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Review – Armored (2009)

December 4, 2009 1 comment

December 4, 2009 – Armoredfollows Ty Hackett (Columbus Short), an Iraq war vet who must raise his adolescent brother Jimmy (Andre Jamal Kinney) on his own after their parents die. He gets a job at Eagle Shield Security, the same armored truck company that his dad worked for. His godfather and mentor Mike Cochrane (Matt Dillon) also works there. Faced with mounting bills, foreclosure and the possibility that his kid brother will end up in foster care, Ty becomes a begrudging accomplice in Mike’s devious master plan.

Mike proposes that Ty join him and his crew — Mike’s hotheaded brother-in-law Baines (Laurence Fishburne), Quinn (Jean Reno), Dobbs (Skeet Ulrich) and born-again ex-con Palmer (Amaury Nolasco) — in pulling off an inside job worth $42 million. The plan seems fool-proof, but — as any viewer of capers can tell you — all “perfect crimes” are destined to go horribly awry in a movie. This inside job is no different. It’s the getting away with it part that proves the most difficult for these guards-turned-robbers.

Mike had promised Ty that the job would be violence-free, but again this is a crime movie and a bodycount is inevitable. Rebelling against his now panicked and violent cohorts, Ty locks himself inside his armored car at their drop site (an abandoned mill)… with the other half of the loot. The thieves only have less than an hour to break into their own armored truck, deal with Ty and get their money before they miss their check-in deadline and the armored car service alerts the police. Ty is outnumbered, trapped, and looking at losing all that he’s fought so hard to hold onto in his troubled life.

Much as he did with the 2007 thriller Vacancy, director Nimrod Antal manages to turn a rather generic premise — in this case, a heist gone wrong — into something that feels not original but at least fresh and exciting. Antal’s direction, along with the grim cinematography of Andrzej Sekula, makes for a more interesting-looking heist film than we usually see. As he did with Vacancy, it is Antal’s ability to draw realistic, gripping performances from his leads that elevates the film and keeps the viewer invested in the characters even though we know how formula dictates the story play out.

Dillon plays the Faustian devil here, tempting his young friend not out of malice but from true concern. After all, Ty’s a veteran who has endured a hard life; doesn’t he deserve to be rewarded? Given how hellish the economy and job market is right now, it’s a tempting offer many people might agree with. In that sense, Armored is reminiscent of those bandit pictures of the Great Depression that offered filmgoers the escapist “get rich quick and screw the system” fantasy they craved.

Short gives the film’s strongest performance, an endearing dramatic turn that’s somewhat of a surprise for those who are only familiar with his comedic work. Surprisingly, the industry vets who play the gang don’t fare as well as this young up-and-comer: Fishburne is a bit over-the-top as the requisite loose cannon, while Reno plays yet another quiet and intense Frenchman with a knack for violence. Ulrich has a few solid moments, but all of these characters are ultimately thumbnail sketches. We only get to know much about Ty and a bit about Mike, but otherwise they’re all ciphers who are memorable only because of the actors playing them.

The entire second half of the film is one protracted but gripping suspense sequence played out in essentially real time. As in Vacancy, Antal knows how to use a single, enclosed location to maximum effect for generating suspense. While there are definitely familiar moments from other robbery films here, particularly Reservoir Dogs with the inclusion of Milo Ventimiglia as a wounded cop, Antal succeeds in crafting a memorable and gripping thriller. While Armored may not offer the viewer much of anything new, it’s nevertheless an entertaining little flick that’s worth a look-see.

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Source: IGN

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Review – The Twilight Saga: New Moon

November 20, 2009 2 comments

As an outsider to the cult of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight, I confess to not understanding the draw of Bella Swan and her pasty vampiric paramour. Having not read the novels and seen only the uneven, frustratingly bland and often risible (search your heart, you know it to be true) first installment, I was less than eager to catch New Moon. After watching it, less-than-eager seemed far too naive a stance to have taken. Significantly more stilted, cloying and nodescript than its predecessor, Moon stares full-on into the flat, gray abyss of teenage gothic longing and sexual repression. I now understand the draw, but am baffled by the lack of taste with which the series handles its themes.

