Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Gamera 3 FINALLY Coming To U.S. Blu-Ray


Well, color me surprised, I didn’t actually think this would happen.

Awhile back Mill Creek saw fit to release a confusing Blu-Ray 2 pack of 2 out of the 3 Heisei Gamera films.

My best guess as to why they would consciously omit the third (and best) film in the series, is that they were unable to obtain the licensing rights to it.

Me being me, I took it upon myself to support the daikaiju cause and shell out about $12 bucks to pick up a copy.

Holy shit.

That means I’ve bought the Gamera series 3 times across 3 mediums.

I first picked up the series on bootleg VHS when they were originally released, then again (from the same bootleggers) on subtitled DVD, and now I’ll have bought them on domestic Blu-Ray.

Let it be known, my passion for these movies is not to be questioned.

It’s funny though, when I picked up the Blu-Ray 2 pack, I did so grudgingly; as for whatever reason I take issue with the idea of collecting a 3 movie series across 2 boxes.

Seriously man, that’s fuckin’ weird.

You just don’t fuckin’ do that, it makes the shelf look all wonky…

Anyway, as I said before, when I first heard that the Gamera series was being released in the states on Blu-Ray in this manner, my gut reaction was to remain skeptical as to whether the 3rd film would ever get printed.

Well, as you can probably tell from the image above, a cover has been released, and while it kind of sucks, it at least confirms that the movie will in fact be coming out next month.

Why does the cover suck?

Well, because the image they chose to slap on the cover comes not from the film it represents, but from the first movie in the series.

This wouldn’t be all that big of a deal, had Gamera’s design not undergone some rather dramatic cosmetic changes over the 4 year span of the series.

Don't tell anyone, but I think Gamera was rockin' the 'roids by the 3rd movie.

The worst part is, as seems to be the case with lots of DVD releases, the European cover art is far better.

Don’t believe me?

Take a look:

A relevant and well-coordinated cover. Why the fuck can't we get more shit like this in the states!?

Oh well, a poor cover does not a bad film make.

Be a sport, make sure to pick this one up when it comes out next month.

You won’t be disappointed…

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Filed under: Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , ,

Top 3 Academy Awardees… That Make The Academy Facepalm

Tonight we celebrated the 83rd edition of the Academy Awards.

Predictably, the English thespian uber-beast that is Colin FIRRRTHHHH managed to walk away with a Best Actor award, while Natalie Portman bagged the Best Actress.

While I haven’t seen The King’s Speech or Black Swan, and thusly can’t speak to the performances of these actors; in keeping with the spirit of the Academy Award festivities this evening, I’ve decided to put together a small list of the top 3 biggest FUCK-UPS the Academy saw fit to hand Best Actor awards to.

The following actors all have one thing in common:

While all may have had some bankability/acting merit at some point in their career, somewhere down the road they saw fit to sell-out and participate in some legendarily horrid films, some of which may or may not contain bear suits and bees.

Anyway, let’s get on with the list:

#3. Anna Pacquin

Yikes! 'Guess I can throw away that theory of her "growing into" that gap...

Anna Pacquin managed to charm her way to a Supporting Actress golden statue for her role in 1993’s, The Piano.

She was 11 years old at the time, making it fairly evident that the Academy staff is likely packed to the brim with pedo-faces.

For those that need a visual aid...

Now, given that Ms. Pacquin was very young when she received her Oscar, you’d expect her experience in the craft would improve as she grew older, right?

WRONG.

Sometime after The Piano, Anna Pacquin would go on to have supporting roles in such classics as, She’s All That, the X-Men series, and even the oh so cleverly titled horror anthology film, Trick ‘r Treat.

Also featuring that fat kid from Bad Santa!

While some might argue that Ms. Pacquin has seemingly found new life in her career with her leading role in the cable series True Blood, I would argue that she’s still very much in crap-town in terms of her bankability.

Case in point, she’s been cast in the upcoming (and largely unwanted) Scream 4, which retains almost none of the cast from the previous films.

Typically that’s not a good sign when dealing with (unwanted) sequels, just look what happened with Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd

#2: Sandra Bullock

 

Am I supposed to be turned on? 'Cause I'm really not... Kinda' hungry, but definitely not turned on...

“It was called The Net, with that girl from the bus…” – Frank Costanza, Seinfeld

Sandra Bullock snagged a Best Actress award in 2009 for her “transformative” role in The Blind Side.

While I would argue that the movie itself was actually kind of flat, with Ms. Bullock’s performance doing little to add to it’s mediocrity; the academy saw fit to give her the nod, thusly solidifying her place on this list.

Sandra Bullock had a rather odd journey to the Academy Awards.

Early on she was TV movie tripe like, Bionic Showdown: The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman.

Thought I was kiddin', didin'cha'?

Then she started to move up in the world, landing supporting roles in modern classics like Demolition Man, and Speed.

