Monday, March 31, 2014

Agents of SHIELD: Yes Men Review

Yes! Agents of SHIELD actually has its first effective crossover into the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe with Jaimie Alexander as Lady Sif! And it was awesome!
*Spoilers Ahead*
Elena Satine as the seductress Lorelei, is a character from the comics who was featured in several Thor comics, with the first being with Malekith, the Dark Elf from The Dark World. Her character is easily the best villain to be featured on the series thus far. Lorelei ordering "Rooster" to brutally murder his wife with his bare hands was very dark. In general, I have always liked "femme fatale" type characters and Lorelei is one of the better examples in television of late. *Thor The Dark World Spoilers* When Sif mentioned that Odin ordered her to bring Lorelei in alive, it reminded me that since Loki is Odin, maybe Loki has plans for her on Asgard for the third Thor movie, or an arc in Agents of SHIELD that will feature Loki. Since Lorelei worked with Loki in the comics, that is not a far stretch. Also, Lorelei is Enchantress' sister in the comics, and Enchantress is Thor's number two villain in the comics behind Loki, so that could be important later. One other thing is I loved how Lorelei's power worked. It was not mind-control like Loki in The Avengers, but rather a desire that kept the characters basically the same except with the desire to do Lorelei's bidding.

Coulson asking Sif about blue alien and her replying with Kree as one of the aliens that she has encountered means that Disney/Marvel either negotiated the rights from Fox, or Disney owns the TV rights to the Kree. She also mentioned the Centurion, which is a species that will be featured in the Guardians of the Galaxy. But most intriguingly she included Frost Giants at the end, which would give life to the theory I mentioned last week that the blue alien is a Frost Giant and that Skye could be half Frost Giant. Sif being able to easily use the touch screen and Coulson's reaction was funny. It definitely solidifies how Asgardians are aliens from another realm that are more set in science fiction than fantasy, which is what Marvel has been going for recently. Also, Coulson explicitly telling Sif not to mention that he is alive to Thor was a good move so that the continuity stays intact for a possible future revelation.  

Jaimie Alexander really shows how good of a Wonder Woman she would have made if the executives at Marvel handled DC's characters because she has an imposing present among mortals. According to Google, she is only 5' 9" but she must have been wearing something to make her taller because she looked about as tall as Brett Dalton (Agent Ward), who is 6' 3". Lady Sif actually is given some backstory and more screen time than she ever would have in the Thor movies. Just seeing her kick butt and being generally cool plastered a giant smile on my face. 
Agent Sitwell telling Coulson that Fury is off the radar makes me wonder when this episode takes place chronologically considering what the trailers of The Winter Soldier imply. Maybe his disappearance is in part due to what happens in the movie.  

The action in "Yes Men" is easily the best series has to offer with some cool, albeit not movie quality, fights with Lady Sif taking down basically everyone. In terms of comedy, Fitz under Lorelei's control was positively hilarious!
Lorelei from the comics

Among the general awesomeness of the episode, we had two revelations, one of which is a positively shocking! Starting with the lesser of the two, May discovering that Ward has feelings for Skye and not her was unexpected. I was starting to like the May/Ward relationship, but hopefully we will not have a love-triangle with the characters. Now for the big reveal: May is listening in on Coulson conversation and reporting to someone! This was unexpected, but considering some of the hints from earlier in the series dating back to May not investigating what the cyborg-eye Agent, who's name eludes me, said about Coulson being different. Maybe May is keeping tabs on Coulson for Fury, or some other higher SHIELD authority like Maria Hill. Either way, this is very intriguing!

Overall: 9.7/10- "Yes Men" had basically everything that I wanted to see with its first big tie-in with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The action was great and it even unitized the comics well.

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Walking Dead Finale Tonight!

Despite its ups and downs, The Walking Dead is still a great, yet inconsistent, series and I am sad to see the season end. I almost feel as though it has just started, but watching and reviewing The Walking Dead these past eight weeks has been a lot of fun, and I will definitely continue to review the series it returns in October. Plus, we will be getting a Walking Dead spin-off series in 2015. My guess is that it is going to have something to do with Washington DC, either that or a different group entirely disconnected from the events of this series. 
The second half of season four has had its moments of frustration, especially due to the slow pace the characters are moving the plot along. However, it has brought back some of the survival aspects to the series, as well as focusing more on my favorite characters Daryl, Glenn, and Maggie. Now that I am watching the series on a weekly basis, I can see why so many viewers were frustrated with season two and the farm.
As for the finale itself, I am excited, yet worried that either one of my favorite characters are going to die or the finale is going to be a disappointment. 
My review for season four as a whole will be coming at some point in the near future, as well as my review for the finale a week from today. 
Are you excited for the finale? Please comment below.
Yeah, I have a twisted sense of humor
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Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Walking Dead: Us Review

