Friday, 17 November 2017

Movie Idea #2: Tools

The story is centered around a group of robbers specialized in stealing tools and auto parts directly from the manufacturing factories and selling these to under the counter shops. But as some of the members become increasingly ambitious, the group starts making mistakes and gradually falling apart. Their leader is an aging veteran who's only motivation turns from profit to escape.
A new and young security chief gets appointed at a large tool factory, which also happens to be the robbers' "last big hit", but it all goes awry at night when the group divides between the murderous side and the ones who just want to abort and leave.
It culminates with the young security guard fighting the good guy robber (in the latter's attempt to buy time for his friends to escape), after they both work together to take down the gun totting bad guys. They both try to strangle one another with electrical wires, and when the robber gets the upper hand, he gives up, not going through with it, proving he can't be a murderer even when his life depends on it.
The story epilogues with the security guard letting the robber go and, some time later, one cold morning, in an almost empty parking lot, the security guard is waiting for the now-retired robber, sitting on the trunk of his car, with a hard to pass proposition: come work as a security analyst.

(By the way, I'm aware of the light drama between the two actors shown above. The image is purely referential. And I'm also aware of the bad choice for the article title.)

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Video Games Featuring Black Protagonists (Part 2)

This is a continuation from a previous article I wrote (read it here!), when Mafia III was still fresh. Maybe Mafia III wasn't what we all hoped it'll be, but one of the best elements of that game is still Lincoln Clay, the protagonist. In the first part, I list the specific rules by which I choose these names. Among the most important rules, as an abbreviation, the games must have some semblance of a story, the character needs to be a protagonist and playable at least one chapter, and the character must be obviously black. Again, I repeat from my previous article, I do not have an agenda, this is for informational purposes only. I am aware of the fact that there are too few games to give people of black heritage a proper representation and a major role. In fact, that's why I took upon myself to make this list, otherwise it would be too much to handle. Well, I also initially thought this would be a simple endeavor, but it is not easy at all. I missed a few games, and thus ruined the alphabetical order a bit, but I knew that from the start and wanted to take a bit more time on the second part to make sure I wont bobble it again. There will also be a third part, maybe even a fourth part. I will not be reprising the games I missed this time around. I will leave those for the very end. All this being said, let's get on with it!

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales AKA Salazar's Revenge

For those who don't know, the Pirates of the Caribbean movies are based on Disneyland's theme ride of the same name, one of the oldest and longest lasting attractions in the original park, and subsequently incorporated in each Disneyland park in the world. Obviously, after the success of the first movie, The Curse of the Black Pearl, the ride became even more famous and included characters from the movies too. The first three movies were directed by Gore Verbinski, made famous until then by his horror remake The Ring. He didn't return for the fourth and this, the fifth installment in the series, but not because his overarching two sequels didn't do as well, but because he started working alongside Johnny Depp on Nikelodeon's Rango, for which he received a directorial Oscar, while producer Jerry Bruckheimer went around saying the Pirates series was a trilogy and was over. As we all now know, it is not over.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Crazy Movie Idea #1 - Carol of the Bells

'Tis the future. Humanity has made immense progress. There is no other civilization on this side of the Galaxy, but we have managed to colonize hundreds of planets, some even terraformed. These terraformed ones are a stain on our history and those who stay there have dealt with much shunning. No longer. Humans are well beyond malice and spite. We're so far into the utopic reach, there is no sense of begrudging inequality or discrimination, there's no logic for superstition or religion. But far on an old home, our planet Earth enjoys a blissful ice age and the longest lasting pagan tradition mankind has ever celebrated: Christmas.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Kong: Skull Island versus Peter Jackson's King Kong

You might say this is like trying to compare apples and oranges, and I think you might be right, not because one's better than the other, bottom line spoiler, but because they're different in tone and overall story design, but also even in scope. What I'm trying to analyze is how King Kong changed since 2005, why these changes are made and if they makes sense for the future of this classic monster movie. I'm not about to go into the history of King Kong movies, but it's fair to say that most people regard the original 1933 movie as the best one until this day. I don't know if it's nostalgia or if the movie is regarded today as a cinematic marvel for its time, but the originals are usually considered more important to cinema history than any remake or reboot, no matter how technically superior. But since I'm not going to go that far in time, all I want is to see if Peter Jackson's remake is the definitive King Kong of a new millennium, or if Legendary Entertainment's new attempt at reviving the titan ape in the hands of a relatively unknown director was a good idea.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Split - M. Night Shyamalan's return to form

