The Ninja Warriors (Arcade Archives) NSWDDL [REVIEW] | Arcade Ninja Terminators

Well, guess who bought this on sale on the Nintendo eShop on a whim and kinda regretted it.

I was surprised to see this on the “ACA” label, as The Ninja Warriors received a remaster on Switch, even on a non-limited physically produced cartridge, didn’t knew it had an arcade version…

and i was right because it didn’t, Taito just happened to make an arcade game called “The Ninja Warriors” (the one being reviewed here) in 1987 and then reused the same name for the sequel on the SNES… which is kinda confusing anyway(and also oddly appropriate) as it’s more of an enhanced remake.

And boy, the arcade precedessor/original, aside being outclassed in everything by the SNES game….didn’t age as well, as the arcade trappings are so obvious and dated, thought it’s not a complete disaster or a completely mediocre forgettable relic that leaves nothing to say about it.

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[EXPRESSO] One Piece Film Red (2022) | Idol Live Stream

Managed to catch a subbed preview screening in cinemas here, and actually catched another esclusive screening for the tie-in anime episodes meant to complement One Piece Film Red.

Not that you really need to see those going into the new One Piece movie, you don’t.

As the marketing and title (logo included) strongly implied, it’s a movie that involves series fan favourite Shanks, indirectly, as it’s about the pirate crew reaching a mysterious island where the first live event of the world’s most popular singer, Uta, will take place.

The Straw Hats come to party, Luffy it’s revealed not only being a childhood friend of Uta, but girl herself being the daughter of Shanks, one of the Four Emperors Of The Sea, which attracts other pirates – as well as the Marines – on the island of music, Elegia.

And despite the obvious fact this is also a vehicle for rising j-pop singer Ado, whom provides all the soundtracks (giving Kohei Tanaka some well deserved rest)… it’s also a surpringly good script, with Uta being a very good original character, some intriguing surprises that also justify in terms of narrative the many musical pieces, which are also very intriguing visually and incredibly well animated, while the songs themselves are quite catchy.

Definitely a more original and interesting script than the all-stars extravaganza of 2019’s Stampede (while it’s also the first film appearance for many relatively newer characters like Katakuri), and a fitting return for Goro Taniguchi (Code Geass, Gun X Sword, Planetes) to the series, decades after his One Piece Ganzack’s OVA by Production IG.

Sure, it leverages Shanks’ legacy/importance in the series to rope in fans, but it does not overrely on nostalgia alone, at all, making Film Red a surprisingly strong (and varied) entry in One Piece’s filmography.

[EXPRESSO] Moonage Daydream (2022) | Sovereign Supreme

There are many kinds of films based on and featuring music behemoths, but when we step outside of fully fictionalized retellings with a proper plot, we often see two specific kinds prevail, the docufilm, the mixture of live recordings with some talking heads providing hindsight and opinions on the importance of the band/artist at various points in time.

Sometimes it will be something else entirely, be it the full lenght silent anime film/music video of Interstella 5555, or the mix of a music video-style narrative wrapped around live recordings done in Metallica: Through The Never.

But usually, the promotional pieces will tut about this not being another docufilm based on a popular, world-beloved music legend, as if the word “docufilm” itself has become dirty.

Though, in the case of Moonage Daydream, the claim of this not being labeled as “just another music docufilm” is actually true, as this it’s a full on experience, a proper spaceborn roller coaster into the life of David Bowie, trying to understand the nature and intimate essence of the chameolonic rockstar, helped by the privileged access of director Brett Morgen (Crossfire Hurricane, Kurt Cobain: Montage Of Heck) to the complete catalogue of archive footage and with full blessings from Bowie’s estate.

It’s a tall order to make justice of the incredible, majestic and ever transforming figure of David Bowie, but Moonage Daydream actually manages to do it, marrying rare archive footage, previously unreleased live performances, stunning visuals (that i feel benefit from the IMAX treatment) and depth without being bond to a strict linear narrative or having things overexplained by other people telling what they think David Bowie was as a person and rockstar,

It’s also incredibly well edited, with a delightful smorgasboard of movie references that are just the cherry on top. Masterpiece? Masterpiece.

