Sunday, January 29, 2012


Ladies and Gentlemen, I am proud to announce that Planet Blue has entered the 2012 film season.  *takes bow*

Of all the months of the movie year, there is none worse than January.  The Fall is Oscar Bait season, and it hits high gear in December when all the Oscar Fishers send out their lines to catch a some big juicy awards to mount proudly on their wall.  January is past the deadline.  This is the time when studios dump their worst movies in the least offensive time, hoping to get the tiniest return on their failed investments.  So you get crap movies like "The Devil Inside" or "Sanctum".  Going to see a movie in January is like going to a party forty-five minutes after half the guests left: all the beer bottles are opened, the only nachos left are floating in the salsa, and the girls are all too drunk to hook up with.

Luckily, however, "Haywire" is that one pretty girl who somehow managed to sit through the party quietly nursing a tequila.  You'd think her existence is impossible, somebody should have found her already.  But here she is, all yours.  It must be fate, right?  "Haywire" is a perfectly solid action movie, shockingly good for a January release.  She isn't the brightest date, its pretty much just a straight "girl kicks ass" exploitation flick, honestly better for a rent than a full cinema experience.  If you need to see a good movie immediately, "Haywire" is your best bet.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Recently I had a sad realization.  I haven't seen a new anime series that I really really loved in years.  The last anime I can truly touched my heart like a woman's embrace was probably Eureka Seven".  This might explain why I haven't reviewed an anime series in like six months.  Looking back in my archives, I apparently liked something called "Angel Beats", but for the life of my I cannot remember what that was*.

Anyway, "CANAAN" is an anime I watched, to completion unlike a lot of other shows I've seen (like "Bleach").  This is probably because it was only thirteen episodes long, which meant that I was able to watch the entire thing on a lazy Saturday morning.  So that afternoon I was able to write up a post about it.  "CANAAN" is an all-caps show like "Noir" or "Madlax" in that it mainly involves lithe anime girls jumping around and shooting at other lithe anime girls.  And much like those shows there's plenty of implied lesbianism and bullets for everybody to enjoy, only this one is half as long.

"CANAAN" is a pretty good show, but its definitely not the anime savior I was looking for.  I liked the cast, I liked the art style, I liked a lot of things, but ultimately the story never really ever came together.  And now, if you're happy with just that assessment, you can stop reading, or you read (or skim through) the full post below.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Iron Sky Trailer


I just found the greatest trailer ever to what may be the greatest movie ever made.  Its a little movie called "Iron Sky", and its about...  Well, my own words can only do injustice to a film of this monumental scale.  Just watch:

*head explodes*

UPDATE:  The story is not over!  No no no!  "Iron Sky" is not the only weird Nazi invasion movie coming out in 2012.  The Asylum, makers of such beloved classics as "Titanic 2" and "Megashark vs. Crocosaurus" have announced that they are making a rival movie, called "Nazis at the Center of the Earth".  The Nazis are coming from above and below; its both a intergalactic and subterranean invasion!  There is nowhere to hide!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Grand List of JRPGs That I've Played

In the last post on "Resonance of Fate", I was getting a few comments on whether I played this game or another game.  Unfortunately, in all likelihood, I haven't played them.  Don't get me wrong, I've played a lot of JRPGs:  pretty much the entire Final Fantasy series, comprehensively the entire Kingdom Hearts series, a good chunk of the Dragon Quest series, and lots of little other games here and there.  But I haven't played all of them, and I really have no interest in playing them.  There isn't enough time in any life to play all the RPGs that have been made in just the last ten years, let alone all the many great games that will come in the future.  So let me make this really easy by simply listing all the games I've played and give them a one sentence review.  Considering my usual diarrhea of the typewriter, can I do it?

Final Fantasy I* - The ultimate classic RPG, even though it has barely any story it is the bare bones of what any great game should be.

Final Fantasy II - Apparently this game had a very complex and innovative battle system, but I never understood it for a second (still beat it), and honestly was pretty bored by the storyline.

