Apr 24, 2008

Apr 20, 2008

Video Game Reviews @ The Temple

Lair - This game is not half as bad as everyone said!  It was one of the first gen PS3 games, and the first to really use the sixaxis thing (tilt the controller to control stuff).  It's basically flying around on a dragon blowing shit up.  But it's acutally a good bit of fun.  The controls are kinda crappy in a few instances, but mostly are surprisingly adequate.  The game is short, but that's good, I wouldn't want to do this for 20 hours.  The cinematics aren't bad, the acting isn't bad.  Maybe it's a low expectations thing, but I was impressed!

Condemned 2 - So, I didn't play the first one, cuz it's 360 only.  This is pretty fun though.  Pretty scary in parts, creepy anyway.  Combat is pretty annoying, but that's cuz of the inherent retardedness in playing an FPS on a console.  The weapons thing and combo stuff is fun enough.  The story is alright.  Acting is alright.  Overall, I'm not sure why everyone flipped over the first one if this is all it is.  Not cuz it's bad, not at all, it's just not amazing.

Stranglehold - Boring.  Kinda fun, but basically Max Payne with asian people, who cares?  wanted to get through it just to feel like I beat it, then realized I was just frustrated and not having fun, so I sent it back.  I don't know why I'm so down on it, it wasn't BAD, but I was left annoyed, so that's what ya get.

Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction - Yay R&C!  This was everything an R&C game should be.  It's also not any MORE than an R&C game should be.  Except for some SIXAXIS stuff that was ok, but not staggering, it's kind of the same game as always.  That's not a bad thing, I had lots of fun, it's cute, but it's also not a revolution.

 Unreal Tournament III - GRRRR!  So stupid!  Who the fuck makes a game that if you lose internet you get kicked out?!?!  I'm not playing online!  I was about to beat a level, but stupid router dies, and I am booted!  This is retarded!  FPSs on consoles are retarded!  Especially a twitch shooter like UT!  I love UT on PC, it's pointless on console, it takes me a half an hour to turn around.  This is dumb, whoever made it is dumb, and anyone who likes it is dumb.

Okay, after 2 days of no internet, I realize my opinion may have been colored by that.  However, I just played again, and dammit, twitch shooters on consoles are so stupid!

The Showtime Project

This girl dances in sync to a video of herself dancing when she was 4 years old.  So cute.

Movie Reviews @ The Temple

The Forbidden Kingdom - Yay kung fu!  Okay, so I'm not really a big kung fu expert.  I don't know anything past what everyone has seen, so I'm probably an easy audience for this movie.  But there's punching and kicking and flipping and tripping and other things that rhyme and it's fun.  The plot is just normal, and everything happens exactly as you know it will, but that's not really the point.  Jet Li vs. Jackie Chan was extremely cool, however, they are fantastic.  It does make me wonder, though, is there common wisdom for which of these two is better?  Different styles to be sure, but is it obvious to people who know about martial arts which is more skilled?  Just curious.

Dr. Zhivago - So I had never seen this, supposed to be a classic, right?  Don't think I was super impressed.  It seemed very epic, but I didn't feel it.  Pretty long, and kind of boring.  Not sure why, just didn't buy it!

Romance & Cigarettes - Holy crap!  I had no idea what to think about this movie, I'm not even sure why I had it.  It's a John Tuterro movie, produced by the Coen brothers, and it is fanTASTIC.  It's a musical, with olderish popish music.  Some random people in it, Susan Sarandon, James Gandolfini, Mandy Moore, a few others I recognized.  It's kinda of just about a family and a cheating husband, sounds boring.  But it is so much fun.  It's pretty silly, but it doesn't try to hide that fact.  The music is pretty great and fits amazingly well.  It's just a really fun movie, everyone should totally see it!

District 13 - This movie is totally bad ass!  It's a near-future cop/gang kind of movie, but it's jsut filled w/ cool shit.  The plot is pretty standard, defuse the bomb stop the badguys kinda stuff.  And none of the acting or writing is anything to care about.  They got themselves two excellent badasses to lead the way, however.  It's like a Jason Statham movie, with two of em.  Parkour (opening scene to the most recent Bond), ninja fights, gun battles, generally running around and beating the crap out of people.  So much fun!

Appleseed: Ex Machina - So this is a sequel to a movie I saw a while ago, it's a whole big manga anime thing.  I remember liking the first one a lot, it had really fantastic action sequences, some of the best I had seen in an animation.  This one was that in parts, but mostly not.  The beginning was great, and I thought we were back to greatness.  But then it gets bogged down in a bunch of plot I don't care about.  Besides the fact that it's standard anime type boring plot, I also don't remember the last movie, so all the political machinations are beyond me.  So the whole middle bit is boring, and kinda cool again at the end (though it's basically the 3rd matrix movie + the borg queen).  Plus, I don't really dig robots fighting, it doesn't have the impact of people fighting.  So when everone suits up and it takesa million bullets to kill anything, it's kinda boring to me.  Oh well, it wasn't bad, just wasn't as cool as the first.

