Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Timey Wimey Win or The Doctor Blinks

When something I really like wins an award I can't help but get a bit smug. After all the award can't be for the creative people who toiled and succeeded beyond the norm to produce a masterpiece. No, the award goes to me. The couch potato with such high standards that everyone went above and beyond to keep me entertained and coming back for more.
Well, I must be cock (heh heh, sorry I'm this many years old) of the walk today since I just found out Steven Moffat and Hettie Macdonald have taken the Hugo awarded to Dramatic Presentation: Short Form for the Doctor Who episode Blink.
If you haven't seen Blink, by all means do so. Search it, torrent it, youtube it. Just see the damn thing.
The episode is very Doctor lite with almost all the attention going to Sally Sparrow (Carey Mulligan)a young girl who gets caught up in a conversation with the Doctor (David Tennant) across time via DVD easter eggs to defeat an ancient race of "Weeping Angels" who have stolen the Tardis and left the Doctor stranded in 1969. The Angels live off potential energy transporting their victims to the past where they live to death. If the Angels find a way into the Tardis, the energy they can siphon would be catastrophic for mankind.
It's all very difficult to explain in a Timey Wimey sort of way. Why Blink? You may ask. Seems the Angels are quantum locked, meaning they can't move while being observed, but just blink and they can cover great distances...scary huh? Blink is one of the greatest episodes of any series produced for television. It's scarier than most horror films and smarter than most sci-fi films. It can easily stand alongside your favorite Twilight Zone episode as iconic television. I put it right up there with the premier of Twin Peaks and Buffy's Hush as outstanding television. It's refreshing when something deserving an award actually wins one. Even more so when I can boast of how hard they worked to impress me.

Steven Moffat will be taking the Doctor Who reigns with the new season in 2010. Blink won him his 3rd Hugo for work on Doctor Who and hopefully won't be his last.
Blink is based on a Steven Moffat original short story you can find here.

Whatever you do....don't blink!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

This Message Is Totally Hot

I wouldn't exactly call myself a Paris Hilton fan but there are some things not featured in the "Night In Paris" tape that she does well. Chief among those is knowing when to make fun of herself. While she never seems to take a joke well when it's aimed at her, she has no qualms making herself and the image she projects a parody. It's at these times you can actually see what so many people find charming about her.
Like her or lump her, Paris holds a great deal of influence on young women in America so when she goes anti fur and vegetarian as she did last year, so do the girls who idolize her.

When John McCains camp decided to use her likeness in an ad skewering Obama, Paris couldn't let it go. She responded with her own ad again parodying her image and making a point that she is not someone to be used.

I never thought I'd throw props to Ms. Hilton, but props are due. In the ad she's cute, she's funny and she's totally ready.

If the video doesn't work you can see it on Funny or Die.

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dr Horrible Threatens Film Crew


In case you missed it the first time around, I only reminded you like five times, Dr. Horribles Sing Along Blog is back for viewing. No longer an ITunes exclusive, Dr. Horrible has returned to Hulu due to popular demand.
Each chapter can be viewed individually or the whole show can be watched as one 42 minute clip. I can't think of many better ways to kill an hour at work.

Here's the link

In other Horrible news. Joss Whedon has confirmed there will be more chapters in the musical dramedy starring Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillion.


As long as you're opening a Hulu account (it's free) check out the Film Crew channel.
The Film Crew is essentially MST3K without the props and bots.
I wrote about them back on Feb 11th, and have since seen the films offered on Hulu. If you were a fan of MST3K, Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphys voice overs to bad movies will take you right back to Saturday mornings on the couch with a bowl of sugar smacks and the channel tuned to Comedy Central.

Let's hope they do a few more

New Harry Potter Trailer!



It's finally up!
The new trailer for the eagerly awaited Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince hit the net. The film is scheduled for release on Nov 21 of this year, and if the trailer is any indication, it'll be the darkest chapter yet.














For now, watch the trailer, mark your calendar, and fellas, remember; Emma Watson (Hermione) is 18 now. Feeling old yet?




If the video doesn't work. (you know how YouTube is) You can find it at MSN or MTV.

Enjoy

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Random Thought

Do you really have the right to call yourself a progressive radio station if five of the last eight tunes you played were by the Cranberries, Nickelback, Norah Jones, Lisa Loeb and the Go Gos?

I'm thinking no.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Frank N Failure


Some things should never be repeated. Some are huge like the Civil War or a Celine Dion comeback tour. Others are small like getting back with an ex you know is bad for you or repeating, compared to what?, when your wife asks if she looks fat.

Some things, the idea of repeating would be so heinous, you imagine no one in their right mind would even attempt to repeat them. In fact the thought of repeating certain things should cause physical reactions. Nausea, sweats, perhaps physical discomfort. The sense you would feel when you come to the realization that your foot is nailed to the floor in a revolving door.

That's pretty much how I felt when I read this morning that MTV is going to remake The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

First thought that comes to mind is....why?

Bear in mind, I'm not talking at all about the original stage production. That could be fun in a limited run. Nope, I'm talking about the movie.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is the twisted brainchild of Richard O'Brien and Jim Sharman. A tripped out glam horror/sci-fi musical shot on a shoestring and starring unknowns. Most of whom went on to bigger and better things.

It is also the highest grossing midnight movie, and still plays to this day inviting cult fanaticism and audience participation. Rocky Horror fans perform the whole film in full costume down to the slightest gesture on the theater floor while the movie plays overhead. (I miss you 8th St. Playhouse)

Going to see Rocky Horror required preparation. Toilet paper, newspapers, squirt guns, lighters and more were mandatory if you wanted to fully immerse yourself in the Rocky Horror experience, and the costumes...oh, the costumes. You haven't lived till you've seen several young ladies all dressed as Little Nells Columbia standing around chatting or practicing their dance moves. No wonder the Pussycat Dolls do nothing for me, they're tame compared to what I saw as a kid.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show starred than unknown Tim Curry as the transexual transylvanian Dr. Frank N Furter. Susan Sarandon spent 90% of the film in bra and panties as the prurient Janet Weiss. Barry Bostwick was her equally naive fiance Brad Majors. Rounding out the cast were Richard O'Brien as Riff Raff, Patricia Quinn as his sister Magenta, Little Nell Campbell played Columbia and Meatloaf was her boyfriend, and nephew of Brads mentor Dr. Scott, (Johnathan Adams) Eddie. Peter Hinwood plays Rocky the Frank N Furter created man, and the film is expertly narrated by Charles Gray to tie it all together.

So why wouldn't this work as a remake?
Why would it?
There are a lot of thing to consider before going down this very dangerous and fated to fail path.

First, midnight movies and cult films aren't made, they happen. There is just something right about the chemistry, the production and what it taps into in the current hip consciousness that makes them special. Often the creative team is going for something completely different. Just take a look at films that had all the right elements and failed because they were going for cult status. Snakes on a Plane comes to mind.

