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.