The House


Tori Amos

Tori Amos is best known for her brutally honest, often opaque original songs, like "Silent All These Years" and "Caught a Lite Sneeze," but longtime fans also know her to be a consummate interpreter of other musicians' work. In 2001, Amos released Strange Little Girls, a collection of songs originally written and performed by men, and she's covered the music of everyone from Joni Mitchell to Metallica during her live shows. The crimson-haired singer-songwriter's Unrepentant Geraldines Tour features a segment coined the Lizard Lounge, in which she performs covers selected by fans, and her Tori-fied renditions of Radiohead's "Creep" and Madonna's "Frozen," not to mention a mash-up of songs by feuding songstresses Sinéad O'Connor and Miley Cyrus, recently got the blogosphere buzzing. Amos, who celebrates her 51st birthday tomorrow, wraps up the North American leg of her tour in the great state of Florida this weekend, and while there's bound to be more gems given the straddled-piano-bench treatment when she hits Australia in November (our pick: Aussie pop icon Kylie Minogue's "Slow"), here are our favorites from 2014 so far.

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: björk, calvin harris, careless whisper, cloud on my tongue, creep, dolly parton, george michael, god, hyperballad, jolene, kate bush, madonna frozen, nine inch nails, pictures of you, pj harvey, radiohead, rihanna, running up that hill, something i can never have, the big picture, the cure, tori amos, trent reznor, unrepentant geraldines, unrepentant geraldines tour, we float, we found love, y cant tori read


Review: CounterSpy

CounterSpy

Everybody wants to be as cool as James Bond. But while CounterSpy looks the part, thanks to a suave retro-themed aesthetic, it feels all wrong. Because the game focuses on loose, randomized stealth sequences, there isn't a single elaborate or cinematic set piece, and instead of explosive action, there's just a lot of repetitive, mindless killing. The name of the game should be "The Procedural World Is Not Enough."

For one, there's no sense of urgency to the game. Although your goal for the rogue, independent C.O.U.N.T.E.R. agency is to infiltrate imperialist (U.S.) and socialist (U.S.S.R.) bases, collecting the secret plans that will allow you to seize control of their nuclear arsenals, you can take as many days (i.e., levels) as needed to do so. There's no real risk/reward between the imperialist and socialist missions, and only if you accidentally lower the faction's DEFCON rating to zero—getting spotted by cameras, killed by guards, or making too much suspicious noise—does a countdown timer begin. (Even in that worst-case scenario, it'll reset to one at the end of the level and can be easily raised higher with the Persuasion skill.)

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: counterspy, dynamighty, james bond, mark of the ninja, ratchet & clank, Sony Computer Entertainment America


Surgeon Simulator: Anniversary Edition

Just like it was only a matter of time before new-millennium irony started to bleed over into games with the wave of "simulator" games on PC, it was only a matter of time before these cheap, wonky hot messes made their appearance on a console. Grant Surgeon Simulator this: At least it has a solid core of morbid humor that distracts one from the rest of the train wreck. That's still not to say it's good, and it should definitely make everyone worry about what's next.

Surgeon Simulator is predicated on a single joke: that the simulator is so incredibly shitty at simulating anything that performing even the most basic human functions involving a hand is a comedy of errors. It's so easy and tempting within the first few minutes of play to start praying to whatever god you hold dear that a teaser for a new Trauma Center is hidden beneath this mess, P.T.-style. But it's not. The game gives you a bare framework of controls, a cluttered desk to practice them in, and you're off to the races to perform a heart transplant.

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: bossa studios limited, cards against humanity, goat simulator, p.t., snakes on a plane, soda drinker pro, surgeon simulator, trauma center, wargames


Leonard Maltin

1. "Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide Ending After 45 Years." And Pete Hammond, for Deadline, says the Internet is to blame.

"Another print icon bites the dust. Leonard Maltin's 2015 Movie Guide will be the final edition of this film lovers' guide which started in 1969 under the title TV MOVIES. But in recent years the annual guide, which now numbers 1,611 pages and features nearly 16,000 capsule movie reviews, has become a victim of the changing times and the way information is consumed by a new generation. The new edition, which comes out on September 2nd is the last and that will be bad news for many industry-ites and film lovers who used it religiously. 'An entire generation has been raised to acquire all their information online from their mobile devices or computers. These are not the likely customers for a physical paperback reference book. Our sales have sharply declined in recent years,' Maltin told me this morning. The virtual death of bookstores likely didn't help the cause either. 'We still have a loyal readership. It's just smaller than it used to be. There are an awful lot of people who have been loyal to the book and are used to having it on their night stand or their coffee table for years and years and years. Some bought it sporadically and some bought it every year and god bless them,' he added."

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: duel at diablo, ferguson, flavorwire, j. hoberman, jason bailey, leonard maltin, matías piñeiro, matt zoller seitz, movie guide, nick pinkerton, paris blues, sex lies and videotape, Sidney Poitier, step up: all in, the princess of france, white people


Review: The Room

The Room

Few video games so directly encapsulate the notion of "being a toy" as The Room, a popular iOS title now boasting a high-definition PC port, upscaled graphics, and touch controls substituted with a mouse. While the majority of games flooding the iOS marketplace feature little but simplistic gameplay and cartoonish 2D visuals, The Room made a mark with spectacular 3D graphics and moody ambience, establishing itself as a more mature and highbrow experience involving Hellraiser-style puzzle boxes tackled with Apple's intuitive touch controls. Solving each puzzle reveals more of the game's narrative involving the fates of past adventurers who would dare attempt the puzzle boxes, shades of Lovecraft permeating its storyline and complimenting the thick atmosphere that the visuals and sound design create.

