7 Surprising Ways the Original Oldboy Manga Differs From the Korean Film

Tuesday, November 26, 2013 at 6:00 am


Here we are on the cusp of Spike Lee's all-new version of Oldboy, which promises to be an intriguing new spin on Park Chan-wook's internationally renowned revenge thriller [watch for the review coming later today - ed]. Instead of Choi Min-sik grasping a hammer and looking dangerous, we've got Josh Brolin to look forward to, while Sharlto Copley steps into shadowy antagonist Yoo Ji-tae's shoes. But the trajectory of this new film version has some interesting curves to it; before Lee and Brolin got the project off the ground, the principals were director Steven Spielberg and actor Will Smith. This earlier take, Smith said, would be an adaptation of the original manga, and not the Park film.

But really, you're wondering, how different could they be? In broad strokes, film adaptations of comic books are often pretty faithful to the source material. They kind of have to be, or it places the appeal of the original, a major hook for getting people into the film, at risk. But what Park Chan-wook accomplished with his 2004 Oldboy, when compared to Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi's manga, is a startling piece of work: a film that faithfully reproduces the style and circumstances of the original, but with a more bluntly menacing tone and some very different story elements. Let's have a look at nine ways Park's Oldboy is a very different animal from the original manga, and how that might reflect on Lee's film. Obviously, this thing is going to be full of tantalizing spoilers; if you want to experience these twists without your mind expectantly searching for them, go to Dark Horse Comics and grab the manga from them.

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8 Reasons "The Day of the Doctor" Made Me (Almost) Completely Forgive Steven Moffat

Monday, November 25, 2013 at 6:00 am


"The Day of the Doctor" debuted last Saturday at the same time all around the world, breaking the Guinness World Record for the largest global simulcast of a drama. But the big news for Doctor Who fans was how the show's 50th-anniversary special changed much we thought we knew - just as writer/showrunner Steven Moffat promised it would. Also shown in 3D in movie theaters, the 75-minute episode featured an epic adventure in which Matt Smith's Eleventh Doctor, David Tennant's Tenth Doctor and John Hurt's newly revealed War Doctor teamed up to face a devastating moment from the Doctor's involvement in the legendary Last Great Time War - and pulled a move akin to J.J. Abrams' reboot of Star Trek. One's mileage may vary on whether the new Trek is any good; I have serious issues with it, but I do admire how writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman managed to simultaneously provide a clean slate while not erasing anything that came before.

And what Moffat did with "DotD" achieved a similar end for the Doctor, boldly rewriting a crucial point in the Time Lord's timeline without taking away anything that's already happened. That is one of Moffat's true strengths: coming up with clever twists on what we think we know. And here, that twist alone was enough to make me almost forgive Moffat for every annoying thing he's done since taking the reins from previous showrunner Russell T. Davies. Read on for more on that, and the seven other reasons that "The Day of the Doctor" has me giving the Moff a pass at last.

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Xbox One's 7 Big Wins and 3 Total Fails

Friday, November 22, 2013 at 6:00 am

A mere week after Sony unleashed PlayStation 4, here comes Microsoft's Xbox One, just in time for all those crazy Black Friday sales. I've been using the One for about a week now, and have come to love and hate certain aspects of this next generation of consoles.

Full disclosure: I'm pro early adoption. Fun fact: my gamertag (pajamo) on Xbox Live has the motto "late adopters are dolts." Word. I've been pretty excited for a new generation of consoles, but I've also been happy that it's taken much longer than normal for their emergence day. The 360 debuted way back in 2005. Imagine: no iPhones, no Netlifx streaming, no Hulu to speak of.

This week. I'm focusing on the Xbox One the machine as opposed to the launch games. Specifically, Xbox One's 7 big wins and 3 total fails:

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10 Reasons Why American Horror Story: Coven Is the Gayest Horror/Fantasy Show Ever

Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 6:00 am


American Horror Story: Coven, FX Network's latest iteration of the hit anthology series, this time set in the world of New Orleans witches, is, quite simply, the gayest horror/fantasy genre show ever made. What's funny is, if you're not gay, or don't have any close gay friends or family members, you might watch this show and not ever even realize it. After all, unlike the past two seasons of the show, American Horror Story: Murder House, or American Horror Story: Asylum, both which had prominent lesbian and gay characters, this season only has one small part for a gay role.

