Tuesday, September 30, 2008

31 Days of Horror: The Shining

With Halloween right around the corner, I decided I would give you a horror movie a day until the 31. These movies are not in any particular order and range in ratings. If you want to buy any of these movies you can try Best Buy, but most of these are hard to find in stores, so amazon.com is a site I will recommend.

October 1, 2008: The Shining

The movie has an epic, eerie and mountainous landscape, and it sucks the viewer in right away. Then it begins to tell a tale with very quiet and calm visuals, yet … it’s the music that tells you that not all is well.
The movie is based off the best-selling Stephen King novel of the same name. I will say the book has a stronger message that is lost in the movie, but the movie delivers in its own way.
In the film we are introduced to Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), he is a Vermont schoolteacher working at the Overlook Hotel as a winter caretaker. The Overlook is a fantastic early 20th century resort that is only opened in warm weather, because the snow that plagues the roads makes access in the winter impossible.
That sounds like a good job, right? So … Jack takes his wife, Wendy (Shelly Duvall) and their son, Danny (Danny Lloyd), who possesses a psychic power (note: his psychic gift will be referred to as The Shining) and they all head up into the mountains for a winter of seclusion.
Once they settle in we learn that the father has writers block and we start to see him slowly being taken over by what ever spirits dwell in the hotel.
With out giving too much away, I’ll say the movie takes a very creepy turn and there is a specific scene with a girl spirit in the shower that makes everyone I know squirm. Plus, you get the famous line and scene of Jack axing the door and then putting his head through it and saying “Here’s Johnny!”
This movie is not for little kids, there is a lot in this movie that is disturbing and scary. I do recommend this movie to anyone that has never seen it and is looking for a good scare.

Where to Buy
Best Buy - $19.99 - (If the store has any in stock)
Wal-Mart - $9.86 - (If the store has any in stock)
Amazon.com - $9.99 - (In-Stock)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fall Game Guide

Here is a list of some of the big titles coming out this Fall.

Lego Batman: The Video Game
Reasons to Buy: Well if you played the fun, yet short Star Wars Lego games and liked them I suggest you pick this one up. These games usually have a lot of stuff to collect and go back for, which makes the replay value very high. Also, the game will have a villain mode and allows you to play as the bad guys for once in their own story!

Reasons not to Buy: Well ... if you played Lego Star Wars and Indiana Jones you should know that the gameplay is the same for these games. So don't expect a cutting edge Lego game, expect a fun game where you collect things and if you don't like collecting things, then I suggest you pass on this game.

Deep Space
Reasons to Buy: Well ... this game is suppose to be like Alien meets Resident Evil and also you can tear apart aliens piece by piece.

Reasons not to Buy: Reading more about this game it's just starting to resemble a typical survival horror game.

Fable II
Reasons to Buy: Well the first Fable was slightly disappointing, because the company didn't deliver on all the features they said would be in the game. In the case of Fable II it looks like we'll get all those features and then some. No matter what happens with Fable II, it's going to be a must have.

Reasons not to Buy: Molyneux, the man behind the development of this game is a great talker and sometime he promises so much and doesn't deliver it.

Reasons to Buy: You get to create your own worlds and then share them with others.

Reasons not to Buy: User created content is not always fun and if done wrong can be a drag.

Prince of Persia
Reasons to Buy: This game will have all the great gameplay as the last Prince of Persia games and also introduce a new cast of characters.

Reasons not to Buy: Ubisoft can deliver gameplay but their games never seem to really deliver on character development or story.

Tomb Raider: Underworld
Reasons to Buy: I don't really have any.

Reasons not to Buy: Tomb Raider has done it's song and dance and I really think they should let this franchise go off gracefully.

Animal Crossing: City Folk
Reasons to Buy: Wow ... another Animal Crossing but this one will have voice chat. I've played and own the other Animal Crossing games and I've to say I'm scared to buy these games, because they're so addictive that you loose so much time to them. Their cute appearance is something that makes some people shy away, but I encourage everyone to try this game, because you'll be Glad you did.

Reasons not to Buy: The games do get boring after awhile and then they will most likely sit on your shelf.

Need for Speed Undercover
Reasons to Buy: Here is a franchise that's been around forever and I really don't have any good reasons for you to buy this, I would suggest renting it and wait for reviews before investing large amounts of cash on it.

