GAME TRAILER: God Of War Ascension

The GOD OF WAR games breathed new life into Greek mythology and birthed a badass hero gamers have come to know and love (I personally own a set of Kratos' blades). Some games lose their luster as sequels wear on, but ASCENSION looks to deliver more of the great things we've come to expect from this series. March is shaping up to be a good month for gaming.

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GAME TRAILER: StarCraft 2: Heart Of The Swarm

StarCraft 2 was an amazing game and worth the ridiculous wait Blizzard forced us to endure (wish I could say the same for DIABLO 3), and although they decided to release each campaign separately for extra cash, I'm still very stocked for the Zerg campaign as they and the Protoss were always my favorites. This opening cinematic looks great and I can't wait to sink my teeth into this when it hits shelves.

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TRAILER: Game Of Thrones S3

Merely a minute long tease of a trailer, I'm still floored by any footage of the new season. Just over a month away now, GAME OF THRONES S3 is no doubt THE thing to be waiting for. Now that the show is in full bloom (and based on the fact this will be a two season rendition of the next book), we're bound to be in for some good times. I'm counting down the days folks, are you?

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TRAILER: Mortal Kombat Legacy S2

I loved season one of MK Legacy, it was a raw, down to earth look at the MK universe with some great fight sequences, acting and story components. I was pumped for a second season but after watching the trailer I'm a bit torn. On the plus side we have Cary-Hiryuki Tagawa popping up as Shang Tsung (he portrayed the sorcerer in the first MORTAL KOMBAT film), and additions like Casper Van Dien (that poor bastard really needs the work), but on the flip side I just don't get why they've changed up a pile of the other actors. Everyone involved last season could act as well as fight, so why fix it if it ain't broken? Hopefully this won't be as big a deal as I think, but either way, this looks like an updated version of the TV series, which in itself is a cool thing.

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REVIEW: A Good Day To Die Hard

"Fun if you're not looking for a true sequel."

Badass cop John McClane travels to Russia (on vacation) to reconnect with his son, Jack, who is seemingly in trouble with the law.  Much to John's surprise, his son Jack in a CIA agent working to prevent a nuclear catastrophe, which John McClane reluctantly becomes a part of.

When I originally heard they were filming a new DIE HARD I cringed.  Not because of Bruce Willis (admittedly he looks great for his age and can still bring it on screen), but because times have changed and trying to recapture the action dream of yesteryear is like trying to catch a unicorn.  This flick feels more like a buddy cop movie than a DIE HARD entry, and I truly feel that if it had been manufactured as such people would have loved it.  Sadly, this is not the case.  I've heard some people complain about the over-the-top story elements--like the added spy angle, weapon's grade plutonium and nukes.  I don't mind that so much, simply because you have to ask yourself, "where else could they go?"  You start off the series with a kidnapping and some guns, then we upgrade to oozies and a plane, then bombing schools and so on, so again, where else could they go from there?  If only that were the end of the  complaints.  Unfortunately, it's the beginning.

The biggest problem lies with Bruce Willis' John McClane.  Where's the hard edged cop from DIE HARD one and two?  He ain't here that's for sure.  McClane's dialogue is forced and clunky, almost like Willis has forgotten how to emulate McClane in light of all the badass roles he's played over the years.  So if Willis is confused about who McClane is, how are we, the audience, supposed to be anything but confused?  Jai Courtney is a fine addition to the show as McClane's son and handles the action like a champ (not surprising coming from SPARTACUS: BLOOD AND SAND).  His breakout in this flick and JACK REACHER are awesome news and I hope he does well in the future.  It was rumored he'd be taking over this franchise, which would work for me, but who knows.

The villains are another low.  We get a dude actually do a jig in front of the boys in an attempt to strike fear into their hearts.  Sigh.  There's a muscle bound (nameless) Russian thug who looks cool, but is terribly misused.  Now I don't want to spoil anything, but I just don't get the switchover that happens (you'll know it), it begs a great many question to add to your confusion pile.  The action is fantastic though, I'll say that at least.  They blow up and destroy nearly everything in every scene.  The opening car chase was pretty cool, as was the chopper blowing the hell out of the building, but I have to wonder what the bad guys were thinking while piloting the chopper at the end (and don't get me started on Jack's wound that should have taken him of the game completely but is shrugged off as a scratch).

