Movies

The Dark Knight Rises: Two Reviews

I skipped out of work early the other day and went to a matinee of The Dark Knight Rises, and here are two reviews: one short and spoiler free, and one long rambling spoiler-filled sack of arglebargle.

Here’s the first review:

In The Dark Knight Rises, the final film in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, Batman comes out of a long retirement to face Bane, a supervillain who wants to destroy Gotham City. I thought it was pretty good, though I enjoyed the first two films a lot more.

Okay, onto the SUPER SPOILER plot summary, which contains SPOILERS. SUPER ONES.

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Movies

Prisoners from Space and Jerks from Manhattan

We caught up on a few movies over the weekend, and here are some quick reviews:

Lockout: What I was hoping would be a big, dumb, fun action movie turned out to be just a big, dumb action movie. There’s a prison, in space, filled with horrible villains who are in suspended animation. The president’s daughter goes up to make sure the space prisoners’ rights aren’t being violated, and a prisoner escapes and kills the only two guards who bother to protect the big button labeled “Let All The Prisoners Out Of Stasis.” Naturally, there’s only one guy who can infiltrate the space prison to rescue the president’s daughter, a wise-cracking former special commando agent (or whatever) who is waiting to go to space prison for a crime he totally committed. Oh wait, SORRY, he didn’t commit it, in a shocking twist that’s never been done before ever.

This movie was terrible and no fun and after about forty minutes we just fast-forwarded to the end. Part of the problem, I think was that it was rated PG-13. Look, if you’re going to do a movie about horribly killing a bunch of space prisoners, make it rated R. There’s a scene where Guy Pearce puts an explosive collar around a guy’s neck and it explodes, and they don’t show it. Show it. Show all of the violenceseses. Give yourself a fighting chance to make your dumb movie at least gross-out entertaining. You have people being sucked into space and you don’t even get to see them pop. Lame.

Also, why not let Guy Pearce speak with his normal accent? He’s never been great about hiding his Aussie accent anyway, and Aussie accents are great, and an Aussie accent in space would be even greater. It might seem unlikely that a top American covert commando tactical spec-ops agent assassin (or whatever the damn hell) is Australian, but then it’s unlikely to have a prison in space, so don’t sweat it. You have Peter Stormare, too, and, come on, you’re not fooling anyone by trying to make him sound American. Let him talk how he talks, all Swedish or whatever. Not enough Swedes in space. Plus, the main two bad guys were Scottish, so having all those accents flying around (in space!) would have been fantastic. Being able to not understand any of the dialogue totally would have helped this film.

Friends With Kids: Wealthy gorgeous young-ish people in Manhattan with vaguely defined jobs dress really well and live in beautiful expansive apartments and attend fancy dinners and go jogging a lot in Central Park. But they have problems, you guys! Because raising kids is hard when you have a million dollars and live in New York and rent cabins for ski trips! The stress of interviewing all the full-time nannies you can afford just gets to you. I can totes relate because I am rich and beautiful but sometimes I’m like, AGGH, I haven’t had sex with Maya Rudolph as much as I used to so my life is garbage!

This movie is notable for having an incredible cast of some of my absolute favorite actors/comedians — Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Chris O’Dowd — and essentially doing nothing with them but having them all be kinda whiny beautiful jerks. I love Adam Scott, too, but he’s a unlikable idiot for way longer than he should have been (roughly 99.9% of the film). The director and lead actress was Jennifer Westfeldt, who has been dating Jon Hamm for years, so even if she’s bummed at making a crummy by-the-numbers romantic comedy, at least she can go home and stare at Jon Hamm. No matter how bad a day you’ve had or how bad a movie you’ve made, being able to go home and stare at Jon Hamm has to help.

Wanderlust: Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston are beautiful youngish people who live in the city (Manhattan, the city that never sleeps and also the only city that exists anywhere, ever) and are ambitious career types, but then their careers go bust and they have to go live in Atlanta with comical jerk Ken Marino, but along the way they wind up stopping at a hippie commune in Georgia and one of them winds up liking it while the other doesn’t, and then the first one doesn’t like it but the other does, and then conflict, and then resolution. Great bunch of comedians and actors: Justin Theroux, Malin Akerman, Joe Lo Truglio, Jordan Peele, Alan Alda, Todd Barry, Kerri Kenney. Lots of hippie humor. Some dongs and butts, jokes about weed and toilets, and Paul Rudd being inexplicably weird while talking to himself in the mirror. It was okay. Decent rental.

