Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Games to get in May

Well, now that I have Mario Kart and Metal Gear Online running with GTA IV on the sidelines and ready to consume another fifty hours of my life, let's take a look at some upcoming titles to consume even more of my silly existence. Oh boy!
(Note: The writer does not actually think his life is silly. He is awesome. Thus, his life is awesome.)

6th- Boom Blox
8th- Echochrome (PSN)
12th- Lost Winds (Wii Ware)
15th- Bionic Commando: Rearmed (PSN and XBLA)
19th- Wii Fit
20th- Haze (PS3)

What's this? Three of the titles listed are only available for download? I guess this is shaping up to be the wave of the future. Echochrome's demo was pretty mind-bending and Lost Winds looks like a fun and unique platformer. As for Bionic Commando, the remake just looks awesome. Old school side-scrolling action with a facelift, new weapons, co-op and more? Count me in.

So what about those disc titles? Boom Blox has Stephen Spielberg's name attached to it, and I read somewhere that means I have to recommend it. Actually, it does look kind of interesting. I'll maybe give it a rent. I threw Wii Fit on there because I'm getting a gamer's paunch and simply can't get enough of these damn plastic peripherals Nintendo keeps jamming down our throat.

As for Haze...Well, the game has been delayed a million times, which does not bode well. Also, it's from Ubisoft and, after Vegas 2's online fiasco, I'm not willing to jump on anything with that company attached to it so blindly anymore. Still, the premise is badical and the game looks like a blast to play. I wantses it, but I might wait to see what the online community thinks before I plunk down another sixty bones.

Movies to miss in May

I look around and I see crap. Crap just waiting to steal your hard-earned money and bludgeon you about the senses with nearly two hours of mindless, emotionless, gutless material that, (a feat which still baffles me) some executive in some office somewhere not only green-lighted but was willing to spend their own studio's money on.

Fear not, faithful readers. I'm here to help warn you of the dangers of bad cinema. I'm sure some will slip through the cracks, but here's a list of definite do-not-sees for the month of May. A better alternative to spending any time with these stinkers would be to just send the money you would have spent on them to me...I won't fault or ridicule you for this route.

Made of Honor: Of the countless things I could razz this movie for, I'm going to narrow in on just one- the name. The premise of the film is a guy decides, after his lifelong friend returns from vacation, he's going to finally propose to her. When she returns, however, she's engaged to someone she met on her travels. Now all our tragic hero has to do is break up the happy couple and sweep his love interest off her feet. Made of Honor? I think not.

What Happens in Vegas- I wish to hell it would have stayed there. Nope. Instead, we get to watch Ashton Married-to-a-lady-twice-my-age Kutcher and Cameron Diaz ham it up in what is passing for a romantic comedy about one night stands and two annoying people who can't seem to tell the difference between love and greed. Without even seeing this one, I'm going to ruin it for you. They start to fall for each other, Ashton does something to ruin it, he does something else to woo Cameron once again, the two lose the money somehow, decide their love is worth more than that, decide to stay married, then discover they still get to keep the money. Love and riches are had by all. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a screenplay to write. I'm sure someone'll buy it.

The Hottie and the Nottie- I warned you about this one two months ago when it was in theaters. That alone should give you some insight into the quality. If you need a refresher, it stars Paris Hilton...Yeah. I thought that would do the trick.

Over her dead body- Awwww. How sweet. A man's dead fiance tries to ruin his next relationship from beyond the grave. Next!

Untraceable- What starts off as a half-decent attempt at creating an original thriller -a guy kills his victims by how many people go to his web site- looks to unravel into yet another brain-dead Saw ripoff with even worse acting. Do your best to let Untraceable live up to its name...Well, kind of it's name. You see, if it's untraceable, you can't find it and then you don't have to...Oh nevermind.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Monday mini-movie: Somebody scream edition

Maybe this makes me a jerk, but one of my favorite things in life is scaring the crap out of people.

I don't set up elaborate traps so much anymore (mainly because now-a-days a good scare could lead to bodily harm or no longer being bffs with someone), but man do I still enjoy seeing people get half-crazed with terror.

To that end, I offer you the above video. Watch, enjoy, get some good ideas.

