Great Music #31

Well hello there, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome back to Great Music, the series where I just talk about music I like. Last time we did this was back in April. I’m not good at keeping up a consistent release pace for these posts. Oh well. Here we go.

So what’s on the menu this time? Bit of old school rock? Something from a famous movie? Nah, neither. This is a bit more… revolutionary (you’ll know why in a bit). Let’s first get something god damn straight: I don’t like nazis, they’re the fucking worst, get them the hell out. But since those sons of bitches don’t seem to go away any time soon, at least I can imagine it and get some catharsis from it… thanks to “Wolfenstein”. First released in 1981, “Castle Wolfenstein” was a stealth game with some shooting elements. Then in 1992 it saw a reboot of sorts with “Wolfenstein 3D”, a revolutionary (no, that’s not the part I meant earlier) game that really brought the first person shooter to the mainstream. Cut to 22 years and god knows how many games later, and we get “Wolfenstein: The New Order”, another reboot of sorts that shared some stylistic and thematic elements with “The Man in the High Castle” and “Inglourious Basterds”. That game was a huge hit among fans and critics (yours truly included). Then three years later, in 2017 we get the sequel, “Wolfenstein: The New Colossus”, a not quite as good, but still fairly enjoyable action game with some standout moments and characters. Now, the music of “The New Order” was good, but you can still tell that it played it a little bit safe, with composer Mick Gordon testing the waters a bit. After then making the acclaimed music for the 2016 reboot of “Doom”, you could tell that he had found his style and wouldn’t shy away from exploiting it like a motherfucker. Cut to “New Colossus”, where he (along with co-composer Martin Stig Andersen) brought his fucking A-game and gave us some of the best video game music of all time. I could’ve talked about any track from the OST and been just as happy, but I felt like I needed to pick one of the more unique tracks from it to truly justify this post. And that’s why I chose “Horton Hears a Revolution” (THERE IT IS!).

In the game, you play as American resistance fighter William Joseph “B.J.” Blazkowicz (voiced by Brian Bloom) as he tries to fight back against the nazi regime which had taken over the world in 1946, and still rules with an iron cross 14 years later. But he can’t do this alone, he has to gather allies. And at a point in the game he travels to New Orleans to try to recruit a resistance group led by southern preacher Horton Boone (voiced by Christopher Heyerdahl). And as he comes to their base, they start discussing the situation they’re in, which is accompanied by a bit of nice clarinet jazz… and Mick Gordon’s heavier-than-metal guitars and drums. You see, Mick likes to approach his compositions a bit differently compared to your John Williams or Michael Giacchinos of the world. Instead of the typical orchestrations of brass and woodwind, this crazy son of a bitch uses instruments typically found in heavy metal bands (and the occasional synth for good measure). It creates a heavy sound that fits the often satirical but still brutal style of the story and writing. And the way it is used to coincide with the jazzy clarinet is absolutely frickin’ wonderful, creating a mesmerizing chaos that honestly just takes my breath away every time I hear it, while also making me want to start a revolution against some nazi assholes.

Have a good one and enjoy.

Great Music #30

Hello and welcome back to Great Music, the thing where I talk about music I like. And we’ve now reached the 30th one of these. And it only took us… three and a half years, hot damn. Not saying that number 30 in itself is an important milestone, just wanted to point out that I am slow when it comes to these things. Anyway, let’s get into it.

So what song do I wanna talk about today? And one rock track? Something from a movie? Nope. Today I wanna talk about something that was composed for a video game. Now, I am sure some of my followers here don’t really care about video games that much, and that is fine. But I just wanna take a second to talk about my favorite song that was made for one of my favorite games. Today we are talking about “Tears” from Max Payne 3.
In the third Max Payne game, our endearingly moody Max (voiced by James McCaffrey) is at the lowest point he’s ever been, but he get a new chance at life when he gets hired by a Brazilian businessman to be the bodyguard of his family. Max’s journey will lead him through hell and back, from the alleys of New Jersey to the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. Near the end of the game, Max has tracked down the person responsible for so much of the trouble he’s gone through, which has led him to a Brazilian airport. Max finds himself in the airport lobby, heavily armed bad guys all around. While giving up would be easy, Max knows he has to give it one more push if he wants to stop the big bad guy. Max sprints out of cover and the music starts blasting. The score for the game was composed by American noise rock band HEALTH (yes, the capitalization is part of the band’s name), who created a score that evokes the dark moodiness of the series while also adding their own flavor to it. And “Tears” is their masterpiece (for me at least) in that regard. A heavy track with a driving beat, perfectly suited for the “one more push” feel of the scene it plays in. But it also has lyrics that are a direct reference to the character himself. Many have interpreted it as Max’s long dead wife and daughter telling him to finally let them go and find his own path. And looking at the lyrics, that seems very likely. So long, Max has been stuck in the guilt of losing his family at the start of the first game, and finally it seems like he’s able to move on. It’s beautiful, poetic even. And when encased within the heavy and driving noise rock beat, it creates a unique musical feel and makes for one of the most memorable parts in any game I’ve ever played.  And even discounting the game for a second, I just love the song. It is very clearly not for everyone, but I absolutely adore it and wanted to talk about it today.

