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videogames

Shinobu movie photo
Shinobu movie

Sega's Shinobi will get the cinematic treatment because ninjas = money


Other Sega titles also being considered
Apr 30
// Hubert Vigilla
The 1980s were a boom period for being a ninja. There were tons of ninja movies, loads of ninja games, and almost everywhere you went, people were going to college to major in Ninjutsu. (Full disclosure: I majored in Philosop...

Review: Ratchet & Clank

Apr 28 // Matthew Razak
[embed]220548:42938:0[/embed] Ratchet & ClankDirectors: Jericca Cleland and Kevin Munroe Rated: PGRelease Date: April 29, 2016 There's nothing really wrong with Ratchet & Clank. It's a perfectly standard set up that pulls from all your other favorite science-fiction classics. Ratchet (James Arnold Taylor) is a Lombax mechanic on a remote desert planet who dreams of being like his hero, Captain Qwark (Jim Ward), but when tryouts for Qwark's team of heroes roll around he's laughed out of the building by the man himself. Luckily for him Clank (David Kaye) has just escaped from the evil Chairman Drek (Paul Giamatti) and Dr. Nefarious (Armin Shimerman), who have a dastardly plan to blow up some planets and make a new one. Due to a crash landing Clank meets Ratchet, the two become friends and adventure ensues all culminating in that oh-so traditional children's film lesson that you can be whatever you want with the support of friends and a wide array of weaponry. There is not really much more to it. You can insert almost every standard joke you've come to expect from tongue-in-cheek children's films and then add a few references to the game. They actually really under utilize the latter. For a game that's known for its funky and fun weapons the movie barely plays around with them. There is the expected montage of weapon use, but from there on out most of the action could rely on the basic blaster. Maybe that's a super meta commentary the directors had about the game's gameplay, but I seriously doubt it. That's not the only opportunity missed. One of the mainstays of the games (or the first two at least) was the great dynamic between the excitable Ratchet and the reserved Clank. The film barely touches this. We have to be introduced to the characters separately, of course, but once they're together the action keeps tearing them apart. Their dynamic is sidelined in favor of more Captain Qwark and the Galactic Rangers. This isn't all bad as Qwark has some of the funniest lines, but you still feel like the movie is more about Ratchet on his own than his friendship with Clank.  However, judging a movie for what it is not, especially a children's movie, is a bit unfair. Ratchet & Clank does move along at a perfectly good clip and the plot holes are all within acceptable range for the target audience. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the sight gags, which kids will most likely love, and the screenplay puts in enough jokes to keep any parent relatively entertained even if you've heard almost every one before. This isn't a movie that's out to top Pixar, but it will stand with your more basic Dreamworks animations any day.  The animation itself is good too, though nothing stellar. Having just come off the revolutionary The Jungle Book my eye might be a bit jaded, but just as there's nothing that will wow you in terms of animation there's also nothing that's going to put you off. It's just middle of the road throughout as with the rest of the film.  That goes for the voice acting as well, which was very clearly taken more seriously by some. The filmmakers brought in the game's voices for Ratchet, Clank and Captain Qwark and it shows. The actors' performances stand out among phoned in turns from the "name" actors, especially John Goodman who sounds like he wasn't quite sure what movie he was reading for the entire time. Thankfully those roles are smaller in scale and never bad enough to break the film, just to keep it at its constant level of acceptability.  No one was really expecting stellar things out of Ratchet & Clank and if you go in with that mindset you're going to come out having definitely seen a movie that fit it. I can't see hardcore fans of the franchise coming out of the film upset in any way because the movie is so inoffensive. I can't see anyone really coming out of the theater too excited except for a five-year-old wanting a pet lombax... and then having his dreams crushed when he finds out they don't exist.
Ratchet & Clank photo
Clanking along
Ratchet & Clank is the epitome of a film that doesn't do anything wrong, but that doesn't make it right. I suppose I should start by saying that I have not kept up with the games this movie is based on. I played the ...

The new Lara Croft photo
Another Oscar winner as Lara Croft
Alicia Vikander has been cast as the new Lara Croft for the Tomb Raider reboot, which starts a fine tradition of casting Academy Award winners in the role. Angelina Jolie won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Girl, Interrup...

Donkey Kong short photo
Donkey Kong short

Live-action short film does the first board of Donkey Kong


Not as hot as Billy Mitchell's sauce
Apr 26
// Hubert Vigilla
The first board of Donkey Kong is easily recognizable. It may be on the same iconic level as the Pac-Man maze and 1-1 from Super Mario Bros. It's the stuff of playgrounds, construction sites, and obstacle courses, and Banks h...

BioShock Twilight Zone photo
A dimension of sound, sight, and of mind
BioShock director Ken Levine is teaming with Interlude to explore the intersection of gaming and film: his next stop is The Twilight Zone. According to Wired, Levine and Interlude are finalizing their deal to use the tropes a...

