Dead Space: Downfall Review

 

I've never been a big fan of prequels. While they do offer greater insight into how everything started and expand on the lore of a given series, in the end they are ultimately predictable films.   While Dead Space doesn't change this formula, it instead gets right to the point of the film: violence, violence, swearing and more violence.   While the movie does have a clear and adequate plot that clearly keeps with the Dead Space fiction, its not what kept me engaged since I knew how it would all end. However It's a stable train-track that keeps things moving until you get to the crazy gruesome parts which is what really makes this film worth watching.   The main characters themselves are your typical military, one dimensional balls to the wall personalities. However, this isn't necessarily a bad thing since this movie is more about bodies and body parts flying rather than thorough character development.   And once the action starts it never dies down much after that as you are constantly thrown into one blood-lustful fight for survival after the next, which always keeps the tension high.   These intense scenes are a pretty close representation to how freaky these fights are in the actual game as there is always something out to get you around the next corner with an appetite to slaughter. The animation itself is top notch with endless spurts of crimson splatter and deformed bodies transforming into unspeakable abominations that are really the hallmark of what makes the games so awesome.   The ending is actually one of the finer points of the story as it leaves you with an eerie, creepy feeling that the events that just transpired were only the beginning to something truly horrible. In the end, While I can't say that this movie is all the way on par with the games that came before it, if nothing else it is a glimpse into what the Dead Space universe is and how it came to be.   If you've played both the games in the series and are looking for something to appease your appetite until Dead Space 3 arrives then this short, psychotic animation will keep you warm and happy...for now.

3.5/5

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A Sports Blog: Bulls give the Heat something to cry about

For anyone who loves the NBA and hates the Heat, Sunday was the day to watch one of the most glorious victories for the Bulls, particularly when Lebron James and Chris Bosh both failed to score the game winning basket.  These shots were not only the deciding factor of who won and who lost but also which team has the most confidence and ability going into the playoffs next month. Never mind the fact that the Bulls are 8-14 against top six teams while the heat are only 1-9.  What is particularly disturbing is the Heats inability to make crucial last second baskets and to hold big leads when they matter the most.  
While most players would accept their defeat in frustration and vow to correct these unforgivable travesties, the Heat on the other hand continue to fail and with every passing lose. They have become demoralized husks of their former selves as they continue to lose games that they are more than capable of winning.  So in a way it's not too surprising that according to Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra, "a couple of guys" were crying in the locker room after the game.  
While losing four straight games to teams that both mauled(Spurs), bounced back (Magic), shouldn't have won (Knicks) and held strong (Bulls) against this once idolized Heat team, i could understand there being some disappointment.  Hell, even a thrown chair or two or even a dented locker would have sufficed to show their frustration.  But sadly, it seems players need to express them selves in more effeminate ways to be heard. By that I mean sobbing and feeling sorry for yourself, kinda how most people felt when they lost their little league game, or sprained their ankle and couldn't play for the rest of the game.  When your young, crying and whinning was the only way to get people to pay attention to you, to make people feel sorry for you.
It appears that the Heat spent too much time regressing with their favorite happy go lucky sports films with the sad kid becoming a sports star instead of formulating ideas on how to improve their game. 
While the heat do get a break from facing strong opponents this week when they face Portland on Tuesday, they still have to go up against the unstoppable Lakers on Thursday as well the Spurs next Monday, both of which have proved their ability to dominate teams without mercy. Unless the big three can figure out how to stop tripping over themselves game after game, the crying game will only become a soap opera as the regular season slowly comes to a close.

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anticipated games of 2009

Of course with every year that comes, there always comes more fantastic games, and with every year that lists seems to get bigger and bigger.  While this is great since it gives gamers the chance to pick from a multitude of genres and AAA titles, it also makes it extremely difficult to pick only a couple of these impressive games especially for those of us who are on a tight budget (college is a bitch like that). I guess the obvious question is which games should i pick up that'll offer me an experience unlike any other, while providing a high level of replay ability so that I can enjoy the game again and again even after i've played through it once (or several times, RE5 im looking right at you)  So, what've done is picked the most interesting and most impressive games from this year and compilled them into a small top ten lists that will breifly describe why im interested in these games.  Any feedback or advice on which of these games look the coolest to you would be greatly appreciated as creating this top ten list was hard enough!


10. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2
a comic book fans wet dream
While i wasn't a huge fan of the last game due its reptiveness and lack of overall of depth, im surprised to say that this game has me somewhat intrgued. maybe its because of the huge cast superheros and villians that range from instantly recognizable(spiderman, the hulk, captain america, wolverine etc.) to only familiar amongst hardcore fans of the comic books(grim reaper( lady death strike, firestar, etc.)  But i think the thing that has me the most interested in this game is the fact that you can take any two characters and combined their powers to make one awesome badass attack.  For example, you could have storm imbue the thing with an electric force field to make him a walking mass of heavy rock and devestating electricity.  Combine that with the ever popular story from the civil war series and you've got a game that both Comic fans and those only familiar with popular characters will probably find enjoyment in.





