Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Not-So LNN:MM

Wherein My Nerd-Cred Slips to Nil.

After my last Late Night Netflix: Movie Mania, I learned a few things:

  1. The result of doing reviews that way is a two-day hangover with only about half the fun of getting there.
  2. I really limited my material by going only with streaming. I know there’s a lot of streaming, but I do get DVDs too.
  3. I don’t want to post that much reactionary stuff again. I certainly do want to post my initial reaction comments, but I want to write something slightly more substantial

Congratulations, The Asylum. You gave me a learning experience. So, I’m changing things up for this edition of LNN:MM.

  1. I’m obviously doing this earlier than midnight.
  2. This movie is on DVD
  3. Less notes! More actual content!

Now I know this is only my second one of these and I’m breaking my own pre-established rules, but it’s my blog and I’ll do what I damn well please! Besides, this is all meant for entertainment and sharing the things in the fantasy kingdom that is my brain.

Speaking of fantasy kingdoms, that brings us to tonight’s movie: Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, an all CGI affair brought to us by the beloved Squeenix. I’m not going to lie to you; I’ve only managed to stomach ten minutes of this so far. But I’m prepared to try again. For you. You torturous, hateful sadists…

The DVD menu, like any DVD menu that has an animated loop with soundtrack, if left on too long will make you want to punch a nun. This choir singing the name “Sephiroth” over and over again is pretty annoying. My options are: Play Movie, Languages, Scene Selections, and Reminiscence of Final Fantasy VII; all pretty standard options, except that last one. That just sounds weird. Let’s just play the movie:

  • This opening is boring. There’s a ton of action and all of it off screen. This is followed by one of the Peanuts children expositing by offering the plot to FF:VII. Way to go movie. You’re not even five minutes in and you’re boring me.
    • Also, this sequence seems to be where they pulled all of the action from the DVD menu from.
  • Everything in this movie so far has been muted and gray.
  • And a cut to an even grayer wasteland and the Square-Enix logo. Is it too late to turn back now? It is? Shit.
  • In the same breath we’re introduced to our hero, Cloud Strife; a man whose hair looks like a variegated star (Thank you, Nikolina) and whose outfit looks like it was rejected from Mad Max.  
  • And now we have three guys all dressed alike speaking very weirdly about mothers and big-brothers, and telling each other not to cry. Creepy.
  • Cloud just got cold shot in the face and he just winces? Either I’m very confused about physics and/or biology right now, or that dude is effing hardcore.
  • And Cloud’s first actual lines are a whiny and petulant “I’m leaving!” Our hero!
    • Followed soon after by “Too bad. I’m a delivery-boy now.” Cloud, buddy… looking like you do, that line does not sound as badass as you think it does.
    • And our hero walks away with a mighty “Not interested…” Truly, stalwart and mighty is he.
  • Ok, this action scene between Tifa and one of the creepy-trio is actually fairly decent, and has the first real bits of color I’ve seen in the movie.
  • That said, creepy-guy #3’s cell phone rings and the ringtone is the battle victory music from FF:VII. It’s a cute piece of self-referential humor; however, it’s ruined by the fact that his phone keeps ringing. It goes from a cute chuckle to insanely annoying very fast.
  • The three creepy guys are rounding up children in a glowing forest and talking about healing them. Pedobear would be proud.
  • We come into another action scene which is trying so hard to be epic; full of guns and super powers, swords and martial arts. The problem is, between all the zoom shots and the pale lighting, you can’t tell what’s going on at all. It’s pretty disappointing.
  • And now we’re introduced to “Vincent” who sounds like Wolverine after smoking a pack of cigarettes and apparently owns Spawn’s cape. He and Cloud have an exchange about what the creepy-trio are up to, which is apparently resurrecting Sephiroth, the big-bad from the game. Well… ok.
  • This plot makes no sense. They want to resurrect Sephiroth because “Mother” wants them to, but they don’t have any real plans after that. No world domination (of course!), no conquest. Just, bring back the old big-bad. Why!?
    • Creepy guy #1 summons a giant monster. It blows up a pillar.monument and then leaves. Well. That was necessary. Just had to get that “Summon” in there?
    • And this is followed by a really lame fight sequence.
  • Creepy #3: “You meanie!!” … Really, movie?
  • We’re a little over halfway through this movie and you want to pack in five more characters? Movie, I know you want to make sure you get all the favorites in here, but come on. Especially when these guys are as much comic relief as the two jokers from the last lousy action scene!
  • Oh, finally our petulant hero returns! And cue a relentless action sequence involving eight heroes and one giant monster where you cannot possibly tell what is going on.
    • By the way, unless you’re familiar with the games, you’re never told who half these people are. Way to go, movie!
  • And a guy in a wheelchair from the beginning didn’t need a wheelchair after all, had “mother” the whole time, and threw it off a tall building. WHAT A TWIST! M. Night would be proud!
  • Movie, when your motorcycle chase/ action-packed fight is full of muted grays, to the point that the audience can’t tell what’s happening. it is not exciting.
    • Though, to be fair, the part where creepy guy #3 throws his motorcycle with his legs and Cloud cuts it in half is pretty badass. The rest of the action kind of sucks, though.
  • Ok, I’m getting bored with this. Let’s wrap this up. Cloud fights Creepy guy #1 to no avail; they have a fairly impressive sword fight (only fairly because of several moments of “what the hell just happened!?”); Cloud’s friends babble incessantly and don’t help AT ALL; creepy guy #1 changes into Sephiroth, the two have a really boring Dragonball Z style fight with Sephiroth quipping away the whole time; Sephiroth almost wins, but Cloud, through the magic of the world, or friendship or some crap overcomes; Creepy guy #1 returns and it starts raining and he dies in Cloud’s arms; The rain heals everyone in the world, everyone lives happily ever after… until Creepy guys #2&3 return to shoot Cloud and blow up the building they’re on top of(WHY ISN’T THIS OVER YET!?) and Cloud gets…. kicked out of heaven and back down to Earth? I think? His friends surround him and we live happily ever after. Friendship babble. Roll credits!