That’s right, MODERN. CLASSICS.

Then she got greedy and started conning her way into starring roles in horse shit like The Net, and Speed 2: Cruise Control.

 

Pictured: A shitty, and severly dated movie.

Then came the beginning of the new millenium.

Then, came the era of congeniality.

Tens of thousands were killed in the angry riots spawned by the release of the first Miss Congeniality.

Entire nations were felled in the anarchic firestorm brought on by the announcement of the second in the series, Miss Congeniality: Armed and Fabulous.

Given her greedy nature, combined with the relative stagnation of her career since achieving Oscar gold, I would not be surprised if Ms. Bullock had her goons in Hollywood pounding out a script for Miss Congeniality 3: Botoxed and Beautiful, as we speak…

#1: Nicolas Cage

If you're trying to scare me Mr. Cage, you have succeeded...

No list of Hollywood burn-outs could be complete without the inclusion of Nic Cage.

The Cage began his stint in Hollywood from humble beginnings.

Well, if you call being the nephew of one of the most influential and respected directors of all time, “humble.”

Early on, Cage made an impression in Hollywood with his critically acclaimed role as a douche bag in a handful of scenes from Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

 

The Birth of a Legend...

Said performance would prove to be an acting formula Mr. Cage would draw from in crafting many of his finer roles.

For several years, Nic Cage would pop up in films, largely in background roles; often times stealing the show with his unearthly powers of scenery-chewing and not-giving-a-fuck.

Then came Moonstruck, a film that received enormous critical acclaim; and very likely would’ve netted Mr. Cage an Oscar had Cher not overwhelmed his performance with her massive aura of FAIL and gender neutrality.

 

WHAT.... IS, IT!!!!!????

Years passed, and Cage, now starting to make waves as the possible “next big thing” in the industry, started churning out half-assed shit like Firebirds, seemingly for the fun of it.

Few realized it at the time, but the man was challenging us to a twisted and bizarre game of his own designs, daring us to take him seriously as an actor one minute, only for him to turn heel and pump out half-assed performances in blockbuster films.

It was a game only he himself could understand, let alone enjoy; and yet for some reason we foolishly kept coming back for more.

As with his acting method founded so long ago on the bleachers of Ridgemont High, Nic Cage; sly son of a bitch that he is, once again found a new devious element to add to his modus operandi…

1995 saw the release of Leaving Las Vegas, the film that would finally give Nic Cage his Best Actor award.

 

Pictured: Nic Cage's acting coaches.

Despite receiving universal acclaim critics worldwide, Nic Cage would later go on record stating that he had no memory of ever having made a film called “Leaving Las Vegas,” claiming that he spent all of ’95 fighting savage women on one of his privately owned islands while wearing a bear-suit.

Regardless of the truth of this matter, Nic Cage would display great proficiency in bear-suit combat tactics in some of his later films, suggesting he may indeed have had prior experience in said activities…

Following his Oscar success, the Nic Cage floodgates of crappiness and truly not-giving-a-fuck would burst wide open.

Amplifying Nic Cage’s powers of “phoning-it-in” and “not-giving-a-damn” 10 fold, Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay would go on to sink their claws into the enigma that is The Cage; casting him in overblown crap-fest after overblown retarded crap-fest for years to come.

 

Urge to kill, RISING...

Con Air, the Gone in 60 Seconds remake, the National Treasure series, horrible movies thrown in our faces cock-first, over and over and over again every summer…

Then, things got worse.

While few could argue that Next, Bangkok Dangerous, and The Sorceror’s Apprentice were *ahem!* “taxing,” even for the sternest of Nic Cage fans; everything seemed to come to a head with 2006’s remake of The Wicker Man.

Awe-inspiringly bad, to the point where few could argue that Nic Cage had finally topped himself in terms of simultaneously not-giving-a-shit and intentionally trying to ruin a film; The Wicker Man was the proverbial dick-slap to the face of the Academy that awarded him as Best Actor of 1995.

It was a facepalm for the ages, and one I believe most in Hollywood relive every time Nic Cage’s face pops up on a movie poster.

With potential gems like Drive Angry and Ghost Rider 2 still regularly showing up on Mr. Cage’s resume in the foreseeable future, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Academy actually tries to take back that award somewhere down the line…

 

 

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Thoughts On The New Spider-Man Costume

Pictured: Andrew Garfield wearing the new Spidey suit.

A few days ago, we got our first glimpse of actor Andrew Garfield wearing the new Spider-Man costume for music video director Marc Webb’s upcoming reboot to the film series.

Pictured above is a promotional image I snagged from the most awesome of film news sites, Twitchfilm.com (Sorry/Thanks!).

While I honestly can’t say anything as to Garfield’s acting ability, as he’s yet another one of those up-and-coming “young” actors that I don’t know a thing about; my initial reaction to seeing him in the Spider costume were almost 100% positive.

