Reviews

Movie Review: Iron Man 3

After The Avengers obliterated previous box-office records last May, Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe ceremoniously kicked off with this summer's first official blockbuster, Iron Man 3.  Robert Downey Jr.'s fifth foray as the genius / billionaire / playboy / philanthropist Tony Stark (including his cameo after the credits of 2008's The Incredible Hulk) introduces new struggles for the swaggering superhero, both internal and external, as well as a slew of new gadgets and gizmos manufactured to bring his latest challengers to their knees.  Taking over directing duties for series veteran Jon Favreau is Shane Black, better known as the screenwriter who gave us Lethal Weapon, a move that clearly hasn't stopped this third installment from solidifying the second-biggest opening weekend in history.  But the question remains -- does Iron Man 3 continue the franchise's golden streak or serve solely as a time-waster until The Avengers 2 blasts into theaters in 2015?

Movie Review: TMNT

The emotional trauma endured by audiences unfortunate enough to have paid admission to 1993's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III sent a ripple through the fearsome foursome's once-bubbly fanbase that would be felt for years to come.  Fourteen years, to be exact, would pass before another full-length Ninja Turtles movie would grace the big screen, ushering in the next era for the band of subterranean "heroes in a half-shell."  The boys in green were introduced to a brand new generation of potential Turtle-ites with TMNT, busting into theaters on March 23, 2007, nearly two decades after the release of the first live-action film.  Implementing Hollywood's rapidly-growing CGI trend and boasting a budget larger than the previous three movies combined, the ultimate question would soon present itself -- would this latest installment of the beloved series glisten like a freshly-waxed shell, or would it be shredded and splintered by Turtle fanatics the world over?

Album Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Coming Out Of Their Shells

At the height of their popularity, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were everywhere -- on the big screen with the live-action movies, on the small screen with the classic cartoon series, on home video game consoles worldwide and on the colorful pages of comic books.  As kids growing up through the 80s and 90s, we just couldn't get enough of our "heroes in a half-shell," and it didn't take long for food conglomerates to get their eager hands in on the action.  Companies shoehorned the Turtles into their products any way they could, from the Ninja Turtles cereal (more or less Chex with Turtle-shaped marshmallows to turn the milk green) to Hostess's Ninja Turtle Pudding Pies (a sugary, puke-colored crust encasing a load of vanilla pudding) to Chef Boyardee's Turtle Pasta (which tasted like any other concoction released by the carb-loving cuisinier).  But all of these barely-edible creations paled in comparison to the plot devised by Pizza Hut in 1990...

Video Game Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game (NES)

After the success of Konami's superb TMNT arcade game in 1989, the company was quick to right the wrongs of the first Turtles NES release.  So, in 1990, Ultra Games (a Konami publisher) ported the arcade game to the NES and dubbed it Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game.  Just so you know, I'm old...so I remember when the arcade game was wheeled into restaurants and Wal-Marts everywhere.

Movie Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III

After the box-office success of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret Of the Ooze, New Line Cinema gave the go-ahead to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, the final film of the original live-action trilogy.  Unlike Part 2, which was thrusted into theaters less than a year after the first movie's release, Part 3 was given a little extra time to simmer.  Fans of the Turtles were champing at the bit for another installment, ready to witness yet another spirited adventure piloted by our unconquerable "Heroes In a Half-Shell."  Which beloved characters from the animated TV series would be birthed onto the big screen in the next film?  The possibilities were nearly endless -- Krang, Bebop and Rocksteady, Baxter Stockman, The Rat King, Leatherhead, The Neutrinos... or how about, none of the above?  Yes, the glaring exclusion of some of the franchise's most notorious villains is just one of the reasons why Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III will leave eager viewers green in disgust...

Movie Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret Of the Ooze

Lightning struck twice for distributor New Line Cinema with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret Of the Ooze, the sequel to the original 1990 box-office bulldozer.  The franchise caught fire in 1991, reaching the peak of its popularity with kids and adults alike.  The cartoon series was launching its fifth season and the Playmates action figures couldn't be stocked on the shelves fast enough.  Less than a year after Part 1 blasted into theaters, this fast-paced follow-up received a budget twice the amount of its predecessor, the generous $25 million allowance once again benefiting the incredibly talented special effects virtuosos at Jim Henson's Creature Shop.  Though generally not as commemorated amongst fans, TMNT II's strength lies in its ability to expand upon the Ninja Turtles universe, exposing new elements to the origin story of our "Heroes In a Half-Shell" while still finding time to include a rousing musical performance by the one and only Vanilla Ice...

Video Game Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NES)

Throughout the late eighties and early nineties, children everywhere were completely engrossed in the universe of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  The Ninja Turtles' humble beginning started in the pulpy pages of graphic novels.  Once the Turtles progressed to action figures, turtle fever swept the country.  From there, a cartoon was produced (by the astounding DIC Entertainment), and thousands of products were slathered with the mugs of the four turtles.   As awesome as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are, not every piece of Turtles merchandise was "tubular."

Movie Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was the first film I remember seeing on a theater, one of my earliest, most vivid memories.  I was as jubilant as a five-year-old in 1990 could be -- I'd never missed an episode of the cartoon series, my action figure collection was growing by the week, and now, the house lights were dimming for the first-ever live-action TMNT movie.  93 minutes later, as our family made our way to the car, I recall throwing kicks and punches at invisible opponents all through the parking lot, my head buzzing from what had been, up to that point, the greatest experience of my young life.  Rewatching it as a 28-year-old, the film withstands the test of time as it successfully blends elements from the comic books and TV show, helping it appeal to both older fans of the original comics and newer fans of the cartoons.  Over 20 years later, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles remains a totally radical adventure and still the best movie adaptation for the franchise to date...

Video Game Review: The Walking Dead: The Game (XBOX 360)

Like the endless masses of shuffling undead inhabiting its universe, the fanbase of The Walking Dead is one of eternal hunger.  Always ready to consume the franchise's latest installment regardless of the medium, whether it be in the comics or on the hit television series, followers of the sudden pop culture phenomenon are in for a treat with The Walking Dead: The Game.  The XBOX 360 version was released in five downloadable episodes from April to November 2012 (along with a retail version containing the full game in December) and was an instant homerun for developers Telltale Games.  A mighty step up from previous releases Back to the Future: The Game and Jurassic Park: The Game, the result might not be everyone's cup of tea, but even the most jaded gamer won't be able to deny that The Walking Dead: The Game evokes some true emotions in its players, an accomplishment that very few video games have ever truly achieved...

Movie Review: The Garbage Pail Kids Movie

These days, it isn't uncommon for Hollywood to take advantage of nostalgic moviegoers any way they know how.  Studios snag up every video game, toy line and television series from days gone by, throw in some half-brained story to fill in the holes and then pour the toxic mixture onto screens everywhere with little regard for the source material.  They line their pockets with our hard-earned dollars while simultaneously masturbating with our tears, but we keep going back for more, praying that the next abomination will make up for the latest one already floating around the $5 DVD bin at your nearest Wal-Mart...

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