The Death of a Cyclist Review


It’s definitely been a while since I’ve seen a Spanish film. I don’t really know the language after all, but at the same time if you think about it, watching a Spanish film subbed is just like watching a Japanese one. So, I’m pretty experienced with the subtitle format. If anything, one part about the Spanish experience that is even more enjoyable is that I do know a decent amount of the words so I can see when the translation would be rather loose. Stringing the words together into sentences is the much tougher part. This film is actually a pretty decent romance title all things considered and that in itself was a bit surprising. Of course, the weakest part of this romance film is the romance itself so it’s almost a technicality.

The film opens with the main characters Maria and Juan driving a car down the highway. They end up bumping into an oncoming cyclist and murder the poor guy. Both of them then head back to their lives and hope that it does not catch up to them. Unfortunately, one guy named Rafa seems to have witnessed this. He starts to blackmail Maria while Juan’s conscience also starts to put him in a lot of bad spots. Who will be the one to stop these murderers?

Naturally the writing is pretty solid here. All of the characters are pretty eloquent and there is even a bit of humor thrown into the script although for the most part this is a very serious film. The pacing is on point as well and the characters are well defined. You’ll understand their personalities and character quits early on.

It is worth noting though that the main character is about as smart as a brick. Juan basically walks into every problem. Of course first we have him being an accomplice to murder. The man had a chance to save this biker but chose not to in order to protect himself, that was Juan’s first mistake and that is a huge one to start off with. After that he goes on to let the pressure get to him during his gig as a professor and fails one of his students for no reason. Juan apologizes but insists that there is nothing that can be done. This excuse doesn’t hold water and the students know this.

That leads to one of the best parts as the students rise up to take him down. It’s a mistake that I was worried would not come back to bite him so when it did I was certainly thrilled. He still didn’t get a harsh enough punishment there but it was a start. The scenes with him and the student weren’t nearly as good. She seems way too forgiving considering that he failed her and they seem to become friends anyway. Definitely not where I thought the plot would go and it didn’t really make sense.

Finally, Juan makes his last mistake towards the end of the film. By now he knows how the other characters are and should understand the situation. He’s been taken to an abandoned area where someone was previously murdered and opts to give his back to someone in the murder weapon. 2 guesses on how that would play out right? It’s just not a smart move…not a smart move at all. Of course this character never was the smartest one in the movie.

Then we have the heroine who is far less remorseful about the whole endeavor. Maria is always looking out for herself as she wants to be rich while also having her affair. Neither power or riches are allowed to be sacrificed so if there are complications with the affair that put those at risk then Maria is ready to do what she must. In a way she is more genuine as a villain since she only cares about herself. She’s a fun villain but definitely one you don’t want to trust.

Rafa is another big villain and he’s definitely a very clever one. Of course once you have blackmail ammo at your side it’s hard to lose. He really puts the main characters through the ringer here. Then you have Miguel who is the rich husband of Maria. He gets an interesting character arc. Definitely not the smartest character at times although in his defense you would expect the wife to be faithful so it’s not like he should have been suspecting her from the start. His final decisions are a bit odd, but he does like thinking about his stature quite a lot.

As I mentioned, the film’s weakness is the romance though. As the characters are cheating you naturally can’t root for them. No matter how genuine they try to make the romance you can’t forget this so you’re rooting against the main characters from the start. There’s just nothing they can do to salvage this. Also, the romance between the two seems fake as they constantly doubt whether it’s real. If even the characters aren’t sure then how could we be?

Overall, The Death of a Cyclist was a pretty sound film. It had good writing and the tension throughout the film is pretty good. Of course, you’re rooting against the leads the whole time so you may have a different experience than someone who is rooting for them. It makes the character internal struggle scenes drag on a bit since I at least didn’t feel any real sympathy for them. I just felt bad for the cyclist from the firs scene. If you’re going to check out a Spanish film then this is definitely the best one to start with I’d say. The title also makes sense very early on in the film which is pretty cool. The ending may be a bit dicey as Juan looks super bad but for the most part it’s definitely a classic ending type based on the intro.

Overall 6/10

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FIFA 14 Review


It’s time to look at an old FIFA game. I would say a “modern” one but at this point 2014 feels like a long time ago. I don’t have a lot of experience with FIFA, but I’m a little better at it than I am at MLB. At the very least I keep the games close. It’s definitely a fun title, but certainly one that you will enjoy a whole lot more if you are actually good at it. Knowing how to make the plays that you want to achieve simply makes for a world of difference here.

There are a bunch of different modes. I imagine that you will spend most of your time in Franchise mode ordinarily. After all, that’s where you get to really learn and grow with your team. If you can’t get the hang of the controls for a while you’ll start out with some bad records, but eventually you’ll be able to completely flip that. I don’t really have enough time to do all of that, but it’s always a great mode for any sport. Beyond that you can also run drills, practice, Go online and play, or a bunch of other options. There is no shortage of modes and content here.

