Friday, August 29, 2008

More blu views added...

The next round of blu-ray rentals has been added. The stand out this shot was Nim's Island, a heart warming tale of a little girl whose dad disappears and the writer that is trying to help her. The whole movie had me thinking of Romancing the Stone, and after the fact I guess a little bit of Home Alone thrown in.

As for the others, Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay had some really funny moments but didn't match the first one. The Other Boleyn Girl which is a period piece, or historical romance usually wouldn't be on my radar at all, but I caught a trailer on one of the other rentals and it looked okay. There is a lot of sex, betrayal, and decapitations to round out the story of King Henry VIII.

Friday, August 22, 2008

More work, demo goodness, movies, and the blu-ray's keep coming...

Last Sunday I decided (for some insane reason) that a full time job wasn't enough, so I auditioned for a part time gig. I got a job at the Ravenwood Manor the 'haunted island' at Watson Park. It only runs through the month of October, but sounds like it will be a lot of fun.

I tried the Pure demo on the 360 and it looks incredible! I'm not a big fan of ATV racing, but I've heard people talking about it on various podcast so I decided to try it out. The demo offers a tutorial, then a 3 lap race on the Mount Garda (Italy) course (you can read TeamXbox's impressions of the demo). Star Wars Force Unleashed demo (360/PS3) was put up yesterday, as was The Last Guy demo for the PS3. I've downloaded both but haven't got a chance to play them yet.

I caught the sneak of the House Bunny Wednesday night. I went in thinking probably most of the comedy would be dumbed down (after seeing the trailer), but was surprised at how funny it actually was. I saw Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 on Thursday afternoon. I caught the original when I was working at the theater (somebody has to screen them) as it wasn't something I would normally see, but turned out that it was quite entertaining. I haven't read the 4 book series of the same name, and thought it was funny that the second movie ended the way it did. After doing some internet research, it seems that SotTP2 movie actually follows the 4th book in the series (which would explain the ending...) with some highlights thrown in from books 2, and 3. Overall I enjoyed it just as much as the first one, plenty of comedy and drama throughout to keep you hooked.

I've now worked through the second wave of Hollywood rentals (over at the left) all of which were really good. The standout this time was Street Kings a movie I must have totally missed in theaters as I don't even recall it coming out (April 11th according to IMDB). It has a big name cast list, and plays out as a really violent police drama not surprisingly as it comes from David Ayer who also directed Harsh Times (another violent LA based drama), and was writer/producer on Training Day. I picked it up the other day because there wasn't anything else jumping out a me, and I'm glad I did.
The second best would be Vantage Point although about the fifth time through the story (the first ~15 minutes are retold from different peoples point of view) I was getting a little bored. If you can hang on until the wrap-up at the end you'll be treated to the an excellent car chase (reminded me of Italian Job) and conclusion.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Updates... 360, BD Rentals, and more.

I've been playing around with the Red Faction : Guerrilla beta on Xbox Live a couple times in the last two weeks. I haven't quite gelled with the controls yet, and both times I've played the same map which is kind of a drab 'canyon' base area. It always seems someone takes a jet pack, and gets to the highest point on the map then takes you out every time you spawn. It uses a ranking system like CoD4 so you gain levels, and unlock other items as you progress, unfortunately, so far it just doesn't produce that same CoD4 feeling.

In bizarre news, did you see this story (video here) a couple days ago? In St. John, Missouri a man went into an EB Games (there's still some around?) and demanded a PS3 System brandishing a gun. He informed the clerk that his family was being held hostage, and the system was the ransom to save their lives.

I've updated the items on the left side, as well as adding a Hollywood FREE Blu-ray Tally section. I've rented one a day so far (like I mentioned last time) with the standout being The Bank Job, and Good Luck Chuck a close second. There was actually quite a bit checked out this weekend so I'm hoping they get back some of the titles (guess it means a few people have blu-ray players on this side of town...) I seen earlier this week.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mummies, and free blu!

I watched The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor last week, and came away pleased. I enjoyed the first two movies, the "Rock" scorpion king spin off not so much, but anyway. If you've seen the first two you know the drill, mummy found, mummy awakens, mummy rampages, and finally mummy stopped.

This time we focus on the Emperor Han known as the "Dragon Emperor" a mean SOB that ruled with a iron fist killing all who would stand in his way, and using their bodies as the foundation of the Great Wall of China. He wants to be immortal so he enlist the help of a witch, who curses him when he kills her love interest. Overall it was a neat story, and the special effects were well done (not like some of the subpar Indiana Jones stuff) and believable. Rachel Weisz did not reprise her role as Brendon Fraser's wife (check out the wikipedia entry for conflicting reasons why...) and was replaced by Mario Bello. Jet Li, and Michelle Yeoh round out the cast (as the Emperor, and the witch) with Fraser and John Hannah returning for the third film. Overall it was fun and entertaining, if you expect anything more than a popcorn flick this probably isn't right for you.

Found out today that Hollywood Video is running a great promotion right now, FREE blu-ray rentals! Yay! Since canceling my Netflix I have only bought a few titles, but was reading on DVDTalk forums about the promo, although it seemed to be YMMV. I think I read about it Sunday night, but earlier this week was kinda hectic so I spaced it off, until I heard a commercial today on the radio. I was quite surprised, and shocked when I called the store closest to my house, and the clerk said they were participating. According to post on another forum it's a trial marketing campaign tied to the 'cheap date' promotion, but you get 1 free blu-ray rental per day, per account. I guess it's running until the end of August so I'm going to try to get 19 free rentals the rest of this month! I'll keep you posted as I watch them, trying to rent only stuff I haven't seen, wish me luck.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Pineapple Express, and more 360 lower price proof...

