Archive for the 'Editorials' Category

Apr 15 2014

Dear Marvel, Please Start Caring About Your Soundtracks

Published by under Editorials,Movies

capandshield

Dear Marvel,

Things are going pretty well for you guys now. Audience reception to The Winter Soldier represents another strong vote of confidence for your ongoing cinematic universe. Guardians of the Galaxy looks like the second or third awesomely weirdest movie of the year (hat tip to Noah and Jupiter Ascending). You’ve officially redefined the comic book movie.

A lot of this has to do with your canny ability to put the right people in the right roles. Joss Whedon is the most obvious recent win for you guys, but Branagh, Favreau and Black were all inspired choices. Ditto Joe Johnston.

And extra ditto Robert Downey, Jr. These are bold choices, made for the right reasons, that give your movies an edge in the crowded superhero market.

Now, can you please, please, PLEASE start putting that amount of thought and confidence into the music behind these movies?

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6 responses so far


Apr 14 2014

Why The Protector 2 Is The Worst Movie of 2014, So Far

Published by under Editorials,Movies

prots

Let me start this off by saying I have always been huge Tony Jaa fan. To me, the original Ong Bak and The Protector are both brilliant movies, and very much modern martial arts masterpieces. So please understand, it is with a very heavy heart I write this right now. I am also a huge RZA fan (as you can see here), so I also mean no disrespect to him and his slow and somewhat impressive foray into martial art films so far.

That being said, you can like Tony Jaa and adore RZA, but that still doesn’t make this movie any less of a lumpy turd, sitting in your slipper, just waiting for you to slide your feet into it. I am here right now to kick your slipper away before you slide your naked foot into wet shit. Seriously. It’s that bad. In my opinion, The Protector 2 is the worst movie of 2014 so far (besides the Oldboy remake) and I don’t see anything changing that anytime soon.

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6 responses so far


Apr 14 2014

Discovering Free-to-Play Online Rhythm Game OSU

Published by under Editorials,Video Games

Yesterday, I discovered a tragedy as I browsed through the iOS App Store. I was hoping to find the game Tap Tap since I haven’t played it in the longest time. It was one of my favorite games when the iPhone and the iPod Touch were still in its early generations. However, I was puzzled upon noticing that there was no trace of it. I even typed Tapulous, the developer, in the search bar to no avail. Alas, my worst fears came true when I finally sough to find the truth. The company shut down along with all of its titles years before. Guitar Hero was gone too!

My friend knew about my plight and introduced to me a similar game called OSU that he and his other group of friends were obsessing about. OSU is a free-to-play online rhythm game that’s primarily available on PC platforms. You use your mouse instead of tapping or stepping on a dance pad. It reminded me of the Dance Dance Revolution PC emulators my friends had. I found them similar because other players can create their own levels and upload them online for others to download.

Is this something you might want to check out? Read on for more about OSU and what I thought.

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Apr 10 2014

Five Must-See Anime Series Currently Streaming on Netflix

Published by under Editorials,Television

stream

With Netflix creeping closer to replacing cable television and physical media altogether and me bursting with anime love, I feel like now’s the time to continue spreading the love. Binge watching an exciting new show is a treat unlike anything past generations have seen and I can only imagine how great it would be to fall in love with an unexplored foreign entertainment genre and have so much awesome at my fingertips right off the bat. With anime still being a niche market, I figure now’s a good time to show some people a tiny speck of what they’ve been missing out on.

A funny thing happened to me on the way to write this article. I was remembering all of the great shows I’ve watched over the years and figured I should write an article about some of them. Then I figured I should check and make sure that they are all still up because why bother if you can’t enjoy them right this instant too. Most of them weren’t. In fact, the vast majority of series seem to have been stricken from Netflix Instant, leaving a mere smattering. Stupid expired streaming rights.

