The Academy Awards Smell

newt1monscorseseafpgi.jpgNormally, I don’t pay any attention to the Academy Awards, but last night I decided to watch a little bit of the “ceremony,” a term I use lightly. It only took one shot of the crowd to make me realize how full of crap these things are. Just look at the smug look on all the actor’s faces. Honestly, you can just see how important they think they are, with their glowing smiles and nods of approval. One glimpse of Marky Mark in the crowd was enough to make my hand turn into a fist. To steal a joke from South Park, that room is probably the smelliest room in the whole world because everyone in there is just sitting in their own farts and loving it. Needless to say, I stopped watching it less than 5 minutes later.

As far as I’m concerned, these awards don’t exist anymore. I could care less what movie wins what award. The only thing I know is that The Departed won a bunch of stuff, but I couldn’t name you the categories. You know, I like movies as much as the next guy, but the fact of the matter is that movies aren’t this important. If the entire film industry crashed tomorrow, the world would move on, and it would smell a heck of a lot less too.

Some musings on PS3’s flOw from Shamoozal

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Yesterday marked the release of the Playstation Network’s first big EDI title, flOw. I’ve been looking forward to this game ever since I spent a couple hours being absorbed by the flash version of the game. Without going into too much history, flOw was originally part of Jenova Chen’s (one of the games creators) thesis research at the USC Interactive Media Division. I spent a couple hours playing the PS3 version last night and the following article are my general impressions on it so far (in other words I would not call this a review in any way).

The game is 1 part Tech demo for the SIXAXIS controller, 3 parts Art Piece. I’m not sure calling it a ‘game’ is fair since it feels more like an interactive experience, this is something you’ve probably heard before. The d-pad and dual-analog sticks are not usable at all (not even though an options menu), instead you tilt the controller in the direction you want to move and press any of the buttons to do a brief accelerated dash. This takes some getting used to as the sensitivity of the controller seems be a little touchy. After a while of playing it felt much more natural and I really didn’t think about it anymore.

The premise is pretty simple, you start out towards the top of the water and begin guiding your little organism around, eating and absorbing other single cell organisms. As you grow, you start to go deeper into the water where you will face more complex organisms that you must also eat. Once you reach a certain depth, you will go back to the top and be ‘reborn’ as a different type of organism (slight spoiler, sorry). I only played for a couple hours, so I’m not sure how many different types of organisms there are. For some reason it reminded me of a puzzle game, like when you get to a new song/color scheme in Lumines or Tetris. I mean this in more of a conceptual way than literally.

The graphics and sound are presented in a very simplistic manner, which isn’t to say that it doesn’t look and sound great. In many ways it reminds me of one of those interactive activity kiosks you would see at Epcot after getting off one of the rides. It’s the type of thing that seems like it would be the perfect way to unwind on the couch after getting home from work. A few beers later, you’ll probably be ready to take a nap, and who doesn’t like a nice nap after work?

flOw isn’t for everyone though, if you’re the type of person that doesn’t enjoy anything outside of the realm of EA Sports or FPS’s, you will probably think flOw is boring and stupid. If you’re able appreciate titles like ICO, Shadows of the Colossus, and Katamari Damacy, then there’s probably a place for flOw in your game library. I guess what I’m saying in a backhanded kind of way is that flOw is a little more high-brow than most stuff out there. There, I said it, sorry if I just called you dumb.

Which brings me to the next point, the price. One thing I love about the PS3 Store versus the XBL Marketplace or the Wii Shop is that everything costs actual dollars and cents. There have been so many times when I went to get something from the other guys and found my point balance to be 100-200 points short of what I needed. Then I have to drop $10-20 to get another 1000-1800 points instead of just buying the points I need to get the game. flOW costs $7.99 and $7.99 is exactly what I spent for it. Say what you want about Sony nickel and diming people, but at least they got this right.

At $7.99 flOw is a great deal, one you can’t afford to miss if you’re an owner of a PS3 (insert “yeah both of them” joke here), it’s pretty much going to be a defining title for the PS3’s EDI and I sincerely hope Sony continues to put out experimental games like this on the service.

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FlOw

Theater Releases for February 23rd

Movies, Movies, Movies.
Man I need to find something else to talk about on the Shamoozal besides movies. I know you guys are counting on quality updates and right now I have nothing else besides movie talk. I’m the Jay Sherman of the Shamoozal. IT STINKS!

