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Wow, you were really hard on this movie.
Really? I like it. That second image may be better placed though, I think Vizzini's one of the most memorable parts of the movie.
__________________
"Well, at least your intentions behind the UTTERLY DEVASTATING FAULTS IN YOUR LOGIC are good." - Captain Steel
Movies / Anime / Ultimate Showdown / Veg*nism / Action 2015





A Little Bit About Me:
(So you can decide for yourself whether my reviews are right for you. Alternatively: Recommend Something!)


Hits: Musicals, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Cyberpunk, Steampunk, Punk, 80s Aesthetic, Anime, Action Girls, Hyper Action, Martial Arts, German Expressionism, Surrealism, Psychological Thrillers, Movies That Make Me Think, & Obscurities
Actors I Like: Tim Curry, Nathan Lane

Misses: Horror, Westerns, Crime, Pretentious "Art" Films, Overnight Romance, Social Drama, Religion, Military, Bad Writing, Crude Humor, Memes, Pandering To The Lowest Common Denominator, & Non-Vegan Things
Actors I Don't Like: Owen Wilson, Seth Rogan, Simon Pegg


You can find my anime reviews in my Daily Dose of Anime thread.

★ = Favorites

[1] Metropolis, Dragon Tiger Gate, American Psycho, The Secretary, Being John Malkovich [2] Taxi Driver, Mean Girls [3] A Clockwork Orange, Nana and Kaoru, Labyrinth, Harold and Maude, Pitch Black★, Forbidden Planet [4] V for Vendetta★, Liar Liar, Adventures in Babysitting, Locke [5] Something Wicked This Way Comes, Mad Max: Fury Road★, Turbo Kid, Imaginaerum by Nightwish, Death Race 2000, The New Barbarians [6] Death Race [7] Sex and Fury, The Green Slime, Sukiyaki Western Django, Savage Streets, Hard Boiled[8] Female Yakuza Tale: Inquisition and Torture, Kung Fury, Crawl or Die, Cube, The Night Porter, Alice Thought, The Wallace & Gromit Trilogy, The Craft [9] Tron, Airplane!, The Secret of Kells, Battle Beyond The Stars, Barbarella, Looker, Tombstone, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory★, The Game★, Seven Samurai [10] Wreck-It Ralph, Lady Snowblood [11] The Stuff, Lucy, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Demolition Man, Assault Girls, Rumble in the Bronx, Titanic★, House of Flying Daggers [12] The Princess Bride, Strange Days, Flash Point, Police Story, Ace Attorney, Dogtooth, Shaolin Soccer, Police Story 2, Police Story 3: Super Cop [13] Avalon, Edward Scissorhands, In The Mouth of Madness, Ikiru [14] Lifeforce, Thought Crimes: The Case of the Cannibal Cop, Wings of Desire, Cirque Du Soleil: World Away, Wing Chun, Cherry 2000, Natural City, Shaolin Challenges Ninja, The Gene Generation [15-16] Schindler's List, Chasing Amy, The Nightmare Before Christmas[17] The Hurt Locker, Tai Chi Zero [18] 12 Angry Men, Changeling, Wild Zero, National Treasure, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans★, The Tree of Life [19] Starcrash [20] Commando, Goodfellas [21] Vicious Lips, Dark City [22] Back to the Future, Johnny Mnemonic, Alice in Wonderland, Gothic & Lolita Psycho [23] Twilight Zone: The Movie, Out of the Blue, Coraline, The Lords of Salem, Ink [24] Foxy Brown, Domino, The Mist [25] G.I. Jane, Gypsy 83, Enter The Dragon, And Now For Something Completely Different, Hook, Inception, Aliens, The Dark Knight [26] The Crow, The Legend of Drunken Master, Tom-Yum-Goong, Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain, Azumi, The Assassin, The Man From Nowhere [27] Gorgeous, The Raid: Redemption, The Raid 2: Berandal, Battle Creek Brawl, True Lies, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Nikita, Rambo: First Blood, Fist of Legend, Casshern, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom [28] Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Black Butler, Yojimbo, The Four Horsemen, Point Break, Hapkido,

[Friggen' Awesome][Pretty Good][Meh...][Just... Bad][Irredeemably Awful][WAT]
showthread.php?t=44485&page=X
bligh me, what a fantastic pic! did you make that yourself?

I think we're on the same wavelength. Do you like 2001? Lean, Polanski, Godard? Guinnes, Belmondo, Sean Penn, Kevin Spacey on a goofier side Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Gene Wilder?

I like all your hits, except I don't even know what German expressionism even is. And I'm not a horror. military, crime or western fan either.

I'm ok with Owen. but I think he's not entirely normal either.

I like your faves. I'd pick Goodfellas and Enter the Dragon (fights, humor, and most of all Bruce Lee). Alice in wonderland too.



bligh me, what a fantastic pic! did you make that yourself?
Yes, though I've been meaning to replace it.

Originally Posted by Beatle
I think we're on the same wavelength. Do you like 2001?
If you do I don't think we are on the same wavelength. O_o

Originally Posted by Beatle
Lean,
What?

Originally Posted by Beatle
Polanski,
That's a person isn't it?

Originally Posted by Beatle
Godard? Guinnes, Belmondo, Sean Penn,
Oh, I know Sean Penn.

Originally Posted by Beatle
Kevin Spacey
I like him.

Originally Posted by Beatle
on a goofier side Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Gene Wilder?
I like them, I find it weird that Gene's confessed he doesn't think himself as funny though, that he's just written funny.

Originally Posted by Beatle
I like all your hits, except I don't even know what German expressionism even is.
I think I explain it best in my Metropolis review.



