Directed by Shawn Levy
Is Real Steel a Reel Steal? I don’t even know what that sentence would mean, but the answer is yes. Yes it is.
Since that opening makes no sense, let’s delve deeper into the robotic heart of Real Steel. Loosely based on a short story by Richard Matheson (author of I am Legend and Star Trek‘s “The Enemy Within”) that has already been made into a Twilight Zone episode, Real Steel instead goes more Rocky and more father and son bonding movie. And there’s also the Rock’em Sock’em Robots.
As every review will mention the Rock’em Sock’em Robots, I might as well, because that’s what everyone thought when they saw the first trailer. And that’s about all I knew going in to the free advanced screening (once again, TarsTarkas.NET sells out!) So it is pretty good with the fighting robots, except the fact the film is about a father and son bonding, the training robots to fight aspect is just flavor. And to sell toys. Toys that are similar enough that well-meaning grandparents will buy them instead of Transformers. Well, the world needs Go-Bots. But Real Steel is beyond Go-Bots. Real Steel is a flick with some heart. A flick where robots who don’t talk and are controlled remotely by humans have more personality that most of the robots in Transformers. A flick where someone cared about the story almost as much as the robot fighting scenes. It isn’t a great flick, but it isn’t terrible.
Pachinko Queen Explosion
Directed by ???
There are lots of shots of pachinko in the film. If you love pachinko, then Pachinko Queen Explosion is the film for you! If you have no idea what the frak pachinko is, you will be fast-forwarding or surfing the web until the sex action happens.
While trying to find more information about this film than just one actress’s name, I discovered that there are a lot of gambling-themed softcore flicks in Japan. It’s like a whole subgenre. And they’re films you will feel better about watching than Train Molester 9 or something similar.
Like me, you’re probably already familiar with pachinko and all the terminology and controversy around it. But for those one or two readers who aren’t down with the kakuhen system, koatari, or even senpuku kakuhen, let’s do a quick pachinko terminology lesson:
Pachinko – Pachinko is a game of chance played at machines similar to a slot/pinball machine, or the Plinko game on The Price is Right. Balls go down a peg board, and if they hit the center a slot machine type mechanism is activated. Players attempt to win more balls, which are exchanged for prizes or tokens. Tokens can then be exchanged for cash at a different location (direct trading for cash is illegal in Japan!) A pachinko establishment is called a parlor. Pachinko is also popular in Taiwan.
Payout mode – If the pachinko machine hits the jackpot on the slot machine portion, payout mode begins, where a slot opens and the player must get as many balls into the slot as possible, because they win tons of balls for each one.
Kakuhen system – After hitting jackpot, many machines use the kakuhen system, which makes the chances of hitting another jackpot much more likely. A string of jackpots is known as fever mode. Another type of kakuhen system is the special time (or ST) kakuhen, where the player automatically gets the next jackpot, but you don’t get a payout unless you hit certain odds.
Jitan mode – If the player fails to get kakuhen, the player enters jitan mode, where the speed of spins increases and the slot size increases.
Koatari – Koatari became popular in 2007, it is where the jackpot slot opens randomly, even when no balls are in play. It is possible to have jackpots that pay nothing. Use primarily to bump up the displayed payout stats.
Battle-type machines – Type of Kaotari that when opening randomly, causes a player to have to “battle” and “defeat” enemies (aka reach specific goals) in order to get the jackpot and reach the next kakuhen. When you fail battle mode, the machine reverts to jitan mode. The excitement from battling has caused this type to be very addictive.
Senpuku Kakuhen - A hidden kakuhen that happens in koatari, the player unaware of the timing, but usually knowing the approximate odds of getting it. Experienced players can score swooping in on machines that have had consecutive loses without a payout, and the senpuku kakuhen encourages players to stay at one machine for a long time to win the payout.
Now that everyone is a pachinko expert…too bad, because you don’t really need to know much of anything about pachinko for the plot! Just know that you win balls. So let’s get started!
New Manager of the Sumo Club
aka Sumobeya Shinjin Manager
Directed by Katsumi Nojiri
There is a new manager at the Sumo Club. A girl! Time to freak out! GAAAAAAAAH! Okay, all better now. So let’s have an adventure in the erotic world of Sumo Club management, a subject that demands hundreds of cinema entries a month. People just can’t get enough. They’re weird like that. So let’s give people what they want: stories about female coaches of sumo squads.
