It’s All In How You Look At It

With my sister busily dying of the flu and/or pregnancy, here is a quick bit of preview video from PAX East of an upcoming game called Fez. It reminds a bit of echochrome crossed with a Zelda title. I like the idea of puzzles based on perspective changes as well as the fictional conceit of the power gained by a person who suddenly is able to move in an extra dimension relative to everyone else.



2nd DoW2 Expansion Announced; Rob Swears a Lot

Sonic Rob: WAAAGHHHH!!!
FyreHaar: the comments are amazing
FyreHaar: 90% of them are “yay Ork in a pirate hat, yay!”
FyreHaar: and the others are all “DOWII sucks”
Sonic Rob: looks like a Freebooterz Kaptin
Sonic Rob: fucking SC2 nubs
Sonic Rob: fuck off
Sonic Rob: I’m sorry you can’t win a match without turtling up in a base
FyreHaar: they all complain that it’s too fast or that you have to get strategic points
Sonic Rob: DOW makes you get out there and fucking fight!
FyreHaar: exactly!!!
Sonic Rob: CnB was talking about playing SC2 last night
Sonic Rob: apparently a lot of people put together a single rush
Sonic Rob: if it doesn’t work, they sit there and wait to die
FyreHaar: damn
FyreHaar: this dude is talking shit about the story line of DOW II
FyreHaar: and how he has nothing in common with a space marine
FyreHaar: of course you don’t you stupid fucker
FyreHaar: jesus
Sonic Rob: wtf?
Sonic Rob: you wanna play a RTS where the units are all fat gamers?

Bioshock Ad Infinitum

Irrational Games has released what amounts to a very full-featured cinematic trailer for the fifth game in their loosely-related series of Shock games:

Is it just me, or does this seem a bit… conservative? As always, no judgments are laid upon a mere trailer, but a lot of the thematic elements in this clip – the elitist exclusive society, the nigh-magical city hidden from the common world via fantastic technology, a hulking mechanical monster, the young girl in need of rescue, the haunting sensation we get from a dangerous place redolent of naiive American protoculture – seem terribly familiar. I’m willing to cop that these are themes that have been explored in pop literature for some time. Still, I would have been more excited to see the creative folks at Irrational pop out something that suggested a bit more reach outside of their comfort zone.


Dawn of God of Gears of War

There was a tide of new Warhammer 40k video game publicity earlier this week for some reason, and I’d like to address it really quickly since we’re fans of the franchise generally. First off, I’m not that likely to get into it anyway but the teaser video for the new 40k MMO didn’t excite me much.

Yeah, that one.

I’m willing to reserve judgement until more is known – like, anything at all – but aside from the scenes with Titans the whole thing looks like a WoWalike, right down to the button bar at the bottom and the portrait/resources panel at the top left. I’ve said it before: WoW does what it does very well, and you’re more likely to beat Blizzard with something truly different than by beating them at their own game. WoW with bolters doesn’t count as “truly different”, especially when your art style looks more like WoW than it does the rest of 40k.

So let’s talk Space Marine.

There’s still plenty we don’t know about this game either, but the in-engine footage of combat looks interesting. The shooting looks really reminiscent of Resident Evil 4/Gears of War over-the-shoulder style action games, which I quite enjoy. The melee seems nice and fast, with the marines jumping and lunging into their attacks rather than plodding about; I quite liked the bit early on where a marine charges through the sort of chest-high concrete wall that usually winds up inviolate in shooter games. I didn’t see a wide variety of attacks, though which suggests the possible danger that things could get into throbbing red Dynasty Thumbs territory rather than tasty and caramel-flavored God of War-ville.

I’ve got questions, of course, but I’ll try to avoid the ones that are just thinly-veiled speculation. Who’s the unhelmed marine we see in some of the shooting segments? Do we still get to use any weapons aside from the bolter and chainsword? Are there enemies aside from the orks? Multi?

There’s still plenty of time for them to screw this up, but it would be possible for the stuff shown in that trailer to be parts of a game I would enjoy. Beyond that I allow for nothing!


I Wish Jennifer Connelly Had Been in Nine Instead of 9

But you can’t have it all. That said, the female cast of Nine are all very attractive women. While watching the ominpresent trailer once again last weekend (in the warmup for Sherlock Holmes, of all things), something caught my eye. I scooted home after the film, put the Baker to bed and fired up IMDB to check some numbers. Lo:

Stacy “Fergie” Ferguson

Kate Hudson

Nicole Kidman

Penélope Cruz

Marion Cotillard

And, of course, there are also Dame Judi and the lovely Ms Sofia Loren, whom I am too much of a gentleman to inquire after. My point being that this movie is banking on the attractiveness of a cast of women who are all over the age of 30.

