Wednesday, August 24, 2016

DVD Movie Review #190 Where to Invade Next

I must admit that I like Michael Moore. If you have looked at this Blog’s origins you can probably tell this. I try my best to not discuss political leanings and in this case I will try and keep it to a minimum…though with difficulty. I have enjoyed pretty much all of his documentaries but two: Capitalism A love story due to it being sloppy and Slacker Uprising for being boring. Suffice to say as these were the last two entries in his documentary features I was a tad Leary about this one. I do really like his other work, however, with from all of his other documentaries to his TV series his fun tongue and cheek approach is a great one for entertainment and absorbing information.
This movie starts off by putting out the point that our Military uses too much of our country’s budget and his solution is to withdraw our troops and he himself will go on a journey of Conquest for America. During this documentary Michael Moore sets out to different countries in the European and Middle Eastern areas looking at different parts of their systems that function well and then he plans on planting out flag and taking the info back to the United States for implementation.

Michael Moore was in good form with this documentary. He had a stable narrative and it worked without him using the same old gimmicks that he had used in the past. He wasn’t harassing people, he wasn’t pulling odd and garish stunts it was just straight up narrative. His examples were compelling and in truth the point came through well. I mean when I was done I couldn’t help but feel like we were much less of a country than those shown. Are we the savages? This is the question that I was meant to ask myself in the end. It turns standard things that we all think we know and turns it on its head, such as the concept that all majority Muslim countries cannot be secular. Michael Moore is also good at using humor and his innate charm. This packaged together with nice scenic shots and cultural exposure make this a good film overall to watch. If you watch this film the right way you can actually see not only the greatness of the founding ideas of the United Stated but a message of optimism for the future. 

Of course let’s get to the points that make a Michael Moore film harder to watch. If you are a “Conservative” you will not like this film as it goes over concepts related more to socialism and at times bends the facts to get there. Michael Moore is like a bull charging forward and never looking back. He grabs an idea showing you the good points then runs past before fully fleshing them out. A good example in this case would be Finland where he reported on the school system being the finest in the world, it also is high on the world bar in unemployment and suicide. I feel that the analysis is one that only touches the surface that there is no depth there and this can be an issue. There is also that almost anti-American sentiment to this if you cannot tilt your head in the right direction to see it just right (and you won’t if you are of the ideology above). This film is not for everyone and because of the narrative itself it is not one I would recommend to “Conservatives” and would want to sit in with any independent to better help point to them the nuances I saw from my own experience.
This is a pretty solid overall documentary for Michael Moore. He has improved since his last few attempts but this is still a case of speaking to the choir and is not one that could easily be used as an outreach. Never the less it is a fun ride so if you are “progressive” in your leanings or are an independent that has a friend that is “progressive” check this out you will likely enjoy it.

Rating:     6/10

Thursday, August 18, 2016

DVD Movie Review #189 The Night Owls

Hello all and welcome to another one of my Movie reviews. This time I have the opportunity to review a special treat. I am a movie collector (in case many of you haven't guessed) and I had been curious about finding those with a like mind and ran into a two major Movie Collectors on Youtube. One was Coolduder (Visit his Channel Here) through him I started to watch a friend of his Wetmovie1 (Visit and Support his Channel Here). The fact I love movie collecting and that his channel is just fun to watch made this worth the time. Recently on his feed I learned about the his short film series "The Night Owls". I love short films and I really enjoy low budget short films so I jumped at this right away as I knew it would be a treat for me. Well lets jump in and see what we have.
The Night Owls is a series of short films with Brendan Mitchell and a wide selection of people in his group of contacts that for the most parts follows them having fun and adventures around South Cal. During these adventures they have to escape detention, track down rare movies and even the hard to find Bambi Porno. Along the way get get treated to several famous guest appearances as well as to the backdrop of a time when movie stores were still holding on and the digital age had yet to take hold.
As always I will start with what I liked about this series. I really enjoy low budget feature films and short films. There is a charm and heart to them that you rarely can get out of big budget feature that at times fly far away from the hearts and minds that conceived them. When watching these films you almost feel as if you are right there with them enjoying the night kicking back and waiting for the next thing to come by. I can say that the episode where they are looking for the Bambi Porn has got to be my favorite by far. I love the music that was lovingly used in this series as well. You could tell that there had been a great deal of thought and selection used from what went on in the background (such as the homage to The Breakfast Club in Episode 1)  or just some of the fun tunes that appeared during the credits that brought you back to that time. Finally there were places when the acting shined through, any of the scenes with Liz Mitchell pretty much lit up the film with high energy, I can also say I was surprised to find that there were several guest stars such as Ron Jeremy in one of the episodes.
Of course if I were just to talk about the good points then this wouldn't be a review it would simply be me patting the filmmakers on the back saying how awesome they are. There were some low points to this that I felt could have shown improvement. The first issue is that some around my household found that the content could get a little raunchy at times. This is not a terrible point as people who like humor from Kevin Smith Movies shouldn't have any problems here. I did also have some problems with the transfer. The video shot I felt suffered from the Blu-Ray Transfer some and would come across as grainy at times where it probably wouldn't have on DVD (I got the same from the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). The other issue is the sound quality. The music dubbing was great but the volume was worlds louder than the conversation which lead to me keeping a grip on the remote's volume button.
With those issues aside I have to say that for a set of low budget features this was very well done and quite and enjoyable experience for me. I hope that those lucky few in my audience who get to see this film as I will continue to advocate for it and those like it.

