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About
Hi,
Names Matt Razak and I'm just a gamer with a Wii and a 360 and PS3. I'm also really, really, really, ridiculously good looking and a ninja...and humble. I'm the Editor and Chief at Flixist.


Things I've Done or Am Doing

Front Paged
Music In Gaming
What is a Hero?: Sonic
Good Idea, Bad Idea: Casual Gaming
What No More Heroes Really Means
Social Activism in Gaming
Educate Yourself - Castlevania
Start of the Affair
What is a Hero?: Lara Croft
Wii Fit Review

Recognizing Your Gaming Journalist
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Drinks Ron Workman Can't Handle
Metroid Mojito
Mario Mudslide, The Super Punch Out, Princess Peach Schnapps
Pikachu Punch, Triforce Triple
DK Daquiri, Yoshi Jager, Mother Brain Drain (MBD)
Rocks on the Scotch, Bowser Bad Ass

Interviews With Famous People
Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright
Richard Shepard
Michael Davis
Jason Schwartzman

What Happened?
The First
My Favorite One
To be continued...?
Obviously there are tons more, but I'm not linking them all.

Interesting Walls of Text
Gaming Journalsim
How do we discuss games as art?
MAGFest
My Great Concern



What is a Hero?
Introduction
Link
Solid Snake
Mario
Samus
Master Chief

Educate Yourself
Kid Icarus
Kid Icarus Final Impressions
Splatterhouse
Splatterhouse Final Impressions
Fall Out

Badges
Following (48)  




Hi, Matthew Razak here (for those who don't remember Cowzilla3). I've come over to Destructoid from Flixist for this post to use my film expertise to let you know some important information: the dog is going to die. 

Don't get attached to him/her, it will not make it to the end of the game. When someone points out their dog in any medium and then routinely uses the word emotional directly after it that dog is going to effing die. It will probably save your life, sadly whimper as it lays its head in your lap, look up at you one last time, and then die. 

Don't worry. I haven't ruined anything. You're still going to cry. See there's something weird in humans where we can mow down eleven million people in a videogame or watch it in a movie and we're fine. Then one animal dies and BAM, we're on the floor in a ball sobbing uncontrollably while we wonder where we left our childhood blanket as having it is the only possible way we're ever going to feel comfort again.

It's not going to be pretty, but now you've been warned.
Photo









It appears that at some point tomorrow when you turn on your Xbox you're going to see a few improvements and changes. The folks out there who have early Kinect games and have thus been locked out of Xbox Live have received messages that come tomorrow they won't be anymore as the Fall update for the dashboard is going through.

The message stated, ""On November 1, 2010, there will be a mandatory service update to Xbox Live. This update will both add new features to your service and also enhance the interface, navigation, and responsiveness of Xbox Live," the email reads."

Thos updates won't just let Kinect games work on Live, but also bring us ESPN3, an Avatar refresh and a new voice codec for chat. Exciting times, indeed. I haven't changed my Avatar in ages so maybe tomorrow will be a good excuse to do that.

Xbox Live Fall Dashboard update coming November 1 [Joystiq]
It appears that at some point tomorrow when you turn on your Xbox you're going to see a few improvements and changes. The folks out there who have early Kinect games and have thus been locked out of Xbox Live have received messages that come tomorrow they won't be anymore as the Fall update for the dashboard is going through. The message stated, ""On November 1, 2010, there will be a mandatory service update to Xbox Live. This update will both add new features to your service and also enhance the interface, navigation, and responsiveness of Xbox Live," the email reads." Thos updates won't just let Kinect games work on Live, but also bring us ESPN3, an Avatar refresh and a new voice codec for chat. Exciting times, indeed. I haven't changed my Avatar in ages so maybe tomorrow will be a good excuse to do that. Xbox Live Fall Dashboard update coming November 1 [Joystiq]








For some reason my computer logged me in as Cowzilla so this Monday Review is coming at you from the angry banana once again.



Getting dragged to hell ain't so bad

A little while ago someone asked me what recent horror movie I had actually been scared at and I was hard pressed to give an answer. Everything I could think of was just a muddle of bad remakes and PG-13 teen targeted films. Sure I had had fun at the likes of My Bloody Valentine 3D, but it wasn't horror like horror should be done. Now, thanks to Drag Me to Hell, I have my answer for at least the next two years as Hollywood is going to be hard pressed to deliver another movie in the horror genre that does everything so well.

