(2nd opinion) Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice

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When we think of how bad ass it would be to see our favorite superheroes clash, what’s usually the first pair we come to think of? What two are so conflicting both in ideology but to an extent we can can sense the turbulence between man and god, night and day, a cold scowl against a kind smile? None other than Batman and Superman come to most minds: The Dark Knight and The Man Of Steel. In several comics they’ve clashed verbally over several issues, come to blows most famously in Frank Millar’s legendary graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns (for which must of this movie either references or tries to loosely replicate) as well as several others. And for better or worse, we got our silver screen version last year. So my good friend, partner, and brother from another mother Savior covered his thoughts on this and the follow up in the DCEU Suicide Squad, so I’m just gonna talk about some nerd shit with it and give my final thoughts on it.

So first thing I’d like to say is structurally this movie is a grade A clusterfuck. It is a sequel to Man of Steel, a solo Batman flick, a Justice League prequel, an adaptation of Dark Knight Returns and Death of Superman, with 20 minutes of Wonder Woman, Easter Eggs relating to Steppenwulf, Darkseid, some random Batman villains and Red Hood (we can only dream). This movie is stuffed like a turkey’s ass on Thanksgiving. If you are a hardcore DC fan you may enjoy some of this but it does come out bloated. On a positive, the movie is visually sweet, using a lot of dark imagery from the comics to paint one hell of a dark picture. Ben Affleck thrives as both a weathered but composed Bruce Wayne and a cruel, angry Batman. As Batman he has a truly threatening presence that would make me think twice before jaywalking in Gotham City. Gal Gadot is also great as Diana Prince and Wonder Woman; she plays Diana as very poised and ladylike while infusing a raw rage into her fighting as Wonder Woman, either way her segment was much welcomed and loved. Henry Cavill was fine as Superman but he was too brooding for my taste, losing a bit of the relatability I had gotten from his previous go in the iconic role. Though how they are presented was kind of lame, I enjoyed the files debuting Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg. Jeremy Irons was a interesting Alfred while Amy Adams felt mostly tacked on as Lois Lane. Jessie Eisenburg played a good character in this movie but hot damn was that character not Lex Luthor; I feel Eisenburg would have been a great Riddler or Mad Hatter or, dare I say, a fair Joker, but not Lex Luthor. Finally, what kills the movie for me as well as I’m sure many others, was Doomsday. Dammit All, what the hell did they do to him? He looks like a Putty from Power Rangers on steroids. I understand Doomsday is a fan favorite but so poorly done it defeated the purpose. There is a lot of cool moments, great acting from Affleck and Gadot, and dark imagery but there are flaws. Apart, these characters are great; mashed together, well…clusterf#$k . Overall, it’s fair but you won’t watch it everyday, but hey it ain’t Batman & Robin so that’s a plus.

Fallout 4

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2015 was a year of hype beyond many: we got the pretty sweet Avengers sequel, Star Wars came back with the awesome return to formula that was the Force Awakens, and Fallout 4. It’s a weird topic for me because I was so hyped for this game, it was the final straw for me getting a PS4, and yet I didn’t have nowhere near the infatuation with it as Fallout 3.

We begin at a time when all seemed well in Boston, a future when technology was at its peak and conflict was a murmur through radio and TV. We play as a young veteran living with his lovely wife Nora and baby son Shaun. A robot comes to the door and sells you a special kind of insurance, a spot for you and your family in a new vault nearby. You agree just as the broadcast comes out warheads were just launched, and in the distance you can see the the mushroom cloud appear. You all rush into the vault, tricked into going into cryo sleep. You wake up, seeing men the chamber, unfreeze Nora and killing her to take your son and flee. It’s up to you to search the wastes of Boston and find him.

For the positives, Fallout 4 is a beautiful game. The graphics have stepped up three times over. The shooting mechanics have vastly improved; there is a new level of weapon and gear customization; the game is far more cinematic and takes ques from Mass Effect on the dialogue options. The coolest thing is how the Power Armor works much like a Iron Man suit, making a kick ass new addition and extra hardship of having to find power cores to stay a little more afloat. Now for the negatives, the game may be more beautiful but besides the main quest I wasn’t much invested in the side quests. Also there is less variety in the combat options; there is a huge dependency on FPS mechanics and gameplay, making the game feel more like a massive shooter than a RPG. Still, it’s a solid game and worth a trek through but I recommend 3 more.

