Thursday, 31 March 2011

REVIEW: Dead Space iPhone App

While my Dead Space 2 disc sorts itself out and inbetween Homefront, Crysis 2 and trying to complete Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, I've managed to fit in time on my daily commute to do the odd bit of Dead Space on my iPhone - but is it any good?

Playing games on the iPhone differ in quality. If it's something as simple as Angry Birds or Tiny Wings, it usually fares better; but when there are slidy controls, a weird 'two-button' system that hardly ever works and it's trying to be like a PSP - that's usually where it fails. Which is what makes Dead Space so interesting. Having been catered for the huge iPhone and iPad market, the guys at EA have made a rather small but perfectly formed bit of fun that will keep Deadites like myself going.

Will it ruin either Dead Space 1 or 2? No. It's a stand-alone game that, as far as I can tell, has no real bearing to the main storyline. You play someone who looks like Isaac Clarke but isn't, instead you're trying to get about some business and then all hell breaks loose. There is a bit of a plot to it, but without ruining anything, it's nothing that will make you remember it for years to come. Instead, the game relies on the fact that it's fun to play and a bit different from other games on the same platform.

Firstly, what you'll notice is the graphics have done the best with what they've got and it's quite impressive. The world you're in feels large yet keeps that claustrophobic feeling that made the original so unique. They've turned a problem into a creative solution. There are different types of enemies, you have different guns and suits, all of which can be upgraded and you can jump around in Zero-G - it's very much the bare bones of Dead Space, which isn't a bad thing.

What impresses the most is the control system works quite well. The left hand side of the screen is to move and the right hand side to look around, much like two conventional joysticks - then you tap to aim and tap again to shoot. You still have your status effect and can reload when you like and change your weapon mid-battle. It's clearly been thought out and, even though it can be fiddly, it's actually fairly easy to play. But then, that's another problem ...

There wasn't that many times where I thought I would die. The last boss for example I did first time and without much difficulty, the reason being is that you're health automatically recharges so if you run around for long enough, you're health will be full - a tactic I used many a time. You just have to make sure you don't get stuck! If you're out of ammo you can use your status to slow them down and chop away - repeat until completion. Therefore, it's not going to frustrate you too much unless it's a bug, and I did come across a few. There were times that you can't progress until you've killed all the monsters around - a "lockdown" situation - but sometimes you have killed them all, and you still can't progress meaning you have to restart from an earlier checkpoint. Very frustrating. I also ran into a fair bit of lag which made the game unplayable at times, but when I returned to it, it was fine.

The game itself wasn't terrifying but had some great trippy moments. There were a few good jumps and slowly losing your mind is actually quite fun. I had to say that it was fairly short though, app. 4 hours, but then I didn't know what to expect. It kept me entertained on a lot of long commutes and sometimes made them longer by making me miss my stop! It's not exactly pick up and play, but it does autosave enough for it not to be much of an issue if you only want to play it for five minutes or so.

Overall, for an iPhone game it's one of the best out there and definitely the most forward-thinking in terms of the format being a respectable gaming platform, so I'll mark it in context of that, but it falls short on a few elements and really felt more like a stop-gap rather than an amazing game in it's own right. It did extremely well for what it was, but then at the end of the day, it's still a game I was playing on my phone. Worth the money, but nothing essential.

Rating: 7/10

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

NEWS: LA Noire To Be Featured At Film Festival

Rockstar's "LA Noire" which I've been excited about for a while is to be featured at the Tribeca Film Festival.

It's a revolutionary step forward for an underappreciated medium that is clearly starting to be taken more and more seriously. LA Noire is going to be one of the most exciting games this year and I'm jealous of the lucky buggers who will be able to see a preview of it before it's release in May.

Do you think it's right to put a game into a film festival? Should games be appreciated as an art form just as much as films? Do you think Rockstar will be able to hit the big time again after the incredible Red Dead Redemption?

Sunday, 27 March 2011

NEWS: Amy Adams As Lois Lane in Snyder's "Superman"!

Amy Adams, who impressed a lot of people in "The Fighter", has been cast as Lois Lane in the re-reboot of Warner Bros. "Superman: Man of Steel". Or As Broadway World reports - "Spiderman" - tut tut.

What has surprised me the most is that she's 36. I thought she looked much younger, lucky her.

