TakuChat http://www.takuchat.com Sat, 28 Feb 2015 06:12:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 [Reviews] Movie review and dedicated post: Star Trek (2009) http://www.takuchat.com/reviews-movie-review-and-dedicated-post-star-trek-2009/ http://www.takuchat.com/reviews-movie-review-and-dedicated-post-star-trek-2009/#comments Sat, 28 Feb 2015 06:12:06 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=27599 On tonight’s very special edition of Projected Realities, we salute the passing of Leonard Nimoy, an entertainment icon whose many roles spanned the likes of Dragnet, Bonanza, The Twilight Zone, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Mission: Impossible, and of course Gene … Continue reading

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Star Trek 2009 - movie poster - property of Paramount Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment, and Bad Robot - from http://www.impawards.com/2009/star_trek_xi_ver16_xlg.html

On tonight’s very special edition of Projected Realities, we salute the passing of Leonard Nimoy, an entertainment icon whose many roles spanned the likes of Dragnet, Bonanza, The Twilight Zone, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Mission: Impossible, and of course Gene Roddenberry’s magnum opus.

Director J.J. Abrams’ take on Star Trek is a relentlessly exciting and accessible work that despite a few inside jokes requires no advance knowledge of the series or its ten earlier movies to enjoy. The simple story is given the finest presentation and its own continuity, thoroughly invigorating this long-standing franchise and making for a wonderfully engrossing watch.


Visceral yet polished

Star Trek 2009 - Paramount Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment, Bad Robot - USS Kelvin - from http://trekmovie.com/2009/03/08/star-trek-trailer-3-shot-by-shot-analysis/
Many scenes look even better in motion than they do as still frames.

The starship U.S.S. Kelvin flies toward what looks like a lightning-spewing maelstrom in space, out of which comes a truly evil-looking vessel, the Narada. Abrams has learned well from another sci-fi epic, and this shot establishes a threat not through exposition or even carnage but simply through scale. Completely dwarfing its prey, the Narada opens fire without so much as a warning, devastating the innocent ship in a frantic, violent, and powerfully memorable display. There’s not a lot of dialogue or specific characterization, but this is storytelling distilled, where people become heroes or villains in the span of a few moments.

Deprived of one captain already, the Kelvin braces to lose another as George Kirk issues a ship-wide evacuation order before retaliating one last time against his aggressor. Bombs, lasers, and the doomed ship itself hardly scratch its destroyer, but Captain Kirk has bought precious time, saving hundreds of lives at the cost of his own, including his wife Winona and their unborn son, James.

Star Trek 2009 - Paramount Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment, Bad Robot, Mavrocine - Narada - from http://scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/27927/how-did-narada-escape-from-inside-the-event-horizon-of-the-black-hole

Forced to give birth in an escape shuttle while physically watching her husband die (after barely getting to hear his new child’s voice and to name him), Winona’s emotions naturally run high as everything around her falls to pieces. Two themes recur throughout all of Star Trek–the significance of emotion, and bravery in the face of hopelessness–and they are used flawlessly: imagine the slow but unavoidable tragedy of the beginning to Pixar’s Up, then compress and intensely amplify it. The result, while upsetting, is absolutely astounding.

Cue title and excellent theme music. And Beastie Boys.


A captain cannot cheat death.

Star Trek 2009 - Paramount Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment, Bad Robot, Mavrocine - Corvette meets cliff - from http://www.automobilesdeluxe.tv/tag/star-trek/
The story does have a few issues with focusing long enough to ask difficult questions about choices and consequences.

The mood shifts abruptly without feeling deceitful: now in Iowa, young Jim is busy making trouble in his new father’s Corvette, while on the planet Vulcan, the young all-business alien Spock is taking rapid-fire academic tests and being emotionally taunted by his peers. This works all too well, as one bully ends up being pummeled by his erstwhile victim. The latter’s father reprimands him simply through silence, following up with good advice: Control your feelings so they do not control you. Spock’s mother is human, a fact other Vulcans tend to think little of, and as he is now older, he must decide whether to purge all of his emotions or to embrace them for the sake of his mother. Naturally, she’ll love him either way.

Back in Iowa, Kirk is now an “adult,” at least technically, as he spends his evenings in a crowded bar, complete with aliens as well as women for James to flirt with. He isn’t a total fool, however: when his future colleague Uhura discusses her study of alien languages, Kirk surprises her by understanding (and her knowledge later comes in handy during Into Darkness). A young and burly white knight tries to defend Uhura and punches Kirk after one too many jokes; a brawl breaks out, and Jim, outnumbered, ends up in his own fight he can’t possibly win. Uhura also establishes herself as a peacemaker, or at the very least she tries, which is surely worth something.

Star Trek 2009 - Paramount Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment, Bad Robot, Mavrocine - USS Enterprise under construction - from http://refilmit.com/blog/2014/05/26/star-trek-2009/
The ships in this film deserve to be watched on the biggest screen available.

