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


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


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?