November 2007

Why I Hate Weddings

by Alan Rapp on November 30, 2007

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Margot at the Wedding
  • Rating: 1.5 Stars
  • IMDB: link

You know I can handle a chick flick, but Margot at the Wedding is a chick flick on speed, (and not that good of one).

The film is centered on Margot (Nicole Kidman) an overbearing and smothering loudmouth who drags her child (Zane Pais) to her sister Pauline’s (Jennifer Jason Leigh) wedding, not to celebrate to to break it up and find some time cheat on her husband (John Turturro) to bone an old school chum (Ciarán Hinds).

Subplots of the film include the averageness of Pauline’s fiancé Malcolm (Jack Black), the cute and seductive neighborhood girl (Halley Feiffer), suggestions of child abuse and incest, and the increasingly odd and crazy argument with the neighbors over the fate of the family’s favorite tree.

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A ‘Wedding’ Worth Attending

by Ian T. McFarland on November 30, 2007

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Margot at the Wedding
  • Rating: 4.5 Stars
  • IMDB: link

The best dramas are the ones that make you fall for the characters, and because of this Margot at the Wedding is one of the best dramas of the year.  Sweet and funny in even some of its darkest moments, it’s a movie that fully exploits character developments and relationships without ever hinting at becoming sappy.

The plot is simple enough – Margot (Nicole Kidman) ventures back home from the big city for the wedding of her sister Pauline (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to the sporadically depressed but endearing Malcolm (Jack Black).  It might sound like a joyous occasion, but it’s anything but, thanks to the inability of Margot to just shut up and love her family.  Never content with herself or her surroundings, she constantly criticizing everyone within eyeshot, descending from her high throne of a New York socialite, a writer who spends more time analyzing the world than she ought to.  Blithely and sneeringly, she can put down her sister’s confidence, fiancé and pregnancy inside of a single breath.  She’s really a disgusting person, but it’s clear that she’s aware and haunted by her repulsive behavior.

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Behind the Scenes

by Alan Rapp on November 29, 2007

in Film News & Trailers

Here’s a couple quick looks behind the scenes of The Savages starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Laura Linney, and Philip Bosco.  Up first is this clip from the Q&A session from this year’s Sundance Film Festival.  Larger version available inside the Full Diagnosis along with an interview from writer/director Tamara Jenkins.  And if you haven’t checked out our review for the film yet, take a moment to give it a looksee.

The Savages
4 Stars

Sundance Q&A

 

Interview with director Tamara Jenkins

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Where Does He Get Those Wonderful Toys

by Alan Rapp on November 29, 2007

in Uncategorized

From time to time we give you the heads up on some serious nerd merchandise, and Holy Moley do we have something for you today!  DC Direct is shooting out a ton of new Shazam! related toys hitting comic shops as we speak.  The new action figures include a new Captain Marvel, Billy Batson, Hoppy the Marvel Bunny, Dr. Sivana (with Mr. Mind), and two different Mary Marvel figures (personally I like the white variant version taken from Formerly Known as the Justice League).  The figures range in size from 6.75” (Big Red Cheese) to 6.15” (Billy).  All should be available now, or real soon, from your local comic book shops.  Larger pics of each figure inside the Full Diagnosis.

Shazam!
N/A

Captain Marvel

 

Billy and Hoppy 2-Pack

 

Dr. Sivana (with Mr. Mind)

 

Mary Marvel

 

Marvel Marvel variant (from Formerly Known as the Justice League)

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Comic Rack

by Alan Rapp on November 29, 2007

in Comics

Hmm, we’re about to talk about comics so it must be Wednesday!  What?  It’s Thursday?  Stupid Turkey Day disrupting me getting my paws on new books!  Welcome to the RazorFine Comic Rack boys and girls.  Pull up a bean bag and take a seat at the feet of the master as we look at the new comics set to hit comic shops and bookstores today from DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, WildStorm, Vertigo, Dynamite Entertainment, IDW Publishing, and Image Comics.