Sim-plicity

I am a Farmer

In video games, there is a direct link between food and health: eating food in games is often a way to heal yourself. You’ve probably wondered at some point, “Why does eating a loaf of bread or a bunch of grapes instantly heal my horrible stab wounds?” And that’s a fine question, but what you should have instead been wondering was “Where does all that food come from?” Because, see, food comes from farms, and I played a farming game, and I need an intro paragraph to get started talking about it.

So! To answer the question you didn’t ask, I decided to buy a game called Farming Simulator. And no, I didn’t buy a heavily discounted copy Farming Simulator 2009. Screw Farming Simulator 2009. This is Farming Simulator 2011. Yeah, baby! It’s updated with all the recent farming advances! It’s state of the art farming! This ain’t your grandfather’s farming simulator! (Your grandfather’s farming simulator was a farm.)

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Sim-plicity

I am a Surgeon

The objectives of most of the video games I play fall into one of two categories: kill all of the people, or help some of the people by killing all of the other people. As a result, I’ve spent thousands of hours committing extreme and remorseless acts of violence upon virtual human beings. While I find causing horrible injuries to be a lot of fun, I figure it might be nice try to healing a few, so today I’m going to put down my knife and stop cutting people, and pick up a knife and start cutting people. But in a helpful way.

I bought a copy of Surgery Simulator, by Excalibur Publishing, a game that lets you perform a number of surgical operations on sick or injured patients, or as my gamer brain interprets the goal: kill all of the injuries with careful medical violence.

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Summer Movie Fantasy League

Seventy Seven

Well, this is a first for our Summer Movie Fantasy League, though since it’s only the second summer we’ve done it, firsts are not terribly unexpected.

Kris and I each chose ten summer movies we thought would have the highest combined domestic opening weekend box office totals, and we also chose three movies we thought would combine for the lowest Rotten Tomatoes score. While the box office results aren’t yet complete (I still have three movies left to open, and Kris has five, including The Dark Knight Rises), all of our low score films have been released. The results are: a tie.

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Sim-plicity

I am a Bus Driver

Over the course of my long and storied gaming career, I’ve done a lot in service of saving the world. I’ve slain dragons, rescued princesses, and disarmed nuclear weapons (not to mention, detonated a few). I’ve protected the President, assassinated Hitler, and obliterated aliens from other galaxies. I’ve piloted fighter jets, submarines, battle mechs and interstellar space ships, all with the goal of saving humanity from utter destruction. Long story short, I’ve saved the world. A lot.

Frankly, I’m tired of it. Let other gamers save the world: I just want to live in it. Luckily, there are a number of down-to-earth simulation games that will allow me to do just that. Today, I’m looking at a sim called Bus Driver, by SCS Software, that lets me inhabit the presumably uncomplicated guise of a driver of buses.

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Summer Movie Fantasy League

The Second Annual Summer Movie Fantasy League!

If you recall, last year my wife Kris and I engaged in a summer movie fantasy league (we got the idea from Film Drunk), where we held a draft and picked summer movies based on what we thought their opening weekend totals would be. I won, but not by much.

We’re now in the midst of our Second Annual Summer Movie Fantasy League, and I’m long overdue for boring you with the details.

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Movies

Prometheus: Two Reviews

Kris and I took a day off work to go see Prometheus on opening day, so eager were we to see the new sci-fi film by Ridley Scott, creator of Alien and Blade Runner. I’ve written two reviews, and here’s the first one:

It’s a good, entertaining monster movie, but not the landmark piece of science-fiction I was hoping for.

Okay, now onto the second review, which is absolutely filled with spoilers, because despite my disappointment in the film as a whole, it was very entertaining, and it is a great deal of fun to talk about in detail.

Spoilerslots of them — below.

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Video Games

The Elder Strolls on PC Gamer

Oh, hi.

I’m going to start writing for this blog again, after a long, work-induced hiatus. Not that my job has gotten any better or easier, but a writer needs to write and if I wait for my job to get less hectic I’d never put another word down until I retire at the age of 79.

So. Look for some updates later this week! In the meantime, I have been doing some writing for PC Gamer’s website. Back in 2007 I started a blog about The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, a massive adventure game I played with the goal of not having any adventures. It’s been limping along for years and has a bunch of nice, patient, loyal followers, who have been asking if I planned to do something similar with Oblivion’s sequel, Skyrim.

As it happens, the guys over at PC Gamer, who have given me freelance work for years, were wondering the same thing, and asked if I’d do a weekly diary for their website. The first entry is up now, and there will be new ones every Saturday. Hope you like it!

 

Lady Business | Television

Lady Business – Finally, some drama!

The American Horror Story ads had gimps coming down from the ceiling, so I had to give this one a go for the weirdness alone…and the fact that there are few things creepier than ghost twins.

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