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Have you watched Leverage? You should. Or should have; it was cancelled (or at least officially ended) on Christmas Day (those bastards). So closed five seasons of one of the best con/heist shows on tv. Basically Robin Hooding as done by a smaller cast of Ocean's Eleven.

Tv shows come and go all the time, and they at least operated under the assumed fact that they would never get another season at almost every finale (this was altered if they knew before writing the last script of the season that they were continued).

This pisses me off, not just because it was my favorite show currently airing, but because it kinda killed a little of my want to go back to Portland. Not that I don't want to still, but Leverage being filmed there was a big push. Because, like a lot of writers, I too wished to sell a script for my favorite project.

Egotistical yes, but one I still kinda fume over. I had good ideas damn it, why didn't it wait for me?! Okay, that was much, but still.

So, being as they'd go to waste anyway, here were my ideas:

1) The P.O.V. Job
"The -blank- Job" was a title tik of the show. Bascially in every show, it was a five-act breakdown; intro and info on the con, beginning grift, hook and push of the mark, things go wrong, and the wrap up. Basic, but it was it was done that kept it from being boring.

My "great" idea, at least for this episode pitch, was screw all that to hell. While the fun of the show was seeing how these thieves con deserving people out of money/objects/companies they don't deserve, making it very much about the journey than the destination, I wanted to see things from the view of the person they were scamming. Hence the POV; the show, at least until the fifth act, would follow closely things from the mark's point of view. The five main cast would appear only in-character as whoever they were pretending to be.

High concept for a show that had a fairly well grooved formula, but something they may have needed; shake things up to keep the audience invested. Several things would need to be handled, by those fair more talented for the medium than I; making a con that put all five MCs to use, seeing as two were very much behind the scenes kinda of skill sets, and making sure they were used to a full extent. But that's what I kinda wanted, see these people as they make themselves; for a whole episode they appear only as these people they aren't, talking and acting as helpful, and then suddenly you're arrested and looking across the street at who you thought were on your side, only to see them silently gloating at your doom.

The basic con would have been a corrupt mega-church pastor, using the faith of his flock to scam them out of their savings/morgages/anything they could liquidate. Neil Patrick Harris was my first choice as the mark, that fun mix of smarmy, cartoony, and still threatening when serious. Zooey Deschaniel if the character needed to be female, or as a possible sister.

2) The Big Five-Part Finale: The Hitter Job, The Grifter Job, The Hacker Job, The Thief Job, The Mastermind Job
I wasn't stupid enough to believe the show would go forever. It had a finite shelf life before it would have to end; I just didn't think it was only five season. Now I'm sad again.

Anywho; my plan was to make sure, should the man from the mountain finally say it was, that the show ended as big as it could. Final. Epic. Grandious. And by that, give each character an episode to shine to the best of their abilities. Go by the show's tag line ("hitter, grifter, hacker, thief", the breakdown of the jobs of four of the cast; "mastermind" or "brains" was never part of the catchy quip), and work until it ended at "mastermind" the big conclusion that brought them all together, as they did in the pilot.

How? The hell if I knew, I'm big picture here, not details. It wasn't like I was counting on throwing out this idea to get me hired, I was gonna work "POV" up there for that. This was gonna be my addition to a writer's room pitch, work the seed for later when the inevidible happened. It Leverage was going to end, by god I was gonna have it go out as loud as it could!

...and then it ended. I knew a few days before the finale - I can actually say I know a guy and not have it be stretch - but luckily the press release had already gone out so he shouldn't be in any trouble. Also, thinking about it, they'd have known before that, so I was actually late to the game. Huh.

"The Long Goodbye Job" was the final episode, concluding both the season arc of secret-hush hush teasing and the five season "will they/won't they" romance of two of the main characters. I take that back; they very much "will", it was just taken to the next step. And there was the final seconds punt, throwing out a hail-mary pass to get a spin-off series; I'm told it didn't take. Sad.
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District 13: Ultimatum
Director: Patrick Alessandrin
Producer and Writer: Luc Besson (yeah, the
Fifth Element guy)
Starring: David Belle, Cyril Raffaelli


Synopsis
Three years after stopping the destruction of Parisian slum District 13, things are still craptastic. The government has kept none of their promises and the walled off district festers with five ethnically divided gangs that vie for power, the cops and said gangs holding a tenuous truce. Outside corrupt forces, however, wish to profit from this slum and begin a campaign to break that truce and, with government backing, move in and wipe away the filth (specifically five high rise apartment towers) to build new luxury condos. Lead by a Mr. Gassman, a black ops government agency kills some cops then frames some D13 gang members for the murders, stirring the hornets’ nest and building public resentment. Super cop Damien (Raffaelli), who would normally be the first choice to handle the situation, is framed with drugs and arrested, but manages to get a call out to his friend Leito (Belle), who refuses to leave the ghetto that is his home, to save him. Together, they figure out that Gassman is behind it all and make a plan that brings together the five rival gangs to unite and lead an assault on parliament to stop their home from being destroyed.

