Monthly Archives: June 2011

2011 Summer Movie Reviews- The Catch Up Edition

Summer movie season is almost halfway over and I have fallen way behind on reviewing everything I have been to see. So I will give all eight of them a mini review and hopefully my two cents will help you a bit. There haven’t been any ground shaking movies yet this summer like Inception was last year but so far the crop has been pretty good.

Fast Five

Why did i kind of like this movie? I had never really cared that much for the Fast series before. Maybe it is my man love of Dwayne Johnson or (wo)man love of Jordanna Brewster. I believe it was the fact that they got away from the street car culture which I have never and will never care about and made a heist movie on steroids.

Score: 7.5/10

Thor

Marvel continues to cultivate their lesser known characters into box office gold. Thor was a big chance for Marvel with it being the first comic story that dove into the fantasy realm of comics. The movie turned out better than I could have hoped and while Chris Hemsworth was a very worthy choice for the god of thunder it was Tom Hiddleston that stole the show as Loki.

Score: 8.0/10

Bridesmaids

A chick Hangover? Sounds good on paper but would it translate to the screen? Short answer is…..absolutely!! There is no doubt that this is Kristen Wiig’s movie but the entire cast is so pitch perfect that she doesn’t have to carry the film. Dirty without being overly raunchy which is hard to do.

Score: 8.0/10

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

As big of a Pirates fan as I am I can easily say that At World’s End was way too long and bloated for it’s own good. Plus by the midway point of the second film I had grew to hate Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley’s characters. On Stranger Tides brings back a bit of fun that was missing from the second and third films. I wouldn’t mind if fifteen minutes or so were trimmed off of it but I had fun watching Jack Sparrow again.

Score: 7.5/10

The Hangover Part 2

Let’s just be honest. This wasn’t a true sequel, it was more of a retelling of the first movie just in Thailand instead of Vegas. That being said i still laughed my a** off the entire time. That in itself is saying something. So in actuality it ended up being exactly what I thought it would be, not as good as the original but funny still.

7.5/10

X-Men: First Class

Thank you Matthew Vaughn for getting the wretched thought of X-Men 3 and Wolverine out of my head. I knew when he was hired on to direct the prequel that I would not have to worry about the fallen X franchise anymore. The reason Bryan Singer’s first two X films worked was that they were character driven and not just CG demos with no heart. That is why First Class is so awesome, it builds the movie around characters and lets the story take over. (P.S. Michael Fassbender is a complete bada**)

Score: 9/10

 

Super 8

For the second time JJ Abrams has wowed me with his summer offering. His homage to Steven Spielberg’s E.T. and Close Encounters captures the wonder that I felt when I watched both of those movies as a child. The casting is perfect and it is not often that we get a truly heartfelt movie in the middle of summer but Super 8 succeeds easily with it.

Score: 8.5/10

 

Green Lantern

You know what critics? Suck my nuts. Really. Cause I had fun with Green Lantern. Was it as good as First Class? Heck no. But I refuse to live inĀ  world where Green Lantern is reviewed as badly as Ghost Rider. The script is a bit weak but Ryan Reynolds works with it. Crap on it all you want to but I enjoyed GL and wouldn’t mind a sequel with the battle royal of Hal versus Sinestro.

Score: 7/10

 

Like I said the early batch of movies have been pretty strong. Of course that may change in a few weeks when Transformers hits…..we will just have to wait and see.

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E3 2011 Wrap Up

And just like that it was over….

E3 2011 was just as much fun as I thought it would be. Systems revealed and named, one of the strongest game lineups ever and booth babes galore! Now comes the hard part…..the waiting. Especially for the amazing games that we already know are coming out in 2012 like Mass Effect 3 and Kingdoms of Amalur.
So while we wait I thought I would give you my list of the games and news that stole the show in my humble opinion. Let’s begin shall we?

Best Of Show- Skyrim (PS3, 360)

When Bethesda reported that they stopped clocking the game at 300 hours I almost wet myself. It looks like they have kept everything we loved about Oblivion and improved everything we did not and gone balls to the wall with a game of such an epic size I don’t know how to even wrap my head around 100% completing it.