9. DJ Hero
the music genre just got a bit crazier
The music genre has literally exploded since the first Guitar Hero was released to the masses back in the 2005 and ever since it has spawned not only a huge and extremely series, but has also paved the way for other games in the genre such as the successful and innovative Rock Band and the not so successful Rock Revolution along with several band specific spin offs such as metallica and Aerosmith.  At this point though, most people would think that the music genre could hardly expand any further based the formula of "pick up a plastic instrument and rock out" which is pretty understandable since thats in a nutshell what we've been getting for the past 4 years.  However, DJ Hero looks to at least change some of those perspectives in some small way mainly by the fact that you are no longer playing sweet riffs on a guitar, but are now instead combining two pieces of music into a spliced masterpiece that can only be done with the power of disc scratching.  ok...it sounded a little weird to me too at first, but after seeing the innovative peripheral that comes with the game and mind boggling game play that comes with it I'm convinced that this game has a chance to revolutionize how we play music on our consoles.  Basically, the game follows the same formula of hitting falling gems as they hit the bottom, but after that it all seems pretty different from what your used to.  The controller has three buttons which are basically frets which are used the color coded notes, while the scratching the disc functions fairly similarly to hitting the strum bar. the controller also has what is called a crossfader which is used to adjust the tone and sound of the music, similar to the whammy bar on the guitar.  Finally there is another button which basically activates star after you've gained enough juice to do so.  While this may sound pretty easy to get a grasp of, after watching someone actually play the game, i couldn't even begin to keep up with what the guy was doing on the controller to what was going on the screen.  But then, thats how i felt about guitar hero at first, and look how popular that game became.  Hopefully, Dj Hero can pull off what guitar hero did by offering a new type of music to a new demographic of gamers.

8. Dragon Age: Origins
an intriguing RPG that hasn't had me this excited since Diablo 2

I've never really been one for the RPG genre.  Sure i can see how some people can get into the expansive stories that last nearly 70 hours, the fact that you can literally make your character however you wanted to, and that the world was pretty much your oyster.  Sadly the thought of having to sit through hours of uninteresting cutscenes, sometimes drawn out story lines, and dudes that look like chicks simply didn't appeal to me for whatever reason.  Not since Diablo have been truly excited about a straight up RPG, and Dragon Age: Origins looks to fit that bill.  Mostly its got to do with the fact that the game is extremely violent and gruesome, something most RPG's don't offer, usually they tend to go with the typical high fantasy aspect of hacking and slashing a creature only to have it disappear after the initial battle took place.  While Dragon Age does contain a fantasy-medieval story line, it also contains what most other fantasy games don't have: interesting dialogue and intense action.  The gameplay seems to function somewhat similarly to KOTOR in that you can pause the games real time actions in the midst of battle to issue orders with your party members.  While i didn't use this particular feature all that often in KOTOR, it had its uses at times and never forced you to use it rather it was there for those who wanted to take a more strategic approach, and Dragon Age seems to be doing that perfectly.  Combine that with amazing graphics that rival most RPG's (especially when the blood starts flying), Interesting story lines that are different depending on which class you chose, and fully realized world that makes you feel like your their fighting orcs and dragons, and you've got a game that'll captivate your imagination for a long time.

7. Assassins Creed 2
double assassinations... enough said.

I remember loving the first game in this series, and how much fun it was to cut dudes down with your awesome sword techniques.  However, the most satisfying aspect of the game was taking out enemy silently and quickly with your well concealed wrist blade, walking away casually into the crowd of locals as your enemy slowly collapses to the floor not knowing what hit him.  Sure the game was repetitive with the side missions which led up to main kill (pick pocket target A, intimidate target B, then satisfyingly assassinate Target C), but the act of actually taking out your main target made it all worth while for the most part.  Now it seems with the sequal  Ubisoft is taking this game to the next level, with more weapons to wield, more gruesome targets to assassinate, more enviroments to explore, a brand new time period(the Italian renaissance), and most importantly varied side missions to keep you in the flow of things.  While all thats well and good, by far the coolest i thing I saw about the game was simple fact that you can now stealthily kill two enemies at once.  I know seems like a small gimmick amongst all the cool features, but something about swiftly gutting two enemies with double wrist blades simply entices.  Hopefully this, and the rest of the game will be worth wait when it releases into our anticipating hands.