Taking over from the incredibly thin Kate Bosworth in Superman Returns, Adams will play the feisty young reporter Lois Lane who steals the heart of Clark Kent. It was reported that Wild Bore favourite Michael Shannon might be playing the enemy which would be amazing. Will Snyder be able to pull this off? I'd have to judge it on Sucker Punch really because as much as I love Snyder's previous work, I don't know if a Superman film is the way to go - I can't help but think it will be a camp version of Batman Begins. I always think of Batman as the awkward, moody younger brother and Superman as his older, jock, perfect looking sibling - who is the most interesting? Not Superman.

Friday, 25 March 2011

NEWS: Ricky Gervais, Johnny Depp & The Office

Ricky Gervais has let on that Johnny Depp will be starring in his new series "Life's Too Short" starring dwarf star Warwick Davis.

Not only this, but it's been confirmed that he will star in The US Office season 7 finale alongside Will Arnett. Fancy that! I've got reservations about "Life's Too Short", I enjoyed "Extras" but I'm getting a bit tired of Gervais - I don't know if anyone else feels the same?

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

NEWS: Kevin Costner in Superman

Superman re-reboot to get Kevin Costner as Superman's dad - Pa Kent. But what will be the cost ... ner?

"Superman: The Man of Steel" will be a mixed bag. It looks like it will be another origins story with Henry Cavill playing the Man of Steel himself and Diane Lane will play his mum. We know Snyder wants to do a Batman Begins spin on it (who wouldn't?) but we've yet to see if it will really take off. Bwahahaha.

Just as long as there's not a bald Spacey in sight.

NEWS: Lovejoy In "Jack The Giant Killer"

Ian McShane, aka Lovejoy, who also had stints in Deadwood and is in the new Pirates of the Caribbean film, has signed up to star in "Jack The Giant Killer" 

Bryan Singer's "Jack The Giant Killer" has nabbed McShane to play King Brahmwell. Scribed by Darren Lemke, who wrote for Lost and ... Shrek Forever After, with Jack being played by Nicholas Hault.

Ewan McGregor will also star as Captain of the King's Guard, Stanley Tucci, Bill Nighy and John Kassir will also star. Look forward to it in the summer of next year!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

NEWS: Alberto Falcone MIGHT NOT BE in Batman "The Dark Knight Rises"

While others are confirming Joseph Gordon-Levitt will play Alberto Falcone in "The Dark Knight Rises", Entertainment Weekly are saying they shouldn't be so hot to step off the mark ...

News this week that JGL was going to play Falcone's son Alberto would make sense, it ties in nicely with the first film, it suits him and the Holiday Killer thing is a bit more down-to-Earth.

However, it has now sprung to light that this has not necessarily been confirmed and is part of the 'hype-building' that surrounds the film. It's not to say this isn't true but until we get word of what's going on, it's important to say that rumours will be everywhere. Falcone would make sense, but don't get too tied up into it just yet!

Saturday, 19 March 2011

REVIEW: "Due Date" & The Bro-mance genre

For people who can't wait for The Hangover 2 - might as well catch Due Date ...

Firstly I must apologise for the lack of posts recently. The long and short of it is my commitment to my day job and also I am working my way through The X Files. 9 fucking years worth of X Files - and just so you know, I'm actually rediscovering how much I loved it in the first place! But anyway ... Due Date, first film I've watched in a rather shit last couple of months of films and something I've had lying about for a while.

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with director Todd Phillips, I like where he comes from, I like his style but sometimes his immaturity proceeds his lack of skill. I know the guy did The Hangover which was good, perhaps not as good as all the praise it got, but it was good. After all, this was the first time a lot of people had seen Zach Galifianakis, that people had realised the subtle genius of Ed Helms and that Bradley Cooper was more than just a pretty face, so it was a good shout but after all Phillips is one of the masters of the Bro-mance, just as cliche as the chick flick is to girls.

Without sounding like a nob, which I know is hard for me to do, I had been banging on since the millennium started that the Bromance genre will take off and will even get as silly and soppy as chick flicks turned out to be. That the way men wouldn't want to go see silly rom-coms, women wouldn't want to see gross-out boy films and essentially the gross-out is leaving and being replaced by a core emotional centre of emasculated men left in a western society that makes them feel isolated and lacking identity. Essentially, these films, such as Todd Phillips films, are the equivalent of war films back in the day, a group of men striving to reach one goal whether it's like in Due Date where they are trying to reach a location, Starsky & Hutch where they are trying to solve a crime or The Hangover when they are trying to find a man (Saving Private Ryan perhaps?) but the comraderie that comes with it and how the experience brings them closer together is something key in bro-mance. After all, as it's suggested in Fight Club, we don't have any world wars to fight in, so we make our own.

