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Once Upon a Time: Tallahassee (2012)
A step up from The Doctor and another solid continuation
Tallahassee isn't quite as strong as the first four episodes, but it's a step up from The Doctor. Yes, there are two problems I do have with it. It did introduced too many storylines at once and it's a bit hard to get into especially in the present-day storyline. It could've been better if it continued focusing on Emma and Snow's journey to get back home and expanded more on the other side characters. Also, the actor who played the giant, Jorge Garcia, who played Hurley from Lost, another show created by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, did a fine job, but unfortunately, he wasn't as well-written as Hook, Mulan, and Dr. Whale.
That being said, everything else was fine. Mark Isham continue to make great music, the pacing's never dull. Despite what I said about the convolutedness of the storyline in this episode, the writing is still good, the performances are still solid with Jennifer Morrison growing into her role and Jamie Chung and Colin O'Donaghue continue to deliver more great lines as Mulan and Captain Hook. Oh, and the production designs are still beautiful aside from some shoddy green screen effects. Also, the blending of reality and fantasy continues to be interesting while retaining the humor, mystery, charm and pathos that made the first season engaging.
Overall, I understood the mixed reaction from other people and I respect their opinions, but I think this episode is another solid continuation despite some of the problems I've already stated. :)
Once Upon a Time: The Doctor (2012)
Not a step up from the previous four episodes, but still another good episode
The Doctor didn't live up to the first four episodes of season 2, but it's still another good episode. Yes, it did have too much stuff going on, just like in Lady of the Lake, and only two performances were a disappointment. Noah Bean, who did a fine job in the first season in episode 18 "The Stable Boy", was a bit bland and Sarah Bolger is still very stale even though Aurora hasn't been a terrible character so far (I wish the writing for her could've been stronger).
However, everything else was fine. The storyline continues to be well-written especially the one between Regina and Rumpelstiltskin. It expanded on those two characters and went deeper into their emotions and we even get a glimpse of Dr. Whale's true identity. Also, Emma and Snow's relationship continues to be interesting in their subplot. The script is till strong and continues to blend the reality and fantasy parallels really well. Mark Isham continues to make more great music, this time creating intensity, suspense, and emotion to the scenes revolving around Regina, Rumpelstiltskin, and Dr. Whale. And the performances continue to be solid with Lana Parrilla, Robert Carlyle, David Anders, and Colin O'Donaghue delivering each of their own solid lines.
Overall, not a masterpiece, but still another good episode of the season season.
Once Upon a Time: The Crocodile (2012)
Another solid episode and a great debut of Killan Jones/Captain Hook
The Crocodile is another solid episode.
Not only does it continue to give more development to Mr. Gold/Rumpelstiltskin and his relationship with Belle with more emotion and tension, thus making him more than just a standard villain, but it also had a great debut from Killan Jones/Captain Hook.
Aside from the appearance of the ship, which looks really stunning with a suspenseful vibe to it, the character himself, especially in his first debut, already became one of the best written new characters after season 2 started. His connection to Rumpelstiltskin's wife and the Dark One was very interesting and it worked really well for me. Also. Colin O'Donaghue does a brilliant job with his performance, giving the character menace, and delivering the best lines ever.
That being said, the storyline continues to be well-written, the script is still strong, the pacing's never dull, and Mark Isham continues to shine in his music score. If there are some nitpicks, it would have to be that we haven't seen the regular/old characters and while Emilie De Ravin did a great job as Belle in the previous season, she disappointed me a little bit in this episode. She wasn't terrible, it's just that the way she was written did felt a bit stale.
Anyway, another solid episode, great debut of Captain Hook, and a neat continuation. Thumbs up. :)
Despite having too much stuff in a short time, Lady of the Lake is another solid continuation
After two solid episodes, the second season continues to be interesting. Lady of the Lake continues the journey of Emma Swan and her mother, Snow White (Mary Margaret) into the Enchanted Forest while David, Regina, and Henry continue to find a way to get them back to Storybrooke.
There are some nitpicks I do have with the episode. It does have too much stuff in such a short time and Sarah Bolger did disappointed me a little bit as Aurora even though it had something to do with the way she was written. That being said, everything else was fine.
Mark Isham continues to deliver some great music and the theme song continues to be haunting. The storyline continues to be engaging, most of the writing continues to be strong, we finally got to see more of Emma and Snow White's journey into the Enchanted Forest with Mulan and Aurora on a quest to get back home, the pacing's never dull, the performances, aside from Sarah Bolger, are still great especially the actor who played Lancelot, whose introduction her was solid. Also, the parallel between Storybrooke and the Enchanted Forest continues to be interesting and balances emotion and fantasy really well.
