Monday, May 29, 2017

Alien Covenant

What is the plot? In 2104 AD, the ship Covenant is heading for another planet in order to colonize it. However, the crew come across a strange transmission coming from an unknown planet. As such, they decide to investigate.
What's good about this movie? The art direction of this movie is rather good. It is on par with the other Alien films.
What's bad about this movie? This movie is an idiot plot. For those not in the know, an idiot plot is a story which only works because the characters are idiots. A good example is one character, because they want to kill a monster they have successfully contained, gets themselves killed in an explosion. Speaking of characters, they are paper thin. One character's sole character trait is being a southern stereotype. The film focuses on the gore, which is gross not scary. The explanation behind the Xenomorphs is incredibly underwhelming. After the climax, we have a 20 minute segment that has no impact on the plot and just drags the movie out longer than necessary. What make this worse is the fact this segment is just an inferior reenactment of the climax of one the previous films. The build up from the previous movie gets resolved in a five minute flashback then is ignored for the rest of the running time. Also, a character from one of the previous Alien movie comes back, but has a largely different characterization due to events never shown to the audience.
The main villain is incredibly weak. Their motivations are on par with a Captain Planet villain. In addition, they randomly make out with people with no real explanation. All of this makes the film a lot less scary.
This was a terrible. This film replaces the tension and suspense of the good Alien films with gore. Not making the xenomorphs the main villains caused the film to suffer in my eyes. This is not helped by the fact they have replaced by a Saturday morning cartoon villain.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Nice Guys

I haven't done one of these reviews in awhile. So, lets change that. I just saw The Nice Guys (the Shane Black film not High Hopes under another title). Here are my thoughts on it.
What is the plot? In 1977, private detective Holland March (Ryan Gosling) is hired find Amelia Kutner (Margaret Qualley), who has gone missing. Amelia, not wanting to be found, hires the criminal enforcer Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) to convince Holland to abandon the case. However after being attacked by thugs (Keith David and Beau Knapp) asking for information on Amelia, Jackson decides to team up Holland to find Amelia before the thugs can.
What's good about the movie? The humor was excellent. I found myself laughing uncontrollably at several parts particularly when they were parodying / subverting action movie cliches. The characters played off each other very well. The dialogue between Holland and Jackson was the highlight of the film. The film manages to faithfully recreate the seventies particularly in the aesthetics and music. The mystery of the movie was well thought out and had me guessing. Although it dragged a bit before the climax, the film has good pacing. The film felt like it went by pretty quick without leaving me confused.
What's bad about the movie? The villains were weak. The secret main villain had most of their characterization through a motive rant at the end of the movie. Holland felt a bit too useless at certain parts of the film. Of note was when he got drunk when he was supposed to be looking for clues. There were certain moments where the characters were acting like idiots, but thankfully they were few and far between.
This was a great movie. It is an awesome throwback to old seventies films while remaining good by today's standards. While it is flawed, those problems weren't able to ruin this awesome experience. I give it a 8 out of 10.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Donnie Darko

What is the plot? In 1988, Donald "Donnie" Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) has visions of Frank (James Duval), a mysterious figure in a bunny suit that only he can see. After saving Donnie from being killed by a falling jet engine, Frank tells them the world will end 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds and to commit various crimes.
What is good? Some of the dialogue was pretty funny especially Donnie's speech about the sexuality of Smurfs. The film has interesting ideas presented. The special effects were good.
What is bad? Although many praise the story for being a mind screw, the story came off as a fairly standard narrative that poorly constructed. Despite being the driving force of the plot, Frank gets no development or explanation for his presence: incredibly basic information, like his motivation and what his abilities are, is denied to the audience. There are tons of filler. Extended sequences are devoted to explaining the science behind time travel, which Frank violates. A large chunk of the cast, such as Donnie's therapist Dr. Thurman (Katharine Ross), the teachers and pop psychologist Jim Cunningham (Patrick Swayze), are superfluous to the plot despite the latter being a main villain. The explanations for how this universe works don't work because they all get contradicted. For example, they establish you need a large metal object to time travel. However, Frank is able to time travel without one.
I know a lot of people like this movie and they are allowed to do so. However, I did not like it. I found the plot seemed incomplete. I give this 4 out of 10.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Dark Dungeon

Debbie (left), Frost and Marcie
Dark Dungeon is odd movie. It was based on the "Dark Dungeon", a religious comic book made by Jack Chick that accused role-playing games of being gateways to the occult. The movie, despite being an "official" adaption, is actually meant to be a parody of the original.
What is the plot? College freshmen Marcie (Anastasia Higham) and Debbie (Alyssa Kay) join the local role playing club. However, their game master Mistress Frost (Tracy Hyland) is actually a cultist manipulating them into summoning Cthulhu.
What's good with the movie? Despite being made on a cheap budget, they managed to make the movie look professional (sans the special effect for the magic). They managed to get real locations and role playing game material for the movie. Some of the comedy in the first half was good especially RPGers having a rave party.
What's wrong with the movie? The movie has tone problems. At first, the movie is an over-the-top parody (à la Naked Gun) then it tries to be more stealthy about its mockery (à la Starship Troopers) and devolves to being completely serious. They should have chosen to one tone instead of randomly shifting gears. For some reason, the Witches' Coven, in the original comic, is replaced a conspiracy about cultists trying to summon Cthulhu. This change doesn't help the narrative at all. The subplot with the cultists gets resolved out of nowhere and nonsensically. Meanwhile, Satan, who is a major villain in Jack's works as a whole and is implied to help cause the events of original comic, is never mentioned. A lot of the references to role-playing culture (such as the steam tunnels (referring to the disappearance of James Egbert and the result media hysteria) and the live action role playing session) are intrusive and bog down the movie. As I mentioned before while the movie otherwise look professional, the special effects for the magic are very fake-looking.
Dark Dungeon is a confused mess to the point it can't decide if it wants to parody or be a straight forward adaption of its source material. This and adding the conspiracy that adds nothing to the movie made this movie unenjoyable. I give this 3 out of 10.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Problem Sleuth

