Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Blog Update: Back in Black

In which I detail upcoming changes to Filmquisition.

As most of you have probably noticed, my posting lately has been a bit spotty: mostly coming down to Becky's Lady's Choice articles in these last few weeks.  This mostly comes down to a matter of unfortunate timing: a storm taking out our power and internet, having to deal with the aftermath of said storm, and then leaving for the West Coast for two weeks on vacation.  Chase that with a miscommunication to Becky about explaining my absence, and we arrive at the present.
I'm back now, however, and am ready to start posting daily content once again.  Due to the increasing desperation of my job search, however - fuelled by the depressing realization that I'm fast approaching my one-year anniversary of working at a minimum wage job - I doubt that I will be able to keep up with my previous pledge of 3 articles per week day.  I'm simply not making any money doing this and need to find a sound job to allow me to post well into the future.

As such, the new plan is to slightly scale back to 2 articles per week day.  Some days may be more (especially with Becky wanting to review whichever new movie I don't get around to reviewing for the week), but the goal is to stay at a minimum of two per day.
I'll additionally try to keep the each day's scheduled content the same, although sometimes a news article will necessarilly take the place of a review (most likely) or an editorial (less likely).  The hope is that when I do secure a not-depressing job, I'll be able to go back to the previously scheduled 3 articles per day.

I'm also thinking of doing something different with my Unreality Companion articles.  Going on a year of writing them, they've lost a lot of flavor with me.  Some days they come easily and naturally, while other times they feel incredibly forced.  I don't know yet what new form these articles will take (maybe just shifting some of the tragically passed-over ones from earlier in the week to this slot), but I will let you know when I've figured it out.
What would you like to see replace Unreality Companion?  Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Lady's Choice: Favorite Animated Movies (Part 2)

Guess who's taking over!

 If you're not familiar, I'm a huge animated movie fan. If Brian's at work or gone, I am usually watching a animated movie. (He really should watch more of them in my opinion). As always I try to stick to movies that I haven't talked about them before. If you see one that you'd like me to do a full review ASAP, just let me know in the comments. Also if you missed Part 1, please go back and read about those five picks. So let's continue with five more of my favorite animated movies.

101 Dalmatians (1961)
If you read Part 1, then you know that I am a huge dog fan. 101 Dalmatians is probably one of my favorite Disney movies of all time. It's also our puppy's favorite movie, loves the Twilight Bark. Pongo sets out to find his "pet"/owner Roger and himself mates. He ends up finding Anita and her dalmatian Perdita. They have 15 puppies that Cruella De Vil wants to add to her other puppies to make a dog skin coat. When the humans can't help the puppies, it's up to Pongo and Perdita to save 99 puppies and themselves from Cruella and her henchmen while traveling across England. The animation for this movie is wonderful and has its own artistic style.

The Croods (2013)
I saw this movie on a whim on Netflix, and I loved it. The Croods is a story of family and about change. The Croods are a family of cavemen that have survived so far off of fear; however, after an earthquake destroys their cave, they must learn a new set of rules in order to make it in the new world. Grug (father and leader of the Croods), voiced by Nicholas Cage, has the hardest time adjusting. His daughter Eep on the other hand, voiced by Emma Stone, has no problems adjusting to not only the new way of life but also to the "smarter" Guy, voiced by Ryan Reynolds. Of course, Grug isn't happy but, in the end, learns to change in order to save his family from certain doom.

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
I absolutely love what I have seen of Hayao Miyazaki's movies. The story telling is top notch. I'm always invested in the stories. The animation is always beautiful. Plus, they're the kind of movies that I can watch over and over again and never get bored. Nausicaä is no exception. Nausicaä centers around Princess Nausicaä (yes she is the princess of the Valley of the Wind), who lives in world that has been poisoned and humans live in scattered all across the world. Nausicaä lives in her peaceful valley but is also welcome in the Toxi Jungle, where the Ohm (giant, ancient looking trilobite) reign supreme. One night an aircraft from the kingdom of Tolmekia crashes in the valley and has aboard the Giant Warrior. It's up to Nausicaä to try and stop all out war from consuming the valley, the Ohm, and her people.