As for the gameplay, it seems pretty good. it’s definitely one of those games where it’ll take a while to actually master the controls. There’s a lot to them and you can’t really skate by on just doing the easy controls. You’ll really need to apply yourself here. For example, I played a few games, but couldn’t score a single goal. I just can’t get close enough to take a realistic shot, it’s crazy. On the other side though, I didn’t allow any goals to be scored in most of the games. (They did score on me once) So…either the goal keeper is just OP here or I need more training. I imagine that it’s the latter because otherwise the FIFA games wouldn’t be nearly as big as they are now. I felt more confident than in Baseball since I’m at least not getting blown out, but at the same time you can’t win without scoring right?

The graphics are certainly solid as always. EA doesn’t hold back in that area. As always in the sport games the music isn’t all that memorable, but it seems to be pretty fast and fitting for the sport. On a technical level the game is quite good and the gameplay is solid as well so I have no real complaints. The only thing really hurting the score is the fact that the game won’t be incredibly fun until you get good at it and you also have to love the sport. If you think about it, technically you’re going to be going through the same motions in every match. That’s true for many games of course, but it does emphasize how much you need to like the gameplay in order to go through with it. Otherwise it would just become a chore by the end and you don’t want that.

To date the best Soccer game has definitely been Mario Strikers. It took a more arcade style look at the sport with simplified controls but still hitting all of the right mechanics. It’s a game that holds up well today and I think FIFA could learn a thing or two from it. FIFA is of course going for a Soccer Simulation style as it’s very realistic but I think it could loosen up on the mechanics a bit. Make the ball go in more precise locations instead of just anywhere and that would help with the shooting. Of course, this is something that would help casual FIFA players like me while professional gamers would likely not like having their experience go to waste so it’s definitely a mixed proposal. I’ll definitely still be buying the next FIFA games once the price is reasonable so it doesn’t make much of a difference to me, but I do think it would be a way for the series to get to the next step.

Currently from the big EA titles I’d rank them as Madden>NBA>FIFA>NHL>MLB>PGA. If we threw Tennis in there then it would be third after NBA. In general those are the 3 games that are way above the others. Starting with FIFA they just aren’t as interesting. Put it this way, Madden is a 9 star series and NBA/Tennis are 8 stars. FIFA is a 7 and the others range from 6 to 3. There’s probably a strong correlation to how I enjoy the real life sports too I suppose.

Overall, FIFA 14 definitely continues the series off well. I look forward to playing some of the other FIFA games I have in the backlog but haven’t played yet. They’ll all be older, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be even better. The more I play them the better I should get so that could help plus sometimes the older games had simpler controls which is also important to notice. It’s the opposite of fighting games where they’ve gotten a little simpler over the years. (Although in some cases that’s been a good thing like with Super Smash and Street Fighter) Whether you’ve played a previous FIFA game or not you should be able to jump in pretty quick here as long as you know how the sport works. Actually winning a game is a completely different discussion though. For that you’re gonna need to practice your shooting for quite a while and that’s no easy feat.

Overall 7/10

10 Cloverfield Lane Review


The original Cloverfield was an intense monster film. The hand held camera filming technique was a bit jarring and the party scene ultimately crippled the film, but at the very least you couldn’t say that the film didn’t try hard. This sequel completely throws all of that out the window though. The monster barely appears and for the most part this film has nothing to do with anything. Definitely not a title I would recommend.

The film starts off with Michelle driving away from home. She has decided to leave her family for good after having a disagreement with her boyfriend. Unfortunately, she takes her eyes off the road and someone slams her off the track. When she wakes, Michelle finds herself the captive of a crazy man who believes in a bunch of conspiracy theories. This villain is very possessive so she is going to need to find a way out and fast. The problem is that the only other inmate here broke his arm and also believes that Howard is just here to help them. Becca will need to convince him otherwise.

The film breaks quite a few cinematic rules right from the start. First off, the film opens with the lead crying and we get a lot of dramatic scenes where her sadness goes on. This isn’t good because the film has only just started so we haven’t been given a reason to care about her yet. Moreover, Becca’s family plot never becomes relevant so this makes the scene even more out of place. She could have just been driving out to the market or something and it wouldn’t have changed the plot. Giving her some drama like this without any kind of purpose in the story doesn’t really help it. Naturally, it’s hard to be too harsh on how she takes the whole situation at first since being a captive is pretty scary, but it’s also more crying and such. I think the film tried too hard to make her just an “ordinary” person to the point where she is too passive.

That’s hardly what really holds the film back though. The whole plot is about Becca being kidnapped by Howard and the whole film is them being stuck in this house. It drags on considerably and of course she has to defer to the villain for the majority of it in the interest of self preservation. A good and realistic move on her part but still one that isn’t any fun to watch. Howard just keeps getting the last laugh for most of the film. Then the movie doubles down by making the film way darker for no reason as we learn about another victim from the past. There’s enough implications here where it destroys whatever was left of the film. If you’ve got an iffy plot and decide to go for being dark, there’s not much else the film can do to save it.

Once we finally leave the house we do get an alien monster fight scene. It’s definitely an “about time” kind of moment for sure. That being said, the monster has been considerably weakened. The film is operating on a tiny budget so they try not to show the monster much but from what I can see it didn’t look like Clover. I’m thinking it’s a different monster or maybe these aliens arrived to try and fight Clover while destroying the humans. I’m sure there’s some mind of reason but it’s not like the film would explain that. It makes for an exciting climax but even this part gets fumbled as Becca is able to take down a huge Kaiju with a single bottle of wine. Are you kidding me? If the monster is this weak then we’ve got problems. She hit it through the weak point but monsters can’t resist the urge to roar so it would be easy for others to replicate the feat.

