Saturday, December 17, 2011


Instead of doing my regular thing, I want to talk very briefly about bad legislation. I don't normally like to talk politics. I'm rather cynical about the whole thing, in general and I have somewhat libertarian views.  Still I normally avoid talking politics because I get so frustrated at the rampant corruption that anymore is inherit in the system, and the even worse partisanship that prevents so many people from realizing how stupid they are for supporting one candidate or the other because of a letter attached to their name (D or R). But I digress...

Friday, December 9, 2011

Seven Samurai

Today, I am reviewing Akira Kurosawa's masterpiece Seven Samurai. This is easily one of the most well-known and influential movies not only in Japan but in the entire world. And while I normally balk at movies that hint of "classic" this is one of the few that in my opinion deserves the title. This movie is a classic in all the best meanings of the word.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Coraline is a stop-motion animated film based on Neil Gaiman's book of the same name. It is a horror fantasy that can be genuinely creepy at times. Heck, at a couple scenes you might ask whether or not you'd want your kids watching it for fear they'd have nightmares. I think it is pretty safe for most kids, but it can be pretty creepy.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Genshiken (in Japanese it's short for "The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture") is a Manga (and anime adaptation) written by Kio Shimoku. It is the story of a college sci-fi/fantasy/anime/manga/videogames/nerd club in Japan.
More accurately, it's a slice-of-life manga/anime about an otaku club at a Univeristy in Japan. The main protagonist is Kanji Sasahara, who starts out his first year at college wondering if he should join the manga club or the anime club. He loves both, but is still so shy about admitting his otaku-hood that he can't bring himself to join either. Then he discovers Genshiken, the really hardcore otaku club. As they say, hilarity ensues as Sasahara discovers who he truely is through the exploration of his hobbies.

Freaks and Geeks

Freaks and geeks was an hour-long show that aired in the '99-2000 season. However, it got the FOX treatment, as NBC canceled the show after 12 episodes. (18 were filmed.) It's the story of Lindsey, a former honor student who decided to start hanging out with the slackers; and her younger brother, Sam, a kid that everyone at my college sci-fi/fantasy club can relate to. They attend high school in 1982 Michigan. And that's the basic set-up.


009-1 is a 13-episode, alternate-history, sci-fi, spy/espionage anime based on the manga of the same name by influential manga artist Shotaro Ishinomori. (Creator of such manga as Cyborg 009 [the title of this show is actually an allusion to Cyborg 009] and such TV shows as Kamen Rider). Think James Bond as an anime with a protagonist who’s a cross between 007 himself, Cate Archer from No One Lives Forever, and Cameron the “good” female terminator from The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

The first thing you need to know about this series is that its artwork is a much older style, dating from the 60s or earlier. For some reason (and I asked around, I’m not the only person that gets this impression) this makes it seem like the show is for a much younger audience. IT IS NOT. This is most definitely a show for an older audience. I’ll get to that later, though. Just keep this in mind.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


I am not a big fan of moving. I tend to not like change in the first place. I often tell people that I have the heart of a crotchety old man. So moving is a big deal, and I do not enjoy it one whit.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Puss in Boots

So my wife and I went to watch Puss in Boots the other day. She's a big Shrek fan and she simply adores cats, so this was a no-brainer in terms of the date department. I'm not so big on cats, but Shrek is a decent movie series, so I didn't mind going either.

We saw it in 3-D, not because either of us are huge 3-D movie buffs, but because that was the only showing that fit into our schedule. As far as that goes it really wasn't worth the extra dollar. I kind of wish Hollywood would stop with the 3-D gimmick. In the few 3-D movies I've seen it's been kinda cool, but it really didn't add anything to the movie, and sometimes detracted from the experience. But that's a review for a different time. (Though I'll probably never get to it, since I don't watch many 3-D movies.)


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Gnomeo and Juliet

So, the CGI animated movie Gnomeo & Juliet came out to DVD fairly recently. I actually saw it in theaters with my wife. I really hadn't been expecting much from it. I had seen some trailers and it looked like nothing more than a cheesy kids cartoon that made use of stupid jokes and a public domain story. And I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by what I found. Maybe I should lower my expectations for every movie I watch.

Anyway... Spoilers abound, but really there shouldn't be much to worry about, because I'm expecting you know the outline of the story, if nothing else.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Catching up.

Let me be frank here... Catching up sucks.

