Friday, May 30, 2008

The Fall

I just got back from a showing of The Fall. I hyped it a while back, and it's been one of my most anticipated movies of the summer.

Fortunately the movie completely lives up to its gorgeous trailer. Everything about the movie is captivating from its huge variety of lush locations, to the heartfelt performances of its two leads. Even the score is really unique and beautiful.

The little girl in the movie is being hyped in all the movie reviews, and for good reason. If your gnarled, blackened heart isn't warmed by this girl than there really is no hope for you.

The guy playing off of her is also excellent. Lee Pace also happens to be the lead in my favorite new television show of last year, Pushing Daisies.

The visuals are breathtaking. It's like sending your eyeballs to an expensive spa. And the remarkable thing is that it's all accomplished without the latest in cutting edge computer effects (eat it, George Lucas!).

The A.V. Club recently ran a terrific interview with The Fall's director, Tarsem (previously Tarsem Singh). It details the unusual way this film was shot, and is a must-read either before or after you see the film.

Go see the film. You won't see anything else like it for a long time.

Weezer - "Pork and Beans"

This video is a lot of fun. I particularly like the appearances from Kelly and the G.I. Joe PSA.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

McCain Hungers For Fresh Souls

I signed up to receive emails from the Obama campaign back around the time of the Tennessee primaries. I'm not sure why I did this, since every email is about donating money to the campaign and I don't have a penny to my name.

But the latest email was worthwhile if only for the following picture:

Things that can be discerned from the photo:
1. McCain and Bush are BFF's
2. McCain and Bush are conjoined twins.
3. McCain is a hellish ghoul that eats babies, souls, or much more likely - baby souls.
4. Bush is an asshole*.

*this can be discerned from any picture of Bush

This Is Your Brain On Hope

Here are some great 30 second spots for the Obama campaign, featuring our good friend Mark, whom you might remember from the wonderful Drunk History. Or you may remember him from real life, whatever.

Other videos here and here.

Thanks to Rachel from bringing these to my attention!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

What Will Be The Worst
Movie Of The Summer?

All the votes are in...

Some of you might have been under the impression that this was a poll. In all actuality it was a quiz. With a correct answer, and several wrong answers. Let's see how you stacked up...

First the most popular answer: You Don't Mess With The Zohan. Sorry, but this wasn't the right answer, folks. I can see where you're coming from, but it simply isn't the worst.

Next up is Sex in the City: The Movie. This was actually a bit of a trick question. Clearly, SitC:TM will be the greatest movie of cinema history. I mean, didn't you see the show? Plus, Carrie and Mr. Big are getting married! OMG!

The final wrong answer is The Happening. Now, in any other year this was a clear winner. I'm obviously ambivalent about it. But in sheer amounts of suckitude, nothing this year compares with...

The Love Guru.
This movie is offensive in a number of ways, and not just if you're Hindu. The biggest offense comes from Mike Myers' attempt to pass this turd off as actual comedy.

Sorry, but I'd rather eat a snow cone made of frozen farts.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

There And Back Again

The Lord of the Rings trilogy is easily my favorite movie trilogy ever, trumping Indiana Jones and Star Wars. I just love the films to death. I'm probably one of the few people who felt the extended trilogy wasn't long enough, and five endings was five too few for Return of the King.

So needless to say, I'm very, very excited about The Hobbit. For a while it looked like the movie would never get made due to a fallout between Peter Jackson and New Line. But that appears to have been mended, and anyway it doesn't matter because Jackson has passed the baton to Guillermo del Toro, who is perfect for the task. Guillermo has proven with Pan's Labyrinth - well, really with all of his films - that he can manage the task of creating a fully realized fantasy world. Not only does del Toro come to fantasy from a very real place, but damn if he doesn't do monsters better than anyone. And The Hobbit has some of the best monsters, not to mention the greatest dragon in literary history.

