Wednesday, January 18, 2017

January Playthrough: Mass Effect 3

In preparation for the release of Mass Effect: Andromeda in March, I've recently started my first playthrough of Mass Effect 3 in years. The last time I ran through it was on my old X-Box 360. So yes, it's been quite some time now. 

The Mass Effect series has always held a special place on my list of greatest games of all-time, and has always had a rather bittersweet feeling. I've played ME1 more times than I can recall, and I've played ME2 quite religiously for over a year after it's initial release, then again just before the release of ME3. I can't even begin to recall the countless hours I've spent ensuring my Suicide Mission completed with zero casualties. Or even just how terrible I was at being a Renegade when it came to the hard choices. Paragon Shepard won almost every time...

When it came to Mass Effect 3, I always had a love/hate relationship with the game, for many different reasons. I can honestly recall only playing it in it's entirety twice. The first time, playing the ending a few different times to see the outcomes, then once more before moving on. 

This was before the Extended Cut was released, and by then I had moved on to something else and put it off pretty much indefinitely. Don't get me wrong, I loved the gameplay, and the story was, I'd like to say; beautifully tragic. But there was just something missing for me, and I never really got over it, hence the moving on so quickly.

Over the weekend, I downloaded the Extended Cut to ME3 to my new gaming laptop and decided to give it a chance, hoping to rediscover my past love for the series. I plan to take my time with the game, and just let it all settle back in, while I relive the final moments of Commander John Shepard and the crew of the Normandy, one last time.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Most Anticipated Films of 2017


With the arrival of the new year, a film junkie (no pun intended) such as myself needs to look ahead and make a list of my most anticipated films of the year. Being a STAR WARS fanatic, my sights are already set on the upcoming Episode VIII in December. But that's December, just under a year away. In the meantime, lets take a look at the obvious picks, as well as some noteworthy mentions.

Most Anticipated:
-----------------------------
The Lego Batman Movie: 02/10 - When I first saw the trailer for "The Lego Movie", I instantly reverted to my childhood state. I saw a piece of nostalgia and a fun time at the cinema. When I walked out of that theater, I found myself both surprised and amazed that it ended up being even better than I had hyped it up to be. I'm definitely looking forward to this one.

John Wick 2: 02/10 - "John Wick" was a pleasant surprise for me. I didn't even have it on my radar until a good three weeks after it's release. I was terribly disappointed in myself for waiting that long to see it, as it turned out to be an action-packed thrill ride from start to finish. This time around, I plan to see this opening weekend.

Logan: 03/03 - This one is going to be a bittersweet finale for me. Logan will mark the departure of Huge Jackman's portrayal of what has become one of the most iconic comic book adapted characters ever, Wolverine. I was there when he first extended his adamantium claws in the very first "X-Men" trailer. Now, sadly, I will be there when he extends his claws for the last time.

Kong: Skull Island: 03/10 - Originally, Kong barely made my Noteworthy Mentions list, but over the last several months, I've come to actually look forward to it's release for several reasons. I'm interested to see where they take this story, and how it will fit into the Gareth Edwards' "Godzilla" franchise, I'm excited to see the collaboration of Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, Tom Hiddleston, Brie larson and John C. Reilly, and I'm actually excited to see what appears to be the largest Kong to date, but largest for obvious reasons.

Beauty and the Beast; 03/10 - Umm, it's a live-action adaptation of "Beauty and the Beast"... one of my childhood addictions, I don't need to explain myself further. Move along...

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2: 05/05 - I cannot express enough how happy I was with the first Guardians, it was such a change from the usual Marvel titles, and a great combination of character chemistry, action sequences and overall Rocket Raccoon fuckery. I cannot wait for Vol. 2 to be released, it's sure to be one hell of a ride.

Wonder Woman: 06/02 - I need this one to be great. Not just good, not just decent, but great. "Man of Steel" was okay, "Batman v Superman" was awful and "Suicide Squad" was only half decent. I'm very disappointed in the universe and series of films that Zach Snyder" is giving us, and a complete overhaul is needed here. Here's hoping that "Wonder Woman" can pull it off.

