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Reviews and articles on movies, music, video games, and more

Archive for the month “October, 2012”

“Borderlands 2” Review – No Rest for the Wicked

After the excellent FPS/RPG hybrid loot-fest that was Borderlands, my anticipation was sky-high when Gearbox announced the sequel. Let me start by saying that Borderlands 2 improves on the first game in nearly every regard – a monumental feat considering how great the original was. In doing so, Gearbox has been able to create one of the best, and of course, most over-the-top gaming experiences of the year.

Borderlands 2 drops you back into the shoes of a new vault hunter on Pandora, picking up where the first game left off. A villain immediately presents himself in Handsome Jack, and at the first instance of player control, we are re-introduced to Claptrap, a humorous robot with a penchant for dancing, beat-boxing, and jokes. The story in Borderlands 2 continues at a good pace throughout the whole game, and the plot itself is much improved over the original (while still nothing spectacular, the story is above average for a loot-based game). Further, the multitude of side-quests present in the various areas (completion of some side quests is necessary to level up before story missions) actually help expand upon character personalities rather than just feel like throwaway interactions.

The beautiful cartoonish, cel-shaded look of the world blends perfectly with action and storyline. Monster and character designs are great, with all of the main and supporting characters having a distinct look to go along with their personalities. Every weapon (of the nearly limitless drops) has a different design and the carnage caused by your character never lacks detail. Further, each area of the world of Pandora has its own feel, from Eridium-laden, rocky landscapes to snow-covered mountains to industrial interiors.

Meet Handsome Jack, your new villain on Pandora

To further flesh out the wonderfully sculpted world, Borderlands 2 features some tremendous voice-acting. Every character is memorable, thanks to the voice work that takes the humorous and well-written dialogue to the next level, bringing to life each character’s (often psychotic) personalities. Speaking of psychotic, Tiny Tina gets my vote for best new character to the Borderlands universe – her sidequests (like the other characters) had me in tears from laughter (the “You Are Cordially Invited” quest line is particularly amusing). This attention to detail in the sound also extends beyond main characters, with the multitude of bandits and robots you will inevitably dismantle spouting one-liners and other comments as the action takes place.

Moving on to gameplay, the game plays almost identically to the first game. You move in and out of cross-hairs, swapping weapons, and using class specific skills during each encounter. The game makes improvements in many small ways. Minor improvements include no fall damage, some tightening and smoothing of the controls, and the introduction of “slag” damage (which increases the damage done by other weapons). More prominent improvements come in the form of a new character class (the “Gunzerker” – with dual-wielding abilities), altered class skills, and the addition of the “badass” system, where through completing various goals (varying from certain enemy type kills, to kills with a specific gun/damage type, to side-quest completion) you gain tokens that you can use to increase skills from gun damage, to shield regeneration, to fire rate. The best part of the “badass” system, each skill increase applies to all of your character saves – yes, it transfers across playthroughs.

Vehicles are back and feel better than ever

For how many things Borderlands 2 does right and improves upon, there are still a few downsides to an otherwise excellent gaming experience. First, the loot drop rates seem to have been decreased since the last game – resulting in me not receiving one orange (rarest item type) drop during my single-player playthrough up through the final boss encounter. The rates increase as you join with more players, but this somewhat penalizes those that wish to play singly, which with the improved story and expansive game world, is a misstep. Also, for the various classes available to choose from, the core gameplay does not change outside of the different unique skill you are given. I enjoyed playing with another class’ skill, but I could never shake the feeling that I still felt like the same character I originally started as. Lastly, there are some visual hitches here or there (to be expected in such a large game) and auto-saves sometimes boot you back to earlier areas of missions (forgivable as you don’t loose character progress, but enemies respawn) resulting in some minor annoyances.

Looking back at my time spent returning to Pandora, I can honestly say that this is be the most humorous game I’ve ever played (earlier this year, Portal 2 took the top spot). With the eccentric characters to the witty writing combined with the improved plot and always fun level-and-loot gameplay, Borderlands 2 provides an unusual, yet top-tier experience that deserves to be right up there in the Game of the Year talks.

