Call off the Dog, Ma! Time for Another Kevin Smith Review!

Oooh, there’s special layer of hell just waiting for me after I did that subject line, it’s the one just down the hall from the reserved child molesters and people who talk in the theater.

But damnation is apropos for this review, so hop into the nearest hand-basket, oh not-so-faithful reader, as we’re reviewing Dogma.

Kevin Smith is no stranger to controversy. His films are filled with vulgar language, he accused of gay-bashing in Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, promoting gays in Chasing Amy, and he also had Bennifer 1 in Jersey Girl shortly after the whole Gigli fiasco. But no film of his garnered as much media attention as Dogma. Why? Well because it deals with religion, and as we all know, religion is serious business!

The story revolves around two angels, Bartleby and Loki (Ben Affleck & Matt Damon), who were banished to Earth, or to be more precise, Wisconsin, for defying God. However they might have found a loophole out of the Earthly plane of existence and back into heaven. They merely have to get to a church in New Jersey, which has received plenary indulgence and by walking through the doors all their sins will be forgiven and they can return to heaven. The only problem is that reality exists on the idea that God is infallible, and if they sneak around Gods decrees it will, in fact, unmake reality. So the voice of God, the Metatron (Alan Rickman) taps Bethany (Linda Fiorentino), a Catholic who’s in the middle of a crisis-of-faith, to stop the angels. Along the ways she meets up with a diverse cast of characters to help her including Jay & Silent Bob, the 13th apostle Rufus (Chris Rock) and an angelic-muse-turned-stripper Serendipity (Salma Hayek). In her way is Azrael, a demon, and street-hockey geared demonic triplets as his goons.

This is a good film. It’s perhaps as not as good as it could have been though. The story is epic, but the limited budget and Kevin Smith’s style of filming I think hamper the story to some degree. Nothing looks bad but nothing really looks good either. I’ve often thought that this is a story that might have been better served if it had been made into a comic book. It would have allowed Smith to take more time with the story (the film itself is just over 2 hours but there is around 100 minutes (!) of deleted scenes). The story also just feels like a graphic novel, bits and pieces reminding me of parts of Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” or Garth Ennis’ “Preacher.”

That said, even if it didn’t live up to its potential, the product we do get does work. It’s a good story with a message about faith, religion and belief systems. I personally don’t understand the controversy though, as I don’t see this as an attack on the Catholics or any religion really. Oh there’s a few things invented here for the screen, like the 13th apostle Rufus, but a lot of it is based on real Catholic beliefs and mythology (though some of it apocryphal). I suppose the idea that a complex belief system isn’t as important as having a good idea and having faith where one can find it rather than being told to believe something because that’s what you’re supposed to believe might be somewhat controversial to some but to me that so close to what I believe it seems like someone saying “The sky is blue.” But that gets into a debate I’m not prepared to nor desiring of delving into today’s blog.

Anyways, I’m not a theologian. But this is a fun story, some epic parts and some great gags. Easily my favorite character is Metatron. “Human beings have neither the aural nor the psychological capacity to withstand the awesome power of God's true voice. Were you to hear it, your mind would cave in and your heart would explode within your chest. We went through five Adams before we figured that one out.” He’s perfect as someone with a powerful and commanding voice who will then take the piss out of what he just said.

Damon & Affleck work well together, though neither gives the performance of a lifetime, but they have good patter together and some occasional glimpses of being really good. Chris Rock is actually really good here, Rock normally is just played for laughs (which he does here as well) but here he does seem to show a bit of wisdom beyond his years. Lee is actually really, really good as Azrael, both sinister and yet somewhat charming. George Carlin has a minor role as Cardinal who hilarious, trying to make Catholicism seem hip and cool and instead just making it seem corny (though the Buddy Christ is awesome). I have to admit I’m not terribly fond of Fiorentino. It’s not that I think she’s a bad actress, but there’s something about her that just doesn’t quite mesh with the rest of the cast. I think it’s somewhat telling that Smith, who loves to reuse actors in new roles in his films has never had her come back.

