Archive for the 'Reviews' Category

01
Sep
09

Game Review – Batman: Arkhum Asylum

First, let me say that if you have not yet added this title to your collection, or, at the very least, you have not yet played the game or the demo, SHAME ON YOU!

“Why,” you may ask?

Because this game is really, really fun. Because the story is engaging from beginning to end. Because Joker is amusing every time he gets on the PA system. Because Harley Quinn is quite fine in her new uniform…

Why should you play this game?

Because you get to BE Batman.

I wrote a quickie review last week on A Tokin 4 Your Thoughts; read it for the short, to-the-point assessment of the game. If you want my final thoughts on the overall experience, read on, my friends: Continue reading ‘Game Review – Batman: Arkhum Asylum’

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10
Aug
09

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra – Movie Reveiw

Let’s get this straight up front: Marlon Wayans is NOT a pain in the ass in this movie. And the movie is actually good.

What?!

Did I just say that this movie, the one that obviously screwed up every iconic image Hasbro’s Joe line has, was good? Why yes, yes I did. Cobra Commander’s mask sucks just as hard on the big screen as it does on the figures and their box art, Destro never actually wears that damned mask he seems to cherish so much in those trailers, Cover Girl is limited to a cameo appearance (one she sadly could have done without if you ask me), the Baroness is not as badass as she really could be (for plot reasons), and those Vipers are too hard to kill ( and the only reason they exist is for the Joe’s to kill while looking awesome in the process); yet, somehow, Stephen Sommers managed to do what Micheal Bay did in 2007 with Transformers: he made the Joes viable silver-screen stars.

Those of you familiar with my review style know I use a basic 5-point system. For the sake of doing this movie justice, I’ll get right to the point: Score -1.5 for overuse of generally good FXs that stood out because they were used so much, for action shots involving Ray Park’s Snake Eyes being too tight, too short, or too dark for Ray’s talent to really shine on screen, for Marlon Wayans still coming across as awkward despite playing a decent Ripcord, and for a fairly weak ending that, after about 1 hr. 45 min. of no Cobra Commander at all, finally sees some hope for a promising sequel that will probably have an equally stupid subtitle.

Just a 1.5 points? Just 1.5 for no Cobra Commander? Well, I can’t punish the movie because the toys suck (and they do, let no one tell you otherwise). Seriously, this movie does way more right than wrong, and CC’s absence is only in name and mask as, in true Cobra fashion, he is more than just pulling strings behind the scenes the whole time. So, here I give cudoes for relagating CC to a support role and letting Destro and the Baroness do their thing – just as poorly as they always did in the 80’s XD. And that isn’t the only nod to the spirit of G.I. Joe in the film:

* “Knowing is half the battle” and “Yo, Joe” are gloriously used by our heroes

* Duke wears a scar under his right eye, just as the original 12″ doll had a copyright marker scar under his right eye

* Generally speaking, the characters are themselves: example – Breaker still loves gum

*Snake Eyes is the baddest mofo in the whole movie. Period.

Obviously, there have been changes; not the least of those changes being the international nature of the team. The reasoning for that is about the only thing in the film actually explained. Really, stuff just happens. No reason why a dead guy can’t have electrodes shoved in his skull so his last memories can be photographed. Why shouldn’t there be a massive, missile-launching subartic base for a terrorist cell that (according to the title now) has yet to fully come together. Why exactly can’t Duke and Ripcord jump over cars and run really fast without those bulky Accelerator Suits, but Snake Eyes can – you know, without the damn suit (yes, Snake IS that awesome)? The answers to those questions are never, ever explained here, and who cares. The ride is just that fun.

That is, if you let it.

Don’t go into this expecting Dark Knight. Hell, don’t expect Transformers. This movie does not take itself seriously at all, but it does respect itself and its audience. It’s a mindless action movie based on a line of 3 3/4″ TOYS. The good guys are good and the bad guys are bad and the good guys ultimately beat the bad guys and ride off into the sunset in skin tight leather bodysuits and fatigues with the Black-Eyed Peas playing in the background.

If you can’t have fun with that, shame on you.

Final Score: 3.5

25
Jun
09

T2: Revenge of the Fallen (Zasa’s Review)

As Kyoji prepares more Transformable postings, I will add my comments here, in my personal review of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. I have no idea how Kyoji or any of the other contributors to G.O.N.G. feel about this movie, but I at least enjoyed to outing. It’s not perfect, but it does manage to improve upon the first film. For a sequel nowadays, that in and of itself is a crowning achievement in Hollywood. (Note: I tried to avoid it, but there may be spoilers below. You have been warned.)

Continue reading ‘T2: Revenge of the Fallen (Zasa’s Review)’

24
May
09

Salvation from T3 – Terminator Salvation

(crossposted from NikoScream)

Terminator Salvation is out in theaters today. Following up on a poor third movie and from what I hear a decent enough series that was relegated to probably the least prime time of prime time slots out there, Salvation serves to show us what has been talked about and shown in brief glimpses: the battle between humanity and Skynet. How does that fair? well enought but not outstanding. Continue reading ‘Salvation from T3 – Terminator Salvation’

14
May
09

Movie Review – X-Men Origins: Wolverine

First things first: Deadpool is NOT Deadpool.

