“The Last of Us Part 2” E3 Gameplay Reveal

Another E3 post? Another E3 post. There’ll probably be even more coming, so buckle up.

We finally have a look at some gameplay for “The Last of Us Part 2”. The game was revealed around November of 2016, and a lot of fans have been waiting to see a bit of gameplay for it ever since. Well, we finally have some thanks to E3. While I can’t say how much is scripted and how much is just legit gameplay, I can say that this looks good. It’s basically the same type of gameplay as the first game only with smoother animation, more graphical detail, and with Ellie (Ashley Johnson) taking center stage instead of Joel (Troy Baker). And if it’s just more “Last of Us”, then I am 100% up for it. The first game is one of my favorites, one of the best games to be released in the last ten years. For those unaware, “The Last of Us” is about a guy named Joel who has to escort a young girl named Ellie to a place because she’s seemingly immune to the zombie-like infection that has spread across the United States. It’s a super serious and emotionally charged journey and it packs one hell of a punch. “Part 2” picks up 5 years later aaaaaand that’s all she wrote. I wouldn’t be surprised if Naughty Dog (the developer) kept the plot under wraps until it’s released. So yeah, I’m pretty god damn excited about this. While it has no official release date, “The Last of Us Part 2” will probably be released in 2019.

What are your thoughts? Are you excited for “The Last of Us Part 2”? And what do you think about the first game? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one and enjoy the gameplay trailer.

Series Review: Altered Carbon – Season 1 (2018)

So it’s a new sci-fi series? From Netflix? Sign me up!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Altered Carbon” season 1.

In the future people have found a way to sort of cheat death by transferring their consciousness from one body to another. Takeshi Kovacs (Joel Kinnaman) is a man who gets to experience this as he’s brought back to life in a new body. And soon he’s hired to solve the murder of a very wealthy businessman (James Purefoy). And as Kovacs begins investigating this murder he soon notices just how deep and twisty this whole thing gets. So now we have our cyberpunk story. And is it any good? Yeah, it really is. Not only is it a complex whodunnit with plenty of twists and turns, but it’s also a journey of identity and life. I mean, with people more or less being able to cheat death, it’s got to lead to some interesting questions. And these explorations are quite interesting, and meshes quite well with this cerebral murder mystery. The only flaw I have with it is that it can get a little bit meander-y at times. For the most part it has a good focus on what the hell it’s doing, but there are times where the pacing meandered a bit too much. Luckily these meander-y bits aren’t too frequent, so it doesn’t kill it to much for me. So overall this is a really solid plot.

The characters here are layered, flawed, damaged, and just overall quite interesting. Joel Kinnaman plays Takeshi Kovacs, the cool guy at the center of this story. We learn quite a lot about Kovacs and his backstory throughout the season, and we see him get some decent development as it moves forward. And Kinnaman is great in the role. Martha Higareda plays Kristin Ortega, a cop that Kovacs runs into throughout the season. She’s a tough, take-no-nonsense kind of character that still shows a fair bit of vulnerability throughout, adding to her layers. And Higareda is really good in the role. Then we have James Purefoy as Laurens Bancroft, the very wealthy businessman whose murder Kovacs has to solve. And I hear you asking “How could Purefoy get any acting/character development if he’s dead?”. Simple: His consciousness got put in a new body. He is the one that hired Kovacs to solve his murder. This isn’t a spoiler, it’s something you learn very early in the first episode. Either way, his character is slightly weird and seems a bit shady and is just an interesting addition to the cast. And Purefoy is good in the role. Then we have Ato Essandoh as Vernon Elliot, a man that Kovacs runs into throughout the plot (and kind of starts working with). He’s damaged and has some things in his past that clearly trouble him, but he isn’t some broody and overly serious character, he feels fairly realistic. And Essandoh is great in the role. And the final one I want to go slightly in-depth with is Chris Conner as Poe. Poe is the manager of the hotel that Kovacs stays at throughout the season. While he is intended as a slightly less serious character than the others (often having a lot of funny moments), he still works well dramatically speaking. And Conner is really good in the role. As for the other characters in the show, they are interesting in some way, but I don’t wanna ruin it for you. But I can say that we get some really good supporting work from people like Kristin Lehman, Hiro Kanagawa, Antonio Marziale, Tamara Taylor, Adam Busch, Matt Frewer, Cliff Chamberlain, Will Yun Lee, and many more.

