Release Date: May 1st, 2000 (Los Angeles premiere) Directed by: Ridely Scott Written by: David Franzoni, John Logan, William Nicholson Music by: Hans Zimmer, Lisa Gerrard Cast: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed, Derek Jacobi, Djimon Hounsou, Richard Harris, Tommy Flanagan, Ralf Moller, Omid Djalili
Scott Free Productions, Dreamworks Pictures, Universal Pictures, 155 Minutes
“[removes helmet and turns around to face Commodus] My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions and loyal servant to the TRUE emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next. [Commodus trembles in disbelief]” – Maximus
I’m pretty disappointed in myself for having not seen this movie in twenty years. I saw it in the theater, when it came out, and I also saw it on DVD when that was first released. While I’ve seen segments of it, over the years, it’s been two decades since I’ve watched the film in its entirety. Granted, I can’t believe that this movie is now that old. In my mind, it still feels fairly recent but we’ve already passed the 20th anniversaries for the Harry Potter movies and Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.
As I write this, it also looks like it will be my final review on Talking Pulp, as I am now forced to use the Block Editor, which I loathe because it functions like a fucking redacted.
Any-fucking-way, this movie is a masterpiece. It’s pretty damn perfect.
It’s well acted, well directed, has wonderful cinematography, solid action, a story that hits any real man’s man in the gut and it’s meticulously crafted and superbly paced, even though it’s closer to three hours than two.
You’ve probably already seen this. You probably already love it. If you haven’t seen it, why? Get on it!
While I’d like to say a lot more about the film, I can’t stand using this fucking editor so I’m going to sign off.
Release Date: July 29th, 2021 (Switzerland, Germany, Israel) Directed by: David Lowery Written by: David Lowery Based on:Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by anonymous Music by: Daniel Hart Cast: Dev Patel, Ralph Ineson, Alicia Vikander, Joel Edgerton, Sarita Choudhury, Sean Harris, Erin Kellyman, Patrick Duffy (voice)
Sailor Bear, BRON Studios, A24, 130 Minutes
“[as the Queen’s voice overlaps with the Green Knight’s while she reads his letter] Oh, greatest of kings, indulge me in this friendly Christmas game. Let whichever of your knights is boldest of blood and wildest of hearts step forth, take up arms and try with honor to land a blow against me. Whomsoever nicks me shall lay claim to this my arm. Its glory and riches shall be thine. But… thy champ must bind himself to this: should he land a blow, then one year and Yuletide hence, he must seek me out yonder to the Green Chapel six nights to the north. He shall find me there and bend a knee and let me strike him in return, be it a scratch on the cheek or a cut in the throat. I will return what was given me, and then in trust and friendship, we shall part. Who, then, who is willing to engage with me?” – Green Knight; Queen
I went into this without expectation and that’s probably the best way to see this.
This is a live-action adaptation of the 14th century poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. It’s a story I always enjoyed, which I first discovered when I read J.R.R. Tolkien’s translation of it. There are other translations but it was the Tolkien one that I first discovered and experienced and it’s probably the only version I’ll ever revisit, unless someone can sell me on another one.
This is also the first adaptation of the poem in decades, at least that I am aware of. I saw the one with Sean Connery, years ago, and thought it was pretty weak. This version, was far superior to that one and what I just experienced is one of the best traditional fantasy motion pictures that I’ve seen in quite some time.
Dev Patel plays Sir Gawain and I thought he was fantastic. He’s also one hell of a strikingly good looking man. With that, he has the sort of regal and manly visage that made him look like he belonged at the table with King Arthur. In the story, he even gets to wield Excalibur for his first confrontation with the mythic Green Knight.
Patel truly carries this film on his back. Granted, he is backed up by a pretty talented cast. I especially liked Sean Harris as Arthur.
The film is very melodic and dreamlike. I wouldn’t say that it moves slow, it just enchants you, puts you in a strange trance and then pulls you along on this adventure. It works well and I liked the somewhat relaxed pacing, as you kind of need to marinate in the different sequences and take in the dialogue, the emotion and also the visually captivating cinematography.
The Green Knight feels otherworldly but it also feels familiar. As for Arthurian legends, it feels truly authentic and frankly, it’s one of the best King Arthur-related movies that I’ve ever seen.
