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7:23 AM on 01.12.2009

What is a Dtoid Community Member?

I originally sent this out in the whole emailer that seems to have started it all, but considering it's more about my take on the community than anything else it seems more appropriate to put it here. I tweaked a few things too. Sometimes words are hard late at night.

Hi,
So I haven't read Jim's post but I think I'm getting the gist of it by deducing from the many various opinions. As someone who once recapped the blogs every single day and now barely gets a post up every two weeks I've often thought about what it means to be a member of this community. At the moment I barely go into IRC, I've never been on vent or any of those other things, most of my writing goes to another site, I check the emailer infrequently, I recognize about 50 percent of the names that pop up on the cblogs, and someone actually had the nerve to ask me why my avatar was a screaming banana (because it fucking is, Pendelton). So all in all I'd say it doesn't look too good for me as a community member if we were going down a checklist. However, if someone said I suddenly didn't belong or wasn't up to snuff or something I'd be violently upset. Many of my best friends are from Dtoid. If any one of those 50 percent of bloggers I don't recognize right off the bat (who aren't total asses) needed help I'd jump in. So where do I stand as a community member?

From what I hear of Jim's post it sounds like he would think of me as less of one than I once was. Maybe I am. It sure doesn't feel like "same 'ol Dtod" some times - the one I fell for. I know plenty of people agree with me, I've talked to them about it (that'd be a check in the still a community member column, right?). It's still an amazing place though. Something I want to be part of. So I guess for me the question Jim's post (or reading about Jim's post) really brought up was what is a Destructoid Community member.

I'd have to say it's someone who cared. Not just about games but about gamers, about those around him/her. I mean the people who have stayed, who have been around, they're the people who give two shits. The more people who care, the bigger the site is going to get, the bigger the site gets the more heads will butt, it's just the way of things. Why? Because we all fucking care. We might have differing opinions or lash out at one another, but we do it because we care about the Dtoid community and that simple act makes us community members. It's not about how much we write, or how many inside jokes we know, or if we were around for Niero's first post. The guy who posts an introductory post (FORUMS!) tomorrow, is just as much a member of the Dtoid community as I am as long as he cares. It's about being part of something, and I think we (both editors and community members) forget that sometimes in the flare-ups and controversies that happen. Does it ever surprise anyone else how passionately we can get into arguments here? How many amazingly close friendships are here? It blows me away, and I hope it isn't something anyone takes for granted.

I dunno. I think I've gone totally off topic by now. I've proven no point and rambled for more paragraphs than this emailer has probably ever seen. This turned into a "things that have been floating around in my head for a bit" email.   read


4:28 PM on 01.07.2009

The 2008 Razzies nominate Uwe Boll four times. Here's my take.


If only the Workmeng could see how far she's come.

Look talking about good movies is great, but talking about the bad ones is just so much more fun. That's why you have to love the The Golden Rasberry Awards or Razzies. The yearly award show the celebrates the worst Hollywood has to offer, and has the audacity to do it on the exact same day as the Oscars themselves. This year had plenty of bad movies (just like most other years), but now that the nominees are out let's take a look at who really deserves to be the worst.

Worst Picture: Speed Racer, Disaster Movie and Meet the Spartans, The Day the Earth Stood Still, High School Musical 3, The Hottie & The Nottie, Dungeon Siege, The Love Guru, Postal, Rambo, The Happening, Meet Dave, Witless Protection

My Take: Well I'd take Speed Racer and Rambo off that list automatically since they were my two dirty pleasures of the year, but everything else on there was completely and totally abysmal. What deserves to win though? I have to give it to Paris Hilton and The Hottie and the Nottie. Absolutely terrible in every way possible. Props to Uwe Boll for making the list twice in one year. Very impressive.

Worst Actor: Zac Efron, Dane Cook, Larry the Cable Guy, Eddie Murphy, Al Pacino, Keanu Reeves, Sylvester Stallone, Tom Cruise (Valkyrie), Will Ferrell, Ashton Kutcher, Mike Myers, Adam Sandler, Mark Wahlberg

My Take: Again, how can you say Stallone was bad as Rocky? It doesn't make sense. If you're wondering why Pacino is on there than you really need to check out some of his recent stuff. Not so great. I think I'd toss the award to Eddie Murphy. Not only are his comedic movies flat as a board, but he also blew his chance at being a respectable actor by following up his fantastic Dream Girls performance with crappy comedies.

