Movie – Equilibrium

October 20, 2007

Christian Bale as Grammaton Cleric John Preston

In the future, an oppressive government called the Tetragrammaton has outlawed all forms of feeling and stimulants of emotion such as music and literature to avoid a fourth world war. Citizens of Libria are forced to take doses of a sedative called Prozium to suppress emotions. Cleric John Preston (Bale) is a Grammaton Cleric, charged with destroying those that choose not to take their dose. Being the most skilled person in ‘gunkatas,’ Preston becomes the only one capable of dethroning the reclusive Father.

Equilibrium is a fantastic action movie cross between 1984 and The Matrix. It features Christian Bale as Grammaton Cleric John Preston. I’ve seen Bale in plenty of movies but for some reason I never remember him. He suited the role of the feeling-less Cleric and it reminded of what a good actor he really is. Sean Bean featured in the movie as well, although unfortunately his part in the movie is fairly short as his character is quite a good one. Taye Diggs plays a fairly vital role in the film too.

To those that come to this movie looking for action scenes, don’t worry, there are plenty of matrix style fight scenes and some insanely cool gun battles. Some of the effects aren’t as clear or stunning as in the Matrix Reloaded, but the Matrix’s budget was about 7 times bigger than Equilibrium’s. That said the effects and action scenes are still very engaging and impressive to watch.

I found some aspects a bit confusing and lacking in explanation. For about the first quarter of the film I thought people choosing not to take their Prozium doses were ‘scent offenders,’ I pieced that together after a while though. I missed some other little things like that the Tetragrammaton was the government and why the elite law enforcers are called ‘clerics’. Luckily these didn’t impact too much on the movie and it was still fun to watch.

I award this movie with 8.6 stars. It’s a great and exciting film well worth paying for.

Movie – Smokey And The Bandit

September 30, 2007

Bandit, Cledus and Frog

Now here’s a movie no home should be without. Two very (in)famous truck drivers, Bandit and Cledus, make a bet that they can drive to Texas, pick up 300 crates of illegal Coor’s beer and be back in Georgia within 28 hours. Such a noble cause I know. It goes fairly well until they accidentally attract the attention of an ill-tempered Sheriff Buford T Justice (have you ever heard such a cheesy name?). It’s a very fun and light hearted action/comedy movie that’s full of excellent chase sequences, vast amounts of hilarity and the odd romantic scene.

Burt Reynolds is the ever cool ‘Bandit,’ named so for some of his previous exploits. Reynolds acts rather well and creates a very likeable character. Jerry Reed plays Cledus Snow (nicknamed Snowman). He’s Bandit’s truck driver and although not as exuberant as Bandit, is still a very likable guy that’s been acted well, not mention he has wicked sideburns. Sally Field plays the part of the super chatty Frog. Her character is very cute, although also a little bit crazy. I can’t really finish this paragraph without talking about Jackie Gleason’s character either. Sheriff Buford T Justice is the most prejudiced and angry cop you’ve ever seen. I have to admit that Gleason has played this part very well.

The cinematography, editing and dubbing in this movie is horrendous. In fact some of the dubbing is so hilariously bad that one could compare it to Kung Pow, the only difference there is that Kung Pow was meant to look bad. Kung Pow jokes aside, somehow I think this actually works in it’s favour, it’s difficult to explain but it makes the movie seem more real and… likable for some. Like I said, hard to explain.

I absolutely love this movie, so I’m giving it 9.1 stars. It’s an absolute gem and everyone should go out of their way to see it. I must stress however that you see the first Smokey and the Bandit, not the second or third. They are another story altogether.

Movie – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

September 15, 2007

Broderick and Ruck
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a fantastic story of one man’s dream to take the day off school and stick it to the man. The movie follows a day in the life of Ferris Bueller (Mathew Broderick) after he decides to pretend he’s sick and have the day off. It’s a very cute comedy and has plenty of laughs and moments that many of us will be able to relate to.

The main actors in this movie include Mathew Broderick as Ferris, Mia Sara as his girlfriend, Alan Ruck as Ferris’ wound-up best friend and Jeffrey Jones as the evil dickwad principal. I had never actually seen any of these actors before. They all looked familiar though, weird. I think they’ve all done the movie justice though. Mathew Broderick’s character came across as a very smooth, likable and cunning (albeit lazy) high school student. I think there’s a bit of Ferris in all of us which is probably what makes this such a good movie (more on that later). Everyone else’s acting was pretty good, although nothing particularly worth noting here.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off uses a very simple story line, it definetely works in it’s favour though . I do think that what makes this movie so charming and popular is that most people can identify with Ferris’ plight and many of events in the film. I fail to believe that there are people out there who have never woken up and not wanted to go to school. Surely there’s been one day where you’ve wanted to sleep in for the entire day? There are plenty of laughs and chuckles throughout the movie and the occasional facepalm moment as well.

