Saturday, April 22, 2006

Spread your little wings and fly away!

Saturday Update!

First things first, Shoutout to Matt! Congrats on the new car bud! Matt just picked up a '99 Honda civic hatchback, so we can feud constantly on domestic vs. import! Cheers bud!

Congrats on the new car Matt!

Other car news, myself and sarah took an '06 Pontiac Persuit coupe out for a spin for a few hours earlier this week. I was very very impressed. The car rides smooth as silk, no road or wind noise, very soft suspension, and still some sports-car like handling. The seats are a little high for my tastes, but otherwise she's a primo ride - looks like it'll be my next car when the lease is up on the sunfire - hopefully sometime this summer.

Weather took a turn for the worse this week, after two weeks of Spring-like conditions, Winter gave a last gasp, and hit us with some freezing rain, hail, snow and wind yesterday. God hates Newfoundland, i'm convinced of that.Then again, it could be Matt's fault - buy a new car, bad weather follows... bastard.

Mad props out to Johnny Zero, dude has landed a paying gig writing a video game column in a local weekly newspaper, The Express. In other news, one of the employees at the other store, also named Jon, landed a paying gig writing a video game column in a local paper called The Current. How the hell do I miss these opportunities!? Congrats you lunkheads - i've forgotton more about vidja games than you two know combined ;) (Kiddin! No suplexes Johnny Z!)

Over in entertainment... Ordered a copy of
Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence from Amazon's British detachment earlier this week. We get the shitty single disc Dreamworks disc with one of the ugliest covers i've ever seen, while the Brits get a fancy 2-disc special edition in gorgeous packaging with a freakin English dub! Which i hear actually plays much better than the subtitled version (the translation was supposedly pretty terse so's to allow for people being able to keep up with the subs in this dialog heavy flick).
Which would you choose?

About three years ago a good pal and former co-worker (yo Neil!) fired me a trailer for a Korean animated flick called Wonderful Days. I followed the progress of this one pretty religiously after that, there was an American version released, dubbed, re-translated, re-edited, and re-titled Sky Blue, which was supposed to range from marked improvement to blasphemous depending on who you asked. Anyway, this American version never did materialize in my neck of the woods on DVD or in theatre, and I finally managed to procure the original Korean version last weekend. Well, even after three intense years of waiting, i still wasn't dissapointed. The animation was beautiful, featuring a combination of CG, hand drawn, and filmed miniature, and with a dystopian sci-fi plot that's right up my ally, i was left with a very strong liking of this one. What impressed me the most, was how different this one felt form your typical Anime. Flicks like Akira, Ghost in the Shell, or Jin-Roh are rigth up my alley, the more cerebral sci-fi anime is where I typically like to hang my hat, but this thing felt largely different, despite sharing genes with the aforementioned Japanese flicks. I guess it's the Korea factor, but it was really like nothing i'd seen in Anime. I have to get my mitts on the Tartan R0 2-disc SE of Sky Blue now. I really want to compare both versions of the film. It's rediculous that animated films like Kaena get solid R1 releases (not that Kaena is terrible) and stuff like Wonderful Days/Sky Blue languishes in region 1 limbo. It's just not fit.

Amazing flick!

Also checked out the first 10 minutes or so of Karas: The Prophecy, which Dan alluded to being kinda slick. So far, the animation is freaking insane, but i haven't got a clue what's going on. Kind of reminds me of "X" so far, which is not a good thing at all, but it seems like it'll turn out much better in the end. Hope to take in the rest of it over the weekend.

Meanwhile in Tamriel, Arames has just defeated the Grey Prince to become Grand Champion of the Imperial Arena (deja vu!). And has begun his holy crusade to seal all of the accursed gates leading into the vile plane of Oblivion. My progress since "the wipe" is all but recovered, a thieves guild mission or two and i'm caught up. Plus i've accomplished a fair bit of other stuff that i hadn't done up to the original 45 hour mark. I'm at 41 hours total now.

Over in music, two capsule reviews for ya this week. Neither of the discs is really suited to a track by track review for different reasons. Here we go:

Bruce Springsteen - We Shall Overcome (The Seeger Sessions) - Named for American folk music legend Pete Seeger, this one was a hoot and a half. I was a little weary at first, Devils and Dust was a great disc, but it was a sombre and restrained affair for the most part, and didn't have quite the replay i wanted. Not so here. We Shall Overcome is a collection of American Bluegrass. Folky to a fault. Bruce is all out here, putting more "throw" behind his vocals than i've heard in a long time. The tunes are all old school folk hootenannys, Hammond B3's and mouth torqued up with Springsteen's trademarked American zeal. The whole album remains lively and upbeat, and while songs don't all sound alike, singling out any one or two or three songs is next to impossible. The whole album makes for a breezy listen something akin to the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack's more upbeat numbers. It's a slice of Americana, a collection of the sort of music that would give birth to the rock n roll that put The Boss on the map. It's a great album, perhaps the most energetic bit of work in the Boss's catalog (and being his 25th album, that ain't a statement to be taken lightly). If you like old school bluegrass and folk, check it out! You won't be dissapointed. 8 out of 10

