reviews

Since the Nintendo Switch release in early 2017, more and more creative, colorful games have been developed to fit the console. While many of these games also have PC releases, they complement perfectly the whimsical and fun aesthetic of the Switch. One of those games in Wandersong, a unique puzzle platformer with one hell of a musical heart. (more…)

The last time we came across Eddie Brock/Venom on the big screen, he was playing third or fourth lead in Sam Raimi’s last go at the Spider-Man franchise (since rebooted twice). Raimi famously didn’t want Brock or Venom (same difference) playing supervillains in an already overcrowded, overstuffed Spider-Man 3. Raimi wanted to tell a different and at least to Raimi, a more personal story pitting Spider-Man against Sandman and the Hobgoblin (i.e., Baby Green Goblin), but Sony executives intervened, forcing Raimi to add Venom to an already overstuffed superhero movie. Both Spider-Man 3 and the Venom were all the worse for Raimi’s deliberately shoddy mishandling of a character who deserved better. But where there’s IP (intellectual property), there’s always a way, even if that way involves an eleven-year wait and the conspicuous absence of the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) Spider-Man. They probably should have waited another eleven years. Or maybe jumped into a time machine and released this version of Venom eleven years ago instead to less discerning pre-MCU moviegoers. (more…)

Family-oriented, animated films come in all shapes, colors, and sizes, but rarely do they stray from inoffensive, unobjectionable life lessons or surface-level messages of the peace, love, and understanding, but co-writer and co-director Karey Kirkpatrick’s (Imagine That, Over the Hedge) Smallfoot, a decidedly second-tier animation effort from Warner Bros. and Sony Animation Group, goes the extra half-mile, going where few, if any animated films dare to go: Tackling bits and pieces of American history, specifically colonialism and, by extension, world history. Even the word “genocide,” coined in post-WWII Europe at the Nuremberg Trials, makes a surprising appearance, leading to an unusual message: Willful ignorance or blindness for a good (community) cause may not be the worst way to go. (more…)

It’s been a good couple of years for the horror genre. Break out hits like Get Out, A Quite Place, The WitchHereditary and The Girl With All The Gifts have ushered in a creative renaissance and have earned top box office dollars. The trend of  psychological mind-fuckery and deep metaphors has most certainly changed the expectations of what a horror movie can be. Not saying that’s a negative change. Damn well written and well thought out stories will always be a GOOD thing. But there is nothing wrong with making a few classic slasher flicks with old-fashioned scares. That style of horror are few and far between these days, but there are still those interested in them. After all, they would get to make scary movies featuring obnoxious teenagers getting killed in various fucked up ways from a masked killer. Sometimes that’s just absurd, dark fun. Such is the case with new horror film – Hell Fest (more…)

As the month of Halloween nears, the creepy and horrific only becomes more and more exciting. In the world of video games, almost nothing is more bloody and exhilarating than Dead by Daylight, the best multiplayer game where you can happily kill your friends.

Dead By Daylight is an asymmetric survival game that was released in the summer of 2016. Players can either be survivors working in teams of four to escape a killer’s murder arena, or as the killer hunting down the survivors. The base game came with 5 different survivor options and 4 killers. In the past two years, that has expanded to 14 survivors and 13 killers. Some have been added to the game for free, but others exist as low-cost DLCs.

The game came out amidst a few others similar to it, but its largest competitor, Friday The 13th, ended its updates earlier this year because of decreased sales. Right now, Dead By Daylight is the king of its fun, niche genre.

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Eli Roth” and “family film” are probably the last four words anyone, especially fans of Roth’s hard-R, exploitation genre efforts, would expect to read in a sentence, but Roth (Green Inferno, Knock Knock, Hostel, Cabin Fever) has done the near impossible: He’s semi-successfully reinvented himself as the family-friendly, kindler, gentler Spielberg-inspired filmmaker he apparently always wanted to be. An Amblin produced adaptation of John Bellairs’ 1973 novel for young readers (a nameless marketing executive hadn’t coined “Young Adult” yet) – with Goth-inspired illustrations from Edward Gorey – The House with a Clock in Its Walls delivers CGI-aided, kid-friendly, blood- and gore-free shocks and scares mixed in with the usual supply of stock story elements, an eccentric, but not too eccentric, adventurous lead character, and familiar, if not exactly unwelcome, comfort-zone performances from Jack Black and Academy Award-winner Cate Blanchett. (more…)

Netflix recently dropped season 2 of Marvel’s Iron Fist, a show with an overwhelmingly panned first season. As the fourth series to round out  “The Defenders” hero group of New York, the first season failed to do much except set up plot for The Defenders itself. Its main hero was annoying, parts of it were boring, and it quickly became known as the worst Marvel series to exist.

But what about season 2?

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In Hollywood, there is no try. There’s do (and fail), fail (and do) until something, anything inevitably sticks with moviegoers, breathing new life into a thirty-year-old series in desperate need of reinvention, The Predator, co-written and directed by Shane Black (The Nice Guys, Iron Man 3, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang), proves what 20th Century Fox executives should have known – or maybe they’ve known all along – the Predator series should never have been a series. It should have stopped at one. The Predator was – and continues to be – near impossible to beat, let alone match, the combo of peak Arnold, ace action-director John McTiernan (Die Hard), and a dreadlocked, crab-faced, spine-ripping alien hunter caught up in jungle-set, deadly game of hide-and-seek. Bigger, faster, and armed with super-advanced tech, the Predator bloodily dispatched well-armed (in every sense) mercs, but proved no match for the former Mr. Universe (a/k/a, the Austrian Oak). Arnold, however, smartly stayed away from every sequel or spin-off greenlit by Fox in the misguided hope they could capture the magic of the original. They couldn’t and they haven’t. (more…)

PAX West 2018 showcased hordes of new games and pixelated adventures. However, one that was quietly unique was a graphic novel game focused on queer teens and mental health: Burn Ban. While hardly a perfect game or story, the game highlighted aspects of youth culture and mental illness that are often glossed over until it’s too late. Talking to one of the devs, it was a passion project for the team, however they also wanted to combat the toxic versions of mental health from stories like 13 Reasons Why.

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While Warner Bros. continues to try – and continues to fail (and flail) – to match Disney/Marvel’s cinematic (superhero) universe at the box office or in popular culture, it’s succeeded where just about everyone least expected: A shared supernatural universe created by James Wan, the filmmaker behind not one, not two, but three popular franchises (Saw, Insidious, and The Conjuring). (A fourth, Aquaman, will get its long delayed debut at multiplexes in December.) Wan’s second entry in the series, The Conjuring 2 introduced “The Nun (Bonnie Aarons),” an ancient demon, supernatural star, and expert-level cosplayer that haunted the protagonists as a pasty-faced, rotted teeth, glowing-eyed nun (because by their nature, nuns are inherently frightening creatures). Within seconds of her terrifying appearance, audiences wanted to know more, see more, and hear about the Nun. As always, though, we should be careful what we wished for. Too much explanation, too little story, and the result looks something like the 1950s-set The Nun, a slow burn, slow build horror entry that’s all burn and all build, with little in the way of a satisfying emotional payoff.

As always, spoilers!!!!

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