Reasons not to Buy: Last installment in the franchise "ProStreet" was bad and these games like Tomb Raider may of ran their course.

Left 4 Dead
Reasons to Buy: From the creator of Half-Life 2, enough said.

Reasons not to Buy: Right now, I don't think I have any.

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts
Reasons to Buy: It's Banjo and Kazooie the pair I so loved and enjoyed on the Nintendo 64 are back! You get to create your own vehicles and go another adventure with Banjo and Kazooie, all I have to say don't hesitate and try this out when it is released.

Reasons not to Buy: Well ... we all know that Rare (the developer of this game) has really lost their way and are not what they use to be and hopefully they can muster back some of that creative juice they use to have and bring back Banjo and Kazooie in a epic way.

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King
Reasons to Buy: It gives you new dungeons, new player classes, new items and a new continent. if your into World of Warcraft then I guess this is good news to you.

Reasons not to Buy: Because sometimes it's good to have free time and go outside.

Call of Duty: World at War
Reasons to Buy: Four player co-op mode and two campaign modes means you will loose a lot of sleep playing this game.

Reasons not to Buy: New developer that made the lacking "Call of Duty 3" and all those Spider-Man games, which can make this game not worth your time or money.

Gears of War II
Reasons to Buy: You have a gun and chainsaw in the amazing looking world that is Gears of War. You also are going to have drop in and drop out multiplayer, more vehicle missions and very large guns.

Reasons not to Buy: It might feel very similar to Gears of War and you might also get that feeling you've played this before.

Tom Clancy's Endwar
Reasons to Buy: You get to go online and play a massively online World War that will take days to play out. If that's not reason enough, you also get some cool high tech toys and you can also play the entire game with spoken commands.

Reasons not to Buy: You might get lazy with the spoken commands and with Tom Clancy just having his name on this, will the story be good?

James Bond: Quantum of Solace
Reasons to Buy: It will run on the "Call of Duty 4" engine, have multiplayer and also the voice talent from the movie - that includes Daniel Craig and Dame Judi Dench.

Reasons not to Buy: Bond games have never been as good as GoldenEye for the Nintendo 64 and that's the game everyone holds as the Bond game. Other reasons not to buy this is that it is a movie game and we all know that movie games always fall short.

Resistance 2
Reasons to Buy: New enemies and a co-op campaign.

Reasons not to Buy: The first game was a linear shooter and I don't this game will be anything different.

Fallout 3
Reasons to Buy: It mixes surviving and strategy, a mix I think will be a good one. Really this game it going to be a great one.

Reasons not to Buy: I really don't have any, but if you don't like shooters, don't buy it.

C&C: Red Alert 3
Reasons to Buy: Its a war game that doesn't take it's self seriously and has a lot of cheesy fun.

Reasons not to buy: When I looked at this game, it really dosne't look that much different from other games in this serious. I would say it will be very similar to all the others that came before it.

Guitar Hero: World Tour
Reasons to Buy: The ability to record your own songs and then share them. Also there will be a ton of music to play along with and also they give you drums this time around.

Reasons not to Buy: Rock Band 2 offers more.

Rock Band 2
Reasons to Buy: Tons and tons of music tracks to play along and it also has the drums.

Reasons not to Buy: For the sake of your neighbors.

Far Cry 2
Reasons to Buy: Open world and and graphics that look very promising.

Reasons not to Buy: It might get boring after a few hours of playing it.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Force Stays Leashed

It's been four years since we've seen the demo video of the next generation Star Wars game. We waited long and anxiously and this month it was released.
First ... this is not a review of the game, because in order for this to be a review I would've actually had to play the game and every copy I've gotten of thus far has been broken.
The game will freeze randomly and become unplayable, it will lock up my Wii and all and all it just doesn't work.
I did some research online and even sent an email to Krom studios (the studio that makes the game) just saying on how disappointed I was that they would send out a game with this many problems.
I know that I'm not the only one with these problems and I know other copies of the game have either severe or minor problems, but some work fine. That's not acceptable to me, I know all games have glitches but to have glitches that keep you from advancing in the game is terrible.
When you go to the store and buy a game you expect it to work, that's just logic, you expect to go home, relax and enjoy your purchase. You do not want to go home, put the game in and have it freeze on the menu screen!
I mean I wouldn't be this upset if this was just one disk, but I been through multiple and I know others have problems and that's just wrong.
So what I have to do is keep returning it until I get one that works! I mean stores won't give you refunds and you have to keep exchanging the game for same one or one of equal value! At this point I might just get a game of equal value, because there is a good chance it won't freeze up.
The development studio won't do anything, the only thing we can hope for is that the next shipment of games have less glitches, I mean I just want to play the game!!!
And I know it's not my system, because every other game I have works fine.
Here was a promising game and in the end I get nothing more but a broken game and having to wait even longer to play it and a new hobby of exchanging them.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Retro Review: Star Wars

