Sherlock Holmes and the Abominable Bride (No, the Bride is NOT John Watson)

Hello People of the Interwebs!

Happy New Year to you all! For my first review of 2016, I won't be reviewing my childhood Disney Channel Original Movies (I've been procrastinating with those for a while). Instead I'll be looking at a special episode of one of my favorite shows, Sherlock. If you haven't seen the three previous series (9 Episodes total), then I highly suggest that you go and watch them! This is my review of 'The Abominable Bride!

Image Credit to IMDb

WARNING: (Major) Spoilers ahead!

The story, boiled down from its inherently confusing nature, is about Sherlock attempting to solve a Victorian era crime in his mind palace. The crime in question is where a bride, on her wedding anniversary, shoots herself in public. She is then later seen shooting and killing her husband. However, she has been dead in the morgue the entire time. Then, months later, there is a string of murders where the same bride is apparently seen committing the crime. Victorian-era Holmes and Victorian-era Watson attempt to solve the crime, but the mind palace crime is prompted by modern-era Sherlock's contemplation of the death and (apparent) return of Moriarty.

There have been some harsh words towards this special. The main complaint against the episode is that it was too confusing, convoluted, and pretentiously unrealistic. It is a convoluted episode, but it does make sense. Sherlock's mind envisions a past where he can use the same methods and knowledge as he does in his modern world. This mental world is also fictional. Which means that in the climax, where Sherlock 'solves' the crime, it is over the top and ridiculous, which a wedding dress clad Moriarty reminds him of. Sherlock's shifts from modern to Victorian mindsets really work, especially as he is extremely drug addled and a (supposed) sociopath.

The episode also has some tender moments between Victorian-era Holmes and Victorian-era Watson. Which means that, technically, it's just Sherlock having deep conversations with himself. Among which was a very awkward conversation about Sherlock's romantic life (in which Sherlock maybe confirmed that he wasn't straight?) and some rather sweet thoughts about John's usefulness.

There weren't just touching and confusing moments. There was also a healthy amount of humor and satire! Most of the humor came in the form of the discussion of Victorian-era Watson's stories about Victorian-era Holmes. One of my personal favorites was when Mrs. Hudson complains about being given no lines of substance in Watson's stories. He replies with a brief comment about her "function" in the stories. She then gives Holmes and Watson ( as well as their visitors) the silent treatment, which Holmes says is Mrs. Hudson practicing "literary criticism through the form of satire". Another constant source of comedy was Moriarty. However, that's a topic for the next section!

The acting is masterful. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Sherlock Holmes, and he is so phenomenal. His Holmes is alienated and egotistical. He can rattle off the deductions with an incredible speed and clarity. Cumberbatch as Holmes is true perfection. The same can be said for Martin Freeman as Dr. John Watson. He has the perfect expressions and body language to accent Cumberbatch's Holmes. Probably the reason that this pairing works amazingly is that these two actors complement each other's performances incredibly.

The supporting performances are just as good. Two that really stand out to me in this episode are Una Stubbs as Mrs. Hudson and Mark Gatiss as Mycroft Holmes. Stubbs's Mrs. Hudson is witty, tough, and charming. She's sweet and funny as well. Gatiss also fits his role very well. Mycroft is essentially the mental counterpart to Sherlock, probably even the mental superior, and Gatiss's performance portrays these ideas very well. He actually shows his talents in two ways in this episode: he acts as Mycroft, and he helped Stephen Moffat write the episode (both are the co-creators of the show).

Now, we get to the villain. Professor Moriarty. Moriarty is played by Andrew Scott. Scott's performance as Moriarty is so delightful, mainly due to his affinity for the over-the-top. He plays the perfect match to Sherlock, well, perfectly. He plays his character with such abandon, with such passion, and with incredible skill. It's possibly one of the most enjoyable performances in this episode, an episode filled with enormously enjoyable performances.

This episode is well acted and well written. The themes of drug abuse, friendship, and the terrifying prospect of a dead enemy come back to life add together to make an enormously suspenseful and entertaining Sherlock Special. Again, if you haven't seen the three previous series (9 Episodes total), then I highly suggest that you watch them!

This is the Teenage Critic, signing off!

Like The Teenage Critic on Facebook here. Follow me on Twitter, @Thomas_Pflanz

Feel free to send me your suggestions for movies to review, or just to send me your opinions and fan mail. 

I have also started another blog to hold myself accountable for my New Year's Resolution; to write one short story a week. The blog is: wendedwriting.blogspot.com

Disney Descendants, or "Disney Is Ignoring Its OWN Canon Now!"

Hello People of the Interwebs!

Today, I'll be reviewing the most recent Disney Original TV Movie, Disney's "Descendants"!

Image Credit to IMDb

WARNING: Spoilers ahead!

The story follows the children of the four evilest villains in the Disney canon. There's Carlos, son of Cruella Deville, Jay, son of Jafar, Evie, daughter of the Evil Queen from "Snow White", and Mal, daughter of Maleficent. After living on a secluded island for all of their life, they get invited by the Prince of Auradon (and the son of Beauty and the Beast), Ben, to attend a prep school on the mainland. However, Maleficent tells Mal that she must steal the Fairy Godmother's wand so that they can get their revenge and achieve "WORLD DOMINATION!". Through the process of trying to complete the mission, Mal gives Prince Ben a love potion so that she can be right by the Fairy Godmother during his coronation ceremony.

The other characters also have 'arcs', if you can call them that. Evie learns that she can get a B-minus on a test, Jay learns that he can play on a team, and Carlos learns that he likes dogs. Not particularly invested in those characters, are they?

There are so many problems with the story and characters. So, let's go through them one by one.

The "good" characters live in a suburban-esque kingdom. The "evil" characters live in a ghetto. Not only is this setup terribly offensive, but they add some abhorrent butter on top of this already reprehensible bread by having the "good guys" say that inviting the "evil" kids to their prep school is doing them a favor.

When Mal is speaking to Jane, the Fairy Godmother's daughter, about fixing her physical appearance, she claims that Jane's nose is a problem too big for the kind of magic that she can do. This, while being a ploy for getting the wand, is a terrible scene. For one, this entire scene is saying that if you're awkward, you're ugly. The same message as before, but it sends a very specific message about noses.

The character of Evie is completely terrible. A point has more actual dimensions than her. Sure she has classic Disney character traits and quirks, but those aren't interchangeable with actual character. Even the guy whose arc is "I like dogs now!" has more character than she does.

Then there's a problem with the rooms of the villains at Auradon Prep. The girls get a very frilly and pink room. The boys get a room decked out with video games and sports objects. Either it's a terribly sexist school policy, or just an enormously sexist piece of direction.

There are also a bunch of major plot holes. For one, the villain's kids hatch a plan to steal the wand and escape. Now, they discuss this plan and decide who does what. Carlos's job is to steal the button that opens the magical bridge to the villain's island. However, when it comes time to complete this plan, he doesn't have the button. Why? Probably because the writers needed a plan to be discussed, but knew that the characters wouldn't actually enact the plan.

