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Games
GamelogoBy Australian Ninja

Remnants & Relics. Buttonhole *Special* Feature

Welcome dear reader to Remnants & Relics, the first in an ongoing series of features looking back at various aspects of yesterday's video games. This series is one that I'd hoped to kick off many months ago, but I just haven't had the time to do it justice, until now. So consider this your opportunity to put on your best pair or rose-tinted glasses, open up a luke-warm can of clichés and prepare to hop aboard the way-back-machine.... It came from beyond two dimensions! -A Look Back at Isometric Gaming-

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Toons
ToonlogoBy Australian Ninja

ACMI Day Tripper

Welcome Buttonhole readers to another feature that is so choc-full of goodness that I've divided it into several sections. The top half is about the Indy video games showcased at ACMI. The bottom half is about the Pixar exhibit. It's ridiculously long and all terribly interesting to read, so you may as well read it in two halves, or just the parts that interest you. After reading about the ACMI exhibits on their website and getting more than a little excited, I decided to make the perilous trek to inner Melbourne. With time on my side and money stuffed in my pocket I ventured forth to the train station. Once on board I passed the time by staring out the window, reading a volume of Dark Horse's Concrete and snacking on tasty fruit. Arriving at Flinders St, I wandered around until inevitably finding my way out of the rat-maze like station.

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Toons
ToonlogoBy Australian Ninja

Classic Comic-book Review. Kraven's Last Hunt

"Here lies Spider-Man - Slain by the Hunter" So reads the grave of one of histories greatest superheros. "But he's not dead, is he? What happened to everyone's favourite web-slinger? Spidey seems to be alive and well now, what with his three movie deal and a string of monthly Marvel comic-book titles to his name, so why was he buried six feet under? The year is 1987. The company is Marvel. The character is Sergei Kravinov also known as 'Kraven the Hunter.' Back in the 60's Stan and Steve (Lee and Ditko, respectively) churned out a heap of cool villains for the title "Amazing Spider-Man." Doctor Octopus, The Cham

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Spider-man 2 dvd cover Spider-Man 2. DVD Review

Does whatever a spider can.

Publisher: Columbia

Wed, 5 January 2005

Sammy by: Hillelman

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The second Spidey movie has more of everything than the first. More impressive action sequences, more romance, more humour and more of that fiery, sexy lady herself; Aunt May (Rosemary Harris)! And Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) is in there too.

The plot picks up not long after the events of the original film. Peter is now in college and he's even more of a dorky loser than ever. You know those days when nothing you do seems to work out and absolutely everything seems to go wrong? Well, for poor old Parker, every day is like that. The story takes a bit of a slower pace and focuses more heavily on the romantic aspects of Peter and Mary Jane this time around, which may put some people off. But it is just building the characters into people you can understand and care about and also sticks pretty close to the way the Spidey comics tend to work best. The dialogue is amusing and sharp, except for a couple of rather cheesy lines here and there which are easily overlooked (and some might argue those lines are fitting anyway, given the roots of the material). You can rest assured that there's still no shortage of breathtaking action on offer.

The cast is uniformly great. Toby Maguire has the part of Peter/Spidey down so well now that it is almost impossible to imagine anyone else in the role. Dunst is convincing as the determined, strong willed, yet slightly insecure Mary Jane Watson. James Franco plays Harry Osborn and does the angry young man routine nicely. And then there's the rest, who are all good too (how's that for in depth?).

Spider-man 2 is a resounding success in almost every way. The best part of the film is that it is just so much fun. Much of that fun is invoked by the spectacular visuals. Spidey is an extremely striking character and watching him swing through the city is a great thrill. He has a slightly updated costume and more of his cool moves and poses from the comics have been added, making him more eye-catching than ever.

