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Best Horror Game Since Resident Evil 4
The Silent Hill franchise has gathered a cult following over the last decade from the series take on psychological and survival horror games, the newer instalments have been meet with oh hum reviews. Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is the first instalment of the Silent Hill franchise on a Nintendo console and a re-imagining of the first game in the series. This being my only gaming experience with the franchise (I have seen the movie, one of my favourite video game based movies), Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is the best horror game I've played since Resident Evil 4. During the game there's 2 different perspectives: the first is a psychological therapy session with a pretty blunt psychologist which has you fill out a few.. tests. The other part of the game has you in control of Harry Mason who wakes up from a car crash and is searching for his daughter during a cold winter's night in Silent Hill. Harry's mission takes him all over the town while the tests from the therapy session alter the town in slight ways. The therapy sessions are short, so you spend most of your time as Harry. Shattered Memories plays a lot like an adventure game (such as Hotel Dusk or Myst), you go around the town and search for keys when you hit a locked door. Thankfully the keys are never far to find, no expansive backtracking like in Metroid games. During times in the game the world shifts from normal to a frozen nightmare with creatures that look like meat skeletons that will chase you down. Harry's only option is to run and this creates some of the most intense chases I've played in recent times. Climax Studios, developer of the game, clearly made this game for the Wii. While a PS2 and PSP version are available the Wii version seems to be tailored made for the flash light controls. Controls in general are extremely well done. Climax clearly learnt a lot from their previous Wii title Overlord: Dark Legend and Silent Hill: Shattered Memories controls better, looks better and sounds better. That being said, the game has a few faults to it. The game is very liner, only one way to go. During the chase sequences you will end up running in circles a couple of times because it's too dangerous to stop, whip out your in game phone and check the map to see the next goal. Minor really, but the game does an amazing job at crafting a wonderful and creepy experience and will have you excited all the way to the end credits when your psychological evaluation is given..
Epic Mickey (2010)
Warren Spector's First Platformer.. Experience Needed..
Epic Mickey takes one of the world's most beloved mascots and places him in a strange decayed and ruined world he help destroy and create. Mickey travels around a magical kingdom of forgotten and lost characters and hopes to right his wrongs and escape the ruined world. With the magical paint brush Mickey is able to create and destroy with paint and thinner. All of that sounds wonderful on paper.. but the final product is far from wonderful. The game is directed by Warren Spector, the man behind Deus Ex, and a few Ultima games. While I have yet to experience them I don't know much about his previous works, but it one can see that this is his first platformer he's worked on. While the world of the Wasteland is quite interesting with places like Mickeyjunk Mountain standing out, you feel that the team didn't know how to approach the platforming sections of the game. There's 2D and 3D sections to the game. The short 2D sections prove to be tedious, repeative and uninspired platforming while the 3D sections get screwed by a horrible camera which fails to follow you properly and won't shift. I fell plenty of times because of the faulty camera. The music feels full and orchestral but there's no stand out tracks ,besides the warped 2D section music. The game promises a moral choice system, you can be evil and erase the baddies and not help people or help people and convert the baddies to goodies. Overall.. it doesn't matter the main ending is still the same. I was kind of expecting Mickey to merge with the big bad of the game and become the evil menace to the Wastleland and rule it with an iron fist., or something a bit darker then the same happy ending that happens. Overall, Epic Mickey is an interesting adventure full of neat little tidbits from Disney's past. But .. it is held back by a poor camera and poor level design
Red Steel 2 (2010)
Wild West Samuari Ninja Cyberpunk
Red Steel 2, a game which is a sequel only in name to one of the first Wii shooters which got 'meh' reviews. I only briefly played the multiplayer of the first one, so it doesn't really count. Red Steel 2 is a game that feels like it benefited from a longer development cycle. The game has style. No doubts about that. It takes some wild west, mixes it with ninjas, samurai and Japanese lore and throws some steam and cyberpunk in. Story is pretty basic, but there's no complaints about it. You're the last of your kind, learn the secrets of your clanand go for revenge!
The story severs as a backbone to take you to different locations, which sadly don't quite leave the Wild West/Japanese style. There's no radical winter level or evergreen forest level. Game play wise Red Steel 2 is the best sword fighter game on the market. The game also has a wonderful shooting aspect to it and the sword and gun play flow seamlessly together. The game feels like it was heavily inspired by Metroid Prime, especially the last chapter 3: Corruption with it's shooting and some puzzles. While Prime 3 had a lot more variety of puzzles Red Steel 2 does a good job of taking hints on how to make FPS or FPA work on the Nintendo Wii. Red Steel 2 also takes the loading doors from the Prime series as well, but whatever, it works. The game does have a few weak points, some of the missions feel very similar in style. It's usually Get To Point A, but you have to go to Point B and unlock/cut/something to there first. While on the way be on the look out for safes to crack, wanted posters to destroy and random encounters. The game also has several hidden tokens to find and shoot, but doesn't tell you how many there are. There's also no New Game + option where you could start again with all your upgrades, thus making money hunting in the last level completely useless because there's no shops at all. The game also gives you a list of all the moves you've learnt.. but doesn't tell you how to pull them off or gives you a place to practice them. The dojo would have been perfect for this. Overall with an additional 3 weeks (or less!) of development to put those last couple of complaints could have made this game a solid A, but as it is, it's still a solid B, lots of fun, great use of the motion controls and style.
