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Thursday, 16 February 2017

John Wick: Chapter 2 – The return of Baba Yaga

(Warning: minor plot spoilers ahead)


From rags to riches
Before I get into what makes John Wick so awesome, I have to say something about the people who made it happen. Chad Stahelski has never directed anything before the first and second John Wick movies, but he does come from a background of intense action movie history. He only worked as a stuntman at first, an easy job for a former kick-boxer. In fact, his very first uncredited work was Keanu Reeves' stunt double in Point Break. His long career in this field granted him enough prestige to become stunt coordinator and martial arts choreographer, especially after working on a great range of movies, low budget action flicks to huge blockbusters like The Matrix and everything in between. He eventually teamed up with writer Derek Kolstad, who only since 2012 started his screenwriting career with low budget flicks (both of them starring Dolph Lundgren...). They somehow managed to secure about 20 million US dollars from Thunder Road Pictures and a few small production companies for the first movie, probably after they got talents like Keanu Reeves and Willem Dafoe on board. After a rough first weekend in a full autumn of 2014, despite hot critical reception, John Wick managed to double its revenue in just a few months, securing a well deserved sequel.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Mobile games that play great with a controller (Part 2)

It's been a while since my last article on the subject, but it's really tougher than I thought it would be to make these lists. Mostly because I'm very thorough, not just picking titles from the web. I play these games, makes sure they really work at least on my cheap mobile gamepad before making a recommendation. So you can be sure you're informed and ready to go play some games. This time I tried to diversify the list with varied genres and gameplay types, while also keeping the list a bit shorter. I really wish you guys, the readers, would tell me about your preferred genres or what you'd like to play and challenge me to find a game for everyone. I like playing mobile game, experimenting with different genres, but it also feels like I'm not reaching outside my own biased preferences. As long as I don't have alternative opinions, here are the newest mobile games I played and I hope at least some interest you.

Triple X: The Return of Xander Cage and other awkward early 2000's tropes

Remember xXx with Vin Diesel from The Fast & The Furious? Remember when the late 90s and early 2000s were all about extreme sports and tuned import cars? I 'member! Dude, I was a teenager back then and stupid action movies made my blood pumping. But then I freakin' grew up. I'm not saying grown ups back then didn't enjoy a dumb flick once in a while, or that I don't do that now, but I'm gonna explain what made those movies tick back then and why they seem rusty and obsolete now. You might have a different opinion and you might happen to enjoy this genre regardless of what I have to say about xXx: The Return of Xander Cage. With that in mind, the subjective fact is that I didn't enjoy this movie at all. So, let's start with what this movie does right.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Was Assassin's Creed worth a movie adaptation?

It took me more than a week to wrap my head around this movie. People have been saying since the Mario Bros movie flopped terribly that there can't be any great video game to movie adaptation. They kinda said the same thing about comic book movies. This is not Ubisoft's first endeavor into the movie making business, mostly making short features that tied in with some of their games. And they did have a love for Assassin's Creed before, with Assassin's Creed Lineage telling the story of Ezio's father, and a short animated story about an old Ezio trying to leave his past behind. This time, Ubisoft is making a big budget flick with big name actors and a big production company like New Regency in an attempt to reconstruct a beautiful setting filled with historical events. Except you don't get to roam and discover it on your own nor do you get to choose how the protagonist tackles the mission. Like any other video game movie, we need to accept that our only input is to sit down and watch the 2 hour long cutscene. Before I answer the question in the title, let's weigh the good and the bad first and see if Assassin's Creed is among the good video game movies or the sucky ones.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

The curse of video game movies

Back in 1976, writer and director Steven Lisberger was fascinated about a game called Pong, one of the first, if not the first arcade and home release games to ever hit the market. He then made Tron, making it the first video game inspired movie, technically. Tron was and still is a good movie, even by today's standards, even if the special effect aged dramatically. But when it came out in 1982, people were impressed by the visual artistry, the groundbreaking special effects, although the story left many bewildered. Over time, it became a classic. But why do people think there's a curse surrounding movie adaptations of video games? Why do we instictively dismiss the notion that a movie based on a video game can be good?