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.

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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.

Silent Night (2012) [REVIEW] | Remake Night

Ah yes, Christmas horror, a tradition now decades old, one that inevitably leads one to talk about the Silent Night, Deadly Night series, that – while not inventing the notion, as Bob Clark’s Black Christmas was already a decade old itself by then– had quite the impact back in 1984, and definitely helped the subgenre grow into a profitable niche, while also spawning two sequels and two other numbered entries that really had nothing to do with 1984’s Silent Night, Deadly Night at all.

So yeah, if you know me.. you already know we ain’t talking about any of those directly, there’s always a catch, so we’re revisiting the 2012 remake of the 1984 original Silent Night Deadly Night, simply called “Silent Night”, following the then common trend of remakes shortening titles.

It was either that or Silent Night, Bloody Night, which is – odd as it may sound – not a rip-off and actually pre-dates both the original Black Christmas and the original Silent Night, Deadly Night.

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Medievil PS4 [REVIEW] | Re-re-remaking The Past

While not what you would call a system seller, if you ask anyone growing up in the 90s, Medievil will probably come up in the discussion, so ingrained this little, beloved series of action platformers in the Playstation brand and overall legacy, despite remaining a cult/nostalgia sensation.

Though, when i say series, i mean the PS1 original (still available as digital PS1 Classic release on PS3 and Vita), Medievil 2 exists, but it’s mostly forgotten by the internet hivemind/consciousness, and this isn’t even the first remake of Medievil, as there’s a PSP port, Medievil Resurrection, with upgraded graphics that also changes some of the story, adds new features and remove others.

This is more of a remaster than an actual remake, a complete technical re-built but with minimal changes to gameplay and controls, very few modern concessions, all in order to offer a faithful recreation, for best or worst. Because as much as i like Medievil, this remaster/remake also works as an interesting litmus test of where bringing back the 90s, and – expanding the question – appealing to the nostalgia market eventually leads.

At least without going into the unholy effects of meming fuckin Bubsy (and Shaq Fu) unto life again, we’ll visit these forsaken lands of excrement and death, but not today.

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Oneechanbara Origin PS4 [REVIEW] | Blood Feuds, Zombies and Bikini Swords

So this finally went on sale on the PSN, i wanted to get to this sooner as it came out last year, but i refused to shell out 60 bucks for the whole enchillada since now D3 Publisher just releases these games digital only, and still tries to charge them the same.

Kinda, EDF 5 later got a physical release by Pqube, but i guess just because they already published a lot of EDF titles, and NIS – most likely – wasn’t interested in carrying this one westward like it did with Oneechanbara ZII Chaos.

But let’s get back on track, it’s the perfect time of the year after all.

This is the latest game in the series, but – as the title hints to – it’s not a prequel, but a remake-retelling of the first two Oneechanbara games, done to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the series as a whole, i guess it was easier to do this instead of making a new one with new ridiculous looking scanty clad characters and ridiculous story.

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So, a “few” words about that Samurai Warriors 5.

While i won’t have a review for the game out anytime soon (as explained in a previous post earlier this month), i want to say a few things about Samurai Warriors 5, after getting the Treasure Box edition (because i’m a sucker for artbook and CDs) and clocking in 32hours (which include finishing the story mode, of course) into it, as a last piece before i give the blog (and myself, to some extent) some rest.

I have like 5 pages of text and notes written about it, but i’ll try to be “brief” here.

It’s better than Dynasty Warriors 9?

Yes, it would have been quite hard to do even worse than that.

But it’s amazing how Omega Force still kinda held unto some of the crappier design choices from that shit title, leading to some old problems of the Warriors series coming back in new, unexpected and baffling ways.

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Mega Piranha (2010) [REVIEW] | Rider (Bycicle) KICK!

No, it’s not a spin-off of the “Mega Shark” series, nor a companion piece to Mega Python VS Gatoroid, despite being all produced by The Asylum. It’s that other type of Asylum movie, a mockbuster, but one incredibly desperate, in a way.

As in, the usually try to fool people by chasing after popular big budget production with cheap, fast features titled in a similar way to the movies they’re trying to indirectly rip-off, the plot is usually quite – if not completely – different.

Which is why we ended up with Transmorphers and stuff like Age Of Tomorrow, among many others. But, as i said, they usually do this with huge Hollywood productions, to feed from the crumbs left by the “actual movies” people went to see in theathers.

