Posted on: April 18th, 2009 Bleep, Bleep, Bloop, Bloop. Video Games.

Hello readers of the Squid, I’m the new guy around here and I’ll be posting the weekly going’s on in the world of video games. This week is about Will Wright, DSi Ware, The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, and OnLive. Without further adieu, here’s the take away of the past week in video games.

Will Wright, the guy that does the Sim games (Sim City, The Sims, Spore, etc.), has left EA. He went to run an “entertainment think tank” company called Stupid Fun Games, to work on more creative projects. Maybe robots/more traditional toys, maybe smaller stupid but interesting games. Microsoft made a deal with Mr. Wright to get first dibs on publishing rights, similar to the deal they worked out with Bungie.

nintendo_dsiThe Nintendo DSi is in its second week of life here in North America. Other than the two built in cameras and bigger screens, the big feature that has people most interested is the built in downloads store. You know, the one that uses Nintendo points, but not the Nintendo points you may already have for your Wii; these are different Nintendo points. The ones you’ll be buying for your DSi. But they share the name. …

Anyway, first week of DSi Ware games were hit and miss. There was a magic game, Master of Illusion Express ($2), where Nintendo took one of the magic tricks from the original release of the game and repackaged it as an express version. Wario Ware Snapped ($5) which is really more of a tech demo (think Sony’s eyeToy, but simpler). Bird and Bean ($2), a game that was an unlockable from the WareWare Inc. game for the Gamecube, but still kinda fun. Aquia($5), a Tetris style puzzle game were you’re a little diver dude and you push blocks from one side and they pop out the opposite side and you make lines and they disappear. Probably the best of the bunch and one I’d be interested in playing, if only for the fact that you can drown in this game which is terrifying. And the final release of the launch pack was the math component from Brain Age ($8), which was, again, repackaged as an express version. (Starting to see a pattern?) No real system sellers in there, but an effort none-the-less.

Games you can look forward to this week is another magic game and a Pictochat clone from Activision. Ok, since this is a new system they’re dealing with, you’d think they’d stack the releases a bit better to encourage some buzz about how great the service is. But since they’re giving 1000 points (10 bucks) free with systems for a couple of months, they don’t want you to buy something you’d actually pay for normally. Buy your dumb magic tricks now, then when you’re out of points, they’ll release something you actually want and now that you’ve become accustomed to how to use the store, you’ll be comfortable buying whatever.

There are some tweaks to the DSi hardware, they lost the GBA slot, added two cameras, slightly bigger screens, slimmer profile, but it’s still the same 5 year old technology and they’ve raised the price to $170US/$200CAD. Its become the 4th fastest selling hardware ever, so what do I know. I’m cool with my DS Lite for now so I’m going to skip this and look forward to the true successor to the DS platform.

the-chronicles-of-riddick-assault-on-dark-athena-1The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena came out this past week which is a remake of the version that came out for the original Xbox (Escape from Butcher Bay). The new content they added makes the game into more of a shooter which is alright, but sort of defeats the purpose of the combat/stealth they originally built the game around. I was a big fan of the original, which was a rare example of a movie licenced game done well, and recommend you check it out. The original is also one that hasn’t been added to the backwards compatibility list on the 360 due to how the game was actually coded. The developers used so many hacks and trickery to make it run and look gorgeous on the original Xbox that it can’t be shoe horned onto the 360. That’s kind of neat and explains the remake.

onlive_logo_black_backgroundSince this is my first post, I’m going to cover some older news. GDC happened a little while ago and that brought details on a new project that OnLive has been working on, called…. well, OnLive. The deal is that they are targeting people who don’t have the dedication or cash to upgrade their pc every six months for the latest and greatest in gaming. So instead of you having a powerful pc at home, the powerful pc is provided by them but lives over at their place and they just stream video and controller inputs back and fourth to the user. Sounds cool right? Well, ya, provided your proximity to ‘their place’ and what kind of lag issues you have. Maybe a little pie in the sky for now, but in a few years, should be fairly feasible. Just look out for bandwidth caps IP providers have been implementing.