After one of the best episodes of the entire series last week and that this is the second to last episode of the season, there was a lot riding on it. 
*Massive Spoilers are Ahead*
Unfortunately, "Us" was not fantastic, but it was another standard episode that ended on a high note. 
Glenn's determination to find Maggie was great. Most everything about his character was done very well. Eugene, Rostia, and Abraham all had good scenes. Eugene, aka Doctor Mullet, was very cool in the episode and he is actually turning out to be a much better character than I had expected. I am still not entirely sure if he is telling the truth or not about knowing the secret about the beginning of the infection. Tara continues to be the worst part of the series for me, but it is best not to say anything more about that.
Daryl's part with Joe's gang was cool. The concept of "claiming" things and the laws of the their ways was interesting. Seeing that dirt bag try and frame Daryl and then get what's coming to him was great! Even though Daryl has grown as a character, I was glad he decided not to cover the body of that guy. My brother and I were actually saying "Don't do it Daryl. He does deserve it." The brutal system of honor-among-thieves was a great contrast to the other group. Also, the "There's nothing sadder than an outdoor cat that think's he's an indoor cat." allegory was clever. 
Seeing Rick, Michonne, and Carol was good and it setup for the reveal that Joe's group is following them. The Michonne and Carol duo is a lot of fun, especially with the candy bar. Obviously, Daryl is going to either convince them not to kill Rick and others, or Daryl is going to kill Joe's group. My question though is: what happened to Beth!? I sure hope they tell us something in the finale next week.

Now for the first big part of the episode: Maggie and Glenn's reunion! Thankfully they did not die before seeing each other again, and since they are two of my favorite characters, I really hope not neither of them dies in tomorrow's episode. Their reunion after shooting up all of the Walkers was a great cheer moment in the episode; however, the burning of Maggie's picture was a little on the sappy side.
As for the other big reveal: We finally got to see Terminus! After an entire half season we finally get to see Terminus! I do not know about you, but flowers and that women gave off some majorly creepy vibes. The entire place looked eerie and like it is too good to be true. People are theorizing that Terminus is a trap and that they might be cannibals, which is not a bad theory, although I am kind of hoping that is not the case. 

Overall: 8.2/10- While not even close to the mind blowing amazing episode last week, "Us" finally got most of the group to Terminus. Tomorrow's finale better be freaking amazing, because we have waited long enough.

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2014 Trailer

A trailer for the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie where Michael Bay tries once again to cash in on nostalgia with another much loved franchise from the 80s/90s. Sometime that I have not talked much on the blog is that, when I was a kid, I was a big Ninja Turtles fan, a really big fan. I grew up watching the old TMNT movies, and my brother and I had a ton of the action figures. So, even though my realistic expectations for this are relatively low, my unrealistic hopes are that this movie is going to be good or at least fun, and the trailer actually gives me some hope. Despite the backlash that Michael Bay receives, his first Transformers was actually quite a lot of fun, and Bay is not even directing the movie, he is only producer, with Jonathan Liebesman as director. As for the trailer itself, even though casting a white guy and not an Asia one as the Shredder kind of sucks, the Turtles actually look kind of cool and BA. The face of the Turtles look a little too much like a rabbit than I would like, but the overall design of them looks dark and gritty, which is good. Hopefully, this movie will do for the Turtles what the first Transformers movie did for that franchise, or it could actually turn out to be a good movie, which would be even better. Thankfully, the fan backlash about making the Turtles aliens made Bay and company retcon that decision, and it looks like the movie is going to a fun retelling of the origin story. On a side note, from what I remember reading a long time ago, the original TMNT comics were much darker than the TV series and movies, so there is source material to go off of.

If you were a fan of the Ninja Turtles, which one is your favorite? Mine was always Raphael, which is making me wonder why he is not in the trailer, and Jacob's was always Leonardo. As kids, we got into heated debates about which one would win in a fight, which we would often act out with our action figures. 

What do you think of the trailer? Please let me know what you think in the comments.

