Manchester by the Sea is written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan staring Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Lucas Hedges and Kyle Chandler. the film released on November 2016 and currently nominated for six academy awards.
The film follows Lee Chandler who is played by Casey Affleck, an isolated man who lives in Boston and works as a janitor who get news of his brother Joe’s death and finds out that he named him his son’s legal guardian who is played by Lucas Hedges. bit by bit we get to know why Lee is living such an isolated life and what darkness is he running from and when we do finally get the whole picture it is one of the most tragic and upsetting characters I have seen on a screen in 2016.
The film’s most celebrated performance is Casey Affleck who shines as a broken beyond repair man, his performance is so surreal and raw every facial cue is leading to something else masterfully performed, I always knew Casey had a tremendous talent I am very glad he is getting the recognition for it, the rest of the cast are doing a remarkable job even though they don’t get much of screen time, especially Michelle Williams who had two very powerful scenes and of course Lucas Hedges was very believable as the teenager who lose his dad and trying to cope with it.
If I could get a chance to explain what most of the film’s scenes are it would be a bunch of people screaming at each other, but the thing is those scenes all make sense once you understand why every character is doing they are doing, the motives and the character backgrounds are all very masterful and tragic and they work marvelously well.
Perhaps not the best highlight of the film but I really did enjoy the scenery of the film as someone who loves cold winters and grey weather, the color palate of the film are very low tone and reflects the mood of the film.
Verdict : Kenneth Lonergan comes back after almost a decade to direct a masterful film that is tragic and upsetting which complements by Casey Affleck’s jarring performance. (9.0/10.0)
Note : this is a spoiler free review, nothing regarding the plot beyond the first 20 minutes or so will be discussed here.
Resident Evil 7 : Biohazard is developed and published by Capcom, directed by Koshi Nakanishi and it was released on PS4, XBOX ONE and PC.
In this game you play as Ethan who is looking for his wife Mia after she went missing three years prior to the game’s events but after three years you receive an email from her asking you to come pick her up at the Baker farm in Louisiana. Naturally when you arrive at the mansion you are greeted with warm hugs because this is Resident Evil. I wont get into any plot details but just know that the story of Resident Evil 7 is one of the best told in the franchise if not the best, it is grounded and on small scale but also giving you an idea on where the whole continuity of Resident Evil is and leaving you with couple of burning questions for the future questions.
The game ditches the third person view in favor of a first person view but don’t think this is going to be a run and gun shooter with hundreds of enemies coming at you like the action games before it, as a matter of fact Resident Evil 7 has the least amount of enemies in the series but the fights are all very memorable, very well directed and really scary. the first person view really adds to the scariness of the game, I found myself at times thinking I was going to get a heart attack while walking in a hallway knowing someone might be there at the end of it, the game doesn’t just rely on jump scares there is a subtle horror that takes place in the game that works really well, also going from an urban theme to a Southern Gothic theme which I really really love worked so well for me.
The graphics is one of the best I have ever seen, the backgrounds are so well designed and it just feel like you don’t just see and hear it you smell it too. there is some great voice work that is done here from the Baker family members to the main character is very well done, everything in the game is top quality. it doesn’t have the best sound track and the game doesn’t rely on musical pieces most of the time there is no music to comfort you basically you are forced to listen to the wind and the rain and the sounds of the old house cracking and that was indeed terrifying.
Some people had an issue with the game’s length, I finished it in 11 hours and I thought the length was perfect, I usually like games that I can spend hundreds of hours in it but for a game like RE7 the experience was very intense and I loved that I didn’t have a single dull moment in those 11 hours.
Verdict : Resident Evil 7 is a marvelous game, beautiful and really terrifying with one of my favorite RE stories to date. I feel like the best thing about Resident Evil 6 was the lesson Capcom learned from their mistakes to make Resident Evil back on top of the survival horror genre. (9.5/10.0)
The Good Place is created by Michael Schur staring Kristen Bell, William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, D’Arcy Carden, Manny Jacinto and Ted Danson. it is a comedy show on NBC that just completed its first season which consisted of 13 episodes.