Here there be monsters: The Mist review

The Mist is director Frank Darabont's third Stephen King movie and, while it doesn't exactly live up to The Green Mile or The Shawshank Redemption, it does at least prove to be one of the better King flicks of all time. Given the subject matter (monsters come out of the mist and terrorize a group of stranded smalltown folk), this is a pretty impressive achievement.

The film gets off to a rushed start but manages to build enough connection between the viewer and the people on-screen to make you legitimately care about most of those who get 'et. (eaten for you city-types. See attached picture for reference.)

As creepy and sometimes scary as the monsters end up being, the true fright of The Mist comes in the form of a fire and brimstone performance from Marcia Gay Harden. Her portrayal of uuber-Christian Mrs. Carmody is utterly terrifying at times and, with her help, the folks inside the store become even more dangerous than the creatures hiding in the murkiness of the mist.

While not exactly poetry in motion, The Mist manages to provide a decent monster movie story with enough emotional, spiritual and social dilemmas to give your brain a workout as well as your jump reflex. While outsiders may scoff at the explanation for the events which unfold, King faithfuls will understand and appreciate the reasons given for the existence of the mist and it's bloodthirsty inhabitants. Still, for the sake of the general public, I think it should have been rewritten.

I loves me some Stephen King, but even when I throw personal bias aside, I can recognize The Mist as a good flick worth your time and five dolla rental fee. If you're a Kingophile (I think I just made up another word), I'd say it's worthy of a full purchase.

Still rockin'. Still rollin'. The Raconteurs.

If you were to take some classic rock, mix it with a bit of blues, and throw it in a tin can with two pennies and a handful of dirt, you'd get the new Raconteurs album Consolers of the Lonely.

Just so we're clear, that was a complement. Consolers is a great evolution for the band with a little down-home oldness mixed with some creative new ideas pulled together by a group of guys who obviously love what they do.

Moving away a bit from the sounds of the debut Broken Boy Soldiers, Consolers is more akin to a beefed-up version of the White Stripes than what you would expect from the Raconteurs. Jack White is discovering himself as a musician with both bands' most recent offerings and I suppose it couldn't be helped if his latest obsessions have bled into both records.

While "Carolina Drama," the last track, is my personal favorite, the thirteen mostly wonderful dittys preceding it make for a great second album. Opening track "Consoler of the Lonely" kicks things off with a rip-roaring sampler of just about everything else you can expect from the album. Hard riffs, clever lyrics and good vocalizing from both of the group's frontmen. Give that one a listen. If you're not sold, don't bother.

Featuring well organized pieces to songs which sound more like a jam session, Consolers delivers a plethora of quality tunes for a wide range of tastes. Pleasantly unpolished and full of life, Consolers of the Lonely is one of those albums that make you want to nod your head, tap your foot and legitimately pay attention to what's being played.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Movie of da week: The Orphanage

While limited cities get to sink their teeth into Zombie Strippers this weekend (I kid you not. It exists.), the real gems of the silver screen for the week look to be DVD-only.

While I quite enjoyed Cloverfield, my recommendation is going to The Orphanage. (Both available for rent or purchase or theft.) I actually plan on watching The Orphanage tonight, so look for the review soon.

I love a good scary movie and this Spanish language frightfest looks to provide plenty of jumps that will stay in the brain for some time to come.

Guillermo Del Toro, most recently of Pan's Labyrinth fame, helped bring this one state-side. Many critics are actually calling it this year's Pan's Labyrinth, which to me is a very good sign.

Not in the mood to get scared half-witless? You could always give One Missed Call a shot. I'm willing to put good money on the fact that movie's existence is the only thing frightening about it. Swish!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Monday mini-movies: Control the population edition

Type in "freaking sweet commercial" on youtube and you might come up with the little gem nested above.

I won't spoil the joke for you. Just click on it and watch.

I LOLed...IRL, of course.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Metal Gear Online- Not gonna lie. I'm kind of excited.

This isn't so much a post about anything as a means by which to kill a few extra minutes in my wait to take part in the Metal Gear Online beta.

I'm looking for feedback, folks.

Anyone hooked up yet? What were your thoughts? Likes and dislikes? Do you enjoy sandwiches?

Delicious ham and cheese lunches aside, I plan on posting my thoughts as soon as I get some quality one-on-one time with the title. The beta fires up tomorrow, so I'm more or less dancing around the house today like a kid before Christmas morning.

The first several days will most likely be plagued with crashes and network errors, but that's why they call it a beta. Right?

