To this day, my brother and I still reference this.
January 11, 2012 • 12:12 PM 4
To this day, my brother and I still reference this.
December 20, 2011 • 8:54 PM 2
It’s funny, when it comes to movies, I’m actually not that hard to impress.
While I consider myself well-versed in the world of film, at the end of the day all it really takes to peak my interest, is:
A): A decent cast.
B): A decent concept.
and C): The promise of people punching one another at some point in the movie.
In some cases that last one, if represented well enough, is the only excuse I need to see a movie, regardless of how dumb or crappy it is.
And when it comes to The Dark Knight Rises, as utterly incalculable as the build-up has, and will continue to be for the next 6 months or so, at the end of the day I will see it because it, unlike any other movie in film history; will deliver the long anticipated spectacle of Batman and Bane duking it out on the big screen.
Christopher Nolan’s track record when it comes to cinematography and fight choreography suggests that the ensuing bout will be clumsy and edited through a meat grinder, but even so, I’ve been waiting to see this fight brought to life on the silver screen since I was 6 years old; and crappy or not, I will not be denied.
That being said, Batman and Bane grudge match aside, what did I think of the new trailer for The Dark Knight Rises?
Well, to answer your question, I felt it was quite good by most standards, but much too enigmatic and fractured in it’s presentation to pack the same visceral punch that the later trailers for The Dark Knight did.
Here’s a refresher in case you need it:
I’d prefer not to compare the 2, as it’s obvious the people cutting the trailers for these movies came at it from very different tonal and thematic standpoints; but I feel it needs to be said that, to me, The Dark Knight really did have some of the best trailers of all time.
Everything, from the shot selection, to the music cues, to the overall pacing of the trailers for The Dark Knight was absolutely spot on.
What’s more, thanks to the dialogue-heavy nature of the trailers, as well as his untimely death, an absurd amount of buzz was generated for Heath Ledger’s portrayal of The Joker, (*Sigh* “Why So Serious?”) not to mention the overall plot of the film was made crystal clear.
Though it sounds silly in this cynical age of ours, in many ways I feel the catchphrases and buzzwords of The Dark Knight actually served to make it’s advertising campaign both effective and memorable on the whole.
The trailer for The Dark Knight Rises has a lot of neat shots in it, promising quite a few interesting set piece moments, however, perhaps due to the lack of dialogue, many of these shots are difficult to interpret from a purely visual standpoint.
Early on we see the reflection of a man with a cane approaching a shiny dinner platter while Alfred drones on about the Wayne dynasty:
Later, we see a bearded Bruce Wayne wandering around what appears to be the prison equivalent to Discovery Zone:
There’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
There’s A SHIT TON of rappeling.
Seriously, if you take into account the fact that maybe, just maybe, the people viewing this trailer haven’t been blogging about every step of the script writing process, or staring at leaked production photos for the past several months, (oddly enough, not me!) then this trailer basically offers no hint as to her role being that of Selina Kyle.
Oh wait excuse me, she’s wearing a mask at a masquerade ball that, if you look really hard, has cat ears:
Sarcasm deployed, mystery solved.
Much like Aaron Eckhart’s Two-Face, unless you’ve been following the production or are familiar with the Batman universe, chances are you’d never know Anne Hathaway was supposed to be Catwoman in this trailer.
Indeed, I’m curious to know what this trailer meant to people who aren’t familiar with Batman outside of the movies.
In many ways, when I watch this trailer, I feel my perception is skewed by the fact that I already have an attachment to and understanding of many of the characters based on their comic book equivalent.
When I think “Bane,” I already have an image in mind of what I expect from him.
When I hear Tom Hardy speaking through his mask I say to myself:
When I see scenes from the trailer like the prison break, I think to myself:
To the average Batman virgin however, I’d imagine imagery such as this would be provocative, but purely in a “oh, so that’s gonna’ happen at some point” kind of way.
Hell, I’m willing to bet the average Bat Virgin doesn’t have the slightest clue as to who or what Bane even is.
What I think I’m trying to say, is that the style of editing and presentation of this trailer is enticing, as anything with a budget and pretty pictures can manage to be, but at the same time I feel frustrated by the numerous vagaries it throws in my lap.
As you can probably tell, I’m not a fan of the J.J. Abrams-style marketing.
It’s not that I prefer my trailers to spell their plots and structure out to me, I simply value coherence and context over sound cues and pretty pictures.
Much like all of Christopher Nolan’s blockbusters, The Dark Knight Rises appears to be an audio-visual powerhouse, though in some ways it appears a little less so at this point.
The set pieces looks suitably big, but the color palette appears more gray-ish and natural than The Dark Knight and Batman Begins, and curiously enough, despite it being an almost comical trademark of his, there’s not a single (gorgeous) overhead shot of a cityscape.
That last part troubles me, as I’m a big fan of Nolan’s wide open establishing shots, particularly in outdoor scenes, and though it may just be the editor’s doing; there are none to be found in this trailer.
Perhaps the strangest thing though, at least to me, is the fact that they re-used the mood building drone AKA The Joker’s theme from The Dark Knight in this trailer.
I always thought of that particular piece of music as “belonging” to The Joker, which made it somewhat puzzling to hear played over a trailer for a film that, almost certainly; won’t feature him.
Despite everything I’ve said about this trailer, both good and bad, at the end of the day it’s a very good piece of advertising for a sequel that, unfortunately, benefitted from some of the best advertising and pre-release buzz in recent memory.
Not only that, it’s only the first trailer, for a huge movie that isn’t dropping until late in the summer.
As good as the advertising for The Dark Knight was from the get go, the 2nd trailers for it, Iron Man, and Inception were all MONUMENTALLY better than the first, which leads me to believe the same will likely be the case with The Dark Knight Rises.
In addition to this, one also has to consider the fact that virtually all of Christopher Nolan’s blockbusters up to this point, while heavily advertised, also did well to avoid showing a great deal of the major story beats and action set pieces.
I don’t know about you, but up until it’s release I really thought the “truck flip” from The Dark Knight trailer was going to be the climax of the movie.
Instead, the entire skyscraper based finale of the movie ended up playing that role, while never once being hinted at in the trailers.
I guess what I’m trying to say, is that though I may seem overly critical, in truth I’m just a fanboy hoping for the best.
In the meantime though, as weird as it seems, I think I actually liked the almost universally panned teaser for The Dark Knight Rises somewhat better than the trailer.
True, most of the footage was borrowed from Batman Begins.
True, Commissioner Gordon’s dialogue was hard to understand.
True, virtually nothing Commissioner Gordon had to say was even worth hearing in the first place.
BUT, at the very end of the teaser, there is a single, barely 2 second shot that made it all worth it:
Batman in the rain, taking a deep breath, while Bane slowly approaches from the foreground.
The whole thing was crap up until then, but that last shot instantly sold me.
The trailer, while bigger and much more coherent, didn’t have this shot or even a suitable equivalent.
True, it featured a few shots of Batman and Bane throwing down in the snow, however I felt the subtlety and dramatic implication of the teaser shot did more to appease the fanboy in me than the entirety of the full trailer.
That’s just me though.
December 8, 2011 • 10:27 PM 0
Brownie points to those of you that know what a “Poppie” is.
December 7, 2011 • 2:14 AM 0
If you’ve seen this before, I sincerely apologize.
Don’t do like me and leave on loop for 10 minutes.
Trust me, as awesome as it is, it starts to get old around the 8 minute mark…
November 10, 2011 • 10:36 PM 2
Well, the inevitable finally happened.
As readers of this blog might recall, I dabbled in Magic the Gathering at one point in my life.
Said point took place well after the Ninja Turtles started to suck, and just before Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z would cause Japanese language class attendances and White guy/Azn girlfriend biracial relationships to spike 10 fold.
Whatever man, you know it’s true.
Anyway, as mentioned in previous articles, the bulk of my Magic card pile (I can’t call something I don’t care about a “collection”…) is made of old crap inherited from my older brother and his friends.
Like me, my brother dabbled in Magic cards, though unlike me, he saw fit to dump his inventory the moment he lost interest.
Me being me, I held onto the shit, not because I wanted it, but mostly because I was too lazy to find a proper way to dispose of it.
That being said, one of my friends recently began prodding at me to bust out my old cards and throw down with him.
Given that I honestly haven’t had much to do outside of look for a job and write this goddamn blog, I decided to accommodate him.
Thus began my weekly habit of sitting down to extraordinarily casual games of Magic with my buddy.
By “extraordinarily casual” I mean I play with my outdated, ghetto-ass cards, and basically served up to my buddy as a thoroughly outclassed sparring partner for his future tournament matches.
If ever there was a jobber of the Magic the Gathering universe, it’d have to be me.
While I lose probably 80% of the time, one thing that I’ve gotten out of the experience, besides y’know, fun, is the fact that playing with weak-ass cards has taught me a lot about polishing diamonds out of shit-bricks.
That is to say, I’ve learned to look for, and find value in cards that aren’t inherently valuable.
With this fact tucked away in my mind, last week I bit my lip and decided to tag along with my buddy, and join a Draft tournament.
In case you don’t know already, a Draft in Magic is essentially what it sounds like.
Basically, you buy some booster packs, you take 1 card of your choosing from each pack, and then swap the remainder of the contents of said pack with the person to your left.
From there, everyone takes 1 card from the pile given to them, and then continues to pass the remainder on.
The process continues until every card has been exhausted.
Given the random nature of booster packs, you can probably see now why I (grudgingly) decided to join in on a Draft.
Truth be told, it wasn’t an easy decision for me, as the Magic community isn’t exactly what I’d call “my crowd,” nor is the game really my favorite thing in the world; but sometimes you’ve gotta’ do stupid shit to have fun with your friends… Even if sometimes I just wanna’ scream at the top of my lungs:
That being said, from what I can tell I actually drafted some pretty good stuff, (it’s an Innistrad draft) including my very first Mythic Rare, and at the end of the day I decided to put together a green and red deck.
I don’t know any of the fancy terminology used to describe strategic stances or functions in Magic, but by my reckoning the deck I made turned out pretty badass!
I don’t know if “badass” is the right word, but for what it’s worth, as you may have gathered from the title of this post, I actually managed to defeat my friend in my first match!
I beat him pretty solid both times I won, however I well and truly fucked up during the second round, resulting in one of the face palm-ier moments in my Magic career.
The point is though, I’m a winner today, and it feels good to know that.
By the way, here’s my deck in case you’re curious about what’s in it:
Mountain x 8
Forest x 9
Ashmouth Hound x 2
Kessig Wolf x 1
Feral Ridgewolf x 1
Hanweir Watchkeep x 1
Stromkirk Noble x 1
Darkthicket Wolf x 1
Orchard Spirit x 1
Villagers of Estwald x 1
Grizzled Outcasts x 1
Woodland Sleuth x 1
Ambush Viper x 1
Essence of the Wild x 1
Curse of the Pierced Heart x 1
Traitorous Blood x 1
Brimstone Volley x 1
Furor of the Bitten x 1
Prey Upon x 1
Ranger’s Guile x 1
Moonmist x 1
Spidery Grasp x 1
Spider Spawning x 1
Blazing Torch x 1
I apologize if the massive block of bold text above went entirely over you’re head.
Please understand, winning is not something I experience with much frequency, so just try and play along for tonight.
Oh fine, here’s some Batman for your troubles:
November 8, 2011 • 7:58 PM 1
A friend of mine sent me an Urban Dictionary link the other day to the phrase “he had a tremendous singing voice,” which, me being me; I instantly recognized as a Joker quote from the Tim Burton Batman film.
My friend and I… We have a special kind of affinity for Batman, such that random quote-fragments such as this rarely go unnoticed, if ever.
That being said, seeing that quote on Urban Dictionary put the idea in my head that maybe I should start plugging some of my random isms and in-jokes into their database.
Being as I used the phrase just 2 days ago, I figured I should start things off by throwing “Bionic Mexican” up over there.
Here’s the official link.
And if you’re genuinely too lazy to click the link, (it happens) here’s the definition:
A Mexican fighter capable of absorbing an inordinate amount of punishment, much like The Terminator.
October 31, 2011 • 2:18 PM 0
So, I don’t know about you, but I actually tried to make something of Halloween this year.
When I was a kid I did the whole Trick or Treat-ing thing, but in the years since, I’ve kind of treated Halloween as just another lonely and awkward day on the calendar.
Deep down I really wanted to make an effort to have a Halloween this year, but I have a problem that one could describe as “lacking balls,” so I decided to tag along with my good friend Mencius (who had to twist my arm just to make me leave the house) on an aimless trek through the night.
That being said, here’s a bullet-ed breakdown of my Halloween, from start to finish:
September 6, 2011 • 9:39 PM 3
That being said, I can think of no better source of motivation, than to start up another epic Top 10 list!
As you’ve probably guessed from the AWESOME banner at the top of this post, this time around our list is focused on a subject that is very near and dear to my heart: videogame boss fights.
For better or for worse, boss fights have been a staple of game design for nearly as long as the medium has existed.
Perhaps a product of the “quarter munching” aspect of arcade games, boss fights were at initially characterized as a clash with a unique character, who’s attack pattern and/or attributes often caused them to represent a significant spike in the games’ difficulty level.
Nowadays, what with the advances in technology and a fairly consistent trend towards favoring narrative based gameplay, boss fights have become increasingly irrelevant.
Hell, I remember reading an article on Kotaku awhile back positing the possibility that boss fights may be an unnecessary artifact carried on from a bygone era of gaming.
Despite being a fascinating read, the viewpoint of said article largely applied exclusively to story driven games, games that boss fights would feel “tagged on” or extraneous in.
For whatever reason, I can’t find the article in question, but oh well; you get the gist of it.
Personally, my background in 8 and 16-bit gaming has left me with nothing but fond memories of battling big baddies at the end of every level.
Maybe it’s just the old school gamer in me, but I play most games expecting there to be big ugly dude with a bloated life bar at the end of every stage, level, chapter, episode, or what have you.
For me, boss fights are both the final obstacle prior to advancement, as well as, on occasion; a reward in and of themselves.
Good boss fights represent some of the finest moments in gaming history.
Bad boss fights can be anywhere from disappointingly shallow, to controller smashing-ly hard.
The latter, largely represents the contents of this list; though not entirely.
Tough boss fights are just another part of gaming, as natural pressing the “A” button to jump, and the “B” button to kill.
That being said, let’s get this party started as we delve in to the 10th hardest boss fight:
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve played plenty of harder games, especially on my NES, however in terms of hard boss fights; few put fear in my heart the way the Devil did.
When I was a kid, I never beat the Yellow Devil.
Encountered in the first stage of Dr. Wily’s fortess, the Yellow Devil was a wretched beast that kept me from beating the original Mega Man until well into adulthood.
Fighting the Devil was a fairly straightforward experience, but one made difficult by the tedious nature of the bosses’ pattern, as well as his fearsome attack power.
Basically, the original Yellow Devil only had 1 attack in his pattern, but it was a real pain in the pass.
Check it out here:
Disassembling his mustard-y yellow form into a series of cubes, the Devil launches his body, piece by piece; from one end of the room to the other.
While in flight, all of these pieces serve as dangerous projectiles that must be avoided by the player through careful jumps of varying heights and timing.
The actual pattern of the pieces’ dispersal isn’t quite random, however it’s complicated enough to the point of being easier to dodge through reflex than memorization.
The real problem with this pattern, is the fact that damage can only be dealt to the Devil one shot at a time, for only a brief moment following the completion of his reassembling phase.
Many bosses throughout gaming history have employed the annoying as fuck pattern characteristic of, “You Can Only Hit Me After I’ve Slapped You With My Dick For 5 Minutes” but few have done so with the audacity of the Yellow Devil.
With a rather potent weakness to Elec Man’s Thunder Beam, the Yellow Devil doesn’t take all that many hits to kill, however the time one has to devote to frantically hopping about in order to get into position to deliver said hits; more than compensate for any weaknesses he may have.
I was usually good enough to get close to taking out the Devil in Mega Man, but it wasn’t until I was much older, wiser, and entirely less interested in achieving victory that I would actually conquer the beast known in the states as the Rock Monster.
That being said, I feel the Yellow Devil’s #10 slot on this list is entirely warranted, however imagine my disappointment when I stumbled across the glitch/exploit featured in the video below:
August 13, 2011 • 10:44 PM 3
(Image courtesy IGN.com)
As a frequent reader there, I was aware that the chief writer there covered DC comics almost exclusively, however I myself was told that I would have free reign in choosing which comic I’d like to review, regardless of the publisher.
Brian Michael Bendis has never been my favorite writer, but his trademark colorful dialogue, combined with a strong cast and Mike Deodato’s always stellar pencil work, made for an irresistible combination in my book.
For whatever reason, the idea of a superhero team composed of known supervillains has always “done it” for me.
Perhaps it also has something to do with the brilliance of writers like Gail Simone and Warren Ellis, but for what it’s worth; Secret Six and Thunderbolts have consistently been 2 of my favorite books over the past half decade.
Anyway, as tends to happen with books that emerge from high-profile events, Dark Avengers came to an unfortunate end when the status quo was once again shifted following the events of Siege.
Norman Osborn, the team’s leader; was shipped off to prison.
The Sentry was (supposedly) destroyed.
Daken escaped to his own self-titled book.
And the rest of the team was either imprisoned, killed, or booted onto the Thunderbolts.
While I knew Dark Avengers wouldn’t last long, given the impermanent nature of Dark Reign; it nevertheless saddened me to see it go.
Thankfully, nothing ever stays dead for long in comics; and this coming November we’ll all be treated to a revival of Dark Avengers.
As happy as this makes me, perhaps the most important part about this is the fact that both Bendis and Deodato are supposedly returning to the book which, ideally; will result in a similar standard of quality.
Anyway, nothing else has really been announced about Dark Avengers at this point, other than the fact that Norman Osborn will once again be leading it.
While my comic plate is, as always; very much full at the moment, I look forward to getting a chance to read a new Dark Avengers trade, which given the nature of Marvel’s release dates, won’t be until well into 2012.
If you think it’s silly to be anticipating a comic release about 6-8 months ahead of time, think about all the people that have been losing their shit over The Dark Knight Rises ever since 5 minutes after The Dark Knight hit theaters.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
After all, I’m one of them.