Sunday, April 12, 2015

Movie Review: P2 (2007)

P2 (2007) Poster

P2 (2007)
-As Seen on Netflix-
Starring: Wes Bentley, Rachel Nichols, Simon Reynolds
Summary: A young woman turns down a lonely security guard and ends up his prisoner and soon, she's on the run once he's locked them both inside the building's parking garage.

My Thoughts: P2 was great. It doesn't take long for the movie to dive right into the plot and that's what I liked most about the film. Most horror movies take forever to get to the point, but this got straight to the point and only went up from there. While it did have it's down points, what movie doesn't? And for a good 20% of the movie, I did think it was more of a thriller than a horror film, but I was more than half into it, I got the point because it got gory.

At one point, a dog is stabbed and a guy is rammed into a wall by a car. So, it is pretty safe to call this a horror movie. Another notable thing about P2 is the acting. There are only a handful of characters in the movie, but the way the film is set up allows you to really connect with all the ones that are actually there. Take Angela for instance. At first I believed she was an uptight, business executive and 15 minutes later I was cheering and rooting for her to kick the villain's ass. I emphasized with her and I was with her for the long haul. Thomas, our lonely security guard turned psychopath is also one who we see many sides of. I tried to see his side of the dice, I thought he was nice guy and tried to look past the kidnapping and all, but then he had to run a man down and he lost all of my respect after that. However, a movie that can make me feel so much for all these characters and the plot, in my opinion, makes it a good movie. 

I must be honest, I thought it was going to be really bad, but it surpassed my expectations and was a solid, highly underrated horror film.

Monday, April 6, 2015

It Follows (2015)

It Follows
Released March 27, 2015. Directed by David Robert Mitchell.


After a sexual escapade of hers, a young woman solely known as J, or Jay, begins to notice an unidentified force following her. And by following, it's literally walking after her, which I found helped drive the suspense forward, but slow down the storyline. During the whole movie, we see Jay and her friend's reactions to her being followed by "It", which just consists of them running all over the place trying to get away from it, but we get no history or background of what "It" actually is and that was upsetting. Although, this is more realistic to what normal people would do, it wasn't what I was expecting. So, I was more intrigued with the concept of this thing following people around than what I was actually given and finding out what it was could have made the plot stronger.

Reminiscent of a typical 80's horror film, It Follows is full of cool, jazzy, loud music and nonexistent parental units. This movie left me with a lot more questions and WTF moments than answers. Yes, I could feel the suspense and was on the edge of my seat a couple of times, but moments later I was confused and trying to keep myself from yelling at the screen because the main characters were doing stupid things. Moments such as one girl pulling out this compact touch screen device reading idiotic, meaningless quotes in whatever time period they were in got me wanting to pull my hair out. It feels as if they wanted to go for a timeless period, but it was actually quite annoying because I just didn't know for sure. However, every moment where "It" showed up left me scared because I didn't know what it was going to do and because I was left in the dark about what exactly it was. However, the scare was broken moments later when I was dumbfounded that someone said something stupid. Or the guy next to me started snoring.

Sure, It Follows is unique and different and actually quite scary at times, but it was not worth paying the ten bucks I did for it. It succeeding in what it wanted to do, but for me it just wasn't effective in keeping me entertained because I was just so damn confused. A good confusion, but nonetheless, confused.

P.S: It could also be a reference to herpes, but that is just my two cents into it.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Two Weeks Notice

Heather is twenty-four and works for a dead end job for a firm. She has no title for her position, but the amount of money she gets paid has kept her quiet for a long time. That is, until now. At the moment, Heather is typing an email to her boss and coworkers about just how much she happens to hate their guts.

Dear assholes,

Some things in the world are common sense, such as being happy because you are truly, utterly happy and living life because of that. Other things are fixed. They're fixed by society and they make everyone believe that's how they're supposed to be. Being happy and thinking you're the shit because you make a lot of money to pay for your big, shiny cars and your wife's new 35DD tits and crack addiction is an example of that. (This one being directed towards you, Steve.) It doesn't make you the shit, it makes you SHIT! 

