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59. That is the number of movies that I saw that Wikipedia says were released in 2016. …I go hard in the paint. Last week, I posted the video where I picked my best and worst 5 of the year (view it here on my YouTube channel), but many people might be wondering what I thought about the other 49 movies I watched this year. Well wonder no more! Now, if you have the balls and the stamina to read 10,558 words and 20 pages worth of reviews, you need only scroll down from here to find out my thoughts on them all! …Or you could just find the ones you specifically want to know my thoughts on. You do you.
I can’t say that I had any major problems with The Forest. Except that it wasn’t scary. That’s probably a fairly major problem for a horror movie though. The premise was a fairly interesting one since I didn’t know about this suicide forest before this movie, but it kind of falls apart after that. Like, I certainly hope it’s not actually the police’s policy to not even bother looking for someone 2 days after entering the suicide forest and just assuming they killed themselves, but if it is, maybe if you’re going in there, let the cops know that you’re going in there to look for someone and definitely not to kill yourself, so come looking for me if I don’t come back. And if the person you’re looking for is your twin sister, why bother bringing a picture? Just point at your face and say, “With dark hair.” But this movie at least has Natalie Dormer going for it, who is good and pretty. And technically it has two of her, ‘cause she’s twins. But that’s about it.
Two in a row with the mediocre horror movies, eh? And along with the Forest, another mediocre horror film with good, hot actresses from very good, very popular TV shows I love. The big thing that sets this one apart is that it’s reeeeeeally weird. You think it’s all about some super crazy old people that want to pay a hot lady to watch a doll they act like is their actual son. …Okay. Fair enough. Then the movie starts seeming like it’s a little more subtle and psychological version of Chuckie from Child’s Play, and then it’s even weirder than that! Somehow, ghosts would be more feasible (and probably scarier) than the way they ended up going. Lauren Cohan was good though, and she was hot. I did not care for Brahm though. His performance was a bit stiff and wooden. …GET IT?!?!?! ‘Cause he was the doll!!! …You get it…
I don’t know if I would go so far as to say The Witch is a scary movie. It’s certainly unnerving though. It’s kind of weird and creepy and there’s old naked women and ravens eating women’s nipples and talking goats and creepy children. It creates quite a mood and an atmosphere though, so that probably counts for something. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t find much about the movie that would lead me to recommend it either. But most other critics seem to like it, so maybe check it out or whatever. Just not really my cup of witches brew.
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES
This is certainly a silly premise for a movie. Take an old classic book and toss some zombies in there. But for me, it works. ‘Cause I’m not reading a book. And I also am not watching Pride and Prejudice as a movie…unless you add zombies and sword fighting. So I enjoyed the movie well enough AND I can now tell people I’ve read Pride and Prejudice. …I turned on the subtitles.
Coming from a longtime fan of the character, I would have a hard time finding any fault to Deadpool … so I won’t! I loved this movie! The action was great and the comedy delivered practically nonstop all the way to the end of the movie and starting from (and including) the opening credits. How many times would you tell someone that they better not miss the opening credits? Once! The whole cast was fantastic; Morena Baccarin and Gina Carano were really hot and so was Ryan Reynolds… Everyone delivered exactly what they needed to. And my favorite part? Not only did they not completely ruin the character of Deadpool, they made fun of the previous time when they did completely ruin the character of Deadpool! Basically, if you don’t like this movie, you just don’t like Deadpool, because this movie is, to me, a perfect capturing of the character. To me, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this movie, and the only thing that makes me nervous about the sequel is that they won’t be able to recapture what this movie had, but I’ll certainly be in the theater as early as possible to find out. But as long as they don’t take the mouth off of the Merc with a Mouth, then it couldn’t possibly be THAT bad.
At first glance, Zootopia seems like it’s just another cute Disney movie. And it is, but there’s also a lot more to it than just that. On the surface, it’s cute, beautiful, funny and charming, all the things that kids will enjoy in a movie. And things get hit in the head a few times, and that is a child’s pinnacle of comedy. But it also bases itself on a message of trust and friendship overcoming prejudice and fear. That shit’s deep for a Disney movie! And pretty topical too! It seems like it’s all about the cute little prey bunny overcoming everyone else’s prejudice against her to make her dream a reality and become a police officer, but even she has to come to the realization that she (and other prey) also jump to conclusions about the predators being prone to violence. And the best thing about this message is that it’s there and it’s obvious, but it also doesn’t beat you over the head with it to the point of annoyance. The voice cast also kills it, especially the two main characters that carry the movie (Goodwin and Bateman) and also Shakira who sang the great song for the movie and made me feel weird things while looking at a gazelle. I cannot find fault in this movie, and I have no interest in trying to.
I feel like Zoolander 2 didn’t hurt my feelings too badly because I don’t hold the original Zoolander in high enough esteem that I went into this movie expecting much. And I also can’t say that it hurt me too drastically because I barely remember seeing it. I know I did, and I’m pretty sure I own it on Blu-Ray around here somewhere, but that’s about it. Maybe that’s because the closest to funny this movie gets is by rehashing the vaguely funny things from the first movie, but that’s not going to be good enough. And the movie has a ton of cameos, which is great if that’s more important than humor out of a comedy to you. The best things that happened in this movie were some kinda funny moments from Kyle Mooney’s hipster character Don Atari, and the fact that they killed Justin Bieber in the beginning. But if I can’t say I like a movie that kills Justin Bieber in the first 5 minutes, that movie is probably not very good.
GODS OF EGYPT
Gods of Egypt did not do well with either the critics or the people in general. Many people condemned this movie before its release because the cast was a bunch of white people acting like Egyptians. I don’t really care about that personally because I would rather have a better actor in a role than one that looks right. It probably helps that most times it’s white people taking roles from other races and I’m white, so why would I be offended? I think what’s more offensive about this movie is that it’s just not very good. But where I would take critics to task on this one is my “what were you expecting?” argument. This movie was exactly what I assumed it would be based on its poster. Decent visuals and passable action, possibly some pretty ladies scattered about, and everything else was not a concern. So whether you have seen this movie or not, whether you are making an educated decision about this movie or not, you are probably right. There’s no reason to see it really, but it’s not awful.
LONDON HAS FALLEN
London Has Fallen is a sequel to Olympus Has Fallen, which is a movie most famous for being often confused with that other movie about the president being kidnapped. You probably don’t need me to say more, which is good because I don’t have much more to say. This time, a whole city has fallen, so I can only assume that next a whole country, then a continent, then a planet, and maybe even a solar system will fall as well, and only Gerard Butler can stop it because he’s super dedicated to his job and an inexplicable badass that single-handedly takes down armies. So what is there to say about this movie? It’s dumb, but lots of things explode, and the cast is maybe 10% better than standard action movie casts are. So watch this movie next time you want to shut your brain off and watch things go boom.
WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot was a little more drama than comedy to me, but it was a fairly enjoyable experience. It didn’t seem to hit too heavy on anything I was thinking it would go for. There were funny moments, but nothing was incredibly laugh out loud funny. There were serious moments, but nothing too depressing or tragic. Some action moments, but nothing terribly thrilling. Overall it was just a long, moderate enjoyment that I felt. Nice little love story in there that wasn’t really the focus, but Tina Fey was enjoyable as usual, as was Martin Freeman and Margot Robbie. And I especially enjoyed Fey’s relationship with her fixer Fahim. So it’s a solid movie, but as it doesn’t really feel like a spectacular version of any type of movie, I don’t know if I’d call it a must.
10 CLOVERFIELD LANE
10 Cloverfield Land certainly wasn’t what I expected going in, but being a psychological thriller about 3 isolated people that’s a sequel to a Godzilla-esque giant monster movie will have that effect. But after the initial shock of that wore off, I found myself able to enjoy this movie for what it was. It was a very well done, tense, and psychological movie that was also very well acted. Not typically the type of movie I go for, but I felt like it carried the flame from the first movie pretty well. I just hope to get a little more info and a little more Godzilla if they do another one.