The Princess and the Frog (2009)
In the era of CG models, Disney returned to more traditional animation with Princess and the Frog. This story of an independent, hard-working girl turned frog is one of my favorite. Tiana is also one of my favorite Disney princesses. The soundtrack is amazing with songs that feel like you'd actually hear them in New Orleans. Tiana is a young woman that has grown up on the words of her departed father, to work hard for what she wants. Prince Naveen, on the other hand, has never had to work a day in his life and is looking for a girl with money to marry in order to continue his party lifestyle. When both end up as frogs, they have to work together in order to get what they need, not what they want. Along the way, they team up with a horn-playing gator and a bayou firefly against the Shadow Man and his allies. It's a fun filled time for the whole family.

Rise of the Guardians (2012)
Last but not least on Part 2 of my list is Rise of the Guardians. Rise of the Guardians came out around Christmas time and was marketed as such; however, if I had to tag a holiday on to this movie it would actually be Easter, since that is the major holiday that happens during the movie. Jack Frost is known as a prankster and jokester when he is chosen to be a new Guardian. The Guardians (Nicholas St. North/Santa Clause, Sandman/Sandy, E. Aster Bunnymund/the Easter Bunny, and Tooth/the Toothfairy) are attacked by Pitch Black, aka the Boogeyman. They have to protect the world's children from the nightmares and fear that Pitch creates. While their powers disappear, it's up to Jack Frost to prove himself not only to the world but also to himself.

So what are some of your favorite animated movies? Let us down in the comments down below. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Lady's Choice: Minions

Guess who's taking over!

Let me tell you something: I love the Despicable Me movies! They appeal to both kids and adults. As Brian has said previously that those movies are just a way to pass the time with kids. So with Brian reviewing The Gallows, I have the honor of reviewing the spin-off movie: Minions. And, personally, I got the better movie. In fact, I got the number one movie of the weekend, grossing $115. 7 million. Jurassic World was number two with $18.1 million. Minions is aimed completely at kids from start to finish.

Minions is the life story of the minions and how they met Gru. If you have seen the trailers than you most likely have seen the first part of this movie. The minions evolve little. single cell minions to little, aquatic minions to the minions that kids everywhere know from Despicable Me. They are really, really bad at keeping a boss. From accidentally tossing a Tyrannosaurus-Rex in a volcano to shooting Napoleon with a cannon, the Minions are kind of accident prone.

The Minions end up all alone, and, at first, they build something like their version of a civilization. However, they fall into a depression with no boss to serve. So Kevin, Stuart, and little Bob go out into the very changed world in order to find a new boss to help try and rule the world. Since they haven't seen the changes that the world has gone through in the last few hundred years, the Minions are in a strange land but seem to adapt fairly well. From arctic furs to their jean overalls, the Minions blend in and start their search for a boss. It is isn't until they see a secret advertisement for Villain Con that Kevin, Stuart, and Bob start heading in the right direction: Orlando, Florida. 

Through a series of funny circumstances, the Minions end up at Villain Con and also become Scarlet Overkill's , voiced by Sandra Bullock, henchmen. Scarlet is the world's number one super villain, and now she wants Queen Elizabeth II's crown (though it would be even better for her if she could actually be the queen). Her husband Herb equips the three with weapons for their heist, and the next day they head to the Tower of London. Between Stuart being able to dance with some hypnotized guards to Bob becoming King of England to giant Kevin trying to protect his tribe, the minions learn that, while Scarlet is the top villain, this is one boss that won't tolerate any mistakes or mishaps. 

Minions is very kid centered. I honestly cannot think of a message. Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2 had family oriented messages. This movies really doesn't have one, which kind of turns off any adults in the audience. Our showing had mostly kids with parents and few teenagers. The kids were laughing more than we were, so the movie does appeal to kids. I'm just looking for something a little big more I guess.

The new characters, mainly Scarlet and Herb, are not really explored. She's there to be evil, which she enjoys, and Herb is there to supply the lava guns, Scarlet's high-tech dress, etc. Kevin, Stuart, and Bob each have their distinct personalities. Kevin (tallest with two eyes) is the leader and cares deeply for his tribe. Stuart (the middle one with one eyes) is obsessed with guitars and music. He's also trying to out do Kevin. He didn't really come along by choice. Bob (smallest with two eyes) is kind of like the little kid or little brother of the group. He's trusting and loves his bear Tim. Kevin is often taking care of Bob.

