Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bandora's Box on Bandcamp (Shameless Self-Promotions)

So as you should be painfully aware by this point I play in a rock band called Zombie Apocalypse NOW!  It's a nerdy punk rock sort of thing (Of course it's nerdy).  We just released a new EP, called "Bandora's Box", and you can now buy it on bandcamp.com.   And yes, there is a Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers inspired song on it.  What of it?

You can also get your hands on our previous EPs, "Forbidden Tales of Science", and  "The Sellout Demo".  Check it out if you are so inclined.

Click here to find it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Anime Review: Sands of Destruction

It's been a while since I've reviewed an anime and picking this out of a group of shows I never heard of was bit difficult but I ended up selecting an interesting one. Sands of Destruction is the American release title for a video game based anime originally known as World Destruction: Sekai Bokumetsu no Rokunin (“The Six People That Will Destroy the World”). The Nintendo DS game came out in 2008 (2010 in North America) and was produced by Sega. The anime adaptation, which also came out in 2008, was produced by Production I.G (Who also did Eden of the East). It was release stateside by FUNimation Entertainment in 2010.

I haven't made it through a lot of anime based on video games before. One of the closest I ever got was Star Ocean EX, which is based on one of my all-time favorites JRPGs (“Japanese Role Playing Games”, for you non-nerds), but the lesson I learned there is that trying to make the translation between the two mediums is likely to completely rape the source material. Star Ocean EX was awful but technically that doesn't mean Sands of Destruction is as well. Plus since I haven’t ever played the game I may not care so much that it might not be true to the original story. It seems that a lot of people prefer the anime for various reasons, so why not take a look?

Full review after the jump.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Beta's Super Awesome Unofficial 84th Academy Awards Pre-Blog

"Give it to that guy, 'whatshisname', that didn't win last year."
"That will shut up the peasants for another year"
So today the nominees for the 84th Academy Awards were announced. As with last year I plan on covering the award show and sharing my thoughts, as it was pretty fun. The problem is that unlike last year the vast majority of films with Oscar buzz the last two months weren't playing in my city, at least not at point were I could have easily gone. In fact the only films I've seen in the Best Picture category were Midnight in Paris and War Horse. I blame that this time last year I lived in a town where those type of movies always showed up. Where I am now they tend to play a month later (If at all) and I forget about them (Moneyball and The Help were here but I didn't get around to watching it). So my point is that things might be kind of light this year as far as my opinions go, but I will try to catch as many of these movies as I can before the show itself.

A reminder to my readers; I'm not a film expert or a film maker. I don't know the ins and outs of the movie biz; I'm just a regular dude who knows what he likes and what he doesn't like. I'll be sticking to a few of the “major” awards since a lot of the other ones are over me head.

But before we get to that here are some general thoughts:

-My archenemy Brett Ratner was originally set to direct the show but was fired (Well, “resigned”) after he used a gay slur when talking about rehearsals for the show and lying about "banging Olivia Munn". Because he's a asshole, I assume. Eddie Murphy was flagged to host the show but dropped out after Ratner got shitcanned. Now Billy Crystal is hosting which is actually kind of awesome. Last year he was on stage for just a few minutes but in that time he proved to be a more interesting host than the actual hosts. Also note that he's not up for an award so no weird conflict of interest this year.

-Drive and 50/50 are nowhere to be seen. I would have thought at the very least they would have been up for Best Adapted screenplay and Best Original Screenplay respectively. Nope! Similarly Ryan Gosling is not up for Best Actor for either Drive or Ides of March. I feel something may have gone wrong with the world.

Better luck next year, sucker
 -The Adventures of Tintin isn't here either. I'll be watching this movie later today so I may soon see why.

More after the jump.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Review: No Strings Attached

Today we're looking at the other film about two annoyingly attractive people having regular sex. Now I'm not sure how many of you readers are lonely nerds but were I you I'd be pretty pissed at either of these films on principle (Now that I think about it I'm a bit pissed myself). Also if you are interested in checking out Part One check out my review of Friends with Benefits.

No Strings Attached came from a screenplay by Elizabeth Meriwether, originally titled “Friends with Benefits.” At some point the studio realized that there was another movie in the works with the same name and after token resistance they ultimately changed the name. Now the other movie was directed by the guy who did Fired Up. To compare this film was directed by Ivan Reitman who directed a small little film called motherf**king Ghostbusters!!! So the pedigree here is a lot more favorable. I mean Ghostbusters is one of the greatest films every made, probably the world's greatest comedy (Opinions, and all that) so you can't help but give the guy the benefit of the doubt every time. Of course just because you have to give him the benefit of the doubt doesn't mean it won't end in a car wreck.

