Philip Berne

Movie Review – Piranha 3D

Let me start out with a spoiler: "Piranha 3D" is awful. If you bought a ticket thinking you were going to see a good horror movie, either you didn't see the ads, or you missed the movie's "For Your Consideration" video on Funny or Die, in which the stars ask for some Oscar consideration for this piece of chum. If I wasn't intending to review this movie for SlashGear, I probably would have seen it anyway, though. I'm a horror fan, and we horror fans accept some of the worst movies in existence as part of our canon, because a truly bad horror movie is one of the best types of truly bad movies around. A bad horror movie can still be fun, exciting, original, even titillating. A bad romantic comedy or a bad drama is simply dull. Bad horror is like bad nachos. Crunchy, cheesy, maybe tasteless, but still nachos.

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Shooting Lady Gaga

I once saw Shirley Manson's lady bits. Shirley Manson is the lead singer for the 90's rock band Garbage. In college, I went to a music festival in Washington, D.C. and they played during the day. Near the beginning of their set, Shirley's skirt blew up enough to reveal her crotch, completely exposed with no panties. Then it happened again. And again. I was fairly close to the stage for their set, so I got a good look. I hope this doesn't come across sounding sexist. I'm pretty sure I've seen Jon Fishman from the band Phish naked as well. He's a drummer, though, so that might have just been one of his sticks.

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Your Band Sucks

Dear Facebook Friend,

Your band sucks. Really, it's horrible. It's very obvious that you heard the first Counting Crows album back in 1994 and you decided it was the second coming of the Beatles. You never got it out of your head. I'm guessing your college days consisted of quite a bit of fondling while that album was playing in the background, so there are probably plenty of good memories that you associate with long, whining diatribes like "Raining in Baltimore." Me, I liked that album plenty, but I always find it pretentious when a band uses their own name as a lyric in one of their songs. Especially if its not their big song. So, unless your band is Big Country, don't use a lyric for your band name.

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The Apple HDTV is Inevitable

My first instinct was to declare that Apple would never make a full-fledged television set. It would be a huge flop. I would personally never buy one, and neither would anyone I know. If Apple made a television, it would be a huge overreach for the company. Most of all, I have an instinctual belief that Steve Jobs hates television, and that he wants the throng of Apple buyers to be up and moving around, not placid on the couch.

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Movie Review: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

At its core, "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" is a movie for geeks. It isn't the storyline, the characters or the dialogue, though they all lend a hand in making this a pleasantly geeky film. It's the visual flourishes. Those little bells and whistles, literally and figuratively, that pop up and shape the way the film is presented. You've seen them in the commercials, the motion lines and wacky high scores that pop up continually. In a lesser film, these would be hacked gag jokes. In "Scott Pilgrim," the effects become the film itself. These details tell the story, shape the mood and define the characters as much as the dialogue and the sets. So, it's a good geeky movie. But is it worth seeing?

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Getting Lost With Bob

My wife tells a great story about getting lost with her father somewhere around Grand Canyon National Park. My father-in-law is a strange, though very well-meaning guy. He's thoroughly prepared in all circumstances, most famously, in our family circles at least, with compass and a rope. When she was in high school, my wife and her father took a trip to the Grand Canyon. At some point, she saw an outcropping of rock and decided she wanted to climb to the top. I might have said no, or at least made a half-hearted attempt. Not Bob. Bob tied one end of a rope to himself and another end to his daughter and off they went.

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The Analog Geek

Bob carries his cell phone in a baggy. I don't know the make or model, and it really doesn't matter. It's a Korean-made flip phone on Verizon Wireless. They are cheaper than a dime a dozen. With contract activation, you could actually make money buying a phone like that. He pulls a dirty, beat-up old sandwich bag out of some internal pocket from his coat (temperature breaks 100 degrees every day here in Dallas), and lets it unfurl. It looks like he's showing off a stash of drugs. He pulls the phone out of the baggy. Still, inside the bag I spot a flash of metal foil in a roll shape.

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Movie Review: Step Up 3D. Seriously.

I'm not going to lie and say that there was no small part of me that actually wanted to see "Step Up 3D" for my own enjoyment. I could claim that I got dragged along to this movie by my wife. Worse, I could try to convince you that I only went to see this movie in the name of research; that I had no passing interest of my own. But really, I just wanted to see a movie with really cool dancing in 3D.

3D launches have been predominantly fantasy and science fiction movies, for obvious reasons. These movies were already spending millions on special effects. So I was curious to see how 3D would make the leap to other genres.

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A Place For Your Porn

I think the .xxx domain name is one of the best ideas to occur to the Elders of the Internet since sliced bread; sliced bread, of course, being a metaphor for Internet porn. I have heard arguments on both sides of the issue, and I can't see how creating a .xxx domain could make matters any worse; it could only help bring porn under some sort of control.

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Hey, TSA, Stop Looking At My Bum

The so-called Body Scanner that the TSA is itching to install in airports is among the sleaziest infringements on our right to privacy that I've ever seen from a government agency. It represents the limits of privacy I'm willing to give up in return for my security. I don't have anything to hide and I'm willing to allow that the government should have some intrusive snooping abilities as part of its job to security the general populace. Want to listen for keywords on my phone conversations? Fine. Want to take pictures of me from outer space? Go right ahead. Search my bags. Swab my clothes. Let your dogs and your machines sniff me to your heart's content.

"Excuse me sir, but I'm going to have to see you naked."

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Paul Carr Should Die

Paul Carr over at TechCrunch has written one of the all-time most boneheaded articles I've ever read. He's arguing in favor of death. His own death and yours. Carr takes on so-called gerontologists, which is basically a term for scientists who study aging, some with the goal of living forever (or at least a really long time). Carr argues the other side. While a gerontologist might believe humans should live for a thousand years, Carr thinks we need to die some time around 80.

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Stop the Killing

Soon, Microsoft will launch an iPad killer. I know this because Steve Ballmer made some comments about how Microsoft doesn't like to see rival Apple stealing the show with their tablet, and the Microsoft CEO claims the company will have an answer to Apple's product soon. So, CNN emblazons its home page with a declaration that an iPad killer from Microsoft is on the way.

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