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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Trailer of Interest - The Vicious Kind

I tripped over this little gem not too long ago. Yeah, the trailer isn't all that well cut and it's one of those previews that tries to look too independent in order to get all the indie-cock sucking, snob-knobs hard. Regardless, I was particularly impressed with this Adam Scott in the lead role. Furthermore, J.K. Simmons. Yeah, in context that's a complete sentence. Deal with it.
The movie looks like it carries some fine character comedy and dry humor. It's got my attention on all fronts.
The flick has a limited release roll out starting December 11th.

HYPE-O-METER Scale 1-10: 8

Monday, December 7, 2009

Trailer of Interest - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Teaser)

So I wasn't too keen on the sixth film. It wasn't quite the blunder the fourth movie was, but as time goes by I look on it less and less fondly. After the incredible fifth entry and the "holy shit" trailers cut for the sixth film I expected a lot more.
It's really clear this trailer was cut from footage they were scraping at the bottom of the barrel for-- I mean how much have they really filmed by this point? I'm surprised they got the footage they did for such an early teaser-- And a good one at that. Oh, I don't think it's anything to wet your panties over just yet, but the potential is there. Lets get excited, yet again, and hope, yet again, these movies deliver.

HYPE-O-METER Scale 1-10: 7

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Terminator Franchise Gets New Home in February

The Terminator franchise is still for sale and the bankrupt Halcyon, current owner of the franchise, apparently wasn't swooned with Joss Whedon's $10,000 bid. Originally, the franchise was estimated to be bought by January 2010, but now negotiations (with who?) seem to be set to end in February.

Anyone want to buy it? Hell, if I had the money, I would! Then I'd put The Sarah Connor Chronicles back in production faster than you can say, "I'll be back!"

It looks like Halcyon is really hurting though. They're selling every prop, set piece and lights (almost "trashed" by Bale) to movie collectors crazy enough to love a brick you might have seen on screen.

Was Terminator Salvation worth the pain guys? Regardless, I hope Warner Brothers gets the franchise, makes some badass movies and gives The Sarah Connor Chronicles a proper send off. No, I haven't given up hope. Nor should you.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

How Cool Is This?

So movie mag Empire Magazine went all out with their 20th anniversary, asking twenty-seven actors to recreate iconic roles in stylish clothing. This is quite entertaining. Click on any of the below to enlarge.

Can we guess all the characters and movies kids?

And my favorite:
Solid pictures. I'm not big on celebrity photo shoots, but this is easily the coolest shoot I've ever had the good fortune of flipping through. Bravo Empire. Do more!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Harry Potter 7 Trio

And in a rather uninspiring picture. I suppose we always start with lame pictures don't we? But with this being the final film(s) I thought it would be fun to compare their last adventure with their first:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Well Ron doesn't look like a deformed horse anymore and I want to give Ms. Watson a round of applause for growing up so, SO well. Finally I can admit she's attractive without feeling like Roman Polanski. (I'd say Michael Jackson, but that ship has sailed hasn't it?)

Now I'm going to compare the Harry Potter franchise to one that's trying to be like it:

Failure's a bitch.

Potter 7, November 2010.

Monday, November 30, 2009

It Speaks For Itself...

But I'll say it anyway...


I'm sure the general, non-comic book geeks out there are wondering who the silver Iron Man is. The answer is War Machine, piloted by Col. Rhodes played by Terrance-- Oh... Right... Played by Don Cheadle.

Now as awesome as this is I do want to skeet some of my doubt on this post. As the time draws nearer for Iron Man 2 I begin to have the same weary feeling I had for X-Men Origins: Wolverine. What type of weary feeling you ask? Lets just say my concerns came to fruition.

It's very possible Iron Man 2 will NOT walk in the footsteps of great super-sequels like X2, Spider-Man 2 and, of course, The Dark Knight. Something about the amount of villains, heroes and recent knowledge of Mr. Downey Jr.'s hand in writing the thing stinks.

But until its release, I'll enjoy the really swank poster. You should as well.

Spanish Trailer Gets Creative With Lost Promos

Been keeping up with the plethora of Lost Season Six footage? If you have you're lying because none has been released. As show-runners Damon Lindelof and Carton Cuse have said, they're keeping a tight lid on the Lost spoilers and showing no new footage until the season airs. So what do we get in the meantime. Trailers like this:

Wow. Pretty terrible right? I understand the need to use old footage, but does that excuse a shitty trailer? There is an absurd shitstorm of fanmade trailers that are lightyears more exciting than what ABC has regurgitated here.

In the meantime check out this Spanish trailer to Season Six. Like the American promos they don't give us any new footage, but the superimposed chess theme works well. Very cool:

Why isn't this ours? Good work ABC. My girlfriend should enjoy the Radiohead-ness as well. The final season premiers Feb. 2nd, 2010.

