SERIES REVIEWS: MARVEL’s Jessica Jones

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When MARVEL said they were making a Jessica Jones series the first thing that goes through your mind is… who? Oh she’s Luke Cage’s wife… not to be sexist about it, just honest. Despite the success of the character’s solo miniseries she’s not what can be considered as a consequential character compared to the rest of the Netflix division. Against the success of Daredevil the expectations where important. And the question about what could the series offer under the shadow of its predecessor (and of its source material) was big. From the beginning there’s a tone familiarity to what made DD great. There is a more dramatic and focused scenario for a “superhero” story, as opposed to the flamboyant film entries. Nevertheless, the initial pessimistic reaction to the first chapter was “I hope they don’t focus only on Killgrave”… well they did, and that became the source for most of the series’ issues: monotony. The series is too lineal and doesn’t reach out enough as to fill its potential premises. Topics such as Jessica’s past, the underground world of powered people, Trish’s identity struggles etc. The overall feel of the series suffers and feels frustratingly limited.

Let’s discuss some of the issues deeper.

Character development: besides Jessica, and occasionally Trish, most of the characters in the series are monotonous and merely practical. Even Luke Cage is portrayed in an introductory manner. The supporting cast doesn’t fair any better. Some of them are terribly underdeveloped. The series is so focused on Killgrave that nobody has a chance to turn into anything but plot devices. Unlike DD where even the “bad guys” grow and expand (remember what a great character was Wesley?). Even Jessica herself, when compared to the origin material, lacks the reconciliation aimed by the comics. Killgrave is meaningful to the character; but Jessica’s “trauma” feels unrelated. The symbolism of Killgrave as an “ethical” stain on Jessica’s superhero life, which gives the relevancy to the relationship, does not exist in the series. It is replaced by classic TV drama.

HEROICS: we might as well forget that Jessica Jones is a series about a superhero. The role of this element is so downplayed that becomes nonexistent (besides the door opening). Regularly this would be an OK issue; meaning we don’t need the superhero theatrics in ALL of the MCU’s products. But for Jessica Jones its absence takes away not only the fun “fantasy-ish” action, that I do think is required but, more importantly, one of the attractive characteristics of the character is lost. The contrast between superhero and victim that the comics rely doesn’t have the same impact in the series. The characters, which without the heroics, follow regular drama series tropes. In comparison, Daredevil, even though it wasn’t that fantastic, gave great attention to the development of the character’s alter-ego. Which translated into great action pieces and impactful emotional growth. In the comics, the “harsh” and “broken” personality of Jessica is in fact born out of a reaction to her powers (or the failure to live by them). Whether it be about their source (i.e. her family’s accident and history) or how they are related to her “failure” as a hero; which culminates with her time as Killgrave’s captive. Overall, there were her powers that affected her personality and future.

Everything “down to earth” about the character’s story in the comics has its origins on her brief superhero career. Which made her struggles relatable despite the fantasy. Plus more interesting due their fantastic nature. The nonexistent nature of this “heroic” factor downplays the impact of the series leading character, and from there, of everything else.

Jessica Jones is by no means a bad series. It has high production values and quality; great photography and settings; strong performances by its leads; and, as a regular TV drama, it’s well written. But it fails to becoming something “special” due to its lack of general heroics and fantastic elements. What we’ve come to expect from Netflix are dramas that use the MCU’s setting for making its contents stand out; to use the fact that superheroes/villains are involved as a platform to create situations that could only occur in such a fictional world.

 

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MOVIE REVIEWS: Nymphomaniac

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I’ve always been critical about sex scenes in movies. Their message is rather clear and never goes beyond the fact. The length of these scenes always makes you wonder wheter they are, at all, an addition to the rest of the movie’s message. That is of course unless the the sex scenes are the point of the movie… isn’t that porn? well… An innocent trip to Netflix lead me to Lars von Trier’s “Nymphomaniac”. A movie that held more appeal for its polemics rather than the movie itself. Adding that to the director’s reputation I said why not, I got the FIVE HOURS to spare.