A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD promised much, but delivered very little in the way of "DIE HARD" brand.  And I hate to sound petty, but what happened to all the scenes in the trailer?  The scene where the girl takes off the leather jumpsuit was cut way back, the opening scene with McClane in the taxi went NOTHING like it did in the movie, and there were a couple other mismatched scenes as well.  Why?  I just don't get it.  The R rating also excited me in the beginning, but other than tossing in a couple F-bombs and his infamous catch phrase, I didn't see an R rating, there wasn't even red mist seen when shooting people.  I'm also no Chemistry major, but the two of these guys would be in for some serious repercussions if they swallowed any of that water.  Again, you'll know.  In the end, this is watchable, but nowhere near memorable, which is disappointing.


   

 

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REVIEW: Identity Thief

"Good, but could have been much better."

A mild mannered accountant must undertake a very different vacation to Florida as he pursues an outrageous woman who's stolen his identity and as a result, has had him served up to the police.  Bringing her back is the only to clear his name, but he soon realizes this is easier said than done.

It's nice to have something to look forward to, theatrically, in the cold, glum months of January and February considering these are generally the months where Hollywood is slumming.  And as for me, I love a good comedy, so upon viewing the trailer for IDENTITY THIEF, I thought I'd found something to look forward to--THIS IS 40, however, was a nice surprise in the laugh the department.  Although this wasn't exactly terrible, it feels like a complete rehash of DUE DATE in tone and style, swapping out McCarthy for Galifianakis as well as a couple plot ideas.  In the end, it's pretty much the same movie.

I think Jason Bateman is awesome, I truly do.  His persona and comedic tone are "take it or leave it" as most comedians are these days, but he always manages to get you on his side by being a likable character.  Melissa McCarthy is an altogether different story.  I didn't care for BRIDESMAIDS and feel it was undeserving of all the hype it mustered.  I didn't find McCarthy's character likable or entertaining there, but she was hilarious in THIS IS 40.  That said, the trailer for THE HEAT came out shortly after IDENTITY THIEF and clearly showed me that McCarthy's crass over-the-top act no doubt has an expiry date.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy this type of humor, but after awhile is does get old.

All this aside, the story is rather useless.  From taking a serious crime that's sweeping the nation and poking fun at it, to giving us little to no hope in the law.  I mean seriously, is this really police protocol?  You have a picture of a known felon stealing a man's identity and you just do nothing?  Where's Dog the bounty hunter when you need him?  Don't get me wrong, I'm all for him going after her, but I'd have simplified the situation to handcuffs and a taser.  The plan would go as follows:  Find her, get close, taser her in the face, cuff her, throw her in the drunk, open a Red Bull and start the journey home.  There's no entertainment value there movie-wise, but it's a solid plan.  As for the thugs she's angered along the way?  Let her take a bullet or two, she seems resilient enough and the cops didn't say they needed her alive.

IDENTITY THIEF was disappointing, but I wasn't expecting much going in.  This flick screamed "all the best parts were jammed into the trailer", so my expectations were low.  I was hoping to be surprised, but that simply didn't happen.  Both Bateman and McCarthy worked well off one another in a way, but after seeing the trailer so many times, watching him get punched in the throat and seeing her thrown around like a ragdoll didn't stretch as far as I hoped it would.  Some people are comparing McCarthy's work to the late Chris Farley, which I agree with as much as I disagree with.  I agree on the side of her antics matching his, and because of this, as I mentioned before, her routine will get old just as Farley's did (TOMMY BOY was the performance he never could top or duplicate).  However, I disagree because no matter the role, or how utterly stupid it may have come across, Farley was a lovable teddy bear you just wanted to squeeze.  I find McCarthy's characters entertaining (for the moment), but they're far from likeable and this could play a deciding role in her long-term appeal. 

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TRAILER: Cobra Recruitment Video

This recruitment video for enlisting into Cobra's army is pretty sweet (and voiced by Keith David which is also sweet). I'm loving all the promotional work involved, I just hope this flick delivers after all the push backs. The first one's a guilty pleasure, and although I'm sure this will be better, that knowledge in itself is not enough to bank on. Here's hoping it doesn't suck.

