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The Storyteller


Top 10 Films of 2012

Posted by Tex , in Film / Shows Jan 13 2013 · 409 views

Before I begin, I must say that I've gone over this list a lot in the past few weeks as I saw Django Unchained, The Hobbit, Life of Pi, and Les Miserables and tried to fit them all in. I think I am satisfied with the list as it is now.
The second thing I must notify you all of are the films I unfortunately did not make it to, those being: Lincoln, Argo, Silver Linings Playbook, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and so far, Zero Dark Thirty. The last film in that list is currently playing at my cinema, but I'm unsure of whether I'll have the opportunity to see it. If I do, chances are I might end up revising this list a little bit.
And if I am lucky enough to see any of those others (particularly Argo), again, the stars point to this list being revised, However, with the films I DID manage to see this year, here are my top ten.
1. Les Miserables - Ever since I heard about it in October, I've been putting up with everybody raving about this musical I'd never heard of before. Whenever this happens, I truly begin to despise whatever they're raving about (I still haven't played more than a demo of Skyward Sword). Les Miserables was no exception, but this past week it turned out several of my friends were making plans to see the film, so I hopped on in. For a movie that's virtually all wide shots and closeups it was spectacular, and almost two full days later I still can't get the characters, the songs, the story, or anything else out of my head. Not that I want to. I have never once cried during a movie, but Les Miserables brought me extremely close to ending that streak at several points. Fantine, Young Cosette, Jean Valjean, Eponine, Gavroche, and even the Bishop all pushed me to the verge. This film is simply superb - when I am that emotionally hooked into a film, and it is at the forefront of my mind days after viewing it, how can I say no?
2. Django Unchained - Quentin Tarantino served up another masterpiece with this. The highlight of the entire film was Christopher Waltz as Dr. King Schultz - I can't get enough of this guy. His introduction into the film when he frees Django was one of my favourite scenes in the entire film. Don't let me get started about the mob scene with the bags over their heads. I've always loved the "old west" sort of setting, and Django Unchained does nothing to change that. Jamie Foxx, Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson all served up wonderfully cunning portrayals in a four man game of chess in Candieland. I'll leave this off here, because I can do nothing but repeat my review of the film here, and all I had to give was praise.
3. Skyfall - I've seen the first 45 minutes of 2006's Casino Royale, but other than that, my James Bond experience was non-existent until Skyfall. I couldn't have asked for a better introduction into the series. Daniel Craig will probably be the one I identify as Bond for years to come. Skyfall gives us Silva, and even for a Bond-newbie like me, I immediately recognized him as one of the greatest Bond villains ever. Silva is joyfully twisted and creepy, and when he and Bond come face to face, the banter between the two of them is priceless. The title sequence, partnered with Adele's masterpiece Skyfall (the song) was amazing, and really drew me into the movie. Of course, I could not go without mentioning the opening chase sequence. The entire film is full of tension that is relieved and built up to perfection, and best of all, I loved recognizing references they made to Bond's past and being able to notice when they did things differently (such as showing us some of Bond's past), despite having never seen a Bond film.
4. Brave - Aside from maybe The Dark Knight Rises, Brave seems like it was the coolest film to hate this year. Is Brave the best Pixar film? No, perhaps not (and yes, I will finish that list, it is coming) but that doesn't mean it cannot be an extremely well done film regardless. Merida's relationship with her mother is very touching, and I loved seeing that they both wanted to fix their relationship, and made efforts to fix it, before the incident that causes Merida to seek outside assistance. The Witch was very fun to watch, as she tried to warn Merida about the consequences of the potion (her warnings of course falling on deaf ears) while simultaneously not really caring about the situation one way or the other at all. Towards the end of the film Merida's father did feel a tad out of character, but overall this is a majestic film, and proves that Pixar isn't done making us go "wow" yet.
5. The Hunger Games - After watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, I was in a state of depression regarding movies based upon books. I just couldn't understand how you could change everything so much, and it still infuriates me that everyone loved the movie. However, The Hunger Games did everything right in that regard. There are some mildly annoying changes (why they changed how Katniss received her mockingjay pin is beyond me), but at the same time, other changes they made actually improved the movie, and made me almost wish the book had included them somehow (every single scene featuring Seneca Crane as the head game maker). The Hunger Games is the perfect start to the trilogy, and I look forward to seeing where they take it from here.
6. Looper - A time travel flick that isn't a time travel flick. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is quickly becoming one of my favourite actors, and this film is no exception. He and Bruce Willis play the parts perfectly, and the concept of hunting your own future was one that I couldn't pass up. Although I didn't think that Bruce Willis tearing through the looper workplace and killing everybody was really necessary, I did really enjoy the concept and I hope to see more movies like this in the future.
7. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - I promise not to talk about how much I hated the ending (everything was perfect until they HAD to go down the cliche "keep the audience in suspense" route, ugh). However, overall I really enjoyed my return to Middle Earth. I do wish I could actually find a copy of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy to read, but for now the films will do. The Hobbit takes you on a whimsical adventure with a company of dwarves that are all fantastic (it's a shame you don't get to know many of them, except the brooding hero of the bunch), and the game of riddles between Gollum and Bilbo is exceptional. For fans of the earlier trilogy or the books, you must see this movie.
8. Wreck-it Ralph - When I saw the trailer for this movie, I was cautiously hopeful. A movie starring a video game character, with cameos from real video game characters? All about life in a video game? It sounded like it was too good to be true. However, Wreck-it Ralph is very charming, and even manages to make several cliches feel fresh again. It was exactly what I was hoping it would be, and though I would have liked to have seen some more video game worlds (and possibly some real video game worlds, like we saw Pac-Man's), the villain was very entertaining and the romantic subplot with Fix-it Felix was very funny.
9. The Amazing Spider-Man - It felt too soon for a Spider-Man reboot, but I'm glad we got this in the end rather than Spider-Man 4. The Amazing Spider-Man goes over many different plot points that we've already seen in the original trilogy (the death of Uncle Ben, a friendly scientist goes bad and then redeems himself), but it was all done better than the Raimi Trilogy. I often felt during those movies - even when I was younger - that the acting was often stilted and awkward. There was some of the awkwardness in this movie, but the difference here is that it's supposed to be there. The Amazing Spider-Man managed to simultaneously feel both fresh and familiar, and I'm eager to see where they take it from here.
10. Life of Pi - A visual masterpiece, Life of Pi was a movie I simply couldn't tear my eyes off of. The ocean is always alive in this movie, and every animal within it appears as though they are real and alive. The sinking of the ship in the beginning was done to perfection, and the relationship between the tiger and the boy is very interesting to watch as it develops. There is a sense of magic surrounding this film, as hope is lost and gained out on the sea. When the film ends and we are presented with an alternate tale, and then asked which we would believe, it's an interesting glance into your own character. Cynical or magical? It's a choice you make.


