The Real (and Pricey) Home Theater Experience

The movie theater-going experience can be a bit annoying these days.  The concessions that go along with the movie, like your popcorn and candy among other things, almost require a higher dollar amount than the actual ticket itself.  Then you have the problem of people talking and being disruptive in the theater, not to mention the seats are not that comfortable to begin with.  So why not just take the whole “theater” part out of the equation?  Well, PRIMA Cinema has you covered…but only if your willing to hand over an arm and a leg.

Imagine getting the hottest theatrical releases right to your TV, in the comfort of your home, with the comfort of your own couch?  Now, PRIMA Cinema has the solution that makes this dream a reality.  They have a box that can be installed in your home theater that pulls some of the newest releases right to your TV.  However, you have to be willing to pay $35,000 for the hefty streaming box, that has to be installed by a PRIMA Cinema dealer.  I should also mention that each movie rental will cost you $500 for a one-time 24-hour rental.  If money is not a problem…well, then there is still some other things you have to deal with.

via HD Blog.it
via HD Blog.it

The dealer will only install the box in your home if they deem your setup suitable.  Your home theater has to pretty much be top of the line material.  It has to stack up to both Hollywood studio and PRIMA standards before they even consider installing it.  The theater can also seat no more than twenty five people to limit the amount of non-paying guests that can view your movies.  There is also only two playback buttons, pause and a five-minute skip, available to the user, which does not amount to your standard home viewing experience.

If you can live with all of these set-backs, then this box might just be for you.  The box supports local downloads and can download up to fifty movies straight to the box to prevent buffering.  The files are also basically theater quality, giving you a more authentic theater experience.  As of now, you can watch movies like Unfriended, Furious 7, and Mortdecai right now.  However, the list does seem to be a bit small, considering Universal Pictures and Millennium Films are the only two high-profile distributors investing in the program at the moment.

via Big Picture Big Sound
via Big Picture Big Sound

There’s also a plethora of security features that come along with the box.  The box itself contains bio-metric security, requiring the user to scan their finger before using the box.  The box also requires a public standard IP to prevent the box from working in any place that is not your home theater.  Finally, there is a bunch of DRM on the device to top it off.  These kinds of security features are probably a product of the distributor’s say in the matter.  I am willing to bet that these movie companies would never sign on to something like this if the security of their movies was not there.

The REAL home movie theater experience might be a bit unrealistic if you think about it.  PRIMA Cinema is probably best suited for the rich and famous that do not want to deal with the experience of going to a theater because let’s be realistic; they probably cannot be seen in a movie theater without being hounded by fans.  They would much rather avoid that nightmare in the privacy of their own cavernous home theater.  They also have to be willing to throw around a couple of bucks.  Let’s say they wanted to have themselves a hell of a night, with five new releases on the menu.  That would cost them $2,500 dollars, or the equivalent of a really shiny penny.

prima cinema 3

If you have that kind of money, then go ahead and indulge yourself.  I think I am just going to wait for this process to become less of a headache and a lot cheaper.  If you think about it, this kind of experience is most likely going to be widely available in the future, it’s only a matter of time.  Distributors have to have a dose of confidence before they can take a full dive into this kind of market, considering the kind of financial security they have with the traditional theater box-office.  I do not think that PRIMA Cinema is going to bring on the death of movie theaters, but it might drive the industry in a new, and kind of exciting, direction.

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Review: Atari: Game Over

via IMDB
via IMDB

Atari: Game Over (2014)

NR / 66 min.

Documentary

Starring: Zak Penn, Joe Lewandowski, Robert Rentschler

Director: Zak Penn


Everybody remembers the Atari 2600.  The legendary home video console was one of the biggest cultural phenomenon of the 1980’s.  It was considered the system that caused the home video game revolution, and arguably the gaming revolution as a whole.  It had a massive impact, delivering some of the most classic and revolutionary games to a generation of gamers.

With Atari sitting high and mighty on top in terms of commercial success, what brought their empire tumbling down?  That is the question that documentary Atari: Game Over aims to answer.  Director Zak Penn tells the story of the infamous “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” Atari 2600 game cartridge that ultimately brought on the eventual demise of the Atari 2600.  This statement has been argued by many game critics and theorists, but the failure of the game, which was considered to be frustratingly tough and boring, could not be denied.

via Film Pulse
via Film Pulse

The game, created by Atari software engineer Howard Scott Warshaw, did so poorly for the company that they decided to literally bury the game and leave it behind them.  Urban legend detailed how Atari buried millions of the E.T. game cartridges in a landfill all the way out in Alamogordo, New Mexico.  The story is pretty interesting, although kind of silly at the same time.  It was a story so interesting that Zak Penn decided to chronicle the investigation of the mysterious burial of the game.