To be fair though, I’ve always had a thing for Spider-Man’s costume, in all of it’s iterations; so me being happy with this really isn’t that big a deal.

 

Tee hee, John Romita Sr. Spider-Man looks like he's wearing pajamas...

Anyway, Garfield’s trim and straight body type lends itself well to the “nerdy everyman” nature of the character, but more importantly; the design of the suit is quite striking, and more than a little original.

The etching and fine details in the texture of the suit are truly inspired, and while the “web” pattern is significantly downplayed from previous iterations of the suit; in some ways I view this as a plus.

As with the “web” pattern, the spider emblem in the center of the chest seems more thinner, more splindly, and ultimately less impactful; a design choice that works well given that it matches the narrow frame of the actor wearing it.

While I’m on the topic of the chest emblem, I feel it’s also worth noting that the bottom legs of the spider emblem, that is; the ones that angle straight downward, seem weak to me.

I think it has something to do with the fact that the other 6 legs on the emblem are all angled or curved, but that pair of straight legs just looks silly to me.

I don’t know, maybe it has something to do with the fact that they’re pointed at the guy’s crotch:

Jus’ sayin’ is all…

Anyway, probably my favorite design element of the suit is the unique detail put into the forearm and hand portions of it:

If you look close, there’s a few neat little deviations from the norm to be found, like streaks of blue running through the top portions of the forearm area and along the thumb joints range of motion.

Also, the “web” pattern seems to fade out completely in the hands; making for a seemingly more “practical” spider suit.

I really like this design, though the lighting (and bloody makeup effects) in this promotional image feels a little “dark” for my tastes.

Though, my worries could very well be for naught, being as the previous Spider-Man films also featured these elements in it’s aesthetic, albeit only in small doses.

Here’s hoping this proves to be the case in the reboot as well.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a regular reader of Batman and The Punisher, so “dark” is something I’m very much accustomed to dealing with (and enjoying); but when it comes to Spider-Man, “dark” is not the design aesthetic that comes to mind.

Same goes for "Emo"...

Spider-Man, to me; has always been about celebrating the “gee-whiz” factor of the comics of old, y’know; the more colorful and zany stuff as opposed to the dark and brooding.

For this reason, I found that I really liked Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films, particularly the 2nd one.

The Train Sequence: The Best Spider-Man Fight EVER

The storytelling could get muddled at times, and Raimi’s insistence on diverting the story in favor of silly asides (see “Emo Spider-Man” above) could get tedious, but from a visual and casting standpoint, I found the film’s look and frenetic energy to be well-suited for bringing Spider-Man to the big screen.

He kind of dropped the ball on 3, at least in the second half anyway; but nobody’s perfect.

I don’t know anything about the new Spider-Man reboot, other than the fact that one of my favorite villains, The Lizard; once again might be in it, but my biggest hope is that it retains the “fun” that has always made Spider-Man a standout among superhero franchises.

Really, that’s all I ask from a Spider-Man story.

Fun, action, and a little bit of heart, nothing more.

They’ve got the costume down, now let’s see if they can make a decent movie around it…

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Azn Badger’s Top 5 Songs That Keep Him From Stabbing People (Chinese Edition)

Yep, that’s right, we’re doin’ this again.

Give me a break will yah’, work was particularly brutal today…

Anyway, today we’re gonna’ be taking a look at the Top 5 Chinese Songs That Keep The Azn Badger From Stabbing People.

Unlike the previous 2 iterations of this list, this time around there’s an extra rule involved in my selection process.

Said rule would be:

No Jackie Chan.

Being as I have a fairly extensive collection of Jackie Chan songs, I think it would be best to save them for a list of their own at a future date.

Remind me to get back to this at a future date, as I genuinely like a lot of Jackie’s songs, and would love an opportunity to talk them up at some point.

Anyway, that being said; let’s get to the list:

5. Babylon In The Orient – Shanghai Restoration Project

You know this is gonna’ be a fucked up list when I start things off with a joke entry.

Babylon In The Orient, while sung in English (barely…) by a Chinese person; is the quintessential Azn song.

Mind you, that’s “Azn” not “Asian.”

The difference being defined by the amount of hair gel and “street” sensibilities present in the Asian person in question.

Consisting of little more than the words “holler” and a few extra tidbits here and there, the song captures the sound and feel of the Azn archetype so perfectly, that it’s tune springs to mind every time I see (or hear) a rice rocket or Asian guy dressed like a 300 lbs. Black guy.

Needless to say, Babylon In The Orient is a song that makes me laugh on account of how insanely Azn it is.

While it’s indeed a shitty song, the point of this list is that it consists of songs that keep me from stabbing people I.E. make me happy.

Babylon In The Orient makes me happy, though in a “so bad it’s good” sort of way.

