Monthly Archives: April 2011

Cineffect Episode #3: Four Lions, Portal 2, FLCL, Gears of War 3

Welcome to the Cineffect Podcast. In this podcast of constant douchebaggery, me (Chris), Alex, and Brady talk about film, games, and everything in between.

Subscribe via iTunes.

What We’ve Been Watching (DVD/TV)

(2:37) Brady – Pi, Fish Tank

(6:31) Alex – FLCL, Tenchi Muyo

(8:24) Chris – Magnolia, Mortal Kombat: Legacy, Network, The Aviator, The Departed, Revolutionary Road, Frost/Nixon, Rabbit Hole, The Good The Bad The Weird, Somewhere, Never Let Me Go

What We’ve Been Playing (Video Games)

(22:19) Chris – Mass Effect 2: The Arrival, Battlefield Bad Company 2 Vietnam, Portal 2

(28:26) Alex – Portal 2, Mortal Kombat, Gears of War 3 Beta, Dead Rising 2: Case West

(35:02) Brady – Dragon Age II, Crysis 2, Homefront

TRAILERS

(50:57) Abduction Trailer

NEWS

(1:00:28) PSN Crash

(1:05:38) Cannes Film Festival Lineup Thoughts

REVIEWS

(1:18:05) Brady – Hanna

(1:23:20) Chris – Insidious, Scream 4

(1:33:19) Alex – Arthur

MEGA REVIEW

(1:37:15) Four Lions

(1:47:24) FLCL

CONCLUSION

(2:07:30) What’s Coming Out Next Week

(2:11:35) Links & Where To Find Us On The Internet

(2:12:39) Ride On Shooting Star by The Pillows

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Somewhere Movie Review


Movies like Somewhere are of the most difficult kind to sell. They’re the kind of movies that movie-snobs will either admire or maybe even hate, whereas mainstream audiences will either hate it or be so extremely bored they’ll fall asleep 10 minutes in. Somewhere is a movie about the quiet moments in life. It isn’t long, but it feels almost excruciatingly slow due to how early Sunday morning-like it paces itself, and also unfortunately benefits by not necessarily having a plot at all.

There is sort of a plot. Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff) is a has-been actor in America, and apparently a big-hit in Italy for some reason, who begins to reconnect with his daughter who he’s never really had the time to properly raise. That’s about it. Movies like Somewhere require a certain mood/atmosphere/sensibility to them as well as great actors to boot, and while Somewhere does have that, they are so subtle that they can be easily missed.

The film is the latest from director Sofia Coppola, who began with the exasperatingly depressing The Virgin Suicides, but struck critical gold with many a film-fan’s favorite, Lost in Translation. After that was her rather ambitious take on the period-piece genre with Marie Antoinette, which was a rather divisive film that, from what I’ve heard since I haven’t actually seen it, used a lot of style to set itself apart from other period-pieces, but skimped on everything else.

Now, she wishes to strike gold a second time with Somewhere which covers familiar territory for the writer/director. Much like Lost in Translation, it’s a story about an actor trying to find companionship in a strange, alien setting. Except while we got Bill Murray as the actor, Scarlett Johannson as the companion, and Tokyo as the unique backdrop, here we have Stephen Dorff, Elle Fanning, and, briefly, Italy. The two still feel different, however. Lost in Translation wasn’t exactly the most fast-paced movie of all time, but it still did have some moderate pacing. Meanwhile, Somewhere takes its sweet time so god d*mn much, that if you were waiting to go out on a date with it, you’d have to wait 2 hours just for its hair to get done.

Slow as it is, however, it still has this hypnotic quality to it. There are many horridly pretentious moments in the first half of the film that reminded me of the horridly pretentious The Limits of Control. You know that seen in The Limits of Control, where there’s a scene of the protagonist just riding a train, and it goes on for ten minutes for no reason other than to be artsy-fartsy, Somewhere has many scenes much like that, and while they certainly aren’t as long as that one train scene, they still do feel long. The opening shot is 2 long minutes of watching a car drive in circles and it is followed by another 8-10 minutes of Stephen Dorff moping around in his hotel, inviting two pole dancers to do what is oddly the most yawn-inducing “erotic” dance in recent memory, drinking some beer, driving from one place to another, derpy derpy doo.