THE END!

GAH, this movie is terrible! I know this is a grave taboo to fan-boys the world over, but this movie just is not good at all. The characters are boring, or just plain unlikable. Characters got shoved in just because they were in the game. The villainous plan has no point, other than to resurrect a dead evil guy for no other reason than “because we can!” The three creepy villains are supposed to have a comic element to them that just falls flat. Sephiroth shows up for an epic battle that does nothing and ends on an absurdly confusing note.

Speaking of confusing, that sums up the action in this movie. Between constantly muted colors, or fighting going on in areas with bad lighting, IE everything is awash in blue light, and the constant zooming shots, the action is just… confusing to watch. I had no idea what was going on most of the time.

Advent children was also just… aesthetically unappealing to me. I don’t care for straight CGI in the first place, but when all of your colors are gray and muted, everything looks boring, dull, and waxy. The end credit sequence and one fight with Tifa looked so much brighter and vibrant than the vast majority of this movie.

All I can say is this: This was made for the fan-boys. If you’re a huge FF:VII fan, then you might like this. But as someone who just kind of picked this up? This movie was horrible and made me want to set bunnies on fire.

Netflix Assumptive Rating: *****
Actual Rating: **

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Fu… Fubu… Furbu… Fruits Basket!

I know I’ve been really post heavy the last few weeks. The writing bug bit me hard and I wanted to take advantage. However, I wanted to take a quick break from my usual postings to call attention to someone else’s hard work.

The delightful JesuOtaku has started a radio drama based on the Fruits Basket manga. It’s only two episodes in so far, but it is an absolute pleasure to listen to. Whether you’re familiar with the source material or not (for the record, I am not familiar with the source material) it is well worth your time.

It’s a deep story with complex characters, great voice acting, and steeped in folklore (specifically in the Chinese zodiac). Hope Chapman’s (JesuOtaku) direction goes a long way in bringing this story to life; it’s obvious that she and her voice actors have put a lot of thought and love into this project. It’s refreshing to note how much care is put into this adaptation, which is more than can be said for a lot of adaptations these days (I’m looking at you, Brett Ratner and Michael Bay). Even if it isn’t a 100% faithful adaptation of the source material(again, I don’t know), it does clearly stand as a loving tribute to said source material.