So would I recommend this film? Yes, probably one of the more easily recommended ones he’s done. Why? Because while it contains the same vulgar humor Smith is known for and I can quibble some details, there is a really fascinating story here. It pokes at religion but you get the sense that this was something born out of his beliefs and faith and never seems to take anyone’s personal belief for granted. For a guy who has built his life on dick & fart jokes, it carries a complex tale and makes it work.

Until next time!

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back at My Review (and it freaking hurt!)

Welcome back once more oh faithful reader.

Well it’s Thursday and we’re approaching the end of the week and thus the end of my Kevin Smith reviews. But before you applaud too loudly, you still have to suffer through a few more reviews, so deal with it.

Today, once again proving my inability to watch things in a chronological order, is Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back.

This film is sophomoric, devoid of plot or point, and is entirely self-indulgent… and yet I can’t help but love it. This is the film Mallrats should have been.

The plot, as much as there is one, revolves around Jay & Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith, respectively), drug dealers who at that point had appeared in all of Smith’s films. Jay has a disgusting mouth and extremely dim but is ultimately sweet at heart and Bob is the smarter sidekick who doesn’t talk much. They are also find out that they characters from the Bluntman & Chronic comic based on them (as mentioned in my Chasing Amy review) are being optioned as a movie but because of internet naysayers, Jay & Bob must head out to LA and stop the film before it ruins their "good" reputation.

Really what this film is a road trip type film where Jay & Silent Bob travel the country, meeting interesting people and getting into ridiculous, over-the-top situations.
First of all this film is a celebration of everything that Smith had done on film at this point. Lots of cameos from both View-Askewiverse veterans like Dante, Randall, Holden, Banky and Brodie as well as celebrity cameos from Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Eliza Dushku, Will Farrell, George Carlin, Matt Damon, Jason Biggs, James Vanderbeek, Chris Rock etc, etc. I could go on. Almost all of them are delight.

The film also breaks the fourth wall on several occasions, (“I mean a Jay and Silent Bob movie? Who would pay to see that?” *long pause and then look directly at the camera*). It mocks itself, it pokes fun at its actors (“Ben Affleck you were da’ bomb in Phantoms, yo!”) and parodies Hollywood in general. One of the best gags in the film is Jay & Bob walking into the set of Good Will Hunting 2: Hunting Season.

Also this is probably the most action Smith has ever directed. While it’s mostly low budget (some obvious green screening bits like when Will Farrell falls from a dam, ala The Fugitive), for the most part it’s full of energy and looks fairly nice.

The acting is a bit hit or miss. This is a serious film and you shouldn’t expect Oscar award winning performances but watching Ben Affleck in Chasing Amy and then seeing him reprise the role of Holden here it is almost like they are two separate people. Also the lack of goatee didn’t help. Jason Mewes isn’t the world’s greatest actor but he’s serviceable enough here as the lead, fitting the cartoon-like environment of the film. He does better job in Zack & Miri Make a Porno but this is the only film he’s done where he’s used as more than a minor supporting role, so it’s somewhat understandable.

The film takes several self-indulgant moments like having a lightsaber battle with Mark Hammill or dancing on stage with Morris Day and The Time, but it’s not too intrusive because that’s the sort of thing that I would have done if I could make a film starring myself.

Interestingly enough this was supposed to close the book (if you watch the credits all the way to the end, I mean this literally) on the View Askew Universe of films. Partially I think because of the desire to break away from the same characters and stories and partially in response to Mewes drug and drinking problem, and being unsure if Mewes would be able to perform as he was getting really bad around this time (he’s cleaned up since then). After the failure of Jersey Girl Smith would then go back and do Clerks 2 .

So would I recommend this film? Tentatively yes. It’s something done for the fans of the previous four films and yet almost completely like none of them. It’s the View Askew Universe in the vein of Loony Toons. But if you don’t mind dirty jokes and zany humor this is a worth a look. You won’t find any deep meanings or be challenged in anyway, but you might just laugh your butt off.

