WTF? – 50 Shades of Grey

 

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Maybe, just maybe, I missed something but WTF was the point of this movie?

True romantics and creepers alike can fall in love with this movie. Any girl that ever wanted to meet the rich and handsome charmer that offers them the world can balance that against the fact that the man is essentially mentally disturbed and derives his pleasure from other’s pain.

A supposed love story that involves a man into sadism and the innocent girl that falls for him. Yet another tired retread of a princess fairy tale. We have the nearly orphaned little girl and the prince charming that lives in a tower but little if anything in this movie is much worth watching. The big deal about the movie was the fact that it Incorporated sadistic behavior. After watching the movie, it would appear that that may have been the only draw to the film and was marketed as such.

The movie was all a buzz with the ladies when it was released and I struggle to see why. Again, it is just another rehash of the princess story with the twist of the prince being a monster. Which leads me to question why there would be any draw to this movie. Sure there is a fair amount of nudity but that gets old quick and lends little to the film in total. If I was supposed to be intrigued by Christian Grey it didn’t work. He felt more like a sick jack ass more than anything. If I was supposed to sympathize with Anastasia Steele(sorry, still sounds like a fake name used in porn but I digress) I just couldn’t because she was completely in control the entire time.

It is even more disconcerting that the movie ends with no plot resolution for the characters. One is lead to believe that there is a call to action at the last moment but then….credits. Apparently the real reason to make this movie was to set up the sequel but who wants to watch it? I guess there were enough people that saw it since it grossed over $500 million worldwide but was that more a case of morbid curiosity rather than the move actually being good?

The most disturbing part of this film – why the hell did this lady still have a flip phone?????

dudewantshisrug-profilePaul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Writer, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

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Thumbs Up – Star Wars: Battlefront

battlefrontAll the contributing factors to the latest Star Wars game had expectations low and speculation high. Given the less than stellar reputation of games like The Force Unleashed I and II as well as the declined interest in The Old Republic, not too many of us had high hopes that Battlefront would arrive with a very compelling experience. Add to the mix the soiled reputation of DICE with the still tragically flawed Battlefield 4 delivery, we were at best skeptical that this game would satisfy in any way.

Sometimes we find that our love and devotion to a franchise can be rewarded. Although not the best or most well-rounded game, Battlefront has provided me with hours of fun and I still have a wanting for more. The major complaint that I will register is the absence of story. Those looking for a rich character experience in games had best skip this title completely since there is no true campaign and replay-ability is based solely around the desire to play the different multiplayer game modes. There are things to do solo but even those feel as though they are meant not to be done by a solitary player.

Much in the way of Titanfall, Battlefront is solidly centered around its online, multi-player elements. The choices range from a standard death-match mode that sets two teams of six against each other but for those that enjoy lager battles game modes like Supremacy pit two teams of two against each other in a zone control format. If you need a break from infantry combat, there are even modes that are vehicle based. How well you do in these games help determine how quickly you can unlock and upgrade items. At first the progression systems can be can be confusing but they become more intuitive as you keep playing.

Underneath the game modes are the game’s graphic and mechanics. These elements are very well done and worth experiencing in any of the aforementioned game modes. Weapons have unique behaviors that make some more favorable than others in given circumstances which helps to encourage variety when combined with the player’s skill set. Graphics are tremendously detailed and look beautiful. One great example is the battle map on the Forest Moon of Endor where one can see realistic water flows and small bugs flying around as you rush by to find your enemy.

Being a Star Wars fan doesn’t hurt your experience either. If you want to see or even play as your favorite heroes and villains you can. There are game modes dedicated to this or you can score the opportunity via an ability card during other game modes. The character and vehicle models look as though they came straight from the movies helping make this game feel like it is truly part of the franchise. Playing in environments based on parts of the movies helps bring a sense to the player of being there and not just seeing it on screen.

