Saturday, December 25, 2010


I'm a little conflicted with this one. I recall watching the trailer and thinking "oh cool!! This looks so awesome!!!" and really, it does look really cool. Skyline has a really interesting story and tries to work beyond its limits as an independent film. There are moments where it is very awesome, full of action and excitement. However, there are moments and scenes where I winced, mainly with the times where characters actually interacted and spoke to one another.

Okay, putting it simply, the dialogue and directing needs a bit of work. The plot was stiff at times and probably would have done better about five years ago, or maybe before the Matrix came out. Also, I don't think that the actors were quite the right choice to make, bur it's kinda hard to tell through the day-time tv drama dialogue.

However, I want to give the directors the benefit of the doubt. The movie has potential, and while it didn't quite live up to the awesome trailer, it was still entertaining. Personally, I'm really hoping that this isn't the I hear of these people and that we have yet to see the best from them, because I would love to see their future movies.

As for this one, yeah, it's no masterpiece, but if you're looking for a decent movie to pass the time, this is a good choice.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

AVATAR: The Last Airbender, movie and TV series review

Okay, so it's taken me a while to write this.  I actually saw The Last Airbender in theaters; this is something like my third attempt at writing a review for it.  Maybe I'll get through it this time. 

The movie The Last Airbender based on Avatar: The Last Airbender, an excellent TV series that has lots of fans, myself included. When I saw the first trailers for The Last Airbender movie, I was overjoyed.  I squeed.

And here's why:

The actual series uses influences from many different cultures to create an original world.  The story itself is skillfully crafted so that the characters develop and grow in a manner that is easy for the audience to relate and is extremely enjoyable by a wide range of ages. 

It covers quite a few topics too, from friendship, to people's differences, to dealing with extreme hardships like the death of loved ones, being responsible, and doing what is right, no matter the costs.

Avatar covers these topics without losing its delightful charm and humour, and I greatly recommend it to a wide range of audiences, including families and the young-at-heart. 

The Last Airbender movie, however, doesn't quite live up to the standards of the series.  There are many many issues that I have with it, but I shall be brief.  Basically, M. Night Shyamalan takes most of what makes Avatar great, and tosses it aside, relies on his own egotistical self-justification to not consult the original creators of the series, and takes apart the show and pieces it back together half-haphazardly to create a monstrosity that severely disappoints every loyal fan of the series. 

Seriously.  The script is awkward and stiff, the actors occasionally do a good job, and the only consistently good thing about the movie is the special effects.  The rest of it doesn't live up to the hype.

So in my opinion, save yourself the agony, and watch the original series. 

and oh yeah, I actually made it through it this time without going off on a rambling rant. woot!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Scott Pilgrim

Taking another break from trying to write my review for The Last Airbender to review Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, possibly one of the geekiest romantic-comedy movies ever to exist.

Based on the Canadian graphic novel series, the movie is romantic in that a lot of the plot evolves around the relationship of title character Scott Pilgrim and two love interests. Basic plot stuff, right? Yeah well, that's the only basic thing about the movie; every thing else belongs to the realm of Fantasy, Adventure, Action and Comedy.

One of the love interests has a League of Evil Exes which Scott must defeat in order to gain the right to date her. At the same time, Scott must decide which of his two love interests he actually wants to date, and along the way, embarks on a sort of self-discovery quest (which, given he's in his twenties, is long overdue) where he comes to understand people and himself better.

With pretty much every single geek reference one can pack into a hundred and twelve minutes.
(Seriously. It's mind-boggling how much detailed geek references is packed into it.)

What makes this movie brilliant is how true to the books it remains, retaining all the visual and interactive onomatopoeia and gaming rules that exists in the book. Combined with a diverse cast of rich and strongly written characters, the movie re-creates the bizarrely fantastic and fun world of books, and yet pulls it off to be believable without losing a spark of excellence to it's plot and characters.

In short, this movie is awesome and lives up to it's tagline "An epic of epic epicness". I recommend it to.... pretty much everyone who wants funny and fantastic taken to a new level.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Temple Grandin

Okay, this one is a personal to me, since  I'm autistic as well, and so I relate to some of the thoughts, feelings and how Temple processes things.  That being said, autistics are each unique, with various degrees of abilities and disabilities and different manners in which autism manifests.  When you've met one person with autism, you've met one person with autism.