The problem with Due Date is that it's clearly a progression from buddy flick to bro-mance and it's a clear indication of where the times are going in terms of the genre. Essentially, like a good rom-com, the two hate each other but become 'best friends' by the end and is an example of how it's starting to mirror the rom-com in so many ways. The problem with this film is that it's execution is rather lazy, like all Phillips' films they are about a sequence of rather random events that tie up together at the end and it leaves the viewer somewhat disorientated - it's punch at human emotion hits so hard without jabbing it throughout the film, that it leaves you feeling rather queasy when it drives it home. It feels fake, forced and rather ill fitting amongst the rest of the film. The key though is that it taps into people's hearts in a soft, unpatronising, quite innocent way that subconciously affects men of all ages. It's genius is in it's stupidity and never pretends to be more than it is.

As a film however, Due Date is rather flawed. The scenes ramble by and ZG plays his typical chubby, cuddly, clumsy self that he seems to do in every film - the mock-confident bravado that tries to cover up his underlying stupidity is both alluring and irritating making the perfect loveable scamp combination. Downey Junior (DJ from now on) falls right into place with his Tony Stark-esque persona that ends up having to babysit ZG as they try and go to California - DJ to be at his baby's birth and ZG to become an actor.

To be honest, the pairing up of these two doesn't look right on paper but worked quite well. DJ is perhaps rather above what was needed here but it's good for him to flex his muscles a bit more into other roles that clearly rely on character - however at times, he just felt a bit out of place and pretty much looked like how he does in Iron Man, which is hard to forget while you're watching. It's got a great ensemble which works (Danny McBride) and doesn't work (Jamie Foxx - this guy seriously got an Oscar?) and some bits I properly laughed out loud at but it felt somewhat soulless. ZG really brought the emotional depth which was surprising, but the love for his father and the delusions of grandeur he exhibits makes me rather pity him and I constantly felt sorry for him. It was a weird bag of emotions for something that is supposed to be a normal road movie, but it is easily quite forgettable. It felt confused and lacking something that could have made it great but overall, it was a nice departure from some bad comedy cannon fodder that's been released lately. This could have easily gone very wrong but instead it becomes a slight ray of sunshine breaking through a rather lame output of comedies as of late.

It's not something I'd say you have to see, but it's definitely worth checking out and makes a great Friday night viewing. It's not The Hangover, but then no-one expected it to be.

Rating: 6/10

Sunday, 13 March 2011

NEWS: Do We Have Michael Scott's Replacement? *SPOILER*

We now all know that Carrell will be leaving The Office and there will be a large gap to fill afterwards. However, it's been confirmed that a huge film star will be filming at least 4 episodes in order to build 'an arc' as the new boss of Scranton's Dunder Mifflin. Want to find out? Read on... *SPOILER RIGHT BENEATH THIS LINE*

The movie star is the one and only Will Ferrell. It is likely he will feature in the double episode "Goodbye, Michael" and will probably help finish up the seventh season by either suggesting he is the new boss, or I imagine by appointing someone who is completely unfit for the job. Daryl maybe? It can't be Jim and for a second last week, I thought it was going to be Packer! Paul Lieberstein (aka Toby) says this: "We found Steve Carrell when he was nothing but a movie star and we turned him into a television star ... We are proud to continue The Office's tradition of discovering famous talent, and we hope once America gets a good look at Will, they'll see what we see, tremendous raw sexuality."

Saturday, 12 March 2011


Neill Blomkamp's "Elysium" has announced Wagner Moura, Sharlto Copley, Jodie Foster and Matt Damon as the cast.

I can't wait! With the date set at March 8th 2013 this sci-fi thriller is looking set to be one of the biggest of 2013 - keep your eyes and ears open.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

NEWS: Colin Firth To Star In Park-Chan Wook's "Stoker" Written By ... Wentworth Miller?

Colin Firth seems to be getting better and better in my eyes - but still has a long way to go to prove he is one of the best actors on the planet at the moment. A very long way. But working with one of my favourite directors helps.