Monday, November 23, 2009

IMAGE - Worst Choice for Best Picture Nom.

Ha! That's pretty terrible alright. Before some of you leap out of your chairs screaming at the sky in either victory or melancholy look closely at the picture. It notes "Comedy + Musical," which is a category in the Golden Globes. Not that this pile of crap is worth even that, but really, who cares about the Golden Globes?

Hangover blew.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Get In Line for Spidey 4's Black Cat

I'm shocked this is as big of a deal as it is. (Or maybe it's not.) Oh, don't worry. I promise this won't be a glorified comic book-to-movie fanboy rant like my last post. Actually, I hardly touch comics and I certainly don't know much about this post's title character. (No, not Spidey.)But the attention around it is what gets me.

Rumors are flying that the Black Cat will be the next pseudo-villain in the Spider-Man lineup. At first I thought, "Oh, okay. So it's Spider-Man's Catwoman basically?" Apparently that's almost too much of the case as I've only read negative feedback from fans since this rumor began.

Now for those fretting about the idea of Black Cat serving as the web-slinger's next antagonist hold on to this bleak hope. Sony has apparently denied the rumors. Regardless, the possibility of Black Cat in Spider-Man 4 is looking inevitable. With so many rumors flying about actresses trying for the part I think it's safe to say she's in.

So who's up for the role? Well lets plow through the list of rumored cats. Rachel McAdams was the original rumor, and heavily favored by fans who were okay with Black Cat's break in to live action. But the actress has since denied those rumors. Shame really. I think she would have really nailed the part. (And the Spider. Gigiddy.)

Next up, British babe Romola Garai. Don't know who that is? Don't worry, no one does. Admittedly, she looked the part, but with credentials like Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights I think we can boot her out.

My personal favorite out of the lot is Julia Stiles. I know, I know. Why? Admittedly, she may not look the part, but she takes on the tough-babe persona pretty well. (Bourne anyone?) I feel like Black Cat would be the next big step for her. Granted, I don't know much about the Black Cat, but I do know if you're going to do the whole Catwoman/Batman relationship with Spider-Man the chick better be one tough cookie. Lets just say the bell collar would fit around Julia's neck pretty well.

Finally, we have Anne Hathaway. Supposedly the producers are very interested in giving her a staring role. Now, I like Anne Hathaway, she's a fine actress, but the Black Cat? I did grab the right picture from the internet, right? Very white, (or really blonde?) hair and all? Does she fit the complexion? Would white hair be a bit much for Hathaway? Aw, whatever. With all the advances in special effects and what not I'm sure it isn't a big deal. Even still she doesn't strike me as someone who could pull off the look.

So what about you crazy Spider-Man fanatics out there? Is it worth seeing Black Cat on the big screen? I don't have too much of a problem with it, but, again, I don't know much about her beyond wikipedia. I will say this. It might be worth it if we can get Kirsten Dunst out of these flicks. Can we all agree she's the worst love interest for a hero in any of these superhero movies? Yeah. You agree. She's a bitch. Go ahead. Bring in the home wrecker.


The Shadow of the True X-Men 3

Reading this kind of stuff infuriates me, but at the same time it fascinates me. It’s incredible to see a bad idea come to life and a good idea left in the trash heap. To be fair X-Men: The Last Stand actually had some intriguing ideas, but besides being executed terribly they also paled in comparison to what could have been.

“Huh? What could it have been?” For starters it could have been good, but that’s the obvious answer. During a Slashfilm podcast co-writer of X2, Mike Dougherty, mentioned story ideas for the third movie he had on the drawing board with director Bryan Singer.

For those using the Internet for the first time, Bryan Singer directed the first two X-Men films. When he was asked to direct his dream project, Superman Returns, he left Fox’s X-Men franchise at the mercy of director Brett Ratner-- The man responsible for arguably the worst conclusion to a single franchise: X-Men: The Last Stand.

But before Brett Rat-Fink mutilated the storyline and Dougherty left with Singer for Superman Returns, there was a very solid blueprint for the third movie. Screenrant was nice enough to extract Dougherty’s X-Men 3 story from the podcast.


“The idea – you open up with Alkali Lake [where Jean Grey supposedly died in X2] but it’s completely barren and dried up and there are these odd reports of strange phenomena going on around the world accompanied by bright lights in the sky.”

“The idea would be that both the X-Men and the Brotherhood realize that, essentially, a very god-like force had entered their reality and that it was causing disruptions around the world – mutant prisons being decimated. I had pitched an idea about a fleet of cargo ships getting torn apart in the Atlantic and you found out that they were shuttling mutants as slave labor.”