Split hasn't really found the popularity it deserves, so there's a big chance it might not have been on your radar. If you have not seen this movie yet, be warned that this quick look on the movie contains crucial spoilers to the plot. I'll be looking at how Shyamalan proves he can still make good movies, despite a long series of awful decisions, some think starting way back with Signs, I'm thinking more like The Happening, since Lady in the Water was his last movie that I could force myself to enjoy. I also want to talk about how this movie ties to one of his earliest works and what it means for future Shyamalan films.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Ghost in the Shell - Cyberpunk Rebirth

I just love cyberpunk science fiction, but unfortunately it peaked in the 80's as a bleak prediction of what a dystopian future would look like. You're probably saying "but wait, didn't the Ghost in the Shell anime appear in the 90's?" Yes, in 1995 actually and to great and overwhelming appraisal. In my opinion, it was one of the last hardboiled and noir-esque cyberpunk movies, even if animated, from its generation, since it was based on a 1989 manga series that was very popular in Japan. It followed a similar thematic allegory as Akira, but rather in tone with Blade Runner, set in a colorful yet downtrodden city infested by technology, a setting that was in fact born long ago, in the first cyberpunk movie ever envisioned by humans, Metropolis (1927). As we all know, cyberpunk has understandably changed throughout the years and since then, from Luc Besson's The Fifth Element to Wakowskis' The Matrix series, each passing generation emulating the trending social fears of their time. But we're back now, I don't know if you noticed, we're back to 1984, when fear of being watched and controlled from the shadows, the fear of having no real freedom prevails. And what a beautiful way to revive the old school, neo noir, cyberpunk era with a remake of the classic Ghost in the Shell!

Monday, 20 March 2017

Tom Clancy's The Division one year later

Actually, Ubisoft's The Division was first announced at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in 2013, three years before it was released. To much of everyone who gleefully expected the game, including me, the game was almost what was advertised. Honestly, I first thought it would be a sort of single-player but mostly co-op focused open world third person shooter with role playing elements. As you'll see, it is not that. The graphics weren't as amazing as they were initially presented, but I understand that for two reasons. First, it was in a time when Ubisoft really put ALL their trust in the marketing department and used to advertise their games in a misleading manner. I think they learned their lesson by now, since their newest Tom Clancy game, Ghost Recon: Wildlands, was advertised in the most accurate way... possible. Secondly, these first gameplay footages they are showcasing are mostly done specifically for advertising purposes while the game is still very early in development and they only have the basics of what they strive for in the final version, hence why The Division has an entirely modified HUD. Besides, these first reveal gameplays are always done in a very constrained and linear manner, so that it can be filled with all kinds of effects, details and textures that can't be rendered in a full game with the limits of current technology. Now that I've both defended and criticized a single shitty practice Ubisoft pulled to rack in lots of money, let's talk about how The Division fares after its first birthday.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

What's so great about Logan?

To be able to answer the titular question, let's make a short comparative analysis of Mangold's Wolverine movies.
After the major fail of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a movie that had sparks of genius, in my opinion, the direction of the Wolverine movies shifted to a more serious approach with James Mangold on the helm, who outright ignored the aforementioned film. Both The Wolverine (2013) and Logan are loosely based on two highly regarded and very popular limited series comic books featuring the character. Logan is inspired by the very popular Old Man Logan series and one other that I won't spoil. Before hiring Mangold, executives at 20th Century Fox were so adamant... about making up for the X-Men Origins disaster that they were in real talks with Darren Aronofsky. That must've inpired James Mangold to reach for high standards and a strong artistic tone.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

My thoughts on the Open Beta of Ghost Recon: Wildlands

Three things I learned from playing Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands, that patience pays off, never to piss off Unidad forces and that missing shots gets you killed. Ubisoft had the bravery to showcase their game in an Open Beta, free for everyone, and I had to take the chance and see for myself what the game has to offer. I got to play, roam around, explore, find lots of lore stuff and even pieces of Bolivian culture and history, and watch part of the story in two of the many regions of the huge Bolivian open world map. The Open Beta featured 11 main missions in which I had to destabilize the Santa Blanca drug cartel by shutting down their operations along with three bad guys/bosses, which I thought had fun personalities and backstories. I've played a lot of betas through the years, from MMOs to first person shooters, but I've never played through such a big and detailed world in a beta, and no, I don't play Early Access titles. Before I go into what I think about my time with the game, I have to say that this is in no way a review, but only a few impressions I have about my time with an early version of a soon-to-be-released game.

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?