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WE’VE MOVED! … and repurposed slightly!

Hello all!!! I know I haven’t been reviewing here much anymore, but I’ve been working on formatting and preparing a new site!

reviewsbykristen.wordpress.com

Here I won’t be handling music videos, I will review television shows and movies exclusively!

There is one change though from what you’re used to (other than me finally giving you pictures in reviews!!!): I won’t review entire series, I will review each individual season, since I kept seeing that some seasons are better or worse than others!

Another reason I made the new wordpress is because I intend to buy the domain name! 😀 but for now I wanted to let you all know how much I love each and every one of you who have spent so much time browsing this page and giving me nice comments! Please join me on the other page if you’d like to see more!

reviewsbykristen.wordpress.com!

And if you want to follow me on my other websites here are the addresses:

Twitter: @KrissyRem
Tumblr: pretendthisiswitty.tumblr.com/

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Dark Angel (Season 1)

Let’s be honest. I watched this show purely to see Jensen Ackles (who is in Season 2). But I only watched the first season and about half the second.

Plot: 4.5/5
It’s a pretty good plot. The story is about a woman named Max who, as a child, escaped from a government facility where she was created and raised as a super-soldier. Officially they are called “Transgenic” because of superior gene splicing involved in the creation of each child in her unit. Each child has the same genetic flaw though- a mistake in the wiring of their brain that gives them seizures if they don’t take certain medication. Max and all the children in her unit were separated and Max grew up in Seattle, trying in her spare time to find the others like her. She works for a delivery service and becomes involved with Logan, a genius who is stuck in a wheelchair after a shooting and fights to bring the government down.

The timeline is a bit strange. Supposedly the story takes place in the near future (like 10 years or so) after an EM pulse from an enemy country knocks out the computers in the US. The government then turns into some kind of dictatorship, though the political side isn’t really emphasized or shown.

Max is being hunted by the military leader who trained her in the first place. She, in turn, begins to find leads on other transgenics via Logan’s help. Each episode has it’s own specific story arc and little bits fit into the whole, so that’s just the overarching plot.

It’s decent in a sci-fy sense and it was quite unique in 2000 when it first aired.

Acting: 3/5
Jessica Alba has the lead as Max, with Michael Weatherly taking on the role of Logan. Weatherly does a pretty great job, but Alba is kind of the weak link. Her acting is a bit erratic, sometimes it’s quite stiff, other times it seems overly sympathetic.  A lot of that may have been the writing though.

The real points here are taken off for a lot of the guest stars and supporting actors. Not all are bad, some do a solid job, but others are shaky and give it almost a community theater feel.

Directing: 5/5
This director takes the invisible stance here. Attention isn’t drawn towards it in any positive or negative way, so I don’t have anything real to say here.

Other Things
Max’s character can best be described as an ultra-pro feminist. She’s also pretty sassy, so a lot of the times she comes off as being very girl-power. It’s not a huge deal, just sometimes the writers throw in awkward lines that fall flat and, after a while, just begin to annoy.

This show is decent, it’s engaging and all, it just doesn’t hold strong in your memory. You’re paying strong attention while you’re watching, you just don’t have a strong motivator to show for the next.

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Ten Inch Hero

I watched this because of Jensen Ackles’ name being in the cast list, not going to lie, but overall I think even though it wasn’t my kind of movie it was decent. With some rewrites to the script it would have been pretty good.

Plot: 2/5
The story is about a woman named Piper, who had a baby at 15, had to give her up for adoption, and now has moved to this small beach town. She was an art student and while reading an article about young promising artists she saw a little girl the right age to be her daughter, and the little she knew about her own child’s adoption fit.

She gets a job at this restaurant full of mis-fits. First is Tish, a beautiful young woman who takes a new man home every night using pick up lines then rates them the next day when she gets back to the shop. Jen is a quiet girl who has fallen in love with her online chat-room boyfriend. Trucker, the owner, is a hippie in love with the woman across the street. Finally there is Priestly, a guy who prides himself in not being normal. He dyes his hair (almost a new color every time you see him) is covered in tattoos and piercings, but is nice and relatively soft spoken.

