Saturday, December 31, 2016

Black Mirror: Hated in the Nation

Hello Dwellers and Welcome to the Basement...

2016 is almost over... and this is the last episode of Black Mirror's 3rd season for me to review! This episode was titled 'Hated in The Nation' and quite frankly it's the most ambitious of all of the series episodes to date!





SHATTERED MIRROR


Without question the most ambitious of all the Black Mirror episodes produced, this episode could've easily been titled 'Bees My God'... cause what was the tech here was a 'deadly bee weapon'... and brings on thoughts of the Nicholas Cage version of 'The Wicker Man' 'Not The Bees' meme...

In all seriousness, this episode follows up on thoughts I had regard episode 5 and how the military would want the MASS implants for the perfect soldiers, in this episode we see how the government would want the 'perfect' way to spy on a nation, using something to help the environment, in this case artificial bees that have basic pattern recognition software for pollination... and how some lone self-righteous crusader could take control of it to push a moral message about the spread of fear-mongering and hate on social media, turning it into a way to create a database of who would give into the temptation to sends the bees after someone. In the wake of some of the nonsense that has happened the past few years regarding social media and a number of the real life problems its caused, hell just look at how Twitter caved into the pressure of left wing-nuts this past few months to 'target and eliminate' those with right wing-nut views. Now imagine if that was basically weaponized. Now imagine if all those who to part in it the 'getting rid' of someone were revealed as a whole and the whole thing turned on them, because they are the ones who spread the fear, hatred, a cruelty to a whole other level.
Terrifying ain't it?
Now lets talk about the episode story, which is told in a flash back by DCI Karin Parke who is explaining to a committee about everything that went down, that a journalist who was the target of online threats due to a column suddenly commits suicide, but it turns out it's part of a larger scale plot but a former employee of company that has created Artificial Bees to counter-act a collapse of the bee population. Parke and new partner named Blue, who worked in cyber forensics, investigate the mystery and we see their process step by step, from realize who's the next target to trying to protect her, to trying to access the bees' database. to discovering whose the culprit and his 'endgame' to take out all those whose contributed to the 'picking' who should be taken out, resulting in in nearly 400,000 deaths... with the aftermath being Parke being a hated public figure and Blue apparently 'killing herself' but instead going off the grid to catch the guy who did it.

My summary doesn't do the story justice, because it's extremely well paced to keep the viewer invested, plus if one pays attention, this episode has a number of references to previous episodes, in particular Blue was the one who cracked the case that lead to the events in the episode White Bear.

The performances in this is awesome up and down. Kelly Macdonald (Trainspotting, Nanny McPhee, Boardwalk Empire)  as Parke is a great lead, portraying a rather 'old school' way of thinking investigator who has seen all the usual ways things turn out, she's a little patronizing, but that's due to experiences. Faye Marsay (Doctor Who: Last Christmas, Game of Thrones) is stellar as as Blue, someone who wants to prevent crimes from happening and whose expertise puts her in a life changing experience for a second time. Benedict Wong  (Doctor Strange, Marco Polo. Law & Order UK), brings a nice rounded performance to Shaun Li, an officer of the National Crime Agency, who tries to keep things hidden while also contributing to the investigation but you know he's trying to do the best he can considering his responsibilities.


Black Mirror: Men Against Fire

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It's New Year's Eve, and we're up to the 5th episode of Black Mirror's third season titled 'Men Against Fire', and of course here is my review of said episode





SHATTERED MIRROR

Now here is an interesting episode in regards to making a more 'efficient military' combined with the 'eugenic warfare'... two things that don't seem like they would go hand in hand, but it  in this episode it works. First in regards to making the military more efficient, more willing to 'kill', in this episode we are shown an implant called MASS that totally warps their sense of reality, making the solider see monsters instead of their true target, other human beings and to draw the comparison to World War I, World War II where the percentage of those who fired was 15%, and even then it was people intentionally missing.... then by the Vietnam War training got soldiers who fired up to 85% and then the kill rate was still low... so the MASS system is to make it a clear 100% kill rate for 100% Shots Fired while dehumanizing the enemy because humans by and large don't want to kill other humans. But it goes beyond that, 'dreams' can be programmed as well, and this perception filter can create a whole environment totally controlled by the soldier's handlers.

