Archive for the ‘Review’ Category

I, Ninja!


I’m pretty much awesome at video games. That is a fact.

And last Friday night provided more evidence to this conclusion as I finally bested my latest digital endeavor: Ninja Gaiden Sigma. Hailed as one of the most beautiful games (technically and artistically) of it’s time as well as one of the hardest, Sigma lived up to the hype. Sure, it was yet another one of those games who stayed slightly past it’s welcome and, unfortunately, the older I get the more this matters to me. But the thing did look amazing and it did kick my ass.

Oh, did it kick my ass!

I can’t remember the last time I’ve completed a game 1) while I’m about to die and 2) without any means of healing myself. The final battle was pretty much a test of wills – I could’ve killed the guy in my sleep if I had a few potions. Instead, I was forced to fight this guy perfectly! Luckily, the game had really prepared me for just this scenario as it was a total beast in terms of difficulty.

Anyway, great fucking game and one that actually tested my abilities as a gamer and ultimately made me a better one. Haven’t been able to say that about a game in some time! Check it out if you dare …

    Site Updates:

  • Removed Ninja Gaiden Sigma (2007) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Beavis and Butt-head: The Mike Judge Collection: Vol. 2 (1993) from Currently Enjoying

Current Mood: Eh emoticon Eh

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The Lost Word

Hmm ... any type of theme being portrayed here?

© 2010 ABC Studios

Warning: I’ll try to steer clear of spoilers, but if you haven’t seen the final episode you may want to wait to read this blistering [stanus.butt] review.

In case you weren’t already aware, I’m a Lost lover, so naturally last night’s final episode was kind of a big deal. Unlike the last, huge tv-ending event (Sopranos), I was emotionally invested in all the characters from Oceanic flight 815.

To celebrate the grand closing, Cassie scored some tickets to a meetup Lost group that was having a huge party in Brooklyn. One of the members had actually secured a famous “lost” Brooklyn subway station as the venue and we would all enter it in a hatch-like way (via a manhole in the street). It sounded really interesting and cool so I was a bit stoked.

We took the hour-long ride from our place to downtown Brooklyn and managed to find our way to the designated intersection but we didn’t see anyone who looked like a Lost fan. Worse, we didn’t notice any manhole-lifting equipment around, either. Well, to be honest, we had arrived just 2 minutes before the time said we were supposed to get there so we thought maybe they started early. But then … why would the equipment be gone? It all seemed fishy.

Cassie called the number on the tickets but the person answering stated they had no involvement with the event. Ok, weird. Now we thought we had fallen for a scam, so we took the ride back home. Quick side note as Cassie later discovered the event had been cancelled as of Monday and she had somehow missed this small, insignificant detail.

So we watched the final episode on our hot tv – half an hour into it to burn the ridiculous amount of commercials – and it was just as cool as some silly, Brooklyn subway viewing. Far more appropriate, anyway, as we had started this series watching on my laptop alone in my New Jersey bedroom. Even though Lost was a super-popular show I never really watched it in a party setting – it was best served isolated and in the dark much like the survivor’s setting.

Regarding the actual show, itself, I was pretty much pleased with everything. Sure, it was a bit too melodramatic in the relationship department for me – as final episodes all seem to be – but I enjoyed the fact that they didn’t attempt to answer all the questions. Why should the final episode be any different than the others? I was always kind of let down by the big reveals throughout the run of the show and enjoyed all the cliffhangers so much more, anyway.

Even though I’m very non-religious, I didn’t mind the Christian overtones to the whole closing. Just because I’m not into it doesn’t mean some artist can’t believe it or put it in his or her work. Whatever, it was interesting even if it was silly. A belief in an afterlife certainly wasn’t sillier than polar bears on a jungle island and smoke monsters!

I’ll wrap it up here even though I haven’t said a whole lot. Basically, it wasn’t as different or disappointing as the Seinfeld episode, nor was it as pretentious as the Sopranos. I’m trying to think of a better series ending actually … maybe Quantum Leap? I haven’t had a show be as big in my life as Lost in a long time, which is saying something, so it’s a little bittersweet to see it go.

But, fuck, now I have a lot more video gaming time! Thank you, Oceanic Six ;)!

    Site Updates:

  • Updated blog IDs for July 2009 posts
  • Removed Mary J. Blige – What’s The 411? (1992) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Arcade Fire – Neon Bible (2007) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added Cheap Trick – Sgt. Pepper’s Live (2009) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added DMX – Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood (1998) to Currently Enjoying
  • Posted May 19, May 20, May 21, May 22, and May 23 journal entries to The Shack: 10th Anniversary | 2000-2010
  • Created Photos page for The Shack: 10th Anniversary | 2000-2010
  • Removed Cheap Trick – Sgt. Pepper’s Live (2009) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed DMX – Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood (1998) from Currently Enjoying
  • Added Kanye West – Late Registration (2005) to Currently Enjoying
  • Added The Cranberries – Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? (1993) to Currently Enjoying
  • Removed Lost: Season 6 (2010) from Currently Enjoying
  • Removed The National Basketball League: A History, 1935-1949 (2009) from Currently Enjoying

Current Mood: Applause emoticon Applause

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MINI BLOG: Good Old Boys

Randy Newman – Good Old Boys (1974)
I’m slowly becoming a Newman-fanatic! “Good Old Boys” is Nemwan’s fourth studio album but the first one where the patented Newman-arrangement lasts the entire time. I’m amazed he stuck with this type of production to at least Toy Story (all of these songs have the same piano-led, Southern orchestra sound of “You’ve Got A Friend In Me”). Nothing really stands out, with maybe “Mr. President” the only exception, but that’s actually a good thing since the quality never dips the entire half hour (here’s to short albums!). [6.8/10.0] Great

