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Spiderman Homecoming – Movie Review

With the jovial nature and made-for-general-audience style marketing campaign, I was a little wary of seeing this film. The last few Spiderman films definitely left something to be desired.

So, that being said I was more than a little nervous.

Even though this was meant to be the sixth film in the run, it felt like a ‘new’ Spiderman. With Marvel in charge, it had all the quick wit and one-liners a person comes to expect from something in the Avenger’s universe.

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At first, when I saw the Captain America thing I got a little annoyed but after a few times of the ‘gym/detention’ style videos (and the gym teacher muttering that Cap. was wanted for treason) I was seriously cracking up.

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Let me just say that what hooked me the most, was Holland.  His infectious curiosity and arrogant behavior was like something straight out of the comic books. The awkward teen high school experience, the very real take on what life would be like for someone that was 15 and a super hero─ This was the Peter Parker that I was ready to see!

I hate admitting this out loud, but the kid really had me rooting for him. I felt his struggle, and really related to how much he wanted to prove himself to Tony Stark.

This scene, by the way, was everything.

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And what’s more, his plucky ‘sidekick’ was amazing. It was exactly how I would have behaved in high school, asking a million questions and being star struck that my best friend was the amazing Spiderman.

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Pair that with his impeccable timing to call when Peter is in the worst situation possible. And his super-cute infatuation with Aunt May, played by the lovely Marisa Tomei, was some teen level adorableness.

Keaton played the Vulture (Adrian Toomes) and though the whole father-daughter shtick routine is well played out, it was a nice twist to find out about his family secret. Keaton really plays the bad guy you love to hate well. But by the end of the film, you hold something else entirely for him─

Respect.

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While Laura Harrier (Liz) played the love interest of Peter Parker, I did find her character to be a little one-note, a Mary Sue, if you will. To her credit, it was probably the writers and director’s doing─ but I found myself entirely disinterested in her character entirely. We really didn’t find out much about her─ other than she was hot, had money, and liked to be involved in school stuff. *snoozefest*

Who was a female character I loved? The oh-so-quirky Michelle (Zendaya) had me cracking up a few times. Any girl that can own her faults, stand up for her beliefs, and still manage to crack me up wins in my book. Zendaya is brilliant! I was impressed.

Now if only I can tell if she’s crushing on Peter…or if she is just suspicious of his many disappearances…hmm…

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Homecoming was everything you would suspect, with a few surprises and tricks up its sleeve. I was pleasantly surprised by this movie and will say that I give it a great big 8/10. This was perfect for the audience it was meant to capture and family friendly without being overtly so. Plenty of adult humor to go around. 😉

Make sure you stay to watch the Captain America skit at the end. I pretty much giggled like a little girl at Evans.

 

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Kimi no wa Movie Review – A Stunning Visual Masterpiece

Kimi no wa releases in the US this April 7th and it is every bit as amazing as everyone has lead on.

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Makoto Shinkai has yet again created a beautiful visual masterpiece. If his name sounds familiar, you may know him as the creator of Voices of a Distant Star or She and Her Cat or more recently in 2011 Children Who Chase Lost Voices

 

 

It is my firm belief that anyone can relate to and enjoy this movie, no matter if you are an anime or film fan. I was lucky enough to get a pre-screening and decided to share my experience with all of you.

The story follows the life two young people living in Japan:

Mitsuha from the fictional Japanese countryside town of Itomori.

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And Taki from the large city of Tokyo.

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It begins somewhat confusing as you slowly become aware that Mitsuha and Taki have switched lives. The interesting part of the story, was that it didn’t happen every day─ but rather, every so many days. You get to ride along with each individual as they experience the delicate intricacies of each other’s life.

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At first, they both lay out certain (and most definitely hilarious) rules for each other.

(I don’t care who you are, you will lose your shit at these scenes.)

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What starts as both people feeling a sort of general annoyance at this life change, gradually turns into an appreciation for each other, and respect for one another’s lives

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Until one day, Taki stops receiving messages from Mitsuha and begins to only wake to his normal, every day life.

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Time passes and Taki decides to take a train to the town to discover why Mitsuha has stopped being such an important element in his life.

What he finds, will simply floor you.

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Enter the life of Mitsuha and everything that happened within the lost time.

 

Eventually the two find one another again,  working together to prevent one of the biggest tragedies Japan has seen in a long time.

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It is as eloquent as it is brilliant─ written to pull the heart strings as much as provide you with a hearty laugh. It is one of those films that literally takes you on an emotional roller coaster.

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It’s a story of tolerance, acceptance, and walking in someone else’s shoes. It will sweep you into its magic and make you really feel as if you are part of something larger than yourself.

It’s a story of fate.

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Do yourself a favor─ Grab a box of tissues, go with your dearest pals or family and experience this amazing film together. I promise you will love it.

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I give it a huge 5 out of 5 possible stars.

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Here are the official trailers, please enjoy!

Official Trailer

English Version Trailer

What’s next?

2/12 Valentine’s Day Japanese Cake Recipe Blog – How to make one for your sweetie in the US. If you don’t understand the difference in Valentine’s Day in Japan and White Day, here’s a little info over both.