Story: 8/10

Graphics: 9/10

Sound: 10/10

Gameplay: 9.5/10

Final Score: 9/10

“Silent Hill: Revelation” 3D (2012) Review

Yesterday, before I ventured to the theater to see Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, I glanced quickly at the critic reviews online. Needless to say, I was quite disappointed by what I saw (the movie currently sits at a 16/100 at the time of this writing). Yet, I remembered the first film (which, with its flaws, I thoroughly enjoyed) having also gotten poor reviews from critics who seemed to not be able to wrap their head around a horror narrative outside of the usual characters getting lost, killed off one by one in increasingly gruesome ways, and a killer with some kind of gimmick. I understand that having not played through the video games the movies re-imagine (and I say “re-imagine”, not “remake”, as the movies take liberty with characters and story elements from the games) causes the viewer to not understand certain plot points as intimately, or be able to make connections as swiftly, but the first film certainly had a coherent plot (with some flaws, I agree). Now, with a new director behind the camera, how does the movie sequel, now focusing on “Silent Hill 3”, compare to the first, and capture the essence of the game?

Let me start by saying that the film does a great job of paying homage to the game. The story and characters have been altered to create a somewhat different story, but the base of the story stays the same for the most part. This bodes well in being able to create the same tension that is present in the games. Yes, the ambiance is not quite as dreadful, but the “Silent Hill” in the film is quite authentic compared to the video games. The casting for the movie was well done, keeping Sean Bean and Radha Mitchell in their original roles, and bringing in Adelaide Clemens to be Heather (a striking resemblance to the video game version of Heather). The locales, including the amusement park and mall, are perfectly executed. Finally, the creatures that inhabit the world of Silent Hill are wonderfully animated, though some of the creatures are newly created or not relevant (if you’ve played the games, you understand the importance that each creature design has to the story and main protagonist’s psyche).

(Above) Silent Hill: Revelation 3D’s Heather (Adelaide Clemens) – (Below) Silent Hill 3’s Heather

Having been familiar with Silent Hill lore, i.e. the Seal of Metatron, the Order, etc., I found the story a little more easy to grasp, but for those that have not played the game, I think the movie does a decent job of giving the viewer some detail to go off of in order to make sense of the overall plot (I mean, it’s pretty hard to capture every detail from a 10-hour game experience within the confines of a 90-minute movie). If you have played the games, there are some little touches here or there, in particular at the end of the film, that you’ll recognize and catch above the average viewer. The plot captures the main points of the game, while making some major and minor changes throughout (both good and bad in terms of the story), but I will say that I enjoyed the story the film told.

Moving on, there were flaws to this film. First, in comparison to the first film, I thought the fog, ash, and (most importantly) the world transition effects were actually better in the first film. Next, the dialogue for Revelation was quite poorly written in many areas. The story could have been much better told had they had some better dialogue been in place for the cast to work with (I almost cringed at the mirror scene between Bean and Mitchell due to the stilted and unnatural conversation). Lastly, one of the genres with the most overused clichés is the horror genre. Jump scares need to evolve into something else. Character’s inching backwards with their back to the camera, music that becomes completely non-existent as if to say “hey, something is going to try to scare you now”, and random objects whose normal function is made into some kind of joke-scare through a quick transition (here, a Pop-Tart pops out of a toaster with the sound of two freight trains colliding) – all these things are way too often used and become stagnant quite quickly.

One last quick comment I have is regarding the 3D effects (the local theater only had 3D showings for the time we went). I am against the use of 3D effects in movies for many reasons – the technology is not evolved to where the effects add anything at all to the films, many effects are more distracting than anything, the glasses at theaters darken an already dark theater leading to drowned out color palettes, and the list goes on (including the fact that to anyone who, like me, wears glasses/contacts, the 3D glasses tend to give you a headache quite quickly if you wear your contacts with them). Quick rant aside, there were two or three cases here where the 3D effects were kind of cool, and for those that enjoy 3D (and especially horror fans), this movie would be a nice display.