To sum up, I highly recommend that you see this movie. It’s a very cheery and humorous tale about what most of dream about doing in maths lessons at school. As far as stars go, I’m giving it 8.2 out of 10.

Movies – Transformers

September 8, 2007

Protect for sure.
Long ago the mystical Allspark was sent to earth to conceal it’s power from Megatron. Now a century later the Decepticons have traced the Allspark to Earth and are well on their way to locating it, which spells near certain doom for all humans. Cue Autobots! The heroic Autobots have landed on Earth to save the human race and stop the Decepticons obtaining the Allspark. Transformers turned out to be an absolutely brilliant movie, featuring stunning battle scenes, many laugh-out-loud moments and all your favourite transforming robots.

I’ve never been a very hardcore fan of transformers (fairly certain I’m about to become one) but the movie keeps most of the things that we all liked about the original show. Most of your favourite transformers return, Optimus is still a giant truck and Megatron is still a huge badass. Some of their forms have been changed (Megatron was meant to turn into his pistol form in the original script) but overall I think it makes the movie more aesthetically pleasing and awesome.

Now, it has to be said, visually this movie is absolutely amazing. For all you action junkies out there you’ll be happy to note there’s no shortage of action sequences. There are many battles scattered from beginning to end, eventually leading to the ‘climax battle’ (I made that up), which is also full of awesome sauce. I’m unsure who’s responsible for animating the transformers themselves, but they’ve done a superb job, props guys.

Prior to having seen Transformers I wasn’t particularly thrilled by the list of people associated with it. I’ve never really been a fan of Shia, maybe it’s just because he seems to keep getting roles as the annoying sidekick type person (I Robot, Constantine etc), but in Transformers I was actually rather impressed. I’d never seen Megan Fox before but her acting was pretty good too. There were some fairly cheesy lines between her and Shia but I suppose it was that kind of movie. Like most people I was bit worried about Micheal Bay being attached as director, but after seeing this my faith in his directing capability has been fully restored, truly heroic effort.

Overall I give this movie 9.4 stars. It’s well worth paying the money for, maybe even twice. Autobots, roll out!

Movie – Flightplan

August 31, 2007

Jodie Foster in Flightplan
Kyle Pratt (Foster), recovering from the trauma of her husband jumping from a roof in Berlin, is flying with her daughter to New York with her husbands casket. While aboard the plane Kyle wakes from a nap to find her daughter Julia gone. While searching the plane the captain reveals that medical records show that Julia died prior to Kyle even boarding the plane. Mysterious eh?

Let’s start with actors. The movie has a fairly good cast. Sean Bean, Peter Sarsgaard and Jodie Foster all play major roles. Prior to Flightplan the only other movie I’d seen Peter in was Garden State, after seeing this movie I’m making a mental note to find more of his films as his acting in Flightplan was excellent. For about the first half of the movie he was the only thing that made this movie worth watching. Usually I quite like Jodie Foster, but she was far from being my favourite actress this time. Granted, it must be hard to play a delusional mother and still be likable, but her character and the way she acted it didn’t particularly agree with me. Sean Bean wasn’t too bad either, not his best work, but not bad either.

As far as the movie in general goes, I had fairly mixed feelings about it. I didn’t particularly like the first half of the movie. In fact it quite annoyed me. Kyle goes a bit hysterical and starts ordering the crew of the plane around like she herself is the captain. That sort of thing annoys me a lot. About halfway through things get better and eventually quite good. I was quite enjoying the ending although it was sort of spoiled by what I consider could quite possibly be one of the cheesiest last lines in a movie I’ve ever seen. I was starting to feel a bit sad towards the end (in a good way), and that line totally killed it.

If you’ve seen this movie you’ll know how implausible the plot is. About halfway through the movie you’ll start picking out some plot holes and wondering how on earth some of this managed to happen. It could be that that’s the magic of movies, allowing things to happen that wouldn’t usually happen, but some of the stuff in this movie was a bit too far-fetched and had a couple plot holes to many.

Overall, I’m giving this one 5.8 (yup, I’ve moved into decimals) out of 10. It sports a decent cast and some decent acting but truly I think that (mainly Sarsgaard) was the only thing that held it together. If your a movie junkie then it’s probably worth seeing, otherwise I’d recommend finding something else.