Until next time!

In which I Cop Out of my next Kevin Smith review

Greetings once more, oh faithful reader.

Yeah, again with the cheesy subject lines. I am ashamed… Though not ashamed enough that I can promise that I won’t go cornier for the rest of the series.

So last night I didn’t watch a Kevin Smith DVD because of a combination of getting a Netflix disc (Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, if you’re curious, which if you’re a fan of Bruce Timm’s Justice League series this is worth taking a look at), Lost and a desire to play some Final Fantasy XIII (I should do a review of that too when I am finished but I’ll just keep it short and say it’s fun), and there aren’t enough hours in the day to fit in another film in there, so I figured I’d cheat and review Smith’s latest film Cop Out which is still in theaters that I saw last Friday.

Well this was a bit disappointing.

Ok, first let us get some behind the scenes info out of the way. Smith did not write this film, he only directed it. He was asked to do it, and I think after the somewhat disappointing numbers of Zack & Miri Make a Porno Smith was willing to try something new. This is the first film he did not write but directed (though he did the pilot to the TV show Reaper which was not written by him). So the script can’t be blamed on him, and to be honest that’s where most of my problems lie with the film.

This is an utterly generic buddy cop film. Bruce Willis plays the Serious Cop and Tracy Morgan plays the Comedy Cop. That’s really all you need to know, but if you want the plot Serious Cop (I can’t be bothered to look up their character names) needs to play for his daughter’s wedding but due to being suspended without pay thanks to a screwed up bust, he needs to sell a rare baseball card, which is stolen out from underneath him. The partners attempt to get it back and hijinks ensue.

Ok first off, I don’t know how much money your average police detective makes in a week but the dream wedding is given a price tag of $50,000. Serious Cop is very clear that he was hoping to use money from his next pay check to help pay for it, so either Brooklyn cops are paid way, way more than I thought or this guy has got everything budgeted very precisely with no margin for error.

Secondly, the script doesn’t seem to have a clue what it wants to do with these characters. Comedy Cop for example starts off an interrogation quoting almost every cop/crime film ever made to suspect to make him think he’s crazy, and I think “Hmm, clearly he watches a lot of cop films and perhaps he can’t quite distinguish film from reality and this will serve as a vital plot point later on.” I am a deluded idiot. This barely comes up again other than a brief scene in the middle of the film that could have easily have been cut out. Instead Morgan’s character is instead portrayed to be paranoid his wife is cheating on him, which again, might prove to be an interesting character trait or plot point but instead just seems to be there for the purposes of padding the film out. Also if you’re aware of Tracy Morgan then you probably have a good idea whether or not you like his comedy stylings (for the record, I find him mildly tolerable but not really a fan) and this film won’t change your opinion in that manner.

Serious Cop gets a bit more to do as his storyline of trying to give his daughter a perfect wedding actually relates to the plot of the film as his baseball card is stolen, sold and later held as leverage against the pair but we’re still talking about a pretty thin backstory here. We’re not really given any reason to like these guys. Hell I liked the two “rival cops” played by Kevin Pollock and Adam Brody who in a few scenes seem to manage to be more likeable and nuanced then our main characters.

Oh! And Sean William Scott! I like Stiffler, really I do, and in other roles he’s funny. But damn he’s just annoying here as a thief and parkour artist who has an annoying habit of repeating things people are saying and acting like a three year old.

The bad guys are generic Mexican gangbangers and other then the leader having an obsession with baseball never manages to do anything but be stereotypes.

The dialogue is often forced and while there’s a few gags that work (when Morgan is quoting films in the aforementioned interrogation scene he says “Yippi Yi Ki Yay” to which Bruce Willis says “I never saw that film” or when Willis asks about the large number of badges in Morgan’s glove compartment he responds simply “That’s ‘cause I lose them a lot.”) but a large number of them fall flat.

