Archive for September, 2012

09/29/2012

When time travel is outlawed …

by wfgodbold

Only outlaws will have time travel!

That’s the premise of Looper, at least – a dystopian near future, where crime syndicates from the less near future send people they want killed. It’s all fun and games until you screw up and let a guy escape.*

The movie is pretty entertaining: it’s got good action scenes and an interesting use of time travel. I suppose I should have seen the ending coming, but I didn’t.

I will say that Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Bruce Willis impression was better than Bruce Willis’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt impression. It’s like he wasn’t even trying!

Seriously, though, it’s not a bad movie.

*Why the geniuses in the future don’t just mortally wound the guys and send them back through time bleeding out is never explained. Maybe they have to be able to truthfully say they didn’t kill anyone?

09/26/2012

Tabula rasa*

by wfgodbold

First, XCOM: Enemy Unknown news:

It hits Oct. 9, which was probably old news to you if you cared.

The PC “demo” is up on Steam. It’s actually the tutorial, and is on rails for the first mission and part of the second.

You do get to experience enough of the game for it to give off that X-COM vibe, though, and I’ll definitely cash in gift certificates and various reward points to get it at launch.

Firaxis gave Game Trailers a new gameplay video, this time of a downed UFO mission. Unlike the other videos they’ve shown, this one is not in an urban environment.

Monolith Soft released the opening movie to Project X-Zone, their Super Robot Wars-esque mashup of SEGA, Capcom, and Namco characters. I would be all over this game if (1) I had a 3DS, and (2) Nintendo hadn’t made the 3DS region free. The licensing problems a game like this would cause pretty much nixes any chance of its release in the US.

Falcom is porting Trails in the Sky to PS3. I’m sure it will look great (since the original game was on the PC and supported high monitor resolutions), but I don’t know how many people in Japan are going to be willing to pay again for a game they’ve already bought once or twice before (PC, PSP, and now PS3). The Square-Enix business model focused on rereleasing your good old games to fund your crap new games will only get you so far.

Ufotable’s animation for Tales of Xillia 2 is just as good as everything else I’ve seen them animate. This preview video also has portions of Ayumi Hamasaki’s theme for the game.

Using his own logic, I could have the UN Secretary General shut up for “[humiliating] my values and beliefs” (i.e., free speech). The answer to bad speech is more speech. The idea that people or groups do not have any agency and are forced to dance to the whim of the speaker is reprehensible.

In the same vein, Posner** is a big fan of the heckler’s veto.

*No, not that SF MMO Lord British tried to make. It’s close enough to “tab clearing” for government work.

**No, not that Posner (though it is his son).

09/25/2012

Before I forget

by wfgodbold

Dredd was good.

It was darker and edgier than the campy Stallone version, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing (unless you’ve an aversion to ultraviolence or gore, I suppose). One reason I think it worked a little better than the previous film* is that aside from the shorter in medias res intro, the whole thing takes place in a much smaller area (than the first film did). You see the world in the intro and outro, but instead of taking you into the Cursed Earth, and then all over the city, you really drill down into the seedy underbelly of Mega-City One.

And besides, any movie that even tries to hand-wave a reason for gratuitous cool-looking slow-mo action scenes can’t be all bad.

*Which I still liked, don’t get me wrong. It was so bad it’s good, instead of being legitimately good, is all.

09/24/2012

Sigh.

by wfgodbold

The latest Ig Nobel Prizes are out, and some of them are pretty entertaining.

One, though, was just depressing:

LITERATURE PRIZE: The US Government General Accountability Office, for issuing a report about reports about reports that recommends the preparation of a report about the report about reports about reports.

It’s reports all the way down at the GAO!

09/20/2012

I was going to make a “top 20 songs on the iPhone in the last month post…

by wfgodbold

So I could fit in with the cool bloggers, but I couldn’t figure out how to limit the tracks to the songs that were played the most only in the past month; I can only sort by the songs played in the past month that were also played the most over all.

To make up for it, here’s the only (English) song that was on the list I did manage to make:*

Turn the Page – Blind Guardian**

*The rest of the songs were variously J-pop, anime, or video game tunes (and in a few cases, metal covers of those (for example)).

**Not to be confused with that other song by the same name – this is completely unrelated.

09/15/2012

The funniest bit in Resident Evil: Retribution…

by wfgodbold

Was when Alice (Milla Jovovich) handed another character a gun,* and said “Do you know how to use one of these?”

The response?

“I campaigned for gun control!”

“But do you know how to use it?”

“You don’t understand! I marched against the NRA!”

This conversation, of course, happens in the downtime in between killing zombies and running for their lives.

Once the zombies are at the door, it’s well past time to give up on gun control.

As far as the rest of the movie goes; if you’re the kind of person who watched the other Resident Evil movies, you’re the target audience. And you had better go see it, since Paul W.S. Anderson said that if it does well enough, he’ll make a sixth movie, and that will be the finale!

*KRISS got their money’s worth with their product placement, for sure.

09/12/2012

The NYT: Accurate, but Misleading

by wfgodbold

The top story on the New York Times’s site this morning (though not in the print version) is on the murder of the US Ambassador to Libya by rioters. The lede on the NYT site states:

Christopher Stevens, the ambassador, was killed along with three others in an attack on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya. It was the first death of an American envoy abroad in more than two decades. [emphasis added]

On the second page, we finally learn this:

According to the State Department, five American ambassadors had been killed by terrorists before the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi. The most recent was Adolph Dubs, killed after being kidnapped in Afghanistan in 1979. The others were John Gordon Mein, in Guatemala in 1968, Cleo A. Noel, Jr., in Sudan in 1973, Rodger P. Davies, in Cyprus in 1974 and Francis E. Meloy, Jr., in Lebanon in 1976. [emphasis added]

Wikipedia says that Dubs was killed on Feb. 14, 1979. That’s more than thirty-three years ago.

While thirty-three years is indeed more than two decades, it is incredibly misleading. A cynical man might notice that by saying “more than two decades,” the NYT implies that it was less than three decades (a range that would put the last ambassador killing in either Reagan’s or Bush I’s terms, instead of in Carter’s).

But I’m sure a respectable, prestigious paper like the Times wouldn’t shade or slant the truth for a mere partisan political advantage…

09/08/2012

For a limited time only…

by wfgodbold

Raiders of the Lost Ark is in IMAX!

Very limited, unfortunately. From the 7th until the 13th.

I saw it this afternoon, so I can vouch that no frame has been Lucasified.

It’s on the big(ger) screen in all its original 1981 glory.*

While you can tell that it wasn’t shot on IMAX cameras, they did do a good job on the conversion, and it’s hardly noticeable.

I’m glad I aw it; because I was only 1 when it released originally, this is the first chance I’ve had to see it in an actual theater.

I’d say it’s worth your money.**

*They even managed to resist altering the title in the film itself; it still reads “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” I’m surprised they didn’t change it to “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

**Assuming you like the Indiana Jones trilogy.***

***Yes, trilogy. There was no fourth movie, just like there was no Rocky 5. And really, if you don’t like Indiana Jones, there’s probably something wrong with you. The only people I can think of who wouldn’t like Indiana Jones would be secret Nazis. You don’t want to be thought of as a secret Nazi, do you?****

****Ah, Nazis. The perfect movie villains, since everyone hates them.

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