Movie Review: Gravity


Gravity is, quite possibly, the tensest film I’ve ever seen, and is one of the most profound combinations of imagery and music (chronologically) since the Star Wars films and Koyaanisqatsi, and only eclipsed by Mad Max: Fury Road. Continue reading → Movie Review: Gravity

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Movie Review: X-Men – Days of Future Past (Rogue Cut)


When it comes to comic book films, and adaptations of comic books to the screen, there are questions about how you adapt certain comic book concepts to the screen, and as cinematic universes get more involved, there is no question that has lingered in the background more than “How do you clean up a cluttered universe?” How do you not only pull a retcon, but a big universe altering one?

Days of Future Past not only attempts to pull such a retcon, but succeeds, by creating a situation where the X-Men films can change course to a new path different from the first 3 films, while still giving credit to where the earlier films worked. Continue reading → Movie Review: X-Men – Days of Future Past (Rogue Cut)

Film Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, suffers the same array of problems that the Michael Bay directed Transformers films have suffered. The film takes emphasis away from the title characters of the film to put an increased focus on the human characters. To the film’s credit, it doesn’t clutter up the film with the samedegree of human characters as the Transformers film did, but those elements of the film distract from the main thrust of the narrative. Further, the rest of the film’s action is so cluttered and chaotic that it can’t compensate for the rest of the film’s weak¬†points. Continue reading → Film Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

Sealed Envelope – Star Wars, The New Era, and The Prophecy


This week I’m putting together a video with some speculation on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and how The Prophecy from the prequel trilogy might tie in to the film’s plot (if it comes up at all). This was recorded Thanksgiving Weekend, well before the film came out, as a little sealed envelope – if my predictions are right, then I’m a genius! If I’m wrong, I look like a moron! Either way, you win! Continue reading → Sealed Envelope – Star Wars, The New Era, and The Prophecy

Movie Review – McQ


This week I’m returning to the world of the cinema, with a review of the John Wayne film “McQ” – a film that gives a glimpse of what Wayne might have been like as Dirty Harry.

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/h6Vcg4WIRwA width=”480″ height=”392″]

Also, I’m going to be at Portland Retro Gaming Expo on Saturday 9/29/2012 & Sunday 9/30/2012. If you see me, say hi! Also, check out the 100th episode of the Dangerous Kids podcast on Saturday.

Movie Review – Live Free or Die Hard


Movie Poster for Live Free or Die Hard
Get "Live Free or Die Hard" from Amazon.com

As someone who intends to become a network security professional, I know a little something about hacking. Not how to penetrate people’s systems or anything like that, but I know about security flaws, I know about ways a possible attacker might come at your system, and I know that the visual for these attacks would be pretty boring. After I learned that the premise of Live Free or Die Hard would involve cyber-crime, I developed a lot of reservations about how this film could turn out. However, after much deliberation, I decided to give the film a watch.

The movie brings back Detective John McClane of the NYPD. Now formally divorced from his wife and estranged from his daughter, he’s ordered to take a computer hacker from New Jersey to Washington DC for questioning related to an attack on the FBI’s computer system, as well as the deaths of several other hackers. After he arrives at the house of the hacker, Matt Farrell (played by Justin Long), some assassins attempt to kill Farrell, ringing alarm bells for McClaine. As John and Matt make their way down to DC, a series of hacker attacks, masterminded by former NSA hacker Thomas Gabriel (played by Timothy Olyphant), bring the US infrastructure to it’s knees. It’s up to McLane and Farrell to stop Gabriel’s plot before millions of lives are lost. Continue reading → Movie Review – Live Free or Die Hard

Movie Review – Blazing Saddles


Get Blazing Saddles (on Blu-Ray) from Amazon.com
Get Blazing Saddles (on Blu-Ray) from Amazon.com

I’m not going to say I’ve watched everything Mel Brooks has ever done, but I’ve watched a fair chunk of it, and I’ve enjoyed what I’d seen. However, I’d never gotten around to watching Blazing Saddles. The film is widely regarded as being Brooks best film, aside from, maybe, Young Frankenstein. So, I’ve watched it, now what did I think about it?