Penn brings on a lot of people onto the project to tell the story.  Joe Lewandowski, a waste disposal expert and historian, was fascinated by the urban legend, which caused him to investigate the scene of the burial.  We also get to hear a lot of input from the likes of Warshaw himself, former mayor of Alamogordo Robert Rentschler, screenwriter and novelist Ernest Cline, game historian Mike Mika, and Manny Gerard, the chief operating officer of Warner Communications.  Although some of these guests had more interesting things to say than some of the others, they all seemed necessary to tell the tale.

via Xbox News
via Xbox News

The documentary’s main focus was the rise and fall of Atari.  Although this information was an important farming piece for the landfill excavation, it was a shame to see less of the attention given to the actual dig itself.  Throughout the documentary we got bits and pieces of the set-up for the dig, with a big portion towards the end focusing on the actual event itself.  However, most of the running time was devoted to the history of Atari and some of its other successful games like “Adventure” and “Yar’s Revenge.”

The documentary is a gold mine of information however.  If you have never heard of Atari and its place in gaming history, the documentary does a good job of filling you in.  It also gives some fresh tidbits of information for those already well versed in the company’s history.  I was quite surprised to hear about the “party-all-the-time” lifestyle and work environment that took place at Atari back in the day.  It was these kinds of facts that made up for the information that we have heard before in previous documentaries.

 via Science Fiction
via Science Fiction

Some of the interactions that Penn had with some of the story’s key players were a little cheesy and on the nose, but entertaining to say the least.  The dig itself was captured quite well, giving us a good look at the crazy, and arguably silly, event.  The archeologists faced a tough challenge with the dig, but they ultimately found what they were looking for.  After some hard work and intense heat, the cartridges were eventually found.  It was a moment of triumph, as well as emotion, especially for Warshaw, who was pleased with the amount of recognition and publicity that the terrible game was getting.

Atari: Game Over tells a zany story about digging up glorified trash in the middle of the desert.  It is a concept that seems like it would not deserve its own documentary, but Zak Penn did an alright job at providing us with a lot of information and stories to make the experience generally worthwhile.  It was also pretty interesting to hear the experiences and perspectives from some of the key player in the story.  Atari’s handling of the situation by burying the ET cartridges is one of gaming’s weirdest story, and Atari: Game Over does a pretty good job of putting it all into perspective.

atari game over score

Review: Daredevil Season 1

via Lashoras Perdidas
via Lashoras Perdidas

Daredevil Season 1 (2015)

TVMA / Netflix

Action / Crime

Starring: Charlie Cox, Vincent D’Onofrio, Deborah Ann Woll

Creator: Drew Goddard


Netflix has been putting out some top-notch programming recently and their train does not look like it will be stopping any time soon.  Their latest offering comes in the form of a show about Marvel’s gritty superhero/vigilante Daredevil.  Daredevil, created by Drew Goddard, is an interesting breed of television, one we have not seen before.  Marvel has been killing it on the big screen, but the realm of TV has not been so nice to them.  Daredevil looks like it is going to possibly change that trend.

The show is not the PG-13 offering that most have come to expect from Marvel.  It looks like Mickey Mouse had no say in the show’s direction, which is darker and more grown up than anything we have seen from Marvel thus far.  That is what makes the show so enthralling.  With a TV-MA rating, the show has room to be itself.  It has room to tell its story that way it was meant to be told.

via Crave Online
via Crave Online

If you are not familiar with Daredevil already, the hero, played by Charlie Cox, is a blind lawyer who works at a law firm by day and fights crime by night.  An accident when he was a child caused the loss of his vision, but his other senses have been enhanced to superhuman levels.  He is often stoic and collected, but his emotion can get to him.  He has weak spots, and it is these spots that cause him to think about the man he really is.  He encounters a lot of internal struggles along the course of the show, and it is fascinating to see him fight through them.

