Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

I didn’t know what to expect when I watched the first Ice Age.  But I was entertained by this quirky little adventure which follows a sloth, a mammoth, and a sabertooth tiger.  Not really a natural herd by any means, but it worked for them.  Ice Age 2: The Meltdown follows the same formula as the first and like any sequel it bumps it up a notch and adds some more quirky characters, this time with a female mammoth, and two possum, making the herd even more unusual, but again it worked and the movie was entertaining.  With two successful movie, it only makes sense for Blue Sky Studio to want to release another installation.  So here comes Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs.

Sid being Sid, decide that he is going to become the mother of three unhatched eggs that he found and brought back home.  What he mistakenly assess is that the mother of those eggs is still alive and is now looking for them.  When she finds him and her now hatched eggs, she sweeps the babies up along with an unwilling Sid and carries them to her home, an underground world full of dinosaurs.  Now Manny, Diego, and the rest of the herd must now go into this new world after the mother to save Sid once again.

Dawn of the Dinosaurs follows the same formula as the two previous movies, you have an adventure where the group must get from point A to point B, this time with the help of a weasel which have been living amongst the dinosaurs, but the script is absolutely horrible.  I found myself time and time again during the movie, just wondering why I was watching something so terrible.  I really can’t put my finger on the exact thing.  I just found that everything the characters did was just stupid and had no motivation in doing them, even for a kids movie.  The build-up was one of the most idiotic I had ever seen.

This movie is plain bad.  The script and directing was terrible, and that’s bad since they follow the same formula as the previous two movies which were widely successful.

Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs gets a 1.5 out of 5.

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Courtesy of Focus Feature

Everyone knows the story, well everyone should know the story.  Some of you might be too young.

Back in the sixties, probably the best rock decades in the history of music, if not one of the best.  Rock was actually banned from airing on the radios.  The doing of uptight bureaucrats who believe that listening to rock & roll will taint and corrupt the mind of its people.  Could you believe that?  People actually think that rock & roll is bad for you.  Kind of like what todays uptight bureaucrat believe of rated ‘R’ movies and violent video games, or what Reverend Shaw Moore thought of dancing in Footloose.

Because it was illegal to broadcast rock & roll, radio station outsmarted the government and decided to broadcast from boats in international waters, where the government had no authority, and this is where this movie picks up.

The movie follows the lives of 8 rogue radio DJs of the most popular pirate radio station of its time, Radio Rock, they all pretty  much lives on this boat off the coast of England.  The movie is all about the love and fun of rock & roll and it shows it with 8 different but eclectic characters, but it is not without any drama.  The government is trying everything it can to try to shut them down.  The government would rather have its people listen to classical music and jazz than have their airwaves polluted with rock & roll.  There is also the drama of ego and discoverence.  All this adds up to one funny movie.

It is a british movie, so you have to be ready for that.  Surprisingly, the comedy isn’t as dry as you would expect, but it isn’t as laugh out loud funny as it was touted.  The story and writing is pretty good, but it is pretty garbled at times.  The one thing that does live up to the movie and it shouldn’t be any surprise is the music.  The music is absolutely fabulous.

This is an absolutely great assemble cast.  Philip Seymour Hoffman first of all is probably the best actor today, bar none.  Add that with a who’s who of british actors and this makes for one great cast and they don’t disappoint.  You even have the entire The IT Crowd cast in this movie.

The movie is funny and witty with some drama to advance the story.  It has an absolute great soundtrack and cast.  But the story and editing sometimes feel garbled, plus I liked the original title, The Boat That Rocked, better than US title, Pirate Radio.

Pirate Radio gets a 3.5 out of 5.

Little spoiler.  The end credit has the cover art of a bunch of albums.  The one that stood out for me.  Taylor Swift – Fearless.

From Ubisoft

To continue with the Prince of Persia series, here is my review on the next game.  I, however, made a mistake.  I played The Two Thrones, the 3rd installment of the series, before I could play Warrior Within, the 2nd installment of the series.  This is what happen when you’ve been out of video games for a while.  I actually thought there was only 2 PS2 games.  Oh well, here we go.

On the way home to Babylon, the prince find that it has been ravish by war.  He finds that the Vizer from Sands of Time is back and alive and is behind the war.  He is now set to find and destroy him.

The story is pretty good, it follows The Sands of Time structure almost to a tee.  This time the prince has some help at narrating this epic story.  It is narrated by his dead wife, himself, and his emerging dark side.

