Girl Meets World: “Girl Meets Gravity” Review

The season 2 premiere of Girl Meets World was tonight.  Disney Channel must be eager to air new episodes of the show.  A new episode is airing every night this week and the gap between seasons one and two was incredibly short.  The first season ended at the end of March.  Not to mention that there is a special episode that aired in the middle of April that is supposedly not part of any season.  Even if the break has not been long, season 2 is off to a really great start.  The season 2 premiere is better than most of the episodes in season 1.

The show is starting to become self-aware.  Cory Matthews jokingly makes a comment at the beginning of the episode saying that he is not Mr. Feeny and will not be Riley’s teacher for the new school year.  After a convenient series of events, Riley once again finds herself in Cory’s class.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Cory ends up transferring to a high school after Riley finishes the eighth grade.  One thing that I kept pointing out during the first season is how Cory never keeps control of his class, always allowing students to have their own conversations.  Lucas finally asks Cory why he lets these conversations happen.  An answer is not given, but at least someone is aware of how crazy that is.  Also crazy is how a character in this episode is just killed off out of nowhere.

Fans of Boy Meets World will enjoy the ending of this episode.  There was some confusion as to whether or not Mr. Feeny was a ghost in the first season.  This episode confirms it.  He is indeed not a ghost.  Mr. Feeny is very much alive.

The only real issue that I have with this episode of Girl Meets World has more to do with Disney than it does with the show.  Disney is just all over the place when it comes to release dates.  According to Disney, nothing screams the excitement of the approaching summer more than hyping up the new school year.  They did the same thing when Monsters University was released.  That movie should have been released closer to August instead of in June.  Also, if you want to consider Iron Man 3 a Disney movie, it was also released the same summer as Monsters University and is an even bigger culprit of being released at the wrong time.  Iron Man 3 would have been a great Christmas Day movie.  I think I am still just annoyed that High School Musical 2, a movie about summer, was released towards the end of summer.  With Girl Meets World airing so early and four more episodes airing this week, I am worried that the breaks between episodes will be even longer this time around.  How else will they be able to air special holiday episodes?

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (2015) Film Review

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of WaterI was kind of worried about how good the new SpongeBob movie was going to be, not only because of the quality of recent episodes of the show, but also the lack of hype for it.  The hype surrounding the first SpongeBob movie ten years ago was huge.  Maybe it has something to do with the movie not being targeted to people my age.  I watched the movie during the third week of its release and was almost alone in the theater.  In fact, I would have been the only person there if people did not walk in during the previews.  I guess the hype for the movie is there as it has slaughtered the box office rankings, especially when comparing it to the first movie.

Empty Theater
So many seats to choose from.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water surpassed my expectations.  The commercials made it seem like most of the movie was going to be live action.  This was not the case.  Most of the movie, a little more than two-thirds of it, was done using traditional animation.  Some people might be upset about the commercials being misleading, but there are enough live action scenes that it does not feel like a case of false advertising.  If there had been any more live action scenes, the movie may have dragged on a bit.

I was entertained throughout the entire movie.  While I did not burst out laughing, I had a giant grin on my face.  There are some funny moments that SpongeBob fans will appreciate.  The thing that intrigued me the most while watching the new SpongeBob movie is how weird it is.  It almost reaches Ren and Stimpy levels of weirdness.  There are trippy time travel sequences and a talking dolphin that controls time and space.  Not to mention that as the trailers reveal, SpongeBob and his friends somehow make their way onto land and transformer into superheroes.

The 3D models in the live action scenes look fine.  If they could use those models in a SpongeBob game, that would be great.  There is just something that looks off about the characters in SpongeBob games.  The games are mostly mediocre cash-ins anyways, so first they would actually need to try to make a decent game.  The live action scenes are probably the weakest part of movie.  They are not bad.  It is just that seeing SpongeBob characters out of water has already been done.  The first movie did it and it had David Hasslehoff.

The animation in the 2D scenes is great.  It is crisp and clean.  It is also refreshing seeing 2D animation on the big screen.  The animation style is not a departure from what people used to.  The style is a mixture of the TV show and the first movie.   That is fine.  There is no need to change things up like in the Rugrats movies which had a much darker color scheme than the show.

I am looking forward to the Blu-ray release of The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.  I want to see how well it holds up to multiple viewings.  Will it stand the test of the time like the first movie, which seems to have only gotten better as time passes?  I have a strong feeling that it will.

