JBO: Joystiq Box Office New Year's Edition, plus Joyswag!


We can't be gaming all the time, despite our best efforts, and from time to time we'll actually take advantage of the movie-playing abilities on our gaming systems. JBO features our top picks for XBL, PSN, Netflix's Watch Instantly and Blu-ray each week.

Happy New Year, and welcome to the Future! This is the last Joystiq Box Office (for now) where we're going to be giving away ... wait for it ... MOVIES! To enter, simply leave a comment below telling us what you'll be watching on your Xbox, PS3, PC, PSP, DS, OMG or whatever, and we'll pick two winners at random each week to receive a nifty prize. This week we'll be giving away one copy of The Warriors on DVD, along with a Marc Ecko Warriors shirt (size XL), and a code for the game The Warriors: Street Brawl on XBLA, and one copy of Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian on Blu-ray. Read the complete rules at the end of this post, and good luck!

Recommendation of the Week:

2010: The Year We Make Contact ($28.99 suggested retail, lower at many retailers)
You saw this one coming, right? Besides The Hangover, this is the perfect movie for today. Even though we don't have passenger-based spaceflight, artificially intelligent megacomputers, or the continuing effects of the Cold War, this is still a quality movie. And for my two cents, it's more exciting than 2001. Don't get me wrong, the original is still a classic, but this one is more of an action movie. The slingshot maneuver, the triumphant return of HAL, the presence of Roy Scheider and Bob Balaban (John Lithgow whines too much in this movie), and a very young Helen Mirren as a Russian combine for unexpected enjoyment. Just check out Scheider's futurstic house, complete with dolphins and his very advanced Apple IIc to see how far we've come.

Read on for the rest of the recommendations, and as usual, we'll see you at the popcorn sta -- well, actually, we won't see you at all. But you catch our drift. Plus, be sure to tell us what you'll be watching, or what you've seen recently that bowled you over.

Xbox Live Video Marketplace (Xbox 360)

Clash of the Titans
(360($4.50) HD, 480($3) SD, to rent)
How is this from the future, you ask? Well, in the future of 2010, you'll be able to see a remake of this classic. The original Clash of the Titans came out in 1981, and yet it still stands the test of time. Even in a day and age of CGI overload, Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion skeletons are impressive. Harry Hamlin, who went on to become a TV mainstay on shows like L.A. Law and Veronica Mars, does a bang-up job as Perseus, and you even have Sir Laurence Olivier as Zeus. Not too shabby. How will the new one stack up? Crime or a classic? We'll have to wait and see, but that trailer is pretty exciting. Prepare for this in March, along with the inevitably rushed, very poor video game adaptation.



Netflix Watch Instantly (Mac/PC, Xbox Live, PS3, subscription required: starts at $8.99 per month)

Primer
Along with flying cars, shouldn't we all have personal time travel devices in the future? Then we'd be able to go back and reclaim all of that time we spent ignoring our relatives and playing Dragon Age: Origins just before the holidays. Grandpa Gene isn't going to live forever, after all. So why not invent one in your garage? This is definitely the smartest film ever made about time travel, and at times there is so much going on that it might hurt your brain. I definitely had to watch this more than once to fully understand the entire plot, but it's enjoyable with every viewing. Writer/director/actor Shane Carruth made this film for $7,000, and it won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in 2004. Unfortunately, it slipped off the radar before many people saw it, so give it a go.

PlayStation Store (PlayStation 3 or PSP)

Canada (Priceless)
Something we'd like to see in the future, i.e. tomorrow, would be movies and television shows on the PlayStation Store for our Canadian brethren. Just check out any of the video content update posts on the PS blog, and you'll see the Maple-Leafed Masses crying out in anguish. While they can get movies and television shows via the Xbox, the PlayStation Store offers them zero in the video department. We just want them to be able to enjoy the same programming the rest of us have access to. Like old episodes of The Real World: DC. Who doesn't at least deserve that? Our Canadian friends, we salute you in solidarity by recommending nothing but Canadian love to this slot this week. Now to crack open a Molson's Canadian and watch some Strange Brew.

Blu-ray Disc (PlayStation 3)

District 9 ($39.95, much lower at many retailers)
We already gave this movie away during our JBO Naughty or Nice contest, but it's definitely one of our favorite movies of the year. It's not set in the future, per se, but let's call it future-present. Or "twenty minutes into the future" as Max Headroom would say. Instead of making a Halo movie, director Neill Blomkamp and producer Peter Jackson knocked us out of our seats with this unexpected sci-fi movie that addresses racism, while providing some incredibly cool weapons that would impress even Ratchet and Clank.

Sharlto Copley managed to impress me more in this leading role than most big name Hollywood actors have in a long time, and this looks simply gorgeous in high definition. Tons of fun extras as well (including, strangely, the God of War III demo, and you can pick this up for $17.99 at Amazon on Blu-ray, so it's puzzling that Sony is offering this in standard def for $14.99 on the PS Store. Maybe they don't want to eat into their own District 9 / God of War demo crossover disc sales?

What are you watching? Let us know to enter for your chance to win a move prize detailed below:
  • Leave a comment telling us what you're watching (on any format).
  • You must be 18 years or older and a resident of the US or Canada (excluding Quebec).
  • Limit 1 entry per person (replies to other comments won't count as entries, so feel free to chat it up).
  • This entry period ends at 12:00PM ET on Monday, January 4.
  • At that time, we'll randomly select one winner to receive a one copy of The Warriors on DVD (ARV $12.98), one Marc Ecko Warriors adult XL t-shirt (ARV $24), and a code for The Warriors: Street Brawl on XBLA (ARV $10), and one winner to receive a copy of Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian on Blu-ray (ARV $39.99).
  • For a list of complete rules, click here.


What is Joyswag? Since we don't keep the games and merchandise we receive for review or promotional purposes, it becomes "Joyswag," which is passed along to our readers. For more info on our policy, click here.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.