The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)


Every Good Story Deserves to Be Embellished.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)I had a perplexing amount of trepidation when it came to choosing to see today’s movie.  I don’t really know what it was though.  I had very much enjoyed the other three movies directed by the director of this movie and based on the books by the same author, but seeing that today’s movie was released did nothing to inspire me to see it.  So how did I end up watching it?  Complete dumb coincidence.  I went to the theaters with an intention to make it a double feature and, when I left the first movie and checked the show times for the next movie, it happened to be exactly the time this movie was starting.  That either had to be a sign from the heavens or just some random coincidence.  Well nothing else really struck me as worth waiting around for, so I got my ticket and sat down to watch The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, based on a novel by J. R. R. Tolkien, written for the screen by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson, and Guillermo del Toro, directed by Peter Jackson, and starring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Graham McTavish, Ken Stott, Aiden Turner, Dean O’Gorman, Mark Hadlow, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Peter Hambleton, William Kircher, James Nesbitt, Stephen Hunter, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Christopher Lee, Sylvester McCoy, Andy Serkis,  Ian Holm, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Elijah Wood.

The kingdom of Erebor is overrun by the dragon, Smaug, drawn to their kingdom by the gold they’ve amassed, and destroying the town of Dale on the way.  The king’s grandson, Thorin (Richard Armitage), is one of the survivors of the attack.  Later, the wizard Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellen) brings a party of 13 Dwarves, including Thorin, to the house of an unsuspecting Hobbit named Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) in hopes of getting Bilbo to join their mission to reclaim Erebor.  He refuses at first, but Gandalf appeals to his adventurous side and the group embark on their quest.  Along the way, they encounter Trolls, Orcs, Elves, and tales of a necromancer (Benedict Cumberbatch) in the fortress Dol Guldur.

This movie made me very angry, but I suppose the bulk of it is my own fault.  I probably should’ve found out something about this movie before going in, but I went into it with no more information than I had before I even knew the movie was a possibility.  I had seen the cartoon a long time ago, and I guess I assumed that Peter Jackson was able to fit the entire story into one three hour movie.  The book was only 310 pages, and I figured one minute per page was not necessarily out of the question.  Peter Jackson, on the other hand, apparently felt that it needed to be made into its own trilogy somehow.  The other thing I knew about the original movie was that a big part of the movie was the dragon, Smaug, so I also figured this dragon would be in this movie at all!  When this long ass trudge of a movie was about 20 minutes away from finishing, I was wondering how they were going to complete the Smaug storyline so quickly, not knowing that it was not their intention to finish that story in this movie, or even to involve that story.  It wouldn’t have felt as bad if I felt they filled their movie appropriately, but a lot of it felt like wasted time.   The numerous side missions that they embarked on as they headed to the mountain made me realize why these Lord of the Rings movies are 12 hours a piece.  Also contributing to that is Jackson’s apparent love for scenes of people walking.  That joke from Clerks 2 now has some more ammunition after this movie.

All that being said, there were a pretty good amount of things that were done right in this movie.  It surprises no one to find that this movie is a visual delight.  We’ve seen that out of Jackson at least three times already.  I would say that it occasionally felt recycled as some of the scenes of the Dwarves running over mountaintops looked exactly like similar scenes of the Fellowship of the Ring running over mountaintops in the first three movies.  It’s generally completely epic in scale, but even the smaller details are impressive.  I thought the pale Orc’s prosthetic arm was too scrawny and not intimidating the first time I saw it, but then I realized that it was kind of badass when I realized that it was actually shoved all the way through the stump of his forearm.  And I liked one of the really epic scenes (that also technically had no real story impact at all) where they were going through the mountains and the mountains kind of got up and started punching each other (not a joke).  I liked this because it kind of felt like I was watching a God of War level.  The action (when it happened) was usually very well done.  I especially liked the Dwarves’ escape from Orc Mountain.  The humor of this movie was mostly lost on me, being mostly slapstick or as simple as, “This one Dwarf is fat!  Isn’t that hilarious?!”  They did have a couple of moments that worked really well, though, such as Gandalf’s story about the creation of golf.  I couldn’t blame them too much because this movie felt like it was almost trying to be a children’s movie, but it also felt like it was a little too slow and dark in parts for the younger audience.

The cast does a mostly fine job in this movie.  I really like Martin Freeman, and he was able to bring a good deal of comedy with small mannerisms in his performance.  He also got a few moments of true badassdom near the end of the movie, which I didn’t necessarily expect out of Bilbo.  Ian McKellen is Ian McKellen.  No point even bothering to say that dude is awesome.  I did think he was generally used as a sort of deus ex machina during the movie, disappearing for long stretches of time and popping in at the last minute to save the team when Tolkien may have written himself into a corner.  “We’ll just keep amping this scene up more and more until eventually everyone is at the mercy of a group of Trolls and there’s no hope for salvation.”  “Then what?”  “Uh…Gandalf…?”  “…It’ll do…”  I didn’t take issue with Sylvester McCoy’s performance of Radagast the Brown, but I did generally feel as if all of the time I spent with that character was a waste of my time.  If all parts involving him were dropped out of the movie, no one would notice.  And the movie would be about a half hour shorter.  And he did the shittiest job of leading the Orcs away from the Dwarves.  He brought them on nearly intersecting paths with the fleeing Dwarves like 20 times.  How about this?  If you want to lead a group away from another group, go in the opposite direction.  Try that out next time.  I also appreciated that they had reappearances from every character they could logically fit into the movie.  Elijah Wood is in this for a little bit, Hugo Weaving comes back, Cate Blanchett returns as that overly creepy Elf chick, Christopher Lee pops in for a bit, and Gimli is technically in this movie as well, but only because his father Glóin is one of the Dwarves and I assume Gimli was in his balls somewhere.

I found myself a little bit embittered by some of the things in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, but overall I’d say it was a pretty good movie.  It’s way too long and it felt like they wasted too much time, even though they apparently felt that the story could not be contained to one (or even two) movies, but the epic scale and great action (when it happens) make it passable.  So long as you’re more patient than I am and go in knowing that the stuff you might know about the Hobbit don’t actually happen in this movie, you should be fine seeing it in theaters.  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey gets “True courage is not about knowing when to take a life … but when to spare one” out of “A dark power has found a way back into the world.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook and Twitter.  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

Die Hard (1988)


Now I Have a Machine Gun.  Ho Ho Ho.