Overall, another solid continuation. Thumbs up! :)
Death Note (2017)
Rushed and incoherent, Death Note disrespects the source material in any way possible
A couple of years ago, my brother and I watched a particular anime on Netflix and it was none other than Death Note an anime about a person named Light Yagami who discovers a supernatural book from Ryuk, a Shinigami. The book grants the user's ability to kill any person whose name and face he knows. As for the anime, I realized that since it still has it's fans, it's a well-written show. It centered around not only good and evil, but also the themes about liberty and security. And the characters really grew on you with each having their own solid characterization.
So, when we heard that a live-action film based on the anime and manga was coming to Netflix, we were worried that it would end up like the other live-action films based on the cartoons (DBE, TLA, etc.). Turns out it did and when one of the writers that did the screenplay for the critically panned Fantastic Four reboot (Fan4stic) contributed to the writing for this movie, it was a sign that it was going to suck.
I'm not going to spoil the film because it's been four months since it came out on Netflix, but there are some problems that made the adaptation as unbearable as you realize if you're a fan of Death Note. The characters in this movie aren't exactly like their counterparts (save for two actors, which we'll get to in a moment). The writing is garbage and does a great disservice to the source material, the pacing is very uneven even for a live-action movie that's like... what? 100 minutes? But what bugged me the most was the changes made for this film. Light, Mia (or in this adaptation, Kia), and the other side characters including L, Light's opponent, aren't as interesting and they lacked the spark that made the anime and manga counterparts much better. Even the music song choices that were chosen for some of the scenes (which I'm not going to spoil) felt out of place.
Now, this film is not the worst because there are some highlights. The music score from Atticus Ross and Leopold Ross does excel at the atmosphere. Sure, it's not Oscar-worthy, but at least it's more tolerable than the film itself. The visual designs are really creative and kept up with the tone Death Note was going for and the directing, while not the best, is at least decent. And the last highlight is the acting. Despite the writing and changes being complete garbage, the actors did their best with what they got. Nat Wolff, Lakeith Stanfield, and Margaret Qualley did ok with their roles, but only Shea Whigham and Willem Dafoe did somewhat better jobs because they were at least accurate to their anime counterparts. Sure, Ryuk's character design was made in CGI, but I guess the producers paid attention to the details.
Unfortunately, those highlights weren't enough to save this film and given it's reputation, I understand why. And yet, there's a sequel in the works. *sigh*, I haven't seen the live-action Fullmetal Alchemist yet, but at least Japan is trying to do a much better adaptation than what we got here. Overall, if you're a fan of Death Note, both the anime and manga, I suggest you skip this.
Once Upon a Time: We Are Both (2012)
The excitement continues in We Are Both
After seeing how great the 1st episode of season 2 was, the excitement continues with David, Henry, and Regina trying to find a way to get Emma and Mary Margaret back from the Enchanted Forest.
The storyline continues to be interesting. Sure, we didn't see Emma and Mary Margaret until near the end of the episode, but at least it's still well-written. Not only does it expand two of the episodes from the first season "Hat Trick" and "The Stable Boy" where David (Charming) asks Mad Hatter (Jefferson, played by Sebastian Stan) if he could help make the hat work so he could try and get Emma and Snow White back and the scene where Regina tries to escape from Cora, who uses her magic to prevent her from doing so, until later, Regina's father Henry encourages her to find Rumpelstiltskin so he can help her, but the character interplay between the residents of Storybrooke including the seven dwarfs like Leroy (Grumpy), Archie (Jiminy Cricket), Mother Superior (The Blue Fairy), Marcus (Geppetto), and Jefferson (Mad Hatter) is spot on and it's what everyone wanted to see since the show started.
The directing is spot on, the writing continues to be engaging and smart, the pacing never drags, and Mark Isham continues to create more beautiful music for his score in the series. The performances continue to be excellent with Lana Parilla and Robert Carlyle still being scene stealers and Josh Dallas showing leadership qualities as both David/Charming especially when he delivers the speech.
"If you cross that line, you're going to be lost. Everyone who loves you will lose you. But there's something worse - you'll lose yourself. Look, I get wanting to leave here, I do. And I get that it's easier to let go of bad memories, but... Even bad memories are part of us. David, Storybrooke David, was - is - weak, confused. And he hurt the woman I love. I wouldn't give up being Charming just to be him, but, you know what? I wouldn't make the other trade, either. Because that David reminds me, not only of who I lost, but of who I want to be. My weaknesses, and my strengths. David, and the Prince. I am both - just like you. You are both. The town is both. We are both. Stay here, and every choice is open to you. Live in the woods if you want. Hell, live in a shoe if you want. Or eat frozen burritos and write software. Let's open Granny's and the school. And get back to work. I will protect you. She won't be able to hurt any of us. Not as long as I'm alive. Not as long as we all come together. As we did before. As we shall do again."