Also, sorry for the delay of the Agents of SHIELD review, that will now be coming on Monday or Tuesday.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Red 2 Review

Red 2 is a recent action comedy, staring Bruce Willis, about Retired Extremely Dangerous people, which refers to retired CIA, MI6, and other spy agencies. Basically, Red is about old people kicking butt in fun and over-the-top action scenes along with a healthy dose of comedy. Being that the first Red was one of the better action comedies in recent years, I was hoping that Red 2 would deliver and it certainly did, at least in the entertainment department. In general, what I liked about Red 2 compared to the first Red is that Red 2 parodied spy movies more compared to Red that parodied action movies, which prevented it from being a total rehash.

Directed by: Dean Parisot
Genre: Action Comedy, Comedy, Comic Book,
Release Date: July 19, 2013
Running Time: 116 minutes
MMPA rating: PG-13

The Good: Tons of hilarious action comedy, Anthony Hopkins is great as always, Over-the-top action, Mostly smart Tongue-in-cheek parody of spy and action movies, Cool comic book style transitions, Byung-hun Lee was awesome!, Allstar cast, John Malkovich makes the movie,

The Bad: Contrived plot points, Some plot holes (but who cares!),

Plot: The following plot summary is copied from
While trying to lead a normal life with girlfriend Sarah Ross (Mary-Louise Parker), Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) is approached by Marvin Boggs (John Malkovich), who is afraid that there are still people after them, but Frank dismisses him. After appealing a second time, Marvin drives off but his car explodes. Although Frank does not believe Marvin is dead, Sarah convinces him to go to Marvin's funeral where he delivers a teary-eyed eulogy. After the funeral, a group of government agents approach Frank and take him to be interrogated at a Yankee White Facility. During the interrogation, Jack Horton (Neal McDonough) appears, killing most of the facility's personnel, and tells Frank that he will torture Sarah in order to get information out of Frank. Frank manages to escape with the help of Marvin, who turns out to be alive, and they go on the run with Sarah. Marvin explains that he and Frank are being hunted down because they were listed as participants in a secret operation codenamed Nightshade.
Watch the movie to see what happens next.

Plot: 3.5/10- Even for a comedy, Red 2's plot is completely ridiculous and contrived. It tries to take its self too seriously, which is the film's major flaw. When it goes for the comedy it hits the mark, and when it is serious, it stumbles. Also, Red is based on a DC comic of the same name.

Characterization: 4.1/10- Thanks to the strong performances, all of the characters are fun and likable, even if they are barely developed (does anyone really care?).

Action: 8.2/10- Considering that Red 2's action is intentionally over-the-top and unrealistic in a parody type of way, it certainly delivered some entertaining action scenes. The scenes with the actor Lee Byung-hun featured some awesome martial-arts action.
Byung-hun the right and Helen Mirren on the left
Acting: 8.4/10- Red 2's cast is its strong aspect. Of the main cast, everyone delivers hilarious performances! While not being a likable guy in real life, Bruce Willis continues to be charismatic and likable on screen. Seriously, how can you not this guy? He also played a great straight-man in the comedy scenes. As with the first Red, John Malkovich is the real star of show because he steals almost every scene he is in with his hilarious brand of humor. While some might find her annoying, Mary-Louise Parker plays such a lovable character that I cannot get enough of her! During most of her scenes, she acts as if she is high, which is funny since she stars on the series Weeds (haven't seen it). On a side note, you might think she is far too young to playing Bruce Willis' girlfriend, but in fact she is only nine years younger than Willis and I have to say that she looks great for her age. Korean actor Byung-hun Lee should be given better roles because he is freaking awesome in the movie and has a great presence. He could be the next Bruce Lee! As always, Anthony Hopkins is great in his role, and so is Helen Mirren.

Special effects: 4.0/10- Red 2 does not use a lot of special effects, but there were a few majorly noticeable uses of green screen.

Soundtrack: 6.0/10- While kind of weak for a Alan Silvestri score, the soundtrack was neither bad nor memorable.

Humor: 8.2/10- Obviously humor is subjective, that being said, Red 2 is a movie that made me laugh a lot, and when I wasn't laughing, I was at least amused. Very few jokes missed their mark, and since I have not seen the first Red in a year or two, some of the reused jokes remained funny.
Humor Percentage
Hilarious: 60%
Mildly Funny: 30%
Not Funny: 10%

Overall: 7.0/10- For a comedy, Red 2 is a lot of fun. While the plot stumbles, the humor, great cast, and fun action more than make up for its shortcomings in terms of entertainment if nothing else.

