Tuesday, October 30, 2012

New Zombie Apocalypse NOW! EP (It's Free)


If you don’t know by now that I’m the lead singer of a nerdy punk band then you’re either a) new to the blog or b) really good at ignoring anything I post that doesn’t have “Review” in the title. Nevertheless I’m the frontman of a Chicago based called “Zombie Apocalypse NOW!” We’ve released a new album, an EP called “Fresh Fruit for Rotting Flesh”. We’ve released EPs before, and I’ve posted about them here before, but the biggest difference between this and our previous albums is that this one will be FREE (Well technically it’s “Name Your Own Price” in case anyone wanted to donate to us but in practice you can just choose to not pay anything). Now the whole thing is streaming on bandcamp but, again, it’s free so why not download it and listen to it from the comfort of your mobile MP3 playing device?

I'm the black one
For those interested there’s more info after the jump.

Review: Looper

So here we are; yet another Joseph Gordon-Levitt flick. Hey, I’m not complaining. By now you should all be well aware of my love for JGL and know that I’ll watch anything he’s in. Three JGL flicks in one year = excellent year for movies.

Looper is the flick that we’re looking at today. It’s the new film by Rian Johnson who previously directed Brick and The Brothers Bloom…neither of which I’ve seen. There’s been a lot of buzz about this film because essentially JGL is playing opposite Bruce Willis with the twist is that they’re playing the same character. Time travel, baby! But a lot of people have been pretty damn skeptical about whether JGL was the right choice to play a young Willis (except that Levitt was cast first so Willis is actually supposed to play an old JGL). I have faith in Beta is Dead’s number one actor, so I’m willing to give this movie the benefit of the doubt.

Full review after the jump.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Review: Avengers vs. X-Men #12

We’ve finally made it to the end of this long, long, long, series. I’m really late to the party on this because fans have already moved on to Avengers vs. X-Men: Consequences and Uncanny X-Men #20, which continues deals with the aftermath. Still it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t do this last review.

Avengers vs. X-Men #12 was written by Jason Aaron with art by Adam Kubert (Pencils), John Dell with Mark Morales & Kubert (Inks), and Laura Martin with Justin Ponsor (Colors). I got most of my rage about Cyclops’ treatment last time so I think I can keep this from being a rant. I’ll discuss the issue itself and then conclude with my final thoughts on the series as a whole. Past reviews: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11

Final AvX review after the jump.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Housekeeping for November

Hey guys. Sorry about lack of updates the last two weeks or so. I’ve been distracted by my band’s new album that we’ve been working on that will be released today (I’ll provide a link later). I have the last AvX review mostly done and I will hopefully get it up by tomorrow evening, with a review of Looper and the third series of the Doctor Who Revival before the end of the month. However right now I wanted to talk a bit about what’s going on next month. 

As you know I write articles here and elsewhere but I actually went to college for fiction and playwriting. So, as with last year, I’m going to be spending most of my time in November participating in National Novel Writing Month. When I did last year’s event I was so caught up in it I didn’t write a single blog for the whole month, which ended up killing the site’s traffic. Therefore while my focus will still be on NaNoMo I will try to keep a presence throughout the month. Partly I’ll try to keep doing movie reviews but they will likely be shorter than normal and I'm not sure I'll be able to do all that many. I’ll also force myself to give updates on the progress of the novel; this may help motivate me to actually finish it if my progress is up for the while world to see. So anyway it hopefully won’t be as bad as last year.

If you’re really interested in how the book is doing I’ll likely have daily updates on my Twitter account (@JasonBetaMagnus). Thank you for your understanding.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Anime Review: True Tears

Another anime review? So soon? What is this, 2010? I ended up going through this show really quickly and it left me very, err, let’s say “talkative”. Longtime fans of the blog may remember that I sometimes get a bit flustered and annoyed with how much science fiction/fantasy based anime I watch and somewhat yearned for something based in reality for a change. Well True Tears is my reward.

True Tears is a 2008 anime that is based on a Visual Novel of the same name. I can’t recall if I’ve talked about visual novels before but basically they’re video game-like digital literature. They’re not actually video games (mostly) but they tend to be “Choose Your Own Adventure” type of narratives with vastly different branching scenarios. Many, many of them are labeled as dating sims. A lot of those are also pornography. Yep. The closet example I can think of off-hand is the BlazBlue fighting game series as its story mode is in the visual novel style (but itself wouldn’t be considered one). The most infamous visual novel may be School Days which featured a bunch of endings that involved crazy-ass murders and soul crushing despair before getting an anime adaption that ran with that theme with horrific results. Visual novels are very popular in Japan, and a lot of anime are based on them, but they don’t really appear too much in America.

