Movie Info of the Week (Jan 10-14 2011)

the_social_network_jesse_eisenberg_image

My DVD/Blu-Ray Pick
Social Network

The Social Network – this was my favorite movie of 2010 which makes it an easy choice for the DVD/Blu-Ray of the week. Who would have thought a movie about the creation of Facebook could be so good? Oh yeah, I did. Because director David Fincher and writer Aaron Sorkin are some of the best in the business right now. Jesse Eisenberg does a terrific job as Mark Zuckerberg and the movie is just incredibly interesting from beginning to end. Also great performances from Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake too. Plus if you’re around my age then you probably have been a part of Facebook as it has grown over the years and now you get the behind the scenes story. Its pretty amazing.

My Theater Pick
The Dilemma

The Dilemma – I’ve been on a Vince Vaughn and Kevin James sour note lately. Paul Blart: Mall Cop stunk and James’ next movie is him working at a zoo with talking animals so that looks like garbage as well. And Vince Vaughn is always doing the same shtick and its not AS funny anymore. But I picked The Dilemma for one reason, director Ron Howard. He has been a part of some great movies over the years and it gives this movie a little credibility even though the trailers are mediocre at best. Its about Kevin James’ wife, Winona Ryder, cheating on him and Vaughn’s character finding out and not being able to tell him. Doesn’t sound great, huh? But there’s gotta some redeeming quality about it because why else would an acclaimed director like Ron Howard jump aboard?

Box Office Results
True Grit

FINALLY!!! An awesome movie like True Grit takes over the #1 spot from the terrible Little Fockers, gathering up another $15 million. Actually I can’t be too negative about it because I didn’t go and see it. But it looked pretty bad. All the good buzz about True Grit is real, its awesome. Nicolas Cage‘s Season of the Witch didn’t do too well, coming in at #3 about $5 million behind the leader.

Also coming out in stores this week is Alpha & Omega, Piranha 3D, Raging Bull (30th Anniversary Edition) and Dances with Wolves (20th Anniversary Edition) among many more.

Also coming out in theaters is The Green Hornet starring Seth Rogen and directed by Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind).

Oh anime!

Eden of the East

Kenichi is hardly the mightiest.

Aside from keeping up with the films that come out of Studio Ghibli, I’ve completely fallen out of the anime loop. I had my fill of anime back when I was in high school, and I’m not sure what exactly made me drift away from it in the first place. Probably a combination of growing up, not caring, and anime’s tendency to usually follow all of the same formats and formulas. At the same time though, I think that familiarity is what sort of keeps me coming back and checking in here and there.

Lately I’ve been watching plenty of the Funimation channel when the wife and I are feeding the kids. I’m going to say that I hate 90% of the shows on there, yet I usually leave them on in the background as background noise, and once in a while one will hook me, despite hating it. The latest is Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple a comedy about a whimpy dude training with a bunch of fighting masters and slowly learning how to kick ass. I can say with certainty that I hate this show, but like any soap you watch enough of them and suddenly find yourself wanting to see what happens next. Not that I’ve been watching every episode of Kenichi, far from it, but when it’s on I find myself watching the entire episode. It’s one of the most loud and obnoxious shows ever, with zero redeeming qualities, yet I’ll leave it on and watch it. I’m not quite sure what’s wrong with me.

I’ve also been leaving on Sengoku Basara, the anime adaptation of Capcom’s video games of the same name (Sengoku Basara 3 hit Wii and PS3 in the Fall, and I’m assuming bombed completely). It’s so bad. There’s this one guy walking around with what looks to be a gathering of giant marshmallows around his neck with rabbit ears. We as the viewer are supposed to take this guy seriously. How? How can we take him seriously? I’ve only half payed attention to this show the few times I’ve had it on recently so I honestly can’t comment on the story, but from what I’ve seen, it’s about as terrible as you’d expect.

