Friday, August 28, 2009

FILM: Mario Kart: The Movie (Trailer)

After blowing our minds for 15+ years on the small screen, everyone's favorite Nintendo franchise brings its red shells, battle modes, and Mushroom Cups to Hollywood. Released this past week, MKTM's trailer gives us a sneak peak at what surely will be the most dramatic racing movie since Too Fast Too Furious. For you purists, this one delivers the goods: A) Mario as the lead, B) Wario as the fat, evil villain, and C) all the supporting characters in their comic relief glory. Critics will be surprised by the superb acting, soundtrack, and stunning emotional layers to MKTM (Mario hitting rock bottom, the origins of Baby Mario, etc.). While I do think this trailer reveals a little TOO MUCH plot (SPOILER: A dumb main character dies!), a story of "loyalty and love" has this reviewer licking his chops to get to the theaters. Ah, too bad its a fake. Daisy sucks.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

AVATAR Trailer!

After months of hype and big promises, James Cameron's Avatar movie finally has a trailer. Every single film critic/blogger who has caught a sneak peek at Avatar footage has said that it's mindblowing.

In my opinion, this film is either going to be a huge critical/financial hit or it's going to flop big time. I don't think we are going to see much middle ground here. The scope, look, and feel of the movie is so unique and ambitious that it could be really polarizing. I think it's going to kick ass, but it's probably going to kick ass and make little profit, if any.. Watch the trailer and judge for yourself. It's like Doom meets the Night Elves in Warcraft III and it's set in a world that Atrus from Mist must have drawn up.

Granted, it's meant for IMAX and 3D and screens much bigger than my laptop screen, but I'm impressed, and you should be too.

Pic of the Week

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

LOST Casting Call

I already had fun doing this before Season 5, so let's try and guess who LOST will cast next. Per EW, they want a male actor between 30 and 50 to play....

"Lennon: Scruffy, edgy, charismatic, and slightly stir-crazy, Lennon can be deferential when it’s called for. He’s the spokesperson/translator for the president of a foreign corporation. He’s a wily negotiator, and far more powerful than his lowly position would seem to indicate. Recurring."

When they casted Caesar and Illana, the names did not change, so for now we can assume this guy will really be named Lennon. Here are a couple thoughts that immediately occur:

  • Translator for the president of a foreign corporation makes me think Mr. Paik's right hand man. Might Sun's pop play a significant role in the final season?
  • What foreign leaders haven't we met yet? I'm willing to be this guy will be the person pulling the strings for Illana and her group. And who is it? ALVAR HANSO!!!!
  • From the description of the character, I'm guessing this guy will remain off-Island, so will he even by that important?
Okay, time for my pick. Like Illana, this guy is going to be European. Plus, he did a little stint on Deadwood like several other minor LOST characters, and since I recently watched the third season of 24 (he played the villain Stephen Saunders), I think this guy would be perfect:


Review: The Goods

What happens when you take an ensemble of some of the funniest comedic role players and handicap them with piss poor jokes and an empty story? You get The Goods, a movie that almost makes you appreciate the comedies like Funny People that actually put a lot of work into their scripts.

This movie is filled with "Hey, I know that guy" actors, and most of them can be counted on to bring the funny to a film. There's Jeremy Piven (slick car salesman/PCU guy all grown up), Ed Helms (rival/boy band enthusiast), David Koechner (numbers guy), Ken Jeong (salesman), Craig Robinson (DJ) and Rob Riggle (man child). Throw in old-timers James Brolin (dealership owner/closet queer) and Charles Napier (racist war veteran) and you have a pretty well rounded cast. The pedigree is there behind the scenes too, as Will Ferrell and Adam McKay produced the film. Too bad that the story is paint-by-numbers predictable (if they don't sell all the cars on the lot, the dealership folds) and the jokes miss more than they hit.