Dragon Quest in the future! Without Spikey Hair
Imagine a game developed by the makers of the Dragon Quest series.. set in outer space and the lead characters don't have spiky hair. Welcome to Opoona, a Japanese RPG for the Nintendo Wii. Opoona, much like many JPG starts out with Opoona (the main character , the chubby bald headed kid with the orange ball on top of his head) sleeping in. He wakes up, his ship gets attacked and gets separated from his family and has to find them on the alien planet known as Landroll. Landroll, according to lore was hit by a meteorite awhile back and now the planet is split in half, a inhabitable side and a dark side. The game takes a few cues from the Metroid Prime franchise with this plot device, but never gets very far with it. Sadly with no voice acting and only ONE CGI cut scene the story is made out through dialogue boxes, long boring ones if that. And it's sad to say that Opoona did not get the best translation job out there. Things may have been taken too literal and sometimes leaves players wondering where to go and what to do? But then again the first dome (city) Tokione is such a mess of a design that it's easy to get frustrated trying to find a certain shop or even the exits! Whoever designed that city needs to be kicked in the balls, repeatedly. Thankfully the city designs are much more functional once you get to the next domes. While getting frustrated with the city lay out and how the 'life style' part of this 'life style RPG' game works made me wonder about it even further. The game allows you to get jobs and make friends. In fact if you want to get outside of the first city you have to find a teacher to allow you to get a lice sense to be a Ranger, go the Admin office, get a license, then exit the building. If you want to upgrade your hover board transportation you get, you have to work fast food and get a mining license, then you can go face the second boss. At times I think the game is commenting on the bureaucracy of other games with job systems or society itself. But much like other JPGs and their ham fisted environmental message it comes off as annoying and leaves the player frustrated, especially when you have to do multiple 'side quests' just so you can reach the final boss's lair. But let's talk about some more positive aspects of the game. The graphics and look of the game fit very well. Some of the domes look beautiful and have a real theme to them. Sometimes I wonder if the art team got their way on everything. The game heavily features variety of art work on display from paintings to sculptures to new age installation pieces. The character designs of the main characters work well, the cell shaded visuals of the characters make them look more childish and innocent. Some of the other characters are so oddly designed you wonder what kind of sick plastic surgeon the world of Landroll has, some women have beaks! Later in the game you come across some giants in an ancient forest, you'd swear they were created by a guy who just got his 3D modelling program the week before. Once you get out of the domes you can see some wonderful photo like sky boxes, which kind of clash with the cell shaded main characters. The music of the game offers some short tunes, no 5 minute epics here. Most are over and done and repeating within a minute and a half, which isn't bad for some songs like the third battle theme or the final baddie lair music. But some of the cities have quite annoying songs to them (Bravo Company!). The box of the game says it's one handed controls, only using the Nunchuck controller to do everything. I tried that, then picked up the Wii-Mote after 10 minutes and didn't put the Wii-Mote. It also supports the Classic Controller, didn't play with that. The controls work well. 'A' To action things, 'B' to cancel things, etc, etc. In battle it's push the analog stick back, forward or sideways to direct your balls in battle and attack. Sure there's magical abilities which speak of angles and such (but never given any insight into how these abilities come to be, could be called Healing Spell 1, 2, 3 really.) As you progress through the game you'll find more and more attachments to your ball and gives your characters a bit more flare. In the end you control 4 people over all. Only 3 at a time. The 4th is only momentarily during a part during the story. The three, Opoona, Copoona and Poleena have slightly different abilities. Copoona is more of a magic user, Opoona is the muscle and Poleena is the middle ground. But there isn't much difference between the three.
If you can make it to the second dome (Life Born) then you're going to be in for an RPG that will last 25- 40 hours, depending on your play style. The game has an odd quirky and cute charm that people have compared to the Super Nintendo cult classic Earthbound. I haven't played Earthbound yet, but Opoona has cult classic written all over it. Pick it up, give it a shot. It's most likely in a discount bin somewhere wanting you to play with its balls.
Super Paper Mario (2007)
From Flopside to Flipside
The Paper Mario series by Intelligent Systems is a series of games dating back to the N64, Intelligent Systems took the reins of the Mario RPG series after Square made Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, the games have always had colorful characters, interesting locations and worlds and witty writing. Super Paper Mario takes away the turn base format from previous titles for more of a plate former feel and action while still keeping the health and moves. While the new take on the series does feel fresh, the way the abilities and character switching completely wrenches the experience. To have to change from one character who can bomb to one that can hammer just gets annoying after a short time. At times it felt that the game was rushed, and rushed bad. The entire use of the mirror town of Flopside is completely under used and felt like a last second addition. In fact, this game lacks a lot of polish the previous games of the series had. Sure the other ones had a few slow chapters, but this one really gets to you. If you can trudge along then you'll enjoy it, if not then you'll be annoyed out of playing this game.
First person shooter role playing game.. for the win?
Dragon Quest Swords is a combination of RPG and First Person Light Gun Shooter. As bizarre as that sounds it actually works to some degree. The RPG aspect is pretty simple. You buy your weapons and armor, you level up by beating monsters, buy potions, etc. The light gun shooter aspect of the game is you select where you aim your sword and slash away at the evil dudes. Sadly putting the two together means they both must suffer. The RPG aspect feels extremely light and the story feels clichéd, there's only a handful of levels to go to and there's no real power ups you expect from a light gun shooter. But the game does manage to make do with what it has and if you can get pass the awkward control scheme at the beginning (D pad to move in a 3D space?!) then you should be fine. If you want a light RPG that will keep you moving, try this one. It should be in the bargain bins everywhere by now..
Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World is very much a fan service game. It was made with fans of the GameCube/Playstation 2 game in mind. The game only gives you two new playable characters and a handful of new characters in the world while you revisit old locations with new paint jobs. Most of the music is carried over as well. That being said, the game does a good job at creating a new conflict that drags everyone into it. The Norse background greatly influences the game's story. The game has a very slow start as you play as Emil, a whiney annoying child who suddenly grows a pair while he's in battle and in his "Ratatosk Mode", you almost wish that this mode continues for the rest of the game. But if you played the original and can suffer a bit of annoying voice acting then you'll be able to enjoy the game.
Saibâ shiti Oedo 808 (1990)
A Good Start, could go on forever... but..
The series is about 3 cons who are working as cops to stop criminals in cases normal cops don't usually take to lower their prison sentence. The main character is in for 370 years.
All 3 episodes in the movie have a strong sci-fi and almost X-Files feel to them. The X-Files piece pushed to an extreme. A little bit of detective work, connecting the dots and action.
The series if full of some pretty colorful characters, but it lacked a main focus. It follows the 3 former cons as they hunt down baddies... but there's no main baddie. No big boss or organization. Maybe one would have come into focus in the later episodes if they made more, but no big baddie.
So it was short, sweet and worth the $4.99 in the discount bin.
Turok 3: Shadow of Oblivion (2000)
The Groundwork for One of the Greatest Games of All Time
Turok 3: Shadows of Oblivion is my favorite of all the Turok games (thus far). The third one continues to build up from the previous two.
The first one, Turok Dinosaur Hunter, had very little story, very blocky models, tons of fog, horrid controls, but good ideas.
Turok 2: Seeds of Evil fixed the control problems (better jumping), gave a story with some simple cut scenes, had great graphics and sound, added multiplayer and more. Really suffered because it came out the same time as The Legend of Zelda: Orcania of Time.
Turok Rage Wars brought a new flavor to the table and was a fun game.
But 3 is where it all came together. Now we get a full story with dramatic cut scenes and twists, we get less fog, but a bit of a step back from 2, we get a different story and gameplay experience depending on who we choose and we get more multiplayer. The sound is very moody much like the other Turok games and sound effects (done by a vegetarian, no meats used) sound gooey and I still get chills hear the raptor's calls. And this game has voices in the cutscenes!