Well since one of the biggest games of the year, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, will be released tomorrow, I thought it was only fair to go back to the original Star Wars game of the NES.
This Star Wars games was based off of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, it’s a classic 2D game and it follows events from the movie, but of course to make it a game they had to stretch some things.
In the game you play as Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia and you will battle the empire all the way to the final confrontation over the planet Yavin as you attempt to destroy the Death Star.
The story begins though on the planet Tatooine, you are Luke and you’re battling indigenous creatures and sand people. You’ll be piloting a landspeeder across the desert, picking up items as you look for the missing R2-D2 and also the location of Obi-Wan Kenobi (A character I wanted to play as).
Once you do that you will go to Mos Eisley to meet Han Solo and like the movie you take off in the Millennium Falcon.
From there you will arrive on the Death Star and try to rescue the princess, which proves to be a pain and a sometimes tedious task.
The biggest problem I had with this game was the levels where you tried to rescue the princess on the Death Star. The first half of the game is pretty simple, but not overly simple to make it un-fun, then you try to rescue the princess and with the 2D format of the game there’re jumps you have to complete and they are almost impossible if you don’t jump it just right with the right timing.
I mean when watching the movie I never saw Luke stop over various pits in hallways look down and stand there as he positioned himself to prepare to jump. There is the one scene where you see him and Princess Leia swing over a pit, but that’s once.
So after you mastered the Death Star you will be on Yavin IV and from there you will take off in an X-Wing and fight waves of TIE fighters as you attempt to blow up the Death Star.
If you’ve seen the movie you know that Luke is able to shoot his proton torpedoes into the small ray-shield thermal exhaust port that led directly from the surface of the station into the heart of its colossal reactor, which caused a chain reaction and destroyed the station (It’s really sad that I know all that).
Getting off topic for a second, who the hell would allow this kind of design flaw? I mean this isn’t a small flaw this is a pretty large flaw. The best part of this they didn’t even tried to fix it, I mean the Empire must have been aware of this and they just left it like that?
Back to the game … I really enjoy it because it gave you a chance to actually jump into the story and participate in the adventure.
Yet, all the sound in the game is 80’s and so are the graphics, which is something I like, it gives it a sense of nostalgia.
Summing everything up this is entertaining game and a must have for anyone who is a Star Wars fan or even a fan of games.
It Scores An 8 out of 10