The animation for Minions is the same as Despicable Me. The soundtrack is better for the previous two than the spin-off. What is missing most for me is what the other Despicable Me movies had, but this one doesn't: Plot. There's a story of course, how the Minions found Gru (who does appear a couple times in the movie); however, there's no plot, no character development. The Minions do just stumble through the conflict with Scarlet and into Gru. It's not a huge thing for a kids' movie, but I don't think that Minions will land in my top movies of 2015.

Rating:  6.5/10

Buy on BluRay:  Only if the Minions were a huge draw for you to Despicable Me, otherwise no. 

So what did you think about Minions  Was it as entertaining as Despicable Me or Despicable Me 2?  Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Lady's Choice: Favorite Animated Movies (Part 1)

Guess who's taking over!

I have always loved animation, though I suck at drawing. From Disney to anime, animated movies have been a big part of my life, and they don't get talked about enough  So, I thought I'd share some of them with you from time to time. These are in no particular order and are from no particular studio or time period. However, if I have talked about it recently in another post then I'll wait to talk about it again, particularly if I just did a long review of it. If you want a full review of a movie that I mention, just let me know in the comments. Hope you enjoy five of my favorite animated movies. 

Lady and the Tramp (1955)
I am a huge Disney fan and a huge dog person. Plus my first dog was a Cocker Spaniel similar to Lady, and Brian's and my puppy right now looks like Tramp but smaller. So it makes a lot of sense that Lady and the Tramp is one of my favorite animated movies. Lady is the pet of Jim Dear and Darling (they call each other this so she think that those are her owners' names) and lives in a well off neighborhood. Tramp on the other paw lives on the streets without any owners or family. When Lady's family has a baby and goes away for awhile, she ends up on the streets with Tramp their to try and protect her from the harshness of the streets and from ending up in the pound. Which way of life will come out on top: collar or no collar?

How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
Based on a book series by the same name, How to Train Your Dragon starts off like any viking-tale, fighting dragons. However, Hiccup is different from other dragons. He is more brains than muscle. Through his inventions, he brings down a rare and powerful Night Fury. However, he can't bring himself to kill the dragon, who he names Toothless and tries to help him fly again. From there, adventure awaits the two unlikely of friends. Not to mention the CG is fantastic. It's more than just a story about a boy and his dragon, though. It's about being comfortable with who you are, even if that's the complete opposite of everyone else in the village. In the end, you might just be what the world or at least your village needs. 

Rango (2011)
Imagine Johnny Depp as a chameleon who wants to be a good actor. Sound kind of funny? That's because it is. I saw this movie in theaters with my family, and it had everyone laughing almost the entire time. Rango get stranded in the Mojave Desert and stumbles on the town of Dirt, inhabited by various desert animals. Rango becomes the sheriff of Dirt, which is literally drying up from lack of water. Hilarity ensues as Rango and his posse have to find the water before the town dries up. Looking for funny watch? Try this animated adventure. 

Happy Feet (2006)
Penguins are adorable, and the creators of Happy Feet have used that to create this awesome little flick. The penguins in Happy Feet live life with song, from making it through the long, cold winter to finding love. Mumble causes a stir when he is born because he can't sing. Instead, Mumble dances like non-other. As he grows up, he is an outcast and later blamed for the lack of fish. His adventures to find out what happened to the fish lead him from a group of small penguins to having humans around the world watching him. The visuals are beautiful, and the movie is filled with great sounding remixes of songs make for a great soundtrack. Whether you take away the environment message or to just be yourself, Happy Feet is a real treat for the whole family.  

