Yeah it’s true. This post is coming late in the year, but now it’s summer and I don’t have the courage to play the awful Godzilla game on the PS4. I am now completely free to play the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt for a good while. The review is coming, everybody. I beg of you to be patient with me like with my Arkham Knight Review. After just a few hours of gameplay, I can tell you the it’s freaking amazing. I highly recommend you go out and buy it on either the PC or the consoles. It’s going to take at least a week to get halfway through the game; I REFUSE to rush through it. Give me time and patience. As for the downgrade controversy, from what I read on the Internet it seems like the graphics are not as high resolution as they were at E3 2014. It is believed that this, as well as it’s apparent delay, was because the developers wanted the PC version to look as good as the console version; the consoles may not have been able to handle that type of power. I do not mean to say “PC Mater Race” because that is honestly not true. While does seem shady on the surface, CD Projekt RED is just treating it’s fans and customers like real people. Anyway, my fully written review of the Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is coming soon, so keep your eyes peeled.
It’s time to go ant-size, or go home. This superhero action-adventure film was released worldwide on July 17th, 2015. It managed to gross $229.9 million at the box office, so far making it the least grossing movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Interestingly, one of the most amusing ways Marvel marketed this film was in January, they released a half-minute teaser that was ant-sized and another that was full-sized. It’s good to have a little fun during advertising. After nearly two decades of trying to adapt the Ant-Man story to the big screen, Stan Lee must be proud of Marvel’s finished product. A reclusive scientist named Hank Pym has made contact with his estranged daughter, Hope, with plans to stop his deranged former protege, Darron Cross, from creating technology that could shrink soldiers. These shrinking suits will be known as Yellowjackets, which references a later suit Hank Pym invents in the comics. Traumatized by the mysterious death of his wife, Pym enlists former con-man Scott Lang to help steal his old Ant-Man suit in exchange that Lang can get to see his daughter again. Lang, having just been released from prison, is trying to get his life back in order; meaning he initially turns down his old heist crew. But economic hardships force him to take up Pym’s offer. Scott Lang is given a charming and charismatic performance by relatively underrated comedy actor, Paul Rudd. Meanwhile Michael Douglas shows just how old Hank Pym really is. Former Lost star Evangeline Lilly does a decent job as Hope van Dyne, and a number of other actors join in on the fun such as T.I., Stan Lee Michael Pena, and Corey Stoll. Easily what makes this film work is its bizarre sense of humor. Instead of trying to have us relate with these characters and the story, Marvel highlights how ridiculous the concept of it is, and poke fun at it. The result is consistently funny writing brought to us by two masters of comedic screenplays, Edgar Wright and Adam McKay. Ranging from jokes about good vs evil to dog-sized ants, the script was just straight up fun and hilarious. However I didn’t get hear a few jokes because a third of the way through the movie there was a power surge at the theater I went to and there was no volume for a few scenes. Thankfully the context of those scenes was explained later on in the film. As always I stayed for the post-credit scenes after the film was over. There were two scenes this time that revealed secrets of upcoming movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which I refuse to spoil. And the soundtrack wasn’t very memorable, since it was practically crushed by the film’s amazing visuals. At one point, we get a glimpse of a human inside a subatomic quantum realm that seen=ms reminiscent of the time Tesseract in Interstellar. Whatever your opinion may be on that subject, there is still enough hilarious jokes fun, entertaining special effects in Ant-Man to be worth your time and money at the theaters. Just hope that the theater you’re in doesn’t have a power surge in the middle of an important scene.
