Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Dog Duty (Steam) - PC Game Review

 


Interested in some Action & Strategy gameplay that feels like an adventure RTS in the style of old school PC gaming? Then this is the game for you. Dog Duty is not a game that is easy to pickup and play, but giving it a chance and learning how it plays can yield some fun times.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Green Phoenix - Random Fanfiction Idea: The Secret of NIMH/Planet of the Apes

Before we begin the article, I have an announcement to make regarding the release of these articles. Starting next week and occurring roughly every 8 weeks or so (not including my month long vacations), I will be taking a week long mental health break from article writing.

The last two years have shown that my consistent article writing has been taking a severe toll on my mental health and affecting the quality of the articles that I bring to you all. With that in mind, it is my hope that these break weeks can be used to recuperate and use any build up of articles, building up articles without the fear of releasing one that week, and focusing on other projects and personal obligations without worrying about disappointing my readers.

Again, these will occur roughly every eight weeks or so starting next week, though that is not inherently a given as my break weeks will have to fit around my vacations as well. It is my genuine hope that these breaks will ensure a continued quality of articles and minimize the possibility of burnout.

Now with news out of the way, let's move on to the weirdest article topic that I've probably ever written.

***

Now, I know what you're thinking when you read that title. This is absolutely the weirdest title for an article this dude has ever written. And the fact of the matter is is that you're not entirely wrong. I began my writing and review career by looking at either movies through my Phoenix 8 Productions work or fanfiction through my The Brony Critic channel. As a result, I have developed a deep respect and love for the artistry of fanfiction writing.

 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/84/The_Secret_of_NIMH.jpg

Fanfiction occupies a controversial sphere in our modern media. Utilizing already established intellectual properties to create unofficial content of unregulated quality might at first seem deeply troubling and rife with low quality trash, an assumption that at first glance might not be entirely inaccurate.

However, I also hold that fanfiction represents a unique field for practice and creative exploration for writers, allowing writers to skip some of the more difficult and laborious aspects of world-building in favor of focusing more directly on capturing the feel of a character or exposing the narrative strengths of a particular concept. Or simply using a existing property as a framework to enhance the world-building to a much higher degree.

Through this mindset, I have also begun working on various fanfiction ideas from time to time. In fact, I oftentimes have far too many to ever reasonably be able to work on them in any great capacity. But I still want others to hear about my story concepts, even if I never write it myself. So to that end, I decided to create a subset of my editorial segments as sort of a cross between the Building Better Backstories series and the free-form nature of the Let's Talk... articles; thus the creation of the Random Fanfiction Idea, or RFI.

For our first outing of RFI, I decided that we should discuss an idea that I got while watching Don Bluth's 1982 animated classic The Secret of NIMH.  The idea is fairly simple but possesses a fantastic narrative and thematic connection that could lead to a bunch of drama.

What if you wrote a fanfiction sequel to The Secret of NIMH inspired by the modern Planet of the Apes franchise? That is, what if you wrote a series of fanfiction's showing how the evolution of mouse and rat society eventually supplants human culture as a result of our own societal defects and systemic issues?

***

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

The World is Your Weapon (Steam) - PC Game Review

 


Ever want a game that is cute, has hand drawn art, and a hilarious adventure? Look no further! The World is Your Weapon is a unique experience that is most definitely worth exploring. Click "read more" for my full review.

Friday, October 8, 2021

Green Phoenix - The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars Review

The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars.jpg

You all had to know that this was incoming.

After I reviewed The Brave Little Toaster and then its confusingly created direct-to-VHS sequel, The Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue, that the third film in the trilogy, which was released a year before the second film in 1998, would have to have a review inbound. And sure enough, the focus of today's article is the final and weirdest entry in the...sigh... Brave Little Toaster trilogy.

I cannot believe that that is actually a thing.

And yet, The Brave Little Toaster goes to Mars is a very real entry in the franchise. From traveling the American wilderness to the vast reaches of space, Toaster and his friends sure have gotten far in their mechanical lives. And this film would also mark itself as the last performances of DeForrest Kelly, Thurl Ravenscroft, and Carol Channing. Quite a piece of notoriety for such an...eclectic film.

I grew up watching this film quite a few times and can remember quite a bit of the story, even before my rewatch. It has a presence in my childhood, however minor. And as you'll be able to tell, that presence was weird then and its weird now.

***

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Space Toads Mayhem (Steam) - PC game review


 

Here is a flashy little space shooter. I mean that quite literally, there are a lot of flashing white lights along with other nit-picks that hurt what could have been a nice little retro style shoot-em-up. Click "read more" for my full review.

Friday, October 1, 2021

Green Phoenix - Yes Man Review

YesMan2008poster.jpg

Many of you may not really be aware of my hobbies and interests outside of film and television, though I have spoken about them to friends and mentioned them at various points on social media; but I have been a active participant in micronationalism since I was 14 years old. Micronationalism is, in its simplest form, a form of political organization where individuals declare their own sovereignty without legal recognition. It can be seen as a form of political LARPing but with a far more serious tone and intention.