Joining him at the law firm, Nelson and Murdock, is his partner and good friend Froggy Nelson (Elden Henson).  The two have been good friends since their days in law school.  Together, they have developed themselves into somewhat reputable lawyers with their own firm.  Assisting them is Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll), who was caught up with some trouble of her own in the very beginning.  Murdock and Nelson helped set her free, and they have made her a part of the firm.

daredevil 2

Living in Hell’s Kitchen, a gritty and crime-filled portion of New York City, is not the most pleasant experience.  The city is going through a lot of trouble, and the city is in desperate need of a hero.  This is where Daredevil gets his motivation.  He wants to save the city from the evil schemes of The Kingpin, also known as Wilson Fisk.  Fisk, played brilliantly by Vincent D’Onofrio, is a fascinating villain, fresher than any we have seen.  He’s dynamic character with a lot of working parts.  As you learn through some pretty dark flashbacks, he has had a rough up-bringing.  He wants change for the city, and he is willing to do anything to make this change happen.  He has a large influence over the city, with a bunch of the city’s police and media on his payroll.  He’s also sociably unstable.  He meets a girl, Vanessa (Ayelet Zurer), who he quickly falls deeply in love with.  It is this love that consumes him and ultimately drives some of his decisions and actions as the show goes on.

via Geek Smash
via Geek Smash

The show contains some great action sequences.  You will instantly notice that there is a lot more blood.  The show holds nothing back in terms of action with some great action sequences.  The well-choreographed fights usually involve a lot of heavy-duty ass kicking from the Daredevil, who prefers to work in the shadows.  There’s one fight in particular in episode 4 that contains a one-shot fight in a cramped hallway.  It is these kinds of spectacles that made the show so fun to watch.  Daredevil is not the only one who kicks ass however.  Daredevil spends a fair share of screen time having the fights given to him.  He is blind after all, and he is not perfect.  The show constantly addresses these instances, with a beaten up Daredevil usually reflecting about the decisions that he makes.

The show took it’s time getting to a start, but once episode 4 and 5 hit, the show really started to ramp up in intensity.  The choice to not reveal Wilson Fisk till later in the show was a risk, but it ultimately paid off in the end.  It built a sense of curiosity and suspense, as well as mystery, around the character.  I feel pretty confident in saying that he was probably one of my favorite villains that I have seen in a while.

via Digital Trends
via Digital Trends

The show’s performances from the supporting cast were all really great.  Newspaper editor Ben Urich (Vondie Curtis-Hall) plays a key role in unearthing the disastrous schemes of Fisk and almost acts as a mentor to Karen.  Another favorite character of mine was the calm and collected James Wesley (Toby Leonard Moore), the trusted right-hand man to Fisk.  I do not know exactly why I liked him so much, but he was just a very cool character.

Daredevil is a refreshing piece of television and an even more refreshing take on the superhero genre.  The Daredevil is not your traditional superhero who has to come to grips with the type of person that he is.  He lives in a world of deception, making it hard for him carry out a normal life.  Wilson Fisk was also another pivotal part of the show, but you already know my opinion of him.  It has already been announced that Daredevil will surely be coming back for a second season, but with a different team of showrunners, with the writers getting directorial duties.  I am not exactly sure what kind of direction that the show will go in the future, but I am pretty confident that it will be as intriguing as its first season.

daredevil score

The Weekly Drop: 4/24/15

This week was pretty slow when it came to new songs.  We got some new stuff from DeJ Loaf and Tech N9ne, with his explosive rap collaboration with Eminem and Krizz Kaliko.  There was not too many mixtapes that managed to impress either.  Here’s what I was listening to…


via Hip Hop Illustrated
via Hip Hop Illustrated

“Me U & Hennessy”

DeJ Loaf (feat. Lil Wayne)

Stream

The video for DeJ Loaf’s sensual and steamy “Me U & Hennessy” released last week, but this week gives us the remix, which has Lil Wayne on the other end of the track.  The song is an explicit and overtly sexual run through of a night of drinks and love making.  DeJ Loaf gets raunchy, but Lil Wayne out does her in classic Weezy fashion.  The song has a smooth sound, perfect for any lover’s night.  If you are looking for some baby making music for your next occasion, DeJ Loaf and Lil Wayne can hook you up.


via mbjunk.com
via mbjunk.com

“Speedom (WWC 2)”

Tech N9ne (feat. Eminem & Krizz Kaliko)

Buy

If you are looking to get your heart racing, Tech N9ne may have the song for you.  With his next album Special Effects on the way, N9ne dropped his newest single “Speedom,” which was the sequel to “World Wide Choppers.”  The song features N9ne, Eminem, and Krizz Kaliko going 0-60 in trailblazing time on their respective verses.  Eminem’s verse is quite the handful, taking shots at people like Ellen Degeneres, Drake, and Kanye West.  Eminem and Tech N9ne have collaborated before, and their newest team-up efforts do not disappoint.  Be sure to catch the track if you can.


via Rap-Up
via Rap-Up

“Thuggin'”

Glasses Malone (feat. Kendrick Lamar)