The last Park-Chan Wook film I saw was "I'm A Cyborg" but since then, I've wanted to see the short "Night Fishing" (mentioned in this blog last year) and "Thirst" - which I haven't seen, but it's supposed to be good. Unfortunately, as much as I thought "I'm A Cyborg" was good, it wasn't great. But then "Oldboy" was amazing and was actually what I saw on my first date with the girlfriend. Though we had seen about a million films beforehand together. But this was 'official', you know.

Anyway, Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska will be in his first English-language film and will be written by Wentworth Miller. You know, the main guy in Prison Break? Resident Evil 3D? That guy. You know he's gay right? He's written the screenplay. No-one else seems to be finding this quite strange seeing as this is his first screenplay.

The film is about Vampires, much like "Thirst", but completely different. Forget the fangs and blood. This is about someone who 'preys on the innocent'. Firth has made it clear he wants to move away from his British, stereotypically posh boy image and concentrate on expanding his horizons. If you've won Best Actor then you can pretty much do what you want safe in the knowledge that you've achieved the world's highest honour. It'll be great to see him do something different as part of the reason why I can't stand him is he is so painfully British and bland, so hopefully doing some evil horror stuff in an intelligent Wook film will do the business. However, maybe Park-Chan Wook is selling out? A-list line-up with a screenplay written by a TV actor? I don't think he is but I imagine by hiring Firth, it might be more to draw audiences in rather than credibility. Just a thought.

NEWS: Watch Films On Facebook!

Do you watch Facebook? Why not go all post-modern and watch The Social Network on it while chatting to your friends watching with you? Well soon you can ...

Well, with Warner Bros you can anyway. They are setting up a streaming service with Facebook that will allow users to access their films and stream them from the site. Probably not good news for services such as LoveFilm etc. but I think would be good news for the general public - ease of access, no need for subscriptions (no mention of it anyway) and all just from your Facebook page.

The first out of the bag will be The Dark Knight which will be about $3 and, like iTunes, you get 48 hours to watch it after purchase. If it's a success, then watch out as they roll out more and more content to the service. Thomas Gewecke has said “Facebook has become a daily destination for hundreds of millions of people. …….Making our films available through Facebook is a natural extension of our digital distribution efforts. It gives consumers a simple, convenient way to access and enjoy our films through the world’s largest social network.” - which is true. Facebook might be taking over the world a bit at a time, but right now I think it's a good idea. If you go to the Dark Knight page and 'Like' it - then it should tell you how you can access it.

NEWS: Daft Punk "Tron" Remix Album Announced!

Did you like Daft Punk's Tron soundtrack? I certainly did. Well there's more to come!

If you click here then you will be taken to the official website where if you type "M83"onto the surface of the official website you can listen to some exclusive clips from the new Daft Punk soundtrack "TRON LEGACY R3CONFIGUR3D" which will be released on April 5th.

They've made it look all 8-Bit which all you graphic designers etc. will probably lap up and the track listing looks very impressive. The usual remix artists are there (Daft Punk favourites) M83, The Crystal Method, Moby and others like Paul Oakenfold, Kaskade, Com Truise, The Japanese Popstars and more.

If you preorder the deluxe package you'll get the album, TRON: Betrayal - a 128 page graphic novel and the Tron: legacy 5 disc 2 movie Blu-Ray collection featuring the film in hi-def 2D, hi-def 3D, DVD, a digital copy, the original film in hi-def and a collectable lithograph. You'll also get a digital copy of the album, a collector's digital EP featuring unreleased tracks and a glow in the dark film poster.

There are other packages available but if you like everything Tron, then you can't really go wrong!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

NEWS: Dead Island Gameplay Update!

More word on the Dead Island game that after it's successful trailer released a little while back, got a few tongues wagging...

According to testers, Dead Island is perhaps not going to be the dramatic survival horror the trailer promised, instead it will be "zombie zombie zombie all the time" so say the developers. Instead, it follows Dead Rising where you can basically pick up anything, combine and upgrade it, and make it become a bad-ass weapon. Except as you guys know from my review of Dead Rising, it was somewhat of a chore.

It's also completely ripped off Left 4 Dead by giving you a 4 player co-op option, but worse in that once you pick your character, you stay with it. This leaves out the 'pick-up-and-play' aspect that made Left 4 Dead so popular in the first place. If you're going to rip off a game, why leave the best aspects?

