Tuesday, July 3, 2012


I might be late to the party, but at least I'm fabulous at being late.

Finally, I saw Disney Pixar's Brave.

For those farther behind than me, this is the one where a girl is the main character and she's not involved in some love triangle. At least, not one that she is shown being interested in any of three boys, so maybe it's more like a square. A square with one corner that doesn't want to be a square anymore.

I really liked the way that this movie progressed. I was glad that at the end of the movie she hadn't fallen for any of the boys. Forgive me for sounding like a "femenazi" (this is the term commonly used for women and girls who want to speak out about women's roles that don't all fall into the same loveydovey trope, yes? Hear my sarcasm.) but I was glad that all Mireda wanted to do was be herself and she wasn't interested in finding love. No, Mireda wanted to be herself and find her own way.

Granted, she had to learn a lesson along the way, but at least it wasn't a lesson "you completely wrong" lesson. It was a lesson meant for both parents and their children about compromise. 

I don't exactly like using the term positive roles for women, because not every girl out there is the type to want something like this, some girls want to find the husband and have the family and that is just fine. Instead, I say I like to see more varied types of women role models that cover a range of different personality types. This is something I wish to see more of in men's roles as well. Not every man is the exact same archetype as well, some men want to be the homemaker. That's also perfectly fine.

If I remember right, when Tangled came out there was concern over boys not wanting to see it because it was about a girl. Well, there were boys in the audience when I saw Brave, there were no main "hero" males, and the boys were interested. They stayed interested, and they were excited at the end of the movie. Producers need to be brave (ha, see what I did there?) and take some risks character wise, I think audiences would surprise them. 

When, and if, I ever have a family of my own I am glad that there will be more choices for them to choose role models from.

As an aside, the preview for Frankenweenie came on before Brave. Who else thinks it's ironic that when Tim Burton originally made Frankenweenie as a live action short they fired him because it was "too scary" but now they are producing his feature length claymation version of the same story?

I'm still going to see it. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Siren: Blood Curse

In this post I will be talking about the survival horror game Siren: Blood Curse for the ps3.

Just in case any of you were wondering, no, this game isn't about killer merpeople. Though that would be awesome!

This game is available on the disk or as downloadable content through the playstation network and is the sequel to the ps2 game Siren or Forbidden Siren depending on where you live. It is a survival horror game, lots of dark places, hard to find weapons, and noises that might stick with you for a while.

As for the plot, a bunch of Americans (of course) find themselves in a strange and multidimensional Japanese town. Most of these Americans are part of a film crew, so that much is believable, but the stereotypical arguing divorced couple brought their young daughter for the soul purpose of losing her in the midst of a bunch of zombie bug monsters that bleed from their eyes. That character has a less believable reason for being there. Another character in this crew is an African American man who couldn't fall into anymore 'Black Guy' horror tropes if he tried. He's the first to die, he has a really stereotypical name, he talks in a way that's only a smidgen above rap lyrics.

In a totally random coincidence there is another American there, Howard Wright, who was on a school trip. A school trip where he was all by himself. His main purpose in the game is to get shot. A lot. And at one point, lit on fire. I don't think he's enjoying his trip very much.

I mean, these are the memories I want to savor from my vacation. That and the searing pain as I was burned alive.
Game play wise, I don't feel like this one is much different than other games aside from it's linear path. This isn't a sandbox game, there are very definite paths you are supposed to follow. Playing involves a lot of running, hiding, and utilizing this feature called sight jacking wherein you can take over the site of other characters around you, including enemies. This is a nice feature when you are hiding as it allows you to see when the bad guys are about to break into your hiding spot and beat you senseless.

About the beating you senseless thing, you can't kill any of the enemies without a weapon. Weapons that are not provided to you. Weapons that you have to search for and find.

What sells me on this game is that it's done in missions. I can't speak for the disk version of the game, but the downloadable one is episodic with a recap of what you've done before at the beginning of each episode. This works for me as, anyone who knows me can attest, I have a very short attention span when it comes to video games. I will stop playing for weeks on end, by the time I get back to the game I've forgotten where I was or what I was doing. The episode lengths are just the right length that I want to play, and the recaps really help me remember what I'm trying to do.

This style of gameplay isn't for everyone, of course. But so far I've found the game enjoyable and worth the not very expensive price I paid on the playstation network.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Johannes Cabal

Hey, it's been a while. I come with book offerings though, so that should make up for something.

This time around I will be talking about one of my favorite books series. Of course, it might not be the books themselves, but the character.

This is the cover of the second book. I don't think I need to tell you the title.

Johannes Cabal.

For those of you that aren't in the know he is a necromancer of some infamy and he is one of the best depictions of an antihero I have seen. Written by Jonathan L. Howard, Johannes Cabal gets himself into some pretty hairy situations wherein he only manages to escape by the skin of his teeth.

Not starting small, the first novel, Johannes Cabal the Necromancer, that Cabal appears in has him going wit to wit with the devil in a Faustian deal of epic proportions. In a complete turn around, the second book, Johannes Cabal the Detective, pulls itself in from the fantasy element and goes into more steam punk territory featuring a murder on the Orient Express situation. If the Orient Express were a dirigible, that is. I have not yet had the pleasure of reading the third installment, Johannes Cabal and the Fear Institute, but I'm told it involves dreams.