I think what mostly drove me to want to watch The Bronze was how often I stumbled across it. I came across the movie in RedBox many times and saw the mildly amusing trailer for it many times. Finally I stumbled across it on the list of movies that came out in 2016, and figured I might as well give it a shot. Once I did, I found it acceptable. The story wasn’t mind-blowing, but it had a decent amount of humor sprinkled around to make it enjoyable, especially the gymnast sex scene near the end. The cast was good too. Melissa Rauch wasn’t very likeable until the end, but that’s what she was going for, and I’m always happy to see Thomas Middleditch and Sebastian Stan. Haley Lu Richardson was pretty enjoyable too. The Bronze has some things going for it that I would say bring it dangerously close to being worth your time.
THE DIVERGENT SERIES: ALLEGIANT
I don’t really know why I watched Allegiant. And I don’t know why I watched Divergent either. And more than that, I don’t know why I watched this one when I apparently forgot to watch Insurgent, which is the second one. So maybe fans of the movie would argue that the reason I didn’t like this one is because I wasn’t able to follow the deep, cohesive storyline. Well that may be the case. Also a possibility: it was boring and dumb. When I watched the first one, I barely understood what they were trying to go for. Then this one adds more stuff for me to be confused by. Perhaps, had I seen the second one, it would’ve been the appropriate level of confusion for my brain to shut down and enjoy the movie. But I found myself completely capable of realizing that they had some fairly big ideas and stopped right about there. But they threw some pretty computer pictures around to make it look fairly nice, and then threw a few great actors in and surrounded them by pretty actors that could pass as moderately acceptable actors, and then that was a trilogy. Skip it.
BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE
I would never have been classified as a fan of the DC Universe, and with movies like they put out when Christopher Nolan isn’t behind the camera, they are doing nothing to help that. Now, I didn’t despise Batman v Superman as much as other nerds I have heard discuss it because I’m not as close to the source material, but the movie still mostly sucked. Y’see, I’ve actually read the Dark Knight Returns. Zack Snyder should’ve too. It’s pretty good. Instead, I think he might’ve read the Wikipedia article about it, or the Cliff Notes if they do that for comics. What he understood was that Batman fights Superman at some point. Didn’t really get why. He also didn’t really get the character of Batman and his whole “One Rule” thing he talked about it The Dark Knight. You know, how Batman doesn’t kill, like even if blowing up that car with enemies in it would look REALLY cool and get those bad guys out of his hair for a while. Like not even if there was a 1% chance someone could be a bad guy, since y’know EVERYONE has about a 1% chance of being a bad guy and he specifically never killed the Joker who has about a 147% chance of being a bad guy. And if you thought his reason for fighting Superman in the first place was stupid, wait until you find out why he stops fighting him. Also, I did not like Eisenberg’s over the top Luthor weirdness. He was super annoying through the entire movie, but then a little bit good and intimidating at the very end of the movie. On a positive note, I liked Ben Affleck a lot and look forward to what he’ll do in the future, and he had some great action scenes that felt straight out of one of the Arkham games. And Gal Gadot was great and every Wonder Woman scene was awesome … and would have been much more so if every one of those scenes wasn’t in the trailers. So this was not a painfully bad movie to watch, but where it hurt itself was being a movie about well-established characters that it didn’t seem to understand … and not being very good.
CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR
I absolutely loved Civil War. I’m sure that’s no surprise coming from a hardcore Marvel fanboy, but I think the movie was fairly universally loved. Full of the fun one expects from Marvel movies but with the serious moments when they were needed and a great plot where all the characters had clear motivations. Interesting concept, eh Batman v Superman? Obviously they couldn’t make this movie exactly the same as the comics (which I had heard complaints about), but of course they couldn’t because they don’t have the ability to use the word “mutant” or use the X-Men. So shut the fuck up, nerds! The whole cast was great, especially new characters of Black Panther and the new Spider-Man, and also Daniel Brühl as Zemo, and everyone had a great moment in their wicked awesome fight at the airport, which was only one among many great action set pieces. Marvel is killin’ it, as always.
THE JUNGLE BOOK
I had no interest in The Jungle Book for a long time. I saw the cartoon. I thought it was okay. Later on they made it again with one real person and some computer stuff and that guy that made Iron Man. That would probably be fine, but I know what’s gonna happen. Eventually, the media talked me into it as podcasts I listened to talked it up. Then I watched it and they were right. It is really good; better even than the cartoon. The story is roughly the same, but the new visuals really help to tell that story, and those visuals combined with the voice acting makes me have to say a statement like, “That wolf gave a performance that brought tears to my eyes.” I don’t recall actually crying because I’m so manly and all, but it worked very well. And they had all the musical numbers that they should have and though only Scarlett Johansson really had much of a singing voice; it was still nice to hear them again. This was a really entertaining and touching movie that everyone should enjoy.
THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER’S WAR
Though I would not be bold enough to call The Huntsman: Winter’s War a good movie, I would certainly say it was better than the original. Is that because this one didn’t have Kristen Stewart in it? Possibly. But I would say I had no major problem with the sequel too. The story was fairly bland and not much more than good guys versus bad guys followed by credits, but I also wasn’t really expecting much more than that. The actors can probably take most of the credit for this movie being watchable. I liked Theron and Blunt and their interactions, and I really liked Chastain and Hemsworth and their chemistry together. I even liked the dwarves, even though they really had no real reason to be there save for mild comic relief. But the movie was fine. You don’t need to see it, but at least Kristen Stewart isn’t in it.
Keanu was cute. The cat, I mean. Not the movie. The movie was fine. I’ve never seen Key and Peele’s show, but I’ve enjoyed the clips of it I’ve seen, so I expected a fair bit from this movie. It was somewhat funny, but not uproariously so. Just kind of enough to make me smile throughout and chuckle at a few parts. The story premise can keep you smiling because it’s just so silly, but not very many jokes really got me. The cast was enjoyable too. Key and Peele are very likeable, and Anna Faris was probably my favorite part of the movie. Besides Keanu, that is. He was slightly cuter than she is.
RATCHET & CLANK
My main goal in watching Ratchet & Clank was to see if I could learn the story of the games without bothering to play them, which I had never bothered to get around to even though I typically heard good things. Was this movie successful in this endeavor? How should I know? I had nothing to compare it to. So instead, I’ll say if it was successful as a movie. Probably. I’m sure it made a lot of money. As for its quality, I would say it was fine. It looked great and its story was the basic dream-fulfillment, zero-to-hero thing. Kids will probably like it, but as far as I can tell, random shapes and colors moving on a screen will be enough for most children. Disney and Pixar have probably set the standard for movies too high for parent to be entirely thrilled by this movie though.
I might actually surprise you all with my review for X-Men: Apocalypse. I didn’t actually love this Marvel movie. I would say I just really really liked it. Number one thing it had going for it: there were X-Men in it. It also had Apocalypse and the Four Horsemen in it, as well as a killer subtle gag where they used Metallica’s “Four Horsemen” in the movie. And it also had an awesome Phoenix moment. I liked the greater majority of things about the movie with only few minor problems. First, I think Xavier should really be portrayed as stronger than he was on the Astral Plane. I also really didn’t care for the kid playing Cyclops or the look of Archangel, but I did like all the returning cast and the new people like Apocalypse, Sansa Stark, Olivia Munn, and Nightcrawler. The Weapon X sequence was also cool, but their attempts to make the Weapon X gear look less goofy for camera didn’t really go that well. Overall, I found it quite enjoyable, but I’m also an X-Men nerd. I may not be trustworthy.
ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS
I have no particular love for the previous Alice in Wonderland movie. It looked pretty and computers made wonderful fantasy things look somewhat realistic. And there was probably a story, but damned if I remember what it was. Cut and paste for Through the Looking Glass. It was fine. Pretty computer things and a story about time-travel or whatever. Nothing too mind-blowing. It has some pretty good actors giving mixed performances though. Depp and Carter are a little over the top for my taste, but I like Wasikowska and Hathaway, and I thought Sacha Baron Cohen was a really enjoyable part of the movie. Probably not so much as I’d really recommend the movie, but I’m sure kids would really get a kick out of it, and the parents probably won’t hate it while watching with them.