I know, I know. “Cade, where’s your review for Ant Man? It’s been almost a week.” The review is in progress. Expect it to show up in a few days. But for right now, I need to share my thoughts on EA and DICE’s brand new upcoming game. I’m going to draw comparisons from its predecessors as well as DICE’s Battlefield series. Now Battlefront II has to be one of my favorite games not only of my favorite games in the third/first person shooter genre, but also on the PlayStation 2. It inevitably had a few technical issues, but had significant additions and improvements. The single player component had a substantial depth and enjoyment, the Galactic Conquest was addictive as hell, and the consoles were able to host 64-player wars with a host of upgrades. Cool Hero classes, better A.I., faithful map recreations of Star Wars locations, intense space battles, and was an improvement in almost every aspect over it’s predecessor. But whatever happened to Battlefront 3? Well it was in development, but was cancelled by LucasArts in 2008. And after LucasArts was closed down by Disney in 2013, many believed that it would never come out. But at E3 2013, EA and DICE unveiled a small teaser of their revived version of Battlefront. And in 2014 and 2015, when gameplay was officially revealed and what to expect for the game’s launch, gamers created a long backlash over social media. I myself am kind of skeptical that this can be done. Why? Because EA has become one of the most evil and greedy corporations in America. They charged $120 for the disastrous Battlefield 4, hundreds more just for server access, and forced micro-transactions with Battle Packs. The game is much better and more stable now, but it was still a shameful display. Earlier this year, EA and Visceral Games did the exact same model for Battlefield Hardline with $120 for the full game and the four upcoming expansions; while that game had a pretty stable launch, it was anywhere close to being worth even $60. So EA has one shot left this year with the long-awaited Star Wars: Battlefront. Honestly, I think it could hit or miss. For starters it takes away the features that made Battlefront II awesome. Galactic Conquest, Space Battles, and a single player campaign are completely gone. I really wanted a dynamic battle from ground to space, where it would change if a star destroyer crashed in the middle of the field and killed many soldiers. Or give the Galactic Conquest and single player more RPG elements and improve on them. Nope, now it’s just ground battles in the Classic Trilogy. Hero classes are still an option as are dog fights in the air, but classes have transformed into Call-of-Duty-style customizable loadouts, which isn’t a terrible thing. Those epic 64-player battles, which were also on Battlefield 3 and 4, have been reduced to 40-player matches. On the good side though, Battlefront looks stunningly beautiful with the Frostbite Engine. It looks like some of the new modes, like Walker Assault, will encourage teamwork from players. As far as I can tell, the annoying Battlelog will not be included in Star Wars: Battlefront, although I’m still unsure about Battle Packs. We know the name of just one DLC so far: Battle of Jakku, which adds two maps and one planet that precedes the events of The Force Awakens. It’s free if you pre-ordered the game, but haven’t we learned by now that pre-ordering games is incredibly risky? Especially with EA’s history? But the gameplay looks better than I thought it would be, and I might review the game, but I SWEAR TO GOD! EA if you so much as put one battle pack in this game or fill it with bugs, I will lose all hope. If so, the Star Wars community will bombard you from high orbit.
Damn, did this movie hit close to home or what? Certainly in my book. This coming-of-age comedy-drama film by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon was released on June 12th, 2015, meaning it was slightly overshadowed by Inside Out. That’s okay though because it already was gaining strong reviews at the Sundance Film Festival and early screenings. Based on the novel of the same name by Jesse Andrews, the plot is told from the perspective of Greg Gaines, an awkward and self-hating senior boy in high school who tries to drift in the schools cliques. One day, he learns from his mother that an old childhood friend of his, Rachel Kushner, is diagnosed with leukemia. Greg is then forced by his mother, played professionally by Connie Bolton, to befriend Rachel and comfort her through chemotherapy. Now let me just gush about Rachel for a second. She has to be one of the most fascinating, sympathetic, down-to-Earth, perfectly written and acted characters I’ve seen in some time; possibly the greatest cancer-stricken movie character to date. Olivia Cooke captures her emotional struggle so well and her chemistry with Thomas Mann as Greg is very strong. Eventually Greg