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MINI BLOG: Them Crooked Vultures

Them Crooked Vultures – Them Crooked Vultures (2009)
The self-titled debut (and probably only album) of the supergroup, Them Crooked Vultures, is pretty much exactly what you expected when taking a look at the lineup. Dave Grohl on drums. Josh Homme on guitar and vocals. John Paul Jones on bass and keys. Ok, it’s a little modern, but it’s also Led Zeppelin * Nirvana/Foo Fighters + Queens of the Stone Age and it’s a hell of a lot of fun. [6.5/10.0] Great

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MINI BLOG: Interview with the Vampire

Interview with the Vampire (1994)
An engrossing and visually rich film, “Interview” kept me interested by presenting some of the facts of everyday vampire life that get left out of other movies: boredom, sadness, loneliness, and apparently a whole lot of homo eroticism! Great acting all around (but that’s to be expected with this powerhouse cast) and Goldenthall always adds a creepy, Gothic vibe to the scenes, but I felt one too too many Vampire-logic holes for my taste. I mean, really, you can’t kill a vampire by stabbing him through his heart but you can with a scythe? [3/5] Liked It

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MINI BLOG: The Fruit That Ate Itself

Modest Mouse – The Fruit The Ate Itself (1997)
What a turd. I can’t believe 1) that any band would release this as a serious album and 2) that anyone would be a fan of this recording. About half of the “songs” are less than a minute-long ditties with barely any musical merit. The rest are mostly the exact same stuff you heard on the previous two Modest Mouse albums. I’m sick of Isaac Brock’s guitar antics of this period. Yes, they’re unique and strange, but he does the exact same thing in every song. Ugh. [2.4/5.0] Ok

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  • Anonymous
    Monday, November 23rd, 2009 at 18:56 | #1

    I’m not gonna lie–these reviews are very painful. Let’s get back to the good stuff.

  • Wednesday, November 25th, 2009 at 11:54 | #2

    There was good stuff?

MINI BLOG: Shaken N Stirred

Robert Plant – Shaken ‘N’ Stirred (1985)
Shaken ‘N’ Stirred? More like Crash ‘N’ Burn. Plant’s strategy in the 80’s (experimental jazz-pop) is so opposed to what he accomplished with Led Zeppelin in the 70’s that I’m surprised he ever had any success. Well, “Shaken ‘N’ Stirred” brings the singer back down to earth after his first two semi-OK (and successful) solo albums. It’s no surprise that he took three years off following this stinker, went back closer to his blues-rock roots and released his best solo offering in “Now And Zen.” [3.5/5.0] Ok

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  • Monday, November 16th, 2009 at 10:47 | #1

    I don’t think this album came out in 2008

  • Monday, November 16th, 2009 at 11:32 | #2

    Ah, copy and paste 🙁

MINI BLOG: Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
Ok, I’m impressed. It’s so painfully obvious that “Slumdog” was the brainchild of nothing more than one of the gimmicks of gameshow “So You Want To Be A Millionaire” (I guessed the ending with about half an hour left in the film). But, like a great Greek epic, even though the ending is never in doubt, it’s all about the journey that makes the story worthwhile. “Slumdog” prevents a fascinating look at the culture of India’s lowest class (especially the children of this environment) and how they must hustle and struggle to survive almost every moment of their lives. This movie also brings a modern polish to movie-making with web-inspired sub-titles and almost reality TV quality filming. Do I believe this was Best Picture worthy? Maybe not, but definitely worth a view. [4/5] Really Liked It

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MINI BLOG: Raditude

Weezer – Raditude (2009)
Another Weezer album, another online music purchase. Wow, I guess I’m finally maturing and coming back into the world of actually paying for my music (that was a joke, FBI). Well, Weezer albums are sure starting to be like Star Trek movies: the good ones are immediately followed by terrible ones. “Raditude” has some nice melodies – it seems like the tunes to all of Rivers Cuomo’s songs are ones that you’ve known your entire life – but there is a very empty vibe going through the whole album. I have a theory that the theme behind this grouping of songs was to write material based on or inspired by what the band members thought would be cool (or, sigh … raditude) when they were 12. The cover of the album seems to be dripping with late 70’s/early 80’s which would be right about the time when Rivers was 12. Unfortunately, even that nice fantasy theory doesn’t justify some of the turds on this album and the overall apathy given to the lyrics. I’ve always been a music-over-words man when it comes to songwriting but, damn, Rivers! This stuff is mindless. [4.0/10.0] Good

What? This came out as good with my scathing review? Oh, well. RESISTANCE AGAINST THE RATING SYSTEM IS FUTILE!

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MINI BLOG: Tool Academy 2

Tool Academy: Season 2 (2009)
Well … if I’m going to completely lame up stanus.butt why not do it in style and make my first TV review about Tool Academy 2. That’s right, I watched all (well, most) of the show about guys who had to go into therapy and perform tasks to prove they weren’t tools to their girlfriends. The trailers for it really had me thinking it was going to be a rung below even the Brett Michaels love show fare, but I actually enjoyed myself. If it’s going to be reality TV, it must involve fuck ups and mental cases for me to stay tuned. [3/5] Liked It

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