Of some of the games I have played this year, this is by far my favorite. It is likely a combination of my love for FPS games and Star Wars. What really draws me to this game that I don’t have to be very good at it to enjoy it, I can jump in and out as I please, and when I do play get a sense of progression for nearly every match. I’m looking forward to having a lot more fun playing this game.

dudewantshisrug-profilePaul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Writer, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

I’ll Pass – Fallout 4

Fallout_4_box_coverFor many Fallout 4 was one of, if not the, most anticipated games of the year. That promise was delivered for some but the rest of us will just to deal with the disappointment.

It may very well be that I should have stuck with my first instinct and not even purchased the game but several people around me were so excited about it I caved.  Their excited did not translate to my enjoyment, however. My intent is not to say this game is bad, for the most part, but rather it is not suited to my play tastes.

There are a few things that I will address as issues or faults. Despite being on newer hardware, PS4 in my case, the game does not look particularly good. Character models, even during cutscenes, look poorly detailed and dated as if they were reused from older games. Rendering and artifacting were problems throughout the game. More egregious than this are the games load times. When a load point is reached in the game it feels like an eternity before the game is ready too lay again. This, perhaps, was the most frustrating part of dying during the game.

The biggest problem for me with the game had nothing to do with the technical performance of the game. I can live with the graphics and learning to be more patient wouldn’t be a bad thing. What perturbed me most was my lack of interest in the game. Slow and drudging are my best words for the game. The story of the game reveals at a near glacier pace with little to no interesting characters to help it along. Another point of frustration would be the absence of tutorials. The game has crafting and building systems but no explanation as to how they are used. It is a sad state of affairs when YouTube is the games best tutorial and that is exactly what I had to resort to just to learn how to run a wire.

If anyone else wishes to continue playing this game I would find no fault with their plan. The building and crafting system could lead to potentially entertaining avenues once mastered. The game also seems to try to award exploration by hiding items and events throughout the environment. This just isn’t enough to keep me playing. Watching someone else play would likely be more entertaining than playing the game myself.

Fallout 4 has fallen of my playlist.

dudewantshisrug-profilePaul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Writer, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

Is That Me? – Southpaw

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When it comes to sports movies I set my expectations fairly low, they can’t all be as good as Caddyshack.

Southpaw is more than a movie about a boxer. The story shows how a man can be at the top of his game and have everything slip away. It also shows that he can come back and be better. Billy Hope is a champion but his own anger and rage becomes the trigger for an event in which his wife is killed. With his wife gone his world unravels, he loses a title fight, falls into deep dispair, and his daughter is taken away from him. Billy Hope has to change who he is as a boxer and a person so that he can get his title and daughter back.

Although the story is heartfelt it is a little over-done. Billy was born in prison, ends up a ward of the state, goes to prison, his wife was an orphan, he becomes a champion, he loses it all, drugs, alcohol, and then he gets it all back. All these factors seem baked in to make the story work and it comes off as a bit unnatural. What makes the movie is how well the movie is put together. With few exceptions, the fight scenes are very realistic and powerful. Jake Gyllenhaal shows true dedication to his craft not only in his on screen performance but also his off-screen work ethic. It must have been a phenomenal amount of effort to not only get into the physical condition needed but even more so to learn the fundamentals of boxing. As good as Gyllenhaal is in this film Forest Whitaker is better. Even with the smaller role, he delivers the integrity and drive of the movie by being the conscience that guides Billy Hope.

There is a personal connection this movie for me. No, I’m not a boxer. No, I don’t relate to the plight of Billy Hope and his struggles. I got to be an extra for this film. It was absolutely fascinating to watch the process and see the amount of work that gets put into a production like this. That was my main drive to taking part in this and my 15 minutes of fame as more like .15 seconds. If I look really really really hard I can find myself but it is very very brief that I am on camera. It is a marvel to me how what I was part of and witnessed was used and turned into the movie I watched. I have a much greater appreciation for actors, directors, and all staff involved in these productions thanks to this experience.

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dudewantshisrug-profilePaul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Writer, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

Skip This – The Amazing Spider-Man 2

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It may seem rough to flat-out say that a movie is bad, but this movie is just plan bad.

