Entries Tagged as 'Movies'

Anime Review: Black Blood Brothers

Recently, I had the opportunity to finish the Black Blood Brothers: Box Set and I have to say that while it’s not in my top tier of favorite animes, it definitely ranks high up there in the next tier. This vampire based anime talks about how vampires and humans have set aside their differences and lived peacefully in a place called The Special Zone. There is a barrier that holds any vampire away from this area unless invited by a human being that is from here. Yet, there is a rogue clan of vampires called the Kowloon Children that are out to basically wipe both vampires and humans from existence. Think of them kind of like the infectious guy from Blade II.

So the point is that there is an older more chivalrous school of vampires called the Old Bloods, that do everything in the way of the old. They are the most powerful, but they also bound by rules and regulations that determine how they fit into society and how they judge are to be judged. There are multiple vampire houses like the Sei house, the Warlock house, and the Sage house and in the middle is a human controlled “Company” that is the neutral party. The entire political structure is actually pretty simplistic although in the anime, you soon realize that there is a public face of peace while the underlying foundation shows a darker and more sinister side.

The entire story arc is about Jiro Mochizuki, the Silver Blade, or Kinslayer, a name that was given to him after the Hong Kong Crusade ten years prior due to him defeating the Kowloon King and the majority of the Kowloon Children. It’s also about acceptance, and how two cultures come to see one another and how there was intermediaries that helped smooth things over to make a place for all people, vampire and human alike.

I personally found this story to be fairly well thought out although the depth wasn’t as much as GitS or FMA. What’s also interesting is that the end seemed to come rather quickly but left it open for a second season. Especially with how it left it open, it wouldn’t surprise me if another publisher would have picked up this story arc and ran with it again.

Anime Review: Darker Than Black

So here I’ve been watching a new anime series called Darker Than Black. While most studios are hit and miss, anything that’s touched by Bones seems to be fantastic and when you can afford to get Yoko Kanno to do the music, it’s probably one of the better animes out there.
So knowing all of this, the standard is set higher. Which also means that there’s a lot more detail that a reviewer pays attention to since it’s no “ordinary” anime.
Thankfully, Darker Than Black doesn’t have that issue at all. Years ago, the stars in the sky were wiped out by a false “sky” of sorts due to the appearance of an unknown body within Tokyo called Hell’s Gate. In this “sky”, stars appeared that correspond to individuals that have fantastic powers that are used to kill with a price. The story arc revolves around Hei (黒, Chinese: Black) whom acts like a chinese student as his cover but is actually a Contractor for the Syndicate known as “The Black Reaper”. While every other contractor seems to have a price, he alone seems to be able to move able easily and can control electricity without having paid any price (I actually have some thoughts about this, but they’re not justified thoughts). Pay attention to his appetite. Perhaps that’s his price?
All the while, there are other contractors out looking for him, British intelligence contractors called November 11 are out for him and an unknown there, and he doesn’t exactly know where the Tokyo superintendent that is in charge of dealing with contractors stands.
There really isn’t too much currently on why he’s searching for his sister whom he lost in an implosion at the South American gate (whom I assume is the name for white) and there’s probably some significance to the color choices. I also really love the fact that this is one of the few times that anime is using Chinese characters for characters, which is kind of neat.
If you’re a big fan of assassin type storylines with super powers, I think that you’d definitely like DTB.

Movie Review: Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

One of my favorite series growing up has always been Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and right there as a close contender was C.S. Lewis’ Narnia.
So it was little surprise when Peter Jackson pulled off the amazing LoTR series that there would be any surprise Narnia wasn’t far behind. And overall, it was a great story done very well.
Unfortunately, this second book in the chronological order was good, but a bit disappointing from the first movie. Perhaps it was the battle scenes that just were not as epic, or something. It wasn’t the actors and actresses since they proved that it was a worthy series to be made from the first book-to-movie transformation.
In any case, this is still a series that I would love to collect, but from what I’ve heard, they’re not making another one since it didn’t meet expectations for the box office. Which is a sad fate for a series since those characters fit in so well and you can only sign in youth acting only once in your lifetime (like the way they have it with the Harry Potter series).
I still whole-heartedly recommend watching this beautiful story if you have children and they’ve read or are reading the books in chronological order. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is one of the few timeless stories that will continue to woo our young in the future.

Movie Review: Quarantine

Made in the style of Blair Witch and Cloverfield, you will find that the entire film itself is from a news crew’s investigative reporting of a fire station, the following of the firefighting crew and the eventual lock down of an apartment complex when it gets infected by some sort of virus.
Not too difficult to follow, although I have to say that there were some questionable actions as far as how certain people were not infected for however long they were. The virus itself created almost like zombies that would eventually attack other human people and bite them.
It wasn’t a bad horror film, but not exactly scary although I am glad that there was less of a gore factor than your usual gorefest these days. What I don’t really understand is why they have to go for the neck. Zombies sort of go for necks but if infection is done by any sort of biting, then you could “bite a leg” and have the same effect. Or claw an arm. Or lots of things. It seemed like everyone was taken out by the jugular which was sort of …. not very realistic.
Unfortunately, if you’ve seen the Quarantine trailer, then you can put two and two together pretty quickly after the main story line heads into the building itself. There were too many people that made too many rookie and illogical moves in the film to actually let the viewer cross between reality and fantasy. For example…. if a woman is foaming at the mouth? I truly do not believe that emergency personnel would actually help that person up by holding them without restraints or something. The goal is to save someone’s life, but you also remember that emergency personnel have to protect themselves too when doing that to minimize any risk of infection or contamination.
Outside of that, I found the movie to be pretty neat although not really on the same level of Cloverfield. If you like the style, you might be interested in this film, but otherwise… I’d probably throw a pass card at it unless you just love all things zombified.

