New In Town

By Genevieve Mc Bride

When asked my impression of “New in Town” the first thing I could come up with was, “It was cute.” That meant I felt positive about the movie, right? Right. It just wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement. However, anything less than “cute” would’ve been unfair, but anything more would’ve been effusive.

Now that I’ve had time to mull over my response, I can’t help but remember the time I overheard a coworker compliment another coworker with, “You look cute.” To which the complimented coworker replied, “Thank you, but cute is for puppies. I was hoping for great.” Her inability to accept compliments graciously aside, I suppose, when you’re in your mid-40s, as this coworker was, cute just doesn’t cut it anymore. There does come a time, with maturity, one would rather hear they made a more indelible impression.

So what made this movie simply cute and not great? Maybe because I can’t answer the following questions with “Great!” But I could certainly answer them with “Cute.”

How was Renee Zellwegger, who plays Lucy Hill, a determined and driven Miami executive presented with the opportunty to restructure a manufacturing plant in New Ulm, Minnesota? Cute. Okay, I can say she’s extremely fit. Dresses impeccably in tailored power suits and works designer stilletos something fierce. But the whole package, complete with a pretty, but oddly stiff, face that winces more than it smiles, is just…cute.

How was Harry Connick, Jr., who plays Ted Mitchell, the union rep Renee’s character must negotiate with to facilitate the reorganization. Cute. Real cute with that beard. But that’s as enthusiastic as I can get and I love love love Harry Connick, Jr. His role is lowkey and what charm it allows him to cast toward Lucy is from afar. Personally, I think he would’ve been great with a piano and some singing. But that’s HCJ the singer. Alas, HCJ the actor only had a truck, birdshot and malfunctioning factory equipment. Thus, he remained just darn cute.

How was the supporting cast, headed by Siobhan Fallon, who plays Lucy’s quirky secretary, Blanche, and J. K. Simmons as the dour factory foreman, Stu? Cute. The only thing not cute about the townfolk were the sweaters and wallpaper. Ghastly would work better there. Their Minnesotan accents were spot-on (well, as far as I know, considering the only other Minnesotans I’ve ever heard were in other movies). Apparently we’re to believe New Ulm is full of either scrapbooking, Christian do-gooders bearing food or joyless, implacable factory workers who would rather drink beer, ice-fish or shoot crow.

How was the storyline? Cute. Predictable. An unoriginal romantic comedy that attempts to have message. An ambitious up-and-comer has her eye on the CEO title and thinks playing the hardnose in a cost-cutting, streamlining reorganization project will impress the boss. Hardnose in high heels comes up against a tight-knit community in flannel that’s not impressed with her wardrobe, her multi-syllabic vocaulary or her city girl naivete at all. Despite the arctic attitudes and scenery, there’s thawing on both sides as Lucy is drawn into the fold by Blanche and her scrapbooking matchmakers. She and Ted take turns rescuing each other and eventually Lucy discovers there’s a time to be all-business and there’s a time to be human, and her success comes when she finds the balance between both.

So, while I was hoping I could tell you this movie was great, I can’t. Maybe with more story development, more tangible chemistry between Ted & Lucy, it would have made a more indelible impression. For this lighthearted rom-com, cute will just have to do.

3 out of 5

Predator Remake A Go.

Just got this in. Thought you would like it. While I am not sure a Remake is the way to go, I do think that something new in the series was needed and perhaps a new direction is the way to go. Can a new Alien be that far off the radar now?

Anyway, Here are the links to Moviehole and Bloody Disgusting that confirm this.


Red Alert 3 Uprising Cast Revealed

Today EA revealed it’s all-star cast for Command + Conquer Red Alert 3: Uprising. From sci- fi legends to rising starlets and masters of the squared-circle, the cast of Command & Conquer Red Alert 3: Uprising includes (in alphabetical order): Jamie Chung, (Dragonball Evolution), Ric Flair (16-time world heavyweight wrestling champion), Malcolm McDowell (Heroes, Clockwork Orange, Wing Commander), Jodi Lyn O’Keefe (Prison Break), Holly Valance (Neighbours) along with returning fan-favorites Gemma Atkinson and Ivana Milicevic.