Maybe it's too soon to start geeking out over The Hobbit and the second companion film (bridging it to LOTR), but they're already fueling the fire. Here is a transcript from a recent live Q&A with Jackson and del Toro, discussing the new films in the earliest of stages, before pen has even been put to paper. The purpose of the Q&A seems to mostly be about putting fans at ease about a different director being at the helm, as there isn't much information about the films themselves. But del Toro teases about Smaug.

Let the excruciating wait begin!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Stars - "Your Ex-Lover Is Dead"

If the internet has changed my life in any way, perhaps the biggest is the way in which I consume music. I've become something of a ravenous music consumer, an audio glutton if you will. I purchase, I burn, I download. I am constantly looking for new bands that excite me, while simultaneously remaining engaged with old favorites. The problem is that I now get new music on such a regular basis that I don't really have time to listen to it all. I spend almost more time collecting it than actually listening. I have dozens of albums collected over the past couple of years that I have yet to listen to in their entirety.

There's just way too much good music out there. And I'm only aware of it now because of this bastard internet. If I only listened to the radio or watched music television (and it shocks and appalls me that many thousands of people still do) I probably would only pick up a new album every couple of months. Or more likely, just the single that I happened to enjoy. Because of all the music I enjoy, maybe a tenth of it shows up in the mainstream. That's changing a bit now, thanks in part to certain popular television shows that like to have eclectic indie soundtracks. But that still doesn't leave room for the tons and tons of good stuff not getting airplay anywhere (late night campus radio not included).

It also doesn't help that I like so many different kinds of music. There are people in this country (and I'm trying to hold back a convulsive shudder) that only listen to country music. Or only rap, or jazz, or antique wax cylinder recordings of hobos whistling, or whatever. I listen to pretty much every genre there is (especially whistling hobos). I enjoy some more than others, but I listen to everything. Hell, I even enjoy bad music on occasion.

So, I'm rambling. It's past my bedtime. The point I was eventually going to get to is that the benefit of hoarding so much music, is that I get to hear a lot of good stuff. Today's video is an example of that. Stars is an amazing pop band, and the above song from Set Yourself On Fire is a prime example.

The video is simple, and beautiful, and clearly inspired by one of my favorite movies, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


I mentioned Lackadaisy a while ago, and have had a link to it on the right since then.

The webcomic's brilliant author, Tracy Butler, recently made a beautiful piece of art for an upcoming Lackadaisy book:

Sadly, that book is only being printed in Italy. Hopefully it will get picked up here at some point, because it's the kind of thing I'd love to have on my shelf. The artwork is always gorgeous, with incredibly expressive character work, and the story is a superbly crafted epic set in prohibition-era St. Louis. Also, the people are cat people which always gets me.

If you need a break from the typical three panel webcomic, do yourself a favor and read this one. The only downside is eagerly awaiting the next installment.

It's Cute Until He Charges The Mound

It's been far too long since any bears were represented in this space. Especially crazy Japanese bears.

But now they've trained their bears to twirl bludgeons bats around.

Thanks go to Stephen for this one.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

After reading this, I decided to pick up a copy of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang at McKay's. It was three dollars, and possibly the best deal I've ever gotten in the store.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang received some warm critical attention when it came out in 2005, but it wasn't a huge success at the box office, and I never got around to seeing it. But now I have, and I loved it.

I won't say too much, since the article linked above does a pretty decent job. Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer give excellent performances. In fact, I can't remember liking Kilmer in anything this much in a long time. It's really a shame the movie didn't do better in the theaters (and the fact it was so cheap at McKay's says something about it's success on video as well). The script is hilarious. Not only is the dialogue incredibly clever, but there are some fantastic, unexpected physical gags as well. Once the mystery starts revealing itself things get a little muddy, but it doesn't really matter. The story kind of takes a back seat anyway, and just lets the character and the style of the movie take over.

If you haven't seen this yet, it's definitely worth the price of a rental. Or at least moving to the top of your queue on Netflix, or whatever it is the kids are doing these days.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Shocking Twist!

There are few things in this world you can really count on. Gravity will always pull you back to the ground, cake is delicious, M. Night Shyamalan makes pretentious, terrible movies.