Killer shows like Attack on Titan, Eden of the East, and Welcome to the NHK have been covered on this site before so rather than rehash those, I’ll just shout them out here and trust you to know what to do. Still, there are some amazing shows left standing, and some exciting new faces too. So while I may have had to cut this list in half and make some substitutions that end up making this list resemble a greatest hits of Adult Swim/Toonami runs, there are still some really exceptional classic shows for anime newbies to enjoy. Sorry, but no obscurities today, veterans. Continue Reading »

7 responses so far


Apr 09 2014

The Console That Could Not Be Killed: Game Boy Turns 25

Published by under Editorials,Video Games

gb-title

April marks the 25th anniversary of the Nintendo Game Boy’s official world debut. While certainly not the first handheld console ever manufactured, it was the first to make an impact on both culture and commerce.

When released in Japan on April 21st 1989, stores almost immediately sold out of the initial production stock of 300,000 units. Three months later in July, the American debut would sell an unheard of 40,000 units on the first day. Nintendo had difficulty keeping up with demand, and never imagined the console achieving such runaway success. Despite being technologically inferior to other available handhelds in every way, the Game Boy squashed competition and created a legacy that lasted nearly ten years.

The system was designed by Nintendo veteran Gunpei Yokoi to be cheap and durable. As such, it lacked the processing power and display capabilities of other systems such as the Atari Lynx and Sega Game Gear. The monochrome, non-backlit display had a low resolution and only 4 shades of nauseating green to convey the game’s graphics to players.

What it had instead was the Nintendo name, which to consumers was worth it’s weight in gold. A string of immensely successful Mario games, as well as countless other NES titles made the public hungry once a portable Nintendo console was announced. What no one expected, though, was an insatiable addiction that could be taken with you wherever you wanted… Continue Reading »

8 responses so far


Apr 09 2014

Why Haven’t You Seen It: Stoker

Published by under Columns,Editorials,Movies

stokes

Stoker was easily one of my favorite movies of 2013. While I do not normally recommend movies this new, I had to shout-out Stoker, because the more and more people I ask about it, the more I realize. For some inexplicable reason, there are a great many film and horror fans who are not even aware this film exists. This is Chan-Wook Park’s first American language film (known for his classic Oldboy) and while it may not keep the pacing that film does, it carries itself in a way that makes it just as enthralling and intriguing as that amazing film. Stoker is a slow burn at first, but once the flame catches, as Hell breaks loose. At the end of the day, it is nice to peer into a family dynamic that is even more f*cked up than my own.

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4 responses so far


Apr 08 2014

The Jackie Brown Effect: How Do You Follow the Unfollowable? – Volume 3

Published by under Editorials,Movies

JACKIE BROWN

It’s that time again, Unrealtors. Dial up, Pam Grier, we’re experimenting once again with “The Jackie Brown Effect”. If you missed any of the previous entries, the Jackie Brown Effect takes a look at various pop culture creations considered by many to be perfect, and whether or not their follow up efforts either equaled, exceeded, or failed their predecessors. Got it? Go to.

OCARINA OF TIME
WIND WAKER

THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: OCARINA OF TIME VS. THE WIND WAKER

Calm down, Hylians. Yes, I know, technically Majora’s Mask is the follow-up effort to Ocarina, but to me MM always felt like the second half of Ocarina. Or, at least, a really killer (literally, according to some theories) epilogue. Either way, there are a good amount of similarities, and you definitely get a much stronger sense of an all-new Zelda game with Wind Waker. So, we’re sailing those seas.

Not much can really be said about Ocarina. Some folks call it the greatest video game of all time. Some say it changed the landscape of gaming completely. And some will compare every game they ever play, and especially those in the Zelda series, to it for the rest of their lives. And the justification for all of these is quite obvious.

When I first played it, Ocarina felt like the future of gaming come to life. It was truly difficult to imagine gaming getting any better. It was immersive, haunting, and epic before epic became epically misused. This was playing in your backyard with sticks as swords come to life. It taught many of us about music for the first time. It evolved a franchise further and faster than anything before.

It was everything we ever wanted. With fishing.

