“The Walking Dead” premiered in October of last year with one of the best pilot episodes ever filmed for basic cable. It then proceeded to get absolutely, off-the-rails stupid with subplots involving gangsters protecting the elderly, a handless Michael Rooker and a psychic hillbilly. The season finale was the pinnacle of dumb; beginning with a hilariously half-assed statement against using fossil fuels, it concluded with the main character’s escape of the self-destructing Center for Disease Control with a grenade stashed in some chick’s purse for the previous three episodes.
Needless to say, I didn’t have high hopes for the second season, but after I saw that the semi-lucid schizophrenics who wrote season one had been fired and that 7.4 million people had watched the premier, I decided to give “The Walking Dead” another go.
Facebook has been making a lot of changes recently. That’s an understatement, right? Well prepare for an even bigger one; one that overhauls the current user experience. The new Facebook design blows all previous tweaks away. After reading tweets and articles about the upgrade, (It’s still unavailable to the public, but you can get it if you go here and follow the steps). I took the plunge… and wound up in the depths of my entire Facebook history.
Most notable is the transformation of the Wall to the Timeline, which, all changes in the site aside, has me imagining my friends’ texts to me to check my “timeline” for some Imgfave link they posted. I don’t know how I feel about the new term yet, but I’m sure it’ll catch on.
The movie “Drive” takes the deadest sub-genre in the entire world (heist movies) and twists every cliché and expectation associated with those films to make what may be the freshest, most exciting film of the year. It achieves this with exactly two car chases, several long periods of total silence and a plot that hibernates until roughly the 45-minute mark. You are probably thinking, “Well, that sounds really terrible!” and with any other less competently made film it would be. But with “Drive,” every decision is clearly deliberate; every minor detail contributes to the film’s overall style. It is nothing short of perfection through subtlety.
The casting is excellent, featuring TV favorites Bryan Cranston and Christina Hendricks, as well as the great Ron Perlman who finally gets some screen time not covered in monster make-up. But by far the best member of the cast is Ryan Gosling. This is a sentence I never thought I would conceive in my life. See, most people, myself included, best remember him as the dude in “The Notebook,” a film that everyone who’s ever been in a relationship has been forced to sit through at least once. But, in what is becoming a more common occurrence, my expectations were wrong.
Gosling plays the best maladjusted, socially-awkward loner since Travis Bickle graced the big screen. His smiles are inappropriately timed, his emotional responses are just a little off and he almost never blinks. You can tell that beneath his unassuming exterior there lies an ability for serious violence. “Drive” is one of those rare films where the hero actually feels more dangerous than the villains, a fact that owes entirely to Gosling’s masterful performance.
If I had to compare “Drive” to another movie, I would say it most resembles one of my all time favorite films, “Blade Runner.” Both have deeply flawed protagonists, slow plots filled with ambiguity, distinctive visual styles, excellent synth soundtracks and deceptive marketing campaigns portraying them as action films when they, in actuality, are something much more. This is basically the highest compliment I can give. Seriously, go see “Drive” now.
There exists a dark side to the seemingly innocuous movies we all loved as kids. It’s a jarring, offsetting revelation that one never expects (sort of like finding out the guy who wrote “Dilbert" is an ass who hates women and pretends to be his own biggest fan). So kick back, relax and prepare to have your childhood ruined because here are some classics that are downright sinister.
Willy Wonka and the Seven Deadly Sins.
Ok, so there’s this antisocial psychopath whose disgust with the wrong-doings of society leads him to maim and murder individuals according to their vices. Seriously, the film is just plain sadistic: the fat kid gets drowned in a river of chocolate, the greedy rich girl gets incinerated after trying to get a golden egg and the annoying gum-chewer’s body is permanently deformed into a blueberry. To top it all off, Wonka, the evil bastard that he is, orders his team of midgets to sing songs mocking the kids’ fates. And let’s not even get started on the tunnel from Hell...
The Lion Führer
“The Lion King” is essentially “Richard III” with cats: an ugly, unpopular schemer offs his brother to become king and then gets himself killed by pissing off everyone. But, there is also another, darker side. You see, at one point in the film, there is an impromptu Nazi rally featuring marching hyenas. Meanwhile, Lion Hitler is atop a giant podium going on about how they have to be prepared (for the final solution probably). It only lasts a couple seconds, but its such a bizarre scene that it stays with you well after the film has ended. It’s equivalent to having the Exxon Valdez spill kill half the cast of “The Little Mermaid”. Or featuring a song about wanting to rape and murder someone in a movie about talking statues who hang with a guy that looks like Sloth from “the Goonies”. Oh wait, that actually happened.
There are a bevy of new phones released throughout the year but Apple has been fairly consistent with their annual release of the iPhone. This year will see the coming of the iPhone 5 which, in addition to an updated OS, will see a few hardware revisions as well. No official announcements have been made by apple thus far but there are a few rumors floating around.
Apple Looses Their Phone... Again...
Cnet reported that an Apple employee lost a prototype of the iPhone 5 after leaving a tequila bar in San Francisco. A very similar incident occurred last year when the previous iPhone was set to be released. Coincidence? I think not, especially since Apple has taken great strains to improve their security since last year. Moreover, the newly misplaced iPhone was supposedly sold on Craigslist for not $2000, but $200. This sounds a little unlikely to say the least.