Yes, though I've been meaning to replace it.
Thanks.

What?
David Lean was a British director, my all time favorite.


That's a person isn't it?
Yes. Roman Polanski is my 2nd fave director.





Star Wars Episode IV:
A New Hope

Sci-Fi Fantasy Adventure / English / 1977

WHY'D I WATCH IT?
For the Action Movie Countdown.

Reposted from the Rate The Last Movie You Saw thread.

WHAT'D I THINK? *SPOILERS*
Elephants.

It's so hard to get a firm grasp of this movie. I always thought Star Wars was cool, but I was never part of the popular majority that held it up as any sort of masterpiece. Hell, if asked to list my favorite movies it probably wouldn't be anywhere within the first that come to mind.

That said, only three kinds of movies earn permanent spots in my collection:
Movies I Love Above All Others,
Movies I Have Strong Nostalgia For, and
Movies I Just Find Myself Rewatching So Often, I Might As Well Keep It.

Stars Wars easily earns a spot if not for nostalgia, then just for how often I find myself revisiting it. It's a very standard hero's-journey style of movie, but it's unique setting and imaginative elements set it apart.

Very easy to spot miniatures and other obvious special effects are easily dwarfed by how well everything else is executed. I'm completely sold on this world, with no small amount of help from strong acting, interesting characters, and great attention to detail.



This is certainly one of the most fascinating movies to learn about how it was made given how documentaries make it out to have been one big colossal crapshoot that few, if any, people had any real confidence in. But as much as I may find myself intrigued by stop-motion, rotoscoping, or what-have-you, this movie never really clicked with me in that special way other movies have. The music is certainly great, the stakes are high, and it could even make me laugh, but...

All things considered, the story never really takes any serious risks. It's strange to say about a movie I've seen so many times, but it all seems predictable save, perhaps, Obi-Wan's death scene, but even that's never really understandably justified until the sequel.

The only lightsaber fight in the whole movie is one of the series' most important showdowns, but simultaneously it's least interesting. The dogfights are easily the highlight of action in the movie (which would eventually change places with lightsaber fights as the series went on), but it's largely spectacle. We don't see a whole lot of creativity in how they unfurl. The good guys shoot the bad guys, the bad guys shoot the good guys, and eventually enough explosions end the fight. That's pretty much it, and as an action-adventure movie, it leans heavily on this these.

The best thing about Star Wars, I think, is simply the world-building. We never really see any fantastic locations other than the Death Star, we even open up on something as dull as a blank desert. But the characters and vehicles look so alien and yet worn into these locations, that I can easily suspend my disbelief long enough to think that, yeah... It's friggen' rough in Mos Eisley, the interior of the Millenium Falcon seems like a legitimate place, and it's a special kind of satisfaction I get knowing that only with my experience from this one movie, I can blast open and find a real hidden garbage chute in the Death Star in Star Wars: Battlefront 2.

It just feels real, and engaging, and sounds fantastic thanks to excellent foley sounds and John Williams.

It's a good movie. I like it.



I watched the original Special Edition purely on a whim this time, and the more I watch the movie, the clearer to me that as much as I like the additions the Special Edition adds, they really pop out at me, even if I'm not looking at them. Jurassic Park did a phenomenal job with it's CGI, so much so that it's mostly the practical effects that stand out the most in that movie, however Star Wars was not made with CGI in mind, and in these relatively early days, it really only serves to stand out and distract me from a movie that was already accomplishing a believable alien world.

I don't know if the newest Special Editions have cleaned up that old CGI since, and if they did, I would welcome some of it back (the whole Han Shoots First thing is just funny if you're aware of the change, which I wasn't for most of my life), but the CG I saw today mostly detracted from my viewing experience, which is why I currently own the only officially released theatrical version of Star Wars that ever made it on DVD.

That said, I never felt very strongly either way until the changes I heard about being made to the BLU-RAY Special Editions. HOLY HELL WHY.


Final Verdict:
[Pretty Good]

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Star Wars Episode V:
The Empire Strikes Back

Sci-Fi Fantasy Adventure / English / 1980

WHY'D I WATCH IT?
For the Action Movie Countdown.

Reposted from the Rate The Last Movie You Saw thread.

WHAT'D I THINK? *SPOILERS*
Lizards, Snakes, Kissing.

For as long as I can remember, when given the option to watch a Star Wars movie, I've almost always gone for Empire Strikes back. Popularly considered the best of the original trilogy, I can't say precisely what provoked that the favor from me so many years back except perhaps my at a glance preference for the VHS covers.



You got Vader above two isolated spaceships shooting at each other, you got Yoda who's hard to look at above a lightsaber duel, and you've got the oddball fan favorite redshirt Stormtrooper above one of the most memorable setpieces in the entire series, an ACTUAL WAR.

Upon rewatching this movie, I thought I might confirm how superior I originally thought it might be to A New Hope, but instead decided that while it's a better movie in general, it's higher highs and lower lows make it more of a lateral move to me.

My best praises for the movie are simply how it completely defies classic sequel conventions and literally attempts to make a movie that's bigger and better than the smash hit that came before it. We see more locations, more spaceships, more land vehicles, it introduces important and memorable new characters, there are heavier plot beats, and even a dramatic twist. Plus, as I already mentioned, the scale of the conflicts have increased dramatically. We see a massive on-ground battle, we see larger forces in space, and we even see a hostile takeover of a city.

Simply put, the stakes have been the raised, the odds are worse for the heroes, and the consequences are much more real. It makes a significantly more exciting movie.

