Finally someone has the right idea!

So, apparently in some small Australian state they are proposing that not only should there be regulations on the ridiculous overpricing of snacks & beverages at movie theatres, but that people should be allowed by law to bring in other food. Now normally, I'm not stupid enough to buy anything at the theater (although I did buy a ridiculously overpriced box of dots when I went to see Elektra because I was starving and didn't have time to run out and grab something from a nearby place), but the price of snacks in theatres is really getting ridiculous (plus they need to offer a wider variety of food in my opinion, although some offer stuff like pizza, salads and sandwiches, most have they same small offering of popcorn, bad hotdogs and overpriced small candy). I luckily live in a small town and normally catch a bargain matinee for about 5 bucks, but add even a small soda and one of the cheaper snacks and it quickly becomes 10 or more. The biggest ripoff is the nachos. Nachos are essentially my favorite food to eat at any kind of entertainment (if they offered good nachos at the ballet, I'd probably go all the time), but theater nachos are generally a complete rip off. They offer very small bags of chips you have to open yourself and a small little container of cheese, and if you want extra, they charge you something like a $1.50 more. I understand that they make the most profit from their snacks, not movies, but maybe something in their buisness model needs to change because pretty soon nobody's gonna have the money to spend on it anymore (but us americans are slow to catch on to these kinds of trends that involve any kind of common sense, so maybe not).

So, as I stated previously, two horrible-looking horror films are opening up this weekend, and I don't really intend on seeing either of them. First up is Alone in The Dark, with Christian Slater and Tara Reid. I don't know how, but somewhere along the line Slater became the poor man's Kevin Bacon, even though he's a pretty good actor, and now he gets shlock like this. It's based on the series that actually started the whole survival horror genre, but has been not only irrelevant but dead since the Resident Evil series of games came along and really defined the genre. Not only does this look nothing like the series it's based on (did we learn nothing from the Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within?, I guess not, because they are also doing a movie based on the Doom games that is already reportedly going to have very little to do with the games), but it also stars talentless blonde Tara Reid. Reid's a hottie with several great magazine layouts to her name, but I rarely have seen an "actress" with so little talent that seems to continually get movie roles (maybe she's a poor man's Elisa Cuthbert?). On top of that, it's directed by Uwe Boll, who did the abominable House of the Dead film and is determined to ruin several other video game films that he has snapped up the rights to because unfortunately he knows how to make a movie so cheaply that it'll make a profit from the opening weekend alone before word of mouth really gets out.

And then there's Hide & Seek, starring previously distinguished actors Robert Deniro & Dakota Fanning. Deniro's been slumming it for awhile with his awful sequels to mildly amusing comedies, but the cheesy horror genre represents a new low and I bet at this point, Fanning will take any high profile job she can get, regardless of the fact that she's the best child actor in a couple of decades. I've always liked the idea of evil kids (one of the few horror films I actually enjoyed was The Omen), but this is going to be another one filled with cheap scares, big plot holes and an incomprehensible "twist" ending like every horror movie in the last decade or so. I seriously think the last horror film I enjoyed on any level was "Scream 3" and that whole trilogy was more of a campy comedy with slasher level violence than an actual horror film. Next week is not looking too good either, but there are a couple of promising films on the horizon, namely Constantine with Keanu Reeves and March looks somewhat interesting.

On the videogame front, Oddworld: Stranger came out this week for Xbox. I'll hopefully be able to rent it tommorow, even though the bastards known as EA are publishing it, the Oddworld games have always been very creative and entertaining while managing to make good social commentary, and this one looks to continue that tradition while taking the series in a fresh direction.
Then there's Playboy: The Mansion for Xbox & PS2. You get to live out every man's fantasy and be Hugh Hefner. Unfortunately, you don't get to just hang around the grotto and sleep with several girlfriends. You have to also run Playboy magazine, which means getting key interviews and knowing trends of the public so you can actually make money. Now if this all comes together it sounds like a pretty good idea, but my guess is they didn't put much thought into it and are just going to sell it on the Playboy name alone.

And that's pretty much it for now. I know Johnny Carson passed away this weekend. Everything that could be said has been said about the man who defined late night, so I'll just end with a fond farewell to the consumate entertainer who we invited into our room for 30 years. Goodbye Johnny and hope you are giving them one hell of a show up there...


na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, GOODBYE!!!!!

