Tuesday, October 5, 2010

THIS JUST OUT: Secret-Jordan-signatures edition

Posted on Tue, Oct 5, 2010 at 10:20 AM

MUSIC
Signature Box, John Lennon

Oh man, can you believe it, guys? Last week, when all those old geezers rose from their coffins* to release albums, I thought it was just a shameless attempt to cash in on their legacies. In fact, it was just a shameless attempt to garner another Grammy (it was the last week to release an album and still be elgibile for the 2011 Grammy Awards), so they could then cash in on their legacies. Oh look, new albums by John Lennon!

This Saturday marks what would have been Lennon's 70th birthday, so Yoko Ono decided she needed more money to honor his legacy by releasing eight of his remastered solo albums and new titles. They're available individually or in this fantastically expensive boxed set (MSRP $190), which also includes previously unreleased home recordings by John and personal essays from his sons and, of course, Ono. Because if there's one thing true fans of Lennon want to hear, it's more from Ono.

I leave you with two notes: the Huffington Post asked Ono if she felt Lennon respond to her when she would "lay awake at night asking John" if she was doing the right thing. Her response: "The fact that he was not complaining loudly seemed his way of saying I was doing right." No word on if she realizes he's been dead for 30 years. In second-worst-possible-tribute news, Ozzy Osbourne covered** "How" for charity***. I might do my own cover of "How." As in, "how am I suppposed to make fun of things that are already jokes in and of themselves?"

  • Geeving, Abandon All Ships — A reality-show band releases an incomprehensibly named album? You don't say! Still, if you're looking for some bro-rific hardcore (bro-core?), better learn how to geeve out.
  • Tiger Suit, KT Tunstall — Continuing the theme of strange names, the first track on Tiger Suit is "Uummannaq Song." Remember the good ol' days, when people used real English words in their songs?
  • The Game of Monogamy, Tim Kasher — I'm no doctor of relationships … but then, neither is Dr. Phil, and it doesn't seem to stop him. Nevertheless, I'm pretty sure the easiest way to lose at monogamy is to call it a "game" — especially if your partner is within earshot.
  • Savages, The Gay Blades — I don't know what "trash pop" is, but apparently The Gay Blades are really good at it. The only thing more incomprehensible than musical genres are people explaining them: Apparently, the Gay Blades are the "genetic cousins" living between the floorboards of the "decrepit, battered home" where The Dead Weather and The Black Keys live. Whatever the hell that means.

DVDs
The Secret of Kells

The Secret of Kells is a helluva lot more secretive than Victoria's Secret, which I'm pretty sure everyone has figured out at this point (i.e., she's a brazen harlot). With a limited release in the U.S., Kells was only open long enough to qualify for the Oscars in its first go-around, and still didn't get much love the second time it hit theaters. Regardless, you need to see this movie.

It's the absolute epitome of animation, in that it's a story that could only be told through animation. Even Pixar's greats like Wall-E, the various Toy Story films or Up could — theoretically — have been shot in live-action. Kells takes the animation and makes it part of the story, both in the sense that it's a story about illustrations and the way the movie was drawn.

Check out our review of Kells here, then go over to Amazon and buy the DVD. Right now. Don't worry, I'll wait. (Not really.)

  • The Human Centipede — Though this is only half of the full Human Centipede experience, here's some advice I've learned from it: When you're stranded in a foreign country, it may not be the best idea to break into an abandoned home and just hope for the best. Just saying.
  • The Karate Kid — After the great scare of 2008, this movie and Rand Paul's presumed ascension to the Senate can leave us reassured nepotism is alive and well in this country.
  • I Am Comic — They say the one thing that makes comedy funnier is to analyze it. Wait, no they don't. Still, I hear good things about this one.

VIDEOGAMES
NBA 2K11 (PS3, PSP, PS2, PC, X360)

I don't know if it's a commentary more on the state of the NBA today or NBA 2K11, but the game's cover is graced by none other than Hall-of-Famer Michael Jordan. Y'know, the guy who retired from playing basketball seven years ago (and should have retired for good a few years before that). You'd think that with a de facto All-Star team in Miami they'd be able to find someone who's actually played professional basketball since MySpace was invented...

Actually, the reason they put Jordan on the cover is because of the new Jordan Challenge mode, where you can recreate some of Jordan's biggest moments. Ten sequences gets you on the game cover? Sure, why not? Again, pointless nostalgia to some (me), but others have been fawning over it like they're actually earning a few hundred million from endorsement deals after playing.

Jordan-hating aside (not to be confused with Jordan hating), NBA 2K11 is a very good basketball game. They actually tried to nail some of the improvisational aspects of the game, which is the major complaint of most people who've ever actually watched/played a basketball game then tried to pick up a controller and do the same. Defenders actually switch who they're guarding if necessary, there's more than one layup animation … it's beautiful. If only they could find a current player worth putting on the cover...

  • NBA JAM (Wii, PS3, X360) — No NBA 2K11, just stuck with NBA JAM: reason No. 8,734 why no serious gamer only owns a Wii.
  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow (PS3, X360) — Oh look, even videogames are getting reboots now.
  • Left 4 Dead 2: Sacrifice (Mac, PC, X360, PS3) — Sure, you could download the latest expansion to L4D2. Or, like me, you could just keep playing Dead Rising 2. The lightsabers are still awesome, btw.
  • Def Jam Rapstar (PS3, Wii) — If you thought you looked like a nerd playing DDR, just wait 'til you try rapping along to a videogame.
* Please note that I'm not saying they were dead. They could be either zombies OR vampires.

** Watching Ozzy Osbourne singing "I don't know which way I'm facing" really just makes me think he may not actually be aware of where he is or what direction he's looking in. Seriously, I'm worried about the guy.

*** Of note: Just because you do something for charity doesn't mean it's a good thing for you to do. See: every benefit amateur talent show ever. 

Copy-editing note: There shouldn't be a hyphen in the subtitle; it should read "The greatest of all time."
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