Remember when everyone had dreams? Actual dreams, no matter how stupid they were, like being a star in a circus or marrying the love of their lives. This was not my dream and neither was it any of yours. You all pretend you're happy in this shit office, doing shit work, like this is life you were meant to live, which is not true. You're the director of your own life and we all deserve a fucking Golden Raspberry for how shitty these films have turned out. 

I, however, am just like all of you. The difference is that I've gone and done some thinking and realized how much of a fuck up I am while the rest of you sit and oogle Stacey, the office slut, while your wives, whom you don't love, are at home cooking and cleaning. But now, I'm done. Not just with you all, but with myself. Consider this my two weeks notice, if I'm able to live that long. 

See you in Hell,
Heather Anderson

Without taking another moment to contemplate her actions, she hit send. Staring at the screen, she took a deep breath and ran her hands through her long, blonde hair. She leaned back in her chair and turned it around to take a look at her surroundings; one last goodbye. She said goodbye to the desk holding all her important documents. She said goodbye to her lamp that gave her light to read her favorite books. And lastly, she said goodbye to the sleeping man lying in her bed. She got up to kiss his cheek, but before she did so, she sat down to take his presence in. She watched the silent rise and fall of his chest. She watched the way he slept. It was rough because of his overly masculine physique, but the quietness all around the both of them made it peaceful. She kissed his cheek and went into the kitchen.

On the table were various bottles of medicine with pills scattered around and a bottle of red wine. Heather sat down at the table and sighed. In front of her was a giant window. It was open and she could see into the apartment across from hers. It was a kitchen just like hers, just with different furniture. A simple, brown wooden table with a vase of fake flowers. The apartment belonged to Ned. Ned was about thirty years old and stayed at home with his cat and he never spoke to anyone in the apartment complex. Heather wasn't sure he talked at all. He looked and stared as if he was just taking in the world. Or maybe he was, but the sad part was no one would ever know.

She started to take the pills one-by-one; just placing one in her mouth after the other like a child eating from a bag of candy for the first time. Once they were gone, she opened the bottle, placed it between her lips and drank.

At first she felt nothing, everything was just as it was before. Then everything started spinning and she felt as if she was going to melt along with everything else in the world. Colors dissolved and spun together to create this obscure mosaic scene that was her kitchen. She didn't know how it felt to die, but it was worth the headache. There was nothing more for her in this world and that was that.


To be continued?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

TV Review: Black Mirror (2011-)

Image result for black mirror

Black Mirror (2011-Present)
Created By: Charlie Brooker

Summary: In this anthology series where none of the episodes are related to each other, everyone lives in a sort of scientific-new-age world that basically makes fun of our world today.

And so in order to fully be able to talk about this show, I'm going to have to break it down by episode.

Episode 1: The National Anthem
We start off with the Prime Minister (Rory Kinnear) who has a bit of a dilemma to face. The Princess (Lydia Wilson) has been kidnapped and in order to have her returned safely he must have sex with a live pig over national television. To make it worse, the kidnapper has a list of demands that makes his proposition nearly impossible to fake. 

This was one of my least favorite episodes. I'm not a really political person, but I get the jist of what they were trying to say with it. The main reason I didn't like it was because I didn't feel a real connection with any of the characters. They were in a shitty situation and I was just watching. I felt bad, yes, but not for him Just the fact that someone could come up with this. The ending, however, left me feeling a little bad for him and that's all I can give it feeling-wise. It wasn't a great episode for me, but left me interested enough to keep watching.

Episode 2: Fifteen Million Merits
This episode starts off with a man named Bing (Daniel Kalluya) lives in a world where everyone works out to get their money, or 'merits' as they call them. Those who aren't physically able to are basically janitors and are made fun of on the TV shows that those who work out watch as they workout. Well, Bing inherits 15 million merits from his deceased brother and kind of hates his life because nothing is real, which it isn't. I'd hate life, too, if I was him. But, soon he meets this girl and it basically changes his life.