This week includes The Authority: Prime, Batman, Countdown to Adventure, Daredevil, Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash, Sensational Spider-Man, Terminator 2: Infinity, Usagi Yojimbo, and the first issues of Archibald Saves Christmas and Marvel Atlas.  Also don’t forget the truckload of new graphic novels including Batman: Rules of Engagement, Essential X-Men Vol. 8, Jack Kirby’s Galactic Bounty Hunters, It Ate Billy for Christmas, Midnighter Vol. 1: Killing Machine, Popgun Vol. 1, Signal to Noise, Spawn Godslyaer Collection, Spider-Man Fairy Tales and much, much more.

Enjoy issue #49

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Tube Watch

by Alan Rapp on November 28, 2007

in Television Reviews , Uncategorized

  Monk and Psych return next Friday for some holiday fun!  Tony Shaloub returns in the Monk holiday special where the detective must clear his name after he shoots Santa Claus.  Immeadiately following Pysch returns with its first holiday episode when Shawn (James Roday) and Gus (Dule Hill) step in as the police want to arrest Gus’ father for murder,  Monk airs at 9:00/8:00 and Psych airs at 10:00/9:00 on USA.

Monk & Psych
N/A

Click to visit the official site

 

Click to visit the official site

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Asatte No Houkou

by Sarah on November 28, 2007

in Anime Reviews 

Asatte No Houkou starts out with a young lady in her twenties named Shōko Nogami returning to Japan from America. She first runs into Karada and Hiro Iokawa near a wishing shrine, where Shōko bends down next to Karada and makes a wish on a stone. Karada, a young girl about twelve years old, invites Shōko, a stranger to her, to join her brother and her to the beach. While at the beach Shōko unknowingly insults Karada by saying, she looked childish in the barrettes her brother bought. Karada, thinking she was a burden, wished to become an adult faster to release Hiro from having to take care of a little kid. When Shōko met back up with Karada at the wishing shrine, they both look at each other, wide eyed and realize that they have both changed ages.

Asatte No Houkou
3 & 1/2 Stars

Join some interesting characters in a story of friendship, love and supernatural happenings.

Asatte No Houkou starts out with a young lady in her twenties named Shōko Nogami returning to Japan from America. She first runs into Karada and Hiro Iokawa near a wishing shrine, where Shōko bends down next to Karada and makes a wish on a stone. Karada, a young girl about twelve years old, invites Shōko, a stranger to her, to join her brother and her to the beach.  While at the beach Shōko unknowingly insults Karada by saying, she looked childish in the barrettes her brother bought. Karada, thinking she was a burden, wished to become an adult faster to release Hiro from having to take care of a little kid. When Shōko met back up with Karada at the wishing shrine, they both look at each other, wide eyed and realize that they have both changed ages.

Shōko once a twenty something adult is now a twelve-year-old girl. Karada went from a childish twelve year old to a young adult. Realizing what had happened Karada and Shōko decide to try to get things straightened out before they told anyone, leading Hiro to search all day and night for his little sister, who now has become an adult. What he does not know is that Shōko and Karada are right under his nose. The stone that the two wished on disappears and there is no way to change them back to their original states.

Jumping back to understand more of the story, Hiro was studying abroad when his parents passed away. He told his lover, Shōko, that he had to come back to Japan to attend their funeral and would return shortly. Unfortunately, for Shōko, Hiro stayed in Japan to watch over his little sister. When he did not return Shōko was distraught, she began to hate him for everything, mainly his cowardly nature. Naturally, anyone would get that way if someone were to disappear like that. Shōko never understood why Hiro had left, but she finally decided to pick up her life and get a new start. Coincidentally she moves to a small town in Japan the place where Hiro and Karada call home.

Hiro and Karada invite Shōko, the now young girl, to come live with them and as the story progresses you see the relationship between the three altering. Hiro tells Shōko that Karada is not his real sister, but explaining they are still siblings. Before Karada brought Shōko into their lives with her young careless nature, Shōko and Hiro were an ocean apart. Although, Karada realized she brought the couple closer together too late and runs away in hopes of relieving them of the burden of taking care of her.