Also, why do the villains (except for Maleficent) stay on the island after a hole is formed in the barrier. Even though the hole was in the sky, at least two other villains should have been able to escape. Jafar and the Evil Queen can use magic, not just Maleficent.

And, shooting off of that last one, how could Maleficent even USE magic? They expressly tell you at the start of the movie that there's no magic on the Isle of the Lost.

And how doesn't the Fairy Godmother hear Maleficent reminding Mal that she needs to steal the wand when they video chat?

And why are those villains alive? Didn't they die in their respective films? It's a mental overload.

The acting is... mixed. Some are good, and some aren't. I'm just going to mention main characters, since there are so many secondary characters. But I'll mention a few of the more important ones.

Mal is played by Dove Cameron. Her acting is hard to place. I've seen a bit of her acting on the show "Liv & Maddie" on Disney Channel, where she plays a set of twin sisters. There, she's terrible. However, at least comparatively, she's pretty good in this film. Evie is played by Sofia Carson. She's bad. Not really terrible, but most certainly not good. I haven't seen her in much else, so I can't FULLY judge her. Carlos is played by Cameron Boyce, who plays characters on "Jessie" and "A Gamer's Guide to Pretty Much Everything". He's kinda mediocre, and he seems to play the same character in everything. The final of the villainous kids is Jay, played by Booboo Stewart. He's surprisingly good. He's a pretty decent actor, and he does his best with the awful script that he's been given.

The villains. There's really only one performance that can actually be rated, so I'll take care of that one last. The Evil Queen is played by Kathy Najimy, Jafar is played by Maz Jobrani, and Cruella Deville is played by Wendy Raquel Robinson. They are all fine. Absolutely nothing special, but nothing offensive. I do have a problem with the casting, however. The starkest is Robinson. She is African-American. However, Boyce is not. I have no problem with Disney starting to cast non-white actors as main-ish characters. I'm all for it. But, if you plan on casting a white actor as your character, cast his parent accordingly. Alternatively, Disney could consider, I don't know, casting an African-American as their main character?

Then, there's one side character to mention. Doug. Doug, son of Dopey, is played by Zachary Gibson. He is great. He takes a character with very few dimensions, and gives him depth. At the very least, his facial acting is particularly good. The subtle shifts in facial expression as his scenes play makes me willing to forgive his cliche, ahem, I mean character, of the "Nerd in Love with Fashionista".

Then there's Prince Ben. Oh, dear old Ben. He is played by a Zac Efron clone. Specifically Disney Clone #T3RR18L3, Mitchell Hope. His acting is the worst I have ever seen. The only scenes that he's ever good in are the ones where he has to play "awkward". But even that seems to be a stretch for him! Most of the delivery of his dialogue is uninterested, boring, and unconvincing. You can only call him an actor in profession. He's just another piece of chiseled out arm candy for tween girls to put on their walls.

The final actor of note plays Maleficent. Let's just see who this acto- no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no. Why, Kristen? Why?!?!?! Maleficent is played by sigh Kristen Chenoweth. Did she have to pay for a car accident? Did she need a little extra cash for a present for a family member? Down payment on a penthouse in the Upper East Side of NYC? Nevertheless, she's here. And she is SO MUCH FUN! Every time that she's on screen, she's so much fun to watch. Every scene. Every moment. And you want to know why? It's because she's having so much fun. When an actor is enjoying a performance, then that feeling transfers to a certain degree. Is the performance good? No. Is it fun? Abso-friggen-lutely.

As with every Disney film, there are songs. Mostly unnecessary. Most have people talking to a beat, or as they seem to think it's called, "Rap". There's the opening song, there's the finale, there's the song sung by a sports team. Most are forgettable, but some are catchy. However, there is one song that stands above the rest. And that would be "Evil Like Me", sung by Kristen Chenoweth. It's a stupid song, definitely. The lyrics are terrible, the tune is pretty unimaginative, and the idea of the song is basically that it's the Evil version of "Popular" from Wicked. However, Chenoweth, as usual, gives an astounding vocal performance. Her voice is amazing. But other than that, none of the other voices or songs stand out.

What's a Disney song without a dance routine to go along? I'll tell you. It's just as pointless. But with Kenny Ortega as choreographer, you can be assured that the dances will be, at the very least, interesting. And they are. The choreography is fun and strong, and allows actors who aren't trained at dancing look like they can dance. So, kudos to you, Mr. Ortega. Not only that, but the main actors, that being the four descendants, are all pretty good in the group dance sequences.

Now we come to the effects.The effects are terrible. The green screening is terrible. The CGI is the worst I've ever seen. But, worst of all, is the Freeze effect. During the climax of the film, Maleficent freezes the attendees at Prince Ben's coronation. When she does, all of the actors just freeze in place. No special effects. The actors just stay still. And most of them can't. They move, they shift. Even main actors! Beast is swaying constantly. The only word to use, other than terrible, is pathetic. With Disney's net worth being $74.9 BILLION (as of 2012), you would expect that they could afford CG and other special effects that at least College Student Film would consider using.

This film is terrible. The only redeeming qualities consist of one or two good actors, a fun song, and an interesting concept. There is no effort put into the production of this film. The effects are weak. The acting is weak. The characters are weak. And, worst of all, the story is weak. It is a really fun film to make fun of though!

You may be asking: "Hey, why is he going so hard at a movie aimed towards Tweens? Doesn't he realize that it's meant to be a kids film?" Well, my answer to you is this. Just because a film is aimed towards kids doesn't mean that the writers shouldn't bother with writing good story and/or character. You know, back when I was a kid, the Disney Channel movies that came out were so much better. High School Musical, Camp Rock. Those films were quality, fun, and did not fall prey to Disney's normal cliches and stereotypes.

Wait! No! Ignore tha-


Just great.

Well, for the next few reviews, I'll be reviewing several films, namely High School Musical, High School Musical 2, High School Musical 3, and Camp Rock, (maybe Camp Rock 2? It's not nostalgic for me).

This is the Teenage Critic, signing off!

Like The Teenage Critic on Facebook here. You can email the Teenage Critic at criticteen1@gmail.com. Feel free to send me your suggestions for movies to review, or just to send me your opinions and fan mail. Follow me on Twitter, @Thomas_Pflanz

Candide, The Best of All Possible Operettas?

Hello People of the Interwebs!

This week, I'll be reviewing two related things! Candide, the novella by Voltaire, and Candide, the operetta by Leonard Bernstein. Let's dive into the book!

