Author Archives: PapaRazi

Call of Duty: Black Ops III 1v1 expectations

The next installment in the Call of Duty franchise is due for release on November 6th.  Most 1v1ers are wondering if Black Ops III will be the next CoD to attract a passionate, competitive community and join the list of the best CoD multiplayers. The beta took place almost two months ago, so we already have an idea of the gameplay and eSports features.

What can we look forward to, and what do other gamers expect from the next Call of Duty blockbuster in 1v1ing?

Specialists

Black-Ops-3-Seraph-Specialist-Class

There will be nine Specialists in the final game each with their own special weapon and ability.

ImHybridKid believes that Specialists will inspire more teamwork than 1v1ing because players will be able to combine their specialists to complete their objectives. Plenty of team-based modes will be more competitive than before, but there is still the possibility that Specialists will add a long-term game to 1v1 matches. Specialists might have certain strengths that can be countered by other specialists, so adding a guessing-game factor to your opponent´s style of play will motivate you to choose another Specialist that counters your opponent’s strengths or hides your own weaknesses.

Perhaps players will agree on using the same specialist to balance a match, or a player will give up choosing a map or host advantage in order to be able to use his favorite specialist. The 1v1 community is creative and will definitely find a way to implement Specialists into 1v1 matches.

Better Movement System

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Advanced Warfare was expected to breathe some new life into CoD multiplayer with a new movement system which would allow for fast tactics to get around multi-layered, vertical maps. Higher vantage points would help snipers, and short, long jumps with jetpacks would allow ground players to escape near-death situations at the last second.

None of this worked out because as 1V1LB’s Achilles said, ¨The mechanics were filled with the double jumping action, and it ruined the 1v1ing. All the maps on AW had to be made HUGE to combat with players being able to get around the map so easily.¨

But from my own and others´ experience with the beta, the double-jumping can’t be abused as much in BO3 because you don’t float in the air as long nor can you jump as quickly and as high. The most common new movement is wall-running, but that keeps you within mid-range and you put yourself in a dangerous position since a slight slip on the controller will cause you to fall to your death. You also have to pay a bit of attention to jumping off at the right moment because you might run too far and straight into a hellish abyss.

No Aim-Assist for Sniper Rifles

The new ADS in BO3. You can see outside the scope now-

The new ADS in BO3. You can see outside the scope and a mini-map now.

1v1LB’s Desxre brought up that sniper rifles in BO3 do not have aim-assist. This is one of the things that 1v1ers fear might ruin the 1v1 community for BO3, but this could be a great thing because it will reward snipers with better aim when they land a great headshot or get any kill. Players will feel as if they have earned their kill and other players will be left in awe as they see you play. 1v1ers will gain more respect from the 1v1 community for their great aim, and their players will be less angry when they lose because they’ll be able to accept a loss to their opponent because they didn’t have aim-assist.

A Variety of Maps

Achilles also discussed how some of the maps in the BO3 beta were too big, and that could reduce the spawntrapping that the 1v1 community enjoys and uses as a tactic against their opponent. However, the maps aren’t as big or as vertical as the ones in Advanced Warfare, so the wall-running and jumping allows for some clever shortcuts to the other sides of the map which a skilled 1v1er will be able to use for a great position as soon as their opponent spawns.

BO3 is also bringing back a revised version of Nuketown, and Black Ops games tend to have a balance of small and big maps.

1v1 Objective-based Matches

Uplink in BOIII

Uplink in BOIII

The fast, but fair movement in BO3 allows for players to play objective modes at a frenetic pace in a 1v1 format. Achilles mentioned how objective matches have a time limit, so that pushes players to strategize and improvise under pressure. Matches with time limits will add plenty of tension and suspense with plenty of exciting comebacks that you often see in physical sports like football and basketball.

A 1v1er´s Free-For-All ability will still be important in an objective game-type because you have to bring down your opponent while they are defending or attacking the objective, but you’ll also have to think of new tactics involving movement around the map, using the objective as bait before starting a counterattack, and risking your life in order to complete an objective for a point while giving your opponent the first chance at the next objective during your respawn.

Uplink in the BO3 beta was one mode that I played 1v1 with a few opponents and it worked perfectly on each map no matter the size. For those of you that have never played Uplink, players spawn on opposite sides of the map next to an uplink (like a basket) with a ball in the middle of the map. Each player has to get the ball and take it to their opponent’s uplink to either throw it in the uplink for 1 point or jump through the uplink for two points. The catch is that you can only melee your opponent while you have the ball in your hand.

It is a simple mode that combines aspects of basketball and hockey because you can also throw the ball out of the map to make it reset to the middle or bounce it off walls or on rooftops to position it in the ideal spot. Over time, you learn new techniques and tactics like passing the ball to your opponent so they can’t shoot you while you pull out your gun, shoot them in the face, then grab the ball from their corpse and score a point in a span of a few seconds. You will scream the first time you turn the corner and see the uplink 10 ft away from you, but your opponent has their sniper ready for a headshot, so you throw the ball immediately and you see the ball go through the uplink for 1 pt as you die.

BO3 is definitely a game that any 1v1er should be excited about. It might change things that plenty of players have gotten used to over the past games, but remember that those Call of Duties that you love also changed a lot from their previous game and many players were afraid of those changes. Great players at the time grew to appreciate the changes and find new techniques to share with the community and create a memorable multiplayer game. Great players not only adapt to their environment, but take the initiative with what they have to stay ahead of their opponents. BO3’s changes are not something to be afraid of, but an opportunity for great players to seize.