Sprint to Release New iPhone According to the Wall Street Journal, Sprint is next in line to begin selling the iPhone and "people familiar with the matter" are expecting the device to release in mid-October. Bloomberg is reporting that Sprint's iPhone will also offer unlimited data unlike the AT&T and Verizon variants. Which is awesome. iPhone 5 Redesign Thisismynext.com says that its' sources claim that the new iPhone will look "more like the iPod touch than the iPhone 4." The home button is supposedly more elongated to allow for gestures similar to those found on the iPad. The screen is said to occupy much more space on the phone. Additionally, Verizon CFO Fran Shamoo states that the new iPhone will be a global device (meaning you can use it even when traveling overseas). iPhone 5 Facial Recognition TechCrunch reported that Apple bought a Swedish company called Polar Rose which specializes in creating technology to automatically recognize and tag photos on Flickr and Facebook. Theoretically, this could be an interesting alternative to unlock the device by having the phone remember your face. Cool? Yes. Practical? Not so much. There are many other rumors about the iPhone 5 floating around the internet. What additions/revisions would you like to see?
Sprint to Release New iPhone
According to the Wall Street Journal, Sprint is next in line to begin selling the iPhone and "people familiar with the matter" are expecting the device to release in mid-October. Bloomberg is reporting that Sprint's iPhone will also offer unlimited data unlike the AT&T and Verizon variants. Which is awesome.
iPhone 5 Redesign
Thisismynext.com says that its' sources claim that the new iPhone will look "more like the iPod touch than the iPhone 4." The home button is supposedly more elongated to allow for gestures similar to those found on the iPad. The screen is said to occupy much more space on the phone. Additionally, Verizon CFO Fran Shamoo states that the new iPhone will be a global device (meaning you can use it even when traveling overseas).
iPhone 5 Facial Recognition
TechCrunch reported that Apple bought a Swedish company called Polar Rose which specializes in creating technology to automatically recognize and tag photos on Flickr and Facebook. Theoretically, this could be an interesting alternative to unlock the device by having the phone remember your face. Cool? Yes. Practical? Not so much.
There are many other rumors about the iPhone 5 floating around the internet. What additions/revisions would you like to see?
For those of you a little out of the loop with the gaming world, the first Resistance game, released in 2006, was a PS3 launch title made to compete with Xbox's Halo series. Resistance 3, released today, is a first-person-shooter that pits humans and aliens (Chimera) against one another and under the multiplayer preference, you are assigned to one race. There are only two game types within the beta, team death match and chain reaction (think capture the flag); however, you may find yourself partnered with... less than ideal teammates, in which case team death match will be your mode of choice.
Resistance 3 feels very much like a mix between Call of Duty and Killzone. There are “killstreaks” that can be used after three, six and nine successful kills (as opposed to Call of Duty's 3,5,7 model) and your opponents seem to take quite a few hits before going down -- a full magazine if you aren't getting headshots. This highlights a key strategy to the gunplay: location, location, location! If your opponents are decent and you get caught from behind, from the high ground or playing two against one? You're done.
Trying to "Rambo" your way through a team can definitely work if you play your cards right but certainly has its place within the overarching precedent of teamwork. Now, I'm not saying that the shotgun is overpowered, but... it ain't bad by any means. The guns each have different ranges and situations that display their usefulness. Obviously, you don't want to try to shoot a sniper with a machine gun while he is across the map. You need to close the distance and get in that ass.
Although there were several patches to fix as well as glitches and stability issues, when the game gets going and everything is running smoothly, it's awesome. The increased health, different pace, and different “killstreaks” may take some getting used to but the multiplayer experience definitely stands with the best.
“Cyberbully," or “CyberBu//y” if you go by the cool Internety spelling on the poster, is set out to “delete digital drama” but just ended up flat-out confusing me. Due to its sheer ridiculousness, “Cyberbully” rises above its peers like the Hindenburg, then crashes just as spectacularly. It is an honest-to-god dumpster fire of a movie.
The plot is fairly simple: Taylor, our protagonist, gets a laptop for her birthday and immediately registers a profile on Cliquesters, which is described by one character as a “more raw” facebook (I swear to God). Basically, the site is identical to facebook in every way except for a few additional pointless graphics and everything typed in Courier New, the edgiest font.
The action kicks off when Taylor’s younger brother hacks her account and posts “I’m a bad girl someone should spank me." Honestly it seems pretty tame to me, seeing as every account I’ve seen hacked ended up with statuses that read like a cross between a Dear Penthouse letter and “American Psycho." Apparently it’s enough for the sociopaths on Cliquesters who rapidly descend on Taylor’s page and call her a “smelly skank." Things only get worse when one of Taylor’s friends registers an account pretending to be a boy who slept with her and got “the clap”, which is something I am absolutely positive no one under sixty actually says.
Things finally come to a head with a shockingly bad suicide attempt and then the movie just kind of meanders for like thirty minutes before a vaguely happy ending. Therein lies the biggest problem: we really don’t care what happens to Taylor. Throughout the film, she is shown to be thoroughly unlikeable. She treats her genuinely caring mother like crap, neglects her friends (though they sort of suck too) and tells the abused gay student who tries to share his bullying experiences that because he actually is gay, the insults directed his way apply. “Cyberbully” attempts to capitalize on the recent string of facebook abuse incidents but ends up being so sensationalist that a good point is ultimately lost, and that is the biggest tragedy of all.