Archive for August, 2012

24
Aug
12

Sucker Punch, Cedar Rapids

Sucker Punch

The vivid artistry and the subtle nuance of metaphor truly comes alive in this piece.

This is one of those big-budget movies that is so bad it defies explanation. After watching it I had to rethink some of my previous “shitty” verdicts. Keep in mind this didn’t prompt me to change any of my past verdicts, but this movie is so fucking bad, it made me seriously reconsider the definition of “shitty.”

Written, produced, and directed by Zack Snyder, this 2011 “film” is one of the smelliest turds Hollywood has crapped out in a long time. Eschewing all plot, logic, and character development for flashy visuals, the movie stumbles along from action sequence to action sequence until it reaches a laughably idiotic finale. Below is a list of reasons why this movie sucks so hard:

  • Entire production filmed against a green screen
  • Waife-like beautiful women are all experts in weapons and martial arts.
  • People casually walking away from explosions or collapsing buildings.
  • Giant samurai robots.
  • WWI-era steampunk German zombies. (yes, you read that sentence correctly)
  • Using WWII-era planes to fight medieval-fantasy orcs and dragons.
  • Girls getting the shit beaten out of them, crashing through buildings, etc. and not getting a scratch on them.
  • Weird flying mecha in the aforementioned WWI-era setting.
  • Fighting hordes of non-descript robots.
  • Tons of slow-mo action, punctuated by brief super-fast action, to be brought back again to more slow-mo action.

The mish-mash of genres, settings, and action styles must have seemed like a ZOMG AWESOME idea to Snyder, but it turned out horribly. It looks more like a shitty video game than a movie. And the storyline is just about as good as one you’d find in a mindless button-mashing PS2 game from the early 2000s. I especially like how the girls only enter the “fantasy world” when they start dancing. OH MAN I CAN’T WAIT TO KICK GERMAN STEAMPUNK ZOMBIE ASS BUT FIRST I JUST GOTTA DANCE! I also like how the “fantasy world” is actually already within another “fantasy world.” So we go two layers deep, like Inception, but without any coherence or good plotting. I also like how Jon Hamm is slumming it for some reason at the end of the movie. The acting is horrible, the special effects gaudy and overused (i.e. every second of the movie), there are huge gaps in logic in every aspect of the story, and the plot is just all around clunky and terrible. What do you expect when Snyder co-wrote it with Steve Shibuya, who has no other writing credits, and his biggest previous work was as Production Assistant: Effects Unit in Killer Clowns from Outer Space.

Probably my favorite part is that this run-down shit-hole mental institution’s only inhabitants are young, thin, incredibly attractive 20-something girls. Could someone please point me in the direction of this psychiatric facility so I can apply for a job? Thanks.

Verdict: Shitty

Cedar Rapids

The crazy mofos of Cedar Rapids.

It’s unfortunate that, a lot of times, smaller movies don’t get the proper distribution and advertising they deserve. They may get a limited run at an art-house cinema, and then get lost into obscurity. One of those movies is the 2011 film Cedar Rapids. It was on the 2009 “Black List” – a list of the most liked unproduced Hollywood screenplays. Previous entires on the list include 50/50, The King’s Speech, and Juno.

Fortunately, Cedar Rapids didn’t stay on the Black List for long. It is a very funny movie about a small town insurance salesman named Tim Lippe (played by The Office’s Ed Helms), who gets sent by his company to the annual convention in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. To Tim, Cedar Rapids is the big city. He has never left home before. He wants to stay on the straight-and-narrow, as his company is eligible for the prestigious “Two Diamond Award”, which they have won the previous four years. If he screws up and they don’t win the award, he’ll be out of a job.

Complicating matters, the hotel is overbooked and salesman are forced to double-up their rooms. Tim gets roomed with the brash and rude Dean Ziegler (played by John C. Reilly). The bulk of the movie features Tim’s downward spiral as he loosens up, starts to drink, gets wasted, cheats on his girlfriend (played by Sigourney Weaver) with Joan (played by Anne Heche), hangs out with prostitutes, sings Karaoke, uses meth, and tries to bribe his way into winning the coveted award.

Raunchy comedy is certainly nothing new, but Cedar Rapids has an indelible charm, and an absolutely hilarious cast, all of whom are acting at the top of their games. It manages to be funny, totally inappropriate, charming, and crude all at once. It is skillfully directed and written. It is a comedy that should not be missed by anyone.

While people are out laughing at drek like That’s My Boy, The Dictator, or Mirror Mirror, they are missing out on movies that are truly funny. I hope more people discover Cedar Rapids, because it has a lot to offer.

Verdict: Good

17
Aug
12

Mission Impossible 4 IV Four Ghost Protocol

Cruise: “Make sure my name is above the title, OK?”

The problem with reading movie reviews before watching the movie is that it taints your expectations. This may come as a shock to you all (because I hate everything), but I actually like the Mission: Impossible film series. Despite Tom Cruise bouncing on Oprah’s couch, I’ve always enjoyed him in movies. And no, I’m not a Scientologist. Or am I? Anyway, back to my point. I had been following the reviews when this movie was released, it was getting great scores from the critics, and came in at a whopping 93% on Rotten Tomatoes. Well, if that’s the case, then the movie has to be good, right?

Wrong.

Continue reading ‘Mission Impossible 4 IV Four Ghost Protocol’

10
Aug
12

Every Quest in Oblivion

Here’s a rundown of every quest in the game Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

Part One: Obtaining the Quest

Doucherton the Rat-Faced: Hello, adventurer! I have a quest for you if you are interested.