Spider-Man: Homecoming: 07/07 - One thing I came out of "Civil War" just floored by was the performance of one Tom Holland as not only Peter Parker, but an actually awesome Spider-Man! While I loved Toby McGuire's iconic performance, I never really felt he got the role of Peter Parker right. He didn't have that charismatic nature about him, and almost felt depressed most of the time. With Holland, he pretty much owned me with just a short appearance in "Civil War", as he pulled off an amazing Spider-Man (pun intended), as well as a very true to form Peter Parker. Side Note: Fuck Andrew Garfield's Spider-Man...

War for the Planet of the Apes: 07/14 - They blew me away with "RISE", they floored me with 'DAWN", I have no doubt that I'll be genuinely blow away with "WAR". Andy Serkis truly is one of the greatest actors you'll never see, and he continues to deliver remarkable performances playing characters in an ever expanding computer-generated world. The quality only seems to get better with each film, and the story is always emotionally gripping.

Dunkirk: 07/21 - Christopher Nolan delivers, and he delivers well. With "Dunkirk", Nolan gives us another WWII tale, but with a fresh angle and setting. The story of the battle/evacuation of Dunkirk is both heroic and heart-pounding to say the least. I am very interested in seeing his take on it, as well as the visual effects that will no doubt pull you into the story.

The Dark Tower: 07/28 - I grew up with Stephen King. I've read more of his novels than I have most authors, save for one or two that I'm ashamed to admit (I never read IT or The Mist), I grew up watching countless films and mini-series' time and time again. The fact that we are getting two King adaptations this year is really exciting to say the least. I'm interested to see how "The Dark Tower" turns out. Katheryn Winnick is a Goddess and Warrior, and I can't wait to see her. Add her with Idris Elba and Mathew McConaughey to the mix, and I'm there!

Stephen King's IT: 09/08 - Same as above, I'm very excited to see this, but maybe a little more than I am with "The Dark Tower", mainly because recently I finally got around to watching the original "IT" for the first time only after my brother talked me into it. I'm ashamed to say I called myself a King fan never really giving this classic a chance in either book or film form. The first images of Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise looks terrifyingly delightful.

Blade Runner 2049: 10/06 - Harrison Ford should shoot me, just blast me away like he did Greedo. I only watched "Blade Runner" for the first time just 1 short year ago. I've lived on this Earth as a Sci-Fi fan for 33 years of my life, and I've only just seen "Blade Runner" for the first time last year. Note: my version was The Final Cut version. Anyway, I am looking forward to this very much.

Thor: Ragnarok: 11/03 - What I enjoyed most about the "Thor" films were all of the scenes off of Earth, hilariously enough. I loved seeing Asgard, as the lore, architecture and feel just felt nice. Odd thing to focus on, but it's really the only reason why I enjoyed "Thor: The Dark World" so much. I really hope we get more of that here, as I find the stories off-world to be more intriguing in his films. Apologies Natalie Portman, I don't mean to leave you absent from this, like Marvel has lately.

Star Wars: Episode VIII: 12/15 - "The Force Awakens" turned me into a giddy little child, three times in a row, then twice after that. "Rogue One" made me realize that the goody two-shoes of the Rebellion actually had a darker more shady side to them, and made me respect a classic like "A New Hope" even more than I had all my life, growing up. I need to express just how excited I am to know that every year for the foreseeable future, I am going to be graced with a brand new STAR WARS film. Knowing this just overwhelms the fanatic in me to no end.

Pitch Perfect 3: 12/22 - It's Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp and Rebel Wilson in their most cutest, adorable roles to date. I absolutely love this franchise, I absolutely love Anna Kendrick and Brittany Snow, they are just amazing together and play off each other so damn well. And the songs, my stupid iPod has some of their songs on my top 100 playlist, it gets so much play. I'm ready to end my movie going year with them, for sure!


Noteworthy Mentions:
-----------------------------
The Founder: 01/20 - 
The Space Between Us: 02/03 - 
A Cure for Wellness: 02/17 - 
Ghost in the Shell: 03/31 - 
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword: 05/12 - 
Alien: Covenant: 05/19 - 
The Mummy: 06/09 - 
Kingsman: The Golden Circle: 06/16 - 
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets: 07/21 - 
Justice League: 11/17 - 
Darkest Hour: 11/24 - 
Jumanji (2017): 12/22.


