Guest Review

Stargate M.E.H. Guest Review

Stargate Universe

Stargate Universe premiered last week and we’ve got a little guest review courtesy of AZM Ally Samurai Art Guy:

… Of course, this does a LOT to break the necessary “suspension of disbelief” that is so critical to the enjoyment of Science Fiction, where the reader or viewer has to swallow a hatfull of typically fairly preposterous bullshit as basic premises or critical elements to the story. To make matters worse, a lot of the backstory of Universe was told in flashback segments, so with the constant interruptions, it was very difficult to follow the now-fractured trail of the narrative. So SyFy seems to be trying, a la Fox, to kill a program they have been heavily marketing throw their increasingly clueless handling. And speaking of Fox, it’s also up against Joss Wheedon’s edgy and intriguing and better written Dollhouse in the same time slot. So annoy the viewers too much, and you’ll LOSE them.

OK, the show itself. While it was flashy and pretty, and all “Stargatey” with the usual cues, it’s not strong. And if you’ve ever seen Star Trek: Voyager, [Babylon 5] “Excalibur” (sad), Space 1999 (VERY sad), or… LOST IN SPACE (Hurl!) You already know everything you need to know about Stargate:Universe. It feels like the show is yet another recycle of the “quest in space” genre of space shows. Mind you, when you layer in character based drama, the trope CAN work. Strictly speaking Battlestar Galactica [ both incarnations ] is a “quest in space” howler in both versions, but we get into the sweep of the story as experienced by the characters, from the FIRST FIVE MINUTES. Bill and Lee Adama, Kara Thrace, Colonel Tigh, Laura Roslin, Six, Boomer, The Chief, Helo… grabbed me by some deep place in the back of My brain and down in My gutz. But the characters we’ve seen so far on SG:Universe don’t impress Me. …

Sounds like a hot sci fi mess. I’d give it a few more episodes before I completely write it off, but it doesn’t sound like SGU brought its “A” game. By contrast, the first two episodes of Dollhouse have really kicked things off strong. You can tell Joss isn’t pulling any more punches and the show is better for it. SyFy’s invested way too much in SGU to let it fail. But it sounds like they need to kick things up fairly soon before we completely write the channel off as a mere shadow of its former self.

You can read the rest of the review at Samurai Art Guy’s site.

Guest Review of Coraline

Coraline

Angry Zen Minion Tyler Anderson sent in this wonderful guest review of Coraline.

Coraline. Is. The. Shit. Period.

As an avid stop-motion animation fan, I was incredibly excited for Coraline. My excitement was well rewarded with an incredible experience, which excels in almost every aspect of the format. From the backgrounds to the little realistic motions like hair moving and water to the jiggle of overweight tennants, everything is spot on. Consider the fact that Coraline’s hair was made up primarily of wire, and every time that her hair seemed to move it was individual pieces of wire being moved millimeter by millimeter per frame. Seeing it move on screen without feeling like it wasn’t moving naturally was astounding. The 3D is done very well also. It’s not your typical gimmicky 3D where things pop out at you every seven seconds to capitalize on the novelty, instead the entire movie was shot in 3D. You have a perpetual feeling of everything kind of hovering in front of you a little bit off the screen, which was nice, especially when they used it when you weren’t expecting it, like names in the credits hovering above what’s going on onscreen. This felt less like a gimmick and much more like an actual experience.

For those who aren’t acquainted, Coraline, based on a book written by Neil Gaiman and was written for the screen and directed by Harry Selick (of “James and the Giant Peach” and “Nightmare Before Christmas” fame) is the story of Coraline Jones (Dakota Fanning,) a 12 year old girl who moves from Michigan to the “Pink Palace Apartments,” a slightly dilapidated, pink three story Victorian. Her mother (Teri Hatcher) and father (John Hodgeman) are working on a gardening magazine and are as a result too stressed and preoccupied for her. This leads to her exploring the house and discovering a little door, which her mother explains, was blocked off when the house was split into apartments. Apartments which are occupied by Mr. “B” Bobinsky, voiced by Ian McShane; a Russian Circus performer, and downstairs are Ms. Forcible and Ms. Spink a pair of elderly, former burlesque performers who have a collection of Scottie dogs, living and dead, and are voiced by Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, respectively. Upon hearing a squeaking coming from downstairs late one night, Coraline heads to the source of the noise, noticing that the previously shut little door, is open. She crawls through to a world where her “other” mother and “other” father have been waiting for her. Her “other” mother is slightly thinner and much more attentive than that of her real mother, offering all manner of treats and her “other” father is much more eccentric, playing jaunty tunes and gardening in an automated, preying mantis shaped gardening machine. The only other major distinction between her two sets of parents being the button eyes her “other” parents are sporting, which are both whimsical and very creepy at the same time. Needless to say things are not entirely how they seem. And what looked as though it was the perfect place for her starts to turn into a twisted realm.

