I am an Australian journalism student, currently in his second year. There isn't much out of the ordinary about my upbringing. I'm just a guy wwho has been playing games for quite a while and enjoying them for the most part. My favourite genre is probably the rhythm game genre. Used to be RPGs, but I haven't really connected with any for a while.
I wouldn't consider myself a very theological or philosophical gamer, and I do tire of some of the devates that occure around games. STFUAJPG and all that. That doesn't mean I have nothing to say, just that I'm not the guy you come to for any sort of real opinion on serious gaming issues. My forte is the more spartan, critical stuff, like reviews and lists and what have you. Moost of my blogs have been reviews on game movies at this point, as a matter of fact.
I figure it's time for me to move on to a general film regarding our favourite pastime. Gamer was a big budget movie with seemingly indie promotion, stirring up buzz on a few websites and failing to see widespread for years. Its Tomatometer is very low, in the single digits, I believe. Does it deserve it?
It is the near-ish future, and a man named Ben Castle has brought interactive entertainment to the next level. His two hit games, Slayers, a multiplayer shooter, and Society, a simulation akin to Second Life, have taken the world by storm. Both games rely on a special and unique tecnology, in which players control the bodies of other humans.
But it's okay, because the ones being controlled in Society are "actors", paid volunteers, and the ones being controlled in Slayers are death row inmates who have a chance to get out. If a contestant wins 30 consecutive rounds, the inmate is released. Obviously, this hasn't happened by the start of the movie, but one close to winning is Kable (Gerard Butler).
From then on, it's a conspiracy thriller much in the vein of Equilibrium, where Kable teams up with the Humanz, a group led by Ludacris fighting against the mind control technology Castle may be planning to implement, in order to get his wife and child back from Castle.
Most of the "game" stuff is well implemented. The idea of VR control in massively multiplayer games and a new breed of FPS is an exciting prospect indeed, and they make it seem likely in some manner. They also kind of "get" it, but at the same time, they don't.
For example, they acknowledge what ping is, and it's a sticking point for one of the fights, but the creators don't seem to understand that if ping that cause several seconds of delay in a match exist, it's not professional. Pro gamers work in lagless environments; to have lag in such an event is dumb.
One of the side Slayers also teabags another...or at least that's what the other characters tell us. They got the fact that it's merely crouching repeatedly down, but it looks off, too forced, especially the way his arms are also up in the air and how everyone says, "that guy got teabagged".
While the games front is solid but flawed, there are a lot more problems with the rest of the movie, but chief among them is a lot of the acting. Castle, played by Phillip Michael Hall, or whoever he is (Dexter) acts in a very intrigiung way, miming a blues classic while Kable fights a bunch a goons in his house, but he's not very authentic, which makes it a bit awkward.
The most annoying character is easily John Leguizamo as another con in a similar situation as Kable. He simply does not shut up, constantly muttering to Kable and just being an annoying wad. He doesn't take up a huge part of the film but he certainly leaves a bad taste. There's also a Terminator-alike who's as dull the wit of Brink's AI.
The biggest problem, however, is the pacing. The first half is fairly balanced, having exposition and mystery in between each round of Slayers. However, after that chapter ends, the film moves far too quickply, wrapping up pivotal plot events far too quickly. The mind control mechanic that took Castle years to implement is literally dismantled with one touch screen click. The last 10 minutes finish the movie so fast it's embarassing.
Gamer is fairly ambitious, however. The aesthetic and mood liken to a more gratuitous Blade Runner, although when I say gratuitous I really mean it. The technology is sort of interesting and the overall vibe is quite original.
The pacing is kind of crap, but it's a nice short curio. Certainly not worth all the hate. Mileage will certainly vary, but overall, I enjoyed it and I recommend a rental when you're bored.
Earlier, this happened. For the uninitiated, Micah C(armichael?) was an editor at Blistered Thumbs, a videogame website most notable for housing Angry Joe. Take that as you will.
But Micah's is an interesting one, a certainly very wayward individual in the crazy world of videogame journalism, and I'm bored, so let's take a break from my movie reviewing habits and take a small look at what should have been one of the field's most controversial contributors.
He does not like Jim Sterling very much. Sift through his blog and his Twitter feed and according to him, Jim could do nothing write. He did not know how to play games, how to look at them properly, how to analyse them, how to review games, how to report news (to be fair, I think this is true). Jim's immoral, rude, disgusting. In his final days, he even went for the weight remark. And yet, he contested that he did not hate Jim and may have grown to like him if they had ever met in person.
