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Outlast (2014) (VG)
Overstays its welcome... and needed to be longer!, 22 May 2015
7/10

You are Miles Upshur(Baichoo, panicking as we do), a freelance journalist who goes into the infamous, old Mount Massive Asylum, long abandoned but recently reopened, supposedly for charity, to discover the truth behind it, which includes former Nazis and bizarre experiments. Some call it weird – I disagree, it's based in Norse myth, including Germanic folklore, and explores evil... what it really is, who is to blame for it, and how to fight it. Immediately after going in, he wants to leave again... and a reporter in a dangerous place is hardly original. A bunch of the notes that detail the background and events is teenage-y and swear-filled, rather than composed the way you'd expect from someone in his field... some of that goes for the reports written by doctors and such, which, at the least, is often casual: not professional! I find the contrast of awful undertakings and a detached, objective or, perhaps, gleeful, writings regarding it much more hard-hitting... then again, this is not keen on having more than one note, or speed, and if or once you get into it, you won't want it to. It's a roller-coaster, which does wind up taking too much time... meanwhile, I didn't want it to end! Make more of these! And I'll be closely watching what these guys do next... hopefully spiritual successors in place of sequels. This took me 4 hours, and I know some did it in half that time. If I redo it, I could probably reach that. With few achievements, in spite of its four difficulty settings, it being challenging on the easiest, this doesn't have very much replay value.

You find the place to hold many patients, and some doctors, spread chaotically over it, all screwed up physically and mentally by the deeply disturbing treatments, based on the real, early, inhuman attempts at treating insanity, they were subjected to – to an extent, they look mostly normal, physically, albeit scarred, with skin that looks partially burned, and sometimes missing, or having mechanically replaced, body parts. It's how aware, awake and violent they are, that differentiate them from you and each other... some of them harmless, some of them want to hurt you but are securely behind bars(albeit you may have to go where they are... and once you do, they're gone... they'll come back. You're on their turf now), in a padded cell or the like... but you *will* be hunted by the homicidal ones. Some are on-going, you find yourself attacked by some of the same ones, albeit mainly Chris Walker. I found him by far not the most compelling one, by his of the numerous creepy designs or grisly characterization... a hulking sadist with claw-like fingertips. And they all are, or were, completely human...!

The parkour offers both fun and intense chases and carefully moving around the dilapidated, and still falling apart, with the floor collapsing under you. It remains credible for a normal person in OK shape, no wall-running, etc. FPP parkour was terrible in Mirror's Edge, but this does it right: you can tell what you'll be doing when you interact with something you're traversing, where you're going, when fast-paced it doesn't start and stop, and you can tell how close you are to an edge when jumping. It helps that missing it will only cost you a second or two, it won't mean automatically dying if you can make up the time or the like. It *does* happen that you'll walk off the edge rather than go onto the small ledge that you have to carefully walk along. I haven't died from that fall... come to think of it, the only thing that seems to kill me in this are the reasonably programmed AI. You run with camera out, you don't have to put it away, even quickly, making the question of how you manage to not drop it when running, jumping and the like not even the most prudent question to ask: it's how you manage to keep it out and level while you run, crawl through vents, vault, slide through a small, vertical slip and the like. It appears the only time you put it away is when hanging from a ledge(yes, even when you walk on it can you have it out... somehow), climbing ladders(so situations where you for sure have no hands free) and when you fall far, this has you then pick it up, and it's just as capable of surviving long drops as you.

This is similar to "found footage" movies like REC and Paranormal Activity. Why this hasn't been done more is a mystery – this kind of thing is begging to be made: go from the feeling of "putting us right there" to genuinely accomplishing that. You're documenting everything(well, your choice of whether or not to see this almost exclusively through the viewfinder, but it doesn't impair you to do so, and makes a lot of sense to do), your mission of finding out what's really going on taking on greater importance. What you are seeing isn't just for you, it needs to be revealed to the world.