The Premise:

Bart, an African-American man working on the railroad, is saved from execution for assaulting one of the racist over-seers for the railroad, to be appointed by the Eeeeevvvvvviiiiillll Lieutenant Governor Hedley Lamar as the sheriff of the town of Rock Ridge – which Lamar is trying to force out so he can claim the land for himself as the rail-road comes through it, so he can make a fortune. However, Lamar has underestimated Bart, and his new deputy, Jim, aka The Gunslinger Formerly Known As The Waco Kid. Continue reading → Movie Review – Blazing Saddles

Movie Review – The Wicker Man (Original)


Get The Wicker Man from Amazon.com
The Wicker Man is one of those movies I’ve heard many great things about, but have never gotten around to seeing, until now. So, now that I’ve seen it, I’m going to tell you what I think about it. Oh, and by the way, In cause you didn’t notice from the subject line, I’m referring to the original Wicker Man movie, starring Christopher Lee, not the remake starring Nicholas Cage.

The Plot: Scottish police officer Neil Howie comes to the island of Summerisle to investigate reports of a missing girl. However, upon arriving he learns that the girl isn’t missing… but no one’s actually willing to show him the girl to prove it. So he investigates, and in the process learn’s about the sort of Victorian-pagan revival thingie practiced by the inhabitants of the island. In the course of his investigations he learns of a dark and sinister core underneath the island’s quaint exterior. Continue reading → Movie Review – The Wicker Man (Original)

Movie Review – Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix


Get Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix on DVD or Blu-Ray from Amazon.com
Get Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix on DVD or Blu-Ray from Amazon.com

Well, my film reviews now move on to the most recent Harry Potter movie to be released on DVD/Blu-Ray, Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix. Now, I haven’t read the novel of this one yet (though it’s entirely possible that I’ll have read it once this review goes up – I’m writing this on July 13th). So, anyway, I’m watching this in preparation for watching Half-Blood Prince when it comes out (and hopefully doing a round-table podcast with Bureau42, which will be up by the time this review goes out). So, it’s time to see what I think of this movie.

The Premise: Following the events of Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire, and the revival of Voldemort and the death of Cedric Diggory, Harry has been traumatized to say the least, and returning to the Durstleys isn’t helping things, and neither is the smear campaign being done by the Ministry of Magic against Harry & Dumbledore, one that would impress even William Randoph Hurst. In the midst of all this, Dementors attack Harry & Dudley, forcing Harry to leave home for the safety of his family and hole up in the Black estate, the current base of the Order of the Phoenix, the group working to take down Voldemort once again. Further, when Harry goes to Hogwarts, he faces a new Defense Against The Dark Arts instructor, Dolores Umbridge, who is working to take control of Hogwarts – and then there are those disturbing dreams Harry’s got. Continue reading → Movie Review – Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix

Movie Review – Good Night and Good Luck


Get "Good Night and Good Luck" from Amazon.com
Get "Good Night and Good Luck" from Amazon.com

I’ve always looked favorable on some of the icons of journalism. While I’ve often expressed a fondness for Hunter S. Thompson, who if he wasn’t the godfather of Gonzo Journalism, he was one of its leading advocates. However, I’ve also often spoken highly of Edward R. Morrow, and I’ve often stated that the field of video game journalism needs someone like Murrow, who would be unafraid to say that, for example, Activision was heavily in the wrong on a particular topic, and then enumerate the reasons to support his argument, and ultimately shut them down. Probably the closest person to filling this role is Dan “Shoe” Hsu, formerly of Electronic Gaming Monthly. Anyway, when Good Night & Good Luck came out, it became a title on my must watch list. And there it remained until, finally, I got around to watching it. Now, what do I think about it?