It seems Tetsumasa Amino, Karada’s friend, goes on a series long search to find her. He drives himself crazy before running away with his friend Kotomi Shionzaki in search of her, vowing that he would never give up. They find Karada, only she is going by the name Satou, and do not recognize her. Karada struggles with herself still not wanting to tell anyone who she really is, but finally breaks down to Tetsumasa. Tetsumasa does not believe her initially and the news only aggravates him.

Without leaving much for an ending, the entire gang goes home. Shōko goes to the train station to see Kotomi safely onto the train as she heads back to her parents and just before she leaves, she slips the wishing stone into Shōko’s pocket. At last, the girls can finally go back to their original states!

I was looking around on the Internet for new content when I stumbled on a year old post on Anime News Network. Granted these are 2006’s animes but they are different from the current ones on AdultSwim. In the post, they listed off 25 of the year’s animes, so I picked at random and ended up with this one.

This anime is only half of the others I have reviewed lately, and by half I do not mean it is not as good as the others. It seems like every anime includes love and certainly despair, along side the usual fight for your life drama or quest for something. Asatte No Houkou may lack the battles with monsters, robots and villains, but it does not lack in story.  The plot is plain, but each episode shows a little more of the past, making it random and hard to follow if you have not seen the beginning. When you first start out the series, you have no prior knowledge of the characters, which is why I jumped back with a history update. For me I usually like to know what the characters are about prior to getting into the story, it makes the story a little easier to explain. With that aside, I would have to say that this anime is enjoyable still. This is the first series I have watched that is the romance/drama only. The ending was a little bit of a drop off, but you do get to see Hiro and Shōko are finally back together like before, even though Karada is there!

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Wolf’s Rain

by Jeff on November 28, 2007

in Anime Reviews 

Legend has it that only wolves have knowledge of how to enter Paradise allowing them to escape destruction of the world. Enter a pre-apocalyptic world where the entire population of wolves appears to be extinct. Signs of the apocalypse appear and people begin to regret destroying the wolf population.

Wolf’s Rain
3 Stars

The story line is set in a desolate world torn apart by a war of the Nobles. The people eagerly wait for the legendary Paradise to take over. However, they do not realize that the near extinct species, wolves, are the ones that will show the way. Wolves still exist in the world, but they can disguise themselves as humans and live normal lives. Many of them are spread thinly throughout the world and live in secrecy in fear of their lives.

The show starts with a wolf disguised as a human named Tsume and this rag-tag group of bandits stealing food from the Nobles supply lines. At the beginning, Tsume seems to be a normal human. However, he has some mysterious superhuman powers. His team stumbles upon a nearly dead wolf inside a tree and they are shocked. They are stunned because wolves are said to be extinct. The nearly dead wolf is named Kiba, the one that will open the gates to Paradise. Kiba needs to find a flower girl that was hidden deep within the city. Tsume and Kiba get separated when the city’s Pet Control captures Kiba and sticks him in a cage to run experiments. Another wolf in disguise named Hige seeks out Kiba after smelling him with his superior nose. Hige rescues Kiba and they go on a search for the Flower Girl that is hidden in the city.

Meanwhile, Tsume runs into a younger wolf named Hoboe and saves him from an old wolf hunter. Hoboe follows him around like a little kid, which gets on Tsume’s nerves. Finally Tsume gets fed up with him and his childish ways, and chases him off.

Kiba and Hige locate the hidden Flower Girl deep within the city’s castle, but they were too late. They came in the middle of her being kidnapped by a unknown villain with a golden eye. Hige and Kiba try to save the Flower Girl named Cheza from his clutches, but they fail and are forced to retreat and try to find where he took her. uring their retreat they run into Hoboe and Tsume and they join them in the search for Paradise and the Flower girl Cheza They travel from town to town searching for where Cheva’s kidnapper, Lord Darcia the Third. They go to great lengths to obtain Cheza and protect her from Lord Darcia’s troops as she leads them on the path to Paradise.

The plot was really confusing. I had a hard time following the story line and the subplots that some of the characters had. The story line was great if you sat down and tried to figure it out. Reminded me of the Dark Tower series by Stephen King.