Angry Birds Movie trailer photo
Angry Birds Movie trailer

New trailer for The Angry Birds Movie is a decent excuse to reuse this Sean Penn image


Angry birds do Angry Birds things
Apr 18
// Hubert Vigilla
Last time we reported about The Angry Birds Movie, we mentioned that Sean Penn will be grunting alongside the rest of the cast as a big red bird. The Sean Penn bird is in this new trailer for The Angry Birds Movie, which feat...
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"Top-secret" bidding war for live-action Pokemon movie comes to light


Calling all Poke Fans!
Apr 15
// Geoff Henao
Despite never getting a proper Pokemon game for consoles, we might get the next best thing in the form of a live-action Pokemon film! Last night, The Hollywood Reporter shed light on a "top-secret" bidding war for a live-acti...

Tribeca: Allumette showcases the game-changing potential of immersive VR storytelling

Apr 14 // Hubert Vigilla
[embed]220506:42913:0[/embed] Allumette centers on a girl and her mother who sell large, magical matchsticks around town. The world they inhabit is sort of like Venice by way of Hayao Miyazaki and classic Final Fantasy--a city in the clouds with bridges and tiers, and little docks for the airships that course through the sky. Allumette is essentially a 20-minute silent movie, with the characters communicating in hums and sighs, expressing emotions through body language like classic pantomime. "Alfred Hitchcock said that to be good with spectacle you had to be a simplifier," Chung noted. "Painters and writers can be complicators, but when you're working in spectacle (i.e., cinema and now VR) you have to simplify. So you have to take something and strip it down to its core elements." The heart of the story concerns a mother's love for her child and the sacrifices people make, all rendered with simplicity and sincerity. Even if the core of the spectacle is simplified, there's lots of room for the viewer to explore. The very beginning of Allumette seems to invite a look around. As the opening credits appear against a black background, a window lights up as if watching a building across the street. The window dims. Then another window, then another in your peripheral vision, and then windows all around as you turn in a full circle. It's as if you're surrounded by dots of candlelight, each one a window, and you can walk up and peer in a little closer at the shadow puppet story inside of it. I found myself pacing around the virtual set of Allumette. At first I was trying to frame shots of these characters, like I was cinematographer, leaning in for close-ups, bending down for a slightly different angle, even trying to simulate a slow tracking shot. But every now and then I would feel less self-conscious about the HTC Vive on my face. In those moments of total immersion, I was just a bystander in the imaginary city watching a mother and daughter do their thing. Occasionally I'd stray too far to one side--there are edges to this virtual world--and I'd feel a gentle tap on my shoulder from someone nearby just to get me centered again. The mother and daughter's airship is one of the great elements of Allumette, and a source of wonderment as well. It docked in front of me after I'd watched it descend from above. Just through the headphones I heard Jimmy Maidens, lead technical director at Penrose, say that I could look inside. Until Maidens mentioned it, the thought had never occurred to me. The sense of immersion made me feel like there was an actual boundary between this object and me. My mind thought it was physical, real, like a dollhouse, but I could actually peer into it, as simple as dunking my face into a pool of water. The airship interior was a miniature world within this virtual world. It was one of many strange moments of realization, like when I first looked down at the lower level of the setting in Allumette. I expected to see my feet; instead, clouds and sky and a town square. This mix of emotion and technology seems to fit with Chung's own sensibilities. His mother was a CPA, and his father was an opera singer. "I've always had this duality of left-brain/right-brain all throughout my career, which is important for VR," he said. Even before founding Penrose, the duality is evident: Chung attended NYU Film School and Harvard Business School, he worked in production at Pixar and then became a venture capitalist. Allumette is the second project by Penrose Studios. The San Francisco-based startup is just a few months old but has assembled a team of artists, engineers, and storytellers with backgrounds at Oculus, Pixar, and Dreamworks. The company's previous VR piece, The Rose and I, debuted at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and was very well-received. Penrose has other VR projects in the works, though they have yet to announce their slate. They've been experimenting with an interactive component to VR at the moment, though Chung explained it's really a matter of how the interactivity can be used effectively as part of the storytelling experience of a piece. "Presence is that feeling of being someplace else; storytelling is storytelling," he said. He added, "When you're given agency, it changes the way you perceive the story." With the way things are looking, VR might change the world of storytelling.
Allumette VR storytelling photo
An immersive and emotional experience
Watching Allumette is almost like watching a Pixar movie as an immersive theater experience, but even that description seems to sell the film short. It's difficult to describe VR storytelling without using familiar contexts. ...