If anyone here hasn’t seen the first Twilight film, then you really needn’t read any further if you plan on seeing this movie. If you aren’t a hardcore vamp groupie, and are on the fence, I’ll save you some time. Skip this one completely and wander at random into any other theater at the cineplex and you will have a better time than I had. For the rest of you, I’m skipping all but the most basic synopsis, because you probably have it written into your daydreams. Last time, wobbly, vacant-eyed teen Bella got all goo-goo over even more vacant-eyed and self-absorbed (though the series want to sell it as self-posessed) Ed Cullen, part of a local vampire clan. Their chaste courtship in the first movie was the stuff that narcolepsy is made of. I’m at a loss to think of a film with less lively lovers at its center, and yes, I’m counting that scene of the snails mating to classical music in Microcosmos.

Stewart and Pattinson, both fine in smaller supporting roles in other movies, simply don’t have the dramatic energy or vitality to deliver the heat or conviction necessary to make anyone–save for the most easily swayed–want to follow them. Some claim that the innocence of their relationship as written is what many object too. Nope, not at all. See Kiera Knightley and Matthew McFayden in Pride and Prejudice or Abbie Cornish and Ben Whishaw in the recent Bright Star to see burning passion and commitment without carnal action.

In fact, the relationship with Bella and Ed doesn’t come off to me as innocent, but more than a little creepy. First time through, Ed says “You are like my heroin” and Bella, little more than a blank slate, fawns over him for it. He’s creepy, controlling, and even his selflessness, exemplified in this movie by sending her away from him forever because she makes his family crazy(all that warm white girl blood I guess), could be interpreted as shifty indecision. We know he will be back, and that Bella will probably be waiting.

Ed wants her out of danger. Even though they are parted, whenever she finds herself in some, he appears to her as an Obi Wan-esque ghostly image. When she figures out what triggers these supernatural Skype moments, she starts seeking out danger and adrenaline rush so she can dial up her brooding, surly beau. Seriously, Bella, he dumped you. Stop trying to get his attention with idiocy.

Left alone, it isn’t long before she’s attacked by some of the vampires from the first movie and then rescued by her American Indian bud, Jake Black, who has clearly spent the summer on the 300 diet before being reunited with Bella. I suppose its a spoiler of sorts if you live in a cave, but Jake, and the rest of his ‘clan’, are werewolves; he’s just recently discovered that special time in a boy’s life when he starts changing at will into a large CGI Alsatian. Jake takes his shirt off, Bella stares at him, and thinks “It’s been awhile since I’ve pined for a grumpy, emotionally-inacessible monster”. Yea, thats pretty much it. Plenty of ‘will they/won’t they’ moments, but not anything that made me care eitherway.

For a movie with vampires and werewolves based on a fantasy series that is overwhelmingly popular, you would expect much more to actually happen here. Even Chris Weitz’ heavily truncated last adaptation, The Golden Compass, had more going on in its passages than this tepid loaf of half-narratives and paper cut-out characters. I didn’t miss Edward, but his absence makes this film even more arbitrary than the last one. Moon doesn’t work very hard to make us think Jake and Bella have a chance, and Bella can’t be bothered to understand his lycanthropy in the same we she accepts Ed’s vampirism. She may like washboard abs, but not as much as men the same color as the washboard. As for Edward, he goes to meet a coven of elder vampires headed up by Dakota Fanning and Michael Sheen. Eventually, the whole movie has changed setting and the characters are all racing around Italy looking desperately for a plot that matters.