Acting? If you want to call it that. Andrew Garfield can’t pull of the cocky smart-ass that Spider-Man is and he equally fails at the intellectual side of the character. Too bad Emma Stone isn’t immune to bad acting and manages to deliver one of her worst performances. A character that is brilliant and beautiful yet somewhat obnoxious really isn’t worth seeing. Then there is Jamie Foxx. What can be said about his performance other than he should have taken the time to make another musical album instead being part of this film.

Maybe the writing was the issue? Well, it sure wasn’t the solution. Granted, the actors didn’t come up with all of this terrible dialogue and story on their own…they didn’t help fix it either. The movie starts out with about twenty minutes of play that wasn’t necessary and then continues to smatter it in throughout the film. Even if the story was more streamlined it never fit together and had too many elements floating around. The budding then dying romance, Peter Parker’s parents and their past, and the tangled web of the Osborns not to mention the brilliant yet emotionally volatile villain, none of these came together. For the record, all the special effects in the world won’t fix a movie that is bad at its core.

As if there were need to prove the pull of greed, this movie was the second in a set to be done only for that purpose but maybe that is the one saving grace this film gives to us. It was driven by Sony’s desire to keep the movie rights to Spider-Man but since it did so poorly it gave Disney the leverage it needed. Although Disney could not get the full rights to franchise’s films, they now have position with Sony to co-create them and to bring Spider-Man into the Marvel cinematic universe that has become so popular.

If nothing else, consider things had to get worse before they could get better.


dudewantshisrug-profile
Paul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Writer, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

Still Badass – The Equalizer

 

The_Equalizer_posterAn entire generation of actors known to play hard-hitting heroes is getting old but one is still going it well, Denzel Washington.

The Equalizer starts out slow but once it takes off it is damn good. Robert McCall seems like an ordinary guy working at a home improvement store. He’s like-able, affable, and good at his job. There is something different about him that his co-workers can’t quite place though. The dark side of him is released when a young women he befriends is beaten nearly to death. Those that did this to her have no idea what they have set forth upon themselves.

The story is not perfect and there are a few plots holes. That takes nothing away from Washington’s performance. Still as riveting and charismatic as ever, he keeps your eyes glued to the screen and your ass on the edge of your seat. As many times as he has done this type of role this movie is still entertaining and well worth viewing. Watching the bad guys get taken out so methodically is delivered fantastically well in this film.

Hopefully this movie remains a standalone gem and doesn’t get the treatment that Taken got. You know the one where they make terrible sequels that aren’t worth watching.

dudewantshisrug-profilePaul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Writer, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

So Bad It’s Good – Mortal Kombat: Annihilation

Mortal_kombat_annihilationSome times something doesn’t have to be good to be entertaining, this movie is one of those things.

There is nothing good about this movie. The acting is bad. Most of the people in this movie were probably fired from daytime soap operas. The special effects are horrible. Even for 1997 they look like they were done on a budget of about $10. The story is terrible. Not to say the Mortal Kombat games had fantastic plots but this movie doesn’t seem to have much of one at all. But all of that is what makes it so good.

Just trying to take this film seriously is cause for laughter. Watching the actors fail at acting is some of the best painful comedy that can be witnessed. Then when they do have to interact with the special effect environment it becomes a special kind of hilarity. If one were to try to flowchart the story of this movie they would have invent new symbols for flowcharts since there are elements of this movie that just don’t work. How bad all of this is is perhaps the most redeeming factor of the film and makes it worth seeing.

It may be a strange sense of inflicting pain upon one’s self that makes repeatedly viewing this movie a glorious form of self torture. Much like train wrecks, once you start watching this film you must finish. Not out of a sense that you are going to outright enjoy it, rather you have keep watching because you can’t stop. After it is over, you can look back and laugh at how terrifically horrible it was. If it ever were a question why more movies are not made out of video games this is certainly one answer.

 

dudewantshisrug-profilePaul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Writer, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.