Since OnLive is basically a video stream, you’re free to check out other gamer’s stream or your friends or you can pause your game at home and pick it up later somewhere else because all of this is happening from some server that you can access from most anywhere. This also means no more buying games at the store or downloading them or getting off your chair/couch to put in a new disc, just switch games in the menu and go.

onlive_1The console itself is about the size of a radar detector and has the audio/video jacks in the back that you’d expect. Right now they’re selling the service as something people can use on inadequate computers, but you know that if it catches on, it will eventually find a home under your tv. There is a lot of coverage all over the place if you want to know more, but there’s a quick summary. This is potentially the biggest evolution in games since the analogue stick and I’m excited to see how things turn out. Phantom eat your heart out.

Robble, Robble

Finally, Justice stole all of Daft Punk’s samples. Help get them back. Spotted over on Offworld.

Dale can also be found over at www.8bitcyclops.com, looking at design, photography and old video game magazines.

Posted on: April 13th, 2009 3-D: The Gimmick Lives…

3dglassesI remember when big-ticket summer flicks first started showing on select IMAX screens. Oh… you didn’t see Matrix Revolutions in IMAX? Well, no wonder you thought it was shitty. Sarcasm aside, let’s be honest with ourselves – if the scenes aren’t shot specifically with an IMAX camera (The Dark Knight, Transformers 2), then who really cares; most regular theaters have pretty fair digital projection and sound systems. With IMAX, apparently seeing the movie in theater on opening day isn’t enough to brag about around the water cooler anymore.

Oh but wait… is IMAX even enough anymore? No.

So what do you do when you’re a movie studio looking to put butts in seats? You do what you always do – you look to the past. But wait, you’ve remade all of the pre-existing films? I know! 3-D! We’ll bring back the third dimension! Popcorn sales will be through the roof!

Well newsflash kids: 3-D is stupid. It’s always been stupid. And unless James Cameron can really develop and utilize a new technology for Avatar like he’s been talking about, it will most likely continue to be stupid.

friday-the-13th-posterYou do of course remember the glory days of films in 3-D… eyeballs popped out of the screen in Friday the 13th Part III, the shark exploded all over the cinema in Jaws 3, and Michael Jackson actually touched kids in the audience in Moonwalker. It was after these hefty stinkers that the red and blue paper glasses were pretty much doomed to line the garbage cans in theme parks. But we’ve since seen a few major releases pop up over the last decade, and the number of films using (see, cashing in on) 3-D in the last year alone is frightening.

Since 2005 we’ve seen the following titles strain our corneas:

  • Polar Express
  • The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl
  • Chicken Little
  • Superman Returns
  • Monster House
  • Ant Bully
  • Open Season
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas 3-D
  • Meet the Robinsons
  • Beowulf
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth 3-D
  • Bolt
  • My Bloody valentine 3-D
  • Coraline
  • Monsters vs. Aliens

We’ve also got plenty of titles coming up:

  • Up
  • Ice Age 3
  • G-Force
  • Final Destination: Death Trip 3-D
  • Disney’s A Christmas Carol
  • Avatar

my_bloody_valentine_3d_ver2Anyone else see a trend here? I’d say there’s only about 15% of movies that are released featuring 3-D that are worth even giving a shit in a regular screening. So what is 3-D supposed to do, distract us from the inadequacies of the film’s script, character development, acting, directing, etc., etc. Call me a cynic, but I have always been of the belief that if you had done your job right then you wouldn’t need to take the audience out of the film by wearing an extra pair of glasses for a few “eye-popping” scenes that really don’t do anything to progress the story.

I’m not saying 3-D isn’t cool. But cool doesn’t make a movie good. Cool doesn’t need a point. Movies do.

I’m also not saying I don’t understand why 3-D is being pushed so heavily. It’s the same reason Jason Statham has a career right now and the same reason Michael Bay walks red carpets. People go to the movies to shut their brains down, eat popcorn and laugh at farts and guffaws and explosions. I understand this completely. 3-D is just Hollywood’s way of force feeding the masses while still keeping up with technology. The thing that kills me the most is that a fair amount of these films are animated films. With these films you can pretty much do anything. You can create anything the mind can imagine, shoot it and edit it all with the computer. You can create as many cameras as your hearts desire. So why bother with 3-D?

Take a look at Wall-E – that film was amazingly shot with stunning cinematography, some of the best I’ve seen period. Would 3-D have made it any better? No.

Now take a look at, oh I don’t know… Punisher: War Zone. A steaming pile of feces. A stain on the face of film. Would 3-D have made that film better? No. It would have made it Punisher: War Zone 3-D.