Worst Actress: Paris Hilton, Jessica Alba, The cast of The Women, Camilla Belle, Cameron Diaz, Kate Hudson, Diane Keaton, Jennifer Connelly, Zooey Deschanel, Vanessa Hudgens, Eva Longoria-Parker, Reese Witherspoon

My take: Man there are plenty of bad performances to choose from here. While the entire cast of The Women is pretty humorous, I don't think we can blame them all for how bad that movie was. One can however blame Paris Hilton for even attempting to act, so let's go with her in this category.

Worst Screen Couple: Any couple from HSM 3, Cameron Diaz & Ashton Kutcher, Paris Hilton & Joel David Moore, Kate Hudson & Dane Cook, Kate Hudson & Matthew McConaughey, Larry the Cable Guy & Jenny McCarthy, Any couple from Mamma Mia, Eddie Murphy & Eddie Murphy (Meet Dave), Al Pacino & His Hair, Mark Wahlberg & Zooey Deschanel, Mark Wahlberg & Mila Kunis, Sylvester Stallone & His Ego

My take: Man the Razzies are on a hate parade for High School Musical and Stallone. Not that it isn't warranted, but maybe a little harsh. If I had to decide this one seriously the obvious choice would be Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel. The two of them had about as much chemistry as an English classroom in The Happening. However, I think that Al Pacino and his hair might take the cake.

Let's take a break. That's a lot of bad cinema to process. I know I've had a few memories of the past year I wish had been buried. Here, read about some good movies. All right. All refreshed? Let's move on.

Worst Director: Uwe Boll, Scott Derrickson, Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer, Tom Putnam, Marco Schnabel, Sylvester Stallone, Jon Avnet, Diane English, Roland Emmerich, Brian Robbins, Kenny Ortega, M. Night Shyamalan

My take: I'm a big gamer too so my hatred for Uwe Boll trumps anything else. The man not only systematically and mechanically makes bad movies, but they also happen to destroy quality gaming franchises. One would think that after so many bad videogame movies the man would discover some sort of talent in the world of film making, but alas he has none. He deserves the award and a lifetime achievement.

Worst Prequel, Sequel, Remake or Rip-Off: Indiana Jones 4, HSM 3, Rambo, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Disaster Movie, Meet the Spartans, An American Carol, The Women, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Prom Night, Speed Racer, X-Files: I Want To Believe

My take: This one is pretty tough. X-Files was decent, but a major let down. Jones was fun until the end when it shot itself in the face. Disaster Movie and Meet the Spartans are just too easy. I think I have to go with Clone Wars simply because it confirmed what I already knew: Star Wars has sold out and it is never coming back.

Worst Career Achievement: Uwe Boll, Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer, Madonna, Keanu Reeves, Sylvester Stallone

My take: Boll. The man made two of the worst movies of the year. How do you even go about doing that?

Well that seems to be all. If you're on the floor right now trying to block out the end of Indiana Jones from your mind or possibly avoiding ever reading the name Uwe again, I don't blame you. What do you think should win? Anything missing?   read


9:43 PM on 01.03.2009

I hugged everyone and...

it made me happy cause this hugging thing is like an old fashioned dtoid posting banaza. Memories...   read


5:56 PM on 12.23.2008

Happy Holidays everybody and Rabbid Splinter Cell papercraft thing

Hi everyone! I haven't been around (well blogging around, I've been reading everything) cause of other stuffs here and there. Then since I wasn't writing about games I felt bad posting random movie blogs every Friday, so those stopped...anyway, hopefully more Cowzilla next year. Now I just wanted to jump in and say Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone I couldn't in person, which is pretty much everyone. Once again I'm thankful for Dtoid giving me the best Christmas present ever: the chance to write about videogames. Doesn't get much better than that. Well, except for free videogame consoles, games and hi-def TVs for the rest of my life. That would be pretty sweet too.

Oh and so this entire post isn't totally pointless other than saying Merry Christmas, check out the sweet papercraft Ubisoft sent me. Splinter Cell Rabbid FTW!!! Is FTW still cool? I think I'm behind on these things. The card indicates there were three other versions: Altair, normal and something with red hair that I'm positive I should recognize but can't.

  read


10:21 AM on 12.04.2008

I'm on the internet TV!!!

