TRAILER: Branded

Yeah...well that's not the kind of movie trailer you see everyday. I'm not sure if someone slipped some acid into my Red Bull or what, but that was some messed up stuff...and I love it! This has "cult following" written all over it, and yes, not only do movies like this one make zero money in theaters, but nobody will have even heard about it until at least a year after it's been on Blu-ray and DVD. Then of course, it'll be THAT MOVIE every one's talking about. Either way, I'm down.

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TRAILER: The Bourne Legacy

This second trailer hits hard, and though I do feel they're giving away far too much of the story (typical when studios relaunch a franchise and are unsure as to whether or not it'll be a success), I'm loving every second of it. Jeremy Renner fits this mold perfectly and with the cast he's surrounded by here I'm sure this one will blow people out of the water. I'm looking forward to this and hope I'm not wrong.

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TRAILER: True Blood S5

Well, I wasn't really looking forward to TRUE BLOOD this season, at least not with much enthusiasm, until I saw this trailer. I liked Russell Edgington, I mean that heart ripping news scene was pure gold (even though the rest of the season sucked). What has my curiosity up is the fact that Peter Mensah's (SPARTACUS) on board this season as an ass kicking vampire. Has this show run it's course or is it still capable of going for the jugular? Chances are this season will provide the answer.

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TRAILER: Game of Thrones S2 Finale

I still can't believe next week's the season finale of GAME OF THRONES, damn if this season didn't go by fast. I'm as happy as I can be with everything as it's gone down but I still feel it's all been a bit rushed and really wish we got more time with all these great characters. However, season 3's a go, so there's still lots to come, but one thing's for sure, it's going to be a long winter.

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GAME REVIEW: Diablo 3



GAME: Diablo 3

PUBLISHER: Blizzard Entertainment

CONSOLE: PC

RATING: 4.5/5

It's hard to believe DIABLO came out in 96. It was the first game I ever played on PC and what fueled me to buy my first computer (writing was a close second). This was back when Blizzard Entertainment wasn't a household name, but they were working hard at it. DIABLO 2 was a masterpiece, improving on everything the first game was and then some. The storyline was ground breaking, and though I enjoyed the first game's story, the second blew me away. The cinematics were unparallelled at the time, something Blizzard's become known for, and the story upped the DIABLO's ante significantly. Yes, there was an expansion, and it was all right, but whispers of DIABLO 3 have been circulating for years. Blizzard Entertainment blew up quickly. WARCRAFT 2 and 3 were great, but WORLD OF WARCRAFT gained a cult following like no other game out there. STARCRAFT 2 finally surfaced as well, so to say Blizzard's had their hands full these past twelve years since DIABLO 2 would be a severe understatement. Some believed DIABLO's time was up, but the third game is every bit as addictive as the first two with enough upgrades over it's predecessors to remain current. 

What's new? Well, they've added some new character classes to play with like a Witchdoctor, Demon Hunter, Monk and Barbarian. The Templar and Enchantress represent your old school Knight and Wizard characters from before, but these are also two of three class choices available to you as NPC followers (the Scoundrel being the third), so I recommend trying something new like I did (I chose the Demon Hunter). The follower idea is much like any other game, someone to distract the enemies while you try to overcome them, and like in most games, you can't really depend on them for much else. There's also many WORLD OF WARCRAFT upgrades like an Auction House (love this idea) where you buy items for gold, and even a soon to be active, real currency Auction House where you can purchase and sell in game items for real money (I haven't seen this in action yet). The new checkpoint system for saving your progress is annoying, but you get used to it. There are also many different achievements to keep you busy as well as a Jeweler and Armorer to help upgrade your stuff...which gets trickier as you progress. All in all, the new isn't bad and helped to re-shine this old penny. When it comes to old, well, if you've played these games you'll be happy to hear everything else stayed the same. I was a little disappointed by this at first, but quickly realized that if it's not broke (which it clearly isn't even after all this time) there's no need to fix it, a lesson Square/Enix should consider with the FINAL FANTASY franchise.

The graphics are beyond amazing down to the smallest detail. As I mentioned before, Blizzard's become known for soaring above and beyond when it comes to their cinematics and these don't disappoint in the slightest. That said, the only thing I was a little let down by was the storyline, it felt much too linear in comparison to DIABLO 2. Don't get me wrong, it's cool, especially the Nephalem stuff, but DIABLO 2 was groundbreaking in a way that really pulled you into the game. You didn't dare stop until you reached the next Act because you HAD to know what happens next. This one is still engaging to a point, but I just felt it should've reached higher, especially considering all the time they had to put into it. There are a few paths still open, hinting at expansion content and that's cool and all, but you see this story coming a mile away and that's something the first two games have over this one, especially DIABLO 2, you just didn't see that stuff coming and it made you cringe with excitement when all the pieces were finally revealed. Replay value is here in spades, much like before, with four difficulties; Normal, Nightmare, Hell and Inferno. Normal's cake, I cut through monsters like warm butter. Nightmare requires some planning, but as for Hell and Inferno, prepare to die like your playing DARK SOULS, especially on Bosses.

