Nov 28, 2014

[Movies] Batman & Robin (1997)

When I decided to post reviews for the entire "classic" Batman movies, I knew that I was going to have a tricky time with this last one. Let's face it, Batman & Robin is just one of those movies that seems to dominate a lot of different "worst movie" lists for many reasons and I can't say that I entirely disagree with them. Then again, I'd like to think that the movie still has some merit on its own as opposed to merely being probably the worst movie in the original quadrilogy of Batman movies.

Batman & Robin marked the series really going in a direction that felt completely different from the original vision defined by Tim Burton in Batman. And this shift was clearly not well-received by those fans who started with the 1989 movie, but I can see how it could have served to open the doors to new fans entirely. And this was obviously want the studio wanted - to tap into a much younger fan base and sell more toys.

But yeah, just because you're making a movie being marketed to kids doesn't necessarily mean you have to make a movie so silly, it's beyond the acceptable range of ridiculous. Or something like that.

Nov 27, 2014

[TV] Over the Garden Wall

I wasn't quite sure what to expect from Over the Garden Wall when buzz started to build around the web. I heard nothing about this project while it was in development and as a limited series it took a while before feedback from the first few episodes of this mini-series started to really get around. But when we finally took the time to watch the show, I have to admit that we were pretty much blown away.

It's hard to describe what exactly Over the Garden Wall is as a television experience, but it did invoke similar feelings to when Tobie and I first really sat down to watch Adventure Time. We knew that we were seeing something pretty amazing from a truly creative perspective, even though we couldn't quite articulate all the things that made us like the show so much.

This is no ordinary cartoon, especially from an American perspective. If anything, it feels like it carries a certain maturity and complexity that one more associates with Japanese anime like the works of Studio Ghibli and other groups. And this sort of storytelling is always welcome.

Nov 26, 2014

[Games] Angry Birds Transformers (iOS)

I never really got into the Angry Birds franchise for one reason or another. They're decent enough games but I guess physics simulators just never really drew me in from a gaming perspective. I'm more of a puzzle / strategy kind of guy when it comes to the mobile market.

And then Angry Birds Transformers was announced and I was rather skeptical about the game and I was very much prepared to hate it. But then the first trailer for the game came out, which was essentially the game's opening sequence, and I have to admit that I was now curious. And the whole 1980's treatment for things (including VHS tracking lines!) was an interesting decision.

The actual game didn't feel like the other Angry Birds game and it certainly showed a lot of potential. But I've been playing the game for a while now and it has gotten rather bogged down in that black hole many freemium games setup. Such a shame really.

Nov 25, 2014

[Comics] Spider-Island

I've previously written about my love for the perhaps more "classic" Spider-Man for many number of reasons. But the Clone Saga just broke my heart and I never really went back to Spider-Man and practically most of Marvel for quite a number of years. But that doesn't mean I don't still hold some love for the character. And recent comiXology sales have sort of preyed on my overall curiosity about more recent Spider-Man stories.

It started when I picked up the complete volume 2 run of Scarlet Spider and read up on how the heck Kaine went from being the enigmatic, horribly scarred Peter Parker clone to, well, a gutsier, edgier perfect Peter Parker clone. And all roads led me back to the Spider-Island event, which seemed a little ridiculous to read about as synopsis.

But a recent comiXology sale got me to pick the entire Spider-Island bundle for a good deal. And I have to admit, it was a nice experience to get back into reading a Spider-Man focused story. But then this also reminded me of the horrific plot minefield that had been created after the One More Day and Brand New Day story arcs.

I don't think I was fully ready to see a Peter Parker who was not involved with Mary Jane Watson.

Nov 24, 2014

[Movies] A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014)

I'm not much of a Seth MacFarlane fan for one reason or another. I suppose the fact that one of the most common adjectives used to describe his humor includes "juvenile" explains a bit part of the reason behind my general lack of interest. But I recognize that he's developed enough of a fan following to mean that I can't entirely ignore him at this point. And these days, he seems more and more interested in making movies.

A Million Ways to Die in the West really felt like a project that came out of nowhere. Thus far MacFarlane's work has capitalized on his ability to capture Boston humor in his TV shows and even his movies. But to go in a completely different direction by making a Western instead of something in a more modern setting did strike me as rather odd.

But h was able to gather quite the cast for this movie, and so I was a little more than curious to see how things would ultimately turn out. Ted had been a rather entertaining movie that certainly helped demonstrate that MacFarlane had the ability to be more than just a TV creator. In contrast, this movie fumbled in many other ways.

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