Tag Archives: villain

Wreck-It Ralph: A Gamer’s Paradise

So here’s an up to date review that’s still relevant. Wreck-It Ralph is a wonderful little Disney film about a wrecking villain named Ralph (John C. Reilly) who does nothing but wreck an apartment building. His counterpart and hero, Fix-It Felix (Jack McBrayer) fixes the crumbling building around him and gets a medal for all the hard work. What people who play the games don’t know is that Ralph is sick of being the bad guy.

This movie, first and foremost, is extremely original. As most of

Support group for the ages.

Disney’s animated projects go, it captures you with vivid images and great fluidity, and keeps you entranced with great cameos and good voice acting. This movie accomplishes all that and one thing more: it makes you extremely nostalgic. Throughout the entire film, everyone in the theater was pointing out to their friends and family who their favorite video game characters were and how cool it was to see them act on their own. Even some parents can get in on the action with Pac-Man and Q*bert.

How’s your blood sugar level?

Coupled to some original and iconic songs, there’s nothing about this movie that didn’t please me. You get all the stereotypical games (strategy Pac-Man style, Street Fighter button mashing, racing, shoot-em-up, and even some other bizarre appearances). There’s something for everyone in this pick-and-mix arcade, run by one of my favorite actors, Ed O’Neil. The only thing I could’ve wished for in this film was more video game characters. Where’s Master Chief? Where’s Ezio Auditore? You gotta at least get Mario. But yes, I sadly understand that all of those licensed characters would’ve cost the movie a fortune. Oh well…

So the plot of the movie is simple. Wreck-It Ralph gets fed up with his bad guy role in his 8-bit video game and goes to explore other games. He stumbles upon the opportunity to win a medal in Heroe’s Duty (big children’s joke) and does so. But his medal gets used by Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) to enter a race to win back some honor in

Jane Lynch has never looked so sexy.

Sugar Rush the racing game. It’s up to Ralph to make or break the day, and Felix and Sergeant Tamora Jean Calhoun (Jane Lynch) will do anything to get him back. It’s a video game for the ages.

What made this movie so spectacular were all the guest appearances and voice actors that graced the screen. Ever since Tim and Eric, I’ve grown to love John C. Reilly. And it’s nice to see his range as an actor in a kid’s role like this. Sarah Silverman is both cute and verbose as Vinellope, the cute child race car driver. Her poop jokes and tomboyish attitude are much appreciated by me. I’m not usually a fan of Jack McBrayer and his work on 30 Rock, but he was just fine and the perfect voice for Felix in this one. And here’s the big surprise… The Candy King was done by Alan Tudyk! I couldn’t believe my ears! He truly is the master of voices if I ever heard one. First A Knight’s Tale and now this? Wonderful.

How great are those detailed graphics?

Throw in Mindy Kaling of The Office and Joe Lo Truglio, and you have yourself just a sample of what is an entire cast of great voice talent. You also have Roger Craig Smith as the voice of Sonic (and Ezio Auditore of Assassin’s Creed 2), and Kyle Hebert as Ryu of Street Fighter (acclaimed voice actor),  and that’s a great addition. I loved the bad guy support group meeting as well. It’s all good in the hood.

I would recommend, if you have kids, taking them to see Wreck-It Ralph. It’s good for all ages (AKA, anyone who has ever played video games) and you’ll enjoy it too, no matter what your preference. So suit up and grab your controller and lay in to some good old fashioned fun. 8.8 out of 10.

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Repo! The Genetic Opera

In a crossover genre that reminded me a bit of the only other big exposure I’ve had to operetta style plays/shows (i.e. Cats), Repo! The Genetic Opera was a twist and melding of something I’m not used to seeing at all. And, big plus, in the form of a movie. And what more could seal this musical deal? Darren Lynn Bousman, director of Saws 2-4, was the director. That’s a pretty sweet marmalade right there. And I was surprisingly not bored during this horror/rock opera/film extravaganza.

In a strange dystopian intro scene that may remind those of us who have seen Mystery Men of a similar grimy town flyby, there is a new way of living in the city. And that is prologued by the GraveRobber (Terrance Zdunich). In this new dark and sinister world, people are living longer. How, you may ask? Through the use of artificial organs. You

GraveRobber, the teller of our tale. (Is that a cat from Cats right next to him?)

can pay for these organs with a monthly fee, but it must be paid on time to GeneCo. If not, “Rotti” Largo (Paul Sorvino) will send his RepoMen after you and remove it from you.

