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Monday, June 30, 2014

Game Review:Portal

Premise:A human test subject solves puzzles for "science."

Cast:Ellen McLain as GLaDOS and the turrets

Availabe On:Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC

ESRB Rating:T

Genres:First-person shooter, puzzle

Notes:Boxart taken from Portal Wiki and belong to Valve.

Pros:Funny dialogue. Entertaining gameplay. Good replay value. The advanced maps. Autosave.

Cons:Very short. Occasional glitches. Lack of a zoom button.

You groggily get out of a sleeping chamber to hear a computer talking to you. You're in Aperture Science doing tests for science (or so they tell you).

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Thinking About Mortality

Everyone dies, you know. There's no discrimination. People of all ages, religions, ethnicities, genders, cultures, lifestyles, and diets have equal odds of kicking the bucket someday. You can't stop it from happening. And once it does, you can't undo it. It's permanent.

Let's assume you're young and in good health. That still leaves the possibility of an accident, murder, an aneurysm, or catching a deadly disease. The truth is you have no way of knowing if you'll live another 20 years or drop dead tomorrow. In fact, as you read this, you're closer to your death than you were ten seconds ago.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Movie Review:Batman Forever

Premise:Bruce Wayne falls hard for a woman, while two villains plot to destroy both the Bat and Bruce Wayne.

Cast:Val Kilmer as Batman, Jim Carrey as Edward Nigma/the Riddler, Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face, Nicole Kidman as Dr. Chase Meridan, Chris O'Donnell as Dick Grayson/Robin, Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth

Director:Joel Schumacher

MPAA Rating:PG-13 for strong stylized action


Notes:Supposed to be a continuation of Time Burton's Batman films. Poster taken from IMP Awards and belongs to Warner Brothers.

Pros:Interesting plot. A couple of cool/funny moments.

Cons:Really cheesy. Several characters are annoying. Over-the-top villains. The romantic subplot.

Another attack on Gotham. Another crazed supervillain. Another ordinary day for the Dark Knight.

If you prefer dark Batman, then it's unlikely you'll enjoy this film. In trying to tone down the darkness in Batman Returns, they went too far in the other direction. It's basically a live-action cartoon, and not a very good one. The story could have been awesome, but the cheesy tone ruins this.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Book Review:That Summer

Premise:A teenage girl struggles to adjust to changes in her life, including her father's remarriage and her sister's engagement.

Sarah Dessen


Cover taken from Sarah Dessen's website


A couple of annoying characters.

Life has changed a lot for Haven. Between her divorced parents and the two weddings she'll be attending, things have been pretty hectic. And then the return of her sister Ashley's ex-boyfriend stirs things up more.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Thoughts, Theories, & Trivia:Batman Returns

The review is here.

I believe the word you're looking for is ahhhh!
-How did you guess?

  • Of course Bruce would hope Penguin finds his parents. He knows what it's like to lose them.

I am Catwoman. Hear me roar.

  • The above is a reference to the Helen Reddy song "I Am Woman".

Monday, June 16, 2014

Movie Review:Batman Returns

Premise:Batman fights a deformed schemer, a corrupt businessman, and an unstable woman he falls in love with.

Cast:Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Danny DeVito as Oswald Cobblepot/Penguin, Michelle Pfeiffer as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, Christopher Walken as Max Shreck, Michael Murphy as the mayor, Andrew Bryniarski as Chip Shreck, Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth

Director:Tim Burton

MPAA Rating:PG-13 for dark, brooding violence.


Notes:Sequel to Batman. Poster taken from IMP Awards and belongs to Warner Brothers.

Pros:The villains. The acting.

Cons:Not always logical.

You'd think the criminals in Gotham would have learned. You'd think they'd be less blatant given that there's a guy with a ton of gadgets and a problem with crime patrolling the streets. But some new lawbreakers are in town, and they intend to bring this bat down.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

What Makes Music Christian

One subject that somehow still sticks around is whether or not certain music genres (particularly rock and roll) are Satanic.

So first, let's look at a little verse from Psalms.

Sing unto Him a new song; play skillfully with a loud noise.
-Psalm 33:3

Friday, June 13, 2014

TV Review:Marvel's Agents Of SHIELD

Premise:A team of specially-trained agents with troubled pasts investigate strange phenomenon and fight evil, some of it within.

Cast:Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson, Brett Dalton as Grant Ward, Chloe Bennet as Skye, Ming-Na Wen as  Melinda May, Iain De Caestecker as Leo Fitz, Elizabeth Henstridge as Jemma Simmons, J. August Richards as Mike Peterson, B.J. Britt as Agent Triplett, Saffron Burrows as Victoria Hand, Bill Paxton as John Garrett, Ruth Negga as Raina, David Conrad as Ian Quinn, Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill

Genres:Sci-fi, fantasy, action, drama

Notes:This is my second review of the show. Takes place after Avengers and runs parallel to the films. Poster taken from and belongs to Marvel.

