Archive for November, 2007

Movie Review Rough Draft: The Warriors (1979)

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

The 1979 flick The Warriors glorifies inner city gang violence and makes gang warfare seem like fun. It is also as unrealistic as movies come, making it sort of a live action cartoon. This is probably why none of the main actors in The Warriors had much of a film career following the release of this highly profitable movie.

The leader of the namesake Warriors gang is one Cyrus (Roger Hill). Calling himself the “one and only,” he hatches an evil scheme in which all the gangs unite under his leadership and then take over New York City and plunder the inhabitants. Towards this end, he arranges a meeting of all the gang leaders in the Big Apple. However, he is assassinated and the delegation from the Warriors is forced to try to escape to the gang’s home turf on Coney Island. This means that they must move across a sizable distance with other gangs as well as the New York Police Department (NYPD) trying to stop them.

Heavily outnumbered, the Warriors endeavor to escape back to Coney Island despite the forces arrayed against them. These forces include such gangs ranging from the Baseball Furies to the Orphans. As one enemy gang is licked, the next group of challengers is warned of the progress of the Warriors by radio shows broadcast on seemingly all frequencies of New York City radio. As the fights mount, so do the casualties among the Warriors, which only adds to the importance of getting back to Coney Island as soon as possible.

The street gangs in The Warriors dress much in the same way that professional wrestlers today do. The gangsters sport clorful uniforms including bright yellow satin blazers and all sorts of other unlikely outfits. There is even a street mime gang complete with goofy outfits. These gangs seem more like violent bowling teams than actual real life street gangs. As for the Warriors, they strongly resemble members of the then popular Village People band.

The Warriors is basically a goofy take on youth street gangs that basically glorifies such criminals. It is also quite stupid in light of the fact that if any of the Warriors had a motor vehicle, which real life gangsters do, then the whole flight sequence would have been avoided. For this scenario to work, the audience would have to indulge in complete, total, utter suspension of disbelief.

However, The Warriors is not completely without merit. It does have a visual appeal of sorts. Both the cinematography and the fight scene choreography are above average.

The same is true of the movie’s music. It has quite a bit of popular 1970’s music to it. There are a number of keyboard riffs that build up tension very well.

The Warriors was rated R for both vulgar language and excessive violence. A strong case can be made that it should have been rated X instead. The Warriors is also a grossly unrealistic flick that glorifies youth gang violence. Ultimately, this is a poorly conceived movie that cannot be recommended here.

Eurogamer

Monday, November 26th, 2007

Eurogamer is an excellent website devoted to online games coverage.

Movie Review Rough Draft: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

Of all the movies that constitute the Fast and the Furious series, the third installment entitled “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” is the single best one. Whether or not that is much in the line of praise is squarely in the eye of the beholder.

The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift opens with a teenager named Sean Boswell (played by the 24 year old Lucas Black who clearly does not look like a teenager) who has gotten himself in big trouble with the law. The police have videotape of the incident and they can put him in juvenile hall with the other, ummm, teenagers. However, the district attorney’s office strikes a most improbable plea bargain with Sean’s mother in which they agree to deport Sean to Tokyo to live with Sean’s estranged father.

Upon arriving at Tokyo, Sean Boswell discovers that things are rather different than what he expected. For one thing, everyone in Tokyo that he encounters speaks perfect English irregardless of their educational background. Likewise, all of the teenagers that he encounters are not played by teenaged actors, nor do they look like actual teenagers. Additionally, he soon finds some kindred souls at his new school who are similarly reckless and who share the same love of urban racing that he has. One of these friends is even a token black, so the diversity angle is covered.

Once Sean Boswell has made some friends amongst the Japanese youth, he gets introduced to one of the more idiotic Hollywood cliches. This is the bit about the instant expert who upon discovering a native tradition, an outsider who is the subject of a movie immediately knows more about the subject than any of the natives and is immediately more proficient in doing the native tradition than any of the natives. Movies where this cliche is most prominent include “Gymkata,” “The Challenge,” “The Last Samurai,” and the TV miniseries “Shogun.”

In the case of this flick, the native tradition in question is called “drift racing.” This entails driving your car sideways at high speed, often skidding at the same time. In other words, Sean Boswell has gone from law breaking in America to breaking the law in Japan.

Eventually, Sean winds up in even bigger trouble than ever. This leads to a most unusual solution. A drift race between Boswell and his adversary with the loser being forced to leave Tokyo forever. Surprisingly, Sean Boswell’s father thinks that this is an excellent idea and commits himself to helping soup up his son’s racing car for the big event.

The end result of all this is a flick that is incredibly goofy and ridiculous. It works in keeping the audience entertained despite all of the implausibilities in it. The movie is every bit as much a summer fun flick as the two previous “Fast and the Furious” movies. Despite the sum total of the goofiness, or perhaps even because of the goofiness and implausibility, “Tokyo Drift” comes well recommended as a movie to rent and perhaps even purchase

George Takei

Sunday, November 18th, 2007

George Takei is best known as Mr. Sulu in the original Star Trek and has remained active in show business ever since.

