The Cursed Crusade (Xbox 360)

Cursed CrusadeThis is my seventh attempt at an introductory paragraph for this review.  The problem I’m having is I cannot seriously discuss any element of this game.  In this moment, I am failing as a reviewer on all fronts.  I really want to be objective.  I don’t want to blast every element of the game, because I can see just the slightest sliver of potential.  But the simple fact remains that this game is just so terrible, so awful, such a failure on almost every level imaginable, that it’s actually draining my ability to discuss it rationally.

Continue reading

S. G. Browne’s “Breathers”

Breathers by S. G. BrowneAndy Warner lost everything after his car crashed about 5 months ago. He lost his wife, his daughter, his friends, his home, his life. That’s about when his body reanimated.

Breathers tells a story about a world where zombies are real, sentient, and seen as a gross nuisance to those they’ve left behind. They have no purpose, no civil rights, and no means of making any kind of a new life for themselves. If a zombie decides to venture out in the world, they’re mocked and shunned by day, and actively hunted by frat boys by night.

So, Andy spends his days drinking his parents expensive wine and watching terrible daytime TV. He spends most of his nights the same way. Twice a week he meets with his Undead Anonymous support group. Things stay pretty well the same, until Andy meets a new friend, and decides to start encouraging social change.

Continue reading

Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013)

texas-chainsaw-3d-posterTexas Chainsaw 3D is the newest “official” sequel in a long line of sequels, prequels and reboots in one of the pre-eminent Slasher film series of all time, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  This particular movie picks up right where we left off in the first film, making it a sequel/soft-reboot combination, similar to Evil Dead 2, or The Incredible Hulk.  But that’s pretty much where the similarities end, seeing as one of those is comedy-horror, and the other is Super-hero Action.  Texas Chainsaw 3D falls pretty well into the slasher-horror genre, or as my father calls it, a “spooker“, where we see a bunch of stupid young people make a bunch of stupid decisions that get them very, very dead.

Since this is one of mine and my father’s favourite genres, we usually see this type of movie together, in theatres.  It’s a tradition that goes back to the late 80s or early 90s.  Over the years, a formula of sorts has been developed.  Of course, when dealing with this kind of movie, you shouldn’t be expecting high-art.  I’m not saying there aren’t artistic horror films.  There are several.  Having a critically acclaimed spooker is an anomaly, and should be regarded as such.  In order to be successful as a spooker, a movie must really only pass Dad’s three question test:

  • Is it a jumper?  Did it make you jump, if so, how many times?  No-Jumper is a piss-poor waste of time.  A One-Jumper showed up to the party.   A Two-Jumper is a very enjoyable experience, and has done well.  Three-Jumper is fantastic, and very rare.  I don’t think there’s ever been a Four-Jumper, I certainly couldn’t name one.
  • How’s the gore?  Is there a lot of it, and what kind?  Describe it… Is it Tense?  Gross?  Funny?  CGI?  Fake-looking? Realisic? Cringe-worthy?
  • How stupid is it?  How stupid are the character’s choices, and do they at least make a little bit of sense, most of the time?  More importantly, how stupid are the film-makers?  Do they show you a car driving off a cliff, only to see there’s no engine or drivetrain in the car?

If a film can pass most of these questions, then it has succeeded in landing itself a place in the pantheon of films known as “Pretty Good Spookers“.

Now let’s take a look, and see how Texas Chainsaw 3D fared, shall we?

Continue reading

Asteroids (Atari 2600)

asteroids_atari2600-large-070209Asteroids is a classic arcade game by Atari from 1979.  In 1981, a port of the arcade classic was released by Atari on their Atari 2600 console.  Like so many other 2600 ports, Asteroids‘  differences in both gameplay and graphics were very noticeable.   Asteroids had a completely different look and feel to it at home than it did in the arcades.  Using the Atari joystick instead of simply using buttons.   Also noticable is the required use of coloured pixels instead of a vector display.

That’s it.  I can’t take this seriously anymore.  I really wanted to, but I can’t.  No matter how much I want this game to hold up even today…  I can’t do it.  I could try and tell you about how (somehow) this game used a lot of memory for a home console cartridge, and that it was the first to use some kind of dual side switching memory technique.  I could tell you about how much fun I had with this game as a kid.  I absolutely love this game, still.  But even I can’t convince myself that it holds up today.  I started out wanting to compare apples to apples, and keep my state of mind geared solely towards 80s Atari games.  It’s not going to happen.  I firmly remember this game being a solid 9 or 10 when I was a kid.  That’s just not the case anymore.

Continue reading

My Dinner With André (1981)

my-dinner-with-andre-1My Dinner With André is a 1981 film starring and written by André Gregory and Wallace Shawn.  Directed by Louis Malle, the movie showcases a conversation that takes place between André and Wally, where the duo confront the stark reality of the “modern” human existence, technology, comfort, life, death and all the high-brow topics that interest the artistic minds of early 1980s Theatre aficionados.

