Saturday, 23 September 2017

Rough Night: Blu Ray Review

Rough Night: Blu Ray Review

Owing more than just a spiritual debt to Peter Berg's 1998's Very Bad Things and 2011's Bridesmaids, and coming off the back of the sisters-are-doing-it-for-themselves Wonder Woman the new Scar Jo ensemble comedy Rough Night starts strongly before faltering in the back half.
Rough Night: Film Review

Scarlett Johansson flexes her comedy chops as Jess, one time party girl and now political hopeful. On the eve of her wedding to Peter (Downs), she's pulled into a bachelorette party organised by college friend Alice (Bell, initially amusing and loud, latterly loud and screeching) in Miami.

Along with former college friends Frankie (Broad City's Ilana Glazer) and Blair (Zoe Kravitz) as well as Jess' new Aussie chum Pippa (McKinnon, the film's MVP) the quintet hit the clubs and party.

But things spiral out of control back at their rented beachside house when a stripper they've booked is accidentally killed...

There are some genuinely funny moments in the front-loaded first half of Rough Night, as director Lucia Anello (also known for Broad City) plies the film with some crafty, yet familiar, nods to female rivalries and friendships, as well as demonstrating that the girls can be just as bad as the boys.

Rough Night: Film Review

In particular, the pre-credits sequence set in 2006 when the gang was at college, sets Rough Night's stall out in the raunch and rude stakes in a way that will appeal either to the chicks night out at the flicks or to those liquored up and looking for some easy laughs.

A clever off-the-cuff gag involving a champagne bottle and an airport setting elicits a genuine belly laugh, while simultaneously demonstrating how on edge society's become.

However, once Alice's jealousy over Aussie Pippa is explored, and the stripper dispatched, the film settles for borderline average tropes and predictable laughs as it tries to untangle the mess it's created and push the envelope a bit further.

Easily the film's MVP, McKinnon's mix of dodgy Aussie accent along with unexpected one-liners keeps the unpredictability stakes high and provides the lion's share of the film's amusement as the screeching and hysteria sets in from the girls.

Bell's an easy contender for being irritating as the shouting starts, but manages to keep just on the right side of amusing and quirky.  Johansson plays it relatively straight, keeping the glue of the group together after some earlier quirks are established and displayed, but she's less the star of the film than you'd expect. Grazer and Kravitz feel a little sidelined as the film goes on, being more interested in exploring the three-way between Jillian Bell, Scarlett Johansson and Kate McKinnon as its main dynamic.

Rough Night: Film Review

Rough Night is not a savage skewering of stereotypes or a clever flipping of premises (even though the male bachelor party is more set against a backdrop of wine tasting), but it's a solid comedy that starts to run desperately out of steam as the film goes on.

It ends up in the inevitable sap and predictable sentimental gloop that you'd expect and that, to some degree, the target market will possibly want.

It's nowhere near as raunchy as it could get, and perhaps feels watered down as the squabbles come to the fore - it does occasionally work for the absurdism that permeates but disappoints that it doesn't demand more of all of its relatively likeable ensemble.

Less likely to give a cinematic hangover and more likely to struggle to be remembered after the lights go up, Rough Night, amongst its dysfunctional diatribes, makes a case that this kind of comedy film is still in rude health, even if trail-blazing isn't in its ambitions or execution. 

Friday, 22 September 2017

Project Cars 2 launches today

Project Cars 2 launches today

Your ultimate driver journey begins Friday, September 22nd
Project CARS 2 brings home all the authenticity, beauty, and passion of racing action as never before.

On Friday September 22nd Project CARS 2 powers its way onto the PlayStation 4 system, Xbox One, and PC for the much-anticipated worldwide release of gamescom 2017’s “Best Simulation Game”.

Project CARS 2, the second installment in the critically-acclaimed Project CARS motorsport franchise developed by Slightly Mad Studios, takes the franchise and its fans into a blistering new era of motorsport racing simulation.

With the largest track roster ever seen on console, 29 motorsport series featuring 180+ cars from dozens of elite brands, and four full seasons of grip-altering weather across 140 revolutionary “living” tracks, Project CARS 2 brings home all the authenticity, beauty, and passion of racing action as never before.

