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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Guardians of the Galaxy was a blast and my favorite movie of the year so far, 25 September 2014

Earlier this year I saw the Captain America sequel and remarked that so far it was my favorite of the films released since The Avengers. However, I also remarked that Guardians of the Galaxy was coming out and it looked like it might be pretty good so it had a chance to be the best. Turns out, it is the best so far! I saw it a week after its release, usually I would have written a review by now, but been busy with a new house and all and I have limited access to the internet. Suffice to say, the numbers are pretty much making me think that others think this is the best one too as the only one that it probably will not outdo is the third installment of Iron Man as far as box office. This movie features a team of offbeat heroes that come together to utilize each others strengths and hide the weaknesses and is a very funny movie with good action as well. It has everything one looks for in a comic movie and I do believe one of the reasons it is a bit better is the fact we are all a bit less familiar with these particular heroes than say those on the X-men or say the Avengers.

The story has a young boy visiting his mother one last time in the hospital. The woman dies and the boy runs out of the hospital and cries in the middle of a field where he is abducted by aliens. Years later this young boy is now a young man who calls himself Star Lord. He is after a strange artifact on a planet that appears in ruins. He is confronted and then escapes others after the strange artifact. Star Lord soon finds a bounty on him as the aliens who abducted him and are basically space pirates called Grievers want the artifact as well. Also, after this artifact is one of the most powerful villains in the galaxy, Thanos and he sends his daughter after it as well. Well Star Lord soon finds Thanos' daughter and a raccoon named Rocky and his partner, a tree alien named Groot are after them and after a scramble to get the artifact and get away, they all find themselves locked up in a prison where they meet another alien named Drax, that wishes Thanos' daughter dead. However, they soon will learn to work together and learn what the precious artifact is and how deadly it potentially is in the hands of someone dastardly or anyone for that matter!

The film is really good, as I've said, and I believe it has to do with the characters. They are all very unique and they all have their quirks. From the womanizing Star Lord, the can't get a metaphor Drax, to the daughter of the evil Thanos, to the mechanical Rocky with a wicked sense of humor to Groot who can only say, "I am Groot", this group is very humorous to watch. I do believe it helps that not many people are familiar with this team, as all the members got to shine. Unlike say a film like X-men where there are so many casual fans so a character like Wolverine is always seemingly showcased and the team leader Cyclops gets portrayed as a wimp when anyone who reads the comics can attest he once fought all the X-men, including Wolverine to a standstill. That is the problem with having so many cartoons, people with limited knowledge draw conclusions and the movie studios cater to them. Like Spider-man. Anyone who has read the comics knows the villains that have been his biggest tormentors are Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus. Venom is all the casual fan wants to see, even though he was only a big time villain for like a five year stretch. Here, though, no one stands out as there is no Wolverine or to a lesser degree Iron Man and I think that is what helped this movie. People thought the fact this was a lesser known comic would hurt, but in actuality it may have helped it.

So, this film is my favorite of the Marvel films released since The Avengers. In fact, it is almost on par with that film. I only give that one an edge because I do so love seeing the Hulk do his thing. Though I have heard rumors that the next Guardians film may do the planet Hulk storyline, which would be awesome. This film itself was awesome as it did have a lot of funny characters and good action. Also, Thanos looks great as it almost seems they took him straight off the pages of the comics. My only complaint about the film, which it is only a minor quibble, is that they never showed Thanos really do all that much. I would like to see him do something truly destructive so that the moviegoers not familiar with his power know what is in store when he is the primary villain in a Marvel movie. I was hoping he would be in Avengers 2, but they went with Ultron instead. Hopefully, we shall see him in the third, or heck let him take a more active role in the second film of this franchise, because I like where they are going with it!

Phantasy Star II (1989) (VG)
The music and anime look are the highlight of this entry, 15 September 2014

This is, of course, the second game in the Fantasy series that was released on the Sega Master and Genesis systems, before they became more of an online fad. This is the first on the Genesis as only the first game would appear on the Master System. The graphics are a mild improvement over the first game and the music is greatly improved as it features lots of catchy tunes. This game is also a direct sequel to the first game as oftentimes, RPG games will not really feature a continuation in the story...Final Fantasy for example; however, all four games made for the Master and Genesis system are interconnected. Well, I know the first, second and fourth are interconnected...not sure about the third, but will hopefully find out if it is as well as I've started playing it. The game's dungeons are not longer 3D as they were in the first game and while I detest 3D mazes from this era, the dungeons here are probably even more difficult.

