Birth Of The Dragon-A Martial Arts Movie That Has No Kick To

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Bruce Lee is one of the most famous actors in history and is a great subject for a film unfortunately the creators of Birth of the Dragon seemed to think otherwise. Instead of focusing on Bruce Lee the story of Birth of the Dragon focuses on one of Bruce Lee’s students who falls in love with a girl and develops a connection with Wong Jack Man, a martial arts teacher who Bruce Lee faces in battle in the film. Having an “every man” lead isn’t a bad thing however when the center piece of the film (the battle between Wong Jack Man and Bruce Lee) doesn’t include the main character of the film in any meaningful way there is a problem.

That being said, Bruce Lee in Birth of the Dragon is a rather unlikable character. He is very focused on fame and has a lot of pride. The fact that he is such an unlikable character in the film makes me wonder if that was why he wasn’t made the main character of the film…Especially since it doesn’t feel like he grew a lot between the the beginning and end of the film.

The character that was handled the best in the film was Wong Jack Man. I would have loved if he had been the focus of the film Especially since he isn’t a famous figure in the West but instead we had an “every man” character who I can’t remember the name of.

You are likely wonder how the actual fighting was in the film. The fighting was well done and enjoyable to watch. There were two main action set pieces and I enjoyed both of them. However if your main draw to the film you can just wait for the scenes to be posted to Youtube.

Though I am speaking quite negatively about the film I am not saying that it is terrible. The film just made a lot of poor decisions that the good parts of it couldn’t make up for. This is the kind of film you can have in the background while you are doing homework or could watch on an airplane and not feel like you wasted your time. That being said, I cannot recommend you actually spend money on the film unless the film is of a heavy interest to you.

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Oscar Results

So, I figured now (way after the Oscars) would be a good time to reflect on my predictions. I didn’t do great at predicting but hey, I got Best Picture right which is an accomplishment in itself.

Best Picture

Prediction: Moonlight

Winner: Moonlight

So my theorizing was rather spot on here. I will say when I was watching the Oscars I was surprised by how many wins La La Land didn’t pull in but with the winner of Best Director being announced I started to think La La Land will win. So I ended up being surprised by the results like everyone else.

Actor in a Leading Role

Prediction: Ryan Gosling

Winner: Casey Afflect

This one surprised me-Ryan Gosling did a great job in La La Land and in a night where Manchester by the Sea didn’t do so hot it was even more surprising.

Actress in a Leading Role

Prediction: Natalie Portman

Winner: Emma Stone

In hind sight I do feel that Emma Stone earned her Oscar. She did take on a complex role and sold it very well.

Best Supporting Actor

Prediction: Lucas Hedges

Winner: Mahershala Ali

I am very happy with the winner, and honestly Mahershala Ali was the person I was rooting for anyways.

Best Supporting Actress

Prediction: Viola Davis

Prediction: Viola Davis

Well deserved Oscar. I just wish her speech was a little more structured than it was. Even so, she had one of the three most memorable speeches of the night.

Best Animated Film

Prediction: Zootopia

Winner: Zootopia

A good choice in a year of great animated films.

Cinematography

Prediction: La La Land

Winner: La La Land

Lets be frank here: La La Land was, from the beginning basically guaranteed to win this and the music categories.

Best Costumes

Prediction: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Winner: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Reading more into the costumes from FBWFT I was impressed about the thought process that went into the material and color selection for the costumes. With that in mind I am even more happy than before about the HP movies series getting its first Oscar win.

Directing

Prediction: La La Land

Winner: Damien Chazelle

The more I come to understand about La La Land the more I feel Damien Chazelle put his heart and soul into this film. I have not seen any of his other films but I have the feeling that from now on he will be one of the most sought out directors in Hollywood.

Best Documentary

Prediction: Life, Animated

Winner: O.J

A correction from my previous post. Life, Animated is not an animated film like I thought it was. As I had not seen any of the films in the documentary category I went off of a general understanding of the films to select who would win. That being said, I would of never expected a movie about O.J to ever win. I will say that the speech which was given when receiving the award made me feel a little better about the win though.

Best Editing

Prediction: Arrival

Winner: Hacksaw Ridge

I was generally surprised by how many wins Hacksaw Ridge received. I stick by that Arrival should have won.