You have a night vision option for use in the many unlit sections, and it is the only thing you have that can be used for that. This means that you can't "direct it" like you might a lamp, but have to get closer than you want to, and that it doesn't give you away, since it's a filter, and doesn't actually give off any light. This means you can spy on enemies and have a temporary advantage, as long as you're close, and avoid being in the direction they're going... It's the only way you spend batteries, which must be scavenged and replaced over time. Controls are fairly intuitive.

This is extremely gory, brutal and disturbing. It also contains a lot of male nudity, including full frontal. I recommend this to anyone who is intrigued by it. 7/10

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
The Goddess Must Be Crazy, 5 May 2015
8/10

It's 2055. Only women have survived the final, and biggest, war. We see a small farming community which also has teachers, and into this comes the other gender's extreme, thus contrasting and exploring their differences, strengths, weaknesses: a military man, Major Jason Mercer(Keith, charming, determined) with working knowledge of engines and such awakens from 40 years of cryo-freeze. Different villagers react to him in distinct ways: one falls in love and wants to know more, one is completely against him, an elder one is reminded of her fiancé, etc. But what will become of him? Can it even work, having such a group suddenly take in an outsider, simultaneously demonized and the subject of many imagined, distant scenarios?

This hits just the right balance. The conflict is neither cheesy nor vague. No one is purely the ideal they might be expected to be, every character has depth and is well-acted. And this doesn't off-handedly choose either side, rather, we see that a middle-ground may be the best solution, when this Bechdel-test-winner-by-design easily could have preached. Is more will-power needed in trade? Can his suggestions aid, or break, their ways... peaceful, yet marred by hardship? The storytelling and pace are swift: within mere minutes, the high concept(which could have come off as silly and contrived) is set up, then explained well without the exposition bogging things down(yes, sperm-banks). I was left to wonder why the pronunciation of only certain words had changed somewhat. There is tension, even some action in this. This is one of only episodes I've watched of either version of The Outer Limits, but, like the others, it fosters a desire to seek out more.

There is some disturbing content, sensuality and sexuality, as well as a little female nudity from behind(in the totally necessary and not gratuitous co-ed shower scene). I recommend this to any fan of science- and speculative, fiction. 8/10

Opera in the streets, 1 May 2015
7/10

You play as Luis(D'Leon, with attitude and professionalism), a Latino and the ex-con bodyguard/business partner/platonic friend/the guy who does the dirty work of Gay Tony(not Stark, though they do look alike; Kenner, with the two having an old married couple, bickering, relationship) who owns several nightclubs. He has become something of a junkie and letting the business suffer. So he, among others, loans money from the wrong people, and you have to clean up, work off debts and take out the garbage of the wealthy. Others keep mispronouncing your name(Lou, Lewis, etc.), often on purpose. Willing to kill if you have to, you don't really want to or seek it out. You start out in the bank heist, though you do, accomplish, and contribute, zilch, nada, nothing. Along the way, you will deal with the same stolen goods and the like, including, yup, those same diamonds. We again have the lead show up somewhere the other two did, and this time, you're on the opposing side, so you fully appreciate what happened, and, thankfully, you're not just doing the exact same thing(third time's not the charm).

This has essentially no famous actors, opting for more distinct characters and voices, and the casting is good all-round. Your mother is hard on you, strong, passionate and complicated relationships between family members. You'll work for Yusuf(Djalili, a powerful Arab in love with hip-hop culture, keeps using the N-word), who, as pointed out by another character, "wants what he can't buy": he likes to have you steal military vehicles and shoot your way back out. In general, this sends a lot, at least a dozen or two, of police, some Homeland, helicopters at you, which you're well-equipped enough to take out. Brucie(Adams, roided up) constantly doing martial arts and/or physical exercising, every second. We now meet his older brother, Mori(Gurner, who is clearly where a lot of his self-esteem issues come from). You'll deal with the Russian mafia, and can meet optional minor characters. They will talk about their current situation, comment on recent events, etc. And you may be double-crossed, and change sides over the course of this.

