Friday, June 28, 2013

Side Effects movie review.

Steven Soderbergh is a master of versatility. For close to 25 years, he’s tackled numerous genres for films such as Traffic, Erin Brokovich, and the riotously entertaining Ocean’s Trilogy. However, for every good film of his, he has a bad film. In particular, the last few years have been baffling to me. Contagion, Haywire, and Magic Mike all pleased critics, for reasons I don’t understand. I find his recent output overrated and uninteresting. However, I was getting excited for his most recent release (apparently his last theatrical release), a psychological thriller of sorts called Side Effects.

This was one of my most hotly anticipated films of the year, and while I still think it’s a limp product, it’s not as bad as his other recent output. It’s his best film since The Informant.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Last of Us video game review.

Can video games be considered high art? This is a topic which has been debated for years, especially in the current generation. The medium has evolved over the years from a plumber rescuing princesses from gorillas, as well as Sega taking cheap shots at Super Nintendo with their "Blast Processing", to now telling stories that would rival even those from Hollywood. The medium has been continually breaking new ground, leading to cinematic quality tales such as Metal Gear Solid and Half Life, but could they be seen as art?

In my opinion, yes they can. If someone were to ask me why, I would immediately refer them to That Game Company’s visually poetic Journey, or to 2K Games’ haunting industrial commentary BioShock. There are many more I may possibly be forgetting, but those are what would immediately come to mind, and that list has already started growing as of recent.

Following up their success from the Uncharted trilogy on PlayStation 3, Sony developer Naughty Dog now takes themselves down new, haunting roads in complete contrast to Uncharted. The Last of Us, a post-apocalyptic tale that combines the best of survival horror gameplay, and the richness of a fully developed motion picture, was arguably the most hotly anticipated game of the year. Critics have obviously been showering it with immense praise and perfect scores, but what do I think about it? Does it rank highly with Naughty Dog’s own Uncharted 2? In my opinion, not only do I think it surpasses Uncharted 2 (Which is one of my favorite games of all time), I’m seriously thinking endlessly about whether or not I’d consider it the greatest game I’ve ever played. That may sound hyperbolic, but when you’ve just finished a game this poignant, beautiful, terrifying, emotional, and all around powerful, you have reason to be so ecstatic.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Man of Steel movie review.

I always get annoyed when people bash Bryan Singer for the “horrible and disappointing” Superman Returns, but let me ask. Was it honestly disappointing? Bash Singer if you want, but that movie was as good as it gets, by which I mean it’s almost impossible to make a good Superman movie, or good TV show (looking at you, Smallville). Only Richard Donner’s 1978 film accomplished this task, but not because of the main character. Simply put, I think Superman is a boring character. As a pop culture icon, he’s an undying symbol of hope in the darkest times, but as an actual character, he’s incredibly bland. There’s little to him, though everyone else sees something in him that I don’t understand.

When Warner Brothers announced Man of Steel, a reboot to Superman similar to Batman Begins, I was hoping it would be a rich, character driven experience. That was, until I found out it would be directed by Zack Snyder. Even though it had The Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan’s good will as producer, I’ve made no secret of my hatred for Snyder as a director (specifically for the terrible Sucker Punch and Watchmen). In stark contrast to the hype built around this movie, I thought this was going to CRASH. AND. BURN!

The final verdict... it’s better than I thought it’d be, and it’s Zack Snyder’s best film to date, but that doesn’t mean it’s good. To be fair, it is enjoyable, but still VERY flawed.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Epic movie review.

Figured I’d get this review out of the way before the man in the red cape takes away my attention.

Animation normally takes a favorable lean towards Disney and Pixar, but one company that has also made a name for itself is Blue Sky. Though they’ve yet to make a truly incredible film, they’ve had their share of modest hits, mainly their full fledged comedies like Ice Age and Rio. Here, they take a decidedly more serious turn with Epic, an adaptation of the tale “The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs” by William Joyce.

Joyce, a respected children’s author, is a fascinating individual, in that the worlds he can create from pure imagination are a spectacle on their own level. Epic is no less visually stunning than you would expect, but perhaps the filmmakers should have gotten an equally imaginative story to go along with this world.