Thursday, July 31, 2014

Legend of Korra to Stream Live Online

After the odd announcement that The Legend of Korra was taken off the air and would be disturbed digitally, their panel at Comic-Con clarified the confusing by saying the series will stream live online. While the reports I have read did not specifically say where the series will be online this (or next) Friday, I assume will air it. According to the creators, the series' lower TV ratings compared to its strong internet presence is the main reason for the shift. Bryan Konietzko and Michael DiMartino also stated that the transition did not go as smoothly as they would have liked, but it had to be done. From what I understand, the majority of The Legend of Korra's audience is in the teen to young adult range, and a large majority of viewers watch the series on illegally online, so the shift to strictly digital makes a lot of sense for Nick to make more money and for the series' continued success. Since posting about The Legend of Korra's shift to digital last week, I have now seen all of Book 1 of The Last Airbender, as well as most of Book 2. Despite a slow start, I am really enjoying the mythos and fanbase of the series. If there are enough fans of the series, I will write and post my reviews for each Book (season). I already know I have one reader interested, but more Avatar and Korra related could be a area for J and J Production can expand into, providing the audience is there, so please comment and let me know if you are a fan of the franchise.

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New Hunger Games: Mockingjay Trailer

After several propaganda teasers, a real Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 1 trailer is here. Sure, this trailer/teaser is certainly short, but it gives us a small bit of the film's rebellion type tone. Considering that rebellion movies are some of my favorites, I hope Mockingjay can pull it off. For some reason, the people climbing trees looks odd (gif below), but other than that, cool teaser. While I am not entirely sure, I think that one of those short clips might be from the scenes filmed in my hometown. I will have to see more before I can say for sure, but it might be. Also, do not forget to check out today's other post about the Legend of Korra by clicking here.
Note: Sorry for not replying to comments lately, my arm is getting worse again.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

New Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Trailer

The new Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies trailer is here, and yeah, it is epic. While the visuals in the trailer are amazing epic and very Lord of the Rings feel, what makes this trailer something special is the song, "Edge of Night." If you remember, that is the song that Pippin sung for Denethor during Faramir's attack, and it is a more than perfect choice for the trailer song. As always, I cannot wait for my next journey into Middle Earth. If you have read the books, please refrain from spoiling anything, and comment below with your thoughts. 

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy Sequel Release Date

Less than a week before Guardians of the Galaxy hits theaters, Marvel has already set the release date for the sequel, July 28, 2017! Director, James Gunn, is set to return, as well as the first film's writers. Early reviews for Guardians of the Galaxy are overwhelmingly positive with it currently scoring a 100% on the Rotten Tomato meter, granted it is early yet. However, other trust reviewed sites are saying that it is one of Marvel's best to date, and considering how utterly amazing The Winter Soldier was earlier this year, Guardians of the Galaxy sounds like it will be something truly special. Also, many have praised the film for being the funniest blockbuster in ages, as well as having a lot of heart and lovable characters. In short, I am so excited for the film that I can barely contain it. When are you going to see the Guardians of the Galaxy? Please comment below and let me know, also do not forget to check out the other Comic-Con news that I posted about today by clicking here.

Here is the awesome song from the movie and trailer, "Hooked On a Feeling."

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Hobbit, Ant-Man, and More Comic-Con Posters

New posters for the upcoming The Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies, Ant-Man, and Mad Max: Fury Road have been revealed! Comic-Con is now over, but not a lot has happened. Yesterday you saw the new Avengers posters, and here are the rest of the notable ones revealed during Comic-Con.
"The Defining Chapter" is what the tagline of the poster states, and while it is not audacious like the Guardian of the Galaxy's "You're Welcome" tagline, it is actually a little cliched. Regardless, hopefully this will be the defining chapter as the final film in the trilogy will be even better than the first two. I am still wondering where is the trailer?! Not that it actually matters since I am going to see the movie regardless, but I am still curious. Also, "The Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies" is still as incredibly unruly as ever. 

While more of concept art than a true poster, Ant-Man's new poster is definitely cool. At Comic-Con some very strange reveals such as Evangeline Lilly playing Hank Pym's daughter, Hope Van-Dyne, instead of who we assumed she would play, Janet Van-Dyne, aka the Wasp. When all the details are officially released and make sense, I will probably post about it, but until then, we shall see if Marvel can salvage Ant-Man after Edgar Wright leaving the project.