drags his best friend and filmmaking partner, Earl, to help him through the process, and even eventually make a movie about her. Meanwhile, Greg’s social life at school begins to change drastically. Nick Offerman plays his care-free father who gives him some absurd advice while Greg’s teacher Mr. McCarthy tells him that his grades are dropping. In fact, his grades are so poor that the college he applies for rescinds his application. The screenplay, written by the book’s author Jesse Andrews, is beautifully balanced between drama and comedy, leaving laughing during one moment and then choking up in the next. It was so close to home. Possibly the funniest part in the whole movie was when Greg visited Rachel for the first time. Her poster of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine started mentally speaking to Greg using Hugh Jackman’s actual voice. This was probably the funniest I’ve heard of Jackman yet. The film also seems to have a deep, passionate love for classic cinema. Most of the films Earl and Greg made together are parodies of classic films. So something like A Clockwork Orange would be modified into something silly like A Sockwork Orange. They’re supposed to be hilariously bad, but some actually also kind of cute. As one of my favorite films of the year so far, I can tell you that this film is emotion-heavy and leave you with an entirely different perspective on cancer once you walk out of the theater. A beautiful movie based on a beautiful novel, Me and Earl and The Dying Girl was funny as it was insightful on the process of chemotherapy and true friendship. You can just skip out on summer movie crap like Terminator: Genysis and The Gallows and try to branch out into a more independent and artistic film. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
In preparation for the Dawn of Justice film, I have to review the day Batman died. This superhero film was released on June 20th, 1997, and somehow managed to gross $238.2 million at the box office; if you saw this film in the theaters, I am sorry for you. In the story, Batman and the Dick Grayson Robin are tracking down two mysterious villains named Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy who want to reshape Gotham in their own twisted imagination while Alfred is dying of a terminal illness. Oh, and they saw fit to include Batgirl into the mix. That is the full extent of the story, exposing how little time was put into this. At least the cast tries hard, but you can clearly tell that Chris O’Donnell and George Clooney do not want to be there. Yes, even though he sounds perfect for the role, George Clooney fails horribly as the billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne A.K.A. Batman. The only actor who seems to be committed to their role is Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze, but it still proves to be one of his worst film roles to date, which is saying something. Speaking of Mr. Freeze, I have to mention the slew of terrible puns. There are so many that I’ve lost count after “Let’s kick some Ice!” However, these puns prove to be one of the only sources of entertainment as they can tend to be hilariously stupid. The other form of true entertainment comes in the form of quiet, fireside conversations between Alfred Pennyworth and Bruce Wayne to signify their close relationship. These scenes actually were watchable and gave the film a sense of depth and believable humanity. Unfortunately, that’s about where the positives stop. Essentially everything afterwards is so poorly executed that director Joel Schumacher actually posted an apology to fans in a 2005 DVD release of the film. That feature also featured actors George Clooney, Alicia Silverstone, and Chris O’Donnell confessing how uncomfortable they felt while wearing ridiculous costumes. Despite strong attempts to stay true to the original material, these costumes were just so weird. How can any of us forget those damn nipples and enlarged codpieces? Apparently, due to excessive shots of these body parts, there are some that believe Joel Schumacher was attempting homoerotic innuendo. Whether or not that’s true is up to your interpretation. But one thing is for sure: this film’s tone and style was way too campy and light. No wonder Warner Bros. is making sure that never happens with there latest films. Interestingly, it is said that Warner Bros. fast-tracked the development of this film, which is why Joel Schumacher believes this was a disaster. Even so, Schumacher STOP MAKING THESE KIND OF MOVIES! I sympathize with you when these films are made. Get your orders down from Warner Bros., make in a just a few short months. What the hell do you do? I don’t know, but you do not come out with a film like this; it’s wrong. I don’t know how Dawn of Justice could be any worse, but hopefully we see more effort put in into production than this abomination.
