Tag Archives: Entertainment

TV Theatre – The Belko Experiment

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To put it in its most simplest terms, The Belko Experiment is a film about violence for the sake of violence. It will probably share a similar audience to the likes of Saw or any slasher that gives the filmmaker an excuse to show over an hour’s worth of gore non-stop. The set up is an international group of people put together in a bizarrely nice building in the middle of nowhere Columbia.

They all work happy corporate lives until one day a voice on the intercom tells them they have to start killing people or they will die at random. Who these people are, the cast, the antagonists, whomever it’s all irrelevant. People have to die when the voice says, so sayith the voice.

In fact, there is little plot here anyway to make these characters relevant. Not that the film is concerned with it. No, the prime focus is to get you sitting on the edge of your seat ruminating how the next sucker is going to die a shitty death. Because that’s why you came to see this movie: stupid people dying shitty deaths.

This movie probably will share a lot of similarities to the 2000 classic Battle Royale, but unlike Royale, The Belko Experiment invests no serious time on its cast and spends more keeping the body count going as fluidly as possible. Which is cool if that’s what you were expecting coming into this movie like I was.

To that end, the violence is pretty amusing and even at times somewhat thrilling, even if everyone is moving at a very by-the-numbers pace. At no point are you going to be genuinely surprised by anything. The movie sometimes tries to pull at emotional strings that just aren’t there. Instead, it’s at its best when it stops trying to talk and just lets the rage fly.

At the end of the day, if your thirst is for a horror movie more concerned with being grossly violent than genuinely scary, then yeah, The Belko Experiment can help with that. In fact, for just that purpose it’s pretty good. Just maintain that level of expectation and everything’ll be alright. Maybe just maybe don’t eat spaghetti or something with tomato pasta. Or do, if you’re sense of humor is that morbid. Again, this movie would probably be for you.

Just like this little review, the movie ends somewhat abruptly leaving you with the feeling they want to build a fuck load of sequels to this because Saw did it. If nothing else, it looked like this movie was a lot of fun to make for the actors.

Preview – Agony (PC, PS4, XOne)

The product of Kickstarter, developed by MadMind Studio and to be published by PlayWay, it’s clear from the onset this is an indie project. Once you fire up the trailer, though, that thought immediately goes out the window.

Like, what the fuck was that? Look, if that didn’t rustle your jimmies then I don’t know what the hell your problem is. Get it? Hell? Oh shit, I can do this all day.

What stands out most about Agony is how horribly good it looks. It’s showing off the beautiful (maybe grotesque in this case?) shine the new-ish Unreal 4 engine possesses.

Played in first-person, so far the concept is navigating puzzles while occasionally possessing demons to keep eventually find a way free from this. The trailers have painted Agony in similar ranks to Outlast, which is fine company to be in.

Currently there is no release date for the game outside of a vague Q4 2017 listing. Regardless, this one is worth keeping on your radar. Or if nothing else, now is a good time to get those much needed upgrades to make games like this really pop. This is probably also not a good game for people who do psychedelics. Just saying.

Like seriously, what the fuck?

At the Movies Double-Feature: The Emoji Movie and Valerian and the City of Thousand Planets

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Every summer there’s always those movies. The ones where you ask yourself, “why?” For fun yeah but, like, why this? Movies cost a lot to make, so you would think it since it takes a ton of effort on the part of animators and so many others, that. I wouldn’t be asking for much for it to be decent right? So as it is every summer, there’s the turd. The Emoji Movie is that turd.

The movie revolves around Gene, who is supposed the “meh” emoji. He’s not like the other emojis where their faces are set and don’t ever change. Gene, on the other hand, goes through all kinds of faces. He just doesn’t want to be a “meh” emoji. At first it caught my attention and I wanted to see where they were going with it. But 20 minutes into the movie and I just so badly wanted something to happen.