Admittedly, the Raptors in 2 are sooooooo much cooler then 3's, but 3's more linear level design is much more convenient then 1 or 2's. In 3 you get a clear idea where you're going and why instead of jumping into random portals. The flow of Turok 3 is easily comparable to Metroid Prime for the GameCube, where some of the team who worked on Turok 3 went after Acclaim went belly up. Who knows, maybe Turok 4 could have been Metroid Prime.
Gameplay: 8/10 - An improvement over 2. Graphics 8/10 - Nice and moody looking environments, little blocky. Sound: 9/10 - Chilling and moody. Controls: 8/10 - No action button because everything is done for you! Multiplayer: 7/10 - Not really a party game, but still fun. Raptors only monkey tag battles are fun! Replay: 8/10 - 2 story lines and multiplayer will have you coming back.
Overall: 8.5/10 - Rounded up 9/10.
If you liked this game then you'll love Metroid Prime.
Sunset Blvd. (1950)
Stereotypes, famous lines and HollyWeird!
Sunset Boulevard (1950) Hollywood is the land of dreams, fame, money, and broken hearts. "Sunset Boulevard" is an almost behind the scenes look at the industry and the type of people in it. Sunset Boulevard is a real road that runs through Los Angeles and Beverly Hills and features real Hollywood landmarks like the movie Mulholland Drive.
"Sunset Boulevard" opens with a murder scene, murder is always a hot subject in Hollywood, especially if it was someone famous or in the industry, such as Elizabeth Short, an inspiring actress became California's most infamous murder victim in 1947 because of the mystery behind her death and that she was actress and actor River's Phoenix who died from a drug overdose on the actual Sunset Boulevard, outside of the Viper Room. The movie also features a starving struggling writer and his experience with his rotten agent and the movie producer who wants to change his script. There's also the loyal butler, the fresh newbies to the scene writer and the party guy film crew worker. All of these stereotypes work very well to help create the world of Hollywood. They were made so stereotypical to the point of parody to show how crazy it can be to live in Hollywood, or as some people call it, HollyWeird! The bizarreness doesn't stop there, pet monkeys, Directors marring the stars, becoming their butlers, and super ego complexes.
At the center of the film is Norman Desmond, as played by Gloria Swanson. Gloria Swanson wasn't by far the first person considered for the film, she wasn't even the sixth. But Gloria Swanson delivers one of the most memorable roles of all time with some of the most famous lines of movie history. Norman Desmond is a former silent movie star the world has seemed to forgotten, living in a huge run down mansion with a faithful butler. With a larger then life ego and in deep denial of her stardom, Norma is a diva that demands a lot of attention and often acts like the world revolves around her. Norma is writing a script when Joe first meets her and after reading it and hearing that it was written from the heart Joe says that it's the best kind of writing, but the script is heavily flawed. Norma longs to return to the limelight, she's had a taste of it and wants it back. She's also looking for someone to love and keep her company. When Joe arrives that fateful day Norma finds a gentleman who could help her with her script, but the relationship slowly grows and changes until Joe has become Norma's show boy. Joe doesn't really like being kept, but soon learns to live with it and enjoy the loveless relationship, well loveless to him. With Joe around Norma becomes more outgoing and ventures outside of her estate and sees more old friends. Much like Norma, Joe's taste of the limelight remains and he also gets caught up back in the industry and starts to enjoy writing once again.
Casting is extremely well done for "Sunset Boulevard", it casts a former silent movie star Gloria Swanson who fit the role perfectly, to getting cameo appearances from other silent movie era stars. The casting adds to the world of Hollywood and makes it feel real with a real director playing himself (Cecil B. DeMille) and a director(Erich von Stroheim) playing the butler.
"Sunset Boulevard" contains everything Hollywood has: romance, power, money, deceit, actors, actresses, new comers, writers, directors, murder, a come back attempt, a studio and scandal.
El Topo (1970)
Not the Feel Good Movie of the year...
El Topo (1970) Rough, hard and dirty, this might describe many things, but it perfectly describes "El Topo". Shot in the deserts of Mexico, "El Topo" is a hard film containing graphic violence, sex and weirdness that is still shocking to this day. The film opens with a naked boy burring his favorite toy and a picture of his mother and is told today he becomes a man, an almost prelude to the adult material to follow. Shortly after the opening scene a single dead horse is shown, the audience feels a little sad, but the shot after shows an entire town butchered and fresh blood everywhere. The audience knows this is not going to be a feel good movie.
"El Topo" is a movie that fits into several different genres at the same time, it looks and begins like a western, but quickly changes to a quest to rid the 4 gun masters in the desert is eerie similar to a kung fu movie, then the film takes another turn and turns into a drama and a bit lighter after The Mole falls in love with the midget woman. There are acts of comedy that reflect back to the early silent era.
Film genres isn't the only way "El Topo" reflects pop culture, the film also makes several references to religious symbols and stories and events from around the world. The most eye catching is the reference to Thích Quảng Đức, a Buddhist monk who burnt himself alive in an interestion in Vietnam in 1963, who also burnt up without saying anything or moving a muscle.
The masters in the desert all have symbols and they down grade throughout the journey, the first master had a tower and a huge oasis, the second master had a wagon and a river, the third master had a little cover and a water hole, the fourth had a pole, a blanket and a sheet. The weapons also downgraded as well, the first had two guns, the second had one that could shoot several bullets, the third had one gun that could only fire one gun before reloading, the fourth only had a butterfly net. The masters of the desert were all tricked into being killed, the first one fell and was shot, he used to live high in a tower, the second master was tricked when the Mole sprinkled glass on the ground and hurt the second master's mother. The third was tricked by using body armor ashtray. The fourth master killed himself and stopped the Mole from winning the battle. One other interesting piece of symbolism of the masters is the second and third master, the second master is wearing sheep and owns a lion and the third master has a rabbit farm. The rabbit, the lamb and the lion all play huge roles in Christianity.
The Mole is a strong symbol, he wears black and wherever he goes, death follows. When the Mole fights the third master all but three rabbits are dead because of the presence of the Mole. When the Mole is betrayed by his two women companions, for not paying enough attention to them, the women kill him. After being in a coma for years the Mole goes through a transformation change and shaves all of his hair and appears to look like a new born baby and takes on another task, to help the deformed people escape their hole. Unlike the his previous quest, his quest to free the deformed people is not for revenge but thanks for taking care of him. After working with one of the midget women, the Mole falls in love with her and soon she becomes pragent. After awhile the Mole, the dwarf woman and the Mole's first son finally finish the tunnel and release the other deformed people. When the deformed people are killed, the Mole reverts back to his original ways and kills the entire town.
