Mr. Where Have you Been?

It’s been a long while people, probably too long.  So much as happened over the last 8 months or so since I’ve posted on here.  Sometimes you just loose touch and focus on other things in life; unfortunately this is was not one of those things.  It’s amazing though how I still get email’s about people following my blog which makes me happy. I know that this blog needs a serious overhaul with updating pages and whatnot; just do not expect that to happen right away. So, despite all the life changes that have been happening, I give you a movie review! I don’t know if this will be a a constant weekly blog again, but while it’s in my head I might as well dish it out.

mrnobody  Mr. Nobody (2013) was a film I’ve been hankering to watch since I first heard about its release last year. Although I am unfamiliar with Jaco Van Dormael’s films, the concept seemed interesting enough to merit my viewership.  I’ve always been into strange, trippy and far out there films.  For me, as I’m sure it is for many, they always seem to carry a strange sense of morality and underlying answer to the mysteries of the universe.  Even if we never fully understand it’s hidden agenda, these films always seem to stir the dust filled backs of our minds to think outside the box and maybe stray away from the normalcy of society.

This film follows a fellow known as Nemo Nobody (Jared Leto) who appears to be the last mortal man on earth.  The last remaining days of his life are being documented by now immortal humans who seem interested to know all there is about the last mortal man to ever live.  Unfortunately for them, Mr. Nemo’s memory is scattered and detached from any straight lined path.  His interviews with doctors begin to patch together a somewhat thought out puzzle of his life, observing the incredible decisions he has or hasn’t made and how those decisions have impacted one mans life.

Nemo Nobody has a very normal origin story, the soul or idea (whatever the viewer would like to believe he was) who decides to experience life.  He chooses his starting point and begins to grow into the man he would become, but nothing in life is ever so cut and dry.  Upon his parents divorce, Nemo is faced with a difficult decision; should he live with his mom and move to the US or stay in in the UK with his father?  This ultimate decision is what creates a tapestry of events that all come down to this one single moment in time.  Does he go to the US, watch his mother re-marry, fall in love with his step sister and spend the rest of his life trying to find her again when his mother’s 2nd marriage falls apart? Does he stay with his father, who after suffering from a stroke, is forced to relay on his son who sacrifices everything for him until he meets a girl and by chance, falls in love with her?  If that girl accepts him will he finally be happy or will he become obsessed with keeping an almost out of this world promise that he would lay her to rest on the surface of Mars…

There is so much to explain and so little that this blog should reveal.  The truth of the matter is, this movie will keep your mind heightened with possibilities.  The theme of ‘What If…” is something that haunts many of us today.  The thought of how our lives might have been if we decided to do things differently; to say no to that strange guy who asked you out on a date, to go with the green dress instead of the blue…all these questions will never be answered in the reality we have created for ourselves.  This film allows us to see our own possibilities unfold.  In a way, you might think to yourself, “That could have been me…” Besides the pulsating theme of uncertainty, this film does not leave it’s viewer in total darkness.  In one of Nemo’s life lines/dreams/realities he is a television host of a informational show about the realm of possibilities.  He explains the science and the thought that goes into explaining something’s we will never know or fully understand.  So despite the feeling of being constantly tossed around, the film also brings you back to look at the grand scheme of things allowing you to focus and stay on track…for the most part.

Overall this film was everything and interesting.  The acting was not what I call the best but believable.  Visually it was stunning to see all the different realities created for this one character to live though. Leto was the perfect choice of focus; the only other actor I can see pulling a film like this off would be Ryan Gosling.  Leto was incredible in producing a number of transformations and personalities for the audience to witness.  More props go to the child actors who played the younger versions of Nemo.  They set the playing field for who he was to become and how we might imagine him to be.

For all the out of this world film lovers out there, you would most likely place this film on your list.  It’s definitely not a cut and dry piece of cinema so make sure your mind is ready to process all the scenarios being presented to you. At times it did seem a little drawn out, like they were pulling at things that would not really matter, but the funny thing is you don’t know if any of it mattered at all.  The ending was a little ‘eh’ in packing a powerful punch.  This is a film that’s hard to end on any sort of note without being a tad disappointing.

Overall Munky Rating: B+

Super vs. Kickass

Everyone who loves comic books has heard of the breakthrough comic series by Icon ‘Kick-Ass’ which was originally printed in 2008. The series took the comic world by storm as this young teenage boy decides to pick up the mask and become a superhero. It soon took on a new light when in 2010, a movie was produced to commemorate the comic books success.  Comic book nerds around the world fell in love with ‘Kick-Ass’ due to its brutality and realism as modern day batman’s kicked some ass with plenty of blood to go round.  It really added a touch of realism to the now superhero film craze so many of us are enjoying today.
Not too long afterwards, in the independent circuit, another movie was being produced with the same touch of realism as ‘Kick-Ass’.  ‘Super’ was also released that same year but was lost in the shadows of its more popular advisary.  Now that I’ve seen both films, I feel that I can give an honest opinon of them; comparing their strengths and weaknesses and why I think one succeeds where the other fails. 

