Friday, December 31, 2010

Congratulations, Refia!

Wikis suck.  If you ever are tempted to become a member of one - don't.  Instead vandalize, that's far healthier for you.  And more fun.  Yes, wikis can be a nice hobby and give a limited illusion of community, but they're also massively stupid, Communist enterprises.  If you ever have fantasies about being stuck in horrible empty-headed bureaucracies and confusing committees, its perfect for you.  Never before in the history of humankind have basic issues ever become more complicated with legal-jargon, precedents, and the voices of a million people debating with a million different ideas.  And usually it will be over something like whether the character template should be blue or beige.  I know from experience, there's nothing to be gained from being a part of a wiki.

Anyway, a few months ago I started Magicite Madness II with Drake Clawfang, at the Final Fantasy Wiki.  All it was supposed to be was a fan poll, nothing complicated.  256 characters in the series battling for the position of most popular - that's it.  Sadly its become a complete disaster.  Terra is the Champ, and just for fun, I wanted her to fight Vivi, the previous Champion for the title of Ultimate Champion.  Unfortunately three people were in charge with three different ideas of what the rules should be, and everything fell apart.  I share part of the blame for it, mostly because I let another person get involved when it should have just been me and Drake.  This could only happen on a wiki, by the way.  Terra had more votes than Vivi, but she won thanks to annoymous votes, and...  you know, it doesn't matter.  Its stupid.  The whole thing is stupid and it ceased being fun.  I don't care anymore.

So I'm declaring Refia to be the real winner of Magicite Madness II because she's pretty.  I know that doesn't make any sense, but neither does any other conclusion.  Also Refia is pretty.  So that's that.  Congratulations, Refia!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Super Mario Galaxy 2

I think I'm going to have to go ahead and say it, because for whatever reason nobody else has.  Mario is boring.  I'm not talking about his games, they're fantastic, but the character himself.  He's dull, he's wooden, there's nothing there.  Honestly, after so many years of saving Princess Peach and crushing Goombas, I still don't know why Mario even does it.  What does he care if Bowser takes Peach away?  Everybody just sort of assumes love, but Mario doesn't actually seem capable of loving anything.  If anything, Nintendo has been actively avoiding pairing Mario and Peach up, aside from a kiss on the nose or two.  He likes jumping, I can tell by the excitement in his voice when I do a triple-jump, but beyond that, who knows?  At least he's enjoying himself.

But beyond getting the next Star, what is Mario after?  What is his real goal?  Does he have one?  Where does he live?  Its baffling to me that the most famous face in video games is also one of worst developed and ambiguous characters of all time.  This is why in Smash Bros and Mario Kart nobody ever picks Mario:  there's just no personality*.  Nobody actually wants to be Mario, we just use him to jump around.  Bowser has character, he's jealous, angry, and arrogant.  Link from the Legend of Zelda has some personality, its pretty subtle, but its there.  You know he actually wants to save Hyrule, you know he loves characters like his little sister and his friends.  The difference is that Zelda games actually have plots, and for whatever reason, Mario as a series is physically forced back from ever evolving into something more complex than "jump here, kill that".  And really, its to this series' detriment that it limits itself like this.

Despite that, Mario still makes awesome games.  "Super Mario Galaxy 2" is still a great game, just as good as the first one, but its lacking something.  This second game, despite having far better platforming levels, and much some truly excellent moments of gamplay, is hollow.  Its partially because I've basically played this exact game before:  "Super Mario Galaxy 1", remember?  And its also because Nintendo seems to actually going backwards with this one.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tron Legacy

I saw "Tron Legacy" for Daft Punk.  And it had tons of Daft Punk.  They did the entire soundtrack, and what a soundtrack have they made.  There is an Oscar for best musical score and if Daft Punk doesn't get up that on stage in their funny little racing helmets to accept it, then I will eternally hate the Academy Awards.  This is techno at its most awesome, just incredible.  "Tron Legacy" might just have the best soundtrack for any movie ever, it fits so perfectly.  Its such a good soundtrack, that I almost forgot how stupid the rest of the movie was.

The original "Tron" was released in 1982, twenty-eight years ago.  That was back in the days when computers were just taking off, when most businesses still did work on paper.  The PC was still new technology, forget about visual interfaces, or mouses.  It was before Google, before Windows, before the Nintendo, before the Macintosh, before the World Wide Web, and if you're reading this blog, probably before you were born.  Computing was still a very wild frontier of seemingly limitless opportunities for a very small niche society of programmers and technicians.  "Tron" was made for such a different world.  If you follow Moore's Law, since 1982 the amount of transistors that can be fit on an integrated circuit has increased by 16,384 fold.  My old dusty Nintendo 64 is massively more powerful than the most cutting edge computer from the early 80s, and realize that the 64 itself is a dinosaur compared with the machine you're probably reading these words on.  The very concept of graphical interfaces was still in development.  This meant that for the audiences viewing "Tron", it really was the first visualization of the computer world.

"Tron Legacy" just does not share that spirit, sadly.  There doesn't seem to be any real interest in capturing the magic of the idea of "Tron" by updating it to the modern world.  Instead they just made an action movie, a good action movie, but just an action movie.  The original "Tron" wasn't very good, but at least it was trying to do something that movies had never done before:  CG effects, cyberpunk storyline, and acknowledging video games as a major cultural force.  The new one...  its shiny.  I like shiny, though.  "Tron Legacy" is a good movie for what its doing.  And that's to be fun.  This is a great fun movie.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Black Swan

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I've been hearing a lot about "Black Swan" recently.   Apparently it has caught Oscar's eye, and now has somehow managed to reach right into ring of various Best Picture frontrunners.  Those leaders include the Facebook epic "The Social Network", "The Kids Are Alright", and "The Fighter".  Unfortunately, those movies are all such bores, clearly made by people with no interest to entertain anybody but the Academy itself.  "Black Swan" however, is a horror movie.  Horror movies never get appreciated by those snobby top critics, and they never ever get Academy nods.  Just how awesome must this movie be to have reached this level?

Pretty damn awesome.  If you want a dark beautiful psychological horror film with some lovely lesbian fanservice and creepy visuals, here you go.  Where can you go wrong here?  Of course, all this immediately disqualifies "Black Swan" from ever winning Best Picture.  If I were Director Darren Aronofosky, I would be proud of that fact.  Darren, climb up to the roof of your house and shout to the world "My movie was too good for Best Picture!"  You deserve it, dude.

Ballet is not my favorite art form, I'll admit that right now.  However, after seeing "Black Swans", I'd actually want to see the show Natalie Portman puts on.  She is able to mix together virginal restraint and a wonderfully screwed-up self-mutilation obsession to create a disturbing dance for her audience.  Forced to play both the heroine and the villain of the ballet Swan Lake, Nina's mind splits between her safe isolation and sexualized-violance.  She isn't being haunted by vengeful spirits or jealous understudies, rather its her own psyche that is tearing itself apart.  Its a nasty little film:  sexy, frightening, and artful.  Plus plenty of lesbian fanservice.  When Oscar time comes, I know what horse I'm backing.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bleach Recaps: Ep. 184, Kira and Kibune, Offense and Defense of 3rd Division

Kira and Kibune fight in this episode.  That's really it.  A secondary villain fights a minor forgettable character in a mediocre battle that does not even reach a conclusion.  Does anybody even like Kira?  ...As it turns out, bizarrely, he's one of the most popular characters in Japan, having come in 9th place in the latest popularity poll according to the Bleach Wiki*.  We all know that Japanese teenagers for whatever reason love chronically depressed men and that's all kinds of messed-up.  But Kira isn't even Cloud Strife-level depressed, he just kinda has low energy and limited enthusiasm.  He should just work up the courage to ask Momo out, what else are you going to do for the thousands of years you have to live as a Soul Reaper?  Either get a girl or mope around.

Oh wait, Momo is dead.  Guess not.  Well, every other female Soul Reaper is single.  Keep at it!

