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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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Dead Man DVD Dead Man 10th Anniversary Edition. DVD Review

I'm not dead. Am I?

Publisher: Director's Suite, brought to you by Madman Entertainment

Fri, 19 August 2005

Sammy by: Hillelman

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Every so I receive a product for review that causes me to smile like an idiot and say, "my life is awesome!" One of those times occurred just the other day, when the DVD of Jim Jarmusch's Deadman arrived. The film has long been a favourite of mine and this 10th Anniversary edition disc (courtesy of Madman's excellent Director's Suite series label) has ensured that it will forever remain that way.

Jarmusch both wrote and directed the movie. I'm going to, once again, resort to my lazy act of taking the plot synopsis straight from the back of the DVD case (hey, some bastard probably gets paid to write these things, so we might as well make the most of 'em):

"Dead Man is the story of a young man's journey, both physically and spiritually, into very unfamiliar terrain. William Blake travels to the extreme western frontiers of America sometime in the 2nd half of the 19th century. Lost and badly wounded, he encounters a very odd, outcast Native American, named "Nobody," who believes Blake is actually the dead English poet of the same name. The story, with Nobody's help, leads William Blake through situations that are in turn comical and violent. Contrary to his nature, circumstances transform Blake into a hunted outlaw, a killer, and a man whose physical existence is slowly slipping away. Thrown into a world that is cruel and chaotic, his eyes are opened to the fragility that defines the realm of the living. It is as though he passes through the surface of a mirror, and emerges into a previously-unknown world that exists on the other side."

Dead Man DVD screenshot 1
The view from here is not too shabby.
William Blake is played by the preposterously handsome Johnny Depp. It was his performance here that really turned me into a lifelong fan of his work. Depp has a reputation for choosing some great and interesting roles and William Blake would have to be one of the very best examples of that.

The viewer takes the journey with Blake, whose destiny leads him to evolve from a meek and unassuming little man, into an almost mythical character. Johnny helps make that journey a convincing one. If you look closely at how different his character is towards the end of the movie, compared to the beginning, I'm sure you'll agree the transformation is a remarkable one.

Depp's performance is not the only memorable one in Dead Man. Gary Farmer is superb and thoroughly endearing with his portrayal of "Nobody". In fact, the acting in the film is outstanding across the board and the casting choices are truly excellent. Crispin Glover, Jonh Hurt and Robert Mitchum are just a few of the names that spring to mind. I have also always loved Iggy Pop's hilariously bizarre cameo appearance as Salvatore "Sally" Jenko. .

Jarmush's brilliantly written story has elements of the archetypical 'hero's journey' combined with the style of a twisted fairy tale (the likes of which the Grimm brothers might have produced, had they indulged heavily in various mind altering substances). Of course, due mainly to the setting, Dead Man is essentially a western movie, but I think it can appeal to people who (unlike myself) don't usually care for that genre.

There's plenty here to sink your teeth into and interpret in different ways, so it rewards repeat viewing. But if you just want to have fun with it and not think so much, you can watch it on that level too. It can be funny, touching, dramatic, introspective; I guess you could say that it has a little bit of everything and which parts stand out most really depends on what kind of mood you are in at the time.

The dialogue is, just like the story, superbly written. It is darkly humorous and there's a poetic rhythm to much of it (and I don't just mean the lines that are direct quotes from William Blake poems). Some of the words that come out of these eccentric character's mouths are eminently quotable as well, for those who enjoy that sort of thing.

Dead Man is beautifully filmed in black and white. Some of the movie's shots are so nicely done that I wouldn't mind getting them framed, to hang on my wall. The DVD's 16:9 aspect ratio offers a pristine transfer that gives the visuals the respect they deserve.

The sound quality of the DVD is top notch too, which pleases me greatly as Neil Young's score is yet another area in which Dead Man excels.

There's little in the way of bonus features, but the included deleted scenes, theatrical trailer and music video of Neil Young's "Dead Man Theme" are better than nothing at all. That's really the only weak point of this release, but when the movie itself is so good, it doesn't really bother me.

Dead Man DVD screenshot 2
The eagle never lost so much time as when he submitted to learn from the crow.
Dead Man won't work for everyone, purely because it is not a mainstream style of picture. It is also fair to say that the movie can be an acquired taste. I'd suggest, to those who have not seen it already, you should watch it right through at least twice before judging it. If you still don't like it after that, you probably never will. But if you do get into it on that second look, you'll most likely grow to love it by the third time!

For the people who are won over by it, Jim Jarmusch's Dead Man is one you will enjoy watching many times over and find new ways to appreciate with each viewing. I find it hard to believe that Dead Man has been around for 10 years now, where has the time gone? The movie is just as fresh today as it ever was though, it certainly has a timeless quality to it. In my mind, rental isn't good enough for this movie, this is one that deserves to be owned.


by: Hillelman

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Dead Man rocks! I will probably end up wearing this DVD out from viewing it so many times.

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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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