Directed by Craig Brewer
Written by Dean Pitchford and Craig Brewer
Why, yes, TarsTarkas.NET did get into another free screening, thanks for asking. Footloose is the first screening where we were given instructions that we were required to mention we went for free. As that’s part of the running joke about how TarsTarkas.NET sold out, that isn’t a problem. So are we still sold out? Read on, dear readers…
Standing in line waiting to get into the theater to see Footloose, something happened. My foot began to be loose! Was that budding excitement for going to see the movie? Nope, just a shoelace that came undone. In addition, the official Paramount film crew was there to tape people for commercials, causing us to feign excitement that we’re waiting to see Footloose. We were convincing enough the operator only had to redo filming several times!
Finally, we were let into the theater. Did you know that giving away free stuff is the most effective way to sway opinion to your side? And that food is the most effectively used free stuff? In totally unrelated news, there was a bunch of free swag on our chairs! We got a cup, a bag of candy, and an issue of Footloose Magazine! Finally, something to put next to my issues of Highlights and Tiger Beat! As for the candy, my wife got Smarties and a Butterfinger, and I got some weird colored circle disks. Lame. Strike 1, Footloose! I just stole another candy bag from one of the many empty seats, and got my Butterfinger. There was also a dance contest where they filmed a few people dancing to put up on the official Footloose website so you could vote for a winner to go to the premier in LA. The movie stars were supposed to be there as a surprise, but they were stuck in Phoenix due to plane delays. Strike 2, Footloose! Below I’ve put a photo of all the swag:
None of this could possibly influence me. Mostly because it wasn’t enough of a bribe! If I’m selling out, I’m going to demand top dollar! TWO Butterfingers!
“This movie is about being a little punk rock and bucking the system” says a designer in the free Footloose Magazine handed out right next to their $149.99 designer shoes from the Footloose movie.
The Footloose remake follows the original film closely. Very closely. So closely it eliminates one of the reasons to remake a film: to give a different take on the story. The names are the same, the plot is the same, the events that happen are the same, many of the clothes are the same (yes, ladies, they kept the red boots!) The opening sequence with the feet is the same, at least three of the songs are the same (probably more, I forgot to take count!) Director Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow) even filmed a speech before the film saying how he wanted to respect the original, they got original scribe Dean Pitchford to help write this new version, and the Footloose magazine is filled with people talking about the original film along with the new. I think the fear of being too different may have stifled their creativity, while remaining true to the original probably helped more than it hurt. It is a weird dichotomy that we’ll try to break down more below.
There are a few differences. Ren is more angsty, his mom is dead now (from cancer), the setting is now the deep south and you know it. The tractor race is dumped in place of a school bus roller derby race. Yes. That’s where the buses explode.
But forget all that, what people want to know is, is Footloose 2011 any good? And my answer is: sort of. There are a lot of problems, but it isn’t horrific. It’s perfectly adequate. I can see young kids today liking it just as much as we did as kids. But in a world of High School Musicals and Glee, I’m not seeing this resonate with the same music vibe.
Let’s meet the cast, then jump into the story
The Infernal Brains Podcast has returned to once again infernal your brains. All over dem brains. In this episode, Tars and Todd discuss the worst of the worst that they have encountered in their years and years of chronicling world cinema. Leave behind your Uwe Bolls, your Birdemics, your Plan 9s…These choices are truly the worst from around the globe. Both Tars and Todd each pick a particular film to highlight, discuss, and moan about. What films are they? You gotta listen to find out! Or just look at the tags for clues. But listen anyway, or you’ll regret it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.
As usual, we got a crapload of choices for you: downloadable mp3, embedded flash with slideshow, embedded audio player, and iTunes feed link so you can just download right to your iPod and listen to dudes rambling about awful monster costumes while being bored at work.
Watch in slideshow form:
Links discussed include:
Prior Infernal Brains:
Taiwanese Giant Monster Films Part 1
Taiwanese Giant Monster Films Part 2
Polly Shang Kuan
Turkish Pop Cinema Part 1
Turkish Pop Cinema Part 2
Infernal Brains Podcast – 07 – Insee Daeng