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Spaghetti Kitchen: Year VII - The Reviews Awaken

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I may not have written anything this year, but you bet your ass I'm excited to dig into what you all have deviously concocted for us.

 

First off, these films are ineligible for requests, since I pre-read them (or at least promised to and/or helped in their development) and will be reviewing them anyway:

 

  • Birdwing
  • Dear Evan Hansen
  • Green Lantern Corps: Home
  • In the Doghouse
  • Miss Blakk for President
  • Plastic Man
  • Should You Imagine?
  • Toons vs. Reality

 

Also I'm reading Yang and reviewing it already because I gotta see how this shit plays out.

 

For this year, we're going to play a little game. Here's the deal: Select five films, two that you had written, three that you did not. It is okay if someone else has selected the film, since not all requests are going to be accepted. We're gonna play Review Roulette. I will randomly select two films from each request, eliminating if they've already been selected, until two films from each request have been accepted.

 

I will try to start reading as soon as possible, but for now, prepare the festivities for me.

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Posted (edited)

The Layover

The Perfect Life

Attack on Titan

The Secret Blank July Tentpole

Green Lantern 2

Edited by 4815162342
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Columbine

Lena and the Featherweights

Notorious

Love after Loving

Dawn of the Last Six

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Higher Ground (haven't posted this yet, but I will)

Megalo Box

Laika

Countdown City

Columbine

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Posted (edited)

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater

The Turkey Squad

Pillars Of Eternity: An Ancient Legacy

Beyblade: The War Unleashed: Let Them Rip

Until Dawn

Edited by MCKillswitch123

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Hilda

Scavs 3

Countdown City

Beyblade

Banjo-Kazooie

 

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Posted (edited)

Attack on Titan
Hypercompetency

The Long Way Home

Sir Thymes Time 2

 

Edited by Rorschach

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Tower of Babylon

Dual Consequences 

Megalo Box

Laika 

The First Month

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Laika

Fatal Attraction

Attack on Titan

The Ends of the Universe

Until Dawn

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Posted (edited)

Temple Run

Looping

Call of Duty: Eye of the Storm

Vengeance

Tongues

Edited by Blankments

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After my initial queue of requests, which will be done in a somewhat random order...

 

...behold the result of the random draw:

 

Spoiler

Scooby-Doo: Cult of the Creeper

Dawn of the Last Six

Starlight

Countdown City

Father II - The Resurrection

Beyblade, Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Top

The Scavenger Wars: Part III

Sir Thymes Rhyme 2

Dual Consequences

Attack on Titan

Temple Run

 

And that's just round 1. Round 2 will be revealed later.

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Tonight, I'm going to think about mustached fished while rubbing my nipples and moaning with delight.

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Dear Evan Hansen

 

Spoiler

Dear Evan Hansen is based off a show of the same name that has taken Broadway and its young online fandom by storm. It is actually one that @Blankments and I saw together last February when it toured in Chicago. Needless to say, it was as moving and powerful as live theater can be. That said, I was a bit skeptical at his plan to bring this to the big screen, since as @Reddroast;s review indicated, a lot of stuff it in can be interpreted in a pretty negative way. (Hell, the film leaves out a pretty cringe-inducing line that was in the show)

 

So how does the jump to screen turn out?

 

As a big fan of the show from having seen it live, I ultimately disagree with some of the more negative assertions, but I wouldn't call them unfounded. Your plot is basically a fairly stock story about a person using a lie to gain everything they wanted from it. The difference, however, is that Evan desparately wanted to tell the Murphy family the truth about his relationship with their late adopted son, or lack thereof, but he knows that it was one of the only threads of hope they have yet. While what Evan does is wrong, (the film and Evan himself acknowledging this), he struggles to break the hearts of the Murphys, and he slowly starts to find meaning and purpose in his life. What happens next I leave to you to find out.

 

As a whole, the show's songs are just as powerful on screen as they are on stage, though the magic gets a little bit lost in the stage to screen transition, thanks to the largely intimate and personal nature of the stage show itself. However, the cast gives its all, the standout being Amy Adams as Evan's struggling mother, desperate to make ends meet and give her son the life that he deserves without having to rely on others. There's a quiet desperation and despair, but also a beautiful nurturing and support within this role, and its stage iteration actually inspired Joan Cusack's character in Notes from the Otherspace. Hedges nails the acting aspects of his demanding role, even if his voice isn't quite as strong as Ben Platt's.