6. Brutal Legend
A Tim Schaffer game that i will definitely not miss!

Yes its true...I am one of the many insolent souls who has never played Tim Schaffer's under appreciated masterpiece that was Psychonauts.(*bows up and down, "im not worthy, im not worthy"*)  Now that that is out of the way lets talk about why im excited about Tim's newest potential gem and why i'll actually won't make the mistake of missing out on it this time.  First off its actually pretty darn funny, which says a lot since im not the biggest Jack Black fan, but surprisingly that doesn't seem to get in the way of the actual story or gameplay in fact it seems to give the sense of originality as far the humor goes.  On top of that you've a huge world explore, which can easily traversed by a badass car you get early in the game which can be summoned by playing a certain guitar solo, this function also allows you to use certain powers against your enemies which you appear to unlock throughout the course of the game.  However, this only appears to be the tip of the ice berg as Brutal Legend seems to offer a compelling story, with bits of hilarious moments which come in at exactly the right time, which should make this game another standout classic right next to critically praised psychonauts.

5. The Beatles: Rock Band
I hope this game is the walrus
Ok...I know what you must be thinking: another band game that is simply cash in for Harmonix."  While its pretty easy to see why most people would think that after seeing how games like Guitar Hero Aerosmith, Metallica, failed to really change the music genre formula and just simply offered a game that only contained only more songs of the band which it was named after with a basic career mode that failed to capture the imagination.  However, after seeing the little snippets of what Harmonix is doing with the Beatles in their own game, I have to say that I'm fully impressed with what I have seen.  First off this game is pure Beatles, no other bands will be featured, all 45 original tracks will be all songs throughout the Beatles long and successful career from beginning to end.  Now, this may seem like the game could get repetitive quickly, but the fact that Beatles music went through so many changes in its entirety, that literally one track could be completely different from another in almost every way.  Its not like Metallica, while they are a successful and definitely did their own evolving throughout their career, I don't really think there was enough variety in their music to justifying a specific game to them which is why only half of the tracks are from Metallica and the rest are from bands who inspired them which is a appropriate, but when you have a game with Metallica you expect it to be...well, Metallica.  Thats what this offering to its fans, along with an awesome art style really seems to fit the song your playing perfectly especially when your playing "I am the walrus" all of this crazy stuff is happening in the background which doesn't seem to make any sense, but then neither does that song in the first place which is why it works so well.  Not only that, but the career mode is literally a chronicalling of the Beatles entire career from their first moments in the recording studio to playing at huge concerts around the world, its deffnitely an evolution that is by far one of the most awe-inspiring periods ever experienced by a band as popular as the Beatles.  Combine that with the ability to have 3 vocalists singing at once with, person singing the main lyrics, and the other two harmonizing throughout which really seems to recreate who the Beatles rocked out back in their hay day, and also that the Album Abbey Road will be released and playable shortly after the games debut, along with a wealth of other DLC that will become available over the following months, something no Band has been ambitious enough to do until now.  I have no doubt that this game will please both long time Beatles fans, and gamers who just want a different type of music to play on their plethora instruments when this surprisingly in-depth music titles releases in September.

 4. Alpha Protocol
hmm...what would Sean Connery do?
Ever since I can remember, I always wanted to be a suave, fearless, and intimidating secret agent who knew all the right moves and could extinguish any situation in seconds without even blinking and eye as I took a sip of martini (shaken not stirred).  While may not be able to be that particular type of secret agent to the T, Alpha Protocol seems to at least indulge some parts of that fantasy to some extent, which is something most wannabe James Bonds would be perfectly satisfied with.  What made this game stand out the most to me was that you could customize nearly everything you own, from your clothing, to gear, to weapons, to your safe house, and even your facial hair, all make for the ideal secret agent experience. There is also an interesting dialogue system that really seems to impact how you play the game depending on what you say offering multiple play throughs that will be completely different each time.  On top of that the graphics look absolutely stellar so far and really seem to capture the intensity and sometimes the cheesy romantics moments in the life of a secret agent who you have created from almost the ground up.  While i'll never be able to be the James Bond that I've seen in the movies...i could probably make one in this game that is even better.


3. Modern Warfare 2
i just know this game is going to consume my life
Who didn't play the first Modern Warfare? If you didn't then you missed out on one of the best first person shooters to ever to come out on consoles in recent memory.  It combined intense action with a compelling and captivating story which every is known for its dramatic moments that made you feel like you were the man behind the gun fighting in this war.  However, Modern Warfare was known mostly for its unrivaled multiplayer action which is still being enjoyed by millions of gamers today due to its ability to customize your character with hundreds of custom load outs, tons of game modes that are constantly updated, and the ability to fully level up your character multiple times throughout.  Modern Warfare 2 looks to capture all of what made the last game an absolute blast with a longer story that still seems to capture the constant intensity of the last one, more in-depth multiplayer modes and perks to further customize your online character, and of course tons of new guns that have never been seen in a video game before.  There is no doubt in my mind that Modern Warfare 2 can pull this off and more when its released this fall.