I was drawn into the hobby after researching and uncovering several interesting micronational projects, including Molossia in Nevada, Sealand in the English Channel, and the Kingdom of Lovely, a humorous joke nation founded by comedian Danny Wallace for his BBC comedy show How to Start Your Own Country.

I felt the need to mention this because it was through How to Start Your Own Country that I was introduced to Wallace's other work like his 2005 book Yes Man, which eventually loosely inspired the 2008 Jim Carrey comedy of the same name.

It is this film that will be the subject of today's article. Apologies for the long description but I felt the need to mention it not only because I love my hobbies and relish the chance to explain them to outsiders, but also because this film's inclusion in my review schedule is so out of left field for my usual fare that I felt the need to explore why I wanted to talk about it.

So let's get right into it shall we?

***

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Taiyo Sentai Sun Vulcan Ep. 1: The Machine Empire of the North Pole - Summary/Review



Here we have the 5th Super Sentai, first 3 ranger team, and the only one in history to lack any female rangers. Taiyo Sentai Sun Vulcan. Roughly translating into Solar Squadron Sun Vulcan. Only thing I know about this season is that it got backlash for not having any girl rangers and is the only Sentai to be a direct sequel to the previous season, Denziman. The theme this time is Air, Land, and Sea. Because Fire isn't good enough. Click "read more" for my full coverage.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Green Phoenix - 8 Amazing Animated Canines

Back when I was working on my Balto review, I was suddenly struck by a bout of inspiration regarding a new countdown. Dogs have long been a quintessential part of human culture and media, owing to their long-standing relationship as "Man's Best Friend". Growing up, I certainly remember seeing many amazing animated canines that helped to transform me into the dog person that I am today (even if I have no plans to have a pet dog of my own).

Whether they talk or not, are protagonists or simple side characters, many dogs have become iconic or much beloved members of their respective franchises. There are obviously far too many examples of great cartoon dogs to ever be effectively condensed or listed in a single article without it being overwhelmingly long. So I decided to do just a general list of some particularly standout dogs from my childhood and early teenage years.

With that in mind, I decided that today's article should be slightly lighter fare than usual and a just short, yet sweet tribute to cartoon canines. So without any further ado, let's present 8 Amazing Animated Canines.

***

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Olson's Boxing Challenge (Steam) - PC Game Review

 


With Fight Night not looking like it will come back anytime soon and the new Creed game looking like a disappointment, I have been starved for a new boxing game experience. Sadly, nothing mainstream is in development and I have no interest in MMA. So, I turned to Steam to try and find something to fill this desire; sadly most of the titles that looked interesting were VR only games and I do not have access to VR. However, there is a new E-sports boxing coming next year, but until then, I found this little title that looks like a re-make of an Atari 2600 game. So, click "read more" and I will give you my review on Real Boxing and we can decide if it fills that need for leather gloves.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Green Phoenix - The ClueFinders 3rd Grade Retrospective

 

Going to elementary and middle school in the early 2000s made me and I'm sure many others very aware of educational computer games. Chief among these were those produced by the now defunct The Learning Company and distributed throughout schools as a form of summer supplemental learning programs. I know that my school district participated in such a program, despite the generally low quality of games issued out.

As a result, I have very fond memories of the Reader Rabbit franchise, which was aimed towards kindergarten through 2nd grade children, and the focus of today's retrospective, The ClueFinders franchise. Aimed towards older elementary and early middle school children, The ClueFinders really was a personal favorite of mine growing up, with my sister and I playing the games constantly.

As nerdy as that might seem, I really loved the hell out of the tone that the series maintained throughout its entire run and have enjoyed watching people playing the games online for years, even as the quality continues to age poorly (a staple of the entire Learning Company brand). The games had a heightened level of world-building and the combination of fantasy, science fiction, and mystery wasn't what one might expect from an educational game. So in that spirit of nostalgia, today's retrospective will focus on the first game in The ClueFinders franchise that I remember playing, The ClueFinders 3rd Grade - The Mystery of Mathra.

***

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Kousoku Sentai Turboranger Ep. 2: Did You Guys See a Fairy!? - Summary/Review



More Turborangers. The first episode was mostly just a clip-show celebrating Super Sentai so, hopefully this second episode will gives us a proper introduction to this season. Click "read more" for my coverage.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Green Phoenix - 1634: The Bavarian Crisis

 1634 The Bavarian Crisis-Eric Flint.jpg

It's time once again for me to give yet another literary recommendation by going down the line for the next book in the Ring of Fire lineup. This time around, we are taking a look at a collaborative effort between head writer Eric Flint and co-author Virginia DeMarce, who also worked on several stories in the Grantville Gazettes and the anthology story, 1634: The Ram Rebellion (Which I will cover on a later article).