Please Subscribe (2013) Film Review

Please SubscribeA documentary about the lives of YouTube celebrities sure sounds like it could be interesting.  I ended up losing interest about halfway through.  It tried several times to answer one question, why are these videos popular?  In the end there really is not a concrete reason.  Each “famous” YouTuber interviewed had no idea how their videos got so popular.  I use the term famous loosely as there was only one person that I recognized throughout the entire documentary, Dan Brown, the guy who did that great video on how to solve a Rubik’s Cube.  I guess it shows how much variety there is on YouTube.  When I think of top YouTube personalities, they are all gaming related.

This is how I learned to solve a Rubik’s Cube.

I can’t help but feel that this documentary would have been more interesting if it used people that I recognize, but that is a narrow-minded outlook.  The main issue that I have is that most of the YouTubers were vloggers.  I do not have a problem with vlogs, but it is just that vlogs by nature are already exploring behind the scenes of a person’s life so it seems redundant to spend time exploring the making of one.   I think it would be interesting however, to watch a YouTuber make a documentary using footage from his or her vlogs.

There is a false ending that feels out of place.  The credits roll and another ten minute interview takes place, followed by more credits.   Did the director forget about the interview and shove it in at the last minute?   Maybe it was done for comedic effect.  The final interview was interesting and should have been placed earlier in the documentary, certainly before the credit roll.

Please Subscribe is repetitive.  The time spent watching it is better spent on YouTube looking for new channels to subscribe to.  If you are interested in seeing a great behind the scenes/making of video, James Rolfe has a great video of how he makes an Angry Video Game Nerd episode.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) Film Review

Spider-Man films need to stop being so ambitious. Was it really necessary to include three villains in The Amazing Spider-Man 2? Was nothing learned from Spider-Man 3? There is no point in having three villains if they are not all fleshed out. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 just does not know where to stop. Had the film been shorter and placed all of its focus on Electro, it would have been fantastic and better than the first Amazing Spider-Man which I enjoyed watching. Unfortunately, the plot is a mess and the pacing is all over the place making The Amazing Spider-Man 2 a disappointing sequel. It is nowhere near as bad or disappointing as Spider-Man 3, however.

Electro’s design is great and really gives the impression that electricity is flowing through his body. I hope that Michael Bay uses Electro’s design for his upcoming Smurfs reboot. Any time that Electro manipulates electricity, the soundtrack is altered and becomes a mesh of dubstep inspired noises. The sound effects help to show how unstable Electro’s emotions are as most of the time he is just releasing raw anger. It is not until Electro confronts Spider-Man, which happens to be the only thing in his life that he wants, that the dubstep noises resemble any form of actual music. The movie does a nice job establishing Electro’s/Max Dillon’s motives. He is tired of being ignored and just wants to be noticed. It is simple, but it works.

Harry Osborn is introduced and is one of the movie’s strongest characters. He just gives off a creepy vibe whenever he appears on the screen and it is interesting watching Harry and Peter’s relationship unfold. Harry develops some sort of undefined illness and believes that the only way he can survive is to get Spider-Man’s blood. Unable to get the blood himself, Harry turns to Electro for help. The development of Harry and Electro’s partnership is rushed and Harry’s transformation to the Green Goblin is even worse. The Green Goblin barely gets any screen time. I am pretty sure that Venom in Spider-Man 3 had more screen time and that is saying something because he was barely in it.

If Green Goblin’s screen time was not bad enough, the Rhino appears on the screen for an even shorter amount of time. Immediately after the opening credits, there is a scene where Spider-Man tries to stop Aleksei Sytsevich from stealing a truck. It is a pretty exciting scene that is only enhanced by crazy camera angles and Spider-Man’s sarcasm. Spider-Man catches Sytsevich and is never seen or mentioned again until the end of the movie where he briefly appears in the Rhino armor.

While Rhino’s appearance does generate hype for the planned Sinister Six movie, Sony should have taken the Marvel approach and included him in the scene after the credits. What is weird is that there is a scene midway through the credits to spark interest not in the next Spider-Man movie, but for X-Men: Days of Futures Past. It just feels really out of place and bizarre considering that the film is being released in less than 30 days. Speaking of things that feel out of place, product placement has been improved and limited to just Sony laptops. There are no more awkward scenes with Peter Parker using Bing. He now uses Google like a sane person and uses professional strategies to get the information he is looking for.

