Annie Hall review

“Syliva Plath – interesting poetess whose tragic suicide was misinterpreted as romantic by the college girl mentality.”

The Scoop: 1977 PG, directed by Woody Allen and starring Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, and Shelley Duvall

Tagline: A nervous romance.

Summary Capsule: Cute little tidbits about how Woody Allen views life, and more importantly, love, in progress.

Nancy’s Rating: Four out of five college kid clichés.

Nancy’s Review: The other one is the video game kid. The other is the heavy hippie stoner. And then a blatant nerd, and then a party kid.

But next to all of that, there’s the intellectual. Ohhh, you kooky intellectual.

Woody Allen is a staple for that college kid’s life. To be a college intellectual is to be amazed by his subtle humor. What is so special about Annie Hall, however, is that it transcends this land of ‘college cult deal’ and crosses over into ‘respected love tale for the ages’ land.

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The Animatrix review

“Hand over your flesh, and a new world awaits you. We demand it.”

The Scoop: 2003 NR directed by Andy Jones, et all and starring Clayton Watson, Carrie-Anne Moss, Keanu Reeves

Summary Capsule: A series of nine short animated films examining various corners of the Matrix universe. Also, robot bosoms.

Drew’s Rating: Umm… not as good as the first movie, but way better than the third? Or does that go without saying?

Drew’s Review: Okay, a bit of explanation is in order — as some of you may know but others not so much, The Animatrix was a series of 9 short animated films released as a DVD collection at around the same time The Matrix Reloaded hit theaters. Overseen by the Wachowski brothers with a variety of directors, the shorts are meant to explore the Matrix universe in more detail, expanding on things only touched on in the movies; with the exception of one 2-parter, each stands on its own and has no connection to the others. Thus, rather than trying to judge the entire package as a whole, I’ll instead be looking at each segment individually and judging it on its own merits. Clear? Cool. Let’s do this!

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Animal House review

“Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!”

The Scoop: 1978 R directed by John Landis and starring John Belushi, Tim Matheson, and Donald Sutherland

Tagline: It was the Deltas against the rules… the rules lost!

Summary Capsule: Delta House fights against the administration, fellow students, and oppression of parties everywhere.

Justin’s Rating: Spank-a-Doodle-Dandy

Justin’s Review: There are scenes in this movie that are certainly innovative and fascinating, and even more that draw attention to sheer crudity and a spirit of gross-out. The point where I nearly lost my lunch came in a “morning after” scene, where a college co-ed and her professor are milling around the house. The professor is Donald Sutherland, who parades around in nothing but a shirt and effectively moons the audience. That, my friends, shocked my hormones into a coma from which they still have not recovered.

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Adventureland review

“I’m amazed at how tiny my paycheck is.”

The Scoop: 2009 R, directed by Greg Mottola and starring Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, and Ryan Reynolds

Tagline: It was the worst job they ever imagined and the best time of their lives.

Summary Capsule: the summer before going off to graduate school, a young man’s parents can no longer provide him with the money they promised so he has to take any job he can: welcome to Adventureland!

Kyle’s Rating: Kristen Stewart can do no wrong EVER

Kyle’s Review: Although I surely would have enjoyed Adventureland without it, having seen I Love You, Man helped enlarge Jesse Eisenberg’s lead performance immensely. Paul Rudd, already enshrined in the Comedy Hall of Greatness, delivered above and beyond what was expected in his role. Yet Rudd couldn’t overcome his script’s inability to sketch a wholly believable male not only born without the skills to form normal male friendships but seemingly incapable of even attempting to fake the behaviors allowing her to “fit in” socially. I Love You, Man is very, very funny, don’t get me wrong. But there is a consistent distance throughout that, basically, never let you forget you’re watching a fictional comedy film. Is that a bad thing? Not at all.

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Happy 20th birthday, Mutant Reviewers From Hell!

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Some of you (maybe just a few!) might know that my writing career got started a long time before Massively, Bio Break, and WAAAGH! I, along with several friends, used to write movie reviews daily about cult films that would tickle our odd fancy.

So the story goes that back in 1997 when I was in my junior year of college, an internet friend named Kym and I were talking about our mutual love of strange movies and decided to start up one of those fancy “world wide web sites” that were all the rage. I registered for a free Geocities account (yes, Geocities!) and started cobbling together the site that would eventually be called Mutant Reviewers From Hell (MRFH).

It was dorky only in the way that ’90s websites could be: distracting backgrounds, animated gifs, MIDI jukebox, web counters, guestbooks, and the like. Yet it was also the spark of something special. Kym and I would post short and (hopefully) entertaining counterpoint reviews about the same movie, giving readers multiple perspectives on various flicks. At the time I was working at video rental stores (look those up in your history books, kids) and had an unlimited access to all sorts of crazy films.

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American Ninja: Mutoids

Strange observations, weird thoughts, and snarky rebuttals are the domain of Mutoids — Mutant Reviewers’ notated journey through the film of the week.  So what did we notice about American Ninja?

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  • This movie really, really needs an establishing text, because I have no idea where it starts out.  Wikipedia says Philippines, and who am I to argue?
  • Brooding loner with fancy butterfly knife skills… we have our lead!
  • Hackeysack is the official pasttime of the US Army
  • Army base doesn’t have its own airport, but must form a protective convoy just to get a single person to her flight.
  • The opening theme is so dang hyper — especially with that trumpet — that it cracks me up

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American Ninja: Ninjas in the 80s

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Jackson: Have you ever heard of ninjutsu sir?
Colonel Hickock: What’s that?
Jackson: The secret art of assassination.

It’s a well-known trope that pop culture ninjas, like pirates, are nothing like their real-world counterparts.  While there were indeed ninjas, they were assassins rather than warriors who chose to blend in, use underhanded weapons, and kill when the victim was least suspecting it.  Unlike the samurai, the ninja were seen to have no honor nor great status.

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