Buy

Up till this point, we haven not heard too much about Glasses Malone’s upcoming project Glasshouse 2.  In a leak on Monday, we got to hear the rapper’s first song from the album, entitled “Thuggin’.”  The song, produced by Sega, is a song about the thug life over a sample of Bone Thugs n Harmony’s “For the Love of Money.”  It starts off with a snippet from an 1994 interview of 2Pac outside of a courthouse and then leads to Glasses Malone giving us a clinic on what it means to be a thug.  The rap powerhouse Kendrick Lamar also provides some lyrical help with a one-two punch of a verse.  As most songs of this nature like to do, it took aim at some of the current issues that stand today.  It is a promising preview of Malone’s future music he has in store.


via Can't Stop Hip Hop
via Can’t Stop Hip Hop

Trips to Trinidad EP

Trinidad James

Stream

It’s been a while since we have heard any music from Trinidad James.  His new EP, Trips to Trinidad gives fans something to devour in the meantime however.  The small collection of songs has “Island Music” written all over it.  The first two songs, “Trini Wolve$” and “$.T.I.Y. (Save the Island Youth),” are one part reggae and one part rap.  The last two tracks give us a freestyle, and some wisdom to go with it.  “TTT Free$tyle” is a pretty average freestyle that has a different sound from the previous two tracks, and it probably could have been excluded from the project as a whole.  “Po$$ible No Guarantee” has Trinidad speaking about relationships at the start, only to move on to his outlook on life as a whole.  It might have felt scattered at times, but it was an interesting piece to end with.  The project, largely produced by Dark Conceptz, is nothing special, but it still manages to please.


via Datpiff
via Datpiff

No Chill

Jae Millz

Pass

I have been following Jae Millz ever since “Green Goblin,” his collaboration with Chris Brown.  His style of music could almost be classified as dark and menacing, with some heavy beats to back it up.  No Chill, the newest of his many mixtapes, continues in that style of music, but did not impress in it’s execution.  There were some songs from the project that caught my attention, like “Shining” and “Yeah I Know,” but most were nothing to write home about.  Most of the songs on the tape ranged from average to below average, which does not make it worth going out of your way to listen to it.  Jae Millz has done better.


via Hoodstok
via Hoodstok

Life of a Soulja II

Lil Soulja Slim

Pass

If you have not heard of Lil Soulja Slim, that is okay.  He has not hit it big yet.  He is the son of Soulja Slim, the rapper who died at the hands of an unknown shooter.  Soulja Slim’s son continues on, furthering his father’s legacy.  He has not put out that much music yet, which is why his second mixtape in the Life of a Soulja series was intriguing to me.  I wanted to see what his rapping abilities looked like.  It is fair to say that he sounds a lot like his father, but some of his lyrics do not fly too well.  He needs some work, as demonstrated by the quality of the mixtape.  The release has some good production from producers like Playboy Pat and Crack Tracks, but his lyrical abilities were not all there.  The last song on the mixtape “Listen,” which happened to be a bonus track featuring Juvenile, Young Juve, and Danny Heartless, was probably my favorite out of all of them.  His newest offering can probably be passed over, but I will be interested to see if he gets better over time, and if he gets any traction and recognition in the future.

Rogue One Teaser Impressions

If you have been paying any attention to Twitter recently, you should already know that the Star Wars Celebration has been taking place in Anaheim, California this weekend.  The convention has already yielded a ton of new announcements and trailers, including the first trailer for Star Wars Episode 7.  However, today we got a first glimpse at a teaser for the first Star Wars “anthology” film, Rogue One.

The short thirty second teaser is a slow pan with a voice over from Obi-Wan Kenobi from the first Star Wars.  It starts with darkness, but then reveals a forestry region that looks to be either Alderaan, Yavin 4, or the forest moon.  Later on we see a single Tie-Fighter flying into the distance.  The screen then pans up to the sky and reveals what the Tie-Fighter is flying towards…the (possibly under-construction) Death Star.  As you can tell from the fan-captured footage below, the quality is far from perfect, but it still gives us a good picture of what is happening.

via syfantasy.fr
via syfantasy.fr

In the panel discussion afterwords, it is revealed that the movie will detail the story of the Rebels, and their mission to steal the plans for the Death Star.  The dark times brought on by the Empire have not taken place yet, and the world is still at peace thanks to the efforts of the Jedis.  This also lends to the fact that the movie might take place chronologically around Episode 4.