[embed]113591:16197[/embed]

ManiaTV.com's the War Room had me on this week to talk about Nintendo. I thought it went really well except that I said Ummm, way too much and kept looking away from my camera. Guess I'll have to work on these things. Anyway, figured some of you guys might be interested in seeing it. They had Nick Chester on the week before too and he's totally dreamy. You can see him below and wonder at the awesomeness of his clearly superior webcam.

Don't tell anyone at War Room this but about six months ago I was just a random blogger at Dtoid. That's right, eat your vegetables, do your homework and write non-stop all the time and you too can get interviewed over Skype! Now if you'll excuse me I have to go try to act professionally and not squeal in joy.

[embed]113591:16200[/embed]   read


4:37 PM on 12.02.2008

How to lose a nights sleep with Shaun White Snowboarding: Road Trip

Step 1: Get Shaun White Snowboarding: Road Trip in the mail from the good folks at Ubi.


Step 2: Get a little excited about using your Balance Board for something other than theoretical push-ups you're supposed to be doing.


Step 3:Rearrange living room so that you can play game without standing a foot away from the television.


Step 4: Have your television set up in such a way that it's great for watching from the couch but when one stands and watches one has to bend neck downward to play.


Step 5: Play until stooped and cowled by television placement and one's inability to have the dexterity to control a game with one's feet.


Step 6: Realize you can't sleep because you're kneck hurts to much.


Step 7: Get no sleep. Goal accomplished.   read


2:48 PM on 11.11.2008

My entire interview with Format Magazine, in case anyone cared



A little while back Format Magazine interviewed a few people from various gaming sites about gaming. They asked some really interesting questions and then publshed our responses. You may have read it when Jim [url =http://www.destructoid.com/format-does-a-videogame-feature-our-boy-chester-does-us-proud-110593.phtml]posted about Nick doing it[/url]. They kind of edited down our responses and because of my inability to type single paragraph responses plenty of mine were cropped out, especially on what I thought were the more interesting questions. Anyway, I thought I did a pretty good job responding and figured maybe some other people might want to read the answers. Actually getting to do an interview about games was pretty much a dream come true, and then finding out that I was questions alongside the Nick Chester pretty much blew my mind.

So for the full interview read on:

Format: What's the difference between an art game and a game with good art?
Woh. OK, now you’re asking some deep questions here. On the surface of it a game with good art is simply a game that looks pretty. A graphically powerful game can be the prettiest thing we’ve ever seen but that doesn’t make it an art game nor does it make it art. An “art game” is a game that is art. What I mean by that is that, like all other forms of art, it challenges our perceptions and displays something worth seeing. An art game is a game that has meaning beyond the gameplay and looking good and tells us something about ourselves or the world around us. A game with good art simply looks good an art game does good.

Digging a little deeper though you get into an argument about if gaming can be art at all because of the interactivity of the medium. Obviously this has been up for debate for a while and while I come firmly down on the side of videogames being art not all games are art. However, a game with good art is art because it has taken creativity and work to create that art, but an art game is also art because it is creating a message and also requires thought and creativity. The two can easily overlap and be one and the same. So while game’s with good art and games that are art are different they are both still art.

Format: Between 2D and 3D art, what is more condusive to artistic games and why?
As explained above it depends on what type of game you’re talking about. The simple answer is that it doesn’t matter what kind of art it is as long as the game is creating a message and presenting it to the gamer. If you’re discussing an art game it doesn’t matter what it looks like but how it does what it does. It’s the message not the style that matters in a game like this and thus the graphics need to actually be condusive to the game whether that be 2D or 3D.

Now, if we are discussing games that are artistically good looking than I would argue 2D, simply because it gives a closer representation to what we are use to calling art. 3D graphics cab be beautiful and highly artistic but when we look at something in 2D it becomes far closer to what we as a society perceive as art. Thus at the moment I would say that 2D gaming is more condusive to artistic games.

Format: To what extent do graphics matter in gaming?
I’m just going to put on a broken record that says “depends on the game” over and over again. The flat out answer here is that they don’t matter at all. What matters is the story, gameplay, mechanics and whether or not the gamer enjoys themselves or is challenged (physically or emotionally) by the game. Some of the most emotionally powerfully game’s I have ever played have been in 8-bit graphics. Looking at the grand scheme of things it matters not how great the graphics are or how many pixels are crammed into every character.

