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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Music Retrospective - Michael Jackson: Blood on the Dance Floor - History in the Mix

So, it’s Another Michael Jackson album in the same month. It must be the water or it could be the fact that a certain Man of Steel will be the subject of next month. Today’s album is Blood on the Dance Floor: History in the Mix. It was released in 1997 and it released three singles. Jackson only worked on five songs from the album. The rest of the songs, which are remixes of songs from HIStory, were worked on by other artists. It sold well but not at the levels of the other albums.

This is one album I don’t physically own. My sister owns it and I was able to download it from her copy. I wondered if I should skip this album because it’s essentially a remix album. Still, there are five “new” songs on here, so I should at least talk about them. I won’t talk about the remixes much since there’s really not much to say about them. With all of that said, let’s get a mop and clean this mess up!

Blood on the Dance Floor: History In The Mix

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Planet of the Apes: Book/Movie Comparisons

This moment actually made it into the movie. Cool, I guess.

So, I’m back with a post that hopefully won’t be too long. When I went into reading the book for the first time, I was kind of amazed at how much the movie stuck to the overall story. I also saw snippets of the later movies in the book. For example, Escape from the Planet of the Apes shares similarities to the original book. The biggest examples are the tests the main characters are put through and the speeches they give to the public. Some of the things about what happened to humanity on Soror kind of match up with things that happened in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes.

The overall story of the book matches up with the movie. Planet of the Apes is essentially about a group of astronauts who land on a planet inhabited by talking apes and animal-like humans. The astronauts get their equipment destroyed by the humans. One astronaut dies in the gorillas’ hunt while the other astronaut loses his speech and reason. The main character is caged and paired with a mate named Nova. Zaius is more or less the antagonist of the story. Cornelius and Zira are two chimps who help the main character and Nova escape from Ape City. They also come across a archeological site that houses artifacts from a long-dead human civilization. Finally, the stories also end on some dark/weird twist ending that leaves the main character befuddled.

Other than those major things, changes were made to some things. Even though I like the novel, there’s a part of me that thinks that some changes needed to be made for the movie. While I could talk about all of the changes, I’ll center on five things: the technology, Zaius, Ulysse/Taylor, the themes, and the ending.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Book Review - Planet of the Apes

1968’s Planet of the Apes is one of my favorite movies. I’ve already gushed about how good it is. The POTA franchise was one of the first movie franchises I talked about here.  I’ve also seen the rest of the original movies, the lackluster reboot from 2001, and the pretty good prequel/reboot/remake from 2011. What I haven’t done till now is actually read the original novel from 1963. I was pretty interested in reading it, but I couldn’t really find it anywhere. Eventually, I just decided to find it on Amazon.

For those who don’t know, La Planete Des Singes aka Monkey Planet aka Planet of the Apes was written by Pierre Boulle. Boulle was a French writer and he wrote a ton of books including The Bridge Over The River Kwai which was also adapted into a movie. POTA was later translated to English by Xan Fielding. One of the things I’ve heard about the book was how different it was from the movie. I know that the 1968 movie script was reworked a few times by its writers. One of them was Rod Sterling, the man behind The Twilight Zone. I also knew about some of the original novel including the ending (thanks Wikipedia). So, I went into this little read with some trepidation.

Planet of the Apes
Author: Pierre Boulle

BRIEF BLURB: A group of astronauts land on a planet that is inhabited by talking, civilized apes. 


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Favorites - Top 12 Sidekicks

Unlike henchmen, sidekicks are another story all-together. Simply, they are there to help and support the protagonist. They usually get more room to shine than the usual henchmen. Sometimes, they are on par with the main hero. There are even some that can outshine the main hero. Other times, they’re the ones that need help. Just look at Robin back in some of those old stories I did last month. That guy got captured a lot! So, here are my Top 12 Sidekicks in fiction. I chose twelve because it’s a magic number.

12. Kato from The Green Hornet
It’s Bruce Lee for a sidekick. That’s all I need to say there. Kato was the sidekick to the Green Hornet. Together, they stopped crime under the guise of being criminals. It’s a pretty weird situation overall. I’ve only seen some Green Hornet episodes and the pretty lackluster movie with Seth Rogen. When Kato isn’t Britt Reid’s driver, he’s the butt-kicking sidekick. In fact, he kicks more butt than that green insect. Overall, it’s Bruce freakin’ Lee and the guy knows martial arts! I rest my case.

11. Chewbacca from The Star Wars Trilogy
He’s the alien who not the best at losing weird games. Chewbacca is Han’s assistant on the Millennium Falcon. He’s also the muscle for our heroes in the trilogy. He’s the guy who’ll be at your side through thick and thin even if you don’t know what he’s saying. Simply put, Chewie’s pretty cool.