Micah was a proud man; very proud; and as you can see, excessively so. He claimed to not hold a grudge against anyone, and yet ceaselessly reported on Jim; I asked what he thought of the Mario Kart 7 review and he, like the rest of the idiots, thought there was a problem. He claimed that facets of a game were objective and inarguable, yet called Deadly Premonition a game with a bad story, which makes it clear he didn't play through the whole thing before judging it, something he hates. This indie reporter asked us not to be surprised when he "called us out" for certain things he deemed wrong.
There was something about his passion that became alluring to me over time, as well as his pure difference to everyone else out there, which makes him similar to Jim. He certainly held himself on a pedestal, and I get the feeling he had some contempt for a few of his fellow writers. One of the names is absent in the final farewell, though this may just be due to forgetfulness, which sadly isn't unwarranted; Shaun Kromwell is not very prolific as a writer, and he's a brony.
As for Micah's writings and opinions himself...
He professes that he tries to write completely objective reviews, and puts out indisputable scores, yet he awarded Dragon Age 2 his number 3 spot on his GOTY list and wrote what I consider to be a very skewed review on MW3. Whether or not his logic has basis in reality, I think we all agree that Dragon Age 2 was not wholly received very well. Critics and regular gamers alike gave it mixed reviews. It doesn't matter who was right. The point is that with something this inunanimous (is this a real word?), claiming to have the final word is downright insulting. People scorned his review for obvious reasons, and he didn't take all of it lying down.
As for Modern Warfare 3, I think if you read the review, you might have the same thoughts I did, that this seems like more of a way to stir up attention. He stated later that if he was being completely personal, the game would have received a 2. If we're playing by his "objective guidelines" book, a 2 would implying completely broken mechanics and no fun at all. And I realise he didn't actually give it a 2, and had no intention, but it still seems a bit sensationalist if you ask me. I almost felt like he was judging the community and wanted to get back at them.
Ah, yes. His major design philosophy to his work. I made a short remark about this in one of my comments on another community blog about objectivity, but I basically said there that player experiences and expectations are too different for anyone to claim to have all the answers. Trying to write for an audience wider than yourself is a noble goal, but you cannot possibly reach everyone. It's a fool's errand.
So why did he walk away from the game entirely? Did he grow disillusioned with all that was wrong with this field, much like Ben Paddon moving on about a week ago? His final tumblr post hints that there was pressure from his friend, who may indeed be Paddon asking Micah to follow in his footsteps. It also potentially hints that it was less than amicable, that talking about it would lead to some "big internet drama". But I can't really imagine this going on with anyone at Blistered Thumbs, unless Shaun did something bad enough to be left off the farewell list. But I highly doubt this. Shaun is a docile and inoffensive person.
Did he simply get pissed off enough at Sterling's antics to think that the whole field could never come back from his corruption (my hyperbolic interpretation of his thoughts, not mine)? Only two men know the answer, I think, and that's Micah and God.
Well, he's religious. I don't have much of a stance.
To wherever Micah may go, I don't think I will hear from him formally again, unless I become really invested in MMA. There was a lot of questionability regarding Micah, and yet...my heart aches for his passing. He was passionate, interesting, different, a cut above the rest. If this blog seems excessively negative towards him, know that I do like him all things considered. He tried, dammit. He cared and he tried.
Straight-to-DVD tie-ins to coincide with upcoming hyped material are nothing new. Degeneration was released some time before Resi 5 to get people excited for it, and if it turned out to actually be good, all the better, eh? So how did it fare?
Set between Resi 4 and 5, the movie's first half deals with Claire Redfield and a bunch of other survivors, including refugees from biological warfare, being besieged in an airport after a T-Virus loaded aircraft plunges into the building. Trapped, she then calls upon help, which comes in the form of, alongside some militia types, Leon Kennedy.
This first half, although timid in nature, is not bad. It's zombie horror-ish enough, and no worse than some of the other zombies coming out at that time (Diary Of The Dead? What?). It gets by on fan service rather than actually being a good movie, as it's way too tame to have any tension, and the writing's as blunt as anything Anderson's movies ever put out, but at least it's inoffensive.
It's also worth mentioning the 3D animation that is the entirety of the film. It's not bad, but you can see the numbers running the machines sometimes. The lip-synching is pretty terrible, though this may be due to the English dubbing coming off an engine designed for Japanese voices. The faces emote fairly well, and it supports the action scenes well.
The second half? Distinctly different in form. The rest of it is essentially Leon, Claire and one of the militia members, Angela Miller, going around trying to find out why this and why pharmaceutical company WilPharma failed to step in and help those infected with the T-Virus. The movie at this point is very slow-paced.
I personally think it feeds enough interesting narrative points on a regular basis to not get boring, and the Resident Evil canon is interesting enough, especially considering as it has a pretty good link to Resident Evil 5, which was a big deal at the time. I presume this movie's sequel, Damnation, will have something similar when it arrives sometime this year.