Silent Hill: Revelation 3D is much better than the critics would have you believe. It certainly has its flaws, and doesn’t quite reach the same level as the original, but it captures enough of the Silent Hill feel to be an easy recommendation to fans of the game series or to any horror fan in general. If you have any interest in the film, disregard the critics and see the film for yourself.

Final Score: 6.9/10

“Argo” (2012) Review

I’ll say that I’ve never been a fan of Ben Affleck. Whether acting or behind the camera, nothing he has done has impressed me to any large degree. In comes “Argo”, a film about an American hostage extraction from Iran. The story behind the operation grabbed my attention, but I was still skeptical with Affleck behind the camera and in the leading role. After leaving the theater, I was pleasantly surprised by how well-done the film was.

The big standout in the movie for me was the writing. The conversations flow naturally, and there is plenty of clever dialogue, including many smart, humorous lines that fit each scene. The writing is brought to an even higher level with some excellent casting, including John Goodman and an always hilarious Alan Arkin. Everyone, from the embassy hostages, to those back in D.C., to the Iranian military, all fit their roles and bring the script to life.

Arkin: “The saying goes, ‘What starts in farce ends in tragedy.'”
Goodman: “No, it’s the other way around.”
Arkin: “Who said that exactly?”
Goodman: “Marx.”
Arkin: “Groucho said that?”

Outside of the writing and casting, the directing done by Affleck in the film is decent. There aren’t any out-of-the-ordinary camera shots, but the scenes and settings he recreated from the mission were powerful and felt completely authentic. By creating this authenticity, bringing in a great cast, and providing them with high quality dialogue, the sense of urgency in the mission, feelings of terror in the hostages, and tension in the Canadian embassy and back in D.C. all feel quite powerful. You have that feeling that the mission can fall apart at any second – to quote Arkin at one point, “I gotta tell you, we did suicide missions in the Army with better odds than this.”

The one downside to the movie was the insertion of plenty of what I call “Hollywood fluff”. In this case, the fluff consists of the need for those classic action movie moments where the villain figures everything out at the exact time the hero is escaping and the hero has the closest call of his life, getting out in the nick of time. There are a few points where the characters are put into those classic scenes, as Affleck takes some liberty with the story in an attempt to increase the tension. Here, it detracts from the experience, as the viewer is smart enough to know that so many crucial things could not have happened at exactly the same time to result in such a close call.

“Hollywood fluff” aside, “Argo” was a tense film with some great writing and casting that brings to life a highly interesting mission in Iran. The setting was captured perfectly and the movie moves at a nice pace to avoid becoming stagnant. Slight flaws detract from the experience, but overall, most viewers should enjoy this movie.

Final Score: 8.5/10

Coheed and Cambria – “The Afterman: Ascension” Review

Coheed and Cambria are heading in a new direction. Gone are the Amory Wars stories, giving way to an entirely new tale, “The Afterman”. They also have altered their sound as well on this album (more on this later). Looking back on their past works, it is no secret that their first three album were phenomenal works of high-concept, progressive rock (in particular “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3”, my personal favorite). Following that was “No World for Tomorrow”, which still had all the ingredients for a great Coheed album, but was flawed with overly produced sound and an … feeling throughout that the band was trying to hard to make the songs sound “epic”. Then came “Year of the Black Rainbow” which, to me, was just an extremely poor release. Now, with the return of original drummer, Josh Eppard, and a new storyline to tell, how does this new album fit in with the Coheed library?

