30 May 2009

Devin Townsend Project - Ki

"Hevy Devy" has been one of my favorite artists for around 5 years now. I'm a big fan of both his heavy work in Strapping Young Lad and his usually mellower solo work under various other monikers. The albums City and Terria are definitely in or around my top 10 albums ever. Devin puts everything he has into his music; after recording the album Alien, he committed himself to a mental institution because it screwed him up so much. Of course, a lot of his recent work has been a bit rushed in order to get out of constrictive record deals and touring, and the music has suffered a bit (see Synchestra and The New Black). Now that he's out of all that business, he has been free to spend as much time as he wants, the way he wants, on his music. His first effort in this new musical world was The Hummer, an ambient record that didn't really grab me much, as it really is quite ambient indeed; pretty good for falling asleep, but not much else. Then there was Ziltoid The Omniscient, which while funny, wasn't very lasting.

And now after what Devin has said has been the longest formulation since the excellent Ocean Machine, he has released Ki. Ki is the first of four records to be potentially released this year under the Devin Townsend Project name, all of which will be made with different people (aside from Devin of course). This first album is probably the most dynamic thing he's ever done. It goes from simple laid-back rock to full-blown death metal sound in the space of a few seconds, and then back again in even less time. The mellow parts are beautiful and catchy, and the heavy bits are devestating. The track Heaven Send is a perfect example of this dynamism, and has the added benefit of some beautiful female vocals. Devin has employed some great musicians for this one, the seemingly oddest being one Duris Maxwell, an old-timer session drummer with a long and storied musical history. His style is much different from Devin's other drummers like Gene Hoglan and Ryan Poederooyen with their bombastic metal styles; Duris is a laid back Ringo style drummer. Solid as a rock. The resulting music is just fantastic.

Here's a youtube of Heaven Send, I don't know how long it'll be around, although Devin is very supportive of people sharing his music.

All told, Ki has become my favorite of anything Devin has put out so far. This is finally what he really wants to do, and it shows.

23 May 2009

Star Trek '09

I've never been as big of a Trek fan as much as I am a Star Wars fanatic, but I have fond memories of a few episodes of the original series borrowed from our local library. They were really funny, often intelligent, and had loads of corny monsters and sentient dust-clouds in space. Spock was my hero. I can't do the eyebrow raise, but I've been able to salute in Vulcan style for a long time.

JJ Abrams seems to have been a fan of the show for quite a while, and managed to put forth a largely similar feel to the original series, if not nearly as cheesy. This is a much more polished film than any Trek previous, even the TNG movies I think. Some of those were good though, like First Contact, a favorite of mine. There are a lot of explosions and black holes and angry people; but the the humor is still a major part of it, especially around Kirk and Scotty. I can't say I was the biggest fan of the Kirk guy, but all of the other characters were fun. They did a fantastic job with Checkov especially; I really liked the computer failing to recognize his pronunciation as valid commands.

Leonard Nimoy had a much larger role than I expected, which was cool. However it's just not quite the same when he's not acting like the old Spock with all his logical detachment, which I suppose Zachary Quinto did a pretty good job of portraying. He's just a little bit too much of a pretty-boy for the role I think. Overall, pretty much everyone did a great job. It was a very fun movie.

20 May 2009


I tried watching Chuck when it first came out a year or so ago. I'm pretty sure I was going through The Wire at the time, and for that reason I wasn't very impressed. It all seemed very plastic and insincere; of course, that's kinda the point with this sort of comedy. So I decided to give it another shot a week or two ago. It was a fun watch.

I'm going to skip the plot summary because it doesn't matter much. Suffice to say that it centers around a so-called nerd named chuck who has fallen into a stressful life with two government agents, one of them a smoking-hot babe (pictured above in wonderfully nerdy attire) and the other the guy who played Jayne in Firefly. He also has some crazy and entirely unlikely image-recognition matrix thing in his head that only does anything when he sees certain people things, usually kicking off the plot of each episode. Hm. Well I guess that was a plot summary, oh well.

So the show is fun. There are lots of very pretty ladies, awkward moments, bits of subtle nerd humor, and a fair amount of action. It's predictable but entertaining. Compared to The Wire, as I was doing last time, it's a mud puddle; but what isn't?

07 May 2009

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

This post will cover the movie and the game, because I watched/played them very close together, and I think the comparison will make interesting writing, if not reading.

So yeah. I saw the movie a few days ago. Before the reviews starting coming in I had had relatively high hopes for it because it seemed that it would be at least partially based on the Wolverine: Origin one-shot comic book. I did hear some troubling rumors about some Deadpool raping which didn't sound very nice. Almost every review I came across was quite negative; but I still held out a little hope that it might not suck total balls.

Too bad.

Okay, it wasn't X-Men 3. It was often entertaining. However, it was quite poorly constructed. There wasn't much plot, the CG was horrible, and they didn't do Deadpool right, dammit. I've recently become quite a fan of the guy and wanted to see some of his crazy antics on screen. We got maybe two lines from the lame-ass actor that might be construed as funny. There was supposedly an extra scene at the end that remedied it a little but I didn't feel like sticking around past the credits. Anyway, the CG really was bad. The claws almost didn't even look raytraced. Xavier looked completely plastic in his 2-second scene. Also, adamantium bullets? What the hell, man? I guess they make a little sense, but seriously. The Origin comic tie-ins were pathetic. Instead of making me all emotional they simply prompted laughter. Jackman did an okay job for the most part though.

It really should have been an R-film. Then it might have been more like the game, which was hella fun. SO MUCH BLOOD. You jump on fricken' helicopters and pull the dudes out and stick their heads in the rotor blades. METAL. Deadpool was even lamer than in the movie, but I forgive them I guess. It was just so much fun leaping all over the place and cutting dudes into pieces. Overall it was a pretty easy game. Heck, I beat it in on normal in about 2 days. The finale with Deadpool was a bit trying. The guy shouldn't have laser eyes. It's cheap.

The game almost came up with a better reason for Wolverine's memory loss, but then decided to screw that and do the same thing the movie did. Lame sauce.

So, now that I've finished the game I think I'm going to install Windows 7 RC1 to fix my crappy computer and its annoying shared memory freeze-ups. Whoop-dee-doo. This has been a highly un-professional seat-of-the-pants "review" of the current Wolverine franchise, thank you for reading, you bastards.