01 April 2006

The Grease Trap - Hexceptional TV

I have been a Lost fan since the beginning, ever since Extra #2 went though the jet engine. I never complained about the pacing throughout the whole first season. It moved slowly, but deliberately. Granted, I was a bit annoyed to find that Kate's big secret was a toy airplane. And season 2 started strong, what with the whole make your own kind of music intro, and all. But then cam Ana Lucia, and pointless flashbacks, and pointless episodes with now progress staggered between long sets of reruns. Argh! But Locke-centic episodes are among the best, and I was not disappointed this week.

The promos claimed there would be "5 surprises, each more shocking than the one before." I am not sure I was shocked 5 times, nor am I sure of the ordered degree of shock, but I was excited by the map Senor Locke discovered. I just hope that this map isn't pushed to the background, like say Desmondo was. Doesn't anyone care where that dude went? I'd like to see Locke give old Henry Gale the Charlie smackdown treatment.

Also, notable was The Simpsons, which continues a strong 17th season. Not only was the live action intro shown, but David Brent was basically the guest star. For fans of The Office BBC, this was pretty neat.

31 March 2006

Pajama Party - Back in Black

Hey, did you know that a Spider-Man movie is coming out next year? It's surprising how much anticipation has surrounded this film already. Much more, in my opinion, than for either of this summer's X3 or Superman. Along with a couple of cool fan made pics (Spidey unmasked is photoshopped from SM2, and the other is a truer to comics version of the black costume photoshopped from the official teaser poster), here is a newly leaked synopsis of the film from darkhorizons.com. BEWARE OF SPOILERS.

Plot: Third film in the highly successful "Spider-Man" series sees several new villains and a new woman enter Peter Parker's life. With his secret now revealed to both Mary Jane and Harry, Peter must face the consequences of his actions and his new life together with Mary Jane as they finally form a relationship. Yet their newfound open display of love has yielded some unfortunate results, not the least of which is Peter's upset boss determined to make his life hell for causing his son emotional distress. Not helping is a young investigative reporter named Eddie Brock who Jameson has hired to find out why Mary Jane dumped his son for Peter - what's Parker's secrets?

At the same time an escaped prisoner hiding out on a remote beach is caught in a dreadful accident and finds himself turned into a shape-shifting sand creature. Peter's investigations into the past of this 'Sandman' brings him in contact with two very different things that will inevitably alter his life. The first a young woman named Gwen Stacy, daughter of the city's new police chief who is developing a soft spot for Peter. The other, a black substance from an accident scene which 'merges' with Peter's costume and gives him new found abilities.

Things come to a head however when Harry Osborn, determined to take revenge against Peter for his father's death and now equipped with what he needs to pull it off, teams with The Sandman in a new variation of his father's Green Goblin guise and causes mayhem. In the ensuing chaos lives are lost, including people very close to Peter, whilst the black substance covering his suit separates from him and merges with a distraught Brock to form something else entirely - a creature unlike anything he's ever faced. A 'Venom' that he may not be able to stop.

29 March 2006

Disappearing Ink #6 - The Black Cauldron

I first saw this movie in the theatre back in 1985, and have always remembered how "cool" it was. Watching it now I can't really remember what specifically was so cool about it though. While I doubt anyone would praise this as a great movie, it certainly does have some good parts. And I suppose to a kid, plot and character development are less important than cool designs and action. The Black Cauldron was Disney's attempt at something different. Unfortunately is was a bust. Sandwiched between the forgettable The Fox and the Hound and The Great Mouse Detective, Cauldron's take of about $21 was only half of either of those other two box office disappointments.

The story begins with our hero Taran, a pig-keeper, given the task of hiding a magical pig Henwen who holds the key to finding the titular cauldron. Now this isn't your typical pot for feeding large parties, this cauldron allows its owner to command an army of the dead. Unfortunately, that is just what the evil Horned King hopes to do. Now, if I were Taran, rather than hiding the pig, I would just kill him. Thus the secret would be safe and I would have me some delicious bacon. But, Taran decides differently and begins a quest in which he meets up with (you guessed it) a princess, an old man, and a wired furry creature. He also finds a magical sword that allows him to become a pretty decent warrior. But where is the Han Solo type? Maybe he is the pig?

Since this is Disney, you can count on a happy ending. But unlike most Disney movies, there are no songs, and this is also a bit more intense than usual, scoring Disney Animated's first PG rating. Although The Black Cauldron did not meet box office expectations, it certainly isn't the embarrassment that Disney has made it out to be (at one point Disney vowed not to release this film on video). For one, the horned king is one bad dude and one cool visual. Also, the furry little Gurgi is a neat little guy,although he reminds me a lot of Glomer from the animated Punky Brewster (please tell me I'm not the only one that remembers that show). Even Rotten Tomatoes certifies this movies as fresh, but just barely with a 60% fresh rating. Still, if you haven't seen it, its worth checking out, and while it may not be your favorite, i bet you won't hate it neither. And kids will always remember that it was cool, even if they can't explain why. Overall, Cauldron scores a C+.

Check out my past reviews:
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Grave of the Fireflies
The Iron Giant
Kaena: The Prophecy