In my book that counts for a lot.

4. Into The Future – Andy Lau

Ah, the “Great Un-Aging One,”  Andy Lau.

Andy Lau is like the Tom Cruise of China.

He’s been consistently playing handsome, energetic and suave young men throughout his entire career despite being about 10 years too old to do so for, well, over 10 years now.

Truth be told, I haven’t really seen many Andy Lau movies, but the man has one helluva’ a reputation; as is evident by my knowledge of him despite having little to no interest in his career.

That being said, I think it’s funny that #4 on this list comes from the soundtrack of a movie I haven’t seen, and is sung by an aging pop-star I barely know of.

That’s right folks, the kung fu movie obsessed blogger that is the Azn Badger has not seen Stephen Chow’s Shaolin Soccer.

Know what else is fucked up?

I haven’t seen Kung Fu Hustle either!

Despite this, I stumbled across the theme song for Shaolin Soccer at some point, and while it doesn’t make me want to see the movie any more than before, it’s an energetic and fun song that always puts a smile on my face.

Someday I’ll see Stephen Chow’s movies, but until then; I’ll settle for listening to the soundtracks.

3. Shan Shan Re Ren Ai – Elva Hsiao

Elva Hsiao is yet another artist I ran across while perusing the now defunct Azn music forum I used to frequent.

Near as I can tell, she’s basically the Taiwanese equivalent to Madonna, only prettier and without the nasty gap in her teeth.

Oh yeah, and I’m guessing she doesn’t live out her days pretending she’s English like Madonna either.

Anyway, I only really ever heard 1 single of Elva Hsiao’s, called Diamond Candy.

Being as it was a single, there really wasn’t a whole lot to listen to, but the songs “More More More” and Shan Shan Re Ren Ai (whatever the fuck that means in Mandarin…) struck me as surprisingly catchy dance songs.

While “More More More” got brownie points from me on account of featuring Wu Jing in the music video, ultimately I felt Shan Shan Re Ren Ai was the better song.

I wouldn’t be surprised if I ended up listening to more of Ms. Hsiao’s work in the future.

2. Huo Yuan Jia – Jay Chou

In case you haven’t noticed already, many of the songs on this Top 5 come from the soundtracks of Chinese movies.

Huo Yuan Jia just happens to be the theme song for the movie of the same name, otherwise known in the U.S. as Jet Li’s “Fearless.”

It also happens to be a song by the juggernaut of Taiwanese pop music, Jay Chou.

Unlike most Asian pop-idols, I happen to like Jay Chou.

He started out his career as a writer, and as a legitimately accomplished musician behind the scenes, he’s definitely earned his stripes.

Despite all that, the point is:

I like his sound, and he’s made more than a few songs I happen to like, so he’s cool in my book.

I can’t say I’m terribly excited about his recent forays into action cinema, most notably in the upcoming Green Hornet movie; however despite that, he’s still cool in my book…

… Provided he doesn’t make a fool of himself in that movie.

Anyway, Fearless was a pretty spankin’ movie, but the one memory I’m able to carry with me wherever I go, is the tune of this song.

Man, I wish American movies would have badass theme songs like this one…

1. A Man Ought To Be Strong – CHINESE PEOPLE

Really, how could a kung fu movie obsessed person like myself make a Chinese music list without throwing A Man Ought To Be Strong into the top spot?

As a Chinese folk song, as well as the theme of the seemingly endless Once Upon A Time In China film series, A Man Ought To Be Strong is, from my perspective, the spirit of China in song form.

While there are scores of versions of this song, (including 1 by Jackie Chan) this version, sung by a choir as opposed to a single vocalist, is easily my favorite.

As I said, this song basically symbolizes China in my eyes, making it all too appropriate that the best version of it be sung by a bunch of anonymous Chinese as opposed to some pop-star.

Anyway, this song is awesome.

Everyone should hear it at some point in their life, so if this was your first time, I’ll just say, “You’re welcome.”

Filed under: Kung Fu, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Azn Badger’s Top 25 NES Tracks, #20-16

Well folks, yesterday we covered #25-21 of the Top 25 NES Tracks.

That particular tier of the list was seemingly dominated by Sunsoft games, movie tie-ins, and sports games.

Funny how shit like that works out…

Anyway, today we’re taking our first step up in quality, from the bottom tier of the NES’ best, to the, uh, “slightly-higher-than-the-bottom” tier!

That being said, let’s get down to dah’ music!:

#20. Final Fantasy

“The Prelude”


Haha!  That’s right, SUCK IT fanboys!

Final Fantasy has never really held a special place in my heart.

Neither have RPGs for that matter.

I played the original Final Fantasy as a kid, and simply couldn’t get into it.