With blood and violence, love and sexuality littered everywhere with a huge amount of historical and religious references, "El Topo" feels extremely rough, but at the same time can not be looked away from.
Blue Velvet (1986)
Named after a fabric that is extremely hard to clean
Blue Velvet (1986) David Lynch. People either love his work, or hate him. Lynch's movies often follow a strange narrative and often require at least two viewings to get the clear picture. "Blue Velvet" seems to differ away from the path. Named after a fabric that can be created from any fiber and is extremely hard to clean, "Blue Velvet" is just that. The movie begins in the small town of Lumberton, it begins peaceful and normal. But the story takes a small twist when Jeffery finds a severed ear in a field. The film takes on a classic 1950-1970's young detective feel to it. The young innocent guy and gal trying to figure out where the ear came from. The movie takes a deep and dark turn once Jeffery hides in the closet of Dorothy Vallens and sees the dark side of life. Jeffery wants to look away, but is drawn too the darker side. The film begins to take a Jekyll and Hyde feel with day and night. During the day the film reverts back to the teenage detective feel, and during night it shifts to a world of pleasure, pain and danger with Jeffery in smack in the middle of it. Jeffery has become tainted by his nightlife and tries to come clean and leave it to the cops and leaves Dorothy alone, but much like velvet, it's very hard to come clean. The night life follows Jeffery home. Many other characters begin to take on a two faced feel to them, Frank dons a disguise as a well dressed man, the yellow man works as a detective and a mob enforcer, or Dorothy, who is only shown during the night time as an abused woman who has lost her husband and child. Dorothy is only shown twice during the day, when Jeffery visit visits the apartment and everything seems fine, and during the end of the movie when she is in the park with her son.
On the surface "Blue Velvet" seems to be a straight foreword romantic thriller, but there are signs that it may all just be a dream like Mulholland Drive. Mulholland Drive begun with a zoom in to a pillow and the sound of someone fainting, in "Blue Velvet", the camera zooms into an ear. During Blue Velvet there's several shots of a flickering candle in the wind. These shots are shown throughout the movie, but are heavily shown in it's entirety when Jeffery is having a nightmare after his night out with Frank. The dream comes to an end at the end of the movie when the camera zooms out of the ear, and the final scene is with Jeffery and Sandy are happy in a bright world much like the opening scene of the movie. Where Mulholland Drive was a dream about guilt, regret and anger, Blue Velvet could very well be a cautionary dream about slipping deeper into the darkness of Jeffery's own mind and what he's afraid of becoming.
As a painter, David Lynch knows that all the components are needed to create a good movie. Lynch's knowledge as a painter and director comes through with well angled shots and great color placement. Lynch's obsession with sound is also utilized, the perfect songs are used and fits the mood perfectly, carefully going from bubblegum pop songs to dark and menacing themes. "Blue Velvet" is the first movie where David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti worked together, creating a professional relationship that has lasted 20 years. Fans of Lynch's work will find plenty of Lynch trademarks within "Blue Velvet": Highway at night (night ride with Frank), red curtains (in the diner, also a Lynch trademark), women in trouble (Dorothy), use of dreams (see above), extreme close ups (zoom into the ear), and head injury (severed ear).
On the surface many people will find "Blue Velvet" to be one of the easiest Lynch film to understand, it could be taken as a romantic thriller with a few weird twists, or it could very well be something deeper and darker.
La dolce vita (1960)
Opposites That Blend Together
Fellini. The very word strikes fear into the heart of some linear film goers. But to others he is a God of film, people demand respect for him and follow his leads. La Dolce Vita is a film where there's no real plot, but the many misadventures of a writer Marcello as he travels around Rome looking for the latest gossip, story and fun.
La Dolce Vita is a film full of strong opposites that blend themselves in together almost seamlessly. The infamous opening scene of two helicopters flying across Rome during the day, one of them carrying a giant statue of Jesus Christ, goes quickly from a pure and holy symbol to an older man, Marcello, hitting on some younger girls. The next scene opens up with a close up shot of a mask from the east and performance during night. The eastern religious event is seen as entertainment. Western religion up against Eastern religion. Day against night. West meets east happens later in the film when the Virgin Mary is seen in the tree by the two young children in the country side. The location which was once peaceful and run down quickly becomes a media circus and descends into absolute chaos showing off the greedy side of humanity. Perhaps it's social commentary about religion and how it feels like it is just a game or that people believe in whatever the seers see. This scene is followed by a more sober and calmer party after a funeral for a friend of Marcello. Here once again the east is shown with great appreciation.
La Dolce Vita also focuses on the work of paparazzi who Marcello usually works with. The rabid dog like want to get the picture for the paper and get paid the most. The photographers chase after the statue in the helicopter in the beginning, they go after Italian royalty, to film starlet to high class socialites to the children who see the Virgin Mary. The paparazzi seem to be around just when things are going bad: the Virgin Mary tree being ripped apart, Sylvia and her boyfriend fighting at the club and at the hotel and the Italian royal being caught with another woman. But they are never around when Sylvia takes care of a small kitten, or when Marcello gets closer to his father, or when Sylvia reaches the top of the Vatican tower. Nothing sells like bad news.
As Marcello is traveling around Rome he realizes that he is surrounded by people who are either happy: Sylvia is a carefree raising actress who enjoys a good time, his father as a man full of experience and is still having fun, his rich acquiescence has an easy going life, his mentor is married, has two kids and a loving wife and a good job. But on closer inspection: Sylvia has a jealous boyfriend who abuses her twice in the movie, his father lied to his mother and to Marcello about things he did, his rich socialite friend is bored with her life and his mentor kills his kids and himself. Marcello's own attempts at having a happy life by try having a few nights with his rich friend last just that, a night or so. He tries to woo Sylvia, but looses out. He tries to be a good boyfriend to his girlfriend but they don't work out. Marcello finds himself lost, looking for something he doesn't have and can't seem to hold on to for more then a few minutes, happiness.
La Dolce Vita may not make sense to many people when they first see it. They may see it as a long boring movie with no real start or end, but it's after the movie is done and discussion starts and the movie sets in and the viewer realizes what they just saw. Fellini has earned his respect.