That speech along defined the characterization of David/Charming perfectly and it makes this episode worth it! I'm giving this a gold seal of approval.
Once Upon a Time: Broken (2012)
A terrific season starter and an improvement over Season 1's first episode
I really liked the first season of Once Upon a Time. The first half did had some clichéd and corny moments, but the storylines were impressive, the concept of blending the fantasy with reality is unique and as some of the later episodes got progressively better, the characters really grew on you. So, after having watched the second half of the first season on DVD I checked out from the library before I watched the first half on my computer back at 2014, I saw the second season, hoping it would live up to my expectations. To my surprise, it did.
The story continues to be very gripping. Not only does it continue the cliffhanger the 1st season left, but it also progresses the character depth without any padding. Emma, Mary Margaret (Snow White), David (Prince Charming), Henry, the rest of the Storybrooke characters including the seven dwarfs, Red, Granny, Archie, and Leroy (Grumpy), are still as endearing as ever. The writing is engaging, emotional, and suspenseful especially the scene where Emma, Regina, Snow White, and Charming encounter a wraith (which looks like one of the leftover wraiths from Harry Potter, which felt weird to me) before Emma and Snow White get transported to the Enchanted Forest from Mad Hatter's hat. The pacing is exquisite and never drags, the directing is superb, the editing is solid, and Mark Isham continues to shine in his musical score that is both haunting, dramatic, and full of suspense.
My only disappointment with this episode is that while Jamie Chung and Julian Morris do respectable jobs as Mulan and Prince Phillip (along with their solid introductions), Sarah Bolger's performance as Aurora was... meh. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't perfect either. At least her character introduction was good too. So, overall, "Broken" is a terrific season starter and an improvement over Season 1's first episode, which, while not excellent, was still a good introduction. Thumbs up! :)
Happy Feet (2006)
While it's not groundbreaking, Happy Feet still holds up on it's 10th anniversary
In 2006, Warner Bros and Animal Logic teamed up to make a CGI motion capture animated feature film known as Happy Feet, a story about a tap dancing penguin named Mumble (voiced by Frodo Baggins - I mean Elijah Wood) who, after being born from an egg, has an ability to tap dance everywhere he goes and embarks on a quest to make peace with the humans who took their food while learning to accept himself as he really is.
Happy Feet is still as good as I remembered it. However, before I can get to the good stuff, there is one problem I do have. And that is the environmentalist message. The story is supposed to be about acceptance, but the whole "humans stealing our food" concept did get really preachy and the whole movie could've been stronger without it. I'm not angry about it. It's just that they didn't do anything new with it. Just a nitpick. Everything else still holds up.
The voice acting is top notch with great performances from Elijah Wood, Brittany Murphy, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Hugo Weaving, and the late Robin Williams, who committed suicide in August 2014, stealing the show as both Ramon and Lovelace, two hilarious and entertaining characters since the Genie from Disney's Aladdin. The animation is gorgeous with a great scale on Antarctica and the penguins even though the human motion capture doesn't have the same level. The best part, however, is the musical numbers which consists of cover versions including the Boogie Wonderland sequence and with the help of John Powell's lush and beautiful musical score, it's still the most memorable scene.
Overall, Happy Feet may not have anything groundbreaking to make it stand out from the likes of Pixar and DreamWorks, but with lush animation, endearing characters, and memorable musical cover songs, it still tap dances perfectly on it's 10th anniversary. Happy New Year, everybody! :)
Fly Away Home (1996)
Fly Away Homes still soars and remains compelling on it's 20th anniversary
When I was a kid in the 90s, I've heard a lot about this film. It was in the previews for the Jumanji, Matilda, and Madeline tapes. Then, from late 2008 to early 2009, I finally saw the entire film and it was really beautiful. It delivered what it promised. The comedy, the drama, and the flying sequences. And did I forget to mention that the geese are so adorable when they were babies? Anyway, on it's 20th anniversary, Fly Away Home still holds up.
The story is really original and the concept was nothing I've ever seen before. A girl named Ammy, who copes with her mother's death in a tragic accident, finds a bunch of baby geese and trains them to fly. Her father decides to help her and as the geese grew up, he and his friends invented mechanical flying geese. Once they did that, they chartered a course that would bring the geese back home. The comedy and drama is just great and was perfectly balanced. The writing is superb, the pacing is tight, the music score from Mark Isham is beautiful, and the flying sequences are well done. The best part, however, would have to go to the acting. Overall, everyone gives a great performance with the best coming from Jeff Daniels and Anna Pacquin.