Kirk, drunk and with grim prospects for his future, is given an invitation by one Captain Pike to enlist in Starfleet Academy for the sake of the Federation, a peacekeeping and humanitarian armada. Pike knew Jim’s father George, who accomplished more in his twelve minutes as captain than the younger Kirk has in his life to this point. The movie then shows where the Enterprise is being built, and it’s huge. The special effects in this movie are marvelous. Nothing ever looks “fake CG,” not even the most alien of the monsters, and the camera demonstrates ship-model sizes wonderfully.

Years later, Kirk steadily moves closer to completing his Starfleet education, while main villain Nero is shown to have waited decades to exact revenge for the destruction of his world. Our “hero” has some questionable values, engaging in foreplay with one alien but then hiding under her bed while her roommate (Uhura, of course) comes in and begins taking off her clothes–just before hearing some very suspicious mouth-breathing, giving the film one of its most earnest and least abrupt comedic moments. James T. Kirk, here, isn’t a deeply moral individual, but he is consummately interesting to watch, which definitely keeps the story moving even if other characters sometimes make his life–though not just his, as Uhura herself demonstrates–rather convenient.

Star Trek 2009 - Paramount Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment, Bad Robot, Mavrocine - space dock - from http://www.treksinscifi.com/trekdaily/?p=4151

I will say that some situations contrive themselves to allow James to avoid the consequences of his actions, as Into Darkness showed in stronger detail, but they come with enough of an audience payoff–before long, the planet of Vulcan issues a dire distress signal, and the Enterprise and other ships have no time to waste if they want to save countless lives. Just as importantly, James does demonstrate moral fortitude enough to stick to the truth of what he knows even when doing so is inconvenient, which nets him a very bittersweet reward. A disastrous first encounter with Nero leads to a hectic ‘away mission’, complete with space sequences where there’s no noise except for what can be heard from inside the mission team’s spacesuits–a very nice effect.

Despite not looking especially hospitable, Vulcan is rendered gorgeously, and its urban environments showcase a great deal of detail through their architecture alone. Moreover, an action scene taking place high above the planet’s surface is shot steadily enough to follow but quickly enough to remain tense and suspenseful even when there’s little doubt as to who will win. Many of Star Trek’s best moments are the same way, establishing what is at stake with little or no dialogue (my favorite being a scene of Kirk being forced to act quickly before another man is sucked into a turbine) and then playing out at a furious pace.

Star Trek 2009 - Paramount Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment, Bad Robot, Mavrocine - Vulcan city - from http://www.ex-astris-scientia.org/inconsistencies/inconsistencies-trekxi.htm

Nero, meanwhile, explains his simplistic but sufficient character motivations, which at the very least are more interesting than just a simple desire to take control. Chris Pine as James Kirk demonstrates some impeccable acting (cf. Unstoppable), as does Zachary Quinto as Spock, but one strange event leads to another, and eventually Kirk somehow runs into an old friend.


With age should come wisdom.

Star Trek 2009 - Paramount Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment, Bad Robot, Mavrocine - Leonard Nimoy as Spock Prime - from http://brainknowsbetter.com/news/2013/7/18/the-psychology-of-spock-past-present-and-future

He is here.

Leonard Nimoy, the Spock from the original Star Trek series, plays a wonderful role here that’s difficult to explain without spoiling half the plot; even still, Nimoy brings a calm yet charismatic performance to the table, and in his own way he manages to teach young Kirk a great deal about friendship. He will need it. (On another note, there are some excellent creature designs in this part of the movie, and it is a bit of a shame to see them so lightly used. As far as character interactions go, much of the dialogue is funny and heartwarming, but some cause-and-effect relations risk making your head hurt.)

Much of the remainder of the film takes place onboard the Narada proper; with the story and character setup out of the way, Star Trek shifts over toward action and excels at it. The explosive and not-suitable-for-children battles range in scale from melee fights to ship combat, and while the Federation is established as being ideally peaceful, some villains simply refuse to back down and must be made to.

Star Trek 2009 - Paramount Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment, Mad Robot, Mavrocine - Narada interior - from http://structureddream.blogspot.com/2010/05/star-trek-by-minute-103-i-know-your.html
The art direction deserves extensive praise throughout the movie.

The movie overwhelms with sympathizable human emotions, not with technical jargon, and its de-emphasis on its story’s own science takes a big risk: do you cater to viewers who will analyze your work down to the smallest detail, or do you ignore this and focus on appealing to a wide audience that may not have a strong interest in science or physics? Even if the film’s appeal is more basic than technically intricate, it has a lot of appeal, and that is valuable enough on its own. The story isn’t that deep, but it’s told well enough to be consistently interesting. The characters aren’t very complex, but they feel distinct and create lots of engaging conflicts without coming across as obnoxious. There isn’t a huge emphasis on “setting” (we primarily see Earth, Vulcan, and a few ships), but the ones given make for excellent viewing. Star Trek 2009 doesn’t try to please everyone, but for those who are interested in the brand of action the movie has to offer, it should be more than enough of a worthy watch.


Conclusion: A child of two worlds

Director J.J. Abrams’ frenzied approach to this storied franchise evokes Michael Bay at times, to be sure, but the characters, the straightforward but compelling tale, and especially the music, pacing, acting, and camera work are all astounding. The movie makes for a stunning if often brutal introduction or reintroduction to an imagination-filled setting of heroes, villains, and foreign worlds, and if you like your science fiction with less of a focus on how and more on to what end, Star Trek comes as a particularly recommendation.

