Tag Archives: America

Baccano!: You Just Have to Watch it.

I’m going to say as little as I possibly can about this show while trying to talk about this show and how interesting it was for me. Also, in this review, I’m going to attempt to talk about characters in such a vague way that I don’t reveal anything about the plot and just encourage you to watch the show. Impossible task? Challenge accepted.

This is an anime set in the Prohibition Era of America in the early 1900’s. There is an element of magic and mystery that intertwines itself in this show so that you have to accept what’s possible with the impossible. There are gangsters, and, orignally, magicians (of  a sort). The characters range from the mentally unstable to the kind and thoughtful. With inspiration from the film, The Untouchables, the gangster and his New York accent come to life in the world of the speakeasies.

There are a lot of characters...

When you first begin to watch this show, you may become frustrated. A lot of characters and events are thrown at you all at once. Told from so many perspectives, it can become overwhelming in the first couple of episodes. But have patience. In a nonlinear plotline that comes together in pieces, this show was ingeniously crafted to have the characters drive the story until the plot becomes clear. Just remember when watching that the Flying Pussyfoot (really don’t like the name though) is the central event of the series. Things occurring on the train, for the most part, are happening in the real time (I think…) while all other events of the early 1930s are flashbacks, or maybe even flashforwards. Still not entirely sure. It’s a show worth watching through more than once.

 

What's going on?

With all the gangster families, it can become hard to determine just exactly who is who and who did what and who is wanted for what purpose. With all the accents and the strange character names, (Jacuzzi Splot. Enough said.) with three different gangster mafioso families going on at once (the Gandors, the Genoards, and the Martillos) including Jacuzzi’s gang and the Russo family, toss in Isaac and Miria, and you have a lot of chaos all at once. Nothing is as it seems and nothing seems to make much sense in the Baccano! world. It’s all about the ending payoff.

A few noteworthy voice actors in the dubbed version to speak of. You have to start with Isaac Dian and Miria Harvent. J. Michael Tatum and Caitlin Glass

Isaac and Miria. Best.

really branch their talents to their extremes with two ridiculous thieves with no care in the world and no idea what’s going on. John Burgmeier puts on an English accent as a character I can’t reveal (sorry). And R. Bruce Elliott places a mean old Russian bastard who is actually a terribly villainous magician. Joel McDonald in a surprisingly heartfelt performance gets his Brooklyn on as Jacuzzi and Nice, his eye-patched love interest and crime partner is nicely done by Colleen Clinkenbeard. Throw in a Frenchman in jail and you have the wide ranging and seductive talents of Eric Vale.  Throw in Todd Haberkorn and his always likeable goofy characters and you have a Baccano! cast.

I love this man so much.

But, I could never forget the big standout in the show. In a very underrated voice actor comes one of the best performances of his career. Ladd Russo, a highly skilled and highly delusional killer is voiced by Bryan Massey. His questioning and highly energetic character from My Bride is a Mermaid, Shark, returns as another kind of inhuman being. Ladd is vulgar, he is brutal, and he is one of the most likeable and sinister characters in the series. Any guy who can walk into a room and say, “I like you! F%*k you!” deserves respect.

Let's get to pokin'.

And for the rest, AKA the amazing plot, you have to watch it for yourself. In the same vein of shows as Durarara! (interesting, both are marked with exclamation points…) comes a character driven show with a great payoff. Watch it for the characters and voice acting. Watch it for the interesting non-linear plot. Watch it just to watch it. It’s well worth a shot. You just might find what you’re looking for in a show in this 16 episode anime, Baccano!


The Onion Movie: Film News at its Finest

So I’m sure there are those of you out there that follow The Onion News Network and enjoy all their satirical articles and videos. But the pinnacle of The Onion News Network? The Onion Movie. This movie takes all the best things of the 2000’s and put it all together into one satirical piece. With lead news anchor Norm Archer (Len Cariou) this movie destroys America and everything that has laid underneath its seedy underbelly for the last 100 years.

