A disgustingly good time?

Horror movies have never really been to scary for me. For whatever reason, even highly respected ones such as The Exorcist always seem not only unscary, but horribly acted with stupid plot twists that make no sense. Yet I've pretty much always enjoyed horror films that don't take themselves too seriously, especially ones like Tremors, Which is why I'm pretty excited to go see Slither tommorow, as it looks like fun and the reviews are overwhelmingly solid.

But I wish it was the best option out of a good crop, rather than the only postive-looking one this whole weekend. Sharon Stone still looks pretty damn hot for being in her late-40s, but will anyone actually bother to see Basic Instinct 2? I mean, just from the trailers alone, it looks like one of the worst movies ever.

And then there's Ice Age 2, a bland sequel to a bland original. For whatever reason, Only Pixar & Dreamworks seem to have the magic touch to be able to create entertaining animated films these days, and even they are hit and miss.

Moving on I did pick up Kingdom Hearts II, and so far, it's pretty damn awesome. The combat and Gummi Ship sections are the biggest improvements. But admittedly, the camera, while improved, still is pretty bad, and the voice acting is very uneven (not on the Disney characters, but most of the Final Fantasy and original characters aren't very well acted). I haven't even touched Oblivion since I started it, that should tell you how good it is.


It's great to be wrong sometimes

Well thankfully, my hunch that Larry the Cable Guy's new film would be a suprise hit was way off, as it didn't even make it into the top 5 this weekend. I guess the apocalypse is a little further off than we all thought.

Ok, so with Tetris and Hunters, you could say the Nintendo DS wifi have something for everyone now with puzzle, shooting, racing, sports, and whatever the hell category Animal Crossing fits into. The problem? Nintendo's still half-assing it. There are plenty of other DS titles that should take advantage of wifi-Advance Wars, Worms & Bomberman just to name a few. If they really want this to work, they need every possible title to take advantage of it. It would at least guarauntee a few more sales on lower profile titles.

So in the past month I've probably checked out a couple hundred Kingdom Hearts II fan vids, and in my opinion this is the best one, should get you even more pumped for the release this week.

That's really it for today. FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: DON'T SHOOT THE PUPPY!!!


Larry the Cable Guy: The next Jim Carrey?

Think about it. a somehwhat underground but extremely popular comic who people either love or loathe releases a low budget low brow comedy that isn't expected to go anywhere. But it becomes a hit. A big one, and the comedian's career takes off big time. It happened with Ace Ventura, and it could happen with Larry The Cable Guy: Health Inspector. Now, I honestly don't think this guy is anywhere near Carrey in terms of talent, but he does have an army of redneck fans that will most likely make his feature debut a suprise smash hit this weekend, which could easily be the launching pad for a huge career.

But really, none of this weekend's offerings look that enticing. Stay Alive is just The Ring with a video game instead of a tape (and it's PG13, the only good horror film ever made that wasn't rated R was Poltergeist). Inside Man is another mystery twister that'll just throw in one convulted suprise after another til nothing makes sense anymore.

With all the hoopla surrounding Oblivion and Kingdom Hearts II, one deserving rpg may be left out in the cold. Suikoden V was released this week, and while I was very cautious of it after the last mediocre entry in the series, so far all the reviews point to this being a very solid turnaround. If I ever get bored with Oblivion and KHII, that would probably be my next rpg of choice.

And finally I'll go a little more in-depth with what I think of Oblivion. I love that you can simply fast travel to most major cities and any landmarks you have previously traveled, that's a HUGE improvement from the original. The combat, though still fairly simple, has also gotten a great overhaul with the add of a block and power attack option. The graphics are pretty impressive, but since my PC just barely meets the minimum requirements, I probably can't do them much justice.
Now for the bad: I love a good narrative. A good narrative can get you through a fairly mediocre game, and it can make you come back to a great game time & time again. Morrowind was lacking this in spades and Oblivion is as well. It's to be somewhat expected given the open-ended nature of the game, but there's a reason I've spent little to no time on the main quest-I just don't feel driven to finish it anytime soon.
But probably the biggest dissapointment is the complete BS job Bethesda has pulled on us with "Radiant A.I.". They claimed this would make NPCs live their own life and react individually with unpredictable behavior. But everybody has patterns and follows a specific script, even repeating annoying phrases and actions over and over again.
But these are honestly pretty minor things. This is easily what I'd say is the first must buy title of 2006 and an easy early contender for game of the year.

Ok, that's it for now. I will be back on Sunday for sure.


A proper send off

So just how did Matt Stone & Trey Parker deal with the Chef situation? The only way they know how. And apparently, Hayes decision to quit may not have been entirely of hs own volition. In a way, this proves how much of a legitmate religion Scientology is, because none of them can take a fucking joke anyways.