Finally that spineless dipshit Michael Powell has announced he's resigning from the FCC. Maybe the next chairman will tell parents to take some fucking responsibility and be their own children's censor(that's probably just wishful thinking). I just find it incredibly ridiculous that the two biggest "scandals" were about a little nudity during a football game(let's not even got started on how much BS they put Howard Stern through). Not that I don't enjoy football (long suffering Chargers fan in fact), but it is a sport that celebrates violence, mostly sponsored by sex & alcohol. I hardly think a little nudity (especially the very amusing Desperate Housewives skit) is something we should be so shocked by, and it has had far reaching implications thanks to people who not only refuse to take any sort of responsibilty, but also have no real life.

On a side note, I saw Assault on Precinct 13 today, I'll have a full review up at the site tommorow, but in essence it was a ugly and violent remake with little in the way of redeeming values. And since the only things opening in the next couple of weeks are crappy-looking horror films(Alone in the Dark, Hide & Seek and Boogeyman), this is probably the last movie I'll be reviewing for a little while. Or maybe I'll catch up on films like Aviator if they are still playing...


The price is wrong

All right, can somebody explain to me the reasoning behind why the price for DVD TV shows is all over the map? I love picking up TV shows on dvd, it's a great way to catch any episode of any TV show, anytime you want (currently my collection is Angel Seasons 1-4, Buffy seasons 1-7, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys seasons 1-3 & Simpsons seasons 1-5). Most of the sets I buy are around $45 and I've never paid more than $60 for any one season of any show. So then can someone explain why some sets are around that price and others are anywhere from $80-$150 dollars? Law & Order, Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Wire, any of the Star Trek Shows, Babylon 5 and many others fall in this ridiculous price range. There aren't any big extras to justify this and in the case of cable shows you are getting far less bang for your buck because they usually have a max of thirteen episodes as oppossed to most network shows where you get anywhere between 18-26 episodes. There's just no reasoning behind this whatsoever aside from some assholes in marketing decided to see just how high a price they can get away with. Oh well, time to go scour ebay...


The first step is admitting you have a problem...

I have something to confess, even though I gave Suikoden IV a rather mediocre score of 6.5, I fully intend to beat it (mainly because there are no other rpgs I'm interested in out now or coming anytime soon). Let this be a lesson in following your instincts, becasue my gut was telling me it was a bad idea to open my pre-ordered copy. This is unfortunately not this first time I have done this with an rpg (I've lost count of how many hours I wasted on complete crap like Beyond the Beyond just because there wasn't anything else out there). Granted, if it becomes too frustrating or tedious, I will trade it in, but since I've already got 12 hours invested, I don't see that happening.

In other news, I don't mention TV too much (mainly because I haven't had cable for months now), but I did catch a bit of the Golden Globes last night (mainly during commercial breaks of Family Guy, that show gets funnier each time I watch it), honestly the only highlight was Robin Williams acceptance speech of his long overdue Cecil B. Demille award. Otherwise it was yet another bunch of awards given to people and films for reasons other than being the most qualified like every other pointless "let's kiss our own asses" awards show out there. Just the fact that neither Napolean Dynamite or Garden State were nominated for anything is proof of that.

Assault on Precinct 13 comes out on Wed. I haven't seen the John Carpenter original, but my guess is this won't be a good remake considering they released it in the dead month of January.
There's seriously nothing remotely interesting out till Hitch on Feb. 11th (Will Smith's first romantic comedy, and it actually looks funny).

All right, I'm off for some more banal seafaring expeditions......


Ed Asner is one tough SOB

One of the more interesting things about the Knights of the Old Republic series is that both games have Ed Asner voicing the no-nonsense cynical Jedi Master Vrook. Even if you are the most evil Jedi in the known universe, you never get to see just how suprsingly strong he is in the first game, but in the second, if you are evil, your main goal is to eliminate all existing Jedi so you get to fight him, which I got to do this past weekend finishing off KOTOR II as a dark side Jedi. And much like Master Yoda, this old and feeble-looking man whooped my ass many a time. Ed Asner is officially the toughest RPG boss I've fought in years, cause I rarely die more than once at any boss in an rpg, and it took me a good 10 tries to finally kill the bastard (although the fact that I was a Sith Lord didn't help, it's one of those classes where you are really weak until you get into the higher levels and then can lay waste to tons of enemies with your almost unlimited spell power).