Fallout 3

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“War. War never changes.” Nothing was ever more epic than Ron Pearlman’s amazing narration. Fallout 3 was a break away from the old school turn based game play for a RPG  with some first person shooting. The simple plot is you grow up in Vault 101 after a huge scale nuclear war, being raised by a loving scientist father voiced by Liam Neeson. You grow up in your bland enclosed little world of the vault until one day your dad leaves and it is up to you to break free of the vaults grasp and find him in the wastelands of Washington D.C. Along the way you get meet a group of religious wackos worshiping an atomic bomb the town was built around, another burg overrun with giant ants that can even breath fire, a rivalry between two superheroes “a very fun Marvel Easter egg in that” , and a old lady who just wants her violin back, all while getting pulled into a conflict by the Brotherhood of Steel and the Enclave that will decide the fate of the wastelands.

So the game is amazing, despite it’s flaws. The game play is solid if you rely on the VATS targeting system, but the shooting otherwise feels off. The plot and side missions are engaging and even creepy in some cases like the mission about the kid who gets kidnapped and goes on a small killing spree thinking he’s a vampire (and don’t get me started on Tranquility Lane. Oh that was fucked up.) Fallout 3 has some of the best DLC to a game I’ve ever played with Operation Anchorage- which teleports you back in time to the conflict that lead to the nuclear war, Mothership Zeta- you get abducted by aliens, as well as three other packs and a level cap increase. Besides some occasional glitches and the occasional pain in the ass location to maneuver through, I highly recommend this game as one of the best games of last generation.

Videodrome

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So I go to say from age 18 to 20 I was utterly obsessed with this movie after buying the old VHS at my local horror video store. I actually shouted “DEATH TO VIDEODROME, LONG LIVE THE NEW FLESH” not once, but twice during two graduation ceremonies and had a epic freak out when my friends thought it’d funny to hide the tape. It’s my favorite David Cronenburg film and probably in my top 10 favorite horror movies ever.

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It’s the story of a raunchy TV executive named Max Wren played by James Woods who’s looking for the next big thing to push the boundaries of entertainment. His channel plays soft core porn and violent exploitation films from the seventies. One of his contacts tells him about a new thing called Videodrome, which is more than Max can handle. Ratings hike and Max can’t get enough of it, until at the end he becomes it and the battle for Max Wren is being fought by The Videodrome and freedom of the New Flesh…so, as you can see, the imagery sells this movie. I mean when you see cable wires ripping through a man’s flesh and locking his fist around a gun, going to first base with a TV to have it begin to moan and it’s wood panels become flesh, a VCR slot grow in a man’s stomach, or shooting a man and watching the grisly scene of his body get torn apart by cancer tumors from the inside out.  There’s tons of unforgettable imagery. The acting is solid and the score compliments the eerie tone of losing your mind by a technological force. The plot feels like a much more grounded precursor to the Matrix with a similar theme of mechanical mind control and freedom from it only it’s a way to talk about our over obsession with TV and stimulation which is all brilliant woven together with blood and some disturbing bodily scenes. Pick this up if you are looking for a smart horror film that has some weird, over the top crazy shit in it as well. So may the gaming gods bring you glory and

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DEATH TO VIDEODROME, LONG LIVE THE NEW FLESH!

Terminator

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Our best ideas come from the strangest places and sometimes are fears are the things right in front of our face the entire time. James Cameron’s Terminator is a prime example. Cameron had once had a fever dream about a metal skeleton crawling out of a hellish fire almost like a phoenix and the rest became history brought to horrific life by legendary special fx master the late and great Stan Winston. Terminator is the story of a war in the future where Skynet has brought man to the brink of extinction with their horde of advanced machines, the worst of which are the T-800 Terminators, flesh covered androids made for inflitration and damn near unstoppable. The resistance against Skynet is lead by John Conner. To stop John Conner, Skynet sends a Terminator back through time to 1984 to assassinate Conner’s mother before he is even conceived. So in response, Conner manages to send back his soldier Kyle Reese to protect Sarah Conner from the machine that doesn’t feel pain or remorse or fear and will not stop until Sarah is dead. Schwarzenegger is suburb as the Terminator, cold and emotionless as he hunts down Sarah Conner by killing his way through to find her. He tracked her to a tech club where Reese intervenes by blasting him down with a shotgun, only for him to get back up again. They loose the machine in a car chase, causing him to crash in a accident that would have certainly killed a normal man. Reese and Sarah are taken by the police who realistic start explaining away the events of the night, convincing her it was a normal man on drugs in a Kevlar vest and Reese is crazy. We cut away to the Terminator alone in his shitty apartment, face mutilated by a ruptured eyeball he cuts out of his own head, revealing part of a steel skeleton and a cold red camera. He arms himself and  goes to slaughter the whole police station to get his target.  While on the run, Sarah and Reese get intimate and begin falling in love. The movie pushes to a thrilling climax where we see the Cameron’s nightmare realized in the form of the red eyed robot skeleton revealing itself, and at the end it’s up to only Sarah to defeat it and protect the future.

