Saturday, November 28, 2020

Stubs - The Clay Pigeon

The Clay Pigeon (1949) Starring: Bill Williams, Barbara Hale, Richard Quine, Richard Loo. Directed by Richard O. Fleischer. Screenplay by Carl Foreman. Produced by Herman Schlom. Run time: 63 minutes. USA Black and White Film Noir, Drama, Crime.

Howard Hughes purchased RKO in 1948 and while he is known for giving his input, wanted or not, on the main, or A-Pictures, produced by the studio during his reign as owner, he did not seem to have the same interest in the B-Pictures the studio made. B-Pictures, with their lower budgets and shorter run times, were the second feature in a double bill. The first film produced after Hughes’ purchase was a B-Picture, The Clay Pigeon.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Transformers: Prime - One Shall Stand

Note: This review contains spoilers for Transformers: Prime - One Shall Stand and the Transformers: Prime cartoon.

Even 10 years after its debut, Transformers: Prime remains one of my favorite Transformers cartoons, if not one of my favorite animated series in general. In light of the show’s 10th anniversary, I decided to revisit one of the two feature-length edits of the show released by Shout! Factory, Transformers: Prime - One Shall Stand, which combines seven episodes of the series from the end of the first Season and the beginning of the second, removing commercial breaks and repeated scenes. While I have previously viewed the seven episodes both individually as they aired and in combined form, I had not previously reviewed the combined version. After giving it another look, I thought it worked very well for what it set out to accomplish and served to remind me why I loved the show in the first place.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion (PS4)

The quality of Adventure Time games is generally hit or miss, with Explore the Dungeon Because I Don’t Know! serving as the lowest point from my experience. However, when Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion was announced, it sounded like the Adventure Time game I always wanted and that alone piqued my interest, though it took a while for me to actually snag a copy and actually play it, eventually receiving one as a gift. For the most part the game delivers on these expectations, though it is somewhat held back by a number of bugs and glitches.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Stubs - Scene of the Crime

Scene of the Crime (1949) Starring Van Johnson, Arlene Dahl, Gloria De Haven, Tom Drake, Leon Ames, John McIntire, Donald Woods, Norman Lloyd, Jerome Cowan, Tom Powers Directed by Roy Rowland. Screenplay by Charles Schnee. Produced by Harry Rapf Run time: 95 minutes. USA Black and White. Crime, Drama, Film Noir

Under the leadership of Louis B. Mayer, MGM studios was Hollywood's "Tiffany Studio” with a long history of making glamorous films, especially musicals. Unlike Warner Bros., which was now for its gangster films, with a few exceptions, MGM did not deal with those kinds of films. Things began to change in 1948, when Dore Schary returned to the studio, after a stint at RKO, to replace Mayer as the head of production.

One of the films the studio made, post this transition, was Scene of the Crime.

Friday, November 20, 2020

My Little Pony: The Movie (2017)

During our effort to (re-)review the Equestria Girls tetralogy, we decided to round out our My Little Pony experience with My Little Pony: The Movie, released theatrically in late 2017. Due to our feelings on the franchise at the time, we didn’t see it during its original run. However, we were surprised to find that we could stream it for free through Amazon Prime and jumped on the opportunity. I’m actually glad at this point that I didn’t spend any money at the theater, since the incredible traditional animation does nothing to make up for the painfully average story.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

My Little Pony: Equestria Girls - Legend of Everfree

Note: This review contains spoilers for My Little Pony: Equestria Girls - Legend of Everfree.

After having watched and reviewed the first three My Little Pony: Equestria Girls spin-off movies, we decided to watch the fourth and final movie, Legend of Everfree, in order to have a full opinion on all four of them. However, when trying to watch the movie, we saw no convenient way to legally stream it, mainly since we aren’t Netflix subscribers and didn’t want to waste the free trial just to watch one movie. This necessitated us to instead take advantage of our Amazon Prime membership and purchase a physical copy of the movie, opting for the DVD version in order to spend as little money on the endeavor as possible. All that said, Legend of Everfree did present some good ideas with its story and characters, however it wasn’t entirely executed as well as it could have been.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

My Little Pony: Equestria Girls - Friendship Games

Note: This review contains spoilers for My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Friendship Games.

The year after Rainbow Rocks released, Hasbro released a follow-up, Friendship Games. This release coincided with my personal disillusionment with the Brony fandom, so I didn’t get to actually watch it until about four years later when I remembered I had recorded the TV version on a DVR. The long wait to watch it was actually a blessing, since I was able to view it more objectively. With that in mind, I feel that compared to Rainbow Rocks, this film took one step forward and two steps back.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Second Look - My Little Pony: Equestria Girls - Rainbow Rocks

Note: This review contains spoilers for My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks.

Back in 2014, I had reviewed My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks based on a limited theatrical screening. With the passage of time, however, I’ve come to dislike my original review. I didn’t take the review seriously enough and I realized that I was overly harsh due to a negative experience with particularly overzealous “Bronies” (Friendship is Magic’s adult male fans) at a theatrical screening. After about five years, I decided to take another look at this film, alongside the original Equestria Girls, to see if I felt any differently and look at any of its flaws more objectively. I turns out that I warmed up to it a bit more, but I still felt that at least one change could have improved it dramatically.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Second Look - My Little Pony: Equestria Girls

Note: This review contains spoilers for My Little Pony: Equestria Girls.