The Game Developers Conference happened this week, and while at first it was fairly dull, plenty of interesting tidbits have been leaked. Previews for A new Zelda for the DS and God of War II were shown. Sony announced that they have dropped the much ridiculed boomerang controllers they showed at last year's E3. And Nintendo announced that over 1,000 Genesis games as well as some TurboGrafx-16 titles will be downloadable along with titles from all of Nintendo's past systems. While on the surface that sounds cool, I can honestly barely remember 100 really worthwhile Genesis titles, and the only worthwhile thing on the TG-16 was Bonk's Adventure...

The 360's camera and specs have been announced. I honestly think it's a horrible idea, however...

And finally, I have pretty much spent every waking hour of the last couple of days playing Oblivion. It is an excellent game that improves on the original in every possible way. It almost makes me not pleased that Kingdom Hearts II is out next week since I'll have to divide my free time between the two.

That's really all for today, but I'll definitely be back tommorow with thoughts on this weekend's movies and probably a couple other things.


An offer they can't afford

This coming week is a pretty huge one gamewise. Not only are two major wifi titles for the DS being released in the long-awaited Metroid Prime: Hunters and Tetris; Oblivion is finally out for the PC & 360 as well. But the biggest release is arguably EA's long-delayed The Godfather is out in stores as well. Now, it's development costs were on the high end, but it may very well be the most costly game in recent history as it's not being released in time for the holiday season cost the company Over $800 MILLION. I'd just like to take this opportunity to say HA!!! Seriously, for that much money you could've easily made several hundred decent selling original properties and made a tidy profit (or at worst a marginal loss). Instead, you pooled all your expectactions onto an old license and it kicked you in the ass. EA getting kicked in the ass this hard is good for the industry, let's hope they learn a little something from it.

Better hold onto that copy of Katamari Damacy, it may be the last one for awhile, or ever. Can't say I blame the guy, not sure what more you could do with the title except possibly add online play, which given the craptacular quality of multiplayer in the last game, may not be such a good idea anyways.

Wanna see a really cool concert? Check out this vid of The Mario & Zelda Big Band. It's classic Mario & Zelda tunes played in a variety of musical styles. Why can't we get this stuff over here?

I did see V for Vendetta earlier today, and I'd say it mostly lived up to the hype, with really great performances, spectacular action, and just the fact that it's a lot different from your average lone guy against an oppresive authority movie. V is a terroist, he uses extreme means that your normal do-gooder wouldn't resort to, but hey, maybe that's why he gets results and other heroes usually end up facing the same villains over and over again...

And finally, here it is, the free game of the week: BUMs: Back to School.


R for Redemption

Although it was certainly a financial success in the strictest sense, in any other aspect, the Matrix trilogy as a whole is arguably one of the biggest fuckups in cinema history. I mean, really, how can you make something as genre-defining as the original movie yet fuck up the sequels so poorly? I'll admit I really enjoyed the action in the second film, but things I was willing to accept would be explained in the third chapter never were, and it was easily the biggest letdown of a franchise conclusion I can remember. So with that in mind, the Wachowski's newest film, V for Vendetta, opens this weekend. Granted, the long delay after it was suppossed to happen last summmer was troubling (sure, they say it was due to the terrorist attacks in London, but seemed like an awfully convienent excuse...), but the early reviews are overwhelming positive, so I'm very hyped to see it on Sunday.

I would also love to check out Thank You for Smoking, as it's reportedly a great riff on the tobacco industry as well as Hollywood, but it's not playing at my local theatre, so I'll just have to wait for video. Although I doubt anything can top this advertising campaign....

Vin Diesel's attempt at doing something seriously dramatic, Find Me Guilty, also opens this week. But given that the only guy lower on the quality acting totem pole in movies is Paul Walker, and the fact that it has barely had any press makes me think I'll wait two months and check it out on video if I have nothing else to do.

Ok, Some Like it Hot was released nearly 50 years ago. It's the original cross-dressing comedy, and nothing has come close to topping it. Something tells me Amanda Bynes new comedy She's The Man won't give it a run for its money in any way, shape, or form. I know Bynes has a legion of tween fans that will at least rent this movie in huge numbers when it hits video, but can we try something a little bit different than lame cross-dressing or quirky high-school romance for this crowd? These are the same people that grow up and make films like Failure to Launch a hit.

Finally, the FCC is back at handing out masssive fines for ludicrous bullshit again, so in honor of that, here's a clip of Family Guy mocking the hell out of them.


Objects in mirror are more expensive than they appear

I'll probably update again later today for this week's latest movies, but thought I'd just give a few quick thoughts on several things I didn't mention yesterday.

Sony has dropped the PSP to $199, But is it actually a better deal? They take out the basic memory stick and soft case that comes with the standard $250 bundle
. So, add in a basic memory stick and a brand new game and you still got a system that's nearly $300.

