Sunday, September 27, 2015

DVD Movie Review #165 Titanic (1953)

We all know about the block busting movie with Leonardo that so oversaturated the media that we had all the girls swooning for Leo and most of the boys wanting him dead. Well after seeing the movie for the 4th time this week I decided to look at an older version of the film and the love story that they decided to sew. This is the movie Titanic.
Now this is a story much like the one we know but this one takes place with the upper class passengers. We have an older gentleman who has been trying to reunite with his family as his ex-wife is on the trip with their son. She is not very happy about the matter but he hopes to use the trip and the close quarters to reunite his family. We also have a young girl on a trip with her mother and the budding romance between her and a wealthy college lad taking a trip with his fraternity brother. We see these stories interplay until the end where we see the inevitable sinking of the ship.
There are a lot of pieces of work in this that show a startling attention to detail. The worked hard to reproduce some of the areas of the ship such as the dining room and also several other aspects that we didn't see as much in the Cameron version such as the boiler room stokers and the mail room. It worked quite well seeing the interplay of the relationships as the story slowly went down. For the time this would be a very good over all. The ending I have mixed feelings for so I will describe them in both sections. I thought that the ending where the people go down singing an old Irish hymn showed a level of dignity and honor as a sort of homage to the people that died telling the audience that they died well and to be proud of the sacrifice they made for the others to live.
The bad parts are not really that different for films of its kind. There was a different timber of people back in those days and they loved subtle and slow stories that built over a time. This does not go over with the new crowd of fast paced times and ways. This makes the movie a tad boring with me having to re-watch a number of the scenes due to falling asleep. The other issues are the write ins that are not very accurate for the real event such as rooms not on the ship or multiple characters that were not in the real voyage. It is no wonder that many of the survivors were not happy with this film. The last part is again with the ending. It may have been dignified but it wasn't accurate in the slightest. They pictured the whole crew going down without ever so much as a slight panic. This is not realism this is kind of flowery and over perfumed to the point where you are almost sick of the smell.
This movie has a lot of good points and also as of winning an Academy award this is a part of history that one should be enjoyed. So though this does not live up to the multi award winning masterpiece of the 90s this is still enjoyable in the end.

Rating:  6/10

Friday, September 25, 2015

Gaming Review #6 Neverending Nightmares

Hello all and welcome back for another gaming review. You know I've been busy this time around as my slow pace I have managed to beat two games. This time we are covering yet another crazy game Neverending Nightmares. This game was driven by Kickstartr and brought to you via fans for a crazy surreal adventure. I was honored to pick it up for $3 during a Steam sale... ;)
We follow the adventures of a young man awakened in the middle of the night and wandering through his creepy house at night. Of course it may not be a house as it could be a grave yard yet it may be a house again then it is an insane asylum. It gets to the point where you doubt your own sanity and wonder weather you are stuck between nightmare then reality.
There are a number of overly creepy scenes in this game getting ever more disturbing as the game goes on. It's unique art style adds to the creepy nature of the game. The simple mechanics are easy to pick up and as you cannot die...well not in a lasting way you can keep trying until you reach the end. The doors you take can alter how you end the game as well so keep playing for the number of alternate endings.
This game does have a little bit of frustration to it as you have die many times and a few other issues with its repetition and its simplicity which is also one of its greatest downfall. Otherwise I really don't have any major problem with this game it is fun and it is creepy very much perfect for Halloween.
In the end I feel this is a fun game just in time for the Halloween season.

Rating: 8/10

Gaming Review #5 The 11th Hour

It is time to come back Little ones! Time to come back tot he mansion that has once haunted your nightmares! We are back with my game reviews and it seems just in time for a few lovely halloween type games. This time we are looking at the 11th hour which was the sequel to the widely more popular 7th guest. It is sad that I have played this one first but it happened to come up in my lineup first so here I was with a classic game and time to force it down my throat. So without further ado here is the 11th Hour.
Well we follow the adventures or our favorite writer as he is out to solve the mystery of a murder and the mysteries of the even haunted house that stared in the first adaptation of this game. You must go through the haunted mansion cheered on by your wheelchair bound partner and heckled by the evil owner of the facilities. Solving riddles and playing hard to beat games can you make it out alive?
  This game has aged...okay. It still has a creepy vibe to it and the large cut scenes are still pretty interesting with the setup. The game is very intellectually challenging and the house design itself is quite creepy. I would say the ending was probably one of my favorite parts of the game.

