The difference between Apple & Sony?

Does anybody have an answer to this? Cause I sure as hell don't, yet the whole IPhone smacks mysteriously reminiscent of Sony's PS3. A hugely overpriced piece of junk that even if it performs great, does a bunch of crap you don't need and does nothing to really justify the price. Shouldn't people react the same to a $600 phone (along with really pricey monthly plans) with the same apathetic attitude they've had towards a $600 console that offers very little to even the audience it's aimed at? Yet the buzz and press is pretty much the polar opposite of the PS3. The Iphone is at the very least thought to have good potential, while the PS3 is considered a dismal failure so far(and rightly so, truth be told). There's only one explanation:


Moving onto movies this weekend:The easy choice is definitely Ratatouille. As I talked about when I saw the sneak preview, this is a simply brilliant film anyone should easily enjoy. There's no reason not to see it, unless you hate fun (much like the food critic in the movie). But also possibly not to be missed is Michael Moore's latest film, Sicko, about how fucked up the American health care system is. I wasn't a big fan of Fahrenheit 9/11, as Moore was way to smug and self-congratulatory on showing things that were blatantly obvious to all but the remaining Bush supporters who were too stupid anyways. Sicko is in familiar territory for him and looks to be a much better film, so I'll definitely be more willing to give him another shot (though probably not for $10 bucks at the theatre).



Video Day-The John Mcclane edition

Yeah, Die Hard IV hits theatres tomorrow, and the early consensus is that unlike most old franchises brought back, it rocks, so I'll be sure to check it out this weekend. In the meantime, check out some wacky Die Hard-esque video goodness:

The Ballad of John McClane



Die Hard 3-Alternate Ending

And finally-DIE HARD 4 TRAILER


Something for everyone

After weeks of sparse releases, there are big titles across nearly every platform covering nearly every need this week, which may be just enough to hold us gamers over until the dry spell ends in August. Kids (and maybe some adults) will dig the cheap movie tie-ins of Harry Potter, Ratatouille & Transformers on each and every console. I actually have some hope for the newest Harry Potter game on the Wii, as you can actually do the wand motions on your Wii remote, which if pulled off well, could be the best licensed game in history. I also feel that designers are dropping the ball with making Ratatouille your traditional platformer, when it could benefit from being a really deep cooking title. Transformers does seem to play to the strengths of the franchise from the videos I've seen, but it's most likely a shallow offering like most tie-in titles.

Craving some online Wii action? You know you are. And while Mario Strikers isn't out for another month, you can jump on now with Pokemon Battle Revolution. Surely the millions of Pokemaniacs who ate up the "new" DS iterations of the games will eat this up as well, but after finding out that the game hasn't changed in roughly 15 years, I'm passing on this opportunity to have adorable critters beat the crap out of each other.

There's something for those gamers who always are on the lookout for something "different" as well. Enjoyed Odin Sphere? Well then you'll probably also enjoy Grim Grimoire, from the same developer. It's another odd bird as it's a 2D RTS, but it has mostly positive buzz, so those looking for something unique may want to give it a shot.

Feeling like being a little evil? Got a couple of titles that might satiate you. Firstly, there's The Darkness, which is like the Godfather, but with dark sorcery. But the title I'm definitely most excited about is Overlord. I already gushed all over this evil version of Pikmin when I talked about the demo recently, and the full reviews seem to support my enthusiasm, so I can't wait to pick it up this week.

Finally, I'd like to give a cheap plug to a great gamer-comedy blog, SarcasticGamer.com. They've provided me with a lot of entertainment with their great commentary and funny as hell songs over the past few months, which has earned them a permanent spot in my links. Check out some of their best work:

How To Kill Your Brand

Microsoft Surface Parody

Red Ring of Fire

No Frikkin Games

That's it for today, but I'll probably be back tomorrow. In the meantime, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: MICHAEL CLAYTON


Steve Carrell is NOT Jim Carrey

But apparently nobody told the crew behind Evan Almighty, the sequel to Carrey's smash Bruce Almighty, that. The general consensus is that this is a Jim Carrey movie without Carrey; and Carrell, while he is a brilliant comedian, just is very different from Carrey. You can't do a movie made for one, substitute the other, and expect good results.

