Tuesday, August 10, 2010

THIS JUST OUT: Madden, Steve Carrell edition

Posted on Tue, Aug 10, 2010 at 10:08 AM

Every Tuesday, all the latest video games, DVDs and CDs are released, taunting you with their entertainment possibilities. In order that we might entice you further into wasting your hard-earned money on fancy gewgaws, here's a run-down of what's out today.

Gaelic Storm, Cabbage
Though this is technically breaking the only (unwritten) law of the This Just Out posts — only talk about things released this week — I don't play by your fascist rules, man. Cabbage (which dropped Aug. 3) is too good to ignore. Despite lacking a nice rowdy track like "The Night I Punched Russell Crowe" from What's The Rumpus?, Cabbage is still enjoyable. It seems to dip more into the traditional Gaelic for the melodies, though the lyrics (as is the case with "Space Race," which laments Ireland's non-entry into the race to reach the stars) are definitely modern. But fear not, rock fans! Some tracks, like "Green Eyes, Red Hair," have a decidedly rock-y edge to them. The album is a "must" for all Celtic music fans, and a "should' for the rest of youse.

  • Jonas Brothers, X-posed — This sounds illegal. Aren't they, like, 12?
  • Mike Posner, 31 Minutes to Takeoff — He'll be in Boise on Friday.
  • Blake Shelton, All About Tonight — The second installment in Shelton's "Six Pak" series features more of the same "rural party anthems." Sometimes, I don't even have to make stuff up.
  • Various Artists, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World OST — Considering most of the comics' background story focused on the travails and tribulations of indie bands, it'd be impressive if they manage to make this suck.
  • Cam'ron, The UN: Gunz N' Butta — Finally, someone solves the problem of the United Nations. They've always had the guns. But they FORGOT the butta. (Side note: Ow, my grammar.)

Date Night
It's probably not as funny as you'd expect a movie starring the king and queen of comedy (I crowned them myself in a lovely ceremony yesterday evening), but that's probably just because you have unrealistic expectations. Sure it's not hilarious with a capital Funny, but this movie just as easily could have devolved into traditional rom-com awfulness (see: The Ugly Truth). What you get is an actual date movie (not Date Movie, thank god) that normal people of both sexes can enjoy. (Read Carey Jackson's review for an actual critical appraisal.)

  • Welcome — The story of a Kurdish refugee who's traveling across Europe to be reunited with his girlfriend. Stopped on the French border, he decides the only way to get there is to swim the English Channel.
  • My Name is Khan — Regrettably, neither Genghis nor Wrath Of, The. Still supposed to be good, though.
  • Death at a Funeral — As with all things, it was funnier when the Brits did it. And since when have blaxploitation movies gotten budgets this large?
  • The Joneses — David Duchovny just can't seem to escape suburban dystopias.
  • Letters to God — A substitute postman's life is touched when he starts picking up letters addressed to God from a kid with cancer. So saccharine-sweet, everyone who watches is at risk of diabetes. Brought to you by Jesus™.
  • Multiple Sarcasms — A whopping 5 percent fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes)

Madden 11 (360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP, iPhone, iPad)
This game gets the nod for sheer obstinacy, being in its 24th (!) incarnation. Like an octogenarian popping Viagra, Madden arises every year in steadfast defiance of all that is holy and good in the world. For all those who complain Madden doesn't ever change: First of all, stop it, you're making Art Director Matt Young cry (about 2/3 of the way down the page). Second, it does so change. For example, in this iteration, Brett Favre won't* be playing. But what Madden always delivers is to attention to detail — apparently, they spent four days just modeling Drew Brees' head. Which seems like a super-productive use of time, given that football is the only professional sport where you CAN'T SEE THE PLAYERS' FACES. And yet last year still saw no referees on the field or players on the sidelines.

*Just kidding. It's only Week One of the preseason. God knows he'll be starting by Week Three.

  • Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (PS3) — This might not suck. They were smart enough to use 8-bit, 2-D side-scrolling graphics, which could indicate an awareness of the kitsch level this title requires ... Or they're just cheap.
  • Monday Night Combat (360) — This title is touted as a mix of Team Fortress, tower defense games and sports-game camp. Those are all good things, so by the second law of thermodynamics, this has to be good too, right?
  • Victoria II (PC) — From the GameSpot description: "a grand strategy game set in the colononial era of the 19th century." Ah, the colononial era.
  • Enjoy Your Massage! (Wii) — Uhm ... what? A "massage simulator puzzle game" just doesn't sound... respectable, on the Wii.
  • Bejeweled Blitz (PC) — Normally, this would be the game to be sure to get your mom this Christmas ... but chances are, she probably already bought it.
  • Absolute Chess (DS) — Is it chess? Your guess is as good as mine. My guess? Absolutely.

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