Fly Away Home became an instant classic when it was first released at the time of blockbusters and it still holds up 20 years later. It's a perfectly example of flawless storytelling on it's own right. This deserves a recommendation to those who haven't seen it yet. :)
Independence Day (1996)
While definitely not a classic, Independence Day still retains it's heart on it's 20th anniversary
In the 1990s and the early to late 2000s, Roland Emmerich, a German director, directed a few movies. Some of them were science-fiction, action-oriented, thriller, and disaster related. This film in particular.
Aliens have come to our planet and destroyed most of our countries. Only a few people survived and with the help of the president of the White House, a military solider, and a nerdy scientist, they plan to fight against the aliens on Independence Day and destroy them once and for all.
I'm reviewing this on Independence Day because considering that's how the battle between the humans and aliens started and the sequel just came out two weeks and three days ago. Anyway, this is a really good film. Nothing awesome or anything, but still good. I understand why the Nostalgia Critic and everyone else hated this film and Roland Emmerich in general, but as a big fan of action films that have heart, this one actually worked for me. There are some problems that I want to address before I can get to the good parts.
First, the story. The concept is very fresh. The idea of humans fighting against the aliens as the part of patriotism is really original, but when it comes to the overall narrative, it's very formulaic and it does contain lots of clichés that plagued the later Roland Emmerich films. Second, some of the dialog does come across as clichéd and unbelievably cheesy and the character development seemed to be lacking at times. That's it for the flaws. Now for the good parts.
Despite what I said about the dialog, the overall acting is great. I mean, talk about a big cast of talented actors. Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Judd Hirsch, Harvey Fierstein, Randy Quaid, and yours truly, Will Smith. All of these actors did really well and gives the characters some likability. Also, the one liners, aside from the cheesy and clichéd moments, are really funny, the best coming from Will Smith.
Also, the patriotism theme of the movie is presented really well and shows that if we work together as a united nation, we can defeat our enemies and bring peace to the world. The special effects, despite being a little dated, are still nice especially the spaceships designs which were also pretty cool. The action sequences are great and the explosions of all the countries are well-shot.
The best part, however, would have to go to the music score from David Arnold. The guy composed some of the later James Bond films and even did some great music for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. His score here is beyond fantastic. It has heart, it has an epic tone, it has some strong action cues, and it fits the patriotism theme of the film perfectly. Particularly with the President's speech scene which made me shed some tears. That's all I have to say.
Like I said before, I understand why the Nostalgia Critic and everyone else didn't like this film, but in spite of it's problems, I actually think this is a really good film for the fourth of July. Yes, it's a little cheesy, but to be fair, the 80s did had it's share of cheesy stuff and we were OK with it. So, overall, Independence Day is a really good patriotic science fiction action film and I think that it's one of Roland Emmerich's three best films, the other two being Stargate and the Patriot. To those who haven't seen it yet, go check it out and you'll enjoy the ride. Thumbs up. :)
The Great Mouse Detective (1986)
With fun characters and solid musical numbers, The Great Mouse Detective surprises on it's 30th anniversary
In London, a toy maker named Flaversham gets captured by a bat with a one pegged leg named Fidget, while Olivia, the toy maker's daughter, searches for help. After meeting Dr. Dawson, they meet a detective known as Basil of Baker Street and after telling what happened, he deducts that the bat is working for his arch-nemesis, Professor Ratigan. The three set off to find some clues to find the nefarious criminal while Professor Ratigan is using the toy maker to rule all of London. Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker who would later direct "The Little Mermaid", "Aladdin", "Hercules", "Treasure Planet", and "The Princess and the Frog". Released in July 2, 1986.
When I was a kid, I remember watching this on video at my aunt's house. It was really interesting considering this was made by Disney. A few years later, I looked at the reception and understood why everyone loved it and now I'm one of those people. Now I still like The Lion King (a childhood favorite of mine that I grew up with), and many other Disney films, but this film does fell a bit underrated.
There are so many good things about this film that really made it worth it. The story is superb. The idea of making a mouse version of Sherlock Holmes is executed really well. What also works is that it has mystery, suspense, and some fun to go along with it. The script is very well-written. The humor is really good and doesn't jar with the overall dark tone of the film. There are also some smart moments including the rivalry between Basil and Professor Ratigan, the chemistry between Basil and Dr. Dawson, and the final battle at Big Ben, which things get really intense and scary at the same time. The music score from Henry Mancini is really good. It mixes whimsy and sinister perfectly, forming a cohesive adventure. Also, the songs including "The World's Greatest Criminal Mind" and "Let Me Be Good To You" are really good. The melodies are perfect and the lyrics are fun.