Image Credit to Wikipedia 
Title: Candide, or Optimism

The story of the novella follows a young lad named Candide. He goes on many adventures. In each of the 30 chapters, a mini story unfolds, each leading to the next part of the story, which then becomes its own story. To get the basic story across. though: Candide is kicked out of Westphalia for falling in love with the Baron's daughter, Cunegonde. After the family is killed by Bulgarians, Candide is heartbroken. He travels with his mentor to Lisbon, where the mentor is killed, and Candide finds Cunegonde. They travel to Montevideo, in the New World. Candide loses Cunegonde, and finds paradise on Earth in the country of El Dorado. So much more happens, as Candide journeys to find the oft promised "best of all possible worlds".

Voltaire wrote the first draft in 3 days in an angry outburst. Back during that time, the world was falling apart, especially with... the philosophy. Which philosophy? Why, the best of all possible philosophies! Gottfried Leibniz coined the phrase "best of all possible worlds", to describe his new philosophy. Voltaire hated this, and thus satirized it in his novella. That's one of the many things that I love about this book. Voltaire perfectly satirizes history, philosophy, and religion. It's subtle, clever, and hilarious.

Now, onto the operetta!

Image Credit to Wikipedia

The story of the operetta is similar. Actually, besides a random change of city from Lisbon to Paris (which makes no sense, by the way), the first act of the operetta incredibly copies the first 10 chapters of the novella. However, that's only the first third of the book. The second act (which is 10 minutes shorter than the first act) covers the last 20 chapters. Needless to say they cut some story. Actually, in a surprising twist, they in fact ADD an additional character that never existed in the book. While that is a familiar tactic in adaptation, it's really a big shame. Voltaire's Candide is gift wrapped perfection, where there wasn't really any need to add in new characters. But that's just one of my problems with it.

My other main problem is how the humor is changed. The jokes are obvious. Way too obvious. Voltaire's comedy is subtle. It's clever. But with the operetta, they lose that subtlety. Sigh.

However, the operetta has one big plus side. The music. Leonard Bernstein's score is very good. The music is beautiful, and the lyrics, which were supplemented by Stephen Sondheim, are clever. The lyrics are actually better than the libretto, at least in subtle satire. I think that's what makes the operetta for me.

To surmise. The novella is a beautifully written satirical book. The operetta is a bad adaptation of the novella, but considering the music and ignoring the source text, it's a good operetta. And on that note...


I'm actually in a production of the operetta! The cast is fantastic. My good friend, Sydney Harris, plays Cunegonde. She's one of the most talented singers that I've ever had the honor of watching perform, let alone work with. The production has one official showing this Friday night, at 7:30. However, there is a final dress rehearsal open to the public on Wednesday, also at 7:30. All that information and more can be found at the official blog, here. Admission is free, but we do suggest that you donate to the church that we're performing in. Please come and support this production! Also, all of the money from concessions is going to help fund two young teens, my friend and my sister, in a venture to be a part of the Narni Festival this summer. It's a piano intensive, and is going to be a great experience for the both of them. You can donate directly to their fundraisers at the following links: https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/0zvc6 and https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/7zxo8

This is the Teenage Critic, signing off!

Like The Teenage Critic on Facebook here. You can email the Teenage Critic at criticteen1@gmail.com. Feel free to send me your suggestions for movies to review, or just to send me your opinions and fan mail. Follow me on Twitter, @Thomas_Pflanz

Nevermore: A Look Into Hot Topic

Hello People of the Interwebs!

Today, I'll be reviewing a musical, which recently was Off-Broadway. It is "Nevermore: The Invented Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allen Poe".

Image Credit to nevermoreshow.com

WARNING: Spoilers ahead!

The story follows the life of Edgar Allen Poe, formerly Edgar Poe, as he goes from birth to death. Rather than a straight musical biography of Poe's life, it delves into his personal thoughts and internal monsters, with physical manifestations of his nightmares haunting him during the show. (It reminds me of Pink Floyd The Wall, which I reviewed a few weeks back). I really like this approach. I could feel his emotional turmoil in every moment.

The show has a very Gothic feel to it, but not just in the lines. The costumes and props were eccentric, with skewed shapes. For example, Poe's notebook, which he carries during most of the show. It has a weird, asymmetrical polygonal shape. Kind of funky and cool. And the aforementioned monsters were like lizard/ravens with twisted beaks.

The acting was quite amazing. Each performer, except for the one who played Poe, played multiple parts during the show. It's quite difficult to portray each character with a different voice, a different walk, a different way of holding their bodies. And these actors did it quite awesomely, giving a different life to each character, to say nothing of their singing! Quoth the raven "Give me more!" (In other words, I enjoyed their singing.)

One unfortunate thing was the music. Not the quality. The volume. They had the music playing over a loudspeaker, which from a Stage Manager's perspective, is like a horror movie moment waiting to happen. But besides the Tech Nightmare, at times the music would start to drown out the singers, which is never a good thing. The quality of the music was much better than the execution. It's a very moving and powerful score, with awe inspiring moments.

All in all, Nevermore is a fantastic show. Unfortunately, it's currently not showing. But when it starts showing again, go see it! Or, if not, think about pre-ordering the soundtrack, and make sure to check out their YouTube Channel, where they post clips from the show.

This is the Teenage Critic, signing off!

Like The Teenage Critic on Facebook here. You can email the Teenage Critic at criticteen1@gmail.com. Feel free to send me your suggestions for movies to review, or just to send me your opinions and fan mail. Follow me on Twitter, @Thomas_Pflanz

Buzzer

Hello People of the Interwebs!

Today, I'll be reviewing, 'Buzzer' a play that I saw as a part of the TRaC, or the Teen Reviewers and Critics, Program, run by Arts Connection. It's a great program, and they do it for completely free! Check them out here. Anyway, into the review!

Image Credit to www.publictheater.org

WARNING: Spoilers ahead!

The story follows three characters. First is Jackson, an upwardly mobile black attorney who grew up in the ghetto. Second is Suzy, Jackson's white girlfriend, who is a teacher. When Jackson sees that his old neighborhood is undergoing renovations and is being cleaned up, he buys an apartment, and he invites Suzy to live with him. She accepts, at first with some hesitation, but then wholeheartedly. Things get complicated when Jackson's best friend, Don, moves in with them. Don is fresh from rehab. The play only goes on an emotional downhill from there.

This play covers a wide range of topics. From drug abuse, to poverty, to catcalling, to cheating, (the last two have no relation to each other), all done quite well. The turmoil feels authentic, as do the characters. There seems to be a connection between the actors and their characters, as well as a deep emotional bond between the actors themselves. That is where magic in theater comes from.

The actors in question are Grantham Coleman as Jackson, Tessa Ferrer as Suzy, and Michael Stahl-David as Don. As I mentioned, there's a great chemistry between actors. There's just so much that I can say about these guys. They each bring their own spark to their roles.

This play does a great job at addressing real issues in today's society in a very realistic way. With the realism and quality of the writing, plus the actors' great portrayals, you get an amazing play. Unfortunately, this show has ended, but if it ever comes back, I recommend it!

This is the Teenage Critic, signing off!

Also, I hit 2000 page views during this past week! Thank you so much everyone!

