Friday, March 25, 2016

Video Game Review: Batman : Arkham Knight

 (spoilers) Overallll..... I loved it, wonderful game. The visuals are amazzzzzzzzzing, like seriously one of the best looking of the PS4 generation and I'm glad they were able to squeeze so much out of it not possible before. The ground combat was as sweet as ever, polished to a near perfect smooth height with little new additions besides some tricks to use but otherwise I relied on my same favorites. Especially hype were the few moments when there was team up moments with Robin and Nightwing etc. Same with the stealth predator gameplay, which was as intense as ever with some excellent set pieces and even in the side content. The teaming up with Robin was especially awesome in the one and only stealth room with him in Panessa Studios, hnnnggg that whole section (Dat joker song too). But the thing is, while all of this was the franchises' best, there was a little less than there should ahve been.
But moreso, there was a big elephant in the room many noticed. Or rather a elephant sized vehicle. While the batmobile finally being in was a awesome idea and looks cool, it's fun to drive and do things in short burst race an combat. But the game adds soooooo many random tank combat arenas , throughout th whole dang story, it gets old but one bears it as part of the package , And like a Cobra tank is fun to fight the first time, but not the last. And grrrr that Arkham Knight tank boss fight.... and its always faster to glide
These things are only a moderate big negative on a otherwise amazing game. Gamewide, incredible voice acting and moments from batman's nearly entire universe friend and villian. The main arc was pretty epic and Jason Todd encounters , especially later (dat red hood boss fight) were intense and feels. Wish there was a bit more with him post-reveal, but it worked. Scarecrow was a interesting foe. These both were heightened greatly however by the prescence of Joker. omg, bravo mark hammil. I didnt really know just how much he'd be in it before playing, and he is... and gets into some scary, funny, deep stuff in Batman's mind for a great central struggle at those moments. Weirdly, it was like the two were working together....woah. This game had joker at his joker-ist of the whole series, and he wasnt even technically alive!
While the main plot had those highlights, the villian-focused side quests had some great gameplay and plot stuff too. Whether it was penguin's arenas, two-faces bank robberies, the pyg boss fight, or others those were great. less so for hush, but its not a perfect game. But this game is packed with content and truly became open world that the series was inching torwards.
Of course with these, I also play DLC. and focused on the core. There's the solid (ps4 only scarecrow nightmare's offering the boss fight and tripping out that never realy happened in the main game), eh (the harley and red hood "episodes"), and the... great. he most wanted missions for mr.freeze, ras al ghul, killer croc, and mad hatter rivaled their City appearances and realy should have been part of the main game, bringing their storys to close, but short and so sweet.
Oh, the post game ending unlock requirements again....broken grrr, very specific amounts needed and messed up so had to youtube it...still powerful..
At the end of the day, it wasnt a perfect end. But its shiny, fun conten packed, epic....if not as what it could have been as it shoulda been. But a fine ending, and when its good, its quite great. 9.3 out of 10.
Arkham City > Arkham Knight > Arkham Asylum > Arkham Origins, all good times. lets see what hardcore batman games and rocksteady do next someday....

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Brothers Grimsby Review

The Brothers Grimsby
Director: Louis Letterier
Cast Headliners : Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Strong
Original Release Date : March 11th, 2016

 Sacha Baron Cohen excels when he nearly fully makes the movie about his latest wacky character. Whether it was Ali G's love of rap, or Borat/Bruno/General Aladeen's clever yet unique stereotypes his comedy films have been a wonky and ridiculous funny ride through a set of shenanigans in a outside world. The Brothers Grimsby has many of these elements, but not handled the best. But its certainly not ..uneventful and without chuckles.

The latest creation here is Nobby (Sacha Baron Cohen), a British extremely dedicated and extremely dumb soccer hooligan who lives in Grimsby. He's been separated from his brother Sebastian (Mark Strong) since birth, and he randomly runs into him again after many years at the latter
s job.... as a MI6 spy agent. This premise , largely seen in the trailer as will be gotten into later, soon leads to them on a globe trotting adventure.
While Cohen's movies have never exactly had incredible plots, they usually have had slightly more substance than this. The story is weak and generic which serves as a slight canvas to paint Nobby's idiocy against but its mainly there to exist as a place to hold a series of gross and silly jokes. The “outside” world in this film is not the mainstream like the past few films in this “Series” but what could have been interesting is for the most part floating in the background.
What does succeed, one of the few things that do in this film, is the pairing between Nobby and Sebastian. Cohen can sometimes have a good line to cause laughs here, but more than ever is just a bit player in a avalanche of extreme silly. Likewise Strong's Sebastian is pretty suave and charismatic on his own, much like the other British genre characters he no doubt parodies, but when the two brothers are mixed together shenanigans ensure. Their wildly clashing personality types make for some good jokes and there's a warm, albeit lukewarm, comedic chemistry between them which is something that hasn't been seen since Borat and perhaps even improves on that film's duo slightly.
Unfortunately, while its funny to see Sebastian being as grimly serious as he is in this silly comedy, it's less so exciting to see the film's attempts at action scenes. For some reason they are often filmed in the first person, which can be nauseatic besides a brief couple of comedic uses. The visual effects are subpar and attempted cool moments are usually brief or weakly anticlimatic. The same “Why” can be said for the far too many “emotional” flashbacks to the brother's childhood which detract from the mood.
The film gave away most of it moments and laughs in the trailers leading up to its release. There's not much more besides momentary, rarely effective , chuckles from bits involving Nobby's wife Dawn (Rebel Wilson) and 11 meme named kids, Sebastian's spy commander (Ian McShane), philathronpist Rhonda George (Penelope Cruz), or South African maid Banu (Gabourey Sidibe). They are all featured at parts but get lost in a parade of silliness that can't quite find its direction. In fact, Sidibe's sequence is one of the few positively memorable parts as it features Nobby attempting to be a secret agent and adopting a bad Sean Connery accent as cover due to circumstances. It has the film keeping direction on a gag for more than a few moments, and its the better tier for it.
What, for the most part, wasn't shown in the trailers was the typical Cohen levels of grossout and extreme gags that could never appear in any ad. He truly seems to have tried to break past the scale of his past edgy moments , to mixed results. While most are so shocking they can't be forgotten, that's not always a good thing. This movie isn't for a queasy person, or someone expect substance from their gross out parts for that matter. There's a extreme amount of these gags involving sex , disease, and violence. There's more than most comedies and even his past works and such;while some may find these moments extremely humorous their frequency and substitution for what he does best couldn't be exactly called the best approach to how to have made this film. The levels of shock is even to a point in some cases that it even seems to be to the point of parody, but actually... here it is not.

