movie reviews - the final entry!

While this blog is currently still defunct/in hiatus (whichever comes first), I realized I had a bunch of entries that I hadn't yet posted, so I decided to load them in sets of five.

Wild Tigers I Have Known - Longing to be loved, 13-year-old social outcast Logan becomes sexually infatuated with Rodeo Walker--the most popular boy at school. But when he spurns Logan's affections, the smitten youngster creates an alternate female identity named Leah hoping to entice Rodeo to a rendezvous. Max Paradise plays Logan's girl-crazy best friend in director Cam Archer's lyrical yarn about evolving adolescence.

(rent) This movie was not my cup of tea. It wasn’t bad, but it was slow moving and felt very indie. It was one of those films that I think would work well to analyze and pull apart the individual scenes to see what deeper commentary the director was making, but in general it didn’t keep my attention.

The Giver - In a future society called The Community, pain, war and disease have been eradicated, as have individuality and free will. When a teenager named Jonas learns the truth about the real world, he must decide whether to reveal all or remain quiet.

(rent/buy) This surprised me. Mostly because the previews I’d seen made it look much more like a sci-fi action movie than it had any right to be. Being familiar (and in love) with the book, I took one look at those previews and threw up.

The movie itself stays exceptionally true to the book. This is one of those instances where advertising treated this story badly. There were a few instances where things were changed from the book, but for the most part those were minor and felt mostly like they were updating elements for the modern viewer. The romance may have been a little heavier, but still generally light (as in the book). I would recommend everyone give this movie a try, at least.

Nabari No Ou - Silent, apathetic, yet mischievous, 14-year-old Rokujou Miharu is the bearer of the hijutsu, "Shinrabanshou," a powerful technique many ninja clans desire to possess to become the ruler of Nabari. Keeping apathetic, Miharu attempts to reject their invitation to join their ninja "club." However, after numerous attacks, he finds no choice but to join their group as a means for his survival.

(buy) Is this a ninja show? Yes. Is it actually about two boys who care about each other and the promises they make to each other? Yes. For me this show was a good mix of character development and action. It does trudge through a fair amount of ninja politics, but everything felt personalized enough to keep the story from dragging. Miharu is a nice change of pace from other main characters, and I couldn’t help but to fall in love with him just a little.

While no relationship is explicitly stated as being romantic, there are definitely hints/leanings toward that. The word choice and levels of loyalty go beyond that of “just friends”, which makes the story even more interesting, even if it doesn’t delve deeper into the actual realtionships.

No. 6 - In a near future world, after the last great war, most of mankind lives in a handful of city states. There, for the privileged elite, life should be perfect. But for young Shion, the only thing perfect has been the nightmare his life has become since letting a strange boy called Nezumi spend the night in his apartment.

(buy) This little show is sweet, commenting on society and individuals, while also developing the plot and characters enough that nothing feels stagnant. While the boys are developing a relationship, it’s very much not the focus of the story (and I believe there are only two kisses in the whole show). The world building is bare bones but provides enough to paint a realistic picture. Definite worth watching.

Time of Eve - Sometime in future Japan, androids have been involved in every aspect of peoples lives. One day, upon checking his android's behavioral log, Rikuo noticed his android's returning times have been odd recently. With his friend Masaki, they find a small cafe called Eve no Jikan where androids and human are not seen as different.

(buy) This movie (originally a series of short episodes combined into a single movie), is cute and fun, but it will leave you wanting more. The depth of the story and the world are just scratched, hinting at things much bigger than the two boys the movie focuses on.

However, the story as it stands is still cute, sweet, and a nice mix of funny, making it perfectly enjoyable on its own.

They Were Eleven - Ten young space cadets are put onto a decommissioned spaceship as their final test. If they pass this test, their lifelong dreams of being valued people in their respective societies will come true. Their orders are to survive as long as they can with what they have. However, once they arrive at the ship, they find that their crew has gained an eleventh member -- and no one can remember the original lineup well enough to recognize which of them is the newcomer.