I caught the sneak last night of Pineapple Express a action comedy from the writers of Superbad, and the producers of Superbad and Knocked Up. If you've seen either of these other titles you pretty much know what your in for, especially if you've seen the trailers for Pineapple. The whole plot revolves around a stoner (Seth Rogen) and his dealer (James Franco) on the run after Rogen witnesses a murder that links back to Franco. A lot of weed later, the story has it's funny moments, and frankly a lot more action that I expected. I liken it to Harold and Kumar go to White Castle which I also happen to enjoy. The difference is half the funny stuff in H&K was them while they were stoned, the guys in Pineapple actually seem to function better stoned than they do normally. All in all it was a fun romp through the smoke. *** out of ****

Xbox-Scene has posted another inventory picture showing the $199.99 price drop on the Arcade 360 system 9/7/08, it must be true?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Branson redux, 360 cuts on the way, and more...

Took off a couple of extra days last week for a mini-vacation, and went back to Branson. It was my daughters last chance for Kid's Fest at Silver Dollar City before school starts back up (Aug 13th! Yay!). We were going to hit SDC on Wednesday, but when we got there Tuesday the forecast was 60% showers (evidently the ones that rolled through here Tuesday) so we pushed it back to Thursday. It ended up being hot and muggy, and a lot of other people must have skipped Wednesday because it was pretty packed.

We did stop at the other GameWerks location (see the June 4th entry) since I knew the one we found last time was closing. It was a really large location that carried everything 'retro' you could think of (Atari, NES, SNES, Sega Saturn, etc...) and most of the hardware also (I didn't remember the Atari Lynx units being so humongous). While we were trying to find this one, I ran across a Game Xchange in the phone book which was just enough off the main downtown drag it could have been open for a while and I wouldn't have known. I guess it's not really a franchise set up, but you can pay to use the name on your location. It was a lot smaller than GameWerks but the prices seemed along the same lines as the locations here.

My daughter wanted to go by Ride Makerz that we seen them working on last time we were there, it really is Build-a-Bear for boys and tweens. She managed to get a 'stock' (non-rc) vehicle for about $18, but you can always accessorize later. The one I wanted to put together (black Dodge Viper, special rims & tires, ground effects (light bars), and RC control) would have hit $80. It's a good thing you can add/change parts later then at least you could split it over 2-3 payments, and I thought the bears were bad.

On the way home we stopped off in Springfield for gas, and I spotted a GameStop (and movies too) in a strip mall so we pulled in and there was another GameStop out in the front building. I went in to discover it was an ex-EB Games location (you could tell with the 'wood' accents everywhere). Nice clean store on the inside, the only thing that struck me as odd was their top row of shelves had to be at least 8' high and they were using it for regular stock. When I left I drove around the corner thinking that maybe they had just moved from the back side to the front and hadn't taken down the sign yet. Nope, around the corner (maybe 150 yards I kid you not!) there was a GameStop (and movies too) location. It was an original GameStop as it had the same blue walls and floors as the Kellogg & Greenwich location here, since it was a and movies too it was pretty good sized store. They had a couple blu-rays, and HD DVD's in stock but nothing I didn't already have, since I didn't see any DVD's at the other location I assumed this was the only on that took them. I asked the lady working if they did a lot of business so close together and she said I would be surprised, she also mentioned that there were 2 more stores in south Springfield that
were only about 1 block apart (I actually think I've been to them before, there by Battlefield Mall diagonally across the street from each other).

All of this is fine two stores 150 yards from each other, but then when we were leaving the strip another store caught my eye, Vintage Stock. Keep in mind I'm still in the same strip center maybe 150 yards (the opposite direction) from the first GameStop, this place was huge they carried games (current, retro), movies, toys, comics, cards, imports, and records. They had a fairly large selection of blu-rays but seemed like everything (except Spider-Man 3 $19.99) was $21.99 used, I don't understand this pricing. I realize that overall blu-rays cost more, but I know for a fact that almost 80% of the titles they had I could buy cheaper online, NEW. It's like Game Xchange here prices all BR now at $19.95 used, umm need to tell you, that's not a deal. Check out the web site in the link above a little way down on the left side you can watch their commercial. Looks like they have ~30+ locations in Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and a couple up in the KC area.

Big waves coming on the 360 hardware front? ARS Technica reported Friday that there were price cuts coming on all 360 models (unlike the 'clearance' sale on the 20GB units) $199.99 Arcades, $299.99 Pro (60GB), and $399.99 Elites. Then posted a article and image on Saturday showing a screenshot of an inventory system (looks like Circuit City to me...) showing the $199.99 price upcoming (9/7/08) on the Arcade system. The article points out this is pretty good timing, 1 week after Infinite Undiscovery, a couple weeks before the timed exclusive Rock Band 2 not to mention all the other holiday (can you say Gears 2, can you??) blockbusters. Speaking of Gears I dug out my copy a couple weekends ago (which must have been my 2nd because it was still sealed) and started playing again (there was a Play & Win contest going). I'm sure you could search back and find my 'feelings' on Gears, but to sum it up I wasn't a fan. I couldn't get the controls down comfortably, and was switching back and forth between Easy, and Hard it just wasn't what I was hyped for. I managed to get farther in the 2-3 days that I played this time than when I first got it. I got one 'Noob' voice message from someone on my friends list the first night, laughing that I hadn't completed the campaign, although in they're defense they did offer to play through with me on co-op.

New fall TV season is on it's way, and they have started the barrage of commercials tooting the new shows, and returns of the old favorites. I've been watching the webisodes for Heroes online, and looking forward to the new season.