Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Now I understand the hate. Sort of.

Bugger me, it's been a while. I blame the shiny things.
I've just had my first taste of the works of one Uwe Boll. For those not in the know, he's a director mostly known for video game movies. He's also considered the "new Ed Wood". Which, considering the state of most game movies, is something of an achievement.
After a few weekly visits to Blockbuster, I decided to get one of his to check it out. The film in question; In The Name Of The King: A Dungeon Siege Tale. I figured it was a sword and sorcery flick with The Stath (a.k.a. Jason Statham), so it ought to be a fun ride. I wish I was right.
When I watch a theatrical film (a proper one that went in a cinema) I have certain expectations. Namely that I expect to see the kind of quality one would find on the big screen. Not TV movie quality. This flick really felt like it was a Hallmark miniseries. Specifically the kind that would go for close to four hours. Except it only went for two.
What's worse, The Stath didn't get one-liners. Or a decent fight scene for that matter.
Of course, I'll probably look for more of Boll's work.

Friday, February 17, 2012

World War Z

Howdy folks. Thought I'd try something and give out a literary recommendation. The book in question is Max Brooks's "World War Z: An Oral History Of The Zombie War".
Basically, there was a mass worldwide zombie pandemic. The world tried to solve it the same old way they deal with "others"; throw bullets and soldiers at it until one side runs out. This doesn't go so well and lasts a decade. Ten years later, Max is UN official working on a commission report about the whole thing. The book is then made up of the first hand accounts he got from interviewing various people involved in the war.

Anyone with even a basic knowledge of the horror knows that vampires and zombies are rather overused. The difference is that the quality is easier to find with vampires. Zombie flicks and the like are usually B grade at best. This book on the other hand joins George Romero's Dead series as the gold class of zombie fare.

The key to its success comes from the "oral history part". The people giving these accounts aren't the usual cast of characters of the hero, the love interest, the single mother waitress, the cute kid etc, they're actual (fictitious) people. However it's also this style that occasionally makes it a difficult read. Rather than reading like a regular novel, it's more a series of, often greatly, differing short stories with a thematic story arc. One moment you're listening to someone chuckling at having fooled the masses with a placebo, the next your listening to woman recounting her having to escape her house and become a widow at the same time.

Once again, this is the reason I'm recommending it. It's about to get a big screen adaptation that will be "in the theme of the book". In other words, they read the title and came up with their own idea. So just make sure you see it as it should be first.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


I'm just a little crappy at meeting goals and keeping promises to myself. I'll update this thing at least once a week. It's been about six since the last one.  I'll do 100 by the One Year Anniversary (22nd of November, 2011). This is only the 70th. I'm not going to cry at this movie. The last one was The Muppets, if for some reason you haven't seen it, get off your bum and go... sit down. It made sense in my head. Don't get emotionally involved in a series that was cancelled years ago with no hope of continuing the cliff-hanger. Too many to mention.

But, I've got one that I will meet. Even if I have to nail myself to something. Just not sure how that's supposed to help. Admittedly this is a pretty ambitious one; see a film without the slightest bit of foreknowledge. To give an idea, Dad asked me about a flick, 22 Bullets. I told him it was a Jean Reno revenge story, and based purely on that, he watched. Those four simple words told him what he was in for. I'm not even going to have those four words. I'll even try with all my might to avoid seeing any promotional material and have the title, and considering the only way I'll succeed is with a foreign film, the country of origin. Of course, this could still lead to foreknowledge, if it's French there's a 60% chance Gerard Depardieu.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Titans, GO!