Hmmm... maybe I should specify. Procrastination sucks, because then you have to catch up. This is a big problem with me personally, mostly because I like keeping caught up, but once I get behind I have a hard time getting caught back up to where I should be. Then it spirals into a vicious cycle of wanting to do what I know I should but feeling too embarrassed about having fallen behind to catch up. It makes no sense, but I do it anyway. I'll often make token attempts at catching up, no matter what, but it usually takes me a bit longer than I want before I finally hold fast and actually catch up. Sometimes it's too late, but other times... It's... not.

Wow... that sounded a lot more pathetic than I meant it to.

Bottom Line: Catching up is no fun, but it is possible. Though it's always best not to fall behind in the first place. Moral of the story: Don't procrastinate!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Smurfs promotional cereal.

So, even if you've been hiding under a rock, you've probably heard about the new Smurfs movie, what with all of the new promotion merchandise out there. Some of it is expected, like toys and whatnot; some of it is cool, like reprintings of the original comics; and some of it is... well, it's not uncommon merchandise for a kids movie, but I always scratch my head at it, like promotional cereal.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Dark and Stormy Night

I can't believe that I haven't reviewed any Larry Blamire movies yet. Shame on me.
So Dark and Stormy Night is a classic "Old Dark House" murder mystery movie made in 2009. Old Sinas Cavendar has died, and those closest to him have gathered on the old Cavendar estate for the reading of his will. He was an incredibly rich old man from a very wealthy old-money family. There are two people who are most likely to inherit the bulk of his estate: his nephew, Burling Famish Jr. and his ward, Sebasha Fanmoore. However, Burling's wife and her lover are scheming to get their hands on what they can as well, but the servants are hiding a dark secret related to it all. Into this volatile mix are thrust two intrepid reporters trying to out-scoop each other, as well as a few other poor souls stuck at the mansion. They all claim to be there by chance, but are any of them telling the truth?

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Brimstone is a great, yet very little-known, short-lived TV series on FOX. (Wow a well-made, genre tv series on FOX that got axed after not quite a season. That never happens, does it?)
Facetiousness aside, this series was basically Firefly before there was Firefly, only with no DVD sales to provide a relatively happy ending.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Avatar: The Last Airbender, the live action movie.

I was disappointed in this movie. Very disappointed, and this after you consider that I went in with low expectations. There was a lot of potential in the movie, but it simply didn't live up to it. This movie's biggest problem was summed up at the beginning of the credits. Written, directed, and produced by M. Night Shamaylan. He made this movie all about himself. That was his biggest sin in the movie. It was so obviously a vanity piece. If he had made making the movie about making an awesome movie, it could have been great. But instead he made it to show everyone how awesome Shamaylan is, and that didn't work so well.

Now, having said that, I'm going to disagree with a lot of what's I've heard against the movie. In fact, despite all of the many, MANY problems with the movie, I still think that it contained the seeds of a much better movie.

As you may have noticed...

... My "one review a week" has become rather less than once-a-weeky. I will be doing my best to make up for lost time. I beg the indulgence of anyone who actually read the blog with regularity. I claim various life changes as an excuse. (Moving, moving again three weeks later, helping my wife get ready to visit her parents, getting ready to move to a different state and start a new job, and so on...)

Reviews will start back up, though they will not be as fancy and picture/hotlink filled as they have been. At least, not at first. I will also be doing my best to make up for lost time with extra reviews until I am caught up. Until then, the schedule will be even more sporadic than it had been. I apologize for any inconveniences this has caused anyone.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Darker Than Black

Darker Than Black is an anime from 2007 with a second season and an OAV that I haven't seen but very much want to. It takes place ten years after two reality twisting anomalies appeared on earth, one in Brasil and the other in Tokyo. They are known as "Heavan's Gate" and "Hell's Gate," respectively. When this happened the sky was changed so that the moon was no longer visible and the stars were replaced with new ones. What the general public doesn't know is that these new stars correspond to people now known as "contractors" who have lost all of their emotions but gained supernatural powers, turning them into the perfect killers. Whenever one of these contractors dies, their corresponding star falls. Every major government (and some other non-political entities) use these contractors as assassins and agents to collect information. This in and of itself isn't very new, all sorts of shows (such as S-Cry-Ed, Heroes, X-Men) have similar ideas with people gaining unique powers, but Darker Than Black does add a new dimension, though. While contractors each have unique abilities, (ranging from teleportation, to pyrokenesis, to freezing stuff, to blowing stuff up) they also have to pay a price (called a "remuneration" in the sub) these can range from obsessive/compulsive actions (setting stones into a grid, putting people's shoes upside-down, kissing people) to the uncontrollable (falling asleep, aging more quickly, aging backwards).