The score for “Altered Carbon” was composed by Jeff Russo, the man who also did the music for “Fargo” and “Legion” (two awesome shows). And once again he has killed it with the music. Sure, it clearly takes inspiration from “Blade Runner” (which we’ll get back to in a bit), but it still does enough differently to feel fresh. It’s tense, emotional, and just overall great. There are also a bunch of licensed tracks used throughout the season and they work quite well within their scenes, improving said scenes quite a bit. So yeah… this show has good music.

Based on a novel by Richard K. Morgan, this show was created by Laeta Kalogridis and written/directed by a whole bunch of people. And in terms of direction this show is excellent. The direction here is stylish and sweeping, but still tight and tense. And now we get to the bit that I alluded to before… visually speaking this has a lot of similarities to “Blade Runner”. At least when we see the skyline or follow the characters on the streets, it all looks a lot like Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic. That said, I’m not bothered by it since that seems to be the general aesthetic of cyberpunk fiction. And I just generally like it… it shows that a lot of time and love went into crafting this show. That and an obvious fuckload of money. You can really tell that Netflix went balls out with the budget, wanting to make this as extravagant as possible. The props, sets, and CGI are all absolutely fantastic. My breath was taken away at a lot of the visuals here. And the action scenes in this are all really good. They’re tense, badass, and really well choreographed. From shootouts, to melee combat, to a chase or two… the action here is really good. Oh, and violent… really violent… many gallons of blood. So if you’re squeamish you might have have a hard time watching this. There’s also a lot of nudity. So if you hate naked people, don’t watch this. But yeah, this show has some good production value.

The show just came out, but it has already pretty good reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 65% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 65/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,9/10.

“Altered Carbon” isn’t for everyone, but I sure as shit liked it. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/cinematography/action/effects. Sure, the pace meanders a little bit at times, but it’s not too bad. Time for my final score. *Pew*. My final score for “Altered Carbon” season 1 is a 9,52/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Altered Carbon” season 1 is now completed.

“Blade Runner? Never heard of it!”

Movie Review: Shot Caller (2017)

Don’t commit crimes, kids. It’s bad for you.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Shot Caller”.

Jacob (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) used to be a successful businessman, but that started changing after getting thrown in jail because of a DUI. And he soon starts getting involved with the gangs inside of the prison, turning him from a successful business person and loving father, to a stoic and ruthless gangster. And I thought the plot here was pretty good. It’s told in a semi-non-linear way, in that it jumps between past (ending up in jail) and present (out of jail) and shows how Jacob changes over that time, and I thought that was quite interesting. And overall there is some decent tension throughout the plot, as well as some pretty good dramatic moments spread throughout. My problem with it is that I felt like the pacing dragged at times. I’m fine with a movie that can move at a somewhat slower pace, but this at times just decided to drag it’s feet rather than move at a decently steady pace. It’s not a constant ass-drag, but it is noticeable in parts. So overall the plot here is pretty good.

The characters here are pretty good. Some more interesting than others. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau plays the main character Jacob (or Money as he’ll be known as later). Seeing his progression from good-natured businessman and loving father to this cold and ruthless gangster is endlessly fascinating. And you can tell that even when he’s become this cold gangster, he’s a bit conflicted, like there’s still good in him. And Coster-Waldau is great in the role. Then we have Jon Bernthal as a guy called Shotgun, one of the gang members that Jacob gets to know. As the movie goes on we get to know some interesting things about him that makes him feel a bit deeper than a lot of other ones in the movie. And Bernthal is great here. Then we get Emory Cohen as Howie, a young man who’s part of Jacob’s gang. And he gets some interesting development here. And Cohen is really good in the role. Then you get some really solid supporting performances from people like Omari Hardwick, Evan Jones, Benjamin Bratt, Lake Bell, Jeffrey Donovan, Holt McCallany, and many more. ’tis a well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Antonio Pinto and I have mixed feelings about it. There are some great tracks here that are very well composed and work to elevate the scenes that they’re used in. But then there are some tracks that aren’t particularly well composed and feel distractingly out of place in certain moments. So at best I guess the score could be summarized as okay.

This movie was written and directed by Ric Roman Waugh and I think he did a pretty good (there’s that phrase again) job with it. Scenes have a decent flow and have a decent amount of tension to them. And while this isn’t an action movie, when the shit does hit the fan it is badass, exciting, and violent as fuck. And the cinematography from Dana Gonzales looks good.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 67% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 59/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

“Shot Caller” has flaws, but it’s still a good movie. It has a pretty good plot, pretty good characters, great performances, okay music, and good directing/cinematography. My flaws are that the pacing drags at times, and some of the music is kind of distracting in how it doesn’t always work. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Shot Caller” is an 8,51/10. While flawed, it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Shot Caller” is now completed.