Sengoku Basara idiot

There are some decent ones I’ve come across recently though. I’ve watched two episodes of the show Eden of the East, which currently seems interesting enough to the point where I’ve actually set the DVR to pick it up. From what I can tell it’s a modern day sorta drama about a bunch of people that have had their memories wiped (or at least the main character) and wake up with a phone that also acts as a credit card. The credit card has a few million bucks on it and they’re required to spend all of it in a set amount of time, which is leading me to believe they need to spend it on things for the greater good of Japan. The phone dials into some person that will grant them whatever request they make from killing people to ordering food. There were some 9/11 references at the start of the show and it was kind of interesting to see Japan’s take on the historic day in this series. The main character is also a film buff and speaks about lots of Hollywood movies, something else I kind of liked. So far I like it enough, but I’m wondering if it’ll keep my interest past the interesting premise.

Eden of the East

That’s the one thing that kills me about anime. Many of the shows do sometimes have interesting premises and ideas, but they generally devolve into the typical tropes anime is known for.

Anyway, this post really doesn’t have much of a purpose beyond the fact that while I mainly don’t like anime, I’ll still watch it. Old habits die hard I guess.

Movie Info of the Week (Jan 3-7 2011)

Nicolas_Cage_Season_of_the_Witch_B

My DVD/Blu-Ray Pick
Machete

MacheteRobert Rodriguez has proven he doesn’t conform to one genre. He has his western styled Mariachi trilogy starring Antonio Banderas, the graphic novel adaptation Sin City, his Spy Kids trilogy and now a shout out to the cheesy exploitation flicks of the 70s. Just violence, nudity, and silliness which branched off his fake Grindhouse trailer. Danny Trejo stars as a vigilante that just kills everyone. I really wanted to see this in theaters but never had the chance. I look forward to catching it soon. I hear its a little preachy on the subject of illegal immigration but I’m curious regardless.

My Theater Pick
Season of the Witch

Season of the Witch – now don’t get all pissy because I picked a terrible movie like this. Its actually the only damn thing that comes out this weekend so I really had no choice. Ok, I guess I could have made no choice so it doesn’t look like I’m actually recommending this dogshit. Nicolas Cage in another role that requires a terrible wig. This time him and Ron Perlman transport a witch, or something, who cares. Sometimes I think Cage might be certifiably insane. And it also makes me think of this CollegeHumor video.

Box Office Results
Little Fockers

Since no new wide releases came out, Little Fockers remained at the top spot with another $26 million. And True Grit was still hot on its tail. The rest of the list didn’t change much but everyone got a nice little money boost due to the popular movie weekend of New Years.

Also coming out in stores this week is Dinner For Schmucks, Catfish, The Last Exorcism, Big Love Season 4 and The Ricky Gervais Show Season 1.

Happy New Year – Thoughts and Resolutions

341866875_a0e8c69f1e

Another year in Shamoozal history is down in the books. I think we had a fairly decent year all things considered, and having reread my thoughts from a year ago, I think we had a more fulfilling year for the site. Maybe I shouldn’t say the “site” but the brand.

Lately I’ve been thinking about Shamoozal as more of a brand and not a website. I spent a lot of time asking myself this year what Shamoozal is. Are we a website? A blog? Animation group? What are we? We were founded on the idea of cartoons, and the series of cartoons were called “Shamoozal” but the name has now transcended the cartoons and we’ve branched out to so many different areas. So what is Shamoozal? I think I came up with a good answer in our About Us page I typed up a few months back; we’re Shamoozal, and we make cartoons.

So we make cartoons, what exactly is everything else? It’s for the people that really like those cartoons, for the people that want to know more about the group that makes it tick. So the Nerdlog is here to show our interests and for us to present whatever we’d like to talk about, while the podcast acts as a way for us to be more personal with our audience, and of course our forums are here so we can all interact with each other. All of these things come together to support our cause, which is making cartoons. Though that sort of brings us to another point… where are the cartoons?

I’m tired of making excuses and by this point people know the drill, they’re done when they’re done. Shamoozal is a labor of love so things come as they happen. Rereading my ’09 thoughts, the only cartoon we had to show was “How to Hook up the NES.” I’m glad that this year I can say that I’ve brought five different shorts (though I’m cheating a bit with that fifth one). Sure, combined they are the length of NES, but I’m glad that for close to half a year I was able to bring you guys monthly shorts. I had never done that before since launching the site, so for me personally it was pretty fulfilling. I’m of course talking about Read Only Memory, which were mainly created for the GoNintendo.com audience but that relationship helped full my desire to get this stuff done. I always worked better under pressure, and though Kevin over there never pressured me, I gave myself the monthly deadlines.

