‘Pearl’ Film Review

Pearl may be the most unique villain origin story ever put to screen. We only got to know the character of Pearl as the creepy old lady from X, which was released earlier this year. She doesn’t have the same iconic status as the Joker, or a Disney villain, yet her backstory serves as an intense, if not, compelling feature. Written by director Ti West and star Mia Goth (who both collaborated on X) during the pandemic, Pearl was given the green light and shot in secret, back-to-back, with X; an unusual move for sure, but a welcome one at that. While X had the grainy feel of a 70s horror movie in the vein of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Pearl was made with the technicolor CinemaScope style of a 50s or 60s movie in mind. Beneath Eliot Rockett’s dreamy cinematography lies an unsettling nature that could only come from a slasher film. The character of Pearl (Once again played by Goth) is a young woman with hopes and dreams, yet hiding within the farm getup, innocent Southern drawl, and schoolgirl smile is a sense that something is not right. All we can do is just wait for a firecracker to go off.

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‘Man Vs. Bee’ Series Review

Rowan Atkinson has returned to his slapstick roots in Man Vs. Bee, a nine-episode comedy series on Netflix that premiered on June 24, yet I finally just watched. In Man Vs. Bee, Atkinson plays a house sitter for a couple (Jing Lusi and Julian Rhind-Tutt) as they go on vacation. Yet what seems like a quiet week of house-sitting immediately turns into a battle against an unwanted guest: That being a bee. As the battle of man vs. bee ensues over the course of nine episodes, we are treated to a mixture of funny slapstick and uncomfortable gags that you would expect from the guy who gave us Mr. Bean.

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Big Finale! – Saying Goodbye to #AnitTwitWatches (Featuring Big Order)

It’s Time to Say Goodbye

Over the past three years I’ve run a group watch called AniTwitWatches over on Twitter. In that time we watched 20 different shows, had wonderful discussions, and had a pretty good time (well, mostly) along the way too! Today’s article, however, marks the end of this program after season 20, Big Order. I’d like to take this time to explain why we stopped, how Big Order represented the spirit of the program (even if it might seem like a strange note to end on), and whatever related thoughts I may have along the way. This isn’t a typical review, but I will talk about my thoughts on Big Order here so if you want that I’ll section it in a way so you can easily find it. With that, let’s get right to it. Continue reading “Big Finale! – Saying Goodbye to #AnitTwitWatches (Featuring Big Order)”

‘Pinocchio’ (2022) Film Review

Pinocchio is one of the most beloved movies in Disney history, and the latest to get a live-action remake. Brought to us by director Robert Zemeckis (who gave us his version of The Witches two years back), and starring Tom Hanks as Geppetto. Zemeckis’ Pinocchio tries to be the same as the original 1940 animated film, from the look and feel of the characters, yet falls short in terms of heart and soul. From the start, it seemed like a live-action remake of such a beloved classic like Pinocchio was a bad idea. What with all the different versions of Carlo Collodi’s novel The Adventures of Pinocchio out there (plus Guillermo Del Toro’s stop-motion feature set to be released on Netflix sometime this year). Disney also wants a piece of the wooden pie as the studio has been known to keep churning out those remakes. Yet this version looked to be the Disney-est of them all. For some reason, however, I do not hear people clamoring to check out the latest in Disney’s live-action remake roster, despite being dumped on Disney+, where families can check it out for free if they have the service.

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What’s Wrong with Onii-chan? – A Look at Tsukasa Fushimi’s Work

I Finally Watched Them!

While author Tsukasa Fushimi has done other, smaller works, he’s mostly known for Oreimo and Eromanga Sensei. I’d go as far as to say that, at least in Oreimo’s case, that the series carries the same kind of cultural weight to the medium that other titles such as Cowboy Bebop or Code Geass have, albeit for those deeper into the medium. This is a bold claim, but the notoriety that his works have is the whole reason I’ve threatened to watch these two titles for some time now. It’s not like Tsukasa Fushimi’s work was positively received in the same way that those other titles were, much less so today, but it would also be completely incorrect to say that they didn’t leave a lasting impact. Now having watched both his flagship works, I couldn’t help but wonder just what’s wrong with onii-chan? Continue reading “What’s Wrong with Onii-chan? – A Look at Tsukasa Fushimi’s Work”

‘Orphan: First Kill’ Film Review

Thirteen years after the first Orphan came out, a prequel has finally been released. Isabelle Fuhrmann, who played Esther in the first film, is now old enough to play the character again. If you can remember, Esther turned out to be a thirty-three-year old Russian immigrant named Leena Klammer, who posed as a nine-year-old in order to seduce the family patriarch. The idea of a prequel with Fuhrmann returning seemed like a no-brainer. Yet the only reason I see First Kill existing is just so we can see this now twenty-five-year-old play this character again. As someone who watched Orphan in order to prepare for First Kill, I thought it was fine, despite leaning into the generic evil-child film tropes. I only heard tell of it being a somewhat underrated cult classic. After watching First Kill, I can vouch for Orphan by saying that it was the better film that needed no follow-up.

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A Look Back at ‘Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat’ – The Movie that Killed Future Live-Action Dr. Seuss Adaptations!