Isaac Hayes has quit South ParkWhy? Because they dared to mock Scientology. It's good to know Mr. Hayes is comfortable being such a total hypocrit. South Park does nothing but relentlessly mock everything, and Hayes was obviously ok with it until they picked on his particular creed. I am pretty much just amazed that Hayes can say this with a straight face. If you want to check out the episode (which Tom Cruise also sued over), click here

Final Fantasy XII is finally out in Japan. It's good to know that it's actually seen the light of day somewhere, I was beginning to think it would never see the light of day. At least, not in its current form. Gives me good hope that it won't be too long until we see it stateside (although probably not til the fall at any rate).

Well, obviously, Jack Thompson just won't be stopped until he's a complete laughing stock: Thompson has now bullied Wikipedia into locking his entry and given vague threats to the editor of Game Politics (scroll down a bit to March 13th for the article). Now admittedly, wikipedia isn't the most reliable source on the web, as anyone can say anything they want about somebody, theoretically, but this is just getting way too silly. You'd think with all my mentions I would've gotten some sort of legal threat by now, I could sure as hell use the publicity....


The Greatest sitcom that never was

It does seem like these days just about any half-baked idea can show up on your TV. But the truth is, there are hundreds if not thousands of TV pilots that never see the light of day. The reasons can be anything from a salary dispute to real bad screen testing. But how network executives could pass up the gauraunteed comedy gold that would come from the combination of Adam West and Andy Richter is beyond anyone's guess. The pilot has been going around in various circles for years, and thanks to youtube, you can now watch Lookwell, generally considered one of the greatest pilots ever, and yet it was never picked up.

MC Hammer has a blog. Am I the only one that finds that strange?

Sony finally admitted that we won't see the PS3 til at least November. Possibly the least suprising news of the century. But the other news was certainly interesting to say the least. Sony confirmed that the PS3 will be backwards compatible with all PS2 & PS1 titles, will come with a 60-gig hardrive, and will have a free online network that from description, rivals xbox-live (though no confirmation or whether their will be a pay level of service or not). But no details on price or any mention of games. I guess we will have to wait until E3 to see what they have really got up their sleeve.

Easily the best news I have heard all year: Beyond Good & Evil 2 is under development. The original is a true underrated classic that deserves continuation.

And finally, Miyamoto has confirmed that although the next Zelda game is for the Gamecube, it will also be able to use the Revolution controller. Course knowing our luck, this'll be only for some secret fishing minigame....


Donald Duck has a dirty, dirty mouth

At least in Japanese. I admit, I'm getting a little stir crazy waiting for Kingdom Hearts II to get here, were I slightly less stable, I may take a note out of Ethan's book and storm the SquareEnix US offices in order to secure myself a copy a little bit early.

So, the Oscars didn't actually suck last week (although Crash for best picture was a complete crock), and a large part of that was due to John Stewart, you can check out his best moments here.

Ever since going cold turkey on World of Warcraft a couple of months ago, I've been pretty anxious to also jump back into the mmo world, but only for something that offers a really different experience. I actually nearly picked up City of Heroes today. The new Dungeons and Dragons MMO looks really enticing, and instantly adresses one of my major issues with WOW. making travel a quick and painless thing rather than really long and tedious. On the other hand, it's completely dependent on getting a good cooperative group of people together for an instance, which can be incredibly hard in an MMO. Either way, I've decided to wait til my plate is a little less full, as I'm not quite done with Granda III, Oblivion is only 9 days away, and Kingdom Hearts II is only a week after that. But APril on looks pretty slim for games in general, so that may be time to start diving back in.

And finally, this coming week, Sony is apparently going to make a "BIG" announcement concenring the PS3. I'm sure the Sony faithful are waiting for them to announce that they are indeed launching in Spring and will crush all opposers (which given the 360s are stil pretty hard to find, and the Revolution is still months away, would be easy). Of course the big announcement could also be absolutely nothing, which is pretty much what I'm betting on (something along the lines of they are announcing that they will soon annoucne details of the PS3 launch and price, probably at E3). Regardless, they are still pretty much in the driver's seat. Nintendo is a nonfactor til we see something concrete, and the 360 launch has pretty much been a disaster at best. Sure, demand is ridiculously high, but that doesn't matter if no one can find any; and it's only in high demand here. Overseas they can't give it away. Regardless, it'll be interesting to see if Sony actually finally shows their hand in a few days.

And don't think I forgot about the FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Armor Heroes


Good for what ails ya...

So this weeknd we have three major releases, two which are crappy remakes that nobody asked for, and a comedy that everyone swaers is a remake of just about every other formulaic romantic comedy out there.

Seriously, why would anybody even want to remake The Shaggy Dog? The original was awful. Disney actually has a large number of classic hits they could remake, this isn't one of them. Plus, Tim Allen as the dog is fairly reminiscent of the nightmarish Mike Myers as The Cat in the Hat. And there should be a moratorium on playing "Who let the dogs out" for at least 50 years.

