Monday, October 31, 2011

The Nightmare on Elm Street Series

I woke up today like it was any other day.  I got dressed, I brushed my teeth, I made my bed, and I sat down to enjoy some of the finest Internet made by the world's best chiefs, when suddenly, a knock at the door.  Curious, these days people never knock, they text.  So when I went to see who it was, I was surprised to find a police officer standing before me.  He was six foot-two, dressed in an Americanized version of a Gestapo uniform, but wore no smile.  I could see my own fear reflected back to me from the robotic gleam of his aviator shades.  His question was short and to the point:  "Are you one Blue Highwind, owner of the blog, Planet Blue?"

I could only respond with, "well, this is real life, so I usually go by my human name, but yes."

He was not amused, a creature of this species hates nothing more than cleverness.  "Sir, we see here that it is now October 31st, and you have written nothing at all to celebrate the marketing interests of the Halloween season."  He started to loosen up his neck.

"Uh... Yes, I guess that's true...  Well, I haven't written much of anything this month, and I really don't think-"

"Sir, we don't care what you think.  We only care that you write something about Halloween.  These are things beyond both you and me."  I couldn't reply before he continued.  "Now, sir, you know what will happen if you don't listen to this message.  You know what we can do to you, and you know, there is nothing you can do to stop us.  And you now what you have to do."  There was no emotion to a single word.

I had no idea what kind of "interests" the police officer was referring to, if he was the police at all.  And I had no idea who he was talking about when he said "we".  Perhaps he was some kind of representative of the entirety of American commercialism, some sort of demon of mass marketing.  Or maybe I was hallucinating the entire thing, I never rule out that possibility.   Ultimately I decided that I liked being alive, so I said.  "Okay, thank you, I'll get right on it."  The Man in Black left without a word.

So here we are.  Its time to recap the "Nightmare on Elm Street" series.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

In Time

Did you know that the standard of living in this country has been on a pretty steady nosedive since the early 50s?  You really don't notice it because of all our shiny new doo-dads and snarflats, like Nintendo DSs, blogs, and Japanese porn.  But once upon a time you could have a whole house - with a backyard, a new model car every year, and all the other cliches of the American Dream on a single man's income.  Heck, even with just a high school education you could have plenty of casserole every week.  Then things changed, we needed both the man and woman's income to fulfill all the bullet points of a nuclear family.  Then things got even worse, and well... look around you.  Are you ready to enjoy the fun times when we have a lower standard of living than our parents?  I personally am getting nicely acquainted with large boxes of Maruchan Raman Noodles.  Maybe I'll start "Water-Only Wednesdays", where you don't eat at all and instead subsist entirely on delicious government-issue water.  And you know, you really only need one kidney, right?

"In Time" is the most blatantly shameless SciFi metaphor for class warfare I think I've ever seen in a theatre.  There are a lots of movies that have subtle political messages, and lots of movies with political messages so subtle that they might as well have the Seal of the Republican Party on their cover.  "In Time" somehow manages to get even worse than that, by being needlessly preachy and actually really dull for a SciFi Thriller.  Okay, movie, I get it, the rich people suck, fine, can we move on?  How did Occupy Wall Street make a propaganda film so fast?  Actually scratch that last sentence, if I were the Mysterious Lords of Occupy Wall Street, I'd be pissed about this movie, since it turns their political message into a big silly Robin Hood adventure.  Worse, its a Robin Hood adventure that isn't very fun.