And while I can give Smith a pass for not writing the film, he doesn’t really challenge himself as a director. It certainly is an improvement over Mallrats and Chasing Amy as far as camerawork is concerned but there’s nothing really interesting here either. It’s just average.

Which is really just what this film is: average. It’s not bad, there are parts that are annoying but they tend to luckily kept to a minimum but there’s really nothing here to get excited about. Mallrats might not be something I would tell people to run out and go see but it had its charm, but this is so generically bland that I’m wondering why I spent so much time talking about it and perhaps I should have stopped at “That was disappointing.” I almost wish it was awful at least then I could feel something towards this film, like being angry that I used two hours of a day off to see this or whatever, but I just walked out and shrugged my shoulders. Which as a fan of Kevin Smith’s works, that’s not really the reaction I want.

So would I recommend it? Not really. I wouldn’t say avoid it but this is the type of film I would likely stop on when flipping through channels and when the commercial break comes on I’d forget I was watching something and start flipping again.

So until next time.

Chasing my Kevin Smith Appreciation Week (yeah, I acknowledge this title is lame)

Welcome back, oh faithful reader!

Continuing my trend of long rambling non-sequiturs review of the Kevin Smith Library we move from Mallrats to Chasing Amy.

I’ll be frank, this is one of my all time favorite films from Smith. Or at least it was, but like Mallrats it had been years since I’ve seen it, and I don’t think I ever watched Chasing Amy as many times as I did the other Smith films. Does it hold up? Yes, yes it does.
The story is of Holden McNeil (Ben Affleck), Banky Edwards (Jason Lee) and Alyssa Jones (Joey Lauren Adams). Holden & Banky are co-creators of the Bluntman & Chronic superhero comic (based on Smith-verse reoccurring characters Jay & Silent Bob) and at a convention they meet Alyssa and Holden is smitten. Unfortunately for him, Alyssa is a lesbian. Banky is dubious of his best friend’s attentions towards Alyssa and it threatens their friendship. But surprising everyone, Alyssa and Holden make a try at it to find out if love can transcend all boundaries.

Damn this is a good movie especially watching it a day after watching Mallrats. “Looks like a very personal story” “I finally had something personal to say,” say Alyssa and Holden to each other near the end of the film and it’s obvious that Holden here is a stand in for Smith. After Mallrats it’s clear that Smith was second guessing himself, and realized that he didn’t have anything to say in that film, and Holden feels similar in regards to his comic, something full of dick & fart jokes and it pays the bills but not something that has a deeper meaning. And it is no secret that the story is a bit based on Smith’s own relationship at the time with Joey Lauren Adams (she wasn’t a lesbian but Smith realized that he had felt threatened by her sexual history). And that comes off brilliantly, you are watching someone’s very personal story.

The performances are brilliant here. Lee’s timing and readings come off much more natural, and he seems much more comfortable as Banky then as Mallrats’ Brodie. He also does a lot more acting with his face, he can go from the guy who seems like wacky comedy relief to someone who you can see the wheels turning in his head. Joey Lauren Adams is both funny and cool, and she’s given a role that many actresses aren’t, a fully fleshed out character. She is both a strong independent character but also someone who isn’t the perfect girlfriend either, she has flaws and imperfections and you love her that much more because of it. There’s a scene where Alyssa and Holden are having a fight outside of a hockey stadium and you just feel how she is both angry and sad and apologetic and pissed off at him all at once and it ripped my heart out all over again. And also let me give praise to Ben Affleck. I have always been a bit middle of the road with Ben, he’s not a great actor but I think a lot of people take him to task far more then he deserves. I think he’s a good actor when he needs to be and in this one particular piece he’s excels and becomes exactly what the role needs. He has a very long monologue where he confesses his feelings for Alyssa and it is just him talking for several minutes in a truck and he sells it. A lot of lesser actors would have bored the audience with such a scene, but it works here.