To celebrate the September 22nd release comes the Project CARS 2 Launch Trailer that features “Silence”, a track that has been hailed as one of the greatest Trance Anthems of all time, and which has now been revisited by Rhys Fulber, co-founder of the electronica band Delerium, specifically for the Launch Trailer.

Taking the song's tempo down to 100 BPM to highlight Sarah McLachlan's sublime vocals, Rhys Fulber has created a new cinematic techno dub remix of “Silence” to welcome 2017’s definitive racing game, Project CARS 2.

Project CARS 2 is rated G. The game will be released on 22nd September 2017 for the PlayStation 4 system, Xbox One, and PC. Find out more and keep up-to-date at the official Project CARS 2 website:

FINAL FANTASY XV Comrades Release Date & Trailer

FINAL FANTASY XV Comrades Release Date & Trailer


Famed Composer Nobuo Uematsu’s New Song “Choosing Hope” Debuts in FINAL FANTASY XV

SYDNEY, 21st September 2017 – Square Enix Ltd., have today announced that, for the first time, FINAL FANTASY® XV  players will soon be able to create their own avatar and join up with three other friends to take on epic quests and battles in the game’s first and only online multiplayer expansion titled “Comrades.” Starting 31st October, players will set foot as a survivor from the Kingsglaive to find out more about the disappearance of Noctis after the events in Chapter 13 from the main game.

As members of the Kingsglaive, players equip royal sigils that grant special powers from the Lucian bloodline. Players can then strategise and create a balanced team to take on a variety of quests. In addition to multiplayer quests, single player quests are also available for players to enhance their characters.

SQUARE ENIX® also released a trailer featuring a brand-new track, “Choosing Hope” composed by Nobuo Uematsu and sung by Japanese singer Emiko Suzuki. The new trailer is available on YouTube:

FINAL FANTASY XV MULTIPLAYER EXPANSION: COMRADES will be available on 31st October for the Xbox One and PlayStation®4 system. The expansion requires FINAL FANTASY XV and purchase of either MULTIPLAYER EXPANSION: COMRADES or the Season Pass. Players also require an Xbox Live Gold membership or a PlayStation®Plus subscription.

More information on the MULTIPLAYER EXPANSION: COMRADES can be found here:

Monster Hunter: World - Official Release Date and Pre-Order Details!

Monster Hunter: World - Official Release Date and Pre-Order Details!

Good news, hunters!

Today Capcom confirmed that Monster Hunter: World will be available for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One globally on January 26, 2018. A PC release will follow at a later date. Capcom will also begin pre-orders today including bonus incentives for the standard version of the game or the newly announced  physical collector's editions. In addition, Capcom also released assets including a new trailer for the game showcasing various new monsters as well as a peek at Astera, the base of operations for the Research Commission as they explore a new world.

The TGS trailer shows the wild and wonderful variety of creatures featured in the game, from the lizard-like Pukei-Pukei with its extending tongue, to the terrifying monster Nergigante. The beautiful but dangerous Coral Highlands stage was also unveiled – don't stand around too long gazing at the gorgeous scenery or you might risk ending up as monster fodder! Players have a wide variety of gear to assist them in navigating the fantastical environments in the game, including the Glider Mantle. You can use this to extend your air-time after a jump and, as seen in the new trailer, in some areas, you may even be able to catch a lift on a rising wind draft to quickly reach higher ground.

Players that pre-order Monster Hunter: World on either Xbox One or PS4 at participating retailers will receive access to special pre-order bonuses, including the Origin Set Armor and the Fair Wind Charm talisman*, which offer improved starting defense and offense stat boosts for the hunter as well as a useful gathering skill. Please check with your local retailer regarding which bonuses are available.

*Please note that the Origin Set armor and Fair Wind Charm talisman may be made available through alternative means at a later date.

The physical collector's edition includes a physical copy of the game, voucher for the Deluxe Kit (contains Samurai Set skin, three gestures, two sticker sets, plus an extra face paint and hair style option for the hunter), plus an art book, high-quality flagship monster statue, and soundtrack CD, all bundled in a custom collector's box.

For attendees of Tokyo Game Show later this week, please stop by the Capcom booth for a chance to play a new quest in the Wildspire Waste location. 

