Sunday, July 23, 2017

Adventure Time - Season 2 (episodes #1-13)

Let me start off by saying there really aren't many "bad" episodes in this show, so when I give low ratings, it's more just in comparison to other, better episodes. Also, my ordering is based on the wikipedia article, maybe not the "official" order of the episodes and when they were released or where they were meant to be released. I'm not making a big deal out of it. Also, I would normally use a letter grade system for things, but I don't want to get that specific here. Instead, I'll be using 5 total ratings, which are as follows:

★✯✯✯✯ - pretty bad
★★✯✯✯ - not so good
★★★✯✯ - pretty average
★★★★✯ - good
★★★★★ - pretty great

It's a rough system, but I like it rough *winky face* I won't be writing big reviews here, I'll save larger write-ups for when I make my top 50 (or however many) favorite episodes countdown. Okay, let's do this.


Episode 1:
'It Came From The Nightosphere'

Saturday, July 22, 2017

200 Items Or Less: One Million Years B.C. (1966)

A few thoughts: Raquel Welch in a cave bikini and dinosaur stop motion by Ray Harryhausen? I'm not exaggerating when I say this is one of the best combinations of two things I could possibly imagine for a mid-'60s caveman movie. Choosing to have its characters not speak in recognizable language and instead get their points across through visuals was a pretty bold move. Yes, it's been done in other movies, but that doesn't make it any less admirable. The plot is loose and incredibly thin, and you can tell it's basically just designed as a method to give us Raquel Welch in a bikini and show off some awesome dinosaurs, but I'm kind of alright with that. It's fun in an exploitative kind of way. Director Don Chaffey had done better before (Jason And The Argonauts is an all-time favorite of mine), but I still can't see anyone else handling this material any better. It's very simple in a lot of ways, however the execution of the ideas and set pieces definitely should not be so easily dismissed. But in the end, it is definitely more iconic than it is great.

Friday, July 21, 2017

200 Items Or Less: Targets (1968)

A few thoughts: What do you get when you glue together a story about an old horror star on the brink of retirement with the story of a seemingly happy and regular looking guy who decides to go on a killing spree? You get Targets, a movie that would have worked far better as two individual movies, but somehow still manages to make for an interesting and weirdly insightful film regardless of the clunkiness. Drawing parallels between the classic horror monsters of movies from the Karloff era to the "modern" monster (by '60s standards), who is simply a man who one day finally snapped. Being a big fan of Karloff (WHO I SOMEHOW LEFT OFF MY TOP 100 ACTORS LIST?!?), I naturally found myself more drawn into his half of the story, which has an added weight when you consider he passed away only 6 months after this film's release. I wish the ending hadn't been so abrupt, but it was still a great note to end his career on -- as long as you choose to ignore the other crap he appeared in that was released after this.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Anime Corner: Elfen Lied (2004)

Usually when I call a horror movie or show "creepy", it's meant as a compliment. Well, Elfen Lied makes me feel weird and is pretty creepy, but that is not a compliment here. I'm not one to usually complain about infantilization (I don't find it arousing or anything, it just doesn't usually stand out to me as a problem), but this show has a serious infantilization problem with a teenage girl who can only say one word (like a Pokemon), can't dress herself, behaves like a small child, and - back to that whole "can't dress herself" thing - spends a good deal of time in the show naked. I don't know what they were attempting, but I felt sleazy just watching it, and I can't help but to feel it's shows like this that give anime the reputation it has for being somewhat pornographic.

Storywise, there's nothing here that really stands out to me as particularly unique, and with just 13 episodes, it never has a chance to become fully fleshed out, so it's pretty hard to get too absorbed. The show started off with a bang, full of extreme violence and intensity, but by the end of the first episode it almost feels like a high school drama. Some shows are able to handle juggling genres, but this one just feels clunky as it alternates between them.

200 Items Or Less: Seconds (1966)

A few thoughts: One of the more stripped down sci/fi movies of the 1960s, Seconds is a John Frankenheimer thriller with some fascinating (albeit occasionally sloppy) cinematography, strong performances, and a cool concept that could have easily been made a lot sillier. Instead, they let it be pretty dark, and with the tight camera angles and paranoid tone, they manage to make it all pretty suspenseful and unnerving. I've never been a fan of Rock Hudson, but he did a solid job here, and I felt like I was watching the character, not just the face -- which could have easily been the opposite here. There are a lot of twists and turns to the plot, so much so that I don't even want to talk about what happens in the movie, but suffice it to say it's not standard '60s sci/fi by any means. In fact, I'd barely even call it sci/fi at all, as the way it handles the more fantastical elements is calculated and believable. Very dark, very suspenseful, with an ending that will stick with you.