I didn’t even know this movie existed until I saw it on the Wikipedia list, and then out of nowhere it gets to be on my list. Congratulations! Anyway, I know we’ve all sat around and thought to ourselves about how much we’d like to see a boring and cliché version of Poltergeist, right? And then we watched the remake of Poltergeist, and after feeling like that wasn’t quite bland and obvious enough, we started demanding to see The Darkness. It’s Poltergeist with the burial ground replaced by 5 rocks an autistic child found in the desert. And the family’s biggest concern for most of the movie was with the dry cleaning from getting black handprints off of everything. And the funny weird lady from the Poltergeist is now a Mexican lady and her granddaughter…who for some reason are the experts you call in when having troubles with Anasazi demons. I guess as long as their skin is brown, they can probably do it. They all look the same to us anyway. So what I’m saying is, instead of bothering with this movie, just go watch Poltergeist. …Either one is better.
THE NICE GUYS
For a long time, I could not imagine a reason for me to watch The Nice Guys. A comedy on the backs of Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling? Sounds like a pretty terrible idea. The only funny thing I can think of involving either of them is a series of videos where someone tries to feed cereal to one of them. But it turned out that this movie was almost as funny as feeding cereal to Ryan Gosling. The story was the buddy cop movie basics, but with plenty of laugh out loud moments along the way, making it feel like that Starsky and Hutch movie but funny. And you gotta give credit where it’s due: Crowe and Gosling delivered. I doubted them and they shut me up. …No I mean it. I’m gonna shut up now. Watch the movie though.
TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS
What can one really expect when going to see a movie like TMNT: Out of the Shadows? …Yes. That is the answer. You should be looking for a dumb, roughly pointless story with as much fan service as they can muster (Hey, we added Krang this time!). Then you should expect a visual extravaganza, and I guess they kinda get there. I still hate how the turtles look, but can’t change that now. One of the actors is Megan Fox, so you can’t expect much there, but the turtle voices are pretty good, and I like Will Arnett and Stephen Amell, and I liked Sheamus and Gary Anthony Williams as Bebop and Rocksteady. So what can one expect out of this movie? Yes. Exactly what you think.
POPSTAR: NEVER STOP NEVER STOPPING
The first thing I would clarify about seeing Popstar is that I didn’t want to. Someone had to suggest it to me. The reason I didn’t want to see it is because I really don’t care for Andy Samberg very much. He’s occasionally acceptable to me in small cameo roles, but the only time I’ve seen him in a starring role was Hot Rod, which was talked up as the greatest comedy in years to me by one of my friends and was instead something that made me want to kill myself. Also, I think I thought it was that movie where Adam Sandler is Samberg’s dad for a while. But even though it was an uphill battle to overcome my general disinterest in Samberg, I feel like this movie pulled it off. It’s like This is Spinal Tap for the new generation … but not nearly as good as that. But that’s a high bar to reach and one shouldn’t necessarily expect it to be able to reach that. Basic story, decently funny, pretty well acted, Samberg was enjoyable, and tons of cameos from the comedy and music world for those that would find that interesting. Popstar was pretty solid though. A decent watch, and probably more so if you’re a big Samberg/Lonely Island fan.
NOW YOU SEE ME 2
I thought the first Now You See Me movie was fine. Didn’t blow minds, but was entirely watchable. The sequel was roughly the same, and perhaps took a step down for losing much of the surprise of the movie to its predecessor. And the biggest problem of both movies is that it bases itself on magic and illusion which is impressive when watching someone do it in person, but much less impressive to watch when it’s the skill of a computer and not of a person who spent their life mastering the craft. But the story of the movie seems fairly well planned out, had a few nice twists, and some of the magic stuff was interesting to watch. I also still like how they use magic tricks for fist fights and heists, and the actors are all good. The movie’s a decent watch, but not a required one by any stretch.
THE CONJURING 2
So many of these movies come out that I have a hard time remembering which is which sometimes. The first Conjuring was about the Amityville stuff, right? …Or am I thinking of Amityville Horror… Well, this one is about this English family that claimed to be haunted in real life and the Warrens are back to kick ghost ass and chew bubblegum, but their bubblegum didn’t make it through customs! And this movie was pretty successful. I like the use of “real life” hauntings as a basis for a movie because, if nothing else, it’ll make me read about the “real life” stuff and be entertained by that, but the movie entertained pretty well too. It pulled off jump scares pretty successfully and creepy build up decently. The old guy ghost was somewhat scary, but that old nun lady was downright chilling. All the living actors did very well too. I’ll call this one worth a watch.
My idea to watch Warcraft came from a discussion on a podcast (Shout out to Just2Pals Podcast!). My friend (a big Warcraft fan) loved the movie, while his partner (less of a Warcraft fan) did not. My history with Warcraft puts me somewhere in the middle of those two, as did my enjoyment of the movie. I played and loved the original RTS Warcraft games, and even played a little of World of Warcraft, though I lost interest fairly quickly. And since my time with Warcraft pretty much ended around 2003, my knowledge of the lore of Warcraft has mostly dispersed. I know humans don’t like orcs. And this movie does enforce that. And pretty much covers the story of the movie as well. The action was decent, but it’s hard to make very impressive action when it’s technically a guy swinging a plastic sword at air, but the computers did some good work on this movie. I especially liked what they did the orcs, especially with Paula Patton. It’s hard to feel for (and be attracted to) a big green lady with tusks, but nature finds a way. So what it seems to come down to with this movie is that my recommendation is dependent on your involvement with the Warcraft lore, sliding up from “don’t bother” if you know nothing of Warcraft to “you’ve already seen it” if you’re a huge fan.
Sequels to animated movies (especially in Disney movies) can be hit and miss. Finding Dory at least had the benefit of not being straight to DVD, which typically means better, but Cars 2 hit theaters, so it’s not perfect. And neither was Finding Dory (long way to go for that one, I know), but it was really good. It’s a nice emotional story about Dory trying to find her family and overcome her memory problems, and it’s pretty well assembled. I feel like Dory works better as a secondary character generally, but she’s more fun to be with than Marlin, so it’s okay. I also really enjoyed Hank the octopus and Becky the bird, who pretty much stole the whole movie for herself. And the story did tug at the heart strings, but I don’t recall being overwhelmed by emotion at any point. So the movie is good, and probably met my expectations, but it doesn’t quite blow me away.
INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE
Independence Day: Resurgence is exactly what it needs to be. If you went into this movie expecting it to absolutely brilliant, you might be stupid and I pity you. Before going to see this movie, I remembered the good times of things exploding a lot, Bill Pullman dropping a killer speech, and Will Smith and his patented way of welcoming someone to our planet. So when seeing the sequel, I expected roughly the same thing except someone else would be on our planet’s welcoming party. But I enjoyed the experience of the movie. What was the story? …That wasn’t a set up to something. I really don’t remember. Something about aliens coming back with bigger and angrier ships but we found this white sphere that helps somehow. And the cast was solid, even if they weren’t Will Smith. But who is? Besides Will Smith, of course. But none of that stuff really matters, does it? I went to this movie to see aliens blow up as much stuff as they could before America whooped that ass. This movie delivers on that. It’s not smart; it’s big and spectacular. That’s what it was supposed to be.
I was surprised I liked this movie too! But this movie has it all: thrills, chills, suspense, and Blake Lively in a bikini. This is what I expected from The Shallows and this is what I got. I would say it takes a little long to get to the heavy stuff, but since that time is spent watching Blake Lively be super-hot, it felt like a productive use of my time. But then when it gets going it is pretty damned edge of your seat stuff all the way through to the end. And that shark was a dick! I mean, I understand you gotta eat, but if you’re just looking for food, there’s this huge dead whale like 20 feet away that they used to explain why you showed up in the first place. There’s a lot more meat on that thing than on Blake. So really you’re just doing this to be an asshole, right? And he was. Fuck that shark. And even not counting her ridiculous hotness, I thought Blake Lively was fantastic, and I’d be willing to kick that up to amazing since the only other thing I’ve seen her in was Green Lantern, so I didn’t know she had this kind of performance in her. I thought everyone did a really good job with this movie, and think it’s worth watching. Just like Blake Lively is.
THE LEGEND OF TARZAN
There wasn’t much memorable about The Legend of Tarzan. I could say that I remember that Margot Robbie is hot, but that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the movie. It’s Margot Robbie. When is she not? And then I remember Christoph Waltz stole Tarzan’s lady and he must return to his Tarzan roots to get her back, and he does. And there’s some black dude that wants to kill Tarzan too. Don’t remember much about that. The Legend of Tarzan was a perfectly fine movie that just wasn’t special enough to dedicate any space in my extremely limited memory to. I think I might just prefer my Tarzan animated.
