Friday, January 31, 2014

DVD Movie Review #62 Haganai

Hello again and welcome back to the bleak winter edition of my DVD movie reviews. This time i am reviewing the Box set Haganai. I watched this originally as a fan sub with the original series being called Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sunkunai if you are looking it up. I really enjoyed this series as I have a rather twisted sense of humor and had to have it as soon as it came out (meaning I got a pretty poor deal on it).

This series follows two main characters: Kodaka, a blondish haired boy who is alienated because everyone perceives him as a bully and a delinquent and Yozora a socially awkward and hard to approach girl as they discover each other and form a club to better learn how to make friends. This club becomes more popular than they first thought as they are joined by a rich girl and the schools eccentric scientist to form an odd mix of strange attempts at making friends and never fully realizing that they are a group of friends within themselves. Will they find a way to get over their shyness and strangeness so that they can become popular?

The animation is the first thing I enjoy in this film. It is very clear and colorful. The movements are very smooth and there is only a limited emphasis on the bouncy breasts that everyone seems to love in these things. The voice acting for the Sub and dub passes the course and is quite enjoyable. The music is appropriate and the opening and end themes are fun to watch and listen to (though the end theme is a tad hard for me). The characters are written to be likable and the humor is very present with even storytelling along the way. You will find yourself laughing at many points here watching them struggle to fit in.

Though the story is even in running it is sad that this ends with many plot points only partially resolved. This of course continues into another series (yet to be licensed here but can be watched on hulu). The continued emphasis and sexualizing of the characters including some of the nude shots of the main characters 12 year old sister and the 12 year old faculty adviser are a little out of taste. This may be legal in Japan but is a tad creepy here in the united states.

In the end this is not for everyone but I find the humor good old fashioned fun for everyone.

Rating:  7/10

The version I got was the limited edition Funimation release. These tend to gain value over time and I am hoping that my investment pays off.

Used:     $25.00   Ebay

New:     $36.96   Amazon Marketplace

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

DVD Movie Review #61 Kick Ass 2

Hello and yet again it is time for the next DVD movie review. This time I am reviewing the movie Kick Ass 2. I really wanted this film after I saw it in 2013 but I am really not happy paying inflated movie prices. Columbia house offered a $20.14 discount as a new years promotion and I managed to get it for around $0.54. I am very happy having this in my collection.

Well we pick up a few years after the first Kick Ass movie and our hero is getting a bit lost in his life. He decides to join Hit Girl and learn to really start beating up on crime. Hit Girl unfortunately has to start learning to deal with high school issues such as boys and fashion and of course the crew of plastics from mean girls. Of course our friend red Mist is even madder than ever seeking revenge for the death of his father forming a crew of super villains to take out the growing number of heroes in the city. 

This movie had a different feel than the original. It really did work off of the absurd type of comedy with the over the top heroes and villains. I thought that the acting was really good. Chloe Moritz is one of my favorite budding actresses and she has been fun as hit girl in both movies. Despite his change of heart and brief appearance this is one of Jim Carey's better roles it even takes a while to realize that it is him when you get in on this. The costume design is probably the best part of this film they were quite creative and the recreation of the costumes from the comics worked out quite well. The pace is very good and I find this a good adaptation to the comics. 

On the down side this is not as good as the first film. It is much darker and far more bloody and violent (if that was possible). The ramp up can turn off fans of the series. The kiss between the two main characters does kind of bother me as he was in high school and she was in elementary school in the first one and it just kind of gives me a shiver. I also feel that they were trying to market a bit on the Carrie film with their little mean girls stunt. 

Overall I am really happy having this in my collection and hope that they do end up wrapping up with a third film.

