REVIEW: SEIJUU SENTAI GINGAMAN VS MEGARANGER

Gingaman_vs_megaranger_posterWell this is another of my favorite crossovers which unlike Megaranger vs. Carranger, creates a huge what if at both series’ ends. The crossover’s what if events supposedly happen after the end of BOTH Gingaman and Megaranger. The Gingamen have won as the movie seems to fit so well with Gingaman’s ending and the Megarangers are seen to have been in College already. Considering Arakawa wrote the Megaranger finale, I don’t find Megaranger’s alternate reality fates to be any different than what could have happened in Megaranger proper.Gingaman_vs_megaranger_posterThe plot of Gingaman vs. Megaranger is where Captain Zahab’s non-canon brother Captain Gregory returns and revives the Balban. At the same time, Shibolena’s duplicate known as Hizumina exists with the wish to revive Dr. Hinelar. It also shows a what-if scenario in Megaranger. While all the other Megarangers have gone abroad, both Chisato and Kenta stay in Japan. Early on in the movie, it felt like Chisato is dating Kenta even if in Megaranger, neither of them were attracted to each other but only a couple of shipteases. Meawhile, Miku remains as the hopeless romantic to Shun.Gingaman_Vs_Megaranger_part_22What was nice about this crossover was how it made a what if for both series not trying to fit in-between then poof, add something non-canon but to how it really tried to see both shows beyond their canonical endings.

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REVIEW: SEIJUU SENTAI GINGAMAN

Seijuu_sentai_gingaman_by_butters101-d73akqu“We pierce through the galaxy with legendary blades.” is the theme of Seijuu Sentai Gingaman. This was the first work that Yasuko Kobayashi had done as a Super Sentai headwriter. This series may have come out as one of the best series in the 1990s.gingamanreviewThe story of Gingaman begins with the inauguration of the would be 133rd Gingaman team by lineage. Although Hyuga would have beent he 133rd Ginga Red but fate soon made his younger brother Ryoma as the show’s main protagonist instead. The other Gingamen are Hayate (Ginga Green), Gouki (Ginga Blue), Hikaru (Ginga Yellow) and Saya (Ginga Pink). Later on, Hyuga returns and becomes the sixth ranger inheriting the anti-hero Bullblack’s powers after the latter’s heroic sacrifice.gingamanreviewThe Gingamen as warriors are imbued with this “Earth Power” that allows them to harness power from nature. Ryoma uses fire, Hayate uses wind, Gouki uses water, Hikaru uses lightning and Saya uses petals. The heroes had lost their home the Ginga Forest to the Balban and are forced to live with the “normal world” where they must learn to adjust. The plot kind of feels like it was taken from Flashman’s rangers where they must try to adjust to a new environment. The heroes must defend the Earth from the Balban Pirates before the Earth becomes their next target for destruction. To guide them in the city, they were assisted by the talking tree Moak and the acorn fairy Bokku. They live in a ranch where Harukiko and his son Yuuta accommodate them and knew of their identity as the 133rd Gingamen.gingamanreviewThe Balban are a group of intergalactic pirates who for some reason could breathe even in the vacuum of space. Captain Zahab and his pirate crew have been plundering and then destroying planets turning them into jewels. Whatever reasons Captain Zahab had, it felt like he was trying to achieve immortality and/or possibly godhood. The Earth becomes the only planet standing in his way as he was defeated by the first Gingamen. These space pirates were sealed off for centuries but were awakened by an earthquake in the modern day. They seek to get whatever energy they could to revive their giant monster Daitanic so they can proceed to destroy Earth.tumblr_inline_n877ce7Bx41rdhiybThe main villain crew of Captain Zahab has Shelinda as his steerwoman, Pucrates as his advisor and the four generals. The four generals are Sanbash the leader of the insect-like humanoid monsters, Budo leads a samurai-themed gang of monsters. Illies is an Egyptian themed sorceress who uses magically themed monsters. Batbas is a viking themed general with mechanical robotic beasts who cause havoc. Like the generals in Goranger, the generals only replaced each other when the previous one got destroyed in the conflict though they all appeared in the beginning. The reason was because Captain Zahab wanted to make sure they prevented any sabotaging done towards each other though it proved useless. Later, Dark Merchant Biznella came in later in the series to assist Balban.tumblr_inline_n877ce7Bx41rdhiybWhile my first exposure to Yasuko Kobayashi as a writer was Samurai Sentai Shinkenger, Gingaman was where I soon knew of how she started off as a headwriter right after she was an important secondary writer a year before with Denji Sentai Megaranger. She started out pretty good and she had a lot of good assistance from Naruhisa Arakawa and Junki Takegami as major secondary writers together with Shigenori Takatera as the head producer. Like during the time Toshiki Inoue was the head writer of Chojin Sentai Jetman – the series tried to blend in a lot of stuff from Hirohisa Soda’s era and became a successful series. This was just a preview of what we might expect from Kobayashi’s style as a head writer. This was also where Arakawa was also getting more of an idea on how he wanted to write Tokusatsu his style after he wrote Megaranger’s finale.Tumblr_n7z4uoApvM1s5uxaeo7_1280As I watched through this series and having seen more 90s Super Sentai, I really felt that it was a nice series though I wonder why was it really named Gingaman? After seeing Zyuohger’s premiere episodes, I felt like maybe Gingaman should have been named as Zyuohman or Seijuuman instead because it felt like it was too attached to the forest? I even thought that maybe its U.S. adaptation Power Rangers Lost Galaxy should have been named as Power Rangers Star Beasts instead of the official title it got. The show had some really good writing and production styles involved making it memorable. I felt that like Jetman, it should’ve gotten a post-series TV special (ex. a Hero Encyclopedia) but maybe it was hard to beat Jetman’s record. Instead, we had Timeranger get a post-TV series special where the Timerangers explained about the 23 previous Super Sentai series prior to them. Overall, it’s been an enjoyable series to watch.

