Video Game Vlog Review: Hatsune Miku Project Diva F

This week I have a Vlog style review of Hatsune Miku Project Diva F for the PS3. Continue reading “Video Game Vlog Review: Hatsune Miku Project Diva F”

Anime Review: Megazone 23 – Part III

Megazone 23 – Part 3 is probably the most Cyberpunk part of the Megazone 23 series. The other installments had artificial intelligences and rebelling against the man. However, Part 3 has more hacking, human cybernetic augmentation, and dealing with human society’s relationship with the planet. It’s also the weakest part of the series. Continue reading “Anime Review: Megazone 23 – Part III”

Film Review: The Yakuza Papers Pt. 2 – Deadly Fight in Hiroshima

After the original The Yakuza Papers came out and did incredibly well at the box office, a sequel came out with a relatively fast turnaround. Unlike the first film, the sequel, Deadly Fight in Hiroshima, bypasses Bunta Sugawara’s character, Shozo Hirono (who does appear in this film as a cameo appearance), for a new character, and new story of induction into the world of the Yakuza.
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Book Review: The Chronicles of the Chinese Emperors

Chronicle of the Chinese EmperorsMovies set in historical periods or otherwise based around historical events will never go away. We will always have Victorian tales of class-based angst. Same with tales of valorious (or conniving) knights in medieval Europe. For Eastern cinema, we’ll probably always have samurai films of various stripes, and the same with various Wuxia films, discussing various martial artists and their exploits in Imperial China.

To get try and some background on wuxia films and their I recently read The Chronicles of the Chinese Emperors by Ann Paludan. The book gives an overview of the reign of approximately every emperor in Chinese history that is considered to be “officially” an emperor. Officially is in air-quotes because the book appears to defer heavily to the official Imperial histories. Continue reading “Book Review: The Chronicles of the Chinese Emperors”

Manga Review – Red Hot Chili Samurai Vol. 1

Red Hot Chili Samurai is a manga that feels like it’s not sure what it wants to be. The manga follows samurai Kokaku Sento as he fights various criminals in rural Japan during the Shogunate. Kokaku’s strength and weakness is his dependance on hot peppers, which he eats regularly, and which strengthen him, like Popeye. Like Kenshin, Kokaku and his comrades, bespectacled Ento, ninja manservant … Continue reading Manga Review – Red Hot Chili Samurai Vol. 1

Anime Review – Area 88

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In the anime portions of Gainax‘s OVA series Otaku No Video, there’s a sequence where the main character is being shown the various types of Otaku that the members of his friend’s club are part of. There’s the vehicle and mecha otaku, who is a geek about engines and how things work, and so on. One of the members of the club is an animation otaku, and he demonstrates his affinity for animation by pointing out the detail in an animated sequence (taken from the DaiCon IV video). I, personally, haven’t had many moments in animation where I felt compelled to freeze frame a video and stop to appreciate it – until I saw the OVA Area 88.

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Ryunosuke's wake

Movie Review – Sword of Doom

It’s been a while since I put a film review together, for something outside of a genre film for Bureau42. However, what better place to get back into the swing of things than the 1960s jidaigeki film Sword of Doom. The film stars Tatsuya Nakadai as samurai Ryunosuke Tsukue, a sociopathic-at-best samurai, who cares for nothing but the improvement of his skill. The film follows … Continue reading Movie Review – Sword of Doom

Movie Review – The Crimson Cult

Occasionally a horror film comes about where the premise might be unimpressive, but the film’s cast commands attention. The Crimson Cult, originally titled “The Curse of the Crimson Altar” in the UK, is one of such films. The film follows Robert Manning, an antique dealer who has come to the town of Graymarsh, in search of his brother – another dealer who has failed to … Continue reading Movie Review – The Crimson Cult

Quality Control – Mighty Final Fight

On multiple occasions, I’ve heard the expression mentioned that restrictions breed creativity. Sometimes that doesn’t hold true. My last Quality Control pick, Raging Fighter, was a great example of this. The game was a fighting game that just didn’t hold up well on what was essentially a 4-bit hand-held system. Such is the opposite with this Quality Control pick, Mighty Final Fight, from Capcom for … Continue reading Quality Control – Mighty Final Fight

Video Game Review – Guitar Hero: Metallica (PS3)

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A while back, I went out on a limb and said that Guitar Hero: Aerosmith was superior to Guitar Hero III. I’ve now had an opportunity to play the second band focused Guitar Hero game, and while I enjoyed it, it encountered some of the same problems that Guitar Hero III had. Continue reading “Video Game Review – Guitar Hero: Metallica (PS3)”

Quality Control – Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose!