Raziel AKA Papa Razi didn’t realize he was an addict until he noticed that pop culture is his meth. You can discuss video games, movies, TV series, and sports with him at any time and he’ll be ready like Pavlov’s dog.

You can contact him at:

twitter.com/PapaRazi89

twitch.tv/paparazi89

facebook.com/PapaRazi89

paparazi0014@gmail.com

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Review

By: Razielhqdefault

I entered the airport by jumping over an unsecured fence I hadn’t seen the two previous times I was here. My mission was to first identify an arms dealer and an official that were having a meeting, then extract or kill the official. I took my buddy D-Dog with me and he spotted 20 heavily-armed guards  patrolling the area around the main terminal, so I figured I should take my time tranquilizing, choking, and interrogating some of them before I go after the target. After 10 minutes of quietly taking care of most of the guards, checking my Instagram and Twitter, and stealing the guards´ resources, I received an intel report that a helicopter was suddenly on its way to pick up the official and the arms dealer and I couldn’t let them leave the airport. Taking my time with the guards and listening to The Final Countdown on my iDroid (the game’s iPad that lets you check mission objectives and the map, Mother Base’s status, and call for support)

was a mistake. I had very little time to act, so I considered killing everyone in the main terminal because none of the soldiers I interrogated gave me an exact location of the official and arms dealer.  I’d risk taking heavy damage and probably death in the firefight or my escape because I hadn’t destroyed the soldiers’ radios which allowed them to call for reinforcements, but I’d complete my mission.

Then I remembered that I had destroyed the anti-air radar on a previous side op at this location, so I decided to prone in the darkness and waited for the enemy helicopter to land. Intel told me that my targets were about 20 seconds from reaching the helicopter, so I called in an airstrike on the helicopter. My support team sent the airstrike in about 15 seconds and destroyed the helicopter before the targets reached it. The alarms at the airport started blaring and the targets were on the move trying to escape the building. I raced to the terminal’s main exit and saw the targets running toward it. I pulled out my tranquilizer pistol and shot both of them in the head in slow motion as soon as we were about to have our loving airport reunion. I managed to quickly extract the arms dealer with my Fulton device (a portable balloon that lets you extract people, vehicles, weapons, and cargo in the field), but the remaining guards were quickly surrounding me like the hyenas surrounded Scar, so they weren’t going to let me extract the official, so I picked him up and called in my helicopter to extract me in the middle of the airport while D-Dog and I ran to find cover behind some cargo containers.

Pequod, my chopper’s pilot with 15 lines in the entire game and my favorite character, arrived with little resistance and landed in the middle of the airport due to the destroyed anti-air radar. A guard noticed me as Pequod was touching down, so I sprinted toward him while hoping I could dodge the bullets coming from every direction. I put the official on the chopper, climbed up, and immediately took hold of the gatling gun to provide cover fire as Pequod lifted off. One guard shot a missile at us, but I shot and destroyed it in the air which allowed us to finally escape the hot zone with barely any health left.

That was just one main mission in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.

MGSV is the first complete Metal Gear game in Hideo Kojima and Konami’s long-running series that simultaneously launches on multiple platforms, and it’s definitely the most accessible MG yet. Newcomers to the series don’t have to worry about getting lost in story and lore that is as confusing as War and Peace because MGSV doesn’t have long cutscenes like previous games, but short scenes that are supplemented with cassette tapes that you can listen to while you’re out in the world knocking soldiers out and hiding them in dumpsters and portable bathrooms. A lack of cutscenes may turn off series veterans, but the overall focus on the open-world gameplay gives players the opportunities to create their own memorable stories that no one else will care to hear you describe or post on Facebook like your friend’s cliché backpacking trip in Europe.

The game has you playing as Big Boss AKA Venom Snake and leading a new group of soldiers called Diamond Dogs in Afghanistan and Angola during the Soviet-Afghan War after waking up from a nine-year coma. You are on a mission to find clues that’ll lead you to the people responsible for Mother Base’s destruction almost a decade earlier. The story is light and fast-paced, and there isn’t much character development for anyone, but the dialogue and voice acting is not as cheesy as in previous games. I liked that the story attempts to tackle more serious themes about war, child soldiers, and the cost of doing what is necessary, but the game never tried to make you question your actions or some of the more mature themes; it just tells you that they exist and they are a problem, but it doesn’t go any deeper with the characters involved like the typical Upworthy video or social media post about an important issue. The last third of the game’s story also feels awkward and incomplete because the missions don’t unlock with natural progression, and it leaves some important storylines without an ending.

The main missions have you saving prisoners, eliminating officials, extracting cargo and intel, and more while traveling to various outposts and locations in the world. While some of the main missions are very intense and full of tension like the one I described earlier, some aren’t challenging at all and raise your expectations before dropping the tension at poorly-timed moments. It’s disappointing when you’re carrying an important item or intel out of an enemy stronghold in a sandstorm with enemies chasing and shooting you, when the enemies suddenly decide to stop chasing you and you’re still half a mile away from your helicopter that is waiting to extract you; it’s a worse feeling than when she gives you a glimmer of hope that you’ll get out of the friend zone.

