Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Movie Review: Men in Black 3 (2012)

When I arrived at the theater to see Men in Black 3, memories of the first film were at the forefront of my mind. However, I can't remember much about the second film at all. Where the first movie was a clever mix of action and comedy, the second film was just a collection of silly moments, none of which are funny enough to be very memorable.

I'm sad to say that the third film is no different. Men in Black 3 seems like one outrageous moment after another, connected by a story that is less than interesting.

A space villain, Boris the Animal (Jemaine Clement), has broken out of prison and seeks vengeance against his arresting officer, Agent K (Tommy Lee Jones). Boris travels back in time and kills a younger Agent K (Josh Brolin), which dooms all of mankind to a destruction by alien warships.

If you're confused, I apologize. I'm doing my very best to describe the plot as accurately as possible.

Will Smith reprises his role as Agent J, who also travels back in time to thwart Boris' plan. This whole time travel gimmick seems like a decent way to write Tommy Lee Jones out of the movie, since most of the film will feature Will Smith partnered up with Josh Brolin. It's rather strange to see Jones receive top billing; his screen time is quite limited.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Video Game Reboots That Will Crush Your Childhood Memories

This article was originally posted on Yahoo! Voices.

I get a warm feeling whenever I see games that I loved as a kid making their triumphant return. Video games were a huge part of my upbringing, and I enjoy seeing the franchises I love come back to life.

Sadly, some franchises return only to fall flat on their face. If you cherish your childhood memories, stay as far away from these video game reboots as possible.

Alone in the Dark (Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, Wii, PC, PlayStation 3)

This fifth installment of the classic survival horror franchise was an attempt to bring the game into the current console generation. While developer Eden Games had some success with the graphics and soundtrack, the rest of the game was subpar at best.

The voice acting and dialogue set a new standard for bad, making the narrative very difficult to enjoy. To make matters worse, in what seems like an attempt to make a video game aimed at adults, the characters curse more than your favorite rapper. The swearing is completely overdone and it's actually rather silly. Even if you can somehow stomach the voice acting, you'll still find the plot to be quite unoriginal. This is a straightforward, generic horror thriller that lacks any significant depth and it barely tries to do anything different than the plethora of titles that came before it.

Further, the tedious gameplay isn't much fun. The only way to kill enemies is by using fire, which significantly limits a player's actions. Add in a plethora of technical problems, like camera issues and glitches, and Alone in the Dark feels almost unplayable.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Pac-Man 2: The Strange Sequel You Probably Missed

Originally published on Yahoo! Voices.

Every gamer worth their salt has played the original Pac-Man. Even if you aren't old enough to remember the days where the little yellow guy dominated the arcade market, you've likely played the original game in one form or another.

Did you know that Pac-Man had an official sequel? No, I don't mean Ms. Pac-Man. There's a lesser-known sequel for Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo entitled Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures. It's the official, numbered follow-up to the arcade classic; however, it shares zero resemblance to its predecessor whatsoever.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Movie Review: Dark Shadows (2012)

Tim Burton's Dark Shadows is a visually stunning film; however, I'm afraid it's hard to find reason to praise the movie beyond that. Where Dark Shadows starts out strong, providing an excellent beginning to a would-be gothic classic, it soon fizzles into something that walks the line between mediocre and below average.

I am tempted to start this review by giving a plot synopsis, but I'm actually really confused by the film's narrative. There's something about a witch, Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green), who has placed an evil curse over the Collins family, a once prominent name in the New England business world. Angelique's most notable act of evil comes when she turns former lover Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) into an immortal vampire.

The Collins family made their wealth by dominating the Maine seafood business; this was of course until Angelique's curses helped her competing line gain a competitive edge. Yes, Ms. Bouchard's primary motivation appears to come from her desire to sell quality fish products.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Most Hardcore RPGs of This Generation.

I have wonderful memories of sitting up past my bedtime playing Dragon Warrior on my original Nintendo Entertainment System. I would spend all night battling slime creatures, inching ever closer to victory. The game was extremely hard, and only the most devoted players would survive long enough to see it through to the end.

This is a common story with classic RPGs -- they are very difficult, and often players are never able to finish them. Where modern consoles are capable of housing huge worlds and hundreds of hours of gameplay, retro consoles were more limited in their abilities. RPGs were difficult because that helped create a longer game, and with that a feeling of a larger world for the player to explore.

Without getting into a history lesson about RPGs, it's safe to say that modern games in the genre are now the easiest they have ever been. Extremely difficult RPGs are a lost art, going the way of arcade machines and wired controllers.

Luckily for you there are still a few gems out there to feed your need to fail. Here's a list of RPGs from this generation that will have you throwing the controller, while giving you the warm feeling of playing a classic.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

What Can We Expect from Apple's Rumored Video Game Console?

This Article is Published at Yahoo! Voices.

Rumors are circulating that Apple may be announcing its own video game console at the 2012 E3 Expo. Since every rumor on the internet is absolutely based in fact, we should begin shamelessly speculating on what a console from the iPad creator may look like. Taking a look at the past, present, and future of Apple can give us a better understanding of just how Apple can break into the video game industry. 

We've seen this before. 

In 1995 Apple designed a video game console that was distributed by Bandai. The cleverly named Apple Bandai Pippin saw very little commercial success in a market dominated by Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation. The console went on to sell less than 50,000 units worldwide, and is considered by many to be a colossal failure. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Review: The Avengers (2012)

When Iron Man came to theatres in 2008, audiences were given a surprise. Those who were patient enough to wait until the credits finished rolling were treated to an additional scene, which served to hype a film featuring a Marvel superhero team-up. Five films and four years later, The Avengers (2012) has final arrived. While it may seem impossible to live up to such an extraordinary level of hype, Marvel's The Avengers completely exceeds all expectations and may very well be the greatest superhero film ever made.

Tying many of the Marvel film franchises together is quite an ambitious project, one that I admit I had my doubts about. I wasn't originally a fan of the hidden "Easter egg" scenes that served as promotional ploys for The Avengers film -- which at the time seemed only like a fantasy. I felt as though connecting all the film franchises together cheapened each movie's unique experience, and in the event that The Avengers was terrible, it would taint those films completely.

While each Marvel film leading up to The Avengers had its own stand-alone value, I still can't help but feel as though each was made with future installments in mind. Through end credit scenes and some crossover characters, each film is linked together -- often in ways that came off as a little silly. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Movie Review: The Raven (2012)

I’m going to assume by now that you’ve seen the trailer for The Raven, a film by V For Vendetta director, James McTeigue. You know the premise: a fictional Edgar Allan Poe (John Cusack) is helping hunt down a serial murderer, who seems deeply inspired by Poe’s work. This story is told through a series of chase scenes, shootouts, and other movie clich├ęs.

To say that the plot unfolds without originality would be a complete understatement. This is a formula movie, and a very poor one at that. The Raven displays a visual style that seems to strive for mediocrity, and only succeeds at reaching that level some of the time. The film shows very little creativity in its visual style, and sometimes it looks downright ugly.

The cinematography is as formulaic as the film’s script -- every shot seems borrowed from somewhere else; every scene seems crafted around a stale idea from the past. While I expected to see a film heavily influenced by past “whodunits”, The Raven fails so completely to deliver anything original that it seems like little more than a cheap knockoff.