The best part about the film is the characters. Olivia Flaversham is adorable, Hiram Flaversham is really sympathetic after getting captured by Fidget, who also has some amusing moments as the funny, but also scary henchman and the other characters including the burlesque dancer at the bar Miss Kitty are enjoyable, but Basil and Professor Ratigan are the best characters in the entire film.
Basil is a psychopathic detective with a heart of gold while Professor Ratigan is a funny, but at the same time terrifying. What makes them work is not only the voice actors Barrie Ingham and Vincent Price, but like I said before, their rivalry. Their ways of trying to outwit each other is worthwhile even in the final battle.
If there's one thing I would point out that is while the animation is really good especially the visuals, there are some crude stuff in it that might me questionable, but that's my only nitpick.
Overall, The Great Mouse Detective is not only underrated, but it does manage to be a really good version of Sherlock Holmes by taking the idea of the character and turning it into something fresh. Sure it got overshadowed by Don Bluth's An American Tail, but this along with that classic are really well-written animated mouse adventures. On it's 30th Anniversary, this receives a thumbs up from me and is really recommended to those who haven't seen it yet. :)
47 Ronin (2013)
A beautiful, but deeply flawed flop... for a very good reason
I haven't heard of the 47 Ronin story this was based on, but given it's reception and it's failure at the box office, I might want to do some research when I have a chance. I mean, the trailers looked great and exciting for the most part, but unfortunately, Universal Pictures didn't realize that the marketing for the film wasn't that good. Not to mention that it came out the same month as The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, which garnered more attention There are some good things about the film.
The acting is fine for the most part. Keanu Reeves from The Matrix, Rinko Kikuchi from Pacific Rim, and everyone else involved did their best. The costumes are nice and there are some nice details, but there two of the best things about this film. Ilan Eshkeri, the guy who composed the score for Stardust, does a great job with his music here, using authentic Japanese violins, gives some scope to the film, and some really neat action cues. And then there's the visuals. John Mathieson, who did the cinematography for Ridley Scott's films including Gladiator, Kingdom of Heaven, and Robin Hood, creates some of the best visuals for a live-action feature film. The landscapes, the forests, the mountains, and the medieval-like Japanese setting has some great detail. Oh, and the special effects are really neat too especially the dragon. Kudos to that.
And now for the bad parts. I understand that it tries to be accurate to the historical event this was based on, but the only problem is, it takes itself way too seriously. The script is really stale, the dialog is really clichéd, the characters are one-dimensional and are really undeveloped, the writing is really terrible, and the pacing is really boring. Which is a shame, because the money for the production design was well-spent.
Overall, 47 Ronin isn't exactly a terrible movie. It's really beautiful in it's production design, but it could've been so much better if they gave more believability to the characters and story. It's sad to say that this receives a thumbs down from me. :(
Another classic episode! Can't wait for the seventh season!
After a pretty good first episode, the later episodes became better with strong character depth, excellent writing, and some really intense moments. The Winds of Winter continues the high standards. The directing is great, the editing is really neat, Ramin Djawadi continues to make some more beautiful music, and the script is well-written. The writing is really good, the characters are still believable, the relationships continue to shine, the pacing is really good and never drags. The story-arcs have been advanced perfectly, but since I just saw the episode, I'm not going to spoil anything.
Season 6 has been a great year for Game of Thrones so far. What started out as a slow, but still good beginning, became better thanks to emotional performances from the Stark and Lannister people, strong writing, and did I forget to mention that the action sequences are the best I've seen since the fourth season? Also, with Ramsay Bolton gone, if we see the White Walkers and their leader again in the next season, things might get interesting.
Overall, The Winds of Winter is another classic episode and a solid season finale. Can't wait for the seventh season! Thumbs up! :)
A realistic and terrific start to the show
It's been a year since I reviewed the sixteenth episode of the third season of Arrow and now I'm going to review every single episode starting with this one.
It does a great job introducing not only Oliver Queen (played by Stephen Amell), but the other characters as well. The story here is really gripping and the story-arc for Oliver keeps you really invested to what's going to happen next for him as he spent five years surviving on his own. The acting from all involved is surprisingly good and it's very well-written. The action sequence was cool too, but what I like the most is how realistic it is it kind of reminds me of The Dark Knight.
Overall, the pilot episode for the Arrow is really great. Sure it leaves you wanting for more especially with Oliver's relationship with the other characters including his family, but like I said before, it's realistic and that's what makes it so good. Thumbs up. :)
An epic battle delivered with excellent results
When the episode ended, it lived up to my expectations and delivered what was promised. The battle between Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton is the best action sequence I've ever seen and it's right up there with the battle sequences in Season 4.