When I last ranted in your general direction, I talked about shows going beyond their natural life. Well, the other day I finished one such series; Teen Titans.
For those not in the know, it was a toon that ran between 2003 and 2006 that depicted the adventures of a group of teen superheroes in the form of Raven, Cyborg, Starfire, Beast Boy and Robin, the Boy Wonder. You may have missed it because it was somewhat criticised for being noticeably inspired by anime, mixing it with the DC Animated Universe style.
It was only meant to have four seasons, hence the finale for the fourth being a three-parter called "The End".
Needless to say, there was a fifth. It didn't exactly suck, but it just wasn't as good as those before.
One reason was the focus on an arc. All the other seasons did have a continuous story threaded throughout, but it would usually only make up five of the thirteen, with the remainder being stand alone episodes. This time there were only three stand-alones, leaving it a little stretched out. Although the preliminary and concluding episodes were excellent.
The next issue was that the arc revolved around recruiting new Titans to help fight the Brotherhood Of Evil, which kind of meant that there were a few episodes that didn't have the whole team of five. There was even one without any of them.
This one's more along the lines of nit-picking, but a big part of the series was a lack of secret identities. Robin was just Robin, not Dick Grayson, Jason Todd or Tim Drake. However, that slightly disappeared with the Doom Patrol members using "real" names.
Speaking of the Patrol, I'd preferred it if the arc was Beast Boy trying to save his old team, rather than just being in the first two episodes.
I'm not saying it's not a bad season, on the whole, I mean, I still recommend you give it a look. Just, maybe reverse Four and Five, so you do get to go out with a bang. Aside from the movie, Trouble In Tokyo, which still gives plenty of bang.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Six seasons and a movie

Despite the title, this rant isn't about Community. Well, at least not entirely.
You may have heard the news that Arrested Development would be returning in some form. And the world did rejoice. Except for me. I am a fan of the series, but I don't see why more needs to be made. The last episode tied everything up relatively nicely. Yes it was cancelled, but the writers were given warning to ensure they completed the story in the available episodes.  Which also meant less filler. Along with some great moments. My absolute favourite moment came from the final series (the kaiju fight in Mr. F).
And yet, people still want more. It seems TV shows aren't allowed to stop. Smallville was originally only going to have eight seasons. It finished with ten. Supernatural was only meant to go for five. It's still going during a seventh. And how about the ninth season of Scrubs.
Back to Community, there's the idea that as the school would only go for four years, so to would the show. The writers were already working on ways to keep it going.
Yes, I'll still give it a look if and when it sees the light of day, but I still don't know why.
P.S. Can anyone tell me if a show has gone for six seasons and one movie?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The continued journeys of one of the best from the blue box

I noticed I haven't rattled on about Doctor Who yet. Let me rectify this. Well, I'll actually be going for one of the spin-offs. After the second series of the 2005 continuation, two spin-offs were developed; Torchwood, and The Sarah Jane Adventures. I've seen about one and a half seasons of the former, and I feel it doesn't retain the fun and wonder of it's parent series. Which brings me to Sarah Jane Smith.
Don't let the whole "kids show" thing bring you down, this was a damn fine series. Admittedly, like most it took a bit of time to find it's legs, specifically through about the first half of the first series. So, as you're watching Revenge Of The Slitheen, just keep reminding yourself "It gets better". Another way to assist the enjoyment is to forget about Doctor Who. The more you compare them, the less you'll get out of Sarah Jane.
I've told you one of the lesser episodes, but what of the good ones. This may sound odd, considering the name of the show, but some of the best have been stories where Sarah Jane takes a back seat and the focus is on one of her young sidekicks. In fact, the second to last story, The Curse Of Clyde Langer, is one such story, and is one of the shows finest hours. Doctor Who has often had trouble with having more than two companions at a time, SJA has had a total of four at one time, without getting crowded. Although, there have been a few episodes that scale it right down to just Clyde and Rani. It's these two that make it a shame the series has had to end. Hopefully they can find a way to have those two continue saving the world.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Green Hornet

