(Long) Weekend of the Dead

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010 | Games, Reviews, Series | 4 Comments

This weekend was affected by an all time Zombie high. First, Rockstar released their brand new Red Dead Redemption add-on “Undead Nightmare” and FOX aired a new Zombie series called “The Walking Dead“. This alone made my weekend, but both the game and the series really kicked off big time. It is too early for a full featured review, but so far I enjoyed myself a lot riding one of the horses of the apocalypse making sure I don’t waste ammo by just giving headshots and after that relax by eating a greasy pizza and watching “The Walking Dead” pilot with Zombies that scared even a veteran like me.

“Undead Nightmare” is great value for money as you can get it for 10 bucks. It’s a very well done Zombie apocalypse set in the Wild West, which is pretty much awesome by itself, buit is supported by Rockstar quality storytelling and gameplay! It just feels great to jog into the sunset after clearing another town of the flesh eating infestation!

Talking about “The Walking Dead” I gave the pilot a shot because I saw some pretty breathtaking Zombie make up that looked very promising.

The last time I tried to watch a Zombie series it failed after a few episodes (Dead Set). The pilot of “The Walking Dead” did not disappoint at all, it was very well done, thrilling and quite repelling in a positive way – f*ck, these Zombies are really scary folks! Let’s hope the rest of the series can keep up with the high standard the pilot sets. Tonight I’m going to continue with the first real episode and some gyros – yummy!

“Undead Nightmare” and “The Walking Dead” – both highly recommendable for the Zombie affectionate :mrgreen:

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Review: Resident Evil Afterlife 3D (2010)

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010 | Movies, Reviews | No Comments

In a world ravaged by a virus infection, turning its victims into the Undead, Alice continues her deadly battle with the Umbrella Corporation that reaches new heights. A new lead that promises a safe haven from the Undead finally takes her to Los Angeles, but when she arrives the city is overrun by thousands of Undead …

I love me my Resident Evil, games and films alike. So this one was a sure big screen title for me as well. What a pity my “friends” asked me to join the first screening – but only reserved tickets for themselves. Hypocrites. Fuck You. Thank god my wife also holds some good zombie action in high esteem, my trustworthy Resident Evil 4 “use the fricking rocket launcher” wingman. Salazar sure didn’t expect that! One shot and he was a gonner! 😀 Back to the review then …

This film did pretty much everything just right:

  • great actresses/actors: Milla Jovovich as Alice, Ali Larter (hot hot hot!! – as seen in Heroes) as Claire Redfield and sitting in a prison cell … wait for it … here it comes … almost there … Prison Break‘s main character Wentworth Miller as Chris Redfield – how kewl is that?
  • great choreography (that is English for “moves” 😉 )
  • great technical realisation – I liked the 3D in this film better than the massively overhyped Avatar
  • awesome soundtrack! At some point I said so my wife “This background noise reminds me of A Perfect Circle, humming ‘disconnect and self destruct one bullet at a time …’ and a few seconds later the song really kicks in to reveal a frickin’ kewl remix of APCs The Outsider playing alongside the final boss battle: Wesker – I was in 7th heaven. 😎

Don’t take me wrong – if you are not into the Resident Evil thing (and don’t know kewl muzik like APC) you won’t experience the excitement I got an hour ago. Still, it might be a good action flick apart from recent mass bullshit. Give it a go.

8.5 / 10 – An awesome end of days zombie film with hot chicks. A must see for the genre affine.

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Review: Triangle (2009)

Friday, February 12th, 2010 | Movies, Reviews | No Comments

When Jess sets sail on a yacht with a group of friends, she cannot shake the feeling that there is something wrong. Her suspicions are proven when the yacht hits a storm and the group is forced to board a passing ocean liner to get to safety, a ship Jess is convinced she’s been on before. The ship appears deserted, the clock on board has stopped, but they are not alone… Someone is intent on hunting them down, one by one. And Jess unknowingly holds the key to end the terror.

If you are into mystery and somewhat horror this might be a good choice for you. Even though the cover looks more like another hillbilly flick the key element of the mystery is time bending/travel and it is portrayed quite well. Films that play with different time lines often lack logic. Triangle manages to have at least three (maybe even four, I can’t remember) parallel realities – which I found very well done regarding the complexity that may occur. There is just one minor glitch that you might want to complain about – why is Jess acting as she does first entering the boat? No more explanations here, I don’t want to spoil the story. Speaking of the story, don’t expect too much, it’s above average, but nothing special – compared to earlier instalments of director Christopher Smith (like Creep or the downright annoying Severance) it’s pretty good.

What I liked best was the camera work / setting / editing… everything is shot very impressively, right angle, right light – not to be mistaken as pretentious, more like minimalistic but elaborate. I don’t really know how to express my impressions. It just was an eye treat that I enjoyed a lot. Not one of these cheesy low budget cheap shots.

7.0 / 10 – Entertaining and a pleasure to watch.

