Archive for the 'Reviews' Category

May 22 2014

Why Big Man Japan is the Ultimate Kaiju Film

Published by under Editorials,Movies,Reviews

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While Pacific Rim failed to make much of a splash last summer, Godzilla has been stomping its box office competition this weekend. Proving that kaiju still have a place on the silver screen, the film’s smart marketing campaign successfully avoided being lumped in with its nauseating cousin, the 1998 Roland Emmerich version.

Renewed interest in kaiju, coupled with Godzilla‘s extremely lucrative opening weekend means we’re probably going to see a lot more monsters stomping cities in the near future. Michael Bay has evidently preemptively cashed in, and many more studios are guaranteed to follow suit.

This buzz seems like the perfect time to stick up for what is easily my favorite kaiju movie of all time, Big Man Japan. The film is an interesting look from the inside-out about what it means to fight giant monsters as a career choice. Written, directed, and starring Japanese filmmaker Hitoshi Matsumoto, the movie explores the nitty-gritty of giant monster fighting, such as how a giant puts on his fabulous and enormous purple underpants. Continue Reading »

4 responses so far


May 20 2014

Unreal Movie Review: “Godzilla”

Published by under Movies,Reviews

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It’s hard to believe that in this age of endless superhero blockbusters, it was a Godzilla reboot that turned out to be one of the most buzzed-about blockbusters of the summer. It’s a film nobody really wanted, or thought would be a good idea, but a series of excellent trailers showcasing the skills of director Gareth Edwards (Monsters) and star Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) were enough to convince even the skeptical (myself included) that the film could be worthwhile.

And it is. It works well as both an homage to the Godzilla films of old, while being modern enough to entertain present day audiences who want a heaping helping of CGI destruction.

The film follows a family, the Brody’s, as their lives run parallel to the secrets of the massive monsters buried under the oceans and Earth’s crust. The father, Joe (Cranston), works at a Japanese nuclear power plant in the late ’90s, and watches his wife die as a result of a massive, localized earthquake with seismic patterns that seem structured, not random. Continue Reading »

5 responses so far


May 19 2014

Game of Thrones Review: “Mockingbird”

Published by under Reviews,Television

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Though Game of Thrones has appeared to slow down a bit this season after the tumultuous Purple Wedding, it’s still producing fantastic episodes. It’s hard to top the incredible ending of Tyrion’s trial from last week, but “Mockingbird” certainly did its best with yet another (relatively) major character offing.

We’ll start with that, as there’s not really any point in dancing around the most eventful moment of the evening. Continue Reading »

9 responses so far


May 19 2014

Hannibal Review: “Tome-wan”

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“Tome-wan” opens with a handful of fascinating conversations. But that’s not what you’re going to remember about it. What you’re going to remember is that scene.

Hannibal, the show, tends to portray violence as some sort of grotesque art installation. Despite the terrifying nature of what happens to the bodies in each episode, murder and mutilation are rarely played as pure horror. (Allow exceptions like that poor bastard who ripped himself out of the mural in this season’s second episode.)

In “Tome-wan,” though, Fuller and his crew take the plunge. There’s nothing particularly beautiful about the things covered in blood this time around, and it’s possible as much blood is spilled in this episode as in any that came before.

Continue Reading »

3 responses so far


May 14 2014

How Agents of SHIELD Became the Most Emotionally Resonant Marvel Story Yet

Published by under Editorials,Reviews,Television

ABC's "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." - Season One

Like a lot of other people, I gave up on Agents of SHIELD pretty quickly. After a promising pilot, it was clear to me I’d signed up for a procedural set in the Marvel Universe, and not much more. And since I’m not a fan of even good sci-fi procedurals (X-Files, Fringe), I knew if the show kept this up, it would soon lose my interest.

I lasted until about episode four before I threw in the towel. I didn’t quit out of frustration, it just never seemed worth the trouble to watch a full episode on my DVR every week. I got behind, then realized I didn’t care enough to try and catch up.

The cast seemed flat, the plots were annoyingly disconnected from one another. There was little relation to Marvel anything other than super obscure comic book characters and periodic Avengers inside jokes. I wrote it off, and didn’t look back.

Until last week.

I’d heard that SHIELD underwent a turnaround of sorts. Something changed about midway through the season where it “got good” according to a number of critics and viewers, and the last few episodes specifically, set after the events of Captain America: Winter Soldier, were a “must-see.”

I saw Winter Soldier, and afterward I did wonder what on Earth was going to happen to Agents of SHIELD as a result (spoilers ahead). In the film, it’s revealed that HYDRA has secretly been infiltrating SHIELD for decades, and a large percentage of the Agents and leadership were secret HYDRA operatives. In the end, Captain America, Black Widow and Nick Fury step in and save the day, but SHIELD is essentially shattered.

That got me curious enough to start the entire show over from the beginning. And I’m incredibly, exceptionally glad I did. Continue Reading »

2 responses so far


May 12 2014

Game of Thrones Review: “The Laws of Gods and Men”

Published by under Reviews,Television

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This may have been the least globe-hopping we’ve seen out of Game of Thrones in a while, with only a select few locations being visited this week. We checked in with a few long lost parties, and concluded with the trial of the century. More on that later.

First, we’ll start with Davos and Stannis, who have made the journey across the Narrow Sea to Braavos to…secure a bank loan?

It does seem rather odd in the world of Game of Thrones that a would-be king literally sits down with essentially a customer service rep to try and procure a loan that might win him the kingdom. But that is how the world works, as evidenced by the fact that Tywin Lannister has essentially done the same thing.