That being said some things are just better with better graphics. I just got through playing Dead Space for instance, and while the game would have been a blast without the high end graphics that were present it was better because of them. Graphics don’t make a game good they can just make it better. Dead Space was scarier because it had better graphics, but it still would have been scary and fun to play had it come out with less impressive ones. On the other side the graphics in Super Mario Galaxy were fantastic but I wouldn’t say they made the game better, it was all about the gameplay there. So it really depends on the game itself and what it is trying to accomplish. In some games great graphics matter, but there are no games where they are absolutely necessary.

Format: To what extent does your passion for gaming affect the way you dress?
Phew, back to the simple questions. The only way my passion for gaming affects the way I dress is by the fact that I have some shirts that are related to gaming. It hasn’t made me sloppier or messier and if I do say so myself I’m a very good dresser. I game, I represent, but it doesn’t dominate my wardrobe.

Format: Do gamers have a 'look'?
Not anymore. Maybe at some point, when gaming just started, there was a gamers look, but asking this question now is like asking “Do people who watch movies have a look?” or “Do people who read books have a look?” The answer is no. Everyone does these things and everyone plays games. The difference in fashion tastes between me and my gaming friends is vast to say the least. Some dress just like me and others prefer a more punk slant. There is absolutely, positively no look to gamers.

Format: If you could make over a video game character, who would it be and why?
Sonic, Sonic, Sonic! The poor blue hedgehog has gone from being one of the most bad ass characters in gaming to a parody of himself. He use to be cool and now he’s just lame. He hasn’t updated since he was created and looks like a joke next to more modern game characters no matter how child directed they seem. I’d love to have Sonic get a total make over that improves his character (and his games) a bit. Hopefully the upcoming Sonic Unleashed will deal with a few of his current problems.

Format: What console had the best brand image and why?
I can tell you what console has the worst brand image. That would be the PS3. Sony has fallen and they didn’t do it gracefully they just fell as fast and as hard as they could. Before the PS3 Sony could do no wrong, now their system often looks like an expensive paperweight. As for the best brand image it depends on if you’re talking to the hardcore crowd or not. Most “hardcore” gamers would tell you that the Wii sucks and is for kids, despite plenty of evidence to contradict this and thus the 360 would have a better brand image. On the flip side most other gamers would tell you that the 360 is nothing but FPS shooters and bloody games, despite evidence to the contrary, and thus the Wii has the best brand image.

However, if you were taking a poll today I would have to say that the Wii comes out on top. They’re everywhere and everyone loves them, even the grumpy gamers sitting in the back row complaining that everyone is now crowding in on their past time.

Format: What video game character has the best style?
Man, that is tough. I’ve always been a fan of overalls and a plumber’s cap, but I can hardly say that that is good style – it’s just unique style. I love the lack of clothing on most female fighters in games but once again that’s not very stylish. Wait, I’ve got it: Travis Touchdown from No More Heroes. Not only was he obsessed with looking cool but one of the side-quests was to collect some of the most badass t-shirts I’ve ever seen. Plus, if you want to talk about a game that is art without having the best art there’s a perfect example right there. The bad art was actually part of the game’s statement!

Format: What games should we be looking forward to in the following year?

How much space do we have? I mean looking a year down the road is dangerous stuff. I’ll assume you want us to skip over the 2008 holiday season and dive right into 2009, which is hard because all the big games launch in the next few months. Let’s see we’ve got MadWorld, Killzone 2, Alan Wake, House of the Dead: Overkill, GTA: Chinatown Wars, Ninokuni, Mario and Luigi RPG 3, Wolfenstein, Splatterhouse, Faith and a .45, Doom 4, Call of Duty 6, Bionic Commando, Street Fighter 4, Halo Wars… this list goes on forever and I was just pulling out a few I could think off the top of my head. Every year in game is full of awesome games and disappointing let downs, that’s one of the best parts of being a gamer; there is just so much to look forward to.   read


7:57 AM on 10.07.2008

Live in DC? Get ready for vault life



In case you don’t know, that image above is what the inside of the DC metro system (subway in New York, the T in Boston, the underground in London) looks like. Also, in case you didn’t know, Fallout 3 takes place in a post-apocalyptic Washington DC in which much of the population lives in underground vaults. Now that you know those two facts you might start thinking how much the DC metro system looks like a futuristic underground vault. Turns out you wouldn’t be the only ones.