So I won’t lie, I consider Terminator 1 and 2 almost perfect, timeless classics without a doubt. The plot is still solid full of great performances by our main cast and effects that hold up fairly strong today with downright bleak glimpses of the future that I feel are especially relevant today in our technology obsessed society. Pick it up and I will be back

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Mortal Kombat 4

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I’m going to go on a limb and say this was my first M rated video game and damn it was funny. I didn’t know all the moves or even how to do a fatality, because dammit it used to take like eight buttons to melt a face off. So why did I decide to review this beside the fact it was my first M rated game; well it was hugely inspired plotwise for the tenth entry, which was badass as hell. We got many our classic characters like Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Raiden, Lu Kang, and Johnny Cage to name a few but with four we also got Fujin, Tanya, and main antagonist Shinnok. I played it on the N64 so the character graphics are understandably crispy but the backgrounds are pretty well done for the time. For this game, every fighter is able to pull out  weapons which added a new level of awesomeness if you could bring it out or a new level of dick-it-try if you can’t. What’s harder than fighting a spry acid spitting reptile man? How about fighting the same bastard who’s packing a giant double sided battle ax. Also there were throwable items left around certain levels and a titanic fan that can be used for my favorite fatality of all time. The game is fun but damn if the combos aren’t easy and the 3 dimensional moving can be kind of annoying but so much blood and Wilhelm screams, who gives a shit, put on the bitchin dance track, grab a friend, and get ready for MORTAL KOMBAT!!!

Body Harvest

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No clue why I felt like reviewing this but hey, we all have those days. I remember the cover to this game grabbed me as a kid because of the cover and I thought you played as Samus (the dude you play as looks like Samus and Stallone’s Judge Dredd had a boring ass baby.)  I can’t tell you much about the plot because I found this game hard as shit to play. Even picking it up again as a twenty something, I still couldn’t fully get the hang out of it. It involves a space soldier who is on the run from giant bugs that shoot lasers and poop murderous gloobs of green jello looking shit- watch a play through and tell me I’m wrong. So I’m going to say this game wasn’t as fail for me because of crap controls but more like over ambition. It was the first open world game I can recall playing where you walk through towns, jump into vehicles and generally explore with shooting mechanics that looking back remind me of a primative Resident Evil 4. I feel like if this game came out on the Nintendo GameCube instead of the N64 I think time would have been there to flatten out and smooth the mechanics. I’m not saying it wold have been a good game but slightly less of a dump. There’s a funny as hell animation where you glitter and do a series of aerial rolls to enter a vehicle through its roof which is funny as hell. If, like my friend and supporter Hatter, enjoy old school games for the better or worse but I personally don’t recommend playing it as much as watching a Youtube video of it or something. As always may the gaming gods bring you glory and beware the green jello everyone.

Green Lantern: Agent Orange

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Agent Orange is our last story before Blackest Night, and it’s introduction to the Gollum of the DC universe in Larfleeze. Larfleeze is the a oddity in the world of Lanterns in that he’s the only flesh and blood lantern in his Corps, the orange light steals the likeness of all Larfleeze kills so he almost has a never ending army at his disposal. At the core of this story is a set up for Blackest Night, leaving off where Rage left off with the Green Lantern Corp still dealing with Sinestro and Atrocitus as Hal Jordan deals with the blue ring bonded to his hand. It may have broken the spell of the red ring but the blue continuously asks him what he hopes for, inhibiting his ability to use his own green ring, although his blue ring is keeping his fimiliar ring charged because a new threat is coming… ancient former accomplices of the Guardians stumble upon a hidden evil bearing an orange lantern. A trap is sprung and the trespassers are slaughtered by Larfleeze. Larfleeze, set upon revenge for a treaty broken, begins hunting the Green Lanterns. Larfleeze easily overpowers them, absorbing there green light, until he becomes transfixed with the new light emulating from Jordan’s other fist. The Guardians are even overpowered by Larfleeze’s hosting greed; consumed by the secret biting them in the ass. Long ago, Larfleeze and a band of thieves uncovered the orange lantern, unleashing it’s horrible power that couldn’t be contained by them, forcing them to comprise with the remaining thieves: they can keep the power but they would be banished to the Vega Sector. Both running on nearly unlimited energy, Jordan and Larfleeze clash until Hal learns the power of the blue ring and is able to subdue him. The Guardians make another deal with Larfleeze; with the blue ring spent off of Jordan, the Guardians reveal the homeworld of the blue lanterns, led by two of there own. And as the story concludes, all the Corps are at war and the Blackest Night begins…

