I don’t think I could ever watch it again.
So let me start by saying I love the first Wonder Woman film. I’m also a fan of Wonder Woman as a comic book hero, though admittedly it’s been a while since I read any of her solo stories. That being said, I’m definitely not an expert, so I won’t be critiquing this movie as a comic book nerd, I’ll be critiquing it as a movie nerd. In my opinion, it’s a bad movie. I won’t go as far as to say awful, but I will say it’s on the same level of quality as Thor: Dark World. Remember that one? No? Don’t worry there wasn’t anything great in that, and there isn’t anything great in this movie either. There’s some special effects that look twenty years old, a plot that’s nearly as contrived and convoluted as Spiderman 3, and the movie takes place in a time period that has almost no real relevance to the story. The biggest reasons I can see for this movie being in the 80s is nostalgia humor, references to old conflicts, and so that all this craziness can happen in a world without the rest of the Justice League. Honestly I went into this movie thinking Kristen Wiig as Cheetah would be the worst part but her story should have been the main plot. But the final look for her reminded me of the Cats movie, and that the ending was a major letdown.
I’m sure because it’s a movie about a powerful woman the internet is going to explode with pissed of man-babies and incels, but in that regard the movie did a very good job. While it’s not the focus of the film, there’s very honest portrayals of men’s behavior toward women that is still a problem today and was definitely worse back then. Again, I think that if this movie had only been about Diana and Cheetah it could have been great.
The best part of the movie is the acting. The dialogue is hit or miss, the effects and overall camera work is inconsistent, but all of the main cast act their asses off in this movie. It honestly felt somewhat uncomfortable to get such an animated performance from Pedro Pascal, since I’m used to seeing him as Mando, but it was a very good performance. I just wish the material they’d been given to work with was better. In all honesty it’s such a stark contrast from the first film that it’s hard to believe it had the same writer and director. I’m really glad this premiered on HBO Max, cause if I’d wasted money and risked covid to see this in a theater, I’d be furious.
Yeah I said it. I don’t like Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies. While it is true that they’re the best live action Batman films we’ve gotten thus far, that doesn’t make them good. The earlier Batman movies were absolute disgraces that I could rant about for hours, but in all honesty those don’t make me nearly as furious as the Nolan trilogy. A reminder that this is just my opinion based on my own taste, I am not a professional critic in any way, and if you hate my opinion and think I should go fuck myself that’s completely valid. I’m going to go film by film and address my biggest problems with each one.
Let me start by saying that casting Liam Neeson, a middle-aged Irishman, to play Ra’s Al Ghul, a 600 year old Chinese man raised in North Africa, is fucking ridiculous. But the role Ra’s played in this movie was equally ridiculous. I don’t want to waste time going over Batman’s origin story, so I’ll just say that Ra’s was not nearly as involved as the movie suggests. I understand wanting to include a major villain, but a well written story of Batman’s fight against mobs, mafia, and even still using Scarecrow, would have been really cool. This movie felt like it didn’t really know where it was going, or rather, that it was trying too hard to be a “serious” film. I think Nolan wanted to set his trilogy apart from the whacky disgraces of the past, which is understandable, but this movie barely succeeds as an origin story. Also, the ending sucked!
The Dark Knight
Let me start by saying that Heath Ledger has given the most comic book accurate portrayal of Joker we’ve ever had in live action cinema and that he is truly missed. He did everything he could to take this poorly written mess and turn it into greatness. I also have to admit that while I’m not the biggest fan of this movie, it’s the best live action Batman film thus far. I’d say it starts out strong and gets weaker the further you go. What begins as mob bosses cowering from Batman turns into Joker causing random destruction and misery to point out the “joke” of law and society, and trying to make Batman commit murder, which is very true to his character. Personally I think the worst parts of this movie are the parts that try to set up a Two-Face origin story, Joker’s scars bits. the makeup, and the ridiculous ending. I know Nolan was determined not to be “comic bookey” but I think if we can have a good man with half his face blown off turn evil, we can have the joker face be more than just makeup.
The Dark Knight Rises
Look, this movie is absolute garbage. There’s nothing redeemable about this movie. From the very first scene it makes no sense and it only continues to snowball. If I tried to list everything wrong with this movie this opinion piece would turn into an obnoxiously long essay, so I’ll just say the things I hated the most: Bruce’s broken and then mechanically fixed and broken again body, the fact that Bane is supposed to be Middle Eastern in the movie even though his character his Latino and the actor playing the role is British. The pointless callback to the League of Assassins, Joseph-Gordon Levitt playing a twenty something year-old cop whose real name is apparently Robin, etc. Also, another completely stupid ending.
I still stand by the fact that these movies are better than the Tim Burton fever dreams of the 90s, and that they’re the best live action Batman movies we’ve had so far, but that doesn’t make them good. Ask yourself this, as great as The Dark Knight is, how often do you rewatch it? How often do you think about it when you think about superhero movies? If you chose to watch The Dark Knight, does it make you want to watch the other two? This trilogy is one gold bar mushed between two turds. But, if we’ve learned anything over the last few years, it’s that great superhero movies can be made. After all the bad movies we had to go through to get good Spiderman films, the fact that we’re getting a good Fantastic Four movie for the first time, maybe Batman can be saved!
Some spoilers but nothing major
I found out about this anime from Tiktok, and it was a great way to spend the day. Started it in the afternoon and couldn’t keep myself from binging. I’ll admit the series surprised me. I thought I was getting a comedy about an anti-social girl and a hot guy falling in love, but it turned out to be way more in depth, and it also subverted my expectations every time it started to fall on tropes and clichés. I can’t say much without spoiling but I will say that the modeling plotline was my favorite conflict simply because I deeply related to it. Each character starts of as something that felt familiar but by the end of their episode was unique and had subverted my expectations. Excited for a second season.