Issue 24 / April 2011 / Warez-bb.org
New Release of the Website
5 to Watch FIVE SONGS YOU SHOULD KEEP YOUR EYES ON
Bejeweled 3 SIX YEARS SINCE THE LAST RELEASE SEE WHAT THIS HAS TO OFFER
The Black Swan A LOOK INTO ONE OF THE YEARS MOST DRAMATIC MOVIES
CONTENTS ISSUE 24 | APRIL 2011
General 04. Flying Thoughts
Movies & Music 05. Let the Right One In 07. Harry Potter 7 10. Aftershock 12. Easy A Review 15. Black Swan 17. Due Date 20. Fight Club 23. Let Me In 26. Scot Pilgrim vs the World 29. Piranha 3D 31. Somewhere 33. The American 35. The Expendables 37. The Fighter 39. The Other Guys 41. Blue Valentine 44. 5 to Watch 45. Deadmau5 4x4=12
Tech & Games
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35. 999: Nine Doors, Nine Persons, Nine Hours 47. Bejeweled 3 48. Donkey Kong Country Returns 49. Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising 50. Poker Night at the Inventory 51. In Celebration of Indie 52. Little Big Planet 2 53. Super Meat Boy
EDITORIAL ISSUE 24 | APRIL 2011
Editor ENIGMA Co-Editor .:Nvidia:. Writers Team Leader feenzie Artists Team Leader Surferdud3 QA Team Leader ~EvilBaby~ Writers Team Assistant spiderman120988 Artists Team Assistant Prendy QA Team Assistant AceR Writers druid101 BlueMaxima Artists dingo_d Lora kerwoer Quality Assurance Team Aquascum Haplo12345 Thunderstruck druid101 Magazine Team Compiler Surferdud3 Cover Design Surferdud3
Hello, and welcome to the most recent issue of theSCENE! First of all I would like to apologize for this late release. Over the past few months many of our team members have been very busy in real life, but they never gave up. I would like to thank each of them for putting this awesome issue together! I am happy to announce a special addition to this issue; the magazine’s new website is up! We have decided that some articles will be published on the site that will not be included in the PDF releases. I would also like to thank LinuxTrance. He did an amazing job on our new website. He put a lot of time and effort toward making sure that our new site functions correctly and looks great. For this month’s release, the following articles will be exclusively available via our website: “Tron”, “Tron: Legacy”, “Alien Anthology”, “Paranormal Activity 2”, “The Social Network”, and” Resident Evil.” You can find these articles, all previous magazine issues, information about press team members and much more at www.readthescene.org On behalf of the entire team, I hope you enjoy reading this issue. .:Nvidia:.
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I NEED YOU TO BE A PROOFREADER If you have a love of writing, reading and great grammar skills,
Message ~EvilBaby~ now!
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LET THE RIGHT ONE IN RELEASED 10 MARCH 2009 (US) 10 APRIL 2009 (UK) WRITTEN BY SPIDERMAN120988 DESIGNED BY PRENDY Rated R (Some Bloody Violence including Disturbing Images, Brief Nudity and Language) Running Time: 1 Hour & 55 Minutes Cast: Kåre Hedebrant - Oskar Lina Leandersson - Eli Per Ragnar - Håkan Henrik Dahl - Erik Karin Bergquist - Yvonne Peter Carlberg - Lacke Ika Nord - Virginia Mikael Rahm - Jocke Karl-Robert Lindgren - Gösta Anders T. Peedu - Morgan Pale Olofsson - Larry Cayetano Ruiz - Magister Avila 5 \ theSCENE \ WAREZ-BB.ORG
Patrik Rydmark - Conny Johan Sömnes - Andreas Mikael Erhardsson - Martin Rasmus Luthander - Jimmy Elif Ceylan (voice, dubbed) - Eli Susanne Ruben - Old Eli Directed by Tomas Alfredson
s much as I would like to review every movie that comes out, it’s just not possible due to my hectic schedule. I’m forced to pick and choose, and sometimes certain movies get lost in the shuffle. One of those was 2008’s Swedish film “Låt den Rätte Komma In” (translated “Let the Right One In”), based upon the 2004 vampire novel of the same name by John Ajvide Lindqvist. It is now available on Blu-Ray. Unfortunately, not many people saw the film as it was overshadowed by the highly-anticipated (and inferior) “Twilight.” It was remade in America with the shortened title “Let Me In” directed by Matt Reeves and released in 2010. Again, not many saw that film either as it flopped at the box office. At the risk of regurgitating my review for the remake, I’ll just say this: “Let the Right One In” is one of the best, if not the best, vampire films that I’ve ever had the pleasure to view. Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) is a lonely 12-year old boy living in the western Movies & Music
Stockholm suburb of Blackeberg in 1982. One night, he spies a young girl and her father moving into the empty apartment next door. The girl,Eli (Lina Leandersson), initially warns Oskar that they cannot be friends, but the two eventually form a close bond. However, their relationship is complicated when it becomes apparent that Eli is not the 12-year old girl she appears to be, but is in fact, a 200-year-old vampire.
The melodrama and angst is not overblown and what remains is a sad and poignant tale of romance.
The differences between “Let the Right One In” and the remake are minor at best and fundamentally, both are the same film. Alfredson’s adaptation is more faithful to the novel as the screenplay was written by Lindqvist himself, although some of the subplots involving the secondary characters are jettisoned as it would’ve drug the pacing of the film. While “Let the Right One In” may fall into the horror genre, it is not meant to scare or terrify. Its focus is on telling the story of two lonely souls who find solace in each other’s arms. The melodrama and angst is not overblown and what remains is a sad and poignant tale of romance. Both Oskar and Eli are misfits that are ostracized by society. Everyday Oskar lives in fear of the bullies that torment him at school. He fantasizes about revenge and exhibits a morbid interest in killers and their murders, keeping newspaper clippings in a scrapbook. The sense of isolation he feels is often reflected in its snowy, gothic atmosphere and Alfredson’s lingering camera shots. For Eli, everyday is a fight for survival. Being immortal breed’s loneliness and most would’ve killed themselves long ago to spare themselves the pain. Oskar and Eli were made for each other. They are in love even when the concept of love is foreign to them. The novel is certainly more graphic with the true nature of Håkan (Per Ragnar) and Eli’s relationship more explicit while it’s only hinted at in the film. Eli’s real gender is alluded to in one split-second shot and Leandersson’s voice is dubbed by Elif Ceylan to give it a more mysterious, androgynous quality. A flashback showing how she was turned was initially planned, but it required the castration of a live pig and according to Alfredson, that’s ‘bad karma.’ There is gore, but it never presents itself in a sensationalistic way; when Eli feeds, it resembles a predatory animal attacking. As the credits rolled while Johan Söderqvist’s excellent score played in the background, I felt teary-eyed and I don’t remember any vampire film that has had such an effect on me. Oskar and Eli are played by first-time actors, but they capture the essence of their characters perfectly. Kåre Hedebrant often says more with his blank stare, the rage he feels, and the companionship he so desperately seeks, than with actual dialogue. Lina Leandersson brings a child-like seductive quality to Eli, Movies & Music
alternating as a fresh-faced innocent youth and a withered, gaunt nightmare. No CG was used to portray her vampire form but the minimalist makeup used is effective. The rest of the cast includes some of the secondary characters from the novel, such as Lacke (Peter Carlberg), Virginia (Ika Nord), and Gösta (Karl Robert Lindgren) but they don’t make much of an impression. The Blu-Ray may not be demo material as the picture quality appears dreary and bleak with its muted colors, but it faithfully preserves the film’s gothic atmosphere. Audio is subtle, with a focus on ambiance and dialogue. Söderqvist’s score creeps in and shines in evoking the right emotions. Also, view the film in its original Swedish language. I don’t care how lazy you are with reading subtitle; a lot of what is being conveyed is lost in the English dub. Unfortunately, it seems Magnolia Home Entertainment screwed up the English subtitles by thumbing them down from the theatrical version so make sure you check that it says ‘English Theatrical’ on the back of the box. Yes, that means going to the store because employees are too simple-minded to know the difference. “Let the Right One In” played at several film festivals (including the New York Tribeca Film Festival) before being released in Sweden and the United States on October 24, 2008. The film never had a wide release in America and its domestic box office came to $2 million, with a worldwide gross of $11 million, which isn’t bad considering its production budget was only $4 million. Reception was overwhelmingly positive with an almost-perfect 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics found it ‘reinvigorates the seemingly tired vampire genre by effectively mixing scares with intelligent storytelling.’ Everything that is needed to be said has been for “Let the Right One In.” This isn’t just a vampire film; this is a masterpiece and if you haven’t watched it, then what the heck are you waiting for?
Oskar, I do it because I have to. Be me, for a while. Please Oskar...be me, for a little while.
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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 Directed by: David Yates Rated: PG-13 Running Time: 2 Hours & 26 Minutes
Review By: SpiderMan120988 Design By: Surferdud3
t’s amazing, isn’t it? Most franchises barely last into their third (or fourth) films and still maintain a consistent quality, but for the past decade, the “Harry Potter” films have only gotten better. Looking back, I regret that I didn’t give it the chance that it deserved. I prematurely judged the series as appealing to only children when I first viewed “Sorcerer’s Stone” in 2001. Now we have the penultimate chapter, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” and the tone has grown increasingly darker and bleaker, shedding much of the child-like whimsical aura that permeated the first two installments. Based on the seventh and final novel from J.K. Rowling, director David Yates and writer Steve Kloves have decided to split the 759 page book into two films in order to do it justice. From a business standpoint, it’s a stroke of brilliance as it allows Warner Brothers to make double the money from the box office. Unfortunately, it does not really work when looking at it creatively as you’re essentially getting half a film with a dramatic stopping point. That being said, “Deathly Hallows” is not a bad film, in fact it’s great, though it suffers from uneven pacing, and drags particularly in the middle as it wanders aimlessly like the main characters. Yet the relationships between these characters still ring true, and the drama and desperation they feel as they descend into hopelessness makes us root for them even more. Combined with excellent cinematography and some thrilling action set-pieces, the first part is the perfect lead-in to the grand finale. After the death of Albus Dumbledore at the hands of Severus Snape (Alan Rickman) at the end of the “Half-Blood Prince,” Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) decide to drop out of Hogwarts and set out 7 \ theSCENE \ WAREZ-BB.ORG
to destroy the remaining Horcruxes. These objects each contain a piece of Lord Voldemort’s (Ralph Fiennes) soul, and as long as they exist, he cannot be truly destroyed. With the help of the Order of the Phoenix, Harry is smuggled to the Burrow with several of his friends disguised as him by drinking Polyjuice Potion, though they suffer some heavy losses, including the death of Alastor ‘Mad-Eye’ Moody (Brendan Gleeson). Harry wants to set out immediately to find the next Horcrux, but Ron convinces him to stay until after the wedding of his brother Bill (Domhnall Gleeson) and Fleur Delacour (Clémence Poésy). Unfortunately, the Death Eaters attack during the wedding and the Ministry of Magic falls to Voldemort’s agents, who quickly begin Movies & Music
rooting out those who are of Muggle ancestry. The trio manages to escape during the chaos and make their way to Grimmauld Place to decide their next move. They learn from the house elf Kreacher (voice of Simon McBurney) that Order of the Phoenix member Mundungus Fletcher (Andy Linden) had previously stolen a locket, which, unbeknownst to him, is one of the Horcruxes. Mundungus reveals to Harry that Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) is now the owner of the locket. Disguising themselves as Ministry members, the three manage to retrieve the locket and escape to a forest through Apparition. Harry and his friends are unable to destroy the Horcrux since they lack the Sword of Gryffindor and take turns wearing the locket to minimize the negative effects on their well-being. Meanwhile, Lord Voldemort is searching for the Elder Wand, one of three items that represent the Deathly Hallows, to utterly destroy Harry Potter once and for all.
rather than being the funny sidekick. For the most part, “Deathly Hallows Part 1” does a good job working up to the eventual confrontation between Harry and Voldemort but that’s essentially all it really does, lacking a truly satisfying conclusion. I suppose I shouldn’t judge it too harshly since there’s only a mere eight months until the release of Part 2.
“These are dark times, there is no denying. Our world faces no greater threat than it does today.” After seven films, there’s really nothing more to be said about the trio’s acting. Like the characters they portray, they have grown and matured right before our eyes and for all intents and purposes, they ARE Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley, just like Christopher Reeve was and always will be Superman. Emma Watson deserves a special mention and not just because she’s a fine looking lady. Hermione is the most emotional out of the three and suffers the most. Watson perfectly conveys the pain she feels when she wipes her parents’ memory of her in order to protect them, and is tortured by Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter), a hard-to-watch scene even for a PG-13 film.
Before I start talking about the film, let me just say that if you’re planning on seeing “Deathly Hallows Part 1” without seeing the previous installments, don’t bother. At this point, the series has grown past newbie territory and diving into this one means that you won’t be able to grasp all the details. Hell, even those who have only the films as reference may have trouble as some of the characters go back all the way to “Sorcerer’s Stone.” That being said, the major problem with “Deathly Hallows Part 1” was finding a natural stopping point since the final book was split into two films in order to include as much as possible. As such, the pacing of the film slows down considerably once Harry obtains the Horcrux locket and it comes dangerously close to being a drag as the main characters wander aimlessly trying to figure out their next move. Those who are not hardcore fans might find the ‘camping scenes’ extremely boring. Yates rises admirably to the task, choosing to end the film at a very dramatic cliffhanger, but it bewilders me since Peter Jackson was able to compress each installment of the “Lord of the Rings” into three-hour films. The best way is to look at it as more of a character-building film like the “Half-Blood Prince.” The previous six installments took place in Hogwarts, but here Harry and his friends leave the comfort and familiarity of the school to travel out into the open world, a fitting metaphor as they stand on the cusp of adulthood. The tone is desperate and bleak; a sense of hopelessness permeates the film throughout, although there is some levity provided by Ron. The humor is intentionally awkward, given their situation, though it never seems out of place. There’s a very dramatic scene where Ron, frustrated at the fact that they have no idea what they’re doing, and under the subtle influence of the locket, accuses Harry and Hermione of becoming more than friends. It allows Rupert Grint to show more of a dramatic side Movies & Music
“Deathly Hallows Part 1” is a great looking film, while it may not be as action-packed as the trailers have shown; there are still some thrilling chases. The film wastes no time and offers up a thrilling escape as Rubeus Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) and Harry zip through the skies of London on their motorbike while the Order of the Phoenix buys them time by holding off Voldemort’s Death Eaters. The action feels different because the chase would feel right at home in a Bond film or similar production. There is also a duel in a café, as well as another chase through a foreboding forest as the trio try to escape from a group of Snatchersbounty hunters looking to capture Muggle-born wizards. The persecution of Muggle-born wizards and the totalitarian control of the Ministry allude to the Nazis of Germany. Cinematographer Eduardo Serra provides some picturesque views of the English countryside and the tranquility it provides stands in stark contrast to the looming conflict.
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“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” was released into theaters on November 19, 2010 into conventional theaters and IMAX, forgoing a 3D version as there wasn’t enough time to do a proper conversion, which is a very wise decision as much of the film has a dark blue tint. Reviews have been positive with 78% on Rotten Tomatoes, making it the second lowest rated “Harry Potter” in the series. Critics concluded that ‘it can’t help but feel like the prelude it is, but Deathly Hallows Part 1 is a beautifully filmed, emotionally satisfying penultimate installment for the Harry Potter series.’ Anticipation has been at an all-time high (I experienced it firsthand at the New York Premiere), and “Deathly Hallows Part 1” had a midnight launch to the tune of $24 million, ranking it as third best behind the two previous “Twilight” films. On Friday, it earned an impressive $61 million and is on track for an opening weekend of $130 to $140 million. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” was never meant to tell a complete a story and that is perhaps its greatest failing, as it does not provide a proper resolution, but the first part offers up the same great character development and visual effects that have been a hallmark of the franchise. “Harry Potter” has moved beyond being a mere children’s franchise; it has become a pop
culture phenomenon and stands with such greats as “Star Wars” and “Lord of the Rings.” Mr. Yates- better make Part 2 one to remember!