That said, I think Empire Strikes Back falls behind the original Star Wars in one significant way: whereas Star Wars was a very solid, predictable, but excellently presented story, Empire takes a few dips. I suppose it's best to visualize it as a graph. On average, Star Wars retains it's level consistently throughout, and while Empire exceeds it most of the time, there are definite periods of the movie where it lacks.

Of those periods I would point to the significantly more attention paid to Han & Leia's totally forced romance. It seems the "princess" who proved herself strong and independent (in a rather refreshingly unusual way even to this day) in the first movie, has a thing for bad boys like Han, which I feel compromises her character as well as much of the dialog involving her.



If we had seen her relationship develop beyond where we left off in Star Wars, I might have been able to buy their romance, but instead it's just... there. And it doesn't really serve the plot in anyway other than to add drama to the hilariously bad "I love you", "I know" scene near the end. Anakin's "I don't like sand" line from the prequel trilogy is lambasted constantly, but it sounds much more natural in it's respective movie than Han who we're only really rooting for because of the goodwill he's already earned from us so far.

Another dig is easily the Dagobah section of the movie which progresses relatively slow. We're introduced to Yoda during this time and among some laughs we learn more about the rules governing The Force, and develop Luke's abilities across a timeskip.

Unfortunately, the grand setpieces and moments that defined nearly every other part of Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back seem to be on pause while Luke just messes around in a swamp for a good chunk of the movie. This wouldn't be so bad if what we learn about The Force during this time is well spent, but unfortunately the initial explanation of magic in the Star Wars universe is handled extremely poorly.

Firstly, "Do, or do not, there is no try" is one of the worst possible lessons you could try to teach anyone, and I personally find it irritating when it's affected in real life. "Do, don't try" attempts to dissuade pessimistic attitudes by getting people to act instead of doubting their ability to act. The main issue with this is simply that it ignores the logical exercise of "trying" and asserts that you might as well not even try if you can't even do. This flies in the face of a variety of things, including plotpoints in Star Wars.

Yoda argues that the only reason Luke can't imitate his telekinetic ability to levitate spaceships is simply because he doesn't believe it can be done OR that he doesn't believe he can do it himself. It's also shown that his ability to use the Force is marred by his distractions or simply overthinking.



All of this raises the question: If Yoda says size matters not, then what's stopping Vader from exercising his powers on a grander scale? It could easily be argued that Vader is self-confident if even narrow-minded, both of these things would arguably increase his ability to manipulate the Force because he believes in his own powers and can remain focused. If this is true, then what prevented him from simply stopping the Millennium Falcon from escaping Hoth on sight? Couldn't he just reach out and pause it in midair? The poor explanation of The Force's rules seems to create plot convenience.

The only counterarguments I can think of is simply that Vader's power has waned in old age (but we don't really know how old he is at this point), or that inexplicably, he has something constantly annoying him. Perhaps Boba Fett pesters him daily about, "Did you find Han? Did you find Han?" or maybe he spends all that time in the black sphere filling out paperwork to replace all of his dead minions. Maybe that's getting to him? Perhaps he's got a papercut?

Maybe that completely useless scene in the swamp where he randomly appears only to get beheaded is actually a recurring nightmare of his and his masked breathing is a solution to his hyperventilation brought on by anxiety?

The only other real strike against the movie I would make is the Ton-ton scene at the beginning. How disgusting it is besides, it's a major strike against otherwise likable characters to see them thoughtlessly ride other animals out into deadly temperatures just for them to die. **** you, Han. Why are you such a dick to Ton-tons? I know casually trading innocent life like this bothers virtually no one else in the world, but it bothers me.

Beyond that, there's still lots to love about the movie, and I gotta lend big points to a shocker ending that leaves the viewer nearly hopeless before tying it all together in a Halo 2 cliffhanger. Cliffhangers like these suck because they leave so many loose ends, but at least in Star Wars 5's case, it successfully hypes you for the sequel.


Final Verdict:
[Pretty Good]
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Star Wars Episode VI:
Return of the Jedi
Sci-Fi Fantasy Adventure / English / 1983

WHY'D I WATCH IT?
For the Action Movie Countdown.

I never got around to it the first time.

WHAT'D I THINK? *SPOILERS*
Whatever poor animal they butchered to hang up in a tree.

Return of the Jedi is popularly the weakest the original trilogy, but why?

Unilaterally, the answer given is "the Ewoks", but I'm not quite sure what the issue is with them. I suspect some people, perhaps the same people with a Jar Jar Binks complex, have extremely little tolerance for gimmicky characters... even though Star Wars is loaded with gimmicky characters.

More convincingly it could be argued that the Ewoks felt like a marketing tool, pandering to little kids to sell toys. Thing is, Star Wars was already the world's biggest slut for commercial licenses as it was, I never took the franchise to be that cynical. So they're cute, that actually helps the movie you know?

When it comes to the Battle of Endor and we see the Ewoks versus Stormtroopers we have a prime visual analogy for the Rebellion itself. The Empire is sterile and uniform, but the Ewoks are diverse. They don't depend on conventional means of battle, they're resourceful, and the fact that they're shorter than the Stormtroopers only emphasizes the classic underdog scenario at play here. When they die, it's not an anonymous soldier with a political motivation, it's a fuzzy ragamuffin helping his friends. They help to play on the audiences emotions.



And emotions seems to be a bigger focus this time around as well, if arguably so. The world-building is firmly split between Tatooine and Endor with the majority spent on Endor so sadly the movie doesn't feel quite as fresh and varied with regard to it's locations. In fact the movie feels a little rushed, clipping briefly between events often abstracting out major transitional sequences.

