Shooter

17 02 2010

Dir: Antoine Fuqua

Stars:  Mark Wahlberg, Michael Pena, Danny Glover, Kate Mara, Ned Beatty

Run. Time: 124 minutes

Year: 2007

Shooter follows veteran expert sniper Bob Lee Swagger (Wahlberg) as he is taken out of retirement by a mysterious Colonel (Glover) to help prevent a presidential assassination.  At the assassination events turn against Swagger and he uses what few resources he has and the help of disgruntled federal agent Nick Memphis (Pena) to track those behind his misfortune and bring them to his own idea of justice.  Parallel to this he is trying to protect the wife of his spotter from the military after she helps him, exposing herself as a target.

Essentially this is an action/conspiracy movie with the hook that the action is principally sniping as opposed to what you would expect from this type of movie; car chases, lots of pistols, running about, shooting from behind cover, a fist fight or two.  That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy that stuff, I love it, but this film very deliberately went in a different direction and it works.  It works really well. Read the rest of this entry »





Shadow Complex

16 02 2010

Shadow Complex is a game from Chair Entertainment using the Epic Unreal Engine in the style of a classic Metroid game with full 3D graphics but planar gameplay.  You go spelunking with some girl you met in a club then become a supersoldier and save the world.  Or some bollocks.

***SPOILERS…of a sort.  I would argue that it’s difficult to “spoil” a story this fucking incoherent, since none of the “reveals” have any weight when your only reaction to ANY development is “Wha?”***

LIKED

Graphics – This is maybe the best looking Xbox Live Arcade game available.  I don’t mean in terms of style, though.  ‘Splosion Man and Geometry Wars Retro Evolved 2 are both beautiful in their own ways, but in terms of games that adhere to a more standard aesthetic, this is great.  And I don’t mean standard as a bad or demeaning thing.  I want movies like Star Trek as well as movies like Sideways.  Different genres and aesthetics within a medium exist symbiotically.  So, in terms of the sort of modern image of a “video game” (remembering that it’s an XBLA game) Shadow Complex looks really fucking good.  It’s got detailed & varied character models and environments; an abundance of effects on guns and explosions; lovely water; great texture work; atmospheric lighting; fluid animation and a solid frame rate. Read the rest of this entry »





Battlestar Galactica Complete Season 4: The Season Itself

13 02 2010

I think the ultimate finale of Battlestar Galactica deserves its own post, but that won’t be up for a while since I want to talk to some friends about it a bit more before I put my thoughts online.  There’s a line of dialogue towards the end of it that I need to sort out that is pretty crucial in my interpretation.  So here I’m just going to be discussing the season proper up until the thing with the console happens during the finale.  I think my TV reviews are going to be spoilery, but I’ll keep the movie reviews spoiler-free, so

***MAMMOTH SPOILERS***

LIKED

Everything I’ve always liked – It’s still Battlestar Galactica.  Whatever reasons you had for watching it up until this point, they’re still here now.  The production values are extremely high.  All of  the deep, varied characters that have been built over the previous three seasons are still here.  All of the great ship and costume designs obviously persist and the new designs this season are the most ambitious yet.  The writing is still original and nuanced.  The performances are still mind-bending.  Almost everything I loved about the previous seasons is here, with only a couple of exceptions, so bear in mind when reading the negatives that this show is as strong as it has been and the fourth season was maybe the strongest since the first.  There’s an urgency about it that, I think, allowed them to avoid duff episodes like Scar and Black Market from previous seasons. Read the rest of this entry »





Batman: Arkham Asylum

28 12 2009

Since this is a very casual blog, but I’d still like it to be readable, I’m going to switch the format of the posts from full reviews, which since I can’t be annoyed to plan them for a blog post don’t read very well, to a list of likes and dislikes about the subject, like Kotaku.

Batman:Arkham Asylum

Liked

***minor spoilers***

Everything – The review isn’t going to be this glib but in essence this was how the game felt.  I can’t remember the last time I was so awed by every facet of a game that I just wanted to tell everyone and, more importantly, keep playing.  I played until I had found all of the Riddler challenges and gotten golds in all of the challenges.  That gave me 100% completion for the file.  I don’t think I’ve ever gotten that in a game before.  Damn you, 499/500 agility orbs in Crackdown! Read the rest of this entry »





The Iron Giant

23 12 2009

Dir: Brad Bird

Stars: Eli Marienthal, Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick Jr, Christopher MacDonald, John Mahoney, Vin Diesel

On Saturday past I watched The Iron Giant with my parents.  I really quite enjoyed it.  It looked really lovely and the seamless blending of traditional animation with what I would call cell-shaded 3d provided a luscious and affecting visual spectacle.  1950s America is faithfully recreated in animated form and there’s a little bit near the start where Hogarth sits up to watch a B-movie horror and the main character from it sounds like Rod Sterling.  The little snippet of the film we see is brilliantly funny, although my mum and dad didn’t really get the joke.  The rest of the film also has a great sense of humour, ranging from little nods and observational comedy, to very enjoyable physical humour and a delight in Hogarth’s flights of fancy.  The relationship between Hogarth and the eponymous metal man is touching and speaks to our own memories of childhood, of that trusting nature, as well as simply wanting a giant robot friend.  The character of the robot as friendly, bumbling and childlike is brought to life brilliantly by the animation and sound design, and the design of the robot itself is wonderful.  The voice cast is also excellent, with Jennifer Aniston performing particularly well, given her limited experience with voice acting. Read the rest of this entry »