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Crunching the Numbers (Bloodsport Vol. 5: The Bloodening)

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    It begins.Request 2 films made by OTHER PLAYERS. You can request films you think are great and want loved, films you think are bad and want ass-whupped, or films you haven't looked at yet and want me to make up your mind for you.Many will compete for glory, but there can be only one.

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    With etr requesting via PM that I review Worlds Apart, here is my review schedule (going through each person once before repeating a person):The Eccentric Minds of Belmond LaneRed PyramidBrandybrookThe Next DimensionDawn of OblivionEmpty HearthCatharsisWorlds ApartHindenburgOroGiant Spiders 2PsychonautsShiverin' GulchKiller HusbandEdward TulaneDogs of Babel

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    The Eccentric Minds of Belmond Lane

    The Hipster Pokemon

    Nature: Quirky

    Special Ability: Nonchalant Coffehouse Conversation (Drink 1 Cappuchino, +2 Philosophical Dialogue and +4 Deflect Criticism)

    Trainer: Spaghetti

    Wes Anderson is a creature of habit. He likes to make the same style of film over and over again, approaching life with a dramady mindset and an irreverent attitude. Most of the time, it's just like if saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." The Eccentric Minds is more like "it ain't broke, but we'll make it even better anyways." Anderson's film here is his best work since The Fantastic Mr. Fox and centers around an unlikely friendship between two unlikely neighbors who have a pair of unlikely personalities. Owen Wilson conveys his usual affable charm and poise into great fun as John Jones, a guy with little in his world beyond the couple friends he has and who finds a new lifeline with Emma Watson's radiant Elizabeth. The two never have any of those silly romantic feelings but instead form a close bond over a deeper, more meaningful connection. The rest of the ensemble cast is solid and provides subperb witty timing most of the time and the plot navigates around Anderson's usual themes but never falls into cliche. I would have liked to see a little more development for Paul Dano's character, but otherwise I can't find something to quibble about. It's a bright and zippy film that avoids being too earnest but will still give you a big smile on your face.

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    The Red Pyramid

    The Stalling Pokemon

    Nature: Sloth

    Special Ability: Bricks and Mortar (Add 10 minutes of running time, +2 content, +2 unnecessary details, +10 audience sleepyness)

    Trainer: Alpha

    I found The Red Pyramid to be a real slog to go through, even though the actual premise and story path was simple and without that much point-to-point travel. Then I found out the running time was 164 minutes and I completely understood why. There is absolutely zero reason why this film should be close to 2.75 hours long because when it comes down to it, the narrative in the film was pretty simplistic, the film just stretched things out far longer than they needed to be by elongating a sequence here, adding an obstacle as a plot point there, it just plain ol' padded out the run time when it just didn't have to. The main cast is engaging enough with Jaden Smith and Chloe Moretz both having the skill. The rest of the ensemble is kinda strange, the film throwing out a bunch of fairly big-name actors and actresses for what are essentially 10-15 minute roles at the maximum, it's sort of a waste of budget which shows when the setpieces don't quite as look as thrilling as they should. The action setpieces feel kinda strung together, in part because of the long running time elongating them or placing one after the other. In all, The Red Pyramid is a film that essentially handicaps itself by cramming too much running time in not enough story and throwing in a kitchen sink's worth of major names that reduce available budget.

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    Brandybrook

    The Potty-Mouth Pokemon

    Nature: Anti-PC

    Special Ability: Shock Jock (Uses a racially/socially/politically/etc insensitive joke, +5 support from Seth McFarlane fans, +5 controversy, +5 media coverage, +10 effect on film's quality [good or bad effect depends on the quality of the joke])

    Trainer: Hiccup

    Brandybook is a bold film, a daring film, a courageous film. It is a film that casts social and political courtesies to the sidelines and sets out to explore the depths of insensitivity. It has chutzpah, it has balls, it has guts.

    It also sucks.

    I give credit where credit is due and Brandybook deserves plenty of credit for taking plenty of risks and not shying away from controversy. But, that stuff only works if it is done well, which it ain't here. The jokes usually border on stale or hokey, aiming for the cheap shocks and the cliche stereotypes far more often than not, failing to bring something novel to the table. One joke is a word-for-word ripoff of the "seamen" joke from South Park's "seapeople" episode, which gives the film negative points, lots of them. The story is bifurcated, with a North Pole adventure plot and a domestic bored housewife plot. The first of the two has some laughs and some energy but bogs down with recycled jokes and amatuerish shock attempts. The second of the two plots is just plain uncompelling and dull, with about 1000 lesbian/gay jokes and nothing else as bored cartoon wives mill around spying on women they think are lesbians and their odd "son." There are a few jokes in Brandybook that hit the mark sure, but far more often you'll be groaning in dismay.

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