The Spooktacular Eight Return & starting a Dead Island Retrospective

Yeah i know this is the older logo and art.

Since that thing i improvised last October did okay… let’s try to make it a yearly tradition, why not?

8 selected horror reviews sparkled through the whole month, in a pick-n-mix fashion!

Also, starting from October onwards, each month i will have a full lenght, in-depth review for each installment of the Dead Island franchise, with the retrospective culminating on the release of Dead Island 2 in February 2023.

Yeah, since this time we actually have real gameplay footage, Deep Silver isn’t waiting for a topical release date anymore for its zombie game, and wants this out before the unthinkable happens and they’re forced to restart the project from scratch for the 4th time or something.

Or before Goat Simulator takes further piss of that old E3 trailer with Pigeon John’s The Bomb playing to the sprinting dead.

The ONLY game i won’t be reviewing it’s the smarthphone spin-off Dead Island Survivors, because aside an old EXPRESSO review made in italian years ago (which i’m not unearthing or reusing in any way), i don’t have much written thoughts on it, as i didn’t play it that much when it released, and the game shut down in July 2020, so…

It wasn’t bad either, it was a top down action rpg with tower defense elements, free-to-play with all the shingle that it entails, but it was basically akin to Orcs Must Die, so it’s kind of a shame i can’t revisit it anymore.

That’s free-to-play smartphone games for you.

[EXPRESSO] Full Metal Alchemist The Final Chapter: The Final Alchemy/The Last Transmutation (2022) | Finally Finality Forever

Well, that was quicker than i expected, as part 2 of the finale for the live-action FMA movie trilogy is now available worldwide on Netflix.

For those of you unaware, yep, they made 3 of these things, and btw, SPOILERS beware, because this adapts the final part of the manga, picking up exactly where Scar The Avenger ended, with Envy, Edward and Ling getting swallowed up inside Gluttony… after we’re introduced to Izumi and her husband meeting Hohenheim, father of the Elric brothers.

Then we’re up to the frozen fort of Briggs, meeting Olivia Armstrong, and the whole conspiracy behind the Homunculus, Van Hohenheim and the foundation of Amestris is revealed.

As with the previous movies, there are some changes and cuts to the plot (including some axed characters), , but – as said before – it’s fairly faithful all thing considered, and as one would expect it’s the longer one, almost clocking at 2 hours and a half.

Though i wish it was a bit longer, as in some istances they kinda overdo it and you get the feel that you somehow missed some scenes, as the editor just assumes the audience to already know exactly what was supposed to happen, while rushing, abridging the shit out or outright cutting sequences that were reasonably expected to be included.

Even more odd as this issue could have mostly resolved with 10/15 extra minutes, it’s the final movie of this trilogy and it’s already pretty long, but still, nothing that seriously harms the experience, same for the somewhat inconsistent quality of the cheapish CG for the Homunculus.

Overall, The Last Transmutation it’s on par with the previous FMA live-action movies in terms of quality, it’s decent and mostly faithful, regardless of any “need” for these to exist in the first place.

[EXPRESSO] Full Metal Alchemist: The Final Chapter – The Avenger Scar (2022) | Alexander “Ahoge Cum Head Tumor” Armstrong

As you might be aware, more live-action Full Metal Alchemist films were on to way to make it a trilogy, actually a two parter, announced last year to celebrate the manga’s 20th anniversary, directed by Fumihiko Sori (Ping Pong, Vexille) and both already released theathrically this year in Japan.

Now we’re getting the first part of this “Final Chapter”, The Avenger Scar, internationally via Netflix, so let’s talk about it, i did review the first FMA live action film back in 2017.

It follow directly from when the 2016’s FMA movie left, and – as the title lays out – it’s about a nameless serial killer that is roaming about Central City offing State Alchemists, dubbed “Scar” due to his “X” shaped headwound.

The brothers encounter Scar but suffer defeat and have to escape, while the intrigues surrounding the military and the Homunculus unfold..

Like the previous movie, you’ll ask yourself why bother making live-actions like these, for the obvious reasons, which include some character designs clearly never meant for real people.

I wasn’t ready to see live-action Alexander Armstrong, nor could i ever be. Jesus.

If you can get over the many absurdities that come from the “anime/manga to live-action” transition, you’ll find a decent, fairly faithful adaptation of this part of the series, with some changes to the plot that basically relocate some events earlier or later and some fairly necessary concessions that had to be made anyway to have a 2 hours film.

It’s not the bad adaptation you think it is, nor it does the material quite the justice it deserves, but it’s a decent retelling, acting it’s ok, and it does what it sets out to do.

With some questionable effects at times, but at least it’s definitely better than the Bleach live action movie.

Splatoon 3 Direct and the squid temperature check

There have been some Directs about specific Nintendo games, most recently for the upcoming 9th generation Pokemon games, Scarlet/Violet, but i didn’t have much to say or add aside from it looking fairly good, clearly improving open world elements seen in Legends Arceus, like combining all traversal/mount Pokemon into the main legendary, which also look hilarious with the wheels in their body, etc.

But since Splatoon is basically the only multiplayer online series i care about and have actually devoted a lot of time towards since its Wii U debut (and i plan to continue, enough to buy the damn limited edition Pro Controller), i feel this specific Direct is the perfect occasion to sum up my overall feelings towards Splatoon 3 before it releases this early September.

Even more since i don’t plan a full lenght review, due to the nature of the game we’ll have to see how support and updates go, so more likely i’m gonna do a “XX hours into” piece and later a review for Splatoon 3’s 1th anniversary.