As I’ve said before, I’m no Twilight fan, but I take no pleasure slagging on the series simply because it is popular or it happens to be the kind of story that usually sits best with 13 year old girls. The truth of it is that Moon isn’t very interesting and a lack of actual reprecussions or consequences for the character’s actions, as well as a very simplistic and silly view of teenage obsession, renders it almost negligent as entertainment for the younger crowd. As a heroine (not the kind Ed likes) Bella is pathetic, her taste and approach to men eerily echoing the same kind of behavior that lands real world women in abusive relationships. Wietz, nor anyone else working on the film seems to see this, preferring instead to assume it is just a lightweight fantasy. The truth is that New Moon is far, far less than that; it’s training wheels for brooding angst.

Source: Cinematropolis

Review – Paranormal Activity

November 17, 2009 2 comments

Paranormal Activity is a little film that was reportedly made for $11,000 over the course of a seven-day shoot by writer/director/producer/editor Oren Peli, and stars newbies Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat and the couple’s camcorder.

The ghost story is pretty straightforward: Katie and Micah (the actors use their real names in the film) are a young couple who have been together for about a year or two and have recently taken the plunge of moving in together. Soon after, they begin to experience weird paranormal activity taking place in their home – lights and sinks turning on and off, doors slamming, etc. Katie soon reveals that this isn’t the first time she’s been “haunted by ghosts” – when she was 8, she had re-occurring visits from a shadowy apparition and her family’s home was eventually burned to the ground without explanation. Since then, the apparition has followed Katie wherever she goes, “visiting” her from time to time, up to the present. Micah wishes that Katie had told him all this BEFORE they moved in together.

Katie is freaking out about the reappearance of her ghostly stalker, but Micah (of course) is too MANLY to believe in such nonsense, so he invests in a top-grade camera, some top-grade mini microphones and sound recording software, in order to wire the house for a ghost-hunting experiment. Our POV is that of the camcorder and boom mic, as they record the paranormal happenings taking place in Katie and Micha’s home over the course of about three weeks.

That’s the setup, and it would be hard to go much deeper without dropping some major SPOILERS.

I can tell you that Katie and Micah bring in a psychic (Michael Bayouth) who determines that what they’re facing isn’t a ghost trying to establish communication, but rather a malevolent demon, hell bent (pun intended) on claiming Katie’s soul. The psychic tells Katie and Micah that they need to bring in a “demonologist” to help exorcise the evil spirit – only the guy is currently vacation, so they’ll have to wait it out. In the meantime, the psychic breaks down a few demon rules for the couple (and us) to understand:

  1. There is no running from it – leave the house and the spirit will only follow.
  2. The spirit feeds off negative energy (anger, fear, etc).
  3. Don’t do ANYTHING to enrage or attract the demon – especially buying a Ouija Board.

Of course, if you’ve ever seen a horror movie before you know that the rules are only there to be broken by doomed fools. Katie is all nervousness and pragmatism (“Honey, let’s just stop and ask for directions…”), but Micah, the skeptic, would rather “man-up” and handle things his own way (read: pacing the house, challenging the evil spirit to show itself). Smart idea.

Paranormal Activity poster header

The best horror movies are the ones that exploit our deep-seated anxieties about real-life events or situations. The Exorcist was every parent’s worst nightmare: their innocent child suffering a terrible affliction; Rosemary’s Baby played upon the high-anxiety of pregnancy and child-rearing; Hitchcock’s Psycho gleefully exploited the near-universal fear of random, unprovoked violence. Paranormal Activity will stand out for a long time in my mind (and I’m sure others) because it hits just the right panic buttons inside the brain: the familiar fear of the creaky, empty house at night – but more importantly, the high-anxiety of being in a relationship.