REVIEW: STAR TREK: DISCOVERY – SEASON 1 – PART II

Sonequa Martin-Green in Star Trek: Discovery (2017)

MAIN CAST

Sonequa Martin-Green (The Good Wife)
Doug Jones (Hellboy)
Shazad Latif (Penny Dreadful)
Anthony Rapp (A Beautiful Mind)
Mary Wiseman (Longmire)
Jason Isaacs (Peter Pan)

Mary Wiseman in Star Trek: Discovery (2017)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Wilson Cruz (13 Reasons Why)
Mary Chieffo (Miss Dial)
Sam Vartholomeos (Bull)
Emily Coutts (Crimson Peak)
Chris Violette (Power Rangers SPD)
Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon)
James Frain (Gotham)
Rekha Sharma (Battlestar Galactica)
Raven Dauda (Gossip)
Jayne Brook (Gattaca)
Mia Kirshner (The Vampire Diaries)

Jason Isaacs and Sonequa Martin-Green in Star Trek: Discovery (2017)Exposition done with, characters established both narratively and in our hearts, this run of episodes really got to play with the best parts of Star Trek canon. As many avid fans guessed, the Discovery did indeed end up in the Mirror Universe, a.k.a. a version of the universe in the OS episode Mirror, Mirror, where the crew were faced with (sometimes comically) evil versions of themselves. in Discovery, they go a step further, inverting the politics of the universe in one of the most well constructed arcs that any piece of Star Trek media has ever executed. In this universe, it is the tyrannical and thoroughly speciesist Terran empire which brutally subjugates all other alien races, who have banded together in a rebellion. This framing of the humans as a force of evil in the universe is boldly brilliant, forcing both characters and audiences to question morality in its deepest and most primal sense.Sonequa Martin-Green in Star Trek: Discovery (2017)Sonequa Martin-Green’s Michael Burnham is faced with her greatest challenge yet. While in the first half Michael was coming to terms with embracing her humanity, her stint in the parallel universe puts her very humanity to the test. Watching her staunch morals come into conflict with necessity and the fight for survival makes for truly captivating television. Martin-Green is a master of subtlety, and conveys emotion so skilfully through the layer of Vulcan conditioning that Michael carries. Cadet Tilly (Mary Wiseman) gets to try on a new brutal persona, complete with flat-ironed hair and an sexy evil outfit. Much more sinister in her new persona is Michelle Yeoh, who’s back as the evil version of the killed-too-soon Philippa Georgiou. Yeoh is a force of nature, effortlessly selling the icy calculation and savagery of the Terran Emperor. She also gets to entertain us all with her amazing martial arts skills, which adds an exciting new dimension to the fight scenes.Doug Jones and Mary Wiseman in Star Trek: Discovery (2017)The decision to cast Jason Isaacs as Lorca finally makes sense after the big twist in this half of the season, and he plays his role with gumption. He’s always been morally grey, but the slow easter eggs leading up to the big reveal really does have audiences only figuring it out in time to yell it right before Michael realises. It’s good writing, plain and simple. When was the last time you were really surprised by a twist in a TV show? I haven’t been shocked as well as that for a long time. The best part about that reveal is that the pay-off both plot wise and emotionally is massive. Less impactful is the death of Dr. Culver (Wilson Cruz). In that case, it seemed like he had to be killed off in order for the plot to work — to add complexity to Stamets (Anthony Rapp)’s otherwise pretty boring role, and to cement Ash’s descent. Shazad Latif once more is the stand-out actor of the show. He conveys the complex PTSD and trauma scenes just as well as he does the tender emotional ones. He really does have the biggest and most impressive range, and never once fails to deliver. Unfortunately, the script lets him down a little in places. One aspect that consistently frustrated me was the insistence of the script in making Ash’s trauma somehow about Michael. Though she is the protagonist, it felt forced and frankly disrespectful for every scene where Ash deals with his trauma to be shut down by Michael.Michelle Yeoh and Sonequa Martin-Green in Star Trek: Discovery (2017)In the same vein, though L’Rell was a character I found myself rooting for at the very beginning of the show, it’s impossible for audiences to ignore, like the narrative seems to, everything that she put Ash through. She’s been portrayed as a horrific abuser in relation to Ash’s storyline, yet somehow the explanation of Ash’s biological state seemed to absolve her of this in the eyes of the characters. Though the conclusion of the plot of Q’onos is clever and elevates the peaceful and hopeful ideals that Star Trek holds dear, it throws Ash under the bus in a way that doesn’t sit right with me. Though it loses momentum very slightly after they arrive back in their own universe, overall the pacing and structure of this half of the season works very well. The costuming and sets particularly are even more detailed and pertinent than in the first half of the season. The final ten minutes or so are a change of tone — very cheesy, but ultimately incredibly satisfying. The message of hope and idealism is broadcast loud and clear, hopefully heralding a 2018 where people in our world can aspire to be more like Michael Burnham.Michelle Yeoh in Star Trek: Discovery (2017)The closing moments were perhaps even more satisfying — who else shrieked when they saw NCC-17…?! Don’t you love a good Star Trek reference in your Star Trek!? Season 2 has thankfully been confirmed, so prepare yourselves for Captain Pike of the Enterprise to arrive on the scene to shake things up!

REVIEW: BAD GRANDPA

CAST

Johnny Knoxville (The Ringer)
Jackson Nicoll (The Fighter)
Georgina Cates (Sinner)
Jack Polick (Blow)
Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich)
Catherine Keener (The 40 Year Old Virgin)