Like The Teenage Critic on Facebook here. You can email the Teenage Critic at criticteen1@gmail.com. Feel free to send me your suggestions for movies to review, or just to send me your opinions and fan mail. Follow me on Twitter, @Thomas_Pflanz

Daredevil - Noun "A Reckless Person Who Enjoys Doing Dangerous Things"

Hello People of the Interwebs!

This week, I'm reviewing the new Marvel/Netflix series, Daredevil!

Image Credit to IMDb

WARNING: Spoilers ahead!

Daredevil follows the exploits of a man named Matt Murdock, a blind lawyer in Hell's Kitchen. (For those of you that don't know, Hell's Kitchen is an area of Manhattan, around Midtown.) This blind lawyer is also a masked crime fighting machine. "What?" You may be asking. "But he's blind!" You may say. Well as it turns out, when chemicals blinded him as a young boy, they also enhanced all of his other senses. Power origins, kind of stupid, I know.

Other than the powers, Matt Murdock is a lawyer with his best friend Foggy Nelson. They decide to work together for the betterment of Hell's Kitchen, which, to the woe of Foggy, doesn't have much money in it. And, that's all I can really say specifically about the story without spoiling too much.

The characters are one thing that makes this series so phenomenal. Not only are the protagonists multi-dimensional, but so are the antagonists. This series makes you fall in love with all of the characters, so much so that, even when you know what the truly "bad" guy has done, you still feel super sympathetic and you understand why they're doing this. When a series can humanize a villain as cruel as this one, you know that they've succeeded.

The story arc is also very dimensional. We not only follow Matt, but we also follow around Foggy, their assistant, and the villains. You get to see multiple angles of the story, each with the respective character's own perception.

Oh, then the acting. The actors just bring the already amazing story to life even more. I'm not going to give each their own critique, since I'll say the same thing for each actor... except for one. You'll see. The actors are as follows: Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock/Daredevil, Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page, Elden Henson as Foggy Nelson, Vondie Curtis-Hall as Ben Urich, Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple, Ayelet Zurer as Vanessa Marianna, and Toby Leonard Moore as James Wesley. Each and every one of these actors is phenomenal in their role. They bring an amazing depth to the characters. Also, Vincent D'Onofrio as Wilson Fisk. Fisk is probably my favorite character in the entire show, in part due to D'Onofrio. His portrayal of the classic Daredevil villain makes him a teddy bear. A horrifying, cruel, deadly teddy bear. It's hard to explain well. He's just amazing.

Then, as there is with all Superhero things, there's the action. The action is simple, with no fancy gadgets or weapons, besides the bad guys' guns. The fights are also incredibly well paced, and the suspense is just enough.

The effects are also fantastic. It's mainly the blood and wounds in the show, but there are a few CGI effects. First, the wounds. They look very realistic, especially when you see a bone jutting out from a broken arm and such things. Then the few CGI moments. The opening credits are done in a really cool way, but at first it seems kind of dull and boring. But it really grows on you. The other moment I won't mention, since it's a beautiful and poetic moment of the show.

Marvel/Netflix's Daredevil is purely amazing. I highly recommend it. Do keep in mind, it is quite graphic at times, but it doesn't change the fact that this is a phenomenal show.

This is the Teenage Critic, signing off!

Like The Teenage Critic on Facebook here. You can email the Teenage Critic at criticteen1@gmail.com. Feel free to send me your suggestions for movies to review, or just to send me your opinions and fan mail. Follow me on Twitter, @Thomas_Pflanz

Avengers: Ultron's, Like, Less Than a Week Old

Hello People of the Interwebs!

Today I'll be reviewing the most recent film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Avengers: Age of Ultron! Let's get into the roller coaster of a film!

Image Credit to IMDb

WARNING: Spoilers ahead!

The story follows the Avengers as they take out the last of a series of Hydra bases, looking for Loki's scepter. They find it, along with many notes on Baron von Strucker's experiments, including the super-powered twins: Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. Quicksilver has super speed, and Scarlet Witch has limited mind control and telekinesis. According to Tony Stark/Iron Man, Loki's scepter contains a living computer; an Artificial Intelligence of sorts. Tony and Bruce Banner (Hulk) decide to use this AI to create Ultron, an international peace keeping robotic army. Great idea, right? Well, Ultron attacks, and everything goes down from there.

I really enjoy the story of this film. While it may not have the classic Superhero movie feel of the 2012 Avengers film, this film takes many more interesting risks with its storytelling. They use typical cliches of this genre to trick you into incorrect predictions of what's to come. For example: Leading you towards expecting a character's death, then completely flipping that expectation upside down.

One criticism that I do have is about Ultron. In the previous versions of Ultron that I've seen, he's intimidating with a negative world view. But he was always serious and stern. In this film, I felt like they wrote him too sassy and sarcastic, like they were trying to make a "new Loki". I didn't necessarily not enjoy it. I just felt like Ultron's tone could have been different.

The acting is till amazing. I feel like I don't have to re-say everything that I said in my first Avengers review, almost a whole year ago! (Wow, how time flies!) The actors listed there are all amazing and have great on-screen chemistry. Then, there are the new actors. Aaron Taylor-Johnson plays Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver. Elizabeth Olsen plays his twin, Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch. These actors are great together and separately. Then, there's James Spader as Ultron. His voice was extremely intimidating, and his overall acting was great! Also among the new actors is Paul Bettany. Not only does he play JARVIS, Stark's personal computer, but he also plays the Vision, an enormously powerful superhero created by Ultron to be his perfect being, made of human cells and vibranium, the strongest metal on Earth. He's quite amazing.

This film is fantastic! While it may not satisfy all of the check boxes of a classic superhero film, it is most certainly a great movie. In fact, I prefer it to the first Avengers film! I highly recommend going to see it!

This is the Teenage Critic, signing off!

Also, as a quick side note, I'm at 97 page views away from hitting 2000 page views!

Like The Teenage Critic on Facebook here. You can email the Teenage Critic at criticteen1@gmail.com. Feel free to send me your suggestions for movies to review, or just to send me your opinions and fan mail. Follow me on Twitter, @Thomas_Pflanz

The Rake's Progress - A Bearded Lady and Satan, So, You Know, Your Typical Opera

Hello People of the Interwebs!

Today I will be reviewing an opera by Igor Stravinsky. The opera in question is "The Rake's Progress", based on a series of 8 paintings by William Hogearth. (The final is pictured below.) The specific one that I'll be reviewing is the production the recently played at the Metropolitan Opera House in 2015 on May 9th. I was given the ticket by a friend of mine.

Image Credit to Wikipedia

WARNING: Spoilers ahead!