Similar to my experiences with the Zelda series, I felt I never knew what to do, or where to go, ultimately resulting in me wandering the landscape for a time, only to run into a pack of imps and get my party of green-as-fuck level 1 heroes ass-fucked into oblivion.

 

 

That's a lot of Imps...

 

To this day, I haven’t played a new Final Fantasy since VIII, and I haven’t truly enjoyed any since VI.

Yeah, VI was the shit…

 

Name another game where you can Suplex a fuckin' Train. I dare you.

 

That being said, my lack of appreciation for the Final Fantasy series is what places “The Prelude,a classic of gaming music history as old as myself; so low on this list.

It’s a beautiful, almost whimsical piece of music, that certainly still endures to this day, but to me; it’s just the title theme of a game I hated as a kid.

Did I mention all the fanboys can suck a big fat Blackanese cock?

 

 

...Or at the very least, a big black dildo.

 

#19. River City Ransom

“Boss Theme”


River City Ransom is AWESOMELY FUCKIN’ BADASS.

Seriously man, the guys over at Technos deserve a fuckin’ Earth Badge for everything they put into The City of River Ransoming, ’cause the whole game is a work of genius.

 

 

Unlike this man, who is sadly, NOT a Real Genius...

 

You take Double FUCKIN’ Dragon, which is already BADASS as is, then throw in some AWESOMELY shitty dialogue and a leveling/shopping system, and you’ve got the AWESOMELY FUCKIN’ BADASS game that is River City Ransom!

 

 

Game writing at it's finest.

 

Excuse me, I think I just came in my pants…

*Ahem!* Anyway, River City Ransom was, and is, an awesome game that I spent hours upon hours playing in my youth.

That being said, though there are many great pieces of memorable music in the game, most notably the standard street brawling theme and the shopping music, I feel that the track that best represents the game, is “The Boss Theme.”

Full of energy and pulse-pounding drama, “The Boss Theme” invokes all of the emotions that a boss theme should.

The only other track that could possibly eclipse it, is the River City Ransom version of the Double Dragon theme, though that loses out by a hair due to the fact that, well, the Double Dragon theme actually sounds a whole lot better in the Double Dragon series than it does here…

#18. Snow Bros.

“Stage 1 Theme”


You knew they were gonna’ pop on the list somewhere, but did you really think the crack covered snow men would rank so low?

When forming this list, I did what I could to check my ego at the door and really try and place these tracks appropriately.

While I love Snow Bros., and all of it’s music, deep down I knew that, musically speaking; it’s far from a work of art.

 

Unlike THIS, which is... Probably the most terrifying thing I've ever laid eyes upon...

 

As mentioned in my Snow Bros. article, the “Stage 1 Theme” is a piece of music that I hummed throughout my childhood, such that my mother still knows the tune to this day.

It’s a wonderfully light piece of cutesy music that has a “rotundness” to it that really goes well with the chubbiness and slow-footed nature of the title characters.

I love the “Stage 1 Theme,” and it pains me to place it at #18, but sadly I simply can’t justify placing it any higher.

*Sniff!* Fuckin’ principles n’shit, makin’ me shit on Snow Bros…

#17. Battletoads

“The Battletoads Theme”


There are few 8-bit era themes as rockin’ and kick-ass as “The Battletoads Theme,” and by golly, I love every note of it.

It was tempting to put the stupid-ass “Pause Screen” music on the list as another joke entry akin to Skate or Die 2, however I managed to restrain myself.

While the Battletoads game is, as indicated in one of my previous articles, far from one of my favorite games; the Battletoads themselves are a different story altogether.

In the early 90’s, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were king.

 

 

Gods among men, they were...

 

It doesn’t take a genius to see that the Battletoads, Biker Mice from Mars, Street Sharks and Extreme Dinosaurs were all lame attempts to cash in on their success.

 

Pictured: The Ninja Turtles for the UFC generation...

 

That being said, while very little of it actually came to fruition, the Battletoads were, at one point; in line to get their own cartoon, comic book, and action figures.

Because my brother and I had a subscription to Gamepro (back when it was actually good), we caught word of this very early on, and in fact were treated to a some of the early comics printed in the pages of the magazine.

 

Yeah, something tells me it was a GOOD thing this never got aired...

 

Needless to say, the Battletoads, despite starring in a series of games that were frustratingly difficult, were pushed on me pretty aggressively as a kid.

Whoever was head of the marketing department for the Battletoads deserves a pat on the back, ’cause despite having little to no positive memories of any Battletoads games, the ‘toads still have a place in my heart.

A lot of my love for the Battletoads though, springs from the awesomeness of their theme music, which is why it sits comfortably on this list at #17.

#16. StarTropics

“Dungeon Theme”


StarTropics was and is, a tremendously fun, rewarding, and unique game.

While I never actually beat it, (got close though) I have many fond memories of watching my brother play it day in and day out.

I loved the world map, and how it reminded me of Hawaii.