Now for the reason I am here–I couldn’t begin to sum up Leonard Nimoy’s life and extensive career in a few sentences and will make no attempt to do so. I don’t have the slightest comprehension of all that he accomplished throughout his many years, but there’s no telling just how much influence he and his fellows aboard the starship Enterprise have held throughout the decades. The movie’s directoral style makes clear that it wouldn’t exist without Star Wars, but that series may well owe a great deal to a ship and its fellows who happened to be on a planned five-year mission–and perhaps that goes both ways.

Godspeed to you, Mr. Nimoy, and to all who will follow in your footsteps. If there’s one thing Star Trek serves to teach us, it’s that within human interaction there is room both for rational intelligence and for heartfelt emotion. Each has its place, each has its limits, and neither will get far without the other. Above all, this eleventh film entry is a story that gains its power not from the complexity of its elements but from their conviction, and it shines in the big picture. I wish Leonard Nimoy’s friends and family the very best, and I hope that our own future gives this enduring franchise a legacy they can always be proud of.

Live long, and prosper.

Star Trek 2009 - Paramount Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment, Bad Robot, Mavrocine - Spock Prime, Vulcan salute - from http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/nailbiter111/news/?a=90750
And boldly go.

Image credits (property of Paramount Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment, Bad Robot, and Mavrocine; many links contain spoilers)

- Movie postersource
Kelvin fighting Naradasource
Narada, fullsource
Corvettesource
Enterprise under constructionsource
Space docksource
Spock Primesource
Narada interiorsource
Vulcan salutesource


This post was written and published for my movie-review blog, Projected Realities.

[Reviews] Movie review and dedicated post: Star Trek (2009)

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New Final Fantasy XV Footage Shows The Games Stunning Wildlife http://www.takuchat.com/new-final-fantasy-xv-footage-shows-the-games-stunning-wildlife/ http://www.takuchat.com/new-final-fantasy-xv-footage-shows-the-games-stunning-wildlife/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 19:44:14 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=27597

Square Enix released some more footage of Final Fantasy XV, the footage shows more gameplay and it shows off the amazing wildlife.Check it out below- World Of Wonder- Gameplay- More from TakuChat A Cat Shows Us around a New Area … Continue reading

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Square Enix released some more footage of Final Fantasy XV, the footage shows more gameplay and it shows off the amazing wildlife.Check it out below-

World Of Wonder-

Gameplay-

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Dragon Quest Heroes Is Coming West http://www.takuchat.com/dragon-quest-heroes-is-coming-west/ http://www.takuchat.com/dragon-quest-heroes-is-coming-west/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 17:29:47 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=27595

So Dragon Quest Heroes releases in Japan tomorrow, and with that the rest of the world gets some great news! Dragon Quest Heroes is coming West! Of course there is no release date yet, but we will be getting the … Continue reading

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So Dragon Quest Heroes releases in Japan tomorrow, and with that the rest of the world gets some great news! Dragon Quest Heroes is coming West! Of course there is no release date yet, but we will be getting the game!

Now here is the last trailer they released to get your hype up-

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New Batman: Arkham Knight Trailer http://www.takuchat.com/new-batman-arkham-knight-trailer/ http://www.takuchat.com/new-batman-arkham-knight-trailer/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 17:15:04 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=27593

Rocksteady Studios released a new Batman: Arkham Knight trailer dubbed, the trailer is called “Gotham is mine” The trailer shows off many of the games villains, so if you want to go in without knowing which ones will be appearing … Continue reading

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Rocksteady Studios released a new Batman: Arkham Knight trailer dubbed, the trailer is called “Gotham is mine”

The trailer shows off many of the games villains, so if you want to go in without knowing which ones will be appearing then I would recommend skipping out on this one, you can watch below if you aren’t afraid-


Batman: Arkham Knight releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC worldwide on June 2nd.

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Charlie Nash Returns In Street Fighter V With A Beta http://www.takuchat.com/charlie-nash-returns-in-street-fighter-v-with-a-beta/ http://www.takuchat.com/charlie-nash-returns-in-street-fighter-v-with-a-beta/#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 05:28:50 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=27590

Capcom released a trailer showing of the return of the long gone character Charlie. Beyond the trailer Capcom announced their “most ambitious online beta program in franchise history” for Street Fighter V, sadly it was just announced for North America … Continue reading

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Capcom released a trailer showing of the return of the long gone character Charlie.

Beyond the trailer Capcom announced their “most ambitious online beta program in franchise history” for Street Fighter V, sadly it was just announced for North America so far.All you got to do to get in is pre-order the game. Entry details for Europe have not been announced. Expect More details soon.

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[Reviews] Movie Review: Looper (2012) http://www.takuchat.com/reviews-movie-review-looper-2012/ http://www.takuchat.com/reviews-movie-review-looper-2012/#comments Sat, 21 Feb 2015 04:23:26 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=27585 Six simple letters with devastating implications, “loopers” are time-traveling assassins who come from a future where such abilities and technology have been outlawed. The film that shares their name features the talents of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, and Emily Blunt, … Continue reading

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Looper - Endgame Entertainment and others - movie poster - from http://www.impawards.com/2012/looper.html

Six simple letters with devastating implications, “loopers” are time-traveling assassins who come from a future where such abilities and technology have been outlawed. The film that shares their name features the talents of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, and Emily Blunt, and while all of the performances are very strong, the film’s production values are rather hit-or-miss, and the story feels like a waste of its intriguing if unsettling ideas.