PC game – Neverwinter Nights

August 19, 2007

Dual weilding kama monk? Yes please

For my first game review, I thought I might as well do it on one of my favourite role-playing games ever. Neverwinter Nights. It’s got pretty much everything I look for in a game; cheap price tag, low system requirements, decent graphics, good gameplay and a lot of replayability.

Neverwinter Nights does have both a very good single player campaign (admittedly I have never completed all the expansions) but I believe the best part about it is the endless opportunities that the multiplayer support offers. To get full use of the multiplayer you’ll need to get all the expansions (Core game, HotU and SoU) however you can get the entire box set for $40 (AUD) or less so it’s really not a problem. You’ll also want to download the CEP (Community Expansion Pack) which adds in another 400 megs of animations, weapons, races and other content. Once you have all this though, you are set to play on nearly any of the easily accessible servers (just start the game and click multiplayer). Depending on your style, you can play deathmatch/capture the flag games where you create a level 40 character and battle it out among other characters. Other servers such as Higher Ground require the player join groups of similarly skilled players to gain experience and level up. Higher Ground also adds in another 20 levels. Meaning you can now reach level 60 instead of 40.

Dual sword weilding assassin. I have a thing for dual weilding don't I?

It’s a true that Neverwinter Nights is starting to get fairly old, but I really don’t think it matters. Some people seem to have a supreme dislike for anything more than year old and that doesn’t require ten thousand gigs of RAM, but in my opinion, like wine, games can only get better with time. The game is just as enjoyable as it was a 5 years ago and when you finally do get bored you can just join another server, as each one offers a different style of play. I’m quite fond of the graphics and the detail that has gone into the armour and weapons, obviously by today’s standards they’re nothing special, but when you’ve been plagued with rubbish computers all your life like I have, you stop judging a game by it’s graphics. Also, being an older game dramatically decreases the price tag, making it very good value for money.

Most importantly Neverwinter Nights is extremely fun to play and because of the varied playing styles, there is a lot of replayability. Originally there were 7 races to choose from but the CEP adds in many more. Some servers utilize this, giving the player the ability to choose from a much wider range of races. There are 17 different classes to choose from and its also possible to combine up to three of them, attaining skills from each to get the best both worlds. Classes include old favourites like fighter, ranger, cleric or sorcerer and several prestige classes such as assassin, shadow dancer and arcane archer.

Cast magic missile!

Overall I give this game a 10 stars out of 10. If your a big fan of DnD style role-playing games like I am I strongly urge you to buy this game.

Movie – The Last Castle

August 17, 2007

This movie is an old favourite of mine that I thought I’d rewatch this weekend, although by no means a perfect movie, it’s still a good one to watch every now and then.

Based in a modern day prison, an ex-lieutenant general, Eugene Irwin (Redford) is sentenced to 10 years jail for disobeying orders and causing the deaths of several men under his command. Originally he had only planned to ‘do his time and go home,’ but upon discovering how corrupt the prison warden, Colonel Winter (Gandolfini) is, Irwin rallies together the prison inmates with the sole intent of overthrowing the guards and taking control of the Colonel’s prison, effectively forcing him to resign.

A fair few people seem to have watched this expecting an action flick, and although it did have a relatively large portion of fighting, I don’t think this is the point of the movie. When I think action I think Terminator, not this. This is a movie about what it means to be a nation and to be free men, lucky for us, that also means overthrowing the evil suppressors that are keeping us underfoot, giving the film some good action to keep things interesting.

The acting in the movie is fairly well done, especially on Redford’s behalf. I really enjoyed Reford’s narrated parts as well as I’ve always had a big soft spot for partly narrated movies. Gandolfini’s character came off as a complete and utter bastard, which I guess is a good thing considering he’s the villain of the piece, somehow though there was still something I didn’t like about him. I think arrogant characters like that just annoy me because I find it difficult to comprehend how a person can be that much of an ass. Both Mark Ruffalo and Clifton Collins’ characters both deserve an honorable mention for their supporting roles in the film as well.

Overall, I give this film 7 stars out of 10. Perhaps not the greatest masterpiece ever created, but it is good and well worth watching once.

A New Beginning

August 16, 2007

Heh, me blogging. Who would’ve thought?

Decided to start this blog to give reviews on certain things I find interesting or diabolicly cool. Not sure how long it will last but we’ll find out soon. I think I’ll probably enjoy this.

I watch one movie every friday so expect one movie review then or early saturday. I’ll also do reviews on the occasional game (mostly SNES, N64, Wii, PC or PS2), cool software I find or any interesting gadgets I see/obtain.

Anyway, I think that concludes my first post post here. Stay frosty folks.


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