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe-Harry Potter Emma Watson-Hermione Granger Rupert Grint-Ron Weasley Robbie Coltrane-Rubeus Hagrid Brendan Gleeson-Alastor ‘Mad-Eye’ Moody David Thewlis-Remus Lupin Ralph Fiennes-Lord Voldemort Helena Bonham Carter-Bellatrix Lestrange Alan Rickman-Professor Severus Snape Bonnie Wright-Ginny Weasley James Phelps-Fred Weasley Oliver Phelps- George Weasley Tom Felton-Draco Malfoy Evanna Lynch-Luna Lovegood Matthew Lewis-Neville Longbottom Mark Williams-Arthur Weasley Julie Walters-Molly Weasley Domhnall Gleeson-Bill Weasley Clémence Poésy-Fleur Delacour Natalia Tena- Nymphadora Tonks
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Bill Nighy- Rufus Scrimgeour Rhys Ifans-Xenophilius Lovegood John Hurt-Mr. Ollivander Andy Linden-Mundungus Fletcher Frances de la Tour-Madame Maxime Richard Griffiths-Vernon Dursley Fiona Shaw-Petunia Dursley Harry Melling-Dudley Dursley Imelda Staunton-Dolores Umbridge Dave Legeno-Fenrir Greyback Jason Isaacs-Lucius Malfoy Helen McCrory-Narcissa Malfoy Timothy Spall-Peter Pettigrew/Wormtail Hazel Douglas-Bathilda Bagshot Rade Serbedzija-Gregorovitch Jamie Campbell Bower-Young Gellert Grindelwald Michael Byrne-Old Gellert Grindelwald Toby Jones (voice)-Dobby Simon McBurney (voice)-Kreacher
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RELEASED 29 october (us) 12 november (uk) written by spiderman120988 designed by prendy Not Rated Running Time: 2 Hours & 15 Minutes Cast: Zhang Jing-Chu - Fang Deng Li Chen - Fang Da Xu Fan - Li Yuan-Ni Zhang Guo-Qiang - Fang Da-Qiang Chen Dao-Ming - Wang De-Qing Chen Jin - Dong Gui-Lan Zhang Zi-Feng - Young Fang Deng Zhang Jia-Jun - Young Fang Da Ma Qiu-Zi - Director Zhao Lv Zhong - Grandma Movies & Music
Yong Mei - Aunt Lu Yi - Yang Zhi Yang Li-Xin - Lao Niu Wang Xi-Wen - Xiao He David F. Morris - Alexander Directed by Feng Xiao-Gang
s the end credits rolled for Feng Xiao-Gang’s latest film, “唐山大 地震,” known as “Aftershock” in North America, I was at a total loss for words. Disaster films made in Hollywood often focus on big-budget spectacle while throwing in a bunch of characters that we couldn’t care less about for added ‘drama.’ Loosely based upon Zhang Ling’s novel of the same name, “Aftershock” is a dramatization of the devastating 1976 Tangshan earthquake, and the emotional and psychological scars it inflicts on one family caught in this natural disaster. Gutwrenching and an emotional sledgehammer, “Aftershock” is one of the best, if not the best, foreign films I have ever seen, it will bring you to tears. >> WAREZ-BB.ORG \ theSCENE \ 10
-> In 1976 Tangshan, twins Fang Da (Zhang Jia-Jun) and Fang Deng (Zhang Zi-Feng) return home in their father’s truck and witness a horde of dragonflies flying through the streets. When the two are put to sleep at night, the father, Fang Da-Qiang (Zhang Guo-Qiang), obliges his wife’s request to have another child, but the ground suddenly begins to shake and buildings collapse everywhere. The couple desperately tries to reach their children, but Da-Qiang is crushed by falling debris when he pushes his wife out of the way. The next day, the now-widowed Li Yuan-Ni (Xu Fan) begs rescue workers to free her two children, who are trapped under a slab of concrete. Unfortunately, moving the slab in either way would kill one of her children and she is forced to choose which one to save. Heartbroken, Yuan-Ni reluctantly chooses her son and the screen fades to black as her daughter whispers ‘Ma…’ Lying next to the corpse of her father, Fang Deng eventually regains consciousness and is adopted by a kind couple, Wang De-Qing (Chen Dao-Ming) and Dong GuiLan (Chen Jin), who serves the People’s Liberation Army. Meanwhile, Fang Da, who has lost his left arm, continues to live with his mother as Tangshan rebuilds. Ten years later, the now-adult Deng (Zhang Jing-Chu) goes to medical school while Da (Li Chen) leaves home to discover what he wants to do. In the aftermath of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, the long-lost brother and sister finally reunite after 32 years.
Not even twenty minutes into “Aftershock,” the film had me in tears.
I’d never heard of Zhang Ling’s novel before, but from what I read online, it is a noticeably darker tale of sadness and despair. While the film version deals with those same emotions, it ends on a hopeful note. Not even twenty minutes into “Aftershock,” the film had me in tears. The scenes showing the Tangshan earthquake as it happens have excellent production values and while it only lasts 2 to 3 minutes, it’s hard to watch as people are crushed by debris and Yuan-Ni’s children become trapped as a building collapses. The next scenes that follow show the death and destruction the earthquake brings as we see survivors covered in dirt and grime, cradling the bodies of their loved ones. The most heart-wrenching moment is when Yuan-Ni must choose between her two children. She chooses her son; we can assume her choice is unconsciously motivated by rigid custom where boys are preferred over girls. The son is obligated to carry on the family line and look after his parents when they become senior citizens. Deng grows up trying to forget, but is haunted by nightmares of her mother abandoning her. Yuan-Ni suffers as well and spends the rest of her life full of regret. As a form of filial piety, she never re-marries and angrily tells her son that her heart belongs to Da-Qiang forever because he made the ultimate sacrifice. A film of this type has to walk a fine line in exploring raw human emotion without feeling false or overly sentimental and Feng Xiao-Gang succeeds. We feel the characters’ pain, but we do not feel ma11 \ theSCENE \ WAREZ-BB.ORG
nipulated. Feng also uses Tangshan to show China’s modernization in the next three decades. 1976 marked the end of the Cultural Revolution with the death of Mao Zedong. The opening minutes of the film has Da and Deng staring in awe at a rotating fan, which was a luxury item back then. After reuniting with her mother, Deng shows pictures of her foster parents, husband and daughter on her iPhone. The only flaw in “Aftershock” is a scene showing a mass rally in Tiananmen Square following Mao’s death, which feels completely out of place, most likely inserted to please Chinese censors, but any red propaganda never becomes as blatant like 2009’s “The Founding of a Republic.” The performances are uniformly good across the board. As the adult Deng, Zhang Jing-Chu has the hardest role, her character wishing to forget, but unable to. The ending where she tearfully reconciles with her mother is bittersweet. Da, played by Li Chen, provides a few moments of levity. His character may come off as a slacker to Chinese parents but will resonate with Americans as he literally works his way up and eventually runs a successful travel agency. Xu Fan is their mother Yuan-Ni and is the emotional heart that holds the film together. Chen Dao-Ming and Chen Jin’s roles as Deng’s foster parents are more straightforward, but nonetheless, they excel. “Aftershock” was released on Blu-Ray last September in Hong Kong, but can be imported and played on North American Blu-Ray players. Picture quality is excellent, but the audio is where it really shines, particularly during the earthquake scene as buildings crack apart and a large crane collapses. Dialogue is crisp; I viewed the film in its native Mandarin language with English subtitles. Special features are light, with a series of short cast and crew interviews, a 22-minute making-of and the usual deleted scenes. “Aftershock” was released in China on July 22, 2010 and is the first foreignmade IMAX film. It was also given a limited release in the United States on October 29, 2010 to absolutely no publicity at all, which is a real shame. In fact, I only came to know about the film thanks to my mom, who bought a $1 bootleg copy. Reviews are limited, but it does hold a 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. It is the highest grossing domestic film in China with a worldwide gross of $100 million against an approximate $25 million production budget. “Aftershock” never exploits the two disasters as spectacle and its focus is always firmly on the characters. Emotional, heart-breaking, but also a celebration of love and family, this is a powerful film that will affect you long after it is over.
You don’t know what losing something means until you’ve lost it. Movies & Music
A REVIEW BROUGHT TO YOU BY SPIDERMAN120988, LAYOUT AND GRAPHICS BY LORA
Rated: PG-13 (Mature Thematic Elements involving Teen Sexuality, Language and some Drug Material)
Running Time: 1 Hour & 32 Minutes
Cast: Emma Stone - Olive Penderghast Amanda Bynes - Marianne Bryant Alyson Michalka - Rhiannon Abernathy Penn Badgley - Todd Cam Gigandet - Micah Jake Sandvig - Anson Dan Byrd - Brandon Mahaley Hessam - Nina Stanley Tucci - Dill Penderghast Patricia Clarkson - Rosemary Penderghast Thomas Haden Church - Mr. Griffith Lisa Kudrow - Mrs. Griffith Malcolm McDowell - Principal Gibbons Directed by: Will Gluck
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high school: a time to experiment, to find yourself, or simply a place where survival of the fittest is the norm. Although for this guy, the only thing he had to worry about was what trouble Spider-Man had to get himself out of during the next issue, and of course, getting good grades! When it comes to movies marketed to teenagers, the ones that really stand out are those that actually have something meaningful to say. Unfortunately, there are too many that devolve into juvenile sex comedies or present an idealized view that comes off as artificial. “Easy A” is one of those films that have something to say, and it does it in such a way that feels honest, witty, and sarcastic all, at the same time. However, it would’ve been just a well-written, above average teen romantic comedy if it wasn’t for Emma Stone. It is her performance that allows the film to stand with such greats like “Mean Girls.”
pens to be a gossip. Marianne spreads the lie to the entire student body and Olive goes from being an unknown to famous in a short period of time. Later, Olive’s friend Brandon (Dan Byrd) tired of being bullied due to his sexual orientation, asks Olive to pretend to sleep with him so he would appear straight. Sympathizing, she agrees to help him and they put on a rather loud act at a public party. Her infamous reputation at school skyrockets and Olive decides to take advantage of this and dress in a highly sexualized manner with a red ‘A’ stitched to all her clothing, taking her inspiration from “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, which she also happens to be reading in English class. Other boys who feel ostracized start giving her gift cards and money to say that they’ve done sexual things with her to increase their own popularity. The lie soon spirals out of control as it starts to alienate Olive’s best friend and threatens to destroy the marriage of her English teacher, Mr. Griffith (Thomas Haden Church).
It all began with a harmless lie. Olive Penderghast (Emma Stone) is an everyday high school girl living in Ojai, California. Her best friend, Rhiannon Abernathy (Alyson Michalka) invites her to go camping with her family, but Olive lies and says that she has a date with a student who goes to the local community college. In actuality, she ends up lounging around the house singing ‘Pocketful of Sunshine’ by Natasha Bedingfield. The following Monday, Rhiannon asks Olive about what happened on her date and accuses her of having a one-night stand and losing her virginity. To stop her incessant questioning, Olive lies and says she did, making up a story, but she is overheard by Marianne Bryant (Amanda Bynes), an overly enthusiastic Christian who also hap13 \ theSCENE \ WAREZ-BB.ORG
“Whatever happened to chivalry? Does it only exist in 80’s movies?
“Easy A” is a reference to the mark of shame that Hester Prynne must wear when she commits adultery in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s famous book “The Scarlet Letter” but it also represents the students misperception that Olive is ‘easy’ and would sleep with anyone. It also references (and owes much to) past teen comedies from the 1980’s, especially ones from the late John Hughes. The film will resonate with both teenage and adult audiences primarily because everyone at some point has felt ostracized when they were in high school and wished desperately to belong and be accepted, but popularity is often a double-edged sword. Kids are cruel, some more than others, but it is inherently human nature that drives us to obsess over the misery of others. The film uses ‘high school as a microcosm of the world at large as they dissect what popularity has become and what it really represents’ ( James Berardinelli, ReelViews). There’s also the fact that a little innocent lie can spread like wildfire in this day and age when everyone is so inter-
I want John Cusack holding a boombox outside my window. I wanna ride off on a lawnmower with Patrick Dempsey. I want Jake from ‘Sixteen Candles’ waiting outside the church for me. I want Judd Nelson thrusting his fist into the air because he knows he got me. Just once I want my life to be like an 80’s movie, preferably one with a really awesome musical number for no apparent reason. But no, no, John Hughes did not direct my life.”
connected that one can just broadcast their inner thoughts from a cell phone and how rumors often grow to ridiculous proportions as each person that tells it changes subtle details. All this might’ve made “Easy A” into a film full of gloomy teenage angst, but it views common high school stereotypes with a wink and a nod without losing sight of its heart and that’s really what it’s about: staying true to yourself instead of trying to be something you’re not. Contrary to what teenagers believe, being popular is not exactly a pursuit worth your time. “Easy A” remains strong throughout and delivers quite a few laughs, including a lively musical number with a corset-wearing Stone singing ‘Knock on Wood’ by Eddie Floyd. It does shoehorn a clichéd teen romance and the film ends in typical Hollywood fashion where everyone gets what they deserve and learns their lessons, but it does not lower the film’s quality too much. The reason the film works is thanks to Emma Stone and her Olive is instantly lovable. She is not drop dead gorgeous, instead exhibiting a witty and honest personality that is perhaps a little too smart for her own good, but she remains true to what she believes is right. She perpetuates the lie not out of selfishness, but because she sympathizes with the outcasts at her school. This is her show and she exhibits a perfect sense of comic timing and genuinely seems to enjoy being in the film. I Movies & Music
have no doubt it factored into her casting as Gwen Stacy in the “Spider-Man” film reboot, though I had her pegged as Mary Jane. She’s backed up by an excellent supporting cast and playing the parents everyone wished they had are Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson. Thomas Haden Church is also fun to watch as the English teacher Mr. Griffith with his deadpan delivery and one-liners. The rest of the cast includes Lisa Kudrow as his wife, who happens to be the school’s guidance counselor and Malcolm McDowell as Principal Gibbons.
“Easy A” was released into theaters on September 17, 2010 to positive reviews with 87% on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics concluded that it ‘owes a huge debt to older (and better) teen comedies, but [the film] proves a smart, witty showcase for its irresistibly charming star.’ It competed with Ben Affleck’s “The Town,” which alsoz received rave reviews and settled for second place at the weekend box office with $18 million, with a final domestic gross of $58 million ($70 million worldwide). Not too shabby considering it was made for only $8 million. The greatest asset that “Easy A” has is Emma Stone and it is her charming little self that allows us to relate to what she is going through, even to adults looking back and realizing how trivial it all was. Providing plenty of laughs and a simple yet meaningful message, this is one of the best teen comedies I have had the pleasure to view.
4.5 out of 5
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BLACK SWAN RELEASED 17 december (us) 11 january (uk) written by spiderman120988 designed by prendy Rated R (Strong Sexual Content, Disturbing Violent Images, Language and some Drug Use) Running Time: 1 Hour & 48 Minutes Cast: Natalie Portman - Nina Sayers Mila Kunis - Lily Vincent Cassel - Thomas Leroy Barbara Hershey - Erica Sayers Winona Ryder - Beth MacIntyre Ksenia Solo - Veronica Kristina Anapau - Galina Janet Montgomery - Madeline Benjamin Millepied - David Sebastian Stan - Andrew Toby Hemingway - Tom Sergio Torrado - Sergio Directed by Darren Aronofsky 15 \ theSCENE \ WAREZ-BB.ORG
lack Swan is the best film of 2010. Hell of a way to start off, considering what I’m stating is an opinion presented as matter-of-fact manner. After you watch this film, preferably multiple times, I believe you’ll be inclined to agree with me. Darren Aronofsky, whose next project is the “Wolverine” sequel, is a director with few missteps. Although his films are small in scale and of the art-house variety, there’s always that absorbing, almost intoxicating quality to them. “Black Swan” is a freakishly beautiful nightmare that delivers a mesmerizing, haunting, and tragic performance from Natalie Portman, taking us into a mind on the verge of collapse as the lines between genius and madness become almost inseparable. Young Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) is a ballerina at New York City’s Lincoln Center who discovers that prima ballerina Beth MacIntyre (Winona Ryder) is being put out to pasture by the company’s director, Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel). He announces that they will open the season with a new take on Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s famous “Swan Lake,” with one dancer playing the dual role of the White and Black Swan. Nina covets the role and happens to be one of the few chosen to audition for Thomas. During the audition, Thomas says that she is perfect for the White Swan but lacks the raw sexuality of the Black Swan despite her flawless technique. Even so, she is chosen for the role of Swan Queen and Thomas begins to make advances and bullies her to unlock her darker side and sensuality. As opening day draws near, Thomas starts to notice that Lily (Mila Kunis), recently arrived from San Francisco, seems to embody all the qualities of the Black Swan, although her technique is not as disciplined. Nina begins to crack under the pressure as she begins to suffer from paranoia that Lily wants to steal the role from her. Unable to discern reality from fantasy, she begins a wild descent into the darker recesses of her mind which threatens to consume and destroy her. Movies & Music
be imagined. It is impossible to totally explore or even explain “Black Swan” because the film is so thematically rich that it effectively requires multiple viewings and every scene can be interpreted in a number of ways, especially its ending, which seems so final yet ambiguous. In the end, is Nina just mad, a victim of outside pressures beyond her control, or was she an artistic genius that achieved, in every sense of the word, perfection?