In closing, as you can see, I have failed to list two obvious mainstream releases for good reason. First being I am just fucking DONE with these "Fast & Furious" installments. They were too much before, they are way too much now. I enjoyed the last one and idiotically thought "this is a nice send off, he was a great guy and I liked this little send off, what a nice way to end the series"... boy was I wrong. I'm done with the franchise, sorry. Second being just how many times do we need to see Jack Sparrow get into mediocre adventures before we say; "you know what? maybe we should just stop." I am in no way, shape or form interested in seeing another "Pirates of the Caribbean" film. 

Monday, January 2, 2017

2016: My Year in Review

We rate a year by how much prosperity it brings us, by how much happiness we retain, by how much positive impact it has on us. We take stock, remember the good times, and also remember the bad. How much we lost, how much we failed, how much negativity affected us. How was our work life? How was our Personal life? Did we lose someone special? Did we witness a terrible act? Did we survive, whilst others didn't? Suddenly our look back doesn't feel so good, our proud and shining moments begin to fade away, and we're left with a sense of dread and discouragement.

It's easy to forget all of the good that's happened to you over the course of a year when you only focus on the bad moments. That sense of dread... it's one hell of a mother fucker to shake, once it grabs hold. And it doesn't help in the slightest when the media broadcasts it 24 hours a day just to get viewers. I cannot express how disgusted I am with national media these days. The same goes for fake news sites that spread false information just to screw with your head and make you believe whatever they want. Whenever I see a story with even one questionable fact now, I denounce the entire article and move on. I can't believe anything anymore.

But I digress. Regardless of what happens in a year, good or bad, it's easy to focus all of your emotions on just one particular aspect and forget about the other. Looking back at 2016; I think I came though it pretty good, save for a few failures and falls here and there. I started out 2016 working towards something that I managed to achieve with great pride and confidence, and managed to come out very prosperous in the end. A new venture, a new setting, a new look on my life in general. I count my blessings, take stock in all I have accomplished, and all that I have gained, and I sit here ready to take on the year that lies ahead.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

A Hopefully "Happy" New Year, 2017!

It's finally upon us! 2017 has arrived! And with that, I wish all of you a very Happy New Year! I know a lot of people has had a rather terrible time throughout the course of 2016, and while there has been some pretty awful moments, lets take the time to focus on all of the good times and happy moments with friends, family, loved ones, or just in your personal life.

I can honestly say that this has been an amazing night for me, and a rare New Years Eve spent free of personal drama or health issues. Had a blast learning new customs and cultures I never knew about before, got to experience the wonders of Tokyo and had the amazing honor of spending this night with some truly awesome people. The people of Shibuya are some pretty awesome people.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

"To me, she's royalty." Carrie Fisher - 1956-2016


I think I'd like to start off at the beginning... a long time ago, in a galaxy far away... I can remember my first film I ever truly remember watching, STAR WARS. I remember taking those first steps onto Han Solo's ship with Ben Kenobi and just being so excited to experience the adventures with them as they set off to find the Princess and defeat the Empire. I owned every toy I could possibly manipulate my parents into buying for me, and spent countless nights recreating iconic moments with myself in the mix. Yes, no shame here, I grew up a STAR WARS fanatic, and 'til this day, I am proud to be one!

So it was with a heavy heart that I had to learn of the now fatal heart-attack of my beloved Princess Leia Organa, Carrie Fisher. I remember in those moments after hearing that her also now passed mother, Debbie Reynolds saying that Carrie was in "stable condition", I felt a sense of relief for Carrie. Then waking up the next day to news that she passed away hitting me like a ton of bricks, I just felt this sense of loss. I know it's hard to explain, I didn't know her personally, I never had the privilege of meeting her in person, yet here I was overcome with grief for a person I basically grew up idolizing for not only her iconic character, but also for her overwhelming bravery in her openness regarding mental illness, and her fight against it.

Her death also prompted me to take a look back at every other iconic figure I've grown up with passing away over the years. I will never again hear a new Michael Jackson song, nor will I ever have the chance to hear the amazing Whitney Houston's stunning vocals. I will never see a new Dennis Hopper film, or a Philip Seymour-Hoffman film, nor will I see Prince or David Bowie perform... And now, I'll never see the amazing Leia Organa-Solo beyond Episode VIII. These death's may seem trivial to some as they are just celebrities. And while most of them are, and just mean little to us, it's the ones we grew up with, the ones that influenced our lives as we evolved, as we changed, as we became men and women, its these iconic figures that help shape us.