MP remains the best part. It's just about the only way this challenges you. Almost everything you could hope for is there. While some of that goes for a lot of recent titles, this is one MP that is as chaotic, open and crazy! The guns especially work for this, with people blowing up and plowing down each other. It does feels out of place how much heavy weaponry this puts in your hands, with explosive bullets, an LMG, etc. Maybe they were worried about competing with Just Cause, Saints Row and the like – thus, they compromised their product. This comes with a server list! With filters, at that! Ranked Matches can be found, albeit few are on these days, regardless. There's also, at the time I submit this, been about two weeks straight of issues with the RSC, which keeps us off. Nevertheless, I've had few issues with it or the GFWL – others have had many, and it'll also crash. Customizing is limited to appearance, with only a handful of options, and through their combination, a bunch of choices. Modes are cut down to the bare minimum, and we're left with a more basic experience.

Less atmosphere than San Andreas which is in general better than this small and grey city. That is even more visible now that it's supposed to be glamorous. Sure, there is bright glitz in some areas, yet, it does feel out of place: Vice City delivers properly on that front. That had the help of being an entirely different setting, and one has to wonder why they tried to pull this off, given what they had to work with. The hard rock remains, as well… Like the others, this has a separate identity, which is: ethnic nobody with a record in the socialite world that he doesn't belong in. At first I didn't think I'd get into it, then, as usual, I very much did. Liberty City is based on New York, with three main islands. Bronx is Bohan, Brooklyn called Broker, Manhattan now Algonquin and Queens renamed Dukes. There is still too much of going from close to one end of the islands to the other – even if this is credible, it's annoying.

You have two friends who have stayed in the lower area they all grew up, and won't accept your offers to get them jobs in the upper class. The three of you can engage in Drug Wars: you'll all drive to a certain spot and: hijack a transport possibly in motion or take money possibly first having to ice the guy handing over the money. These gradually increases in challenge, though you aren't getting closer to some ultimate goal, since you're ripping off others', not establishing yourselves. Every 10 won unlock a new addition to your arsenal. They try to talk with you during it, but you insist they focus, perhaps because they keep going over the same lines, and either it's an attempt to prevent us from noticing by keeping them short, or they find that as annoying as we do… seriously, why not just not have them talk every few times, instead of the same lines several times. They argue, with lots of gay jokes. You can all hang out together, the two of them are just about inseparable, and one offers discounts on hardware from his van that he'll park nearby, the other will steal and deliver cars.

A number of things from the 4th game have been addressed, some improved, or even fixed. Unfortunately, the core frustrations remain: too slow movement, that in part ruins the ill-conceived cover system, tedious shootouts and repetitive gameplay.

There is a lot of strong language, bloody violence, sexuality and disturbing content in this. I recommend this only for those dedicated to trying everything in the franchise. 7/10

9 out of 31 people found the following review useful:
As intelligent, nuanced and, yes, awesome, as its titular villain, 23 April 2015
10/10

Everything seems to be settled for the team, making room for more infighting as this goes for psychological thriller in their individual nightmares being forced to the surface. Each of them have their own drama and interpersonal relationships, all effective and compelling, yet incredibly well-balanced with the near-constant humor and huge, creative and unforgettable action as this doesn't take itself too seriously. A certain genius creates a powerful A.I., failing to realize that this is based on a comic book, so, duh, it's going to Sky-Net on them, and this manages to avoid feeling cliché. Ultron(Spader, in the unusual, for him, not-perverted role, but intensely creepy nonetheless) is the first bad guy in the MCU(did I mention this is the best one yet?) to be as compelling as Loki.

