Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Ugh


This picture pretty much sums up my week right now. Check back this weekend for updates.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Is It Thursday Already?

Okay, so last night's South Park was a whole lot less topical than I thought it would be. Instead of a veiled social commentary, we were treated to a Die Hard spoof. It was still pretty funny. Check it out this weekend when it encores.

While I was not able to attend New York Comic Con this year, I was certainly there in spirit. As you may recall, I was pretty jaded when it came to comic books back in September (click here to read "Smeared Ink: When Comics Get Real"). A lot of my favorite characters were venturing into very dark territory, and it seemed like any semblence of that "gee whiz" comic book appeal had perished along with Captain America over a year ago.

However, things seem to be looking up. Amazing Spider-Man has been pretty spectacular (or amazing, for consistency's sake), and I'm really looking forward to Marvel's Secret Invasion series and crossover event, which will be rolling out over the next few months.

Speaking of comics, check out my Broken Frontier interview with G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero scribe Larry Hama, who's acting as a consultant on the live-action G.I. Joe film, due in theaters in 2009.

Now if you'll excuse me, Call of Duty 4 is, well, calling me. If you need me, I'll be the dorky bald guy yelling over his headset in Lolspeak. I can has sniper rifle?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Catch Tonight's All-New South Park!

If you've been paying attention, South Park has been on a roll these past few weeks, and tonight's episode should be no different. Entitled "Super Fun Time," the episode takes the boys on a field trip to a pioneer village, replicating 1800s Colorado. Expect some jabs at the ongoing Texas polygamy saga that's been front-page news for the past few weeks.

Also in the episode, Cartman convinces Butters to abandon the field trip for an amusement center next door. Butters and Cartman? Comedy gold.

This is the last new episode of South Park until the fall, so be sure to check it out on Comedy Central at 10 p.m. For more info, visit SouthParkStudios.com.

How Will You Celebrate?


F*ck the Earth Day - Watch more free videos

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

South Park is Out of Internet!

Bravo to the South Park crew for yet another brilliant Season 12 episode. While the series has become known for taking timely stabs at pop culture and current events, this week's episode takes on a more evergreen topic: our over-reliance on technology.

Entitled "Over Logging," the episode poses the question—what would we all do without Internet access? In a fairly clever parody of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, Stan and his family head out west to Silicon Valley so they can log on, uniting Shelley with her iChat boyfriend and Randy with his precious Internet porn.

Favorite moments? Randy's visit to an Internet porn simulator, his encounter with a "ghost" which leaves him covered in "ectoplasm" and...aw heck, just about every scene that Randy is in is gold. Is there any wonder why he's slowly becoming a fan favorite? He's responsible for some of the series' best moments throughout the last few seasons.

But in all honesty, the thought of losing Internet access is a scary one for a lot of us, and this episode truly highlighted how helpless we all would be if we couldn't log on to the Web.

To watch "Over Logging" and other episodes in their entirety, visit South Park Studios.

Iron Man Versus "Iron Man"

Chances are, you’re completely aware that Iron Man hits theaters on May 2. The iconic character is currently plastered on the sides of buses, staring out at us from massive billboards and starring in a steady stream of television spots showcasing Tony Stark’s (Robert Downey Jr.) affinity for red and gold bionic body armor. In a smart—albeit obvious—marketing move, Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” is blasting in just about every one of the film’s commercials begging the question: does the heavy metal classic have anything to do with the Marvel Comics character created in 1963 by the team of Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Larry Lieber and Don Heck? Not at all.

Naturally, you’re surprised. Sabbath’s “Iron Man”—released on their 1970 album Paranoid—is about a man who travels to the future and witnesses the apocalypse (not the big blue fellow, you nerd). When heading back to the present he is caught in a magnetic field and turned to iron, which renders him unable to warn mankind of its impending fall. Silenced and shunned by his peers, the “Iron Man” takes revenge on all humans and ends up causing the very apocalypse he had previously seen.

Tony Stark may not be a model citizen—particularly after his fascist turn during Marvel’s Civil War event—but Sabbath’s murderous “Iron Man” clearly isn’t referring to ol’ Shellhead. Still, it’s got one of the most badass riffs in rock music, so we’ll let these inconsistencies slide just a tad.

Interesting note: While the song and the superhero were not initially related, Marvel retconned Iron Man’s origins to include the song as Tony Stark’s inspiration in naming his alter-ego. Thanks to revisionist history, it was the Marvel character that was influenced by the song, even though he was created seven years before Sabbath released it.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A Look At the Fanboys Controversy

While this article may seem at first to be a thinly-veiled excuse to post a picture of Kristen Bell in a gold Princess Leia bikini, I’d like to direct your attention to Fanboys, a yet-to-be-released comedy about a group of friends trying desperately to break into Skywalker Ranch to be among the first to see Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. If you’ve seen the trailer, it seems like your typical sophomoric road trip movie peppered with Star Wars references and gross-out humor. Harmless enough, right? Hardly. This film has been causing a major stir in recent months both among studio heads and the fanboy community that it both satirizes and honors.