Final Fantasy III DS - A wonderfully charming little game about kids who switch Jobs and wander around the world so lovely it doesn't need a plot.

Final Fantasy IV DS* - A thoroughly evil game that constantly looks for ways to make me rage quit:  killing off my favorite characters, unfair enemy strength, hiding the best skills in impossible places.  Evil.

And many more after the break...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Resonance of Fate - Part 1

"Resonance of Fate" is easily in the running for one of the most difficult RPGs I've ever played.  You can tell this is an RPG for the hard-core only just by the first hour.  Because during that first hour, unlike every RPG made since roughly 1996, there is no tutorial of any kind.  You're just thrown straight into a deeply confusing and complicated battle system unlike any other game ever made.  The developers just assume you know what to do immediately.

I'm not sure what kind of creature has innate skills in "Resonance of Fate" - they're probably more machine than man - but I know for sure I am not a member of that superior race.  I'm up to the fifth section of this game, and I have spent every one of the chapters desperately trying to keep up with one of the most unforgiving games I've ever played.  Most RPGs, let's be honest, are very easy and you'd consider a boss "hard" if it manages to beat you once.  That's part of their appeal, to me at least, they're very low intensity experiences.  "Resonance of Fate" isn't a game that spends twenty-five hours teaching its players how to play, its a game where you will be thrown straight in the maelstrom and desperately find a way to hold on.  And that's the easiest part, it only gets more difficult from there.  As deep as I am in this game, which is sadly maybe only a quarter of the way through, I have no illusions of dominance.  If I actually am able to beat this game, it will be an achievement beyond achievements, because this is the hardest RPG I've ever played*.

Perhaps because of that immense difficulty, I am fully addicted to this game.  But I actually don't think its the mind-breaking toughness.  Its that "Resonance of Fate" is cool.  Its a cool game.  All three of your characters are gunslingin' badasses that perform ridiculous John Woo-style leaps that spray bullets all over their enemies.  Its a strategic game as well, allowing almost real time free movement to place your characters and take down your enemies.  The characters aren't bad, the gameplay is really good, its just really hard.  Really really hard.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

SOPA Can Lick My Balls

Contact your local Congressional representative and tell them that.  Also promise never to vote for them ever again.  Some Congressmen like to lick balls, but no Congressman likes losing their job.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

My Best Movies of 2011

2011 was a wretched year.  This was a year in my life where everything that could go wrong did, and quite a few things that couldn't go wrong went wrong too.  Honestly, there isn't all that much that happened this year that I'd consider worth celebrating and I really just want 2012 to happen already.  Somewhere between "Dance With Dragons" and "Captain America" and most depressingly "Skyward Sword", I think I have to officially declare this the Year of Broken Dreams.  But luckily the movies weren't so bad.  On a cursory glance, you might be fooled to think 2011 was an awful year because Hollywood made a lot of really bad Blockbusters and failed to make a single good comedy.

Last year I just listed off nine movies that I particularly liked and ranked them by some arbitrary standard of quality.  I'm not doing that this year.  Its a pointless pain in the ass deciding which movie is better than another when I loved all nine of those movies in different ways.  Did I enjoy "Winnie the Pooh" more or "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"?  Its completely ridiculous to try to compare them together, since they're such different movies working on such different emotions.  When you start quantifying how much you liked something, then you aren't really still enjoying it.  So let's instead give all the movies by how they managed to be completely genius in their special categories.  (All categories are made up with a wacky title.)

As I mentioned before, I don't actually see every movie made every year.  So if you don't see one of your favorites below, please tell me about it and maybe I'll review it.  There are still a couple of movies left that I want to see in 2011, so maybe you can motivate me to see more.  These twelve movies I list here aren't the limit, I would like to see this list grow:

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

I've been waiting to see "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" for months now.  Just the cast alone is enough to make my mouth water.  We got some Gary Oldman, some Tom Hardy, a helping Mark Strong, some John Hurt, a pinch of Colin Firth, and a small bit of Toby Jones.  That's an excellent blend of acting spices, mixed together into a Cold War spy movie.