This somehow manages to be both jam-packed with detail yet not overwhelming, deliver on an incredible amount of the dense, and well-utilized continuity, and, somehow, actually allow newcomers in. I kid you not, you can go into this completely blind. Sure, you'll have to pay close attention, but it's doable, and where "Guardians" told and did not show, this does the opposite, spending little time explaining, and rather just letting us see how everything and everyone works. Everything you need to know to follow it is in there – think Star Trek, as you watch, you'll understand more and more, and it doesn't really throw anything you can't at all follow at you until you've seen a lot to set it up for the payoff… and yet, it doesn't feel constrained by that. This delivers from frame 1: we start in the middle of a major attack! A ton has happened between movies, and we quickly pick up on it, and this establishes, develops and uses every element, be it big or small.

There is a lot of disturbing content and, mostly mild, violence, a little of it genuinely getting nightmarish and inching close to an R… and yes, the language does occasionally get strong, and the film teases the MPAA by pointing out the amount and where that line is drawn. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys going to the theater, albeit the 3D is entirely optional. 10/10

Tyrian (1995) (VG)
Fancy, 6 April 2015
8/10

It's the future. Like, by a lot. You are Trent Hawkins, a pilot with skill in terraforming and scouting out habitable locations. Well, that's the idea. In this, you make things go boom. All the time. There's a detailed plot about who wants what and such. And I refer you to the sentence before about that. Along the way, you'll be contacted by Star Trek: The Next Generation-style aliens(facial prosthetics, mainly humanoid, not that outlandish… as far as you see, at least) and even ninjas(!). Yes, this is partially comedic, what with cartoon-like artwork, the plentiful silly dialog and content. This includes a sweet letter from your mom, ads for working camps to send your kids, and tourist attractions that may maim or kill – however, they do offer quick hospital transport and attention, and good burial options. Heck, you may get to use a food item in an… unusual manner. It isn't always Earthworm Jim status in the non-serious material, as far as how strange or funny it is. Some of it can get disturbing for kids. The graphics are great, very detailed and, like most of the what we get here, varied.

I will be comparing this to Raptor: Call of the Shadows throughout, since they are from the same time and I am especially familiar with that. We have arcade-style vertical scrolling shooters, and in this, the speed will occasionally increase temporarily, upside down(!), and/or it'll fly backwards, then let you fly ahead, then backwards, etc. It's very much set in outer space, sometimes you're close to the surface of a planet, inside an asteroid belt, etc. The temperature may go to extreme heat or cold. You can place yourself anywhere on the screen, and it will move at the same pace regardless – but the further towards the top, the less chance of adjusting for the next thing that you approach! At the same time, something may come at you from behind… These are mostly fast-paced, memorizable and present a variety of enemies – flying, fixed, some on rails: you have to dodge them and their fire(and tell it apart from your own), as well as some buildings/other physical obstacles that may be destroyed. A problem is that, especially at first, it's tough to tell these apart, and include with that pickups(in that, they have glint), and sometimes even completely passable terrain/go under/over. In that, in general it's easier to tell if something is safe, neutral or dangerous. There are bosses, which, unlike most of the rest of the foes, cannot be avoided, have to be killed, and when you've done so, you'll have completed the level. They have a health bar and unique attacks. There are many occurrences of stationary and/or indestructible obstacles. Sometimes, controls are slow to respond.

Before your starship is destroyed it must take enough damage to exhaust several points of shields (which in this regenerate over time. In contrast to that, which never do, though you can buy multiple of, and repair inbetween) and armor(which you can find rare repairs for. And when it's low, you hear an obnoxious siren telling you so – a big help, d'you know that?). The music is catchy, electronic, energetic and, here, light. There are 3 difficulty settings and 3 hidden ones, and this is challenging on Easy… in fact, this starts in that where that leaves off, more or less. Before a level, if you picked up Data, you may be able to read warnings about your next level, what enemies and the like. Part of what makes this so hard is surprises that are likely to get to you the first time, and other unfair elements.

You can save any time before or after any level. It also automatically does so after, so you can replay it(which, along with loading, is the only way to play it except starting over and working your way back up to it. Unlike that, you can't choose which of the five episodes to go for the next one in – there, if you want to try one of those, it'll let you try the one you got up to last time you played that one. In this, if you want to play any of them you aren't currently, you'll be going back to the beginning with none of what you've earned. Completing one lets you start on the next without losing anything. When you complete this game in full, it lets you can redo #1 with all you've gotten, and play through these again. This took me 5 and a half hours.