Released in 2007, 1634: The Bavarian Crisis was a sequel to Eric Flint's short story The Wallenstein Gambit from Ring of Fire I (A collection of anthology stories written by Flint and others), as well as continuing the story lines from 1634: The Ram Rebellion and 1634: The Baltic War. All in all, this book plays a fairly major role in setting up the state of politics in Central Europe during and immediately following the Ostend War first set up in 1633. The book also helps to set up several players that have been very big in the years following 1634, as the Emperor of Austria finally makes a big role and the presence of Bavaria as a major regional player against the USE begins with the outcome of this book.

This makes the reading of 1634: The Bavarian Crisis a rather important stepping stone for the rest of the franchise. Which is interesting given how much I'm not taken to DeMarce's particular writing style when all is said and done.

But I will cover that in the actual meat of the article. Speaking of which, let's get into it as we take a short look at 1634: The Bavarian Crisis.

***

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Kousoku Sentai Turboranger Ep. 1: The Great Gathering of 10 Sentai: Counting on You! Turboranger - Summary/Review



This is a strange case. When this season came out it celebrated the 10th year anniversary of Super Sentai as the 11th team, now it is classified as the 13th. Fun fact, there was a point in time when Gorenger and J.A.K.Q. were not counted as Super Sentai incarnations and Turboranger came out during that time. Anyway, what we have here is Sentai's first vehicle theme team as well as the first team of all high schoolers. Kousoku Sentai Turboranger, roughly translated to High Speed/Speeding Squadron Turboranger. Click "read more" and let's see what this first episode has in store.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Pachinko Time (Gameboy - 1989 Japan Only)

 If you have never imported a retro game from Japan, you might not have run into these. Pachinko games are somewhat of an anomaly. They are ubiquitous in Japan, however they are completely absent in the United States. Consequently, when you look into importing for the first time, the cheapest options are usually pachinko games, and ever system has them. 

Pachinko Time is a game for the Gameboy where you play as a pachinko ball walking around a pachinko parlor with access to several pachinko simulations. On each machine, you are trying to completely bankrupt the payout base of the game, Thus "completing" that machine. Completing three machines will open a path to the next pachinko parlor. If you can complete three machines, you are able to move on to another parlor with newer machines to play on.

Friday, September 3, 2021

Green Phoenix - Let's Talk...DreamWorks Traditional Animation

 DreamWorks Animation SKG logo with fishing boy.svg

At the height of the Disney Renaissance during the mid-1990s, the company Walt built stood almost completely unopposed in the field of animation. Their only major competitor from a creative and financial standpoint was arguably Don Bluth Animations, and even they were beginning to replicate the Disney formula in order to attempt to achieve some level of equal financial success, to middling results. By the release of Beauty and the Beast, it seemed like Disney was on top of the world and absolutely unstoppable under the triumvirate leadership of Michael Eisner, Frank Wells, and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Then came the unfortunate passing of Frank Wells in a helicopter accident. Suddenly the unifying element of the Disney triumvirate was broken and a power vacuum formed in the wake of Wells' passing. A battle raged for the soul of Disney between Disney's CEO Michael Eisner and the head of Disney animation, Jeffrey Katzenberg. As you can no doubt imagine by their positions within the company, the winner was a foregone conclusion and Katzenberg soon found himself fired and with a major chip on his shoulders.

Normally, that might be the end of the story. But Katzenberg had many friends in Hollywood and had been the largest force within the Disney triumvirate behind the Disney Renaissance. So when he made an alliance with Stephen Spielberg and David Geffen, DreamWorks Pictures was founded. For the most part, DreamWorks established a reputation as the edgier CGI counterpart to Disney, with some of their first outings like Antz and Shrek being either near rip-off of other Disney/Pixar projects or a criticism of the Disney corporation as a whole. And so was Disney's hegemony over the industry destroyed, ironically by the politics within their own rank-and-file.

However, in the early days of DreamWorks, a few traditionally animated films did pass through its halls. Nowadays, traditional animation is not very common from any of the studios. But I feel that the films that are spoken of tend to be exclusively from Disney.

And it is with that in mind, that today's Let's Talk... will discuss the short list of traditionally animated DreamWorks films. They don't make them anymore, but they were a vital part of the company's early history and represent a very unique aspect of the company's identity.

***

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Gosei Sentai Dairanger: E2 - Iiiit's Chi-Power!!! - Summary/Review



Time to continue our quest for thunder and chi. This is the second part of the intro saga that will now introduce the mecha in action. Click "read more" for my full coverage of episode 2.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Gosei Sentai Dairanger Ep 1: L-e-e-et's Tenshin!!! (Transform) - Summary/Review

 


It's the missing Power Rangers. Gosei Sentai Dairanger, roughly translating to Five-Star Squadron Great Ranger. The 17th Super Sentai and the source of the Thunderzords from season 2 of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. This season is an ancient Chinese themed one against an evil empire from 8000 years ago. How does it hold up? Click "read more" for my thoughts.