The character roster is pretty small so it’s easy to talk about the main three characters. First off we have Becca of course. She’s not a terrible character, but I admit that she is one of the weaker leads that I have seen as of yet. Again, I’ll refer back to where I wrote about her earlier. The film makes her too nervous and just not pro-active enough. She makes too many “General Audience” type decisions which come back to bite her. She had a few opportunities to really take Howard down for the count but always opted to flee. Granted, Howard had quite a bit of plot armor to help him.

There’s one scene that involves a pot of acid and somehow he manages to tank it. I didn’t believe that for a second, it’s a bit much considering that guy is just human. It’s not like he’s a super bodybuilder or anything like that either. Naturally there is nothing to like about Howard. He’s just another crazy villain out to destroy the world. Then you have the other guy named Emmett who is extremely naive and just plain annoying the whole time. He’s slow to believe anything and conveniently he had his arm broken so he can’t help Becca fight back. When you factor all of that in he just isn’t all that helpful and half of the time is just annoying. It’s that gray area where some of this isn’t the character’s fault but it’s hard not to blame him at the same time.

Overall, 10 Cloverfield Lane is definitely not a film that I would recommend. It really does its best to completely ignore the original Cloverfield movie and that’s not a good thing. The film could and should have just called this movie something else and it would have been a lot better. You just can’t make a sequel and not have the monster be one of the main characters. It’s just not going to work. The scenes at the end don’t save it, especially given that the monster looks so bad the whole time. If the monster had won or something then it would have been fine, but since it ended up losing it defeats the whole purpose. The film seemed to hint that the radiation is turning people into zombies or something so having a zombies and aliens vs humans plot would have been infinitely more interesting. We don’t even get to see how the army reacts. Avoid this film at all costs and you’ll be fine. It’ll ruin your memories of the first film…even if I wasn’t a big fan of that one either.

Overall 2/10

The Visit Review


It’s time to look at a film where the villains are senior citizens. That’s always gonna be tricky to pull off because these guys don’t exactly push fear into the hearts of many. There was a recent film about a lady and her basement that I remember getting mocked for similar reasons. Either way this film’s definitely getting a thumbs down but at least the found footage aspect wasn’t as obnoxious as it could have been. Likely because the main characters were kids.

The film starts off with their Mom explaining that she ran away from home a long time ago. She then had kids before the guy ran off and now she’s with the rebound. Well, the grand parents have decided that they want to see the kids at long last and the Mom lets the kids know they can go if they want too. The kids do want to go so they can ship the Mom and the rebound character together. However, they quickly notice that the grandparents are rather off, once night falls the Grandma acts like a monster and the Grandpa is always vanishing into a suspicious shed. Maybe they should have stayed home after all.

Right away the film reminds you that this is a horror film through the bad writing. Tyler is incredibly annoying even compared to most kid characters. He’s only 13 but already sings rather edgy songs and has quite the potty mouth. His character was doomed from the start to be honest. Tyler gets a football related sob story which ties in at the end but by and large the character just doesn’t do much more than be around just to fill out the cast. I can’t stress enough how annoying and bad he is. Almost every line Tyler has is guaranteed to make you cringe.

Becca is certainly a lot better. Her origin story involves not looking at mirrors and that part was done pretty well as you may even notice this early on. Of course even if you do you most likely won’t attach any real significance to this until the twist occurs. Becca can be a bit too trusting and probably should have helped Tyler alert the mother sooner but for the most part Becca is pretty solid. I do think she definitely should not have tried pressuring the grandma into answering a question about her mother a second time after being completely rejected the first time. The grandma had such a violent reaction that risking such a response again is asking for trouble.

Naturally the main characters are kids so they have a bit of a better excuse as to why they make so many mistakes compared to the average main character. For example I definitely would not go into the oven since that’s basically signing my death warrant. There is a lot of tension there beneath the surface as the character may have been pushed in had she refused, but at least you could try to make a break for it. Once you’re in the oven then it’s all over. Also, opening the door after dark when they know the Grandma is dangerous was incredibly risky. She came super close to making it to their room in time and that would have been an unfortunate way to die.

Naturally there is a twist about the grandparents. It’s a good twist as there are cinematic clues you could fall back on from earlier in the film. Noticing them at first may be difficult, but after the twist they become obvious. It does remind me why I immediately thought the plan wasn’t a good idea on the Mom’s part. I don’t care if the grandparents want to see her or not, they’re her kids so she gets the final say. She absolutely should have gone with them to make sure that the grandparents were legit.

The film does get onto the violent/dark aspect towards the end. Most of the film is fairly tame by horror standards as all the bodies and slashes don’t start factoring in until the end. Unfortunately it also adds in a gross aspect which was wildly out of place. That part alone is enough to destroy the film’s score had it been high by this point anyway. It just goes to show that a horror film can rarely resist the urge to add something like this as opposed to staying classy.