Die Hard (2012)I found myself at a loss on Christmas last year.  I felt like I should review a Christmas movie, but I wasn’t really able to think of any Christmas movie that I liked in any real way.  So, in lieu of a Christmas movie, last year I reviewed the Harry Potter series.  Small parts of those movies take place on Christmas.  This year I really thought about it.  What is my favorite Christmas movie?  I considered the Grinch, I considered Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, and I of course considered Jingle All the Way, but none of those really stood out.  And then I thought of it.  A movie that takes place on Christmas and always fills my heart with cheer.  There could be no greater Christmas movie than Die Hard, based on a novel by Roderick Thorp, written by Steven E. de Souza and Jeb Stuart, directed by John McTiernan, and starring Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson, Paul Gleason, William Atherton, Hart Bochner, Alexander Godunov, De’voreaux White, Robert Davi, Grand L. Bush, and James Shigeta.

On Christmas Eve, NYPD detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) arrives in Los Angeles with hopes of reconciliation with his wife, Holly Gennaro (Bonnie Bedelia).  McClane is greeted by a limo driven by Argyle (De’voreaux White) and is taken to Nakatomi Plaza, where Holly is attending an office Christmas party.  While McClane changes in Holly’s office, the festivities are interrupted by the arrival of Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) and his heavily armed group of goons, with intentions to steal $640 million dollars in bearer bonds from the vault.  Turns out that there’s only one person in the world oozing with enough badassitude to stop these guys, and he’s shoeless in the building’s duct system.  Yippee Kay-Yay, mother fucker.

This movie has well earned its classic status.  This is a fantastic Christmas movie.  And a fantastic action movie as well.  I guess most people would probably be more comfortable calling it an action movie, but it takes place in Christmas times, there’s some Christmas music in it, and McClane writes “Ho Ho Ho” on a corpse in the movie.  I think I rest my case.  And I don’t think it’s even worth bothering to argue this movie as an action movie.  I think I actually appreciate this type of action movie more than most others in some ways just because of the main character.  As much as I like a good, over-the-top, superhero action movie, there’s something special to a movie about a regular, everyman kind of character overcoming insurmountable odds with nothing more than some ingenuity and some massive balls.  John McClane is just what a man should strive to be.  He’ll fight terrorists and walk over glass barefoot just to do what’s right, even if it isn’t technically his problem because he’s way out of his jurisdiction.  And he keeps that mentality even if the LAPD that should be helping him is so ridiculously stupid that one should be more surprised that they got their shoes on the right feet when leaving the house in the morning than the fact that they weren’t willing to help McClane.  The FBI came off like frat boys that just wanted to shoot something and the Deputy Chief of Police was so dumb that I half expected him to be occupying himself in the background with a paddleball like Mel Brooks in Blazing Saddles.  The look of the movie worked much better than one might expect from an 80’s movie, even if the look of people getting shot can most closely be compared to someone throwing Jell-O squares at people’s chests.  The action is also always enjoyable, and rarely too far away.  Once the movie gets started with the action, it doesn’t get sidetracked any more than it has to.

What is there to say about the performances?  Bruce Fucking Willis.  The end.  Bruce Willis is so amazing in this movie that I find it difficult to put it into words.  He plays the everyman very well; almost as well as he plays the badass.  He seems just as comfortable with a wry comment as he does with an SMG.  Alan Rickman could also be well-served with having his middle name replaced with “fucking.”  He’s exactly the badass villain to counter the badass hero that is John McClane.  He’s charming and intimidating, sometimes simultaneously.  Bonnie Bedelia wasn’t the biggest part of the movie, but I found that what she did had some resonance.  She seemed like exactly the kind of tough chick that would attract a John McClane, while also being the kind that wouldn’t put up with his shit, and also exactly the kind that would eventually get divorced from a John McClane.  Reginald VelJohnson is also very likeable in this movie as the one member of the LAPD with a heart and a brain.  They also had two fantastic douche nozzle performances in this movie from Hart Bochner as Harry Ellis, the douche druggie who’s scheming on McClane’s lady, and William Atherton as the piece of shit reporter who doesn’t understand where to draw lines when involving people’s families into stories.  I had prior history with Atherton as I already hated him so much from his time in Ghostbusters, but I think Bochner might actually take the douche crown from him in this movie.  I was very surprised when anyone in that office was at all a.) surprised that his scheme would eventually get him killed and b.) saddened when he died.  My reaction would probably be more along the lines of, “Yeah, well that’ll happen, I suppose.”

I’m well aware of the fact that there is no point in reviewing a movie like Die Hard.  Everyone has had more than ample time to find out that this movie is awesome.  I really only chose to review it as a Christmas present to myself.  The story isn’t the most spectacular thing ever, but it’s probably upper echelon when compared to typical action movies, and there’s not a lot more satisfying than being able to relate to the hero of your movie because he’s just a regular guy, but then choosing not to pay attention to the fact that you would be nowhere near as awesome if you were in the same situations.  Great movie.  Watch it.  Own it.  Merry Christmas.  Die Hard gets “You throw quite a party” out of “It’s gonna need a paint job and a shit load of screen doors.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook and Twitter.  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

Katy Perry: Part of Me (2012)


Can Katy Survive a 2-Hour Show?  And Can Robert Survive a 1.5-Hour Katy Perry Movie?

Katy Perry: Part of Me (2012)I’ve still been trying to fill any gaps left in the year 2012 as the end of the year approaches, but I think I might have been perfectly fine leaving this particular gap unfilled.  That was not an option for me as my friend Janet not only requested today’s movie, but provided me with a copy of it.  It is against company bylaws to refuse a request, regardless of how disinterested you are in both the movie and the subject matter of the movie.  After bracing myself for the worst, I sat down to watch … sigh … Katy Perry: Part of Me, directed by Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz, starring Katy Perry and Russell Brand, and with cameos by some people I don’t know (or don’t want to know) named Kesha (I refuse to spell that with a dollar sign), Adele, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Jessie J, Ellen DeGeneres, and Rebecca Black.

Katy Perry (Katy Perry) makes what some people call music, and this movie is about that.  She’s embarking on a concert and that apparently requires that a movie be made about it, since it is probably the very first concert in history.  During this concert, we learn how Katy Perry mutated from a gospel singer named Katheryn Hudson into an international pop sensation.  At some point, she also forgets how ridiculously hot she is and she actually gets bummed out that British comedian Russell Brand divorces her.