 

The changes from the play are very minimal, and the few additions are serviceable, if somewhat superfluous. We get it, you want an Original Song Oscar nomination, but it is nice to see Alana get a little more development (and also for her to not be the only person of color in the cast). All in all, this is a fairly faithful adaptation of strong, if potentially divisive, source material. I'm not sure if it'll work for some without the emotional death grip of the stage, but this is clearly a very powerful piece of art, and one that many will cherish "for forever."

 

8.5/10

 

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Should You Imagine?

 

Spoiler

Coming off one of the highest grossing (Thanks to yours truly) and most beloved animated films in CAYOM so far, Should You Imagine had big shoes to fill, to say the least. Trading some of the predecessor's simplicity for a more complex and ambitious narrative in a few ways, as well as taking on new characters, @YourMother the Edgelord is betting a lot on this sequel that promises to up the wonder and imagination of the Anderson clan's stories.

 

He can rest assured knowing that while it doesn't quite reach the loft heights of Can You Imagine, there's a lot to love about this surprising and wondrous animated feature. First off, the animation. My god, the animation. The shift of styles, designs, and worlds showcase why Endless Entertainment is a domineering force in the world of visual craft in animation. See this on 3D in the biggest screen you can - these worlds are utterly intoxicating and so vivid, something the first film had in spages and this takes up to eleven.

 

Now, style over substance is a trap most films fall into, but the slightly more complex themes at play here keep things interesting. There's a lot about the anxieties related to change, being your best self, and fitting into the world around you, and while I do think the film could have been a bit more subtle in its themes (sometimes, there's a lot more telling than showing in this movie), it leaves Kyle, Jennifer, Ethan, and Tiana to both go on fairly rewarding journeys as they try to build towards their goals and grow as a family. It would be interesting, however, if the third film allowed us to see them go on an adventure together and not separated from each other.

 

Two of the new characters, Turqouise and Smarmy, seem to draw clear inspiration from other sources, namely Spinel from Steven Universe: The Movie (down to nearly being played by the same VA) and Rex Dangervest in The LEGO Movie: The Second Part. Turqouise's backstory is surpsinigly dark and compelling, but her villainly feels a bit one note, if still enjoyable to watch thanks to McKinnon's wonderfully offbeat performance. (Her ending is a bit touching but also feels kind of like a copout?)

 

The occasional dip into cliches, as well as the reliance on spelling out its themes to an explicit degree kind of hamper the film sligtly, and you can kind of get a sense of the boilerplate plotting of the film, but you still have a deeply engaging, rewarding, and touching tale that will not disappoint fans of the original film. Given what YourMother has told me about the third film, I'm very excited to see how he imagines the conclusion of this delightful saga.

 

8.4/10

 

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Coming tomorrow:

 

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" Goes Full "Lemonade" In Season 3

 

doghouse gifs | WiffleGif

 

peter porker | Tumblr

 

 

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Miss Blakk for President

 

Spoiler

One of Marielle Heller's gifts, especially when bolstered by the brilliant writing of Tarell Alvin McCraney, is her ability to look deep into the lives of unusual characters, however flawed or unorthodox they may be, and reveal the simmering and lively humanity with her characters in a distinctive and empathetic way. This gift comes out in a big way for her latest feature, telling the story of a drag queen who dared to make an unexpected move in the early 90s political scene.

 

Titus Burgess utterly shines in the larger than life role of a Drag Queen turned Presidential Candidate,  bringing up a passionate and feisty fervor as his drag persona while giving a nuanced and moving voice to the person behind the masks, desperate to make his mark on something and feel like he can make a difference. At his side in the whole endeavor is his brother, JJ, played in an understated yet compassionately strong form by William Jackson Harper. I do think a bit more could have been developed with their dynamic throughout the film, but it overall works extremely well, building towards a climax that moved me in a way that few other films can.

 

As entertaining and sharp witted as the film is, it also shines through its unique dream like dive into Blakk's psyche as he builds his own story and gives control and empowerment to himself - the very ingredients he needs to create a campaign that, if nearly guaranteed to be defeated, will still give people on the margins a sign of hope, as well as the conflicting methods that others have in fighting for other causes. There's a lot of nuance in how it grapples with effective ways of expression and activism, and the film itself plays very strong along that front.

 

Ultimately, this is a film that fires on all cylinders and gives us a heavenly leading performance that could be a force to be reckoned with come Awards Season. A bit like Dear Evan Hansen, much of the source material is doing the heavy lifting, but Marielle Heller's brilliant direction carries it to be something truly special. You've got a strong knack for what to curate, @Blankments.

 

9.1/10

 

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