Saturday, November 19, 2011

THE HEAT INDEX: November 2011

Songs about shoes, Italian Stallions, Nazi stormtroopers, and seven other things that make November a sexy, sexy month.

One of the most addictive series of games ever made, period. The final installment of Ezio Auditore's adventures through Renaissance Europe come to a close. The ending is supposed to be orgasmic. Cannot wait to see what happens next!

The Burger Family has a new member! Apparently, Grampa's been holding out on us; his wife Grandma just got thrown into the fray with a prime rib burger. The verdict? One yummy senior citizen.

The book may be about six years old now, but it's still friggin good fantasy considering it was written by a teenager! The last installment of the Inheritance Cycle is supposed to come out later this month, so we here at STU are getting caught up on what's been happening in Alagaesia to prep for the final exam!

This indie-pop band straight outta Los Angeles has a unique, funky sound that we can't get enough of! If "Pumped Up Kicks" doesn't make you smile, you're weird.

The DC Comics Universe rebooted itself a couple of months ago, but its stories are really gearing into full heat now. We recommend Justice League, Batman and anything involving a Green Lantern character.

Since LOST left the airways, it left quite the sizeable gap in our hearts. but that gap just may be filled by Eddie Kitsis & Adam Horowitz's new kick-ass fairy tale drama project, Once Upon A Time. With a very creative story, extremely cool characters, and visual effects a little too good for TV, this new fall show may very well deliver the happy ending we've been craving!

We love apps that do cool things. We love FREE apps even more. So when we got the chance to identify songs just by holding our phones up to the radio and we didn't have to pay a penny for it, it was a match made in musical heaven.

Being back in a play after having performed it 10 years ago was surreal to say the least! But not only did the play go well, we got a standing ovation, a visit from the mayor, and an ajudication that rocked the house. I'm sure it was all because of that one sexy fellow who played the butler, though... ;)

This hidden gem in downtown Brampton popped up on our radar when we were looking for a quick bite at 7am. Serving all-day breakfast at insanely good prices (you can get two fried eggs, two sausages, a coffee, plenty of toast, and the hash brown you've ever tasted for only 6 bucks!), this little slice of awesome is now on our favourites list.

The game isn't out yet but the excitement keeps mounting! Unlike the Call of Duty or Assassin's Creed series, Zelda games take a along time...but it's worth the wait! The newest addition, six years on the heels of its predecessor, is supposed to knock all of the previous games out of the water, and deliver an 80+ hour quest that takes Link to the sky and beyond. Pass the bomb flowers, please.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: Epic Failure

Wherever he is, I need to find director Peter Jackson and give him a big hug: he seems to be the only living human being in Hollwyood who knows how to properly adapt a novel into a screenplay.
The "Harry Potter" flicks are great, though they have some fuzzy moments where they really make you wish you were reading the books instead. The "Lovely Bones" movie was enjoyable but unforgiveably left out too many important details. The "Golden Compass" movie bored the shit out of everyone and was completely abandoned. The "Eragon" movie was so poorly-executed that all of the people involved like to conveniently leave it off of their resumes.
And then there's the film adaptation of "Percy Jackson & the Olympians".
Let's play a game. It's called What The Fuck. Every time the Percy Jackson movie deviates from the book in a way so ridiculous that it has no justification, we say "What The Fuck". Ready? K, here goes:
BOOK: The Greek gods are featured a lot, especially Dionysus, Ares, Hades, and Poseidon. The Olympians are central to the entire series, and play key points in the first book. The book is essentially about them warring with each other.
FILM: The Greek gods argue a bit, but otherwise are barely seen. Hades' entire subplot disappears, and instead he's reduced to something much smaller and less significant. Dionysus and Ares (who is one of the main antagonists) are never even mentioned by name.
What the Fuck.
BOOK: Percy deals with a minotaur, the medusa, a chimera, clockwork spiders, enchanted Lotus flowers, Charon the boatman, Cerberus, and a host of other creatures from Greek myth. He is given pearls by a water nymph during his quest to retrieve the lightning bolt.
FILM: Percy deals with a minotaur, the medusa, enchanted Lotus flowers, and a hydra. They are guarding the pearls for some reason. They've been dumbed down.
What The Fuck.
BOOK: Percy's mother's soul gets trapped in the Underworld, and throughout the whole story he's debating about how to free her. When he finally reaches Hades, he makes the hero's decision to not be selfish, and chooses to save the world instead. He, Grover, and Annabeth escape the underworld and continue their quest.
FILM: Percy's mother's soul gets trapped in the Underworld. When he reaches Hades, he frees her without hesitating. but since only three of them can escape, he leaves with his mother and Annabeth. Grover stays behind and has sex with Hades' wife for some reason.
What The Fuck.
BOOK: There are 3 villains. Luke, who is a camper and friend of Percy's, working with the Titan Lord to wreak havoc against the gods. He steals the lightning bolt as part of the Titan's master plan. He remains a main villain throughout all 5 books; Kronos, the Titan Lord, who is struggling to be free of his prison and kill the gods. He uses Luke as his puppet to carry out his schemes. He remains a main villain throughout all 5 books; and Ares, god of war. He steals the bolt from Luke and tries to use it to start a war on Olympus, simply because he's a war-monger and loves bloodshed.
FILM: There is one villain: Luke. He steals the lightning bolt because he doesn't like the gods and he's a pissy emo kid. Percy kills him, thereby nulling his character progression throughout the remaining four chapters of the saga. Kronos and Ares are apparently nonexistent.
What The Fuck.
I could seriously do this all day. Long story short, this is THE worst adaptation I've ever seen of anything, ever. Period. It's like, you know how people say "Oh, the book is always better than the movie"? Well, it's like whoever wrote this movie was trying to prove those people right. Like, they had a bet going on with somebody who disagreed with that statement, and they said, "Oh yeah? Watch this. Books ARE better, and I'm gonna prove it. Bam! Here's the Percy Jackson screenplay!" What a shitload of ass.
This movie rates a 14% for me. May Zeus strike it down.