The album opens with “The Hollow”, a very well-done track that sets the mood for the story to follow. Keyboards back a conversation between a man and another being, followed by a variation on the classic Coheed riff that signaled a lapse of time. This opens right into “Domino the Destitue”, a very powerful track, and by far, the best on the album – this song really displays the best of Coheed. Some very nice guitar riffs lead into Claudio’s vocals (I have always been amazed by Claudio’s ability to sing complex patterns while playing some intricate guitar riffs) and the rest of the group’s entrance. The track on the whole progresses very well, and features a few different movements in standard Coheed progressive fashion. By the midway point of the track, I was already thankful for Josh Eppard’s return. Chris Penne just did not fit in well with the group, and his rhythms were quite bland and in many instances never really added to the songs. “Domino” fits in some usual chants and nice breaks, including a very interesting part with a boxing match being announced over the background track.

After the intense opening, the rest of the album seems like a letdown. “The Afterman” and “Evagria the Faithful” both lack a true Coheed sound, and would fit much better on another Prize Fighter Inferno album. “Mothers of Men” at least has some meat to it, but this is quickly follow by a lackluster “Goodnight, Fair Lady”. These songs are all extremely linear and lack any variation. Where is the progression that I so enjoyed in previous Coheed works?

“Holly Wood the Cracked” has a grating chorus, but is redeemed by a more calm and nicely done bridge section. This quickly reverts back to the straining feel from earlier in the track. It seems very jarring to move from these two types of sections in the song. This track is followed by “Vic the Butcher”, which is a redeeming track. The music brings back the nicely layered work that I remember. This is the second best song on the album, as there is actually some progression in this song, including movements between two powerful chorus sections that compliment each other quite well (one a climbing section, the other a powerful swirl of squealing guitars and pounding drums).

The album ends with an acoustic track, “Subtraction”. I can’t really say anything that positive about the track. A very “meh” feel, and a poor way to close the album on the whole.

Looking back at the group’s past work, this album just can’t compare. As a new chapter, there are some rays of hope that the group can again attain their prior level of excellence, but also some changes that need to be made. The group is known for its progressive movements, and for the most part these songs lack that piece of the puzzle. Further, Claudio may have produced some smoother vocal parts as time has gone on, but in doing so, has seemed to regress in his ranges and vocal melodies. I could never say he has a bad voice, but I just wish he would use his gift to its fullest extent as on “Good Apollo” and prior albums. With two very strong tracks in “Domino the Destitute” and “Vic the Butcher” and a strong return by Josh Eppard, the album is still worth a listen for fans and any rock listener, though the rest of the album is just content with staying afloat next to these songs.

Final Score: 6.8/10

Why Plot Is So Important

Think about your favorite film or video game (or possibly even your favorite album). What about that piece makes it so special to you? What makes you get absorbed in the created world, or makes you feel so connected to the characters? What sets it apart from every other experience to make it so interesting to you? In my experience (and I would venture a guess to say yours, as well), it has always been the plot.

When I watch a film or play a game, plot is the one thing that always rises above every other aspect of the experience to determine my enjoyment. Nothing takes me out of an experience more than a generic, clichéd plot – one where you just feel like you are going through the motions. It’s like putting a new carpet in your house – you still know where everything is at, and could still practically navigate your way blindfolded. The only thing that changed is a minor cosmetic appearance, not the same old foundation or layout. Without plot, everything else falls apart.

In the case of movies, special effects are great and all, but flashiness doesn’t make me want to see what happens next. Case in point, “Avatar” was released to some stellar reviews and record-breaking box office numbers. For all its hype and expensive CGI, I was thoroughly disappointed by it. Everything felt familiar and I never once felt absorbed in the world due to the overly clichéd plot (this review captures my feelings quite well). I know at this point that every story borrows something from one before it, and some films that I have enjoyed fall into “been there, done that” territory (I mean, there must be a reason that “classic” films are still so highly regarded and great to watch). In these cases, these films have unique, original parts that lift their plots into more absorbing territory.