DIABLO 3 was worth the wait when it comes down to fun factor and sheer eye candy. There's something to be said about a game that can make you crave more...more gear, more dungeons, more chances at legendary loot, more, more, more. I wasn't sure I would feel that familiar itch so many years later but it's there, and it's damn hard to scratch! The other immeasurable factor working in DIABLO 3's favor is the voice acting and score. They're superb, truly superb. Blizzard may take their sweet ass time, but at least it does show in the final product. I also bought the collector's edition which came with loads of extras (being able to add the angel wing graphic to my character is a guilty pleasure), something else Blizzard is good about, they really do reward you for that extra money. DIABLO fans will enjoy this new installment and will burn hours and hours trying to master it in every way possible, but again, that's because the fun factor's still alive and well here and that's where Blizzard excels over other franchises. Yes, there comes a time in all games where it begins to feel a little like work, but that passes the minute you see something colorful and shiny hit the ground. I'm looking forward to seeing where they go from here.

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GAME TRAILER: Darksiders 2

Here's another look at DARKSIDERS 2 as Death makes short work of pretty much everything in his path. Enjoy.

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GAME TRAILER: Darksiders

In celebration of the upcoing DARKSIDERS 2 (which hits shelves in August), here's a look at the first game's prologue storyline to get fans reved up and non fans hopefully curious. The game's storyline is beyond epic, it started out as a graphic novel and it's game debut is nothing short of magical.

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TRAILER: The Apparition

I love where this one's going, the idea that ghosts only exists if we believe they do, meaning we make them real. Coolness...unless of course you're making ghosts real. The downside is there's lots of moments in the trailer that look heavily inspired by other films (THE RING most notably), and it's sporting a PG-13 rating which isn't doing it any favors either. I probably wouldn't hit in theatres but I'd say it'll be worth a look on Blu-ray.

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BEHIND THE SCENES: The Walking Dead S3

The Walking Dead took viewers by storm with it's hard hitting first season. It slowed down a bit with season 2's Sophia situation, but quickly got back on track and went out in style with the introduction of my personal favourite character Michonne. Yes, I've read the graphic novels and yes, they've changed quite a bit. I'm hoping they've learned not to go too far off the beaten path and hopefully we'll see some phenomenal drama, action and horror out of season 3. The Governer was voted into the list of the best 100 villains of all time so that's got to tell you something right there. I hope they don't water him down folks, because believe me, he's vile but it adds to his character and that's what you need him to be in this desolate world. I'm pumped for season 3, and here's a early look. Enjoy.

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TRAILER: Anchorman 2

Will Ferrell is hit and miss...and unfortunately most of the time he misses. However, ANCHORMAN's Ron Burgundy was not just a hit, he was a grand slam. Even now, Ron's adventure stands strong with multiple viewings. I'm happy as hell they're coming back with more ANCHORMAN action, but guys, you've got big shoes to fill and the demand for greatness had never been higher (as many comedic blunders over the past five years can attest to). I hope this delivers the goods because Ron Burgundy deserves to go out with a bang.

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TRAILER: Skyfall

Daniel Craig's reinvention of James Bond was pure magic to behold in CASINO ROYALE. Many people chastised QUANTUM OF SOLACE but I enjoyed it, it wasn't perfection but people seemed to forget it was a direct sequel to ROYALE, so viewing them as one big movie made the vision easier to see. SKYFALL is promising many things, and that's fine, I know for a fact Craig will deliver because Bond's his baby and he doesn't want to let the fans down. I have faith this will be a good time.

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REVIEW: The Dictator

"This movie's a joke, but not a funny one."


General Aladeen is Waadeya's eccentric Dictator, who just happens to be hard at work trying to make his country a nuclear force to be reckoned with.  The U.S. are on to him though and demand he personally speak on his country's behalf in New York, which just happens to be the perfect time for his uncle to stage a coup in hopes of cashing in on Waadeya's massive oil supply. 