Remember how I said I wouldn't watch the Green Hornet because it was a Seth Rogen film? Also, remember how Seth Rogen totally blew me away with his acting in Paul? Well, those two are very much related to today's post.
After watching what has to be the strangest form of cross promotion, a special episode of Mythbusters based on the Green Hornet film, I decided to track it down and give the flick a look. Once again I overlooked a film based purely on his involvement. Personally, I blame Knocked Up, so I've kind of been ignoring his rise. Anyway, Green Hornet. In case you're not familiar, Britt Reid is slacker son of a respected media magnate. Unfortunately, Daddy dies and Britt has to deal with responsibilities. While getting a little merry he proposes an idea to his mechanic, Kato, that the world needs justice. So the two become heroes with a twist, they'll pose as villains.
Going in, I was quite doubtful of their decision to do it as a comedy. But thanks to every directors favourite phrase being "dark and edgy", this change was quite welcome.
I never thought I would ever say this a million years, but I kind of wish I had seen this in 3D. It looks like it was used rather well in the fight scenes using "Kato vision", where time is slowed down and Kato sees each attacker's movements and locks onto weapons, which looked brilliant. On that note, how well did Mr. Rogen handle the action? He did a pretty good job of it, even slimmed down quite a bit. After all, the film was his idea. Plus he got a "Kato vision" scene of his own.
As for the humour, there was some good stuff, especially the villain, Chudnofsky, with Christoph Waltz having a lot of fun. There was even one gag that have been layered. Kato starts his life story mentioning he grew up in Shanghai, to which Britt replies "I love Japan". On the top layer, it just shows Britt as being an idiot, but going further, we have the fact that Kato was originally Japanese in the radio series, changed to Korean during WWII and best known through Bruce Lee's portrayal in the TV show. With that much foreknowledge needed, this one of the best fan nods I've come across.
Hopefully next time I won't prejudge Mr. Rogen.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Six winds blow as one.

Having another shot at an album review. This time it's Van Canto's new album, Break The Silence. Not that they have been particularly silent, with only a year since their last one, along with a number of tours and appearances on other albums. I reckon they should have gone with the same title I did, "Six Winds Blow As One", because that would encapsulate the feel of the album.

For those not in the know, Van Canto are an a capella metal band from Germany, although they prefer the term hero metal a capella. And believe it or not, they're more than just a gimmick. Now, why do I reckon the six winds works better? Because, now they've really worked out their sound and created some great compositions. They even break tradition on a few tracks and introduce instruments. Well, they already do with one of the six being a drummer. But, two tracks feature extra instruments, an acoustic guitar in "Spelled In Water", and a piano in "Master Of The Wind", a Manowar cover.

That's something I should have mentioned, each album has a handful of covers. This one has four, including bonus tracks. In fact, it's one of these that gives the album its lowest point. A cover of Alice Cooper's "Bed Of Nails". In this case, its just that the original isn't one of Alice's best either, so it really does bring down the feel of the whole thing. Another cover I have a slight problem with is "Primo Victoria", originally by Sabaton. Mind you, they do get Sabaton's singer, Joakim Broden to appear. It is a damn fine cover, I'm just a little biased as I also really like the original. Mind you, this is the first time this has happened. But it is growing on me.

Some highlights include "Neuer Wind", their first song in their own language. I may not speak a word of German, well not enough for a coherent sentence, but I do like hearing it sung. I'd also praise the opening track "If I Die In Battle", which features the repeated lyric about those six winds. I could go on but basically, aside from "Bed Of Nails", this album is one hell of a good way to spend an hour. Just make sure to get the deluxe edition with the three bonus tracks. Mostly for the last one, "A Storm To Come".

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Shining Night

Considering I'm quite a fan of Tom Holland's 1985 classic horror flick Fright Night, I was a little worried about a remake. I don't know why considering there have been some good horror do-overs such as John Carpenter's The Thing, Cronenberg's The Fly, or as I told you earlier, the Nightmare On Elm Street remake. The Fright Night remake doesn't surpass the original, but it definitely works as an equal.  My cautions kind of disappeared once I found out Marti Noxon, one of the writers of Buffy, was behind the script. Fortunately, she wrote something that differed enough from the source to be enjoyed on its own, while still including a few nods to the original.
The most notable changes are in the characterization.  First up, Jerry is no longer the suave and sexy neighbour but goes for just the new guy on the block, before changing to the cold menacing bastard pretty early on. Then of course we have Peter Vincent. No longer is he an aged horror actor, stuck hosting repeats of his work on TV, but a Vegas magician with a penchant for the occult. Admittedly, it was the casting of Peter Vincent that got me interested even more. If there was anyone who could do Roddy MacDowall proud, it'd be David Tennant.
Mind you, with Anton Yelchin as Charley, I kind of looked at this as Star Trek/Doctor Who crossover. Even there, it succeeds. Even if there wasn't any technobabble.
The token cameo by original Jerry, Chris Sarandon was also quite well done. An improvement on the usual Stan Lee variety.
Another highlight was the surprise repetition of a character arc. If you've seen the original, you know who I'm talking about, if not, I'll shut up. Anyway, when you-know-what happened to you-know-who, I wasn't quite expecting it to happen.
All in all, it comes across a neat flick, even if the vampire effects aren't quite up to scratch.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Bunch of words making a title