Rating:  8/10 

The version I got was the Blu Ray + DVD + HD digital copy 

Used:     $15.99

New:     $18.74

DVD Movie Review #60 Andy Griffith Season 5

Yeah we are back again with another of my vault of many movies and tv shows. Today we are reviewing the fifth season of Andy Griffith. I had gotten the original box set with the whole series on it off of Movie The box was pretty beat up but it was only $60 so I went for it. Andy Griffith Show is one of the best shows that TV has produced and anyone with a movie collection should have this series.

This is a series about a small town Sheriff that is widowed living with his son and housekeeper. He and his off beat deputy Barney go on various comedic adventures with the quirky townspeople of Mayberry. Of course in the end a lesson is taught and everyone is happy. Makes you feel warm inside don't it. Season 5 of course tries to fill the void left by Gomer Pile by his cousin Goober. Otherwise this season isn't much different from the other 4 seasons before it (see the above description).

I find this as a simple and fun series that everyone can enjoy the show is episodical with a simple format that makes it easy to pick up at any time even after long periods of not watching. The music is pretty much the same throughout but of good quality. The acting and makeup are very good for the series and the different episodes are well written.

This can get old much like the rest of the series. I miss Gomer as Goodber isn't really as good but seeing as Gomer was only a one season wonder what's to worry about. This series is something that is fun but you have to take it in small pieces and season 5 is pretty much par for the course in this note.

Again very good more of the same and the continuation of a good essential series.

Rating:    7/10

This is the version from the full series box set.

Used:     $69.26     Amazon Marketplace
New:     $75.05     Amazon Marketplace

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

DVD Movie Review #59 Maria Holic Alive

I am back again with yet another magic review from my DVD vault. This time it is Maria Holic Alive which is the second season of the Maria Holic series. I of course had to obtain this in order to complete the series. I really enjoyed this series when I watched it as an unlicensed fan sub on my old as dirt computer. So let's get rolling :)

This series starts Kanako who is a transfer into a prestigious Catholic Private Girls School. Her parents fell in love there and married and she is hoping to do the same. The difference in this is that Kanako hates men and hopes to land a nice sexy high school girl as her life partner for her perverted dreams. Unfortunately for her she managed to uncover the star Freshman Maria's little secret...Maria is a man disguised as a woman! Maria hence has decided to use her power and influence to keep an eye on Kanako and make her school years a living hell.

I really enjoy this series the quirky humor is very intelligent and a tad raunchy at the same time making for an odd but fun combination. The colors are nice and vibrant and the sound if very nice fitting the series well. The voice acting is good though I haven't gotten the version that this with the english dub so I cannot be the judge of that one. The opening and ending themes are entertaining with fun animations so you don't quickly get bored with them. Overall it is a fun and entertaining series.

The big down side is the same with the first part of this series and that is the comedy style may be a bit off putting. The stories can move fast and for people not used to this type they may be lost. The slight raunchiness of this series is the other potential problem. One you have to be familiar with the japanese way of doing things and two you have to have a slightly perverted mind to very much enjoy.

In the end this is a fun anime but not one for beginners.

Rating:   7/10

I have the regular dvd version of the series though Sentai is doing a deal this year where you can trade in for the blu ray versions.

Used:     $37.58    Amazon Marketplace
New:     $23.94    Amazon Marketplace

Monday, January 27, 2014

DVD Movie Review #58 American Pie: Band Camp

Hello yet again I am back with a fine little review of stuff I am watching before adding it to my nicely plump collection. This selection comes from the American pie spin off movie collection. I'm OCD and felt the need to pick it up. As my girlfriend doesn't care for the spin offs I've had to wait for a time to hide and watch these alone and finally got the chance to see one for myself.

This movie follows one of the main character's from the good series little brother. He wants to be just like his big brother (who is a total dick) and wants to start his own girls gone wild type franchise. He gets in trouble by pulling an outrageous prank on the band and ends up having to go to band camp where he attempts to make a band geeks gone wild break out video for himself. Along the way he makes friends and learns that he isn't a total dick after all.