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TRAILER: Fast & Furious 6

This Superbowl trailer blows the rest out of the water, mainly because this is our first look at Dom and the gang back in action. I'm loving the premise and loving the team--not to mention the Rock is an awesome addition to the group. These movies have stood the test of time and still continue to kick ass and take names. Looking forward to this one.

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GAME TRAILER: God Of War Ascestion

The original GOD OF WAR was a phenomenal game, meshing together Greek Gods and lore with blood, guts and gore. Loved it. I lost track after that--despite meaning to revisit the series--but things are looking better than ever for Kratos and crew. This trailer may even be a tease toward the concept of a film down the road. Personally, I'd love to see Zack Snyder direct a hard R, 300-esque representation of the game series. A guy can dream.

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REVIEW: Bullet To The Head

"It's great to see Stallone in top form doing what he does best."

A tough as nails hitman loses his partner after being set-up by his employer.  The job in question had him kill an ex-cop which brings an FBI agent to town on the hunt.  Both men reluctantly team up and go on a bloody rampage to put the men ultimately responsible down.

I've been waiting for BULLET TO THE HEAD for awhile now, pumped to see Stallone back in leading man form starring in something that wasn't EXPENDABLES, RAMBO or ROCKY.  Don't get me wrong, I love all the previously mentioned films, but it was time for something new.  I wish it had come out before THE LAST STAND however, as I don't like the negative connection being made there.  Arnold's first solo flick back didn't fare too well at the box office and no, neither did Sly's as far as opening weekend numbers go, but if you asked me which of the two was the better film, Sly wins hands down (here's the hoping their teaming in THE TOMB yields better numbers theatrically).

Something people need to realize from the get-go is that action films aren't there to win awards, "wow" us or make us think, they're there to pump us up and tap into our inner animals.  Sly's hardened assassin alter ego was pitch perfect--he felt reminiscent of an older version of his character in ASSASSINS.  Say what you will about the nearly seventy year old veteran, but damn does he still look good on screen and make no mistake about it, he can still carry a fight scene.  The fight choreography  is touch and go with some "shaky cam" work, but the film delivers when it comes to fight scenes (especially if you want to hear and feel the punches).

I was also a fan of the dialogue in both Stallone's monologues and in his interactions with co-star Sung Kang (FAST AND THE FURIOUS).  Sly's end of things was loaded with smartly timed one liners and many a laugh.  Kang felt weak on screen though and pulled the vibe down for me at times--probably because I knew going in that Thomas Jane was originally in the role, only to be fired when the film changed directors.  But the true underdog gem here is Jason Momoa as the film's villain (and hat's off to Christian Slater's small role as a slimy lawyer--that dude sure knows how to throw a party).  Momoa is a total badass and carries himself as such.  His opening scene with the knives was brilliant as was the final battle with the axes.  This guy is pure awesome and I sincerely hope he gets his due because this flick's success (in my eyes) is based just as much on his performance as it is on Sly's.

BULLET TO THE HEAD won't do all that well in theaters and that's mostly because of LIONSGATE's uncanny inability to properly market a film.  Most people have no idea what this movie is, and that's a damn shame.  Again, don't go in to it with any other mindset than "let's turn up the volume for some good old fashioned whoop-ass", because if you do, you may end up disappointed.  The rest of us you, however, will love the ride and silently pray you'll be looking this good come seventy (here's hoping).  This bad boy was gritty, dark, bloody and just funny enough to break the tension when needed.  The characters worked and the story was good enough to keep me interested.  And at the end of the day, the action scenes were top notch and that's what kept a smile on my face from start to finish.



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TRAILER: The Percy Harris Story

It's not easy to get what you want in today's world, you have to want it and work hard to get it. My friend, Robynne Eaton, is someone who's been doing just that--working her ass off to get what she wants. From modeling to music videos and now her first film. It's a tremendous feeling, one that can't be explained, it needs to be felt. I have the first freelance writing check I ever received laminated and hanging on the wall. The closest I've come to film is having my name listed in the credits for the use of a four panel comic I wrote, but it's still a damn good feeling. So here's to Robynne's latest triumph, congrats my dear, I wish you all the best and can't wait to hear about your next project.

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