As for Kibune, he's voice by Christopher Corey Smith, who previously worked as the Emperor in "Dissidia", which is probably why the guy is a smug effeminate jackass who you just want to punch in the face.  As much as I'd like a career in acting, I sure as Hell wouldn't like to be type-casted as the "guy who voices smug assholes".  Kibune in this episode is sounding less like the Emperor and more the like boss of the Meteo level in "Star Fox 64".  If you played that game, you'd recall that that boss was a robot piloted by a gay monkey - and he was piss-easy to beat too.  And that's Kibune for you:  a gay monkey.  Ultimately this all means that I don't really have anybody to root for here because I don't like either of these characters.  Which means I probably won't like this episode either.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A DREAM Deferred

Just a few moments ago the US Senate voted to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the military policy that excludes openly gay and lesbian personnel in the military.  Its been a very long road for this repeal, with President Barack Obama opening the discussion to end the unjust institution for over a year now.  Yet one cannot deny that his slow patience was what made all this triumph of equal rights possible.   Obama made sure that the joint chiefs of staff spoke to Congress beforehand and even gave in on a Conservative demand that a study be undertaken on the combat effects of repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell.  Guess what?  There were no detrimental effects.  70% of military personnel interviewed believe that allowing gays to serve openly will have no affect on combat effectiveness, and many actually thought it would increase their fighting ability.  At this point, only those completely driven by anti-homosexual prejudice can possibly stand for Don't Ask, Don't Tell now.  By next week this will be signed into law and every American of any sexual preference can fight for their nation.  Congratulations, lame duck Congress.  I guess you can do something after all.

Obama may not be the most successful President ever, but at least he's accomplished this.  However, I personally am going to wait and see him have some success in the War on Terror and solve the economy before I promise to vote for him in 2012.  But he should know, victories like this will be very convincing in the ballot box.

Unfortunately on the other side of today's events, the D.R.E.A.M. (Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors*) Act was blocked by filibuster.  This act would have given a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who came to this country while still minors and have either served in the military or gone to college for two years.  Now what in the world is wrong with that?  We'll just have to examine that in today's post.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Here we are again, Twilight.  We meet again.  Time for us to do epic battle once more.

"Eclipse" is the third movie in the "Twilight Saga" a series of films whose stupidity can only be matched by its popularity.  Essentially Twilight is the Justin Bieber of literature/cinema, its so fashionable to hate it that can you resist taking a cheap shot?  I mean, just say the word "Twilight" in some places and you'll find yourself pelted with garbage and then they'll open the door out with your head.  As entertaining as that would be, that's the wrong way to approach Twilight in general.  Because as a twenty-year-old male, Twilight was probably as much designed for my demographic as "Mary-Kate and Ashley:  How the West Was Fun".  Its for girls, preteen girls.  And as we all know, everything that preteen girls like is incredibly stupid and utterly horrible, like Justin Bieber or the entire program schedule of MTV.  But who cares?  These books, even for five dollar paperback romance novels that typically can be found in grocery stores, are utterly horrible.  And they're entertaining because of how stupid they are.

Honestly I don't think the fans even notice how bad these books are, and if they did, they don't care.  A book is not what's written on the page, its how you interpret it.  Thus people can claim that they love these books/movies while still hating Bella.  To the readers, Edward and Jacob are the perfect magical sex gods and they belong to THEM, not to Stephenie Meyer's author avatar, Bella Swan.  They have their own avatars to insert into the story!  Forget Bella and Edward's love story, this is the love story between Edward and the reader.  That's all its ever been about.  Also Jacob shirtless, that's the other major theme of this story.  The vampires, the werewolves - all that's just flavor for a preteen sexual fantasy.  And that's not nearly as entertaining as what's actually on the screen, which is utterly hilariously bad.  So that's where I'm coming from here:  it sucks, you know it sucks, lets laugh at how bad it sucks.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Rapunzel

"Rapunzel" also known by the hideous American title as "Tangled" is Disney's fiftieth* animated film.  Being the fiftieth, "Rapunzel" stands on a long and glorious legacy stretching all the way back to "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", which includes such highlights as "The Lion King", "Sleeping Beauty", "Pinocchio", "The Little Mermaid" and also... um... "Chicken Little" (can't forget that!).  Considering that "Rapunzel" comes out just one year after the beginning of Disney's second revival with "The Princess and the Frog", can it manage to keep up the quality family entertainment?

Luckily, it has!  Oh yes, "Rapunzel" or "Raiponce" like in that French poster I have linked here is far and beyond superior to "The Princess and the Frog" (which I liked) and easily one of the best movies of the entire year.  Bravo, Disney, bravo.  After seeing a movie like this, even I hope to one day discover that I too am in fact a lost princess of a magical kingdom.  And considering that this is the second most expensive movie ever made in all human history, Disney better damn should have made an entertaining flick.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bleach Recaps: Ep. 183, The Darkness Which Moves! Kibune's True Colors

I think at this point we're all pretty sick of this Amagai arc.  Its been mediocre episode after mediocre episode, with only the briefest highlights in occasional combat.  Today's episode does not really have any highlights.  There are a few staged fights between certain members of the Soul Society, but they don't actually fight-fight.  They talk for awhile, maybe have their swords touch like three times, then they all become friends again.  Bleh.

At the start of the episode, Amagai, newly converted to Ichigo's side, is seen running around with the fugitives.  So, Captain No. #1 immediately decides that Amagai must be a traitor as well and then orders for him to be captured too.  El Capitan Uno is kind of a stupid leader, without any kind of imagination or flexibility.  In fact, this Yamamoto guy has been nothing but a stumbling block for years now, getting in Ichigo's way every single season somehow.  And yet for some reason instead of sending this possibly senile old man into an Old Age Home every Soul Reaper still respects his word as law.  Guess what?  For the rest of the episode the entire Soul Society is about to fall into chaos.  This folks, is why they pay Yamamoto the big bucks.

Almost immediately Renji runs into Squad 7's Lieutenant, Iba, from now on known as Lieutenant Flat-top thanks to his bizarre choice in hair style..  They get into an argument over whether they should follow orders like morons or betray the Soul Society like intelligent people.  Then someplace else, Squad 9's Lieutenant, Shuhei, from now on known as "Mr. 69" thanks to his tattoo, is attacked by Squad 11 and Cueball Ikkaku.  Are things heating up?  Hell no.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Very Republican Christmas

The "James Zadroga* 9/11 Health and Compensation Act" is that one Christmas present America is not going to receive this year.

The bill was designed to provide aid for the workers who helped clean up the mess following the 9/11 attacks in New York City, and so thanks to their valiant efforts were given cancer and other lovely medical problems.  Many worked without respirators and ate their food out in the open air where dozens of chemicals were still floating around from the collapsed buildings.  Of course, this situation was not helped by a particularly stupid remark by a former Governor of my state, Christine Whitman, who somehow managed to become EPA commissioner.  She decided, pretty much all on her own, that the air was safe.  Which we now know it wasn't.  Plus EPA documents about the air quality around Ground Zero were edited by the Bush Administration as part of their usual Communist-like governing philosophy:  "if we believe it and make everybody else believe it by force, it will be true."  (And don't think the municipal government of New York is completely innocent here either.)  So there are a lot of sick people who in an act of great patriotism have been essentially double-crossed by their own government.  Is that not worth $7.4 billion?

Actually no, if you listen to the Republicans.  It isn't.  Apparently, the United States of America, the richest country on the planet, does not have the money to pay for its heroes, or the terrible deal we gave them.  Merry Christmas, I suppose.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Persona 3

So one day the Internet comes over to my house and tells about this awesome game called "Persona 3".  I'm a little confused, since I had never heard of "Persona 1" or "2", and I'm doubly confused since apparently a "Persona 4" is on its way.  Well, the Internet, being something of a scratterbrained idiot, kept on babbling about how this was such a deep RPG, with such a brilliant story, and such an amazing experience.  Its part of the Shin Megami Tensei series, the most wack-job of wack-job JRPGs.  This the series where you fight giant penises and vaginas and the last boss is God.  Yeah.  Well, the Internet had sucessfully convinced me that the game was worth trying, so it had succeeded in that mission.  For the rest of the day we watched DBZ reruns.

Well, since I really didn't want to start the Persona series in the third entry, I first began by playing "Persona 1" for the PSP.  Unfortunately P1 was an incredibly shitty game, easily one of the worst RPGs I have ever played.  Fighting enemies is a wild guessing game between trying to find out what kind of the fifty-seven types of attacks will actually do damage or talking to the enemies and guessing wildly which conversation peace will make them happy.  Worse, its a traditional RPG with rows and turns, but inexplicably there's a weird grid-thing that's like a half-assed attempt at a SRPG like "Final Fantasy Tactics", all this means is that half the time you won't be able to attack enemies.  The only good thing about the game was its soundtrack, which was an awesome composition with incomprehensible Engrish lyrics.  I can understand not liking the soundtrack, but I think its rockin'.  Anyway, I gave up that game like two bosses in or something, and I never looked back.