Now I loved "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy", it was definitely one of the best movies of the year.  But coming to this conclusion was a few days in the making.  Sometimes I can watch a movie, drive home, jump on my laptop and immediately being drumming my keys to make the brilliant observations and beloved humor that has made me a millionaire celebrity in the blogging circles.  Unfortunately sometimes its a slower process, where I have to take a few days to properly digest my thoughts*.  And I have, and those thoughts were particularly delicious this time.  Now "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" was really good, and I liked it.  But it was also a slow contemplative movie with a humorless protagonist and a grim atmosphere... kinda exactly like "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo".  Only this movie was fun, I sat gripped to my seat for its entire time, not bored for a second.  With the dragon-tattoo girl, I checked my watch at one point and almost wept knowing there was a full hour remaining before I could escape that horrible movie.

Part of the story obviously has to be acting.  "Tinker Tailor" is full of amazing actors, some of the best men in the business, all of whom really do seem to be giving their best.  Daniel Craig slept through his movie and Salamander alone could not save that movie.  But the other issue is that I just don't care about Sweden's misogynistic issues or whatever the central theme of that movie is.  As for a grand spy mystery, I can get behind that.  Finally "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" is definitely the best mystery movie of the late-2011, it was just really really good.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My Worst Movies of 2011

So now that 2011 is quite truly dead, let's remember the year that has passed.  Last year I didn't do a 'Worst Of' countdown, though easily I could have, trust me.  But 2011 just seemed special because, man, there were a lot of shitty movies this year.  I didn't see all of them, its impossible for me to see every movie.  It was the real critics that suffered this year.  You got to admit, when you have to sit through things like "The Smurfs", and then have to write a whole review about it, that's a hard job.  That's brutal.  They don't get paid enough.  There are plenty of movies I see every year that I don't review, because it would just be too much of a pain in the ass to be entertaining while talking about such mediocrity.

I, luckily, only ever have to see and review the movies I want to.  But even then, I managed to see nine whole horrible movies that have each made me a more unhappy person, a more sad person.  However, I probably would have committed suicide if I had to see every movie.  I mean, 2011 was the year that brought us such gems as "Bucky Larson:  Born to be a Star", and "Jack and Jill"*.  We got "Alvin and the Chipmunks 3", "The Zookeeper", and "Spy Kids 4".  Ouch, man.  Hollywood, what is the matter with you?  By the way, readers, there's a pattern here:  all of these movies are stupid comedies.  2011 was the crowning year for bad awful comedies made for retards, retards both adult and child-sized.  If you're getting ready to be offended because I said 'retard', let me explain my special definition of retard for you:  if you're a person who saw the trailer for "Jack and Jill" and said to yourself 'wow, that looks like a funny movie!', then you are a retard.  You're not mentally retarded, you're creatively retarded.  You are unambitious in your choice of entertainment, you do nothing but the same old thing every day, and your empty life makes me sad.

I know the proper etiquette for any list is to include a mentally pleasing number of items like ten or twenty, but this time I only could find nine movies I really hated enough to list here.  I searched far and wide for #10, looking at such disappointments as "Priest", "Thor", "Captain America", and "Sanctum", before finally giving up.  Nine is the number you're getting:

Monday, January 9, 2012

War Horse

Of the Oscar Bait movies I've seen from the 2011 Oscar Fishing season, "War Horse" is easily the best.  And luckily for you readers, that means there's only one movie I need to see before I'm ready to announce my glorious 'Best of 2011' List.  This will not be on it, unfortunately.  But fortunately, compared to "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" this was not a movie that made me want to stand up out of my seat, tear my cloths off, cover my body with popcorn butter, and run naked and screaming out of the theatre.