It’s a pointless, flashy gimmick that we need to get over, fast or else we’re just going to see the market become saturated while more and more legitimately good movies get brushed under the rug.

monstersvsaliensnewposterThink about it this way – if I have a kid and that kid is crying, wailing for nothing but candy for dinner, am I going to give in and just feed it sugar? Probably not. But then there’s some parents who say (from Maury’s sound-stage) “but my baby wants candy so my baby will get candy!”. How is that good? If we just cave in and get just what we want, then we’ll always take the path of least resistance and just stick with being satisfied. The same thing goes with movie-goers.

Also, it f*cking costs extra?! It’s roughly $3 extra to see a film in 3-D. This is just ridiculous. If a film is intended to be watched in a way that is optimal, it should only cost the price of admission. Does this mean that the people who saw Monsters vs. Aliens sans 3-D who paid the regular, merely-subtle-ass-rape ticket prices are seeing a poorer version of the film? My head is about to explode…

So the next time you go to the theater and put those glasses on, really ask yourself is this necessary? And when the credits roll 90 minutes later, take a minute to reflect on whether or not the 3-D aspect made the movie truly any better.

Christ what’s next, Smell-O-Vision?

Posted on: March 31st, 2009 New Hot Toys Joker = The Greatest Toy Ever Made

mmsdxjoker24__scaled_600It’s moments like these that make being a toy-collector, a humbling, difficult and often shaming past-time, worth it. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars amassing a collection that I can be proud of, one that I can treasure behind glass doors to show off like a mad and magnificent museum; instead of ancient idols I have Hal Jordan and his power ring.

But then the Hot Toys company had to go and make this, the item that has essentially nullified my entire toy collection. For you see, after this everything else will just look like shit. Ladies and Gentlemen… toy enthusiasts… collectors… I present to you the greatest figure ever made, the Hot Toys MMS DX01 Dark Knight 1/6th Scale Joker Collectible Figure.

mmsdxjoker1__scaled_600

The figure features:

- Two character models: the police officer Joker AND the film’s traditional look.

- Police version includes: head (without makeup), cop hat, badge, uniform and M1 garande rifle.

- Traditional version includes: head (with makeup), overcoat, sport coat, vest, tie, shirt, pants, shoes, socks, suspenders and grenade rig.

- Five grenades, knives and deck of cards.

- Seven alternate poseable hands.

- Over 35 points of articulation.

- Stands approx. 12″.

- Heads feature a new Parallel Eyeball Rolling System with translucent iris;  this is a new feature, a “simultaneous positionable eyeball function”. Did you hear me? The eyes move! In natural direction!

- Comes with a deluxe figure stand with LED lights.

I can’t believe what I’m seeing. This figure will no doubt sell out fast and be in crazy high demand like the other Hot Toys figures. I’m sure it will run well into the lat $100, if not $200+ price tag, but if there was anything to center a collection around and leave your friends and family in awe, it is this.

The figure is slated for release in late Q2, early Q3 of this year, so in other words, not soon enough. Check out the official Hot Toys page here. Check out some of the amazing pics below and courtesy of toynewsi.com.

mmsdxjoker15

mmsdxjoker11

mmsdxjoker9

3_mmsdxjoker7__scaled_600

1_mmsdxjoker14__scaled_600

mmsdxjoker26

Filed under: Barnacles, News, toys | 4 Comments »

Posted on: March 22nd, 2009 SH*T THAT I WANT: Vol. 1

Alright kids, welcome to the inaugural edition of SH*T THAT I WANT, a new semi-regular column appearing here on Giant Killer Squid.

What is this column you ask? Well it’s simple… the internet is an endless city of store fronts, each selling their own wonderful wares. And if you’re like me, amassing these items are more than a past-time. So with each edition of SH”*T I WANT I will highlight just a few items of.. well… cool shit that I want.

So without further ado, here’s this week’s nerdly treasures. Can I afford em? Hell no. But looking through the window is half the fun…

Creepshow ‘Father’s Day’ T-Shirt

481c176e49d3c_37119b

I wan’t my cake! I want my caaaaaake! You remember Creepshow, the awesome Stephen King/George Romero horror-anthology. And if you don’t remember it, then get learned. This wonderful tee boasts a kick-ass image from the film’s first segment, Father’s Day. The only thing cooler was Ed Harris tearing the fuck out of the living room rug with his hellacious dance moves. You can find the shirt at Fright-Rags.com for a mere $16.95.