Luckily "Persona 3" has absolutely NOTHING to do with "Persona 1", or if it does, the game doesn't make it clear at all.  The only things the two share in common are the Personas themselves and this weird mystical guy named Igor.  I feel like the ignorant fool who played "Final Fantasy I" in order to be prepared for the other games in the series*.  And I'll admit that "Persona 3" is a bit better, but hardly as great as the Internet was claiming.  I should stop listening to that guy.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Bleach Recaps: Ep 182, Amagai's True Strength, Zanpakuto Is Released!

So here are again.  Another "Bleach" episode.  This week is probably the most difficult kind of week to recap.  Things happened, the plot moved... but nothing awesome happened.  There was nothing truly horrible and disgusting, and there was nothing all that awesome either.  I mean, yeah, Amagai's Shikai was pretty cool, but is that all we got?  Well, I guess when your TV show has 182 episodes - more than "Ranma 1/2", more than "Seinfeld", and more than "The Flintstones", every single episode can't be a winner.  I guess the only ones who really suffer are us, the audience.  Really this episode wasn't boring, but it wasn't fun either, so what do I say about it?

We open with Ichigo, Rukia, and Prince Shoe hiding out in the Soul Society sewers, a nice trick Ichigo learned several seasons ago thanks to out old buddy, Hanataro.  Hanataro was a Squad Four healer dude with a crush on Rukia - I use the past tense since I think this show completely forgot about him, just like Ganju.  Its been eighty episodes since we've heard hide nor hair or either of those characters.  Well, the point is that even after the numerous invasions of the Soul Society, the Soul Reapers still do not know how to police their sewers.  Same thing happens in New York City, I imagine, explaining why the Teenage Mutant NINJAR Turtles are never found by the authorities.

Nothing happens for awhile, then we find our old buddy, the Evil Monkey Who Lives in My Closet, Kumoi.  Kumoi has a lovely plot-revealing flashback that explains what has happened to Princess Lampshade-hat.  Turns out that the Princess we saw entering the compound was just a fake, the real one came two minutes later and was immediately kidnapped.  (So that means that my theory that the Princess was always a doppelganger fake from the start no longer holds any water - lame.)  Kumoi is also pissed that the Soul Society has been incredibly incompetent up until now, but then again, the Soul Society has always been incompetent.  These are the same people who almost got beaten by the Bounts, for God's sake.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Happy Hanukka, Illinois!

The state legislator of Illinois today gave its citizens a perfectly wonderful Hanukka present:  legalizing civil rights in the Land of Lincoln.  Starting June 1st of next year, couples of any sexual orientation can receive civil union licenses from their local governments.  I'm always happy to see another victory in the battle for recognition.  Its only a "civil union" license, and the tortured alternate phrasing is a conscious insult to same-sex couples, but still, its a step forward.  You gotta celebrate every victory.

Of course, this really doesn't change anything for Illinois's same-sex couples beyond just a legal sphere.  I say that if you want to be married, you're already married.  Have the ceremony, get a Reform Rabbi (or some other equally open-minded religious official), who cares if you don't yet have a certificate?  Even if you live in states that are especially backwards when it comes to standards of tolerance, like Texas or Mississippi, have that wedding.  Have your Dad walk you down the aisle, dance with your Mom at the reception.  A marriage is between you, your family, and God - and if God has anything to say about it, he or she has all eternity to object personally.  And if you anybody on Earth has anything else to say, well, it isn't there business.  President Obama himself can protest outside the Synagogue, Church, Mosque, or whatever venue you're getting married in.  But even the Leader of the Free World can't stop you.

So get married, Hanukka is a lovely time.  Mozeltov, same-sex couples, and Mozeltov, Illinois.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -Part 1-

In this episode of Harry Potter, Harry and his wizardly buddies are gonna fight some "Bleach" Hollows!  Not just any Hollows - Deathly Hollows!  I don't know what that means... but it should be awesome!  I wonder what Hermione's Bankai will look like?  Should I start shipping Ron and Rukia?

Okay, tragically there is no Hollows.  The title actually says "Hallows", which is far lamer.  There actually isn't much of anything in this movie.  You never go to Hogwarts, most of the cast only shows up in the first forty minutes and the last like twenty, and the plot doesn't even really move all that much.  Honestly for all that happens in this film, I have no idea why it had to be two and a half hours, this thing could have had an hour cut easily and been perfectly fine.  There isn't all that much story to this movie, and yet it is so long.  Basically this movie is about camping.  Having not read the book, I can't say I know if this actually is faithful.  I do know that if this movie is a faithful adaptation, the book should have actually been named "Harry Potter and the Lovely English Camping Holiday".

That's all really unfortunate, since this is probably the most well-made Harry Potter movie yet.  As a matter of fact, the only one prior to this that I actually liked was "Half-Blood Prince", and I suspect that might be because I stopped reading at Book Five.  The main trio have become exceptionable actors, the effects are good enough, and the directing is beautiful.  Heck, even if this movie is mostly a vacation, I'd like to go visit Britain now, the director made it look so lovely.  It isn't easy to make grey rainy ol' England look like a stunning Middle Earth fantasy landscape, but somehow they pulled it off.  Its a good movie - triply good if you're an ultra hardcore Harry Potter fan who ritualistically carves a lightning-bolt scar into your forehead every night while you pray to your Harry-God.  Even if you aren't those people, you'd probably like it.  But still:  too much camping!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Bleach Recaps: Ep 181, The 2nd Division Sorties! Ichigo is Surrounded

Sorry about the wait, I usually like to have these recaps up the Sunday after a "Bleach" episode airs, but this time I was a little busy.  First I had work nearly the the entire day, then when I got back to my dorm I spent the night playing researching Slender Man and playing "Persona 3".

So here we go, finally things are moving!  This is the type of episode I'm asking for.  After two episodes of boring nonsense, Bleach 181 opens (after a needlessly extensive recap that goes back so far as to show the Purple-Haired dude) with a truly interesting fight:  Ichigo vs. Soi Fon.  Well, it doesn't quite open with that, first Ichigo makes a heartfelt speech to Princess-Lampshade hat about how he'll support her no matter what she decides - even though he met her like two weeks ago and once this arc concludes the tangent universe will collapse and so he'll never speak of her again.  By the end of the speech everybody has tears in their eyes, even me who was crying BECAUSE I WAS SO DAMN BORED!!  FIGHT ALREADY!!  By the end of the speech, the Princess - who Ichigo did not notice had flat color eyes so must be under mind control or something - says "who the Hell is this guy?  Get his orange-haired ass off my temple-thing!"  Also the whole time the Evil Old Guy just keeps on smiling his freaky ape-smile, which is probably not a good thing for anybody.

Soi Fon had graciously let Ichigo give his silly speech, he probably had been rehearsing that thing for hours and it would have been just cruel to not even let him give it.  But when that fails, she's had enough.  She's a psycho lesbian bitch ninja, and ever since she got dumped 100 years ago, every day is her period.  So now its time for Ichigo and his buddies to either go with her to the station, or they'll all die quite horribly - and she can do it too.

Now that's a fucking set-up for an episode!  Too bad they don't let this fight conclude!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Last Airbender


HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY, BLOG!!!

"Gigli".  "Battlefield Earth".  "The Brown Bunny".  "Heaven's Gate".  "Southland Tales".  "From Justin to Kelly".  "Plan 9 From Outer Space".  "Showgirls".  "Troll 2".  "Twilight".  "Twilight 2".  "Twilight 3".  There are many movies to choose from when trying to find the worst film ever made.  It seems that one comes every year.  This year came "The Last Airbender".  Being largely out of my mind, I make sure to see them all.  Sometimes watching every single standard of filmmaking quality and plain old common sense being destroyed can be just as entertaining as watching those standards followed to complete perfection.  "Skyline" was just mediocre.  "The Expendables" was simply inept.  But as for "The Last Airbender"... ah, that is Bad Cinema art.  A triumph of stupidity.  Utterly hilariously terrible.

Before we start, I should make it clear, I was never a huge fan of "Avatar" the American anime cartoon that was on Nickelodeon a few years back.  I have seen a few episodes, and they were not bad.  The animation was decent enough, the action was good, and it was funny.  Sadly, M. Night Shyamalan didn't quite seem to be so interested in adapting any of that stuff for his "The Last Airbender".  I'm not quite sure what he made here.  It was probably faithful to the animated series in that all the details are correct, but in the process of shoving every plotline from the series into an hour and a half it managed to be the least faithful adaptation I've ever seen.  Everything that was good from the original has been made into crap.  This movie is a complete disaster of epic proportions.