It's all in the name of wrapping up it's story, but it manages to do so, I think, satisfactorily thanks to honoring the best conventions of the Hero's Journey, to which Star Wars owes the majority of it's story. The Emperor is finally revealed and he easily produces the most enjoyably throaty quotes in a series that includes James Earl Jones, Han's "I know." moment from Empire is stolen for Leia in a pleasing moment of self-awareness, and the entire movie seeks to redeem it's central antagonist, Vader, through gesture and mild dialog which I think works for the most part.

Yeah, I think I can sympathize with Vader a little bit. I think that's only possible though given that the entire trilogy has rested the nature of villainy on the notion of imperial government and bad guys who kill their own minions when they don't get what they want. It's rather transparent and cartoony, not like the sort of **** Kylo Ren pulls in Force Awakens, we never saw straight up EXECUTIONS, it's a lot harder to forgive the crimes we can see, especially when they're perpetrated against favored characters.

I think the movie does struggle against a lull though and I think it's that lull that proves to be the movie's greatest weakness. The opening sequence lags behind Empire in pace and scale even if it does raise the personal stakes of the characters and it shortly devolves into a sight-seeing trip into Endor that strains memorability if not interest.



Some excellent sequences remain such as Jabba's palace, the speeder bike chase, the Battle for Endor itself, and even the climactic lightsaber duel, but it's the kind of movie that feels like it never quite reaches it's third act, it's second act just keeps going.

Some oddities here and there also stick out, in particular the whole Luke and Leia thing. What exactly was there to gain with this whole subplot anyway? Yoda foreshadows it with the "there is another" line from Empire, but what are we saying here? Luke was too old to begin the training despite his familiarity, but they could rely on Leia to roll in with her noob shirt and her noob boots and her noob buns and get **** done?

I'm not saying it's not possible, but how much time passed between Empire and Jedi anyway? Empire ends with Luke saying he'll go to Tatooine to find Han, then we open on Tatooine. Are we to assume that he went to Tatooine, turned around, went back to Dagobah, ****ed around in the swamp long enough to Yoda to crust away, and then returned to Tatooine? If Luke fell into the Sarlacc today would Slave Leia be next in line to defeat the Emperor?

Even if we were to grant that, it pretty churlishly flies in the face of Luke's hero arc which concludes at this point too.

In the first movie he's a farmboy,
in the second movie he's an apprentice,
in the third movie he's sending veiled threats of violence to criminal organizations... which he can deliver on.



Leia's revelation as his sister in this movie is no great twist and if anything it only serves to reinforce her already obvious shipping with Han through extremely vague incestophobia.

Altogether, I think it's a fun movie and a solid close to one of the greatest trilogies of all time. By my bet, yeah, I'd agree it's the weakest of the three, but it shouldn't be ignored, it has too much good going for it.

My personal commendations to a series that typifies a worn out story and shows what makes it great without forsaking creativity.


As a final note I'd like to add that while I have no particular dislike for remasterings or digital improvements, some of which can be excellent additions, I do value the originals and recognize changes such as those present in Jedi can be detrimental. That anyone thought dubbing Vader's "NO" from Revenge of the Sith over the climax of Jedi is baffling.

This isn't some technical or budgetary aspect of the movie that couldn't have been achieved in the 80s, this is meddling with the most important moment in the biggest, most successful, most influential sci-fi franchise of all time. **** OFF.


Final Verdict:
[Pretty Good]

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Ip Man
Martial Arts Drama / Chinese / 2008

WHY'D I WATCH IT?
For the Action Movie Countdown.

Frequently cited among greatest martial arts movies-of-all-time lists.

WHAT'D I THINK? *SPOILERS*
Feathers. I don't know from what, but they're there.

Despite my tenuous belief that Donnie Yen has mildly better acting range than Jet Li, I gotta admit, this is a firm step below Fist of Legend.

And that comparison is apt too since there seems to be a recurring theme of setting these movies against of the historical backdrop of smarmy Japanese businessmen types invading and taking big fat dumps on the humble Chinese' front porch.

This time, it's not even apparent that that's what we're in for the first third of the movie where a humorous, if unfunny (if you catch my meaning), scenario is interrupted by dramatic onscreen captions informing us BUT THEN, THAT'S WHEN THE JAPANESE INVADED.

There are a couple dramatic moments following this point that I liked, but for the most part this movie was just friggen' BORING, the sort of boring you'd expect from sterile biographical drama.

We gotta establish this character because they were relevant to Ip Man's life... then we gotta establish this relationship, because of similar of reasons... none of which significantly affect the plot.

Two or three characters I kept confusing with one another because they look so similar and their roles are infrequent and generally unapparent.



It's just sluggish and that's not a word I want to use to describe an action movie.

How is the action? Pretty MEH. Seriously, I don't know how people watch this and come away saying this is one of the greatest movies of it's kind, I mean Fist of Legend wasn't ball-out-of-the-park exceptional, but it had a decent story and at least one really unique fight on top of having generally engaging and frequent fight sequences, this was just weak.

It also loses points for the BEYOND CLUMSY Bruce Lee name drop right before the credits. You couldn't have even had a scene where an actor seen from behind walks into his class and introduces himself by name, no just BTDUBS HE TRAINED BRUCE LEE KTHANXBAI.

You won't see anything in this movie you haven't seen before and none of it is done better. Don't bother.


Final Verdict:
[Meh...]

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Pirates of the Caribbean:
The Curse of the Black Pearl

Fantasy Adventure Comedy / English / 2003

WHY'D I WATCH IT?
For the Action Movie Countdown.

Reassessing for action-oriented purposes.