 

Heh heh, it's funny 'cause it's butt...

 

I loved the goofy noise the submersible made when it dived.

Most of all though, I loved the straightforward nature of the action levels and the “Dungeon Theme” that played over them.

The “Dungeon Theme” was unique in that, while most of environments that the action scenes took place in were scary looking caves, the music was very upbeat.

It had an island, almost calypso feel to it that really got you into the action, while giving everything a colorful and inviting feel to it.

It also did well to set up the drastic change in musical tonality that would occur when the “you’re getting close to the boss” music would transition over it.

Startropics is a game series that I could see myself sitting down and playing through someday.

It’s also a series that I sincerely hope gets a continuation or remake at some point.

Here’s to hoping for a return trip to C-Island someday…

 

 

Mike Jones: Adventurer, Hero, and Banana Holding Buffoon.

 

Thus concludes the slightly-higher-than-bottom tier of the Azn Badger’s Top 25 NES Tracks!

Check back tomorrow when we finally start getting to the good stuff in the middle-tier of the list!


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Get Stingray Production Diary Entry #0

Not long ago, I mentioned on this blog that I was gearing up to make a movie with some friends entitled “Get Stingray.”

Being as this is intended to be a fairly serious endeavor, requiring many hours and weeks of effort to complete, I figure it would be in my best interest to track and log the progression of things on a fairly consistent basis.

Well, being as it’s been about a week since I announced this project, I can honestly say that not a whole lot has changed, which is the reasoning for why this diary entry is labeled #0 instead of #1.

While I have yet formally set aside time to devote to budgeting, choreographing, or pounding out a script for Get Stingray as of yet, (that’s what this weekend is for) I have had random bits of inspiration come me, mostly in terms of the cinematographic style of things.

After years of watching action/kung fu movies, I finally like I have a decent feel what kind of movements are most dynamic, and what kind of camera angles work to “sell” said motions.

While it sucks to have to admit it, it needs to be said that neither myself, nor any of my friends are particularly gifted in terms of physicality or coordination.

That being said, I’m leaning towards using tight focal points in the framing of the shots during the fights, as well as using quick cuts to mask whatever shortcomings myself and the other performers might have in the physical department.

Speaking of quick cuts, as I write this I find myself peering up at the television to watch Matt Damon and Joey Ansah’s spectacular brawl from The Bourne Ultimatum:

Unlike the dreadful stock library sound effects used in this scene though, I intend to do what I can to foley whatever sound I can.

The vision I have for the cinematography during the fights in Get Stingray, is something along the lines of a cross between the Bourne series’ quick cuts, and the more polished on-rails camera movements of Donnie Yen’s work in the past 5 years or so.

Basically, I want to take the calculated artistry of the camera choreography of Hong Kong action films, pair it with the quick cuts of American films, all while keeping the “shaky-cam” to the bare minimum, or at least in a tasteful proportion.

I know it sounds heady and artsy, and very likely far beyond my capabilities as a barely amateur filmmaker, but that’s probably the simplest and most straightforward way one could articulate my intent.

While I’m on the topic of cinematography, I may as well mention that I’m seriously considering investing in a new camera.

I’ve used a DV cam for every film project I’ve ever made, but at my old job as a graphic designer, I was afforded the chance to handle a flash memory HD camcorder.

I really grew to love that camera, with it’s manual focus and 24p shooting mode, and as such; it’s hard for me to consider going back to my 10 year old, dead pixel ridden DV cam.

Anyway, right now I’m looking at the Canon HFS20, and the HFS21, either of which would run me about $1,000.

As it stands, I can definitely afford the expense, but if anyone has any suggestions on a better choice/alternative, it’d be much appreciative.

Anyway, while I haven’t had an opportunity to shoot any test footage (again, that might be on the menu this weekend) I did get a chance to rough-house and block out a few beats of the choreography with my friends last week.

As with my confidence in my ability to deliver in terms of the cinematography of the movie, I feel that I have a pretty good sense of the “flow” or “language” of crafting fight scenes.

In playing around with my friends, I found I was able to effectively reference the temperaments and fighting disciplines of the characters, and logically deduce the attacks or defensive maneuvers that each character would utilize on a contextual basis.

Again, I know it’s a mouthful, but I couldn’t think of a better way to say it.

In many ways, my intent in making Get Stingray is to test myself, to see if I really can do what I’ve always felt I could.

Expect many Stingray updates from now on.

Chances are I’ll have some character bios or something like that next time around.

Filed under: Kung Fu, Movies, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wolverine and The X-Men: WTF?

Huh?

Maybe it’s just me being anal about my comic book shit, but when I ran across this DVD at work today, I couldn’t help but throw up my Corporate Eyebrow in confusion.

For the sad individuals that are unaware, the Corporate Eyebrow is this:

But using the opposite eyebrow.