There is a lot of replayability in the additional modes… Timed, two Super ones and Arcade: find, not purchase, what you need – this is where you can play two, as well, be it via modem or local, since this supports keyboard, mouse and joystick, and you'll have different vessels, that can even be combined into one, where you either man a turret or the whole thing at once. Heck, there are minigames to unlock! Ones based on Scorched Earth, Galaxian, one with bouncing threats to clear and avoid touching.

You independently buy a different machine, your generator that'll keep your energy high and upgrade/get new of all four weapons: Front(forward arcs) and Rear(wider coverage with sides, backwards, or, alternately, back-up) linked to the same button albeit they can be different types, and up to two external pods(Sidekicks: powerful low ammo ones for when things get hairy, charged ones, or even ones that can split/reattach when you want them to, or simply additional force… they can't be broken. You will sometimes wish you could set it to them all going off at the same time) with their own ones. The three last mentioned are optional, and thus, a place to scavenge more funds. These include, yet aren't limited to, multi-directional cannons, lightning guns, beam lasers, heavy missiles, and homing bombs.

I recommend this to any fan of the subgenre. 8/10

"Dexter" (2006)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
They put something in the water, 25 March 2015
8/10

Miami, Florida. There are a lot of people doing very evil things. And when they slip through the cracks of the legal system, that's where our titular lead(C. Hall, subtle, meticulous), and his Code, comes in. He investigates them to ensure he doesn't off anyone innocent. Drugs them and wakes them back up in a secluded room. They, and the room, are taped down with plastic – no DNA evidence left behind. With photos, he ensures their victims will be the very last thing they see, before he bludgeons or stabs them. Up close and personal. Not the noise and distance of a gun, or the "soft", almost indirect way of poison. No, he wants to feel it. If there's an ironic or poetic way or place to take them out, he'll find it. And he saves a blood slide from each of them: a trophy. Dismembered and dumped off the Bay, no one knows about it. Murder. It's one heck of a way to make a living.

Of course, he wasn't always like this. Actually, OK, he totally was. But as awful as this side of him is, he does try to channel it so it might help. Of course, in my opinion, it's not "terminate people who do wrong" that solves problems with people's criminal behavior. It's social issues, making sure everyone can get by without resorting to crime: wages for poor people that allow them to thrive, education for everyone, etc. That would greatly limit how many criminals there would be, and then the police could focus all their energy on just them. This does explore whether it's justice or a need, revenge. And there's, of course, the element of it being a power fantasy.

Before landing the blow, he may have a short conversation with his target. After all, they share some similarities… both have intentionally slaughtered other people, and more than once – except for some of the rapists and the like. How do they deal with this or that? What choices have they made, and were they happy before their current predicament? And the serial killers herein, the many different types of what this calls monsters(I feel that only actions can be terrible, people may have the option to either do them or not, no one is inherently wicked) are explored in great detail – this is, at its core, a psychological thriller.

Learning the craft took years, and a mentor. That's where his adoptive father Harry(Remar, the weight of such responsibility, coupled with the hope for the better) comes in. The hero cop crafted the ruleset that I've mentioned above. He died before this is set, living on in Dexter's mind, this shown via both actors interacting, which we realize is only what is imagined to be taking place. Every major decision is "discussed" with him, and he'll argue, show pride, express disappointment, etc. How long should we follow our parents' guidance? Where do we set the line, what is a healthy way of rebelling?

Thus, his stepsister, Debra(Carpenter, nervous in spite of competency), got the short end of the dad's attention-stick. It pushed her to join the force, and she now fights to get into Homicide, from Vice. One of the only women in a male-dominated field, she's masculine, and tries but fails to hide her insecurities, indecisiveness, and her deep emotions… usually with an obscene, pun intended, amount of swearing, which can get awkward, and feel like they had a quota to fill. The two of them together is sweet, always looking out for each other. She's the closest he has to a human connection.