Second, Rocky Horror challenged the morality of the time with it's goth/glam outfits and questionable sexuality. Janet and Brad getting seduced by this creature was the greatest fear on a parents mind and the kids knew it.
With films like Brokeback Mountain garnering critical acclaim, does anyone really care if a character is gay anymore? How many parents would bat an eye in our post Madonna/Britney society if their daughter wore a corset to a movie, or their son had pierced ears and wore eyeliner? They see this every day and worse.
There's nothing left for Rocky Horror to challenge.
In fact I wouldn't be surprised if gay and lesbian rights groups protested the film for portraying homosexuals as sex crazed deviants out to corrupt the youth of America.

Third, there's no smoking in theaters....of anything! To many, part of the RHPS experience was mind expansion, if it wasn't, chances were good you'd get a contact high anyway.
I also could not imagine my local Regal multiplex allowing a midnight mess to be made in the theater. Better leave the water pistols and TP at home this time around.

Fourth, it's an MTV production meaning it will be cast with whoever is big at the time regardless of true talent. RHPS by MTV would be a stunt casting extravaganza. Eddie Izzard as Frank N Furter, or maybe Sascha Baron Cohen. Let's get Jared Leto to play Brad and Amy Lee as Janet. You see where I'm going with this? It would be battle of the divas and the losers would be the people who shelled out 9 bucks for it.
If you think MTV is going to do anything but a PG13 film you are deluded. Out goes the overt sexual deviance's that made the original so much fun, and to some shocking.

I could probably come up with another half dozen reasons not to do this film, and I couldn't come up with one as to why they should. I'm sure MTV thinks they could make money off a RHPS remake, and maybe they will, but I think their money could be better spent on something original. Throw that money at Joss Whedon if you want a sci fi/horror musical to call your own. Make something that's relevant to our disaffected Bush era youth. Do something positive instead of rehashing old taboos that hold as much water as a leaky thimble these days, or as Frank N Furter would say "Don't Dream it, Be it."

Let's hope the powers at MTV wake up and cancel this project before it gets too far.

The following clip may not be for the young'ns

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sweat To The Beat




While reading the article I copied below, remember I'm thinking there may not be anything better than a good "I told you so". Much like my previous post proving how highly evolved I am.

http://allthecoolgeeks.blogspot.com/2008/06/im-highly-evolved-being-and-all-i-got.html


This new article may very well prove I am also a finely tuned athlete. All these years existing as a primo catch and I marketed myself as PBR when I should've been going for a bottle of Dom, or at least a good boxed wine.

One of the best things about this article is the actual test subject. Clem Burke is a one time mentor, though I'm sure he wouldn't remember me from 3 decades ago, and lifelong idol/hero. I learned how to do a drumroll by emulating his style over and over again. Heck, I even learned a disco beat playing along to Heart of Glass and it didn't suck!

The article doesn't say anything I haven't been saying for years. At 43, I probably suffer from as many sport/drum related injuries as any athlete. Both my shoulders have bone spurs, I have tennis elbow which may need surgery some day. Both my calves are hyperdeveloped which often constricts lactic acid so I have chronic pain in both legs. (running helps this a bit, as does stretching) There are other minor aches and pains and I can't attribute all of them to old age, since I'm not that old.

It is true that I would have to spend about 15 minutes before and after shows doing various stretches while my band mates were working on 12-16 oz curls. Doing shows is like running in place for 40 minutes under 90 degree lights, and I won't even go into rehearsals.



Only problem is, most drummers tend to get a gut, myself included. We usually get the short end of the stick, no pun intended, since we're not as svelte as a singer or guitarist. This is from not doing any ab exercises and focusing more on speed than strength. We also get accustomed to eating more to keep our energy up since we burn so many calories. Sadly, our habits don't necessarily change when we're not gigging, or god forbid not working with 2 or 3 bands at a time.

It's all fine though. my wife says while every girl may want to date the singer or the guitarist, they all want to marry a drummer.

That's good enough for me.

here is the original article


Drumming beats most sport as exercise

Will Pavia | July 23, 2008

THEY have been the butt of jokes, and even the most agile of their number have seldom been regarded as paragons of physical virtue.

For all John Bonham's thunderous half-hour solos behind Led Zeppelin and Keith Moon's frenzied skinbashing with The Who, neither man - nor the generations of drummers who followed them - was ever recognised as a finely tuned athlete.

All that is about to change. After an eight-year study of Clem Burke, the veteran Blondie drummer, sports scientists have concluded drummers are comparable in their physical prowess with world-class sportsmen.

Marcus Smith of the University of Chichester said: "For me, as a sports scientist, he is no different to the Olympic athletes I have worked with."

Dr Smith and Steve Draper, of the University of Gloucestershire, monitored Burke's oxygen uptake, blood lactate and heart rate in rehearsals and live performances.

"He loses up to two litres of fluid in a performance, which is similar to a runner going out and doing 10,000m," Dr Smith said.

Burke burned 400-600 calories an hour. His heart rate averaged 140 to 150 beats a minute, though it could rise as high as 190 beats - equalling that of Cristiano Ronaldo in a Premier League football match.

Restoring the honour of the rock drummer has been a labour of love for Dr Smith, a lifelong Blondie fan. In 1998, as he was finishing his PhD, there were rumours the band was about to reform. He wrote to Burke that summer as a fan and as a sports scientist who had worked with professional football players and British Olympic boxers. They met at Wembley Arena, where Burke agreed to let Dr Smith follow him around on tour.

"There is a lot more to it than having a beer and walking on stage for two hours," Burke told The Times. Even if that was how he used to do business, "at this point in my career, I'm conscious of needing to be prepared".

He does not think, however, that he is the only one who requires the services of a sports scientist. "Rock and roll music is in middle age now," he added.

Burke needs to stay in peak physical condition and can sometimes suffer from joint pain. "Jacuzzis, saunas, massages, all that is incorporated into the life of the modern drummer," he said. The late Moon, whose manic performances seemed to create enough energy to power the national grid, was once his idol. "These days, I say he taught me what not to do. He was very physical but he basically killed himself with excessiveness," Burke said.

As he spoke, drummers up and down the country basked for a moment in the warm glow of recognition for their physical achievements.

Dave Rowntree, the drummer for Blur, said: "I would lose a stone every time I went on tour. You get a three-hour workout every night."

Sarah Jones, 22, who plays drums for indie band New Young Pony Club, said: "I think of drumming as exercise. Other musicians can stop occasionally but you have to be going like the clappers for the whole gig."

She now meets drummers with strict fitness regimes. "I do see drummers who start preparing hours before they go on. They say, 'Right, it's time for my banana now', and they will have specific energy drinks."

She wonders whether this fits within the rock and roll image. "It does seem rather boring," she said.