I’d like to start off this review by making a distinction.  There is a clear difference between saying, “This is not a good movie,” and saying, “I did not like this movie.”  I would say there was nothing really wrong with this movie, but I was definitely not the target audience, especially since going into this movie I could only say that I knew about two Katy Perry songs.  I personally could give two shits about Katy Perry, her music, or her life.  And that is the summation of the entire movie, leaving the movie to be kind of a trudge for the disinterested audience.  In its defense, I assume the movie’s actual audience would love this.  They get to get closer to someone they probably like more than is healthy and listen to her music that they like for whatever reason.  People like me will hear them say things like, “She just wants to be the first Katy Perry,” and feel the irony because her music seems like the 10th or so Britney Spears, or the 20th Tiffany, maybe setting herself apart by being the one in that group that has the sense to send great moral messages to her fans by strapping whipped cream sprayers to her tits in her music videos.  She also sings songs about fireworks, but she forgets that those things burn bright but they fizzle out in a few seconds.  She is taking way too long to fizzle out for my tastes.  I would say that one thing I did enjoy seeing in the movie was that Perry’s religious crackpot parents still loved their daughter, even though she spends a lot of her time half-dressed and shaking her cans for an audience.  And one thing that made me laugh was that Katy Perry used the term “Cray Cray” at one point, and the subtitle felt the need to translate that to “(Crazy)”, just in case the audience had a few people that weren’t stupid being dragged to it.

There’s probably not a whole lot to be said about the music and visual style of this movie.  If you have any intention of seeing this movie, I assume you already know what Katy Perry concerts look like and sound like.  For everyone else, the visual style is what happens if you raid a candy store and throw it up all over a stage.  I don’t know why I have to sit through seizure warnings on most of the video games I play, but this movie didn’t have one in the beginning.  There were so many colors smashed into every frame of this movie that I almost had a seizure.  I also resented that at no point during this movie did Katy Perry shoot whipped cream out of her boobs.  That’s the one thing I remember about her!  As for the music of the movie, it’s the typical pop stuff that I do all I can to avoid.  We hear all the songs that I assume she’s famous for, starting with the song that made her popular, “I Kissed a Girl”, which I always thought was called “I’ll Go Gay if You Pay Attention to Me.”  I did think it was a little strange – but also hilarious – that the movie juxtaposed scenes of Perry’s fans crying because of the profound experience of seeing Katy Perry in concert with Katy Perry singing a song called “Peacock” which, as best I can tell, is a song about Katy Perry demanding to see someone’s dick.  And it’s not even subtle about it!  It seemed like the lyrics were originally, “Let me see your cock,” and someone said they wouldn’t play that on MTV so she added “pea” so that no one would have any idea what she was singing about.  But I’m onto you, Perry!  I would also have to mention that my own bias against pop music made me resent things like opening the movie with someone playing a Katy Perry song on the violin and Katy Perry herself holding a guitar on numerous occasions.  “Instruments are reserved for talented people,” I would think to myself.  But, during the course of the movie, I learned that Katy Perry actually made music before she became famous, so I had to learn my lesson that the rare few musicians that are popular today can actually play an instrument.  I guess Katy Perry is one of them.

There’s even less to say about the performances in this movie than the look and music of the movie.  It’s mostly just people being themselves, or at least being the version of themselves that they want to be portrayed as.  I would say that Katy Perry herself comes off as very likeable in the movie.  Not only is she hot, but she’s also cute and goofy and very endearing.  I actually did feel twangs of sadness for her when she was crying before going up on stage because of her divorce with Russell Brand, even though I resent the fact that she’s acting like that’s even a speed bump in her life.  Does she realize how hot she is and how out of his league she is?  She’ll be fine.  The rest of the cast is filled by a bunch of other women I don’t give a shit about, like Jessie J, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and Justin Bieber.  I don’t care about those ladies either.

I feel that my comments still indicate that I hated Katy Perry: Part of Me.  That’s not really the case.  The simple fact of the matter is that I am not the audience for this movie.  I have no interest in Katy Perry, her life, or her music, and her visual style feels like it could either give someone seizures or make them diabetic.  But the movie wasn’t painfully bad to make it through and Katy Perry came off as very likeable, and even managed to elicit an emotional response from me at one point in the movie.  The only way to make a recommendation for this movie is completely unnecessary as the people that would see it already have, and I don’t recommend it for anyone else.  Katy Perry: Part of Me gets “The bad that comes along with the good is a journey” out of “I got an ass like Nicki Minaj in this one!”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook and Twitter.  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

The Possession (2012)


Whoever Made This Didn’t Want Anybody to Open It.

The Possession (2012)Today I was still in the mood to try to fill as many gaps in my 2012 movie viewings, and I also apparently felt like sticking in the genre of “Horror Movies with Bland Titles.”  I vaguely remember seeing trailers for today’s movie and deciding it wasn’t worth it.  But, given the ability to watch another 2012 movie for free, I jumped at it.  Plus, I’m a sucker for haunting movies.  Thus were the driving forces behind my decision to watch The Possession, written by Leslie Gornstein, directed by Ole Bornedal, and starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Natasha Calis, Kyra Sedgwick, Madison Davenport, Matisyahu, Grant Show, Jay Brazeau, and the voice of Ella Wade.

First, a box kills an old lady. Do I have your attention?!  Actually, the lady was only injured, but not for lack of trying on the part of the box.  Later, Clyde (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) goes to a yard sale with his children, Em (Natasha Calis) and Hannah (Madison Davenport).  Em sees the geezercidal box and just gots to have her some of that shit.  Em starts to act really weird, shunning her friends for her new friend, a box.  She also starts wearing a ring that she found inside the box and claiming that her friend lives in there.  Well her friend starts getting less friendly and starts making Em act out.  Clyde investigates and finds out that the box is meant to contain a dybbuk, a malevolent possessing spirit.  Since this mythology is Jewish in origin, Clyde gets Matisyahu to help his daughter.  I guess Mel Brooks was unavailable…

I feel like I’m getting really snarky with my summation paragraphs lately.  Oh well…  This movie was completely mediocre.  It was able to create fair enough examples of chills, but nothing got anywhere near scary.  And half of it was about clichéd, boring family problems.  I felt like I was watching Hook for the first part of the movie as Clyde was ignoring his kids in favor of his job.  But here’s something they never bring up in these movies: what’s so fuckin’ wrong with that?  Why do movies like these always vilify the dad for having a job and not wanting his snotty kid whining in the background as he tries to talk on the phone?  Plus, we all probably know that the movie could only go two ways with this situation.  You can do what other movies have done by making a miserable and hopeless ending where everything goes wrong at the end, or you can do what this movie does and show that the moral of your story is that all relationship problems are solved by living through some horrible shit.  You guys hate each other and are always on edge, but get one of your kids possessed and survive and everything is all better.  I’ll definitely remember that if I ever get into relationship troubles.  Another cliché thing that I hate in these movies is that the father always has to yell, “Take me!” at the demon.  How does that make sense?!  I would much rather fight a demon thing in the body of a young girl than in the body of a giant guy that played the Comedian!  I would punch a little girl in the face.  No bullshit.  There was, however, one part in this movie that I could not let stand.  At one point, Em shows another kid in her class how strong her pimp hand is.  And it is mighty.  She slaps the shit out of this little boy, and while discussing it with her parents, Em’s teacher has the audacity to say, “This wasn’t just a fight; it was violent!”  You’re a teacher!  C’mon!!  By the way, this shit isn’t just a review; it’s critical.