The story has the main character, Rolfe, experiencing a terrible dream where he witnesses a young girl battling a dark force. For those who played the first game they will recognize her as Alias from the first game and it being the last battle. Well, this young man goes to his job where his superior asks him to find out why the planet has more monsters on it as of late and thus a long journey will take place. Though the game seemed actually more expansive last time as right away one was able to fly to different worlds and such. Here you are pretty much stuck on one world until near the end. Rolfe and his companion Nei must set out to find out why there are more monsters and to find out why the worlds operating system called "mother brain" seems to be going out of control. Many more will join you on your journey as you try to uncover the truth.

The game is okay, but just is too difficult. I played many role playing games over the years, and for the most part I have won the majority of which without strategy guides. This one, I had to use multiple online guides and maps to figure out the dungeons that seemed to be crafted by a madman! In one dungeon you had 70 different portals you could traverse! If you played it without a map you could be playing for years as you could not save in a dungeon and there were no healing spots in them. Meaning one would have to leave the dungeon repeatedly and return and not even no what progress they had made. There is also a lack of boss battles too that is a bit disappointing.

So, it had its positive points. The music was cool, the graphics were great in the battle sequences and the story had its moments. Just a lot that brought it down like the absurdly large dungeons, the lack of focus at times where the story seemed forgotten and really insane ending that kind of ruined all that you had done. So, I think the first game overall was the superior game, but not by all that much. Once again, the game had awesome music though, playing to the Genesis' strengths. The game also just does not seem as grand compared to the first game considering it was on a more powerful console and a sequel.

Final Fantasy VIII (1999) (VG)
As the years progress, this particular FF stands taller, 31 August 2014

When I first played through this particular Final Fantasy game, I enjoyed it a good deal, but at the same time there were aspects that disappointed me about this one. However, over the years, this one has become better and better...especially when one compares it to Final Fantasy XII and XIII. The story and game play crushes those two games, so while they look prettier, this one is by far a more enjoyable gaming experience. The graphics are not all that bad either, as it looks a lot better than the beloved part VII of the series as this one was designed solely for the Sony Playstation, while part VII was initially being designed for the Nintendo 64. The leveling in this game though, does take some getting used and there are aspects of the story that could be improved on, this one is still miles ahead of the previous two Final Fantasy games I have played (XII and XIII).

The story has a young mercenary named Squall beginning his final training to become a full fledged member of the mercenary group SEED. He is joined by a man named Seifer and Zell and later on by Selphie. They join a conflict already in progress and Squall along with Zell and Selphie are promoted to full fledged SEED members and are soon tasked with their first mission, to aid a small rebel group against the Galbaldian army. This group is led by a girl named Rinoa whom Squall meets earlier at a ball, and soon the two begin quarreling constantly. However, a very dangerous threat looms on the horizon as the Sorceress Edea seems to be gaining in power and envisions a world of death. Squall soon learns the true nature of SEED, to combat the sorceress, and soon he and his childhood friends will try to stop this threat and the even darker threat looming in the future.

This FF is different in that fighting monsters and leveling up is not necessarily the way to go. One soon finds out that when the characters level up, so do the monsters. Instead, one must learn to junction magic to increase their stats. This FF also features probably the least diversified cast of characters in any FF game. Sure they are all cool, but they are also all the same age and there are no cats riding moogles or rat knights that are featured in the previous and next games. There are other quirks that make this one a bit unique, and overall they do work.

So this one is a very good Final Fantasy game. I enjoy part VII better overall; however, I do have to admit I like the ending to this one better because they actually show you what has happened to your group. The group of characters could have been a bit more unique, but while they are all human, they are still different in their own way. The story is pretty good and while the villain in this does not have nearly the presence of Sephiroth, she does make a much tougher final boss! And finally, this game features one of the best things ever in limit breaks. The previous game had its version and the next one has its own, but this one was by far the most awesome! Take your HP low and proceed to destroy your foes!

Scorpions sink their stinger into a small Mexican town, 31 August 2014

I caught this movie on an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. It was almost a pretty good movie, not in the same class with others the gang of the Satellite of Love have riffed. This film features pretty good monster effects for the time and an interesting premise. The thing that drags the film into the not all that good realm is the lack of anything really going on anytime the scorpions are not on the screen and terrorizing the locals. Which happens a lot, unfortunately. Making the scenes where there is nothing going on but speculation drag on. Add an annoying child and a pointless love story arc and at times you almost forget there are killer scorpions on the rampage. Heck, near the end the film seems like it is wrapping up and we finally get the scorpions coming back and staging their final assault.