“So basically you found out that the Phoenix [Jean Grey] was going ‘round the world taking things into her own hands and that she had basically returned as a god, which they did touch upon in X3. She had viewed herself as above the conflict, that she was here to end things on her terms, she was basically sick of the fighting and she was going to take things into her own hands and she didn’t give a shit what the X-Men or the Brotherhood had to say about it.”

I think Dougherty is giving the actual third movie too much credit. When was comparing the Phoenix to a god touched upon in The Last Stand? Sorry. Minor rant. Dougherty continues…

“The one idea that I loved, that I really wanted to do, was that Cyclops would build the Danger Room. Cyclops felt guilty-- He felt that the X-Men were too weak. They weren’t strong enough; they weren’t fast enough, [and] that was the reason Jean died. If they were a little bit better at fighting, then she might still be alive. It was all about this guilt he had about her death and so he built the Danger Room to train them to be better. But in the end it really was about him not being able to let go of her, so that causes all the chaos and disruption in the movie. But in the end it’s about him letting her go.”

Okay, okay, so wait. Not only was Cyclops going to be front and center in the storyline, like he should’ve been, but it was going to develop him as the true leader of the X-Men? This sounds like the best idea for an X-Men movie yet… Alas, it wasn’t to be… Oh wait. It gets better:


“Ultimately she kind of becomes that cosmic force that Phoenix is known to be, she chooses to leave Earth and become a god, or at least a higher level of intelligence, and she goes into the cosmos possibly to kick-start life somewhere else… The final scene for me would have been her telling Cyclops, or her telling the X-Men, ‘I’ll be watching.’ Essentially she becomes a god.”

I love the “I’ll be watching” part echoing the end of the second film. But unlike this story The Last Stand had no regard for what happened in the first two movies. (Like the forgotten allusion that Magneto’s machine on Liberty Island [in the first movie] triggered the Phoenix mutation. Good catch Rat-Punk!) A razor sharp Cyclops sounded so much more interesting than the pitiful, tormented man that served as little more than a cameo in The Last Stand. And actually utilizing the Phoenix as the integral plotline instead of watching her turn to marble as a third tier subplot is *INSERT CLICHÉ GASP AGAIN* far and away more desirable.

So I want to applaud director Brett Rat-Shit for his duties on The Last Stand and taking strides to do the exact opposite of Dougherty’s plan: Deliver a damn good idea. I mean seriously? This is what we could have had? Superman Returns was decent, but not worth this sacrifice. Imagine if you will, the deep fire representing the vengeful Phoenix, scorching the night sky as Cyclops and Wolverine stand battle ready on a crushed Earth below. The stakes are high. Not even Magneto and the Brotherhood are as great of a threat. Why? Because this “god” is the women these two men love. That’s brilliant shit right there!

Now think back to The Last Stand. It’s like self-mutilation isn’t it? If you’re a sadist you’ve gotta’ love this article. With rumors of Bryan Singer possibly returning to the X-Men franchise, these ideas would be beautiful for a strong return to form. I refuse to believe it’s too late to clean up Brett Rat-Fuck’s menstruating curd of bile that is the third X-Men movie. Will someone save this franchise?

Monday, November 16, 2009

MUSIC REVIEW - The Killers - Live from the Royal Albert Hall

The thing about most live shows is that we all want to hear what the hits sound like live. Yes, Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer” sounds great, Linkin Park’s “One Step Closer” rocks hard, Drake’s “Closer to My Dreams” is—Hm. Pothole there. Can’t do much for lip-syncing can I? But The Killers grant us a lot of great “second tier” songs that grab your attention in a way their album counterparts don’t.

Oh, sure, “Somebody Told Me” is still as sexy as ever and “When You Where Young” provides a badass finale that I wasn’t sure The Killers could even deliver. I also want to shout out to “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine,” a personal favorite that could have easily been the night’s closer. But overlooked masterpieces like “I Can’t Stay,” “Loosing Touch” and “Bling” make you want to go back and relive their album counterparts. They all just sound great, and the acoustics of the Albert Hall compliments Brandon Flowers’ vocals beautifully.

At times these less popular sings tend to outplay the many singles that are stretched across the set list. This can be both a great and terrible thing depending on how you look at it. For me it was nice to get the wake-up call of rediscovering non-singles. It literally got me to re-love The Killers.

Most of the songs are from the recent album, Day & Age. (That’s fine by me!) Their prior album, Sam’s Town, is mostly absent from the live show, (thank God) but the better songs do strike a chord. It almost makes me want to re-listen to Sam’s Town—Almost…

I won’t say The Killers “killed it,” because that’s probably been used for every executive-handjob review of this record. I will say they’re still appropriately named though. If only “Midnight Show” were added to the set. It would’ve really matched the energy of the rest of the show. Killers fan? Get it. And get it now. Semi-Killers fan? Keep it on your list of goodies to grab. You might find there’s more to love than you thought.