Rogue One will not feature anybody with Jedi powers, just some normal people on a mission to restore hope to the galaxy.  Their motives for doing so still remain unclear, but it leads me to assume that the movie might feature a lot of “rogue” espionage.  The movie likely will not follow in the same vein as the previous Star Wars movies, but it will be it’s own product.

via The Verge
via The Verge

Principle photography has not begun yet, so the teaser was constructed by the people at Industrial Light & Magic to give us a taste of what to expect.  Because filming has not begun yet, we still have ways to go before we get a full scope of what will be taking place in Rogue One.  The teaser makes it seem like the movie will have a lot of promise.  Watch the teaser below…

The Weekly Drop: 4/18/15

This week saw the release of Tyler, the Creator’s album Cherry Bomb along with a mix and match of other singles as well.  Trey Songz delivered a surprise mixtape Intermission, and Rihanna released her newest single from her upcoming album, “American Oxygen.”  Here is what came out this week…


via Zumic
via Zumic

“American Oxygen”

Rihanna

Buy

Technically the song came out on April 5th on the new Tidal Music platform, but I was not really a fan of Tidal, so I decided to wait till it was available everywhere.  With that being said, this patriotic and energetic song is actually pretty good.  It is pretty significant because Rihanna, the island girl herself, is a black immigrant of the United States.  The song, which served as the theme song for March Madness, is about achieving the American Dream.  The song also has some obvious influences from Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA.”  “American Oxygen” gets me pretty excited for what is to come with Rihanna’s #R8, her highly anticipated next album, but this should do till then.


via Deezer
via Deezer

“Addicted to a Memory”

Zedd (feat. Bahari)

Stream

“Addicted to a Memory” is Zedd’s second offering off his new album True Colors which comes out on the 19th of this month.  It is a “what could have been” type of song, which has Bahari reflecting on a relationship that probably did not go as planned.  It has a deep techno kind of feel with a drop that will shake any dance club.  It started to run a little long towards the end, but overall it felt like a Zedd song.


via Josepvinaixa
via Josepvinaixa

“Darker than Blood”

Steve Aoki (feat. Linkin Park)

Pass

The other EDM track to come out this week came from the rage inducer Steve Aoki himself, along with the surprise help of Linkin Park.  This is not the first time that we have had rock mixed with electronic music, but it did not feel quite right with “Darker than Blood.”  The song, which supposedly has been in production for almost two years, did not quite have the effect that I thought it would have.  The song sounds like Steve Aoki, as well as Linkin Park.  It just made me realize that the song probably would have sounded better separated.  I would have rather had Steve Aoki release the song by himself, with Linkin Park doing the same.  Then we could have had a comparison.


via Dj Booth
via Dj Booth

“So Many Pros”

Snoop Dogg

Pass

Bush is on its way, and Snoop seems to be making a comeback, albeit with a new sound.  His second single “So Many Pros” has similarities to his other single “Peaches and Cream,” which makes it apparent that the album is going to have a smooth and more “pop-y” feel to it.  “So Many Pros” has production from Pharrell Williams, and some back up vocals from the talented Charlie Wilson.  It brought me back to Snoop’s earlier ballad “Sensual Seduction,” but “So Many Pros” failed to do it for me.  It just sounded like a tired and lazy pop song with little to no rap at all.  If I did not know better, I would not have guessed that it was a Snoop Dogg song.


via Rap Dose
via Rap Dose

“Best Friend”

Yelawolf (feat. Eminem)

Buy

I have a strong feeling that Yelawolf has a good album coming our way to add to the collection of great hip hop albums that have come out this year.  “Best Friend” is his latest single from the upcoming release, which includes the only feature on the album; and no one better to fill that role than Slim Shady himself.  The two sound great together on the track, with Yelawolf getting a little more spiritual while Eminem delivers his trademark aggressive rhymes.  There’s a overarching spiritual tone to the song, which makes me excited for the kind of territory that the southern rapper will cover on Love Story.


via MWM Forum
via MWM Forum

Intermission

Trey Songz

Stream

Trey Songz noted on his Twitter that he feels like he is at his best whenever he releases surprise music for his fans.  The mixtape, which could be called an EP, features a small collection of songs from the R&B singer.  Some of my favorites from the release are “Don’t Play” and “Talk About It.”  They both do the job of being pretty alright R&B songs.  The others on the EP are not knock-outs, but they were not bad.  Intermission was not Trey Songz at his absolute best, but he gives his fans something to grapple to during their wait for his upcoming project.

Review: Tyler, the Creator’s Cherry Bomb

via Miss Info
via Miss Info

Cherry Bomb (2015)

Tyler, the Creator

Rap / Alternative Hip-Hop

Odd Future Records / Sony


What a year it has been so far for Rap.  We are a little past a quarter of the way through the year and we have already had a plethora of great albums from some of the day’s best rappers.  Everyone must be on their A-game I presume.  The party continues with Tyler, the Creator’s newest offering, Cherry Bomb.  Tyler gives us another worthy rap release, although some minor quibbles and missteps put a blemish on the finished product.

