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All reviews - Movies (107) - TV Shows (55) - Books (1) - Music (39) - Games (55)

Train of Doom

Posted : 7 years, 4 months ago on 18 March 2011 02:04 (A review of Unstoppable (2010))

This was a pretty good movie. The story was well written, and a couple of different actors put in good performances.

Will (Chris Pine) plays a great redeemed hero/come-from-behind kind-of-guy. He starts off looking pretty crazy, unstable, even. But when forced to deal with the crisis of a crazy, unstable train about to puke poisonous filth over vast swathes of lovely Pennsylvania, this somewhat surly and out-of-his-league rookie manages to pull it together and save the day, with the help of...

Frank (Denzel Washington), who seemed pretty sympathetic to me from the beginning, albeit a little rough around the edges...and understandably so. And in the midst of crisis, he becomes a real hero, and both his knowledge and his courage are instrumental in saving the day.

The various co-workers, allies, and family members of the two main protagonists are also played very well, and are alternatively amusing, incompetent, or inspiring, as chance would have it.

Overall, an unexpectly good movie.


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I Don't Know

Posted : 7 years, 6 months ago on 28 December 2010 11:18 (A review of Franz Ferdinand)

Someone on YouTube wrote, 'Franz Ferdinand is like a sandwich with extra cheese.' A most astute observation.

Edit: I'm not sure 'what you meant'.

I mean, they're not *bad*.... So, let's just leave it at that.


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Star Wars: The Kill Ratio

Posted : 7 years, 6 months ago on 27 December 2010 04:16 (A review of Star Wars: Battlefront)

Like all of my old XBox games, I played this a long time ago, and I no longer have a copy. It was a good game, though not a classic. It was a decent shooter, and I had fun, although in retrospect I can see I spent why too much time stressing about trying to optimize my kill ratio, and not nearly enough time just having fun. Anyway, I suppose the most memorable aspects of the game's mechanics was the very large scale of the battles (as well as famous Star Wars settings, of course), and the fact that your character is very mortal. Which is good. As a common soldier, you are very human, and you can only take a reasonable amount of damage before dying. And though it is possible to jump in a vehicle (or, if you do well, to respawn as a "Jedi hero") but even with these advantages, one often finds, rationally enough, that it's difficult to take on an entire army sinlge-handed....The campaign is quite forgettable, not that it matters.


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Chinese Emperor Man

Posted : 7 years, 6 months ago on 27 December 2010 03:47 (A review of Jade Empire)

Like all of my old XBox games, I played this game a long time ago, and I no longer have a copy of it. And although I enjoyed it at the time, I don't think I'd have so positive of an opinion of it if I were to encounter it again. I mean, I suppose you have to give BioWare credit for trying to come up with their own original setting (although this Fantasy-China certainly isn't as original as, say, the universe of Mass Effect) but this really is not a work of the same quality as Knights of the Old Republic. The characters seem a little bit less...real...(Dawn Star? Sagacious Zu? Henpecked Hou? I mean--really? Really?) And the alignment system, although ostensibly very different from KOTOR's Light Side/Dark Side, is actually pretty much the same. The plot twist, although interesting the first time, wasn't really as compelling as the surprise in KOTOR, and in retrospect, seems like a cheap imitation thereof. Essentially, this game had some decent combat sequences and decent dialogue, but it lacks depth.

It was still kinda a cool place to hang out in tho, and the visuals were pretty well done.


It's a fighting game.

But it's also a talking-and-fighting game.

There's fighting, and then there's talking.

Not only can you fight people. You can also talk to them.


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Shot Down--Again!

Posted : 7 years, 6 months ago on 27 December 2010 03:12 (A review of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords)

I played this game a long time ago, and I don't have a copy of it anymore. But it was a good game, although it never quite stepped out of the shadow of its great predecessor--often the plot seemed to be more of a meditation upon the events of the first game, rather than a real step forward. It was, however, a much darker game than the original. Sometimes too dark--it often just felt like the developers were just gunning for you, seriously. Also, the characters were generally much less sympathetic than in the first game. I mean, personally, I always felt that no matter what happened to Bastila and Carth (from KOTOR), they were always my buddies, somehow, no matter what they had to work through. But Kreia was just not a nice person, and Atton Rand wasn't much better. But I suppose Visas Marr ("My life for yours") was a decent sort, though somewhat disturbing. But the Handmaiden was alright. She joins your party, but only if you're a boy. I liked her. :D


Boy, it was sure romantic. *rolls eyes*

Let's cut to the chase: 'Jade Empire'.

It was crude, it was sloppy, it was rough-- they didn't finish.

It was like 'Jade Empire'.

It was mediocre.

