Views & Reviews From Writer Steve Miller
Formerly Reviews and Stuff at Rotten Tomatoes, 2005 - 2009.

Currently Showing at Cinema Steve

Monday, October 24, 2005

Michael Jackson to go where he can
fondle whatever he wants (so long as he's behind the palace wall)

I feel sorry for the kids who will be sating Michael Jackson's need for young boys, but I'm glad to see that there won't be anymore mockeries made of the American legal system that involves him and his twisted ways.

(Yeah, he was found "Not Guilty," but he was found Not Guilty on all counts, including ones that he was undoubtely guilty of, such as administering alcohol to a minor. That Not Guilty verdict was laughable.)

From the AP... the tale of Jackson going to a place where he can perverted without fear of ever having to answer for his activities.

Jackson To Make Bahrain His Permanent Home

Superstar Michael Jackson has fallen in love with Bahrain after spending the summer in the Middle Eastern nation and now plans to make it his permanent home.

The King of Pop flew to Bahrain shortly after being acquitted of child molestation in a Santa Maria, California court and spent time there as a guest of the crown prince Sheik Salman Ibn Hamed Khalifa. And, after months of speculation suggesting Jackson is planning to sell his Neverland home in California, and make Bahrain his official headquarters, attorney Thomas Mesereau confirms his client is making a life-changing move.

He says, "He's moving on in life. He's living permanently in Bahrain. He has friends there who have been very loyal and helpful to him in a difficult period of his life."

Mesereau, who represented Jackson in his child molestation trial, insists the Middle East has been a tonic for the King of Pop. He adds, "He looks really well."

"Non-flipped" manga are BAD translations

Over the past few years, I've been saving a great deal of money on English-language reprints of Japanese comics (or "manga" as marketing departments and geeky fans tell us they should be called).

I haven't been saving the money because of cheaper prices, I've been saving that money because of badly done translations. In other words, there are plently of manga I'd be buying if the English-language publishers could be bothered to do decent translations. As it is, I'm not parting with my cash.

English is meant to be read left to right. I really, truly don't care that Japanese is read right to left, and the cheap-ass, non-flipped translations don't impress me. These shoddy efforts tick me off even more that the laziness reflected in the way many publishers aren't even bothering to translate (and in some cases not even bothering to footnote) the sound effects, which sometimes are sometimes necessary to fully get what is happening in a sceneIt might give hardcore geeks a warm and fuzzy feeling as they delude themselves into thinking that they are reading the comics as "they were intended" while all they're doing is helping the bottom line of the importers. If they really wanted to read the comics as they were intended, they would learn to read Japanese. (To her credit, the daughter of a co-worker is actually doing just that.)

I swallowed my disgust and annoyance to buy "Kindiachi Mysteries" (and I'm sure there will be others) but I would have enjoyed them alot more if Tokyo Pop could have been bothered to do a decent translation of them.

Dark Horse and Studio Proteus used to do top-notch translations. They would mirror ('flip" the artwork, except in cases where the panel needed to say in its original format, and then they would translate the sound effects and retouch the art. Now, Dark Horse has jumped on the cost-cutting, bad translation bandwagon. The "Oh, My Goddess!" series will now longer be presented in accordance with how English-language books are supposed to be read.

I think this is a tremendous shame. I think it's an even bigger shame that comic book readers are willing to let themselves get ripped off because they've bought into the myth that "manga" is more than Japanese for "comics."

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Famous people deserve to get beat up because they're famous?

This past weekend, a pro-football player from Seattle's team, the Seahawks, was beaten and then kicked when he was down to the point that he ended up in the hospital in a coma. He was attacked outside a bar in Seattle's Party Central, Pioneer Square.

Driving around today, I heard an jackass radio talk-host say what essentially boiled down to the opinion that Hamlin deserved to get beat nearly to death, because a multi-millionaire celebrity like him shouldn't be out partying on a Sunday night.

Where the HELL was that host coming from?! Hamlin has just as much a right to go out with his girlfriend as I have to go out with mine, and as much right as you have to go out with your friends and loved ones. Just because someone is well-known or rich doesn't mean they shouldn't be able to lead their lives unmolested by human vermin.

Now, if Hamlin instigated the fight, maybe it's a slightly different issue. But there is security camera video tape of the assholes he was fighting stomping on him after he was down. That removes it from any realm of "it was his fault." And the attackers shouldn't get ANY sort of break just because Hamlin's famous.