The visuals of the movie were fine and served their purpose, but none of it was anything I hadn’t seen before.  Creepy little girls, bugs flying into/out of mouths, a hand crawling out of a mouth, I’ve seen it all.  They did it well enough, though.

This was another occasion where the performances in the movie were mostly very good, but the characters themselves tended towards getting on my nerves.  Jeffrey Dean Morgan was good all the way through.  He breaks down over the severity of his situation very well.  The same could be said of Kyra Sedgwick, though I often found her character annoying because she was often very quick to decide that Clyde was a piece of shit, even though she married him once already and was back towards re-marrying near the end.  That little girl Natasha Calis got on my nerves though.  More her character than her, I suppose.  First, what the fuck do you mean by, “Those carvings are pretty?” on that ugly, black, nondescript box!  I can get you some cardboard that looks just as good and does not contain demons.  Also, you were not good at making people not suspicious of the evil box.  Being really protective of it and weird about it is going to make people suspicious of it.  Chill out around it and its sweet box-y bounty shall be yours!  I guess the best thing I could say about her is that she annoyed me slightly less than her sister, Madison Davenport.  I think that’s mainly because I kept thinking she was that pop singer Jojo.

The Possession is okay, but it also adds nothing new or exciting to the horror genre.  The only thing that really separates this movie from every other possession movie I’ve seen is that this one is about Jew demons, and that’s certainly not enough to make a movie interesting when I’ve seen most of it before.  The performances in the movie were all well done, but the movie is entirely skippable.  The Possession gets “I hate hospitals … people die here” out of “Daddy, you scared me.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook and Twitter.  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

The Apparition (2012)


Your House Killed my Dog!

The Apparition (2012)I am a very strange person. When a coworker of mine by the name of Ashley told me about this movie, she had nothing positive to say about it. And, even though she didn’t actually request the movie, her words did nothing but inspire me to watch it. I had gotten to thinking that, with the end of the year coming, I would be doing another list of the movies that came out this year, naming 3 best and 3 worst. But the problem was that I hadn’t really seen that much crap this year. I certainly wouldn’t see crap in theaters, and I generally would just forget about it when it came to DVD. This was a good opportunity to add to the bottom 3. Still, I went into the movie with an open mind. So let’s see how The Apparition did, written and directed by Todd Lincoln, and starring Ashley Greene, Sebastian Stan, Tom Felton, Julianna Guill, Luke Pasqualino, and Suzanne Ford.

Four college students – Patrick (Tom Felton), Lydia (Julianna Guill), Greg (Luke Pasqualino), and Ben (Sebastian Stan) – attempt to recreate a parapsychological experiment known as the Charles Experiment, where six people stared at a picture of a dead dude until a table moved. With the use of some bullshit technology that amplifies their concentration 400 times over, something attacks the four students, pulling Lydia into a wall. Nowadays, Kelly (Ashley Greene) moves in with Ben to an empty neighborhood to watch her mom’s house. Gradually, strange events start to infect their new house.

Ashley did not do this movie justice. It was balls ass terrible. It mostly made no sense, showed zero originality, and was boring as all get out. I feel like good ghost movies need a motivation for the ghost. Or at least some kind of story to the ghost. This ghost has next to no reason to attack these people and is just some random dead thing that decides to start fucking with people. Sure, Ben participated in some experiment years before where random ghostie killed somebody, but why does it decide to come back now and start fucking with Kelly who had nothing to do with the original incident beyond dating the guy that was filming it? I think it may have been trying to kill Ben out of jealousy because he had filmed something because I think the ghost was an aspiring filmmaker who died before his time. Why else would a ghost drag a security camera along the floor to look at Kelly while she slept? And what the fuck is the deal with the mold stuff that indicated the ghost was doing something? Is this movie positing that ghosts have some relation to spores, mold, and fungi? Either way, somebody should’ve called Egon Spengler. And how the fuck is your big idea to defeat the ghost to get together and play the video or your séance backwards? The only thing you can do by playing stuff backwards is find inarguable proof that Paul McCartney was dead!

One of the few things I enjoyed about this movie was the look. It was always a pleasure to look at, but not for much more than the quality of the camera and that it was lit well. And that little unexplained creepy dead girl looked pretty cool. Granted, it was stolen from The Ring, but it still looked good. Though it was never explained and didn’t make sense to me, the moldy stuff always looked good. Granted, it was stolen from Dark Water… And those hands coming out from behind Kelly and covering her mouth at the end were cool looking. Granted, that was stolen from The Grudge… The thing with the sheets also looked interesting. Granted, the look of that was stolen from Nightmare on Elm Street… I’m beginning to see a pattern… Also, are sheets in hotels known for being made of rubber, and for being completely airtight? Otherwise Kelly should have been able to breathe through her sheets and was overreacting to having the ghost tuck her in snuggly. I got annoyed by how they handled their one failed scare attempt in the beginning of the movie because the moment that should have been the scariest in it was a split second, barely visible shot of a girl getting pulled into the air. I could tell she was pulled into the air by something, but not even whether or not she survived. It wasn’t until way later that we find that out. Their musical choices got on my nerves a lot in the movie too, mainly because they kept trying to sway the mood into spooky with musical scores when the movie itself wasn’t supporting that. Take, for instance, when Ben is trying to clean some strange burn thing off of the counter in the house. That doesn’t deserve spooky music! Sure, we find out later that the burn stuff is related to the ghosts (though we never find out how), but at the time you’re trying to convince us that a really stubborn stain on a countertop is frightening. They do the same thing later with random shots of the house and furniture. You can only do that if something scary has just happened or is going to happen! Granted, all of your attempts at scares failed, but you weren’t even trying then! They also had a part where a dog apparently died because it saw something in a corner. You do realize that it just looked to us like a dog was staring at a wall until it got as bored as the audience and decided to take a nap, right? You must have because you felt the need to just tell us later that the dog died because you weren’t able to show it to us.