Strangely enough, I have difficulty executing the People’s Eyebrow

Oh well, perhaps I’m not worthy of it’s majesty.

*Ahem!* ANYWAY, my confusion in regards to this DVD cover, springs from two aspects of it:

1. The fact that the title of the TV series is Wolverine and The X-Men.

2. The fact that somebody was actually dumb enough to title this particular segment of the show “Final Crisis.”

Keep in mind, I know nothing of this cartoon, nor do I have the patience to research it.

While both of these are admittedly minor points, let’s take a moment and address this point by point, shall we?

Wolverine is not a leader of the X-Men.

Nor is he a Jew, but apparently nobody told this guy...

In the comics, Cyclops has recently attained the status of being the undisputed team/spiritual leader of the entire X-Men organization.

Tee hee, I used to like him 'cause he wore glasses...

I’m not sure how things work these days in the X-Men, (frankly I don’t give a shit) but back in the 90’s, Storm and Cyclops headed the Blue and Gold teams of the X-Men, effectively splitting command between the 2 of them.

The simplest explanation as to why Wolverine would receive the top billing in this particular X-Men cartoon, is the fact that Wolverine is an absurdly popular character that is probably better known and loved than the entirety of the X-Men universe.

Even more than Dazzler!? Surely everybody kno... Nah, who am I kidding, everybody hates Dazzler...

Personally, I’ve always liked Wolverine when he was detached from the X-Men, as he is definitely an interesting and fun character, but whenever he’s with the X-Men all he seems to do is pine for Jean Grey (living or deceased, doesn’t matter), get into cock fights with Cyclops, and have awkward moments with whatever jailbait X-Men is popular at the moment.

Yeah, I’m not kidding about that last part.

Ever hear of Illyana Rasputin, Shadowcat, Jubilee, and X-23?

Wolverine = Pedo.

Yeah, they all wanted his nuts SO bad…

Except maybe X-23, she doesn’t want nobody.

Plus, she technically is Wolverine, so I don’t even wanna’ think about the chemistry involved in the result of a “pairing” between those 2…

Oh, that's not so bad.

Anyway, I understand using the Wolverine character and name to put asses in the seats, but did they really have to shit on the X-Men name like that?

Besides, we all know Colossus is a hundred times cooler than Wolverine…

As much as I love him, we all know that Colossus would get his ass kicked if he tangled with the Juggernaut...

My other gripe about this DVD cover, was the fact that they titled this miniseries, “Final Crisis.”

Why does that bother me, you ask?

Because “Final Crisis” is the name of a very recent major DC Comics event.

*Cough!* Kind of a big deal...

Okay fine, this one isn’t so much a “gripe,” as it is a cause for confusion.

In the comics world, the word “Crisis” has a a very unique meaning.

Whenever it is spoken, any self-respecting comic reader’s mind invariably thinks “DC.”

Ever since the revolutionary 1985 release of DC’s first major crossover, Crisis on Infinite Earths, the word “Crisis” has always referred to an event involving the DC comics multiverse.

Whoops! Spoiler Alert!

Needless to say, to use the term “Crisis” in a Marvel product is a major no-no in the industry.

To actually go ahead and use the full title of a “Crisis” storyline as the title of a Marvel product, is straight up blasphemy.

BLASPHEMY.

Like I said, I understand that everything I’ve been babbling about in this post is just me nit-picking, but understand this:

I was at work for 10 hours today, and this was the one element of my day that I took the time to remember.

Needless to say, it was a slow fucking day.

Maybe you’ll all get lucky and something cool with happen to me tomorrow.

Filed under: Comics, Movies, Uncategorized, Wrestling, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Best Boss Music #7: Einhänder

Einhänder was Squaresoft’s first and only scrolling shooting game.

Released in 1998 on the Playstation, the game represented a rare foray into the action genre for Squaresoft.

Despite the companies’ reputation for producing almost exclusively RPG games, the late 90’s represented a wonderful era of experimentation and change in the types of games Square would produce.

Pictured: A game we won't be talking about.

During this time Square would branch out and produce a great number of quality games across a myriad of genres.

Tobal No. 1 and 2,

How come we didn't get this awesome cover art in the U.S.?

Bushido Blade 1 and 2,

Pictured: Why Bushido Blade was the shit.

as well the Namco collaborative project, Ehrgeiz, represented Square’s first 3D fighting games.

Pictured: The only reasons any of you fanboy fuckers remember the mediocrity that was Ehrgeiz.

Parasite Eve 1 and 2 turned the RPG genre on it’s head with it’s modern and horror infused plot, as well as it’s hybrid real-time, turn-based combat system.

Oh yeah, and boobies.

Brave Fencer Musashi was one of Square’s first (and best) attempts to create a Zelda-style dungeon crawling adventure game.

I fuckin' LOVED this game. Never beat it though...