What makes MGSV great is the opportunity to complete a mission in a variety of ways. You start most missions from your command center and decide what time of day or night and where to land, what guns, items, and vehicles to take, and which buddy (a horse for travel, a dog for recon, or a sniper for cover) to take with you. You can attempt to be Rambo by landing right next to your objective where enemies will start firing at you as soon as they see your helicopter, but you can quickly ride your horse into the outpost and kill enemies while riding circles around them, or just blow them up with your tank. Other players might decide to be a ghost and land a safe distance away in the mountains and slowly make their way toward their objective with only tranquilizer guns, camouflage, distractions, and their hands to strangle or knock guards out quietly.

There are dozens of main missions, but there are also over 150 side ops. These are fun because they give you the same freedom you have in the main missions and you can travel from one side op to the other like you would in an open-world. However, you quickly realize that you return to the same outposts and bases from previous missions multiple times and guards are in the same position with similar patterns. You would assume that these well-trained soldiers that noticed a slaughter or a ghost town at a base would change security measures for the next group of guards they place at a base, but things stay the same. Even when you return to a base that you had previously infiltrated, you can overhear new guards discussing rumors of a soldier with one-eye that is a one-man army and is taking everyone out, but their security didn’t change. I suppose this is why the Soviets lost the war to ´MERICA.

The repetitiveness of the side ops reminds you of how empty, static, and disconnected the open-world feels in this game at times. Yes, you are in a warzone with little to no civilians, but there’s hardly a war going on without your interaction like in Far Cry. The wildlife never interacts with the enemies and there isn’t much variety even when you’re in Africa. The soldiers and prisoners you extract or eliminate could’ve had their own subplots to invest you emotionally, but there’s no incentive besides doing it because it’s on the list and for improving your Mother Base.

Overall, the AI in this game is much better than in previous games as guards and patrols won’t ignore you after a few minutes of a failed search, but it’s still inconsistent. Sometimes the guards have the eyes of a hawk and can see you from 200 feet away in darkness, and sometimes they’re like Stevie Wonder when you’re choking a guard five feet away from them. Guards do adapt to your play style over time as they’ll wear more helmets if you take out previous guards with headshots, body armor if you go for body shots, they’ll use night vision goggles if you frequently do your missions at night.

No matter what approach you take, MGSV has fixed the clunky controls from past games in the series. Snake is agile and his animations are quick, so you aren’t stuck in a motion for too long. The d-pad was too sensitive during some moments when switching items which lead to throwing a hand grenade instead of a stun grenade, but those moments are so rare that you forgive Kojima when you accidentally kill a hostage or a sheep instead of carrying them out of a base.

The sound in this game is fantastic as you can easily hear enemy footsteps, conversations, the sounds that different guns make, the rush of a tank shooting you, or an enemy helicopter following you. You’ll definitely want to play this game with a great headset or surround sound.  Complementing this is the soundtrack which ranges from classical to popular 80’s music which makes you feel as if you are in the era. There is something special about riding around on your horse mowing down dozens of soldiers with your customized machine gun while wearing a chicken suit and listening to A-Ha’s Take On Me.

MGSV also has a metagame similar to Clash of Clans that has you looking for resources, and soldiers to improve your Mother Base. This is Diamond Dogs’ headquarters that allows you to develop and upgrade weapons, items, outfits, vehicles that you´ll take on your mission, and call in airstrikes, air support, sleeping gas, and more out in the field. Your base starts out as the equivalent of a mudhouse with one platform and grade-E soldiers, but you are given a device called a Fulton to extract soldiers and items while you’re on your mission. As you extract and enslave better enemy soldiers that the volunteers that you started out with and find precious resources, you’ll upgrade your Mother Base to the size of a fortress with talented staff members that hate you for taking them away from their families, but will put a smile on their face while they pimp your suit and guns out with a new paint job. It seems overwhelming at first with so many options to assign staff to different units and the ability to send some of them on their own missions, but it eventually becomes simple.

After your base has grown strong enough, you can start invading other players online to steal their resources and staff members. You deploy to their FOB (Forward Operating Base) and your goal is to make it to the core of staff’s platform while killing, tranquilizing, or extracting soldiers and stealing resources for maximum theft. You have about 25 minutes to make it to the center of their Tootsie pop with only one life. If the player’s guards kill you, then you will not take any of the soldiers or resources you had already extracted, so you will have wasted all your money and time for nothing.

When a player’s FOB is invaded, the player is messaged if he is online and asked if they want to interrupt their mission or selfie-taking time to defend their FOB. The player can say yes and they’ll take control of one of their security guards and join the hunt for the invading player. If a defending player’s guard dies, then they’ll take control of one that is alive. This mode can be exciting at times when the opposing player has smart security guards and surveillance, and when the defending player is online to take control of their defense as it becomes a game of cat and mouse.

FOB mode still has some issues with its guards and platform layout as most platforms and guard patrols are similar, so players can memorize a layout, the best landing site, and guard patterns and easily make it to the core of a platform repeatedly. The metagame could’ve used randomized guard patrols and layouts to make the mode more difficult for invading players, and more Mother Base and FOB personalization to make bases not look like cookie-cutter houses in some American suburbs.