I highly recommend giving The Furuba Radio Drama a listen. You can listen to the episodes as they’re released on thatguywiththeglasses.com:

Friday, June 10, 2011

Late Night Netflix: Movie Mania

The First… Blogisode?

Hello and welcome to Movie Mania! It’s my first post in this series, so I suppose this is where I ought to explain how this works (If you don’t care about any of this, just jump down past the line-break and get right into the review). Netflix has an ever expanding list of titles available for online streaming. The internet has has an ever expanding list of asshats on the internet writing or filming reviews of thing while maintaining some sort of gimmick. I decided it was time to combine the two in my series Late Night Netflix. Here is my criteria for both Movie Mania and Episode Insanity: 

  1. I choose a movie/series that Netflix says I’m going to love (it assumes at least a four star rating from me) or hate (it assumes at most a star and a half from me). I’ll also watch and review things people suggest or take on items whose titles and/or descriptions grab my attention.
  2. I wait until at least 12AM to start. I want to be really tired for these viewings to make them a bit more interesting
    1. No naps beforehand.
    2. Caffeine shall be considered both legit and necessary.
  3. I’ll be writing the reviews as I watch, so that the finished post ends up being my gut reactions to what I’m seeing… Well, 95% gut reaction. Sometimes I’ll backtrack for comedic value.
  4. I’ll draw up a short conclusion and give my rating versus what Netflix assumed I’d give it.

“How do we know you’re not faking this?” you may be asking this page. Well, I suppose you don’t. We’re on the honors system, friends. Also, you’re trying to talk to a website. That cant be healthy. Anyway, enough of this preamble garbage! Let’s do this thing!


As this is the first installment of this shipwreck of an idea, I think it is only fitting to watch The Asylum’s Titanic II. For those not in the know, The Asylum is a low budget production company that makes movies known as “mockbusters,” movies meant specifically to cash in on blockbuster cinema. They operate on a production schedule of a few months and therefore their finished products are always hilariously bad.

Given how bad these movies are supposed to be and what Netflix knows of my taste they assume a a one-star (*) rating from me. Oh man. This is going to hurt. Without further ado, welcome again to the LNN:MM viewing of Titanic II:

  • Wow. Open on a frozen wasteland and the opening credits, and these credits aren’t wasting any damn time.
  • A man is… surfing in the frozen wastes? Yes! He waited for a hunk of ice to drop into the water and create a wave for him to surf on. We have one character in the movie and he’s an absolute idiot.
  • More ice drops creating a tidal wave, killing our super-genius surfer. I’m pretty sure that’s not how anything works. Ever.
  • Hey! Bruce Davison! Goodie!
  • Well, at least they didn’t waste time getting us to the titular boat. Five minutes in and there she is.
  • We’re introduced to our two heroines for this film.They look exactly alike and are wearing the same outfit so I will never be able to tell them apart. Stellar.
    • “I swear to god I’d rather watch some of these people drown than give them CPR.” Oh good! One of them is completely loathsome as a human being!
    • The loathsome one is adequately counterbalanced by… a character with a complete lack of personality
  • A blonde D-bag lands on the ship in a helicopter land slow-mo walks toward the camera with what I can only assume were once Playboy bunnies.
    • “It’s so big!” “Airplanes are big, babe. Trains are big. This… is monumental.” Oh good. I get to hate him too.
    • He… owns the Titanic II? Damnit!
    • He also can’t speak. “Sophithticeted?”
    • He also seems to have put Brian O'Halloran in charge of the ship.
  • Bruce Davison has brought us to Green(screen)land. to meet with attractive lady-scientists.
    • “A piece of ice broke off this thing the size of Manhattan…” aaaaand I officially call my first “Bullshit” on this movie.
  • Meanwhile, back on the boat Not-Leonardo DiCaprio makes an ass of himself with our cardboard cutout of a heroine.
    • Not Leo: Your father punched me in the nose.
      Cardboard: He caught you joyriding on his boat at 2AM. I think he had a right.
      Not Leo: Still a daddy’s girl, huh?
      No, dude! No! You stole the man’s boat! He gets to blast you in the face for that! I’d call you an overly-entitled prat, but, well, you also own a luxury-liner. Still, punch in the nose deserved!
  • If one more person in this movie says “Well, uh…” so help me, someone will die.
  • The most wonderful line ever delivered by Captain Clerks “She make look like her predecessor, but underneath she’s anything but.”
  • Back in GreenScreenland, scientists are tripping over poorly rendered ice fields! Oh no!
  • The Titanic II! It’s 2010, but our CGI is straight out of Babylon 5 in 1994.
  • What a lame-ass dance floor.
    • What a lame-ass luxury cruise!
    • No, really. The only two people on the dance floor are standing there talking.
  • Apparently Bruce Davison has the military authority to make submarines move. And that’s why he’s a bad-ass.
    • And now he’s telling the Titanic II to go back where it came from. So cool! He’s like an aging action star without any of the pesky explosions.
  • I know this is supposed to be super tense and foreboding with all the yelling and concern, but it’s actually a little boring.
  • AND WE HAVE ICEBERG!
    • Furthermore HAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!!
    • There’s that gorgeous CGI again
  • This movie is in LOVE with the Coast Guard.
  • Sheesh. This isn’t its predecessor alright. This ship gets hit and it pretty much folds in on itself. Fantastic.
  • What the hell!? Does this ice just have a vendetta against the ship?
  • Does—Does the ship have mini submarines in it? Is that what I just saw?
  • I can’t even keep up with the crazy, but let’s try: The D-Bag decides to stay on the ship while it’s going down because “IT’S MY SHIP!” He runs off to find the cardboard cut-out who petulantly refuses to go with him until they go below decks to find that other girl we all hate. Out of nowhere some dude just starts beating up on blonde-boy. All of this happens in five seconds amidst pandemonium. Did you catch all that?
  • Why the hell is the infirmary in THE BOILER ROOM!?
    • And what is this woman’s obsession with moving the critically injured!?
  • Bruce: You have to get the people on the lifeboats!
    Cap’n: Half the lifeboats were crushed in the impact
    Bruce: The lifeboats are deathtraps!
    Wait. What!?
  • How in the hell does she have cell reception in the elevator of a sinking ship in the middle of the ocean!? She has an iPhone and damnit, AT&T’s service is not nearly that good!
  • This is the greatest scene in this movie. Our heroes are making their daring escape. Our blonde heart-throb tries to pry a door open with an axe-head. He can just barely hold it. The cut-out barely squeaks through. The obnoxious one makes her attempt and the door crushes her, killing her instantly. Our lone heroine crouches next to her and with all the emotion of a coffee table screams a feeble “Kelly? Noooooooooo…!” Our hero then suddenly turns into The Last Son of Krypton and just waltzes through the damn door that he could barely hold open ten seconds ago.
  • Daring escape trap number 2! Our plucky couple need to pass a pool water with live wires in it. To do this they need hang onto a plot contrivance, I mean… an overhead pipe and work across. Suddenly Superman has no clue about monkey bars.
  • A trapped person is trying to signal for help by knocking loudly. Rather than help him, the blonde bomber yells “WHO’S THERE!?” Really, man? Is that really important right now? What else would you like to know? “DO YOU OWN A WHITE HONDA ACCORD!?”
    • Aw. Now he’s dead. *sad face*
  • Their next brilliant plan is… to put her in a wet suit? Oh. I see. Plot contrivance to get her in her bra. Gotcha. Well played, movie. Well played.
  • Seriously, this ice is just aiming for them now.
  • “We capsized.” But we didn’t have the budget left to show that.
  • Bruce Davison is going into rescue his daughter damnit! COAST GUARD!
  • The long kiss goodbye and wait for it… he’s dead! Just like in Titanic!
  • And Lo! Neptune didst swallow the presumptuous ocean liner and Bruce Davison, in true bad-ass fashion didst saveth his daughter from Poseidon's icy grip.
    • Bruce is so hard, he even went saved his daughter’s boyfriend… hopefully to revive him and punch him in the knows again.
    • Nope. When the Atlantic kills a rich fool, he stays dead… Just like in Titanic! THE END!