They might as well rename it to “Cops, Crooks, and Facial Hair”.

Series Review: The Punisher – Season 1 (2017)

I don’t really think I need to make an introduction for this. I’ve talked about this show several times on this blog before, every time reminding you of my excitement for the show. So let’s just get into the review and see if this show is any good.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is season 1 of… “The Punisher”!

After he has seemingly killed the people responsible for the death of his family, Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal) soon uncovers a deep and complex conspiracy that somehow relates back to his past as a soldier. So now Frank has to find out what the hell is going on while a Homeland Security agent (Amber Rose Revah) gets a whiff of him being back in town. So now we have our comic book thriller. And is this plot any good? Yeah, it is. It’s not a fast-paced action/revenge plot, but it’s a slightly slower conspiracy thriller that features Punisher, and I think the plot here is very intriguing. My only gripe with it is in one of the early episodes. It’s not bad, but the pacing at one point dragged a little bit. But overall here we have a surprisingly deep plot that isn’t afraid to tackle dark and socially relevant themes regarding guns, violence, vigilantism, PTSD, black ops, family, and it is all incredibly engaging and intriguing. ’tis a great plot.

The characters here are flawed, damaged, layered, and just really interesting. Jon Bernthal (like in season 2 of “Daredevil”) plays Frank Castle/The Punisher, former soldier turned violent vigilante. Already in “Daredevil” he got a fair amount of development as a character, and they somehow managed to cram in a bit more here. As we follow him through the season we see how the war, death of his family, and the vigilantism has taken a toll on him and how it messes with his mind a bit. And it is all incredibly engaging. He’s of course also a motherfucking badass, but that didn’t need to be mentioned. And Bernthal is once again fantastic in the role. Amber Rose Revah plays Dinah Madani, the Homeland Security agent on Frank’s trail. She’s a tough and determined woman who wants to find Frank and possibly get justice. But she’s not just some brash and unstoppable idiot, as she at times is shown as vulnerable, but in a good way. And Revah is great in the role. Ebon Moss-Bachrach plays David Lieberman (AKA Micro), a skilled hacker and whistleblower that Frank teams up with to try to solve this conspiracy. And he brings a much needed levity to the dark and grim tale of “The Punisher” without coming off as forced or out of place. He is funny, but he is also a serious character with a good dramatic arc. And Moss-Bachrach is great in the role. Then we have Ben Barnes as Billy Russo, Frank old best friend that I will not talk too much about since it’s too easy to get a bit spoiler-y with him. But he has somewhat of an arc and Barnes is great in the role. And then (to not ramble or give too many character details here) in various supporting performances we have people like Jamie Ray Newman, Kobi Frumer, Deborah Ann Woll, Paul Schulze, Michael Nathanson, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Jason R. Moore, Daniel Webber, Kelli Barrett, C. Thomas Howell, and they all are great in this. Really, it’s a great cast.

The score for the show was composed by Tyler Bates, and it was great. What we have here is a tense, exciting, dramatic, emotional, badass, and just overall interesting score that takes heavy influence from rock and blues to create a fairly unique sound for a show like this. It’s not straight-up rock or blues, but there are traces of it in the score and I like that, makes it sound almost a bit western-y at times. And it all works very well for the show. There are also a couple of licensed tracks used throughout and they all work well in their respective scenes.

The show was created by Steve Lightfoot and written/directed by a whole bunch of different people (with Lightfoot having written a couple of episodes). And I think they did a good job here. While it’s not as action-packed as the trailer made it out to be, there is still action here. And when action happens it is exciting, badass, and brutal. Not just brutal as in a lot of blood being spilled, but brutal as in the violence having a real impact here. And it’s not just gunshots penetrating bodies, there’s also close quarters fighting, and knives, and various other things used throughout to create the memorable and brutal as fuck violence. And the directing and such in the less action-based scenes is good too… got a little sidetracked there, I usually save action for after overall directing… oh well, c’est la vie.

This show just came out, but it has already gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 67% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 54/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 9,6/10 (though this is very likely to change).

Season 1 of “The Punisher” is pretty damn great. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/action. My only flaw was the slight pacing problem in one episode, but it doesn’t really bring it down too much for me. Time for my final score. *One batch, two batch, penny and dime*. My final score for “The Punisher” season 1 is a 9,52/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Punisher” season 1 is now completed.

I really want to get into the comics.