The story focuses around a doctor Nathan Wallace (Anthony Head) and his sick daughter, Shilo (Alexa Vega). In a story of sick and twisted nip/tuck pleasure, betrayal and love, and discovered identities, Repo! The Genetic Opera combines the operatic style of singing with the gruesomeness of shock rock. What I found surprising, coming from a director who has done such a violent and intestine filled series, gave a bit of humor and poise to the blood and guts. I was never grossed out (as if this film or any other could do that) by the events unfolding before me, it was more with the type of music and subject matter. It was a winning combo, to be sure.

Paris Hilton, can you tell?

I liked the subject matter (dystopian world of the morbid) and found it to be a simple enough plot to get across with how many underlying motives were at play. What I was semi-impressed with was the singing. Anthony Head, star of Buffy and featured on my favorite British comedy, Little Britain, was a phenomenal singer. Alexa Vega, a bit weak, which surprised me. Terrence Zdunich was a phenomenally good stage presence in front of the camera. I enjoyed his pop out of a trash can every once in a while. He had the Cats vibe down. His morbid look was appealing and flashy, almost like a Rum Tum Tugger (although this guy didn’t do any theater before this, so far as I can tell…).

Some surprising cast though in this film. Paul Sorvino, star of musicals and dramas and a couple of Italian Mafioso films, was a good presence, but weak as a counter character/villain to Nathan (Anthony Head) the age difference was a bit of a problem for the plot device they had to deal with, and so it just came off as odd. His singing was a bit weak too, but I think that’s something that happens when you have to speak/sing lines in a rock opera. Sarah Brightman, English singing extraordinaire was delightfully pleasant for as small of a role as she was given. Her

A little bit of blood never hurt Buffy…

singing sent a few chills down the old spine.

And there’s even more! Throw in Bill Moseley, actor from a shit-ton of horror films, including a few Rob Zombie vehicles. And Nivek Ogre of Skinny Puppy (industrial metal band for those of you who don’t know)? Who knew? I could barely put the names and the faces together with this nip/tuck of a performance. Oh, and Paris Hilton for sex appeal. No big surprise there.

Enjoy that open wound, guy.

In an hour and a half of rockin’ and a rollin’, you’re exposed to the world of blood and guts, drums and guitar. I’ve never seen a movie like this before, and this sets the bar sort of high on expectations (and no, I won’t be watching Rent anytime soon). So move aside The Wiz, because there’s a new favorite musical film in town. And it’s got more of an edge to it. So strap in and hide your organs for Repo! A 6.4 out of 10.

 


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!


X-Men: First Class

So I’d been planning to see this movie with my mom for some time. We’re big James McAvoy, and this movie quickly jumped to the top of our list. We thought, “Hey, James McAvoy. A new X-men movie that looks quite good? Definitely.” And he didn’t disappoint. And neither did anyone else in the film X-Men: First Class. I did expect to take the phrase “First Class” literally, but I was a bit mistaken. (I thought this movie would focus on the first young group that Charles Xavier took into the X-Men academy. Guess not.) But I wasn’t disappointed at all. This movie delivered. I would say it did, even more than the original trilogy.

So the plot of this movie is the origins of the X-men. I’m pretty sure it holds true to the comics, and I think this

The rivals unite.

was a big plus. (Maybe a few liberties were taken?) But, either way, this 1960’s set X-men classic follows the origins of Erik Lensherr/ Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and Charles Xavier (James McAvoy). This is before Charles was given his wheelchair (explained) and so that’s why you see him puttering around on his own two legs. The hip, suave, young Xavier (a welcome change from Patrick Stewart’s stuffy portrayal of Professor X) has just become a Professor from Cambridge based on his work on human mutation. (Fitting right?) Parallel to this, Erik is on a rampage (using his harnessed powers) to destroy the German Nazis that imprisoned him during WWII and killing his mother. It was this pain that unleashed his powers as a young boy.

And it is through the power of the government that these two come together to team up for the only time in their lives. To stop an evil mutant of unspeakable power, Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) these two must recruit other mutants across the world in order to prevent nuclear disaster. As you watch the movie, you find that, in fact, the X-Men were what prevented the Cuban Missile Crisis. And then, as expected, things fall apart for the duo, leading up nicely to the next movies made years ago.

It sent chills down my spine when he put that helmet on.