Evening all, thought I'd just go for another one of those insights into my life.
I haven't kicked my social networking habit. Still addicted to facebook. Even worse, last week I got bored and got a Twitter thingy (Raoul_Thompkins if you're interested). Now all I have to do is get a decent webcam and start a vlog. Then I'll never have free time ever again, yay!
I've even been doing some proper socialising. I'm talking, to people. Real, live people. With a face and everything. OK, I'm doing it a little serial killery by getting people when they're alone-ish and have a casual chat. Bus stops are the best spot.
I met that competitor I mentioned this way. Fortunately, they've realised I'm not enough of a threat and has decided to live, we've even gotten to be quite friends. But in twenty years time, I will have to meet them for a Thunderdome type battle. I'm already working on my glaive skills (both the polearm and the Krull shuriken thing).
Last week I sort of broke my vow of not seeing 3D films. I got free tickets for Priest. It wasn't particularly great. Definitely best suited for beer and pizza night. It went for just about every cliche in the book. All that was missing was a post-credit sequel tease where the bad guy picks up his hat. It does have some good stuff though, namely good action sequences and Karl Urban. I really hope he'll get a few more things worth putting on a resume. So far he's only got Red (2010) and Star Trek (2009). Fingers crossed for Dredd. As long as the helmet stays on.
It wasn't the only film I've seen this week that was sort of saved by its action and one actor, the other was Bitch Slap. In that case the actor was Michael Hurst, the real star of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. I kind of had high hopes for that one, what with it being an exploitation tribute with the cast of both Hercules and Xena. Unfortunately, it was a bit of a Star Trek Generations type hype, where Hurst was the only one with noticeable screen time.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Bob: A fine name for a planet

Last year on Doctor Who, there was a crack in the universe. Anything that came in contact with this crack stopped existing and never did. It seems this crack made contact with a very good film. Hopefully, this will make people remember it and will it back into existence. The film in question is Titan A.E. I discovered it was forgotten when it seems to be the only part of Joss Whedon's work that doesn't get brought up, when even he's frequently remembered for a single line from X-Men he did. Yes, there's a Joss Whedon film that's virtually unknown. To make the outrage worse, it was also written by Ben Edlund, the mastermind behind the Tick, among other things.

What's all it about? Early on in the 31st century, mankind have invented an experimental ship known as the Titan. So the Drej, energy-based evil aliens, attack the Earth and eventually blow it up. The remnants of humanity are adrift throughout the many galaxies, and aren't exactly one of the popular races. Cale, the son of Titan's lead researcher gets recruited by a ship thanks to having the map to Titan. Cale and crew journey across the stars to find the Titan, while escaping the pursuit of the Drej.

Sure it's a Don Bluth film, but you've got to remember, he only made the first Land Before Time movie. In fact, this is quite a dark film, I really don't know it managed to keep the classification of kiddy flick. There's a fair bit of characters dying, including a neck snap, and a few bits of bleeding, which makes it the only kid's movie you can unashamedly bring along on a bloke's night. I wouldn't be surprised if some notes for this went to the other Joss Whedon sci-fi, Firefly.

There are really only two problems with it. It was a bit rushed and would've been better as a series instead of a movie. Second, the trailer features a Creed song. Fortunately, it doesn't appear anywhere in the film. Plus, I'd have really liked to have known what it was that Gune had made in his sleep. What am I talking about there, well, you'll just have to see the movie and find out.

Friday, September 9, 2011

5, 6 Grab your crucifix.

Now for the final part in the rundown of the Nightmare On Elm Street series. Yes, I know yesterday ended with "The Final Nightmare", but they decided they could get a few more out of it. So we got a meta fiction type thing, a crossover and a reboot. At least I'm not doing Friday the 13th. There's been 12 of those, including two "Finals". Those were 4 and 9, in case you were wondering.