The story follows Piper as she gets closer and closer to the little girl who may be hers, and as she falls in love with Noah, the girl’s father.

I docked points not for the overarching plotline, because I think it’s pulled off pretty well. It’s a simple plot, and maybe even overused, but for once I actually sat through a whole movie, and I enjoyed it, so it’s good in that respect. The ending is just too… IDK- all the characters individual stories reach their climax at the same time, then they each resolve themselves with a neat little bow and no real drama. It kind of fizzes out. Jen and Princely’s storylines are decent, but mainly Trucker’s and Piper’s are disappointing. It feels like the writer wanted to tell this whole beautiful tale then went “Oh shit! We’d better wrap it up!”

Acting: 7/5
This, I think, is what makes the movie, far more than the writing. Jensen Ackles (Princely) is HILARIOUS. He plays a very different character from “Supernatural” (which people may recognize him from). Danneel Harris (Tish) is also great. Her character is kind of flat personality wise, but when more serious scenes come up she doesn’t turn all awkward like most actors, so she gets points for that.

Elisabeth Harnois (Piper) I’ve seen in a few things before, and she’s great. Even though she’s kind of played up as the lead of the movie Piper really only shines in scenes involving her own personal story, otherwise she kind of sticks to the back and lets the others go, which is why I think she shouldn’t be considered the lead. Really as I think back I think the story is mostly carried by a combination of Harnois, Harris and Ackles.

Directing: 3/5
I can’t quite tell what kind of director this is. He definitely goes for a more quiet and natural approach with cameras. Nothing fancy, no special shots that make the movie. His style is kind of basic and blunt. It feels like a film student fresh out of the gate, very safe and cautious, but I checked the director’s bio and he’s been working since ’91, granted with only a handful of films, but still.

Other Things

Can I just say I love what the costume/makeup people did to Ackles (Priestly)??? I love all the shirts!

The movie is rated “R”, but if the director had done it right and the writer tweaked some stuff it could have been PG-13. The “R” rating, as best I can tell, comes from a few sex scenes (2 come to mind) and at the end there is some nudity (you don’t see anything there though). If they’d made the sex scenes a bit less revealing then I’m sure it would have gotten a lighter rating.

Fun bit of trivia- you can tell early on that Priestly (Jensen Ackles) is in love with Tish (Danneel Harris). And guess what? It’s a basic romance movie, so you know he gets the girl. The fun trivia is that Danneel Harris is now Danneel Ackles-  she and Jensen Ackles were married last year. I guess that counts as a happy ending for their characters too!

Like I said- it could be a phenomenal movie if the writer was just a bit more careful. The ending is a whole lot of “Well that was lucky”, deus ex machina style (a term meaning something comes in and fixes everything so it’s all neat and shiny). Actually it’s more like several deus ex machina.

I’m hitting wikipedia as soon as I publish this. I honestly can’t for the life of me figure out where the hell the title comes from. Only one character says anything about ten inch anything and he’s most certainly not a hero. He’s a complete and utter creep and jerk…

And for those of you who watch it- the tampon scene (you’ll know it when you see it) just about killed me. I had to pause the video I was laughing/crying so hard.

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Delgo

I’m actually NOT going to do a typical review for “Delgo”. I had to watch it for a paper for my Honors Media Psychology course, so I’ll give you the review I wrote. Here’s the thing though- the assignment was to watch a HOLLYWOOD FLOP (so you *know* it’s great -_-) and then explain why it flopped. My official paper title was “Delgo: An Insult to Cinema”, but the save title was “Why Delgo Sucked Ass”, so you can guess my feelings about the movie pretty easily…

Delgo: An Insult to Cinema

 

For a movie to appeal to a wide audience it must have a clearly constructed plot, believable settings and characters, and aesthetic value. If one area is lacking then the others must attempt to compensate. Once the average viewer becomes aware of any problems the film is in danger. The star-studded 2008 animated feature Delgo went for an approach similar to that seen in The Producers: take the worst of everything and it will equal a resounding success. Unfortunately for Delgo it fell short of even that goal and became one of the top Hollywood flops. Issues with plot structure, character development and technical difficulties drew unwanted attention to the film and impacted it negatively.