Full review after the jump.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Review: Friends with Benefits

So last year Hollywood released two films with identical premises, Friends with Benefits and No Strings Attached. This happens every once in a while; two movies in the same year, sometimes within months of each other, that seem to have the same plot based on the title or what we see in the trailers. The most recent example I can think of off-hand is Observe and Report and Paul Blart: Mall Cop. This doesn’t mean that the films are similar in tone and content but it’s pretty much impossible not to draw comparisons. However these two mvoies (the ones we're starting with today) are actually notable because each film stars an alumni of That 70s Show in one of the lead roles. It almost seems like that had to have been planned. I “missed out” on seeing these two romantic comedies in theaters but I recently decided it would be “fun” to watch, review and compare the two movies. So here we are: today I will look at Friends with Benefit and sometime in the very near future I’ll do No Strings Attached and compare the two.

Not coincidentally this film stars Mila Kunis, an actress who I used to think was terrible but whom I've warmed up to in recent years. As with 2010 and 2011 I’m starting the year off with a review of a flick starring Miss Kunis. No real good reason; it just seems like tradition at this point. Anyway the film is directed by Will Gluck who previously did the surprise hit Easy A as well as…um...Fired Up. So…yeah, this film has a 50/50 shot of being decent or being awful.

Full review after the jump.

[Warning: There are minor spoilers present in this review.  So take that in mind]

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Beta's Top Ten Favorite Movies of 2011

I’m a bit late with this but here is my Top Ten Favorite Movies of 2011 list. Two things to take in mind:

#1: As with last year I was unable to see every single movie released within the last twelve months. So there may be films that are better than the ones on the list. I never got to see The Help or Hugo, for example, and I heard they were pretty damn good. I guess I also missed out on a lot of Oscar Bait films this year since they simply weren’t playing where I’ve been living. Sigh.

#2: This list is purely opinion based. This isn’t a listing of the objectively best made movies of 2011; it’s a list of one regular dude’s movies he liked the best. If you don’t agree with this list feel free to write your own; it won’t be any less or more valid than mine.

Check out the list after the jump.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Two Year Anniversary is Dead

Beta is Dead is two years old. It’s a goddamn anniversary!

Technically the anniversary was yesterday (I’m cheating with the date listed) but I’ve been so busy this week with my band’s CD release (Oh, I'll plug that in due time) that I haven’t had any time to get to a computer. But even so Beta is Dead has lasted another year. Thank you to everyone who has stuck it out with me the last twenty-four months. Last year I made the New Year’s resolution that I’d do everything I could to make the blog better and I think I’ve mostly been able to do that. But things can always be better and I do feel I’ve neglected things recently.

So hey let’s look at some stats from the last year. The most visited page seems to have been my review of Gurren Lagaan, almost entirely based on people looking for sexy pictures of Yoko….which is pretty damn gross. My now obsolete blog about Cassandra Cain was the second highest, though one wonders if I need to do an update since things have changed for the character (Meh, she probably doesn’t even exists after the reboot). Weirdly the third most visited page was my write-up about Silverhawks. I find this odd since that blog wasn’t even written in 2011. I’m pretty sure this is the result of people looking for pictures through Google, but is this show really that popular? I’m regularly shocked at the number of hits this article gets.

Anyway I hope you’ve all enjoyed the last year’s worth of blogs. Don’t forget to spread the word and share with friends if you like what you’ve been reading. Hopefully this year will be even better and readership will continue to grow. Also feel free to follow me on Twitter @JasonBetaMagnus, if that’s your thing. I don’t use it much but having followers makes me feel cool. Like “Sunglasses at Night” cool.

Friday, January 13, 2012

SMCS Companion Piece #20: Dexter's Laboratory

Happy New Year, Blah blah blah. Last weekend on the Saturday Morning Cartoon Show we played Dexter’s Laboratory. Now it’s a bit hard to wrap my head around it but this cartoon is nearly seventeen years. That’s a long goddamn time; kids born around the same time as this cartoon are damn near done with High School this year. It weird that something I enjoyed so much in my childhood (And not even in my good “young” childhood, but rather my 12-13 years) is so old now. Because that means I’m old. And I’m only getting older. And without the benefit of being rich and famous I don’t possess the secret power to stop this process anytime soon.

Anyway Dexter’s Lab is the first of what would be a new wave of 90s cartoons. Created by Genndy Tartakovsky this was ultimately Cartoon Network’s second original program after Space Ghost Coast-to-Coast (Before this Cartoon Network had solely been broadcasting old cartoons’ from Time Warner’s extensive catalog and had for years). The original short premiered in 1995 on World Premier Toons/What a Cartoon, a show that featured several one-shot shorts that acted as pilots for potential new programming. After several shorts featured on the anthology show Dexter’s Lab finally got its own series in 1996 which lasted until 1998, with a proper series finale in 1999. However it was bought back in 2001 and managed to linger on until 2003, but those last two seasons weren’t exactly met with the same enthusiasms from fans. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

More Dexter’s Lab after the jump.