The sets are still lavish especially the castle of Ramsay Bolton and the costumes and scenery are still beautiful. The writing is solid as it delivers the stakes for Jon Snow to try and bring justice to Ramsay Bolton and keeps you invested. The directing is brilliant, the editing is really good, and Ramin Djawadi delivers some of the most brilliant action music with suspense and intensity. The characters are still believable and Ramsay Bolton continues to be really effective as the villain. Iwan Rheon, who played him in season 3, did a fantastic job in making him so despicable much like Jack Gleeson did as King Joffrey.
Since it's been two days, I like to say that Ramsay Bolton is finally gone. He tortured Theon Greyjoy and when he killed Rickon Stark before the battle started, it made me hate him even more.
That being said, the highlights of the episode are the performances and the battle sequences. Kit Harington and Sophie Turner delivers some of their solid lines together and so does Iwan Rheon, who brings menace to Ramsay perfectly as he did when he was first introduced. Peter Dinklage and Emilia Clarke along with Alfie Allen and Gemma Whelan are also good in the conversation scene at the palace in Meereen with Daenerys agreeing to use the Iron Fleet for battle if the two promise not to pillage anymore.
Overall, Battle of the ******** is an epic episode and delivered what it promised. Good character development, solid writing, some of the best battle sequences since season 4, and excellent acting. Thumbs up :). Can't wait for the season finale.
Game of Thrones: No One (2016)
Another solid episode and sets up the next two episodes nicely
No One isn't nearly as excellent as the most of the episodes that came before it in season 6, but it's another solid entry and sets up the next two episodes nicely. The plot advancement for the story arcs were neat, the pacing is very steady, the directing from Mark Mylod (who directed the previous episode and the pilot episode for ABC's Once Upon A Time) is really good, and the sets/scenery are still gorgeous.
The performances continue to be great with Maisie Williams giving out her best acting as Arya and Essie Davis giving out a very compassionate performance and most of the writing is perfect. Sure it didn't live up to the high standards left by most of the episodes, but it's still good.
Overall, No One is nearly as excellent as most of the episodes that came before it, but it does a great job in setting up the next two episodes. Thumbs up. :)
Game of Thrones: The Broken Man (2016)
The Broken Man delivers a very satisfying character-driven story for the season
The Broken Man is another classic episode for the sixth season and improves upon the previous episode (which I thought was great despite it's uneven pacing).
It's easy to point out that the Hound, one of the characters who captured Arya Stark after her father was executed by King Joffrey, actually survived from his wounds after end of the fourth season and he gets some character development here. He's trying to find redemption by living peacefully with the villagers only to seek vengeance after finding his happiness taken away from him. Rory McCann, who played the Hound, also known as Sandor Clegane in the first four seasons, gives a really solid performance. Ian McShane, who plays Ray, the man who nursed him back to health, is a great addition to the show's sixth season and gives a superb performance as a peaceful man who helps the Hound find his happiness.
That being said, everything else is great. Some of the story lines from the previous episodes have been advanced with Arya trying to get back home after she stopped Lady Crane from drinking her poisoned rum and decided not to become a faceless person, unaware that something terrible would happen to her. The performances are still solid, the pacing is very brisk, Mark Mylod, who directed the third and fourth episodes of Season 5, does a great job directing, the editing is really smooth, the scenery, sets, and costumes are still lavish, and Ramin Djawadi continues to deliver some perfect moments in his score.
So, overall, The Broken Man succeeds in it's character-driven story for the Hound for the sixth season and sets up nicely to what's going to happen in the last three episodes. Thumbs up. :)
Once Upon a Time: The Stranger (2012)
Things have been getting better in this neat episode
After concluding the Mary Margaret trial subplot, things have been getting better in this neat episode. Yes, some of the writing came across as a bit sub-par, but that's my only quibble. Most of the writing is superb especially in the scene where Henry stood up to Regina and said this awesome line.
"No matter what you do, Snow White and Charming will be together. The curse will end. Good will win." Jared Gilmore, who plays Henry, does a great job in delivering that line and it shows that the kid does have potential after all. Only time will tell when I review the later episodes. Anyway, the acting is still great, the pacing is solid and doesn't drag, the sets and scenery are still gorgeous, the directing and editing is terrific, and Mark Isham continues to bring some atmospheric music to the entire episode as in the previous episodes. So, overall, almost as perfect, but still a great episode. :)
Another classic episode in the first season next to That Still Small Voice and The Stable Boy
Remember when I said that That Still Small Voice and The Stable Boy are classic episodes? Well, looks like I found another one.