It has an aggressively art-house feel, and just with any quintessential art-house film, those with the patience for it will be rewarded later on. Once we finally get to the bits with Dorff actually trying to connect with his daughter, we get many small, beautiful moments that were what made Lost in Translation so great. Hardly a word of dialogue is spoken in many of these scenes, and they have this strange impact that is simultaneously subtle and noticeable. This is mainly due to the charm of the two leads. Stephen Dorff shows off acting chops that we rarely get out of him (Remember, he was in Alone in the Dark), whereas Elle Fanning, despite looking a bit old for an 11-year old character, still has such a nice little charm to her that makes her stand-out from her more successful sister, Dakota.

I think the key to Somewhere‘s alluring quality is for sure the way Coppola approaches the subject matter. Since there is no plot, the focus is entirely on the characters, and she still manages to make her examinations of them very understated. There are no conflicts, no contrived moments where the characters fight and separate for a little while only to come back together at the very end The Wedding Singer style. Oh sure, there is some drama to be had, characters cry, and feel a little sad for a brief moment, but it’s never overblown. The drama comes from its characters, such as Stephen Dorff’s loneliness, Elle Fanning’s distance from her parents, etc.

It’s easy for people to say that “nothing happens” in Somewhere. And while very little does happen, it’s not necessarily about what’s happening in the big picture, it’s more about what’s happening in tiniest corners of the eye. Stuff does happen, sparse as it is, and I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t have some kind of impact on me.

Final Verdict: I can’t say you’ll enjoy it, seeing how it’s a very acquired taste . However if you just want an honest, meditative, and sweet experience and don’t mind taking your sweet time with it, Somewhere is a whole-hearted recommendation. Those wanting or expecting anything else out of it will leave rather disappointed and bored. It’s just one of those movies that doesn’t necessarily feel like a journey, so much as a wonderful, nice, pleasant weekend with your closest relative. Not much really going on, but an experience that will certainly stick with you.

That is all.

See ya next time. Now if you’ll excuse me, I gotta whisper something to Scarlett Johannson, and you can’t hear what it is…BIATCH!!

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Mogworld Book Review

 Hey! Haven’t done one of these in a while! Last time I reviewed a book was with Chuck Palahniuk’s Haunted just as an excuse to orgasm about one of my favorite authors. Now, I’m using it as an excuse to orgasm about one of my favorite critics in general.


As many readers have figured out by reading many of my reviews, I’m a rather big fan of video game critic Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw. For those of you unaware, Yahtzee is the creator of Zero Punctuation, a weekly video series that consists of rapid-fire reviews that focus almost entirely on the negative aspects of games, and practically nothing else. Not one single nit is left unpicked in his scathing reviews. However, unlike most contrarian reviewers such as *facepalm* Armond White, Yahtzee gets away with it by making some legitimate points, bringing to light certain flaws that wouldn’t be brought up in mainstream video game reviews, and by simply just being so god d*mn entertaining. Even if you don’t agree with his reviews, it’s just hard to resist laughing hysterically at his excellent comedic timing, clever wit, and excellent use of imagery and bracingly dark humor.

Now, he’s trying his hand at the literary scene with his first ever published novel, Mogworld. Just think about how hard it is for a critic such as Yahtzee to create his own artistic work. Most would find it incredibly easy for critics, especially since they’re so apparently omnipotent in the tropes, cliches, and merits of art, but think of how nerve-wracking it must be to have the “judge” become the “judged”. The critic would have to use every bit of his critical skill to apply it to his/her own work, and the slightest misstep will have him critically eviscerated since critics will undoubtedly be extra harsh on other critics’ works. And while Yahtzee reviews games rather than books, that doesn’t really make him immune to this statement. There is a major difference between creating a work of fiction, and criticizing/analyzing a work of fiction.

But, in the long run, Mogworld is a huge success, and a fantastic debut to what looks to be a promising literary career for Yahtzee. He’s used his knowledge of video games to make a novel that perfectly satirizes video game fantasy-lore and culture, while providing some refreshingly original and interesting characters, a fully-developed mythology, all wrapped up in Yahtzee’s trademark humor. Any gamer who has wasted hours, days, weeks, months, possibly even years of World of Warcraft, should feel right at home with Mogworld’s excellent satire.

Huh, that last paragraph sounded like what should’ve been the Final Verdict. Let’s balance that out by gobbing on about the plot.

