Japanese Origins Double Feature: Multiple reviews

Ghost in the Shell

Runtime: 1 hour 46 minutes
Budget: Estimated to be $110 million

Ghost in the Shell got low ratings, but I thought that might be because it deviated from the source material and was mired in controversy over the casting. But nope, it definitely deserved low ratings.

For the entire film, I kept waiting for something to happen, for the pace to pick up. It felt like there was no climax or culmination of events that would make it a worthwhile watch. Just entirely absent from the movie.

Part of the way through, you get to meet the mysterious figure teased in the trailers. At first, he seemed like a good character. He was haunting and had an interesting story. In the end, he absolutely wasted—and not the drunk kind. The writers must’ve imbibed before finishing the script.

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It wasn’t all bad. They created a cool looking city in post. I wouldn’t watch the movie just for that though.

I don’t know the source material at all, so I can’t tell you if it makes it better or worse. The movie is just weak to the point where I felt like I wasted my time.

Your Name. (Kimi No Wa.)

Runtime: 1 hour 47 minutes
Budget: Not Listed

I watched this about 20 minutes after Ghost in the Shell. I almost felt like I had to redeem the night after that mess of a movie. The difference between the two was like orange juice and tar…assuming you were looking for a refreshing drink. There might be useful application of tar depending on what you’re trying to accomplish.

While Ghost in the Shell felt long and plodding, Your Name. left me wanting more. I will definitely be adding this one to my small Blu Ray collection.

I’m not going to say too much more because the less you know about it, the more enjoyable the experience will be. The animation is movie-quality. The writing, direction, and execution all came together for something great. It was an emotional roller coaster for me.

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Yes it’s “anime.” That carries some stigma, I know. Still worth going. I’d go again to drag others along…if the theater run for this wasn’t so short. Unless you’re horribly opposed to reading subtitles, you should be fine.

Free Fire: A review

Free Fire

Runtime: 1 hour 30 minutes
Budget: Estimated to be $10 million

Little did I realize that the title would signify how much I paid to watch it. I caught a free advance screening, which helps my wallet not die from the absurd number of movies I watch. I’m glad I didn’t pay for it either, because it’s not my type of movie.

If I had to sum up the entire experience in a single word, it would be “ridiculous.” The entirety of this action-comedy takes place in a warehouse where a gun deal goes sour because of stupid people.

It had its moments and was an interesting concept, but I found myself unsatisfied after watching it. It was kind of like a Tarantino movie (generally, I’m not a fan of his movies). Who knows, though. It might be your thing.

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Brie Larson goes from being stuck in a room for an entire movie to being stuck in a warehouse for an entire movie. Look at what an Oscar can do for you!

Kong-Skull Island: A review

Kong: Skull Island

Runtime: 1 hour 58 minutes
Budget: Estimated to be $185 million

By now, you’ve probably figured out that I watch a lot of movies. That means I see a lot of trailers too. Usually, I consider it part of the experience and enjoy these commercials-by-a-different-name. Sometimes, the same blasted trailer shows up about 10 times and I get tired of it. The Kong: Skull Island trailer falls in that latter category. I found myself rolling my eyes every time it showed up.

I expected a CGI-heavy pedestrian film that would border on being a waste of time. While it was indeed a CGI-heavy smashfest, the movie managed to keep me interested throughout it’s nearly two hour runtime.

Some of the writing and execution lacked greatness, but the cinematography, humor, and action managed to redeem it.

The movie contained some good horror elements while avoiding some of the pitfalls. There was less of the horror movie staple of “let’s run to the cemetery during a zombie apocalypse” kind of stupid and more of an overarching theme of arrogance to a stupid extent. The latter is believable (as if we need reminding that this exists) and still drives the plot along.

The PG-13 rating should inform you on the gore level. Like usual, they find some creative ways to skirt the rules, which I find to be equally valid as meatgrinder type war movies.

John C. Reilly was easily the best part of the movie for me. I got many laughs out of him without it being over-the-top. The humor in the movie is not exclusive to his character though.

Between this and Power Ranger, maybe studios are finally starting to learn to put some effort into reboots.

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You know what sucked? The random inclusion of Jing Tian. Are they just trying to blatantly pander to the market in China like studios did in Transformers 4? She’s not quite as intrusive as the elements in Transformers, but she definitely hindered the film rather than help it.

Also, sorry Warner Bros. I still don’t really care about your monster universe.