So it's comforting to see Shyamalan isn't trying to shake up the cosmic order with his new movie, The Happening. I can't imagine anything being worse than The Village, though I did skip Lady In The Water entirely, because even sitting through a Shyamalan movie just to mock it at that point wasn't even fun anymore. This early review for The Happening claims that this is his worst movie yet. To which I say: How is that humanly possible?

It's not that Shyamalan is a bad director. I think he's got talents. Writing is probably the least of them. Just hearing the premise for this movie made me go into a blackout rage. I woke up hours later covered in blood and surrounded by broken baby rattles.

Please, Mr. Shyamalan. Please stop writing your own screenplays. You make me murder babies.

New clip illustrates said awfulness.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Guitar Villain

Congratulations, Guitar Hero, you've just lost me as a future customer. Look, we all know Rock Band has you worried. It was one of the most hyped games of last Christmas season, and it's beloved by millions everywhere. But we still love you, Guitar Hero. And we're satisfied to jam out on a single guitar from time to time. I don't need to form a whole fake band every time I want a little video game music action. Hell, if I tried to form a real band with my friends it probably wouldn't last too long.

So why does Guitar Hero suddenly require drums? It's bad enough you're taking the time to make an entire Aerosmith-themed game, but come on!

I can barely afford Guitar Hero as it is, let alone at three times the price. Can't you just let Rock Band have that niche? As far as I'm concerned it's a completely different experience, and there's nothing wrong with that. If this competitiveness continues the escalation threatens to get out of hand. What's next? Big Band Hero? Sure, why not throw a brass section into the mix! How about Symphony Orchestra Hero? At last, the thrill of playing timpani in Mozart's Requiem with 200 of my closest friends, in the comfort of my own living room!

In closing, just be yourself Guitar Hero. There's no need to be the turkey of video games.

Taking My Tubes Away

Heads up: don't be surprised if I disappear within the next week or so. It's very likely my cable (and therefore, internet) will be turned off fairly soon. I've been trying to catch up on bills since I lost my job over a month ago. I've gotten a couple of decent paychecks under my belt since starting the new job, but I'm still way behind. And lately I've had to focus on certain priorities. Namely: rent, electric, and food. This leaves Comcast at a close fourth, and they're not too happy about that. And with other major expenses coming up, out of state trips, and whatnot...well, it looks like I won't be able to pay this off as quickly as they'd like.

If this is indeed the case, then I likely won't be getting internet again until after I move next month. And likely not for a little while after that.

So if I suddenly stop responding to emails or Facebook/Myspace messages, you know why.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


This has got to be the most elaborate graffiti work ever.

MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.


Nintendo's new games download service for the Wii launched yesterday. All the games on WiiWare are original titles, as opposed to the classic games on the Virtual Console.

Of the games that launched, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life As A King (or FFCC:MLAaK, for slightly shorter), was probably the most anticipated among gamers. That's because anything developed by SquareEnix is highly anticipated, and anything with the worlds "final" and/or "fantasy" attached are even more so.

This is not the first game I downloaded, however, because it was the most expensive of the launch titles and I'm a poor, poor man. And I'm not sure how much fun an RPG in which all the battles take place off-screen can be. Plus, this is the first game on a Nintendo console to feature the dreaded micro-payments. FFCC:MLAaK apparently features additional content in the form of costumes, buildings, character classes, etc. I'm not sure I can get behind that. But I'll wait for the reviews to come in before I pass final judgement.

The game I did download was a little indie title called, LostWinds, from Frontier. The premise is simple, but a lot of fun. You control the main character with the control stick. He can walk around and climb up small ledges, and that's about it. But with the wii-mote you control Enril, the spirit of wind. This is basically how you do everything in the game. You can create gusts to carry the main character over gaps and other obstacles, in addition to a few other abilities unlocked later on. This leads to some original platforming and puzzle solving.

