Wondering what to do with your upcoming free time? Good thing we (or just Ben, as the case may be this time) have some suggestions for what you should be watching, playing, reading, listening to, etc.
Ben’s Movie Pick: Perfect Blue – Perfect Blue is a psychological thriller that sees protagonist Mima Kirigoe go through the mental ringer as she pushes herself further and further in order to be recognized as a legitimately talented actress and distance herself from her previous J-pop idol persona. The pressures of her dark, dramatic TV role, a super creepy fansite, and a possible stalker all add to Mima’s worries, emotional strain, and it only gets more intense from there. Mima’s deteriorating psyche is brilliantly presented through studio Madhouse’s killer style of animation, and the score works wonders in adding to the atmosphere of confusion and fear. I won’t deny that it’s an uneasy watch at times, as it goes to some very, very dark places, but Perfect Blue is still a phenomenal piece of animation that deserves to be seen by those who can sit through it. I highly recommend it to those who enjoyed Black Swan. Darren Aronofsky says that Perfect Blue didn’t influence his 2010 Oscar winner, but in my opinion, the similarities these movies share are far too numerous to be ignored.
Ben’s Movie Pick: Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping – Oh man, I freaking love The Lonely Island. The insanely talented troupe that combines the comedic might of Akiva Schaffer, Andy Samberg, and Jorma Taccone has delivered more than a few of the most memorable moments of humor in the past couple of decades, and Popstar is easily their greatest achievement so far. The mockumentary doles out a bevy of the hilariously dumb, juvenile jokes that’ll hit all the right notes for fans of The Lonely Island, all the while simultaneously serving as a sharp satire of the music industry. It’s also packed with awesome supporting actors and musical celebrities, a handful of hysterical cameos, and one of my favorite soundtracks from any movie ever. I mean, c’mon, when most of a scene and song as outlandish as “Mona Lisa” ends up on the cutting room floor, you should at least be a little curious to see how utterly ridiculous the stuff that made it into Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is.
Ben’s Movie Pick: Superman: The Man of Tomorrow – After The DC Animated Movie Universe ended its seven-year, fifteen-film story with Justice League Dark: Apokolips War, I was curious as to what was next for the superhero franchise. It turns out the answer was a rebooted origin for Superman, and a much brighter film in both tone and actual color than what we’ve seen in the past few years. In stark contrast to the grim-dark DCAMU entries of late, Superman: Man of Tomorrow evokes the optimism of DC’s Golden Age. MoT still has some gloomy aspects here and there, like almost everything surrounding its main villain, but it’s a mostly lighthearted affair. The change in animation, which has a lighter color palette and thicker character outlines, creates a living comic book feel, setting it even further apart from the likes of Flashpoint Paradox or The Death of Superman. The voice cast is great, particularly Zachary Quinto as Lex Luthor and Ryan Hurst as Lobo (the latter being my favorite part of the movie). And though the story isn’t anything spectacular, overall Superman: Man of Tomorrow is an entertaining beginning of a new era for DC’s animated movies.
So what do you think about these picks? What content did we miss over the past two weeks while we were spending time with these? Be sure to leave a comment below letting us know about everything (both current and simply new to you) you’ve been consuming lately!
And while you’re here, be sure to check some of the site’s other recent content:
- Ben’s review of Bill and Ted Face the Music
- A Middle of the Row: The Podcast episode flashing back to The Emperor’s New Groove.