The main characters of this anime are cleverly named after different wolf parts in Japanese. Each of them have a short background story that is revealed at the very end of the series, making it a little useless. The main wolves breakdown as such:

Hoboe seemed like a girl. He was a little too caring towards Tsume and annoyingly followed him around.

Tsume was too over dramatic and tried to be a badass lone wolf (lawl pun). His past was explained in the very last episode that was an (go die) “ah hah!” moment. Tsume’s past should of been explained prior to the end of the series. It really explains why he tried to distance himself from the make-shift pack.

Hige was actually semi-normal. He had a nonchalant attitude towards everything, except for his feelings for Blue towards the end.

Kiba was just flat out dead set on getting to Paradise. He was the selected one to open the door to Paradise.

This series was a show that you really have to get into to enjoy it. Paying attention to minuet details is the key to watching this show. The show starts out really slow and gets rather confusing, and it doesn’t really explain anyone’s past or any history. They throw you head first in to the storyline and take you along. Overall, this show was very emotionally straining with very heart breaking events that will leave a hole in your heart for this series.

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It’s a Wii Little Light Saber!

by Alan Rapp on November 28, 2007

in Uncategorized

Okay, my resistance to getting a Nintendo Wii has been slowly dissolving for months, and announcements like this aren’t helping.  With “Star Wars: The Force Unleashed” (oh baby!) being released on the Wii next Spring somebody thought up the idea to make this handy dandy accessory.  The Light Sword (HELL YEAH!!!!) runs on three AA batteries and has the ability to light up and down with a click of a button.  The Wii-mote simply slides right into the handle giving you the opportunity to slash off limbs just like a Jedi!  The product is set to be released at the end of the month for about $31 and is available to pre-order on various sites online including Play.com.  Larger pic available inside the Full Diagnosis.

Wii Light Sword
N/A

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DVD Review: Hairspray

by Ian T. McFarland on November 27, 2007

in DVD Reviews 

So when are we going to get the musical treatment for A Dirty Shame?  Seriously though, Alan and December both reviewed the film when it danced into theaters this summer, but now you get my take on the recently released DVD.  Guaranteed to be worth the wait!

Editor’s note - Guarantee not valid to those who actually read this note.

Hairspray
4 Stars

You might think that a happy-go-lucky sugar-fest of happiness musical about civil rights is the worst idea since Hollywood thought it could make an easy buck with a film with Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck.  By no means would you be wrong; but on the other hand, last summer’s Hairspray certainly wouldn’t prove you right.

Burdened with expectations of seeing a 100% faithful John Waters adaptation, my first go with Hairspray was somewhat of a letdown – so I’m grateful to have watched the musical for a second time.  It’s still not the explosion of pop culture yummyness that I wish it had been, but it’s hard to put down the movie.  There’s a cast that’s having just as much fun as the audience as bumps and bounces to the beat, there’s cinematography that’s just as sharp and colorful as a candy shop, and most importantly, the music is competent when not the bomb-diggity.  Here’s a YouTube of the show-stopping finale, ‘You Can’t Stop the Beat.’  If you can watch it and not have it stuck in your head for the next twenty-four hours, I will personally come to your residence and give you a high-five.  I’ll also see what I can do to unfreeze your black heart; but if these 60s R&B tunes can’t do anything for you, I don’t know what will.

The sole problem of the film lies in a solid twenty-minute chunk just before the aforementioned show-stopping finale.  This stretch of the film is the heaviest – the one that solely deals with the racial injustice inhibited with early 60s America.  It’s an important part of our history that needs to be told; but it’s already been told extensively, and in a movie that excels at its happy-time good feelings, it feels like a good movie in Adam Shankman‘s filmography – that is, out of place.  With a the weakest song of the film, sung by Queen Latifah, and second act drama that isn’t hardly dramatic at all, it’s the one soft spot in a film that could have otherwise been an easy contender for this writer’s Best-Of for the year.

There are plenty of fine films that I wouldn’t buy – a good film might only merit one viewing – but Hairspray is not one of them.  The catchy songs and the almost comical upbeatness of the film make it one worth revisiting.  In the revitalization of the movie musical that Hollywood has been undergoing, Hairspray is great reason to turn on the subtitles and sing along.

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