Let's meet Stephen Spielberg.  Ever hear of him?  Probably not.  He's something of an obscure director, coming from the far-away land of Ohio, which I believe is a nation in the Middle East.  Surprising for such a minor figure in movies, he's made tons of movies, none of which the average person has ever seen.  Those include such bits of arcane filmmaking like "E.T.", "Jaws", "Jurassic Park", "Saving Private Ryan", and a whole series of movies about some dude named "Indiana Jones".  I haven't seen those movies, you haven't seen those movies, let's just assume they were decent enough for the small Indie off-brand movies of this small scale.  A few of them, I think, have actually been lost to history entirely.  Making movies has always been a hobby for Mr. Spielberg, I think he works at a gas station in between his tiny productions to pay for his bills. "Jurassic Park" was a cheesy B-movie about dinosaurs, and "E.T." in fact was a porno, that's a real tell of what kind of movie maker we're dealing with here.  But for once, "War Horse" is finally making an impression of the larger world, and is probably on its way to getting nominated for Best Picture in a few months.

Shockingly for such a small name director, "War Horse" is actually really good.  If you're looking for a feel-good movie about a horse and a lot of people who love it, here you go.  If you're a cynic who doesn't want to ever be happy, I guess you can point out that Spielberg is obviously pulling your emotional strings and that WWI really sucked.  Its not a perfect movie, its a little too long and a little too sappy, but it is a beautifully shot, stars a beautiful animal, and is probably the best war movie of 2011.  This is a perfect movie to show an elderly relative.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Last night I gave myself a nice double feature of two of the biggest Oscar-bait films to come out in 2011.  The plan originally was to see "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", but ultimately I left so profoundly annoyed with David Fincher and his slow humorless movie that I had to find myself a cure with some proper Stephen Spielberg sentimentality with "War Horse".  "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" is two and a half hours long, and it feels that long.  You'd think a movie with three rapes and at least one attempt at rape wouldn't be boring, but yeah, its boring.  I have no idea why this movie is being so badly courted for Oscars, or why everybody else seems to like it.

However, as a positive, I could have watched "The Tree of Life" again.  So "Dragon Tattoo Girl" will always be superior to that, at least.

Honestly, I don't get why the late-Stieg Larsson gets as much praise as he does.  His novels aren't particularly revolutionary, he just wrote three mystery-crime novels starring a glamorized version of himself and a goth chick.  I read "Dragon Tattoo" this fall, was entirely unimpressed with it.  Mostly the book was a detective story with characters I didn't particularly like with way more padding than I needed.  I won't speak ill of the dead, so I'll just say that Stieg Larsson's books aren't for me.  I expected something more substantial from these books, especially with all the buzz they've been getting*.  He's a good writer, his subject matter just isn't all that meaningful.

And I expected more out of David Fincher.  What happened to you, man?  You used to make movies that kicked ass like "Fight Club", "The Game", and "Seven".  Heck, even "Alien 3" was incredibly stupid and a disaster by all accounts, but it was entertaining.  Then he did "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", a slow dreary cynical Oscar Bait movie of the lowest order, and suddenly Fincher realized he could win Best Picture.  That's become his obsession now.  Its no longer cool R-rated thrillers you could sink your teeth into, its slow humorless movies.  And "Dragon Tattoo" is as slow and humorless as you can ever get in a movie.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Most Anticipated Movies for 2012

Yeah, I'm still not ready to count down my favorites of 2012 yet.  Sorry about that.  Hey, at least I'm going to be more timely than the Academy Awards, huh?  So instead of looking back, let us look forward:  to the new year... that's already a week old.  Movies are already coming out in 2012!  I'm really behind.  Last year, I did a list just like this one, and only half the movies I wanted to see panned out.  Oh well.

Looking forward to 2012, I'm going to be honest, things are looking up.  But first, because its funny, let me point out the big low marks for what's to come:   "Journey to the Center of the Earth 2" (they made a 1?), "Ghostrider 2", "Clash of the Titans 2", "Men in Black 3", "Underworld 4", "Ice Age 4", and "Scary Fucking Movie 5".  Then there's a wretched-looking "Battleship", the utterly wretched "Mirror Mirror", the equally wretched remake of "21 Jump Street", and the most unbelievably wretched reboot of "The Three Stooges" starring that whore from "Jersey Shore".  I know "that whore from 'Jersey Shore'" isn't being specific, but aren't they all the same anyway?  We got the "Spiderman" reboot coming, if only to make people wonder why it exists at all.  Apparently there will be a "Halloween 3D", but nobody knows or what is directing it.  And to crown out the mediocrity, every comic book nerd in the world will go crazy for "The Avengers", a movie I guarantee you will suck.   But that's not the real low point for 2012, I got a good one for you:  "The Expendables 2".  Oh God, its happening.  Man, I hate living on this planet sometimes...