Growing up a fan of the Doom series as I did, I was very disappointed when starting The BFG. It wasn’t about a Big Fuckin’Gun at all! It’s about a Big Fuckin’ Guy and his friendship with a young girl. After I was able to get over my disappointment (and realize that most movies that have been released based on Doom haven’t really worked out too well), I was able to enjoy the movie for what it was. And it was surprisingly enjoyable. The story was as simple as a little girl befriending a giant and then helping him take care of the bad giants, but it was the world that was created that was impressive. Visually stunning and well planned out, it can be really immersive. And the performance of the little girl and the giant really get you attached to them pretty quickly. A very nice little movie to take kids to.
THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR
Holy hell! There was a second Purge movie? Oh well. I missed that one, and I don’t care. I haven’t particularly cared to see any of the Purge movies. The first one was standard and unimpressive unless you have a phobia about red corn syrup, which I do not. The third was roughly the same, maybe made slightly more interesting by some story elements, but really it just comes down to different ways to make people shoot corn syrup around. But this time people are trying to protect a candidate that wants to stop the Purge. So that should count for something. But that something isn’t a recommendation. It’s just also not a warning.
THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS
The Secret Life of Pets is also a simple story of pets. There’s no real surprise to the story of this movie. Happy, content dog has his world turned upside down by the addition of a new dog that he fears will take his owners love like a child when a new baby arrives. But the real surprise about this movie for me was how enjoyable it was. It seemed so cookie cutter from the trailers and seemed like something only kids might fall for, but I fell for it too, based mostly on the excellent and often adorable animation and the quality of the voice acting cast, especially Jenny Slate, who I adored in this movie. I was so happy every time Gidget showed up so I could hear her again. The movie also had some solid funny moments. Definitely a good movie.
Talk about the new Ghostbusters movie was as mixed after its release as it was before. “How could women do funny things?” they asked. I wasn’t one of those people. I looked at the cast and found Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon sufficient to believe comedy was possible (I’m not really a fan of Melissa McCarthy and I wasn’t familiar with Leslie Jones). And after seeing the movie, I decided that they succeeded in realizing that comedy. This was a very funny movie. Was it as good as the first two Ghostbusters? No. Not much is. And that’s why I didn’t expect this movie to surpass the first two Ghostbusters. It’s not the same kind of dry, subtle humor that made those Ghostbusters brilliant. It’s a different thing. This movie probably would’ve been very well received had they chosen a different title, but these women busted ghosts, so they must’ve felt the need. Sure, it wasn’t the Ghostbusters we fans wanted, but since that’s never going to happen, this one will do.
STAR TREK BEYOND
Star Trek Beyond was fine, but a bit ridiculous in parts which held it back from greatness. The story was solid and included a nice twist surprise at the end that worked very well. And the movie had no real shortage of blockbuster action, which is also enjoyable. And all the returning cast as well as the new additions of Idris Elba as Krall and Sofia Boutella as Jaylah were all enjoyable. So what was the problem? Their determination to make sure there was a moto cross scene that barely makes sense and the fact that the music of the Beastie Boys saves the day. Having the anachronistic music playing is fine because I like the songs and they work well as soundtrack music, but having it be their main weapon against the enemies is a little silly. Still an enjoyable movie though.
Though I don’t necessarily think that the movie world needs to leave this Jason Bourne guy alone, I would find it acceptable since it would make sense in the story of the movies that the government would finally decide that they should stop fucking with the guy that just wants to be left alone, but will happily destroy you and everything you have if you don’t leave him alone. Plus, the latest couple of movies haven’t been that good and eventually there’s going to be more mediocre ones that great ones. This is one of the mediocre ones. It’s fine, but it doesn’t really add anything to the world of Jason Bourne, and it also didn’t really need to exist. It’s a fine basic action movie that fans of the series will want to watch, but it doesn’t really stand out enough to recommend.
I would say that I really wanted to enjoy Suicide Squad. DC’s movies have been so disappointing that, even not being a big DC fan, I was hoping they would get a surprise Deadpool-esque hidden gem movie out sooner or later. This wasn’t it. I didn’t hate Suicide Squad, but I really didn’t enjoy it. It felt to me like they were trying too hard with their moments of freezing and throwing up title cards for their characters and their “cool” music, but it couldn’t quite come together. The story was just an origin story with a somewhat secondary and forgetful story about a bad guy and the “good” guys have to stop it. The action wasn’t impressive either, but it was okay. And the characters were mostly disappointing. I didn’t care about most of the characters going in, and not much changed on leaving. I liked Will Smith and Margot Robbie, Rick Flag and Katana were kind of bland and forgetful, El Diablo and Enchantress were fine, Captain Boomerang was fairly funny sometimes, and I didn’t care for Killer Croc at all. He just felt like his performance should be him saying stupid things and licking things a lot for no reason. And he looked strangely emaciated for some reason, even though the character and the actor portraying him are pretty big and buff. And the biggest problem with the whole movie in my opinion was Jared Leto’s Joker. You could tell he really had a character choice in mind, but I didn’t like the way he went at all. I just found him annoying. And worse than that, pointless. It felt like everything involving the Joker was a waste of my time and he could’ve been not involved at all, or at least only involved in the flashbacks.
Pete’s Dragon is … I don’t know, man. It’s whatever. I don’t remember the original well enough to compare them, and I already don’t remember this movie well enough to care. The kid has a dragon, a family takes him in, bad people try to catch the dragon, happy ending. It looks really pretty and the dragon is fairly well done, but I didn’t feel like I cared enough to pay attention while watching it and it couldn’t pull my attention. I say skip it, but if you have kids it’ll perform as background noise fairly well.
I would give this movie some credit. It almost lost me in the first 5 minutes with the musical number that opened it which I found completely devoid of humor and just trying too hard to be offensive. And though the trying too hard to be offensive continued throughout the movie, some humor showed up making it more worthwhile. It’s a silly movie that hides a strange religious argument meaning in between some of the lowest comedy that sometimes works. I had a hard time in the movie weighing the jokes that were just too dumb or too gross with some actually well-written and funny jokes, but I’d say I warmed up to it, and I enjoyed the cast, particularly Nick Kroll doing his character Bobby Bottleservice as Douche. I don’t recommend it if you’re easily offended because you probably wouldn’t make it very far into the movie, but if you can deal with that, you could actually enjoy the movie. Or wind up somewhere in the middle of enjoying and despising it.
KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS
This movie blew my damned mind! I had a mild desire to see it based on its interesting style and Asian feel, but never bothered to get around to it until my friend Maggie raved about it. I rented it, watched it, and went out to purchase it in full immediately afterwards. It succeeds on every level. The story is new, funny in parts, touching in others, and interesting to all ages throughout. The animation is beautiful and engaging. The cast also knocks it out of the park. I don’t have much to say beyond saying I loved this movie and recommend you watch it post haste.
Even if it’s not necessary, every movie will probably be remade eventually, even if the original holds up just fine and the new one has nothing to bring to the table. Granted, I probably don’t remember the original Ben-Hur well enough to say what the new one brought in or left out, but I do remember liking the original and being bored of the remake. It’s not bad. The race at the end is cool and some of the Jesus stuff is interesting and the cast tries their best, but it all seems futile. Just go watch the original.
I found myself pretty surprised by Don’t Breathe. Not so much by the quality. The premise seemed interesting and the trailers sold the movie pretty well to make me think there was some quality to be found here, and there was. I liked the premise of the kids breaking into the blind guy’s house and then he turns out to be a badass, and they were able to milk this for some really tense scenes. My concern going into it was that the kids were supposed to be our protagonists, but I wondered if they would be able to make me feel bad about the blind war veteran killing the little shits that broke into his house, and they did that with the real surprise in this movie: all the stuff going on in the basement. It made it so we didn’t like the blind guy a whole bunch more than we didn’t like the thieving kids, and led to some real weirdness and at least one super grossness. But besides that, it was a very interesting movie, and I’d say it’s worth checking out.