Time catches up to us all

Looper - Endgame Entertainment and others - a looper killing a marked target - from http://www.scriptgodsmustdie.com/2013/09/set-ups-and-pay-offs-looper/

A man looks at his pocket watch and receives indistinct communications through the speaker in his ear. Armed, he waits in a field at dawn or dusk, steadily watching an empty blanket. A man suddenly appears on the blanket, bound and gagged. He screams and is instantly shot dead.

Time travel has not yet been invented, the narrator reveals, but thirty years from this moment, it will have been. It quickly becomes illegal and finds a niche within the largest crime syndicates. There’s no mention of people using this power to prevent the Great Depression, the Holocaust, or the spread of AIDS, or even to commit bank robberies: this technology, as far as Looper is concerned, is used exclusively for neutralizing marked targets.

Looper - Endgame Entertainment and others - club scene - from http://www.fanboysoftheuniverse.com/index.php/site/comments/movie_review_closing_time/
Though a still image doesn’t make this apparent, the “drug-trip” sequences are visually well done.

The movie exists primarily in two time frames, one of them being a strangely familiar-looking 2044 and the other taking place in a more advanced yet decrepit society in the decades that follow. Employers in the movie’s own future capture their targets, then forcibly send them back to the past where “loopers,” lying in wait, kill them. This also helps with body disposal, which eventually becomes possible due to advanced tagging procedures. These don’t exist in the first of the story’s time periods, so the bodies are cremated, thus leaving the future employers nothing to dispose.

It must be said that Looper opens with a powerful first impression, with the polish and loads of potential extending even to the DVD menu, whose quality is on the same level as those in the The Matrix trilogy. The far future looks economically downtrodden but nonetheless beautiful, with many ethnically diverse groups making a communal society for each other against a backdrop of tall buildings and helicopters. Unfortunately, not nearly enough is done with this amazing setting, and later sections of the movie tend to ignore it and its world-building possibilities entirely (did time-travel abuse widen the economic gap and concentrate power in the hands of criminal organizations? Do random in-the-past murders and other crimes change future cities’ population at a moment’s notice? What can governments do to prevent this from being exploited by anyone with power and an agenda?).

In any case, when employers want to close loopers’ contracts, since time travel seems to get more negative emphasis in this future society than simple assassination does, all evidence of the former employer-looper relationship must be erased. A looper who is still alive at this point, therefore, is sent back into the past to be killed by his own self, which is known as “closing the loop.” (Some people refuse to kill their future selves, which calls into question whether these crime organizations screen which loopers are getting what targets, to make sure this dilemma never comes up.) Main protagonist Joe is one such assassin with one such task, and he quickly discovers that fighting himself is far more difficult and consequential than he can imagine.


The unfocused story loses energy near the halfway point.

Looper - Endgame Entertainment - future city - from http://www.fxguide.com/featured/looper/ and http://www.atomicfiction.com/
The movie needed a lot more of this.

Young Joe’s days pass by in a blur. He is a reckless hedonist with no thought for his future, spending his money on drugs and his days on women. Some are seen topless, and a well-done montage alternates between Joe killing and pursuing his pleasures. The amount of gore is massive and overwhelming, but so far the narrative holds up and appears to be building toward a Prodigal Son-esque disaster. The aging Joe meets and marries a girl, and they live in a beautiful house together and dream of raising a family. In the meantime, Young Joe’s selfish ways lead to tragedy as he’s given the choice to betray a friend for money–complete with a fairly unsubtle Judas Iscariot reference–and an older version of said friend is seen in the future with fewer and fewer body parts as fingers and even feet are removed in the past. As far as violent scenes go, this is admittedly very creative.

There’s a very surreal scene where “Young Joe” and “Old Joe” meet together in a diner–Bruce Willis is intimidating when ordering coffee–and the younger tries to grill the elder for information about the effects and consequences of time travel. The elder isn’t willing to talk, regardless of whether Young Joe’s actions can alter Old Joe’s memories along with his life and health, and is much more interested in condemning his younger version’s irresponsible way of living. Some story events lend the impression that history is effectively predetermined.

Looper - Endgame Entertainment and others - Joes in Diner - from https://semicoherentmusings.wordpress.com/2013/01/22/closing-loopers-loops/
It must be said that the dialogue here is very well done.

The story at this point has a lot of good ideas, but its execution and handling feel poor and rushed for the rest of the film. There is an individual called the “Rainmaker,” who quickly and violently takes control of many major organizations and begins closing as many loops as he can. We are told all this, rarely if ever shown, and the film’s shouting of exposition loses its charm when it extends beyond the opening narration to form a big part of how the movie tells its story. Thus, the audience is never given a chance to form its own opinions about this character’s decisions and personality. (Even Darth Vader had charisma.)