New villain Otto Octavius, aka Doctor Octopus (or Doc Ock for short), is very striking too. I had concerns about this character (played by Alfred Molina) being translated from comics to the big screen. A guy with mechanical tentacles works fine in the funny books, but as a movie character it could seem pretty kooky. I was afraid he might end up looking utterly silly. But, no worries, he looks great and is expertly realised using clever design and a combination of puppetry and computer generated effects. He's much more impressive than the first movie's Green Goblin. His mechanical arms really give the impression of having a mind of their own. They convey a tremendous sense of power too, as Doc Ock uses them to throw cars around or smash through walls and climb up buildings. Molina is excellent in the role of Octavius, the scientist driven insane by his own ego and ambition. He has a nice wobbly set of man boobs on him too, if you happen to be into such things. That's ok though; Doc Ock is supposed to look that way- he's a scientist, not a bodybuilder.

Danny Elfman composed the score of the film (as he did for the first Spider-man). Elfman's work rarely disappoints and once again he has hit the nail right on the head here. His opening theme music (which is accompanied by artwork by legendary comic painter Alex Ross) is, in my opinion, perfect.

Sam Raimi did a superb job directing the first Spider-man film, but he has easily surpassed those efforts with the sequel. I'm a big Raimi fan and Spidey 2 has his style shining through in nearly every scene. The awesome Doc Ock scene in the hospital, for instance, is classic Sam. It is great to see such a creative director given the opportunity to have fun with a huge budget. He's really making the most of his chances too; some of his sequences here are incredibly inventive and put those in most similar types of movies to shame. Of course the incredible special effects enable many of these scenes to work. What they can do these days with computers and other effects never ceases to amaze me.

There's certainly no shortage of extras on this two disc dvd set. You can geek your little heart out to two different commentaries (the one with Raimi and Maguire was quite entertaining), a blooper reel, making of featurettes and plenty of other stuff until the cows come home. The majority of it is actually interesting and worth checking out too, which is always good.

Another thing worth mentioning is that film is packed with references for readers of the Spider-man comics, which adds significantly to the geek appeal. There are also many little tips of the hat for Sam Raimi devotees; the appearance of Sam's brother Ted, Bruce Campbell and so forth.

Spider-man 2 is an awesome dvd with a wide-ranging appeal. It now takes the top spot as my all time favourite superhero flick (except perhaps for Pixar's The Incredibles; but that's a story for another time), but even those not particularly into the genre should find the movie enjoyable. With the great quality transfer and abundance of snazzy extras this is definitely one to own.


by: Hillelman

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Gets my spidey sense tingling every time.

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Toons
ToonlogoBy Borgieman

Manifest '07 Report

Ninja's note: Once again, it's time for another Buttonhole report on the Melbourne Anime Festival, otherwise known as Manifest 2007. If you missed Ichibod's feature on a previous Manifest, check it out here. This Manifest coverage comes to you courtesy of forum regular and newest Buttonhole contributor Borgieman, a cool guy who knows his Anime and has been known to play a video game or two. So read on true believers! A Day at Manifest 2007

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Toons
ToonlogoBy Australian Ninja

Only Yesterday. Anime Review

The problem with having favourite films is that every time I watch another Studio Ghibli film it becomes my new favourite. It kind of renders the word 'favourite' meaningless when every Studio Ghibli film takes my breath away. Still, I can't complain about being thoroughly entertained by this whimsical and insightful film, "Only Yesterday". This gem was directed by Isao Takahata, well known for his anime film Grave of the Fireflies. Although Only Yesterday is a light hearted film that ambles along at a leisurely pace, it still manages to explore themes such as love, work, family relationship struggles, following your dreams and country versus city living. In the film, the main character Taeko decides to take a working vacation in the country, getting away from her office bound job and unexpectedly starts t

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Toons
ToonlogoBy Jason

Speed Grapher V1. Anime Review

Well, "I don't like it" was my initial feeling when viewing this Anime for the first time. Subsequent viewings haven't changed my views a great deal. Nothing really stands out as being absolute shit but it seems that this series tries too hard. It's almost like they were more interested in creating something 'edgy' and confronting but sadly forgot to include an even remotely palatable story. The hero of this particular piece is a bloke called Tatsumi Saiga. Tatsumi is a photographer and a veteran war journalist for whom taking photos has become somewhat of a fetish. Although he seems to have become jaded - nothing is worth wasting his film on - that is, at least until he stumbles across an exclusive club for the mega rich

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