The Premise: The film documents a series of influential shows done by Edward R. Morrow taking on Sen. Joseph McCarthy, and his Commission on American Activities, done in a docu-drama style. Continue reading → Movie Review – Good Night and Good Luck

Movie Review: Pink Floyd – The Wall


Get the movie adaptation of Pink Floyds The Wall from Amazon.com
Get the movie adaptation of Pink Floyd's "The Wall" from Amazon.com

Well, you all know that I like Pink Floyd. I’ve reviewed their famous concert at Pompeii, as well as a documentary on the band’s history. Well, in the early 80s, The Floyd put togeather a film based on their hit album The Wall, to try and bring the pagentry and imagery from the show to audiences who wouldn’t have had an opportunity to see it. Now, the execution of the concept changed over time, but it stuck with the album’s plot. The question is: did it work?

The Premise: Rock musician Pink (played by Bob Geldof, making his film debut), is undergoing a nervous breakdown in his hotel room. As he goes mad, he looks back on his life, and at the circumstances that brought him to this point, starting from the death of his father in the second world war.

The Good: Gerald Scarfe’s animated sequences are excellent. One of the things about the Live in Berlin concert that didn’t quite work with me was the fact that we didn’t particularly get to see many of Scarfe’s animated sequences. We got a good look at “Goodbye Blue Sky”, and “The Empty Spaces”, but that’s it. Here we finally get to appreciate them in their full glory. Continue reading → Movie Review: Pink Floyd – The Wall

Film Review – Assault on Precinct 13 (Original)


Get Assault on Precinct 13 from Amazon.com
Get Assault on Precinct 13 from Amazon.com

When I was in middle school, I saw a movie called Big Trouble in Little China, by a directer I’d never heard of before by the name of John Carpenter. This movie kind of opened up my mind a bit. I’d seen martial arts films, before, stuff along the lines of old Bruce Lee films, as well as some of Jackie Chan’s movies, but I’d never seen Wuxia before. Seeing martial arts done in a modern setting, combined with the magic and mysticism that was used in Wuxia films basically blew my mind. That movie got me into watching a lot of martial arts film (though I have difficulty watching some of the films I probably wouldn’t have had problems with before – I couldn’t even get started with High Risk/Meltdown, due to the bad plot and the blatant cheap shots at Jackie Chan – which I found in poor taste).

Anyway, the film also got me interested in seeing some of John Carpenter’s other films, and I later would seek out The Thing, which was my first HD-DVD purchase (yeah, I backed the wrong side in the format war), and Escape From New York, as well as Halloween. I would later see the remake of Assault on Precinct 13, which I checked out from the Library and enjoyed (though it was critically panned), but the library didn’t have the original, and I wanted to seek it out and see it for myself.

Well, we come to now. I am now an adult with my own source of income, a Netflix account, and PS3. I finally rented John Carpenter’s first traditionally made motion picture (he’d previously made the science fiction film Dark Star, which was his true first film, but it wasn’t made in the traditional fashion – with the film being made in fits and starts over several years as money permitted), and the question is now, how is it for a true first film? No major spoilers this time around, just one for a quick, plot insignificant one-off gag. Continue reading → Film Review – Assault on Precinct 13 (Original)

Film Review – Max Payne


Get Max Payne from Amazon.com
Get Max Payne from Amazon.com

Video game-to-movie adaptations tend to be, as a general rule, hit or miss. It all depends on the type of game being chosen, and how the screenwriter and director work with the source material. The whole mess becomes even more tricky when you’re dealing with a game that borrows a lot from film, and multiple genres of film. Such is the case with the film adaptation of Max Payne, starring Mark Walberg, adapted from the game. There will be spoilers below the cut, after I get past The Premise.