The story follows Eleanor played by Bell who finds out in the first episode that she is dead and her soul was send to heaven, or as the show call it The Good Place, a near perfect society run by Michael played by Danson who is the architect of that place. at the beginning of the show Micheal gives the people who live there an orientation about their lives in The Good Place and how they will be living in a perfect harmony forever with their soulmates which we get introduced to Chidi played by Harper who is supposedly going to be Eleanor’s soulmate, also we get to know Tahani who is played by Jamilla Jamil and her soulmate Jianyu Li played by Manny Jacinto. the show takes a dramatic turn at the end of the first episode and I really don’t want to spoil anything but it is going to a very funny foundation to a very funny show.
what makes the show that funny is the smart writing and the show’s really good setting and story, every character gets a background which gives them a fantastic depth and all leads to an amazing finale that makes everything feel well thought out and well planned from the first episode, it really takes a show that starts good and gets better and better and they all get wrapped in a really good finale.
I made a pledge a while back to not watch shows on NBC, CBS, FOX or ABC due to their stupid system and cancel hammer especially after shows like Community and Hannibal getting cancelled the way they did, but I did give The Good Place a chance and at this point I really do wish they renew it for a 2nd season but if it didn’t I think the show did leave the characters in a spot that is both interesting and comforting if we didn’t get a 2nd season. the show has good performances from all the cast but the funnies is Manny Jacinto’s character that left me almost breathless every time he talked.
Verdict : The Good Place is a surprise show that has some of the most hilarious characters in a very funny setting. (9.0/10.0)
Colony is created by Carlton Cuse and Ryan J. Condal for the USA channel, Staring Josh Holloway and Sarah Wayne Callies. the show wrapped its first season in 2016 and currently airing Season 2.
The story follows Will played by Holloway and Kaite played by Callies, a married couple with three children in a dystopian future following an Alien occupation of Earth, humans now live under a strict military force which imposes a curfew and they will shoot people on sight if they break any of the rules, their laws are implemented by a group of selected humans that are collaborating with the aliens. I don’t want to talk much about the story but one thing is important to talk about, Will is an ex-FBI agent who is very good at finding people for this matter the leader of the human collaborators forces Will to accept a job at an intelligence agency to find the resistance, while Katie is working with the resistance and spying on her husband for them, this isn’t a spoiler per say because it happens during episode one.
I think the show’s best aspect is that everyone is fighting for something and no one is a pure good or bad the motives here are on full display and they are clear, while not very compelling or well written they are at least there and I did feel like every character has a good reason to do what they are doing which leads me to the worst aspect of the show, the central mystery which is a very dangerous hole some shows find themselves in they create a mystery that drives the show and that reveal of that mystery could be that thin line between a good show or a bad show, I was pleasantly surprised with shows like Man in the High Castle and Game of Thrones that handled their mystery very well so I am hopping it is the same with Colony but the thing is this show’s mystery is a bit weird, the whole thing is about the identity of the Aliens and their motives see in Colony no one has seen or spoken to the Aliens except for a selected few, they seem to be living on the Moon or in orbit and whoever opposes them they rain fire down him from above we also realize that their attack was planned for years and it didn’t just happen out of nowhere and they had a database containing information about everyone on earth, the point I am making is unless the reveal of that mystery is very well thought out from the beginning and they know where they are taking the show it could end up being a big let down at then.
Verdict : Colony is not a bad show but it isn’t great either, it has an interesting setting and does a good job to make its characters have a believable motive behind their actions but it is all relying on that one mystery which could make or break the show. (6.5/10.0)
Resident Evil: Retribution is directed by Paul W.S. Anderson staring Milla Jovovich and it is an adaptation of the popular Resident Evil video game series, the movie came out in 2012 and I passed on it back then because I was smart but I guess today I said fuck it, lets watch this garbage.
The film follows Alice played by Jovovich and her quest to destroy Umbrella corporation, most of the film’s events takes place in an underwater facility that has a bunch of simulation in it of popular real life locations like New York, Tokyo, Moscow and I guess a suburban location too, I did get the sense that he likes that whole a bunch of cities in one place like he did in the 3rd movie which was in Vegas but this was easier just make a place that has four cities in it why the hell not, at the beginning of the film Alice tells us all of the things that happened in the story before that point and it was done in a powerpoint style presentation but it gets the job across. after the really really bad green screen opening of the movie we find our hero in a jail cell and they play some loud noises to get information out of her like “who are you working for?” even though to a big corporation like Umbrella that question should be easy to answer because there is NO ONE LEFT IN THE WORLD SO WHO DO YOU THINK SHE IS WORKING FOR?? but that is not all there is more, suddenly Wesker hacks into the facility and inside her cell a drawer opens up and in it is a full set of perfectly fit clothes inside it, please remember that was INSIDE HER CELL!!! any way she leaves the cell and the same wall of lasers that was in the first film follows her, it is like Paul W.S. Anderson had a good idea back then and has to make sure he puts it in every one of these films.I could go on about the story just know that somehow she escapes the facility and goes to the White House with Wesker in the Oval Office waiting for her to tell her “this is the last stand of humanity, Albert Wesker is the president of United States now, still better than Donald Trump.