There, with that settled, all of you hardcore Deadpool fans can stop reading (not sure why you guys would be to begin with, but…) and everybody else can get a taste of my review.  Obviously, Origins is the story of Wolverine’s, er, origins.  We start with his mutant manifestation and travel through time, following Logan and half-brother Victor Creed [Sabertooth] through their exploits as soldiers – American Civil War, WW1, WW2, and Vietnam.  Finally, Stryker shows up and offers the two a free pass out of prison (for going all berserker on friendly troops) in exchange for their services on his “special team.”  All this in the span of the opening credits and some change. Continue reading ‘Movie Review – X-Men Origins: Wolverine’

03
May
09

Album Review: Utada – This is the One

For Hikaru Utada’s second attempt at breaking into the US market, I must say, I’m impressed.

As a Recording Industry major at MTSU, I’ve spent the last 4 years exploring all the many ways that the music industry has imploded on itself, while at the same time, exploded beyond all imagination. Back in 2004, when Utada released Exodus, the RIAA (the representative body of the recording industry – read: the 4 major labels) was actively sueing people.  Customers.  As in little girls who downloaded Avril Lavigne on their grandma’s computer because they had no money to buy the over-priced CD with only, maybe, 3  tracks they even liked and they happened to know that bandwidth was (and still is) way cheaper than gas and the aforementioned plastic circle.  Also, the only way to get good music at reasonable prices seemed to be on the interent.  And, oddly enough, that music was free.

Exodus went unnoticed by everyone, with the exception of her loyal fans (who only became fans because of Kingdom Hearts), that poor little girl’s family had to pay out way more money than even Avril Lavigne is worth, and music is still abundant – and free – on the internet.

Having said all that, This is the One brings up several good questions:

1. Utada, one of the most popular musicians in ASIA, has another English album – so what?

2. Even if I did care, why do I?

3. If by chance I did want to own this, why pay for it? Torrents are free, nigga!

Well, so are many direct downloads, and truthfully, I nearly pirated this album myself.  For the record, I didn’t (thank you iTunes).  As for why you should care, it’s Utada we’re talking about.  If you are reading this at all, you probably have “Simple and Clean,” “Sanctuary,”  and/or the Japanese originals on your iPod right now.  And if you missed out on Exodus, shame on you.  She happens to be a very unique artist compared to whats mainstream in the states right now, what with her cryptic, poetic writing and her luscious voice.  Despite being a little strained in the high registers, she has a decent range and she works it out on just about every track she does – English, Japaneses, doesn’t matter.

Now, Exodus is a weak album in terms of contemporary American R&B.  The lyrics are little too Japanese for typical American audiences and the album seems juvenile because of that.  It’s still one of my favorite albums.  This is the One, however, does what Exodus probably should have done for an American release.  This album is full of potential radio banggers – “Come Back to Me,” “Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence – FYI,” “On and On” just to name a few – and the beats on this album are much more accessible to us gaijin.  Her writing is more straight forward this time around, and she’s just as horny and sex-crazy now as she was on Exodus, cracking lines like “during my nine-to-five/I’m thinking six and nines” on “Dirty Desire.”  There’s also some heartache and growth to be had, like the opening track (“Come Back to Me”) and the catchy “Apple and Cinnamon.”  She even busts out an old-school, club-jazz inspired club dance track (“Poppin'”).

There is no reason not to listen to this album. The most unfortunate thing about this album is that it panders to western mainstream sensibilities.  Thankfully, it doesn’t suck.  Should you buy it, of course, is different.  If you are a fan of Utada – buy this album and support her as you should.  Otherwise, while I can’t officially condone pirating (stealing), I will say that imeem.com and others like it are free.  Stream the album there and she still gets paid – in fact, she probably gets paid more via online streams/downloads than she does via physical record sales.  Not that that mattes much, you won’t be seeing this in any Walmart anytime soon.

07
Mar
09

If You Thought that Jump Ultra Stars was Insane…

In 2005, Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump got it’s first video game in nearly a decade: Jump Super Stars. In it, 160 representatives from 27 different Jump series came together in a Super Smash Brothers style fighting game. A year later, a sequel was released: Jump Ultimate Stars. In Ultimate Stars, a whooping 300 representatives from 41 series were featured, giving players and almost encyclopedic map of Jump History.

For a while, many fans wondered if any other Manga magazines would follow suit with their characters.

It would appear that TWO Companies have decided to do just that!

Sunday x Magazine: Shuuketsu! Choujou Daikessen! is basically the manga magazine equivalent to Capcom Vs SNK. Is has been made in celebration of the 50th anniversaries of both Shonen Sunday and Shonen Magazine. The Game will be released in Japan on the PSP, March 26th.

In the right corner: Weekly Shonen Sunday! Home of various well known series, such as Gegege no Kitaro, All of Rumiko Takehashi’s manga (Urusei Yatsura, Ranma 1/2, and Inuyasha), Patlabor, Detective Conan (aka Case Closed), Hayate the Combat Butler, and Yakitate!! Japan.

In the left corner: Weekly Shonen Magazine! Home of equally well knonw series, such as Devilman, Boys Be…, Great Teacher Onizuka, Love Hena, Maho Sensei Negima, and Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei.

The game will feature (as of right now) 30 playible characters (which include Negi Springfield, Mechazawa of Cromartie High School, Inuyasha, Demon Eyes Kyo, Recca Hanabishi, and even Cyborg 009.) Nearly 100 other charatcers will appear as Support characters (this includes the cast of Sayonara Zestubou Sensei) in a some what similar fashion as the support komas of Jump Super/Ultra Stars.

Keep an eye on GONG for any other breaking news on one of the most ambitious manga crossovers of all time!