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Showing posts from August, 2014

5 Reasons KyoAni Is Dead (To Me)

I love anime. We go way back, to be honest. We're tight. One might even call me an "anime fan" or something crazy like that. And in my formative years, back when I was rocking a Naruto headband and a vocabulary of broken Japanese that annoyed everybody else in my school, there was one studio who I loved more than anyone else. That studio was Kyoto Animation. These people? These people knew what they were doing. You want your emotions punched in the gut? They brought you Air. Want some weird humor that was incredibly inaccessible to anyone not versed in useless Japanese pop culture? Lucky Star had you covered. Oh, yeah, and you want a masterpiece that changed the modern anime landscape, for better or worse? The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya was exactly that.

But like the legendary game studio Rare, something went wrong. They got too big for their own good. A formula that they created started backfiring every time they tried to repeat it. You know those people on Facebook…

Fried Take - "Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney" (3DS)

The most recent main entry in the venerable "Ace Attorney" franchise had one phrase uttered dozens of times throughout its hit-or-miss story: "the dark age of the law."  It referred to the fact that corruption in the legal system had become rampant, with forged evidence pushing forward cases in which the "ends justified the means." To a lesser extent, that's how I've felt about the game industry as of late. Giant games boasting most preorders in history or developed by some big, AAA studio who developed some other massive franchise are dominating the market. Trailers with gameplay that is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, fabricated and not indicative of the final product. The ends justify the means, just so long as the big companies get their profit. It's instilled me with a healthy dose of bitter cynicism about gaming in general, and for a while there, I felt like I wasn't going to be able to keep on reviewing games, or pursuing a career in …

Summer of Schwarzenegger - "The Running Man" (1987)

In the 80's, Stephen King (as Richard Bachman) wrote a book in one week. It was about a futuristic, televised competition in which a person was supposed to outrun the police while causing as much carnage as possible, earning mass public scorn and serious infamy. The Running Man dealt with all sorts of heavy themes in a grim, serious manner, and was a bit of a downer. This is especially true the ending, which saw the protagonist fly a plane into the station broadcasting the games, in hopes of ending them once and for all. To me, it was grim, stark science-fiction at its very best, complete with a cool concept that predates The Hunger Games and Battle Royale, and a complex, morally grey protagonist.

But of course, most people don't like that kind of stuff. It just doesn't sell. Sci-fi has to be bright, sleek and cool to succeed on the silver screen, which is the sad truth. So it stands to reason that, when King's story got adapted into a film, the writers kept the conce…

Summer of Schwarzenegger - "Predator" (1987)

What happens when you combine a hammy action movie with smart, scary sci-fi? In truth, usually absolute trash. The two things just don't work together, and it makes sense. Taking something that's intelligent and tense, and then marrying it to something dumb and lighthearted... well, that just seems like an outrageously incongruous mixture, doesn't it? Throw in an 80's-era Arnold and Carl Weathers, and it seems like something that, for all intents and purposes, is a piece of greasy muscle-man fluff paired with a shitty slasher movie.

But in a bizarre turn of events, it ends up being much better than that. Actually, it's probably one of Arnold's best movies, and one that shows his versatility as a performer. Not to mention the fact that it's one of the best sci-fi action flicks out there.

Fried Take - "Rage" (2014)

Nic Cage is Nic Cage in "Cage," a movie where Nic Cage is Nic Cage in a role that was made for Nic Cage to act like Nic Cage in the way only Nic Cage can be Nic Cage.

That's a complicated sentence to read, which is exactly what this review needs, because I promise you, nothing else about this is going to be anywhere nearly close to complicated. What this sub-Taken thriller needs is a healthy dose of complication, actually, because what's here is some of the most formulaic bollocks Cage has ever agreed to act in. In fact, I am going on the record in this second paragraph and saying that this is one of the worst films Nicolas Cage has ever agreed to be a part of. So bad that only a career as stubborn and bullheaded as his could survive it.

Summer of Schwarzenegger - "Raw Deal" (1986)

A raw deal is when somebody offers you a deal, like a deal that they think is good, but in reality, that deal is a bad deal. It screws you over in the end, even if there's initial promise, and it leaves you worse off than you were before. In fact, one could say that you feel raw about it, making the deal itself raw by consequence. That, folks, is a raw deal.

Here's a raw deal for you, then: watching this fucking movie.

Summer of Schwarzenegger - "Commando" (1985)

I realized when I started this whole Summer of Schwarzenegger thing, I'd have to wade through some pieces of shit I've never seen, gloss over some that I've seen too many times or rewatched recently, and sometimes get reacquainted with some old favorites. The thing is, though, is that I actually saw Commando for the first time way under a year ago. Yet I didn't skip this one and just give a brief write-up on it. In fact, I was waiting for the chance to watch it again, and I had to force myself to be patient and reward myself.

So I watched Hercules in New York and The Villain (barely.) I realized that Conan The Barbarian wasn't anywhere close to what I'd call a great movie, and that Destroyer was way better than I remembered. Oh, yeah, and I just skipped over Terminator, because fuck watching that again. So when I was skimming Blockbuster (yes, they still have a shit-ton where I'm staying at the moment,) and found the next film on my list, I did a little in…

Summer of Schwarzenegger - "The Terminator" (1984)

Pretty much every big Arnold quote comes from a few select movies, and ignore a huge part of his oeuvre. But there's a series of movies that are the most notorious offenders with this, and one that ironically starts with him being a remorseless killing machine. Yep, it's time we talk about The Terminator, which completely cemented Schwarzenegger as a star, and established what I consider to be one of the best science-fiction narratives ever committed to film. Not kidding, actually, sci-fi films don't get much better than this series. Well, the series as a whole, that is.

As for the first one? It's, uh... it's okay. Read on before you decide to crucify me.