***½ out of ****

Trailer of Interest - Family Guy: Something, Something Dark Side

Remember Blue Harvest? The Family Guy episode that spoofed Star Wars well enough that it got too nerdy? Welcome to the sequel. Now for many Blue Harvest was something of a mixed bag. But for others, including myself, it was an enjoyable romp through the more important moments in Star Wars with Family Guy banter. And while the sequel's trailer isn't exactly hysterical, this isn't going to have the longest running time. So why spoil all the good parts? I need me more Darth Stewie.

HYPE-O-METER Scale 1-10: 7

Friday, November 13, 2009

Do You Believe in Avatar?

To begin, I want to admit that this won’t be the most thorough look at Avatar. I’m not going to chronicle Avatar from its 1994 conception. But I am going to try and throw down why it’s such a big effing deal—Or not?

I haven’t updated a lot on Avatar over the last couple of years and that’s mostly because so little was known about it. Okay. And I just didn’t think it looked that interesting. Obviously that’s changed otherwise I wouldn’t be embedding the trailer on my blog.

So why am I paying attention to Avatar now? Read closely, because if I find something intriguing you should too. If not you’re a moron. Lets start with the obvious: James Cameron. This is the man that gave us the first two Terminator flicks and a sequel to Alien that was at the very least as good as its predecessor. Though he arguably sold out with Titanic, he did win an Academy Award for it. (Admittedly something that means less and less every year.) He ushered film in to the CGI era with Terminator 2 and The Abyss, and, to end this list of legendary titles, True Lies was funny as hell.

Okay, so enough of the James Cameron blow job. Why else should I be excited for this flick? Remember that small mention of Cameron jumpstarting cinema’s CGI era? Ready for the next big fad? Come now, you didn’t think CGI was the end all of visual effects did you? There will always be something else. In this case Cameron has invented his own Reality Camera System; an arrangement that uses two HD cameras in a single unit. This accomplishes greater depth perception making the 3-D component of the film more interactive with the audience. Couple that with Cameron’s promise of photo-real CGI characters that he’s been tweaking for two years and you have something to chew on.

I know what you’re thinking. We’ve seen a billion CGI characters. What makes this so different? Like King Kong and Lord of the Ring’s Gollum, motion capture is used for the alien creatures, the Na’vi. Old news, but new adjustments. A new skullcap has been constructed to capture 95% of an actor’s facial performance. But what makes all this really cool is Cameron’s visual camera technique. Most motion capture is integrated in to a shot in post-production. Here the director can see what the motion capture footage looks like next to his digital world in real time. This gives Cameron an extreme edge over all the past motion captured CG characters. Can we really say Gollum was that impressive? King Kong looked great, but there were some noticeably weak shots. And Jar-Jar? Scratch that. All of the CG characters in the recent Star Wars flicks looked like they came off Dreamwork Animation’s scrape pile. But the point is directors and visual effects artists can now perfect movements and designs of a digital character by immediately seeing what they’re like in real time. If you didn’t understand any of that, I’ll dumb it down to this: James Cameron has [apparently] developed a way to make photo realistic characters and sets through advanced camera technology and perfected motion capture.

Well this sounds all fine and dandy, in theory, but has Cameron created something truly groundbreaking? Is it what he says it is? Going on trailers alone, it’s hard to say. This is definitely something that must be seen on a large scale. I have a feeling even bluray discs will have a hard time incorporating all the detail this movie promises on the big screen. Ultimately the trailers look rather underwhelming, but watching it on a 19” computer screen on Youtube probably doesn’t do it the nearest hint of justice. I will say the shots look rather impressive and I look forward to experiencing them on the big screen.

The next drawback is Cameron’s idea of “original.” Though he claims to have imagined the whole thing from his little noggin, there has been some nasty talk of *GASP* plagiarism from our favorite Terminator creator. A science fiction novella, written by Poul Anderson, boasts a very similar storyline featuring a character embodying the form of blue, savage-like aliens.

“But wait! Cameron came up with this story in 1994! When was this sorry-ass little ‘novella’ written?” In 1957. “Oh.” Whether Avatar is a loose adaptation of that story or not, I don’t think it takes away from the hype factor. After all, this movie seems to be bent on sending cinema in to a new direction—No matter how good the story is the visual aspect is going to block it out. Or am I speaking too soon? Terminator 2 managed to tell a powerful tale of humanity’s will and value without becoming an over bloated effects orgy. It was new, fun technology, but it didn’t cloud the story. Can Cameron pull it off again?