Anyways, on to the movie Temple Grandin, a biography drama of key points in Temple's life that lead her to become one of the leading experts in humane cattle systems and autism awareness advocate.  It is based on two of the books Temple has written about her life and autism.

It is a very touching story of a young woman with autism struggling to understand and function in a world that does not understand her and can be very cruel to difference.  The film very brilliantly illustrates her unique perspective, challenges and unwavering determination. 

Temple Grandin is wonderfully written, excellently acted and is an awe-inspiring story.

I highly recommend to people looking to know more about autism, as well as those interested in personal dramas.  A beautiful film. 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ponyo and Miyazaki

Okay, I was going to tackle Airbender, but I love this movie not to do this.

Ponyo is a gorgeously charming film about a sea princess in love with a human boy and longs to become human. Yes, it's an adaptation of the little mermaid, but it is a beautiful re-interpretation of it, from the master of anime Hayao Miyazaki.

It's actually really hard to separate this film from Miyazaki's other masterpiece works. So, let's put them together. NausicaƤ of the Valley of the Wind, Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, Porco Rosso, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and Howl's Moving Castle are just some of the movies he's done and are considered anime classics by many, myself included.

All of his works are full of imagination and magic, usually with very thoughtful children characters that go on quests, not for self-discovery, but to explore and ultimately do good for the world. There is often a very subtle, yet very meaningful environmental theme to his works that while is present, does not distract from the unfolding story.

What also is remarkable about his works is that there often are no villains; each film explores the views of opposing sides, with one seeming to be the obvious villain. However, through the stories, both the characters and the audience discovers the humanity of each character, even the non-human characters. This delightful character development illustrates that evil often depends on a point of view and that a lot of the time, what we see are good people trying to do good with the resources and information they have.

In some works, there are scenes of violence, however, Miyazaki's films are lovely classics suitable for families, adults and movies lovers alike. And in conclusion, I highly recommend and encourage my readers to watch, if you already haven't done so.

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Ah yes, Percy Jackson, the better written sequel to the Clash of the Titans remake....

I'm only partly joking. 

Based on the same mythology, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief is a cross between a modern day remake and a sequel to the events in Clash of the Titans (both versions).  I say sequel because they mention Perseus and reference the other demi-gods, and I say remake because it seems that Percy does almost the exact same things as Perseus. 

Except that this is a modern, teen-self-discovery-quest story, the movie being based on a book, apparently, and so the characters have more character than the Clash of the Titans remake.  As far as I can make out, that and the special effects is all that this movie has going for it.  The plot is quite disjointed at points, with too many awkwardly placed information blurbs and conveniently placed knowledge, not to mention some rather flat characters.

My conclusion: while not the worse teen fantasy flick I've seen, it's definitely not the best, and to be honest, I think some of the trailers were better than the actual movie.  I have to say, leave this one for the teens; maybe they'll get a little interested in mythology from it.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


oooooh goodness, Inception.  Okay, yes, I'm finally getting around to reviewing it. 

Inception is an action paced sci-fi mystery thriller about these operatives that specialize in dream hacking and stealing information from people's minds.  That's the premise.  Now take that premise, and imagine an action movie set in someone's dreams.  Because that is the mind-bending thrill-ride of film this is. 

Seriously, I'm ignoring grammar rules to try and review this one.  It's that freaking good.

Now, the plot is mind-blender twisted, so for viewers who prefer more simple plots, this might not be for you.  However, I would recommend this one for those of you who want to try complicated plots, because Inception is beautifully and solidly written. 

It also is superbly acted, with an incredible cast, music and special effects.  I really can't go into this one too much, due to sheer mind-blown awesomeness.  This film goes onto my favourites shelf, and I'm hoping that it goes on yours too.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Whip It

Whew!  I basically just heard of this one when I saw it in the rental store.  Whip It is the really under-advertised story of a teenage small-town beauty pageant queen who's quest of self-discovery takes her to the roller derby rinks. 

Okay, so the plot is basic, but it's solid.  While there's a bit of a stretch in the romance scenes, it's a well written down-to-earth story that's supported by an awesome cast with wicked acting. Not to mention some of the most engaging sports scenes I've ever seen.  I was literally sitting at the edge of my seat, cheering for the derby teams, and was satisfied with a very realistic ending.

