Quick Glance: Assassination Classroom

assassination-classroom-000I might have said this about previous weeks, but this hasn’t been my week for writing.  Various reasons, none of which I’m going into here, save that once again the world is safe from rabid stuffed alligators and once again I’m not getting enough pay for the job.

Or pay at all, come to that.

Really have to talk to someone about that.

In any case, I’ve found myself a new anime obsession, Assassination Classroom, the story of an octopus like creature who’s only desire is to teach a class.  A desire that, once fulfilled,  will leave him to destroy the Earth.  Unless his beloved class can kill him first.

It is, to keep it quick, a hoot.  I’m about five episodes in and have been having a blast with Koro-sensei (the yellow guy to the right) and his students.  Like One Punch Man (currently my favorite anime OF ALL TIME), it takes what I’d have thought to be a single joke premise and gives it a wonderful amount of depth.  Deeply entertaining.  It’s taking most of my will not to binge through it like I did with Voltron.

Worth checking out.

I’m Probably Going to Go to My Grave Calling It Godzilla 1985, Aren’t I?

For the first time in, I dunno, maybe twenty years I watched Godzilla 1984/The Return of Godzilla.  Tomorrow I hope to get a Minnow up at the sister site on it (thus starting a hopeful trend of at least one review a month.)

Until that goes up, let me say that I liked it, despite it’s problems.  It’s not as good as some of the modern Godzillas (2014, say, or Shin Godzilla) but it’s not as bad as some of the others (1998 springs readily to mind).  It’s short of mediocre, really, which is too bad.  But I’m not sorry I watched it again and I’ll probably watch it again again.

Maybe twenty years from now…

State of the Blog Post #1579

It’s probably a sad statement of my blogging inspiration that I’ve been looking through my spam for things to talk about.

But y’know.  Shallow period.

In lieu of something, I dunno, entertaining to write about, here’s what’s going on in my life:

  • Saw Guardians of the Galaxy.  Liked it.  Approved of its existence.  Look forward to the sequel.
  • Cousin Megan (she of the tonsil problem some years ago) got married Saturday.  Which meant family get together.  Which meant seeing Cousin Emily.  Which meant calling her sobriety into question.  Which meant having to do so in a near shout while pointing an accusatory finger.  Which meant it had to be right at the exchanging of vows.  As one does.
  • I’m heading south in the near future.  Probably not related to the previous bullet, probably a vacation already planned, but the timing is good.
  • On my birthday received a collection of every Gamera movie ever made, save the most recent one.  Good deal.

And that’s about it. I think.  Nothing noteworthy, nothing exciting.  Just life.

Which I’ll take right about now.  Thanks.

A Few Thoughts on a Certain Webslinger

I got myself my first (relatively) new comic in well over a decade this week.  And before you ask, no, it’s not Power Girl.  Big fanboy I am, I know.

Instead, it’s Amazing Spider-man: Matters of Life and Death, a collection of fairly recent Spider-man stories.  I might do a fuller write-up in the future, and again I might not.  But here, now?

Wow.

Really, really wow.

Reading that made me glad I was a Spider-man fan for the first time in years.  It made me want to read more new Spider-man.  Which, frankly, was a condition I thought I lost.

There’s a lot of changes in Peter’s life, too since I was here last.  Among them?  J Jonah Jameson is now mayor of New York City, a move that tickles me to no end.  Aunt May has remarried (to J Jonah Jameson’s father, of all people), something that I have no opinion on whatsoever.  And Peter now works as a scientist at a high-tech lab, which I think is a mistake, but one I can live with.

Now the last time I seriously looked at Spider-man, he’d joined the Avengers, and I’m not sure how I felt then, but now it just doesn’t feel right.  As a kid, I’d have eaten it up.  Here, in these stories, they seemed… I dunno.  Wrong?

Squirrel Girl
Still not a big fan of SG, but this collection helps a little in that regard.

Which is an odd thing to say, as some of the best moments in the book are Avenger related.  A phone call with Squirrel Girl for instance.  An appearance by Ben Grimm.  Every comic could use more Ben Grimm and that’s a fact.

But mainly?  Mainly it doesn’t seem right, some how.  Maybe if I reread it I could give you a better reason.

End of the day?  This was a good buy.  A very depressing buy, but a good one.

The Shortest Iron Man and Iron Man 2 Reviews You Are Likely to Read (At the Very Least the Shortest Writen By Me)

Iron Man made me an Iron Man fan.

That’s no mean feat.  I never liked the character as a kid.  To me, he was a DC Hero, someone who was too perfect.  He always had just the right thing in his possession to deal with the threat at hand.  On this, he wasn’t nearly as fun as, say, the Hulk or Spider-man.