Closing comments: Providing you only pay the rental price to see Red 2, it is worth your time if you are a fan of the first Red, and if you have seen not either, go watch give the first one a watch; it is a lot of fun.

Recommended for: Red fans, Bruce Willis fans, Action fans, Action Comedy fans, Comedy fans,

Click here to check out more of my movie reviews.
Cool guys don't look at explosions!

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Welcome to the NHK Review

Welcome to the NHK is a critically acclaimed series about a guy named Sato, who is suffering from severe social withdrawal, and much of the series is about Sato and the people around him overcoming their troubles in life, which often results in excellent humor and great drama.
Sato is, what the Japanese call, a hikikomori, which actually means "pulling inward, being confined", or, "acute social withdrawal." Sato rarely leaves his apartment and he becomes extremely uncomfortable around large groups of people. One day he meets a mysterious girl named Misaki that thinks she can cure him of his hikikomori disorder. Also, Sato believes in conspiracies. The NHK refers to the Japanese public broadcasting company, which I believe would be similar to ABC or PBS in America. According to Sato, they turn people into Otakus (anime/manga-fans) by airing addictive television, which turns people into hikikomoris. Also, Sato believes that NHK actually stands for Nihon Hikikomori Kyōkai and that basically means "The Japanese Hikikomori Association." After that, things happen, Sato goes through several story arcs that often deal with different aspects that pertain to being a hikikomori, and there is quite a lot of comedy throughout, albeit black comedy. Really, my brief description of the series does not do it justice because it is one of the better series I have seen.

The Good: Well paced, Excellent dark comedy, Superb characterization, Flawless dub, Realistic characters, A few strong character models, Original story, Likable characters, Relatable aspects, Effective soundtrack, Not set in high school!,

The Bad: Inconsistent animation quality,

Plot: 9.4/10- Seeing a Slice-of-Life series not set in high school is a more than welcome change of pace compared to 95% of all other anime ever made. The pacing of the series is near perfection for a Slice-of-Life of anime. I was never bored for more than a minute through the entity of the series. Granted, those that are used to action packed stories will be left bored.
The plot deals with many aspects of the often worst aspects of Otaku and geek culture like addiction to online video games, anime, and even "gal" games (I will never play those). Being that when I was a kid, I was addicted to video games (non-mature video games) that aspect was actually relatable. Also being that I have a few aspects of being a hikikomori, because, outside my family and close friends, I do not like being around a lot of people in person, which is one of the reasons I do not go to parties (not the only reason). So some of that part was relatable as well. Additionally, the plot does a good job at not always making things turn out for the best, but rather realistically.

Characterization: 9.7/10- Anime never ceases to amaze with its ability to produce well realized and likable characters, and Welcome to the NHK is no exception. Most of the characters in the series are messed up to a degree. Whether it be a social disorder or depression, almost none of the characters are exactly right in the head, and the series takes an in-depth into their psyche and what makes them the way that they are. Despite this, most of them are likable characters there is ample and believable reason behind their troubles. Also, there is a good romance intertwined into the story, even if the resolution is not the most satisfying. Now here is a breakdown of a few characters from the series.
Sato: Sato is the main character of the series and much of the plot takes place from his perspective. Despite being a pervert at many points, seeing him overcome his addictions and other troubles is great to watch. It is often humorous, yet satisfying and dramatic without being sappy. Also, he is basically a loser and a college dropout.

Misaki: Misaki is the girl that offers to help Sato overcome being a hikikomori. At first there is not a lot revealed about the character, but as the series progresses her character develops. For me, she was one of the many great aspects of the series. She was likable for the most part and her character was portrayed very well and very uniquely compared to most. Also, Misaki is incredibly cute without being moe.

Yamazaki: Yamazaki is Sato neighbor and old high school friend. He is an aspiring video game creator, which is one of the main plot points of the series. While he does provide a lot of the humor in the series, Yamazaki is just as troubled as the other characters in the series.