Now, you and I can easily shrug our shoulders and say “Well, of course women over 30 can be attractive. That isn’t remarkable.” The remarkable thing to me isn’t that you and I know it, but that the Weinstein Company knew it and didn’t push for, say, Kristen Stewart to be shoehorned in as a draw to the CW crowd. Megan Fox. Scarlett Johansson. Hayden Panettiere. Just writing this list makes me wish I were dead.

In a perfect world, age wouldn’t be an issue. Good actors would get high-profile roles. It would be a point of nonsensical obviousness that each of the many phases of life has its virtues and attractions. Everyone would accept that glamour is available to anyone who wants to work at it.

Boring, shitty actresses who strive to achieve the Prettiest Common Denominator would achieve nothing.

But, until that world comes to pass, I’m going to feel a happy little thrill when talented women with unusual looks, a normal body, or a birthday before the commonly accepted leading lady cutoff date are cast in roles that airily, defiantly presuppose their ability to be desired.


Abu Gaga

Did anyone else come across the video for Bianca* Knowles’ “Video Phone” (song far inferior to decade-old precursor “Picture Phone” by the Sub Debs; so ya know) and choke on their Pepsi when the writhing Abu Ghraib prisoners appear, grinding their bodies against the curvaceous young singer’s supple form like so many Boschian incubi? I know that what’s really going on with the blue-hooded, dark-skinned men is that they were supposed to have their heads blue-screened out and replaced with cameras (as seen elsewhere in the video), but apparently they ran out of time, forgot to do this bit, or couldn’t figure out a good way to transition from the naked skin of the dancers to the CG camera. Hell, for all I know the director saw the effect and liked it. But there’s no way anymore to see an image like that and not flash, for a moment, to the guy standing on the box with the wires on his hands.

Combine that with the constant imagery of guns in the video and the presence of Lady Gaga who, like Saddam Hussein, is responsible for the deaths of thousands of Kurds, and you can’t help but see the whole piece as a teasing commentary on the repressed sexual desire that America sublimates into violence in general and news coverage of the Middle East wars in particular.

No idea what’s up with the weird homage to Tarantino at the start, tho.

Here is the video, embedded in much the same way that Geraldo Rivera was during the invasion of Iraq. Concidence? I think not:


* I know what her name is. “Beyonce” looks to me like a phonetic spelling of how someone might pronounce “Bianca” if they had no idea how it’s actually meant to be said. Ha ha.

Death at a Funeral: The Bionic Movie

Frank Oz’ Death at a Funeral (a movie I only recall because of Naked Wash) is being remade by Neil Labute, a mere 2 years after its release. As unneccessary as most American remakes are, this one seems even worse. I get that there’s a language barrier that lots of US moviegoers just aren’t willing to hop over; subtitles are surely repellant to folks who head to the movies specifically because reading doesn’t entertain them. I get that there are occasionally cultural differences portrayed in films that can be confusing or even scary to people who are uncurious about the rest of the world or uninterested in seeing characters who aren’t exactly like themselves.

But for fuck’s sake, this is a remake of a movie that was filmed in English just two years ago. There are no subtitles to hold people back. I guess you could argue on the “cultural differences” front that the original was a bit British, but the best thing about British farces is the contrast between old-timey propriety and ludicrously inappropriate behavior. How can that dynamic possibly be improved by the addition of Martin Lawrence cringing “Ohhhhh Daddy!”?

Aboslutely the only interesting thing I can imagine coming out of attempting to remake this British black comedy as an African American slapstick farce is the possibility of exploring the Black community’s attitudes toward homosexuality and race mixing. And I’m not talking about some bullshit feel-good thing where everyone just suddenly decides hey it’s not such a big deal if Dad was gay and had a white lover. With the amount of homophobia pervading Black pop culture, trying to just breeze through the gay dad angle without a really violent confrontation would take this film beyond “unrealistic” to a realm more like “a dimension of existence so utterly foreign that you kinda can’t conceive of it anymore”; it’ll be like the moviegoing equivalent of what happens to Dave Bowman at the end of 2001.

Hit the jump to watch both trailers and compare for yourself.

Continue reading Death at a Funeral: The Bionic Movie