23
This sure doesn’t look like Ace Ventura to me.

THE NUMBER 23 – Jim Carrey takes on another serious role playing a normal dude who reads a creepy book titled The Number 23. As he reads it, he becomes pretty sure the book is based on his life. Apparently it drives him batcrap crazy and he becomes some paranoid psychopath trying to explain the logic behind his madness. It looks extremely weird… but in a good way. I’m curious to see how it all pans out. I’m a fan of Jim Carrey comedy, but I also enjoy him in The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine which were more serious than his usual stuff. This is drastically different than anything else he’s done so I wish him luck with it but I’d rather see him do some silly comedy. I’d like to check out this one eventually but not on opening weekend or maybe not in theaters at all. Someday….

Reno 911
The faces of justice in Reno, Nevada

Reno 911: Miami – I gotta say I thought the Comedy Central show, Reno 911, was dumb without ever even seeing it. Recently I gave it a shot simply because there was a marathon on TV and I was bored. I was cracking up. Basically in the movie, they get called to Miami for a convention and a bioterrorist quarantine gets put into place on the normal police force so the Reno guys have to take over their duties. Of course they’re all a bunch of idiots and screw everything up. Lt. Jim Dangle is one of the funniest characters on TV. I’m pretty pumped for the movie now and I have only seen a handful of episodes of the show. The movie is supposed to be jam packed with cameos too which is always fun. This is an opening weekend one for me. Guaranteed.

Astronaut Farmer
I have one question…. WHY?!

The Astronaut Farmer – Billy Bob is a farmer. Billy Bob wants to be an astronaut. Billy Bob builds a rocket on his farm to blast himself into outer space. Everyone thinks Billy Bob is crazy. The government thinks Billy Bob might be building a nuke. Billy Bob cracks some jokes. Billy Bob’s family supports his rocket building. Billy Bob doesn’t care what people think. Billy Bob is going to space. Why is this a movie? Billy Bob.

A limited release movie coming out are Gray Matters starring Heather Graham where she thinks she might be a lesbian in love with her brother’s fiancé, played by Bridget Moynahan. They share a nice little makeout scene that’s all over youtube right now.
And also the fan’s selection from last year’s Horror Fest, entitled The Abandoned, is getting a bigger release but still not wide all across the U.S. Its about a house that predicts your death or something like that. Who cares.

So as far as my opinion goes, Reno 911: Miami is the #1 choice for a movie to see this weekend but I think The Number 23 would also be a decent choice. This is all based on not reading any reviews as of yet, just my personal opinion on how the movies look. Billy Bob can go screw!

It’s So Right

If there is something that will always blow my mind, it has to be old WWF interviews, especially any interview dealing with Hulk Hogan or Macho Man Randy Savage. When the two of them do an interview together? Forget about it, it’s absolutely insane. The following video is so important, that I feel it needs to be analyzed, second by second.

The first thing I want to point out is that I love that Macho Man is called “Madness.” Is he the only wrestler whose nickname has a nickname? He seems to have as many names as Apollo Creed. Anyway, the most important scene to point out is the opening. We see Macho and Hogan come in, hands up, fingers shaking and wiggling,

“We really don’t now what we’re dealing with here man.” Proclaims the Hulkster.

It’s clear that they are afraid to shake each other’s hands. Not because they are afraid of making a commitment to their newly formed tag team, The Mega Powers, but because they are afraid that if their hands touch, that the entire world will blow up. The cause of the world exploding is because Hogan is the strongest force in THIS universe, and that the Madness is the strongest force in ANOTHER universe. Basically, if these two universes collide, unthinkable things could happen, the first of which would be the world exploding.

Mean Gene, shocked at this revelation asks,” You mean to tell me there’s another solar system out there, Macho?” And Macho Man replies “Unbelievable! I’m still in a state of shock right now.” The power of the handshake that has just taken place between the two powers has caused Macho not to think clearly, as his answer to Gene’s question is not a real answer.

Macho begins to tell Gene that if it wasn’t for his wife Elizabeth, he would never have paid attention to Hogan, who whole heartedly endorsed Macho Madness, a form of Macho Mania, and finally gave the Madness direction and a course of action. Meaning and purpose if you will, and I will.

The direction? “The mega yeah, the mega yeah, the mega powers yeah, THE MEGA POWERS YEAH!” Feeling the power of screaming their new name, Macho asks Hogan to feel the power flowing through him, and the two lock arms.

Gene questions about a hit on the head that Macho took prior to these events. The two of them cast off the hit, it’s nothing that the strongest power in the universe can’t handle. Hogan is concerned about more serious things, like where they’re going to from this point on. Not the ring. No, bigger places. The stratosphere? Bigger.

The ionosphere.

