16 April 2012
Welcome to another edition of House Calls with DocDoom, Get ready for your weekly dose of entertainment, take two and call me in the morning.
Akira is widely heralded as the film that made Anime popular again in the US. The basic story is about psychics and biker gangs in a cyberpunk dystopian neo-Tokyo, but there are so many other themes prevalent in the film. The most obvious theme is puberty, and it can be argued that the film is an allegory for a teenager going through puberty, and tetsuo's actions mirror that, through friendships tested, rage unleashed, and finally an extremely phallic metamorphosis that results in him eventually becoming something new (not going to spoil the ending). If you're even remotely in to anime I'd imagine you've already seen this film, for those of you who are not it's a great film, and one of the most popular and critically aclaimed of it's genre.
This album is what robots make dirty nasty robot babies too. The band Daft Punk has been churning out quality EDM for quite some time now, most known for their robotic helmets and jumpsuits that make them look like they're from out of this world. They've been sampled by countless mainstream musicians, and responsible for the soundtrack for TRON: Legacy (and also have a cameo in the film). Alive 2007 is from a live recording during their tour of the same name, and each track is a fresh new look at their music in the form of combining songs to fade in and out and weave new sounds that are sure to get you moving. One of my all time favorite albums, and great to just let play seamlessly from start to finish.
In a sea of mediocre gunmetal and brown FPS titles, Portal stands out as a polished jewel that gets it just right. The game, while relatively short, is a neatly packaged journey that involves waking up in a test chamber, and being thrust into a series of tests that will force you to think in a way most video games don't even come close to achieving. Eventually you will find yourself the proud bearer of the portal gun, a gun which does exactly as it's name suggests; It creates two portals (one blue, one orange) which can be traversed in between instantaneously, without altering the speed/momentum/etc of the objects passing through. As you get to the more advanced levels you will find yourself quick-firing portals to jet yourself around rooms that almost makes you feel like you're taking flight. On top of the core gameplay, the dark humor of the game is some of the best-written dialogue you will ever find. You will constantly be laughing at the monologues playing over the loudspeaker, and even the turrets have a jovial humor about them (aside from attempting to fill you full of lead). Perfect length + innovative story + great game mechanics + witty plot & dialogue = the perfect game, also known as Portal.
I would imagine that a great number of you have played at least one of the two recent Batman games (Arkham Asylum & Arkham City). This comic was the dark and gritty inspiration for the former of those two games. Stepping away from the traditional comic book style, Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth looks into a dark place where the criminally insane rule and batman's sanity will be tested as well as the sanity of many of the inmates. Batman is informed that the prisoners of the Asylum have taken over, and will begin executing hostages if batman does not meet with them. The Joker forces him to play a game of hide and seek with the criminals that he's put away in there, and he faces an array of villains in various situations, and even learns some dark secrets about the staff of the Asylum. The comic is meant more as a standalone art piece than anything, and it has been said by it's creator that it was a response to the Literal Left-brain treatment of comic characters that was popular at the time. While it is a different style, and as a result can be difficult to follow, the artwork is stunning and the story is solid as well.
For anyone who grew up in America, you probably read this book at some point during your academic studies, and if you didn't or you're from a different country and never read it, I'm telling you to go read it right now. Nineteen Eighty-Four takes place in a Fascist controlled world where every country has been assimilated into one of three super-states. These states are in a perpetual war that drives the economy, and although the motives change, and even the alliance without a moment's notice, the history does not reflect this. In this controlled world, history is constantly being rewritten, or altered to fit with the current manifesto of the party. And society is broken up into three groups, the inner and outer parties and the general populace or working class. The book follows a man who begins to question the party after he begins secretly reading a seditionists manifesto, and he meets a young girl. Together they grapple with the weight of living in a totalitarian state, and try to break free from the shackles that bind them. I won't spoil the ending, but it's definitely unique in many respects. A must read for anyone even remotely interested in politics.
Please let us know if you've enjoyed any of these things yourself, and feel free to discuss what you liked about each one in the comments!
See you next week!