The plot of the movie involves all the emojis living in a phone, and Gene discovers the owner, Alex, is planning to resetting his phone, deleting everything. Now when I saw the previews I was excited thinking it would be funny and we would get a chance to see how emojis live day to day life in this fantasy world. I mean, isn’t that at least sort of the point for these movies?

Anyway fuck it, the film was a waste of money. I could say more but honestly what’s the use? The Emoji Movie makes it seem like the writers ran out of ideas and out of random they decided to make an emoji movie with no good story to go with it. I’ll give it the animation was decent but I feel bad for the people who had to animate a script my niece would’ve done a way better job with. That’s it, that’s what I have to say about The Emoji Movie.

As for Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, just like The Emoji Movie, was decent to watch because of its fancy visual effects. For the plot, it felt very poor plus the acting wasn’t there either. It all felt a bit goofy when the actors were trying to be serious. Either be willing to have fun or be serious, but don’t try to sell me whatever this was.

If the storytelling was a bit more thoughtout I believe it could’ve been great. Both Rihanna and Cara Delevingne are trying to make a stamp for themselves as actresses but they have a long way to go still. Rihanna’s scenes were too short and Cara just had that “I want to laugh look” while trying to be serious at nearly all times. The only part that seemed decent was at the point they were trying to sava Cara from being eaten.

Valerian kinda obviously has a Star Wars vibe going on, which was something I think sorta saved this movie for me. I don’t like giving spoilers so this is all I’m saying about the films, but honestly I gave you as much details as the films really gave me. They’re both entertaining movies to a degree thanks to their looks but beyond that they both have horrible plots.

 

Review – Strike Vector EX (PC)

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Strike Vector EX is about one thing and one thing only: high-speed dog fights. Flashy, bright, colorful, dizzying dog fights. EX offers a basic, but addictive package with a decent single-player campaign and addictive online modes. Technically while EX is a re-release, with the original version released in 2014 to mixed reviews, I’m reviewing it on its own merit. EX feels like an amalgamation of Ace Combat and Star Fox Zero, which is a compliment.

Piloting your vector (those fancy jets) involves two modes: stationary and fast. This probably sounds obvious and stupid, but the ability to stop on a dime and make impossibly fast turns is a huge element to this game. You can also zoom in when stopped at snipe at enemies, but obviously in a game like this staying still for too long is you begging to be shot down.

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There’s a pretty reasonable amount of content here, from a cheesy, but fairly meaty single-player that’ll help you hone your skills, to the real jewel: the multiplayer. You can include bots if you’d like (they’ll join your matches by default if not enough humans are around which will happen unfortunately more often than I’d like), but the real joy is being locked in a tense fight with other human pilots thirsting for your blood.

The customization options available are relatively shallow. You have your choice from a small number of weapons ranging from the conventional gatling gun to the more irritating homing cluster missiles. You can also separate yourself from others by coloring individual elements your ship (head/body/wings) with a wide array of colors, most needing to be unlocked through play.

The modes are pretty standard: death match, team death match, capture the flag, demolition (two teams must destroy each other’s bases target by target),  bounty hunter (accrue more points than other plays by collecting coins or killing players), and king of the hill where two teams compete for the designated territory. While not genre defining, they’re good modes for a game built on a pick-up-and-play premise.

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The thing about Strike Vector EX is that as it is, there’s a lot of good in it that justifies its very soft price tag ($11.99 USD). While there aren’t a whole lot of flashy modes and baubles to distract, it’s core gameplay is more than solid and can get addictive. It’s fast, easy to grasp, and more importantly makes me feel like I’m really involved in a high-speed mecha dog fight. At the time of writing the online community is quite shallow, but the game is also young. I’m optimistic more will see the light of this very shooter.

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Game of Thrones Station Episode 2, Stormborn

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Man there’s a lot to unpack here from last night’s episode, so let’s take this bit by bit.