It is immediately apparent that there are a lot of different sound and musical influences on the album from some of Tyler’s idols.  Some of the more notable influences that we see on the album are from Stevie Wonder and N.E.R.D., especially in the album’s opening track “DEATHCAMP.”  Tyler also managed to get some of his idols as features, including the likes of Lil Wayne, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, and the Colombian singer Kali Uchis, who seems to have hit it off pretty well with Tyler.  The songs that they worked on together, including “FUCKING YOUNG/PERFECT” and “FIND YOUR WINGS,” are some of the highlights from the thirteen song track list.

via NSS Mag
via NSS Mag

The two most intriguing features out of the bunch came from Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and Pharrell.  “SMUCKERS” received a lot of hype prior to the album’s release due to the fact that the hip-hop legends Kanye and Wayne would be on the track.  The song might not have lived up to the heavy amounts of hype, but I was still pleased with the outcome.  I really enjoyed Pharrell’s feature on “KEEP DA O’S” because it brought us back to the 2006 Pharrell, with Slim Thug’s Already Platinum.  It was a cool sound from Pharrell, one that most contemporary pop fans are not too familiar with.

If you could not tell already from the album’s track list, the album has a theme of flying, or finding your wings.  “PILOT,” “RUN,” and “FIND YOUR WINGS,” as well as other songs, all carry out the overarching theme of finding your own place in life.  Doing what you want to do without anybody else judging you or bringing you down.  It is a pretty positive overtone that is sort of a far cry from some of Tyler’s past work.

via NME
via NME

The album’s production and musical choices are what hurts the album and takes it down a couple of pegs.  It is like Tyler just figured out what distortion and compression was, and decided to sprinkle the effects everywhere.  His overuse of these musical effects made some of the songs sound like a jumbled mess of noises.  They work well with a tiny minority of the tracks, but they do not really have the effect that Tyler probably was wanting them to have.  The best example I can give is the album’s title track, “CHERRY BOMB,” which turned out to be a mess.

There is also some instrumentals that find their way on to a couple of songs which sound pretty good.  The sax solos in “2SEATER” give the song a mellow and moody feel and “BLOW MY LOAD” is another smooth sounding “ballad” about the dirty act of *ahem* blowing your load.  Only on a Tyler, the Creator album.

via DIY Mag
via DIY Mag

Any fan of Tyler, the Creator will most likely find their selves at home among the goofy and often immature lyrics and weird sounds.   Cherry Bomb might be some of Tyler’s best work when you compare it to the likes of Goblin and Wolf.  Both of those albums had some great moments, but so does Cherry Bomb.  The album could have used some work on the production side, with Tyler not going crazy with the weird musical effects, but we get an album that was made “by Tyler, for Tyler,” if that makes sense.  He accomplished a lot of his dream projects and goals on this one, which gives a pretty authentic and real feel to the album.  If Tyler’s happy, I guess we must be happy too.

cherry bomb score

Review: Airplane II: The Sequel

via fanart.tv
via fanart.tv

Airplane II: The Sequel (1982)

PG / 85 min.

Comedy

Starring: Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty, Lloyd Bridges

Director: Ken Finkleman


The stakes have been raised and things are getting even crazier.  It’s been some time since the events of Airplane!  Ted Striker, the veteran war pilot, is now in a mental institution and his love Elaine is still hotter than ever.  Airplane II: The Sequel kicks things up a notch with a maiden passenger space voyage.  Space travel in the 80’s?  Well, let’s just say things do not work as well as they should.

The shuttle is powered and controlled by an onboard computer which has a mind of its own.  Now, this was probably a pretty big fundamental oversight, but the shuttle was somehow deemed suitable to fly.  During the shuttle’s premier voyage, the computer starts to make the calls and directs the shuttle in the direction of the sun.  With the shuttle on a head-on collision course for the big flaming ball, it becomes a race against the clock as Striker and Elaine have to set things straight in what looks like an impossible scenario.

via Gallery Hip
via Gallery Hip

Robert Hays and Julie Hagerty reprise their roles as Striker and Elaine respectively.  The two performances are very familiar to those who have seen the first installment.  Striker is still a fearful pilot who has a lot of stories to tell (even though no one wants to hear them) and Elaine is still the sweet and rather innocent assistant.

