A blast from the Eighties

This may be old, but not to me. This video will probably only appeal to some of you, but that just means you are awesome.

(I purchased their albumon the strength of this video alone. That is how it is done.)

Netflix Watch

We took advantage of Netflix on the 360 to watch a couple movies over the weekend. We luckily have enough bandwidth to get movies in HD, so we’ve been working our way through those offerings. I hope they start making more HD content available, but for now there’s enough to keep us busy.

Confessions of a Superhero

Confessions of a Superhero– Confessions of a Superhero is a fascinating documentary that looks at the stories of four people who dress up as superheroes and walk up and down Hollywood Boulevard, posing for pictures with tourists (hoping for tips). That might sound boring, but don’t be fooled. You won’t be able to stop watching.

The film takes most of its time following around the earnest Christopher Dennis (Superman) and splits the rest of the time between the guys who play Batman and The incredible Hulk and Jennifer Wenger, who dresses up as Wonder Woman.

They’re all “aspiring” actors (not sure at what age you go from being aspiring to sad, but a couple of these guys are bumping up against that line) who pose with tourists for tips. It’s compelling to watch these people’s lives and see what level their willing to reach to chase a dream while making ends meet. It’s sad, hopeful and touching all at the same time.

I strongly recommend it.

(Netflix Link)

Primer

Primer– I’d say this review has spoilers, but honestly, I don’t know if that’s true or not, because I’m not really sure what I actually saw as I watched this movie.

The nutshell is this: two guys inadvertently build a time machine. As all red-blooded males would, they use the it to get chicks game the stock market. Things don’t go according to plan. Things get confusing. Movie ends.

I had read/heard a ton of recommendations for this movie, so I had to check it out. We couldn’t stop watching, but we didn’t really understand what the heck was going on. I think this one will take multiple viewings to really understand what’s going on. If you’ve seen it and can make sense of it, do tell.

I recommend this with reservations.

(Netflix Link)

Are YOU Prepared for the Apocalypse?

!!!!BREAKING NEWS!!!!


Are Violent Video Games Adequately Preparing Children For The Apocalypse?

Make sure you get your daily dose of gaming in. You never know when it’ll happen.

That or you could of go make a vault somewhere…

Step Up 3???

Who will win in the brutal face off between bitter riva…um actually it’s just an awesome video. Check it out!

Comic Watch [Chainsawsuit]

Happy Holidays, fellow Buttonmashers!

What I’m consuming

I haven’t done of these in a while, but I’m currently on travel in Maine and have a little time to work on this. Here is the media and entertainment I’ve been consuming lately.

My education in the Science Fiction and Fantasy “classics” continues, but I took a break to read A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trailby Bill Bryson. A very hilarious and thoughtful travelogue of a couple guys ill-fitted for the task of tackling the Appalachian Trail. Hysterical. Another side track I took was to read the classic The Richest Man in Babylon,the gold standard for teaching hard work and personal finance. I think everyone needs to read this book. I’m working on a list of books my kids will read as they grow up and this one will be at the top of that list.

Finally, I got back to the classic. I’m embarassed to say I had never previously read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.I recognize that HHGTTG has a place in the pantheon of Sci Fi classics, but I felt it was a tad overrated. Just a tad. It was good and had laugh-out-loud moments, but it wasn’t great. I then moved on to The Mote in God’s Eyeby Niven and Pournelle. I know I’m drawing from a shallow well at this point, but Mote is probably the best Sci Fi novel I’ve read. A story of the first contact of humans with aliens, it starts slow but finds a comfortable pace and is an excellent read. It strikes the balance between story and science that I like. It also had a “goose bump” moment that I had to go back a read multiple times. Hopefully you know what I’m talking about, a moment that takes a great book and elevates into rarefied air. (One of my favorite “goose bump moments” was in Crichton’s Timeline, when the students find the professor’s note, “Help me,” written 400 years in the past. I loved that moment.) I’m recommending The Mote is God’s Eye to anyone who’ll listen.

