Sunday, February 22, 2009

Academy shorts, and some 360 thoughts...

I went to the Academy shorts showing yesterday, this year it took place at the Old Towne Warren theater. The last 3 years we've went to the 20th Century Center I don't know why the change of venue, but for the most part it was an upgrade (more on that later).

(Note: I started writing this up before the Oscars aired Sunday 2/22, but finished it Tuesday night so I know the outcome.)

This year there were 5 nominated live action shorts, 5 animated shorts, and 4 short documentaries. Four out of the five live action shorts this year were 'downers' so my pick will be the only one that wasn't bleak "Grisen (The Pig)" A man in for 'butt' surgery finds solace in a simple painting of a pig on his hospital room wall. My second choice would have to be "Manon on the Asphalt" a young woman takes off on her bicycle and gets hit by a car, then thinks about what will happen to her friends, and family. The winner though was "Spielzeugland (Toyland)" a holocaust drama focusing on a mother, her son, and their Jewish neighbors who were going to have to go faraway to 'toyland'. Ick.

The animated shorts were a happier mix, although I had already seen "Presto" the Pixar short was paired with "Wall-E" during it's theatrical (and DVD) release and was just what you expect from Pixar. My favorite though was "Oktapodi" the mis-adventures of a male and female octopus, followed by "This Way Up" the mis-adventures of father and son pallbearers trying to get the deceased to graveyard. While definitely not politically correct (I'm sure there was something offensive to everyone) it was entertaining. The winner however was "Le Maison en Petits Cubes" a old man reminisces about his past, and would have been the very last pick on my list. I don't like the watercolor/painting art style they employed nor the subject. :(

The short documentary field is never one of my favorites, overall I'm not a fan of documentaries, but I can handle the short subject ones most of the time. This year there wasn't really any standouts here. My pick would probably be "Smile Pinki" (if I had to choose) doctors in India performing free operations on children with cleft lip deformity. I guess the second pick would be "The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306" a look at Martin Luther King's assassination. Whoo! I got one right. The Oscar went to "Smile Pinki".

The shorts this year, while mostly entertaining, didn't seem to have a lot of zing or pizazz. I may be getting jaded setting through them for the last 10 years (my first trip to the library was 1999 I believe), but there's always hope for next year. :) <RANT ON> Nitpick time... This was my first experience with the Warren Old-town theater, I was impressed by the seating and the amount of leg room in each row, although I soon realized that was for the serving staff to get around. OK, now I realize I was there for 5 hours (way longer than the average movie running time), but once they started serving it was a never ending parade of servers coming around with their little glowing pads taking orders, and then a few minutes later delivering the food/drinks. I don't know about most of you, but I go to theater to watch the movie (you know on the screen), not the dorks milling throughout the auditorium. Get your lazy ass out of the chair walk to the concession stand, and buy your popcorn, drinks and candy. You do realize it's a movie, right? Your supposed to go eat your meals before or after the show, if you can't wait that long for a hamburger you have other problems too. I'm assuming it's this way at every show there so I can easily cross that theater off my attendance list. Luckily I've yet to run into this at the 13Th Avenue Warren, but I also don't pay extra to sit in the balcony. <RANT OFF>

It seems as though the speculation was correct, Major Nelson posted this morning that the Resident Evil 5 Limited Edition 360 console was coming out day and date (March 13) with the game. This 'elite' model will be red (like the controller that came out for the holidays last year) in color, include all the normal items (120GB/Headset/Composite/Component/HDMI cables) plus the RE5 game, download code for a RE5 theme, and a download code for Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix. Considering SSFIITHDR sells for 1200 ms points ($15.00), and RE5 is $60.00 that means your actually paying $325.00 for the system (minus another $3.12 if the theme is one of the newer 'premium' 250 ms point ones), not too bad. I'm really pondering the notion of 'upgrading' to one, not that I need too, but I figure its just a mater of time before my refurb eventually fails. This would get me the newest Jasper chip set (supposedly), an HDMI port, the LE color, and I was planning to get RE5 anyway. Hmmm...

I tried the Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. demo a while back, and was actually surprised how much I liked it. The graphics were beautiful as the two training missions in the demo take place in Rio De Janeiro complete with the Christ the Redeemer statue on top of Corcovado Mountain. Jet fighter games aren't one of my preferences, but I was pleased to find how easy it controlled, I didn't crash every 5 seconds, and I was able to pull off some cool looking moves. This seems to be exactly what other people don't like about the game though, on one of the podcast I listen to they seemed to dislike it because it didn't feel like a flight simulation, and it wasn't 'realistic' at all. To each his own.