Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Oops, I Did it Again: The Problem with Chris' Storyline in 'Resident Evil 6'

This is not going to be a post about how awful the gameplay in Resident Evil 6 is or how it completely turns its back on the elements that made the earlier games in the series so successful. For the record, I don't completely agree with those criticisms and I think any legitimate reviewer scoring this title a 3 or 4 out of 10 is behaving like an entitled child throwing a tantrum for not getting exactly what they wanted. Capcom has definitely made some curious decisions with this entry, but they've made some pretty inspired ones as well.

Chris' campaign is not one of them.

Before my wife and I sat down to play the game, I'd heard repeatedly that Leon's campaign was the best and that Chris' was the worst. So we chose to start with Chris' and just get it out of the way. Most people's complaints with this section of Resident Evil 6 seem to center around the emphasis on action & spectacle over suspense & scares. A lot of fans are pointing out that with this campaign, the series has shifted into full blown third-person shooter mode. It seems to be chasing the Gears of War fan base, but without that series' fluid and satisfying control scheme.

To be honest, I don't have a huge problem with the change in tone. It's certainly not what I'd hope for when picking up a Resident Evil game, but neither was the previous sequel and I was still able to enjoy it for what it was (especially as a couch co-op experience). No, my real issue with this campaign is the profoundly stupid storyline.

Monday, August 13, 2012

'Midnight in Paris' and the Trouble with Nostalgia

I know I'm late to the party on this one as well, but I only recently saw Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris and I enjoyed it quite a bit. One of the most provocative aspects the film is that it invites its audience to daydream about which point in history they'd most like to experience. Which is why its so strange to me that I ultimately wound up siding with Michael Sheen's character - the "pedantic" pseudo-intellectual who criticizes the manner in which Owen Wilson's Gil romanticizes the past.

It's probably ridiculous to approach the film's premise with any degree of logic as it's clearly meant to be pure whimsy. This is evident in the way Allen presents the most iconic artists of the 1920s. They're not nuanced or complicated characters - they're the two-dimensional Disney theme park versions of Ernest Hemingway, Salvador Dali, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso, etc. They say and do everything you'd want or expect them to, but not much else.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I Won't Care if the 'Ninja Turtles' Reboot Sucks - And Neither Should You

I'll be blunt - I'm not at all concerned that the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie might be awful. The truth of the matter is I can't understand how anyone my age could be so worked up about it. Yet, countless message board threads, comments sections on movie news sites, and Facebook posts indicate that they do care. A lot.

For those who need a quick recap, Michael Bay (Transformers, Armageddon, scourge of fanboys everywhere) is producing a new live-action Turtles film. It's being directed by Jonathan Liebsman (Battle: Los Angeles) and they've shortened the title to just Ninja Turtles. That minor change is small potatoes, though. The alteration that everyone seems to be up in arms about involves the origin of the eponymous characters. Instead of actual turtles who are mutated by a mysterious ooze, Bay indicated that in this incarnation the heroes-in-a-halfshell will be members of an alien race. It was a vague statement. No one even really knows what exactly that means yet. That didn't stop the internet from exploding with venomous rage and a ridiculous chorus of cries from grown men bemoaning the fact that another filmmaker was once again raping their childhood.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I (Still) Really Hate Rob Zombie's 'Halloween' Remake

Believe me - I realize that criticizing Rob Zombie's Halloween remake is a lot like kicking someone when they're already down. It's already been four years since the film was released and it's endured a pretty savage beating from both fans and critics alike. So what's the point? Why drag the corpse of this movie over the same old minefield of complaints? I haven't seen it since it was first released and after revisiting the original Halloween and a few of its sequels over the past few weeks, I wanted to see if maybe Zombie's take on the material played a little bit better now than it did back in 2007.

I have to start by saying that I don't have anything against Zombie as a filmmaker. I actually really enjoyed The Devil's Rejects and thought it showed a lot of promise in terms of his future as a writer/director. It's still the most confident entry in his filmography and whether you like it or not, it also established him as something of an auteur. I firmly believe that he's going to make a genuinely great film at some point. Unfortunately, the combination of Rob Zombie and the Halloween property represents a horribly flawed mismatch of director and material.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Look Back at 'Are You Afraid of the Dark?'

10/13 Update - Just wanted to let everyone know that if you enjoyed this post, my podcast Hey, Do You Remember...? just devoted our latest episode to Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Submitted for the approval of The Midnight Society...

Since Halloween is right around the corner, I wanted to revisit a series that was probably responsible for 70% of my nightmares as a kid. I was going to say 90% at first, but then I remembered how into alien abductions I was after reading Communion and holy fucking monster balls you guys... just do a google image search for the cover. Anyways, where was I...?

Right. So I think I was in fifth grade when my younger sister Erika came home from a sleepover and asked me if I'd ever heard of Snick. It was a block of programming that aired Saturday nights on Nickelodeon (get it?) and at this point in time the line-up included Clarissa Explains It All, Roundhouse, Ren & Stimpy, and... Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

'X-Men: First Class' was Surprisingly Solid

My experience with X-Men: First Class is probably going to sound like a lot of other people's. I was unbelievably skeptical of the film's premise, the characters they chose to fill out the team's roster, and the limited amount of time the filmmakers had to shoot it in. Lo and behold, it turned out to be one of the better entries in the X-Men series - and one of the most satisfying films I've seen all summer.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

'Scream' Should Have Stayed a Trilogy

Here's my main problem with Scream 4 - acknowledging the cliches of a genre or summarizing its current state is not the same thing as satirizing or commenting on it. 

This is a film that uses a couple of lines of dialogue to take shots at the Saw franchise (and torture porn in general) and denounce Hollywood's recent affinity for horror remakes and reboots, but brings absolutely nothing new to the table itself. Scream 4 utilizes the same bag of tricks as the past three films, believing that what worked a decade ago will still work today. It doesn't. Not for me. It has a few jump scares that manage to catch you off guard, but the sad fact is that this movie has nothing resembling genuine suspense or terror.