Okay, I've wasted enough of your time with nothing useful. As a reward, enjoy this picture of a kitten in a drinking glass.

Bound to be a hit: God of War- Chains of Olympus review

Judging by the numbers, more and more people are going out and getting Sony's portable gaming wonder-device, the Playstation Portable, these days.

If you're one of those folk, or thinking of becoming one, I've got your next/first game to check out; God of War- Chains of Olympus.

When I heard the next GoW game was going portable, I figured there was little chance the title would ever be able to live up to the home console counterparts. With GoW 1 and 2 being some of the best titles the platforming/adventure genre has to offer, I thought there was little chance a slimmed down follow-up would be able to fill the very big sandals of the PS2's Kratos.

When I played Monster Hunter Freedom 2 back in November, my eyes were opened to the sheer amount of "stuff" that could be squeezed onto a UMD disc. When I heard GoW-CoO was being build from the ground up by Ready at Dawn, the guys responsible for the critically acclaimed Daxter game for the PSP, I let my guard down even further.

Put simply, Chains lives up to every expectation I could have had for the title and doesn't pull a single punch along the way. The story is compelling and occasionally very emotional (one scene in particular stands toe-to-toe with anything the console versions have to offer), the controls are tight, the visuals are gorgeous and the action is intense.

While this mini-epic will take most a mere six hours to complete, those are going to be six hours very well spent. Add some extra difficulty levels, unlockables and the Trials of Aires and the time spent with Chains will extend to ten or so hours. The enemies aren't as varied and the puzzles are nearly non-existent this time out, but these complaints are mild compared to just how good everything else is.

Anyone who has played a GoW game will tell you the action is exhausting, the pace is fast and the experience is grandiose. The fact Ready at Dawn was able to cram all of those traits into a portable experience earns them high regard in my book.

God of War- Chains of Olympus is one of the best games the PSP has to offer (as well as 2008 in general) and a perfectly fitting addition to the series' line-up.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Movie of da week: Juno

Well, now that There Will be Blood, No Country for Old Men and Juno have come out on DVD, I think it's safe to say the best flicks 2007 had to offer are officially up for grabs to be added to your home collection.

Speaking of Juno, that's the movie pick for this week. Check out my review here.

I watched this again just last night and it's every bit as good as I remember from seeing it in theaters.

Also, I'm madly in love with Juno. Not the girl who plays her so much as the character herself...I'm pretty sure that's creepy and wrong. Right?

Anyway, if you haven't checked out this comedic gem yet, you hate yourself and babies. Unless you want me to post about how you're a baby-hater, I recommend you go do whatever is necessary to give it a spin.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some Juno-inspired poetry to write that's not awkward or stalkerish in any way.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Monday mini-movies: Near miss edition

I have once again scoured the interwebs in search of the coolest video clips and have returned with a ten-second dose of awesome.

I count about twenty people with a badical story to tell to their grandchildren a hundred times. Thanks to the convenience of modern technology, they can now simply pull up the video online rather than try to describe this ridiculous occurrence with mere words.

Make with the watching.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Movie of da week: There Will be Blood

Woohoo! Another no-brainer. Man, all of these fantastic movies coming out on DVD as of late sure have made my weekly picks a walk in the park. And I LOVE walking in parks.

I'm going to be honest, I can't reccomend There Will be Blood to everyone. It's slow, thoughtful know what? Just read about it here if you haven't already. Save me a few words here.

As for me, I'm waiting on the glorious high-def Blu-Ray to come out somewhere down the road. The cinematography will totally be worth it.

Maybe they should have stayed together: Ashes Divide review

Looking for that "next big thang," I hazarded a purchase this week of the debut album by Ashes Divide entitled Keep Telling Myself it's Alright.

When I saw the album sitting there on the shelf -given the picture and band name- I chuckled a bit thinking I was staring at the latest flavor of the week emo-goth-boy-band.

Turns out I was wrong. Well, mostly. It's still pretty emo and gothic, but the good kind.

What made me take the plunge was a little silver sticker on the cover of the album proclaiming it the product of Billy Howerdel, one of the guys responsible for A Perfect Circle. Turns out "from Billy Howerdel" was almost completely literal. The dude plays damn near every instrument on the album as well as taking on the vocals.