Have a good one and enjoy.

New “Red Dead Redemption 2” trailer!

Hello there, ladies and gentlemen, time for some more trailer talk. So let’s just get into it.

In 2010, Rockstar Games released a game called “Red Dead Redemption”, which was more or less a follow-up to their older game, “Red Dead Revolver”. In “Redemption”, you played as John Marston (Rob Wiethoff), a former outlaw who’s being forced by government agents to hunt down his old crew. It was an absolutely incredible game, winning all kinds of awards as well as the hearts of gamers all over the world (yours truly included, though admittedly years later). Then skip forward to October 2016 when we got our first poster and our first trailer for “Red Dead Redemption 2”. The gaming world collectively lost their minds. Sure, it revealed fucking nothing, other than it’s existence. But the prospect of a new “Red Dead” game was enough to make everyone go apeshit, especially since people have wanted a new one since they beat “Redemption”. Well, now we have our first REAL trailer for “Red Dead Redemption 2”, and it is all kinds of western goodness. This time we follow Arthur Morgan (voice actor not yet confirmed), an ruthless outlaw. And we will seemingly follow his journey as a total dickhead. So this reveals a bit about the story, and even has a final reveal in the trailer which more than likely made fans gasp harder than humanly possible because it confirms several things that have been speculated for a while. Sure, it shows no gameplay, but I think I know what it will be like, based on previous Rockstar titles. But yeah… I am so excited! “Red Dead Redemption 2” will be released in Spring of 2018.

What are your thoughts? Are you excited for “Red Dead Redemption 2”? And what are your thoughts on the first one (if you played it)? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one and enjoy the trailer!

“Tomb Raider” trailer

Hello there, ladies and gents. Another “interesting” trailer has arrived, so let’s talk about it.

So we have our first trailer for “Tomb Raider”, the adaptation of the reboot of the beloved video game. People are just saying it’s a reboot, which is wrong. It’s a re-adaptation. Anyhow, what’s this about then? Well, it’s about Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) who is searching for her missing father (Dominic West) on a mysterious and very dangerous island. And there she faces danger, which seems to include a mysterious leader (Walton Goggins). So what do I think of this? Eh. It’s a generic trailer for what seems like an average adventure movie. Video game adaptations have had a bad streak in Hollywood by generally being… shit. Okay, “Warcraft” was okay. And “Mortal Kombat” was enjoyable despite it’s shortcomings. But for the most part, Hollywood’s attempts at making video game adaptations have failed badly. Will this suffer the same fate? I don’t know. We can only wait and see. But for now I’d say that it looks… meh. “Tomb Raider” is set to be released in March of 2018.

What are your thoughts? Are you excited for “Tomb Raider”? And what’s your favorite adventure movie? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one and enjoy the trailer.

Movie Review: Resident Evil: Vendetta (2017)

As I’ve made clear on this blog a couple of times, I really enjoy the animated “Resident Evil” movies. The live action ones can burn in hell, but that’s a different story for a different day. So I was of course excited when a third entry in this series was announced. So I waited and a couple trailer came out and they got me excited and now the movie’s out and I’ve seen it so now it’s time to talk about it.

Ladies and gents… “Resident Evil: Vendetta”.

When a vengeful black market dealer is about to unleash a deadly virus upon New York City, BSAA agent Chris Redfield (Kevin Dorman) has to enlist the help of Leon Kennedy (Matthew Mercer) and Rebecca Chambers (Erin Cahill) to try and stop the villainous man. So now we have our standard “Resident Evil” plot. And using the word “standard” doesn’t have to be a bad thing, because every “Indiana Jones” movie follows the same formula (and you know it), and people (mostly) love them). Same with “Resident Evil”, you can usually guess the story beats of each one, and that’s fine because they always find some way to hold onto you. And while the plot here isn’t bad, I just found that it didn’t really grab me. I was entertained, and thanks to the short runtime the pacing never let up more than it needed. But this plot overall just went by, never really grabbing me along. It’s just… fine.