Well this movie is fun to watch if you can see it for what it is. It is a simple raunchy comedy that plays off of the success of the American Pie Movies. Some of the cameos are nice such as the Shermanator and of course I love Eugene Levy as he is always fun in the films he's in. The story is passable and if you can get by the above it is watchable. (I've seen worse!)

Just because I've seen worse of course does not excuse this movie for its many poor points. It is a pretty standard story that has been tried again and again with a few boob shots thrown in. The main character isn't all that likable and I feel they tried to hard to be something they are not...good. The acting is kind of forced with many of the characters and their design is rather flawed. The soundtrack is very dated for for the time (I think I listened to this stuff when the first American Pie Movie came out) I guess they didn't have a lot of money to burn. Over all this movie makes me flinch at times with the grossness and this is not a good thing.

In the end this is a movie you can take or leave...though you can do better...really...yeah...

Rating:  5/10

I got the combo pack that they released for around $10 at wal-mart I can only hope that if you seek this out you'll get as good if not a better deal than I did.

Used:     $5.74
New:     $10.98

Sunday, January 26, 2014

DVD Movie Review #37 Hare + Guu Deluxe

Hello yet again we are here for the DVD movie update. This time we have the first sequel series to Hare + Guu called Hare + Guu Deluxe. This was all they released of the series in the united states but that's ok I enjoyed what I have of it. The good thing is that my ebay set came with it included so that is a nice and enjoyable purchase.

If you want a basic summary please see my last review of the main series. This one takes up just after they get back to the jungle and they have to deal with a whole new group of characters. This series continues the tradition of craziness such as with the last one yet is slightly shorter coming in at a grand total of 12 epsiodes or 6 if condense them as they are in the set.

Well what I liked about the last series is very much present there. This one also of course tries to end on a semi serious note. The voice acting again is appropriate and all the characters are fun. I really like the opening and ending animations here as well as the songs that go with them they are fun and worth enjoying each time. If you enjoy this type of twisted comedy you will enjoy this series.

Well again the same issues are present in the animation maybe a bit worse on the little bit of computer animation that they did. I feel that the level of chaos in this series is above what many people would like to tolerate so this can be a hard sell to some people. The story is episodic and the overall story line doesn't hold together well. Keep these in mind if you attempt this.

In the end I would compare this to series such as Kodocha and Bobobo making it a pretty odd ball series.

Rating:  8/10

Again I got these as a bundle package but am including the prices for volume 1 & 2

Volume 1
New:     $30.97   Amazon Marketplace
Used:    $17.98
Volume 2
New:     $10.98    Amazon Marketplace
Used:     $11.45

Saturday, January 25, 2014

DVD Movie Review #36 Hare + Guu

Hello yet again this is the DVD movie review. Today's subject is the Anime series Hare + Guu. This is a series I have wanted for a while and then finally I caught a break on it getting it a tad more cheaply than it normally goes for.

This is the story of young Hare who lives in the jungle with his lazy alcoholic mother. One day his mother brings home a little girl named Guu who changes their lives forever. Guu's antics are strange at best and evil at the worst. Hare interacts with the interesting characters that live in the jungle but must find a way to control the strangeness that Guu creates in order to try and have a happy normal life.

I really enjoy this type of series. It is a fun comedy anime with a delightful cast of characters. The themes are fun to listen to. I enjoyed the story pretty much until the end and it tried to gain get more serious as the story wound down yet still has that strange feeling that can be fun if you have a slightly twisted sense of humor. I think the voice acting is very good on the English dub (sorry for you purists out there but I cannot rate subs unless it is the quality of the translation).

I felt that the animation was a tad rough at times but it is something that can be overlooked. The story is a fun one that is chaotic and for the most part without story but they try to become a little serious in the end which does kind of make it feel a tad rushed.

In the end this is a very entertaining ride that I hope everyone eventually gets to enjoy.

Rating:  8/10

I managed to obtain the box set released by Bang Zoom! This is a solid box and comes with a chest hair wig for fun :). This is out of print though so the price remains quite high.