10. Chloe Sullivan from Smallville 
Chloe was Clark’s friend, confidant, and helper on the TV show, Smallville. She basically started out as a copy of Lois Lane. She was the news girl who wanted the truth. Over the seasons, she developed into a hero of her own. She learned Clark’s secret and basically became Smallville’s version of Oracle (Barbara Gordon). She even tried to keep Clark on his mission when even he wasn’t ready to do it. She was smart, kind, brave, a little dim-witted (middle of Season 8, ya’ll), and really cute. Chloe is definitely one you want to have at your side. I know I would.

9. April O’Neill and Casey Jones from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Yeah, I listed both for this part since they are really the only humans that the Turtles really interact with. While April is usually known as the damsel in distress in some incarnations, she has been known to be an effective part of the team. Just see the 2003 animated series and IDW’s current comic series. Casey is always the sport-equipment-wielding vigilante and he helps the Turtles out from time to time. He’s got a great rapport with Raphael and he’s just cool in my book. April and Casey also make for a great couple and they’re pretty rad in my book.

8. Wang from Big Trouble in Little China 
Wang was Jack Burton’s sidekick in Big Trouble from Little China. In some ways, he’s the main character of the movie. Yes, Kurt Russell the main star, but he is really ineffective at times.  Wang is the guy who has the most at stake in the movie. All Jack loses is his truck. Wang loses a whole girl to David Lo Pan. He can also kick a lot of butt which is something that Jack didn’t excel at that. He does all he can to get his green-eyed woman back and Jack is essentially along for the ride. By the way, Big Trouble in Little China is an awesome movie, just saying.

7. Samwise Gamgee from Lord of the Rings 
Sam was a friend to Frodo Baggins in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. When Frodo decided to split off from the Fellowship, Sam tagged on along even if Frodo didn’t want him to. That worked out great especially since Frodo really needed it. Sam fought Gollum and saved Frodo from Orcs and that that spider. When Frodo was down, Samwise was there to pick him up and end the journey. All in all, Sam’s a cool Hobbit to have as a friend.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Favorites - Top 12 Henchmen

You know, henchmen usually don’t get it good in stories. They stay in the background doing the main villain’s doing. They usually die first since most action stories need that sort of thing. Worst, they get no recognition for their actions. It would suck to be a henchman. They probably don’t even get pension or benefits! Luckily, there are some henchmen out there that don’t fit the usual mold. They’re memorable, they’re important, they're funny,  they’re actually kind of threatening, and they usually go out with a bang.

12. Major Arnold Toht from Raiders of the Lost Ark 
Toht was that creepy German guy from Raiders of the Lost Ark. He’s the guy who roughed up Marion at her bar and tried to steal the pendant from her. He was decked in all black and he had that creepy smile and voice. He’s also one of the Nazis who witnessed the opening of the Ark of the Covenant. All I can say for him is this: Ouch.

11. Harley Quinn from Batman: the Animated Series
Unlike most characters on Batman: TAS, Harley Quinn was created for the series. She’s the crazy, hot-looking henchman for the Joker. She used to be a psychologist before the Joker screwed her up. She’s funny and pretty crazy. Over the years, she’s made it to the comics and even the recent Arkham games. She’s even become her own villain in the comics. Simply put, she’ll doing anything for the Joker.

10. The Jem’Hadar from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 
The Jem’Hadar were genetically-engineered soldiers for the Dominion. The Founders created them to be the best. They have no emotion other that the drive to serve the Founders. They were definitely the best and a whole lot more. The Jem’Hadar made the Dominion War a struggle for the Federation and Klingons. With other forces in the Dominion, they almost one the War. They are soldiers you definitely want on your side… if you’re bad guys anyway.

9. Vamp from the Metal Gear Solid franchise 
The MGS series has its fair share of memorable henchmen. Psycho Mantis, The End, Volgin, and Ocelot are some of them. For me, Vamp is probably the most memorable one . He’s strong, fast, creepy, and a mighty fine dancer. Instead of actually being supernatural, Vamp gains his abilities from nanomachines because nanomachines can apparently do anything in the MGS universe. He’s been able to do more stuff than most henchmen. He’s fought both Snake and Raiden and he killed Otacon’s sister, Emma Emmerich. Overall, Vamp was one creepy dude.

8. The Wing Kong gang from Big Trouble in Little China
The Wing Kong gang was David Lo Pan’s main henchmen. They were essentially demigods. Thunder, Rain, and Lightning were pretty awesome in that movie. Their looks were pretty cool. They each had their own powers in the movie. Mortal Kombat’s Raiden was even inspired by Lightning. They didn’t say much, but their actions spoke louder than their words. They definitely proved a match for our heroes and were a highlight of an already good movie.

