Posts filed under 'Entertainment'
Yep, I do. And did. And it was good. And… it was better than the comic!
…lol nah, I’m kidding, but it was good. I’d say most of the changes were very appropriate. Really, the movie was nothing we didn’t all expect. It was good, made some changes to fit the movie presence better, it was like a highlight reel of the main story from the comic, removing most of the immersive little qualities the comic had.
Honestly, I don’t know why I’m even writing this. Well, yes, I do know why, mostly because I wanted to say that “I Watch the Watchmen” a la “Who watches the Watchmen?” Yes it’s hilarious, and I’m the only one who has ever made that ‘quip.’ Now shut your god damn mouth.
March 9th, 2009
There once was a time,
when no one came online,
people played their games,
without remembering any of their friends’ names.
A time when effort spent was nothing lost,
for there was nothing on our checklists that needed crossed.
Each objective had an appropriate reward, a fitting retribution,
as opposed to the next task at hand, requiring little or no intuition.
Though that time is gone, forever lost, forever mourned,
we will embrace our new tranquility,
with subconscious mind and obsessive ability.
The achievement blip at the helm,
now ruling our gaming realm;
with the majesty with which you are adorned,
I only wish that we were warned.
Oh peaceful and serene achievement blip,
your every visit makes my heart flip…
except when it’s just my friends coming online,
which is actually what’s happening 90% of the time.
Despite that however, my heart races and leaps and flies and soars,
but then I see my friend’s name and I’m just left wanting more.
In that moment I trip and fall and crash into depression,
and once again crawl back into my obsession.
I’ll never know why your visits I desire…
what I think I’d really like, is for you to retire.
What is it that you fulfill, for me to seek you so aggressively,
keeping me from living happily.
I feel like I don’t even play a game anymore,
unless it’ll improve my gamerscore.
At least I haven’t played things like King Kong, and Cars, and Avatar,
because then I might feel like a complete retard.
But unfortunately it’s probably only a matter of time,
till I commit that heinous crime.
As those little numbers increase by five and ten,
my dedication grows by a similar token.
I knew it was getting out of hand,
when I started counting the numbers like grains of sand,
till I reached the lofty ten thousand.
Alas, this was a burden with which I was born,
despite any and all of my scorn.
We may no longer be free,
but achievement blip I admire thee:
your evaluation had been something I’ve always wanted…
be it cold and cruel to leave me haunted.
Be careful what you wish for,
to open such a bitter sweet door,
for we are only mortal,
now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go play more Portal.
February 10th, 2009
So, much like with most of my posts, I feel obligated to explain myself before actually getting to the meat of the post. No doubt this will lead to a relatively meaty introduction, and here I am about to get into the meatiness of my introductions. Well no thank you, I’m vegetarian. …
If the reference wasn’t obvious enough for you, first of all, you’re lame, second I will unlamify you. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is essentially the latest production of someone I am a big fan of, Joss Whedon. Let me just say that I was a pretty big fan of Buffy and Angel, and I LOVE Firefly, which includes Serenity. I still place Firefly at the top of my list as far as best TV shows ever goes. No no, I’m not even just saying that because I remembered the show existed just now or some shit because of Dr. Horrible and it has momentarily rekindled my fire for a momentary lapse, no no, it’s hard to have a conversation with me about TV shows without me mentioning Firefly, EVER. The show is a perfect and depressing and beautiful creation that was so undeservingly snubbed out of life by raving idiots, thereby taking its place in my heart as the martyr of television entertainment. Anyway, his latest production starring Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, and Felicia Day does not disappoint. It’s a short story segment about – just watch it.
Ok, now that that is out of the way, I can get to the vegetables of my post. So, deciding to watch Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog was probably the biggest mistake I made today. Yes, I watched it, it was awesome, but then it sent me down this day-long IMDb-Wikipedia-filled cruise of following around what the stars and developers of the show were up to and stuff. I’m relatively familiar and up to date on Joss Whedon, and Nathan Fillion, and pretty much in “the loop” as far as it goes with Neil Patrick Harris, but in comes Felicia Day. Sure I’d seen her in the Cheetos commercial, and heard of her YouTube show The Guild, but it wasn’t till now that I felt motivate to watch it.
It started with trying to dig up interviews and information from Whedon, into reading interviews and such with her, so I figured I’d finally check out her show. And, it was excellent! It follows along a fictional group of clearly WoW-Guildies during a relatively happenstance misadventure — just watch it. Sound pretty lame, right? There’s nothing that scares me more than the prospect of hearing WoW stories, or hearing stories from WoW players, or hearing stories about players of WoW, and this was a fictional story about fictional WoW players telling fictional WoW stories… though honestly a non-fictional version would probably only serve to be much less entertaining and much more depressing. I say it’s depressing because while it is fictional and played off from a mostly hyperbolic angle, the fact is, what they are depicting really does happen.