The latter theme is only subtly touched on, due to the nature of the POV (it would’ve stupid to have the couple record their dramatic fight moments), but that current is always on and running, coursing through the cinematic subtext. Anybody you partner with in life is bound to come with baggage – Katie’s baggage just so happens to be a freaky demon. Micah is portrayed as something of an alpha-male stereotype – brash and insensitive a lot of the time, you know the picture – but also as a guy who is genuinely trying to help his chick sort out all of the crazy in her past, so they can be happy together in the present. And, like real-life relationships, sometimes the best intentions…

Paranormal Activity

Of course we have to address the filmmaking techniques and the issue of the “shaky cam” POV. People have heard the concept for this film and worried that they were going to get another Blair Witch Project (too boring) or Cloverfield (seizure inducing camerawork). Paranormal Activity is only short one star for me because the pacing for the first half-hour of its 99 min run time was kind of slow, and offered more creepy atmosphere than actual scares. A slow half-hour in camcorder POV can feel like an eternity – luckily for us, Featherston and Sloat are good actors, with good chemistry, and they, along with Peli, manage to establish an air of almost total authenticity. Katie and Micah’s home looks and feels like MY home and their relationship seems so genuine and natural (even the way girl and boy treat the watchful eye of the camera differently ;-) ) that it’s easy to forget you’re watching a movie, and not actual home video footage. And since there are tripods set up around the house, shaky cam wasn’t really much of an issue. When the actors ARE holding the camera, every swipe and turn has you nervous that something is lurking just beyond the peripheral of the lens light.

The authentic feel is really the selling point of this film. It exploits enough realistic common ground  to make it feel personal (who HASN’T heard that strange sound echothrough their home now and again, or woken up to the feeling that somebody is standing over them?), and since few of us actually sleep with a running camcorder in our bedrooms, who’s to say we AREN’T being visited in the night by something evil?

Paranormal Activity succeeds in taking our most relaxed and intimate moments – at home, cuddled up with our loved one(s) – and transforms those moments into sources of high anxiety and fear. I’ve been with my girlfriend for eight years now (I know, I know), and after we came home from the screening last night we were definitely creeped out – and not just by the creaky floorboards in our apt. We glared at one another through squinted eyes up until bedtime, wondering about any skeletons (no pun) hiding in the other person’s closet, or mentally comparing Katie and Micah’s emotional trial to the real-life instances where one of us had to help the other through a crazy circumstance. I’m sure we both slept with one eye open.

Source: ScreenRant

Review – 2012 (Roland Emmerich)

November 17, 2009 Leave a comment

We haven’t laughed so hard in a long time. The latest global disaster movie from director Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow) throws so much stupidity at you in such rapid succession that it’s practically a torrential cliché-maelstrom; the kind of bloated, silly cinematic disaster that is so unintentionally hilarious that actually flips over and becomes a redeeming factor.

California is collapsing into the earth; if it isn’t massive debts and raging fires, it’s subterranean magma flows caused by (and don’t quote us on the science behind this, but here goes…) solar flares casting out neutrinos at the Earth, heating its core and causing massive geological disruptions, plate shifts and fault line earthquakes.

Of course, the United States eats it first – but there’s a secret contingency plan in place to protect the wealthy and privileged as society stands on the threshold of complete annihilation. Naturally, a good-hearted geologist and scientific advisor to the President, Adrian Helmsley (Chiwetel Ejiofor, who puts in a good performance under the circumstances), stands up to the corruption and appeals to the President (Danny ‘I’m gettin’ too old for this s**t’ Glover) to make the right decision.

John Cusack, playing a Richard Dawkins-esque author and limo driver, gets caught in the middle of the unfurling conspiracy as he drags his disaffected kids on a camping trip and ends up jumping security fences, wandering into a mysterious steaming lakebed and trampling through the middle of the governmental operation. Now that’s responsible parenting in action.