Also known as: Umi ga kikoeru (original Japanese title) Release Date: May 5th, 1993 (Japan – television) Directed by: Tomomi Mochizuki Written by: Kaori Nakamura Music by: Shigeru Nagata Cast: Nobuo Tobita, Toshihiko Seki, Yoko Sakamoto
Tokuma Shoten, Nippon Television Network, Studio Ghibli, 76 Minutes
This Studio Ghibli film reminded me a lot of Only Yesterday, which I stated in that review, was my least favorite Ghibli movie I had seen up to that point. I did like this one a hair bit better but it was also shorter and a bit better paced because of that.
This is a coming of age story about two male friends and how, as they get older, they find themselves in a love triangle.
Overall, it’s not really my cup of tea and even though I’m generally okay with slice of life stuff, this one doesn’t connect as well as Ghibli’s other pictures on an emotional level.
This is sort of dry but that doesn’t mean it’s bad and I can see the reasons why a lot of people actually like this one.
The characters are likable and their lives are fleshed out well, developing them into real characters with some depth.
I thought that the animation was good but it’s also less stylized than typical Ghibli pictures. That could also be because this was originally developed for television.
Overall, this was decent but it’s far from the Studio Ghibli movies that I hold in really high regard. Also, unlike those, I don’t know if I’d ever want to watch this one again.
Original Run: August 23rd, 2014 – December 25th, 2017 Created by: Sydney Newman, C. E. Webber, Donald Wilson Directed by: various Written by: various Music by: Murray Gold Cast: Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Alex Kingston, Pearl Mackie, Matt Lucas, Maisie Williams
BBC, 40 Episodes, 45-90 Minutes (per episode)
When Peter Capaldi was originally announced as the new Doctor on a television special, I was really optimistic and pretty damned pleased with the casting.
However, despite him being great and also being a pretty perfect Doctor, his material severely lacked when compared to what Matt Smith, David Tennant and Christopher Eccleston had to work with, before him.
Initially, I liked Clara a lot. However, she got terribly annoying by the end of her run as the Doctor’s companion. She started being a know-it-all and bossing the Doctor around, teaching him lessons. It got ridiculous and frankly, killed the show and everything that was once great about it. When she left after staying incredibly too long, I thought we’d get a cool, new companion.
In came Bill, a lesbian that you knew was a lesbian from the get go, that had to play up the lesbian thing so much, it’s all you really knew about her one note character. I thought that the actress, Pearl Mackie was okay, she was just given shit for material. I don’t care that she’s a lesbian and really, most people don’t. But when that is all your character is, you’re a shitty, basic character.
In the end, Bill actually got a compelling story but by then, it was too little, too late and she was gone.
There were also only a few really good episodes in this stretch. Most of them were either awful, boring or both. Usually, it was both.
You could tell that the budget was either cut or that the showrunners just didn’t want to put in much effort anymore, as many episodes were just characters trapped on a ship, or in a base or in some other basic facility with lots of hallways and control rooms of some sort.
There were some decent concepts and characters that popped in. I liked how the epic, long-running River Song story wrapped up. I also liked everything associated with Maisie Williams’ recurring character. However, these high spots were too far and few between and most of Capaldi’s run felt like monotonous filler.
However, things would only get exponentially worse once he left and we got the next Doctor.
Rating: 6/10 Pairs well with: The Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors’ runs.
Release Date:Part I: ….ber ..th, 2012; Part II: ….ber ..th, 2012; Part III: ….ber ..th, 2013 Directed by: Toshiyuki Kubooka Written by: Ichiro Okouchi Based on:Berserk by Kentaro Miura Music by: Shiro Sagisu, Susumu Hirasawa Cast: Hiroaki Iwanaga, Takahiro Sakurai, Toa Yukinari, Marc Diraison, Kevin T. Collins, Carrie Keranen
“Heed my words, Struggler. Soon a rain of blood, the likes of which you cannot imagine, shall fall down upon you. It will be a storm of death. But take heed, Struggler. Struggle, endure, contend. For that alone is the sword of one who defies death. Do not forget these words.” – Skull Knight
Since I watched the anime television series that served as a sequel to this first, I had a very different perspective going into this trilogy of anime films.
Being that I knew where these characters would end up, actually made me a lot more interested in how they got there, which is a place very far from where they start at the beginning of the first movie in this trilogy.
I also now have all the context regarding the three main characters in these films and it’s made me want to go back and watch the anime series again, as I think it’ll have even more of an impact.
