Monday, December 30, 2013

47 Ronin Review

If there's one hobby of mine that not many people know about, it's that I have a soft spot for history. At it's core, history to me is just telling stories about events and people and the results of said events and people. It's just another form of telling stories and entertainment for me, which is why there are tons of movies that are based off of historical events. Some are more grounded with what actually happened historically speaking, while others tend to embellish some aspects about history to make a more entertaining movie. 47 Ronin is a Hollywood interpretation of a classic Japanese folktale, so with that alone, you should know exactly what to expect from "Hollywood's interpretation of Japanese history", for better or worse.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Wolf Of Wall Street Review

Though it may be surprising to hear, I'm not one for following the Oscars. I think that there's a significant dissonance between what the Oscar crowd views as the "best movie" of a given year, and what modern American views as the best movie of the year. I can guarantee that movies nominated for best picture are going to be American Hustle, Saving Mr. Banks, 12 Years A Slave, maybe Blue is the Warmest Color, and I hope Gravity. That's not to say that these movies are bad, far from it, but usually the Oscars are followed by really interested movie buffs, and not the average public. The average public would rather watch something like Monster's University, The Wolverine, or Man of Steel. Again, not to say those movies are bad, but you get the idea that there's a big divide between what film buffs think the best movies of the year are, and what the average American thinks the best movies of the year are. Performances over entertainment pretty much. However, I think a consensus can be reached between these two groups with The Wolf Of Wall Street. It's not only a good film, but it's a damned great one.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Review

What can really be said about Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy that hasn't been said before? Since it's release in 2004, it's become one of the most highly regarded comedies of the past decade, and in contention with Mean Girls for the most quotable movie of 2004. Practically everyone knows about Anchorman, even if they haven't seen it. So I was a bit apprehensive when a sequel was announced almost a decade since the original movie was released. Something about it just struck me the wrong way, and I'm still wondering if it was made to either please the fans, or because some people needed a paycheck. And yes, it does try to top the original, which is a nigh impossible task, but you can't really blame them for trying now can you?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Killer Is Dead Review

Reviewing a game like Killer Is Dead is very hard to do. I have completed the game and the credits have rolled,but I don't feel like I've actually "beat" the game. Well, in the traditional sense at least. Oh, the final boss has been killed and the world is saved, but I have no idea how it happened. It says a lot that Killer Is Dead is the single most confusing, nonsensical game that I have ever played. It's also one of the most controversial video games of 2013, so you know this is going to be fun!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Wolf Children Review

Since this is the first time I can officially talk about anime, and anime films no less, I might as well just be up front and say that I don't watch many anime films. It's for a lot of reasons, but it's a combination of various factors that lead me to only seeing a few anime films. Localization, culture, and overall quality dictate what anime movies I can actually watch, and only about a handful of movies are released in the West for the general audience. This year alone I remember seeing DVD's for Garden of Words, Colorful, and From Up On Poppy Hill, and for all intents and purposes, they may be the only notable releases this year. Enter Wolf Children.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Super Mario 3D World Review

Regardless of what console a person owns or their own taste in games, all gamers can agree to one universal truth about the industry: Mario is the greatest video game icon of all time. He's endured for several decades, everyone knows who he is even if they don't play video games, and his games have been some of the greatest and most influential games ever released, period. I will fully admit however that the past few years haven't been so good for him. His last great game, Super Mario Galaxy 2, was released in 2010 and since then, there's been a stretch of mediocre to outright boring games thanks to the New Super Mario Bros. series, a series that never really changes or makes an innovations at all. Enter Super Mario 3D World, a game that tries to reinvent how Mario games are played. And I'm happy to say that this game may just be the best Mario game since Galaxy 2.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Top 10 Disney Animated Films

After seeing Frozen, it got my interest rekindled in animated Disney movies. For the past several years, I've slowly been becoming more and more interested in Disney movies and the sense of wonder and enchantment that each of them can bring. From having a great array of songs, to memorable villains, to even Oscar caliber production levels, Disney movies have their own sense of identity to them that anyone can enjoy. So, I started to think, what are my favorite Disney movies? Out of the 53 movies released by Walt Disney Animation Studios, which movies stand the test of time and are the best that Disney has to offer.