There is a reason that the end is one of my favorite part of the game. The puzzles such as the one above are frustratingly hard and the riddles are at a Riven level and that is not a compliment. Your reward for that is you get to see a cut scene illustrating the story which I frankly feel left me yawning. I am personally not amused. If you add on that the fact that the game's age has it continually crashing meaning you need to save OFTEN!
In the end this is an ok game but is a bit too hard as it was during those times was popular.  Take care and enjoy it very well.
Rating: 3/10

DVD Movie Review #164 The Norseman

Hello again we are back due to the loving arms of the DVD movie review. This time we are seeing a movie starring the six million dollar man himself Lee Majors. We are reviewing the Norseman which I picked up as a part of a double pack with "The Barbarians". This movie was one that I really didn't look that much forward to seeing but I felt it needs to be done. 
We are exploring the "true" story of the Norseman who decided to explore the southern regions of the New World now known as Florida. They get attacked by the Native American's there and then their king is taken prisoner. It is up to Lee Majors and his band of merry Vikings to take on the evil Savages and rescue their brethren. 
I really don't think that this film is all bad. I mean in a 70s movie kind of way with out hero Lee at the the way is it just me or does this image from "Scrooged" always come up when I think of Lee Majors. 
I mean really I am too young to remember six million dollar man and I really don't know him from anything else...I think it was a fun appearance and this will sadly remain the same for me. I feel he did a good job with the part he was given and the effects and backdrops were pretty good for the time. He did manage to sport one killer mustache. 
The film has a lot of downsides to it with the lead one being that it is a very boring film. I fell asleep twice in getting through the first 20 minutes of it taking me much longer than usual. I also have to wonder what it is about films from that time that had to make American Indians look like such terrible people. I guess we were still in the mode of justifying their slaughter. See? Look at how nasty they were they deserved to die! Sounds like another set of excuses from the modern age. I also have some doubts as to how historically accurate these "Vikings" were. I mean I have heard that there were black Vikings but ones with well groomed mustaches? Come on now. 
In the end this film is quite a bore and very forgettable I will leave you with a fun picture to help you remember it but for me I will just file this under and extension of "Scrooged" and think of better uses for my time. 

Rating: 3/10

DVD Movie Review #163 the Barbarians

Greetings for another wonderful and wacky movie review. This time we look at the 1987 movie "the Barbarians. This movie and the Paul brothers have a special place in my childhood as this movie and the "Norsemen" (review pending) for under $5 I had to get this one for my collection. There will be a slightly higher rating for nostalgia valuse.

Let us go back in time to the late 80s where post apocalyptic and fantasy epics were commonplace. We find our two youths adopted by the peace loving Ragnics a gypsy band of musicians and performers. They were ambushed by the evil blond haired villain and their princess abducted. Our heroes became super beefy in their quest to save their princess and restore the power of the mysterious belly stone. Will they make it through the fight against evil warlords, sorceresses and even a dragon?

This movie is your standard fare for your Barbarian loving film buffage. You have your buff heroes duking it out with your garden variety villains from the fantasy setting. There is an innate cheesiness that one cannot ignore. I mean look at the helmet on these guys?! I have to say that their design work was inappropriate yet it works out in a way that brings out the humor in the film. Still the special effects for this film were pretty good for the time and the costume design while cheesy was fun.

One cannot say that that this film was good with a straight face...well maybe my father could but he tends to think of the body builders more than the acting or writing. I have to say when you take people who's career is mainly body building it does not make them excellent actors. You can see that the chemistry between the two is good yet the acting seems forced from them and leaves it looking blocky and awkward. Really the writing could play into this as it wasn't exactly oscar material but maybe I would be giving the actors in this a bit too much credit. The writing is overly simplistic in the good v evil way and I feel it was made mainly to try and cash in at the end of the craze.

In the end this is a fun film that has a number flaws yet not enough in my opinion to sink this beauty.

