Neverland (2011)

Rating:

It was no surprise that Neverland was a Peter Pan story.  It was a big surprise that the movie was so long and included credits in the middle, then I found out it was really a two-part miniseries.  I like their take on the origin and existence of this fantasy world, and the fact that Charles Dance had a part in it.  Neverland was a spectacle of beautiful scenes and magical worlds that reminded me of the scenery from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe movie–the snow, the mountains, the plains, everything.

The story was well-imagined, but slow pacing, poor acting, and poor effects made Neverland a sub-par movie for me.  Perhaps it is because I can’t stand poor wire usage in flying scenes, since they are much more practiced with their wire-fu movies.  But again, more than anything, slow pacing and long, dragged out scenes made the movie difficult to endure.  There were a number of moments when I wanted to stop watching.

Even when considered as a two part miniseries, the story was still long and slow.  The producers really should have written out more of the story and made this into a limited one season series.  I also miss the quality of having a series that is actually limited to one or two seasons, instead of dragging out until the title is no longer profitable.  Neverland would’ve made an ideal one season series.  And, seeing the ending, I guess such a series is still a possibility.  But, it would still need to be cut into shorter intervals for it to be bearable.

Aangan

Rating:

We sat a block away and across the street at the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream when I saw and began to crave some Indian food.  I always wanted to try Aangan, probably because there is an Aangan in Beijing, which I loved and considered the best Indian in the city.

This restaurant by the same name but situated in New York was not quite the same.  We ordered the typical Chicken Tikka Masala, which is a good baseline for comparison since I’ve had it at almost every Indian restaurant I’ve ever been to.  I wonder though if people really eat this dish in India.  In my mind, it may be like General Tso’s Chicken which is the most popular dish in the US, but non-existent in China.  We also ordered some Goat Rogan Josh in addition to Naan and Peshawari Naan, which were fine and edible.

The food wasn’t bad or difficult to eat since I cleaned up the plates, but it wasn’t anything great, and was incredibly overpriced.  If this were an Indian restaurant located in my hometown in Central Pennsylvania, then I’d probably think it was great; however in the city of New York, this restaurant offers nothing unique or amazing and there is no reason to dine here again.

Your Highness (2011)

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This is a movie where I saw the preview about two years ago and I was eager and excited to see it premier this past spring.  Unfortunately, as soon as it hit theaters, it got very bad reviews across the board.  So finally four months after its theatrical release, it was about time that I see this movie for myself and decide if this was really that bad or just one of those that I might classify under special interest.

The story is in no way revolutionary or new; it is a retelling of the hero questing and saving the fair virgin from the prophesied dark lord.  I knew this going in, but I didn’t know whether this would be its own telling of this story, or a parody of all those other recent fantasy adventure movies.

I believe it to be the former because the dialogue and story of this movie  were so unique and ridiculous.  I guess I shouldn’t really be surprised when Danny McBride was the main writer on this project. Naturally, it would be in his style of comedy.  Unfortunately it just wasn’t exciting or that funny.  More than anything else, it was probably just shocking and unexpected, often leaving me jaw open and asking, “did they really just go there?”

I really have no idea how they recruited so many big stars such as James Franco and Natalie Portman.  My thought is that they were probably allowed access to copious amounts of alcohol and marijuana on the set and encouraged to partake in it.  I believe the film should probably be viewed in the same manner.  At present, I thought it was just ridiculous and bad, but I can easily see this being an amazing movie if watched with the right group and with an ample amount of substance abuse.  It is indeed bad, but it could improve noticeably from a viewer’s mental impairment.  I would highly suggest a bottle of whiskey, a water-bong, and a fun crowd around you if you intend to watch this movie and enjoy it.

青春期『Pubescence』(2011)

Rating:

So this was quite a racy looking Chinese film.  In fact, I had almost expected it to be a softcore porn.  It wasn’t; however, it does appear that more Chinese films may begin to move in that direction.  With a short running time of around 51 minutes, I had expected this to be more of an artistic piece.  Instead it was flashes of artsy-esque scenes combined with an attempt at Hollywood style film making.  It seemed like it wanted to give insight into a controversial subject, but instead it just showed the results of creepy geek trying to be a man: he doesn’t get the girl and he gets beat down.

Littered with semi-random scenes of sex under the covers, masturbation, and erections in the pants, this movie was a little more than I really wanted/expected from it.  These scenes were not aptly used and often reminded me of those used in a slapstick sexual comedy movie, so it only disrupted the whole mood and feel of this film.  So for nearly an hour, we follow a creeper geek as he demonstrates his appreciation for a pretty girl despite her smoking, class skipping, abortion, drinking, drug, hooligan, etc. problems.  And in the end, he even comes to rescue her from being raped by gangsters only to get beaten senseless.  Heroic and, I suppose, realistic, but the movie and the main character are uninspiring and the ending leaves you feeling like there was no proper conclusion.  Then again the beginning was just as abrupt and incoherent, so it was really like a movie without a beginning or an ending; just some random sexual tension and creepiness in the middle.

I guess Chinese film studios are still trying to find their way.  They’ve recently experienced accelerated growth in a good direction, but this is not an example of it.  The movie did however remind me of a classmate’s senior thesis on the sexual opening of China.  I guess this movie is a clear example of the opening, and is an example of kids in today’s Chinese society.  I just wonder where they lived, to find a tree swing by a river.  Those aren’t very common in China.