Cue the rollicking silliness. You know those scenes that play out in every action movie made since 1980? The ones where the bus jumps the broken bridge? Or a man falls over the edge and everyone thinks he’s dead—but it’s okay because a single hand suddenly appears, clinging to the cliff? Or how about the plane that’s trying to escape from an explosion and gets enveloped in smoke – only to come bursting out with impossible speed? What about the eleventh-hour miscalculation that results in the timer speeding up towards impending disaster? Then there’s the grandpa with regrets, the ‘ultimate sacrifice’ guy, the wormy scientist who makes good, the noble daughter who outlives the father, the divorcee who falls back in love, the evil rich dude, the ethnic stereotype village, the holy man on the mountain, the beauty queen with the handbag dog, the dude with two day’s pilot training who must repeatedly fly everyone to safety at street level, through a collapsing city? What about the obligatory heroic kid, or the water escape scene, the tacked-on happy Hollywood ending where it’s all sunshine and laughing and nobody really feels too remiss about the death of 5.9 billion people?

And that’s not even the half of it. Seriously. It goes on and on like this, piling on so much rehash that you will laugh. You can just sit there, switch off and let it wash over you like action-porn. In fact, perhaps that’s exactly what 2012 is – the rebirth of action for the sake of action. To describe 2012 as the best ‘rollercoaster-ride-with-a-story-attached’ is about as much praise as we can muster for this production.


Cusack, who we maintain is charming and a talented fellow when given the right material (think: Grosse Pointe Blank or The Thin Red Line), maintains low gear the whole way through. His strained relationship with his ex-wife (Amanda Peet, looking painfully skinny) gets the same going-over that you’ve seen countless times. It has all the emotional sincerity of a daytime soap opera, but you won’t care – you’ll be too busy reeling after watching Chinooks transport elephants and giraffes over mountainous snowfields after gazing in stupefied awe as Cusack and company bail out of the back of a plane inside a Bentley and onto the tundra.

A special call out to Woody Harrelson who plays an unhinged conspiracy nut with absolute conviction. Harrelson hams it up so much that he almost points towards 2012 actually being the ‘Mars Attacks’ comedy that it’s desperately trying to avoid. Golden.

The real tragedy is this: 2012’s production cost an estimated $200-odd million dollars. What’s worse, it’ll probably make that money back, spawning a hackneyed sequel called 2013. And if there aren’t aliens, dinosaurs, transforming robots and Will Smith in there, we’ll be bitterly disappointed.

So bad that it’s good again, 2012 comes from the same school of film failure as Michael Bay’s Transformers 2 – only, Roland Emmerich plays far more with sentimentality which softens the blows, whereas Bay just beats you upside the head for two hours until you’re spinning and kind of nauseous. Terrible; wonderfully terrible.

Source: IGN

Review – Michael Jackson’s This Is It

November 12, 2009 Leave a comment

Despite the grotesque and unceasing curiosity over Jackson’s private life, his working procedure was scarcely documented, and his intense perfectionism is breathtaking to see here. He corrects his dancers while in the midst of striking poses himself, pores over video footage and auditions, works out with a vocal coach and gives his band instructions that are alternately brilliant (“Play it like you’re dragging yourself out of bed”) and Kafka-esque in their impenetrability.

(After a fascinating exchange with keyboardist and musical director Michael Bearden over an almost imperceptibly subtle tempo change on “The Way You Make Me Feel,” Bearden delicately notes that he can’t always predict how Jackson will want certain songs to sound. Jackson snaps back, “I want it like I wrote it.”)

Yet there’s likely a reason that so little of this side of Jackson was ever seen previously; the more one observes his anxiety-riddled drive to present a flawless performance, the more obvious it seems that he would never have wanted audiences to see the performance in such a rough state. Debating a deceased artist’s wishes is always sketchy territory, however, and “This Is It” is a classy film that only affirms the man’s talent. Yet one can’t help but worry that, rather than a bittersweet farewell, the film will merely serve as the opening salvo to a flood of posthumous releases and merchandising that will make Tupac Shakur’s estate seem a paragon of restraint.