A casual viewer will first be turned away by the plotline. It is basically a mash-up of Shakespeare’s  Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet as well as Disney’s The Lion King. The evil sister of a powerful King pours poison into the ear of the Queen and attempts to steal her brother’s throne after being humiliated and punished for starting a war between the Nohrin people and the Lockni. She is caught and forced into exile. Many years later a Lockni boy (and adopted son of the Head Elder of his people) falls in love with the Princess of the winged Nohrin. A sympathizer to the exiled royal kidnaps the girl and blames her disappearance on the Lockni boy, setting both sides up for war. The King’s sister sees this as an opportunity for revenge and a way to weaken his army and attack with a monstrous force of her own, naming herself Empress. Naturally the story’s hero stops her and gets the girl, securing peace between their people.

While the story was written to entertain a young audience there must also be elements within a story to grab the attention of older viewers, the ones who are actually paying to go see such a film. If the plot is overly simplistic then it is crucial that the writing be sufficient to create an engaging story that crosses generational boundaries. Delgo did not succeed. At best the setup for the story is vague. In one burst the entire back-story is given: the evil Sedessa starting a war, killing the Queen, and being exiled. It is very much oriented to show the Nohrin people, though the main lead of the movie, Delgo, is Lockni, so much of the movie is seen from their perspective. It is comparable to watching a historical piece on Germanic tribes before viewing the movie Gladiator, which is about ancient Rome primarily. With the Lockni people carrying much of the weight of the film it is ill-advised to orient the flashback around the Nohrins. This created an unlevel field upon which to tell the tale.

Disjointed settings also made the plot difficult to follow. The viewer is shown early on three distinct areas: the Lockni town, Nohrin city, and Sedessa’s base in exile. However, no clear shots exist to reference the three in relation to one another. We know the Nohrin city is somewhere behind the Lockni town, but in some shots it appears to be on the top of a mountain and in others it floats in the sky. Sedessa’s home is initially seen as the top of a cliff, but later becomes a floating palace without any clear distinction within the story to say if she built it, found it, or any other helpful leads. Within each setting are important locations: the Lockni village holds the sanctuary that serves as home-base for the Stone Sages, a governing council. Also repeatedly shown is Delgo’s own house. For all the attention the story gives to these settings, however, they could be hundreds of miles apart in any direction. Characters jump from one location to another without any tracking to give the viewer bearings. Lack of transition within the setting also makes it more difficult to follow the story. Viewers are never shown where buildings are in relation to one another, so they are forced to accept each scene almost as a separate act entirely. Characters have to say where they are and the audience is given free reign to try and figure out where the setting exists within the three distinct zones. It leaves one feeling that they missed an important piece of explanation, or that the writer assumes the viewer knows the layout automatically.

Assumptions made by the writers and director in terms of setting locations also carries over into the various fantastical creatures in this other world. Multiple times a creature is referenced in passing or directly and then forgotten, never to be seen again. Many monsters appear, are named, and then disappear and have no further bearing on the story. Overall it feels like a very disjointed and incomplete Dr. Seuss story.  And this is not limited to monsters; it applies to characters as well. A great example is the character of Filo, friend to Delgo. He appears often in the movie, but not once does he give the viewer any reason as to why he even exists. The character complains loudly and talks over more key characters, somehow causes a disruption that is harmful to the intentions of the others, and has no apparent redeeming value. Such characters litter multiple scenes, some never even named, and removing them would go a long way towards cleaning up the story. These undefined characters such as Filo distract from the storyline, crowd the frames, and prevent the viewer from being able to peacefully follow the story.

Another issue with over-casting the film is that there is not enough time within which to create a sense of relation between the viewer and the story. By the end of Delgo you only just start to see why the characters may be important and to become emotionally invested in them. The character development is shallow and insufficient. Delgo and Princess Kyla are meant to be romantic leads, but instead they feel like strangers. Attempts at development are made multiple times, but are sudden and blunt, such as the attempt at Delgo. We see him arguing with his teacher about the importance of patience and learning to use his magical stone-moving powers, after an attack on the Stone Sage training center he decides such an ability is useless, then suddenly he is with the Princess and is using different techniques to masterfully move the stones and show off his powers. It makes the characters feel bipolar and unconnected between scenes, let alone with one another throughout the whole movie.