Jasper Jones: Blu Ray Review

Jasper Jones: Blu Ray Review

Released by Madman Home Ent

A coming-of-age story, adapted from a Craig Silvey novel, that's carried wonderfully by its young leads, Aussie drama Jasper Jones is a veritable ripper.

Set in a quiet Aussie village in the late 60s and centring on Levi Miller's 14 year old Charlie, the story sees him thrown into being asked for help by the town's outcast Aboriginal Jasper Jones.

Jasper fears he'll be blamed for the hanging girl found in the woods (as he remarks tellingly to Charlie, "What was your first reaction?", a sign of the times and of the instant judgement of small communities) and so together the pair try to solve the mystery of the death.

Jasper Jones: NZIFF Review

But that's not all Charlie has to negotiate; he has a Korean neighbour whose lives are under fire because of Vietnam tensions, he has a mother who's frustrated and he has a burgeoning relationship with the sister of the missing girl to negotiate as well.

Seeded into the background of Jasper Jones are inter-racial tensions, friendships and relationships, even darker material that ventures dangerously closely to spoilers and a commentary on small town perceptions that's all too familiar.

But director Rachel Perkins doesn't stir any of these up for pure titillation; she merely throws everything into the mix to create a compelling whodunnit and a deeply layered story that has social commentary seeded all the way through.

While the adults do good work, notably Dan Wyllie as Charlie's dad, a mix of compassion and understanding obvious from an understated role, it's not actually their film in many ways.

It helps that the younger end of the cast - Miller, Angourie Rice (who plays the sister) and Aaron McGrath (Jones) shoulder the great burden of the darker edges of the script with veritable ease. It may be a familiar journey in some ways (growing up, realising death and darkness is all around) but what Jasper Jones manages to do, is to ensure these themes are freshly presented and subtly enacted.

Ultimately, Jasper Jones manages to be a compelling and diverting story that's as engaging as it is well crafted and it's a reminder that even the most familiar of tropes and genres can appear fresh when given a steady and strong directorial eye and a great cast. 

Thursday, 21 September 2017

XBOX ONE X available for pre-order in NZ today!

XBOX ONE X available for pre-order in NZ today!

The wait is over! The Xbox team is pleased to confirm the launch date and pricing for the arrival of the world’s most powerful console in New Zealand.

The Xbox One X will join global launch celebrations, launching in line with global markets on 7 November with a recommended retail price of NZD$749.

Starting today, Kiwi gamers can pre-order a standard edition 1TB Xbox One X console for NZD$749, via EB Games, JB Hi Fi, Mighty Ape, Noel Leeming, PB Tech, The Warehouse or Harvey Norman.

We have also announced that the list of Xbox One X enhanced titles has grown to more than 130 and counting, including new adds like Far Cry 5, L.A. Noire, Greedfall and Okami HD. 

Last month at gamescom, we unveiled pre-orders for the Xbox One X Project Scorpio Edition, a limited edition console designed for our biggest fans. Thanks to you, we saw record-setting sellouts in the first five days, making Xbox One X the fastest-selling Xbox pre-order ever with more Xbox One X Project Scorpio Edition consoles pre-ordered in the first five days than any Xbox ever.
We know you are anxious to get your hands on the world’s most powerful console and so today, I am excited to announce Xbox One X standard edition pre-orders begin today. Local retailers around the world, including Microsoft Store and, are opening up more pre-orders for Xbox One X, so be sure to get yours today.
When it comes to games, we’re thrilled to announce that you’ll be able to enjoy more than 130 (and counting!) new and existing games enhanced for Xbox One X to take advantage of its full power, including Far Cry 5, L.A. NoireGreedfall and Okami HD. We set out to make Xbox One X the best place to create and experience games, and hearing how our partners are excited and committed to Xbox One X confirms our vision. See below for what some of our partners had to say about their experiences with Xbox One X. And for more information explaining Xbox One X Enhanced program, visit our Xbox One X Enhanced titles list and check out this video with our very own Major Nelson and Head of Xbox Console Marketing, Albert Penello.
“It’s a crazy powerful box. [Shadow of War on Xbox One X] will be the prettiest possible version of the game [among consoles]. We have some dev kits which also load a lot faster. While in development it’s extra nice to load a giant world in a matter of seconds so we can iterate faster. But it will also have faster loading times for players.” – Bob Roberts, Middle-earth: Shadow of War Design Director, as quoted in GamesRadar+
“The experience of the game is the same across all of the different platforms. We try to make sure the game shines on every platform the best it can. Having said that, the Xbox One X version is absolutely the most beautiful version.” – Ashraf Ismail, Assassin’s Creed Origins Game Director, as quoted in WeWriteThings
“Bringing a PC game to Xbox, Microsoft makes it really easy…So it really just comes down to making the gameplay good. And especially on Xbox One X, two hours after we got the dev kit it was running at 4K, 60fps. That thing is very powerful. It was that easy. I think we were expecting it to take a little longer than that, but no, it was a cinch.” – Jonathan Rogers, Path of Exile Lead Programmer, as quoted in GamesRadar+
Xbox One X joins the Xbox One family of devices this holiday alongside Xbox One S and the recently-announced Forza Horizon 3 Hot Wheels bundleMinecraft Limited Edition bundleShadow of War bundle and Madden NFL 18 bundle – all also available for purchase or pre-order now. And of course, all your existing Xbox One games and accessories are compatible across the Xbox One family of devices.
We’re grateful to you, our fans, for your continued enthusiasm and to our developers for all their excitement for supporting Xbox One X as we march toward launch.