Old Joe wants to kill this Rainmaker, in order to save his own life as well as someone he loves, but Young Joe doesn’t care about either, making his call for the elder to “give her up” both ironic and unpleasant. They start a fight and end up in a field in the middle of nowhere, right next to Emily Blunt’s house. ‘Sara’ has a young boy named Cid, who forms a sort of friendship with Young Joe despite the mother’s apprehensions. He’s extremely intelligent for his age, but other than his unusual ability to guess people’s personalities and histories, this in itself doesn’t really amount to much.

Up to around this point, the movie earns its keep by interspersing tense action with elements of a chase-and-mystery story, but the strong structure and pacing become lost as what could have been an exciting mix of 24, Blade Runner, and perhaps a find-the-clues puzzler like Angels & Demons instead relegates itself to a home invasion.


Some design decisions hurt as much as they help, at best.

Looper - Endgame Entertainment and others - Sara - from http://filming-locations.blogspot.com/2013/03/looper-sara-rollins-farm-house.html
Sara is a great character, but her story doesn’t feel well connected to the rest of the film.

Don’t bother taking notes whenever the film gives out a new set of instructions or map coordinates. The short version is that one character, early on, establishes that he wants to find the Rainmaker even if it sometimes takes literal guesswork to do so. (The camera cuts away as a child is shot, but another person of ambiguous age gets shot in the back at the beginning of the movie in what may be an unrelated event.) I can deal with stories that place children in dangerous situations–Aliens, Grave of the Fireflies (spoiler warning), and Pan’s Labyrinth were all terrific films–but this feels like a waste because of the “heroes'” basically random processes of elimination and because of the way Cid’s own story is handled.

The film takes a huge detour simply to talk about Sara’s and her child’s history, and while her motherhood plot is beautifully handled despite Cid’s sometimes extremely hostile behavior, her wonderful motivations are given little highlight thanks to the simplistic world-building. Looper’s lack of emphasis on flash brings both benefits and drawbacks, as while the practical effects look amazing, the story’s creatively rich future settings get so little screen time as to become neglected. Losing the rather forced sexual elements, harsh language, and extreme violence might have encouraged a wider audience and allowed for a bigger budget that didn’t place many of the film’s best moments at the beginning and end a la Thor, which at least had a wide array of likable characters and relationships to make up for its inconsistent action pacing.

There’s also a telekinetic element to the story where a few people have the ability to move objects or other individuals with their minds. Again, the special effects here look excellent, but they’re given far too much emphasis in a time-travel movie, to the point where some late scenes look like they belong in an X-Men film. The more standard action scenes are as excellently done as one would rightly expect from a Bruce Willis film like Die Hard or The Fifth Element, excepting one where Old Joe obtains victory because his foes don’t bother attacking him all at once, but Bruce is every bit the killer he condemns the Rainmaker for being, making the film’s morality seem like a cheap excuse for some honestly remarkable shootouts. (One scene is played for drama but could perhaps have been more easily resolved if one character’s abilities were put to better use.)

The cinematography, however, is very well done, with clean and quick transitions that continually demand viewer attention without usually being hard to follow.


Conclusion: Square one

Looper - Endgame Entertainment and others - Bruce Willis as Old Joe - from http://afistfulofculture.com/2012/09/28/review-looper-is-a-dazzling-intelligent-sci-fi-noir-future-cult-classic/
Bruce has still got it, though.

Looper contains a thought-provoking premise, some lovely settings, and a decent variety of characters, and does almost nothing with them or their massive amount of potential. The film isn’t conspicuously bad, outside of the ill-conceived scenes where a child is monstrously screaming at his mother like they’re in a horror thriller, but so many of its aspects get either too much or too little use (with special mention of a nearly nude but kindhearted woman who is given next to no plot relevance) and end up dragging down the end result.

Time-travel plots and their action-and-consequence loops can be a tricky thing to write and master, and Looper‘s underdeveloped plot doesn’t really do wonders for its genre. The action and the character development are spaced too far apart to make the film worth watching for either alone, and while the ending does make an admirable attempt to be thoughtful, it can’t really make up for the remaining issues throughout the story. If you want a “low sci-fi” movie that makes good use of its character interactions, I recommend Inception or Moon (spoiler warning).


Image credits (property of Endgame Entertainment and others)

- Movie postersource
Marked targetsource
Young Joe in clubsource
Future citysource as well as Atomic Fiction
Joes in dinersource
Sarasource
Old Joesource


This post was originally written for and published on my movie-review blog, Projected Realities.

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Check Out This Footage From Final Fantasy XV: Episode Duscae http://www.takuchat.com/check-out-this-footage-from-final-fantasy-xv-episode-duscae/ http://www.takuchat.com/check-out-this-footage-from-final-fantasy-xv-episode-duscae/#comments Fri, 20 Feb 2015 17:13:52 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=27583

During todays Live report, Square Enix gave is a complete rundown of the Final Fantasy XV demo, of course tons fo new footage was included. The control explanation starts around 24 minutes in with the gameplay and walkthrough around 32 … Continue reading

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During todays Live report, Square Enix gave is a complete rundown of the Final Fantasy XV demo, of course tons fo new footage was included.

The control explanation starts around 24 minutes in with the gameplay and walkthrough around 32 minutes in.