In short, this was good, really good.  If you like self-discovery movies, and are looking for something different, this is an excellent choice.  I personally think that this one needs to get more attention than it's been getting.  Shed a tear, laugh out loud and cheer your heart out.

Friday, June 18, 2010


No, not the 1998 American remake.  I mean the original 1954 cult classic Gojira, the about how American nuclear tests created the unstoppable King of the Monsters, Godzilla. 

Really?  Haven't seen this?  Okay okay, it's a Japanese 1954 film, styles were different then, and black and white isn't for everyone.  However, given the time period and effects of the era, this truly is an excellent film.  And I mean film, not movie.

Unlike the campy monster movies that it inspired, Gojira is an unflinching metaphor as to the devastation that nuclear bombs and war in general, causes.  And damn, is it well done. 

Really.  They don't call it a Masterpiece for nothing.

So, if you like monsters, and are looking for something a little more than the usual monster movie, I have one question for you; why haven't you watched this? 

Oh yeah, and this includes the American release of it, under the name Godzilla.  Either of them, go pick up on the originals. 

Ninja Assassin

Dude, your movie about ninjas bored an ADHD into sweeping the floor.

No seriously, I love ninjas, fighting scenes, awesome.   But when I was watching Ninja Assassin, during the childhood flashbacks, I swept my room. 

Yes, I'm ADHD, but honestly, I felt like I've watched it before because I could predict the plot so well.  While simple may be solid, it doesn't really work for this movie.

Or maybe it does. While the plot may not be in any way considered brilliant, it does have fairly decent acting and awesome effects.

By which I mean eye candy by Korean star Rain, and huge amounts of fake blood.

So, if you can fast forward, ignore or sit through the flashbacks, this movie is great for the blood spilling!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Note: I am bending my rule on spoilers here, and focusing a lot on issues relating to Autism. My disclaimer for this is that I am an autistic adult, so I have a bit of a vested interest. If you are interested in knowing more about Autism, I have a blog No Stereotypes Here that links to reliable information.

I had originally planned to write this big, long review for Adam, a very literary review discussing the techniques of storytelling to illustrate the points of view of the main characters, both Beth and Adam, a young autistic man.

I was going to look at how the movie is about growth, of Beth with family and dating issues, and Adam with dealing with losing his father and becoming more independent.

It was going to be quite a long review.

Then I decided, I wouldn't. Sometimes, you need to let people see something and let them form their own impressions.


Adam is an interesting and thoughtful romantic drama about two strangers who meet each other. It takes the time to realistically establish and address the issues of both characters, one of which is diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, a form of Autism. The plot is very well written, with an exceptional cast that did a superb job. It was a wonderful slice into these people's lives without being overbearing or sounding like an autism infomercial.

In conclusion, it is a touching, witty and charming film, with what I think is one of the best depictions of an autistic person I've seen.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Okay, I have to admit from the start that I am not a Western fan. I am somewhat familiar with the stereotypes about Westerns, but have never actually watched a Western until I heard of Gunless. So I was surprised when I found myself wanting to watch it.

It is a refreshing relief from the slapstick, potty jokes and romantic comedies that seem to fill the comedy movie shelves.  The plot is simple, but solid, the characters well written and excellently played, and while some of the jokes are more mature, they are not vulgar or cheap.  Including the Mountie jokes.   

In conclusion, it is an awesome movie that could be seen for the entire family.  It has a little action, a little romance, but above all, it has a lot of fun in the Canadian West.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Iron Man 1 and 2

Okay, I'm taking a brief break from the long list to write about the five movies that I just watched this past week: Thank You for Smoking, the BBC's Hamlet, The Iron Giant, Gunless, and Iron Man 2.  Actually, since I've seen Iron Man about 8 times (in theatre) and have it practically memorized, let's add it as well.  Also, Iron Man 2 picks up exactly where Iron Man leaves off.... literally.  I half imagine a comic book text box reading "Meanwhile, in Russia..." in the opening of Iron Man 2. 

So, Iron Man and the latest release Iron Man 2... what can I say? Both are excellent movies, with a tight script full of witty dialogue and action packed sequences.   There are some scenes where the dialogue contains innuendo that I expect goes over the head of younger viewers, but refrains from being particularly graphic. However, the storytelling is superb, lacking glaring plot-holes and capturing the essence of the characters, which are spectularly performed by the actors.

