Archive for July 2011
Despite being pretty busy for the past few weeks, I’ve also been having my fair share of fun. Naturally this includes copious amounts of movies and games, so I figured I’d jot down my opinions of them before I forget whether I liked them or not. Let’s start with the movies.
Saw this one in IMAX and I gotta say, it probably helped. For the most part, it was another JJ Abrams pretty good but not great popcorn flick. The writing alternated between trite, corny, pseudo-emotional bullshit and genuinely funny, with special props going to the legitimately hilarious stoner character. CGI wasn’t to obtrusive, mostly staying in its place, except for the horrendously overdone, exploderriffic train crash sequence that doesn’t even hold a candle to the Fugitive.
X-Men: First Class
Dear lord this movie was stupid. Now, I admit, this is the first X-Men flick I’ve seen all the way through and I’ve never read the comics or watched the shows or bought the Wolverine print underwear but this film just lacked focus. While Magneto and Xavier are pretty interesting, well-written, and well-handled by the actors (James McAvoy, in particular), pretty much every other X-Man only gets their own short, boring little arc, if that. But I know better than to expect quality from superhero flicks (Spider-Man 2, Dark Knight, Iron Man, and Watchmen notwithstanding), what really surprised me was the god-awful, shittilly rendered, bad even for a made for TV movie CGI. I mean it’s not that hard to model and animate a fucking coin, but it was apparently too big a job for these guys to get right. I swear, the ships especially look like something out of a shitty History Channel World War II documentary. And Kevin Bacon chews the scenery.
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
I’m not gonna lie, this is probably the best Sweedish film I’ve ever seen.
Right. But it is pretty much amazing from start to finish. The character of Lizbeth Salander has to be one of the most compelling and memorable characters in the last decade. This movie also has one of the most intense rape scenes I’ve ever witnessed, taking the viewer from a state of emotional disgust and fear to one of confused, furious, yet excited vengeance. It’s a must-see. It is getting an American remake this winter and I’m not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, the original is great and I don’t know if the American movie industry is mature enough to handle the brutal depictions of sexuality and violence in the story. On the other hand, if anyone can pull it off, it’s Fincher.
Tarintino’s debut film, which I only recently got around to watching. It earned him widespread attention, and with good reason. I’ll just say if you’re a fan of Tarintino’s other work, or simply enjoy Mexican Standoffs, witty dialog, nonlinear storytelling, and nice suits, you should definitely check it out.
And now, teh gaemz!!!111
As far as I can tell, I’m around halfway through the second disk and about halfway through the game as a whole, and so far I like what I’ve seen. I always like giving new IPs a try, if only to convince myself that the future may not be a mindless sequel wasteland, and L.A. Noire is standing on its own well. It’s not nearly as fluid and continuous as I had hoped, rather most every aspect of the gameplay is discrete and binary. Everything’s either right or wrong, you either get an interrogation question right or you get it wrong, you either find a piece of evidence or you don’t. There are a few times when there’s some flexibility, like when you can pick from a couple pieces of related evidence to prove the same point or how the order in which you visit locations on a case can affect who and what is there when you arrive, but for the most part there is one right way. The much-hyped facial animations are stellar, even if suspects couldn’t be more obvious when they’re lying even if they broke out the trollface, and the driving and shooting are solid enough for me. The writing and performances are top-notch and altogether it’s really fun to play. There are a few other flaws, like how cases seem to have arbitrary action sections (WHY DO THEY ALWAYS RUN?!?), many of them involve little inductive reasoning on the part of the player but instead jump to conclusions for them, and you don’t really “solve” cases so much as you collect all the items needed to solve them. More often than not, I’ve ended up arresting guys on accident because the game railroaded me into finding the right guy. Still, all these complaints started at the beginning and have gradually been alleviated through what I assume to be the difficulty curve. Either way, I’m looking forward to playing this one through to the end.
I’ve been playing various flavors of Persona 3 for a few months now and while it’s certainly not as good as P4, it for sure has more of that “cinematic and compelling” stuff Gamespot reviewers rave about. I’ve been playing both Persona 3: FES, the enhanced remake for the PS2 that mostly resembles the original and Persona 3 Portable for the PSP, which takes quite a few cues from my favored sequel. Long story short, the P3P version is better in terms of gameplay and is recommended for those coming from 4 while FES has a much better feel to it in the areas of story, presentation, and cohesion. I’d still recommend the game in either form
I got this way back during the Steam sale last Christmas and I’ve been slowly working my way through it ever since. It’s pretty good, I guess. Not at all scary (vastly inferior to Monolith’s other first-person horror game, Condemed), but still a solid shooter. The main thing I love about it is the incredible, visceral, punch-packing, loud-ass, not gonna fuck around shotgun. It just feels so good to shoot.
After seeing Spoony’s Let’s Play videos of this game, I decided to check it out. What attracted me to it and L.A. Noire was the strictly enforced by-the-book, procedural gameplay that required realistic performance as an officer of the law, i.e. not murdering everyone. For the most part, it works pretty well in SWAT 4, though it oftentimes makes for some really unforgiving levels that rape you in the ass until you cry Uncle. I still wish Officer Girard would stop alternatively getting shot all the damn time and flashbanging my face.
Guitars Hero II and III, Rocks Band I and II
Faulty internal pluralization ftw. But this is pretty much what my roommates and I do when we’re not doing anything else. I really need to get a second guitar controller, or preferably a drum kit, but those things are impossible to find for cheap.
So yeah, that’s basically it for now. Been fucking around with sweet NASA helicopters, installing Linix all over the damn place, and got some bitchin’ new headphones. Pretty rad.