MGSV is one of my favorite games of the past few years and definitely my favorite stealth-action game. Its change to an open-world design allows veterans to test themselves and newcomers to easily try out any method they want to complete missions. You’ll have fun trying different techniques and equipment loadouts while creating your own stories and you’ll feel like a great espionage agent with smooth controls and movement. The game’s story, while feeling incomplete at the end, takes about 40 hours, but, in the end, you choose your own pace.

However, a change to an open-world also demands higher expectations and MGSV’s decision to cut down on a main story could’ve led to a strong focus on the open-world itself and its side ops. The world and its missions are not as dynamic and varied as they could’ve been, and the AI is still not up to par with its gameplay mechanics. This is truly a great game that does everything well, but it doesn’t do enough things to stand out and innovate amongst other open-world games. Maybe if Konami had given Kojima the extra resources and time he wanted, he would’ve fully painted his masterpiece.

9/10

Positives:

+ A variety of ways to complete missions leads to memorable, personal stories

+ Top-notch sound and graphics and polished gameplay

+ Accessible main storyline

Negatives:

– Side ops become repetitive with the same outposts, bases, and guard patterns every time you infiltrate

-Lack of emotional investment in Side ops and awkward storytelling in the last act

-Inconsistent AI that both disappoints and infuriates you

Raziel AKA Papa Razi didn’t realize he was an addict until he noticed that pop culture is his meth. You can discuss video games, movies, TV series, and sports with him at any time and he’ll be ready like Pavlov’s dog.

You can contact him at:

twitter.com/PapaRazi89

twitch.tv/paparazi89

facebook.com/PapaRazi89

paparazi0014@gmail.com

X-Men: Days of Future Past Review

From the studio that brought you the Alvin and the Chipmunks trilogy comes a movie that is a sequel to the X-Men trilogy and to X-Men: First Class, but is also kind of a reboot for the X-Men film franchise. Don’t worry if this confuses you because the goal here is to erase the two horrible Wolverine movies from existence. X-Men: Days of Future Past is based on one of the best comic book storylines in the franchise and this film reaches the heights of its source material and then some. This is a movie you need to sink your claws into.

X-men-origins-wolverine-weapon-xi-deadpool-endingYeah, let’s pretend this never happened.

In the year 2023, mutants are in a war and on the brink of extinction due to sentient robots called Sentinels that can adapt to any mutant’s abilities, and are programmed to kill them due to being a threat to the human race and the Matrix. Professor X (Patrick Starwart), Magneto (Sir Ian McKellen) Wolverine (Huge and Jacked) and the rest of the mutant rascals find Juno (Ellen Page) and her group of mutants because she has the power to send someone’s consciousness back in time to their younger bodies. They convince her to send Wolverine’s consciousness back to his younger self in 1973, so he can convince the younger versions of themselves to prevent an event which will lead to the creation of the Sentinels and the war.

ellen-page-ellen-book-ellen-libary-what-next_o_2982295Because an Ellen Library is the army the mutants need to defend themselves.

In 1973, it’s been ten years since the events of X-Men: First Class. Mystique (Jennifer “I am the Law” rence) is now working on her own to find captured mutants and Peeta. Lawrence embodies her character’s independence and confidence in every scene she’s in while still handling her emotional moments. A young Professor X (James McAvoy) is struggling with his inner turmoil, but he is going crazy and getting desperate without being able to post passive-aggressive Facebook statuses about his feelings; you can only hope that his powers will still give the mutants a leg up on their threats. Young Magneto (Michael Buttflexer) is as extreme as he has always been, and ready to do what it takes to save his mutant race. Peter Dinklage also does well in his small, but crucial role in the fate of the mutant race. Each actor has their chance to shine, and they live up to their moments with ease. You’ll feel invested in all of their situations due to how natural and real the actors have made the characters feel.

movies-x-men-days-of-future-past-bolivar-trask1970s Lannister sends his groovy regards.

From the Sentinel-ravaged, dark future to the high-stakes set-pieces involving planes, trains, automobiles, Paris, Vietnam, Washington, and stadiums in 1973, the visual effects and choreography are marvelous from beginning to end; they are used to contribute to the story or finally bring to life the X-Men and powers seen in this movie like never before.  Action scenes are well-distributed throughout the movie to let you breathe and enthrall you after a build-up of dramatic tension.  There’s a particular sequence with Quicksilver (Evan Peters) in the Pentagon that’ll mesmerize you, make you laugh, and fill you with joy as you think, “DID HE JUST DO THAT?!?”

capture-quicksilver-bringing-the-avengers-and-the-x-men-together
X-Men’s Quicksilver on the left is running away with the best Quicksilver trophy while Avengers’ Quicksilver is still looking for his wife in Godzilla.

X-Men: Days of Future Past is the best superhero movie since The Dark Knight. The compelling storylines humanize these mutants and we can even catch a glimpse of ourselves in their struggles. The beautiful Mystique has an inner conflict about being accepted as a hot, naked blue woman and getting revenge for her fallen mutants. Professor X struggles with growing a figurative, strong spine even if it means sacrificing something dear to him. As you are watching this film, you will be so drawn in by the actors’ performances that you will think Magneto is literally pulling you through the screen.The film has powerful action sequences that will make you grip your popcorn and soda so hard that they’ll scatter over your fellow moviegoer like ash and lava on Pompeii, but they won’t care because they can’t keep their eyes off the screen; it could be their favorite character’s last moments. Even some secondary characters have their chance to steal the X-Men’s and Storm’s thunder in a few scenes. There may be some cheesy lines and corny references here and there, but it’s only enough to add some humor to a movie with an overall dark tone due to what hangs in the balance.