2. Splinter Cell: Conviction
a stealth game that may just offer more enjoyment and less frustration

I'll be honest...I was never very good at the fist splinter cell game... probably because i got tired of waiting to make my move, and when I did it usually ended in disaster.  So, why then do I have any remote interest in this game.  Well first off it offers a dark and disturbing story about revenge, as Sam Fisher as been killed and its up to him to find out who did it and why and to take out the culprit in any way he sees fit.  Its also probably because the action seems to be a little more fast paced and seamless and less methodical than in previous games.  Unlike those games, stealth isn't necessarily a requirement but rather one of the many approaches you can take to infiltrate and deal with an imposing situation.  For example, lets there's a mansion you have to infiltrate, of course there is always of going through the front door guns blazing but, that leaves you open to gun fire from multiple angles making such a feat fairly difficult in this case.  Or, you could sneak around the side, and silently snap an enemies neck from behind, and enter from a side window that is unguarded, making getting inside that much easier and ultimately much more satisfying.  Maybe i'm wrong about this game but it looks to really bring a whole audience of gamers... those of us who aren't so great at stealth games and really want a chance to take on the role of this hardened secret agent and actually see his story through to the end without being completely frustrated throughout most of the game.  If I'm right, then this game should be an absolute blast to play when it finally comes out sometime this fall.

1. Borderlands
Diablo 2 with guns....sounds like an awesome party
Over 1,000,000 guns....I don't know about you but thats more weapons then i think any first person shooter junkie knows how to deal with.  While this incredible, especially by first person shooter standards, its not the only thing that makes this title my most anticipated game of the year.  With that, it has a huge open world, something that has been standard these days in most games, but its different in that all the environments are randomly generated, similar to Diablo 2, so that every time you play through game, you be in the same area twice, no matter how many time you beat it.  On top of that, its got a unique and visually impressive art style, which seems to combine cel-shading with a soft color palette which makes the everything going on around you seem absolute insane and crazy especially when the bullets start flying.  While this game makes an adequate first person shooter all on its own, it is also an fully fleshed out RPG which allows nearly infinite customization over everything between everything you can equip or own which is impressive considering all the different things you can do with all of these weapons at your disposal.  Finally, there is a fully fledged co-op mode which allows up to 4 players to play through the entire story together if they choose, with each of the four character classes having their own abilities and powers which will allow for a more strategic approach instead of going in guns blazing with mentality of every for himself occurring in every encounter.  Simply put, Borderland offers so much to do in its huge and fully realized world thats hard not to get excited about the endless possibilities... and there hasn't been anything much revealed about the story yet!  So, in the end, Borderlands offers seems to offer a little bit everything, from gun customization, to upgrading your powers, to taking on countless enemy types, to finding countless weapon types throughout the massive world, this is simply a game that everyone should be excited for.
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Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen- Review