If you're like me and always rubberneck, "The Last Airbender" will be the movie for you.  If you love trainwrecks, if you love plane crashes, if you loved the Presidency of George W. Bush, this is your movie.  If you like quality, movies that make sense, good acting, intelligent plots, and hate bad movies, you'll hate this.  But I believe that one man's trash is another man's treasure.  Which is why I have to say I loved "The Last Airbender".

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Let's Play Cooking Mama: Mama Kills Animals

Ah... Thanksgiving.  You remember it, don't you?  That lovely holiday in which some female member of your family spends nine hours in the kitchen cooking a massive meal.  Then with maybe as many as both of your parents you sit down and eat and eat and eat and eat some more.  You have to eat, America demands it.  If you don't eat the economy falls and the terrorists win.  Also there are giant floating balloons of Pikachu and Spongebob, and a whole ton of football.  Its fun times for all, especially if you're not cooking.  Yup, Christmas is much more fun.  Still a whole month away?  Damn it!

Anyway, despite how Thanksgiving is a great holiday for everybody, there are some people who are displeased with it.  Yes, I'm sure the ghosts of Squantos's smallpox-infected people are pretty pissed, but they don't have a website.  Today we're going to talk about PETA.  PETA, as you might know are a group of animal-rights wackos who despise all usage of animals for any reason.  Fur?  Evil.  Meat?  Evil.  Fish oil?  Evil.  They've attacked clothing manufacturers, seeing-eye-dogs, KFC, circuses, and honestly believe that animal testing is too much of a price for a cure for AIDs.  Now they've turned their eyes onto the biggest threat of all to animals:  Your Mom.

In "Cooking Mama, The Unauthorized PETA Edition:  Mama Kills Animals" you play as the same cutsy chibi Mama character from Majesco's "Cooking Mama" series.  In the "Mama" games you play as Mama, who cooks with love using the stylus, and in later games babysits and crafts.  Some have brought up that these games might be sexist, but few have brought up how Mama is actually a spawn of Satan.  In PETA's version, Mama is an insane sadist who makes sure to rip her turkey to pieces herself.  The game is ridiculous, so over-the-top that I cannot believe that PETA honestly could have thought that this game is going to convince anybody to "pledge to be veg".

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Bleach Recaps: Ep. 180, The Princess' Decision, the Sorrowful Bride

Here's one thing I can say about the Bount arc, as awful as it was*:  it at least made sense.  Yeah, it dragged worse than a bus with only three wheels, but still there was a simple reasonable plot.  These vampire-dudes called Bounts had superpowers and wanted to destroy the Soul Society.  They could all fight reasonably well (that half of their skills were utter nonsense tricks is not the issue) and you could imagine these guys actually managing to take out a Captain or two.  Yeah, half the arc was spent with Ichigo unable to use his Bankai, thus slowing things down pointlessly, but still, even with his Bankai some of those Bounts were pretty nasty.  If the Bount leader, Kariya wasn't such an insane moron, they might actually have won.  In the New Captain Amagai Arc, things don't make that much sense.

For one, nobody has yet to explain to me why Ichigo hasn't simply dragged the Evil Old Guy outside and given him a nice kick in the ass.  Whats to stop him?  Noble family guards?  If Kenryu and Enryu are the best guards in the Kasagodzillavsmechagodziilaoji Clan, then Ichigo could have this whole issue settled in about two minutes flat.  And who is going to protest this issue?  All of Kumoi's allies are shadow NINJARS.  Also, anybody who has a problem will just have to talk with Princess Lampshade-hat, who Ichigo can restore to full power, thus solving everything.  Then he can finally go home and have that beach party the opening credits have been promising.  Or we could find out what Amagai's real deal is.

Well, instead of that, they decided to drag on this noble clan intrigue plotline for another episode.  Well, unlike last week, this episode ends on the implication that something will happen next week at least.  Its just our bad luck that we have to deal with this week first.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

.000015 Seconds of Fame

So when Joystiq was looking for the most ridiculous and pathetic sign of Final Fantasy fanboy whining, what ever person could they pick other than me, the Big Dog?  In their article "Begin complaining, because Vaan is in Dissidia Duodecim", which documents the fanbase's reaction to the awful crime that is the combination of Vaan, the piss-poor so-called-"hero" of "Final Fantasy XII" and "Dissidia 2", they decided to take one of my GameFAQs posts!!  (I use the name "BlueDragmire" on their forums because my regular sig was taken somehow.)  Which sadly... is the most famous I've ever gotten.  But its something!  Its an honor to have my childish overreactions to a design decisions to a game I don't even want to play featured like this.

This is... this is the happiest day of my life.  (sniff)  Its so beautiful.  There's so many people I need to thank.  I need to thank Square Enix for making a game that just connected with me in no way a game ever has - turning me into a raving lunatic.  I need to thank my Mom, Dad, and Grandma, for always being there for me, showing me that even though I may be pretty ridiculous right now, I can always go further.  And I need to thank the Academy for always having such cliched speeches that are so easy to parody for a cheap gag.

YES!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Skyline

"Skyline" was actually the movie I bought tickets to instead of "Saw 3D".  My reasoning there was that I simply did not want to give Twisted Pictures any more profit on that film - I want "Saw" to end and stay ended.  I'll go to see it, but they aint getting my ten bucks, nope.  Also its considerably cheaper thanks to "Skyline" being a regular movie while "Saw 3D" is in 3D - lucky thing I have my own personal set of spare 3D glasses that I keep for just these kinds of occasions.  Afterwards I actually did go see "Skyline", meaning that yes there were some laws broken and I feel like a terrible person for it.  But then when you realize that the movies I stole from here were "Skyline" and "Saw 3D", true rivals if there ever were for the stupidest friggin' movie of November 2010.  I don't feel quite so bad anymore.  Plus "Skyline" was such a dumb movie that it actually made me feel much better about "Saw 3D". It was the exact B-movie I needed at that moment.

Of course, that doesn't mean that "Skyline" is in any way a good movie.  Its terrible.  But its a special kind of terrible:  a goofy alien invasion movie.  I really can't fault a movie for trying to do that.  Of course, even then, "Skyline" fails.  The Cinema Snob compared it to an Asylum movie (those were the guys who made the recent straight-to-video cure for sleep disorders, "Titantic 2"), and truly he was dead-on.  This movie rips off so many things its almost like somebody took every alien invasion movie of the last fifteen years and put them in a giant blender creating a smoothie so thick of unoriginality you'll need to drink it with a spoon.  If you could prove that there was a single original idea that went into the making of "Skyline", I would put my computer in the fryer and eat it with a side of french fries.  And even then, compared to everything its ripping off, "Skyline" just isn't that good.  Its boring actually.

"Skyline" isn't a total mess like "Saw 3D", but it sure is not worth going to see.  You won't get furious over it, because there's nothing to get mad at here, but you won't find yourself ever buying the DVD when it comes out.  In twenty years, nobody's ever going to remember "Skyline", its just bland nothingness.

Bleach Recaps: Ep. 179, Confrontation?! Amagai vs. Gotei 13

Don't let the episode title throw you off, this episode will not feature Shusuke Amagai fighting the entire Soul Society, as awesome as that would be.  Instead Amagai organizes the Squads to come together and train together as to build better team cohesion.  Not exactly exciting stuff, is it?  In fact, it sounds like an office moral building PowerPoint presentation.  Its actually amazing how little these "Bleach" episodes can manage to fit into twenty minutes of airtime:  this entire episode could have easily been thrown into an exposition conversation that lasted thirty seconds.  In fact I can simulate it right now:

Renji:  "So New Captain Amagai wants us to try working joint training sessions, huh?  Do you think it will work Captain?"

Byakkuya:  "...My hair is so damn pretty I can't stand it...  I kiss my own reflection in the mirror.  The kiss back is always so cold..."

Renji:  "I mean, it wasn't long ago that we almost descended into a total civil war thanks to just three guys and a pile of intruders.  But its such a break from Soul Society tradition.  Its cool to have an outsider's opinions on things, huh?"

Byakkuya:  "...Goddamn I am pretty..."

But of course, "Bleach" never can move at a quick pace, God help us if it ever did.  I can't imagine what Tite Kubo would have done if he was writing the Goku vs. Freeza fight from "Dragonball Z", it might have lasted to the present day.  (Shudder)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Saw 3D: The Final Chapter

Okay, lets say you have the biggest horror franchise of the 21st century, an epic series of complex inter-connecting episodes filled nearly consistently with great twist endings:  how do you end it?  What movie could you possibly make to be a proper send-off to this franchise?  What could be the perfect "Saw VII"?  Well, whatever you think up, it sure will be better than "Saw 3D".  Because this movie sucks.  It sucks as a finale to the series, it sucks as a "Saw" sequel, and it sucks as a horror movie in general.