New “The Punisher” trailer!

Hello there, ladies and gents of the internet! Another interesting trailer has dropped, so let’s talk about it!

So we have a new trailer for “The Punisher”, the next Marvel/Netflix show. When “The Defenders” was released, we got a small teaser for this series, giving us a slight hint at what might occur. But now we have our first full-blown look at the show and holy shit… holy shit. We get a good glimpse at what caused Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal) to become what he was, as well as some of the people involved in this conspiracy. We also get a good look at the carnage that will ensue and mother of god, it looks brutally glorious. Blood, bullets, shouting, badassery. This trailer also features the best use of Metallica’s “One” ever. And it’s fitting too, since it’s about a soldier who gets everything taken from him. Really, this trailer is amazing and I am so excited for the show! “The Punisher” is set to be released later this year. No specific date, those cheeky fuckers are keeping that on lockdown.

What are your thoughts? Are you excited for “The Punisher”? And what’s your favorite Metallica song? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments!
Have a good one and enjoy the trailer!

Movie Review: Street Kings (2008)

I’m all for the police. They’re needed to uphold the law. But then we have some cases of corruption within the department, which makes some people blame the police in it’s entirety, which I think is unfair. Just because you find one spoiled apple in a bunch, do you throw away all of them? If you are, then you’re wasting a bunch of perfectly good apples, you fucking dick. Point is, don’t blame everyone… just the individual.

Ladies and gents… “Street Kings”.

Detective Tom Ludlow (Keanu Reeves) isn’t really what you’d call a good cop, as his methods for taking bad guys down are usually a bit… extreme. And when an old partner of his gets killed, he goes on a quest to find the assholes who did it. And to do this he teams up with a young and less corrupt cop named Diskant (Chris Evans). So now we have a gritty cop story about corruption and death and cover-ups and revenge and such. And is this plot good? Eh. I see a lot of potential in this story, and at times it grasps for the greatness… but doesn’t quite reach it. It feels like they just kind of skimmed the surface of this plot, not quite getting there. Maybe it’s the runtime/pacing? It’s only about an hour and fortyfive minutes long, and it never really takes a break to develop the plot or let moments actually simmer and have any effect. I could definitely see this as a show on HBO or Netflix where it could get some time to develop. But overall it is… fine.

The characters here are for the most part just a bunch of unlikable assholes… so it’s hard to get invested when you don’t really like any of them. They’re not even really that interesting, they’re just… unlikable assholes. Keanu Reeves in this… I usually love Keanu, but here he is one of those previously mentioned unlikable assholes. Though I’ll say this, he gives a really good performance here. Forest Whitaker plays Keanu’s boss in this, and he’s probably one of the more likable characters in this, even if he is a bit of a shady dick. His performance is great though. Chris Evans in this plays one of the less shady cops in this, and he’s also not a total dick, so that’s great. And he gives a really good performance here. Hugh Laurie plays the captain of internal affairs in this, and he is great here. Jay Mohr (first time he’s mentioned on the blog… weird) plays one of Keanu’s colleagues, and he’s also kind of a dick… and he gives a good performance. Amaury Nolasco plays another one of Keanu’s colleagues, and he’s also a dick in this… and he gives a pretty good performance. Then there’s a bunch of good supporting performances in the movie too, including from Naomie Harris, Common, Terry Crews, John Corbett, and more.

The score for the movie was composed by Graeme Revell and it was pretty good. It was serious and gritty, fitting the urban style of the movie. Really, there isn’t a lot to say about it. It’s not very original, and it’s not very memorable. It’s just some okay music that worked pretty well for the movie.

This movie was directed by Daivd Ayer and I think he did a pretty good job. While the movie isn’t visually unique, it does actually look good. His direction has (in lack of a better word) grit to it, really capturing the dangerous and unpredictable feel of this world. And the action scenes in this movie are good. They’re badass, brutal, and pretty exciting. Definitely the highlight(s) of the movie.

This movie hasn’t been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 36% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 55/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,8/10.

Despite the great idea it presents, “Street Kings” is quite shallow and becomes just… fine. It has an okay plot, meh characters, great performances, okay music, and really good directing. As previously mentioned, my flaws with it comes from the plot not being great and the characters being unlikable. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Street Kings” is a 6,98/10. So while flawed, it’s worth renting.

My review of “Street Kings” is now completed.

Who’s coming with me to reboot this as a show?

