"His voice betrayed a craving for terrible things." -- Don DeLillo

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The Calendar

Updated September 19, 2007
(Originally posted May 5, 2006)

I'm trying something new here. This is going to be a list of random important dates in my consumer whore, nerdy, obsessive world. I'll include short notes about their significance. Ideally this will be updated as more moves onto my radar. Have fun.

Click here for older entries

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.]

I'm giving Nintendo the benefit of the doubt here. They claim that Galaxy will be released within six months of Wii's launch, putting it in the Spring. However, if you're smart enough not to believe anything Nintendo says about release dates, you'll guess that a more accurate date is probably next Xmas. With only a handful of AAA titles currently announced for the Wii for 2007, Nintendo will do its release date dance to make sure they're scattered throughout the year. That means we'll get one in the Spring (Galaxy?), one in the summer (Metroid Prime 3?), and a couple more for the Fall/Xmas season (Super Smash Bros. Brawl? Mario Kart?). So your guess is as good as mine as to when we'll actually be playing Galaxy, but a new Mario game is always an event, and after the incremental Mario 64 upgrade that was Super Mario Sunshine, Mario's ready for another revolution.

November 16, 2007

Crysis is released for PCs

[September 19, 2007 Update: Here's the latest release date. Skeptical? Me too.]

[November 27, 2006 Update: I had hoped this would squeak out for a 2006 release, but that was wishful thinking. No firm release date has been set yet, so I'll optimistically list this as Spring/Summer of '07. Who knows?]

Recently voted by its peers as the Game Most Likely To Bring Marc's Computer To Its Knees, Crysis, Crytek's followup to the brilliant Far Cry, is a jaw-droppingly beautiful step closer to photorealism in gaming, especially thanks to a physics system that allows you to take down entire forests with your excessive firepower. I may start crying when my mighty PC is crippled by the daunting engine, but graphics whores buying new PCs this Fall should start camping out for a copy now.


Tuesday, May 9 through Friday, May 12, 2006

E3 - The Electronic Entertainment Expo

Tremendously 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.

Postscript: E3 has come and gone and my thoughts on Nintendo's unveiling of the Wii can be found here.

June 11, 2006

Entourage and Lucky Louie kick off on HBO

In 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.

What I'm really excited about, though, is the long-awaited debut of Louis C.K.'s show, HBO's first multi-camera/live audience sitcom. In the works for a few years now (after an aborted attempt on the networks), I thought the show was destined never-to-be (see: Robert Schimmel's sitcom), so I had a little giddy fit of joy when it finally appeared on the HBO website a few months ago. As comedians go, he certainly has an fun resume: besides his stand-up career (keep an eye out for his two fantastic HBO half-hour specials), he's been a lead writer for Conan and Chris Rock and was the writer/director of the not-nearly-as-awful-as-you'd-think-and-actually-surprisingly-funny Pootie Tang (Sa Da Tay!) We're treading into uncharted waters here, but I've got faith in Louis and his inspired supporting cast (including Laura Kightlinger, Jerry Minor, and Jim Norton), so I'll be watching avidly.

(Side note: Had I not missed the boat on Deadwood when it premiered, I'm sure I'd be cheering for the debut of its third season earlier the same night. Indeed, one of my goals in the TV wasteland this summer is to start catching up on Deadwood on DVD...)

July 2006

The Criterion Collection DVD release of Yi Yi

I 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 theaters

Scanner 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.

Postscript: My review of Scanner can be found here.

July 21, 2006

Clerks 2 hits theaters

I'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.

Postscript: My review of Clerks II, as well as quick reviews of the rest of Kevin Smith's filmography, can be found here. Suffice to say, I had a nice long sigh of relief after walking out of the theatre. Well done, Kevin.

August 25, 2006

Broken Lizard's Beerfest hits theaters

If 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!)

Postscript: My review of Beerfest can be found here.

September 21, 2006

The Office begins its third season

Hey, 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 theaters

Roll 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.

Postscript: My review of Jackass Number Two can be found here.

September 2006

Bitter Films: Vol. 1 is released on DVD

The 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 season

Everyone 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?

October 2006

Sam and Max is released for PCs

A 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 theaters


Postscript: And my review can be found here.

November 7, 2006

Guitar Hero II is released for PS2

All 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 released

My 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.
[September 14 update: More launch details announced, more ramblings here...]

November 22, 2006

Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny hits theaters

The 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!!!"

Postscript: Check out my review here.

November 22, 2006

The Fountain hits theaters

Finally 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.

Postscript: Here's my review.

March 2, 2007

Zodiac hits theaters

The 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 PS2

The 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.]

[March 2, 2007 Update: Mario's been announced for April 9. Thank God.]

Probably the last great GameCube exclusive (depending if you want to count the new Wii/GCN Zelda), so it's fitting to have Mario bring the era to a close. One of the out-of-nowhere surprises from this year's E3, Paper is still shrouded in secrecy, but screenshots hint that it plays like a 2-D old schooler set in the Paper Mario universe--or something like that. Any new Mario game deserves an immediate purchase, though, and it'll help tide me over until Super Mario Galaxy hits the Wii next year.

June 1, 2007

Knocked Up hits theaters

Let'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...]

Completely pulling this date out of the air. According to their MySpace page, recording has been moving along well, so it appears they're on track for release around the middle of next year. All I know is that it's coming and I'm buying it. Very few details have been released yet, but it looks like the "reunion" is really just Billy and Jimmy. Frankly, I have no problem with this--they're the only two members the Pumpkins really need anyway. I'm dying to know what direction they're going in. My hope is that Billy got his technodrone tendencies out with his solo album and that he's ready to get back to the rock. I miss those searing Billy guitar metal anthems and I want them back!

July 31, 2007

Matthew Good's Hospital Music is released

Unless 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 PCs

Like 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.