Good Guys Things

One is a parkour running hood rat. One is a super cop. Together, they fight crime (and bromance)

Staring 'That Guy' and 'the Jumping Hamster from Die Hard 4!' )
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Tricked by Alex Robinson

Back Blurb:

    "TRICKED follows the lives of six people - a reclusive rock legend, a heartbroken waitress, a counterfeiter, an obsessive crank, a lost daughter, and a frustrated lover - whose lives are unconnected until an act of violence brings them spiraling in on each other."


That entire blurb is just one sentence. A very concise sentence (rather apt for the tight storytelling) mind you, one that almost gets it all correct, but I guess they wanted to save space for the six review quotes they had as well. Given the chance, a better blurb might read:

TRICKED, Alex Robinson's sophomore work after his breakout hit BOX OFFICE POISON, is a slice-of-life tale of interconnectedness. The lives of six random people - a burnt out rock star, a counterfeiter, a daughter looking for her father, an obsessive-paranoid off his meds, a waitress who keeps making bad decisions, and an office temp in the right place at the right time - are slowly intertwined until the final pivotal moment they are all brought together. Filled with love, discovery, and people you see on the streets everyday, TRICKED continues Robinson's knack for producing real people behaving as real people and letting everything else fall into place. )
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I like webcomics and have a varity that I follow on a weekly basis. Some are good, some are bad, and some are just strange, but it's still always interesting seeing what's created and the stories that come of that creation. These are a sampling of those that I've read, along with whether or not I'd recommend them to anyone else.

Unshelved, by Gene Ambaum (Librarian) and Bill Barnes (cartoonist): A newspaper-esque daily strip about the going-ons of your local library, and all the things librarians wish they could actually say out loud. Since late 2005, there's also been a weekly full page in color showcasing-slash-recommending various books for your consumption.

If you love books, this is what you should be reading. It's as close to a newspaper strip as you'll find, so there's no worry about NSFW or "edgy" entries, you don't need to know anything going in to enjoy it, and the books they recommend (while 8 out of 10 times going to be sci-fi/alternative earth stories) are presented in interesting ways, usually in-strip as selling the book to a patron. The characters are fairly simple, but not entirely one note; the young adult section snark mouth, the rule-and-office supply obsessed manager, the always cheery, vegan storytime reader, the too-old and been-here-too-long reference desk clerk, the teenage kid who's there all the time but it's hardly for the reading, the library page who never comes out of his mascot costume, etc. They do the job of an unaging comic strip cast, which is be consistant and easy to identify. The art is extremely simple, right-angle limbs and "V" eyebrows aplenty, and while it has polished itself over time (having started back in 2002) there's an extremely lack of growth in the drawings; the simple style makes it able to be done daily and stay on model but it's still very doodle like (which sometimes makes the book scenes drawn look very cheesy and done for a first-grade book report, which distracts from how interesting the book itself may be), but then again they're still above a good portion of what's still printed in actual newspapers.
Recommend? Yes

Nerf This, by Scott Ferguson: A five-a-week comic of varying length, about a guy, his pet monster, and the devil-like figure who wants the monster back. Or an absurd slice-of-life about an escaped mental patient, it could go either way. Lots of non sequitur/self-pimping filler strips.