Their roles are not the only things that are familiar however.  In fact, Airplane II is very similar to its predecessor in numerous ways.  The same brand of gags and one-liners still make their presence in the movie.  The movie does not slow down at all with the gags, probably delivering them once every twenty seconds.  There is also a fair share of racist jokes and other stuff that probably would not fly in a PG movie these days.  Some of the same bits are even copied and pasted into the second movie, like the scene with the shuttle’s pilot Captain Oveur (Peter Graves) and the little kid in the cockpit, for example.

via Stage Vu
via Stage Vu

Do not get me wrong, a lot of these gags and jokes were still pretty funny and a lot of them provided for some pretty funny moments, but it all seems unoriginal.  I would have liked to see some new jokes, instead of the same rehashed stuff from the first movie.  It was apparent, based off the first movie’s successes that the humor was well liked by moviegoers, but after round two, the magic starts to fade.

Sticking with the theme of similarities, Lloyd Bridges returns with his role of Steven McCroskey, the man in charge of ground control.  His dialog with Striker and Elaine through the radio provided for some of the funnier scenes in the movie.  Bridges nails the part of the often drunk and always smoking ground control.  We also get a pretty funny performance from William Shatner, who played the role of Commander Murdock.

via h33t.to
via h33t.to

Airplane II is not bad, but it does not capture the same type of feel as the original.  It suffers from fatigue, in which its jokes start to become old.  The only sense of originality in the movie was perhaps the film’s opening sequence, which might be very familiar to any fan of the Star Wars series.  Other than that, you could pretty much have copied the script from Airplane! and place it right on this movie and no one would notice.  The movie still provides a boat load of laughs, but the movie does not gain enough speed to take off.

airplane II score

Review: Chef

via markitgroupmedia.wordpress.com
via markitgroupmedia.wordpress.com

Chef (2014)

R / 114 min.

Comedy / Drama

Starring: Jon Favreau, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson

Director: Jon Favreau


Ask any aspiring chef and they will probably tell you that their dream is to run their own restaurant in places like New York or LA.  It is like the final destination for a chef; their end goal.  They have to work their way up the ranks, starting as a simple cook in a bustling kitchen and working up to the point where they call the shots.  It’s a hard journey, but it is one that pays off in the end.  Chef, written and directed by Jon Favreau, tells the story of one such chef on this journey.

Jon Favreau himself plays the hard-working and prideful chef Carl Casper.  Things seem to be going well for Carl.  He is the head chef of a pretty popular kitchen in LA.  One night a popular food critic, Ramsey Michael (Oliver Platt), decides to pay the restaurant a visit; to see how good the restaurant actually is.  The only thing that is holding Carl back is the owner of the restaurant, Riva, played by Dustin Hoffman.  The two’s relationship in the movie is heated and tense, and provided some of the better moments of the movie.

via Fat Movie Guy
via Fat Movie Guy

Pride comes into play when Carl starts to read the review from Ramsey.  It is pretty clear that he did not have an enjoyable experience, and this starts to drive Carl up the wall.  Within days, the review goes viral and everybody starts talking about it on Twitter.  Carl does the one thing you are not supposed to do when it comes to Twitter, and that is take the criticism to heart.  His pride starts to consume him as he blows up on the internet, giving him the reputation of the “crazy chef.”  It is not a good look for him.  This leads him to one option, to start a food truck where it all began for him…in Miami.  It is a big step down for him, but it all makes sense in the end.

There is a ton of star-power that joins along Favreau’s side.  Scarlett Johansson plays the helpful hostess and often wise Molly, who helps Favreau find his true identity as a chef.  We also see Sofia Vergara who plays Carl’s ex-wife Inez.  We do not see her too much during the movie, but she plays a pivotal role.  Also joining the cast is Robert Downey Jr., who plays Marvin, who has had some past history with Inez.  His main purpose in the movie is getting Carl of the ground in Miami with a new food truck.

via Product of Society
via Product of Society

Two other actors who are not as well know, but provided some great performances are John Leguizamo and Emjay Anthony.  Leguizamo plays Martin, who is the trusted side-kick to Carl.  The two were in the same kitchen in LA, and when he found out that Carl was perusing his career in Miami, he dropped everything in order to continue his back up efforts.  Carl’s son Percy was played by Anthony.  Carl and Percy do not really know each other as well, but after some bonding time with the food truck, the two soon become best buds.  This was a very touching side plot to the movie.

