Friday, 27 May 2016

The Big Short: DVD Review

The Big Short: DVD Review

Rating: M
Released by Universal Home Ent

It seems like the housing crisis and crash is Hollywood's topic du jour.

With the searing 99 Homes not far behind in the cinematic window, the director of Anchorman brings us the true story of what happened when four outsiders predicted the housing bubble bursting in the mid-2000s and used it to their advantage and to expose the banks' stupidity.

The first to see the flaw is Dr Michael Burry (Christian Bale), a Mastodon loving, bare-footed analyst who works for Scion Capital; but his plan to bet against the banks provides a few ripples thanks to a wrong number call to Steve Carell's Mark Baum. His group begin to make some enquiries and start to see Burry's idea has some legs and decide to buy in as well.

Based on The Big Short: Inside The Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis, Adam McKay's film isn't afraid to engross you in the technical babble and the small print of the credit default swaps that precipitated the downfall.

It's also not afraid to realise that it's quite a dry and serious subject and so has its director use various conventions to shatter through the tedium. Chief among these is Ryan Gosling's character Jared Vennett whose breaking of the fourth wall invites an audience in and plays to the film's cocking a snook MO at the stuffiness of its material. Equally, when the story's about to get to some crucially excruciating techno-babble, McKay isn't afraid to cut away to the likes of Selena Gomez and Margot Robbie in a bubble-bath to provide the necessary explanations. It's a clever narrative touch that veers on being a little too smart early on and borders on treating its subject with irreverence, but McKay is fully aware that these moves ensure an audience pays attention to an ongoing issue that's still a problem.

Of the main cast, it's really only Carell as Mark Baum (who's based on Steve Eisman) who feels like they have an emotional connection for you to latch on to. Troubled by the suicide of his brother, and wrapped tighter than a coil in his anger and arrogance, Baum is the only one who feels like a real character and the only one to express an unease at the implications of their benefiting from the banks.

It's a fascinating edge that could have done with a little more exploration, given that the others are essentially anti-heroes who are truly more one dimensional cut-outs populating the picture.

There's an irony in the ever-so-slightly-overlong The Big Short over the way these guys rorted the system that was up for exposure and there are lessons to be learned, but perhaps the biggest message from this almost flashy stylish docu-drama is how much Adam McKay's underplayed his directorial hand. His execution of this film and its ensemble cast will ensure the message of concern over the banks and the housing bubble will get through to the masses - even if it occasionally teeters into didactic but well-needed territory.


Thursday, 26 May 2016

New Star Ocean trailers

New Star Ocean trailers


SYDNEY 26TH May 2016 –   Square Enix Ltd., today revealed a selection a trailers to further introduce fans to the universe of STAR OCEAN®: Integrity and Faithlessness™. The new character spotlight videos feature all-new footage introducing the characters Anne and Emmerson, a pair of travellers who join Fidel on his quest to protect Relia, and the Kingdom of Trei’kur, a desolate wasteland country currently at war with Fidel’s home country of Resulia.

To watch the new character trailers now, visit: Anne – / Emmerson –

A brand new gameplay trailer also showcases a variety of gameplay systems both new and familiar to the STAR OCEAN series, including;
·         Item Creation,” a recipe based system
·         Synthesis,” a way for players to obtain extremely rare gear
·         “Private Actions,” a system which allows players to learn more about the characters and ultimately affecting the type of ending they will receive

HITMAN: Episode 3 Marrakesh launch date is.....

HITMAN: Episode 3 Marrakesh launch date is.....

HITMAN Episode 3: Marrakesh Launches next week on May 31

SYDNEY, 26TH May 2016 - Io-Interactive is delighted to announce that the launch date for HITMAN Episode 3: Marrakesh will be on May 31, 2016.

The mission titled: ‘A Gilded Cage’ enlists Agent 47 to take out two targets, private investment banker Claus Strandberg and Army General Reza Zaydan.

In a city teaming with life on the brink of a full-scale riot, these are the moments before a coup d’├ętat, where the visible military presence exacerbates a situation where tensions are running high. 

Bustling Berber markets, alleyways crammed with stalls and shops, a clinical Swedish consulate and shaded rooftop terraces are just some of the areas that players can explore in Marrakesh.