The lyrics are deep enough to sink your teeth into and mostly thoughtful and convincing. I believe Howerdel genuinely had some complex stuff to work through here. The rest, however, offered little in the line of originality. The vast majority of the album sounds like one long track, but even then I wasn't completely turned off.
Keep Telling Myself it's Alright isn't a great album, nor is it terrible. It just IS. The pedigree is there, but the first attempt was nowhere near a homerun.

For those looking for something melodic, calm and occasionally engaging to listen to, give Ashes Divide a spin and see what you think. As background music, it excels. As a unique piece of work worthy of your full attention; not so much.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Monday mini-movies: Matrix ping pong edition

I actually saw this one a while back and completely forgot about it.

You ever wonder what would happen if you were to cross The Matrix with the live-or-die sport of professional ping pong?

This video answers that question and, if I do say so myself, it's a scrumtrulescent little feat.

Watch and be amazed...Do it!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Movie of da week: Sweeney Todd

I guess if you have to go to the theater this weekend, you might try out The Ruins. It looks like The Descent Black? Anyway, too many warning bells went off in my head to give it the recommendation, but there's always the chance it won't suck big time.

I saw Shine a Light and recommend it to music and Rolling Stones fans alike, but all others need not apply.

So yeah, I'm going to recommend Sweeney Todd this week; but with some hesitation.

In case you missed it, this film is a musical. I'm talking very, very little talkie-talkie and whole bunches of singie-singie and bloody-bloody.

The movie itself is gorgeous and the performances are great, but all that singing and squirting red stuff can be a bit of a burden after a while.

Movies to miss in April

Wow. A nice portion of the spectrum of craptitude is pretty much covered this month.

We've got ourselves a wretched sequel, a sure-to-be terrible teen "horror" flick and even a little gem from one of the worst directors in the business. I can hardly wait to mock!

Alien vs. Predator- Requiem: What do you get when you cross an already bad cross-over picture with a less competent team than the first go-round? For your answer, see AVP-Requiem. Or better yet, don't see it. The promise of moving the series from the silly PG-13 rating up to an appropriate R is totally wasted when a slew of faceless, stereotyped bumpkins find their home town to be the breeding ground of an epic (read: horribly shot) battle between warring alien species.

In the Name of the King- A Dungeon Siege Tale: Yaaay! It's quite possibly the last Uwe Boll piece of crap we'll ever see make it to theaters. If there is a higher power, the folk who actually watch this garbage are proof the guy has a sense of humor. That, or the fact these movies exist are a kickback to his more wrathful days.

Prom Night- Speaking of a second rate horror movie (see AVP-R), this one doesn't even manage to scare up enough reason to grace the final product with an R rating. A baseball cap wearing psycho teacher stalks his purdy students on the most specialest night of the year. I'd rather attend the real thing at my current age than sit through this, thanks.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Games to get in April

As should be expected to follow any flood of Biblical proportions, a videogame drought has hit this month.

Well, it's kind of a drought. There are only a few titles I'd recommend anyone pick up, but they all look to be quality. Okay, that's a bit of an understatement. At least half (two of four doesn't sound as epic) of the games recommended for April are going to be blockbuster hits.

Thankfully they come out on the same week. I was almost afraid I'd have to spend some quality one-on-one time with a title for a change.

15th- Okami (Wii)
22nd- The World Ends With You (DS)
27th- Mario Kart Wii (Wii, duh)
29th- Grand Theft Auto 4 (PS3, 360)

Having completed Okami on the PS2 a year ago, I can definitely vouch for its quality. Expect 60 glorious hours of beauty, frantic action and lovable characters.

The World Ends With You is by Square Enix...Nuff said.

As for Mario Kart and GTA4, if these aren't already on your pre-order list, you should definitely add them with the quickness. MK is batting a thousand and the Wiimote controls should be a nice change of pace. As for GTA, aside from shooting cops and prostitutes (of course), I'm very, very excited for this one's story. It looks like The Godfather for the 21st century.

So, there you have it. Get ta gaming.

Monday mini-movie: Zelda movie edition

You can officially file this one under one of the most badical April fools jokes ever.

The gang over at saw fit to put together a spectacular Legend of Zelda movie trailer for our viewing pleasure.

Call me crazy, but I want to see this happen. But ONLY if the entire thing is as awesomely low-budget and cheesily epic as the trailer itself.