Best Makeup and Hairstying

Prediction: Star Trek Beyond

Winner: Suicide Squad

Though Killer Croc’s makeup was quite impressive, I think Start Trek did a better job in making interesting designs. Also, the idea that the DCEU won an Oscar before MCU is really strange.

Best Score

Prediction: La La Land

Winner: La La Land

Not surprising. Though I honestly don’t think the score was the best from the nominations.

Best Original Song

Prediction: Audition

Winner: City of Stars

Though not my favorite song nominated, I was pretty sure La La Land was going to win in this category. My selection of Audition was arbitrary.

Best Production Design

Prediction: La La Land

Winner: La La Land

Called it!

Best Animated Short

Prediction: Blind Vaysha

Winner: Piper

Piper is adorable but I feel it deserves an award for visuals more than story. Still, I can’t hate that it won. It’s just so cute.

Sound Editing

Prediction: La La Land

Winner: Arrival

I am happy Arrival got an Oscar… I just wish it was in one of the main categories. It is a great movie I feel that it was robbed of the recognition it deserved.

Sound Mixing

Prediction: Rouge One

Winner: Hacksaw Ridge

I don’t really have a strong opinion on this.

Visual Effects

Prediction: Kubo and the Two Strings

Winner: The Jungle Book

I stick by that Kubo and the Two Strings should have won BUT The Jungle Book was a good choice. Though I only felt the animals looked real in one scene, the backgrounds were amazing.

Oscar Predictions…

…Basically doing this as last minute as possible but lets have fun with this. I will make this brief and in an hour  you can see how wrong I was. Lets go!

Best Picture-Moonlight

Well, the obvious choice is La La Land but I have noticed that for the past few years the favorite to win usually ends up losing so I am going to bet on the movie that does most of the usual Oscar nods besides La La Land: Moonlight.

Actor in a Leading Role-Ryan Gosling

The winner of the night-even if it doesn’t win best picture-will be La La Land. Ryan Goling did a great job in the movie and I don’t think the Oscars are going to reward that.

Actress in a Leading Role-Natalie Portman

I always feel that if a picture is not nominated for best picture but gets a best actor nomination that its for a good reason. Emma may end up winning for La La Land but I think Natalie’s portrayal of Jackie might just be able to win out.

Best Supporting Actor-Lucas Hedges

Honestly, I would prefer Mahershala Ali to win but I think Manchester by the see is going to pull of a win.

Best Supporting Actress-Viola Davis

She has been nominated for best supporting actress in the past and with Fences I think she is going to be able to win her self a statue.

Best Animated Film-Zootopia

With all the buzz Zootopia has gotten and the winning streak Disney has been on I think the winner is obvious.

Cinematography-La La Land

Though Silence is a good contender, La La Land is going to win this one I am certain.

Best Costumes=Fantastic Bests and Where to Find Them

I know this is a long shot but I really do feel the film should win.

Directing-La La Land

Theoretically it would make sense for best directing to go to the Best Picture winner but I do thing the choreography does give La La Lnd and edge over Moonlight.

Best Documentary-Life, Animated

Again, bias over reality talking here, but I do feel that an animated film takes a huge amour of effort and what was accomplished with Life, Animated makes it a worthy winner of this category.

Best Short Subject Doumentary-Unknown

I am unfamiliar with all of these shorts. Next.

Best Editing-Arrival

This something that I am usually not impressed by. That being said, Arrival really did impress me.

Best Foreign Language Film-Unknown

Though these movies might be great, I am not familiar with any of them unfortunately.

Best Makeup and Hairstying-Star Trek Beyond

The makeup was quite impressive in the movie.

Best Score-La La Land

A best picture nominated musical winning a music award? Makes sense.

Best Original Song-Audition

Though How Far I Go SHOULD win I will repeat what I said. A best picture nominated musical winning a music award? Makes sense.

Best Production Design-La La Land

Another category which is hard to imagine anyone else winning though I will admit I am not familiar with Hail, Caesar so maybe that one has a chance.

Best Animated Short-Blind Vaysha

The kind of thought-provking story that the Oscar loves. I don’t have a lot of certainty that the short will win but it has a strong chance.

Best Live Action Short Film-Unknown

Not familiar with any of these.

