Archive for August, 2013

Movie Review: Kick-Ass 2

Now here’s a movie that’s fun to review. It came out last week.

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Starring:
Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse
Director:
Jeff Wadlow (Cry_Wolf, Never Back Down)
Rating: MA15+
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In 2010, when the first Kick-Ass movie came out in cinemas, it was a pretty novel idea to see a movie so earnestly reflect the real life explosion of social media (liberal use of MySpace notwithstanding) to ground a truly bizarre, highly stylish, blood-spattered and frequently pitch-dark concept in a kind of hyper-reality. The whole thing was unfathomably fresh to the point of controversy and, while certainly not for everyone, became an instant favourite among plenty of comic book movie fans who didn’t know they wanted something so different. In 2013, however, it’s understandably quite a bit harder to recapture that kind of freshness. Acknowledging social media is hardly a unique gimmick anymore and the shock of seeing an 11 year-old girl (Chloe Grace Moretz as Hit Girl) swearing and dismembering left and right is dampened both by repetition and by the fact that she is no longer 11. With that important caveat out of the way, it’s worth saying that Kick-Ass 2 is a very entertaining movie. The series is still funny, still stylish and if you enjoyed the first one, your money will be well spent on the sequel.

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Gargantuan Trios

I realise this kind of article probably has a pretty narrow audience, but on the plus side there probably aren’t too many like it on the interwebs.

Entertainment media is big business these days. Like, BIG business. Big business breeds big companies who survive because they happen to be the best at what they do. Each of these companies may emphasise its own supposed competitive advantages, but when push comes to shove the entertainment media juggernauts are still around because deep down they are really similar, whether they sell movies, TV shows, videogames or music. This hit home for me recently when I happened to notice that the apparently different worlds of console gaming and Korean pop music shared the phenomenon of a dominant “Big 3” who control market share. And public (read: internet) perception of these companies within their own contexts is kind of unnervingly similar.

So for the hell of it, I paired them up and tried to find as many similarities between the most obviously corresponding members of each trio as I could. Of course they tout many differences as well, but the amount of similarities I did end up finding is perhaps a little scary. For the sake of uniformity I’ve referred to videogame franchises and Korean idols/groups alike as “brands” here, cause that’s what they are, really.

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Game Review: Pikmin 3

As of today I’ve had this game for a month, so I think it’s about time I posted this review. To be honest, I wish I could spend some more time with it, but hey, there are actually more Wii U games to play now! I finished the story mode this morning.

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Platform:
Wii U
Developer:
Nintendo
Rating: G
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What adorable little murderers.

What adorable little murderers.

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Finally!
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Here, dear readers, is the first brand new, single player Wii U game that might actually have a case to justify a purchase of Nintendo’s newest home console by itself. It’s taken almost nine months to appear, but Pikmin 3 is a reminder of why Nintendo fans love the quirky Japanese company so much. It’s beautiful, it’s charming, it’s an absolute blast to play and, over a decade after the first game in the series debuted on the GameCube, there is still nothing else quite like it.

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Mega Ultra Blast Cast Ep.6

mubc2Episode 6 of the Mega Ultra Blast Cast (MUBC) takes place in a new podcast room that hopefully offers some more consistent sound quality. Delaney returns and tries to derail everything as we attempt to discuss the new Mega Evolutions in Pokemon X and Y, all the Disney D23 Expo news, the cinematic adventures Elysium and Now You See Me as well as a host of co-op gaming goodness and bets gone awry. There’s also a lot of confusion involving Kristen Bell.

So if you feel so inclined, download the following file (or just click play), go for a run, take a scenic drive, play some videogames or just curl up on the couch and listen to the opinions of three deranged Sydneysiders.

Coming at you straight from Soundcloud:


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https://soundcloud.com/mega-ultra-blast-cast/mubc-06-mega-ultra-evolution

(Follow the link and then click the download tab)

If you enjoy what you hear please share the cast with your friends and like our Facebook page. Cheers!

Movie Review: Elysium

This is my 25th movie review on Vagrant Rant! Thanks for reading, people.

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Starring:
Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley
Director: Neill Blomkamp (District 9)
Rating: MA15+
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Being a South African by birth and an Australian by environment, I have a natural bias towards underdog success stories from the Republic. South African directors making their mark on Hollywood have provided quite a few of these stories lately (seriously, watch Gavin Hood‘s Rendition if you haven’t already) and none have done so more loudly than Neill Blomkamp. In 2009 the relatively unknown talent teamed up with famous producer Peter Jackson to bring the world the truly excellent District 9, a heart-pounding sci-fi flick that was not only a pertinent allegory for apartheid-era South Africa but an entertaining adventure all on its own. The BlomkampJackson team was earmarked as the overwhelming favourite to do a Halo movie, but after that potential project got shot down (for the umpteenth time, I might add), Blomkamp went back to the drawing board and came up with Elysium, another politically charged sci fi romp.

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On Spoilers in Reviews

Over the last few months I have been fortunate enough to start getting some constructive feedback on my blog, whether written or in person, which means people care enough about it to lend me their two cents. This is an amazing thing and it truly is moments like those that help me to keep on posting. So thank you to everyone who has done so!

Having said this, one of the more popular comments I get concerns a topic that I’m sure nearly everyone who has ever written regular reviews in history has dealt with: spoilers. So allow me, dear reader, to comment on my side of this topic.

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Movie Review: Now You See Me

This one only just hit Aussie cinemas, despite going Stateside in May. Who knows why.

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Starring:
Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg, Morgan Freeman
Director:
Louis Leterrier (The Transporter, Clash of the Titans)
Rating: M
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Regardless of whatever I’m about to say in this review, Louis Leterrier‘s Now You See Me undoubtedly deserves some credit for being marketed really well. It has a quite frankly incredible cast, a snazzy look and a captivating concept that brings to mind a mash-up of Christopher Nolan‘s The Prestige and the very successful Ocean’s Eleven franchise. Magicians who rob banks – now ain’t that novel? It certainly wasn’t afraid to flaunt any of these strengths during the many months of trailers, posters and hype that preceded its American release and now, a month and a half later, its Australian one. When it comes to actually watching the movie play out on screen, though, it may become apparent that (oh boy, I just can’t wait to type this) the real magic trick is the movie itself. It deceives you into thinking it’s good. Abracadabra.

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