Unfortunately, it's short. I finished it in around 3 hours (although I was missing 2 of the 24 collectable items). It's a disappointing length for an adventure game, but I guess downloadable games aren't going to be massive with the 48MB restriction.
Still, the graphics are really good, as well as the soundtrack. There's basically just one background song, but it's very pleasant and never feels repetitive.

Hopefully for the sequels a little variety in gameplay will be added, as well as some more difficult puzzles. But I still recommend getting this one, despite the $10 price point and length, if for no other reason than to encourage one of the most promising new Wii developers to continue to make games for the system.

No first party Nintendo games have been released on WiiWare yet, even though there were two for the Japanese WiiWare launch. In a recent Wired article with the main man, Shigeru Miyamoto, he commented about how independent games are a much bigger deal in the American market than the Japanese. This is probably why they decided not to launch first party games right out of the gate. Nintendo probably didn't want to steal the thunder from some of the smaller developers, and didn't think WiiWare needed the extra push in America. But I'm eagerly anticipating the online enabled Dr. Mario.

And with games like Strong Bad's Cool Game For Attractive People and Animales de la Muerte, it's nice to see such a promising lineup so soon after WiiWare's launch.

Now here's the real problem: after downloading about a dozen Virtual Console games, and one WiiWare game, my Wii system's memory is pretty much full. That means if I download even one more WiiWare game I'll have to delete several of my other game files just to make room. The Wii simply just does not have enough memory, and as of yet there is no support for external hard drives. You can save files to an SD card, but you can't play games directly off if it. After you've purchased a Virtual Console or WiiWare game you are able to download it again for free at any time, sure. But who wants to have to manage their games in this way? Not to mention that deleting it will cause you to lose any save data.

Nintendo really needs to address this issue. There are way more channel slots on the Wii menu than I could possibly ever fill with the memory restrictions. Here's hoping Nintendo has some sort of economical solution in the near future.

Dance Your Cares Away!

Looks like a Fraggle Rock movie is in the works. Will this be a nostalgic blast from the past, or a childhood-raping abomination? Only time will tell.

The Dana Carvey Show

There are a lot of tragic injustices in the world of television. Many shows get canceled long before they should be. Arrested Development, Firefly, Keen Eddie, Twin Peaks, and of course, The Dana Carvey Show, just to name a few.

Fortunately all eight episodes of The Dana Carvey Show can now be watched online over at Hulu.

If you never watched it, it was a very funny sketch comedy show featuring Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell before they were huge comedy stars. The writing staff featured the likes of Charlie Kaufman and Louis C.K.

The show was also host to the first appearance of The Ambiguously Gay Duo:

Many of the sketches are dated now, such as the ones about the O.J. Simpson trial. But it's a testament to the talents involved in the show that those scenes are still very entertaining to watch.

And then there are the truly bizarre sketches.

To Boldly Go...

Part one of episode 2, "Integration", has been re-uploaded in a significantly improved form.

The commercials have been removed. But more importantly a scene has been expanded to its original intended length. I'm speaking of the scene between Shore and Locke towards the end of the first half. Both characters are more fleshed out now, and Shore shows himself to be more of an antagonist than in the original cut. This is important because part of the entire point of this series is what would happen if 23rd century met 24th century in the Star Trek universe. Naturally, some conflicts would arise. And this new expanded scene begins to show those conflicts.

Please download, listen, and enjoy.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Worst. Mother. Ever.

Meant to put this up yesterday. Sue me.

From the made-for-tv movie, Sybil:

Sunday, May 11, 2008


I just want to take a moment to recommend Mamet's new film, Redbelt. It is a well executed martial arts drama, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor (Children of Men).

The movie is basically Karate Kid for adults. Except Mr. Miyagi is the protagonist. Watch him beat up the bullies and defend the honor of his Jiu-Jitsu school!

It starts off a little slow, but from a certain scene (where Tim Allen is introduced) until the end it is very engaging. Sometimes the dialogue gets a little too Mamety, and it sticks out (particularly in Ricky Jay's scenes), but otherwise I have no real issues with the film.

