Tag Archives: wikipedia

My Rifftrax Experience in Theaters

A few weeks ago I was treated to an amazing experience in theaters that I never thought would happen.

I am a huge fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000. I would wake up early on the weekends in order to watch this show on Syfy (known back in the day as Sci-Fi… I think…) and laugh until my sides hurt. The basic premise of the show? A group of three talented off-the-cuff comedians would sit down to a really crappy older sci-fi/fantasy film and dub over it, making fun of the situations with one liners and references. Coming from a very nerdy sense of humor, this show really hit home.

And then, as if out of nowhere, MST3K reappeared on my radar. And this time, in theaters. On several events, the guys from Rifftrax would simulcast live to Regal Cinemas all over the country and riff things live that they thought of during the movie. At first I was hesitant to watch this among other people (most of them were sad and fat nerdy people), but then I forgot that as the lights went down. 80% of the jokes were well timed and golden, leaving me with tears in my eyes. My whole family loved it and I was over the moon about this fantastic return to my childhood.

In this particular instance, we watched Manos: The Hand of Fate. Considered one of the worst movies of all time, I was dying at the movie and everything said. It was wonderful.

For more on the movie, check out the link below to Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manos:_The_Hands_of_Fate

I loved the experience and I would encourage other sci-fi/fantasy/nerd culture fans who love great high brow comedy to come to these events and laugh with everyone else. It’s like coming to see a comedian, and walking away with a great movie watching experience. My experience, 10 out of 10. The bomb.

Thanks a ton, MST3K.

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Bowling For Columbine

In one of the only documentaries that I respect of Michael Moore’s, Moore investigates the gun culture that takes America by storm. Looking at it from the angle of the Columbine High School Shooting, Moore suggests that the gun nuts of America and the way in which we perceive the 2nd Amendment is basically bonkers. Anyone can get a gun and they’re not always used for self defense or hunting. From the get go, you know where Michael Moore is coming from, and pretty much this whole documentary ain’t pretty.

Named after the fact that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold went out bowling the morning before they tragically went wrong, Bowling for Columbine takes us to the ten pins. After some frightening images here and there, Michael Moore can never seem to help

A frightening image of a man.

attacking the administrations in power (more often Republican than Democrat) and the wrong things they always do (never the right). With a documentary such as this that tackles everything related to and around guns, Michael Moore correctly attempts to narrow down the cause for all the gun violence in America.

He compares the U.S. to other countries, examines what other people have blamed for gun violence, and brings it all crashing down on Charlton Heston, head of the NRA. In what I thought was his best

Let me just scare Charlton Heston into saying he’s sorry. Will that help?

segment of the documentary, Michael Moore allowed Marilyn Manson to defend himself with a wider audience than he may get otherwise. (Not to say he doesn’t, he’s an amazingly talented and magnetic performer.) Manson proves himself to be an intelligent and understanding person (contrary to the images and rants against him) and shows that compassion and listening may have helped the shooting and others around the world.

But I stop here for a moment to acknowledge information that has come to my attention. Thanks Wikipedia, although you may be wrong some of the times, you bring things to light I never knew. In the

Marilyn Manson, a wonderfully talented man and artist.

criticisms of Michael Moore’s documentary, he is annihilated. Some of it may have been by conservatives who believe in the right to bear arms, but a lot of it is coming from those he wronged in the film and otherwise. He was wrong about Lockheed and the particular plant he went to. He was wrong about the violence rates and some of the causes. And he ambushed Charlton Heston (as I felt he did) and inaccurately portrayed Trey Parker by associating him with the cartoon he showed minutes after.

Here’s where most people should come up against a brick wall with Michael Moore. He’s fat. He’s gross. These two aspects of his outer appearance would frighten most people he would talk to or try to approach. (I can understand that police officer wandering off when Michael Moore complained about the Hollywood sign. He had better things to do.) When listening to him talk and seeing the way he presents himself, it almost appears that he has a mental disorder. No joke. The way he holds himself in his documentaries gives a lot of people pissed off impressions of him. And sometimes rightly so.

One of the more well done parts with Moore helping out victims of Columbine.