Movie Review: Lakeview Terrace

Okay. This movie definitely wasn’t for kids. At all. Ever. Seriously now… while it was rated PG-13, I wouldn’t have brought any of my young cousins to see this based on the implications and too much reference to things they really shouldn’t be dealing with in one single viewing.
That aside? Samuel L Jackson plays the a**hole racist cop very nicely. In fact, I think the fact that he doesn’t tone it down a little made the movie a little too dramatic. It was done very well from his angle but I felt that he took it to the extreme a bit. Could have been an issue with the script than actor, but that’s the way it was played out. Some of the critique of this movie has been that it plays well for the first hour, but it was almost overkill at the end. Which was exactly what I also had in mind when I saw the film.
Lakeview Terrace was creatively done and you do actually get a feel for why the tension is there and how it came to be. So there isn’t unfounded hate towards interracial couples but a forever unanswered question by Turner (Jackson) that causes the behavior. I believe that it was actually a well thought out movie outside of the drug and sex references alongside the overkill. Of course, better that then a monotonous boring thing that captures your attention for about ten minutes. This film definitely had me going the entire time.

Movie Review: Righteous Kill

If you’ve never heard of this movie, it’s worthy of renting or buying just based on the fact that you have two star performers, De Niro and Pacino. Midst the bad reviews by critics everywhere, I felt that these two performers have not only been in the entire guns blazing movies before, but they knew how to act the parts.
And indeed, the script wasn’t some Oscar winning beauty, but the two played the parts of detectives that didn’t take any crap as well as they play any other parts. The story itself wasn’t spectacularly original (and given the remakes in the past couple years, there shouldn’t catch anyone by surprise) and the plot twist was pretty predictable. Outside of those little things, you do get caught up in these two detectives looking for a vigilante that is out to take out those bad guys when justice didn’t prevail.
I found that the movie was actually decent and while it teetered on the entire … is it a B-rated film that I would be watching on a weekend off of the tube, I think that I’ve definitely seen worse when it comes to movies.
And who could not love this Righteous Kill tagline?
“Some respect the badge. Everybody respects the gun.”

Netflix interface for hardware devices could be better

Netflix, Inc. I absolutely adore Netflix. I mean, come on. This is one single company that I had fallen in love with before I became a shareholder.
And they’ve continued to surprise me time and again. Even as times are tough, Netflix has a great subscription base where it allows you to change the next months to whatever plan you wish. If it’s a lesser plan, they don’t send you DVDs until you return enough from your greater plan to actually meet the lesser.
But here’s the one single qualm I have with them. I’m not sure the reasoning behind it, and I hope that it’s just a timing issue or something, but it seems that the API that they give to the hardware players are just lacking. Take for example, Roku. The Roku player is wonderful and I absolutely adore the fact that I can watch streaming movies right there from my Netflix account. But the ability to add and browse movie selections from even just the Watch Instantly is entirely useful but nonexistent.
That small piece of the puzzle would turn Netflix into a content provider and promote hardware partnerships. It’s great if they have these companies that are willing to take just the Queue, but there’s so much more potential behind it.
I’m hoping that this interfacing at some point will be released to the hardware partners. I for one, will continue to be a customer, shareholder, and fan as long as they treat me right like they always have.

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Movie Review: Dead Space: Downfall

Of most American animation, most are pretty… dreary. At least for those of us that actually watch anime a lot since it really just comes off as a Justice League sort of feel.
But when it came right down to it, Dead Space: Downfall was actually one of the better done short animation films. This basically was the preface of the actual game, Dead Space, and gave the story line all the way up to the beginning of that game.
There’s probably not too much reason to go directly into the story arc, but it’s for the most part a science fiction space zombie type approach. It’s not as cheesy as I make it sound either, since there’s tremendous gore involved and the actual voice acting isn’t half bad at all.
The one thing that I probably would have loved better? If they had asked Madhouse Studios to do the animation. Those of us that actually watch the genre actually know that Madhouse is pretty much king when it comes to all things gore in animation. And they do it fantastically well. But outside of that little bit? I actually found this movie to be enjoyable and totally threw me a little bit. Maybe I’ve just been spoiled by the high quality animation from the Japanese studios.

Marvin Gaye for Valentine’s Day

Courtesy of Amazon MP3 Today and Saturday only (2/13/09, 2/14/09), you can bring the soothing voice of Marvin Gaye into your loved one’s life with a little “Let’s Get It On”.
For Free.
This promotion from Amazon is only good until the clock strikes 12AM Saturday night Pacific time, so get your free song now! Of course, if you happen to want to shop a little further… no one’s stopping you there either. It’s all for love… wait.. that’s someone else’s song.

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Movie Review: Traitor

Don Cheadle in this movie is… absolutely amazing. Like seriously, this was one of those thrillers that expressed how devout Muslims are to their religion, but also how some fight for their cause. Traitor held my attention the entire time without once letting go and I would probably give that entire credit to Cheadle’s character.
While this is fiction, I would totally recommend this movie to anyone that wants to see the inner workings and politics of a terrorism group and how one man’s belief can tear down the walls of any insanity. This movie defines the negative portrayal of Muslims in the west and tries to break that stereotype in showing that there is a difference between radical religion and religion.