5 Comments

  • fuwalda says:

    Good review, but I’ll never watch this movie because it sounds boring.

    • Justin Garrett Blum says:

      I don’t blame you, because I believe you would be bored watching it. I was a little bored watching it, to be honest.

    • Justin Garrett Blum says:

      It’s funny, because even as I started writing this (and originally, I was only going to write about three sentences), I was thinking, “Why am I writing this? The two or three people who might even possibly read this would never even think about watching it.” ūüėČ

  • fuwalda says:

    Don’t blame yourself because I’m an idiot.

    • Justin Garrett Blum says:

      ha! That’s not what I meant. I just mean it’s not the sort of movie somebody who isn’t super-interested in the financial crisis is going to go out of his or her way to watch, even if it is available streaming on Netflix.

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Margin Call (2011)

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Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Margin Call is a film that features an ensemble cast of talented actors digging in to a script seemingly developed with the intent to provide an ensemble cast of talented actors something to dig into. It isn’t quite the Glengarry Glen Ross of high finance films–it isn’t nearly as over-the-top, nor is it nearly as entertaining–though there’s the sense, perhaps, that the screenwriter, J.C. Chandor, probably watched Glengarry Glen Ross at some point in the planning stages. Make of that what you will.

As an indictment of the investment banking system that over-leveraged itself to the brink of, or even fully to, destruction, ushering the United States (and by extension, basically, the world) into the financial crisis of 2008, it’s pretty damning. Only…if you aren’t already up-to-speed on the finer details of precisely¬†what the hell happened, don’t expect¬†Margin Call to answer that question for you. (more…)

6 Comments

  • fuwalda says:

    I’m sure this game is awesome, but I never finished the first game. The first game was also awesome, but I stopped playing midway though because I got a little bored.

    • Justin Garrett Blum says:

      You know, it’s funny. I did the same thing with the first game. It wasn’t boredom, really, but I just got to this point about midway where all the enemies started carrying weapons, and I kept messing up trying to complete some objective, and I couldn’t be bothered to continue.

      I never had that problem with Arkham City. I don’t think it was easier–I just think the controls are a lot better on a PC, so I never felt like I was battling with the game mechanics.

      Anyway, I loved it. I’m waiting to see Arkham Asylum go on sale on Steam so I can pick that one up and finally do a full play-through.

  • fuwalda says:

    Arkham City is currently five dollars on Xbox Live. I’m downloading it now. I’ll check in later on.

  • fuwalda says:

    I got sick of this game even quicker than I did the other one. Then again, it’s basically the same game, just in a slightly different environment. Technically speaking, they’re amazing games with some of best graphics I’ve ever seen, excellent voice acting, and well written stories… but I dunno. As games, they both bored the shit out of me for two reasons:

    Combat stinks. It’s just button mashing. I just tap the x button and wag the stick around until everybody is dead. That’s it. It’s well animated so it’s fun to watch, but it’s so boring.

    Detective Mode stinks. I do applaud them for making an attempt to show that Batman is also a detective, but detective mode is this antithesis of actual detecting. It literally has captions pop up that tell you exactly what to do, what item to equip, where to use them, etc. How is this being a detective? It’s not a puzzle if the game presents the solution alongside the problem. Also, since you have to use detective mode in order to make it through the game, it’s easiest to just keep it on all the time, which makes the graphics look like shit.

    So… yeah, I dunno. These games just aren’t for me. I want to make it through because it is a great Batman story, I just wish the game mechanics were more fun.Then again, everybody else loves these games so maybe I’m just missing something.

    • Justin Garrett Blum says:

      I disagree with everything you just said. ūüėČ

      I get that the combat isn’t…I dunno…Tekken, but for a beat-em-up, it’s pretty damn good. If all you’re doing is button mashing, you’re either playing the game on too easy a setting or you never got past the first few fights or never leveled your character to unlock new combat abilities. Using the counters is absolutely essential, as are the quick attack abilities, advanced moves like the beatdown, redirecting attacks, etc.

      I suppose I don’t disagree entirely about detective mode–sometimes I think they could have made me work a little harder to discover some things–but overall, I like the depth it adds to the gameplay. I didn’t really keep it on all the time either. You learn when you need it and when you don’t. A lot of the time detective mode is just about teaching you how to notice things, so once you learn that skill, it’s not essential to keep it turned on.

      I think it’s just not for you, but I do wonder if maybe you didn’t play it long enough to discover the real challenge of it. Personally, I totally get the reason the game has a 94 meta critic rating. As I said, I played this obsessively right up to the end and beyond. I almost never do that.

  • fuwalda says:

    It’s true I only played this for a few days, but what I saw wasn’t an improvement of the previous game, that I played for a few weeks. I just don’t find it fun.

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Batman: Arkham City (PC)

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Rating: ★★★★★ 

Batman: Arkham City¬†has restored my faith in adventure game ports from the console to the PC. The game plays so intuitively and fluidly that I’m inclined to believe it’s actually quite a bit better suited to playing with a keyboard and mouse than it would be with a game controller. While Batman: Arkham City¬†is a spectacularly entertaining game on its own merits, the sheer playability of the PC version puts it over the top for me.