Monday, September 8, 2008

True Blood Rises From Its Coffin

The creator of Six Feet Under has taken it upon himself to bring a world of vampires to HBO in the new blood thirsty series - True Blood.
Going into this I was expecting cheesiness, camp and some cliches to develop their vampire characters. Then I sat down and watched it and that's exactly what we got.
The first thing you'll notice is that the show doesn't take itself seriously. The show starts and we're already in the realm of camp, and that doesn't bother me at all and it opens up the show for anyone to jump in and have fun.
Now in the pilot episode we learn that vampires are no longer legends, they are beings that have come out of their coffins and made mankind aware of their existence. In this time the Japanese have also created synthetic blood called "True Blood" and this bloody drink provides vampires with all of their nutrients they use to get from feeding off of humans.
Yet, now that vampires have reveled themselves to humans they want to be intertwined into human society. This of course doesn't sit well with some mortals and we are introduced to a world that is prejudice and discriminative against vampires - which plays out a lot like the X-Men movies and how the mutants were shunned by society.
I know that this theme has been over used and if used wrong it can come off preachy, but the show does it surprising well and never takes the themes too seriously.
Then we have the main character Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) and the prejudice never occur to her and she seems intrigued by vampires. She is also psychic and I don't know if anyone else saw this, but I thought I saw her use some telekinetic power in a specific scene.
Paquin is the perfect person for the role of this innocent character, who always remains perky and happy despite being able to hear every ones thoughts - yup she can hear any ones thoughts, but vampires. This ability really allows the writers to give you a look at what the characters are truly about without saying it.
The problem I have with the cast is their bad accents. The show is set in Louisiana and none of these actors or actress' seem not to be from this area. Their accents are bad and the stereotypes they give the characters are also typical and seen coming.
Then we move to the center of the pilot episode and it's the meeting of Sookie and the vampire Bill who is played very well by Stephen Moyer. They combined the elements of every vampire that came after Rice and combine it with a southern gentleman and it turns out well but also cliche at times.
I don't want to get too deep into plot, because it has very adult themes. What I will say is that this show is fun just because of the performances from Paquin and Moyer, with out them this show wouldn't be worth watching. I will be coming back next week to see what happens and if I enjoy that episode I will keep returning.
This show is not for everyone and I stress that. Some people will find it over explicit in some scenes and also some will not be turned on by it's tongue and cheek material and its poorly executed southern accents.
7 out of 10

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Rock Band 2 Is Truly Rocking

Here is the Main Setlist and new Venue list for Rock Band 2.
Main Setlist
Ace of Spades '08 - Motorhead
Alabama Getaway - Grateful Dead
Alex Chilton - The Replacements
Alive - Pearl Jam
Almost Easy - Avenged Sevenfold
American Woman - The Guess Who
Any Way You Want It - Journey
Aqualung - Jethro Tull
Bad Reputation - Joan Jett
Battery - Metallica
Bodhisattva - Steely Dan
Carry On Wayword Son - Kansas
Chop Suey - System of a Down
Colony of Birchmen - Mastodon
Come Out and Play (Keep 'Em Seperated) - The Offspring
Cool for Cats - Squeeze
De-Luxe - Lush
Down with the Sickness - Disturbed
Drain You - Nirvana
E-Pro - Beck
Everlong- Foo Fighters
Eye of the Tiger - Survivor
Feel the Pain - Dinosaur Jr.
Float On - Modest Mouse
Girl's Not Grey - AFI
Give It All - Rise Against
Give It Away - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Go Your Own Way - Fleetwood Mac
Hello There - Cheap Trick
Hungry Like the Wolf - Duran Duran
I was Wrong - Social Distortion
Kids in America - The Muffs
Lazy Eye - Silversun Pickups
Let There Be Rock - AC/DC
Livin on a Prayer - Bon Jovi
Lump - Presidents of the United States of America
Man in the Box - Alice in Chains
Master Exploder - Tenacious D
Mountain Song - Jane's Addiction
My Own Worst Enemy - Lit
New Kid in School -The Donnas
Nine in the Afternoon - Panic at the Disco
One Step Closer - Linkin Park
One Way or Another - Blondie
Our Truth - Lacuna Coil
Painkiller - Judas Priest
Panic Attack - Dream Theater
PDA - Interpol
Peace Sells - Megadeth
Pinball Wizard - The Who
Pretend We're Dead - L7
Psycho Killer - Talking Heads
Pump It Up - Elvis Costello
Ramblin Man - The Allman Brothers Band
Rebel Girl - Bikini Kill
Rock'n Me - Steve Miller Band
Round and Round - Ratt
Shackler's Revenge - Guns N' Roses
Shooting Star - Bad Company
So What'cha Want - Beastie Boys
Souls of Black - Testament
Spirit in the Sky - Norman Greenbaum
Spoonman - Soundgarden
Tangled Up in Blue - Bob Dylan
Teen Age Riot - Sonic Youth
Testify - Rage Against the Machine
Taht's What You Get - Paramore
The Middle - Jimmy Eat World
The Trees (Vault Edition) - Rush
Today - Smashing Pumpkins
Uncontrollable Urge - Devo
We Got the Beat - The Go-Go's
Where'd You Go - Mighty Mighty Bosstones
White Wedding (Part 1) - Billy Idol
You Oughta Know - Alanis Morissette
Bonus Songs
A Jagged Gorgeous Winter - The Main Drag
Conventional Lover - Speck
Get Clean - Anarchy Club
Night Lies - Bang Camaro
Rob the Prez-O-Dent - That Handsome Devil
Shoulder to the Plow - Breaking Wheel
Supreme Girl - The Sterns
Visions - Abnormality
Welcome to the Neighborhood - Libyans
New Venues
Austin - Sweaty's BBQ - 1401 Sabine St., Red River District
Austin - The Bison Room - 4 E. 66th St., Downtown
Austin - Echo Hangar - Ferguson Air Force Base, Del Valle
Montreal - Cheap Shot Records - 455 Rue DeMuth, suite 2, Mile End
Montreal - Le Maison Scramme - 7 Rue Sainte-Catherine Est, Downtown
Montreal - Chronos Club - 34 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Mount Royal
Dublin - 504 Cypress - Sean's Flat, 504 Cypress, Temple Bar
Dublin - Sullivan Square - Kildare St. & Fitzwilliam Ln., Dublin
Dublin - The Manor - Upper Landsdowne Rd., Ballsbridge
Madrid - Catedral 22 - C/ de Pedro Teixeira 2920, Castellana
Madrid - Teatro Fantasma - Plaza Mayor 897, Centro
Madrid - Circo de Musica - Camino Viejo de la Yarda 5, Madrid
Tijuana - Gasolina - Blvd. Fundadores No. 112, Avenida RevoluciĆ³n
Shanghai - Sheng Li Stadium - 401 Fan Juan Park, Xuhui District
Looks like this one has a lot more to offer than the first. I'm truly excited about some of these songs on the set list and only hope that the Wii version can have the same features that the Xbox360 and Playstation 3 have.
The Wii version that was released was cut back on and I really hope this will not be the case for Rock Band 2.
All and all I'm excited about Rock Band 2 and I'm also getting excited about Guitar Hero: World Tour, which will be the main competition for Rock Band 2.
I have to say that the drums for Guitar Hero: World Tour look very interesting.
Release Dates For Rock Band 2
Nintendo Wii - November 18, 2008
XBox360 - September 14, 2008
Playstation 3 - October 19, 2008
Playstation 2 - November 18, 2008

