Archive for April, 2007

Knocked Up: Spider-Man 3 Spider-Man 3 Spider-Man 3

April 29, 2007

Knocked Up

At my university, I sometimes have the opportunity to view wide-release movies before their actual street dates. They’ve done this with Apocalypto and Disturbia in the past. So it should also clue you in to the type of movies they try to get: ones that need some grass roots buzz. Of the two previously mentioned, I was able to get into Apocalypto and was left fairly non-plussed. I guess Mel failed to turn me into a word-of-mouth drone with that one. I couldn’t even get into Disturbia, which was ridiculous, seeing as how it’s Shia fucking LeBouf in a shameless Spider-Man 3 Rear Window rip-off… but who am I kidding? God knows no one there knew what the hell Rear Window was (my roommate, who did get in and brought back a poster of it that sits infuriatingly beside his bed, didn’t have a clue as to what a Rear Window was) and the majority probably just saw the name and were instilled with awe-inspiring fear.

Disturbia had been shown so recently that I wasn’t on the lookout for another advance screening, but hearing my roommate make plans to see it that evening reminded me that Knocked Up was on the menu. So I decided that free was a good enough price, and walked into the Spider-Man 3 Student Union half an hour early with a friend and some acquaintances to get in line… only to be faced with a line that spanned the entire length of the rather long building. But we persevered and after a dodgy situation where for some reason one of the people in charge of the program put his arm out in front of me to bar my way AFTER I’D ALREADY BEEN GIVEN MY LITTLE BRACELET THAT SAID I COULD BE LET IN, we were all seated and ready to have white-hot Spider-Man 3 Knocked Up sprayed all over our vacant expressions.

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Hot Fuzz: MEN SHOOTING GUNS

April 21, 2007

Hot Fuzz

Let me start off this review by saying that I have seen only snippets of Shaun of the Dead, so its bearing on this review will be minimal at best. I hope this helps in viewing this movie as its own separate work rather than as a follow-up.

So I decided basically on a lark this afternoon to see the movie Hot Fuzz. I’d seen commercials for it, liked the trailer I saw, and had heard generally good things about Shaun of the Dead, so I thought it could be a nice diversion for the evening. I should also admit that I thought in case it did suck, it’d at least make a good candidate for my first really derogatory Grump Factory post. Little did I know what I was in for.

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A History of Vehemence

April 20, 2007

A peculiar thing happened to me this week.

But first, let’s travel through time.

To 2005. A lousy year if my memory’s correct, and I’m sure it is, because Crash won the Oscar that year. What an atrocious show. Five-Six Mafia won, Jon Stewart was fumbling, and uh, honestly, nothing else noteworthy comes to mind right now, but that’s okay, that all sucked. 2005 was really the year Batman Begins came out.

Now, I love my genre flicks. Horror, action, sci-fi, adventure, uh… action/sci-fi/adventure… when they’re good there’s nothing better on Earth! When they come packaged in nostalgic superhero tights like Batman’s, whose 1992 animated series practically raised me (though mom and dad did a good job too – more on that soon), there’s a euphoria in me so intense reality peels away, and I’m swooping off rooftops alongside TAS’ Kevin Conroy and Begins‘ Christian Bale.

Batman Begins was a production I followed not closely, obsessively, with my friends, fellow Bat-fans, for years, back when Darren Aranofsky was on board to direct, when Wolfgang Petersen was set to do a World’s Finest mash-up, way back in… cripes, way back in high school. When Christopher Nolan took over… it was too fucking perfect! Would he get Guy Pearce to play an obsessive vigilante again? Batman, Memento-style?! Could something that brilliant possibly happen? When American Psycho Christian Bale was cast we rushed to rent Equilibrium to see if he was worthy of the cape and cowl. Absolutely worthy. When the rest of the cast was announced… all those names, all that talent… Roy Batty himself! Nolan screened BLADE RUNNER to the cast and crew and said “We’re going to do Batman this way.” …It was unbelievable news. Too good to be true.

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Final Fantasy XII: Final Fantasy Grows Up

April 20, 2007

Final Fantasy XII

This is an edited version of a previous review of Final Fantasy XII, fixing some typos and including some discussion of parts I’d neglected before. It contains SPOILERS, so only read if you’ve beaten the game or don’t care about plot details. If I see someone asking for a spoiler-free version of this review, I’ll post it… but not for a little bit. No need to flood this nascent blog with TWO nearly-identical FFXII reviews so soon into its run, is there? Onto the criticism!