In this case, it just happens in 2010 we got a very loose remake of the original Piranha from 1978, Piranha 3D, handled by one of the better modern directors for horror and genre cinema, Alexandre Aja, and he definitely crafted a good modern B-movie in the spirit of old Roger Corman creature features, quite good, quite fun, which a direct sequel, Piranha 3DD, which went completely for total exploitation (almost Troma style), and was also quite fun in its own right.

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Putty Squad PS4 [REVIEW] | Blob In Time

Ah, yes, the lost Amiga platformer that wasn’t really lost at all, and even released on Super Nintendo in 1994 (not be confused with the SNES port of the first game, Putty, retitled “Super Putty” because Super Nintendo naming conventions), but was tauted as “reborn” for the PS4.

Yeah, this was a launch title, not that surprising, this is System 3 we’re talking about, i remember distincly them putting Super Fruit Fall on the Wii at launch, at full price, because why not?

Does it merit full MSRP? No. Doesn’t matter, since we’re putting it out when there’s bugger all to even play for the console. System 3 have been one of the cheapest UK publisher around for decades, and they’re still around, even if they mostly put out videogame pinball collections, some “HD” port for modern consoles of their old internal-developed MS DOS titles like Constructor.

And yes, they tried selling this one again on Switch, with the “Super” monicker slapped on, though, if you want a retail copy you might have to import it from the EU region.

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[EXPRESSO] The Grudge (2020) | The House That Kayako Built

The Grudge 2020 poster

(finally got another chance of seeing this in theathers)

Despite the mostly negative reception in the States and the frankly stupid idea of doing ANOTHER remake of Ju-On/The Grudge…. at least it had to just be better than the 2004 american remake, and that one had the same directors of the original. Then again i haven’t watched any of the sequels yet (american or japanese ones), but i can confirm this one is a “side-sequel” meant to connect with the 2004 american The Grudge.

And this is the main problem, as it wants to not disregard the previous american movies, but also doesn’t want to rework the premise to make sense in a completely different place and culture, or to make you forget that this a western remake of japanese movie. So there a willingly suicidal tendency to this one taking place in America with an american cast (plus John Cho), but still having to originate from Japan, with the curse basically using a character as a vessel to propagate itself in a small town, where a local sheriff investigates strange murders seemingly connected to a single house, all told in a non-linear fashion (as you’d expect) with the characters acting as “chapters-victims”.

It’s kinda tragic, because Nicolas Pesce manages to craft good characters and make you care about them, the drama is decent and the acting good, but when it comes to the horror parts, you’d wish the movie didn’t bother at all, even without throwing into the mix the trite j-horror movies cliches, or stuff that “has” to be here regardless, just because it’s The Grudge. The open ending doesn’t help.

Definitely a step up from the 2004 The Grudge, but please, let this type of “reboot/remakes of japanese movies” stay where it belongs. In the past.

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[EXPRESSO] Fantasy Island (2020) | Horror Spice

Fantasy Island 2020 poster.jpg

So this is basically a horror reimagining of a 70’s/80’s tv series, one i’ve never even heard before i stumbled upon the listing of this movie, but i guess if children shows like The Banana Splits can get remade as horror movies, it’s fair game for everybody.

The premise centers around the eponymous, remote tropical island, where the mystical Mr. Roarke (Michael Peña) makes the most secret dreams of his guests come true. But as the fantasies morph into nightmares, the captive guests have to solve to mystery of the island if they want to escape it, and the true reason they were all brought there.

I frankly don’t know or care if this is a “needed” or random remake of the source material, but even so, i could see this movie working even without the horror elements, which at times they do spice things up a bit, but on other occasions are so tacked on and clichè to the point of being just laughable, just thrown together into the supernatural thriller-drama cauldron, using the premise to link together scenes from different genres (a bit of Saw, a bit of war movie, a bit of heist movie, a family drama) in a coherent way.

And it works, it’s what i would classify as “movie meatloaf”, but it’s entertaining, fairly well acted, has decent characters, but it should (and could) have been shorter, as the last act drags on by using horror cliches, and it’s odd how mostly bloodless it is for a horror movie, not that this one actually needed Braindead/Dead Alive levels of gore, or horror elements to begin with. It’s not a case of “neutering for the sake of PG-13”, it just a story that could have done without being horror “flavored” and not lose much.

It’s alright.

decaffeinato-icona