A horror movie with really positive reviews? It must be a sign of the apocalypse. I'm heavily tempted to check out 1408 given the extremely positive buzz and lack of ridiculous gore, but as I've previously alluded many times I honestly can't remember a scary thriller in the last 15 years or so that's actually scared me.

And finally there's a movie that seems ridiculously out of season, as Angelina Jolie is obviously trying for another best actress nomination with A Mighty Heart. Which means this belongs at the very least in the more serious fall season and not amid floods, scary haunted rooms, giant robots, etc. Which might speak of the studio's confidence in it.

Finally, in what might be the oddest team up since Disney & Square. Sega & Bioware are teaming up. To make a DS game. That's an RPG. That's based on Sonic. This will most likely rock, and arguably be the shot in the arm Sonic has needed since his Genesis days to pump some life into this franchise. Rest assured, it will rock with Bioware behind it and I hope it's not too long off.

Free game of the week: CAPTAIN ZORRO


Somewhere, Jack Thompson is smiling

Hell, he might even be living it up and getting drunk of his ass with some hookers after today's news. Not only is the yet to be released Manhunt 2 banned in th UK, but it's also been slapped with the dreaded "Adults Only" rating, a first for a major console release. What this essentially means is no major retailer like Walmart will carry the title, and even places like EB games might not carry it in store, making the chances of this game being a financial success on any level slim. This may even result in a delay or outright cancellation of the title if Rockstar & Take Two are determined to either tone it down so it recieves an "M" rating or just decide they'd rather just scrap the game altogether (though that's an incredibly unlikely scenario). I always thought the "AO" rating, much like the NC-17 rating, is a ridiculous joke. I mean, if a game/movie has an R/M rating, you need to be an adult or have your parents buy it for you. Can somebody explain to me what the need is for an additional rating that basically states that even if your parents want to buy it for you, they can't? Cause that's what's implied by the rating, which makes it ridiculous and unnecessary. What I'm personally hoping is they'll tell the ESRB to go fuck themselves, stick with the game as is, and as long as it doesn't suck, I'll support them the best way I can, which is through my wallet. I suggest any able-bodied adult gamer do the same, because if a good game with an AO rating sells through the roof, it'll force retailers to rethink their position on such titles. Of course, if it's a horrible game, let it flop like it deserves, because obviously the mature content is then covering up for actual quality, much like any modern day horror film...

Sadly, the only noteworthy release this week is a Wii port, but it's reportedly the supreme version, as Resident Evil 4 once again hits store shelves. $30 bucks sounds like a good price for easily the best Resident Evil to date, but even with fancy new controls and new content for those who only played the Gamecube version will it warrant a purchase? My guess is absolutely, especially if you are starved for some good Wii action as good releases have been sparse since Super Paper Mario.



The Format War is over? Nah.

So, about a month and a half ago, Walmart apparently declared unofficially HD-DVD the winner of the format war. But a lot can change in a very short amount of time. That story's validity has been thrown into question, and we probably won't really know the truth until the holiday season which is when Wal-Mart will start carrying these supposedly super cheap HD-DVD players. Well, the other major player in the movie market, Blockbuster, seems ready to declare a winner now, and it's Blu-Ray. Whether or not this is a crushing blow remains to be seen, as the war so far has been measured much more on units sold, not who rents what, and if Walmart is indeed planning to unveil a line of super-cheap HD-DVD players, Blockbuster may just turn around and follow their lead anyways.

I did manage to check out the new Fantastic Four this weekend, and it didn't suck, even more so than the first one. It was a fun experience and better than the original, and I look forward to the nearly guaranteed 3rd movie given this beat expectations opening weekend.

I also got a chance to catch a sneak preview of Pixar's latest, Ratatouille. I was kind of worried Pixar might be in a downward slope since Cars was just ok, but this may actually be Pixar's best movie to date. It was funny, excellently paced, and a true family film in the sense that anybody of any age should get a lot of enjoyment out of it. I think it's seriously the best movie so far this year and you should definitely check it out when it opens on the 29th.


