Friday, 9 October 2015

Infinitely Polar Bear: Blu Ray Review

Infinitely Polar Bear: Blu Ray Review

Rating: M
Released by Roadshow Home Ent

Dysfunction is the cinematic norm for families and Infinitely Polar Bear makes no attempts to deviate from that.

An engaging and utterly charismatic Mark Ruffalo dials it up to 11 as Cam, a manic-depressive father whose breakdown precipitates the demise of his family. As his wife Maggie (an under-used Zoe Saldana) heads back to business school to secure a qualification to help them financially, Cam finds it's his turn to take the reins and look after their daughters - as well as try and get his own life and wife back on track.

Exec-produced by the Bad Robot team of JJ Abrams and Bryan Burk, Infinitely Polar Bear has crowd-pleasing written all over it. 

Mark Ruffalo is positively oozing charm as Cam, who always seems to be manic and likable no matter what the situation with his daughters in this debut from writer / director Forbes. But that's also some of the problem of Infinitely Polar Bear; Cam's illness is often a caricature rather than a characteristic with his behaviour providing one too many punchlines during the movie.

It's a shame because Ruffalo is nothing short of endearing and an unconventional style and writing stops Infinitely Polar Bear from becoming the eccentric piece it so easily could have done if the manic behaviour had been more of a presence throughout.

That said, there are some lovely touches peppered into Forbes' debut; from a beautiful montage of Super 8 footage at the start detailing Cam and Maggie's courtship to a jauntily evocative and folksy OST, the movie has a feel-good glow around it. Off kilter lines catch you out and provoke spontaneous laughter as you fight them (and oneShining reference is brilliantly shoe-horned in to maximum effect).

A luminous Saldana is relatively sidelined due to dramatic necessity throughout and Infinitely Polar Bear remains Ruffalo's showcase from beginning to end.

From his Nacho Libre style get up at his breakdown to the final doffing of an inappropriate hat, Ruffalo imbues the screen with such good nature and charisma as Cam negotiates his unpredictable way through such raucous parenting that it's impossible to not watch.

Ultimately, Infinitely Polar Bear will charm you thanks to Ruffalo's performance, guiding you through the highs of the lows (there's hardly any exploration of the more devastating sides of the bipolar condition which is a crippling fault of the film) with a skill that's to be vaguely admired rather than totally applauded.


Thursday, 8 October 2015

Tomorrowland: Blu Ray Review

Tomorrowland: Blu Ray Review

Rating: PG
Released by Sony Home Ent

"Do I have to explain everything? Can't you just be amazed?"
In essence, these words spoken by George Clooney's grizzled and cantankerous Frank Walker sum up the enigma that is Tomorrowland, an engimatic mystery that promises so much and ultimately - and unfortunately -  disappoints.

The very loose story of Tomorrowland (and believe me, it's best going in unprepared as the appeal of the puzzle will be lost in endless inspection and scrutiny) centres around Britt Robertson's Casey. She's an eternal optimist, a dreamer determined to ensure the space gantry at Cape Canaveral won't be dismantled for fears of her father's unemployment. But when she's arrested and bailed for sabotage, she finds a Tomorrowland pin among her belongings. Touching the pin reveals a futuristic world to her - and she sets out to unravel the enigma of the pin, putting her on collision course with the mysterious Frank Walker.

Tomorrowland is an intriguing mix of a retro future, first pioneered by an altruistic Walt Disney who wanted the next day to be better than the last (and which ultimately led to the creation of the EPCOT centre)

And to be fair, in its visuals from Incredibles director Brad Bird, Tomorrowland certainly doesn't skimp on the spectacle, bathing the film in retro nods for the geek crowd and leaving you reminscing over 50s B movie matinees.

Every young dreamer will be taken in by the promise of Tomorrowland, a world where jetpacks are in daily use (this film launches as strong a case for George Clooney to be in a Rocketeer remakethan any), monorails glide through the sky and, in one of the film's stand out FX pieces, people dive from one mid-air swimming pool to another with reckless abandon.

But ultimately, Tomorrowland is as much about smoke and mirrors as anything else.