Run. Run while you can, because despite the high level of art this strip achieves in its later stages, this is a moronically-STUPID comic. The main character Chase is an blathering man-child who operates on the level of sea-slug, ignoring all reality, logic, and the friends he somehow manages to keep around him in favor of acting however he wants inspite of the people and/or situation around him. It's beyond "idiot-hero", he's just (and I'm not joking) full retarded. No joke, he will sometimes recognize that he's doing something uncomfortable to others, but quickly steamrolls that thought away with his next manic act. The most annoying thing is how he's presented to be in the right almost all the time, that his behavior is actually "sweet" and "he means well", but again and again most acts of kindness are his misintruptited brain farts. The longest strings of thought he manages to keep are all about his monster, up to and crossing the extreme point of ignoring his girlfriend, who is at the moment in worry over his sorry ass for some reason, because he doesn't even truly realize she's there. And she loves him. God, I hate him so much.
Recommend? Hell no

Scout Crossing, by Scott Ferguson: A (mostly) one-day a week comic, focusing on hipster/punk/better-than-that-coffeeshop-acoustic-guitar-jackass Scout Crossing and his imaginative battles against the poser kids in the alternative scene. Basically a webcomic hipster version of Scott Pilgram, but more absurb and with less pop/game culure love.

Having just trashed a previous comic by the same creator, let me retrack that somewhat by saying that Crossing is actually really decent. Scout is still a tad half-brained like Chase is, but it feels more natural and he's nowhere near as much an annoying asshat. While you don't quite know what to expect in the first few strips, the action steps up quick and smacks you with a bear (or a shark) upside the head. The art, having started much later than Nerf, is pretty good from the start and gets better as it goes on. Not that you'll notice if you stick with this webcomic alone, but Ferguson has a habit of reusing his basic character designs/traits, especially in the face and hair aspects, so there's that nitpick. Not very long at the moment (you can kill the archive in about an hour or so), it's still worth a read.
Recommend? Sure

Sock Puppet Army, by Nick Hamilton: A Mon-Wed-Fri comic about a new sacrifice to the restaurant serving world, the people who already inhabit it, and not a whole lot more at the moment as it's still fairly new.

Despite its name, SPA has nothing to do with sock puppets, except if you want to think of the patrons and/or employees as straw-figures for Hamilton to expound upon with for all the shit things that happen as, from, and to those inside a restaurant. I kinda love it, but as an ex-server, I'm also part of it's aimed demographic; some things you just have to experience (though I wouldn't want you to). As said, it's not terribly far into itself, only up to the second day of new hire Jack, a recent college grad finding that the world is not as open to those with a degree as one would think, but looks to be a good long term read as it builds a history and expands it's cast. The art right now is average, but looks like it'll improve fairly quickly; right now the biggest deterrant are the faces, one character looks like his cheeks are melting off his lower jaw like a bloblous candle, the two bar tenders and two blond servers at first glance are hard to tell apart (their dialog helps) and expressions are either mad-pissed or half-lidded boredom. The blog below is worth mentioning as well, as almost every (recent) strip is accompanied by ancedotes and/or links to other pages to/by servers in the business and their horror stories.
Recommend? Yes

Happle Tea, by Scott Maynard: A Tues and Fri updated comic about mythology, what it meant then and how strange it looks now. While often just a humorous one-shot look at various myths, there's also main character K, his roommate Sasquatch, God (most often depicted as a floating cat with halo), Allev the either female love-interest or the male schoolmate/friend of K (never disclosed), and various figures of religious, mythical, and fairy tale texts that roam his home and/or neighborhood.

Kinda like Unshelved, if you love stories, especially mythology and legends, you should be reading this strip. Maynard knows what he's talking about, if not a legitimate student of mythology he at minimum could teach a class on it. The strips themselves are sometimes disorienting and confusing (but always funny even by themselves), taking several reads of not only the strip but several reference texts to understand, but once you do it all comes together. Often the strips are just one-time gags related to the absurdance of some old stories, like various Greek myths or urban legends, but done in ways that seem really stupid but still are totally adherient to the original tales. The art isn't bad from the start, staying in a fairly cartoony style and gradually expanding that into a more graphic idealization of it as time goes on. Again, the blog below is worth a look, especially if you don't get the strip of the day; Maynard will often expand and expound upon whatever his topic is, revealing how much detail and knowledge he really has. Sporatic update schedule, but always worth it.
Recommend? Yes

Menage a 3, by Gisèle Lagacé (aka Giz)(art and co-writer) and DaveZero1 (only known alias)(co-writer): a very often NSFW strip updated Tues-Thurs-Sat, M3 follows Quebec based hapless virgin nerd Gary, punk-rock sexaholic Zee, and the big breasted, naive French-Canadian speaking Dee-Dee as they become roommates and the sex-riddled adventures everyone (except Gary) get up to.