Davos pitch for Stannis was absolutely amazing, and perfectly tailored for his audience, portraying Stannis as the most level-headed potential king in the land, and far more likely to pay his debts than the Lannisters, despite their eternal motto. Continue Reading »

8 responses so far


May 09 2014

Sprinting Through The Maze Runner

Published by under Books,Reviews

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Alright, I’m back again with another trip through the literary wilds. Every so often I take a break from video games and movies and post about a book series I recently finished, now that my Kindle has changed my life and increased the amount of books I read per year by about a thousand percent.

I was on a fantasy kick for a while, chewing through A Song of Ice and Fire and The Kingkiller Chronicles, and I’m always reading some sci-fi novel or another. But I also like to check in with what the kids are reading, and therefore I dive into Young Adult series from time to time. I’ve tried all the major ones. Couldn’t bring myself to get through Twilight, loved The Hunger Games, was so-so on Divergent, and now I’ve arrived at The Maze Runner.

I’ve toyed with the idea of writing a YA book myself, but as I don’t really know what’s going on inside angsty teenage girls’ heads, I’m at something of a disadvantage. That’s why The Maze Runner seemed interesting. It’s written by a guy, stars a guy and loses the traditional first person narrative. All three of these things are unusual in the genre, so I was curious to see what type of series it would be.

As it turns out, pretty damn engaging at first. The book is being made into a movie soon, so you’ll get to experience all this onscreen shortly, but a quick rundown of the first book makes it sound a bit like one of the weirder episodes of Lost. Continue Reading »

5 responses so far


May 08 2014

Escape from Tomorrow Takes on Disney and Lives to Tell the Tale

Published by under Movies,Reviews

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When the microbudget indie horror film Escape from Tomorrow premiered at Sundance last year, it was declared a film that could not possibly exist; one that in the most literal sense could not possibly have been made. Furthermore, it was believed that one showing was all anybody could ever see of this remarkable project. The star player in this drama too powerful to be defied in the way they were in this film. It was destined to be ground up into dust and scattered to the winds, but somehow it made it all the way to DVD release late last month.

What the hell am I talking about? Well, Escape from Tomorrow represents something that almost never happens in our society: a staggering victory for independent art over the corporate machine that has nearly every law skewed in its favor in addition to limitless resources. And one of the biggest corporate machines of all in popular American culture is the Walt Disney Company.

Film fans have an interesting relationship with the company. We all grew up on the classic films and can agree that there’s no park quite like a Disney park. Our childhoods are so wrapped up in the sights and sounds of this corporate entity that we can’t help but love it. But then there’s always those nagging feelings that we’re being manipulated and fleeced by the most evil and cynical of capitalists. Continue Reading »

5 responses so far


May 06 2014

Why 24 Did Indeed Deserve to Live Another Day

Published by under Reviews,Television

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“The following takes place between 11:06 AM and 12:00 PM.”

“Events occur in real time.”

Funny how just a few simple phrases can send chills down your spine, when the right gravelly voice says them.

Last night marked the completely expected return of 24, a show that went off the air after nine seasons on an anticlimax, clearly meant to transition into a movie to end Jack Bauer’s tale.

We got a miniseries instead.

In all honestly, 24 deserved to die after nine seasons. No matter how good the first few years were, any good concept can be run into the ground, and that’s exactly what happened with 24. The show, by nature, was forced to air bloated 24 episode seasons, which required so many twist and turns and threats to stay interesting, all of their value was lost.

So, at this point, what does 24 have left to do? How is this in any way a good idea?

Fair questions, but I have to admit 24: Live Another Day has resurrected the show at just the right time. Continue Reading »

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May 05 2014

Game of Thrones Review: “First of His Name”

Published by under Reviews,Television

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We jumped all over the map this week in Westeros, more so than usual I’d say, in order to catch up with nearly anyone and everyone in and outside the seven kingdoms.

Tommen is now officially king, and as his mother remarks, probably the first one on the throne to actually deserve it in a long, long time. Though like his brother, he’s a bastard of incest, he’s sweet and kind and might actually be a good ruler.

If he’s allowed to rule himself, that is.

Rather, because he’s so young and tender, he’s a prime target for manipulation. While no one could control Joffrey’s madness, Tywin and Cersei will likely heavily influence him for the Lannisters, while Magaery will for the Tyrells. But at present, the Lannisters seem acutely interested in keeping the Tyrells on their side with a double marriage to Tommen and Cersei, while we the audience know the Tyrells actually had Joffrey killed, and are surely scheming to control the kingdom completely.

Tywin brings up the very important point that the Lannisters who “always pay their debts,” are in fact doing the opposite of that now that their gold mines have run dry and they’re going broke. They’re in massive debt to the Iron Bank of Braavos, a shadowy organization that even the unshakable Tywin Lannister seems to fear. No sight of them yet, but we know Sherock’s Mark Gatiss will show up at some point this season as a representative of the bank. Continue Reading »

5 responses so far


May 05 2014

Hannibal Review: “Naka-Choko”

Published by under Reviews,Television

Hannibal - Season 2

Last week, I complained that Hannibal had turned in an episode that was a bit square. The killer didn’t really work, the plot felt a little static, and it was generally more interesting to talk about than to actually sit and watch.

No such complaints this week.

We pick up at the end of our last episode — or more accurately, with its second-to-last scene. will’s act of murder was left offscreen last week, but this week we see it in full, somewhat disturbing detail. this guy’s psyche is clearly fractured; possibly beyond saving. After wrapping up the Randall Tier storyline with an insanely cool death installation, the rest of the episode sets about turning the heat up on its various subplots. Man, there’s some crazy stuff going down in Hannibal these days.

Continue Reading »

8 responses so far


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