On the technical side of things you see, as with many animated films, an all star cast boasting such B and C-List celebrities as Freddie Prinze Jr., Chris Kattan, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Eric Idle, among many others. While having a big-name cast may draw in the older audiences a much better move would have been to cast people who would fit better with the characters. The artists and casting directors appear to never have met, as the voices and faces do not match sufficiently. Even in animated features there is a mental link made between voices and faces- if James Earl Jones had played Simba in The Lion King, for example, it would not have matched as well as Matthew Broderick did. Many Lockni have deeper voices while the Nohrin are of a higher register. Despite this there are multiple minor characters on each side who belong to the other end of the range. Filo, for example, has a high voice and an over exaggerated accent and tone, which fit better with the army of Sedessa. Delgo possesses a higher voice and Bogardus, a Nohrin general, has a deep voice that would sync well with the Lockni people. The disjointed vocals, combined with a disjointed setting and disjointed characters, distract the audience.

Finally, and perhaps the key to the films failure, is the animation style. Characters costumes, hair, and physical features are very simple. Settings are basic and without extra detail. The lighting is bright and clear, even in Sedessa’s fortress, the Lockni village, or Nohrin palaces. A lighter tone and basic designs give off the sense that this movie is for younger audiences, and indeed it carries the PG rating to support this. Within the plot, however, are issues that most parents would find inappropriate for a young age rang: scenes of Sedessa bound to a post and having her wings amputated, later on the Princess Kyla is similarly bound about to have hers removed as well, by a seemingly insane “doctor” with a rusty saw. Elements similar to this are grossly inappropriate with a story that seems to aim to work with viewers around the average age of 5 or 6. The plot elements speak of an older audience, around the age of ten, but the graphics and animation point to an audience in a totally different demographic. Instead of appealing to a wide range of children this would instead alienate both groups.

Delgo does a great job of showing how not to make a movie. The writing is disjointed, settings and time frames are unclear, characters have far flung personalities that differ scene to scene, voices do not match the faces, and there is no clear demographic for the film. The movie The Producers implies that if you combine the worst of everything you will end up with a hit, and Delgo’s writers and director seem to have forgotten a distinction between that message and reality. Multiple issues across various elements of the film hold the viewer back from immersing themselves in a new world with new characters. After watching the movie from a critical position it only seems surprising that the movie was released in the first place. The fact that it was officially labeled a “Flop” is hardly surprising.

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Supernatural- Seasons 4-6

I know I already reviewed the first part of the show, but now I’m going to finish it out ^^

Plot: 5/5
About halfway through series 4 it begins to become less of a show where you do not have to watch in order and more of a story based theme. Each season had it’s own overarching plot, with the Winchester brothers fighting some evil thing or another. Here is the breakdown season to season, if you don’t worry about spoilers.

Season 1: The Winchester brothers hunt for their missing father and on the way fight ghosts, demons and monsters. They are also seeking out the demon who killed their mother.

Season 2: Sam and Dean’s father gives his life to bring Dean back from the brink of death. Now Sam and Dean must hunt down the yellow eyed demon to avenge their mother and father. Sam fears his growing powers as some kind of connection to the demon who fed him blood as a baby and wishes only to prove he is not going to become evil.

Season 3: Dean trades his soul for Sam’s life and is given one year to live before he is dragged down into hell. Dean is glad to finally be at the end of his line, but he is pulled along by Sam to try to break the deal and find out who the demon is that holds his contract.

Season 4: Dean is back from Hell suddenly and without explanation. While he was gone for only 4 months the time span in hell equals 40 years of violent and horrific tortures. He tries to forget, but Sam wants to know. Meanwhile Sam has a secret relationship with Ruby, the demon who appears to be their new ally. Dean also meets Castiel, the angel who pulled him out of hell. The brothers try to stop Lilith, the first demon, who is trying to break the seals and set Lucifer free.