Friday, September 5, 2008

Movie Recommendations: The Big Lebowski

The Big Lebowski
PLOT: Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski is a lovable slacker, until his house is broken into and his rug is peed on by two angry gangsters who have mistaken him for Jeffrey Lebowski, a millionaire, whose wife owes some very bad people a large sum of money. The Dude becomes entangled in the plot when he goes to visit the Big Lebowski in order to get some money to replace his rug, and is recruited to work between Lebowski and the captors of his now "kidnapped" wife.
QUICK REVIEW: This movie has truly great performances by Goodman and Bridges. It also has a interesting plot, quick and sharp dialogue and some sharp visuals. The Coen brothers turly gave alot of care to this movie and it shows and is one of their best movies - for me it's stands up with Fargo and No Country For Old Men.
RATING: R for pervasive strong language, drug content, sexuality and brief violence.
RUN TIME: 1 hr 58 min

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Turtles Are Looking To Be Back Kicking Shell In 2010

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are looking to return to theaters in 2010.
There has been a lot of talk between fans about another turtles movie after the 2007 CGI film was released.
Many were expecting to see the sequel to be like the 2007 movie done in all CGI, but this sequel will bring back the turtles to the live action scene like their movies from the early 90's.
The 2007 film did well enough to allow a sequel to be produced, but Warner Brothers wants to take the turtles back to the beginning and completely re-invent the series, giving it another boost like they did with Batman.
So the word is that they are bringing the franchise back to the basics and showing the origin and having their first villain being the shredder.
I do think that this is a good idea, I don't think it will be a mega hit like "The Dark Knight" but if done right and with the right style the movie can be dark and interesting like the comic books.
The problem is, that I really don't think they should use the turtle suits that they used in the original 90's films. I would rather see the turtles done in CGI and the live action part be the world that surrounds them and the characters that inhabit it.
I will go see this movie if it's more interesting than the 2007 film and really gets back to what the turtles are and not if they make it overly kiddish.
The turtles franchise deserves to be treated with respect like all other comic book properties and it doesn't deserve to be rushed, so take your time in developing this one.