The layout for this movie is fantastic. Interspersed with reports from Norm (almost SNL style but with a serious delivery), this movie goes through a wide range of staged skits that connect one to another, characters bounce in and out in some

Norm Archer. You master.

wild ride of hot topics of 2008 and before. It’s pretty much ridiculous. I mean, a lot of the skits deal with stereotypes, racism, failed products, the American war machine, economy, and entertainment industry. In this movie, nothing is safe. And I loved every minute of it.

With my second time viewing it and showing it to an Onion News virgin, it was fantastic to anticipate all the sketches that were coming. I mean come on, the Queen Nathan? That is completely unexpected and a slap in the face with homosexuality’s member. The unknown stereotypes? I mean, who knew Peruvians jump in to save the day and shoot laser beams? With a multitude of black jokes (alcoholics, robbers, intelligent black men in search of the local library via asking a bartender, etc.) and a complete shakedown of the current sex fueled pop music scene (Take Me from Behind), people are getting destroyed.

A trio for the ages!

And how does this movie summarize? A complete collision of all characters and situations. A terrorist hijacking of the ONN studio in leu of ONN selling out to the corporate machine taking over with their damn annoying penguin? Perfect. Let’s hope those Peruvians come to save the day (Wink, wink). My favorite sketch? Obviously it has to be the white man mistaken for a black guy. I think that’s what all wiggers (white kid posers) deserve. Don’t dress all killer gangster unless you expect to pay the price of being hilariously profiled. Oh, and Cockpuncher. That’s a legit movie I would see with Steven Seagal. He’s a master and not that many people know it, but, come on, if he punched your cock, you’d notice in a hurry.

I could keep going on about every sketch and just how excellently they’re pulled off with an amateur cast of serious comics. With the help of Todd Hanson and Robert D. Siegel, writers of the film and directed by Tom Kuntz and Mike Maguire, this film delivers without the flash. Just like the real news. (Weird fact, Robert D. Siegel wrote the screenplay for The Wrestler? What a twist! Shows you how ballin’ these guys are.) So check out this little satirical film of the American Machine. It’s well worth Brendan Laroux, and you gotta support a hockey player without legs or wrists. 8.6 out of 10.


Paprika: The Inception Anime

So based on my new obsession with anime, my mom picked this little anime film up for me from the library. I had not expectations and I was delightfully surprised. This anime film, which got positive reviews across the board in 2006, is an anime about dreams. In my opinion, anime is one of the few mediums that can accurately depict dreams. (Nice attempt Christopher Nolan, but this film came 4 years earlier than your Inception.) If I had seen this before I had seen Inception, I would’ve considered Inception a rip-off (sort of is). But it’s comparing apples to oranges. And that’s the way in which this anime stands out.

Paprika is a story that appears to take place in modern day. A Japanese technology company has created a piece of technology known as the DC Mini. These apparatus is used by psychologists to analyze the dreams of patients firsthand in order to diagnose and treat their patients. The one problem? The machine hasn’t been finished. And then it’s stolen. So the members of the company must go on what appears to be a wild goose chase in order to find who stole them before dreams become fused with reality.

That’s what makes this film unique. At any moment, the characters in the film could be dreaming, awake or asleep, and the

What's going on here? Probably why it's rated R...

mind-bending elements that present themselves in this film as the characters navigate the dreams is done beautifully. The film incorporates a love of parades, movies, and the thrill of flight all in one. Although I myself do not dream in terms of surreality, I could appreciate the elements of dreaming used that most people experience. The vivid colors and feeling of a warped reality and drawn beautifully and the movements of the characters are animated fluently and gracefully, something I’ve found that some anime have trouble with. (I guess it all depends on the budget and skill of the artists…)

Yuri Lowenthal. Fat, but good.

The voice actors are decent, most notably is Yuri Lowenthal. I didn’t pick up on his voice immediately, but he is one of those A-list voice actors that get a lot of work today. I think now would be a good time to explain voice acting in terms of skill. In the past (1970’s to 1990’s I believe) voice actors were picked more often for the sound of their voice rather than their acting skills. (It’s like choosing a sports announcer.) But in recent decades, voice actors are being chosen for their versatility and their acting skills. It’s this change that has given a lot of credit to an industry that is not seen as all that credible in America. In a more dramatic sense, in comparison to cartoon voice actors, these actors can perform dramatic as well as comedic and everything in between. And this gives us a better viewing experience because sound is half the battle in anime. Big league hitter companies in anime dubbing are ones like Funimation and Aniplex.