WHAT'D I THINK? *SPOILERS*
"That is, without a doubt, the worst pirate I have ever seen."

Horses, Donkeys, Dogs, Pigs, Monkeys, Fish, Shrimp, Chickens, Parrots, and bird **** jokes weren't the most disgusting thing to come of it.

Having been on the actual Disney Pirates of the Caribbean ride before it actually became a movie and they reinvented it to fit their new franchise, I was also skeptical of how the iconic depiction of the archetypal pirate theme, inspired by the likes of Robert Louis Stevenson's book, Treasure Island, would fair with it's memorable jingles and sense of adventure intact, especially in a modern Disney age.

While I do not believe it truly managed to encapsulate the feeling of going on that ride, it does manage to plunder distant feelings of nostalgia. But that's just a bow wrapping the package that includes a few neat things, the best of which being Johnney Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow.

Strangely, Sparrow's not even the biggest item in the box as screentime is shared fairly evenly between him as the comedy relief and the two main protagonists, Swan and Will, played by Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom.

I feel that Knightley fails to live up to the screen presence she had in Domino and I'd blame that in part on her character, while Bloom, for all intents and purposes, is just playing Legolas with substantially fewer badass points.

It's a shame that neither of these screenhogs really bring their A-game here as much as I might enjoy Bloom's Westley-esque bumbling swordsman facade, but it's more than made up for in Depp's performance who I think finally finds his defining character amidst all the oddballs in his resume.

Sparrow's just a lot of fun to have around, he seems to be in a perpetual state of semi-drunkenness which belies moments of intellectual clarity and this contrast blends well with his drawl which fleets between ignoring conjunctions and word salad. His unpredictability, which is even directly referenced, is exactly what makes him an interesting character, and he becomes particularly enjoyable when his self-absorbed demeanor becomes generous and even self-deprecating. Even more so than Swan and Will is how well he plays off of the sterner antagonists like Norrington and Barbossa who don't suffer his ****, but aren't one-dimensional enough to refuse his suggestions entirely out of hand.


"I'm disinclined to acquiesce to your request. Means 'no'."

Frankly, I enjoyed both of them as well, more so than Swan and Will too. I think the biggest issue here is simply that Swan is little more than a damsel in distress and Will is the love-stricken apprentice whose presence inexplicably fades in the wake of Sparrow who isn't even terribly dominating.

Altogether the movies has a couple genuine chuckle moments while delivering a hearty pirate tale complete with a naval battles, sea shanties, plenty of booty, and a touch of superstition.

Besides all of the animals that were dragged into the film, I'd have to say the worst part is just the overall weak romance central to our two protagonists. Beyond that the story stumbles over a few plotbeats.

Why do the pirates care that Swan drops the medallion in the water when we find out later they can just walk underwater and pick it up?

Why does Norrington reject the idea of interrogating Sparrow over the Black Pearl's whereabouts because the pirates "are not his allies"? That's EXACTLY why he would help you!

What the hell was Will doing before he trapped himself in his own sinking ship? It reminded me of Lois Lane nearly drowning herself in Batman v Superman.

What's with the curse wounds? Barbossa shot while flesh suffers his gunshot wound after he's un-cursed, and at least one other pirate dies the same while bones, so why doesn't Jack die? He got stabbed in the chest so doesn't it stand to reason that he suffer that chest wound once he's been un-cursed too?

I suspect this is excusable if, as implied with the bomb right before in the same scene, that stepping out of moonlight will "heal" bone to flesh, which would mean Jack would've healed from his gunshot wound as soon as he stepped back out of moonlight, but this is a VERY loose inference given all the information we have. The movie makes a specific judgment based on not-entirely-established rules and that always feels a bit cheap in movies.



Anyway, I thought it was fun and, in my opinion, the source of the last really memorable blockbuster character prior to Heath Ledger's Joker.


Final Verdict:
[Pretty Good]

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I rather liked the first Pirates of the Caribbean, however the sequels sort of ruined it a little. I just stopped caring about the series completely and don't even remember if I've seen the newest one or not.

Are you only watching this one, or are you going to review all of them?



I rather liked the first Pirates of the Caribbean, however the sequels sort of ruined it a little. I just stopped caring about the series completely and don't even remember if I've seen the newest one or not.

Are you only watching this one, or are you going to review all of them?
You shall soon see.





Pirates of the Caribbean:
Dead Man's Chest

Fantasy Adventure Comedy / English / 2006

WHY'D I WATCH IT?
For the Action Movie Countdown.

Also reassessing for action-oriented purposes.

WHAT'D I THINK? *SPOILERS*
"Why is the rum always gone?"

Horses, Parrots, Dogs, Pigs, Goats, Monkeys, Kissing.

Falling into that category of franchises that attempt to draw a direct sequel from a self-contained story, Dead Man's Chest is already fighting an uphill battle. How does it do? I think it does well.

Not only does every memorable character from the first movie return, some even with more lines and narrative relevance, this movie makes no mistake about who it is you're here to see, this is Sparrow's story from start to finish. Jack's just as swanky and likeable as in the first movie showing they haven't yet run him stale and his uncertain qualities are given even more attention from his fleeing and return to save the day by the end of the movie to the entire plot effectively hinging on his inability to decide on what he wants.

Will and Swan's romance is pushed into the background, but they stubbornly remain attached to the plot by virtue of have narrative ties to the first movie.

Davy Jones is the new baddie on deck this time and as most have said, Bill Nighy The Vampire Guy makes for a likable rumbling performance on par with the CG likes of Andy Serkis as Gollum from Lord of the Rings. Davy Jones, design-wise, is arguably more impressive visually given his facial tentacles which have to have been most of the most crazy difficult things to animate realistically, draping and flowing objects those, particularly when they're supposed to fall and move against each other tend to test the extreme limits of what physics emulation can do. You can generally tell quality animation from how well they manage this recurring concept.