Sequels are viewed as many things: something to move the overall story forward, develop characters that didn't get much recognition in the first movie, and possibly to tell another story that takes what questions were left unanswered in the first movie and addresses them at some point in a way that makes sense to the overall plot line of both of the films.  However, movies that focus less on story and more on just straight up wanton action in destruction while having a decent story to keep things moving while putting more emphasis on thrills and outrageous fights to keep the audience truly mesmerized throughout.  The first Transformers did an adequate job at approaching this philosophy with a battles happening nearly every five minutes throughout the entire film, where literally everyone and everything that got in the way the onslaught of two enormous robots that simply just wanted to beat the crap out of eachother.  It seemed completely ridiculous at first but once you realized that the movie actually embraced this aspect of the movie to its fullest it actually turned out a pretty entertaining film.  However, the problem with the sequel is that it tries to expand way too much way too fast with several different story line occurring at once which somehow coincide with each other towards in the end in a way that feels rushed and poorly designed even from the beginning.  Couple that with sub-par acting from Shia Lebouf and his female counterpart(who always seems like she is being forced to like him, instead of actually caring about him), a predictable story line that fails to impress, and a couple of good laughs here and there and you have pretty good idea of what Revenge of the Fallen is all about.
I could go into to great detail about how all of the little plot points and individual story lines all come together somehow in the end that doesn't make any sense at all, instead ill just say that the main story line is pretty much a dud throughout the film and thats the one that really only matters anyway as the others seem simply there to just past time until the next battle between huge robot A and huge robot B.  Basically, the story follows the decepticons as they attempt to revive their master who was decimated by Optimus Prime in the first movie.  However, in order to bring him back they need a shard that from the cube that was supposedly destroyed in the first movies but somehow ended up in the hands of Sam who decided to keep it as a souvenir because he's a dumb ass.  And Really, thats what this movie is all about, Sam running from the decepticons as they attempt to steal the shard, while he runs from them for most of the movie to protect it.  It doesn't stop there though, but i won't go into it because A) you can probably guess or figure out what happens after Megatron is brought back (i know you didn't see that one coming), and B) it doesn't really matter much anyways because everything ends how it "should" anyway which is most frustrating part of the entire movie.
Acting wise, there really isn't much to say other than its pretty average for the most part and ranges from decent to atrocious especially in the beginning.  However, the voices of both the decepticons and autobots are done exceptionally well for the most and really keep the movie from being a complete wash thanks to the acting efforts of basically all of the actual people in the film.  But of course the first movie was never known for great acting and engaging story anyway, it was known for its exhilarating battles that were truly mesmerizing to watch as metal is literally turn to shreds and building simply collapse under the devastating power of transformers as they battle for supremacy.  Yes this movie still has fair amount of that but its not on nearly as big of a scale as the last movie, and isn't nearly as frequent or entertaining because it sometimes takes a back seat to the debilitating story, which is unfortunate there are alot of impressive battle sequences especially the one between Optimus Prime and three decepticons that is absolutely insane and captivating that seems to end almost to quickly and before you know it your right back to watching Shia run from the decepticons which is especially underwhelming when just watched an epic battle between a bunch of massive machines and are now forced to sit back and watch as Shia and his dumb roommate run around trying to figure out what to do next
Even the crazy battles between the transformers starts to wear thin as most of the battles throughout the movie start and end two quickly and lack the insane destruction sequences in the last one where buildings were toppling left and right and every single robot was battling face to face in the middle of a huge city that was basically used a destructible sand box that contained all of the action that made it both entertaining and easy to follow while keeping you on your toes as Megatron and Optimus Prime duked it out.  Now what you get are a few great battles that last a few minutes at the most it seemed, which in occurred in the middle of the desert in Egypt of all place where all you get is a couple of toppling pyramids for mass destruction
But i digress, this movie isn't horrible, really its just a slimed down version of the first movie, with most of the same characters albeit a few new additions which are sometimes a hit or miss depending.  There are also a few moments of hilarity particularly between Shia's parents at the beginning when he prepares to leave for college.  In the end though even these things can't keep the movie from simply from being average and its lucky to even be in that range at all.  Ultimately what this movie does wrong is that tries to be something its not: a movie that has both action and a great story to keep you entertained.  On paper this sounds great, but seeing it attempted with such mediocrity on the big screen with a full theater, it makes the overall experience more underwhelming than it should be.  So, if you were a huge fan of the first movie and are alright with seeing more of what the first movie had to offer than you'll probably be satisfied with its shown in the this movie as least initially. However, if your looking for a movie that truly out does what the first movie did, than you'll be sadly disappointed with the this movie in almost every way.  Its almost like see a piece sitting in front looking all beautiful and delicious only to realize after you take the first bite that someone stuck a huge turd in there with it.  And that my friends is the worst type of cake to experience
2.5/5.0

The CG and special effects are incredible...this movie should have been so much better


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Top Ten Movies of all Time #7- Citizen Kane

When one says the word classic what usually comes to mind is a film that not only exceeded all expectation a film was capable, but also in its own way revolutionized the way we watch movies in how they can portray everything from masterful cinematography to truly unforgettable characters that stick with you even after the movie is over.  Citizen Kane is film that captures almost every aspect of what a great film should be from the different camera angles and shots of each scene that magnificently convey the mood and emotion each character is feeling, to the spell-binding story that keeps you hooked from beginning to end with its unique plot that chronicles the life of a rich and ingenious newspaper Tycoon known as Citizen Kane(Sonny Bupp).  The story actually starts out after the immediate death of Kane, and basically follows several reporters as they try to decipher the last word Kane spoke before he succumbed to death; and that captivating, mysterious word is "Rosebud".  Now in the beginning this seems like it will be pretty major to the whole plot and will ultimately reveal an epic and suspenseful understanding of why Kane spoke the particular word.  However, this turns out not to be the case as the majority of the film seems to focus around the life Kane from his childhood to the present, as opposed to the actual word he speaks initially.  And really, this is what makes the film such a classic in the way it is able to tell this captivating story about a man born to run a large empire of companies, only to succumb to riches that once came so easily to him, but ultimately end up being is undoing in the final tragic moments of this film.
Of course, this would mean nothing without a solid cast to back it up and keep this story interesting throughout each new chapter of Kane's life, and this is where seems to exceed the most throughout all other aspects.  Between Sonny Bupp's perfectly portrayed leading role as the determined and unfaltering Kane to the depressive and alcoholic rants given by Kane's first wife Mary Kane who at one time was beautiful and everything a rich and proud tycoon could want in a trophy wife, is now turned into an empty shell of what she once was: a woman who got what she want when she wanted has now become a woman who doesn't care what happens and leads a truly secluded life.  Seeing this transition in not just Kane's wife but in everyone else that becomes part of life is truly remarkable and just truly shows how the human spirit can change in just few simple tragic events which eventually come full circle to confront Kane in the end when he realizes that he has become the thing that hated most.
Besides the stellar acting though, what really makes this film shine is its unprecedented cinematography which truly makes this film not only a revolutionary piece of work for its time but also an up to date role model that all film makers should look to create their movies after even to this day.  Between the extreme close ups of Kane in his most desperate moments of despair to the grainy shots taken to make it seem like an older camera was used to film certain time frames of the film truly make this film one of the most immersive and innovative portrayals on how every scene should be shot and how many things you can do with a video camera, especially one that by today's standards is considered extremely primitive, but even now is still able to capture the emotion and excitement of what is going in each scene seamlessly and effectively.
In the end, Citizen Kane is just one of those films that seems to do no wrong from beginning to end.  The only real fault I can have against it is the word Rosebud.  Sure its presence was nice to keep the viewer guessing of what its ultimate purpose was, but really it didn't seem to matter in the actual purpose and story this film was trying to convey.  Still you can't blame the directors from trying to put something else in there to keep you captivated to the film even if it wasn't necessary to keep this classic from being truly amazing.  Simply put, Citizen is a film which all aspiring film directors should look to for guidance.  From its masterful and innovative cinematography, to its epic tale of success and sorrow that truly make this film one of the greatest masterpieces ever created in the history of film.