So, that was me writing about watching The Asylum’s Titanic II. Was it a good movie? Not at all. But it’s one of those movies that’s so bad it’s entertaining. It’s unintentionally hilarious. And at the end of the day, if it was entertaining then it did its job. I highly recommend making this a movie you throw on at a party just for the laughs and to watch Bruce Davison be a raging bad-ass.

Netflix assumption: *
My rating: ***1/2

Now I’m going to go get some sleep.

 

These aluminum soldiers died for your amusement.

RIP Coke products

Deliciouspoppydeath

2011 - 2011

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pedantry Does Not Make You an Authority

First of all, I’m going to get this out of the way up front. I fully understand the irony in me complaining about other people being pedantic. It’s as absurd as William Shatner complaining about hammy acting.

Earlier today I read a blog post someone linked on Facebook regarding someone’s top ten list of misused words. If you know me at all, you probably think this is something I could get behind. Up until this morning, I would have agreed with you. The author of this piece seems to think of “misused words” as any word used outside of its original definition. The problem with this view is that it completely ignores one of the beautiful things about language: it evolves.

Words do, in fact, change meaning over time. A word is defined by its common usage amongst the majority of the population. The purpose of language is to clearly communicate some meaning. Stephen Fry said it best: “There is no doubt what ‘five items or less’ means…”  The fight for clarity becomes moot when ideas conveyed are readily understood.

I’m not saying that there should be no standards in word usage. A person can’t say “I literally dropped water in my diaper” and expect to have people understand that what the person means is “I was completely scared.” There’s no reasonable correlation there. However, this is because most people would still agree that “literally” does not mean “figuratively”; also, nobody is going to understand what the phrase “dropped water in my diaper” is even supposed to mean. I wrote the damn sentence and I’m not even sure exactly what it means.

All I’m saying is that it strikes me as pompous and priggish to claim a word can only ever maintain its root usage. Claiming that words are being used wrong simply because they are not being used in their original sense robs the English language of something beautiful. Of course, I could always stop overanalyzing what someone on the internet posted on his blog.

___

While I get over my pot-kettle-black problem above, why don’t you tell me what words you think are getting misused and abused.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Now With 30% More…

Of whatever it is you came here looking for!

Look! An update! Unfortunately, it’s nothing major; just a quick post to inform the masses (read: you) of up and coming things around The Fix Is In:

  • The first installment of the HWP is almost ready to go. It’s taking a lot longer than I initially expected, because of things that are mostly my fault. I promise you that it’s coming.
  • NEW FEATURE: My post on The Wizard gave me an idea. Granted, it’s one of my worse ideas, and there’s already a zillion people doing similar things on the internet, but I won’t be dissuaded! Introducing Late Night Netflix! Using Netflix’s instant-watch titles, my Roku player, and unfortunate decision making skills regarding time, I’m going to watch things on my Netflix account while I write the reviews for them. This is actually a two part feature:
    • Late Night Netflix: Movie Mania: This is where I take a look at movies that Netflix claims I will absolutely love or absolutely hate. We’ll see how well it knows me.
    • Late Night Netflix: Episode Insanity: This where I look at pilot/first, standout, or random episodes of TV shows or anime that Netflix says I will, you guessed it, love/hate.

If you have any suggestions you like to see for Movie Mania, or Episode Inanity, feel free to let me know. I’d be happy to look into it and deprive myself of sleep for your amusement.

 

Unrelated to anything else here: Thanks to my good friend Charlie-D for coming over and enjoying Mystery Science Theater 3000: Zombie Nightmare. I don’t entertain guests at home very often, but I could get used to guests if MST3K is involved.