Another thing that I find weird about The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is the airplanes. There are two scenes that involve airplanes. The first involves a hijacked plane that is on fire and about to tear apart into multiple pieces. Even as this is happening, the plane’s Internet connection is still working. I wish I had an Internet connection that stable. The second scene involves two planes. During this scene, the power of New York is out resulting in radio communications not properly working. One plane detects that there is an estimated four minutes until a collision with the other. Instead of moving out of the way, the pilot asks a flight attendant to start a timer and see what happens. With mere seconds until impact radio communications are restored and the pilot gets orders on how to handle the situation, move out of the way. What an idea.

Andrew Garfield once again does an amazing job of portraying Peter Parker and Spider-Man. His performance is funny, energetic and sincere. When Peter Parker is not fighting crime, he is either trying to find out what happened to his parents or gawking over Gwen Stacy. It is understandable that Peter Parker would want to know why his parents left him and the movie delivers a reason. Whether or not it adds anything significant to the overall story is debatable as it mostly reveals that OsCorp is *gasp* evil. As for Gwen Stacy, some of the scenes involving her are emotionally moving and watching Peter and Gwen’s on-again/off-again relationship is more interesting than Peter and Mary Jane’s relationship ever was in the Sam Raimi trilogy.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 might be the most blatant case of false advertising since The NeverEnding Story. Despite what the posters and news articles say, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 does not have three villains. The Green Goblin and Rhino are barely in it. Anyone that plans on watching the movie to see them will be extremely disappointed. While most of the film is very enjoyable, the unequal screen time that the villains get makes it hard to recommend. If you just want to watch more web-slinging, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 gets the job done.

Sizzling Bacon (2014) Film Review

“Sizzling Bacon” on Netflix was strange to watch.  Around four minutes in, the cook’s hands appear on the screen to flip the bacon.  The cook is never seen again.  What happened to him?  Did he die?  The ending suggests that something terrible has happened.   What other reason could there be to suddenly stop cooking the bacon before it has reached sizzling perfection?

Something just seems off about “Sizzling Bacon”.  Even after 16 minutes (possibly longer as the movie begins with the bacon already in the pan), the bacon still looks raw.  At first I thought that the footage may have been looped as the sizzling dies down and starts back up again near the 13 minute mark, but the bacon gradually changes appearance and does not convulse in any recognizable pattern.  There is a possibility that the events actually unfold backwards, but that seems too artsy for a movie about bacon.

“Sizzling Bacon” was slightly disappointing as the bacon on the cover is only used as a stock image in the movie for the opening credits.  Watch “Fireplace for Your Home” instead.  It is more pleasing to look at than two strips of uncooked bacon.

Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus (2009) Film Review

I have been on a bad movie kick.  Some highlights include Mansquito, Plan 9 from Outer Space and Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus.  None of them have been able to reach the bar that Sharknado has set for me.    I watch these movies with the hope that they actually might be decent and I use the term ‘decent’ loosely.  All I am really looking for is a movie that is laughably bad.  Seeing as how I had already watched one Mega Shark movie, I decided to give the first one a watch, Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus.  Unsurprisingly, it was bad.  Really bad.  It dethroned Sharktopus as the worst SyFy Channel movie I have watched.

I cannot understand how Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus received a sequel.  With a name like this, I expected to watch two creatures fight to the death throughout the entire movie.  There are very few scenes that have footage of the shark and even less scenes that show the octopus.  The movie focuses on bland scientists that interact with the US army to stop the creatures.  The acting is dreadful and just left me wondering when the amazing action would happen.  It never really did.  There is a final battle between the shark and octopus at the end of the film but it is so lackluster.  It is hard to make out what is happening and it looks like the same animations are being repeated.  It is anticlimactic.  Somehow the shark and octopus end up killing each other and they float to the bottom of the ocean.  There was no payoff for sitting through all of the terrible acting.

I understand that these movies do not have the biggest budgets, but it feels like a lot of money was wasted in trying to create a compelling story.  The movie is constantly changing locations and each location brings a new set of actors.  Maybe if the movie took place in one central location, there would have been more money for special effects and deliver on the premise of a shark fighting an octopus.

The sequel, Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus, is a “better” movie and it stars Jaleel White so it has that going for it.  Anything would have been better than the first.  Avoid watching Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus.  Save your time and watch this 23 second clip from the movie.  It is the only 23 seconds worth watching.

Escalation App Review


Displayed entirely in caps, this is the first thing that appears in the description for Escalation in the Play Store. Although Escalation probably won’t break your will to live, it is a highly addicting app. The premise is simple and reminds me of those old Bop It toys. Instead of twisting and pulling your way to victory, you are tapping and sliding. Blocks appear from the bottom of the screen and it is up to you to perform all of the actions that are displayed before the blocks reach the top of the screen. If a block reaches the top of the screen, it is game over.

