Archive for the 'TV & Movies' Category

25
Dec
10

Holy Crap!

I was looking through my new Star Wars book when I came across this…

yeah….

so awesome…

26
Sep
10

Sym-Bionic Titan: First Impressions

[warning: there may be a few minor spoilers ahead.  I will try not to spoil anything big though]

I don’t have Satellite or Cable, I get my TV through Netflix, Hulu, and Youtube.  So Imagine my suprise when I read that Genndy Tartakovsky was not only making a new series, but that it had already premiered.  My nerd senses were going off at full blast.  Would it be a comedy in the way of Dexter’s Lab, an action series like Clone Wars (the 2d clone wars miniseries, that is) or would it be that perfect blend of action and comedy that made Samurai Jack one of the best animated series ever seen.

I started to watch the first episode…and well…I made a mistake I am not proud of…I watched the videos on youtube in the wrong order.  I thought they were doing that cool, jumping between past and present thing…until I got three parts into the show and saw the opening credits…  But it was ok, because I got to watch the show a second time (in the right order) with my brother immediately afterwards.

So since I literally know this episode forwards and backwards, I thought it may be nice to share my thoughts on it.

The basic premise of the show is that of a world at war.  The world of Galaluna has been overtaken by an evil race called the Mutraddi.  The king, being the wise man that he is, sends his daughter, Princess MacGuffin…er, I mean Princess Ilana to the distant planet of Earth.  To protect her, he also sends a young soldier named Lance and a robot named Octus.   Once they arrive on earth, they will have to pose as normal humans which means….high school *dramatic music plays*

So yeah, that is the plot.  2 humanoid aliens and a robot pretending to be high-school students while fighting off the evil aliens that attack them.  (they even have robotic suits)  The premise sounds…iffy to say the least.  But this is a Genndy Tartakovsky series, so it has to be good right?

Right!  They handle the High School element very well…serving as sort of a parody of high school.  In the scene where they are first at high school, Octus (discussed as a human) explains about the different social groups in highschool, such as the nerds, jocks, and cheerleaders.  I noticed that each group seemed to be designed in a slightly different art style being more of a caricatures of the group rather than a serious representation.  In Lance’s first encounter with the football players (who are seriously like 5 times bigger than any other character) they were so violent and brutish, I thought they were evil aliens at first.  It really felt like more like a commentary on high school than anything.  And I can see that the theme of aliens seeing our culture from a fresh perspective is going to be a big one in this show.

And as for the main trio of this adventure, I think we are in for a great cast.  The three characters are supposed to represent Heart, Mind, and Body. (A prevailing theme in the first episode…it seems to be tied into the central philosophy of Galaluna)  This is just the first episode, so there is not really a lot to go on, but I like what I have seen of the characters so far.

Princess Ilana (Representing Heart) – I really don’t know what to make of this character yet.  She seems to be very sensitive and very kind.  She believes strongly in equality (which seems sorta uncharacteristic of a princess) telling the students on the first day that she hopes they can rise above their social structures and unite as one people.  Being raised as a princess, she seems a little naive…However, that is not to say that she can’t defend herself as she proves that she is a capable fighter fairly earl on in the episode.  I expect there to be a lot in store for this character.  I am very interested to learn more about her.

Lance (Representing Body) – He is the hardened soldier.  I can’t say that I am particularly fond of him so far.  Don’t get me wrong, he is pretty awesome in that he is the best fighter in the group…but he almost seems like the dark brooding wolverine character in the group…and I just am not as interested in that.  While he seems incredibly loyal to the Princess…she brings up the line “I know your past” meaning that there is more to the character than to be seen.  I think he will turn out to be a pretty interesting character, but I don’t like him quite as much as the other two characters in the series (so far).

Octus (Representing Mind) – This is my favorite character so far.  First of all, just look at his robot design. (above) is that not one of the coolest robot designs you have ever seen.  Yeah…being the Spock of sorts, he is always interruption the constantly bickering Princess and Lance without even realizing that they are fighting.  He seems to be the one to tell them of human customs, though he seems to understand them the least.  I found his character to be hilarious and you know what, I am just a sucker for robots.  I look foward to seeing much more of this character.