"Cop Out": This is Madness!

I went to go see "Cop Out" with only a little expectation. All I knew was that it was a cop/buddy movie directed by Kevin Smith. And if Smitty had his hands on it, then right on. I enjoy his stuff a lot. But what I didn't realize until AFTER the end credits rolled was that Smith only directed the film; he didn't write it.
Instead of Smith's trademark witty/funny/oh-so-true dialogue, we just got some average comedic banter between the two main characters, who were pretty funny, for the most part. Attached to the movie were two folks I love: Rashida Jones (I would SO do her) and Kevin Smith (ditto); aside from that, the movie was completely mediocre to me. It wasn't bad by any means, but nor was it outstanding or different. It was a by-the-numbers cop comedy with a teeny, TINY bit of Smith's trademark brand of humor mixed in for good measure (including a small appearance by one of his regular actors, Jason Lee).
Other than that, there really wasn't much to it. I think the most I could give "Cop Out" is a 53%. But that's all only relative, of course.
By the way, I don't know who the Mexican lady was in it, but she was adorable!


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

"The Lightning Thief": It's All Greek, baby!

"The Lightning Thief" is the first book in the Percy Jackson series, and it was quite good.
I'll start off with the elephant in the room: YES, there are many similarities to Harry Potter. Percy is a young boy of 12 years who never quite fit in in the real world and suddenly finds out he's one of many demigods roaming the earth, so he is sent to a camp in the countryside where demigods are trained to become heroes. Ditto Harry, only with wizards. The demigods are a secret society, constantly trying to keep their kind a secret from the mortals. Ditto Harry, only with Muggles. The demigods are sorted into 12 different cabins at their camp, depending on which Greek god they were sired by. Ditto Harry, only with a talking hat. Percy discovers that he is very powerful, and along with his two best friends Grover & Annabeth, gets into a mishmash of adventures on his way to defeating the evil titan lord Kronos, whose name people are somewhat afraid to speak aloud. Ditto Harry, only with Ron, Hermione, and Voldemort.
But you know what? Who cares?
I loved the Harry Potter books, and if Percy Jackson is gonna be similar, then right on! If you're gonna have a lot in common with another series, it may as well be the best fuckin' book series of all time!
I really enjoyed this book. The best part about it for me was seeing how many creative ways the author Rick Riordan introduced a character or creature from Greek mythology, but presented it to us in a modern way. For example, Ares (god of war to all you PS2 fans out there) is portrayed as a buff, Hulk Hogan-like man with red-tinted sunglasses and a motorcycle with flames painted on it. Medusa (who would turn people to stone at a glance) is portrayed as a woman in a turban who owns a stone lawn ornament emporium. It's clever stuff, and Riordan pulls it off pretty well. The story itself is very well-thought-out, and even though it's a tad on the juvenile side (it REALLY appeals to the Miley Cyrus crowd) it still doesn't fail to deliver.
Oh, and Grover the satyr is pretty damn funny, too.
"The Lightning Thief" gets an 80%. Can't wait for Book 2!