Image‘Kick-Ass’ (2010) follows a young teenage boy named Dave (Aaron Johnson) who is a bit of a nerd.  He’s a fan of comic books and along with his friends, idolizes them with the same spark so many other nerds do.  After he and his friends were robbed on the street, Dave decides to take matters into his own hands.  He constructs a suit and begins patrolling the streets of the city in an effort to kick crimes ass.  After a small hiccup, his face becomes plastered all over the internet and his status as small time crime fighter takes on a new leaf.  He soon befriends a father/daughter team of crime fighters, with way more experience then an average teenage boy.  Hitgirl (Chloe Grace Moretz) and her father Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage) have a mission of their own in mind; to take down the big time mobster drug lord Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong). Seeing Kick-Ass as a threat, D’Amico’s son Chris (Chris Mintz-Plasse) creates his own superhero personae Red Mist and he soon befriends Kick-Ass in an attempt to find out who has been meddling in his fathers affairs.  Getting closer to the truth, Chris relies the information to his father and a trap is soon devised to take out these do it yourself super heroes.

Image‘Super’ (2010) follows a quiet and subdued restaurant cook named Frank (Rainn Wilson) who prides himself in his accomplishments which aren’t very many.  One day, he finds out his recovering wife Sarah (Liv Tyler) has left him for a smart smooth talking drug dealer named Jacques (Kevin Bacon).  Frank is devastated that his wife has fallen victim to Jacques diabolical trickery and tries to find a way to save her.  He idolizes a cheesy Christian superhero show and, while watching it for any sign of encouragement, soon has a vision of what he must do to save his wife.  Using comic books as his Bible, Frank creates a superhero identity known as the Crimson Bolt.  He begins to fight off petty criminals in an effort to make the world a better place.  His face is soon plastered all over the news as people both praise and ridicule his clumsy heroic efforts. His interest in comics soon catches the attention of a girl named Libby (Ellen Paige) who works at the comic book store.  After denying her the right to know the truth, Frank ends up going to Libby for help after he gets shot by one of Jacques men.  Libby soon becomes obsessed with the idea of becoming his sidekick and soon Boltie is born.  The pair slowly begin to close in on Jacques, bringing them one step closer to rescuing Sarah.

ImageThese two films have more similarities then differences.  The overall premise is the same; two average people taking matters into their own hands.  Each posses no skill, no super powers or previous combat experience.  They are just two people who are looking to make a difference; no matter how small it may be.  Right off the bat, the Crimson Bolt has more to loose when he first decides to take up the mask.  His overall goal is addressed early on which allows the audience to watch him try and seek it’s conclusion.  Kick-Ass is a bit more spontaneous in his involvement with D’Amico and his work.  The other characters, Hitgirl and Big Daddy, have more at stake and more of a cause to bring D’Amico down. Kick-Ass just gets caught in the crossfire, although that does not belittle his involvement in any way.

Both of these films relish is amazing brutal combat.  Both the Crimson Bolt and Kick-Ass are amateurs and it shows.  Athough it seems Kick-Ass doesn’t really improve too much as the film goes on, Crimson Bolt begins to gain experience and knowledge of how to do certain things to achieve an advantage.  With Boltie at his side, they become first rate Batman’s, creating gadgets and weapons to help them achieve the ultimate effectiveness. Even though Kick-Ass does not really improve his skills as much as C. Bolt, Big Daddy and Hitgirl pick up the slack.  Watching them fight is like watching a dance, it’s overwhelmingly captivating.

ImageLong story short, both films are incredibly entertaining.  ‘Super’ I felt was more of a personally invested story.  Wilson’s character had a purpose to become what he did and to do what he did.  The ending was extremely heartwarming and satisfying.  It gave the story more of a dramatic effect seeing Wilson’s character come into his own, alongside its relentless beating and bashing in of bad guys heads. ‘Kick-Ass’ was focused more on the action then the story.  Not that there wasn’t one, this one was a lot more developed as the film went on.  In a way, it made the film a lot more interesting.  Also, the fact that the comics were already established with a huge fan base, helped the film achieve monumental status amongst movie goers and nerds alike. 

No one can deny the sheer awesomeness of Hitgirl or the jaw dropping moments of Big Daddy’s clean up job at D’Amico’s warehouse; but maybe being a girl had a lot to do with me liking ‘Super’ just a little bit better.  Believe me, I LOVE bloody action movies just as much as the next girl (well maybe not) but ‘Super’ just appealed to me more.  I saw a lot of myself in Ellen Paige’s character, which made it hit home for me. Both these films were great, no doubt.  There con’s are very very far from demoralizing any doubts that you will not enjoy them. So if you haven’t already seen them, don’t you think its about time you did?