The Times

I Completely Spaced! See What I Did There?



Yesterday I gave some updates to previous posts. Somehow I forgot one of the most important and immediate updates even though I had it written boldly on my Zombie Survival Guide desk calendar.

Spaced, the amazing BBC series created by and starring Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevens and directed by Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) has finally hit our shores in a region 1 (U.S. for those of you not familiar with regionspeak) release. The set includes the whole 14 episode series and a ton of extras including additional commentaries with celebrity fans like Kevin Smith, Quentin Tarantino, Patton Oswalt, Matt Stone, Diablo Cody and Bill Hader.
You owe it to yourself to get this series. You owe it to everyone you know to introduce them to this series. You owe it to Tim and Daisy and Mike and Brian and Twist and Marsha and yes even to Tyres O'Flaherty to witness their lives in motion.

Spaced is one of the few shows that use pop culture references where and how they make sense. When Tim berates a child for wanting a Jar Jar action figure because Phantom Menace was crap and loses his job, it makes sense. I wanted to cry over Phantom Menace too. I know my thought process is a lot like those of the characters in this show. Rapid fire and full of iconic lines and scenarios crammed in there willy nilly just waiting for a chance to be needed.

Sigh, my mind works like a Looney Tunes cartoon.....

Spaced is also the series that inspired Simon and Edgar to begin Shaun of the Dead, and for that alone you must buy the set. Tim gets too stoned while playing Resident Evil 2 then dragged to a performance art show where he starts hallucinating zombies. I kid you not.
So go out and buy Spaced. Street price is around $35-$40, and it's well worth it.

be-de, be-de, be-de that's all folks.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Updates To Shake A Stick At, If That's Your Kinda Thing

Since I'm stuck taking an online Driver Safety course (I got caught speeding, first time) I thought it would be fun to give some updates on things I've previously written about. Well, fun and less time consuming. Damn my lead foot!

Back on Feb 7th I wrote this piece on the upcoming Oneechanbara film.

http://allthecoolgeeks.blogspot.com/2008/02/where-have-all-cowgirls-gone.html

Oneechanbara Trailer



I'm happy to say that the film has been released and premiered at the
New York Asian Film Festival last month. Is it good? I don't know. Am I gonna see it? First damn chance I get!

Oneechanbara is also heading to US game consoles early next year with Oneechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers at a budget price for the Nintendo Wii.

Japanese Game Trailer



In other resurgent video game news, on Feb 15th I reported on the Capcom/New Line legal battle over the Dead Rising game.

http://allthecoolgeeks.blogspot.com/2008/02/dont-zombies-have-anywhere-else-to-hang.html


While I haven't been able to find any new info on the lawsuit, which George Romero knew nothing about. It seems like you can't keep a good zombie game down.
Dead Rising has been retitled and ported to the Nintendo Wii. More than likely the Wii version will bee a bit easier to get through as several game elements have been tweaked and they are adopting the Resident Wii-vil 4 control scheme to take advantage of the Wii-mote. The newish title, Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop will hit stores this winter.

In additional Dead Rising news there are several rumors floating around that Dead Rising 2 is in the works, this time by a western studio. Taken out of the Colorado shopping centers. Frank West the protagonist of Dead Rising may be working on his tan while bashing zombies in LA or Vegas. Can we expect more lawsuits since Resident Evil: Extinction also takes place in and near Vegas? I really hope not.

If you don't know there is a film version of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons award winning graphic novel The Watchmen on the way you must have missed my March 10th post.

http://allthecoolgeeks.blogspot.com/2008/03/so-whos-watching.html



You are probably one of the handful of people who went to Mamma Mia this past weekend and skipped Dark Knight, so you missed the awesome trailer. There's no reason you couldn't see both, you know. Actually, if you're not aware of The Watchmen, I'm going to assume you landed on this site by accident, which is strange since I'm not aware of a blogsite called all the cool greeks.
Watchmen has a theater date of March 6th 2009. It's written by (voice of Solid Snake) Dennis Hayter (X Men & X Men 2) and directed by Zack Snyder (300 & Dawn of the Dead). If you missed the trailer, I'm feeling generous so here it is.




Finally, The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman is currently my favorite comic. A sentiment I made pretty clear on March 28th.

http://allthecoolgeeks.blogspot.com/2008/03/marvel-zombies-vs-walking-dead.html




















Since then The Walking Dead volume 8 has been released collecting issues 43 -48, and issue 50 hit the shelves a few weeks ago. If you are not reading this book there is something wrong with you. Not that I'm judging but really, you should get checked out or something. The Walking Dead isn't a typical zombie book. This book is about people, survivors first, and it's a pretty compelling and oftentimes brutal read. Issue 50 is a great jumping on point for people afraid to start a book without knowing who the characters, and what the situations are. It's a fresh start for us series veterans who need a breather after the emotional roller coaster we've just ridden. It's also a new beginning for those just coming to a series they'd like to feel invested in. Walking Dead collections can be found in most major bookstores and at Amazon. New and back issues, as well as collections can be found in your local comic shop.

So that's it for my updates. I've now gotta go study up on my 3 E's.
(Education, Engineering and Enforcement)

See you on the roads!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Introduction To The Hammer


Just a quick reminder that Doctor Horribles Sing Along Blog part 2 is up for your viewing pleasure. You can still catch part 1, but remember it all comes down on the 20th. Part 3 is up on Saturday the 19th.
Watch it, learn the songs, there will be a quiz later.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Doctor Horrible Is Awesome!!!



Doctor Horrible part 1 is online, and it is AWESOME!!!

To catch it click here. I mean, you can finish reading this, but then clicking here is absolutely imperative. I won't even feel bad if you click here before you finish reading this. Doctor Horrible will only be up for a limited time while these words will be here forever.
In truth there's no reason you shouldn't click here right now.

What excuse could you possibly have?
That meeting can wait, they're not going anywhere.
If it's important, they'll call back.
Really, what are the chances the baby's gonna develop the reasoning to stick a wet finger into an open socket in the next twelve minutes?
Let grandma lie there, she knows better than to reach for the cookie jar. let her muse awhile on what that cookie would've done to her diabetes.
You can hold it for a lousy 12 minutes. I said you can hold it!

So you see, there is no reason to not click here. Don't go to another sight first, you'll just get distracted with what world leader is screwing what people now. Possibly get sucked into the whole how much is a picture of this celebrities baby gonna cost controversy.