The story follows a young man by the name of Tom Rakewell, who is told that he has inherited a great fortune from an unknown uncle by a man named Nick Shadow (subtle, right?). He moves to London with the promise to send for his love, named Anne Trulove, after his estate is in order. He soon tries to forget about her, and instead takes a bearded lady, named Baba the Turk, for a wife. Anne is heartbroken. In the end Tom confronts Shadow, who is actually Satan! He finally claims Tom's soul. What for? For giving him money and wealth, for Tom's uncle... never existed! Tom then defeats Satan in a game, and claims his soul, but alas! He places a curse of insanity upon Tom. Anne then visits Tom in an insane asylum. Tom believes that he is Adonis, Venus's lover, and that Anne is Venus. The very last scene is the actors who played Father Trulove, Anne, Tom, Shadow, and Baba telling the audience what the moral of the opera was.

The music is astounding.. Truly amazing. The grand sweeping tones are just gorgeous. It's fun to draw a parallel between the music and the story. The music is light spirited at times, and then sad at times, but there's always a feeling of hope in the music throughout. That is, until Tom goes insane. Then the music turns drudging, sad, hopeless. I was swept away by the score (I happen to be listening to it as I write).

The opera is quite satirical in nature. There are multiple cliches that seem to be mocked in it. The villain's last name is Shadow, and he has a baritone/bass range, which is enormously typical of opera. When the lovers say goodbye, Tom moves to go, and the music dwindles. Suddenly, it swells, and Tom goes back to Anne to say another goodbye. Those things and many more are what made me adore this opera.

It makes me very sad that "The Rake's Progress" had such a limited run at the Met. It is a beautiful, clever, and magnificent opera. If you ever find yourself coming upon a set of tickets for this opera at the Met ever again, go see it. It's truly extraordinary.

This is the Teenage Critic, signing off!

Like The Teenage Critic on Facebook here. You can email the Teenage Critic at criticteen1@gmail.com. Feel free to send me your suggestions for movies to review, or just to send me your opinions and fan mail. Follow me on Twitter, @Thomas_Pflanz

Pink Floyd The Wall (An AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL Tale Where Any Resemblance to Any Person, Living or Fictional, is Completely Coincidental)

Hello People of the Interwebs!

This week, I'm reviewing the 1982 film illustrating the 1979 album 'The Wall' by the band Pink Floyd. The film is "Pink Floyd The Wall"!

Image Credit to IMDb

The film (and the album itself) is about the lead singer of Pink Floyd, Roger Waters (or as he's known in the album "Pink"), and his descent into insanity. It follows his life from childhood to adulthood in a non-chronological, kinda mind blowing way.

The music is amazing. I've listened to The Wall many times before seeing this film, but the visuals in the movie make the songs have even more impact for me. Each song is packed with emotion and power. I-I can't really describe it all that well. My dad and sister were actually the ones who introduced me to The Wall. Am I ever grateful that they did!

The acting in this film is... surprisingly good. The most impactful performance for me was the performance from Bob Geldof as Pink. He says nothing the entire movie. But, his face and body say everything that needs to be said. His emotional performance going from bored rock star to insane maniac is brilliant. The rest of the actors support Geldof's performance perfectly.

The visuals are very interesting. It goes from war scenes, to Pink floating in a pool, filling with blood, to a flower eating another flower as a symbol of sex, to Nazi symbolism. There's some brilliant imagery, but also some very disturbing ones too.

All in all, this film is astounding. The story is beautiful and sad, the music is beautiful and sad, and the visuals are just incredible. Plus, any movie that can make me tear up because of a child playing with a toy airplane gets some respect.

This is the Teenage Critic, signing off!

Like The Teenage Critic on Facebook here. You can email the Teenage Critic at criticteen1@gmail.com. Feel free to send me your suggestions for movies to review, or just to send me your opinions and fan mail. Follow me on Twitter, @Thomas_Pflanz

Into the Woods

Hello People of the Interwebs!

Today, I'll be reviewing, 'Into the Woods', a musical that I saw as a part of the TRaC, or the Teen Reviewers and Critics, Program, run by Arts Connection. It's a great program, and they do it for completely free! Check them out here. Anyway, into the review!

Image Credit to Roundabout Theater and Joan Marcus
Fiasco Theater in 'Into the Woods'

The story follows a baker and his wife, and some classic fairy tale characters. These characters include Cinderella, Jack (of the beanstalk), Rapunzel, and Little Red Riding Hood. They each have a wish, and go out to try to fulfill that wish. The story does some clever things, like how the first act ends with a "happily ever after", and then the second act shows that "happily ever after" isn't always forever. But enough with the story!

This show was put on by a theater company called 'Fiasco Theater'. I'm not gonna do any PR fo them right now, but here's their website for you to explore: http://www.fiascotheater.com/. These actors are quite good. They do well with switching between characters in a flash, and they all have pretty decent singing voices. 

What really struck me was HOW it was performed. The set was complicated, with a rope pattern on the back wall, and piano casings on the walls. There were tables, chairs, boxes, lamps, etc. all over the place. The cast used these minimal props amazingly. They used a ladder as a tower, shadows as a giant, stick horses as real horses, sheet music as birds, and all sorts of other clever things. There's just something about this type of theater that really gets me. It reminds me of PigPen Theater Company, and their show "The Old Man and the Old Moon", which I reviewed a few months back. (You can check it out here) There's just a feeling of whimsy that comes from this style of performance.

There's not much more that I can say about it. It's just a beautiful performance. Definitely go see it! You can buy tickets here!

This is the Teenage Critic, signing off!

Like The Teenage Critic on Facebook here. You can email the Teenage Critic at criticteen1@gmail.com. Feel free to send me your suggestions for movies to review, or just to send me your opinions and fan mail. Follow me on Twitter, @Thomas_Pflanz

iOW@ (I Got Lost On The Way To Oklahoma)

Hello People of the Interwebs!

Today, I'll be reviewing 'iOW@' (Iowa), a musical that I saw as a part of the TRaC, or the Teen Reviewers and Critics, Program, run by Arts Connection. It's a great program, and they do it for completely free! Check them out here. Anyway, into the review!

Image Credit to broadwayworld.com and Jessica Fallon Gordan Photography
Cast of iOW@

The story follows a 14 year old girl. She has to deal with moving with her mother (so that her mother can marry a man she met on Facebook), being in love with her 40 year old, balding math Teacher, and not having friends.

Most of the musical is utterly pointless. There, I said it. What I mean by that, is that the primary story/character development could have been covered in a 10-15 minute play. Instead, we are "treated" to an hour and 45 minute musical. The songs, while fun with witty verbal humor, have no relevance to the plot. They are entirely random tunes and lyrics. In fact, there's a TEN MINUTE song about... life's problems as sister wives? Or something? And there's even a song sung by a pony/man where he sings about how ponies are never in committed relationships; they can only ever sleep around. Simply stupid and pointless.

Then, there are the pointless monologues. In the first scene, the mother character has a 15, maybe 25? minute rant. No, not rant. A ramble. About everything from Jesus the Janitor, to Sex Ed, to Islam, to Lesbians. And it just goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on and... And while it advances the story somewhat, it could do so while being much less boring.