Overall, The Visit is definitely not a quality film. It mixes the classic horror tropes with kid protagonists. I can tell you right now that this is not a winning combo. Tyler is annoying with his constant rapping and the villains aren’t scary. They’re only powerful because the main leads are kids which is more annoying than anything. The only other character who appears, a neighbor, acts incredibly naive and not very smart with how she handled the situation. It does continue the trope of horror supporting characters not being much smarter than a sandbag though. There was also the teenager who got beat up by an old man….but that’s just so crazy that I don’t even need to go into that. I also think the rebound subplot wasn’t great either since it seems like the Mom moved on awfully quick. The kids still remember the old father so it can’t have been too many years ago. That plot barely appears but is still something worth noting. If you want to watch a film with a bit more tension, go watch the original Pokémon film.

Overall 1/10

Under Night In-Birth EXE: Late[st] Review


It’s time to look at a recent fighting game that came out for PS4. The fact that it got announced for EVO was a fun coincidence as I had already ordered this game. Now if anything it’ll help me keep up with what’s happening during the tournament a lot better. Arc Systems has always been great with fighting games so right off the bat I knew that this one would be very good. I certainly was not disappointed. It’s definitely a great title.

There isn’t a central plot here, but instead each character has a story that is told through their Arcade Mode. This is a staple for many fighting games so it’s not surprising. The game does give you a little extra content through the Chronicles mode where you learn more about each character though. There’s actually quite a bit of content here. Completing the game with every character will take some time for sure. The general premise is that once a month the “Night” occurs where people from various eras and locations show up to fight. In a way it’s very similar to the Fate plots except that it all happens in the span of a single day. The characters must stop whoever is leading the charge this time before people start being turned into voids and become a danger to society. Some of the characters fight for justice, others for evil, and others for personal reasons. Either way, only one can survive.

The gameplay is that of a fast paced 2D fighter. Each character has quite a lot of combos and you’ll want to master them all if you want to start overwhelming the opponent. It’s definitely a game where you won’t ultimately go too far by button mashing. The combos are made in a way where you need to switch buttons to really use the best ones. Just hitting one button simply won’t work. Still, the game makes you feel good with how much damage you end up dealing all the time. Each character has a unique fighting style so you’ll want to find the character that ends up clicking with you.

Fortunately most of the characters are pretty fun here. I definitely enjoy Hide as he’s a fun protagonist. He’s always up for a fight and while the guy can be laid back, he steps in when necessary. Linne is a good supporting character who is a lot older than she appears. Her experience gives her an edge in combat. Finally there is the Assassin who never likes to say his name. His cool demeanor and expert fighting style makes him a threat as well. One thing that all 3 of these characters have in common is that they’re close range sword users. You just can’t beat that gameplay style.

This game really delivers on a graphics front as well. The visuals for the attacks are great. Pretty much every attack has some kind of effect going on. The stages are very dynamic as well and everything looks very pristine and modern. It would have been nice if we could have gotten some actual cutscenes instead of just having a bunch of still images but I suppose you can’t have everything right? Even more impressive than the graphics here is the soundtrack. Pretty much every theme is dynamite. That’s good because you’ll be hearing the themes quite a lot. Each character has their own unique theme and then the game has a few miscellaneous ones as well. Most of them are fast paced rock songs so you can definitely see why they would appeal to me.

For replay value, this game is a fighter so it automatically has an unlimited amount. You can keep on playing others locally or online to hone your skills. You can spend the money you earn on unlocking new costumes and titles. You don’t earn much money from doing Story Mode so you’ll have to see which way earns it the fastest. Either way there are a ton of things to buy so I expect it’ll take you a very long time to do so. You definitely won’t be putting this game down for quite a while after you buy it. It’s here for the long haul.

If anything it would be fun to see this turned into an anime or manga at some point. It’s got a lot of cool ideas and the story is very large in scope. The game can’t really touch on it all that much though since Arcade Modes are very short. If it was a full anime then it could really go into all of this. It’s just a solid premise as well that would lend itself well to such things. Until that happens the game does work well as a prologue of sorts though.

Overall, Under Night is definitely a great fighting game. It really checks off all the boxes for what a fighter should be. The gameplay is fast and detailed. The graphics are sharp and the soundtrack perfectly complements the tone as well. Finally, the characters are interesting. It’s rare that characters hurt a fighting game, but it happened once with AquaPazza. Ideally a roster should involve characters you are interested in as they’ll just make the whole thing more exciting. Take them out of the picture and there just isn’t much left. Well, this game definitely didn’t have those problems. If you haven’t bought this game yet then I would recommend changing that. It’s only about 20 bucks nowadays which is really a pretty good price when you consider that it’s a PS4 title. You’ll want to jump on that deal while you can.

Overall 8/10

The Mummy’s Shroud Review


The Mummy has returned to usher in a new era for horror films. At least, that’s likely the intent here, but the series has made some mistakes in the past so we’ll see if this film can really take home the gold. While it does ring more true to the classic Mummy mythos than the previous film, it does make its share of mistakes. I don’t think you’ll be bored though. We have a pretty colorful cast of characters here and at least one character does try to fight back against the Mummy.