Granted, I may not be a comic book expert, but I think that compared to other comic book adaptations, these were really well done.  It was funny without being rediculous, the action was exciting without being too graphic, and had a sweet subtle romance without being cheesey. 

In short, I really liked these films and highly recommend them.

P.S.  Watch the credits all the way through.  You'll see why... :D

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Seeker: The Dark is Rising Review

Let me just say this right out front: I am a fan of the Susan Cooper books that this movie is based on. I haven't read all of them yet (which reminds me...), but I've definitely read The Dark is Rising, the book which the movie The Seeker: the Dark is Rising resembles.

So, when I heard that there was a movie in production, I was very excited. Yes, I realize that it's partly a scheme to capitalize on the success of many book-to-film adaptations. The booklover in me also kinda hopes to increase literacy, but meh.

I'm just hoping that I didn't actually pay to see it. Don't get me wrong, the effects were awesome, and Christopher Eccleston was wonderful. The plot, on the other hand.... was disappointing. Just... really really disappointing. With the material that's available in the book, it could've been a lot better.

Parts of it was just too rushed, information was given too fast, pacing was just not well done. In a lot of ways, it relies heavily in the special effects area, which isn't too bad. I'm pretty sure that there's movies out there that have as good as special effects and better plots though.

So, final verdict: Eh. If you have the money and are bored, sure. But I'd rather pick the book up at the library instead.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Donnie Darko

Okay, so I've seen both the Director's Cut and the Theatrical versions of Donnie Darko, directed by Richard Kelly. And no, not the sequel by Chris Fisher.

Anyways, both versions of the film are creepy, dark, and utterly twisted. The main difference between the two is that the Director's Cut gives you a little more information about what's going on.

Really, I'm having trouble doing this without giving away spoilers. And I'm trying to be unbiased, but honestly, it's a very well-written, excellently directed, and awesomely spooky film. Both versions.

So the bottom line is this: if you like to figure things out, and be thrilled by bizarre semi-psychological-possibly-really-happening surreal weirdness, watch the Theatrical. If you like to know a bit more about what the heck is going on, but still want the surreal weirdness, watch the Director's Cut.

If you don't like surreal weirdness that explores dark alternative realities, then maybe you shouldn't watch this at all.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Neon Genesis Evangelion and RahXephon review

This may be a bit long. I'm really having a hard time separating my review of Neon Genesis Evangelion from RahXephon, two really excellent anime series. Yes, Evangelion came first, and their summaries on are seemingly very different, but they're both mecha anime, and plots tend to have very similar elements.

These two anime, however, I have to put together because they get compared to each other so much. This is probably because most mecha plots have a more battle-field focus, even with boy/teen pilots and the fantasy mecha anime.

With these two, the stakes are much higher, in a relying-on-religious-mythology/symbolism-heavily-for-a-reason kind of way. In both, a teen boy is coerced to pilot an organic mobile suit against mysterious enemies that caused a major catastrophe, for the sake of the world and humanity. The sakes are the same, the symbolism at least similar if not the same, and both have underlying conspiracies of pretty much the same thing.

The differences between the two series are the details.
Evangelion's Shinji has abandonment and psychological issues (as does most of the cast), and often comes across as a whiny brat. However, Evangelion goes into these psychological issues in such a way that can cause psychological trauma to the audience. Even if you manage to escape trauma, many viewers have either started really complex analyze of the series, or just sit there in a "what the heck?" shock. This is because Evangelion has either a happy ending, or doesn't have a happy ending, depending on your point of view and definition of "happy".

Don't worry, to this day, Evangelion still sparks very engaged discussion online, and not just because of it's incredible hand-painted cell animation.

RahXephon, on the other hand, has a definite happy ending. Focusing more on an a musical symbolism with it's religious symbolism, the characters face various issues, but for the purpose of dealing with the issues and achieving a sort of closure in events. Ayato, the main character, is more composed, a psychological stable young artist coming to understand the truth about events happening around him. Not to say he doesn't have his outbursts, but he gets pissed for some very good reasons.

Between the two, I like RahXephon the best. I like the music, the characters and the plot, an elegantly crafted story. Evangelion, I admit, has a mark on anime history, to the point where it is a defining and very recognizable name in anime circles. It's one of those series that you have to see when first getting into anime. Unless, of course, you can't take the trauma. Then, stick with RahXephon.