But avant le deluge, there’s an incredible amount to enjoy here, and the star’s fans will be in rapture. Though Jackson looks painfully thin at times, his vocal prowess and dancing ability seem to have scarcely ebbed at all in the decade he spent offstage. His singing during “Human Nature” is strong and emotive, his dancing during an extended “Billie Jean” sublime. (“At least we got a feel for it,” he demurs immediately after the latter, and the comment reads more like genuine misplaced self-consciousness than the typical feigned humility of a pop star.)

Director Kenny Ortega’s ultimate vision for the show is fleshed out further with glimpses of interstitial video — the intro to “Smooth Criminal,” which splices a fedora’d Jackson onto vintage footage of Rita Hayworth and Edward G. Robinson, is particularly inspired — and computer simulations of staging concepts that never made it to fruition. (These completed sketches are never shown in their entirety, however, and it’s not unreasonable to imagine that they’ll be the hook for the inevitable deluxe-edition DVD.)

Video and audio quality are of a much higher caliber than the phrase “rehearsal footage” might suggest, although occasionally the filmmakers are forced to cobble together subpar bits and pieces (most notably on “Thriller”). Conversely, the edits of “Beat It” and “Black or White” presented here could practically be released as is and still blow most contemporary pop videos out of the water.

The sole moment when the singer seems irritable or disengaged from the proceedings occurs during a mini-set of three Jackson 5 tunes; the timing of his agitation seems psychologically revealing at first, though it later turns out to be due to monitor malfunction. Indeed, one rarely forgets that these are rehearsals, and at times Jackson visibly holds back, protesting about the need to save his voice for his upcoming performances — one of several instances in which knowledge of the man’s imminent death overshadows the joy of watching him perform.

Members of the band, crew and dance troupe appear on camera between songs to gush (often while tearing up) about the honor of appearing with Jackson. While it’s hard to doubt their sincerity, it all seems a bit creepy when one remembers that this footage was originally intended for Jackson’s personal use.

“This Is It” is assembled with great care, belying its impromptu nature, and editors Don Brochu, Brandon Key, Tim Patterson and Kevin Stitt have done excellent work to pull together a coherent film from endless footage. Even at nearly two hours, the film still feels too short.

Original concert production directed by Ortega, Michael Jackson, in association with Travis Payne. Camera (Deluxe color), Tim Patterson, Sandrine Orabona; editors, Don Brochu, Brandon Key, Patterson, Kevin Stitt; music/music supervisor, Michael Bearden; production designer, Michael Cotton; lighting designer, Patrick Woodroffe; costume designers, Zaldy, Topaz Erin Lareau, Dennis Tompkins, Michael Bush; sound (Dolby Digital/SDDS/DTS), William Sheppell Jr.; supervising sound editor, Tricia Linklater; re-recording mixers, Paul Massey, David Giammarco; choreography, Jackson, Payne; visual effects supervisor, Bruce Jones; associate producers, Bearden, Payne. Reviewed at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, Los Angeles, Oct. 27, 2009. MPAA Rating: PG. Running time: 111 MIN.

 

Source: Variety.com

Review – Modern Warfare 2

November 10, 2009 Leave a comment

We checked out more and found another interesting review posted by David Ellis in 1up.com. He gives A grade for this game. Then we do not wait to share it with our fans here.

“Borrowing themes from American invasion epic Red Dawn and TV series like 24, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 attempts to capture the insanity and life-and-death situations of real-life combat. Once again you hop between several engaging story arcs as you globe-trot on missions to stop a war and ultimately bring a madman to justice.

Right from the outset, MW2 fixes one of the issues some people had with the original game’s story — instead of setting the action in a fictional Middle Eastern country, the game opens up at a firebase in war torn Afghanistan. Though pixel counters would say otherwise, this game still looks amazing in action. Whether sprinting down cramped alleyways or racing down the side of a frozen mountainside MW2 moves at a frenetic pace that rarely stutters.