USC Spring Game 2017

USC vs. USC vs. USC (USC Spring Game)
April 15, 2017 at 12:00pm
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum: (Attendance Not Announced)
Total Time: Approximately 1 hours 40 minutes

Renovations have already started at the Coliseum, as you can see from the picture above. Honestly, it looked like a dilapidated structure that you’d find in Pripyat or some other torn up place.

The Peristyle might actually look worse than this right now
(Photo credit: Timm Suess)

You know what you won’t find in Pripyat though? Great weather! I still got sunburned though…Between that and a condensed and non-game format, you don’t need to feel too bad if you missed it.

You know, maybe they didn’t want to keep score after tearing down a scoreboard.

Below are some observations…pretty much all from offense. Sorry if that offends the defensive-minded folks.

  • Sam Darnold still looks sharp on his passes. During drills, he managed to throw some perfect deep balls between the coverage
  • Jack Sears is deceptively fast and has the instincts to know when to slide on a scramble. I have gained more confidence in him as Darnold’s backup
  • Matt Fink improved a lot since last spring, but still throws late across the middle with regularity. Strangely enough, this issue seems to be less noticeable on left-breaking routes.
  • Tyler Vaughns was clearly favored receiver amongst the quarterbacks, but did not make the most out of his numerous targets. He also needs to tie his shoes.
  • Velus Jones broke off a 30+ yard run on a reverse
  • The redshirt freshman, Vavae Malepeai, looked excellent out there. He could find the holes to run through, good lateral speed and finished runs with force.
  • Ronald Jones caught some passes out of the backfield. That’s a good sign for his continued development.
  • Jake Olsen got to snap for a field goal.
  • Exiting seniors and juniors got their Rose Bowl rings.

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The spring poster for this season looks fairly generic compared to some previous ones.

Misleading Stat of the Week: Velus Jones had more yards in one play than Jack Searsdid from passing the entire ‘game.’

Power Rangers: A review

Power Rangers

Runtime: 2 hours 4 minutes
Budget: Estimated to be $100 million

The 90s nostalgia cash grab continues…except this isn’t just a cash grab. I mean, they don’t really do anything new or exciting with the story direction, but that doesn’t automatically make it an uninspired reboot. The film sticks to a simple tried-and-true method that you’ve come to expect from the TV show, but executes it well.

They utilize relative unknowns and put together a good movie on a modest budget. Certain parts felt like they might’ve cheaped out, but perhaps it was a stylistic choice.

While there were some…obvious changes to the source material, somehow they kept similar ratios for the cast like: 40% women, 20% black, 20% east Asian. Consider me impressed.

I’d summarize it as a funny, character-focused film that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The movie should be a worthwhile watch for those who liked the 90s TV show as a kid…or adult.

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Product placement is a different game these days. Personally, if all of them were inserted creatively, without interfering with the film, I wouldn’t mind.

Get Out: A review

Get Out

Runtime: 1 hour 43 minutes
Budget: Estimated to be $4.5 million

Usually, when I hear the words “get out” in that order, it’s because I just made a horrible joke or particularly juicy pun. When you hear the title as a line in the movie, it is neither of these cases, but it does make this is one of those movies where they say the title in their dialogue. I mean, sure, lots of movies like Logan or Suicide Squad do it because those are names, but it’s not cheating when it’s a phrase like this. Like, you wouldn’t hear someone say “No Country for Old Men” anywhere in that movie. “Get Out” might be cheating though since it’s two words. Good thing I’m not the court of movie titles. The craziest thing about all this is that there is a word in the English dictionary to describe this: “eponymous.” Don’t ask me to use it in a sentence.

Jordan Peele decided to break off from his usual comedy and make a horror movie. To my memory, they achieved this while being devoid of jump scares. It’s kind of a creepy mystery that gives you enough clues to put together the story.

As you might expect from Peele’s work, the film weaves witty humor throughout the movie—all without losing the momentum of the plot.

Lots of horror movies start out decently before sputtering out during the finale. Get Out manages to avoid this by producing a satisfying ending sequence. When the credits roll, it really gives you a lot to think about back on when putting all the pieces into context. This was definitely one of the better horror movies I’ve seen.

I watched it a bit later in its theater run and expected a sparsely populated room. To my surprise, I got stuck in the front section due to the packed out theater.

CommBro Breaker

This movie is just TSA propaganda!!