Fantastically Meh

I think I was one of the few people on Earth who didn't hate the original Fantastic Four. It was far from a great film, but Chris Evans & Michael Chiklis played their roles well, and to be fair, Fantastic Four has always been at best a mediocre comic book, so I wasn't expecting too much. I expect the situation will be the same with this year's latest unnecessary sequel, Rise of the Silver Surfer. It's tame PG rating and current reviews suggest it's bland, overblown & bloated, which oddly enough still makes it worthy of the lame source material it's cribbed from.

I'm sure the big screen version of Nancy Drew will be great for 12-year old girls and nobody else. I understand it from a marketing perspective, but it would've been nice if they made it a little more in the tone of Veronica Mars so a more mature audience might enjoy it.

That's really it for today, but I got a new feature for you: The TRAILER OF THE WEEK. Basically, every week I will post a trailer for an upcoming film. Some big, some small. So, here's the first:



You're only as old as Big Brain Academy makes you feel...

Another week, another lazy Wii port. Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree could've been a great game, and from all reports it works fantastically with the Wii remote, but the lack of real variety kills it. Plus, it's $49.99 price tag is pretty steep for a low-tech casual game.

Another port, reportedly not done so lazily is Scarface for Wii, which should be in stores tomorrow. Granted, it's probably overkill if you're still playing The Godfather, but between these games, Resident Evil 4 & Manhunt 2, anybody saying the Wii is a "kiddy" system will just look like a jackass.

I'd like to highly recommend an under-the-radar demo. I had heard nothing of Overlord before this past weekend, when the demo was released. I hadn't expected much out of it, but what I got was an enjoyable, twisted & extremely funny take on games like Pikmin. If they can tighten up the camera a bit we may have a great sleeper title on our hands.



The Top Ten things I want to see at E3

Unfortunately, I was very burnt out from work during my last post and mistakenly thought E3 was starting this Monday, when in fact it starts one month from this Monday. But that's no reason to divert from my original plans (plus I cna't think of anything else to write about anyways):

E3 lives! While the ridiculous spectacle is gone, E3 is still a big deal, just in a much more business-like manner. Most of the major players from the industry are showing up and big things are expected from all 3. This probably won't have the huge surprises of last year since all the new consoles are out, but there will hopefully be plenty of stuff to get excited about, and here's the things I would most like to see, in no particular order:

1. MS announces retro points-This is easily the least likely thing (and actually it may not even be something that's possible), but it'd be pretty cool. Basically they would make free patches for backwards compatible Xbox titles that would give them achievement points. Not as much as 360 games of course, but maybe around 250 like most current Arcade titles have.

2. Nintendo is simplifying the friend code system-Again, probably not that reasonable an expectation, but seriously, Nintendo has screwed the pooch big time on their online, and it hasn't even started up yet. There is no reason whatsoever I should have to get some long ass code for every single online-enabled game I purchase for friends I already have registered. What makes this whole setup even more insane is that yes, you can still play random people, which this is supposed to prevent. And there's no webcam or voice chat as of yet, so even if your kid is playing with some creepy child molester, what exactly are they gonna do? There's no logic behind this system, no amount of great games (like Mario Strikers & Smash Bros.) will make people overlook this fact, and will probably make people forgo certain lower-profile titles because it's just not worth entering all new friend codes for the 20th or so time.

3. Mario Kart for Wii-Of course the one title that will make me say it's all worthwhile is a Wii version of the best racing series in history. Mario Kart for DS is still probably my favorite game for the system, and I still play Duble Dash & 64 on a regular basis. If they announced it and it was coming out this year with online play, it would pretty much be the best year for Nintendo fans ever when you add in the other 3 big Nintendo titles. I'd put this in the realm of probably showing up, but most likely slated for a '08 release.

4. Super Smash Bros. Dojo in near-finished form-Save a few characters for a surprise when the game gets close to actual release, but if Hideo Kojima claimed a few weeks ago that they could release it then and sell a million copies, it better damn well be near finished by the time E3 rolls around. I want to see a bunch of new videos, a decent amount of the roster and hopefully a certain blue speedster that everyone wants in the game.