Franchise label, and ruminating on the storyline-- the life of Revan! the Mandalorian Wars!-- don't change that, nope!


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Best Game Ever (More or Less)

Posted : 7 years, 6 months ago on 27 December 2010 02:47 (A review of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic)

I played this game a long time ago, and I don't have a copy of it anymore, but I remember that it was really awesome. I loved the characters-- especially Bastila and Carth--and especially Bastila ;)--and it has a *great* story, with a big plot twist at the end. And it was just great fun to play, especially since the setting was so great--the Old Republic, thousands of years before anyone in the galaxy had heard of anyone named Skywalker....and, of course, there's all those good memories with HK-47 ("Indeed, I am most eager to engage in some unadulterated violence. At your command, of course, master."). It's kinda funny, because when I played it years ago I was very careful to go full Light Side, all goody goody, but if I had it to do again, I think I'd be more interested in tramping around with HK-47, and less interested in being the Jedi Council's errand boy. :)


Well, there's no denying it-- when I watched the trailer for this again, after all this time, awhile ago, there was no helping the inevitable automatically-blinking-in-embarrassment.

And it was a fighting game; there was a lot of that kill-and-loot stuff, that was a big pull. But, it was also a storyline game. Maybe it was better than Morrowind; maybe it was better than Bethesda. In Morrowind, (and so on), I sorta got to thinking of myself as a fighting cartographer.... If you know what I mean, you know what I mean.... Just casually gaining honors, you know.... So, now I'm Arch-Mage-- I'll be back in month to pick up the free check. Well, that was Oblivion; you know what I mean. But in those games, it's just alotta.... free, free stuff.... I don't know. You know?

And this was a kill-and-loot game too, although it wasn't.... well, it certainly wasn't unfinished, like the sequel, or sloppy and crude, like, well.... *anything*, almost. And it did have a story to it, too....

It's odd to think that I used to put so much by RPG mechanics-- "character", something, did we really call it that?-- but that's how it was..... And although sometimes you have to distinguish between what games should really be, and.... well, the games people play, lol.... but, I guess I'd still have to give it, something, for sorta doing, something, the way that it was meant to, or almost. It wasn't, "Jade Empire", it wasn't crudely and obviously just talking and fighting, and the plot really was more than one cheap twist, like in that other game.... the story was actually pretty clever.... and the rest of it, sorta did an okay job too.... although obviously, that other part, is what's a job of it.

And, you know, now I can win a game of hearts against the computer, and I'm totally a better person for that.... it's not like Past Ted knew what Right Now Ted does.

But, I don't know.

And the companions were pretty cool, too. I guess, in the end, it really was a better game than "Morrowind". (Not that I don't like free cell, but.... you know how it's different, in this context, dontcha....)

Or, "the party", as we called it. As though we were little warlords running a political shenanigan.....

But, yeah, a game like this-- this game-- is one of the few games as clever, almost, at least, as a movie, an action movie, I guess-- a Tom Cruise movie, you know. Not like a really subtle comedy. And 'The Last Samurai' is still better, I guess, than 'Knights of the Old Republic'.... but at least it's better than 'Speed'. Well, alot of things are better than 'Speed'.... except the run-of-the-mill gaming industry kind of thing, you know.

I guess I lost my train of thought.

And, I mean, they had problems. I guess that's why other people were like, I hate Carth! I hate Bastila! I always liked them, but maybe I'm-- or was-- too much like the loser from "50/50"-- with Seth Rogen and Anna Kendrick, now that's fucking amusing, if you think about it-- always drawn to the losers and the idiots who needed help, because I needed so fucking much myself....

But, yeah, I probably wouldn't like those two now-- too many problems. Dickens novel, you know. Chekhov. Fuck that.

And obviously HK-47 is only funny if you are, far, far, far-- far-- too dumb. I mean, numb. Because, that's different, you know, from *dumb*. hahaha.

2003-- was that the year I saw my brother play Mr. Craven in that production of "The Secret Garden". {At the time, I was under the impression that Kevin J. Anderson was a novelist; I vividly remember uttering some stupid sentence that began, "House Harkonnen...."} I'm about the same age now as he was then, and that's like.... weird. That was like, almost ten years ago. Nine years ago. That's how much older he is. And married. That's weird.

Anyway, this is kinda like "Mass Effect", very well done, for what it is.... also, they did a good job of making a storyline that fit in very well with what it had to be.... Although, in retrospect, I can't quite figure out what it was that made me think that *Bastila* was the kind of girl that I wanted.... like, hello? Ummm.... what's wrong with you, Past Ted?

God, I wanted KOTOR III so much.... and I'm so glad, that it never happened like that. "Franchises" within franchises.... when to give up, aiiy.

