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Monday, 17 August 2015

Lack of updates...

Sorry for the lack of updates, dear friends. :(

The reason is that I've been too busy at the moment, especially now that I've joined the Swedish movie database and community MovieZine.

After Pixels, I've also watched Jurassic World (in 3D), Kung Fury and Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation. I've written reviews of them in Swedish for MovieZine. In due time they'll be translated into English and uploaded to this blog.

If you can read Swedish, then you're welcome to visit my profile at MovieZine where you can find all of my reviews of movies I've watched since I joined the community, including older movies shown on TV.

In the meantime, if you like Pixels as much as I do, then you'll love this promo website: Pixels Photo Bomb. In that website, you'll be able to add the alien characters from Pixels to your photos of choice.

Have fun, and see you later! :)

Thursday, 6 August 2015

[Game review] Pixels Defense (Android) (2015)

This game was tested on a Lenovo A10 tablet.

A gameplay video of Pixels Defense. (TouchArcade / Bandai Namco)

Pixels Defense is a short and easy Tower Defense game which is loosely based on the movie Pixels.

In the game, you help the protagonists from the movie (Sam Brenner, President Will Cooper, Ludlow Lamonsoff, Toru Iwatani and Lady Lisa) protect the cities New York, London, Paris and Sydney from the invading aliens (which have taken the forms of various video game characters from classic arcade games of the 80s).

Despite the fact that the game only had 12 levels, the dialogues sometimes came in wrong places, and it was sometimes difficult to control the protagonists, I enjoyed the game as much as I enjoyed watching Pixels.

In fact, Pixels Defense has become my favourite game developed by Bandai Namco!

Unfortunately, the game can't be played on either iPad 2 or Samsung Galaxy Trend Plus.

Score: Full Star YellowFull Star YellowFull Star YellowFull Star YellowHalf Star Yellow

[Movie review] Pixels (3D) (2015)

Pixels' first international trailer. (Columbia Pictures)

I'll first summarize this review with four words about Pixels: I love this movie!

Many critics felt the movie was bad, including the absence of a proper plot and a dangerous villain; bad acting, sexism and stereotypical offensive image of gamers and nerds. These critics have done everything in their power to persuade moviegoers to avoid watching the film at all costs. A journalist from the gaming blog Kotaku e.g. has spoilt the entire story for its readers. Another journalist felt that Pixels was worse than Super Mario Bros. from 1993. A third journalist recommended moviegoers to re-watch the video game movies Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children or Wreck-It Ralph instead since they, according to him, at least respected the source material.

Personally I don't agree with the critics. But instead of boring you with my arguments, let's put it this way: Pixels is not a conventional video game movie. It's a sci-fi comedy which pays homage to the classic arcade games of the 80s. People either love the movie (like I do) or hate it.

I guess the little child inside of me was awakened during the movie, because I felt the same wow-feeling like when I watched different adventure movies and series (e.g. Digimon) when I was younger.

I think Chris Columbus (the director of the first two Harry Potter movies) and the actors have done a great job. The acting may not convince everyone, but it convinced me anyway. Pixels obviously can't be compared with Columbus' Harry Potter films, but it had its own magic. The movie lacked vulgar humor etc. and I'm very grateful for that.

Since I liked Pixels so much, I just had to download the tie-in mobile game Pixels Defense directly after watching the movie. So this is only a positive sign that the movie succeeded in entertaining me greatly.

What about the 3D effects? Were they any good? Unfortunately, like Terminator: Genisys and Ant-Man, the 3D effects only felt at some places in the movie.

ScoreFull Star YellowFull Star YellowFull Star YellowFull Star YellowEmpty Star

Thursday, 30 July 2015

[Movie review] Ant-Man (3D) (2015)

The following text is a (rough) translation of my Swedish review which can be read at the Swedish online movie magazine MovieZine. Because of that, the presentation is different from the usual way I write my reviews for this blog.

A heist movie - but with superheroes (and ants)

First official trailer of Ant-Man. (Marvel Studios)

Ant-Man is the twelfth film (in order) which takes place in the fictional Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), a couple of months after The Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Instead of writing the plot's summary which many reviewers already had done, I'll immediately tell you what I think about the movie.