You’ll notice that earlier I capitalized the “T” in “Theatre”.  This is because it is clear when Wally and André speak, that they too are capitalizing the “T” whenever they say the word.  I’ll also be sure to include l’accent aigu whenever spelling André.

Simultaneously hoity and toity, this movie yammers on endlessly with high and mighty ideas of why society is irredeemable, and how every one around them in the circles they occupy never really live, or truly “see” anyone or anything.  The result is a movie that is clearly not in any way shape or form meant for me.

Continue reading

Who Is That Fat Guy With Glasses?

So…  It’s been a while now that the Blog has been going again and before real-life and virtual life start making it nearly impossible to show up here and complain about stuff, I’ve just started to amass some statistics.  While almost everyone that is visiting the site comes looking for Meanwhile in Canada… or the blank polaroid image in Fat Dad With Glasses:  Bachin’r, some people do come here actually looking for stuff to read.  It’s quite annoying.

However…  There are a number of viewers that are coming from various search engines.  Google, Yahoo, various bots, and whatever the hell Yandex is… which is, I’m guessing, some kind of Russian Yahoo/Google Hybrid wearing bikershorts and a fur hat.  About 90% of those people that get here from those search engines are looking for one thing:

“Who is that fat guy with glasses in…?”

Well, I’m nothing else if not helpful.  That’s why, to the best of my ability, I’m going to answer their burning questions.  As far as my statistics (both from here, and my old blogspot site) would imply, these are the 5 most important and often searched for Fat Guys with Glasses on the interwebs.  Even though they have obviously been given a numerical ranking, they are in no particular order.  There is also absolutely no empirical evidence to support my claims/rankings regarding the popularity of these fellows.  Absolutely no science was harmed in the making of this list.

Continue reading

Highlander (1986)

Highlander

I recently stumbled across a Blu-Ray copy of an amazing cinematic indulgence, Russell Mulcahy’s 1986 cult classic, Highlander.  Starring Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery and Clancy Brown as members of a race of Immortals that are undetectable to the rest of us normal schlubs.  They hide amongst us, secretly playing The Game, a swordfight to decapitation, the only way that they might die.  The Game rages on for centuries until the time of The Gathering, a time and place where the final few Immortals will be drawn to finish The Game and compete for The Prize.

In the end, there can be only one.

Obviously, if you judge from this establishing paragraph, this review is going to contain a lot of italics.

Continue reading

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

The Amazing Spider-ManI was very, very against the making of this movie from the first moments I heard about it.  I had several objections, but the largest one was that I really didn’t feel that Spider-man 3 had failed so terribly that we needed to revisit Peter Parker’s origin.  I felt that was covered perfectly in the first movie.

Sure, Gwen Stacy wasn’t there, and Mary Jane was, there were organic rather than home-made webshooters… but they weren’t… aren’t… the main focus of Peter’s origin.  The main focus is Uncle Ben, the acquisition of great power, and the consequences of a lack of great responsibility.  That’s all handled brilliantly in Raimi’s masterpiece.

So to hear that we were going to visit that again so soon, while attempting to make it more “realistic” and “grounded”… my FGWG feathers rustle.  I avoided this movie for a long time.  Almost six months exactly, apparently.  I guess that’s not really that long… but it felt like it.  If 13 year old me knew that 33 year old me was avoiding a movie about Spider-man, 13 year old me would have a cow, man.

I didn’t wait a specific planned amount of time, or anything.  Teletoon was running a Spider-man cartoon marathon yesterday, which got me thinking about this movie.  That combined with the (on average) good things I’ve heard and a post about fanboyish prejudice of entertainment at williamjepma’s blog, got me thinking about how I should give it a chance.  I love movies.  I love Spider-man.  I should love even a mediocre Spider-man movie.  So, I kept my expectations low, and gave it a shot.

I didn’t hate it.

Continue reading

2012 In Absolutes

2012

I know, I know, only a Sith deals in absolutes.  Anyway, this is an obligatory end of the year post that’s a day late, because I never finish anything I start on time.  This kind of stuff usually works best with bigger lists.  Especially since I have such a hard time picking a best of/worst of anything.  But I’m going to force myself to pick a best and worst, and a biggest surprise for each of the main media type things I consume regularly.  For anyone just tuning in to my rants, that’s books, movies, video games, TV and toys.  I like to leave music alone, because I just hate so goddamn much of it, and there really isn’t any good reason for it.

But that’s another rant.  So… here we go with 2012 In Absolutes*.

*please keep in mind that I haven’t seen, played or read many things that were released this year.  In regards to books, I haven’t read hardly anything at all that was released this year, so I’ll be dealing instead with the ones that I did indeed read, many of which were only really popularized this year because of movie tie-ins.

Continue reading