Sound Editing-La La Land

Though the competitors have a good chance in this category.

Sound Mixing-Rouge One

At least I hope it will win.

Visual Effects-Kubo and the Two Strings

This film DESERVES the win considering everything which was accomplished in the creation of the film. This movie and The Jungle Book are the only ones which I can say truly broke new grounds in visual effects but considering how Laika has been a trailblazer in stop-motion animation I feel that they deserve this Oscar.

Best Writing-Fences

Either that or Arrival…Again, we will see but I think both deserve the recognition.

Please note: I apoligize for any writing errors in this. I just wrote out my thoughts informally for this. I have not seen all of the films but have seen clip and am familiar with the stories of most. I think this will be interesting. We shall see how I did with the predictions. Enjoy the Oscars everyone!

-Otno

 

Lost Alice Luke – A Flawed Entrance to Wonderland

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Lost Alice is the newest app released by Shall We Date. I was not sure what to expect from this new visual novel as the last time a preexisting property was used as a basis for a game (Sherlock) it was an entertaining addition to Shall We Date’s library but the other attempt (Oz) is one of the worst visual novels which Shall We Date has released (though it has improved). So, how does Lost Alice fair?

To start with, I have only read one route and that’s the Mad Hatter’s (Luke). Luke is a likable character to follow and has a very nice design. In fact, all the characters have very nice designs.

The characters are likable in the story. My favorites being the Red Queen and the Chess King. I am excited to see the Chess King’s route that is for sure. In addition, it is nice to see so many female characters in the game. There is usually only one or two characters which are “friend” characters (in other words, ones that you won’t date) so it is nice to have four in this story.

However, I think that the creaters got carried away with the characters. That is, they spend too much time talking rather than doing anything to advance the story. The story starts strong with “Alice” not remembering who she is and if she is not careful she will eventually lose her name. This is very interesting… To bad the story decides to drop the plot for chapter upon chapter of talking. With the exeption of the first meeting with the Chess King there is no conflict in the story to be seen until the end when the story remember that it had a plot. I understand building characters and their relations but that doesn’t need to be the whole second act!

Do I recommend the story? Well…No. At least not for now. I suspect the next story that will be release d will be better than the first batch (though I will check out the other two stoies to see if they are any good). For now, there are better visual novels that are worth your time.

The Space Between Us – A Cluttered Mess of a Movie

I saw an advanced screening of The Space Between Us and it is exactly what it looks like from the trailers: a cluttered mess.

Garner is a boy who was born on Mars. He is stuck on Mars with only scientists as company as his body cannot handle Earth’s atmosphere. He eventually is able to come to Earth with the understanding that he would need to be carefully monitored to make sure that he would be ok but soon after arriving he escapes and searches for the girl who he hade been talking to while on Mars and to find out about his father.

Sounds like a lot right? It most certainly is. There is a movie that could be made about Gardener’s life on Mars alone. There could be a movie about him learning about Earth and another for the search of his father. Instead, we get all of these elements squished into a two hour movie. Mind you , if the movie’s elements were done better this wouldn’t be an issue but most of them were handled poorly.

Garner’s life on Mars was only shown breiefly and, as a result, I wanted to know far more about it than was shown. I would have enjoyed watching Garner growing up on Mars and  seeing the new experiences of science through his eyes but by the time we see him in the film, he is already bord of his life on Mars.

The scenes where Garner is learning about life on Earth are a lot of fun. They were the best moments of the film. However, these moments are constantly interrupted with the romance subplot (oh did I forget to mention that? Just add it to the list of story elements that make this movie a mottled mess). The leads have good chemistry but its just the same old romance plot that you’ve seen in most romances.

The father storyline was the one that was suppose to have a “big twist” but the twist was one that I predicted almost as soon as the film started. Honestly, the father’s part of the story may open the most plotholes in the whole film. But since I want to avoid spoilers I won’t go into why this is.

The acting is generally good. Garner was awkward without being annoying and the romantic interest (Tulsa) was at times over acting but generally her performance was likable. Nathanial (the one that created the Mars program) is the worst however. His actor, Gary Olden is chewing on the scenery of the film and its distracting.