Review: Hardcore Henry

Apr 10 // Nick Valdez
[embed]220494:42906:0[/embed] Hardcore HenryDirector: Ilya NaishullerRating: RRelease Date: April 8th, 2016 Cheesy as it is, Hardcore Henry is about you. When "Henry" (the audience) wakes up in a mysterious facility with no memory of how he got there, his wife Estelle (Haley Bennett) explains that he's suffered major disfigurement from an accident and this facility has put him back together using machinery (basically a more violent version of the Six Million Dollar Man). Then some shadow organization chases Henry down for 90 minutes. And all while during this, a mysterious man named Jimmy (Sharlto Copley) and his many faces seems to be the only one who knows what's going on.  While I'd hate to classify the film in such basic terms, comparisons to a videogame narrative are unfortunately apt. Hardcore Henry gleefully revels in juvenile wish fulfillment. You'll sit back and watch Henry mow down waves of spawning enemies (with little to nothing to distinguish between any of them), you'll see him utilize a variety of weapons he apparently loots from dead bodies, and you'll watch as he peers around corridors and fights in hallways. Every trope from first person shooter videogames is represented and, for a while, it's fun to see unfold. Characters make quips, the first person perspective leads to some enlightening action angles, and there's definitely a joy and humor to how grotesque its violence gets as it goes on. But after about fifteen minutes of these action scenes, the premise wears thin and the film turns into a collection of hollow gore shots trying to outdo one another in order to garner some kind of reaction. And that's only including the ones you can manage to follow.  Hardcore Henry is so focused on how cool things might look it forgets to tell any kind of story. The film essentially puts all of its eggs in one basket as it hopes the flow of the action will keep you invested. Unlike most action films, Henry's voiceless and faceless protagonist can't add anything to the overarching story. He's got no personality, no defining traits other than a relentless need to kill (for some reason that's never quite elaborated on), and it's not like Henry is an all inclusive point of view either as there as some unfortunate homophobic jokes thrown in the mix and it's heavily male friendly as it vies for that sweet 13 year old Mountain Dew demographic. So you can't even fully immerse yourself as a viewer as multiple moments in the narrative remind you Henry isn't you. At least when videogame narratives do things like this, it eventually hands back control to the individual and gives you other options for immersion. There's just nothing here to latch onto.  The film's one saving grace is by and far Sharlto Copley. He's an absolute joy every time he's on screen. It's just a shame he has to singlehandedly carry the film's weight. He's stuck providing so much exposition, jokes, and personality it's kind of running him thin. It's also not helped by the unintelligible scene settings. Henry ends up in several locations with no way other than Copley's Jimmy to help discern where the action is taking place. The film could take place anywhere between an entire city length and the walking distance between my kitchen and bathroom. The film's main device seems to be holding it back in that visual respect. In reference to an old Simpsons gag, every time Jimmy wasn't on screen I felt myself wondering when he was going to show up again. But I wonder if that's because I wanted more of Copley or I was just starved for something to get me through the rest of the film like a lone floating log in the middle of Hardcore Henry's bleak and monotonous ocean of gore.  Hardcore Henry touts itself as a cinematic experience. The first action film of its kind, it's certainly going to get a lot of attention and praise based on existence alone. But it's lacking the level of immersion or direction its premise promises. If I really had to compare it to videogames, watching Hardcore Henry is like going over to a buddy's house and watching him play a game for an hour. It looks neat, and there are bound to be some things that grab your attention, but before long you'll be so bored you'd rather be at home. 
Hardcore Review photo
Normcore
From its inception as music videos for director Ilya Naishuller's band Biting Elbows, Hardcore Henry boasted an unique central idea: crafting a well told action film entirely through the first person perspective on Go Pro cam...

Hardcore Henry clips photo
Hardcore Henry clips

Watch a clip and behind-the-scenes music video for Hardcore Henry (NSFW)


Violence!
Apr 08
// Hubert Vigilla
Hardcore Henry is now out in theaters, a live-action blood-drenched movie done in the style of an FPS game. In case you were wondering how the action unfolds in a given scene (hint: it's violent!), STX Entertainment put out a...
Warcraft posters photo
Warcraft posters

New character posters for the Warcraft movie are shiny at sunset (or sunrise)


It looks all gamey
Apr 08
// Hubert Vigilla
I'm still pretty ambivalent about Duncan Jones' Warcraft. Jones gets goodwill for Moon, obviously, but the various trailers and promos for the film seem a bit flat and bland. Maybe that's just the nature of some trailers in g...
Sean Penn Angry Birds photo
Sean Penn Angry Birds

Sean Penn lends his voice to The Angry Birds Movie


Angry man meets El Chirpo
Apr 07
// Hubert Vigilla
Sean Penn has joined the cast of The Angry Birds Movie. I never thought I'd write that sentence in my life, but here we are. I never thought I'd eat breakfast cereal for dinner either, but my Tuesday evenings can be strange a...

RIP Erik Bauersfeld (1922-2016)

Apr 05 // Hubert Vigilla
RIP Erik Bauersfeld photo
The voice of Admiral Ackbar has passed
While you may not know Erik Bauersfeld by name, he's the man behind one of the most memorable moments in Return of the Jedi. As the Rebel Alliance fleet closes in on the second Death Star, Lando realizes the shields are still...