Continua a leggere “Splatoon 3 Direct and the squid temperature check”

Lake Placid Legacy (2018) [REVIEW] #sharksncrocs

While Lake Placid VS Anaconda ended by sequelbaiting “Crococonda VS Sheriffs”, they didn’t actually followed that up, at least not yet, as for the next (and at the time of writing, the last) Lake Placid installment we have a prequel.

A prequel, kinda. Sorta. We’ll get to that, but it’s not a prequel for the character of Jimmy Bickerman played by Robert Englund, nor any of the Bickermans, it’s a prequel for the original saltwater crocodile, explaining how the fuck a crocodile came to inhabit the lake in the first place.

Actually, not quite, but yep, every excuse is good to pump anything out with the franchise name. It always is.

Continua a leggere “Lake Placid Legacy (2018) [REVIEW] #sharksncrocs”

Lake Placid VS Anaconda (2015) [REVIEW] #sharksncrocs

Has your series completely run of ideas or it’s just not willing to get out of the genre comfort zones, but you still want to continue the franchise? Cross it over with a similar series, versus style.

Oddly enough, this is both the obvious (as it’s in the title) crossover between the Anaconda and Lake Placid franchises, but also the fifth movie in each respective series.

Elaborating on what i said at the end of the review for Lake Placid: The Final Chapter, the two series are quite the good fit for a cheap TV movie crossover, not only for the obvious reptilian killer animals involved, but as they both had a successful film first that was deemed good enough to be shown in theathers, and hence being more easily remembered by audiences.

Btw, the official DVD tagline for the film it’s quite fun and to the point “Crocks on the docks, snakes on the lakes”. Love these.

Shame they set the bar too high, but of course they do.

Continua a leggere “Lake Placid VS Anaconda (2015) [REVIEW] #sharksncrocs”

A quick ramble about the Klonoa Phantom Reverie Series collection

Klonoa has been one of my favourite series since a decade or plus ago i discovered it… as a teen by playing the second game, Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil, on the old “fat” PS2 model. Yep, this isn’t a childhood fascination, i just loved the frigging series since i stumbled upon it, so thanks to some handy “gift money” i pre-ordered this new collection… one that Namco Bandai just kinda put out there without much marketing and fanfare, aside from revealing it in a Nintendo Direct.

I got the PS4 version for performance’s sake, and because i wanted something good to keep on the shelf – alphabetically -before Knack, so let’s just give a quick overview of this collection after spending a couple hours or so with it.

Continua a leggere “A quick ramble about the Klonoa Phantom Reverie Series collection”

Megalodon Rising (2020) [REVIEW] #sharksncrocs

As we extensively estabilished before, when it comes to shark movies The Asylum doesn’t even bother anymore to wait for a mainstream blockbuster release to mooch off… which i can’t really blame on them as those almost completely went extinct, with almost exclusively low to no budgets shark movies flooding the market every year.

And as usual, this is one of those they just kinda put out with no fanfare, to the point i knew this existed only because i happened to stumble upon its UK DVD release while browsing randomly on Amazon one late night.

I mean, more important stuff happened in 2020, but still, put 5 bucks into marketing!

Continua a leggere “Megalodon Rising (2020) [REVIEW] #sharksncrocs”

Lake Placid: The Final Chapter (2012) [REVIEW] #sharksncrocs

Some traditions die hard, to the point of never actually properly getting fazed on, and one of the fundamental ones for horror as a whole is titling the next installment of your series as “The Final Chapter”. Heck, even the Saw series did it a couple of years earlier, you can bet Lake Placid was gonna go for that low hanging fruit as well.

Though, one could argue that for many Saw fans that one does still feel more like a final chapter, despite two more films in the series having been released after.

But again, i’m getting off track, we’re talking about the fourth movie in a series of killer crocs, and a sequel to Lake Placid 3, which seems pointless to specify, but considering that these kind of movies will claim “sequelage” regardless of their plots being even vaguely connected, it’s important to specify if they can live to this self-made claim of continuity and crap.

Continua a leggere “Lake Placid: The Final Chapter (2012) [REVIEW] #sharksncrocs”

[EXPRESSO] Thor: Love And Thunder (2022) | “Bi” from “Bifrost”

After being pleasantly surprised by Thor Ragnarok (which i quite liked), i was cautiously optimistic about this one, since we have Taika Waltiti back in the director chair, and two Thors, why not?

The plot sees Thor cruising the galaxy on a quest for his own inner peace, after basically handing to others his expected status and obligations of a god. But his hippish voyage for love and identity is cut short by an intergalactic killer known as “Gorr The God Butcher”, forcing the son of Odin to request the aid of Valkyrie and even his ex, Jane Foster, who now can wield the mighty Mjolnir as “Mighty Thor”, on an adventure to find out Gorr’s motives and stop him before he can bring his godslaying crusade to the next level.

More than previous installment, this one leans into the comedic aspect that ran through the Thor series to make it more distinct from Ragnarok, especially by “leaning” heavily into romantic comedy territory, and aside from a similar-esque scene, the movie feel like a continuation of the previous one but not a redo, and it manages to fully give Thor a proper character arc.

Problem is that tonal unconsistency rears its ugly head here, as the “eros and thanatos” combo never fully finds a proper balance, so while the film works, it does feel kinda disjointed and in turn it’s hard to fully engage with what’s going on, even if funny, entertaining or emotional. Some tired comedy beats and some (arguably inevitable) franchise fatigue only exacerbate things further.

A shame, because the villain it’s pretty decent, Waltiti flair is still in full force here, but i also can’t deny that Thor: Love And Thunder feels messy, at times unfocused and ultimately it’s decent fun but kinda disappointing and oddly forgettable.