If you would like a copy of your own please visit their site at:
These types of films tend to sell out quickly and are made in limited amounts.

Rating:   7/10

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

DVD Movie Review #188 Sailor Moon Crystal: Season 1

I have watched Sailor Moon for a long time. I originally got into it back in the 90s as my first every acknowledged anime series. I had worked hard to get hold of the ADV releases of the series and was saddened when I knew that Sailor Stars wouldn't make it to the shelves and had to do with a poorly subtitled Chinese Bootleg copy. When I heard the news that not only Sailor moon was going to be re-released in Region 1 format and that it would go all the way It was great! Then they released the news that much Like with Dragonball Kai and Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood it was going to have a closer to the Manga New Series. I did this review originally on and had to greatly shorten it due to restrictions not applying here. I now have the release and here is the review of Sailor Moon Crystal Part 1.

Usagi is your typical clumsy and intellectually impaired Japanese school girl. Chance had it that a magical cat from the moon fell into her lap and informs her that the Earth is in danger because and Evil Queen wants to burn it all down. The girl decides to fight the evil (or at least it is decided for her) and now she will fight the evil doers as the fabulous Sailor Moon.

This series does have a lot of good points to it. The art style takes a little getting used to but for lovers of the manga the style is spot on. The original look is that whispy nature that we know so well from the Sailor Moon and Sailor V Manga. The story is also much truer to the Manga than the original animated series and this is another nice nod to the fans. Finally the voice acting is spot on yet again for such a series. The voices were picked appropriately and there are a few nods to the original therein. The Music was ok overall and the theme was enjoyable.
Season III v Season I

Much like the series title character Usagi this series gets up late for school takes off running and then falls flat on its face. There are many issues I have with this portion of the series but it comes down to two areas: The Art and The Story. The art for the series while Manga appropriate was kind of poorly animated. It is jerky at times and you can see where the lack of money is. The computer animation is abysmal and I have a hard time every time I sit through the transformation sequences. I had expected better of this series in this regard but I guess more money is needed for perfection. The story is also a problem. It is very much like the Manga but it is as if they decided to tear a lot of important character development out in exchange for getting through the first arc in 12-14 episodes. This makes development rocky and leaves the scouts to little if any personality. The story was also rushed so you really didn't get the buildup needed. The original series may have had its flaws but on all points it was better in the end than this one.

This is the start of a new but long lasting series. I have been watching from the beginning and the series is now in its 3rd season. I can tell you that these mistakes while terrible have served as a learning curb for the creators and the series has improved dramatically with the 2nd season being around even with the original and the 3rd thus far coming out even better. Stick with this series don't let this season get you down.

Rating:  6/10

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

DVD Movie Review #187 Evil Bong High-5

I have enjoyed this series for a while...well at least up through the 3rd movie anyhow. When I found out that they actually had a 5th movie on Hulu I had to watch it and when I saw it on DVD I had to buy it and then I actually DID watch it. Of course now I have managed to add it to my collection and it again comes to another Evil Bong review...lucky me :)
Welcome to Bong World. When we last left our heroes they lost their topless bowling ally and where dropped head first into the bong world. This is a world of sleazy women, twister and so much pot to smoke your head will explode. Ruling over this is the Evil Bong herself, hoping to get enough people trapped there that she can become powerful enough to rule the world. When she see's her plan is a tad flawed as all she has is a Gingerbread Killer, an Old stoned out pothead a total Jerk and their two female protagonists (bimbo and smarter girl). While trying to find a way out the Jerk, Pothead and puppet make a deal in order to sell the magical Bong Spice so that the Evil Bong can become rich and rule the world. The rest of the movie is dedicated to their quest to sell pot to the odd and sometimes disturbing parade of characters that come their way.
I have to say I enjoy bad films. Evil Bong is one of the line of films in the "purposefully bad horror genre" cemented long before the Sharknado series showed its many toothy heads. Both of the properties of Evil Bong and Gingerdead man are great and if you ever can get in to see the original trilogies both have to offer. This particular movie is a tad better than Evil Bong 420 which was an aimless expanse into nothing much like a bunch of people smoking up in their smelly apartment. This movie reminds me a lot of the 3rd film and even seems to share the same film space. The cast of characters isn't new and it is fun to see them in action this time with a purpose, even if vague. Oddly enough I love the music it is fun and enjoyable helping you get into the relaxed vibe of the film overall.
I kind of feel that these films have taken a step down since Gingerdead Man Vs. Evil Bong. I have to wonder when I see these films what their purpose is. It seems like this film series had hit its stride and now it is just kind of laughing at itself (much like that same group of potheads in their apartment). I could see a lot of the same mistakes made by the last film such as lack of direction. Unlike the 4th film there is a plot point in the beginning and in the end but in the middle it is pretty much them messing around with the strange cast of people that they always mess with or at least from the time they started the 4th film. I know that the acting would normally be a point but with a series like this bad acting just comes with the territory.
 In the end this is another movie in a series that sadly should have ended after the third film. Of course lord knows we will all meet again with Evil Bong 666.

Rating:  4/10