I guess whatever order you watch these in is up to you and you probably should watch the animated Berserk material in order. If you’d prefer to do it that way, you should start with the original animated series from the late ’90s, which I actually haven’t seen yet. But I’m going to watch it in the next week or two, coming off of the high of this.
As far as these three films go, they’re pretty fucking exceptional.
The story and the relationships of the three main characters is what made this so great. A lot happens in these three films and by the end of them, you’re left exhausted and emotionally overloaded. And to be honest, I didn’t expect this to end with such an emotional punch to the gut.
It’s fucked up, tragic and you find yourself pretty fucking angry over what a particular character ends up doing to those you assumed he loved. Especially, after everything they went through together over a pretty long passage of time.
The animation is also pretty damn stellar. Overall, this looks better than the show that followed it.
As these three films rolled on, I wasn’t sure how all of this would pan out and whether or not there’d be a grand, worthwhile payoff. This exceeded any expectations I could have had for it and from my perspective, I’d call the entire body of work a masterpiece.
Also known as: Masked Rider: The Next (alternative English title) Release Date: October 27th, 2007 Directed by: Ryuta Tasaki Written by: Toshiki Inoue Based on:Kamen Rider and Kamen Rider V3 by Shotaro Ishinomori Music by: Goro Yasukawa Cast: Masaya Kikawada, Hassei Takano, Kazuki Kato, Miku Ishida, Erika Mori, Tomorowo Taguchi, Goro Naya
Toei, 93 Minutes
As I stated in my review of the previous Kamen Rider film, I remembered liking this one a bit better. Well, seeing it for the first time in a long while, that’s still true.
Really, this is kind of more of the same but it picks up the story where Kamen Rider: The First left off.
That film was a reboot (or retelling) of the original Kamen Rider TV series. This film was a sequel to that but also a reboot of the second TV series, Kamen Rider V3.
Like V3, this introduces the third Kamen Rider hero and also has him work alongside the previous two. However, there are some very stark creative differences between the original story and this version of it.
The main thing that these films do is that they increase the violence exponentially to appeal to a more adult audience. This one goes even further than its predecessor, which seemed like it was more a test run to see what they could get away with in what’s predominantly been a kid friendly franchise.
I loved the villains in this, specifically Scissors Jaguar. Man, what a sadistic asshole that guy was but for fans of this type of stuff, he was fun as hell to watch.
The special effects and fight choreography in this are pretty much the same as the previous movie but I found myself enjoying the action more.
Original Run: May 18th, 2020 – current Created by: Geoff Johns Directed by: various Written by: various Based on:Courtney Whitmore by Geoff Johns, Lee Moder Music by: Pinar Toprak Cast: Brec Bassinger, Yvette Monreal, Anjelika Washington, Cameron Gellman, Trae Romano, Jake Austin Walker, Meg DeLacy, Neil Jackson, Christopher James Baker, Amy Smart, Luke Wilson, Hunter Sansone, Nick Tarabay
Berlanti Productions, Mad Ghost Productions, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television Studios, DC Universe, The CW, 26 Episodes (so far), 42-53 Minutes (per episode)
So this show starts off fantastically! The opening sequence is pretty damn incredible and really fucking cool! Branching off of that, this has some cool villains it throws at you from the get go and you’re immediately invested in the story.
Beyond that, the show is a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows, not really sure what it even is and not really able to find its footing before the end of the thirteen episode first season.
For the positives, I really like Luke Wilson in this and Amy Smart is pretty good too but she also doesn’t get to do much in the first season, which I hope changes somewhat going into seasons two and three. And while season two has already aired, it’s not on HBO Max yet, so I haven’t seen it.
The other adult actors are all pretty good in this too, even if they have to often times embrace the cheese in the way these Greg Berlanti DC Comics shows embrace the cheese.
I thought some of the villains were actually exceptional and legitimately awesome. I especially loved Dragon King, who looked like Cobra Commander if he were leading Hydra instead of Cobra. His costume was outstanding and he was intimidating, specifically in the scene where he has to knock his asshole daughter back down to Earth.
I also love the S.T.R.I.P.E. suit, which is basically a badass mecha that Luke Wilson pilots in battle. It resembles a patriotic Iron Giant.
Beyond all that comes the problems with the show.
The teen characters are all pretty annoying at times and Stargirl comes across as a reckless idiot until she learns some hard lessons. They all just seem one-dimensional and basic and that’s not necessarily a problem with the actors, as much as it’s a problem with the writing, directing and overall production.