Fallout 3 DLC Interview

f3dlcRecently I got the chance to speak with Jeff Gardiner, lead producer for Fallout 3 DLC about the latest addition to the multi award winning game.

GVK: What is the background and setting for the new material?

JG: Operation: Anchorage is allows the player to discover the location of a secret military installation housed deep inside of Washington, D.C. The Brotherhood of Steel Outcasts are trying to requisition top-secret military technology from a long dead war… But the only way to open the safe is by successfully completing a training simulation in which the player will have to liberate Anchorage, Alaska from an invading Red Chinese occupying force. This battle played out hundreds of years ago, and is a staple of the Fallout 3 canon. Once inside the sim the player will have to utilize stealth and combat cunning to overcome a huge military presence; they’ll even have the opportunity to outfit and order their own Strike Force in the process!

GVK: Do you need to finish Fallout 3 in order to access the new material and how will it fit in with the storyline of Fallout 3?

JG: No, Operation: Anchorage allows the player to access the content at any time once they’re in the Wasteland. The story itself weaves in both the Brotherhood Outcasts as well as other pre-war Fallout lore, but does not impact the main story of Fallout 3 itself.

GVK: What made you decide to release the new content in this format rather than a full add on?

JG: Releasing DLC as several smaller packs allows a player to pick and choose the content they like to play and utilize in order to customize their experience. The downloadable distribution itself is a great way for people to quickly and seamlessly add in functionality to their game with just a few clicks.

GVK: Will new weapons and items be included and if so what will they be?

JG: Yes, there will be new weapons and items! There is a new scoped energy weapon, the Gauss Rifle – the most powerful sniper rifle in the game. Also, the player will be able to find a Chinese Stealth Suit – which will allow stealth players to better ply their craft…

GVK: What sort of new enemies will players face?

JG: Operation: Anchorage features new Chinese Combat Troops, a Chinese Screw Tank – a massive vehicle that drives through deep snow on screws, upon which is mounted a massive energy canon.

GVK: Roughly How long will it take to play through the new content?

JG: Operation: Anchorage itself lasts about four to five hours. New weapons, items and armor acquired upon complete on the simulation are usable by the player throughout the rest of the Fallout 3 world, however.

GVK: Where do you see the series heading in terms of future chapters? More DLC, an add on, or a new game?

JG: There are two more pieces of Downloadable Content in addition to Operation: Anchorage in the works. The next installment is entitled “The Pitt,” and will send the player to Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, disguised as a slave in order to join, or usurp, a tribe of raiders that have taken over the steel yards there. The third DLC is called “Broken Steel.” This DLC will change the ending of the main quest of Fallout 3 and allow the player to continue their quest in the wasteland. It also raises the level cap to 30, add new foes, weaponry and allows the player to irrevocable alter the wasteland in profound new ways.

Windows 7 Interview

With the pending release of the latest Microsoft Windows operating system, I like many other PC users have questions about the latest system currently known as Windows 7. I recently was able to speak with a Microsoft spokesperson for the new OS who took the time to provide us at Skewed and Reviewed with this interview.

GVK: What new enhancements does Windows 7 offer?

A: For consumers, Windows 7 breaks down walls and makes new things possible – we’ve made investments in user experience, multi-touch capabilities, media streaming and integration with devices that make it easier to find the information people care about regardless of where it’s housed on their PC, network, devices or on the cloud and do some cool new things.

For enterprises, Windows 7 provides greater control through advancements in branch office management, virtualization, and remote scenarios. By building Windows 7 on the Windows Vista foundation, we’ve also made sure deployments are easier for the customers taking advantage of the security and mobility improvements in Windows Vista today.

