SPECIAL BONUS EPISODE of The Unreliable Narrators Watch!

November 6, 2017 0

Friday the 13th

Tonight we watch…Friday the 13th. That’s right, the grandaddy of slasher flicks! Camp Crystal Lake is open for business again, and you’re all invited. The question is…will you survive the experience?

WARNING: the following contains spoilers!

Dramatis Personae: Chia, Chris, George…and special guest-star Morris the Cat!

george_galuschak [8:00 PM] Friday the 13th!

chialynn [8:00 PM] Friday the 13th!

chris [8:00 PM] Friday the 13th!

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The Unreliable Narrators watch…Halloween!!!

October 29, 2017 0

Halloween

Welcome to the third and final episode of this year’s Halloween edition of “The Unreliable Narrators Watch…,” starring The Unreliable Narrators. This week we’re watching John Carpenter’s “Halloween,” the quintessential movie of this wonderful holiday!

WARNING: the following contains spoilers!!!

Dramatis Personae: Chris, Chia, George…and special guest-star Taz the Dog!

chialynn [9:44 PM] Three… two… one…

george_galuschak [9:44 PM] Halloween!

chialynn [9:44 PM] Halloween!

chris [9:45 PM] Halloween!

chris [9:45] piano!

chialynn [9:45 PM] For our readers at home, I’m the only one here who hasn’t seen this before.

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The Unreliable Narrators watch…Pulgasari!

October 27, 2017 0

PULGASARI

Welcome to the second episode of the Halloween edition of “The Unreliable Narrators Watch…” with your hosts, the Unreliable Narrators. This week, we’re watching PULGASARI, a giant monster movie made in North Korea. A rice/gluten golem animated by a blacksmith, Pulgasari eats iron and grows to about 800 feet and – well, this is a movie you have to see to believe.

Warning: the following contains SPOILERS!

Dramatis Personae

Chia, Chris, George

chialynn [8:07 PM] PULGASARI!

chris [8:07 PM] PULGASARI!

george_galuschak [8:07 PM] PULGASARI!

chris [8:08 PM] SPROCKET

chialynn [8:08 PM] Flicks!

george_galuschak [8:09 PM] horse

chialynn [8:09 PM] That’s promising.

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The Unreliable Narrators watch…Lucio Fulci’s City of the Living Dead!

October 23, 2017 0

city living dead

Welcome to a very special Halloween edition of “The Unreliable Narrators Watch…” with your hosts, the Unreliable Narrators. This week, we’re settling in with a Lucio Fulci splatterfest. City of the Living Dead is the first movie in the acclaimed (?!?) director’s Gates of Hell trilogy.

After watching this movie we were all pretty shell-shocked and didn’t have much in the way of final thoughts. A word of caution: do not watch this while you are eating.

Warning: the following contains SPOILERS. And howler monkeys!

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:

Chris
Chia
George

george_galuschak [6:31 PM] City of the Living Dead!

chialynn [6:31 PM] City of the Living Dead!

chris [6:31 PM] City of the Living Dead!

chris [6:31 PM] Now that’s how you start a horror movie!

george_galuschak [6:32 PM] lots of fog

chris [6:32 PM] screaming

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Review: The Defenders

August 19, 2017 0

What does a writer who is working on two manuscripts do with a little spare time on Saturday? Well, she writes (first and foremost) and then she watches…oh, 8 hours of The Defenders. Caveat: This writer got up pretty early.

I know you are dying, DYING! to hear about The Defenders. Did it work? Was Danny Rand as bad an Iron Fist as he was in his own series? Could the four Netflix heroes work well together? What can you do in a police room full of supporting characters anyway? And what about Dr. Strange, The Hulk, Prince Namor, and the Submariner?

Let’s start with that last question first. The only thing similar to the comic Defenders and this show is the name. No, you are not going to see even the Valkyrie, who was a Defender in the seventies. Let’s face facts: Netflix was just looking for an available super hero name, and they didn’t want to go with the Champions of Los Angeles. Got it?

Our Defenders are the four action heroes on Netflix who have actually had their own shows: Daredevil, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage. Incredibly well-balanced, moral compass Luke Cage is around to keep the rest of these guys from getting killed. Just saying. Mike Colter is so cool in this show, and his character makes my teeth hurt. In a good way. The acting is mighty fine among the mains. Charlie Cox keeps up Daredevil’s edgy vulnerability. Krysten Ritter delivers again as the hard-boiled Jessica Jones. And yes, Finn Jones as Iron Fist works here. As a matter of re-envisioning, if you look at the entire Iron Fist show as a set up for this show, suddenly you can see how that piece fits into this puzzle. Oh yeah, Iron Fist has many, many problems, but you need those problems to make this plot work.

The show is not without flaws. The pacing is still off, although not as much as in the 13-episode Netflix shows. Still, some parts of the show seem self-indulgent and could use more editing to make sure they firm up the story’s movement. And yet, there might be a counterargument, that everyone gets to see their favorite supporting characters do their thing. Like I live for Foggy, and so even if his bits don’t forward the story, I’m there.

One of the things the Hubs and I noticed as we watched the show: even the villains (sometimes especially the villains) have bad days in this universe. Alexandra, played by Sigourney Weaver tries her very best to destroy New York city with style, but the best laid plans…

Things to watch for that might press your Marvel buttons: first meeting between Colleen Wing and Misty Night. Money moment scene with Luke Cage and Iron Fist squaring off to fight the Hand. Matt Murdock agreeing entirely with Luke Cage that innocents shouldn’t get hurt because they are cut out of that same moral cloth. Jessica Jones telling the story about Matt Murdock’s boxer father to a kid who’s just lost her own father. Electra finally getting her groove back.