Nymphomaniac” tells the life story of a woman named “Joe” who self proclaims as a Nymphomaniac (a Sex Addict, depending on what part of the movie you’re in). The story begins when she meets a loner hipster called “Sligman” that founds her badly beaten up in an alley. The narration begins after he “rescues” her and takes her to his apartment where she begins to tell him her life through several stories; what she hopes that will demonstrate the point that she’s a “despicable person”. As an avid reader and aspiring pseudo intellectual Sligman tries to counter argument each of Joe’s points by putting them into perspective and making comparisons between her life and different types of theories, ideas, stories, or simply anecdotes out of a long list of humanity’s intellectual developments. For 5 hours, they go back and forth and from story to story. Is the content an imagery of the movie as imple as this description? Yes and no. Not to pretend any ambiguity, but to honestly call it as I saw it, as a movie that is a constant contrast between possible “high end” reflections and straightforward shock therapy.

The movie can be surprisingly mono thematic; overly dramatic and redundant on its grim decadent arguments. After more than a couple of hours, the movie’s set-ups become very predictable. Yet, at the same time, the movie makes an effort to be interestingly complicated and highly interpretative by its raw approach to the proposed situations. The role of Sligman’s character breaks the redundancy and gives the movie some contrasts and perspectives and, as good movies should, put the viewer in the role of interpreters. The crude nature of the movie’s imagery doesn’t allow for explicit readings from its scenes; therefore, it plays an interesting trick by leading the viewer through Sligman and, ultimately, using different layers of speech to challenge our own.

The movie can step beyond the boundaries of good taste and become pretentious in more than one occasion by exaggerating unnecessary moments. Also, it will certainly overexert its grim tone beyond what I would consider necessary. Nevertheless, it  never does stop its commentary and discussion and, after all, I get the feeling that the lack of humility in the movie’s presentation was intentional. The explicit nature of its visuals for a span of 5 hours cannot goes beyond pornography and probably “Art”.

We reach the initial question of: does the movie’s explicit sexual depictions make sense? short answer: yes and no… again. The sex-scenes work as openers for the discussion in between. Their shocking nature by itself immediately conditions the viewing experience. Is impossible to approach it without asking oneself: is this just a porno? By the time you get to actual dialogue, the discussion becomes actually enjoyable. I always thought that the communicative effort behind sex scenes on a movie were straight forward. Communication: a message and a common code. But the movie clearly wants to do something else with its code… at first glance it doesn’t seem to be speaking the same language throughout and that’s an issue. The pornographic imagery does not belong with a discussion on sexuality, excesses, mental health, and the human condition… but it works.

The downside of the movie (and probably one of its strengthens) is its length. There comes a point in the whole enterprise that it becomes exhausting. As mentioned before, the movie’s plot relies heavily in the redundancy of its argument, in order to emulate the psychological excesses of the mental disease it represents. For good or bad, these excesses can take their toll in one’s own mind. Overall the imagery of the movie is a great and smartly used tool for conveying a message. It is simplistic to dismiss it as “just porn” because it isn’t. It’s a cleverly crafted, yet eccentric, setting for a challenging story. Ultimately, if you have ever watched porn… you’ll know this is not it. That’s the place you want to approach this movie; that awkward guilt between your private sexuality and the public space. Imagining that the sex being shown it’s safe inside the screen; that it cannot touch you beyond its fiction, is an illusion. The illusion of privacy that probably created hyper-sexuality in the first place.  In the end the process of being subjected to visual a stimuli of such caliber, and then being treated to an idea that doesn’t achieve the same level of intensity, is kind of a letdown… if you see the movie you’ll get it.