Johnny Knoxville in Bad Grandpa (2013)Billy is sitting in the waiting room of a lawyer’s office. His mother Kimmie comes out to grab him and tells him they’re going to see his grandfather. Irving Zisman is sitting in the waiting room of a hospital, checking out a magazine and looking at racy photos. A nurse comes in to inform Irving that his wife has died. After a brief moment of silence, Irving starts laughing, overjoyed that his wife is dead. Irving leaves the hospital to get himself off, but unfortunately for him, the massage parlor and strip club are closed. Desperate, he sticks his penis into the slot of a vending machine. That’s when he gets himself stuck and starts asking onlookers for help.Johnny Knoxville and Jackson Nicoll in Bad Grandpa (2013)Irving attends his wife Ellie’s funeral with a group of strangers as they outlived all their close friends. As he starts giving a speech, Billy and his mother Kimmie barge in and Kimmie pulls Irving outside to talk to him. She says she is going back to jail for violating her parole, and she asks Irving to make sure Billy stays with his father. Irving reluctantly agrees and they go back inside. Kimmie starts to steal a pearl necklace from Ellie’s casket, but Irving tries to stop her. Their struggle ends up pushing Irving into the casket, spilling Ellie’s corpse onto the floor.Johnny Knoxville and Jackson Nicoll in Bad Grandpa (2013)Irving takes Billy to meet with a counselor while they contact Billy’s father. Chuck turns out to be a deadbeat who refuses to take Billy in as he is unable to afford to do so. When his girlfriend comes in to remind him that he can get child support for Billy, he instructs Irving to take Billy down to Raleigh, North Carolina to drop him off by Sunday. Irving starts selling his late wife’s belongings, and tries to sell her bed to a potential customer. Later, Irving calls a couple of unwitting guys to come help remove the bed, though he really asks them to help him and Billy carry Ellie’s body to the trunk of his car, since he felt that she needs to be taken south to be buried properly.Johnny Knoxville and Jackson Nicoll in Bad Grandpa (2013)Irving and Billy hit the road, and Billy says he’s hungry, so Irving pulls over to a nearby market where a woman is selling food. He tries to hit on her while Billy goes on a ride outside the shop. He tells Irving that it is not working, forcing Irving to test it out, only to end up getting blasted through the window when the ride springs off its base. Frustrated, Irving tries to send Billy off to North Carolina in a box. He takes him to the post office, but since Billy keeps moving and speaking, both women in the post office open it and are shocked to find him inside. Before he can get into anymore trouble, he says he will just take Billy back on the road. Irving leaves Billy in the car as he goes away to play Bingo. Meanwhile, Billy leaves the car to explore and stops an older gentlemen to get him to tie his shoelaces.Johnny Knoxville and Jackson Nicoll in Bad Grandpa (2013)The duo head to a supermarket when Billy gets hungry again, Irving steals food from the premises and makes himself and Billy sandwiches, which is seen by the staff. A woman comes out to chastise Irving for eating without paying. The two pull into a motel for the day. They pull Ellie’s corpse out of the trunk since Irving thinks it would be disrespectful to leave it in the car. Irving then asks a man if he knows where a strip club is. The man points one out to