Friday, March 30, 2007

GTA:IV first trailer.

Well. Wow. 10.16.07 release date. Yesterday was the first trailer -

I am, uh, pretty excited. If the trailer is any indication of gameplay then I think we're in for something pretty special. Just go watch the trailer.

To tide us over until then Rockstar is releasing Manhunt 2 this summer. I had a lot of, well, I wouldn't call it fun per se but I did enjoy Manhunt. Let's put it this way, I haven't had a game seriously disturb me before...okay maybe Silent Hill.

Thursday, March 29, 2007


I've combined the movie reviews and the movie calendar. It made more sense that way. Let me know what you guys think. I will be trying to keep the calendar as up to date as possible.

Anyone interested in joining the gang for Tuesday night let me or Bart know. Yeah.

I also have added a guestbook so if you want to say hello then you can. Or don't. See if we care.

Oprah's Book Club.

As a long time bookseller I have a love/ahte relationship with the Oprah Book Club. On one hand I think it's a great thing that she's getting people to read and to read outside their comfort zone - c'mon Grapes of Wrath? Who's gonna just pick that up? On the other hand I can't stand the cult of Oprah and her slack jawed middle aged minions. Hey, you work retail you get sick of being asked the same questions over and over again by the same mouth breathing State employees.

I was sent the news this morning that Oprah's newest Book Club pick is Cormac McCarthy's The Road. More peculiar than that is the fact that Cormac McCarthy is going to appear on her show - his first television appearance(?!?).

I'm very perplexed by this piece of news. A thoroughly depressing post-apocalyptic father & son tale as an Oprah pick. Huh. I'd honestly be really interested in seeing the interview and and hearing what her legions have to say.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Children of Men (2006) comes out on DVD 03/27/07

Finally! Children of Men is coming out on DVD. Here's the review from 02-13-07.

Yet another reason why the XBOX360 is gaining my interest.

Overlord looks like it could be a lot of fun. I like minions...possibly because I have none but want them.

This game sounds like it could be a riot.

When's the last time you thought about...

That's right baby the Underdog ain't never gonna let you go from his junkyard of death. This train wreck has a decent cast (Michael Ironside, Ernie Hudson) and an Elmer Bernstein score. My masochistic side really wants to rewatch this.

Action movie bad guys I miss: Part 1 - Commies.

I have Rocky Balboa waiting to be watched when I get home. This started me thinking about the Rocky series and got me to thinking about Rocky IV (1985). Now I haven't seen Rocky IV in at least ten years but Ivan Drago has stayed in my mind as awesome. That got me thinking about all kinds of awesome Red villians from the 80s. I plan to put together a short series about classic bad guys and here we go - in no particular order of awesomeness:

THE RED MENACE (1980-1989)

Rocky IV (1985) - Ivan Drago - Dolph Lundgren. "I must break you." What an awesome bad guy, I mean c'mon he kills Apollo Creed - thus proving "whatever he hits he destroys".

Red Dawn (1984) - The Commies invade America and kick the shit out of Harry Dean Stanton - that's not cool. Despite the fact that this isn't the world's greatest movie it still rocks if only for the opening scene of the high school gun down.

Rambo III (1988) - Colonel Zaysen - Marc de Jonge. Before the current mess in the region Rambo was kicking Commie ass sideways with a little help from the Mujahadeen in order to rescue his buddy Colonel Troutman. This is the kind of movie that Saturday afternoon hangovers were made for.

The Beast of War (1988) - Daskal - George Dzundza. Yet another movie about the Russians in Afghanistan. This is time the story revolves around Koverchenko - Jason Patric - as a member of tank crew led by the increasingly loco Daskal. When the tank gets seperated from its column hijinks ensue! "Da-kaboom-tank!" You know Daskal is a bad guy when he orders his crew run over a Mujahadeen...slowly...feet first.

Red Heat (1988) - Schwarzenegger & Belushi together at last. This is another one of those movies I loved as a kid but haven't seen in almost twenty years. I might have to give this a rental. Then again maybe not.

I am hunting around for other movies since my brain is coughing up stuff like Moscow on the Hudson (1984), Gorky Park (1983), and White Nights (1985).

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

An article about The Host (2006)

I just posted a review of The Host over in the movie section but was poking around the internet and found an article from Stars & Stripes back from August '06. It's a pretty interesting read considering that The Host doesn't portray the US Military in a flattering light.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Boom! Studios

Last week I dorked out and bought issue #1 of Boom! Studios Warhammer 40, 000: Damnation Crusade. Written by Dan Abnett - old GW warhorse - and illustrated by Lui Antonio & JM Ringuet (I'm starting to track down their other stuff) this comic kicks ass. Sure, sure I'm a 40k fanboy but this comic actually captures the look and feel of 40k. Plus the cover art is totally wicked awesome.

Based on the quality of Damnation Crusade I'm going to start picking up other titles from this publisher. They've released a Steve Niles werewolf story In the Blood. Other titles that look kick ass are: The Savage Brothers, Tag, and Jeremiah Harm. They also have some Lovecraft inspired comics but they didn't have those at the shop next to work.

Monday, March 19, 2007

What do Zombie's Halloween and The Last Boy Scout have in common?

Danielle Harris.

Yes the girl who captured my heart with her foul language and drawings of "Satan Claus" and goading of Bruce Willis has grown up. She's looking pretty totally awesome. Just sayin'.

GTA: Vice City Stories - Final Impressions

I polished off GTA: VCS over the break. All in all it was a fine addition to the GTA Series - nothing particularly new or ground breaking but solid with a few moments of brilliance and fun. The Remi/Phil Collins mission thread was probably the best that I've played in quite some time. Remi is an insane German transexual director with a serious coke habit. Phil Collins is Phil Collins. It's pretty awesome.

The "empire building" was definitely a step in the right direction though far from perfect. It consisted of assaulting a rival gang's establishment - blasting the hell out of everyone and everything then purchasing the property. Defending it basically consists of running all over hell and high water - at times hectic - a good trick I found was to constantly drive either a VCPD vehicle or a cab and trigger a mission with R3 to cancel the attack. Cheap trick but handy. The allied gang members are pretty much useless still except as bullet magnets. The added fact that you can't bring back-up on missions is a hassle at times. Not perfect but fun nonetheless.

The story is meh but then again GTA stories are pretty much meh and they don't need to be. At the core the stories are fine and the supporting characters are great. Ken Rosenberg is one of my favorites. Sure he's a carbon copy of Sean Penn's David Kleinfeld - look it up - but it works. It's always great to run across Phil Cassidy - voiced by Gary Busey - the boom shine swilling gun merchant. Once the story gets running in GTA: VCS the story basically boils down to "Time to yell at Lance and then go kill some people." - Thanks to Bart for that observation.

What it comes down to is this: If you're a GTA fan in need of a fix spend the $20. It's fun and worth playing through and seeing the changes in gameplay that will be tinkered with and probably end up in GTA IV. If you're not a fan of the GTA series then there's no need to pick this up. If you've never played any of the series just pick up the original GTA: Vice City or GTA: San Andreas. Now those are impressive games.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

In case you blinked

These are exciting times for gaming. In a matter of a week, look who's hooped on board the gaming bullet train. Check out the list of big hollywood names that are currently working on games. Crazy.

Steven Speilberg - director E.T., Jaws, Saving Private Ryan, Indiana Jones, Catch Me if you Can, ETC.
Current VG Project: Unknown Wii project

Peter Jackson - He's known for directing King Kong, The Lord of the Rings Saga, Dead Alive, ETC.
Current VG Project: Halo 3 episodic release endeavor

Clive Barker - He wrote all of the Hellraiser series and various other awesome macabre novels, the movies Night Breed, Candyman, ETC.
Current VG Project: Jericho,

John Woo - director of Face Off, Broken Arrow, Mission Impossible: II, Windtalkers, Hard Boiled, A Better Tomorrow 1, 2, 3, etc.
Current VG Project: Stranglehold,

Bryan Singer - Writer/director of the latest Superman, the X-Men series and so on.
Current VG Project: Unknown

James Cameron - Titanic, Terminator, Total Recall, ETC.
Current VG Project: MMORPG based next film,

Sam Raimi - writer/director Evil Dead 1, 2, Army of Darkness, Spider-man movies and how could we forget Darkman.
Current VG Project: Unknown

Thursday, March 08, 2007

GTA: Vice City Stories - First Impressions

You fine folks all know how much I love the GTA series in particular GTA: Vice City. I don't have to rehash my Rockstar fanboy ranting.

GTA: VCS is potentially awesome. I'm only a few hours into the game and haven't gotten any heavy duty game time in but so far so good. I hit a brick wall mission last night but I blame being drunk more than the difficulty of the mission. Oddly enough it was a forklift not operate heavy machinery...huh maybe that's why I kept dying.

It's really nice to be back in Vice City. Everything isn't as the same as I thought as it was going to be. The game begins on VC's western island and it's pretty undeveloped. Sunshine Autos is a complete dump. Parts of town are still under construction. It's pretty cool actually. The radio stations are still one of the best parts of the game. Many of the familiar DJs from GTA: VC are either interns or co-hosts. The music is a mix of familiar, b-sides, and some "who the hell are they bands" i.e. Japan, Scandal, Krokus. V-Rock has a giant block of metal hits: Dokken, Scorpions, Dio, KISS, Quiet Riot, Accept, and more! Check out the full listing.

The story so far is a bit different. Vincent Vance - Lance Vance's older brother - is booted out of the Army and from there has to support his family. I like Vince Vance because so far he's a good guy. GTA protagonists aren't exactly the nicest guys and it's nice to have a change of pace. Now I don't think he'll be saving any puppies or acting in a Coke commercial anytime soon but still he's all right.

All in all after a few hours of play I am fairly pleased and looking forward to put some real time into this. Apparently Rockstar has been recording my ranting because in GTA: VCS there's Empire Building. I'm not sure how it works but I think you take over businesses, adapt them to what you want, build them up, defend them, and all that good stuff.

I'll post again when I've got some gameplay under my belt or if anything awesome happens.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A good article about the upcoming Shadowrun game

Yes I know, another post about Shadowrun. Here's the article.

I downloaded the emulator and now I have to find a SNES controller because I can't make the keyboard work for a damn. I was considering buying a SNES but they are going for about $50-$60 bucks. Say it with me kids, "Oh, Hell no!"

Upcoming movie releases and assorted mumbo-jumbo.

The Spring movie rush has started with Zodiac and Black Snake Moan. 300 & The Host open this Friday. Personally I'm more excited about The Host than I am by 300. Unfortunately with 300 the media carpet-bombing has taken its toll on me. There is a plan in the works to head to San Antonio this weekend to see it at the IMAX so even if the movie is ho hum the sheer spectacle of it will make it worth while. Shooter -as formulaic it may be - will be an awesome popcorn movie. C'mon Danny Glover is the bad guy. Fuck yeah! The last week of March has The Hills Have Eyes 2, TMNT, and The Lookout. I'll see some turtles. Then there's April with - Grindhouse, Hot Fuzz, Pathfinder, and Severence. There are a couple of other releases but nothing too thrilling to see in the theater - though I will probably sneak in a matinee of Black Book.

For further information:

Monday, March 05, 2007

Splinter Cell: Double Agent - Final impressions and thoughts.

I polished off the game this weekend - after a few dozen moments of getting shot to living hell again and again and again. I'm sticking by what I said before: great game, great story, excellent game play.

