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Cool flick

June 5, 2017 | 20:19 | Written by: snake911

A friend and I went to see Wonder Woman during its opening weekend and I gotta say it was pretty rad.

I was already hyped for the film as I'm planning to see all of the DC hero movies, but I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this one as I really only know her from the Justice League animated TV show from the early 2000s.  Batman and Superman are the big names while The Flash currently has a TV show, and Aqua Man jumps around enough through the DC universe to know who he is.  But for Wonder Woman, I was kind of in the dark about her and her backstory.

The movies lengthy clocking in at nearly 2 and half hours in length, but held itself well from start to finish.  I was surprised that it was actually that long when the film ended!  It doesn't feel like it was stretched out nor does it feel like they didn't give you enough content.  It was the perfect length!

If you want a big blockbuster movie to see then opt to see this one as it's just as good (or even better?) than last year's Batman v Superman movie.  The cast and acting were great, the story was awesome, and the overall fun factor is a 5 out of 5.  Check it out!

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Babies -- 1, cyborgs -- 0

April 3, 2017 | 22:47 | Written by: snake911

I got to complete my Ghost in the Shell quest this weekend by seeing the live-action movie, and I gotta say it was pretty rad even despite the dismal amount of money the movie brought in during this weekend's box-office.

Could you believe The Boss Baby made over half as much than what GitS brought in?!  I was surprised at how low the numbers actually were because the movie theater I was at was pretty full.  Welp, I guess Paramount will never do an adaptation of an anime property ever again.

And that's a real shame because it look as if the studio really put all they had into making this successful.  I guess the biggest stink coming from fans of the series was the movie whitewashing of some of the main characters, but for me that wasn't really the concern I had going in.  I just wanted the story to be in line with what one would be for something with the GitS name on it, and I'd say they did a pretty good job.  Not great, but enough for me to recommend it.

Like the Scott Pilgrim movie from 2010 where they needed to truncate and modify parts of the story in order to turn it into a stand-alone live-action movie, they did the same for GitS and I was totally ok with that, even though I prefer how the way things were in the books and movies.  They even went with the similar tactic of borrowing certain iconic scenes from the manga and apply it to the other properties, so it was like this latest movie was just like all the other properties in the franchise.

Although I do wish they did more with the other characters in Section 9 like Togusa, Ishikawa, and Saito because each basically had just one line in movie and that was it!  Mainly it followed the Major and Batou; although, I did like the amount of time Aramaki had in the film.

And finally, with this being the finish line for all of this Ghost in the Shell related topics, posts, and write-ups, let's put a bow tie on this topic and move on to other things, shall we?

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Years in the making

February 15, 2017 | 20:03 | Written by: snake911

New additions for the Ghost in the Shell feature will be posted later this week, so get ready for pages worth of new content.  But in the meantime, I have a bit of related info regarding this feature.

It was probably 11 years ago when I bought Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence on DVD to add to my anime library.  Back then I usually bought the special editions over the standard ones because I loved the extra care publishers would put into those editions as you usually got DVD cover with fancier cover art, the soundtrack, and a DVD sleeve to place the case into, and that's what I did with when I bought Innocence all those years ago.  But the thing is, I bought the wrong edition.

Yup, dumb me didn't get the movie but rather an odd special edition supplement for the movie that includes the film's soundtrack and a DVD with a collection of music videos from the soundtrack.  Meaning, I got all the music, but not the film itself.  Doh!  I discovered this last Friday (2/10) when I was planning to watch it for the first time.

Desperate to now get a copy of Innocence for this feature I first checked to see if it was on one of the big streaming services, but it was nowhere to be found.  Next I checked eBay for a cheap copy, but all I found were expensive copies that were more than what I willing to spend, and then I checked the PlayStation Store to see if I can rent it, but it was only available for purchase.  My last check was Best Buy's website to see if there was a store near me that had a copy so I can pick up the next day.  But when I looked on their site, I noticed the release date for the Blu-ray/DVD version was released by Funimation just a few days earlier on Tuesday 2/7.  Wow, what luck and a coincidence that after 13 years since the original US release of this movie that the new version just came out a few days before I needed it.