Black Swan is one of those films where it’s best to go in knowing as little as possible.
The acting is of the highest caliber. Natalie Portman has essentially won the Academy Award for Best Actress; it’s just a matter of making it official. With the exception of wide shots where she had to be en pointe for an extended period of time, Portman performed all of her own dance scenes and she is flawless. You cannot take your eyes off her. Her transformation from a girl with no backbone and low self-esteem to someone without inhibitions is exciting yet tragic, as she effectively had to kill a part of herself to be perfect. Mila Kunis is underwritten, but deftly switches between conflicting personalities due to how Nina perceives her. Vincent Cassel is the charming yet lecherous director of the ballet company whom we suspect to be sleeping with the students, but we also wonder whether his behavior is due to his lofty expectations. Finally, there’s Barbara Hershey as Erica, Nina’s mother from Hell. She gave up her career when her daughter was born and now relives her lost dreams though Nina. The way she treats Nina often borders on abusive as she controls every aspect of her life, but there is no question that she loves her. “Black Swan” looks and sounds amazing. The ballet scenes are beautiful and frightening all at the same time. The score, from Clint Mansell, takes many musical cues from “Swan Lake” itself but combines the epic romantic feel with a hint of a disturbing madness to it. Aronofsky also performs some sleight-of-hand in his scenes to further confuse us and question Nina’s sanity.
“Black Swan” is one of those films where it’s best to go in knowing as little as possible. The story is a twisted variant of Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” but it’s more a means to an end as the film’s priority is to explore an already unstable psyche teetering on edge. Aronofsky presents ballet as a cutthroat world where it’s survival of the fittest and every girl wants that highly coveted role. They are physically and mentally pressured to attain the unattainable, that of perfection. When we first see Nina, she is living in a small apartment with her overbearing mother, Erica (Barbara Hershey) and there’s a sense that their strained relationship is bubbling below the surface in how they behave and speak to each other. Nina’s growth is stunted, as she is demanded to physically maintain a lithe body shape. She is mentally and sexually repressed; her room is decorated in much the same way as a young adolescent. When Thomas reveals that he is looking for a new dancer to play the Swan Queen, Nina wants the role so much that she’d do anything, almost as if her entire life has no purpose without it. She wins the role, but at what cost to her wellbring? Nina is every psychologist’s dreams, and as she begins to slowly transform into a physical manifestation of the Black Swan. We begin to question whether what she is seeing is real or not. Her transformation is frightening yet smolders sexuality in a hypnotic manner as her eyes turn crimson red. Lily is often presented as the concerned friend or the manipulative, conniving b*tch, but there are rare instances where we do see the ‘real’ her and it throws another wrench into who the real enemy is. “Black Swan” culls from a variety of different genres and while it feels like a psychological thriller, it’s more of a character study that includes elements of horror, melodrama, and eroticism. Due to the sexual contrasts between the White and Black Swan, the film’s exploration of sexuality mirrors that of Nina’s as she discovers herself through masturbation and has a lesbian tryst that again, may or may not Movies & Music
“Black Swan” was released into theaters on December 3, 2010 in 18 theaters, racking up a spectacular $80,212 average for a total of $2 million so far. The film will expand each week and play at over 1000 locations by December 22. Reviews have been highly positive with 86% on Rotten Tomatoes as critics hailed it as ‘bracingly intense, passionate, and wildly melodramatic’ and gave accolades to Portman’s ‘bravura performance.’ It’s hard to really sum up the film in one closing statement but Roger Ebert says it best: ‘All of the themes of the music and life, all of the parallels of story and ballet, all of the confusion of reality and dream come together in a grand exhilaration of towering passion. There is really only one place this can take us, and it does.’ “Black Swan” is a beautiful nightmare, an exhilarating, absorbing experience. This is the best film of 2010.
I had the craziest dream last night about a girl who was turned into a swan, but her prince falls for the wrong girl and...she kills herself.
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DUE DATE Review by: SpiderMan120988 Design by: dingo_d
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omedies don’t impress me easily, but Todd Philip’s “The Hangover” was one of the funniest movies of 2009, it frequently pushed the envelope. It went on to become a surprise critical and commercial success, grossing $467 million worldwide against a $35 million production budget. With the pairing of Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis, it would seem that “Due Date” would face similar success, but unfortunately, Philip’s latest plays it too safe. That’s not to say the film isn’t funny, but the whole affair is predictable and the friendship that develops between the two mismatched leads feels forced and artificial. Architect Peter Highman (Robert Downey, Jr) is on his way home from Atlanta to Los Angeles to see his wife, Sarah (Michelle Monaghan) give birth to their child. Unfortunately, his day starts off terribly after a chance encounter with an aspiring actor named Ethan Tremblay (Zach Galifianakis). They accidentally switch bags and Peter is caught with marijuana while going through the security checkpoint. He is allowed to board the plane and realizes that the person sitting behind him is Ethan, but after a brief verbal altercation, both are kicked off and put on the no-fly list when an air marshal mistakes them for terrorists. With his wallet missing and no money on his person, Peter has no way to get home when he encounters Ethan again. Ethan has rented a car and offers to drive him to Los Angeles. A seemingly simple road trip turns into one ridiculous situation after another and despite their initial antagonistic meeting, the two begin to develop into fast friends and rely on each other as they try to make it home. Much of the success of “Due Date” hinges on the pitch perfect casting of Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis, but the film offers very little that we haven’t seen before and most of the comedy is more chuckle-worthy than laugh-outloud hilarious. Many critics have pointed out that it bears a strong resemblance to “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” a 1987 comedy from the late John Hughes. Even if you didn’t pay attention to the trailers or commercials, it’s not hard to see where the movie is going and the ending is one of those artificially sweet moments that only exist in Hollywood films. The friendship that develops between Peter and Ethan never really rings true despite a moving, dramatic moment at a dingy rest stop. In fact, it feels forced and the final twenty minutes are rushed as they try to get to Los Angeles and do the ‘we’re best friends now’ routine. The comedy generates a few chuckles, but the most hilarious bit that pushes the envelope is when Ethan masturbates in the car while Peter is trying to get some sleep. Imitating his master, Sonny the French bulldog seems to be enjoying himself too! Other noteworthy scenes include a visit to the house of a marijuana dealer (played by Juliette Lewis) with Peter punching her annoying son in the stomach and, at his breaking point, he belittles Ethan and spits on his dog. Finally, the two get high and take the wrong exit, ending up in Mexico and on the run from border patrol. It’s at this point the film veers into unbelievably Movies & Music
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ridiculous territory, but it all pays off with the laughs. Unfortunately, these moments are few and far between and for the most part, “Due Date” plays it a little too safe. For most of its running time, the focus is on the two leads and they have excellent chemistry, at least until they become friends, then it starts feeling artificial. Robert Downey Jr. plays a role similar to Bradley Cooper in “The Hangover” as he tries, and fails, to keep his cool in every situation. By the end of the film, he’s been beaten up by a wheelchair-bound veteran (played by Danny McBride), had his arm and ribs broken in an interstate car crash, gotten stoned on marijuana, and shot point-blank in his thigh. Any man would go insane, but he takes it and it is fun watching him put up with Ethan’s shenanigans. Zach Galifianakis is once again playing an oddball character that is three-parts sad, annoying, and lovable. At times he can be dislikable as he pushes Peter’s buttons without a care in the world but we eventually learn of his fondness for his recently deceased father (whose ashes are kept in a coffee can!) and fear of being left alone, which explains his actions, though Peter is a little too quick in forgiving 19 \ theSCENE \ WAREZ-BB.ORG
him. The rest of the cast don’t make much of an impression and only appear in what amounts to cameos, including Jamie Foxx as Peter’s best friend Darryl and Juliette Lewis as Ethan’s marijuana dealer Heidi. “Due Date” was released on November 5, 2010 and has received a negative to mixed reception, with 39% on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics wrote that the film does not ‘live up to the possibilities suggested by its talented director and marvelously mismatched stars,’ calling it ‘shamelessly derivative and only sporadically funny.’ It competed against DreamWorks Animation’s “Megamind” which took the top spot for the weekend unsurprisingly but “Due Date” fared well in second place with $33 million. It has already made back its $65 million production budget. “Due Date” is a fun weekend comedy to view with friends and has a few solid laughs but the story and its characters aren’t particularly original, making the two leads the only valid reason to see it but pedigree can only take a film so far.
Rated R (Language, Drug Use and Sexual Content) Running Time: 1 Hour & 40 Minutes Cast: Robert Downey Jr. - Peter Highman Zach Galifianakis - Ethan Tremblay Michelle Monaghan - Sarah Highman Jamie Foxx - Darryl Juliette Lewis - Heidi Danny McBride - Lonnie Robert Fitzgerald Diggs - Airport Screener Directed by: Todd Phillips Final Rating:
lf before you wreck "You better check yourse yourself!" Movies & Music
Fight Club REVIEW BY DRUID101 AND SPIDERMAN120988, DESIGN BY LORA
ilm reviews are always going to be hardhow much can you write that keeps your audience interested, without giving away too much of the plot? As movies go, Fight Club might cause a few similar problems. Normally, to me, the phrase ‘cult classic’ implies a pretty crap film that a dedicated fan base constantly jabbers about. Sometimes, however, a gem actually is a classic. For example, films like Serenity, Pulp Fiction and The Rocky Horror Show are productions that everyone should see before they die. Fight Club is no exception. It is an extremely satirical film that focuses on macho instincts, brutal violence, and a kind of reverse ‘1984’ scenario. Instead of Big Brother controlling everything, the movie focuses on the fact that many different people, in different jobs and ranks, are responsible for keeping the world turning round. There are only three in depth roles in Movies & Music
the story. The main character, played by Edward Norton, remains unnamed throughout the film, acting as a narrator into his life. The film begins with him sat in a chair, a gun being held to his mouth, and Brad Pitt counting down the seconds until ‘something’ happens. Ah. Brad Pitt, the second main character. He plays a man called Tyler Durden, a soap salesman. And finally, the last character, played by Helena Bonham Carter. She plays a woman called Marla Singer. You could describe her as the love interest of the film, but it’s really a kind of ‘shag and then disappear’ relationship. The narrator couldn’t sleep. Doctor’s refused to prescribe him medication. He slowly begins to lose track of reality. He is never asleep, but he’s never really awake either. Then one day, he accidentally joins a testicular cancer support group, and finds that by crying with
the other men there, he can then sleep like a baby. So he joins many other groups, such as tuberculosis support and sickle cell support. However, this is where Marla Singer comes in. He notices her at multiple meetings as well, and realises that she is also a faker. He confronts her, as he cannot cry when she is there, and they agree to split the sessions between them. He works for a car company, determining from accidents whether a make of car needs to be recalled. This job has him travelling all
“Three minutes. This is it ground zero. Would you like to say a few words to mark the occasion?” over the world. One flight, he wakes up, to find a sharply dressed man sitting next to him- the man then questions whether he is WAREZ-BB.ORG \ theSCENE \ 20
feeling confused because Durden seems to be happy to make decisions without him. I would love to go on, but any more would ruin the film. In a sentence, things get out of hand, and the narrator slowly begins to lose control of his surroundings. Now comes the interesting part. Just what is the point of the movie? Well, that’s just it; the point is left ambiguous to the viewer. The
responsible enough to sit by the emergency exit. This is Tyler Durden. a soap salesman. He’s the one you’ve been seeing flash up in frames during the film up to this point. The narrator informs him that he is the most interesting person he has ever met, and they part ways. But, it’s a film, and when the narrator’s apartment blows up, guess who he calls to help him out. After a few drinks, Tyler agrees to let him stay at his house, but asks the narrator to punch him, as hard as he can. What ensues is a brief exchange of fists, but afterwards, they both feel better, enlightened. This is the birth of Fight Club. People begin to get interested in the two nutters who beat each other up, then sit down and have a drink together, and pretty soon more and more men are joining in. The first rule of fight club is you do not talk about fight club. Things escalate quickly, and fight clubs begin popping up all over America. Everywhere the narrator goes, people ask him if he knows Tyler Durden. Fight Club in Miami, the original one, then becomes Project Mayhem, an anarchist movement, set out to cause disruption and chaos. However, the narrator keeps
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film attacks consumerism head on with the Narrator talking about how he is obsessed with the ‘Ikea nesting instinct.’ He owns all of this great furniture to present himself as a happy, normal person, but in reality, he’s nothing inside. At one point, he remarks that his refrigerator has only condiments, but no food. Condiments only serve to make food taste better, but they can’t be actual food. We buy all this stuff that we think we need so that we can make ourselves appear to have substance, but in fact, we don’t. Durden also says that men today are raised by an increasingly matriarchal society and many times, the film questions masculinity as when the Narrator points out a Calvin Klein advertisement and asks, ‘Is that what a real man
is supposed to look like?’ This goes hand-inhand with the Ikea nesting instinct that Durden sees as a result of men being ‘feminized.’ “Fight Club” also attacks advertising because it gives people a false sense that you’re special. You’re not special, your job doesn’t make you special, the money in your bank account doesn’t make you special, the kind of car you drive doesn’t make you special, and what you wear doesn’t make you special. ‘You’re the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world. You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else.’ What of the fight clubs then? Well, since all the men participating have emptiness inside, the fight club fills that emptiness gives them a sense of purpose, makes them a man. So is it glorifying violence? Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t; this is something you’ll have to decide for yourself. By the end, Durden has come to attack all institutions and value systems, seeking to simply destroy. Is he right that we’re all controlled by flashy commercials and the objects we own? That we work so hard to make ourselves feel special but end up leading purposeless lives?