Movies I Should See in 2013

Posted by Tex , in Film / Shows Jan 08 2013 · 363 views

So I'm trying to create a list of the ten films I'm looking forward to most in 2013... the problem is... I only know like, ten period, and I know for certain that Thor: The Dark World is not what I'm waiting for. Will I see it? Probably. But I'm not really anticipating it.
So I am asking you all for movies that you've heard of, know all about, or seen the trailers for that you're looking forward to. Then I will watch their trailers and stuff, and then I can decide what I want to watch.
The movies I know about in my small little side dimension are as follows (what I can remember at this exact moment, at least):
-Star Trek Into Darkness
-Iron Man 3
-The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
-The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
-Thor: The Dark World
-White House Down
-Monsters University
-Man of Steel
-World War Z
-The Hangover III
-Something that is bugging me because I was looking forward to it but cannot remember, so clearly I wasn't looking forward to it much
Needless to say, right now this is a pretty stupid list so far, so let's change that! Let us make me... well... less me and more movie? I got nothing.


Les Mis: Should I See It?

Posted by Tex , in Film / Shows Jan 07 2013 · 303 views

Alright, so I'm considering seeing Les Miserables. It's not an issue of money because I got a movie card thing, so I can see it if I want to. But:
1. I have never seen the play.
2. Beyond it taking place in France and the names of some characters, I know nothing about it.
3. I absolutely HATED THE TRAILER. LIKE, worst trailer of all time.
4. And yeah.
So should I see it or no because I feel like I might hate it...
...but this is like, the one movie where hating on it would be sooooo worth it.