In conclusion. “Nymphomaniac” is an interesting communicative experiment that tests the boundaries of the visual medium as well as the sanctity of film. It’s intense and raw without wasting its opportunity to tell a human history that manages to touch subjects that range from basic human needs as sexuality; the socialization of human beings; freedom of gender and of act; reflections about the human soul; the “grayness” of life (a favorite for the director); among so many other topics you can come up during its WHOLE 5 hours of runtime. The film is not a without issues. It suffers from self exhaustion and redundancies, and some thin argumentative lines that are left unexplained and left to their own grimness. It’s a challenging film, and totally worth the trip; it will guarantee that your brain will keep going for a while, you can be sure of that.

 

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RANT: ALIEN 3 SUCKS

So I made the exercise of watching all the ALIEN movies in one sitting. Of all them the one I was looking forward the most was ALIEN 3; because after all of this years I still hate it. Now I was finally gonna watch the extended, even more awful, cut of the movie, so expectations ran high. The movie was as awful as I remembered it, but now I took my time pondering about what I really hate about it…

So, first the first issue is the abandonment of key elements of the saga; mainly the “sci-fi” elements. I don’t pretend to be an “expert” in movie genres but, if you ask me, the “sci-fi” elements in a movie are supposed to add up to some kind of pseudo-scientific-fantastic elements that have direct impact in its plot. For example, in ALIEN 1 the planet, the alien, the starship, the robot-hobbit, and everything else was involved in the plot; and were more than background elements, the story developed around them.  But in ALIEN 3 these elements are replaced for a “church” metaphor that is completely focused in the collective psychosis of its character. Its setting has the potential to be interesting but the movie doesn’t delve in it. In the end it’s the “religious” experience of the inmates the only element that matters. In the end, there are few imaginative aspects to the setting… it might as well be a prison on planet earth.

Next comes the ALIEN creature itself. In the first movie we have a back-story and introduction and the mystery of the creature in general leading us to the expecation of its appearance. As a plot point it adds content and emotions. What is the alien? What is Bilbo’s character objective? How it’s related to the Weyland-Yutani plans? How it came to be? Etc. In ALIEN 3 the creature’s potential is wasted. There couldve been interesting elements to explore, such as the possible effects that the bovine DNA could add to the mix, remembering the “Xenomorph’s” genetic combining capabilities. The point being that the ALIEN takes a backseat to the redundant script about the “experience of enlightment”; so much so that you could have any killer and have the same results. With a weak setting and an underwhelming villain, to depend solely in the ambiance created by the prison populations is a mistake. The script is boring and cliched and so are the performances; in any other “slasher” film they might be ok, but this is “ALIEN”, so where is it?

Finally… RIPLEY. How can they have ruined such an awesome character? If we consider the character’s progression from ALIEN to ALIENS we are aware on how her values have changed. From the “lets do the right thing” attitude crew-member to the “gritty paranoid survivalist” haunted by the experience, we have experienced Ripley’s evolution. From being a victim of the Xenmorph, to its rival, we have seen an upwards development of the character. Yet ALIEN 3 presents us a version of Ripley that, for the lack of a better term, doesn’t give a shit… a completely defeated and sad version of an otherwise imposing character. If they were trying to make a point that she had surrendered all hope, and the point is to present her in a state of total nihilism; it doesn’t really work. After finding out the remains of her dead friends the script turns her into an utilitarian character; reduced to being a representative of a creature that doesn’t show up until the third act. Even with Weaver’s performance, there is no saving grace for this representation of the character. Overall, the point is missing to where they were going with the character. The fact remains that it was a bad idea to settle in the sad and miserable tone that the movie attempts to achieve. It doesn’t work in paper, nor in ALIEN lore.

Finally, the script itself is annoying. The idea of the spiritual salvation that people tend to achieve in extreme environments is rather explicit and does not need the drawn-out dialogues and scenes.  The redundancy of lines insisting over and over about the fact that “we found our kind of god here” its exhausting. Not necessarily because they are not interesting, but because their portrayal is boring and redundant. Considering the script being an exposition to an idea of “salvation”, where is it developed in the movie? The development of ideas is cut short once the killing begins; and all its potential (if any) dies with the generic unappealing characters.