The performances themselves in this movie were fine enough, but the characters all pissed me off. Ashley Greene was the other thing I liked about this movie. She didn’t blow my mind with her performance, but she sure is pretty to look at, and she walked around in her undies a pretty good amount. Her shower scene pissed me off because it was a total cock tease. Nothing happened to her while she was in the shower. If you weren’t going to have something happen to her, or at least have the decency to show her naked, then there was no reason for it in the first place. Also, this chick would piss me off. Early in the movie, she proclaims that she would like to “buy a saguaro.” Then she gets all condescending when Ben doesn’t know what it is. I know that a saguaro is a type of cactus, but I still would’ve slapped her in the face for not just saying “cactus.” She further pissed me off when she had to get all angry at Ben for no reason that I could discern. Are you mad because he participated in a parapsychological experiment in college? He wasn’t mad when you participated in a homosexual experiment in college! (Every girl does it, as far as my imagination is concerned) Are you mad because he used to date the dead girl in the picture? Because I got a good look at you and I doubt he was your first boyfriend. Were you mad because he didn’t tell you that he might know what was causing the stuff around the house? Because the ghost is fueled by people paying attention to it, so telling you would be counter-productive. And why the fuck would you kick him out because of it? So that you could be nice and alone with the ghost that’s trying to kill you? And why the fuck would you try to nail the door closed on a ghost?!?! Why is it that every horror movie is the first time the characters in the movie have heard anything about their predicament monster? It’s a ghost, honey! Have you never seen a movie? They walk through walls, whether you nailed the door closed or not. You know what kind of people are hindered by nailed doors? Living ones! Oh, you found that out already… Worst of all, it does not make sense that Ashley Greene could beat a dude at Street Fighter. Her fine ass doesn’t play video games! Or at least you better let me keep believing that lest I need to kidnap her and keep her in my basement. As for the rest of the cast: Sebastian Stan looks like a young Mark Hamill and Tom Felton is Draco Malfoy. That is all.

The Apparition fulfilled my expectations completely. Those expectations were admittedly low, but that’s a quote they can put on their DVD cover. They might not want to use the rest of this though. It was dumb, it was completely devoid of scares and originality, and the performances were nothing to write home about. But the movie was watchable, and probably worth watching just to make fun of it. Of course, I can’t imagine anyone thinking of jokes that I didn’t already use, so instead you can read this and skip the movie. The Apparition gets “It’s like a virus. It knows you’re afraid” out of “Ghosts only exist because you believe in them.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people. Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense. Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated. You can also add me on FaceBook and Twitter. Don’t forget to leave me some comments. Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

The Expendables 2 (2012)


I’m Not Gonna Hurt You.  I’m Gonna Take Your Life.

The Expendables 2 (2012)The reason for watching today’s movie was clear.  Why did I watch it?  Because fuckin’ man-tits-balls-ass-‘splosions Mountain Dew!  That’s why!!  Also, I reviewed the first one and the second one just came out in RedBox.  These two movies were very popular with men far more manly than I am, and the first one didn’t do much for me, but it wasn’t bad and had good action.  When they came out with a sequel, I wasn’t really inspired enough to see it in theaters even though Rotten Tomatoes told me it was better than the first.  I knew its time would come eventually.  And that time is now, so let’s get into my review of The Expendables 2, written (allegedly) by Richard Wenk and Sylvester Stallone, directed by Simon West, and starring Sylvester Stallone, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Jason Statham, Bruce Willis, Dolph Lundgren, Liam Hemsworth, Yu Nan, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Chuck Norris, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Scott Adkins, Jet Li, and Charisma Carpenter.

Though it has nothing to do with the story proper, The Expendables – leader Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), knife-thrower (and brother of Lloyd Christmas from Dumb and Dumber) Lee Christmas (Jason Statham), martial artist Yin Yang (Jet Li), heavy-weapons specialist Hale Caesar (Terry Crews), demolitionist Toll Road (Randy Couture), crazy dude Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), and the new guy sniper Billy the Kid (Liam Hemsworth) – go to Nepal to rescue some doctor and the captured mercenary Trench (Arnold Schwarzenegger).  Yang inexplicably leaves the group and doesn’t return.  CIA operative Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) replaces one Asian for another – a technical expert named Maggie Chan (Yu Nan) – and sends him on a mission to retrieve something out of a safe.  While they go, Billy goes through a checklist of all the things he can say that means he’s going to get killed soon.  The team then encounter Jean Vilain (Jean-Claude Van Damme), who shockingly kills Billy.  After they recover, the Expendables set out for revenge.

I find that I am not nearly manly enough to forgive the problems of a movie like this.  The action is good, but the story is really predictable and the dialogue is painfully bad in parts.  The most predictable thing in this movie by far is the death of Liam “Handsome McSnipey” Hemsworth.  Generally I would expect movie makers to try to avoid clichés, especially if they’re going to want something to have some emotional impact in a little while.  But they did the whole checklist.  It was like the scene near the end of Black Dynamite, except this movie wasn’t a parody.  It was like, “I know I’m the new guy on the team that the audience would be less attached to – and I’m also the least famous person in this jet right now – but I’m so happy we’ve all gotten so attached so quickly that you guys will take it really hard if I die.  Not that I’m going to, though.  I have so much to live for.  This is my last mission until I retire and return to my girlfriend who loves me.  I can’t wait to not have a knife kicked into my chest by Jean-Claude Van Damme!”  After that, the rest of the movie could be summed up with “Revenge.”  I guess technically the entire story of the movie could just be summed up with, “New guy gets killed.  Team sad.  Revenge.”  A predictable action movie story is … well … predictable to me.  I guess bad dialogue is as well, but this movie still caught me off guard with how bad the dialogue was.  The cheesy “Chill out” from Batman & Robin lines are one thing, but they really hit us hard with the bad jokes about these action stars past careers.  You get “I’m back” and “You’ve been back enough” for Schwarzenegger, someone says “Yippee Kay Yay” to Willis, and they even drop a Chuck Norris fact or two for the be-bearded one.  I do appreciate having their careers referenced, but I would rather they do so with funny lines, not ones that may have given me an ulcer.  I don’t know if it’s an ulcer, I just know I’m shitting blood after watching it.  Perhaps I’ve disclosed too much …  I did get a minor smirk out of the Chuck Norris fact they used, but there’s also a very good chance it was just on the website and they just took it.  It was, “I was bitten by a King Cobra once but, after 5 days of agonizing pain, the Cobra finally died.”

One thing about this movie that I would not argue with would be that the action is interesting.  I know Stallone didn’t direct this movie, but the way action is done in his movies ever since the newest Rambo movie seems to be at his influence and I really appreciate how it looks.  It’s some strange mixture of realistic and gruesome while simultaneously being over the top and bombastic.  Shooting an enemy turns them into a bag of blood and gore and they get knocked back 20 feet by a single bullet or a hand-thrown knife hitting them in the chest.  The gunplay – and even the knife-play – was interesting to watch.  Some of the hand-to-hand stuff was interesting, but strangely it was worse when it involved the two best fighters: Randy Couture and Jet Li.  I don’t think Stallone knows how to set up martial arts, but he puts someone like Jet Li in a movie anyway.  In the first movie, I recall finding Jet Li’s fight scene disappointing, and I don’t even recall Randy Couture having one.  In this movie, Jet Li starts off with a decent fight in the beginning, but never again.  And the only thing I remember Couture doing that was vaguely in his ballpark was pinning a guy against a wall and throwing an elbow at his head.  Kind of underwhelming for the shit I’ve seen those two guys do in the past.  I would say that I appreciated most of the fight between Stallone and Van Damme.  It was pretty well done.  There were also some cars that were totally Mad Maxed out in the beginning, and there was also a part where they seemed to steal a scene from another movie.  It was when Stallone was surrounded and out of ammo and he acted like his finger was a gun, only to have his fake shooting backed up by a real sniper killing the guys.  I’m pretty sure that was something Chris Evans did in Losers.