Best Press Conference- Sony

I would have thought Nintendo would be primed to steal the show but Sony took the reigns and never looked back. They brought the exclusives (Uncharted, Resistance, Sly Cooper, Twisted Metal), sold me on the PSVita with a competitive price to the 3DS and appeared genuinely humbled by the infamous PSN outage. Well played Sony.

Best Surprise- Sly Cooper 4 (PS3)

We all knew it would happen. Eventually Sly would be making his way to the PS3 and here it is!!

Worst Surprise- Nintendo Kicking Me In The Nuts With The Wii U

Maybe I expected too much. Maybe like many video game fans had hoped this would be the hardcore Nintendo system we’ve been waiting on. Dreams of cool names ran through my head. Would it be the Stream or something sweeter like when the Wii was known as Revolution. Then the announcement came, the Wii U. What? What the hell is that? Is Nintendo opening a college I had no idea about? Now don’t get me wrong since the announcement I have become intrigued by the controller and possible (I stress possible) uses for it. The system looks powerful enough but tech demos are not a game. Who knows? I may end up buying a Wii U in the end but the pain of the full frontal crotch kick from the press conference still stings.

Best PS3 Game- Uncharted 3

Can Naughty Dog do no wrong? This game is one of the prettiest games and were still five months from release. Just like Uncharted 2 was leaps and bounds above the first, I expect this to eclipse the second in the same way.

Best 360 Game- Gears of War 3

It all comes down to this. On September 20 we will find out the fate of Marcus Fenix and Delta Squad with Epic’s……well epic trilogy. Not only that but add in the fact that multiplayer will have it’s own dedicated servers and the new and improved Horde Mode looks nothing short of amazing and you can see that Epic is throwing everything they can at us.

 

Best Wii Game- Zelda: Skyward Sword

What else would it be? Dance Dance Revolution 2? The Wii had a crap year so of course this would be the game. Looks a bit brighter than Twilight Princess and it uses the Wii Motion Plus well from the look of it.

 

Most Anticipated- Mass Effect 3

One of the best thing to come out of E3 was we finally got a release date for Mass Effect 3. And while March 6, 2012 may be a bit longer than I thought it will be well worth the wait. I have not looked forward to seeing how a video game story comes to a close more than with Mass Effect. I’ve spent four years developing a character and relationships through two games and can not wait to see how all of it plays out in the end.

 

Best Trailer- Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

 

Best Demo For Something That Doesn’t Exist Yet- Zelda HD (Wii U)

I know, I know I gave my two cents earlier about the Wii U but I also said that the more I see the more I sort of, kind of like it. It just wasn’t what I was expecting. But this Zelda HD demo was a good early glimpse of what could be in our Nintendo futures.

 

There was so much to take in this week that I am still trying to process it. So many good games to look forward to that it makes my wallet cringe. Another amazing show. What was your highlight of this years E3? Let me know!

Next……Comic Con 2011!!!

L.A. Noire Review

 

Rockstar Games are the undisputed leaders of open world games. With Grand Theft Auto (which I am honstly not that big a fan of) and last year’s amazing Red Dead Redemption the company has left their mark on video games. Now they have one upped themselves again with L.A. Noire, a game that is as ambitious as they come, even if the ending did fall a little flat for me.

You play the game (mostly) as Cole Phelps a war hero that has joined the L.A.P.D. looking to make his mark in a department full of cops that are not on the up and up. There are 21 cases spread over five department desks. You start out as a patrol officer and as you progress you will join vice, traffic, homicide and arson.

Now this is a Rockstar game so you know that there are lots of side missions to keep you busy. You can take calls from dispatch for a variety of things that almost always boil down to a shootout or a car chase (but that’s not a bad thing), find hidden vehicles or just do like I did and try to get in all 95 different cars in the game.