When it comes to this list, I'm only counting the 53 movies that were made by Walt Disney Animation Studios. Unfortunately, that means I can't put other Disney movies like The Nightmare Before Christmas on this list for that exact reason. Consider it my unofficial number 11 I suppose. With that all said, here are my personal Top 10 Disney animated films!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Frozen Review

"One of the best Disney animated films since Beauty and the Beast." - IGN

A quote like that does not get throw around often. Comparing Frozen, the latest Disney animated movie, to one of the best children's movies EVER is not a phrase that you throw around lightly. By comparison, this is better than Princess and the Frog. This is better than Aladdin. Hell, this is better than The Lion King. IS it true? Does Frozen live up to those expectations? While I'm just going to be upfront and say that it's not as good as BATB, it's certainly the best Disney movie in a long, long time. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Dragon's Crown review

I think that video games are looking in the wrong places to be visually impressive. If you look at games like Crysis 3, Uncharted, and Call of Duty, and even at the marketing behind the PS4 and Xbox One, you would believe that having better processing power makes for better graphics. While this isn't inherently wrong, there needs to be a stronger focus on a game's aesthetics than graphics. Most shooter games do have great graphics, but because the aesthetic is terrible and just full of cement and dirt, we make fun of the genre for all looking the same. Now Dragon's Crown doesn't have the graphical power to compete with those aforementioned games, but it looks far better than any of them ever did. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Ducktales Remastered Review

I don't really buy downloadable games. It's not because I find them inferior to actual disk based games or about taking up space on my console's hard drive or anything other lame excuse. It's really just because I love that feeling of having a game in a case that I can add to my collection. There's just something about me that says that even if a game is a bit more expensive, if there is a physical version of it, I probably will buy it over a downloadable version. In this day and age, downloadable games are becoming more and more popular,but when a downloadable game is released physically, it's just enough to put a smile on my face.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Big Fish Review


*Cough* Okay. Yes, I love movies and video games are my passion, but theatre is my job. If video games are a nice home cooked meal, and movies are fast food, then Broadway shows are a fine dining experience; something that I don't have all too often, but are usually worth it... or they would be if this season wasn't a boring, uninteresting one.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Counselor Review

The average movie goer probably has no idea who Cormac McCarthy is. That's a shame, since he's one of my favorite authors. He's written some amazing books like The Road, Child of God, and my personal favorite, No Country For Old Men. On that note, No Country For Old Men was adapted into a movie in 2007 and swept the Academy Awards. including Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role (for Javier Bardem), Best Direction, and Best Adapted Screenplay. The Counselor, the latest Cormac McCarthy written movie, stars Javier Bardem again, has Ridley Scott directing instead of the Coen Brothers, and an original screenplay. Together, they make a movie that's just as captivating as NCFOM, but a lot weirder.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Pokemon X/Y Review

I've been playing Pokemon for the majority of my life. I started to play back on the Gameboy Color with Pokemon Red, then I started to play Pokemon Silver after that. My parents bought me a Gameboy Advance SP when I was in elementary school and it was bundled with Pokemon Sapphire. For Pokemon Pearl, I bought it a few weeks after it came out and never completed it. I don't remember why, but I was never able to actually get through it all. I skipped the fifth gen, Black and White, because the game just didn't look impressive to me. It looked like a step back for the series and didn't have the same spark as previous games. But now we have Pokemon X and Y, the first sixth gen games and the first 3DS Pokemon games. Does it have the same spark and passion that made me fall in love with the series?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Seasonal Orders: Fall 2013

Hey guys. This is just going to be a seasonal heads up on plans and ideas for the blog, so every three months or so I'll post up a new state Seasonal Order as a temporary schedule of what I'll be reviewing for the next upcoming months. I say tentative because like with most things I do, life could get in the way and delay a few of my plans. I will try to see as many movies as I can, but chances are if my schedule is really rough, then I those would be the first to get cut in terms of what I see. I'll still be doing reviews of movies, but if something comes up, then movies are the first to be delayed. Games and theatre stuff is more concrete and generally won't change, so those will still be coming up on a consistent basis. With that said, let's get on with this!