Munky Rating: B / B+

Back to the 70′s

ImageTurning back to some Asian filmography, this review follows a movie I’ve been interested in seeing for a while.  ‘Time Traveller: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time’ (2010) was based on the novel by Yasutaka TsuTsui.  This film adaptation was meant to be the sequel to the first film based on the same novel which was shot in 1983.

The film begins following a young school girl named Akari (Riisa Naka), the only child of a pharmaceutical researcher Kazuko Yoshiyama (Narumi Yasuda).  After Kazuko is left in a critical state after being struck by a car, she instructs her daughter to travel back in time using a secret time traveling liquid she herself has invented.  Akari does not hesitate on her mothers instructions and pursues her mothers request to meet a boy named Kazuo Fukamachi at a specific date and time in 1972.  After fudging up the date and souring though time and space, Akari finds herself 2 years too late stuck in 1974.  With the help of her new found friend Ryota (Akiyoshi Nakao), who she happens to just drop in on, Akari is determined to find the boy her mother so desperately wants her to find in hopes that he can somehow help her mother get well. Though many happy accidents, Akari soon finds her adventures unlocking much about her mother’s past as the identity of this mysterious boy Kazuo begins to slowly unfold.

ImageHaving never read the book nor seen the previous film, this movie sets itself up quite nicely for new fans.  There really isn’t anything one must know prior to sitting down to this film; which makes it a great introduction to anything you may want to pursue later on (like reading the book for example).  Some elements of the film sound a bit cheesy and are not really done to a realistic level (the time traveling sequence for example) but that in no way harms the realness of the film.  True, it is a science fiction movie.  The great thing about this is that it completely embraces its scifi roots while still keeping the film fun and realistic. The root element is done is a very creative way which really lets the film shine in its own light.
As for the acting, I feel it is top notch.  Naka and Nakao have a true bond from the moment they meet.  It feels almost like an awkward understanding which really radiates true with how most teenage boys and girls interact.  Keeping the mystery fresh never let this film feel boring or drawn out.  The moment you think an answer will be found, its not and your left scratching your head just like Naka and Nakao find themselves doing.
Another great aspect of this film is watching the developing relationship between Naka and Nakao.  It is such a subtle thing at first, but it’s immediately noticed by other characters in the film as well as the audience itself. It was heartwarming to see how they deal with it, especially towards the end when Naka’s character is getting ready to go back to her own time.

This movie is perfect for any science fiction nerd out there who wouldn’t mind seeing it done in a more original way (Don’t expect high speed space ship chases or aliens form other planets to grace the screen with this film).  It’s also a great romantic flick for the ladies and really harbors some great tense moments as well as seer despair.  The ending especially was more than satisfying but still left me wanting more.

Munky Rating: B+

Harriet…Sweet Harriet…

ImageTaking a little turn from the usual to discuss a film that most people love but is barely recognized as a successful work of comedy.  As a kid, I adored a lot of comedy dished out by some talented SNL stars.  Mike Myers took the comedy world by storm with his ‘Wayne’s World’ and ‘Austin Powers’ series.  Although these films did prove their worth in comedy genius, I feel like one of his films goes unnoticed when surrounded by his other successes. ‘So I Married an Axe Murderer’ (1993) was one of my favorite movies growing up as a kid.  Although slapped with a PG-13 rating, the film radiated very positively with my parents, so much so that I watched it over and over again for a number of years before I even reached my teens.
The film follows Charlie (Mike Myers) an out of work beat poet who can’t seem to hold a relationship.  He bounces along from girl to girl, finding lame excuses to break up with them for a kick at the mic.  These breakups seem to carry his going no where career as a poet.  One day he enters a butcher shop and lays eyes on Harriet (Nancy Travis). Charlie immediately becomes infatuated with her and after volunteering his time to help her at work, they soon begin dating.  It’s almost too good to be true for Charlie, who for once seems content in his new found relationship.  Throughout their courting, Charlie asks her casually about her life before CA and is met with cautious responses as she tries to hide her complicated past from him.
A recent news article surrounding a serial killer wife who kills her husbands on their honeymoons surfaces to Charlies attention.  He immediately suspects Harriet and begins to poison his own mind with her guilt.  His suspicions get the better of him and he eventually breaks up with her.  When his cop friend Tony (Anthony LaPaglia) settles his suspicions at the capture of a suspect who admits to the killings, Charlie immediately recants his decision to loose Harriet. After a struggle to get her back, she caves in only to be met by a striking proposal of marriage which she accepts after much persuasion.  Now Charlie can finally be happy with the woman he loves without thinking she will chop his head off during their honeymoon…or can he?