Come on, Twisted Pictures, is this really how you're going to end this franchise?  This is the best you got?  You really couldn't come up with a single idea better than this?  I was hoping for a twist beyond twists:  a final curtain fall that would completely smash every perception I've had about this series since the beginning:  something that could make all these many years of loyal filmgoing to - let's face it - not very good movies anymore, worthwhile.  There's nothing about "Saw 3D" that is at all a finale to this franchise.  It is no way more epic or conclusive than anything we've seen before.  Basically this movie just goes through the same motions that the last ones have - total rehash.  And even with a formula that's getting so stale these days you might break a tooth taking a bite, it could have been done better.  If this was just a regular sequel, it would have been the worst sequel by far.  The kills are weak, the plot is a mess, and the final twist is lame.  I get the feeling this was never actually intended to be the last one, instead they realized that this movie was so bad it was going to kill the franchise one way or another, so you might as well make it the last one.  From start to finish this movie is a disaster.

I figured that since the "Saw" movies have always been surprisingly clever for a horror movie, they might have at least tried for the grand finale.  Don't they care about what they're doing anymore?  Don't they have any love for this craft?  Or is this whole movie just a cry for help?  "We've been doing these "Saw" movies for like a decade now, please God, we are so out of ideas, save us!"  This is a disgrace.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Bleach Recaps: Ep. 178, The Nightmare Which is Shown, Ichigo's Inside the Mirror

As I predicted last week, Episode 178 isn't good.  You'd think coming right on the heels of two pretty good episodes with some decent fights, that the Ichigo vs. Purple-Hair (whose real name I refuse to use since this guy is pathetic) fight would be the most epic of them all, or at least passable.  But it isn't, it just isn't.

I think during episodes like this one, its best to remind ourselves this:  we could be watching the Bount arc.  This week's fight might be absolutely terrible, but it could be so much worse.  We need to keep up perspective here.  I personally haven't seen the entirety of the Bount arc*, but I saw enough.  Ichigo vs. Purple-Hair is a bad fight, but how about the skull-crushingly boring fight between the entire cast and those two water twins?  I remember suffering for what felt like an eternity, screaming at the TV for Ichigo to just use his Bankai already.  The animation here is fine, the animation in the Bount arc was so ugly and off-model that it sometimes looked like I was watching the show through a fish tank of cloudy water.  You think the NINJARS are a silly enemy, remember how silly those vampires that fought with dolls were.  Oh and if you think that Princess Lampshade-hat and her guardians are annoying, say hello to those three stupid dolls from the Bount Arc.  Those comic reliefs had to be graduates from the Jar Jar Binks College of Comedy.

I suspect that the Bount arc is going to become a running issue on this recap series.  Its very useful defense:  "yeah, this episodes sucks but at least we're not watching that Bount crap."  When things start getting more and more silly in Hueco Mundo once we return to the main storyline, I bet I'll bring the Bounts up again.  I can write the sentence already:  "Wow that [insert stupid asspull plot twist here] was stupid, but at least we're not watching that Bount crap."

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Fantastic Mr. Fox

How the Hell did I miss this movie??  If ever there was a film that was specifically designed with Blue Highwind in mind as its audience, it was "The Fantastic Mr. Fox".  And yet, not only did I not see it in theatres (lack of money being the core issue there), I spent an entire long empty year of my life living like a fool and not watching "Mr. Fox".  I mean yeah, I did have some thirty-eight other movies to watch in the meantime - not counting the ones that weren't worth a review, but that's no excuse!  I am less of a person for not having seen "Mr. Fox" earlier.  It is disgraceful!  No excuse allowed!

So usually I don't review movies that are over a year old unless I think they're amazing unknown gems that you guys wouldn't be exposed to anyway.  I could spend an afternoon savaging "The Box" or "2012", but I won't.  I'm too zen for endless pools of negativity now, countless take-thats to "The [Godawful] Expandables" notwithstanding (I promise that will be the final take-that).  But "The Fantastic Mr. Fox" is a special case.  For one, its all as fantastic as its title implies.  For two, its a silly animated film starring George Clooney with its own original sense of bizarre style and a damn good script.  This is so my kind of picture I'm starting to wonder if I'm actually Director Wes Anderson playing the part of a college-age film/politics blogger.  Its eerie.  Notice that you never see me and Wes Anderson in the same room?  Or Sarah Palin for that matter?  Well, out of respect for my possible other personality, I must review this film!

"The Fantastic Mr. Fox" is not a kids' movie.  Back in February when I reviewed "Where The Wild Things Are", I was a bit more on the fence on that issue, but here I'm 100% certain.  Mr. Fox might be a funny talking fox living in a world full of talking mammals who are all curiously only about a foot tall, but that's where the cartoon ends.  The animals live normal lives, buying houses in trees, meeting with lawyers, writing columns in newspapers that nobody reads, and worrying girls and finances and mid-life crises.  Its not that this film ever gets quite as dark as "Where The Wild Things Are", but nothing about its craft is made for children - the dialog is all like a normal movie, its themes are about as serious as it gets, and there's a LOT of a cussing*.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Don't Go to Disneyland Yet

So the 2010 Mid-Term elections are finally over, and I gotta say:  thank friggin' God.  Can we as a country have a small break from all these constant elections and punditry?  The races haven't even been called in some places, and already I'm hearing talk of election 2012.  These guys are worse than baseball fans.  The World Series can be over for thirty seconds and then you'll here the fans grumbling that spring training is too far away.  If FOX News and CNN had written our Constitution, we'd have an election every two weeks.

I keep hearing that "the Republicans won last night", "Obama lost", "this is Sarah Palin's victory", "the conservative wave", etc.  No, the Republicans did not win last night.  This wasn't their game.  Individual candidates were chosen by their constituents as temporary (and replaceable) representatives over their opponents.  The American people did not like the job some Democrats - and Republicans were doing, and they lost their Congressional office.  And nobody "won".  You can't "win" an election - the election isn't the game.  Governing is the game.  Representing your people and doing your best to serve them is the game of politics.  If you don't do that, you lose.  It doesn't matter how many terms you might be elected, and it doesn't matter what your poll numbers are, if you don't serve your people, you are a failure of a politician.

I don't care if Christine O'Donnel ruined the Republican hopes of taking the Senate.  I do care that she ran and believed in what she was running for, and I do care that she was chosen by the Delaware Republicans as the candidate.  People are blaming her for a Republican defeat, as if she were a lineman that let through a sack.  Personally I don't believe she could have served her state as well as Christopher Coons, so I'm happy she was not picked.  Glenn Beck can gloat as much as he wants and Christ Matthews can try to explain away the Democrats poor standings last night with any kind theory.  This election, all their commentaries, everything, its all a side-show.  It can be entertaining at times, but its all nonsense in the end.  As much nonsense as the arguments over Islamic community centers and anti-homosexual posturing.  Colors on a map are nothing more than that:  colors on a map.

Sarah Palin can go to Disneyland to celebrate her "victory".  I say, let her enjoy it.  She gave up her elected office years ago, she has no responsibilities to the people anymore.  But as for everybody else, you're going to have to wait a bit longer before enjoying Pirates of the Caribbean.  You have won nothing yet.  Let's see you create jobs, solve the war in Iraq, and make America the free and equal nation it is supposed to be.  This goes to you too Obama:  you haven't lost yet.  There's still a recession to get out of and a war to fight.  Remember those?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Bleach Recaps: Ep. 177 The Reversal of Rukia, the Rampaging Blade

And so I am proven exactly 100% correct about everything.  Of course, predicting the events of a "Bleach" episode is about as difficult as predicting whether or not there's going to be another wave while standing on the beach, I'm not psychic.  But even when this show it at its most predictable, I can dig it, because just like last week, this was another good episode.  Good fights, good action, not the best, but whatever.  The fights still have too much talking and the animation isn't as good as I'd like, but this is as good as you can ask for.  If you have problems with episodes like this, then you probably don't like "Bleach", pure and simple.

So this week is just a continuation of the fights from last week, and their conclusions.  Then finally we end with the beginning of the Ichigo vs Purple-Hair fight.  But that doesn't altogether add up to twenty-one minutes or whatever the length of a "Bleach" episode actually is, so the intro is excruciatingly long, recapping the entirety of the last episode with way too much detail.  I know for a fact that its too much detail because Episode 176 and 177 originally aired* as two-parter in Japan, so what they're doing is here is recapping stuff that their intended audience just saw five minutes ago.  This was a common issue back when Adult Swim aired two "Bleach" episodes a night, but I'm glad to see the Japanese suffer along side us Americans.