So, we begin with Jim, an up-and-coming mage in a mage college in the magical land of Mogworld, a place full of heroes, knights, dragons, dwarves, and elves, which should sound familiar if you’ve played any game ever made ever. The mage school is attacked by a competing warrior-school and Jim, in the heat of battle, is killed. More than 60 years later, he wakes up back in his own body, which has now rotted and decayed due to decades of being buried and realizes he’s now an Undead. Turns out he and a hundreds of other deceased, have been resurrected by the necromancer Lord Dreadgrave, quite possibly the most ridiculously cliche’d fantasy “villain” you can possibly conjure up.

Jim, now back in the real world, sees that something has gone horribly wrong with Mogworld. Turns out, an event that citizens call the Infusion has granted immortality to all people in the entire world. No one is allowed to die, or reproduce for that matter, and whenever someone “dies”, they are quickly resurrected to the nearest church. On top of all that (not gay) a mysterious disease called the Syndrome has inflicted itself upon many of the most attractive adventurers, putting them in a near-catatonic, mentally-handicapped state. It’s easy to understand why Jim, who wasn’t socially fond of people to begin with, wouldn’t want to be a part of this madness, so he goes on a heroic, noble quest to…properly find a way to die, once and for all.

Right off the bat, Jim is not your average protagonist. Just like Yahtzee himself, Jim is cynical, mean-spirited, and has no care in the world for doing the right thing. However. also like Yahtzee, he’s still immensely like-able due to his wit, charm, intelligence, and humor. He’s joined by an undead woman named Meryll, who is able to sew together Jim’s body parts back together when they fall off, and is highly distinguishable for being uncannily cheery and optimistic, and an undead priest named Thaddeus who pretty much just insults everyone throughout 99% of the adventure.

It also helps that Yahtzee has created a very well-developed and greatly-realized environment and mythology for them to inhabit. Poking fun at fantasy cliches while still putting interesting and quirky spins on common fantasy tropes. Everything from the feminine bodies of elves, the stereotypical villain names, and everything else in between, is satirized, but never in an aggressive, hateful manner, and instead, striking a balance of still being relatively insightful and, of course, hilarious.

The novel also has one knock-out of a twist that is revealed somewhat a third of the way through the book, and keeps developing as it progresses, which I found to be really ingenious…if it weren’t for the fact that it is given away in the back cover and the Amazon.com synopsis. My advice is to get into the book clean. Do not look up ANYTHING ELSE on it, do not look at the Amazon synopsis, do not even peek at the final pages of the book, and just experience it for yourself.

And I must say, for a guy who is debuting with his first ever novel, Yahtzee writes like he’s a professional. He finds a great way to please fans of his Zero Punctuation reviews with his signature caustic wit and dialogue, and translate it into a fictional format. It should be interesting to see how his literary skills evolve as time progresses.

There is literally only one majorly bad thing I can say about this book, and it is as I said before, the twist is given away in the marketing. And while it definitely doesn’t detract from the enjoyment you can get reading it, you certainly won’t be surprised when the thing is revealed. So follow my advice, go into it clean, and the experience should be that much richer.

Final Verdict: Regardless of the last paragraph, Mogworld is definitely worth checking out, especially if you’re a gamer, and especially if you’ve played World of Warcraft once in your life. Well written, original, hilarious, and just a downright blast to read, it’s more than well worth your time.

That is all.

See ya next time. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to wank to Zero Punctuation some more. Gotta fap to love those British accents…

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Some Mothersexing Updates

First up, our podcast is now on iTunes. You can subscribe to it through there by clicking here.

Next up, I’d like to thank the Academy Joe Lee (a.k.a. Yeshua) for making the website banner for us. Although it was too big and not all of it fit into the header, it works beautifully.

So yeah, episode 3 is coming out, fgts. We’ll discuss Insidious, possibly Limitless, possibly Arthur, some more of Hanna, Scream 4, and kick it off with a mega discussion of Four Lions.

You’ll love it.

loveit

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Scream 4 Movie Review

Hey, it’s my first written review on this site. Pretty awesome…

 Once upon a time, the father of all slasher movies Halloween had two children named Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street. The latter film was directed by Wes Craven, one of Hollywood’s most influential of all horror directors. Years after his successful slasher was famous, he went back to his creation and saw that it was ruined and milked dry by corporate douchebags who spawned many shitty sequels. He tried to atone for that with New Nightmare but surprisingly good as that movie was, it still wasn’t able to revitalize the now stagnant slasher genre he once knew and loved.

