Friday, March 31, 2017

My Tops of 2017 - March

LOGAN allowed the X-Men franchise to get darker and depressing, thanks to James Mangold's exceptional vision of a gritty modern western in the disguise of a superhero flick.

● Overall Film Count: 4 ●

Oh boy, this was a wasted month for me. I skipped out on several chances and right when I was ready for the drive-ins to open, a horrible winter storm bares down on us. I really need to hike up my britches next month.

Despite some minor mixed feelings, I'm confident enough to put Logan on the Best list. Who knows, maybe it will later beat Lego Batman as a better superhero movie in my opinion.

Best Films of 2017

1. The Lego Batman Movie

2. Logan

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Logan - Review

It's 2029 and the mutant population is near extinct due to a series of unspecified calamities and a nil birth rate. James "Logan" Howlett (Hugh Jackman) is barely scrapping by between the U.S.-Mexico border and slowly dying from the adamantium grafted on to his skeleton and his degenerative healing factor. But he finds a better purpose to live out his last days when a woman pays him a considerable sum to chauffeur and protect a special little girl (Dafne Keen) from a pack of mechanically enhanced mercenaries and the evil medical corporation that funds them. LOGAN is a delightfully disturbing western in the disguise of a superhero blockbuster. It's overflowing with blood and butchery while also crafting a nice tale of redemption and fatherhood. Those of you who are a bit trepidatious about missing out on the two previous X-MEN movies or having a lack of knowledge with the Wolverine character, do not panic. The film is practically an Elseworlds story, meaning it has no real baggage or continuity with the franchise, and anyone can understand the personal history of Logan within the first ten minutes thanks to James Mangold's direction. However, though it is an original piece within the world of superhero movies and an anti-example of the Hollywood proliferation of safe, PG-13 approved works, it's not really super mind-blowing once you have the context of pop culture. Upon first glance of the plot, you'll instantly recall CHILDREN OF MEN and for those who are more savvy with video games, the sight of a bearded, broken down violent man and his guardianship of brunette girl across a dark American landscape will just make you want to play "The Last of Us" again. The script also has some further major issues, such as how it violently hammers down one of its themes with the inclusion of the film SHANE and how two brutal major character deaths have some limp weight due to them being included within a savage display of vulgar force. Nevertheless, these setbacks can not overcome the considerable acting skills of Jackman and Patrick Stewart in a return supporting turn as Charles Xavier, nor it can defeat Mangold's ambitious scope of a world where the lack of mutants has led humankind to resume poisoning itself further into oblivion. Plus, I just love the fact that X-23 is now on the big screen, handled with considerable care and given a nice feral performance by newcomer Keen.


Monday, March 6, 2017

Robert Osborne - RIP

Robert Osborne has died. He was 84 years old.

Osborne is best known by many a cinephile as the main host of the cable television channel Turner Classic Movies. Every night in the primetime slot, he would walk out and deliver refreshing and enlightening intros and outros for the selected films and drop in some fun little nuggets of trivia to make the screenings ever so delightful. He was also known for being the major lynchpin for TCM's other major shows such as "Private Screenings", where he would interview various celebrities about their career and love for film, and "The Essentials", where he and another celebrity would screen a bonafide classic film and have a spirited discussion before and after the airing.

He will sorely be missed.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Fire Pro Wrestling World Announced!

My prayers have been answered again! After a week of high anticipation, wrestling video game fans got to rejoice yesterday at the announcement of Fire Pro Wrestling World. The game will be coming to PC and PS4 later in the year but will first arrive on Steam Early Access in the 2nd quarter of 2017 in order to fix out the kinks.

The last time Fire Pro fans received a proper installment in the cult wrestling video game franchise was way back in 2005 with the release of Fire Pro Wrestling Returns, then considered the proper swan song for the series. Since then, the franchise has lay dormant save for two very less-than-stellar spinoffs: a bland 2011 mobile game only made available in Japan and the infamous Xbox 360 digital game in 2012 where the beautifully made sprite work was replaced by Microsoft's Avatars.

For those that need some context, the Fire Pro Wrestling games are known for their amazing 2D animation, large cast of characters based off real Japanese and American wrestlers, early integration of hardcore and MMA matches, and a grappling and A.I. system that helps recreate real match psychology. To give you an example of how innovative the series has been, popular wrestling maneuvers such as the Styles Clash and the Canadian Destroyer were animated and featured in Fire Pro Wrestling Returns way, way before there were included in WWE and TNA video games. Most general video game fans will be well aware of the wrestling game series due to the popularity of video game creator Suda51 (Goichi Suda), who got his start in the gaming business via this series and who infamously directed the dark and depressing story mode of Super Fire Pro Wrestling Special.

The hype for Fire Pro Wrestling World first started a week ago on February 23, when Spike Chunsoft created a Twitter account and posted a tweet with a YouTube link and a screenshot of two wrestlers and a referee standing in certain noteworthy positions. The Twitter account was named "GDC 3/2", referring to the presentation that Spike Chunsoft would be having at the Game Developers Conference the following Thursday.

The world got to see what exactly Spike Chunsoft has planned for Fire Pro Wrestling World thanks to them uploading the official promotion video yesterday night. The art style will be nearly exact to what was present in Fire Pro Wrestling Returns and that cage and hardcore matches will return. However, as hinted by the grapplers in the video, potential intellectual property issues has led to the removal of wrestler clones.

Henry Gilbert on Twitter had more to reveal about what was said at the presentation. The game will start off with 30 original wrestlers, leaving the rest of the roster to be crafted or shared by the online community. Online multiplayer will be present for the first time (if you don't count the Xbox 360 game) and will be 4 player only at the start; the developers wish to implement the option for 6 man matches. Edit mode returns but is updated so you can have up to nine layers for every part and you can finally have a clear look at the front and backside of the create-a-wrestler. Given the 12 year gap in games, a ton of new wrestling moves will added, with the first reveal being Kenny Omega's finishing maneuver One-Winged Angel, though of course it will be renamed due to obvious reasons.

Fire Pro Wrestling World director Tomoyuki Matsumoto told Gilbert of his intense passion for the series, as he has been doing presentations for the game for over five years. It wasn't until the international success of Danganronpa and Zero Escape for Spike to finally give him a chance at making a new entry. Additionally, just to make the Spike Chunsoft presentation even more phenomenal for video game fans, the company also surprisingly revealed that 428: Shibuya Scramble will finally come over to the States thru PS4 and PC as well.

I may not write a lot of video game reviews and articles on this site as I initially tried to do but I just had to express my adoration for this announcement and nerd the hell out at the return of Fire Pro.