Dear Santa, thank you for the dolls and pencils and the fish. It's Easter now, so I hope I didn't wake you but... honest, it is an emergency. There's a crack in my wall. Aunt Sharon says it's just an ordinary crack, but I know its not cause at night there's voices so... please please can you send someone to fix it? Or a policeman, or... Back in a moment. Thank you Santa.
Thursday, January 07
K-On! Movie Pre-Review
Hirasawa Yui is my spirit animal.
Update: The big problem with watching any K-On! is that their songs are terrible earworms. I now have Rice is a Side Dish stuck in my head.
(Couldn't find a clip of them actually performing this song, though they do it once in the TV series and again in the movie. This is the movie version, where Yui does an unscheduled One more time! and the other girls go Whut? but manage to jump back in.)
My favourite has to be Listen, the season 2 first-half ending, featuring cake-fairy Mio:
Took me a while to watch, because it comes between episodes 22 and 23 in season 2, and I couldn't remember how far I'd got in season 2.
So I started from the beginning...
Having seen almost all of it now, I'll say what I said before: If you like Yui in episode 1, K-On! is for you. If you don't like Yui in episode 1, it's probably not.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Thursday, January 07 2016 02:59 PM (PiXy!)
3If you like Yui in episode 1, K-On! is for you. If you don't like Yui in episode 1, it's probably not.
I've read a scanslated version of the K-On! manga at one of those "free" online manga sites*, and I thought Yui was tolerable in moderate doses--a bit like Tomo from Azumanga Daioh in that regard. Is her latent annoyance factor higher or lower in the anime? (For comparison purposes, my favourite member of Afternoon Tea Time is Mio, but my favourite character of the entire manga is Nodoka, who in turn is similar to Yomi from AzuDai.)
*As an aside...yes, I do feel like a dirty pirate, and I have half a mind of making what Steven den Beste would call a guilt buy. How good is the Yen Press translation of the K-On! manga?
Posted by: Peter the Not-so-Great at Friday, January 08 2016 12:42 PM (XC8ds)
The characters are pretty much identical in the anime; they didn't fiddle around with that. But KyoAni really hit it out of the part with the production quality of K-On! Everything about the show is exactly right, and it makes the story so much better.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Friday, January 08 2016 02:44 PM (PiXy!)
Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Saturday, January 09 2016 05:01 AM (XOPVE)
6How good is the Yen Press translation of the K-On! manga?
Very. Better than any scanalation of the series I've seen.
...my favourite character of the entire manga is Nodoka...
I have her figma... along with Mio, Ritsu and Azu-nyan. Don't believe what it says, the guitars don't come with straps. Easy to make one out of the vinyl off a three-ring binder, though.
Posted by: Wonderduck at Saturday, January 09 2016 03:23 PM (zAcee)
Nodoka is great. She's the backup "only sane man" once you realise that all the girls in the band are crazy in their own way. (Mio is the sensible one... Oh. Mugi is the sensible one... Oh. Azu-nyan is... Oh. Sawa-chan... Oh.)
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Monday, January 11 2016 10:53 AM (PiXy!)
I have nothing bad to say about this film. Four stars.
I was going to suggest that perhaps Lucille's accent wanders a bit, but I checked, and she's played by Vanessa Paradis, who is French, from Paris, and plays the role in both the English and French versions, the only major cast member who did so.
I found that movie by way of your linking the "La Seine and I" video, and found it delightful, mainly in the rather small scale of it, because I am getting a bit tired of everyone always wanting to save the entire universe lately. (Yes, I know that's a bit of an exaggeration.)
Posted by: Rick C at Wednesday, January 06 2016 02:25 PM (FvJAK)
Yes, that's definitely part of it. I expecting something larger scale, and was absolutely charmed by the way it played out.
I stumbled over that video just clicking around on Youtube after watching that Moses Supposes animation Wonderduck found a few weeks back. I'd never heard of the film before; I don't think it got a theatrical release here in Australia.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Wednesday, January 06 2016 03:33 PM (PiXy!)
I'm toying with the idea of Tintin as an anti-hero, like Moorcock's Elric of Melniboné, so completely obsessed with getting the story (no matter how trivial) that he is entirely unaware of the disaster he leaves in his wake.