The other interesting aspect of this episode is the 'Eugenics Warfare', as those humans who are deemed unworthy because of genetic disposition are labeled as roaches, outcasts to be wiped out, to protect the 'bloodline', to keep things pure and so forth... down right fascist in its own way, and combine this with the MASS system that is the key tech to the episode, and you got one ugly, but fascinating concept that is down right terrifying when you realize we're probably not to far away from this type of tech becoming reality.

Which leads to the story of this episode, a soldier named Stripe has his MASS implant interfered with by what he and other soldiers are told are 'roaches', apparently mutated humans, but in fact are humans that are being wiped out for being genetically inferior. And over the course of the episode, Stripe's implant malfunctions and he ends up learning the truth, but and eventually has to make a choice, either agree to have his memory erased of what he learned, or put in prison with an endless loop of what he did under the MASS implants influence... and what he does is chooses to have his memory erase, getting the illusion of being discharged with full honors, a dream house and a gorgeous woman waiting for him... but instead it's just what he's programmed to see.

Now the problem with this episode is that like with 'Shut Up and Dance' the truth is revealed to early, and you lose any chance to sympathize with the lead character here considering when the 'propaganda and fear mongering' aspect of dealing with the 'undesirables is brought up and it's handled a little too cookie-cutter

That said, Malachi Kirby whose played Gastron in Doctor Who 'Hell Bent' last season does a great job with Stripe in conveying his gradual confusion turned to realization to coming to terms with what he willingly signed up for, and that if it wasn't for the MASS implant going hay-wire, he would've been none the wiser. Also Madeline Brewer (of Orange is the New Black, Hemlock Grove) as Rainman is so over the top its down right comical, its as if her character was lifted directly from Starship Troopers.



Black Mirror: San Junipero

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The Countdown to 2017 continues, with my review of the episode San Junipero of Black Mirror Season 3, Episode 4







SHATTERED MIRROR
 
Alright, this was just a wonderful episode, a great little love story with a nice twist and a very optimistic way of presenting things. Sure Black Mirror has specialized on the bleak and dreary, but here we had a great variation on 'the afterlife' and what it could be thanks to how technology advances.  And going with a positive spin on it was a smart move, cause I recall an episode of Futurama where it is implied a more bleak perspective. The idea of a virtual reality 'nostalgia therapy' tech is something that could help people cope or give them something to look forward too beyond just starring at walls, ceiling or out a window.

Anyway, the story, a shy girl named Yorkie arrives in a town called San Junipero and is getting her bearings, she meets Kelly, a partier, and they hit it off... connecting on level Yorkie never experienced and an on a level Kelly doesn't initially want... then it turns out they are in a virtual reality world... San Junipero is where the deceased can have a heavy and those near the end can jump in for five hours of fun a week... the situation for Kelly and Yorkie also gets revealed, Yorki is someone who paralyzed at the age of 21, living for 40 years on a life support machine and is looking forward to having her 'life' in San Junipero, however Kelly's situation is more complicated due to a 49 year marraige and a losing a daughter at the age of 39 before the technology for San Junipero existed, putting in the position of does she want to be with her family in 'nothingness' of the traditional afterlife, or with Yorkie in one that she knows is real.

Trust me, the episode is a lot deeper than I'm making it, because it is a joy to watch, particularly after the tripe that was 'Shut Up and Dance'

They production crew did a great job of getting classic arcade cabinets, correct period clothing and tech (such as TVs, arcade cabinets), and the music is really spot on...and the music selections were perfect, in particular the selection of Heave is a Place on Earth.

That said, the performances of Gugo Mbatha-Raw as Kelly and  Makenzie Davis were just perfect. I'm somewhat familiar with Mbatha-Raw since she was on Doctor Who and Spooks years ago, but will admit I don't know anything about Davis, this being the first thing I've seen her in. Also a strong nod has to be given to Denis Burse who plays 'the elder' version of Kelly, who perfectly matches the portrayal of Mbatha-Raw when the character is in San Junipero, which is something that has to be appreciated because it can't be easy for two actors to get their performances in-sync to where you can believe they are playing the same character.
 

