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March Movie Preview [FB]
Feb 28th, 2012 by Dan

Looks like a much more interesting release month than February. I’ve got interest in The Hunger Games and Casa de Mi Padre for sure, but some of the others are question marks.

Will Friends With Kids be funny enough to watch? 21 Jump Street has as much chance of being terrible as not (who am I kidding, terrible is far more likely). My interest in The Raid depends on how little they rely on implausible string/CGI work, and Goon could be interesting.

Any of these interest you guys?

What I’ve Been Doing 27 Feb 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Feb 27th, 2012 by Dan

qrtgr

Man, nothing else on television is close to as good as this show is right now. (Photo courtesy flipittyjupe2)

It was a hectic, busy weekend that resulted in me becoming an uncle. So glad that the delivery was ok, but now I’m crossing my fingers for everyone to get healthy soon.

Movies

Almost watched one this week! Didn’t though.

TV

Justified – The stuff with the organ thieves was awesome. Also the scenes with Limehouse have been stellar. Tensions are running super high in Harlan County and I can’t wait to see what happens. Definitely the best action drama on air right now.

Childrens Hospital – This week they aired the rerun of the 70s episode. I still love the lines about Ken Marino’s character being a baby killer. Great stuff.

Up All Night – “I know you’re kidding, but why put that out there?” Oh man, the Lennon-McCartney of hip-hop and the Simon and Garfunkel of hip-hop. SO GREAT! Alanis Morissette is quite the capable actress. All that terrorist and TSA stuff was great. Beeping out profanity is way funnier than profanity most of the time.

The Walking Dead – This show is kind of on a roll. The violence and gore was pretty impressive this episode.

Glee – Whaaa…? Suicide attempt and a car accident ripped straight out of 80s soaps. Weirdly fluctuating tone, mediocre songs. What was this episode?

Archer – Decent episode with some real great lines. Loved the WV stuff.

My Strange Addiction – Got stuck watching this with Tiffany. There was a dude who was in an intimate, sexual relationship with a car. I watched a show about an actual, real person who is in love with his car. Shoot me next time, please.

New Girl – Jess being bullied by one of her students? Makes a lot of sense as a plot point to me. Good fun this episode. Schmidt is still the best character so far.

Fringe – Finally returned to season 2. The case of the week episodes that don’t advance the narrative are less fun, but this one was still pretty neat. Poor Broyles.

Music

Enjoy St. Vincent’s “Cheerleader”:

Books

Probably read Dragon Tattoo. Can’t remember if I did.

Video Games

Final Fantasy XIII-2 – Continues to be a JRPG-ass JRPG. I still like it though. Interested in seeing more of the plot.

Ghost Trick – Getting close to the end! I was proud of myself because the Spanish I’m learning from playing it in Spanish has actually been put to use. For example, a basement is a sótano, a word I didn’t need in Florida, but I needed yesterday.

Rhythm Heaven Fever – Got a few quick rounds in with David. Lots of fun.

Final Fantasy XIII-2 Impressions [GO]
Feb 21st, 2012 by Dan

Final Fantasy XIII-2

The enjoyable paradigm system returns for the sequel. (Photo courtesy 289chjl)

Man, oh man…If I asked you which Final Fantasy game you were most hoping for a sequel to, would you have said XIII? No, of course not. I wrote quite the lengthy post about how Squeenix should have allowed the complete destruction of mankind in the ending of XIII and I also gave them far more credit than most did as to the story and themes of the game. Since they didn’t kill everyone, they had the chance to make a sequel and…I’m not annoyed by it. I like the way that the story is handling time travel, even if it seems disconnected and/or sometimes characters say contradicting things in back-to-back lines.

Like it or not, I’m invested in the silly world they built for FF XIII and I like seeing how it changes from present to future. The overarching story makes zero sense, mind you, mostly because the plot coupons make no sense. We need artefacts (their spelling, not mine. I know it’s spelled wrong) to travel through time, but the artefacts have no real connection to anything. They’re just hunks of crystal. Shouldn’t they be anachronistic items that make sense instead of anachronistic hunks of rock?

Anyway, my impressions are below. I need to get those out before I get too crazy about the lore of XIII-2. Typing that sentence made my head hurt…

Show, don’t tell! You have the most advanced cinematics ever seen with photo-realistic faces and you have to tell us that Lightning is confused or wondering “What’s he up to?” SHOW! Anyone who actually talked during battle as much as she does would be insanely annoying.

– Was anyone saying, “You know what FF XIII was missing? Quick Time Events!” I’m pretty sure they were saying that the interface is insanely cluttered already and adding in button prompts on top of the in-engine visuals will make them hard to see. People are prescient like that. Seriously though, we didn’t need these. They don’t add anything to the game.

– I still like the paradigm system, but I wish I didn’t have to start from scratch. Luckily it gets to speed relatively quickly.

– I like the “Here’s what you missed on FF XIII-2″ segments when you load a game. Helps catch you up when your story is ridiculous/makes no sense.