The rampant CG appears, to me at least, to look better than the somewhat cheesy skeletons of the first movie, not just quality-wise but also in design. It was cool to see actors rapidly shift from live-action to CG, that must of been and incredible challenge, but I must admit I liked the Flying Dutchman crew better due to the fact that each of them looks to have uniquely adopted elements of the sea into their bodies.

I feel the action ramps up this time around too, with Will and Swan pushed closer to the background, Norrington and our two other comedy relief from the first movie come closer to the foreground, regularly rotating which of them share scenes together and eventually pitting their allegiances against each other like real pirates. The cannibal island sequence is a fun distraction (even if I personally loathe how The Dog gets the shaft at the end), but the highlight for me comes with the three-way fight between Will, Norrington, and Jack which is played seriously just as much as it's played for laughs.

This three-way however comes with the unfortunate caveat however that Swan has officially transitioned into Bitch Mode. They make a feeble attempt to piratize her along the way, but it's only enough to offset the in-world sexism that compartmentalizes her character, it's not enough to help how she's written.

There's just something profoundly facepalmy about a woman, teeth-bared and threatening a port authority at the point of a gun to his face being immediately followed by her reaching down, lifting up her dress, and shuffling away. That's like a drug dealer acting like a grandmaster pimp right before he sees a cop and trips over his own pants because his crotch is at his knees.



When she's just standing there alone, screaming at a swordfight which verges dangerously on a "boys will be boys" moment, I've pretty much lost any interest in seeing her live. If she dies, good, I don't care, she's just another impotent female character with scarcely anything I would term a redeeming quality.

And then the ending, which it seems everyone complains about.

It's a CLIFFHANGER. Frankly, I don't get people's hate for such things, I thought it was a damn good cliffhanger. Jack has his climactic face-off with the Kraken and we see the return of an enjoyable personality from the first movie without warning making for a solid twist to leave off on. I consider it an exceptional ending, one that definitely hypes me to see the sequel.

If there's one criticism I have of the ending it is that it sets up At World's End as a "search for Jack" story when it's SWAN... THAT KILLED HIM.

What the hell, bitch? Seriously? He comes back to save your ass and you leave him to die? Then you're all tears and sorry goin' on about you'll "go to the ends of the earth" to save him?

YOU COULDN'T STAND TO FIT HIM IN A ****IN' ROWBOAT!

Bonus points to the music. Solid soundtrack. I swear I've heard that Davy Jones theme somewhere before though, hmmmm...


Final Verdict:
[Pretty Good]

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Pirates of the Caribbean:
On Stranger Tides

Fantasy Adventure Comedy / English / 2011

WHY'D I WATCH IT?
For the Action Movie Countdown.

N-HA! You thought I'd watch At World's End, right? Nah, **** that movie's boring, let's watch On Stranger Tides. Reassessorama!

WHAT'D I THINK? *SPOILERS*
"If I don't kill a man every now and then, they forget who I am."

Fish, Horses, Dogs, Chicken, Pigs, Kissing.

At World's End was wildly overdramatic for the movies that birthed it and I'd just come away with the same complaints that I had with the first two movies: Too much Swan and William.

So here we are with the first spin-off movie featuring Jack Sparrow front and center and with the most popular complaint, Swan and Will, nowhere to be seen... people claim this is weakest of the movies?

Frankly, I am not in agreement. I wouldn't seriously consider it better than 1 or 2, but it's a solid step above 3 at the very least.

A series of episodic adventures featuring Jack Sparrow is exactly what these movies should have been, but alas, I'll admit, he does wear little thin in this movie.

The movies opens fantastically and closes in a similar manner, both in square doses of genuine humor, however it's the 2nd act that seems to drain most heavily on the movie, I would say largely due to an excessive amount of exposition.



In the previous movies exposition was naturally drawn out through character interactions, they each find themselves in pressing circumstances and they fight each other, strike bargains, and logically arrive at conclusions which drive the plot forward. You plainly can see this in the first movie when Jack and Will are alone on a ship and Will draws his sword on Jack for suggesting his father is a pirate. Even though the example is a relatively obtuse matter of hanging Will over the water and having Jack talk at him, this is scene is still accomplishing more than one goal; it's not just telling us that Will's dad was a pirate, it's also telling us what Will and Jack think of him as well showing how both of them can come to a tentative alliance despite their animosity towards one another, not by telling us, but by showing us.

In On Stranger Tides there's just too much one person explaining the story to another person.

Fortunately the second act is at least home to the mermaid scene which I think surprised the **** out of everybody who thought it was just as silly as it sounds. DON'T **** WITH MERMAIDS, DUDE.

Unfortunately the true silliness comes in the form of the bizarre inclusion of The Cleric character. I get that there's a recurring theme of wanting to redeem Blackbeard and that the Spanish actually just want to destroy the Fountain of Youth out of religious disdain, but this guy spends the majority of his screentime hitting up a mermaid for an interspecies romance. And it's ****in' weird.

Blackbeard himself is a fine villain on his own, but I've also thought that Davy Jones is a hard act to follow, so while he pulled his own weight it feels cheap that they gave him superpowers for no reason other than what I assume is an attempt to make him feel somewhat as threatening as what passed for The Grim Reaper in the previous movies.

He can telekinetically control his ship with his sword, he has zombified crewmen, and he can harm people through voodoo dolls. NONE of this is previously established and Whatsherface's prophecy is entirely unexplained too.