As far as recurring bad guys go, we seem to have 3 (perhaps they too represent body, heart, and mind…but I can’t tell yet)  There is General Steel, the main military man.  I don’t have much to say about him one way or another… as he did not leave much of an impression.  There is Solomon, leader of G3 (Galactic Guardian Group) he seems to be the Man-In-Black/Nick Furry of the series and he is pretty awesome.  He has a really goth feel to him, all dark and silent.  His presence is very strong and very threatening.

Then there is Modula and I have got to say he is one of the most Bad-A villains I have seen in a while.  He is leader of the Mutraddi and while he is kinda cliche he fits it well.  He is tough, smart, and intimidating.  I really hope to see a lot of him in the rest of the series.

Overall, the first episode really left an impact.  I am sold and I can’t wait to watch more of this excellent series.  Lets just hope the rest of the show was as good as this first episode.

12
Sep
10

G.I. Joe: Rise Cobra (4/5)

I never really watched G.I. Joe growing up, but after seeing this film, I am going to *have* to get into the cartoons.  Rise of Cobra is a very fun film.

The main selling point is the action…and there is a lot of it.  Actually, for a film made by Hasbro, some of the violence seemed kinda brutal.  (not that I’m complaining or anything)  From brutal hand to hand combat, to big battles, to some of the most ridiculous car chases in history, this film is non-stop action.

The little bit of a story is pretty good, if you don’t take it too seriously.  Duke and his pal Ripcord are supposed to protect this super powerful weapon that can destroy any and everything.  The bad guys take said weapon, now they want to get it back so they join the “G.I. Joes” a group of the best fighters in the world.  Again, I cannot stress how much this film was not meant to be taken seriously.

Throughout the film they seem to mesh the typical campyness of today’s action movies with the campyness of 90’s animation.  And the result is a fun ride through insanity.  With huge sets, huge battles, and hilarious characters.

If you are looking for a fun-action packed way to spend an otherwise boring night, then G.I. Joe definitely deserves your attention.

17
Aug
10

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (5/5)

In 15 to 20 years from now, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World will be seen as the defining movie of its respective generation, and if it isn’t, it should be. No movie has better encapsulated and satirized the interests and temperaments of contemporary youth, and no future movie is likely to surpass it.

-Slashfilm.com

The above quote pretty much sums up my opinion on this film.  This film represents our generation: The gaming generation.

As the film begins, we are greeted by the Universal Studios logo and music that plays with it, only the logo is rendered in 8-bit graphics and the theme is a midi.  It was at this point, that I knew this film was going to rock.

The premise is pretty simple.  Scott Pilgrim is your typical loser.  He is dating a seventeen year old girl named Knives Chau, which causes some scandal among his friends and family since he is 22.  He also plays in a band called the “Sex Bomb-omb”, who are about to compete in the battle of the bands.  They are preparing for a battle of the bands when Scott meets the girl of his dreams, Ramona Flowers.  The moment he sees her, he knows they are destined to be together…but there is one little problem.

Before he can win Ramona’s heat, he has to defeat her seven evil exes.  Yes, the Ex-Boyfriends from Ramona’s past show up to challenge Scott, one at a time, to a duel to the death, mortal Kombat style.

As you would expect, this game is riddled with references, mostly to video-games.  There was no way to catch them all in one sitting of the film.  Many of these references are funny just in themselves, but don’t expect the humor to come solely from the references.  This film is filled with jokes, good jokes. (nothing like the “jokes” in grown ups)  From the situations the characters are in, to the characters themselves, I could not stop laughing thought the entire film.  Michel Cera plays the part perfectly, and the seven evil exes are all hilarious in their own way.

But make no mistake, this film is targeted at us young folks.  Older audiences don’t get the film, because it was not made for them.  It was made for our generation…

…In fact, I have devises a little test to see if you are in the “Scott Pilgrim Generation.”  Click on the seven links below, each one leads to a trial. (one trial for each evil ex)  If you do not find any of the trials to be funny/awesome, then you won’t enjoy Scott Pilgrim.  The more of these you like, the more you will like the film.