Having finished Mote, I’m now moving on to another couple of classics. I have both 1984 and Brave New Worldin the queue. Another book I’m ashamed to say I never read, 1984,was riveting (I just finished it) but a tad depressing. I’ve moved on to Brave New World and then it’s on to the stack of graphic novels Nat provided me with.

Not a whole lot new on the TV consumption. I’m still watching Prison Break and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles on Fox, and the trifecta of Earl/Office/30 Rock on Thursdays. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it: 30 Rock is my favorite show on TV. We got hooked on Dexter earlier this year and we’re anxiously awaiting the next season (we’re catching it on CBS, as we don’t have Showtime).

On the music front, I haven’t been listening to much new stuff. The newest couple of groups I’ve been listening to have been Bodies Without Organs, a swedish Europop group I came across on last.fm. I can’t find much of their stuff on iTunes or Amazon, but YouTube has a lot of their stuff (my favorite being “Chariots of Fire“). Another group I recently start listening to is Clutch. I love the lead singer’s voice, and any band that performs a song called “What Would a Wookies Do?” is hard to pass up.

So that’s quite a bit. Hopefully I can do these more regularly so I don’t have so much to catch up on. I’ll let the other guys chime in, as well.

I’d like to know what have you been consuming?

(Image Credit: Stacks from Patrick Gray Illustration’s photostream)

The Force Unleashed in 1915

It’s Friday and we need to have a little fun.

I feel, in a way, it made it better.

Arcade Machines in the Movies

Forget terrible movies based on video games. Let’s look at the real stars: Upright arcade machines in the movies.

It gets even better when it’s meta: movies about an arcade game, with the arcade game in the actual movie:

(Also, note to self: go find City Hunter on DVD)

Euphoric Exhilaration

In this day of mass consumerism it takes a lot for a movie, a game—anything really—to strike a chord. With movies, I can think of only four times that it has happened to me. The first time was when I was five and the credits rolled at the end of Star Wars. The second was a year later when I screamed with Luke Skywalker in the scene in The Empire Strikes Back. It wasn’t until years later that Saving Private Ryan moved me to tears in realizing if I’m earning this. I reeled in shock as The Sixth Sense shattered my perceived notions of cinema.

Last night, I was a kid again.

However, it may have been a movie like The Sixth Sense that took our public’s perceptions of cinema where people tend to over-analyze each and every movie, book, video game, and other such type of entertainment. (Thank you, J.J. Abrams and Lost.) What I’m about to mention was not accepted by the public at large. However, that’s okay. I think that it’s a cinema tour de force.

The movie that caused my boys and I to literally stand up and cheer was Speed Racer.

It—to borrow the cliche—had it all: candy for kids, an underlying adult plot, eye candy, a mystery man, redemption, slapstick, drama, excellent sound effects, appropriate acting, an excellent soundtrack, and a monkey. A monkey!

If you have not seen this movie and you would like some escapism that doesn’t seem to care who is watching, but seems to enjoy itself then this is a movie for you. It is just self-indulgent fun. It has probably the best crescendo of excitement in a movie I’ve ever witnessed. It’s over-the-top and a blast.

I have no complaints (even with its length). We received the movie from Netflix and immediately went out and paid good money for the overpriced Blu-Ray. My one regret is that I did not experience it on the big screen.

I believe this movie will be a cult classic.

Here… we… GO!

I usually comment here on the site whenever I’ve seen a movie, but recently I’ve been Twittering quick posts after I see a new movie. Usually it’s nothing worth repeating here. Nevertheless, after seeing The Dark Knight Saturday morning, I think I’m done with Summer Blockbusters. I’ve seen just about everything I’ve wanted to see. I still like discussing movies with you guys, so I figured I’d comment on everything in one post.

So let’s do a list of the movies I’ve seen this summer, Top 5 countdown-style. I’ll try to avoid it where possible, but spoilers are possible. (You’ve been warned)

5. Hancock – “One of these things is not like the others.” In a summer full of super-hero movies, Hancock stands alone. Contrary to what the trailers would have you believe, Hancock is not a super-hero movie. That’s not to say it was a bad movie, it just didn’t fit the mold of the rest of this year’s blockbusters.

