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All reviews - Movies (34) - TV Shows (7) - DVDs (4) - Books (4) - Music (8) - Games (27)

Near perfect sandbox of crime

Posted : 14 years, 4 months ago on 16 September 2008 09:16 (A review of Grand Theft Auto IV)

Being a big fan of the GTA franchise when I heard GTA4 was coming it was both inevitable and a joy to hear.
Now that I've finally finished it, I am not disappointed.

GTA4 revolves around Niko Bellic, a immigrant from Bosnia trying to start his life over in Liberty City. But later on in the game Niko explains that his coming to Liberty City wasn't just to start over but to find who he thinks betrayed his former army unit.
On the way Niko makes friends and finds work with lots of different interesting people; from a Russian loan shark, a Jamaican arms dealer, a loud mouth (slightly gay) steroid user, to a family of Irish mobsters.

Graphics are pretty stunning and have forgone the cartoony look for a more realistic look and it pull that off really well.

Sound is a big plus in almost every aspect. The voice work on all the characters sound perfectly matched, the sound FX's are spot on, and the radio is full of tunes and talk stations that anyone is sure to find one or two that like.

Gameplay is fairly the same as the other GTA's as far as missions go but the rest has taken a major overhaul since the last GTA.
Shooting is a lot better with the lock-on system being really good at picking the dangerous targets before random passer-by and also the manual aim with the PS3's new triggers felt really natural.
The cover system is also new for the series and while not original or the best out there it's a welcome addition as with previous GTA's you almost had to have armor on all the time when fighting and the cover system gives the player a better chance against multiple enemies.
One of the more radical changes is the driving as there is now a physic engine and so driving doesn't feel as arcady and now more realistic and takes time to get used to.

Overall the game is great and near perfect and should be picked up by any 360 or PS3 owner.

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Meaning lost on me

Posted : 14 years, 4 months ago on 16 September 2008 08:24 (A review of Elephant (1989))

This is going to be short as both the movie is a short one and nothing really can be said about it.

The movie is set it Northern Ireland during "The Troubles", which was a time of basically a civil war from the late 1960's til the late 90's, and really the whole movie is just depiction of eighteen murders and some were based on police reports from the time.
There is no music, sound FX are non-existent any most of it is just real sounds.

It's really a minimal film that's meaning is lost on me as I live in the United States and was born in '86 so everything was foreign to me.

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I know the Creed... now what?

Posted : 14 years, 6 months ago on 30 July 2008 09:21 (A review of Assassin's Creed)

The Crusade's, parkour, stealth, and assassinations all sound great and Assassin's Creed promised all of those things and that sounded great but after playing the game it fell a little short.

You play Desmond Miles, a man from 2012 AD, who is kidnapped and forced to entered a machine called the Animus that searches a persons DNA and extract memories from the users ancestors. Well one of Desmond's ancestors turns out to be a member of the Assassins Order during the Third Crusade named Altaïr.
Altaïr is tasked to help stop the Crusade by killing 9 leaders on both sides of the war. As he continues to kill the men, Altaïr finds out why he was sent to kill them and also why Desmond was kidnapped.

In order to assassinate the leaders, Altaïr must gather information by pickpocketing, beating a confession, eavesdropping, or helping a Order informer on the target that is in a sector and then get approval from the Order leader in the city with the information.
Also he can do a couple side missions by saving citizens that go can help getting into a place with scholars or having vigilantes that while hold on to guards as Altaïr gets away.
All of this is the real problem with the game as getting the information is all the same in every level of the game and gets really boring fast.

Visually the game looks great even on a standard def TV and I bet looks better on a HDTV.
Controls are tight most of the time and only feel loose when fighting but not so loose to be killed too many times.
But another fault is that story is weak as its pretty confusing and a bit convoluted.

Overall the game is a good game and worth borrowing to play but its seems like the game needed a little more work in some areas that could have make it a great game.