Our Valued Customers

So, apparently when I said "tomorrow" I meant "next week." Sorry about that. Well, it looks like we're going to have to have quite a few updates in short succession. Let's get started.

First off we have Our Valued Customers. It's an interesting comic blog. I hesitate to use the term webcomic because it's far less of a comic strip than it is a "overheard in the comic shop" blog in comic format. The Blog's creator/artist, one "Mr. Tim," apparently works in a comic shop and overhears quite a bit of rather... unusual comments from the various customers who patronize the store. The blog is not for the faint of heart because it just might make you lose your faith in humanity while it makes you laugh your butt off.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Things is busy.

Sorry about this. I've been extra busy for the past week or so. I won't get this week's review up till tomorrow, but I am planning on writing an extra review to make up for it. Please forgive the inconvenience.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides

So, I saw On Stranger Tides just a couple hours ago. I assume that most anyone reading this already knows basically what the franchise is about. On Stranger Tides continues the story of Captain Jack Sparrow, who ends up in England to rescue a good friend from the gallows and ends up getting Shanghaied. Onto The Queen Anne's Revenge, ship of Captain Blackbeard himself, no less. So he gets unwillingly pulled into a three-way race between the British, the Spanish, and Blackbeard to find the Fountain of Youth.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Hackers (the movie, not real life hackers)

And here's the second review for today.
Hackers is a much-maligned film from 1995 about, well, a bunch of teenage hackers and their not-so-legal exploits. Much of the complaints that come from my fellow nerds who have watched it stem from the visual representation of hacking. Instead of lots of boring lines of code, the people behind the scenes figured that it would be way super cooler to show what they felt the inside of a computer looked like. And when I say the "inside of a computer" I don't mean the motherboard. No, instead we got large building-like construct thingies representing individual computers with pink numbers floating around and lines I suppose are meant to represent lines of communication. Maybe? It actually kinda looks like "Hello Matrix v0.5". An early beta. It's not hard to see why this part of the movie is derided so much. And really, it deserves that derision. It's kind of stupid. Though you also have to grant that most people are not going want to watch the protagonists typing and nothing else. So, I suppose it was a compromise. They could have done better, but they just as easily could have done worse. And really, when you ignore that part of the movie, or at least disconnect it from anything having to do with real hackers, the movie is actually pretty good and really fun.
I should probably get to what the movie is about, huh?

Old Spice

So, I skipped out last week without comment. That was because I was out of state and very busy. Sorry about that. I should have at least said something. Still, to make up for it, I'm going to be posting two reviews today. First up, Old Spice!

If you don't know what Old Spice is... where have you been? It's one of the most well-known lines of products for men to help them not smell bad. Cologne, deodorant, aftershave, body wash... you name it, Old Spice probably makes it. And it smells manly.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Night Zero (yet another webcomic)

Well, to top off April as Zombie Apocalypse Webcomic review month we have an interesting addition. Night Zero. Night Zero is a photo webcomic done by a group of people in Seattle. It's not as much of a continuous story as it is a series of related stories and vignettes that take place in the same post-apocalyptic Seattle. Part of the inner city has been walled off and survivors are safe there, but the New City is ruled by the mob. There are smaller oases called "speakeasies" outside of the new city, but they aren't necessarily much better. But then again, this is the zombie apocalypse, what were you expecting?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Last Blood (yet another webcomic)

So, sorry about the small review last week. Portal 2 had kind of taken over my life for a week.
So, to make up for it, I present to you Last Blood. This is another zombie apocalypse webcomic, though it's a bit different from the others I've reviewed so far this week.
It takes place about a month after a zombie walks out of the ocean and attacks the people there. (I might be wrong on the timeline... it's been a while since I've actually read the comic.) In that short amount of time, apparently a small group of people in nowhereville America has become the last group of humans on Earth. How do we know that they're the last humans? Some vampires show up and tell them so. You see, the vampires are trying to protect humanity, since if humanity dies out, vampires have no food supply. Oh, it wasn't all the zombies. Apparently there was also a nuclear war, which didn't help matters any, but the long and short of it is that they're a couple of dozen humans with a handful of vampires all holed up in a schoolhouse facing off against millions, if not billions, of zombies.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Portal 2

I just finished the single player story.


Just... Wow...

Sorry, my mind is too blown to say anything else.



Friday, April 15, 2011

Zombie Waffe (also a webcomic)

Edited for corrections... Some explicitly pointed out, others not.