I am the night! I am vengeance! I am… a few days late on this review. This action-adventure superhero video game was first released on June 23rd, 2015, following much anticipation. I waited until midnight to get my copy of the game at GameStop. I can already tell you that I love it and it’s my favorite game of the year so far. But how does it stack up against Rocksteady’s first two games? (Yes, only two games. Arkham Origins doesn’t count) Well simply put, it takes several steps forward but also a couple tiny tiptoes backwards. Set about a year after the events of Arkham City, both Gotham and Batman are having a difficult time adjusting to the Joker’s absence and the decrease in crime. But on Halloween night, after a pretty creepy first-person intro, Scarecrow threatens to cover Gotham City in his fear toxin. This leads the city to get evacuated by everybody except for the police and Batman. Poison Ivy, Two-Face, the Riddler, and Penguin also take advantage of the abandoned city, all of whom can be defeated in side missions. Right by the Scarecrow’s side is the titular Arkham Knight, a highly trained military commander with an army behind him and a personal grudge with Batman. Without spoiling much, I was fairly disappointed when the Arkham Knight’s big reveal was actually predictable; he’s not exactly an original character as we were lead to think. Oh well. The story has plenty of surprising twists and turns I wasn’t expecting, and keeps you engaged throughout the whole 10-13 hour run-time. add in nearly a dozen other interesting side missions, than I have about 40-50 hours of Tripe-A gameplay. Speaking of gameplay, the combat is as refined as it’s going to get in the series. Though the game is by no means particularly brutal or difficult, combat encourages you to use creative combos with either your fists or your gadgets. One of the latest additions is Dual Gameplay. During certain combat scenarios that involve Nightwing, Robin, or Catwoman, you can swap between them to experience their different abilities or perform dual takedowns together. However, unlike Arkham City, you can’t swap between the characters at certain points on the map for specific objectives. The map is pretty big this time around; at least five times the size of Arkham City. The streets are always brimming with thugs and side activities. To navigate these streets, you are provided with the tank-like Batmobile. The design looks reminiscent of Christopher Nolan’s incarnation. However, there are some legitimate concerns. The steering felt kind of slippery at times and while it can be fun to wreak havoc in the open-aired streets, during the campaign it feels a bit like it’s shoved down your throat. But it works well enough for the game. As the first game in the series on next-gen consoles, the game’s visuals look gorgeous. Gotham City and the street’s are filled excellent detail. Especially during Scarecrow’s nightmare visions. The audio is also superb. The sound design and soundtrack fit so well with the tone and direction of the game. And the voice acting is film-quality. Kevin Conroy and John Noble in particular stand out as Scarecrow and Batman. However I did come into a few technical problems; a couple funny glitches here and there. The worst I’ve encountered so far were just two freezes. Thankfully, the game has great autosave for this. But this brings to the most controversial part: The PC port. I have been fortunate enough to play the game on my PS4, but the Steam community has reported a bunch of problems. There is some very questionable framerate loss and poorly optimized visuals. Some aren’t able to even play it. Thankfully, Rocksteady was quick to respond to this and removed it from Steam. Please share your own experience with the game in the comments. But for me, it’s a true swan song for Rocksteady’s stellar incarnation of the Batman. I have no problem playing through all of it in the Story Plus.
*Arkham Knight Update: Very close to the end! Review coming soon!*
Can Pixar make a comeback with one animated film? Yes, yes it can. This animated film was first released on June 19th, 2015, and opened up to rave reviews and $273.6 million at the box office. Although Pixar had seemed to have an over-reliance on sequels, this film brought back their reputation of original concepts and innovative storytelling. Inspired by a Walt Disney short from World War II, the plot revolves around the idea of emotions having control on a person’s mind and life. We follow Riley, an 11-year-old girl whose life changes quickly. Her mind, and every other person’s, contains five emotions: Anger, Disgust, Fear, Sadness, and Joy. These emotions are fleshed out through both fantastic writing and a pitch perfect voice cast. Lewis Black plays Anger, Bill Hader voiced Fear, Mindy Kaling is perfectly Disgusted, Phyllis Smith is particularly Sad as Sadness, and Amy Poehler stands out as the exuberant Joy. The five emotions have a fight when Riley and her parents move from Minnesota to California, losing their moving truck for some time. Joy tries her best to keep Riley optimistic in this scenario, and also shuts Sadness out of the picture. This leads them to get ejected from headquarters, and must work together to trek across Riley’s mind. There are plenty of Easter Eggs from Pixar’s past films, including a dead rat that references back to their underrated film, Ratatouille. And the script is consistently funny, delivering jokes that appeal to both adults and children, the only way Pixar would know how to craft. And thanks to excellent pacing and direction by veteran director Peter Docter, there’s never a dull moment to be had in Inside Out. The writing is superb, the cast is perfect, and the soundtrack by Michael Giacchino is imaginative as hell. I feel like it’s a crime against cinema, but I actually didn’t cry during this film, unlike some others I know who saw it. Still, it was a moving and insightful tale of how poignant our emotions can be, and how fragile they make our lives. Even just a few weeks after its release, Inside Out already stands as one of Pixar Studios best animated films to date. I have no problem watching it again.