Weirdly True Tears apparently doesn’t have anything to do with the original visual novel except for the name; not the setting, not the plot, not the characters, not even the artwork. I’m not sure why this is but if I were to guess I’d say it might be because the anime studio didn’t want to make an show where fans essentially already know all the possible endings or perhaps the studio came up with its own original show but decided it would sell better if it had the same name of a popular visual novel. Regardless the show was produced by P.A. Works, Lantis, and Bandai Visual in 2008. Bandai Entertainment licensed and released it in North America later that year. A mundane, romance anime set in the real world with no fantastical elements? What could possibly go wrong?

 Full review after the jump.

[WARNING: The review contains MASSIVE spoilers as I apparently didn't give a crap if I spoiled every detail of the show's ending. Read at your own risk.] 


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Review: Avengers vs. X-Men #11

Avengers vs. X-men #11 is written Brian Michael Bendis. The art team consists of Oliver Coipel on pencils, Mark Morales on inks, and Laura Martin on colors. Previous reviews: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

There’s not much to say in today’s intro. Instead of talking about the comic I want to briefly talk about Cyclops. When I was a kid, in the single digits, I was a big fan of the pilot X-Men cartoon “Pryde of the X-Men” which is my earliest recollection of comic book superheroes and Stan Lee (who narrated the thing). I’d watch that thing over and over. Of all the characters I found myself relating to Cyclops the most. Stiff, uptight Cyclops who no one else seemed to like. So responsible, so smart and yet he was always depressed because of his powers, the very thing that made him special. That was me; I was lonely, I always tried to do the responsible thing, no one seemed to like me for it and I was always depressed from childhood pretty much until today. I didn’t relate to badass Wolverine or even Storm, the first black superhero I ever saw; it was always Scott Summers. As I got older my love of the character only grew and I began seeing as representing everything I thought superheroes should be, even though his comic wasn’t really conducive to proper super heroic actions. I love Cyclops.
Why is Cyclops always trying to blast the sky in these pictures?
But being a Cyclops fan is tough. It seems like the whole world dislikes him. His appearances in the live action films were pathetic. He’s constantly playing second banana to Wolverine in ALL the cartoons. And worst of all it feels like the writers have been purposely writing him terribly for the last twelve years or so, ever since he merged with Apocalypse in The Twelve storyline. Since then he’s been a cold, distant outsider, a cheater, a militant, a dictator, and now in this series, a mad god. The only time he has been written well these past twelve years seemingly was during Joss Whedon’s run on Astonishing X-Men, because Whedon got what the character was all about. But even in the years since that run ended things have been awful. I’m mentioning all this because this is the issue where Scott Summers both doesn’t die like I was afraid he might but also dies in the worst possible way.

Full review after the jump.

[WARNING: Full spoilers ahead.]

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Review: Avengers vs. X-Men #10

[So apparently my scanner picked this week to stop working and pretty much delayed me in doing AvX reviews. It’s working now so hopefully I can get back to it.]

I keep falling behind when doing these Avengers vs. X-Men reviews and I think I’m starting to understand why: I’m not super into it. It’s probably because of how many there is too it; twelve issues is a lot. However I like to finish what I start (that’s probably mostly true) and there’s three issues left so I can see the finish line. In theory I could get these all done this week [Nope. My wonky scanner saw to that not being the case]. And in theory were heading into the climax, and Marvel has a great history of ending their crossovers strongly, right? Right? Anybody…? Anyway I need to review Looper and a new anime and this crap is in the damn way!

Avengers vs. X-Men #10 is primary written by Ed Burbaker. The art team continues to consist of the same people: Adam Kubert on pencils, John Dell on inks and Laura Martin with Larry Molinar on colors. Previous AvX reviews: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

Full review after the jump.

[WARNING: There are some spoilers in this book, but it's a pretty old issue at this point so it shouldn't be a huge deal]

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Anime Review: Rideback

Do you remember way back in my reviews for Demonic Devil Emperor Satan King Daimao and Ga-Rei Zero when I said I watched three anime series back to back in one sitting and it basically drove me insane? Well the third anime I viewed that day was Rideback. I didn’t review it back then because I actually didn’t finish the last two episodes. By the time I got around to doing so I had pretty much forgotten the plot so I decided to re-watch the whole thing. It turns out that going through it a second time was something of a horrible mistake and it took me FOREVER to finally watch it. It’s done now so let’s review it and move on to some other anime series.

Rideback is a 2009 anime based on a manga of the same name. The show was produced by Madhouse, one of the most well-known anime production companies, who also responsible for Princess Resurrection and Highschool of the Dead (among many, many others). FUNimation licensed and released it in 2011. At twelve episodes it’s another fairly short series but believe me, it felt a lot longer.

Full review after the jump.

[WARNING: There's at least one outstanding spoiler in this review, so proceed at your own risk.]