But anyway, I really ought to share a few quotes. I'm surprised that I didn't already say:

"Wipe this pathetic planet off the face of the galaxy."

~ now quoted for irony. I was an incurable goody-goody at the time, but of course I thought that was swell. And, of course, "He's a little boy. Little boys fight; it doesn't mean that he's going to be a frat boy or a rapist." ~ Paul Rudd, 'Our Idiot Brother', which is true.... But there are things, and things that just embarrass, and anyway..... it's just far, far.... better, I guess, when.... I don't know, as Lenard from "The Big Bang Theory" once said, "He's not helping the point that I'm trying to make." It's better, *not*, to be the 'he's not helping the point that I'm trying to make', guy, if you know what I mean. I don't know how else to put it.

Jolee Bindo was kinda cool though. Who doesn't love a funny old man, especially for when you're not being a pixel pervert, right.

"I'm old, dammit. I'm allowed to be enigmatic when I want to be!"

Sometimes it's so much better to be old. I'm only 23, but I feel as old as him sometimes. Well, I'll be 24 soon. Like Anna Kendrick in "50/50". Bastard world should give me a respectable job like hers, dammit-- where's the justice? Where's the truth? (The stupid girl!!!!!)

Anyway. I hope you like listening to me ramble, because that's almost the only reason to read my reviews, sometimes. And I don't see any way to write about stuff like this that isn't personal, sometimes, at least, yeah.

"What's there to say? Jolee Bindo the crazy old man who lives in the dangerous woods. I am content with the impression I give."

That's the only even vaguely sane way to be part of a thing like this.... I mean, how many even almost-sane characters, in an almost-sane game like this, are just totally nuts, who would date these people..... And yes, romance subplot-- 'sidequest', lol, way to take away the taboos, but.... still so cheapo, and, yeah, who would date these people.... 'My mission in life is to defeat Primary Antagonist. That is what I live for.' Wow, you're a freak. And you're ugly too.

"The purpose of my life, is the destruction of Serbia."

Even though Serbian tennis kicks ass? C'mon, man, lighten up.

{"I'm going to make it rain." ~ "Come On"}

{I also can't even remember what "Baker's Doesn't" was about, but I'm just going to name-drop it here-- most of my allusions are far more justifiable, in all seriousness-- just because the patience game "Baker's Dozen" reminds me of it....}

No, we must defeat Primary Antagonist!!!!!

More exclamations!!!!

Remember the crap the enemies used to say in 'Mass Effect'? "Enemies are everywhere! I will destroy you! *I will destroy you*.... Enemies are everywhere! Go Go Go! I will destroy you! *I will destroy you*!" (x1000, at least three times every ten minutes.) Or that obnoxiously aggravating battle-music from Morrowind that played every two minutes, until it haunted your nightmares.... All games like this, have something like that. It can be mildly disturbing, to say the least. Or those Star Wars novels.... 'The New Jedi Order' (=The New War.... Battles. So many wars.... not even possible, to have so many! They would just give up, after awhile!).... I read a random couple of those.... 'Vector Prime' was actually an average novel.... although somewhat disturbing.... 'Star By Star' was somewhat epic, although it was also somewhat more disturbing, since it was basically this really long 800 page book about teenagers who get killed off one by one, and meanwhile the whole world is also getting pummeled to shit as well.... Wow, I'm glad the Vietnam War is over, but we should really stop writing about it and doing all this stuff about it, (and WWII, and war and fascism and stuff).... I mean, Dungeons and Dragons, and all that ancestral 80s RPG-ing, is basically Vietnam, I think you can prove that, historically.... and it's obviously *all* neurotically militaristic, at any event.

{I mean, fucking read the fucking book, "The Hobbit"-- actually fucking read it, and actually fucking realize that John Tolkien hates your fucking guts!!!!!}

So, it's all kinda incredibly evil, and now I just play cribbage and shit.

But, since I'm also trying to do a pretense of a sorta fair review too, this is obviously very good at what it is, and even a kinda above-average game, in general. I mean, kinda like "True Lies", or something, which actually has a story, even though it has guns and shit, it's actually not the default-mediocre, it's actually quite good and adequate, and it ends up being surprisingly good in that it's actually kinda an above-average movie, in general.

I hope that makes some sense.

It's funny how back then, everyone was so fucking thrilled that you could, Go Dark Side, except me, I guess. Although I eventually discovered the joys of playing as Nazi Germany in Hearts of Iron II, which I guess is the same thing, more or less....