I will miss Carrie Fisher, as I will miss many other icons of my generation, as they pass on into memory, into history. 2016 didn't take away these people, time is the true fickle beast here, and it knows no mercy. It'll come for us all some day...

Friday, October 21, 2016

Logan - Official Teaser Trailer



Most of the time when I sit down to view a new movie trailer, my moods range from Overwhelmingly Excited to Extremely Disappointed. So it was a rarity to feel something completely different when watching the teaser trailer for "Logan" for the first time.

The moment the teaser ended I felt an incredible sadness rush over me. The Wolverine I've come to know and love was an old man, weaker and broken. His hair is grey, his body scared and finally showing its age. He was a far cry from the Hugh Jackman I've spent more than 16 years getting to know.

He's not only spent these long years embodying the iconic role of Wolverine, he's spent it growing and evolving into the memorable hero we all come to love. And just seeing him like that, felt really sad. These are Hugh Jackman's last days in shoes of an X-Man.

Another emotionally draining aspect of this teaser was the last legs that the legendary Charles Xavier seemed to be standing on, so to speak. He seemed so frail and brittle. It was very hard seeing Patrick Stewart that way. Professor X and Logan together in their final days, brilliance.

The setting, the rugged terrain, the characters and cast, the overall atmosphere of "Logan" is just extremely well done and will make for one hell of a final ride... final, I hate having to say that word so much here. It just feels sad really, knowing that this is the end of our journey with the Wolverine. It feels like we're letting go of apart of ourselves.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Has it Really Been a Year?

...just over a year has passed since I last bothered to log into my blog and share my bland thoughts with my entire base of non-existent readers. A lot has happened since then, some things to be happy about, some things to be sad about, and a lot of things to be angry and frustrated about. Pretty much the every day life of your average human being stuck in a thin, yet indestructible bubble of bullshit and drama. Yeah, basically that. So lets see, what to talk about;

My best friend in the whole world and most remarkable dog I've ever had passed away. His name was Gizmo and he was a beautiful golden brown and light black Pekingese that had the friskiness and youthfulness of a puppy right up until his final days. He was always able to cause vast amounts of trouble right before making us melt from his puppy-dog eyes. He passed away on May 31st, 2013 after 14 and a half amazing years with us. I miss ya mate!

Medical shitfest ensued as well since my last keystroke. I spent most of December and half of January 2014 with a terrible chest infection that just wouldn't go away, that gave me constant headaches and made me feel like shit for what should have been a happy time of year, I finally get over it for two months only to get sick again from some idiot that passed it to me in March, and spent another week getting better, only to get a relapse in mid April. Fun, right?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Short Review: Star Trek: Into Darkness

Oh my god, where do I begin? I am at a complete loss for words here. I mean, this film... it was just amazing...ly horrible. The terrible plot, the numerous inconsistencies, the historical villain turned side character, the boyfriend issues (again?) the mutha fucking Trans-Warp Engine!!!

