Category: Movie Reviews

Cloud Atlas

You will either walk out of seeing Cloud Atlas loving it or you will walk out hating it. I thought Cloud Atlas was a great movie if you knew what you were going to be seeing.

It is a tale of human connection through the ages. How our souls can be impacted by the actions of others. A single act of kindness can change everything. A story of love, sacrifice, and humanity.

It is probably a larger scale story than most viewers are used to. The story reveals itself as we follow connected souls through various incarnations and time lines past present and future. Our view of the story jumps back and forth through these timelines in a nonlinear fashion. The stories are mixed together and you jump from time to time and character to character at different times in their soul’s overall journey. The mixup of time and place and character may turn some people off and they may miss the big picture.

I really want to see a whole movie in the Sci-Fi future portions of Cloud Atlas or something very much like it.

If you want to see it go for it, but have an open mind and be prepared to use your Brain. If all you were going on was Tom hanks or Halle berry were in it or you didn’t like the nonlinear story telling then you might think it was horrible. If you are looking for a more linear version of the story I hear the book tells the story one timeline at a time. I am looking forward to reading it to see how it compares.

An exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution.

Wet

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I just finished the video game Wet for the Xbox 360. Wet is an acrobatic action adventure game from Bethesda Softworks. It includes gameplay that we have seen in other games, but I think Wet is the first game to bring all of these elements together in one game. You get the acrobatics and free running bits from Prince of Persia. You get the lock on gun play from Stranglehold. Then they toss in some great swordplay.

You play as Rubi, a wet works specialist who is a lean mean killing machine. Rubi is voiced by Eliza Dushku who fits the mold pretty well. The voice acting is pretty decent overall. The only part I found horrible was Rubi’s death groan which if you fail at jumping like me you end up hearing it alot, UHhhaaaa….  The soundtrack is amazing. All of the songs that play as you run through places slicing and dicing really seem to fit in with the look of the game and the fast paced action.

 

Your weapons of choice are guns or a sword. You can choose to whip out either as you hack and slash your way through the game. The guns and sword do seem a bit nerfed as it takes multiple shots or slices to kill your enemies. I would have liked it to be a bit more like Dead Rising in that it was easy to take down your enemies, but there were more enemies coming at you. There is alot of blood in this game. Blood is also part of the game play as in several places where Rubi goes into a blood rage where your vision goes red and your enemies and environments only appear as outlines.
I found Wet to be a frustratingly good game. I say it was frustrating because I had several issues with the game. The first issue being the platforming aspects where you have to jump from one location to another with a fixed camera. Now there is a game play mechanic that allows you to see where Rubi can jump, but in certain places this feature doesn’t work and you end up falling down a death pit more often than you like.

 

Another issue I had was with the quick time action sequences where you have to hit a specific button at a specific time during a movie scene. These tended to happen with boss battles which in my mind really lowered the value of the boss battles in this game. I would have loved to hack and slash my way through the bosses rather than hitting x,y,b,a when tasked. If you fail in the sequence there is also no chance for recovery which forces you to restart the cut-scene over again.

 

Overall Wet is a pretty decent action game. It was a good rent. I even thought about paying the $12 to keep it from my Gamefly rental, but after paying the gamefly monthly rental fee that would make it something like $20. If I could find it cheaper somewhere I may add it to my collection. There is some replay value with different challenge modes.

 

I give Wet 4 out of 5 Monkeys:

Star Wars The Force Unleashed

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I made my way through Star Wars The Force Unleashed for the Xbox 360 the other day. I never got around to finishing it due to several glitches I encountered in my first few run troughs. I made a fresh start this time around and it took me 7 hours off and on to get through the game. It felt a little short while playing and that does seem a bit short for something some people paid like $50 for.

The story was OK, it felt like the story could have been anything. They did a decent job of setting this game in the Star Wars universe, but the main character could really have been anyone doing anything. Sure he had force powers, but he could just as well had magic powers. This could have been Darksiders had it had different skins and character names.