Once upon a time, director Andrew Niccol made "Gattaca", a smart clever SciFi film with a great concept and real heart.  It was a fantastic movie, you need to watch it now.  But since then, he's only made two movies, one of which was "Simone", a movie mostly forgotten because it sucked, and the other being "Lord of War", a movie mostly forgotten because... I have no idea, that movie was pretty good actually.  Anyway, nothing really replicated the underground success of "Gattaca", Niccol must have known that he had thrown away his most creative ideas into a single movie, and now he had to live a sad life running out his clock while his life's artistic climax was behind him.  So what do you do now?  Oh, remake "Gattaca", that's what.  But change the premise from eugentics to a ball of timey wimey wibbly wobbly stuff.  "In Time" really is a pathetic retread "Gattaca", and instead of a second helping of an excellent meal, its just the ten-year-old leftovers of Andrew Niccol's mind that's been sitting in the back of the fridge.  You can't microwave genius back to form, instead you end up with this, nothing.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Paranormal Activities

I am happy to announce that the Hell Weeks are officially over!  Yes, I finally have enough free time to sit down for an hour and compose a post.  And that means the blog should be fully back at a regular-ish schedule starting now.  Unfortunately, after two whole weeks of constant homework, essays, and study, I have done absolutely nothing remotely fun in ages.  Yeah, its hard out here for this pimp.  It is seriously downright depressing on a lot of levels.  But I did finally see both "Paranormal Activity" movies recently, so that's going to be the post here.

The original goal was to see the first two "Paranormal Activity" movies and then the third one.  That goal has changed a bit, since I really do not feel like putting eight dollars down to be bored out of my skull for two hours.  Heck, I could just write another lesson plan if that were my goal.  It has been criminally long since I've been to see a movie at theatres, and I'm going to correct that this weekend one way or another.  But "Paranormal Activity 3" is definitely not the movie I want to see, because I like my horror movies to actually have... horror.  These are the tamest goddamn horror films I've ever seen!  Did the entire country get replaced with girls or am I completely insane here?  I guess when "Twilight" is the new standard for vampire films, you wind up with a society of wimps.

Okay, I know "Paranormal Activity" is like the new standard of horror or something.  All the trailers hype it up as some incredible visceral experience where essentially they take a funnel to your ear and pour pure terror into your brain.  Well, I must retort this claim immediately:  its a found-footage movie.  That's not to say that found-footage movies can't be good - at least theoretically there might be a good one made one day - but I haven't seen one yet.  "Paranormal Activity" is barely a step-up from "The Blair Witch Project" in terms of scares.  By that I mean, "Paranormal Activity" was actually scary once.  But really, the problem with these movies is that all their scares are about slow build-ups of growing tension, but the build-ups are so slow that well, they're boring.  Snore fests.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Final Fantasy XIII-2 Trailer

"Final Fantasy XIII" has to be the biggest disappointment of a game I've ever experienced.  I waited years, years to play that game, with my hopes bounded by the expectation that it would be a game like "Final Fantasy XII", only with faster action and more cinematic gameplay.  FFXII was an incredible game, my love for it knows no bounds, but its not like the gameplay couldn't be improved, and that's what I wanted.  Turns out I was completely wrong, no RPG on Earth could be less like FFXII.  To beat FFXIII's non-twelveness, you'd have to make a game with the exact purpose of being the total opposite of FFXII (which is what I fear SE actually did).  Worse, the buzz around FFXIII was so bad that I made a tactical decision to abandon it and wait for FFXV*.  The game has nothing to offer to me, even now, and I don't think I'll ever play it.  I've played enough shitty Final Fantasy games in my day:  "Revenant Wings", "Dirge of Cerberus", "Crisis Core", FFVIII, I don't need another one.

But then they made a sequel.  Okay, I guess a lot of people liked FFXIII, god knows why, but they did.  I hear the combat system was decent, people like to imagine Lightning naked, and um... maybe the story was good(?).  I gave up trying to understand FFXIII with the Fallacies and Lucies, so maybe I'm missing something there.  Luckily however, this sequel is totally different from FFXIII!  Which can only be a good thing.  Let's watch the latest trailer, because its the longest by far:

And amazingly, it actually looks decent!  So read on if you dare to see why I'm actually interested this time.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Nightmare Weeks

School assignments are nightmarish at the moment.  So I can't really promise an update of any particular kind for a bit.  But don't fear!  My copy of "Dragon Quest VI" is in the mail.  I got a copy of "Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis".  And I'm seriously considering watching "Ides of March".  So reviews are coming... just not quickly.  At all.  Sorry.