(rent) This is an older anime, and it shows, not just through the animation and design, but through some of the choices the narration takes. That said, I still think this is one that is worth checking out. It takes an interesting look at group dynamics, power struggles within groups, and high-pressure situations. And it leaves you guessing the whole time, but gives a nice wrap-up at the end so you’re not left confused.

The Secret World of Arrietty - When a tiny "borrower" named Arrietty makes friends with a young boy many times her size, she must also shield her family from his towering elders. But trouble brews when a curious maid starts asking questions.

(rent) This is a sweet little movie, but while it was enjoyable, and kids will like it, I’m sure, it seemed to lack much depth. There was a bit of plot, character development, and crazy villain, but it lacked anything too substantial. I didn’t mind sitting through it once, but it’s not something I’d run out and buy.


Movie reviews

While this blog is currently still defunct/in hiatus (whichever comes first), I realized I had a bunch of entries that I hadn't yet posted, so I decided to load them in sets of five.

Kamisama Kiss - Nanami was just a normal high school girl down on her luck until a stranger’s lips marked her as the new Land God and turned her world upside down. Now, she’s figuring out the duties of a deity with the help of Tomoe, a reformed fox demon who reluctantly becomes her familiar in a contract sealed with a kiss.

(meh) This show didn’t particularly do it for me. It had nice art and men drawn in a style I appreciate, but the plot and dialogue were lacking/not of interest. Some of the side characters were fun and charming, and I would have loved to have seen more of them, but I found Nanami to be dense and uninteresting. A few of the story arches were good/had potential, but Nanami’s presence (and repeated stupidity/lovestruckness/high-schoolness) ruined it for me. I probably wouldn’t have finished the show, except for obligation and snarking at it with my friends.

LEGO Batman: The Movie - When Bruce Wayne receives the Man of the Year award, jealous fellow billionaire Lex Luthor decides to top Wayne's achievement by running for president, recruiting the Joker to create an atmosphere ripe for fear-based politics.

(rent) I wasn’t too enthused to watch this movie, so I was multitasking/not paying attention. Overall, I think it was an enjoyable/amusing flick, but it did nothing in particular to entice me to plop down and watch. I think the best part was when the rest of the superheroes arrived, but it wasn’t a bad movie, it just didn’t interest me.

Fish Out of Water - Spurred by director Ky Dickens's own coming-out story, this playfully animated documentary confronts the slippery topic of homosexuality head on, honing in on Bible verses oft-cited as condemnatory and opening them to fresh interpretation.

(rent) This is definitely worth a watch, especially for queer or questioning Christians who need some help or support in reconciling their faith and sexuality. As someone who has read several books related to these concepts, there wasn’t a whole lot that was NEW for me, but it reinforced what I’d previously learned, phrased some things in a different light, and I think this is something that anyone with interest in Christianity and/or LGBTQ culture would enjoy watching.

Trigun: Badlands Rumble - In town surrounded by quicksand, an outlaw from Vash the Stampede’s past has resurfaced after twenty years. His name is Gasback – and he’s looking to cause a little trouble.

(rent/buy) It’s been more years than I’d like to recall since I washed the original Trigun series, but this felt like sinking right back into one of the bad-guy-of-the-week episodes. I was a little confused about where things fell in the timeline (because it’d been so long since I’d watched), but it was still very enjoyable, bringing back all those fond memories of why I need to rewatch Trigun.

For those unfamiliar with the series, this may be a good way to dip your toe in, but generally it might be best just to try the original stuff, as this takes place somewhere in the middle of the original series, so confusion may abound.

Petunia - Charlie Petunia hails from a family of neurotic New Yorkers and has sworn off sex. When he meets George, Charlie thinks he's finally found a guy worth breaking that pledge -- but their relationship hits a snag when Charlie learns George has a wife.