Black Mirror: Shut Up and Dance

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The countdown to New Year's continues with my thoughts and opinions regarding Black Mirror's Season 3 episode titled 'Shut Up and Dance'




SHATTERED MIRROR

This episode is a slight re-tread of 'White Bear' of season 2, where it seems like seemingly innocent people are being hounded for no reason, but then it turns out they are being blackmailed for things they have done wrong... and is basically a cautionary tale of being aware of what you do online and so forth.

It's not a particularly strong episode in my opinion, cause the reveal and twist happened to early totally telegraphing the obvious ending, which makes it so  you don't care about the characters or their situation.

Anyway the lead In this case our lead is Kenny, whose  computer got hacked and he was filmed doing something, and he is forced to do a number of tasks... which in turns leads him to encounting other people who were doing things in order to comply with the truth getting out... leading him to a fight to the death with someone who did the exact same thing he did... only for the 'truth' to be leaked out.

What else is a disappointment is that while nearly all the other episodes up to this point have had some twist on technology, this episode doesn't have a 'gimmick' of any kind, that would make this come across as 'satire', which makes this episode even more of a chore to sit through.

That said the performances are fairly decent, carried by a young actor named Alex Lawther (who played Kenny), he emotes well because he doesn't really have much dialog to sa,  and Jerome Flynn, a veteran actor know for his roles on Game of Thrones & Ripper Street, his role as Hector helps balancing things out a bit, There is some decent on-screen interaction with, but nothing that will be memorable.

The Rogues: New Years Evil #1

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It's New Year's Eve and I'm trying to catch up on things I had scheduled for this week in one day, and we're kicking off with this weeks comic book review: The Rogues: New Years Evil #1 from DC Comics!





RAMBLINGS OF A COMIC BOOK FAN

Hello Dweller and Welcome to the Basement…

And Happy New Year…

As you may now, I’m pretty much limping into 2017… as I try and get done many of things I had scheduled before an unwanted trip to the hospital sideline me… and so we’re going to get the ball rolling with this Week’s Comic From The Basement… with The Rogues: New Year’s Evil #1 from DC Comics

Which leads to a question… who are The Rogues… they are basically the blue-collar criminals, those who rather just commit minor crimes and instead of taking over the world, they mostly are members of The Flash’s gallery of bad guys, often consisting of characters like Captain Cold, Mirror Master, Heat Wave, Trickster, Weather Wizaerd, Pied Piper & Golden Glider… and if you’ve seen The Flash on the CW, these names are obviously familiar too you. Their first appearance as a team was in The Flash #155 back in September 1965… over the years, the team has seen members come and go and by the late 90s there was a fairly even status quo established, such as moral code of conduct between members… and have time have acted as heroes when it was in their best interests.

Now back in in the late 1995s, DC did a little event series called Underworld Unleashed… in which Captain Boomerrang, Captain Cold, Heat Wave, Mirror Master and Weather Wizard were offered a deal for real magical powers instead of their familiar tech-based abilities by Abra-Kadabra in order to unleash the demon Neron on earth, killing all five in the process… they were not told this part of the deal… as hell was basically unleashed on Earth for a bit… Neron was stopped, and they are eventually returned to the land of the living thanks to The Flash

Now with that half-ass backstory out of the way, let’s get to this weeks comic, ‘From The Page of The Flash: The Rogues: New Year’s Evil #1, which is as far as I can tell, the first time the group ever had a ‘solo title’

The story: Taking place after the Three Of A Kind story line in The Flash/Green Arrow/Green Lantern books and called ‘Men & Gods’ , this comic sees Captain Cold, Mirror Master, Heat Wave, Captain Boomerrang , Weather Wizard breaking into a temple of Meshta, and Heat Wave is a bit reluctant considering the status of their souls and are looking to get something to keep Neron from taking their souls… but it turns out instead part of the The Trickster’s plan to make sure the son of an old friend is kept safe, and with the help of the Pied Piper… these Rogues do battle again against Ahrynu and Neron… in order to get Neron off the Rogues back as well as making sure Nero leaves the Meshtra Temple and those involved with it alone.


