Sunday, December 30, 2012

Review: Wreck-It Ralph

Happy New Year and all that. I hope everyone is having a better end of year experience than I am (I wrecked my car! Awesome!). This will be the last blog of 2012, which doesn’t mean too much I suppose since 2013 is literally just  hours away at this point, but still.

You might have noticed that I never reviewed Brave despite it being on that Summer Movie Preview I did months ago. I did manage to see it but never got around to writing about it. I may still review it but for now I’ll let you know that I thought it was pretty good but not exactly up to the standard I hold for Pixar. Since whatever movie Pixar made that year tends to be the top animated film of the year the times when they don’t deliver usual quality things get murky. For example since 2005 Pixar has won the Academy Award for Best Animated Film every year except in the years when they released the Cars movies, which are considered to be by far the worst they ever produced.

Enter Wreck-It Ralph. Ever since it came out it’s gained a ton of critical acclaim. But let’s be honest: it’s Disney. The best animated films Disney usually produces are actually done by Pixar so my hopes weren’t very high for it. I ended up putting off catching it until last week. Despite my reservations I like video games and I like cartoons; why no give it a chance?

Full review after the jump.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Review: Skyfall

I’m not sure it’s supposed to be this difficult to see and then write about a film the way it has been for me to do with Skyfall, but finally after what felt like months upon months I have seen the latest James Bond flick and I’ve made it to my laptop to talk about it.

As mentioned Skyfall is the lasted Bond film starring Daniel Craig. It’s his third movie after the awesome Casino Royale and the less than awesome Quantum of Solace. The film likely would have come out earlier however MGM, the studio behind the Bind films, went bankrupt in 2010 and with their financial situation dubious at best they opted to delay production on the film. Once everything was sorted it seemed the film would be coming out to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Dr. No, the first 007 film from 1962.

There has been a lot of buzz surrounding this flick but that means little, especially when you just watched the previous two films and are even more nitpicky than you normally might be.

Full review after the jump.

[WARNING: There is at least one outstanding spoiler in this review. Just be careful when reading.]

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Review: Quantum of Solace

[EDIT: This is late. This was supposed to come out a few days ago but I was distracted by a Protomen/MC Lars concert and a few other things going on the last few days. To make matters worse I was supposed to see Skyfall this weekend but that ended up falling through. Life, eh?]

Quantum of Solace is the second film in the Daniel Craig era of James Bond movie, one of the few in the series to be a direct continuation of the previous film. Now, assuming you read my last review, you should know that I though this film’s predecessor, Casino Royale, was the best Bond film so far as it had everything I wanted out of an action film while lacking most of the issues I normally dislike from the series (campiness, misogyny, bad puns). But at the same time the film set a pretty high standard.

In 2008, two years after the awesome Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace hit theaters and you know that I was super jazzed about seeing this flick. As I’ve said before Casino Royale made me incredibly excited about future films and, with the cliffhanger it left us with, I was consumed with eagerness to see what happened next. Did it deliver or did it fail to live up to the hype?

Full review after the jump.

[WARNING: There are some spoilers for this movie as well as Casino Royale. Keep this in mind when reading.]

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Review: Casino Royale (2006)

As you’re reading this the latest James Bond film, simply titled “Skyfall”, is busy being a money making machine and picking up a ton of critical buzz. Many people are calling it the best Bond flick ever. I have yet to see it but I plan doing so in this weekend. In the meantime I thought it be a great way to warm up for the movie by watching and reviewing every single Bond film leading up to Skyfall…but then I realized that would be a huge undertaking and I’m lazy as hell. Instead I figured we’d look at the films that led up to the new one; namely the Daniel Craig era.

In leading up to 2006 Pierce Brosnan, the actor how had been playing Bond, stepped down from his role. The search for the new Agent 007 also lead to the studio deciding to toss out the baby with bath water and just reboot the whole franchise. This bothered a lot of fans. Things got worse when it was announced that Daniel Craig would be taking over lead character role. I guess he was too blond or something. I forget because it was something like seven years ago. Anyway in the spirit of starting over the new flick was going to be based on original creator Sir Ian Flemming’s first James Bond novel, Casino Royale. It was directed by Martin Campbell, who also directed GoldenEye…which I really disliked.

 I am not a traditional Bond fan as I’d only seen a few of the films in the series and beyond Goldfinger I haven’t loved them. I especially wasn’t very keen on Brosnan’s films at all. But I remember being very intrigued by all the hullabaloo with this flick and I actually went to the theaters to see it; the first time I’d ever paid to see a James Bond movie. So were all the changes worth it?

Full review after the jump.

[WARNING: There are some spoilers but it's not too bad and, really, this movie came out six years ago. Get over it.]

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Kickstarter Weekends: BIT Parts, Barkley 2, Nightwing

It’s time again for more plugs and karma gathering as I list off my favorite current Kickstarter projects. It’s been a while since we did one of these. I’ve been really busy with a verity of other things in life the past few months (especially NaNoWriMo from last month) so I’d fallen behind on my Kickstarter searches. I did come across a few projects during the down time but I just couldn’t get a blog together for them. Thankfully all those projects got funded without my help so it worked out. Today we’ll have three new projects to look at.

Also MALICE: The Webseries (from the first Kickstarter Weekend) has successfully been uploading new episodes since Halloween. Since, as you know, I’m very attached to that show I heavily suggest you go watch them (Maybe one day I’ll have time to watch them too. Sigh).