Pros:The overall story. Character development. Good villains.

Cons:A mediocre start. Twists that may ruin your favorite characters.

Coulson lives! Not only that, he has his own team and a giant plane now.

The show's start is underwhelming - so much my first review was largely negative. The characters are bland or unlikable and the quality is average at best. But it makes up for it later on with the overall plot. The seemingly disconnected first few episodes are just the set-up for something bigger. In fact, most of my original complaints become less and less relevant as the show goes on.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Movie Review:The Lion King

Premise:A lost prince must face his past to save his kingdom from his evil uncle.

Cast:Matthew Broderick as adult Simba, Jonathan Taylor Thomas as young Simba, Jeremy Irons as Scar, James Earl Jones as Mufasa, Moira Kelly as adult Nala, Niketa Calame as young Nala, Nathan Lane as Timon, Ernie Sabella as Pumbaa, Robert Guillaume as Rafiki, Rowan Atkinson as Zazu, Whoopi Goldberg as Shenzi, Cheech Marin as Banzi, Jim Cummings as Ed, Madge Sinclair as Sarabi

Directors:Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff

Genres:Animation, musical

Notes:Poster taken from IMP Awards and belongs to Disney.

Pros:The music. The villain. The voice acting.

Cons:Rips off another work.

Young Simba just can't wait to be king. It'll happen as sure as the circle of life. Little does he know he should be prepared to watch out for his scheming uncle. Okay, I'll stop now.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Entertaining Arguments

(Yes, the title sucks.)

Here's a little something Christians get into all manner of arguments about:What entertainment is appropriate.

It annoys me when people judge me for my entertainment choices. They say stuff like "No true Christian would watch such a sinful show." Right, because you're the one who decides that. If you find something disturbing or crude, then by all means. Don't watch it. Rant about it if you want. But not every show or book or whatever that offends you personally is a stumbling block to everybody. Yes, some have few redeeming features, but don't automatically assume everyone who has ever enjoyed them is a terrible person.

On that note, if it is a stumbling block to someone else, please have the decency not to watch it or bring it up in front of them.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Album Review For The Hunger Games:Songs From District 12 And Beyond

Taken from Wikipedia.
Songwriters:Win Butler, Régine Chassagne, T Bone Burnett, Lydia Rogers, Laura Rogers, Taylor Swift, Joy Williams, John Paul White, Scott Mescudi, Greg Wells, Punch Brothers, Colin Meloy, Rhiannon Giddens, Glen Hansard, Miranda Lambert, Angaleen Presley, Ashley Monroe, Megan Keely, Brandon Keely, Ben Knox Miller, Jeff Prystowsky, Jocelyn Adams, and Jasmine van den Bogaerde

Soundtrack, pop

General thoughts:First, there was a book. Then, they made a movie. And now, we have this companion album. You should know that most of these songs were done exclusively for this album. In fact, only three were included in the movie (all in the credits). I hadn't even heard of most of these artists (much less listened to them) before I bought this.

There were songs that reminded me of Lord of the Rings-style fantasy settings. There were songs that reminded of what I might have called Annie-style musicals (except I haven't seen Annie). Others have a country music sound.

Overall, I'd call this a must-have for fans.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Thoughts, Theories, & Trivia:The Hunger Games

This is for both the book and the movie.

  • Katniss being the Girl on Fire fits her because she can be described as fiery.
  • It's actually quite easy to combine Katniss and Peeta's first names to make a ship name without it being crude. You could call them Katta or Keeta. Or maybe Patniss.
  • They probably did the bloodprint thing to make sure all the potential tributes were there.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Movie Review:The Hunger Games

Premise:Twenty-four teens compete to win a game that will kill most of them.

Cast:Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen, Willow Smith as Prim Everdeen, Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne, Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mallark, Donald Sutherland as President Snow, Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy, Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket, Wes Bentley as Seneca Crane, Lenny Kravitz as Cinna, Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman, Amandla Stenberg as Rue, Alexander Ludwig as Cato, Isabelle Fuhrman as Clove, Jacqueline Emerson as Foxface, Dayo Okeniyi as Thresh, Paula Malcolmson as Mrs. Everdeen

Director:Gary Ross

MPAA Rating:PG-13 for intense violent thematic material and disturbing images - all involving teens

Genres:Drama, action, sci-fi

Notes:Based off the book by Suzanne Collins. Poster taken from IMP Awards and belongs to Lionsgate.

Pros:Faithful to the book. The scenes with the sports announcers and Snow, respectively. Good villains.

Cons:Not enough exposition. Shaky camera.

Katniss didn't think Prim's name would be picked. How could it? Alas, it is. Unable to see her sister die, she volunteers herself. Now she herself has to face the unspeakable.