My final thoughts on the film are this: watch the trailer of the film and, if it seems like something you would enjoy, go see it. I know I have been harsh on the movie but honestly, a lot of the issues I had with the movie were not surprising as a result of the trailer which I had previously seen for this movie.

This movie won’t amaze you and it won’t be a new sci-fi classic (like why the release date was changed from December 16th to February 3rd as to not compete against a classic sci-fi like Star War) but it is a film with merits with solid acting and a continuously moving story. For me however, one watch was more than enough.

 

Storks: Fun for All

Have you ever just heard the title of a movie and think “that’s lame”? Well that describes how I felt when I heard about Storks. I thought it was going to demonstrate how “Hollywood is out of ideas” and “the cheesy animated movie”. To my surprise however this film was quite good.

Warner Brothers proved with this movie that their new animation studio is worth watching out for. Both of the movies that they have released thus far (the other being The Lego Movie) have proven that the studio is able to take silly concepts and make them work with smart writing and good humor.

Though this movie has a younger audience than Kubo or Finding Dory seemed to be aiming for, it does not aim so low that the parents can’t enjoy the movie. Surprisingly, in a kids movie about babies there were no poop jokes and a lot of the humor and chemistry of characters relied on the concepts of parenthood and family. Sometimes the relationships of the characters felt forced but I felt that it was necessary to keep the movie going at a steady pace. The movie was never boring though the middle of the movie was definitely better than the rest.

Is this movie one of the greats of the year? No. Is this movie going to become a classic? No. Does it need to be? No. This is a movie you sit in, enjoy but won’t remember in a year but there is nothing wrong with that. Rent this movie and watch it either alone or with kids no matter who you are with they will crack a smile several times during this film.

Magnificent 7-Review

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When I saw Magnificent 7 I thought it is a fun movie. Enough said. Go watch it.

Fine, I guess I can give I little more detail. This movie isn’t an instant classic or going to be nominated for best picture but if you enjoy action movies I extent you will enjoy this one. This is the definition of a popcorn movie. You don’t need to think about the movie but it doesn’t treat you like an idiot either. The action scenes were not the only fun part of the movie however. The chemistry and the characters in the movie was great. I could see these characters being friends and helping the town. I could see them having fun chatting and I think that this raised the steaks and made you care when something happened to these characters in a way that many action movies fail to do.

It was also nice to not see a bunch of CGI in the movie. It felt a lot more real than other movies (though the set seemed to be small). I know that the town is supposed to be small but this one felt like it was just a set which, yes it was, but it shouldn’t feel that way.

Now the negatives. The villains were uninteresting. Though the motivation made a little of sense there was nothing that really impressed me about them. I also felt that the movie needed more scenes of the characters just interacting. The scenes in the salons were great but felt rushed and didn’t give the movie time to breath as would them just sitting on the porch having a conversation. I also felt that the side characters should have had some more development. The women and man that get the magnificent seven were forgettable even though they represent the emotional steaks in the whole situation.

However this doesn’t drag the movie far. So I stand by saying it is still definitely worth seeing.

Avatar: The Search. The story everyone wanted but didn’t get in the show.

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Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of the best shows of all times. It is the kind of show that grips the watcher from beginning to end. In a show such as this it is not a surprise that the last episode was well done. Both resolving many conflicts in the show while leaving many questions and aspects of the world unexplored. The biggest thing that views didn’t get answered however was what happened to Zuko’s mom?

This was a question that was even teased in the last episode of the services with Zuko asking his father where his mother was. But we were not shown the answer to his question.  The question was such a big one that in The Legend of Korra the viewer is teased with the possibility of a reveal of what happened to Zuko’s mom but does not answer the question. Though neither show answered the question, the comics did.

The Avatar: The Last Airbender comics continue the story of Aang after defeating the fire lord.

I decided to casually pick up this series when I saw it in my local library, feeling pangs of curiosity about the truth of Zuko’s mom. Was it worth the years of waiting to find out the answer to this question. Well, yes.

The comics feel like the tv show. The characters are portrayed accurately and I feel like each book is structured like an episode from the show. Was the story perfect? No. But I think a lot of that is the result of the complexity of the story. If I tried to go into what happened in the books I would be witting a couple of pages worth of stuff. What I will say is that the Spirit World and Fire Nation politics play a large role in the story and this fact alone should give you an idea of why the story is complicated.