one of the most innovative and well told stories ever conveyed in a film


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Top Ten Movies of all Time #8-Eternal Sunshine

Jim Carrey is known for his comedic excellence in films such as The Mask and Liar Liar which clearly show the acting talent Carrey is capable of.  However, while all these films are great in their own right, they aren't nearly as impressive or as entertaining as Eternal Sunshine, a compelling drama which stars Carrey as the lonely and confused Joel Barish, who unbeknownst to him as forgotten about his previous ex girlfriend Clementine.  Which make this extremely unusual is the fact that Joel chose to forget about her because he just simply couldn't forget about her and saw no other way to ease his suffering.  So, Joel decides to completely erase every memory he has of her so that he may live his life without having to gone on thinking about the one woman he truly cared about.  However, as Joel is in the process of having his memory erased, he discovers that he loves and cares about her so much that he will do anything to just keep one simply memory of her.  Now, I know that you must be thinking that this simply nothing more than another cheesy romance with a weird plot to move the cliche events forward.  Initially, this appears to be true, but as the movie progresses from one memory to the next, highlighting all of the events Joel has been through with his girlfriend, you start to realize that this not your typical romance film.  The fact that Carrey alone is able to portray such a serious and dedicated role by far makes this more than that.  Coupled with the excellent story and interesting settings in which each memory unfolds, it starts to become more apparent that this is a film that will go down in history as one of the most original and thought provoking romance of all time.
I'll admit though, the ending is fairly predictable, ending how you would expect, but in the end this is actually a good thing, since for once you are actually glad to these two dysfunctional lovers actually find each other in the end, despite them both having their memories wiped of each other completely.  This makes for a expected yet appreciated ending that will warm your heart and make you appreciate the connection you have with your loved ones who you could never imagine forgetting about even for a second.  
Ok...maybe it won't have that deep of an impact on some of you, but for what its worth, Eternal Sunshine is a masterpiece that combines superb acting with a story so unique and awe-inspiring that you'll actually forget all those crappy romance movies you've been forced to watch with your girlfriend...I know I did anyway.
one of the most compelling and gripping romances of all time!


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Top Ten Movies of all Time #9-Full Metal Jacket

There are a ton of great war movies out there that do an unbelievable job at capturing the emotion and intensity of what being under fire was like, such as the critically acclaimed Saving Private Ryan which had one of the most memorable and intense war scenes of any movie I have ever seen, with thousands of men storming the beach on D-Day.  However, while this movie and several others like it do an adequate job of capturing the tragedies of war, very few them are able portray the hilarity and amusement of green soldiers as they progress through weeks of boot camp.  Enter Full Metal Jacket, a film that takes place during the vietnam war, and revolves around several new recruits as they not only get through the hardships of boot camp, but as survive day in and day out during the Vietnam War and learn of the tragedies that have become part of that country ever since the war started.  Now as I said before, this film does have it's moments of hilarity, which usually come within the first part of the film particularly when the drill sergeant (Lee Ermey) comes in from start cursing at and insulting soldiers mainly through sick and twisted jokes which are often times quite original and more often than not will make you laugh out loud.  While most people would think that crazy banter like this would take away from the importance and realism of the film it actually immerses you and draws you in to the experience because it makes you realize what types of torment and pressure these soldiers were under, which makes for a truly interesting dynamic since you hardly even notice this switch between amusement and seriousness because the film transitions between these two emotions so seamlessly.