HITMAN Episode 3: Marrakesh will present players with a range of new in-game Challenges and Opportunities that will keep them busy along with an entirely new setting for Escalation Contracts and Elusive Targets.

HITMAN started with a Prologue and Paris location in March, Episode 2: Sapienza in April and now Episode 3: Marrakesh on May 31. From here HITMAN will deliver regular content updates, including three additional locations; Thailand, the United States and the season finale in Japan later in 2016.

Episode 3: Marrakesh is FREE as part of the Full Experience Pack. Owners of the Intro Pack can choose either the Upgrade Pack, which will then include all of this year’s content as it’s released including  live and bonus content - or choose to purchase the location individually.

HITMAN is available on the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft, and Windows PC.

Joy: DVD Review

Joy: DVD Review

Released by 20th Century Fox Home Ent

David O Russell reteams with his Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle dream team to breathe some life in to the story of Joy Mangano, who invented the Miracle Mop.

However, in bringing this biopic to life, he manages to some how pull together a story that doesn't quite fly like it should.

Lawrence (a little too young to play Mangano, but still on crackling form) is Joy, a woman whose life is a whirlwind of domestic chaos. Thanks to an ex living in the basement (Ramirez), a father who's just moved back in (De Niro) and a bed-bound mother (Madsen) who's addicted to soaps, she barely has a moment to herself.

But when she hits inspiration one day while cleaning up spilt wine glasses on a boat, she decides it's her moment to shine and designs a self wringing mop.

However, she faces a fight to get people to believe in both it or her...

Joy is a mixed film that bundles family dysfunction into an easy to swallow pill and cleans it up round the edges, forgetting to make this journey feel like one of extreme catharsis as it reaches the end.

Lawrence feels slightly miscast, almost a little too young to hit the straps she needs to as Mangano through the decades (even if the film feels like it takes place over a time period of a week), which is a surprise; it's not to detract from her performance, which is the one constant of Joy and certainly stands out from those around her. And it doesn't help that Russell goes heavy on the imagery with Mangano actually doing DIY around the home, while mentally doing DIY for her family. There's no subtlety in this rags to riches story and it's a damn shame because of it.

It's predominantly Russell's direction and the script which are the main reasons it never fully rises above its intentions. There's too much of an almost farcical approach to proceedings and when it comes time to inject the drama into the moment, it never quite fully catches like it should.

The sequences where Mangano heads to the fledgling QVC studios and makes a pitch to Bradley Cooper's Neil Walker and the subsequent scenes where Mangano sells her mop on screen are really where the film briefly stutters into life. The excitement of the new format, of the TV pitch, the fervour of the orders coming in as the camera circles around Walker is electrifying; but nowhere else in the movie does Russell ensure that this lightning strikes twice.

Interestingly, the potential for drama comes in the final stages of the film with Mangano heading up her own empire and finding others heading to her with ideas. It would have been a smarter move to see her having to balance the attitude she has of "I can't accept your answer and I won't" and "I don't need a prince" when facing business ideas from others. As it is, Russell settles for a saccharine "You can have it all" attitude that sticks in the craw with dramatic platitudes and cliches as Mangano lops her hair off to demonstrate her own turning point and self-reinvention.

Ultimately, Joy gets by on the strength of Lawrence alone; and while she does feel miscast, her presence on screen helps the film out of its own predicament. It lacks the catharsis that you'd perhaps expect and instead produces a more muted film that doesn't inspire as much as it should given the stellar talent involved.

Win a double pass to see WARCRAFT

Win a double pass to see WARCRAFT

From Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures comes Warcraft, an epic adventure of world-colliding conflict based on Blizzard Entertainment’s global phenomenon. 
The peaceful realm of Azeroth stands on the brink of war as its civilization faces a fearsome race of invaders: Orc warriors fleeing their dying home to colonize another.  As a portal opens to connect the two worlds, one army faces destruction and the other faces extinction.  From opposing sides, two heroes are set on a collision course that will decide the fate of their family, their people and their home. 

So begins a spectacular saga of power and sacrifice in which war has many faces, and everyone fights for something.