Over the course of its nine-year lifespan, the inexplicably popular My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic cartoon had a short-lived spin-off series of films, collectively known as My Little Pony: Equestria Girls, which was made to into a toyline designed to compete with Mattel’s popular Monster High series and its ilk. When I first saw the original Equestria Girls film in 2013, I came away with a largely negative opinion of it, which I admit was partly influenced by having initially seen it in a theater alongside an audience with some particularly obnoxious members of the “brony” community, which, for those who aren’t aware, consists of the Friendship is Magic cartoon’s periphery demographic of adult males. Though I eventually stopped caring about the Friendship is Magic cartoon after 100 episodes, only tuning in later to watch the series finale, I wasn’t entirely satisfied with how my original review of the first Equestria Girls movie turned out, and so decided to revisit it in a context entirely divorced from my original experiences. Though not quite as bad as I remembered it, there were still some issues I had with the final product.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Stubs - The Third Man

The Third Man (1949) Starring: Joseph Cotten, Valli (Alida Valli), Orson Welles, Trevor Howard Directed by Carol Reed. Screenplay by Graham Greene. Produced by Carol Reed. Run time: 105 minutes. UK/US Black and White Suspense, Film Noir

After World War II, Vienna, Austria, like Berlin, was sub-divided into zones controlled by the Allied Forces: the US, the UK, the USSR and France. It is in this divided city that the film The Third Man takes place. The city is described in the film’s opening narration, as read by Carol Reed, as “in the classic period of the black market. We'd run anything if people wanted it enough and had the money to pay. Of course, a situation like that does tempt amateurs but, well, you know, they can't stay the course like a professional.”

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Sneak King

Of the three Burger King advergames, Sneak King is perhaps the best-known and the most infamous. It’s the only game to not feature any vehicle-based elements and has only one playable character, the King. However, its stealth gameplay is what draws more attention to it, as it does nothing to help the inherent creepiness of the mascot. When I previously played this game, I didn’t manage to get very far due to what I perceive in hindsight to be a lack of skill, so I decided to give it more of a chance after revisiting Big Bumpin’ and Pocketbike Racer. While Sneak King still doesn’t rank very high on the video game totem pole, I found the gameplay to be surprisingly decent for what it was.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Pocketbike Racer

Alongside Big Bumpin’ and Sneak King, Pocketbike Racer is one of three advergames for Xbox and Xbox 360 that were once offered as an extra with the purchase of a Burger King Value Meal, though I would not actually play any of them until I found them for cheap secondhand. When I first played Pocketbike Racer, I didn’t spend very much time on it due to what seemed like a lack of content, though I recently decided to take a look back on it to see if I had missed anything. Upon closer inspection, there is a little more to it than I remembered, however it didn’t change the fact that it was a mildly ambitious racing game on paper, though a bit unpolished in practice.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Big Bumpin'

Even for a fast food company, Burger King has had its fair share of rather bizarre marketing campaigns, most infamously their on-and-off King mascot. In late 2006, one of these campaigns involved selling a series of three Xbox and Xbox 360 compatible games as $3.99 add-ons to a value meal, those being Big Bumpin’, Pocketbike Racer and Sneak King. While I didn’t get any of these games during the campaign’s initial run, in part because I didn’t own either of Microsoft’s home consoles at the time, I did go out of my way to find them for cheap around the time I actually got an Xbox system. While I did briefly play them then, I recently decided to revisit them to see if I had actually seen everything in those games, beginning with Big Bumpin’. Even after some time had passed, it was just as unremarkable as I remembered.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Stubs - No Questions Asked


No Questions Asked (1951) Starring: Barry Sullivan, Arlene Dahl, George Murphy, Jean Hagen Directed by Harold F. Kress Screenplay by Sidney Sheldon. Produced by Nicholas Nayfack USA Run time: 82 minutes. Black and White. Film Noir, Police, Drama, Crime

In 1948, Dore Schary left RKO studios where he was Head of Production, choosing to return to MGM and a contemptuous relationship with Louis B. Mayer, rather than work for RKO’s new owner, Howard Hughes. With Schary as Vice-President in charge of Production, MGM began make grittier films, including Tension (1949), SideStreet (1950), Caught (1949), Border Incident (1949), Act of Violence (1949), TheAsphalt Jungle (1950), and No Questions Asked (1951).

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

AVICII Invector Encore Edition (Switch)

Following the release of
AVICII Invector in 2019, a pair of DLC packs had since been announced, the Tim Song Pack and Magma Song Pack, each containing five additional songs from across Avicii’s short-lived career. Around this time, I learned about a physical re-release of the game for Nintendo Switch that includes said DLC already on it, titled AVICII Invector Encore Edition. While this version of the game was available at retail, I opted instead to pre-order the game through Limited Run and somehow managed to receive it in a fairly timely fashion, about a month off from its release date. After playing it shortly upon receiving it, I found the Encore re-release to be a good package.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Top Ten Boss Battle Themes (Redux)

Note: This article contains spoilers.

Back in 2014, we made an article called “Top Ten Boss Battle Themes” in collaboration with a third party. As the years and the 1000 review milestone went by, we’ve looked back on this list and wondered how we could improve it with tracks that we’ve come across since then. We decided then to write up a new list while still taking our previous criteria into account:

  • Must be from a boss fight (includes licensed music)
  • Must be memorable
  • Only one song per game

So, without further ado, here’s our revised list of boss battle themes (in no particular order).