Besides the hilarious drill instructor, there are several other characters which play an important role in showing you how soldier evolves from a innocent civilian into a cold blooded killer in just a couple of weeks.  Take Joker for instance, in the beginning of the film he starts out being the sarcastic, free spirited recruit who initially messes with drill sergeant because he doesn't know any better, but by the end of the film you see Joker change, maybe not into a sadistic killer, but into something much more disciplined and battle hardened, something that this character would have never dreamed of becoming until he saw first hand what a brutal war can do to so many people in so little time.  Besides Joker, there are other characters which are wholly unique and interesting to observe as they become soldiers, between Cowboy, a shorter fellow who resides all the way from Texas, to Pyle, an obese and seemingly useless soldier who can't seem to do anything right and as result is not only verbally abused by the dill instructor but also is eventually physically abused by his fellow recruits because of his mistakes.  Between just these few unique characters alone we are able to see how some men are able easily adjust to their new environment while others such as Pyle have to go through such a struggle just to get by which sometimes results severely decreased moralize which can make any man turn into something that can only be described as an empty shell of their former selves.
From beginning to end, this film does a sensational job of capturing the everyday hardships of these soldiers, both through the fun and amusing, and through serious and devastating times.  Simply put, Full Metal Jacket is a film that portrays every part of a soldiers like in such a way that makes you think and wonder how any man would be able to emotionally survive in a place where everything he knows is brutal and unforgiving and what he must become is something that not even these men could ever believe was possible

WHAT IS YOUR MAJOR MALFUNCTION NUMB NUTS!!!


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Top Ten Movies of All Time #10- The Matrix

Now, I am aware that Keanu Reeves is definitely not what you would call acting material. I mean sure Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure was great, but in the end it wasn't really a film that most people took to seriously and was ultimately a laid back comedy that only required Keanu to say "whoa dude" every 5 seconds.  However, The Matrix on the other hand requires something a bit more, something with a more desperate tone that is able to believably convey the feelings an confusion of a computer hacker known as Neo who is simply trying to get by with his dead end desk job.  And for the most part, Keanu is able to pull of this character with entertaining results that make for one hell of a film.  Now to be fair, this isn't too hard of role for the average actor to pull off, since in the beginning all you really see is Neo in front of his computer conversing with a person here or there, but really nothing that gives us a hint on who or what Neo really is and what Morpheus, the man who eventually "frees" Neo from the Matrix sees in him.  Really though, the mysterious attitude and calmness that Keanu brings to the character fit this movie almost perfectly because it simply is so different than from any other hero character that you see these days who is pumped full of testosterone and have to have an epic entrance whenever possible.  Neo on the other hand is a modest hero of sorts who is as much confused as he is potentially gifted which ends up making the sequences when Neo triumphs all that much more satisfying

The Story is extremely unique in that it postulates that there is more than what you can see in front of your eyes.  What this movies shows us is a world that doesn't exist, a place that is shown to us to hide us from the real truth: that we are all slaves to a race known as the machines who created this world for us in order to keep us under control so they could harvest our bodies for much needed energy.  Now this may seem a bit far fetched at first, but it ultimately makes for an engaging and interesting plot that at times almost convinces you that there is more to things than meets the eye.  From there things continue to get crazier and crazier as we are introduced to The Agents, dangerous programs that are stuck inside the matrix and must get the codes that will ultimately set them free into the cyber universe.  Neo's ultimate purpose as the prophesied "one", is to not only prevent this from happening, but to bring peace to the last human Civilization of Zion.  However, in the beginning of the film this seems almost like an impossible feat to achieve, as Neo seems like your average computer hacker who could probably do no more than simply embezzle a few thousand dollars from a bank.  Eventually though, Neo discovers his true potential is able to do some amazing things that will make you wonder "how is that even possible."
So, while the matrix is the definitely a film proposes a lot of "what if's" its the way in which it does it that truly makes this film worth getting sucked into. And hey, any film that makes Keanu Reeves into a likable badass, is a film that clearly has something going for it.

This will be a daily feature that will eventually lead to number 1.  While I did try to due five in one blog, I thought I would cover more detail and ultimately have better explanations on why enjoyed film if dedicated one blog to each.  Hope this feature interests you all enough to check the other 9 films on this growing list of masterpieces.