Probably the shortest Green Lantern story I’ve read to date, it is a good character piece on Larfleeze and Hal Jordan. Larfleeze is a creepy, wretched beast that is bad ass; it’s cool to see Jordan’s take on hope. It’s also a good representation of how imperfect the Guardians of the universe are, feeling jealousy over the new power Sayd and Ganthet unlocked and the fear they continue to try to hide while the universe falls to shit around them. Overall it’s a fine, well written story about greed vs hope and may the gaming gods bring you glory.

Alice, sweet Alice

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I heard a few years back that this strange ass movie was getting a remake and felt saddened; is nothing sacred anymore? I originally saw this listed towards the bottom of Bravo’s 100 scariest movie moments and like everything on that list, I wanted to see for myself to better myself at the craft that is horror.

Alice, sweet Alice (or Communion as it is sometimes referred to) is a 70’s mystery slasher set around Catherine Spages and her two young daughters Karen (Brooke Shields film debut) and Alice. Alice is jealous of her beautiful, sweet sister that everyone adores. Alice is a weird duck, always wearing hearing her strange translucent drag queen mask and going off by herself. Catherine and there church’s priest Father Tom are fussing over Karen’s debut at there big Communion ceremony; Alice is fed up with it all. Moments before the ceremony is about to begin, Karen is killed by a figure in a yellow raincoat, drag queen mask, and white gloves; her body dropped into a hamper and burned which brings the ceremony to a screeching halt. Annie,  Catherine’s sister, suspects Alice was responsible for her sister’s demise on the merits of jealous rage but Catherine won’t believe her. The girl’s estranged father returns for the funeral. We’re introduced to the perverted, obese landlord of there apartment who tries to get fresh with Alice. Soon Annie is attacked by the same figure that killed Karen, screaming in the rain it was Alice. Alice is taken away to a home but the deaths continue by the same figure, making us ask whether it was her until the very end…

So I have to say, I really enjoy this movie. It’s filmed to have a dreamy quality made vintage by the film and clothes, while the music is a creepy, childish singing. The acting is on the verge of over the top but it works given everything else. There isn’t much gore but the figure is damn unsettling enough to carry the movie. The killer’s identity is clever but somethings when thought about at great length don’t make a lot of sense but it ain’t overwhelming. If you can find it, it’s worth a watch and may the gaming gods never give us a remake.

Team America: World Police

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Well friends, when life brings you down, just remember AMERICA, F#$K YEAH… I was asked to keep this Pg-13, when the theme song for Team America is involved that becomes harder than any Dark Souls boss.

So Team America is another messed up satire by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone about an elite group of American specialists who have to save the world from Kim Jung Il and Alec Baldwin and the whole Screen Actors Guild…in puppets. I’m not shitting you one bit. This movie is made by marionette puppetry and models. So basically we follow famous actor, Gary, as he is recruited by Spotswood to aid Team America in there mission to infiltrate Alqueda. When the responsibilty gets too much Gary abandons the team, and goes on a soul search while the team gets there asses kicked so Gary has to man up and become a bad ass to save his friends…AND AMERICA! I promise that won’t get old.

I have seen some crazy ass things on screen. I’ve watched infamous exploitation pictures like Cannibal Holocaust and Salo: the 120 days of Sodam, so you know I’ve seen some shit. Team America hit me in that strange pit inside. I should be horrified at some of the places this movie goes, and downright offended but I’m not.  On the contrary, I’ve nearly pissed myself laughing during this movie. It’s insane, it’s clever, it has a bitchin theme song and somehow in 2017 feels more at home than 2004. If you can get past the puppets, controversal topics and the way Parker and Stone address them, you’ll find a epic cult classic that will having you sing with Kim Jung Il, waving your arms in the air, and asking questions about yourself when you and your friends roar in laughter and amazement at the puppet sex scene…don’t judge me and may the gaming gods bring you glory.