The episode opens on a stormy night on Dragonstone Isle with Daenerys and crew. Tyrion begins a plot to invade Westeros, though Daenerys isn’t totally comfortable with everyone in her council. She questions Varys and his loyalties, and understandably so given his position, though he makes his intentions clear when he says he serves the people and not the various royalties he has had to serve, a similar speech he once had with Tyrion some seasons back. Daenerys proves to her council she’s watching her ass.

They are unexpectedly met by the red priestess Melisandre, who brings a similar pitch she’s attempted in the past: that the Lord of Light has prophesied someone will save them from the Long Night. However she is met with suspicion and mistrust from both Varys and Daenerys. This time she comes with a suggestion: to contact Jon Snow, newly minted King of the North.

Melisandre and Tyrion both suggest Jon’s knowledge of the White Walkers and his position against Cersei make him a valuable ally. Daenerys agrees but under the condition Jon Snow would bend the knee to her upon their meeting. Tyrion is visible concerned but knows this is the only way.

We immediately follow up to Jon receiving Tyrion’s message. Jon and Sansa discuss the validity of the message, and though they both testify to Tyrion’s character, they are concerned yet another throne chaser may be leading them into serious trouble. Davos agrees with their concerns but reminds them dragons make very powerful allies, especially against the White Walkers.

Cersei prepares her own defense against Daenerys’ incoming invasion and Olenna Tyrell’s rebellion against the crown. Cersei finds herself in a precarious situation as fewer houses support her than her father, since so many of them are dead at this point. Jaime attempts to shore up trusted allies to assemble an army for Cersei, but finds few willing to betray allegiances for Cersei, not to mention many of the lords fearful of the dragons. Cersei’s right hand, ever the schemer, quietly has been developing massive ballistas to shoot down the dragons.

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We rejoin Samwell who, with assistance, is attempting to treat Jorah Mormont and his greyscale affliction. The disease has spread quickly throughout his entire body and the senior maester is content to leave Jorah for dead, offering Jorah the option of killing himself or being shipped out to a diseased colony. Samwell, ever the optimist, believes he may have found a solution in his studies. As per the usual, no one listens to him so he takes it upon himself to treat Jorah personally, risking his life in the process. The procedure proves less than pleasant for Jorah.

 

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We return to Daenerys and Tyrion who are with the full council at Dragonstone. There is infighting as Ellaria Sand still harbors a grudge against Tyrion for Oberyn’s death back in 2014. Tyrion wishes to use the Dornish and Tyrell houses to build a rebellion against King’s Landing while Daenerys enters amidst the fighting. Olenna also attempts to privately counsel Daenerys to follow her own instinct and openly attack King’s Landing, not blindly follow Tyrion’s suggestions to attack subtly.

We run into the ever precocious Arya who has met again with Hot Pie at his inn. He notes how much she’s changed, then she realizes how much she’s changed and it bums her out. Hot Pie reveals Jon Snow is king, which causes Arya to leave in a rush to rejoin him. En route, she is trapped by a pack of dire wolves, whose alpha just so happens to be the baby dire wolf Arya was forced to abandon some years back. They recognize each other, but being the alpha he isn’t interested in joining Arya. We are all left sad.

We rejoin Jon Snow again who is discussing his plans for meeting with Daenerys, which is met with mixed reaction. He reminds them all of their dire need for dragonglass, of which he learned thanks to Samwell is sitting right under Dragonstone Isle. Sansa is not pleased Jon is going to meet her, surprises her by charging her as regent until his return. Baelish attempts to counsel with Jon, who them promptly attempts to choke him for saying he loves Sansa. Jon threatens to outright kill him if he discovers him attempting to touch her. Baelish is finding himself with fewer and fewer allies, though his presence still needed thanks to the forces he has at his disposal.

The episode concludes in a huge way, as we join the Greyjoys as they ferry Ellaria to Dorne to prepare for their attack. However they are met with terrible misfortune as Euron intercepts her ships at night and forces her into a dire sea battle. In the midst of the battle, Obara and Nymeria Sand are killed, while Ellaria and Tyene Sand are taken prisoner by Euron’s troops. Yara is captured by Euron and Theon flees like a pussy once confronted by Euron with a knife to Yara’s throat. Her fate now is in Euron’s fucked up hands.