This episode blew my mind. I kind of wish that this was the first episode, but I can see why they did it like they did. They made the first episode not-so-epic to make soon for the better episodes. But the premise, the characters and the message behind it was so strong. It was like a hit in the gut and once it was over, I didn't know what was what. 

Episode 3: The Entire History of You
In the season finale, we meet Liam (Toby Kebbell) and his wife Ffion (Jodie Whittaker) who live in a world where there is this thing called a grain that's implanted in people's heads that allow you to rewind back and forth through your memories. They're having a meet up sort of thing and we meet Jonah (Tom Cullen) who kind of has a thing for Ffion and Liam doesn't exactly like this.

Another powerful episode. It's creepy because when people are re-watching their memories, their eyes kind of turn white and I've seen the whole is-she-cheating-or-isn't-she been done before, but adding the fact that people can see their memories give it a great twist. There's really not much to say without spoiling it, but another good episode.

Season 2: Episode 1: Be Right Back
And here we are with the Season 2 Premiere.We meet a couple Martha (Hayley Atwell)
 and Ash (Domhnall Gleeson) who are just your average couple and everything is well, until Ash gets into a car accident and dies. Martha then is introduced to a service where a computer scans your messages, emails and texts and mimics it into your deceased loved one. Therefore, another "Ash" is created.

Because it dealt with loss, this was one of my favorite episodes. It hit me hard in a way that I didn't feel with Fifteen Million Merits because instead of me just connecting with the main character, I felt like I was her. The emotions and atmosphere throughout the episode were so casual, like this happens everyday, but there was something different. I can't pinpoint it, but it made the episode strong and hard making it one of the best season premieres  ever. Plus, seeing Domhnall Gleeson was a great thing as I have the biggest crush on him.

 Episode 2:White Bear
Here we have a young woman named Victoria (Lenora Crichlow) who wake up with no memory. She starts walking around town and notices everyone around her is filming her and suddenly there are people in animal masks trying to kill her as well. No one is responding to her and she's just trying to find out what the hell is going on.

I must add this to the list of one of my favorite episodes because it started out like a lame, been-there-done-that horror movie. The only different thing is that all these people are watching her, filming her and not responding. Throughout the whole episode, I was just like: "What?" And once I got to the ending, my jaw was literally on the floor. It was the biggest 'WTF' moment I've ever seen in my entire life and I just..couldn't. Great writing, great pacing, great everything. I tried to guess what was going on and every time, I was dead wrong.

Episode 3: The Waldo Moment
Again, another political episode. We meet Jamie (Daniel Rigby) who is a failed comedian who controls a blue, talking bear named Waldo. Waldo is a talk show host who interviews politicians and other big-wig characters that are tricked into thinking that Waldo is just a kid's show program host. Waldo is very popular in the entertainment world, but Jamie is just very depressed with life. That is until someone presents Jamie and Waldo with the opportunity of a lifetime. 

This is my least favorite episode, not because it was political, but I literally felt nothing. It was a kind of bad way to end a great show for the season in my opinion, but because I am so interested with the show as a whole, I will keep watching. 

Overall Thoughts: 
Black Mirror was fantastic. With great writing and pacing, a wonderful little show was created. Although I watched this on Netflix, I would most definitely watch this on Channel Four, which I believe is the channel it comes on. It has its ups and downs, with mainly ups more than downs, but it really makes you think because even though this is a new-age, scientific world, some of this could actually happen. Therefore, go watch Black Mirror, now.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Game Review: Life is Strange (Episode One)

Image result for life is strange

Life is Strange (2015)

Developed by: Dontnod Entertainment
Released On: Jan 30, 2015
Format: PC w/ Controller
Source: Steam
Rating: 4/5

Summary: Life is Strange is an 5-part episodic adventure game. You play as a high schooler named Max who wakes up in class after a terrible nightmare to find out that she can reverse time. Will you be a complete douche to get what you want or be an "everyday hero"? The choice is yours.