Last of Us photo
Last of Us

The Last of Us movie probably isn't happening any time soon


But should it ever?
Apr 04
// Matthew Razak
Two years ago we got word that a The Last of Us movie was in the works, and then nothing, but some rumors on casting and whispers of a table read. Many of us probably forgot about it, shrugging our shoulders as we replay...
Hardcore Henry PSA photo
Hardcore Henry PSA

Alamo Drafthouse PSA: Hardcore Henry gets violent about talking/texting during movies (NSFW)


I'll use my violence on him!
Apr 04
// Hubert Vigilla
The "don't talk/text" PSAs by Alamo Drafthouse have always been great whether they feature intimidation from Michael Madsen or charming repartee by Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke. Of course, nothing does the job like violence......
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Final Fantasy XV CGI film, anime spin-offs announced


Nothing final about these fantasies.
Mar 31
// Geoff Henao
Last night's "Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV" event was a long time coming for Final Fantasy fans as Square Enix unveiled more information on the next entry in the popular franchise. While some of the information was leaked earl...
Warcraft trailer photo
Warcraft trailer

New international Warcraft trailer has wizard lightning, that orc baby, and a possible subtitle


Zap! Fzzzzit! Pew! Pew!
Mar 28
// Hubert Vigilla
The marketing machine for Duncan Jones' Warcraft is starting to kick in as we get a little bit closer to the June 10th release date. A trailer released earlier in the month gave us a little glimpse at a dwarf and an orc getti...
Assassin/Splinter sequels photo
Assassin/Splinter sequels

Sequels already being planned for Assassin's Creed and Splinter Cell movies


The search for more money
Mar 25
// Hubert Vigilla
While the two Ubisoft-title movies (Assassin's Creed and Splinter Cell) have yet to be released, there's already talk about making sequels. Because obviously they want to make sequels, and money. According to Variety, the Tai...

Review: They're Watching

Mar 23 // Hubert Vigilla
[embed]220397:42860:0[/embed] They're WatchingDirectors: Jay Lender and Micah WrightRelease Date: March 25, 2016 (limited, VOD)Rating: NR They're Watching was made by first-time directors Jay Lender and Micah Wright. Both have a background in enjoyably fun Nickelodeon animated shows (SpongeBob, Angry Beavers, Hey Arnold!), though Wright has also worked in comics and videogames for years, most notably as a co-writer on Call of Duty: Black Ops II. The set-up is sort of promising, at least if the movie were handled differently. A home improvement reality show returns to the remote village of Pavlovka to catch up with two of its previous subjects, an American named Becky (Brigid Brannagh) and her townie husband Goran (Cristian Balint). Their fixer-upper house is a rundown hovel, the perfect place for spooky chicanery. The previous tenant must have been The Blair Witch. The TV crew is comprised of a group of Starbucks-obsessed ugly Americans straight out of The Big Book of Horror Cliches: a horndog bro (Kris Lemche), a handsome guy haunted by his experiences as a war journalist (David Alpay), a hard-nosed ice queen producer (Carrie Genzel), and a naive upstart straight out of film school (Mia Faith). There's something not right in this town and the locals seem suspicious of the outsiders and their intentions. Some of these moments are unnerving since they play on the paranoia of being watched while watching others and seeing something you weren't meant to see. Villagers appear on camera frozen and gawping as the crew nervously giggles it off--the first rule of ugly Americanism is you don't realize you're an ugly American. The only trusting fellow is a grifting local named Dimitri (Vladimir Filat), who at least camps up the staid proceedings whenever he's on screen, although he's another cliche from Horror-Abroad edition of The Big Book. In the brief instances of They're Watching that sort of work, I felt like I was watching some weird combination of Borat and The Wicker Man. Too bad it doesn't work (though maybe someday someone can do that movie). One of They're Watching's most notable violations of the found-footage form is the film's score. I say violation because the movie is trying to play things semi-straightfaced rather than trying to call attention to the inherent artifice of the found-footage movie. The music comes on sinister when we're meant to sense something sinister, much like it would in any other film not comprised of supposedly raw footage. It made me wonder why make They're Watching a found-footage movie at all. What's worse, They're Watching doesn't go all the way with its initial sense of paranoia. The "They're" part and the "Watching" part of They're Watching are almost immaterial. The mutual suspicion between the crew and the village folk? Not much to it, really, as we careen into a final-act twist and a supernatural schlockfest, albeit one that's enjoyable for what it is even though it doesn't fit in with everything else. More than the found-footage stuff, the aimless narrative is the main thing that undermines They're Watching. There's no sense of payoff once the blue magic lightning shows up and splatters people real good. It's as if we're watching a different movie at that point, especially since we mostly watched characters kill time on camera while awaiting their eventual first-person demise. Come to think of it, one of the character's deaths is spoiled at the very beginning of the movie. Yes, They're Watching is--in violation of the found-footage form--essentially a pseudo-flashback. What a waste of perfectly good blue magic lightning.
Review: They're Watching photo
A fixer-upper if I've ever seen one
In almost every found-footage movie, there's a much better non-found-footage movie. The entire idea of found-footage becomes a formal hindrance in which the mere act of filming crazy stuff going on requires constant justifica...