Continuing with the theme (that I hadn't originally intended to start but decided to run with anyway) of zombie apocalypse webcomics, this week's review is Zombie Waffe. Apparently "waffe" means "weapon" in German. No, I don't get it either. Apparently the author, Malin Falch, is Norwegian. Which brings me to the best part of the comic: the translation. This comic, though originally written in German, reads very natural in English. Keep in mind, I am a professional translator and editor, so I keep an eye out for these things, and the fact that Malin is either that good at English or hasn't skimped on getting a good editor for her translations means a lot to me. It's very impressive.
Correction: Apparently Malin does write the comic in English first. Though she does get an editor to help her out. Still, it's very impressive work for a non-native speaker.

As for the rest of the comic... well, there's not much there. The comic has a lot of potential from what I've seen so far, but there are fewer than 60 pages, and most of those have been for building up the background and introducing characters, so there's not much of the story yet.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Dead Winter (a webcomic)

This week, I have another zombie apocalypse webcomic for you. Dead Winter, by Dave Shabet. In many ways Dead Winter is both a counterpoint and a complement to The Zombie Hunters. It is far more stylistic in just about every way possible, yet it deals with many of the same themes of survival and human nature just as seriously.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Zombie Hunters (a webcomic)

So, I'm a bit of a scholar of zombie apocalypse literature, games, and film. There's something fascinating about the genre. I think it's the very human nature of the storytelling. The problem is that most people misunderstand the genre of the zombie apocalypse and mistake it for any horror movie with zombies in it. Really, few things could be further from the truth... But I could go on and on about that. I actually wrote a 20-page paper on the subject that was presented at a symposium. But a discussion of what the zombie apocalypse is is not the purpose of this review.
Ahem. As I was saying, I enjoy me a good zombie apocalypse, and The Zombie Hunters provides. It's a webcomic started in 2006 by Jenny Romanchuk. It follows the story of a group of zombie hunters. Though the name is slightly misleading. These aren't people who go out and hunt zombies. Actually, they are semi-disposable, second-hand citizens who are used for salvage operations in the uncharted "wastes".

Monday, March 28, 2011

No review this week. Deepest apologies

Yeah, sorry about this. I've been pretty busy finishing up a couple of projects and starting some others. While you probably will never see most of them, some of them you will. One of the bigger things is that I will be joining a start-up professional video games review blog. It's still just starting up, and it's been going through some major overhauls in the past month getting it ready for me and the other new members. Originally it had been a one-man show, but there will be four of us writing for it now. If you've actually been following this blog and decide to check out this other site, then you may notice that some of my reviews over there will look similar. This is not a coincidence. Some, if not all, of my reviews over there will be posted here first in a rough draft kind of form. I make no pretense at saying that this blog here is professional. Like I said in my first post, I started this blog to get me writing. However, this other blog is professional, so the reviews will go through changes and polishing to make them better. I just didn't want anyone to think that some guy with the same name is plagiarizing my reviews. It is the same guy, and they are the same reviews. They'll just be better versions of my reviews.
On a related note, some of the reviews already on this blog and reviews to come will also be re-worked versions on reviews I have done elsewhere. Most of them will be from my college's sci-fi club's forums, but some may be from an old, oooooold blog of mine. I will not link it here, since it was even more of a personal blog than this one is. It's not that I'm trying to hide anything, but I just don't really feel it's relevant to anything here. If you really want to find my old blog, it wont be that hard. So if you see a review here that looks an awful lot like something written at my old blog... well, it is. But that too was written by me, so please don't fear that it might be plagiarism.
Aside from that, I've also been working on a translation of a Spanish role-playing game. Mostly this is for personal use, so I can share the game with my monolingual friends. But if I'm satisfied with it, I may approach the publisher to see if they have any interest in it. They probably won't, but a guy can dream.
That's about it. I'll try and make up for this week's loss by writing an extra review in the coming weeks, but I won't make any promises.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Blackwell Series

The Blackwell series is pretty much Wadjet Eye Games' flagship product. (Yes, if you haven't guessed by now, I really like Wadjet Eye Games. What can I say? They make products of the highest quality.)
Anyway, back to the review: The Blackwell series the the story of the Blackwell women, specifically Rosangela and her aunt Lauren, who are spirit mediums. With the help of their inherited spirit guide, Joey Mallone, they must go about helping the ghosts of those who have died and been unable to move on to whatever awaits their spirits after death. But not all spirits are just ready to go, they need to be convinced, in one way or another...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Gamers: Dorkness Rising