My Thoughts: Although very reminiscent of the ever popular Walking Dead series, Life is Strange has its differences and stands alone. Its like a very serious version of Scott Pilgrim as the characters are a bunch of wayward hipsters, but the physical choices/consequences feature of the game are what remind me of The Walking Dead, but the time rewinding aspect is what The Walking Dead lacks. Another aspect that lets it stand apart from a typical Telltale game is that you can capture notes/object as well. There is so much around that it feels real. That you're in this world where everything is just lying around and you can interact with it. Of course most of it is irrelevant, but it's nice to see and it adds to the world. There are notes around you can take and the photo collection feature is different as well. As a player, I always wonder what would happen if I picked another choice and instead of having to play the game ALL over again, I can just rewind the time to see and that is very helpful.

 The characters are realistic to actual high school teenagers as we do say stupid stuff 100% of the time, but the stereotypes they present in the game do not exist. However, for the pretense of the game, they fit. We're in high school. It's a video game, we have to have the nerds, the jocks, the skaters, and the ever-ruling bitchy mean girls. However, many of the characters have this depth and realism that makes the writing so strong. The only different stereotype is the photo nerds. You don't see any of those now-a-days, but again, it fits to the story because Max's story revolves around her taking photos. Even the loading screen has a camera and when you click through the main menu there's a camera shutter noise. So it's safe to say that photography is a main factor of the game.

Speaking of photos and photography, this game is beautiful. The atmosphere reminds me of an indie movie with the different camera angles that you're presented with throughout the game.(Especially if you get to fly the drone. It's great!) It's real enough for a video game. There aren't amazing graphics, but the feeling you get from it makes you feel at home. However beautiful the backgrounds may be, the character animation is very 2000's with the very bad lip syncing and the overused character motions, but the dialogue between the characters makes it bearable. 

It's useful that the save mechanics are intertwined with time reversal, so when you're given a choice, the game saves and you can load it from that checkpoint. That's different because it's built into the game itself. 

So, I highly recommend this game to everyone and anyone that just likes an adventure game in general because Life is Strange is different, its not just a game. It's an experience. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Movie Review: The Wedding Ringer (2015)

The Wedding Ringer (2015)
Starring: Kevin Hart, Josh Gad, Kaley Cuoco, Corey Holcomb, Ignacio Serriccho
Summary: Doug Harris (Gad) realizes that he has no groomsmen and that time is running out and his wedding to the girl of his dreams (Cuoco) is soon. So he hires Jimmy Callahan (Hart) to be the best man at his wedding.

My Thoughts: Although hilarious most of the time, The Wedding Ringer falls short. It's different from things I've seen in the past plot wise, but everything within the movie becomes all too predictable. I literally called every supposed "plot-twist" of the film about 30 minutes into it. This movie relied more on the jokes and it's apparent because of the events that happened (the girl's grandmother being set on fire, the dog eating the poor man's junk) and how poorly they unraveled. The jokes were funny, don't get me wrong, it's just that a stronger plot would have strengthened the movie. The jokes, I must say, are well written and stand tall amongst the unhumorous and unwitty sex jokes. These jokes are just funny from the pop culture references to just good gags that run throughout the film, but the "groomsmen" could have had more parts in the film. They didn't get much screen time and I felt they could have been used more for the film's benefit. 

Of all the stupidity, what struck me the most was Josh Gad. He plays the nerdy, awkward part very well and here he doesn't fail to commit to the role. I am always happy to see Gad in these roles. Even though it's a bit repetitious, he never fails to amuse me. I have a bit of a crush on Josh Gad, to be honest. Then there's Kevin Hart who is the complete opposite of Gad and, boy, when I saw opposites attract, they do. The chemistry and relationship these two have made this movie what it was. It was watchable all because of them!