And Einhänder, was one of the finest space shooters ever made.

The game was absolutely gorgeous, with spectacular art design, wonderful atmosphere, and an especially noteworthy soundtrack by Kenichiro Fukui.

The basic story of the game was that, in the future, mankind expands it’s civilization to the moon, which at some point sparks a war between the people of the Earth, and the people of the Moon.

The player takes control of the moon-based pilot of a special, wasp shaped plane with a giant manipulator arm for snatching and using enemy weapons, or “Gun Pods.”

Essentially, the game represents a suicide run on the part of the player, wherein they are expected to destroy as many enemy facilities as possible to force the end of the war.

By the end of the game however, the player is faced with the unfortunate task of having to fight for their lives against their fellow soldiers, the reasoning behind which being that they were in fact expected to die on their suicide run on Earth.

"Can't you even die right!?" I'll never get tired of Revolver Ocelot quotes...

Einhänder was presented in a beautifully well-executed 2.5D format.

Essentially, the entire game takes place on a horizontal scrolling, 2D plane, while the graphics and camera angles are rendered in 3D polygons, resulting in a number of dynamic angles that do little to disrupt the relatively simple nature of the gameplay.

Thankfully the camera is in fact better than Superman 64.

At the outset of the game, the player is given the choice of 1 of 3 different “Einhänder” planes, the word being German for “Single-Handed.”

The Endymion FRS Mk. II was a larger plane that could house 3 Gun Pods at any given time, but could only operate one of them at a time.

The Endymion FRS Mk. III was a plane recommended for beginners, as it fielded 2 machine guns by default, as opposed to the normal 1, and it could only hold and operate 1 Gun Pod at a time, limiting the complexity of the gameplay.

And the Astraea FGA Mk. I, was a beastly powerhouse of a machine that could operate 2 Gun Pods at any time, making it the most difficult to pilot, but by far the cream of the crop in my opinion.

Trust me there’s a reason they put the Astraea on the cover.

Throughout the game, the player is faced with the task of battling enemies, while properly managing their Gun Pod arsenal from situation to situation.

Gun Pods could be mounted on the top or bottom of the plane, (or both when using the Astraea) and came in a huge number of varieties, with each having limited ammo so as to require the player to switch them out constantly.

Weapon types ranged from machine guns like the common Vulcan, and it’s overpowered cousin, the Juno, to oddities like the Riot lightning gun, and the defensive chaff gun, the Hedgehog.

Several Gun Pods could only be unlocked by meeting certain conditions, such as killing all of the enemies in a particular scene, or defeating certain bosses in certain ways.

In fact, there were many secrets and branching paths in the game depending upon the player’s performance, resulting in a rare shooter that had the potential to play out differently every time.

Unlike this game, where you can bet on dieing pretty much every time.

Like any other scrolling shooter, bosses were plentiful and spectacular throughout.

Many bosses had weaknesses and could be taken out relatively quickly, (especially when using the ridiculously overpowered Grenade) though in most cases this was ideal, as many of the bosses had variable patterns depending upon the types of damage inflicted on them.

Of course we all know the best damage, is Collateral Damage.

All the bosses in the game had multiple damage quadrants, resulting in interesting scenarios wherein the player would have to quickly decipher which spots made for the most effective targets.

Some of my favorite bosses in the game were the games first boss, a massive elephant like whats-it,

The spider-legged mid-boss of level 3, which could be insanely difficult if not taken out quickly,

KILL IT. NOOOOOOWWWW.

the giant bipedal monkey robot from level 5 that makes Doom noises when it roars,

and the giant satellite that serves as the game’s second to last boss.

PIG FUCKER of a boss. But awesome music, so all is forgiven.

Of course, none of these boss battles would be half as great if not for the game’s amazing soundtrack.

The game doesn’t have a singular boss theme, though in this case I think I would call the first boss theme, “Shudder” the Best Boss Music in Einhänder:

Ah hell, here’s the rest of the boss themes I just listed, in order:
Warning

Madness

and closest runner-up to Shudder, Thermosphere

Much of Einhänder universe uses German and Greek mythological terms, and as such, the game has an appropriately German techno-esque soundtrack.

Pictured: The physical embodiment of German Techno.

The atmosphere is moody, energetic, and undeniably futuristic, giving the game an uncommon sense of drama and urgency for a space shooter.

The game was incredibly difficult, using the annoying-as-fuck “back to the checkpoint every death” system of Gradius, and yet it was packed to the rim with so many beautiful sights and sounds that it was hard to put down.

Einhänder is one of those games that I find myself playing again every few years, and I scarcely believe I will ever get tired of it.

I wouldn’t be lying if I said Einhänder reminded me of Axelay at times.

That’s probably the biggest complement I can give to a space shooter.

Filed under: Best Boss Music, Games, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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