The performances were what you’d expect.  Maybe a little better.  Not great, but I could imagine going into this movie thinking that these guys couldn’t even string words together.  But this movie is so gangnamed dripping with testosterone that I failed a random drug test after watching it.  I WOULD’VE WON THE TOUR DE FRANCE!  But everything in this movie is Orange County Choppers and Ed Hardy shit with skulls all over them.  Stallone even uses a pen in this movie that looked like he soldered trinkets from Hot Topic all over it.  Of course, the biggest thing to say about the cast of this movie is that it’s slathered with big name action stars.  The problem with that is that most of them are really showing their age.  Most of them still look ripped physically, but Stallone’s face looks like he got mauled by bees and Van Damme has alien eyes when he takes the sunglasses off.  I was also confused by Yu Nan.  She did a fine job in the movie, but I was confused about why he didn’t go for some JCVD version of an Asian actress for the role.  There are much bigger Asian actresses he might have been able to get!  He could’ve gotten Zhang Ziyi, Maggie Q, Michelle Yeoh, or any number of Asian actresses that were already known to Americans.  She just seemed out of place.

The Expendables 2 was roughly what I expected out of it.  Good action, soaked in testosterone and explosions on one hand, and the other hand is filled by blunt writing and dialogue so bad it gave me an aneurism.  And there’s really nothing to say about the performances in this movie; everyone in the world should have seen at least one movie with most of these guys featured.  And if you haven’t, then you’re probably not going to see this movie no matter what I say.  Otherwise, it’s fine enough for a watch.  Especially to make fun of.  The Expendables 2 gets “By the power vested in me, I now pronounce you man … and knife” out of “Who’s next, Rambo?”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook and Twitter.  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)


It’s Like the Movie … With 800% More Cross-Breeds

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)I found myself terribly torn by today’s game.  There have been games like the one that I’m reviewing today that were some of the most fun and enjoyable experiences that I can remember in gaming, and others still that reached the level of mediocrity at best.  When this game came out, it looked to be a return to form for the series, but I still had my trepidations.  I wasn’t prepared to waste $60 for a game like the most recent few, and I just wasn’t interested in taking the risk.  I put it on my Gamefly queue instead, and eventually it arrived.  Interested to see which type of game it resembled more, I started playing The Amazing Spider-Man, developed by Beenox, published by Activision, and featuring the voices of Sam Riegel, Nolan North, Kari Wahlgren, Steven Blum, Claudia Black, Ali Hillis, Bruce Campbell, Fred Tatasciore, and Stan Lee.

A few months after a mediocre film was made about him, Peter Parker (Sam Riegel) and his girlfriend Gwen Stacy (Kari Wahlgren) sneak into restricted areas of Oscorp to find Alistair Smythe (Nolan North) attempting to clean up after Dr. Curt Connors’ (Steven Blum) experimentation with cross-species DNA, making him into a giant Lizard and Peter into a man of spider.  Well, the man-spidering of his DNA does not go unnoticed by the other hybrid creatures in the facility, and it causes them to break from their bondage and attack the facility.  Gwen gets bitten in the process and she is quarantined along with Smythe and others to quell the infection.  Desperate to find a cure for Gwen, Peter frees Dr. Connors and sets him to work creating a cure while he tries to capture the freed cross-breeds before the infection gets out of control.

So what’s the final decision?  Was this game a return to the free roaming Spider-Man that I loved, or is it another mediocre addition to the series?  The answer is “Yes.”  It’s both.  The bulk of the game felt pretty average, but there’s no denying that I’m a fan of the free roaming parts, and I’m very thankful they went back to that.  The bulk of the story was pretty mundane, much like the movie that spawned it.  In fact, the story of the game is very similar to the movie, at least the part that pertains to Dr. Connors.  And since that story alone had already been told and it was necessary to prolong the story of the game, it seems that they just took that part and added more creatures.  And since they didn’t have that many creatures in the canon that fit the bill, they just turned the other characters with various origin stories into cross-breeds, like Rhino.  Another thing it had in common with the movie was that Spider-Man’s trademark quips never really landed.  Spider-Man is supposed to have killer one-liners, man!  That’s something you just gotta get right.  I would say that the occasion when they worked the most was in most of the interactions between Spider-Man and the reporter.  Altogether, the story didn’t really offer that much, but I can’t say that it was awful.

There’s not a whole lot to say about the look of the game.  It looks really good and I had scant few complaints about it.  What complaints I might have is that the faces never looked realistic, but the rest of the stuff in the game looked so good and set the mood so well that it made up for it.  Also, I’m beginning to think that there’s a very good chance I’d be able to make it around New York without a GPS because of these free-roaming Spider-Man games and their attention to detail in making New York as accurate as they can.  I would be looking for a collectable and see that it was located in Time Square or Central Park or other random places, and I knew where they were without having to look that up, even though I’ve never been to New York.  Well, I might not be able to make it around the city unless I was swinging through it on webs, but I might be able to translate that into walking.

The free-roaming stuff was really what sold this game to me the most.  I missed that aspect of the Spider-Man games so much.  The last three Spider-Man games I remember playing were all really linear, and that just made my penis soft.  That doesn’t feel like Spider-Man!  It doesn’t feel right to just be Spider-Man just after he showed up at a museum or a linear back alley and making me follow a straight line to the boss at the end.  So this game had that much going for it.  It also had boss battles, and I appreciated those because they all felt really epic, even though they really weren’t much more than quick time button pressing events.  There wasn’t a whole lot to the other fights either.  A lot of pressing X to punch faces, and occasionally pressing B to finish someone.

The achievements in this game are not entirely difficult, but they can be fairly time consuming, extremely tedious, and inevitably I gave up with about 800.  There are 700 comic books to collect in the city of New York, and finding them is not helped by the fact that every one that Spidey picks up causes him to say something that sounds like a sales pitch for comic books.  Things like “Cover price went up, but still worth it.”  But these weren’t that bad for me because I enjoyed swinging around the city aimlessly.  But there were also magazines to find inside the linear levels, and I didn’t have the patience to go back in for those.  I also wasn’t interested enough in the game to try to go back for the second playthrough on Hard.  But still, 800 is close enough for a game I rented for 3 days.