Acting: 10/10- Per usual, there is not a lot to say about the Japanese audio. All of the voices seemed to fit the characters well and the actors all do an excellent job. As for the English dub, it is essentially flawless! Welcome to the NHK has one of the most natural sounding dubs I have ever heard. Chris Patton as Sato kills it, and Greg Ayres balances the humor and dramatic aspects of his character perfectly. Stephanie Wittels as Misaki captures the age and frailty of the character perfectly. In a somewhat side role, Luci Christian is also flawless as always. The actors all sound great without any noticeable weak performances. In short, either dub is perfectly suitable and one of the few where I cannot say anything bad about either side.
Art Style: 6.8/10- Studio Gonzo's animation is the series biggest flaw. Since it is a slice-of-life, there is not a lot of need for groundbreaking animation, but sometimes the animation looks like it was left to a bunch of monkeys! One moment you have good animation, the next it is incredibly low quality. Gonzo can do some great animation like Full Metal Panic, but they really dropped the ball here. Fortunately, I was able to look past the drop in animation thanks to the involving story. There is, however, one strong aspect of the animation, Misaki's character design. She does not have over exaggerated features and she is cute without being moe. Her design did aid in making her character even more likable.
Also note there is a far amount of fan-service (some explicit) throughout the series, but most of it fits within the context of the series.

 Soundtrack: 8.5/10- Welcome to the NHK's soundtrack effectively triggers the right emotion the series is attempting to convey. Also, the soundtrack is different than the usual soundtrack, which is a good change of pace. One YouTube critic compared the series’ score to an independent film soundtrack and that is a fairly accurate comparison.

Humor: 9.1/10- Welcome to the NHK's humor is one of its strongest aspects. While the humor is almost always rather dark, if you, like me, like that type of humor, then you will surely find the series humorous. Additionally, the dialogue is great and often produces a lot of humor. Despite being funny, when the series needs to be dark and drama, which it often is, the change in tone is never jarring.

Opening and Ending: 8.8/10- The opening theme is catchy and fun to listen to. The animation during the opening is a little trippy and odd, but it fits the messed mind of Sato well. The first ending is rather strange, but fits the series, and the second is fine as well.

 Non-Otaku Appeal: This is a new section that I have added specifically for those that are not anime-fans since my "Closing Comments" part was getting too way long. Anyway, Welcome to the NHK is the type of series that deals directly with the Otaku culture. If you are not a part of the culture, it would be more different to relate to the characters and what is happening. Therefore, if you are new to anime, this is not a good place to start.

Overall: 9.4/10- Overall, Welcome to the NHK is the type of series that I cannot help but like. There are relatable aspects, excellent characters, and it has a great sense of humor. If you do not normally like the slice-of-life genre and prefer non-stop action then this is not the series for you. On other hand, if you are old enough (18+), then Welcome to the NHK is highly recommended.

Closing comments: Welcome to the NHK is not just an excellent anime, it is one of the best dramas I have ever seen, and that is not an exaggeration.

For another opinion of Welcome to the NHK, you can click here to read Arvin Saints' review of the series.
Also, if you have reviewed this anime, leave a comment with a link to your review and I will post it here (providing it does not contain any explicit content).

Recommended for *Mature*: Otakus, Slice-of-Life fans,

For another opinion, you can click here to read Arvin Saints review of the series.

To read more of my anime reviews, you can click here.
Also, if you have reviewed this anime, leave a comment with a link to your review and I will post it here (providing it does not contain any explicit content).

One last thing, I actually looked almost exactly like the picture of Sato below when I finished watching the series because I had not shaved for a week (I was sick).

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

New X-Men Days of Future Past Trailer

A new X-Men: Days of Future Past trailer is here and it looks X-traordinary! This trailer is a stark contrast compared to other trailers with a somber tone and a lack of humor, which is making me X-tremely X-cited. OK, I will stop with the X puns. This looks like a war movie and Bryan Singer's direction looks excellent. The costumes and characters all look great. There certainly seem to be a lot of mutant powers on display and all of them look great. Jackman, McKellen, Stewart, Fassbender, McAvoy, Lawrence, and others all look great. Blink (blue Asia girl) and the others look cool and right out of the comics. 
On the negative side, Quicksilver looks just as horrible as everyone expected him to. But what strikes me the most is the look and build of the Sentinels. In the comics, they were a lot bigger and not malleable. What else is odd is that the Sentinels' face blast rips off the look of the Destroyer armor from Thor and it is not even close to that in the comics. They should be giant imposing robots, not T-1000s from Terminator. My only other concern is that there will be too many characters for one movie. Also, anyone else hopes that Storm dies in this movie? As much as I liked Halle Berry as actress, she is a terrible Storm. 
My overall thoughts on the movie and the trailer are: Shut up and take my money! I am going to see this in theaters and it is still one of my most anticipated movies of the year for sure. What did you think of the trailer? Please comment below.