Friday, August 20, 2021

Green Phoenix - Batman Begins Review

 Batman hovers over the film's title as the principle actors are listed.

I absolutely adore Batman. Despite not being particularly excited by most of the DC lineup (I'm an unrepentant Marvel fan), the Dark Knight of Gotham has always had a special place in my heart in terms of superheroes. I just love the fact that he is a normal human being with no superpowers beyond stupid amounts of money. In a world of Gods and Monsters, Batman really does stick out of the crowd in a thematically fantastic way.

And this love of Batman is shared with a lot of other people because Batman has been adapted into film and television...a lot. Like its actually kind of ridiculous. There is obviously the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher-era Batman films, the Adam West Batman TV show, and the atrocities that were the DC Extended Universe. Out of all the adaptations however, one really stands above the rest as peak Batman.
 
Batman: The Animated Series. Absolutely no fucking contest in any way shape or form.
 
But if I had to pick a close second, it would have to fall to the obvious choice of the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy. Released in the late 2000s as a realistic take on the Batman mythos, this trilogy has achieved an almost legendary status among superhero films, even if that legacy might now be hurting the DC live-action films
.
I plan to discuss all the films in the franchise eventually, as well as all other adaptations of Batman down the line. Today however, we will start off with the film that brought Batman back into popular consciousness after the utter silliness of Batman and Robin. While it may be forgotten when standing beside its more famous and successful sequel, 2005's Batman Begins propelled Batman back onto the big screens and may be responsible for kick-starting the entire superhero film craze that we are still going through.
***

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Mighty Morphin Power Ranger - 5 Cases of Unused Stock Footage

 


Here is a list for the sake of fun trivia. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers used stock footage from 3 different Super Sentai incarnations, Zyuranger, Dairanger, and Kakuranger. But, not all of it. Rather than giving a long boring list of everything that was changed or unused, allow me to point out 5 cases of unused footage that I found interesting. Just for fun.


Friday, August 13, 2021

Green Phoenix - I've Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years... Review

 Killingaslime.jpg
It's been a couple of weeks since my last anime review and I think I want to cover some light faire this week. A fantasy isekai slice-of-life that was released earlier this year called I've Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Levels.

In many ways this anime is tremendously blase in terms of the frankly over-saturated isekai anime market and I think it fell through the radar for many people because of that. However, I'm a sucker for isekai anime in general, especially those that focus on more domestic or nontraditional fantasy elements in the overall story.

It's why I adore anime like That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime and How a Realist Hero Rebuilt a Kingdom (which I will definitely be reviewing down the line). Thankfully I've Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years... (as I will shorthand from here on out for my own sanity, thank you very much) fits into this nontraditional slice-of-life focus, for the most part.

The anime we look at today will prove that sometimes all a production company has to do is make a decently well-adapted show. Nothing extraordinary or ground-breaking, just well done.

***

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Temple of Snek (Steam) - Beta Review

 


Temple of Snek, developed by Aetheric Games and published by Pixeljam. Thank you for this early access review code. We've got a snake game that promises puzzle aspects involving rhythm and snake-length. What can we except? Click "read more" for my review.


Friday, August 6, 2021

Green Phoenix - Microsoft Dangerous Creatures Retrospective


  

 

 
With the advent of Wikipedia and the mass accessibility of encyclopedic information through the internet, I think that most individuals my age and younger can't really appreciate just how lucky we are to live in an era of such easily available information.
 
When Wikipedia was launched in 2001, most encyclopedias were locked behind paywalls (like Encyclopedia Britannica) or were available on CD-ROM and large physical hardbacks. I remember very specifically growing up reading my dad's 1985 World Book Encyclopedia Collection.

Yes, I was the kind of kid who read encyclopedia's growing up. We are just going to move on from that factoid to the point at hand.

Of all the encyclopedia's that I had access to in the 1990s, Microsoft's Multimedia Collection was definitely one of the biggest surprises. In particular were two applications within the collection, Microsoft Dinosaurs, which I will absolutely talk about at another date; and the subject of today's retrospective, Microsoft Dangerous Creatures.

Released in 1994 and first available for Windows 3.1 (Yes, that old), Microsoft Dangerous Creatures was a multimedia encyclopedia on various aspects and members of the animal kingdom, with a sub-textual focus on environmentalism and conservationism.

Today will not be a review, but another retrospective detailing my memories and experiences with a "computer game" from my childhood that had a truly transformative impact on my life.

***

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger: - Quest 01: The Lion Roars!!

 


The 25th anniversary season for Super Sentai and the footage source for Power Rangers Wild Force which aired in Japan from 2001-2002. Shout out to Shout Factory for the free legal english sub. Hyakujuu Senai Gaoranger, roughly translating to Hundred-beasts Squadron Roar Ranger. This theme is about animals with some environmentalism thrown in and the source of my personal favorite Zords or Mecha. How will this season hold the test of time? Click "read more" and let's take a look.


