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The Muppet Movie

The Muppet Movie

(1979)
16 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Chasing the origin story of the titular Muppets, we follow Kermit, Fozzie, Gonzo, and a slew of other puppets across the country on their way to fame and fortune. Along the way the Muppets run into many cameos, sing music, and experience many montages.

For such a seemingly conventional story, you'd think The Muppet Movie plays out like one. Not only would you be wrong, you would be pleasantly surprised to discover that The Muppet Movie may just be one of the better movies ever filmed.

As with any of Henson's work, the puppeteering is nothing short of gorgeous and the characters he's created are represented brilliantly by their charm, their wit, and with aid from the very entertaining (and occasionally 4th-wall breaking) script. The story moves at a steady pace while occasionally stopping for celebrity cameos, that I won't dare spoil. The jokes are always clever, with plenty of humor for adults and not just children.

Perhaps the biggest feat the film can boast is that it could do with puppets what so many other movies couldn't: Be wholly entertaining on every end of the spectrum.

Hausu (House)

Hausu (House)

(1977)
16 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Watching House without prior knowledge of it is sort of like busting a pinata open of live fireworks. Perhaps a better analogy would be like you and a group of friends walking through one of those cheap haunted houses.

The movie starts out horribly cliche, with a group of school friends, issues with parents, flirting with older guys, and everything you would expect in a typical road trip movie. The editing, on the other hand, couldn't be less unconventional. It shoves every cut in your face, highlighting the changes with noise and bright colors. Every transition is like a celebration of ending one scene and beginning the next. It feels like absolute insanity.

While the movie continues its slightly cheesy for the first 15-minutes or so, establishing the girls one-by-one, as soon as we make it to the Aunt's house, the real movie starts. The girls are killed off one-by-one in wholly unique ways that attributes their personality.

The movie, filled with gallons of blood spraying from the walls, kung-fu fighting, skeletons, flying heads, evil cats, is simply a joy to watch and one of the most playfully entertaining movies I've seen in quite some time.

If you like horror movies; If you like strange foreign art house films; If you like pure craziness: Watch this movie.

Ace Attorney

Ace Attorney

(2012)
16 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

I'll admit I started Ace Attorney with an almighty fear in my gut; the jist of the popular video game would simply not translate well to film. Luckily, the game has not only made the transfer to film, but it manages to do so in-addition of being an entertaining feature.

Among the stronger aspects of the adaptation is its visual style, which it uses to completely set the semi-ridiculous tone. Any fan of the series will tell you not to take the games completely serious due to the "turnabout" natures of the cases, and the film understands this completely. The giant futuristic computers set in the public courts create the blatantly silly aura Ace Attorney needs. Silly hairstyles, over the top shouting and large CG setpieces are frequent throughout the film.

Hiroki Narimiya's performance came off strange to me, as it's almost wholly separate from the Phoenix Wright portrayed in the games. On its own it's he does a decent job of creating a sympathetic character, but not one who is easy to relate to. Mirei Kiritani's performance as Maya Fey, however, is disappointing. She virtually has no character in the film and is massively unrepresented in the mass of the arc. Most of the other actors do a fine job, but none of them particularly stand out, a shame considering the material.

Ultimately the wacky antics of Phoenix Wright and his group of crazy lawyer helpers and villains won me over. Fans of the games will be delighted by the little details included in, but disappointed in the shortened narrative and smaller changes to the story and characters. Viewers new to the series should find the movie fun, but of little consequence.

Rushmore

Rushmore

(1998)
19 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Rushmore has the naive approach to life that we all have growing up, a common theme I'm finding in Wes Anderson's films. Surely at one point growing up everyone has had an impossible crush: something that just could not work out no matter what happened. I think that's what I enjoy about the movie so much. It's gut-bustingly funny at parts and sentimental in others. It's a bittersweet comedy, but it's a fantastic one.

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Intel Hollywood Star Program (July 2012 - December 2012)
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