This movie is a proof that in Hollywood if you have the right connections you can still make movies otherwise nothing can explain why Paul W.S. Anderson still has a job there, if you check his movies on RottenTomatoes he hasn’t made a single movie with a Fresh rating everything this guy made is really really bad, every action scene is stolen from The Matrix during the last scene he puts couple of X-Ray bones breaking in it which wasn’t in the movie before just out of nowhere here are some X-Ray bones breaking and that is probably was inspired by Mortal Kombat that came out in 2011 and Paul probably was like let me just add a few scenes of that. let me add another issue all of the scenes that takes place in a frozen place has characters speaking without any steam coming out of their mouthes when they talk and breath, I mean I didn’t expect the room to be refrigerated like The Hateful Eight did or the movie to be shot on a frozen lake but at least CGI it like Social Network did, The monster kills a bunch of people but kidnaps a little girl for no reason whats or ever just so Alice would chase it and when she finds her she is in some kind of disgusting bag perfectly fine with no scratch on her and IT MAKES NO SENSE!!!, pitiful.
Verdict : There is nothing good to be said about Resident Evil Retribution, it is one of the worst movies I have ever seen, and I have to disagree with people who say no movie/game should get a Zero out of Ten because it functions, you wouldn’t say the same thing about a car that drives fine but at a random time blows up now would you? (0.0/10.0)
Now that presentation is done with let me talk about what makes me excited and concerned about Switch :
- Price : I thought the price is great, at $300 you will get a full console and handheld device with loads of features, I do think Nintendo might have a price cut in mind for Holiday 2017 though.
- Launch date : March 3rd, good date for the console which I think any date will be good, the thing the console needs is some time to get mature before Holiday season and I think a solid 9 months is great.
- Launch titles : this is a controversial topic some people think the console has no good titles at launch but I highly disagree, Zelda is a massive title for launch also the console comes with Dragon Quest 1 and 2 in one box which is great value for a title that is very well received, also a bunch of other titles that sure to keep the console going till Splatoon 2 and the other titles comes out, saturating the console with a big line up at the beginning and letting the rest of the year dry is a fatal mistake!
- Console features : I love it all, the Switching between handheld and console, the pull apart controller it is really interesting and new for the industry.
- Specs : while personally I don’t care about 3rd party games on Nintendo console because if I am playing Assassin’s Creed I don’t necessarily want to play it on Switch but the Specs is going to be a problem for 3rd parties to release games on, this is an issue that Nintendo consoles had since Nintendo 64 except for GameCube, hence why no one buys a Nintendo console as a main console and it is always for Japanese and Nintendo games.
- For games like Pokemon and Monster Hunter to find the same success on Switch as they did on 3DS.
- For Splatoon 2 to become an actual eSports game.
- AA Japanese games to find a home on Switch, it has a niche market and so far they show up here and there on Vita and I do feel like they will move to Switch naturally.
- For Switch to sell over 10 million in 2017.
The long waited January 12th presentation is upon us, Nintendo is finally ready to give us all the information we need regarding the anticipated Switch. Now I made it very clear that Switch is my most anticipated release of 2017 and I meant it, it is a console that I personally think could be one of my favorite consoles of all time if it had great games like I hope it will, the following is my predictions regarding the big reveal :
- Price (Called it!)
I think Nintendo will set the price at $300, while I think it should be less to remain competitive but I don’t think $200-$250 is realistic which also gives Nintendo no room to breath if they needed a price cut in the possible near future because expecting Switch to sell for anything below $200 is not really possible
- Launch Date (Actual release date March 3rd, 2017)
I think the Switch will come on between March 14-17, basically mid March.
- Launch titles (Called it-ish)
Zelda Breath of The Wild and Splatoon will be Nintendo’s first party lineup with a promise of a Mario game around the Holidays, Skyrim Remaster is also a big possibility with a Ubisoft game, companies like EA and 2K might also have a game for the launch or at least during the year.