The film starts off with a flashback about how an Egyptian king was overthrown and everyone got murdered. We fast forward to the modern day where Dr. Basil and the rich Stanley have broken into the tomb. They steal the coffin and head back home to show it off. Unfortunately it appears that the coffin had a curse within it that has begun to affect everyone who walked into the tomb. There is now a murderous Mummy on the loose and the bodies are starting to pile up. Stanley wants to leave, but the cops are keeping everyone in one place. Can he get out alive?

Stanley may be a predictable character, but he sure is an entertaining one. He’s the classic rich guy who doesn’t care about lives. He just wants to turn a profit and let everyone else take the fall. This is especially evident when he tries to discredit Basil and throw him away for life. Stanley ultimately only seems to care about his family, everyone else is considered expendable. He’s certainly an antagonist, but a fun one nonetheless. You’re still rooting for him against the Mummy. He did make a lot of big mistakes though. If you’re trying to flee the country you probably shouldn’t wait in a dark alley for someone to come and help. Especially when you’re rich and the locals know it. Ah well, Stanley tried.

Then you have Dr. Basil who is reasonable I guess. He was annoying in his final scenes, but I guess that makes sense since he was poisoned. Still, it makes for a scene that drags on quite a bit as an old lady makes fun of him and then he’s taken out of the picture. Speaking of which, the old lady was annoying as well. She’s basically just here to rub the deaths in the faces of the victims before they perish. She doesn’t have much point here except to egg everyone on and get them into trouble. I mean, she performs the role quite admirably of course, but cutting out the drool in her scenes would have helped me take her seriously.

I consider Stanley to basically be the main character here, but Paul and Maggie get big roles as well. Paul is the son of Stanley and unlike his father he wants to work his way to the top. He doesn’t want to be drunk on power and sets his sights on stopping the Mummy instead of fleeing. Meanwhile Maggie knows how to read Egyptian and was against going into the tomb in the first place. Still, now she may be the only one with the power to stop this situation. It puts her in a tricky spot. Both characters are pretty reasonable. I do think Maggie made a big mistake in going to some random fortune teller to try and dispel her fears though. Even if the fortune teller wasn’t evil, did she really think anything could be done at that stage in the game?

I also have to give the cops some credit here. They were on point for the most part even if they didn’t really uncover much in their investigations. At least they were trying to help out and they certainly managed to be a thorn in Stanley’s side. The chief finally even relented in the end so at least he could try and save some victims. He maybe should have done that a bit sooner, but I think he just wanted to axe Stanley. Not the most heroic move of course, but it is what it is. Stanley’s wife also looks pretty good here. She’s always being passive aggressive and really enjoys the fact that she never went into the tomb.

So, most of these are positives, but what are the negatives? Well, pretty much the usual Hammer stuff. The film can be a bit violent here with everyone getting bumped off. People are strangled, burned to death, crushed, etc. The Mummy makes sure to take everyone down at some point or another. The Mummy also doesn’t make for a particularly good antagonist. He’s slow and you can’t believe that he is beating everyone the whole time. Even if he is bullet proof you can at least out run the guy. The only one I can’t blame is Basil since he was sick. At least the photographer tried fighting back though. You’ll feel bad for Stanley’s right hand man though since the guy gets the short end of the stick throughout the film.

The movie’s humor and writing were on point though. This one actually was a step ahead of most of the other Mummy titles. It could have definitely been a lot worse. At least it’s entertaining throughout and has a quick pace. If you’re going to do a Mummy film then you can definitely take a lot of cues from this one. It knew how to properly develop the characters after all.

Overall, The Mummy’s Shroud is actually decent. The shroud itself is actually important by the end so it’s also a title that makes sense. That’s always a good idea as opposed to just having that in the title to sound cool. The slasher elements we could have done without, but it’s handled in a less graphic way than it likely would nowadays. I won’t give the film a positive score, but it’s not bad either so it lands smack in the middle. If this film sounds like your cup of tea then you should check it out. At the very least, this film will keep you guessing as to who will get bumped off first.

Overall 5/10

MLB 14: The Show Review


It’s time to look at a new MLB game I got recently. It’s one of the few sport titles from EA that I didn’t grow up. I always used to play Football and Basketball and even played a few FIFA titles along the way. However, even though I did own one Baseball game for Gamecube, I just never really played it. As a result, it can be tough to get the controls to this one. Sport games have some of the highest learning curves and this one is no exception. The end result is that the game feels as slow as the real life sport does to me so it doesn’t end up being a very entertaining experience.

Naturally there are quite a few modes here. The main one is the Franchise mode where you go through the entire Baseball season. You’ve really got to love the game to do that though as there are many games to go through. You can do this online as well as you go up against other teams and hope that the players don’t disconnect just as you’re about to win. There are also minigame modes here like the Home Run Contest which I had fun checking out. It’s a bit long though so I recommend shortening the duration in the settings before starting. Fortunately the game does let you fast forward through the mode if you start to get bored.

I hit a ton of Home Runs, but after a while you just want to get back to the game. The problem is that in a normal game I was having a hard time getting any hits. I think I only got a real hit twice. Every other time they would just catch the ball or tag me before I hit the base. Something didn’t feel right about all of that. Baseball is a hard game to adapt for sure and I think EA just doesn’t do it all that well. I enjoy the Mario Baseball games. They may be overly simplified but you quickly know how to hit and pitch. In this game both gameplay modes are so advanced that you’ll need big tutorials on both. I couldn’t find a tutorial mode within the game though, just normal practice.