Now, I don’t have a problem with WoW or any of that, it’s just that I know what it is like, I’ve been down that road before. It’s always the same stuff you’ve heard from everyone else, but still somehow shockingly with that ring of enthusiasm from the story teller as if their war-story has some looming ace-in-the-hole that all those other stories lacked. Anyway, so what made this excursion into this world different? Well, it was actually good, the writing, as done by Felicia Day, was quick, witty, edited fantastically, and with all around great acting. Sure, it goes overboard a good bit, but the biggest thing I think the show accomplishes is showing the diversity of the players, the ranges of social ineptitude, but bringing it all into a normalized perspective through the eyes of Felicia Day’s character, but without forgetting that Felicia Day herself is one of them too! Too often shows/skits that aim to make fun of their own target audience forget that they really need to convince their audience that they are one of them, and then make fun of themselves too! Anyway, all in all, it sounds like something I’d think about writing if I was still playing WoW, especially if I thought I could actually make it entertaining/funny, a feat which I otherwise feel would be impossible. Anyway, I enjoyed the show very much.
So then, after following around Felicia Day a bit more, I was led to following around Sandeep Parikh, the actor that plays Zaboo on The Guild. He is also very funny, and very entertaining. Quickly I discover that he’s a pretty active guy himself, working on an also entertaining show called The Legend of Neil, that’s sort of a spoof of Zelda. It’s about this dude that gets drunk and — just watch it. I could also link you off to some of his other production/writing/directing work that also was entertaining of what I saw of it, or was very promising if I didn’t. I’d tell you about it, but I think you get the idea, that you can see it pretty easily yourself.
So anyway, I found similarly interesting back-stories on many of the other cast/crew as members of these popular Internet Content TV shows, with pretty deep ties and productions and cross-related work and etc., and each of them had their own following rabbit holes, sometimes leading back around to one another in a horribly envious chain of celebrity friendship. And this brings me to my mistake for the day, yes the day. This is what I did today! Ok no I worked too today, A LOT, and was repeatedly frustrated at the mounting piles of it coming in forcing me to pause and rewind my wonderful Dr. Horrible. But the point is, I was pretty deeply entertained for the whole day with this stuff, and the thing is, I barely scratched the surface. This is a rabbit hole I’m afraid to fall deeper into, and I’ve trudged on before, but at the same time, there may be a world of entertainment I’m missing out on. Also, not all of it is just viewing entertainment either… there’s no shortage of reading entertainment at all.
Also, I can’t help but think and hope that maybe, when/if I have more time, I could maybe put together something like this as well… Ugh, I usually dare not think these thoughts out loud, because generally they only serve as portals for disappointment, but, well, fuck it.
Anyhoo, if you noticed one of the recurring themes in this post, it begs the question: What the hell do I pay you for, television? Oh, yeah, video games. Hm.
PS - This song has been stuck in my head like crazy and so I’m putting it here too:
I like it, and eat a dick if you don’t. I heard it first from the Pineapple Express movie trailer… a movie I have yet to go see, but will eagerly anticipate seeing soon.
August 6th, 2008
I saw The Golden Compass this past weekend and it sucked pretty bad if you ask me. I can see where it would make for a good book, and there were some interesting things in the movie here and there, but for the most part, the movie was formulaic and cliche in almost every way possible. To top it off, it was boring, and was pretty much devoid of any imagination, and even the concepts that were interesting in theory had such poor execution that the point of it was lost. The movie really led me to believe that the only way you could really enjoy it is if you were either extremely young, extremely inexperienced in or apathetic towards the majesty of cinema, or someone who has read the book. It took far far too long to get started, and it was pretty quick and anti-climactic to finish. I can see how it would be difficult to make a movie out of the kind of story it was, but the problems really went beyond an inability to convey significant details in precious little time. In fact I felt that the movie did tell a surprising amount of information despite keeping the audience uninterested and unaware of it.
Also, what’s up with the slew of uglies in the movie? Outside of Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, roughly every character looked so damn ugly, it hurt. I was actually getting annoyed having to look at the main character’s teeth every time she decided to be a bratty loud mouth, which is roughly 99% of the movie. It’s mind boggling really, I can imagine not-so-great-looking adults, but cute and adorable kids? For real these have to be a dime-a-dozen. I can’t remember the last time I saw a kid that I thought was ugly. I think they were really banking on the fact that her first name was Dakota and people liked that dumbass Dakota Flanning. When exactly did loud-mouthed asshole kids become so popular anyway? Hmm, maybe they were always popular and I just grew up.