OUTATIME License Plate

ac55_back_to_future_license_plate

It’s Hill Valley, 1985. Doc Brown invited your sneakered ass to the Twin Pines mall where he dropped some science on you in the form of a time machine. This license plate was the only thing spinning as your body hurled through time and space. Well in 2009 you can buy a new one! ThinkGeek.com is selling these beauts for $29.99.


Metropolis SXSW Poster

metropolissilver

Your room can never look as bad-ass as it is with this print lining your wall. This poster, made especially for a SXSW screening, captures the wonder of the classic 1927 sci-fi masterpiece Metropolis. Featuring metallic and glow in the dark paints, this piece by illustrator Martin Ansin is stunning, only fit for a frame. Hurry up and buy it from MondoTees.com for the shockingly low price of $30.00. I can’t pimp that site out enough too, they continually bring in amazing posters at ridiculously affordable prices.


Hot Toys 1/6 Scale Bank Robber Joker (Dark Knight)

bankrobberjoker11-440x330

This could be the most amazing collectible figure I’ve ever laid eyes upon. The figure is 12” tall, has 32 points of articulation and comes with a plethora of accessories like multiple guns, gas grenades, mask, alternate head & hands, a bag full of money and a display base & stand. This mf’er retails for between $140-$190. Good luck finding one…

bankrobberjoker2

Resident Evil 5

250px-re5boxart

If you want the truth… I haven’t beaten a Resident Evil game to date. RE4 was too scary for me. Go ahead, call me a pussy… but that shit’s engrossing yo. I haven’t played Resident Evil 5 yet, just the demo…. and I think that’s as far as I can get. But I just love watching people play and feel it deserves a spot on this list. If killing thousands of zombies and monsters with not nearly enough ammo is your thing, then pick this game up now for the Xbox 360 or Playstation 3. It no doubt retails for $1,000 or however much they’re overcharging for games these days.

resident_evil_5_race_issue

That concludes the first edition of SH*T I WANT. If you have any ideas for future installments, spread some words below.

What recession?

Posted on: March 11th, 2009 Iron Man 2 – And Black Widow is…

Wow, hot on the trail of the confirmed casting of Mickey Rourke for Iron Man 2, Deadline Daily Hollywood once again reports another juicy addition to the seemingly endless stream of stars on board for the sequel. That person is Scarlett Johannson. The role is the super-cool and deadly Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow.

Rumors had circulated a little while ago that Emily Blunt (Charlie Wilson’s War, The Devil Wears Prada) had been offered the role, but those were quickly shot down, apparently due to conflicting shooting schedules.

Personally, I think this is great casting. I think given the right vehicle, Scarlett could prove to be a real powerhouse in the more fun, action-centric flicks. Lord knows she needs some good roles after her last couple of stinkers (The Spirit ohgodmyeyesitburns).

Scarlett Johannson joins the previously announced Mickey Rourke, Sam Jackson, Tim Robbins, Don Cheadle, Sam Rockwell, Gwenyth Paltrow and Robert Downey Jr. Damn.

Posted on: March 11th, 2009 CONFIRMED: Mickey Rourke In For Iron Man Sequel

rourke_featured

After much rumor and debate on whether or not it would happen, it’s now official: Mickey Rourke has signed on to co-star in the sequel to last years super-hit Iron Man. According to Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood Daily, Rourke will play a Russian villain.

Now, when these rumors first hit the immediate reaction was CRIMSON DYNAMO, a popular Iron Man villain. But then some sources were name dropping 2,  as the villain… so as it stands right now, no one is certain whom exactly Rourke is playing, but I think Dynamo has more fodder for a villain. Or perhaps they could combine characters and have this a variation on Titanium Man. Who knows. At this point I’m just super psyched to hear he’s on board.

Things were looking pretty rough there for a while with, Terrence Howard being replaced (but I’m cool with that), and Marvel reportedly almost losing Sam Jackson and Rourke due to low-balling salaries. Hopefully they can continue to pull their heads out of their asses and make some kick-ass deals for Black Widow and Hawkeye who apparently have big roles in the flick.