This film did not grab me. There is one part that is very, very, very good, but that's a few minutes of honey in almost two hours of cold porridge.
I remember, very vaguely, a cartoon, probably Warner Brothers, where there are two individuals in people's heads driving them around. At one point the emotional, impulsive one gets the woman to pig out on sweets and all the graphs of her body and figure virtually explode. I absolutely do not know the title of it, so I have never been able to find it.
Posted by: Mauser at Tuesday, January 05 2016 12:42 PM (5Ktpu)
That sounds like something Bob McKimson would have done.
Starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Alec Guinness, David Prowse, Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, James Earl Jones, Frank Oz
1980, 124 minutes
As I mentioned in my pre-review, while I'm very very late watching this film, I already knew almost everything about it. I'd read the book, heard the score, seen images and clips and spoofs of the action, listened to entire podcasts about it... I just hadn't seen it.
The good news is that the film holds up both to my expectations and to the 35 years since its release. I watched the Somethingth Anniversary Digital Special Edition Release, which has toned down some of the earlier Lucasic fiddling, and which looks absolutely beautiful.
There's little about this film that doesn't work. The stop-motion AT-ATs look a little odd compared to how polished and fluid the rest of the cinematography is. And Yoda... Okay, I can understand the attachment people have to the physical puppet over the CGI version in the prequels, but he's a puppet.
And the giant space worm is a goddam sock. I'm a little surprised they left that in, but I'm glad they did.
Three and a half star wars out of four. Having watched (or rewatched) the original trilogy, I give them all three and a half stars. There are definitely things the latter two films do better than the first - cinematography, sets, costumes - but they both sag a little in the middle (the Dagobah and Endor parts).
You've probably already seen them, but if you haven't, highly recommended.
I also watched the first half hour of The Phantom Menace. I'll say this: The first eleven minutes are not entirely terrible.
"The stop-motion AT-ATs look a little odd compared to how polished and fluid the rest of the cinematography is."
That's true, but pretty much all stop-motion animation did at that time, so nobody would've thought it particularly bad.
(In Chrome the entire previous paragraph is underlined even though I highlighted just one word and used the button. The HTML looks right, though, so let's see what happens.)
Posted by: Rick C at Tuesday, December 29 2015 03:03 PM (FvJAK)
The editor acts weird under recent versions of Chrome. I'll see if there's an updated version available.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Tuesday, December 29 2015 03:09 PM (PiXy!)
I just like how it got the HTML wrong both in preview and when posted, but the "html" button in the editor showed HTML that looked right.
Posted by: Rick C at Thursday, December 31 2015 01:07 AM (FvJAK)
42 Days of Summer #6 (yes, we're out of timetable order, whatever)
Directed by Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Chris McKay
Written by Dan Hageman, Christopher Miller, Kevin Hageman, Roy Lee
Starring Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, Will Ferrell, Will Arnett, Charlie Day, Liam Neeson, Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, and with a whole bunch of other people
2014, 101 minutes
What the hell happened here? With three directors and four writers and being clearly nothing more than a cynical marketing ploy, this should have been a train wreck. Maybe it would keep the kids quiet for ninety minutes so mommy could get some me time with a stiff gin and tonic, but you couldn't expect more than that.
The Lego Movie blows the doors off all expectations by delivering something that is smart, fun, and sincere, fast-paced, well-directed, and if it doesn't entirely make sense then for almost its entire 101 minutes it doesn't give you enough time to notice.
For a film about and composed of plastic bricks, it is endlessly inventive and visually stunning. While the movie is almost entirely computer-animated, every scene is planned out as though it were to be built out of real Lego blocks. I don't know if that restraint improves the movie itself or if it's just one sign of how much care went into the production, but it's clear that the production team failed a cynicism check and ended up caring deeply about what they were making.
The story almost doesn't matter in the whirlwind of inventiveness, but very quickly, Emmett Brickowski (Pratt), a Lego construction figure so everyman-ish that no-one actually remembers him, falls down a hole in a construction site and encounters the Piece of Resistance, a mysterious artifact that will allow a rag-tag group of freedom fighters to stop the plans of Lord Business (Ferrell) to destroy the world by unleashing the power of the Kraggle.
When the Lego Police show up to arrest him, led by Bad Cop (Neeson), Emmett is rescued by action girl Wyldstyle (Banks) and... Lego magic happens.