If you like Jason Statham action movies, this is one of them. It’s not particularly special in any way, and it’s more than a little silly, but I didn’t hate it. It’s a standard action movie that seemed like they had 3 ideas for interesting set pieces for and then just figured out some way to slap them all into the same movie. They are also going to need A-Team-style ‘prepare for hit’ montages before each one. Heaven help you if you don’t have that. Then they added in a corny love story with Jessica Alba who this hardcore, lone wolf killer guy falls for way too quickly even though he knows she was sent by the bad guy. But there were some cool action scenes and some cool fight scenes, also Jessica Alba is hot and Jason Statham is shirtless a whole bunch for anyone who may be into that sort of thing.
It is known that I am a fan of Kevin Smiths. I listen to his podcasts, I enjoy his TV shows, and I enjoy the greater majority of his movies. When I listened to the creation of the term “Yoga Hosers” on Smodcast, I thought it was hilarious. Sadly, I didn’t feel the same about the movie. Smith goes back to the convenient store in this movie, this time replacing Dante and Randall with his daughter and Johnny Depp’s daughter, and also replacing the witty conversations with slapstick silliness. Smith said he was going for a cheesy 80’s buddy movie with this one, which is probably fine but I just didn’t get any laughs out of it, which is less fine. It was just too goofy and seemed like Smith just wanting to put friends and family in a movie and see them do things that amuse him, like having Ralph Garman’s character do impressions for no reason other than Kevin knows Ralph can do them and they make Kevin laugh. And they make me laugh too when listening to Hollywood Babble-On, but not so much here. Perhaps this movie is better suited for Smith’s target audience of preteen girls, but it just didn’t do it for me. I haven’t been a preteen girl for years.
I liked Sully, but I have to say I found the movie a bit implausible. There’s no way that could actually happen! Silliness aside, I realize that a certain amount of the credit for this movie goes elsewhere because it’s probably pretty easy to make an interesting movie about this just by following the real life events of a hero, but the movie was deftly handled. I saw some complaining about how they handled the NTS board that was actively trying to prove that Sully fucked up and saying that this wouldn’t be how it would’ve happened in real life, but screw that. They need a bad guy and they have to build it up so the audience would be amped when Sully proves that what he did was right. That wouldn’t have been nearly as impactful if they were just like, “Yup, you were right. Just as we all thought. Good work, Captain.” He needs to teabag them with knowledge. After that stuff, you’ll be shocked to find that Tom Hanks was fantastic in this movie and carried the movie well. Whoda thunk it? Great movie and worth watching.
As another addition to the Blair Witch mythos, I found that this sequel raised more questions than it answered. Like why is that black dude being such a dick to the two stoned weirdos? They’ve been perfectly civil and helpful so far. And why did the stoned weirdos fake those wooden doll things? Like, you wanted others to believe in this stuff, but you wanted to stay in the woods longer and those things just made everyone want to leave. And when they were leaving, why not just admit you faked it? And why was faking it such a big deal to everyone else? And why would our heroes tell them they had to leave because of it? They could get lost and die in those woods … because they hung up their arts and crafts? And why are the “heroes” still terrified after finding out that stuff was faked? And why does everyone in horror movies think it’s okay to sneak up behind people that are already dealing with a scary situation? These are the kinds of questions Blair Witch raises. But the biggest one is why did they make this? It really only rehashes the original Blair Witch movie, but now they have better and cooler technology.
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN
There are two things that need be expressed in my review for this movie. First, I have a predisposition towards enjoying Westerns. Second, I haven’t seen the original, so I have nothing to compare it to. That being said, I really enjoyed The Magnificent Seven. Granted it’s a super standard movie in that a bad guy is terrorizing a town and the good guy must assemble a team of misfits to save the day. And then a lot of bullets, a lot of explosions, a lot of death, and then the day is saved. Who can’t name at least 5 movies to compare that stuff to? Especially if you count the original Magnificent Seven, which I assume is similar. But this movie is a solid western with good action and good acting. Definitely worth a watch, especially if you like Westerns.
JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK
I enjoyed the first Jack Reacher movie pretty well, but not well enough to bother seeing the sequel in theaters until it was time to start watching movies for this review. I had to go to the Dollar Theaters for it. And that’s about the right price to see this movie. It’s fine, but formulaic, and generally unnecessary. The action’s okay and the fights are fine, but the story leaves something to be desired. Mostly I just desired something not easy and obvious. And probably desired (without knowing it) that they not have a completely pointless subplot about a daughter. She only served the story as a damsel in distress, and was even more pointless because she wasn’t even his daughter. They just sort of thought she was for parts of the movie but wasn’t, thus rendering her pretty pointless to the movie in general. But it’s not a bad movie and I liked the action, so I would say it’s not necessary to see, but not painful to see.
OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL
I’ve seen so many Ouija movies that I can’t even tell if any of them are supposed to be connected or not. And if any of them are, I’m not sure why I watched this one because all the rest of them I’ve seen are just awful. According to Wikipedia, this is a prequel to Ouija, which was garbage. But Origin of Evil was inexplicably pretty damned good. Pretty well-paced and nerve-wracking, with a solid story and some good scares, and pretty good acting to bring it all together. One of my favorite things that they did in this was that they had scary things standing in the background a lot, but didn’t make a big deal out of them. There would just be a silhouette back there with glowing orange eyes, but they wouldn’t zoom in on it or hit it with a music sting to make sure everyone saw it. You don’t need to see it for the movie to work, but once I saw one I was nervously checking the background in every scene. And when they looked through the lens in the planchette it made me want to hide until it was over. This movie brings in a fair amount from The Exorcist and Poltergeist to help it be effective, and that’s just what it was. Great horror movie. Worth watching.
I didn’t think Inferno was nearly as bad as most critics seemed to, but I didn’t think it was good either. If nothing else, a Tom Hanks movie has Tom Hanks in it and he can hold any piece of crap fairly well by himself. I think my biggest problem with this movie is it didn’t feel like it had anything in common with the Da Vinci Code, which it should because that movie is the reason I watched this one. The other movies didn’t really feel like full on action movies. They felt more like Zelda. Some action, but a lot of puzzle solving and interesting ideas about how Jesus had children or whatever. Because of how this movie was set up, Tom Hanks’ character didn’t remember anything, which meant that he was pretty much being dragged from scene to scene until he finally got his shit together. And the big reveal that the person you thought was good but was in fact bad was only a surprise because I thought they were being so blunt and obvious about it that it couldn’t possibly be the way they were going. But it was. And the black guy cop was hunting this bad guy for years but didn’t know he had a girlfriend or what she looked like? So there’s not much going for this movie to make it worth watching. I would say Hanks and their cool Hell imagery is about the only thing, but it’s not enough. You can skip this one.
Never having been a big fan of Doctor Strange, I wasn’t sure how well this movie would work out for me. That of course is stupidly forgetting who I am as a person and how I generally feel about Marvel movies. Of course I loved this one. But, in my defense, critics seemed to as well, so I feel justified. This was a fantastic origin story movie that really worked on every level. You can’t expect too terribly much from the story because it’s going to be an origin story and a small bad guy that probably sets up a bigger bad guy, but mostly serves as proof that he’s finished his origin by the end of the movie. And that is what it was, but it also had some surprises and cleverness and humor in there to make it feel different enough. The most obvious difference that sets this apart from other Marvel movies is the imagery. Obviously I don’t mean that the CG was great, because it was and most Marvel movies are, but the jokes that it seemed like Marvel’s Inception I had heard before seeing the movie were apt. But also, who cares? It looked great and no one would need to guess that something magical was happening when you’re in a Kaleidoscope world. Also, Cumberbatch was fantastic, and I also really enjoyed Swinton, McAdams, Ejiofor, Mikkelsen, and Wong. Which is pretty much everyone, but that’s because they were all good, and only surpassed by the amazing performance of Doctor Strange’s Cape. That was my favorite character by far. Great movie, and I can’t wait to see what happens in the future with the character.