But let's ignore the negative, and look to the positive, shall we?  Here are the movies I actually want to see:

Sonic Generations

"Sonic the Hedgehog" once upon a time was a major force in gaming, easily one of the biggest names in the entire world.  Every kid on Earth knew his name, he was the fastest hedgehog on Earth.  Sonic was a cynical creation designed specifically to be a proper 90s kid's hero - a cartoon hero with attitude.  Whatever happened to "attitude"?  Back in my day, every kid's hero needed that bizarre indefinable quality of authority-mocking coolness.  Oh well, the world moved on, and so did Sonic.

The years were not kind to Sonic.  While his Italian plumber rival would go on to high glory in the 3D realm, Sonic sat out the entire lifespan of the Saturn*.  When Sonic did finally come out in 3D, it was "Sonic Adventure", a buggy game that many people consider to be inferior to Sonic's classic 2D outings that made him a star.  Sonic only had further troubles in the 3D realm, including as missteps as "Shadow the Hedgehog", a bizarre attempt to make a dark mature game with a guns and drivable vehicles like "Grand Theft Auto".  Things finally came to their lowest point with "Sonic 2006", a rushed, broken, miserable game that would inspire the greatest Let's Play of all time from Pokecapn and company.  "Sonic 2006" may be the one of the worst things ever made, because not only is it horribly shattered as a game, it also features a frightening love plot between Sonic and preteen human girl.  "Sonic 2006" is the real deal, the "Plan 9 From Outer Space" of video games.

Things have gotten better in the last few years.  "Sonic 2006" such a low point that the the series could only improve.  The next installment, "Sonic Unleashed" finally managed to master 3D Sonic gameplay, and "Sonic Colors" continued from that point.  "Sonic Generations", the game I have here, is the ultimate conclusion of the series, a celebration of everything that made Sonic great.  It mixes classic 2D Sonic controls with 3D modern Sonic gameplay, letting players decide which Sonic they want.  And it is amazing.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


2011 was, actually, not all that bad of a year for movies, I think.  Now that its 2012, everybody else on Earth is looking back at the year that passed, and some of the opinions were really negative.  I, personally, was ready to call 2011 an unmitigated disaster, but honestly, there were a lot of good movies this year.  In fact, my final 'Best Of' list will probably have more movies than 2010, there were plenty of great films, you just needed to know where to look.  I won't make my final list until I've seen a few more movies, but its coming soon, trust me on that.

After "The Tree of Life" I was feeling really depressed about movies.  A lot of people, including several critics I actually trust, loved this movie, including MovieBob, who called it the best film of the year.  Its a real punch in the balls to see the Worst Film Ever and then see it heaped with high praise, and an eventually Best Picture nomination.  When a movie that subverts the entire medium's purpose and makes mockery of the work of filmmakers for decades is beloved by so many critics, you have to wonder what its all for.  Then "Hugo" comes around and well, this is exactly what its all for.  "Hugo" is a beautiful movie, as good as everybody is saying.  I bet somebody at Pixar right now, briefly ignoring their pots of ill-gotten "Cars 2" gold is watching this movie right now, kicking themselves in the foot for having not made this movie.  This is the Pixar movie the world was conned out of in 2011, only brought to us by the most unlikely director, mobster movie director, Martin Scorsese.

Unfortunately, for me, "Hugo"'s praises have been sung already by just about everybody.  I mean, what the heck do I have to add?  Its amazing, plain and simple, as good as a movie can be.  A great family movie that connects beautifully-created characters to the very genesis of the movies themselves.  So its really good, and you should see it, preferably immediately.