"Bad Twin": A LOST Cause

In the television show LOST, there is a character who was on board Oceanic Flight 815 by the name of Gary Troup. He's the guy we see in the pilot who gets sucked into the jet engine when Locke distracts him. Later, in Season 2, we see Sawyer reading a book manuscript, saying that the author was on the plane and had the manuscript in his luggage. That book was "Bad Twin", which was actually written (in real life) as a tie-in to the show, and distributed by ABC Studios and Bad Robot.
Unfortunately, it's lame-sauce.
"Bad Twin" is about some private detectvie named Paul Artisan, who lvies in New York and doesn't know what to do with his life. Then he gets a visit from some rich bastard named Clifford Widmore, who asks Paul to find his missing mirror-twin brother, Zander. The rest of it is just by-the-numbers detective mystery, and not even the good kind.
Aside from a main character having the surname "Widmore", a passing mention of Mr. Cluck's Chicken Shack, and the blurb at the back of the book mentioning Gary Troup's disappearance on Oceanic 815, there's very little in the story to tie into the canon of LOST. Judging by everything the book says about Troup himself, he's rumored to have had a romance with Cindy Chandler, the flight attendant from LOST who gets kidnapped by the Others (she even appears as a character in the book). But judging by the way she was flirting with Jack Shephard in the pilot, chances are that romance wouldn't have lasted anyway.
The book just drags on and on, with Paul questioning odd people who keep turning up dead, and finally finding Zander in a somewhat anticlimactic (and bizarre) conclusion involving Zander's stepmom's jealous ex-husband...yeah, I know.
The worst part of the book is Paul's best friend, an old professor named Manny. Throughout the entire book, Manny constantly irritates Paul (and the reader) with fucking anecdotes about Dante and Shakespeare and The Iliad. Seriously, that's all the guy ever talks about. At one point, Paul calls him to see how he's doing, and Manny responds with, "Oh, not bad. I was just sitting at home, thinking about King Lear. Did you know that..." WHAT? Who the fuck just sits at home ruminating about characters from 400-year-old plays? And then he goes on to explain the most obvious goddamn things, and you can't help but groan. "Hey Paul, isn't it funny how you're looking for the left-handed twin, which is called sinister in Latin, which is funny because he's supposed to be the bad twin?" Oh, my God, shut the hell up!
All in all, it was a totally unremarkable book, completely blase' in every way, and if it weren't for the LOST tie-in, I'm sure nobody would even look twice at it. It's really too bad that a show as good as LOST has so little in the way of good merchandise. This book is lame. The board game is lame. The video game sucked to high hell. The action figures, while impressively detailed, can't pose well, and there's only a few of 'em. I demand decent LOST merch, damn it!
I give "Bad Twin" 48%, and I think I'm being generous with that one.


"The Stand": It's The End of the World! (As we know it)

Stephen King's "The Stand" was bloomin' brilliant, and I say that without a hint of British or Australian in my ethnicity!
Basically, if you like LOST, you'll like "The Stand", because the LOST writers have admitted that this book is pretty much their #1 insipration when they're writing the show. And it certainly shows, especially with how Season 6 is shaping out!
"The Stand" is about a virus created by the military called Captain Trips. One night, some idiot accidentally sets the virus loose (it's not really clear how), and all of a sudden it's spreading like wildifre throughout the entire United States, killing millions upon millions of people. The book focuses on an ensemble group of characters, about 15-20 of 'em, who are part of the small percentage of humans immune to Captain Trips. For a while, we watch these folks try to figure out what to do in a world suddenly devoid of other people (not to mention no electricity).

Then it starts getting supernatural. Some people in the group dream about an old woman named Mother Abigail, who beckons them to her farm in Nebraska. Others dream of a man dressed in black, a sinister, demonic man named Randall Flagg, who beckons them to his lair in Las Vegas. By the end of the book, both Abigail & Flagg have a veritable army of followers, with Abby's people being the kind-hearted heroes and Flagg's being the chaotic, wild anti-heroes/villains. A kind of war ensues between the two armies, & it's pretty damn cool. As always, the story caps off with King's trademark creepiness and not-quite-so-happy ending.
This book is a monster, clocking in at over 1100 pages, but well worth the read. I give it a solid 86%.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

"Role Models": Looking for McLovin in All the Wrong Places

I got around to watching the movie "Role Models". While it had some funny parts, I think it was the laziest comedy I've ever seen.
By lazy, I mean almost everything seemed to be recycled from previous comedy movies. I will always have a major man-crush on Paul Rudd, but he didn't do it for me in this movie. His character was flat & didn't really go through much change; it seemed kinda like a role they had orgiinally written for Ben Stiller, but he declined, so they gave it to Paul instead. Also, I really didn't give a shit about his relationship with Elizabeth Banks, cute as she may be. The story should've stuck to the relationships between the two grown-ups & their 'littles'. Still on the subject of recycling, Christopher Mintz-Plasse was very funny as McLovin, but it would've been nice to see the poor guy get a role that wasn't "the Nerd" again.
The character who was the most recycled was Sean William Scott's; in "American Pie", Scott plays a constantly-horny, partially-psychotic wacko whose heart is bigger than his brain, named Stiffler. In "Role Models", Scott plays a constantly-horny, partially-psychotic wacko whose heart is bigger than his brain, named Wheeler. Oooooooo! Progress! I'm surprised there weren't any characters ranting about wanting to bang "Wheeler's Mom".
The gem of this film, for me, was Bobb'e J. Thompson, who played Ronnie. He's gotta be one of the funniest kids I've ever seen in a movie (it's not often they get kids to swear on film, but Bobb'e just went off the charts!). And of course, the movie gains points for having the funniest woman alive in it: Jane Lynch, I love ya.
I liked the L.A.I.R.E. aspect, very funny. It was a good excuse for the writers to make things super-climactic, and at the same time, incredibly silly. I just wish the action & humor didn't have to die down just so we could get that LAME ending with Paul Rudd singing to his girlfriend.
All in all, I'd say Role Models scores a solid 54% on the Grading System That I Made Up Myself.

Oh, and if you liked Wheeler & are interested in seeing what else his character has been up to, check out "American Pie", "American Pie 2", and "American Pie 3: The Shove-Stifler-Down-Our-Throats Extravaganza in 3-D".