The characters here, while not as great as in the last animated “Resident Evil” flick, are still interesting and pretty entertaining. Chris Redfield here is still the tough, determined, meathead that he’s always been. And while it’s weird not hearing Roger Craig Smith doing the voice, I do think Kevin Dorman does a good job in the role. Leon Kennedy in this is still the badass motherfucker that we know him as, with some of that cocky attitude still intact. Sure, they play him a bit more serious in this than in the last two movies, but he’s still entertaining as a character. And Matthew Mercer is of course once again great in the role. Rebecca Chambers is a character that we haven’t seen since 2002’s “Resident Evil: Zero”. And in this, instead of being a member of the STARS team, she’s a scientist. And she’s pretty cool, even though she doesn’t get to do a lot of cool stuff. And Erin Cahill is really good in the role. And the villain of the movie, Glenn Arias, they try to make sympathetic in a way that I won’t spoil here. And while I kind of understand his reasoning for doing what he does, as a villain he was just fine. John DeMita was good in the role though. So overall it’s a well acted movie (even if the dialog is often… not great).

The score for the movie was composed by Kenji Kawai and I think he did a great job with it. His score is cool, tense, and badass, often elevating scenes that wouldn’t have been as great without the music. And overall the score is just great, making for some good ear candy (the end credits song being a standout).

“Resident Evil: Vendetta” was directed by Takanori Tsujimoto and I think he did a solid job. Sure, he doesn’t build a lot of suspense with his directing, but he still brings a lot of flair and energy to it. Which also brings me to the animation and holy shit, this animation looks awesome! It’s detailed, fluid, and just looks all kinds of great. Especially in the facial animations which look terrific. And the action scenes too, while not subtle in the slightest (in fact they’re loud and kind of ridiculous), look awesome. They’re so much fun and just brought a big, dumb smile to my face. And is this movie scary? Fuck no.

This movie came out very recently and is very niche, so it doesn’t have a lot of scores on the sites I usually go to. Sure it exists on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, but it has no score on either site. And if scores are added to the sites, then I won’t edit this post. But on imdb.com it has a score of 6,3/10.

“Resident Evil: Vendetta” is a dumb action-thriller for fans of the games and animated features, and as one of those people I thought this movie was really fun. It has an okay plot, good characters, great performances, great music, great directing, and great animation. My only flaw with the movie is that the plot didn’t really grab me in any way. Time for my final score. *Zombie moan*. My final score for “Resident Evil: Vendetta” is an 8,99/10. So while it’s flawed, I’d definitely say that it’s worth buying!

My review of “Resident Evil: Vendetta” is now completed.

Good to finally see Chris in one of these. I love Leon, but it’s nice to get good ol’ Redfield in a movie.

Series Review: Castlevania – Season 1 (2017)

I’ve been anticipating the release of this show for a while. From when the teaser poster and such was released, to when the first trailer dropped, it all seemed like it could be good. Could Netflix bring us a good video game adaptation? Well, let’s find out.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Castlevania” season 1!

After his wife gets burned at the stake, Dracula (Graham McTavish) unleashes an army of dark creatures upon the city of Gresit. So when Trevor (Richard Armitage), the last surviving member of the Belmont clan, shows up in town he has to try and save the city from this evil. So now we have our medieval fantasy. And while it’s only four episodes long, they manage to develop the story pretty damn well. They manage to establish backstories without getting too heavy with the exposition. And it actually creates some solid drama at times, giving the world and plot a little extra weight without sacrificing the fun and interesting fantasy elements of the plot. There’s also time dedicated to showing what a bunch of dicks members of the Christian church was at the time. Sure, there were no actual demons back then, but a lot of the bullshit they’re up to here actually happened in real life. So yeah, it’s a surprisingly layered story that stays true to the source material while still making it feel fresh and different.