Realizing the monster he’s created, he began work with Scream a movie that deconstructed the slasher genre while still remaining a classic entry into it. It was the first movie to balance out scares and thrills with (intentional) laughs and humor to make for one of the most unique horror offerings in a long time. All while poking fun at the many cliches of slashers.

Since then a rather good sequel and a crappy third entry have been released, but since then, the franchise has been dormant for 11 years. But Wes Craven remembered one important rule in the slasher genre: it’s that the killer never dies. Now, he’s back with another serving of self-aware meta humor and gruesome stabbings with Scream 4…or Scre4m as it’s been marketed. After ending on a crappy note the last time with Scream 3, can ScreFourm bring back what made the first two films good?

I’ve always liked the Scream movies. They’re not the best slashers, nor are they the scariest slashers, and if we’re talking about unintentionally funny movies, then I guess they’re not the funniest slashers, but by god they are probably the most entertaining slashers. While the self-awareness of the series can be either a turn-off or horror-movie catnip for certain people, I belong in the latter category. Craven is a guy who simply gets horror, and gets movies. While not all of his films are total direct hits (Before ScreFourm, he made the abysmal My Soul To Take) there’s no denying his passion for the horror genre.

So, it’s plot description time…

Sidney Prescott, survivor of all three movies, is returning to the town of Woodsboro where the original Scream took place for the first time in over ten years. She’s there to just promote her new Oprah style self-help book, meet a few old friends such as Dewey Riley (David Arquette), Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox Arquette), and her cousin Jill (Emma Roberts). All that, however, is quickly put to rest when we see that a new Ghostface killer is back, he’s just murdered two young blondes, and he’s definitely going to stop by again for more intestines to dig deep inside. Now it’s up to the gang and a new batch of teenagers/victims to stop the killer.

Whereas the first movie was a deconstruction of slashers, the second movie was a deconstruction of slasher sequels, and the third movie was trying but failing to be a deconstruction of trilogies, the fourth installment is a deconstruction of reboots and remakes. This time, the killer is hell-bent on remaking the one-upping the original murders from the first movie. The film is also going with this theme of how horror and society in general have changed and evolved within the past decade since Scream 3. The reboot thing we’ve already discussed, but the film also puts an emphasis on our focus on technology, such as web-casting, social networking, and internet fame. It’s an interesting concept that, while isn’t explored entirely, still resonates really well by the end.

One thing I’ve always liked about the Scream saga is that while they’re entertaining slashers, they also work immensely well as “whodunit” style thrillers. And when you do eventually find out whodunit, the revelation is actually very well done, and unexpecting.

The cast does admirably. Courtney Cox is her usual bitchy self, David Arquette’s character has matured and is definitely much less naive than in the first three installments, Neve Campbell gets to shine here as a more badass rebel girl, now that her character isn’t psychologically damaged, and the new cast of characters, such as Emma Roberts and Hayden Panetierre, actually impressed me quite a bit, especially considering Emma Roberts’s shitty track-record of films ’til now.

Speaking of the new cast, the movie does a surprisingly good job of catering to fans of the original trilogy of films, while still being very accessible to newcomers. This is gonna sound weird but…it works equally as well as both a sequel AND a reboot.

If there’s one complaint I have against ScreFOURm, it’s that it isn’t scary. And for a horror movie that’s not just a complaint, that’s pretty much a death penalty. It doesn’t really matter though considering that it’s more meant to entertain than to scare, and I was undeniably entertained throughout (Despite being a bit overlong). But one thing I always liked about the first two movies was that they balanced the suspense and the comedy well together, and in Scre4m the horror aspect is toned down a bit while the comedy tries to balance that out by being more noticeable. And while there are some laughs to be had, the complete absence of the cat-and-mouse chase scenes of the original is disappointing.

Also, before I end, while the Scream films aren’t necessarily known for their “inventive kills” since 90% of them are pretty much just “stabbing”, I’m just going to spoil my favorite one because I couldn’t resist: A guy is shot in the dick. No really, a guy is shot in the dick, and it is hilarious. Okay, I’m done here…

Final Verdict: If we’re comparing it with the rest of the Scream movies, it’s not up to par with the first one, comparable to the second one, and LEAGUES above the third one. Either way however, if you just want a fun time at the movies, you can definitely do worse. Fans will enjoy it, newcomers will probably enjoy it enough to gain an interest for the original films, and everyone will pretty much just have a good time with it.