The original Modern Warfare dealt with themes of life, death, action and consequences. The sequel goes after these concepts in a manner rare for the video game world; it treats its audience like an adult. Footage of a particular sequence involving the death of innocent civilians (which I won’t spoil here) leaked online before launch and caused a preemptive uproar from misinformed pontificators. Hopefully this signals a step forward for the “videogame as art” debate, a move from electronic toy to a true multimedia device for conveying adult stories to adults. While the rest of the story is certainly entertaining and contains plenty of jaw dropping moments, it’s unfortunate that it never really matches the emotional zenith of that moment.

Though the set-pieces are new and bigger than ever MW2 doesn’t radically change the solid Call of Duty formula. Infinity Ward is one of the very best at creating a polished, guided-shooter experience. If you follow the game’s prescribed path, the action unfolds like a well-timed performance. However, if you’re a curious player like me who likes to “peak behind the curtain,” the game punishes you quickly and severely. For example, move too far ahead of your squad and a phantom sniper will take you out with a single shot. I know these criticisms aren’t new to the series, but whereas many games reward exploration and initiative it seems a little backward to force you down such a rigid path. But MW2 does finally retire the perpetual enemy spawn machines of its forebears.

Adding two- or four-player co-op to the campaign would have seemed like a no-brainer, but rather than potentially break the scripted campaign experience MW2 includes a new two-player co-op mode called Spec-Ops instead. You and a buddy can battle through a series of bite-sized challenges; borrowing scenarios and locations from the single-player story, each mission has you and a partner completing tasks together (like surviving an enemy onslaught in a shopping center or racing against one another in snowmobiles). Spec-Ops is more than the usual “battle against waves of enemies” but not quite a full, stand-alone story. Instead, it sits in a middle space that’s surprisingly fun and engaging.

Though still a blast, the single-player campaign isn’t the reason thousands of people still play the original MW on a daily basis. Create-a-class, new perks, and fresh customization options add an element seemingly more at home with a MMORPG than a console shooter. All the offerings from the first game have been expanded exponentially for the sequel — you can now choose from over a dozen kill streaks that include custom spawn points and resupply drops that can radically change the course of a match. By constantly bombarding you with bonus points for just about everything imaginable, Infinity Ward might have created the most mainstream “hardcore” shooter ever. Even when you rank last place in a match, you’ll still feel like you’re making progress and accomplishing something.

Two years ago Infinity Ward took a gamble by transplanting their successful Call of Duty series from the romanticized era of WW2 to the distressingly familiar landscapes of today’s conflicts. That gamble paid off in a big way, and since then, the original MW has been one of the most-played online console shooters. Mixing real-world locations with bombastic set-pieces MW2 continues the guided, thrill-ride experiences of its predecessor, and adds even more depth to its multiplayer offerings. It might not have fixed all the problems from the first game, but there’s just so much quality content packed into this game that it will almost certainly be one of the most-played games in your library for a long time to come.”

Source: ModernWarfareReviews.com

Review – A Christmas Carol

November 9, 2009 Leave a comment

First of all I would have to say that this is one of the most graphic Disney films I have ever seen. Scenes of ghosts jumping out of the screen and large bangs would definatly make a little kid freak out and possible cry. If i were the one to give this an MPAA rating I would have to rate it PG-13 for scary sequences. But overall the movie had a very good plot and moral.

Robert Zemeckis did a fantastic job directing this movie. Alot of animated movies these days have very smooth still shots becuase it is all done in a computer but this movie actually felt as if it were on a camera boom or on the shoulder of a camera guy. It was not shaky but very well put. One of the things that I noticed about the directing was that the camera was hardly ever in just one spot, or as I like to say a “Tripod Shot”. The camera was constantly moving around and that made it very exciting to watch because you feel like you are really there.

Speaking of feeling in the film, the special effects were fantastic. The animators did an amazing job especially with the movements and facial expressions of the human charaters. Their eyes and mouths moved so similar to real life that I had to look extra hard to make sure it was still an animated character and not an actual person.

Overall I would give this movie a “B+” rating.

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