Hell's Angels (1930)
A Real Epic Movie
Howard Hughes' epic World War I film which was a major breakthrough of it's time with the biggest budget of the time. Written out of the love of air planes and the beauty of flying, Hell's Angels provides some of the best flying battles, assortment of planes, amazing aerial shots and stunts. Hell's Angels delves deep into the aero library and features several kinds of airplanes from zeppelins to biplanes and single engine planes. Since the release in 1930, several ways of depicting aerial or space battles have been seen, there has been flying models (Star Wars: Episode 4: A New Hope) or CGI (King Kong). The battles in Hell's Angels are a sure showstopper as the audience is drawn into the real world look of planes flying and crashing. The film doesn't just have one or two planes fighting, but multiple planes flying around. The epic battle scenes were shown with such passion and earth-shattering explosions (literally) is something rarely seen preformed today.
Of course the beautiful flying sequences and stunts weren't the only astonishment to be seen in Hell's Angels. The movie also went through an early coloring process, it may have been primitive by today's standard, but during the early 1930's it was ground breaking. The use of the blue or purple dyed film showed an early form of day for night and helped distinguish the difference between day and night in the movie. The movie also tries to go for full color, but comes out a little short, but it would be at least seven years before color would be enter the movie scene. But color wasn't the only barrier that Hell's Angels broke down, it also made the leap from silent to talkie movie during production. It is said that there's 250 feet for every foot of footage in the film release.
Hell's Angels takes a look at the reaction of two brothers as World War I hits and how they were once in love with Germany. There's a metaphor for World War I when Baron Von Kranz finds Monte in bed with his wife and kills the romance of his life, in return the Baron battles Monte's older brother Roy. World War I started as a small assassination and ended up being a huge battle, in Hell's Angels, Monte falls for a girl who is already taken and then runs away when he's challenged to a duel and Roy takes the bullet and begins to create a rift between the two brothers. Until the point where Roy was shot it felt like the two brothers were in-separateable and do everything together, but as the film progresses the rift between the two grows larger and larger until the end of the film when both brothers realize that they are still brothers and love each other despite the things they had done.
The film shows a sexy, strong and backstabbing Helene, portrayed by the no underwear wearing, dyed bombshell Jean Harlow. A women who would go on to inspire a young girl just four years old when the film was released called Marilyn Monroe. Jean Harlow's performances as a seductress and two faced may have been an inspiration for the femme fetales of the film noir genre.
Closer look at the other characters and one feels like they are very stereotyped: The stiff German officers, the older, more mature brother, the boozing, and womanizing younger brother who doesn't have much responsibility. However, both the brothers have moments where they shine, for Roy, it's his decision to fool his brother and kill him before he spills the secrets. For Monte, it's his speech on how hard war is and how it can ruin people and how he feels like a pawn.
Howard Hughes had a real eye for getting the beautiful feel of flight captured on film and has captured some of the most breath taking footage that stands the test of the time while bringing a real epic feel to the movie and breaking rules and making the movie he wants.
Donnie Darko (2001)
Now and again a small movie....
Now and again a small movie comes along and dramatically shifts the views of the audience and intrigues the viewer and makes them think. What the Bleep: Down the Rabbit Hole, 1984, Animal Farm and Donnie Darko all entrance the viewer to think.
Donnie Darko's plot is a maze of emotion and ideas that won't make sense to people if they don't watch carefully. The movie begins much like Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, more commonly known as Alice in Wonderland. During the beginning of the film Donnie is very bored with his life and then he sees Frank, the white rabbit, much like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, Frank is also obsessed with time and tells Donnie when the world will end. Donnie Darko (DD) also focuses on mirrors, same with Alice in Wonderland's sequel Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, In DD, Jim Cunningham, the motivation speaker, tells people to take a good long look in the mirror, but one should realize what might rise when you look deep into the abyss and the abyss looks back at you. In Alice's second adventure she travels through a mirror into Wonderland, in DD, Donnie and Frank see each other through the mirror. At the end of the movie, Donnie wakes up in his bed where he first heard Frank, like Alice who woke up under the tree where she first saw the White Rabbit. The events of the movie could have been a dream, since a dream time line can be short or feel like days. In the movie, Donnie falls in love, does things that are inhumanly possible (put the axe through a pure bronze statue), exposed the true colours of several people and brought change to almost everyone else he knows. It could very well be a representation of his sexually frustrated mind, his anger at bullies, authoritative figures and his medication. Not to say that that the events of the movie could be a drug trip, much like the original Alice in Wonderland could have been.
The audio side of the movie is quiet dramatic and adds incredible depth to the movie. An example of this is whenever Frank is on screen there's an eerie electronic sounding buzz telling the viewer that there's something is not right. The audio also pushes the sound of certain objects in the movie, such as camera flashes and other machinacal noises. Even silence is used in a few scenes to create a distant feel. DD also features a selective and well fitting soundtrack of several 80's hits that fits perfectly within the scenes. Such an example is "Love Will Tear Us Apart" by Joy Division plays when Donnie and Gretchen make love. The song is about lead singer Ian Curtis' failing marriage, which was one of several reasons that drove Ian to kill himself. Donnie's love for Gretchen is torn apart when she is ran over by Frank. When Donnie appears to go back in time or wake up, it's wondered if it's better never to have loved, then lost.
Donnie's death at the end of the movie brings an end to the other world, may it be a dream world or alternative reality. Donnie's death is instantly felt by all the other main characters who have a moment of silence. The viewer wonders if the alterntive world impacted the other characters or if they came to the conclusion by themselves. Since the human mind is capable of such tremendous power and studies show that humans only use a small percent of brain capacity is it wondered if Donnie's thoughts of what happened in the other world was transmitted to the others. This concept of the human mind being able to alter ideas is not a new theory and is explored in 1984 and several other films.
Was Donnie's adventure real? Could such things happen, or was it just a drug induced dream about a giant rabbit, time travel and love? All the answers are in the movie and most people will have to watch carefully to discover for themselves.
Felt, not seen....
Hitchcock's romantic suspense thriller proves to be one of the most gripping and tangling movies of his career. Rebecca invites you in slowly, and slowly builds on itself. A happy go lucky beginning quickly turns into a movie that touches themes of suicide (Max on the cliff), second marriages, lesbianism (Mrs. Danves and her obsession with Rebecca), incestuous relationships (Rebecca and Jack), murder, and more.