One very effective word to describe this film would be ‘silly.’  Myers antics are all and all very silly and innocent throughout the entirety of this film.  In real life, I would think most people would find his character utterly annoying which doesn’t make his likeability at all ideal for the role. Most might wonder how Travis’s character could even put up with his childlike antics.  Personally, I like his silliness but I am not the majority of people. There are some really iconic scenes in this film, the Alcatraz tour guide and the ‘piper down’ scene with Myers playing his Scottish father.  That aspect made the film a bit more likable.  Myers playing an old Scotsman got in a few good hearty laughs.
The storytelling is mediocre at best.  There’s nothing really surprising or captivating going on despite ones efforts to figure out if she really was Mrs. X.  The clues seemed too obviously laid out; there was not enough mystery behind her dark but sad past.  Once everything was cleared up, it felt too good to be true but fell into this predictable pattern none the less.  Acting was pretty standard for a comedy of this caliber.  This film was really about the sparse treatments of mediocre laughs.  Despite its shortcomings, I thought Myers did a suburb job; it was hard not to enjoy scenes where Charlie looked and felt the most desperate to get away. It was no ‘Wayne’s World’ but it did have its own classy style of comedy to it. This film will never get old for me even though a lot of movie goers out there did not seem to like the taste of it.

Munky Rating: C

Snyder Saves Superman

ImageAlright let’s cut to the chase; superhero movies are the new IN THING for this generation of movies.  It’s been a loosing battle for DC Comics to get their nails into anything concrete.  With the ‘Dark Knight’ franchise at an end and the ‘Green Lantern’ film being a complete disappointment, it was time for them to rethink their strategy if they ever wanted to even get a leg up on Marvel.  When ‘Man of Steel’ (2013) was first announced to be released summer of 2013, the buzz was phenomenal.  Bringing on board a slew of excellent talent to try and give this superhero a boost to greatness was a risky move on DC’s part.  It would be tough to get anywhere near the fame of the Marvel Heroes; but I’m sure they were desperate to find their next ‘Dark Knight’ success.

‘Man of Steel’ starts off in a world some of us have only seen in the comic books, the destruction of the dying planet Krypton.  Foolish mistakes force the planet to a state of decomposition, something that most have failed to see.  In a last ditch effort to find redemption for the deeds of their superiors, General Zod (Michael Shannon) launches a full scale attack on the capital.  Jor-el (Russel Crowe) see’s Zod’s attempts as desperate and foolish.  Knowing that the only hope for their race did not lye behind destruction, Jor-el commandeers the most precious piece of his peoples legacy and sends it away to the safety of the planet Earth, along with his newborn son Kal-el.
33 years pass and Kal-el/Clark Kent (Henry Cavill), raised on a farm in Smallville, KA, is a nomad.  He tirelessly seeks answers to the meaning of his existence; why he was and what his purpose may be.  When he finally finds what he is looking for, his presence is detected by a small band of surviving Kryptonians lead by General Zod himself.  Thus begins his epic struggle to save the home he never knew or the home where he never belonged.

ImageI don’t care what negative things people have said about Zack Snyder, he resurrected this long thought dead superhero franchise to new heights.  The filming was phenomenal.  Just the non-linear style alone really penetrated deep into out psyche.  We saw this young boy from Krypton struggle through every aspect of his life.  We felt his longing to belong, his pain from knowing he never would and his guilt for never thinking he was doing the right thing.  It was amazing how much I myself, felt so emotionally invested in his story.  It was like I knew him personally and was feeling everything he was feeling; his sadness, anger and his pain.
Snyder successfully built a story arch that would resonate positively with so many people.  As my husband put it (for all you DBZ fans out there) it was the story of Goku translated into the world of Clark Kent.  Here was this alien, raised by mankind, fighting for the only home he knew.  Even though he had to fight against his own people, the people he longed to connect with after so many years of unanswered questions, he did what he knew to be right for his home and the people he loved. Even if it meant he would be alone; the last of his kind, it was worth the struggle he knew he would have to endure.  The film was gut wrenching at times, so much so that I found myself crying at some of the more heart wrenching moments.  It was an elegant way to look at Superman because you weren’t looking at him as an orphan from Krypton, you were looking at him as a human being; which is what the other Superman movies have failed to do.

Aside from all the deeply invested moments in the film, the fighting was freakin’ amazing.  Kryptonians really know how to shake the bucket when it comes to destroying planets.  Every second of combat rattled the theater in a massive way.  Again, it was a lot like watching one of the epic Saiyan battles from DBZ, only there weren’t any long drawn out sequences of nothing.  This combat was quick, clean and very brutal. Faora (Antje Traue) who as Zods second in command was amazing.  You know she enjoyed every second she was playing that character and I sure as hell wanted to BE her.
I also loved how his suit had an origin story as well.  It meant something to wear it, to fly that symbol and those colors proudly.  It made his reasoning’s much more concrete and personal.  Also the romance between Kent and Lois Lane (Amy Adams) wasn’t just a case of classic rescuer syndrome.  It was almost a subtle romance based on impressions.  Adams played the reporter, finding out all she could about this mystery man from another planet. She became impressed by him and him by her tenacity.  It was a mutual attraction to their abilities to act on what they felt was right and their way of putting others first before themselves.

