Alex’s Blog

Review: Frankenweenie

Frankenweenie is the latest stop-motion animation from the mind of Tim Burton, and by that, I mean another thing that he decided to remake. You can go into this movie expecting it to be pretty much like any other Tim Burton movie. It’s about a suburban kid, Victor Frankenstein, who brings his dead dog Sparky back to life. Craziness ensues. Think of it as Edward Scissorhands meets Corpse Bride, but the bride is a dog. You have a cast of strange, outlandish, and sometimes stereotypical characters that are enjoyable to see on the screen, if not a little disturbing at times, but you don’t generally create any empathy for them. It seems as though a lot of them are there just to be weird and set the atmosphere.

While on the subject, the atmosphere of the movie can be rather disturbing when you take into account that this is suppose to be a family film. More conservative-minded parents may actually want to shy away from this movie if you care about the fragile little minds of you precious children that you keep sheltered from the horrors of the outside world. There’s death, grave robbing, monsters, and a cat that predicts the future with its poop. There’s a particularly gruesome shot toward the end that could scar a younger mind, though I thought it was pretty cool.

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A Lot of Metal Gear Solid News

There was a party for the 25th anniversary of  Metal Gear the other night, and a lot of interesting news came from it. No, it’s not that Hideo Kojima got drunk and started a fight with a coat rack, though that would be awesome. First off, Metal Gear Solid, the game that is always mocked as already being a movie, is going to be made into an actual movie. The film was announced by X-Men and Spider-Man producer Avi Arad and is being made by Columbia Pictures. It is unclear at this moment how much influence Hideo Kojima will have in its development. Read More

Joss Whedon on for The Avengers 2 and TV Series

Today is a good day. Disney has officially announced that Joss Whedon is on to be the writer and director for The Avengers 2. But wait! It gets even better! Apparently Mr. Whedon is going to help Marvel and ABC develop the previously rumored television series that will take place in The Avengers universe, which sounds like a very hefty undertaking. The Avengers 2 is planned for a Summer 2015 release and still not much is known about the live-action television series, but this has me eagerly awaiting to see what will come from Marvel Studios.

Evidence of a Source 2 Engine Found

When Valve started to use the original Source Engine in 2004, it was a force to be reckoned with. Amazing games like Half-Life 2, Portal, Left 4 Dead, and Vampire: The Masqureade – Bloodlines (shut up, I loved that game) ran on that Valve creation, and all those games… most those games still hold up today. However, technology and gaming has come a long way since 2004, and it’s about time the game engine gets an upgrade. Thanks to some hacking, we may have found that the upgrade is in development.

Some of the more script savvy individuals at ValveTime.net have discovered codes in the Source Filmmaker that reference a “Source 2 engine” and along with tool icons that that were labeled as such. It’s even been found to be listed as a “next-gen” engine, which suggest that we will be seeing it with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox something-or-other. I, for one, am really excited to see what Valve has up their sleeve and what games will be birthed from this new engine if it, you know, actually comes into existence in a reasonable amount of time. It is Valve we’re talking about here. Remember how long it took thetm to release Half-Life 2: Episode 3? Exactly.

Fan-Made Assassin’s Creed Movie Trailer

As with any popular franchise, you’ll get a lot of fans adding to the universe by producing their own content. We’ve seen it before with series like Fallout and the “Fallout: Nuka Break” videos. One of the latest games that seems to be getting this treatment is Assassin’s Creed.

“Assassin’s Creed: Resistance” is a fan-made movie that is currently in production. We can tell by the trailer that it takes place sometime in the future. All of the flashy, glowing projectiles kind of give it away. That’s… all we really know about it right now.  Just enjoy the trailer until we get to see more of it.

Review: The Amazing Spider-Man Game

Hollywood decided to reboot Spider-Man, so naturally a video game tie-in was needed to squeeze every penny from the franchise. The Amazing Spider-Man is the first Spider-Man game I’ve thoroughly played since the N64 one. I played a bit of Spider-Man 2 for the PlayStation 2, and I enjoyed swing around New York City enough to be relatively interested in playing this. Read More

REVIEW: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

On paper, the premise of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is silly. The “Great Emancipator” Abraham Lincoln, our 16th president, is a vampire slayer. In practice… well, it’s also pretty silly. There are parts of this movie that are absolutely ridiculous and make you palm your face. Thankfully, that doesn’t mean it won’t be an entertaining experience. In fact, it probably adds to the fun of watching the movie, whether it’s intentional or not. There’s also the great action and visuals to help it along the way. Read More

Unreal Engine 4 is… Unreal

I remember back when I was in college, and I saw the first tech demo of the Unreal Engine 3. It blew me away. I thought to myself “this is the future of gaming.” Well, that was nearly 8 years ago. We’ve caught up with the future, and now we have the Unreal Engine 4 to take us even further.

The above video shows the Senior Technical Artist at Epic explaining what the engine is capable of as he walks through the scenes. He uses a lot of technical jargon that may be a bit difficult to follow, but it’s interesting none-the-less. If you don’t much care for the specifics of what the Unreal Engine 4 can do and just prefer something pretty to look at, watch the video after the break entitled “Elemental.” Or you can look at my picture at the top of the article. That’s also very pretty.

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Beware of Watch Dogs

One of the biggest problem the E3 over the last few years can be broken down into one word: sequels. This year was hardly any different. We saw a Halo. We saw a Call of Duty. We saw a Madden. We saw THREE separate Mario games. It was all something that we’ve already seen, and, while I am eager to play the next installment of some of my favorite franchises, the thing that really gets me excited about the game industry is something new. That’s why Ubisoft saved the convention for me when they announced Watch Dogs.

Admittedly, I was a little skeptical at the beginning of the demonstration. The UI and the way the game seemed to control looked very similar to Assassin’s Creed. However, I slowly became more captivated by what was being shown as the game progressed. First off, it became very clear that the engine they were working with is something of great power. Everything from the lighting, to the weather effects, to the crowd in the street and club made this virtual reconstruction of Chicago feel alive.

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