I was happy to see that Amazing Spider-Man returned the Spider-Man games to their beloved past of free-roaming games, but this outing still ending up being expectedly mediocre.  The story was nothing special, the fights were easy, and they went way overboard with the collectables, but there is a good amount of enjoyment to be gained from swinging around New York as the be-webbed one.  I’d say there’s enough in this game that it’s worth a go, but probably not until you can find it for around $20.  The Amazing Spider-Man gets “The Vermin” out of “The Rhino.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook and Twitter.  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

Rock of Ages (2012)


This Place is About to Become a Sea of Sweat, Ear-Shattering Music and Puke.

Rock of Ages (2012)My interest was piqued in today’s movie while listening to the Nerdist podcast. Chris Hardwick was talking about this movie because he was in the original LA cast of the musical that this movie was based on. Another thing that drove me to want to see the movie was the ridiculous hotness of some of the actresses in the movie. That’s always a driving factor for me. But it didn’t drive me hard enough to bother to go and see the movie when it was still in theaters. When I was perusing a RedBox, I saw this movie along with the movie I was looking for and decided that I might as well watch it. If nothing else, I would enjoy the hotness and tune out the movie. Did I have to do that? Find out as I review Rock of Ages, based on the musical by Chris D’Arienzo, written for the screen by Justin Theroux and Allan Loeb, directed by Adam Shankman, and starring Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Tom Cruise, Paul Giamatti, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Bryan Cranston, Malin Ákerman, Kevin Nash, Jeff Chase, and Will Forte.

A girl named Sherrie Christian (Julianne Hough) moves to Los Angeles to become a singer, but realizes pretty quickly that most of LA is a cesspool when her prized record collection gets stolen from her. A barback named Drew Boley (Diego Boneta) rushes to help her and the two later start dating even though this pansy didn’t even try to run the guy with her records down. Maybe it was because he gets her a job as a waitress at The Bourbon Room, a famous rock club that’s fallen on hard financial times. To help their situation, bar owner Dennis Dupree (Alec Baldwin) and his right-hand man Lonny Barnett (Russell Brand) book the famous band Arsenal – and their temperamental lead singer Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise) – to perform their final gig at the club before Jaxx embarks on a solo career. Also going on, Patricia Whitmore (Catherine Zeta-Jones), wife of Mayor Mike Whitmore (Bryan Cranston), is trying to shut down rock and roll, Constance Sack (Malin Ákerman) has sex with Jaxx and writes a scathing review about him in Rolling Stone, and Paul Gill (Paul Giamatti) tries to make a star out of Boley, knowing that Jaxx is unreliable.

I’m admittedly torn about Rock of Ages. I’m about dead center in my feelings for it. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it. I think it was mainly the story that didn’t work for me. It just didn’t strike me as all that funny. And, without the comedy, it’s basically just a run of the mill love story/musical. There’s also a little bit of Empire Records in the people trying to keep their dream of rock and roll alive in the Bourbon Room, and perhaps a little bit of Footloose in the religious crazies trying to shut down something for whatever stupid reason. But I’ve already seen those movies, and I didn’t really like them either. And I think I wanted it to be funny, but it never managed to pull that off. Stacee Jaxx got a few laughs with his wackiness, but he also frequently bordered on depressing. I also always appreciate a good shot at boy bands, but then I get depressed because – let’s face it, rock fans – they’ve kind of won. Sure, they don’t have staying power, but that genre has made far more unworthy millionaires than rock has, at least recently. I think the only thing in the movie that got a good, solid laugh out of me was when Sherrie applied for a job by saying, “I can wait tables! I’m good!” Fer real? That’s what you’re gonna put on your list of special skills. Not writing, sketching, speaks limited French. You’re gonna post up with, “Excellent waitress.” I think there’s about one job that qualifies you for…

One of the things that definitely worked for me in this movie was the music. Gangnamed that’s a good soundtrack! Check out some of these songs: Paradise City, Sister Christian, Juke Box Hero, Wanted Dead or Alive, I Wanna Rock, Pour Some Sugar on Me, Here I Go Again, Any Way You Want It, Rock You Like a Hurricane, We Built This City, Don’t Stop Believin’, and the list goes on. Add some Metallica to that and I could survive on just that soundtrack for the rest of my life. I know everyone’s taste in music is not the same as mine, but if you don’t agree then your opinions are wrong. The reason this movie was so easy to get through even with the mediocrity of the story was because of the kick ass music throughout.

The performances in this movie were fine enough, but I was focused mostly on a different kind of “fine.” Namely Julianne Hough and Malin Ákerman. SO hot! Want to touch the heiney! Amongst other things. I guess the same could be said for Catherine Zeta-Jones, but she never really did it for me. Certainly not when I have Hough and Ákerman to distract me. They did fine jobs in the movie, but you also get to see them in underwear and other such skimpies! The only thing that bothered me about that is that there were times in the movie when Hough wore less clothes then when she was acting as a stripper at one point. When she was a stripper, she rocked something that looked like an old-timey one-piece bathing suit that was low cut in the front. She wears much hotter stuff when she’s not supposed to be getting naked for money! Tom Cruise also made me take note fairly frequently. I thought at first that I would be watching him do this part and be mostly thinking about how Chris Hardwick would have done it, even though I’ve never really seen Hardwick do it. But Cruise does an interesting enough performance of his own that I never really got to thinking about that part. But, y’know what? To hell with complimenting Tom Cruise! He got to make out with Malin Ákerman AND touch Julianne Hough and Catherine Zeta-Jones boobs! ALL IN THE SAME MOVIE!

Rock of Ages was an underwhelming but totally watchable movie. Its mediocre story was elevated drastically by the awesome songs in the musical numbers. The actors also did a very good job, especially Julianne Hough and Malin Ákerman who did an exceptional job being hot and Tom Cruise who did very well at being interesting to watch. But altogether, this is probably a skippable movie. You can buy the soundtrack without sitting through the movie, and you can see Julianne Hough and Malin Ákerman being hot with a Google image search. Rock of Ages gets “It’s not an improvement” out of “I just threw up. In my pants … out of my ass.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people. Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense. Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated. You can also add me on FaceBook and Twitter. Don’t forget to leave me some comments. Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

Dishonored (2012)


We All Start With Innocence, but the World Leads Us to Guilt.

Dishonored (2012)The true inspiration for today’s review was that terrible holiday known as Black Friday. Technically, it started a while before that with a number of people telling me how awesome this game was. But that didn’t actually inspire me to buy the game because it still didn’t look that interesting to me, and them talking it up was only going to make it worse. But there was something that could make it better. It could go on sale for $25 on Black Friday. And it did! Now, I hate Black Friday, and if it was my choice I wouldn’t have been there at all, or this game would have to wait for me until about 1 pm because there’s no way in Hell I’d get up early for it. Since I was forced to be there, and I was in the vicinity buying a game I wanted much more than this, I decided to relent and pick up a copy of Dishonored, developed by Arkane Studios, published by Bethesda Softworks, and including the voices of Chloë Moretz, John Slattery, Billy Lush, Susan Sarandon, Lena Headey, Brad Dourif, and Carrie Fisher.