Peter Pan (1953)
Last on the list for this week but certainly not the least is the 1953 classic Peter Pan. This Disney classic is about a boy named Peter who lives in Neverland and never grows up. Tinkerbell is his trusty companion fairy, though she has been known to be very jealous. He takes Wendy and her brothers to live there, so she can be a mother to him and the Lost Boys. It's not all fun and games. Neverland is filled with crocodiles and other wildlife, natives, mermaids, and, most dangerous of all, a group of pirates led by Captain Hook. Peter Pan shows the joy of being child but also the need to grow up and be with family. It's beautifully drawn and has quite a few memorable seen including a game of follow the leader and flying to Neverland, second start to the right and straight on til morning.

So what are some of your favorite animated movies? Let me know in the comments down below.

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Monday, July 13, 2015

Blog Update: Brace Yourselves, ComicCon Coverage Is Coming

In which I detail upcoming changes to Filmquisition.

As many of you are probably already aware, ComicCon has come and gone this weekend, leaving a vast slew of announcements, trailers and just plain old news to catch up on.  Naturally, most of this will make it through this particular neck of the woods... eventually.
There's a considerable pile of news-worthy stories to touch base with, and I will do my best to get as much of it as I can up as quickly as possible.  There are trailers for Batman vs Superman, Suicide Squad and Deadpool, for one.  There are updates on the Minority Report, Limitless and Legends of Tomorrow.  There are even a few interesting (but mostly perplexing) tidbits on the nuts-and-bolts functionality of the DC Cinematic Universe.

Naturally this will all take time to get through, and that's with me trying to get through my already scheduled articles (both here and on Unreality).  My aim is to get through most (if not all) of it by the end of the week, but some spillover into next week might happen, pending real-life interference.
So strap in, Folks.  This week is going to be busy, wild and increasingly weird.  I hope you enjoy it.

So what was your favorite thing to come out of this weekend's ComicCon?  Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Friday, July 10, 2015

The Weekend Forecast: Minions Will Usurp Jurassic World's Box Office Title

In which I predict that big winners (and losers) at the box office this weekend.

With last weekend's box office let-down, it'll be nice to see full theaters once again.  And although we might see Terminator Genisys' and Magic Mike XXL's numbers actually go up from last week as belated movie-goers finally get around to seeing them, it's sure to be this weekend's new releases that take people are going to swarm towards.
Minions - the long anticipated spin-off / prequel to 2010's Despicable Me - is sure to draw in the family crowd this weekend, syphoning from Inside Out's considerable following.  Having already seen the movie, I can safely say that it's the most fun of the entire franchise, thanks largely to its incessantly amusing protagonists.

Some older viewers (parents, grandparents and the like) will doubtless find the Minions' physical antics tiresome after a while, but the movie hardly outstays its welcome with its scant 91 minute run-time.  Be sure to get your tickets in advance (and arrive early) in order to ensure a good seat.
The Gallows is Blumhouse's most recent disappointment to hit theaters this year, and it's really a shame too.  Between Blumhouse's one-time pristine reputation and a surprisingly excellent premise, it should have been a surefire success.  But a seemingly rushed production, input from additional production companies and BH's over-stuffed 2015 release schedule kept it from being any more than a found footage distraction that can safely be set aside for something better this weekend (even Minions, of all things).

You can expect my full review of this movie on Monday, and probably an editorial trying to parse out Blumhouse's recent troubles.  Between this and The Lazarus Effect, they've solidly transformed into the Pixar of horror movies: exceptional, but far from flawless.
We're living in a golden age of science fiction right now.  It seems that hardly a month goes by without some forward-thinking, innovative and supremely intelligent take on mankind's tech-based future coming out.  This year's already seen the flawed Chappie and the sublime Ex Machina, and Self/Less seems just as good as either.

To be fair, it may fizzle out like 2011's In Time: an excellent premise wasted on a sub-par story.  Even if that's all it is, though, it's creative talent is enough to draw me in to see it.  Between actors Ben Kingsley and Ryan Reynolds, visionary director Tarsem Singh and Los Ultimos Dias scribes Alex and David Pastor, it's shaping up to be one impressive movie already.
So which new movie will you be seeing this weekend?  Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Unreality Companion: Terminator Genisys

In which I develop on the content of my weekly article.