Smith’s camera direction here remains as stiff as Mallrats but luckily the story doesn’t require any fancy tricks. It’s a love story, and like I said, a deeply personal one on top of that, and slick camera movements I think could have stolen your attention away from what is a simple but deep story.

The writing is also great, not just in terms of plot and characterization but the dialogue is much,much better then Mallrats. The gags are funnier (“And Jedi’s the most insulting installment. Because Vader’s beautiful black visage is sullied when he pulls off his mask to reveal feeble, crusty old white man! They’re tryin’ to tell us that deep inside we all wants to be white!” “Well isn’t that true?”) and each character has a unique voice instead of the usual Kevin Smith generic fast-paced-banter that many of his other films (especially Mallrats) replicates.

If I had to give a complaint there would be two. They are both fairly minor. Firstly, the movie seems to dance around the word “bisexual.” I am friends with at least a few bisexual women and it seems odd that a film that was so progressive, especially for its time, is dodging around this word. Obviously the movie is about a woman who identifies as a lesbian, and I’m not going to say that just because she falls for a man that necessarily she should label herself as bisexual, but I do think the discussion might have deserved to brought up. But this type of thing gets tricky and a lot of people feel uncomfortable or uncertain when it comes to labeling people, and I’ve also gotten the impression that some people (both gays and straights) that tend to treat bisexuals as “fake gays.” That they are just experimenting or whatever and need to pick a side, which in a story like this it could be only used to support that argument and that’s not what Smith’s point was. So maybe it is for the best, but it still feels odd.

The other complaint comes with the ending, or rather Holden’s planned “solution.” It seems a bit… out of nowhere. Ok that’s not entirely true, it is obviously inspired (though wildly misinterpreted) by Silent Bob’s story of “Chasing Amy.” But even then, the plan (I’m trying to avoid spoilers here) seems a bit random and lacking any real thought from Holden. Which I suspect is partially the point, he wants to solve all his problems with a desperate act, and certainly there are worse things he could have suggested but it just rang a little false to me. I think for the purpose of the story it had to be the way it was, but if I had been planted in Holden’s position I don’t think it would have been the solution I would have come up with.

So would I recommend Chasing Amy? I think if I hadn’t made that abundantly clear… Yes! Having revisited it I think this has cemented itself as my favorite of the Smith’s films, though it’s possible after reviewing some others like Dogma or Clerks 2 I might revisit that claim. Obviously there is some really harsh language here so if that offends you might be put off, and if you’re homophobic this isn’t a film for you, but broadly speaking its very excellent film and watching it again has made me glad I bought the DVD all those years ago.

Until next time!

My Big Fat Kevin Smith Appreciation Week

Hello faithful readers! Yes, all three of you.

This Saturday should be awesome. Why, you ask? Well Kansas City’s only comic book convention worth noting is this Saturday and should be reasonably entertaining (I think last year had more guests that I was excited to see, but still it will probably be fun). But the big news, for myself at least, is writer/director Kevin Smith is coming to town and doing his Evening with Kevin Smith type routine. For those of you not familiar with the “Evening” series of DVDs, essentially Kevin Smith gained a fair amount of popularity doing college lectures to the point where he realized he had an audience that would pay money to hear him talk. So he stands up, talks, answers questions, etc. And he’s really funny… or at least if you find his particular brand of toilet humor funny in his films you would probably be amused here.

And I got third row seats the day they went on sale… because I’m that big of a nerd.

So in celebration, I have decided to bust out some of my old DVDs and take a look back at some of his films.

First up is Mallrats.

I know what you’re thinking, “But Jason, Mallrats is the second film Kevin Smith did! Why not start at the beginning, with Clerks, the low-budget film that pushed Smith to become a name in geek popular media?” And to which I would reply, “How dare you tell me how to run my blog!”

In all seriousness I don’t have a solid reason for skipping Clerks, I just didn’t feel like watching it last night. Why? I suppose partially because I hadn’t seen Mallrats in years, perhaps even the better part of a decade. It was one of the first DVDs I bought and I watched it quite a bit when it came out, but it’s not one I returned back to very often.

