Monday, December 29, 2008

Monday mini-movie: New Year's edition

I can think of no better way to prepare for the new year than enjoying a funny cat video. It's short, so feel free to watch it a dozen or so times like I did.

This is borderline animal abuse, but really, you can tell the cat totally wanted it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hip-hip-hooray for Christmas vacation!

Well, Christmas is almost here and that means I have to be hitting the road.

Where to, you may ask. To the middle of BFE where the internet hasn't even been heard of yet. So, yeah, no posts for a few days.

Merry Christmas everyone. (That's right, I'm forcing religion on you.) I'll see you real soon.

In the meantime, feel free to catch up on the glorious posts of old on

I hear they are grade-A, high quality internet schlock.

Movie of the week: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Just so we're clear, I am very, very excited to see The Curious Case of Banjamin Button.

If there was a theater where I will be spending my Christmas holiday, I'd see it the day it opened. That's right, baby Jesus, we'd be celebrating your big day with a backwards aging Mr. Pitt.

This movie's concept makes me giddy. So much to think about. Seriously, what would it be like if you started out looking 85 and aged backwards? What if you found that special someone at 35 and, as you grew toward 18, she moved on to 50. Could love survive? In such fit form, would you join the army even though, technically, you're about 60 years old?

Anyway, I don't think anything I can say will convince you, so I'll leave it to Button. Just look into those eyes over there. They're like, hypnotizing you or something...Goooo seeee thiiiiis moooovieeeee....

Monday, December 22, 2008

Monday mini-movie: Christmas edition

Well, it’s that time of year again. Christmas, Chanukah, New Year’s Day, you name it.

staticEchoes won’t be grinding to an absolute halt over the next couple weeks, but please forgive what will undoubtedly be a slow period. What with work, holiday schedules and all that jazz, it’s going to be a busy end to 2008, and blogging might have to hit the back burner while I visit with the family.

Meanwhile, enjoy this video. Yaaaaay Christmas.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Movie of the week: Scrooged

Since nothing worth noting is coming out to DVD or theaters this week, it looks like it’s time to pull something from the ole Movie Bank of Quality Flicks.
It being nearly Christmas and all, it only seems appropriate that guide its readers toward a festive film full of holiday joy.

Rather than go with the obvious Miracle on 34th Street or uuber-classic A Christmas Story, (or even the overly awesome National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation) I thought I’d dig a bit deeper to come up with a recommendation few have probably actually seen.

This week’s movie-to-see, (and yes, you should consider this homework, cause it’s gonna be on the final) is the underground hit Scrooged, starring Bill Murray and several other people with names you would likely recognize.

It still baffles me how many people blink at me as though I’ve grown an extra limb when I ask if they’ve seen this movie.


Take a classic Christmas tale, throw in a dark comedic edge and modernize the whole thing (modern if it were the 1980’s, that is) and you’ve got yourself a fantastic Christmas movie with loads of laughs and plenty of holiday spirits. HA!...Cause, see, he’s like Scrooge…And gets visited by Christmas ghosts…or spirits…holiday spirits…


Do yourself a favor and go rent this one. Be sure to post a comment and let me know what you think.

(P.S. Holy holiday is that a terrible movie poster. It gives you literally no idea what the movie is about. They should insert the word “awesome” or "scrumtrulescent" on there somewhere, just so everyone knows what they are in for.)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Keep fighting: Resistance 2 review

Being a huge fan of the original Resistance for the PS3, I went into part two with high expectations. While the experience is improved overall, I have a problem with some aspects being fixed that weren’t really broken to begin with.

The weapons are one example. I loved the arsenal in R1. The guns were unique and, most importantly, fun. While several of the human and Chimeran firearms make their triumphant return and a couple new additions pop up, the weaponry is slimmed down, less creative and, in my opinion, less exciting.

Also, apparently a lot of folks did not like the way the first story was told. Between chapters, you watched a short cutscene wherein a British operative tells about the exploits of Nathan Hale with maps, photos and blueprints dancing in and out of the background. You were then dropped into Hale’s boots to continue the tale, making you feel like something of a living legend while you mowed down the masses of Chimeran baddies.

Resistance 2’s story is told on the fly, with the game seldom leaving the first person perspective. The intent was to create a more immersive experience, but less story and sometimes difficult to understand commands (hard to hear a conversation when I’m dodging hedgehog grenades) left me feeling like the tale lacked a bit of “umph.”

Other than those gripes, and a much shorter campaign mode (maybe eight hours), I absolutely loved Resistance 2.

The visuals are iffy at times and the difficulty occasionally hits the gas pedal out of nowhere, but otherwise the experience was quite enjoyable. The story was good enough to keep me guessing about what part three will hold and the action didn’t slow down too often. When the greys (think fast zombie aliens with no guns) start pouring over fences and out of buildings in massive droves, you’ll finish knowing you’ve just been in a fight.

While not the best shooter around, a nice collection of epic confrontations make for a memorable battle. Res 2 has some of the most intense moments I can remember in a FPS. Taken as a whole, though, not so much. Thankfully, the story mode is only part of the package, as competitive and co-op multiplayer each bring something new to the table.

Competitive (now sporting a massive 60-man roster) has all the standard events you’d expect in this type of game. You can capture flags and mindlessly blast random opponents to your heart’s content. The new skirmish mode, though, is where competitive truly shines. Divide 60 people into two teams, break that even further into groups of five, and give each group ever-changing objectives to tackle in one big map.