I hadn’t heard of the Arrival until someone suggested I watch it. I typically don’t expect much when watching a movie I’ve never heard of because I’m so damned hip that I’ve always heard of everything worth hearing of. And while that might not be true, it was also not applicable to this movie. Definitely a solid movie. I don’t give it quite the acclaim that it gets from other critics just because I found it boring in chunks of the movie, but it was generally worth sticking it out. The movie felt a lot like Contact with a lot of sciencey stuff and aliens and whatnot, but very few explosions. This movie was less about engineering and math and more about language though. What it shares with other alien movies is the stupidity of so many people getting bored of trying to communicate so fast and deciding what needs to happen is we need to wave our gun dicks at the super advanced alien civilization. Great idea, guys. But since there’s a very good chance that would happen in real life, I can’t hold it against the writing. And the writing was good anyway, even though the ending was a little confusing and hard to follow. Still an enjoyable movie.
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM
I’m a fairly big fan of the Harry Potter franchise, but I wasn’t particularly interested in seeing Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them … mostly because I didn’t know they were related. I believe I mentioned how hip and well-informed I am. Well, once I figured it out, I went to see it fairly quickly. And it’s good. Not great, but good. Story was interesting, but not mind-blowing. I like what it adds to the mythology of the Harry Potter world and I’m excited to see where it goes in the future. The graphics are of the quality that should be expected from Harry Potter and were really awesome. And the cast was mostly great, at least in what they were going for. Dan Fogler seemed to be the comic relief and largely unnecessary for most of the movie, but he performed it well. And he had a great little love story with Queenie, so it made it worth it. So there really wasn’t anything wrong with Fantastic Beasts, it just didn’t really resonate with me like the other Harry Potter movies did. Maybe I just require a little more Emma Watson in my Harry Potter movies.
I loved Moana far more than I expected. It looked like a fairly average Disney movie, and it was. But one forgets that the standard Disney formula has worked for a very long time for a good reason. And Moana is a Disney-ass Disney movie. It’s straight Disney as fuck. The story is a classic follow your heart type of story as well as a save the day movie. It also has something that I like in movies that wasn’t as big for other Disney movies: a strong female heroine. Sure, Disney movies have had strong female characters, but most of them are the prize of the hero or the damsel in distress. This movie doesn’t even waste it’s time with a love story. Moana loves the sea and exploring, but she’s probably not shacking up with Maui afterwards. He’s a big dumb oaf for most of the movie, and not worthy of Moana until the end, but that’s not what the point of the movie was anyway and I like that. The movie also looks beautiful as one would expect it to. The songs were good and “How Far I’ll Go” was great, and Dwayne Johnson’s “You’re Welcome” was a decent song, but showed that The Rock actually has some pipes. Great movie for kids and adults alike.
I don’t know how much weight one can put behind my opinion of a Star Wars movie, but suffice to say I enjoyed Rogue One. It was not my favorite Star Wars movie and I thought it paled in comparison to last year’s offering, but I am typically going to be pretty happy to go back to the Star Wars world. I think what I enjoyed most about Rogue One was the gaps that were filled in the mythology of Star Wars, like how the Rebels got the plans to the Death Star in the first place, what powered the Death Star, can they pull off CG young Leia, etc. I also like the greater majority of the performances. I especially liked the robot K-2SO for being a straight up funny asshole (and apparently voiced by Alan Tudyk, which makes me love it more), and Donnie Yen as Space Zatoichi. I really wish I could’ve seen that guy use a lightsaber. He was rad. I thought the movie was great, just not really great enough to make my top films of the year, but it had stiff competition. Heck, it has stiff competition amongst Star Wars movies. I would also like to say that I’m super glad I saw this movie when I did, because if I had waited longer I would’ve broken down in a blubbering pile of tears when Leia showed up. RIP Carrie Fisher.
What was it about the Assassin’s Creed movie that caused me to ignore history and actually have hope that it would be a good movie? It’s a video game movie! That’s a pretty big hill to climb. It was probably mainly the inclusion of Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. They wouldn’t do a shitty movie, would they? Well yeah, apparently. One of the criticisms I have for this movie is the same that I’ve always had for the games that they are based on: No one cares what happens outside of the Animus! I want to be an Assassin! I don’t want to be Desmond Miles! The parts inside the Animus seemed like they could’ve been a fairly cool movie on their own if they spent a little time with it. Heck, the time out of the Animus probably could’ve too, but together it just kept slowing the movie down. At least the games know to make us spend the majority of our time as an Assassin. Now, I wouldn’t say that I absolutely hated this movie. The CG was cool and Fassbender and Cotillard were good, but it was just kinda boring and lackluster, and nowhere near what I was hoping for.
I respect a movie that can do so much with so few cast members. Of significance, there are like 4 actors in this movie. Sure, Andy Garcia shows up at the end, but I don’t even think he says anything. But I enjoyed Passengers, based mostly on some interesting story ideas and the strong chemistry of Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. I saw a lot of criticism of one really big decision that Pratt makes in the movie, and I get that, but I don’t know why people are saying that takes away from the movie. The characters in the movie treat the decision fairly appropriately, and it’s also hard to say it wasn’t justified. Dude thought he might have to spend the remaining 60 years of his life completely alone. And did a year of it already. It’s a hard decision to make, but one I think most would’ve made sooner. Especially for Jennifer Lawrence. Also, the movie looks fantastic. And I also thought Michael Sheen was surprisingly charming for an android. I wouldn’t say Passengers is one of the greatest movies ever, but I’d certainly recommend it for a rental.
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Another year down, another year closer to death, and another year spent ignoring those facts by playing video games and watching movies. 2013 was an interesting year for gaming. A lot of great games were released this year, leaving me fully confident that I’d be able to pull a top 5 and maybe even a top 10. As usual, I’m not that confident about being able to find enough games for the bottom half of my list because I didn’t really make good use of my Gamefly this year. But this was also an interesting year for video games because we got some brand spankin’ new consoles in the Xbox One and the PS4 … that brought nothing significant for games. I only bought the Xbox One, but none of the games for that system would come close to my top 5 for the year. And I didn’t buy the PS4 because its games were even worse. But there’s still plenty enough to talk about for this year as I present my review for the Games of 2013.
DMC: DEVIL MAY CRY
This game was okay. The series had gotten a little stale so they decided to try to sexy it up a little bit and change Dante’s look. Some people got mad about that. I didn’t care. I meant about the game. It was a standard Devil May Cry game, and I’ve not been that interested in those in any of their incarnations. Beat the shit out of your X button until all the enemies on screen are dead. A nice enough way to kill time, but certainly not a must have title.
FIRE EMBLEM AWAKENING
This game was actually the very first game I played on the 3DS that I purchased some months later. I finally decide to purchase a 3DS because of the Pokémon release, and this game seemed to be the most interesting. And it was. The gameplay was enjoyable turn-based strategy stuff, but I found myself completely obsessed with the romance system in the game. I tried to get everyone in my team to fuck everyone else in my team. And then when they did and their children came back from the future to join my team (this actually happens!), I tried to get the kids from the different families together. I would talk more about the satisfying gameplay or the nice graphics, but I really spent all my time playing matchmaker in this game, and I still enjoyed it.
DEAD SPACE 3
I’ve liked the Dead Space series in the past, and technically I’d say I enjoyed this game as well. The problem is that I no longer remember it. It was just like the other Dead Space games but with more snow. I do remember liking the story, the graphics, and the gameplay, so I’d still say I’d recommend playing it even if it is somewhat forgettable. It’s probably only $20 by now, and it’s definitely worth that.
This is another game that I entirely forgot existed. If you’ve ever played a Crysis game, well this is another one. It’s really pretty, it does nothing to advance the genre of the first-person shooter, and the story is never anything special. And neither are the games. They’re fun enough, but not spectacular.
GOD OF WAR: ASCENSION
I’ve owned this game since I got it as a gift for my birthday in June. I still have not felt any reason to play it. I guess I kind of assumed that the game got shitty reviews, but as I look it up to write this it turns out that it’s been generally favorable. I will need to find out where I put my copy and get around to it now, I suppose.
GEARS OF WAR: JUDGMENT
Now this game I did play. I’m not sure why. It wasn’t bad, but it was Gears of War as all the secondary characters I never cared about. Except Cole-Train-Baby-Woo, whose name I will not say any other way. There’s nothing wrong with this game, but there’s nothing special or significant about it either. Have you played Gears of War before? Well this looks and plays exactly like that. That’s not a bad thing, but you’re not going to get anywhere near the top of my lists by rehashing.