Birdemic 2: The Resurrection Review

You know what, just watch this.

Where do I begin?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Carrie Review

Some movies, for better or worse, can be defined by one scene. One scene that will be burned into a person's memory until they die. School Days's ending. The Titanic sinking. The first time Jaws attacks. The shower scene from Psycho. Scenes that are so legendary that everyone knows them, even people that haven't scene the movie or TV show. 

I would argue that Carrie has a scene that everyone knows about and only cares about that scene; the prom. Just by saying "Carrie at the prom" should evoke images of slaughter and chaos. It's the one thing that makes the movie stand out and is THE reason you know what Carrie even is. Going into this remake, that's all I was expecting. A really savage and brutal action scene that justifies the entire movie. Seeing horrible people get brutally killed, and feeling like they deserved it. I got that in this movie. Unfortunately, I got nothing else from this movie. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Wonderful 101 Review

What's this? A video game? I get to review a video game!? YES!

Yes despite the fact that I mostly write reviews for movies, I am a full blooded gamer. I've been gaming since I was a kid, and I'm still gaming now. I'll get into a blog entry later on about my history of video games, but that's neither here or there. The point is, I'm a gamer, and I love it, questionable state of the industry be damned.

Which brings us to The Wonderful 101, the latest game by Platinum Games, which has made games like Madworld, Bayonetta, and mostly formed from former Clover Studios members that made Viewtiful Joe, Okami, and God Hand. So yeah, they've got a bit of pedigree behind them. Does The Wonderful 101 stand up to their more well known games? At times, it really does. At times, it really doesn't.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Gravity review

Gravity is one of those movies that's hard to actually describe. Honestly it's difficult to even write this review, not because I'm treading into spoiler territory, but because the marketing of this game is spot on. It's a movie in space and it's intense. Like, really intense. So basically this is a review of a movie I can't describe, but I really want to. So I'll just sum it up in a few words.

See this movie.

Not pictured: flying space whales
Everyone needs to see this movie, but that isn't a guarantee that everyone will like this movie however. Gravity is a movie that on paper should not work. The entirety of this movie is Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in space. 90 minutes of just the two of them floating around. There's very minimal music, sound is muted, and the dialogue is simplistic. In terms of story and characters, this movie is really basic and unimpressive.

THAT BEING SAID, that's not why people need to see this movie. From a technical standpoint, this movie is unlike anything I've ever seen. The special effects in this movie actually make you believe that you're in space and floating around. The key word there is "you" though, because you actually feel like you're in space. You feel like you're being throw around in space with limited oxygen and trying to survive. People have been saying to see this movie in IMAX, and they aren't lying. I didn't see this in IMAX or in 3D, but I would willingly go see this movie again just to experience it in 3D and IMAX.

I said before that this movie is very minimalistic, but that works to this movie's advantage. Audiences forget that this is space. There's no sound in space, and if there was constant noise in space, the mood would be shattered. To seeing debris flying around with no sound accompanying it, destroying everything in its path is beautiful to watch. This movie is the definition of less is more, and it's stronger for deciding not to make this movie very action intensive.

The Universe Hates Sandra Bullock: The Movie!
 I said before that this movie is just 90 minutes of Sandra Bullock and George Clooney floating around in space, and how that may be a detriment to the movie. Again, that shouldn't work as a movie because by only having two characters float in space talking to each other, we need to like these characters. If for example, we don't like Sandra Bullock's character, the inexperienced Dr. Ryan Stone, then we really won't like it when she has a large segment of the movie dedicated to her internal struggles. How can we root for a character if we don't like them?

But it works. It 100% works just having these two characters with very basic characteristics. By keeping them so basic and open, we as an audience can project ourselves onto them. We can identify with Sandra Bullock because of how much of an normal person she is. Everyone's had a problem in their life where an insurmountable conflict presented itself and we can't overcome it. On the other hand, George Clooney is a mentor figure that encourages Sandra Bullock and convinces her that yes, she can overcome any obstacle no matter how great it is. In other words, this is essentially a large scale version of every day life. We have a problem, we feel we can't overcome it, but we always have someone supporting us through it no matter what. It's just that no it's in SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACCCCCCCCCCEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!