Before we get into the new projects let’s check in on last time’s Kickstarter campaigns and see how they did:

Kalamazoo's Music Scene CD/Festival: Funding Canceled!

Final Earning: $0 ($6,500 Goal)

Unfortunately it looks like the project was canceled due to lack of response. It’s likely it would not have reached its goal even if it had lasted to the end. Still I doubt we’ve seen the last of this project.

Through the Fire: Funding Canceled!

Final Earnings: $0 ($750,000 Goal)

Michael Dorn’s dream project just couldn’t make it so he put it out of its misery. I’m not very surprised by this; the project had a huge goal but lacked the right type of advertisement to support it. I have a decent amount of Trekkie friends and none of them had even heard of this movie. For all of Dorn’s hope that this would motivate the Star Trek community it didn’t really seem to reach all that many of them.

Compare that to another Kickstarter project, Star Trek: Reengages, that made nearly $250,000 and also featured several Star Trek veterans.

Leaving Megalopolis: Funding Successful!

Final Earning: $117,660 ($34,000 Goal)

It actually reached its goal even when I posted about it so it should surprise no one that it was a successful campaign. Still it smashed it’s bare minimum proving that the industry was hotly interested in a Gail Simone/Jim Calafiore (so then how about a return of Secret Six, then?). Sadly I wasn’t able to afford to donate to get a copy of the book and I’m pretty sure that that was my only opportunity to get a copy. Sometimes even when you win you still lose.

Molly Danger: Funding Successful!
Final Earnings: $50,329 ($45,000 Goal)

The Cinderella Story from last time had a happy ending, thanks to a lot of comic book creators helping spreading the word. I sincerely believe the world is a slightly better place with Molly Danger being made.

So as you can see it doesn’t always work out on Kickstarter Weekends and sometimes there are tears. Three new projects after the jump.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Nerd Rage #12b: The Cons of Disney Buying Star Wars

George looks a little under dressed for the occasion
And we're back. Today we'll continue talking about Disney buying  Star Wars but things won't be so positive. just because there are good things to come out of it doesn't mean there aren't things that might be cause for concern. Of course it's important to note that it's not all bad no matter what I might be ranting about here. Remember to check out Part One of this blog to reassure yourself that I'm not just being a Negative Nancy.

The Cons after the jump.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Nerd Rage #12a: The Pros of Disney Buying Star Wars

I started writing this a long time ago but I was distracted by that whole “NaNoWriMo” thing. So technically I’m a little late to the party on this one. Take in mind that I wrote this  originally when the new first broke weeks ago.

Honestly I'm mainly upset by Darth Goofy's lack of pants
I assume most of you have heard this but for those of you who somehow managed to successfully be a hermit Disney announced that they had bought Lucasfilms. This includes all smaller companies under the Lucasfilm umbrella, including Lucasarts, Industrial Light Magic, Skywalker Sound and, of course, the entire Star Wars brand. Everything related to the franchise (books, video games, etc.) now are part of the Disney machine and George Lucas no longer has a say in the franchise he created and built his life around. It was sold for $4.5 billion, which I think feels a little low for Star Wars, and it was immediately announced that production of Star Wars: Episode VII had begun with a release date of summer 2015. This may be the biggest nerd oriented news in at least ten years.

This is the exact type of news where many nerds go insane over with declarations of “EVERYTHING IS RUINED”. It’s very similar to when Marvel Comics was bought by Disney a few years ago in terms of potential rage, but on a grander scale. And yeah, I too can’t help but raise an eyebrow over this whole mess but I think we need to all step back, breathe, and consider the pros and cons of the situation. Now you might be saying “Beta, didn’t you wash your hands of Star Wars a while ago? Didn’t you basically write a whole blog about it?” And I’d reply “Shut up, asshole.” And afterwards I’d explain that despite some loss of faith Star Wars was still a huge part of my life since I was a baby up until about 1999 and even since then I still maintain a great admiration of the world building that goes into it. I feel that I, like so many other folk to there, have a stake in this development.

Let’s weigh the “Good” and the “Bad” after the jump, shall we?

Monday, December 3, 2012

6 Things I Learned from NaNoWriMo

Beta Magnus Wins!
National Novel writing Month 2012 is in the books (see what I did there?) and I successfully completed the 50,000 word challenge. I even smashed my previous year’s attempt in the first five days or so, which was really cool. “Project: Brothers” (the codename for the book) wasn’t finished in that time as fifty thousand is actually not enough for a proper full size book and I’ll likely need an additional sixty thousand at least to finish it. I’m hopeful that I can finish the book by the end of January though and then spend the rest of 2013 editing and re-writing. I’m sorry to say that I wasn’t able to finish any updates for the blog this past month, partly because of NaNoWriMo but also partly due to very specific problems in my personal life the last few weeks (don’t worry, I won’t get into them. This still isn’t that kind of blog). But now that November is over I plan to getting back to work and giving you as many Nerd Blogs as I can produce.

Today though I wanted to share some of my experiences with NaNoWriMo, as it turns out that it was one of the better things I’ve ever gotten involved with in my life. I’m breaking it down into the 6 Things I Learned from Doing National Novel Writing Month.

As a quick reminder: National Novel Writing Month takes place November 1st through November 30th and is a challenge to write 50, 000 words in that time frame. It can be any kind of prose (I chose original fiction) so long as it isn’t a project started before November 1st.

Six Things after the jump.

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