So if the show barely has any gay characters, just what makes it so gay? How about everything. While this season might not have a prominent LGBT character (yet) it is seriously overflowing with queer sensibilities, humor and references. Openly gay creator Ryan Murphy's other show, Glee, the one about musical theater and gay bullying, has nothin' on this show when it comes to gayness. American Horror Story: Coven is gayer than the entire LoGo Networks and Project Runway combined, and here are but ten reasons why.

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8 J-Rock Bands That Don't Totally Suck

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at 6:00 am


You're most likely a fraud. Yes, you. Sitting at your keyboard. You've watched some amount of anime, and you think the term "J-Rock" holds some kind of meaning for you. Whether it brings back nostalgic memories of your favorite shojo theme song, or flashes of Shonen Knife music set to Power Puff Girls clips on Cartoon Network, chances are, you have a favorite. Or you think you do, anyway.

Well, its time to throw out those rose-tinted glasses and get real - most of that stuff is garbage. Complete ass. I bob my head to the Evangelion theme song just like everybody else, but I'd never pay money to see it performed live. Nor do I have any interest in buying an entire album by whoever wrote that syrupy nonsense.

But guess what? There's actually a ton of J-Rock that's totally relevant, substantial and genuinely excellent music that doesn't need the crutch of anime to hold it up. We've got eight to start you off.

And no, I do not mean Gackt.

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The 13 Best Fictional Bird Monsters

Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 6:00 am


Hope, according to Emily Dickinson, is the thing with feathers. But for some people, fear can be a thing with feathers, too. Put simply, birds can be scary as crap. Napoleon Dynamite clearly felt it, when he anxiously asked his employer "Do the chickens have large talons?"

This being Turkey Month, so to speak, and with the amusing, imaginatively silly Free Birds now in theaters, it seems like a good time to pay tribute to a few of pop culture's more memorable beastly birds. A pre-emptive note, however: I've chosen to omit The Birds, Hitchcock's near-masterpiece of 1963, not because it isn't a classic, but because its feathered fiends are experienced in the aggregate, as a massive collective menace, and I'm after big-ass birds, preferably with individual personalities. No disrespect intended. Please don't peck my eyes out.

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10 Reasons to Both Anticipate and Fear "The Day of the Doctor."

Monday, November 18, 2013 at 6:00 am


We finally got two official trailers - one short, one longer - for "The Day of the Doctor," along with another BBC preview clip released last Friday for the annual Children in Need telethon. Also last week, the Beeb put out "The Night of the Doctor," the first mini-episode prequel to the 50th-anniversary Doctor Who special. The trailers sparked excited speculation about what this landmark episode has in store, but the minisode gave us a really awesome surprise: Paul McGann's Eighth Doctor (finally sporting some decent footwear) in a nearly seven-minute story that wove some of his peripheral-media adventures more tightly into TV Who, waved to the Classic Series by reintroducing the Sisterhood of Karn (last seen in the 1976 Fourth Doctor serial "The Brain of Morbius") and showed us more background on John Hurt's mysterious incarnation of the Doctor (now dubbed the War Doctor).

In the trailers, we see Matt Smith's 11th Doctor meet David Tennant's 10th (and share cute moments of mutual admiration and disdain), and witness the return of companion Rose Tyler (Billie Piper). Not to mention, Daleks! Zygons (Zygons?)! Fez play! Ten on a horse! And Eleven dangling from the airborne TARDIS!

I'm guessing that the 75-minute special - which will be simulcast across the globe on Saturday, November 23, and even get special 3D screenings in movie theaters - has more surprises up its sleeve. But the existence of the minisode makes it pretty clear that, despite the hopes of many fans, we really won't be getting a deluxe episode packed with former Doctors and their companions. (Although you never know. One thing we've learned about showrunner Steven Moffat is - as he's so fond of saying about the Doctor - Moffat lies.) Here's why that's good - and bad.