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Review- Mr. Holland's Opus

I'll be honest folks, I've never been one for the touchy feely sort of movies.  Usually, its due in part to the fact that most of the actors overdue their roles to the point where it becomes less about the overall story and more about who can cry the hardest even if its at a seemingly inappropriate moment.  That's what I figured Mr. Holland's Opus would be: a cliche emotional drama where the "new guy" hates his new job and everyone around him because they don't understand him.  To degree, this is partially true, but its conveyed in such a way that through most of the film you are able to actually sympathize with the characters internal and external conflicts because they are based in a realistic and common environment that most people can relate to in some way, since most people went to school and have a pretty clear idea of what it was like to take a class like music appreciation only because it was required of you.  While this is made clear several times throughout the movie, its done so in a way that not only reflects the feelings of the students who are seemingly forced to be in the class, but the frustrated teacher who has to deal with them.  In this way, we get to see a side of a teacher that most of us would never expect to see when we were in school causing trouble because we were too focused on making friends and trying to fit in amongst our age group as opposed to being concerned with how our teachers perceived us.  Really though, who expected us to, or rather, who could expect the students in the movie to care what there teacher said or did during a stupid elective class.  Its not until Mr. Holland discovers his true passion for teaching that we really see how one man can change effect so many lives in what seems like so little time.
The story, of course, revolves around the life of Mr. Holland(Richard Dreyfuss), an inspired composer who takes a teaching job at a local high school during the 1950's so that he can compose on his free time and eventually create a masterpiece that will bring him both rich and famous.  However, from the moment he steps in that classroom, things don't turn out that easy as he becomes more and more frustrated with his students poor test scores and lack of participation.  Now at this point, it would seem that Mr. Holland would be better off just sticking to composing instead of dealing with a bunch of rascals who couldn't give two shits about what he has to say about music.  However, instead of giving up and taking the easy route, Mr. Holland reaches deep inside himself and exposes these blooming adolescence to the origin of their favorite rock n' roll tunes, which not only makes the class more bearable for his students but also makes the teaching experience that much more easier and enjoyable for Mr. Holland as he is able to slip bits and pieces of the classics into his curriculum while keeping the focus towards the more "modern" hits so that he can keep his students engaged while educating them on new types of music.  This method is the starting point in which Mr. Holland truly finds his passion for teaching, because he his not only able to capture the attention of his students, but is also in the process enjoying the fact these kids are actually learning something and its all because of him that they love his class.  At points throughout the film, he does deal with specific students who are having trouble finding their places in his class; such as Gertrude Lang, a perfectionist who believes she isn't good at anything until Mr. Holland teaches her how to play the clarinet by taking aspects of her life and telling her to convey them through music, which results in some truly magnificent pieces.  There is also the stereotypical slacker/jock who was kicked off the football team because of his grades, and his only taking music so he boost his grades.  At first, this seems like a lost cause because this athlete as expected has never picked up and instrument in his entire life, and what do you do with a kid who sucks at all the other instruments? Why, you make him play the bass drum of course!  Now this easier said than then, since the kid has seemingly no rhythm which makes teaching to play quite a hassle, but as time goes on Mr. Holland is able to make him a bass drumming guru, turning him into the one thing he thought he would never be: a happy and content band geek.  These are just several of the many people's lives Mr. Holland effects throughout the film, and really makes this movie stand out from any other because the interesting and captivating personal stories conveyed accurately through the music of each character.
Of course, what kind of drama would this be without a little personal conflict?  While initially everything seems find and dandy, with Mr. Holland's new career going so smoothly and the arrival of a new born son, what could possibly go wrong?  Well as it ironically turns out, Mr. Holland's son is actually born deaf, which really complicates things because this is Mr. Holland's passion and its all he knows, which makes raising a son who is permanently deaf is a real hassle.  However, Mr. Holland does eventually learn to accept his son for his unintentional faults, and his able to covey his music through other methods which really shows how important it is for Mr. Holland to share his passion with the ones that he loves.  I won't lie though, it wears a little thin after a while, with Mr. Holland jumping back and forth between his kid and his teaching it can get a tad annoying especially when you just watched an emotional and powerful scene with Mr. Holland creating a musical, then being immediately dumped into the cliche scene of "wife gets pissed at husband for spending too much time at work, neglecting their disabled child, etc." It's all stuff we've seen before, and even though its their for some sort of realism, it does sometimes break up the pacing of the movie too erratically which can sometime take you out of the moment.
Besides this though, the writing and story direction are spot on, with the Mr. Holland's teaching career chronicled perfectly from the a simple graduation in the beginning to an epic musical that truly shows how far Mr. Holland as come in terms of teaching his students, and also how he has evolved into an masterful composer.  The cast for the most part is perfectly conveyed in this film, with each actor seeming to fit in perfectly to their individual characters perfectly as is they had been them for years.  Sure there is the typical asshole teacher you see in most school films, but he does a solid job at playing his role, and doesn't appear to often thankfully, which as result keeps the film from hitting to many roadblocks
In the end, Mr. Holland's Opus is by and large, a emotional drama that admittedly does have its share of touchy feely moments, but they are portrayed in such a realistic and believable manner, thats it really hard not to get sucked into those types of moments. Even if your in to these types of films, you should at least give it a rent if only so you can see the captivating and emotional unfolding of one of the most heartfelt and enjoyable movies of all time.
5.0/5.0
one of the most heart felt and emotionally inspiring films of all time!


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