The characters here are all pretty interesting. Trevor Belmont as a character is kind of an arrogant asshole, but he’s actually given a good reason in the show, so he’s not just an ass for the sake of being an ass. And you can tell that despite his arrogant façade, he is a good person (and badass warrior). And Richard Armitage is great as the character. Dracula doesn’t appear much in the show, but his presence is always felt. I also like that he’s not just a generic evil-doer that just wants to kill people because he’s the villain. They give him good motivation for doing it, making him a much more interesting antagonist. And Graham McTavish (again, despite not showing up a lot) kills it in the role. We also get Matt Frewer as a bishop who’s a huge dick, and Frewer is great in the role. We also get Tony Amendola as an elder that Trevor runs into/befriends, and Amndola is really good in the role. Really, every actor heard in this show does a good job.

The score for the show was composed by Trevor Morris, who also did the score for “Iron Fist” (*cough* read my review *cough*). And while that was good, I think this score is even better. The music in “Castlevania” is dark, eerie, epic, badass, cool, and just overall fits the dark and haunting atmosphere of the show. Morris composed some really solid stuff here.

“Castlevania” was produced by Adi Shankar, animated by Powerhouse animation & Frederator studios, directed by Sam Deats, and written by acclaimed comic book writer Warren Ellis. And it’s, as I’ve made pretty clear, an adaptation of the “Castlevania” video game franchise from Konami. And in terms of animation/direction, this show is very well handled. The animation is beautiful in a dark and haunting way, perfectly helping to create a dark and often eerie atmosphere for this show. The show shines especially in the action scenes which are badass, intense, and quite brutal. And I really mean it when I say brutal, there’s blood and dismemberment in this show. So yeah, this show has some fucked up visuals throughout, which I do think works for the show. Still… don’t bring grandma.

Seeing as this is a pretty niche show that just came out, there’s not much in terms of reception on the sites I tend to use. Keep in mind, i only report the reception as it is at the time of review… I refuse to edit. Anyhow, it does exist on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, but it has no critic scores at the time of this review. But it does have a score on imdb.com (based on very few votes at the time), and it is an 8,7/10.

Season 1 of “Castlevania” is one of the best video game adaptations available out right now. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and great direction/animation. The only minor flaw I have is that it is so short (four episodes), but it’s not a deal breaker for me. Time for my final score. *Stabs demon*. My final score for “Castlevania” season 1 is a 9,65/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Castlevania” season 1 is now completed.

There is a season 2 planned… for 2018… fuck.

Movie Review: Shoot ‘Em Up (2007)

Something something, action movies. Honestly, I’m too sick to think of a clever intro somehow relating back to this movie. So let’s just get into it.

Ladies and gents… “Shoot ‘Em Up”.

After having delivered a baby, a homeless man named Smith (Clive Owen) has to protect the newly born baby from a crazy hitman named Hertz (Paul Giamatti). I know it sounds like I’m making some weird shit up, but that’s the actual plot of the movie… and I’m okay with that, because it’s handled in such a way that makes it work. Some movies would try to make it a serious movie where the baby would have a dramatic point, which I feel wouldn’t entirely work. Instead this is handled as a fast-paced/fucking insane action plot that never takes itself too seriously. It’s quite a self-aware plot that gleefully embraces the ridiculousness of the situation, and that’s what I love about it.

The characters aren’t necessarily that deep and compelling, but they’re still quite interesting and incredibly fun to watch. Clive Owen plays Smith as a combination of Clint Eastwood in “A Fistful of Dollars” and Bugs Bunny. That’s right, he’s a pretty much nameless badass that chomps carrots, and Owen is great in the role. Paul Giamatti plays the head hitman who’s going after Smith and the baby. He’s kind of a crazy asshole and Giamatti is terrific in the role. We also get Monica Bellucci as a lactating hooker (yes, you read that right) that reluctantly helps Smith take care of the baby. And Bellucci is really good in the role. We also get Stephen McHattie as a gun manufacturer named Hammerson, and he’s really good in the role. It’s overall a very well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Paul Haslinger and it is awesome. It’s heavily based in rock with traces of electronica, and it perfectly fits the non-stop action pace perfectly. They also used a bunch of licensed rock/metal tracks throughout and they too fit the movie perfectly. Then it’s also a treat for me because, as you probably know by now, I mainly listen to rock and metal. But seriously, AC/DC, Motörhead, Wolfmother… so much good music here! Really, the music in this movie is overall great and it fits the movie perfectly.

