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November 12, 2007
Super Mario Galaxy is released for Nintendo Wii[September 19, 2007 Update: Nintendo's given Mario a release date...now we just have to see it they keep it.]
November 16, 2007
Crysis is released for PCs[September 19, 2007 Update: Here's the latest release date. Skeptical? Me too.]
Tuesday, May 9 through Friday, May 12, 2006
E3 - The Electronic Entertainment ExpoTremendously exciting few days for video game fanatics. This year, naturally, all my attention will be on Nintendo, who finally, finally should be pulling back the curtain on the long-awaited, shrouded-in-mystery Wii. I'm on pins and needles already. Will Nintendo revolutionize the industry like they've done many times before? Or will they fall into one of the many possible pitfalls (unpolished software, lackluster launch lineup, gimmicky mechanics, badly-conceived Virtual Console pricing structure, among others)? Mario 64 or Virtual Boy? We should have a much better idea once the Expo kicks off. I wait with bated breath.
June 11, 2006
Entourage and Lucky Louie kick off on HBOIn the wasteland that is summer TV, there are a few chosen oases in the desert and this is a glowing one. I wrote about Entourage in my Best of 2005 and we'll see if it can continue the growth it showed in its strong second season. A slice of sun-drenched decadent debauchery, it's perfect summer fare.
The Criterion Collection DVD release of Yi YiI absolutely adore Yi Yi. A rapturously moving family saga set over one year in Taiwan (that won writer/director Edward Yang the Best Director prize in Cannes 2000), it's a flawless masterpiece that is one of maybe two or three movies that are in the discussion for My Favorite Movie of All Time. Strong words and it lives up to them. The quote I often turn back to comes from A.O. Scott's review in the New York Times: "In exchange for three hours of your time, Yi Yi will give you more life." Sadly, this DVD release seems a little light on the extras. It features a commentary with Yang and critic Tony Rayns, but Yang also offered a commentary on the original DVD that came out a few years ago. Where's the documentary? Deleted scenes? The featurette on Yang's career? At the very least, the video transfer was disappointing in the previous release, but should be pristine and sparkling on this new edition. Regardless, I'll still be the first in line to pick it up when it hits stores and I'd recommend at least a rental by, well, everyone.
July 7, 2006
A Scanner Darkly hits theatersScanner has been moved around so much that I'd take this release date with the requisite amount of salt, but no matter when it ends up coming out, I'll be there. Writer/Director Richard Linklater (Slacker, The School of Rock) adapts a Philip K. Dick novel with Keanu in the lead. Oh, and it was filmed and animated in the dreamlike Waking Life style. Scanner, you had me at hello. It's surrounded by Superman Returns, Pirates of the Caribbean 2, and Lady in the Water, so it may die a sad, quick death at theaters, but don't let it go quietly.
July 21, 2006
Clerks 2 hits theatersI'm scared. No, I'm really, really scared. Because I love Clerks. Love it. And this may finally be the movie that destroys Kevin Smith's career. I attended a Q&A with Smith at Penn about a month ago where the audience had the pleasure of seeing a five-minute sneak peek at the movie. It certainly had its moments, but I'm certainly still afraid. So while Smith runs around trying to catch lightning in a bottle, let's all just cross our fingers and hope he knows what he's doing. Because, if he does, this could be amazing. But if he doesn't, this could be disastrous. Let's just move on.
August 25, 2006
Broken Lizard's Beerfest hits theatersIf everything goes according to plan, this will be the most amazing two weeks of comedy of the year [July 13 note: a few weeks after I wrote this, Clerks 2 was moved up into a July release]. It's appropriate that these two are (tentatively, at least) following each other because Clerks and Super Troopers are easily two of the most heavily quoted movies among my friends. (That little guy? I wouldn't worry about that little guy?) If you haven't seen Super Troopers, go get it, turn your brain off, and have a blast. (Who wants a mustache ride?!) Just listen to this Beerfest plot summary from IMDb and tell me you don't want to see this movie: "Two brothers travel to Germany for Oktoberfest, only to stumble upon a secret, centuries-old competition described as a "Fight Club" with beer games." How can this lose? After an ill-advised horror detour with Club Dread (decent movie that'll be appreciated more after it's part of a larger body of work--right now, the Broken Lizard guys just need to stick to straight-up comedy), this looks like the perfect movie to get back on track (and I'm dying for them to make the Plato/Socrates wrestling/mythology epic they keep talking about). Time to step up to the bar and make it a double. (Oh shit! Got you good you fucker!)