To say Sacha Baron Cohen is an acquired taste would be a pristine understatement.  As you can well imagine, DA ALI G SHOW wasn't as widespread a phenomenon as you might think (for reals?) which ended up being a good thing for Cohen, otherwise BORAT and BRUNO wouldn't have fooled as many people as they did.  Of course, with the exposure both those spoof movies generated, I have no doubts that Sasha Baron Cohen would have a much harder time concealing himself at all, much less sporting a goofy beard.  Is this the reason he chose to go full comedy with this flick?  Maybe, maybe not, but one thing's for certain, for all of General Aladeen's fast talking bravado, it's a little sad to see him end up shooting blanks.


What made BORAT and BRUNO funny was Cohen's ability to fool normal people on the street into thinking he actually was these bizarro characters doing all sorts of outlandish things.  Now I'm not saying these two movies are blockbusters, far from it in fact.  I laughed myself into stitches during my initial viewings, but I tried re-watching both films and simply couldn't do it.  These movies are funny as hell the first go around, but unfortunately have little to no replay value.  That said, at least they were funny the first time.  THE DICTATOR simply isn't funny.  It tries to be, with the rewording of popular songs, swapping in the General's own lyrics (something I did enjoy), and then there's the ongoing joke about the General changing half the words in his country's language to "Aladeen" which spawn (crappy) gems like "Would you like the Aladeen news, or the Aladeen news?"  And, "I'm afraid you're HIV Aladeen."  Sigh.


As far as casting goes I wasn't at all surprised to see Anna Faris here, her career was over before it started anyway so what's one more stinker on her tab?  And I know this sounds mean, but this had to have been the most unattractive I've ever seen her (a point I make because she's Aladeen's love interest).  This was a definite waste of Ben Kingsley's time and why oh why would you lower yourself to these standards Edward Norton?  There was also a Megan Fox cameo which was destroyed by the trailers.  Funny thing about that though, the dialogue was altogether different, as was the case with most scenes from the trailers.  As per Cohen's M.O. there's quite a few "gross out" scenes as well.  Of course now that we know they're coming, they tend to grate on your nerves more than anything.  Seeing him milk a woman (yes, that way) is almost as ridiculous as including a (much too long) scene about masturbating for the first time.  Sigh.


THE DICTATOR could've been funny, there was lots of potential here, especially considering the political backdrop of the story.  Our government is a joke and we all know it, so having him poke fun at something we can relate to would've been a welcome addition.  I will give Cohen props for his advertising though, the man knows how to promote his films.  Sadly though, these promotional pieces were by far the funniest moments attached to this film.  There was also some funny blooper stuff after the credits and a decent scene with John C. Reilly but all in all this was a unforgivable mess of a comedy that did everything BUT make me laugh (and not just me, you could've heard a pin drop in that room).  The biggest smile to cross my features came when I excited the theatre.  Sorry folks, but this movie sucked major Aladeen.










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TRAILER: Arrow

I'll admit, as far as Superheroes go, I've always been more of a Marvel guy, with the exception of Batman and Superman. Watching SMALLVILLE opened my eyes to a little more of what the DC universe has to offer and when came to heroes, I was a big fan of Justin Hartley's portrayal of Oliver Queen (aka Green Arrow). I didn't think I'd like him as much as I did, but he quickly became a key part of the show for me. It sucks balls that Hartley didn't land this gig, the launch of ARROW, a show dedicated to Green Arrow, as he'd have rocked it in my opinion. That said, I like where this guy's coming from as well and I'm all for giving the show a shot. The trailer's tight and appealing, and the CW's pretty good when it comes to late night (none HBO/SHOWTIME/AMC) television.

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TRAILER: True Blood Season 5

When it comes to TRUE BLOOD I can honestly say I was blown away by the first season, there's been more than a few vampire shows on TV over the years and well, to put it simply, most of them sucked. There were a couple good ones, KINDRED THE EMBRACED, BLADE (yes, there was a series but no, it wasn't Wesley Snipes), and much to my surprise, THE VAMPIRE DIARIES. This show was different though, it didn't shy away from sex and violence and I dug that, but then things went downhill in season 2 and then barely tread water in season 3 (loved Russell though). Last season was a mixed bag, some good, some ridiculous but all in all watchable. I sincerely hope they try better this season otherwise I just don't see this show going much further.

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GAME TRAILER: Diablo 3

With Diablo 3 finally just days away, Blizzard's released this cool video to bring fans and non-fans alike up to speed on some of the angel/demon business. Very cool.


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GAME TRAILER: Dishonored

This one looks very interesting from a story standpoint, though it's clear ASSASSIN'S CREED played a hand in it's conception. Not sure what kind of mask this guy's sporting or where he got his combat training but I'm eager to find out.