This is often a hard strip to stomach, mainly because the main characters of focus are so... so unreal. You've seen The 40-Year Old Virgin, yes? He was believible because of how he was presented. Gary is just so unbelievible in his geekery that you can't see how he functions. So much seems to circle around him but because of writer convience he never learns or reacts to that circling in any way that would make you care about him. You feel sad for him, but only because he is so very sad. Zee or Dee-Dee either don't come across as people you could see existing. And it's probably because they exist, here, only for the writer's want to have sexual hijinks done in pseudo-Archie Comic style. You will see a lot of breasts. You will see characters walk in on gay men having sex on the couch quiet often. You will see sex used at the means, ends and wants way too often to think it real. Zee is a Mary-Sue, never called on her constant shit brewing and always getting what she wants (sex, sex, Gary to not have sex, and sex), while Dee-Dee is a stereotypical Triple B; blonde, busty and brain-dead. Her manner of speaking is that fake half-French, half-English stutter that no one outside of movies uses and she's naive about everything in front of her face (but still has her share of sex). Not much can be said of the art, it's better than it should be for it's story, a very Archie Comic style done as a counter to the sexual escapades that happen, but it's really not as funny-ironic as the creative team seems to think it is.
Recommend? Not in good conscience, no

Dumbing of Age, by David Willis: A five-day a week strip about college and the first years of a very wide and extended cast right off the bat. There are no "main" characters, just ones used slightly more often than others, the comic follows the students on their life and times of exploring their new nesting grounds for the next four years. Character designs are the same from previous (Joyce and Walky) or ongoing (ShortPacked) webcomics Willis has drawn for, with the bare minimum of their personalities in tack and aged for college.

It's not bad. The characters are various levels of charming or annoying and the cast, even from the outset, is wide enough that even if there's one or two you don't like there's bound to be at least one you do, and even then the time focused on them won't be too long. For fans of Willis' previous or current comics it's a fun game of "spot the character" and trying to determine how close they are to their original incarnation. For those who are coming in fresh, there's not much to worry about as knowing who they were has no impact on who they are here. The art started out strong and will probably continue to do so, seeing as Willis has had quite a bit of practice before this. The characters are all easily recongnizible, the biggest peev of mine being the too-closeness in looks of Dorothy and Amber; expect for a minor bang realignment, they're the same character with different hair color. But it's a minor nitpick.
Recommend? Yep

Schlock Mercenary, by Howard Tayler: A full-colored daily sci-fi strip, the epic and continous adventures of the space ship the Touch and Go and its mercenary crew. Central character Schlock, a morphous pile of looks like and has been compared to mudshit, roams several universes with Captain Tagon and his crew of various personalities, looking to eat his enemies, drink massive amounts of an Ovaltine-like liquid, and have fun and get paid while doing so.

I'm not quite sure how to explain this one; it's like if you crossed Flash Gordon serials with Neal Stephenson's level of complexity and filtered it though Adult Swim onto a comic strip. And even that doesn't do it justice. Schlock is one of the most complex comic strips period, counting anything in print. It's universe is galaxies long, and ever expanding, it's cast even more so (in spite of how often old friends/enemies are run into), with several levels of thought out worldbuilding and science that makes sense inspite of not existing. If anything, the weakest joke this whole strip has (and right now it's several thousand strips long, starting back in 2000) is there's an entire race of lawyer-snakes, and even that is still funny. The art starts at a mediocre, if function, level and had only improved with time, my only annoyance being how people standing still always seem to be angled forward from their ankles. Various storylines take place at once, but not concurrently; one storyline will play out until its finish, then the next one (happening at the same time) will go, until the fourth act where the two (or more) stories come together. Having these large and detailed stories finish gives quiet the satisfaction to the reader, and you want to see things kinda slow down and explore the whole crew together, but then the next multi-tailed arc begins. And you can do nothing except hang on and see where it'll lead or end (if it even will).
Recommend? Yes, but must love (hard) sci-fi

Multiplex, by Gordon McAlpin: A sometimes 2-, sometimes 3-day a week comic about the people who give you your ticket, point out your theater, and ask if you want butter on your popcorn. The staff of this Chicago multiplex theater all love movies (some more than others) and enjoy their work; that or they just enjoy seeing new releases for free.