Movie Review: Out of the Furnace (2013)

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Don’t you just love it when a movie gets very mixed reviews and it makes you think “What will I think of it”? That have happened to me a good amount of times. Sure, it has decreased recently…but this movie has been nibbling my mind for a few months now. This movie has gotten both good and bad reviews all over the fucking place. But what did I think of it?

Men and women…”Out of the Furnace”!

Russell Baze (Christian Bale) does not have it easy. First he was in a traffic accident where he accidentally killed a child, sat in jail, his girlfriend Lena (Zoe Zaldana) left him and his younger brother Rodney (Casey Affleck) got involved in illegal bare knuckled fighting. The reason Rodney fights is to make money to pay back a debt to John Petty (Willem Dafoe). Also his father is sick and dying (actually he dies when Russell is in prison). So the only family he got when he gets out is his brother and his uncle Gerald “Red” Baze (Sam Shepard). Russell also works at a steel mill. When he finds out his little brother Rodney is taking part in these fights, he of course wants him out…and Rodney starts yelling and swearing at him. A little while later Rodney wants to start getting involved in even more illegal and dangerous fights that are supervised by the fucking psychopath Harlan DeGroat (Woody Harrelson). When Rodney then goes missing, Russell starts taking the investigation into his own hands. That was difficult since that is the main plot without spoilers…and writing it out without spoilers is more difficult than it seems (at least with this movie). The story in it’s basic state, is simple. But the way this movie is directed makes everything a whole lot more interesting, especially since it has a kind of slow start. But the story is good…but gets boring every now and then, which is not the best for your movie Mr. Scott Cooper. Otherwise, good story.

The characters are so flawed, you have no fucking idea how flawed they are. But it’s what makes them so great to watch. A lot of the characters I want to punch in the face at one point or the other. And the fact that a fictional character can get under your skin that much is just a proof of how great acting we got here. All characters here are incredibly well acted. For example: With Christian Bale’s character Russell you don’t see Batman or Patrick Bateman…you see this steel mill worker. Casey Affleck also gives the best performance I’ve ever seen from him (take into account that I have not seen “Gone, Baby, Gone”). But the best in this movie goes to Woody Harrelson as Harlan DeGroat…what a disgusting piece of shit he is. And that Harrelson can make me feel that way about a character he plays is just incredible. I mean, he just makes this drug addict pyschopath so believable and just the highlight of this movie…he really stole the show. I also have to give some credit to the fantastic chemistry between the Baze brothers (Bale and Affleck). They make it so believable that I just love it. It also feels great seeing Christian Bale relaxed and happy in a role as you see in a few of the scenes.

The music is one of the best parts of this movie. It relies heavily on the guitar…but not too much. The soundtrack is what gives this movie its edge and great feel of subtlety. It works out great to give the feeling it wants to give you. The soundtrack by Dickon Hinchliffe is just fucking excellent. I love it.

Fun fact: for the role, Christian Bale actually learned how to operate a furnace, so the work he does at the steel mill in this movie is legit and believable. Here is a thing, the imdb synopsis says “When Rodney Baze mysteriously disappears and law enforcement doesn’t follow through fast enough, his older brother, Russell, takes matters into his own hands to find justice.” But that don’t happen until a good 50 minutes into the movie. Just warning you. I can also mention that this movie looks beautiful. And, oh yeah! The final shot in this movie just seems weird and I don’t know why it’s there. Not saying what it is…you’ll know what I’m talking about when you see it. And one more thing (sorry). This movie is violent, so don’t watch it if you’re squeamish.

Like I previously mentioned, reception for this movie was very mixed. Rotten Tomatoes gave this movie a 52% rating which is not the best sign. Metacritic however gave it a 63/100 which I find odd since they usually have lower scores than Rotten Tomatoes and everything else. While I couldn’t find any Roger Ebert thing about this (Mainly by the fact that he had passed away before this came out), I still found a good quote for this movie.

“While it may not make the most of its incredible cast, Out of the Furnace is still so packed with talent that it’s hard to turn away.”

It got an imdb ranking of 6,9/10.

Based on what I have said from my perspective of this movie you’re probably sitting there thinking “Markus, it really sounds like you really like this movie! You’ll probably give it a high score!”. Ehhh, I really want to…but I can’t. This movie had so much going for it, it really did. But it just falls short based on how boring it is at times and of how much more complex they have to make this simple story! This movie gets a 7,52/10 (that is fairly low in my book). What carries this movie mostly are its strong performances and amazing soundtrack. So I suggest you rent it, this movie is not a buy.

I have pulled this review Out of the Furnace (sorry for the pun).

See ya.