The fight scenes aren't going to blow you away from a technical standpoint. They're good, but very rooted in reality. What sets them apart from many other martial arts movies, however, is that the emotional edge to the scenes is much heavier. Certain things happen throughout the film that really make what Ejiofor is fighting for mean something. Beyond just the typical cliche of "I'm fighting for my honor."

This movie has a fantastic climax, and then ends abruptly. Mamet knows that in a martial arts movie that once the final fight is over, so is the movie. But he gives you a final shot that actually sticks with you. The movie's ending isn't just about the thrill of victory, but something much, much deeper.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

If I Were A Firefly,
I Would Light Up My Ass At Night

I mentioned Green Porno a while back. Now the bizarre educational insect love videos are online.

Visit the site, to see Isabella Rossellini dress in weird costumes and say things like, "To have babies I need to mate with another the sixty-nine position."

You'll be glad that you did.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

To Boldly Go...

I posted the first scene of "Integration" to YouTube. In this scene I play the Klingon, Lohgagh, and Bone plays General Kailagg.

To Boldly Go...


Episode two is out! Sort of...
The episode has inexplicably been split into two parts, the second of which will be released next month. It's nice to have something to listen to, but it would have been nicer to have a completed episode.

The most frustrating part is that commercial breaks have been edited into the program. These are apparently commercials that ran during Next Generation's first season, and have been included for a "fun retro feeling". Fun for whom, I'm not exactly sure. The commercials are completely jarring and break up the flow of the episode.

I hesitate to recommend listening to the episode in this form, as an edited, non-commercial version is promised "later this year". Most likely after the second half of the episode is done.

If you want to listen to this version go right ahead. If not, I recommend listening to at least the first scene, if you want to hear me and Brian play Klingons.

I used Sound Studio to whip up a commercial free version of the episode. It sounds MUCH better this way. Feel free to stop by and listen to it sometime.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Chingon - "Maleguena Salerosa"

Antonio Banderes - "Cancion del Mariachi"

Reason To Get Married #3

When gamers get married (sounds like a reality show) why are their weddings so much cooler than everyone else's?

More pics.

All the groomsmen and bridesmaids at my wedding will be dressed like Toads and Toadettes. The best man will be Luigi. I'll be dressed as Mario, and my bride will be Natalie Portman. The entire ceremony will be filmed by a Lakitu Bro. with a camera on a fishing line.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

To Boldy Go...

Today was supposed to be the day episode two of Continuing Mission was released. There have been some...hiccups. It wasn't a good sign that actors were recording pick-up lines as late as yesterday evening.
Fortunately, production seems to be chugging along smoothly otherwise. That's all I really know at the moment.

Kill The Batman!

The incredible new trailer for The Dark Knight is now online.

High quality version.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Justice - "D.A.N.C.E."

Iron Man

I went to see Iron Man last night. This is the first time I've gone to see a big movie since...I'm not sure. I don't get out to movies as much these days, unfortunately. But that's the result of having to buy tickets after getting them free for six years.

The trailers were a mixed bag. A movie like Iron Man (probably the most anticipated blockbuster outside of Dark Knight and Crystal Skull) is supposed to have great trailers. You can usually count on seeing something new before any major release. That was almost the case here.

The first trailer was a brand new one for The Love Guru, which has the distinction of being the lamest-looking movie of the year. I groaned and gritted my teeth and waited for the wretched thing to end. Fortunately, any trailer following this one would have to be amazing, if only by comparison, right?

Unfortunately that next trailer was You Don't Mess With The Zohan. Terrible.

Then things picked up with Speed Racer. I'll see it on the Imax, and likely enjoy it. But I doubt it's going to blow me away.

Then there was the new Incredible Hulk trailer. This movie looks like it will be fun. It will also be kind of stupid. But then the Hulk is kind of a stupid character. I've never been a huge fan. I don't read the comics much, because they all pretty much amount to the same thing. When is the Hulk going to go off again, and how much damage will he create this time? It's hard to create a lot of character depth when your character's main feature is that he is really angry. Like, all the time.