To round it all up as simply as possible ‘Man of Steel’ is a perfect start to a newly resurrected franchise. It gives you everything you need to know through a very well thought out and captivating story.  Snyder goes the extra mile to make you fall in love with Clark Kent. With amazing camera work, non-linear editing style, superb acting with an amazing cast and a knack for creating believable action and captivating effects, this film does not hold one moment of weakness despite it being over 2 hrs long. Even if you are not a superman fan (I can honestly say I have never been a fan of superman) you will enjoy this film.  There is a little something for everyone and it blends together perfectly; one that can honestly make DC comics star franchise proud. THANK YOU SNYDER for finally giving us the superman film we’ve all been waiting for.

Munky Rating: A+

This is Not the Place

ImageAny film named after one of my all time favorite songs from the 80’s deserves to be given a chance to make my movie list.  ‘This Must Be The Place’ (2012) completely surrounds itself in the song made famous by the brilliant Talking Heads.  I wasn’t sure what to expect from the film and really had some high hopes for it.  Luckily for me I wasn’t completely disappointed but the level of misguided steps taken by this indie number were one too many for my particular taste.

The film follows retired glam rocker Cheyenne (Sean Penn) who seems to be stuck in the past.  His life seems to follow the same usual routine day in and day out.  He keeps an unusual array of misfit friends, a young outcast teen girl, a unattractive ladies man and a square teen boy named Desmond.  His wife Jane (played by Frances McDormand ) is a very outgoing athlete.  The coupling of this pair seems very odd but their relationship seems to carry a rather strong dynamic.  On one particular day while visiting his friend’s depressed mother, Cheyenne gets the news that his father has passed away.  Braving a trip from Ireland to NYC for the funeral, Cheyenne embarks on a expectant journey into his fathers past.  His father, being a Jewish survivor of the WWII concentration camps, was tracking down his Nazi persecutor who now resides somewhere in the mid-west.  Cheyenne takes this opportunity to finish what his father started as an attempt to rekindle the lost connection he has had from his family.

The start of the film seems colorful enough to keep the audience interested.  As the story unfolds with the characters, it starts to get a little fuzzy.  It’s hard to tell the significance of the people surrounding the main characters life.  The only person who seems to hold any weight in his life would be the young troubled teen girl.  For some reason that I still can’t figure out, Penn’s character has some fragile connection with the girl and her mother.  WhetImageher it is because they were past lovers or because he felt guilty about something from the past, I could never figure it out.  When he begins his journey across America to find this fathers demon, the film takes on a whole different light.  Everything that has happened previously seems to have no relevance at all.  It’s obviouss that his character is very troubled and feels he is not worth anyone’s time, especially his wife.  His character is constantly plagued by his dark past; his music causing some depressed teen suicides, which really rattled his bones.  This develops into something of an obsession; his father’s demons and his own seem to share the form of this ex-Nazi general. The payoff at the end is a bit surprising but still seems to muster up some feelings of uncertainty as to what really transpired.
The only good thing about this film was the soundtrack.  It was every rendition you could think of surrounding the title of the film.  It did get a little repetitive and for some, probably a bit irritating.  One thing is certain; I could not get that song out of my head for the next 2 days after watching the film. All and all this film was a bit perplexing and I really had a hard time tying all the events together.

Munky Rating: D

I Gots an Award!

I was nominated for a Sunshine Blogger Award today! YAY! This would be my second blog award, the first one coming from the awesome Tyson Carter last fall. In honor of this amazing award, I must give back something in return, so here are the steps:

1) Use award logo in post:
sunshinefront

2) This award would not be possible without a nomination, so thank you Stay at Home Gaming for liking my ‘Akira’ movie review!

3) I need to list 10 facts about myself so here I go:
1. One of my biggest fears are that ants will crawl into my bed and all over my body. I hate ants when they get inside my house. Why can’t they just stay outside where they belong? They don’t belong anywhere near my bed or kitchen or couch, I don’t want them there…EVER!
2. I have a horrible time focusing on one thing; probably have a mild case of A.D.D that was never properly diagnosed.
3. The original Batman movie directed by Tim Burton scared the pants off of me. Penguin was so incredibly scary, I even have a hard time watching it now and I am 25 yrs old.
4. When I was younger I used to pretend I was a character from the Dragonball Z series. I even made up a storyline that I was Vegeta’s long lost daughter that he never knew about and one day, turned up on Earth. He of course hated me and didn’t accept me…oh AND I had a flying cat friend like Quar and pretended my cabbage patch kid doll was my son….If that doesn’t define my nerdiness I don’t know what does.
5. Food is a problem for me, I love it and love eating it more than anyone I know.
6. If I had 1 million dollars I would pay off all my student loans, give a bunch to conservation efforts and to help animals in need. The rest I would throw into savings and watch the interest grow :)
7. I don’t believe in ‘growing up’. I hate that society thinks you have to stop doing certain things when they reach a certain age.
8. I have a very hard time making friends, I think I really only have a handful of people I would consider my friends. I can never get past a certain hump, I just hang out in limbo…don’t know why but it really bothers me.
9. My favorite place in the world is one I have not even visited yet
10. If I had one superpower it would be the ability to change into any creature I wanted, this way I could secretly possess other powers as well

4.) Nominate ten fellow bloggers “who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.”