The gameplay is very similar to Sands of Time.  The acrobatic fighting system is back and just as good.  The blocking though, is frustrating, as it doesn’t always work, and when it does work, some enemies can knock you out of defense and you wouldn’t know about it until it’s too late since you are barraged with a slew of enemies.  Really the best defense is to just keep moving.

The movement and camera is also similar to Sands of Time, it is very fluid and you’ll hardly complain about it.

The graphic is better than Sands of Time, as it should, but it does one of the things that I absolutely hate, it mask some key obstacles to the points where you can’t see where you are suppose to go.  This is very frustrating, especially when you are in the new sand monster form.  You loose health every time you are in that form and you have no control of changing back.  The only way to counteract that is to kill and collect sand particles, which is hard to do if you don’t know where you are going.

The game is good, it has a nice storyline and good gameplay.  I did find some frustrating moments, like the fact that you can’t replenish your health unless you are at a save point and I feel like the save points are badly located.  Some times there’ll be save points 3 minutes apart, and other times they’ll be an hour apart with multiple battle and obstacle traps in between.  But it has also added a few elements that I thought were missing in the first game like bosses and the ability to sneak behind enemies.

Prince of Persia – The Two Thrones gets a 8.5 out of 10.

From Ubisoft

Lately, everyone seems to be talking about video games.  I use to play, but with money being so tight, I stop buying them and stopped playing them.  I don’t even have a new generation console (360, PS3, Wii).  With all these talks and with the holiday game library coming out, I’m starting to miss playing games.  So I’ve been considering getting updated and getting a new system.  But first, I’ve decided that I would play games for my current console (PS2) which I haven’t played yet and see if I can get back into the flow of playing video games.

With a movie coming out soon, I decided that I would start playing the Prince of Persia series.  I’ve always wanted to play them, but wasn’t willing to pay for them and the original Prince of Persia was one of the very first game I’ve ever played. So I’m a fan.  The bonus, I got the games at a fraction of the original cost.

So ok, I’m a bit late with this review.

The Prince and his dad are on their way to Azad. On route there, with the help of Vizier, a foreigners, they conquer and loot a city called Maharajah for honor and glory.  Part of Maharajah mysterious artifact includes the hourglass and dagger of time.  In Azad, Vizier tricks the prince into releasing the sand trapped inside the hourglass.  The sand washes over the entire kingdom turning everyone into monsters.  The prince must now rectify his mistake and find the hourglass which was taken by Vizier.

Sands of Time has a good story.  it isn’t anything spectacular, but it progresses the gameplay well.  The Prince story is told with nice full-blown video clips and witty in-game dialogue.  The Prince even talks to himself and even talks about talking to himself, which makes it pretty amusing.  This method of story telling works well, because it doesn’t break away from the action, plus hearing the story comes straight from the characters mouth makes him more likable.

The gameplay is wonderful.  You’ll move, jump, swing, attack all in one fluid motion.  You’ll encounter challenging environmental puzzles, deadly traps, brutal swordplay and astonishing acrobatics, all while you travel throughout the entire palace , which is huge, in search for the hourglass.  And you’ll enjoy every minute of it.

One draw back.  By the time I got through 70% of the game, I felt that I was pretty much doing the same thing, every level has a obstacles that you must pass, by jumping, running on walls, or swinging, and by this time, I felt that it was all I was doing.  Plus the lack of bosses was really downer.

Prince of Persia The Sands of Time get a 8.5 out of 10.

I always kind of liked Eminem, he has been a guilty pleasure that all middle-class white males have taken part in at some point between 1999 and 2004. There’s one thing that I noticed about Shady during his reign over MTV; immediately after he released an album, everyone was playing it loud through car windows, and blasting the latest big track through apartment windows. But in the lull between hit singles, fans would turn their collars up and slink back into the shadows, covering their tracks with bandwagoneering slogans such as “He’s such a gimmick” or “He’s so played out, he’s just not as hardcore anymore” (the latter, referring to his early M.O. as a raping murderer [or is that murdering rapist? I digress]). Unfaithful servants. Superficial and fickle. And almost everybody was guilty.

Britney Spears, in the same time, immersed herself into every household in the United States. At the turn of the Millennium, Britney Spears was sneaking off to the bathroom dragging Christina Aguilera (she was the best friend who wouldn’t really be as popular if she didn’t seem a little slutty) away from their double date with N’Sync and Backstreet Boys, as Eminem and Fred Durst were chucking peas from across the room at the cheap tables. I kind of hoped that Eminem would end up picking up Britney, in a very Breakfast Club kind of way, and also in that they were the only two with a real plan.

