Oct 24, 2014

[Movies] Scream (1996)

Horror movies hardly need to be stupid. If anything, some of the best horror movies don't rely on mere jump scares and ridiculously gory deaths. Instead they're clever and try to get into your head and play upon your expectations. And while this particular movie gets mocked a few times and has triggered some pretty crazy parodies, I still appreciate what they tried to accomplish here.

The first Scream movie was pretty novel in how it celebrated horror movie tropes but at the same time attempted to surpass them. It's easy to forget about this movie given all the bad sequels and copycat movies that would follow it. But really, I think it deserves revisiting. You can forget all the other Scream movies and just go back and enjoy this one for all that it's worth. And that's not exactly chump change.

I think this movie most shook me up because of how it so precisely followed many classic horror movie tropes, thus priming me to expect the shocking or scary moments, but then deliver it a beat early or several beats late. Just when you think you're ready for it, you find out that you're not. And that's part of the quirky cleverness of this movie.

Oct 23, 2014

[TV] Defiance: Season 2

I recognize that I've been too generous with many TV shows. If I start a show and somewhat like it, I try to finish the season in order to give it a decent chance to mature a bit and generally prove itself. But then once I've finished a season, I'm more likely to watch the next one out of sheer habit. And thus the vicious cycle goes on and on until I've reached this point where I seem to be flooded with a lot of bad TV choices.

I should have quit Defiance after the first season, but when the new episodes started appearing I figured it might not be too bad to at least check them out and see how things were shaping up. Maybe things were going to get better. And that is some pretty bad logic.

I admit this need to give TV more of a chance all stems from a bit of trauma involving the second season of LOST. I was ready to give up on the show early into that season but given how much Tobie loves the series, I pressed on. I honestly felt like I had underestimated the series somehow and thus I didn't want to make that same mistake again.

But then again, very few shows are like LOST.

Oct 22, 2014

[Transformers] Takara Masterpiece Soundblaster (MP-13B)

In the Transformers world, repaints, retools, and redecos are inevitable. It's a cost-saving measure that helps the likes of Hasbro and Takara to remain profitable by creating multiple characters using a single toy mold. Ever since Generation 1, this always seems to happen and there are certain relationships that are defined by their retools and redecos. For example, characters like Sideswipe and Red Alert will always share the same mold in the same what that Bumblebee will always result in a Cliffjumper figure as well.

As a Soundwave fan, the black Soundblaster repaint/redeco is inevitable, and it has resulted in some interesting releases over the years. I've actually done my best to include these black redecos as part of my Soundwave collection since it almost seems traditional in that sense. And in this case, the release of Takara Transformers Masterpiece Soundwave meant that a Soundblaster was going to come out sooner or later.

And here he is. And he came with Ratbat.

Oct 21, 2014

[Books] Doctor Who: Corpse Marker (Monster Collection Edition)

We're coming up to the last few books in the Doctor Who: Monster Collection and this leaves us with the somewhat less-known monsters, especially for those who us a little late to the Doctor Who dance program. If anything, I figured these books would be a nice bridge for current fans to get into Classic Doctor Who stories in time, provided one has access to them.

Corpse Marker brings us the dreaded robots that had been seen in the episode, "The Robots of Death" together with the Fourth Doctor. Beyond featuring similar robots, this story was actually positioned as a direct sequel to that episode. It was certainly an interesting direction to take (somewhat similar to Scales of Injustice). But beyond just being a sequel story, it actually takes place very shortly after the episode itself.

The book certainly tried to capture the feel of a true Doctor Who television adventure and I could totally see the progression from each act of the story to the other. The final reveal as a whole was a little underwhelming though and things ended somewhat abruptly for me.

Oct 20, 2014

[Movies] The Book of Life (2014)

Guillermo Del Toro is one of the more interesting figures in the movie making industry given his unique artistic vision and clear passion for what he creates. And while he predominantly deals in the realms of horror, he has demonstrated interesting range with big summer blockbuster flicks like Pacific Rim among others.

So when news broke out that Del Toro was behind the animated feature project The Book of Life, I was both surprised and excited. Here was something rather new from Del Toro (although you could argue his Hellboy movies had similar sensibilities in some ways) and the early looks at the movie looked pretty stunning.

And this was a movie that was centered around the Mexican Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos), a rather interesting take on the need to remember the dead. My first exposure to this aspect of Mexican culture was actually through the classic LucasArts adventure game, Grim Fandango. The game literally took you to a weird afterlife with the skeletal protagonist Manny Calavera. But that could hardly prepare me for the visual feast that this movie turned out to be.

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