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Again, you’ll have to answer those questions yourself. Fight Club is a movie that has incredible depth and you could spend years nitpicking, but all this makes the movie a little all over the place and you’re left with a lot of questions. Perhaps this is what David Fincher wants. To make up our own damn minds about the movie! It is hard to express on paper how good this film really is. It is one of the few films I have seen where at a certain point in it, I’ve gone ‘Oh my god’ at how good a particular piece of acting or directing or storytelling has been. Each character, not just the three main leads, everyone, delivers an outstanding performance. Even Meat Loaf, he’s in it too, with breasts- long story. It is a deeply moving psychological thriller, with elements of black humour, sarcasm and masochistic behaviour. It is also one of the most brutal films around, so be careful- it’s an 18 for a reason. Basically, watch it. Give it a try, and you won’t be disappointed. It hits you like a punch in the stomach in places, and in others, you’re left agog at something that’s been said as your brain desperately tries to cope with the information being thrust at it. I want to scream- I just can’t properly convey how good this film is. Watch it. And yes, that is a penis you see at the end of the film; one quick glimpse. You are the all singing, all dancing crap of the world. Final Rating:
MOVIE INFORMATION Rated: R (Disturbing and Graphic Depiction of Violent Anti-Social Behavior, Sexuality and Language) Running Time: 2 Hours & 19 minutes Cast: Edward Norton - The Narrator Brad Pitt - Tyler Durden Helena Bonham Carter - Marla Singer Michael Lee Aday - Robert ‘Bob’ Paulson Jared Leto - Angel Face Directed by: David Fincher
5 out of 5
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Let Me In Rated R (Strong Bloody Horror Violence, Language and a Brief Sexual Situation) Running Time: 1 Hour & 55 Minutes Cast: Kodi Smit-McPhee - Owen Chloë Grace Moretz - Abby Richard Jenkins - The Father Elias Koteas - The Detective Cara Buono - Owen’s Mother Sasha Barrese - Virginia Dylan Kenin - Larry Ritchie Coster - Mr. Zoric 23 \ theSCENE \ WAREZ-BB.ORG
WRITTEN BY SPIDERMAN120988 DESIGNED BY PRENDY RELEASED 1 OCTOBER (US) 5 NOVEMBER (UK)
Dylan Minnette - Kenny Jimmy ‘Jax’ Pinchak - Mark Nicolai Dorian - Donald Brett DelBuono - Kenny’s Brother Chris Browning - Jack Directed by Matt Reeves
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round the time of the release of the original “Twilight” in 2008, there was another vampire film from Sweden in limited release called “Låt den Rätte Komma In” or translated “Let the Right One In.” It’s based on the 2004 novel of the same name by John Ajvide Lindqvist. It received widespread critical acclaim due to its effective blend of ‘scares with intelligent storytelling’ and currently holds a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. Since Hollywood doesn’t leave well enough alone, they’ve decided to remake the film for an American audience. The renamed “Let Me In” largely follows the general plot of the original with some subtle changes. Despite playing second fiddle, this is an oddly sad and poignant horror romance which owes much of its strength to the source material. One of the best vampire films ever made, director Matt Reeves has crafted a remake that does not sacrifice the integrity of the original to pander to a more mainstream audience and for that, I applaud him. Set in Los Alamos, New Mexico in 1983, a lonely 12year old boy named Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is being bullied at school and his parents are going through a divorce. With no friends, he spends his time spying on his neighbors until one night, a strange barefoot girl named Abby (Chloë Moretz) moves into the apartment next door with her ‘father’ (Richard Jenkins). Owen is naturally drawn to Abby as she seems to be impervious to the cold and the two quickly strike up a friendship. She offers him advice on how to fight back against his tormentors. The two also communicate through the wall of their apartments using Morse code. Although Abby possesses the physical appearance of a 12-year old girl, she is actually an ancient vampire that needs to consume human blood to survive, which is provided by her elderly companion who goes out every night to kidnap teenagers and drain them of their blood. These killings attract the attention of a detective (Elias Koteas), who suspects it to be the work of a satanic cult. The title of “Let Me In” is a reference to vampire folklore which states that a vampire cannot enter a person’s home without being invited in first. Although fans of the original Swedish version may decry the changes, they are minor at best with the ambiguity of Abby/Eli’s gender removed and the relationship with the father made more palatable for American audiences, but no less disturbing. The driving force between Owen and Abby is that the two suffer from extreme loneliness. His relationship with his mother is distant at best and Reeves films her in such a way that her features are blurred and indiscernible. Owen is desperate for any sort of human connection and becomes excited at the prospect of having a friend like Abby. Being 12 and at the cusp of puberty, he is unable to articulate his feelings, but the bond he shares with Abby transcends a label such as love. To make it ‘official,’ Abby shows up in Owen’s room one night and sleeps with him unclothed. Obviously, there is no Movies & Music
sex involved, but it’s not all that hard to read between the lines. As for Abby and her older guardian, their relationship could be likened to that of a ‘long-time wedded couple who have grown apart during the many years they have spent together’ ( James Berardinelli, ReelViews). When he fails to provide her with human blood, he wearily remarks that perhaps he wants to be caught and feeling left behind, requests that Abby stop seeing ‘the boy.’ I overheard one of the audience members remark that Abby was essentially using the boys she befriends to help her procure blood. While that’s a more cynical interpretation, I don’t believe that’s true. Being immortal, it’s only natural that Abby will come to grow weary and seek new companionship. Reeves chose his two leads well and both bring a surprising level of maturity and talent to a film which could’ve been sanitized to make a quick buck. Kodi Smit-McPhee’s (last seen in 2009’s “The Road”) melancholy performance makes us emphasize with his lonely existence as he lives in fear of being brutalized at school, but comes into his own as he spends more time with Abby. He is initially shocked when he discovers that she is not what she appears to be and although we can tell that he is unable to come to terms with her violent nature, the fact that he cares for her and she for him overcomes any doubts that he may have had. Like “Kick-Ass,” the real star is Chloë Moretz; she is quickly becoming a fan-favorite among genre films. Her Abby is vicious, but she is also brave and confident, having accepted that her life is a constant battle for survival and that the only way to make this burden easier is to have someone to spend her time with. Richard Jenkins only has a few lines of dialogue, but how he came to know Abby is revealed in a key scene when Owen sees a faded photograph. Finally, there’s Elias Koteas as a detective who’s in way over his head and cannot fathom the horror that awaits him.
“Let Me In doesn’t hold back with the gore as these aren’t your normal, everyday vampires that sparkle in the daylight.“ “Let Me In” doesn’t hold back with the gore as these aren’t your normal, everyday vampires that sparkle in the daylight. When Abby assumes her vampire form, her eyes glow a bright blue, she takes on a discolored complexion, and her voice becomes an inhuman growl. She becomes little more than an animal when she feeds and in the film’s final scene, she eviscerates all of Owen’s attackers in a shower of severed limbs. The only weakness is in the CG department, but since it is used so sparingly, it does not detract from the film. “Let Me In” was released on October 1, 2010 and has received positive reviews with 86% on Rotten WAREZ-BB.ORG \ theSCENE \ 24
Tomatoes. Critics hailed it as the rare successful remake ‘with enough changes to stand on its own…that doesn’t add insult to inspiration.’ The film competed with David Fincher’s “The Social Network” which took the #1 spot with an estimated $23 million and although I had pegged this film to come in second, it flopped at the box office, coming in at a shockingly low eighth place with a paltry $5 million. Audience reaction was positive, but a few muttered that the film was boring and openly mocked some of the more touching scenes. Granted, some may find the content disturbing or ‘wrong’ but mainstream American society is often way too uptight. “Let Me In” is an excellent vampire romance film and one could say that given their circumstances, Owen and Abby were destined to be together. This is the high standard that all remakes should set for themselves.
Final Rating: “Do you think...there’s such a thing as evil?”
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SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD
RELEASED 13 AUGUST (US) 25 AUGUST (UK) WRITTEN BY SPIDERMAN120988 DESIGNED BY PRENDy
Rated PG-13 (Stylized Violence, Sexual Con- Brie Larson - Natalie V. ‘Envy’ Adams tent, Language and Drug References) Satya Bhabha - Matthew Patel Chris Evans - Lucas Lee Running Time: 1 Hour & 52 Minutes Brandon Routh - Todd Ingram Mae Whitman - Roxanne ‘Roxy’ Richter Cast: Shota Saito - Kyle Katayanagi Keita Saito - Ken Katayanagi Michael Cera - Scott Pilgrim Jason Schwartzman - Gideon Gordon Graves Mary Elizabeth Winstead - Ramona Victoria Bill Hader - The Voice Flowers Thomas Jane - Vegan Policeman #1 Kieran Culkin - Wallace Wells Clifton Collins Jr. - Vegan Policeman #2 Ellen Wong - Knives Chau Anna Kendrick - Stacey Pilgrim Directed by Edgar Wright Mark Webber - Stephen Stills Alison Pill - Kimberly ‘Kim’ Pine Johnny Simmons - Neil ‘Young Neil’ Nordegraf Aubrey Plaza - Julie Powers
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atching “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World“, I’m reminded of John Lyly’s famous proverb, ‘The rules of fair play do not apply in love and war.’ The film is based upon the graphic novel series “Scott Pilgrim” created by Bryan Lee O’Malley and published by Oni Press. Although I am a huge comic nerd, I must admit that I have never read the series, but I did know of it when I received a copy of “Free Scott Pilgrim” during Free Comic Book Day in 2006. The art is in black-and-white and is drawn in a way that resembles manga, but what really stood out was the tongue-in-cheek tone and pop culture references. “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” may not appeal to older audiences and the story feels cramped, but the film is a fun ride thanks to its offbeat humor, likable characters, and distinct visual style. 22-year old Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) lives in Toronto, Canada and is part of a band called the Sex Bob-omb, which includes his friends Stephen Stills (Mark Webber) and Kim Pine (Alison Pill). They hope to make it big one day, but so far their biggest (and only) fan is Young Neil ( Johnny Simmons). Pilgrim is currently in a very chaste relationship (they came close to holding hands!) with a 17-year old high school girl named Knives Chau (Ellen Wong), and because of the age difference, his friends constantly make fun of him. While at the library with Knives, Scott encounters a mysterious pink haired girl named Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and he immediately becomes smitten with her at the expense of his current girlfriend. Ramona is a ‘ninja delivery girl’ for Amazon.ca. To ask her out, Scott orders a meaningless item to see her again. He invites her to a battle of the bands show where the Sex Bob-omb’s are hoping to win a record contract with the G-Man. Unfortunately, Scott is attacked by Matthew Patel (Satya Bhabha), who reveals himself to be the first of Ramona’s Evil Ex-Boyfriends. Scott is at a loss, but he manages to defeat him after a furious battle. Ramona reveals to Scott that if they are to continue dating, he must defeat all seven members of the League of Evil Exes, led by the G-Man himself, Gideon Graves ( Jason Schwartzman). I can’t say whether “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” is true to its source material, but the film is a visual delight from start to finish. Since director Edgar Wright is adapting an entire series (and each volume averaged around 200 pages), the story does have a rushed feel to it, but it never shortchanges any of the characters and the whole film remains surprisingly coherent during its two-hour running time. Although the film mainly focuses on Scott literally trying to win the heart of Ramona, it’s really about coming to terms with your past. You can see how these two were made for each as both have exes that come back to bite them in the ass. The most unusual element of the film is that it is knee-deep in pop culture references and especially vintage video games. This is immediately evident when the Universal logo is presented in 8-bit graphics, complete with the appropriate sound effects for that type of technology. Scott woos both Knives and Ra27 \ theSCENE \ WAREZ-BB.ORG
mona by revealing a curious tidbit about how Pac-Man was originally called Puck-Man, but the developers were afraid that vandals would deface the name by changing the P to an F. Once the evil ex-boyfriends show up, Scott has to defeat all of them in combat and it’s presented in such a way that harkens back to fighting games such as Street Fighter and there’s the 64-hit combo reference made famous in Marvel vs. Capcom. Fights are often filled with action words like ‘Pow!’ or ‘Crash!’; which is reminiscent of the 1960’s Batman TV show. When he wins, Scott receives experience points and the opponents dissolve into a shower of coins. Like a role-playing game, Scott will also level up and gain new skills (power of love and self-respect!) or even an extra life! Some of the evil exes also have a ‘trick’ to defeating them and the final boss has an ultra long health bar similar to action games like Devil May Cry or Ninja Gaiden. These battles seem to be heavily influenced by Hong Kong martial arts films as Scott kicks and punches through hordes of goons. Even Ramona joins in, wielding a heavy mallet that would give Thor a run for his money. This is also a jab at the ‘magic satchel’ popular in role-playing games where a character could carry a bevy of items even though it would be physically impossible in real life. Since I am an avid gamer, this increased my enjoyment of the film, but most of this will probably escape older audiences. The humor is often sharp, witty and offbeat and there’s one hilarious bit that uses the “Seinfeld” theme, including a laugh track. You’ll be hard-pressed to keep from laughing as the film revels in its absurdity, fully aware of how ridiculous it is and as far from reality as possible.
I can’t say whether “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” is true to its source material, but the film is a visual delight from start to finish.
The film features an eclectic cast and I was initially wary of Michael Cera since he is constantly type-cast into the same role. Although it’s the same situation here, the film plays to his strengths as he portrays Scott’s neurotic and bumbling cluelessness. In a way, he reminds me of myself with his awkwardness although he certainly has more luck with the ladies than me! He can also be selfish, but his heart is in the right place and that’s what makes us root for him. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is Ramona Flowers and she goes through three hair color changes throughout the film. She’s a bit more reserved and bottles up her feelings, but she exudes that natural aura that would make any man fall for her. Ellen Wong is the hyperactive Knives Chau, bursting into Scott’s arms with a gush of cuteness and showing up at the oddest of moments. The rest of the supporting cast manage to shine despite their limited screen-time, such as Scott’s sarcastic and promiscuous gay roommate Wallace played by Kieran Culkin or Alison Pill’s deadpan, eyebrow arching Kim Pine. The evil exes include Chris Evans as macho movie action star Lucas Lee and Brandon Routh as Todd Ingram, whose vegan lifestyle allows him to use psychic powers and go Super Saiyan like the Movies & Music
characters of Dragon Ball. Later on, he gets his powers taken away by the ‘Vegan Police,’ a possible reference to kryptonite. Released on August 13, 2010, “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” has received a solid 81% on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics noted the ‘script may not be as dazzling as its eye-popping visuals, but [the film] is fast, funny, and inventive.’ Although I was pegging the film to hit third place at the box office, it did much, much worse, earning a dismal $10 million in fifth place. Universal spent quite a pretty penny marketing it and the hype was very high, especially at this year’s
San Diego Comic Con where the entire cast showed up. There was even a free screening to create awareness. However, deep down Universal knew this was a tough sell, but they stuck with it because this is genuinely a good movie and sometimes it’s not all about the money. When I viewed the film, much of the audience was in their twenties and very few were actually over thirty. “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” won’t appeal to everyone, but if you’re open-minded enough, there’s great fun to be had and as the last major release of a disappointing summer 2010, it couldn’t have gone out better.
If you want something bad, you have to fight for it. Step up your game, Scott. Break out the L-Word.
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PIRANHA3D Rated R (Sequences of Strong Bloody Horror Violence and Gore, Graphic Nudity, Sexual Content, Language and Some Drug Use) Running Time: 1 Hour & 29 Minutes
Article by :SpiderMan120988
Directed by: Alexandre Aja
Design by :dingo_d
hen you're watching a film called "Piranha 3D," you know what you're getting into. "Piranha 3D" is a remake of the 1978 original of the same name, produced by the 'King of the B-Movies' Roger Corman and directed by Joe Dante as a low budget parody/rip-off of Steven Spielberg's 1975 original blockbuster "Jaws." The sequel, subtitled "The Spawning," was actually James Cameron's directorial debut, not "Terminator" as most people believed. Since it was released in the final weeks of August, usually a dumping ground for films that the studio either didn't know how to market or had to get rid of before the fall season, I was ready to dismiss "Piranha 3D" but the film ended up being a riot as it unabashedly revels in its inherent cheesiness and absurdity while bombarding the screen with gratuitous gore and even full-frontal female nudity. It's a campy thrill ride but it's one you'll have fun taking!
a popular Spring Break spot where recent high delivers this in spades. In fact, I find it mindschool graduates and college students go to boggling that it managed to get away with an party. Hoping to keep the peace is Sheriff Ju- R rating as this is one of the most violent and lie Forester (Elisabeth Shue) and her partner, bloodiest films I have ever seen. However, it's Deputy Fallon (Ving Rhames). Julie's teenage all presented in a tongue-in-cheek manner so son, Jake (Steven R. McQueen) is supposedly you know not to take it seriously, but there are babysitting his younger siblings. Instead he several gory kills. As the piranhas attack, we get runs off on his own with eccentric porn king up close and personal as they tear and bite into Derrick Jones ( Jerry O'Connell) to help him their deserving victims, leaving nothing but scout for a suitable loa skeletal mess with cation for his next Xof flesh still The piranha hunts in packs. The first pieces rated film, starring his hanging on. The scene two 'actresses' Danni bite draws blood. The blood draws where hundreds of rev(Kelly Brook) and elers get attacked will the pack! Crystal (Riley Steele). leave the squeamish All mayhem breaks loose once the piranhas covering their eyes as flesh is ripped from bone, arrive and begin bloodily feeding on the hun- drenching the water in red. Director Alexandreds of party-goers in the lake while Julie has dre Aja reportedly used over 80,000 gallons to rescue her family when they become trapped of blood for this film. There are a number of on a sinking ship. memorable kills including when Jerry O' Connell's, Derrick, gets his legs and groin chewed The plot in "Piranha 3D" is flimsy and largely off and he mumbles in shock, 'It ate my peA sudden earthquake opens a deep underwater inconsequential but it sets up the major char- nis!' We're then treated to a shot of his severed chasm that unleashes a swarm of prehistoric acters adequately. What moviegoers came to manhood floating in the sea and chewed up by piranha into nearby Lake Victoria in Arizona, see was the gore and the nudity, and the film two piranhas, one of which spits it back out 29 \ theSCENE \ WAREZ-BB.ORG
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at the audience! Another involved real adult actress, Gianna Michaels, ski-diving with her jugs hanging out and then gnawed on by the ravenous piranhas, leaving a bloody torso floating into the air. Finally, a young girl's hair gets tangled in a boat motor and her entire face virtually gets skinned off when someone starts the engine. The gore is unapologetic and will disgust many viewers, but for horror fans, this will be pure heaven. Of course, we can't forget about the nudity and I may sound like a pervert saying this but there are boobs a-plenty. One scene had stunning UK Playboy model, Kelly Brook, doing underwater ballet with another real adult actress, Riley Steele, accompanied by artsy opera music and it crescendos with the two making out. I must say, they really seemed to enjoy it, as did all the other male actors. We are treated to numerous shots of women shaking and gyrating; on top of that there's a wet Tshirt contest (hosted by Eli Roth) that simply overwhelms you with the amount of boobs on display, though that isn't such a terrible thing. As for cast, they know what kind of movie they're in and they act accordingly. Jerry O'Connell hams it up with a wink and a nod as Derrick, a 'Girls Gone Wild'-like porn king, obsessed with his money shots. There is no real character development and you shouldn't expect any given the genre "Piranha 3D" inhabits. The piranhas themselves are ferocious, with numerous razor-sharp teeth and blood-red Movies & Music
eyes, methodically stalking prey before going in for the kill. They're all obviously rendered in CG but nonetheless, these are some creepy mothef*cking fish. The much advertised 3D is a gimmick and was post-converted after it was filmed in 2D. The results are mixed as it's barely noticeable for most of the film but it does manage to show off the gore and especially the nudity on display. I'd advise you to save yourself the $5 surcharge, but most theaters aren't even showing the 2D version.
an over-the-top manner while giving a goofy smile. There have been mediocre films and serious films but none of them have been as fun as this one. I'll leave you with this humorous tidbit: when I came home, my grandmother revealed that she had cooked fish for dinner and to my surprise, it resembled a piranha. How's THAT for irony?!