In a clever little advertising move Fallout 3, being published by Bethesda who is based in Bethesda, Maryland, just outside of DC, has taken over the Metro Center stop of the metro system. Every sign, pillar and banner is an ad for Fallout 3 that urges DC citizens to consider the benefits of vault life before, I’m assuming, the impending apocalypse. I snapped a few crappy cell phone shots, but there were plenty more of these throughout the station along with large lit signs of screenshots for the game. Now, I have to go join some homeless men and start camping out in the metro system.







Full disclosure: Copy pastaed.   read


3:12 PM on 10.03.2008

Monday Review: Appaloosa, Flash of Genius, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist



'Appaloosa' is a western

A headline that blunt usually points to a forthcoming bad review full of expressions like "doesn't reinvent the wheel." While that expression might be entirely true of Appaloosa (it in fact firmly reestablishes the western wheel) in this case that isn't a bad thing and the simple statement that Appaloosa is a western should be seen as a glowing recommendation of the film, not a half hearted attempt to say something nice about it.

The American western is an almost dead tradition that use to be the great staple of American cinema. Now when we get a western it always seems that there has to be so meting special about it, something that makes it more than just a story about cowboys. Appaloosa looks at that trend and runs the other direction, creating a film that could have easily come out in the heyday of westerns when John Wayne carried a six shooter and horses riding off into the sunset was the way a large chuck of movies ended. The story fits nicely into the classic western with two hired guns, Virgil Cole (Ed Harris) and Everett Hitch (Viggo Mortensen), riding into a town called Appaloosa to rid it of Randall Bragg (Jeremy Irons) a well connected outlaw. Throw in the destructive force of a woman, one of the most common themes in classic westerns where the solitary man was always prized, with the entrance of Allison French (Renee Zellweger) and you've got yourself an excuse for plenty of shooting. Gun fights, train hijackings, smart talking and long draws ensue in a western town that was probably built for movies over 50 years ago.

I'm not sure you could pick two better actors to portray grizzled, hardened cowboys than Mortensen and Harris, the latter of which also wrote and directed the film. Both men seems like they're taken from a generation of actors that knew that they were going to ride a horse with cowboy boots on at some pint in their career and I don't think anyone has ever pulled off a mustache as robust as Mortensen's since Magnum P.I. The two have genuine chemistry in the film that only reaffirms the classic western themes of male bonding and solidarity amongst men. It's as if the two decided that breaking out of the western mold like Hollywood has been doing was a bad idea and so they stepped right back into it. Even the villain is a sign of the loss of the freedom of the west. Much as the old western films yearned for a time when there was a sunset to ride off into Appaloosa does the same thing, with Jeremy Irons' character representing not only corruption and violence but the overruling hand of government that won't allow men to be men and settle things their own way.

It's all quite refreshing in a totally un-refreshing way. Unfortunately some parts stick out a bit more than others. The casting of Zellweger might be one of the worst decisions the filmmakers made. She looks absolutely horrendous in the clothing and hairstyles of the time and her performance seems to lack chemistry with almost all of the actors. It's offsetting, especially when any time the camera isn't near her the film seems to jump to life. I realize that in westerns the invincible hero cowboy, here represented by Cole, has to have his downfall, but her character seems so out of place with the rest of the film that it ruins much of what could have been great about the movie.

It doesn't ruin it completely though, as the strengths of the film outweigh the weaknesses. Harris directs with a sort of straightforwardness that lets the slower moving plot work its way out and when it does pick up allows it to do it well. The score is also of note. With a sort of Shane/Spaghetti Western feel to it, it might be the only part of the film that feels like it's not from the past, with modern twists over a classic sounding track.