[EXPRESSO] Studio 666 (2022) | Dave Grohl Made Me Do It

No, this is not a Jojo reference, nor its one of those weird hybrid music video-concert films (see for example Metallica’s Through The Never), this a full on fictionalized affair, and one i’ve been looking forward to since it was announced. Sure, rock and metal superstar bands aren’t new to cinematic experiences about their personas, but the pitch-premise of a comedy horror starring Dave Ghrol and his bandmates as themselves it’s so good it’s hard to ignore.

As the band Foo Fighters it’s struggling to come up with ideas for its tenth studio album, they get recommended a secluded house in Encino, California, where in the 70s a band called Dream Widow went to record an album, ending with the frontman massacring all the band members before killing himself. The band settles in despite the creepy vibes they pick up from the house, but things get progressively out of hand, leading to Dave Grohl being possessed by a demon. Among other things.

It’s a good dang premise, and thankfully the script and direction are up to snuff to make the most of the pitch, having a zany time with horror cliches and the expected “behind the music” stuff, with the band proving to be very good sports in this delightfully ridiculous comedy horror romp, especially Dave Grohl overacting like a champ as he grows progressively more obsessed once he manages to “magically” get over his artistic block.

Yeah, it’s pretty funny, there’s more to the story than expect, and Studio 666 isn’t afraid to be extra cheesy and honestly it’s kinda surprising that the effects are very good, but besides that, i’ve seen horror movies that try to take themselves seriously but ultimately wish they could pull off even half-successfully a random jumpscare this movie uses as a joke.

Recommended!

Paripi Koumei / Ya Boy Kongming! (2022) [ANIME FIRST IMPRESSIONS]

(Impressions based upon the first 3 episodes)

I stumbled by chance into this new anime, and i feel it was meant to be, given my love for Romance Of The Three Kingdoms i’m not gonna skim over a new anime with good ol’ Zhuge Liang (AKA Kongming) as the protagonist, especially since it’s not a historical tale, but a sort of isekai-ish story where, after his death by illness in the Wuzhang Plains, sees him reincarnated as his young self in modern Shibuya during Halloween.

He gets drunk as a skunk and enjoys the party life that night, then the next day he’s helped by a young girl, an aspiring singer called Eiko, realizes what actually happened to him, and decides to help her back by serving as her “career strategist”, but first he needs a job to secure some “war funds”.

Luckily Eiko works and sings at a club run by a huge ROTTK nerd, so “ya boy” Kongming is hired as a barman.

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[EXPRESSO] CODA (2022) | Teenage Fugue

I kinda hate the context surrounding this movie, as it forces me to basically aknowledge that the Oscars still matter somewhat… as in, i usually don’t even bother to check on them, they’re mostly pointless and become even more so as time goes on, but i did know of “the slap” and that this year this film won “best movie”. And since it just hit theathers here, figured i’d take a look anyway.

CODA is about teenage girl Ruby, the only person in her deaf family being able to hear and speak (hence the titular “Child Of Deaf Adults”), that at school enters the choir club, and discovers to have quite the beatiful and powerful voice.

She eventually has to make a difficultion decision: continue her musical training, follow her dream and go to a respected music college, or keep helping her family in their struggling business of fishermen, even more as she’s the only link between their family and the rest of the world.

I’ll say this: this is a good film. It’s a coming of age story that deals with hearing disabilities, but honestly does so very well, as it treats deaf people as people, not pity patron saints, actual people, while not weaseling away from the obvious obstacles and perception they receive from others, and manages to balance the drama-comedy ratio quite well, it’s not a mopey affair at all, the characters come off as real but can be quite funny. I really liked the father, what a jolly fellow.

I’m glad i did go see CODA, i am, i do think it’s a good film, overall, but it’s honestly nothing special regardless of how you slice it, even more since it’s a remake of the 2014 french film La Famille Bélier.

Still worth a watch, anyway.

[EXPRESSO] Belle (2021) | Every Me And Every U

You know what, i did have some expectations from Mamoru Hosoda’s Belle, as i did quite like Mirai, and i hoped the streak would continue… and it kinda did.

That it, when i wasn’t baffled by the script “skipping” to the main scenes but forgetting to introduce actually crucial information that would lead to said scenes, as Hosoda’s ambition it’s sadly overreaching, and the final result really lacks cohesion, coming off as both overwrought and undeveloped in some aspects. Which is a goddamn shame because the premise, the themes and the overall concept are pretty damn good, but are elaborated on in a way where there’s too much to it.