In fact, as much as I can't remember the name of Whatsherface, she was a marked step above Swan as the female lead which is ironic because they literally refer to her as a "damsel" and she never really fulfills those criteria in my book.

Uncle Vernon from Harry Potter makes an amusing appearance, Barbossa takes a... questionable character shift from pirate captain to navy captain only to go pirate again by the end of the movie and you know what? Gibbs doesn't get enough love. He's a fun side character.

Again, the ending is great with Sparrow having more than one great moment including a genre-savvy Logic Bomb where he outright stops a fight to ask why it is anyone but the main characters are fighting, but there is one issue I picked out:

How is that with as much exposition that this movie managed to cram in that it never once established whether or not it was the Mermaid's tear that made the Fountain's water give life or take it?

Feels weak, but even the obvious twist is pulled off to satisfaction when the music drops out. Lookin' forward to Dead Men Tell No Tales, but so long as you're draggin' in all these animals don't expect me at the theater.


Final Verdict:
[Pretty Good]

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Project A
Martial Arts Comedy / Chinese / 1983

WHY'D I WATCH IT?
For the Action Movie Countdown.

Haven't seen it yet.

WHAT'D I THINK? *SPOILERS*
Milk and a dove. Surprised that's all there is.

In this flik Jackie Chan plays Dragon Ma, a coast guard who investigates a government pirate conspiracy.

Written and directed by Jackie Chan you can expect no shortage of his typical brand of humor for better or worse, and you can also expect Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao along for the ride.

As per usual, the plot is silly, oftentimes arcane, and generally unengaging beyond the slapstick around the edges. It's easy to lose track of who the characters are referring to or what they're specifically trying to accomplish, but that's typical for these sorts of movies, the real question is how're the fight scenes?

We have a healthy collection of 5 fight scenes, the bar fight at 9 minutes, club fight at 34 minutes, bike chase at 48 minutes, handcuff fight at 58 minutes, and the hideout fight at 1 hour 36 minutes.

The first two are pretty bland only slightly above average as far as movie fight scenes tend to go, the bike chase and hideout fight however are extensive action sequences that go for 10 or more minutes each and feature some pretty decent moments including bringing new definition to the term, "carpet bomb". I've never seen a Big Bad go out so cartoonishly.

This movie features the classic Safety Last! homage which precedes the infamous awning fall stunt where Chan falls 60 feet through two awnings onto his head.



Bizarrely, they do a double take of this, not just repeating the same take twice, but LITERALLY a second take, they repeat the exact same shot twice and he falls differently. They even show an outtake during the credits which is also different showing that Chan actually performed the drop at least 3 times, all landing on his neck and head.

This is one of those moments that pulls me out of the movie, if I weren't counting the comedy acting, but they make a similar mistake in the hideout fight when the good guys are running around knifing pirates and it cuts like 3 or 4 times on separate occasions to somebody stabbing down into a dummy chest, the only difference being the color of the chest.

Despite the action, I'm inclined to say the best part is during the club fight when Chan's piece-of-****-corrupt superior officer orders him to stand down on the authority of the club owner even though the club owner is knowingly hiding fugitives.

Chan says he quits, leaps on the chandelier, swings up to the second floor, busts down a door, finds the guy, smashes him through a table, and hurls him back to ground floor at the feet of the guy who told him not to. It looks REALLY HARD.

It's a really satisfying **** you moment, but it's later followed by this disturbing line that he can't actually quit because desertion is punishable by hanging. WOW. You work for the military to pursue justice and when the military is corrupt and you want to quit, it's their policy to kill you.

WHY DID YOU EVEN SIGN UP FOR THIS JOB???

Overall, I'd say the movie is slightly above average for a martial arts movie but it still suffers heavily for it's plotting and forgettable action sequences.


Final Verdict:
[Meh...]

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The Lord of the Rings:
The Fellowship of the Ring

Fantasy Action Adventure / English / 2001

WHY'D I WATCH IT?
For the Action Movie Countdown.

One ring to reassess them all.

WHAT'D I THINK? *SPOILERS*
"It is a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt over so small a thing."

Horses, Pigs, Goats, Parrots, Sheep, Chicken, Dogs, Cats, Ferrets, Moths, and Birthdays.

What I said of Indiana Jones holds true here as well; the worst part of the any of these movies is the animals, particularly the horses, they involve in the production. It's a common problem with fantasy novels as well, but it's worse when the concept is taken to screen. Actual horses have been seriously injured and killed in the making of these movies and while it's unfortunate that anyone should die for entertainment, it's unforgivable when the deaths occur to those who haven't a choice to their inclusion in the movie.

With that said I will once again be judging this movie according to my own desensitized perspective. Realistically, I should feel entirely divorced from these characters for the roles they assert over other animals, but it is a crushing weakness of mine to empathize even in an anthropocentric echo chamber.



BUT ENOUGH, even I get tired of talking about this stuff. So WHAT'S the deal with Fellowship?

Well, it's kinda ****ing awesome.

As the epic film adaption of the books from which modern fantasy tropes have been stolen hand and foot, this near 3-hour nerdgasm finally brings to the screen unlike any before the breadth and scope of low-magic grand fantasy novels, from their world-building lore, to their cavalcade of characters, to their near-superhuman mass conflicts which have so inspired Dungeons & Dragons.

Despite the staggering length, or perhaps because of the staggering length, Fellowship excels in one of the most important areas it could: pacing. There's so much going on in this movie, but it never quite stoops to flat exposition while the action and suspense rolls in carefully regulated waves of intensity. It keeps you interested and this is also due in no small part to the conservative delivery of the story which never really lingers overlong in any one place.