For developers, Windows 7 provides huge opportunities through investments in graphics, the Natural User Interface and multi-core architecture. The introductions of Windows Web Services mean opportunities for developers to use their existing skills with Visual Studio and the .NET framework to create differentiated, visually rich applications that work with local and web-based services.

GVK: How many versions will it ship in?

We are currently evaluating a variety of ways to meet the OS needs of our users. We aren’t ready to discuss the Windows 7 SKU plan at this time. We will share more information when we are further along the development path.

GVK: How large of an install is it?

Currently, Windows 7 Beta ranges from 2,500 to 3,500 MB (2.5 GB to 3.5 GB) dependent on the platform and language the user chooses to install.

GVK: What are the required and suggested system specs?

A: Microsoft is providing a Windows 7 Beta Minimum Hardware Recommendation. These recommendations are specific to the Beta release and are subject to change:

– 1 GHz, 32 bit or 64 bit processor
– 1GB system memory
– 16GB available disk space
– Support for DX9 graphics with 128 MB memory (in order to enable Aero theme)
– DVD-R/W Drive
– Internet Access

Some product features of Windows 7, such as the ability to watch and record live TV or navigate through the use of “touch”, may require advanced or additional hardware.

GVK: What enhancements to Direct X 10 will the OS offer?

Windows 7 will ship with support for DirectX11. DirectX 11 adds features onto the existing DirectX 10 (and 10.1) pipeline. Many of the features are intended to help developers have an easier and better cross-platform development experience between Windows PCs and Xbox 360. Additionally, they will make the API more expressive, allowing developers to better achieve their goals:
• Multithreaded resource handling: In a nutshell, this feature will enable graphics applications to better take advantage of multi-core machines.

• Tessellation: This feature shrinks the gap between (higher quality) offline content creation and (faster) real-time rendering. For example, a model far away can be rendered with low detail, but when seen up close, this same model can be refined to be smoother and more attractive.

• Improved texture compression: The first high dynamic range compressed hardware texture format is being introduced in DirectX 11, and a new higher-quality compression format for standard dynamic range textures is also being added, which will result in better looking textures and imagery.
• HLSL improvements: There are a variety of improvements we are making to the shader language including subroutines support and improved support for double precision floating-point computation. The benefit to these features is a more expressive, more flexible programming model that will allow ISV’s to better express their vision in code.

• Compute Shader: This is a forward-looking feature that lays the groundwork for the GPU to be used for more than just 3D graphics. Rather than just focusing on pixels and triangles, the compute shader is intended to take advantage of the graphics card as a parallel processor.

• Other features based on ISV feedback: We are also implementing a variety of other, smaller features based on ISV requests that will make our API more powerful and expressive, helping ISV’s better achieve their goals.

GVK: What kind of compatibility will gamers and software users have with games designed for the previous OS’s?

A: Consumers and businesses shopping for systems, software, and devices can be confident that Windows 7 “Compatible with for Windows 7”logo’d products work seamlessly on PCs running the Windows 7 operating system. All “Compatible with Windows 7”logo’d products have been through robust testing to ensure they meet strict standards to ensure they work seamlessly on Windows 7 to be compatible, stable and reliable.

A: First, we are laser-focused on making sure devices that work with Windows Vista work perfectly with Windows 7. Our motto is “no new hardware required.” That said, with over a billion customers served around the world, it’s a huge challenge to ensure that all hardware continues working perfectly. We’re working closely with hardware companies around the world to build compatibility tests and to notify hardware companies of compatibility problems. We’re making steady progress on our hardware compatibility goals and we’re confident that Windows 7 will work great with existing hardware.

A: For the most part, applications built on the .NET Framework 3.0 and above will run on Windows 7 and developers can easily leverage existing codebases to integrate new Windows 7 features. We are working with our partners and the community to provide then with resources and tools to help them determine whether or not applications will run on Windows 7. For example at the PDC we are hosting The Windows Application Compatibility and Quality lab which provides a private developer environment for testing and debugging application issues. Developers can bring in their applications to the lab where you’ll find dedicated consultants on hand to support you in investigating application compatibility and give architectural guidance.