I must admit I had my serious doubts when I heard Sam Raimi's return to horror was going to be PG-13 and trailers made it appear like more of the same teenie-bopper horror that plagues the genre these days. Spider-Man 3 was only so-so, maybe Raimi had lost his touch. How could I have doubted? Drag Me to Hell is Raimi at his slapstick, gory, over-the-top best and if we aren't going to get an Evil Dead 4 than at least we'll get the next best thing.

It's hard to know where to start with what the film does right, since almost everything in the movie is horrortastic. So let us start with something most people might not even notice: sound design. Raimi is a master of sound. If Drag Me to Hell doesn't convince you, just watch the Evil Dead films and see what he did with a 16mm camera and no budget at all. He and composer Christopher Young have created one of the best horror scores in ages, perfectly accenting every jump and scare and jarring you into scares or laughter (depending on what Raimi is going for) with each and every sound effect. It's a lost art in most horror films who settle for piercing violins at the wrong moment and don't realize how truly creepy sound editing can be.

Moving away from film nerdiness, Drag Me to Hell really does have everything. It's scary, funny, gross, tense and only rated PG-13. I would have never expected the man who literally coated the screen in blood for three movies straight to be the one to show everyone how horror can be done and done well with no more blood than a heavy (and I mean heavy) nose bleed. But the movie doesn't stop at just being good at scaring you, it's classic Raimi who has always been heavily influenced by horror films, yes, but also by slapstick comedy like The Three Stooges. He has literally made an art form out of mixing the too, and while Alison Lohman is nowhere near as fun to watch on screen getting covered in every color of slim imaginable as Bruce Campbell is, she delivers solidly on the B-Grade experience.

In fact that might be one of the best parts about the film. Lohman, and the rest of the cast get it. They're not on screen trying to act overly serious about the evil gypsy woman who has put a curse on Christine Brown (Lohman); they're there to have fun and make sure you do to. It sounds strange to applaud B-Grade acting, but that's exactly what works so well in the film and a unique characteristic that Raimi seems to be able to pull out of all of the actors he works with -- when he wants it of course.

I could literally gush on for pages about the slanted angles, dead pan gags and jump out of your seat moments that hit every 15 minutes or so. It's easy to ask why so many horror movies are so bad. Ponder why no one seems to really make good scares anymore. But Drag Me to Hell is the answer to that question too: it's damn hard and it takes a ton of talent. Thankfully Raimi hasn't lost any of it as Drag Me to Hell is sure to go down into the annals of horror movie history where it will be routinely watched by college students, horror geeks and anyone who wants to understand how great horror (or even comedy) is made.

Easter Egg: See if you can spot the plethora of tributes to the Evil Dead series throughout the film. Some a pretty darn subtle, others not so much.

(I would enjoy it greatly if you showed me the money)








Go watch 'Watchmen'



Wow.

It's hard to know where to start when one is this impressed with a film. Do I begin with how Watchmen the graphic novel's epic storyline is beautifully and fantastically condensed into a film, or do I note how perfect and wonderful the casting of almost every character is. Maybe I start by applauding Zack Snyder for making a truly adult "comic book" movie or simply bring up the fact that Watchmen the movie is just plain fun to watch.

For the uninitiated (and you should be ashamed of yourself) Watchmen is the greatest graphic novel ever. That isn't hyperbole I'm using, it's a fact. The graphic novel, written by the legendary Alan Moore, has been heralded as the birthplace of the modern comic book and was the only graphic novel to make it onto Time's 100 greatest English-language novels. Needless to say adapting Watchmen to the big screen was not something easily done, and is sure to bring heavy scrutiny from the most ardent of fans.

It's not just the heavy fan scrutiny that makes adapting Watchmen difficult. The book itself is far more about what and who superheroes are than action and fights. Taking place in an alternate 1980's where Nixon is now a five time president and nuclear war is only being stopped by the fact that the US has a god-like superhero on their side in Doctor Manhattan, the comic and film dive into American culture, war, love, morality and violence far more often than they do traditional comic book themes of good vs. evil. Following the murder of a retired hero (all of the heroes in Watchmen are just normal men and women except for Doctor Manhattan) a few now outlawed heroes kick back into action to find out who is behind his death. At it's heart the story is a pretty simple murder case, but the characters and themes are so much more that the comic and film move far beyond that.