The same case applies to video games. Graphics and gameplay only go so far – there needs to be something making the player want to continue forward, not forcing themselves to play until the end. Why do many players still enjoying going back to games such as Deus Ex or Chrono Trigger (hint: it’s not photo-realistic graphics). These games have stories and characters that draw the player in, and give you that feeling of wanting to play until one more save point or level reached to see what happens next.

Deus Ex may be almost ten years old and look quite dated compared to Rage, yet I’d take the intricate conspiracy plot of Deus Ex to the throwaway (and virtually non-existent) plot of Rage any day. Shiny graphics do not an absorbing experience make.

I understand that for some people the plot may not need to be extremely original or compelling to enjoy a game or movie. Yet, I feel that a strong plot could turn those feelings of simply “enjoying” a movie or game into someone feeling like they “experienced” it. I know for myself this is the case, and in all of my experiences, plot will always be the main focus to determine how much I get out of that particular piece.

“The Greatest” – Review Series

After having seen an episode of “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” on Food Network, I had an idea – why not introduce everyone to some of my personal favorite experiences in music, movies, and video games. This retrospective review series will feature one nostalgic piece each about my absolute favorite movie, album, and video game. This will allow me to relive my experience with these excellent works (all of which I would highly recommend – obviously), and help everyone to better get a sense of my tastes. I hope you will enjoy this series as much as I will writing about these items. Look for the first piece in the next week or two!

“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (2012) Mini-Review

“Planet of the Apes” is a classic movie for many reasons. Having finally had a chance to see last year’s prequel, I hoped that the film would provide a decent background to the original plot. What I actually experienced was an entertaining, yet quite flawed film.

The Good:

  • Motion Capture – Andy Serkis is the best motion capture artist/actor in the business, hands down (for those unfamiliar, Serkis played Gollum in the “Lord of the Rings” series, along with major parts in the video games “Heavenly Sword” and “Enslaved”). His work in this movie is just another perfect example of his abilities, with the movement of the apes being natural and fluid.

The OK:

  • Plot – It’s hard to fault the plot for not having a surprising ending (after all, we know where the original movie picks up – speaking of which, there is a nice tie-in to the original which helps to make the plot more genuine). Overall, the story moves along nicely, and does keep your interest, providing some intense and also emotional moments. However, the first 15-20 minutes is extremely rushed, providing bare minimal backstory, which makes you feel somewhat disconnected from the characters.
  • Soundtrack – I don’t know where to put this section, but the soundtrack was unremarkable. It certainly didn’t detract from the movie, but I cannot remember a single moment of the soundtrack or where it played. Thus, I can’t really say whether it was good or bad (at least it didn’t distract me).

The Bad:

  • Plot (Part 2) – For all its good moments, the film has many inconsistencies and questionable parts in the plot. Why at some moments does Caesar seem like a genius ape, and then others seems to not understand the concept of glass or a wall? How does a random “circus orangutan” have a sign language vocabulary of a genetically-enhanced ape taught to sign for his whole life? This is also not to mention the disregard to how James Franco has a plethora of lab work and high-tech medical scans of an ape who has not been outside the house? This and many more questions arise and really take you out of the world at times. Further, the ending was questionable in how it really built into the original film. I don’t want to spoil anything, bu it seems that some major leaps need to be made to connect to the original film.

Short Summary: The film provides a servicable story that has many glaring flaws, but is redeemed by the exceptional motion capture work and well-done action sequences. Recommended for “Planet of the Apes” and sci-fi fans (with an ability to overlook flaws in story-telling).

Final Score: 6/10

Caspian – “Waking Season” Review

After being sorely disappointed by This Will Destroy You’s latest release, “Tunnel Blanket”, I have been waiting for a post-rock album that would really wow me. Thus, I have been eagerly anticipating this album by one of my favorite bands. “Waking Season” is the fourth album by Caspian, a post-rock outfit from Massachusetts whose first release, “You Are the Conductor”, still sits high on my list of favorite albums (check out the combo of Further Up/Further In for pure post-rock bliss). How does this album stack up against their previous works, and more importantly, against other albums released this year?