him and he leaves Billy in the room. Irving goes to a club featuring male performers, and tells one of the dancers that he plans on waiting until the women are so aroused by the dancers for him to swoop in and make his move. When the men start to dance, Irving jumps on the dance floor and pulls down his pants. At the same time, Billy leaves the motel room to find him. He goes to another strip club and then to an adult book store. Irving eventually returns home before they have to hit the road again.As they approach North Carolina, Irving tries to use Billy to find a woman to hook up with, but they all turn him down. They drive to a diner where Irving crashes into a large penguin statue, arguing with one of the customers about fixing it. At the diner, Billy asks why he has to stay with his dad when he does not like him very much. Irving insists that Billy must do so anyway, then defecates onto the wall behind him. Embarrassed, they leave and later play some basketball while Billy asks Irving if he can take him fishing. Billy gets hungry yet again and Irving takes him to a church where a wedding reception is taking place. During a group photo, Irving swipes a glass of champagne, causing the whole tower of glasses to collapse, and he ends up falling on top of the table and into the wedding cake, crashing onto the floor.MV5BMTQ1NTQwMTYxNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMjA1MzY1._V1_Irving drives Billy to a bar where they are meeting Chuck. Chuck is talking to a member of a biker organization called Guardians of the Children, which assists abused children. Chuck explains that Billy will allow for him to get child support just as Irving and Billy walk in the door. Irving asks him to make sure that Billy is taken care of, though he rudely responds to Irving that he’ll get the job done. Irving bids Billy farewell. As Irving leaves tearfully, one GOC member comes out to assure him that they will keep their eyes on Billy. Irving drives away, but immediately starts to miss Billy. He turns the car around and drives back to the bar to get Billy back, just as Chuck is showing off his bad parenting by refusing Billy any food. Irving calls Billy to him, but Chuck prepares to fight him. The GOC members pull them away from each other and allow Irving to leave with Billy while they hold Chuck off and warn him there will be trouble if he acts threateningly.Bad GrandpaTo celebrate, Irving and Billy crash a beauty pageant after spotting a flyer for it on their road trip. Billy gets dressed up as a girl and charms most of the judges, even though one reigning child champion and her mother note the unusual event of a girl being there with a grandpa. Billy dresses up as a sailor girl to put on a show. It appears cute until he rips off the outfit to reveal him wearing women’s underwear and then put on a risque dance to “Cherry Pie”, then for Irving to throw money at him. Everyone, including the judges, are completely speechless. His wig falls off and the duo runs out. Irving drives up to a bridge where he and Billy finally get rid of Ellie’s body by throwing it into a river before proceeding to fish, fulfilling Billy’s desires.MV5BMTQ1NTQwMTYxNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwMjA1MzY1._V1_I didn’t have expectations for Bad Grandpa; none good at least. I was pleasantly surprised though! Whilst not nearly the best comedy released in 2013, this is surely the funniest. If you love pranks, or Jackass, or both, you’ll adore this film!