~ Corina
P.S. This review does not take the Rebuilds of Evangelion into account, as that series of movies is still incomplete, and the various manga and off-shoot Evangelion manga.

Clash of the Titans review

I'm getting this review done first, because it's fresh in my mind; I just watched it yesterday.

As I've said before, I'm a creative writer. In the creative writing circles, there is a saying that there are no new stories, just new ways of telling stories. Which is why we get the 2010 remake of the 1981 movie Clash of the Titans.

Keeping this short and sweet, I don't think that I really can ruin the plot of the movie. If you haven't heard of Perseus like I did in grade 9 English class, then check out the Wiki article. Yeah, not the most reliable of reference material, but the links from there are pretty good.

The re-make gets some of the details wrong. Like the fact that Perseus actually marries Andromeda, and it's Poseidon that releases Cetus, a sea serpent not a kracken, and some other details. Of course, the film-makers could be a bit confused given the different traditions in the story, but still... we in the West seem to have it in our brains that anyone who rules the Underworld must be the bad guy, and it comes out strongly. Not saying that Hades isn't a jerk; the gods all were jerks at one point or another, but he actually wasn't the bad guy in this story.

These details, however, don't really distract much from the fact that the only real improvement between this and the 1981 movie is the special effects. The movie is awesome for the special effects. The transition from a 80s movie to a 21th century movie really did not go over so well, replacing the romantic sub-plot with Perseus' shallow identity crisis.

From what I understand, there is another version of this movie that's probably written better, and was re-shot and edited at practically last minute. The actors did the best they could, but the movie really suffered from the plot. I may have made mocking remarks during... well, most of it, but the battle scenes were what I was looking forward to throughout the movie.

I don't suggest seeing it in 3D, since I'm not entirely sure it's worth seeing in theatres. Oh sure, it's certainly fun to see in theatres, but the price tag these days... if you have a large screen tv, wait for the DVD.

~ Corina

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I have a bunch of reviews from when I was.... much much younger. I'm going through them and rewriting some of them to post here. Plus movies that I've seen recently.

So far, on the list are

Across the Universe
The Seeker: The Dark is Rising
Snow Cake
Clash of the Titans done
Brendan and the Secret of Kells
Fedot the Hunter
First Squad: the Moment of Truth
Musashi: the Dream of the Last Samurai
Tecnotise: Edit and I
Laughter and Grief By the White Sea

Cowboy Bebop
Outlaw Star
.hack//SIGN, ROOTS, etc
Jin Roh
Gundam Wing
Gundam SEED
Full Metal Panic
Neon Genesis Evangelion done (Rebuilds later)

Yes, I watch quite a lot of anime. There's also other movies, and you're welcome to make suggestions.

~ Corina

About this Blog

This is my review blog, where I post my musings, thoughts and opinions on movies, tv series, books... about anything printed, filmed or animated, really.

As the title suggests, I'm going to try and not be long winded about things. And I'm going to try and be as spoiler-free as possible. I'm pretty good at that.

[Edit] A film studies major friend of mine has informed me of a general rule of his, that if a film is older than 10 years, it's fair game to have spoilers. I'll keep this in mind for older films, but will try to be as spoiler-free as possible. [end of edit]

Also, you won't see me go into a lot of theory. Yes, I'm an English major, and there is Literary Theory textbooks on my shelf, a lot of which can be applied to film, and I have taken Film Studies courses when getting my B.A..... but I'm not really that good at it.

You see, I'm a writer. A creative writer. A fantasy writer, to be precise. So I'm looking at things from a storytelling perspective. I'm going to be looking at plot, dialogue, use of music (if applicable), pacing, as well as sheer special effects-awesome factor.

I will be honest and be up front about potential bias, and personal opinion, and then try to remove those personal opinions from whether or not something is good. Hey, honestly, a lot of what I like can't exactly be called "good" literature or film, and a lot of "good" literature and film I frankly do not like. However, I will acknowledge when this happens.


This is my blog. If there are any movies, books, etc that you'd like me to review, please feel free to comment. I will say though, that I will not review any Horror and Erotica. I tend to shy away from Westerns and Romances, but will check them out if they seem interesting enough.