Is Gravity the best movie I've seen all year? I don't know. There were a couple other movies that I would say are along the same lines as Gravity in terms of how memorable and high quality it was, but from a technical standpoint, there is no better movie this year. From a technical standpoint, it's better than Pacific Rim, and that is not a statement I say lightly. While you still have the chance, love it or hate it, this is a movie that everyone needs to experience. I give Gravity 5 minutes of floating in space out of 5.

................. Oh why the hell not?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Don Jon Review

You know those movies that you never hear about until the day before they're released, look kinda good, so you go see it the next day out of curiosity, not knowing whether it's going to be good or bad? Yeah, that was Don Jon for me. And yeah, it's a movie that has me split.

I can't quite put my finger on why Don Jon has me split though. Is it because of its content? A bit, but it doesn't bother me a lot. Is it because of its meandering nature that ruins any chance for a tone to be established? It's bothersome, but not really a way to ruin the movie for me. What about the repetitive nature of the movie? Well I understand why it's repetitive, but that doesn't help the movie out from being boring. It's just a cavalcade of confusion for me. But that's for later down the road, might as well start from the top.

After a seizure inducing title screen that loudly proclaims this is DON JON(and you thought Porygon was a seizure nightmare...)... actually, no I need to stop for a second. The opening is just Don Jon being flashed in your face for a good 30 seconds, and is completely disorienting. Why does it open up with giant letters that fill the screen with seizure lights? Anyway, the movie properly starts of with DON JON explaining the most important things in his life; his pad, his bod, his family, his church, his women, his porn, and his other things that I can't even remember despite the fact the film drills in his routine Every. Damn. Minute. But out of all of those things he cares about, it's his porn that he values more than any other thing in his schedule.

See, JON is a porn addict, so we spend several montages of him just looking at porn. There's even a sequence where he describes the difference between porn and sex, where porn is much more fulfilling because of the dissonance between the viewer and the actual porn stars, while sex doesn't live up tot he lofty expectations that porn does. So pretty much porn is better cause it's fake, and sex is worse cause it's not as fake. Make of that what you will.

The internet is for porn!
Now I will admit that this is a concept I can get behind. The idea that porn gives a lofty expectation that sex is incredible and extremely sensual, but in real life may not live up to expectations. That's a great concept for a movie! Analyzing the differences between reality and fiction! I can get behind this! There's just two problems with why this movie just doesn't click with that interesting concept.

1) This movie is repetitive. Repetition is a very tricky tool to use in a movie. When used properly, it can be used to show how a character has progressed throughout the movie and how they've changed into a different person, for better or worse. In this movie, repetition is used to drill his routine in and see his daily cycle. The problem with this is that for a large part of the movie, his routine doesn't change, and when it does, it's insignificant.

Take "his bod" for example (which I know a lot of women would like). He goes a gym in the beginning of the movie and works out. In terms of repetition, this is a base line. We see him on a normal day before the events of the movie happen. But as the movie goes on, it barely changes at all. He still works out at the gym, except one time he works out with his girlfriend, played by Scarlett Johanson. When the movie ends though, he still goes to the gym, but instead of lifting weights, he plays basketball. Deep?

When the entire movie is based around a routine, but that routine barely changes, then the audience gets bored eventually, and before the movie was even halfway over I was bored at watching him go through the exact same motions.

2) If you're a man, you're a terrible person. Oh my word every guy in this movie is a meat head. I know fully well that I am a guy, but every single man here is just arrogant, standoffish, and pretty much are Jersey Shore rejects, and that is a statement I don't make lightly.

