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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

New Godzilla Revealed!

New Godzilla design was released at the Legendary Pictures booth this week at Comic Con. The film is slated to be released in 2012. Thoughts????

Movie of the Day: Man Hunt

The Mike here once more, with a classic Movie of the Day pick!

From German born director Fritz Lang (he of M, Metropolis, and more!) comes a rousing bit of wartime propaganda. Walter Pidgeon (of Forbidden Planet!) stars as a British hunter who decides to have a "sporting stalk" and see if he can literally get a German leader in his sights. You may have heard of that leader, he was called Adolf Hitler.

When a film opens with crosshairs on Hitler, it's hard to believe that there's anywhere it can go but down. That's most definitely not the case with Man Hunt, as the film quickly turns into a Hitchcockian man-on-the-run film with a clever game of cat and mouse being played between Pidgeon's escaped Brit and a German officer determined to prove that this was an act of war. That German officer is played by one of the most beloved actors in all of Mike-time, George Sanders. Also showing up is Joan Bennett (later the headmistress in Suspiria!) as the woman of the streets that our hero befriends in his quest for freedom.

Man Hunt has everything a classic can offer, but really shines due to its opening scene and the ideas behind it. It's shocking to think that this film - made relatively early in the progression of WWII by a German born director - so accurately captured the image of Hitler we all have studied, and still raises questions today in viewers, almost 70 years later. If you're looking for a thinking-man's thriller with great performances and a moral center, there aren't many movies better than Man Hunt.

(I can't seem to find a trailer online, but here's the first encounter between Pidgeon and Sanders' characters that sets the plot. Don't tell me you're not interested...)

A Tribute to the Mullet

"Business in the front, Party in the back"

As I sat here pondering the meaning of life many things came to mind......religion, love, marriage, children, career, and mullets!!! One of the raddest inventions ever, the mullet is a symbol of pure awesomeness. The modern mullet first appeared in the the late 1960's. It has transformed over the decades from the big and bouffant mullets of the 80's to the permed mullets of the 90's. It has been a prevalent presence in entertainment world from Carol Brady of the Brady Bunch to County Music star Billy Ray Cyrus. The mullet also tends to have a strong presence at the Iowa State Fair year after year. I took the pleasure of collecting some of the best mullet pictures I could party on blogsters!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Video Game Review: Crackdown 2 (XBox 360)

Hey all, The Mike here, with my first ever video game review! Be gentle...

I had incredibly high hopes for Crackdown 2, which is kind of surprising considering the fact that it took me a while to get into the original Crackdown (which ended up one of my favorite time killing games ever). I am by no means a talented or "hardcore" gamer, but this was a game which allowed me to jump around, blow stuff up, and find hidden treasures (in the form of the Agility and Hidden Orbs that make up a huge portion of the Crackdown universe's appeal). In short, the game made me feel like a radioactive luchador version of Dirty Harry.

As its release approached, Crackdown 2 promised a lot of the same elements that made me love the first game. The orbs were back, plus "Renegade" orbs which have to be chased down on foot or by vehicle, and the playable character seemed to have the same superhero-like powers as the first film. The game was also returning to the same city in which the first game took place, and used a similar, comic book inspired, color scheme as the first game.

The game also promised something new and exciting: "freaks". And these freaks, when looked at by the untrained eye and/or placed into a loose definition of the term...resemble zombies. I was completely sold on using my building-leaping, heat-packing, silent-but-deadly "agent" to take out hordes of zombies. So, Crackdown 2 became a must play...and ended up taking up a few full days of my life while I had some time off of work.

For the most part, the charms of the first game are back. The Agent is still one of the most fun video game characters I've ever controlled, with the ability to scale heights and an array of great weapons (when you find the "Quacker" grenades, things get REALLY fun). There are some new toys like UV weapons to fight the freaks, a wingsuit which allows the agent to glide around the map, and the Agency helicopter which is a blast to use (once you can reach it). But on a whole, the experience of Crackdown 2 left me a little disappointed.

In Crackdown, there were 15 "bosses" that had to be defeated. What I loved about that game's story - which wasn't really even a story - is that the bosses weren't really different from any other villain you'd face. The agent could plow into a boss' location and, if he was sneaky enough, take out the boss before any of the minions surrounding them had a chance to play defense. It made the game a little easier once your agent's skills were developed and weapons were acquired, but it kept the game feeling light and I always felt it gave me a little more control over the pace of the game.

In Crackdown 2, the bosses are nowhere to be found. Instead, there are "Strongholds" which can be captured by simply killing a ton of enemies until the voice of your handler tells you you've captured the stronghold. Worse, that's only your secondary objective, as you have to close down freak lairs by dropping beacons that supposedly wipe out the freak virus. Encounters with these freak lairs or the freak breaches that occur randomly aren't too different from the strongholds. Just kill until you're told to stop killing, and you're done. There are 27 strongholds, 9 freak lairs, 15 or so freak breaches, and several other monotonous tasks to complete, which leaves Crackdown 2 feeling like a drag where Crackdown felt like a breeze.Also annoying to me is the fact that, unlike Crackdown, you never seem to make progress at your goals. Once you cleared an island in that game, the island was open for you to run around collecting swag without fear of attack. In Crackdown 2, the villains never go away. You're told you've wiped them out, and a brief cutscene at the end of the game shows you that you've completed all your objectives. But when you respawn to work on other objectives, you'll find that the freaks and criminals you've already "eliminated" are still around. Their numbers are diminished at times, but their recurrence left me feeling like I'd never really made progress.

I have had a lot of fun playing Crackdown 2, and I don't regret picking it up since I love the idea of The Agent and the feel of the character so much, but I could have had the same fun putting the copy of Crackdown I picked up for $10 a year ago back in my 360. At a $60 price tag, I can't imagine that even the biggest fans of the first game will get complete satisfaction out of what is essentially an expansion of the first game with better graphics and a less optimistic setting. If you haven't played Crackdown, go pick up a cheap copy of it (probably about $5 now!) and enjoy. Don't bother grabbing this one until it's on the bargain racks.

Trailer Alert!!! Iowa filmed-'The Experiment'

Filmed in Des Moines, this thriller starring Adrien Brody, Forest Whitaker, and Maggie Grace, is the story of 26 men that are chosen to participate in the roles of guards and prisoners in a psychological study that ultimately spirals out of control. This has a direct to DVD release on September 21st. Check it out!

Quote of the Day

I am a typed director. If I made Cinderella, the audience would immediately be looking for a body in the coach.
-Alfred Hitchcock

Morning Music: Are You Ready?

Not the biggest AC/DC fan, but this seems like a good way to start the day.

Artist: AC/DC
Album: The Razor's Edge