September 21, 2006
The Office begins its third seasonHey, have I told you about this show The Office on NBC? It's only the funniest comedy on TV. 28 episodes so far and not a single bad one in the bunch (of recent shows, only Arrested Development can make a similar claim, though we'll never know how far it could have gone). I can understand someone not wanting to watch Lost after missing the first two seasons, but there's no excuse for skipping The Office. Just start watching and you'll be hooked. The short first season is already available on DVD and the second season hits on September 12th. In the meantime, check out the summer Webisodes up on NBC's official site. I won't rest until everyone I know is in love with this show. Trust me on this one.
September 22, 2006
Jackass Number Two hits theatersRoll your eyes all you want, I don't care. It's more Jackass, it's coming later this year, and I'm going to laugh my fucking ass off. That is all.
Bitter Films: Vol. 1 is released on DVDThe first official collection of animator Don Hertzfeldt's short films, Bitter is absolutely required viewing for any fans of animation. Billy's Balloon, Rejected, Ah, L'Amour...all classics and just a sampling of the shorts on this DVD. Hertzfeldt's work has been a staple of touring shows from Spike and Mike and The Animation Show (co-created by Hertzfeldt and Mike Judge) to many others and has won countless awards. Surreal with spurts of ultraviolence not to mention funny as hell, Hertzfeldt's films deserve your full attention. The DVD has been pushed back to a late-September release and a pre-order is your best bet to get an early copy, so head to www.bitterfilms.com and get cracking!
October 4, 2006
Lost begins its third seasonEveryone keeps waiting for the wheels to fly off, but 47 episodes later it's still soaring along. This season marks an experiment for ABC: to avoid the insanely frustrating is-Lost-new-this-week? confusion from last season (which only served to stall the show's considerable momentum), Lost is running for seven episodes in the Fall with no reruns, then taking a three month hiatus before coming back for 15 more uninterrupted in the Spring. While the three month break will hurt, I'm already salivating at the thought of 15 straight weeks of Lost next year. To tide you over until October, drown in the sea of conjecture over at LostPedia or the boards at Oceanic Flight 815. I've spent far too many hours of my life reading these sites (hell, I even read the Lost metanovel Bad Twin). Did I mention that I have no life?
Sam and Max is released for PCsA long 13 years ago, LucasArts released the original Sam and Max Hit the Road, easily one of the all-time greats in video game history and one of the watershed graphic adventures from the era (up there with The Secret of Monkey Island and others). Chronicling the kindhearted, if misanthropic, adventures of a gumshoe dog and psychotic rabbit, it was a huge critical success and everyone assumed sequels were to follow. Not so much. Jump ahead to 2001 and an Xbox followup (developed by Infinite Machine) is finally announced. There was much rejoicing. It was cancelled the same year. In 2002, LucasArts announced a long-awaited sequel. Two years later, cancelled. So when Telltale Games announced work on a new game last year, I was a tad bit skeptical. Jump to today and everything's progressing swimmingly. Steve Purcell, Sam and Max's creator, is on board along with some old LucasArts alumni. Telltale is taking the currently en vogue episodic approach, hoping to release new chapters every month starting in October. It's an ambitious goal, but oh man, the prospect of new Sam and Max every month has me hoping and praying. My only two caveats: first, apparently you need to subscribe to the GameTap service to download the episodes. Big harumph from me there and possibly a dealbreaker to some. Second, does it really need to be in 3-D? The 3-D animation looks nice enough in the pictures, but just doesn't match the eclectic splendor of the original's artwork. Am I the only one still holding a candle for good ole 2-D graphic adventures? Maybe so. Oh well, it's still Sam and Max and that's all I need.
November 3, 2006
Borat hits theatersRespek.
November 7, 2006
Guitar Hero II is released for PS2All Harmonix needed to do was throw in another batch of songs and even if nothing else was changed, I'd still be champing at the bit to buy it. But toss in multiple guitar parts (lead, rhythm, and bass), three-button chords, multiplayer co-op where each rocker has a unique line, and other assorted nips and tucks and this instantly becomes a serious contender yet again for Game of the Year. I've already started fantasizing about downloadable songs being available in the next-gen versions a year or so from now, but that's getting ahead of myself. It's also worth noting that, according to Electronic Gaming Monthly, Harmonix is working on a new music game "that will make Guitar Hero look like a one-hit wonder." Holy shit.