You: [yes] / [OK] / [sure]

Doucherton the Rat-Faced: You are! That’s great. When would you like to begin?

You: [immediately] / [now] / [as soon as possible]

Doucherton the Rat-Faced: Well, I need you to go into the Cave of the Fart-Smellers and kill everyone inside. Do you think you can handle that?

You: [of course] / [absolutely] / [nope, but I'll try anyway]

Doucherton the Rat-Faced: Excellent. I’ll be standing in this one spot all day every day until you get back.

Get ready to see plenty of guys like this giving you the same quest over and over again.

Part Two: Playing the Quest

This is the part where you walk ten thousand miles to get to the location of the cave marked on your map. Basically, this is every quest in Oblivion. You must always go somewhere and kill everything there. But sometimes they do change things up a bit. The quest can take place in the following locations:

  • A cave
  • An abandoned underground castle.
  • An abandoned underground monastery.
  • An underground grotto.
  • An old mine.

And they don’t always make you go there just to kill things. Sometimes the mission objectives are different. Here is a sampling:

  • Kill everyone in the cave.
  • Kill everyone in the cave with the help of a useless ally.
  • Kill everyone in the cave and retrieve an item.
  • Kill everyone in the cave and rescue a useless ally.

And who you kill can vary a lot, offering a refreshing bit of diversity.

  • Humans
  • Trolls
  • Undead creatures
  • Humanoid Demons
  • Vampires

As you can see there is quite a variety of things to do in this game. In one quest you might be sent to a cave to kill some undead creatures, while in a completely different quest you might be sent to an abandoned underground castle to kill some humans and retrieve an ancient artifact! The possibilities are really endless. It’s mind-boggling to think about how Bethesda crafted such a diverse and unique game. Every quest is so original, it’s like a breath of fresh air. Each adventure makes you feel as if you’re playing a new game time and time again. And the medieval fantasy setting, I can’t recall ever seeing that in an RPG before!

Killing the Fart-Smellers.

Part Three: Completing the Quest

You return to Town X and find that Doucherton the Rat-Faced lied to you, and he is not standing where he said he would be. A quick check of the time shows it is 2:00 AM. So, you decide to wait until morning. Doucherton the Rat-Faced returned to his spot at exactly 9:00 AM. He doesn’t have a job or any discernible interests so he spends most of his time just standing in this exact spot. You approach him, and he speaks to you. It’s funny because his voice sounds exactly like the voices of several of the bad guys you recently killed. But no matter…

Doucherton the Rat-Faced: How’s it going?

You: I completed the quest you gave me.

Doucherton the Rat-Faced: Have you done what I asked of you?

You: I just said that I did.

Doucherton the Rat-Faced: Oh, that’s fantastic!

You: ……

Doucherton the Rat-Faced: Well, thanks for killing all those guys. They won’t be bothering us any more.

You: ……

Doucherton the Rat-Faced: Now, about that reward I offered. You probably don’t really want it.

You: Actually, I do want it.

Doucherton the Rat-Faced: I was hoping you killed all those people out of the goodness of your heart.

You: No, I could really use that reward.

Doucherton the Rat-Faced: Well then, here you go. Don’t go spending it all in one place!

*Doucherton the Rat-Faced hands you 25 gold pieces. You scowl back at him.*

Doucherton the Rat-Faced: If you ever want to come back and see me again, I won’t have anything interesting to say!

Now, you hear a little drumroll and a message flashes across the screen: The Quest of the Indiscriminate Killings Completed. But you notice that you didn’t level up. Oh that’s right, Oblivion doesn’t use experience points in the same way that every other RPG ever made does. You have to build up specific predetermined skills (such as Talking, Fighting, and Jumping — you know, skills that are really important) and once those get high enough, you can level up. But you can’t just immediately level up. No, you have to find the nearest town with a bed and sleep. If you’re in the middle of a quest, that’s too fucking bad, you’ll just have to wait.

An incredibly rare outside battle.

Part Four: The Next Quest

Jizz-Hands the Furious: Hello, adventurer! I have a quest for you if you are interested.

You: This seems really familiar. And why is your voice the same as Doucherton the Rat-Faced?

Jizz-Hands the Furious: You are! That’s great. When would you like to begin?

You: But I didn’t say I would do it yet.

Jizz-Hands the Furious: Well, I need you to go into the Abandoned Underground Castle of the Attention-Whores and kill everyone inside. Do you think you can handle that?

You: Goddammit.

Repeat ad nauseum.

Of course, this very same criticism could be leveled at every video game ever made. Overall, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion can be a lot of fun. Just don’t expect a lot of variation throughout your 40 hours of questing. It is, without a doubt, the most underground game of all time.

Verdict: Average

I’m glad Pumpkinhead made the transition from film to games so well.

03
Aug
12

The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises cast.

Since The Dark Knight Rises is a big fuckin’ deal, BrikHaus and Mrs. Brik have decided to do a tag-team review.

Mrs. Brik

I would like to preface this review by letting you know that I am not a particularly big fan of comic book movies. I only watch them if they look interesting (and they rarely do). I liked the first Iron Man. Lots of witty dialogue and ass-kicking, the story made sense, and it was paced well. Iron Man is an example of what Hollywood is almost never capable of doing: making a big-budget movie into something good. (I cannot, however, say the same thing for Iron Man 2.) The Hulk is an example of Hollywood at its worst. They made the same movie repeatedly and did a mediocre job of it each and every time.

Having said all that, Rises made all of my wildest dreams come true.  Continue reading ‘The Dark Knight Rises’




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