I’m sad that I couldn’t get Vol 2 wrapped up before the years end as I had planned. It really is a bummer but when my two girls were born my life was literally thrown upside down. I expected it to change everything, but not in the way that it had. However, things are turning around with their schedules and I fully expect to be back at work on Vol 2 in the near future. I’m part way through the first episode of the volume, though I haven’t touched it in months. I imagine I may actually start the episode over again from scratch. I still have what I think is a fun idea to tie the shorts together and I can’t wait to have Vol 2 ready to go.

After Vol 2, I’m taking a break from the video game shorts. I still have a really good GFGames idea that I’ve been kicking around for over a year now, but that new Frankensteiner is going to be the next big one. I don’t care if it takes me until the end of 2011, I’m getting that short done.

Aside from the shorts, I think we had another really good year of Shamoozal Radio. I said it last year and I’ll say it again, SRP is one of the best things we offer here. I really wish our download counts were higher than they are, or that our live stream audience was bigger. If you noticed I’ve been selecting a segment from recent episodes and putting them onto our YouTube page, I’m hoping this will help more people find SRP and listen to it. The numbers on those videos haven’t been great, but I don’t think they’re for nothing. Hopefully little efforts like this will at least spread some sort of awareness.

Anyway, I’m going on for too long now. 2010 will go down as a really stellar year for us. It started out with my trek to MAGFest, was interviewed on several different podcasts, we did some great SRP episodes, we produced a fair amount of shorts that even won them some acclaim on different sites, and refreshed our entire site by the end of the year. All told, I really can’t complain.

Also, a special shout out to JohnnyManf who has somehow single handedly kept the Nerdlog afloat with his movie updates. I always feel really bad when weeks go by without writing anything and there is John, the only one updating the Nerdlog. I’ll try to do at least one new post a week, even if it’s something as stupid as writing about Voldemort’s fingers. Though really, thanks to Frank, Steve, Joe and Jim as well for everything else they’ve contributed to making Shamoozal what it is. Every amount of effort from them always goes a long way.

So my resolutions for this place? Create ROM Vol. 2, Frankensteiner Amazing (we’ll call it that for now), keep doing great podcasts and hopefully find more ways to bring you guys fun and/or interesting content, and hopefully a once a week update on the Nerdlog from yours truly. I’m thinking those goals should be obtainable.

Thanks everyone for following us and supporting us. Have a great 2011!

Multi-touch woes.

multi-touch-woes

Most of us have some sort of device, be it a phone or gaming system, in our pockets that relies on a touch based system of input instead of traditional, hard wired buttons. We are experiening a shift in how we interact with the technology around us. Now, clearly none of this is new. The Nintendo DS has had a touch screen since its release in 2004, and I remember seeing a demo for a product that looked very similar to Microsoft’s Surface several years ago where the concepts that we know today as “pinch to zoom” were first seen. A touch screen has opened up new user interface possibilities, however I have began to notice a slight draw back to them.

The thing is, most touch sensative devices today require some kind of “unlocking” gesture. Sliding your finger in a predetermined gesture will unlock the screen and allow you to actually use it. Sounds familiar? This keeps your phone from turning on and dialing people while you hold it against your cheek on a call. While this safeguard is essential to keeping your phone from doing its own thing by accident, it also adds a layer between you and your device. I’ll give you a real world example.

I’m one of the five people in the world who own a Zune. As I mentioned on the last podcast, my old one kicked the bucket and in a moment of weakness I broke down and bought a new 64GB Zune HD. This one sports a touch screen and a far more slick interface from the previous version. I am not a member of the Church of Apple, so let’s just get past this part of the conversation shall we? Thank you!