This is a great movie for all ages. In a time where children’s animation and entertainment is catered more to short attention spans and mass marketing, Coraline takes it’s time. Case in point; I took my little sister along, she enjoyed the movie, but the first thing she did was complain that it was too long. At only one hour and fourty minutes I felt differently. Coraline allows itself to touch on the creepy undertones of the movie. Scenes with the “other” mother and “other” father, despite being full of whimsical imagery still managed to creep me out a little bit, which I felt was perfect it feels very reminiscent of Seleck’s other works, which is by no means a bad thing. One of the best parts of this movie is the fact that unlike other animated features, the voiceover work doesn’t at any time feel annoying or grating. The only part of Coraline I felts could have been done without was that of Wybie. He and his “other” equivalent are the tagalong charactrs for Coraline through their native worlds and he seemed to serve no purpose other than to introduce the Cat (voiced by Keith David,) which, while it doesn’t speak in the real world, serves as a guide for Coraline through the “other” world. In short, Coraline is excellently animated, very well acted and is a visual treat. I would very highly recommend seeing it in 3D if your local cinema supports it.

Thanks, Tyler! Brilliant review.

Audrey and I caught this on Saturday and absolutely fell in love with the movie. It was also our first 3D movie experience and I totally agree with Tyler. If it’s available, you MUST see it in 3D. A totally new movie experience for me and well worth the ticket price.

Early Kamen Rider Dragon Knight Review

Kamen Rider Dragon Knight Riders

I missed the sneak preview of Kamen Rider Dragon Knight on December 13 because I was out of town. But AZM Ally Mike Dent has a quick review of the premier episode. From what I gather, it seems like Dragon Knight is starting out on the right foot. I hope this is just the start of more American Kamen Rider. I really want Faiz to come soon because I really want Faiz belts. I’ll be the first in line if they’re sold in Toys R Us. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Dragon Knight drops January 3 on the CW. It’s going to kick all sorts of ass!

[Via Justice Ace]

Guest Reviews of Repo

The Repo Man

Most of us will have to wait for the DVD to come out, but as it turns out, two Angry Zen Minions have actually seen Repo! The Genetic Opera.

Our first guest review comes from Angry Zen Minion Tyler Anderson:

It’s a big steaming bowl of meh. And while I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t particularly like Paris Hilton or any of the Saw films, I had at least a little bit of hope for this having some good music. Nope. And unfortunately, the presence of Paris Hilton is part of what makes it so terrible. There are several good actors in this film whose careers will hopefully not suffer as a result. And I see now why there are only a handful of available music numbers online. The movie is almost entirely an actual opera in the sense that they sing almost everything. But sadly everything you’ve seen online is basically the extent of what’s enjoyable. Almost all of the pertinent exposition is done via comic book styled panels. In my opinion, it’s not worth seeing. Watching this movie should somehow be featured as one of the tortures of the next Saw movie.

Yikes! Let’s see what Angry Zen Minion Brian Dirk has to say about the Repo:

Hey!

Figured I Would pass along a Repo! review, since I was lucky enough to see it here in Las Vegas.

Just figured I’d pass along a review of Repo! The Genetic Opera.

It is necessary to say at the get go: if you can’t handle gore: don’t see Repo! Pretty much every major plot element has some sort of macabre or gory moment associated with it. The viscera adds to the fun factor, but my wife had to close her eyes at some of the worst bits.

Anthony Stewart Head is *brilliant* as the Repo Man, and his transformation from killer to conflicted family man and back in several scenes is nothing short of magical. Paris Hilton rocks the house down as her character. To be honest, she was type-cast, and it worked well for this picture. The supporting cast, what little performances they had, were spot on as well. There were moments where Alexa Vega didn’t fully own the suspension of disbelief necessary to carry some of the more outlandish plot elements of the movie. But overall, her performance was decent: and her interaction with Anthony Head felt very genuine.

I really wished this had been a two hour movie (it is roughly 90 minutes). Some of the cuts from scene to scene felt very rushed, and some plot elements seemed to have been compressed or not fully fleshed out. This made me a little sad, as I would have sat through another 30 minutes to an hour of the movie to get some satisfaction on these points. Even despite these roadblocks, the story still maintains enough power and force to keep the viewer enthralled to the bloody (literally) end.