Box art for Tiny Toon Adventures - Buster Busts Loose
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With my last Nintendo Power Recap, I picked Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose for my next Quality Control pick. This was in part because I was a fan of the Tiny Toon Adventures TV series, and partially because I kind of liked the last Looney Tunes game I played, Death Valley Rally.  So, we’ll see how well this game holds up. Continue reading “Quality Control – Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose!”

Comic Review – Ultimate Spider-Man Vol. 11: Carnage

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So, it’s now time to review the Ultimate Universe’s take on the member of Spider-Man’s rogue’s gallery I hate the most. I’m going to say this right now. I hate Carnage. The character is completely unoriginal. He was created to be a darker-and-edgier version of Venom, who was in turn meant to be a darker and edgier version of Spider-Man. The character has essentially no depth. He kills people for no reason. That’s it. He breaks out of where he’s held, kills people until he’s stopped, and wash, rinse, repeat.

Thus, when I picked up this volume, I had my doubts about how they could make this story interesting. Thus, I was pleasantly surprised by how they did succeed. Basically, they managed to pull it off by not directly attaching the character to Venom, but instead to Curt Connors, aka The Lizard. Connors has been, in my opinion, one of the better members of Spider-Man’s supporting cast. This is, for a large part, because he’s a tragic figure. He experiments on himself  in an attempt to develop a way for amputees to re-grow limbs, and ends up turning himself into a lizard-man. Everything the character does is meant with the best intentions, as opposed to villainous figures like Doc Ock and the Green Goblin. Continue reading “Comic Review – Ultimate Spider-Man Vol. 11: Carnage”

Music Review – The Fine Young Cannibals: The Raw and the Cooked

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So, in my wanderings across the internet I came across the music video for the song “She Drives Me Crazy” by the Fine Young Cannibals, which I, frankly, hadn’t heard before. So, I decided to check out the album that it came from, The Young and the Cooked, and give it a try. I was rather impressed with what I heard. Continue reading “Music Review – The Fine Young Cannibals: The Raw and the Cooked”

Book Review – The Black Hole War

Cover art for The Black Hole War
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So, last week I talked about the documentary about Stephen Hawking, “A Brief History of Time”. This week I have a book review taking an alternative approach to Stephen Hawking’s theories of Black Holes, and how they are wrong. The book in question is The Black Hole War by Leonard Susskind.

Essentially, the plot of the non-fiction book is pretty simple. Stephen Hawking comes up with his theories of how Black Holes work, and how nothing can escape them. Well, sort of – Hawking Radiation is emitted by black holes (that’s one of the ways we can find them), but the amount of radiation emitted is not equal to the amount of material that is captured by the black hole. Thus any “information” captured by the black hole (from light to anything else) is lost. Continue reading “Book Review – The Black Hole War”

Movie Review – A Brief History of Time

The movie poster for A Brief History of Time
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I love physics. To be more accurate, I love all the space sciences. This ties in to my enjoyment of science fiction series like Star Trek and Star Wars, and from watching documentary series like Nova on Public Broadcasting as a kid. Plus, like most people, I love underdog stories. So, when I learned about Professor Stephen Hawkings, a physicist from the UK who helped to expand our knowledge of how the universe works in spite of the disease that was slowly destroying him – Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. So, when I learned there was a film based on his book “A Brief History of Time”, where he explained the basics of quantum mechanics to a mass audience. I leaped at the chance to watch it. Continue reading “Movie Review – A Brief History of Time”

Movie Review – Three Days of the Condor

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I enjoy spy thrillers. Marathon Man, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Smiley’s People, Sneakers, Spy Game, etc, have all stuff I’ve enjoyed. I bring up Spy Game, because it was my first exposure to Redford in a spy film, which in turn leads me to this week’s review – Three Days of the Condor, which features Redford acting alongside Max Von Sydow in a spy thriller set in the US.

The plot follows Joseph Turner, code name “Condor,” an analyst for the CIA. When assassins kill everyone at his station except for him when he’s out getting lunch, he finds himself on the run, and trying to find out why he and his station were targeted. He seeks help from a Kathy Hale, a civilian he comes across while evading pursuit in a sporting goods store. Continue reading “Movie Review – Three Days of the Condor”

Movie Review – No Country for Old Men

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I came in to this movie knowing nothing about Cormac McCarthy. I hadn’t read the book this movie was based on. I hadn’t read The Road, nor had I seen the movie that was adapted from the book. What I did have, however, is knowledge of the Coen Brothers from seeing Fargo and O Brother, Where Art Thou. I can justifiably say that after seeing this movie, I couldn’t see anyone else doing this film. I don’t have this reaction with all films. Sometimes, when watching an film, I can sort of get ideas about how the film might look with another director – how John Carpenter might do the original Friday the 13th instead of Sean S. Cunningham for example. This, though, is a film only the Coen Brothers could do.