The only true flaw that someone might bring up is that there isn’t a “true villain” in this film. However, this movie is about how we are our own villain. We often place burdens on our shoulders and obstacles in our paths because of our internal conflicts. Whether it’s the fear of failure, the unknown, being abandoned, or oppression; lack of self-acceptance or something else, our inner conflicts eventually weaken us to the point that we may even become hopeless and stop fighting. It is only when we give ourselves a chance to face our own demons instead of running away from them that we may overcome any challenge and reshape our present. As an older Professor X says to a younger Professor X in the trailer, “We need you to hope again.”

This movie is wonderful, entertaining and fearless, and, most importantly, it’s an inspiration.

It’s a future classic.

This movie gets my highest recommendation of Get to the Theater.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Review

From the studio headquartered in a city that has been destroyed 28 times by Godzilla comes a sequel to the Spider-Man reboot (A movie that Sony had to make so the evil Disney empire wouldn’t have a chance at the Spider-Man movie rights).

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Almost time for the 29th, mis amigos.

Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Mark Zuckerburg’s ex-best friend) has been enjoying the rest of his high school career, and stopping crime in New York City since he defeated Dr. Curt Connors/Lizard.  He has also been in a relationship with Gwen Stacy (Girl that loves Help) for a while now. Peter promised Gwen’s dad while he died that he would stay away from her in order to keep her safe, but no man in their right mind would stay away from a girl that looks like Emma Stone with natural blonde hair.

Don't make promises you can't keep Mr. Parker

The only time this dumb life advice gets a pass is when you have a shot with her.

Director Marc Webb—he was destined to make a Spider-Man movie with a name like that– introduces so many villains and plotlines that it was a challenge for the film to pay enough attention to everything. The movie juggles Max Dillon/Electro (Django), a socially awkward engineer for Oscorps Industries, who gets a man crush on Spider-Man after he is randomly saved by him. He later becomes a villain because he’s offended that Spider-Man can’t remember his name amongst the thousands of people that he has helped; it is definitely the best justification for becoming a villain that anyone could have. Rhino (Paul Giamatti) also puts his horn in a few action scenes throughout the movie, and then there is Oscorps Industries itself which creates problems for Spidey indirectly.

At least there is one villain knows how to maximize his electrical powers.

The star villain, who isn’t even the main villain, of the movie is Harry Osborn/Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan). The character is intelligent, smart, the right touch of evil, and DeHaan simply steals every scene he is in. He is Peter Parker’s BFF4eva from childhood, but daddy issues intervened and he was sent to boarding school before he hit puberty. Harry has finally returned after almost a decade to take control of his company, so he finds time to add Peter on Facebook and catch up. He also needs Spider-Man’s blood for personal reasons. Even before he fully becomes the Green Goblin, DeHaan perfectly conveys despair, anger, creepiness, sarcasm, and wit in Harry. He’s more electrifying than Electro himself. DeHaan is already somewhat famous for his great performances in low budget movies, but this summer blockbuster will surely put him on the mainstream map.

giphy

 Far and away the apex actor in this movie.

The visuals and action scenes in this movie are mesmerizing when they balance practical effects and CGI. You’ll feel as if you’re Spider-Man’s old buddy, old pal when he’s slinging across New York because of the fluid movement and camerawork. The one scene that stands out above the rest is the Times Square scene between Electro and Spider-Man. Sony and Marvel didn’t drop the ball on this scene as the rising tension, the innocent New York bystanders that wished they had gone to Jersey for once, choreography, and slow-motion camerawork may make you shoot your web too soon due to how outstanding it is. However, when the movie uses too much CGI, it still isn’t advanced enough to look fully immerse you; it feels as if you’re watching a kid play a video game. The computer effects are also used in scenes where you know they could’ve spent some extra time building sets.

kid_playing_on_arcade

He’s got the moves like Spider.

The other great part of this movie is the sizzling chemistry between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy. Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone became a couple while about the time they made the first film and the chemistry is palpable. Their ongoing real-life relationship spreads like a spider’s web into their characters’ scenes together. The romantic dialogue was as cheesy as a plate of nachos at times, but they usually pulled it off. Peter and Gwen’s interactions were so charged that you could feel the audience’s spider-sense tingling in all directions.

This video speaks for itself.

It’s too bad that very time the movie did something well, it would shock itself in the foot. The movie was good and even great at times, and sometimes it was even bad; it was never consistent. There was enough content in the story to make this movie as long as Titanic. This lack of focus and the rushed plotlines turned a heartfelt ending into a commercial for the next movie. I was ready to name this as the superhero movie to beat this summer until the last few minutes.

TL;DR: A movie that has some gripping acting and dialogue from a few of its stars, special effects that sometimes felt real and spectacular, but also stumbles from trying to do too much. It could’ve been truly amazing, but it got tangled up in its own web and never consistently reached those New York-skyscraper heights.

I give The Amazing Spider-Man 2 a review score of Almost Left Its Mark.

Leonardo Oscar

 

 

Noah Review

Darren Aronofsky has brought you movies about moral downfalls (Requiem For A Dream), a love story about water (The Fountain), and lesbian swans. Now he’s decided to give you a beautifully-directed film about a downfall of water on a morally bankrupt Earth where only straight swans will be saved.

