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Dark Comedy Has A New Hero in “The Art of Self Defense”

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Take what you know about dark comedies, put it in a blender with a twisted version o in the Karate kid and add in an amazingly accurate portrayal of the wrong kind of dojo and you’ve got The art of Self Defense.

This film portrays Casey (played by Jesse Eisenberg marvelously well), a man filled with fear, a man whose life is defined by his complete lack of assertiveness. He is, in essence, a jellyfish. This however is just the beginning. Casey is on a journey. That journey is one of self discovery, pain, betrayal, and finally the gaining of self respect. Now before you get all teary eyed don’t forget I did say this was the hero of dark comedies. There is some SERIOUSLY jacked up stuff that happens over the course of this film!
It starts out establishing how hopelessly inept Casey is at dealing with any kind of life situation, but after an altercation with a local biker gang, which leaves him brutally injured and hospitalized, Casey starts to reevaluate his life. At first he is more terrified than ever. He holds himself in his house refusing to go out except for work.
The beating not only crushed his body, but also obliterated what little esteem he could have possibly mustered to face the world. To this end, and for the purpose of protecting himself he turns to the most logical option, that is, the buying of a gun, but this comes with a lengthy waiting period and Casey is out for revenge, immediate revenge. Unable to complete this task Casey dejected wanders through his life until he stumbles upon a very humble dojo nestled in the bad part of town where he lives. There is no flash, or fanfare, with this building or with the interior thereof. Everything about this dojo speaks to the humility of the art.
Casey makes a decision to take up karate where he hopes he can overcome this innate fear…of everything! Casey really begins to take off under the tutelage of his sensei. He is rushed into the ranks and given an advancement faster than anyone else. That advancement come in the form of only a yellow belt however.
This kind of karate class is a bit different however. Where most karate classes will teach defense and self-preservation this class is more like a Spartan onslaught where the students are taught a very aggressive. This strikes a chord with Casey as his personality begins to change and he begins to grow a backbone, a backbone that causes him, at one point, to punch his boss in the throat. He quickly becomes kind of an apex, alpha male commanding the attention and respect of his co-workers. As I mentioned, however, this film is not without its twists!
The story line moves seamlessly through its different chapters each one progressing to a darker level, but at the same time increasing its comedic accents. In addition to that the story running is flawless, the cinematography is nothing short of exquisite, and the acting is top-notch!
I think I’ve been waiting for a film of this caliber for quite some time! It brings a refreshing, and rather dark, perspective to the screen. In fact,  there are several scenes in the film which are quite shocking but played out so magnificently that you don’t feel removed from what’s going on in the scene.
There are things that occur in this film which definitely take it to a different plane. It shifts seamlessly between comedy and drama, with intense moments of action. Characters progress, change, evolve, and get twisted around leaving us, as an audience, in the rubble of this quiet, and subtle, yet brash and explosive emo-coaster of delight!
I honestly could not recommend this film more highly, and I’m looking forward to seeing it again!
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Caesar’s Reign Comes To The Big Screen With New Trailer For Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes

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Director Wes Ball breathes new life into the global, epic franchise set several generations in the future following Caesar’s reign, in which apes are the dominant species living harmoniously and humans have been reduced to living in the shadows. As a new tyrannical ape leader builds his empire, one young ape undertakes a harrowing journey that will cause him to question all that he has known about the past and to make choices that will define a future for apes and humans alike. “Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes” is directed by Wes Ball (the “Maze Runner” trilogy) and stars Owen Teague (“IT”), Freya Allan (“The Witcher”), Kevin Durand (“Locke & Key”), Peter Macon (“Shameless”), and William H. Macy (“Fargo”). The screenplay is by Josh Friedman (“War of the Worlds”) and Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (“Avatar: The Way of Water”) and Patrick Aison (“Prey”), based on characters created by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver, and the producers are Wes Ball, Joe Hartwick, Jr., p.g.a. (“The Maze Runner”), Rick Jaffa, p.g.a., Amanda Silver, p.g.a., Jason Reed, p.g.a. (“Mulan”), with Peter Chernin (the “Planet of the Apes” trilogy) and Jenno Topping (“Ford v. Ferrari”) serving as executive producers.