How the hell do you top that?

There’s only one way. Make like the Pythons, and do something completely different.

Despite fans clamoring for a grim and gritty next-gen Link and Co. outing, Nintendo washed Hyrule clean…and then left the sink running overnight. The Wind Waker was a cel-shaded, nautically-minded absolute phase shift of a game. While most Nintendudes and Lady Links were expecting something more in line with Ocarina’s more mature second half or the doom and gloom of Majora’s Mask. Instead, they got sunshine and high seas. And most fans had not yet found their sea legs.

Wind Waker was long considered the King of Red-headed Lions stepchild of the Zelda franchise. Many skipped it outright due to its more cartoony artstyle and kiddie feel. And that’s a shame. While the tunic may seemed foreign, the heart of this game was Zelda through and through. Liked exploring? Epona only wishes she had as much room to stretch her hooves as we had in WW. Love your weird Zelda minor characters? We got all the Tingle you can eat! And dude! NO WATER TEMPLES!

I love the Wind Waker. Power gloves down my favorite Zelda game. I love the setting, the shading, the unbelievably metal way that you (spoilers, but, come on) defeat Ganondorf at the end, all of it. I honestly believe it’s the best of all the Zelda games. All of them. Even you, Link’s Crossbow Training.

But.

The Jackie Brown Effect means more than just craftsmanship. When you follow the best, if you don’t leave as heavy a footprint, you have not reached their level. And while Wind Waker literally improved upon every aspect from story to swordplay, it simply didn’t live up to the worshiped status that Ocarina has. Again, remember, I think Wind Waker is superior, but in the annals of gaming history When we look back at what once was, Wind Waker will always be The Third Man to Ocarina’s Citizen Kane.

I’m not saying it’s fair. But I do realize it’s true.

VERDICT: FAILS

CORNETTO TRILOGY

SHAUN OF THE DEAD VS. HOT FUZZ. VS. THE WORLD’S END

The Cornetto trilogy is a familiar name to most cinephiles. They refer to the three movies directed by rising film auteur Edgar Wright, co-written by Wright and main engineer of the Enterprise Simon Pegg. Commonalities run rampant throughout the flicks: casting, genre-bending, and, of course, ice cream.

Shaun of the Dead was Wright and Pegg’s follow-up to their successful BBC sitcom Spaced. Inspired by a brief sequence of zombieing in the show, the pair decided to go full-length with the undead and gave us an incredibly off-kilter take on the walked dead. How? They turned it into…a romantic comedy?

Well, kind of. Rather, a romantic comedy that hangs out with a buddy comedy during a horror-con. Shaun of the Dead was a multi-leveled, surprisingly human take on inhuman creatures. A movie that had no right being as deep as it was, it wound up transcending most zombie flicks and landing its way to the top of many horror fans favorite flicks.

Shaun of the Dead was a critical and fan favorite and helped bridge the gap between the UK and USA for Edgar Wright, and we all couldn’t wait to see what the man perennially confused with the guy who sang “Frankenstein” would film next.

The sci-fi/horror fans out there were expecting another take on their favorite style, but instead Wright decided to stay more within the letter of cinematic law and give us a cop flick. The subject? A tough-as-nails London cop with more arrests than most entire police departments. The location? The quiet, sleepy English countryside. The result? A bubbling bucket of Hot Fuzz.

Hot Fuzz continued in the tradition of trope-mangling and expectation annihilating that film fans had witnessed and celebrated with Shaun and the gang. They even took it to the next meta-level by openly commentating on the various similarities between cop movies through Wright staple Nick Frost’s character. Shaun certainly had some winks to the camera. Hot Fuzz outright showed clips from Bad Boys 2.

Some fans didn’t embrace Hot Fuzz as much as they did Shaun of the Dead. There’s a pretty heavy community of horror junkies in the world of film entertainment, and when Wright decided to make a film commenting on a more “typical” Hollywood genre, some fans tuned out.