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This movie is about a fountain, right?

Russell Crowe stars as Noah in Hollywood’s non-fictional film based on the story of Noah’s Ark.  As a young boy, Noah is about to grab his father’s snake when Tubal-Cain (Ray Winstone) and his men appear. Noah hides as his father sacrifices himself to save him. This experience traumatizes Noah, so he avoids society at all costs for the rest of his life.

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He found time to steal John Nash’s wife though.

Now a husband and father with three sons and an adopted mudblood named Ila, Noah goes all A Beautiful Mind. He starts having visions that warn of a future disaster. Noah decides to ask his grandfather Methuselah (Non-Cannibal Anthony Hopkins) for advice, so he is given a Mexican jumping bean. He spreads the seed on a plain, and a forest that would make Dunder Mifflin jealous appears. With the help of fallen angels (Optimus Prime and the Autobots), Noah uses the forest to build the Ark over a decade.

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He is the only reason I am. He is all my reasons.

Close to finishing the Ark, Noah now has to deal with the fact that there is only one woman for his three sons. Emma Watson plays adult, infertile Ila who is in love with Noah’s eldest son, Shem. This makes Ham (Logan Lerman), Noah’s second oldest son, very jealous and bitter whenever he’s a Peeping Tom. Ham asks his father to stop cockblocking him and find him a wife before the disaster.

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You already had her once. Give someone else a chance. Someone like me.

Throughout the rest of the movie, Noah’s goals are: finish building the Ark, find wives for his children, deal with his wife’s nagging about his lack of compassion, fight people who are trying to steal the Ark, collect two of each species, survive a flood, restart human civilization, and file TPS reports. This movie is flooded with plotlines! The Creator is the type of boss that fires people in their company, and then expects you to do other people’s jobs for the same salary. Didn’t he consider outsourcing at least?

Aronofsky obviously had to take a lot of creative liberties to turn this story into an epic film, and he made his vision a reality. The acting is decent, but it has some moments of greatness in intense scenes. There are decisions that will have you asking yourself if you would do the same as the characters. Would you share like you were taught to do in Kindergarten?

This is essentially the Creator’s reaction to humans.

Whether or not you believe this story, you’ll be entertained for over two hours with gorgeous landscape shots, time lapses, and Hermione’s magic. You’ll see a striking rendition of the First Seven Days. You’ll wonder if PETA is okay with the Ark’s conditions. And you’ll enjoy the battles for survival and control of the Ark. It might not be a must-see film, but you won’t regret watching it.

I give Noah a score of Are You Not Entertained?!?

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Review

From the brother directors (Anthony and Joe Russo) that are still brothers comes a movie that will almost make you forget that they directed You, Me, and Dupree.

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                                      The Wachowski Brothers…err…siblings.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the big-budget, lowly-anticipated sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger; it was a decent, but forgettable movie that even made Mr. Smith dull. However, this fun sequel will leave you hungry for a longer winter. But it still won’t make you care more about the Human Torch—I mean Captain America.

Image                                         No wonder he wants to quit acting.

Post-Avengers Captain America (Chris Evans) has been going on SHIELD missions and saving hundreds of lives for a few years. He can jump hundreds of feet onto surfaces without hurting his Abercrombie face, and run two blocks without getting cramps. No matter his strengths, he still feels out of place. He even keeps a pop culture notebook with him at all times to write down all the important inventions, discoveries and art that mankind has contributed to the world while he was hibernating in the Arctic for nearly 70 years. Where would we be without Snapchat, Justin Bieber, and Angry birds after all? Every value and liberty that he fought for during World War II has been surrendered by the people he swore to protect. Governments can now spy on your social networking accounts, phone calls, and emails with permission. This is why it’s important to read Terms of Service Agreements before clicking on “I Accept”.

rs_1024x759-130830150850-1024..miley-cyrus-twerk-vma.ls.83013_copy                                                             Our gift to the world

Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) also have larger roles this time around. Fury is about to launch a program that will bring security to the entire world. SHIELD has developed three helicarriers ready to fire their weapons at anyone who is believed to be a threat when they post the wrong status on Facebook. Things go wrong when SHIELD members attack Fury below the belt and there is no one he can trust except one man. Captain ‘Merica’s mission: protect a flash drive, expose the traitor, and stop him before he sells it to TMZ.

Nick Fury

                                     I did not have sexual relations with that woman.

Captain America teams up with Sexy Spider-Woman, and newcomer Sam Wilson (Affordable Will Smith) to save SHIELD from an unknown threat while having to fight a villain called the Winter Soldier whose terrifying presence can best be described as a skinnier, shorter Terminator that got fashion advice from Sub-Zero and Scorpion. The Winter Soldier is magnetic every time he’s on the screen. He can match Captain America in combat and he makes a fantastic Ultimate Frisbee buddy. Get ready for a bunch of douchebags dressing up as this guy for Halloween this year.

Anthony and Joe Russo are renowned for their work in comedies, but they successfully made the transition to action in this movie. Car chases? Vin Diesel would be proud. Foot chases that put Tom Cruise’s running to shame? I’m out of breath just thinking about it. Explosions? Boom goes the dynamite! Fight scenes that won’t make you vomit extra butter in your popcorn? Heck yes! You’ll love the action so much that you’ll forget to check your Facebook and Whatsapp messages. Every character gets a chance to show you that your gym membership is a waste of time with stuntwork that is better than most Marvel movies.