This movie was directed by Michael Davis and I think he did a great job here. There’s a lot of frenetic energy in his directing, which keeps the movie from getting boring. There’s very little time between action scenes, which is fun to see. Speaking of the action scenes, fuck me, it’s rare to find action this fun in a modern action movie. For one, YOU CAN SEE IT! No shaky-cam bullshit, everything can be seen. What’s also interesting is that most of the action (about 95%) is gun-centric. And I don’t mean just *pop out of cover, shoot* *pop out of cover, shoot*. They do a lot of creative things with the gunplay here which makes it all feel fresh and fun. Also, this is a really violent movie. So if you hate blood and gore, then you’ve been warned. There’s also a good amount of comedy throughout the movie and I thought it was quite funny.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 67% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 49/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,7/10.

“Shoot ‘Em Up” isn’t a particularly deep movie, but that doesn’t matter because it’s an incredibly entertaining action flick! It has a good plot, great characters, great performances, fantastic music, great directing, and really good comedy. Time for my final score. *Bang*. My final score for “Shoot ‘Em Up” is a 9,87/10. Which of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Shoot ‘Em Up” is now completed.

This is one of the most video game-y movies I’ve ever seen.

“Dragon Ball FighterZ” E3 trailer

Hello there, my friends. More E3 shit comin’ your way… so here we go!

Here we have a trailer for “Dragon Ball FighterZ”, a 1v1 fighting game based on the popular “Dragon Ball” franchise, which was created by Akira Toriyama in 1984. I wasn’t really gonna talk about this trailer, but my best friend (RasmusTerra on twitter) said that it looked badass, so I decided to at least check it out. And now we’re talking about it because DAMN, it is badass. It looks like an anime but in game form, and I like that because it gives it a cool and unique look. And while 1v1 fighers isn’t my main thing when it comes to games, I do play ’em from time to time (“Injustice: Gods Among Us” being one of my favorites). And this looks like fun. Taking control of the “Dragon Ball” characters, and then having them beat the shit out of each other. Sure, it’s been done before, but I don’t think it has looked this extreme. So yeah, this could be fun. “Dragon Ball FighterZ” has no specific release date, but it’s at some point in 2018.

What are your thoughts? Are excited for “Dragon Ball FighterZ”? And are you a fan of “Dragon Ball” in any way? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one and enjoy!

“Far Cry 5” E3 gameplay trailer!

Hello there, ladies and gents! More E3 stuff comin’ your way!

So about three weeks ago I talked about the announcement trailer for “Far Cry 5”, the seventh game in the “Far Cry” series. Well, now we have our first look at the gameplay of it thanks to E3. So it looks like most other “Far Cry” games but with more allies and instead of fighting crazy foreigners, you shoot cultist Americans in Montana. And it’s all set to “Boom Boom” by Big Head Todd & The Monsters. Firstly, that’s a great song, so this got a thumbgs up from me just for that. And secondly, fucking hell, this look like so much fun and I want to play it NOW!!! Again, it’s the craziness of “Far Cry”… but more. I mean, there seems to be dogfights in this game… DOGFIGHTS, in a “Far Cry” game! This will probably be my game of the year whenever I can get my hands on it… just because of even more crazy “Far Cry” shit being given to me! “Far Cry 5” is set to be released on February 27th 2018.

What are your thoughts? Are you excited for “Far Cry 5”? And what’s your favorite game in the series (if you’ve played them)? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one and enjoy!!!

“Spider-Man” E3 Gameplay!

Hello there, ladies and gents. As explained in several posts yesterday, gaming convention E3 is going on and it gives us some interesting trailers and reveals and such. Well, let’s talk about such a thing now.

So here we have our first look at the gameplay of “Spider-Man”, a video game exclusive for the Playstation 4, devloped by Insomniac. By the way, I love Insomniac, they’ve made a whole bunch of games I love. And by a whole bunch I mean the “Ratchet & Clank” series… have unfortunately not played any of their other games. Anyway, let’s talk “Spider-Man”! So what we see here is Spidey (Yuri Lowenthal) taking out some bad dudes called “Demons”. The gameplay here look a lot like the recent “Batman Arkham” games (Great games, BTW). Similar combat, but with the main difference being Spider-man… and with the environment being a bit more interactive. Sure, this seems like a more scripted bit of the game, but it will apparently overall be an open world game… which means that you will be able to swing around the city with your web. Fuck yeah, I’m excited. “Spider-Man” is set to be released in 2018… no specific date, just 2018.

What are your thoughts? Are you excited for “Spider-Man”? And what’s your favorite superhero video game? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one and enjoy!