Paprika. Worth the jump.

Other than that, there is a certain cute element to Paprika. If you watch the ending romance you’ll understand. Characters are thrown into each other’s dreams and the underlying feelings that are discovered help bring a happy ending. I do enjoy those snapshot films where a problem arises and returned to normal through understanding and conflict resolution. A “slice of life” if you will. And that’s what Paprika is. A little slice of dreams. 8.1 out of 10.


It’s Always Funny in Philadelphia

Okay, this review is a big deal to me. I love It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. A few years ago, out of the blue, I was watching FX and came across this man standing in front of a hot dog bar. This girl comes up from behind up and pinched him. His reaction? Turn around and punch a wench. Full fist, to the face. Needless to say, I rolled around on my floor and peed myself continuously for a full hour. Then, the show ended and it left my mind for a while. It’s Always Sunny left my radar for a few years. Then, just last year (as I’m finding most college students are discovering) it came back. My friend reminded my of that very scene and I had a repeat of 3 years ago. Again, needless to say, I went online and bought seasons 1-4.

And let me tell you, this show is good. Every episode is good. I wish I could forget this show over and over so every time I watch it is just as funny as the first time I witnessed it. I love showing this show to my friends, and that’s just what I did for my lucky friend Ian right before I decided to review it. We spent many a night watching 3 or 4 episodes at a time, laughing until our beds ran wet with urine. That’s how funny this show is.

Basic plot/premise: Dennis and Sweet Dee, Mac, and Charlie run this terrible bar in south Philly. They get little to no foot traffic in there, leaving lots of time for shenanigans and terrible screw ups. This guys are offensive in every way possible. The first episode of the show deals with just how ignorantly racist “The Gang” truly is. It’s fantastic. These guys are not afraid to go there.

Now, usually everybody picks a favorite character. (Let me know who yours is and why. Classic.) My favorite is Mac. Muscles and yet intelligent, Rob

"The Gang"

McElhenney creates and writes this show, giving the meat and potatoes for which everyone else works with. He is quite the genius in my opinion. Then there’s Dennis. The conceited, egotistical, narcissist who brings looks and carelessness to the table. His lines are great and his witticisms supreme. There are not many characters on modern T.V. or otherwise who compare to either Mac or Dennis. Glenn Howerton is quite the man.

That’s not to say that Sweet Dee (Kaitlin Olson) and Charlie (Charlie Day) are not great character.

Charlie before the inspiration of Day Man

Charlie is consistently hilarious as the wild card who is basically a retard. His illiteracy and horrible way of living always spice up life. And yes, even Sweet Dee brings her own ridiculed “useless girl” identity into play for some of the best burns ever laid on a human being.

Interesting note. Shortly after the first season aired, Danny Devito’s children (grandchildren) approached him about Always Sunny. They told him they loved the show and that they really think he should get involved with it. And get involved with it he did. As Dennis and Dee’s father, Frank Reynolds is quite the angry, business-oriented character. His obsession with Vietnam and Rambo is just to good to be true. (Also the Cuckoo’s Nest reference episode can’t be beat.)

But yeah, these guys get into all kinds of a hootinanny. They get racist, patriotic, Invincible (New Kids on the Block guy), America, extreme, you name it, as long as it’s offensive, they’ve done it. The cast works so well

Yeah, it's that good.

together (watch the Gas Crisis episode) and their chemistry is unstoppable. I really hope this show never quits. It’s quite excellent. I plan on buying the fifth season and reviewing it as well, but you know, being a college student, I’m hard up on funds. (Someone buy it for me?) I haven’t really caught any of the sixth season, but it’s on my to do. I don’t really have a lot else to say, it’s just something you have to experience for yourself. 10 out of 10.

Oh, and here’s that scene I was talking about. Let me know if you pee your pants.