It does a neat job in continuing the flashbacks for Mary Margaret and David where Prince Charming gets captured by the Evil Queen and it's up to Snow White and the dwarfs along with Red Riding Hood, Granny, and the fairies to save him. The pacing is great not to mention the solid direction in the cliffhanger where Henry eats the apple strudel and gets poisoned and the scene where Mary Margaret eats the poison apple before she fells into a death sleep, causing Prince Charming to wake up and shout this line.
"What have you done?! What have you done?! Snow!!!!" That bit of acting is heartbreaking and the performances continue to shine with Ginnifer Goodwin and Lana Parrilla delivering some of their best lines. The script is also well-written. It recalls the events that happened in Fruit of the Poisonous Tree and The Stable Boy. The action sequence where Snow White, the dwarfs, Red, Granny, and the fairies fight against King George's army is exciting and well-choreographed with Mark Isham delivering some of the most solid piece of music by blending the action, the drama, and the suspense really well. The directing is superb and the sets along with the scenery continue to be gorgeous throughout. There's not a single problem I do have with the episode. Just one more episode and I'm done with the 1st Season. Thumbs up! :)
An emotional and epic way to end the first season
A Land Without Magic is not only another classic episode, but it's a solid ending to the first season. There's not a single problem that I do have with this episode because this episode really satisfied me.
The acting continue to be solid. Jennifer Morrison and Lana Parrilla both give their emotional performances as they are both worried that Henry might die if they don't find the cure to heal Henry of the death sleep. Also, Robert Carlyle continues to steal the scene as Rumpelstiltskin and never ceases to amaze me every time he appears on screen.
The writing is really good with every moment that doesn't feel too sappy or mawkish, the pacing, again, is great and doesn't rush or feel too slow. The directing and editing is really neat, but the best part is the action sequence where Emma fights the dragon while Prince Charming fights the same creature in the Enchanted Forest filled with suspense and tension and the ending where Henry is healed and it did leave me teary-eyed. It teaches us that True Love's Kiss conquers all. Also, it leaves a cliffhanger for the events that would happen in the 2nd season and it interested me.
So, overall, A Land Without Magic is another classic episode and succeeds in every way possible. Can't wait to review the next season. :)
Not nearly as perfect, but still great
Blood of My Blood isn't nearly as solid as the last four episodes, but it's still great. My only two disappointments is that the pacing felt really uneven and could've used some fixing, but everything else was fine.
The performances continue to shine, the story is still well-written with a nice twist in the story-arc for Arya, the script is really good and there are some great moments. The sets are still great, the new characters are well introduced, especially the family of Samwell, the person who join the Night's Watch in the last five seasons. The scenery is still gorgeous, the editing is really nice, and Ramin Djawadi continues to deliver some fine music.
So, overall, not nearly as perfect as the last four episodes, but still great and worth-recommended. :)
Game of Thrones: The Door (2016)
The Door delivers the intensity and emotion with satisfying results
The Door continues the high standards left by the last three after a pretty good start and is by far one of the best episodes since the last five seasons.
The story continues to be well-written. Sansa, Jon Snow, Arya, Daenerys, Tyrion, and Bran had more to do as the plot lines around them have been advanced really well. The performances, as of now, are still excellent with Isaac Hempstead Wright, Alfie Allen, Gemma Whelan, Max Von Sydow and Sophie Turner delivering their solid lines, the sets, scenery, and CGI effects are gorgeous, the pacing's really good, the action sequences, like I said before, are riveting, the editing is sharper, and Ramin Djawadi continues to shine by delivering the solid action music while giving some emotion in some of the scenes
Overall, The Door continues the high standards left by the last three episodes and is another solid episode in the sixth season. It's action-packed, intense, and emotional. Thumbs up. :)
Over the Hedge (2006)
With likable characters and a well-written story, Over the Hedge is the gateway to the good life in it's 20th anniversary
In 1998, DreamWorks Animation made their very first CGI animated feature film Antz alongside The Prince of Egypt. Both did very well with critical acclaim and a cast of talented actors. However, their last three traditional animated feature films under-performed (leaving The Road to El Dorado to bomb), so they decided to make more CGI animated features to compete against Pixar. With the success of Shrek and Madagascar in 2001 and 2005, they released another feature based on the 1995 comic strip known as "Over the Hedge".