On the movie front, Elektra opens this weekend, and while Jennifer Garner's forte is kicking ass in really tight outfits, there's plenty of warning signs that this will be a bad film. The first being that it's a spinoff of Daredevil, which was fairly mediocre, but what really scares me is the line they use in most of the TV ads: "From the forces that brought you X-men". Yeah, they brought us X-men. They also brought crap like incredible Hulk. And it's not like any of the geniuses invovled in making the good comic book films worked on this, i.e. Bryan Singer (X-men), Guillermo Del Toro (Blade & Hellboy) or Sam Raimi(Spider-Man). That's hollywood speak for no one worth anything wanted to touch this crap with a ten foot pole. it's the same thing when they say it's from a producer of a hit film or a director who had a great film years ago but hasn't done anything noteworthy since. It's not necessarily a sure sign of doom, but it's something to be weary of before you lay down your money on a complete waste on time.
On the other hand, there's Coach Carter with Samuel L. Jackson, which just seems like a guaraunteed waste of time. I mean really, how many more fucking movies do we need about a teacher/coach who teaches a bunch of unruly inner city kids about improving their life? I can tell it's gonna be a rough couple months ahead for movie goers like myself.



Granted, I'm about as fond of the French as most Americans, but in case you haven't heard, in EA's latest attempt to homogenize the gaming industry, they have bought a rather large share of French-based game company Ubisoft and reportedly ready to attempt a hostile takeover. In case the name doesn't ring a bell, they've made some of the more brillaint titles over the past few years, namely the Rayman & Prince of Persia games as well as cash cow Tom Clancy titles. Luckily, the French government wants to pitch in to stop the takeover, as well as Vivendi Universal (although that may be just as bad) . It is readily apparent that EA is trying to be the one and only big dog in the gaming industry as they literally own football and tried to strike exclusive deals with every other major sport. They are also intent on running their properties into the ground as they apparently are planning to release LOTR titles on a yearly basis, alternating between the action and rpg format. I'm gonna publicly say now that I will never buy another EA game as long as they are pulling crap like this. Granted, I haven't been a huge supporter of theirs for years, but I at least used to respect that they normally put out quality titles despite some questionable buisness decisions. But it's clear EA is just becoming bad for the game industry. If EA and big companies like them snatch up everybody smaller, the bottom line will matter a lot more than innovation, and that will kill the game industry. It's happening right now in Japan, gaming's mecca. They are suffering a gaming recession from releasing way too many "safe" and mediocre mainstream titles. It may not be too long before we see it on these shores.

On the brighter side of gaming news, the first couple months of the new year are normally pretty sparse, but we have a few promising titles coming out next week. First up Suikoden IV for the RPG nut in me. In case you aren't familiar with that one, the entire series revolves around a hero gathering the 108 stars of destiny in order to save the kingdom (that's right, you gather up 107 other people, though not all fight in your party). I've loved every game in the series so far, but the reviews for this new one haven't been too kind. I don't get skittish about one or two reviews, but several mags have all come out and said it's average at best, and when lots of people are saying the same bad things about a product, you tend to listen. Oh well, I'm sure I'll enjoy it enough to keep me busy until next month when Xenosaga II comes out (which I'll talk about more when that when it gets closer to release).
Then there is Mercenaries, which I honestly don't have much personal interest in, but it sounds like a fun filled with mayhem game. It really does look like a game where all you do is blow shit up, but as long as that's done well, it can be an incredibly fun time.
And on the Gamecube front, there's Resident Evil 4(although it's really like RE40 with all the spinoffs and remakes in typical Capcom fashion). I haven't really enjoyed a survival horror game since Resident Evil: Code Veronica on the Dreamcast, but this one seems to be finally doing something different. No more limited saves, tons more ammo and this one is actually suppossed to be scary (although I've heard that a lot before). Unfortunately, the awful control scheme reportedly has not been changed, but maybe it'll work betterwith the new setup.

Finally, on the movie front, the only thing actually opening this weekend is White Noise, which is yet another awful-looking horror film(and after the Grudge, I'm not paying to see another one ever again), so I will most likely play catch-up and see either The Aviator or Life Aquatic, possibly both if I have the time. Video-wise, I HIGHLY reccomend both Garden State and Napolean Dynamite, both excellent films out now. And if you're looking for a little something different, I also just watched an excellent Asian film this week called Infernal Affairs, about two moles, one in a gang and one in the police force.
That's it for now, but one of my many new year's resolutions is to update this damn blog more often, so I'll try for at least twice a week but I guarauntee at least once a week.