I'm gonna try to do some really quick posts like Sunday's thing to break up the tedium.  So its not like I've abandoned the site.  You can send all complaints to my college.

Also, no matter how bad I get, I'll never reach Spoony One levels of laziness.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Suing Hollywood

Alright, folks, I hope you're sitting down for this one.

A Michigan woman has filed a lawsuit against FilmDistrict, the distributer of the Best Movie of 2011, "Drive", because she thought it would be movie like "Fast and Furious 5".  Its hard to respond to something like that.  I mean, obviously she's a moron.  But her lawsuit is completely ridiculous.  Look at the trailer for "Drive", its one of the most accurate trailers of the entire year.  When did she miss the fact that this trailer had the words "Cannes Film Festival" clearly presented.  A "Fast and Furious" movie would spontaneously combust if it even tried to enter that city.  That's a film festival that gave its highest award, the Palme d'Or to "Tree of Life", that's all you need to know about these guys.  Maybe I could see her point if the trailer was filled with lowest common denominator gansta rap instead of slow mournful opera, but even then, she's an idiot.  I'll basically hate anybody who attacks "Drive" at the moment, and this Michigan woman is really harvesting on the funny farm.  Oh, and then she claims that the movie is antisemitic because a Jewish character used the word "kike".  This is dumber than suing McDonalds because their French Fries made you fat.

Yeah, this woman is barking up the wrong tree, but is she in the wrong forest?  I know there have been plenty of movies out there will false advertising, and I want them to pay!  For my ticket money, of course.  And pain and suffering in some cases.  I've seen some shit movies in my day, movies so bad that I'm basically emotionally scarred.  After "Battlefield Earth", I was blind for three years, and was mute for four.  This Michigan woman should be glad that the false advertising resulted in her seeing a better movie than she expected, you're rarely that lucky in my experience.  I'm lucky if a bad movie doesn't make me cry.  I'm lucky if a bad movie doesn't leave me bleeding anal blood for weeks.  Michigan Lady, you're whining about nothing.  You should be glad you got that much culture as "Drive", clearly you need it.

So I've contacted my lawyer, I.C. Hasenpfepher Esquire, and we're going to be sending out a few lawsuits of our own against certain films of the last few years.  Here's the list of new film lawsuits you'll be seeing in the next few weeks.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Alright, I got a .38 Smith and Wesson Special in my hands right now.  I really don't want to review "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood", but I've gotten a few requests which kinda forces me to write something up for it.  I'm easily manipulated.  So let's clench this .38 in my jaw, bite down, and grin and bear it, because we're going into this sucker.

If you're wondering why I don't want to review "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood", the answer can be found in the fact that I really did not like this show.  And if you're somebody begging me to review this, I'm guessing you really liked the show, meaning as a corollary, you won't like this review.  I'm not enjoying writing it, so now we've created a perfect rip tide of unhappiness.  Friggin' "Fullmetal Alchemist: Bro Version", look how terrible you're making the world.  Somebody should put a stop to you!  By the way, I don't hate "Brotherhood" because I hate "Fullmetal Alchemist", I happen to love the original anime.  Yeah, "Brotherhood" follows the plot of original comics a lot more faithfully, but is that necessarily a good thing?  I haven't read the manga, but its pretty clear to me that the story Studio BONES came up with was a heck of lot compact, coherent, and all around better than the comics.  Its a sad thing.  On its own, "Brotherhood" probably would have been a perfectly serviceable anime, though definitely not a member of my Top 10.  But with "Fullmetal Alchemist 1"'s shadow hanging over it, its just mediocre.

Okay, "Brotherhood" is a lot better than "Bleach", at least.