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8 Observations on Surviving a Playstation 4 Midnight Launch

Friday, November 15, 2013 at 6:00 am

Jason K. Helton

There's nothing quite like a console launch to get gamers riled up. At the start of the 2013 holiday shopping season we're graced with not one but two major console launches: the Playstation 4 and Xbox One. This is great news for gamers, because having the two dominant console companies throw down at the same time means innovation, inventory and affordability. It also means that if you've been telling the kids no to the Wii U thus far, you won't have any problems finding one this holiday season.

In recent years, a large part of the excitement of console launches is seeing who can actually get one. With the wonders of Internet shopping, it was pretty easy to ensure that you got the console of your choice on launch day, provided you made the leap to pre-order before you actually knew the specs. Even still, it was possible for some time to ensure that your system would be arriving at your home on launch day, but where is the fun in that? Why sit in comfort at home waiting for the UPS truck to arrive with your bundle of electronic joy when you can instead freeze your collective asses off waiting in line in hopes of being one of those lucky, procrastinating (or poor) few who couldn't or wouldn't pre-order, who end up walking out victorious?

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The 11 Best New Sixth-Generation Pokémon

Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 6:00 am

Well, considering that absolutely no other notable major video games worth purchasing came out this week, I'd say this would be a good time to finally take a look at Pokémon X & Y, no? Particularly the stars of the game: the various all-new Pokémon that make up this brand new generation.

Now, in case you're wondering where the typical review is and why we're kind of late to the party here...well, that's largely due to personal technical difficulties getting in the way. Plus, it's honestly kind of a hard game to review...but for those of you still wanting to get the basic pros and cons...

PROS: The new graphics and scenery are really damn nice, there are more improved ways to gain experience, online play is easier and better than ever, the gameplay is still solid and fun, Pokémon-Amie can be kind of awkward but is ultimately awesome, and the new Pokémon (mostly) kick ass.

CONS: Pokémon Hordes are annoying, Wonder Trade is pretty much a huge unbalanced load, precision movement can be annoying, HM-required roadblocks are still a pain (and mandatory at some truly annoying points), the game is indeed pretty damn easy, more than a few new features seem superfluous (especially PR videos), Team Flare is just too damn stupid to take seriously, the characters and story feel like a step down from Black and White, Mega Evolutions just feel like silly, blatant fan service, and there are too few new Pokémon.

But I'm ranting here, and no one ever likes that. Besides, leaked info seems to suggest that there may be more Pokémon to add to the game after all...but until then, we can celebrate the current highlights of this new Pokémon generation (not counting the Mega Evolutions as new Pokémon, because even the Pokédex doesn't). Because despite smaller numbers, the franchise can definitely still hit it out of the park when it comes to lovable (and marketable) new critters indeed. But is that fact, or is it my own screwy tastes talking? Press on for more...

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10 Reasons Not to Buy a Next-Gen Console At Launch

Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at 6:00 am


A new dawn is upon us, gamers! Fancy, expensive, and more importantly, new video game systems are set to launch this week and next. Sony's Playstation 4 is first out the gate on November 15th, with Microsoft's Xbox One nipping at its heels on November 22nd. The lines in the sand have been drawn, blood has been spilled over the course of many E3 tech demos, and battles are forged daily on the charred battlegrounds of Twitter and GameFAQs and NeoGaf. Soon, very soon, the systems will be out in the wild, and in the hands of hungry gamers.

Unless you didn't get a chance to pre-order one of them. In which case, you are boned. (You are more than welcome to spend several hundred dollars more to scalpers on eBay and Craigslist, though!)

But maybe that's not such a bad thing. History has shown that, time and time again, the launches of new video game systems are rarely - if ever - truly successful. Here are ten reasons NOT to buy a next-gen video game system at launch!

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