I would say T-shirt time, but this movie beat me to the punch...
Every male character, with the exception of DON JON's two friends, is your stereotypical Italian New Jersey man. They're rude, not particularly nice, and even at times can be a bit sexist. I know, a movie about a porn addict that's one night stands women and then immediately goes for porn after sex is a biiiiiiiiiiiiiiit sexist. Surely you jest! But speaking of the main man himself, DON JON is very unlikable half of the time. It's only towards the later half of the movie that he actually develops some level of maturity to his persona, but even then it's just skin deep and comes right out of nowhere without any decent buildup.

Speaking of that late in the game mood change, that's really the one part about this movie that I found slightly enjoyable. Mostly because the focus was on Julianne Moore's character, an older woman that takes classes with John at a local college. Every single time she's on screen, she seems to have the most logic and sense out of all of the characters. She isn't obsessed with sex and is the most level headed of the entire cast, and because of her revelation, the movie ends on a mature and very "real" note. It's almost touching the way that it ends.... before being blasted with the seizure inducing credits say DON JON in giant flashing letters. Because why should we end on a nice note when we can end on a GIANT FLASHY ENDING ZOMG!!!!!!1!!!1!!!

If I could have this flash, I would
I just this movie really underwhelming and a complete disappointment, even though I had no expectations for this movie at all. I will give Joseph Gordon-Levitt this; he has an eye for angles. His camera work and the way he uses music works strangely well and was the one thing in this movie that I was positive about. The rest is just repetitive, boring, and makes me hate all of the characters.

I give this movie 2 Hail Mary's out of 5.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2: 2 Much Cute!!!

"You know, for a kids movie, that was pretty good."

I always hear people say this when closing out or prefacing a review of a kids movie. By saying "for a kids movie", the reviewer is implying that children's movies should be held in a completely different light when reviewed. That just doesn't make much sense to me. In a sense I do agree with it, but that's mostly because kids movie have a very strong possibility of having the lowest possible standards because their intended audience, children, won't care if a movie is good or not. Therefore, if a movie is good "for a kids movie", then it hasn't achieved any level of greatness; only that it escaped being bad.

The first Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs movie, so I've been told, was a legitimately good movie that was a spoof for disaster movies that went over really well not only with kids, but also with adults, but that may be because of exposure to Mr. T. I say "so I've been told" because I've never seen it. It just never seemed like a movie I had any interest in seeing when I was younger, so word of it being really damned good just never got around to me. And now we have our obligatory sequel because all kids movies need to be a part of a series. Unless you're a movie made by Disney or Pixar, you can't have any movie that ISN'T a part of a franchise, and if you aren't alla The Black Cauldron or Shark Tale, then there's a good reason.

Food, glorious food!
Where we last left off, or so I heard, our heroes destroyed the FLDSMDFR, a machine that turns water into food that was also made by our protagonist, Flint Lockwood, and saved the world..... at least for 5 minutes. Immediately after Flint and his love interest Sam Sparks share a kiss, the president of a Live Corp, a dead ringer for a Stretch Armstrong/Mugatu version of Steve Jobs named Chester V, comes in to help clean up the island by taking all the inhabitants off to the city of San Franjose while his company cleans up the mess made by the FLDSNJUHBYISHVKOLFFR. Naturally, he can't do it, so our heroes go back to the island of Swallow Falls to clean up the mess and permanently destroy the FLDHBKNJLNYHD639F73JT8FO3JHF8EWKTHFIWKRHFU487WEGIOHTO78WEOYHFNEWFIHFHYUGDE49JJDHRO93HF291FR once and for all. The only thing that stands in their way? Foodimals.

Truth be told, I actually really did enjoy this movie. Going into it, I was expecting a barrage of food puns that would have me groaning in my seat, and while I did get that, it was in a tolerable dose. The only puns really came from the names of the foodimals like the mosquitoast, hippotatamus, and watermelephants. Cute puns regardless, and speaking of foodimals, props to the crew that designed them all. All of them look suitable adorable and cool, except for the pickles that just look like bizarre tree people with fishing rods, but the key highlight goes to the marshmallows. For the sake of my sanity, here is a link to what they look like. Brace yourself for adorableness.

