A year in video games: 2010

December 30, 2010 at 11:58 am (Games, Tops)

Just like last year, everything I’ve played was on PS3 and PC, that’s why there are no XBOX and WII titles in this list.

Game of the year:

Heavy Rain (PS3 exclusive)

The most spectacular, intense and revolutionary game ever, Heavy Rain is a breathtaking cinematic thriller in which every action you take influences the whole progress of the story and its outcome. A great story (that will soon be turned into a movie), and amazing visuals, make this the game of the year.

Runner-up:
Red Dead Redemption (PS3, XBOX360)
Another masterpiece from Rockstar Games, a truly engaging open-world western in the same class as the last GTA entries. Who thought riding horses and catching bad guys can be so much fun?

Honorable mentions:
MLB 10: The Show (PS3 exclusive) – Every year, this is the best MLB game out there. No exception in 2010.
DeathSpank (PS3, PC, XBOX360)  – The most fun (and funny) game of the year.
Hector: Badge of Carnage (iPhone) – First truly awesome iPhone adventure game.

Some other awards:

Biggest surprise: DeathSpank
Biggest disappointment: Gran Turismo 5
Best PS3 exclusive: Heavy Rain
Best sports game: MLB 10: The Show
Best visuals: Heavy Rain
Best scene: the mutilation trial from Heavy Rain (actually, almost any scene from HR is memorable and worth mentioning. This one, at least on an emotional and creepiness level, stood above others).

Most anticipated games of 2011

1. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception (01.11)
2. inFamous 2 (TBA 2011)
3. Silent Hill 8 (TBA 2011)
4. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (TBA 2011)
5. MLB 11: The Show (March)
6. L.A. Noire (TBA Q2)
7. Killzone 3  (22.02)
8. Resistance 3 (06.09)
9. Alice: Madness Returns (TBA 2011)
10. Batman: Arkham City (TBA Q3)

Come back tomorrow, for my fave TV shows, and then during the weekend, for my Top 10 movies of 2010.

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A year in music: 2010

December 29, 2010 at 2:59 pm (Music, Tops)

I’m kicking off my yearly tops with the one for music. However, just like last year, I will avoid doing a proper Top Ten for music, mostly because I didn’t listen to so many albums worth recommending.

Album of the year

Deftones – “Diamond Eyes”

It was a much closer call than last year, because the runner-up is also quite amazing. However, Deftones’ new album beats Oceansize mostly thanks to its better production quality and lack of filler songs. “Diamond Eyes”, despite Chi Cheng’s absence, is brilliant from start to finish.

Runner-up:
Oceansize – “Self Preserved While the Bodies Float Up”
Another great album from one of my all-time favorite bands. However, sound quality seems a bit lower, compared to their last release “Frames”; also the songs are shorter and lack the immense epic complexity they used to have. Not necessarily a bad thing, but a small step back from perfection.

Honorable mentions:
Stone Sour – “Audio Secrecy” – a couple of bad pop tracks keep this beast from being truly amazing
The National – “High Violet”  – same old amazing sound. Indie rock cannot get any better.
Korn – “Korn III” – Korn is back to their roots and back to their old-school sound.

Some other “awards”:

Best Romanian album: Alternative Quartet – “Linistea astupa goluri”
Biggest discovery: And So I Watch You From Afar
Biggest disappointment: Linkin Park – “A Thousand Suns”
Best artwork: Oceansize – “Self Preserved While the Bodies Float Up”
Best lyrics: Oceansize – “Self Preserved While the Bodies Float Up”
Best film about music: “Le concert”
Best soundtrack: Hans Zimmer – “Inception”
Hottest rock chick: Taylor Momsen – The Pretty Reckless

Most anticipated albums of 2011

Almost nothing is certain when it comes to future releases. However, 2011 promises new albums from: Radiohead, A Perfect Circle, Dredg, Glassjaw, Fightstar, Mogwai, The Mars Volta, Limp Bizkit, Thrice, Incubus, Evanescence, Cave In, Them Crooked Vultures, Foo Fighters, Staind, Seether, and many others. Should be a pretty good year for rock music – much better than the sub-par 2010, at least.

Come back tomorrow, for the best video games of 2010. 😉

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Golden Globe nominations – WTF?

December 14, 2010 at 3:46 pm (Movies)

The Golden Globe nominations have just been announced, and it’s safe to say it’s one of the weirdest, most surprising lists I’ve seen in recent years. I’m not saying it’s good or bad, I have mixed feelings about it. Here they are.

Pros:
– Black Swan getting nominated at everything it matters: movie, director, actress, supporting actress. I was actually surprised to see Mila Kunis get some love as well (Natalie Portman was a lock)
– The Social Network kicking ass as well
– Inception getting a best movie nod (Nolan as director was also a lock)
– Emma Stone!
– 3 phenomenal soundtracks getting the recognition they deserve: Inception, The Social Network and 127 Hours. One of them has to win.
– Le Concert nommed for Best Foreign Film. Well done Radu Mihaileanu!
– The Walking Dead for Best TV series! After just 6 episodes. Tough competition though.

Cons:
– What the fuck happened with True Grit? Is it released too late for consideration? Did they not see it? I don’t get it. Everyone thought it’s a clear contender for both Oscars and Globes, the critics love it, and it’s the fucking Coens, for Christ’s sake.
– The collection of films nominated for “Best Movie – musical or comedy” may just be the worst bunch of movies in the history of the Golden Globes. If Toy Story 3 would have been nommed for it as well (not just Best Animation), it would have won easily.
– The Tourist, despite being a putrid piece of shit that everyone hates, gets 3 nominations.
– No Clint Mansell for Best Soundtrack, for Black Swan.

The Golden Globes take place on January 16th, followed closely by the Oscar nominations.