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Review: Zombieland (2009)

Saturday, November 14th, 2009 | Movies, Reviews | No Comments

Zombieland (2009)

Earth’s population has been decimated by a virus, related to the mad cow disease, that turns everyone into flesh-craving zombies. Only a handful of humans remain, including Columbus, trying to make his way to his home town, where he hopes his parents are still alive. Columbus has long been an outsider and somewhat phobic, which he uses to his advantage in avoiding zombies. In fact, zombies are not his greatest fear: clowns are.

Woody Harrelson and dork Jesse Eisenberg in a zombie flick? Well, you kinda get what you expect, a quite cheesy comedy, but the zombie part is very well done – and very graphic (almost feels real). After watching the opening scene I was completely hooked. See for yourself (wait for the opening credits part starting at 2:35!):

Zombie splatter in slow-mo accompanied by Metallica’s “For Whom The Bell Tolls”. An instant winner 😉

It’s a pity the film cannot stand up to this brilliant start, it’s coming down to a quite good zombie comedy (Zombie Bill Murray, muhhaha), but towards the end it feels kind of random.  I am impressed this film made it into the IMDB Top 250, well done!

I also have to state that I disliked the “senseless destruction” scene. Watching a bunch of Whities whacking an Indian store to pieces…  felt kinda racist to me (yes, there was a cowboy, too, but come on, next time whack a Wall Mart!).

7.5/10 – a modern zombie comedy that almost rocks completely, almost …

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Review: Paranormal Activity (2009)

Sunday, October 25th, 2009 | Movies, Reviews | No Comments

Paranormal Activity (2009)Who is afraid of the Kwyjibo? A couple is haunted by an entity that tortures them every now and then. This time it’ll be the last.

I was sooo happy seeing this film, because I expected something really spooky.

Heard about it, saw the rather high IMDb rating, got excited.

Here are some quotations from the cover (should have known these are NOT to be trusted):

“Paranormal Activitiy” is one of the scariest movies of all time. You will be affected as it’s hard to ignore the imprint it leaves on your psyche. Nightmares are guaranteed.

Don’t see it alone.

What I got was a pretty bad instalment that borrows from films such as Blair Witch, Poltergeist and The Grudge without ever becoming something that might play in the same league. In fact, it’s very dull except for the few moments when something is happening. These moments start promising, but just never evolve to something that really gets you. People might say that all happens in your head, well, for me it ended seeing the footsteps scene. Evil twin, dead stepmother, schizophrenia, all gone. Anyone call Mulder, please? Okay, Mr Spookaway explained that this entity is a demon rather than a ghost. This even allows for more nonsensical things happening, right? Lights on, lights off, wow!

There is also practically no such thing as a story, no twists and no explanations, just some knocking noises, a wind here and there and finally physical intervention of the invisible force. The shaking camera genre is once again used as an excuse for the absence of writer’s skill.

3.0/10 – A highly overrated and overhyped film. May only scare the unversed masses.

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Review: Drag me to Hell (2009)

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009 | Movies, Reviews | No Comments

Drag Me to Hell (2009)Sam Raimi strikes again! And he still knows how to do so! His “The Evil Dead” is a masterpiece horror classic (Beware! Remake approaching!), no doubt about that and he even did an outstanding job doing “Spiderman” – a completely different genre. Now he returns to classic horror and does not fail as so many other out there do all the time. The last film I remember that scared/thrilled/entertained me equally was “The Ring” remake (don’t tell!), and that’s quite a while ago. Since then I digested dozens of cheap boring horror wannabe flicks, “Drag me to Hell” being a most welcome exception.

Okay, a few words about the film without spoiling too much. First, it is not a remake of an Asian classic (w00t!). Second, it’s done by somebody who knows his profession – no low budget “my first director’s job” 5 kids in the wood spilling guts crap (again, the exception proofs the rule, right?). The story is basically “Don’t piss off any gipsies or they might curse you” with our main character almost unwillingly deciding to go for the curse – doh!

What I liked especially (apart from the perfect technical presentation of the flick) is that it does not focus on one stylistic device, but tortures the viewer on multiple levels. A recap of the my feelings that arose during the first “scary” scene:  reserved, repelled, disgusted,  embarrassed, intimidated, and finally horror-struck. I was trying to have my dinner watching that, for heavens sake 😀

Watching “Drag me to Hell” made me somewhat feel like a kid watching “The Evil Dead” for the first time. I am happy that it is apparently not my fault that most of the so called horror movies out there just plainly bore me to death. I can now blame the directors/writers/producers, because even for a superficial western blockbuster it is possible to do a great entertaining job! Well done, everybody!

9.0/10 – Thanks for providing something that stands up to 80s horror classics and is not stealing from an already made film.

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Review: Pontypool (2008)

Monday, August 24th, 2009 | Movies, Reviews | No Comments

Pontypool2008Winter in Canada, a guy is on it’s way to work. It’s early in the morning, still night, he is on his way to his morning shift working as a radio host. What starts as a normal work day soon evolves into a complete mess of news and facts of what is happening on the outside. The viewer stays with the moderator, just listening to the reports of bloodshed and a weird virus that is spread by words! “War of the Worlds” (the radio play!) meets “Tape“.

