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Thursday, Nov 22, 2007





 




 



Over here, where my feet have taken roost, this is a day of celebration. One of the limited few marked on our calendars and installed in national practice. It began with a story lodged in local lore: of settlers enduring a severe winter and being confronted by likely death and indigenous people coming to their last-second rescue. From that brush with finality came the lesson of appreciation for others, a moral of helping one’s fellows, of caring for those less fortunate. A value still rooted somewhere in this nation’s collective psyche. The Bushes and Cheneys and Rumsfelds, notwithstanding.


 


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Thursday, Nov 22, 2007

While purists palpitate over the aspect ratios presented (Kubrick’s preference for open matte remains a widely debated messageboard topic), this newest collection of motion picture masterpieces (2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, Eyes Wide Shut) provides two disc redefinitions of the maestro’s magnificent output. For the 2001 and Orange updates alone, it’s priceless. But Warners then adds the bonus DVD documentary Stanley Kubrick - A Life in Pictures to round out this must-own package. Argue over their relevance to modern moviemaking, but Kubrick remains an ingenious rebel. This set confirms that well-earned reputation.


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Thursday, Nov 22, 2007

Imagine: the tale of Moby-Dick told—nay—brought to three-dimensional life in a mere eight pages. Sam Ita manages this with comic book-style panels and graphics and masterly pop-up paper art. This humorously beautiful work of story and sculpture is billed for all ages, but I’d warn against allowing a single sticky finger near its artful pages. Nor, despite its clever brevity, will it serve like a Cliff Notes substitute for the lazy college kid. Rather, those worthy of this bound beauty have read the entire Melville masterpiece, endured that long, dreadful journey into the depths of Captain Ahab’s dark obsession, and loved it. Only such stalwart, adventurous souls are qualified to bring this pop-up version down from its shelf on high, and share the full ship and sails, the drunken sailors, the thrashing leviathan—ah, ah! don’t touch!—with those who but dare to dream of such things.


 


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Thursday, Nov 22, 2007

It’s not often that first person shooters combine elements of pulpy 1950’s science fiction, 1920’s art deco design, and the fiction of Ayn Rand, but Bioshock is an Xbox 360 game like no other. The “shoot everything in sight” style action may be standard stuff, but what sets 2K Games’ masterpiece apart from the rest of the crowded genre is the stunning graphics, fascinating setting and a plot that resembles an Aldous Huxley cautionary tale about a utopian society gone wild. Bioshock is set in an underwater city called Rapture. There, a scheming industrialist named Andrew Ryan has created a libertarian paradise that goes horribly wrong when gene technology that allowed people to change their genetic code begins to drive people mad. The substance called ADAM may have been bad for the now murderous people of Rapture, but on the other hand, it grants you superpowers like the ability to shoot fire or lightning out of your fingertips. Bioshock may not quite deserve the breathless hype it’s received by the media, but if you can look past the fact that it’s probably not the best game ever made, it’s an epic sci-fi/horror/first-person shooter you don’t want to miss.


Bioshock (Xbox 360) Gameplay Footage



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Thursday, Nov 22, 2007

The Lips are like Fun Dip for the senses, top to bottom. Having continuously ramped up their unique brand of psychedelia, it’s no surprise that Lips founder Wayne Coyne has finally tried the impossible: To capture on film the sound and the fury that is a Flaming Lips show. Loyalists will rejoice, as this is the band’s first ever live release—and it’s a good thing, since Coyne, now 46, is graying like a man who hasn’t slept in months.


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