Trial #1

Trial #2

Trial #3

Trial #4

Trial #5

Trial #6

Trial #7

Scott Pilgrim really does define the gaming nerd generation in a way no other film can, and it is totally flipping hilarious.  The fact of the matter is, it is hard to really explain this movie.  It just has to be experienced.  Every moment I was in the theater was filled with complete joy.  Go and see this.  Don’t wait until it is out on DVD, because this is a film that needs to be experienced in the theater.  (plus, they kinda deserve your money…the Scott Pilgrim people, not the theater)

[note: special thanks to cubetoons, thinkgeek, and halolz for the trials)

07
Aug
10

Quick Reviews – Green Lantern: First Flight, Batman: Under the Red Hood, Wonder Woman

Can you guess this week’s theme?

Green Lantern: First Flight (4.5/5)

Origin stories are always a challenge, you have to set up a lot while crafting an interesting story.  First Flight manages to do both well.  Personally, I do not know much about the DC universe  (more of a Marvel man), so this was all very new to me.

They wasted no time in getting Hal Jordan into the green lantern suit. Seriously he becomes the green lantern in the first five minutes.  A few minutes later, he is at the Green Lantern headquarters and told that a human can not be a Green Lantern.  (we are to primitive of a species)  He is given a chance to prove himself and that is where the film takes off.  It seems there is trouble brewing in the galaxy, and Hal gets thrust into the center of the action.  I don’t want to talk about the plot to much, for fear of spoilers.

The action is also really fun in a way that only the Green Lantern allows.  The ability to use the ring to create anything allows for some creative battles.  The violence is brutal but not overly violent.

Overall, this film should be fun for both newcomers and fans alike.

Batman: Under the Red Hood (4.5/5)

This is a great film.  There is a new baddie in town and his name is “The Red Hood”.  He has all the skills of the Batman, only he isn’t afraid to kill.  Worse, he seems to be taking over crime in Gotham.  It is up to batman to solve the riddle of who is under the Red Hood and stop him, before it is too late.  I don’t want to ruin anything for you, but the “secret identity” of the red hood is really obvious.  I mean, I know that comic-fans already know.  But even if you have never heard of the Red Hood, it will still be painfully obvious.  This one was definitely made for readers of the comics.  You can understand it all with just a small amount of bat-knowledge, but there are a lot of things that make more sense if you know you history.

They got a new guy to play Joker.  At first I did not like him because…well, he is not Mark Hammil.  But the guy does a very good job in the role, and he really wears on you/

The film is really good and pretty dark.   The action scenes are amazing, and the story keeps you hooked.  I have a few small complaints, but it is really just nit-picking so I won’t go into them here.  Overall, this is a great movie, rivaling The Dark Knight.


Wonder Woman (4/5)

Coming into this, I did not know a whole lot about the Wonder Woman mythology (again, Marvel) but I did know she seemed like a cool character from the things I have seen her in.  (namely a few justice league comics and cartoons)  The only thing I knew to expect was great action sequences, and boy did they deliver.  The fights were epic and brutal.  It was great.  But oddly, that is not what impressed me about this film.  Rather, it was the sheer amount of humor.  This is my no means a comedy, but they manage to squeeze in a lot of funny moments.

The bulk of the humor comes from Steve Trevor, the first man to meet the Amazons in years.  His culture and theirs are so different it leads to a lot of funny moments.  He is always saying the wrong thing, or explaining US customs wrong or something.  It was genuinely funny.

One big thing about this film is it likes to point out how America still treats women differently.  On some level we still think of them as the weaker sex.  (much to wonder woman’s amazement)  While, I see the point, these sections start to feel a little preachy after a while. Although this is just a minor complaint.

A bigger complaint would be the way the story progresses.  Sometimes it feels as though the film is just going through the motions.  There is not much in the way of transition between the scenes, and it just feels like they are going on the adventure of the sake of making a movie. It just doesn’t always feel organic.  Granted, we don’t get this in all the scenes, in fact some of them feel remarkable real.  But the story itself is just too predictable.