The soundtrack is pervasive and exceptional. The songs that have a defined length are catchy and fun, yet also expository and develop the characters. The characters, however, sing nearly all their lines: which makes some of the more mundane moments of the movie sound like they were attempting Gregorian chants in English. Unfortunately the theatre I saw Repo! in forgot two things about awesome rock music: 1.) Rock the Bass! 2.) Turn it up! So the music didn’t have the fullest impact it could for my audience. Fortunately I bought the soundtrack from I-Tunes and was able to hear the songs with full impact later.

All in all, Repo! is a grand experience full of campy fun. It is fun to see, fun to talk to your friends about, and fun to listen to the sound track on your way to work.

Now that sounds like something to see with a bunch of friends!

So there you have it. AZM, fair and balanced for once. I suspect that people will either really love this movie or absolutely hate this movie. Audrey already rolls her eyes when I tell her to check out my posts about Repo. I think I’ll still check this out on DVD when it drops. The closest showing to me is this Friday in Pittsburgh. I’m not that hardcore unfortunately.

Gundam Seed MG 1/100 Lukas Strike E + I.W.S.P Reviewed

Our first AZM Allstar review!

AZM Allstar Kevin Bahrt uploaded his review of Bandai’s Gundam Seed MG 1/100 Lukas Strike E + I.W.S.P. (which you can pick up from AZM preferred vendor HobbyLink Japan). I never put on the decals either Kevin. Tweezers might work, but I never like the stock decals. This was recorded on Kevin’s phone. Pretty sweet looking kit. I swear, someday, I’ll get back in gunpla.

So if any of you AZM readers out there have some video reviews of toys or movies or just whatever, send em along and I’ll pimp them out!

Spill Goes to Comic-Con

Spill's Hancock

So I got this press release in the good ol’ inbox alerting me to some site called Spill.com doing animated reviews of Comic-Con. Animated reviews, huh? Before I pimp something out, I like to see for myself if it is full of the awesome sauce or the suck… um… sauce. So I hopped on over and checked out their review of Hancock.

Okay, I’m sold. Pretty sweet review, decent animation, and now I really want to see Hancock. So Spill is heading to Comic-Con and will release daily (?!!) animated wrap-ups of each day. They’ll also be hitting five panels of awesomeness:

Here are just a few of the events Spill.com hopes to cover during SDCC 2008:

  • 1. Warner Bros.: The Watchmen (Friday 11:55 – 1 pm) | One of the year’s most highly anticipated films.
  • 2. Family Guy: The Cleveland Show Sneak Peak (Friday 3:30 – 4:15 pm) | An early look at the Family Guy spinoff.
  • 3. Terminator Salvation (Saturday 1:15 – 2 pm) | Terminator is back and Spill.com will have the scoop.
  • 4. Sony: First Looks at Underworld, Quarantine, and Pineapple Express. (Saturday 5:30 – 7 pm) | First looks at some of Sony’s most anticipated upcoming films.
  • 5. Lionsgate Films: The Spirit and Punisher: War Zone | See what’s planned for these two huge comic-book adaptations.

If you’re going to be at SDCC, be on the lookout for Spill.com. If not, make sure you tune into Spill.com throughout the show for ongoing coverage of one of the year’s biggest events!

You know, these days Comic-Con is more like Movie-Television-Gaming-Toys-and-maybe-some-Comics-Con these days. It’s awesome and fun and all, but srsly, where’s the comics?

Anyway, Spill, yes, quite good. I’m looking forward to what they’ve got cooked up for Comic-Con. And I’ll be checking out more of their reviews. Nuff said!

[Via Spill]

Dark Knight Lives Up to Hype

I’m going to post two of the reactions I’ve gotten from people who saw the advanced screening of Dark Knight.

Figured I’d pass some input on the Dark Knight along to fellow enthusiasts. A friend of mine caught some of the tickets for the Las Vegas showing of the Dark Knight in IMAX last night, which opened up at: http://whysoserious.com/kickingandscreening/.

We went, I watched. My Jaw Dropped. My pants, my seat, and my socks became crunchy. It was a 2hour and 22 minute geekgasm. It does in fact surpass the hype.

Absolutely amazing!

~ Colloquialist

And here’s a text I got from Nick last night.

a true hush over everyone. tdk unpredictably superior. i can’t speak. all 4 of us cant even talk about it now. powerful beyond and somber and superior.

‘Nuff said.

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