At first I wanted to call Appaloosa a love letter to the western bemoaning its downfall, but it isn't that, because it isn't paying its respects or trying to duplicate the classic westerns. It is a western, plain and simple and for that I can do nothing but applaud.
4/5. If you don't like westerns you'll hat it, but otherwise solid,

Trailer
[embed]106206:14940[/embed]




Flashes of greatness, but no genius

I want to say that Greg Kinnear nailed his role as Bob Kearns, the inventor of the intermittent windshield wiper, but it's hard to say if he did or not since I didn't even know someone had invented the intermittent windshield wiper in the first place so i can' treally judge how well Kinnear performed as him. I suppose it did have to be invented, it didn't just appear out of thin air after all, but who knew there was so much drama behind it.

There was a whole lot behind the invention in fact. First Kearns invents the wiper, which had been stumping the automotive world for years, in his basement with his family. Then he shows it off to Ford who signs a deal saying that he can manufacture the wiper for them. After a few months, and a massive investment from Kearns and his family in a factory, Ford pulls the contract. A little while later the new Ford cars come out with intermittent windshield wipers, obviously stolen from Kearns. Kearns then goes forward suing Ford for patent infringement and summarily goes crazy, hurts his family and turns down large sums of money all in the hopes of getting credit for his invention and having Ford say they were wrong. At least that's the way the movie tells the story. I'm sure reality is a bit different here and there, but the overall David and Goliath themes are true enough.

On the whole the film does a decent job of championing the little man and making corporate America look evil, despite the fact that the true evil is the US justice system that kept the case out of court for ten plus years thanks to loopholes and regulations. Viewers are getting their basic Oscar hopeful feel good film out of this one and while some of the performances might be Ocar worth the overall film falls too easily into general happiness to ever really draw much emotion out of anything but the ending. Even Kearns's separation from his wife, played by Lauren Graham, is a long throw from emotional. It's as if the film is just moving through the motions with the regularity of, say, a intermittent windshield wiper.

That being said, the fight between Ford and Kearns is incredibly tense both because of the performance by Kinnear and the subject matter itself. When the film is focusing on his obsession with proving Ford stole from him and their downright dirty business practices it is at its best, delivering plenty of moments where you want to stand up and cheer for the little guy. One wonders if the real Kearns was as charismatic and likable as Greg Kinnear's performance, which completely negates his miscasting in Ghost Town. It's hard to imagine actually getting excited about windshield wipers but there is so much more behind it that you can't help it.

No one is going to walk out of this movie feeling bad. It's a perfectly well made movie about the triumphs of one man against a large corporation. We're Americans, we love the underdog. As a whole though the film isn't that special. It tells a great story, it tells it decently well, but in telling that story it seems to forget the humanity in it and only sees the bigger battle. Despite Kinnear's strong performance the man behind the wiper gets a little lost.
3 out of 5. Warms the heart but nothing special.

[b]Trailer]/b]
[embed]106206:14942[/embed]




Infinitely Enjoyable

At some point the quirky indie comedy with opening credits written like they're ripped from a high schooler's doodles in a notebook, a soundtrack of bands you're not cool enough to know and youthful actors with that sort of on screen presence that just makes you love them is going to become an unfunny cliche of itself as more and more companies try to pump them out. Luckily for us we aren't there yet and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, the most recent in these style of movies, is quirky, funny and enjoyable throughout.

The film takes place over the course of one night in which Nick (Michael Cera) and Norah (Kat Denning) meet and proceed to have crazy sober antics together since neither of them drink. Unfortunately for them Norah's best friend does drink and gets lost after Nick's gay heavy metal band mates lose her. Also drinking that night, as the group of high schoolers looks for a mythical band aptly named "Where's Fluffy" in bars across New York, is Nick's ex-girlfriend who broke up with him on his "b-day" and Norah's on again off again boyfriend. Everyone's looking for Fluffy so clearly paths cross and entangled relationships ensue.

I won't argue that it's the most original plot in the world but the undeniable charm of Michael Cera and the rest of the quirky and enjoyable cast delivers a comedy that hardly ever disappoints in making you laugh, though the beginning stars off slow, but also plays out with a real world charm that is missing from many comedies of the same ilk. Aaron Yoo and Rafi Gavron might steal the show as Nick's band mates who are constantly arguing over increasingly inappropriate names for their band. I'd have to argue though that the most impressive performance comes from Kat Dennings, who I am slowly falling in love with. As Norah she delivers a wonderful straight edge to Cera's charmingly befuddled attitude, which everyone will note is far different from the charmingly befuddledness of Hugh Grant who actually invented the concept -- or maybe that was Jimmy Stewart. But I'm drifting off into film history and losing my point, which is that Dennings and Cera deliver and have the sort of awkward chemistry between a guy and a girl that is usually kept out of the movies and reserved for reality.