Also things that happened:

  • Grey Worm and Missandei get it on. Yes, you read that right. It was pretty hot.

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At the Movies: Dunkirk

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Christopher Nolan’s latest film Dunkirk recounts the invasion of Dunkirk, France between May 26 to June 4th 1940 during the Second World War. It was the evacuation of Allied forces from France when the German war machine was ravaging Europe. Dunkirk captures the frantic, near hopeless struggle of the British troops and civilians scrambling to rally a defense and evacuation plan from a crushing Luftwaffe bombing raid.

First off, the best way to see the film is in 70mm if possible. Why 70mm and what even is 70mm? Without the elaborate cinephile explanation, it’s the version Nolan would want you to see. Which makes sense since so much of the film are sweeping shots of massive landscapes, intense aerial battles then sudden shifts to claustrophobic environments made tighter thanks to the format.

Dunkirk isn’t a summer blockbuster like so many of this year’s films. It does give the appearance of one with it’s beautifully shot scenes and tense action moments. However it doesn’t linger on the violence long. Violence happens quickly and suddenly then the audience is pushed onto the next situation without too much reflection on it. Masterful sound editing really drove home the terror of the bombing raids, and the helplessness the infantry felt against bombs being dropped.

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It’s important to remember Dunkirk was not a terribly heroic moment for the Allied army and the movie conveys that clearly. There were themes of heroism and sacrifice to be sure, but they are subdued. Dunkirk is more concerned with showing the wide-scale destruction and cost of battle than the usual war-film tropes of ham-handedly preaching duty, heroism, or attempting to shift the narrative from a historical piece then to a set of improbable action set-piece moments.

There really isn’t a single story to track but instead a collection of smaller stories interwoven into the battle: a father and his two sons answering the call to aid in the evacuation attempt; two ace pilots attempting to stave off the Luftwaffe air units; a deployment of young soldiers attempting to survive mentally as well as physically against not just the enemy but against panic-induced soldiers within their own ranks.

All these stories intertwine together and are even called back later in the film subtly thanks to wonderful sound and visual editing that Nolan’s production company, Syncopy, has become well known for. But you won’t find yourself getting too attached to any of the characters, as Dunkirk doesn’t spend too much time concerning itself with singular characters but instead the bigger picture at play.

At times it may be hard to feel involved with the movie as it dwells perhaps a bit too much on the larger picture. A great deal happens within the movie’s hour and 46 minutes run time, from start to finish. Some audiences may be turned off to the fact that a lot will happen and at times it can be hard to make sense of it all without much tying you emotionally, but the film resonates in a much stronger way through its masterful use of sound and perspective. Nolan found a way to deftly tell a story of bravery without lecturing on it.

Pic Source: http://www.dunkirkmovie.com/

 

Linkin Park singer, Chester Bennington dies at 41

According to a TMZ report, Law enforcement sources informed TMZ Bennington apparently committed suicide by hanging. He was found today just before 9 a.m. in private residence in Palos Verde, L.A. County. Shortly after they reported the information, Los Angeles county coroner’s office confirmed his death.

The singer had been a victim of sexual abuse at 7 years old and considered suicide. Throughout the years he struggled with alcohol and drug addictions.  “I was a full-blown, raging alcoholic. I don’t drink. I choose to be sober now. I have drunk over the last six years, but I just don’t want to be that person anymore.” His addictions, were the blame for his first failed marriage.

He was very close to singer Chris Cornell, who also committed suicide by hanging in May of this year. Today Cornell would have been 53. Bennington sang at his funeral and  dedicated the album’s title track to his friend who death was taken very hard.

Linkin Park released their 7th album in may and dedicated it to Chris, they were going to start their “One More Light world tour” on July 27th. The band had many hits over the years including: “In the End,” “Numb,” “Crawl” and their collaboration with Jay-Z.