– Noel looks too much like Sora for me to take him seriously

Wisdom Form

Exhibit A (Photo courtesy Pendragon94)

Noel Kreiss

Exhibit B (Photo courtesy MaidenKari)

– I said it before, but it bears repeating. The spelling of artefact is obnoxious

– The Mog voice is terrible and sounds like it doesn’t fit in the mix.

– The in-engine camera angles are stupid. They don’t properly frame anything. I feel like my laziness in setting up shots before I talk to people makes for ugly scenes where a person is occupying the corner and a wall is occupying the rest of the shot. It looks bad.

– I know I said I kind of like this game, but I’m not really highlighting anything other than the paradigm system. Seeing all the old characters get old(er) has been pretty cool.

-I’m also interested in seeing how this resolves. Time travel stories are, like, my thing, haha. I want to know more about this Valhalla place and how one gets there. Finding out how it ties in with the l’Cie narrative would be neat too, considering how perfect a metaphor for video games and their characters it is.

– The way that the Pulse fal’Cie are ambivalent gods is my favorite part of them. They’re so arbitrary and mean. It’s brutal the way they manipulate humanity

– Tied in with that, the running narrative about human independence is pretty neat.

– Restricting the game to a two-person narrative shows incredible restraint. It’s a story best told with only two people, for sure.

– The monster system is ok. Not sure I dig it yet.

What I’ve Been Doing 21 Feb 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Feb 20th, 2012 by Dan

Rhythm Heaven Fever screen 12

I appreciate Min's patience playing RHF with me all weekend. We did get some great laughs out of it, particularly during this game, Ringside. (Photo courtesy Wiiloveit.com Images)

Guess what, guys? I like Rhythm Heaven Fever. It’s totally the best thing out there. I only wish I had more restraint so that I wouldn’t be done with it already!

Movies

Hanna – A violent, modern fairy tale. Hanna was a really interesting movie that I thought had to be directed by a continental European. I give myself partial credit since the director was British. A lot of neat imagery and very stylized storytelling.

TV

The Walking Dead – I’m a little behind the curve (I always am with TWD since it airs on Sunday and I usually don’t watch it until Monday or Tuesday, but that scene in “Nebraska” in the bar with the two other survivors was chilling and awesome. Best scene the show has done yet.

Portlandia – Only saw the Mixology episode, but it was pretty funny. The best bit was the way that Fred and Andy Sandberg interacted. I also dug the diner scene.

New Girl – “Why do you have so many condoms?!” Pretty funny episode of New Girl. It still feels like a real work in progress as they try and iron out all the kinks and get it to a consistent place.

Parks and Recreation – Adam Scott gets this week’s Dan Mesa Award for Acting Excellence for all the background reaction shots every time a cop passed by. Great acting.

Archer – I was really excited for this episode, but it wasn’t as good as it could have been. It didn’t really pick up until the second half when the rest of the cast showed up. The fake accents were hilarious.

Life’s Too Short – Oh god, that Liam Neeson bit was brilliant. On the flipside, I’m not sure how I feel about Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant writing alternate versions of themselves, but only when they’re praising themselves. The whole “Why can Ricky do it?” thing was the only eye-rolling part of the episode. Otherwise I like them as openly hating Warwick Davis. Great debut, Min and I were rolling with laughter.

Persona 4: The Animation – Speaking of rolling with laughter, how about that Nanako and Dojima episode where she claimed he didn’t love her? Nanako is one of the saddest/most tragic characters in Persona history, and that’s saying something. The next episode about the Cultural Fair was super hilarious. I think they go to the Amagi inn next week, so we should have even more laughs.

Breaking Bad – For some reason the pro/con list about whether to murder a man was hilarious to me. Despite the comedy/drama line, I think it’s fair to compare this to Weeds. It’s interesting how Weeds never dealt with the decision to become a drug dealer at all. Breaking Bad is (almost) agonizingly slow at deciding whether or not Walter wants to cook meth. I mean, it’s being very interesting about it, so I can’t complain too much. It made sense for a man with a death wish to try and make some cash that way, but now that he’s supposed to start treatment…will the money be enough to motivate him? (Of course it will)

Music

I spent this week listening to The Weeknd again. You should too.

EDIT: Oh, I also watched the Grammys. They were cool.

Books

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – I’m starting to worry that this is going to become a prominent tag on my cloud if I don’t finish it soon. It’s picking up in pace, so I’m reading it a little faster.

Video Games

Saints Row: The Third – Beat it. What a wild and awesome game. Loads of good times. I heartily recommend it to everyone.

Rhythm Heaven Fever – AH! SO AWESOME! AHHHHH! Seriously though, this game is amazing. The games are all much better than the DS ones, somehow, and the music is generally pretty solid too. I was surprised how much I liked the book cheerleaders one. When that gets complicated it’s fun. Gotta go back and master the tap dancers too, I like those guys and I like when they shoot confetti.

The Old Republic – Been a while, but I got to log back in for my alt and to raid. Min and I are being held back by the lack of a legacy system announcement. We really need to know since we have so many alts!