Let's start with 1994's Wes Craven's New Nightmare. Yep, Wes stuck his name in the title. This is the meta fiction, where it set in the "real world" where Wes is making a new Freddy film and real life starts mimicking the events of the script. Apparently there's some great and ancient evil that can only be stopped by encasing it in stories, and this evil has taken the form of Freddy. Unless Wes can finish the script, the world is doomed. I think he may have a high opinion of himself. Anyway, this is another of the truly great ones, even if it falls a little short of its potential, and acknowledges number 6. On that note, I guess you could say that this is an apology for how crap that one was, and they didn't want to finish on such a sour note. Shame Clint couldn't do the same after The Dead Pool. That killed all the awesomeness of "Dirty" Harry Callahan. Another highlight is that it basically kicks you in the face for liking a sick son of a a bitch, by reminding you just what Freddy is.

Onward to 2003's Freddy vs. Jason. They're getting pretty far apart now. It seems the only way Freddy can keep on killing teenagers is to get Jason Voorhees to do it for him just enough to get people thinking Freddy is out there again. Needless to say, it works, and Jason quite likes having all these teens around, and takes away Freddy's fun, bringing about the fight the title promises. OK, we're back to jokey Freddy, but for some reason it's not so bad. Maybe it's because logic and adherence to canon aren't important in crossovers. Let's face it, a film that promises a clash of cultural "icons" needs almost nothing other than said battle. At least the battle is worth the admission, as opposed to some other clash films.

Now we move on to the 2010 remake/reboot/reimagining. Story wise, it's pretty much the same as the first one, with a few extra bits added in. The most noticeable is that it doesn't cover up Freddy's dark side. While the previous ones only hinted at what he did, this one didn't really pull it's punches. It does have a bit of a reliance on jump scares and doesn't quite have the usual dream-like quality, but is still just as good, maybe a little better than the original. Of course, the most important thing is; how does Jackie Earl Haley match up to Robert Englund? I'd have to say he fills the glove quite well.

Can someone please break my legs before I get the same idea for the Leprechaun series.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

3, 4 Better Lock Your Door.

OK, yesterday I covered the first three films in the Nightmare On Elm Street series, now I shall the next three. This time around, there will be a bit of spoilers for both the 4th and 6th. For the 4th, it's just difficult to cover the plot without doing so, and in the case of number 6, well, you'll see.

A whole year after the third, we were given The Dream Master. Hey, wasn't the last one Dream Warriors? They're really sticking with this dream thing, then. Now as I stated just five sentences ago, here be spoilers. It seems the kids who survived the third film have been released from the looney bin and are back at school. Thing is, Kristen isn't completely convinced Freddy snuffed it for good. Turns out she's right. Freddy comes back and kills the three of them. Just before he takes out Kristen, she brings Alice into her dream. When she dies, she sends her soul, and power, to Alice, via Freddy, thus connecting Freddy and Alice. Thanks to this, Freddy's allowed to continue killing teenagers despite finishing his vengeful rampage. Alice also gains some powers by obtaining aspects of her friends personalities as they're taken out, eventually turning her into the titular Dream Master, Freddy's antithesis. I know I've just told you three quarters of the damn thing, but this is another of the ones that are well worth a look. Usually by number four, the writers and such stop caring and just give the most generic stuff. OK, they start going for basic characters, like the nerd, tough girl and jock, but everything else stays more or less on par, with it's predecessor.

Onward to The Dream Child. Alice is now up the duff and Freddy is using the unborn child's dreams to keep on going. Apparently, this is one of Robert Englund's least favourite. It's definitely one of the ones that suffers from great idea, poor execution. It really dabbles in a bit of psychology and other such science talk. Unfortunately, the writer(s) weren't quite as good at adding this into the actual film. It's definitely not the best, but it's just as far from being the worst.

I came into this world in 1991. I was that awesome, the world had to restore the equilibrium by unleashing Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare. To call it a crap sandwich would be an insult to fecal matter. In 1999, Freddy has killed all the children in Springwood, except for one. Freddy lets him leave so that he can find Freddy's daughter and bring her back to Springwood. Freddy then hitches a ride on his daughter so he can spread hi evil across the world. His daughter uses the magical power of 3D to enter Freddy's own mind and kill him once and for all. I know what you're thinking, it doesn't sound too bad. You know how they dabbled with jokey Freddy earlier? This time they went full blown comedy. Yes, the murderous pedophile gets turned into Bugs Bunny. Then for some reason, it regains the usual tone for the last 20-30 minutes. Even if you have some kind of OCD where you have to see an entire series once you start it, avoid this one completely. Cut off your own arm if you have too. And yes, Freddy is dead.