Rating: 6/10

Sunday, September 20, 2015

DVD Movie Review #162 Chaos Head

I am back and with another full on DVD movie review. This time I am covering the series Chaos head. I was interested in the long running poster with the pink haired bloodied beauty with a cruel sword on a tortured landscape. When I finally saw the trailer for the blue ray release I had to get it for its $11 price tag. I mean who wouldn't love a nice psychological horror.
Takumi is a selfish Otaku living an a storage box on the top of a building. He hopes to live his life watching anime, collecting figurines and talking to his imaginary anime girlfriend. The world outside has very little interest to him he even snubs his little sister as she comes by and tries to get him to acknowledge the outside world. His word is turned up on its head as he stumbles on a murder scene with a mysterious pink haired girl and she suddenly has her thrust upon his life.
This series is very much in the style of the late Satoshi Kon full of strange psychological twists and turns as well as deep touches of horror present throughout. The story brings your full attention to it with beautiful animations and a wonderful sound track. There are a lot of little touches that make this one a fun watch such as the ending theme which is hauntingly cheerful and relates to the out of touch nature of the cast of characters within the series. Finally the dub track is done very well with consistent acting throughout.
The issue of this series is that it is trying much too hard. You see this throughout this series with excessively complicated twists and turns that leave you with a feeling of vertigo and confusion when you are done. I remember trying to explain this to a friend and they couldn't follow it and maybe it is just me. The characters are partially fleshed out feeling like they all have a great deal of depth that just isn't there at the end of the day. I guess that this is like most anime that intend you to read the manga to make up for the depth that you are missing. Finally I really don't like the main character. He is a total dick most of the series only partially redeeming himself at the end thanks to working on his petty insecurities.
This series is a psychological head scratcher that will leave you with that slightly slack jawed facial expression that you can only hope to come home to. This series still has some redeeming features that make it a very fun and beautiful romp through the worlds of confusion and terror.

Rating:  6/10

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

DVD Movie Review #161 Cat Planet Cuties

Hello again and welcome back to my review Blog. It has been a long time since I last did one of these loving tributes to the media but as I recently joined a Facebook group of movie reviewers It wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t actually review things.  I have thought long and hard as to whether to continue this blog or to shut it down but with hopes my reviews will come on stronger and stronger than they ever did before.
Cat Planet Cuties is one of those impulse buy items.  You see a nice blue ray anime set with a picture of a cute cat girl on the cover and say “hmmm this is reasonably priced ($12)”. I still have it in my head if an anime is cheap then it is a good buy and it doesn’t matter about the content of the show. This practice needs to stop as it will when I do a much needed sell off of excess movies in my collection J

:spoilers ahead:

We have our series set in Japan with our typical high school middle of the road harem boy as our protagonist. He’s a bit of a film geek and seems to be living a normal life with a cute neighbor, attentive teacher and a budding romance/friendship with the shy girl who shares his interest in movies. The problem is that all Is not what it seems with the friend being a CIA agent in training, the teacher being an alien fanatic and the potential love interest being a Super spy. Of course life goes along as normal until he comes upon a strange girl with cat ears and a tail that latches onto him due to his niceness and tells him she is the advance scout for a planet of cat people thinking of opening diplomatic relations with earth. The problem is that the Dog People have already opened relations and they don’t play well with others. So we begin with our harem of cat girl goodness.

You know I thought that the animation was pretty well done. I am a fan of bright colors in anime…it may be my ADHD but I do feel that bright colors tend to liven things up and make a series better in the end. The action is certainly a strong point as well with many different fights between robots and combat suited girls ready for action. Of course one of the other strong points of the series is that it has Cat Girls and what self respecting anime fan boy doesn’t like cat girls…and a Muttly tribute J

You know, maybe I’m getting a little old for these type of series… I feel that most standard harems just don’t do it for me anymore. I can see naked women in most anime and this just doesn’t have the full on appeal that it did for late teens early 20s me. I feel that the story is a little stupid and the characters were pretty much just 2D standard character types. You really don’t feel there is much heart or soul to this other than…hmmm now here is another harem. In the end I am left not caring much particularly about any character, not hating them mind you but not really feeling anything special from them either. Your protagonist is your standard nice guy, the neighbor the standard tsunandre, the standard shy girl and of course we have or overly bouncy heroine. This isn’t to say that they didn’t try a little to flesh them out with a hint of a backstory about the shy girl being an outcast because of her strange powers or the tsunandre’s difficulty in sorting out her feelings for the protagonist but they don’t do a lot to flesh out the one and the other is a bit overdone in this type of series. Of course we are then left with the bad guy in the series which is a hot dog girl with a robot dog sidekick. They do very little to flesh out this character, kind of hinting that she isn’t all bad yet showing nothing concrete that she is anything but a 2D evil character trying to…establish a relationship with planet earth? Take over? Kill the Cat Planet people? I really don’t know her motivation or end game here all we know is that the Dog People don’t play well with others…which is strange as they seem to be doing a good job in their earth relations, and that they are banned from making contact. This brings me to another point. Why is it that they never reported the dog people to the intergalactic counsel and just wrapped the problem up in the first place? The ending of the series is your standard Harem anime fare and I won’t blow it any more for you if you still wish to see this series.

In the end this is an pretty series to look at but just another harem anime dumped on us into the ocean of other harems. If you are a fan of harem anime and can’t get enough of the genre go for it. If you are a casual fan or prefer in depth story and characters I would give this a pass.

Rating:  4/10