However, by comparing it to "Bleach", I think I'm onto something.  They're both animes made for kids, though "Fullmetal Alchemist" is significantly more mature (good guys actually can die).  But both "Bleach" and "Brotherhood" have huge bloated stories with giant casts full of superfluous characters (look at the picture here, its a goddamn mess), they both have action climaxes that so complex and long as to last for weeks without any sight of conclusion, and they both have too much goddamn talking!  Its like the authors just drew up a billion characters and threw them all against the wall, without any real appreciation for a character's purpose in the story or even if they add anything at all.  Its "Bleach"-lite.  The original show was something special, every character was a cog that fit right into the grand plot machine, "Brotherhood" is a big pile of rusted gears and parts sprawled across a garage floor.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Let's start with this:  Best Movie of the Year.  Right here, right now.  Maybe something in the coming months will steal the crown, but for now, Hail to the King.

"Drive" is a movie with a strange kind of history.  It initially began life as a 2005 crime novel by James Sallis (which I and the vast majority of humanity have not read).  Hollywood took the book, and then adapted it into an action movie for Hugh Jackman.  Basically that movie would have been "The Transporter 4" or "The Fast and Furious 9"*, with little more to add into it.  Somehow or another Jackman and the first director gave up on the project, and "Drive" wound up in the hands of Nicholas Winding Refn, the Danish Quentin Taratino.  How many Danish filmmakers can you name?  And since the ultimate project was slower and more artistic, Hugh Jackman's role wound up in the hands of Ryan Gosling.  What then was created was the most 80s movie ever made outside of the actual 80s, a film with serious style, from Gosling's kickass satin jacker all the way up.

This is a such a fun movie, made exactly in the style of so many films I love.  I love crime dramas, especially ones that manage to present their stories with such vibrant beauty as this one.  The casting is shot-on, the action scenes are brutally awesome, and the villains are menacing but still actually pretty hilarious.  If your movie's dialog can both frighten me and make me burst out laughing, you've made a classic.  "Drive" is the best crime movie I've seen since "The Departed".  Its glorious.  Honestly, I have to wonder if any movie this year is going to top this one, it will be a hard battle.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Trigun: Badlands Rumble

YES!  Oh my favorite animes of all time returns!  Its been a good year for anime movies, first we get "Evangelion 2.0" and now we have "Trigun: Badlands Rumble".  And there's a "Bleach" movie coming in November, which I might actually be able to stand long enough to review - unlike the show lately.  Whatever, we're not hear to talk about bad business, its a positive review.

"Trigun" is undeniably one of the greatest animes ever made.  Based off a comic series that might be one of the greatest mangas ever made (but I haven't read it), it was a beautiful mixture of old westerns, SciFi adventures, and random silliness just for good measure.  On the Planet Gunsmoke in some far-off future, there is a master gunslinger named Vash the Stampede, an outlaw with the notorious reputation of destroying everything around him.  Insurance companies actually have classified his rampages as "Acts of God" so as to stay in business.  But actually, the real Vash the Stampede is a wacky idiot who couldn't hurt a fly, he'll never kill anybody and goes out of his way to save lives*.  Oh wait, the wacky idiot is actually a super badass sharpshooter alien hounded by his evil brother and a gang of lunatics with increasingly absurd weapons.  If you thought a gunblade was farfetched, wait until you see a gun-saxophone or giant machine gun crucifix.  But Vash still won't hurt a fly, he's a nonlethal fighter to his core.  What a show, they don't make anime this good anymore.  Everything that's great about it is summed up in its incredible opening theme.

"Badlands Rumble" takes place roughly in the middle of the series, probably before things got super dark.  Vash may be the Humanoid Typhoon, but he still hasn't run into the real monsters of Planet Gunsmoke.  The movie ultimately comes off as just an extended episode of the TV show just like the "Cowboy Bebop" movie**, with a bit of fudging it could probably be made to fit right into a twenty-four minute time frame.  And in that way of making a new side-adventure, "Badlands Rumble" recreates exactly what made "Trigun" such a great show.