Below is the picture of, what I believe to be, an official poster. It looks kind of odd but it is at the end of the officially uploaded trailers.

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Reader's Choice

Reader's Choice has returned again and now it is time for you to vote for what you want me to post in the coming weeks by voting for the posts listed below. Please for up to four different posts in the comments.

On a side note, I finally watched The Godfather, which was number one of my Movie Bucket-List, so now you can vote to read my review of it and see if it actually deserves the high praise that critics have given it. Also, I managed to finish Welcome to the NHK in under a week, so my review for that is coming Thursday.

New Movie Reviews:
Now You See Me Review
Taken 2 Review
Trouble with the Curve Review 

Older Movie Reviews:
American Graffiti Review
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy Review
Beetlejuice Review
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Review
The Godfather
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Seven Samurai
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre Review
The Usual Suspects

Anime Reviews:
Akira Review
Baccano Review
Black Lagoon Review
The Castle of Cagliostro (Hayao Miyazaki's first film)
Clannad Review
Clannad: After Story Review
Interstella 5555 Review
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Review
Full Metal Panic Review
Perfect Blue Review
The Melancholy/Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya Review
Serial Experiments Lain Review
Steins Gate Review
Summer Wars Review
Trigun Review

Mass Effect 2 Review

Below is the upcoming posting schedule
Posting Schedule
Tuesday: Special Post
Wednesday: Red 2 Review
Thursday: Welcome to the NHK Review
Friday: Agents of SHIELD: Yes Men Review

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Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Walking Dead: The Grove Review

Wow, after watching "The Grove" I was completely speechless, and I am still in complete and utter shock.
*Major spoilers*
Wow! I am still in shock. The writers of the Walking Dead are a bunch of sick SOBs. Again, if you have not seen the episode, go watch it. Now that everyone reading has most likely seen the episode by now: holy crap Lizzie murdered Mika! And Carol killed Lizzie! Wow, just wow, that has to be one of the most messed  up things I have ever seen. Before all the crazy crap started happening, I was really enjoying the episode a lot more than I expected since Carol has never been one of my favorite characters. But when Carol and Tyreese were joking and then walked up on Lizzie with a bloody knife and her sister lying on the ground, I was like "What the heck..." After that, my brother and I did not speak a word until the end of the episode. Seriously, I still cannot believe the writers had Lizzie kill her sister and Carol kill Lizzie. It was crushing, shocking, and incredibly saddening. 
A lot of people seem to hate Lizzie, but I always liked her because she is mentally messed up. Obviously, from how the characters acted, Lizzie had some mental problems before the outbreak. The actresses for Lizzie and Mika were both much improved, which made their shocking deaths all the more powerful. When Mika saved Lizzie from being bite by the Walker and the creepy burnt Walkers attacking, I thought Lizzie was finally convinced that they have to kill Walkers. So that made the reveal that Lizzie committed sororicide all the more shocking, and to make it even more messed up, Lizzie was going to kill Judith next! Carol having to talk her down from killing Judith next was majorly suspenseful. To add even more insanity, is that Carol had to kill Lizzie! I still cannot believe she killed her. I expected her and Lizzie just to leave, but she did what she had to do to keep everyone safe. Carol has never been one of my favorite characters, but she has improved a lot in this episode. You begin to wonder if she understands this new apocalypse better than anyone else. Moving onto the next bombshell, the tension between Carol and Tyreese finally came to fruition when Carol finally admitted that she killed Tyreese's girlfriend. What was even more unexpected is that Tyreese turned out to be the better man and actually forgive Carol! That was unexpected, but I really liked how the conflict was resolved. Carol gave Tyreese the chance to kill her for what she did and he chose not to do it. Both Carol and Tyreese have become much more likable characters. 
As a whole, this is easily a Top 10 Episodes of the series for me at least. It is seriously messed and I cannot believe the series went there with Lizzie and Mika.

Overall: 10/10- Without a doubt, "The Grove" is the best episode of this half season, if not the best of season four. It reminded us how truly amazing and dark The Walking Dead can be when it tries.
My thoughts during this scene: "What the heck........ Lizzie killed Mika? *Incomprehensible babble*"

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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Avengers 2: Age of Ultron Concept Art

On the Marvel TV Tuesday, concept art for the upcoming Avengers (2): Age of Ultron was released and it is rather intriguing! Below are all of the concept art with my thoughts about each.