But in making Hot Fuzz, Wright brilliantly freed himself from being labeled as the guy who makes funny horror flicks. Instead, he cemented himself as the sharp, subtle satirist making incredibly polished flicks that both poke fun at and celebrate everything we love about various genre flicks.

Sure, I liked the White Lines sing along in Shaun of the Dead, but I loved when they argued about the “zed” word. Yup, the indecipherable old man in Hot Fuzz was hilarious, but the Godzillaesque smashing up of the model city proved that Wright doesn’t just know cinema, he understands it. Humor takes intelligence, and these might be the most well-made comedies of the last decade.

So then what?

Well, end the freaking world.

 After some time off, Wright, Pegg, and Frost teamed up one last time for a final round with The Worlds End. This time, Pegg put on his silly pants leaving the usually funnyguy Frost to don the suit of the straight man. This time the genre to be skewed dipped a toe back in the waters of geek-chic with a sci-fi infused, apolalytpic robot extraterrestrial extravaganza.

On the surface, at least. While we were sold on alien action and robot rampaging, what we were given was a stunningly insightful, deeply moving commentary on what exactly dreams can be and how growing up is never simple, rarely comfortable, but always inevitable. Were there laughs? You bet, and plenty of them.

But there were also tears. Really. The Worlds End is that movie to watch ten years after you graduate high school. Then ten years after that. And so on. For my theatre geeks out there, this is the closest I’ve gotten to Our Town on film. Yeah, it’s that deep. I expected to love this movie, and I did. I never expected it to be one of the best movies not only of 2013, but that I’ve ever seen.

And it all felt so natural. From Shaun to Worlds End. While I’m sure there wasn’t really a plan for all this, you can tell that these films were crafted to compliment each other in ways beyond genre and comedy style. There’s a harmony within the Cornetto Trilogy that most filmmakers try, but almost always come up short. This is the type of movie making that should be seen by any student of cinema, or any true fan of the arts.

But since they’re comedies, they’ll never get their true due and proper. Sigh.

The team of Wright, Pegg, and Frost continue to make good moves individually and the world of entertainment is a richer place for it. But it’s when they come together that, for me, the Jackie Brown Effect takes on entirely new dimensions. And that’s no easy feat. On their own, each of these films is a masterpiece. To know that this team didn’t rest their laurels on that and continued to outdo themselves? Well…

VERDICT: EXCEEDS, AND, THEN, TRANSCENDS.

And that’s the effect for this week, Unrealtors. Agree? Disagree? Sound off.

Adam Esquenazi Douglas is a playwright who was born in Texas, grew up in Arkansas, was raised by a Jewish man and a Cuban woman, and, somehow, he doesn’t have an accent. His plays have been produced across the United States, as well as in Canada and Japan.

He is co-host of two podcasts, The JimmyJew Podcast Extravaganza and Schmame Over, which can be found at http://jimmyjew.libsyn.com/ and http://schmameover.libsyn.com/ respectively, as well as on iTunes. He is a contributing writer to www.GamersSchmamers.com.

He currently lives in Brooklyn where he drinks far too much coffee.

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Apr 07 2014

The Walking Dead, Season Two, Episode Two: The Toughest Choices You Will Ever Make In A Game

housess

I sat there, looking at the two tables full of my friends eating. The thing is, there was a clear rift between the two parties at the two tables. A sort of invisible divide between them. I knew it, and they knew it. But there I was, holding my dinner plate of beans and peaches, watching them both gesture for me to come sit with them. Up to this point, there have been moments when I have literally had to choose between which of my friends lived and which ones died an awful, violent death. Hell, in former episodes, I even had to put a bullet in the head of a child, and had mistakenly killed a woman I thought may have been a walker (but wasn’t).