Django Unchained - Review

Posted by Tex , in Film / Shows Dec 26 2012 · 256 views

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Dr. King Schultz, a bounty hunter, buys a slave known as Django and gives him his freedom. The two strike a connection and become partners for the winter, providing Django with an opportunity to become a lethally accurate and fast shot with a gun.
I saw Django Unchained last night. It’s been my most anticipated film of the year since I saw the trailer in July, upsetting The Hobbit. It was a spectacular trailer to do that, because I’ve been following The Hobbit since early 2011. Usually I’ll look at a trailer, and if it does the job right and catches my attention, I will go see the movie. But I never let myself form an opinion on the film beforehand. I didn’t do that for The Dark Knight Rises, or Skyfall, or Looper. However, this was a trailer that was so good that I could almost smell the movie itself being just as fantastic. So when I walked into that cinema, I was expecting something amazing.
Director Quentin Tarantino has served up yet another masterpiece – not surprising, considering that my least favourite Tarantino film, Jackie Brown, is still far better than many films I’ve seen.
The setting, the south western United States before the American Civil War, is one I always enjoy if done right. The “western” genre has also been one of my favourite genres to watch. It feels like this film was made by Tarantino just to say “Merry Christmas” to me, because it stuffs so many things that I enjoy about film together and does it right.
Django is portrayed brilliantly by Jamie Foxx, both for the brief few minutes we see him as a slave and throughout the entire movie afterward as a free man. It was very fun to watch him turn from being an unsure free man ready to serve Christopher Waltz’s character into a confident, bounty hunting partner of Waltz’s character. In his relentless pursuit of these white men, Django throws himself so wholeheartedly into it that Schultz calls him the fastest gun in the south. It was interesting to watch as Django slowly developed as the main character throughout the film, and while he does some pretty nasty stuff in the finale, he retains his humanity.
Waltz as Dr. King Schultz is a joy to behold, and was the highlight of the film whenever onscreen. Waltz has a way of acting that I really enjoy (his character Hans Landa from Inglourious Basterds stole that show, too) and I hope to see him in another film soon. Schultz shows up with some very fancy language in the beginning, combined with his own accent and unique way of speaking that allowed me to immediately latch onto the character. Although he is confident and knowledgeable early in the film, we are shown that Schultz is still very human – his German legend about Broomhilda, his anti-slavery view, and numerous shots of him being unable to watch actions taken against slaves in Candieland. Schultz is the character of the film, and Waltz did everything right with the role.
Leonardo DiCaprio as the antagonist Calvin Candie was also superb, as a brutal, conniving plantation owner. It was very interesting to watch as Candie allowed Django to talk smack about anything and everything (all thanks to a possible 12, 000 dollar deal) before the ruse was detected, and the allowances he was willing to make for Django and Schultz as well. I also enjoyed the scene between Candie and the head slave Stephen (played by Samuel L. Jackson), who had realized the ruse of Django and Schultz and reveals it to him then and there… leading to everything falling apart for our two protagonists.
As Tarantino films tend to do, the film does jump a little bit between different periods of time between Django’s past and Django’s present, but not as much as Resevoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction. However, I think it works to the benefit of Django Unchained because, to put it bluntly, the only thing that matters about the past is the whipping of Django’s wife. Once we’re past that, we don’t need to know anything else – all that matters is the here-and-now Django story. So that’s what we get. Django Unchained is still filled with Tarantino staples – blood is everywhere, we get some disturbing scenes (such as a slave being eaten alive by dogs), and people being absolutely ridden with bullets. Tarantino himself cameos as a slave drive that’s shot while carrying dynamite… I’ll let you imagine the rest of that.
The soundtrack is upbeat and delivers exactly as any Tarantino soundtrack should – by pulling in very out of place songs and making them fit. There’s one scene where we get a rap song that would usually only fit in with a bad modern comedy movie. The song shouldn’t fit into this “southern” scene at all, but this is Tarantino, and he makes it fit. However, the soundtrack also manages to fit in several western sounding songs, and let’s be honest here; society needs more songs like that.
If I have one complaint about the film aside from some small nitpicks (there’s a scene towards the end where Django shoots someone from an angle and they go flying in a straight line backwards), it’s the lack of screen time that the winter bounty hunting segment is given. We see Django and Schultz go up to the mountains, see a bit of Django training, and see his first bounty – and then the film skips ahead to spring, when Django and Scultz infiltrate Candieland. The film is almost three hours long as it is, and Tarantino mentioned they actually considered splitting the film into two volumes like Kill Bill, so perhaps cuts were made to that segment in order to keep the runtime down. That said, an extended version on Blu-Ray would be very welcome.
Suffice it to say that Django Unchain didn’t just meet my lofty expectations for it – the movie exceeded them. Where it fits in terms of the rest of Tarantino’s films I’ll have to decide later, but this is easily one of my favourite films of 2012 thus far. If you haven’t seen Django Unchained yet, correct that mistake immediately.
I hope to see both The Hobbit and Les Miserables by New Years; if I manage it, both will be reviewed.


International Bacon

Posted by Tex , in Life Dec 19 2012 · 207 views

The IB program. I'm 100% honest when I tell you I never fail to spell the second word incorrectly. And right now I'm too tired to look it up. >.<
Why I'm blogging about this I don't know, but I'm currently editing a ten minute video that isn't even regular course work for my religion teacher, and then I need to type up around 800 words by Friday in ways that must be done over several weeks.
Suffice it to say I've chopped internet time in half and I'm still falling behind. Ugh.
That said, enough breaks! I've already spent more than my designated 30 seconds on here!


