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Showing posts from 2010

Lost Planet 2: So Awesome I Wish I Liked It More

I'm typically willing to put up with a lot of design flaws, or poor design decisions in a video game, if there's enough there that's really entertaining. Lost Planet 2 is an example of a game that is simply phenomenal in many ways, but because of one design decision, I can't keep playing it.

In Lost Planet 2 you play a snow pirate, who wanders around a desolate, frozen, alien world, scavenging weapons and equipment, while killing the local fauna to harvest thermal energy and keep from freezing to death.

For the most part, it plays like your average third person shooter, you can carry up to two weapons, and one flavor of grenade. One of the things that is exceptional about it is the variety of things you'll be shooting at. You have other humans, of course, as well as the myriad alien life forms, all of which are hostile. You've got delicate flying guys, that come at you in swarms, and die by the dozen, you've got spider things the size of large bears that …

Black Swan: The Best Psycho Body Horror Ballerina Movie I've Seen In My Entire Life!!

What can I say about this movie? It was good, and it was absolutely worth watching. Natalie Portman (playing Nina) looks like a ballerina, and plays perfectly into the role of the socially awkward perfectionist with an extremely repressed passionate side. Mila Kunis (playing Lily) also did a great job as her more carefree rival in the company. I thought Winona Ryder was an inspired choice for the older dancer forced into retirement, and I was sad that she was featured so little.

Okay, I've got that out of the way, what can I tell you about the plot that won't give anything away? So, it's about a ballet company, whose star dancer has just retired (forcefully) and they're now going to move on to a new show, featuring a new dancer from the ranks moving to prominence. The show that they are going to perfom is Swan Lake, (please follow that link if you want know anything about it, because I'm only working on what I learned from the movie) But! They're going …

No Ordinary Family is an awful show, and I kind of like it.

I finally decided to give this show a shot, and the quick verdict is total guilty pleasure.

The premise is that an "ordinary family" mysteriously gets super powers. The initial problem is that this is not an ordinary family. Mom is a brilliant researcher, who can afford to put her family in a beautiful mansion of a house, and take the entire family on business trips to Brazil. Michael Chiklis is a completely emasculated police sketch artist, slash mr. mom. The children are remarkably normal, in that they're ungrateful brats, that you'd be tempted to drown in the river if they weren't your own children.

One of the basic themes of the show is that when they get their superpowers, they each get powers that allow them to achieve what's been missing in their lives. Mom's a workaholic, and doesn't have enough time for her job and her family, so she gets super speed. Son's a moron, so he becomes a super brain. I'm not sure exactly what the deal …

SOC Dygenguar & Aubenseiter: No, it's totally NOT gay for one dude to transform into a horse and let another dude ride him

The GX-46 Soul of Chogokin set is odd for a number of reasons. First is the source material that the mech designs have been drawn from. Traditionally the Soul of Chogokin line has been populated with robots from kids shows from the 70s and 80s, and even amongst those, the majority have been from animation. There are a few robots from live action shows, and a few of the robots from Neon Genesis Evangelion, which actually aired in the mid 90s. In contrast Dygenguar and Aubenseiter appear only in the Super Robot Wars series of video games, with their first appearance occurring in 2005.

The other thing that's odd about this set is that you get two "full sized" robots out of the one set. Usually when there's more than one figure included in an SOC set, they're a good bit smaller, with one of them acting as more of an accessory to the other.

Anyway, moving a long. The box is huge which makes sense considering how much is packed in there. The only other SOC box I h…

Community: The Most Recent Great Show that I Wasn't Watching

Community is a sitcom that's about halfway through it's second season. My good friend would mention it occasionally, but never really said "hey, you need to watch this" So, I'm going to lay it out for all of you: "Hey, you need to watch this" Community starts off with Jeff Winger, who was a very successful lawyer, going back to school, because he lost his license due to his "Degree from Columbia" being from the country of Columbia, and not the university. Jeff is a vain, superficial hipster, who is also a world class manipulator. At any point he is typically capable of bending a group of people to his will, through sheer charisma and creative logic. Jeff is taking a Spanish class where he notices Britta, who is probably the least interesting character, there's nothing wrong with her, but she's just kind of the typical sitcom female lead, she's pretty, smart, and believes in honesty and doing the right thing, even if she doesn'…

Naked Heat: Reviewing this book makes my brain hurt

I finished the latest book by Richard Castle a few days ago, and I've been thinking about how I want to write this review ever since. You see, Richard Castle is a rock star amongst murder mystery novelists, he struck it big with his series of Derek Storm novels, but shocked the world by killing the character at the end of the last book in the series. After that, he found inspiration in NYPD detective Kate Beckett, and based his new character, Nikki Heat, off of her. Naked Heat is the second book in the Nikki Heat series.