Unfortunately nothing about this episode is at all appropriate to Halloween in any way.  I think I'll compensate by just yelling BOOOOOOOOOO!!! every so often.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Red

This is one of those tough movies to review, since I can't say that "Red" is an exceptionable good movie or an exceptionable awful one.  Its just good enough.  Not great, not amazing, not new, but good enough.  Its a B minus, you pass the test, but aren't proud of it.  And here I am, having seen a movie I essentially enjoyed, want to recommend it fully 100% but just can't.  Its kinda like my review of "Iron Man 2", the movie works in pretty much every entertaining aspect you can judge it upon and gives exactly what it advertises, but there's nothing special about it.  There was something missing from this production, and God knows if I'll ever figure out what it was.

I think the closest comparison I can make for an ensemble action comedy like "Red" is "The Expendables", a movie which I hate more and more with every passing day.  "Red" is exactly everything that "The Expendables" wasn't:  funny, well-acted, interesting, entertaining, and full of characters that you get to meet and love.  Of course, "Red" isn't exactly a collaboration of supposedly the greatest action movie stars of the last three decades (which "The Expendables" wasn't by the way), instead its a collaboration of great legendary actors like Helen Mirren, John Malkovich*, Morgan Freeman, Richard Dreyfuss, and Ernest Borgnine - who yes, is somehow still alive.  Mary-Louis Parker has brought all her sexiness over from TV's "Weeds", and is paired up with actually action movie star, Bruce Willis.  If you were wondering why Willis couldn't spend more than five minutes on the set of "The Expendables", I guess this is the reason:  he found a better movie to do.  So with an amazing cast like this, I couldn't possibly miss "Red".  So the funny bit is, all these mostly aged actors and actresses are supposed to put down their Oscars and go out and save America from a criminal espionage conspiracy that goes almost to the very top... just one office away from the very top, actually.

Also like every movie this year, its based on a comic book I've never heard of.  I guess movies have run out of ideas to farm from books, plays, video games, and Disney amusement park rides, so they're now turned to obscure comic books.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bleach Recaps: Ep. 176, Mystery! The Sword-Consuming Assassin

So finally I'm happy to say that we have a "Bleach" episode that didn't totally suck.  This week we have nothing but three battles happening simultaneously and they aren't bad fights.  So unlike last week's episode, this one is total action and not just two characters sitting on a roof shooting the breeze.  Instead we have everybody but Ichigo fighting one on one battles with the NINJARS*.  And the ninjas don't do too badly.  So the whole episode is just three decent fights packed into twenty-two minutes, which is exactly what "Bleach" does best.  It isn't a perfect episode, but "Bleach" isn't a perfect show.  I do want to enjoy this Amagai arc, and so when there's passable action, I'm going to the first one to say "this is awesome".

The episode begins by replaying the last two minutes of Ep. 175, which were the only bit of that episode which I felt was worth watching.  This makes Ep. 175 even more pointless than it already was.  During the recap at the start of Ep. 176, the Narrator decides to tell us that Bakkotos, the weird swords that the ninjas have been using so far, give you immense power, something which nobody has bothered to say yet.  Last week I was openly asking "who cares about Bakkotos?"  This week's episode seems to be determined to answer that question, finally.  I would have preferred it happen earlier, but better late than never I suppose.  The main thing these fights have to prove tonight is that these ninjas are formidable opponents.  And I'm happy to say, they have.  Each one of those guys gives all of Ichigo's buddies a run for their money.  I still don't think they'll still be alive by two weeks from now, but the fights have enough tension to keep me wondering.  And they're pretty awesome.

Let the recapping begin!  For tonight's show we have Rukia vs. Short Laughing Guy, Uryu vs. Tall Guy With Goofy Hair, and Chad vs. Big Guy Wearing a Burka (no, I still won't learn these guys' names).  The Ichigo vs. Purple-Haired Ninja fight won't happen until next week, I'm sorry to report.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

OVER 10000!!!

Yes, Planet Blue has now received over 10,000 hits according to Google Analytics.  10,062 to be exact as of 11:22 AM October 21st, 2010.  Of course, I've only had Google track my hits since late June, so the actual number of hits we've gotten might be something close to double that.  (I just didn't know how to use the hits tracker for an embarrassing amount of time.)  For nearly a year of time, that's a respectable number I think, especially since this is a really low profile blog.  Of course, I will admit that I always wish for more readers, its a craving I think will never be satisfied even if I got a million hits per day.  Even so I'm thankful for every single visit I get, I'm always appreciative of comments, and I do love all my readers.  If you guys weren't around, I wouldn't even bother.  Tell your friends!  You make me a happy shade of Blue.  ^_^

I'll keep you posted when we reach 50,000.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Metroid Other M

Oh God...

Let me start off right now by saying immediately that I tried to like this game.   I tried so hard.  "Metroid Other M" for the Wii is not an easy sell, but I wanted to buy.  I wanted to be that guy who could say "yeah, there are so many things wrong here, but the game is still mostly fun".  But I can't.  This game is a mess.  The Metroid franchise is one of gaming's sacred cows, a beloved series, and now its suffering and suffering badly.  It wasn't like I rented this game knowing I would hate it like with "Dissidia Final Fantasy" (which I only got for the laughs, but that soon turned into pain), I had some legitimately good expectations for it... but also quite a few bad ones.  I've been hoping to play this game since E3 of 2009.  You've probably heard bad things about this game already, I know I did.  Here's the crazy thing:  I was able to overlook those faults for roughly 99% of this game's running time.  Right up until literary the last minute, I was going to give this game a pass.  Then it screwed me over like no game ever has done before.  This game sucks, that's what I'm left with.

The sad, horrible, tragic fact of the matter is:  the gameplay isn't bad.  I liked it!  After playing this game, I would want to play another game like this.  If the next Metroid is in this game style, I'd be looking forward to it.  But its everything else that isn't the core gameplay that sucks.  The story is abominable - the worst storyline I've seen perhaps ever.  "Dissidia" has run for its money here in plot suckitude.  The game is very short, the cutscenes are long and unskippable, and what minigames (I guess what you'd call them) this game has are broken disasters that never should have made it into the game.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Jackass 3D

I love the fact that I got to see this movie in Frank's Family Theatres.  That's great right there.

So there really isn't much of a review to write here considering that its Jackass.  You know what Jackass is, I know what Jackass is, everybody knows what Jackass is!  Its a bunch of idiot guys running around with a camera crew doing the most numbnuts stupid shit to themselves they possibly can.  So they super-glue their hands to each other's chest hair, play baseball with their cocks, and jump in a ram's pen with a really really loud oboe just to get their asses kicked by it.  If you loved the first two, you'll love this one.  If for some reason you're horrified and appalled and cannot imagine why anybody on Earth would ever want to see something like that... actually, you should see this movie too.  Grab a bunch of friends, have a few drinks before the show (or even during the show), and get ready for a night of laughing so hard you fall out of your theatre chair.

And its all in 3D.   The exact same state of the art cameras that James Cameron used to make his overrated space epic, "Avatar" now is being used to make a giant rubber dildo rush right at your face.  America is a great country, isn't it?  This movie actually does have shit flying at the camera!  Literal shit.  Its like I was alive back in the 80s and could enjoy such previous landmark 3D feats like "Jaws 3D", "Friday the 13th 3D"* - absolutely terrible cheesy movies that existed only to have things flying in your face for a few minutes.  "Jackass 3D" definitely fits that bill.  I'm nostalgic for a period that I wasn't even alive for!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bleach Recaps: Ep. 175, The Revenging Assassin, Ichigo is Targeted

This was easily the worst episode yet of the entire arc, which is saying something.  Week after week this Shusuke Amagai arc continues to amaze me with how truly awful its been.  "Bleach" is not a bad show.  Stupid yes, occasionally nonsensical yes, slow yes, and silly yes - but its truly a rare episode that makes me change the channel.  I haven't done that since, and this is probably not a coincidence, the last filler arc, that nonsense with the Bounts.

Nothing happened this week.