It tells the story about RJ (Bruce Willis), a scheming raccoon who tries to steal some food from a bear named Vincent (Nick Nolte). However, the wagon that carries the food got crushed by a truck and RJ vows to get more food at the suburbs before the bear would kill him. One day, he comes across forest critters who discover a hedge that leads them to the neighborhood filled with people. After meeting RJ, they team up to get more food to last the entire spring and summer while the raccoon learns about family himself.
I was twelve years old when this film came out and I saw it in theaters. I loved it as much as everyone else until Kung Fu Panda and How To Train Your Dragon came out and those became my favorite films DreamWorks has made. Don't get me wrong. This movie is really funny, but before I can give it some praise, I only have two problems with it.
First is the animation. It used to be great when it came out, but it's sad to say that it hasn't aged well. The visuals still hold up, but the character animation is a bit too stiff. It wasn't until 2010 when DreamWorks Animation improved on their animation by going into full detail in the character designs and visuals. Tim Johnson, who directed this film and Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas before it, went on to direct the Kung Fu Panda Holiday Special and Home, both films that have much more detailed animation. The animation here isn't terrible, but like I said, it still doesn't hold up. Second, there are some moments that felt a bit forced aside from the film's memorably funny moments including Hammy's crazy rabid squirrel scene and such.
Now, with those flaws out of the way, everything else is great. The characters are likable especially RJ and the forest critters, Verne, Lou, Penny, the three porcupine kids, Heather, Ozzie, Stella, and of course Hammy which everyone loves. They share the film's hilarious moments while delivering the drama really well. Gladys Sharp, the human character, isn't exactly special, but she wasn't annoying. Dwayne the exterminator and Vincent the bear, however, are really fine villains, with Thomas Hayden Church delivering some of the funny lines while Nick Nolte shines in his menacing presence. The story line, despite some of the forced moments, is well-written and teaches the lesson about the true meaning of family in which the execution works, giving the film some heart in the process.
And of course, the humor which has some of the best moments DreamWorks Animation has made including the conversation between Tiger, a guard cat and Stella, the skunk, and Hammy stealing the show as the most hilarious and adorable little squirrel in the history of mankind. Aww. I just want to hug him. OK, I'm getting ahead of myself.
Overall, Over the Hedge isn't nearly as solid as the later films DreamWorks has made like say Kung Fu Panda, How To Train Your Dragon, Rise of the Guardians, Madagascar 3 and the first two Shrek films, but on it's 20th anniversary, it's still a really good film. It's funny, heartwarming, and very likable. This receives a thumbs up from me. :)
Engaging and fiery, Book of the Stranger succeeds in every way
After the second and third episodes were an improvement over the first episode (which I thought was really good despite how slow it got) with stronger character depth and solid writing, Book of the Stranger continues the high standards. Sure, we haven't seen more of Arya's story-arc where she got her sight back and decides to have no name, but this episode is where Season 6 might get more and more compelling.
The story remains as interesting and has some really effective moments were Sansa and Jon Snow reunite and vow to rescue Rickon Stark after receiving a letter from Ramsay Bolton along with the finale where Daenerys Targaryen taking charge of all the khalasars recalls her story elements of the beginning of the first season and does so perfectly. The writing is at the high standards left by Home and Oathbreaker and the performances are still superb with Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke, and Sophie Turner giving out some of their best acting. The directing is stupendous, the pacing takes it time to bring some depth and it succeeds, the editing is solid, the sets and scenery are still lavish, and Ramin Djawadi continues to bring some beautifully well-done atmosphere and some exemplary emotion to it (OK, I'm not British, but I always wanted to use that word).
Overall, Book of the Stranger continues where the last two episodes left off. It's engaging, fiery, and touching. Highly recommended! :)
Game of Thrones: Oathbreaker (2016)
Another excellent episode for the sixth season
Oathbreaker does a great job continuing where Home left off with Jon Snow being brought back to life and vowing to bring an end to the murderers who killed him at the end of the fifth season. I saw the preview of this last night and much like the previous episode, it surprised me. There aren't any problems I do have with it.
The plot progression's very solid this time around and it continues to advance the story lines perfectly. Jon Snow, Arya, and Bran had so much to do. The same goes to Daenerys and Tyrion not to mention Ramsay Bolton planning on what to do with Rickon, one of the Stark family members. The script is superb and the performances continue to be compelling. Also, it has a nice set up to what's going to happen in the later episodes. If Jon Snow battles against Ramsay Bolton in the middle of this season, it would be really cool.
The directing is smooth and well-focused, the editing is solid, the pacing is really good and never drags. The character relationships are still as interesting as they were in the previous seasons, the sets are still lavish along with the gorgeous scenery and Ramin Djawadi's music score continues to shine. So, overall, Oathbreaker is another excellent episode that lives up to the high standards left by Home. Thumbs up. :)