Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Weekend Preview: Don Jon and Rush

Two big movies are to be release this weekend at the theaters, Don Jon and Rush.

Don Jon is written and directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt and stars himself and Scarlett Johansson. Gordon-Levitt's character is a guy that cares about his body, his car, and his porn. Johansson's character  is a girl that cares about her mushy chick flicks with the beautiful couples and her dream of one day finding her Mr. Right. When she discovers him watching porn an argument proceeds involving porn and romantic comedies and which is worse.

There should be a lot of laughs here for both genders as the film is sure to touch on many cultural stereotypes and expectations of men and women.

Rush is the new Ron Howard film staring Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl. The two play as bitter rivals in the 1970s world of Formula 1 racing. This sports drama should be action packed with races, crashes, and an epic story.

Both of these films could possibly become Best Picture nominees at the next Oscars (Rush being a huge contender where Don Jon could surprise as the underdog).

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Grand Theft Auto V Review

If there is anything I like equally as much as movies it's video games, and it has been quite some time since any game has impressed me this much.

I've been asked multiple times what my favorite games are, and I always try to give a list of my top three. But whenever I reach that third title, I get stumped. 

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is always first, followed by Mario Kart: Double Dash, and then nothing. I can never think of a game worthy enough to claim that third spot. Until now (and maybe even higher than bronze).

Grand Theft Auto V is a pure masterpiece, all new story combined with the same open-world freedom perfected. And to think, I almost passed up this game. "I'm too busy," I said. "When would I even have time to play?"

I'm telling you... MAKE TIME FOR THIS GAME!

September 17. 1:15 a.m. I'm trying to finish a film essay on Kurosawa's Seven Samurai. About a page and a half in, me and my roommates start talking about how GTA V is technically released since it was after midnight. 

After much debate on whether to get it and a quick Walmart run, we had a couple copies of GTA in our possession. It only took an hour and 15 minutes after the game's official release to crack under the temptation and snag a copy.


Rockstar Games' newest GTA installment is perfection in every way. Just about anything you can think of doing you can probably do. Freedom feels fantastic.

For instance...

• Want to shoot the gas tank of a motorcycle, drive off leaving a trail of gasoline behind you, spark the trail with a gun shot and pull off a perfect Ghost Rider reenactment? Done.

• Mad about high gas prices? Blow up any gas station (right after you rob it of course).

• Upset that a rival meth dealer cut into your international business deal? Snipe the competitor's men from afar, infiltrate their headquarters and ignite the basement's meth lab exploding the house with it.

• Retrieve a stolen purse for a lady who you witness getting robbed (you can be nice too... or just take the purse after you cut down the thief).

These are just a few of the millions of things you can do. 

When exploring the open world there is a feeling that the environments are alive. The people around you are living their lives. The time of day and weather changes. Emergency services even respond to other disturbances when its not you punching random people on the sidewalk or doing drive-bys. 

In the game you play as three different people with their own story lines, and eventually all three end up doing stuff together.

Michael is a retired thief that is forced to get back in the game, Franklin is a wannabe gangster that mainly wants to make a name for himself in the game Michael is now back in, and Trevor is a psychotic drug dealer. This GTA basically covers all areas of crime based characters. 

The story is full of tons of insanely awesome missions, from elaborate heists to simple crimes, not to mention the side missions and activities that range from golf or tennis to shooting aliens after a bad marijuana trip.

A new feature in the game is of course the three playable main characters (which you can switch back and forth between at any time), but also the ability to improve their personal stats and take advantage of their individual special abilities. 

Clicking both control sticks down activates their specials. Franklin is by far my favorite. Activate his while driving to take turns like a professional race car driver. Michael's and Trevor's are shooting based. Michael's is basically slow motion aiming and Trevor's is a mix of being able to dish out higher damage and take more damage. All these special abilities are limited though, but they replenish.

The game is hilarious too. It is truly a satire on modern America, a society obsessed with social networks, reality television, money, and even first-person shooters. In-game radio stations, TV channels and websites are funny little additions as well that make the game feel all the more real while producing laughter between completing intense missions. 

Also, listen to random conversations on the street. They are some of the weirdest but funniest things I have ever heard. The thought of voice actors having to say some of the lines is hysterical.

I could go on forever about this game but I really need to get back and check on my stocks. Yeah, you can buy stock. Like in the stock market. 

Buy this game. You'll love it. If a game could ever be perfect, this is probably it.

Leave comments below with your take on the game and follow us here or click my picture to follow me on Twitter. 

-Kyle Schwab

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Cornetto Trilogy's final chapter: The World's End Review

My freshman year of college I wrote a paper arguing that Shaun of the Dead was the greatest film of all time.

In 2007, I begged my mom to let me buy Hot Fuzz on DVD. It was the first R-rated movie I owned.

And now in the present we finally have the last installment in the loosely connected 'Cornetto Trilogy' by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, The World's End. I was pretty excited to see this!

To put the plot in one sentence, five friends reunite after 20 years to reattempt a pub crawl but things turn rather blue when they discover their old hometown has been taken over by alien robots. Basically.

This movie has a ton of laughs and my favorite part was just seeing Simon Pegg and Nick Frost together again in an Edgar Wright film. But this time around the buddy dynamic between the two of them is a little different.

Gary King (Pegg) and Andy Knightley (Frost) aren't anything close to best friends anymore because of something terrible the selfish, jerk of a character King did to Knightley years earlier. Their whole gang of friends hasn't really kept in touch, but King smooth talks his way into tricking everyone to return for the pub crawl.

Pegg's character in this film, while funny most of the time, is really hard to like. It is next to impossible to truly root for him because of the way he treats his group of buds. For instance, he is so obsessed with completing "The Golden Mile" that while the rest of the gang is fighting off hordes of blue 'ink' filled robots he is dead-set on finishing his pint before helping.

The chemistry between all the friends is fun to watch due to Wright's quick and unique editing style. The more drunk the friends get, the more fun they get to watch too.

The film is paced well with no noticeable slow points. The fast wit and recurring jokes will keep you laughing and entertained, and then when things get a little hairy, the crazy fight scenes will spark up the movie with stylized, choreographed action.

For veterans knowledgeable about the previous movies in the trilogy, references will be noticeable, like the obvious Cornetto ice cream to the 'hopping the fence' gag; my personal favorite.

After I watched this movie I really wanted to do a bar crawl. But when I kept thinking about it, I realized that no bar crawl could ever match the one in The World's End

I would give this movie a go while it is still in theaters. I saw it when it came out a couple weeks ago, but I really do want to see it a second time.

This film has a definite re-watch ability because there are so many jokes and play on words to catch. So if you want to see drunk old friends fighting alien robots then go see this movie!


Also, check out Spaced on Netflix.

Monday, September 2, 2013