As for the rest of the movie, it's all harmless fun. There's an adventure, an obvious villain that says he's a villain in the first five minutes, and great looking visuals that are all bright and vibrant. It's been such a long time since I've seen a kids movie with such color and life to it. You have no idea how refreshing it is to see a movie that has colors from all across the rainbow in it, and embraces that color palette. The world looks so bright and alive and looks I'm so thankful that is does go the more cartoony look for its character designs. Unlike movies like Brave, all of the characters look like cartoons and are meant to look like them instead of just evenly proportioned people, but just CG people.

Unfortunately though, the movie doesn't have any substance to it. It's forgettable to a fault, where nothing of value actually sticks to what you see. Even after seeing it a day ago, the movie didn't have nay memorable jokes or characters, just memorable visuals. For a movie, I can see if that was an intended purpose, but there's no meat to this movie. It does look very pretty I will admit, but with virtually no stakes, what's there to gain in this? Other than going back home and trying to stop the foodimals (who aren't all that bad cause evil Steve Jobs is lying and evil), the island is lost and they're living in San Franjose without any charge.

But with such pretty visuals and stellar animation (seriously evil Steve Jobs has some devilishly awesome moves on him), I can safely reccomend this movie to anyone. I don't know if it's better than the original one, but I still think it's worth a watch regardless. I give this movie 3 cute strawberries out of 5.

And now to watch something manly to get over all of this cute. Time for some Buffalo Wings and a Hulk Hogan movie marathon! Santa With Muscles here I come!

How Things Work Round Here

First of all, I would like to welcome everyone to this new blog of mine! This is a first for me, so hopefully this will amount to something more and word of mouth will spread about this site. If not, at least I tried ^_^

So anyway, this is my blog, The Critical Order. I am a critic by trade (because I have nothing else better to do with my life), so what do I do a lot of? Well play games, watch movies, see theatrical productions, read comics, watch anime.... so pretty much not have a social life. Truly I am the definition of an exciting person. But because I come across so many different forms of media, I began to develop a theory in my head, that kinda went along the lines of... "Entertainment today sucks".

Revolutionary, I know? So that's kind of why I wanted to be a critic; most of today's entertainment sucks, so I want to try and find the few pieces of entertainment that are worth wild. And how do I go about finding good entertianment? By seeing a metric ton of it every chance I get!

So here's how I basically work as a reviewer. My schedule is very on and off, mostly because of when I see something new. It could be three days between reviews if I finish a game then see a movie, or it could be a couple of weeks for me to see a Broadway show then watch an entire anime series. The point is, I review when I finish something. Chances are they'll be a lot more movie and video games reviews than anime, Broadway, or even comic books, so I'll try to keep you guys updated with how my reviews are going.

"But wait!" I hear you cry, "How will you be reviewing them?" Good question! And the answer is, I have no idea! I plan on doing text reviews like you see now, but I may decide to branch out and do vlogs, podcasts, and maybe even a web series if I have enough time, but that's all in the far off future of... god only knows when. As of now, text reviews all the way! Eventually, something else!

And now the crux of this, the whole reason why I posted this in the first place. I'm now going to quickly explain my rating system for my reviews. Plain and simple, it's going to be a 1-5 rating system. I find that for the 1-10 format, there's a whole lot of gray area with what is called good or bad. What's the significant difference between a 5.5 and a 5.75 in terms of quality, and if 7 is the average, why is there so much more leniency for mediocrity? Going from 1-5 means it's clear cut throughout and there won't be any confusion with how I'm rating whatever it is I'm reviewing. Just for clarity's sake...

5 STARS: Literally amazing. If not perfect, then close to it. I would gladly pay money all over again to experience it.
4 STARS: Pretty good. Has some flaws to it, but I still enjoyed myself for most of the time.
3 STARS: Okay. I could go any way about it, but it was harmless. Might not have been outstanding, but at least it doesn't make me hate humanity.
2 STARS: Starting to hate humanity. Has a lot of problems in it and ruins my enjoyment, despite the few things that work.
1 STAR: Really hate humanity. Like, reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaallllllllllly hate it. So very rare, but when I find out, all my hatred comes out.

So there you go my people! My entire review system! So tune in, spread the love, and enjoy the show!