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Random thoughts

November 30, 2010 at 10:56 am (Movies, Music, Trailers, TV shows, YouTube)

System of a Down is back together! They just announced a European summer tour for 2011.

– I’ve been listening to a lot of post-rock recently, hence I found plenty of quality bands. My biggest recommendation: And So I Watch You From Afar. Brilliant stuff.

– Brussels, here I come! 2 more days until a well deserved vacation – that will include seeing Disturbed and Papa Roach live.

– One more episode until season 1 of The Walking Dead is over. And what a season it has been.

– After a shaky start (despite the brilliant first ep), Dexter seems to be back at full speed. I still can’t stand Julia Stiles, I find her completely inexpressive, but everything else is top notch. Loved this weekend’s episode.

– The Oscars just announced Anne Hathaway and James Franco will host the ceremony. Wouldn’t it be cool if Franco would give the best actor award to himself? By the way, I still stand by my pick: The Social Network for best movie.

– Lots of cool trailers recently, including Source Code, Your Highness, Cowboys and Aliens, and Battle: Los Angeles.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and 127 Hours are the best films I’ve seen recently. Still waiting for Black Swan.

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Why “The Walking Dead” is the best TV show of the year

November 19, 2010 at 3:26 pm (TV shows)

Because it’s unique. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before, and television really needed something fresh.

Because of the talent involved. Frank Darabont, anyone? The guy is an amazing filmmaker, and his creative touch, as producer, writer and sometimes director, is felt throughout the show.

Because the comics are outstanding: dark, gloomy, intense, and not afraid to kick you in the nuts when you’re least expecting. If the show stays true to the source material, be prepared for dark days.

Because of the look. “The Walking Dead” seems made for cinema, not for TV. The producers really made sure the show looks like a theatrical experience all the way.

Because it oozes professionalism from every single frame. From the directing, to the writing, to the acting, this is top notch television throughout. The first 3 episodes are filled with so many intense, unforgettable moments, you will have the urge to watch each episode again, as soon as it’s finished. I know I do.

Because it’s on AMC, a small TV channel that managed to beat HBO, Showtime, and everybody else, in terms of quality of their TV shows. Don’t believe that? Check out the commercial and critical success of their other efforts, Mad Men and Breaking Bad.

And, most of all, because this is not actually a simple zombie show. It’s a character drama set in a world filled with zombies. Character development seems to be way ahead of mindless action, and that surprised me in the most pleasant way. It’s more about these believable characters trying to hold on to their humanity, rather than about trying to survive mindless zombie attacks.

The first season is halfway through, and the second season has already been greenlit. My suggestion: jump in the bandwagon, while there’s still room. You will not regret it.

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In my playlist – MJK

November 8, 2010 at 2:53 pm (Music, YouTube)

I’ve been listening to a lot of Tool and APC lately, so here are a few songs that have been in my playlist quite a lot in the recent weeks.

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My blog is dead!

November 4, 2010 at 8:48 am (Movies, Music, YouTube)

No it’s not.

October was so awesome and crazy, that not only I didn’t have time or mood to write anything, but also I failed miserably on my attempt to watch the 31 horror films I was planning to. Anyway – I’ll try and post more from now on, especially since winter movie season is just around the corner, with so many interesting new releases, just before the awards season.

Meanwhile, a couple of random thoughts:

– if you wanna bet on the Oscar winner right now, put your money on The Social Network.

The Walking Dead is beyond awesome. Darabont’s zombie TV show kicked off in impressive fashion, set audience records, and is shaping up to be a huge phenomenon. Don’t miss it.

A Perfect Circle is back, after 6 years of hiatus!

Sucker Punch gets a brand new trailer and, well, holy fuck it looks unbelievable!

– Not long until my most anticipated winter flick hits theaters. Yes, I’m talking about Black Swan. The buzz says Natalie may be the front runner for winning the Oscar for her role.

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October Horror Marathon!

September 30, 2010 at 8:04 am (Movies)

A shitty September is about to end, let’s all hear it for October! The first awesome month of autumn, and, most of all, the month of horror – with plenty of new horror releases in the theaters and DVD/BluRay, and, well, that little thing called Halloween.

Based on an idea from some friends over at MovieFanCentral.com, I have decided to join the bandwagon and embark on an October Horror Marathon. What’s that, you ask? Well, to properly celebrate October, I will watch 31 horror films, one for each day of the month.

I have just finished compiling my list, a combination of new films that I haven’t seen yet, and older films I love. This is the menu (of course, the order is completely random):

1. Piranha 3D
2. Devil
3. Saw 3D
4. Frozen
5. The Killer Inside Me
6. A Nightmare on Elm Street (original)
7. A Nightmare on Elm Street (remake)
8. 30 Days of Night: Dark Days
9. The Crazies
10. Dead Snow
11. Grace
12. Halloween II
13. Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever
14. The Descent Part 2
15. Silent Hill
16. Lost Highway
17. The Dead Zone
18. Prince of Darkness
19. American Psycho
20. Bubba Ho-tep
21. The Devil’s Backbone
22. Fright Night
23. Halloween (original)
24. All the Boys Love Mandy Lane
25. [rec]2
26. Battle Royale
27. Scream
28. Scream 2
29. Scream 3
30. The Shining
31. Session 9

Let the fun, gory times begin!

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Football season is here!

September 9, 2010 at 8:36 am (Sports)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year again. Football season is here! SuperBowl champions Saints host the Vikings tonight, in a really awesome matchup, before all hell breaks loose this Sunday.

I’ll be supporting the Giants, as usual. Here’s to a fun, successful season.

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My bands

September 2, 2010 at 2:19 pm (Music)

If you’re a last.fm user, you can get your most played bands all packed up nicely in a picture like mine below. Just click here.

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