Season 5: Sam, intoxicated on the demon blood, accidentally breaks Lucifer from his cage, walking into a trap Ruby set for him. He tries to make amends while the brothers avoid demons and angels who wish them to allow the archangel Michael to possess Dean and Lucifer to possess Sam in order to bring the apocalypse into full swing.

Season 6: Dean’s been living a normal life for a year- a beautiful girlfriend and her son who he loves. But suddenly Sam reappears, not trapped in Lucifer’s cage after all. One trick though- his soul is still trapped and is being tortured. Dean gets it back into his body, but a barrier has been put up between the memories of hell that will kill him. On top of all this is Castiel, leading the angels in civil war, and Crowley, the new King of Hell who seems to be looking for a gateway to Purgatory and the souls locked inside.

Acting: 6/5
The latter half of the series shows a huge improvement in the acting. The Winchesters look less pretty-boy and a bit more rugged. Sam is less puppy dog and a bit tougher. More and more we see the comedic side of the Winchesters, especially in Series 6. We also see more of Bobby, the Brother’s father-figure and the guy they go to for help.

Directing: NA
Episodes are directed by a range of people, and one episode in Season 6 is directed by series star Jensen Ackles himself. There is no instance where it stands out that the directing is bad, so I’d say overall it’s pretty consistently great.

Other Things

Watch. This. Show.

Especially the Season 6 episode “The French Mistake”, in which Sam and Dean are thrown into an alternate reality where their names are Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, and they are actors on the TV show “Supernatural”. The whole show makes fun of the two, and Jared Padalecki even told the writers if they were making a parody of their real life they should poke as much fun at him as possible. And they do.

 

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Supernatural (Seasons 1-4)

I started watching this show because my followers on tumblr are huge fans of it and I was always seeing these funny GIFs (moving pictures), so I gave it a shot.

Plot: 7/5
The show is about two brothers who hunt demons/ghosts/monsters. Basically it all started when the youngest brother, Sam, was a baby. His mother was killed by a demon and his father became obsessed with hunting down anything evil and supernatural he could and killing it. He brought his sons along and trained them to hunt demons as well. Sam left the family and became estranged when he went to Stanford to become a tax lawyer (thrills~). One day, out of the blue, Dean (his older brother) shows up at the apartment Sam shares with his girlfriend (who knows nothing of hunting) and tells him he needs his help, their father is missing while going hunting (what they call going to track down ghosts and such). He reluctantly agrees to help, and the duo defeats a ghost, but their father has already left the down. He claims to be on the track of the demon who killed their mother, but he wants Sam and Dean to hunt down anything evil and supernatural on their own. Sam returns home angrily, refusing to take part, but finds his girlfriend killed the exact same way as his mother.

The series has a different overarching theme for each season, Season 1 is based around the hunt for their father and the yellow-eyed demon who killed their mother. Season 2 also deals with the yellow eyed demon, but it is more of a setup for Season 3 & 4.

It gets high marks in the plot department because each episode is like watching a short horror movie. They are not outright terrifying, in my opinion they start off scary and by the end aren’t as creepy. The ghosts pop up out of nowhere, but they aren’t made to look too over the top horrible. Some of the ghosts are creative killers, but it isn’t overly graphic. It’s creepy or scary without being so over the top as to lose casual thriller movie viewers.

Acting: 4/5
Season 1 is a little rough on the part of Sam, in my opinion. Jared Padalecki (Sam Winchester) is a good actor, it’s just his character is kind of overly moody and is definitely supposed to be the brooding moody one. Around season 2 he starts to turn it around and by season 3 & 4 he’s a lot tougher and more fun overall. Jensen Ackles (Dean Winchester) is absolutely hilarious. He is supposed to be the “good” brother, the one who stuck by their dad and actually came to love hunting demons. He’s the toughie, guns, beer, and porn, though none of them are overdone (Don’t worry, it’s a clean show).  I watch the show mostly to see him, though the relationship between the two “brothers” is brilliant. As the show progresses they get a bit more snippy, which I really enjoy. The two leads are also supposed to be pranksters and best friends on set, which I think shows in their characters, there is a genuine bromance ^^

Directing: 5/5
I don’t like judging the directing of a TV show because most of the time there are multiple directors. I will address the overall filming style though. It’s pretty consistent, but in Seasons 1 and 2 the colors are washed out a lot more. It is almost like a thin layer of black and white was placed on top of things. The guys are vampire-pale and the blacks pop a lot more. Seasons 3 & 4 have more color, and Season 2 makes the swing from the overly light format to more “normal” filming colors.

