Form feet and legs. Form arms and body.

And I’ll form the head.

Archive for May, 2008

Review: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Posted by rapaleeman on May 28, 2008

Let me preface by saying that yes, I am an Indy fan.  Even with this fact out there this review is not going to be pretty.  Onward we go.

So this is the fourth movie in the Indy franchise (I refuse to re-type the title and I am too lazy to cut and paste, deal with it) and with that comes the typical swashbuckling crusade on dry land that Dr. Henry Jones Jr. is known for.  There is action, comedy, drama, suspense, well maybe not the last two.

The best parts of the movie are when Indy is on-screen being Indy.  He is and always has been a wise-cracking super smart professor that would get himself way over his head.  That runs true here and to be honest it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.  Sure there are some sweet action scenes and the stunt doubles do a fairly decent job, but the chase through the jungle is terrible and the pivotal scenes are just so far out there that it completely hangs itself with what little bit of Indy’s famous whip there actually is in the movie.

Without giving anything away this movie is out there.  Both literally and metaphorically.  This particular franchise has always suspended belief, but not reality.  Most of the ideas behinds the movies are soild facts with a paranormal-type of explanation.  It’s what made them fun (like the first National Treasure movie, but not the second, it was terrible).  Essentially you could legitimately believe what was happening in the film and play along with the Jones as he discovered what the hell was going on.

Not in this one folks.  I got lost about 20 minutes in and the opening of the movie is just crap.  It doesn’t even feel like an Indiana Jones movie.  That doesn’t start until almost a 1/3 of the way in.  Part of the issue is Spielberg and Lucas thinking bigger = better.  Not here it isn’t.  There is so much CGI that this is just unbelievable completely.  Did we need CGI in Star Wars and Transformers?  Yes since they were both fantastical (is that a word) franchises.  Not in Indy.  Practical has always been better (hence the Experience at MGM Studios) and when the stunt doubles are going at it I was glued to my seat.  When the waterfalls and random Mayan dudes show up I was counting down the time for the credits.

Harrison Ford is Indiana Jones.  No question how old he gets, he is the man.  Much like Stallone is still Rambo and Rocky, or Bruce Willis is John McClane, Ford pulls off the age well, though he does sound a little more cynical with his speach.  I swear I heard and saw Han Solo for a few minutes here.  Not a bad thing, but definately uneven for such a great actor.  Shia (however you spell his name, the kid from Transformers and I,Robot) is not that bad as, well I won’t spoil it but if you think about it, you already know who he is and why he is in the movie.  A few others make some good extended cameos from the previous films and some of their dialogue with the Jones is actually great.  The only problem is Cate Blanchett.  Great actress, terrible role.

I think that is the whole problem with this film.  There is so much you can do with this franchise and honestly they didn’t know what direction to take it in.  Do you stay grounded, or go bigger?  The dynamic duo tried to do both and in term almost ruined the film for me.  The last five minutes are epic (and they don’t have any action in it go figure) and will make you grin and at least feel somewhat ok that you just sat through one of the most ludicrous movies you have ever seen. 

If your an Indy fan your going to see it.  Shut up, you are.  I’m tired of people saying they won’t.  You will.  The question is should you?  The answer is yes definately since even though the chapter in this saga is really bad, the ending to the story (or is it?) is really worth it.  You learn about a few key characters and why Indy is who he is.  Also how much his father has actually impacted him in his present life.  It’s weird, Connery isn’t in the movie (not really) but his spirit and precense is all over Ford and his character.  Ultimately that is why you should see this movie.  Indiana Jones.  The man named after the dog.  Dr. Henry Jones Jr.  Part-time professor, full-time badass and explorer.  He as a character evolves here much like Rocky Balboa does in the movie of the same name.  Old, but not too old and never forgetting who he once was and who is now.

This is getting a Recommended for that fact.  Not because it is a good movie.  It really isn’t, but because of the spirit and characters it contains.  And to be honest, I wouldn’t mind seeing Indy back for number 5 if only to allow for him to finish on a high note.  This franchise deserves that much.

RECOMMENDED

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skate. and why it is awesome

Posted by rapaleeman on May 22, 2008

This isn’t going to be review though it will have some elements in there, just nothing official-like.