While I'm at it, if I can go off on a tangent.
What the heck is up with celebrity baby pictures? My friends have kids and it's all I can do to keep my inbox empty enough to receive other mail. Aww, look how cute he/she/it is still covered with placenta and umbilical cord. Here's the latest video of our baby sleeping, at about the 10 minute mark he/she/it makes a little fist, Awwww. Here's us bringing the baby home, if you squint really hard you can kinda see some bald head peeking out from the 32 blankets we have him/her/it wrapped in.
Then you get that picture every year for Christmas in the same outfit only several sizes bigger.
Only celebrities would think of selling their baby pictures. Honestly, all you need is one shot of Winston Churchill and you're pretty much covered in the baby picture category. What do we really care anyway? Face it, by the time these over privileged kids are old enough to have their own reality show we will hate them. We will be so over saturated with their American royalty status it will be all we can do to avoid news about them. Two words for you Paris Hilton.
Honestly, the only celebrity baby picture I would want to see would be on the cover of Weekly World News.
That's the end of my tangent.

Back to Doctor Horrible...

Here's all the reasons you should click here right now.
Doctor Horrible is Awesome, but I covered that already.
It will only be online for a limited time. It will be shut down on the 20th.
Neil Patrick Harris is amazing.
Nathan Fillion plays a jerk.
Felicia Day is cute and wonderful.
Simon Helberg is Moist.
The songs will stick in your head and make you smile.
Joss Whedon, need I say more?
The world's a mess and I just need to rule it.
It's curtains for you Doctor Horrible. Lacy, gently wafting curtains.
It's only a little over 12 minutes long for part 1.

So what are you still doing here, when you can click here?
I wont mind.
You'll be glad you did.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Darkly Drawing Dexter


There are a lot of shows I watch regularly, but few that I need to watch as they air. (thank you DVR)
The Showtime original series Dexter is one of those shows. Based on the novels by Jeff Lindsay, (I'm working on the first) Dexter is one of those shows that hooks you in and won't let you leave unless it's in several plastic garbage bags drifting on a warm Miami undercurrent.

For the uninitiated, and those with basic cable. Dexter is the story of blood spatter analyst for the Miami Dade PD, Dexter Morgan. He's an incredibly likable guy. He's devoted to his job, his friends on the force including his adoptive sister Debra the foulest talking cop in the precinct. He has a beautiful, if not damaged girlfriend and her two kids he deeply cares for.

He's also a murderous sociopath.

Fortunately for Dexter, and the rest of the city. He was adopted by Officer Harry Morgan after witnessing his mother being killed. Harry recognized Dexters impulses for what they were, and instilled in Dexter a code to live by. A moral compass to substitute for missing morality. Dexter uses this code to enact justice on killers and rapists who have somehow escaped traditional punishment.

Dexter is a brilliantly written program. Nothing is easy in Dexters life and there were moments in the second season where I swore there was no way out for our anti-hero. Good thing the writers on this show are a lot smarter than I am since it's surprises like last seasons that keep me coming back.

Of course the best writing in the world couldn't save poor acting. Fortunately Dexter has some top notch talent talking the talk.

Michael C Hall (Six Feet Under) is so disarming as Dexter that it makes his moments of insanity blaze off the screen.

Jennifer Carpenter (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) plays his sister Debra, and trust me, she is every girl you ever wanted to date rolled into one, except she has the lousiest taste in men and she would kick your butt then laugh about it with your best friend later over burbon shots.







Julie Benz (Angel, Buffy) is Rita. Dexters single mom anchor to normalcy. Except nothing is normal with Rita. She is severly damaged from a disastrous marriage and slowly starting to heal from it.




Lauren Velez as the nihilistic Lt. Laquerta, C.S. Lee as wisecracking Vince Masuka and David Zayas as Angel Batista the closest thing to a true friend Dexter has rounds out the excellent cast of regulars.

Both seasons of Dexter are available on DVD and I strongly recommend watching them. A third season is on it's way this fall and I couldn't be more excited for a returning show. This excitement is exacerbated by the amazing image above sent to me by the far hotter of the Scalin siblings, the babelicious Miss Mica. Check her out at MicaWave.
The image is indeed done by Shepard Fairey of Obey fame and will be promoting Dexter at this years San Diego Comic Con at the end of this month.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Charlies Angel

Not to go all Perez Hilton on you, but it's been reported that Mac Guy Justin Long and amazingly adorable, free spirited, Letterman flashing actress Drew Barrymore have called it quits. Way I see it I'm back in the running. My wife understands. So Drew, we know you like the dorky guys. What do you say?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Angel Eyes, Am I Deceived Or Did You Sigh?

I don't know if it counts as geeky or not, but I feel a need to let you know about Luc Bessons late 2005 romantic noir fantasy Angel-A. I completely forgot I had thrown this on my Netflix queue, and in truth was expecting the 3rd disc in the anime series Black Lagoon when I tore open the bright red envelope.

This was definitely a case of getting a book for it's cover since I had seen the DVD box at a Blockbuster and the image had me so intrigued that I had to see it not even really knowing what it was about.

Released here in 2007, Angel-A is the story of a down on his luck, in debt Arab American (green card) low rent criminal named Andre played by Jamel Debbouze. After some unsuccessful attempts at extending his debt deadlines, and unable to even get himself arrested, Andre decides to end his life by jumping off a bridge into the river Seine.
He meets Angela played by the beautiful Rie Rasmussen who apparently has the same idea and jumps first. Andre, of course jumps in to save her, but who's really doing the saving?

In researching this film I couldn't believe the effect Luc Bessons work has on people. there doesn't seem to be a middle ground, he's either hated or loved. Someone had even said that The Professional was his litmus test for personal relations. "If you like that movie, I can't even talk to you." It's all a bit extreme, I have a friend who doesn't like Fifth Element, but I'm not gonna leave a burning bag of dog poop at his door. Now if he hated Dawn of the Dead.......well that's just stupid (wink).

I have to wonder, am I not hipster enough to hate Luc Bessons work? Does French cinema need to be 3 hours long and incomprehensible to be good? Is Luc Besson too easily translated to an American audience (The Professional, Nikita, Fifth Element, Subway) to be considered a true French artist. Opinions of his work are very polarized.

Polarized is a good way to describe Angel-A as well. Everything in this film is contrasted. Andre is short and Angela is tall. He is dark, she is light. The film itself is in black and white with amazing cinematography by Thierry Arbogast. Paris itself becomes a character in the film and the movie takes us to some amazing locales.
This isn't a heavy movie. Definitely not as heavy as "It's a Wonderful Life" that it's clearly influenced by. You don't have to watch it with a box of tissues by your side in case a fly gets in your eye. There is nothing too deep in the dialogue or the characterization. Some may see it as too simple but once the players start exhibiting shades of gray it would throw the whole light/dark balance off. Some pop psychology platitudes rear their ugly heads, but again, I think it works here.

Maybe I just identify too much with Andre, and maybe, just maybe here is where Angel-A ties into my geek lifestyle. Andre sees himself as a loser, unable to fit in and inept at all he does. Who hasn't felt like that? Upon meeting Angela he tell her when he looks in the mirror he sees shit. In one of the movies more touching moments she forces him to look at himself in the mirror and asks him what he sees. I don't know. He replies. See, your making progress already, you don't see shit. Is her comeback.