Rebecca opens on a down note showing a beat up old mansion and reflecting on better times and then shows a man close to the edge of a cliff. The movie shifts to a happy-go-lucky romantic sugar movie. The well written script and the nervousness and light hearted acting done by Joan Fontiane. The movie quickly changes and soon begins to feel like a mystery or a ghost story with whispers of Rebecca and how no one talks about her and her presence being felt despite being dead for over a year. The camera movements, acting (especially from Mrs. Danvers) and lighting help achieve a suspenseful feel to the movie. The nervous out of place feel that the new Mrs. de Winter exhibits was done encouraged off screen by Hitchcock when Laurence Oliver (who plays Max de Winter) hated Joan Fontiane as the leading lady, this off screen chemistry added to the film. The movie keeps several things secret and keeps hinting ever so slightly at many things. At sometime I thought Rebecca was still alive, or that she was a ghost. The curious and light hearted attitude of the second Mrs. de Winter adds to building the suspense and helps keep the audience guessing and hoping the mystery will be reveled. When the secret of Rebecca's death is finally revealed the movie takes another shift to dramatic and a different suspenseful feel. This shift takes a toll on the new Mrs. de Winter and even characters in the movie spot this.
Another important element is the presence of Rebecca throughout the movie. Rebecca is never shown and you never hear her voice, yet she's everywhere in the movie. Her 'R' symbol is almost like an omen within the house.
The movie's core is the new Mrs. de Winter and her struggle to fit into her new life. She must learn how to live as a trophy wife, be a socialite, wife, wealthy, and live up to Rebecca, the first wife. Throughout the movie you hear whispers of how great Rebecca was and it takes it's toll on the new Mrs. de Winter, even to the point where she commands," I Am The New Mrs. de Winter."
The cinematography is extremely well done and brings scenes to life. The happy go lucky young romance of Max and the new Mrs. de Winter is set in Monty Carlo, a city famous for royalty, thrills, beautiful landscape and luxury. The next location is the massive mansion Manderly, which at first looks inviting, but quickly feels old and empty like a mausoleum. The beach also has a foreboding feeling to it. The loud crashing waves, the fog and a cabin full of Rebecca's possessions.
There was one thing that caught my eye is the acting by George Sanders(who plays Jack). A real distracting habit shown in the film is that George was blinking 5 times per second. Also, sadly the using an alias at a doctor's office could no longer work due to the paper work one must go through at a doctor's office.
Hitchcock delivered one of his greatest movies with a strong cast, performance, atmosphere, mood and gripping story that will have people guessing..
La nuit américaine (1973)
Murphy's Law and film making
La Nuit Américaine (1973)
Also known as Day for Night in English speaking parts of the world, Day for Night is a crazy story about a film crew where on the set of Meet Pamela anything that can go wrong, does.
The title, La Nuit Américaine actually translates as The Night American, which sounds really stand to English speakers. One such reason behind it is that a person can not tell an American man from a French man or British man in the dark of night or perhaps a derogatory term for an African American. The true translation of Day For Night would be Nuit Pour Jour.
The movie starts off to look like a real movie, but then the movie is slapped, latterly, into what it really is. A movie about the behind the scenes making of another movie. Much like it's name sake, Day For Night appears to be shot like a documentary behind the scenes movie, The camera feels a little shaky at times and the lighting feels like normal world and there's a couple of camcorder shots. This effect is used to mask the but is used to capture the well crafted intertwining drama of the set
In Day for Night, the plot follows the cast and crew as they try to film 'Meet Pamela' and Murphy's Law, which states that 'Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong' happens. The crew and cast have usual problems involving script, casting, animals, lighting, props, budget and other minor problems. But as the movie progresses, bigger problems arise and problems such as a pregnancy, cheating with cast mates, and even death. This causes a lot of stress on cast and crew and brings out some very interesting relations. Betrayals, people sleeping with each other and hatred runs wild throughout the film. The director at the helm of the project seems to handle everything calm on the surface, but at night is plagued by a repetitive dream that advances slowly showing a young boy walking with a cane. By the end of the movie the full dream is exposed and shows the young boy getting away with prints of Citizen Kane. Perhaps showing when he began he was afraid of such a big task, but by the end, he got away happy with what he got. With all the problems happening on set there's a sort of light sided look at them and with clever dialog, the experience of watching people work on a movie set becomes extremely enjoying.
Dracula, the film that started it all
Dracula (1931) Dracula, the film that started it all. Dracula is the first film to feature the dark lord of the undead and the character has been in over 700 films since, only being toppled by Sherlock Holmes. The film is based on the play version of the book by Bram Stoker. The book was inspired by Slain Castle, Whitby (where the count lives while in England), and Cruden Bay in Scotland and the history of Tepes Valad, a warlord. While in Cruden Bay, Bram's friends and relatives were afraid of him while he planned out the book. He would sit in front of the typewriter for hours on end. Despite rumors, Bram Stoker had never been to Transylvania. Dracula, the book, did not take off until after the author's death, but quickly became a must read after the movie. Due to the Depression the movie had a limited budget and is a lot different then the epic book, Bram Stoker's Dracula(1992) is the closest to the book movie to date.
The strength of Dracula is the main character played by Bella Lugosi. His haunting portrayal of the title character is legendary. Bella didn't know much English and had to pronounce each syllable separately. Due to his poor English skills, he did not mingle with the rest of the crew, rumors also have it that he wanted to stay in character, but the cast and crew were impressed by him. As one of his few demands, Bella also did his own make up for his role. Bella's portrayal of Dracula was so good that it caused him to be type-casted for the rest of his career. Bella was even buried wearing one of the capes he wore in the in a stage version. Bauhaus, legendary goth rockers' first single was a song called "Bella Lugosi's Dead", it made references to Dracula and if Bella really was a vampire. Bella's performance went on to scare people to the point of fainting in the movie theater and providing hunting's on TV starting in 1957 and been giving kids nightmares ever since. Rumour also has it that the infamous Hannibal Lector's slurping sound in Silence of the Lambs was inspired by when Dracula sees Renfield's blood.
Unlike vampire movies to come, Dracula in this film did not have fangs, Dracula is killed off stand and there were armadillos in Dracula's castle. Armadillos are not native to Europe or England. However, because Dracula was the first film with the title character, it became the staple of Dracula films including: Starting in Transylvania with Renfield as the real estate agent instead of Jonathan Harker, cutting several characters, including an American who's knife eventually kills the count, Dracula being staked in England and several things are changed from the book. In Stoker's book vampires don't sleep in coffins, vampires don't cast shadows either and the no reflection in a mirror was invented by Stoker.
The movie's special effects may appear to be cheesy by today's standards. But the fake flapping bat, the piecing gaze of Dracula, the walk through the spider web and Dracula coming out of his coffin has frightened people to nightmares. The overwhelming performance of then unknown actor Bella Lugosi sealed the movie as one of the scariest and influential roles in movie history.