Which is even more impressive when considering the tight writing and long list of punchlines that could have easily fallen flat had less qualified actors delivered them. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist is one of those screenplays that are truly dangerous for filmmakers. Picking it up and reading it would only tell you that it could be done right but that it could also go horribly, horribly wrong if the stars don't align because if they don't it's just going to be another bad romantic teen comedy in NYC.

And I suppose at it's heart that's all Nick and Norah is. Jealous exes, drunk friends, parties and alcohol all under the guise of nerdy sub-culture is pretty much the run of this film. Add in Zac Efron and Ashley Tisdale and take out the gay band members of course and the story becomes another cliche teen romance. However, those actors aren't in the film, there are gay band members and while at its base it might be just another teen movie the acting and writing of Nick and Norah make it so much more.
4 out of 5. It's funny and charming, what more do expect from Cera?

Trailer
[embed]106206:14943[/embed]

I also saw How to Lose Friends and Alienate People which was a big pile of OK with Simon Pegg tossed in the middle and Blindness which was over directed and disappointing.

Also give me clicks on all three pleaaaase!   read


6:33 AM on 10.01.2008

This sums it up perfectly



Out of all the billions of words I've read about Mega Man 9 I don't think anything has captured exactly what the game can do better than today's PA. Seriously, even if they hadn't put the text in I would have known what they were talking about since it's pretty much what happened to me. I even saw my old childhood gaming reactions come out of me (both good and bad). Of course appealing to our inner child is just a giant corporate trick now (thus all the remakes and reboots) but none the less my bitter and cynical self was completely overruled by MM9.   read


11:09 AM on 09.26.2008

Monday Review: Eagle Eye and Miracle at St. Anna



Spike Lee's New 'Miracle'?

In the world of film WWII has been done. It’s been done well, it’s been done poorly. It’s been covered from every side and recreated in every angle under the sun. It has not however been done by Spike Lee, the most prolific black filmmaker in film’s history. This fact makes his new film Miracle at St. Anna, which takes place during WWII, not simply just another film from that era. Like or dislike his films, Lee has a style and flare for filmmaking that is often hit (Do The Right Thing, Inside Man) or miss (Bamboozled, Get on the Bus) but always something to talk about.

But let’s ignore the man behind the camera for a second and talk about Miracle at St. Anna as a film itself, putting aside our opinion of its director. The film, which clocks in at a hefty 160 minutes, follows four black soldiers during WWII and a white child who one of them rescues from death. The four men are separated from the rest of their platoon and their racist commander during a battle and find themselves and the boy, who seems to have miraculous powers, in a small Italian village in the mountains that has been surrounded by Nazis. There are also modern day bookends to this story that involve one of the four soldiers and his trail after shooting a man in cold blood in a post office. Then there are about ten more subplots and themes that would take far too long to get into here.


They're angry.

Actually, it seems it would take far too long to get into them in the movie too. While the movie’s main plotlines are strong and many scenes are relentlessly powerful, Lee seems to have some problems covering everything he wants to cover or in this case everything the book the film is based off of covered. A flashback scene of the soldiers getting kicked out of a diner because they’re black seems out of place and lacks any serious impact on the rest of the film. There’s just a bit too much there and it makes the beginning of the film immensely disjointed and hard to follow. Thankfully once everything settles down near the end the plethora of storylines starts to dwindle down into a powerful final 40 minutes.

The acting is also a bit uneven, though the subject matter and Lee’s steady neorealistic directing mean that almost none of the emotion is lost. Some scenes feature impressive performances from an actor who in another scene seems pleasantly removed from the events going on around him. Michael Early’s character is imbalanced on the whole, sometimes acting in one way only to switch to what seems to be an almost completely different character in the next scene.


This looks kind of weird, but it's not.

But returning to the man himself, Spike Lee, this might be one of his best directed films, despite a few odd choices in cutting. A far fling from his earlier movies, which were filled with the idea of confronting the viewer with the anger and hatred in the world, this film, much like Inside Man, focuses more on the good things that unify us all and not the evil. Lee presents his scenes in a crisp, straightforward way that lends the film far more power than it should have given its shortcomings, and if there is one thing this film and Spike Lee are good at delivering it’s power.