Final Fantasy XIII-2 – There will be a first impressions post later, but I do actually like it even though it has a bad case of the anime bullshits.

Quick Look: Rhythm Heaven Fever [GO/ER]
Feb 17th, 2012 by Dan

Rhythm Heaven Fever is the best game I’ve played on the Wii in a while. So much fun! I keep forcing myself to try and play it slower so it takes longer to finish all the games. Such a great game!

“From Me to You” Cover by Walk off the Earth [F/ER]
Feb 15th, 2012 by Dan

An adorable cover by Walk off the Earth of “From Me to You” by The Beatles. Great fun to listen to.

What I’ve Been Doing 13 Feb 2012 [FB/IB/F/BT/GO]
Feb 13th, 2012 by Dan

Samurai Champloo DVD Cover

The journey is over. (Photo courtesy Sold Out Activist)

Big TV week for me. A lot of huge episodes and great acting made me a very happy viewer.

Movies

I was supposed to watch Hanna this weekend, but I never got around to it.

TV

Samurai Champloo – Turned out to be a show about transition and the end of things. About an age where Japan was forced to move forward and accept the great wave washing over it. Combining that with hip hop was a great idea. Mugen’s final battle was annoyingly unsatisfying. With Jin and Fuu at least the fight had something to do with the plot. The guys Mugen fought were not plot-relevant at all to anything that happened in the series. Also, everyone took ridiculous amounts of abuse and damage and then just lived to tell the tale?

Glee – What the heck was that? All of the numbers were embarrassing, Ricky Martin was used to pathetic effect, and none of the music was that interesting. When you make your episode focus Latin music, but you only really highlight pop crossover Latin stuff it’s kind of insulting to me in the same way all of that was insulting to Santana.

New Girl – For a show that gets a lot of grief, New Girl has been bringing it the past few weeks. Playing chicken with the proposed three way was hilarious. The show still has nothing for Winston to do

Up All Night – “Everyone hates flan!” Preach.

Justified – Whoa, what an episode. That last scene with Devil and Boyd…wow. Not to mention the stuff with Dickie and Limehouse. Awesome stuff. Can’t wait for more!

Breaking Bad – Everybody’s been talking about how great this show is for three years. Guess what, guys? They’re right. It’s awesome. Only saw the pilot, but it was impressive. Can’t wait to see more. Glad it’s on Netflix Instant.

Grammy Awards – Tuned in for the back half with Tiffany. I’m bummed that I missed all the Rap categories (I was pulling hard for Kanye’s stuff. Looks like he did quite well), but it was a fun show. I hadn’t realized that there were so many performances or I would have watched it in the past. Paul McCartney was pretty great, Nicki Minaj was appropriately bizarre (just rap, Nicki. Your flow is unstoppably awesome), and it was generally a good showing. Adele cleaned up, holy cow.

Music

The Weeknd – Aside from the Grammys, I’ve been listening to The Weeknd like crazy. His stuff is totally awesome and 100% free here. If you’re looking for some red hot R&B, look no further. Particular props to “House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls” and “D.D.”

Books

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Get a couple pages in here and there during breaks. Such absolute wish fulfillment writing…Bloomqvist is a weenie, but he gets laid like crazy.

Video Games

Saints Row: The Third – This game is so hilarious and awesome. I spend most cutscenes hitting the Print Screen button to try and cap the ridiculousness. Well-deserved props from the Giant Bomb folks. I’ll probably beat the main campaign this week.

Ghost Trick – Still clever and fun gameplay. I think Min is playing this on his iPad now. He might catch up and beat me!

The Old Republic – Haven’t had a lot of time to work those alts (Min’s been busy), but it’s still fun. The news that Dave might be willing to play soon is awesome and encouraging.

“Watery Graves” From Plants vs. Zombies [F/ER]
Feb 11th, 2012 by Dan

Who doesn’t love Plants vs. Zombies’ music? So great.

Tim Schafer and a New, Community-Funded Adventure Game! [GO/ER]
Feb 9th, 2012 by Dan

Some of you may remember when I wrote a whole article about how I loved Tim Schafer (oh yeah, and also a Brütal Legend review).

Guess what, you guys? He’s making a new adventure game with Double Fine and Ron Gilbert!

I’m really excited about this. Kickstarter is one of the best things the internet age ever invented. I’ve helped fund about four projects through it and I’ve never regretted a one. My contribution may have come after they met their $400k goal (in one day, holy cow!), but I’m more than happy to put my $100 down. Can’t wait for the game!

EDIT: Forgot to link the Kickstarter. Find it here!

The Death and Return of Superman As Told By Max Landis [ER]
Feb 6th, 2012 by Dan

Max Landis, son of director John Landis and a screenwriter in his own right, made this video about the time that DC Comics killed Superman. If you don’t like comics, you should still watch this because it’s awesome. On top of being fun to watch, it also features Mandy Moore, Elijah Wood, Simon Pegg, and many other famous people.

Watch it. I’m not kidding.

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