The Mad Max trilogy is something that I have been meaning to watch for years now, but I have yet to get around to doing so. However, maybe the upcoming Tom Hardy reboot will turn out better than the other 80s reboots, considering that the same director behind the original films is directing the new one, which certainly sets it apart. Maybe when the new one rolls around, I will watch and review the original trilogy.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Avengers: New Comic-Con Age of Ultron Posters and More

At the Comic-Con, Marvel has released more details on Age of Ultron, as well as amazing new posters that combine to create one epic Avengers Assembling collage. Also at the Comic-Con panel, some footage from the film was released, which featured some great humor and a darker tone towards the end. I do not want to spoil what was shown at Comic-Con, because, from what I have read, it shows some possible spoilery content. However, the response from the viewers was most definitely positive, and these new posters show a surprising amount of detail about Age of Ultron as well.
For those not familiar, the robots that the Avengers are fighting in the poster, which is my new desktop background, are Ultron's army of drones. Also, Hawkeye seems to be having a bit of trouble in the bottom right corner.
Of the new posters, Quicksilver's is probably the most intriguing, and not for the reasons you might expect. If you look at the top middle right there is a flying humanoid. Anyone familiar with the comics will quickly notice that the flying humanoid is none other than the Vision. In Age of Ultron, The Vision (picture below) will be played by Paul Bettany, aka Jarvis, which means that at some point in the film, Jarvis will be turned into The Vision from the comics, and the look of the character appears to be almost exactly like the comics. 

What do you think of these posters? Please comment below and let me know.

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Wonder Woman Costume Revealed

Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman costume for Batman V Superman has been revealed, and I have to say that it could have been much worse. I'll start with the positives first. Well, Gal looks cool in the costume, at least while she is standing still. I am glad she is wearing a battle skirt thing opposed to pants to keep with the Geek aesthetic, and the Tira looks alright. The sword is cool, and the breastplate looks functional and keeps with the classic design to a degree. On the negatives, it kind of has the look of a costume that you buy at a costume store. The gauntlets do not look heavy enough or like metal, and the overall look of the costume doesn't seem heavy enough. Marvel has done an excellent job with costumes based on ancient designs like the Asgardians in Thor, so why can't DC do it as well? Also, her Lasso of Truth is barely visible and should probably stand out more. Overall, not bad. Gadot might actually have what it takes, and maybe it will look better on film. What do you think? Please comment below and let me know.

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Korra Moving to Digital?

The Legend of Korra, the popular Avatar: The Last Airbender spinoff, is said to be moving to digital after the first few episodes of the seasons received low viewership. As of now, all the creators are saying is that more information will be revealed at Comic-Con. While I have yet to watch The Legend of Korra, I am working my way through the Avatar series so that I can catch up with the fandom, but I wanted to update Korra fans on what is going on. What digital site the series is moving to is unknown, but considering that the majority of the series' fanbase ranges from teenages to adults, moving to digital distribution is a good idea. Maybe the series will air on Netflix, the Nickelodeon website, and some have even suggested Crunchyroll, although I am not a fan of the idea since only premium members will be about to see it in HD. What do you think of the news? Please comment below and let me know. Also check back for more Comic Con news.

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Top 25 Best Comic Book Casting Choices: Part 2

My top 25 Best Comic Book Casting Choices list continues with more entries on the list. Please be sure to check back next week for more of the list, as well as the podcast where I discuss my Top 5 Worst Comic Book Character casting choices with a guest host.

At Number 20: Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner
When audiences come out of a movie with three previously established actors in iconic roles and you are just as memorable as they are, you are doing something right, and that is exactly what Mark Ruffalo did in the role of Bruce Banner/The Hulk in The Avengers. One would think that out of the characters in the Avengers, Ruffalo's Bruce Banner/Hulk would be brushed to the side, and that certainly was not the case thanks to Ruffalo's fantastic performance. He was able to match wits with Downey's Stark. In the upcoming Age of Ultron, Andy Serkis is lending his amazing motion capture skills to help Ruffalo bring the Hulk to life even better than before! 

At Number 19: Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth
Michael Caine is Alfred Pennyworth; OK moving on.... Alright fine, I will elaborate further. Michael Caine is at his best when playing supporting roles, and this is easily my favorite of his. He far out shines Christian Bale's Batman whenever they are on screen together.

At Number 18: J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson
J.K. Simmons' J. Jonah Jameson is ripped right off the page. Out of all the actors on this list, no other actor matches his comic book counterpart in terms of look and personality than Simmons as Jameson. He was hilarious, bombastic, and so absurdly fun to watch! Simmons even continue to voice the character in various animated series, and he wants to reprise his role in the new Spider-Man series, although I am not entirely sure what to think of that possibility.

At Number 17: Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy
Out of superhero romantic interests, no other is more believable and lovable than Emma Stone's Gwen Stacy. After the recent Amazing Spider-Man 2, Stone solidified herself as the definitive love interest for Spider-Man. Stone's natural chemistry with Andrew Garfield is positively perfect with their cute and believable dialogue exchanges.  