City Lights (1931)
One of the best of all time
City Lights (1931)
Considered to be one of the best movies of all time, Charlie Chaplin's City Lights stands the test of time and proves to be as entertaining today as it was in 1931. Charlie Chaplin's comedic style comes through and is perfectly crafted. The amount of time spent on creating the tramp must have taken a long time. The character has his own unique walk and walks are often the first thing actors do to get the character right. The comedic style Chaplin portrays is universally funny and doesn't rely on pop culture references or current events to make fun of. Everyone can laugh at falling into a lake, or silly dancing, or running away from an imposing boxer. City Lights was shot in the beginning of "talkies" era, but remains a silent movie with a soundtrack. The reason behind this is Chaplin's comedic pantomime style wouldn't translate as well with people talking.
Chaplin's actions, gestures and facial expressions are perfect at telling the story of his character in the film. The elaborate scenes that are shot without a cut must have called for very careful choreography, timing and a lot of practice. An example of this would be the boxing scene where the tramp dances around the referee and the other boxer while sneaking in a punch here and there.
The other actors and actresses in City Lights do a very good job at portraying their characters with very little dialog. The blind girl's appearance is exaggerated by her eyes and how they're empathized with dark eye shadow to show that she's blind. After she gets the surgery her dark eye shadow is gone. The film's 3 main characters each have a basic want, the blind girl wants to see, the tramp wants love, the rich guy wants excess and to have a good time. Each has a distinct attitude. The Blind girl is a sweet kind heart, the tramp is a good-hearted fun loving guy in love, the millionaire is a two face who seems harsh and angry when he's sober, but jolly and fun when he's drunk. These three characters and types are very stereotypical and have been used before and after the movie, but in this film the blind girl and tramp's feel like real people with real problems and feelings.
The film covers several themes, including love and being in love, commitment, hope, friendship, want for something more, and humor in everyday situations. The lines between the themes are easily crossed and gently blend into each other perfectly.
The end of the film is the real show stopper when the blind girl finally gets to see the tramp, the man who helped her in so many ways. This ending is thought, by some, to be one of the greatest endings of all time and after watching it you're left wondering what happened? Several scenarios run through your head and the true ending is decided by you, the viewer. Perhaps she helps the tramp as he helped her? Maybe she's wrong and thinks the rich guy who was in the store earlier is the true rich guy who helped her? The sets and design have an older feel to it, not only because it's shot in black and white, but the architecture feels European and has a feel like it could happen anywhere in Europe. In fact, the movie was shot in San Francisco and doesn't use any of the landmarks, but chooses against them so the story can feel like it can happen anywhere. With universal humor, themes and a simple, but beautiful story, City Lights remains a classic.
Nora inu (1949)
Theft, murder, lies and money
Stray Dog (1949)
Theft, murder, lies and money. The pursuit of a single gun creates a compelling story that is pushed further by human behavior and weather.
The plot has Murakami searching for a gun he lost in the city of Tokyo. The shooting locations look very everyday, but never on the Tokyo skyline. The back alley, the restaurant, the hair salon, the train station, they all have a familiar feel to them. These locations aren't just there, there are several things happening there as well. There's people shopping downtown, there's people getting their hair cut, there's people at the baseball game, all of these people everywhere give the impression that the city is indeed full of people and adds to the mood and atmosphere of the movie. It is very evident that everyone who has a line in the movie has a story: the hotel worker is suffering because of the heat, the police units are tackling several other cases, and several other characters give hints about their own lives and how they are dealing with problems, which all brings life into the film. The atmosphere of a busy market place where Murakami goes undercover to look for his missing gun adds to the frustration of the scene. A sea of thousands of faces blur together and drags along. On first glance the scene feels too long and the audience gets the point after a minute, but by doing this the focus turns from the plot to the character of Murakami as the viewer sees how badly he wants his gun back.
The gun becomes a MacGuffin plot device, the drive for Murakami is to get his gun back before it can harm anyone else. When he finally does confront the killer and forces the gun away, it is no longer mentioned.
The overwhelming heat in the movie takes it's toll on the two detectives and other characters. Exhaustion begins to take over as the characters loose sleep, get frustrated and are overloaded with work. Sato sees that his young partner is going through the stages of exhaustion and tries to get Murakami on the right track and brings up the film's key symbolism, a rabid stray dog (even though rabies are extremely rare in Japan). The exhaustion factor makes Murakami grumpy, quick to anger and narrow visioned. At times he can only focus on getting his stolen gun back at any cost, getting person X and not noticing his surroundings, and blindly heading after people. Sota is often the voice of reason, but the heat gets to him too.
One thing that black and white films can't do as well as color is show the temperature effects. For an example, in Stray Dog, the effect of heat is barely felt since it's hard to ditinquish heat waves and the color differentaces in skin tones that show how moist skin is and how sun burnt it is.
The heat isn't the only weather device used in the movie, the big rainfall brings change in the movie. Harumi Namiki, who is the murder's girlfriend changes her mind after the rain fall and decides to help the detectives. The rain also signifies sadness and brings a dramatic effect to Sato being shot. After the rain comes a warm summer day where the murder is caught while birds are chripping, flowers are growing and things feel more lively then when the heat wave was in effect.