It feels like Fanboys—directed by Kyle Newman and starring Bell, Sam Huntington, Chris Marquette, Dan Fogler and Jay Baruchel—was supposed to have come out ages ago, and indeed it was. The film was originally slated for release in 2007 to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the original Star Wars film. However, last-minute reshoots pushed the release date to 2008. While the film was lauded by filmmaker and Star Wars fan Kevin Smith and was even granted the blessing of Star Wars creator George Lucas, The Weinstein Company had some issues with one of the film’s subplots. In the original cut of the film, one of the main characters is battling cancer and wishes to see the Star Wars prequel before he dies. The Weinsteins reportedly demanded that the film be recut to remove the cancer elements and inject the film with more raunch. Fan outcry was so strong in February of this year that the 501st Legion—arguably one of the most dedicated Star Wars fan organizations in existence—encouraged fans to boycott the film outright. In a post on Ain’t It Cool News, a 501st member calling himself “Jek Porkins” writes, “We’re going to attack the Weinstein Company death star, even if it is a suicide mission.” I should note that Jek Porkins was the first X-Wing pilot to be incinerated in the first Death Star assault.
What do I make of all this? I like the idea of a film like this acting as a love letter to dedicated Star Wars fans that take things just a little too far, but the outrage over the cancer subplot omission may be a tad out of place. Cancer just isn’t funny, especially not in a comedy centered around rabid Star Wars fanatics. Also, making viewing The Phantom Menace a cancer patient’s dying wish adds a tinge of dramatic irony to the whole film that may or may not have been intentional. If you can remember, a majority of hardcore fans were fairly displeased with the film, with many feeling that it failed to live up to its massive hype.

Do I think Fanboys will be a great film? Hard to say. It's never a good sign when a film like this suffers from so many delays and false starts, and I think popular culture may be a bit burnt out on Star Wars tributes after last year’s Robot Chicken and Family Guy Force-centric episodes. I know I'm kind of getting there.
As for this film’s new release date, well, your guess is as good as mine. One can only hope that the film pulls itself out of post-production Hell and sees the light of day in the next few months. It would be a shame for a film with this kind of history behind it to get saddled with a direct-to-video treatment.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Gear Up for Mario Kart Wii

While every self-respecting Wii owner is no doubt knee-deep in Super Smash Bros. Brawl these days, it’s important to remember that another tent-pole Nintendo franchise, Mario Kart, will be making its way to the console later this month on April 27.
Mario Kart Wii promises to continue the fast-paced, balanced gameplay of previous entries in the series, this time introducing motorcycles into the fray. Like Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Nintendo will allow players to use one of four controller options, including the Gamecube Controller for those not yet comfortable with using the Wii Remote with or without a nunchuk attachment. While I understand that Nintendo is trying not to alienate gamers who have yet to embrace the Wii’s motion controls, this option is somewhat ludicrous given that the Wii’s controller innovation is what attracted most people to the console in the first place.
Speaking of innovation, each copy of Mario Kart Wii comes packaged with the Wii Wheel attachment to allow for more realistic driving controls. Pop your Wii Remote into the center of the peripheral and you’ve got yourself a steering wheel. I doubt the Wii Wheel allows for the precision controls of other configurations—which is probably why Nintendo is allowing competitive players to stick with the tried-and-true Gamecube Controller—however, it could be a whole lot of fun and a great way to get non-gamers into the swing of things provided you have some extra Wii Wheels ($14.99 on Amazon) for four-player driving action. There's also online play via Nintendo Wi-Fi, but as we've already seen with Super Smash Bros. Brawl, the service is fairly hit-or-miss at the moment. Regardless, local, in-person play is still where its at.
I'll be seeing you at the races when Mario Kart Wii hits shelves later this month.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

A Wort Report Call to Action

Hey Wortmaniacs. Just wanted to give you all the heads-up on Best of Boston and Boston.tv, particularly this video interview with John Adams Executive Producer Tom Hanks conducted by up-and-coming Boston journalist, fellow UConn alum, former Daily Campus writer and friend of the Report, Chelsea Weiss. Of course, a friend of mine is a friend of yours, so show your support and get to clickin'! Even if you're a New Yorker like myself, there's plenty on this site to enjoy, particularly their coverage of Anime Boston 2008 and Japan's Fenway Park Bar, where Far East Red Sox fans can wet their whistles.