Saturday, January 19, 2013

News: Too Human Vanishes From the Xbox Marketplace

Two months after a court ruling demanding Silicon Knights "recall and destroy" some of its games, Too Human vanishes from the Xbox Live Marketplace...
Read More: Xbox Edge (Archived)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Top Ten Movies of 2012

With the Oscars just around the corner about to prove once again how irrelevant they are by making some strange movie picks, the time has come to look back on 2012 cinema and choose the ten best films the year had to offer. It’s important to note that I didn’t have the luxury of seeing absolutely everything that came out this year, so an omission from this list is not necessarily an indication that I won’t love it.

I will say that there are several films this year that, judging by critical consensus, I expected to be head-over-heels for but ended up only tolerating (Holy Motors, Zero Dark Thirty, Lincoln). There are also a multitude of others that I enjoyed very much, but had trouble committing to putting them in my top ten (Bernie, ParaNorman, The Sessions).

Limiting myself to a top ten was no easy task. This really was one hell of a year for movies, and the completion was stiff. Without further ado, here are the best motion pictures of 2012:

Monday, January 7, 2013

XBLA Review: Retro City Rampage

Get ready to laugh with nostalgic joy if you’re planning to play Retro City Rampage, a game that pretty much sells itself completely on pop culture and video game references from the ‘80s and ‘90s. Yes, there is an open world 8-bit style game here that’s inspired by Grand Theft Auto, but the true value of Retro City Rampage comes from the presentation and humor.

The screen looks like an old arcade machine, featuring a 4:3 display surrounded by a generic-looking cabinet skin. The menus, the title screen, the characters, the art design – everything seems ripped right from gaming’s golden age, and the result is a fantastic walk down memory lane. Retro City Rampage is an ode to video games and, while the core gameplay leaves much to be desired, you’re going to be glad you played it.

The streets of Retro City are pure chaos.
Complimenting the presentation are appropriate graphics and sound design for something pretending to be from the NES era. Even the in-game cinematics are done in classic 8-bit style, featuring barely-animated stills and witty text-based dialogue. There’s no doubt in my mind that a lot of thought went into this game, and the love definitely shows in the final product.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Movie Review: Django Unchained (2012)

Django Unchained is brutal, sickly comical, and often hard to watch. That being said, it’s also a smart film about racism and slavery, masterfully crafted by talented filmmaker Quentin Tarantino. A late arrival during 2012, Django Unchained should be in the conversation for best picture of the year, if critics can get past the excessive gore and racist language. Tarantino crosses the boundaries of what is comfortable in order to shock, amuse, and drive home a powerful message into your brain – and he succeeds completely on all counts.

This satirical revival of the Blaxploitation genre tells the story of a bounty-hunting dentist who frees a slave named Django (Jamie Foxx) in order to help him track down his latest reward. Feeling responsible for the man he freed, Dr. King Schultz (Christopher Waltz) teaches Django how to shoot, read, and even promises to help him free the woman he loves from a rich slaver, Calvin J. Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).

The romance between Django and his bride, Broomhilda Von Shaft (Kerry Washington), is one of the weaker aspects of the narrative. However, the relationship between Django and Dr. Schultz is surprisingly deep for a Tarantino movie; their mutual growth serves to push the plot forward.

The story unfolds in a series of episodic acts, each feeling like its own stand-alone arc. This approach is something fans of Tarantino are likely accustomed to, though I will add that it works better here than in Inglourious Basterds.