Belle it’s about the 17 yo Suzu, a very timid and shy girl who has lost her mother and lives with her father in a rural small town. One day she receives an invite to “U”, an advanced and immersive social network with millions of users, receives the avatar of “Belle” and – with the help of her tech savvy friend – becomes a sensational hit singer. But soon she meets with a reviled user with the avatar of a dragon-like beast, hunted by U’s “police force”.

The animation is pretty good, the visuals are quite nice and sometimes pretty dazzling, the music – a big part of the movie – it’s also good, some scenes are quite good, so it’s frustrating how it’s dragged down by the oversprawling script, which makes some questionable choices and really could have used more than a trimming to flesh out the characters betters… and to explain how the hell some characters – out of the blue – know plot crucial information, among other things.

Overall, it’s a decent movie, but it’s too all over the place for its own good and ambition.

[EXPRESSO] Licorice Pizza (2021) | Arcadia Of Our Youth

About damn time.

I wondered if it was even worth making this review, as i’m not here to be contrarian for the sake of it, i love P.T. Anderson works, and this one it’s no exception.

What are you reading now it’s essentially just to tally up the word count, not that you can give a well deserved anylisis of a movie like Licorice Pizza in 300 word or less.

The short version: absolutely recommended, without a doubt in my heart, excellent work, might even be a new masterpiece. GO SEE IT NOW.

Soldiering on with the “facade”, it’s very typical in many ways for the director: the San Fernando Valley circa mid-1970s’ scenario, the ensemble cast, etc.

And compared to his previous movie, The Phantom Thread, Licorice Pizza goes for a much simpler set up, as in a coming of age love story, girls meets boy, but aside from the shared trait of the notable age gap between the two, this stands as a complete opposite, as love it’s not sweet poison laced prison of the desire, but it’s the youthful, energic love of life itself.

Of course there is more to the plot than “girl meets boy, they fall in love”, as the high school aged boy, Gary Valentine, it’s actually a very young actor meet this far older girl, Alana Kane, with the two forming a strong friendship, to the point she becomes involved with Gary’s new water bed selling business, among other odd adventures.

It also confirms P.T. Anderson ability to craft a very different movie than its usual output, going for a very energetic, loving, positive tale of youth and love that packs a lot of laughs, incredible writing, excellent performances, while also not compromising on the director’s vision, style or substance for that matter.

[EXPRESSO] The Cuphead Show (Season One) (2022) | Ragtime Round

Unlike many videogames to animated series adaptations, Cuphead having his own Netflix show makes some sense, given its aesthetic molded after the style of 1930s cartoons, why not make a cartoon using the characters and the retro-aesthetic?

I’m gonna say this now so we can move on from it, but yes, i really wanted the team to opt for a full proper rubberhose style animation, but that would have required a fuckton more time and money, and honestly the animation is pretty good, with some episodes even mixing live-action sets, and overall i gotta say it delivers on the presentation.

The voice acting is on spot in terms of accents and lingo too, the character designs and mannerism are perfect but in terms of content it’s a bit uneven because it doesn’t really go all the way to imitate the source material, i mean, you expect a lot more in terms of guns, cigars and gambling, but nope, it’s kinda mild and forgettable.

It also basically ignores the plot of the videogame it’s based off, instead going for mostly episodical…. mundane adventures. Yeah, Cuphead owns the Devil its soul… but that goes ultimately nowhere, and the writing it’s uneven, as some episodes do manage to work in a musical number, some good jokes and a good rhytm to the slapstick, others feel like they exist to waste time and deliver cheapo jokes that come off as too modern.

The Cuphead Show it’s an odd case of a series stuck in between a cheapish low effort animated comedy and a tribute to 30s style cartoons, so ultimately it’s just kinda there, inoffensive, fairly short and easy to binge, cute but just with not much of substance going on under its “borrowed” aesthetic.

A second season has already been greenlit, regardless. Mh.

Nintendo Direct 9/02/2022 | Rites Of N

That time again, time to put on your robe and attend the ceremony with expectations so far out to make worshippers of the Old Gods looks like wannabe zealots!

Especially since all fair criticism of the company is dropped by most people (and publications) when a Direct happens. But again, this is sadly “business as usual”, let’s move on.

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