November 19, 2006
The Nintendo Wii is releasedMy unbridled enthusiasm (Seinfeld reference anyone?) for the Wii has been well-documented on this site (start here or here), so not too much more to add. After the E3 blowout, details have been predictably scarce, so expect a deluge of Wii launch info as we get closer to November. Nintendo's played their cards very well so far, but there's still a few more hurdles ahead of them. Will they hit the oft-rumored ultra-low price point? Will the third-party launch software shine or take some luster off the Wii's glow (I'm looking at you, Red Steel)? If Nintendo's determined to make consumers pay for each individual Virtual Console game, will they be smart enough to sell the games at bargain basement prices? Will enough units be in production that it's actually easy to buy the system in stores (a middle-finger salute to the Xbox 360 and preemptively to the PS3 which you know will be impossible to find anywhere this Fall)? Does Nintendo have enough AAA software coming in the few months post-launch to keep their momentum going (Super Mario Galaxy had better land within six months of launch)? Will I lapse into a video game coma in November after playing the Wii and Virtual Console uninterrupted for days on end? Will I still have a girlfriend after I wake from said coma? We'll know soon enough.
November 22, 2006
Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny hits theatersThe Greatest Band on Earth hits the big screen with the long-awaited Destiny. Since it's been in a state of perpetual delay for over a year now, I'm scared this could be a disaster, but as long as it's rated R, nothing can keep me away from JB and KG. "You know what time it is? Tenacious D time, you motherfuckers, go! FUCK YEAH!!!"
November 22, 2006
The Fountain hits theatersFinally emerging from developmental hell, The Fountain is the new film from Pi and Requiem for a Dream writer/director Darren Aronofsky. That's enough for me. The trailer is more than a little bizarre and I still don't really understand the plot, but did I mention that it's Darren Aronofsky's new movie? I'm there.
March 2, 2007
Zodiac hits theatersThe long-in-development new film from David Fincher (Panic Room was over four years ago now...c'mon, let's go!) has him back in serial killer/Se7en territory. Given the reshoots and long delays, there's potential for disappointment here. Will Fincher retread ground he already covered or try to push so far in the opposite direction stylistically and emotionally that he sucks the life out of Zodiac? Can he find a delicate balance in between? Let's hope for the best.
March 13, 2007
God of War II is released for PS2The sequel to the 2005 Game of the Year runner-up, War promises enough evisceration, decapitation, impalement, dismemberment, and gratuitous nudity to warm your black heart in the dead of Winter. Bad Motherfucker Kratos, fresh off slaying Ares, finds there's no rest for a new God, so it's time to take the chain-blades out and start the ass-whooping all over again. Oh yeah...
April 9, 2007
Super Paper Mario is released for Nintendo Wii[November 27, 2006 Update: Since first writing this entry, Paper has quietly been moved off the GameCube and pushed back into 2007 as a Wii exclusive. Summer is my guess, but knowing how Nintendo manipulates release dates to fill out their calendar, it may be next Xmas or even 2008.]
June 1, 2007
Knocked Up hits theatersLet's see...it's writer/director Judd Apatow's follow-up to the funniest movie of 2005 (The 40-Year-Old Virgin) and it features many of his partners-in-crime (Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Jonah Hill...) Done. I'm sold. I'm that easy.
July 10, 2007
The new Smashing Pumpkins album, "Zeitgeist," is released[March 2, 2007 Update: I'd originally put Summer 2007, so not a bad guess on the release. The new album, "Zeitgeist," has been officially dated now for July 10, 2007. Sweet...]
July 31, 2007
Matthew Good's Hospital Music is releasedUnless this is the first page you're reading on my site (and that would be a little weird, but, hey, welcome!), you know about my undying obsession with Canadian rocker Matt Good. After a tumultuous two years in his personal life, Matt is back with his most soul-bearing album yet. Already a favorite for Album of the Year.
August 21, 2007
BioShock is released for Xbox 360 and PCsLike all the games on this list, the release date is tenuous at best. I can just as easily see this coming out in Xmas 2008 as April. Fashioned as a spiritual successor to the Hall of Fame System Shock games, BioShock is set in an underwater city that was designed as a hidden intellectual utopia, but has since fallen into anarchy and terror. Sporting gorgeous art deco design and next-gen graphics, it was a hit at E3 2006 and is easily one of the most anticipated games of 2007.