Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Rambo (2008) dir. Sylvester Stallone & War (2007) dir. Philip G. Atwell

I'm gonna get this out of the way - you either want to see this movie or you don't. If you don't that's fine and understandable though First Blood is a good movie. If you are going to see Rambo then you know exactly what you are getting.

Personally I liked it. I had a crappy morning and went to go see it with some buddies and it turned my mood around. Rambo kills the living hell out of bad Burmese. It's not quite as gory as I was led to believe - yes it is gory and intensely violent - but a good amount of the blood is digital. Digital blood just doesn't cut it in my book. There are some moments of cheer worthy carnage though.

Here's the plot: Rambo is a snake hunter/collector in Thailand. He is very sad and alone with his anger and pain. Christian missionaries need his help getting up river to Burma to deliver medical aid and care. Rambo says, "Go home.". Missionary lady says, "Help us." Rambo says, "Fine." Rambo drops off missionaries and goes home. Missionaries help people then get captured by evil Burmese warlord. Rambo finds out. Everything goes to hell. Rambo kicks ass. Bad guys die. Fin.

I thought the direction was perfectly reasonable and all in all there was nothing wrong with the movie - what'd you expect fucking Chekov? It's Rambo. I really enjoyed the ending - it tied up the entire series very nicely.

* * *

War is a Jet Li/Jason Statham action movie by Philip G. Atwell (director of rap videos). We watched it last night after gorging ourselves on Chinese BBQ and shredded Nanking pork. We wanted something totally mindless, violent, and about as challenging as Go Fish. War not only delivered but it was actually pretty good and an excellent example of what a non-HK/HK-styled movie should be like. All the elements were there and put together in a proper fashion. Jason Statham plays some ass kicking Asian crime unit of the FBI guy. His partner gets killed by Jet Li - a super bad ass CIA trained assassin who is only known as "Rogue". Rogue disappears. Three years later there a territory is breaking out in San Francisco between Triads and the Yakuza. Side note: Just to let everyone - including Jason Statham - know "Yakuza" is plural for "Yakuza". A Yakuza club is shot to hell by...that's right...Rogue. Jason Statham is on the job. Action and vengeance ensues.

War is absurd and pretty cut and dry - especially if you've seen a good amount of HK action movies - but the direction is slick, the violence is bloody, there are fucking ninjas, the cast is a good who's who of quality supporting actors, the music is good cinematic hip-hop, and it's actually a good Jet Li/Jason Statham movie. A good Saturday afternoon movie, hell I'll buy it when I see it for about $10.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Burnout Paradise, Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, GTA IV, and more...

If you're not familiar with the Burnout series then drop whatever it is you're doing and go buy a copy of Burnout 3. It's my favorite racing series because:

  1. I suck at racing games and yet I can play the hell out of a Burnout game.
  2. People can just pick up and play these games.
  3. The level of destruction and lots of pretty pretty sparks.

  4. In real life you really wish you could slam some annoying bastard's car into oncoming traffic or into a median.

Burnout Paradise is the latest installation in the series and so far is proving to be an exciting addition. I put in about five hours last night and was beginning to think it was too easy. Then I played a race and got totally wiped so I guess it's not too easy. What I like about the game is that the map is totally open from the start. Every intersection and stretch of road has some kind of event to play. Starting a race consists of driving around, coming up to an intersection, and pulling LT & RT. The race starts. There's a lot to find and explore in this game - which is one of my favorite tasks in games. The Road Rages are fun especially since the other cars will find you instead of having to find them - meaning you can careen through construction sites and cut throughs at top speed instead of sticking to the main streets. I like addition of the Marked Man races - get to the finish line in one piece with enemy vehicles trying to wreck you all the way. The Racing is fun though frustrating because there are so many ways to go. Once you have a solid knowledge of cut-throughs and sneaky way then it makes it a lot more fun - i.e. I won a backwoods curving roads race by simply driving straight down the railroad tracks at full speed.
The game looks great, the cars are fun to drive, the crashes are wicked gnarly, and I look forward to playing it online. The one downside is the music. It's a strange mix of old and new and cuts from earlier Burnout games. After a while I turned it off and just listened to The Sword.

Advance Wars: Days of Ruin is a DS Lite turn based strategy game based in a post-apocalyptic world. Meteroids struck the Earth and everything went to shit and now it's up to our heroes to band together and fight bandits and assorted whackos. So far it's addictive as a sonofabitch and hopefully has a boatload of replay value.

There is finally a release date for GTA IV 04-29-08. Finally a reason to get up in the morning.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Heath Ledger overdoses. Permanently.

Wow. Well at least Batman was finished. I just hope we don't have to see millions of retrospectives like we did when River Phoenix died.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Pandora, Metal, Work, and the Tree of Woe.

I finally got a day off after 18 days in the tall grass. Fortunately the hours have gone back to normal (9-5) though the hours may still be 9-7.

One good thing to have come out of the last few weeks was the amount of labour I've put into working on my Pandora playlists. If you're not familiar with Pandora then let me fill you in - it's a "Music Genome Project". Basically it's a music player based on your tastes...more or less. You can thumbs up and thumbs a track a la yahoo radio but with better results and better music. If you scroll down a bit after reading this you'll see radio stations I've been working on. Click the link.