What's so weird about that? I'm sure all three of my regular readers already know, but none of these people are real, Rick Castle and Det. Beckett are both characters on ABC's crime/drama/comedy series Castle. Haven't watched Castle? For shame, I highly recommend it, it's a perfect guilty pleasure movie, a series of one and done murder mysteries, that are fairly light hearted, with a great comedy dynamic between the characters of Castle, Becket…

Stargate: Universe - Why is Lieutenant Scott On the Show?

I feel like I've spent more time talking about SG:U than any other show on this blog, is that because I love it or hate it? I'm loving it, it's the closest any recent show has come to making me feel like I felt as a kid, watching Star Trek:TNG. That being said, last nights episode just bored the hell out of me.
Spot the weakest link
The picture shows the core cast members. From the left going clockwise:

Camille Ray - She's a civilian administrator, the survivors aboard the Destiny are a mix of military and civilian personnel. She's responsible for the civilians, and butts heads with the military leadership frequently when they make decisions without considering basic human rights.

Colonel Everett Young - He's the ranking military officer, with all that entails, he makes the hard decisions, and then has to live with them. He's also not afraid to get his hands dirty.

Greer - I think he's a Sergeant, but don't quote me on that, he's actually the t…

Front Mission: Evolved

Front Mission is a long running series from Square Enix (from as far back as when they were Squaresoft). Evolved is the series' first foray into the current generation of consoles, and is also a drastic change in game style. Traditionally the Front Mission games have been turn based strategy games, where you're in control of a squad of soldiers, each one pilots a mech, and the mech can be outfitted with all kind of different parts. The most standout aspect of it was that each of the mechs was completely customizable. You can replace the legs, and arms, as well as choose what weapons to equip in either hand, as well as either shoulder.

Evolved keeps that same level of customization, but instead puts it into a third person shooter. You now play as just one man, driving a mech, kicking butt and taking names. Your mech, or "wanzer" as they're called in the game, is a formidable piece of hardware, easily a match for most tanks, helicopters, and other traditional …

The Event: AKA We're trying to be as vague as possible.

What is the "Event" I'm three episodes in, and I'm damned if I know. The Event is a new show, trying to capitalize on all those viewers of Lost that don't have a weekly conspiracy to gnaw at anymore. It's got no fewer than two conspiracies, aliens, passenger jets being yanked out of the sky, DB Sweeney, gun fights, explosions, and flashbacks, oh god does it have flashbacks. The first is the worst, as the old rhyme goes with the show constantly jumping back and forth between at least three different time periods to try and tell you a story, just in the most confusing way possible. This is what I've kind of gathered. A group of Aliens, seemingly, they look human, although their DNA is 99% similar, which is further apart from us than chimps. Still DNA is DNA, and the fact that they have DNA even that similar makes me think that they are likely terrestrial, but this is Hollywood science, so what do I know? Back to the point, they look human, but they age m…

Undercovers: Missing Everything But Innuendo

Undercovers, a spy story about pretty spies, doing spy things while looking stylish. This is the latest show from JJ Abrams, the man behind the Star Trek revival, as well as the tv shows Fringe, Lost, and Alias. I haven't watched Lost or Alias, but I've heard good things about both, and Alias was another spy show. Undercovers is not bad, but it's not good either. It's one of those things that's hard to identify exactly where it falls short. The action scenes are well done, with impressive fight choreography, and lots of explosions and gunfire, but it really just fails to make any of that interesting. The basic premise is that... wow, I actually can't remember their names, anyway, the two spies are actually retired spies, who left the agency to lead normal lives, and get married. They started up a catering business, which is floundering, and they employ her sister, who is annoying incompetent, yet they consistently give her all of the responsibility. Then, t…

New Shows! Terriers AKA Where the Hell Did They Get That Name?