Directed by Duncan Jones (MoonSource Code) and written by Charles Leavitt and Jones, the film starring Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper, Toby Kebbell, Ben Schnetzer, Rob Kazinsky and Daniel Wu is a Legendary Pictures, Blizzard Entertainment and Atlas Entertainment production.

WARCRAFT is in cinemas from June 16th. Rated M for Fantasy Violence

To enter simply email to this address: and in the subject line put WARCRAFT. 

Please include your name and address and good luck! 
NB Competition closes 16th June - editor's decision final!

City of Gold: Film Review

City of Gold: Film Review

Director: Laura Gabbert

Serving up is certainly high on City of Gold's agenda.

This gentle doco from director Laura Gabbert tantalises us with the notion of a piece about food critic Jonathan Gold, the Pulitzer prize winning writer who's more at home among the street food than the swanky restaurants.

But what actually transpires is a long love letter to Los Angeles throughout the years, where Gold live, and to the people who give the food their love and serve to the man who loves their food.

With a few details about Gold scattered throughout, this piece keeps on the right side of hagiography with various colleagues and compadres of the scene espousing the virtues of Gold, who comes replete with long shaggy white hair. One even laments the fact they had discovered an eaterie which they were determined to keep secret but that ambition was foiled by Gold's review pinned up in the corner.

Along the journey, and in among the tantalising dishes served up by various smaller restaurants, Gold himself emerges as a critic of yore. There's very brief discussion of the place of the critic in this internet age and the value of opinion when it's blessed with experience (a thread I'm always, understandably, interested in) but this is really a piece about Los Angeles and the rich melting pot that lies within.

City of Gold is a document and snapshot of culinary history guaranteed to titillate and salivate, but it also throws into the mix a meshing and dollop of LA lifestyle throughout the years. Culturally it may enlighten, but what it will also do for LA, as well as the debate over the place of food critic, is to put plenty of eateries and treasures on the map that hitherto have remained hidden.

And at the end of the day, isn't that the job of the critic? 

7 Days To Die release date

7 Days To Die release date

Telltale Publishing bringing the hit survival game '7 Days to Die' to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on June 28th

Developer Interview and Special Pre-Order Bonus

Telltale Publishing today announced that the hit survival horde crafting game 7 Days to Die will release on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One for the first time on June 28th as both a digital and retail product in North America, and digitally in Europe; and will be available on July 1st for the first time at retail in Europe. The recommended retail price is $29.99 USD or equivalent, and the game is currently available for pre-order at GameStop, Best Buy, GAME, and Amazon7 Days to Die is published in collaboration with the Dallas-based independent developer, The Fun Pimps. 

Set in a brutally unforgiving post-apocalyptic world overrun by the undead, 7 Days to Die is an open-world survival game that is a unique combination of first person shooter, survival horror, tower defense, and role-playing games. It presents combat, crafting, looting, mining, exploration, and character growth, in a way that has seen a rapturous response from fans worldwide, generating hundreds of thousands of hours of community content on YouTube and other streaming video platforms.
Fans of Telltale's The Walking Dead series in partnership with Skybound will be excited to learn that pre-ordering 7 Days to Die will give them exclusive access to 5 character skins from Telltale's hit series, including Michonne and Lee Everett.

The console version of 7 Days to Die adds a new multiplayer mode supporting local split-screen for couch play, additional online multiplayer modes and features will be revealed in the coming weeks. The game will be supported by exciting DLC content, with details to be revealed in the near future.

This new interview with 7 Days to Die developers gives insight into what inspired the immensely popular "survival horde crafting game" , as well as what players can expect in the console version.

'7 Days to Die' Developer Interview
7 Days to Die is rated is rated 'M' (Mature) for Blood and Gore, Strong Language, and Violence by the ESRB. The game is published by Telltale Publishing in partnership with The Fun Pimps.
7 Days to Die is currently available for Windows, Mac OS X, and SteamOS and Linux in Early Access on the Steam platform.
For more information on The Fun Pimps, visit  the official website, follow @7DaystoDie on Twitter, and like 7 Days to Die on Facebook .
For more information on Telltale Publishing, visit the official website,  Facebook, and follow  @TelltalePublish on Twitter.