Each teen is simply a trope or caricature. Now I hope that they get to build off of these basic templates but none of them get the time they need to really develop, except for Stargirl and to a certain extent, the villain teen Shiv.
The girl who plays Doctor Mid-Nite II is there to be the obvious “heart and soul” of the team, as she lacks powers and is just kind of stuck in the middle of all this. The problem is that she never really connects with the audience and she’s written to be annoying as hell, which wasn’t what they intended. I don’t blame the actress, I blame the lame material. In fact, she is somewhat charismatic and you kind of want her to develop into something but every time you start to dig her, she does something irritating.
The boy who plays Hourman II is also someone you kind of want to cheer for but then he acts like a total ass at the wrong moments.
Now maybe this is the writers trying to express these newfound heroes lack of experience in life and crimefighting but it’s just bad and there is a lot of awkwardness that doesn’t jive right.
Also, this takes place in Nebraska. The high school of this small town is incredibly diverse for a state that has 87 percent white people. Granted, I don’t care that much, as this is the norm in entertainment, but it’s just blatantly obvious Hollywood bullshit.
Additionally, Stargirl has never been a fighter but by the end of just thirteen episodes, she’s kicking the shit out of ninjas that have probably trained their whole lives. Also, Wildcat is basically a ninja but all she does is get angry and hit a punching bag. You never see her actually spar with opponents or have Catwoman-like reflexes and agility. It’s this type of shit that really turns me off about modern “nerd” entertainment. Where’s the struggle? The hero’s real journey?
At least this show allows its female hero to fail, pick herself up and learn from those mistakes, though. So that’s at least a step forward when compared to the brainless storytelling of modern Hollywood.
In the end, I mostly liked this. I want the show to be good. I feel like it’ll probably lean to much into its negatives, though, as just about everything else does these days.
If my opinion drastically changes one way or another after seeing season two, I’ll update this review and the score.
Release Date:Part I: March 14th, 1981; Part II: July 11th, 1981; Part III: March 13th, 1982 Directed by: Yoshiyuki Tomino Written by: Yoshiyuki Tomino Based on:Mobile Suit Gundam by Yoshiyuki Tomino Music by: Joe Hisaishi, Takeo Watanabe, Yushi Matsuyama Cast: Toru Furuya, Hirotaka Suzuoki, Toshio Furukawa, Kiyonobu Suzuki
“A mobile suit’s abilities don’t decide a battle’s outcome. I’ll teach you that!” – Char Aznable
Yes, I have watched anime my entire life. Yes, I have loved Robotech and other mecha-centric anime since I was about six years-old. No, I have never watched anything from the Mobile Suit Gundam franchise until now.
While I know that’s basically a crime in nerdom, it’s not that I didn’t want to watch Gundam, it’s just that there is so much of it that I found it overwhelming and didn’t know where to even start. But luckily, one of my hardcore Gundam homies said he’d walk me through it. Also, since a literal fuck ton of Gundam is now on Netflix, I figured there was no better time than the present to finally jump into this massive I.P.
So I started with the original theatrical trilogy of Gundam movies, which aren’t technically the first things released. Well, I guess they sort of are but let me explain.
The film trilogy was created using footage from the original anime series. Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino wanted to streamline it down, omit some of the stuff that didn’t matter as much and then re-edit everything into a three-part epic, telling the main story with the most important parts.
I think that Tomino succeeded, even though I can’t compare it to the original series, as I haven’t seen that yet. But I don’t know if I would consider the television series and all 43 episodes to be a masterpiece and pretty damn close to perfection. I consider this trilogy of films to be exactly that, though.
The lore to this series is so well defined and the introduction to the movies fill you in on it pretty quickly. Beyond the general framework and concept, though, the story and characters all evolve in really unique ways.
While war is the thing that hangs over everyone’s head, this greatly explores the characters’ places within that, as well as their relationships with one another. In many instances, this stuff gets pretty deep and it reminds me of the character development and exploration of relationships in Robotech but this surprisingly does it better and the pain of the characters cuts deeper. It’s a hard thing to quantify or explain, really, but you find yourself caring about these people, even the ones you wouldn’t expect at all, on a pretty profound level for an animated series/movie.
The relationships and the challenges that come with them is actually the main thing that makes me want to watch all of the 43 episodes that were whittled down into these three pictures.