What is so impressive about the film is that it captures those same themes and ideals and translates them perfectly too the screen. Of course it helps that Snyder has the uncanny ability to make iconic images from the comic come to life and that much of the screenplay is simply the comic word for word, but it also must be said that in lesser hands this approach would have easily fallen flat on his face. You know it hasn't though the second The Comedian (Jeffery Dean Morgan) gets thrown out of his window by an unknown assailant. At that moment, as the glass shatters around him just like in the graphic novel, you will know that you're in for one exceptional comic book movie.

It also helps that the filmmakers chose actors that could actually pull off their characters instead of big names. Jack Earle Haley is especially good as the slightly psychotic anti-hero Rorschach who spews philosophy on life as much as he does catchy one liners. The only character who seemed out of place was Malin Akerman who took on the role of Silk Spectre. It's refreshing to see a cast of actors that fit perfectly into character and can handle their roles, especially in a film where every detail is going to be picked over. The great thing is every detail is there. Even the Outer Limits, an episode of which is said to have influenced the Watchmen story, gets a little nod. It's clear Snyder knows his subject and knows its fans.

For those of you who aren't fans, or have maybe only read the graphic novel once (a challenging feat) the film might not be as memorable. It is made far better by the fact that you know the story behind it. The multiple story lines and emotions that can't fit into the film are there if you know the graphic novel, but might be missed otherwise. Snyder's religious devotion to the comic book's pages will make those that are not familiar with it a bit standoffish most. It's much more of an addendum to the source material than a replacement of any sort.

The film stands up as entertaining too, though. Of course the story is fantastic to begin with, but Snyder has also infused it with enough action that you never really get bored despite the film being over two hours. It's all classic slow-mo/speed-up Snyder action too, and it still looks damn cool. However, returning to those fanboys of the comic, the action never feels forced or out of place in the grand scheme of the story. Snyder clearly knew what he was doing.

There's about a hundred years of hype behind this film, and at some point someone is going to come out of it disappointed by something. That's fine and dandy, but it isn't me. Snyder has captured the beauty, intelligence and grace of one of the greatest graphic novels of all time and some how managed to put it on the screen. So yes, it was hard to know where to start this review, but I know exactly how to finish it.

Wow.








If you don't know why this is called Monday Review, it's OK. It's old school.

Street Fighter misses legendary, kicks OK in the face



Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li is not the movie Street Fighter fans have been clamoring for, but that is mostly because Street Fighter fans haven't really been clamoring for a movie. The fighting game franchise doesn't really demand a film adaptation, but despite that we now have two. 14 years ago [/i]Street Fighter[/i] was a campy Jean-Claude Van Damme vehicle and also sadly the last role of the legendary Raul Julia, now it's a franchise starting, kung-fu flick with a focus on bringing the over-the-top fighting game franchise some what down to earth.

One of the reasons The Legend of Chun-Li isn't the theoretical film Street Fighter fans have been looking forward to is the fact that it isn't about the Street Fighter competition that all the games are about. Instead it follows the path of Chun-Li (Kristin Kreuk), the massively thighed female character from the games, whose father is kidnapped by Bison (Neal McDonough) and his henchman Balrog (Michael Clarke Duncan) in order to allow Bison to take over the slums of Hong Kong and Bangkok. It's never really explained how her father does this, but you just sort of roll with it. Chun-Li must then ditch her wealthy life and train with Gen (Neil Shau, of American B-Grade kung-fu movie fame) so that she will btree able to defeat the mythically powered Bison in battle and take out both Balrog and Vega.

Fans of the fighting series will recognize all these names and those who have never played the games won't really care as you don't need to be a fan to easily understand who the bad guys are and who is on the side of right. Also on the side of right are Interpol and the Bangkok police who Charlie Nash (Chris Klein) leads. This sub plot is completely and totally useless in the film and features no characters from the game. In fact the entire story could have been removed, saving us all from Klein's god awful performance and allowing the filmmakers to put a few more fights in quite easily.