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Season 1 Review

Posted : 14 years, 6 months ago on 30 July 2008 08:17 (A review of Burn Notice)

What happens when you take MacGyver and make him a international spy?
You get Burn Notice.

Jeffrey Donovan plays Michael Westen who is a covert operative that is "burned", an unreliable or dangerous agent, and is on a mission to find out who and why he was "burned".
He is placed in Miami and the only people talking to him is a ex-girlfriend Fiona, played by Gabrielle Anwar, former Navy SEAL and agent Sam, played by the legend Bruce Campbell, and his mother. Most episodes consist of his friends having friends or people that they meet that need help from loan sharks, mobsters, drug dealers, etc..

The writing on the show is really great adding nice bits of humor to the drama of the situation. Like I mentioned it's has bits of MacGyverisms showing some how to "make" items like maltov cocktails, remote surveillance device, bulletproofing something, and other things that never go into detail but are possible.
The acting is also great as Mr. Donovan plays Westen very well giving him a smooth, calm, and charming image.
Mr. Campbell gives Sam that old and a bit cranky but very cool and funny as always.
And while I don't like Ms. Anwar looks in comparison to everyone else she does play a good ex-IRA/gun happy girl.

I don't know why I didn't write this review back at the end of the season but since the new season just started and it reminded me of how great the show is and how it needed to be reviewed.

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More real then GSH but not better

Posted : 14 years, 7 months ago on 10 July 2008 12:16 (A review of The Firm)

When I first watched Green Street Hooligans, I thought is was a great film but I forgot the reason why I looked it up but I read that The Firm was much better. But I would have to disagree.

The movie is Inter City Crew, a British football hooligan firm, which is lead by Clive "Bex" Bissel, played by Gary Oldman, who is trying to unite the three main firms in England to create and lead a national firm for the European Championships. But the other two firms don't want to join together and if they didn't they didn't feel Bex was the man to lead them. But Bex did convince then to join but only if his firm beat their firms. So the rest of the movie is him and his firm preparing for battle.

Acting and writing is par for a TV movie and is nothing special even if Gary Oldman is staring in it.
Writing and sound isn't great but again it's a TV movie so not to surprising.

While I enjoyed the grittier more realistic feel I personally like the more stylized version of GSH.

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Good but not America's Godzilla

Posted : 14 years, 7 months ago on 10 July 2008 11:41 (A review of Cloverfield)

I was really young when I first watched Godzilla and fell in love with the monster and when I heard this was suppose to be the American version of a Godzilla monster so I got excited. Then I heard it was going to be filmed with just hand held camera ala Blair Witch and that excitement faded. But after seeing the movie the camera wasn't the issue, it was the monster.

The movie really starts with a farewell party in a New York apartment when a blackout hit and building shakes the partygoers head outside and notice a giant explosion on the other side of the city. As debris falls near them, including the head of the Statue of Liberty, the camera man captures a glimpse of a giant monster. The rest of the movie follows the 6 people trying to both find out what's going on and to escape the city.

Acting wise the movie is solid as the actors conveyed the sense of urgency and fear really well.
Sound in a music sense is nonexistent but that was okay as the sound FX's were great and the lack of music just makes the filming feel more genuine.
What really killed most of the movie was that it was filmed from the ground and the monster wasn't shown much. Now in Godzilla movies, Godzilla was the main protagonist and was featured most of the time while the Cloverfield monster seemed like a afterthought and so the film makers failed at what they said they wanted to do.

While the overall movie is good and would recommend to someone that likes monster movies to see and judge for themselves, I wouldn't recommend it for someone trying to find America's Godzilla as the film makers said it was.

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And what a accidental revolutionary he is

Posted : 14 years, 7 months ago on 10 July 2008 08:50 (A review of Just for Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary)

If your a technology geek like me you know what Linux is and you know that Linus Torvalds was the programmer behind it. Well Just for Fun tells Linus' whole life story.

