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Showing posts from October, 2008

DTV Madness: Dance of the Dead!

We have a winner!

A movie with zombies starring a bunch of geeks. This movie will be a classic in the future.

All you need to know about the plot is that it's prom night and there are zombies lurking about. Put the two together and you have Dance of the Dead.

There are several factors that make this an instant classic.

One of the things that stand out the most are the characters. Unlike other horror movies that hire 20 to 30-something year olds who look or act nothing like teens, in DotD you really get a genuine feeling that these are teenagers, both from their mannerisms and their dialogue. Also, unlike shitfests such as Joy Ride 2 the characters don't need to declare what kind of categories they fall into (ie. that emo-punk wuss in JR2). Instead, you can tell that a character is more emotional by the things he says and the things he does.

The characters are well defined. Sure they are a bunch of highschool stereotypes, but they really do it well. There are science nerds, ge…

MAX PAYNE was oh so PAYNEFUL!!!

What a failure this was. An EPIC FAILURE~! And I'll tell you why. This movie had everything going for it which was why it made the failure seem so huge. It had star power. It had a very competent director. The visual style was there. It had a simple storyline... a storyline that was basically fuck-proof because it's so basic. The effects (when there were any) were also pretty great. So where did they go wrong?

Pacing.

If the first two-thirds of the film was like the last third, I think it would have been a fine film. Not great by any means, but fine. I mean, there was hardly any action in the first hour. It was all talk and build up. Every 5 minutes I was saying to myself, "okay, something cool is gonna happen now". But it never came. I think had they added 2 or 3 big action sequences during that hour, that it would have helped the film breathe and flow better. I mean, didn't they realize that the source material was an action game?

Max Payne is based…

Super Smash Bros. Brawl (Wii)

Alas, Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Now, I'm not a big fan of the Smash Bros. series fan at all, and I after playing this game, that hasn't changed. In fact, this is only the first incarnation of the game that I've actually played. I think it's the simplistic nature of the game that passes me by. If you can mash buttons on a controller, then you're ready for Smash Bros. As a kid, I grew up on Street Fighter II: World Warrior as well as the original Mortal Kombat... games where key combinations were the road to victory. Random mashing just didn't cut it back then.

But I suppose the simple nature of the game appeals to a wider generation of audiences, something the Wii has excelled at since release.

I think the only thing I really liked from this game was the single player campaign, dubbed The Subspace Emissary. Basically it's an old-school side scroller, with a storyline that ties in all the available characters within the game. I finished the campaign on t…

Late Slip: August Burns Red

Yes, a bit of a late slip. I went to see August Burns Red play at the Opera House almost 2 weeks ago. I went to a show in August with A Static Lullaby. The show must have drawn only 150 people tops (of approx. 500 capacity), and this from a band who was selling out shows 3 years ago. I thought the screamo/metalcore/post-hardcore scene was about over, but this show was evidence that it still has some legs.

The Opera House was jam packed, it was hot sweaty fun. The line-up included This or the Apocalypse, Greeley Estates, A Skylit Drive, Sky Eats Airplane, and of course headlined by August Burns Red. Admittedly, I only know a few songs from ABR, so I wasn't too familiar with them. I basically went to the show to see Greeley Estates and A Skylit Drive. The show didn't disappoint, the energy was pretty high all night.

Anyhow, you can check out some pictures from the show (here). AdiĆ³s geeks.

Life on Mars (US)

So I found a new TV show to follow this week: Life on Mars.

On the surface, it looks like another one of those police/crime drama replicas eg. CSI, NCIS, Cold Case, etc... I hate those shows! That is one of the reasons why I love Forgetting Sarah Marshall so much, in particular for their ongoing joke of mocking these shows with their faux crime drama Crime Scene: Scene of the Crime.

However, looks can be deceiving, as they say. The police/crime part is just a clever disguise to hide the fact that they are really a geeky-genre show. The first 10 minutes or so of the pilot is similar to any other police show; a bunch of cops stressed out over some generic case involving some generic kidnapper/murderer. One afternoon, after a raid, the main character's girlfriend gets kidnapped and his mind goes a little loopy. Amongst all the dizziness and confusion, he gets hit by a car, and passes out. When he wakes, he finds himself 35 years in the past, smack dab in the middle of 1973. He …

DTV Madness: Joy Ride or Sleepaway Camp? How bout neither!

I've got a crapload of DTV reviews coming out within the next week or so. I don't know why, maybe because it's near Halloween, that companies shit out all these movies around this time. So I watched two this week, Joy Ride 2: Dead Ahead and Return to Sleepaway Camp. I had hopes (not high hopes) for both, as I enjoyed the first Joy Ride and loved, loved, LOVED, the original Sleepaway Camp, but like with most DTV affairs, I was quite let down.