Escalation Gameplay
Swipe and tap.

There are 50 levels to complete, each with an increasing speed. I am unable to tell if the levels also get longer or if they just feel longer because of how fast they get. For a game that is just about following directions it gets pretty difficult. I have only made it to level 29. I am struggling to imagine how crazy the last level must be.

Escalation Options
Pretty simple.

My only real complaint about Escalation is the lack of a level select option. In fact, the options menu is nearly empty. All that is there is the option to start a new game and view the credits. I guess the game does not really need any other settings than that, but it would be nice to choose to either start a new game or continue on the highest level that has been unlocked. Starting a new game is really only an option that is useful if you are showing off the app to a new player.

The ads in Escalation are unobtrusive for the most part. They appear from time to time at the start of a level and are easy to close. The only time the ads posed a problem is when one appeared after I failed a level. When you fail a level an ad will appear on the screen but the game still continues in the background. This will most likely cause you to fail the level once again.

Escalation is such a simple game. It does not seem like a game that would be particularly challenging but it will eventually catch up with you. Losing will always be your fault. This is why I keep playing it. It has to be possible to beat the game. Escalation has become one of those games that I will install on any Android device I own.

Interested in playing it?  Download it from Google Play

Rubber (2010) Film Review

A killer tire?  What will people come up with next?  Rubber has a crazy premise but it might be too weird for its own good.

The movie starts off with a police officer explaining how certain scenes from famous movies happened for no reason.  Just like the intro would suggest, many of the scenes in Rubber happen for no reason.  There is a subplot where people are gathered in a desert with binoculars to watch a movie which is actually the events of Rubber happening in real time.  It’s pointless.  I didn’t need to hear their reactions to the movie.  The worst part is that these scenes with the audience happen so frequently.   It is as if the director was trying to make Rubber longer than it had to be.  Maybe this should have been a short film.

The scenes that focus on Robert, the killer tire, are more tolerable.  If you are a fan of exploding heads, there are a handful of moments that make the film worth checking out.  If that doesn’t interest you, there is no reason to watch Rubber.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Review

So I had the opportunity tonight to watch “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”. I was disappointed by the first movie because of the lack of Nazi cannibalism. In fact, I ended up reading the entire Hunger Games trilogy to see if there were any moments of Nazi cannibalism. There isn’t. Having read “Catching Fire”, I was not looking forward to watching the movie. I was annoyed by the ending and found the general premise to be repetitive. For some reason, everything just worked so much better in the movie and it ended up being very enjoyable.

The biggest improvement in this movie over the first is the removal of shaky cam. The first movie relied on it way too much and it just became disorienting at times. In “Catching Fire” everything is clear, allowing you to easily see all of the action rather than just a giant blur. I wonder if the reliance on shaky cam in the first movie was just to cover up the fact that most of the action scenes are pretty uneventful. Maybe it is just me, but I would expect a movie about putting 24 people in an arena to fight to the death to be pretty gruesome. I mean, Katniss is extremely accurate with a bow. She could easily shoot someone in the eye. The kills by the other contestants could also be more extreme. It would be great if there was bodily dismemberment and geysers of blood. Even ripping someone’s spine out Mortal Kombat style could work.

While the majority of the action scenes are not particularly special, the settings are exciting to look at. There is just so much going on in the background of each scene. From the snow covered wastelands of the districts, the incredibly colorful buildings of the Capitol and the lush scenery of the Hunger Games arena, “Catching Fire” might be worth buying on Blu-ray just to admire all of the detail. Even the way people in the Capitol are dressed is fascinating to look at, even if it appears that everyone got fashion advice from Lady Gaga.

“Catching Fire” may just be rehashing the same formula as the first entry in the series, but the movie switches it up just enough for it to still remain exciting. Each character is unique and memorable. I don’t know how Lenny Kravitz got involved in the series, but he should make a comeback.

Men in Black Film Review

I have always been fascinated with the title “Men in Black”.  Something about it just feels right when you are saying it, just like “Gone in 60 Seconds” or “Zenon: The Sequel”.  The title lives up to all expectations, there are indeed men in black suits.  What else could you possibly want?  Aliens?  Giant guns?  A rap song by Will Smith?  This film has all of that.  Some of the special effects may not have aged well, but since the movie does not take itself too seriously, it just makes it more entertaining.  “Men in Black” is an energetic film and is great if you are looking for something easy to watch.