The old 80GB Zune had a touch sensetive surface that also served as a clickable directional button. It was built to work with the vertical nature of the Zune’s UI, and it did a pretty good job at it. To fast forward a song, even while the Zune was playing and the screen was sleeping, all I had to do was click the “squircle”. I could do this with my eyes closed. Considering the fact that I got the most use out of my Zune was while driving I did indeed do this alot without actually looking at the Zune. Again, as with most touchable devices, the Zune HD has an unlock screen that I have to drag my finger from top to bottom. Then, I have to touch the album cover displayed to pull up the volume and fast forward/rewind controls. In the past, all I had to do was reach down and click a physical button. With the new one, I have to go through two steps in order to do the same thing and I have to actually focus on the device itself. The tactile feedback from a physical button has been erased, and with it a certain degree of simplicity. The baby has been thrown out with the bath water.

Now as an important side note, the Zune HD does indeed have a physical button on the side one can press to pull up this same screen. However, it is recessed and it not easy to find without looking at it. Thus bringing us back to the problem at hand.

So that’s my current random thoughts on modern user interface design utilizing touch screens and the direction it is taking. Perhaps alot of my current problems with the Zune HD has to do with my unfamiliarity with it. Maybe over time, sheer use will teach my fingers where to touch the screen in order to pull the volume select or fast forward/rewind options.

Welcome to the new Nerdlog!

featured_jacquo

Ah, I had a post typed up for this before but it vanished! Sorry, you need to make due with the shortened version.

Anyway, so we have a new Nerdlog! Here is the major difference for people that frequent the site. We have once again opened comments on posts, but it is still not linked to the forum account. I tried to do everything I could to link WordPress and PHPBB, but nothing I tried worked! So I’m really sorry that we still need two accounts around here. That said, the “Discuss This” button linking to the forum was not working as statistics shown, so off with that idea. The good news is your old account for the Nerdlog (if you made one) should still work.

If you see any other issues, leave a comment here or on the forum and let us know. The forum is also still in the default PHPBB blue, I’ll be skinning that again soon since the last one appeared to have “broke” which doesn’t make any sense.

Thanks everyone, hope you like it and have a great New Year!

Movie Info of the Week (Dec 27-31 2010)

the-american-trailer-3-5-10-kc

My DVD/Blu-Ray Pick
The American

The American – I am actually recommending a movie this week that I haven’t had a chance to see. When it came out in theaters back in early September it didn’t really make much of a splash. But it got some decent reviews and I am a fan of George Clooney. He plays an assassin who is taking it easy in the Italian countryside, where he falls for a local chick. But then he takes on a new job and has to handle that and the girl while still keeping his cover. It looked pretty interesting so I plan on seeing it eventually.

Box Office Results
Little Fockers

Little Fockers looked like garbage but the holiday weekend means lots of movie goers. It tore shit up at the box office bringing in close to $35 million and beating out the Coen Brothers western True Grit starring Jeff Bridges in the classic John Wayne role. Jack Black did not fare so well, coming in with a measly $7.2 million and a 7th place finish.

Also coming out in stores this week is Resident Evil: Afterlife and Twelve.

Nothing usually hits theaters over the New Years weekend but the Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams relationship drama Blue Valentine will be in limited theaters at the end of the year.

Shamoozal Radio Podcast #35 – It’s a Pure Sex Christmas

srp_christmas

Just in time for Christmas it’s our annual Holiday Podcast! After a Zobek filled introduction, the crew talks about their favorite Christmas moments to get into the holiday spirit. Though there are probably more stories about my Dad than actual Christmas memories, sorry about that folks. Afterward we move onto our Shocker News segment with such amazing stories about a dude that made a pot Christmas tree, an Xbox thief, and a guy that got caught choking the chicken in the WalMart toy isle. We hit a bit of Shamoozal news and talk about the delay of the new Nerdlog, and the future of the shorts. Finally, a bunch of final thoughts from the crew, mostly Christmas related.

Also, big thanks to Joe on getting this done before Christmas. In addition to his recording, he works full time, goes to school part time, and is also a Dad, so he’s really busy these days. With that, enjoy the show.


Listen to Shamoozal Radio Podcast Now!

RSS Feed
Subscribe to Shamoozal Radio with iTunes

Show notes and times after the jump!
Read More