Tool - 10,000 Days - The long awaited followup to 2001's Lateralus is upon us, and after 5 years, well, it's a Tool album. 10,000 Days is another 70+ minute epic as only Tool can unfurl, but, there's just not enough here to justify the runtime. Much like Metallica's St. anger, the songs would have been much better had they been more brief. As it is, much of the album recycles the same riff throughout the duration of a track's runtime, which causes everything to bleed together into a less than cohesive whole. What's worse, the riffs simply aren't all that imaginative, usually one note chugging or droning repeatedly. Maynard's voice is also more subdued, often little more than a snarling whisper, which makes the songs seem all that much more monotonous. It's not all bad, the lead-off track, Vicarous is an amazing piece of work, and the followup track, Jambi, does a good job of holding your interest at first, but at about the 4 minute mark of track 2 it comes off the rails. What follows are instrumentals lacking any sort of real flair, and as mood pieces they basically come in one flavor, opressive. Tool fans will undoubtedly love the album, and there are some standout tracks to be certain, "The Pot" is a fantastic tune, textured and melodic, the previously mentioned track, "Vicarious", and later track, "Right In Two", are both classic Tool efforts, when the band were more concerned with writing tight songs than trippy soundscapes and experimental bullshit. As it stands we get about 4 standout tracks, No less than three tracks consisting purely of noise and filler, and a few songs that just drone on for what seems like an eternity while Maynard mumbles incoherently. It doesn't come close to touching the melodic soundscapes or amazing tracks of Lateralus, and it's a far cry from Undertow (when Tool actually wrote songs!). Tool's die hard army will no doubt embrace it and call it brilliant, or a work of genius, or pick your favorite overzealous synonym. Yes, the unflappable hardcore will hoist this one on their shoulders triumphant, probably calling it the single greatest record released since the last Tool album, and if you're a Tool fanatic, i doubt you'll be dissapointed. For everyone else, A Perfect Circle, Maynard James Keenan's "other" band, offers a much more melodic and straight foreward approach on Mer De Noms or Thirteenth Step, both infinitely superior albums to 10'000 Days. 6 out of 10

Have I gone long enough? Yeah, i think i have... I'm gonna call it a day - checking out
Silent Hill this evening! WOO!

The rundown:
Watching: Wonderful Days / Karas: The Prophecy

Listening to:
Sam Roberts - Chemical City / Pearl Jam - Self Titled / Jeff Martin - Exile and the Kingdom / Fu Manchu - Eatin' Dust / Bruce Springsteen - We Shall Overcome (The Seeger Sessions)/ David Gilmour - On an Island / Tool - 10'000 Days

Reading: Ultimate Spider Man

Playing: Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (xbox360)

Eating: Trident White!

Wishing: nothing really.

You are not put upon this world to "get it"!

"Where there's smoke... There's green flame... GREEN FLAME Mr. Shen."


Anonymous said...

Kool ... i gotta start reading your post more offen get some insite to different things like that korean Anime which to me looks amazing and stuff .... Well nice post ... ill be talkin to ya so i can get a lone of that

Matt said...

Thanks for the shout out bud!

Thankfully my legs aren't too broke from the accident to be able to still kick your ass. :P

haha, cheers. :)

Matt said...

....and don't be blaming me for the bad weather! :P

Neil said...

"The Boys" are writing stuff for the Current and the Express?? Hmmm... have to get an article going here at the Town Cryer.

yannick said...

Gotta shout out congrats to J. Zero (who doesn't post near enough at the Verdict these days)... who else am I gonna make Last Boyscout jokes with (besides you, Steve ;) )?

Also Steve, how about Game 1 of Montreal vs. Carolina? Way to whip up on one of the teams with the best records!

SteveTP said...

Yan, that blew me away man! I mean, suprises are one thing, but that was a goddamn minor miracle.

How much you wanna lay down that Carolina wakes the hell up and whips montreal into fried whale shit. :)

And i'm mad at Johnny, he has forsaken the sunday night gathering. Probably haning out with his girlfriend or something. feH! ;)

Dan Mancini said...

That pretty much sums up my Verdict review (scheduled to post tomorrow), except that I exhausted almost 1,300 words getting there.

Karas: The Revelation better deliever some major pay-offs because the first entry is just damned pretty to crash 'n' burn in a blaze of incoherent anime nonsense.

SteveTP said...

Hey Dan, is the version you reviewed three episodes on one disc?

I have three versions here, all dubbed in english and japanese with subs. Didn't get a chance to view the whole hootenanny yet though. And Innocence has shot to the top of my "to watch" pile.

SteveTP said...

By versions, i meant episodes, i have Abby in my laps asking me questions while typing. Can't think straight.

Jon The Uncool said...

It's because Matt smells funny Steve-O. He smells like dead babies.

Dan Mancini said...

Hey Dan, is the version you reviewed three episodes on one disc?

Nope. It was organized as a single, 80-minute feature. Maybe the 3-episode version is a little more coherent.

SteveTP said...

I'll let ya know :)