The only reason I went to see the film is because I watched Will Ferrell's cameo online, which is hilarious. But seriously, you're better off catching District 9 or waiting for Inglourious Basterds than enduring this turdburger.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Review: District 9

This has got to be the best movie adaptation of a video game never made in the first place. Everything about District 9 begs for a kick ass first person shooter. First, let me be clear. This shouldn't be taken as an insult. The movie reportedly cost about $30 million to make, and since it was filmed in South Africa with local actors, the feel of the film is similar to the lower quality cut scenes that accompany arcade games like Area 51. There is a deliberate mix of shaky-cam documentary, security cam footage, some History Channel-esque interviews, and some traditional camera work to cover the aliens when they're alone, and it's all done in a really cool way. It's not often I say things like "wow, the editing is pretty sweet," but that's what I thought about in the theater. So what's it about?

Set in Johannisberg, a race of aliens derogatorily called "prawns" (we never find out the real name of their race or home planet) landed there 20 years ago and have been living in a makeshift Hoovertown, complete with rubble, garbage, and shacks. I'm not going to go political and make any comparisons to apartheid in South Africa, because who really cares? The cool thing is that this film cleverly presents us with this scenario from 3 different points of view.

Firstly, we have the bureaucracy charged with keeping the peace, led by South Africa's fictional MNU company. These guys are feeling pressure from the people to do something about the prawns living in District 9. They appoint cool guy Wikus to oversee an eviction of all the bugs living in the shanties so that they can move to a concentration camp (not cool). Wikus is training his replacement, and takes us on a tour of the dump, educating us about what the aliens like (cat food), what they don't like (humans), and how to handle them.

Next, we have the alien race. These guys just want to go home, but they are forced to make due in their shanty-town. There is violence, gambling, gangs, and general unrest. We are supposed to sympathize with the bugs.

Finally, there is the military contracted to keep everyone in line. Not only do we have the overly-aggressive government military, but also Nigerian gangs sniffing around. Pretty much, District 9 has developed into a huge mess, and local citizens are sick of it.

So where's the drama? In a nutshell, Wikus gets exposed to alien matter while searching for illegal weapons, and is now able to use their bioweapon technology. This makes him a tasty target for the government. If they are able to capture him and harvest his organs, they t00 can figure out how to utilize the alien technology. Wikus' only hope for help and survival is to team up with prawns.

The plot twists, special effects, characters, and conflicts are all done in a smart and suspenseful way, but again, this would make a hell of a video game. There are rescue missions, storm-the-base missions, and crazy tank missions. The weaponry progresses from standard human guns and grenades to crazy Halo-like alien guns to advanced human cannons to big awesome tank suits. And most importantly, the lead character is really cool. Not enough could be said about whoever this newcomer is, but he owns the movie.

All in all, this is gearing up to be a pretty awesome year for sci-fi. Abrams made Star Trek entertaining again. District 9 is an innovative alien movie that cost pennies to make, and pretty soon, James Cameron will be blowing our minds with Avatar. For now, definitely throw this movie into the FLOBY Best Picture mix, because it is just that good.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Fantasy Football DRAFT Tips

The Steelers opened up the 2009 campaign last night with a preseason victory over the substandard Cardinals. With the regular season fast approaching, a lot of people are gearing up for fantasy football drafts. I'll outline some tips to keep in mind when constructing your team. This might not be wise since the people that read this website are my competitors in the Steeler Greats league, but I haven't made the playoffs since the Cowher era, so take it with a grain of salt.

Don't go "All-In" in the first round - The first round is obviously important, but one player is simply a fraction of your team. Good fantasy football teams have depth at key positions and owners of those teams generally draft well in rounds four and beyond. Just look at the players drafted last year that will probably be keepers this season. Michael Turner, Chris Johnson, Matt Forte, etc were all drafted in later rounds a season ago and were big difference-makers for their owners. Build a solid base, don't trade everything away for a chance at Tom Brady.

Value, Value, Value - Every year, the first tight end comes off the board way to early and then other TEs quickly get drafted. If five TEs are already gone,
don't reach and take a tight end in the seventh or eighth round who in actuality has twelfth round value. It's sometimes better to take a 3rd RB or 4th WR than to reach on a quarterback just because you don't have one. Research players, know where they are rated and where they "should" be drafted, and go from there. Maybe you didn't draft a top five tight end, but you got a solid receiver instead and picked up an under-the-radar tight end in round fourteen that will have a good and surprising year.

Know the Scoring System - Steeler Greats gives an equal amount of points for a throwing
TD as it does a rushing or receiving TD. It puts the emphasis on having a top-tier quarterback. I should take this advice, I let the best qbs get drafted and then take Matt Hasselbeck in a later round. When he gets hurt or just plain out sucks, I get screwed.

Injuries - If a player consistently gets hurt every year, Hasselbeck or dare I say Adrian Peterson, is it worth taking him?

Offensive Lines - Healthy and solid lines usually equate to success and health for running backs and quarterbacks.

Bye Weeks - I think some go crazy with trying to side-step bye weeks, but at the same time you don't want half of your team off for one week. One loss during the season could cost you a playoff spot.

Players from same team - There are some differing opinions, I'm not a huge fan of it, b
ut you were golden if you had Brady and Moss two years ago. If a QB/WR combo has a bad week, it could spell double trouble for your fantasy team.

Pay Attention During the Draft - If you are drafting say in the 9th spot in the odd rounds and the 2nd in the evens and you want two players, say a RB and QB, you might want to take the QB first if the guy drafting after you already has 3 RBs and 0 QBs. The RB you want should be available to you on the way back.

That's about all I can think of off the top of my head. Draft Day is important but remember that it is not the end-all. Undrafted players will have big years, and first rounders will be major busts. Fantasy teams in September will look a lot different come January. It's good to think proactively as opposed to re-actively, but that can sometimes to tough. Buy a magazine, do a little research,
and root for the Carnell Lake Effect.

Rerun Season: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

The only good thing ever associated with the toilet town of Philadelphia returns to FX on September 17th. If you're a fan of jokes about homelessness, welfare, drug addiction, rape, or any other shock topic, you should be watching this show. How many other shows get away with showing poop on TV? Zero. Below is the hilarious new ad for this season, followed by a clip from last season's finale, when Charlie sings the finale to a musical he wrote about the Night Man.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


(mostly from tmz, but who cares)

The woman accusing Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger of sexual assault bragged about her sexual experience with him to a co-worker, according to a sworn affidavit filed in court.

A former co-worker of Andrea McNulty signed an affidavit saying McNulty told her "she was hoping for a 'little Roethlisberger.'" The affidavit was obtained by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

She also said McNulty told her she wanted to travel to Pittsburgh in August 2008 to try and "run into" Roethlisberger, according to the sworn statement.

McNulty filed a civil suit against Roethlisberger last month, claiming he sexually assaulted her in his hotel room in July 2008.

Roethlisberger has denied any wrongdoing. He has two super bowl rings and philly blows. Go Steelers.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Pic of the Week

Meet Koda, the dwarf pony so teeny and cool that locals think he's a battery-operated toy. His vet says, "'He's very brave and takes his medicine like a little man."

MUSIC: The New Shits

(from some other website that won't care if we quote them: "Them Crooked Vultures, the superband featuring Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl, Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme, and Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, will play its first show Aug. 9 at Chicago’s Metro, the BBC reports. Grohl initially talked about the new hard rock band in 2005, but this will be the public’s first chance to actually hear the group’s music. The band started recording material earlier this year. It better not suck ass." I wrote that last part.

Dr. Stonehill? Telephone call for you...he says his name is Oscar.*

*i mean, FLOBY.

I don't want to tell you the plot because then you won't want to see it.
Just know three things:

1. This either loses points for not having a title yet, or it's actually called The Untitled Crowley Project, in which case it's the best movie of the year.**

2. Harrison Ford plays unconventional doctor Dr. Robert Stonehill. A hero doctor not dissimilar to Dr. Jack Shephard.

and 3. One of the men in this photo is a baldy in real life...Hint: it's not the old man.

**or worst

go see it?

Thursday, August 6, 2009


*By Dave*

I've known about this game for quite a while, back when it was being rumored. I was excited to play it when I heard that the story and screenplay for the game was written by Comedy DemiGods Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd. The next sign of good news came when most of the original cast came back with Ray and Egon to voice their respective characters (including Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, and the uptight guy who plays Walter Peck). Even Bryan Doyle Murray shows up to help, though voicing the new Mayor of NYC. I then got my hands on the demo, and sure enough, everything about it was enjoyable, so I decided to go out and rent it. All the stars seemed to align for it, and the game delivered in a big way.

The script is funny, with laughs coming from all the characters. The story is original, set in 1991, and takes the Ghostbusters to new lengths to stop the ghosts from having their way. The PS3 graphics were near flawless. Characters were a complete match to their acting counterparts (Ernie Hudson looks so accurate it's scary). The environments were very detailed and always impressive. Even boring library interiors looked amazing, so when you're taken to parallel ghost dimensions, the backgrounds had me stopped and looking around at everything, even mid battle against Class 5 Roaming Animators! But when it comes to curious exploration, it doesn't get better than the former firehouse-turned-Ghostbuster HQ. Lots of fun stuff to check out and interact with. Playing with the proton pack never got boring either, and throughout the game new effects keep getting added to it to ensure the fun never died. Old friends show up throughout the game, like the Librarian from the film's first scene, and Stay Puft Marshallow Man. The easter eggs are great when you can find them, bonus points for the Vigo painting (which is back at Ghostbuster HQ for analyzing) taunting you whenever you go passed it. And keep your eyes peeled for a choice Indy reference.

A few faults are pervasive throughout the game. For one, while the voice acting is great, some of the interplay between the characters seems stilted. Having all four Ghostbusters doing their lines together in the same room, riffing off eachother, would've been a great improvement (no matter how impossible to schedule). Secondly, while the angle of playing as the new recruit works well, it would've been far better to have the recruit say something every now and then. He says absolutely nothing. This isn't GTA 3. You can't get away with that crap anymore. There's a little too much reliance on the existing films also. You battle Stay Puft. Again. You fight in the hotel from the first movie and wreck up their ballroom right before a party with the annoying Hotel guy yelling at you about the bill the whole time. Again. You go down to the Library stacks and chase the Gray Lady, again. Lastly, it would've been incredibly ideal to have Sigourney Weaver back for a few lines, and it would've turned a good game into a legendary game had Rick Moranis reprised his role as Louis, the sweaty, nervous Accountant/Tax Attorney. As I've said before on this website, he's notoriously hard to get when it comes to acting gigs these days. The man is enjoying semi-retirement and so the game will suffer a tad for it (only a tad though). These faults are minor , and only worth mentioning because it's a review.

The pros far outweigh the cons. The game is certainly challenging, not at all a walkthrough. The fights are lots of fun, and there's a lot of satisfaction with each ghost you capture in the trap. It's the closest to being a Ghostbuster you and me will ever see, so soak it in and enjoy.


Review: Funny People

*By Dave*

We've covered Apatowmania before on this website, and I guess we've added to it by reviewing everything he gets his hands on, including web skits. That being said, it seems this country's lovefest with the guy is starting to fade. Public reaction so far to his writing/directing follow up to 'The 40 Year Old Virgin' and 'Knocked Up' has been lukewarm at best. You're either in the camp that likes the film for what it is, or thinks it's a self-indulgent mess relying on too many assists from celebrity pals. Count me in the former. I can certainly see why this movie didn't get the big opening dollars, but it's a little puzzling why a lot of people who saw the movie didn't really care too much for it. Of course a lot of those idiots when in with expectations for a continuation of the raunchy hilarity Apatow laced his previous films with. I saw this movie because I thought the plotline had potential for smart laughs and a cast to pull it off. I didn't have reservations about what it should be like because that just sets you up for a bummer. I knew going in it would be a dramedy, and I got what I came for.

Adam Sandler was right at home playing a George Simmons, a comedian-turned--movie-star making a fortune off playing morons with strange voices. Kudos has to be given to Sandler for lampooning himself and his career choices. Simmons finds out early that he's suffering from a rare blood disease that carries an 8% survival rate with it. He responds to the bad news by going back to his roots, performing stand up at a small comedy club. He abruptly bombs, but befriends a young stand up named Ira (Seth Rogen, will Apatow ever not use him???) and hires him to write jokes and do assistant-type things. The rest of the film follows a series of relationships: George's with his ex-soulmate, Ira's with his roommates, and George's with Ira.

As I said before, I really like this movie. Apatow proves again that crude humor can still be both smart and poignant. Jonah Hill and Jason 'Max Fisher' Schwartzman are highlights as Rogen's roommates. Sandler switches his mood often in the film, moods that include over-the-top, irate, and incredibly depressed, all of it genuine to his character to. Rogen, who I know for a fact Herb hates, does a great job at not being so Sethrogeny in this. His character is a little more sincere, a little more pathetic than usual. Throw in effective peformances from Leslie Mann and Eric Bana, and what's left is only a few minor beefs with this movie.

For one, it's long. Way long. Almost as long as this review. And I won't crucify the whole film for being almost two and a half hours. It was long, but at the same time, I wasn't ready for it be over when it was. The biggest thing that bugged me throughout was how connected to reality it was. Movies are supposed to be an escape for people, an opportunity to invest in a story and it's fictional characters. But as I was trying to do just that, what I got instead was a constant reminder of the existence of the real life actors, if that makes sense. I wanted to get to know these characters, making their conflicts and stories all the more interesting. But once Ira stops being Ira and starts being Seth Rogen pretending to be Ira, then the conflicts and storylines become unemotional and meaningless. And it happened to all the characters, too, that's what reaallly bugged me. Adam Sandler pretty much played himself, and Adam Sandler doesn't have cancer (that we know of) therefore Adam Sandler's battle with it seemed really fake. George Simmon's battle, on the other hand, would be highly interesting. Ira gets ridiculed in the beginning for having just lost 20 or 30 lbs (something Rogen had done for another movie), and gets made fun of for not being as fat and therefore, not as funny. Leslie Mann, supposed to be playing Eric Bana's wife and mother of their 2 kids, comes across only as Apatow's real life wife when both their children appear for much of the film's last third. When private home movies of theirs are later shared, it only makes it worse.

Again, the flaws were only a problem when they were noticeable. When reminders of real life weren't thrown in our faces, the film was quite good.

Lastly, while some cameos of celebrities playing themselves were stupid and pointless (Eminem), fellow comedian friends of George Simmons playing themselves were hilarious (Norm MacDonald, PAUL REISER, Ray Romano even).

All in all, a very enjoyable film with a main character that brings the best parts out of Adam Sandler. Judd Apatow may have lost some of his public momentum, but I think this is the movie he always wanted to make and was using his Hollywood klout to bring it to the screen, daring people to hate it. I liked it.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

WEB: Red Remover

Good luck with this time-waster, and don't blame me because you want to call in sick at work to play this. If you enjoyed Super Stacker 2 (another physics-based game, you'll love this).

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Pic of the Week

Wilt, Arnold, and Andre on the set of Conan.

Review: The Hangover

I have finally gotten around to watching the highest grossing R-rated comedy of all-time, mostly because I've given up on trying to go to the theater and just watched in on This makes judging comedies even harder. When you're watching it with at least a few people (or ideally a theater full of them) it's easier to laugh because humor's so contagious. But when it's just me lying in bed watching a comedy on a low-res browser, it takes a lot to get me to LOL.

That being said, the Hangover easily passes the test. When I wasn't full-on giggling, I was at least enjoying the humor. You'll hate the soundtrack if you're not into Kanye and all that shitty dance pop, but that's only a minor complaint. Bradley Cooper (Phil) is there to look cool and be the leader of the group, and he does just fine. The hilarious Ed Helms (Stu) is a worrying dentist in a horrible relationship with a bitch girlfriend. And Zach Galifianakis (Alan) is an awkward simpleton who steals the film with lines like:

Alan Garner: You probably get this a lot. This isn't the real Caesar's Palace is it?
Lisa: What do you mean?
Alan Garner
: Did, umm... did Caesar live here?
: No.
Alan Garner
: I didn't think so.


Phil Wenneck
: You're not really wearing that are you?
Alan Garner: Wearing what?
Phil Wenneck
: The man purse. You actually gonna wear that or are you just fuckin' with me?
Alan Garner: It's where I keep all my things. Get a lot of compliments on this. Plus it's not a purse, it's called a satchel. Indiana Jones wears one.
Phil Wenneck: So does Joy Behar.

Yeah, there's a little bit of a Dude, Where's My Car vibe to this, and with Mike Tyson, a tiger, a stripper/escort, Ed Helms singing, and a naked Asian thrown into the mix, there's just a lot of weird stuff happening. Luckily, you really don't care about all that because the interaction between the three main characters always keep the plot funny and interesting. You've probably already seen this movie, but if not, then you suck.


TV: A Man Among Wolves

If you are looking for an hour long time waster, I recommend watching A Man Among Wolves, a Nat Geo documentary about a wolf "scientist" that lives full time with a pack of wolves. The craziest thing about this is that he is accepted as their Alpha, and he'll dominate them to stay that way. If they ever really wanted to kick him out or take over, they could rip his throat out in seconds. In spite of this danger, he continues to teach them how to survive on their own.

This was filmed in 2007, and there has been a few updates since then, most notably that he married a human female and is trying to get her into the pack as well. For now, just watch the original doc, with part one starting here.


Inducted 8-2009 by Herb

Wow, I totally forgot to update the Wall these past several months, so here's the first of 2 or 3 that I'll induct this month.

Everybody has a favorite actor that isn't that famous and doesn't make a ton of movies, but seems to always be there for the big moments in life out of sheer luck. Sean Bean is that actor for me. He gave James Bond his stiffest challenge in GoldenEye as 006. On top of that being a spectacular movie, the GoldenEye game for N64 is my number 2 favorite game of all time, so Bean was always around. After being in few stinkers (Ronin, Don't Say a Word), he dominated the Fellowship of the Ring. LOTR is epic and cool, but how many of us can really identify with the unbreakable wills of Frodo and Aragorn? I sided with the flawed Boromir, because, given similar circumstances, I would also want to use the ring to help defend the people sacrificing the most. His heroic movie death is one of the saddest in history, maybe topping Bruce Willis in Armageddon. So after playing Bond for years, I was swept up in LOTR films and games for another 5 years. Then, Sean Bean played the central NPC in Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (my 8th favorite game of all time). I sunk well over 150 hours into that game, and a lot of it speaking with Martin Septim (Bean) and doing quests for him. The point of this is that Bean has had maybe 4 or 5 awesome roles (GoldenEye, Patriot Games, LOTR, Troy, Oblivion) yet he's a big part in all the stuff I did growing up.

Luckily, you can never get enough Bean, so the fact that he is starring as the main character in HBO's adapation of MY FAVORITE BOOK SERIES EVER is just another in a long line of lucky breaks.

WEB: The Real Game Genie

I remember Game Genie being sooooooooooo awesome...