Let's Watch: The Tree of Life

For tonight, we at Planet Blue have something very special.  We have Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life", well known for being the most pretentious movie of 2011.  Some people smell Oscar noms for this thing, even though it apparently makes no sense on any level and it nothing but a giant soup of symbolism.  Now, I love weird movies (check out my "End of Evangelion" image), but I also hate weird art films.  Just this summer, I had the worst theatre experience of my entire life sitting in "Another Earth", perhaps the most boring film ever made.  Terrence Malick is well-known for being a darling of pretentious film makers, he's in that circle of untouchable art house directors like Lars von Trier* or David Lynch**.  I happen to like my movies to be good, to have stories, to have characters, and to make sense.  But limiting art to being good is fascism, we live in a postmodern age!  Irony is the new good.  The more pretentious a movie can be, the better, apparently.

"The Tree of Life" is movie about everything, so says the press, everything from 1950s family issues to dinosaurs.  Its almost certainly getting nominated for best picture, I keep hearing it listed as one of the best movies of 2011, but I also keep hearing its beyond horrible.  Like, if you actual like watching movies, its supposed to be really bad.  What kind of great movie would not be enjoyable for somebody who watches movies?  Do these people even know what the Hell they're talking about!?  It sounds like the worst movie ever made, and everybody loves it?

So my film nerve is telling me that "The Tree of Life" is going to be bad.  And bad films, strangely are fun in a lot of ways.  I actually enjoy being angry, its fun.  One of my favorite films of 2011 is - no joke - "Twilight 4".  Since SOPA still is not in effect just yet, I'm able to watch Terrence Malick's creation on the Internet entirely for free and probably illegally.  I would never dare pay money to see this movie though, Terrence Malick doesn't need my support.  So I'm going to watch this movie, and in real time write down the notes for everybody to enjoy.  This way, my dear readers can journey with me through the Seven Circle of Arthouse Gibberish.  I have no idea what my reaction will be, and I have no idea where we're going.  Here there be dragons, get prepared.

So let us begin:

Monday, January 2, 2012


Happy 2012!  For our first review, we have "Super"!  "Super" is the first film in the long-running Super franchise, which recently this year reached its zenith of popularity with its eighth installment, "Super 8".  Wait no... that's not right...

"Super" is actually the other movie to come out in the last few years to ask the big question 'what would happen if a real person became a Superhero?'  Last year's heavily overrated "Kick-Ass" came out and did the same thing, entertaining  audiences with its ridiculous action and high school humor.  I hated "Kick-Ass", I could not have thought it was more stupid, and honestly at this point I'm really tired of the idea of deconstructing the Superhero genre.  The idea of an average person putting on a Superhero mask and cape and fighting crime sounds like the stupidest thing I've ever heard.  If you want to help your community, just become a cop, or join the neighborhood watch, or find a radioactive stone from space that gives you super strength.  You don't need to make a fool of yourself.  And people making fools of themselves is precisely the kind of comedy I don't like.

So this is really tired ground, but I have to say that "Super" does the whole 'real life superhero' idea better than its many competitors.  Because unlike "Kick-Ass" and "Watchmen", I can actually believe that this movie takes place in the real world with real people.  "Watchmen" brought up the idea that its heroes except for Dr. Manhattan were all regular humans... then they did ridiculous superhuman stunts and jumped thirty feet in the air.  "Kick-Ass" gave up half-way through to be grounded in reality, and instead tried to pull the Silly Action Comedy Meter Up to 11 (and failed, by the way).  "Super" instead points out that a real Superhero would basically be Travis Bickel from "Taxi".  They aren't going to be positive role models, they will be badly lonely and psychologically broken characters.  It also doesn't concern itself much with Superhero tropes, its not really much of a meta-comedy, and I think that's an improvement.

Most importantly, "Super" is the only movie you'll ever see where Rainn Wilson beats people over the head with wrenches.  And then he gets raped by Ellen Paige.  So on that level alone, "Super" is movie I'd recommend.