Of the three or four movie related webcomics I follow, this one comes out on top for a few reasons; a) it updates the most and on time, b) its opinions on movies are varied amongst the cast, not just on McAlpin's alone, and c) it's the funniest. Central character Jason loves/hates movies; he loves them so much as an art form that he hates the average piece of cinema for the entertainment it is (or tries to be), and comes off as a little pretencious for it, but his snark is still funny and he will get called out on it if he goes too far. Others have been at the 'plex for years, like Kurt, Melissa and Becky, while others are fairly new and only there for the summer (newcomers Tease and Jailbait), and some are just there because it's a job they enjoy until they move on (like recent cast-off, Whitey). There's a general sense of time going by, with characters who come and go, relationships that move on, end or begin, but at the same time there's no real "aging", which isn't bad but is kinda weird when you try to think of how old/long someone's been there. But it doesn't take away from how good or fun it is. The art style is one of the more unique ones amongst the web, starting out as a spiritual cousin to South Park in it's construction paper style,and has evolved over time to still have that feel but be twenty times better, allowing for various angles, sets, and so on to be used. Real posters are used in the backgrounds as well, so often I've spotted upcoming movies I didn't even know were upcoming, and they're ever changing just like a real theater.
Recommend? Yes

I Am a Hero

Apr. 2nd, 2011 02:55 pm
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A review.

Techs; I Am a Hero is a slice of life/horror/social commentary manga written and drawn by Hanazawa Kengo, published by Shogakukan in Big Comic Spirits magazine since 2009. Currently at five volumes, it is still on-going but with no set date for any future releases. Hero is the story of 35-year old Hideo Suzuki, an assistant manga artist and social wayside, who struggles to be the lead character in his own life in spite of having few, if any, redeeming values towards himself, his girlfriend, or reality in general. Perverse, a loser by any standards, and trapped by social norms, not to mention suffering from severe psychological handicaps and hallucinations, the manga follows Hideo on the slow climb from normal Japanese loser in life through the maybe dellusional/maybe real breakdown of the world around him.

And I'm not sure I get it. In fact, I may hate it.

There's no falling down a rabbit hole; instead the rabbit comes out and bites you )
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The mission/character pattern is broken, it's centered on Aqualad (which is as exciting as it sounds), and really I'm not sure what really happens. Cameo by STARFISHLOVESYOU.

Episode Recap )

Character Analysis )

Episode Analysis )

Final Thoughts )
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A full(er) review.

Let's do this.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, is the latest animation rendition of the long running Hasbro toyline, My Little Pony. Centering around six individual ponies, the show is focused around teaching it's watchers, an aimed demographic of 4-8 year-old girls, about friendship and honesty and how to basically be a good person, despite faults, misgivings or fears. Developed for televsion by Lauren Faust, produced by Canadian studio, Studio B Productions, it's (as of this writing) currently a little over halfway through its first 26 episode season.

Oh, and it's freaking awesome.

The hard part is explaining exactly why, considering especially that (at least based on Youtube commentary) it has considerable appeal to the 20-something college male. Unironically. Let's see what there's to be.

You know what, screw it. This show is awesome, and you are less awesome for not watching it. OBEY THE CUTENESS! )
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Real magic, fake magic, a Kid Flash episode, and the voice of Lexington. Three outta four ain't bad.

Episode Recap )

Character Analysis )

Episode Anaylsis )

Final Thoughts )
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*Apologies for this being a week late, I had some RL things to handle. Catch up time!*

We've upped our girl quotiant, both hero, villain and civvie alike, Speedy loses his drug refence code name, and we're shown the writers really are writing for the slightly younger sect. Onward!

Episode Recap )

Character Analysis )

Episode Analysis )

Final Thoughts )
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*holds head*

Okay, confession time. When I was a kid, I had a VHS tape that had two cartoons on it; My Little Pony: The Movie and The Chipmunk Adventure. As I loved cartoons, I didn't think much of it, I just watched 'em. And to my credit, the Smooze is a pretty cool non-dangerous villain for kids (and a irritatingly catchy song). But over time I started watching mainly only the Chipmunk half, and even then it was mainly for the songs (okay, one song). And I was pissed when I lost that tape, because it was part of my childhood. Not just the movies, but the tape itself, having those two movie back to back was just what I'd always known of them; I'd never seen either movie on it's own, or ever one television, so I was not happy.

Now, skip ahead to today. I still love cartoons, and I've previously admitted to liking shows I should have no right enjoying because I am so far outside the intended range of what they're aiming for.

