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Thursday, Nov 29, 2007
by Darwin Hang

The best looking game for the Playstion 3 may not be the one game to sell the system, but it could have been if it had twice the content.  Nariko is hot, Kai is weird, and the bad guys get theirs in some of the most gorgeously choreographed fight sequences to date.  What other game provides as much girl power in the year of the Spice Girls reunion?  None.  Andy Serkis deserves a Grammy for his voicework in Heavenly Sword.  The combat system is top notch, with three different combat styles used to fight different styles of enemies.  Even the aftertouch feature, a first person perspective of a thrown object, is of cinematic quality.  The environments are stunning, and it’s simply a joy to play from start to finish.  Despite its short length, the total package makes this game worth the price tag.


Heavenly Sword - Trailer

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Thursday, Nov 29, 2007

Pop culture heads love lists. That’s no surprise there. And quite a few read this magazine too. So, for those TV junkies among you and in your lives, we wholeheartedly recommend this TV Guide book containing list after list playing to the small screen obsession of every type. The greatest cartoon character of all-time, Jerry Seinfeld’s squeezes, the most memorable moments from scores of classic shows, the best TV moms and dads, it’s all here. Perfect for a night of trivia with friends before that Lost marathon.


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Thursday, Nov 29, 2007

I wish I’d had a book like this when I was a kid. Not only is it handy sized, appealing to the eye, and neatly produced, but it’s also full of projects that look like they’d be great fun to try. Quick and easy ideas, like keeping a family journal or writing fictional stories about your problems, are designed to help emerging artists get ready to tackle more ambitious works, and Niedzviecki is full of encouraging advice about what to expect, how to get things done, and how to avoid feeling disheartened when your ideas don’t work out as planned. Once these easy projects have been mastered, there are lots of suggestions about how young artists can use the tools of modern media to make popular culture of their own, in the form of print (self-publishing zines, comics, and books), video (making movies and shows), CDs (creating original music), or online (blogs and webzines).


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Thursday, Nov 29, 2007

Dean Martin’s voice is an instrument of liquid poetry, a nigh-flawless vessel of slight inebriation, whether his blood alcohol level matched or not. As such, his voice on Christmas with Dino is the perfect one with which to be trapped on a particularly snowy night when nobody’s going anywhere. His vaguely loopy “A Marshmallow World” provides the perfect way to look at life in just such an instance, while “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm” somehow seems like the soundtrack for every couple curled up in front of a fireplace with a giant knit blanket. His orchestral backing is peppy enough to keep you from getting depressed, though he knows when to rein in his theatrics, as on the reverent “Silent Night” and the version of “White Christmas” that closes the album. Martina McBride helps open the album with one of those posthumous duets that studios love to put together these days, though her additions to “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” are appropriately conversational and make for a duet that actually sees her turning down Dino’s come-ons as quick as he can dish them out—remarkably, the dash of modernity doesn’t hurt the disc one bit. Compiling the best bits of two Christmas albums along with a rare early Christmas single, Christmas with Dino is Martin’s definitive holiday statement, and perhaps the definitive holiday album of its style. Like an egg nog spiked with rum, nothing goes down smoother this time of year.


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Thursday, Nov 29, 2007

After an embarrassing ad layout for Rolling Stone, cig giant RJ Reynolds decided to drop their magazine advertisements (though the company insists that they made the decision way in advance, this little fiasco likely didn’t help matters).  On the surface, this sounds like a good thing- less encouragement for people to smoke.  But one big problem is that with publications in such dire straits nowadays, the loss of RJ’s ad dollars is going to hurt them even more.  That ad money is what helps keep them afloat.  This might mean even deeper cuts, layoffs, buy-outs, etc. at a number of publications.  On balance, not much of a plus, is it?


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