Sep 1, 2014

[Movies] Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno (2014)

So the first Rurouni Kenshin live-action movie was rather brilliant. And while not necessarily a great movie strictly on its own merits, it was a great adaptation of the anime series and one that had a lot of long-time fans very, very happy. And admittedly, I enjoyed it too.

So we finally have the second movie of what is now a trilogy of Kenshin movies - Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno, which launched here in a rather grand way complete with members of the cast being present. Of course since I wasn't fully attuned to the news related to this movie, I was pretty surprised that they've already confirmed that the next installment will screen by September. Strike while the iron is hot, I suppose.

They've certainly tried to take things up a few notches - which is only naturally since the folks behind it feel a lot more assured of their potential success. And the actors are obviously a lot more comfortable in their respective roles. And so things were practically fated to get better.

Aug 31, 2014

[Books] Too Busy for Love

The gay and lesbian section of NetGalley is a really mixed bag of books to review. Majority of them are romances of one kind or another ranging from typical boy-next-door situations to high fantasy pieces in far off kingdoms. Unfortunately, a vast majority of them are the equivalent of those cheap romance novels one gets at a drug store counter or something - mindless romantic versions of penny dreadfuls, if you will.

Too Busy For Love was one of the earlier books that I had downloaded from the review site in order to build up some credibility in the review market, or something like that. I had no idea which publishers would be willing to send me books so I applied for a lot of review copies and this was one of them. But it got buried beneath my other Kindle books and so it pretty much got forgotten.

The other week I decided to reorganize my Kindle titles and make sure that I have a better system for tracking review copies. That helped unearth this book, which really only took an afternoon to read. And yet that still made it feel like a waste of my time.

Aug 29, 2014

[Movies] Contact (1997)

In my latter elementary school years, I started to go through that classic cycle of seeing movies adapted from books that I had read and seeing the differences between the original and cinematic versions. I first went through this with Jurassic Park. This movie marks my second foray into the world of adaptations.

Contact received rather mixed reviews at the box office, but I have to admit that I really liked the movie. Sure, it wasn't a perfect translation of the original story found in the book, but it was still a pretty interesting cinematic experience. And it's one that made me think a lot and my appreciation for the movie became helpful for a reaction paper in high school or something along those lines.

This movie taught me not to be ashamed to like something even if some other folks don't. It also taught me that just because a movie ends up being different from the original book in a few ways, it doesn't make it a bad movie experience. If anything, it just stresses that film is a different medium from books and one cannot expect each to tackle the same subject in exactly the same way. And the differences in treatment can make all the difference.

Aug 28, 2014

[TV] Utopia: Series 2

When Utopia first came out last year, Tobie and I were pretty blown away. It was a show that felt totally original and was quite gripping at that. And as much as there was quite an amount of violence on the show (some of which involved young children), the visual treatment of the show helped keeps things from falling into a deep hole of gratuitous violence or something.

I have to admit that I wasn't sure if a second series for the show would be commissioned. Utopia isn't exactly the kind of TV experience that you expect a horde of viewers to latch onto. But for one reason or another the show survived to continue on with another batch of episodes and fans like us were pretty thrilled with the idea. And given how things had ended in the first series, it was anyone's guess as to where the show would go next.

I suppose Utopia's appeal sort of depends on the strength of its storytelling and just how starkly beautiful its visuals are. It's a show with a very dark story but one with very clever use of bright, vibrant colors. And so more than just a show that exercises your mind as you try to keep up with the twists and turns of this global conspiracy, you also get quite the visual feast for your eyes with a rich musical score to go with things, too.

Aug 27, 2014

[Games] Diablo III: Reaper of Souls (PS3)

So I totally fell in love with the PS3 port of Diablo III when it came out given what a delightful console experience it is. And for a guy who has played most of the games in the Dynasty Warriors series because of a love of games with local co-op options, the entry of Diablo III into the market turned out to be a most welcome one.

And now Diablo III: Reaper of Souls is finally out for consoles, typically packaged in what they're calling the Ultimate Evil Edition that comes bundled with the original game. Even before the release of the PS3 version, I was pretty curious as to how they'd release this expansion. The easy route would have been to just focus on some sort of massive DLC update that would bring the game up to speed. But I'm kind of glad how they implemented the physical version of the game.

The decision to bundle the expansion with the original game though just shows that the added content wasn't exactly all that significant in terms of disc usage and such. But it's still a heck of a lot of fun and what it seems to lack in terms of added story it makes up for in added gameplay.

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