The worst part is when they show up at a secret bad-guy hideout without actually explaining how they know where to look for it.  They just show up!  It is annoying and it pulls you out of the film.

But for all its faults, Wonder Woman is still a great film.  It is funny, it has exciting action sequences, and is just plain fun.  I would definitely recommend it to anyone.

Coin-operated self-destruct, not one of my better ideas.
01
Aug
10

Kingdom Hearts: The Manga (4/5)

I have wanted to get into Kingdom Hearts for a while, but alas, I do not own a PS2.  Nor does my PS3 play PS2 disks. (curse you Sony!)  So imagine my glee when my friend lent me the copies of his Mangas.

The basic premise is simple: Lets have a big, Disney themed crossover and throw in some Final Fantasy characters for good measure.  The story itself, however, if far from simple.  Ok, lets see if I can explain it without getting confused (or giving away spoilers):

Each disney film is a world that exists out in space.  These worlds are slowly being conquered by evil creatures known as heartless.  The worlds are then vanishing.  On a small island a young boy, named Sora, is about to set out on an adventure with his two best friends, Kairi and Riku, to see if there is there is another world on the other side of the Ocean.  The heartless attack and Sora wakes up on anther world called Tanverse town, sorta  a haven for those who have lost their worlds to the heartless.  Stuff happens and before long he realizes he has been chosen by a magical weapon called the Keyblade.  He meets up with Donald Duck and Goofy who are under orders from their king (guess who) to follow the Keyblade master.  They then set off from disney movie to disney movie.

It may sound like I am giving away a lot of the plot, but this is really only a cliff-notes of chapters 1-8.  (there are 42 total)  The fact of the matter is that for four little mangas, there is a whole lot of story.  I mean a whole lot of story.  This is cool in some ways as you can tell there is a rich mythology here however it makes it hard to follow.  However, it is not impossible to tell what it is going on, you just have to pay close attention.  (Read slowly! 😉 )

The story is actually really good.  Each world feels like its own adventure, yet you never really lose sight of the higher goal.  Of course, some of the worlds were better than others Shockingly, my favorite movies were not my favorite worlds.  For example, Alice in Wonderland was my least favorite world, yet one of my favorite Disney films.  Also it should be noted that the story gets better and better as you get further into it.  I think this is because they are struggling to set up the world in the first volume, but as you go further into it they can really start to have fun.  (This could be why I did not like Alice’s world as it is the first one they visit)

While I don’t think Disney was directly involved in the writing of these mangas, the magic is still there.  They actually manage to get away with a lot of stuff that would seem campy, corny, or even downright lame if it was not for the fact that it was Disney.  For example, without giving away and spoilers, all the clichés involving the word “Heart” are here:  Follow your heart, key to your heart, I’ll be with you – in your heart, etc.  Were this any other series, I would slam it for being corny, but with Disney it somehow works without feeling lame.  In fact, it is quite awesome.  I think it is because they take these phrases quite literally, which you don’t see very often.

One problem I had with it was the humor.  I am sure the game was funny, but the manga wasn’t.  It tried, and to some people it may have been.  I just did not get the humor, which consisted mostly of people randomly screaming things and/or making exaggerated facial expressions.  I think it may be due to the Jokes not translating well into English.

Another problem I have with the book is the characters.  While we see plenty of the main characters, and we already know the Disney characters, there are plenty of other supporting characters that help out heroes on their journey.  They seem like really interesting characters, but we never get a chance to really see them.  I know they are more fleshed out in the games, and I would like to have gotten to know them better in the Mangas.

But overall, it is a fun series.  I enjoyed it and I think you will too.

31
Jul
10

Top 5 Theme Songs (with Lyrics)

Theme songs, you know you love them.  They are catchy, and they prepare you for the show you are about to watch.  Before I start with this list, there are three things I should note.  1.) The song has to have been written for the show.  You can’t just throw in some licensed music and hope for it to count.  2.) The song has to have lyrics (sorry stargate) and 3) This list is not definitive.  This is my opinion and it is bound to change.  (besides, I am probably forgetting a song)

NOW ON TO IT!