So by my understanding

Posted by Tex , Dec 11 2012 · 428 views

Girls are girls
Boys are boys
Boys are not girls
Girls are not boys
Boys should respect girls
Girls should respect boys
Boys should respect boys too
Girls should respect girls too
Everyone is equal
I don't know what I am saying
amen, we are done here.
Let's move onto the next highly controversial topic of discussion!


Magic Duel

Posted by Tex , in MLP Dec 01 2012 · 169 views

I think that might be one of my favourite episodes... the only problems I had were
1) Gee, it's a wonderful lesson... on how to cheat.
2) Trixie didn't stay whyyyy


The Saxxies Sucked

Posted by Tex , in Video Games Dec 01 2012 · 161 views

Where was the Saxxy for Practical Problems? Honestly. The least they could've done was give it to Sabotage... the winning video wasn't funny at all.
Also, Story of a Sentry should've won best drama.


Name Change - The AfterWords: Preview 3

Posted by Tex , in BZPower, BZP Library Nov 30 2012 · 151 views

I have changed my name to yet another new-but-not-really-new name!
Also because I hatehatehate two entries within a close time period, the third AfterWords preview is included here too. Here Furno plays a little prank on Takanuva Stars.
“What is it?” Takanuva Stars asked.
“I’m... I’m really scared right now.”
“What do I care?” Takanuva Stars asked. “Keep climbing, we’re seriously right there.”
“No, you don’t understand! My jetpacks, I can’t control them! They’re about to turn on!”
“Your jetpacks can turn on?!” Takanuva Stars cried.
“Yes!” Furno wailed. “They’re turning on right now! You’re gonna be blasted into oblivion! Jump while you still can!”
“But it’ll be painful!”
“I don’t want you to die!” Furno cried. “Jump, save yourself!”
Takanuva Stars nodded, saluted the hero, and pushed himself off of the wall. He never knew what he was planning to think on the way down, because the fall lasted all of two seconds before he smacked onto the floor front first.
“Oh snap... and crackle... I’m fairly certain I heard a pop.” Takanuva Stars groaned.
From above there came a sudden violent burst of laughter that, after a few long seconds, clearly wasn’t going to stop. Takanuva Stars slowly stood to his feet and glared up to where Furno was in the exact same spot as before, laughing so hard he could’ve sworn that the Hero Factory set was about to begin crying.
“Oh holy Tohu, that was hilarious!” Furno gasped from above, his chest heaving as he struggled to stop laughing. “I can’t – I can’t believe you fell for that, Hahaha!”


The Pixar List - Brave - Rank 5

Posted by Tex , in To Disney, Film / Shows Nov 26 2012 · 247 views

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5th - Brave, 2012

iBrow Percentage: 90 (Revised)

Brave is a beauty, with its abundance of greens and blues and purples, and other soft or cool hues within the surroundings and the characters. This helps the main character, Merida, to stand out with her flaming orange hair. The film was one of my most anticipated this year, and I originally scored it with an 87% in a review. My reasons for upgrading it were because, during July (whilst preparing to do this list), I re-watched Brave, Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Wall-E, Cars, Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles to refresh my memory, having seen the other Pixar films at some point in the last year. While doing this, I realized that the film is just better in several aspects. The musical score, while not something I'd listen to outside of watching the film was a pleasure to hear during it, and helped to set the film apart.The animation is truly spectacular and possibly the best Pixar has ever done - the only Pixar film that could challenge this is Finding Nemo.

While most people seemed to feel that the relationship between Merida and her mother was just a redx of the one between Nemo and his fater (except not as good), I found that it set itself apart and was entertaining enough to be considered in its own right. If we're talking parent to child relationships, Brave is the one I would want to see. The firey tempers of both characters, who are both right in different ways, is far more appealng than Nemo and his father. I found Merida's relationship to be far more dynamic from the start, as well - right after their first major onscreen spat we see both of them on their own, regretting the argument and wishing they knew how to fix it.

The major faults of the film are the story and the characters. The story seems rushed and cramped - Merida and her mother are built up as the only characters you need to really care about, and the two treat everyone else (with the exception of the King and the Witch) as a mindless mob. I think the film's story could have benefitted from being lengthened by thirty minutes and giving the rest of the cast more of a spotlight.

That said, the characters are also my favourite aspect of the film aside from the beautiful animation. Merida herself is certainly one of Pixar's more interesting characters, but my favourites are the Witch and the King. The King's clueless but fearless nature had me laughing out loud whenever he said something funny, and the Witch was the same. Her matter of act nature and her resigned warnings to Merida's deaf ears made every scene she was in a treat.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on Brave, a month and a half late. Feel free to disagree in the comments below, and I promise to have Rank 4 ready sooner. =P

No more hints, but for those of you late or not paying attention, the following films must still be ranked:

Toy Story 3 - Toy Story 2 - Finding Nemo - The Incredibles

just for fun

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