Well, let’s take a look at the individual pieces that make up this 10-track LP. The album begins with the title track, which is a straightforward crescendo. I would almost have to say that it is too straightforward, revolving mainly on two chords. At a few points it seemed that it would shift away, but I still found myself in this simple progression. Further, the drum parts are overly simple, and when they change/build, don’t really progress the song in any way. Yet, the melody is good and the overall feel of the song is a good way to set the tone for the rest of the album experience. This title track then snaps seamlessly into the unstable “Procellous”. Here, you are thrust into what can be described as cohesive instability, a song that feels like it can explode at anytime, yet always feels like it is progressing to a set destination. At many points during the song, you feel torn in different directions by the differing rhythms and melody lines fighting between the instruments. This may sound like a bad thing, however, Caspian brings everything together wonderfully to produce a very powerful track. This is closely followed by “Gone in Bloom and Bough”, a much calmer (though it still hits hard at the closing) and melodic piece that nicely complements the previous track.

Fourth, we hit what I feel is the highlight of the album, “Halls of the Summer“. I cannot describe this song as anything but pure musical genius. The song begins with an industrial type background behind a piano melody. This piano melody builds and morphs into another beautiful melody before the section drops to reveal a strumming guitar. What follows is a short section of a melody similar to the piano part, but now guitar-centered. A distorted guitar enters along with the original piano melody to create an aura of sound that you really must experience to understand the nature of this song. Truly amazing!

How I envision myself listening to “Halls of the Summer”

Continuing on, “Akiko”breaks up the album midpoint, entering with a calm mix of clean guitar and harmonics. Though the track is short (3 minutes 33 seconds), there is enough movement to make it seem longer. As the first melody and mid-section pass, we are left with a fragile, awe-inspiring dual-guitar harmony (specifically at 2:21) that feels like it would fall apart next to such strong tracks as “Procellous”, or later “Fire Made Flesh”. Very rarely have I ever heard a harmony this perfect (seriously, it’s damn good).

Beginning the second half of the album is a two-track section starting with “High Lonesome”, an ambient intro track where Caspian channels their inner Sigur Rós. “High Lonesome” floats right into “Hickory ’54”, which opens with a modulated, trance-inducing intro. Here, though I feel a flaw in this album is further exposed. At a few points, mainly here and “Waking Season”, I found myself longing for a little more complexity in the rhythm section. The melodies in both tracks are so simple, that a more complex rhythm could really flesh the sound out. I am by no means adverse to simple drum tracks, as the following track (“Long Desert Mile”) is well put together with a simple drum progression, but these tracks just feel too plain without that extra boost from the rhythm section.

Having mentioned the eighth track,  “Long Desert Mile” is another straightforward song. As mentioned though, the song has some of that complexity that a track like “Waking Season” is missing. After this, we enter the final movement of the album consisting of another two-track piece. “Collider in Blue” is another ambient intro (like “High Lonesome”) that leads us into the final piece, “Fire Made Flesh”. This eerie track just has a perfect feel to round out the album. The haunting melody at the start slowly progresses like a slow burn before dropping out to allow a nice drum/bass groove to enter (where was this rhythmic complexity in “Hickory ’54”?). This evolves into a full assault on the ears, complete with thundering bass, pounding drums, and heavily distorted guitar, all brought together under a haunting ambient melody, that leaves the listener breathless as the album comes to a close.

All in all, this album is exceptional in its overall composition, and ability to weave in such delicate parts (“Akiko”) with well-planned sonic assaults (“Fire Made Flesh”). For its flaws, including the lack of rhythmic complexity in some areas, and melodies that don’t seem to progress at times, Caspian has done so much right and produced another excellent post-rock album. “Waking Season” has earned its spot as my favorite album of the year so far, yet cannot surpass the sheer brilliance that was achieved on “You Are the Conductor”. If you enjoy post-rock or instrumental music, you will not be the least bit disappointed by this album.