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
The Definitive Film Noir
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
The 1941 gem, the The Maltese Falcon is considered to be the first if not the definitive Film Noir film. The use of strong lighting, camera angles, deep twisting story and great performances. The Maltese Falcon starts off pretty slowly, starts as the standard detective story of follow this woman, then a murder, the main character is accused of the murder and must clear his name. The plot thickens quickly with whispers of a statue, a legendary statue. The plot undertow is quickly exposed as the main drive for all of the characters, including Sam Spade is greed. All five main characters are seeking this strange statue, bribing, betraying and even killing for it. Sam and Bridge betraying the love they have for each other. Kasper betraying and selling out the man who he treats as a son, his young assistant, perhaps sexual partner, Wilmer. The greed hits a fevered pitch when the statue is finally shown and all the characters get an evil look in their face thanks to an up shot. This kind of greed is also the fuel for other movies where vast riches are at stake, such as Rat Race(2001) or Resident Evil 2(video game,1998). The greed is also the reason behind the famous last line, "The, uh, stuff that dreams are made of." Since dreams often drive people. The greediest character is of course Kasper Gutman, who's shown as a large man. Often the camera is lowered to make Kasper appear bigger then he actually is, interestingly enough, Sydney Greenstreet, who played Kasper Gutman, was the largest actor the studio had at that point. There are two hints of the sexuality of Wilmer in the Maltese Falcon, in one line, Sam Spade calls Wilmer a "gunsel", which is slang for a young man kept by an older man for favors, also, Cairo tries to comfort Wilmer by rubbing his shoulders when Wilmer is set up to be the fall guy. The Maltese Falcon is considered to be the first film noir, but many people disagree. Many point to M as the first film noir, except it's missing a femme fetale. Others consider Strangers on the Third Floor to be the first true film noir. But most consider the Maltese Falcon to be a definitive film noir. The falcon's influence can be felt in several other film noirs, and can even be felt in recent movies such as Sin City, the archetype of James Bond can be traced to Humphrey Bogart's portrayal of Sam Spade. The film has been spoofed in several different ways but mainly in the from of the characterization of Cairo. Peter Lorre's appearance and mannerisms from Bugs Bunny cartoons to the Simpson's to the cartoon version of Megaman. The Maltese Falcon continues to intrigue movie watches because it's film noir qualities of murder, a femme fetale , double crossing, greed , style, and crime to name a few. The driven performance of Humphrey Bogart and memorable performance of Peter Lorre, while the plot draws the viewer in and wonders who really has the prized statue and what will people do for it.
Distrust, Paranoia, Terror, Murder
M is not a cheerful movie like City Lights, which also came out in the same year. M is the dark, deep and edgy crime drama. M focuses on a German city of thousands, the movie begins and feels much like a after school special, but quickly turns dark as the first victim in the movie is taken. The movie then focuses on the dark and undertone of society and human behavior. Inspired by the sheer panic of Jack the Ripper in London 50 years before, the German city goes through a nightmarish time where no one trusts anyone else. The atmosphere of the movie is shown and one can almost hear the whispers of the town folk as the movie draws you in and you wonder who is the murderer. The mass hysteria also over turns the townsfolk better judgment to fear and it's three components: -Distrust no one in the town trusts anyone. The simple act of telling a child the time is misread by several people -Paranoia the edginess of the town is felt, people are constantly looking over their shoulders and urban legend of the killer runs rampant. -Terror A man who gave the time of day to a child is pointed at and a flash mob appears, nearly tearing the man apart. The murderer also adds to the chaos by being a normal person, police and later the organized crime also realize this. This means that the murder could be a normal man or woman walking among them, paying their taxes, buying their bread, or reading the newspaper, just like Jack the Ripper, to this day Jack the Ripper is still unknown.
The killer, Hans, is represented as a normal looking guy, but as the movie progresses and shows more of him as he walks the street, we see an overwhelming force begin to take over him. Hans resists as much as he can, he tries to drown away the feelings and tries several different ways. But soon his murderous side takes over and his once jittering and nervous self is replaced by a calm and cool gentleman who treats kids kindly until the end. The calm Hans is broken out of his killer trance when he realizes that he's been marked and is being hunted. He reverts to his jittery and nervous self and tries to hide. When finally caught and placed before a jury of his peers and local townsfolk, Hans tells them what it feels like to be haunted by the feeling to kill, the overwhelming urge to kill. Hans tells them how he deeply regrets killing his victims and how he's consistently haunted by the faces of the victims and the family. Hans displays thought patterns associated to a disorganized serial killer. He kills on impulse, not having a plan, but just getting urges and quickly takes the first victim they can find. These types often block out memories of killing their victim, as stated by Hans in M.
M continues to be considered to be one of the top movies from the 1930's. The movie's style is quick to capture the isolation and fear of the story through the clever work with camera angles and lighting. The use of sound, a relatively new thing in the 30's, is used carefully and there's isn't too much talking, only the bare minimum. The director slides the auto around to make it sound like two group of people, police and mobsters, are having the same conversation. There's also several parts where there is no sound, but instead takes the ear point of the crowd of people. The empty shots shown as the first victim is murdered quickly brings a silence and an awe to the movie. The touchy subject of murder is strengthen in this movie since it deals with child murders and possible rapes. The controversial topic is well shown and isn't glorified and is felt evil without showing any blood. M feels a lot like a cautionary tale, a movie saying to be more careful of children, how well do you know people, and that deep down everyone can quickly become different people.
M's strong storytelling and strong visuals as well as some superb acting makes this movie a classic and continues to stand the test of time.
Comedy Now! (1997)
Best Stand Up Show
This show is full of great comedians. Of course, it's an 30 minute show per comic. There's some great ones and some that leave you wondering why they're on the show. This show has been going on for years, dozens, if not hundreds of comedians have been on the show, not just once either.
Familiar favorites such as Brent Butt, Harland Williams, Jeremy Hotz, and several others. If you're like me and don't like their acting, then check out their stand up and you'll be impressed.
If you need a laugh then this is a good show to watch. Just make sure you're old enough to get some of the jokes.
Star Trek: Voyager (1995)
Exploration is the name of the game
I've been a fan of the Star Trek series since Star Trek the Next Generation. I used to watch The Next Gen after school and I loved the idea of going off to space to explore new worlds and meeting new peoples. But the one thing that bothered me about the series was all the constrictions that the Enterprise had to go through. There was several shows that had the Federation saying 'You can't do this, or that!' But with Star Trek Voyager you have a smaller ship with only a couple of dozen of people on board in a distant part of the galaxy who are trying to get home. Far away from their family, friends and superiors. The series does an great job at redefining several species and introduces new ones. The cast is great and is always fun to watch Robert Picardo as the Doctor because he gets me laughing all the time. The ship has plenty of interesting characters all growing throughout the series. The Doctor becomes more then just a hologram medical helper and becomes a real member of the ship. Captain Janeway becomes a strong confident captain. Tom Paris, a womanizing troublemaker buckles down with a former hot head, federation hating Klingon.
So if you love space exploration then this is the series for you.
Pokémon Puzzle League (2000)
Great Puzzle Revamp
Pokemon Puzzle League is really just a revamped version of Tetris Attack with a Pokemon theme. The game is challenging and is about raising multicolored blocks. To clear the blocks you must align 3 of the game colors, needless to say, the more blocks you clear, the bigger the bonus. The game has a 2 player mode with garbage. When my sister and I play 2 player versus, our games last for over 6 minutes. It's an intense game that has been played by my 8 year old sister to my 50 year old Mom. The Pokemon theme takes characters from Pokemon Blue/Red/Green/Yellow as well from the animated series. There's also some voice work, mainly taunts when clearing lines. The voices are provided by the same people from the cartoon series. 9/10