1. Head in a Vice
The first movie blog I actively participated in and succeeded. Tyson is amazing to work with and a lot of my success with this blog would not have been possible without him.

2. Wrestling Rambles
Wrestling is still very important to me and this is the only blog I still visit for all my wrestling needs. Although my wrestling blog ‘Against the Rope’ has been lackluster as of late, I still appreciate the art of pro wrestling.

3. Blank Page Beatdown
Shah has been an awesome blogger bud over the past year. He always has a keen eye for comments and has helped me out by writing some blogs for me as well. This is a big thank you for everything!

4. Gameblorg
Very entertained by almost every blog written. He’s got a very creative style of writing which tickles my fancy. Really is well versed in the video game industry and think he needs more recognition then he is getting. He’s also my hubbie :)

5. Henchman-4-Hire
This was one of the first blogs I began to follow since starting ‘Munky See Munky Do.’ He dabbles in many trades such as comic books, movies and video games. I thoroughly enjoy his work and it keeps my nerd-o-meter going strong.

6. 3 Guys 1 Movie
Entertaining as hell. These NE guys really know how to keep movie reviews interesting. I thoroughly enjoy reading their work and even offering some banter of my own now and again.

7. Foxxiecinnamon
Very creative and doesn’t just focus on the films. Adding a little bit of art and his surroundings really gives this blog an artistic edge. He’s also helped me out by writing a blog or two for me as well.

8. B+ Movie Blog
Can’t keep myself away from this one. Movie reviews and Pics of the Day keep my blogging experience interesting as very entertained.

9. Bucket List Publications
I truly am in love with this blog. So much to see, its almost like a story book following these guys around all over the world. It’s something I wish I could do myself and therefore enjoy seeing at least, someone able to live out their traveling dreams.

10. Issacs Picture Conclusions
Shitfest 2013 is amazing, as well as everything else about this blog. Really raw and original reviews, definitely worth taking a looksie.

5) Now I must let all these great bloggers know of their prize! Thanks for the nomination and more movie reviews are to follow soon! I know I’ve been a little lazy lately but I do have some good ones brewing in my brain just waiting to come out :)

Tri-Horror Weekend

It’s seriously been so long since I posted on here.  Life just seems too busy at the moment with little time to even think about doing anything else.  Last night I had the urge to watch some very talked about horror films which I had yet to see for myself.  So, after getting out of work at a reasonable hour, I spent the next 4 hours sitting on my couch watching scary movies.  The films I will be reviewing for you today are, ‘Cabin in the Woods’ (2012), ‘V.H.S’ (2012) and ‘Lake Mungo’ (2009).  These reviews will be brief and not as thought out as my single film reviews.

ImageI have been wanting to watch this movie for a long time.  Most of my friends who have seen it have praised it for its seer brilliance and originality.  After watching the film for the first time, I proudly lend my voice to its brilliance.  The film starts off as most typical teenage horror films do.  A group of college kids decide to go on a camping trip to a cabin in the middle of no where.  From the get go, the viewers know that this is no ordinary cabin.  It’s a game board, wired with cameras and microphones, run my a secret conglomerate of big heads betting on who will kick the bucket first.  Think of it as ‘Evil Dead’ meets ‘Battle Royale/Hunger Games’.  Each decision and every action that the unsuspecting guinea pigs make determines what happens next.  Why they do it and how it ends just makes the film that much more entertaining.  Long story short, the pawns on the board aren’t as stupid as they look. They soon discover the truth behind their befallen misfortune and rebel, causing a chain reaction that no one is prepared for.  Great entertaining film; a mix of B-style horror with great special effects.
Munky Rating: A

Image‘V.H.S’ was kind of a mistake when I first pressed play.  I thought this was the film with Ethan Hawke that recently came out (name escapes me). This film is a collection of amateur work carefully collaborated and sewn together in a way to make your skin crawl.  Main story line follows a group of 5 assholes who are hired to break into a house to steal a video tape.  Every moment they are in the home, they are filming.  Each member of the group ends up sitting in a room with a dead old guy; watching a massive collection of VHS tapes.  Each VHS tape watched gives off a different vibe than the last.  
Creativity wise, these film makers really have great taste.  Personally I only found a few of the stories presented to be truly frightening.  Despite my opinion, each story shown tailors to a different style of horror which gives the film the ability to catch a more widespread audience.  Everyone would be able to find something in the videos that truly makes them shiver with fear.  Unless you entirely hate the ‘Blair Witch Project’ style of filmmaking (which my husband does) this film would be worth watching at least once.
Munky Rating: C+