Another thing which I think is important from this series is the fact that the status quo of the Avatar universe is impacted by what happened in the series. If the Avatar series was to pick up five years after this comic you would like see the influence of the events which happened in this three book series. Thus this should not be thought of as filler but rather a continuation of the Avatar story, and a good one at that.

If you were a fan of Avatar give the series a try and be reminded why you loved ATLA to begin with.

Lambert-My Sweet Prince

My Sweet Prince. Such a cheesy title for honestly anything to use. And I think that this lame title describes the stories that can be found in this visual novel quite well. Before reading Lambert’s story I read three other routes. Chezem, Nagit and Jun. All of which left me unimpressed and seemed to get less interesting as I went to one route to the next with Chezem serving as the most interesting and Jun the least. Will Lambert represent a change from this downward trend?

Before I describe more details about Lambert’s story let me give you a brief summary about what the story is about. The main character was robbed while on vacation in a foreign land and was left with a bracelet which she learns represents who will become the next king. As you now have the bracelet it is up to you to decide who will be the next king.

It isn’t a bad setup. For the most part. It does seem strange to have a foreigner decide the fate of a country she barely knows but it provides a sense that the main character is ordinary and gives a reason why royalty would be interested in her in the first place. Unfortunately it seems that only one prince is interested in you in each route. This really makes all of the stories seem very flat as your interactions with other characters are very limited. Though conflict is present in all the stories, admittable in Nagit’s case only for a chapter or so, besides Chezem’s story the main character really doesn’t do much in resolving the issues. The world has no depth and neither does the protagonist thus making all of the previous My Sweet Prince stories week.

So where does Lambert’s story fall into place in comparison to the others? Unfortunately dead last. Lambert is the most unlikable of the princes which I have ready. He is pompous throughout the whole story and never convinced me, unlike the other princess that he would serve as a good king. I never saw what the main character saw in him and thus made even the character’s chemistry, something that was alright in previous stories, seem off. In the case of the story well, the climax focused on the person that had the main character’s stuff stolen and Lambert’s engagement. The former storyline was covered in Jun’s and was more well-handled there and the engagement story seemed like a watered down version of Chezem’s love triangle subplot. The only thing that is better in this story than the others is the ending .In all of the stories I have gotten the bad ending and most of them are rather depressing. This one was not that bad and felt like an ok resolution to the story. But still I would say skip this story. There are plenty of better visual novels out there to read.

A Monster Calls: Review

Just in case you don’t read any more of this article let me say this: This movie is worth seeing once but you are unlikely to want to watch it again.

I saw “A Monster Calls” at an advanced screening recently. Though I knew by the end of the movie it was a well made, well acted film I still felt like I didn’t want to see it again and it took me a while to figure out why.

A Monster Calls is a new addition to the “marketing doesn’t actually represent the movie category”.  This is often considered a bad thing but honestly I can see a good reason why this movie went in that direction: this movie will be a tough sell to general audiences.

Don’t get me wrong-this is a good movie and I am happy I saw it but its a depressing film-something that is unusual from a movie which has fantasy elements. I thought the film would be about a boy that was bullied anda tree that comes to help him deal with his emotions through brute force. Though that is in the movie it isn’t the movies core. The core of the movie is a boy that is having to deal with his sick mother. This is the reason for most of the pain and tension in the movie and by the end of the movie I dare you to not be sniveling and fighting back tears.

This movie tackles serious issues relating to the experiences that people have when loved ones are ill-especially when someone is a child. I felt like this story was more real than a lot of movies that claim to be slice-of-life. Mind you, this one has a talking tree so that’s saying a lot.

The strength in the storytelling of this film is a problem however. This isn’t the kind of story I see people going in droves to see. Based on the fantasy and the fact the main character is so young this feels like a movie that is intended for the young adult crowd but it doesn’t have the beats that a young adult movie would generally have like a love interest or a sense that the lead has a  strong influence in the situation that they are in.

I find it hard to sit through movies that are depressing even though I understand their importance. That is why I feel this movie is worth seeing once as the story is worth while to experience-maybe just not for a second time.

If you are looking for a movie to compare this to the best would be Bridge to Terabithia. If you like that movie than you will likely enjoy this one as well.