At least until the next sort-of sequel, which you can hear about tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

1, 2, Freddy's coming for you.

Depending on who you ask, the slasher genre started in either 1974 with Black Christmas or '78 with Halloween. Either way, it grew old fairly quickly as writer's ran out of holidays to make a movie out of. As proven by the decision to do Friday The 13th. By 1984, it was definitely wearing out it's welcome. Until Wes Craven decided to build on the formula with A Nightmare On Elm Street. It managed to fix things so much, that the genre made a brief return to popularity, and would explain why Michael and Jason also got a bit of the supernatural. Of course, it also created Chucky and Leprechaun. So maybe it made things worse. Anyway, I got considerably bored and went and watched all eight of the damned things. So I guess what, I'm doing a rundown.

OK, the first one was pretty good. Even if you haven't seen it, you know what this one's about, so I'll ignore plot and move right on. It kept the characters to a minimum, and more importantly, they were a bit more fleshed out then your average slasher teen. This one does still have a few problems. Some aspects of the idea aren't as well developed as they could have been, which is a recurring problem with most of the movies. Also, the $1.8 million budget for an effects heavy movie kind of shows, not that that's a huge problem. After all, I like classic Doctor Who. But the biggest thing that gets me is the ending. If you've seen it, you know what I'm talking about. Of all the ways to beat Freddy, that was pretty weak. Unfortunately, it became a bit of a recurring theme throughout, being somewhat repeated in the immediate sequel, and the basis for the 7th(?) and 8th.

A whole year later, we got Freddy's Revenge (I can't be bothered doing the proper title, you're just getting subtitles). This time around, Freddy wants a more corporeal form to roam free once more. To do so, he needs to possess the latest teen to move into Elm Street. This is one of those sequels that seems only vaguely connected to the others, which would explain why it's not particularly well liked. However, if you look at it as a separate film, it's also pretty good. It's also known recently for it's undertones. The writer kind of took his own experiences of coming to terms with his sexuality into the script. In other words, Freddy was an allegory for doubting one's own homosexuality. Overall it's a bit of an improvement on the first one, especially in the effects, so it really got to set the standard for the rest.

When along came, The Dream Warriors. Wes Craven didn't really want this to be a series, so he returned to hopefully end it. At least they didn't put Final in the title. Apparently, it's six years since the first film and Nancy's now a bit of a psychiatrist who's moved to an institution that seems to be having problems with dangerous dreams. So she teaches them that it's freaking dreams, you can do all sorts of stuff, so the last Elm Street kids find a new way to turn the tables on Freddy. Also, they dabble into the origins of Freddy, it's quite dark, even for something like this. If you only ever see one Freddy flick, this would be the best bet. It's actually quite well written, even if it marks the beginning of jokey Freddy, mostly in the form of Arnie type puns. I'm just wondering why it took them three movies to decide people do amazing stuff in their dreams.

Stay tuned for tomorrow when I do the next three in the series. Hell, I'll have time to watch the remake so I can do three on Friday as well. Until then.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Where are my pants?