I also like some of the plot points in particular. The villain is a tragic one, similar to that of William Birkin, and with characters holding similar sympathies towards him.
However, far from the first half, there's no action until the last 20 or so minutes, in which there's some light zombie-ing as well as a fight between a tyrant and Leon, which looks like something that could have been in Resident Evil 4. Maybe in the upcoming game.
The action is pulled off pretty well, although it clearly signifies that the old, plodding ways of the older games were way gone in favour of the overblown antics of 4 and 5, which is a lot of why 5 didn't do so well over the years, critically speaking.
So yeah, fair to say that if you take this film too seriously, you might not enjoy it. And yet, if you don't, the deliberate storytelling might have you feeling bored long before the end of the film. I don't know. I like it, but I understand the hate all too well, and I have a feeling that this film will not hold up well at all come Resi's sooner-than-you-think 20th anniversary.
Still, credit where it's due; they got the voice actor of Leon from Resident Evil 4 back, despite the fact he was absolutely terrible and everyone knew it.
And with that, we are done with Resident Evil, until the next few films are released of course. Thank God!
So after two movies away from the director's chair, Paul hopped back in for Afterlife. Maybe he was tired of the movies he was writing getting critically panned and figured maybe he could recapture his glory days of at least making watchable films.
SPOILERS: He doesn't.
Afterlife kind of kicks off where Extinction left off, with Alice's clone army raiding an Umbrella facility and kicking all kinds of ass, before Wesker strips the original of her superpowers in one feel swoop (way to play it up then take it all away with little payoff, by the way) and Alice, along with an amnesiac Claire Redfield, meets up with a bunch of nobodies, as well as Chris Redfield (don't worry, it doesn't go much places) in a police station in a non-arid city overrun by the walking dead. The rest of the film is an effort to escape as well as to ultimately find Wesker and the rest of those captured by Umbrella.
Hang on, there are a lot of zombies, but what happened to the T-Virus drying up all the water? Did the writers realise how stupid that was and rewrite that? No, that would be giving them too much credit. For you see, Afterlife comes complete with the dull dialogue and narrative you've come to expect since the beginning of the franchise.
Again, why should you care about these people who are barely in it long enough to be rote roles? Some of the ways these people die quickly are stunning, like the movie wanted to hand the actors their paychecks and shove them out the door. The worst one is one Asian bloke getting smashed by the executioner Majini as made famous by Resident Evil 5's first level. Of course they would highlight that, because at this point, the Resi movies are only for plebs. God, I feel dirty saying that.
The action? There hasn't been this much gratuitous slow-motion since the Matrix trilogy, with the fight with the executioner in the shower room being embarassing indeed. Everywhere else, some fake special effects are used in place of practical ones to really hammer home the feeling that there was no craft to this movie, just a lust for money.
There isn't a lot to say about this movie, because there's almost nothing to it. The first half hour is so slow compared to the rest of the film, but that just makes it boring. The film does not improve by that point, however. It merely changes the way in which it sucks.
Really, the only noteworthy things to mention are the incredibly deliberate cliffhanger and a "homage" to the stupid bit of the first film, in which Alice kicks a giant shard of glass (which does not shatter when hit) into a dog's gaping jaw. I wasn't really mad at that point, just tired of the bullshit.
That sums up this movie well; I've expended all my energy hating this franchise in its earlier entries that I have few feelings regarding this one beside a desire to simply see it disappear forever.
And stop using A Perfect Circle so much: Keenan doesn't even want that much attention, let alone deserve it.
"You bitch. You dropped my baby", said the bum-like woman as she held a shotgun to another woman completely devoid of emotion.
Must I go on?
Some time after the events of Apocalypse, the T-Virus has spread across the globe, turning much of the US (or the world...I forgot) into an arid wasteland where everyone dresses in rags and scavenges in order to survive. And there's a woman who uses shotguns on a motorbike again. And she has a dog by the name of K-Mart following her around. And now whoever directed Mad Max has a viable ligitation case.
Much of the movie is Alice, Carlos from the last movie, someone named after Claire Redfield but actually has none of her character traits, the aforementioned K-Mart who isn't actually a dog in the physical sense and some other no-names wandering around a movie set in Nevada, presumably, first merely trying to survive and then trying to escape from Umbrella who is tracking Alice.
I gotta admit, a lot of the actual sequence of events in this movie has since slipped from my mind, but let's just say that the utter retardation factor of the last movie has been ramped up yet again. Alice's superpowers, more than just enhanced speed and strength, turn out to be psychic powers allowing her to bend fire or something. Really, what were the writers thinking when they put that in there?