Even with those things considered, picking who I would sit and eat with and who I would alienate proved to be the hardest choice I have had to make yet in a Walking Dead game. That, my friends, is why this series is one of the best series in gaming right now, and EASILY trumps the show and comic it is based on. This is my unofficial (spoiler free) review of Telltale’s Walking Dead game, season two, episode two. Aptly named, A House Divided. Keep in mind, this (sort of) review (sort of dialogue) will be very vague about plot points and specifics, as the experience of the narrative is most of what makes this game so great, and I refuse to risk ruining any nuance of that for you guys. Also, the game plays out very differently for everyone, as decisions you make dictate the story, and we may not have made the same decisions up to this point.

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2 responses so far


Apr 07 2014

Do We Binge Enough on Novels and Comic Books for Companies to Capitalize on it?

Published by under Editorials

oyster

I’ve been spending most of my free time lately on Netflix and surprisingly Amazon Prime too. I’ll admit that I am indeed a victim of binge watching like many others. I do believe that I am getting more than my money’s worth because I have access to an entire catalogue of movies and television for an affordable price. Additionally, I’m a happy customer of Spotify.

When I heard about Sony’s PlayStation Now service, I was quite excited about it since I binge video games quite a lot too. For this article, I define “binging” for video games no differently than how we do it for movies and television shows.  I know it might not sound so possible since some games can be more than ten hours long, but it can happen. I tend to finish trilogies or franchises that I like in one weekend.

In addition to the mediums I mentioned, I’m no stranger to comic books and novels. I love reading like crazy and I can spend a day just reading 90 issues of The Walking Dead to catch up. However, I might not be able to say the same for novels. It’s an entirely different experience for me. With services like Scribd and Oyster hailing themselves as the “Netflix for books,” it makes me wonder if they are right about how people consume books the same way they do with other mediums.

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One response so far


Apr 03 2014

Teen Titans Go! is Cooler Than You.

Published by under Editorials,Television

Teen Titans

Now here’s a show that I expected to hate. That I had every reason to hate. That I actively wanted to hate.  But every once in a while, a new twist on an old property surpasses all expectations and brings something really new and unexpected into your life. Teen Titans Go! has gradually become one of those shows for me.

Cartoon Network’s DC Nation block has had a bumpy ride for reasons that don’t seem to be clear. Chalk it up to more general DC WTF-ness, I guess. What the hell is going on with that company, anyways? DC Nation was a pairing of two shows based on DC comics mixed with stylish comedic shorts from various creators. It was a pretty great formula.

The inaugural shows were Young Justice and Green Lantern, both of which were pretty amazing. Teen Titans Go! were among the weaker weekly shorts that aired during the block. An amusing homage to the divisive cartoon, but nothing to write home about. Fans were not pleased when the two beloved shows were suddenly canceled and word had it that Teen Titans Go! was being promoted from shorts to full series to join the CG animated Beware the Batman, in which Alfred was a gun-toting football hooligan and Katana was now the sidekick. Who would do such a thing?

The original mid-00’s Teen Titans cartoon was a divisive experiment in style. Breaking from the DC Animated Universe formula that yielded classic series after classic series, it added an extra layer of cartooniness and featured heavy anime comedy influences, plus it significantly altered the personalities of many of the characters, making them almost unrecognizable from their comic book counterparts. Continue Reading »

4 responses so far


Apr 02 2014

Why Haven’t You Seen It: Goon

Published by under Columns,Editorials,Movies

goon_ver7_xlg

I will be honest with you, people. This is an absolute fluke. The likelihood that there would ever be a sports movie featured in this column was slim. One, because I don’t give a shit about sports, and two, because sports movies all seem to fall into the same formula. Team (or person) is an underdog. Team (or person) works way back from being an underdog to somehow (miraculously) win the big game. I know all films are formulaic, but that formula gets boring after awhile. Thing is, Goon is not your typical sports movie. Main character in a hockey movie who can barely skate? Yup, that is what I am talking about. Hell, despite whatever you may think, This film is actually an (oddly endearing) love story, with some pinnings of the underdog sports story just to keep you glued. The irony is, I held off on Goon for a year, thinking I would not like it, and I ended up loving it.

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6 responses so far


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