The film follows three characters, hunter Llewellyn Moss, sheriff Ed Tom Bell, and hitman Anton Chigurh (rhymes with “Sugar”). While hunting in west Texas, Moss comes across a drug deal that turned into a bloodbath. Among the carnage he finds a satchel carrying 2 Million dollars. Chigurh has been hired by the owner of the money to get it back. Finally, Sheriff Bell finds himself following in the wake of blood left by Chigurh’s passage in search of the money. Continue reading “Movie Review – No Country for Old Men”

Movie Review – Live Free or Die Hard

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As someone who intends to become a network security professional, I know a little something about hacking. Not how to penetrate people’s systems or anything like that, but I know about security flaws, I know about ways a possible attacker might come at your system, and I know that the visual for these attacks would be pretty boring. After I learned that the premise of Live Free or Die Hard would involve cyber-crime, I developed a lot of reservations about how this film could turn out. However, after much deliberation, I decided to give the film a watch.

The movie brings back Detective John McClane of the NYPD. Now formally divorced from his wife and estranged from his daughter, he’s ordered to take a computer hacker from New Jersey to Washington DC for questioning related to an attack on the FBI’s computer system, as well as the deaths of several other hackers. After he arrives at the house of the hacker, Matt Farrell (played by Justin Long), some assassins attempt to kill Farrell, ringing alarm bells for McClaine. As John and Matt make their way down to DC, a series of hacker attacks, masterminded by former NSA hacker Thomas Gabriel (played by Timothy Olyphant), bring the US infrastructure to it’s knees. It’s up to McLane and Farrell to stop Gabriel’s plot before millions of lives are lost. Continue reading “Movie Review – Live Free or Die Hard”

Video Game Review – 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand (PS3)

Box art for 50 Cent Blood on the Sand
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Awhile back I played and reviewed (somewhere else – I can’t find the precise review) 50 Cent: Bulletproof. The game was the first game featuring rapper 50 Cent. It wasn’t a good game, but it wasn’t absolute crap either. It was just incredibly mediocre. However, it sold incredibly well. So, I wasn’t surprised when the game got a sequel, but I wasn’t particularly expecting quality in any form, so I just ignored the game. However, then I started hearing murmurings from game journalists whose opinions I trust about action shooters. I was hearing things about how this also was not a bad game. To the contrary, the word was that it was actually kind of good. So, I added the game to my GameFly queue, and now I finally got it, and beat it – which means it’s time for me to give my opinion on it. Continue reading “Video Game Review – 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand (PS3)”

Movie Review – In The Electric Mist

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As a quick note – I’m reviewing the US release of the film. The European Union cut of the film is several minutes longer and is the director’s vision for how the film would turn out.

The way that crime thrillers and mysteries have been adapted to the big screen has kind of changed over the years, more or less. While TV series like Peter Gunn and Bones try (and succeed) to provide a “knowledge chain” sort of like a chain of custody, where the audience has access to the same pieces of evidence that the people investigating the crime(s) has, and they see how the conclusions are drawn, and they usually figure out who solved the crime around the same time the detective does. Films, and in particular In the Electric Mist, don’t do it that way. Continue reading “Movie Review – In The Electric Mist”

Quality Control – Super Star Wars (SNES)

I’m sorry, but I have to admit that I wasn’t able to get past the first level of this one. The game sends a never-ending string of enemies at you in the first level, and I wasn’t particularly able to figure out a pattern for the first boss, so I wasn’t able to get past it – at least not within my self assigned deadline. … Continue reading Quality Control – Super Star Wars (SNES)

Book Review – The Soul of a New Machine

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About 6 years ago, a sort of scandal rocked the gaming industry related to a blog post by a woman known as “EASpouse”. The blog post criticized EA’s labor practices at the time, which required employees to work massive amounts of unpaid overtime, as they were salaried employees. By massive, I mean about 12-16 hour days, 6 days a week, regularly. This was a big deal among gamers, because very few of us had ever had the opportunity to peek behind the curtain like this. It was likely that most of us viewed game development with a variation of the way that Roald Dahl as a child imagined the inside of the Cadbury Chocolate Factory near the boarding school he attended (which later led to Charlie & the Chocolate Factory). Continue reading “Book Review – The Soul of a New Machine”