So last week I got word of a sequel to one of the best (if not THE) skateboarding games around, skate.  The original was great.  It had a minimalist, really short story yet I still play it to this day.  You start off as a great skater who is in an accident and essentially re-invent yourself.  Everything from looks, clothes, and your board all the way to the top.

The real draw to the game is it’s sense of discovery.  The control scheme is unlike anything else.  You use the right stick to ollie and then branch it to do kickflips, laser flips, heelflips, and tons of others.  The triggers grab the board with the respective hand and the left stick rotates/flips your body.  It’s weird because for one the set-up is very simple, yet extremely difficult to master.  Adn that is why I still play it.

To get that ultimate line at the one spot is the greatest feeling.  I love that game and the idea for another is just insane.  You will supposedley be able to walk, but beyond that it is anybody’s guess what will be added.  You can check out www.ea.com/skate for the details and movies.

I think EA is adding in a story and that may be the downfall.  To me they want to give it the Need For Speed aspect.  They want to give it that edge over the competition.  The thing is the game doesn’t need it.  Unlike Tony Hawk, which I love as well, I didn’t buy skate. because of the story or even the pro skaters that were in it.  I bought it because of the overall skating.  The demo had me hooked.  The flick-it control scheme is the future as far as I’m concerned.

Anyway, enough of the happy.  Just wanted to let you people on the Internets know for those that didn’t.  I do wonder if they will bring back the Sidekick interface.  That was cool despite the blatant advertising for the T-Mob.

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Am I really that lame?

Posted by rapaleeman on May 20, 2008

Sorry for the lack of reviews and stuff.  Got nothing new to review that I can review fairly.  Still plodding through The World Ends With You for the DS and have yet to buy a new game due to lack of fundage.  I did waste the cash and pick up Iron Man for the PS3 but have not had a lot of time to get into it.  I do have a strange urge to play Tony Hawk’s Project 8 and skate. again though so I may do that.

Anyway, I get the feeling that I am really lame as of late.  I listen to a lot of music.  Old and New.  My favorites are Journey, Linkin Park, Lifehouse, 311, The Ramones, Blue Oyster Cult, Metallica, The Roots, Wu-Tang, and the list goes on.  It is an eclectic mix to say the least.

The question up at top is in relation to most of my friends just calling the shit I listen to really lame.  True Bon Jovi may be pushing it, but come on.  “Wanted: Dead or Alive” and “Blaze of Glory” are awesome.  Right?

I don’t know.  I don’t listen to radio that often, mostly cds and my iPod (still hate that piece of shit).  I do like some newer stuff, but there are just too many new bands to keep track of and add to my collection.  I only have so much space.  Storage is finite. 

Maybe I’m just old.  Most of my friends are my age, but they haven’t “matured” so to speak and they are still living in the age of the teenager.  Granted, I still listen to Dashboard Confessional, but I am a long way from ever liking Fall Out Boy or the like of radio-friendly emo bastards that are plagueing the youth of tomorrow.  The crap really is terrible.  The Bled, From First To Last, Bullet For My Valentine.  Just awful, awful crap.

Whatever the case may be I don’t think I’m that lame.  Maybe a tad since I do admittingly like Bon Jovi, DragonForce, and even Ace of Base.  Yes, I said Ace of Base.  They were kick ass in 6th grade and guess what?  They still kick ass.

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WTF is wrong with TV?

Posted by rapaleeman on May 16, 2008

So last night was the season finale for Smallville.  I watched it, enjoyed it, yet somehow I was left ultimately unsatisfied.  The epic battle between good and evil (Clark and Lex respectively) was lame and the plotlines for this season were never really resolved.  They may have been dealt with (Brainiac and the like) but it was like a punchline without a joke.  I didn’t get it.

This has lead me to a startling realization.  Other than a few key people in the almighty TV land, nobody knows how they are going to end a show or even about the ultimate payoff that a season or series finale should bring.  I mean as a fan or at least a loyal watcher of a show, they are entitled to a decent conclusion. 

I have never been a fan of cliffhangers for season finales mainly because you never know (or rarely know) if the show will be back.  Even with an almost guaranteed renewal things aren’t always set in stone. 