So, yeah-- Dark Side, hurraugh! Except for me, I was like, noooo! Light Side! (Although, yeah, it couldn't have been more than two or three years later, or something, that all I wanted was Guderian and so on-- black panzer uniforms and fucking German words....) But, yeah, I don't know, there is a certain sense to it, (despite the fucking obvious counter-point which I guess I just supplied), and it was a clever storyline with real thought behind it, and in which your choices actually did matter.... and in a personal way, (although maybe not in a Dvorak's daughter kind of way), freedom in a different sense than the sort of Morrowind, the compass rose and random roads and random choices are yours to randomly choose, kind of way.... Actually, that game was sorta average, wasn't.... It was just, really really good, at being average....

So, when 'we'-- although I guess that all of 'we' hates me, by this point, lol-- say that KOTOR is really good, it's not like there's nothing to it.... There's something to it, there is some sense in it.

Although I guess that I overestimated its quotability; it doesn't actually seem to have all that much, in the way of clever quotes....

"Bah! I don't want to talk about this anymore! My jaw aches!"

I guess that there must have been a surprisingly large amount of "dialogue response to end dialogue" response; it's not like wasn't a touch mechanical.... 'Mass Effect' was actually subtly better at ending dialogue-- and both games occasionally let you bully your way into avoiding deadly combat, whoopey-fucking doo.... I mean, Clint Eastwood does that in "Gran Torino" at times; he's not winning any fucking awards for manners-- but in the end, things like that don't matter one fucking bit....

You know what I mean.

And then there's the gratuitous mangling-and-insult of fairy tale themes, which I won't delve into, to the extent that I haven't already.

So, the contradiction is, that to the extent.... well, it is. It is an awkward embarrassment, and it's also, very well done, in a way... however I should say.

There's a sense in which it's better than average.

I mean, and Taris is great, Taris is kinda a cool place....

And, what do you get for that.

~ "Wipe this pathetic planet off the face of the galaxy."

Because I guess that it really just is the same damn exact thing over again, *but*....

"Nothing like two dudes and a dog making candles."

"Such a cliche."


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A Very Concept-y Album

Posted : 7 years, 6 months ago on 27 December 2010 01:17 (A review of Tonight: Franz Ferdinand)

This is a really great album. True to its name, "Tonight" has a very nocturnal theme (if that makes sense), and although the songs are very diverse, the album as a whole seems to have a beginning, middle and end, like a story. Anyway, it's fantastic.

Edit: But, on the other hand....

Is this really 'dance music'? Do people dance to Franz Ferdinand? I'm not sure that I did.... Although this might have been as close as I came to dancing, at that point in my life, although, I don't like to think about that, so much....

It's all very indie-y and concept-y.... And I mean, sometimes that can be good, Pink Floyd, "The Dark Side of the Moon", Billy Joel, "River of Dreams",....(*shit, I should catalog those too*, *sighs*, *this is impossible*).... But, I don't know.... Sometimes, though.... I don't know....

{I mean, songs like "Take Me Out", and "Darts of Pleasure" are, sorta good, okay.... but I think that there's just something about the whole indie-y, (history-y?), angle.... Like, once, my brother's friend saw a grenade sticker on the back of a car, and he said that he guessed that he thought that it might be something related to music, or a band-- a conjecture which isn't difficult to understand at all, really, although perhaps it's even easier to understand than it should be, if you follow.... And, it's not as though some of it isn't something to do with metal, obviously, (which I do like, sometimes....), or even pop, (hey, *sometimes*.... I mean, I accept that *other people* like Justin Bieber, and I even sorta like Taylor Swift--although I suppose that she's not exactly 'pop'-- although I do sorta think that Lady Gaga is a bad person.... I'm actually not sure whether I've heard anything of Avril Lavigne.... It's a bit like that, for me, sometimes.... I guess that I like Evanescence's Amy Lee better, although whether that clashes with everything else I'm trying to say here, I'm not even sure....), but, let's face it, there's something, indie-y about that sort of thing, sometimes.... Tho, by the way, it ended up being from some weird clothing company, so, that's.... *wow*....-- But, yeah, I don't know, I do feel like there is something about the whole, indie-y, (history-y), angle, or at least, the way that it worked out for me.... I mean, Franz Ferdinand is a better group, I think, in some ways.... But there's that, *way*, that, somehow, if you're indie-y: even without realizing, I guess-- you hear that one song from that band you like, and you're happy, but then you hear something else, and you feel abandoned by the big mean world again.... It's gotta be *concept-y*, you know.... Although, sure, they're not half as bad as, "They Might be Giants", which I think really is the band for people who don't dance....}

So, the 'Archduke', so to speak, has faded from my affections.... Although whether that's more due to Vienna, and Dvorak, ("From the New World"), or Odin, and Heidevolk, ("....how the old god awakens!"), I'm not sure.

So.... yeah.

I'll just, chalk it down as a.... Learn-y, thing.

If that makes any sense. (At all!)


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