I will admit that the first third of this movie, while good, doesn't match the heights of it's second and third act, and resultingly can feel like a bit of a slog to sit through to get to the really good stuff. The beginning of the story in fantasy novels are never really the highlight anyway, they're all about getting the hero out the door and while there's great interplay between Gandalf and Bilbo in regards to the temptation of the ring it still doesn't meet the heights that it will leave you at by the end.



The characters are fantastic too, though Legolas and Gimli have little to contribute and Merry and Pippin are at worst burdens on the company, Frodo develops well enough and even though his interaction with Sam is rather limited, you get a strong sense of friendship between them by the end you really don't want to see break up.

Meanwhile Aragorn is earning badass points left and right and Sean Bean is off getting himself killed, but not without redeeming his troubling character with a pretty badass death sequence in it's own right.

Gandalf easily cements himself as a good guy from square one, but it's pleasing that he can be an intimidating mother****er when he means to as well. His death sequence is justifiably emotional and the whole movie is a pretty solid tearjerker by the end.

I could credit that to editing, but it would be a disservice not to mention the phenomenal backing music which carries a couple core leitmotifs throughout the journey to great effect, rightly emulating Northern European folk music (that Irish stuff is potent!).

The scope and design are incredible too with only the scant moment of obvious CG stunts. The orcs look great, ugly as they may be.

If I'm to make any narrative criticisms it'd be two:

Firstly, the romance between Aragorn and Arwen starts here and as it will continue to be throughout the series, it's generally two people unemotionally coddling each other talking about Arwen giving up her immortality for some reason. Their relationship is THOROUGHLY uninteresting and this subplot about Arwen's immortality being contingent upon her... virginity? Affection? Vows? I dunno, I don't think it's ever explained and even if it were it's still an incredibly weak plotbeat.



Other than that I would be remiss not to question why Arwen cries over Frodo? Is it just his crippled desiccating body that brings her to tears? Is this her over-sensitive elven empathy (do I have that)? I dunno either, she's shared mere minutes of screentime with him and suddenly she's choking up over him dying.

You haven't even had the chance to get attached to him yet, what's the deal?

I would consider this one of those series that not only does the books justice, but does them better. The books can be a right chore to read, but this is a very digestable adaption that doesn't trim anything it needs and even rewards readers with easter eggs.

Anyway, I'd mark this down on that list that'd earn a 5 from me IF ONLY...


Final Verdict:
[Pretty Good]

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Chocolate
Martial Arts Action / Thai / 2008

WHY'D I WATCH IT?
For the Action Movie Countdown.

Has appeared on a few badass female action hero lists.

WHAT'D I THINK? *SPOILERS*
Chocolate, named after the unlabelled M&Ms which make recurring appearances for seemingly no other reason than to be called back to, is about two gangster lovers. One of them gets pregnant and due to circumstances separate, the mother, Zin, giving birth to a daughter, Zen, who turns out to be an autistic savant, special skill: kicking ass.

After growing up on video games and Tony Jaa movies (they literally show both Ong Bak and The Protector which I only now realize is because it's the same director for this movie), Zen with the help of her childhood friend, Fatso, decide to hit up Zin's old contacts for the money they owe her so they can afford treatment for her non-specific life-threatening illness.

There are 4 fights overall: the bridge at 18 minutes, the ice factory at 33 minutes, the warehouse at 38 minutes, and the hideout at 1 hour and 2 minutes which lasts for damn near 20 minutes and follows Zen in and around the building.

Generally speaking, this is precisely the sort of movie martial arts fliks should aspire to, I think. It's edited to tell a story largely through visuals (what little dialog there is is frequently told in rough English for some reason) and with an appropriate backing track the entire movie plays out like a musical montage which is GREAT in my opinion. It really keeps the ball rolling and the show-don't-tell aspect puts a lot of emphasis on narrative engagement through visuals, which if you haven't already it figured out... is exactly what action sequences are.



I got sucked into this movie very easily and it helps that Jeeja Yanin, who plays Zen, pulls off the autistic angle very well even though it's naturally jarring to see it transition directly into martial arts.

Another jarring aspect is that we only ever see Zen watching Tony Jaa movies and yet in her first serious fight at the ire factory she full on channels yowling Bruce Lee. Considering that the following fight at the warehouse employs a lot of props and environmental awareness, it's a bit of a disappointment that such a solid concept skips out on the perfect opportunity to pay homage to different movie martial artists in turn.

You did Bruce Lee's Jeet-Kune-Do, you basically pulled a Jackie Chan proptacular, you coulda followed that with a Tom-Yum-Goong-esque bone breaking sequence OR SOMETHING I dunno, I saw stars and wished they'dve followed through.

The bridge fight is more amusing than anything, the ice factory is okay, the warehouse is pretty darn good, and the hideout fight has a lot of variety to it including an absolutely bizarre sequence in which another twitchy mentally handicapped kid gets pitted against her who's not only unpredictable, but can breakdance up and down her face.

If there's anything else to criticize I'd say it's the uncertainly of specific gangster alliances, a weird emphasis on evil transvestites, and... oh yeah, I forgot a fight scene.

The meat market fight. It's a... it's exactly what you think it is.

And it's... REALLY HARD to recommend this movie when there's a several minute block of that **** in it.

Anyway, looking up Jeeja Yanin reveals she's since starred in This Girl is Badass!! which I've seen recommended here before and Raging Phoenix which promises Chinese Drunken Boxing vs. Drunken Muay Thai and B-Boy fights. SIGN ME UP.


Final Verdict:
[Meh...]

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