Video forList of Xbox One X Enhanced Games Grows to Over 130, Console Pre-orders Available Today

Destiny 2: PS4 Review

Destiny 2: PS4 Review

Platform: PS4
Developed by Bungie
Released by Activision

Destiny 2 is likely to chew through your time.
Destiny 2: PS4 Review

Which is no bad thing as we're all well aware how popular Bungie's first iteration of the game was with millions of online players battling it out in a quest to gain light, loot and love.

The sequel takes the good of the first game (of which there was plenty) and builds on those foundations to make an experience of relative success.

It all kicks off in a way that wrongfoots you as your Guardian returns to the Last City to find it under siege from the mysterious Red Legion arm of the Cabal. With the Traveller apparently destroyed, and you facing an uncertain future in a world without light,
it's up to you and your damaged Ghost to try and recoup some of your losses, and team up with other Guardians to restore order to the Galaxy's chaos.

Story wise, Destiny 2 is a more simplistic stream-lined affair.

The assault at the start (which was the basis of the BETA recently) gave a feeling of Nier Automata's gut-punch prologue in terms of you powering your way through a difficult fight, only to have a loss beat you directly in the face and send you down-trodden into the rest of the game.
Destiny 2: PS4 Review

Yet with Destiny 2, it's an almost galvanising underdog fight back type experience which spurs you on to greater things.

Thrust onto another world with a ragtag bunch of fellow Guardians feeling their own way, the game builds you up as it builds its narrative up.

Various quests propel the single player action along and push you further into the story. But at the same time, the online events and campaigns also feature into what's going on, giving you the chance to detour or avoid.
The gameplay itself feels stronger this time, and the clunkiness of some of the dialogue first time around is missing, but it feels more fluid and natural the deeper in you go.

By setting the game in the European Dead Zone as you begin, the game's more grounded and recognisable feel adds plenty to proceedings. Sure, one of the early missions sees you looking through a church, but it's better than simply marauding through a wasteland desperately shooting at anything around and looking for cover.
It means the setting is more lively and feels more intuitive with cover areas less obvious and a "what would you do in the real world" entering into proceedings.

But one of the earlier frustrations is spawning which can sometimes put you back down in front of a barrage of bullets that then pick you off, but it's a minor niggle that's early into the game.
Destiny 2: PS4 Review

There's a lot more character in the voicework too - be it Nathan Fillion's flippant tones or your own Ghost, the game feels more vibrant with the time and care which has been thrown in - and it deepens the engagement a lot more.
Granted, it's still about loot (more of which feels more forthcoming this time) but the grind is worth it.

And while the online servers have bizarrely booted players out in the early stages, there are signs that Bungie's doing more to combat this.

All in all, Destiny 2 does ramp up the game and the stakes, but it also takes a moment to deepen the experience, something which some online shooters fail to do.
By adding in a depth and enriching the overall atmosphere, Destiny 2 feels like a definite step forward for the shooter series.