At Number 16: Gary Oldman as Jim Gordon
Gary Oldman is the absolute perfect casting choice for Jim Gordon. He not only looks the part, but his performance is spot on for the character. Of the characters in Nolan's Batman trilogy, Gordon is often the most underrated, while being, arguably, the most realistically developed and human character of the entire cast. Even though I normally do not care about the stupid things celebrities say, Oldman's recent comments about how he believes The Dark Knight trilogy and the Harry Potter franchise are essentially dumb and should not be regarded as quality works of film has pissed me off a bit, hence the lower ranking on the list.

Please check back next week for the continuation of the list, and please comment with what you think of my choices.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Top 25 Best Comic Book Casting Choices: Part 1

As with any type of adaptation, casting the right actors to play each respective role is crucial. Sometimes, a casting choice is completely wrong for the character in every way, while other times the actor in question actually improves upon the source material with their interpretation of the character, which is what this list will cover. From Marvel to DC to even lesser known publishers like Image and Darkhorse Comics, hundreds of actors have placed characters based on comic book characters. For my 25 Top list, any actor that played a character based on a comic book character in live-action is eligible for the list. As much as I wanted to include the best Batman and Joker, Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill, or even Nolan North as Deadpool from the video games, my list will only include live-action performances. However, live-action television actors are eligible as well. My criteria is based on multiple factors including, accuracy to the comics, new aspects the actor brought to the character, can I see anyone else in the role, and personal preference. Also, the list will only include actors that played characters that originated in the comics, which means sorry Clark Gregg, you are not eligible, but you will be included on another upcoming list. In addition to all that, the Top 5 on the list will be discussed in a podcast, as well as the 5 worst casting choices. In the words of the Joker, "And here we go!"

Honorable Mention: Anthony Mackie as Falcon
Anthony Mackie's performance as Sam Wilson/Falcon was one of the many incredible aspects of The Winter Soldier, and while he will certainly make the list if he continues to impress in future films, he just misses the 25th spot.

At Number 25: Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts
While Paltrow receives quite a bit of hate for her off screen life, which I was not aware of until recently, her chemistry with leading man, Robert Downey Jr., plays a large part in what elevated the first Iron Man film to classic status. Her ability and range to go from frantic and afraid, to helpful assistant is perfect for the character of Pepper. In fact, Paltrow's version of the character is quite a bit better than her comic book counterpart.  

At Number 24: *Captain America 2 Spoilers*
Sebastian Stan as The Winter Soldier/Bucky
*Again, if you have not seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier do not read further* Now that everyone reading this hopefully has seen The Winter Soldier, Sebastian Stan managed to do a lot with little dialogue as The Winter Soldier in a role that equals the menace of the T-1000 from Terminator 2, while at the same time having the emotional connection with Bucky and Steve. In the First Avenger, Sebastian Stan sold me on the older version of Bucky compared to the comics where he was Cap's young sidekick, and in The Winter Soldier, he brought a presence of an unstoppable machine of death. Hopefully Stan will continue to grow as an actor as the Winter Soldier's role is expanded.

 At Number 23: Stephen Amell as Green Arrow
Despite my skepticism about CW's Arrow series, Stephen Amell continues to be a steady fixture of quality, even when the series' writing falters. While Amell's version of Oliver Queen has more in common with the brooding Bruce Wayne than Ollie's more lighthearted comic book counterpart, Amell certainly sells the physicality of the role.

At Number 22: Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes
Even though I have not read a lot of the Walking Dead comics, I had to include everyone's favorite zombie killing sheriff Rick Grimes. Some readers might be wondering why the fan favorite (and my personal favorite) Daryl Dixon, played by the epically cool Norman Reedus, is not on the list, but Dixon actually originated in the television series, not the movie, thus he cannot be included on the list. On the other hand, Andrew Lincoln's performance as Rick is almost always very strong and compelling, even if the Walking Dead's writing is not the most consistent.

At Number 21: Jackie Earle Haley as Rorschach
Despite Zack Sndyer's heartless and dull, yet visually stunning, directing in the adaptation of, what is quite possibly the best, graphic novel of all-time, Watchmen, Jackie Earle Haley's performance as Rorschach was the highlight. In the novel, Rorschach has a very specific and odd way of speaking with his choice of dialogue, and Haley's gruff voice perfectly fit the character's dark and gritty nature. He even managed to master the iconic "Hurm" sound and the infamous line, "I'm not locked in here with you... you're locked in here with me!" could not have been more perfect.