Another concern I want to address isn’t so much about the quality of the film, but its success. With a reported budget of $230 million, plus other production investments and marketing, Avatar is said to cost an estimated $500 million. Say that out loud. $500 million. One more time. And this time enunciate. $500 million. Yeah, I wish I had $500 million to blow on a movie and make it all ba—Oh… Wait… Avatar hasn’t made a dime back yet has it? So what say you? Is Avatar going to be able to break even? Or will it just break Fox Studios’ executive balls? December 18th kids. December 18th.

Until that anticipated day I will cross my fingers. Because I want to believe in Avatar. I want to believe it will be a masterpiece. I want to believe it will look incredible. I want to believe it will be something I have a desire to make love with. I want to say, “Hey! It’s James! He’s back, he’s got this one guys.” But the internet age tends to hype things above expectation and I pray that’s not the case here.

End Note:
If you’ve finished this little rant and still think about The Last Airbender when this movie is brought up, you should seriously consider removing all sex organs. F—ktards shouldn’t reproduce.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

MOVIE REVIEW - The Men Who Stare At Goats

And I wanted to love this movie so much. I find myself constantly reminded that Hollywood’s political agenda is becoming more important than their quest for worthwhile art. (Sean Penn’s second Oscar anyone?) Although The Men Who Stare At Goats starts with a promising twenty minutes of humor it eventually spins out of control. What remains is a confused clump of shit that is never sure what to make light of.

Oh, I can praise the incredible cast, sure. McGregor, Clooney, the show stealing Jeff Bridges and Spacey all give praiseworthy performances. After all, these are men that could utter lines written by Mark Steven Johnson and still look great. But why waste such talent on this? They’re never inspiring. They never find conviction. They’re big, glamorous, bores!

As McGregor’s Bob Wilton follows the tree hugging, hippie taught, overacting, mentally deranged psychic warrior Lyn Cassady, (Clooney) we, the audience, get to laugh at the absurd idea of our government funding psychic forces. This should be funny in any time period. But whereas director Grant Heslov finds tragedy in disassembling the psychic military group in the 1960s, he considers its existence a crime in the new millennium.

I’m sorry? Did I miss something? The story was about a reporter following a crazy guy in the Middle East who claims he trained with Jedi. But when they find a newly reformed psychic military base, suddenly, we’re suppose to sympathize with these same, narcotic induced characters and hope they’re hippie ways will… Wait for it… Disassemble the same group updated for today. Why? Because the new group doesn’t connect with the hippie bullshit that the movie was mocking earlier? Or because this movie takes place during the Bush Administration and this is too good [easy] to pass up? Am I stepping on any toes?

Have you kept up with all of this? If not it’s okay. I expect my review to be as much of a mess as the film. Eventually, Clooney, McGregor and Bridges overthrow an entire base by spreading their beliefs of peace and love in the water supply. That’s right dogs and cats. The path to peace is apparently through LSD. Next, our “virtuous” heroes rescue captive Middle Easterners from the torture of Barney’s music on repeat. Never mind the probability that these men bombed and killed a fair amount of their own people. It’s humane and loving to let them go free! Well done. I’m so glad this flick appeals to my inner-pussy.

It amazes me how this movie went from mocking one thing and then using it to criticize another. It’s as if the film had no grasp on it’s issues what-so-ever. I’ve not seen such blatant hypocrisy since John Kerry’s political campaign. Uh oh! I brought politics in to this. How dare I? I’ll stop bringing it up if Heslov does, but maybe that’s giving him too much credit. In this case he simply threw some of cinema’s greatest actors in to a cesspool of incoherent political banter while developing them with the book of clichés. Clooney, McGregor, Spacey, Bridges—You can all part ways now.

* out of ****

Trailer of Interest - Avatar

Well, holy shit. That was pretty... Pretty? Whereas the last trailer felt like a preview to another shitty Halo game with FernGully in the mix, this one shows some hint of testicles. Even still I'm not totally blown away, but it makes some good points when it starts using Cameron's resume to sell itself. (Although why The Abyss was omitted from that list is beyond me.) I still don't think the effects are as brain exploding as they were hyped to be, but the sequences look hot and, after all, this is the man that gave us a wealth of genre classics. Overall the trailer is far more exciting than the previous clip show. (Yawn.) I'm crossing my fingers here James! You better effing deliver.

HYPE-O-METER Scale 1-10: 8

P.S. This has nothing to do with The Last Airbender. To all you dumbasses, including my own, dearest friends, who reply "Oh, the live action version of the Nickelodeon show?" when this movie is brought up: You have confirmed you're an idiot. Insert hand grenade in ass and pull pin. I'd suggest you grow up, but if you're twenty years of age and thinking about The Last Airbender that ship has sailed.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

ANIME CORNER - Mobile Suit Gundam 00 - DVD Part 2

Oh Gundam 00, you damn tease! If you found Part 1’s cliffhanger as edgy as I did, you’ll be cursing the sky for Part 2’s.