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The movie will even have you thinking about our governments’ reach in our post 9/11-world. You’ll consider turning your technology off more often, and ask yourself if you should continue talking to your BFF Siri. You’ll wonder if the people who stare at you on the street are villains, or if you have nacho cheese on your nose. Yes, these themes have been discussed in other movies, TV series, and books, but it’s rare to have an action movie entertain you and make you question anything. Is it worth sacrificing certain liberties if it means you’ll be safe and sound? This might be the only America that even international audiences will like.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who watches the watchmen?

I give Captain America: The Winter Soldier my highest review score of Get To The Theater.

Speak Softly And Carry A Big Heating Object

Puebla gold church Popo and Iz

I have moved once again. I moved back to the US. Pause not. Actually, I moved to Puebla, Puebla last Wednesday because a better opportunity presented itself here than in Villahermosa. Last Monday, my mom found out that one of her cousins lives in here. I knew that Puebla had a UVM campus on it, it was more of a college city, it had more job opportunities, and my uncle, who also worked for the Secretary of Education, said I could live with him as long as I needed to. I decided to take the 12:10 pm- 8/11/10 bus to Puebla, but before I could leave; I had to do two things: get a refund on my UVM admission fee, and take back the $700 peso Frigidaire microwave that I had bought the week before from Chedraui. The former was easy, but the latter was ridiculous.

It was only Tuesday morning on the 10th, I hadn’t slept in almost a day, but I had to get both of these errands done. I went to Chedraui thinking I could get my money back on the microwave because they stamped my receipt and told me I had money-back guarantee on it till the 17th. They told me that they never give refunds. The guarantee was only for malfunctions, but they still wouldn’t refund the money (I would later find out that Mexico doesn’t do refunds. They may replace items, but if you buy something, it’s assumed that you’re going to keep it.) I asked if there was a pawn shop nearby because I wanted to get some money back since I couldn’t take the dang machine on the bus with me. “One block away, just go left. It’s the PrendaMex.” As I nearing the store’s exit, I asked a female employee if she wanted to buy the microwave from me for $350. I told her that the microwave would make her hotter than any man or woman she has ever been with or seen. She laughed, but then she asked me to leave.

I found the PrendaMex, but my microwave was rejected because they only accept gold. However, I was told that if I walked another five blocks, I would reach a main street and there are a lot of pawn shops there. So here I am…walking five blocks while awkwardly carrying a 40-pound microwave in its wonderfully artistic box (My fingers couldn’t completely go in the side; it was too big to hold from underneath; and it was too wide to grasp. Heck, this microwave box was hung like a horse.) It was also almost noon, and it was about 95 degrees and very humid. There was a point where a cop stopped his car and got out, and I thought that he was going to taze me because he thought I was stealing a microwave. Mexicans—and some—like it hot, you know? After stopping a few times to rest like the girly man I am, I finally made it to the main street called Gregorio Mendez. I looked up and saw a PrendaMex billboard attached to a building. It had pictures of a TV, DVD player, laptop, cell phone, and a microwave on it, so I knew I had made it. But no, I was told that that sign is for their franchise in general, but I could walk five blocks down the street and there would be a Super PrendaMex. I couldn’t believe it. My fingers were about to fall off. I eventually I gave them the microwave and the woman behind the counter took an hour to process everything. I was also asked to show my Passport, and she confirmed it on the computer. Apparently, in Mexico, pawn shops are a serious business. I was also given a contract for the microwave in case I wanted it back. What happened to just evaluating the product, then making an offer you can’t refuse? My arms and hands were sore for two days after that.

On the bus ride to Puebla, we stopped at a checkpoint and someone from the Mexican Army stepped onto our bus and scanned everyone with a metal detector. Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster that my titanium dildo is immune to metal detectors. Three other things that I found hilarious on the highways were: all the iguanas on the street or under bridges; a sign that said, “VIBRADORES EN 150 M”. Yes, that literally translates to “VIBRATORS IN 150 M”. I asked my 50-year-old neighboring passenger, Jesus, what the sign meant, and he told me that it’s those things on the road that slow cars down. I told him that I was thinking of the second meaning, and he started crying from laughter; and lastly, there was a woman who bought a neck cushion and the company that makes the cushion is called Pimp. I asked Jesus what else the company makes and he told me that they also make pillows, cushions, and a soda. I realized that people are putting their heads down on pimps every night, people are sleeping with pimps every night, and people are putting their lips on pimps every day.

At the bus station, my uncle, Nahum, picked me up. He’s the guy in my Facebook pictures about Puebla. He’s about 5’10’’, thin, glasses, and he looks like he’s in his 30’s, but he’s actually in his mid-40’s. He lives near the center of the city in a two-bedroom apartment by himself. He’s been living in Puebla for about twenty years now as he moved here right after he graduated from a university in a state north of here. He’s a really funny guy and a bad driver, but he started calling me his co-piloto in the car.

I also fell in love with Puebla’s weather. It was late Wednesday night, and even though it rained, the air felt cooler. In the summer, there are only a few days when it gets higher than 80 degrees here, and in the winter, the lowest it’ll get is 45 for a few days. I found it hilarious that I saw some people wearing sweaters some nights and people telling me that it was hot outside during the day. I told them I was living in Tabasco for a while though, and someone told me, “It feels like hell in Tabasco. Thank goodness you left.”

