Saturday, April 28, 2012

GAME REVIEW: Crow for iPhone/iPad

Even though I love having an XboX, I tend to play a lot of games on iPhone, and most of them are fun to keep you occupied for a few minutes. But once in a while a game comes along that blows my socks off. 'Crow' by indie developer Sunside Inc. is one of those games. Straight from the intro, I was hooked.

The story goes as such: you're a crow and you're a minion of the Dark Lord. There's certain enemies he wants you to defeat for him. Meanwhile, as you're flying around, you collect tokens that let you buy certain powers, or protection. But it's not that straight-forward. There's choices to be made, you're not just a pawn for evil. The gameplay is very easy and intuitive, that's not to say the bosses don't get harder to defeat. I love the fact that you're actually playing as a crow. The way it moves and soars through the sky are so realistic, it's not hard to identify with the creature.

The visuals of the game are stunning. Even just flying around, high above the land, is a pleasure. I mostly just love the atmosphere of the game. It's dark, magical and I guess the best way I can explain it is, it is just such an immersive experience. It is more than just a game, it's a whole world, like stepping into a legend and becoming part of it. I'd say 'Crow' was possibly the best iPhone game yet. It's totally worth the $2.99 it costs.

Check out the trailer for a closer look:

Friday, April 20, 2012

REVIEW: Tiny Furniture

Aura has just graduated from college, her relationship is over and on top of all that she's moving back in with her mother and younger sister. She's in that awkward stage of life that so many girls find themselves in their early twenties. Not yet ready to really start on your own, too grown-up to make living with your family still work. Uncertain what to do with her life, what do with her newly acquired and potentially useless degree, not sure which people to be friends with. Even though the situation could be worse, it does lend itself perfectly to insecurity-fueled melodrama.

That combined with the movies' tagline "Aura would like you to know she's having a very, very hard time" had me slightly worried "Tiny Furniture" was going to be a Sylvia Plath-esque tale of self-pity. But instead, I was slowly drawn into Aura's life through her various awkward encounters, new-found friendships and clipped, dead pan conversations. It gives the viewer an intimate look into this girls' life for a couple of weeks and I started to recognize a lot of myself in her. Her non-perfect body, the odd and off-kilter friendships that seem to be built on a few weeks of intense bonding and then become uncomfortable and slightly unhealthy, her slight neuroticism, trying to decide whether you're still a child or an adult. I think every aspect will be very recognizable to a lot of people of Aura's age group.

"Tiny Furniture" was written and directed by Lena Dunham, who also plays the main character, after she found herself in the portrayed situation. Her mother and sister are played by Lena's real-life mother Laurie Simmons and sister Grace Dunham. This really helps making the interactions very natural and realistic.

I don't think "Tiny Furniture" will be to everyone's liking, but if you're one of those people who finds it hard to stop listening in on stranger's conversations, or if you like dead-pan humor of the likes of Woody Allen, it is worth a watch. Also, if you liked Tiny Furniture, check out the new HBO series "Girls", also written and directed by and starring Lena Dunham and Jemima Kirke (Aura's friend Charlotte).

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Lady Gaga - Pop Singers Don't Eat..

So, yesterday Lady Gaga sent a tweet that I just couldn't believe she actually pressed the send button on. Just to be clear from the start, I'm not a "hater".  At first I really liked her and I would like to continue being one of her fans, but it's these type of things she comes out with that just make me think she either doesn't care, doesn't have a single braincell in her pretty head, or she's just too up herself to realize the statements, one-liners and guru-esque wisdoms she is so kind to grace her little monsters with are just completely contradictory.

Here is the tweet I'm talking about:

First of all, who really cares that she is eating a salad but dreaming of a cheeseburger? You're a grown woman, you've just been exercising your ass off, have a cheeseburger if you want one. I get that as a popstar, she wants to look good and that's fine. I think most people know that a body like hers doesn't just come naturally. Although, taking that into account, I don't see why the hashtag IWasBornThisWay makes sense. I was born what way exactly? I was born this way, but need to dye my hair, do back to back spinning classes and eat salads when I'm actually more hungry than that?

 But that's not really the worst. It's obvious she's decided to tout that phrase around as often as possible to be inspirational and alluring the her fan base which consists generally of outcasts. People who are in a vulnerable state, who feel insecure about themselves, their sexuality, looks, weight, and Lady Gaga is there as a friend, confidante and fellow societal pariah. She's someone they look up to, aspire to be like and want as a spokesperson. Now then, knowing what her fans think of her and want from her, it's even more grating when she uses this to end her tweet: #PopSingersDontEat.

Excuse me? Pop singers don't eat? That's a joke right? Even if it was a joke, has she no filter? No inclination in the back of her mind that this might come across wrong? Everyone, little monsters, accept who you are. You were born this way, you're perfect the way you are. But if you want to be like me, you have to starve yourself. You see, pop singers don't eat...

I can just imagine this thirteen year old girl or boy, recently rejected by their crush, feeling like they don't fit in, feeling like they're not pretty enough. Maybe once or twice they already even threw up after their lunch thinking it might make them skinnier, or at least not put on weight, so they can fit in with the popular crowd. But no, they turn to their hero instead. Lady Gaga will tell me I'm fine as I am. I don't need to be popular. I was born this way! I can just see that a tweet like that will push someone vulnerable right over the edge into a full on eating disorder.

But Gaga doesn't even seem to notice the misstep. She just tweets along happily, taking in all the compliments from her fans about how good she is for keeping in shape and how perfect she is. I'm just so fed up of her message of acceptance. She speaks about gay rights, yet the only gay people I've ever seen her around are stereotypical queens even Bubba from Texas wouldn't be too afraid of because they're just so cartoonish. She's against bullying, yet she's bezzies with one of the most foul, meanest assholes on the internet, Perez Hilton, who does what for a living? Oh yes! He bullies people, even 2-year olds can't escape his venom. (Here's Adam Sandler's little daughter being attacked: She talks about accepting yourself for who you are, yet if you compare photos of her from before she was famous the difference is pretty staggering. And what I think is the most ridiculous of all is her constant praising of Jesus. If she had any idea of what Christianity was actually about, I think she'd be embarrassed to profess her love for him in front of an audience like hers.

It seems to me like she was one of those girls who was unpopular in high school, bullied and did everything she could to get in with the popular kids. So she bleaches her hair, dresses like a hooker and giggles along with their petty little put-downs and tries her hardest to conform to what they say is "cool". While, when she's around her old friends she claims to still be one of them. Only difference is, is that now she's in showbiz it's not the gum-chewing bimbos that rule the school, it's rich, gay men who want a barbie doll to play with.

In summation, I just hope she grows up and quits the bullshit. Pick a side. Either be religous, hang out with bullies and give a nice big finger to your devotees or stick to your original story and really make it ring true. But for some reason, I just don't see that happening until she gets her head out of her ass and realizes that she isn't a messiah.