Sunday, May 6, 2012

Reviewers Assemble!!!


This movie is awesome, I could spout nothing but praise for this film for years, but let's get to the point. We saw this film in low-fi old fashioned 2-D, but after seeing this film, I'd be willing to break a cardinal rule and pay money to enjoy this film in 3-D. From start to finish, Joss Whedon was able to weave the last 5 years worth of comic book films into one great piece of cinematic glory. That is truly the genius of this film, it proves that comic book films can be done, but also done well.

Let's start with acting, Robert Downey Jr. returns as everyone's favorite sardonic billionaire playboy turned superhero, Tony Stark/Iron Man. His cutting wit and sarcasm blends in with the cynicism his character is showing to the world and the team in which he's asked to take part in. Stark, throughout the film continuously proves that he is hero they need him to be, willing to sacrifice himself for the people, thus furthering his character development from the Iron Man.

Next, we have Chris Evans continuing on from the last Marvel film, Captain America: The First Avenger. His portrayal of Steve Rogers is interesting as he finds himself as a soldier out of his own time, becoming more and more conflicted with his superiors and their directions. He and Stark comes to conflict as Stark feels that S.H.I.E.L.D shouldn't be trusted at face value whereas Evans feels they can trust them as their goals are the same. Their confliction is one of the underlying points of the films, a tension that exists through three-quarters of the film.

Mark Ruffalo was the true shock of the film, his portrayal of a tormented Dr. Bruce Banner in hiding, was phenomenal. It was great as physically, Ruffalo was lanky and scrawny and nerdy, all the things that we feel Bruce Banner should be. This film also for the first time goes into the torment that Banner feels and how he tries to deal with it, admitting that he once attempted suicide but became the Hulk as a byproduct, saying the monster inside him wouldn't let him die. It should be said that the Hulk tears shit up in this film. Ruffalo has supposedly has been signed on as Banner for six more films. Solid performances by Jeremy Renner as Haweye (a villain for almost two thirds of the film) and Scarlett Johansson as The Black Widow, whose performance is leagues ahead of the lackluster performance she dropped in Iron Man 2.

The unsung hero of this film is writer/director Joss Whedon of Buffy/Firefly/Serenity/Dollhouse fame, to nerds there is so little this man can do wrong. Going into this film, I was really skeptical of this film as the usual combination of high profile actors and writer-director with such a large fan following (examples of such films are Ocean's Twelve and New Year's Eve) fall flat or spread themselves too thin and implode as a result. This blend of humor and action are trademark of Whedon's work, this in my opinion is a capstone to Marvel's effort to create this new film continuity.

I am reminded of the 1980 victory of the U.S. Olympic Hockey Team in Lake Placid, what's the comparision you may ask? The comparison I can make is that this film is the "Miracle" of this generation of nerds, the inextricable marriage of acting, writing and directing that only comes around once in a decade or two to make something beautiful.  This film proves that comic book films can work.


5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

George Watsky: The Voice of the Internet Generation?

-by Colin
The best-ever rap threat? Oh yes.
Today, I'm reviewing another aspect of Watsky's portfolio of work, you see...I'm reviewing his Youtube channel. To be honest, some of his videos are the most entertaining things I've seen in ANY medium EVER. Whether it be his live performances or his music videos, he slips us into his world of spoken-word wizardry every time he picks up the microphone and leaves us craving more.

This video for instance is entitled "Letter to My 16-Year Old Self." On the outside, it seems as if he's dictating a letter to himself advising him never to give up in the face of adversity or near failure. The true beauty of this video is by 30 seconds into the speech, you feel as if Watsky specifically tailor-made this video for you. By the end of this video, you feel as if there's no problem you can't take care of by yourself. That's the pure power of Watsky's prose, his empathy and enthusiasm energizes all viewers.

Now spoken-word is only one aspect of Watsky's work, he also stands as one of the most popular artists on Youtube. His musical stylings feature rap prominently, but are not strictly limited to the genre as shown in his most recent video, a take on the Simon and Garfunkel classic "Mrs. Robinson" featuring Kush Mody and  Danny "SkyHigh" McClain.

This take was a definite improvement giving it a more soulful edge (with McClain's vocals), while Watsky regales us with a narrative of his first love as well as his love of older women. Watsky not only showcases his trademark brand of spoken-word in this video, but also shows his sense of humor by setting the scene for this video at a divorcee convention. This video shows another facet of Watsky's genius, subtle humor weaved in with his life experience, creating a scenario that all can identify with.

Watsky's best video (thus far) in my opinion is his video for the song "Fuck an Emcee Name", itself a commentary on the fact he can be the best rapper without adopting some sort of fake persona (as so many other rappers tend to do). The fabulous thing about this video is the juxtaposition of situations that require fake personas (i..e. wrestlers and porn stars) while the song denounces the very idea of choosing that path.

This article doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of George Watsky's genius, I can only gush so much but his Youtube channel isn't going anywhere. If you want a true taste of it, go root around and i'm sure you'll find something to jam to, something to inspire you, or something that'll make you want to change your life. From Def Jam to his live tours, his work on the Duke Westlake Cypher to his music videos? The Hermes of the Twenty-First Century*, George Watsky, will remain in this writer's opinion "the voice of the Internet Generation".

*Hermes is the Messenger of the Gods in the Greek pantheon, also the Greek God of Speech. Read a book for fuck's sake.

Watsky's Youtube Channel

Watsky's Facebook

Watsky's Twitter

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Beneful Reviews: The Simpsons Arcade Game

-by Ben

The Simpsons Arcade game was redeveloped by Backbone Entertainments for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles. Backbone Entertainments has in passed has redeveloped other games such as the 1989 arcade Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles also originally by Konami as well, Sega’s Sonic The Hedgehog 2 game and other classic games. 

After purchasing and downloading the Simpsons arcade game on the Xbox Live Marketplace to my Xbox 360 console for 800 Microsoft points, which equates to about 9.99 U.S. dollars, I played the game through with friends online and solo a few times for few hours that day. Over all I found The Simpsons arcade game doesn’t differ from the original arcade game released by Konami in 1991 arcade release except for some sound and art quality improvements. In my opinion, that's like polishing an old car rather than dramatic overhaul, like some of the Mario games for the Wii have done. 
Back to the game,The game also comprises of 8 levels: Downtown Springfield (Stage 1), Krustyland theme park (Stage 2), Springfield Discount Cemetery (Stage 3), Moe's Tavern (Stage 4), the Springfield Butte (Stage 5), a concussion induced dreamland (Stage 6), the KBBL's Channel 6 Broadcasting studio (Stage 7), a dojo (Stage 7.5), the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant (Stage 8, the final stage) and an assortment of small enemies, mini bosses, and big boss battles.

The Simpsons arcade game version for consoles like the original arcade offers 4 playable Simpsons characters as followed; Homer, Marge, Lisa, and Bart Simpson, featuring the original voices from the TV show. The console version of The Simpsons arcade for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 offers the Japanese version of the game after beating the American version of the game. The gameplay for the console version is very simple, two button smash, hit, jump, combo, pick up, and throw with thumb joystick movement controls. In addition, this game has co-op gameplay both online and or offline with family members and or friends. Co-op play adds an additional bonus of two player playable characters only combos that differ with each playable character combinations. 

I found that the two versions of the game, the American and Japanese releases hardly differ over all in gameplay experience. The Japanese version adds content and advantage that the American version doesn’t have. For example, in the Japanese version of The Simpsons arcade game, players are able to get a bomb weapon that is thrown and cause all enemies on screen to die. Plus an added bonus of food health pick-ups that add extended health when at full health.

The Simpsons also features two mini games. Players compete against each other and or against computer players (if fewer than 4 human players) to be the first to finish a task. The mini games involve inflating a balloon shaped like their character in the first game, and waking up their character in the second game. The goal of these two mini games within The Simpsons arcade game is to be the player who pushes the their controller buttons the fastest. 
I recommended playing The Simpsons with an arcade style controller (many of which can be found and bought online through various websites) to get that classic arcade feel out of the console verison of the game. 

My final thoughts on The Simpsons arcade game, buy this game if you like The Simpsons and or love to play classic arcade games. But, wait until it comes on sale on the various console marketplaces. If you are a PlayStation+ member, this game is free to download and play. This game is fun to play for the 30 minutes it takes to beat both the American and Japanese versions of the game in individual sessions. Replay factor? It's almost none. I found myself only playing this game over and over for this review and to get all the Xbox achievements. Better with friends and family members. If you haven’t played the original arcade and or love The Simpsons TV show then don’t buy this game.

2.5 to 3 stars out of 5.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Episode 56: LifeAlert

After a month's break to recuperate from the madness that was Magfest, Boldly Going Nowhere returns with a new season and the obligatory format change. Castwave Studios will now be providing you with more content in more digestible forms. The music, movies, and video games segments will be released as individual episodes every week, allowing people to pick and choose the segments they like most. Look for the following shows:
Monday - Boldly Going Nowhere (for all our classic non-topical banter)
Tuesday - Justin's Jukebox (music segment)
Wednesday - BGN at the Movies (Colin and Sean's movies segment)
Thursday - Beneful's Games (Ben's video game segment)
Friday - BGN Correspondents (hear from other people who are not us!)
In this Boldly Going Nowhere episode, we take the classy route and talk about elderly people and deaf people, as well as language barriers and our plan to ambush Pong creator Nolan Bushnell at the Art of Video Games Exhibit at the Smithsonian.

One Drunk Geek: Yeti Review

-by Brian

Hello all you wonderful people in internet-land! Welcome to the first of many Beer Reviews written exclusively for the BGN network. Today, we do something epic. Something deserved of a first episode that not only sounds triumphant, but delicious as well. That particular beast is "Oak Aged Yeti", a Russian Imperial Stout brewed by the fine gentlemen at the Great Divide Brewing Company, located in my home town of Denver, Colorado. (Go Broncos.) 

The Rundown.
Oak aged Yeti, henceforth referred to as "Yeti", is one of 3 different stouts offered by Great Divide, the others being Espresso and Chocolate oak-aged yeti, respectfully. This particular beer has won 3 different silver medal awards in Australia, and has a alcohol percentage of 9.67 percent. Great Divide classifies it as "An Imperial stout aged on new French and American oak chips." They Recommend it served best with steak, brownies or vanilla ice cream. We would personally recommend coffee as a good match however.

The First Impression.
Yeti pours a dark brown with a nice foam head and a pleasing smell. The initial taste however was not what I expected. Rather than a regular stout such as Guinness, this beer is high on the hops, and it shows. The caramelization and overall characteristics of a stout seemed to get lost in what I thought was an ale. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of overly-hoppy beers. Thankfully, the hops do not ruin an overall good beer, but it will throw off anyone used to a traditional stout. The smell resembles a cola with a mocha spike, and would not be out of place in a bar or pub.

The Whole Shebang-bang.
Unfortunately, I wasn't too impressed. This beer had a lot of potential, and I really like what Great Divide tried to do with this particular beer. Perhaps it's my predilection to enjoy beers that aren't overly hoppy or complicated. Having said that, this beer DOES stick out in a crowd, and I would recommend trying it at least once. If you're a hops fan and love guinness, this just might be your new favorite brew.
The taste was good, but nothing I would order twice, at least in the same sitting.

I give Yeti 3.5 stars out of 5. 

Availability: Nationwide, Year round.

Average Price: $10 a Pint.

Stay Thirsty, my Nerds.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

In Remembrance of David Kelly (1929-2012)

~By Colin

Rest in peace, sir.

So I awoke this morning to the news that David Kelly had passed away. 

This was a bummer, for Ireland has lost one of it's fine actors, but even more depressingly, it was overshadowed by the death of Whitney Houston. Fucking press, I mean really? When was the last time Whitney Houston was even relevant? Anyway, back on point, it was a real shame to hear of David Kelly's death. For those who aren't familiar with David's work, here are a few short clips to jostle your memory.

For those who are fans of 70's British sitcom "Faulty Towers", Kelly played the bumbling Irish repairman, O'Reilly: 

Most will probably remember Kelly as Grandpa Joe in the 2005 film "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory":

I remember David Kelly portraying Michael O' Sullivan in the 1998 film "Waking Ned Devine"


The trailer:

The eulogy scene, which is probably my favorite scene of the film:

This is probably one of my more favorite films, due to it's plot and well-developed characters. 
Michael (Kelly) and his longtime friend Jackie O' Shea (Ian Bannen) discover that someone in their local village has won the Irish Lottery, they then hatch a scheme to seek the winner's friendship to wet their beaks. After a few failed attempts, they find out that Ned Devine (Jimmy Keogh) was the villager who won, they then go to Ned's house to find him dead, suffering a heart attack after finding out he won. They decide to claim the ticket with Michael masquerading as Ned when the man from the Lottery Commission shows up. They convince the remaining villagers to tell the man from the Lottery that Michael is Ned and they will all receive a equal share of the winnings (£130,000 or $204,217). Through a series of events, the man from the Lottery shows up on the day of Ned's wake. Jackie does an impromptu eulogy for Michael, in which he reveals how much he cares for his friend. The movie ends with Michael, Jackie and others saluting their drinks to Ned for all he did for them.

It's a shame when we lose so many truly funny actors, but we can remember what they did for us in life. In that way, I'd like to think a little part of them will live on in us forever.

Rest in peace, David, I'll be having a pint tonight in your honor while watching "Waking Ned Devine".