The city is known as a World Heritage Site since the 1980’s, and downtown Puebla is completely beautiful, colonial architecture. There is a lot of tourism here and I even saw some gringas. They were either on vacation or studying abroad, but I did miss seeing pale skin. There are also thousands of gorgeous churches in this city that I hope to take pictures of over the next two years. There was one that was glowing in the dark when I arrived. It was on top of a hill, and it can be visited during the day. I put a picture of it at the top with a volcano in the background.

Speaking of volcanoes, Nahum took me to Cerro de la Paz (Peace Hill) last weekend and that is where we took a few pictures. In my new Facebook album, you can see the picture of a volcano, called Popocatepetl, which is emitting a lot of smoke. However, there is a volcano, Iztaccihuatl, to its right which is not in the picture, which is also nicknamed “La Mujer Dormida”. The legend of La Mujer Durmida (The Sleeping Woman) says that hundreds of years ago, before the Spanish came to Mexico, the Aztecs and Tlaxcaltecas shared this territory. The Aztecs were the rulers though, and they asked other natives to pay tributes to the Gods. However, the Tlaxcaltecas were tired of sacrificing their people to their oppressors, so the Chief of the Tlaxcalteca decided that it was time to finally for his people’s freedom, and a war between the Aztecs and the Tlaxcaltecans ensued. Princess Iztaccihuatl, a beautiful, young woman, was the Chief’s daughter, and she was very much in love with the leader of the Tlaxcaltecan army, Popocatepetl. Their love for each other remained in secrecy, but before Popocatepetl left for war, he asked the Chief for his daughter’s hand in marriage upon returning. The Chief gave Popocatepetl his blessing, and Popocatepetl went off to war and led to Tlaxcaltecans to victory years of fighting. When he returned, the Chief told Popocatepetl that Iztaccihuatl had passed away while he was gone. Popocatepetl was enraged, and then he took his beloved in his arms and carried her up the mountains. Upon reaching the sky, he laid down his love at the peak, and he kneeled beside her with a smoking torch in his hands. The snow eventually covered them both and formed the two volcanoes that are now seen in the horizon. I think the real reason she is sleeping is she’s bored. Her boyfriend keeps teasing her, but won’t explode. On a serious note, that is a wonderful legend, and Puebla has hundreds of them due to its rich history, and I hope to read or hear more soon.

Puebla is a very proud city, and my uncle told me that people here are sometimes stuck-up. It’s hard to enter an established circle, and even more so if you’re an outsider. It may even be worse for me because I’m going to an Ivy League school in Mexico, so all the people here have either fantastic scholarships or their family has a lot of money. My uncle’s close friend, Mauricio, said that I’ll likely be looked down upon for not showing up in a car, and when I make friends, they’ll all want to go shop for brand name clothes and will think I’m odd when I want to go to Wal-Mart. My uncle also added that if I just ignore all the possibly mocking, people will eventually be drawn to me because I’m simply different than everyone else. And because I speak English, so they’ll want help on their English homework. Time to become a bloody English pimp.

I actually applied for a part-time job as an English teacher here on Monday at Ingles Individual. You must go to their website,http://www.inglesindividual.com, and listen to their action-packed theme song. Right after my interview, something that I hadn’t seen in a long time entered the building…something that I thought I had escaped the reach of when I left the United States…an African-American. Yes, he could be from Haiti, the Dominican Republic, etc. But I could tell he was an African-American. If Arizona is allowed to racial profile, then so am I. He was the next interviewee, and my confidence in getting the job immediately declined. How am I supposed to compete with someone who is quadlingual (Spanish, English, Ghetto, and Jive)!?! Please forgive my dark sense of humor.

A few differences between here and the US that I have forgotten to mention are how there are these trucks that go around playing a song, and then they yell something obnoxious that sounds like, “DOS!!!!”. For a few days, I had no idea what it was. I figured it must be some kind of ice cream truck offering a two-for-one discount on jalapeño ice cream (That flavor doesn’t actually exist. I made it up. I figure that some of you actually may have believed me. Racists.), but I was eventually told that the trucks are yelling, “GAS!!!” because people buy gas tanks off trucks here and they are usually set in a secure spot on the top floor of a building or a roof. I thought Mexicans already had enough gas after all they beans the ate. I was wrong.

There are also no garage sales in Mexico. This relates to what I said about refunds. When people buy anything here, they are going to keep it and use it until it is completely consumed. That’s why stores assume you won’t return anything and don’t bother with a good policy. When it comes to clothes, people will wear them or use them until they have no use for the clothing anymore or the clothes are damaged. When it comes to buying appliances, such as microwaves–ugh–, people don’t have the money to buy another one, if their original one breaks. You better still have a warranty, or you’re going to fix it yourself, and if you can’t…well, there’s no use in crying over spilled milk.

Most people also have their pilot turned off in their house. When someone is going to cook, they take a lighter and put it near the burner. I have been practicing this custom for hours and my uncle laughed at me because most Mexican kids know how to use a lighter to turn on the stove by the time they are four. Now I am afraid of even looking any little kids in the eye due to the fear of getting burned—verbally and literally. I suppose if I was lit on fire and started smoking; I may magically turn into a volcano. Heck, I wouldn’t mind carrying my beloved up the mountains. I’ve already had to carry a microwave 10 blocks.