I’ve heard people didn’t like this movie. People gave this a bad review and I was surprised. I found this to be a decent movie that was respectable among X-men entertainment. So I found it hard to believe, with such a good cast and decent special effects, how this movie could even be viewed as a bomb. I mean, come on, James McAvoy (great actor) and one of my personal favorites, Michael Fassbender? You can’t get much better than that. Throw in a handfull of cameos (yes, a scene of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine and Rebecca Romjin as a view of the older Mystique.) and great foreshadowing, and you have a great prequel.

I mean, I can’t say enough about the cast this film boasts. I have to say again, James McAvoy. Having another big action film under his belt, Wanted, he is perfectly comfortable as an action hero (although be it a passive one). Michael Fassbender. He is no newbie when it comes to action films. 300, Centurion, Inglorious Basterds. This guy has done some of the best action films of the decade. And he’s such a malicious character actor that when you see him as the villain, you can actually see the evil seething from him. Kevin Bacon. I haven’t seen him in a while and they hid it well in the trailers that he was in the movie. And as the villain? That was a shock. But still, he was quite devious. Combine that with Nicholas Holt as Beast (great job to say the least) and Jennifer Lawrence (academy award winner for Winter’s Bone.) among other X-Men, and you have a great cast.

Great group. Great cast. Great movie.

From the director Matthew Vaughn, director of some pretty badass action films, Layer Cake (personal favorite), Kick Ass, even Stardust was decent, you have to expect some good acting combined with great visual chemistry. There’s a great scene with Michael Fassbender absolutely destroying some Argentinian Nazi fools that brims with gorish action. This movie screams great summer film. If Stan Lee’s onboard (not just for the money, I hope) then it has to be good. His baby creation has come to life once again and it’s all good. 8.8 out of 10.


Gulliver’s Travels: Jack Black at His Worse Worst

So there are very few reasons why this movie was at least decent. But the biggest reason this film flopped, straight up, is Jack Black. His atrocious act of not acting is what plain and simple killed this movie. It might’ve had a chance at being a decent children’s film if it had been any other comedic actor. Hell, Paul Rudd (my favorite comedic actor) would’ve made me buy this film before I watched it. It would be more

You suck Jack Black. Period.

entertaining with Cedric the Entertainer. I think this was Jack Black’s attempt to make a bit more bank on another terrible children’s film. I dread the day that Kung Fu Panda 2 comes out. And that’s soon. Ugh.

Besides Jack Black, there were some decent actors in this film. Jason Segel pulled off a more than decent English accent, which I commend highly. He is, I would say, one out of three actors that made this film okay. (It was only 85 minutes long, but any scene of Jack Black alone was agony.) Emily Blunt

You capture that Princess, Chris O'Dowd. You rule.

was quite beautiful and charming in this film, and, not having seen a lot of her films, this movie didn’t destroy her career. And, most importantly, Chris O’Dowd of The IT Crowd was in this film. He is, quite literally, the backbone of comedy in this film. He had more comedy in his moustache in this film than Jack Black had in his entire, gelatinous body. (And he was 100 times their size.) He was cynical, and always in the position of protagonist, and it worked out great for him. I’ve never seen him in a villainous role, but this was great. He keeps getting better.

Okay, now I should probably fill you in on the plot. Lemuel Gulliver (Jack Black) is a mail room clerk who wants to impress an editor at his work, Darcy (Amanda Peet). In order to do so, he fakes a travel piece, and then travels to the Bermuda Triangle to do a piece on the area. He is sucked into a reverse whirlpool and lands in Lilyput, the island of the small people. There he meets Princess Mary (Emily Blunt), her soon to be husband General Edward (Chris O’Dowd) and her father, King Theodore (Billy Connolly). He’s imprisoned, released, and saves the town with the help of fellow small person and Princess Mary’s true love, Horatio (Jason Segel). And that’s basically it.

Wedgie the shizz out of that waste of time actor.

I give this movie credit for one thing besides the supporting cast. The effects. In whatever way they had Jack Black interact with the small people, it looked spot on realistic. The interactions looked real, I mean. The tiny sets meshed perfectly with the close up shots on the smaller characters and the set uses were interesting. So I give the special effects crew a lot of credit for really creating a backbone for some of the comedy. (i.e. Urine fire) So, accompany that with a great performance from Chris O’Dowd and you have yourself a barely B-rated kid’s comedy. 4.4 out of 10.