What do you think?

Posted on: March 10th, 2009 Watchmen In London

Hey guys, just figure I would post this little clip I found earlier.

They did a cool little spectacle in London for the Watchmen premiere. Check  it out.

Posted on: March 7th, 2009 Watch The Amazing Opening Sequence of Watchmen

Alright kids, we’ve got a real treat for you here…

If you read my review, you’ll remember me creaming over the intro sequence of the Watchmen film – a 5+ minute series of “living” photographs chronicling the lives and fates of the Minutemen, and important points in the history of the characters of the book. I had goose bumps throughout the entire thing, dare I say it is the best part of the whole movie and one of the most well-crafted opening sequences of any movie.

If you haven’t seen the film yet, I would strongly recommend against watching it here online; get out there and truly experience it as part of the film. If you have seen the movie, well, kick back and enjoy this little sequence all over again.

Posted on: March 7th, 2009 Watchmen: From The Outside Looking In

I am not a fan of Watchmen, there I said it. It’s out there in the open. But it’s not what you think. It is not because I hate it or think its absolute garbage, nor is it because I am unmanly. Simply put, unlike Dr. Manhattan’s genitalia, I have not been exposed to it. The first I heard of it, aside from maybe a few references that were brushed off as nonsense, was when the project was announced in 2007. I had never really ever given any thought about it. Now here I am, the lone wolf on a site partially dedicated to the wonderment that is The Watchmen, standing outside looking in. So what is this outsiders thoughts on all this? Well in short, I am excited and eager to go and view the film for myself and borrow, if not buy the graphic novels myself and read it. However, given the media circus that has plagued it since fall of 2008, I have become less interested. Here is this outsiders story.

Typically I hate hype and the constant attention that blockbusters and long awaited films receive. I find it bombards my senses and in some cases ruins what could be an enjoyable film. Granted there are a few exceptions, such as The Dark Knight and Iron Man, but generally speaking, it bothers me immensely. This brings me to Watchmen. They hype was not as bad when the project was announced, there were a few hip hip hoorays and various discussions around the web on what this meant. Then Zack Snyder was hired on to direct, and the hype grew. Casting and filming began, and finally the first trailer was released and that’s when it finally became a big deal to me. Everyone could not stop talking about how great it was going to be. But that all died down and you heard the occasional quip. Up to this point this had just the right amount of hype for me, everything was going well, and then Fox came in and rained on the parade.

When Fox issued the lawsuit, everything Watchmen became everything lawsuit. It wasn’t the Watchmen film any more, it was now referred to as the Watchmen Lawsuit. And because of that I lost my excitement, it’s all that mattered but it was understandable. Had the lawsuit gone a completely different route, Watchmen may have never have seen the light of day, and the roads would become bathed in blood, mobs of costumed fanboys would run rampant. A bit extreme, but you get my drift. For someone like myself, this was a huge turn off. The media frenzy and the constant discussion about it frustrated me, and I downright lost interest.

The good news though is that through all of this, in recent days since the screenings and opening day, reviews have slowly swayed me in the theaters directions. I have a strong feeling that Watchmen will be a film talked about years down the road, and it would be a pity to miss out on such an event, because seldom these days are there films that receive constant attention long after their theatrical release. In this outsiders opinion, every outsider should fore go debate and make their way, with popcorn and drinks in hand to your seat and partake in something that is sure to be revered as a comic book masterpiece.

I know I will make my attempt and go see it for myself.

Posted on: March 6th, 2009 REVIEW: Watchmen (Ryan)

I began this review with a typical recap of my passion for Watchmen, what to me is the greatest piece of fictional literature of all time, and a long-winded diatribe about how important the book is to society, pop-culture and its people. Then I realised how redundant that is. I did it two days ago. So…

This will be your first and last warning- this review contains mega epic gigantous spoilers. Also, this review will contain no mention of “the squid”; Fanboys, your point is moot.

I’m going to jump right in and get to it. Hard. Gritty. Sweaty. Violently. Much like the film does. Zach Snyder’s Watchmen is as close to perfection as you can get to a Watchmen film. Snyder proved that not only does he love the property, but he gets the property and the audience he’s selling it to. Not only that, but I firmly believe he’s solidified himself as a technically sound and unique director. A lot of people are onboard the Snyder hate-train and to them I say you’ve got no legs to stand on. Watchmen is visually stunning, full of atmosphere and substance and everything feels the way it should. The alternate timeline the film is situated in feels slightly hyper-real, like a photograph with the contrast up a couple points, but everything feels like home. Not one I’d like to live in, but this world serves as a seamless backdrop for its story and characters.