His girlfriend, Rita(Benz, scared, not pathetic) is scarred. Figuratively speaking. Her ex, who left her with two kids, that she takes great care of, is an abusive junkie. She isn't comfortable with intimacy, which is how he prefers it – he's wary of letting people in, thinking they won't want the real him. With just a little mishandling, she could have been very frustrating. If she had been continuously stuck in her pain, someone for others to help with no end in sight, that's not really something we want to see. And that's not what we got. She has stories of her own. As does almost every regular in this, many of them found in the department, some of whom will change rank over the years, their families strained by the job and the like. This is stock-full of dynamic, detailed characters and their interpersonal relationships, that grow and develop over time. Every performance is compelling.

This is tense, dramatic, addictive, binge-inducing and crazy fast-paced, a ton happens in a short space of time, without it being exhausting or feeling forced. This is almost always good, it's even better when its stuff that relates to the whole season(each of which is a chapter in the overall plot. 1 and 4 are amazing, 2 and 3 are great, 5-8 are good, but skippable. And the finale is only OK), and it's at its best when it's to the entire show. A lot is communicated in little time. Scenes "turn", someone loving turns out to be a psycho or vice versa. Still, this doesn't rely too heavily on fake-outs, twists or the like. The production values are high. This goes into what "normal" is, whether or not it's possible to have a fulfilling life while secretly engaging in destructive behavior, among other themes. Can it be controlled? Could anyone accept it? Can it remain hidden?

In addition to what I've already noted, there is a lot of brutal, bloody, disturbing and violent content in this. That makes sense given the nature of this. What does not always, and gets unpleasant, is the many prostitutes, strip clubs, and general nudity and sexualization, including of the deceased(!), and the many fridges full of girls, not treated as individuals, rather, there to get sympathy. I recommend this to anyone attracted by the subject matter. 8/10

Strong opening, 20 March 2015
7/10

Set around the time of the Original Trilogy, the evil Galactic Empire is working on a project that might win them the war. Battle robots, power armor and jet packs. You have to gradually uncover how and where, and you'll blow up a number of the facilities to cripple their production. The future of the New Republic rests on your shoulders. Are you up to it?

You take on the role of the Han Solo-ish Kyle Katarn(Jameson, smooth, charming), a mercenary working for the Rebel Alliance. Along the way, you will be flown to and from(sometimes in-engine!) the many, memorable and varied locations(including a Mars-like planet, one made up of ice where you can use Cleats for traction, the big city of Coruscant… and a prison where you'll have to free and rescue a spy who's been sentenced to execution!) by the even snarkier Jan Ors(Eccles, pragmatic, but does care about him), your pilot. You used to work for the other side, and thus have inside information, and the two of you met before this starts. She gives briefings, and is a role model for girls, albeit you may still have to rescue her, a mainstay for the series, most of which is solid. Various familiar faces, places and occurrences will pop up, and it's one of the ways this does get fan-servicey. It doesn't quite detract from how this captures the Star Wars feel, look and sound in every aspect, one of the only exceptions being a brief voice-over. We open with a text crawl, there are MIDI versions of the John Williams music, and everything this has that is original to it fits.

Among the 20 types of enemies(including some Boss ones) you'll fight are Stormtroopers, officers of different rank and color uniform, ceiling turrets, and, for some reason, those bipedal pigs from VI, and droids: Scouts(from start of V), practice(Luke blindfolded) and Interrogation… even a one-eyed snake! Get your mind out of…wait… no, get your mind into the gutter, they live in waste. It's the one from the trash compactor. There's also the three-eyed, orange alien. You do combat almost purely these soldiers, not yet scavengers or Cantina-style scum. There's even Mouse Bots! And I swear, they're leading you to where you need to go to progress and the like – I kept hoping I'd come across some digital cheese to repay it with. This gives you equipment vital to your success: The head lamp and infra-red goggles let you see in dark rooms. The too specific and rarely used air mask that protects the player from areas with toxic atmosphere, and one I've described above. Many inventory items run on batteries which can be found. Save them up! You may need more than you expect. Same goes for ammo, shield, health… there are some plot-forwarding cut-scenes, where everyone looks like real people, although limited animation at any given point, they stand still and talk, maybe turn to face each other, point to something, etc.