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GAME TRAILER: Mortal Kombat: Now And Then

Mortal Kombat is one of (if not THE) favourite of my video game origins. I've loved this game from ground zero, hell, I even tracked down and bought an MK2 arcade game last year (my woman still doesn't understand, but every guy that sees it does). They've had some cool real life trailers in the past, the one for MK2's platform release being the best of the bunch (at the time), and though this PS Vista one of Mileena's huge cleavage isn't all that ground breaking, it still manages to get the boob job done. And if you're loving the MK revival, be sure to check out MORTAL KOMBAT LEGACY, the web episode compilation and of course I've assembled all three trailers for your viewing pleasure.


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GAME TRAILER: Transformers: Fall Of Cybertron

I loved the Transformers as a kid and the idea of playing them in a game has always been cool. Not so cool are the many incarnations of Transformer games we've been blessed with over the years. The good news is, I've had a chance to get my hands on some playable content for FALL OF CYBERTRON and it's enough to make you feel ten again...with attitude. This trailer looks great, as did the footage of Grimlock going nuts with a sword and shield. FALL OF CYBERTRON looks like it's the Transformers game fans have been waiting for.

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REVIEW: The Avengers

"There are two words that come to mind, thank you."

When researching the cosmic cube's infinite energy source attracts the attention of a potential threat outside our galaxy, Nick Fury goes forward with The Avengers Initiative, calling forth Earth's mightiest Superheroes in hopes of creating a team strong enough to save mankind from domination.


The Avengers.  Marvel really wanted to break the mold and took some major risks here, and with a (record breaking) opening weekend of 200 million dollars, it's obvious that everyone around the Marvel camp is happy.  The road to success however, wasn't an easy one.  Robert Downey Jr. was the first wildcard in IRON MAN, he nailed it.  Then came Chris Hemsworth in THOR, he also nailed it.  I'm a huge fan of Chris Evans and knew for a fact he'd rock in CAPTAIN AMERICA, but I was worried about the film itself as Cap was the harder piece of the puzzle to introduce.  Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury also helped, along with S.H.E.I.L.D. agent Coulson.  These guys being present and planting seeds in all the Marvel films definitely provided a strong base for things to come, and we were all silently hoping this buildup would not be in vain.  To say that it wasn't would be the ultimate understatement.


It would be easy to start "fan boy gushing" right now with all the things they got right, but to properly appreciate what Marvel's accomplished here, we need to first discuss some of the bumps in the road.  There's always been a demand for this sort of thing, but studios were never sure the audience was there, or rather a bankable audience to sustain such a ridiculously expensive endeavor.  One of the reasons SONY dropped Tobey Mcguire (and the idea of a SPIDER-MAN 4) was because he wanted too much damn money.  Really, Seabiscuit!?  Because you're in such high demand these days aren't you?  There's also a reason sequels to Anne Rice's INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE lost steam, we got QUEEN OF THE DAMNED, but as fans of the novels and movies know, the same cast of characters were all played by different actors, even Lestat (no offence to Stuart Townsend, but seriously guys, did you think he could even touch Tom Cruise's take on the character?).  Money is at the heart of it all, and this is why everyone was skeptical as to whether or not we'd ever see this happen.


Marvel was smart and ended up with a well rounded cast who all proved themselves and earned gold as far as I'm concerned.  The other key element was bringing on Joss Whedon to direct and help write the script.  Known primarily for his work on BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, Whedon knows how to carry an ensemble cast of characters with a balance that sees them all get the screen time they need and deserve.  This has always been a major problem with collaborative films that quite frankly just try to cram too many characters, stories, arcs and events into too small a timeframe.  This past decade has shown us this problem is being addressed and in most cases worked well, though not always.  Whedon also has a flare for dialogue, something this film delivers in spades (which is also one of the best reasons to check out Whedon's other recent film, THE CABIN IN THE WOODS).  The dialogue and character interactions here are stellar and in some cases will have you in stitches, all the while never compromising  its action/adventure tone.


The cast worked marvellously off one another.  Obviously, Tony Stark (my personal favourite) is hilarious in a team oriented environment.  Nearly every line that comes out of his mouth is pure gold.  RDJ knows this character in and out and I just can't see anyone else taking on the role and doing a better job.  On the opposite end of the spectrum is Mark Ruffalo who replaced Edward Norton as Bruce Banner/The Hulk.  Everyone was worried about him.  Now sure, I said Cap's movie was the hardest to pull off as an origin story, but make no mistake, the hardest character to portray in this scenario is and will always be The Hulk.  I didn't care for Ang Lee's version of The Hulk, but I loved Marvel's second go around with Edward Norton.  That said, Ruffalo's Hulk was damn near perfection.  What a difference!  This Hulk looked awesome, acted out like he would in the comics (he easily steals the show with some of the best and most entertaining scenes in the movie) and I have to say I really loved the back and forth between Stark and Banner when it came to tapping into each other's brainpan.  Well done Mark, well done. 