"Piranha 3D" was released into theaters on August 20, 2010 and was not screened for critics so there hasn't been any reviews until yesterday. Surprisingly, many of them have been positive and it currently holds 79% on Rotten Tomatoes. The consensus is that it plays 'exactly to expectations for a movie about killer fish run amok [and] dishes out gore, guffaws and gratuitous nudity with equal glee.' The theater was about 70% full and the audience thoroughly enjoyed the blood, guts, and boobs shown on-screen but again, parents defy all logic by bringing their children. Hey, you want to mess up your kids, it's your problem! This weekend has five competing movies, but none of them should be able to bring down "The Expendables," though if any of them should, I'm placing my bets on this film coming in at second place with around $15 million. Alexandre Aja clearly had a blast making the film, as do the cast and "Piranha 3D" just piles on the violence and nudity in
Elisabeth Shue - Sheriff Julie Forester Steven R. McQueen - Jake Forester Jerry O’Connell - Derrick Jones Ving Rhames - Deputy Fallon Jessica Szohr - Kelly Driscoll Adam Scott - Novak Radzinsky Richard Dreyfuss - Matthew Boyd Christopher Lloyd - Mr. Goodman Kelly Brook - Danni Riley Steele - Crystal Paul Scheer - Andrew Brooklynn Proulx - Laura Forester Sage Ryan - Zane Forester Eli Roth - Wet T-Shirt Host
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SOMEWHERE Rated R (Sexual Content, Nudity and Language) Running Time: 1 Hour & 38 Minutes Cast: Stephen Dorff - Johnny Marco Elle Fanning - Cleo Chris Pontius - Sammy Michelle Monaghan - Rebecca Ellie Kemper - Claire Amanda Anka - Marge Lala Sloatman - Layla Kristina Shannon - Bambi Karissa Shannon - Cindy Benicio Del Toro - As Himself Directed by: Sophia Coppola
“I’m f*cking nothing...I’m not a person.”
Text by: SpiderMan120988 Gfx by: dingo_d 31 \ theSCENE \ WAREZ-BB.ORG
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ou never want your film to be called ‘boring’, but that was my reaction as the end credits rolled for Sofia Coppola’s latest film, “Somewhere.” Coppola is best known for her 2003 sophomore effort, “Lost in Translation” in which she won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. “Somewhere” debuted at the 67th Venice International Film Festival on September 3, 2010 and won the Golden Lion (the top prize) for Best Picture. I really must ask: what were those judges (who included Quentin Tarantino) smoking? The only “prize” this film should win is that it’s the cure-all for your insomnia! “Somewhere” explores a worthy, if not entirely original topic (a father trying to reconnect with his daughter) but it’s a frustrating exercise in extreme minimalism. Art house fare sometimes gets a bad rep for being overly pretentious from mainstream audiences; this film exacerbates that negative distinction. Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff) is a famous Hollywood actor holed up at the Chateau Marmont Hotel while he waits for his next starring role. His life has no direction and he spends his days largely alone, forming no real attachments to anyone. His 11-year-old daughter, Cleo (Elle Fanning), occasionally visits but when her mother suddenly takes off, Johnny finds himself forced to take on the responsibility of fatherhood and in the process, begins to reevaluate his life. It’s not hard to see what “Somewhere” is trying to tell us, that all the wealth and fame in the world can’t buy you true happiness and for Johnny, ‘Cleo’s heart is his true home. She is the somewhere he needs to get to’ (Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine). Unfortunately, the film is just plain boring. I cared little about the emotional emptiness the main character felt. “Somewhere” opens with a static shot of a Ferrari zipping across the screen on an elliptical road which lasts the better Movies & Music
part of four minutes. Next we see Johnny tripping on the stairs and breaking his arm. He recovers by inviting twin strippers to his hotel room to give choreographed pole dances and falls asleep as he watches. There is no dialogue and it’s done to symbolize that Johnny’s life has no meaning, but all it did was make the film tedious and lethargic. There are some moments of humor to break up the monotony, such as when a male masseuse drops all his clothes or Johnny giving oral sex to a blond girl and ending up falling asleep on her crouch, but these are few and far between. It doesn’t help that Johnny comes off as unsympathetic when everything is basically spoon-fed to him and his publicist Claire (Ellie Kemper) practically babies him. The only time he shows any real emotion is in the end where he calls up his ex-wife and tells her he’s nothing. The film comes full circle when he drives out onto the same road seen in the beginning, abandons his car and walks away to show him leaving his former lifestyle behind. The best parts are when Johnny spends time with his daughter, Cleo, but they go by so quickly. They do some fatherdaughter activities like playing Guitar Hero, but at certain points their relationship feels like that of a married couple as Cleo often spends time in the kitchen and cooks for her dad and friend, Sammy (Chris Pontius). Apparently, the film is partially inspired by Coppola’s own childhood with her father, Francis Ford Coppola. Yes, we get it. Being rich and famous is very hard, harder than the millions of people who scrape by on an hourly wage to provide for their family. There’s not much to say about “Somewhere. “ Its themes aren’t exactly subtle, but there are people who will appreciate the film; I’m just not one of them. If you took all the dialogue in the film, it would probably only fill about two pages. Even when the talking begins, nothing meaningful is really said. Stephen Dorff mostly just mopes around staring
off into space and I found it hard to believe that Marco was an in-demand Hollywood actor. He actually comes off like a homeless person. Elle Fanning, however, is amazing. She comes off as sweet, caring, and vulnerable. The most touching scene is when her father is sending her off to camp and she begins to cry, afraid that her parents are abandoning her, leaving Marco totally lost for words. He later apologizes for not being there for her, but Cleo doesn’t hear this due to the roar of a nearby helicopter. “Somewhere” needed more scenes like this but alas, there isn’t. At least the film looks nice thanks to the cinematography from Harris Savides, and the music by French alternative rock band Phoenix fits into its pensive nature. “Somewhere” has been in limited release since December 22, 2010. If you live in New York City, the film is only playing in two theaters. Reception has been surprisingly positive with 76% on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics wrote that the film was ‘hypnotic, seductively pensive meditation on the nature of celebrity, anchored by charming performances from Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning.’ Maybe I’m just not elitist enough to see what they saw. At the box office, it has made $467,445 from eight theaters with an average of approximately $17,000. Combined with worldwide grosses, the film has covered its incredibly low $7 million production budget. There’s nothing wrong with making minimalist films like “Somewhere”, but it gives little in return for the audience’s attention as they’ll likely feel cheated by its abrupt ending. It all ends up being a dull, monotonous, and boring affair. FinalRating:
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Review by: SpiderMan120988 Design by: dingo_d
a prostitute named Clara (Violante Placido). As the people targeting Jack draw closer, he comes to realize that this is his last chance to escape his life as an assassin and find An assassin named Jack (George redemption. Clooney) is enjoying some company with his lover, Ingrid (Irina “The American” is relatively Björklund), in Sweden when he straightforward and the story is fais attacked by two unknown as- miliar, almost clichéd, but its slowsailants. He is forced to kill Ingrid burn pacing and its vague morality and flees to Rome to meet his as- help transcend them. We learn next sociate, a man named Pavel ( Johan to nothing about Jack’s past or how Leysen). He tells him to lay low he came to be an assassin, but there in a small town in the mountains are subtle clues such as a tattoo of Abruzzo while he investigates that denotes that he served in the the unknown assassins. Jack ar- military and another of a butterfly rives at the town, but finds it too on the back of his neck. While testsuspicious so he flees to another ing the weapon with Mathilde, one one, disposing of the cell phone lands on her arm and he remarks that Pavel gave him. While there, that they’re an endangered species. Pavel gives him an assignment and Jack is also endangered as he is on sets up a meeting with a woman death’s doorstep at any given monamed Mathilde (Thekla Reuten), ment. He reacts to any loud noise who wants a custom-made weapon with a gun drawn and has severed with the range of a sniper rifle, but all emotional ties, viewing everywith the firing capacity of an as- one with intense suspicion. During sault rifle. As Jack procures the a meal with Father Benedetto, he parts, he befriends a local priest, tells Jack that he has the ‘hands of a Father Benedetto (Paolo Bona- craftsman.’ Later, we see Jack alone celli) and becomes involved with in his room, putting together the
“All men are sinners. Everything I’ve done, I’ve had good cause to do.”
eorge Clooney’s latest film, “The American,” based upon Martin Booth’s 1990 novel, “A Very Private Gentleman,” eschews the quick edits and furious gun battles of today’s modern thrillers, opting to tell a more character-driven, cerebral tale of a burnt out assassin searching for his last chance at redemption. The misleading previews will most likely engender complaints from moviegoers expecting a more conventional film. They’ll decry that it’s ‘too boring’ but like Christopher Nolan’s “Inception,” it simply demands that the viewer pay the utmost attention as all the pieces come together. Despite the title, the film has a noticeable European flavor and much of the dialogue is in Italian with English sprinkled about. “The American” is beautifully shot, but its Clooney’s haunted and subdued performance that makes it so gripping. 33 \ theSCENE \ WAREZ-BB.ORG
weapon with immaculate skill and precision. At a local mechanic’s shop, his eyes search, moving with confidence as he grabs all the parts he needs to make a custom sound suppressor. The director, Anton Corbijn, is a photographer and every shot is vivid and picturesque allowing the tranquility to present conflicts with the chaos that Jack feels within his soul. Tension slowly escalates as unknown assailants silently stalk Jack through the darkened, cobbled streets. For much of the film, Jack either goes by the name Edward or Mr. Butterfly, but when the wrong person calls him by the latter name, this sets up the inevitable clash between his life as an assassin and the normalcy that he so craves. Although we wish for a happy ending for Jack, the resolution is almost Shakespearean in its tragedy. The drama in “The American” may not be all that original, but the path to redemption ‘is always a worthy destination for a motion picture character’ ( James Berardinelli, ReelViews). Movies & Music
Much of the film’s impact hinges on Clooney and the film would not have worked as well if Corbijn had casted a different actor in the lead. Clooney is largely silent and when he speaks, he is often curt and to the point. After having sex with Clara, she asks about him, but he replies that she does not need to pretend and that he’s here for his pleasure, not hers. His armor does crack at the rarest of moments and that charming smile slips through. When Clooney acts, it never feels like he is because he slips into his role so effortlessly and his haunted performance allows us little insights into Jack, revealing more than what the minimalist script presents. The rest of the cast is largely Italian and Violante Placido looks absolutely stunning as she lies in bed in various states of undress. There is very little ‘action’ to be had, but there is a car chase and the final fifteen minutes are heartpounding when it soon becomes apparent that Jack’s time is almost up.
September 1, 2010 to get a jump ahead on the Labor Day weekend, where movies with no real box office prospects are dumped. I find it kind of strange that Focus Features opted for a wide release considering the film’s limited appeal. Despite his fame, Clooney’s films have never exploded at the box office, but he’s the kind of actor that looks at the material because he believes in it, not whether it’ll make money or not. A perfect example was 2002’s meditative science fiction film “Solaris,” based upon the novel of the same name by Stanisław Lem. It’s hard not to draw similarities between that film and “The American” because both have misleading marketing campaigns and the pacing is often deliberately slow. Although I had initially pegged Robert Rodriguez’s “Machete” coming in at #1, it seems the early start allowed “The American” to take the lead with an estimated $13 million for a total of $16 million since Wednesday. Reception has been mixed with 61% on Rotten Tomatoes as “The American” was released on critics agreed that it ‘is an unusuMovies & Music
ally divisive spy thriller.’ It may come off too slow or pretentious to mainstream audiences but for those knowing what to expect, they’ll find an effective and engaging thriller, and will come to appreciate the simplicity that “The American” offers.
Rated R (Violence, Sexual Content and Nudity) Running Time: 1 Hour & 43 Minutes Cast: George Clooney - Jack/Edward Violante Placido - Clara Paolo Bonacelli - Father Benedetto Thekla Reuten - Mathilde Johan Leysen - Pavel Irina Björklund - Ingrid Directed by: Anton Corbijn Final Rating:
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RELEASED 13 august (us) 19 august (uk) written by spiderman120988 designed by prendy Rated R (Strong Action and Bloody Violence Throughout, and for Some Language)
Giselle Itié - Sandra Charisma Carpenter - Lacy Bruce Willis - Mr. Church Arnold Schwarzenegger - Trench
Running Time: 1 Hour & 43 Minutes Directed by: Sylvester Stallone Cast: Sylvester Stallone - Barney Ross Jason Statham - Lee Christmas Jet Li - Yin Yang Dolph Lundgren - Gunner Jensen Randy Couture - Toll Road Terry Crews - Hale Caesar Mickey Rourke - Tool Eric Roberts - James Munroe Steve Austin - Dan Paine David Zayas - General Garza 35 \ theSCENE \ WAREZ-BB.ORG
s the summer movie season winds down, we have one last highly anticipated film, “The Expendables;” an ensemble action film that pays homage to the blockbuster action flicks of the 1980s and the early 1990s. Sylvester Stallone (who both stars and directs) has gathered an impressive cast that would make any action junkie salivate, but unfortunately, the whole affair comes off as stupid. The story provides a good enough excuse for a bunch of men to blow stuff up, but the dialogue is excruciating; the violence so pointless and numb-inducing that a more appropriate name for this film would be “Things Blow Up Until You Go Deaf and Your IQ Drops 200 Points.” Take away the bigname cast and what you have here would barely qualify as a straight-toDVD release. Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) leads a group of mercenaries dubbed The Expendables, whose members include former SAS agent Lee Movies & Music
Christmas ( Jason Statham), Yin Yang ( Jet Li), heavy weapons-wielder Hale Caesar (Terry Crews), Toll Road (Randy Couture) and drug-addled Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren). After putting down a group of Somali pirates, Gunner gets into an altercation with Barney and attacks Yin, leading to his expulsion from the team. Back in the US, former Expendables member Tool (Mickey Rourke) sets up a meeting between the mysterious Mr. Church (Bruce Willis) and a former rival of Barney’s named Trench (Arnold Schwarzenegger). Church wants a ruthless dictator, General Garza (David Zayas) of the fictional island nation of Vilena, out of the picture, but Trench declines the job, citing that he is ‘too busy.’ Barney accepts and prepares for the mission by doing recon work with Lee. They meet their contact, the beautiful Sandra (Gisele Itié), whom Barney becomes immediately smitten with. When the General’s soldiers suddenly attack, the three are forced to make an explosive escape, but Sandra refuses to leave, determined to help her people. Her dedication gives Barney an epiphany and he decides to complete the job not for the money but to do what is right. He, along with the rest of the Expendables, lay siege to the General’s mansion and brings his accomplice, a rogue CIA agent named James Munroe (Eric Roberts), to justice.