Friday, July 30, 2021

Green Phoenix - The Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue Review

 The Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue.jpg

A little over two months ago, I released my review of The Brave Little Toaster, a deeply loved children's film of mine that has thrown me into a nostalgic spiral for the past few weeks. While writing that article, I realized that I would be remiss if I didn't talk about the entire series.

Because for reasons that I still cannot fathom, The Brave Little Toaster is actually the first film in a trilogy of films. Admittedly, these films are direct to VHS but the point that of all films, this one would have not one but two sequels kind of boggles the mind.

Of the two films, the final chronological film in the trilogy, The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars, is far and away the more popular of the two, given that it is adapted from another of Thomas M. Disch's books. However, despite being the first released, The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars actually follows the events of the much less well known and subject of today's article, The Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue, released in 1999.

The two sequels were actually developed by the production at the same time, which helps explain much of the similarities between the two films. Normally, I would have touched upon The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars first as it was the first sequel released, being released in 1998. However, characters and events are introduced in The Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue that are necessary to understand the plot of The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars.

That was a hell of a mouthful to write, not going to lie. I will almost certainly examine The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars down the line; but for today, let's take a good look at the "hidden" sequel to The Brave Little Toaster.

***

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger Ep 2: The Revival - Summary/Review


This episode is going to be the continuation of the last. Previously, the Zyurangers got their powers and almost rescued the child astronauts, but were ambushed by a giant. No time to waste, click "read more" and let's see how this chapter ends.


Sunday, July 25, 2021

Homefront (PC/Steam/Xbox360/PS3 2011)

 Homefront is an FPS video game version of the movie Red Dawn, complete with a "Go Wolverines" scene. America has been invaded and occupied. And you must lead a rebellion through the war torn suburbs against the Korean occupying force. You play as Jacob, the silent protagonist who is rescued from a prison transport and thrust into battle. 


The campaign took me 4.5 hours to beat. This is very telling of first-person shooters of the 2010s. Most of them play by having you follow a leader character who walks you through the scripted action. That is how this plays out as well. Although, the rails don't seem quite as tight as the Call of Duty games of the time, make no mistake. This is on rails. You will need to keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle until the plot comes to a complete stop.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Green Phoenix - Let's Talk...Schoolhouse Rock!

 School House Rock!.png

So I realize that it is entirely possible that I might have been far too subtle for you all to pick up on my general personality, despite my many personal stories. I know that you all must think of me as this incredibly suave and cool individual, always aware of the latest trends and a person well-liked by everyone I meet.

Thus it is with a heavy heart that I must break this notion to you all. For you see, I am, in point of fact, a massive nerd with an obsession for not only countless fandoms but intellectual pursuits in general.

Okay all kidding aside, I really do enjoy watching educational content, even to this day. My Netflix account is filled with documentary films and series and I even have a subscription to CuriosityStream to feed my educational media fascination. And this fascination goes back to my very earliest moments of childhood. I've spoken of the Walking with... series and its impact on my love of biological and paleontological documentaries, but my general love of learning stemmed from Bill Nye the Science Guy and the focus of today's article: School House Rock!.

Developed in the early 1970s and airing until 1984 before returning intermittently in the 1990s and 2000s, Schoolhouse Rock! was a series of short animated music videos that touched on specific subjects in numerous general subjects. It was developed after the creator noticed that his child often struggled to remember their multiplication tables, despite being able to memorize all the lyrics to Rolling Stones songs.

Schoolhouse Rock! helped generations of kids learn all kinds of fascinating subjects and I figured that this would be the perfect opportunity to discuss my personal experience and what the series means to me. This isn't a review, but more of a general retrospective.

***

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger Episode 1: The Birth - Summary/Review



This is a long time coming for me, the first Super Sentai I ever watched and the one used for the first season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. The first of many Dinosaur themed Super Sentai and one during the darker writing area of the franchise. I have seen this before, but a refresher sounds nice. Click "read more" and let us re-live this classic.


Friday, July 16, 2021

Green Phoenix - 8 Nearly Forgotten Childhood Films

From the earliest days of my childhood, film and television have had an indelible impact upon me. Films like The Lion King, Toy Story, Jurassic Park, and The Indiana Jones franchise have continued to thrill and excite me even into adulthood and drive me into a pleasurable nostalgic haze.

And yet, there have also been those films that, for one reason or another, I can remember watching only after being prompted or otherwise reminded. Regardless of the quality of the film, some pieces of my childhood were locked behind some vague glance at my old VHS tapes or a mention by some online film reviewer.

Today's article is honor of those films. Irrespective of their quality or my personal opinions on the films, this list is intended rather to be an exploration and retrospective on films that I remember that have, for one reason or another, fallen under the radar of my generally excellent sense of nostalgia. Some are films I enjoyed watching that I simply have forgotten, others are so vague that I can remember only small sections or parts.