There were two scenes at the beginning and a pile of scenes at the end, that's the entirety of Bleach ep. 175.  The rest of the episode was basically nothing happening.  As a matter of fact, even within the limited relevance that is the Shusuke Amagai arc, there is no reason for ep. 175 to exist at all.  Its total filler within a season that is total filler.  And this episode is the worst kind of filler:  boring nothingness.  Some filler episodes are interesting in that they show the life of a character that you rarely see.  I recall ep. 132 where Captain Hitsguya joins the soccer team of Ichigo's sister, Karen (because he's small enough to pass as a ten-year-old).  There wasn't any exciting fights, no real character development, and the whole episode was pointless, but even so it was exciting in its own right:  will they win the soccer match?  You never get to see much of Karen - she's wasted like so many other human characters - so its a new perspective for events.  Instead of that this episode is just Ichigo sitting on a roof listening to boring nostalgic flashbacks from Princess Lampshade-hat. This is one of the those episodes where I start to wonder if the creators themselves could even find this interesting.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Planet Blue on the Map of the Internet

So the world's second-greatest webcomic, XKCD, has updated its legendary "Map of the Internet" for the many changes this land has undertaken since 2006.  At the moment I'm quite proud of the number of hits this blog has gotten (nearly 10000 since June) but there are times I wonder if enough people know where to find the Planet of Me.  So I've decided to go use the XKCD map and pinpoint the exact location where you can find Planet Blue (icon not to scale):

As you can see, Planet Blue is right in the middle of the blog archipelago which is to the east of the Sea of Opinions. We don't belong to any major landmass however, hovering someplace inbetween the Politic island, the Creative Writing land, and the Empire of Fandom Blogs. Unfortunately this puts us well outside the core Blogosphere, so I doubt we'll ever be featured on CNN. However, we now are well outside of the frightening dark world that is the "Sea of Zero Comments", and hopefully one day will conquer the entirity of this portion of the Internet... and then, all of human discourse itself! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Losers

Let's make this review a quick quick one:  I rented this movie mostly because I was walking through a Blockbuster and saw a scene of it up on the mounted TVs they have everywhere in the store.  And you know what?  The scene I saw was damn good.  So rent it I did.  And you know what?  The rest of the movie was damn good.

"The Losers" is a silly goofball action movie starring a group of misfit ex-special forces soldiers who were framed for a crime they didn't commit now living the mercenary life.  Unfortunately, it opened the exact same week, or maybe just a week before, "The A-Team", another movie about a group of misfit ex-special forces soldiers who were framed for a crime they didn't commit now living the mercenary life.  "The A-Team" won that battle I'm sorry to say.  I didn't see that movie because its an adaptation of a 70s TV show, and if that description doesn't spell disaster in your mind, you haven't seen enough movies, my friend.  However, I should note that "The Losers" is adapted from a DC comic book nobody on Earth has ever heard of, because I think every movie in 2010 is adapted from an obscure comic.  Even so, I can't imagine that "The A-Team" could possibly be a better movie than "The Losers", because "The Loser" is awesome.  This is everything that the "The Expendables" wasn't and should have been:  fun, well-scripted, wonderfully cast, and well-shot.  Emphasis on the fun.

To explain what "The Losers" is, I won't bother with a plot description, I'll just describe a scene.  So Chris Evans (who thanks to his other role this year in "Scott Pilgrim" has proven that he is an amazing actor) is infiltrating the skyscraper office of the arch-villain, played by super douche Jason Pactric.  Christ Evans is cornered by two security guards while completely unarmed and holding several McGufffins in his hands.  So without missing a beat, he suddenly declares that he has learned mind bullets from Tibetan monks, and puts his hands out in the gun gesture that kids use for games of Cops and Robbers.  The guards laugh it off, until Evans fires his Spirit Gun, and then two guards are blown away.  One guard is left, and he freaks out, running for his dear life.  Of course, Chris Evans isn't a Spirit Detective, his buddy was in a nearby skyscraper with a sniper rifle - the whole thing was the world's most lethal magic trick.  Awesome.  That's "The Losers" for you.

So that's all I really got to say here:  the action is fun, the jokes are funny, Christ Evens is hilarious, the villain makes you hate him, Zoe Saldana is hot, and the movie is great.  It isn't art, it isn't going to win Best Picture, but it does what it does flawlessly.  I can't think of a single complaint, not one.  Its a sad day indeed when Sylvester Stallone, one of the Gods of action movies, needs to be schooled in his craft by the half-French music video director, Sylvain White.  Here's to "The Losers 2" if it ever happens.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bleach Recaps: Ep. 174, Break the Mirror's Boundary! Ichigo's Captivity

Last week on "Bleach" we had a tea party and pint-sized assassin.  What will Episode 174 bring?  A NINJAR INVASION!

So we open up with Kumoi's evil lair, where he and his entire faction are hatching an evil scheme.  Purple-haired ninja is given that mirror sword that the first ninja assassin used.  At this point we finally get to learn the purple-haired ninja's name - its Hanza.  Until he manages to actually beat up a major character, he's going to remain the Purple-Haired Ninja in these recaps.  So you better get working, dude if you want me to use your name.  Purple-Haired Ninja is finally given the order to go to Earth and kill Princess Lampshade-hat.  I don't know why we've been delaying this.  Meanwhile, Kumoi has some Evil Old Guy stuff to do right here in the Spirit World.

Its at this point that we cut to the newest character in this arc full of new characters:  Prince Shoe or Shu or whatever weird romanticized spelling we're using.  We don't yet know who he is, but he seems rather mopey.  Plus he reminds me of somebody... god damn me if I know who yet.  Well Kumoi summons this kid, so either he's a helpless political puppet or a super powerful badass Soul Reaper who could put Purple-Hair to shame.  I know where my money is.  Cute little boys are always helpless in anime, I don't quite know why.  If they're ugly, they might stand a chance.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Titanic 2

Yes, this exists.

So your first reaction has got to be "they made a Titanic 2??"  I guess I should explain.  James Cameron and 20th Century Fox and everybody else who hold the rights to the Academy Award winning 1997 "Titanic"* have absolutely nothing at all to do with this semi-sequel.  Instead of those creators, this was made by the legendary low-budget film company, The Asylum Home Entertainment, creators of everybody's favorite rip-off titles for Hollywood Blockbusters.  These are the guys who made "Transmorphers", "100 Million BC", "The Da Vinci Treasure", and "Snakes on a Train".  They also make original movies such as the incomparable work of cinematic genius that is "Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus" - soon to have a sequel in "Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus"!  You can tell that these guys are serious professionals in the art of filmmaking, can't you?  Since Titanic was a real ship and cannot be trademarked intellectual property, the Asylum is legally allowed to name any movie they want "Titanic".  But why have a "Titanic" movie, when you can have "Titanic 2"?

The story has nothing to do with "Titanic 1" either.  The plot here is that its the year 2012, and a super rich dude decides to rebuild the Titanic just in time for the ship's 100 year anniversary.  What do you call this new ship?  Titanic 2 - of course!  But we've improved the thing, making it completely unsinkable... we mean it this time!  So the ship is on its maiden voyage (from New York to London, the reverse of Titanic 1), when all of sudden the predictable disaster occurs.  Everything goes "The Day After Tomorrow" and an 800 mile-per-hour tsunami rushes down, carrying a whole iceberg with it.  You thought an iceberg was bad?  Well how about one going more than double the speed of sound!  To nobody's surprise, "Titanic 2" is about to sink, and all its passengers are doomed**.  Sounds like wonderful cheesy entertainment, doesn't it?

I'm sorry to say... things aren't that simple.  This movie blows.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Bleach Commentary: Ep. 173, The Appearance of the Great Evil! The Darkness in the House of Kasumiōji

Another week, another "Bleach".  Last week I was complaining that "Bleach"'s current arc is nothing but boring silly nonsense with barely any action or credible threats.  I think the creators might have been aware of this fact as well, so they decided to do things a bit differently for Ep. 173.  In this week's episode we have... a tea party.

Instead of the titular character for the arc, this episode follows Ichigo and Rukia, and the "protect the Princess" situation that as of yet seems to have absolutley nothing to do with the new Captain Amagai.  I'm pretty sure the two plot threads will come together somehow, but so far this arc isn't giving me much hope that the final pay-off will be worth it.  So Princess Lampshade-hat has escaped her guardians to travel back into the Soul Society, using her clan's own inter-dimensional tunnel*.  She manages to walk exactly thirty seconds before running straight into Kumoi, the evil old guy who hired the ninjas to kill her.  Of course, the evil old guy has to keep up appearances, so he just gestures to his purple-haired ninja to take care of it, and lets the Princess go.  Apparently she's going to "A PARTY!!".  Uch...