The story has a volcanic eruption that causes a lot of damage to a small town. Well, not only does it cause destruction by the typical way a volcano causes damage it also unleashes something horrific...giant scorpions! A couple of scientist guys try to figure a way to stop this horde of arachnids from their reign of terror and it soon leads them to a hole that takes them to the very depths of the earth where even more horrors await them and their sidekick annoying child who just wanted to help.

This movie was featured on Mystery Science Theater during their first season. I usually find the first season episodes to be a bit weak, but this was one of the strongest ones. It helps that the film is not too terribly bad...I actually think that a almost good or okay film works just as well for riffing as does a completely horrid film, sometimes they work better. You get into the film a bit and then something stupid does happen and they catch it and it enhances it.

So this film was not terrible, just nothing good either. I like the whole cave portion of the film and when scorpions were on the attack, but the other aspects of the story were simply too weak and too much like things we had seen countless times before. The opening reminded me of, Beginning of the End and other films of the giant bug genre. The monsters looked good most of the time, but there were times they simply looked bad when you could see through them. So a bit of work, and this one could have been pretty good, but as it is, a rather nice episode of MST3K.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Lots of explosions like the other two movies, but they are weaker here, 25 August 2014

This is the third film in the Expendables series and by far the weakest and its box office showing probably should give Stallone and the filmmakers the definitive proof they need that this series did not ever need to be PG-13. The first movie was R and it is the only one to have grossed 100 plus million at the box office. The second one flirted with a PG-13 rating, but they added computer blood and stuff and probably salvaged that one. This one is PG-13 all the way and it just is not up to the other two films at all. Of course, it is not simply the rating that made this film a step down from the other two films, but also its focus. The whole point of the Expendable films was to showcase older action stars and tough guys. To bring us back to the past! Here, they almost do a passing of the torch bringing in like three or four young people who I've never seen before and add nothing to the film. I say three or four cause the only one that stands out in the new kids on the block is the female. The guys may have well been clones. So in the middle of the film the guys we want to see are hanging around their hotels while Stallone leads the new kids up against Mel Gibson, which is the other problem. Do not get me wrong, Gibson was great as the main villain, but there is no one else that stands out on the villain's side. However, it had its moments and had some good action, just not violent and curse laden as I would have liked and many others.

The story has the Expendables breaking out a former member of the group who had been captured. Then they are on to stop a weapons dealer who ends up also being a former member. He takes injures one of the guys so Stallone now forcefully retires the rest of them because he does not want these old guys who know nothing else to get hurt and takes on younger people with their whole lives ahead of them to try and take out the weapons dealer. Makes sense...not! Well the old team will soon get back together and go on yet another mission together.

The newcomers here are Harrison Ford who takes Willis' place. Wesley Snipes as the former member and Antonio Banderos as an aged military mercenary who talks a lot. Kelsey Grammar also is in the film playing a guy who is apparently Stallone's supplier or man on the street. All these guys do good, just would have been more awesome had they been in the first film when they allowed bad language and violence! Stallone is also in this one too much while the rest of his team not so much. The first film had Stallone get beaten bad by Stone Cold, but now he is the one who defeats the bad guy who is an over matched Mel Gibson. By over matched I mean he has no one awesome to assist him which means none of the other Expendables really get to showcase anything here. If they make another film, all newcomers should be on the bad guys side suffice to say.

So, while it had its moments, it was by far the weakest of the Expendable films. They for some reason forgot the reason people flocked to the first film and just had to cater to that 13 to 16 age group who cannot go to a R film without being accompanied by a guardian. Why movie makers and all other advertising companies and such cater to such a very small size of the population is beyond me, I spend money too and I am more likely to go to a film while most youngsters will just watch it on the internet. So this film is for them and once again the new youth of America drags something that was fun and exciting and turns it to something that has lost its edge and luster. Take note Stallone, you finally decided to not listen to the people who said keep it R and now you have the poorest performing Expendables by far.

Thrill as you watch people speculate in between very brief action sequences!, 23 August 2014

I caught this film on Mystery Science Theater 3000. The film was directed by Ed Wood and it plays out pretty much like all his films I have seen. It just seems he tried to aim high, but did not have the resources to do all that much and you end up with very little going on and padding galore with only a couple of actual scenes that could pass as action or horror scenes. It is not super horrible though as it does feature Bela Lugosi, who I am guessing Ed Wood treated as the star he was and which is the reason he kept appearing in his movies. It also has Tor Johnson who is always good for the occasional unintentional laugh and there is of course the horrible octopus monster!

The story is like countless others. There is a strange mansion in the middle of nowhere, in this film, the middle of nowhere happens to be in a swamp. In the house a man is performing all sorts of strange and horrid experiments. There is stories of a monster attacking and killing people and everyone assumes it is the strange man living with the scientist performing the experiments, but instead it is a strange mutant octopus! An intrepid reporter finds herself as this man's captive and it is up to her cop boyfriend to find her and stop the madman before he attempts to turn her into a monster too!