Ooooo, I wish I had played you! I saw some game footage. This game looks stupid and broken as shit. WHY DID I NOT PLAY YOU?! Gamefly! Get me Star Trek on the phone, stat!
METRO: LAST LIGHT
I just recently started playing this game. I felt like I wanted to get this game all year, and it was eating at me every time I saw it on the shelf. I saw it go on sale numerous times, but never went low enough that I felt I should take the risk. But it finally reached the price I needed it to be: Free! My sister gave me this game for Christmas, so I’ve only been playing it a little. The game could complain that it wasn’t given the best chance to make it into my top games because I haven’t even beaten it yet, but I think I’ve played enough to be able to say it was in no danger of that anyway. It’s good, but you came out in the same year as GTAV, BioShock Infinite, and Tomb Raider. You’re going to have to step your game up for that. The story is forgettable so far, but the graphics are nice and the gameplay is fun. Just not really exceptional in any way that I’ve yet found.
FAST & FURIOUS: SHOWDOWN
Remember what I said about the Star Trek game. Same goes for this one. I didn’t play it, and I think we all know exactly why.
I played a demo of this game and found it to be acceptable. I would totally play this game when it dropped down to $20. But they don’t usually release games that aren’t total garbage at $20, and when they finally dropped the price to around that low, I was no longer interested. I’ll probably get it eventually, so you can call this a recommendation if the game is already $20. But I know that I’ve definitely given better recommendations before.
I have been (and still remain) very interested in playing this game. Deadpool is one of my favorite comic book characters and is one of the few comic books that I read regularly anymore. Sadly, it did not appear that Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan (writers of the Deadpool comics and stars of one of my favorite podcasts, Nerd Poker) had anything to do with this game. If I couldn’t even rely on the comedy of the story to keep my interest in this game, it would have to come down the gameplay. And the gameplay just seemed too standard. I will eventually play this game, but it’s going to need to be much cheaper than I’ve managed to find it yet. $20 range sounds about right.
My roommate got me really excited to play this game. I had played Muramasa: The Demon Blade on the Wii a few years back (which was around the last time I played anything on the Wii), and I really enjoyed it. It was super basic gameplay, but I thought the art style was pretty interesting and captivating. When I heard about Muramasa Rebirth, I was excited at the idea of a sequel. Then I found out it was just another time that Sony decided that porting things and making them HD was a good enough reason to release a game. They added some new levels and a few new levels, but I still feel that I’ve already played this and have no reason to do it again.
I’ve really liked the Pikmin games in the past, but there was one big complication keeping me from getting into this version of the game: the fact that I down own a Wii U. I’m still waiting for a game to come out that makes the Wii U worth purchasing, and Pikmin just isn’t generally good enough to be that game.
I was relatively satisfied with my time with Diablo. My past with Diablo never quite matched up with the series. I never played the first one and I played the second one at the behest of a friend some years after it came out. It never impressed me because I was always a few years removed from the time when it was supposed to impress me. Realizing that, I felt the need to get into Diablo as soon as I could. When it finally came out, I waited another year to get to it. NOT MY FAULT! At first, my computer simply could not handle the game. When I finally got to build a new computer that was capable of running games, I was aware that they would be putting the game out on console. Thankfully, I was still able to play the console version in the time where I would still appreciate it. There’s nothing much to the story of the game, but for someone like me that is completely comfortable with grinding and leveling and dungeon-crawling for the best gear, this game can easily suck hours out of your life. And that’s basically all you can expect of some games.
BATMAN: ARKHAM ORIGINS
I was nervous about this game going into it. I loved the other two games in the Arkham series, but Arkham Origins was not going to be in the hands of Rocksteady Studios, the group that finally figured out the formula for making a good Batman game. In this games’ defense, they did just steal the formula wholesale from Rocksteady, but you could see the lack of love in it. It felt ALMOST right, but lacked the polish of a Rocksteady game in the fluidity of the controls. The story was interesting as an origin story, but also felt like fan appeasement in just trying to throw as many famous enemies in as possible. Also, you should probably barely bother acting like we’re not going to know who these enemies are because most people playing are fans. Thought Batman might not know them yet, we know who the Riddler and the Joker are. But the game was pretty good, it just felt like Rocksteady loved it more and did it better.
ASSASSIN’S CREED IV: BLACK FLAG
My mind wasn’t blow, but I was pretty well-satisfied with this game. I was curious how they would handle the dead Desmond in the room for this game, but was hoping they would go with the “Who cares? You don’t want to play that side of the game anyway!” approach instead of what they did, but the story of the part of the game I care about was interesting. Who doesn’t on some level want to be a pirate? Especially if it means that I’ll get to play an entire game of the best part of the last game: the nautical battles! I spent most of my time in this game sailing around and exploring, occasionally putting that on pause to advance the story a bit. I wanted it to continue so much that I even got that DLC for it already. What was it called? Adéwalé Unchained?
I was on the fence about purchasing one of the big shooters this year. I invested in an Xbone this year, and I would not be purchasing a game in the past when I had already moved into the future. But not all of my friends were ready to move into the future, and I have no desire to play multiplayer games with people I don’t know. This may be a bit of a spoiler for the next review, but I finally decided to buy one of these games and I went with this one. Battlefield is typically a much better game, it has vehicles, and it is not Call of Duty. How did I like it? We’ll find that later … when I play it …
CALL OF DUTY: GHOSTS
This was finally the year when I stopped allowing myself to be tricked into Call of Duty, even though this year was one made by my preferred publisher: Infinity Ward. I’m just sick of Call of Duty. Every year these people put out a game, every year it seems like the same old stuff, and every year my friends tell me to buy it ‘cause we’ll totally play together … and then we don’t. No more! If Activision seems like they allowed for some innovation and these game stop seeming like the same old thing, maybe I’ll come back. For now, I’ve checked out. I’ll be on Battlefield.
One of two exclusive games boasted by the PS4, and the deciding factor for me deciding not to buy it. I played the demo. It wasn’t bad, but it just seemed like a rip off of Ratchet and Clank with an added desire to jerk off and show the world how powerful their physics engine could be.
Dead Rising 3 is the best exclusive game I’ve played. It also does not have a lot of competition. But the game is a lot of fun; it’s just not very special. It’s almost identical to the other Dead Rising games but it looks a little prettier and has a lot of zombies on the screen at the same time. It could be compared to Knack in that way because both of them just seem to want to show off the power of their system without focusing on much else, but Dead Rising was much more fun than Knack was. It’s mindless, hack-and-slash fun, but it’s fun nonetheless.
RYSE: SON OF ROME
I haven’t managed to play this game just yet, but it will be played eventually. It looks visually spectacular, but if I’m going to invest $60 into you, you’re going to need a little more, such as a good story or some good gameplay. Everything I’ve heard from this game indicates it has barely any story and the gameplay is super repetitive. That being said, it’s just a matter of time before I buy this game. As they say, beggars can’t be choosers, and I am desperate for another game for my Xbone. If I catch wind of this game on sale for even $15 off, I’m probably buying it.
LEGEND OF ZELDA: A LINK BETWEEN WORLDS
This game wasn’t really given its fair shake because of Pokémon. I bought it as soon as it came out, but didn’t start playing it until about a week ago because I just had to catch ‘em all. Now that I’ve been playing it, I’ve been loving it. It feels almost identical to A Link to the Past, and that’s one of the best Zelda games ever. I can’t really talk about the story of the game very much yet as I doubt I’m remotely close to beating it, but it seems mostly like the average story of a Zelda game. Ganon’s coming back, Zelda is in trouble, and the legendary hero is a small elven boy that finds a cool sword. That’s the usual stuff, but they also now have a Hyrule and a Lorule. Get it?! HIGH-RULE and LOW-RULE! These people are the cleverest! But the game has changed because now I can turn into a painting to solve puzzles. It’s a fun mechanic, but it doesn’t seem like the game has been revolutionized. Of course, when you’re a Zelda game, you don’t really need to revolutionize. You just need to recapture, and this game does that.