5. "Home" in all it's "glory"-Sure, when we first saw video of Sony's "home" system it seemed pretty cool. But it wasn't till after the GDC that we started asking questions about how it would all work. And Sony has remained suspiciously silent. This could be the greatest gamer community tool to date, but signs point more to it being an over-glorified flashy pain that requires lots of "walking" and with more flashing lights & ads than Vegas & Times Square combined. Odds are it'll be somewhere in-between the two, but if Sony remains mostly mum on any real specifics at this year's show, be worried.

6. KOTOR III-I don't care what this is on. If it's an exclusive to something I don't have, I will buy that system. If it's going to be a PC exclusive, I will upgrade, but ye gods, Bioware GIVE US SOMETHING ON THIS GAME!

7. A new Wii Remote-function. It's more or less been heavily rumored that the Wii remote has at least one more secret, reportedly something to do with the fact that even though no games have been programmed for it yet, it can pick up sound, which could lead to some very interesting gameplay functions. The Wii remote having an as of yet unrevealed function is almost a lock, but odds are it won't be something too groundbreaking, so don't get your hopes up too high.

8. Better "casual" games-Whether it's Wii (ok, it's only Wii but given the success they are bound to at least try some casual games on the other consoles) or some other console, these "simple and fun" titles meant for the more mainstream crowd are all way too similar. Do we really need a bunch of party mini-games? Casual games are fine, but come up with some new freaking ideas for them. If I never have a reason to get anything in this genre besides Rayman & Wario Ware, I'm not going too, and most people will have that same reasoning.

9. A re-commitment for Xbox live Arcade-Live arcade is a joke, plain & simple. The most popular titles are card games, the original titles stink, and most of the revamped classics are horribly butchered. Arcade should be one of the top reasons to get the 360, instead, it's obviously treated as an afterthought. Ok, so the original titles stink, but how in the hell do you fuck up Double Dragon? I mean, seriously, if they fuck up Bomberman, I'm pretty much done with that part of the 360.

10. Killzone 2-I think people will be shocked if this shows up before Duke Nukem Forever considering we haven't heard anything since that eye-popping but suspicious video over two years ago. Sony has claimed it's in the works, but we've really heard nothing more. Considering this is what got many people excited about the PS3, this may be Sony's last real chance to make some sort of impact. If there's not even a mention of it here, consider it and most of Sony's hopes done for.

Free game of the week: Skies of War


Lucky Number 13?

I really didn't mean to go nearly a week without posting, but it's like there's been a general pop culture news embargo. I mean really, aside from the Fallout 3 teaser (which does look really sweet, the entertainment world has gone sort of mute. Gaming has an excuse, the new toned-down E3 is next week, and while the ridiculous spectacle is gone, their will hopefully be lots of earth-shattering news, but nothing really that worthwhile in other mediums has happened either. I'll expand on my pre-E3 thoughts this weekend, in the meantime, we've got another trilogy wrap-up coming, this time one that nobody really asked for, Ocean's 13. I'm somewhat optimistic, as the cast and crew have claimed this entry is a more "fun" film than the previous one, which was 2 hours of dreary torture, but again this just seems like an excuse for these guys to get paid to hang out for a few months.

It certainly seems like a much better option than the alternates. First, we have Hostel II, a guaranteed horrible sequel to the horrible original. Yeah, it made money, but I'm thoroughly convinced audiences just have no clue what makes a good horror film anymore after seeing the first one, then actually hearing people praise it and not call on it for the complete pile of garbage it was.

Then for the kids there is yet another animated film starring penguins, Surf's Up. Do kids still care about surfing? Does anybody aside from hardcore enthusiasts? Granted, it's probably a better bet than Shrek, but that ain't saying much.

That's mostly all I have for today, but I'll definitely be back this weekend (possibly even tomorrow) with some pre-E3 stuff and in the meantime, here's one of the funnier videos I've seen in a long time: HITLER GETS BANNED FROM XBOX LIVE