Once the Madness and the Mania combine, they can use that power to take over the whole WWF, and not just the WWF either. Macho Man sets his sites on bigger things like Saturn, and Jupiter. The two lock arms one final time, energy buzzing through their veins, and walk off in a blazing glory.

It’s just so right.

Thanks goes to JW_Number_One on the boards for finding this treasure.

The Homeless

So here’s a quick story I thought I’d post up here since the Nerdlog is looking lean today.

Its around 4:30 PM and my buddy turns to me asking if I wanted to get out and go get a coffee. I work in NYC, so its no big deal to go for a quick walk and grab something to eat. We put on our coats and after dodging a bunch of deluded sociopaths in the hallway who are under the delusion that they are “actors”, we go outside.

The second -and I mean the second- we got outside I knew we just stepped into something. There were a bunch of guys who we work with out there already grabbing a smoke. The one dude is facing the corner of the building like the guy at the end of “The Blair Witch Project”, and they other two are giggling like school girls blowing smoke out thier noses. My buddy and I stop in our tracks and give them them a quizzical look. One of them points down the street, and just goes, “that guy over there is taking a shit”.

And sure enough, there he was.

The man was pop’n a squat on the corner of Astor Place like he was in the middle of a corn field. It was shocking. His multiple layers of jeans and sweat pants are balled up by his ankles as he drops a duece on the side walk. I only catch a glimpse of that, but I got a pretty good view of what he did next. In lieu of any available toilet paper, he proceeds to take his baseball cap off his head and WIPE HIS ASS WITH IT. He gives it one or two swipes, and then in one fell swoop he completed the deed in the only way that could have made it any better/worse.

He put the hat back on his head.

We stood staring at this for maybe a total of 5 seconds but it felt like an eternity. After topping his pate off with his crap crown, he stood up and started to pull his pants back up. It was done. Unfortunately, my friend and myself had to go that way. We eventually worked up our courage, and walked past him allowing as much space between us and him as possible. I was gonna take a picture of him with my phone, but I was too afraid. I seriously thought he was gonna throw a handfull of feces at me.

Well, when he came back from the store, we took the long way around the block so we could avoid him on the return trip. As we approached the door to our building, he was still down there. Just him hanging out with his own filth. However, this time he was either having a conversation with someone I couldn’t see, or he was practicing his dance moves. He was very animated. We went in and got back to work. As I sat there, I remembered this story, and I wanted to cry.

And that was probably the highlight of my day.

DVD Releases for February 20th

It’s a wonderful Tuesdee morning, meaning its DVD Release Day. Like always, let’s just get right into the swing of things. Below is some cover art for the major releases today. Continue reading for more information and my opinion on what I would buy.

The PrestigeBabel
For Your ConsiderationMan of the YearFlushed Away

The Prestige is the latest release from Memento/Batman Begins director Christopher Nolan which is about 2 rival magicians who let things get personal in their acts. Babel is about an American couple (Brad Pitt & Cate Blanchett) in a foreign country, the woman gets shot, and the press labels it terrorism. For Your Consideration is from This Is Spinal Tap director Christopher Guest; it’s a ridiculous story about filming a low budget movie. Man of the Year is about Robin Williams as a comedian becoming President, I think Robin’s career is officially over and this may be the proof. Flushed Away is an animated movie about a rich rat having to live in the sewers with all the scum, and from what I hear, compared to other animated comedies these days, it stinks.

A couple other releases for today are Open Water 2 (how can there be a sequel?!), A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints with Robert Downey Jr, Flight Of Fury with Steven Seagal which had this review on Amazon.com, “Anyone who seeks out a Steven Seagal movie has certain expectations: Bone-crunchingly brutal martial arts action; spiritual or ecological wisdom uttered in Seagal’s hoarse monotone; and one long relentless scowl. Flight of Fury fails to deliver on all counts.” Then on the TV show season front we get Family Ties Season 1. The Keatons have officially hit DVD.

If I had to choose one movie to buy it would be The Prestige. It was a really cool movie that had you guessing the entire time. Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman put on good performances and it also has hot ass Scarlett Johansson who will turn even a bad movie into a good one for the eyes. I saw it in theaters on opening weekend and enjoyed it. But since Babel has been getting a lot of awards and nominations, I would give that one a shot too. It didn’t look too bad and Brad Pitt usually knows how to pick his flicks. I’m not too sure about For Your Consideration. This Is Spinal Tap is GREAT! The only other movie I saw by Guest is bits and pieces of Best in Show and it was no Spinal Tap I’ll tell you that right now. So who knows.

Stick with Nolan’s The Prestige. It’s a winner… in more ways than one.