Other than aforementioned attributes and it not being horror, this is similar to the first two Doom and Quake titles. It is not a mere clone: unusual to FPS' of the time there are multiple floors, duck, jump, swim(not underwater, on the surface), and the ability to look up and down. For that last one, you do use keys, and this does, today, take getting used to, but once you have, you find it's Organa-ic, it's comfortable. This all allows greater complexity, and levels can contain, and be, real mazes. You have to watch carefully, press tons of switches in the innumerable secret bases and the like. This is aided greatly by the optional map overlay that fills out as you go, which can also be fully accessed, along with objectives, percentage of discovered secrets, etc. Unfortunately, this has sluggish, slippery and uncomfortable controls, and this makes the, for the time, mandatory, jumping puzzles more frustrating than they need to be. In general, this can get too tough. It has three difficulty settings and is, as it should be, challenging on Easy. You choose before, and can look up the highest won of, any individual mission(this auto-saves between them, you can't do so during them) from the Level Selector, which appears when you start up and any time you abort. This has a profile system. You "activate" completing when you're ready to, so can look around before doing so. The extra lives make perfect sense here, giving you another chance, with the same stats and re-spawning close to where you died.

You have 10 weapons, several of them cool and offering alternate fire. Blaster pistol, powerful ones, assault rifles, SMG's some of which have a secondary fire that's like a shotgun, etc. Leia threatens to use a Thermal Detonator, once, and each entry in this medium has its own interpretation of how great the threat was: in this series, essentially a regular hand-grenade. Battlefront: a small to medium-sized explosion. In the licensed Episode I game, it's a freaking' small nuke! In this, you can have them explode on contact or have a short fuse. You can set mines like that, for proximity – and look out for those of others! Blow up foes, they'll fly into the air a little! Same for beating them with your fists! Actually, those are too effective considering the rest of this, it's like with its contemporaries, mêlée is crazy, in those other ones, that makes sense. You can stunlock others. There is no co-op or multi-player. This is only 9 hours long, and there is relatively limited re-playability. Where Jedi Knight 2 has a little bit of not-very-good stealth, this one warns you of such yet doesn't deliver. This gets the obligatory sewer out of the way early. The graphics and sound are immersive and good for the time.

There is a lot of mild violence and some disturbing content in this. I recommend this to any fan of the franchise. 7/10

About what you'd expect, 14 March 2015
7/10

Pat(Cooper, the barely repressed anger of other of his performances) with bipolar disorder is released from psychiatric care and moves back with his parents. He can't get along with anyone, until he meets Tiffany(Lawrence, confident, using sex to avoid her emotions, amazing as usual. Solid chemistry between the two. She alone is worth watching this for. It would be nice if the role wasn't still a manic pixie dream girl), and they can share about each other's issues, and examine their relationships with each other. She offers to help him get back with his ex-wife if he enters a dance competition with her. But will they develop feelings for each other?

I'm told there are differences from the novel, I have not read it. There are themes of dark and light, looking on the bright side. The ending really doesn't work, both as a sort of climax and the note it ends on. It became clear as this progressed that that's where it was going. Still, this does show, somewhat realistically, people who need help, and portray them as human beings. There are jokes about it, and there's drama with it, and they also get to be more than a diagnosis, have things going on that aren't about their issues. This is filmed in an interesting way.