So here’s the story summary: Two college aged slackers (played by Jason Lee & Jeremy London) get dumped by their respective significant others (Shannen Doherty & Claire Forlani) and decide to go to the mall to get their mind off their girls problems only to find out that Doherty in a matter of hours from her breakup has hooked up with a slimeball proprietor of a men’s clothing store (played by Ben Affleck) and Forlani’s father has chosen her to be a part of his new dating game show and said show is of course being held at the mall (nothing like a noisy, open environment for a TV show, not like you would be inviting yourself to be interrupted by crying kids or heckling spectators) . And of course hijinks ensue.

This film has not aged well. Ok, maybe I should clarify, the film didn’t get stellar reviews when it came out, but upon reflection, it hasn’t aged as well for me. As someone who thought it was hilarious when it came out, I would hesitate to say it was bad, but I will say it’s not very good.

The intention here was to do a modern day teen-sex comedy in the vein of Porky’s. And in that regards I think it failed. Yes there are naked breasts, and somewhat frank discussions of characters sex lives… but it all feels rather tame, even childlike at times. Lee’s character of Brodie is obsessed with superheroes and so when he runs into Marvel creator Stan Lee, Brodie asks about various superhero sex organs. …Yeeaaah. There’s less wit here then I recall in Clerks, lines like “Why buy the cow when you can have the sex for free” tend to fall flat for me now. And the script has several references that only Smith and his friends (or those who loyally follow his work like myself) would get, like a reference to a security guard being faster than “Walt Flanagan’s dog.” Who’s Walt Flanagan? Why Kevin Smith’s friend of course! After all, it is not like references to people 99% of the audience won’t know is distracting or anything, or at least that’s what Colonel Sprocks always says.

There’s also a bit of a problem with the acting. I love Jason Lee, but this was one of his earliest roles and it shows. He still has a natural charisma that helps gets him through, but his timing seems off just a hair and his reading a bit forced. Similarly, Jeremy London, while I think at this point had a bit more acting experience then Lee, seemed more interested in saying his lines as quickly as possible rather than making his dialogue seem natural. I suspect this is because Smith tried to replicate the rapid-fire patter between Dante & Randall in Clerks and that didn’t quite work. It’s not horrible, but it is noticeable. Forlani’s fake American accent also seems to be a bit more noticeable as well, though really she’s otherwise fine. And actually Ben Affleck is pretty good as a rather menacing slimeball (make your own jokes here). Doherty is actually one of the best actresses in the film, which I don’t think I ever really paid much attention to in the past. I blame my 90210 prejudices.

The direction is… similarly quite weak. Smith I don’t think will ever be remembered as a great cinematographer but the guy in his more recent works has grown somewhat. But those early growing pains are really obvious here, perhaps even more so with Clerks, where its black & white low-budget feel makes the stiff camera work feel not so out of place, but here Smith tries to do a little bit of action and it ends up just highlighting the weaknesses here. It feels oddly like a low budget cartoon. The action bits are clearly silly, over-the-top, but the stiffness robs it.

And yet… despite all these problems I can’t hate the film, nor even say it was bad. Smith’s energy is a bit infectious here, and while not all the jokes work there’s enough and they are delivered fast enough that I got a few chuckles here and there. Plus despite the raw edge of many of them, you can see why Smith stuck with actors like Lee, Affleck, and Joey Lauren Adams. And despite it being very low-brow, if you turn off the artsy-fartsy part of your brain, well it still won’t be great, but it might just be good enough to get some laughs.

So would I recommend it? Honestly no, I can’t suggest someone just go out and see it unless they are already a fan of Smith’s films and want to explore his past stories. But, if you do see it, try to view as an artist who’s still finding his legs and it is an intriguing experiment, and perhaps its failure both in the box office and with critics lead to him making his next film, Chasing Amy, which was a huge success and possibly one of my favorite films he’s done.