There's a possibility that you've been informed of the change in Superman's uniform. He's about to lose the bright red underpants. This has become clear thanks to set photos of the upcoming film, The Man Of Steel. Despite the fact that these undies have been a source of ridicule for at least the last 40 years, people, and the internet, have exploded at this change. Somehow, no one seems to care about Batman having lost his some time ago.
I can sort of see why they're complaining, as they do break up the wall of blue. Plus, it takes your eyes away from his Supermanhood. However, the new suit looks, oh, what's the word, alien. You know, just like Superman is.
Mind you, most of the hatred seems to be aimed at the guy making the movie: Zack Snyder. The internet really doesn't like this guy. He's only made five movies so far in eight years. Among them there have been a remake of a zombie movie, two graphic novel adaptations, a children's book series adaptation, and most recently, a piece of original work. While, I only vaguely remember the Dawn Of The Dead remake, it was most assuredly a brilliant debut. The lapse in memory is partly to do with the other zombie movie released at roughly the same time (Shaun Of The Dead). He disappeared for two years before giving the world 300. This one was a wee bit silly, but mostly due to the source material. Frank Miller can be pretty good (Sin City), but 300 isn't one of the best ones to make a film out of. Maybe Snyder should've gone for a more historically accurate telling. He disappeared for three years before returning with Watchmen. Again, it was a pretty good flick, especially compared with all the other directors who decided it was an unfilmable graphic novel. Anyone who can succeed where Terry Gilliam failed definitely deserves respect. (I wonder if he'll give Don Quixote a shot then.)
Just last year, he gave animation a try with Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga'Hoole. Despite being an Australian film (let's face it, most of them are crap) and coming across as a little bit "magical journey", the only real problem was the insanely large title. This year, he went for his first original piece, Sucker Punch. And you know how much I love that movie.
There are many claims that he goes for style over substance. This is somewhat true, what with the slow-mo and fantastic scenery and the like. But, the key word is "over", it's not that one is represented and the other left out, but that the style is merely layered over the substance. You need to look through the bells and whistles. Or would you rather he just beat you to death with the messages.

Monday, September 5, 2011

A compliment to the chef.

On numerous times, I've attempted movie reviews. As a fat guy, I definitely know a thing or two about some good eatings. So, let's have a change of pace. I've been a bit of a fan of spicy food. Even looking forward to all the times the major chains have a limited time only super special burger. And each time I get considerably disappointed. Then, one day, I discovered a new shop in the food court, Burp: Mexican Made Fresh. Mexican food, it has to be spicy. It would be against the law otherwise. Eventually, I twisted Mum's (a.k.a. Money Lady) arm to go along so I could try it out. Holy Burt Ward, it was amazing. I've since been a regular customer for many moons. And am only now telling you about this wondrous place. I know, I'm selfish.

Now, they describe themselves as "Subway but with Mexican food", or variations of that phrase. It's more or less accurate, but doesn't do it justice. You can get your meal in a variety of ways, be it taco, burrito, enchilada, quesadilla, or nachos. Once you've made that choice, you get to work out what to put on it. All of it is absolutely brilliant, but personally, I go either a chook or meat lovers quesadilla with the lot. If you're not overly fond of spicy stuff, there are more tummy friendly options.

Then, there's the service. They seem to genuinely give a damn about the place. I've even managed to befriend one of the higher-ups. (Don't question my integrity.) In fact, remember when I was all excited about scamming the Man by seeing a movie for a mere $6? When it comes to Burp's loyalty card, I feel kind of bad about getting a free meal. That's right, this stuff is so good, it can make a student feel guilty about free stuff.

Finally, the most important detail. Where is this dispensary of ambrosia? You can find a Burp in either the Elizabeth City Centre or Hollywood Plaza food courts, or there's another one on Hindley Street.

They say a burp is a compliment to the chef. Burp has chosen a truly appropriate name.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Who's the Mon.

No, you shouldn't be reading the title in a Jamaican accent. I am instead referring to the great monster debate. Should they be pocketed or digitalized? For the less nerdy, which is better; Pokemon or Digimon? I'll the argument of who's ripping off who. Especially when one was a card game and the other, a virtual pet. Mostly because I'm focused solely on the cartoons. (If you want me to use the correct term of anime, I might as well use the correct names of Poketto Monsuta and Dejitaru Monsuta). Even in this case, the cartoons are two completely different series. The only connection being kids with cute little creatures. The creators of Troll have a better argument against Harry Potter.

Now, back when they were on, Pokemon was just a little more popular simply because it came to attention first. Of course, they were both on Cheez TV, so channel loyalties were out of the question. In fact, I felt a little dirty, siding with those who killed the one and only, Agro. Back then, I didn't really hold a loyalty, I had a stronger one to Power Rangers and related shows. But recently, I had one of those nostalgia-based cases of boredom and decided to re-watch them. I gave up on Pokemon after about 15 episodes. Why? Because I'd also been killing time playing the old games on a GBA emulator, which the series seemed to just adapt as faithfully as possible. And the games were a lot better. The show had such a repetitive formula. Even for a kids show. Plus, there are a few unanswered questions, such as why is Ash even doing this if the pokemon are already well documented?