The main actor is really cool (Stephen McHattie), the story is a refreshing change to the straightforward “atomic waste” or “five kids in the wood” films. Unfortunately the story telling is not good, it just looses it’s logic half way through the film with just random events happening. Still, above average for good acting and a nice idea.

6.5/10 – quite well done but too far fetched and illogic

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“Hey, that was a great movie, let’s remake it!”

Friday, July 24th, 2009 | Movies, Reviews | No Comments

The Uninvited 2009I already complained about Hollywood Remakes in recent posts. Today my wife asked me, whether I already knew that “A Tale of Two Sisters” also was remade. Funny thing is, that I was going to watch the film quite soon anyway.

She gave me an interesting link that lists all the blockbuster remakes of Asian cinema since 1980. See for yourself if you have been fooled by a rip off of an Asian original. (Okay, sometimes the remake is better than the original, the exception proves the rule.) @see Remakes of Asian Movies

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Review: Resident Evil 5 (PS3)

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009 | Games, Misc, Reviews | No Comments

Resident Evil 5Oh, how I longed for the day Resident Evil 5 would hit the stores. I totally fell for RE4 – one of my favourite games of all time. Now part 5 is finally here, and I ran through it twice already, currently beating the “Veteran” levels. I read some reviews, but generally couldn’t agree with them, either because they were complaining about the wrong things or missing out some important details – just my 50 cent worth …

Okay, here we go, my review is intended for RE4 veterans. RE5 is basically RE4 in high res. Sounds good? Well, pimping graphics is not enough to deliver a good game. In fact a lot of kewl things from RE4 just got kicked out of the game, I guess this was done due to the massive coop team feature.

What’s new and good:

  • hey, it’s Resident Evil 😉 – okay, this one doesn’t count…
  • graphics/environment/the setting (RE4’s Spain setting was even more scary, but they did a great job bringing fear to Africa’s broad daylight!)
  • the controls – a lot of people complained about the new RE5 controls (strafe while walking, turn while running), but I think they are very smart – you just have to get used to them (some people complain about not being able to move while shooting – this handicap is a stylistic device to increase fear just as the fact that you can hardly see your surroundings ’cause the cam is just behind you.)
  • weapon / inventory system in real time (look, zombies approaching!) – more realistic and increases tension.
  • weapons can be assigned to up/down/left/right keys for quick access, this is something I really missed in GTA4 (bloody weapon cycling!).
  • teamplay – even though I rather play alone (the fear thing)
  • weapons that are maxed out (again, pimping your weapons is something I missed in GTA4!) sometimes unlock new weapons

What’s new but not really RE:

  • you can select any chapter to replay it
  • all ammo/treasure is transferred, thus grinding is way to easy
  • you can train a certain chapter until you know it by heart, making the game less horrible (in the sense of the “survival horror” genre)
  • you can hardly die (your partner can rescue you while you are dying, you really have to try hard or be plain stupid to die in a normal fight) – this takes away a lot of the thrill a survival game should provide
  • infinite ammo – come on … the infinite rocked launcher of RE4 was hilarious, but every weapon?!

What’s missing:

  • the MERCHANT! (impossible, inexcusable!) “Welcome stranger, what are you buying?”
  • you cannot buy treasure maps – so you have to look for the last piece of treasure for ages – could be a pro as well
  • weapons that are maxed out don’t unlock their extra special feature (remember the 200 rounds shotgun? hmm…)
  • you cannot combine treasures any more to get a more valuable object (I guess this was removed due to the chapter replay option, it would have been far to easy to obtain valuable treasure this way)
  • last but not least: the atmosphere. RE4 scared me big time. The only game that really scared the wits out of me is “Fatal Frame” aka “Project Zero”. Compared to those games RE5 is quite boring. The first run is fun, but after that (and after you get comfy with the chapter replay) you just play the game without any adrenaline pumping though your veins. A big let down IMHO.

To sum it up: still a fun game to play, nice next gen fx, but the new coop teamplay lead to a lot of survival horror element cuts. What’s left is a decent horror shooter, nothing more, nothing less. I guess RE will never get to me again like part 4 did, even thought RE6 is said to be completely different to RE4/5. Let’s wait and see…

7/10 – good, different, but not fit to hold a candle to the ingenious predecessor

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Review: The Haunting (1963)

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008 | Movies, Reviews | No Comments

This is one of the rare gems that you have to stumble upon by chance. Even though this is a classic, I don’t know a lot of people who still bother to watch old movies. Years ago I was zapping and stopped at a non-private channel, seeing this movie for the first time (same for Carnival of Souls (1962)).

First I was hoping for an old school mystery thing, but at the end I was really frightened. Eleanor’s arising insanity is very well portrayed by Julie Harris – still an active actress today.

Don’t bother going for the 1999’s remake, even though Catherine Zeta-Jones is starring as the lusty Theo – it’s a pity Famke Janssen was doing the remake of House on Haunted Hill at the same time (original from 1959 starring Vincent Price), she would’ve been the perfect cast. Sorry, I am drifting off… 😀

Open your mind and give this one a try and see for yourself how an eerie atmosphere is created without any modern technical fuzz.

8.5/10 – not cheesy, not boring – sheer terror awaits at hill house!

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