The amount of detail Snyder & Co. Paid attention to and included is simply awesome. The film starts out with the murder of the Comedian, followed by what I believe to be the finest crafted intro-title sequence put to film. Set fittingly to the entire track of Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are a-Changin’, this sequence takes the audience through a visual timeline of the Minutemen and their fates and sets the rules, if you will, of this alternate reality up to the Keane Act of 1977. A truly tremendous way to start off the film and give the viewers a sense of the film’s tone. Yes, its cheesy and retro, but its packed full of so much heart and is meant to be taken seriously. There’s some really wonderful stuff here like Mothman getting dragged away to the looney bin and a younger Comedian entranced by a pregnant Sally Jupiter at her retirement dinner. During the intro, these clips are taken directly out of the book with a staggering sense of depth, and we’re even treated to an array of scenes not shown in the book or that are only alluded to, Edward Blake assassinating JFK being one of them. Getting back to the level of detail though, the film has everything. Every picture on a wall, every colored neon lit sign, a million little details for the die-hard like myself to binge on. Make no mistake, Watchmen is a movie made for its fans. That doesn’t mean its not accessible to those who aren’t, but the experience will change greatly for you if you’ve invested anything in the book. If anything, the film warrants multiple-viewings to truly appreciate every treasure to be found.

So Snyder has proven his faithfulness to the book… but is that entirely a good thing? You would think, and for the most part I would say absolutely. But there are a couple moments where a nerd red flag pops up, and dare I say that itself is a bi-product of his attention to detail and mostly consistent strict adaptivity. The film itself sets such a precident of flawless translation from the book, that in the very few moments where it strays or a liberty is taken, I found myself transported briefly out of the scene. One scene in particular, which honestly I felt didn’t work well, was Dr. Manhattans television appearance just before his exhile to Mars. For the majority of the scene, it was beat for beat right out of the book. Then the reporter begins to question Manhattan on his connection to multiple people now suffering from cancer. This was all fine and great until the reporter brings out Manhattan’s ex, Janey Slater, clearly riddled with cancer, who proceeds to remove her wig to reveal strands of sickly hair. Cue the lynch mob of screaming reporters, and the good Doc bamfs it up to Mars. I found the addition of a visibly ill Janey Slater to really cheapened the scene. It went from CNN to Sally Jesse Raphael in an instant, both on-screen and to me the viewer. A minor blip, but a blip nonetheless. Any and all of these beefs though are from the perspective of a fan who knows better. I’m curious as to how a non-fan would see this film, and how a mainstream audience will accept it

Next up on my praise list is the cast. I couldn’t have picked a better cast all around except for one. Carla Gugino, who is normally really good in her roles and has a fantastic screen presence, chewed more scenery than hungry hungry hippos. I felt she took her character way too far in the camp department, and even though her role was minimal, it was almost painful to watch her drawl through her scenes. Truly a shame. But on the other hand, everyone else was incredible. Even Ozymandias (Adrian Veidt), whom I had almost written off entirely since the casting of waifish Mathew Goode was announced. Maybe it was because my expectations were so low going in, but I found myself comfortable with his performance of the so-called smartest man alive. He did bring a slightly different approach to the character than in the book, subtle things like a quiet soft-spokeness and a German accent, but ultimately the character worked. I worry that perhaps the film paints Adrian Veidt with too heavy of villainous undertones, but really they only focus in on his industrialist tendencies and a borderline arrogant sense of self-righteousness. To hell with it, the man can catch a damn bullet.