The Verdict: The artwork in and of itself its totally fine, and the story flows nicely with just enough backstory given to allow anyone who just grabbed this issue at random to understand the circumstances, such as The Trickster being somewhat on the side of justice at the time, and Heat Wave being inspired to stay behind to become a monk at the end of the story. It’s a light easy read that wraps up some details while opening the door for new stories with these characters.


Next time in The Basement: It’s back to Tank Girl with Tank Girl Carioca #3 to wrap up my look at that mini series.


Blue Seed: "A Chase Down Yamato Highway! Love Under Fire!!"

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I'm out of the hospital, back home and it's back to 'work' with Talking Anime, we're up to episode 14 of Blue Seed, "A Chase Down Yamato Highway! Love Under Fire!!"




PLANTED SEEDS
  • Original Air-date: January 4, 1995, English Air-date, December 18, 1999

  • This episode concludes the second disc on the 2005 ADV Box set, disc labeled 'Decent Into Terror'
  • Momiji is not all there mentally following revealing her feelings to Kusanagi who is distracted with the return of Kaede, which leads him to not really be a factor with the Aragami monster of the week.

  • The town featured in this episode, called Nara, is 'Nara City' and is known for a lot of its historical monuments, including shrines and temples.
  • We see that Koume is a bit of an expert when it comes to the 
    Japanese Shrines and Temples, in particular with the 'favor' system, if you make a deal saying you'll do something in return what you want will be done for you. Momiji uses this as a way to try and get Kusanagi's feelings for her by vowing to defeat an Aragami by herself
  • Perhaps the most surreal thing about this episode is Yaegashi, who is jealous of Kusanagi and wants to defeat the Aragami  in order to get Momiji, he's very gun-ho and over the top, making Koume seem reasonable and
    level headed i
  • The Argami, being made out of a tree, and spreads a killer pollen all over the place was just a big monster to be defeated, Nothing to special about it though it can be argued it is one taken down by  Koume and Momiji
  • This episode also sees Sakura Yamazaki become 'officially' linked to the TAC as Mr.Kunikida had to pick her up, though in a limited role, Sakura plays a big part in using her magic to stop the Aragami from smashing up a temple.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Doctor Who: The Web Planet Part 3

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We continue to take advantage of the lull in Television activity with bonus episodes of Tales from the TARDIS, today we go over part three of the Doctor Who story: The Web Planet.

This episode is also dedicated to Carrie Fisher




TIME AND RELATIVE DIMENSIONS

  • Escape to Danger, February 27, 1965, 12.6 Million Viewser (same as previous week)
  • In this episodes we learn more about the Menopterans and the Zarbi, particularly that both are native to the planet Vortis, and lived in peace for the most part until the Zarbi were made militant by what the Menopterans call the Animus, which drove the Menopterans off the planet and to a near by moon and are hoping to retake their world and restore the balance of the things. In terms of controlling forces and having a network to know all things makes it very similar to the Great Intelligence.

  • The Animus is telepathic and communicates with the Doctor via the hair-dryer device repeatedly, striking a deal for the Doctor to help it and the Zarbi find the Menoptera fleet in advance by using equipment form the TARDIS, this plays into the Doctor's hand as it gets the powers that is being used to hamper the TARDIS to be turned off, which also allows Ian to escape and search for Barbara who is at the Crater of Needles.
  • Ian avoids the Zarbi thanks to being rescued by Vrestin, they have a nice conversation that leads to them realizing they are on the same side, the Crater of Needles and what the Zarbi do the menopterans (remove their wins so they can't fly), and the episode ends on a cliff hanger of them hiding from the Zarbi in a cave with a cave-in occurring.
     
  • All in all an good episode, but not much to talk about other then exposition of the Zarbi and the Menopterans

Black Mirror: Playtest

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There are five days left in 2016, and we are continuing our countdown with season three of Black Mirror, today's recap & Review is of 'Playtest' the second episode of season three.






SHATTERED MIRROR

  • The Star: Cooper, played by Wyatt Russell: was in such films as Cowboys & Aliens, 22 Jump Street... 3rd generation actor song of Kurt Russell & Goldie Hawn, grandson of Bing Russell.
  • Character: Cooper  is a guy who goes on a trip to see the world, feeling he's unable to connect with his mother after dealing with his father dying and having Alzheimer's tech. During the course of the episode his mother keeps calling but he avoids taking the call.