 

REVIEW: NORTH V SOUTH

CAST

Freema Agyeman (Doctor Who)
Keith Allen (Hector)
Bernard Hill (The Lord of The Rings)
Steven Berkoff (Red 2)
Geoff Bell (Green Street)
Judith Alexander (Bloodless)
Gary Cargill (Maleficent)
Oliver Cotton (The Dark Knight Rises)
Charlotte Hope (Game of Thrones)

Geoff Bell and Brad Moore in North v South (2015)North v South has all the makings of an engaging crime drama. There’s beefy strongmen who swear a big, Tarantino-esque game before unleashing wrath on their equally arrogant adversaries. There’s suspenseful negotiations between the film’s two crime gangs, one from the north of England and the other from the south, that we know are all for show and will only end in violence. There’s vehicular action, standoffs, shoot-outs, deception, sex, drugs, and a whole array of colorful characters, from a child assassin to a cross-dressing hitman. And, of course, there’s a star-crossed love story between a young boy and girl from opposing gangs. The-Rambler-2013-Movie-1What I wasn’t able to grasp was what all these elements were trying to build towards, as North v South ends up feeling very disjointed. Brad Moore surely eats up the screen when he steps in a few minutes into the film as Gary Little, a loudmouthed gangster with a sharp, profane response to even the slightest criticism. This scene, which involves a clown (Steve Evets) and his young daughter Sam (Sydney Wade) stopping at the wrong time to go to the bathroom at a pub at which Gary and partner Bill (Geoff Bell) are waiting, sets a tense, witty and violent tone for the film, but with so much going on for the rest of the 90 minutes, it’s hard to keep up with it all. Soon we watch as Gary and his partners – representatives from the southern gang – partake in a blunt but suspenseful negotiation with their opponents from the north. The two groups have been in a Cold War of sorts for decades, but here the truce is about ready to crack, and as soon as the meeting is adjourned both groups begin a cat-and-mouse game of collecting info, organizing assassinations, and planning large-scale attacks. A simple gang-vs-gang battle of wit, spit and grit would have made for a convoluted enough hour-and-a-half, but with everything else going on, it’s a pretty crowded affair.streetfighter-chun-1Thrown into the mix is the romance between Willow (Charlotte Hope) and Terry (Elliott Tittensor). She’s the daughter of Vic Clarke (Steven Berkoff), head of the southern gang, and he works for the family business, collecting info for the northerners. Their romance is supposed to anchor the movie in humanity, but ultimately just feels like it’s added baggage. Terry narrates the film, but once more textured characters come into play, we forget about his perspective altogether. Amongst these other characters are Gustave (Dom Monot), a transgender hitman, and Penny (Freema Agyeman), who was trained from orphanhood to kill for the northern gang and has now been assigned to train the young Sam – the tween daughter of the clown from the opening scene – to do the same. Agyeman is a standout of the cast, reminiscent of her days on Doctor Who with equal parts tough warrior and caring guardian. Sydney Wade also gives a memorable turn as the unassuming Sam, who doesn’t realize while playing around with a massive rifle that she’s being robotically trained to kill with it.32659_stritfajter_or_street-fighter-the-legend-of-chun_1600x1200_www_GdeFon_ru_-600x400All these elements are a good mix of entertaining and affecting when looked at on their own, but 90 minutes simply isn’t enough time for them to all mesh together into something that feels complete. Instead, North v South comes off as divided as its title, unsure how to connect all the elements and instead throwing out contrived new elements around every turn without much connective tissue in between. Visually, director Steven Nesbit and Kyle Heslop have created a sleek, stylish thriller, with the only noticeable flaws in the production values being the odd bit of sloppy editing here and there. The problems with the film mainly stem from the bigger picture, in that in trying to say so much, the film eventually says very little about its characters and their actions. Nonetheless, it’s quick enough and filmed with enough memorable scenes that it will make for enjoyable light viewing for fans of the crime genre, and may even have strong lasting value.