Hulkbuster armor! Oh man, the actual Hulkbuster armor! As you can see from the picture below, it looks almost exactly like the comics! In Iron Man 3, a somewhat similar suit of armor was used by J.A.R.V.I.S. during the battle with the Extremis soldiers; however, this one looks a lot bigger when you consider how huge the Hulk is. My guess as to why Iron Man and Hulk are fighting is that either Hulk goes into rage mode like he often does in the comics because of something Ultron does, or Ultron is controlling the Hulkbuster armor since it is not uncommon for him to takeover the Iron Man suits. I know a couple of other things, but that could be spoiler territory.

Hulkbuster from comics

Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver looks a lot like the Ultimate comics version of the character (picture below), except his hair is normal color. While I am still questioning Whedon's decision to add so many characters, he looks a lot like I had pictured him. At least he is going to be a lot better than the X-Men: Days of Future Past version.

Considering that Scarlett Johansson is pregnant, I hope they do not have to write her out of the movie, because her and Hulk teaming up after what happened in the Avengers will make for an intriguing dynamic. That picture of Hulk almost looks exactly like the ones used from the previous movie though.

Scarlet Witch in what Marvel is basically calling "Street Clothes." I am more interested in seeing where they go for the actual costume, but I am fine with how this looks right now. I wonder how the movie is going to work magic into the equation.  

Avengers: Age of Ultron will likely be an awesome movie and this concept art does nothing to change my mind. Joss Whedon has "done the impossible, and that makes him mighty," when he made the Avengers into one of the best films ever made and there is no reason he cannot do it again. What are your thoughts of the concept art? Please comment below and me know.

Another quick update. Sorry for the filler posts this past week, hopefully I can actually get something good ready this coming week after the Reader's Choice on Monday. Also sorry for not replying to all of the comments or e-mails in a while, hopefully when I start feeling better I will catch up on doing that.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

2013 Year in Television: Part 3

Here is the continuation of my overview of the TV series that came out last year.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars
2013 featured the fifth and final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, one of my all-time favorite television series. It was a sad day when Disney virtually cancelled the series. Hopefully the final episodes will give closure to the series, and prepare us for the upcoming Rebels. As for the fifth season itself, it certainly had its ups and downs, featuring some of the series' best episodes, as well as some of its worst episodes. At least the final episode was one of the most emotional and best conclusions of all-time. Wow, just writing this makes me sad to see it go. 

Hell on Wheels
Hell on Wheels, also known as the AMC show that is not named Breaking Bad or The Walking Dead, but almost no one actually watches it. Seriously, Hell on Wheels is an awesome and bada** western series, and the only good western more of fiction since the True Grit remake. It is dark, gritty, and looks great for a television budget. While it may not be up to par with AMC's shows like The Walking Dead, it is still very good, and season three is probably among the series' best. Also, "Hell on Wheels" refers to the railroad, and the series is about building the transcontinental railroad.

Warehouse 13
Why am I still watching Warehouse 13?! After two fun seasons, the show completely jumps the shark. From season three onward, it is almost unbearable at times. However, season four did have one highlight, the episode "The Big Snag." "The Big Snag" took Pete and Myka into an old 1930s noir mystery novel, complete with everything being in black and white, which made me really wish there was a classic noir series that pays homage to the old ones like the Maltese Falcon and the Big Sleep. Other than that, the show was crap, and in a few months the final six episodes of the series will air, and I will probably watch them.

Beware the Batman
Honestly, I was barely able to sit through the first episode of this new Batman animated series. The only reason why I wanted to talk about it was that I wanted to rant about how Cartoon Network cancelled Young Justice in place of Beware the Batman because Young Justice actually appealed to audiences outside of young boys, (e.i. girls, older audiences like myself). Seriously, that is what the executives at Cartoon Network said! On the positives, Cartoon Network's stupidity lead me to seek other animation, which lead me to the world of anime, which is superior to anything made over here. 

I had something else planned but since as I have said several times, I am sick so the blog is on autopilot with posts that I had written when I was not sick. Also, thanks everyone for the good wishes and prayers. Hopefully, tomorrow I can manage posting about the concept art that was released for Avengers 2: Age of Ultron.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier in Two Weeks!

