The Jesus Lizard Reunion Show

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This weekend, I actually left the house to see live music that wasn’t Nonagon. Thanks to John H., I got offered to see The Jesus Lizard at Metro. The Jesus Lizard is one of those bands that, during the nineties, I saw at least half-a-dozen times. Their music basically became the blueprint for much of the stuff we wrote in Der Lugomen. The band has reunited with its original line-up (technically, its second line-up since they had a drum machine on the first EP) and been playing shows since this summer. It was a pretty good show despite the fact that Yow had injured himself the night before and had to sing from a bar stool for most of the evening. His normal position is horizontally, thrashing about and body surfing over the audience. The crowd was typically wild. I managed to avoid the fray by just pinning myself against the stage barrier for most of the show. The opening band, Triclops, was awful. Truly, truly awful. Derivative, overly long and indistinguishable music fronted by a douche-bag singer who relied on an effects rack in lieu of any real talent. The comparisons to Jars of Clay were very much in order.

There’s my head in the foreground. This picture was stolen from some stranger’s Flickr site. They must have been standing behind me the whole night.

The Operative: No One Lives Forever

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This weekend I played through No One Lives Forever again to see if it still holds up. I have long considered this to be one of the best games I have ever played. The graphics haven’t aged very well—they are comparable to what you would see in a Nintendo DS game these days—however, the story, game play, music and humor all are as fresh today as they were back when the game was released, and, despite the their simplicity, the visuals still have their moments such as the Bond-style credit sequence complete with a dancing Cate Archer. Plus, I will never get tired of the incredibly catchy soundtrack music. I would love to see a NOLF 3 one of these days. I may even be up for buying one of those nerdy “who the hell buys these things” collectors’ editions.

AMC’s The Prisoner Remake

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I just finished watching all six episodes of AMC’s remake of The Prisoner and I guess I shouldn’t have expected much. How could you possibly redo one of the most unique and thought provoking television series without disappointing those of us who idolize the original? After seeing some early teaser featurettes on AMC’s Web site I started to get high hopes for this. I mean, Gandalf as No. 2! And look at this awesome still:

Holy crap a HUGE rover!

Jesus is about to get crushed by a gargantuan pilates ball! If this series had consisted entirely of No. 6 being chased by rovers I would have been satisfied. Instead we get a confusing mess of mumbled dialog, uninformative flashbacks, more mumbled dialog and 3 or 4 schmaltzy love story plot lines. The rovers have about 15 seconds of total screen time over the course of the entire mini-series.

The original series was full of humor, suspense and sci-fi imagination. No. 6 was always playing a cat-and-mouse battle of wits with his caretakers—never knowing who he could trust. I always thought the key theme of the original was its defense of individualism. No. 6 had a mind of his own and nothing was going to take that away.

The new series starts off completely off-base by opening with No. 6 suffering from amnesia, with no idea who he is or what he believes. So, for pretty much the whole series, six is dazed and confused, with no real sense of purpose as he aimlessly stumbles about The Village. The series lingers too much boring side plots like the inane drama between No. 2 and his annoying son. The other villagers are treated in a far too sympathetic light. Where’s the paranoia? You’d think the writers would have a lot to address in this post 9/11 world regarding individualism and privacy.

If anything, this remake has made me appreciate the original that much more. And really, if you need a more modernized version of The Prisoner, you would be better off just watching Lost.

Assassin’s Creed on PC (6/10)

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Pictured above is one of the many exciting “sit and watch some guys talk” missions from the PC game Assassin’s Creed: Director’s Cut. Yup. Your goal on these quests is to find some guys, sit on a bench, and listen to them. No this isn’t a Wii Fit balance game, it’s Assassin’s Creed!

The main reason you would want to play Assassin’s Creed is to experience the free-running acrobatics’dashing across the rooftops of ancient Damascus’in the privacy of your own home. In case you are unfamiliar with free-running or its somewhat gayer French cousin, Parkour, they are an EXTREME!!!!! version of jumping off playground equipment,  running around abandoned city scapes and basically behaving like a twat.

Actually, it’s not that bad of a game. The free-running is fun and there are plenty of missions that require you to use this skill to complete the quests. Unfortunately, as the game progresses, the focus of the game increasingly begins to lean towards swordplay and fighting. The combat mechanism works, but it never quite feels like you are actually controlling the action. It’s like a mildly sophisticated series of quicktime events in which you are just timing mouse clicks to the movements of your enemies. The missions very quickly become repetitive and tedious.

Despite this, the game managed to hold my attention with its story and setting. The graphics, details and open world levels are pretty amazing to explore. By the time the final battle begins, I was really wanting to see how the story was going to end. The climax doesn’t quite deliver as it very blatantly leaves the door open for a sequel. Not a great game, but well worth it if you can find it for under ten bucks like I did.