But I can't help it.

It's just...

They're...

It's just.

So.

Fucking.

Cute.

I am part of no man society, because my card would be revoked before I even got it )
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Addressing Superboy's anger problem, flying monkeys, and the biggest shocker of all, Superman is a dick.

Episode Recap )

Character Analysis )

Episode Analysis )

Final Thoughts )
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Decent action, cool villains, and a real mission. Let's see how things are handled.

Episode Summary )

Character Analysis )

Episode Analysis )

Final Thoughts )
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In an effort to distract myself (and something I really meant to do last week anyway) I want to start posting reviews of the new Young Justice animated series on Cartoon Network; thank god for Youtube.

This is for two reasons; a) I can't make Youtube videos, and b) I want to start review stuff for when I finally get Uneducated Opinion going. Also, I just like cartoons.

Until I figure out how I want to pace this, I'll probably be experimenting with different formats. So basically, I have no idea what I'm doing.

Episode Summary )

Character Analysis )

Episode Analysis )

Final Thoughts )
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If there's one thing I can definitely ramble on about for a while, it's comic. Well, and movies. And cartoons. And comic movies. But still, comics this time. And rambling I shall do.

Young Justice is a new animated series on Cartoon Network, created by Greg Weisman and Brandon Vietti, Weisman the creator of Gargoyles and producer of Spectacular Spider-Man, so that's a well endorsed resume, and frankly the show looks to kick. ASS.

I have a history with the comic YJ. It was the first series I seriously followed, having previously only watched cartoons based on comics and collected various titles sporadically. But with YJ, I read and bought as many back and current issues as I could, because I just loved it.

It's times like this I wish I had a webcam to do this stuff.

Quick rundown of what Young Justice was and DC animated shows to this point )

My thoughts and breakdown of Young Justice: the Series )

Wrapping it up )

Young Justice: the Series
Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4
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I've been told I like to argue with people. I reply I like debating things. I'm not sure if I've proved their point or not, but the fact remains that I do enjoy decent back and forth about things I like. Movies are one thing, but it's hard to find somebody who doesn't get insulted when you express your opinion about something they like or dislike. I don't really care how you side with it, I want to see you express your pros and cons better than, "I just do."

One thing I've found I'm good at is exploring the why and what of various things, be it movies, books, tv shows, ideas themselves, or what have you. This is one reason I enjoy TV Tropes (opposed to those that don't) because I like see the multitude of components that go into something. Usually though, trope wise, it's more fun to figure them out after the fact than try to use them first.

Uneducated Opinion was going to be a review blog of mine, where I desect whatever I happened to pick that topic, and dewelve into it like a frog in science class. Find each part and see what's the word.

Originally it was going to be only webcomics, because that's what was on my mind at the time, and while there are some review sites out there already, few actually went into any depth about the subject. It would be glossed over, or give a short paragraph, but it was always with the mind of keeping the review or critique to one post.

What I wanted to do was break things down into catagories and throughout the week go into each. While not every topic would have the exact same breakdowns, there would be ones that appeared each time: story, characters, art, writing. Rotating depending on what would be better served to discussion might be update schedule, creators themselves, elephant in the room issues, whatever I happened to want to rant about, time and pacing, or whatever.

I... never did jack shit with it. I got a gmail account, put the name into the blog, and have now let it sit for about a year now.

Part of it was, actually talking about each piece is a lot of work. Not that I don't enjoy doing it, but the time it takes to work everything out is time I either need for something else, work, or my own writing. Another was that I'd like to do video posting (so original, a video reviewer) but I lack a webcam or any other video recording device. Another was just getting up the want to really go at something. Yeah I can passionately disect something apart, but it's usually in the moment or with/against friends. Sitting alone with only the taps of keys and glowing screen is not the most adreniline rushing of things.

But I still want to do it. Not just webcomics, though I may still want to do one now and again, but just anything I happen to like or hate. TV shows, animation in particular, are one thing I don't see a lot of reviews for out there, at least not a lot in the way I wish them to be. Maybe foods or movies, a book, a person, just whatever happened to get my gumpton up that time. I don't really care about what detractors would say, the argument of "You aren't [x], so you can't really say anything" is already a fallace point, as is "Why don't you do better?" Point A misses the point, saying that only those in the know are able to legimately approve or disapprove, while forgetting that when you eat food, you don't need to be a chef to figure out if it's good or not. Point B tries to detract from the point; it's not a matter of whether or not I or anyone can do better, it's that this is not good. Or is, depending on the way you sway.