Oh, before someone sez the magic words, “Demon in a Bottle“, I know.  I know I know I know.  Tony Stark/Iron Man was far from perfect.  I had exactly two Iron Man comics as a kid, and that’s where my impression came from.  Bear in mind though, I also had only two Doctor Strange comics and I always liked him.  It’s either the character or me, but the point remains I didn’t like him.

But the movie, he was excellent.  Part of what made the film was Robert Downey Jr., who made Tony Stark a likable (if arrogant) character.  Another part was that the story (albeit almost completely ad libbed) was quite compelling.  There might have been some out-there moments, but come on.  Super Hero comics are made of out-there moments.  It’s their bread and butter.

All in all, Iron Man was a perfect film.

Iron Man 2 wasn’t.  Not even close.

The problem with the sequel was it was too unfocused.  The first movie was about the creation of Iron Man, the ramifications of the act, the reason behind what forced Tony Stark to become Iron Man.  It had a great villain plotting against Tony (and one we watched at work), great action set pieces, the works.

The sequel is more about Tony dealing with being poisoned by being Iron Man.  It had him acting out, being an ass, finding a new purpose, then… well, I won’t spoil things.  There were two villains – good villains – but compared to the first film, they really didn’t seem to fit in with the main plot.  They felt secondary, like they were there to give the punters their action scenes and that was it.

All of this sounds like I didn’t like Iron Man 2.  I did and I didn’t.  I mean, I was glad to see it in the theater, I didn’t walk out of it wishing I’d went to see another flick (Hello American Werewolf in Paris)  It just wasn’t clicking with me.

Well, except for the action scenes.  They were what Super Hero action should look like on the screen.  I mean, the last battle alone was worth the price of admission.

I just wish the rest of the movie was as good.

Time Sink! Watching Anime, Cartoons, Whatever

So, wither the Cullmeister? The Cullster? The Cullorama?

Beats the hell out of me.  I don’t use any of those names.

But I’ve been watching.  Oh yeah.  Been watching real good. Been watching….

Oh wait.  It’s in the title, isn’t it?  No need to pretend I’m doing something I’m not.

Let me write a few words about What I’ve been watching.


Avatar: The Last Airbender is a Nickelodeon cartoon done in an Anime style.  It’s the story of Aang, a twelve year old boy whose been frozen in ice for over a hundred years.  When revived, he discovers not only has his world almost been conquered by the evil Fire Lord, but the damage becomes permanent if the Avatar doesn’t beat the Fire Lord by the end of summer.  Unfortunately for Aang, he’s the Avatar.

This is an excellent series, full of action and humor.  It’s for kids (obviously), but I’ve enjoyed it immensely so far.  Well worth checking out if you haven’t already. (as if this writing, it’s playing on Netflix.)


Full Metal Panic, however, I haven’t enjoyed quite as well.  A paramilitary group (armed with robotic suits known as Arm Slaves) wants to protect a High School for… some reason or another.  Three sergeants find themselves assigned to watch over her.

One episode and I feel nothing for any of the characters.  Well, one of the sergeants I like, but she’s not the main character.  I might try it again later, but on this first blush I’m just glad I haven’t bought it.  (As of this writing it’s playing subtitled on Hulu.)


House of Seven Corpses tells the tale of a movie crew who accidentally raise an undead killer.  While this looks promising, I haven’t been able to get into it yet.  Which is problematic, considering I wanted to review it for the sister site.

Oh well, Giant Monster Gamera took forever for me to review and look how great an experience that was.

Heh.


While we’re talking time sinks, I’m also playing two video games:  Red Dead Redemption, the story of John Marston’s hunt for his former partners, and 3D Dot Heroes, the story of a group of game designers begging to be sued by as many Console RPG makers as possible.

I’m only kinda joking here with that last one.  3D starts with The Legend of Zelda as it’s base, then throws in as many moments and characters from other games it can think of, including (but not limited to) the Dragon Quest Series.  As it’s poking fun at them (a little; it’s also an homage), it’s all good.  Especially since the game itself is excellent.

Red Dead, on the other hand, is a bit more serious.  It’s Grand Theft Auto set in the Wild Wild West, with the ability to play either as a guy trying to follow the straight and narrow or a desperado wanted throughout the state.  I’m loving it to death.


Also, I’m working on some of the stories I wrote about a little while ago, working on new stories, and (hopefully) taking steps to restart the comic.

So it’s not all me wasting my life.

Kinda.

Maybe.

If I’m lucky.

Which I’m not.

Well, I do have my health.

Such as it is.

But I could use a girlfriend.

But not a clingy psycho.

Or a doorstop.

But you can’t have everything.

Right?

Right.

Mini Review (V) – Graduation Day/Microwave Massacre

Yeah, I still do these here. Makes sense, as the other site’s for heavier discussion.  Assuming anyone ever reads them, of course.