And in fact, this one seems to be the definitive one to get if you're interested in the English dubbed version as previous versions have issues beyond comprehension.  For one, I didn't know what such a debacle the releases for this movie has been.  The original one was just Japanese vocals with English subtitles.  Not a problem, but that version had subtitles in closed caption style, so there were solid black rectangles behind the text, blocking a lot of the visuals; and there were noise clues like [footsteps].  Next was the UK release that had English dubbing, but the vocals were slowed down due to the frame rate differences between regions with PAL and NTSC, so everyone had deeper sounding voices.  Then there was the 2009 Bandai Entertainment Blu-ray version that fixed everything, but it's a rare item with a hefty price tag which I'm guessing is due to a limited production run.

But this new Funimation release of Innocence has everything I wanted for this movie: an issue free English dub, clean box art with a slip cover, includes both a DVD (for screenshots) and Blu-ray disc (for watchin'), and comes in at the low and reasonable price of $19.99.  So if anything, I stupidly by not reading the label of what I bought years ago, I ended up getting the right copy of the film at the perfect time.  Funny how things work out in our favor sometimes.

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Master of the mystic arts

November 13, 2016 | 12:04 | Written by: snake911

Went and saw Doctor Strange yesterday and very much liked what I saw.  It was funny to see Benedict Cumberbatch taking the Hugh Laurie school of British person speaking with an American accent by speaking as deep and low as your voice can go to mask any overarching sounding vowels that may come out of his mouth.

Like all of the other Marvel movies, it contains all what you'd expect out of one: lots of action, good vs evil, fate of the world is a stake, and sarcastic remarks a plenty when the music stops.  Really, it has become comfort food for the average moviegoer such as myself.

Like you can see from the trailers and commercials, the trippy special effects borrow heavily from Inception, which was directed by Christopher Nolan, who also made the Dark Knight series of films for DC.  Interesting to see how both sides tend to get inspiration from the others side; likewise how the Justice League is doing for its series of upcoming films.

I like how I'm getting filled in with all of the unknown characters I saw while playing Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3.  When I originally played it, I had no clue who the heck Rocket Raccoon was until Guardians of the Galaxy came out.  And now the back story for Doctor Strange is fleshed out with this latest Marvel film.  Next, we should have Marvel shed some light on this Nova fellow.  He looks like he has an interesting story.

P.S. - Do you like how the first sentence of every paragraph in this post has the word "like" in it.

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An assessment of 'Hell or High Water'

September 6, 2016 | 22:54 | Written by: snake911

Taking a left turn in my normal movie watching habits, I steered away from seeing any big blockbuster movies with superheroes in them this Labor Day weekend.  Instead I went and saw a more down to earth film dealing with harsh realities of modern living and coming up with ways to resolve them.  Good times, am I right?

With Hell or High Water, we have a present day western that takes place in the rural, open plains of West Texas.  With it, we get your cliché of gun fights, standoffs, running from the law, dusty trails, and cowboys; however, it’s not your typical run of the mill western as this story has a more personal connection.  Maybe it’s due to the fact that many can relate to the hardships everyone is facing in the region where the movie takes place, where finding ways to make ends meet is becoming increasing difficult to achieve.

We follow two brothers on a path of robbing numerous banks throughout Western Texas.  Toby, the younger brother, along with his older brother, Tanner, who recently got released from prison, create enough of a stink to get the Texas Rangers involved to investigate the string of robberies they’ve committed.  This is when Marcus Hamilton (played by Jeff Bridges), a surely and racist elder of the force near retirement, and his slightly younger partner, Alberto Parker, enter the scene.

The movie primarily focuses on the brothers, showing even though there attitudes and ways of thinking are different and get them to disagree on a lot of matters, they stick together through thick, through thin, and through extremely thick situations.  Same goes for the Rangers, but there’s is more about partners that are forced to work with one another when bigotry is causing a rift in the relationship.  They like each other, but with Marcus’s outdated ways of thinking -- which acts as the sourness that exists between them -- it sometimes can be an emotional toll for Alberto.