The fights in the film are surprisingly well done, with just the right amount of real stuff, wire work and CGI thrown in to actually make you enjoy them. I was pleasantly surprised when the first fight broke out and it was actually well directed and paced. Most American films of this grade have no idea how to handle their fight scenes, but Street Fighter flowed along very well. That might be because, to the film's credit, it is all shot on location in both Hong Kong and Bangkok. Taking a look at the crew on the film it's easy to see that the solid fight scenes come from the fact that a large chunk of the crew was actually from the Hong Kong film industry, where I think we can all safely agree they know how to make kung-fu flicks. And yes, Chun-Li does pull off all her well known moves from the game, and despite Ryu not making and appearance a few fireballs are even thrown (he's not the only one who can "hydoken" you know).

It is clear however that Kreuk is not a fighter. Her fight scenes are far more edited than everyone else to make it look like she's a smooth and skillful kung-fu master, but it's pretty clear she isn't. Why the filmmakers chose to go with a non-fighting, non-Asian, nobody instead of fighting, Asian nobody is still a mystery to me. Kreuk is a very pretty girl, but she feels a bit out of place in the film and is clearly outclassed by McDonough, the only person that seems to get what kind of film he's in and plays it well. Of course its not that hard to be the best actor in a film where Duncan basically spills out one-liners and Shau is your nearest competition to a reputable actor. Seriously, I was desperate to convince myself that Klein was indeed some other actor that had never been on screen before his performance was so bad.

However, in a film like The Legend of Chun-Li, we don't look for good acting or a deep interesting plot, even if the film seems to think it has both when it doesn't. We look for solid fights and enough of a story to justify said fights. In that section the movie delivers pretty well. It's good to see that the franchise, and trust me we'll be seeing more Street Fighter movies, is in capable hands. Let's just hope that when Ryu shows up they realize that the ten seconds of back story we get in the game is around the same amount of time we want to spend watching it in a Street Fighter movie -- bring on the hydokens, man!

(Originally posted on Examiner.com








I've learned so much tonight, now I want to help others learn:

1. I'm on Rotten Tomatoes. It happened a month or so ago and is pretty much the most awesome thing ever. It's strange that the thing that really validates you as a film critic to a lot of people is being on that site. Some people I talk with don't take me seriously until I mention that and then they go, "Oh, so you're a real film critic!" I'm also a member of the Washington Area Film Critics Association.

2. I fell of a cliff when I was younger and broke my wrist. It still pops sometimes.

3. I coached a crew team in the Washington DC area. One practice it got so windy that we had to emergency dock one shell and the other filled with water and started sinking. The cops had to come and get it and then me and the other coach had to tow it back to the nearest boathouse and pump the water out of it. This was also the day after New Years so I was hung over and not dressed properly for being soaking wet. It is still the worst day ever, but not because of being wet and cold but because I had 14 kids lives in my hands and had to pretend I wasn't in just a much of a panic as they were.

4. I've been bungee jumping off of the second highest bungee jump in the world. It's in New Zealand and it was the scariest thing ever. I hate heights. My friends tell me the guy counted down from three five times before I jumped, but I seriously only heard the last one. Once you jump though...woh.

5. I've scuba dived the Great Barrier Reef, hiked the Great Wall of China and gotten drunk beyond belief in Paris. (I was trying to think of a third thing that began with great that I've done but as nothing came to me figured heavy drinking would do).

6. I can make my tongue into a W.

7. I can't sing and I can't dance, but that doesn't stop me from repeatedly trying too. See basically any footage Blindside has of me to confirm this. On second thought, don't.

8. I don't enjoy gaming online with others that much. I like having my friends around me when I'm playing, but when I hop online I feel awkward and out of place. Thus my serious lack of FNF time. It also doesn't help that I'm terribly middle of the road at gaming. I beat most games through persistence, not skill.

9. I'm pretty much unemployed of my own free will as I quit my job to concentrate more on writing movie reviews and blogging. I did this about three weeks before the economy really crashed with the intent of getting a job about two months ago. It's become a bit harder now, especially if I want to write somewhere like a newspaper. However, I would make the same decision over again because it has let me do something I love and I got to meet Hamza because of it.

10. I met my best friends in college in Australia. All three of us did JYA there, but had no idea who each other were. Then one night I bumped into one of them on a street corner in Sydney without even meaning too. I called him the wrong name for a week because I thought he was another guy. He sort of new the other guy was around. That night we ended up going to a strip club with a woman we are pretty sure was a hooker and her gay friend. I had to travel to the other side of the planet to find two people who literally lived five minutes away from me.