Two problems:

1) Sam Fisher has been forced to make some difficult decisions - i.e. to blow up or save a cruise liner, save his friend or let the mission take priority, etc., etc. and I really enjoyed having to make those kinds of choices. I blew up the cruise liner and saved my friend in case you were wondering. The problem I have is that Fisher leaves his agency not because they screw him at every turn but because of a woman. This in itself is not a bad thing but over the course of the game there's very little in the way of romantic exposition. I wouldn't have minded if there was more than one co-op mission with her, some life saving, some playful banter, something more interesting. She was a cool character and not just some chick for Fisher to save and bang. Just wish that there was more because the end would have been a lot more effective. Disappointing.

2) There is not just a problem with Splinter Cell: Double Agent or the series but with games in general: the lack of replay value. There are two bonus missions that are ridiculously easy after completing the game. There's not much incentive to replay the missions that while fun/difficult/cool to play through once don't have much appeal the second time through. For me the amount of time I've put into acing one level usually means that there aren't many surprises left. Only the last mission is really cool enough to show off to people - the rest of the time is based on patience and repitition. There are different outcomes based on choices made in game: good, bad, awful. These are nothing but different newscasts at the end of the game.

The two stealth games I've replayed multiple times are the Hitman series and the Tenchu series. Why do they have such a high replay value? For me it's the cinematic and amazingly cool levels of Hitman - except for the riverboat in Blood Money. I feel like I'm playing a movie. With Tenchu you can replay levels multiple times with each character - enemies appear in different areas, different traps, and the better you perform the better gear you can acquire. Tenchu manages to keep levels interesting and fun and trying out new gear on previous levels is a blast. Plus it's ninjas!

The stories of Hitman & Tenchu are pretty convoluted though Tenchu is worst. I could try to explain it except you wouldn't care and I wouldn't care either - the games are fun though. Hitman is convoluted but with a tree graph it can be done.

All in all:

Splinter Cell: Double Agent: 8

I love the Splinter Cell series. The game itself, the gameplay, the music, the atmosphere, the sheer fun of sneaking up on people are great. Except for one snag in story and pretty much no replay the game is excellent and worth picking up if you're a fan of the genre.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Dorset Nagas.

I've written about the Dorset Naga chiles before but I really needed to post this picture. Just looking at these things makes me wince. It's like some kind of primordial trigger. Awesome. Truly awesome. In the words of Mr. Will Smith, "Man, I gotta get me one of those!"

Shadowrun...the FPS...sigh.

I've been hearing bits and pieces about Shadowrun for the X360 for a while now. After finding out that it's an FPS I was pretty disappointed. While it looks pretty cool and could potentially be a good game - Deus Ex was an excellent cyberpunk RPG/FPS game from a couple of years ago. Shadowrun has the look of a run and gun with magic. Check out the trailers.

Part of the reason I'm not geared up for the newest version is because Data East's Shadowrun (1993)was so completely awesome. Not just nostalgia awesome either - this game is the cortex bomb. I hadn't played anything like this game before and I really don't think I've played anything like it since. The level of complexity, character interaction, storyline, music and good old fashioned cyberpunk. I played this game into the ground several times and always think about buying a SNES just so I can play this.

I'm not sure what country used the box art on the left but it sure does suck and yet some how rock at the same time. Probably because it looks like something I would have drawn in 10th grade...uh...yeah? So?

Oh yeah - just so we don't forget the Sega Genesis Shadowrun game was the suckiest suck to ever suck a suck.

GTA IV Tease.

Not much too look at yet but still oddly thrilling: GTA IV

Gonna have to start saving my pennies for a PS3 because this bad boy is coming out in October.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

In the grim darkness of the future there is only awesomeness!

Oh. Hell. Yeah.

Here in Austin, TX Vigil Games is working on a Warhammer 40K MMO. I would actually consider buying a good computer to be able to play this.

Here's the article.

This is giving me nervous geek tic just thinking about it.

Twin Peaks: Season 2 on DVD - April 3rd

Yeah, you read that right. After years of delays and SNAFUs the second season of Twin Peaks is coming out on DVD. I'll try to find some more information about the release but pretty much all we need to know is that it's coming out. Now I wonder when they will come out with a complete box set including the pilot and the movie? I'm thinking that it'd be sooner than later.

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