Because it didn’t just stop here. He goes on to make 4 MORE DOCUMENTARIES ATTACKING THE REPUBLICAN ADMINISTRATION. At this point, he has turned into a huge gargantuan baby who is fed up with the system. He whines and puts up his yellow police tape and carries his bag around crying for money for the people. His head got bigger than it should have after the success of his first few documentaries and he thought that was a green light for as much more as he wanted to make. For shame.

So although I liked the idea and parts of this documentary, when Michale Moore puts his name on something, expect the huge range of bias he’s bringing to the table. Don’t take everything at face value. Because although in this very documentary, Michael Moore says that America has a state of fear going on, he is

Well deserved? You be the judge.

perpetuating it and stirring things up more by showing us why we should be afraid and not other things like invigorated to fight or do something. Damn it, Michael Moore, show some class. And that’s my rant. Bowling for Columbine, 6.1 out of 10. Michael Moore as of today, a whiny baby 0 out of 10.


999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors

My girlfriend and their roommate raved about this game after they had both played it and talked about how great the storyline was. Now, I’m a sucker for a great plot and good storyline. I lived through their extolling of their game for a while until my girlfriend told me it was time for me to play. I sat down with her pink Nintendo DS and started poking all over the screen discovering just what they were raving about.

For the most part, they were right. This game was pretty ridiculously good. There’s a lot of investigation pointing and clicking with very descriptive dialogue translated from the original Japanese game. A creepy painting is pictured of the events taking place on the RMS Titanic, or so it may seem. The music perfectly accompanies the eerie feeling of threat and death that holds sway over the characters of the game. Combine this with a puzzle

The characters of 999.

solver’s wet dream, and you have 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors.

This is the story of Junpei, the character you play as through the game. Trapped in a ship’s guest quarters, you must use your wits in order to escape from a door in front of you labeled with a “5”. Once you’ve done this, the real game begins. You find yourself in a fancy looking reception hall, surrounded by all the trappings of what would appear familiar to anyone who has seen the movie Titanic. You encounter 8 other members of who will come to be your friends, your enemies, and casualties. It is up to your decisions to decide just exactly what will happen, with a few clicks of your DS stylus.

A little taste of what the game looks like (on right).

Being a not so puzzle inclined person, this game constantly frustrated me from beginning to end. Being a typical man, I like my video games to be hack and slash, gun down and slaughter. The subtle approach of solving a Sudoku doesn’t really tickle my fancy. It was only lucky that my girlfriend is so loving and patient and helped me with every puzzle. She even played some of the game for me. If you read this Kim, I love you very much for that.

I have to tell you though, if you don’t like puzzles or still frame gaming animation, don’t play this. It’s for a specific audience, (Wikipedia said in the vein of a puzzle related Mass Effect 2 by how you choose your fate) and not everyone likes to solve puzzles and use their brain as much as others. That’s not to say some people are stupid, it’s just a difference in gaming style. I like mindless self indulgence killing

Who’s this masked man? Play to find out!

games. Or Assassin’s Creed, take your pick. There’s a lot of reading, one of my other favorite pastimes, and that was a plus for this game. What I struggled to get into was the over-elaborate writing style of the translation. What could have been said in far fewer and more compelling words was long winded and said in such a bizarre way that I felt I was being pandered to as an uneducated, quaint, country bumpkin.

But my oh my, this plot has some really good points. If only to play it for plot, do so. Go out and rent the game for a few days with your Cheat Code Central at the ready and bust through this game on the double. There’s great reveals about the character’s pasts and intelligent information about scientific discoveries and thrilling mysteries of the past century. There’s killings and betrayal, and the occasional stab in the back. What you have to know about this game is you have to play it at least 2 or 3 times to win. You sit down, you reach and imperfect ending, and then you save and start back from the beginning, making different decisions and such. This gets a bit annoying, but the plot does make up for it. You have to bust your finger on the D-pad a whole bunch in this game because you can’t just skip huge chunks of dialogue you’ve already heard 4 times before. That’s a let down, but just wait.

The game begins… With dialogue.

In the end, this game really is worth playing through. If bunches of game reviewers can rave about this for its amazing plot and challenging gameplay, consider yourself a good player and go out and try it. And there’s a second one in the works for those of you who are already fans out there. Get past the dialogue and skipping and puzzling and enjoy it as an interactive story. Hell, if there was a Lord of the Rings game or a Harry Potter game that was purely interactive and not 1st person shooting and running, I’d play it in a heartbeat. 999 isn’t quite my game, but I’m glad I played it to know the mystery behind it. Maybe for those of you out there who like the Saw movies like I do, you might also find some enjoyment in the traps and puzzles. Let me know what you think and get back to me on this 7.999 out of 10 game.