Captain America: The Winter Soldiers come out in two weeks! Unless you are not in America, then you only have to wait a week, which is kind of absurd since the is about Captain America! Regardless, I am majorly excited to see the movie! It has been near the top of my most anticipated movies of the year list and everything about the trailers continue to impress me. What is even more impressive, the early reactions to the films have been generally very positive and so far not a lot of people have said anything negative. Hopefully the movie will not disappoint. With The Winter Soldier coming out so soon, I was thinking about writing something to go along with the release of the movie but I am completely out of ideas and I am still terribly ill. Most likely I will post a Review Round-Up on the Friday or Saturday of its American release. Hopefully, I will get to see the movie sometime during during the week of release and post a review shortly after. Anyone else excited to see The Winter Soldier? When do you plan to see it? Please comment below.
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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Spirited Away Review

Spirited Away, the Academy Award winning film from Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. A film that often considered by many to be one of the best animated films ever made, and the best film by Hayao Miyazaki. Spirited Away is an animated family film about a young girl named Chihiro that goes on a fantasy adventure to save her parents. Of Studio Ghibli's films, Spirited Away is the most well known by American and western audiences, and it remains the highest grossing to come out of Japan. More than likely, it is the only anime movie that many in the west actually know about. While Spirited Away certainly has its flaws, the movie was a fun and fantastical adventure about coming-of-age that actually manages to tell a story that both children and adults can enjoy. 
My main negative points about Spirited Away are the strange setting that sometimes makes enjoying the movie difficult. The plot and characters are mostly well executed, but some of the strange visuals can be off putting. Considering a lot of the crazy stuff I have seen in anime, it was rather strange that a few minor things in Spirited Away bothered me. Also, some of the movie is unintentionally corny, particularly the witch, and a little overly sentimental. Despite these minor flaws, please understand that these are minor flaws, but major ones. Sometimes when I criticize a famous or popular that I actually enjoyed a lot and I say something negative about, people jump to conclusion that I did not like the movie, but that is far from the case for Spirited Away. Below is a review by the famous Roger Ebert. 

Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki
Genre: Fantasy, Animation, Family, Anime, 
Release Date: July 20, 2001
Running Time: 124 minutes
MMPA rating: PG

The Good: Fluid animation, Strong English dub, Fun adventure, Whimsical atmosphere, Visually stunning, Likable main character, Creepy creatures, Easy to become swept up in the story, Fantastic soundtrack,

The Bad: A little too far out there, Overly sentimental at times,

Plot: The following plot summary is copied from
Ten-year-old Chihiro Ogino and her parents are traveling to their new home when her father takes a wrong turn. They unknowingly enter a magical world that Chihiro's father insists on exploring. While Chihiro's parents eat like pigs at an empty restaurant stall, Chihiro finds an exquisite bathhouse. She meets a young boy, Haku, who warns her to return across the river before sunset. However, Chihiro discovers too late that her parents have turned into actual pigs and she is unable to cross the flooded river, becoming trapped in the spirit world.
Watch the movie to see what happens next.

Plot: 8.6/10- While some of the setting is a little too strange for my taste, not getting invested in Chihiro's story is nearly impossible. What makes Spirited Away such a good movie is how easily the audience can get swept away into this fantasy Miyazaki creates.

Action: 6.0/10- Aside from some classic Miyazaki’s high flying adventure, Spirited Away is not an action film by any means; however, those high flying scenes were a lot of fun.

Acting: 8.6/10- At the time of recording Spirited Away, Daveigh Chase, the voice of Chihiro, was only around eleven and she did an excellent job in the film. Having an accurately aged actor voice the role added to the likability of the character, and Chase's performance was great all around. The rest of the English dub cast gives strong performances that fit their characters well. As usual with most anime movies, the Japanese cast is great.

Art Style: 9.5/10- Studio Ghibli animation, what more needs to be said? Of course the animation is amazing! While Studio Ghibli's character designs are not always my favorite, the fluidity and quality of the animation is as stunning as always.

Soundtrack: 9.8/10- As with most Miyazaki films, Joe Hisaishi scores the film, and he does an excellent job. His themes perfectly compliment the animation with beautiful sweeping music that can give you chills.

Humor: 7.6/10- While Spirited Away is more serious than most animated films that western audiences are accustomed to, there are still some well timed moments of levity throughout the film.

Overall: 8.4/10- Despite my few minor complaints, Spirited Away, as an overall package, it is a fantastic movie with a story that is so involving I could not help but become swept up in Chihiro's fantasy adventure.

Closing comments: While Spirited Away is a family film, it is the type of family film that anyone of any age can enjoy, and it is certainly better than most anything that western animation has ever produced.

Recommended for: Anime fans, Animation fans, Fantasy fans,

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