I didn’t mind Hancock. I’m a sucker for summer movies headlined by The Fresh Prince (although I’ve been disappointed more than once) and Hancock is no exception. This certainly wasn’t his finest movie, but it wasn’t horrible, either. The movie has a lot of flash and eye candy, but was weak in parts.

I’m a big fan of Jason Bateman, who carried this movie for me. His dry humor (somewhat reminiscent of his Arrested Development character) along with his good heart made him a likable character, even when things come apart for him.

Overall, Hancock had everything a popcorn movie should have. But not much more.

4. Hellboy 2 – I’ve sort of adopted Hellboy as a favorite comic book character. I’m not familiar with the comic book itself, but I’m a fan of Ron Perlman’s interepretation of the character. I’m also in love with Guillermo del Toro’s fanciful imagination. (Nat has implored that I see Pan’s Labyrinth). Oh, and Hellboy has a really big gun and likes to punch people with his demon hand.

Hellboy 2 had its moments. Moments of excessive cheesiness and moments of awesome. On a visual level, I loved Hellboy. The Golden Army was a sight to behold and the monsters impressive. Bits of the story weren’t my favorite.

Overall, Hellboy 2 gets a demon thumb up from me.

3. The Incredible Hulk – I didn’t hate Ang Lee’s version of the Hulk. Take away the Hulk Poodles and the daddy issues and you’ve got a pretty good movie. Nevertheless, The Incredible Hulk is better in pretty much every way. Ed Norton was better than Bana, Hurt was marginally better than Sam Elliot and the Tyler/Connelly matchup is probably a push. Roth is a much better villain than the super freak dogs.

Again, Hulk doesn’t disappoint in the SMASH department, either. There is a lot of that. When the Hulk gives Roth’s character (in human form) the big boot, I think I cheered. It was awesome. This version of Hulk has a perfect balance of frenetic running and a tenuous balance between Banner and Hulk. It felt a bit claustrophobic.

I give it an irradiated third thumb sideways (pointed up).

2. Iron Man – For me, Iron Man comes this close to super-hero perfection. It just needed that little extra butt kicking, high-tech suit-of-armor style. It just needs moar action. That’s about the only bad thing I can say about Iron Man — if it had a wee bit more action, it would have been almost perfect.

Downey Jr. was great (he sort of played himself, right? He had to be good) and Howard and Bridges were good, too. Acting was good, the story was great and lots of fist pumping action. Just not enough.

It gets a mechanically assited digit straight up.

1. The Dark Knight – And of course, that brings us to Batman The Dark Knight. I’m almost hesitant to write too many words about this movie. Not that I would spoil too much, but that my clumsy words would lessen it’s greatness in some way. That’s probably impossible, it was so good. So good, that after some consideration, I’m thinking of putting it my “Top-5 All time” list of favorite movies.

Where to start? One way my friend and I determine how much we like a movie is whether the movie is “quotable” as in “how often do we quote the movie?” The Dark Knight has some great, quotable lines. It has some memorable moments that also will be reminiscenced over and over again. It jammed so much into one movie that it’s just begging to be seen multiple times.

And let’s get this out of the way — Heath Ledger’s performance stands alone. It’s every bit of amazing that you’ve heard and read. I’m not sure there’s more I could say that would add any more credence to the mindswell. He was maniacally amazing.

And he does great magic tricks.

Everyone else? They did a pretty bang-up job as well. My secret man-crush on Christian Bale probably biases me, but his Batman is probably the best. Aaron Eckhart’s Harvey Dent was also believable. Gary Oldman delivers another underrated performance.

The Dark Knight is an hundred and fifty minute thrill ride that never slows down and barely even lets the viewers relax or catch their breath. I saw the movie in IMAX (my first IMAX experience) and that just enhanced the experience. If you have a chance, this is the way to see it.

It’s my movie of the year for 2008. I can’t wait to see it again.

I give The Dark Knight one demented crazy round of applause.

What a summer this has been for movies!