That was followed by the new Dark Knight trailer which somehow makes me want to see the movie even more than I did before. I didn't know that was possible. Regardless of how much Heath Ledger's death casts a shadow over this movie, his performance is going to be simultaneously hilarious and creepy as all hell. Also, it's official: Two Face is in the movie, but I don't think that was really a secret at this point. There are two very brief shots in the trailer to look for. One is Harvey Dent just before he becomes Two Face, and the other is Two Face driving a car and holding a large revolver. But you only see him in profile from his good side, so you have to look carefully for the scars.
This is definitely my most anticipated movie of the summer.

The final preview, and second most anticipated movie, was Indiana Jones: Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It's basically just a longer version of the tv spot that's been online for awhile. It looks cool, I guess. I'm just being very reserved about this one. It's been a long, long time since George Lucas had his name attached to anything worthwhile. And I love the Indiana Jones movies, even the often-mocked Temple of Doom. I just don't want to be let down, so I'm not getting my hopes up. Some of the scenes look very computery, which may prevent the film from fitting in with the rest of the series. We'll See.

So it was cool to see new trailers for some really cool movies, but I was hoping to see something brand new. Oh well. The summer is just getting started.

On to the main feature!

I don't have too much to say about Iron Man. I've been behind the movie since it was first revealed who was attached to star and direct. And all of the hype leading up to the release sounded very promising. This is probably the least controversial comic book movie ever developed, as far as fan reactions. I'm kind of late coming to the Marvel universe as a reader, but it seemed like even the hardcore Iron Man fans were behind this one from the start.

Fortunately all of that support is payed back in full. Iron Man is one of the best comic book movie adaptations to come out. It is on par with Batman Begins, Spiderman I & II, and X2. In some ways it is better than all of those. It is perfectly cast, right down to the smallest role. All of the characters are set up very well, and you really want all of the characters to be expanded in the sequels. In other words there is no dead weight. Most comic book movies, no matter how good, contain some bloat. This is usually a result of just trying to cram as much of the comics' lengthy history into the story as possible. Iron Man isn't as popular of a title as something like X-Men, or Spiderman, so it's easier to trim the fat without losing much of the comic's essence.

The only real problem with the film, if you can even call it a problem, is that origin stories are never the best stories comic books have to offer. They are necessary, and sometimes very cool (and Iron Man's definitely is), but they lack the weight that the characters potentially have to offer. Scenes of novice super hero misfires can be very entertaining if handled right. That's something Spiderman did very well, and Iron Man has some equally funny moments. But ultimately we want to see these characters be super heroic. Iron Man has some great action moments in this movie, but it's really just a taste of what you know he's capable of. It keeps you wanting more, in the best way.

Robert Downey Jr. is awesome as Tony Stark. He is the funniest character in a comic book movie to date, and also has some very real issues. Iron Man is a great character, not because of the cool suit, but because of the person inside it. And you really care about him in this. It's also fun to see a billionaire super hero who actually really enjoys being a billionaire super hero. Batman is awesome, but why does Bruce Wayne have to be such a downer? Tony Stark has his problems, but he doesn't sit around moping all the time.

I really hope they start making the sequel as soon as possible. This film is a great setup for things to come.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

First And Ten

1. The Kleptones - "Casbah Ain't Easy" from 24 Hours

2. Laurie Anderson - "Love Among The Sailors" from Bright Red

3. U2 - "Babyface" from Zooropa

4. Jefferson Airplane - "Somebody To Love" from Hits

5. Aerosmith - "Girls Of Summer" from O Yeah! Ultimate Hits

6. Bloodhound Gang - "Coo Coo Cachoo" from Use Your Fingers

7. Sublime - "Smoke Two Joints" from Greatest Hits

8. Starship - "Layin' It On The Line" from Hits

9. Dizzee Rascal - "Do it!" from Boy in da Corner

10. Peelander-Z - "Terry Punk!" from P-Bone Steak