For all the pre-release bluster filled with outcries from religious groups and controversy at every turn the feature film production of The Da Vinci Code turned out to not quite reach the frenzied success that Dan Brown’s novel enjoyed. In short, it was a rather pedestrian and altogether generic action thriller that just never made it out of first gear. Saddled with Tom Hank’s most lackadaisical performance in decades and vanilla direction from long time veteran Ron Howard the film adaptation floundered in a sea of expository hell to which it never recovered.
One of my earliest memories was watching an episode of Star Trek which featured a buff half-naked man dressed in what appeared to be leftover curtains, simple sandals and wearing a crown of leaves on his head. I clearly remembered thinking, “What the heck this?” Okay, I’m paraphrasing somewhat but I doubtlessly committed to memory the image of said figure into every corner of my cranium. Of course, I’ve naturally matured over the years, or so I think, and I now know just what exactly I was witnessing so many years ago. The episode in question was “Who Mourns For Adonis?” and featured the crew of the Enterprise suddenly trapped on a planet by none other than the Greek God Apollo who had patiently waited there for mankind to discover him.
Koi Pond smacks me of that old acronym, WYSIWUG. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to deduce that an application named Koi Pond is specifically about a small pond inhabited by fish. Imagine my surprise if it featured giant transforming robots and pachinko machines? Regardless, Koi Pond is most definitely, “What You See Is What You Get.” I find it odd that I have penned numerous reviews on games for just about every console imaginable yet this is the first time I’ve had to focus on….a screensaver. Yes, that’s exactly what Koi Pond is. Those expecting some dextrous fish racing better look elsewhere.
Sex sells. Yeah, it’s about the most banal comment anyone can make but it’s true. I remember walking into my local Electronics Boutique and plunking this game case down in front of the cashier and the guy looked at me and laughed, “I knew you were going to buy this.” I suppose if I didn’t know him I’d have been offended but then again this is the same person who sold me Onechanbara Bikini Samurai Squad the week before. Let’s cut to the chase here shall we? At times like these I always bring up the hoary old quote from one of the Tomb Raider development team members who remarked about how the initial hero of that series was initially meant to be male. This developer remarked about the change in sex that led to the making of Lara Croft that if he had to play a video game that he’d rather spend the next 10-20 hours of his life staring a girl’s ass than some bloke’s. Whatever floats your boat I guess.
Now this is how you build buzz. While I’m still not quite ready to go into a greater box office analysis of the upcoming summer movie season I have to give props to Paramount for mounting a steadily unfurling marketing campaign that has fired on all cylinders for their May tentpole movie. Of course, I’m talking about Star Trek. What did you expect? In hindsight the decision by Paramount brass to move the film out of its initial release date last Christmas day to the more competitive summer season now seems to have paid off in spades. While we still won’t know how well it will perform there’s no doubt that buzz is building in ways I have not seen since last year.
T & A. If nothing else Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad will only ever be known for such a simple pleasure. It doesn’t matter one iota whether you can even pronounce the game’s name as any title that includes the words “Bikini” and “Samurai,” two words probably never meant to be included in the same sentence, is sure to pique any gamer’s interest. Somewhere in Japan centuries worth of samurai are probably rolling over in their graves at the mere thought of wearing bikinis.
Pirate slang aside, after a couple of political posts it’s time for a change of pace as I veer back to entertainment and movies in general. Looking at the above picture you can’t help but notice Hugh Jackman is raging mad with steely intensity almost as if he’s about to skewer someone with his pair of razor sharp claws. I have a hunch I know just who he is intending to enact physical violence on. If you didn’t already know 20th Century Fox is reeling from an obviously unsupported leak to the Internet of an unfinished print of their summer blockbuster X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Yes, you heard that right. The entire rough cut of the movie is illegally available on the net about an entire month before its premiere. This is not some amateur camcorder recording but an almost DVD quality pristine cut of the upcoming film.
Taken, the spring 2009 sleeper hit produced and written by French action specialist Luc Besson is a well-oiled kinetic train of successively more heart-pounding skirmishes that ultimately proves just one simple point – Liam Neeson makes a kick-ass action hero. Neeson’s Bryan Mills comes from the same steely mold as Keifer Sutherland’s Jack Bauer and Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne except for one key area in which he excels and that is a mature gravitas and acting chops that make both those other actors quiver in their shoes. Neeson has been around the Hollywood block but has never really hit it off big whenever headlining a film but he might have finally found success.