There is a lot of strong language, violence including some bloody, and a bit of sexuality, as well as a little nudity, in this. I recommend this to fans of romantic comedies. 7/10

Byzantium (2012)
Epic sounding title, 11 March 2015
7/10

Moving from one small town to the next, to keep their secret, they have run out of new places to go. Vampire mother/daughter have a contrasting view on their situation, and their having to remain hid from The Brotherhood that feel no female should exist, or turn someone else. Clara(Arterton, manipulative, seductive until cornered, looking amazing, giving a phenomenal performance) accepts it and tries to make things work. Her daughter Eleanor(Ronan, yearning to take charge of her life, compelling) has trouble dealing with it, and wants to let someone else in. This does lead to her being frustratingly honest, where she'll instantly tell a complete stranger about her nature – we don't believe for a second that they wouldn't be found out, that she would keep doing it given what it would lead to, and that her mom would accept it, given that it is the one rule they live by. They take over a hotel and turn it into a brothel, but even with their low profile… is time running out for them?

Briefly to give my thoughts on Jordan's "Interview": gorgeous, Dunst is amazing, Pitt is too annoyingly passive for my tastes. This is sort of a opposite-gendered take on that – where that is theatrical and masculine, this is modern and feminist. Sex work goes from a curse to a strength, and we see that people working in the field, as well as their customers, can, yet don't have to be, abusive. It is distracting, and slightly uncomfortable, how consistently Gemma is made to look hot, including when she's in great pain. This has few consequences. There sadly isn't that much plot here… it's mostly backstory and character study, and the flashbacks providing the former are presented gradually and out of order, to keep you wondering. It can be confusing, and it can help to take notes and perhaps going for a second viewing. I was never bored, though the opening and ending being action scenes helped. This is more of a drama than the Gothic horror it evokes.

There is a lot of blood, gore, and some strong language in this. I recommend this to any fan of tales concerning the creatures of the night. 7/10

Chappie (2015)
15 out of 27 people found the following review useful:
Mixed, 6 March 2015
7/10

As may really happen soon(and this is set in the not too distant future, somewhere in time…), and yet goes completely unexamined(and it's not the only compelling concept it fails to do much with), humanoid robots, Scouts(or, y'know, Homeland), largely replace regular police. One falls into the hands of a rather unlikable and one-note trio of criminals whose protagonist status is trying our patience, because of the former, not the latter. Chappie(Copley, sweet and charming, doing both well-integrated motion-capture and voice-work) is granted consciousness, and this innocent, childlike(yet rather powerful, able to kick through brick walls like it's nothing) being deals with different influences and goes through the range of human emotions with us finding ourselves touched, cheering him on, or scared… for or of him.

Blomkamp delivers on both his good and bad tropes, and we end up with something in some ways better than Elysium, and it is thankfully less simplistic, mainstream and ridiculously one-sided, left-leaning(and I say that as a major Liberal). There are major problems with the characters. Moore(Jackman's mullet being as badass a presence as usual – yet here, we're afraid of who he'll hurt and how, instead of hoping he'll get there soon and get one of the really bad people that way), a former soldier who's… Christian? Or is that a joke…? Anyway, he's built a remote-controlled mech suit which is completely overkill for crime fighting(which may be satire of the recent militarization of such) which has been turned down. He has fun, and we vicariously enjoy the taste of the scenery. The other names are wasted, Weaver in particular. And that leaves us with earlier-mentioned obnoxious ones.

The action, whilst largely free of cool guns(don't get me wrong, the various bullet delivery systems on display, especially with how tricked out they are, are badass) is great. The ending and the opening are from different movies – to each other and to this one. Unpredictable and fast-paced to the point where it forgets its own plot threads… the entire climax feels tailored and sacrifices scope in the name of focus, when a few rewrites could have addressed that much better. I do get a bad feeling that Neill is running out of ideas. With all the similarities between his three films, he almost should have pulled a Sin City and placed them all within the same universe.

There is a lot of brutal, violent and disturbing content, as well as a little sexuality and full frontal female nudity(because it can) in this. I recommend this to fans of the subgenre. 7/10


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