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


"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.


Monday, November 15, 2010


"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?