Bird - along with co-writer Damon Lindelof  - have created a world of eternal optimism, so awash in the Disney corporate line that I'm surprised screenings don't come complete with free Koolaid to wash the "Anything is possible" lecture down. While portions of Tomorrowland extend the riddle of the central premise nicely, the ultimate reveal is a disappointment, swathed in preachy lectures of what we've done to the world, what we could do and really, what we should do in a brain-washing finale that's redolent of "I'd like to give the world a Coke"

Clooney has his moments, but his character's bitterness is never fully explained (one of the film's flaws is it doesn't exactly dump exposition on you, choosing to distract you every time a character demands to know what's going on during its 130 minute run time and leaving you clamouring for some coherent explanation of what's what); Laurie's pompous Wizard of Oz like man behind the curtain is about as unthreatening as anything Disney's ever proffered up - and it's really only Robertson's vulnerable and plucky turn as Casey which feels fleshed out, giving the film a heart and heroine which it sorely needs.

Tomorrowland is little more than the sum of its parts, a naively eternally optimistic ride that charts more lows than highs, despite the naturally dazzling visuals and cleverly comic action sequences that Bird craftily deploys.

It may end up appealing in parts to its younger audience more who have less cynicism than most, but on its occasional meandering and circuitous route to its ultimate destination, it could mean the journey isn't quite as fun and as thrilling as perhaps it could have been.


Rise of the Tomb Raider Season Pass and Game Mode details

Rise of the Tomb Raider Season Pass and Game Mode details 

Overnight Xbox and Crystal Dynamics announced that “Rise of the Tomb Raider” is now available for digital pre-order in the Xbox Store with two great offers – one featuring “Rise of the Tomb Raider” with an exclusive bonus downloadable content pack entitled the Remnant Resistance Pack, the other featuring “Rise of the Tomb Raider”, the Remnant Resistance Pack plus the game’s Season Pass.

In addition, Franchise Creative Director Noah Hughes revealed several new game modes that fans can look forward to in “Rise of the Tomb Raider” including:
·         Score Attack – This mode lets fans replay levels from the game with a new set of rules, as they race the clock to post the best time and earn medals. In Score Attack, players are encouraged to Chain together attacks, movements, and collectibles to keep their multipliers high.
·         Remnant Resistance – In this mode, fans can replay Hub spaces with a new set of goals.
·         New Game Plus –  Which will let you keep the skills and equipment that you acquired on your first play-through

The Remnant Resistance pack – Fans who digitally pre-order “Rise of the Tomb Raider” will receive the Remnant Resistance pack which includes the all-new Remnant Outfit for Lara, which is a collection of animal skins and ancient Byzantine armor. The outfit gives Lara a chance to bandage without using her resources.

Rise of the Tomb Raider Season Pass – The Rise of the Tomb Raider season pass includes a range of content that will extend the single player campaign with three major releases that will challenge players to survive the extreme conditions of Endurance Mode, explore a new tomb that houses an ancient terror in Baba Yaga: The Temple of the Witch, and combat waves of infected predators in Cold Darkness Awakened. In addition, a steady stream of outfits, weapons, and Expedition Cards beginning on Day 1 and continuing over four months will keep you customizing, expanding, and challenging your friends to new adventures

For more details about the “Rise of the Tomb Raider” digital pre-order offerings and season pass, new gameplay modes and card systems, please check out the full Q&A at Xbox Wire here.

Logitech G Car Pack unveiled for Forza Motorsport 6

Logitech G Car Pack unveiled for Forza Motorsport 6

Since September, gamers have been conquering the pavement in “Forza Motorsport 6,” the most beautiful and comprehensive racing game of this generation. If you haven’t had a chance to play the game, now is a great time to jump in with race fans from all over the world. As we head into another great month of racing, we’re excited to announce that beginning today, the Logitech G Car Pack is available as the next great add-on pack for “Forza Motorsport 6.” With seven incredible cars that have each carved their own place in motorsport history, the pack offers a new way to enjoy the best racing experience on Xbox One.  

Leading the pack is an ultimate track toy – the 2013 Caparo T1, which is just begging to be tackle the circuits of “Forza Motorsport 6.” In addition, we have four different eras of historic racing represented, with the 1939 Mercedes-Benz W154 (a pre-WWII Grand Prix champion), the 1967 Honda RA300 known as the “Hondola,” a turbocharged Nissan IMSA racer from the 1990s, and one of the latest Le Mans prototype cars.