The second part of the movie, which covered the adventure of the food truck, could almost be described as a documentary of sorts for a rock band on tour.  It had the kind of feel of a 90’s rock and roll behind-the-scenes kind of video.  Carl, Martin, and Percy take the food truck on a road trip, traveling to cities across the southern region of the US, while becoming more and more famous thanks to the powers of the internet.

via Teaser-Trailer
via Teaser-Trailer

This leads me to my gripe about the movie, and that is how it handled the “phenomenon” of technology.  It is pretty clear that Carl has no clue what technology is.  His son Percy has to basically explain everything to him, including Twitter.  These little scenes were not that bad, but the movie started to hit us over the head as we got deeper into the runtime.  During the food truck road trip, both Martin and Carl always seemed clueless when Percy brought up the subject of technology.  Things like Vine, 1-second video compilations, and even taking a simple photo on a smartphone was new ground for the two old-timers.  It started to get old after a while and I soon started to get annoyed whenever I heard Carl say “*insert form of technology*?  What is that?”

Chef puts out a lot of feel-good vibes.  Carl is tasked with furthering his career in food, while also mending his broken family at the same time.  Although the task seems a little large and unattainable at times, everything seems to pull through for him and things turn out to be okay in the end.  Chef might make the whole experience of becoming a famous chef look a little too easy, but it still manages to cook up a pretty fun and delightful story of man overcoming pride and working for himself.  And yes…I am going to say that Chef might not deserve a full five-star review, but four stars should do the trick.

chef score

Review: Never Alone

via store.neveralonegame.com
via store.neveralonegame.com

Never Alone (2014)

PS4 / Rated T

Puzzle / Platformer / Educational

Publisher: Upper One Games

Developer: Upper One Games


The Inupiaq people of Alaska are a fascinating group of people.  I never understood how people could live and carry out their daily lives in such harsh and cold climates.  Alaska can be brutal during the winter months, but the Inupiaq people manage to get by.  The have a rich and thriving culture and a pretty deep history as well.  Thanks to the work of indie studio Upper One Games, the Inupiaq now have a game based on their culture, titled Never Alone (also known as Kisima Innitchuna).

Rooted in deep in Inupiaq tradition, the game tells the story of a little girl named Nuna who is met with the problem of an eternal blizzard.  She has to go to the source of the problem to set things right.  Early on, she comes into acquaintance with a cute arctic fox.  The two grow an attachment to each other and accompany each other through the harsh wintery adventure.

via Techno Buffalo
via Techno Buffalo

The game is a puzzle-platformer that puts you in control of both Nuna and the fox.  You switch between the two rather seamlessly to get past puzzles.  The fox can reach some of the harder to reach places and Nuna can do some of the physical work that the fox can’t.  The puzzles that you encounter throughout the adventure are usually not too hard, but there are some situations that are frustrating as hell to get by.

Speaking of frustrating, the gameplay could use a lot of work.  The game does not necessarily require too much of the player in terms of platforming, but the controls just seem imprecise.  They did not feel too good when I was making jumps and trying to get by.  I often found myself having trouble with certain sequences due to the frustrating nature of the controls.  A little while in, Nuna acquires the “Bola,” a projectile-style weapon of Inupiaq tradition.  The weapon requires you to first aim the weapon and then throw the projectile in the direction you want.  It almost reminded me of throwing eggs in Yoshi’s Island. However, the mechanic was not fun at all to use, and almost always took me multiple attempts to get a desired result.  You control both motions with only the right stick, which can cause a lot of headaches when trying throw the weapon in certain trajectories.

via XBLA Fans
via XBLA Fans

Never Alone also suffers from some technical problems that detract from the overall experience.  I often found both Nuna and the fox glitching in the game’s geometry, and getting stuck.  Luckily there is a reset option that puts your characters back at the most recent checkpoint.  The two character’s behavior was also unpredictable at times, which led to some frustration when trying to progress.

There is a level of charm that the game gives off, as well as a careful attention to the details of the Inupiaq culture, that demands for a little praise.  The game looks pretty nice, and the environments and character designs all fit together pretty well.  There’s not a whole lot of variety to the game’s atmosphere, but that is probably because Alaska is not the most diverse place in terms of looks.  There are also “Cultural Insights” that the player can collect along the way that provide some further information and facts about the many different aspects of Inupiaq culture.  These little bite-size videos feature some good production work and were often fun to watch through.

via Console Domination
via Console Domination

It is hard to argue the heart that Never Alone contains.  It is pretty apparent that there was a lot of work put into the game to make it a genuine experience about the Inupiaq culture.  However, there were a lot of frustrations that I took away that made the experience a less enjoyable.  It is a shame because I really wanted to like the game.  It does a lot of things right, but it also does a lot of things wrong as well.

never alone score