My biggest annoyance with The Force Unleashed is the humping and limited locations you can get to. You are supposed to be one of the strongest force users around. You can fight and defeat Jedi and Sith masters, yet you can’t jump up to the top of a trash pile easily. Another annoyance is the limited places that you visit.There are many worlds in the Star Wars universe, yet we get stuck visiting the same planets more than once.

Overall a decent action adventure game with some magic thrown in with a Star Wars skin. I suggest renting this game or buying it cheap.

I give Star Wars The Force Unleashed 3 Out 5 Monkeys

Mass Effect 2

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I finally got around to playing Mass Effect 2 and must say it is a
great game. It is one of the few games in recent years that anally
kept me playing until the end. I love it when s game mixes a great
story with great game play.

The graphics in the original Mass Effect were pretty good and the graphics in the sequel are amazing. Loading times are not all that bad and speed up significantly if you unseal the disc on to your Xbox 360. The environments were very detailed and really made the locations that you visit seem like they could really exist in the world of Mass Effect.

I only played through about a third of the original Mass Effect so I didn’t know how it ended until I got a few details through the story in part 2. So if you care you may want to play and finish the first game before playing this one. If you do play through the first game you can import your character and gain some sort of bonus in part 2. Once you beat Mass Effect 2 you also gait he option to import that character and restart the story with your skills and weapons. The story was good enough that I may actually do this to try to go renegade this time.Your choices in the game change how others see you and give you more options in conversations. You can make good or bad choices called Paragon or Renegade choices. Depending on which path you choose you can take different actions in the game.

Now there were a fee things I didn’t like about this game, but the
good outweighed the bad for sure. I didn’t like how long it took to
find minerals on planets. The mining and probing bits were a nice
feature at first, but after your fiftieth planet or so you get pretty
tired of scanning planets for minerals. The other part I could have
done without is the part where you have to spend a few minutes running
around the ship as Joker. Running may be an overstatement, you limp
around the ship at a fair clip. The game play in this portion of the
game seems like it doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the game.

I give Mass Effect 2 5 out of 5 Monkeys:

Up In The Air

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Up In The Air follows Ryan Bingham through several major life changes and how he deals with these changes. Ryan Bingham works for a company that fires people for other companies. He is also a motivational speaker on the side.

The theme behind his speeches seems to be one of happiness through isolation with the big question being what is in your backpack and what weight are you carrying around on your shoulders. Bingham’s happiest times are in the air while traveling for his work and to his speeches. Bingham’ s life choice as a bachelor comes into question when he meets a woman much like himself and eventually falls for her. He must choose to follow his chosen path or to follow his feelings.

The other major change in his life is at work where they want to try firing people over web cam instead of in person, which means no more travel for Bingham. This is where we meet Natalie Keener a hot shot just out of college who wants to revolutionize the way their company fires people. Keener doesn’t understand the personal side of what Bingham does. He takes her on the road with him to try to show her that the personal touch is indeed required for what they do.

I don’t want to give away too much here, but Up In The Air is definatly a must see. You can really feel the humanity of the characters and the conflicts that arise when they are forced to make decisions that go against who they think they are. This is a well acted and beautifully shot movie.

 

DVD: Up in the Air
Blueray: Up in the Air [Blu-ray]

 

I give Up In The Air 5 out of 5 Monkeys:

Avatar

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Went to see Avatar this afternoon, and it was great, probably the best movie I have seen in a while. Despite all the hype I went into this movie with no expectations, I just wanted to see a movie. Saw it in 3d and enjoyed that as well. This was my first modern 3d movie. I like how they didn’t go overboard with the ooo look you can touch it 3d effects, the 3d was used more for layering the scenes.

The plot of the movie as most of you know is the humans visiting an alien world and trying to take what they want first by negotiations and then when that fails by force. We get characters that we can care about, a great good guy and a great bad guy. The special effects were top notch. It felt like I was watching a live action animated movie. Everything was blended together well. It never felt like you were watching cgi effects and people on a green screen, everything just worked mixed together. If you have not seen Avatar yet, go see it.

I give Avatar 5 out of 5 Monkeys: