Tuesday, September 29, 2009

(Evil) Dead Snow: Ein Zwei Die!

So I saw Dead Snow last Friday when it finally opened here in Toronto. I'd been semi-looking forward to the film for months since I'd first heard about it on AintItCool News, and it mostly lived up to my expectations.

The movie is the zombie equivalent of a Michael Bay flick, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. The film barely implies a plot to tie its events together "coherently," and all the gags appeal to the lowest common denominator of humour. Unlike the Evil Dead series, which very clearly inspired this Norwegian zombie-romp, Dead Snow fails to push any new ground. It is instead a euphoric celebration of b-grade zombie, cabin-in-the-woods horror comedy, and it is very successful at accomplishing its goals.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Problems with Cycling in Toronto, a Manifesto of Sorts

As I start to write this I feel like letting out a sigh of relief and release: finally. I've been trying to write something, anything on here for what feels like weeks, though I suppose it's only been a few days. After a few geeky and not particularly invigorating posts and then a whole slew of video embeddings, I'm finally getting back to my ramblings and ravings.
I've been super busy at work promoting an event my organization is putting on this week, the international premiere of a documentary called "So Far From Home." It captures the stories of five journalists from conflict regions who put themselves at risk in order to do their jobs. If you're in the Toronto area you should come out and see the film. There's also going to be a panel discussion with the featured journalists after the screening, moderated by CBC's Carol Off. For more info, here are two links to the Facebook event listing and the press release. Anyways, that's why I've been so busy and unable to write.

Now that I'm done with that lengthy preamble, on to the meat of what's been on my mind lately...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pavement Reunion

I'm going to be brief because it's hard to think right now, much less type. Pavement is reuniting for a world tour in 2010. I would be doing myself a disservice if I didn't use this space to flip the fuck out.

Holy fucking god damn shit fucker. Pavement. On tour.

This is the one band I can legitimately speak of using the cliché that they "changed my life." You'll have to excuse me if this news reduces me to a steaming puddle of fanboy.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Some more Quentin Tarantino Review Videos

Just a few more cool video featuring Quentin Tarantino giving in-depth reviews of some great flicks. On a blogging note, I do have my next post planned and mentally prepared, I'm just having a bit of a crazy week. There'll be something new up soon, I promise, I've got plenty I want to rant about.

Anyways, without further ado:

Taxi Driver

There Will Be Blood

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cool Video: Historical Relevence

It's killing me to have two posts in a row on video games, but I saw this over at ScrewAttack.com and thought it was really cool. The Archie thing at the beginning is a little ridiculous but everything afterward is thought provoking and well researched. The major focus of the think-piece is video game mascots but generally speaking the video is more about history and culture. It's an interesting piece worth the five minutes or so it takes to sit through it, both for people into video games and just general cultural purveyors.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Sega Dreamcast's Ten Year Legacy Recap

So yesterday was the ten year anniversary of the North American launch of the Sega Dreamcast. For those of you who don't know (ie: those of you who aren't huge geeks), the Dreamcast was the final console put out by Sega, one of the two companies that really shaped the video game industry as we know it. Back in the 1990s the only "console war" was between Sega, with their Genesis system, and Nintendo, with their Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). They each had their flagship titles/mascots, Sonic and Mario respectively, and the competition between the two dominated, nay was the industry of the day.

As technology changed and games moved into three-dimensions these companies found increased competitions from the likes of former competitors like Sony, and the market began to expand. The former solitary giants found themselves with dangerous peers, and they experienced some awkward growing pains. Sega released the Saturn a console which did not fare well, and Nintendo made the mistake of utilizing cartridge technology over CDs for games on the Nintendo 64, a design choice that held the console back from achieving the promise its game developers displayed. It was in the successive generation that the industry finally began to change in ways that realized its own potential.

On 9/9/99 Sega launched the Dreamcast in North America. They utilized a highly successful marketing campaign that emphasized the power of the machine as intelligence, telling consumers "It's thinking," and that "You know it's alive. Worse, it knows it's alive." Their first day sales set records as being the "biggest 24 hours in retail entertainment history," giving the system a solid install base of customers and earning the company a cool $98 million.

All this success did not help Sega in the long run, however, as the PS2 launched about a year later and began its ascension to becoming one of the most profitable consoles in history. In 2001 Sega announced the end of their production and support for the Dreamcast, and became a third-party software developer.

So if this console was ultimately a failure, and one that put the final nail in the coffin for Sega's history as a console manufacturer, then why are we celebrating its ten year launch anniversary?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Cool Video: Tarantino on Boyle's Sunshine

I don't mean to be such a Tarantino fanboy by posting this right after my post praising Inglourious Basterds, but I found this video on /Film this morning and it's an amazing critique of Boyle's Sunshine.

I saw the movie when it hit theatres back in 2007 and felt that it was an interesting but deeply flawed movie. Beyond its laughable third act twist, I felt that the film borrowed too heavily and obviously from the heavies of the sci-fi genre, both thematicaly nd aesthetically. Tarantino is more forgiving of Sunshine's clear references to its influences, and praises it for exploring new territories.

The reason I'm posting the video is because I think it's interesting to see a director exhibiting this kind of geeky reverence for film making and in-depth critique of a director-screenwriter team. Regardless of my feelings about the majority of his films, this is the reason I like Tarantino: he is a geek. It's great to see this kind of excitement and energy from someone in his position, especially considering how long he's been in the business.

Anyways, that's it for today. This past week has seen me return to the city, so hopefully I can return to a regular posting schedule fairly soon.