  • Friend In London: Sonya (played by Hannah John-Kamen, who was Selma Telse inBlack Mirror Season 1 episode Fifteen Million Merits) meets Cooper in a bar, they hit it off, she's a tech journalist.
  • The Tech: In an era were Virtual Reality is becoming fairly common place, in this episode of Black Mirror sees that the 'next era' is being reached for, with an implant that learn from a players mind to 'try and scare him', though focused on the survivor horror genre in this episode, I have seen games that learn to adapt to a players play style.

  • The story: Cooper goes on a world wide trip to find himself and on the final leg of his trip learns that his credit card number was stolen and he has no money to get home. A friend he meets, Sonja' points out a job for a video game company on an job app he's used on his journey whenever cash was tight. Cooper goes  signs up and also hopes to get Sonja a picture of what is being developed, though his phone and taken and turned off. He turns it back on to send Sonja the pic of the tech that is being developed, before it's planted in the back of his skill during which time his mother calls, but the call is quickly cancelled. Cooper's first 'test' of the tech is to play a virtual game of Whack-A-Mole, though only he can see it, he's then taken to the guy who runs the game company named Shou, who wants to take it the next level for a fear based game, Cooper is happy to take part. He is taken to a mansion that served as the bases for a game he's familiar with and he starts experiencing a few jump scares, such as spider, a bully from high school, and then Sonja shows up... thinking she's part of the illusion, he doesn't believe her when she wants to get him out of there... and is then attacked by her... it turns out it was part of the tech programming, but Cooper as had enough and wants out.  Which leads to the episodes multiple endings, the first being he's told to go to an access point but his memories fade and he ends up experiencing a Alzheimer and is to be taken to where other failed test subjects are held... then he wakes up, he's in the room where he got second test began, he leaves and goes home only to see his mother has developed Alzheimer's... And then the truth is revealed that Cooper died when his mother called after he was implanted with the tech, the phone signal interfering with with the tech, and his last were to 'call mom'.
  • Overall: A very find episode, but pretty weak as there is no 'moral', just showing the dangers of signing up for 'beta testing and also to 'call you mom', you never know when a call might come through at a bad time.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Jericho vs Owens Should Main Event WrestleMania

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Yes the RAW view was scheduled for Wednesday but I moved it up to today... and as you can tell, I believe Chris Jericho vs Kevin Owens should Main Event WrestleMania 33




OFF THE TOP ROPE
  • As of this point in time, Jericho vs Owens is the only match up the WWE has that could be sold as a WrestleMania Main Event, it already has emotional investment and the tease break-up at Roadblock shows that people want the match.
  • Jericho as a babyface will have a lot of ammunition for promos since he can say it's because of him that Owens retained the title so many times.
  • All other options are already rumoured to be placed in other matches (Cena / Taker, Rollins / Triple H) or are options no one wants to be considered (Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose) or will present nothing of emotional value (AJ Styles)

Lineup for the week of December 26, 2016


Hello Dwellers and Welcome to the Basement....So here's the line up of goodies for the week to close 2016, obviously the addition of doing Review of Black Mirror Season 3 is adding a bit of extra content, but I like the idea of doing a countdown which each day dedicated to a single episode. If you saw my last comic book haul video, you'll see that one comic from that will be this weeks comic book review, and Star Trek Voyager's episode 11:59 will get highlighted this week as well.




Monday: Black Mirror S3E1: Nosedive (Already Recorded)
Monday:  TBD

Tuesday: Black Mirror S3E2: Playtest
Tuesday: Doctor Who Tales From The TARDIS The Web Planet Part 3

Wednesday: Black Mirror S3E3: Shut Up and Dance
Wednesday: Talking Anime: Blue Seed Episode 14
Wednesday: The RAW View (Topic TBD)

Thursday: Black Mirror S3E4: San Junipero
Thursday: Comic Book Review: New Year's Evil: The Rogues #1 (DC Comics)

Friday: Black Mirror S3E5: Men Against Fire
Friday: Doctor Who Tales From The TARDIS: The Web Planet Part 4
Friday: Talking Anime: Blue Seed Episode 15

Saturday (New Years Eve): Black Mirror S3E6: Hated in the Nation
Saturday: (New Years Eve): Treks & Voyages: 11:59

Sunday (New Years Day): Ghostbusters Containment Unit: Darkness At Noon Part 1
Sunday (New Years Day): TBD

Black Mirror: Nosedive

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There are six days left in 2016, and we're doing a countdown, every day this week I'll review one epsiode of Black Mirror season 3, and today we start with 'Nosedive'!