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Darkwing Duck

Like the show or not.  You have to admit it has a great theme song.  Everything from the chants of “Darkwing Duck” to the infamous “Let’s get Dangerous” this was a great theme song.  However, it was not quite great enough to make the list.

Spectacular Spider-Man

When this show premiered, I was so nervous.  Would this show live up to the 90’s creation that I had grown to love?  Luckily the show surpassed my wildest expectations, becoming my favorite superhero show.  And the moment I was hooked?  The first time I heard this song.

TOP 5 THEME SONGS

5. Danny Phantom

This queen inspired song sets up the story and makes a boring “origin” episode unnecessary.  It is catchy, it rocks, and we love it.  I love the way it has a few whispers (“He’s a phantom” “Danny Phantom”) that really bring out the ghost aspects of the show.

4. Psych

This catchy upbeat song captures the spirit of the show.  It is catchy, witty, and fun.  Best of all, they don’t mind mixing it up for special episodes doing things like having it sung by a choir or in Spanish.  The only problem?  To hear the full version you have to wait for the credits.

3. Monk

I seriously think Adrian Monk is the real man who wrote this song.  It is his entire philosophy rolled up into a song…a really catchy song.  In fact, I think just hearing this song makes you a little germaphobic.  There was a lot of controversy among fans when they replaced the original theme (without lyrics) for this one.  Admittedly, It took some getting used to, but this is a great theme.

2. Duck Tales

This is quite possibly the catchiest song in the whole world.  It has been almost two decades, and we are still singing it.  I think we will never be able to stop singing it.  In fact, it is the only part of the show I remember

1. The Highlander

BEST THEME SONG EVER.  You are greeted by a voice explaining the premise of the show.  You can only see silhouettes of the main character, until his name is spoken.  The suddenly queen melts your face off with the coolest song ever.  I don’t think it can ever be topped.

26
Jul
10

Quick Reviews – Ocean’s 11 (1960 version), Super Capers and, Terminator 2: Judgement Day

Ocean’s 11 (4/5)

Yay!  I have been waiting years to see this film!  Frank Sinata, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. together in a film about robbing 5 Casinos at the same time.  It is like a dream come true.

The first hour or so of the film establishes the 11 in Ocean’s 11 and how they come together.  It drags on a little and I had a hard time keeping track of which character was who.  However it is still entertaining and surprisingly funny.

We then move to the crime and the days afterward which is where the film really takes off.  It gets better and better until we reach the climax.  Then they hit us with, in my opinion, one of the best twists in film history.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day (4.5/5)

I was never a fan of the first Terminator and I really only watched this because Earl said it was miles better than the first.  Thank you Earl!  This is everything an action movie should be.

The special effects are amazing for 1991, often holding up even today.  The action is brutal and fast paced.  The chase scenes keep me at the edge of my seat (and I usually hate chase scenes).  The story is amazing.  There is not really much I don’t like about this film except…

…it is too long.  2 1/2 hours?  Seriously?  James Cameron, other people have lives. We all can’t spend all day watching one film.  *cough*Avatar*cough*

Even still, it was a great film.  A perfect action flick.  If you have’nt watched it, then you had better go rent it…now…no seriously go!  Rent it!  Just make sure you have a lot of time to kill before watching it.  (Note to self: Rent Terminator 3…)

There is the inherent coolness of robbing 5 casinos at once, there is plenty of humor, and there is singing, of course.  All in all, it makes for a great film.  If you can find a copy, you definitely need to see this film.  (btw, it is on netflix!)

Super Capers (1.5/5)

The premise sounds good, a wanna be superhero, wrongful accused of super hero brutality, has to go to a superhero training place thingy.  Um, ok maybe the premise is not that great but it looks like it will be a good parody of super-hero movies!  Unfortunately it is not.

The film is riddled with star wars references, but most of them are just outrageously long rip-offs of the scripts.  There are a ton of jokes, but only a few are actually funny.  The plot is so ridiculous even the characters remark at how ridiculous it is…and not even that is funny!