Mobile Suit Gundam 00 is supposedly a reworking of Mobile Suit Gundam Wing. This is pretty clear in the beginning with four Earth-bound Gundams sent to eradicate war through militant means, but there’s been a lot of shit hitting the fan since Part 1’s balls out setup.

Part 2’s first story arch is highly character driven, giving the ridiculously named Allelujah Haptism his much-needed back-story. Despite his praise worthy name (Haha! Woo! Man, I kill myself.) Mr. Haptism ups his bamf-ery with an origin story that will undoubtedly affect him in future episodes. I welcome that monkey wrench for all subsequent 00 battles. (Or is it a gift in disguise?)

The next story arch focuses heavily on the fictional Middle Eastern country Azidistan. Of course Setsuna, and his crazy-as-shit combat sequences, are front and center in this arch. Here we dive deeper in to the pros and cons of the seemingly hypocritical idea behind the Gundam Meisters’ plan to eradicate war. Should the world carry on peace talks like a bunch of old bureaucratic, pansy jack-offs? Or should they intervene by blowing the hell out of every tank, plane and mobile suit loading ammo? If you're one of those hippies vomiting the pansy answer then let me rephrase the question. Which is more fun to watch?

Ultimately, the Azidistan saga give us the best of 00-- At least thusfar. Setsuna’s take on achieving peace, mixed with his personal convictions develop him in to a character that embodies every spectrum of worldly aggression: Religion, ethnicity, power, money and greed embalm a character so good I think he deserves some Azidistan Princess ass. Can we make that happen?

We also have the continuing idea that these Gundam’s embody some spiritual identity. Are they really weapons of death, or the angelic saviors of a world in need of peace? With all their limitless powers, the latter wouldn’t surprise me. Gundam Wing was often criticized for its overtly powerful Gundams and the rule that only main characters would survive against them. For the most part I don’t have a problem with highly powerful Gundams, but when Gundam Kyrios gets shot at point blank range I expect at least a dent. What’s the point of giving Exia a shield if it can block fire with its arms? We get it. They’re powerful. But it’s about time we learn why these GN drives make them so god-like.

Meanwhile, the supporting characters still don’t do a lot but advance the storyline so the Gundam’s have something to fight. Super soldier Soma Peries should be one of the more interesting sub-characters—But she’s not. Lets wrap her up and give her a funeral before we drag that out too much. Graham Aker, however, has proven to be the badass I predicted he’d be. I want to see him in a Gundam!

So Part 2 seems to flesh out more flaws in the series and ends with an unwelcomed, albeit surprising, addition of new characters. Admittedly, their arrival looks like it will shed light on many questions the series has yet to answer. I’m willing to ride out these odd additions just for that. Besides, no series is perfect. 00 is still as engaging as Part 1 and easily the best Gundam series I’ve seen in awhile.

*** out of ****

Monday, November 9, 2009

Trailer of Interest - Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

It's incredible to me how this looks hokey and awesome all in one. The trailer certainly makes no apology for what it looks like and I suppose as long as it embraces its absurdity it can be pretty fun. Or it could be Disney's Chronicles of Riddick. Anyone wondering when Disney's live action adventures will strike gold again, ala Curse of the Black Pearl? Dear Disney, Mouse Ears don't need to be visible in every movie you make. Love, me.

HYPE-O-METER Scale 1-10: 4

Thursday, November 5, 2009

MOVIE REVIEW - Where the Wild Things Are

Yet another flick based on a short children’s book. For those fearing the same result as Jim Carrey in Grinch make-up, lower your shields. It may drag, but it never sags. Likewise, Spike Jonze may not be as great as his name, but I’ll give him credit on this one. Where the Wild Things Are managed to gently probe my heart, but I’m not exactly sure why. Frankly, that kind of bothers me.

Appropriately, Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are is a case of “did it really happen or was it just the kid’s imagination?” It doesn’t really matter either way, what is important is that you walk away knowing little boys are f---ing insane. Coming from a long history of wild imagination and impulsive energy I can certainly appreciate the love for an “igloo” made out of snow or acting like some creature out of a Godzilla movie. Young guns are wild and creative and Jonze does the audience right by establishing the fun and trials that come with being a young boy whom values indoor forts.