It’s a shame that this movie will probably make more money than Stardust, which is a far superior, and in fact a fantastic fantasy movie. I’m reading some of the reviews for this movie on Rotten Tomatoes and seriously, some of the writers of these positive reviews just had to have been “bribed.” Most of the negative reviews are hilariously right-on though.
December 10th, 2007
It has been months since I saw old Supes’ on the big screen in Superman Returns, and in that time, I had diligently reflected on the happenings of the movie, and formed an opinion as such. But despite all of that, it wasn’t till tonight that I truly made up my mind about the movie. A friend of mine purchased it on DVD, and I had been anticipating seeing it again, seeing it after already knowing what was going to happen, therefore being able to study the effect the movie aimed to have and the actual effect it created, being able to properly critique events after already experiencing the dreaded 2-week waiting period that a movie need after being seen to be properly critiqued. But most of all, because I couldn’t remember some of the small seemingly insignificant moments in the movie, moments that can often define the quality of the rest of the movie, subconsciously or not.
[darkseid attack and more, after the jump!]
First, I must discuss my initial feelings coming out of theaters. I was happy, but part of my happiness was biased towards my strong love of Superman. Part of my happiness was a facade led only with the purpose of making up for what disappointment some of my friends may have shared watching the movie, a disappointment that would otherwise have been fueled by reasons I myself was disappointed in the movie. To my surprise, most of them actually enjoyed the movie very much. Well this didn’t change what I felt coming out of theaters regardless. The amazing music still ringing in my ears as well as images of Superman looking incredibly cool plastered in my mind, how could be anything but happy?
After two weeks, after giving it more time, I had such a negativity about the movie. So many things gone wrong, so many disappointments, so little originality… I have to say one thing and that is that it took balls to go with the movie plot and not go for a total reinvention of the character starting with the beginning more in tune with the comic books. And while I personally would have preferred that route, again, I couldn’t fault the movie in taking the angle that it did. So what if it wants to do that? The questions is of the quality, not of the content. So my disappointment grew and grew, still with all these close-minded reservations in the back of my mind. So I anticipated greatly seeing it again on DVD.
After seeing it on DVD, I was thrilled. The movie was good again! I mean, really for what it was it wasn’t flawed other than some minor things. There weren’t any clear-cut mistakes, or so I thought. While watching the DVD, while I was happy that the movie was good, I was filled with a wave of disappointment because in that same moment, the movie had inspired me. I saw clearly what the movie could have been, compared to what it was. Saw the evolutionary leap that could have been in the future for the movie versus the sub-standard plot that was presented otherwise. …I thought of Batman (Begins).
Here was a movie that delivered. It took the plot we all know and love and reinvented it the way it was meant to be; not the campy cheesy crap that we had grown accustomed to with Adam West and jokes such as George Clooney and Val Kilmer as Batman, Arnold and that loser Bane (in the movies). Here was a movie that delivered for the comic book fans. The badass that is Batman was born, and Christian Bale couldn’t have done it better. Then we’ve got the Ra’s Al Ghul and the amazing mind-boggling trickery instilled by that plot arc. Anyone who has read the comics and/or been a fan, or is at all familiar with the story line knows the past of characters such as Henri Ducard and Ra’s Al Ghul, and their presentation in the movie went in line just like in the comic books, and there is where they trick even us, the people that knew Batman in its entirety. They use our own knowledge against us, our own assumptions, and predictions and seeming omnipotence to show us that we are still an audience to be entertained.
Where was that moment in Superman? Where was that feeling? Where Bryan Singer, where? You gave us Usual Suspects and X-men and X-men 2, you could be considered a pioneer and a genius by those merits alone; so where is our revolution for Superman? You said it yourself, you were making a movie about comic books and this was Superman. Superman! On the one hand I’d like to think that you failed, but you didn’t, you didn’t really fail. You did good, but what about doing great? I’d like to think that you would’ve liked for the movie to have been better, but you were limited by the roles of us as an audience as a whole, and what we would or wouldn’t handle. Maybe you wanted to kill Superman, and do something that would’ve literally taken our breath away, but you couldn’t because perhaps we couldn’t handle it. I see your writers and I see the script, and alas I see that this isn’t the case…And that is what Superman was lacking…
We’re talking about heroes. Superheroes. Superman is the one hero that would never question the value of his own life versus the life of anyone else. He represents the pure part of every hero that believes in doing good without the self-conflicts that makes them impure. This is the single trait that really separates Superman from all other superheroes. I think what the writers did with this movie was sort of pathetic. They treated it pretty much entirely as an introduction. Sort of like they created bounds for themselves that they couldn’t cross, which to me is very disappointing. But at the same time, with this out of the way, now we can finally and safely anticipate what is in store for us with the next movie. I suppose that’s really the only way I can look at this and not feel let down. That this was just the first pass, getting done what needed to be done, to establish what was needed from Superman before he could be more than that.
