DVD Review: The Scorpion King (Blu-ray)

The Scorpion King
Directed by Chuck Russell
Starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Kelly Hu, Bernard Hill, Steven Brand, Grant Helsov, Peter Facinelli, Michael Clarke Duncan
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Release Date: July 22, 2008

The way I see it, there are two ways to look at The Scorpion King: as a guy’s guy, in which case TSK is the best movie ever made in the history of cinema, or as a critically thinking, intellectual male, in which case TSK is a minorly amusing, 90-minute exercise in historical inaccuracy. Either way, I think the world would be an infinitely better place with Kelly Hu running about in skimpy outfits whilst pretending to be important. But”¦that could just be the (highly uninformed) opinion of my penis. Mr. Penis tends to cloud my judgment sometimes and here, he almost succeeded in convincing me that The Scorpion King is a good movie. But, all he really convinced me of was that I like Kelly Hu. A lot.

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Game Review: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns Of The Patriots

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns Of The Patriots
Genre: Tactical Stealth Action
Platform: Playstation 3
Developer: Kojima Productions/Konami
Esrb Rating: M For Mature
Price: $59.99; $79.99 (Limited Edition)
Release Date: June 12, 2008

Unfortunately, I feel compelled to start off this review with a bit of a rant. I just finished playing Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots for approximately 26 hours. Out of those 26 hours, I watched approximately eight hours of non-interactive cinemas”¦and being able to hit the “X” or “L1” buttons at certain times to trigger flashbacks or a first person “Snake” view does not count as “interactive” in my book — it’s just stupid. Sitting there with the controller resting limply in your hands for eight hours of “play” time is, simply put, JUST TOO FUCKING LONG!

There, I said it. The 800-pound gorilla taking a massive dump in the middle of your living room floor has been duly addressed.

That being said, I really enjoyed MGS 4 (the game) as a whole, which shows that Hideo Kojima and his team haven’t completely jumped the shark as of yet. To me, there is one chapter/act of this game that stands out and completely saves it from becoming the over-indulgent nonsense that MGS 2 devolved into in its last act:


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Comic Review: Madame Mirage #5, 6

Madame Mirage #5, 6
Written by Paul Dini
Art by Kenneth Rocafort
Colors by Imaginary Friends Studios
Letters by Troy Peteri
Top Cow Productions
Cover price: $2.99; Available now

In Madame Mirage #5, it appears that Madame Mirage wants to join forces with her enemies at A.S.I., but that ruse is quickly blown and Harper/Madame Mirage has to beat a hasty retreat. We also get some insight into the duality/almost schizophrenic relationship between Harper Temple and her dead sister, Angie, whose visage and personality is what makes up Madame Mirage.

In the end, Harper/Madame Mirage launch an all out assault on a secret prison that holds their father but, as fate would have it, it turns out to be trap set by her super-merc enemies at A.S.I. and Harper/Madame Mirage is captured.

I must say that I know little of Paul Dini‘s work beyond the episodes he wrote for the old Batman Animated series in the early 90s, but after reading Madame Mirage I can understand why he has the stellar reputation that he does. The writing here is top drawer comic book writing: snappy and unobtrusive to the art, which is what most people buy comic books for in the first place. And since I mentioned art, the art in this book (by Kenneth Rocafort) is also exceptional. It has an adult storybook quality that is quite cool and, of course as is the case in most Top Cow books, his women are beautifully, if a bit unrealistically, rendered. I understand that this is a big selling point as well, but c’mon, haven’t we gotten past the ridiculous, “balloon boobs” thing as of yet?

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DVD Review: The Spiderwick Chronicles (Blu-ray)

The Spiderwick Chronicles
Directed by Mark Waters
Starring Freddie Highmore, Sarah Bolger, Mary-Louise Parker, Nick Nolte, Joan Plowright, David Strathairn, Seth Rogen (voice), Martin Short (voice)
Paramount Home Video
Release Date: June 24, 2008

The Spiderwick Chronicles is a fine, family film in the tradition of Harry Potter and The Golden Compass, and like those other franchises, it is based on a beloved series of children’s books. Although I would strongly argue that Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy (from which The Golden Compass comes) goes far beyond simple “good vs. evil” children’s fare; that is an argument best suited for another time and place”¦

The basic plotline of The Spiderwick Chronicles goes like this: upon moving into the dilapidated Spiderwick Estate with their mother, Helen (the MILF-tastic Mary-Louise Parker), the Grace children — twin brothers Jared and Simon (both played with aplomb by Freddie Highmore) and their sister Mallory (Sarah Bolger) — find themselves pulled into an alternate world full of fantastical creatures.

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Comic Review: The Magdalena & Daredevil #1

The Magdalena & Daredevil #1
The Devil In Longhand
Art and Story by Phil Hester
Inks by Ande Parks
Colors by Blond
Letters by Troy Peteri
Cover by Phil Hester, Stjepan Sejic
Image Comics
Cover price: $3.99; Available now

OK, I admit it, I used to be a big fan of the old “Marvel Team-Up” comics back in the day. What I liked about them most that was that you usually got two cool characters for the price of one (a most important factor when you only make about $20 a week on your paper route”¦), and it seemed that the writers on this book were given free rein to run riot all over the Marvel Universe, which usually led to some pretty interesting plot lines. (An issue from the 80s that particularly sticks out in my mind was one where Aunt May becomes a herald to Galactus and has to procure Twinkies for him to devour. Yeah, you read that right. Twinkies.)

This team-up offering from Image, The Magdalena & Daredevil #1: The Devil In Longhand, is nowhere near as trippy, or as downright fun. It’s a by-the-numbers affair, written by Phil Hester, that pits ol’ Hornhead and the Magdalena (which is a new character to me and I must admit that I found her pretty intriguing”¦yeah, I’m a sucker for almost anything that is steeped in Roman Catholic mythos) against a demon that is kidnapping children throughout the city for its own nefarious purposes.

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