The Premise:

Max Payne is a cop with the NYPD. When his wife and baby are murdered by drug addicts, Max throws himself into the pursuit of their murderers, to the point of going to the Cold Case squad when the trail runs cold, so he can continue working on the case. When he finds a lead 3 years after the murders, the trail it will take him on will leave him wondering who he can trust, and if he’ll ever be able to return to the force again. Continue reading → Film Review – Max Payne

Movie Review – Quantum of Solace


Get Quantum of Solace from Amazon.com
Get Quantum of Solace from Amazon.com

So, at Bureau42, we’ve already reviewed the latest Bond film, Quantum of Solace, and I’ve played the game (though I hadn’t seen the movie and the time), and reviewed that for Bureau42. However, until recently, I haven’t seen the movie. Thanks to the wonders of Netflix, though, I’ve finally rectified that, and so now it’s time to give my thoughts. I liked Casino Royale, and thought the game was decent. How does the movie¬†hold up?

The Premise:

Picking up a few minutes after the end of Casino Royale, 007 has taken Mr. White (the representative of “The Organization” from the previous film) to a MI6 safe house, only for M and Bond to soon find out that White’s Organization has a deeper penetration than they suspect, not only in MI6, but in other intelligence organizations as well. Bond ends up on the trail of White’s organization, in an attempt to find out their aims and who is in charge of the thing.

(I am, of course, refraining from using spoilers in the Premise – as it is above the cut).

Continue reading → Movie Review – Quantum of Solace

Film Review – Das Boot: Director’s Cut


Das Boot Directors Cut Movie Poster
Das Boot Director's Cut Movie Poster

This time around I’ve got a review for you for what is widely considered to be one of the best submarine films of all time – Das Boot. Specifically, I’m reviewing the Director’s Cut, being that’s the director’s definitive vision, rather than the longer “Uncut” version that has the added footage done for European TV around the same time.

I’m going to tweak my formatting a little bit this time, by putting the plot summary above the cut. Oh, and I’m putting a movie poster on the right to make things look more perdy – and I’ll be putting my Amazon Affiliate links there too. Make things a little more “elegant”.

The Premise:

In 1941, the third year of the war, Lt. Werner, a war correspondant, comes aboard U-Boat U-96 to cover the crew and their efforts. What he gets is sheer unmitigated boredom, with occasional breaks of absolute terror. The ship goes through gigantic Atlantic storms, a massive lice infestation, depth charges after more depth charges, and occasionally they get to attack something.

Continue reading → Film Review – Das Boot: Director’s Cut

How Blu-Ray is dropping the ball w/ Special Features


I’d like to take a moment to rant a little bit. Recently, I took advantage of the clearance sales at Circuit City to pick up some Blu-Ray movies – specifically, upgrading some of the titles in my collection – Patton, A Bridge Too Far, and Black Hawk Down. Of these movies, only Patton matches the special features of it’s DVD release. The DVD release of Bridge Too Far has commentary by World War II Veterans who participated in Operation Market Garden, as well as documentary material. The Blu-Ray release has the theatrical trailer. That’s it. The Blu-Ray release of Black Hawk down has all of the commentaries from the Special Edition release of the movie (director’s commentary, writer’s commentary, and commentary of people who actually participated in the events depicted in the movie) but none of the other special features exclusive for that release (an episode of Frontline and History Channel documentary on the events as well).

The big selling point of Blu-Ray is that there is more storage on the disks, so you can have more information on the disks, so that which once took two disks now takes only one (for example, Batman Begins Blu-Ray release). So, why the fuck can’t you take all the special features that were on the special edition DVD release of a movie, and put those on the Blu-Ray disk, so we can leave those imbecilic shenanagans behind us! You do that, so that the special features of the Blu-Ray release are equal to or superior to the DVD release, while retaining picture quality, and you will get more people to adopt the format. If people feel that they’re getting more with the existing format, then they won’t switch.

So, stop ripping me and other customers off by scrimping on bonus features!