Please check back tomorrow for the next part of the list, and comment with what you think of my list thus far.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Summer Anime Overview: Part 1

The new season of summer brings a whole new batch of anime for our viewing pleasure. Being the insane madman that I am, I decided to watch literally more than half of the season's new series. Seriously, out of the roughly 36 full series this summer, I have seen 20 of them, so I have my brief thoughts on those 20, along with what series will be worthwhile to continue watching and which ones to skip. For each series, I will have my short thoughts, my overall rating, and the plot summary from, which is my preferred place to keep track of what series are airing. First a quick preface of the anime that I typically enjoy: In general, I am open to most genres of anime from the dark psychological thrillers, to the action adventure, and even moe slice-of-life comedies. Basically, if the characters are interesting or fun and the show is entertaining, I will watch just about anything. My impressions of the series are usually based on the first two or three episodes of the series. Also, they are listed in alphabetical order. If there is a series that you want me to review in the next part of my overview please comment below and let me know. 

Akame ga Kill!
 Akame ga Kill! is my pick for the best action anime of the season. After a seemingly generic first half of an episode, the second half had some surprising dark moments. The next episodes continued with an interesting premise of assassins in a fantasy world. Even though the series has not done anything particularly exceptional yet, the animation and action scenes are great fun, and it is darker and more violent than most other shounen series like Magi. Thus far, Akame ga Kill! provides enough fun action and entertainment to satisfy my action crave every week. Also, if you want to be surprised by the first episode, do not read the plot summary, and note that the series does contain standard shounen fanservice.

Plot Summary: "Tatsumi is a fighter who just got robbed by a pretty girl, but his luck seems to be looking up, as another pretty girl has taken him in. What he doesn't know is that this girl is about to be visited by a family of assassins (including the girl who robbed him) and they might be the good guys, and be recruiting..."

Out of all the series this summer, Aldnoah.Zero has the most potential, and here are three reasons why: Gen Urobuchi (Fate/Zero, Psycho-Pass, Madoka Magica), Ei Aoki (Fate/Zero, Kara no Kyoukai, Ga-Rei Zero), and Hiroyuki Sawano (Attack on Titan, Kill la Kill). Gen Urobuchi is currently the best anime writer in the business today, and anything with his name attached is something that I will watch until the end. As for Aldnoah.Zero itself, the first three show a lot of potential, although they have yet to blow me away. However, Urobuchi’s series are known for often featuring a slower pace in the opening few episodes, so believe it will hopefully deliver by the end. Aldnoah.Zero’s concept of an entirely different human civilianization developing on Mars after a large portion of humanity migrated to the planet is interesting. After an event in the first episode, the highly advanced Martian colonists attack Earth with the series focusing on a group of mecha trainees. Thus far, the characters are not particularly fleshed out yet, but I believe the first three episodes have done a sufficient amount of world building for future episodes to focus on the characters and plot. A-1 Pictures’ animation is superb, even if the CGI mecha standout against the brilliant 2D animation. Hiroyuki Sawano’s score stands out brilliantly with many tracks reminding me of his work on Attack on Titan and Kill la Kill. Even though Aldnoah.Zero is not the best series of the season just yet, it certainly has the potential, and I believe it to be a must-watch for fans of the creative team’s previous work.

Plot Summary: "In 1972, a hypergate was discovered on the surface of the moon, and humanity began migrating to Mars and settling there. However, eventually the seeds of war were sown."

Bakumatsu Rock
From Studio Deen comes one of the dullest and dumbest series of the summer with Bakumatsu Rock. While the idea of rock-n-roll Edo era samurai sounds like a possibly fun idea, I was nearly bored to the point of not even finishing the first episode. Seriously, there are few redeeming qualities, except for, what I assume, might be eye-candy for the ladies with the bishounen characters. Do yourself a favor and skip this entirely.

Plot Summary: "The story is set in the Bakumatsu era, at the end of the shoguns' rule over Japan in the middle of the 19th century. The Tokugawa shogunate uses the brainwashing Heaven's Songs by the top idols in Shinsengumi to subjugate the country and its people. In this Japan, writing or singing any songs besides the Heaven's Songs is a capital offense. Sakamoto Ryouma and the other rockers rise up and change the world with rock 'n' roll for freedom and justice."

Futsū no Joshikōsei ga Locodol Yattemita
What interested me about the series, which I will refer to as "Locodol" for short, is that the genre listed on Anichart was Seinen, which refers to the 18+ male demographic, and while I have yet to see what exactly makes it Seinen, the series is surprisingly fun. The first episode did a decent job of setting up the cute moe female leads, but it is the second episode that sold me on the series with some character development through the two girls’ friendship. Even though Locodol seems to be nothing particularly special thus far, it is a fun, and usually funny, slice-of-life comedy with appealing animation from Studio Feel. 

Plot Summary: "The story is about the life of a high school girl, Nanako, and her senpai, Yukari, who end up becoming the town’s local idols (locodol) upon the request of her uncle. However they would soon learn that their new idol lifestyle is less than stellar as they are only be interviewed by the town’s shopping center, appear on low-budget cable television, and perform concerts on top of the roof of department stores. The girls’ salaries come from the town’s taxes."

Please check back next week for the continuation of my overview.

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