New:     $183.94   Amazon Marketplace
Used:     $79.99    ebay

DVD Movie Review #57 The Grand

Hello again I am glad to come back with an additional DVD review. This time I am reviewing the Grand with Woody Harrelson. I like the movies he is in and am sad that I was unable to get hold of this when I had the first chance. Dollar Tree had it on their $1 DVD sale. I was pretty perturbed by this as I missed out on it and couldn't find it for $1 else wise. I did manage to get it for $1.50 though and I am happy for that as this is a good investment of a movie.

The Grand is a large poker tournament held at the Rabbit's foot Casino in Las Vegas (Actually the Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas). This casino is owned by Jack(Woody Harrelson) and he is having a number of money troubles due to poor investments and decisions made while under the influence so he decides to enter his own tournament in order to try and take a chance at winning the $10 million pot for himself to save the casino. Unfortunately for Jack in his way are many interesting and quirky characters that have managed to be great players in their own rights. Is Jack able to win his Casino back? We shall see...

Well lets start with the musical score of this film. I have to admit I like the score as it puts together elements that speak to the gambling persona and the mockumentary aspect of this program. The Makeup and costume design were both well done. I felt like it was creative with the design of the different poker players leaving us with a very entertaining cast to look at. The story was well crafted. I liked the mockumentary aspect and the poker players looked like a Dick Tracy Rouge's gallery making for a fun movie that I didn't get bored with. The ending also was fairly creative leaving me guessing a little bit.  The acting was good but then again we have a pretty nice cast involved.

This movie tends to get overlooked and with good reason. I really didn't feel that there wasn't anything majorly special as I wasn't only the edge of my seat nor did I really get to identify with the characters fully. I am still uncertain if I can like Woodly Harrelson's character or not.

In the end this is a fun laid back film that you should try and find and watch as it is really a fun ride. If you like poker and good comedy then you will probably like this film.

Rating:  7/10

The version I have of this is the only known version which is the DVD. It has a nice number of features for its low cost such as alternate endings, deleted scenes and commentaries.

Used:     $3.38
New:     $3.98

Friday, January 24, 2014

DVD Movie Review #56 Unico in the Island of Magic

Yet again we are back with another DVD review. I have been in the process of reclaiming my childhood memories though things I watched when I was young. HBO at one time had gathered a rather large supply of anime licensing with many children's shows such as Jack and the Bean Stalk and the Wizard of Oz anime series. Unico was one of those series. I remember watching both Unico movies when I was little but this one made the biggest impression as the creepiest.

This is the story of Unico who is one of the world's last unicorns and therefore intended by the gods to be banished from reality for all time. The West Wind took Pity on Unico and decided to drop the little guy off in the middle of nowhere probably also destined to die. Unfortunately Unico is destined to be left in the middle of situations where the critter will likely starve to death. Unico meets an interesting cast of people and animals and has to confront an evil wizard who wishes to make a magic castle out of living dolls eventually hoping to turn the world's population into his personal playthings.

The voice acting in this is actually pretty good for the time. The sound quality on the DVD release is better for the Japanese sub though. The Sound quality is fairly standard for children's animation in Japan. The Animation quality is actually pretty high level for the time that this animation had occurred almost giving it a studio Ghibli feel though it is very likely that many of the animators at Ghibli saw this at one time. The story is very creepy to any little kid who of course is the intended audience. I also find it fairly clever going through various twists and turns with fun characters to guide you along the way. The world itself is very imaginative such as the end of the earth where all unwanted things in the world end up.

The voice acting's sound quality isn't that great when it comes to the dub and some of the voices in both can be a little grating on the ears due to the high pitch. The sound quality is probably the weakest part of this series.

Rating:     8/10

I have the standard Eastern Star Release of this film.

Used:     $13.98    Amazon Marketplace
New:     $14.09