And…in this day and age, and especially after Iron Fist, Luke Cage talking about privilege to Danny Rand AND GETTING THROUGH TO HIM made me feel pretty good. Danny is far from a perfect character, but he grows. The only way to go for Danny is up.

I miss Frank, but I understand the next series to watch for will be Punisher, so I guess I can wait. Not too shabby, Netflix.

Not a Review of Wonder Woman, But…

June 15, 2017 0

The Narrators might be planning to do a review of Wonder Woman, so I’m not going to do that. This post, instead, is about seeing one of my favorite fictional characters realized on the big screen. I’m going to have to tell you, then, about my 44-year relationship with Diana, princess of the Amazons.

My first Wonder Woman comic was a gift from my parents. It was a giant-sized treasury edition of the early World War 2 comics. I look at those comics with adult eyes, and I cringe at the portrayal of Germans and Japanese. My child eyes focused instead on a woman hero. I had been watching a steady diet of Yvonne Craig being Batgirl on the 1960s Batman, as well as watching Emma Peel in syndication on the British Avengers television show, so I was primed to think of myself as a woman of action in my pretend time. But Princess Diana of the Amazons? Well, she was different. And it wasn’t just that Diana was more brightly colored. Honestly, it was because I had finished reading the Children’s Encyclopedia of Folklore and Mythology and I was hooked on the Greek Gods.

Suddenly in my hands were two of my favorite things: Greek mythology and an action heroine paired together. After that first giant comic, Wonder Woman returned to a monthly comic. I didn’t know it at the time, but she had just shed Emma Peel like martial arts action running a groovy clothing boutique and returned to her comic book persona, rejoining the Justice League through a series of self-imposed labors, like Hercules, while her male colleagues judged the success of her completion of them. Um…missed the problems with that as a kid too. Instead, I loved the way she lassoed her costume on and off, and thought that it would be cool to be both a super hero and an employee at the United Nations…at the same time!

All things Wonder Woman were to come into my hands. Reprints of old stories, the new comics, whatever I could find. Happiness and ecstatic glee were mine when I found out that there would be a pilot for a Wonder Woman series. Unhappiness and frustration replaced my feelings when Wonder Woman was blond and the story wasn’t anything like the comic books.  But in a few more years, well, cue Linda Carter.

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Review: Samurai Jack Season 5

May 16, 2017 0

We’re just about at the end of Samurai Jack season five. For those of you not in the know, creator Genndy Tartakovsky created the original Samurai Jack, which aired for four seasons, from 2001-2004, without a conclusion. The first show was largely a series of interconnected vignettes, Jack and his arch enemy Aku the glue that tied the show together. A mere 12 years later, Tartakovsky decided to give the show an ending, and we have 10 22-minute episodes with incredibly tight story telling to enjoy.

Samurai Jack has always been on the cutting edge of animation, having one several awards for outstanding animation. Entire episodes have been in black and white, or used outlines. It always takes avant garde risk and pushes the envelope not only in animation, but in music as well. This particular season surprises and compels. It is designed for adults. Adult Swim on Cartoon Network has always aired the show, but this season is the first where Jack has killed–and suffered psychological fall out for it.

You might wonder if you can make sense of Samurai Jack without watching the original. You can. However, knowing the original story helps you appreciate layers, especially in the episode where Ashi searches for a despondent Jack and we see how many people Jack has helped over the years.

Season five is a worthy ending, standing alone, but enhanced by what has gone before. If you do not get Cartoon Network, the show can easily be purchased on Amazon.

Review: The Monkey King

April 29, 2017 0

Sometimes I watch films over my husband’s shoulder. The other night Bryon was watching The Monkey King: Havoc in Heaven, a 2014 film starring Donnie Yen as the Monkey King. It looked pretty good, so yesterday I watched it with no shoulders in the way. For those of you who don’t know the story of the monkey king, this primer will get you up to speed. The Journey to the West sequence most folklorists are familiar with begins in The Monkey King 2, and there are plans for The Monkey King 3 to be released soon.

A critical overview of The Monkey King‘s reception in the United States points to what seems to me to be a lack of understanding about Chinese culture and cinema. Mind, I am certainly no expert, but I find the complaints of the movie lacking substance or the main character Sun Wukong of being annoying to be irritatingly groundless. In China it is the top grossing film of all time, and it is likely to be, as the story is as ingrained in the Chinese cultural conscious as Superman is in our own. Except, imagine if Superman had been around for some 500 years or so. Anyway, I think U.S. critics (and many viewers, if the Netflix ratings are to be believed) have no idea what to do with it.

From my perspective, it is a touching story. Cast aside all the special effects, and what you have is a story about an outsider trying to find his way in a world that is hostile to him, losing his love, and being used by people who do not have his interests at heart. Small wonder the Monkey King goes rogue at the end of the story, and that Sun WuKong can get his morality under control at all is some kind of miracle. It is a story of growth, redemption, and repentance. I dare you not to be touched when Sun WuKong tries to resurrect his dead friends, his enormous guilt for leaving them to try to gain acceptance in heaven weighing heavily upon his anguished shoulders. The story edits the original to make the Monkey King more sympathetic to good effect.

The special effects enhance the film. If you are not a fan of special effects like those found in The Sorcerer and the White Snake, that’s probably a good enough reason to not watch The Monkey King. Also, the film is in Chinese, and you are going to read subtitles, which is a turn off for many people. Personally, I am a snobby foreign film viewer, so this is only a plus for me. I don’t do English dubs. I didn’t do The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo U.S. style either.

So, this viewer is looking forward to The Monkey King 3, as well as completing my viewing of The Monkey King 2, which I’m about half way through. Check it out for yourself. Don’t let the reviewers fool you. This could well be one of my favorite films. EVER.

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