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Masterchef Is Back! For Halo Season 2

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A quick recap – Halo is set in a war-torn 26th century, where humanity led by the United Nations Space Command or UNSC and their supersoldiers known as Spartans, fights against the onslaught of the alien conglomerate known as the Covenant. The full dust-up of Halo Season 1, can be found here. Onward into the introduction of Halo Season 2!

It’s been six months since the forced separation of Spartan Masterchief John (Pablo Schreiber) and Cortana (Jen Taylor), and the Silver Team has been sent on a mission to evacuate residents of the planet Sanctuary before the Covenant glasses the whole thing. This comes with its own set of challenges, given the resistance of the planet’s inhabitants, and it doesn’t help that Masterchef starts seeing things right in the middle of trying to save some marines. Or is he? Those energy swords the squad of Elites were carrying looked worryingly real.

Back on Reach, the Silver Team is entirely dismayed to learn they have a brand new Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) representative come in as the new boss, to finally replace the traitorous Halsey, James Ackerson (Joseph Morgan). And of course, Ackerson manages to immediately get under Masterchief’s skin, by not only expressing far too much interest in John’s relationship with Cortana but also apparently disbelieving of John’s report of his encounters on Sanctuary. That just means Masterchief has to go around, if not entirely over, Ackerson’s head.

Elsewhere, Soren (Bokeem Woodbine) is trolling the slave markets in his boredom, only to stumble across a soon-to-be indentured servant who claims he knows the whereabouts of the UNSC’s most hunted human, Catherine Halsey (Natascha McElhone). That should bring a huge bounty, but really, Soren should’ve known better by now.

Halo Season 2 premieres Thursday, February 8th, 2024, and will continue to air every Thursday, only on Paramount+!

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Reborn as a Vending Machine I Now Wander the Dungeon’: I look forward to your next use!  

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If the title of this delightful little isekai anime entry didn’t give it all away, our nameless protagonist is a vending machine fanatic who, after being killed by a vending machine, gets reincarnated in another fantasy-style world as one! 

Japan has a tendency to give birth to all sorts of crazed fads that can last for decades, and no one does better when it comes to the vending machine industry, too. These days there are vending machines that will serve you sushi you can actually eat, hot pizza in the box, wagyu steaks, freshly popped popcorn, and a whole mind-boggling array of tasty treats, and other non-edible but still useful items! Umbrellas! Condoms! Oxygen masks, sterile bandages, shoes, and emergency clothing! Actually, far more things that we use on an everyday basis, could be considered as technically a vending machine, and the anime explores that beautifully. Into the world of vending machine fanaticism, we dive! 

So our poor protagonist never gave a name, and inevitably when he’s discovered by his first official friend the starving hunter Lammis, she dubs him “Boxxo”. Like many isekai that seem to take inspiration from video games and RPGs, Boxxo discovers he ways he can communicate, level up his existence, and even evince magic-like powers and attack and defend against monsters and enemies. Though in the beginning, and as an underlying theme throughout the show, Boxxo is primarily concerned with providing unique never-before-tasted-in-this-world food and drink to the amazed folk, human and otherwise. 

Boxxo’s prices are entirely reasonable and hey, he can even choose to give out his wares for free on occasion, so his popularity immediately skyrockets. Lammis with her awkward charm and prodigious strength blessing, introduces Boxxo to other friends of Clearflow Lake Village and associates along the way – Director Bear, an actual bear-monster who’s the head of the Hunters Association; Lammis’ friend Hulemy, the insane genius magic item engineer; the Bearcats Suco, Pell, Short and Mikenne, cheerful hunters with astronomic appetites; even suspicious Kerioyl, leader of the Menagerie of Fools party. 

The show approaches the practicality and versatility of the true vending machine with amusement, but also with the love true fans display for things they’re passionate about. Certainly, things like a brothel needing a condom vending machine exist in our world, but to toss them into a potentially more innocent other-world isekai is a welcome and often hilarious treat. The show celebrates the cheerful idiocy and devotion of the fans to their chosen fandom, in this case, yes vending machines, but also the spirit of the lonely otaku finally finding their Tribe! 

Pay your coins to watch ‘Reborn as a Vending Machine’ on Crunchyroll now! 

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