SHATTERED MIRROR
  • The Star: Lacie played by Bryce Dallas Howard, was in Spider-Man 3, Jurrasic World, stellar performance, carries the episode perfectly.

  • The World: Friends and strangers can rate your popularity out of five, the higher the average, the better social standing you are, so 4.5s and up are upper class 2.5s and below are considered lower-class people... everything about the world is based on the average, a person with a social score of a 4.4 will get medical treatment against of someone of a 4.3. Thing is depending on how individuals rate you based on your interactions with, so there is constant pressure to look perfect, act perfect, don't do anything to piss anyone off otherwise they 'down vote' you
  • The story: Lacie wants to reach an social average of a 4.5 to get a 20% discount of rent in a upper-scale apartment, and has a social average of a 4.2, when her childhood friend Naomi asks her to be the maid of honor at her upcoming wedding, it's a great opportunity to get some 5s to get her average up.... then begins the day from hell, due her average being actually slight under a 4.2, she can't get on another flight, she gets loud at the airport and her average takes a major hit due to a 3.1, and with a 'multiplier penalty' so anyone who rates her poorly causes her 'social average' to nosedive... She figures if she gets to the wedding and delivers the speech she has a chance, but she has to rent a car and it's a older out-of-date model because of her average, she can't charge it when she's out of problem, she tries hitchhiking but because of her score no one will give her a ride and down vote her... she gets a lift from a truck driver named Susan who used to be like Lacie until her husband when he got cancer got screwed by the system and encourages Lacie to just say 'fuck it' and speak her mind. Lacie's still optimistic, but when Naomi tells her not to come because her average is now a 2.6, that just sets Lacie off because sure both would get something out of it if she was there at a 4.2, now Lacie's lower ranking will make Naomi look bad, so Lacie ends up being extremely motivated to get to the wedding, gate crashing it in the process and ends up causing a scene. She is arrested and throw into a cell where she has all over technology to be 'rated' removed. The episode closes with her seeing another prisoner who clearly was someone who had a high-ranking at some point due to him being well dressed... and they begin to exchange insults out of anger that turns into joy because they realize how much happier they are to be able to just speak their mind.
  • Verdict: Great episode, but when you think about it we're already on the fast track to being just like the society shown in this episode, which is just mind boggling.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Doctor Who: The Return of Doctor Mysterio

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Christmas ends with a recap and review of the 2016 Doctor Who Christmas special titled 'The Return of Doctor Mysterio'




TIME AND RELATIVE DIMENSIONS
  •  Air date: Christmas Night, December 25, 2016
  • I like that Nardole has a different more genuine relationship with the Doctor, something we haven't seen since the days of the Brigadier
  • Justin Chatwin & Chasity Wakefield are just gold as Gordan & Lucy
  • Wakefield was the best 'Lois Lane' I've seen since Teri Hatcher on 'Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman' back in the 90s
  • The villians made me wish we were seeing the Autons, and their plot to take over the world was straight out of the silver age 
  • This was a good Christmas special, one of the stronger ones even though there was very little 'Christmas' in it. 

I'm Gonna Git You Sucka (Movie Review)

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Merry Christmas.... today I sat down to rewatch one of my favorite films, and I figured... why not talk about it! The film of course is I'm Gonna Git You Sucka! 




Spotlight: Anime World (Amazon Vendor)

Hello Dwellers and Welcome to the Basement... You know I haven't done a 'spotlight' post in quite while, but I figure why not do so on a day where a lot of people are getting gift cards and such... and since a lot of folks go on Amazon.com, why not shine the light on one of the vendors



And I'm referring to Anime World (http://astore.amazon.com/animeki-20 ) which has a nice selection of DVDs, Manga, some clothing and a few collectables that might make any Anime fan a happy one, but don't wait to long, cause some things might get sold out at those pretty awesome prices.