Graduation Day

Slasher killer works his (or her) way through the local high school’s track and field days before graduation.

If you’ve seen one slasher flick, then you know what to expect here.  Not offensive storywise (by the subgenre’s low standard, that is) but really not that good.  In fact, it felt real disjointed.  I can’t recommend it, but I rather like the flick.  Take that as you will.

Bonus points are added for Anne Ramstead, slasherdom’s most unique Final Girl.  Here is a woman who’s a trained Navy ensign, right?  Tough as nails, take no nonsense.  You know and love the type.

And yet when faced with the Killer, does she put the mad fiend in his/her place?  Of course not.  Oh, she beats the crap out of him/her.  Repeatedly.  Then, instead of finishing him/her off, Anne runs like hell away.

The more I think about it, the more I adore this movie.  Which must mean I’m very, very sick.

Oh!  And bonus bonus points for a kicker nightmare ending that’s a little clever, instead of stupid beyond words.



Microwave Massacre

Frosty the Snowman a crazed construction worker murders various loose women after discovering he has a taste for human flesh.

This movie wants you to like it.  It wants you to laugh.  It just doesn’t know how to do it.

Been there myself.  Doesn’t make me sympathize.  No plot, no likable characters, and no laughs.  You can do better, easy.

Giant Monsters A Gogo! (I) – Kingu Kongu no gyakushû/King Kong Escapes / Komodo v. Cobra

Kingu Kongu no gyakushû/King Kong Escapes

International Judas Doctor Who has a problem. He wants to dig up the radioactive Material X, a substance he has promised Madam X that will allow her certain country to rule the world. Trouble is, the robot he is using to dig the stuff up has proven less than ideal, even though it was based upon the mighty King Kong. What should he do?

Kidnap the real McCoy and murder a bunch of people along the way? Capital idea!

Kingu Kongu no gyakushû might well be the worst non-Godzilla Kaiju movies Toho made in their Showa era.1  We’re not talking just special effects here (though the Kong costume looks a lot worse here than it did in Kingu Kongu tai Gojira.) I’m talking over all story. If every character in this film isn’t a glaring incompetent, it’s not for lack of trying.

Take Doctor Who (please!) Every single scheme he comes up with ends in failure. Oh sure, he captures our alleged heroes and Kong himself. But he can’t hold any of them. His robot is an idiot, his men are only slightly smarter, and the one ally he has with half a brain sells him out for the first Caucasian she sees. Not very impressive.

Then there’s Kong. Poor, poor Kong. While he gets two decent fights towards the start of the film, he only helps resolves things in a way that could only be described as cold blooded murder, with him the eager instrument of the “heroes” will. We won’t get into how he’s much more like a puppy than a savage monster. We won’t mention the little detail how not only does everyone assume he understand English despite living on an island populated by one man who clearly doesn’t know the language. That he really does understand English (perfectly no less) shouldn’t surprise at all.

I suppose I should mention here that this is very loosely based on the cartoon The King Kong Show and is neither a sequel to the original movie or Kingu Kongu tai Gojira. In fact, it does the rather amazing feat of making it’s source look like quality art. Which is nice.

So. Kingu Kongu no gyakushû. Terrible movie. All on the same page.

Good.

Let me mention one more thing, before we move on. I love this movie. Honest. Bad as it is, I adore every horrid frame. I’d rather watch it than some Godzilla movies I could mention.

You want some non-demanding giant monster action, you can’t go too wrong with this one.

Just, y’know, don’t mistake it for quality.


Komodo v. Cobra

Eeeevil Military accidentally creates giant monsters who only really live up to the title right at the end of the flick, when everyone else has long since stopped caring. Can our environmentalist heroes escape from these three evil things, or will we get lucky and see each and every one of them killed?

Long story short, this film makes Kingu Kongu no gyakushû look like… I dunno… Cloverfield, maybe? The original King Kong? Casablanca?

Bad acting, bad script (worse, recycled script), bad special effects. Over all, a bad movie.

So that means Cullen liked it, right?

No. Cullen didn’t like it. I didn’t hate it, mind you. I just didn’t care. Like all too many of the Vs. movies out there, none of the monsters in the film have enough personality to root for or against.  Or, really, characters to serve the same purpose.

The movie doesn’t have It’s not over-earnest-under-budget fun or so bad-it’s-good fun. It just… is. It’s one of the thousands of movies I’ve seen that I’ll likely forget about in a few months.

Which is too bad, as that means I might actually watch it again. And it really doesn’t deserve a first viewing, let alone a second.


1 For those not in the know, Kaiju more or less is Japanese for Giant Monster. Showa era refers to Kaiju films (and perhaps Japanese films in general) made betwee 1954 and 1974.

Back