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Your Maitre d’

April 20, 2007

I promised it and here it is. Your host, displayed before you. My name’s John Mora and I’m a 22 year old psychology major graduating this spring from the University of Akron. I started this blog because of the reasons previously stated, and also to keep pace with my friend at http://filmwalrus.blogspot.com/. I highly encourage you check him out, too. Intelligent guy with a great breadth of coverage in film.

Because you’ll be spending time with me and my opinions, I thought I’d lay out some of my likes so you know what I’ll be periodically slobbering all over in my posts:

Movies: American Beauty, Kill Bill, The Goonies

Games: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Metal Gear series, Chrono Cross

Music: Yoko Kanno, Radiohead, Beck, Bjork

Comics: Fables, Gargoyles, Watchmen

Anime: Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex, Cowboy Bebop, Evangelion, Spirited Away

Manga: PLANETES, Death Note, Fullmetal Alchemist

Television: Battlestar Galactica (2003), Lost, The Colbert Report, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Seasons 1-5), Angel (except Season 3)

You can see I have a soft spot for sci-fi and genre in general. What can I say? It makes things interesting for me. My taste in anime tends towards the more serious series, and I generally prefer series with designs I find attractive and with animation that’s of high quality, but I can sometimes find an exception.

I’m currently playing: Okami (PS2), Super Mario World (GBA), Kirby’s Adventure (NES), Rule of Rose (PS2), Lumines II (PSP), Valkyrie Profile: Lenneth (PSP), Metal Gear: Portable Ops (PSP)

Currently watching: Lost, X (TV), The Colbert Report, Ergo Proxy, Coyote Ragtime Show, Kemonozume, The Vision of Escaflowne (TV), Darker than BLACK… and many others that pass before my eyes, but don’t consider myself to be actively watching (e.g. Pumpkin Scissors)

Currently listening to: Radiohead (Hail to the Thief), Yoko Kanno (Elegant World OST)

Between Tim and I, I think I’m usually the “good cop”, so that’ll probably show in the differences between our views on things. Anyways, my entertainment profile in a nutshell. Discuss.

Flipping the Switch

April 20, 2007

Hello there, and welcome to the grand opening of Grump Factory, a blog started by Tim and I to have an outlet for the type of opinions on entertainment that we feel are sorely lacking in number these days.

Frankly, too many people like too much mediocre/terrible crap. There just don’t seem to be any standards people use when watching movies, listening to music or playing games. Every new movie they see is their new favorite movie, etc. Happy Feet becomes a box office smash. Brett Ratner continues to get work.

Enough is enough, we say. Don’t stand for bad entertainment! Be harsh! Be critical! Be a grump! We hope that by making this blog, we can encourage people to look at the generic, boring crap Hollywood and video game publisher/evil empire Electronic Arts pour into the slop bucket of American consumption with a skeptical eye. There’s nothing wrong with being a grump, I say. We need a nation of grumps who won’t be satisfied by being pandered to like a lowest common denominator.

As for the content of our blog, we plan to cover a variety of subjects that are of interest to us. Movies, video games and anime are sure to be common sights on this blog, but don’t be surprised if manga, comic books, television or music pop up now and again, as well. Basically, there are no hard and fast rules for the content we post here; whatever captures our fancy/ire at the moment.

While we will be posting quite a few reviews, please note that we will not be including grades or scores out of ten or anything like that with these. We both agree that tacking a number or letter grade to a review does more harm than good. Usually, people tend to just zero in on whatever rating a person gives in a review and doesn’t pay much attention to the meat and potatoes of the discussion. We’d rather people focus on the content and context of our posts rather than whatever arbitrary value we attribute to something.

Also, we’ll nitpick. If you hate it when people nitpick, we will annoy you to no end. But we think this is healthy and nitpicking even a movie you love isn’t really a bad thing. If you have issue with an opinion either of us has on a subject, don’t feel you can’t bring it up with us. We encourage active and robust discussion! Also if you simply must gush to us about how awesome we are, that’s cool, too.

Posts will be forthcoming detailing the contributors to Grump Factory, as well as one or two pre-made posts on a few different subjects. I hope to keep you engaged as a reader! Grump responsibly!