Y'know, forget about the links to the game, tenous and near non-existent as they are at this point, this is just a bad movie. The story starts ripping off Mad Max and then rehashes the first movie all over again, but even worse than that was pulled off.
The characters are completely forgettable, the action scenes are too fake and drag on for too long, the set design is ugly and repetitive...I don't see how people can really like this movie on any level, even on a slocky tongue-in-cheek one. This just stinks of shoddy workmanship across the board.
One of the last few scenes of the movie is Carlos sacrificing himself, blowing up a truck to decimate a large number of zombies so the rest can escape. His final action is lighting a cigarette as zombies crawl into the truck. It's not that cool, it's just corny and lame and stupid and gay (the derogatory one, not the sexual tendencies one, and I only say that because this is a hot topic at the moment kind of).
The climax of the film involves a clone of Alice killing a poorly designed tyrant with lasers, exactly like one of the deaths in the first film, before Alice calls up Wesker and the rest of Umbrella's directors telling them that she's coming with an army of clones to kill them.
I mean, this plot is full of holes and just general silliness that I can scarcely believe this really exists. Again, I think even Uwe Boll would be embarrased. At least he tries to shoehorn direct references to the games in. It never works, and you can tell he's a poser because of it, but Goddamn, he tries! This is almost as bad as Transformers 2.
I do not say that lightly.
I realise this was a poor review, but this movie frustrates me whenever I think about it. Crappy concept, crappy execution...
And we've still got one more sequel to go, and eventually one after that!
The first film had a very mixed reception, but seemed to draw enough action, horror and game fans to being in enough money and demand to start work on the sequel straight away. Paul Anderson, however, retired to the writer's chair and left direction to Alexander Witt, a prominent director of photography in the film industry. That should already give you an idea on what this film is going to focus on.
Starting right from where the last film left off, Alice (Milla Jovovich) wakes up within an Umbrella lab, discovers that the T-Virus had bonded with her and given her special powers, and stumbles outside into a ruined Raccoon City. She then takes a shotgun and cop car and moseys forth to kick some ass.
Meanwhile, elsewhere, the city has been cordoned off by Umbrella and soon outright decides to seal its inhabitants inside and the hordes of zombies with them. However, soon enough, one of the executives cuts a deal with Alice, Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory), some STARS members and external mercenaries in which he promises them safe passage out of the city in exchange for finding his daughter.
In essence, Apocalypse is a weird retcon of Resi 3, for the first half of the film anyway. It involves pretty much all of the characters within that game, including the mercenaries and even Nemesis. Yes, one of the plot points at the end of the last film was that one of Alice's friends was turned into what we know as Nemesis. At this point, most of us were thinking, "could've been cool. Nice way to introduce dubious moral choices, "do I want to kill what was once my friend" and all that". Yeah...more on that soon.
Most of the actual design is faithful and fine, with about as much gore as was in the last film. The zombies still look good, as do the lickers, and despite taking away his eyes, Nemesis is even pulled off pretty well.
There's little actually spectacular about the film, including the acting, which is as dull as ever, and the pacing's a bit wonky, but it's not terrible or WTF-y much. That is, except for one point in the first half and the entirety of the second.
You could pinpoint the precise moment at which you lose all hope in this series, and that's when Alice burst through a church window with dual shotguns on a motorbike. It's not even that cool in a stupidly hilarious kind of way. It's just insulting. But it gets worse.
I personally threw up my hands in disgust when Alice and Nemesis are challenged to a one-on-one fistfight. Why? This is completely antithetical to the standards of the game or the standards of...well, fucking anything. Nemesis only ever had orders to eliminate all members of STARS; he wouldn't up and do an organised karate match with anyone.
And then, he "remembers" which side he works for and start blowing up the bad guys before getting killed himself, which is meant to be emotional, but the taste of bullshit still in my mouth just eliminated any chance of that.
So our band of heroes, plus the daughter, get away in a helicopter which unfortunately inspires a scene from Modern Warfare 1, and Alice is subsequently captured from the wreckage, waking up weeks later on the set of Alien: Resurrection. It's clear that she's been experimented on once more, as she's lost her memory.
But haha, that was a ruse and she fights her way out of the building to be picked up by the remaining sidekicks. It's then implied that Alice is either a robot or under some form of technological mind control and the film ends on a cliffhanger that will awkwardly transition into nothing in the next film.
Got all that? I don't think my jaw could have been open any wider than in that sequence of events. No tie-in has been this disgraceful. I think even Uwe Boll would have been appaled at the amount of shoehorned mystique in the latter half of the film. It's tolerable up to that point, but utterly garbage past that?
None of those are even the true low points of this franchise. Buckle up, kids. It's going to be a bumpy ride.