Apparently, part of the story is that you're immune to the zombification, meaning that if you're bit you don't have to worry about turning (or finding Zombrex), but instead can worry about the fact you've got a chunk missing from your arm. The game is a fast-paced, balls out shooter which is more cartoonish than dramatic. For those hoping for a more intelligent, Heavy Rain feel to the zombie genre, I'm afraid you might have to wait a little bit longer because it looks like Dead Island might as well be another Dead Rising in the form of an FPS.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

NEWS: Star Wars 3D Details

The money making machine that is George Lucas has announced that he will release The Phantom Menace next year in glorious 3D ... so we can be disappointed all over again. February 10th 2012 to be exact.

It looks like each year, for the next 6 years, we're going to get all six films playing in all order. I don't think I could sit through all these again but I imagine some people are excited. I'll probably see Empire Strikes Back, maybe Return of the Jedi ... and that's it. Actually, maybe Revenge of the Sith - I quite liked that - did anyone else?

If you can't wait until then, look out for the Blu Rays coming in September.

Anyway, here's what said:

Lucasfilm Ltd. and Twentieth Century Fox announced today that the 3D theatrical launch of Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace now has an official release date — February 10, 2012! Set against the thrilling and exotic backdrop of a “galaxy far, far away,” Star Wars is perfectly suited to the immersive 3D theatrical experience, and Episode I delivers some of the Saga’s most stunning and spectacular sequences — from the Naboo invasion to the Tatooine Podraces to the climactic lightsaber battle between Darth Maul and the Jedi.
Supervised by Industrial Light & Magic, the meticulous conversion is being done with utmost respect for the source material, and with a keen eye for both technological considerations and artistic intentions.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

NEWS: Blade Runner Sequel / Prequel's Announced. Oh dear.

Warner Bros & Alcon have bought the rights to Blade Runner. Probably so they can again ruin a perfect film, like everyone else seems to be doing.

Blade Runner is one of my favourite films - it's up there - hands down. I love everything about it and I sincerely believed when I watched this as a kid that I was going to live in this perfect dystopia. Part of me still thinks I will. For all those who say Star Wars is the best sci-fi, that it's Harrison Ford's finest work they can basically suck my hairy balls because Blade Runner wins every time. It's when Ridley Scott was good, remember that? I know it was long ago but squint really hard and I'm sure you can remember.

Anyway, Warner Bros now have legal rights to completely fuck up that perfect film they remember so fondly and watch again and again. They're going to fill in all those holes of what happened before and after the film, the stuff that's better left to audience's imagination - the bit of interaction that viewers can have with a film - you know that connection that people have with it? Well Warner Bros are just going to authoritatively tell you what happened and ruin it for you. I can't wait! Shall we dig up some famous dead people as well, people remembered fondly, maybe Princess Diana, and piss on them while we're at it?

NEWS: Batman Dark Knight Rises Info!

More news on Batman: The Dark Knight Rises - I'd say there were a couple of spoilers ahead. But unless you want to know absolutely nothing, move on - otherwise for some general plot - keep going, it's not exactly spoiling anything.

Basically the Catwoman storyline looks like it will be an origins tale (yawn) but still, hopefully it'll have that Nolan touch. The main evil guys will be the League of Shadows (hmmm) which will be Talia Al'Ghul as reported here a while back (Marion Cotillard?), Tom Hardy as Bane and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as reportedly Black Mask (but nothing confirmed).

For Batman fans, the League of Shadows was mentioned in Batman Begins but in the comics they are called the League of Assassins. If you were in the league and you didn't complete your mission, you'd be targeted by the League - hence a lot of people tried to kill Batman, failed and were subsequently targeted. Maybe that's where Levitt comes in? A character called Dr Darrk was in it who led the group and was more devious than an out-and-out killer. I could see Levitt being that creepy. Is it also a push to think that Liam Neeson could return?

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

NEWS: Thundercats Are Back!

Thundercats are on the loose and look really ... really ... crap. In a strange way they look a bit Final Fantasy Japanimation-ish but let's wait and see. The trailer offers up something a bit different and the original Lion-o voice will cameo. I quite like the trailer, especially the epic music, but the actual characters just look a bit shoddy in my opinion. Hopefully it'll be a bit darker and perhaps some lessons were learnt after Naruto has taken over half the world. Look out for it on Cartoon Network!