Eventually Max runs away from our unimaginative and boring world and finds himself with a bunch of snot nosed monsters that look like Tim Burton’s take on Sesame Street. Though it turns out that finding a home with other wild things wasn’t the answer to his problems. Yes, young padawan Max finds that maturity can be alienating and a lack of it can hurt others. So why be wild if growing up is inevitable? To all the females in the room who’ve never pretended to be Optimus Prime in their back yard: Wild. Is. F--king. Better.

But Jonze shows restraint. He knows better than to end a coming of age story without age. Though I wished Max’s journey to the land of evil Jim Henson puppets could have worked out, his visit leaves the Wild Things in turmoil. So we see the impressive visuals of these giant stuffed animals go emo and allow Max’s reign to fall on them like boulders. (Or dirt balls rather…) Max’s revelation is the pain he’s caused, which is linked back to his mother whom he reunites with in the end.

I suppose you could classify Where the Wild Things Are as a kind of Peter Pan retelling. But without a Captain Hook the story is a little long-winded. How much does it really take to make post-infancy mindsets clash? With that in mind I feel like Wild Things would have made a better short film. I guess this is why the book wasn’t too long. I don’t mean to sound under appreciative of Jonze’s love for boyhood imagination, but a movie should be more than just straight-up nostalgia. It was a valiant effort nonetheless. So I’ll give it bonus points for that.

*** out of ****

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

MUSIC REVIEW - Atreyu - Congregation of the Damned

Fact: I’m not the world’s biggest Atreyu fan. Hell, I didn’t enjoy any of their stuff pre-Lead Sails and Paper Anchor and frankly I still don’t. Scream-o might appeal to the chaps in the crowd who don't fear strep throat, but I’ve never found much value in metalcore’s insistence on gargling lyrics. But like’em or hate’em, Atreyu is a band full of talented, loud, shredding and vengeful rock stars. It’s just a shame they haven’t whetted my appetite until their last, and pleasantly subdued album, Lead Sails and Paper Anchor.

So with their previous record being something of an expansive triumph, and perhaps their unsung masterpiece, (Yeah, I went there.) I won’t be able to help the comparisons between it and Congregation of the Damned. Sorry. And for the old school Atreyu fans, you might as well stop reading. You won’t find any praise for the appropriately named The Curse. Cry about it emo sluts.

Congregation of the Damned begins with a song reminiscent of their earlier material, but, surprisingly I wasn’t hemorrhaging while it played. Consistent screaming aside, it’s not a bad opener. After that, Atreyu returns to its Lead Sails sound with "Bleeding Is a Luxury," a song that carries the albums’ stronger lyrics, but owes Anberlin a thank you note for its opening. Or maybe Anberlin owes them a lawsuit? (“Feel Good Drag” anyone?)

Though Congregation doesn’t have any major hooks and sure-to-be-classics like Lead Sail’s “Doomsday” and “When Two Are One,” it offers some strong tunes that beg for some attention. “Gallows,” “Storm to Pass” and “Insatiable” make a passing effort for car ride scream-alongs. Meanwhile, “Coffin Nails” steals the baton of badassery from the would-be, should-be, wasn’t-to-be awesome title track.

The album's biggest failure is Atreyu’s struggle at affectionate songwriting. The attempt at an emotional finale, “Wait for You,” almost makes me want them to go all the way back to their metalcore roots. The last thing I want to hear before I die is another love song by Atreyu. Stick to lyrics reaming off the effects of Armageddon guys.

If you’re an Atreyu fan, new or old, give Congregation a world. It’ll be a hit or miss with most fans. If you’ve never heard a song by Atreyu before, move along. There’s nothing to see, hear or have sex with here. It’s fun enough to avoid being damned, but we can’t please everyone, can we? Lead Sails PwNz0Rz it. Sorry. Couldn’t help Atreyu-izing myself for a moment.

** out of ****

ANIME CORNER - Mobile Suit Gundam 00 - DVD Part 1

When you’re watching a Gundam series you better buck up for some heavy-handed, anti-war sing-along. It’s inevitable. Whenever a Gundam rears its samurai inspired head it tends to glare at current events in a battle for relevance. Mobile Suit Gundam 00, tends to be the heavier hitting of these shows. It sports the most obvious post-9/11 storyline yet, but it isn’t so downbeat to not remind us how cool giant robots are.

Bringing ethnicity, religion and moral obligations in to the forefront, 00 manages to drench its audience in enough back-story to send even your grandma to wikipedia. Thankfully if you just sit back and watch the show everything will be revealed. What’s the fictional country they keep mentioning you ask? Wait ten minutes and the three, sexy female characters will reveal all! (And my God, Feldt has enormous mammary glands for a thirteen year old! Apparently every girl in 2307 A.D. will be 38C by age ten.)

