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American Horror Story: Murder House

American Horror Story: Murder House is the first season of the acclaimed FX series. Dylan McDermott and Connie Britton star as Ben and Vivien Harmon, who move into a haunted house in an attempt to repair their broken marriage. Taissa Farmiga plays Violet, the brooding teenaged daughter. The Harmons have to deal with a nosy neighbor with a hidden agenda and the many deceased occupants of their new home.

McDermott and Britton do a good job as the main characters, but Jessica Lange steals every scene that she’s in. She plays Constance Langdon, the next door neighbor with an obsession for the haunted mansion. She used to live in the mansion and quite a few of her dead children call it home. Her son Tate (Evan Peters) is her pride and joy, despite the fact that he’s a homicidal high school shooter and a ghost. Naturally, Tate and Violet start to fall for each other.

There are quite a few dead residents living in the mansion. There’s a maid that appears to be old to some people and appears as a sexy minx to other people. Ben’s ex-fling gets murdered and moves in. Zachary Quinto and Teddy Sears play a dead gay couple. Even Mena Suvari found time to play a ghost.

As with most shows, the characters make or break the show. American Horror Story: Murder House has great characters. Most of the episodes are interesting enough to keep watching, but the show fizzled at the end. The last episode was downright terrible. Yeah, it tied up loose ends, but it was really cliché and a let down. It sucks getting to the end of a season and being disappointed. It makes you want to give up on the series. Luckily the second season is like a whole new show. It takes place in a different time with different characters and with an asylum as the setting.

Murder House is a good start to a good show. It’s kind of scary and kind of creepy, but it’s more of a character-based thriller with ghosts. The first few episodes suck you in and get you addicted pretty quickly. There are cool characters and crazy twists and interesting backstories. But that last episode really sucks.

Critically Rated at 12/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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The Incredibles

Pixar knows how to make good movies. They don’t always make them (Cars 2, cough cough), but they know how to make them. And The Incredibles is a good movie. Director Brad Bird’s film is about a man burdened with a family trying to relive his old glory days. When he was a superhero. And his family all have powers too, but they aren’t super enough, and so he ditches them on fake business trips to fight crime for a mysterious boss that ends up being his arch-nemesis. It’s not just a great computer animated movie; it’s also one of the best superhero movies to date.

Craig T. Nelson provides the voice for Mr. Incredible, Holly Hunter plays his wife, Elastigirl. Samuel L. Jackson plays Frozone. And Jason Lee steals the flick as Syndrome, the evil villain who turned to crime after Mr. Incredible rejected him as a sidekick. Holly Hunter has a weird lispy voice and it’s not fun to listen to. She’s the only complaint I have with the casting. Everyone else is great and helps out the movie. She’s a decent actress, but her voice makes me want to rupture my eardrums with a sharpened pencil.

Superheroes are larger than life. Especially in this movie. The Incredibles do, well, incredible things. Mr. Incredible is super strong. Elastigirl is super flexible. The daughter Violet can turn invisible and project force fields. The son Dash has super speed. And baby Jack-Jack can do anything. They all have amazing powers and gifts, but it’s the family dynamic that you relate to. It grounds the movie in reality, so that when fantastic things start happening you actually care about what happens to them. If you make your characters believable, the unbelievable seems more likely. This is the first Pixar movie where people are the main characters. People like talking toys and bugs, but they can relate to other people easier.

Originally this movie was going to be traditionally animated. It might have still been a decent movie, but the scope of the movie would have been lost. The action sequences are dynamic, and the sets are impressive and immersive. Computers make better environments that hand-drawn pictures on paper can’t emulate. The Incredibles has to be a computer-animated movie; live-action or traditional animation doesn’t suit the tone of the movie.

This is a movie that you can watch with anyone. You want to share this experience. It’s a great family flick, but you can watch it with your spouse or secret lover, you can watch it after the Super Bowl with a couch full of drunks. Grandma can watch it. Little Timmy can watch it. And everyone will be entertained. People like to be entertained.

The Incredibles is an awesome movie. It is why people go to the movies. They want to laugh and cry, and be thrilled and be taken on a ride. You want to see things that you’ve never seen before, and if it’s a good movie, you want to see those things again and again. If you can watch a movie multiple times and it’s still fresh and exciting, than it’s a good piece of art. Good job Brad Bird. Good job Pixar. You done good. Now make a sequel already.

Critically Rated at 16/17

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