Saturday, September 25, 2004

Shaun of the Dead

Loved it. Part Dawn of the Dead, part romantic comedy, this weird British hybrid had just enough of each to appeal to me. And the splatter movie fan in me was delighted by the fact that the gore was not toned down to appeal to the chicks in the audience. Come to think of it, I don't think I saw any chicks in the audience.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Excellent flick. Enjoyable sci-fi in the tradition of the old movie serials, Star Wars and Indiana Jones. The entire movie is steeped in a sepia-tone haze that gives it a really cool antiquated look. Great fun from beginning to end.

End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones

The Ramones, alas, are gone. With the recent death of Johnny Ramone, most of the original members of the band are now dead. The Ramones were the first punk rock band and were true originals. I loved the band then and I still think their music is pure genius. End of the Century chronicles the band from the beginning up to right before Johnny's death. We get lots of interviews with the people who knew the band members the best. If you have any interest in the band, rush out and see this documentary before it disappears from theatres. I adored every minute of it. Didn't want it to end. While you are at it, go out and buy the new Ramones Raw DVD for lots and lots of home movie footage of the band and cool stuff like Joey and Marky on The (Channel 9) Howard Stern Summer Show. Great stuff.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Peter Jackson is one of my favorite movie directors. Jackson helmed the Lord of the Rings feature films as well as Bad Taste, Beautiful Creatures and Dead Alive, amongst others. If you are a Jackson fan like me, you probably already know that he is currently shooting his next film, a big budget remake of King Kong. Video production diaries are being posted to a fan site called These diaries contain footage of scenes as they are being shot with glimpses of Jack Black, Adrian Brody and Naomi Watts, as well as Jackson directing. You should check these out, since the site and the video diaries are authorized by the man himself!

Friday, September 17, 2004

Survivor: Vanuatu Begins

Survivor: Vanuatu is off to a rousing start. It premiered Thursday, September 16th on CBS. It's pretty much what we've come to expect from the previous 8 seasons: great fun!! It will be great to continue to follow this season over the coming months. Still, I miss the wonderful previous All-Stars season. That was so much fun. However, I fully expect Vanuatu to be just as much fun.

The Amazing Race 5

I have been following The Amazing Race all summer and it has my vote for best summer 2004 TV series. I'm brand new to this series and I was blown away after I watched the first episode. "How could I have voluntarily missed this?" I asked myself. Well, the season finale is this coming Tuesday, September 21st and all I have to say is that it's a good thing that Survivor: Vanuatu has begun, because I am gonna miss the hell out of good old Amazing Race. Who will be the winning team? Tune in Tuesday and find out!

Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned

Prodigy's Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned was finally released Tuesday, September 14, 2004, effectively ending the controversial seven years that have passed since the group's previous release, the landscape-flattening Fat of the Land. As I alluded to back last month, Prodigy's sound has changed considerably. Gone completely are Keith Flint's raging vocals that made the singles Firestarter, Smack My Bitch Up and Breathe such distinctive and striking songs. Instead, the central core of Prodigy, Liam Howlett, has gone back to the electronic origins of Prodigy and created an entirely new, if flashed-back, beast. The result is an enjoyable, heavy, big beat electronic album that is not going to please everyone, but is enjoyable in its own special way. I have always been a big fan of the 1994 Prodigy album Music for the Jilted Generation and if Outnumbered resembles any previous Prodigy release, it's Jilted. I really, really like Outnumbered. Sure, I would have liked to have seen more of Keith in the band (I must be one of the few who liked last year's Baby's Got a Temper) but it's OK to have Prodigy still be true to its own roots rather than to be a pale imitation of itself. And it's wonderful to have them back since, for a while there, I thought they were goners.

Post-Stress Test World of Warcraft Withdrawal

World of Warcraft withdrawal has set in. Ever since the Stress Test Beta ended last week, I've been searching for another game to occupy my time before WoW's actual release completely destroys whatever remnants of a social life that I still have left. I think that I've found it. Doom 3. I completely loved the original Doom and Doom II and those games and others like Rise of the Triad and Heretic completely transformed my viewpoint of videogaming and began my preoccupation with PC gaming. That was back in 1994. Since then, PC gaming has become one of my favorite time-wasters and I have played many, many different games. I've worked in PC gaming retail. I've built PCs specifically designed for PC gaming. I grew from gaming over a 56K modem (or slower!) up to today's standard of Internet play over a broadband connection. Its been a long fun road and Doom 3 is a wonderful culmination of all of those years. It's almost like we spent 10 years training for this. Doom 3 is a supreme first person shooter sporting the most sophisticated graphics of any PC game yet produced. In fact, it's so advanced that the hardware doesn't exist yet that can push the upper limits of what the game is capable of. Mind blowing. Yet, all of us are in the process of upgrading our rigs in order to be able to have the best possible 2004 Doom 3 experience. A new videocard here, an upgraded motherboard and processor there.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Napoleon Dynamite