Leaves of Grass (The Film)

I was pleasantly surprised by this film I had never heard anything about. The second I saw Edward Norton playing twins, my mind jumped to Nicholas Cage in Adaptation. And I love that film because of him and everything about it. So I got a little bit excited once I saw both of them interacting together onscreen. A film that centers around the lifestyle of weed and academia, I know one half of. But that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the film. It enhanced it with how intelligently represented both sides are.

I think it was best said by whoever put it on Wikipedia when they said this film has everything of the great tragedies. Mistaken identity, betrayal, violence, loss, and all that good shizz. I was hooked the second Ed Norton stepped on camera as his

Two brothers, one person.

intelligent half, Bill Kincaid. He gives such a convincing performance as the well-to-do, goody-goody brother of the family that went off to college to become a thinker. And that scene is completely contrasted by his portrayal as Brady Kincaid, the equally intelligent marijuana grower. Both sides have an intelligent way of speaking (despite the Oklahoma “Southern” accent) and it comes off as very entertaining to hear their rapport.

A great little cast.

So the movie’s about Bill and Brady, the Kincaid twins. One has aspirations of Harvard and the other aspirations of a lucrative weed business. They parted ways long ago after differences in family experience and got on fine. But things haven’t been going so well for Brady. Brady tricks Bill into flying out by faking his own death and meeting up with Brady’s associate, Rick Bolger (Tim Blake Nelson). After everything gets figured out, Bill finds out that Blake needs him to pose as himself while he goes out on some business. All he has to do is visit their mother, Daisy (Susan Sarandon) and everything will be fine. But, of course, that’s not how things turn out.

There’s a great quality of culture clash in this movie when North meets South, East meets West. Although both characters started out in the OK, they have drifted apart and need to reconnect. There’s a great subtle love/seducing interest between Bill and a small town girl, Janet (Keri Russell). She noodles and ropes them broncos and all that shit, and its strange for Bill to find a girl just as knowledgeable when it comes to poetry. There’s a clash between the greater Christian community and the Jews in this movie as well. Big props for Richard Dreyfuss pulling off the kinky role of Jewish mob boss in this film. And never forget about the little guy, a great job by John Pais.

What a great Jewish badass.

People had a problem with the move from the comedic to the dark and tragic, but it didn’t bother me as much. Moving from quirky to murky isn’t as hard as people take it to be in films. This movie leans in that direction from the beginning with the drug running and gang violence and can’t end well because movies have to have that element of loss or gain. If Bill came down and visited his mother and nothing bad happened and things went off without a hitch, this movie would be about 45 minutes shorter. So I give the benefit of the doubt to this film for tiptoeing around that issue.

I was pleasantly surprised how well Tim Blake Nelson directed and wrote this movie, as well as starred in. He pulled off the trifecta well and made a compelling story all at once. From only knowing him as

That’s some great work you’re doing there, Mr. Pendanski.

Mr. Pendanski in Holes, he made one hell of a movie. There’s not a lot of focus on the life Bill had (obviously this movie is meant to change him towards family) and it’s a lot about going back to your roots. I thought Edward Norton did an amazing job in both roles and made me think (if I didn’t know it was Edward Norton) that it was two different people. Let’s jump back 50 years when filming two people at once was more of an amazing thing and blow some minds. Maybe roll up a joint (this movie is really not about weed at all…) and enjoy some Leaves of Grass. Its limited release and Sundance Premier really secured this as a not well known good movie. I’ll give it a 7.7 out of 10.


Wrath of the Titans

I had never seen the first of what may be a trilogy. I had no expectations for the second one. My friend asked me to go see it and so I did. And I have mixed feelings about Wrath of the Titans. A movie series sparked from the 1981 version, this is just one of those typical action movies. It may have some flair and epic qualities to it with its mythology come to life for Perseus, but I’m not really sure where this series is headed. I’ll just let time and some 3-D/CG effects ride the tide until the next Kraken-like creature bubbles up from the Netherworld.