The remaining cars of the pack offer equally unique driving experiences. The 1967 Volvo 123GT has its own on- and off-road race-bred roots and the 2013 Cadillac XTS Limousine – well, we know you’ll have fun with it.

The Logitech G Car Pack is just the first great pack of monthly DLC cars that players can expect in “Forza Motorsport 6.” If you want to be on top of all the latest car content in the game, there’s no better way than the “Forza Motorsport 6” Car Pass, which brings you six monthly car packs with seven cars each. That’s 42 amazing cars total, all waiting to be collected, customized and raced, for one low price!

As a reminder, Logitech’s new G920 Driving Force Racing Wheel is also now available for Xbox One. We've been enjoying this new wheel for a little while now, both around the office and at Xbox events this summer, including the Forza Fuel Challenge, which put the top Forza gamer head-to-head against Audi factory driver Benoît Tréluyer.
To celebrate the release of the Logitech G Car Pack for “Forza Motorsport 6,” we’re holding a special contest in association with our partners at Logitech. All you have to do is create a video in “Forza Motorsport 6” with one or more of the cars from the Logitech G Car Pack, then post it to YouTube. From there, let us know about the video by linking to it on Twitter and using the hashtag #LogitechGForza6.

The video with the most views at the end of the contest period, November 6, will be declared the first place winner, with the second-most viewed video winning second place, and so on. The creators of the top ten videos in this contest will be eligible for a slew of awesome prizes from our friends at Logitech:
·         1st place: G920 Driving Force Racing Wheel, G910 Keyboard, G633 Headset, G303 Mouse and G633 mousepad
·         2nd place: G920 Driving Force Racing Wheel, G303 Mouse and G633 mousepad
·         3rd place: G920 Driving Force Racing Wheel
·         4th through 10th place: “Forza Motorsport 6” VIP membership code, and “Forza Motorsport 6” Car Pass code
Owners of the “Forza Motorsport 6” Car Pass will receive the Logitech G Car Pack at no additional charge. Everyone else can purchase the pack separately for $7 or buy cars from the pack individually from the Xbox Live Store or through the Forza Hub app for Xbox One.

Swing by for the full list of cars included in the Logitech G Car Pack, in addition to details on the latest content update for “Forza Motorsport 6.”

Street Fighter V second beta details revealed

Street Fighter V second beta details revealed

Global Street Fighter V Beta #2 Details Revealed

Sydney, Australia – October 8, 2015 – Capcom is pleased to announce that the Street Fighter V global beta begins on October 22nd, running through October 25th. These dates are still subject to change, with exact times to be specified soon. The four-day beta will be designed to test many new features, including cross-platform play between PC users and PS4 users.
The nature of the beta is outlined below. Please make special note: given this is a beta, users may experience issues. It’s these issues, however, that provide Capcom with valuable information to ensure that Street Fighter V is as optimised as possible upon final release, so we appreciate your patience and understanding during this time.