There are other short stories that Cabal has appeared in, one in which he goes up against another necromancer who has discovered a secret to eternal life, even if it's not in a way that one would expect. The other short story is one that I have not been able to get a hold of, but it is entitled Johannes Cabal and the Blustery Day. This title brings to mind a grumpy Cabal wandering through some picturesque woods with a young boy and possibly a piglet of some kind.

The overarching plot that connects all of these stories is something that is not terribly unique. At it's heart, this story is a romance, but don't let that color any of your perceptions about Johannes Cabal. He is rude, socially inadept, and has no real qualms about sacrificing whomever to whatever in order to achieve his goals.

Cabal is not an antihero in name only. He actually plays the part and he plays it well. You end up not only sympathizing with this character at the same time you are also aware that he is not a nice person and is kind of on the morally different side. To give you some clue, Cabal's older brother, Horst, is a vampire but he has more humanity to him.

These stories are very entertaining; they are witty, satirical, and sometimes just absurd but they keep you wanting to find out what other adventures Cabal can come up with.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Or, the-movie-I-only-watched-because-I-think-Gackt-is-hot-but-then-actually-ended-up-enjoying-so-much-that-I-went-out-and-bought-it-the-next-day-so-now-I-have-to-find-some-way-to-pay-the-co-pay-on-my-next-doctor's-visit-maybe-someone-will-take-pity-on-me? Maybe we should just call it by its real name, Bunraku.

Released in 2010/2011 and directed by Guy Moshe, Bunraku stars Josh Hartnett, Gackt (my first reason for watching the movie), and Woody Harrelson as the three heroes. A drifter, a samurai, and a bartender that stand up against The Woodsman (played by Ron Perlman who seems to be in everything these days).

This movie is a mishmosh of styles; pulling things from film noirs, westerns, samurai movies, and comic book movies. Bunraku isn't the first movie to do this, but it is one of the few that manages to do it successfully and doesn't come off as being horribly pretentious or just flat out trying too hard to be cool.

If movies were all teenagers in a high school, Bunraku would be the movie that could blend in with any of the little movie cliques. Well, maybe everyone except the Romantic Comedy cheerleaders. They wouldn't like Bunraku just because Bunraku was going around being popular without joining the cheerleader squad and might actually think that the cheerleading uniforms are ugly because we need better school colors. But Bunraku doesn't really think that, because Bunraku is too cool to care about such silly things as cheerleader uniforms, it needs to go out and raise the money to buy a really cool car. Or maybe to save kids with cancer.

Maybe it's not the smartest movie out there, and it's certainly not going to leave people trying to dissect the plot or leaving many mysteries behind, but it is very enjoyable. The plot isn't very deep. Mysterious strangers come to town (our heroes) and then get in fights with the bad guys that run the town. That's pretty much the entire plot minus a few details. Sometimes, though, a movie doesn't need any more plot than that. We can't all be vague enough in plot and details to leave people wondering about the deepness of our meaning or if maybe we just missed something as an audience or that maybe the movie really isn't that deep and because we want to feel smart as an audience we are projecting. I'm looking at you here Inception.

It could also be that I was just distracted by the style of the sets. The title itself comes from a style of Japanese puppet theater and the way this movie moves calls back to that. The way things are styled, the plot, the characters all could be translated into a movie done with puppets. Now I kind of want to see the Muppets take on this movie. Kermit could be the drifter!

This is a very colorful movie, in a sort of muted way. I know that doesn't really make sense, but it might after I attempt to explain myself. Blue is a very prominent color in this movie but it is a very vibrant blue. It's blue that you KNOW is blue. This isn't no blue that could sort of be purple if you squint it's motherfucking BLUE. There are other colors that make appearances too, and they all tend to follow this same badass, you better know what color I am cause I'm going to be right up in your face, baby.

Anyway, I do recommend this movie. Go watch it. NOW.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

That Sultry Swinging Jazzland Sound

Alright, Adele. She's the current voice in music that I can't escape no matter how hard I try it seems. Don't get me wrong, I like her songs well enough. I find them enjoyable and catchy enough that I will sing along with them in my terrible, husky, ravaged voice while others cover their ears in pain. No seriously, it's that bad.

No, my problem with Adele stems from the fact that I just can't get away from her. Every station it seems plays her songs. The same two songs. I'm not kidding. I've switched from one station playing alternative rock to a station playing "soft hits" and THEY WERE PLAYING THE SAME SONG! I just can't get away from her.

Then one station got the brilliant idea to play a live version of "Rolling in the Deep". I didn't find it very well done. Adele didn't sound anything like what she did on her cd. I am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, though, and decided that it might have just been that recording.

Still, she's being touted as a powerful woman and a good role model because her body type doesn't fit in with the norm. My issue with this line of thought is that, as far as I can tell, all of her songs are about men. She doesn't have any songs talking about her going off on her own without a man. They are just about her needing a man or being sad about a breakup.  Maybe with more albums her songs will branch out, but so far she's put out three albums of just about the same song.

I think there might be another artist in the same genre that should be getting the recognition that Adele currently is. Personally, I think Fiona Apple has a much better sound and her songs are more varied in theme. She really fits the bill of having empowering songs.

I am aware that personal tastes differ, and I've only shown a limited selection of each artists' songs, but to me Fiona Apple is the better artist overall.