The reason why L.A. Noire took forever and a day to develop is the new facial scan technology that has been implemented in the game. It truly is impressive when you first begin to interrogate people or investigate witnesses. You have to read people’s expressions and choose between truth, doubt or lie but don’t worry too much about reading people wrong. One of the beautiful things about this game is that even if you completely suck at questioning a suspect there is always a way around to get you back on the right track. You could get all questions correct and be given the information you need or you could get zero or one right but still draw a name or location out of a suspect. It just means a little extra time in trying to solve the case you are on but there is always a way. I love it. There is not only a Path A but a B and a C as well.

As far as the control scheme goes if you have played GTA or Red Dead then you will feel pretty much at home here. The same cover system from both those games returns here but to my pleasant surprise the driving is very manageable. From my little experience with the GTA series I always found the driving to be too loose and overly sensitive but here I found no problems whatsoever. Whether going through high speed chases or just driving around town I always felt in complete control of my vehicle.

If I had a complaint with the game it would be with the pacing of the story. During the game you get to see flashbacks of Phelps’ war days and how he got to be the hero everyone thought him to be. These are all well and good and help with the overall story arc that involves a housing conspiracy and government issue morphine. It all ties together but sometimes I found myself interviewing one of my old platoon without truly knowing our back story, all I knew was that we had served together. Later on I would see a flashback of what happened in the war between us which would have helped me in knowing why we had animosity towards each and therefore changed how I questioned him. A small complaint, yes, but it still irked me.

I loved the middle part of the game when you are trying to bring the infamous Black Dahlia murder to justice. It is a great bit of gaming with plenty of classic whodunits. Maybe that is why the ending left me wanting a little. I so loved the middle of the game that when I finally got to the endgame it just didn’t peak my attention as much as it should have. The story does tie together well but in the end when the credits rolled I had a feeling of disappointment that the ending did not catch me.

That is not to say this game is not great. It is an incredible gaming experience. The facial scan tech used for this game should change the way we play games in the future. It recreates 1940’s L.A. perfectly in look and feeling. The controls are solid and I loved like 90% of the story so I can easily recommend this to any gamer out there.

Score: 9/10

 

Halo 4 Teaser Trailer.

 

You didn’t think Microsoft would leave their cash cow floating in space did you? Of course with Bungie split from Microsoft the game falls to 343 Industries. No pressure boys. None at all.

 

 

Brothers In Arms: Furious Four. It’s Like Basterds Minus Brad Pitt

 

This isn’t so much an homage to Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds as much as a copy of it, just without Lt. Aldo Raine spitting out very bad Sling Blade-like Italian hello’s. The BIA series has always held a strategic element to it so I don’t know how or if that will be retained in this new Nazi killing venture. Enjoy the video and bonjourno.

Bioshock Infinite E3 2011 Trailer

 

Bioshock Infinite continues to wow me every time I see it. I was not a big fan of Bioshock 2 after absolutely falling head over heels for the first one. I have high hopes again now that Ken Levine is back from the first one heading up this new vision of Bioshock. The floating city of Columbia looks like it will completely envelope you much like Rapture did in the original.

 

 

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations Trailer May Be Best In Show

 

I know what your thinking. Another November, another Assassin’s Creed game. But unlike Guitar Hero the AC games keep getting better and better. This one will end the Ezio trilogy of the game. The preview is three minutes of old, grizzled looking Ezio showing folks why he is the A-1 assassin bada**. This is a beautiful trailer and is my favorite of the show so far.

 

 

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary

 

Guess what? Halo turns ten this year. So how to celebrate? Why by remaking the first game of course. It does surprise me how almost bad the first Halo game looks ten years later when you see the remastered stuff. But you always remember games how they looked to you when you played them instead of compared to now.

 

 

Starfox 64 3D Trailer

 

Fox McCloud and his roving band of muppets in Arwings are back. I wonder when Nintendo will get around to giving Starfox fans a true new game? Don’t get me wrong I love some Starfox 64 and do want to see what this remake will be like on the 3DS but a new game is a long time coming.

 

 

Paper Mario 3DS Trailer

 

It looks like a Nintendo morning so far. And here is the beginning of a few 3DS games that should make owners happy that they made it through the launch lineup and summer without selling their system back. I loved Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door on Gamecube so I am ready for this new paper adventure.