So there's my spotlight here on Christmas Day, Anime World, check 'em out, get some goodies, follow 'em on twitter and like 'em on Facebook. All the links are below!


Amazon Store: http://astore.amazon.com/animeki-20 
Twitter: @AnimeKingdom101 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/Animekingdom13/

Live From The Basement: Star Trek Online - Christmas Eve Battlezone


Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Real Ghostbusters: X-Mas Marks The Spot

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Happy Christmas Eve! We're diving back into the Ghostbusters Containment Unit with a review of now 30 year old episode 'X-Mas Marks The Spot' 




BUSTIN' SPOOKS

Hello Dwellers and Welcome to the Basement…

It is Christmas Eve, and one quickly gets reminded at how many variations of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol there has been made over the years, we’ve seen Doctor Who, The Muppets, Mickey Mouse and countless other franchises re-tell the story, plus some modern day re-imaginings such as with the Bill Muarry starring ‘Scrooged’ … but of course this is my Ghostbusters Containment Unit segment… and every Ghosthead knows that The Real Ghostbusters did their own spin on in with X-Mas Marks The Spot…

Airing on December 13, 1986 on ABC’s Saturday Morning as the first season finale and 13th episode… making this the 30th Anniversary of not just the episode but of the Real Ghostbusters Cartoon…. X-Mas Marks The Spot sees The Ghostbusters returning from up-state New York, where Ray apparently zapped someones cat… they come across a fork in the road which they did not notice before and on a hung from Egon take a wrong turn… Ecto-1 stalls and so the boys head out to try and find someplace to make a call… and we learn that Peter doesn’t particularly care for Christmas because his father was always away during the holidays. This is an important detail of the episode, as it turns out this entire series of events is for his benefit… for the Ghostbusters come across a time slip and are sent back to the 1800s… the time of Ebeneezer Scrooge and arriving just as Jacob Marley is leaving his former business partner’s house and as the Ghosts of Christmas’s past present and future arrive. The Ghostbusters, not knowing what is going on, rush up to bust the Ghosts… helping Scrooge in the process and destroying Christmas in the process.


Returning to the present, as Egon goes to puts the Christmas Spirits into the containment unit, some things aren’t quite right, Janine and Slimer are both very anti-Christmas… and as Ray, Winston and a reluctant Peter go out for a Christmas tree they see things have really gone down hill...5th Avenue doesn’t have any of its famous Christmas Decorations, the people of New York are even bigger jerks to one another and there is a book written by Scrooge called ‘A Christmas Humbug’ detailing how ‘He defeated the Spirits of
Christmas’… Ray and Winston realize what they’ve done, and while Peter doesn’t see a problem… they rush back to the firehouse to stop Egon, but its too late, the Ghosts are already locked in the Containment Unit…

A plan is quickly formulated, Egon will go into the Containment Unit to get the Ghosts out while Peter, Ray and Winston will go back in time to fill in as the 3 ghosts in case he fails. In a great moment, Janine’s love for Egon motivates her to help him and monitor his progress while he’s in the Containment Unit, which is filled with all the Ghosts seen in the animated series up to this point… including the Sandman and Samhain.

Back in the past, Peter is dressed as the ghost of Christmas Past and uses a view-master to try and teach Scrooge a lesson about how just because things were rotten you shouldn’t shut out the good stuff… which makes Peter himself realize this same lesson about himself. Winston will portray the Ghost of Christmas Present, taking Scrooge on a swinging trip above the town… while Ray as the Ghost of Christmas Future plays Charades with him (which goes about as well as one would expect). Egon manages to get the Christmas spirits out of the Containment Unit, and sets up the events properly, much to Scrooge’s dismay that he has to deal with THREE MORE GHOSTS… The real Ghost of Christmas Past begins to deal, while Peter admits to the ghost of Christmas Present he’s learned his lesson about Christmas and they are return to the firehouse, Christmas fully restored… as they here Santa Claus bellowing ‘Merry Christmas To All and to All A Good
Night’