Rorschach will no doubt be the fan favorite, and he should be. Jackie Earle Haley nailed it. Nailed it to the wall. He was perfect. The voice, the mannerisms, everything. There are two moments, major moments in the film where his performance gave me chills. First, when Rorschach is set-up and captured by the police and his “face” removed, and second, where he meets his demise at the hands of Dr. Manhattan. Nothing gets me going more than a really good scream, and you could tell the conviction and devotion that Jackie Earle Haley had to the role. Rounding out the cast are solid performances from Patrick Wilson as the second Nite Owl, Billy Crudup (w/ aid of CG) as the genital-bearing Dr. Manhattan, Jeffery Dean Morgan who was magnetic as the Comedian (also terribly underused, in my opinion) and Malin Akerman as the second Silk Spectre. I’ve read a lot of negative reviews of Akerman’s performance, but quite honestly I thought she did well. I believed her as the spacey girl with her heart on her sleeve. She’s needy. She’s completely inexperienced. And I totally got that. Again if anyone should be put through scrutiny, its Carla Gugino. Oof, what happened there…

The last thing I want to touch on, and this is all over the place in terms of its reception, is the film’s soundtrack. I really believe that the song choices made for Watchmen were incredibily important to the success of translating the story so well. The songs, like I’m Your Boogeyman, 99 Luftballoons and Simon & Garfunkel’s Sound of Silence perfectly accompany the era the film intends to exploit. Its not so much the songs themselves as it is the context in which we’re meant to hear them in, and that is what I think a lot of people are missing. Just like Watchmen uses superheroes to break down the hero archetype, it also does the same for the products of its time. Watchmen also contains what could be one of the finest examples of music selection in film history – a 50 foot tall Dr. Manhattan exploding Vietnamese soldiers to Ride of the Valkyries. Absolutely, shit-looseningly perfect. But perhaps its not too late to make light of one song that rubbed me against the grain, the cess of a tune that still rings through my ears today as it did when the credits rolled on Watchmen, My Chemical Romance’s atrocious cover of Bob Dylan’s Desolation Row. I’m not even a Dylan fan and I hated it. What a way to end an otherwise special night for me.

I think I’ve said all I can about Watchmen that hasn’t been said before. I do think the film is crutched by the book, only because it could never have lived up to it. But it is with that you should watch the film; it can’t possibly compete, so get that unattainable goal out of your head. In saying that, the film is so successful. I truly felt like I was seeing a Watchmen film, and not something masquerading as a mere tribute or facsimile. For the two and a half plus hours, the film belongs with the mythos that I’ve grown to love so much. Bottom line is in my minds eye, the film could not have been any better, any more appropriate and any more sentimental. In a way this is bittersweet, as this marks the end of the dream, the fantasy that one day I would see these fascinating people brought to life. It happened.

 

Posted on: March 4th, 2009 Pre-Watchmen Thoughts, Forces of Geek! Update, Open Discussion

watchmen_5_m

It’s a little over 24 hours before I’ll be in the theater anxiously waiting for the midnight screening of Watchmen to start. This is the film we’ve been waiting decades for.

Although you will find my full review of the film here at Giant Killer Squid, it’s Watchmen Week over at Forces of Geek!  - a website that I contribute to on a regular basis – and I’ve written an article that sheds some light on my history with the book and my expectations and predictions for the film. Check out the article below.

And Love Said ‘Hurm’: My Affair With Watchmen

I also wanted to give you cats an open channel to discuss the film, the book, the toys, anything and everything Watchmen.

So have at it, and see you at the theater!

Filed under: Barnacles | 13 Comments »

Posted on: March 2nd, 2009 New ‘Terminator: Salvation’ Trailer Melts Faces

Ever since it was announced that McG (of Charlie’s Angels and Charlie’s Angels: Full Garbage fame) was helming the fourth installment of the Terminator franchise, I’ve been on the fence (read, incredibly skeptic). The second full-length trailer which hit the web today, pushed my right off said fence and onto my ass. I’m officially on-board. I still think McG can eat dicks by the dozen, but damn he may have pulled this one off. The trailer anyways. Check it out below.

Visit the film’s Yahoo page for an HD version. Terminator: Salvation releases wide on May 21st.

Posted on: February 23rd, 2009 These Films Won Some Awards

The 81st annual Academy Awards took place last night, and it was a gay old time with Hugh Jackman MC’ing the star studded event. I made my Oscar picks and predictions when the nominees were announced, so lets take a look at the winners.

Winners in green are picks that I thought would win.

BEST ACTOR

Sean Penn – MILK

BEST ACTRESS 

Kate Winslet – The Reader

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Penelope Cruz – Vicky Cristina Barcelona

BEST ANIMATED FILM

Wall-E 

BEST DIRECTOR

Slumdog Millionaire – Danny Boyle

BEST PICTURE

Slumdog Millionaire

Wow… I did terrible. See the full list of winners here.