Assassin's Creed photo
Assassin's Creed

New image of Assassins Creed takes us to the future


Because we're still in a dreamy thing
Mar 21
// Matthew Razak
If you've played Assassin's Creed you know that it's not actually a game set in the past, but a game set in the mind of a man reliving his ancestor's past. Since the original that dichotomy has gone all over the place as...
Warcraft TV spot photo
Warcraft TV spot

Latest Warcraft TV spot teases dwarves, severed orc genitals, serviceable fantasy action


No orc baby, but lotsa wizard lightning
Mar 18
// Hubert Vigilla
The previous Warcraft TV spot didn't inspire much confidence from me, but there's a new TV spot out. I'll give it this much: it's got a dwarf and someone's nards get totally wrecked. The simple pleasures in life, am I right? ...

Review: Thank You for Playing

Mar 17 // Hubert Vigilla
[embed]219244:42855:0[/embed] Thank You for PlayingDirectors: David Osit and Malika Zouhali-WorrallRelease Date: March 18, 2016 (limited); March 29, 2016 (VOD)Rating: NR Just seeing Joel on screen is heartbreaking. It's the way his eyes cross, which seems troubling, not a routine case of strabismus that lots of kids have. A whole flood of emotions winds up in the content of That Dragon, Cancer. The first-person experiential game allows players to push Joel on a swing, to feed ducks with Joel at sunset, to catch Joel coming down a slide as he giggles--it's his real laugh. There are also visits to the clinic, mournful walks through dark rooms of the house, and even a metaphorical flourish of indoor rain, like something out of a Tarkovsky movie magnified to Biblical proportions. While That Dragon, Cancer offers a space to participate in the life of the Green family, it also conveys a sense of helplessness. There's only one outcome to all of this. Ryan and Amy are people of faith, and it seemed that an underlying pain of their situation is how God could let this happen. I never sensed that their faith was in question--it's something stable--and the game and the documentary convey the frustration of trying to find hope when none seems possible. For instance, in the design of the game, Joel's face lacks features. By not particularizing Joel's face, it opens up the possibility for a more universal experience of the loss. Yet there's also the facelessness of the real Joel. He should be verbal at his age and have more of a personality, but his development has been stunted. Ryan says that he loves his son, but he doesn't really know him and he'll never get to really know him. Directors David Osit and Malika Zouhali-Worrall play a difficult balancing act since their film is both a making-of documentary about That Dragon, Cancer as well as a chronicle of a family's sadness along the lines of Kurt Kuenne's Dear Zachary. There are times when the making-of aspects of the film feel at odds with the heartache in the Green family, but they're generally all of a piece. Art gets made to address an experience, so the creative process of making That Dragon, Cancer is an essential interpretive component to the movie. There's little division between lived life and creative life. There's a scene in which Ryan records some dialogue for the game. His lines seem like private poetry if you just read them as words on a screen: "Fear is cancer's preservative; cancer's embalming oil. And you, oh Accuser, are Fear's oil salesmen." He reads his lines again, this time with something to wrap his hands around, like he's choking the Devil, or cancer, or his anxieties, or death itself. He reads with so much conviction, and he brings to life all of the ineffable emotional stuff that his words alone can't convey. There's another important function to art that comes across in both That Dragon, Cancer as well as Thank You for Playing: it's to remind others that no matter what, whether in joy or in grief, we are not alone.
Thank You for Playing photo
Love letters, memorials, videogames
There are moments of Thank You for Playing that are so painful because the documentary feels so personal. It's about Joel Green, a boy with terminal brain cancer, and how his parents try to cherish the little joys in life whi...

Ass Creed photo
Ass Creed

You can preorder your Assassin's Creed movie ticket for $1200


Mar 15
// Nick Valdez
If you're familiar with the Assassin's Creed videogames, then the notion of preorder bonuses or super expensive special editions is nothing new to you. While theater chains have folks preorder tickets all the time, what 20th ...
Tomb Raider photo
Tomb Raider

Daisy Ridley eyed for Tomb Raider reboot


Daisy Ridley now in everything
Mar 10
// Matthew Razak
They're rebooting Tomb Raider, in case you didn't know. They've even got a director and everything so it's actually happening. Now it seems that Daisy Ridley is one of the choices to make it happen as Lara Croft.  If you...
Hardcore Henry trailer photo
Hardcore Henry trailer