But when it comes to the brothers struggling financial situation, they are not alone.  They just acted out on the frustration.  Everywhere the movie takes us, everyone is living a poverty-like life.  Mid-to-small farms and ranches just don’t bring enough money to live a comfortable lifestyle.  All are struggling with their careers to make just enough to put food on the table, or to keep a roof over their children’s head.  All along the highways are billboards showing sanctuary in getting quick loans, obviously with high interest rates, and thus keeping the cycle of poverty in motion, preventing anyone from escaping the rising cost of personal debt.  In the film, they relate this type of living as a disease that is inherited from generation to generation.  From grandparents, to parents, to children.

I think director David Mackenzie said it best: "good people do bad things for good reasons."  It’s hard to tell what the motivation is for the brother’s actions until later in the story, but it’s hard to justify their actions when they continue with stealing money from bank after bank.  But at the same time, it’s not shown that the banks are squeaky clean too.  Moral and ethical claims can be raised for both sides, which can be setup for the audience to root for whichever one is the lesser of two evils.

The soundtrack is very powerful and combines both a mixture of both original music which is very drama focused and string heavy, and tracks from artists that invoke the kind of music folks from southern states such as Texas and New Mexico, pulling you into the regions lifestyle and attitude.  Now I’m not one who cares for country music, but the songs they chose fit the scenes well and deserves a perfect score for the soundtrack.  Equal props go towards the cinematography for giving large sweeping shots of the beautiful open landscape of West Texas (which ironically was actually filmed in New Mexico) with tighter shots of what small towns look like that are stretched miles apart from one another and raise a feeling that time left them behind to slowly decay.  Having family in Barstow, California, which is a small town in the middle of the Mojave Desert, it rings of similarities in both aesthetics and way of life.

So to conclude, it’s a movie worth watching.  I don’t buy movies like I used to, but I’m definitely reserving a spot on the shelf for this one once it comes out on Blu-ray.  If you want to see it in theaters, you need to get there soon because the movie debuted on August 13th, nearly a month ago, so it probably has a week left before it’s pulled.

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Not to be confused with the goon squad

August 29, 2016 | 20:54 | Written by: snake911

So I saw Suicide Squad and I have to say it was pretty darn good considering even after hearing mild criticism from others who saw it before I did.  I’m sure it helped in lowering my expectations a bit so to curb what I may have expected out of this movie that bundles a bunch of characters together.  Maybe those who saw it before me didn’t like it were comparing it to The Avengers movies or any of the other Marvel films that lassoes heroes together for a cause.

Actually, even I had doubts about it when I saw the first trailer earlier this year.  I heard of the comic, but only by name, and it is a cool idea of forcing a bunch of villains together to actually help out for once rather than wreaking havoc in whatever city they may be in, but there was just something that wasn’t clicking with me, so I had mild expectations when I saw the first trailer.

In the end, I was glad I saw it.  Sure, it wasn’t a perfect flick as I have some criticisms towards it, but this is also coming from someone who hasn’t read the comic, so I don’t know what changes were made when making the film adaptation.  What I can say is I’m glad the cast was a big as it was so it could soften the annoying one liners Harley Quinn was making throughout the movie.  "I'm known to be quite vexing."  "We’re bad guys.  It’s what we do."  Barf.

Overall, the production was high quality and I really liked the soundtrack that included a lot of classic rock and some club music.  But what I didn’t know going in is that there is some bleed over to what is planning to be the forming of the Justice League, so that was cool to see.

Oh, and so you know, I’m planning to go all in with DC's gathering of super heroes so I’m planning to see the upcoming Wonder Woman, Flash, and…uh…Aqua Man films.  But that last one is a tall order to make good, so I hope they are going all in with that one rather than already writing it off as the least profit earning one from this series.  Who knows, maybe everyone’s expectations will be so low for that one that it will become a mega smash hit after word spreads from friends and family about how it was better than they expected it to be and then later seeing kids everywhere no longer wearing Iron Man tee shirts but instead Aqua Man clothing.  Ha! Like that will happen.

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