Like I said, I saw this one on MST3K and it was a fairly good episode. Ed Wood's movies generally make for good MST3K episodes mainly because they are rather easy fodder for riffing. Also, like the other Ed Wood films, this movie is short so you end up with a short proceeding the film.

So overall, not a great cinematic masterpiece, but the gang of Mystery Science Theater 3000 have had to sit through worse. The effects are bad, the acting is pretty bad and the monster laughable. Still, you get a giant octopus killing people! Well, it is not all that exciting but you do get to see Bela and Tor face off! Well, it is just a stunt double for Bela Lugosi, but still you get, um, you get...Hm, well you get a short movie.

Not good even when taking in account its age, 14 August 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I viewed this film on an episode of MST3K and have to say it is pretty bad. In fact, it is god awful and I am probably being to kind. I think even Manos the Hands of Fate has more redeemable qualities than does this film. It features annoying children, a stupid plot twist that is pointless thanks to the fact it is telegraphed and a monster that is a person in a monkey suit with a diving helmet for its head. There is just nothing all that good to say about it other than they did have the guts to kill off one of the annoying children. Granted, in the end not really, but they did sort of.

The story has two children bothering these two men digging. The little boy is obsessed with playing aliens and such while the girl just wants to play house. Well the children's mother and older sister comes up and they takes the kids back to a picnic and then the boy runs off and has flashes of other movies and then he awakens to a world where the Romon rules the world and the remaining people exist in a life of fear as their number rapidly dwindles. What has happened? Why is this monkey person such a threat? And why is this film so bad that anyone with half a brain already knows it is just the boy having a dream!?!

The episode made for a pretty good episode of MST3K. It was a first season episode, so it was not great as they were still trying to feel their way through things at this point. The movie did provide plenty of riffing material and probably would have made a better later episode when they had gotten their feet a bit more wet.

So overall, a horrible movie, a fairly decent episode of MST3K and a monster than consists of a monkey suit with a helmet. The movie basically lets the audience know right from the get go that it is all a dream and then tacks on a stupid ending suggesting the Robot Monster was real. They do not make them like this anymore and in the case of this particular film, that is an incredibly good thing.

13 Ghosts (1960)
Watched this film and it passed the time, but not in House on Haunted Hill's league, 14 July 2014

This film just is not as good as House on Haunted Hill, but Vincent Price was at his very best in that one. Not that the cast in this one is bad or anything, this film just suffers from being a bit too predictable and while most of the cast was good, the kid playing the son was just annoying. The effects were about what one expects from a film from this era while the tone is a bit more comedic in tone than what I was expecting.

The story has a man who works at a museum who seems to have a hard time paying his bills on time. His stuff is getting repossessed and his son wishes that they could get a house with furniture that no one can take away. As if by magic, the curator finds that he has inherited an old mansion. Of course, the catch is that he and his family has also inherited the ghosts the old man who owned the house 'collected'. A strange woman who insists on living on the premises tells the son of the ghosts as does the lawyer of the man who owned the house. Something seems suspicious, but at the same time the house does seem to be haunted as a box containing special glasses is also given to the curator and with them he sees the spirits at play.

I actually watched the remake of this one well before ever viewing this one. I am surprised by how much of this one's plot did make it into the remake. I was thinking it was going to be a remake in name only and perhaps both featured 13 ghosts, but the glasses in this one made their way to the remake's plot as did the fact the family was getting kicked out of the house. I prefer the remake, only because the ghosts in this one were just not very scary mainly being more funny in nature.

So I am glad I finally watched this film, if for no other reason to get another horror film under my belt. I prefer other haunted films from this era though like House on Haunted Hill, the one with Roddy McDowell and various others. This one was just a bit too cutesy as it played off a lot of the ghost encounters as funny. It started out with a bang, but after awhile it also gets repetitive and if you cannot figure out the one character's motives then you are really young or really naive.

Up to this point, the best RPG game for the PS3 I've played, 24 June 2014

This role playing game is brought to us by the company that usually churns out great RPG games, Level 5. Granted, they have had their fair share of misses too as they are the ones that put out Chronicles of the White Knight and the disappointing Dragon Quest 9 for the Nintendo DS. Still, they usually put out great ones like nearly all the other Dragon Quest games and Rogue Galaxy. Here they team up with Studio Ghibli like the teamed up with the creator of Dragonball on Dragon Quest 8 to bring us one of the most stunning looking RPG games on the PS3. The game is not all looks, either. The story is rather good as well and the characters are delightful. The combat could have used a bit more work; however, it is more traditional than the stupid and almost non interactive combat they gave us in Final Fantasy XIII. The game is a work of art as Studio Ghibli brought their unique style of animation to the table and as of today this game is the best RPG that I have played for the PS3 (have not played Tales of Xillia, yet) edging out Resonance of Fate thanks to its easier to follow story and the fact this game is exclusive for the PS3, while that one also was released on Xbox 360.