As for the action, it’ll leave you brain-dead and deaf at the same time.
The plot of “The Expendables” is nothing more than a flimsy excuse to cause some mayhem, and it succeeds for the most part. Yet, it could’ve been something more and there’s one scene where Rourke’s character tearfully laments on how senseless violence can damage a man’s soul and make him numb to other people’s suffering. It’s as close to the film providing some semblance of meaning as it gets, but it is gone all too soon, because apparently, emotion has no place in a macho-man flick like this. Hell, everyone might as well be in a d*ck-measuring contest since all the characters are obsessed with trying to prove how ‘manly’ they are. At one point, Lee visits his former girlfriend Lacy (Charisma Carpenter) and finds out that her new boyfriend is abusive towards her. To show that he’s a ‘man,’ he goes off and beats the crap out of him because that’s how chivalrous he is. The dialogue is atrocious, which is a given since Stallone has a story credit. It’s full of male posturing and action movie clichés that we’ve all seen before, making the whole affair generic and predictable. As for the much-hyped scene with Stallone, Willis, and Schwarzenegger, it barely lasts five minutes and—while it provides a few chuckles— it all feels rather anti-climactic, given how much focus there was in the trailers. Character development is nil because no one needs that in a film like this and audiences looking for that are apparently not man enough to see “The Expendables.” Given the amount of talent that Stallone was working with, it all just feels like a missed opportunity. Movies & Music
The acting mostly consists of the cast members shouting all their lines and the only one giving a real performance is Mickey Rourke. The only people given any significant screen-time are Stallone, Statham, and Li while the others don’t show up until the final thirty minutes, not enough to flesh out their paper-thin, steroid-infused personalities. Also, why is Li’s character named Yin Yang? They couldn’t think of something better so resorted to a stereotype? The main villain played by Eric Roberts, hams it up in a performance fit for a straight-to-DVD flick. As for the action, it’ll leave you brain-dead and deaf at the same time. The violence comes close to approaching self-parody as limbs are blown off, snapped off, and shot off. The final thirty minutes are a mess. It’s often hard to tell who is shooting at whom because explosion upon deafening explosion occurs, due to the haphazard editing. It might make Michael Bay proud, but since we’re not emotionally invested in what’s happening, why should we care? Watching Stallone huff and puff as he runs to catch a small airplane, while getting shot at by dozens of men, seems like he’s running to reclaim his former action hero glory. Let’s be realistic here, this guy is one year away from qualifying for a monthly Social Security check. “The Expendables” was released into theaters on August 13, 2010 and has received mixed reviews with 44% on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics noted that ‘it makes good on the old-school action it promises, but given all the talent on display, [the film] should hit harder.’ Audience reception was largely enthusiastic as they whooped and cheered at all the over-the-top violence on display. Given the buzz around the film, I’m predicting a $30 to $35 million opening weekend unless “Eat Pray Love” surprises since there hasn’t been a hit movie for female audiences this summer. “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” is only going to appeal to a niche audience despite the fact that it has the best reviews out of the three. “The Expendables” is a futile attempt to reclaim the glory of a bygone era and while it’s fun to see all these action stars on-screen, the novelty soon wears off as there’s nothing here remotely worth watching. The dialogue is cringe-inducing and the violence is just so loud and mindless that it’s liable to cause brain damage and your ears to bleed. This is nothing but a straightto-DVD film with a (mostly) all-star cast.
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THE FIGHTER H
aving trained for four years, Mark Wahlberg’s dream project, “The Fighter,” a biopic, chronicling the rise of boxing champion ‘Irish’ Micky Ward from Lowell, Massachusetts, finally arrived on the big screen last December. Now retired, the real-life Ward is famous for his trilogy of fights with the late Arturo Gatti, which took place in May and November 2002, and June 2003. His brother, Richard ‘Dicky’ Eklund, nicknamed the ‘Pride of Lowell’ was also a boxer with a famous bout against Sugar Ray Leonard in 1978. Despite a 10 year career, Eklund’s life spiraled out of control due to his addiction to crack cocaine. He is the subject of a 1995 HBO documentary, “High on Crack Street: Lost Lives in Lowell.” “The Fighter” boasts some excellent performances from its supporting cast, especially Christian Bale and Melissa Leo, but does not do enough to differentiate from other boxing films.
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In 1993, an HBO documentary crew is filming former boxer Richard ‘Dicky’ Eklund (Christian Bale) as he goes about his day. Eklund is in denial and believes the crew is chronicling his ‘comeback’, but the documentary is actually about how crack cocaine destroys the lives of the addicts and those around them. Stuck in the past, he spends his time getting high and training his brother, Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg), for his boxing matches. Their mother, Alice (Melissa Leo), who also serves as manager, sets up a fight in Atlantic City, but his opponent drops out due to a sudden case of the flu and is replaced by someone 20 lbs heavier. At the insistence of his mother and brother, Ward agrees to fight, but is thoroughly beaten. He is given an offer to train in Las Vegas for one year and get paid, but when this is brought up by his girlfriend, Charlene (Amy Adams) when she meets the family, Alice is offended and considers it an act of betrayal. Dicky says that if he wants to be paid to train, he’ll find a way to make it happen. Unfortunately, he resorts to
Text by: SpiderMan120988 Design by: dingo_d a prostitution scam where he impersonates a cop, but it all goes wrong and Dicky is arrested. Micky rushes to his defense, but the cops break his hand and arrest him as well. As his brother is serving his prison term, Micky comes to re-
OK, this is your time. I had my turn and I blew it.You don't have to!
alize that his family is holding him back and although he loves them, he has to be his own man if he is to become a boxing champion. Like most boxing films, “The Fighter” hits the usual tropes with Micky doubting whether his career will take off. Over the course of the film, he finally gains confidence and wins the Welterweight Championship against Shea Neary (Anthony Molinari). The problem is that we’ve seen similar films thousands of times before from Sylvester Stallone’s “Rocky” to Clint Movies & Music
MOVIE REVIEW from the family and goes his own separate way. Although Micky realizes that he needs to make his own decisions, his girlfriend Charlene ends up bossing him around as much as Alice, and his voice ultimately gets lost in all the bickering. Not until his fight with Neary at the end of the film do we feel Micky has finally become his own man, but it comes too little too late. The boxing matches themselves pack a visceral realism (Wahlberg opted not to use a stunt double) but even when it seems like Micky is about to lose, we all know he’ll come out on top and it’s that predictable feel that kept me from cheering. “The Fighter” is not a bad film and as an inspirational biopic, it gets the job done, but does not bring anything particularly new to the table.
Eastwood’s moving “Million Dollar Baby.” What keeps it from being by-the-numbers is the family drama and there are several intense confrontations. Dicky is trapped in the past, unable to see past his own delusions and realize that he is a shell of a man due to his addiction. Alice is blind and refuses to see the truth and he in turn manipulates her. When she finds Dicky leaping out the window of a crack house, he woos her back by singing “I Started a Joke” by the Bee Gees. As manager, Alice exploits Micky for the money by setting up fights that her son loses due to Dicky’s lackluster training and feels betrayed once he breaks Movies & Music
Fortunately, the acting is superb, especially the supporting cast. During the end credits, a short scene shows the real Micky Ward and Dicky Eklund, and it is uncanny how Christian Bale has captured every facet of Eklund, right down to his gaunt frame and animated way of speaking. Bale brings a certain humorous charisma to the part and his redemption, although expected, does not feel forced down our throats. He continues to impress with his unwavering dedication to his craft and hopefully gets recognized at the 2011 Academy Awards. Melissa Leo is Alice and like Barbara Hershey from “Black Swan,” she’s not a mother you’ll soon forget. Leo melts into her role as well with her rough attitude and controlling personality. The scary thing is that people like her exist; mothers so obsessed with fame that they are unwilling to listen to what their children want. Amy Adams, no longer a cutesy princess, is Micky’s girlfriend Charlene who possesses the foulest mouth, going toe-to-toe with Alice, and even punching out one of his sisters. Surprisingly, Mark Wahlberg disap-
points even though he is the lead, receding into the background and overshadowed by his three co-stars. He certainly looks the part but despite this being a personal film, he never shows any real enthusiasm. “The Fighter” received a limited release on December 10, 2010 and expanded a week later. Reception has been highly positive with 89% on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics praised the performances and found the film ‘a solidly entertaining, albeit predictable, entry in the boxing drama genre.’ It has been nominated for six Golden Globes including Best Picture, but I find this to be too ‘safe’ of a choice. Then again, “Crash” won over “Brokeback Mountain.” The film has also performed well at the box office with $48 million. “The Fighter” is a solid film but outside of the performances, it feels like any other inspirational sports biopic. Rated R (Language Throughout, Drug Content, some Violence and Sexuality) Running Time: 1 Hour & 55 Minutes Cast: Mark Wahlberg - Micky Ward Christian Bale - Richard 'Dicky' Eklund Amy Adams - Charlene Fleming Melissa Leo - Alice Ward Mickey O'Keefe - As Himself Jack McGee - George Ward Melissa McMeekin - 'Little Alice' Eklund Bianca Hunter - Cathy 'Pork' Eklund Erica McDermott - Cindy 'Tar' Ecklund Jill Quigg - Donna Eklund Jaynes Dendrie Taylor - Gail 'Red Dog' Eckland Kate O'Brien - Phyllis 'Beaver' Eklund Jenna Lamia - Sherri Ward Frank Renzulli - Sal Lanano Caitlin Dwyer - Kasie Ward Chanty Sok - Karen Miguel Espino - Alfonso Sanchez Peter Cunningham - Mike 'Machine Gun' Mungin Anthony Molinari - Shea Neary Sugar Ray Leonard - As Himself Directed by: David O. Russell
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The Other Guys
Directed By: Adam McKay Rated PG-13
(Crude and Sexual Content, Language, Violence and Some Drug Material)
Review By: Spiderman120988 Design By: Surferdud3 Running Time: 1 Hour & 47 Minutes
When it comes to comedians, Will Ferrell ranks low on my list. It’s due to the fact that he plays the same bumbling, annoying man-child in all of his films, from “Anchorman” to last year’s critical and commercial flop, “Land of the Lost.” In fact I find much of his so-called ‘comedy’ to be rather juvenile in contrast to another SNL veteran, Tina Fey. Ferrell teams up in his fourth outing with director Adam McKay in “The Other Guys,” a buddy cop movie, which also stars Mark Wahlberg. The film starts off strong, but loses steam as it devolves into generic action scenes with its hit-and-miss jokes and convoluted story.
amusing moments, but often times it’s taken too far and can come off as offensive to some people. The best moments are the opening minutes of the film. Jackson and Johnson chew up the scenery with action movie clichés, but soon after the momentum flags. It becomes somewhat of a bore as we’re treated to by-the-numbers shootouts and car chases. One humorous bit is when Hoitz compares his relationship with Gamble to a tuna and a lion, but Gamble matter-of-factly states that lions hate water and would therefore be overwhelmed by other tunas. At a funeral, Hoitz gets into a scuffle with another detective, but
The NYPD’s best cops are P.K. Highsmith (Samuel L. Jackson) and Christopher Danson (Dwayne Johnson), who has no qualms about causing millions of dollars in property damage just to catch a band of petty thugs. Unfortunately, their inflated egos lead to their deaths and Detective Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg) believes he can step up and fill the void. Hoitz was once a promising police officer, but was put behind a desk when he fired his weapon at Derek Jeter, which cost them the World Series, earning him the nickname ‘The Yankee Clipper.’ He is saddled with a passive forensic accountant named Allen Gamble (Will Ferrell), who is content with being a paper pusher and filling out police reports. His biggest case involves a scaffolding violation that leads to Gamble and Hoitz becoming embroiled in a complex fraud case involving a billionaire named David Ershon (Steve Coogan), who is trying to swindle another company of its $32 billion in an effort to pay back his shady angry investors. Although the two officers frequently butt heads, they begin to rely on each other as they try to prove that they can be ‘real cops’ to their captain, Gene Mauch (Michael Keaton). The story is simply a mess and actually works against the film as it tries to be relevant with its focus on Wall Street fraud and racketeering, but all this just comes off as half-baked and superfluous. The end credits become some PowerPoint presentation showing statistics about Ponzi schemes and financial monopolies. No one watches a comedy for its plot, but the jokes are often hit-and-miss. There are some 39 \ theSCENE \ WAREZ-BB.ORG
they do it quietly out of respect, with the others cheering in hushed tones. Later on, Gamble reveals that he was an ‘accidental pimp’ in college via a hilarious flashback, but the gag begins to overstay its welcome when he starts screaming randomly and referring to himself as ‘Gator.’ Unfortunately, McKay does not learn that what was funny the first time isn’t as funny the second time. Several gags begin to repeat during the second hour, including a stolen shoes bit and the fact Gamble is seemingly able to attract all sorts of gorgeous women. Some of the jokes are Movies & Music
also taken too far. Some sarcastic insults come off as sexist, homophobic, and racists, like when a visiting detective at an elementary school reveals to the kids that you won’t be accosted by the police if you’re not black or Hispanic. Part of the reason that the comedy is mixed is that everything feels staged like a sketch comedy show, loosely connected by a story that goes nowhere. “The Other Guys” tries to poke fun at the clichés of buddy cop movies and while it succeeds for the first half, it eventually succumbs to them as it moves from one loud set-piece to another.
grown men attempt dangerous stunts to amuse themselves. Since this summer hasn’t exactly delivered a hit comedy, it has a high chance of overtaking “Inception” so I’m predicting an opening weekend of $35 to $40 million. The only competition is “Step Up 3D” but that film only appeals to tween girls. “The Other Guys” initially shows promise and while there are some genuinely funny bits, too many jokes either repeat or fall flat and it becomes a largely predictable affair.
“ Hey hey hey! You shut your face! If I wanna hear you talk I will shove my arm up your a** and work you like a puppet! You hear me?! ” The acting is one of the film’s strengths and thankfully, Ferrell isn’t as annoying as normal, though he does go off-the-rails crazy when a good cop/bad cop routine goes awry. Mark Wahlberg hasn’t done much comedy work besides his supporting role in “Date Night” but he succeeds in playing off of Ferrell’s cluelessness, screaming that he’s a flightless peacock and flamboyantly doing ballet to win back his girlfriend. However, both are upstaged by Michael Keaton as police captain Gene Mauch, who also works a second job as a supervisor at Bed Bath & Beyond. He gets the best one-liners (‘Alright! Shake your dicks. The pissing contest is over!’) It’s great to see him back on the big screen after his hilarious voice-work in “Toy Story 3.” Eva Mendes mostly just plays up her hotness factor, though she does shine while singing “Pimp’s Don’t Cry” to her depressed husband. Finally there’s Steve Coogan as Ponzi schemer, David Ershon, but he’s neither funny nor memorable. The opening action scene veers into over-the-top territory, but the rest devolves into generic, but serviceable, fare. However, some of the action is hard to swallow, such as when a helicopter crashes due to being hit by golf balls.
Cast: Will Ferrell-Detective Allen Gamble Mark Wahlberg-Detective Terry Hoitz Eva Mendes-Dr. Sheila Ramos Gamble Steve Coogan-David Ershon Michael Keaton-Captain Gene Mauch Rob Riggle-Detective Evan Martin Damon Wayans Jr.-Detective Fosse Ray Stevenson-Roger Wesley Samuel L. Jackson-P.K. Highsmith Dwayne Johnson-Christopher Danson Anne Heche-Pamela Boardman
“The Other Guys” was released on August 6, 2010 and has received surprisingly positive reviews with 80% on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics found the film ‘delivers bursts of comedy during a summer largely devoid of laughs.’ I know humor is subjective, but much of what Hollywood deems funny I find juvenile or offensive. The audience seemed to enjoy the film, but they also erupted into laughter at the teaser trailer of “Jackass 3D,” based on the MTV series where a group of Movies & Music
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bluevalentine a love story
Written by SpiderMan120988 Designed by kerwoer
oshua Starnes of ComingSoon writes that “Blue Valentine” is ‘the filmic equivalent of cutting yourself on the leg over and over with a razor blade.’ That’s a pretty apt description as this is one of the most depressing films of 2010 (though I’m reviewing it now). Hollywood often idealizes love, which is why so many of those so-called romantic comedies often rely on worn clichés that do not reflect reality at all. At least 50% of marriages end in divorce in America. “Blue Valentine” is not a film you watch to be entertained with its harsh, brutal look on the dissolution of a young couple’s marriage. Backed up by superb performances from Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling, this is one of 2010’s best films. Dean (Ryan Gosling) is a high school dropout, making ends meet working for a moving company in Brooklyn, New York. Cindy (Michelle Williams) is studying to become a doctor, living with her unhappy parents and taking care of her grandmother at a nursing home in Pennsylvania. The two meet by chance at the nursing home and quickly fall in love in a matter of weeks. However, Cindy discovers that she is pregnant from a previous boyfriend and Dean decides that they should spend the rest of their lives together by getting married. As the years go by, the couple begins to realize that they are unprepared for the harsh reality of marriage and drift further apart until it all explodes on one fateful night.
