Robert Wm. Gomez's

Zonbi Jieitai (4/10)

No-budget Japanese zombie movie with a dumb story a few good gore shots and lots of horrible iMovie-quality digital effects. I guess it's played for humor, but there aren't really any truly funny moments.

Barbarella by Jean-Claude Forest (7/10)

The French comic upon which the movie was based. Stunning 60's stylized artwork, but the story is just a series of bland sci-fi episodes with a little titillation thrown in here and there.

Aliens Omnibus by Various Authors (4/10)

This is a collection of the Aliens comics that were released by Dark Horse in the late eighties. These came out before the awful Alien 3 went and killed all the characters we loved from Aliens. The plot picks up shortly after Aliens with characters returning to LV-426 to explore the crashed alien ship. I think I would have preferred it if the later movies took this direction, but the comics are just poorly written fanboy garbage for the most part. They try to be deep and end up just being a confusing mess of clichés and movie re-quotes.

Giallo (8/10)

Giallo isn't quite the return to form I wanted from Dario Argento, but it's a much better movie than the majority of his post-Opera films (I still think The Stendhal Syndrome and the Masters of Horror episode Jenifer are much better). Gone is the visual style that really was what made Argento's best movies so great. Instead, we have a good Italian-style thriller with the usual graphic violence, bad acting and plot holes. Generally, this is enough for me, but I always want more from Argento.

Video Games Are Derivative? No!! Okay, yes.

Ya know, I love me them video games. I would go so far as to argue that video games are, well... can be, art. However, I have to admit that even the best video games are a bit lacking in the originality department. Take, for example, this screen shot from Yahoo showing three upcoming games:

Video games are derivative.

Stubble-faced muscle men abound in the video game world.

Klonoa on Nintendo Wii (8/10)

This was a cartoony and fun side-scrolling platformer with nice2.5-D graphics. A bit easy and lacking the exploration and precise control of a Mario game, but enjoyable and worth playing through especially for the unexpected ending.

Une vieille maîtresse (6/10)

A somewhat miscast French costume drama based on a 19th Century erotic novel. The male lead is played by a creepy man-boy / Macaulay Culkin look-a-like who is like a kid playing dress-up in his ill-fitting costumes. Asia Argento is good as usual, but I don't think tattoos were that common among Parisian society women at that time.

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks (8/10)

A bit of speculative fiction showing how the world would deal with a zombie apocalypse. The book is written as a collection short vignettes, each told by a different character. Overall, it was an interesting read, but I would have preferred a bit more of a continuing narrative structure to keep me turning pages. Although, thankfully, it avoids the "the real monster is us humans" zombie fiction clichés.

Canada

I just got back from a short little weekend excursion to visit my cousins up in Windsor, Canada. Windsor can be described as Detroit's Gary, Indiana... if Gary had weird money and lots of Tim Horton's donut shops (or do they say shoppes in Canada? Or doughnuts for that matter?). One area where Windsor has Gary (and Chicago) whipped, is great Lebanese food (El Mayor). On the other hand, the whole "Beer Store" thing is really, dare I say, stupid and backwards.

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars on Nintendo DS (9/10)

Grand Theft Auto - Chinatown Wars Aside from the hour or two of GTA 2 that I played on the PC years ago, this was my first Grand Theft Auto game. I don't find that whole gangsta thing terribly appealing. However, mature rated games are very hard to come by on the DS so I decided to try this out. Having finally completed the main storyline, I have to say this one of the best games on the DS by far.

The Ultimate In-Box Notification Noise

I have discovered the best sound to use for a new mail notification in your e-mail client. It's the object pick-up noise form Atari's Adventure for the 2600. I've attached the WAV file to this post so that you to can feel like you are grabbing the goblet next time you get a v!@gr@ ©ialis spam in your in-box!

Terminator Salvation (6/10)

For the first 20 minutes or so I couldn't see why this film got such bad reviews. I was really enjoying it. And then they introduce the "love interest" and the story starts to focus on the jaded sci-fi trope of the robot who thinks he's a man. There are plot holes galore and editing jumps that feel like place holders for commercials. We don't care about the new terminator, all we want to see is the story of John Conner and Kyle Reese. At the very least, there are enough nods to fanboys to keep it watchable until the end (the digital surprise cameo is jaw-dropping).

Adobe Contribute Is No Longer My Friend

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Adobe. Some of their products are great—Photoshop is a verb these days for good reason—but, they have also released some of the most disappointing software I have ever used. Encore, their DVD authoring program, will crash anytime you try to do anything with even a moderate degree of complexity. Dreamweaver will give you cryptic JavaScript errors out of the blue, when you are not actively editing anything. Heck, everyone knows Acrobat is a bloated resource hog.

Mirror's Edge on PC (9/10)

Mirror's Edge

Mirror's Edge is another free-running inspired game like Assassin's Creed. But unlike Assassin's Creed, the acrobatic roof running is actually an integral part of the game mechanics and fun. With its puzzle-based level design, this game has much more in common with Portal than anything else.