A lot of the show seems to be going for laughs by using non-sequiturs. And while a few of them are funny (I heard my new favorite joke), most of them aren't. There's the running gag with the pony, which has nothing to do with the plot, and there's a monologue by a cheerleader who's talking about how "cheerleaders are people too". And while that's true, I don't need to hear it said over and over again. wjlb ehifbeilgbfegfbhyefgbegfbulfgbufgbfugfiiqewvfio (That was me emphasizing the point by smashing my head into my keyboard.)

One last thing about the story, and then I'll move on. The main character's best friend: She starts out as a decent character. She's from a broken home. She's abused at home. She's bulimic. Pretty good start for a powerful and moving character arc. Except, not. That amazing potential is wasted by the mother "fixing" her at first attempt by saying that she "looks bulimic" and "could be in Auschwitz", and boom! she's fixed! Yeah. A Holocaust joke. Not funny.

Now, onto the acting. I actually like the acting and singing. All of the actors do what they can with this utterly garbage story and these utterly garbage characters. And the singing is really good. I enjoy all of the actors' voices. That's all I can really say about that.

And the music is good. Surprisingly good. The tunes are catchy, the instrumentals are beautiful, and the lyrics are oftentimes clever and witty. Though it would be better if the songs were, you know, actually RELEVANT to the story. 

All in all... No. Just, no. Don't go to see this. I know that sounds harsh. Especially considering how positive I've been about bad movies in the past. But no. This is inexcusable. I've seen better storytelling from a group of 14-17 year old playwrights! Other than a few funny moments, this is a horrible musical. One of the worst I've ever seen, hands down.

This is the Teenage Critic, signing off (in an absolute huff)!

Like The Teenage Critic on Facebook here. You can email the Teenage Critic at criticteen1@gmail.com. Feel free to send me your suggestions for movies to review, or just to send me your opinions and fan mail. Follow me on Twitter, @Thomas_Pflanz

The Liquid Plain

Hello People of the Interwebs!

Today, I'll be reviewing 'The Liquid Plain', by Naomi Wallace, a play that I saw as a part of the TRaC, or the Teen Reviewers and Critics, Program, run by Arts Connection. It's a great program, and they do it for completely free! Check them out here. Anyway, into the review!

Image Credit to signaturetheatre.org

WARNING: Spoilers ahead!

This play was absolute perfection.

This is the Teenage Critic, signing o-

Fine. I'll write a bit more. The story of this play follows two runaway slaves, Adjua and Dembi, who have been working in Rhode Island to make money for... something. They find a dead body under the docks that they live on, and they strip his body. Unfortunately, the body is not dead. I can't say much more without spoilering the entire show. So I won't.

What struck me first was the set. If you have a show with no curtain, you can say a lot with the set. The set was a steel structure in the back, and a simple wooden dock. This allows for such a versatile usage of the space, where you can switch between settings easily, without making drastic set changes. The show opens with a single wooden chair in the center of the stage. Then, after a little while, probably 10 minutes before the show starts, a woman, dressed in white and with her shoulders and face covered in a white powder, comes onstage and sits next to the chair, almost statue-like. Even before you know what that means, you're struck with a powerful feeling.

The actors complement the story and writing very well with their performances. You can see the full cast list here.

There's a lot that I love about this play. But there aren't enough words that capture my true feelings about it. All I can really say now is that this play's quality is on the same level as Patrick Stewart's and Ian McKellan's 'Waiting for Godot' and 'No Man's Land'. I highly recommend that you go to see it; it's worth so much more than the ticket price. Absolute brilliance. Check out the website here to buy tickets!

This is the Teenage Critic, signing off!

Like The Teenage Critic on Facebook here. You can email the Teenage Critic at criticteen1@gmail.com. Feel free to send me your suggestions for movies to review, or just to send me your opinions and fan mail. Follow me on Twitter, @Thomas_Pflanz

A Sudden Realization!

Hello People of the Interwebs!

WARNING: There has been no critical editing of this post. Beware of grammar and punctuation errors!

Welp, I didn't notice it. I should have. But I didn't. What am I talking about? I've been posting reviews for over a year!

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT!!!

I'm pretty excited. I was hoping to a 1 Year Anniversary post, reviewing a very special movie, but that has passed. I just looked back to my previous posts, to see what was posted on that day. Well, here' what I found!

My first review was of 'The Prince of Egypt', on February 4th, 2014. Link here.

For my technical '1 Year Anniversary' post, I posted this review. Welp. What a review to celebrate on!

Here's to the next few years of reviews!

This is the Teenage Critic, signing off!

Like The Teenage Critic on Facebook here. You can email the Teenage Critic at criticteen1@gmail.com. Feel free to send me your suggestions for movies to review, or just to send me your opinions and fan mail. Follow me on Twitter, @Thomas_Pflanz

(P.S. I'm at over 1,500 Page Views! Yay!)

Bright Half Life: Brilliance Incarnate

Hello People of the Interwebs!

Today, I'll be reviewing 'Bright Half Life', by Women's Project Theater, a play that I saw as a part of the TRaC, or the Teen Reviewers and Critics, Program, run by Arts Connection. It's a great program, and they do it for completely free! Check them out here. Anyway, into the review!


WARNING: Spoilers Ahead!

The story follows two women, as we see out of order snapshots of their life. For the first third of the play, I was extremely confused. Then, as we got further in, things started to come together. Scenes that seemed random before, became clarified and beautiful.

The actors, Rebecca Henderson and Rachael Holmes, are phenomenal. As an actor myself, I know that it is enormously difficult to switch between two emotions in under a second. Yet, somehow, these two actresses make it seem effortless. The emotions were so raw and powerful, and they were played amazingly.

The play talks about love, loss of love, children, acceptance, and care. The messages are beautiful, the acting is beautiful, and the entire thing is absolutely magnificent. To buy tickets, check out the website here. I highly recommend going to see it. I don't know how long it'll play, so see it before they leave!

This is the Teenage Critic, signing off!

Like The Teenage Critic on Facebook here. You can email the Teenage Critic at criticteen1@gmail.com. Feel free to send me your suggestions for movies to review, or just to send me your opinions and fan mail. Follow me on Twitter, @Thomas_Pflanz

RoboCop: A Replicated Study in Societal Violence

Hello People of the Interwebs!

Today, I'll be watching the 2014 remake of the 1987 classic: 'RoboCop'!

Image Credit to IMDb

The story of this remake follows Alex Murphy, an apparently long time officer at the Detroit Police Department (already a change from the original, where he's brand new). One change that I'm really not a fan of is making Lewis, Murphy's partner, a man. In the original, she was a reasonably strong character in her own right, and the remake just doesn't really have a character like that in it. However, we do have Murphy's wife, Clara. She's actually a good character, with a strong will. She doesn't make up for the lack of a real Lewis, but she's good nonetheless.