REVIEW: THE FORGER (2014)

CAST

John Travolta (The Punisher)
Christopher Plummer (All The Money In The World)
Abigail Spencer (The Haunting In Connecticut 2)
Jennifer Ehle (Fifty Shades of Grey)
Tye Sheridan (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Anson Mount (Inhumans)
Victor Gojcaj (The Taking of Pelham 123)

Christopher Plummer in The Forger (2014)The world’s best art forger (John Travolta) makes a deal with a crime syndicate to get an early release from prison, but in return he must pull off an impossible heist – he must forge a painting by Claude Monet, steal the original from a museum, and replace it with a replica so perfect that no one will notice. He enlists the help of his father (Christopher Plummer) and son (Tye Sheridan) and together they plan the heist of their lives!John Travolta in The Forger (2014)The Forger, yet pretty forgettable, is still quite an involving drama, with an excellent performance from Travolta. The Forger offers little surprises and sits between good and fair. It’s not a bad film but a decent enough one that will entertain on a slow day.

REVIEW: DARK VENGEANCE

CAST

Steven Seagal (Kill Switch)
Sarah Lind (Blade: The Series)
Meghan Ory (Dead Rising: Watchtower)
Warren Christie (Alphas)
William Stewart (50/50)
Emilie Ullerup (Sanctuary)
George Takei (Star Trek)
Adrian Hough (X-Men: The Last Stand)
Kyle Cassie (Deadpool)

 

True Justice (2010)Steven Seagal had so much fun being a real fake cop on “Lawman”, he became a fake fake cop on “True Justice”. Steven Seagal plays Steven Seagal’s version of Steven Seagal. He’s the smartest guy in the room, the sexiest man in America, the best martial artist in the world. Of course, he is. He’s Steven Seagal! He’s a Seattle cop who talks like he’s from New Orleans, looks like he’s from Hollywood, and moves like he’s from “Zombieland”. He leads a special team called the Central Casting Squad. They look up to him for some reason while he mumbles orders at them. In his spare time, he practices waving his samurai sword around. He so respects the way of the samurai that he got his hair cut like “Samurai Jack”. Dark Vengeance is another compilation of episodes from the True Justice series (Season 1). Every episode is written by Steven Seagal’s favorite writer: Steven Seagal. If you love Steven Seagal  you’ll love this film.