I don’t harbor any negative feelings towards this film, but I don’t harbor and positive feelings either.  It is just there.  The high point of the film is a cameo by Adam West (incidentally, this is also the lowest point in Mr. West’s career.)

It is a great choice if you want to play MST3K with your friends, otherwise I wouldn’t pick it.

25
Jul
10

Grown Ups (1/5)

***Note: A Few Minor Spoilers***

What happens when you get Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, and Rob Schneider and their families together?  Grown Ups happens.  As you can imagine, it is not pretty….

The film opens up with the main characters as children playing on a basketball team together.  Apparently they are pretty good, thanks to their coach, “Buzzer” (who you may know as shawn’s dad from boy meets world or just as “that guy from Roseanne”) Flash forward to present day.  Buzzer had died, so the team comes together once again to…go on vacation?  Wait…why are they going on vacation.  This guy dies and they are throwing a freak’in party.  They even find themselves making loud jokes at the funeral, basically mocking the coach that supposedly is their idol.  It is at this point that you realize, these are all bad people.

Really quickly you learn that all of their kids are rude little brats.  Being the parents, they blame this on violent video-games, TV, and texting.  They decide they want to straighten their kids out so they…take them to a bar?  WAIT WHAT?!  No, these kids are not brats because of the media, they are brats because their parents are bad people.  (and no, they do not learn a valuable lesson about being a responsible adult like the title might suggest)  I cannot stress how bad these people are.  Every time I think they can’t get any worse they somehow manage to top the last evil thing they did.  They are always making fun of each other and fighting in a way that is supposed to mirror how real friends pick at each other…instead they just go for the low blows and beat the crap out of each other.  You would think they all hate each other and are just on vacation together because its in the scrips…oh wait…

Actually they are all pretty disturbed.  Rob Schneider is married to a woman twice his age which in results in some pretty sick jokes.  Kevin James’ four year old son still breastfeeds.  Chris Rock is a stay at home mom.  And Adam Sandler is…well, Adam Sandler.

Also, this film thrives on stereotypes.  First thing I noticed is that every videogame in the film is an over-violent murder simulator.  (lets hope Jack Thompson doesn’t see this)  Kevin James is the source of an insane number of Fat jokes.  Chris Rock can’t go one scene without pointing out the fact that he is Black.  Adam Sandler owns a asian slave, er, I mean nanny who lives with them and obeys their every command…or else…The list of stereotypes goes on and on and on…

There is not much of a plot either.  There is no real conflict…in fact, I don’t even think this is a fictional movie.  I think these actors really went on vacation together and this is the home movie.  I mean there is sorta a subplot involving a basketball game, but it bears no real significance.

The Jokes tend to fail pretty often.  Sure some of them hit but most of them miss, and the ones that do make you laugh are not so much “ha ha thats funny” so much as “ha ha they acually decided to put that in the film.  Half of the Jokes you can see coming from a mile away, and half of them are just disturbing.  (yes, there are poop/pee jokes…and an embarrassing amount of them…I have lost all respect for Kevin James…)

All in all, Grown Ups tried.  It really tried to create a good comedy, and it failed in my opinion.  While it is funny from time to time, it is just too disturbing to be any good.

For the record while this movie is TERRIBLE, I am not necessarily suggesting you avoid it.  Don’t watch it on your own, and definitely do not watch it with kids.  Instead do what we did, gather your funniest friends around the TV and Mystery Science Theater that puppy.  Seriously, this film just begs to me made fun of.

So gather your friends, pop the popcorn and prepare to laugh at (not with) the cast of Grown Ups.  Or just go see a real movie…your choice…

22
Jul
10

Legend of Korra

Ok, we have a little more information on the new avatar series.

It takes place 70 years after the first series and focuses on the new avatar: Korra.  The working title is “The Legend of Korra.”  She already knows all of the elements except air, and she is being taught by Aang’s son Tenzin.  It shall take place in Rebublic City, a large city home to people from all nations.  There is an airbending revolt there and lots of crime.  Expect it to be a more mature show.  It should be coming out in 2011.

click Here for an interview with the creators

and Here is the avatarWiki page for the series




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