After the major success of Ron Howard’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Universal took it upon themselves to adapt another beloved book by Dr. Seuss, the classic story of The Cat in the Hat. Unlike The Grinch however, Bo Welch’s adaptation was a flop, not just critically, but financially as well. I remember wanting to see this movie at age 9 as I loved the source material. But I had heard so many bad things about it. Parents said it was too crass to be shown to children, while Audrey Geisel (Seuss’ wife) thought it was so terrible that she refused any of Seuss’ further works to be adapted for live-action. When I saw it in the store, I ended up putting it in my mom’s cart and she bought it for me, despite her warning. I seemed to like The Cat in the Hat enough, but as I grew older, I ended up dismissing it as an abomination to what Seuss worked on. In many ways, that is true. A lot of the humor was mainly for adults, but not in a clever way that kids could miss, yet adults could appreciate, but in a way that went overboard. I could not understand how it did not get a PG-13 rating. At the behest of my three-year-old son, I decided to revisit this movie on Netflix. I almost refused, but I gave in for the sake of my child. I had not seen this film in years, so I figured “What the hell”. Upon watching, I knew I had to do a write-up to determine whether The Cat in the Hat is as bad as I remember, or if it was just misunderstood.

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#Anitwitwatches Season 20 – Big Order

Welcome to the Twentieth #Anitwitwatches!

While Season 19’s Sound of the Sky has been a nice little revisit, I fell like we really need to shake things up with this watch. So when you voted for my “mystery pick”, I knew exactly what we were going to do! For me, this will be a two for one as I am getting around to a previous recommendation from one of my followers all while getting you to watch it with me. Enough build up, here’s the reveal:  Big Order!

This is not considered a good show. It is a descent into madness. However, there are no doubts in my mind that every single person will have an excellent time with the discussion whether they love or loath the show alike. That’s what you get for voting for me though!

What is #Anitwitwatches?

This is a weekly community event meant to bring folks together to revisit old favorites and discover new shows. It’s meant to be something you can get as involved in as you want, there is no pressure to participate every week or every watch, but we’d love to have you to share in the experience and discuss the shows we are watching all the same!

I was inspired to do this after seeing the “rewatches” that people do over at Reddit in the r/anime sub. Since I interact with a lot of you guys on Twitter, I thought it would be the perfect place to do something similar! That said, even if you do not have a Twitter you can still join in by posting any content via WordPress, YouTube, or whatever suits your fancy. If you do, be sure to send me an email at jonspencerreviews@gmail.com so I can share your wonderful creations!

For everyone else, simply watch the episodes for the week based on the schedule below. Make sure to use the hashtag, #anitwitwatches when you do, and that’s it! Discuss with the other folks participating, create content, and generally just have a fun time!

This next show was chosen based on YOUR votes, so let’s get to the watch schedule.

Big Order Schedule

As always, we have a short break before returning. The main reason for this is to give everybody a little time off between watches. If you have not done so, you can see where you can watch Sound of the Sky for free, and legally, by using justwatch.com. Unfortunately, I cannot realistically check all regions but I aimed to make this as accessible as possible. That said, I won’t stop you from doing what you need to in order to participate. The more the merrier!

Here are the dates (all Mondays) and the episodes for each, please keep in mind that Monday’s are the main days for discussion but you basically have the whole week to watch (if you need to miss a week or whatever, that’s all good too). Be sure to save a copy of the schedule for your use:

I wanted this watch to be on the shorter side so this will only be 6 weeks long. I isolated the first and last episode because I think that will make for an interesting “where we started, where we ended up” kind of deal. Looking forward to all the discussion and hope to see you there!

Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Bladeworks (2014) Route 1 Alternative – Should You Start Here?

The Age Old Question

As with any larger franchise, this question always seems to come up:  where should I start? It’s a seemingly simple question without an equally straightforward answer. If you have been following my Fate journey thus far you’d notice that each has a “route” in the article’s title and wondered why I bothered putting it there. In part this is to help you, the reader, navigate the articles in a sensible way as to have my thoughts presented more cohesively, but even more so it acts as a general watch order suggestion. That brings us back to this article which you may have noticed is labeled “route 1 alternative” much like the review of the 2006 and 2010 Deen adaptations, so what gives?
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‘Nope’ Film Review

Jordan Peele may not have a huge directing resume, yet his stamp on horror is so profound, that whenever his name is attached to a new film, the question one asks is “What is he doing next?” Peele made it big with his directorial debut Get Out, which added racial commentary to its horror setting. While his second feature, Us, used the same type of commentary to tackle class. His latest feature, Nope, doesn’t seem as commentary-focused as his previous films, though it has something to say. Instead, it makes for a spectacle that has to be seen to be believed. Nope has the makings of a science-fiction epic akin to a Steven Spielberg film with the suspense of a horror film. However you want to describe it, Peele sure has a knack of conceiving pure tension through bits of quiet and lonesome outings, only matched by his film-making prowess. The camera, being our guide, instills feelings that something may be out there lurking, or making us feel trapped in a really uncomfortable situation. I would say that with each film, Peele proves to be as competent of a horror director as John Carpenter or Mike Flanagan.

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