Info here:  Valentine’s Day and White Day in Japan – The difference

2/14 Come visit my podcast/audio book page here: https://arisevalhalla.org/podcasts/ for thrills and chills this Valentine’s Day as I talk about internet urban legends Kisaragi Station, Slenderman, and The NoEnd House.

 

 

Horror has a Bad Rep – Is that Merited?

From the sub-genre, to main genre, horror has had some pretty great times─

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To downright deplorable moments.

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But if you look at the genre all together, it really does have a bad reputation. Why is that, and is it merited?

The answer is more complex than you think. My personal favorite are thrillers and shows with thriller/horror like elements. For example, in shows such as Westworld, The Walking Dead, or Game of Thrones, the horror elements are fleshed out─ they’re balanced. But notice how I said that. Elements. The average person does not like to constantly be underestimated with cheap thrills, or jump scares. We like depth, we like just the right amount of complexity without over-thinking the scene.

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The director and casting director have a tough job. They have to not only convey the entire story within a reasonable amount of time, they have to embody the feeling through a combination of images, background, and good actors. This is a huge over-simplification of the process, but bare with me.

The main reason for disdain with the genre is the director’s focus. Much like the adult industry, horror gets caught up in ‘the money shot’ if you will and wants to creep-out or scare the audience as much as possible. But there is a huge piece of the picture they aren’t seeming to get.

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Horror fans are changing. We don’t want two dimensional characters as cliche as something you’d see on the CW. (and in my defense, I liked Supernatural so keep your pitchforks at bay.) What does better, time and time again are shows with elements of creepy/unknown because it’s alluring. No one wants to see the whole thing at once. And the whole ‘bad guy coming to get you’ is just over-done. Found footage? C’mon, that died years ago. The problem, I find, is that the whole industry is just outdated.

We live in the information age. If I can pick apart every issue and guess the film’s ending in the first 10-15 minutes of it, there’s a problem. Not everyone has to have that surprise element, or a twist. You don’t have to have a boogie man that just won’t die. Don’t make flimsy characters whose sole purpose is to die. I can’t tell you how frustrated I get with weak/pathetic characters that just stumble around and cry.

“Nope! I’m gonna die. Guess I’ll just walk down this road in a straight path and bawl my pretty eyes out. That’ll work.”

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Build an atmosphere. Make competent characters that try their hardest and still fail. The Green Room actually came pretty damn close to this, and I enjoyed it. The people weren’t helpless, it felt real. Like it genuinely could happen.

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Nightcrawler? One of my all-time favs to date. But, I am admittedly a little biased since I love Jake Gyllenhaal. If you haven’t seen this, do yourself a favor─ watch it, like, yesterday.

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But what do I know? That’s just my two cents.

 

What are some of your favorite horror films? Comment, share! 

 

The Most Influential Comic Creators of all-time. Episode 1 – Frank Miller

This is going to be episode 1 of a mini-series I’m wanting to cover. Of course, the main comic creator I had to add first was Frank Miller. Why? I admire the hell out of the man. His style captures both main stream and comic audiences. And he has that sort of, ‘no fuss’ attitude I so love.

 

 

In a recent interview Miller says just that. They ask him if Marvel should pay him for creating Elektra, to which he responds:

“I’m not running for president. I don’t want to be one of those cranky old guys grinding an ax, wishing I got paid better. I’ve done my best to pave the way for artists in the future to be treated better than I have. And that’s all I can do. Beyond that, I’d be pissing and moaning about things I have no control over. I’ve signed every contract that I’ve signed and agreed to the working conditions that I’ve worked in. And I’m not going to whine about this. I make a good living.”

Why else? Miller is soft spoken, but extremely intense. Which are two combinations, I can completely relate to. Being a fairly intense person myself, I can understand the need to really work hard on something that you love. My stories are no different. You have to know the balance between your own bias, and what the public will want to read. Sometimes, it gets rough. But Miller has proven that you can walk that balance by putting your own style and touch to something others can relate to.

To date, I’ve yet to find a Batman that really speaks to me like Frank Miller’s version. He’s real, he’s raw and gritty─ and he cares. Though it has it’s interesting moments, the earlier versions of a more jovial Batman from the 1940s-1970’s just never spoke to me. He [Bruce Wayne] had been through a lot, and watched it all. This would profoundly affect a person and how they behave. Having been through many tragedies of my own in life, I can testify that you can go one way or the other with all the bad things that happen that you can’t control.

In the recent interview in March, just before the release of Batman vs. Superman on the 25th, Miller spoke about how he drew from the Dark Knight returns and what inspired him with the original gritty character. He explained that he knew what it was like, losing control and being mugged─ having a gun waved in his face. He had been involved in a few muggings in Manhattan. It made him angry, and that anger transferred to the Dark Knight.

One of my favorite quotes, was one in Holy Terror, Batman! that sounds suspiciously like Miller’s inner monologue:

“All my life there’s been something wrong. Something missing. A sense that everything I’m seeing all around me isn’t entirely true. That this seemingly ordered world of laws and logic and reason is nothing but a shroud, a chimera. A mask. But every once in a long while, the mask falls away. Every once in a long while, the whole world makes perfect sense. The world reveals itself. I am at peace. And at war.”

Like this? Stay tuned for my next show covering Manga creator and horror grand-master, Junji Ito. His haunting imagery and wickedly crafted tales will keep you awake for hours.

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