One vital case to Murphy, one that he actually doesn't have the authorization to work on, is tracking down and arresting Antoine Vallon, a drug and crime lord of some sort. Murphy thinks that the two cops on the case are "either dumb or dirty", so he attempts to track down Vallon himself. Mere minutes later, we find out that the two cops ARE dirty, as they bring up this problem to Vallon. He orders one of his men to plant a bomb under Murphy's car. That night, Murphy tucks his son in, and we feel sorry for what's about to happen. Murphy's car alarm goes off, and he gets blown up. Essentially. The rest of the then film follows his reconstruction as RoboCop, his testing, and his re-introduction into regular life.

I think that this remake has a much stronger plot, and much better character development, as well as acting. Speaking of...

Alex Murphy/RoboCop is played by Joel Kinnaman. His performance is truly stupendous. His emotional performance has the perfect range. It gives even more impact to his drain of dopamine, which sends him spiraling into an emotionless state. He's supported by Michael Keaton as the CEO of Omnicorp. Keaton gives a great villainous performance. Samuel L. Jackson plays a news reporter who is essentially all of FOX News rolled into one, with the exterior of Samuel L. Jackson. Sort of if Jackson and Bill O'Reily had an illegitimate love child. Anyway, his performance is very good. And now... my favorite. Gary Oldman is one of my favorite actors of all time. He plays Doctor Dennett Norton, who created and implemented the technology to turn Alex Murphy into RoboCop. He shows such an amazing range of emotion, and I just love him in everything that he's in.

All in all, this is an amazing film, as its own thing and as compared to the original version. The acting's great, the plot's great, the characters are great, and the action and cinematography are great. I really love this film, and I highly recommend watching it!

This is the Teenage Critic, signing off!

Like The Teenage Critic on Facebook here. You can email the Teenage Critic at criticteen1@gmail.com. Feel free to send me your suggestions for movies to review, or just to send me your opinions and fan mail. Follow me on Twitter, @Thomas_Pflanz

RoboCop: An Experiment in Societal Violence

Hello People of the Interwebs!

I'm committed. With that reminder (for myself mostly) in mind, I'm gonna launch into RoboCop fortnight. Starting with the original 'RoboCop'.

Image Credit to IMDb

The story follows a cop, named Alex Murphy, who dies at the hands of a criminal "king-pin" or something. He then gets taken by OCP, a corporation who is in control of the police, and they turn Murphy into a robotic cop, or RoboCop. He then goes around, shooting things and trying to take down the man who killed him.

Now, I'm not sure whether the film was trying to get across a message. If it was, I would assume it was one about public corruption or militarization of the police. But, unfortunately, any form of message to be conveyed has been completely covered up, mainly by blood and fire.

There's not much I can say about the acting either. I suppose it's fine, as compared to action movies. But as compared to other films? The acting kinda stinks. Really the only actor that stood out to me was Kurtwood Smith, who played Clarence J. Boddiker, the man who kills Murphy. He does a pretty decent job of psychopathic killer. Other than that, nothing really stands out to me.

I know I'm gonna get some hate for saying this, but this is an awful film. There's very little depth to each character, the plot seems forced, and any actual meaning has been covered up with explosions and violence. It was fun for the first few minutes, but then it all just got tired. I just don't find this film appealing in any way.

This is the Teenage Critic, signing off!

Like The Teenage Critic on Facebook here. You can email the Teenage Critic at criticteen1@gmail.com. Feel free to send me your suggestions for movies to review, or just to send me your opinions and fan mail. Follow me on Twitter, @Thomas_Pflanz

Not a Waltz! Anything but a Waltz!

Hello People of the Interwebs!

Today's review is of a movie that won a screenplay writing competition, and was then produced. The film is 'Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return'.

Image Credit to IMDb

WARNING: Spoilers ahead!

The story follows Dorothy, as she wakes up from the tornado, in a wrecked house. We meet the Appraiser, who, for no reason that's ever clarified, wants to condemn people's houses when they're completely destroyed, as is usual during situations like that. Dorothy tries to fight back, but is shot down. In a surprisingly depressing moment, she sings about how one person can't change the world while walking through the horribly destroyed town. This moment really hits hard since, in the original Wizard of Oz, you don't really see what happens to Dorothy's house or her town after the tornado. It's really quite a powerful scene.

Anyway, Dorothy then gets captured by a rainbow. Kind of a sudden twist. Dorothy gets sucked to Oz, where an evil villain, named the Jester, has begun to take over! Here is yet another villain where their true motives are... non-existent. He has a villain song, but it doesn't actually clarify WHY he wants to take over Oz. All I really know about him is this- 1: His sister was the Wicked Witch of the West. 2: His sister cursed him, so he can't take off his Jester's outfit. 3: He makes his marionette slaves do a Waltz to intimidate people. sigh... He captures Glinda by turning her into a soulless marionette, and eventually captures the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the ex-Cowardly Lion (ex-Cowardly, not ex-Lion), but doesn't turn them into soulless marionettes. Dorothy travels through Oz, trying to make her way to the Emerald City, and then to the Jester's Palace. Along the way, she meets Wiser, a fat owl, Marshal Mellows, a marshmallow guard, and the China Princess.

The writing isn't really bad, and most of the jokes could be funny, but barely any actually land an amusing punchline. Why do I still think the writing's okay then? Well beyond the jokes, they managed to make me get teary eyed for a relationship between a tiny porcelain doll and a giant marshmallow. Anybody who can do that deserves some credit.

Now, the voice acting is what you'd expect. B-Rate actors, doing C-Rate jobs, and- wait, what? There's actual Star Power in this film! Among the stars in this film are such varied A-List actors as: Dan Aykroyd, Kelsey Grammer, Bernadette Peters, Martin Short, and... Patrick Stewart? Ayup, Patrick Stewart is in this film, folks. As a talking tree/talking boat/talking wooden tank. But you know what? If I were Patrick Stewart, I would do a movie like this one once in a while too. Dorothy is played by Lea Michelle, which helps when there's singing involved, I guess. I'm not entirely convinced by her acting though.

All in all, it's not an entirely terrible movie, and I suppose that it has enjoyable moments, but it is not at all worth about 1 and 3/4 hours of your time.

This is the Teenage Critic, signing off!

Like The Teenage Critic on Facebook here. You can email the Teenage Critic, at criticteen1@gmail.com. Feel free to send me your suggestions for movies to review, or just to send me your opinions and fan mail. Follow me on Twitter, @Thomas_Pflanz

Is Juno an Airbender?

Hello People of the Interwebs!

This week, I'll be reviewing Juno!

Image Credit to IMDb

WARNING: Spoilers ahead!

The story of Juno follows a 16 year old girl named Juno MacGuff as she deals with being pregnant. She decides to adopt out her baby, and finds a perfect couple. The couple is Vanessa and Mark Loring. Vanessa wishes to be a mother, but Mark has other ideas. He would rather spend his time playing in a band and following his passions, which allows Juno to bond with him. Juno also deals with her feelings for the baby's father, Paulie Bleeker.