As for Digimon, I found that a lot easier to get through. Possibly because there was a continuous story line. And there was a greater variety of characters, who grew in episodes. And stayed grown the next episode. Also, maybe, I just liked it more because of a stronger sci-fi connection, what with the whole Tron deal of entering a digital world.

Monday, August 29, 2011

No one would have believed

One last bit of music, for now. This time around, I'm just going to fill you in on the greatest album ever made. The album in question is Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds. I'm mainly doing this because I can't fully connect with a generation that hasn't heard this musical masterpiece, even if I'm placed in that same one.
First things first. Just what is it? It's a 1978 progressive rock concept album that adapts the classic H G Wells novel. As a hopeful writer, I'd love to see my own work get the same alterations. It occasionally wobbles on the line between audio drama and musical piece. In fact, rather than have me explain, give the first track a go. I'll see you in 9 minutes.

Pretty damn impressive right. Don't you just wish Spielberg did this instead of the one he did make? In fact, by Saturday, I expect you all to have obtained and listened to the whole album. I find the perfect way is to completely turn the world off. I go to my room, close the door, turn off the light, put my headphones on/in and lie down and visit this new world. In fact last week, I repeated this ritual with a set of in-ear phones. They greatly improved the listening experience. Each cry of "Ulla" sent shivers all through me. The way it should.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Enter the metal world of doom

OK, yesterday was a bit crap, but it was just a warm up for a few music related posts. So this time I'm having my first shot at an album review. And so I start with "Steel", the debut album of Finnish heavy metal band Battle Beast.

Apparently they've been fighting since 2008, but they've only just (March 2011) put something to disc. There's nothing particularly new, with them being part of the 80's metal revival. But, fortunately they have a few songs that differentiate that just enough. While they may refer to themselves as the ugliest band in the world, singer Nitte Valo's voice is just as powerful as any of the other instruments. In some cases, specifically ballad "Savage and Saint", she well and truly denounces that claim of ugliness. I'd even go so far as to compare her to the great Rob Halford.
Admittedly, quite a few songs are written in the "Rock 'N' Roll All Nite" method. A couple of verses and repeat the chorus. A lot. Maybe even fit in a solo or two. But it just makes the more diverse all the better.

After listening to it a few times, something clicked. I realised why it sounded so familiar. They shared a few inspirations and such as Lordi. It really sunk in on the title track "Steel". This one could almost be passed off as a Lordi song. Then this thought sunk in throughout the whole album. Now, Lordi's latest album (don't say last, that means no more) "Babes For Breakfast" was pretty crap, so I can think of "Steel" as being the album Lordi should have made.

If you're a fellow metal warrior, this is worth a listen. If you're not, maybe give it a miss.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The savage beast

Many times I've rattled on about my taste in movies and the like. I say it's time we move to the other great source of entertainment: music.  I'm even more varied in that field. But again, I tend to stick closely to a particular genre. A very diverse genre at that. It is rock/metal. I tend to put them in the same basket, I mean there's sub genres for when I'm feeling extra picky, but on the whole, they're fairly close.
Apparently, I've been a headbanger since day one. Mum and Dad were doing some renovations with the musical accompaniment of AC/DC (my keyboard doesn't have a lightning bolt), and I remained peaceful. Then they changed over to the Beatles, to which I disapproved greatly. And the rain went torrential. (I know that doesn't make much sense, but I wanted to avoid some cliche about fire still burning, especially while talking about rock.)

I started like most, just raiding Dad's collection. So I grew up on Kiss, AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Adam Ant and Ozzy Osbourne, to name a few. Then as I got older, I started doing some discovering of my own. I found the rest of the world. It began when Lordi won Eurovision in 2006. They were followers of Kiss, so I checked them out and became a fan. Then I went on a quest to find more European stuff. Which led to Nightwish, which went on for even more fantasy symphonic/progressive metal.
In fact, that genre is great, because I don't just go for random songs. A lot of the time, I want to listen to a whole album. If there's time, I'll go for a whole discography. So when you get stuff that seems to have some kind of story to it, it's nice to sit back and turn off the world as the story unfolds.