That is all.

See ya next time, now if you’ll excuse me, I have to ask, what’s your faaavorite scary movie?

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Cineffect Podcast Episode #2: DAMN GOOD COFFEE (Hanna, Win Win, Source Code)

Welcome to the Cineffect Podcast. In this podcast of constant douchebaggery, me (Chris), Alex, and Brady talk about film, games, and everything in between.

In today’s episode, me and Alex discuss the absence of Brady, talk about Lars von Trier, review Hanna, Win Win, and Source Code, orgasm about Twin Peaks and The Tree of Life, and talk about just how insane Paranoia Agent is.

EPISODE MINUTE MARKERS!!
0:00 – Good Day Today by David Lynch
0:22 – Introduction


What We’ve Been Watching (DVD/TV)
4:57 – Alex: Twin Peaks, Tiger And Bunny, My Ordinary Life, X-Men Anime, Steins;Gate
10:08 – Chris: Fish Tank, Undertow, Twin Peaks, Paranoia Agent, Black Hawk Down, Leaving Las Vegas, I Love You Phillip Morris

What We’ve Been Playing (Video Games)34:45 – Alex: Battlefield Bad Company 2, Minecraft
39:23 – Chris: Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, Mass Effect 2, Gears of War 2

NEWS
40:09 – Duncan Jones Rumored for The Wolverine
43:54 – Brady Talks From The Grave: Limitless
44:59 – Deadpool Has A Director (Plus Opinions on Green Lantern)
49:34 – RIP Sidney Lumet

TRAILERS
51:44 – The Hangover: Part II Trailer
58:14 – Melancholia Trailer

REVIEWS
1:03:40 – Chris: Hanna
1:11:10 – Alex: Win Win


MEGA REVIEW
1:17:37 – Source Code
1:32:13 – Semi-Spoilers for Source Code begin


CONCLUSION1:34:28 – Where to find Alex and Chris on the internet And Other Ramblings
1:40:24 – Container Park by The Chemical Brothers (Hanna Official Soundtrack)

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CinEffect Podcast Episode #1 – Sucker Punch

Episode #1 – Sucker Punch

Welcome to the Cineffect Podcast. In this podcast of constant douchebaggery, me (Chris), Alex, and Brady talk about film, games, and everything in between. In our very first episode, we talk about a new Resident Evil, a PG-13 The King’s Speech, how fantastically awful Skyline and Exam are, how underrated Homefront’s multiplayer is, and conclude with an in-depth review of Zack Snyder’s latest film, Sucker Punch.

[WARNING: This podcast contains some explicit language]

EPISODE MINUTE MARKERS

0:00 – M4 Part 2 by Faunts

0:49 – Introduction

What We’ve Been Watching (DVD/TV)

2:49 – Chris: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, City of God, Exam, and Eyes Wide Shut

7:29 – Brady: The Social Network, The Wonderful Wild Whites of West Virginia

15:01 – Alex: Regular Show, Archer, RIN

18:35 – Chris: Skyline


What We’ve Been Playing (Video Games)

19:40 – Chris: Mass Effect

20:32 – Alex: Dead or Alive 4, Nier, Homefront

28: 39 – Brady: Call of Duty: Black Ops, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Fallout 3, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 Vietnam

NEWS

35:16 – Resident Evil Remakes and the new Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City

46:12 – Darren Aronofsky leaves The Wolverine

51:56 – The King’s Speech PG-13 Edit


Reviews

59:32 – Alex: Paul

1:05:04 – Brady didn’t watch anything this past week because he likes men, lol.

1:05:49 – Chris: Battle: Los Angeles

MEGA REVIEW

1:09:47 – Sucker Punch

1:30:19 – Spoilers for Sucker Punch begin

CONCLUSION

1:36:40 – What We’ll Watch For Next Week

1:37:47 – Podcast Title Suggestions

1:38:07 – Brady talks about Twitter and stuff he’ll watch next week

1:40:29 – Where To Find Me And Alex On The Internet

1:40:38 – Where The Levee Breaks by Led Zeppelin

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