So last weekend's double-feature was Terminator Genisys and Magic Mike XXL.  The better of these two movies was exactly what you would think it is.  Despite a surprisingly good first film, Magic Mike's successor was every bit the sex-pandering trash that you'd expect it to be.  And, despite the rampantly negative reviews floating around on the internet, Terminator Genysis turned out to be an exceptional lot of fun.
On the eve of mankind's final victory over Skynet, John Connor - leader of the Human resistance - preps for the real battle.  Knowing that Skynet will send a Terminator into the past in order to assassinate his mother before she births him, he sends Kyle Reese - his second in command and, secretly, his father-to-be - back to 1984 to save her.

But nothing is as it was supposed to be.  Moments before Reese leaves for the past, Skynet infects John Connor with a reconstructive virus that transforms him into a Next Gen Terminator under the machines' control.  When Reese arrives in the past, he doesn't find a helpless teenager in need of rescuing, but a battle-hardened soldier who had already survived one assassination attempt and had been prepping for his arrival for decades with the help of her own T-800.  All the while, Reese experiences memories of a lifetime he never lived - one where Skynet had not yet assumed control and Judgment Day had to happen.
I cannot express just how pumped I was for this movie going in.  While admittedly not quite at Age of Ultron or The Force Awakens levels of hype, it was still pretty high up there.  It was one of my most anticipated movies of the year, a long-in-coming sequel to two of my overall favorite movies and exactly the kind of movie that I've wanted to come out of this franchise for well over a decade now.

In these regards, the movie fully lives up to the high expectations that its premise - and excellent (if spoiler-ridden) trailer - set up for it.  It brings the franchise full circle by sending us back to the setting of the first movie.  It gives us exciting new twists on everything Skynet (both in terms of an amped up T-1000 and the newly Terminated John Connor).  It changes everything that we've ever known about the franchise in ways that were both wholly unexpected but fully realistic.
It was exciting, well written and even gave us a Sarah Connor that was a worthy successor to Linda Hamilton's take on the character.  It had everything and then some and I simply cannot understand why its received such universally negative reviews from critics across the country.  It is really that good.

Does this mean that it was a perfect movie by any means?  No, of course not.  The mid-movie time-jump to 2015 - seemingly "just because" - is an out-of-place setting change that serves as an over-written continuation to what was already an excellent action romp.  It would have been more than enough to stick with a Judgment Day-style Sarah Connor, fresh off the boat Kyle Reese and an increasingly glitchy T-800 (named Pops) duke it out against a vintage T-800 in 1984.
I also get why Steve Jobs - and, by extension, Apple-style branding - is the current go-to for tech-based villains, but it's gotten old real fast.  It was tolerable in Kingsmen because it was purely surface-level aesthetics.  It's obnoxious in Terminator because it feels like a needlessly low blow in a franchise that has bigger - and more interesting - things to worry about.

Although not quite as big an offender in this regard as Chappie, Terminator Genisys is severely overwritten.  There's enough material for two movies crammed into a single two-hour chunk of time.  We have Reese returning to a radically altered 1984 and teaming up with a shockingly martial Sarah Connor and the protective Pops, but we also have the jump to contemporary LA where a newly roboticized John Connor ensures Skynet's creation in our present.  Rather than letting the two ideas breathe in their own movies, they're crammed into a single film and rushed through as if the inevitable sequels are where it's really at.
In this regard, Terminator Genisys is like a far superior version of The Amazing Spider-Man 2.  Both are far more interesting it setting up possible sequels and spin-offs than they are in crafting the movie that they actually have to work with.  The difference between them is that Terminator Genisys still succeeds in giving us a fully realized story (even if it is overly crammed with plot points and narrative leaps), while The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was basically just an advertisement for movies that ultimately never came to be.

So although it's something of a mixed bag, Terminator Genisys is every bit the summer blockbuster that you've been waiting to see.  Sure, it's not nearly the movie that Fury Road or Jurassic World was, but few are.  It's a fun, action-packed sequel with a great premise and awesome explosions that's bound to get even more people to care about the first exceptional instalments to the franchise.
Rating:  8/10

Buy on BluRay:  It's a nothing short of a must-have for Terminator fans.

So what did you think of Terminator Genisys?  Was it better or worse than the four movies that came before it?  Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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