One of my favorite films, ever. Totally different from anything you have ever seen, period. There is a little of Napoleon in all of us. All of the characters in the film are just so completely skewed as to be totally different from any other characters you have ever encountered before!

As an Elvis Costello fan, I was curious about this you know why? But after seeing it, I forgot about that odd cooincidence. I saw ND for the first time in good 'ol Red Bank on June 27, 2004.

Second viewing (Aug. 23): This time I saw it in Aberdeen. First time to the theatre. I loved seeing ND for a second time, but I was disappointed that this theatre did not show the new version with the added footage at the end. Boo Aberdeen Strathmere Theatre! Still it was very refreshing seeing this film again and it gets better every time I see it. Upon this viewing, Napoleon Dynamite becomes my favorite movie of the Summer of 2004.

Third viewing (Sept. 11): Napoleon finally hits the Monmouth Mall Loews. This time it was every bit as good as the previous two viewings, with the added joy of the spectactular extra footage at the end of the film, tagged on for the wider release. At last! In the addendum, let's just say that some unlikely duo gets married and the entire gang from the film (in addition to Tina the Llama) is there to witness the event. One major character from the film rides into the ceremony triumphantly on a galloping horse!! It's just too good and a wonderful treat for those of us who had seen the film previously without the new footage. Sweet with a capital "S!"

Resident Evil: Apocalypse

I loved the first two Playstation Resident Evil games and I really enjoyed the first movie. This direct sequel to the first RE movie was pretty good and, as with other flicks this year, I got to see this one for free with the gratis ticket inside the Resident Evil DE DVD. More zombie-bashing fun awaits in Apocalypse although I thought that it took an unexpected path. The end of the film paves the way for a RE3. Hopefully RE:A will be successful so that Mila can continue to kick some zombie ass in #3. If so, I'll be there for that one too. I'm so happy about the recent success of films like 28 Days Later, Dawn of the Dead and Shaun of the Dead (set to hit the states later this month). I am a proud zombie flick fanatic from way back. I've been there since the very beginning back in the halcyon days of Night of the Living Dead in the late 1960's. I'd debate the relative merits of the films of George Romero and more recent inspired gems like Cabin Fever with anyone. So, Apocalypse was lots of fun for me. And it was fun preparing to see it by viewing the first Resident Evil again too.

Resident Evil: Apocalypse & Napoleon Dynamite 3rd Viewing

Another weekend of film bliss! Get thee hence to the movie review page and see what I had to say about the zombie-rific Resident Evil: Apocalype and the spectacular THIRD viewing of Napoleon Dynamite WITH the new added footage at the end! Sweet!

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Garden State

I missed the premiere showing at Red Bank's Art Theatre because it was on the same night as TMBG at the Stone Pony, so I saw it at the Monmouth Mall Loews. Loved the movie nonetheless. Liked the fact that the movie is named after my favorite state. Zack Braff and Natalie Portman were great. I admire Zack for writing, directing and starring in the film. GS touched some emotions that I could have done without revisiting, but it was an enjoyable film nonetheless.

Labor Day 2004 Euphoria: World of Warcraft Beta Stress Test

What have I been up to over the long Labor Day weekend? I am thrilled to say that I got into the World of Warcraft Beta Stress Test and I have been playing WoW (at last) all weekend long. This is such a great game and in such a polished state with virtually no lag. What a pleasant surprise! I took some screenshots of my first character, the diminutive but mighty Gnomedog, and assembled them into an album. Check it out! More to come soon!

Killing Time While Waiting For The Servers...

...and, while we wait for Blizzard to bring the World of Warcraft servers back up, it's time for a late-summer movie review update. Check out the movie review page for my thoughts on Open Water, Garden State, Hero, Riding Giants and Napoleon Dynamite (one more time)!