Case in point: Fastlane.  I loved that show.  It was The Fast and the Furious meets NYPD Blue.  Awesome show.  Very stylish and witty while still being sorta kinda grounded in reality.  The show ended with a cliffhanger and was supposed to be renewed for the next season.  that was the reason they reshot the ending to the show and gave it the cliffhanger.  However, two weeks after the last episode ended, TV Guide had a very small write-up of the cancellation followed by an online message from Fox themselves.  Weak!!!!

Other shows were like this too.  I can name off a bunch (Veronica Mars, The OC sorta, Black Sash, Day Break, etc…) but I won’t to save space and my sanity. 

Look.  My point of this whole thing is that TV producers want to bring dramas, serials, and fictional families to television for the audience to enjoy and to essentially let them into their homes.  They want the watchers (you and I) to become part of the families or one of the gang when it comes to most shows.  They want us to actually care about the characters.  They want us to feel the tention and drama when a character is in some type of peril whether it be physical or pshycological.

Then why in the hell would they have us watch a show that essentially leads to nowhere.  I have no problems with leaving the characters how we found them, just smarter or better off (The Sopranos and The OC are good examples).  I just despise when conflicts that the shows or numerous episodes have built up only to fizzle out like a soda that has been left out overnight, unrefridgerated, and in the open.  Just flat.

To any TV person reading this (really, like they traverse my neck of the Interwebs) stop it.  If your going to pull the plug that’s cool.  Some shows need to stop (The Simpsons and Scrubs are done).  At least let us have closure to the shows that deserve and need it.  It makes the viewer feel less used and abused and would at least make most of the masses happy.  Props to CBS for doing that with Jericho.  I didn’t like the show, but at least they finished it for the fans that were out there before pulling the plug.  Why they are pulling Moonlight is beyond me though.  Add another to my list I guess.

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Review: 3 Doors Down – 3 Doors Down

Posted by rapaleeman on May 14, 2008

It’s been a little while but here is a review of an album I’ve been waiting on for some time.

3 Doors Down is a band that many people know, but in reality don’t really know them.  They hear the name of the band and think of the “Kryptonite” song or “When I’m Gone” which was used, unwisely I might add, to promote the war (well not really, but come on it was admit it).  The truth of the matter is 3 Doors Down or 3DD, is a band that is part rock and roll and then combined with a little bit of politics and social commentary thrown in.  “The Better Life” was like this and so was “Away From The Sun” though many folk didn’t see it that way since they were too busy with their singles and overall great sound.  No one I knew even came close to what these guys were about when they first released.  Hopefully that changes with this album.

After the really weak “Seventeen Days” nonsense they released a few years back, 3DD is here again with a self-titled album (which seems to be all the rage these days) but actually makes sense in their case.  This album is “The Better Life”, more mature and thoughtful.  Yet it still rocks.  Interesting and to be honest I was shocked.  I was expecting an album with a good single and decent tunes, but not this.  No, what I got was an album full of good music that is a great social commentary on the world for the most part.  A great album.  Read on.

The first 3 tracks right off the bat are great.  “Train” is smooth and gets started with a decent bang.  “Citizen/Soldier” is just great.  True it is/was a recruitment song for the National Guard but it is a great song.  It rocks with the hard edge their known for, while still being concious to the bullshit happening in other parts of the world and how it affects those that serve.  The first official single (“Citizen/Soldier” doesn’t count) is “It’s Not My Time”.  Great track and radio friendly with a good message.

The rest of the album follows suit with mostly harder (almost, but not quite grunge rock) tracks than the norm with a couple slow songs lobbed in there for good measure (“Pages” comes to mind).  “These Days”, “When It’s Over”, and “She Don’t Want The World” are great songs that standout on the rest of the album with the remaining tracks providing appropriate filler. 

I know I have praised this to death and must say if you are a fan then bump up the RECOMMENDED to HIGHLY.  Why only RECOMMENDED?  Well, as good as a listen this album is, it isn’t their best work.  That’s what happens when you start out on top (what I meant when wrote the Phantom Planet review).  “The Better Life” was great and their perfect album to date.  If the self-titled had been released first, then this would definately get a HIGHLY attached.  As it stands it is just really, really RECOMMENDED.  To fans it’s a must get though and as stated above it is HIGHLY to them (me included).  

RECOMMENDED 

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