GVK: How much support do you expect with drivers from hardware manufacturer at launch?

We’re working closely with hardware and software companies around the world to ensure compatibility with Windows 7. This work includes compatibility testing in our own labs and collaborative engineering with partners to find and fix compatibility problems. A lot of our work with the industry is ongoing as we improve the quality of devices and applications on Vista which in turn helps compatibility with Windows 7. We’re making steady progress on our compatibility goals and we’re confident that Windows 7 will work great with existing products.

GVK: What type of online functionality for gaming as well as web browsing?

Microsoft has believed for some time now that a combination of the rich functionality that comes with the Windows OS and consumers’ favorite services on the web provides the best Windows experience. This is why Microsoft offers Windows Live Essentials, which refers to the set of downloadable applications available from Windows Live, including Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Writer, Windows Live Photo Gallery and Windows Live Movie Maker.

Starting with the next release of Windows 7, the following services will no longer be available in the Windows operating system: Windows Mail, Windows Calendar, Windows Contacts, Windows Photo Gallery and Windows Movie Maker. This change only applies to future versions of Windows and does not impact Windows Vista or Windows XP. Similar functionality for email, contacts, calendar, photo and movie making will be available for free from Windows Live, removing the duplication of functionality for our consumers between Windows and Windows Live. These services are available in a single download via Windows Live Essentials, at These Windows Live tools will be regularly updated to provide innovative functionality and best-of-breed integration with other Windows Live and popular web services, while harnessing the power of the Windows PC.

Beyond this, Microsoft is extending the Windows platform to the cloud with an application model that spans client, server, devices and services. The Software + Services strategy envisions a world where experiences extend far beyond a single device – where the PCs, phones, cameras, game consoles, and video and music players people use are all seamlessly connected, through a continuum that spans from powerful client software to rich Internet services. The foundation of this strategy is Windows. It weaves these devices, applications and services together across the server, the PC, the mobile phone, and other devices people rely on every day – offering a seamless, unified experience for customers.

With Windows 7 + services, we’re creating the end-to-end experiences people choose as most important to them, encouraging the creation of new services for Windows, and allowing OEMs a great deal of flexibility to choose to configure PCs that are right for their customers.

GVK: What are the main upgrades from Vista and XP?

• With Windows 7, Microsoft is building on the substantial investments the company has made in the fundamentals through Windows Vista – improving security, reliability and performance while improving PC management and introducing compelling new experiences – and delivers an operating system that is more nimble and reliable, more secure, gets the most out of today’s powerful hardware, and easily connects with all the devices people use today.

• Windows 7 reflects an evolved approach to engineering the operating system that learns from the lessons of Windows Vista and previous versions of the operating system, weaving customer feedback more closely into the development process while enabling the delivery of innovative new features in a way that preserves compatibility and performance, so partners in the PC ecosystem can easily and quickly build on the new capabilities Windows has to offer. To ensure that late-breaking features do not disrupt the development process, the plan for the operating system was finalized up front, reflecting customer input and demand for end-to-end scenarios as well as deep (and early) engagement with the PC ecosystem to ensure stability and compatibility.

The Beast

Patrick Swayze stars as Charles Barker, an F.B.I. agent who has an unorthodox style and is not above twisting the rules to get results. Barker is assigned a new partner by the F.B.I. and is being pressured to keep tabs on Barker and his behavior.

The gritty series is set in Chicago and delves into the dark side of the law and how the line between the good guys and drug kingpins can at times get blurred.

There has been a lot of press regarding the state of Swayze and his health but I find it best to keep that out of the show and instead focus on the dark drama of the series There is some uneven scripts and action, but the series looks poised to be the best law drama since The Shield.