3 out of 5. Could of been better, but very powerful.

Trailer
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'Eagle Eye' is blindingly bad

"Eagle Eye" should give film goers everywhere a new respect for Michael Bay. No, not because he directed the film, but because the film's director, D.J. Caruso, does such a poor job of trying to be him. Michael Bay can take a poor script crammed full of action and make it exciting. "Eagle Eye" proves that D.J. Caruso can't, and all that's left over is a few disappointing action sequences and one liners that even Roger Moore's James Bond would cringe at.

With a movie this bad it's hard to decide where to start to tear it apart, but then again I'm pretty sure the film's plot will do it on its own. After his twin brother dies, slacker Jerry Shaw (Shia LaBeouf) returns to his run down apartment to find that a terrorist's cache of weapons has been delivered there. A mysterious woman calls and tells him to get out quickly. Around the same time single mom Rachel Holloman (Michelle Monaghan) gets a call from the same voice and is told that if she doesn't do exactly as the voice says her son will die. The two meet up under the guidance of the voice. It seems this voice can control pretty much anything that is on a network and thus can see them constantly via security cameras and other such networked technology. Thus the two are supposedly forced into obeying the voice, which turns out about halfway through the movie to be an insanely smart computer designed by the US government.


Hi. I'd like to order a good movie.

Yes, that plot twist occurs only about halfway, leaving the rest of the film to wallow around in its own poor excuse for a plot as the characters make dumber and dumber decisions about how to survive this 2001 looking AI. I'm going to start a petition called "Film Lovers Against Movies With Plots That Revolve Around People Acting Like Idiots," because it's really just annoying. No wonder the screenplay had four writers; it would take that many rewrites to come out with a product as inane as this. I picture the first screenwriter turning in a really good cold-war espionage film that just hints at AI. Then the second one comes in and updates it into a 90's action film. Then they hand it off to the third screenwriter who brings it into modern day and then goes crazy with the AI thing, making it the villain. Then finally the last screenwriter adds in the one-liners. That is, of course, entirely theoretical and probably false, but it's the only way in my mind that I can excuse the ramshackle nature of the plot.

Really though, I could have forgiven the idiocy of the story if the action had stood up to the test. You're talking to a "Die Hard 4" fan here, I don't need to be blown away by story I just need to be literally blown away. Instead Caruso, who should stick with mimicking Hitchcock like he did in "Disturbia," directs his action like he doesn't want to see the coolest parts of it. Cutting away from flipping cars and explosions like they weren't the only thing the movie had going for it and instead chopping hastily through even the best of the action sequences, which, by the way, ends in yet another non-existent tunnel in Washington DC.


Sorry, we're out of good movies. We've got "Eagle Eye" though.

It's hard to judge acting when even the best one-liners in the film were hardly getting a reaction from the audience, but I'd say that almost everyone involved turns in a performance worthy of an Oscar considering what they had to work with. If only one of the four screenwriters, or the fifth guy who came up with the original story, had realized what a horror they were releasing upon theaters. Oh well, I guess the September movie slumps have to be filled with something.

I can't wait until the holiday season.

-1 out of 5. So very bad.

Trailer
[embed]105230:14735[/embed]



Once again if you like my reviews or just want to give me money I get paid by the click at Examiner.com so please just click here and here. I'll love you long time.   read


2:24 PM on 09.23.2008

Why you should play Mega Man 9 on the Wii





I don't want to come down on either side of a console war here but I believe that the above images clearly show why everyone should be playing Mega Man 9 on the Wii if they have that choice. You may site other benefits to other systems but they are all blown away by the fact that the Wii has the controller with the closest design to a classic NES controller. You're telling me you're going to play an entirely retro fitted game with a controller that has a analog pad on it? That's an insult to the game itself and the hard work that Capcom put into it. The game is meant to be experienced with a rectangular controller, with two buttons and a D-pad that doesn't have any webbing between its directions. Playing it on anything else is like making baby Jesus cry, and not just by making fun of him but by kicking him in his Christ balls. Not only are you kicking a baby in the balls, but it's baby Jesus. For shame.

Yes in this case the Wii's lack of suitable control options for regular gaming is a blessing, so don't shun it.   read





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