New trailer for Hardcore Henry shows off its approach to FPS action


Still needs a HUD with health/ammo info
Mar 07
// Hubert Vigilla
Last month we shared the first trailer for Hardcore Henry, an FPS action movie starring Haley Bennett, Danila Kozlovsky, and Sharlto Copley. A new trailer for Hardcore Henry was released today, and while it doesn't feature Qu...
Leo DiCaprio game photo
Leo DiCaprio game

Play Leo's Red Carpet Rampage and help DiCaprio win an Oscar


ACT HARDER!!!!!!!!!
Feb 16
// Hubert Vigilla
With the Oscars coming up, many people wonder if this will be the year that Leonardo DiCaprio finally wins an Oscar for Best Actor. He's been nominated for his role in Alejandro González Iñárritu's brutal...
Hardcore Henry trailer photo
Hardcore Henry trailer

The trailer for Hardcore Henry is kooky, FPS action delirium


They call me Mr. Fahrenheit
Feb 11
// Hubert Vigilla
Looks like we'll be getting a few first-person shooter-style movies this year. Not too long ago we shared a trailer for the zombie apocalypse FPS movie Pandemic. Today, we have a trailer for Hardcore Henry, an FPS-style actio...
Sornic photo
Sornic

Sonic the Hedgehog getting a live action/CG movie


Gotta go faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaast
Feb 11
// Nick Valdez
With Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog series reaching its 25th anniversary, Sega is looking for all sorts of ways to celebrate everyone's favorite to hate hedgehog. Along with a potential new game, Sega's CEO, Hajime Satomi, announc...
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Michael Fassbender: Assassin's Creed is kinda like The Matrix


DNA memory "elevates" the material
Feb 10
// Matt Liparota
Early looks at the upcoming videogame adaptation Assassin's Creed might give the appearance that the film is an adventure set in the distant past, but all might not be what it seems. Star Michael Fassbender tells Empire that ...
Pandemic trailer photo
Pandemic trailer

Watch the trailer for Pandemic, an FPS-style take on the zombie apocalypse


Needs HUD with health/ammo information
Feb 02
// Hubert Vigilla
There have been quite a few films shot entirely from the first-person perspective. The results of this can vary. You have loads of found-footage movies, for example, many of which are fodder with some memorable exceptions (th...
Angry Birds Movie trailer photo
Angry Birds Movie trailer

New Angry Birds Movie trailer is pissed in more ways than one


Urine or you're out
Jan 27
// Hubert Vigilla
The first trailer for The Angry Birds Movie was not particularly good. It was rife with bad animated movie cliches and seemed pretty lazy and silly (bad-silly, not good-silly). There's a new trailer for The Angry Birds Movie ...
Warcraft TV spot photo
Warcraft TV spot

New Warcraft TV spot probably doesn't inspire much confidence in the film for non-fans


Generic Fantasy Film: The Movie: The Ad
Jan 25
// Hubert Vigilla
After seeing the first trailer for Duncan Jones' Warcraft, News Editor Nick Valdez felt that the movie looked a little off. Some shots were great, some not-as-great, most shots looked green screened to heck, and the vibe of t...

Could we get a great videogame film in 2016?