Angel-A is one of those rare romantic fantasies you can watch with a significant other and not feel you've been roped into a "chick film". Andres treatment of Angela can be crass at times but instead of condemning him for it, I'm taking cultural differences in account. Besides, if I had a beautiful leggy blonde following me around wanting to do nothing but help me, you can bet your butt I would find a way to screw that up ASAP!
Right ladies?

So if you're looking for a movie that's easy on the eyes, mind and heart (with a killer soundtrack) you may want to check out Angel-A.

By the way, if you do see this movie and wonder if you missed something because Andre always has his right hand in his pocket. Wonder no more. Jamel Debbouze lost his right hand at the age of 15. His signature move is to keep the stump hidden.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Telephone Call For Mr. Horrible....



I've been saving this one since Noah pointed me in it's direction. How I missed it? I can only assume there was some sort of planetary alignment, or I was infected by an intergalactic parasite that rendered me temporarily incapable of of discovering or recognizing awesomeness. (That would explain the new Heidi Montag song I found...far, far from awesomeness. In fact, anti-awesome if there could be such a thing)

So, as Joss Whedon explains in his Master Plan. Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog was conceived during the writers strike as an alternative way to do business. I.e., bringing entertainment to the public for fun and profit while circumnavigating the hollywood business model. I.e., money grubbing studio execs who'd rather fill our lives with unscripted pablum till the section of our brains that recognize art start reacting to accidental crotch hits (funny, but not art) and gaggles of losers vying for the amorous attention of yet another loser who everyone knows will be back for another season sans this seasons winner/real loser.

Joss tells it with far less bitterness and much more of the funny, so I suggest reading it..there are Forest Kings....Ohhhhhh.

Dr Horrible's Sing Along Blog will premier with act one "Wheee" on July 15th. Act two follows "OMG" on July 17th, and the final act "Denoument!" is up on July 19th. Word of caution. The whole thing comes down midnight July 20th. After which it will be available as a modestly priced download, and eventually as a dvd with tons of extras.
I know I'll be watching, and I'll try to get a reminder out early each day another episode appears along with a short review.

If you're a Buffy fan, you may remember an episode called "Once More With Feeling" where Joss tapped into his inner Sondheim and gave us a genre musical episode. If you haven't seen it I strongly suggest seeking it out.
Dr. Horrible is Mr. Whedons second stab at a musical. This time about a shy evil Doctor and the hero who thwarts his plans.

Whedonverse regular Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Serenity, Buffy) plays Captain Hammer (the hero, natch) and Neil Patrick Harris (Doogie, How I Met Your Mother - ser) stretches his acting chops to portray the titular Doctor Horrible. (just don't know if I see NPH as a Dr.)

Judging by the talent involved this should be, to quote another NPH character, awesome! and legendary!

If you want a little taste of the characters check out the online Captain Hammer comic at Dark Horse Presents. While you're there check out the back issues featuring additional work by Joss Whedon as well as new Umbrella Academy by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba and work by my old friends Bob Fingerman and John Arcudi and many more. Get used to the web comics folks, something tells me your going to hear a lot more about them before too long.

Now for your viewing pleasure, a trailer.


Teaser from Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog on Vimeo.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Objection!!! There's A Weenie In My VideoGame




I'm a big fan of the Phoenix Wright videogames for the Nintendo Gameboy and Nintendo DS. For those unfamiliar with the series. Phoenix Wright is a young defense attorney with a spirit medium as a partner. Each case features odd characters, odder situations and logic that will often have you ready to bang your head against the wall. Twisted logic aside the games are amazingly fun. There are currently 3 games available. Ace Attorney, Justice For All and Trials and Tribulations all available for the DS.
Though the Phoenix Wright storyline ends with Trials and Tribulations, Nintendo has continued the Ace Attorney franchise featuring a new litigator Apollo Justice. I haven't played this one yet, but if it's anything like the Phoenix games, I'm sure I'll enjoy it.
Anyway, while playing Trials and Tribulations I came across these two game screens featuring everyones favorite bumbling detective Dick Gumshoe.
I got such a laugh out of them I thought I would share.
Enjoy.......

Friday, June 27, 2008

Doctor Who,.... Hey!,.... The Tardis


The only show I ever write about with any regularity is the incredibly funny 30 Rock, and that's less a review than it is a recitation of all the lines I thought were funny. Not to mention there's always the off chance that Tina Fey will read it and reach an epiphany that I am truly the man for her. We will all convert to Mormanism (?) and live out the rest of our lives in polygamous geeky goofiness.

That doesn't mean there aren't other shows I follow. Quite honestly, if it wasn't for tv I'd have no social life, since I am firmly convinced that is where all my friends live.
Timelord, (I know who you are Dr.F) want's to see some Doctor Who love, and rightly so. Since it's revamping by Russell T Davies this amaranthine series has gotten better with each season surviving numerous cast changes, and spawning two spin-offs. Hard to believe we're only in the fifth season.

The end of this season sees the departure of Mr. Davies as creative head. Steven Moffat the man responsible for the creepiest and possibly most creative episodes since the relaunch, ("Blink" may be one of the scariest things I've seen on tv, on par if not exceeding Buffys "Hush") will be taking over which can only mean good things for the show. Sadly, after this current season we will not see the Doctor till 2010. There has been some promise of specials over the next year, one which may feature Jennifer Saunders (Absolutely Fabulous) as the first female Doctor, but I've learned not to hold my breath.

Bottom line, if you're not watching Doctor Who, what the heck is wrong with you. The show's been on 45 years! That should tell you something. I have heard the episodes currently running on the Sci-Fi channel are edited down from their BBC original length, but the edited episodes can be seen in their entirety on the DVD boxed sets which are worth renting. The BBC sets are still way overpriced unfortunately.

Past seasons are currently re-running on BBC America. I don't know if they are unedited.
Currently the Doctor, brilliantly portrayed by David Tennant is accompanied by the headstrong Donna Noble played by comedian Catherine Tate. Past companions since the relaunch have been the Doctors lost love and fan favorite Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) and Martha Jones. (Freema Agyeman - possibly the most beautiful woman in Sci-Fi today) A recent episode also introduced the Doctors cloned daughter Jenny played by the 5th Doctor, Peter Davisons daughter Georgia Moffett. She took off to save the universe, so I'm hoping we'll see more of her.
So to summerize:
Time travel, dashing heroes, beautiful companions, humor, tragedy, fear, lots of running, the longest sci-fi pedigree ever! They finally showed us how the Daleks climb stairs. What more can you want?



Before you go, check out this clip from Comic Relief where Catherine Tates character Lauren meets her new english teacher.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

What Do You Do With A Drunken Hero?