The book is split into two parts, the book even says that, with the first part being from his childhood to college and writing Linux and how it changed the computer world and the second part is Linus' thoughts on the computer industry, life, and other philosophy subjects.
As I said before I'm a tech geek and really like hearing about tech and found the first part of the book really enjoyable but the second I didn't fully enjoy but that was because of my personal beliefs but was a good insight to Linus' way of thinking.

And the writing is good for a ghost writer as instead of making the book sound like Linus was writing it and was written more like a interview.

For geeks like me this is a must read into learning how the whole open source movement really started but if your not this books first might be way over your head.

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When's the nipper?

Posted : 14 years, 7 months ago on 22 June 2008 07:48 (A review of The Weather Man)

I've had a little bit of a affinity for archery and so when TV spots showed the movie with Cage's character shooting with a bow and arrow I was really interested.

Nicolas Cage plays David Spritz, a Chicago weatherman, who has so many things going on that most of his life seem like a daze.
For one he doesn't like his job as a local weather man as all he does is point and speak, and every once a while gets food thrown at him by "fans".
Next he's separated from his wife and is heading towards divorce.
He's got one daughter who is overweight, smokes, and called "camel toe" at school because of her tight clothing. And has a son with a past of drug problems that befriends his creepy rehab counselor.
And to top it off his father, played by Michael Caine, is diagnosed with lymphoma and only has a few months to live.
And the whole movie is how David tries to handle each of those situations, sometimes failing miserable.

While the scenes with Cage and Caine are good and thought provoking the rest of the movie is really bland and sometimes boring as all the actors felt like they were just reading the script and not putting anything else in.
Writing wasn't too bad just not great and music was the same.

With average characters in average real life scenario's really this movie a average movie.

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A look through computer game history

Posted : 14 years, 8 months ago on 8 June 2008 07:49 (A review of Dungeons and Dreamers: The Rise of Computer Game Culture from Geek to Chic)

While I've grown up around computers since before I could remember I never really got into games until around 1999 and reading Dungeons and Dreamers makes me wish I had gotten into them sooner.

The book basically starts with a small story of how the original game that most geeks play, Dungeons and Dragons, and gives the backdrop to Richard Garriott life and how he helped create the first successful RPG, the Ultima series.

Later on in the book, as Garriott was continuing to develop Ultima sequels, starts to shine the light on the guys at Softdisk, which some of them would continue on to start id Software and create DOOM and Quake and shake up the computer gaming culture.

The rest of the book continues with both companies and the community that started around their games and what has happened up until 2001.

The whole book was a good read, giving a glimpe of gaming history and see what I missed years before and seeing how some things started and how they're perceived today. But for me the book wasn't as totally engaging as I hoped for when I first picked up the book but might be because the book is now dated.

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How do you arm the other 11?

Posted : 14 years, 8 months ago on 21 May 2008 09:40 (A review of Lord of War)

Now part two of my Nicolas Cage trilogy movie reviews.

When I originally saw the trailers for Lord of War I was intrigued as they said the film was based off true events. And that intrigue was not lost after seeing the film.

The film stars Nicolas Cage who play Yuri Orlov, a Ukrainian immigrant who's family left for America under the guise of be Jewish to escape the Soviet Union.
The family owns a restaurant which fills the needs of others, as Yuri puts it.
But then he finds another need that he could help fill after seeing a Russian mob boss kill two would be assassins. And that need is guns.
Rest of the movie trails Yuri's exploits in the realm of arms dealing, from his start trying to get in the business, making one of his biggest deals after the fall of the Soviet Union by raiding a Ukrainian military base, dealing with brothers weaknesses, his marriage and keeping his business a secret from his family, and his problems with the law including Interpol agent Jack Valentine, who's played by Ethan Hawke.

The acting by Cage and Hawke are really good which is great as I thought their characters were the most important in the movie. But the rest of the acting okay as a whole and doesn't bring the movie down much.

The music in the film is the normal orchestral with a dash of some classic rock during some parts that give the film a nice feel.

I enjoyed the movie and would recommend if someone was interested in watching a movie that doesn't have a blaring moral agenda and shows a side of the world that is never really shown.

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