Here’s what fans can expect to find in the beta:
PC Play
We’re opening up beta access to PC users for the first time. Please check the minimum specs post here to make sure that your PC is able to run SFV properly. Although the minimum specs will allow you to run SFV on your PC, the recommended specs will ensure you have an optimal SFV experience. PC users gain access to the beta starting October 24th.
PS4 to PC Cross-Platform Play
We will be testing out PS4 to PC cross-platform play functionality on October 24th and 25th. This is a first for us and we are very excited for players across both platforms to finally have a chance to battle one another. Make sure to bring your best strategies as the number of people that you can fight against will be that much larger this time around.
Since the last beta, we’ve announced quite a few new characters and I’m pleased to confirm that they will be selectable during the beta. When the beta launches, Ken, Necalli, Vega and R. Mika will be selectable. As we’re still reviewing our content delivery system, Rashid will be added in on day two (October 23rd) and Karin added on day three (October 24th). The characters from the previous beta: Ryu, Chun-Li, Cammy, Birdie, Nash and M. Bison will not be selectable this time around.
Ranked Matchmaking
Do you desire to only play the strongest around? Well, ranked matchmaking will definitely be the way to go. Players will be automatically paired with someone of equal skill, with pairings becoming more difficult the better one performs. GET HYPE! 
Combined Leaderboards
We will be keeping track of the beta’s cream of the crop through our leaderboards. This is the perfect time to show everyone (PC and PS4 users) that you’re the best around as your name shines brightly above the others.
Player Search
Interested in seeing what strategies the top players on the leaderboard are employing? Well, with the implementation of player search functionality, you can see what they’re doing and also check out their fighter profile. 
Fight Money Unlockables
During the last beta, many players accumulated a lot of Fight Money, which they weren’t able to use. This changes as we’re testing out the ability to unlock items through fight money. Players can look forward to unlocking titles and maybe even the Kanzuki Estate stage. 
Oh and just so we’re all on the same page, all things acquired (Fight Money, leaderboard status, titles) will only be available during this beta and will not carry over onto the next beta nor onto final release.  The Fight Money pricing of items available to unlock and the rate that Fight Money is obtained are both still placeholder, and will not be indicative of the final product. 
For those of you interested in participating in this second global beta, please look to your region below for instructions on how to potentially gain access:

PC Users (all regions)
Preordering Street Fighter V on Steam will allow you access to the beta.

Australian and New Zealand PS4 users:
Users can sign-up via the PlayStation Store for a chance at being selected to participate in the beta program. If you had access to the first PS4 beta you will automatically have access to the second and there is no need to re-register.
You can still sign-up at the following link:
Users who are selected to participate in the beta will receive an email to their registered PSN ID email with instructions on how to access their beta redemption key. 

Halo 5: Guardians Goes Gold

Halo 5: Guardians Goes Gold

Josh Holmes, Studio Head of Internal Development at 343 Industries has announced the news overnight

Today I’m excited to announce that Halo 5: Guardians has officially gone gold!
This is the culmination of an incredible three-year journey for our team. Together we set out to accomplish an ambitious vision and deliver a Halo game built from the ground up for the Xbox One. Now as we near the release of the game on October 27, we couldn’t be more excited to share the results with you, the fans.
Halo games have always been about epic scale, and Halo 5: Guardians is no exception. From our multi-character campaign to the robust suite of multiplayer experiences included with Halo 5: Guardians, this game is packed to the gills with loads of exciting content.
We will have a multiplayer content update, prior to launch, that will supplement the online multiplayer goodness with map content for Arena Multiplayer and our all new massive-scale 12v12 Warzone Multiplayer. Make sure you have the Power Setting for your Xbox One set to “Instant On” so that you’ll automatically download the online multiplayer update prior to October 27th and be ready on launch day. Those that buy a physical copy will download the online multiplayer update automatically after you install the game on your Xbox One. Next week, the game will be available to pre-download for digital customers, so follow @Halo and we’ll keep you posted when that is ready to go. 
Of course launch is just the beginning. Our dedicated live team will be focused on supporting the game with monthly releases of new content and experiences… such as new REQ content and more than 18 free multiplayer maps. 
We can’t wait for you to experience Halo 5: Guardians. Until then, thank you for your support and we’ll see you all online on the 27th!

Fallout 4 | What Makes You S.P.E.C.I.A.L. | Part 5: INTELLIGENCE

Fallout 4 | What Makes You S.P.E.C.I.A.L. | Part 5: INTELLIGENCE 

 At Vault-Tec, we’re working around the clock to help prepare you for the possibility of total atomic annihilation with our educational series on the seven defining attributes that make you S.P.E.C.I.A.L. In today’s chapter we focus on Intelligence to help you better understand how to unlock new opportunities and adapt to your new world above ground.

 For more survival tips from Vault-Tec, stay tuned next week to learn how your impressive Agility is key to your tactical survival and will help you move through the Wasteland with ease. Remember, the rebuilding of this great nation of ours may fall to you so study these materials carefully to ensure you survive and thrive in a life above ground.

  Set to release worldwide on November 10, 2015 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC, Fallout 4 is the next generation of open-world gaming where every second is a fight for survival, and every choice is yours.