Here is a list of the controls(via Gematsu)-
“Controls

The demo uses the following control scheme (in cases where multiple inputs are listed, it is “PlayStation 4 / Xbox One”):

Camera – Right stick
Movement – Left stick
Jump – X button / A button
Dash (Free run) – L3 button / Left stick button
Attack – Square button / X button
Combos – Continue holding down the attack button
Shift (Warp) and Shift Break – Circle button / B button – Warp towards the locked-on enemy and attack. This consumes MP.
Guard – L1 button / LB button – Avoid normal enemy attacks at the cost of MP. It’s a matter of timing. The blue light that shines when you evade is the MP being spent.
Ability – Triangle button / Y button – Each weapon has its own pre-set abilities. By using the X button / A button and left and right sticks, you can change the ability at any time without stopping the attack. MP is consumed when using abilities.”

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BloodBorne Story Trailer http://www.takuchat.com/bloodborne-story-trailer/ http://www.takuchat.com/bloodborne-story-trailer/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 19:27:46 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=27577

So IGN and From Software releases a new trailer for BloodBorne, this one is all about the story. Check it out- Bloodborne releases for the PlayStation 4 on March 24th in North America and March 25th for Europe. More from … Continue reading

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So IGN and From Software releases a new trailer for BloodBorne, this one is all about the story. Check it out-

Bloodborne releases for the PlayStation 4 on March 24th in North America and March 25th for Europe.

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The Order 1886 Launch Trailer http://www.takuchat.com/the-order-1886-launch-trailer/ http://www.takuchat.com/the-order-1886-launch-trailer/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 19:24:54 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=27576

Well the game is coming out, so obviously there is a launch trailer. Check it out- More from TakuChat The Order: 1886 Goes Gold, Trailer Included Check out some of The Order 1886’s gameplay right here. The Order: HD 1886 … Continue reading

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Well the game is coming out, so obviously there is a launch trailer. Check it out-

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Dragons Dogma Online Gets a Second Trailer http://www.takuchat.com/dragons-dogma-online-gets-a-second-trailer/ http://www.takuchat.com/dragons-dogma-online-gets-a-second-trailer/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 19:23:13 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=27575

Capcom Online released a new trailer for the upcoming Dragons Dogma Online, the trailer shows off a good amount of story and a large amount of combat and a good amount of the much more varied world, check it out- … Continue reading

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Capcom Online released a new trailer for the upcoming Dragons Dogma Online, the trailer shows off a good amount of story and a large amount of combat and a good amount of the much more varied world, check it out-

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Check out All These New Final Fantasy XV Scans http://www.takuchat.com/check-new-final-fantasy-xv-scans/ http://www.takuchat.com/check-new-final-fantasy-xv-scans/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 20:18:06 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=27541

The most recent issue of Famitsu had a handful of screenshots from Final Fantasy XV, they range from random exploration to showing the waypoint marker, check them out below- More from TakuChat A Cat Shows Us around a New Area … Continue reading

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The most recent issue of Famitsu had a handful of screenshots from Final Fantasy XV, they range from random exploration to showing the waypoint marker, check them out below-

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Check out All These New Final Fantasy XV Scans

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Rise of the Tomb Raider Gets Some ScreenShots http://www.takuchat.com/rise-tomb-raider-gets-screenshots/ http://www.takuchat.com/rise-tomb-raider-gets-screenshots/#comments Mon, 16 Feb 2015 23:11:57 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=27533

Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics released a good amount of screenshots for Rise of the tomb Raider, check them out below- More from TakuChat AMD & Crystal Dynamics Is Bringing Some Amazing Hair To Tomb Raider KHInsider Recreates Sora’s Keyblade … Continue reading

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Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics released a good amount of screenshots for Rise of the tomb Raider, check them out below-

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Do your DualShock 4 Controllers Squeak? Well You Can Fix That! http://www.takuchat.com/dualshock-4-controllers-squeak-well-can-fix/ http://www.takuchat.com/dualshock-4-controllers-squeak-well-can-fix/#comments Mon, 16 Feb 2015 02:16:25 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=27531

Youtube user fistsop found a horribly easy and convenient way to fix the obnoxious issue. You can watch the video below- More from TakuChat Now This Would Be Rather Cool For The PS4 Controller… Mike Bithel teases something unknown about the DualShock4 … Continue reading

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Youtube user fistsop found a horribly easy and convenient way to fix the obnoxious issue. You can watch the video below-

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[Reviews] Movie Review: Brokeback Mountain http://www.takuchat.com/reviews-movie-review-brokeback-mountain/ http://www.takuchat.com/reviews-movie-review-brokeback-mountain/#comments Sun, 15 Feb 2015 02:48:28 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=27504 Happy Valentine’s Day! (?) Brokeback Mountain is a story of two sheepherders, played by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, who develop a relationship that endures through decades, marriages, work issues, children, and other “obstacles.” Overflowing with cinematic wonders as well … Continue reading

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Brokeback Mountain - Focus Features and others - movie poster - from http://www.film.com/movie/-brokeback-mountain/251583/main/

Happy Valentine’s Day! (?)