The Brother Grimsby has a lot of problems and is far from Sacha Baron Cohen's best work. However, it is not his worst either. Nobby makes for a decently funny new character, at times, and his interaction with his brother Sebastian is truly decent. There's a few other miscellaneous alright jokes mixed in as well and momentary clever parodies of British and spy tropes. But these bits of good are buried in a lot of extreme muck. But as said, it isn't forgettable. Not entirely for pleasant reasons though. 6.9 out of 10  

10 Cloverfield Lane Review

10 Cloverfield Lane
Director: Dan Trachtenberg 
Cast Headliners : Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman
Original Release Date : March 11th, 2016

             10 Cloverfield Lane is an incredibly interesting situation. The movie, originally seen on release schedules and in the industry as “The Cellar” and “Valencia” seemed to be an original idea about a man trapping someone in a basement. No franchise connections, no supernatural connections, little else knowng besides Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Goodman's involvement. Well in typical fashion of JJ Abrams (producer only here), it was revealed at the last minute to be part of the Cloverfield franchise. But fortunately for it, what that means is very little as its a film that stands very much on its own unique merits for the most part. Compared to the wonky first-person camera and monster movie destruction of that this film is a extremely more contained, better looking, and overall film than that.

The film starts as Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) leaves her partner and life behind to head off into the countryside. The film quickly shifts from dark to shocking as she become involved in a car accident and wakes up locked away in the deep underground cell of Howard (John Goodman) who resides there along with Emmett (John Gallagher Jr). Michelle is terrified and knows little of what's going on, as does the audience. If this situation wasn't tense enough, Howard soon claims that the world has suffered a apocalyptic event and the three of them must now survive in his shelter. But what's unknown is if he's telling the truth.
The movie essentially just has these three character's for its entire duration, which makes for a dramatic, dark, and isolated set of circumstances. Each is strongly defined on their own. MEW does solidly as Michelle, who shows a resourceful and eventually even heroic side over the course of the film as she goes from captive to more. Emmett offers more of a average joe, non-questioning role in this. Their interplay is pretty good, and then things are raised the more Howard is given a chance to “Shine.”
Goodman's Howard is an great , unique, dark presence to the film. It's very much outside of type for him, and he offers a scene chewing role as his crazed conspiracy theorist. He's crazy, loony, fearsome, and creepy all at once. To delve more would give away spoilers that are so key to this experience, but suffice to say Howard is definitely unforgettable and a enigma and foil to the other two residents in the bunker. This film does a much better job at making one care about its characters, whether good or evil, then many in the genre and especially its predecessor. Whether feeling stressed or even the natural and surprising chuckle, it all works solidly.
The scenes and plot progression make for a intense set of possible lies and close calls. The situation seems to change every few moments as more possible truths are revealed and things happen. The pacing makes a pretty delicate blend between dramatic arguments typical of the genre and chances to delve a bit deeper emotionally or humorously. This is aided by solid, and thankfully normal, directing by Dan Trachetnberg. Perhaps one gripe is that even with this new perspective some things remain a bit unclear at times in frenetic sequences, but perhaps that's intentional.
While most of the film is a interesting and creepy descent into a web of lies and human madness, it must be said that a portion of it is very different, from whence it gets the “Cloverfield” in its name. Without revealing specifics, it nearly feels like a different movie and perhaps a bit “tacked on.” But only slightly so, and that's due to its...contents. But it fits into the climatic events around which it occurs and by the point it occurs in the narrative, its a natural and exciting fit.

For a movie with a small set of characters in basically a single location, 10 Cloverfield Lane packs a pretty big punch. It blows away the franchise it is tacked onto, and sets itself as its own identity. From its heroes to its , surprisingly human, scary opposing forces its a solid set of lies and intense situations. 8.1 out of 10