I just couldn’t pitch a straight ball to save my life. I’d click the pitching button without moving the stick and it would still go out of left field. It seems like you have to take the wind into consideration or something like that, but that’s definitely making things more complicated than they ought to be. Then you’ve got batting where part of it feels luck based. A large part is skill like when to hit the ball, angling, and stuff like that. However, once you hit the ball all bets are off. In Basketball or Football you are largely in control of the game for at least 90% of what happens. RNG is always still around of course, but it won’t be trying to get in your way all that much. As I said, I couldn’t get any hits past the infield. It was crazy!

As always EA does deliver on a technical level though. The graphics are very nice and everything looks quite sharp. You feel like you’re in a real Baseball game. It may not be quite as exciting as their other titles, but Baseball is rarely meant to be a “flashy” game. They just tried to emulate the real thing as best they could and as per usual they succeeded. There are some tunes here, but like their other sport games I rarely notice them as I get caught up in the excitement of the whole thing. Still a nice touch for those who want a little music involved of course.

Also, you can’t deny that the game has a ton of replay value for those who enjoy the sport. You can play the actual games over and over again as you rise to the top. This is especially true since there is an online element here. The title never has to end as every game is fresh. That’s definitely a good thing and I can’t think of any other big Baseball game so EA has really cornered the market here. If you want to play you’ve got to play their way.

Overall, I won’t say that this is a bad game. It’s too technically impressive for that. Still, it’s not my kind of game. At the end of the day it wasn’t all that fun and that holds it back quite a bit. Still, if you like Baseball then you should definitely check it out. I think you’ll probably be impressed with how in-depth it is. Hopefully next time the controls are a little more intuitive though. I’d like to be able to just pop it in and play at a reasonable level. At the very least, hopefully I could give the CPU players a run for their money. Until then I need to git gud.

Overall 5/10

The Other Review


Most films have something to bring to the table even if they aren’t particularly good. Resident Evil had good fights and a tight soundtrack, Pixels had a lot of humor and good graphics, and even Transformers had nostalgia on its side. The Other is a film that has none of that. There is a saying that goes “Smash? More like Trash am I right?” in the world of twitch. That one wasn’t accurate but if you throw in the Other instead of Smash then you’re actually on to something.

The Other starts off by showing two kids playing at the lake. They aren’t very nice kids so they quickly take the time to intrude on a neighbor’s property. From there things only escalate as one kid begins to murder everyone in the family. Can Niles stop helping him long enough to stop this guy or is he as evil as he appears? Just calling them kids is gonna get confusing the whole time so the important thing to remember is that the evil one is called Holland while the less evil one is Niles.

“Strangely” nobody ever sees Holland or even comments about him. Then there is the fact that the two brothers look identical. The twist is pretty obvious especially with a theme being that the main character can talk to the dead. As a result any scene with him in it is pretty bad. None of his “nice” scenes will work for you since you won’t fall for his tricks and either way it’s annoying how he always tries to change the subject. He just can’t face reality.

This film is just super mean spirited. Bad things just keep on happening to everyone in the family and none of them get a happy ending. You can also blame this on the writing and a poor script. There is nothing to grab your attention here and you’ll have a hard time paying attention since there is no one to root for. The film drags on and on for the whole duration. None of the characters are particularly smart either.

Even after one of them ones what is going on she decides to keep leaving the lead alone in the same room as other characters. Surely she should know how things would play out from there right? If not, then that definitely makes her look bad. We also can’t forget how she is able to play the control a dead person game and yet she doesn’t use it to try and find the missing person at the end. The whole film is leading up to her using that ability for this sole purpose and it doesn’t happen. When you’ve got supernatural powers that can save lives you really need to use them. Far as I’m concerned she’s an accessory to all of the murders that take place in this movie…and there are quite a lot of those.

Overall, The Other is definitely a film that you’ll want to avoid. None of it is any good from the characters to the plot. It’s ultimately just a big waste of space and you’ll be glad that you skipped this one. It’s a shame that such a good title had to be wasted on this movie but that’s how it goes I suppose. Not all of the films can be winners and some are destined to fall all the way down to stinker territory. There’s not a whole lot more to say about the film as it isn’t terrible in an entertaining way. It just falls down the stairs from the start and never climbs back up. It fails at being a movie.

Overall 0/10

Village of the Giants Review


It’s time to look at an old film where giants came into being. I would say that it’s about how power corrupts, but these kids were already corrupt from the start so it’s more like they finally got to push people around. The film is pretty aimless for the most part though with many scenes being dedicated to dancing and singing in order to stall for time. It’s definitely a film that’s gonna get a thumbs down from me.

The film starts off with a group of teenagers crashing their car and they spill out into the rain. They’re all pretty rowdy so they start a mud fight and dance for a while. After that they figure they should try to find some shelter and head to a nearby village. In this village, Nancy and Mike have stumbled onto a new discovery courtesy of a kid named Genius. It’s a spongecake that turns you giant once you eat it. Mike is determined to get rich from this, but ends up giving some of the formula to a cat, 2 Geese, and a dog. Pretty soon the whole village knows about it and wants their hands on it. Mike tells them no, but the teens show up and eat it anyway. Now they’re all huge and they want to take over the town. Can Mike stop them?