I've mentioned it before (I think) about where this kind of fire comes from; and it actually has to do with why I would go with Uneducated Opinion as the headline. Four years or so ago, I moved in with a friend and his boyfriend. Boyfriend, I'll call him Snob, had a degree in cinema and moviemaking, his dream to someday be a movie director. I don't fault him for that, a lot of people wish that. He, of course, loved movies, primilary that of drama, romantic comedies and horror.

I call him Snob, because he doesn't think highly of much else. You couldn't simply turn off your brain and enjoy a popcorn flick, it had to mean something or have some point or value to it. This is a point of discussion many times whenever Van Helsing came up, because I loved it as cheap (relatively) movie monster action goodness and he saw it as little more than a cinema trash that had no value because... well, I'm not sure why, he only said he didn't like it and it wasn't good, but rarely could an actual reason be gleaned from him as to why.

But what got to me, and what I would find out later after they broke up, was that I legimately pissed off Snob by having opinions on films. Van Helsing was just the tip of it, that I would dare to argue film points against him, and be able to hold my own, just irritated the everloving hell out of him. The whole of it was that I had some sort of audacitity to have an arguement either for or against a movie when I hadn't taken the time and money to get a degree in film to back up my ideas and observations. That I did not spend hours pouring over older films, that I ignored years of figuring out symbolism and lighting, I think that I just put up a fight to him just got under his skin.

I giggled upon finding this out, and was pleased with myself.

It's not because I took pleasure out of irritating somebody... mostly, he's special case. But what I think it was, was that I annoyed him for having opinions against his and could argue fairly well my points, and could do so without having gone through all that he had. All his posturing for having a degree (in film, and proceeded to work in retail and Starbucks, with no effort to join a production company, inspite of the fact there was a fairly well known one just downtown), for being a director (shitty college movie, but still), for being educated, I could push back against him and, in my mind, win.

Now it's entirely possible from his eyes it was like arguing with an ignorant moron; he who doesn't know won't be able to tell the difference between what he thinks he knows and what is fact. I've had that same arguement against such people. But the thing is I never claimed I knew the vast inner workings of film. I knew a handful of terms, could pick out shots and techniques, but I didn't act like I knew everything there was about cinema or its construction. I knew between what I enjoyed, what I didn't, what made up the parts of each, and could articuately make my position either for or against.

I'm hoping to start putting stuff onto the blog sometime soon. I'm still working on all the other stuff I have around me, multiple short stories as well as the bigger projects, but find it good to burn off different energy with the review stuff. I could do the same thing here, but I like having a place that's devoted to just the review and critiques. This I have for my general story idea springboard and whatever emotional headspace I find myself in.

We'll see what happens with it all. Another reviewer lost in the sea of people who like to talk about things they don't like. Woot.
ravenswept: (Default)
While not old, persay, I did this a while back and feel I should extend it's life beyond the history section of my Hotmail account. This is the evening after first watching the movie, so previews are included.

Dear god, the brillance that is Burton has again struck. I swear, Tim
Burton must use his telekinetic abilities to force these hunks of plastic
and metal to move to his whim. Corpse Bride...GENIUS!

...but first, PREVIEWS!!

'arry P'rter: Very cool looking. We again have a different director, no
longer the mexican dude, so a sublte shift in shooting is bound to occur.
This sharp point is softened by the fact that he has dragons in his movie.
Moving on.
Denied existence in the third movie, despite arrival in the third book,
Cho Chang is given face time. No disappointments.
Proving that 80's nosteglia trends are not limited to the real time
world, Harry believes the shagg'n look is coming back, and Ron is a convert
to the Cult of the Hair of the Beatles.
Dragons. Moving on.
Fast moving screen shots not-with-standing, the French girlie (whose
name I'm too lazy to look up) does not appear to live up the standards of
beauty that fiction writing made her out to be. Maybe I'm picky in a weird
way. Dunno. I had problems in LOTR when Galadriel was referred to as a
magnefiencent beauty; woman looked like a soccer mom after Botox.
Dragons. I think I've made my point.

Zathrua: Sadly, after the success of Jumanji, this is going to be looked at
as just a sad rip off of said movie. But with bigger effects and wide usage
of a blue screen for space shots. Retro robots are also involved. 'nuff
said.

Nanny Zimber-flyfin: Okay, I don't remember this title too much. Appearing
to take from cinematic styling of movies such as Ella Enchanted or Lemony
Snicket, this is being sold as a modern fairytale. Not modern techno-tale,
but just a new story that hopefully fits amongest classics like Snow White
or Sleeping Beauty. In a book, which I can't prove this is based on, this
story might work better. What it oozes in originality and wonder may be
overshadowed by glaring, gawky colors and set pieces.
In a nut shell, a single father has five children, ranging from
pre-publsient to sickenly cute to unable to talk, but still kill-me-cute.
They take pride in their ability to rid themselves of home care workers of
female gender (I believe the count was seventeen in some three months).
Enter the Mary Poppins-like nanny, whose entire self is boiled down to the
nanny from ABC's Super Nanny and the 'Before' pictures from The Swan. Also
some filler crap about an evil grandmother (godmother, aunt, whatever), ugly
relitives that turn into donkeys, and family togethernessness.

There might've been more, but damned if I can remember them. Goodness that
is Burton follows.

This movie rocks. Rocks solid.

Everything that was the shining light of Nightmare Before Christmas was
directed and focused through the Crystal of Nezermoth and sprayed across the
golden Sea of Duni. I shit you not.

Okay, truly, I geeked. I geeked my pants.

Taking from his past work in NBC, and the teams from both it and JatGP,
Burton has created more emotion in his new puppets then most can get out of
Tom Cruise. This is due in no small part to design leaps in facial and
articulation technology. A team of jewelers were brought in to help on the
small, introqet workings of the face; unlike Jack and Sally, who had
replacement heads and masks (respectuvely) all the main characters now
instead have bendible features that are adjusted with tiny rachet notches
behind the head. Expressions are strangly more believible then before.
Articulation, also, is much improved. They have two scenes in which a
character plays a piano. Believibly. In time and I believe the piano
models are to scale. Damn.

Visual style is pure Burton; much of what sells his movies is this style,
but it is still a point one much acknowledge. Juxaposed in worlds, the
world is so stark you'd think a black and white camera was used to film the
first third of the movie. The dead, on the other hand, are quite lively (no
pun intended) and their color scheme matches. Flesh turns a 'dead blue' and
clothing is given it's proper due. And the characters are given profiles
that make them easy to define. The living bride's mother is the best
example.

The story is a treat. Without a book to refrence from or this being a
rework of some previously made movie, this is a much needed addition to
summer reduxes. Without spoiling anything, young Victor is betrothed to
Victoria (nice names) in an arranged wedding. Victor comes from new money,
his parents fish mongers. Victoria is old money, her parents handing her
off as a way to get a dowry of muula. Despite hopes, the anorixic couple
take a liking to each other. This is their first meeting, and it happens to
be at the rehersel, the day before the wedding. The pastor is voiced by
Christofer Lee, whose voice is more commanding then in the LOTR movies.

When nerves othertake the lead, he runs into the woods (represented in
Burton's 'upright trunks and horizontal branches' way) where in a fit of
self-bashing, goes over his lines. It takes some time. He gets them right,
after a time, and turn manages to propose (and also wed) a woman who was
killed in the woods in her bridal dress. This back story is brought to you
later in a full Danny Elfman score.

What follows (I said no spoilers) is twists and turns that are simple enough
for the movie this is supposed to be, yet challenging to predict at times.
And the ending you will not predict. Probably not, anyway, but don't expect
the obivous.

Elfman again plays with his pens and papers, creating a musical score that
defines him as Danny Elfman. Seriously, you could run the soundtracks of
Nightmare and Bride back to back and assume it's one movie. He does get a
bit more jazzy and energetic in Bride, throwing in some piano work that fits
well into the scope of both the movie and the surrounding orchestra.

Truthfully, and maybe to my eyes, the only real drawback seems to define
itself as the character Emily, the bride of corpse mention. The story moves
both slow and fast around her, making the 70 minutes drag in length, while
the story flies by with her exposision. One sceen, with her dancing in
moonlight, while beautiful in all terms, is strangely derailing and story
stopping in words that I can't place.

In conclusion; Burton = Genius. Thank you


Looking back, I wasn't the most neutral of reviewers; there does hint of some small bias here and there, but I was excited for the movie. Also, I was proud of myself for verbing the word 'geek'. I've used it much sense then.

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