The story is beautifully simple. It allows for greater expansion of the characters, so we can feel their joy and sadness and anger as they feel it. There's so much emotion packed into this movie, which you wouldn't expect at first, due to some of the rather unusual language in it. But don't be fooled by my words; it's also an incredibly lighthearted tale.

The acting is amazing in this film. Ellen Page plays Juno MacGuff. Her innocent portrayal melds beautifully with the story and the character. Paulie Bleeker is played by Michael Cera, and he does his usual awkward teen performance, which is always hilarious and well done! Jennifer Garner plays Vanessa Loring, and she does an amazing job with the pure and raw emotions of her character. Vanessa's husband, Mark, is played by Jason Bateman. Now, here's the thing about Jason Bateman. I may have not seen him in much, but in everything that I've seen, I've never liked his character. He just doesn't generally play likable characters, which is a shame, since he's a good actor. Another actor of notice is J.K. Simmons, playing Mac MacGuff, Juno's father. I really just enjoy Simmons in general, since he is a phenomenal actor, for both on screen roles and voice roles as well. One of my favorite of his voices is Tenzin, Aang's son in The Legend of Korra.

Juno is a beautiful movie about a girl struggling through her nine months of pregnancy. It's just generally about living life, even when you are going through a difficult time. I really love the quaint feeling of it, and the raw emotions that are so important in movies. A beautiful movie with beautiful performances.

This is the Teenage Critic, signing off!

Like The Teenage Critic on Facebook here. You can email the Teenage Critic, at criticteen1@gmail.com. Feel free to send me your suggestions for movies to review, or just to send me your opinions and fan mail. Follow me on Twitter, @Thomas_Pflanz

Gobble-tor Who?!

Hello People of the Interwebs!

Today I'll be reviewing a movie of Historic proportions: Free Birds.

Image Credit to IMDb

WARNING: Spoilers ahead!

Have any of you ever watched the TV show of Mad, based on Mad Magazine? Did you ever see their Thanksgiving episode? The one where they parodied 'The Bourne Legacy'? Well, that's this movie's plot. The story follows an outcast turkey named Reggie. He gets pardoned by the President during the annual Turkey Pardoning. He lives a luxurious life, until he's kidnapped by another Turkey named Jack. Jack believes that his destiny is to steal a time machine (built by the US Government, of course), and use it to go back in time and stop turkeys from being on the menu of the first Thanksgiving. There, Jack and Reggie meet a tribe of wild turkeys, who are constantly hiding from a hunter, named Myles Standish, and his hunting crew.

I'm gonna focus on the acting right now, then rant later. The voice acting is, well, really kinda okay. There's nothing really special about it. Owen Wilson plays Reggie, and he does his best fulfilling a stupid script like this one, though I guess that can be said for all of the actors. Woody Harrelson plays Jake. This film also employs the voices of Amy Poehler as Jenny, Reggie's love interest, Colm Meany as Myles Standish, and George Takei as S.T.E.V.E., the time machine's AI. These three are probably the best of the the voice actors in this film.

Now, this is a really stupid movie. It has all the clichés of comedy/action/kids films, but not in the way where it is clever and mocking (like Johnny English, where it's mocking them beautifully). There's a lot of non-funny non sequitur, like guards laughing for a minute at a mildly funny joke, and countless other kinds of pointless, throwaway lines. There are a couple of funny moments, and those make the movie more tolerable, I suppose. But then there's the Pizza. In the end, (SPOILERS), there's a big battle between the humans and the turkeys. Reggie comes back from the future, and brings along... Pizza. So, instead of humans eating turkey for Thanksgiving, they eat Pizza. Now, not only is this stupid, but it creates a paradox, which I won't go into, because this movie doesn't deserve that level of thought. Then the very last is spoken. It's from S.T.E.V.E. (who is voiced by Takei). His last line is "Oh, my!" A stupid, cheesy (yet funny), way to end this stupid film.

I would recommend against anyone watching this movie. While there are certainly amusing moments, when it's all said and done, it's a horrible mess. I think that it's definitely a kid's film, and children (the film's target audience) will most likely enjoy it, since they are blissfully unaware of the clichés. Also, drunk people (NOT the film's target audience) might enjoy it as well. In other words, don't watch it.

This is the Teenage Critic, signing off!

Like The Teenage Critic on Facebook here. You can email the Teenage Critic, at criticteen1@gmail.com. Feel free to send me your suggestions for movies to review, or just to send me your opinions and fan mail. Follow me on Twitter, @Thomas_Pflanz

Johnny English: Jesus Mode

Hello People of the Interwebs!

Funny story. I was home sick today. Wait, it's not funny yet. Stop Laughing! Anyway, it was about 4:00 in the afternoon. I had wrapped up my work for the day, when I realized that I had no review. So, I walked to the TV, and turned on Netflix. Then, I saw Johnny English: Reborn. Wanting to watch something new, I hit play. It then occurred to me that I had seen it before. Then I thought: "Eh, screw it. I'll just finish it." So, that's the story behind this review. Now, let's get to it!



WARNING: Spoilers ahead!

The story follows Johnny English, an Ex-MI7 agent and Ex-Knight. He gets re-hired by MI7 to discover the secrets behind an assassination attempt on the Chinese Premier. In the process, he discovers a secret group called 'Vortex', made up of three people, with a secret weapon that allows them to kill people. Through his investigation, where he makes some bumblingly stupid errors, Johnny finds out that Vortex is made up of people one from each from: CIA, KGB... and MI7 (not-at-all-shocked gasp, but I guess that that's the point).

This film does an amazing job making fun of the classic tropes of espionage based movies. Where an older man might actually do parkour to chase down a bad guy in a James Bond film, the old Johnny English uses elevators and doors (using his wisdom over his body). There are also obvious reveals, like who is involved in Vortex. It's very cleverly done.

The acting is quite good. Rowan Atkinson plays Johnny English. Atkinson is brilliant, as he always is. His right hand man, Tucker, was played by Daniel Kaluuya. He's a fantastic comic foil for Atkinson. Dominic West plays Agent Simon Ambrose, who is the MI7 member of Vortex. The rest  of the actors are just as good, and support the story very well.

All in all, it's funny, exciting, and a great film! The cliché tropes are well done, and hilarious. This film is simply great!

This is the Teenage Critic, signing off!

Well, before I do... I'm the Production Stage Manager and Co-Adapter for a stage adaptation of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. We currently have a fundraiser going to help pay for the rehearsal space and the theater space. We only have 4 more days to fund it, or we can't put on the show. Every dollar helps, so donate whatever you can! Link: https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/dut66/ab/14KEA9

Like The Teenage Critic on Facebook here. You can email the Teenage Critic, at criticteen1@gmail.com. Feel free to send me your suggestions for movies to review, or just to send me your opinions and fan mail. Follow me on Twitter, @Thomas_Pflanz