It's Fall, and there are a lot of new shows out there, I've sampled a few of them so far, and I'm going to try and do a write up a day.

First off, we've got Terriers. This is the show about a recovering alcoholic ex-cop, by the name of Hank Dolworth, played by a personal favorite actor, Donal Logue. Logue's life is a shambles, he's divorced, disgraced and unemployed (or at least poorly self-employed). About the only thing he's got going for him is that he's sober now.

He teams up with a former thief named Britt Pollack, played by another favorite, Michael Raymond-James, and the two find work as private investigators, albeit as the unlicensed, shady, less than legal variety.

Logue manages to bring just the right amounts of patheticism, gall, intelligence and reluctant morality to his character, whereas Raymond-James is a good foil as the loyal friend who plays dumb as part of their partner-dynamic.

The series got off to a slow start, with them investigat…

Singularity: I'm not sure what kind of singularity they're really talking about here.

I really enjoyed Singularity a lot more than I thought I would, considering I really hadn't heard any buzz about it. It's a first person shooter with a bit of a scifi twist. I'm definitely in the camp where shooters start to feel old without some sort of cover system, and this game certainly didn't change my thinking on that. Which is not to say that there aren't a lot of things that it does very well.

The premise is that back in the fifties, the USSR found a new element on some tiny island, and started experimenting with it. It held the potential for very large energy output, but after some horrible accident, the island was abandoned, and forgotten about, until in 2010 a spy plane passing overhead gets hit with a massive pulse of radiation. You play as Captain Renko, a member of a squad of US soldiers sent to investigate.

After an EMP takes down your helicopter, thinks kick off with you wandering through the abandoned facilites, reading notes and listening to …

Stargate: Universe - So Terribly Afraid of Change

Stargate kicked off season two last night. Rejoice!

I enjoy this show quite a bit, it's got a nice kind of classic kind of scifi feel to it, for my thoughts in general on the series, see the previous blog post. I do have one gripe about it, which has been a few times over on IO9.com, it just seems like the show is glued to the status quo. At the end of a typical episode, everything is more or less the same as when it started, no one dies, nothing significantly changes. They're still not really in control of the ship, they're still short of resources, Greer is still angry. On the rare occasion when something does change and isn't resolved by the end of the ep, it's resolved by the end of the next ep or two.

Some examples:

In one episode, they come across a planet in a system where it seems like the entire solar system has been created by some unkown power. Leaving a huge momument, a number of the ragtag group of survivors decide that this is God, and they should …

The Devil You Know: More English Wit Than You Can Normally Get In The States

In case you hadn't noticed from the content of this blog, I consume a great quantity of media. Videogames, movies, TV shows, anime, comics, novels. I'll take it all, and there's so much good stuff out there. It's a pretty hard thing to manage not to get inundated with it all, so hard, that I just don't even try. I have wish lists that are pages long for all of these things. So, kind of a rambling lead-in, but I finally made it to one of those items, which is the Felix Castor series by Mike Carey.

I was on a message board for comics, and people got to talking about books, and the statement was made "If you like the Dresden Files series, you really need to check out the Felix Castor series, it's even better."

So, I dove in. I always have a problem with these urban fantasy novels, and a lot of writing in general, but there's always the first chapter that you have to get through, where they explain just how "cool" their character is. C…

Prince of Persion: The Sands of Time: The movie: Surprisingly Not Crap

Yes, I was trying to use as many colons as I could there.

Really, I've got very little to say about this movie. Have you played any of the recent Prince of Persia games? If so, it's exactly what you'd expect. Lots of fun action scenes, with a good mix of parkour and just general acrobatics.

Everything else about it is pretty much crap though. I usually don't like to point out the tendency Hollywood has to cast actors in spite of the logical ethnicity of the setting, but Jake Gyllenhal and Gemma Aterton as Persian royalty.

Oddly Alfred Molina is actually pretty entertaining as the owner of an ostrich racing gambling establishment. Really, there's ostrich racing, after watching the initial, surprisingly long ostrich race, I found myself saying "what the hell am I watching?"

Bottom line, it's fun, but you definitely have to turn your brain off before watching.