Before I start my review I’d like to make a statement. While I am truly sorry you could not find a babysitter for the evening, there is no, I repeat NO! excuse for bringing a newborn to a movie. If your kid is small enough to fit in a large handbag or backpack they probably should not be in a disease infested dark room with flashing lights and 110 decibels of sound. Stay at home! That’s what a good conscientious neighbor would do. I have no children. What makes you think I want to hear your colicy spawn wail for 45 minutes? If I wanted that, I have Yoko Ono CDs to listen to. Don’t you think it’s about time the megaplexes realize that babies shouldn’t be allowed into the theaters? To my knowledge, I have never been to a film where there is a baby present that has not started crying 30 – 40 minutes in. Maybe these mothers like the attention they get when they finally leave their seat and the applause starts. All I have to say to the inconsiderate sow that thought bringing a newborn into the screening of Hancock at the Regal 20 in Virginia Center Commons on 6/25 and forcing us to listen to it cry for a good 45 minutes is this.

Just because your parenting skills no longer allow you to hear the cries of your infant, doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t. You are a narcissistic, inconsiderate sorry excuse of a person. I hope you enjoyed your 15 minutes of negative fame, and while I wish no ill on your child, after all the lights and the sound probably had the kid feeling like a detainee in Abu Gharib, I hope your child gives you no end of trouble, particularly in its teen years.

Now on to the review.

As always I will avoid spoilers.


If you’ve been searching around for reviews of Hancock, the new superhero flick from director Peter Berg which stars Will Smith, Jason Bateman and Charlize Theron. Chances are you came upon the blasting the film took in the Latino Review a month ago. I’m not sure what movie they were watching, but the studio has definitely made some cuts since then. The R rating has been dropped to a PG13, which in this case probably helped the film.


If you’re looking for a superhero film, let me warn you, Hancock may not be what you’re looking for. I suggest catching Iron Man or the Hulk again, or if you can wait, Batman and Hellboy will be here soon enough. There are superheroics in Hancock, often with hilarious results, but it’s not the meat of the movie, or even what drives the film forward.


Hancock is a movie about people first and foremost. The best way I can describe it in comic terms is where all the other hero flicks (excluding Hellboy) are primarily Marvel and DC associated. Hancock comes off like something from a good indie publisher or DCs Vertigo line. It doesn’t need to follow the superhero script but dabbles in it just enough where I could understand the movie confusing some people.

Hancock does make quite a turn in the 3rd act, and I applaud their decision. This film could have easily become an afterschool special treading down a safe and easy road of personal redemption or failure. It could have heavy handedly beat us down with yet another message of responsibilities and heroics. Instead we got a superhero movie with no super villain, no end of the world scenario and no real gimmicks.

The basic story is this. Will Smith is John Hancock, a being of extraordinary powers who drinks too much, feels compelled to do good, but is too angry and lonely to care how.


As an aside, I’m not sure if Smith or director Peter Berg had planned on evoking an image of our own returning vets, but I kinda got that vibe. Regardless of your feelings on the War, and I think most of us are in the same frame of mind. Men and women are sacrificing everything. Many who do return home find they have no home to come back to, losing their jobs and their families, they are greeted with scorn and contempt for taking part in an action too few support. If nothing else they deserve our compassion. I’ll get off the soapbox now.


Hancock meets Ray Embrey a Public Relations man who wants to save the world, but can’t get any backers for his pet project since it requires corporate sacrifice. Ray devises a way to clean up Hancocks image, which of course requires personal sacrifice on Hancocks part. Hancock reluctantly agrees, and that’s about all I can tell you without giving anything away.

I will tell you this though. The trailers downplay Charlize Therons role in the film, but the story of Hancock is definitely about 3 people. Most hero films spend as much time if not more introducing villains and telling their origins than they do with the actual hero. (did we really need Green Goblin in 3 Spiderman films?) Problem is most of the villains origins just aren’t that interesting. Since Hancock has no villain they spare us the exposition and give us more of what we want. Screen time with what may be 3 of the most charismatic screen presences today.


Will Smith has proven he could carry a film on his own and his turn as the besotted Hancock allows him to be as funny as he is tragic. What do you expect from the only guy on a tv sitcom you ever wanted to hang out with.


Jason Bateman always delivers and he has great chemistry with Smith. The scenes where he is training Hancock to be gracious are hilarious. You really believe this regular Joe has the force of conviction to stand up to an omnipotent being and tell him like it is.



I could write chapters on Charlize Theron. She always surprises me, and I almost never recognize her from one role to the next. Her turn here as Rays wife Mary is as heartbreaking as it is surprising.


Hancock has its share of action sequences, some of which are too hastily edited, but that seems to be the trend these days. The effects are great and have an as rooted in reality feel to them as they can. (Why didn’t the Hulk leave potholes whenever he jumped?) The script is tight, and while the story does take a sharp turn if you just ride it out you’ll find it’s a novel approach to an old concept. Just don’t expect to come away with more answers than questions. There are some very funny moments and if I had to categorize, I would consider Hancock a superhero dramedy. Just don’t expect a laugh riot from beginning to end.


Overall I recommend Hancock to anyone looking to go beyond the summers popcorn fare to a more adult thinking mans superhero flick.


Just do us a favor? Leave the baby with a sitter.

Baby photos by Jill Greenberg

Monday, June 23, 2008

Seven Words You Never Wanted To Say


George Carlin, May he Rest In Peace.

Friday, June 20, 2008

I'm A Highly Evolved Being, And All I Got Was This Stupid T-Shirt

I know, I know. I made a vow to keep to this about 3 times a week and I've already reneged. Let's be honest here though, I said this month would be a bear at work, and so far I've at least been honest about that. Besides you wouldn't want to argue with a highly evolved individual such as myself would you?
What makes me think I'm highly evolved.......?

SCIENCE! (stab your finger in the air if you're reading this aloud)

According to Meridith Small an author and anthropologist at Cornell University as well as a frequent contributor to Live Science and Katherine Rankin a Neurophysiologist at the University of California, sarcasm, yes sarcasm is an evolutionary survival skill and plays an important part in human social interaction.

If this is true, Groucho Marx and Bob Hope may have been the most highly evolved beings in our lifetime. Take that Dalai Lama!
All those years being told sarcasm was the lowest form of humor, or that my sarcasm was gonna get me popped in the mouth one day, (it hasn't) or even worse, sarcasm is a character flaw have all been lies. Lies perpetuated by those lower on the evolutionary scale than I. Let me tell you, this takes a load off my mind. No really, you don't know how....free I feel. How, what's the word? Unfettered.

Not only am I evolved, but the article goes on further to state that people who don't get sarcasm are damaged! Something wrong with that guy. Don't leave him alone with the kids, if you know what I mean. That guys got something wrong...bam! Right in the ol' parahippocampal gyrus. He's got a screw loose in the right side of his brain, man.