What guy doesn’t like a bit of mythology with his films? I enjoyed it somewhat, but I wasn’t sure how accurate the film was to the myths. You got your Zeus (Liam Neeson), your Poseidon (Danny Huston), and you got your Hades (Ralph Fiennes). Throw in some Sam Worthington for good measure and you got yourself a film about defeating a Titan. Although it is strange this series is following the titling of Star Wars, I won’t complain too much. What I don’t get is where people get off considering Sam Worthington a quality actor. He’s good in what he does in action films, but I dunno if Avatar gave him a big head or not. Same goes for you too Thor…

Metaphor for acting career? (Hint, it’s a struggle.)

So this movie takes place a decade after Perseus killed the Kraken (thanks Wikipedia). He’s got a son now and that damn kid can’t stop crying and making all these weird faces and noises throughout the film. Even when he’s supposed to be brave at the end, he ends up yelping like a beaten dog. Where did they find this kid? So he is almost killed by the initial attack on Perseus’ shanty town by a pair of Chimeras. This scene was rather basic and didn’t really get me too hyped up yet. It doesn’t really look like Perseus/Worthington is in rare form yet and hell, it doesn’t look like he’s interacting with the beasts at all. Heads up there Warner Bros., you’re behind the ball on that new wave tech shit.

A couple of old bro’s slanging some magical spells.

Meanwhile, in the Netherworld, Kronos, king of the Gods is all tied up by his snotty young hoodlum children. But there’s a twist! Hades and Zeus’s son Ares (Edgar Ramirez) are planning on draining Zeus in order to unleash Kronos and reattain immortality. They’ve become weak because of some comment on religion and how paganism isn’t popular anymore. Things get heated and its up to Perseus, a scraggly, yet funny Agenor the Navigator (Toby Kebbell), and Andromeda (Rosamund Pike). Of the three, I’d place my best bet on Agenor. That Toby Kebbell is a relaxed, naturalistic actor who I now appreciate because of this movie. He definitely deserved his father’s trident for that one.

So there are some cyclops, some lava slanging behemoths, and some molten crusted, two-headed beasts. I would almost say that the trailer built up the movie a bit too much for how much they suggested was action in this film. There’s even a disappointing fight between Perseus and the Minotaur in this film! That beast is just as big as Perseus is, how is that possible? But there’s a lot of old man Zeus grunting and some anticlimactic fighting in what is a strange ending with Perseus and Pegasus. Worthington passes on the torch to his son and one of the only things I can say about this movie is that Gods died in this movie. Who is gonna be left to make this a trilogy with so many mythical beings gone? We’ll see if Titans makes a strategic move and decides to pit Christianity against Paganism. I’d watch that. For this, I’ll give it an entertaining watch with a 4.6 out of 10.

Set him free Sam, set him free…


Ga-Rei: Zero

Before I start this review I have to admit that I check Wikipedia before I get too deep into a show. I wanna know the characters I’m looking out for and the basic premise before I dive in. I did this for Ga-Rei: Zero. And boy, was I surprised. There was no Kensuke Nimura (Todd Haberkorn). Although he was in the last minute of the last episode. Every other character was present in this anime, and I finally understood after all 12 episodes that this was a before the manga story that explained how the characters got to where they are. So much more sense now.

So thisstory is about Kagura Tsuchimiya (Leah Clark), a spirit hunter who fights off demons with her samurai blade. She is descended from spirit fighters like her parents and it is one day that her mother dies and passes on the family’s spirit,

Yeah, this show's pretty ridonkulous.

Ga-Rei Byakuei. Going to live with her family’s relative, Yomi Isayama (Alexis Tipton), she hopes to become stronger for her father, but not without resentment. Months pass as the two fight different level classifications of demons until one day everything goes wrong. And then that’s kinda where the anime ends. It’s left open ended for the manga arc to pick up where this built upon, but who knows?

The fighting in this show is rather bloody and intense, quite interesting to see for me not having watched many shounen (is that what this is?) with female protagonists. It just gives credence to the idea that girls can kick just as much ass when it comes to shows like this. (They really are the dominating forces in this one.) The subject matter is rather dark, owing to the fact that nothing good comes out of this situation. I mean shoot, the first episode establishes a group of characters you expect to follow the entire show and then subsequently eliminates them with Yomi. Pretty redonkulous.

Girls with Duel Monsters. Pretty B.A.