Even if we believe the “the movie is about the experience of personal spiritual salvation against cruel odds” argument, it just isn’t there. It was a gamble, to bet the movie’s suspense in this type of speeches. Due to the uninteresting script and bleak overall performances, the movie hopes that viewers get immersed by themselves in the movie. But, since I am expecting for sci-fi, or any franchise related developments, how can I be open for this experience? It might all be a problem of expectations, it usually is. So maybe we can think that ALIEN 3 was that, a gamble. An author’s gamble for portraying an idea; yet you cannot blame the audience for expecting “ALIEN things” in a movie called ALIEN 3… with that said, the movie just fails in every aspect.

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MOVIE REVIEWS: Interstellar

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The weirdest element of the “science-fiction” genre is the word “science”. What does it really mean and where is the balance? is it Fantastic voyages? Robots? Dystopian futures? All of the above? The truth is simple, it really doesn’t matter as long as the story holds and fulfills its purpose. Which is,  I imagine, delivering us the director/writer’s message.

Interstellar is a sci-fi movie so heavily invested in its message that its content can be confusing and overwhelming. The key is to understand that its high production values and metaphorical script is nothing but the means to tell its story. We can forget that even if sci-fi talks about outer space and unreachable (for now) goals for our mind and technology, it’s ALWAYS meant for those of us right here and now in planet earth. Relating to our present, while projecting towards the future, is something that Interstellar achieves with cinematic mastery.

Little can be said without spoiling the movie, which talks favorably of its argument’s cohesiveness. This is not a review, but rather a recommendation, a disclaimer of sorts. Since nothing I can say can summarize the contents of the movie. There’s a responsibility to warn the viewers to be honestly open minded and receptive; rather than defensive and demanding. The movie requires for its enjoyment for us to hear the story being told, to see it for its message not (necessarily) its means. If done so, stories don’t usually get as pretty as this. Technically its production values are every bit of what you would except from Director Christopher Nolan. The movie is beautifully crafted, blending fictional technologies with a realistic flair; perfectly paced and directed, with all the characteristic twists and turns of Nolan; it has an amazing and fitting musical score; and is wonderfully preformed by former rom-com superstar McConehay (?) and a solid ensemble of characters. The movie has earned a comprehensive and understanding look at its message.

The movie deserves, by its craft alone, for a conversation that goes beyond the pretentious scientific discussions that its critics embrace. We need to stop pretending to know quantum physics or the theories of gravitational phenomena and face the fact that they are not a requirement to understand and enjoy this movie.

Interstellar is an emotionally immersive story with a powerful message. If you let it take you on its trip you’ll be able to feel the emotional performances and cry along. Its language is not meant to confuse or deceive, on the contrary, its honest and direct in its approach. Without a doubt, this is  probably one of the best movies from Nolan (or at least top 3).

No matter how far we travel in time and space… we’re here, now, and that’s what matters in the end.

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Summer 2014 Anime op TOPS of the Charts (my charts)

Oh Openings. You deceitfully beautiful things; your fabulous catchy singles; your feel good vibes.

Go ranks.

Sorry if weird YouTube people make weir YouTube videos…

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Summer 2014 anime reviews: Barakamon

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As years go by you come to realize that there are certain types of stories that are worth experiencing over and over again. Not because we forgot them or we need them, but because they deserve it. Because, well… they make us smile every time.

That’s how the old trope of the “city boy comes to the the countryside” strikes comedy gold yet again and brigs joy to our very hearts. Barakamon is… summarized in the previous line. There’s really nothing truly original to signal out; neither the story nor the the characters go beyond the “wacky smiley happy characters” of anime comedies. Its effectiveness relies on its traditional tropes of the good ol’ anime comedy staples.