Jan 19 // Nick Valdez
[embed]220299:42779:0[/embed] Before I get into the brunt of this, it's better to explain where I'm coming from. Any film critic worth their mettle doesn't form a complete opinion until they've seen a film in its entirety. We might have some early impressions going in, but we usually like to have an open mind each time we sit down to watch something. Not a single one of us wants to dislike a film, and that mentality is hard to wrap my head around. If a critic wanted to dislike every film they watched, they why even have the job? I'm lucky enough that folks want to read my opinions from time to time, and I figure no one would come to me if I immediately dismissed everything outright. I bring all of this up because last year I reviewed two big videogame films: Hitman Agent 47 and Pixels.  My time with the films ended up on the lesser side of decent, but the films were apparently terrible according to the rest of the Internet. There was an incredibly pervasive idea through the general comments that these films were automatically terrible because videogame movies as a whole have been less than stable. I understand. It's a fandom that's been burned too many times before. It's the same fandom that went and saw Super Mario Bros, rented The House of the Dead one weekend, caught Tekken on TV for some reason, and remembers how great Mortal Kombat was before being annihilated by Annihilation. But that side of the web needs to remember that comic book fans were in that exact same boat not too long ago. Before comic book films were treated as a serious way to make money, we got two bad Superman films, a bad Hulk, and about a million Batman films. Now they're all over the place and studios are hugely banking on their success. We've gotten so many that even a property like Deadpool, featuring a super killer with fourth wall breaking jokes, is getting a film version. Videogames are on this path too.  [embed]220299:42780:0[/embed] But what's the key to a great videogame film? It's essentially the same thing that helped comic book films take off. Videogames lack the sorely needed legitimacy needed to grab the general public's attention. Hollywood films really only care about money, so they'll do everything they can to get someone interested in their film. That means they'll attach big name actors and even bigger directors, so that means you'll see people like Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Amy Adams and even directors like the Russo brothers working in superhero stuff. Cinema is obsessed with credible legacies through work, and videogame films are finally headed that route. What's essentially the biggest videogame film of 2016, Assassin's Creed, stars Michael Fassbender alongside the likes of Marion Cotillard, Michael K. Williams, and Jeremy Irons and is directed by the same man who did Macbeth, a well received film last year. Then you've got the Warcraft film, which looks to be a massive undertaking (even if first impressions weren't great), directed by Duncan Jones, who once directed Moon, the best science fiction film in years. So the short of what I'm trying to say here is that things are finally looking up.  Videogame films aren't doomed to fail or anything like that. In fact, there have been some legitimately good or entertaining ones. It's just they've never crossed that threshold into "great" territory. But they'll never truly be appreciated at the same level other genre films are unless we work to remove the stigma around them. It took decades to remove the nerdy stigma from comic book properties, and it's going to take even longer to do the same for videogames. If you respect that medium, then don't outright dismiss films spawned from its properties. We're going to get a lot of them, like it or not, so it's better not to fight each one. The more you dismiss, the more you add to the general stigma of videogame films belonging to a certain niche that no one really wants to be a part of. No one wants to identify as a "gamer" thanks to the now toxic culture surrounding it, and that's carried over to the film side of things.  [embed]220299:42781:0[/embed] I'm just saying there's hope for videogame cinema as long as you want it. There's so much potential for greatness even the throwaway films have some pedigree (Ratchet and Clank, while generic looking film wise, is handled by its parent company and The Angry Birds Movie, while maybe a cheap cash in, is stacked with great comedic actors). And there's definitely room in theaters for a great videogame film. As comics continue to overflow in theaters, folks will be looking for something slightly different. Oh, so there's a movie based on a game they once played? Hey that might be a great idea! Could 2016 be the year we finally get a great videogame film? Maybe. The odds are certainly better for sure. Talk to me again at the end of the year and we'll see how wrong or right I am. Until then, I'll just keep watching Mortal Kombat and Prince of Persia. 
Videogamesssss photo
Short answer...maybe?
There are tons of films based on videogames. Straight adaptations, wild derailings, films about people playing videogames, films made to advertise videogames, documentaries, films where videogames cross into the real world, f...

Ass Creed photo
Ass Creed

Here's another Assassin's Creed image with hoods and stuff


Dec 28
// Nick Valdez
Videogame films have been struggling for a bit. They're not as bad as they used to be with studios putting in more effort than they used to, but they've yet to be taken seriously. So far Fox has been making the right moves wi...

Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Dec 16 // Matthew Razak
[embed]220217:42739:0[/embed] Star Wars: The Force AwakensDirector: J.J. AbramsRated: PG-13Release Date: December 16, 2015 After the conclusion of Return of the Jedi Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) has disappeared and no one knows where to find him (Sidenote: In the meta world of J.J. Abrams this plays right into Hamill's absence from all advertising). In his absence the dark side has begun to establish itself once again in the form of The First Order, which is basically the Empire reconstituted. They are led by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), a Sith lord in training and pupil of the Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis). Meanwhile the Resistance, commanded by General Leia (Carrie Fisher), is fighting back with the support of the Republic behind it. More importantly, though, on a small desert planet a map to Luke Skywalker ends up inside a droid called BB-8, who is subsequently found by a scavenger named Rey (Daisey Ridely). She is joined by a fleeing storm trooper named Finn (John Boyega) and a few other familiar faces as they try to get the map to the Resistance.  An adorable droid with a secret message found on a desert planet. A group of rag-tag rebels fighting against a militaristic empire. A dark lord in a black helmet. A young hero drawn into the fight through chance. Sound familiar? It should. You can simply pop in A New Hope and you'll have most of the plot for this one.  Much like J.J. Abrams did with Star Trek: Into Darkness he has taken a beloved movie and remade it for the fans. Almost everything is a throwback to the original movies, and only the original movies. It's very obvious that Abrams does not want anyone even remotely thinking about Episodes I-III. As such this is a giant film of fan service from throw away lines to cameos to plot to visuals. If it's a memorable moment from Episodes IV-VI it's probably somewhere in this movie. Whether you consider that a good thing or not is up to you, for this fan it was awesome, despite some concern that we're just seeing a bit of misguided fan placation like Into Darkness. Last week Lucas let slip his opinion of the film and he said that the fans would love it. It's easy to see why that's his opinion. The movie doesn't really break new ground, which is probably its most disappointing aspect. It definitely has plenty of twists and surprises for fans, but this isn't really a universe expanding premise. It feels more like a reset. The Force Awakens is the palette cleanser that's wrapping up everything with its nods to the old guard and its introduction to the new. Hopefully, it's the new that's going to stick around. The best part of the film are our two new heroes and villain, Rey, Finn and Kylo Ren, respectively. While old faces showing up is fun and all, it's these three newcomers who breath life into the movie. It's these characters that change the movie from a bunch of fan service into something genuine and good -- something that feels like Star Wars. They are us on screen: awed by the legends they're walking with, cowed by the power they have, and establishing a new struggle between dark and light. If these are the characters we'll be joining on this new journey then we're in good hands. With Abrams sticking around we'll be in good directing hands as well. To start, someone talked with him about lens flares and despite all the opportunities that lightsabers offer for such an effect he is impressively restrained with their use. This applies to his entire style for the film, which feels closer to the gritty-ness of the original trilogy than the high gloss of the second set. You'll also be happy to hear that Lucas' stilted dialog and wooden characters are gone. The screenplay is charming and witty and without any Jar Jar Binks type antics. While the plot relies on what can only be described as a Death-Star-sized McGuffin in a space opera such as this that's exactly how it should be. Abrams also isn't going to pull any punches. He's got this franchise in his hands and it's very clear from this movie that he's going to do whatever he wants with it. Thankfully what he wants to do is make you love it again.  That is probably most evident in the fact that actual star wars occur in this Star Wars. The action is superb and creates that sense of wonder you felt watching the original trilogy's outerspace dog fights. It makes you think back to the awe you felt watching the final attack on the Death Star in A New Hope. Part of that might be the fact that much of the direction steals directly from that film, but if you're going to "pay homage" might as well go all out. It's also ironic that it's the old school special effects (actual droids, no CGI when not needed) that make the film look even better. This franchise got its legs thanks to its advanced real-world special effects, and it's finding them again by going back to them. All this said, The Force Awakens is definitely only the beginning of something, and it can feel like that. There is a lot of necessary exposition that takes place to catch folks up. Abrams does his best to make you miss it, but it starts to stand out by the end. The film is also carrying the duty of establishing a new universe after Disney wiped the entire expanded universe from canon. They're doing a lot in this one film and it can make the movie feel a little heavy handed. Then again subtlety was never the franchise's strong point. This is the beginning of something, however. It's a farewell to the old guard and a welcome to the new. As such it's hard to begrudge the film its plethora of callbacks, repeated plot line and heavy exposition. These things are necessary to pull off what is needed in order to make new Star Wars movies that can stand on their own and don't alienate the fans, who already got burned once. This is a movie that honors what came, but leads into what is to come. Hopefully, when Episode VIII rolls around it can truly be its own thing.
Star Wars photo
This is the Star Wars you're looking for
Sixteen years ago Star Wars returned, but it wasn't the return we were all hoping for. It was the return George Lucas wanted, which turned out to be not so good. Fans had constructed decades worth of universe and build up in ...

MST3K Kickstarter photo
MST3K Kickstarter

MST3K is back with 14 new episodes, breaking Kickstarter records


Rowsdower!
Dec 13
// Hubert Vigilla
The Bring Back Mystery Science Theater 3000 Kickstarter campaign has been a resounding success, earning $5.7 million as well as some additional cash in "add-on donations" for a grand total of $6.3 million. This is the most mo...
Patton Oswalt joins MST3K photo
Patton Oswalt joins MST3K

New MST3K cast is Jonah Ray, Felicia Day, Patton Oswalt, Hampton Yount, and Baron Vaughn


Crud BoneMeal! Fridge LargeMeat!
Dec 01
// Hubert Vigilla
The Bring Back MST3K Kickstarter is continuing to be successful. Joel Hodson has raised more than $3.4 million with 10 days to go, which means that six episodes of the new Mystery Science Theater 3000 will be made. If they hi...
Ghibli Zelda art photo
Ghibli Zelda art

Fan art imagines The Legend of Zelda as a Studio Ghibli film by Hayao Miyazaki


If only this were real
Nov 24
// Hubert Vigilla
By now you know Nintendo is open to making movies again, and there are plenty of options to consider when it comes to pairing directors with their IPs. We had a few suggestions of our own, though Matt Vince has a pretty great...
MST3K Kickstarter cast photo
MST3K Kickstarter cast

MST3K Kickstarter: Felicia Day is new mad, Hampton Yount is Crow, Baron Vaughn is Tom Servo


TUSK!
Nov 24
// Hubert Vigilla
The Bring Back MST3K Kickstarter has already met its $2 million goal. Last week we reported that Jonah Ray is the new host of MST3K, and noted some rumors about who the rest of the new Mystery Science Theater 3000 cast would ...
Tetris movie photo
Tetris movie

Brett Ratner is producing a Tetris movie


"I'm the I-Block, b**ch!"
Nov 18
// Hubert Vigilla
Brett Ratner and his production company partner James Packer are reportedly developing a movie about the creation of Tetris, focusing on the game's Russian designer Alexey Pajitnov. As noted on Wikipedia, Pajitnov created Tet...

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