(rent) I’m not quite sure how to feel about this movie. It’s very odd and different, which is refreshing, and it’s quite the whirlwind. Most of the characters aren’t particularly likeable, but they aren’t ones you despise either. They’re all just real, very flawed, people. I have very mixed feelings about everything in this movie, except maybe the ending. While not completely realistic, maybe, it was very sweet and happy and still had threads of discord that felt in keeping with the realistic tone.


While this blog is currently still defunct/in hiatus (whichever comes first), I realized I had a bunch of entries that I hadn't yet posted, so I decided to load them in sets of five.

Kindred: The Embraced - In the dark and sinister world of the Kindred, five underground vampire clans clash with mortals and each other in their battle to rule modern-day San Francisco, until cop Frank Kohanek (C. Thomas Howell) discovers the truth and threatens to expose their secret. Vampire leader Julian Luna (Mark Frankel) must fight to hold onto the vampires' way of life -- as well as his title of "Prince of the City" in this short-lived Fox television series.

(rent) This isn’t the first time I’ve watched this show, but upon rewatching, I’m seeing it in a whole ‘nother light. pre-teen me was in love with Julian. Modern me things the clans are full of idiots (though now I’m rather taken with Julian’s sire). It’s not bad, but it will take a certain love of nineties’ television to really appreciate this show.

Outing Riley - Bobby Riley (writer-director Pete Jones) is finally ready to come out to his conservative Catholic family and stop pretending that his best lesbian pal is his girlfriend. But it turns out he's not the only one harboring a secret. When Bobby announces to his three disbelieving brothers that he's actually in love with a man, that revelation turns out to be just a sample of the smorgasbord of surprises members of the clan have long been hiding.

(rent)This is a sweet movie that looks at one man’s challenge to tell his Irish Catholic family that he’s gay and the resulting reactions of each family member (mainly the three brothers). The movie didn’t really speak to me because of the format and humor, but there were some nice things about it as well, such as the reality of how the family reacted. While at times things felt awkward and weird, there were also sweet moments, etc. So worth taste-testing, but I wouldn’t buy it sight unseen. Also, the description that comes with the movie isn’t lying...but it’s a little misleading as well.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier - Extending the saga of Marvel's The Avengers, this superhero sequel finds Steve Rogers living quietly in Washington but growing increasingly restless. So when a deadly new foe surfaces, he transforms into Captain America and allies with Black Widow.

(buy) I thoroughly enjoyed this film, although its representation on Tumblr is...a bit off mark. However, this has some great character development, awesome action sequences, and a fun, twisty plot. I think the oversaturation on the internet could really drive some people away from it though. And the fact that it's part of a much larger world (although familiarity with those worlds is not necessary.

Sex Positive - Director Daryl Wein's penetrating documentary explores the life and works of Richard Berkowitz, the provocative S&M hustler turned AIDS activist credited with spearheading the safe sex movement in the 1980s. As the AIDS epidemic burgeoned, Berkowitz collaborated on a (then-unpopular) study with Dr. Joseph Sonnabend and activist Michael Callen that cited unsafe sexual practices, promiscuity and drug use as key factors in the spread of the virus.

(rent) This is interesting from an educational standpoint (especially if you know very little about what it discusses). It was handled well, in what felt to be a well-balanced way, and I definitely learned more about the early AIDS epidemic and the politics surrounding it than I had even known was a thing before. I definitely think it’s worth checking out for anyone, although I do still feel much of it, like most documentaries, must be taken with a grain of salt.

Hetalia: The Beautiful World (season 5) - They said it couldn't happen, but they were as wrong as a stack of pancakes in a cage full of bears! The adorable boys of Hetalia are back with some new friends and a super sparkly new look.

(rent) If you haven’t seen the previous four seasons, you’re most likely going to be very confused if you start here. Hell, you might be very confused anyway. This continues in true Hetalia style, which mostly means it’s cute, chuckle-worthy, but not really substantial. There are factoids and information I picked up about history, but for the most part this is cotton candy. But for some reason I keep buying the seasons.