Without further ado, let us take a quick retrospective look at 8 Nearly Forgotten Films from my Childhood.

***

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Pixar: Lava - Quick Thoughts

 


Pixar often shows a short film before their feature length, but this one always stood out in my memory. It is a 6 minute music video that tells a simple love story about a volcano. Interesting to me is that fact that this short film has just as much story as a full length film. Click "read more" for my full thoughts.


Friday, July 9, 2021

Green Phoenix - Technical Problems...Upcoming Article will drop next week

 Hey everybody.

Terribly sorry, but there have been a series of longstanding technical issues at both home and work that have deeply delayed my workload on many of these articles. I have the next few weeks of articles planned, as well as ideas for new content in the future, but as I explained to my Patreon supporters, work and home have not been great for my productivity as of late.

The next article 8 Nearly Forgotten Childhood Films is now set to be published next week. I will attempt to use the next week to, possibly write the next article and figure out a system to work around my technical problems.

In the meantime, I hope all of you stay safe out there and feel free to support me on Patreon here.

***

Also, feel free to check out my panel at TrotCon 2021, airing online July 16th - 18th. My friend Drew Flashy and I will be talking about DnD and regaling the audiences with our humorous stories and anecdotes.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Kyouryu Sentai Zyuranger Dino Video - Summary/Review



Well, here is something I never knew existed. Zyuranger is a season of Sentai without any movies (besides legacy appearances), but there was one odd special staring a green dino puppet brought to us by Shogakukan Video. The first of a new series of "Super Videos". This are made-for-video bonus content.  Not sure what to expect, so click "read more" and let's find out.

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Kaiserkast #9 - Hey man! I've been to WA!


Kaiser is back from holiday and talks about it.  Boring, but accurate description but eh, it's showbiz. 
 Download here.

Friday, July 2, 2021

Green Phoenix - Godzilla (1954) Review

 Gojira 1954 Japanese poster.jpg

This week's article is a very special one. Our first ever Patreon requested article, submitted and suggested by none other than my fellow contributor and friend Cendoo. Cendoo's official request was to review anything remotely associated with the Godzilla franchise, so I felt that looking at the original 1954 Godzilla film was as good a place as any to start.

The original Godzilla has achieved an almost legendary status in the annals of cinematic history. Following Japan's defeat in World War 2, Japanese media was heavily regulated by the occupying American military. This censorship tended to avoid any mention of the world wars or nuclear weapons for fear of growing Japanese resentment to the occupation.

When the American censorship relaxed in the mid 1950s, Japan was finally allowed to deal with the trauma and fear that resulted from World War 2 and the legacy of being the only nation in the world to have a nuclear weapon dropped on their population during wartime. At the same time, Japanese fishing trawler's were getting caught up in American and French nuclear testing in the Pacific, resulting in several diplomatic incidents.

All this led to an era of nuclear awareness in Japanese cinema that Godzilla fully played into. The film was a monumental success that launched one the longest running film franchise in cinema history, set the standard for the kaiju film, and established many of the ongoing expectations of the kaiju and science fiction genre; with an "Americanized" version being released in 1956 that altered the tone of the film tremendously.

While I grew up watching the "Americanized" version and even own a copy, I will be focusing today's article on the original Japanese film, touching upon the American verison only when the need for comparison arises. I want to once again thank Cendoo for supporting my articles through Patreon.

***

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Would Sonic X-Treme have saved the Sega Saturn if Finished?

 



Of all the canceled Sonic titles, this one is probably the most famous. The Sega Saturn was a commercial failure in America, and some people blame that on not having a mainline Sonic title. While having a proper Sonic game would have moved some systems, it is impossible to know for sure if it would have been enough to keep the Saturn in the market. However, if you care to hear my educated guess and why, click "read more" for my full article.


Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Ranking Every Sonic Cartoon from Best to Worse

 



With Sonic Prime on the horizon and with me caught up with all past Sonic Cartoons, I figured why not go ahead and share my quick take on each one. While I am a bit too bias to give each series a proper review, I can at least give a general idea of what to expect and maybe you can find some enjoyment in re-visiting these old animations. So, click "read more" and let the countdown begin.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Could Sonic work in an Open World style game?




Open world style gameplay is one that Sonic has never officially tried beyond hub worlds. Many fans ask for it, and several others have questioned if it would work. So, may as well throw my hat into the ring. Click "read more" if you'd like to know my take.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

My Top 10 Favorite Sonic Games


Happy Sonic Month from Emerald Rangers. This is Ghost Ranger giving my top 10 favorite Sonic games. Not the most original article, but one that I wanted to get out of the way to get the ball rolling. Click "read more" for my countdown.