Filed under: Barnacles, News | 14 Comments »

Posted on: February 22nd, 2009 Wanna Write For GKS?

Woah woah woah… before you storm the doors all at once, let me explain the gig…

Giant Killer Squid is looking for talented, enthusiastic writers to contribute to any and all area of the site’s coverage. This includes, but is not limited to breaking news stories, reviews and editorials in the area of anything nerd – so film, television, comics, video games, toys, etc. GKS is still in a state of infancy so we need your help bringing it from the depths of the net to the pulse of society.

Still interested?

Send an email over to ryan [at] giantkillersquid dot com with some info about yourself, what you’re into and any links with samples of previous articles – basic html and image editing abilities is a plus.

GKS is an equal opportunity employer – droids and replicants are welcome here.

Filed under: Barnacles | 1 Comment »

Posted on: February 21st, 2009 REVIEW: Friday the 13th

Machetes. Breasts. Blood. Sex. Death. Booze. Axes. Pot. Hockey masks. Severed heads. The formula is pretty simple if you’re making another Friday the 13th flick.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that the powers that be decided to remake… err.. reboot the franchise for a modern audience. So how exactly does it fit in with the previous nineteen movies? Well, much like last years Incredible Hulk, this Friday the 13th isn’t so much a remake as it is a sequel to the original film. In fact, just like in Incredible Hulk, the opening credits of F13 take us through a montage of Jason’s origin to get us up to speed. What we see is pretty faithful to the original film, with Pamela Voorhees, Jason’s mother, getting her head removed via machete courtesy of a buxom blonde camp counselor. The story itself is pretty… well… there is no story. Aside from the one set in space (which was ridiculous and awesome), none of these films have a story. It’s a bunch of teens in the woods drinking, smoking weed, having sex and having their insides torn out by an abnormally large, mentally underdeveloped (see, retarded), hockey mask wearing lunatic. So lucky or unlucky for us, the new F13 doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel. But does that mean its any good?

On the whole, not really.

The thing about the previous films, what makes them oddly charming, is that they don’t take themselves seriously. At all. The acting is bad. The directing is bad. The cinematography is… well there is none. These are not good movies. What they are is incredibly fun, for those reasons and the ‘kill factor’. If it werent’ for each film’s increasingly inventive methods of murder they wouldn’t be worth watching. I mean, the franchise couldn’t even bank on that after six entries and had to shift the character into new territories like telekinesis, Manhattan and outer space. This alone makes me wonder why they thought they could bring anything fresh to the franchise while still keeping so faithful to the mythos. What they’ve ended up with is the most boring scenes of the franchise edited together and modernized. And there you’ve lost all that 80’s charm.

Let’s get back to the kill factor. This film has none of it, thus defeating its purpose. The movie plays it too close to the chest, I would assume to capture some sense of realism or gritty rawness. So there’s no punching some mouthy bitches mouth into a concave mass of teeth and throat, or tightening a belt around a hapless campers head until their eyeball shoots out. With the exception to a naked girl being barbecued alive in her sleeping bag, every kill is via stab wound. I didn’t pay for that, I paid to watch Jason tear a kids arm off and use it to impale another kid through the mouth with it.

Jason himself is treated fairly faithfully, except this time he can run negating the ridiculous time-space continuity glitches from the old films. Jason always moved at a snail’s pace in pursuit of a screaming broad, who ends up running into Jason 100 yards out. Now he just runs after them, which I’ll give it to the new one, was kind of intimidating. Derek Mears, who plays this incarnation of Jason Voorhees is arguably the largest of all to have stepped behind the mask. So the physical presence is there and works well for the film, as opposed to the horrendous Halloween remake.

Ultimately, the film doesn’t fail the franchise as much as Rob Zombie’s Halloween did. In terms of continuity and effort F13 works as a nod to the rest of the series. There’s no doubt you will really like the film a lot more if you are a) unfamiliar with the previous entries, b) are a total lightweight when it comes to horror/slasher films or c) have no/poor taste in film in general. If I were you I’d wait for the home video release so you can enjoy it with some beers and chase it with some vintage Jason.

A for effort. D for entirely unremarkable.