As far as the fun stuff goes, which is the general action, the mecha suits and the big battles, this does all that exceptionally well. This has fast-paced, exciting action and it’s different than the other sci-fi anime properties before it. It just shifts into high gear in a way that anime hadn’t before this.
If you’re like I was, and love this sort of stuff but haven’t seen this yet, you really need to.
Also known as: Masked Rider: The First (alternative English title) Release Date: October 26th, 2005 (Tokyo Film Festival) Directed by: Takao Nagaishi Written by: Toshiki Inoue Based on:Kamen Rider by Shotaro Ishinomori Music by: Gorou Yasukawa Cast: Masaya Kikawada, Hassei Takano, Komine Rena, Hiroshi Miyauchi, Eiji Wentz, Ryoko Kobayashi, Sada Mayumi, Issa Hentona, Hideyo Amamoto, Itsuji Itao, Kanji Tsuda
Toei, 91 Minutes
I haven’t seen this since around the time that it first came out on DVD in the US, which probably wasn’t too long after its 2005 theatrical release in Japan.
This also had a sequel, which I remembered liking better, as it leaned even heavier into the violence and edginess that this strange retelling of the original two Kamen Riders origin introduced.
This plays much darker and more like horror than the standard Kamen Rider television series. It’s a reboot but it was made for an older audience that had grown up with the shows but found them to be too kiddie for typical adults.
For what this set out to do, I think it achieved its goals fairly well. This isn’t in any way superior to the source material but it definitely respects it and still homages it in a good way that captures the aesthetic and vibe. It looks and feels like a modern tokusatsu production but with a bigger budget and without having its hands tied by the creative limitations of a children’s show.
I thought that the acting was decent. None of it as particularly great but also, none of it felt overly hokey or cheesy like typical tokusatsu shows often times deliver.
I thought that the special effects were good. The costumes were top notch and looked impressive. My only gripe in that regard is that I felt like the Shocker foot soldiers would’ve looked a lot cooler if they kept their classic costumes and lucha libre style masks.
Ultimately, this was a really interesting experiment. I think it paid off for what it was and it didn’t do anything to diminish the legacy of the intellectual property unlike just about every Hollywood reboot and remake over the last decade or more.
Also known as: Kurenai no buta (original Japanese title), The Crimson Pig (literal English title) Release Date: July 18th, 1992 (Japan) Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki Written by: Hayao Miyazaki Based on:Hikotei Jidai by Hayao Miyazaki Music by: Joe Hisaishi Cast: Japanese Language: Shuichiro Moriyama, Akio Otsuka, Akemi Okamura, Tokiko Kato, Sanshi Katsura; English Language: Michael Keaton, Cary Elwes, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Susan Egan, Brad Garrett, Bill Fagerbakke, Frank Welker
Japan Airlines, Nibariki, Nippon Television Network, Studio Ghibli, 94 Minutes
“I’d rather be a pig than a fascist.” – Porco Rosso
I’ve gotta say, I went into this with no real expectations but it kind of blew me away and impressed me a great deal.
The humor in this is fantastic and up to the point of this film’s release, this may be Studio Ghibli’s best use of comedy. It helped set the film’s playful tone from the get go.
The story is about an ace pilot during the World War I era. He’s Italian and work as a bounty hunter around the Adriatic Sea. He’s also been cursed with the head of a pig, even though he’s a pretty normal human being.
Over the course of the film, he develops a rivalry with an American ace and loses a contest against him. He then is convinced by a young girl that she can design and build a better plane for him, even though he doesn’t initially like the idea. Over the course of the story, they develop an incredible bond and Porco Rosso sets his sights on redeeming himself against the American ace.
While this is more of a comedy than a drama, it has very strong dramatic moments and I think it’s those parts that make this pretty great.
I watched the English dubbed version and I thoroughly enjoyed the voice acting. I especially liked Michael Keaton and Cary Elwes as the voices of the two rival aces, which made their banter pretty entertaining.
As far as the animation goes, this is exactly what you should expect from a Hayao Miyazaki picture. I also think this has a lot more energy than many of his films, as it features so much aerial action.
While I doubt that I’ll ever discover a bad Studio Ghibli film, this wasn’t one that I expected to be really impressed by. In the end, it did just that and I think this may be one of my favorites of the bunch. But I still have many to get through, that I haven’t seen.
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