Just a quick note, I played the Game of the Year Edition, which in addition to the base game, includes a¬†Harley Quinn’s Revenge¬†expansion, a Nightwing bonus pack for the challenge modes (non-campaign), and other sundries. If one were considering purchasing the game, I would suggest this is the version you would want (especially if you can pick it up for $7.50 on Steam, as I did).

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Europa Report (2013)

Europa Report poster

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

I watched Europa Report¬†because Netflix thought that I wouldn’t like it; I found that suggestion both mysterious and slightly offensive. For the record, I did like the film, but in fairness to Netflix, I suppose that I didn’t love it.

Briefly,¬†Europa Report focuses upon Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons, and perhaps the most likely place within the solar system to find life outside of Earth. Specifically, the movie follows the journey of an international team of astronauts and scientists that embark upon an ill-fated mission of exploration to the eponymous moon. Is that a generic enough synopsis for you? On the one hand, that’s intentional, in order to avoid spoilers, but it’s also because the film is, to be sure, rather uncomplicated, though it is very sophisticated.

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12 Comments

  • fuwalda says:

    I did not watch this movie, but I did just watch Olympus Down… and it was awful.

    • Justin Garrett Blum says:

      I actually read some people on the IMDb saying Olympus Has Fallen was the better film, but I dunno…hard to believe. Not because White House Down was so great (though, obviously, I liked it), but just because I assumed Olympus Has Fallen must have been terrible.

  • fuwalda says:

    Olympus Fallen had a decent cast and a good action director behind the camera, but it was just so stupid and the budget made the film look like a sci-fi channel original film. The sets were awful and all the effects were so shitty and fake. All of the shots of the White House, for example, were really bad CG green screen shots. They couldn’t send a second unit crew to DC to take some footage of the actual building in which the film takes place?

    • Justin Garrett Blum says:

      It’s too bad Morgan Freeman didn’t play the president in that film (I kind of assumed he did until I just checked the IMDb), because this could have been like the Armageddon/Deep Impact thing all over again.

      White House down was pretty convincing with the locations. They didn’t have a lot of obvious CGI.

  • fuwalda says:

    The poster for Olympus Has Fallen has Gerard Butler on one side, Aaron Eckhart on the other side, and Morgan Freeman right in the middle, so I also assumed he was the president. When it turned out he was the speaker of the house (I think), then I assumed he would be revealed to be the villain behind the whole terrorist plot. SPOILER WARNING!!!! Morgan Freeman was just the speaker of the house (I think). He does nothing. Literally.

    • Justin Garrett Blum says:

      It is kind of funny how similar these movies sound, though. I almost feel like I have to watch Olympus Has Fallen now just to know how they compare.

  • fuwalda says:

    Has anybody ever made a movie where the president was a dick? You know… like in real life. Not a dick so much as, you know, not a hero when pressed with a terrorist attack turns into an action hero. Outside of that show 24, I can’t think of one.

    • Justin Garrett Blum says:

      Hmm…I can’t think of one off the top of my head. Surely, some movies where the president has been dickish. Like that movie Dave. Or…I dunno…Nixon.

  • fuwalda says:

    I watched this movie. I kinda liked it. It was fun.

    • Justin Garrett Blum says:

      Yeah, it does what it intends to do–that’s all I’m saying. How does it compare with Olympus Has Fallen?

  • fuwalda says:

    White House Down is a bad movie, but at least it’s an actual movie. Olympus House Down (or whatever the fuck it’s called) is just a piece of shit.

  • fuwalda says:

    Olympis Has Fallen took a lot less time to get going, I’ll give it that much. Opened with an action sequence then pretty much kept going. It was just… shitty. It was more serious than White House Down, but it just didn’t have the budget or the chops to back it up. At least WHD felt self-aware about how dumb it was.

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Article

White House Down (2013)

White-House-Down-HD-Wallpapers[1]

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

I’m going to make a statement at the outset that I am sure to contradict at some point in the future (perhaps within this very review!), but here we go: one can only honestly rate a film on a scale that comports with its intentions and the efficacy with which it is executed. Through a critical lens that accounts for the expectations commensurate with a genre film of this ilk,¬†White House Down is a very decent action smorgasbord and much better than many other recent offerings in its weight class.

In other words, if one were to attempt to review a film like¬†White House Down on, say, plausibility…well, you’re doing it wrong. If one were to become flabbergasted by the naive political agenda driving the narrative…well…you’re doing it wrong. Basically, if you’re unable to disassociate the more rational part of your mind from the part of your mind that can simply appreciate technique and style, then you shouldn’t be allowed to watch this brand of explosive, sweaty, guns-blazing, car-chasing action film. To be clear, I don’t mean to imply that¬†White House Down is a dumb film–in some ways (for example, the way it parcels out its surprises), it’s quite smart. But don’t expect it to be a compelling political treatise, because it’s not.

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Bless This Mess

Don’t ask me why, but I’ve decided to dig into WordPress theme development, at least for the purpose of my own blog, which I almost never use anymore. I’m sorry if you hate where I’m going with this. Obviously, I’ll get more of the standard functionality and more specific styles tweaked in eventually, but I think this will be the general aesthetic. I just wanted something simple, which doesn’t give short shrift to all of the comments that I don’t receive.

Oh, it will also be mobile responsive at some point. I mean, it kind of is now, but I wouldn’t really recommend looking at it on anything smaller than the landscape orientation on your iPhone. Some work to do there.

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