This movie has quite a few problems so it’s hard to know where to begin. To start with, there is way too much singing and dancing here. That wouldn’t be a problem if they were good of course, but none are. The dances are the same motions over and over again. Each dance seems to last for an eternity and then the songs also tend to drag on. They never add onto the plot either so they’re definitely just here to drag out the film. The plot would barely have lasted 40 minutes otherwise.

Then the writing is consistently iffy. Mike ends up cheating on his girlfriend for a bit just to mess with the villains and fool them into thinking he was being tricked. Not a very nice partner to have eh? They tried the same trick on the girl only she didn’t even entertain it. (Although she was getting dangerously close) So you already can’t root for the heroes. Mike also doesn’t seem all that smart like when he tries to fight the leader of the teens. He’s luck that the hit didn’t completely destroy him. There’s also a scene where the town tries to tie up one of the giants and they actually succeed which was a scene that made no sense. With a single movement he could have knocked them all over, but instead the giant just seemed confused and almost mindless for a moment. It just didn’t make any sense.

Naturally the teens don’t make for good villains either. There’s a little friction between a few of the guys as they bicker a lot and for a wile there you think there’s going to be a power struggle. Surprisingly it never happens. The leader just folds every time the group wants to do something drastic. They definitely have a lot of fun making fun of the adults, but beyond that it’s not like they had much of a plan. Honestly they just would have gotten bored after a few days I expect. It all would have been routine by that point.

You can probably guess from the premise that this film isn’t really meant to be taken seriously. It’s definitely comedic for the most part but the film just isn’t quite as funny as it thinks it is. Take away the dancing scenes and that would have helped the film a bit for sure, but even without that there just isn’t much to the film. The dialogue is very weak and there are no likable characters. It would have been fun to have seen more of this from the adults perspective though. Maybe have a bunch of government guys walk in and start making demands or something. Instead the adults seem a bit slow on the uptake like when they order the teens back into the theater. I mean…they could have just squashed the cop so he got lucky. Also, how did nobody notice that they kidnapped the sheriff’s daughter? That seemed a bit iffy. It would be easy to grab her of course, but surely the town should have known about it.

Part of the problem throughout the film with the humans putting up a resistance is that the giants are way too strong. They could have easily ended the whole match in an instant if they do desired. The fact that they did not is really just plot hax. The film is riddled with plot hax. The characters should have had no chance until the formula wore off. Of course, the villains should never have gotten the formula if Mike was a little smarter and didn’t leave the key right next to the safe it was guarding. That defeats the purpose of the safe.

Overall, Village of the Giants is definitely a film you’ll want to skip. It’s pretty over the top but not in a good way. The Giants don’t actually alter the plot much at all. The film would have been better if it was just about the potion going out of control and making everyone giant. They would have had to learn how to cope with this smaller world now that they were giants. Instead we had to see Mike take down a giant spider which certainly wasn’t good. The film’s very cheesy and in some ways that’s good, but it makes too many errors to really stay afloat. Cut out the fanservice and this film could have had a shot. As it stands, you should stick to Godzilla for real movies about a giant creature.

Overall 3/10

Captain Marvel Review


It’s time to look at Marvel’s latest installment in their expansive MCU franchise. Thanks to an early screening my brother got tickets to I was able to see this film a few days before it came out. It’s definitely a solid film that delivers on all fronts. It has all the classic MCU trends for success; strong dialogue, solid action, and quick pacing. The film doesn’t slow down the tempo and by the end you’ll be satisfied.

The film starts off with an early mission with Carol and the other Kree operatives. It’s a classic extraction mission as they need to get one of their agents out of a hostile environment. The situation does not go as expected and deteriorates quickly. Carol now finds herself on Earth and must confront memories that have haunted her recently. Are the Kree keeping secrets from her? Whether she likes the answers or not, Carol knows that she has to seek them out.

There’s naturally a lot more to the plot than that, but that’s a pretty general description so you won’t have anything spoiled. This is an early review so I’ll be even more careful than usual to avoid spoilers. Now, there is a general feeling among many reviewers that it’s bad to be predictable. A feeling where if you know exactly what’s going to happen in a film then it did something wrong. I don’t agree with that. Captain Marvel isn’t particularly subtle. All of the twists and turns are very predictable and you’ll always know what’s going to happen next. You’ll know which characters are the villains and which ones are the heroes. As Carol tries to figure out her past you’ll end up figuring it out first. To call it the most predictable superhero film may be pushing it, but there aren’t any surprises here, at least when it comes to twists. That’s likely due to a mix of the MCU formula telling you what to expect and general context clues.