Return to Sleepaway Camp

The first Sleepaway Camp was created obviously to milk off the success of other slasher flicks at the time, notably Friday the 13th. It was a complete low-rent production, complete with bad acting and bad dialogue. The saving grace in the movie came at the ending. Anyone who's seen this movie could not possibly forget the ending, it's one of those things you just can't unsee. However, if you need a reminder or a spoiler...

[Inviso-Text Spoilers (highlite with your mouse): The main character, Ang…

The Midnight Meat Train

The Midnight Meat Train. Oh yes, you heard right. The title sounds deceivingly like that of a really bad porn movie, but fear not horror fans and gorehounds, this flick delivers.

The movie follows a photographer named Leon who while using the nightlife of a city for his next project, unravels a mystery involving subway passengers who would disappear in the middle of the night. Leon's pursuits puts him on the trail of a serial killer named Mahogany, who stalks and kills the late night travellers. Soon after, Leon becomes obsessed with the whole mystery and with stopping the killer, but is in more shit than he's aware of.

The Midnight Meat Train is probably one of the better American-produced horror movies I've seen in the last few years. But I guess that isn't saying too much, as more than half the shit these days are just remakes of classics or of foreign versions. The movie feels fresh and original, and thanks to the short run time and high action, it never feels …

The Science of God

Not too long ago, two of my friends had posted their thoughts on evolution and creationism. Both friends shared similar sentiments on the topic (you can view Skylar's here and Keith's here). Coincidence or not, shortly before they made their postings, I purchased a book called The Science of God by Dr. Gerald Schroeder, which was based on the same topic. Unfortunately, at the time of my friend's postings, I had not finished the book, but now I have.

In The Science of God, Schroeder attempts to debunk the dichotomy that exists between science/evolution and creationism. He tries to show that there can exist a duality between the two and that discoveries in science actually prove the story of creation in the bible.

The book can be roughly divided into three categories that being the concepts of time, the second with the biology of evolution, and lastly the concept of free will.

In describing time, he focuses on the 6 days that are explained in the beginning of Genesis. Duri…

Tarsem's THE FALL

Lately I've been thinking to myself that there hasn't really been many great movies this year. There's been a few good ones, but only one really great one, that being The Dark Knight. In my head I was starting to compile my top 10 list for the year thus far and had some difficulty even filling in the ranks of the top 3. There are a few I'm wildly anticipating over the next 3 months, but whether they'll hold up to scrutiny remains to be determined. Which brings me to The Fall.

The first thing I should mention is that as I was looking for reviews for The Fall, I found that there was quite a backlash from amongst the geek community for Tarsem's first feature, The Cell with JLo. Overnight, geeks criticized it for being too hollow and "visually arresting". They claimed that he was pretentious both by representing himself by one name and delivering something artistic-for-artistry's sake.

I remember my brother coming home after seeing it in the thea…

Survivor: Gabon - Week 2

"Week 2" of Survivor collected the events during Days 7-9. During this episode, Fang seemed to have gotten their shit together as they won both challenges. Usually (but not always) you can tell which tribe is going to tribal council because the episode will focus more on that team. And so when they kept going back to team Kota, I got suspicious. They are still quite a generic team. I don't know any of the names of the women, but I know 3 names of the guys: Ace the irritating and arrogant photographer, Charlie the token gay dude, and Bob the awesome physics teacher old guy. There was some tension in team Kota as Ace was telling everyone what to do and it just rubbed people the wrong way.

The reward challenge was a game where one of your tribemates would cling on to a pole, while two of the opposing tribe members would attempt to pull you off and drag you to the finish line. The first team to 2 points would be declared winner. The game wasn't that exciting actu…

That's just RELIGULOUS!

I won tickets to an early screening of Religulous and took my brother to watch it earlier tonight. The film was directed by Larry Charles (of Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Borat fame), but clearly this was the Bill Maher show.

The movie follows Maher as he treks around the world trying to find out why people believe what they do. He is basically questioning them as to why they are so certain, as he himself tries to promote doub.t The movie primarily focuses on western religions, but in the latter half he tries to do a lightning round with other faiths (ie. Scientology, Mormonism, Islam, etc).

He interviews a bevy of loony characters to ensure laughs, and oftentimes with a smug and arrogant flair. In that sense, the movie works as it balances with more serious talks as he learns about other religions. But more often than not, the discussions are with wacky people rather than learned professionals.

One of the high points for me was a scene in a London park where he pretended to …