Brokeback Mountain is a story of two sheepherders, played by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, who develop a relationship that endures through decades, marriages, work issues, children, and other “obstacles.” Overflowing with cinematic wonders as well as glaring narrative issues, the movie feels divided against itself and is ultimately more underwhelming than any amount of controversy set against it would really warrant.


Breathe in the fresh air

I don’t often talk about a film’s production values ahead of the story, but they really are Brokeback’s saving grace, especially since the early sections of the plot are handed out very slowly. The vistas and other nature scenes in this movie are incredible, as are the scenes with tons of animals–and there’s little else that needs saying about these amazing moments. The opening of the movie largely lacks dialogue, but it does a fantastic job of making the watching of everyday life feel compelling. The story itself starts with young adults Jack Twist (Gyllenhaal) and the older-looking Ennis Del Mar (Ledger) tending sheep for one Joe Aguirre, a discipline-valuing but unscrupulous individual who assigns the boys work parameters that don’t always seem legal.

Brokeback Mountain - Focus Features and others - gorgeous nature views - from https://newslang89.wordpress.com/2011/09/28/brokeback-mountain/

Jack and Ennis reveal a few of their hobbies and details about their past, and the movie becomes “business as usual” as the men chop trees and perform other chores. Because of their differing work positions, the boys have separate sleeping camps. Over breakfast one morning, Ennis reveals that he will marry Alma, a girl we don’t see or hear from until their wedding day, and the ornery Jack launches into a complaint about Aguirre’s procedures, his first of many (about everything, including Ennis). Ennis, meanwhile, tends to be very quiet; notably his father has a very crude opinion of rodeo cowboys, which both men have some experience being.

Much but not all of the film’s explicit content is concentrated toward its beginning–we see the boys nude from the side and rear, and during one cold night, Jack grabs Ennis’ hand and cuddles it around him. The two take their jackets off (but little else, not even their pants in this context) before pawing at each other and breathing so heavily as to remind me of the asthma attacks I had as a child. Their intercourse looks pained and forceful, not alluring, and much of it is out of the camera’s view. Later views of heterosexual encounters oddly receive more direct exposure than the main couple’s do.


The world keeps on turning

Something has gruesomely eaten part of a sheep. The insides are unpleasant to witness, but their depiction “prepares” viewers for other gory moments (involving humans) in what can be an unexpectedly violent film. One person later has his genitals torn off–we see the hole where they once were and hear very graphic descriptions–and several people receive very bloody wounds, some of them mortal. One of Jack’s and Ennis’ romantic encounters leads to a half-playful fistfight whose intensity can be a bit frightening, and an unrelated individual ends up in a fight filled with profanity and harsh sexual terms, complete with crying children looking on.

Ennis tells Jack the latent lie, that their encounter is to be one time only, and both men say they’re not ‘queer.’ Both men clearly have a lot of built-up longing, which should be easy to understand and sympathize with even for people who don’t approve of homosexuality. As their work period ends, complete with Joe Aguirre being aware of their “secret” and condemning its admitted interference of their work, the men go their separate ways and begin the rest of their lives–to a degree. Ennis and his fiancée Alma (Michelle Williams) marry, but even after the contract is sealed, the men remain fiercely attached to each other.

Brokeback Mountain - Focus Features and others - Ennis Del Mar's wedding - from http://pyxurz.blogspot.com/2012/01/brokeback-mountain-page-6-of-14.html
Note the emotions on Heath Ledger’s face. Acting remains strong throughout even in silence.

The film fast-forwards several years, and Ennis now has two girls, Jenny and Alma Junior. At this point he and his wife are still very much in love, and we see a short portion of their own clothed intimate encounter. Jack, meanwhile, has gone back to the rodeo, lasting four seconds on a bull before being rescued by his clown. Afterward, the former offers to buy the latter a drink while also giving him a rather lewd gaze. The rodeo clown is not amused. Jack eventually meets the feisty Lureen, played by Anne Hathaway, and that same day they begin a romantic and sexual relationship (she’s seen topless momentarily before the movie cuts away).

One of this film’s most recurring themes is loneliness: the men are unable to find true intimacy without one another, and Alma worries about her girls growing up without friends in school. After one character gets divorced, his ex-wife and children worry similarly about him. Another theme is abruptness: beyond Jack’s and Lureen’s actions, he and Ennis get very little story foreshadowing before their own relationship becomes intense. Lureen at least asks if she should restrain herself. Things in this movie tend to happen because the story needs them to, especially in scenes when Jack and Ennis argue bitterly about one thing or another, not because any of these characters–not just the boys–take so much as five minutes for the most part to think about the consequences of their words and behaviors. Playing into both of these themes, some scenes hint at one-night stands and multiple additional layers of infidelity.


Haste makes waste

Years later, the very first day Ennis’ wife Alma meets Jack, she sees the two men kissing forcefully and smoulders in anger from a distance. Twist and Del Mar make up excuses to spend time together, and they end up in a motel room; both men treat their marriages as a burden, and the movie becomes a sort of moral antithesis of a story like WALL-E, as these two men learn patience and sacrifice only in the sense of putting their marriages on the pyre for the sake of their ongoing affair. This looks especially forced during one scene where Jack and Ennis are desperately negotiating how to spend time together as the negative effects of their adulteries begin to catch up with them. Neither man was forced by anyone to marry or to do many of the other things they do, however, and these two characters rarely if ever admit responsibility for the events of their own making that the film treats as “unfortunate circumstances.”