The series uniqueness comes from its protagonist. Being a calligraphy writer by trade, one of the most unique traditions of Japanese (and Chinese) culture, his interaction with the comedy tropes acquires a very unique flair.  This artistic professions are characterized by their subtlety and their interpretive nature; by definition, these crafts clash against the more “down to earth” and mundane culture of the countryside. It is not risky to generalize; the “Arts” have been long gentrified into a classist phenomenon to say the least. How the series contrasts the symbolism of calligraphy with the honest interpretations of life is hilarious, and the characters overreactions and contrasting personalities work perfectly towards achieving the strongest punch lines. Caligraphy’s overall input to the series comedy relies on its interpretative and poetic nature; as the main character sinks into the harshness of his craft, and the interpretative difficulties that are required to be te best at it, his struggle becomes the perfect setup for comedic relief. The deeper you go, the funniest it is when you realize you’ve forgot why you went in in the first place.

The contrast isn’t uniquely between city and countryside. It’s between the overwhelming weight of artistic dedication against the, for the a lack of a better expression, the simple things. In the end the comedy has its foundations in the difference that lays between the the “ghost” of the complexities of human art and the “real” complexities of “common sense”. Is appraising the poetry of calligraphy as hard as evaluating the beauty of the ocean? are they one and the same? probably… the fact is that, it’s definitely funny to contrast the positions involved in these judgement. Interpretation might shine for its absence on a daily life; but that’s one of the great abilities of our human consciousness. It works subtlety, so sometime, in the future, after a long life, you may look back to a moment in life and realize the fulfilling qualities it provided you.

Barakamon is a beautifully animated comedy that, unlike others, takes its time to stimulate our brains. Just enough to give the series’ comedy a unique context and also make the viewing much more fulfilling than a regular comedy. Even if you do not care enough to realize it. Happiness is that type of things that we need to experience over and over, and over again.

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Summer 2014 anime reviews: Zankyou no Terror

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Zankyou No Terror is the story of the “why”, the “what”, the “when”… “How”, and so on.

In paper, I wasn’t particularly interested in this series. Even if I felt the responsibility of watching and reviewing it, its premise didn’t appeal to me… until the first episode. The opening episode is a marvel to the senses, and it stands out as having higher production values than the average. With that introduction, the series makes an impact that is hard to ignore. It’s hard, by then, to imagine the mediocrity that followed.

The plot revolves around two young terrorists that go in a rampage so they can expose secret plans made by the usual suspects (i.e. “the powers that be”). These plans involved some degree of human experimentation and overall secrecy, enough to hold the conspiratorial and tense plot. After the introductions the series focuses in the intrigue behind the terrorist attacks and the police’s efforts to catch them.

What this scenario lacks is the necessary character development that corresponds to it. There’s really only half of a conspiracy when the motifs and the characters don’t follow through. Sadly there’re no solid or interesting developments for the protagonists nor stories whatsoever; not of their origin story, their relationship as survivors and motivations which seem to be so important to them, etc. Against such a mysterious background, and charged with such violence and emotion, the characters stand out negatively as generic and unappealing. It’s disappointing because the plot is full of potential yet lacking. It seems there was a blind faith in its thriller elements to hold the series; but it doesn’t. Without interesting characters the “detective” thriller tropes are just exhausting. Most of the chapters are overly scripted and dialogue becomes “stuffy” with irrelevant characters and exposition.

One can delve on as to wonder why there is not more development between the protagonists, who are clearly deeply connected, and their “enemy”? Why aren’t there more background stories to secondary characters such as Lisa? Who is supposed to create a contrasting role to the protagonists; developing the secrecy and conspiration in order to feel the intensity and urgency of the plot; etc. By the season’s end, it already missed with every chance of developing into something more.

 

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Summer 2014 anime reviews: Free! Eternal Summer

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Initially I had no intention of writing about “Free!” again. Mainly because I thought it couldn’t offer me anything new… I was wrong.