ImageDeciding my 3rd film for the evening was quite a challenge.  I wanted to be presented with something different than the previous films and ‘Lake Mungo’ was definitely what I was going for.  This film was more like a documentary of strange events surrounding the death of a 16 yr old girl and her family.  Taking place in Australia,  the film makers interviewed friends and family of the girl about events that unfolded after the girls mysterious death.  The movie was more like a TV special; something you would find on TRUCRIME or SYFY. 
Though not really a film that would leave you hiding under the covers, it really does a suburb job in drawing in the audience.  I for one really wanted to know what really happened and why this girl was haunting her family after her death. Some answers that are revealed are a bit surprising and a little disheartening, but it doesn’t really stop at one explanation.  The sweater is unraveling from multiple threads and while one thing might be explained, another possibility soon opens, leaving you waiting to find out what the truth REALLY is.
This is a great film for all those documentary lovers out there. Even though it was a fictitious story, I found myself wondering at certain points if it really did happen or not.  That is how you know you found a great film; being so involved in a story that you sometimes believe it really happened.
Munky Rating: B+

The Original Anime

AKIRA

I’ve been in a movie slump lately.  There has been so much going on, I feel like I have so much to do and not enough time to do it.  With 2 jobs, an internship, 2 blogs, writing a novel and a slew of other things, there is not enough time in the day for everything.  I haven’t been watching many films but I recently remembered that I have never done an ‘Akira’ (1988) review.  This has to be the gravest offense I have ever committed thus far.  The ‘Akira’ saga has been causing some stir recently when a new Americanized version of the original film was set to be produced.  After a lot of banter and ridicule from fans protesting against the all Caucasian cast, the film was scrapped from the eyes of main stream motion pictures.  I took this news with a sigh of relief because I feel that this film should never be Americanized.  If anyone is a fan of anime they have seen ‘Akira’.  If you claim that you are but have yet to see this film, stop posing and get yourself a copy.  In the hierarchy of anime cinema, ‘Akira’ is the mother of all.  This film revolutionized the industry and still remains to this day, one of the greatest animated films of all time. I hope that my review does the film justice.

The film takes place in New-Tokyo, a few years after a horrible war which forced Japan to its knees.  During this time, street gangs are rampant as the youth run the city.  One of these gangs lead by Kaneda, goes head to head against the Clowns, a rival bike gang.  The carnage begins as skill is pitted against skill; metal flies and blood spills all across the city.  Tetsuo, a member of Kaneda’s gang, begins taking out a few clown faced rivals with a swing of his metal bat.  As he rides away in victory he has a head on collision with a young boy Takashi, who has escaped from a top secret government facility.  After finding their injured friend, Tetsuo is carted away leaving Kaneda and his gang rattled and worried about their injured friend.  While this government facility begins to run tests determining the impact Takashi has had on Tetsuo, Kaneda is determined to find his lost friend.  Tetsuo miraculously escapes, but not without horrible consequences.  He begins to have hallucinations and spurts of tremendous power that he cannot control.  These events, spiral into a tornado of chaos, creating a whirlwind of pandemonium amongst the city.  Kaneda and his new friend Kei begin to fight an impossible battle to save Tetsuo from himself and the fate that awaits him.

AKIRA2Director Katsuhiro Otomo has created his masterpiece with this film.  Based on a graphic novel from the 80′s, ‘Akira’ revolutionized the anime industry and it is clear why.  The story runs with a magnificent energy that keeps up with its pulsing momentum throughout the entire film.  The story drips with heartache and passion as each characters journey is revealed.  Kaneda plays the part of the heroic underdog, a boy who’s family revolves around his friends.  Tetsuo is someone he considers a brother and through tough love has become someone he would not want to loose.  For Tetsuo, he see’s his new found abilities as a way to become the one people look up to.  He no longer has to hide behind Kaneda like a scared child.  He can command his own destiny because now he has the power to do so.  This hunger for control consumes him into madness.  His transition is spectacular and is composed like a Mozart masterpiece.  The one element Otomo continuously revisits during the the film is the desire for control.  Whether it be to control a dangerous threat or ones own selfish desires,  it is the driving force behind a majority of the characters motivations.
Visually, ‘Akira’ is a stunning example of anime gold.  I’ve heard a lot of fans complain that ‘Akira’ is not anime because of the realistic style Otomo has chosen for the film.  Not every anime needs to consist of blue haired women with gigantic breasts or fruity looking heroins who wield ridiculously large weapons. Otomo chose a more realistic approach to make the film feel as if it were hinted in reality.  The characters are all more relate-able and harness a more practical meaning for the audience.  It gives off a strange feeling that perhaps, in the near future, this could possibly be a reality.  It’s not all out of the ballpark of science fiction though, but that does not in any way take away from the tone Otomo was trying to set.  Be wary, this is not really a film for children.  It kind of carries the same feel as ‘Fist of the North Star’ only far more grounded and emotionally eradicating.  Not only are the visuals stunning and down right mind blowing, the musical score of the film really carries it all the way through.  It’s amazing how much music can really make or break a film.  In this incidence, it makes it.  It helps place you alongside the characters, leading you to experience everything they would be themselves.  Composer Shoji Yamashiro created a story though his score alone; one does not have to watch the film to feel it happening inside your mind.  It successfully draws you in and keeps you captive until the final credits roll.  You feel empowered by it which truly adds to the considerable control presented.