GRAN TURISMO 6
I haven’t played this game and I never will, but the reason I felt I needed to put it on my list is because this game is just a stupid idea. And it also exemplifies the reason I am nervous about buying Sony consoles in the future: they make terrible decisions. They put out the PSP as the most impressive handheld system to date … and put no games on it. Years later they learned from their mistakes. They made the PS Vita, which was the most powerful handheld system to date AND had two analog sticks … and have not yet put games out for it. Then they put out the PS4 with no games. Then they release the newest version of their flagship racing franchise … exclusively for the last generation of their system. How long were you aware that you’d be making a new console, Sony? About as long as Microsoft? And where did they put their flagship racing franchise? Exclusively on the Xbox One, was it? You make me anxious pulling shit like this, Sony. Knock it off.
THE WORST GAMES OF 2013
I had a great experience with this title. I thought the story was super interesting and the performances by people like Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe were just fantastic. That all sounds like a positive, so what was my problem? My problem was that I played a really good movie … but I was playing a video game. Quantic Dream, I know this is how you roll … your thumbstick to make your character turn her head to look over her shoulder … You make games that are basically really long quick time events and I realize that. But that is lame. Can we not just assume my character knows how to get out of bed without my assistance? Must I hold L1 and R1 to have her put her feet on the floor? I don’t have to think that much to accomplish that task in real life, so you can go ahead and do that one for me. But I really liked the story and the graphics, and the actors did pretty great jobs, so I’m going to recommend that you play this movie.
My problem with The Last of Us was mostly with the hype. This was a good game that was talked up so hard that it seemed impossible for it to do anything but disappoint. My roommate and I were still some of the few people that seemed let down by this game. The story was pretty good and it elicited some emotional responses from me, and the game looked as good as you could in a game with about 50% bland cities. Maybe it was the gameplay that turned me off because it was thoroughly average, but I think it’s just that the propaganda machine set the expectations too high.
I took my time getting around to this game because it was a fighting game. Fighting games hold my attention for a matter of hours and when they hit the interest wall, they hit it hard. I’m not competitive enough to play a fighting game until I get good at it, nor do I intend to analyze frame rates to be really good at them. I basically just beat the story and then fall asleep. But I got the ULTIMATE EDITION!! And that meant I had a few more characters to get bored with quickly.
This game created an unnatural amount of anger in me. They’re just trying to hard now. This game always seemed to be a blatant GTA rip off that didn’t take itself seriously. I respected that. I was never as big of a fan of GTA as everyone else was, and injecting a little more comedy into the equation worked for me on occasion. This game seemed to indicate that the series was bored ripping off GTA and wanted to go off on their own … and rip off Crackdown. That’s a great idea! Rip off a far lesser game instead! The story was nothing special and the comedy was mostly lost on me, seeming at times that their equation for comedy was just to have regular things happen, but this time make the character naked or holding a dildo. And if you really want to blow the audiences minds, both. The game was also somewhat glitchy when I played it, and the game also seemed to embrace glitches and make them part of the game since you were supposed to be inside a video game anyway. And why not? Gamers love glitches! I was so irritated and deflated by this game that I was never able to beat it. I just got bored one day and wandered off into the living room with the game still on, never to play it again.
Now this here game was a terrible piece of shit. It demanded to set itself in the world of the Aliens movies, but the story it decided on was going to go ahead and ignore all of that. Hicks is alive! He managed to get off the escape vessel, but didn’t care enough to rescue Newt or Ripley so they could go on to die in Alien 3. He had time to save them too, since he obviously had time to dump a decoy body in his place. But why would he do that? This game explains it with, “Long story.” Great. So Michael Biehn agreed to do the game so you just decided to make up whatever bullshit to fit him in. You certainly didn’t need him as you were never able to make his character look like him, or anything in your game look good for that matter. At first blush, this game is a standard first-person shooter, but when you play it more you realize it’s actually a shitty first-person shooter. There’s nothing in this game worth its existence.
THE BEST GAMES OF 2013
I’m never going to be able to please the part of my audience that adores the Grand Theft Auto series, just as the Grand Theft Auto series seems unlikely to ever be able to please me. I’ve never been able to find the same level of enjoyment in these games as they do. I’ve even tried to study how these people play the game in hopes of finding that I’ve been doing it wrong. Apparently I have been because I tend to try to complete the story and do all the side missions while these people play the game online (when Rockstar gets around to releasing it) or run around the city with no objective save for collecting wanted levels until they get killed and start it all over again. How is that fun? How is it possible to spend hours shooting random civilians and cops until you finally succumb to bullets, and then starting the cycle anew? I don’t know, but they do. I don’t really attempt to argue with people about the fun factor involved in this game, but I need a little more out of a game to put it in a “Best Of” list. The story in this game is okay, but it is highly unlikely that this game will inspire me to come back to it. Of course I’ll recommend this game, but I’m not going to act like it’s the best game of the year as many others might.
I love this game far more than I should, and I know I have a problem. I can’t help but catch ‘em all! I buy both games so that I can truly catch ‘em all and send ‘em to myself so that I may be Lord Almighty of Pokémon! The reason I rate these games so highly is that, if you’re into these kinds of games at all, then a mere investment of $40 can get you hundreds of hours of play. Since I don’t go for first-person shooters online that much anymore, I can find no better way to get more bang for my buck than a Pokémon game. This game was a pretty large graphical improvement from other Pokémon games because they now had 3D to play with, but not a whole lot else has changed. The story might not involve Team Rocket in this one, but it might as well have. Bad team is causing trouble, but you’ll always win because you’re better friends with your captive animals than they are. They also added some new Pokémon somehow. You’d think they’d have run out of ideas by now. But this game is just another Pokémon game, and that’s all it really needs to be for me.
This is a very notable game because of its beautiful Studio Ghibli artistic presentation, but I found myself confused by the story. It could never decide if it was for adults or for children. The story was very touching, but got pretty adult with the heavy messages, the death of your main character’s mother, and spousal abuse. But the game also wanted to be for children and knew that children would need to have very simple game mechanics (the likes of which you have played before if you’ve played Pokémon) still being taught to you 4 hours into the game. But the gameplay is fun, the game is gloriously beautiful, and I played this game for 237 hours. Since you can get this game for $20 now, you’ll probably have a hard time getting a better value for the buck.
The Tomb Raider series was mostly okay, but sometimes terrible. They had all but fallen off the map until they put this game out. This game actually has a story (which the other ones barely did), and they filled that story with some surprisingly emotional moments. And they actually made Lara Croft an interesting person, while still keeping everything that made us like her in the first place. Well, except her ridiculously sized boobs. Now she looked like a real person instead of freakish Barbie doll person. The game also looks beautiful, and the gameplay was fantastic. The gameplay wasn’t revolutionary by any stretch of the imagination, but that’s not a requirement for me. It’s basically Uncharted with the option for a bow and arrow. But Uncharted was great. If you’re going to steal from something, steal from the best. And everything they brought on their own helped this game come a lot closer to being the best.
My mind was literally blown by this game. It did everything right. It was a beautiful game to look upon, for one thing. It’s true that it’s not photorealistic, but that’s also not what it was going for. It was going for an artistic style, and it was equally as impressive to enter Columbia as it was to enter Rapture for the first time, and they made both of those worlds come to life. The gameplay wasn’t drastically different from the other BioShock games, but it didn’t really need to be. You’ve got your guns and you’ve got your plasmids (or as this game calls them, Vigors), but that felt pretty standard. You could combine those Vigors in some interesting ways, and you also had the Sky-Line thing to use, but I found myself more than comfortable sticking to guns. One of the big things that makes the game special is Elizabeth. You have to drag her around throughout the game, but unlike Ico, it’s nothing but a pleasure. Elizabeth is hot, adorable, amusing, and helpful. You don’t have to protect her; she can’t die. In fact, she’ll just throw you things to help you while you continue to ignore her in combat. But the real thing that makes this game special to me is the story. The story of this game took my brain, rattled it around in my head, and fired it out my ass. It’s amazing that I’ve gotten around as well as I have since March with my brain destroyed, but it was still worth it.
As always, these are only my opinions, and a few of them were specifically designed to make some of you angry. Feel free to tell my why I’m wrong and I promise to read them while probably not paying attention to them. More importantly, I want to hear what you guys think were the best and worst games of 2013. Leave your list in the comments below!
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