Frankly the two men don’t seem especially concerned for many people other than each other, including their wives and children, and one character’s own marriage becomes physically and verbally abusive, making for some of the most universally unpleasant “romance” I’ve seen in a movie since last year’s God’s Not Dead. These personalities aren’t particularly complex, making their harsh behavioral distinctions and sudden intense conflicts seem unexplained and arbitrary.

Brokeback Mountain - Focus Features and others - Jack's dinner scene - from http://pyxurz.blogspot.com/2012/01/brokeback-mountain-page-11-of-14.html
Is this film’s biggest clash between those chairs and the walls?

The movie tries to prop up Jack’s and Ennis’ relationship as the solution to their problems and their biggest priority, but like it or not, they did make marital commitments to their wives that both men make little effort to keep, and the film’s insistent “it-just-happened” approach to relationships belittles each individual’s personal responsibility even as the story itself is very blunt about how these early events have disastrous results. There is one couple in this whole film whom I would argue clearly built their relationship on mutual respect and admiration, and neither of the main characters benefits from it. Much of this movie can be summed up as follows: People meet, develop intense desires for one another, have quick romances or sexual encounters, then have massive falling-outs with each other. Then they sometimes have dramatic reconciliations and sometimes don’t. Of the central four characters, only one of them doesn’t receive direct physical or verbal abuse, instead winding up neglected.

It must be said that the film’s most consistent and incredible success lies in its many technical victories–the music is calm and inspiring, the scenery remains so gorgeous that even an austere house looks familiar enough to have lived in it all your life, the makeup to show character aging looks incredible, most of the film is simply a joy to watch, and the acting is superb, especially of course from Ledger. From a moviemaking perspective, this production is a remarkable success, but regardless of your personal politics or beliefs, the story is done no favors by its often disturbing portrayal of its characters and their relationships, most of which have some sort of illicit element. Ultimately I’m reminded of James Cameron’s Avatar, where I found the production values masterful and many of the characters or their personalities very difficult to like, and I’d consider that to be an appropriate summation of Brokeback Mountain.


Conclusion: Meh

For all of this film’s immense critical acclaim, and for all the hype controversy I remember seeing, I find myself indifferent to the final product, not so much because of the core premise but rather of how the story effectively squanders it: the plot divides itself between being a brutal anti-adultery morality tale and contriving every reason it can to excuse the central couple’s behavior, then plays it off as a surprise when this infidelity causes numerous additional problems.

The movie really is beautiful, though. The scenes of sheep, horses, and other animals, few as they are, are a wonder to behold, even as many of these moments and their sometimes irrelevant characters don’t feel like they’re building up to the sort of epic climax that the film wants but doesn’t get. There’s plenty of tragedy, to be sure, but it’s more of an almost random occurrence than a matter of consequence. Ultimately my favorite moments from Brokeback Mountain could probably be found in a nature magazine, and the romance doesn’t seem anywhere near the level of a From Up on Poppy Hill, leaving little else of note. The film does do an excellent job of showing its characters’ gradual progression over many years, but to not much end, leading to a work where “simple” becomes easily confused with “poorly explained.” If you’re looking for a selfless love story, deep characterizations, and intriguing subplots, you may have to look elsewhere.


Image sources (property of Focus Features and others)

- Movie postersource
The boys, and naturesource
Ennis’ wedding daysource
Jack dinner scenesource


This article was originally written and published for my movie-review blog, Projected Realities.

[Reviews] Movie Review: Brokeback Mountain

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The Catfish Killer http://www.takuchat.com/catfish-killer/ http://www.takuchat.com/catfish-killer/#comments Sat, 14 Feb 2015 13:09:41 +0000 http://www.takuchat.com/?p=27499

We received an email 2 days ago sent from a xxxcindyxxx@uzbekistanmail.uz, the email contained: a 5 minute video of a person playing GTA Online, some incoherent rambling about Willem Dafoe, although he is spoken of like a God of some … Continue reading

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We received an email 2 days ago sent from a xxxcindyxxx@uzbekistanmail.uz, the email contained: a 5 minute video of a person playing GTA Online, some incoherent rambling about Willem Dafoe, although he is spoken of like a God of some kind and a promise that more videos would follow. At the video’s start we are given a disclaimer about poor quality audio due to the PS4’s recording function limitations so it is safe to say this person is operating only on the PS4 version of GTA Online. The video’s creator goes on to state that he/she “lures horny young men to their doom” “under the guise of a horny 19 year old girl” via the game’s in-game text messaging system. The act of pretending to be someone you’re not using social media is known as Catfishing.

What follows is sickening footage of a masked man luring 2 young Danish men to Cape Catfish on the North East of San Andreas, hence why we are dubbing this person ‘The Catfish Killer’. We decided to post the video, even though that is what the killer wants, to raise awareness and to maybe prevent something like this happening again. View discretion is advised, the following imagery may disturb some.

//www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyT_npXAhww

 

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