Other than that, it was a decent show for its brevity and promises of a continuation. The voice acting was decent from a group of as not well known voice actors from Funimation. I was really happy for the establishment and buildup with a new, interesting way of looking at the spiritual side to “exorcism”/demon fighting in anime, which I always appreciate (although I’m a huge fan of Bleach and am excited for the new season dubbed). I can’t say enough that I liked this show and hope for a continuation visually.  I’d give this show a solid 7.5 out of 10.

 


Kaze No Stigma: Avatar’s Estranged Cousin

Let me first start off by saying that the wikipedia description of this show really doesn’t describe what I actually witnessed in this show about wind and fire and earth powers (water was sadly left out). I must say that for an anime, straight out of Japan to pale in comparison to the Nickelodeon version of a similar show, is sad. But this show has achieved the impossible. And yet, this gives a lot of props to Avatar: The Last Airbender and the amazing creators behind it. It was a worthwhile show. But that’s not the point.

Let me kick something at you. “Kazuma Kannagi was considered useless within his family because he could not use “Enjutsu” (Blaze Technique), the power to control flames. When he was defeated by Ayano Kannagi, one of his very distant relatives, in a bout to decide

If only it were truly like this...

who would wield “Enraiha” (Blaze Lightning Supremacy), a sword that was wielded by the family heir, he was banished from the family. Four years later, he returns as a master of “Fūjutsu” (Wind Technique), the power to control wind, and with a new name: Kazuma Yagami. Soon after his return, he is reunited with Ayano and his younger brother, Ren, who is also gifted in Enjutsu. Soon, however, Kannagi family members are killed and the murder weapon is revealed to be Fūjutsu. Now Kazuma has to fight his family to prove that he is not the murderer and follow a series of adventures with Ayano.”

Okay, that is the bare bones plot… of the first 6 episodes. This show may start here, but it ends in a different dimension entirely. Thanks for not ruining the plot in your summary, Wikipedia, but you sure as Hell didn’t clue me in as to where this show was headed.

Stranger things have happened in this show.

And from that description alone, I got a different vision of what I thought this show would be. I was envisioning samurai fire sword wielders. Dynasty warriors shit. Real harcore fights. The reality? Modern day Tokyo with some decent fight scenes and not a whole lot about really redeeming himself with that murder on his hands. Nice.

That’s not to say that Kazuma Yagami (Robert McCollum) wasn’t a compelling character. He is by far one of the most compelling characters I’ve encountered in anime. Cast out by his family because of his differences at a young age, Kazuma must make his way in the real world with no real support. And he doesn’t just lay down and die. Oh no. He gets up, makes a pact with the Wind Gods, and comes back to lay waste to his family. Not actually kill them, but bleed them dry of their money by becoming hired help. And at every turn, Kazuma consistently tells the entire Konnagi family to go shove it. He truly doesn’t care if they live or die. Pretty much up until the last episode. You can’t deny that a character with those emotions shouldn’t be messed up. Well he isn’t, and he gets the job done when, with most other characters, he would sit down and cry about his dilemma. Job well done, Kazuma.

But back to the plot. After this little 6 or 7 episode arc of catching his framed killers, Kazuma and Ayano Kannagi (Cherami Leigh) go on random adventures that don’t come together into a coherent end that begins to form in episode 17 of 24. Yes, as small sections the first season and beginning of the second season seem

I bet you anything he's about to cry.

interesting. But when you see the leapfrog style of the entire anime, it almost seems senseless.

Other than that glaring problem, most of the voice acting in the english dub just doesn’t hold up. I know I really should’ve just watched this dubbed, but I wanted to give what I thought was going to be a decent anime a try. This anime that was neither here nor there in genre really took me for a loop. Wow. Cherami Leigh became an annoying time bomb, who, as in most shounen, couldn’t do a damn thing for herself. Ren (Josh Grelle) became a provincial crybaby over his big bro Kazuma, and most other voice actors fell by the wayside with their sub par performances.

I think that reason I’m tied up about this show is that it was so weak in plot, characters, and direction. It wasn’t what I expected and it showed. There’s a whole episode about perverts and panty shots for god sakes. I didn’t mind it for the comic relief, but a lot of this show, even in its most serious moments, came of as just plain comic and sad. I sadly give what I thought was going to be The Last Airbender, 4.1 out of 10.

I think this sums up everything about this show… And it’s not even good subbed…