You can run off and play however you want, but more points are awarded to players who work as a team and complete their objectives. Two squads may wind up in a firefight, another two may battle for control of a power core and still another group may have to guard a single player while the other team tries to kill him. Rather than just running around and shooting everything that moves, skirmish feels closer akin to a co-op experience where all the bad guys are controlled by other players.

Finally, we get to the crowning jewel of Resistance 2, the co-op.

In co-op, eight players are thrust into various combat situations while exploring a massive map. Thanks to the class system, this isn’t just another run-and-gun experience. Medics drain life from bad guys and give health to teammates, soldiers provide massive firepower and can produce shields for everyone to hide behind, and special ops take out the enemy from long distance while serving as the sole source of ammo for their comrades. This forces teamwork and communication, and the end result is a lot of fun. Leveling up your various classes means new weapons and abilities, which in turn means more and more ways to play the game.

Resistance 2 is big, plain and simple. And this time, bigger does mean better. While the series does not quite carry the same weight as, say, Gears of War or Call of Duty, Resistance has managed to carve out its own high spot in the crowded genre and, thankfully, provides an experience that’s truly unique.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Monday mini-movies: Tuesday edition

We're a day behind, here. Sorry about that...On to the movie!

Since Wolverine is my favorite comic book character of all time, and after seeing the horrid X-Men 3, I decided I would give the new Wolverine movie a very slim chance to win me over.

Well, they've done it. For the most part (please ignore the final six seconds) this trailer looks to be doing Wolverine's origin story proud. I'm sure the bulk of the movie will involve the writer's "creative take" on Logan's past, but I can't really fault them for that.

In short, I'm now officially willing to give X-Men Origins: Wolverine a fair shot. Please, oh please, don't let me down.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Movie of the week: Wanted

I prefer to not recommend a movie in theaters and on DVD. I like the change it up a bit for the readers, ya know.

Unfortunately, this week doesn't really bring much in the line of happy-eye-candy, so Wanted gets its second recommendation on this blog.

On DVD, and of course Blu-ray, Wanted is a rock-em-sock-em ride full of violence, guns, spiffy special effects and the always lovely Angelina Jolie.

While bullets colliding midair was cool the first time you see it, it gets a little old at about bullet-block number 25. Other than that, if you're willing to have fun and just accept the craziness they're trying to sell you, you're in for a real treat.

With Batman coming out on DVD next week, you can expect another recommendation repeat.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Games to get in December

Christmas is nearly here and this post’s stocking is nowhere near stuffed. Looks like developers tried to cram all their top titles into the Oct-Nov window in order to be on the shelves for the ever-important holiday shopping season. Even the Wii and DS have slim pickings overall.

Just because the bounty isn’t exactly bountiful, though, doesn’t mean nothing good is coming out this December. Take a gander.

2nd- Prince of Persia (PS3, 360)
9th- Persona 4 (PS2)
9th- Sonic Unleashed (PS3, 360)
16th- Rise of the Argonauts (360, PS3)
22nd- Rock Band 2 (Wii, PS2)

Hold the phone! Two stand-out titles for the PS2? Though games have slowed to a trickle for the system, I’m still amazed to see the “last gen” PS2 doing so well against all the bells and whistles of new gen gaming.

Prince of Persia is already being unconditionally loved by the masses, so you can’t go wrong with that one. Persona 4, as well, is looking to be a AAA RPG for the PS2, IRL…ROFL?

However, my pick for possible surprise BA game of the year is going to Rise of the Argonauts. I’ve been following this one a while and, if everything comes together in the end, it could likely be one of those diamond in the rough titles that goes woefully under everybody’s radar.

So, what games are you guys and gals hoping to to see under the tree this Christmas?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Movies to miss in December

December is a tricky month. I had to be extra picky in order to even come up with a decent selection of movies to warn against.

Even more upsetting is the fact I'd actually like these titles (some of them, anyway) to be good. Here's hoping I'm wrong on a few counts.

Punisher: War Zone- I'm one of, I believe, seven people who actually enjoyed the most recent Punisher film. Not as edgy as the comic, but still, I liked the movie. While War Zone looks truer to the printed page roots, I can't help but feel this should have been a direct to DVD adventure. Hopefully the body count makes up for the crappy dialogue.

Yes Man- I'm guessing all the good parts were in the over-stuffed-one-liner trailer, and even those scenes weren't that funny. Dammit, Carrey. Sometimes your work is solid gold, and other times it's...well...Fun With Dick and Jane. Hopefully I'm misreading this one.

The Spirit- I really, really want this one to be fantastic, but there's a nagging in the back of my brain insisting there's no way The Spirit will be worth my $9 movie ticket. Le sigh.

Valkyrie- A period piece absolutely has to feel authentic. I'm not saying everyone needs to speak German, but at least get all the actors on the same damn page. Also, I don't hate Cruise like most of the world, but I just can't take him seriously while he's wearing that damn patch and talking like Maverick. No dice.

On DVD- And let's not forget the DVDs we should all be avoiding this holiday season. I'm looking at you Mamma Mia and Mummy 3.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Monday mini-movie: Pwnd snob edition

We're celebrating our 200th post here on and what better way to do that than watching an A-hole get his just desserts?

Okay, so I personally call shenanigans on the validity of this clip, but even if it is fake, I certainly wish it upon anyone this deserving.

You tell him, granny!