I feel sorry for the guy who doesn't get sarcasm, but there must be a lot of them cause Brad Garret keeps getting sitcoms while Arrested Development gets cancelled. Yes I'm still crying about that, deal with it!

So, new vow. I promise to be as positively funny and simultaneously as negatively nasty as possible, whenever possible. The kid gloves are off my friends. Witness my meteoric rise up the evolutionary ladder and quake, yes quake at the majesticness of a highly evolved bittingly witty being such as myself.

Or it could just be more of the same old, same old. Many of you won't know, cause you just....won't....get...it.

If you want to read the article you can find it here at Live Science.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Machine Girl Is Awesome!


Every now and then something comes along that is so perfect, so right that for a brief moment everything in the universe seems to make sense. In the world of genre films it's hitting on all the best points of what makes those films fun while eliminating all the filler that bogs down a good 90% of them.
Shaun of the Dead was one such film. Kill Bill was another mixing together genres with such precision that the only thing missing was a MechaBride fighting a giant rubber suited mutant Bill while Shaw Brothers vampire/zombies with 3 inch fangs hopped through Tokyo decimating the populace, but that would just be silly. Robert Rodriguez' Planet Terror taught me the only thing better than Rose McGowan with a machine gun leg , would be Rose McGowan with two machine gun legs, plus they killed Fergie.

This kind of cinematic synchronicity does not occur often. The fact that the past few years has seen some exceptions to the drought of good exploitation, I believe is wholly attributed to the fact that there are more people who grew up with similar interests now in the drivers seat.

This brings me to Machine Girl otherwise known as Kataude Mashin Garu written and Directed by 39 year old Noboru Iguchi.

My short review would be Machine Girl is awesome! Unfortunately short reviews are for punks so I gotta keep going.

Machine Girl stars Minase Yashiro as Ami, a pretty high schooler who's a bit of a tomboy. Ami cares for her younger brother Yu since their parents committed suicide after a supposed murder frame up leaving the kids to fend for themselves.
Amis brother and his best friend Takashi are killed by an extorting bully who is also the son of a Yakuza Ninja couple who are a few rice balls short of a bento box.

Of course the only way for a young girl to get justice is to seek revenge on the boys who killed her brother. Maybe that murder frame up in her families past wasn't such a frame up since Ami seems really quick to turn to homicidal tendencies. Even her brother had a list in his diary of people he wanted to kill, which leads Ami in her schoolgirl uniform to her first violent confrontation with a family of one of her brothers killers.














I don't think I'm giving anything away by revealing Ami eventually loses an arm in her quest for bloody vengeance. This leads to an alliance with Takashis mechanic parents. Miki, excellently played by Japanese AV star Asami, takes her under her wing and trains Ami to fight while Sugeru, the father, constructs a machine gun arm to replace Ami's missing limb.


There is one other star of this film. Arterial spray. This flick shoots as much of the red stuff as any Lone Wolf and Cub film. Doesn't matter if you lose a finger or get stabbed in the head. Blood will spurt in unbelievable amounts. Half the film seems to be filmed in a pink mist, and that's fine by me. I haven't seen exaggerated maiming like this since the classic Story Of Ricky-O. As outrageous as Ricky-O was, the violence seems even stronger when it centers around a beautiful girl with an amazing smile.


I gotta tell you. Guy or gal, if you don't fall in love with the screen combo of Ami and Miki then your tastes probably run to the ultra fetishist or non human since both women are gorgeous, tough and sexy.

There are so many high points to this film. The Red Junior High School Ninjas, the Super Mourners Gang comprised of parents of boys Ami has taken revenge on. A chainsaw leg and a drill bra, I'll wait for that one to sink in, A Drill BRA rounding out the mechanics of destruction. Finger sushi, face nailing, the list goes on and on!

Machine Girl is a near perfect modern revenge flick. It is thoroughly entertaining and never takes itself too seriously. Of course if you don't like gore for gores sake, you may want to skip this one. I recommend putting the kids to sleep, getting some friends over and creating a drinking game based on this film and the copious amount of bloodletting. You'll be drunk before the credits roll.

Machine Girl moves into my top list of films to join such classics as Shaun and Dawn of the Dead, Battle Royale and Kill Bill to name a few. It is available from Amazon for a measly 13 bucks or through Netflix.

Still not sure? Check out the trailer:

Retraction Of The Lost Ark

I mistakenly assumed that Lego Indiana Jones was a $60 game on Next-Gen systems. Price ranges from $30 - $50 depending on the system. Sorry for the confusion.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Raider Of The Lost Block