John Adams - This was more of a miniseries, but it took 4 hours to watch, I'm counting it!  It was quite good.  It's nice when movies make history interesting for those of us who have finally grown up enough to realize how important it is!  The first half is really fantastic, the opening stages of the revolution are fascinating.  I think it got pretty boring when Adams goes to France.  Even the political machinations aren't all that interseting, it's mostly him being grumpy and fish out of water (which Paul Giamatti is very good at, of course).  But still, good movie, educational, fun to watch.

Ipod Meat


Apr 16, 2008

Youngme Nowme

Ze Frank has the coolest ideas.  Find an old picture of you, try to recreate that picture now, post them together.  So cool.

Apr 9, 2008

Book Reviews @ The Temple

Xenocide by Orson Scott Card - Third book in the Ender Quartet, oh man did I like it!  About halfway through it really got going and I sped through it.  It's at the point in the series (any series) where you really have to give a crap about the characters or the universe for the ever more complicated details of the plot to matter.  But I totally do and they totally did.  And these books are just fantastic at presenting you with horrible moral questions that are plain old not simple.  It's really great.  I'm not sure where Children of the Mind is going to go, because I feel like the important questions were answered.  I'm afraid what's left is a less interesting second coming of Peter.  But we'll see!  And I probably wont' post this until I've read a couple mroe books, including that one, so you'll find out what I think soon enough!

Playing for Keeps by Mur Lafferty  - This is a podcast novel, which I love in theory.  I think maybe I'll buy this one when money returns to my life just to support the theory.  This is a story that isn't super well written, I'm afraid it feels just a little juvenile or immature to me.  Not like, juvenile humor, just not super advanced writing.  Not sure why, it just feels young to me.  However, I love the world she's created.  The idea is basically 3 "waves" or generations of super heroes.  The 2nd one is powerful and what we think of for superheroes.  The 1st and 3rd are small powers, mostly useless, like the ability to carry a bar tray perfectly steadily, or the ability to shoot shit out of your hands.  I love the dynamic it creates with "powers" and "second class" powers, it's fantastic.  So for the world and the story alone, I really liked this.  I would be excited to see more done in this world.

 Children of the Mind by Orson Scott Card - Okay, I have three things about this to say, which were running through my mind as I read the last 20 pages, hopefully I can get them all out.  First, most mundanely, I was worried about this book, I thought the really interesting questions had been asked and answered in the last 3 books (mostly the first, secondly the 3rd, less so the 2nd).  The plot stretches, in true scifi or fantasy fashion, to encompass more fantastic things, because that's the only place it has to go.  We see this everywhere w/ almost all fantastical fiction, the longer you go the more "out of this world" it has to become.  Just to get out of the situation he had developed (even if he planned it from the beginning) requires a lot of faith in the consistency of the universe.  Of course, the other side effect of a long running narrative is you (if it is good) completely buy into it and have no problem w/ that next big leap.  So the first point is that really, it does what a lot of scifi/fantasy does, which isn't really great, but is ok.  Second main point is that it's awesome.  He is just a good damn writer, despite the necessary problems I associate w/ long running series and the lack if "big" questions left (except for a very etheric one which exists only within the framework of his own universe, i.e. he asks a question he made up and provides an answer he made up as well).  As I say, despite this, it is gripping, awesome, I love it, it was great.  Very deus ex machina (literally), but still fantastic.  The third point, though, is all about his afteword.  He talks about literature, what he thinks it should be, accomplish, represent, etc.  How literature relates to his idea of "center" and "edge" nations, or more appropriately, cultures.  What he aspires to, how he thinks he gets there, and how others do it.  I find it all very fascinating.  My biggest problem is I'm just not smart enough to parse it myself.  I find myself the type of person who can be very smart in a conversation, with just a little bit of back and forth or input I can say smart things.  But left to myself, I hit a wall very quickly and can't develop those thoughts.  I feel that way about this afterword.  Like there's a fantastic conversation to be had about what he says, how it relates to this series, and to larger issues.  Unfortunately, I don't have any way to have that conversation.  I think the one person with whom I had those conversations, who was probably the smartest person I've ever met (in this analytical respect), isn't available for such conversations anymore, which is kind of sad.  So anyway, I'm not sure where to go with it, I hope sometime to find a way or a conversation that helps me understand what I know is right there to be understood.

Apr 3, 2008

Jake and Amir

Pretty funny, mostly about Amir being really obnoxious.  I predict I will be sick of it before anyone reads this post, oh well.

Apr 2, 2008