Almost everything about this film is awesome, including the score.
Three bricks out of four. Recommended.
Oh, and one more thing: The Lego Movie is a better Batman film than Batman Begins. Suck it Christopher Nolan.
Sounds like you're pretty much target audience for http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4116284/ then
Posted by: Artee at Monday, December 28 2015 07:36 PM (5blmT)
I was probably the only person who didn't actually like The Lego Movie. It's very pretty, granted. But the story was... um... limp? I didn't care about the any of the characters, and actively detested Batman. The cameo was oh-so precious, except the actor involved is on my short list of "avoid at all costs".
On the whole, I understand why people liked it. I just didn't.
Posted by: Wonderduck at Tuesday, December 29 2015 10:17 AM (zAcee)
I didn't like Batman in this; I liked that Batman was a horrible person.
The cameo didn't work for me; I thought the movie would have been stronger without it. But I did like the invasion right at the end that the cameo set up.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Tuesday, December 29 2015 11:39 AM (PiXy!)
I also liked the moral of the story, which was: Corporatism is bad! No, wait, corporatism isn't all bad. Blindly following the rules is bad. Be yourself. Except, no, wait, don't be yourself, you suck. Be a team. But individually. And ignore the rules, except when you shouldn't. You're great! Buy more Lego!
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Tuesday, December 29 2015 11:47 AM (PiXy!)
As for the other characters - they're all flawed. Emmett and Lucy are selfish, Vitruvius is an old fraud, the master builders in general are jerks and quitters, and Uni-Kitty is batshit insane.
I liked that a lot.
Can't say anything bad about 1980s Lego Space Guy, though. He's awesome.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Tuesday, December 29 2015 12:08 PM (PiXy!)
Starring Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Katie Holmes, Liam Neeson
2005, 1719 minutes... okay, 140 minutes, it just seems longer
The first forty-five minutes of Batman Begins are almost unwatchable, while the remaining hour and a half is merely tiresome and unoriginal. The only good thing in the whole dreary mess is Michael Caine, who tries but ultimately fails to rescue the film.
Everything about the story is both fomulaic and overdone. We need an origin story (or rather an Origin! Story!) so the first forty-five minutes are wasted (and I do mean wasted) on that. If they'd cut that entirely, and another thirty minutes here and there (even the action sequences drag), then maybe...
No, forget it, there's no saving this wreck. It doesn't even look pretty, because you can't see anything. And the score just phones it in. They may as well have held up a card reading dramatic orchestral piece for climactic fight sequence.
Honestly, Gotham deserves whatever happens to it. By the looks of the place they've been electing Democrats since 1927; they did this to themselves.
It just occured to me that I have a suggestion: Double Indemnity.
Posted by: Phil Fraering at Monday, December 28 2015 01:03 PM (9XuP9)
Steven - it's rendered, but meticulously done; every scene is planned out as though they were going to film it in stop-motion. They even put Lego bricks under a microscope to get real-life scratches and blemishes for the animation.
Phil - good suggestion. If I've seen it, it would have been as a kid falling asleep in front of our old black-and-white set. Added to the list.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Monday, December 28 2015 02:53 PM (PiXy!)
Watched Star Wars for the fourth time today, and Empire for the first.
It's a bit of a strange experience, since I've read the books and seen bits here and there and in general been steeped in Star Wars culture for more than three decades, and I'd seen the first film at least three times before, but hadn't ever sat down to watch the later ones. So I knew the characters and the actors and the story and the music and the cinematography and...
I'm watching the latest Digital Edition, which has most of the infamous changes, but not the most infamous changes. The only one that really didn't work for me was the deleted scene from the original, where Jabba confronts Han before they leave Tattooine. Because they used the original footage and stuck in a huge CGI Jabba, the composition is all wrong.
The Han vs. Greedo shootout in this version is something I'm basically fine with. They fire more-or-less simultaneously, but Han is already dodging when Greedo shoots. Which is more in line with Han's character as established later on... But which gives him less character development.
The first film still holds up very well, though the second has noticeably better sets and cinematography.
Of all the things they could have changed, though, the three-dollar sock-puppet space worm was left in. It looks like it escaped from a Jon Pertwee episode of Doctor Who - probably Carnival of Monsters.