I’d argue that this isn’t a bad thing though. What’s important is the execution. As long as the film does a good job of getting to its goal then knowing where it’s going isn’t a bad thing and that’s what the film does well. It’s always a fun adventure. This is thanks in no small part to Carol herself. She holds the film quite well as a lead. I buy into her tough persona a lot more than previous heroines like Black Widow and Gamora. I’ve always liked characters who are fairly aggressive and Carol here is like Hal Jordan or Wonder Woman. Nobody’s going to push her around and anyone who tries eats a photon blast. Captain Marvel is consistently defiant throughout and that’s always a good thing. She’s a lot smarter than other leads as well in a practical sense as she doesn’t fall for an obvious trap near the end of the film that I think many others would have. I look forward to seeing her in End Game. The only concern naturally is how powerful Captain Marvel is. She’s closer to fighters like Superman and Supergirl than someone like the Hulk. It’s easy to see her quickly taking down someone like Thanos here. I think the writers are going to have to be extremely cautious with how her character is portrayed going forward. It’d be pretty annoying to see her nerfed or losing a fight for no real reason.

Another plus for the film is the writing. MCU films are always a action/comedy blend which aim for a 50-50 split. The top notch films like Infinity War, Avengers, Winter Soldier, etc have a good blend. It’s the case for most of them to be honest as the franchise has been consistently great. The only exceptions have been films like Ant Man and Guardians of the Galaxy 2 which were on the weaker side. This one is a great example of how to do it right. There’s a lot of solid banter throughout and quality jokes. The humor scenes are funny though and aren’t forced. They also don’t take away from the fights. The heroes aren’t joking during battles, they take the stakes seriously and only joke before/afterwards.

This also contributes to the film’s quick pacing. It has quite a bit of replay value here since no act drags on. The film’s always moving and that’s always important. A film shouldn’t just be good the first time around, you should be able to re-watch a movie and still enjoy it. That won’t be a problem with this one. The action scenes are solid and the film’s rapid humor style ensures there isn’t a large build up before the jokes that would be harder to sit through if you already know the punchline.

I’d say that the effects look solid as well. They certainly aren’t for everyone as the higher-tier the fighters get the more obvious the effects become. It’s why people didn’t like Man of Steel’s effects despite being incredible. The colors are flashy here and the suits look good. Captain Marvel’s costume is incredibly accurate to the comics and stands out. The action scenes great and seeing Marvel fly through space blasting away at enemies is really cool.

Naturally there is an after credits scene here so be sure to stick around. It’s definitely one of the better ones. I always particularly enjoy when these scenes further the plot along. It’s one of the more direct continuations though so I’m wondering if they’re going to have to show this in the actual End Game film as well or not. I’d appreciate the boldness of not doing such a thing of course as at this point you should be able to stick around for an extra minute or two to see what scene is at the end. I can understand skipping the more comedic ones of course, but since you don’t know which scene it’ll be you just have to test your luck.

Of course the supporting cast here is solid as well. Nick Fury’s always been a fun character and it’s nice to have a younger version of him running around. He gets a pretty big focus here and is certainly right in the middle of many of the events here. He’s always quick on his feet and supports Carol pretty well despite having no powers. Coulson also shows up here although it’s more of a guest appearance than anything. He doesn’t do anything particularly big, but it’s always nice to see him around. There’s also Goose, the cat from the trailers. He’s naturally a lot of fun and I’m always up for having animal show up so long as nothing bad happens to them.

Then we have the Kree operatives. Yon-Rogg makes for a very capable commander. He’s a solid combatant and always thinks strategically. I definitely thought he was a good character. There’s also the sniper Minn-Erva who is pretty ruthless. You can quickly understand her character which speaks to the writing. She doesn’t get many scenes but definitely ends up being one of the most compelling Kree members. The rest of them don’t make much of an impact. Meanwhile for the Skrull there is really only one major member. He’s decent, but not nearly as interesting as the Kree.

I like how the Supreme Intelligence was shown here. It’s definitely a tough character to adapt and the way it was handled here makes a lot of sense. They also gave it a good amount of character even if you wonder how much of it is genuine. It’s definitely pretty cool. If Captain Marvel gets a sequel then I definitely see it getting more of a role. Of course, I would definitely have some serious questions about its appearance. You will have some questions by the end as this film takes place in the 90s as advertised. A lot has happened since then after all.

The film has a lot of inspirational moments as expected. Between the standout visuals and the music there are definitely a lot of memorable moments here. While the 90’s music may not pop the same way that the first Guardians did, the tunes are good. I liked the song that plays during one of the final fights. It was really unexpected, but that partially plays into why it was so successful. There’s a lot of quality choreography during the fights as well. These villains don’t go down so they just keep re-entering the fight. Makes for an extended climax which is always good.

Overall, Captain Marvel is definitely a great film. I really had no complaints with it. It managed to succeed in all categories. Putting aside the crossover films it’s definitely one of the MCU’s best titles. If we don’t count sequels it’s certainly in the top 5 debut titles for a hero. I definitely recommend checking this film out in theaters. It’s also the kind of film that certainly benefits from a big screen so you can really take in the epic visuals. It’s always tough to continue making solid film after film so Marvel definitely deserves a lot of credit for that. Now the wait begins for End Game. The trailers have been pretty lackluster for that one, but it is nice that Marvel’s trying to keep the film pretty hidden. They did a good job of that for Infinity War as well as I managed to duck all of the TV spots. I’m definitely expecting a lot of fights for End Game.

Overall 8/10