Pinocchi-O-Rama #1: A Tree Of Palme/Palme No Ki (2002)

While it’s not completely unknown, i’d say A Tree Of Palme it’s quite obscure, definitely forgotten, overlooked and rarely discussed, despite being created, written and directed by respected anime veteran Takashi Nakamura, who also previously worked as a key animator for Nausicaa And The Valley Of The Wind, joined the acclaimed anime anthology of Robot Carnival in 1987, and just the next year would be animation director for a little movie called AKIRA.

It was also laboriosly made over the span of 6 years, and you can just tell by the cinematography that indeed A Tree Of Palme was treated as a big project that Nakamura wanted to cultivate as well as possible without compromises to his vision.

The story concerns the titular Palme, a puppet created by a man for his sickly wife, and upon her death the puppet becomes paralyzed by sorrow, until he accidentally stumbles upon a misterious woman (whom Palme mistakes for the man’s dead wife, Xian) being pursued, and she entrusts the puppet to deliver a certain special item to a sacred place called Tama.

Continua a leggere “Pinocchi-O-Rama #1: A Tree Of Palme/Palme No Ki (2002)”

Pinocchi-O-Rama: the 2022 “Pinocchio frenzy” and celebrating the 140th Anniversary of Collodi’s classic

No review today, sorry, but we’re doing something a bit special.

If you remember, last year was surprisingly full of Pinocchio adaptations, from the resurfacing of Guillermo Del Toro’s project, that cheap russian retelling/reworking with the infamous Paulie Shorie english dub (called Pinocchio – A True Story, FIY), and Disney continuining with their crusade of shitty live-action remakes of their classic animated films.

And italian audiences were also treated with a live-action Pinocchio movie in 2019, directed by acclaimed italian director Matteo Garrone (Dogman, The Tale Of Tales), and starring beloved italian actor Roberto Benigni, which already was world famous for playing the titular character in the 2002 Pinocchio movie.

If you’re like me, as in italian and pretty much hailing from Tuscany, living nearby Florence, hence more than familiar with the original book by Luigi Collodi, you’d be wondering why now, as it seemed random to see a resurgence of Pinocchio adaptations out of the blue. I mean, the book was already in the public domain in the U.S. since 1940, so i wondered if there was some anniversary relating some of the more famous adaptations…. but nothing that made sense.

As in, the original book was first published (in full, after it was published in a weekly children’s magazine starting 1881, then stopped and eventually resumed with the second part) in 1883, so the following year would mark the 140th anniversary, notable but not the kind of number that publisher choose to publicize some new edition of a popular book.

Doesn’t have quite that ring, but somehow 2022 was the “Year Of Pinocchio” regardless, so irked by this i’m gonna do “sumethin about it” and actually spotlight a noteworthy or overlooked Pinocchio adaptation or “heavily inspired by ” work each month of 2023, with special reviews, starting with a post/review at the very end of January.

There will be no precise release windows for each piece, just each a month for the entirety of 2023.

[EXPRESSO] Warriors Of Future (2022) | Robosuits vs Plant Alien Necrobugs

Dipping once again into Netflix exclusive selection of Hong Kong and mainland China by testing my luck on sci-fi action alien shoot em up Warriors Of Future.

Plot rolls the common “meteorite smashes into Earth” situation, and no, there’s nobody fashioning the meteorite pieces into arrows thousands of years later for cool superpowers, nope, this meteorite just had a lot of “grass alien invaders” in it launching a massive offensive.

The elite human forces (escorted by advanced war robots) are almost wiped out, minus a suicide squad with just a few hours left before mankind it’s completely eradicated…

There is a bit more to it, as the invasive plantlife ironically also happens to be beneficial to this dystopic cyberpunk world by converting the polluted air into breathable oxygen, so the evil government guy that dedicated his entire life into machines that do the same very thing isn’t too pleased and tries to sabotage the team, because he’s evil and that’s about it as “motivations”.

Not really a spoiler as he makes it clear he’s gonna do that, nor the heroes (say “hi” to the eyepatch guy) fare much better, like the plot they’re pretty much constructed with stock action sci-fi movie building blocks, heck, even the robosuits they don at some points feel like the result of a confusing laundry day with Iron Man, Isaac Clark from Dead Space and Oshii’s Kerberos Corps.

I do mention videogames because while the production values are indeed high, big screen high, the action scenes and the CG (especially for the feral plant monsters) feels very “videogamey”, a lot like high budget cutscenes, BUT even so i can’t deny Warriors Of Future it’s a very entertaining, quick moving, belly-filling serving of action sci-fi dish that delivers some decent fun.

And sequelbaits to the stars.

[EXPRESSO] M3GAN (2022) | Child’s Ploy

Killer robots are back to the big screen (using the plural since there was apparently a christmas killer robot santa movie that also came out last year but it’s still US only, in a legal manner), and intriguingly James Wan it’s back as writer after his friend (and Saw co-creator) Leigh Wannell delivered the excellent cyborg thriller Upgrade some years ago, this time with a new take on the killer doll trope, which while sharing similarities with Chucky (even more considering the surprisingly solid recent remake), manages to stand on its own.

Even though the title character starts out as an anti-Chucky figure of sorts, since it’s a robot created as an advanced life-sized child companion/tutor/friend and pitched by a woman working in a toy company after her sister’s family dies on a crash, with only her young nephew, Cady, surviving the incident, after realizing the nephew treats Megan as a real friend, realizing she can kill two birds with one stone by also forwarding the robot unit instead of the toyline she was supposed to fix.

Problem is “Megan” has been built with an adaptive learning pattern and soon cold logic brings the robot to realize that extreme measures will need to be taken in order to protect Cady…

2022 was indeed the year of Pinocchio more than i realized, but aside from that the movie it’s good, not great, but definitely good, the script is strong, characters are quite likeable, the drama delivers, the title character-killer it’s creepy as fuck, the effects are good, and direction by Gerard Johnstone is quite solid too.

Takes a bit to get going, but when it does you’re in for quite the fun killer robot horror film… and one that kinda ambushed me with how funny – deliberatly comedic – it was.

12 Days Of Dino Dicember # 19: Jurassic Thunder (2019)

Oh, boy, THIS one.

I was gonna include it in the original Dino December, but i eventually relented.

Not because it looked like crap, like really atomic level of trash, just a smidge above the realm of stuff like Weasels Rip My Flesh, quite the opposite, i’m even more intrigued by the fact it looks and most likely is utter bungum, as i keep gazing into the abyss (Mondo Zappa style) until the abyss itself gets bored or produces some new unholy artifact for my collection. Which it often does, actually.

I eventually didn’t bother as i was so irritated and angry at it, and i did want to review it, not use the movie as a verbal punching ball. So i let some time pass, and combined with the fact i don’t want to pity people in general, i’d say it’s time to review Jurassic Thunder in proper and earnest and whathaveyou.

Continua a leggere “12 Days Of Dino Dicember # 19: Jurassic Thunder (2019)”

[EXPRESSO] Avatar: The Way Of The Water (2022) | Catboys Galore

In a way, i was looking forward to see this in theathers, as in i wanted to get this thing done and dealt with as soon as possible, so i could move on to far more interesting releases.

And watching the movie confirmed exactly what i feared/expected: another constipated public dump by James Cameron (of James Cameron fame) about space “non-native americans” tribal catboys that have to defend their land from the evil humans that want their planet and resources.

Set 10 years after the event of the first movie, Way Of Water introduces Jake’s family and their struggle to escape from an old enemy (returning into a Navi’ body), by leaving the jungles of Pandora and seek refuge into one of the water-dwelling tribes of Navi’.

Still a lot of vapid neo-age tribalistic mumbo jumbo bullshit designed to look pretty but with an artstyle derived from a mid 2000s “alien landscape wallpaper” search, be technically impressive but devoid of any substance that couldn’t be found into a 90’s kid movie about climate change, the character are mostly paper thin, by design too.

We gotta make room for all the other excesses that could have been cut from the movie, but let’s never explain some incredible shit that might actually need it, all made worse by an incredibly bloated and unwarranted runtime (for this theatrical cut) that goes BEYOND the 3 hours mark.

Still, despite all these issues, i gotta admit some of the new stuff it’s pretty cool (like the new robots/mechs), the movie delivers on the spectacle, there’s a lot of action, Cameron still knows how to direct some really fuckin cool action-combat scenes, and there’s enough to make it entertaining on a basic level, even if it IS cinematic constipation.

Not looking forward to the third one.

[EXPRESSO] Nikke: Goddess Of Victory iOS | Anime Asses Frontline

Time to try my hand at another anime gacha with anime girls using rifles or being rifles or the usual military themed shit, because it scratches many itches, especially if your game lives by the profitable (and Houshou Marine-approved) “i don’t want to be happy, i want to be horny” motto.

Especially anime asses wrapped in spandex, because that was how i found about this game pre-release, by v-tubers laughing their butts off… due to incredible jiggle physics.

And yes, this is one of these that doesn’t even try to hide it, or to be also cute, no no, Nikke Goddess Of Victory is incredibly horny from the get-go (it’s from the Destiny Child developers, after all), so i guess points for brazen honesty.

Yeah, the premise is that you’re the ever-so-common amnesiac rookie commander ordering around anime girls with guns in a war against machines. So basically a worse Girls Frontline that wants to have it serious but also alternates between shock value scenes and abudant anime asses. It’s trash, but the dialogues can be somewhat engaging at times, the game looks pretty good, has nice UI, a good soundtrack, even a good english VA and some nicely animated cutscenes.

Gameplay its where things are a little different than the usual, as it’s… a on-rail shooter , basically a touch version of Time Crisis without the “rails” part, with 5 characters team, rpg elements like skills to activate and chain, alongside the usual modern on-rail shooter stuff.

This choice of gameplay also makes it easier to flash the player with pantyshots and latex wrapped anime dumparoos jiggling due to recoil, but it’s fun enough to be played in short bursts, the bosses thankfully provide some challenge not found in the normal stages, and the free-to-play trappings aren’t that awful.

[EXPRESSO] Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) | Vibranium Wars

For the record: i did enjoy the first Black Panther movie quite a lot when i saw it in theathers.

But i also saw how flippant is the quality of the MCU theathrical offerings, so expectations are as low as they have been for years. Especially with the passing of Chadwick Boseman, which is also honored and diegetically considered, as the death of T’Challa leaves Wakanda open to other nations trying to rob them of the Vibranium, forcing the reigning queen, the princess Shuri ( sister of the late T’Challa) and the remaining warrior women to fight for their land as Namor (i guess a different one from the Aquaman lore, despite the identical name) the king of a secret underwater-dwelling meso-american tribe rises up to force Wakanda into war.

After they take their sweet time, let’s be blunt, this one it’s almost 3 hours long, and boy you’ll feel it. It’s not even correct to say the movie it’s unnecessarily long, but it does take its time to set up various subplots and elaborate on the themes of legacy, inheritance and will that connect the Phase 4 Marvel movies together, as the characters deal with the emotional baggage left to them, which it’s fine but it feels like them ruminating/depending on the first movie to make you care this time too.

It’s the same issue plenty of these new Marvel movie have, and Wakanda Forever it’s no exception, arguably a little worse, which is a shame since the plot has some promise but never feels properly coherent, the cast it’s great, the villain is quite decent, but i found myself not really that invested in the new characters, the new kingdom and the new struggles Wakanda and its warriors face.

It’s a decent but unimpressive (and kinda bloated) sequel.

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.

Continua a leggere “The Ninja Warriors (Arcade Archives) NSWDDL [REVIEW] | Arcade Ninja Terminators”

The Spooktacular Eight #16: Bloody Delinquent Chainsaw Girl (2016)

I assume if you clicked this review you’re familiar with the japanese style of grindhouse splatter exploitation horror, which often involves schoolgirls equipped with machineguns in the ass, boobular rifles, zombie vaginas that spit flame, quadruple amputeed gimps with blades as limbs, gallons of fake blood, decapitated heads talking or moving about, zombies coming out toilets, mutant freaks with biomechanical chainsaw growing on their arms, etc.

You know the famous ones, from The Machine Girl, Robogeisha, Helldriver, Tokyo Gore Police, Dead Sushi, Mutants Girls Squad, Vampire Girl VS Frankenstein Girl (which i revisited earlier) and last year we featured Big Tits Dragon, also based on a manga of the same name by Rei Mikamoto.

This adaptation is directed by a lesser known name in the field, Hiroki Yamaguchi (Hellevator, various live action Messiah Gaiden films and TV series), which i’m not really familiar with, and i can’t say i’m familiar with the original manga by the author of Satanister – Satanic Sister.

Continua a leggere “The Spooktacular Eight #16: Bloody Delinquent Chainsaw Girl (2016)”