What I loved the most about the first season was the focus on the friendship and camaraderie that the swim team shared. It wasn’t the most unique depiction of the trope, but it got to me in every sense of the way; I felt somehow connected to the teenage struggles of growing up even when we don’t share cultural backgrounds. In particular, the sense of honest male bonding remained a very special element of the series. When the second season was announced I didn’t expect much, plot-wise, just a slightly different display of the same elements… but I was wrong, again.

Eternal Summer” took it a step further, in all the right directions. Straying away from the first season, the focus moved away from the high school drama towards the growing adulthood and evolution of the characters. Despite the fictional scenario and anime tropes the characters felt “real”, which helps creating the connection with the audience. This season switched focus towards a more personal, character focused, approach. The “coming of age” offer made by Free! is surprisingly transversal and, whether you have a “Six pack” or not, it can be enjoyed by anyone.

And that’s the main beauty of “Eternal Summer”, unlike other second parts, it really took the concept a step forward, the concept being common “real life” problems. It might seem unappealing to say that the strength of the series is its closeness to “real life”; but, in this case, that’s the key for a good sequel. The writing accounts for the characters with a special care for their growth. It feels “real”, coming from season one, that they take these paths in their lives. The key is how sound the development and progression of the character’s story lines are; achieving it is a challenge to every sequel.

Yet, not everything is good in “Eternal Summer”. The compromise of the plot choice is that the focused of the series drives steadily  towards some of the main characters. Eventually the cast becomes divided and  the focus become prioritized, making only selected story lines develop towards the end. The choice of characters that will take the spotlight is rather obvious and doesn’t help towards the lack of surprise of the climax.

Eternal Summer” is as good a sequel can be. By developing the characters in a naturally consistent (yet not equal) manner it makes their “growing up” story enjoyable. It also doesn’t forget the things that made the first season a great watch; the evolving friendships and the team camaraderie and challenge also evolve accordingly making this second season finish its cycle successfully. In conclusion it a great series, even if it is conditioned by the enjoyment of the first season. Its overall message stays with you like the Eternal summer… maybe not that long, but certainly for a long time.

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SERIES REVIEWS: “Constantine” is not “Hellbalzer”

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Anytime you create an “adaptation” of something there’s one factor that, even if you don’t know it, takes priority above all else. That factor are expectations.

What did I except from Constantine? You can’t really judge anything related to the character without being reminded of the dual nature of  history. Meaning the important difference between “Constantine” and “Hellblazer”. A difference that can be interesting to discuss by itself but can be summarized in one big difference: “Suggested for Mature readers” vs. “PG-13”. There were high expectations on the potential “mature content” of this adaptation, particularly when thinking about the popularity of “mainstream” series such as “Breaking Bad”, “Game of Thrones”, “The Walking Dead”, etc. If there was ever a time to bring the old Conjob to life it was now. Sadly this wasn’t the case.

Constantine” chose to safely traverse the grey area it occupied between superhero and horror show. The writers played it safe by, for starters, leaving behind the gritty sensual ambiguity of London; and the violence and social unrest of the 80s; for the almost traditional struggle between “Heaven and Hell”. This scenario was chosen to make the character more approachable. In the show, Constantine is just a magician fighting “the bad guys” with a bad temper; all of the ambiguities that made him the best anti-hero are gone. This is frustrating since, as fans, we know how “less than regular” the whole “good vs. evil” thing is represented in the world of John Constantine. Overall, the ambiance led by John’s eternal soliloquies are sorely missed, and so is the layers of the character.

Plot-wise, besides the “Heaven and Hell” scenario, the classic Hellbalzer origin story of “Newcastle” is used as the introduction of the character. The writers have tied Constantine’s “origin” to the central plot of the series hoping to solidify its coherence. The drawback of this is the reduction of Constantine’s world. The comic aficionado would be aware that one of the character’s most entertaining attributes is that mystique that he’s “been everywhere and knows everybody”, which is sorely missed in the adaptation.