This is an... interesting movie. Made by independent filmmakers Dead Gentlemen Productions, The Gamers: Dorkness Rising is apparently a spiritual sequel to The Gamers, which is a movie I’ve never seen, though I wish I had. The plot follows a group of role-players as they try and finish a campaign. The problem is that the GM is an aspiring writer who’s the type that insists that the players actually role-play and often railroads them into where they need to go. Conversely, the players are a bunch of munchkins who don’t care so much about the story. They just wanna kill stuff and loot the corpses. More tension is added as the ex-girlfriend of one of the players joins the group. This is her first time role-playing, and she actually does want to role-play. Hilarity, as they say, ensues.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Alka-Seltzer Plus Day non-drowsy cold formula. (Citrus flavored)

So I was sick most of last week. It wasn't fun, but it did give me the chance to review Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold medicine, orange flavor. I'm also using this as my excuse for being so late in last week's review.
Anyway, I haven't had Alka-Sletzer since I was a kid, so I really wasn't sure what to expect, but since my symptoms were mostly headache, congestion, and sore throat I figured "why not?" I mean, that's exactly what it's supposed to help with.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Lifeless The Series

Lifeless The Series is an independent miniseries that was produced as sort of pilot episode with the hopes that it would get picked up by a larger distribution company of some sort. It didn't pan out, which I feel is too bad since the people who made it were very resourceful, but it was also inevitable, since the series was pretty flawed.
Now, this was a miniseries, so it's only three episodes long, with each episode running between 15 and 20 minutes each. (They used to be available to watch on but they have since been taken down.)
I say that this series was flawed because... well, it was.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Shivah

The Shivah is an adventure game by Dave Gilbert, of Wadjet Eye games. It follows the story of Rabbi Russel Stone. Stone is the Rabbi of a small, failing New York synagogue. All he has left in his congregation is his cantor and one woman who keeps falling asleep during his sermons. He finally gives up any hope of being able to keep the synagogue running, when suddenly he is informed by the police that he is the number one suspect in the murder of a former congregant since he is (rather suspiciously) receiving a rather large sum of money in the deceased's will. While it seems like the miracle he's looking for, Stone isn't naive enough to take things at face value, especially given the circumstances. So he decides to look into things himself and see if he can't figure out what's going on, and maybe find a little closure while he's at it.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Day Break

This week, I'm reviewing a very little-known TV show called Day Break. It's a one-season, 13 episode show that got the FOX treatment. Well, it ran on ABC, but they cancelled it after 6 episodes. Fortunately, they'd already filmed all 13, so a couple of years later a cable channel picked the show up and completed the run. Now you can find it on DVD and Hulu. (Here's the link for the Pilot episode.) It's the story of LAPD detective Brett Hopper (played by Taye Diggs, who gives an amazing performance,) who wakes up one morning where nothing seems to going right. It starts out okay, waking up to his beautiful girlfriend (played by Moon Bloodgood) but things take a turn for the worse rather quickly. It's mostly a bunch of little things, but there are a few big things, like barely saving a woman from being hit by a bus, it looks like his sister is being abused by her husband, a super-important gang informant of his has gone missing, and, oh yeah, he's been framed for the murder of Alberto Garza, a district attorney he's never met.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Review: Puzzle Bots

Our brave heroes and their inventors.
For our first review we have a fun little game called Puzzle Bots. Puzzle Bots is a 2010 adventure game from developer Wadjet Eye Games. (Trust me, you will see more of their works reviewed here in the near future.) The story is simple: Dr. Hugo has a robot factory with “nearly five inventors” designing robots for domestic use. The game follows the robots as they go on adventures in the factory when their inventors aren't looking. As they go about, unintentionally causing mischief, they also stumble across a mystery that the factory holds. What secret does the factory hold? And how much does Dr. Hugo know about it?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Testing... testing.

Hello! Well, this is an idea I've had for a while now. As anyone who knows me personally will tell you, I am rather opinionated, and I enjoy reviewing stuff. However, I've been slacking off recently, and so I am starting this blog as a means of forcing myself to keep writing. So, welcome to my review blog. As the title indicates, I will bring you one review every week. While I will focus mostly on video games and movies, really I might review just about anything. I might review local restaurants, books, other blogs, or even the weather. My first review will be up later this week. I hope you enjoy it.

Since I just started this blog, I will probably be changing some things about the layout and color scheme as well, so don't be surprised if things change suddenly.