After watching several MCU films with epic battles between Good and Evil, I must say that Ant-Man feels very different – at least when I watched it at the cinema.

The thing is that Ant-Man doesn’t feel like a classic superhero movie. Instead, it's more like a family-friendly heist film (à la Ocean's Eleven) where a sympathetic protagonist (Paul Rudd) is hired by a scientist (Michael Douglas) to steal a weapon which is dangerous if it falls into the wrong hands. The fact that our hero gets the help of three other cronies in order to succeed with the heist makes the film feel even less like a superhero movie.

Of course, in order for the visitors to get the feeling that Ant-Man really is a superhero movie taking place in the MCU, Marvel adds another superhero (Falcon from Captain America: The Winter Soldier, played by Anthony Mackie) and cameos such as Peggy Carter (from Captain America, played by Hayley Atwell) and Howard Stark (the older version from Iron Man 2, played by John Slattery). And don't forget the villain who also receives superpowers (in one way or another) towards the end of the film.

When you read this review, you may think that I'm criticizing the movie. Not at all!

The film is funny with its funny dialogues. Michael Douglas makes a great interpretation of Dr. Hank Pym where he convinces the moviegoers of his inventions and discoveries. Paul Rudd is absolutely superb as the sympathetic burglar Scott Lang who does everything for his daughter and becomes the superhero Ant-Man.

I almost forgot to comment on the film's special effects. All of the scenes where the protagonist shrinks himself to the size of an ant are well done. Many have compared these scenes with Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989). Personally, I think Ant-Man has taken a step further and can also be compared with A Bug's Life (1998). It's awesome to see the protagonists being able to communicate with ants (which plays a very important role in the plot), don't you agree?

Another cool special effect is when Michael Douglas (thanks to Lola VFX) also plays a younger version of himself instead of using a younger actor. It's fantastic to be able to see him in a flashback where he looks just like when he starred in the movie Wall Street (1987).

Unfortunately there are things in the movie which I'm not satisfied with. Firstly, I don't find the antagonist (played by Corey Stoll) not convincing enough. True, he is evil and doesn't hesitate to kill in order to reach his goal. But is he as intimidating as previous MCU-villains, like Iron Monger (Jeff Bridges), Abomination (Tim Roth) and the Red Skull (Hugo Weaving)? I think not.

Secondly, I'm not too fond of the character Hope Van Dyne (the scientist's daughter) played by Evangeline Lilly. For some reason, I don't think the Hobbit-actress is the right choice for the role. I can't explain it, something just doesn't feel right. Also, I am no fan of the character's hairstyle.

I saw the 3D version of the film, but I don't think there is much difference between the 'regular' and the 3D version. The 3D effects are seen only in a few scenes.

Despite these disadvantages, I think the film deserves four stars of five, and I look forward to Ant-Man's next adventure in the MCU.

By the way, don't leave until you've watched the two post-credit scenes. Otherwise you'll miss important clues to the next MCU movie coming in 2016!

ScoreFull Star YellowFull Star YellowFull Star YellowFull Star YellowEmpty Star

(To know how I rate mobile games and movies, please read about it here.)

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

[Game review] Sonic Runners (Android) (2015)

The game (version 1.1.1.) is tested on Samsung Galaxy Trend Plus.

Sonic Runners Teaser Trailer (SEGA)

Taking place after Sonic Colors, Dr. Eggman (known in the first games as Dr. Robotnik) has once again started to kidnap innocent animals (a plot similar to earlier Sonic-games). Sonic and his friends must go and rescue their friends and defeat Dr. Eggman - one more time.

What do I think of the game?

I'm a huge Sonic the Hedgehog fan and I love playing Sonic Dash - a free-to-play endless runner game - on my iPad 2. So when I learned that Sonic Runners would be another endless runner, I was very astonished. But there are (big) differences between these two games.

While Sonic Dash (developed by Hardlight) is a 3D (sort of 'third person') endless runner similar to Temple Run, Sonic Runners (developed by Sonic Team) is an endless side-scroller.