7. Bane from the Batman franchise  
While Bane is usually his own man in the comics, he’s usually been a henchman in everything else from TV to the movies. He was one in the animated series and he was one in Batman and Robin. He was even one in The Dark Knight Rises where he was pretty cool. He almost killed Batman and led the League of Shadows into taking Gotham hostage. Even if that movie itself was pretty weak in some places, Bane was cool.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Music Retrospective - Michael Jackson: HIStory - Past, Present, and Future Book 1

Well, it’s time to throw on the hat and glove because it’s time for another Michael Jackson album. It’s definitely a big one and I mean that literally. HIStory: Past, Present, and Future Book 1 was released during the summer of 1995. It’s split up into two discs. Disc One is a compilation of all of his biggest hits from Off The Wall to Dangerous. The other disc is the one that has new material. Unfortunately, it seems the the first disc is the only one that gets seen these days because it was eventually put out on its own.

The album sold well but not like the rest of his previous albums. Seven (technically eight) singles were released from the album. Jackson also wrote all but three of the songs on the album. It took me a long time to find this two-disc album. I didn’t want to download it from iTunes, so I looked around in music stores until I found it for a cheap price. I think my sister doesn’t even have this one though she probably does have the songs somewhere. Since I’ve basically looked at the first disc on my previous posts, I’ll only be concentrating on the second disc with new material. I will list what songs were included with the disc though.

HIStory: Past, Present, and Future Book 1

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Random Thoughts #33 - "I rather believe that time is a companion..."

"...who goes with us on the journey, and reminds us to cherish every moment because they'll never come again."

It's a nice quote from a pretty subpar movie. I told you the not-so-good Trek movies have something good to offer! It's been a while since I've done one of these, so here are a couple of random thoughts.

High School Reunion

I recently had my 10 year high school reunion. I quite liked it. I got to see people I haven't seen since our last reunion and some I literally haven't seen since 2004. I ate, talked, took pics, and even danced a little bit. It was cool seeing most of my classmates and seeing what they're doing now. I even got to see faces of some people I didn't graduate with and that was real nice. My only peeve is that I didn't get to see some other old classmates that night. You know who you are, Ms. Person! Oh well, at least there's the 15 or 20 year reunion... if we're still here as a society, that is.

"Teenage Mutant Ninja Linebackers"
I recently saw the new TMNT movie. I thought I might as well go see it since I've never seen a Turtles movie in theatres. Plus, it wasn't too long and I had time to do some before work. I knew it was getting bad reviews, so I was a little timid. In the end, it was okay. It wasn't really good, but I was entertained for the most part.

PROS
  • The Turtles and Splinter -  I thought the Turtles and Splinter were fine. Their personalities were intact even if their origins were changed a bit. Their updated looks were weird, but I got used to them. Leo's was pretty cool.The only one whose new look I didn't particularly like was Donatello's. They, especially Michelangelo, provided some nice funny moments as well.
  • The action - I thought the action scenes themselves were nice though there was some crappy shaky-cam going on at times. The mountain chase scene was definitely the highlight of the movie.
  • Megan Fox and Will Arnnett -  I thought Megan Fox was okay as April. Yes, I said it. She wasn't the best but she was fine. I also thought Will Arnett was okay as Vern. He also provided a couple of funny moments.
I now introduce to you the 2014 NFL Draft Picks! God, help us all.

CONS
  • The story - The overall story wasn't that good. It felt rushed at points especially at  the ending. There just wasn't much developed with the characters. Also, the villains' motivations were pretty poor.
  • The villains - Sacks, Shredder and the Foot Clan weren't that great. As I said before, their motives were pretty weak. It also looked like the Shredder himself (the Asian guy behind the mask) was just thrown in so Eric Sacks wouldn't have been the Shredder as it looks like it was originally planned. His backstory even made it seem like he was the Shredder, so I didn't get it.
Even though it has some big flaws, I was still entertained by it.

Superman Month
Well, September is coming and you know what that means. I haven't gotten everything planned out, but I more or less know what I want to do. I know I'm looking at a couple of Grant Morrison stories. I also know I'm going to look at that one story Alan Moore is famous for. After that, I really don't know what else. Just stay tuned.
Hey, Jay Leno wants his chin back!

Women
I just got to throw that in there. I got no reason today though there is this one who... eh, never mind.

Well, that's all I got for now. Stay tuned for some more Superman love in September. Peace and God Bless.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Movie Talk - Turtles Forever

Well, it’s that time again. I’m talking about the “Heroes in a Half-Shell” once more. I guess that’s how it is these days. When I've got nothing else to talk about, the turtles come out to play. There’s also another movie coming out featuring the characters and it’s produced by Michael Bay. Yay? I’ll say that I’ve been a little impressed by some of the trailers. I might see it at a matinee, but I don’t know. As long as they get the Turtles right, it could be okay.

Fortunately (or unfortunately), I’m not here to talk about the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Linebackers.” I’m here to talk about a 2009 made-for-TV movie that did something pretty cool. Turtles Forever was a 2009 animated movie that had the 2003 TMNT team up with 1980’s TMNT. It was the franchise’s 25th anniversary, so someone wanted to do something special.  I want to say I saw it on TV but I may have seen it online somewhere. I recently watched this on YouTube mostly because it was a version not aired on TV.