As you can probably tell by my summary of the episode, this opens up a few things about the Ghostbusters that the events of A Christmas Carol are apart of historical events in their history, and its possible Scrooge writes it under the pen name of Charles Dickens, plus the ending reveals that Santa is real as well. This episode is also notable for getting everyone involved and while it is a ‘Peter-episode’, it’s not totally obvious it’s about him. The animation is really damn good in my opinion, and though the effect of the snow falling when out doors can be a tad bit distracting, it doesn’t hide the how gorgeous some of the backgrounds look, particularly when things are set in Scrooge’s time with the sky colored brownish do to all the smoke coming out of chimneys. The interior of the Containment Unit as a hellish dimension is just wicked, with the cloud swirls and various structures.
That said If you’ve never seen X-Mas Marks The Spot, I highly suggest you do, it is on volume one of the Real Ghostbusters DVD set put out by Time-Life several years ago. At the time of this recording (December 24, 2016), Crackle does not have it up with their current rotation of RGB episodes.

On a totally unrelated yet related note: for me there has always been a big  What the Hell moment when it comes to A Christmas Carol, with Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim going to get a duck… and is a something the size of a ‘baby duck’ that is prepared to be cooked for Christmas dinner… and the shop keep has the nerve to say he wishes Cratchit didn’t have to work for that old miser Scrooge… buy hey Scrooge is paying Cratchit, and one of things implied in a Christmas Carol is how there is not enough to go around which lead to Scrooge’s infamous line about coming up with ways to deal with the surplus population, which leads me to believe that the butcher shop keeper is price gouging due to supply and demand… on freaking Christmas Eve!


Christmas Eve Comic Book Haul

Hello Dwellers and Welcome to the Basement....

It's Christmas Eve and I have a new haul of comics with me! What are they you ask? Well I'll show ya!



 

Sonic Lost World (Lets Play and Review)

Hello Dwellers and Welcome to the Basement... 

Happy Christmas Eve... as for the first time every I play Sonic Lost World... and boy does it take me a minute to figure the controls... let alone how to run fast!  -- Watch live at https://www.twitch.tv/fredcasden




LOST WORLDS... NO GUIDE!

So after playing Sonic Generations earlier this year, I figured at some point I was going to sit down and play Sonic Lost World which came out in 2013... and I was figuring this game would've been similar to the awesomeness of the previous game.

Boy was I wrong... cause if I bother to look at other players lets play videos, I would've seen this came is nothing like Sonic Generations... every level is like one large puzzle to navigate through, and sure I admit I'm not the best gamer out there, but it was more of luck and learning from mistakes that saw me through the first four stages... and my time wasn't helped by the fact the controls were not 'introduced'.
There is no tutorial stage or first level 'guide' to help players get quickly use to the controls beyond the obvious left stick to move, A button to jump & lock on attack... and because of the nature of this game's rotating environment, spin dash and simply running fast have been moved to the bumpers, which took me a little bit to figure out, so for me the game wasn't as 'fast paced' as it probably should've been.

That complaint aside, this game is pleasant and fun, even with my lack luster skills, it was clear that every level had a way 'through' and each obstetrical has a solution. It looks great, with a big bright colorful environment, the sound quality is there and the music is nice and poppy. I do like the rotating environment as it presents different perspectives of the game play forces the player to look ahead since the ground is not always going to be beneath you.

Now what about the story? Well it opens up with Sonic and Tails chasing Eggman has he has a captured some small animals to make into his robot minions (or to barbecue), during the chase, Eggman manages to get off a great shot, damaging Tails plane and forcing it to land on a place called the 'Lost Hex'. After getting their bearings,
Sonic leans that Eggman has teamed up with a group called the Deadly Six who have orders to take out the blue Hedgehog. It's a totally serviceable story, with solid voice acting to make it enjoyable from what I've saw while playing.  

Because this game seems to be on the casual side, I think I might revisit this again in a live stream in the near future.

Monday Night Highlights 12/11/17

Here are highlights from my December 11, 2017 broadcast that featured Broforce, Sonic the Hedgehog, Mega Man V & BlazBlue Continuum S...