Whenever I buy a gift for one of my many nieces or nephews, one toy jumps first to my mind. Lego, the colorful, interlocking, imagination encouraging, building block of any childs world. As a kid I built everything from spaceships to high rises, and as an adult I still feel the call from the Lego aisle every time I go to Target.
I would never imagine a videogame based on Lego building blocks to be enjoyable to anyone past the age of 9. Imagine my surprise when I found myself obsessively collecting studs and kit parts in both Lego Star Wars games. Striving for that 100 percent completion. Lego Star Wars played like reading a Harry Potter novel. You could always go that extra page, find that extra item. In fact, if there was one franchise, besides the upcoming Batman, that I would like to see get the Lego game treatment, It would be Harry Potter. I'll get to why in a bit. For now I want to talk about Lego Indiana Jones.
The fun factor of the Star Wars games put Lego Indiana Jones high on my radar. I knew it would be more of the same, but stud collecting has such a satisfying sound, that I was really looking forward to it. Plus, what guy doesn't want to be Indy? Cracking the whip, fighting nazis, solving puzzles. I only wonder why they really didn't do all that effectively in this game. Sure the elements are there, but the game is plagued by cheap hits, repetitive characters and bland unforgiving level design.
Lego Indiana Jones is not a bad game. As a matter of fact, it makes a great weekend rental as I played through the game in about 6 hours with about 60% collected and I enjoyed it. If 10 bucks an hour is your idea of the price of entertainment, then this game may even be a buy for you, but I couldn't imagine 100% collection in this game taking more than 12 hours, but there's really not 12 hours of enjoyment packed in the game.
I have no choice but to compare Lego Star Wars with Lego Indiana Jones as the game mechanics are so similar, but it's the differences in the two that really make the difference between a good game and a great game.
Let's start with characters first. Lego Star Wars had you collecting characters from the different movies, but all the characters had unique looks and personalities and sounds. From Ewoks to Jar Jar Binks, they were fun to collect.
Lego Indy has you collecting Thugee Cultists and Nazis and scholars and that's about it. Almost every character in the game plays identically and each type has a generic look.
Indy has a whip which he can use to swing, but instead of giving us a cool swinging like Spiderman level, the whip is used for little more than single swings.
Where films Indiana Jones uses his whip with deadly accuracy, the whip in the game is virtually useless against enemies, especially since most of them are shooting at you. The whip also shares a button with your building action and often gets you into more trouble than not.
The best character in the game is probably Willie from the second film. Not only do women jump higher, but Willie can also shatter glass obstacles with her voice as well as pick up dropped weapons like any other character.
Other character mechanics are, short characters can crawl through hatches, scholars can solve simple four tile memory puzzles and thugees can pray to statues to open hidden areas.
All combat is through fist, firearm or blade. This is where the game falls flattest. Most enemies carry firearms and fire at you from off screen leading to lots of cheap kills. It's true you can't truly die in the game, but that doesn't mean I want to be blown up by a bazooka from off camera each time I respawn. Arrow indicators pointing to off screen enemies, as many games do, would be a great addition.
One of the enjoyments in Lego Star Wars was using dark or light force powers in combat. It gave the game variety. Indy doesn't have that. This is also one of the reasons I think a Harry Potter Lego game would work (thought I forgot, huh) Interesting characters and creatures with unique abilities and magic. Huge bosses like the ogre, or a dragon and animal familiars. It would be a classic. Now back to Indy.
Cheap hits aren't the only killer in the game. Many of the jumping mechanics take such precision that it borders on frustrating. If a 40 something hardcore gamer is having trouble jumping to a platform because of a lousy camera angle, is a kid going to fare any better? (probably) Sometimes the difference between a successful jump was a fraction of a 16th of an inch one side or the other at an angle that made no sense for the jump to work. A miss may mean your character respawning and falling off the edge over and over till you happen to press the change character button just at the right time to stay alive.
Lego Star wars has you collecting ship parts or kits from each level to build the many iconic vehicle found in the movies. This ties back with building spaceships as a child. It's fun, and since we know what they look like we want to complete them. In Indy we collect artifact pieces. I don't care what they look like and I'm not truly motivated to find out.
There are also no exotic locations. You have a jungle, or a cave, or a desert camp and different varieties of the same. Many of the indoor locations don't have the same huge feel as the Star Wars games.
There were some interesting additions that were also underused such as the phobias. Indy is afraid of snakes and is ineffective when they are around, other characters fear spiders or rats. This could have been a great mechanic, but it was sorely underused and did not truly impact game play.
In one jungle location the game makes a point of telling you an elephant can grab items. Just out of reach bananas which can be used to trade for a crucial item, such as a key, with a monkey seems like an obvious item for an elephant to grab. After 10 minutes I discover I need to use my whip to grab the banana right from the edge of a one hit kill muddy swamp. Using the whip pushes you a bit forward so this lead to more frustrating deaths.
Don't get me started on vehicle control, no seriously don't. You're better off walking. Trust me. it's a shame they force you to drive. Nuff said.
So what was fun, you ask. Well, it's still a Lego game and has great humor and for the most part addictive gameplay, just not on the level with Star Wars. It's still fun to play through the movies, and when the game shows personality it rises above most. Like I said a great solid rental.
There are 5 Star Wars characters to find. I found R2, Threepio, Chewie and Luke. Finding all characters gives you the ability to play the game as Han Solo. Basically another guy with a gun, I'd prefer to play as Luke with his force powers, or how about a character from another Spielberg film? You're fighting nazis so how about Schindler or Private Ryan or Wild Bill Kelso from 1941? (that would be awesome) Even a young JG Ballard from Empire of the Sun. I'd also accept the Goonies or Freakazoid, but Han Solo? Ok, I get it. Harrison Ford, I'd prefer the Harrison from American Graffiti in his tricked out muscle car, but that's just me.
There is an additional level you can unlock to play as young Indiana, but I was not compelled enough to get the completion level necessary to unlock it.
If you're looking for a quick fun game, then put Lego Indiana Jones on your rental list. I'd even go so far to say if the game came down in price, it would be worth a buy. Just don't expect a lot out of it.
I'm holding out for Lego Batman as there are probably enough vehicles, gadgets and variety of villains to give Lego Star Wars a challenge.

Lego Indiana Jones was developed by Lucasarts and is available for the Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360 as well as Nintendo DS, PSP, PS2 and PC.

Monday, June 9, 2008

I Want A New Toy

This guy showed up a while back, but I lazed out on writing about him. I mentioned back in February that I was going to pre-order which I hate to do. When it comes to ordering things I revert back into a five year old and check the ship date with such regularity you would swear I had OCD.


His official title is Subject 805: Tactical Containment Unit Operator. I don't know what that is, but it looks cool on paper. He's from Sideshow Collectibles, and part of their original The Dead line.
If you're not familiar with Sideshow you should check them out. They make figures for a lot of licensed products and you'll probably see something you like.


Now, I have a lot of toys, but the pride of my collection are my 1/6th scale (12") military figures. I don't think I ever grew out of my original GI Joe phase as they were my faves as a child. There are several companies producing these such as Dragon and Blue Box. They are made to be as historically accurate as possible down to the slightest detail. Weapons may be metal with moving parts and removable clips. Buckles snaps and belts all work. Even the zippers are scaled down in size to make sense with the uniforms. All in all, they are true collectors pieces.

It looks like Sideshow Toys is giving this fanboy what he wants by creating an army of undead to battle the army I've been amassing over the years.



First thing you'll notice on 805 is the face sculpt. Sideshow did an amazing job. It is obvious that 805 is loosely based on Dr. Tongue, one of the first zombies seen in George Romeros Day of the Dead. The skin color is perfect, and the face wound is particularly gruesome. The darker red on the inside of the tongue suggests bruising from biting down on it too much.





805 is missing his left hand, and if there is anyplace I could pick nits, this is it. The arm is locked at an angle, I would have preferred it pose able. At least ship the figure with an optional arm.






The uniform is basic blood spattered BDUs and a tactical vest. 805 ships with a radio headset, machine gun and a stand with The Dead logo printed on it. Other items in the box are paper documents which are impractical and shouldn't be unpacked.

The figure is solid though as are all Sideshow figures and short of the left arm, can hold a variety of realistic poses.
I'm pretty pleased with 805 since it combines my favorite toy type with my favorite subject, zombies.


I have a pre-order in for Subject 1025: The Babysitter as well. I'm also going to try for a Comic Con Babysitter exclusive, but I'm not to hopeful as those sell out fast.

Of course while it's great to have a zombie figure, this could lead to complications.

No sooner do I get him on my shelf........

Get it off! Get it off!!

Ahhh!

Take it down!

Fire at will!

Kapow

Don't you die on me!

You did all you could.

Holy crap he's alive!

Grrrr, Arrggh!

Something tells me I'm going to have a lot more zombies before too long.


If anyone knows photoshop and would like to gore these up, feel free.
Let me know if you do

All photos in this post are Creative Commons,
Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share Alike


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