(BTW, I never watch football, and I have no idea who Hamlin is other than what I've heard in the news.[And when I first heard it, I thought it was Colorado talkshow host Ken Hamblin who had been beat up in Pioneer Square! I was just appalled by that host's attitude.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Flying the unfriendly skies...

Red Eye (2005)
Starring: Rachel McAdams and Cillian Murphy
Director: Wes Craven
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars

Early in 2005, I raved about Wes Craven's "Cursed." Now, he's provided another great flick, but one where he's abandoned what has become his signature toungue-in-cheek horror efforts. With "Red Eye", Craven instead provides us with a thriller that stands up to comparison with some of Alfred Hitchcock's best efforts.

The majority of the film tales place in the cramped confines of a red-eye flight from Texas to Florida, as hotel manager Lisa (McAdams) is heading back home. She ends up seated to a charming young named Jackson (Murphy). It turns out that the meeting was anything but chance--Jackson has been watching Lisa for weeks, and he is about to force her to make a cell-call to make her assistant switch the room of a US government official staying at her hotel so assassins can kill him. Lisa is given a choice: Cooperate or have her own father be the murder victim.

"Red Eye" doesn't break any new ground, but it does what it does extremely well. The tension never lets up from the moment Jackson's true nature is first revealed, and the excellent performances by McAdams and Murphy are so engaging that the viewer's attention is never allowed to wander for a second.

If you love thrillers of the Hitchcockian variety, "Red Eye" is a must-see. It also proves that Wes Craven can still direct films aside from goofy, self-referential horror flicks.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Fabulous anime fantasy series

Mask of Zeguy (1997)
Rating: Seven of Ten Stars

"Mask of Zeguy" was originally made as a two-part animated series, although here it is contained on one disc. It features a solid storyline about Miki, a teenaged dscendent of a powerful priestess who is is drawn into the World of the Clouds, a magical realm where she becomes embroiled in a battle to save both it and Earth.

This is a low-priced DVD, with good animations quality, interesting ideas, and plenty of action and twists and turns within a story that should appeal to both girls and boys.

One of the things that I found most appealing was the design of the World in the Clouds... it was a fascinating "what if Leonardo DaVinchi's more offbeat creations actually worked"/magic steam-punk kind of place.

The only caveat to "Mask of Zeguy" is that its storyline assumes alot of knowledge of Japanese history and classic poetry. Some of the figures that Miki meets are well-known Japanese historical/mythical figures, and some of the villians' plans are likewise probably only fully understood with some grounding in Japanese culture. That said, I don't think I have much more knowledge of Japanese history and culture than most Americans, and I enjoyed "Mask of Zeguy," so I'm sure others will, too.

On a note that isn't related so much to the cartoon as it is to its marketing, "Mask of Zeguy" was originally released in the U.S. as simply "Zeguy" (back in 1997). That title makes alot more sense than that given to the current edition--"Zeguy" is a Japanese word that translates, roughly, into "Wow!" or "Amazing!" There is no character in the show named Zeguy, nor is there any "Mask of Wow" anywhere in the program. It looks to me like someone in the marketing department decided the title needed to be punched up, and that he was making his decisions based solely on promo art for the product.

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

God is a television critic?

I hope Mrs. Fiorillo will take her new lease on life and decide to skip EVERY Oprah broadcast for the rest of her life. If there's anything worse than a reality series, it's anything featuring Oprah.

From the AP...

Skipping 'Oprah' May Have Saved Woman

October 05, 2005 8:12 PM EDT

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. - Angelique Fiorillo says the boulder that crashed through one wall of her second-story apartment and out another might have struck her if she'd been in her usual spot watching "Oprah."

Fiorillo said she was in a neighbor's apartment when the table-size rock thundered down Red Mountain Tuesday afternoon.

"We're like, 'Oh my God, what is that?'" she said.

Her husband was at work. Her two cats, Odin and Loki, took cover under a bedroom dresser and were unhurt.

Rain had apparently loosened the mountainside and unleashed a slide that sent the boulder bouncing down the mountainside, glancing off tree branches and then crashing through a corner of Fiorillo's apartment. It landed on the grass lawn outside, leaving a trail of debris indoors and out.