21 July 2008

Batman: The Dark Knight

This is probably going to be the most celebrated movie of the year. Heath Ledger's performance is spellbinding; so much in fact that the film almost ceases to be about Batman. If the title had been Joker: Why So Serious? I think it would have sold just as well. So far it's broken at least three box-office records. In fact it's dethroned two god-awful movies, Star Wars Ep. III and Spiderman III, so I'm all the more happy about it.

I wouldn't call this the best movie ever. However, it is most certainly the best 'super-hero' movie ever, and maybe the best comic/graphic novel adaptation of all time. It will probably keep this distinction for quite a while too; somehow I doubt Zack Snyder is going to do Watchmen justice.

Heath Ledger is dead. That is a horrific shame, not only for the simple fact that he no longer lives, but also because The Joker isn't killed in this film. It would have been utterly fantastic to bring him back for the third part of the trilogy. With him gone it's very doubtful that the man who laughs will have anything near a significant role. One idea I heard was that they should go the Killing Joke route and have Batman visit the clown in his cell only to find that it's an imposter, and never see him again. That might work.

I'm not going to go into the plot at all because this really is just something you have to see; reading about it is futile. So is writing about it really. I can't put into words the genius of the Joker. Seriously. The rest of the cast is great, but the gap between them and Ledger is enormous.

Go see it.

UPDATE: I saw it in IMAX last night. As other people have said, you don't really lose much in the standard show, but damn is it impressive in full glory. I loved having to actually turn my head to see different parts of the screen. Overhead shots almost made me feel like I was going to fall into it. Really cool.

18 July 2008

Breaking Bad

I heard if this show two days ago while discussing Mad Men with a friend. After looking it up on Wikipedia, my interest was piqued. Only 7 episodes were made due to the writers' strike so it wasn't a major detour from the other shows I'm watching.

The idea is that this guy White just found out that he has terminal lung cancer. This makes him rethink his life and financial situation, thinking about the family he will leave behind. As a chemistry teacher he has a good understanding of chemical processes, and turns to the drug trade to turn some quick cash. He makes methamphetamine. In order to get some money for it he has some run-ins with a bunch of colorful characters while hiding it all from his family, one member of which is a DEA officer.

The best part of it all is watching him change from a nerdy professor type to a badass skinhead. It's also fun how they work in chemistry all the time; it's like watching Bill Nye the Science Guy with a bit of black mixed in with the comedy. It was all so good I watched all 7 episodes back to back in pretty much one sitting. There's going to be a second season, and I will watch it.

Also, this is neat. Breaking Bad Nabs 4 Emmy Nominations

17 July 2008

Mad Men

Once again, my shallow self has led me in my viewing choices. I found out the the delectable Christina Hendricks, who played Saffron on Firefly for a few episodes, is in a new show on AMC called Mad Men. There has only been one season of 13 episodes so far, but a new season is planned.

This show is not similar to Firefly in any way. However, Christina's character is somewhat similar, in that she's a bit of a temptress. That wasn't the only thing that kept me going through all the episodes though. It's a good show. It's about a bunch of advertisers in the 60s, and their less-than-squeaky-clean lives. It doesn't portray the 60s as being innocent. It digs up all the issues that civil rights advancements and health concerns have been fighting since that time, like women's equality, smoking, heart disease, sexual harrassment, and all that jazz. Behind the main themes there is a pretty cool shady-past story for the main character, and a bunch of smokingly-hot babes.

I liked it.

05 July 2008


This game is great. I'm not sure it rivals Half Life, but it gets darn close if it doesn't. It might if I had read anything by Ayn Rand and had an appreciation for objectivism, a concept of which I still don't have a complete grasp. Apparently much of the game is based on it. Anyway; it's a fantastic take on a first-person-shooter with an actual message and moral issues. Amazing graphics, especially the water effects and stylized character models.

It's a spooky sort of game. It made me jump in my seat a few times when corpses decided that they were actually alive and wanted to kill me for my bodily fluids. Very dark and dirty. I guess you might call it an RPG in a sense, as it had several elements of the genre. You are playing the role of a specific character whose story is quite interesting, and there is a sort of leveling system via various vending machines that allow you to improve yourself and your weapons. That part was one of the most fun bits.

I got the PC version of course, seeing as I don't own any consoles. I just built a new computer and it handles it pretty great. I ordered a new cooler for the graphics card because it keeps freezing the system randomly, I assume due to overheating. I was disappointed to discover that the achievement system was left out of the PC version; something to do with it not having Windows Live. I don't see why that would matter.

I went through the first round mostly rescuing the little sisters. This route aligns with the human rights aspect of objectivism. Next round I'm doing hard mode and I plan on harvesting them all; the pursuit of selfish happiness.

UPDATE: Finished my second run last night. The ending was pretty badass; instead of a happy life with the little sisters, you become a warmongering evil and unleash the splicers on the landlubbers. There is apparently a third ending that doesn't differ much from this one except for the tone of the voiceover. I won't be going through it again for a while, but I'll probably try for that one when I do. There will be a PS3 release later this year with possibly improved graphics; hopefully some of those improvements will be available for the PC version as well.

There have been rumors that Bioshock II will be a prequel accounting the times before the downfall of Rapture. This makes a lot of sense since there really isn't much that could be done past the ending of the first one. It will probably be a 2009 release; I'm looking forward to it wholeheartedly.