Overall, this film is amazing.  It sets the bar for every element that makes a film great and gives the audience a jaw dropping experience they won’t soon forget.  I actually made an ‘Akira Trailer’ for a film project I had to do for school, which proves how much this film has impacted me (see below).  Also, make sure to check out ‘The Akira Project’ a live action trailer made my Akira fans FOR Akira fans.  It’s now in post production and I know there are rumors that they will throw together a film as well.  From what I can see so far, it looks worth the wait (link below).

Munky Rating: A+

check out the Akira Project here

3′s a Crowd

CRAZYST I’m sure most of you know my love for Ryan Gosling, but when it comes to romantic comedies I tend to steer clear.  Don’t get me wrong; there are a lot of great ro-coms out there that really set the bar as far as entertainment goes.  With the good comes the bad and there are definitely more bad then good.  ‘Crazy, Stupid Love’ (2011) was one of those iffy ones where you weren’t sure which way it was going to flop.  The mess of actors they got together for the film builds it up to be worth while, but there is always the possibility that all that talent could go to waste with a badly written story.

The film follows the life of Cal Weaver (Steve Carrell), a very boring sneaker-wearing husband whose wife Emily (Julianne Moore) asks him for a divorce.  Cal leaves without much of a fight, moving into his own apartment where he see’s his 2 young kids Robbie and Molly on a regular basis.  One night, while drowning his sorrow with alcohol, he is befriended by ladies man Jacob (Ryan Gosling).  Jacob vows to completely transform Cal into a confident heartbreaker and the two men embark on a journey to transform Cal’s physical and mental stability when it comes to women. As the film moves forward, we begin to see that Cal still loves Emily and vice versa.  The two struggle to piece back together their deflated marriage. One step forward seems to always result in two steps back as they try to find a middle ground.  Meanwhile their son Robbie is in love with the babysitter and the babysitter is in love with Cal. Also, a girl Jacob fails to woo named Hannah (Emma Stone) hits a wall when her boyfriend seems to lack any sort of commitment backbone.  She hunts Jacob down to fulfill her sexual needs but what ends up happening is more surprising then she could have imagined.

The film sounds confusing but it’s really all spaced out rather well.  There is a lot going on with this family, and everyone seems to be in love.  Carrell and Moore’s relationship is obviously the major driving force of the film.  It’s interesting to see how much Cal transforms from a deadpan coward to a confidant man ready to fight for the one he loves.  At first it’s a bit unbelievable that this should be happening to him.  How many times does a ‘ladies man’ take a complete stranger under his wing to transform his manhood? Honestly, this is something that only happens in the movies unless you’re counting reality shows (which I refuse to count).  It’s a bit cheesy and was definitely something you have to get over.

CRAZYST2
It does, remarkably, set the tone for the rest of the film.  In seeing Carrell’s transformation you get to know Goslings character a whole lot better.  It’s almost like the audience is acting as scientists watching the results of an experiment.  Every one of there actions has consequences to the story.  Some of the things that take place are a bit farfetched and dare I say…dumb?  If you have the capacity to look past all of that it’s actually a pretty compelling story.  It confronts love on every level; through a married couple, a new couple, a kid and a teenager.  The idea that every one of us has a soul mate is reignited with a certain innocence which sets the pacing throughout the film.  There are few surprises that surface, in an attempt to give it that comedy edge.  Whether its necessary or not remains to be seen.

Overall this film isn’t terrible.  It’s a chick flick, 100% A CHICK FLICK! There is way too much lovey dovey stuff flying around for it to be anything but.  I really like the dynamic set between Carrell and Moore.  I think that the film could have benefitted more without the rest of the gang’s problems getting involved, even if it all does tie in at the end. I was genuinely interested in seeing where Stone’s story was going though, which was kind of predictable/kind of surprising.  Not good but not bad, that’s the long and short of it.

Munky Rating: C+