We are the bodyguard of the Empress of Steampunk world. Our name is Corvo Attano and our voice box was apparently damaged at a young age, rendering us completely speechless. This becomes problematic when the Empress is murdered in front of us (because we’re also very bad at our job) and her daughter Emily (Chloë Moretz) is kidnapped (because we’re EXTRA bad at our job), and we are unable to tell people that we didn’t do it. We get all nice and framed for this, but we get freed by a group of Loyalists, led by Admiral Havelock (John Slattery). Then we are set on a mission to shake up the corrupt government and free Emily, the rightful heir to the throne.

You people need to knock it off with the whole overenthusiasm thing. You talk up a game that is “Okay” at best until it is made out to be the game of the year and the game can only suffer for it. I think the problems I had with the story made for the bulk of my problems with it. Actually, it was more how the gameplay changed the story, but we’ll get to that after a few other points. The first thing that struck me is that the story is kind of bland and mostly about political conspiracies, and anyone that knows me knows that there’s not a whole lot I find more boring than politics. The idea of the silent protagonist feels a little antiquated now as well, and it seems like it would have at least helped with some of the problems my character got into because of it. They say that the purpose of the silent protagonist is to get the player more involved with their character, but that hasn’t really proven to be the case, has it? I didn’t give two flying fucks about Corvo. I didn’t feel like I was him, nor did I get particularly involved in his story. If you really want to get me involved in a game, you need to make one about a guy playing video games, masturbating, and occasionally writing reviews that one or two people read. Then again, I wouldn’t buy that game either, and anyone else that did might get too depressed by it. And the other side of that argument is that there are plenty of games that have protagonists that speak that I got involved with. Ezio Auditore talks, Marcus Fenix talks, Nathan Drake talks. When my roommate asked me what my 5 favorite games would be, 4 out of 5 of them had protagonists that speak. The only one with a silent protagonist in that list was Final Fantasy 7. How about you have a great story to get me involved instead? There were also tons of things in the game that annoyed me because they didn’t make sense. When I was walking the streets on my way to a masquerade ball, why would guards attack me when I was wearing a mask? If that mask is good enough for the guards at the party, the other ones would surely have known about it or I’m sure half of the guest list was killed on their way to the soirée. And why did the guards keep trying to kill me after I exposed the Lord Regent and they took him to jail? Shouldn’t they all have figured at that point that I was framed?

I need to talk about the gameplay before I can combine it with the story to tell you what really annoyed me about the game. The gameplay itself was fine, but it’s really nothing I haven’t seen before. It feels like it wants to be, but it isn’t. And it ends up being a little boring to me, as most stealth games are. You have to do a really good job on your game to make stealth games feel like more than just waiting in shadows for someone to turn their back. They added in some powers, like the Blink ability, that makes it interesting when you can teleport behind someone to stab them up good. But if sneaking didn’t work out for you, there didn’t seem to be much by way of consequences for it. Fighting was fairly easy at first, being not much more than block and stab. Later it gets a little more complicated because the enemies dodge more and have guns, but fuck them ‘cause I can stop time now. The upgrades to your equipment never seemed to help that much, but the upgrades to your powers maybe helped too much, making the game a little too easy when you could see your enemies through walls, teleport right behind them, freeze time if you were in a pinch, and call in an army of rats if that wasn’t working. Also, the AI wasn’t that bright, which adds to the easiness. There was one part where I was flat out spotted by a number of guards and I backed up, falling down about 10 feet off a ledge where I could hear the guards say, “I guess it was nothing.” Out of sight, out of mind, I guess. The biggest problem with the gameplay I had was that I couldn’t play it for more than an hour at a time without getting so bored I had to turn it off. I’m sure the game wouldn’t take that as a compliment, and it wasn’t intended as one.

The biggest problem I had with the game was how the gameplay affected the story. They let you know about halfway through the game that killing people turns the story dark at the end. Fuck that shit! Killing these enemies just makes sense. A: it’s mostly self-defense because if any of them see you, they will try to kill you. B: it makes the game easier because you don’t have to keep watching out for them after they’re dead. C: it’s more fun! All I heard about this game before I bought it was that it was basically about cutting throats. That is literally all I knew about it before I played it. Then you’re going to punish me by making me corrupt an innocent little girl and make everyone hate me and be shitty to me because I played the game the way that makes sense? Fuck you! The Spiderman game I’m playing now doesn’t punish me for webbing people and punching them in the face. Assassin’s Creed doesn’t wag its finger at you for stabbing the people that deserve it with your wrist blades. I understand punishing me for killing innocents, but I wasn’t doing that. At the end of the game, the formerly nice boat driver that took me to my missions was so shitty to me he pretty much said he hopes I get killed, and just to help that along he’s going to fire his gun to get the attention of everyone on the island before he departed. And Emily is drawing pictures of me standing atop a mountain of corpses with a sword dripping with blood as she talks about how she’ll kill anyone that opposes her when she becomes Empress.

I don’t have very much to say about the look of the game. It looks good. I had no complaints. It’s just a Bioshock-esque steampunk world, but it’s so bland and dark to set the mood that it ends up being visually disinteresting and adding to the boredom I already had for the game.

This is also not a great game for achievements. I’m leaving the game with just over 300. Most of the achievements are for completing missions without killing anyone and without getting spotted. I find that course of action too frustrating and boring to actually make an attempt at it. I probably would if I found the game more interesting, but I just don’t care. I was vaguely interested in finding out what would happen to the ending if I had played this game the shitty way, but that question could be answered by a quick trip to YouTube. It wasn’t worth it.

Dishonored suffered from the high expectations set by the people I know. Seems to be a running theme in some of my reviews, doesn’t it? This game was okay, but certainly not as spectacular as some people acted like it was. The story was pretty good if you’re into that kind of thing, and the gameplay is fine but in no way innovative. But I’ll tell you what no one told me: this game is, in fact, not at all about stabbing people and slicing throats. Go into the game with that idea and the game will hate-fuck your skull. Instead, play this game if you like falling asleep while waiting in the shadows to hug someone that’s trying to kill you until they fall asleep and you can move on. That’s how the game wants you to play it. Also, I guess the other option is to just not play it. I’d recommend that one. Especially with it still at $60. I paid $25 for it and I didn’t think it was worth it. But I am going to trade it in for $15 dollars, so I recommend buying it when you can find it for $10. Dishonored gets “It can take one to sublime heights or harrowing depths” out of “Are you chasing something, or running away?”

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