Hillary’s Space Policy

Saturday, November 17th, 2007

What kind of civilian space program can we expect from a President Hillary? Here’s some excerpts from a recent Space Review article by Taylor Dinerman on the subject:

Senator Clinton’s space policy looks pretty good, but as we learned in the years 1993 through 2001, one always has to pay very close attention to every word and every comma. Nowhere in the policy, for example, is there a commitment to spending more on NASA. In her October 4th speech on science policy she promised to “increase support for basic and applied research by increasing the research budgets at the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, and the Department of Defense.” Notice the absence of NASA.

Meanwhile, she did say that she would “make the financial investments in research and development necessary to shore up and expand our competitive edge.” That implies that she would, at the very least, restore NASA’s aeronautics budget to its pre-2004 level. That means finding an extra half billion dollars. Without making any commitment to an overall increase in the agency’s budget, it’s hard to see how this could be done without cutting into the budgets for science and exploration.

and

Despite lacking a solid promise to return to the Moon and to build and outpost there, Hillary Clinton’s space policy is nonetheless an improvement over her husband’s. Until Bush came up with the VSE, NASA was reduced to using euphemisms such as “accessible planetary surfaces” when they meant to say the Moon and Mars. Today NASA has a fairly clear direction and is, within the limits of what is possible for any government bureaucracy, headed in the right direction. The junior senator from New York’s policy is probably the best and most realistic one we can expect from a Democrat.

WLUW

Friday, November 16th, 2007

WLUW defines itself this way:

WLUW is a progressive, community-oriented radio station, committed to social justice and independent thought and expression, and to giving a voice to those who too often go unheard. The station is dedicated to offering a broad array of music, news, and issue- and arts-oriented programming that cannot be found elsewhere on the radio.

Only problem with the above statement is that its brand of politics is virtually identical to what is found on many commercial stations as well as on NPR. For all of its pretension, WLUW is just another narrow minded liberal outfit that refuses to air dissenting views.

Some “independent thought and expression.”

Flying Lab Software Press Release

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

Sorry for the spam everyone.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Troy Hewitt,

Director, Community Relations

Email: troyh@flyinglab.com

Theresa Pudenz,

Public Relations

Email: theresap@flyinglab.com

FLYING LAB SOFTWARE PARTNERSWITH

ALCHEMIC DREAM INC

Alchemic Dream to offer europeancustomer

support, localization andin-game events

(Seattle, WA, USA)November 14, 2007 – Flying Lab Software, developers of Pirates ofthe Burning Sea, the MMORPG featuring high seas action and adventure in a boldworld of pirates and plunder, have partnered with Alchemic Dream Inc, leadersin customer support, localization and in-game events for the European market.

Alchemic Dream provided superior quality customer serviceand community building for partners such as Codemasters (RF Online, Dungeonsand Dragons Online™: Stormreach, Archlord, Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadowsof Angmar™), Auran (Fury), Linden Lab (Second Life) and nowFlying Lab Software (Pirates of the Burning Sea).

Alchemic Dream will use its experience in creating in-game eventsto enrich Pirates of the Burning Sea experiences for Europeanplayers. CEO Aurelien Merville said, “Flying Lab Software has built a fantasticproduct and we’re eager to provide a true interactive experience to theEuropean players of Pirates of the Burning Sea through in-game events and ourcomplete range of multilingual customer services.”

Pirates of the Burning Sea is scheduled to beavailable for release on January 22, 2007 and was set for pre-order in NorthAmerica on Tuesday, November 13, 2007. A European pre-order date will beannounced soon.

For more pre-order information on Pirates of the BurningSea log onto www.piratesoftheburningsea.com. For art assets log onto www.soepress.com.

For more information about Alchemic Dream, visit thecompany’s corporate website at www.alchemicdream.netor contact the company directly at info@alchemicdream.net.

ABOUT PIRATES OF THEBURNING SEA

Pirates of the Burning Sea isan MMORPG featuring high seas action and adventure in a bold world of piratesand plunder. Set against the backdrop of the New World of the 18th Century,players can choose one of three nations – England, France or Spain – or choosethe role of a Pirate and battle it out for glory and power.

ABOUT ALCHEMIC DREAM INC

Alchemic Dream, Inc is aCanadian company founded in 2001 and specialized in MMORPG management, ingameevents, customer support and localization. Employing more than 150 people andever growing, Alchemic Dream is already working with MMORPGs such as Lord ofthe Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™, Dungeons and Dragons Online™:Stormreach™, Second Life, Fury, Dreamlords and RF Online. Alchemic Dreamalso operates the PlayMMO.com gaming portal and the MMO gaming newsfeedMMPOW.com.

Technovelgy

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

Technovelgy is an up and coming website chronicling the ideas and inventions found in Science Fiction. Also present are a large number of articles about Science Fiction in the news.

Very Interesting.

Epic Games

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

Epic Games is a major source of quality online multiplayer games such as Unreal Tournament.