Another good thing that has come out this Pandora experimentation has been my finding of "new" and "interesting" music. From here on out I'm gonna be talking about Metal so if you don't have any interest in Metal quit reading.

I am a Metal fan. However I am not a metal fan that will listen to anything and in all honesty most Metal would be better off if there wasn't a lead singer - especially one who barks lyrics. So one day I checked out Pandora's "Stoner Metal Rock" station. Diretly before tuning into the station I was bitching/whinging/being Josh about, "I wish there was Metal that was actually know like the first three Sabbath albums...etc, etc, etc..." I turned on the station and heard The Sword and my jaw dropped.

The Sword fucking rock. After I did my chores I cracked open a beer. Yay rewards! I played some music and just dicked around and then I said, "Fuck! The Sword!". I downloaded the album and have listened to it pretty much nonstop for the past several hours. It's heavy. It grinds. There are songs about wolves. I'm amazed this band is from Austin. It's awesome. I wish I was listening to it right now. In fact:
Witch is also good but after a while I realized that it sounds...too polished. Witch is a project of J. Mascis - Dinosaur Jr - and is good but sounds like an album that was made by someone who plays other stuff normally. Still makes for good Heavy Metal listening though.
More news to follow. Going to see Cloverfield tonight.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

"I pray to Shiva - Please, let me die."

How's that for a flashback? I first saw it in '96 and it warped my fragile little mind. Thanks, Mike! What is kind of strange is watching EBN's videos and they are still pertinent. Y'know what with the war and everything.

Still busy at work but I had to make a post. Check out this trailer. If you've seen it already you'll understand my excitement:

Oh. Hells. Yes. The other day I was shipping books and chatting with Mark and said, "I wonder what Neil Marshall's been doin'?" Apparently he has been making awesome. Sheer and total awesome. Comes out March 14th. I can't wait.
There's more assorted news and reviews coming down the line but that'll have to wait until I get a day off.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Update and a minor rant.

Going to be absent for a bit longer folks. School starts on Monday and all the students are coming back and going to storm the walls.

Oh yeah, minor rant.

Spiderman 3 was so bad that when it was over I said, "I want to starve a badger, hit it constantly with a stick, and then mail it to Sam Raimi. When he opened the box the badger would latch onto him, peel the skin off his face, burrow down his throat, and tear him open from the inside." I hated Spiderman 3. I'm not a Spiderman fan, personally I don't like Spiderman period, but Spiderman 3 was almost worse than Daredevil, Elektra, Ghost Rider, and the Tom Jane Punisher combined. Don't waste your money on this crap splatter.

Hope all of you are well. Upcoming reviews and a return to regularly scheduled blogging ASAP.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

"Can you not see that I am direspectful to dirt?"

Hope all you fine folks had a perfectly reasonable holiday season. Ours was good. Saw Amanda's family. Drove around in the new car. Ate too much. Drank too much. Got presents. Oh yeah and Amanda and I are officially engaged. I'm sure there will be some kind of formal announcement of some sorts, consider yourselves warned.

In other news:

Amanda bought me a DS Lite and it is awesome. Okay she bought me one because I wouldn't stop using hers truth be told. I'm a couple of hours into Hotel Dusk: Room 215 and am enjoying it. Basically it's a noir-ish plot with lots of dialogue and some interesting puzzles. Nothing mind bending but nothing too simple either. I like the character design - black and white hand drawn - and the plot has been interesting enough for me to keep playing. Warhammer 40K: Squad Command is something I would recommend to a Warhammer 40K fan or possibly and turn based tactical game but for most people I wouldn't recommend it. It's cheezy and not the easiest game I've ever played. Personally I think with a little bit of spit and polish it would make an excellent XBOX360 Live game but that's just me. I love playing it though and have gotten some good laughs out of it - i.e. the catch phrase "I AM THE BRINGER OF DEATH!" makes me giggle. I am waiting for Amanda to finish Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon because looks kind of damn neat and she's been playing the living hell out of it. Plus I'm in the mood for a soul sucking RPG.

As far as movies watched over the holiday break well...didn't see much. The only movie I got to see in the theater was Sweeny Todd. It was okay I guess. I really didn't enjoy it very much at all but they - Amanda & her sisters - liked it and had a good time. I guess I'm just done with Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, and Helena Bonham Carter and the whole Burtonverse.

Saw Once on DVD. It was charming, bittersweet, Irish, and all in all was a pretty good movie that didn't go quite in the direction I thought it was going to. The soundtrack by The Frames is solid singer/songwriter guitar/piano stuff. Personally it's not my normal cup of tea but for a quiet afternoon it was a nice movie.

Watched the latest Harry Potter & the Whatever Whatever last night. It was pretty good I guess but I could tell that there was a lot left out from the book or glossed over or cherry picked. I haven't read the books either and I could tell. All in all it was a Harry Potter movie. There was some magic and some Alan Rickman and some Voldemort and a John Williams score.

That's the long and short of it folks. I'm going to be going online to wage war in Call of Duty 4 so you can expect a review/rant about me getting "pwned" by fourteen year olds.

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