Red Yawn

Red DawnDamn you Hollywood and your remakes.

Tensions are high between the U.S. and North Korea when an attack breaks that tension. North Korea has invaded American soil and Red Dawn follows the plight of group of freedom fighters in the Pacific Northwest. Two brothers flee to the woods with some friends and stragglers. This oasis does not last long as they are betrayed by people that fled from their camp. The Koreans try to get the brothers and their cohorts to surrender but when they refuse their father is killed in front of them. Now they must rally their small band of miscreants into a guerrilla fighting force. To become a team they must learn not to fight themselves and each other but to work together and fight the true enemy.

I don’t care for remakes. They always feel like a money grab by Hollywood and shows how lacking creativity is there. If you can put aside the fact that this movie is a remake it is actually ok. Much like repainting a house, changing the enemy from the Russians to the North Koreans is nothing more than a cosmetic change that did little to bring along the rest of the story. The mood of the nation was much different when the original Red a Dawn was released. The fear of war with Russia seemed far more real then than war with North Korea feels now. Perhaps it is over exposure to media outlets telling us everything that is happening in an over-hyped delivery. The world is just as dangerous as it ever was but we have become too desensitized to care about things outside of our own little personal world.

The movie fails to capture the same feel as the original. Some of the scenes come off as manufactured and unnatural. The writers removed or changed some of the quintessential moments from the original that made it work so well. I wanted to see somebody pissing into a radiator for crying out loud.

I gave this movie a fair shot but ultimately was disappointed. Watching Chris Hemsworth made me wish I was watching Thor and watching Adrianne Palicki made me wish I was watching G.I. Joe: Retaliation. The good news for Netflix subscribers is you can see this at no additional charge. For those still foregoing Netflix, Amazon is asking just under $12 for the trifecta copy.

Do yourself a favor though, go watch the original. Do it even if you just want to compare the two movies. It is also available from Netflix or Amazon($10). In fact, I talked myself into. I’m going to watch the original again. I’ll get to see when the long line of dislike between Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey began well before they did Dirty Dancing. I’ll also get to see a very young and much saner Charlie Sheen. Now I’m excited. Wolverines!

Bioshock Infinitely

Bioshock InfiniteIt didn’t end the way I though it would – it was better.

Booker Dewitt is a man with what could be called a checkered past. Death and loss are unfortunately not strangers to him. Times have been hard on him and with his debts accumulating, he takes a job to repay them. This is no ordinary job though as he must travel to the city of Columbia and bring back a young woman named Elizabeth. Returning with her will prove no easy task as Dewitt must navigate this strange city in the sky to unlock its secrets. As the mysteries and secrets of Columbia are revealed so is the past of Dewitt and Elizabeth.

It’s pretty obvious that 2K Games has done this before. Building on the success of the first two games, Bioshock Infinite also makes some departures. I will state that I have only played about three hours of the original Bioshock and none of Bioshock 2. Even from that limited exposure I’ll say that this latest game has a different look and feel but a lot of familiarity. Vigors are what your special abilities are called and vary from bolts of electricity to murderous flocks of crows. Some of these Vigors  were more useful than other but if used correctly they all can aid you greatly in combat. Weapons vary between pistols to rocket launchers. Again, the right gun used at the right time will change combat in your favor. Throughout the game you can buy upgrades for your weapons and vigors. The graphics are astounding through the entire game. For every situation you encounter in Columbia, the scenes beautifully match with one scene being bright, sunny, and gorgeous to another being dark, dim, and desolate. Controls work well and are easy to follow. For some reason I struggled with the aim down the sights system. I guess I’m more accustomed to holding one of my left triggers to aim rather than pressing the right thumb-stick but this is a problem that comes back on me not the game.

Beyond its technical achievements, the game goes to further greatness with its characters and story. The writers did a great job making the characters identifiable and relatable while maintaining the mystery of their back stories. This is a hard balance to maintain and it was pulled of very well. I was pulled into the story from the beginning and felt I had a vested interest in the characters’ plight throughout the entire game. I’d love to talk about more specific moments but I don’t want to put in any spoilers. I will say that how they wrapped the story up at the end came as a surprise to me.

This game was another freebie from my friends at Sony via the PlayStation Plus subscription. Amazon has it currently listed for about $26 new. My only regret is that I didn’t play this game sooner. I had debated buying it but since I just couldn’t get into the original Bioshock game I decided not to go through with purchasing this one. Now I’m debating if I should buy the DLC. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Non-American Psycho

American PsychoThink you’re loosing your mind? Try this movie on for size.

Patrick Bateman is a successful investment banker in New York City. His life would seem ideal to so many with his upscale high-rise apartment, spa memberships, and enough money to buy anything he needs or wants. Little is he satisfied with this rich lifestyle. The competition and jealousy of his everyday life are taking a toil on him. Less and less does he identify with his fellow man. Slipping further into his personal angst, murderous tendencies  begin to take over. A single killing turns to hidden second life then eventually spirals out of control.

A very polished movie from top to bottom that provides great thought provoking entertainment. The New York setting is moved back to the 1980’s to put it in a very specific time and place. Those that lived through it can remember it as the age of greed and cocaine, a sentiment displayed throughout this movie. Scene selection and camera angles are chosen very deliberately to help create the proper feel. Music and soundtrack are more forefront at some times but overall use is very good. The story leads you down a very dark path, revealing very little until near the end and even leaving some questions unanswered or still in question.

Obviously the key part of the movie is Christian Bale’s performance. He flawlessly pulls off the role of the ultra-fit yuppie of the 1980’s who is more obsessed with himself and his possessions than anybody or anything else. Watching him mug for himself in the mirror while having sex was classic. Counter to that role, he draws you into to believing that he has truly lost his mind in his psychopathic portrayal. His performances ranged from being as debonaire as Tom Cruise to be as mad-comic as Jim Carrey when wooing a woman or talking about music. Having not seen this movie until after Bale’s performances in the Christopher Nolan Batman movies, I can see how he earned that role. The American Psycho character could be looked at as what Bruce Wayne could have become if he had not decided to fight for justice but rather let himself slip into madness.

My only problem with the movie? Christian Bale isn’t even American!!! He’s Welsh for crying out loud. But if that is my biggest issue with the movie then it is pretty damn good if that is the only pitiful thing I can complain about.

Fans can watch this 2000 classic on Netflix for free right now. Those who have not embraced Netflix can invest the $10 Amazon is asking for. Be careful if your amount due at checkout if for a stray cat – you may have problems of your own.