The story starts out in a town called, Motorville. A place that resides in a world pretty much like ours. Seems to be taking place some time in the 50's or 60's. Well, in the town lives a boy named Oliver who sneaks out with his buddy Phil to race a car that Phil and Oliver have built. A strange woman looks upon this from a world that is more of something one would expect to find in a fantasy realm and she causes Oliver to have an accident. Oliver's mother ends up rescuing Oliver at the cost of her own life and soon Oliver meets a fairy by the name of Mr. Drippy who takes Oliver to this new realm so that Oliver can stop a man named Shadar from attempting to destroy the world and perhaps find a way to bring his mother back to life. He will team up with a young girl named Eshter and another named Swaine as they go from town to town looking for keys to defeating the seemingly unstoppable Shadar, unaware that an even greater threat to the world is lurking in the background...The White Witch!

The game is a nice throwback as you have an over world map to traverse and you visit towns, dungeons, forests and the like. You visit towns that have people, shops and such too, unlike say Final Fantasy XIII which was all style with no substance. My main complaint is the combat. It was not bad, but I just do not care for the whole go out collecting monsters for your party. I am always hesitant to get rid of the first ones you have and it just takes so much time to get them all leveled up and give them the best items. They do the brunt of the fighting in the combat which is sort of action, rather than turn based and it is sometimes annoying getting others in your party to heal you or themselves and their A.I. is not the greatest at times as at one point I was fighting a villain you shot a laser in one direction and it was easily avoidable and one of the computer controlled characters ran from one side of the battlefield to the other and ran smack into it! Still, this aspect did not stop me from enjoying the game, all it did was prevent the game from getting a perfect 10 score which it could have gotten if not for these flaws in the battle system.

So, this game was great and I enjoyed the team up of Level 5 and Studio Ghibli. You can see Studio Ghibli's influence in the art style, but you can see a lot of Level 5's in the way the game plays. You use an alchemy pot like in Dragon Quest 8, for instance. Both came together well, to make a memorable world and game. One only has to play the game a moment and walk through Motorville to see they put a lot of effort into it. Near the end, I was afraid they were setting up for a sequel instead of there being a resolution and thankfully I was wrong there. I do not care for games that set up for sequels, because some times the sequel never comes. This one wrapped up, and if they want to do a sequel I can see it being done by having Oliver returning the the magical realm when he is older or something; however, it is not needed as this game is great on its own.

Was hot, but then lost some steam..., 21 June 2014

Adult films back in the day, often had plots to them which made the sex in them seem more spontaneous and real. Adult films today are basically one sex scene after another and it's rare when there is a story. Usually there is a theme, but no story. The ones made today, you do not have to sit through horrible acting and there is a plethora of adult films where you can see what you want. While in the 70's sometimes you had to wait too long for sex scenes to occur and sometimes you can even forget it is a porno! So basically, both eras have their pluses and minuses and this film has the pluses, but carries with it the minuses as well.

The story has a couch that talks about her owners and all the sex they have that she sort of causes. Yes, the couch is a female and at times has the best voice of the film. There is not much to it than that as this one starts fast and seems like a decent adult film as there are a few sex scenes. This one starts with a therapist, goes to a swinger couple, then inexplicably briefly to an adult movie maker and then even briefer hippies.

The film is good up to the swingers, after that there really is not much left. The two girls during the adult filmmaker scene were attractive, but the scene was not steamy due to the guy performing the sex. Then the hippie scene is undone by the fact there is an unattractive girl and she is primarily the focus. Then a brief pointless scene and it's over. Just seemed it kind of faltered at the end and instead of a super grand finale, instead it just kind of peters out. The best scene is this one guy who seduces a virgin, though I do not believe a virgin can be as accommodating as she was without a bit more screaming.

So, not a great adult film by any stretch of the imagination, but I liked it better than some. It did focus on the sex for the most part, but as I said it just needed more at the end of it. I always think the last scene should be memorable, but in this one it was clearly the one girl who was a virgin. The lesbian scene after was good too, just cut a bit short. So, a bit hot the girls are really attractive during the swingers section and okay the rest of the way.

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