Sonic Runners can't be played offline (which is a huge disadvantage) and unfortunately, this is not the game's only problem. It takes too long for the game to connect to its servers, and the loading times are too long.

When I played Sonic Runners the first time and had to type in a username, for some reason it took time (too long!) to open up the virtual keyboard. This made me think the game had frozen.

It was possible to play the tutorial missions (although with some lags) but afterwards, it was impossible to play the game. Because of the many 'pop-up' advertisements, the game suffered from constant crashes.

So on a Samsung Galaxy Trend Plus, the game isn't playable at all!

Otherwise, Sonic Runners would have been a great mobile game title if everything worked. The animated characters (based on the post-Sonic Adventures era) look great as usual and the game is a nostalgia trip back to first Sonic-games developed by Sonic Team. I'm not too fond of the modern Sonic-music - I still prefer the classics such as the theme for Green Hill Zone (found in the first game for Sega Mega Drive in 1991).

There's one good thing with the game though. Since you're forced to register in order to play the game, it's possible to 'transfer' your progress to other devices. So hopefully you'll find one device where Sonic Runners is fully playable.

But for now - if you own a Samsung Galaxy Trend Plus - avoid this game until it gets fixed (if Sonic Team decides to fix it at all).

Score: Full Star YellowEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star

(To know how I rate mobile games and movies, please read about it here.)

Monday, 20 July 2015

An unexpected McMeal deal!

On my way home today, I got an unexpected offer in the official app of Swedish McDonald's: buy a Quarter Pounder with Cheese and a Medium French Fries for only 19 SEK (≈ €2.02 or $2.20)!

So naturally, I went to the nearest McDonald's restaurant.

Thanks for this offer, McDonald's! You made my evening!

(It's 19:35 PM Swedish time when I write this blog post.)

Friday, 17 July 2015

[Movie review] Terminator: Genisys (3D) (2015)

The official trailer for Terminator: Genisys. (Paramount Pictures)

John Connor (Jason Clarke) and his resistance movement has successfully defeated and destroyed Skynet (an artificial general intelligence system seeking to eliminate the human race). But before the victory, Skynet at the last minute sent a T-800 Terminator (a robot assassin) back to 1984 to kill John's mother, Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke). Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney), a loyal follower of John volunteered to travel back in time and protect her. 

But when Kyle makes the time travel, the past is inadvertently changed and the defenseless Sarah Connor he thinks he's going to protect no longer exists. Instead Kyle meets a more confident Connor and a reprogrammed T-800 Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) who acts as her guardian and surrogate father. Sarah - with knowledge and insight of the future battles with Skynet (thanks to her guardian) - has a plan to time travel into the future and destroy Skynet before it's born.

What do I think of the movie? *No spoilers*

When I watched the trailer (nota bene: not the one at the beginning of this review) the first time, I wasn't impressed. The movie's main antagonist didn't impress me then and he didn't impress me now during the whole movie. I don't think he was a dangerous threat despite his abilities.

I don't know what to say about Emilia Clarke and Jai Courtney who play the protagonists. Something just doesn't feel right. Perhaps I'm too used to the original portrayal of the characters played by Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn in The Terminator (1984).

During the movie there are some theories about how the past has changed itself. These theories have been mentioned a couple of times and mind you, they aren't easy to apprehend at all.

What about the action scenes? - Too much CGI (Computer-generated imagery).

How about the 3D effects? Sadly, I don't think the 3D version would be a much difference from the 'normal' version. I only felt the effects when I saw the logo for Skydance Productions.

Personally, I think there are only two things which saved this movie from a disaster. The first are the scenes taking place in 1984. If you've watched the first Terminator-movie, you'll recognise lots of the settings in those scenes. The second is Arnold Schwarzenegger reprising his role as a T-800 Terminator. I laughed when he said funny lines and I think his portrayal as an emotion-less robot is authentic.

So what is my final verdict? Terminator: Genisys is a near-average science fiction action film which is enjoyable much thanks to Arnold Schwarzenegger and the nostalgic trip back to 1984.

ScoreFull Star YellowFull Star YellowHalf Star YellowEmpty StarEmpty Star

(To know how I rate mobile games and movies, please read about it here.)