Then there's The Hills Have Eyes, which had some value as a chessy B-movie and a commentary on nuclear testing during it's day, but now only exists as a crappy quick cash-in remake much like the new Texas Chainsaw Massacre a few years ago.

And finally, we have Failure to Launch, about a slacker who still lives with his parents event though he is in his nid-30s, apparently a growing trend these days. That may be so, but it still seems like every other comedy about unlikely couples made in the last 15 years.

Honestly, just thinking about going to see any of those terrible movies is making me ill. How about a potion?

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Yup, in order to promote the release of Final Fantasy XII in Japan (which should be out there next week, lucky bastards), Squarenix is releasing an energy drink called "Final Fantasy XII Potion". No word on if the energy drink's "mythical" blend, which includes several herbs such as chamomile, rosemary and elder flower, actually does anything, but reportedly only 3 million are being made, so expect these suckers to be fetching high prices on Ebay real soon. Check out the ad as well, very weird but cool.


John Stewart can't make eveything funny...

I just got back from seeing 16 Blocks, and I thought it was a very solid and fun action thriller, a much needed rebound for Willis from last year's atrocious Hostage.

And I gave in and bought Grandia III yesterday. I'm about 7 hours in so it's obviously an involving game. The battle system is still excellent, arguably the best in all of rpgdom, though it's not nearly as easy to cancel or counter attacks as it has been in previous games. My only real complaint is that the characters (aside from the main protagonist's mother, who is easily the coolest videogame mom ever) are pretty much stock j-rpg with fairly mediocre voice acting and dialgogue, not making the story too great overall. It's good filler, but still filler.

Got about 35 minutes to kill? Check out this amazing footage of Will Wright's next masterpiece, Spore,this will either be the biggest game of all time, or the biggest flop of all time, should be fascinationg either way.

Finally, tonight is the Emmy awards with host John Stewart. I've paid loose attention to the nominees, but I'll only be watching tonight because nothing else is on, and as Johnny Carson once said, it's 2 hours of entertainment stretched into a four hour show, and he was being very generous about it even being 2 hours of actual entertainment. When the academy starts considering animated films as good as real films and gives comedic performances, which are so much more difficult than dramatic ones, their due, I'll actually consider them worthwhile.

And I didn't forget about the FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Aliens from Planet Dave-An amusing choose-your-own-adventure style game.


No way I'm walking that far....

Bruce Willis is back with Richard Donner for his latest film, 16 Blocks. Granted, it's been a little while since Willis has pulled off a really solid film, but with Mos Def and David Morris starring along with Donnner's usual knack for solid big action flicks that Michael Bay only wishes he do could half as well is should be at least a fun way to kill and hour and 40 minutes.

On the other hand Ultraviolet, this week's other big action film is possibly the most generic-looking futuristic thriller I have ever seen. It literally looks like they took Aeon Flux, the Matrix, and Kill Bill and just threw them into some sort of blender in order to make the blandest film possible. Milla Jovovich's careerr was actually of to a fairly promising start when she first got into films, but with her lastest releases being such pure garbage(i.e. Resident Evil: Apocalypse), she should probably just go back to modeling.

There's a reason nobody's done a live-action mermaid fild since Splash, and yet over 20 years later, here we are with Aquamarine (out this weekend), which is about a mermaid who comes to shore in order to find love. Really, the only difference is that it's set in high school, they might as well have gotten Tom Hanks and Darryl Hannah's kids to do the film as a joke to admit how much they are directly rippping off here.

But the most well-recieved film opening this weekend is Dave Chapelle's Block Party, a concert film that is essentially a huge party thrown by Dave Chapelle, a few friends and a tom of hip-hop artists. But at it's core, it's still a concert film. Not something I would actually pay to see, but maybe if I can check ot out for free I'll give a shot somewhere dow the line.

So, apparently Microsoft's suppossed new portable console isn't actually a console at all, just another tablet PC currently known as "Origami". Not a huge suprise, but sort of dissapointing tho get all hyped-up about it only to learn the next day that the product is nothing like what you were hoping for. Odds are that MS will give the handheld market a shot sooner or later, but this isn't it.

Well, I've been talking about either picking up Grandia III or Shadow Hearts: Dark Covenant, but since Elder Scrolls: Oblivion has finally gotten a solid release date of March 21st, I'll probably just hold off and wait to pick that up. I can wait a little over two more weeks. I hope.

Finally a really interesting tidbit was released fron THQ about their latest game, which is based on the upcoming Pixar film, Cars. Most could care less about the alsmot certain to be crappy movies based on the game, but the interesting bit is that it is for the Nintendo revolution and expected to be out in Novemeber, so odds are Nintendo's next console should be out by then.