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: fireproof games, hellraiser, the room, year walk


Ferguson

1. "The Coming Race War Won't Be About Race." Ferguson is not just about systemic racism—it's about class warfare and how America's poor are held back, says Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

"Dystopian books and movies like Snowpiercer, The Giver, Divergent, Hunger Games, and Elysium have been the rage for the past few years. Not just because they express teen frustration at authority figures. That would explain some of the popularity among younger audiences, but not among twentysomethings and even older adults. The real reason we flock to see Donald Sutherland's porcelain portrayal in Hunger Games of a cold, ruthless president of the U.S. dedicated to preserving the rich while grinding his heel into the necks of the poor is that it rings true in a society in which the One Percent gets richer while our middle class is collapsing."

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: charles p. pierce, elijah wood, ferguson, flashdance, kareem abdul-jabbar, nacho vigalondo, open windows, pitchfork, rolling stone


Sleeping Giant

There's a brief shot in Andrew Cividino's short film Sleeping Giant that's very similar to one in The Dirties, the self-aware comedy by Cividino's fellow Canadian Matt Johnson, which debuted at Locarno Film Festival last year. Premiering in the Pardi di domani competition at this year's edition, Sleeping Giant also shares with the other film themes of bullying and peer pressure. In the shot in question, two young boys fire flares into the air, and then at each other—and that it primes such a comparison reveals one coincidental link between last year's and this year's edition of the festival. Certainly, continuity is paramount at Locarno Film Festival, whose host town has a population of less than 16,000—small enough to feel like an intensely surreal bubble of stability, while the festival itself is paradoxically colossal, making for an atmosphere all its own.

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: amos angeles, andrew cividino, ernst karel, j.p. sniadecki, kookaburra love, locarno film festival, matthias von gunten, paweł wojtasik, sensory ethnography lab, single stream, sjoerd oostrik, sleeping giant, style wars 2, the iron ministry, thule tuvalu, toby lee, veli silver


Mind: Path to Thalamus

Mind: Path to Thalamus isn't a subtle game. The title and in-game chapter labels reveal that you'll be traveling through a person's mind, specifically toward the thalamus, which essentially bridges and processes the brain's information, leveraging this between your sleeping and waking self. The narrative doubles down on this, too, needlessly explaining with a heavy hand (and heavy intonation) that ever since a tsunami claimed the life of your beloved Sophia, you've been in a coma. (Note: About a week after playing, the audio was patched to remove some of the more redundant/obvious parts, and there are plans to rework it entirely in a future update.) But life isn't subtle, and sometimes it blows you away—as does Mind, right from the very opening sequence in which a raging storm rips apart your quiet world. The following three hours (or longer, depending on your pace) are filled with similarly beautiful, trippy imagery—as well as some fiendish Portal-like puzzles that help the game rise above walking simulators like Dear Esther or Proteus. (The closest parallel is probably the similarly themed Trauma, though that's a more simplistic point-and-click adventure.)

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: carlos coronado, dear esther, mind: path to the thalamus, proteus, Trauma


Need for Speed: Rivals

For about as long as there have been video games, there have been video games about cars. It's a natural extension of the technology: We sit in front of a machine to be transported, virtually, behind the wheel of another one. Like fighting games and first-person shooters, driving games put us in command of experiences too dangerous to enjoy for real, liberating us from concerns of safety and responsibility and inviting us, all too gleefully, to push the limits of what can be done. Maybe you drive every day—a commute to work, an errand to the corner store. Driving games take that experience and amplify it, transforming the banality of the car into something extraordinary: an object to steal, to race, to destroy. Games do a lot with a four wheels and an engine. In life your car is bound to the rules of the road. In games it can go anywhere, do anything.

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: burnout revenge, crazy taxi, daytona usa, desert bus, gran turismo 3: a-spec, micro machines, need for speed: rivals, pole position, star wars episode i: racer, super mario kart


Let's Be Cops

1. "Let's Be Real." Wesley Morris on Let's Be Cops, cop movies, and the shooting in Ferguson.

"This would just be more flushable summer waste (and, please, don't let me stop you from jiggling the handle), except Let's Be Cops somehow doubles as a fantasy that knows its social limits, limits that connect it to the turmoil in Ferguson, and those limits ease on down the road of race. The movie doesn't want to make a big deal about this, but Justin is black and Ryan white, which is newsworthy in that, despite one guy's annoyance with the other, they appear to have been friends long enough for racial osmosis to set it. Justin speaks the way black comedians—like Wayans's father, Damon Sr.—do when they're impersonating an uptight white guy. Ryan occasionally twists and spikes the cadences of his speech so it sounds comedically black. Justin says 'dude' a lot. Ryan likes 'bro.' Permeable racial identity becomes a kind of running gag, especially once Key and his impersonation of a loopy Mexican gangsta shows up."

More >>

  • print
  • email

TAGS: communism, consumed, david cronenberg, Diego Luna, doom, emmy awards, ferguson, film international, gael garcía bernal, let's be cops, Madlib, madvillainy, orange is the new black, red hollywood, richard brody, shane joaquin jimenez, sherlock, the criterion collection, true detective, wesley morris, y tu mamá también






The HouseCategories



The HouseThe Attic

More »



Site by  Docent Solutions