Sunday, June 6, 2021

Omega Boost: Polyphony's One and Only Mecha Shooter

 


I think it's safe to say that almost everyone loves the idea of giant robots in theory. Say what you will about the Mecha genre as a whole, but it's hard to deny the cultural impact it's had on the world, especially when it comes to interactive media. Though while on the tabletop, games like Battletech and Mekton were showing a strong showing, unless you were willing to put up with what few licensed games were out there for series like Mobile Suit Gundam (or had the money and patience to import such titles from Japan), you had pretty slim pickings for getting your Mecha fix. Pretty much your only options back then for good games were either Armored Core or MechWarrior, with the latter still being a licensed game. That was, except, for one particular oddity that came out in '99.


That game was Omega Boost.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Mirai Sentai Timeranger Case File 21: Sion Style - Summary/Review

 

Let's keep the ball rolling with the coverage of this season of the century. Click "read more" for my article on this episode featuring the green ranger.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Green Phoenix - The Brave Little Toaster Review

 Brave Little Toaster poster.jpg

Alright everybody! With my June break beginning next week, I've decided that the final article before then will cover a film which played a critical piece in my childhood. After that, I will take about 4 weeks off to prepare for conventions and building a stockpile of new articles before releasing my very first Patron-requested article on the First Friday of July, so its going to be a very excited moment.

As stated earlier, today's article is going to be covering a film which was a beloved part of my childhood. While I have previously spoken about films like The Lion King and how important they were, The Brave Little Toaster from 1987 is perhaps a film that is less remembered as its contemporary animated films, being released at the tail-end of the Disney Renaissance, when Disney had its first real hegemony over the industry since the death of Walt Disney. As a result, the film isn't really spoken about like other lesser-known animated films from the same era.

But for kids like me, The Brave Little Toaster and A Goofy Movie hold a truly exalted part in our childhoods and I'm going to take this opportunity before my Summer Break to geek out about how fucking awesome my childhood movies were.

With that out of the way, let's dive right on in to the 1987 American-British animated musical The Brave Little Toaster.

***

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Mirai Sentai Timeranger Episodes 19 & 20 - Summary/Review


Things are finally starting to take a turn for the better as far as this seasons quality goes. The last episode was great and new mecha were teased so I am hoping the quality train continues. Click "read more" and we shall see.


Friday, May 21, 2021

Green Phoenix - My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom Review

My Next Life as a Villainess, All Routes Lead to Doom! light novel volume 1 cover.jpg

Sometimes there comes along an anime that just speaks to you, you know?

I have made it no secret of my love for romance stories in fiction. I also enjoy isekai's and self-aware stories which comment on their own narrative's shortcomings and tropes. Combine all of these with with a very sweet and ditzy main character and a truly humorous comedic plot with the occasional dash of emotion and you have My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom.

Yeah its a mouthful but this anime released in 2020, with a second season set to air in 2022, has been a highlight of my pandemic watch list alongside That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime. The adventures and life of Catarina Claes and her efforts to avoid her death or exile at the hands of a bad dating sim story line is a treat to view and I think you all come to agree with me after my review.

So join me as we take a look at the comedic reverse harem romance that is My Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom.

***

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Mirai Sentai Timeranger Episodes 17 & 18 - Summary/Review




The episodes continue on and the quality is still back and forth with a desperate need to a major plot point to happen. Normally, this would be around the time for the 6th ranger to appear, but this season is going to be a late bloomer with that. So, click "read more" for my coverage of what I predict to be 2 more filler episodes.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Mirai Sentai Timeranger Episodes 15 & 16 - Summary/Review

 



Our quest from the past about a future team continues with 2 more episodes covered. Click "read more" for my full article.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Green Phoenix - Walking with Cavemen Review

 

 Amazon.com: Walking with Cavemen: Robert Winston, Christian Bradley, Alex  Palmer, Oliver Parham, David Rubin, Florence Sparham, Marva Alexander,  Rachel Essex, Faroque Khan, Suzanne Cave, Ruth Dawes, Bill Latka, Pierre de  Lespinois, Steven

At long last, we come to the final of the Walking with... documentaries, not including the specials (like Sea Monsters) or more child-oriented programming.

Released in 2003, Walking with Cavemen was technically the third series in the franchise, as Walking with Monsters wasn't released until 2005. However, I've always held that Walking with Dinosaurs, Walking with Beasts, and Walking with Monsters makes up the trinity of mainline films with Walking with Cavemen acting like more of an expansion of Walking with Beasts, covering largely the same time frame as the latter half of the series.

Walking with Cavemen, as you can imagine, turns its focus largely on the evolution of man. Using many of the same techniques and filming methods employed by the rest of the franchise to explore the lives of the various hominids which called Earth home before modern man, Walking with Cavemen stands in my mind as something as an outlier and oddball among its fellow series.

As I will go into further detail in the actual review segment, Walking with Cavemen makes a few changes to the overall formula that really bother me, despite my love of the subject at hand. Despite a good narrative angle for the documentary, there is only a single massive element which keeps this film from being regarded as equal to the rest of the franchise.