Final Score – 9.2/10

“Looper” (2012) Review

I have to admit, I was somewhat biased going into the theater to see “Looper”. First off, I am a sucker for sci-fi films and also a big Joseph Gordon-Levitt fan. So, when I first saw the trailer, I immediately knew what I would be doing the weekend of September 28th. What could be better than a time travel story involving one of my favorite current actors? That’s when I saw the name Rian Johnson…. For those that don’t recognize the name, Rian Johnson teamed up with Joseph Gordon-Levitt once before for a modern-day noir film, “Brick”. If you have not had the chance to see this unique film, and think a high school, illicit drug-focused noir story sounds interesting, by all means, see that movie. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and could not wait to see what movie magic this duo could come up with next…. Back to “Looper”.

So, with my hopes sky high, I entered the theater and began my viewing. Let me say that what followed was one of the best, well-written sci-fi movies I have seen in a while. The story itself is quite clever, and not nearly what I was expecting. I found myself quickly tied up in multiple characters with different motives, all of which were important to the story and not thrown in for the sake of complexity. Further, I assumed the need for leniency in judging some plot points, as time travel movies are notorious for plot holes. Once again, the plot was done in such a smart way to avoid introducing holes and questions about how things happened the way they did. To go on further, I risk the possibility of revealing spoilers, and that would be a crime with this story.

Moving on, the cast was well-suited to their roles (minus obvious physical differences between Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis, and my inability to see Paul Dano and forget him dancing on stage to “Superfreak” a la “Little Miss Sunshine”).

Further, it is always a plus in my book when a child is cast that just naturally seems to fit the role he is playing, so much so that my fiance commented that he might give her nightmares (nice work kid). Combining the acting with the cinematography and set design, you are immediately absorbed in this futuristic world. The film introduces just enough background to make the setting fully believable, while avoiding unnecessarily bogging the viewer down with too much terminology and lore.

Lastly, to wrap-up, I will have to say that this movie had what I like to call a “Children of Men” moment. You know, that scene, where the majority of sound drops out to be overtaken by the cries of a baby, a battle is halted, and an entire building and street full of people quit from fighting to stare in awe at the two carrying the “miracle” child. Yeah, the first time I saw that scene (with the movie still being one of my all-time favorites), I sat with goosebumps, jaw (literally) dropped, and in amazement. Now, not to say that all “Children of Men” moments are as powerful, but they are those kind of scenes that really give you the chills (in a good way). The “Children of Men” moment in this movie is unexpected, but that just makes it all the better. You’ll know when it happens.

So, in review, “Looper” is one of my favorite movies so far this year (“Moonrise Kingdom” still sitting large at the top spot). It’s “Children of Men” moment may not be quite as moving as the one in “Beasts of the Southern Wild”, but the overall story and execution push it far above your standard sci-fi film, while the writing puts it ahead of other time travel films. I highly recommend this film to any sci-fi fan, and to anyone looking for something with a smart plot.

Final Rating: 9.1/10

Day 1 Intro

Welcome,

For a while now, I’ve wanted to start a blog to begin to talk about my thoughts regarding current entertainment releases. Having a passion for entertainment, particularly including music, movies, and video games, I always have an urge to review/discuss each release I experience. This blog enables me to share my thoughts following each one. I am by no means a professional journalist/critic, however, I do have some experience in each of the mentioned fields as a 20-year video game hobbyist playing since the age of 3, and an active recording musician finishing up a new project. Feel free to visit the “About Me” page for more info.

As for the posts, I plan on reviewing each new movie, game, and album I experience, and providing a rating for each one. I will also be discussing random topics/items (mostly) related to the above. As a general rule, I will give each item I review a score out of 10. Movies and music will be given one final score, while games will be broken down into categories first (story, graphics, sound, and gameplay), then given the final score out of 10.

Please feel free to provide feedback, and I will look forward to any discussion regarding the items I review, or any that you may think are relevant.

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