And, Happy Birthday Shivi.
February 6th, 2007
Earlier this week I was fortunate enough to make it out to see the midwest premiere of the new documentary, 8-Bit, at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio.
A self-described documentary about art and video games, the film takes a look at many of the components of the current 8-Bit new media art movement in several of it’s forms. According to the creators Marcin Romacki and Justin Strawhand (who were present at the screening) the film started off as a documentation of “chiptunes,” music created by using the onboard/on-chip sound processors and synthesizers of old consumer electronics like Commodore 64s, Ataris, and Game Boys. Via word-of-mouth connections and research the film quickly grew to incorporate other elements of the 8-Bit movement, such as nostalgic game art, machinima, virtual environment pieces, console hacking, and gaming installations.
[Review, Trailer, and Links after the jump]
The chiptunes music genre is one that is fascinating not only for the sounds and music produced, but also for the fact that such a wide variety of music can be created with such simple tools. Almost all of the musicians interviewed point to how working under such strict limitations forces them to be more creative and less dependent on expensive studios and software to make something new. Many also point to the nostalgia factor of the sounds of gaming machines and old computers as a compelling reason for their entry into the genre. It is definitely not music everyone will enjoy but the skill of these musicians on display is impressive no matter what the taste in music.
8-Bit does a great job of not only showing the work and the artists, but explaining how they do what they do. One of the most interesting aspects of the 8-Bit scene is how open most of the artists are to sharing their discoveries and teaching others how to do what they do. The film shows off how to use several types of Game Boy software used to create music, as well as explaining the differences in various types of chiptunes and chips used to create the music (explained by artist Cory Arcangel)
The transition from a documentary about the 8-Bit music scene to one about the 8-Bit art scene in general is apparent throughout the film, as the sections on music seem more developed than the other sections. In these music-oriented chapters, equal time is spent on the artists and their performances. The other sections however, such as machinima, modding, and console hacking are focused more on a quick and dirty history of the events and interviews with the artists with less attention payed to the actual work. While this brief history and broad sweep of various types of work is great for those who have never experienced such work before and are merely curious, this method leaves some forms in the dust of critical opinion.
Machinima specifically is shown as work more interested in the fact that it is machinima (a kind of “look what I made with the game engine!” phenomenon) than it is any kind of art. This of course holds true in a lot of cases as most if it is geared towards entertainment not art, but the film lacks any real examples of artistic machinima, such as the stunningly beautiful and lyrical works of Phil Solomon (who used the Grand Theft Auto San Andreas engine to explore concepts of mortality and grief in Untitled (For David Gatten) and Rehearsals for Retirement) and the comedic work of Jim Munroe, and instead focuses mainly on Halo 2 machinima like Red vs. Blue. Such omissions of the beginnings of the artistic side of machinima are made less detrimental by supplied theory on the potential of the form, which while brief, is still interesting.
This use of theory to provide another way of looking at machinima somewhat counterbalances the heavily opinionated and predominantly critical portion of the segment. It also serves to exemplify what is perhaps the greatest aspect of 8-Bit as a documentary: the film’s ability to weave the sometimes disparate and often prohibitive to the uninitiated worlds of art, theory, hardcore gaming culture, and criticism into a cohesive whole that is as intriguing and informative to the casual viewer as it is to the gamer, artist, or theoritician. This result is also in large part due to solid editing and fantastic sound design. Information is clearly presented in a way that is entertaining, dynamic, and energetic. The musical performances in particular are a highlight of the film, and did a great job of showcasing the variety not only in the music of the artists, but in their performances as well.
As a hardcore gamer and a student of art and film, 8-Bit really clicked for me in a lot of ways, and judging from reactions in the theater after the screening, I’m not alone. There is something for everyone to discover, learn and enjoy here, and this is not only a great entry into the documentary space, but an important look at a fresh culture that is growing by the day and exploding with creativity. 8-Bit is one of the first films that can really shine light on the message that many of us gamers and artists have been living and breathing for most of our lives: gaming is not just about the games. See this movie if you get the chance, tell your friends, and get ready to talk about it for quite some time to come.
To Find Out More:
Official 8 Bit web site: Be sure to check out the “Cast” section for links to all the artists personal sites and work.
Trailer for 8 Bit
8bitpeoples: founded by Nullsleep, an excellent place to check out some chiptunes music.
eBoy: makers of awesome pixel art.
Wexner Center for the Arts: the crown jewel of the Ohio State campus as far as I’m concerned. This screening was part of their January experimental film series called “Avant Gaming,” be sure to check it out if you’re in the central Ohio area.
[all images copyright original owner]
January 19th, 2007