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Movies & Music
The title “Blue Valentine” is contradictory as it means ‘sad love.’ The film begins in present day with the couple approaching middle-age, although Cindy still retains some semblance of her youth while Dean is already balding. Flashbacks are woven into the narrative and show how the two initially fell madly in love until both parallel tales meet at opposite ends. Young love is often idealistic and ‘in the moment’ where the worries of reality are far from your mind. We see a twenty-something Dean discussing love at first sight with a co-worker and lo and behold, that’s what happens when he meets Cindy—or at least that’s what he wants himself to think. Love can cause people to act in an irrational manner, something that I have experienced. Initially, it feels fresh and exciting; you can’t bear to be away from each other. One of the most poignant scenes is when Dean plays his ukulele and sings in a goofy manner while Cindy tap-dances along. They end up laughing. Their sexual encounters are passionate and at one point, they even do the deed in public! The cracks begin to show once Cindy realizes that she is pregnant from a previous boyfriend, although this is never made explicitly clear and we only assume. Dean makes the decision to rush into marriage, something not to be taken lightly. After watching this film, I wouldn’t be surprised if you exclaimed that you don’t want to get married. When they finally make it official at the courthouse, they are excited to start their lives and live ‘happily ever after.’ Their happiness proves temporary. Six or so years later, whatever love they had seems to be extinguished. Dean lacks ambition and finds simple fulfillment in being a husband and father, refusing to grow. Cindy is bitter about being forced to give up her dreams of becoming a doctor. The two were never compatible to begin with. “Blue Valentine” feels like a cautionary tale of rushing into major life decisions without any forethought. When Dean sings the Ink Spots’ “You Always Hurt the One You Love,” it’s prophetic of the hard times to come.
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The film’s focus is always on Gosling and Williams and they rise to the challenge with excellent performances. There are a lot of raw emotions on display, but hate is
After watching this film, I wouldn’t be surprised if you exclaimed that you don’t want to get married
not among them. When the two argue, it’s more a sense of weariness. Both are selfish, but not unsympathetic. Dean is willing to do anything to stay together, regardless of whether Cindy wants to or not. Cindy just wants to give up, tired of all the petty fights. The parallel narrative of how they met and how they drift apart show that the two are still the same people, but how they relate to each other has radically changed in the intervening years. “Blue Valentine” had a limited release in New York and Lost Angeles on December 29, 2010, playing in only four theaters and has expanded with each weekend. Reviews have been overwhelmingly positive with 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics found this ‘emotionally gripping examination of a marriage on the rocks isn’t always easy to watch, but Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling give performances of unusual depth and power.’ Initially, I wasn’t even aware of this film as there had been no real marketing push, likely due to The Weinstein Company’s financial troubles. It was only after it received an NC17 (reversed on appeal) that I learned of the film. The sex and nudity are what you see in other R-rated films but the MPAA is plagued with hypocrisy and double standards. I was surprised by the large turnout when I viewed the film, though the audience skewed ages 20 and up. Box office wise, it has made approximately $2 million against a $1 million production budget. “Blue Valentine” is depressing and you’ll be hard-pressed not to shed a tear or two. The ending is open but there’s no real sense
Rated: R (Strong Graphic Sexual Content, Language, and a Beating) Running Time: 1 Hour & 52 Minutes Cast: Ryan Gosling - Dean Michelle Williams - Cindy Faith Wladyka - Frankie John Doman - Jerry Mike Vogel - Bobby Marshall Johnson - Marshall Jen Jones - Gramma Maryann Plunkett - Glenda James Benatti - Jamie Barbara Troy - Jo Carey Westbrook - Charley Ben Shenkman - Dr. Feinberg Eileen Rosen - Mimi Directed by: Derek Cianfrance
of hope. ‘The cumulative experience leaves an aftertaste that, although not bitter, is too strong to be easily washed
away. That’s the mark of a worthwhile motion picture’ ( James Berardinelli, ReelViews). 43 \ theSCENE \ WAREZ-BB.ORG
Movies & Music
5 To Watch
Review By: Design By: Surferdud3
I hope to do this regularly, pick 5 songs that I absolutely love at the moment and let you in on them. They could be old, new, or unreleased. I’m mainly interested in the dance spectrum of music, but I’ll include other genres, should anything pop up that I like. Here’s the first edition. I’ve made a rule that I’ll not involve any deadmau5 tracks, since his latest release was reviewed in the last issue. I really started to enjoy good old fashioned dub plates again over the past few months, so I’ll include one of them, along with a new hit from Example, and some other epic tunes. In no particular order: 1)
“26 Basslines”- Benga.
“Love Like a Sunset”- Phoenix.
Here’s an Alternative to finish off. I had never heard Phoenix before this, so maybe I’ve missed out on a bandwagon, but it was a little jewel to brighten up any shit days. It starts off with a clearly minimalist addition melody, but with a deep synth supporting it. It’s like it can’t decide whether it’s an electro-pop or acoustic track. It builds and builds, up to a point where you beg it to play its piece. When it finally drops, you are treated to two minutes of vocals before it slowly fades away, well, just wow. I love it; very clever and entrancing. I hope you give a few of these a listen. I enjoy them, so maybe you will to. I’m always open to suggestions regarding music, so if there’s anything you think I should be introduced to; leave a comment/PM me.
A quality tune from one third of Magnetic Man. Benga really pioneered the beginning of UK Dubstep and this track taken from his artist album, Diary of an Afro Warrior, showcases what the sound is all about, wobbly bass, dirty beats, and a sweet rhythm.
“Shot Yourself In The Foot Again”- Skream & Example. 2)
Another third of Magnetic Man here, this slightly more mainstream Dubstep track was released as a free download in midJanuary. It has a chilling feel with the bells used in the intro, before dropping into a trademark Skream sound; it grew on me immensely. Example’s voice is also growing on me; mixing rap with electro was risky, but it’s definitely paid off for him.
“Demented” [Or Just Crazy]- Tres Demented. 3)
Tres Demented are a duo of Carl Craig and Laurent Garnier, both prominent Detroit techno producers. This track, definitely an oldie, has a menacing vocal pattern that builds all the way up to the drop, and a repetitive, yet catchy drum beat, which gradually adds a melody added to it. More than three minutes into the song, when the kick drum finally enters, you’re so transfixed by the vocals you don’t even notice it. It is a strangely beautiful track, well worth a listen. 4)
“Sleepwalker”- Chris Lake.
I said no deadmau5, but mau5trap’s label is OK. Chris Lake is a very talented producer, mainly involved in the electro house scene, signed to mau5trap. This, his latest release is, well, I can’t really describe it without saying the word pounding repetitively, so that’s basically what it is, and relentless. With a nice slow breakdown to confuse you. Movies & Music
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deadmau5 4x4=12 Review
Text by: druid101 Layout by: dingo_d
waited patiently for two months, from the date it was announced to the date it was released, refusing to buy any of the promotional singles, and trying not to listen to the songs on YouTube in full. As you can probably guess, I’m a bit of a deadmau5 nut. I’m talking, of course, about his latest album, 4x4=12. It’s been just over a year since For Lack Of a Better Name hit the shops, and now Zimmerman has released this, what I believe is his best work thus far. For once, an album has no ‘let-down’ tracks or space fillers. Each tune is completely different, deserving, on occasion, an individual review of its own. Starting with “Some Chords”, a track with a mellow build up leaving first-time listeners unsure of what to expect, followed by a disjointed-sounding electro bassline, which was clearly a good choice. Then, deadmau5 introduces the vocals of upcoming talent SOFI with “Sofi Needs a Ladder”, a techno themed deep layered track that punches throughout its whole. “Paco Di Bango’s World”, a remix of an Orlando Voorn song that couldn’t beat Voorn’s copyright follows next, now named “A City in Florida” and missing the distinct vocals of its predecessor. Nevertheless, it is an excellent electro track, and a clever pun with the name. Take that, Mr. Orlando. “Bad Selection”, the next song, has the best drop on the entire album, followed by a relentless drum beat that shows no sign of letting up at all.
SOFI again, and a much heavier, all-Dubstep song, the shortest on the album. Finally, “Everything Before” is a golden oldie, released back in 2007, but not when he was big enough. This new edit is quite menacing and dirty, and a brilliant choice to finish the album. It’s his best album—there’s no doubt in my mind. Nothing to fault and I have it going round on repeat all the time. It’s also an excellent introduction to my favourite artist at the moment, so give it a go. Finally, if you want to buy the album, I recommend iTunes, as the LP comes free with five videos of him performing live at Brixton academy, which allows you to see what all the hype regarding his live show is about.
“Animal Rights” is, in my opinion, the song that made Zimmerman’s fan base sit back up and take note. A collaboration with electro house wiz Wolfgang Gartner, so you know it’ll be good and it doesn’t disappoint. Best listened to loudly. Next is the the only remix on the album, “I Said (Michael Woods Remix)”. Woods is a producer currently signed to mau5trap, and this moody rework of a Deadmau5/Chris Lake tune is rather brilliant. Every deadmau5 album always has a long track on it, and “Cthulhu Sleeps” is no exception. If you don’t have a subwoofer, don’t bother. It relies very heavily on the bassline, and has an epic breakdown in the middle. Moving into the final part of the album, we come to “Right This Second”, formerly “Moonlight Sonata Esque”. It’s a very ambient track with beautiful chords, and an amazing intro, followed by a kick-ass drum beat. “Raise Your Weapon” is certainly the best track on the album, with a twist. It begins with a clearly deadmau5 progressive tune, filled with vocals courtesy of Greta Svabo Bech, but then, four minutes in, we hear deadmau5’s first foray into Dubstep, and it doesn’t disappoint. This is followed by “One Trick Pony”, featuring 45 \ theSCENE \ WAREZ-BB.ORG
Movies & Music
999: Nine Doors, Nine Persons, Nine Hours Developed by Aksys Games Released for Nintendo DS
Review By: BlueMaxima Design By: Surferdud3
he first time that I heard of 999 I was intrigued by the concept since I’d not read about the story, but then it escaped me until I happened to find it sitting on a random torrent site a little less than two weeks after its launch. Remembering the name, and how I was interested in it, I downloaded it; wondering what I would find. Two hours later I had the game on my flash cart and started it up-I spent the whole night playing it.
and clues to help you escape a room or advance through an area. These puzzles are generally simple to complete; you shouldn’t need to spend more than 100 taps/twenty minutes on a single puzzle.
Nine Doors, Nine Persons, Nine Hours is a Japanese visual novel translated into 99.9% perfect English (if you’re unlike me and don’t notice extremely tiny and unimportant typos, 100%). The game is mainly presented as still backgrounds and art with animated characters. The whole game is conveyed through text – descriptions and such on the bottom screen and speech on the top screen. Use of sound is minimal, but works well. Between the walls of text come several options of actions that you choose – kind of like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, but a little lighter on the choices. The trade-off for this is that each choice you make actually affects the story, which is better than having a million little choices. There are enough differing story paths to warrant at least three play-throughs (there’s another reason to keep playing; I’ll talk about that later).
The magnum opus of 999 is that of its title – not dissimilar to Saw. The story is about nine passengers on board a reconstructed Titanic, completely sealed from the outside so they must find their way through the puzzles and the doors, while time slowly runs out for them. It is fantastically set and told plus it’s suspenseful and the characters are memorable. It makes you want to keep playing. For a DS game, it’s one of the most well done I have seen in a long time. With six different endings, the game can last a long time.
I have one small gripe with the game though. My initial play-through was roughly five and a half hours. My second play-through was about four and a half hours. This was due to the addition of a “skip message” button that made it faster to read everything when you finish the game the first time. Why wasn’t this available the first time around? That’s the only major problem I could find with 999 though – a gripping story, good puzzles and enough to make you want to come back. A must own for lovers of puzzles and heavy readers.
+Fantastic storytelling, multiple endings +Well thought-out puzzles and choices -A little slow for speed-readers Final Rating:
Again, between the choices and walls of text, is a series of “escape the room” puzzles where you have to find specific objects Tech & Games
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Developed by PopCap Games Released for PC (reviewed)
Review By: BlueMaxima Design By: Surferdud3
Well Bejeweled, it’s been six years since we’ve seen a real incarnation of you. Think you can stand up to me? Think you can get me addicted again?
in Bejeweled 3. It’s pretty, sounds beautiful, and the concept is easy enough to play to warrant revisits. Bravo, PopCap. 4.5/5
For those of you who have been living in a cave on Mars or in a different dimension where computers never existed, Bejeweled is a match-3 game. You’re given a board of gems with different colours; matching 3 in a row makes them disappear which gives you points. Getting more than 3 in a row gives you special gems to help your playtime.
Ice Storm is another secret mode. The columns in game are constantly filling up with ice, and you need to match gems over said columns to keep them down and away from the top of the screen. The game is hard, fast-paced, and is not really suited to casual players due to the speed you need to work at. (At least, in my opinion.) 3/5
Bejeweled looks and feels the same as ever – same gems and same board. New backdrops, sound effects, and music definitely turn the game up a notch from Bejeweled 2 and Twist. However, the game uses the same title screen as Bejeweled Blitz. What? The game-play itself hasn’t changed, except the little ability they’ve added that allows gems to be matched while other gems are falling. Sometimes it helps, but sometimes it doesn’t. The game retains its “levelling” system, but it’s based on total score now instead of “stars”. It works better than it did before.
The final mode is Diamond Mine. A game where matching jewels on top of the dirt breaks the dirt, so you have to dig down to a specific line to move onto the next area (and get a time bonus). It’s less difficult than Ice Storm, more difficult than the others, but easy enough to play once you get the hang of it. 3.5/5
The one complaint I have about Bejeweled is base is the fact that there’s no online component to speak of. No online updates, no high score tables, no Facebook integration (i.e. Bejeweled Blitz), nothing. Why did PopCap drop it? With some systems like the medals that show off your progress, it doesn’t mean much if you can’t brag about it online.
Bejeweled 3, even with its problems, is still a success for PopCap; managing to improve a six year old game with several million sales is quite an achievement. If you need something to do for five minutes every now and again, why not grab Bejeweled?