In 2002, FOX debuted would-be television behemoth American Idol, and America was at once enraptured at the prospect that anybody could be a Pop star. Suddenly, the godlike figures that came from such broad environments as “the country” and “Detroit” were nowhere nearly as interesting as the ones you could keep track of all the way from the gutter up to the Top 40 charts.

There’s no way to know if Eminem or Britney had some sort of oracle that informed them that, in the future, everybody was going to become a lot more involved with their personal lives. Regardless, both were well-prepared; Eminem had created a long-running mythos in his music regarding his ex-wife and daughter, and Britney had begun a long stretch of well-exposed social meltdowns in regards to her twisted and over dramatized domestic life. Backstreet Boys skirted this phenomenon with A.J. McLean’s drug problem and N’Sync with Lance Bass’s debated sexuality, but nobody could have foreseen the media frenzy following Spears’s ever-crumbling home life and personal deterioration. Suddenly, America’s secret sweetheart-turned-bad girl took on a new role as the train wreck nobody could look away from.

What’s different about Eminem fans and Britney Spears fans is the presence of loyalty. Eminem had trouble maintaining a consistent fan base, and when he stepped back from the limelight following 2004’s Encore, nobody seemed to mind. It wasn’t that nobody was into the music anymore, it was that he started trying to piss off other famous people and stopped trying to piss off suburban housemoms with lyrics about date rape. This couldn’t have been a better choice: while the other big acts that once blew up MTV every afternoon were finally trailing into the past, Slim has been spending his time putting together new artists and working as an executive. Britney fans, mostly female (most male fans looking for eye candy were turned off by her “crazy” streak), stuck around through all the hard times. Britney’s life really had become the next step in pop-culture: she was someone with real trouble that was relatable, someone you could root for through the hard times, and in real life, not just in a distant celebrity existence.

Britney fans reached their full height of madness when she released Circus, a concept album that perfectly suited her new “comeback” image. With her family deeming her unfit to conduct business for herself, her love life in shambles, and her relationship with her daughter teetering, the young fan base could easily buy an album implying Britney Spears as a ringmaster for a tent full of animals and sideshow acts.  All things considered, going completely insane was the best thing that ever happened to her career.

Meanwhile, Eminem plans to release two albums back-to-back in 2009, after 5 years of hiatus. Undoubtedly, his first single, We Made You, will be heard everywhere you go for at least 3 months. And undoubtedly, afterwards, people will pretend that they never listened to it, or that they were somehow hypnotized by messages encrypted into album when played backwards. But the album will so many records that Marshall Mathers will not care. And most likely, he’ll still have just enough drama in his life to keep everybody interested.

The ultimate question is, which method of survival is the most respectable as artists? In the light of a career apocalypse, is it better to step back and wait for the smoke to clear, or to sell your dignity in the attempt to stay on top? It’s a question I don’t pretend to know the answer to, and if I had to choose, I’d say Britney’s sputtering climb from rock-bottom is at least more entertaining. The brilliant thing is that the question exists at all. One cannot resist the irony of the “one-trick ponies” from 10 years ago raising questions of cultural influence, spitting in the face of critics. Britney and Eminem’s names alone conjour images of commercialism and corporate media posturing, and most importantly, the importance of a big image over any kind of substance. But 10 years later, these two media icons acheived something their peers never got around to: a measure of relevance.

that was a bad way for the game to end. On a call that was clearly incorrect to everyone in the stands and at home, but not to the review booth. Steelers had it locked up anyway, but you hate to see the Cardinals lose the ball on a bad call when it could have been more dramatic. Would you rather watch Big Ben take a knee or watch Warner throw it to Fitzgerald in triple cover and held you breath to see who got it? Oh well, always got next year for the NFL to get it right don’t we?

I know, I just wrote an article about how Sony has lost it’s grasp on the game market. And it’s true, numbers indicate that if the 360 sales stay at their current rate and PS3 sales doubled, it’d take until 2014 for the PS3 to get ahead. And with Sony recently making comments about how they’re going to be on the PS3 for 10 years, maybe that’s an acceptable goal. There I go again, sounding like a 360 fanboi, but that’s not my goal. I just like good games. And from the looks of it, the PS3 is gonna be chock full of them. 8 out of 10 games on GameTrailer’s Top 10 Anticipated Games of 2009 are coming to the PS3. Now if only they could drop the price…