The Polar Express, a review by Danae Cassandra
The Polar Express
When a young boy doubts the existence of Santa Claus, a train arrives at his house to take him on a magical journey to the North Pole, to show him the true meaning of the season, and that believing is seeing.
A personal favorite, and just about my favorite modern (post 1980) Yuletide film (the other being Tokyo Godfathers). This is a film that really puts me in the Yuletide spirit.
The animation falls into two categories: absolutely stunning visuals and somewhat off-looking people. I expect the people problem is because of the limits of early mocap, and I find that each year I watch the film I notice less and less that the people don't move right. The environment, however, is brilliantly realized and absolutely magnificent. When we saw this at the IMAX in 3D, the sequences where the train goes downhill on the tracks are fabulous.
I also really enjoy the characters, especially the girl in the group. She's refreshingly different from most female characters in American animation, breaking stereotypes and being the leader of the group that she is. But all of the main child characters are portrayed rather realistically, which I like.
While there's probably too much music for Pete, I can't think of anyone else I couldn't recommend this film to.
(From Yuletide 2011 on December 24th, 2011)
Zatoichi Challenged, a review by Antares
Zatoichi Challenged (1967) 72/100 - I'm coming down the home stretch in the Daiei produced films in this series, and I'm getting a sense that they're running out of steam. From the earliest moments in this film, I knew it was being directed by Kenji Misumi, who has turned out to be my favorite director in this marathon. But he too, seems to be on auto pilot for this one, as the story, while character driven, is pretty much a re-hashing of Fight, Zatoichi, Fight from a few years earlier. Instead of Ichi caring for an infant, it's a young boy this time and while Misumi's direction and cinematography are top notch as usual, the story lacks any real punch to make it memorable. You can feel the screenwriters stretching a bit to make a slightly different plot twist for this one. When all is said and done, the ending was quite satisfying, with Ichi coming close to being killed, with his quasi-bushido integrity saving his skin.
Teal = Masterpiece
Dark Green = Classic or someday will be
Lime Green = A good, entertaining film
Orange = Average
Red = Cinemuck
Brown = The color of crap, which this film is
(From Antares' Short Summations on July 15th, 2014)
"Stargate SG-1" Marathon, a review by DJ Doena
The Serpent's LairSynopsis: The Goa'uld Klorel who has possessed Skaara's body commands a Ha'tak that is in close proximity to Earth. His father Apophis has also arrived in the Earth system with another Ha'tak. SG-1 has mined Klorel's ship but even if Apophis were alone, his ship could devastate Earth.
My Opinion: Good conlcusion. But I think the effect to see Daniel again would have been better if we hadn't seen him escape through the Stargate. They oculd have told us this afterwards instead. This way they could have avoided the plot hole of how Apophis and Klorel escaped because there wasn't simply enough time for them. I loved the dialogues between Bra'tac and O'Neill where the former always prepared to die and the latter tried to find a way out.
In the Line of DutySynopsis: During a rescue mission Sam gets possessed by a Goa'uld. He calls himself Jolinar of Malkshur and claims to be a Tok'ra. The Tok'ra are opposed to the System Lords. But there is another Goa'uld who managed to slip thourgh the gate to Earth: An Ashrak, an assassin in the service of the System Lords. His job is to kill Jolinar.
My Opinion: Arrogance seems to be a natural attitude among Goa'ulds, no matter if they see themselves as "good" or "bad". This episodes sets certain things in motion but was unspectacular in itself.
PrisonersSynopsis: Owing to unfortunate circumstances, the members of SG-1 land on a prison planet that has no DHD. Of course they try everthing to break out.
My Opinion: It was obvious that there was more to the "herbwoman" that met the eye. How else could she have gained the respect of the big blokes? But once again SG-1 did serious damage without knowing it until it was too late.
GamekeeperSynopsis: SG-1 comes to a planet were its few inhabitants are in some sort of stasis. SG-1 also gets caught and they find themselves in the meories of their worst moments.
My Opinion: Has Diwght Schultz ever played a completely sane character? This episode was interesting because we've learned something about their past again. But I had wished for a peek into Sam's or Teal'c's past. And Jack's worst moment is without doubt the death of his son. At least we know now that the Goa'uld inside Carter changed something in her.
(From "Stargate SG-1" Marathon on March 3rd, 2008)