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Stay Alive (2006)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Potential but doesn't deliver, 11 April 2006

The opening twenty minutes of this film unveils a great premise for a horror movie. The sequence is very entertaining, chilling and eerie. Unfortunately, the bad acting and ho-hum script lose your interest shortly after the first introduction to the video game. It then turns into another cliché teen horror flick. The last half hour is mildly suspenseful, but by then we have detached ourselves from the previous momentum. It's too bad.

The storyline revolves around four teenagers who play a video game based on the exploration of Countess Elizabeth Bathory's estate. The countess, a real life Hungarian princess in the 1600's was supposed to have played murderous games involving the sadistic torture of her female servants. She then bathed in their blood to maintain her youthful appearance. The game has the countess stalking the teenagers, murdering them in the video game. They then proceed to die in real life.

The premise falls apart shortly while the acting and script were just put through the motions. Frankie Muniz from Malcolm in the Middle, the only recognizable actor in the cast, was simply terrible as the stereotypical geek. Jon Foster, the lead actor, reveals his abs in a gratuitous mirror scene, but this is the high point of his role. His disturbing childhood makes us wonder why he is not still behind bars. Why his fear of fire is revealed has no significance on the movie at all. Sophia Bush, an obviously beautiful girl, is hidden behind goth makeup which works in other ways because it hides her wooden acting. Samaire Armstrong seems to be the only decent actor out of the bunch, but she is lost in the wretched script. The cops play their usual blundering Hollywood role with cameos to let us know they are still tracking the deaths. The movie could have achieved the same purpose without their appearance at all.

I don't know why these movies are just churned out to appeal to the obvious teen audience. Why not go the extra distance with a great idea and make a real gripping movie? The flick begins to borrow scenes from the Grudge and the Ring instead of going it's own path. I shake my head in bewilderment of wasted potential.

11 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
Simply a great RPG., 10 April 2006

Another fine product from Bioware. The people who brought you the Baldur's Gate series, Icewind Dale and Neverwinter Nights have struck again. In fact the game is remarkably like Neverwinter Nights but excels in so many different areas than it's counterpart. And the fact that it is Star Wars, which has so much more appeal to the regular joe than a D&D game, just adds to the factor.

Let's talk about plot. Yessir, please. This is the greatest plot ever put into an RPG game. The major plot twist ranks up there with the Usual Suspects. To those readers out there who haven't played the game, I am not exaggerating. To you newbies, pay attention to the dialog in the game and the unfolding plot rather than concentrating on the action. You will smile at the coolness of it all when IT occurs.

Not to say the action won't keep you salivating. From the get go, you are thrown into battle with a whole series of choices for your character to make. The character creation is reminiscent of the third edition D&D game, but is still not too overwhelming for a newbie. Plus half the fun is juggling your choices on leveling to see what the outcome might be. This gives it major replay value. If you have a high end computer, sit back and watch in glee as the battles unfold especially aboard the bridge of an Imperial ship. Your character somersaults, twists, turns, ducks as sparks fly when lightsabers crash all while laser blasts criss cross in the background. Great stuff! Another advantage this game has over Neverwinter Nights is the choice of two henchman whom you can level as you please. There are a lot of choices for henchman, each with their own engaging story and quests. Play them all. I am sure you will.

The game has a variety of planets from the Star Wars world to visit on your Millennium Falcon like spaceship, the Ebon Hawk. Visit Kashykk, the jungle like planet of the wookies, the desert world of Dantooine, the waterworld of Manaan or the barren wasteland of Korriban, home of the Sith.It has mini games such as Pod Racing (great fun) and gambling in the cantinas with a game called Pazaak. It has a huge variety of armor, weapons and items. Then there's the lightsaber. You can find various crystals in the game that increase the power of your saber which I found very exciting as my character explored his surroundings. My choice to dual wield made the game that much more fun.

Play this game soon. Immerse yourself in the Star Wars world for at least 24 (maybe more) solid hours of game play. I am sure you will be swept away into the epic of it all and make you cry out for more.

8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Most immersing game ever!, 6 April 2006

To any of the Dungeons and Dragons fans out there who haven't played this game, it is high time you did. This game does for RPG's what Star Wars did for Sci-fi. Cream of the crop. Hands down.

You are thrown into a dungeon at the beginning of the game with nothing but your bare skin. With the help of your longtime friend Imoen, you have to find a way out. Along the way, you find friends, armor, weapons, potions and magic spells. You fight enemies such as golems, goblins and mephits along with a sprinkling of other various D&D monsters. Various puzzles need to be solved, traps disarmed, creatures helped and the character of your tormentor begins to unravel. But what happens after you finally escape the dungeon of your foe is the magic of Shadows of Amn.

Enter into a huge world that is simply overwhelming at first. Inns, shops, quests and enemies lie everywhere in the main sections of the city. Not only that, but as you meet people in your travels, your quest log requires travel outside the city to numerous other sites and towns. Huge!

The characters of your chosen party of six reveal their personalities and specific quests through dialog initiated by them. The sheer number of simultaneous quests that can occur is mind boggling. Not only that, but the huge selection of spells, armor, weapons and items make it a micro manager's dream. Along with the leveling of characters of a wide assortment of classes and races, each with their own perks and drawbacks, you could easily spend up to two to three hundred hours of game-play.

The main quest involves the tracking down of your tormentor, Jon Irenicus, an evil yet charismatic mage of considerable power who has kidnapped your childhood friend, Imoen. However as the story progresses, the reason behind the kidnapping and your destiny unfolds. Along the ride, you will battle dragons, liches, beholders, dark elves, golems, trolls, mind flayers, vampires, mad wizards, demons, sahauguin, thieves, rakasta as well as many other classic monsters from the D&D game. Your travels will include settings such as graveyards, thief-ridden dives, fallen temples, detailed towns, a druid grove, an underwater city and an underdark city of the drow to name a few. The final battle in the beautiful, fallen elven city is just simply spectacular.

How much thought, effort and artistry went into this game is not only to be commended, but to be marveled. I sat there and just shook my head in awe at various points. No game, from the many I have played, from Doom 3 to Diablo had the effect this game had on me. Has to be played to be believed. 15 out of 10 stars.

White Noise (2005/I)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Fantastic Movie!, 29 March 2006

This film reaches out and grabs you from the get-go. We are introduced to John and Anna by a typical family scene as they head off to their respectiive workplaces; John, an archetict and Anna, a successful novelist. What transpires on that day will change John's life forever.

The constant shifting of moods, settings and atmospheres elevates the unfolding plot of this film like a firecracker. There is so much going on it becomes a series of haunting scenes unique to themselves. I am a serious horror/sci fi/fantasy fan and when the TV and voices from beyond start speaking to John, gooseflesh prickled and my hair stood on end. It was the first serious chill I felt from a movie since Regan stared upward at the psychiatrist in the Exorcist.

This movie could have gone in so many directions and opened so many opportunities for sequels, a film director would be salivating. It's unique topic stirred my interest throughout the whole film. No matter what ratings this film receives on the IMDb and from critics, I dare you to sit home alone in the dark by an open window and watch this. Great chills, great acting, great movie...

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