The unofficial logo of the series
I normally talk about movies on this blog. However, I thought this comic deserved to be talked about. The comic can be found at along with its sister comics Jailbreak (which is complete), Bard Quest (which has been abandoned) and Homestuck (which is what Hussie is currently working on).
Before we get into the actual review, I want to talk about the comic's format. Problem Sleuth is presented as if it was a video game. Each page has an instruction that was based on reader input. This instruction would affect the character as if they were in an interactive fiction game. In the actual story, the characters have stats and level up as if they were in a role playing video game. I point this out because the format might seem odd to the uninitiated.
What is the plot? The protagonist, Problem Sleuth, is a detective that finds himself trapped in his office and tries to escape. He soon discovers his fellow detectives, Ace Dick and Pickle Inspector, are in similar predicament and is forced to team up with them.
What's good about the series? Despite being a largely gag-driven series, the comic forms a cohesive (albeit a bizarre and ludicrous) plot. For example, a minor joke about building a fort out of an office desk ends up becoming a major mechanic for the "game". The humor is extremely good. For example, Death has recurring gag about playing games, such Hungry Hungry Hippos and breaking piñatas, with other people. While normally this would get repetitive, the writer, Andrew Hussie, managed to use this to tell a variety of jokes. The series manages pull off being both insane and awesome at the same time. The best example is a villain being defeated by a jawbreaker-firing cannon. On a similar note, the fight scenes manage to be good despite the humorous tone of series. They manage to be fast-paced and action-packed. The art, while employing a minimalist style, manages to impressive especially toward the end where we have pages where loads upon loads of characters assemble and Andrew doesn't skimp on the detail on any of them.
What's bad about the series? Even for a comic where the pages are mostly one panel, it is a long series. If you include the epilogue, the comic spans 1892 strips. The plot gets very complicated. To put this perspective, "Recap Part 2" (strip 1696), which recaps the plot up to that point, spans nearly five pages. While I personally found these to be non-issues, I know this can turn some people off. At least one or two images would not appear on my computer, but these were unimportant to the plot and seemed minor compared to the other 1890 pages that worked. The characterization is rather weak due to the focus on jokes.
This is my favorite web comic of all time. The comic is the most crazy awesome thing I have ever read yet has good writing at the same time. I give it a five out of five.

Saturday, December 21, 2013


This is a really bad one.
What is the plot? The story takes place in a grocery store where mascot icons (called "ikes" for short) are alive and out at night a la the toys in Toy Story. Dex Dogtective (Charlie Sheen) falls into a depression due to being unable to find his missing girlfriend Sunshine Goodness (Hilary Duff). The eccentric Mister Clipboard (Christopher Lloyd) brings Brand X items to the store. Now, the evil  Brand X mascot Lady X (Eva Longoria) attempts to conquer the grocery store.
What are the pros? Finding "pros" are like trying to find a needle in the sand on a beach. While there is probably something good about it, I can't think of ANYTHING good in this film.
What are the cons? When I talk about these flaws, keep in mind this film took seven years to make, which is the same time it took to make The Avengers. The entire movie is propaganda against generic-name products (represented by the Brand X villains). The humor is awful with jokes that range from terrible puns to the movie excepting us to laugh at Vlad Chocul being a homosexual. The pop culture references and the gross out humor are among the worse of these jokes. Despite this, the film expects it to take its plot seriously. The villains are blatantly Nazis to the point that have a death camp in the form of the "expiration isle". It blatantly rip-offs (not parodies) Casablanca (Dex starts off in a role similar to Rick Blaine) including a scene that is a copy of the famous "La Marseillaise" scene. There is little to no explanation of how and why the world works. For example, why do the products disappear when the mascots are killed? I get the impression Lieutenant X (Jeff Bennett), Lady X's right hand man, is suppose to be creepy, but he comes off as an unfunny version of Frank N Furter. Most of the songs sound like terrible covers of better songs and at least one is.
This is one of the worse movies I have ever seen. Foodfight is the animated equivalent of Monster a Go-Go. I give this a 1 out of 10 for simply existing.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


R.I.P.D. was Universal Pictures' attempt to adapt the obscure Rest In Peace Department comic. How did they do? Lets see.
Nick Walker (Ryan Reynolds) is a police officer. He is killed by his partner Bobby Hayes (Kevin Bacon). Instead of face "judgement" and properly entering the afterlife, he is recruited by the Rest in Peace Department, an agency of undead police officers. Nick is paired up with the cowboy Roy Pulsipher (Jeff Bridges) to hunt Deados, rogue undead that escape to the human world, because they cause corruption and decay.
Lets look at the good. The effects are good. The Deados have creative designs. The action scenes are decent.
Lets look at the bad. The premise is a complete copy of G vs E (except there is a cowboy instead a baxploitation-style action hero and the Deados replace the Faustians). I know this may be a problem with the comic, but "Deados" sounds like they wanted to use "Deadites", but couldn't. The villain's plan relies heavily on magical artifacts (such as the Staff of Jericho). However, these artifacts are given little to no explanation. The rules of this universe are poorly defined and played for comedy at best. There is a subplot about Nick attempting to talk to his wife, but it goes nowhere. How the R.I.P.D. keeps the existence of itself and Deados a secret is never explained.
What did I think overall? While don't think it deserves the 11% it got on Rotten Tomatoes, it still wasn't that good. This film could have been improved if they better defined the rules of this universe and set up the various plot devices in advance. It give it a 2 out of 5.