Therefore, The Wedding Ringer isn't the best film out there, but it isn't a complete waste of time. You'll just wish there was a bit more there.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Game Review: Downfall (2009)/ The Cat Lady (2012)

Downfall (2009)
Developed By: Screen 7

Summary: After a terrible storm leaves Joe and his wife, Ivy, stranded in a strange town, they check into a hotel where soon Ivy goes missing. Soon, Joe is left to find out the secrets behind the town they're saying at, the hotel's strange residents and his own all hopes to also find his wife. 

My Thoughts: Downfall was fantastic and as an avid horror fan, I am in love with everything about Downfall because it is a horror fan's epic wish. Although Downfall has it's issues, in the end I was horrified, shocked, satisfied and even a bit disgusted. Downfall has the perfect mixture of story telling and game play as in it knows when to let the player just play and interact with everything in the game and then it knows when to let the player sit and dissect everything that's going on, unlike The Cat Lady. And believe me, there's a LOT going on. 

When starting the game, you first notice the artsy, sketchy, pixel art style and it was absolutely beautiful in my opinion because that's how life is.Although, not as good looking as The Cat Lady, it's not a big deal considering this game was older. Going on in the game, the story picks up immediately and you're just drawn in the game. It's mentally challenging and I don't mean it's hard. I mean it's a toll on your mental health! The story and message that goes along in Downfall is just...Wow! It's madness, in a good way and everything seems simple at first, but everything soon just turns into a giant shit show. From killing cats to full blown murdering people, the whole point of this game, you think that all this is supposed to amount to some sort of fulfilling ending and it did, but not in the way you expected. It was like a punch in the face. 

The main part of the game that makes it work is just the story and the aspect that it's rough and raw with an art style fits along with it. Without any voice acting, unlike The Cat Lady, the game needs something to keep you interested audibly and it does so with the music. It was great and playing at just the right moments, so that was a nice change. 

One thing I did not like, however, was the way the inventory was set up. During timed events, it was very, very hard to maneuver through them because of the way the inventory was, like during the final boss battle where Sophie hits you and the gun flies out of your hand. It was a struggle to get the gun, reload it and then fire again, which was a bit annoying. 

However annoying and frustrating at times, Downfall was a pleasant, horrifying experience. It's not the most visually pleasing game, but it will leave you with a feeling that will last a lifetime. I highly recommend Downfall to anyone out there who's up for something new.
Image result for the cat lady game

The Cat Lady (2012)
Developed By: Screen 7

Summary: After notorious cat lady, Susan Ashworth, commits suicide, she's transported to a strange land where a woman sends her on a mission back to Earth to kill five "parasites" and get her life back. 

My Thoughts: This game was also a journey and like Downfall, The Cat Lady left me feeling stunned because of how great it was. It was raw and takes a toll on your mental health and wasn't that much different from Downfall feeling wise. However, I was a bit more impressed with Downfall. The story was great and I was into the game, but for me, there was something not there. It may be because there was not a lot of explanation about everything going on. There was so much going on and really nothing at all was explained was frustrating for me as in with the man with the flowers or The Maggot Queen or even with the candles, but the developers probably wanted you to tell your own story. It had a point, it just didn't prove it's point to me, but it works.

The Cat Lady, like Downfall, was dark and if you're a horror fan, you'll enjoy this, but it was more psychological than horror based. It takes on themes about depression and loneliness, unlike Downfall which deals with insanity and the depletion of mental health. In The Cat Lady, you're building up your mental health after a suicide attempt. It's strange, but like I said, it works. 

Also, unlike Downfall, the art style is very different and more mature in a way. There are more lines and things are finished, unlike in Downfall, where the scenes and characters are just sketched and scribbled down. Plus, there's voice acting which is a plus, but the talking got to a point where I was skipping it because it was just unnecessary. OVER DONE. 

Therefore, The Cat Lady is more of an adventure than a game. It's fun, but problematic and it got a bit much for me. Dark and depressing, like Downfall, the Cat Lady is a horror lover's dream. And I highly recommend it to anyone out there.