How do I begin when there are just so many things wrong with this film to even suggest that it be called "Star Trek"? Well, I guess I'll try to stay on track and list the problems where I found them. I promise to be brief, because this is of course, a short review...
  1. The Enterprise is NOT a submarine. No matter how much J.J. Abrams wants to believe it is. Spaceships and Submarines are built differently for two very big reasons. Space does not have water, and spaceships aren't built to withstand the depths of an ocean.
  2. Again, we live in an alternate universe where Starfleet is clearly a defenseless entity of the Federation, due to the fact that though more militarized, it still cannot defend it's own officers from a surprise enemy attack (i.e. Godfather: Part III massacre).
  3. Harrison/Khan is able to transport himself from Earth to Qo'noS (again, NOT Kronos), by using Scotty's Trans-Warp device, thus making starships ineffective, logic seem worthless and the story plot just a little more idiotic.
  4. Admiral Marcus, if you're going to build a completely secret starship made solely for war, please be a little bit smarter and take that fucking model off your desk. It can't be a secret starship if you have a model displayed in the open!
  5. Remember a quote from Enterprise? "Four days there, four days back." Well, apparently time does not matter in Abrams' Trek, because they're able to reach Qo'noS in under a few hours. And then make it back to Earth in even less time! Ridiculous!
  6. In less than a year of Vulcan's destruction, Admiral Marcus was able to find Khan, force him to work for Section 31, build a massive "secret" shipyard in a high space-traffic area, build the largest starship in the history of the Federation and plan for a war with the Klingons. Abrams' Logic at it's very best, ladies and gentlemen.
  7. After dropping out of warp over Earth's moon, both the Enterprise and Vengeance only remain adrift for several minutes until they are both suddenly pulled into Earth's orbit, you know... because the Earth and it's Moon are so fucking close.
  8. Again, why does the entire engineering section --including the warp core-- look and feel like some 21st century brewery? I mean, seriously, it's a starship, not some industrial warehouse! It's just too huge to fit in a ship that size, Mr. Abrams.
  9. One of my second biggest gripes; Khan crashes his ship into the heart of San Francisco, yet one year later Kirk's only going on about the lost of his own personal crew. Tens of thousands died in the buildings Khan destroyed, yet Kirk's crew gets a memorial?
  10. Finally; Every single detail in the scene between Kirk and Spock after the events of the battle between the Enterprise and Vengeance is the exact same as in "Wrath of Khan", only in reverse. This is so bad that not is it only NOT an homage to WoK, but it is an insult to movie goers who put their trust in terrible writing. It was just... bad.
So that's it. That's my take on "Into Darkness". I'm sure I'll have a slew of other complaints to be made available some time in the near future. Maybe I need to watch it more, so I can better attack it's low points which I promise there are many. In any case, if this is an indication as to how bad a series Abrams can make Star Trek, then I have nothing but fear for whatever lies ahead for Star Wars.

EDIT: Update - (added 11/9/2016) Sooooo, yeah. Abrams made The Force Awakens a mirror image of A New Hope... he did that, it happened, I wasn't surprised... oh well.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Disney Closes LucasArts... Big Surprise.


There's a limit to how much "revamping" a company can do to a decades old image before it just completely destroys it and shits all over it's remains. Clearly, Disney is reaching that limit here, by closing LucasArts an basically cancelling... one of the few SW games that actually had people interested in (1313). 

This is just downright stupid and total bullshit. Now I fear for the survival of The Old Republic MMORPG. Why? Because I just got into it three months ago and already have a slew of characters created and time and money invested, that's why!

Then again, I can't be completely angry over this, it's been quite some time since LucasArts brought us anything of true value. So their sudden close can't be all that shocking. I just hope that their current projects are given new life with someone else, because 1313 did have a lot of promise to it. At least, from the E3 coverage that was shown.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

...Just One of Those Days

Don't you hate it when your day goes from bad, to worse, to okay, to pretty good, to bad, then back to worse again all in a few hours? I mean, life would be so much better if I didn't have to deal with human beings anymore. Specifically, the hypocrites, the assholes, the hateful and especially those with no remorse or moral fiber whatsoever. But alas, life would not be worth living if everything was easy and simple, would it? Sometimes though, easier would help some of us out a little bit.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Life Sorta Sucks That Way

I wrote a very, very, very lengthy blog post about the state of ignorance and hatred in this world, and about how I'm finding it harder and harder to find the beauty anymore and block the despair and darkness out... then my computer crashed and recovered. I loss everything I wrote. It's fitting, really. That's how I feel. So much to say, so much to express, yet whenever I do it just fades away as if I never spoke in the first place. It's soooo, very, fitting...

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Short Review: Star Trek (2009) - 2nd Review

So out of boredom, I re-watched J.J. Abrams' Star Trek reboot/sequel this morning and I must say; it gets worse with multiple viewings. I mean, the science alone is just terrible, terrible, terrible (yes, three times the terrible). Spock's little backstory on how Romulan was destroyed makes no sense whatsoever. Stars go Supernova on a regular basis across this galaxy, yet I've never heard of one t...hat endangered an entire galaxy. Stars are huge, but in a galaxy? Only a speck of dust in comparison. Maybe if the Star in Romulan's system went supernova, then I'd be okay with that. But no, your logic is NOT sound, Spock, I'm sorry. And whats this with zero backstory on Nero's ship? We all know his ship is using Borg technology, but there's no mention of it in the film which is stupid. The books mention it, and that's what made Nero's ship so awesome. The fact that it was originally such a small ship that was surrounded by Borg tech to make it more powerful. Ugh. And here's a recommendation for you Mr. Abrams; STOP WITH THE FUCKING LENS FLARE!!!
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