But not everything is bad with the adaptation. In particular, the lead, played by Matt Ryan, makes a wonderful job playing Constantine. Limited by the “PG” writing, he still delivers a solid performance that maintains the “cynical wise-assery” of the character, at the same time as he performs the dramatic elements without overreaching. In the end, though, the lack of “Hellblazer” antics remains. Long time fans will miss the “fancy a fag”, the “this git something” and the “fucking soddin’”. Still, Ryan gives us some solid and well placed “Luvs” and “bollocks” for us British slang fans. Overall his interpretation is enjoyable and on point, again, only limited by the sometime annoying “PG” limitations.

Overall Constantine is not bad at all. It’s just mediocre, overly “crafty” and predictable. It loses the gritty disgusting ambiance that we loved in “Hellblazer” for a conventional “horror” one. It also misses the point in characterization and in supporting cast; both being weak adaptations of those character’s versions in the comics. And finally, the horror is lukewarm compared to what we might be used to. At the end of the day, the only thing to be exited for is seeing more of Ryan’s Constantine; and the hopes that the series has enough success to be able to take some chances in doing  something more extravagant, visceral, and perverse. Something fitting of the Character… hoping he doesn’t get stuck in the introductions.

So, this is CONSTANTINE, and probably won’t ever be HELLBLAZER.

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MOVIE REVIEWS: AVGN The Movie

It’s now a fact that the AVGN character is not so funny without the games and after the movie there’s no denying it.

The AVGN movie is more a dream project for its creator and actor, James Rolfe, than anything else. It is filled with the classic movie elements that have characterized his career as an independent filmmaker. All in an attempt to make a 30 minute character into a full feature protagonist. Shoes that evidently doesn’t fit. Besides that, the main issue with the movie is that it’s just not funny.

The plot revolves around the Nerd’s quest to find out whether the myth of the “Atari Landfill” is real or not, so he can finally put the request of him reviewing “E.T.” for Atari to rest. In the process he’s joined by unappealing, never before seen, secondary characters who just make you wish for the funnier and known characters of the Nerd’s universe. The plot’s main issue is not its redundancy, but the feeling that it’s just pointless. Unlike a traditional AVGN episode, the focus is not in the game but in the movie’s plot which, as stated, is just not enough to hold the movie. The movie fails to achieve either comically or dramatically and it makes you wish for a traditional youtube episode.

The main issue is that the whole “Nerd” persona works only attached to a GAME. The character is just annoying when you take him out of his basement or his fantastic delusions. Going to work or reacting to things like girls and other random stuff creates a paradox in what makes the character funny; namely, overreacting to videogames. Without the videogames, AVGN the movie tries to cover its absence with all the “b-movie” cliches that characterize Rolfe and his production company. Cheap practical effects, gore and violence, physical comedy, etc. seem rather tacky when presented as a feature film; and not even them can replace the comedic elements that the videogames bring to the character.

It is right there in the series opening theme song: “Why can’t a turtle swim? Why can’t I land the plane? they got a quick buck for this shitload of fuck, The characters names are wrong. Why’s the password so long? Why don’t the weapons do anything?”

The character’s appeal was the unpredictability and amusement that getting angry about something so mundane as videogames provoked; but in the movie either the Nerd is in some kind of relaxation program or he just realizes that life beyond games is not worth overreacting. Thus not having a relatable source for the character to do anything makes the incapable of delivering any comedy… either way, making the same shroud face to anything, or puking at girls, in real life is not funny; but it still is when he does it to game cartridges.

In conclusion. AVGN the movie is a niche work that may only satisfy those that are loyal enough to James or to the AVGN charater. Loyal enough to overlook  its weak characters, unfunny comedy, and underwhelming plot, just to support another one of Jame’s b-movie projects. If one watches the AVGN movie expecting to be a good AVGN episode, it will be a disappointment.

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