HOT

The Simpsons Movie – Trailer 3

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Today, a third trailer for “The Simpsons Movie” has been released. The previous trailers showed very little of the actual animation that would be found in the film, but this new one shows quite alot. You can see it here. The General John Manfre has already posted the link in The Smorg, but I wanted to chime in with some of my own thoughts.

Personally, I haven’t watched an episode of The Simpsons in years. I was a big fan back in the day when it was first on TV, but have since lost track of it. Recently, I caught a newer episode (the date in the credits was 2005 I believe). I turned it on when Homer and Marge were trying to ditch the kids in a montage parodying the opening credits to Catch Me If You Can right down to the John Williams score. While that opening segment to the Spielberg film was pretty awesome, I failed to connect with it at all in this eposide of The Simpson. It seems like a streatch, and was more likely something you’d see in an episode of The Family Guy than The Simpsons. However, a week later I caught another episode that was clearly older. They were still using cells as opposed to digitally inking and painting in this episode. Here, Homer was at a fast food joint, and was ordering burgers faster than he could shove them into his mouth. It was instantly hilarious. The way it was composed, edited, and treated was a million times funnier than the extravagant bit taken from Catch Me If You Can.

So as you can see, I’m not a huge fan of The Simpsons anymore. So what is my take on the moive? Well, for starters I’m happy to see a mainstream animated film done in 2D. I wouldn’t doubt there was many meetings over weather or not to make this using CGI. I can hear the tagline now: “Its The Simpsons like you’ve never seen them before…IN 3D!!!” Thankfully, that isn’t the case here. The animation itself is slightly higher grade than TV broadcast standards. Things move around pretty well, but its not over cooked. Which is fine. There is limitations to the Simpsons character designs which doesn’t lend to fuller animation. For example, I can’t stand when they show the characters from a frontal view. They look totally odd.

I have no idea what The Simpsons Movie is about. The trailer is somewhat lacking in that department and instead spends its run-time showing us all our favorite characters which will be making their appearance. Nevertheless, I’m pretty excited about the new movie, and I’m looking forward to its release on July 27th.

Castlevania – Bring Back the Barbarians

Vania Header

The Castlevania game franchise is one of my personal all time favorites. When Konami released the now classic Symphony of the Night, series director Koji Igarashi felt that the manliness of the Castlevania series should be toned down. They enlisted the aid of self taught illustrator Ayami Kojima to help usher in a new look for the series. In place of the muscle men were womanly muscle men. It’s been 10 years since this transition, roughly 7 games later, and now I just want my barbarians back.

It worked for Symphony of the Night where you play as Alucard, the son of Dracula. In vampire lore, vampires are usually seen as “beautiful people.” Alucard’s look was actually really perfect. He has a super pale almost corpse like complexion, flowing long white hair, and a genderless face. The dude is a vampire, it works.

alucard
I like Alucard & this picture a lot, but dude, look at the size of his left hand compared to his other hand, let alone his head. He could crush pumpkins with that thing.

For the most part, I really like Ayami Kojima’s artwork even if her proportions are way off most times (get a load at both PS2 Castlevania covers). However, after playing last years Castlevania: Curse of Darkness for the PS2, I had enough. Not only was Hector, our hero, the lamest Castlevania hero of all time, but the bad guy, Isaac… oh Isaac. Words can barely describe how awful and ugly Isaac looks. Every time he showed up on screen I questioned why I was even playing the damn game. In fact, it’s worth noting that Curse of Darkness is the only Castlevania game I have never finished. Yes, I beat every single Castlevania game, including the elusive (not for long) Dracula X. Isaac is without a doubt one of the worst video game villains of all time. Period.

Isaac

Any bad guy whose penis is almost showing and has a belly button piercing is disqualified

I’m sorry, Castlevania is about killing monsters. When I kill monsters in Castlevania, I want to play as a guy who would eat the meat off a rotten cow corpse and smile. A guy who, when you look at him the wrong way, makes your house and family explode. Anyone who fights Medusa, Frankenstein, the Mummy, and a giant bat needs to have a hairy chest, I don’t care what Iga says.

Super Castlevania
After Simon bites that Skeleton’s face in half, he is going to rape that hydra. That’s how Simon rolls.

Iga is forgetting something with each new Castlevania title he puts out. Castlevania isn’t about a bunch of girly men who don’t use whips. Castlevania is about a big freakin’ barbarian whose job is to storm Dracula’s castle and fight monsters from 1930’s cinema with a whip.

That said, I will continue to buy Castlevania games for the rest of my life.