Now one of the issues THE X-MEN faced in their exploits on film was the fact there are really only a couple cool X-MEN while the rest are sub-par at best (some downright laughable even).  The same can be said of THE AVENGERS.  Do we really need or care about Hawkeye and Black Widow?  Not really, but being spies does make them the most realistic and valid entries to a team backed by S.H.E.I.L.D. who are pretty much a wing of the government.  I think Jeremy Renner is an awesome up and coming action star, and I won't take anything away from how Hawkeye was portrayed here (loved the switching of arrowheads and cool gadgets), and I don't have anything against ScarJo per say, but Black Widow is certainly the least favourite of the group (and I found the reasoning behind her not having a Russian accent odd).  Now this is me putting the film under a magnifying glass for sure, but I'm also trying to be objective here. 
THE AVENGERS has been labelled the "end all, be all" of comic book films and I'm here to tell you that's not completely accurate, nor would we want it to be.  It's by far the best Marvel (maybe even comic book movie) venture to date, but we've only scratched the surface, shouting to the world "YES FOLKS, IT CAN BE DONE, AND DONE RIGHT!"  The ambition put into this movie is vast, something that hit home for me when the first round of credits rolled and I saw the villain behind Loki.  I can't and won't give it away, but as a fan boy I'm not ashamed to admit I had tears of excitement in my eyes.  I was a little worried about Loki being the main villain simply because Thor kicks his ass all over the place in THOR, so why wouldn't he be able to do the same here, right?  Now the army was hit and miss for me, they were unique enough to feel distinctly different, but their execution was painfully reminiscent of TRANSFORMERS DARK SIDE OF THE MOON--a portal is set up on a tall building which opens an intergalactic gateway in the sky, followed by baddies seeping through.  Again, this is me putting it all in perspective as a whole, but make no mistake, this movie is epic on every level and worth the money (even in 3D) two or even three times over.  I loved it and will see it again in theatres.  There's no better way to kick off a summer movie marathon than going to see THE AVENGERS.     

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TRAILER: The Watch

Not sure when they decided to drop the "neighbourhood", but apparently it's now just called The Watch. Vince Vaughn's had some ups and downs lately and neither Jonah Hill nor Ben Stiller are batting a thousand, yet all three together just might work, especially when it's an rated R flick. Not sure about the whole alien's approach but this trailer does show me that there may indeed be some solid laughs to be had. I'll be there, but my expectations won't be high.

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TRAILER: The Amazing Spider-Man

I've always loved Spider-Man. As a kid I collected the comics (the first one I ever bought had the Lizard in it coincidentally), watched every incarnation of the cartoon and loved two out of three feature films (damn you Sam Raimi for killing any chances of a Venom film with your useless representation of the character). Now I'm not much for this whole re-booting of films that aren't even five years old, but I have to admit, I'm very excited about this movie. Sure, they're using Peter's parents as the "untold story" backdrop, but this Spider-Man feels darker, gritter and more down to earth than Raimi's vision and I love that. I'm sure when the smoke clears and I review the final product there will definitely be some pros and cons, but dammit I'm still optimistic.

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TRAILER: The Expendables 2

Obviously I was pumped for this after the first one (take it or leave it, part one rocked for the sheer premise alone), but all that PG-13 talk definitely had me worried. Not sure where it came from, what the point was, or why in hell it took so long to squash, but thankfully this baby's rated R...the way it should be. I love seeing the boys all back, and with Van Damme as the bad guy (husband's bulge), and Schwarzenegger and Willis mixed in (yes, and Chuck Norris too), I'm very invested in what this flick has to offer. Hopefully they're not packing too many big fish into a small pond.

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TRAILER: The Dark Knight Rises

This summer's really bringing it's A game when it comes to comic book based films. I love the Nolan led Batman films, they reinvigorated a dead series that simply wasn't doing the character justice anymore. I hate the fact that Nolan, Bale and the rest of the crew are done after this one, I hate that there's rumblings of a re-boot in our near future, and I really hate that it feels like Batman's going to die (I won't even mention my thoughts on Robin). That said, this flick will be fantastic, I'm sure of that, but I think the emotional ride will be a mixed one.

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