Other Things

I’m not a huge fan of scary stuff, but I really like this show. Most of the time I look at the ghosts through my fingers, not gonna lie, I’m 20 and I still do that, but I really like the show. It’s heading into it’s 7th season, and I look forward to seeing how the rest of season 4 through season 6 develop!

Here is a clip from the show (a behind the scenes) and a trailer for season 1! I highly recommend watching the first three episodes to get a feel for it and see what you think!

Season 1 Trailer

Funny clip (Dean Winchester/ Jensen Ackles)

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Rise of the Planet of the Apes

I just went to see this today (purely because Tom Felton (Malfoy) is in it), so I thought I’d weight in, since it was hard for me to find someone who had seen the movie and wrote a clear opinion on it.

Plot: 3/5
Honestly it wasn’t really as-advertised. The impression I got from the trailer was that this is it- this is when we see how humans went nuts and killed each other and how monkeys gained the intelligence, speech, and took over. I thought by the end of it you could go into “Planet of the Apes” knowing exactly what happened. But that’s not how this movie works.

The focus of the movie is almost entirely on how apes gained their advanced intelligence and how they got organized. It does not explain how they took over and it doesn’t show how humans fell, though if you stick around after the end of the film it kind of hints at the full story. It feels like all that was added almost as an afterthought and is not a feature of the movie. So I’d say the movie is just about the chimps and their increase in IQ. Or rather one chimp, Caesar, and the creator of the neuro-virus that is meant to help with Alzheimer’s and autism, but makes the chips brains develop faster.

Acting: 4/5
There are some kind of cliche performances from the supporting cast, but overall I think it’s OK. Tom Felton plays a kind of bad guy (more like a jerk) who is supposed to take care of the apes in a shelter but bullies them instead. He seems suited to the baddie roll, though I was hoping to see him more as a kind of side kick to the main guy.

There is really nothing special to say about the acting. It’s not bad, but it’s not award winning. Of course, the movie is mainly carried by Caesar the ape, and there is actually not much dialogue, so it’s harder to rate the acting on a digital monkey…

Directing: 5/5
The director definitely took advantage of the San Francisco setting with tons of city shots and several scenes in the redwood forests. It’s steady cam mostly from what I noticed, not a lot of jumping around. There also aren’t many sudden jump-out-at-you shots, which I appreciate. There is a scene of some overly graphic violence, but considering how movies these days are going that’s nothing.

Other Things

It’s hard to write a long review for this movie without giving much away. In the end I think everything was just… meh. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t “See it 5 times” good in my book. It’s something to see if you’re a fan of the original series. I’d wait until it came out on TV to see it.

There are 3 big throw-backs to the original “Planet of the Apes” (the original-original, not the re-make). The first is a news story about the crew of a space mission to Mars. It includes some rendered shots of the beginning of the original movie. Later on Tom Felton’s friend is lying on the couch watching a movie and, if I’m not mistaken, that was also some footage from the original movie. Finally, without giving too much away, when Caesar grabs Tom Felton’s arm he says “Take your hands off me, you damn dirty ape”, which is the iconic line from when Heston’s character suddenly yelled out in the original movie, proving he can in fact speak.

I really think the director shot himself in the foot here. He spends tons of time explaining how the apes got the intelligence we see them with in “Planet of the Apes”. If he was going to do that he shouldn’t have added the bit in the end which gives a hint at how humans lost control and died out mostly. It could have been split as two movies, but now it just feels sloppy, like he spent all this time with the very first chapter then tried to jam the rest of the story into a small span (namely 2 minutes or so).

I was surprised to see among the actors David Hewlett (Stargate Atlantis’ Dr. McKay), who has a role of a neighbor. You don’t see him too often, but it was nice to see him all the same ^^

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