Until next time!

The Doctor is dead, long live The Doctor.

Last week I lost a friend. Don't worry, he's fictional, though that is only a mixed comfort.

That friend was utterly impossible, in the very best of ways. It took me a while to shine to him at first because he replaced someone else who was utterly fantastic, but given time I grew to love him even more.

I refer, of course, to David Tennant's leaving Doctor Who, and the end of the tenth Doctor's era. I started watching the show almost three years ago, and overtime it's become my favorite show on television. It's a wonderful show that can go from camp over the top to terrifying horror all in the blink of an eye. And at the center of it was the Doctor, and Tennant's portrayal really won me over. Which is no mean feat as I really like Christopher Eccelston's performance in the first season of the new series. But Eccelston left after a year and we got three full seasons with Tennant and four specials this year, capping off with the two part "The End of Time". They weren't all great, but Tennant went out on a strong note.

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Time to put away the toys

Dollhouse has been cancelled.

I can't say I'm terribly surprised. It was a miracle it got a second season at all. And the first half of the first season was a bit uneven (not bad, but it didn't knock it out of the park like Firefly), but still I will miss it. I hope Whedon has enough time to wrap the show up some though before its end.

(no subject)

Fall is always a heavy game month, everyone wants to release just before Christmas in order to take advantage of the holiday shopping frenzy, but this year looks to particurally good.

I don't have Beatles Rock Band... yet. It's only a matter of time. I'm not the biggest Beatles fan in the world (I only own a couple albums and the "Across the Universe" film soundtrack), but I do enjoy them and I love Rock Band. The biggest problem is that my Rock Band 1 instruments are showing signs of abuse or age. The guitar's yellow button sticks and I've heard the newer drums are a better quality. Plus the special edition bundle has Paul's violin bass guitar thing (You can tell I'm a musical expert) which looks really cool. I just don't have the money to drop on the special editon set right now. I could just buy the game and replace the guitar with one of the cheaper ones that are sold seperately and save some cash, but there is something about that bundle that is very keen looking.

I also don't have Batman Arkham Asylum but I did play the demo and it was awesome. It's also apparently entered the Guiness Book of World Records for having the highest rated reviews for a video game ever. Even Yahtzee who normally hates everything enjoyed it.

I did pick up Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2. The reviews for this game have been less kind, but I enjoy it for what it is, a Gauntlet styled action game with RPG elements but starring many of my favorite Marvel Superheroes. It does have some flaws, but I think it still holds up as a really solid, entertaining beat-em-up.

Also coming out next month on PS3 is Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack In Time. The Ratchet & Clank series of games are easily my favorite platforming series, combining humor, awesome weapons (like the "Groovitron" which makes everyone but you stop what they're doing and boogy), platforming, a bit of an RPG leveling mechanic and some great stylish graphics. This next one looks to be better then ever, and I'm actually really excited about seeing the story continued.

But more then that the digital revolution has struck. is holding a huge sale with a bunch of titles going for $5. I picked up Civilization IV and I'm considering also getting Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena as well. And one of the benefits of owning a PS3 is that the Playstation Network store offers many classic PS1 games for download, in fact I own far more Playstation Classics from their then I do PS3 titles. I just picked up the original Silent Hill, a game I had rented years ago but never finished.

Plus I still have Champions Online to play.

I just need more hours in the day so I can actually, ya know, play them for more then an hour at a time.

Mal. Bad. In the Latin.

I was going to post a long thing about my grandfather's funeral, but I ended up choosing not to. It's a bit too fresh right now, I just lived it and have had to explain it in bits and pieces several times to friends and co-workers since I went back to work Friday. Maybe when I have some distance I'll put my thoughts down about it. Right now I kinda just want things to be normal.

So now, in celebration of me being asked to be a groomsman at my friends Halloween themed-wedding: a random, blurry photo of me in my nearly complete Halloween costume.

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