In all seriousness though, Gundam 00 has a fantastic hook. The series blasts off immediately with robot-kicking action and saves the explanation for episode two. But nothing is spoon-fed immediately. Every character is harboring some deep secret that leaves the audience wanting more. It’s like Lost, but it won’t take thirty seasons just to know what a character’s tattoo means.

The instant grab is, of course, main character Setsuna F. Seiei; a name so suave you want to whisper it during sex. This would-be Heero Yuy clone actually has more depth to him than a constant bid for suicide. His consistent distaste for God, brought on by his previous occupation as a brainwashed child soldier, is clashed with the angelic salvation of a Gundam. Years later he finds himself piloting a Gundam of his own and embodies the infatuation every boy has with these machines. It’s nice to know there’s finally a series where the kid is as obsessed with giant robots as we are.

The rest of the characters, Lockon Stratos, Allelujah Haptism and Tieria Erde, have equally interesting mysteries obscuring their past. Unfortunately very little is revealed in the first nine episodes. Instead we’re introduced to a plethora of supporting players that are good for the story, but not very interesting characters. (Except for Graham Aker. I can see him spinning into the realm of baddassery later on.) Lockon tends to be another favorite of mine. It’s nice to have a Gundam pilot whose age doesn’t begin with the number one. Meanwhile Tiera is a little too flamboyant for my tastes. I’ll wait until I know his backstory, but as of right now the guy is a dick. I mean pink shirts? Really?

But what about the Gundams, gun-dammit? Are they worth snapping together for your model kit collection? They are, in fact, sleek and cool, with some design aspects I’ve never seen before. The animation is also incredible—Guaranteed to make any mecha-phile explode their pants. They’re also pretty much invulnerable. I mean come on; you didn’t expect them to take on the world without getting God’s blessing of dent proof armor no matter what hits them. At least the GN-drive is a worthy and mysterious device for their superiority over enemy mobile suits—For now anyway. That could change when we know more about it.

When Part I ended with an aggravating and surprisingly edgy cliffhanger, I declared Gundam 00 as a positively epic and thoughtful addition to the Gundam series. And why the hell shouldn’t I? Every politically motivated episode is accented with some explosive surprise whether it comes from the characters’ mouths or the end of a beam rifle. U.C. Gundam fans will revile it, but if you’re a little more open minded about the Gundam series you might find it’ll rock your socks.

***½ out of ****

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

MOVIE REVIEW - Zombieland

Walking out of Zombieland was like receiving a Christmas gift you didn’t ask for, but enjoy anyway. “Why didn’t this movie fail?” Has been a constant question I’ve asked myself. After all, Zombieland is just a road trip movie that looks like it was written for Michael Cera in a genre so putrid that Shawn of the Dead is its greatest advocate. But I digress. Reason? If I didn’t respect Woody Harrelson beforehand, I do now.

In Zombieland Jesse Eisenberg puts on his best “I am Michael Cera” moves, a tactic I should criticize him for until the end of time. But I have to admit, I enjoyed his take on a nutless, teen recluse a lot more than Juno’s love interest. Speaking of love interests, if you are a male with any genitalia you should write a letter to Emma Stone asking her to look exactly as she does in this movie for all her future projects. In a movie with Woody Harrelson shooting zombies on a roller coaster I won’t ask for Oscar winning performances, but if a female lead is a must, Stone’s bad girl look is required. All aboard for Wichita.

Wichi-who? Wichita. That’s right. Every character calls themselves by their home town or destination-- A fittingly amusing move for characters that become very close. While Eisenberg’s Columbus and Wichita are fitting names in an oddly plain way, Harrelson steals the name Tallahassee. Yep, he’s as bombastic as his title suggests—A blistering mobile for lines like “Nut up or shut up!” and my new favorite derogatory: “Spitf--k.”

Even though the character chemistry is strong and the laughs run deeper than the many spoilers in the previews, the movie doesn’t really get good until the team reaches Bill Murray’s mansion. (You heard me.) From there the movie spirals into the absurdity you expect of a zombie comedy. Harrelson’s badass shows a soft side, Stone’s playgirl softens to our favorite nerd and Eisenberg learns to do something Cera never has: “Nut up.”

In a predictable turn of events that leads Columbus and Tallahassee on a rescue mission in a theme park, Zombieland delivers the goods in guns, guts and glory. Thank God this movie was rated R. I can’t imagine it skeeting over its 98% chance of failure otherwise. I truly applaud Zombieland for what it has overcome. Despite it’s revealing trailers and exhausted plot devices the film soars as one of the most entertaining flicks this year. Furthermore, I want more adventures with these characters. Bad idea? Maybe, but imagine what Zombieland would be like with some fresh ideas. To director Ruben Fleischer, I want more. Time to nut up and get crackin’ on that sequel.

*** out of ****