***

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Power Rangers - My Top 5 Red Rangers



This is it, the Red Rangers. Every season gives their Red Rangers a lot of attention because they are the center of the team, normally the leader, which made narrowing down to 5 picks very difficult. Nevertheless, I did my best, so click "read more" to read about them.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

The Extreme Etymology of Sonic the Hedgehog


 

I don't think it's a particular stretch to say that Sonic The Hedgehog was a significant part of my early childhood. Ever since I was but a wee lad in the early nineties, playing Sonic 2 on the Genesis before I was even toilet trained, I can say that I was incensed by the speed freak's fast-paced platforming escapades. Though I was too young and too poor to be able to catch other parts of the franchise as it was developing in the west--the Archie comics, the numerous cartoons (both good and bad), and its many storybooks, I did try my best to keep up with the franchise as it crossed consoles and generations. I didn't own all of the games--I still don't to this day--I always kept pace in some fashion with the nitro-fueled needle mouse, even as I watched him burn out in much the same way a lot of Nineties kids did.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Green Phoenix - The King's Speech Review

 A film poster showing two men framing a large, ornate window looking out onto London. Colin Firth, on the left, is wearing as naval uniform as King George VI, staring at the viewer. Geoffrey Rush, on the right, is wearing a suit and facing out the window, his back to the reader. The picture is overlaid with names and critical praise for the film.

I'm super excited about today's article.

The King Speech, directed by Tom Hooper, is an Oscar-winning drama that was released in 2010 to near universal acclaim. As a fan of not only history, but stories about monarchies, and cinematic dramas, this film was essentially purpose built for me to love it. I realize that I don't usually give my impression of a film in the introductory segments of these articles, but I don't really feel like diffusing my enthusiasm.

Seeing the term Oscar-worthy, and realizing that the Academy Awards was only last week as of writing this article, I am reminded of the fact that more many filmgoers, the Oscars haven't ever really been an indicator of mass appeal and most people will likely never see the films which are graced with such awards unless they happen upon them when binge-streaming. An unfortunate reality of our world but one I hope articles like this can hopefully rectify.

Back in college, I established a reputation for myself as being drawn to the more popular forms of cinema rather than esoteric arthouse films (much to my fellow classmates  derision), and I hope that artistic appreciation for less "artistic" films has garnered trust in you all to be open-minded towards a more artistic and dramatic piece. There are no great action scenes in The King's Speech, only a deeply personal story of a friendship between a man who would be king and his eccentric speech therapist. The film is in many ways, the perfect "Oscar" movie and is therefore likely ignored by many for more action-packed blockbusters.

I hope therefore that this review might drive you all to check out this incredible dramatic story, based on real history.

***

Saturday, April 24, 2021

MAMIYA -Visual novel review


Welcome to my review regarding the visual novel MAMIYA. Well lets get right into it, shall we? 

MAMIYA will be available on steam April 30th of 2021. It's a visual novel centered around some rather heavy psychological themes. So I do want to make sure to put a small trigger warning of sorts. It deals with things related to abuse, self-harm, gender identity and things in that realm. If you find these subjects extremely hard to handle then I recommend you skip this one for a bit. Otherwise then I highly recommend this game. I've always been pulled towards things involving psychology. Which this game does a very good job with that. Some very realistic and relatable   thoughts and feelings. Well with that warning, let's get into the details of this dark tale.  


Friday, April 23, 2021

Green Phoenix - Blazing Saddles Review

 Blazing saddles movie poster.jpg

Comedy films, in my opinion, have always been difficult to objectively review due to the inherently subjective nature of comedy itself. Not everyone finds the same things funny. However, there are aspects and themes that a comedy can touch upon that help to transcend it beyond your average run-of-the-mill kneeslapper into a piece of historically significant art. Today's film is one such piece.

Director Mel Brooks 1974 satirical Western Blazing Saddles has become almost legendary as "the film that could never be made today" due to its heavy racial themes and subjects. As I will go into further detail, I believe who make this claim are missing something very fundamental about the film that helps to elevate beyond a simple parody of Western films into an entire critique of American race relations as portrayed in media and the very notion of American exceptionalism that is exemplified in the Western genre as a whole.

For how crass and vulgar the film was then and now, it is easily one of the smartest and most subversive comedies that has ever been made and, in my opinion, represents the absolute best of what Mel Brooks could do directorally and what film parody can become. I love watching and referencing this movie often and was extremely excited when I realized that I could review it. So here we go guys...the most controversial film I've reviewed thus far, Blazing Saddles.

***

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Power Rangers - Top 5 Ranger-Like Allies

 



These are heroes that aren't technically Power Rangers, but still part of the team. This should be a more fun list. Click "read more" for my full article. (Debatably, a couple of them made their way onto the Black Rangers lists, but I considered those 2 rangers.)


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