+Slight graphical and sound tune-ups +Several modes to keep a player occupied You have four modes to play at the start, with four extra game modes as you progress along. I’m not sure how else I can describe these +Most of the award-winning gameplay remains untouched modes fairly, so I’m going to review each individual mode in turn. -Some modes feel overly difficult for the casual gamer -No online functionality whatsoever Classic
Zen was originally just an untimed and unlosable Classic, but now it’s so much more – the mode allows you to have the music at the levels you want, an indicator to breathe in or out, positive messages to display on the screen, and even binaural beats. They didn’t work for me, but try it out, it might work for you! 4/5
Lightning is Classic, but you only get 1 minute to start with. You have to earn bonus time by matching Time Gems. This is basically Bejeweled Blitz without the powerups. I liked the powerups. 3/5 Quest is a series of ever-harder challenges based on the actual gamemodes (some you’ll never play outside of Quest itself). While some of the challenges were great fun, some were a chore, and some felt too hard to a casual player like me. Then I found I had run through all the challenges. Shame. 3/5 Poker is one of the secret modes. You match 5 rows of gems and they turn into a poker hand, which earns you points. The mode requires some strategy and is fun for a little while, but it just doesn’t have that brand of addictiveness the other modes have. 3/5 Butterflies is another mode. The idea is to match butterflies to stop them from reaching the top of the screen to get eaten by a spider. Butterflies is, in my opinion, is the best game mode 47 \ theSCENE \ WAREZ-BB.ORG
Tech & Games
Donkey Kong Country Returns Developed by Retro Studios Released for Nintendo Wii
Review By: BlueMaxima Design By: Surferdud3
Having never played the original Donkey Kong Country, I didn’t know what to think when I entered the fray with Donkey Kong on this revival of the (apparently) classic game. Would they do a comparable-with Metroid Prime levels of quality, or a comparable-with Metroid Other M? The game, at its core, is a 2D platformer. You travel through several worlds with Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong (the game has co-op or Diddy Kong straps to your back). The overworld consists of several worlds with several stages (if I say “classic style” once in this review, you are free to hunt me down and shoot me). You move between stages by completing them, with a boss at the end of each world. Simple, right? Every level has 3 “goals” that you can unlock aside from the end game. Find the letters of KONG, find all of the puzzle pieces, and finish the time trial for the level. The KONG letters are generally in sight when you progress through the levels, but the puzzle pieces are usually incredibly well hidden – finding all of them in a level is incredibly difficult on your first run through. The puzzle pieces can keep even the most avid searcher busy for weeks. The time trials…The times to get a gold medal on the time trial runs are so incredibly low; making one mistake will need a stage restart. Perfection is required. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, the game is DIFFICULT. Donkey only starts with two hearts (having Diddy strapped to your back makes four), and some challenges are incredibly difficult to get right .The mine cart level near the end of world one is an example, needing very precise jumps to navigate gaps. It never feels like the game’s cheated you out of succeeding though – a lot (if not all) of the failures can be attributed to a silly move you made or an “OK, I’ll do something different next time” situation. Along with this, dying eight times in a row brings back an old friend from Super Mario Galaxy 2, the Super Kong, who is more than willing to help you out. The game was hovering on “good” for quality presentation (graphics and sound before I hit a specific level. The menus are portrayed as wooden panels, retro and fitting the bill, but the graphics were, let’s just say, “expected”, until I played Sunset Shore in the first level. I was entranced as soon as I entered this level, guiding Donkey Kong’s light black silhouette through the sun rising with a bright flare behind him, I realised the full potential of the game’s graphics, and it just got better from there. The only problem with Donkey Kong Country Returns, in my opinion, is the controls. The game uses the sideways Wii Remote pose with some shaking involved to blow on something, drum the ground, or roll forward. This works for the most part, but sometimes wanting to drum results in rolling forward and going straight off a ledge. Why couldn’t it be mapped to a normal button?
+Enjoyable to the last second +Plenty of collectables +Forgiving difficulty -Controls could be more solid Final Rating:
Nevertheless, DKCR is still a long, difficult, but fun platformer, that’s reminiscent of the old days. Just don’t plan on leaving your house for a few days while you hunt down that one last puzzle piece.
Tech & Games
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Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising Review By: Druid101 Designed By: Surferdud3 I enjoy playing Call of Duty. There, I said it. It’s a fun, fast-paced shooter that doesn’t get old too quickly. Unfortunately, every time I sit down to play it, I think ‘bit unrealistic’. I mean, you have explodable RC cars, guns that lack recoil, and airstrikes at the drop of a hat, like the pilot is magically hovering somewhere. These are the reasons why, when my mate mentioned Flashpoint, I decided to give it a go. I can’t review the multiplayer, because every time I go on it, no one else is there. It must just be that no one actually plays it - I don’t know. The premise of the game is simple. It is meant to be a realistic military simulator, not a competitor in the Call of Duty/Battlefield market. There are two separate squads to play as. One is a simple infantry squad, and the other is a Special Forces squad. With each one comes a set of different missions, but you can’t choose to complete one squad’s story and move on to the other’s- it’s quite linear, you do one mission for the ‘spec ops’, then another for the infantry, and so on. The campaign is averagethe Chinese have invaded a small Russian island, and the Russians have asked the US to get it back. So, you can probably guess the mission structure. The first couple of missions are about invading; the middle lot are about taking control of various locations, and the last few about gaining control of the island. That’s about it. However, it is much more in-depth. You get a sense that every decision you make affects the outcome of the entire conflict, and in effect it does. Do you assault head-on, or take out the anti-aircraft units, giving you access to air support should you need it?
In terms of the gameplay, and this is a bit of a dig at the pillocks who reviewed it badly: it’s meant to be realistic. That means, if you stand up in a field, and run about like a headless chicken, you will be shot and killed. If you fire from the hip, you will be shot and killed. If you don’t hide, you will be shot, et cetera. Bullet damage has been done exceptionally well, one hit in the torso or head is highly likely to kill you, but you might get lucky, and only get glanced, or shot in the limbs. That then creates problems, in that you won’t be able to sprint, or aim properly. This can be fixed by your squad’s medic, providing you’ve looked after him. Within about ten minutes of playing, I realised it was a bit different from Call of Duty, and started playing the whole game as if I was actually being shot at. The diversity of missions is fantastic. In one, as the Special Forces, you have to infiltrate an oil depot without being spotted, plant C4 charges on tankers and the main generator, and get out, hopefully undetected. Then, as the infantry, you lead an anti-tank team in a full-out assault on a 49 \ theSCENE \ WAREZ-BB.ORG
Chinese-controlled airfield, and when you have gained control, you have to call in close air support and shoot down an attack helicopter. Because it’s realistic the air support doesn’t arrive immediately- you do however hear the dialogue between you and the pilot, which is quite good fun.
Unfortunately, there are two fairly major problems with the game. The AI of the enemy is amazing, whereas the squad you control leaves a lot to be desired. They never cease to amaze me, and my personal favourite was- I ask them to suppress an area, and they did. Then, they must have gotten bored, because one of them decided to stop, stand up, and got shot in the head. His mates then threw grenades into the wall they were facing. It happens very rarely, but it does annoy you, especially since even on the easiest difficulty, checkpoints are scarce. My second major gripe is that Codemasters basically lie on the box. They claim ‘A vast, 220sq km environment, waiting to be explored’. You can’t go off-route that much in the missions. There was no free-roam. They also claimed ‘Over 70 authentic weapons and vehicles’, but you can’t use all of them. In the main story, you cannot fly an attack helicopter or drive an Abrams tank. The dismay this caused the public meant they had to release DLC, but this all sets you back 800 MS Points (free on PC). Nevertheless, the DLC did include new missions in which you could free roam, or drive a tank, or fly a helicopter. And that’s fun. So, in conclusion, it’s a fantastically different shooter that leaves you gripping your controller tightly, praying for fire support and hoping the enemy isn’t flanking you. There is a great selection of missions, which don’t lose much replay value since you can attempt them with different methods. The graphics are some of the best on the Xbox 360, with vast open landscapes and huge draw distances. It just seems sad that the features originally promised were not included. I thoroughly recommend this for anyone wanting to try something just a little bit different.
Final Rating: *only because you have to go through a bit of extra effort to get all the features.
Tech & Games
Poker Night at the Inventory Developed by Telltale Games Released for PC (reviewed)
Review By: BlueMaxima Design By: Surferdud3
The premise of Poker Night at the Inventory is simple enough- you’re the fifth player in a game of poker along with four internet “celebrities” – Max from Sam and Max, Strong Bad, the Heavy from Team Fortress 2 and Tycho from Penny Arcade. Let me tell you this, the interactions between these characters alone is worth the (incredibly low) price of admission. The game is Texas Hold ‘Em, which is a classic form of poker (I’m not explaining it to keep the review short). There’s no other forms of poker here – no five card stud or draw, or Omaha. All you get are Max, Heavy, Strong, and Tycho – no one else to play against. While this is understandable, it would be cool to get some more content in the future, like more game types or characters; however, this is still a good selection of personalities, and generally a good game to base them on. The presentation in the menu is minimalistic and in-game is simple, with the ability to switch your card decks and table skin. If you get busted and decide to watch, in every hand you’ll see a little “underthe-table” cam which is pretty cool. The one problem I had is, other than the player’s viewpoint and the general acknowledgement of the player by the characters, you never see the player actually do anything, which, when compared to the four characters, feels like it’s missing. The characters are represented well, and the graphics are good and scalable (you might actually be able to play this on a netbook with luck). Also, the sound is nice and ambient, only being used when actually needed, providing a great atmosphere. The definite best part of the game though, is the interaction between the characters. Every now and again (and you can up this in the options to make it occur every few hands) the characters will launch into a mini-conversation that you watch while the hand plays out. Most of these are downright hilarious, but a fair share requires knowledge of previous telltale games or the character. Nevertheless, you can still get a great laugh out of everybody, including Tycho’s new voice, which suits his personality (he’s such a dark character in the corner of the table); or Max, who appears to be totally insane; Strong Bad is as mean as he ever was; or the Heavy, a foreign war machine who doesn’t seem to understand our ways (and manages to make it funny). Unfortunately, there’s only a few hours worth of this dialogue – it will get old, but still good to listen to a few times. Other little things like being able to change the difficulty of players from normal (which act as their characters would seem to if they were to actually play poker) to hard (you’ll get whooped by competent gamblers), and having exclusive items to be won if you knock out a specific player when they put up their merchandise make Poker Night a good package for the casual internet or poker fan.
+Hilariously funny +Solid gameplay +Fantastic price -Slight lack of content Final Rating:
The best part? Anywhere that you live, it’s less than a fiver.
Tech & Games
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IN CELEBRATION OF INDIE The Best of the Steam Indie Sales - Part One written by BLuemaxima designed by prendy
During the Steam sales back in November/December there were thirty games put into several daily “bundles” of five each for six days. I played through all thirty. I now present my top five games from those sales.
. Starting with number 5- Beat Hazard: Barely beating out Audiosurf for
this spot. Its combination of dual-stick shooting and bright visuals makes it a good recommendation, but be careful you don’t go blind from the patterns.
Staying out of the cardboard box at number 1- Recettear, an Item Shop’s Tale: It’s a perfect blend of RPG gaming and store mechanics. It’s worth every penny, you’ll want to come back to it again and again, plus it’s cuter than a rabbit.
. Making me dizzy at number 4- And Yet It Moves: With its charming
pencil-on-paper presentation and clever gravity- based puzzles, which left me in a tizzy. Unfortunately the playtime ran a little short.
Surely that’s not all I could recommend? Of course not! Here are some of my other recommendations that didn’t make my top five. Breaking a nuclear box apart, Shatter is a creative pong clone, with different modes, bosses, and power-ups, with a bitching graphical style. The bonus stages are enough to drive people insane though.
. Building as high as it can at number 3- World of Goo: It has plenty of
puzzles which require thinking in terms of building your way home using as few globs as possible. Collecting as many of them as you can to build up in World of Goo Corporation is a great side-game.
Riding the music wave, Audiosurf has been around for nearly three years now, but that doesn’t mean it’s aged badly – it’s still quite fun to play, especially since updates have tuned it quite well (excuse the pun). Growing laser-shooting spores, Eufloria is a charmingly, pretty, strategy game where you spread your plants from one asteroid to another to defend against a virus – it’s science fiction and plants at the same time, who would’ve thought it was possible? Fighting the space crocodiles, Flotilla is space combat strategy across a randomly generated galaxy, where every thirty seconds you give your ships new orders in combat. The difficulty in the galaxies could be toned down a little, though, to help me hold onto my sanity.
. Going out of this dimension in number 2- VVVVV: Its Commodore
64 tunes, graphics, and gameplay treads just under Super Meat Boy’s difficulty level. It’s something that you can’t stop playing.
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And my final recommendation is Altitude; fun 2D aerial dogfights (along with a wide selection of other fun game modes) with intelligent AI bots are enough to keep the game engaging (just pray you have local net servers).
Tech & Games
Little Big Planet 2
Genre: Platformer Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Developer: Media Molecule Release date: 18 january (us) 21 JANUARY (UK)
WRITTEN BY BLUEMAXIMA DESIGNED BY PRENDY
ittle BigPlanet was a great game when it first came out. The campaign was fun and the possibilities of the editing engine were nearly endless. Now there is “ LittleBigPlanet 2,” the sequel, which claims you can make an infinite number of games from the foundations it provides. Does it follow through on that promise? One of the first things that you’ll notice about LBP2’s new campaign is it is epic in scale. A battle between Sackboy and his friends against “The Negativitron” has many different types of levels and bosses to play. It includes isolated minigames and the typical versus/score/survival challenges. There’s also the random co-op areas scattered throughout the campaign .The summary- there’s a good bit of value for the money here, even if you don’t plan to go online. The online levels – while there are already 3.3 million levels backported from the first LBP, there are new levels based off LBP2’s engine as well, showing off a lot of what can be done – top-down shooter, tower defense, (incredibly) detailed racetracks, it’s all here and playable. The selection is mostly the old levels, but since Media Molecule updates “their picks” for the greatest levels regularly, you’ll always see the best stuff there. A lot of the game is customizable – your Sackboy has plenty of accessories to begin with, but once you progress through the levels grabbing prize bubbles, this will balloon to a huge number of costumes. Sackboy can look like nearly anything you desire. You can also customize your hub world, your “Moon” for storing your created levels and your “Earth” for showing your levels off. The level creation tools come with a list of just over 50 tutorials to help you get started. There’s a lot to learn, but everything Tech & Games
is covered as well as you can expect for such a large toolset. Stephen Fry provides excellent narration with a good serving of humor, but it’s not likely your children will understand every joke he makes. Your knowledge of the toolset, after the extensive tutorial, should be more than enough to create your own masterpiece. Unfortunately, even with all the great parts of LBP2, there’s one area where the whole game comes crashing down- the online co-op is broken. There were many errors while trying to get into the different levels with co-op. I’d say out of fifty tries that twenty percent were “timed out” errors, twenty percent resulted in an “infinite loading bar” glitch where the level never loaded, the remainder were “(name) has refused to let you join their game.” There is a button that says “Press me if you want to play by yourself ”, but people don’t press it, and kick people out of their game because they don’t want to play with anyone else. A game where you can kick people like that has a giant failure in its design. “LittleBigPlanet 2” came so close to topping everything that its prequel had accomplished, but the broken online co-op brought it down faster than an anvil on a Looney Tunes’ character’s head. In my opinion you should only buy this game if you plan to play it offline, by yourself or with a physical friend; otherwise you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
+ Intelligently designed and fun campaign + Incredibly extensive creation tools + Fun co-op sections…if you play locally - Online play is fundamentally broken
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SUPER MEAT BOY
DEVELOPED BY TEAM MEAT RELEASED FOR 360/PC (REVIEWED) WRITTEN BY BLUEMAXIMA DESIGNED BY PRENDY
eat and saws seem like such a good combination, don’t they? Trust me, while you might love them separate now, you may come to hate them together.
Super Meat Boy is a “retro” platform game created by Team Meat, based off an older game with the same style they put on Newgrounds, Meat Boy. The game is, again, retro with only two buttons other than your movement keys (sprint and jump), and the whole game takes a blocky aesthetic with 8-bit music filling the soundtrack void. I have nothing but praise for the presentation itself – it’s simple and it works fine. Not to mention the cut scenes do tend to be quite funny. It’s quite hard to use the keyboard as a controller (the game actually warns you during the intro to use a gamepad), but it would’ve been appreciated to make it easier to use the keyboard. My fingers still hurt from the movements they’ve had to make. The idea of the game is to rescue Bandage Girl from a series of worlds, Mario-ish style. Basically platform game levels with get from A to B mentality, there are a lot of secrets to find, like bandages used to unlock new characters, and warp zones which can unlock characters or give you that little bit extra challenge (retro zones only give you 3 lives each stage).
My fingers still hurt from the movements they’ve had to make.
The main drawback of the game would have to be its backbreaking difficulty – you can spend hundreds of lives on one stage just trying to pass one obstacle, then dying on another obstacle in the same level then having to go through it all again. Retro zones are even worse – you only get three lives per stage to get through three stages, lose all your lives and you’re back to the first stage. Unfortunately, there are a few technical hiccups that made the game nearly unplayable for me – random frame rate drops, freezes, and crashes have all been in my copy of the game. They say updates are coming, but there have been plenty already, so why am I still getting these issues?
+ Look and sound is up to scratch + Very clever level design - Keyboard can’t be used as controller effectively - Random technical issues make the game harder to play… - …on top of the extreme difficulty.
To sum up, Super Meat Boy is arguably one of the most difficult games available today, unfortunately with some of that difficulty coming from technical errors. I’d give this game my full recommendation, if only they’d fix the bugs.
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Tech & Games
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theSCENE Thank you for reading theSCENE issue 24. We look forward to seeing you again next time! Donâ€™t forget to check out www.readthescene.org