Before Ichigo and Rukia and the two guardians enter the Soul Society, they have to leave behind all the other major characters who have no role to play in this side-arc.  This is a funny scene, considering the current fates of these characters in the "real" storyline.  Rukia at the moment is possibly dead thanks to injuries inflicted during her battle with Espada #9, whose bizarre name I will not try to spell (Rukia won the fight at least, being the first character to ever kill a full Espada).  Chad might be dead too, having been beaten up by Spoon-head, Nnoitra.  Uryu is fighting for his life against Granz, that Espada that looks exactly like Kibune.  And Ichigo and Orihime are together, with Ichigo having defeated Grimmjow, but they're both still very deep in enemy territory.  Its a surreal thing, seeing all these characters standing around calmly when in the real plot any one of them might die any second or might even be dead already.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Devil

If you recall back in my "Inception" review, before the movie started a certain trailer for a movie called "Devil" played.  And it was greeted with a collective groan - boos even - from the audience.  This is all thanks to the words "A Film by M. Night Shyamalan" which accompanied the trailer, words which in a post "The Happening" and "Airbender" world can only be marketing poison for any perspective film.  However, I didn't think the trailer looked half bad:  it had a decent promise for a mystery horror movie and seemed like a perfect "Twilight Zone" episode, which is never a bad thing*.  Perhaps I was also motivated by the furious reaction it got in the crowd.  "You all think this is garbage just because M. Night is involved, but I'm going to show you that 'Devil' is the little movie that can!"

Here's the thing:  Shyamalan didn't actually direct or write this movie, despite his name being everywhere in this project.  He's just a Producer, and is credited with "the idea", whatever that means.  The actual screenwriter is Brian Nelson and the actual director is John Erick Dowdle, which thanks to a bit of research are not names that inspire much confidence in me either come to think of it.  Dowdle made the stink-fest "Quarentine" and Nelson wrote the equally smelly "30 Days of Night".  This movie is also part of the "Night Chronicles", whatever that is, presumably some kind of compilation of horror films which bare Shyamalan's adopted middle name.  Considering how far M. Night has fallen recently, I'd put the odds of any more Night Chronicles to be roughly zero.  In fact, I'm surprised this movie got a wide-release at all.  This may indeed be Shyamalan's last hurrah - that one final film to slip by before he's finally run out Hollywood forever.

So here I am, reviewing the other movie created by the director of the worst movie of the year.  Was "Devil" everything I expected?  Or has M. Night's legendary failure streak once again taken another cinematic victim?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Come On!

So its been awhile since I've really had anything to write about in the realm of politics, mostly because nothing particularly interesting has happened in at least a month or two.  Yeah the citizens of Delaware nominated a woman who claims to be a former witch* for Republican candidate for Senator, so what?  At the moment the Democrats are too afraid they're going to lose power and the Republicans are too afraid that they won't win power for either side to really do anything particularly insane.  If you're hoping for any particular bit of major legislation right now, I advise you sit quietly and wait until February.  Nothing is going to happen until then, at least.

But even so, despite those cold hard facts, its still really sad when our Congress cannot come together on something that is so clearly needed.  As a matter of fact, its downright tragic.

So Congress did not pass a military spending bill that had a repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell earmarked within.  That's really the entire sad story right there:  our representatives in Congress, out of fear of the upcoming elections, could not represent the wishes of the American people.  And worse, they could not use their elected powers to best govern this country and make a decision that was best for our national security during a time of war.  Once again, we have to face that sad fact that in this instance, the system did not work.  We'll simply have to wait another six months, or if the Republicans take Congress, until quarter after never.  I don't even think I need to explain why Don't Ask, Don't Tell needs to be repealed, you should know already.  Even if you're fighting against it, you have to know you're on the losing side.  I can't imagine what is motivating people to still stand up and move against it anymore.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Bleach Commentary: Ep. 172, Kibune Goes to War! The Violent Wind that Rages

This is the first in what I imagine will be a very long series of recaps for the English dub anime "Bleach".  Today in the anime world, I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that "Bleach" is the biggest show around.  Its by far the most popular and easily one of the longest-running comic books and cartoon shows I think since the days of "Dragonball Z".  Its home to epic battles, a cast of millions, and more silly Japanese swords than you'd ever imagine in your darkest nightmares.  Of course, its also incredibly stupid.  Massively, monumentally, astoundingly stupid.  And that's why its awesome.

I won't even try to recap what's happened before - it would take from now until next Christmas and beyond to even try to give you guys any kind of background for the events I'm detailing here.  The "Bleach" universe is a very complicated world filled with dozens of factions and factions within those factions and roughly nine billion named characters both big and small.  Its a wacky wonderland of Zanpakutos, Hollows, Arancars, and stuff-lions come to life.  If you're lost now, I can never help you.  I advise you non-"Bleach" fans stop reading and move on.

I usually don't like to "judge" individual episodes of a show, but "Bleach" lately is so consistently goofy that I really can't keep my opinions to myself.  I'm in a situation like the Spoony One and his Wrestle Wrestle, we know the thing we're watching is stupid but its great because its stupid.  Its an emotional divide, to say the least.  I don't want to go ahead and say that an episode is good or bad, I'll simply go in and describe the amazing things I'm sure to see.  I've looked ahead at the manga:  "Bleach" is about to enter a really bizarre period of nonsensical plot developments beyond anything you've seen before.  We're going to have loads to talk about for years here.  So let's get to it:  Episode 172, "Kibune Goes to War! The Violent Wind That Rages"*

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Keanu Reeves' Cowboy Bebop

"Cowboy Bebop" is easily one of the best TV shows I have ever seen in my entire life.  I don't even know if I should even call "Cowboy Bebop" an anime, because its so much more than that.  Categorizing it with such a charged term as "anime" leads to so many preconceptions amongst people:  those that hate anime won't bother, and those that like anime will jump at it even though it really isn't like any other show out there.  Being easily the best work to come out of that cartoon style, "Cowboy Bebop" transcends anime.  A label of any kind will only weaken its power.  It would be as if I called it "a cartoon".  To some the word "cartoon" immediately conjures up images of Saturday morning kids' shows and Disney sing-a-longs (not that there's anything wrong with either of those things), which is not fair at all to what "Cowboy Bebop" really is.  Defining this title only damages it, all you can do is watch this show to understand its greatness.

I really don't need to explain to you why a show about a bounty hunters in SPACE catching crooks with a wild west motif to the greatest soundtrack in human history is worst a watch, do I?  Let me repeat that.  Its the greatest soundtrack everEVER!  Let me explain it this way:  if you don't like the same things I like, I'm usually fine with it.  However, there are three things in this world which you cannot dislike without being an absolute failure as a person:  children, "The Lion King", and "Cowboy Bebop".  If you don't like any of those things, get off my blog.  You're not wanted here.  Just watch "Cowboy Bebop", that's the point I'm making.

Last year Keanu Reeves of all people decided to announce that he was going to make a live action "Cowboy Bebop" movie, starring himself.  This was met with almost universe groans from every single man, woman, and child on the Internet.  Nobody had any faith in this project, nobody at all.  I think "Dragonball Evolution" got a warmer response.  I, of course, didn't feel worked up about this news at all.  And its for one simple reason:  live-action Hollywood adaptations of anime don't ever actually happen.  You can count that as a Law of Nature.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

True Blood is Goofy

This show is stupid.  I'll open with that.
You might be thinking that's a little harsh.  "Oh look, Blue is hating on 'True Blood' because its a show about vampires.  How short-sighted is he."  Well no, I'm not saying this show is stupid because of the vampires.  Its stupid because its stupid.  I cannot believe how bad this show got in just a single season.  It went from awesome high-tension action where the fate of just about every character was in jeopardy to boring nonsense in only a single year.  I don't know what happened with the writing staff, but they went insane.  Whatever happened, I'm not going to be there next year, and I suggest you don't watch it either.  There are other things on TV.

Let's start with why I even was watching this show at all this season.  I started up really only because I saw the last few episodes of the last season, where a demon named Mary-Ann completely took over the Louisiana town where this show takes place.  Pretty much the entirity of the secondary-cast had their minds controlled and became lunatic partiers out to kill the main cast.  That was intense.  At that point, pretty much the entire fabric of that society was destroyed for a time.  And I loved that.  It was still silly, but at least the silliness didn't overwhelm the drama.  So when I came into this season, I was expecting something of at least equal intensity, if not more.  I couldn't imagine how they could have topped Season 2.

What didn't occur to me was in hindsight the most oblivious way Season 3 would go:  it wouldn't top the last one, it would just fail.  And fail it did.