Archive for: August, 2008

Book Review: The Forest Of Hands And Teeth by Carrie Ryan

What’s this book about? A group of teenage girls learns about life and love via a set of enchanted jet setting pants. Just kidding, it’s about zombies.
Is there a super fast zombie with an unending hunger and a dark animal intelligence? That zombie will kill the hell out of you if it gets the chance. Also, she has a sporty red vest. No joke.
This book has just the kind of zombie I like. Pushing against threadbare fences like river water against the windows of a sinking car, threatening to engulf everything. Wearing down their skin and bone and muscle just so they can eat some people. As usual, if you cut off their head they die. (Incidentally, this is also the way to kill a pair of magical life-enriching pants.)
This book seems to me to be about stolen moments of warmth and comfort in a threatening and dangerous world. Highlights include: A girl and a dog in a barrel, suspended in the air over a city of undead. A young couple whiles the time away isolated in a fortified house while the dead claw at the door.
This book also seems to me to be about leaving those moments behind. Sometimes you gotta run through a forest of zombies to find out whats on the other side.
Finally, this book seems to me to be about how petty tyrants will seize any disaster to get some power. When the book starts the main character Mary is stuck in a town where a church full of nuns run everything including the makeshift zombie police (called Guardians). They try to suppress the people and keep them inside the zombie-preventing fences. Also they try to act like there’s no such thing as the ocean. But as anyone who has heard a Rage Against The Machine song knows, trying to run a secretive government with no separation of church and state is a bullet train to zombie teeth in your face.
Zombie renaming Hi-Jinks. In this book zombies are called Unconsecrated.
Is this book any good? My girlfriend wanted to make out but I was all like,”Let me finish this chapter.”
Rating: One Angry Girlfriend.

Author’s Website. carrieryan.com

Game Review: Mass Effect

What a grim and melancholy game. Many missions send your character into the cruel and icy winds of hostile planets; over somber jagged rocks of nearly empty worlds; often to find a moral dilemma waiting at the end. Mass Effect operates in gray zones of right and wrong: anyone who plays this game well is rewarded with a story of compromise and hard choices.

I bought this game twice. My apartment got burglarized and the thief took half my games and my first XBOX360. The first time around I used the kick-ass character creation system to make a guy that looked like the black version of an old automotive sales rep I used to work with; the second time around I made a short haired woman with a hook nose like an ex-girlfriend of mine.

This game quoted Tennyson at me. Just saying. It’s not that I feel I need to hear, “APRIL is the cruellest month/ breeding Lilacs out of the dead land/ mixing Memory and desire/ stirring Dull roots with spring rain,” in order to play Super Mario Kart, but its not like they’re going to make a T.S.Eliot’s “The Wasteland” game anytime soon.

This game has sex in it. Or so I’ve heard. When I thought my female space commander was about to hook up with the blue skinned alien lady in the game, I yelled “YAY!” at my TV.

Rating: Ten William Blakes

Game Review: Strong Bad’s Cool Game For Attractive People Episode 1: Homestar Ruiner

What’s It About? You pay ten dollars to move some affable characters from a free internet flash cartoon around.  Then the Wii teabags you.
What Kind Of Tea? Earl Grey. Or, I should say, Earl Grey’s balls.
What’s The Gameplay Like? Like putting all the Wii’s sophisticated motion sensor technology behind an inside joke and some wacky voices.
Why Did You Even Buy This Game?
I really like Strong Bad Emails and Teen Girl Squad. I feel like Homestar Runner cartoons are best when they go for this surreal hostile intelligent style that isn’t present in everything they do. Also, I was going to buy Rock Band for Wii but Scrooge McDuck was swimming in my vault of gold coins and he looked so goddamn happy I  didn’t want to spoil his fun so I couldn’t afford to get the game I really wanted.
Rating: One Drum Kit, One Microphone and One Wireless Guitar

Really Late Movie Review: There Will Be Blood

What’s it About? Daniel Day-Lewis plays a ruthless businessman who wants to get at all that oil! This preacher kid has some land with oil under it, but Daniel Day-Lewis kicks his ass. During a pivotal scene toward the end of the movie,  the young minister has a milkshake that brings all the boys to the yard– to steal his oil! Drainage! Also Daniel Day-Lewis has a son that gets his ears boxed by an oil explosion and goes deaf. Of course, he’s a dick to that kid in the end.
Did you know? I saw this movie months ago. There is no reason to review it.
Alternate Title Suggestion For This Film: “OIL JERK”
Necessary Disclaimer Sticker That Would Have To Go On The Packaging Of The Film If It Were Called “OIL JERK”: This is not a porno.
Rating: Several Months Past The Appropriate Time To Write About This Movie

Movie Review: Michael Clayton

What’s It About? Tom Wilkinson plays a brilliant old lawyer for an evil company who stops taking his medicine for manic depression and like Saul of Damascus turns into a beatific lunatic who fights to do the right thing and in one scene demonstrates that he loves freshly baked bread. Unfortunately for him Tilda Swinton plays a murdering business lady who doesn’t want him exposing her company. Before you know it, hes getting all the bread he wants-in heaven, because she murders him. Unfortunately for her George Clooney is the star of this movie and he’s a smart lawyer with a gambling problem, a shifty alcoholic brother and a developing moral compass.
How many cool apartments do the characters have? I like the genius older lawyer’s apartment a lot. He had a big spacious loft, perfect for making crazy phone calls from.
Did you know? George Clooney initially insisted on donning his old Batsuit from the film Batman & Robin for each scene, nipples and all.
Graphic Design Hi-jinks: The use of space and imagery in the closing credits made me yell “Fuck yeah!” at my TV.
Rating: Twelve Freshly Baked Loaves of Bread From a New York Bakery

Game Review: Ninja Gaiden II

This Game Is Crazy. I think the point where I found a set of double swords in the base of The Statue of Liberty is where it dawned on me this game is fucking ridiculous, plot wise. Also the part where I fought some werewolves in the canals of Venice. So, if you fell asleep in your black footie pajamas with your vacation photos in your lap in front of the TV and Teen Wolf came on while you were sleeping- this game is what your dream would be like.
Is this game any good? Come for the ninja killing, stay for the brief tour through some of the world’s most recognizable landmarks.
Did you know? The original plot of the game was for the artistic but plain looking ninja to discover that his relationship with the high school star quarterback was the result of a bet, a stupid bet.
Rating: One And A Half Egyptian Pyramids.

Movie Review :10 Items or Less

What’s it About? Morgan Freeman plays a frillier, slightly more feminine and perceptive Morgan Freeman who hangs out with a cute grocery store cashier for a day. In the process, they become best friends, best friends in the world.

Is There Singing In A Car? Hell yes, the part where they both sing in the car is one of pivotal scenes in the movie.

Does Morgan Freeman’s character sort of seem like he could grant you three wishes if you just ask him to? Only if your wish is to drive Morgan Freeman around while he buys you makeup and clothes. So, yes.

Is This Movie Good? This movie is pretty good. Its a lot like Lost In Translation, except in Los Angeles.

Rating: Five Morgan Freemans

Movie Review: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Spoiler Alert: Jesse James gets shot and killed.
Second Spoiler Alert: Robert Ford shot him.
Did You Know? You can’t keep Brad Pitt out of a big fur coat. You’ll find Pitt in a thick and fabulous fur coat in 70% of his films.
Was This Movie Any Good? Yes. This movie was great. The photography alone is worth it.
Were there top hats in it? All manner of old timey hats get in on the action.
What about old school claw-foot bathtubs? Dude, half this movie’s dialogue is spoken by a guy in a bathtub and the other half by a guy looking at a guy in a bathtub.
Rating: 7 Fur Coats

Game Review: Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2

What Is It? An Xbox360 game. It lives on your Xbox. Your claw hand looking spaceship flies around and shoots at or avoids geometric shapes. Take that, actual high school geometry!

Did you know: I failed high school geometry and physics but still managed to read “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!” by renowned physicist Richard Feynman.

Is it fun? Yes, unless you hate flying your ass around in a spaceship shooting at pink triangles, blue diamonds, red balloons, purple horseshoes and the leprechauns who pilot them and have inexplicably stolen your cereal.

Rating: Seven Trapezoids

What Can You Say To Men Unwise

I stumble from a shaded court

to find ten years have passed

before my eyes

a blue car turns against the light

I meet the driver’s eyes

and here we are

the two of us

who only know one thing

I’ve never broken any bone

I’ve never worn a sling

a blue car turns against the light

a knight against a king

what can you say to men unwise

but look them in the face

I stumble from a shaded court

to find I’ve lost a race.