Saturday, 30 September 2017

IVALICE COMES TO FINAL FANTASY XIV: STORMBLOOD OCTOBER 10

IVALICE COMES TO FINAL FANTASY XIV: STORMBLOOD OCTOBER 10

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IVALICE COMES TO
FINAL FANTASY XIV: STORMBLOOD OCTOBER 10

Patch 4.1 Trailer Provides Action-Packed Preview of Dungeons, Raids, and More

Sydney, Australia - 30th September, 2017 – Sweeping views of Rabanastre and powerful new foes await adventurers in the latest update for FINAL FANTASY® XIV: Stormblood™. Patch 4.1, entitled “The Legend Returns,” is the first major update toStormblood™ and continues the exhilarating main scenario questline following the liberation of Ala Mhigo.
Adventurers will also be able to challenge a fearsome new Shinryu trial—The Minstrel's Ballad: Shinryu's Domain—and tackle the even more demanding “Ultimate” battle series with the debut of The Unending Coil of Bahamut (Ultimate).

The Minstrel’s Ballad: Shinryu’s Domain
The Legend Returns will also mark the beginning of the highly anticipated “Return to Ivalice” alliance raid series, which will take players to the ruins of the city of Rabanastre. During the recent Letter from the Producer LIVE broadcast, Yoshida revealed the artwork and in-game model of the “Return to Ivalice” monster designed by special guest creator Keita Amemiya - the creator of the Garo television and film series, from which the Patch 3.5 PvP gear, weapons, and mount designs originated.

Return to Ivalice Monster - Designed by Keita Amemiya
The live stream also featured a first look at new in-game areas and additional details on content to be included in the first major update since the launch of Stormblood, the title’s second expansion.
  • Adventurer Squadrons – Players can explore a number of dungeons with a party of three squadron members, issuing commands to their companions to help lead them to victory.
  • New Housing Area “Shirogane” – Whether players are looking to purchase their first estate, or they are a current estate owner planning to utilize the new relocation feature, adventurers are eagerly looking forward to moving into this new Far Eastern themed housing area.
  • New PvP Mode – Rival Wings – Two teams of 24 players will go head to head in this new PvP mode, in which they will attempt to assault and destroy the opposing team’s tower. Players will also be able to pilot goblin creations such as Oppressor and Cruise Chaser to engage the opposing team in fierce combat.
  • Battle Adjustments – Yoshida touched on a sampling of changes and adjustments to job actions and spells.
  • System Enhancements – Introduction of a cross-world Friends list and /tell communication, updates to HUD customization, job gauge displays, cross-world alliances and custom PvP matches, and Party Finder adjustments provide players with an even more personalized gameplay experience.
  • “Perform” – Bards can now create their own songs through new hotbar actions that play musical notes.
For additional details on the content discussed during the latest stream, visit http://sqex.to/FFXIV_PLL39.
The official trailer for Patch 4.1, The Legend Returns, is available here: https://youtu.be/x8dmQB2uMR4
Additionally, the return of the exciting collaboration between FINAL FANTASY XIV and Level-5’s Yo-kai Watch™ is underway. Through November 1, players will once again be able to collect Yo-kai themed weapons, minions, and mounts. Visit the Yo-kai watch event page on the Lodestone for more information: http://sqex.to/FFXIV_Yokai
All editions of FINAL FANTASY XIV Online, including the FINAL FANTASY XIV: Stormblood expansion, may be purchased through the Square Enix Online Store here: http://sqex.to/FFXIVStore

The Evil Within 2 | New Trailer Released – The Wrathful, “Righteous” Priest

The Evil Within 2 | New Trailer Released – The Wrathful, “Righteous” Priest


Shrouded in mystery, Father Theodore has remained an enigma…until now. Along with Stefano, Theodore is one of the human “monsters” who have made their way into the new STEM world in The Evil Within 2, and he’s finally ready to reveal his message to the masses – a message that promises a “righteous” fury and immolation to those who oppose him. Sebastian will need to survive the wrath of this master manipulator if he’s going to have any hope of finding Lily and escaping the nightmare of STEM.
 
Theodore has his own reasons for being in STEM that are separate from Mobius’ goals, which he sees as misguided. Though what he’s actually after only becomes apparent as Sebastian becomes more entangled in his world.
 
Like Stefano, Theodore isn’t alone in STEM, although unlike Stefano – who commands the gruesome and terrifying Guardian and Obscura – Theodore’s main helpers aren’t creatures he created. Referred to as Harbingers, they are normal people whose minds Theodore has bent to his will. These Harbingers wield flamethrowers and seem to exist solely to carry out Theodore’s fiery will, burning any who would stand in the way of his pursuits.
 
Any detail about his past pushes into HUGE SPOILER territory. In other words, you’ll have to play the game in order to unlock the secrets he hides. Check out Bethesda.net for even more details and insights from the team at Tango Gameworks.
 
As Sebastian Castellanos, you’ll have to dive into hell once more in the sequel to the hit 2014 survival horror game from the mind of Shinji Mikami. Take on twisted creatures in horrifying domains and face off against your own worst nightmares as you race to save your daughter. The Evil Within 2 will launch worldwide Friday the 13th, October 2017 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. For more information about the game, visit www.TheEvilWithin.com.

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Red Dead Redemption 2 trailer is here

Red Dead Redemption 2 trailer is here


Here it is the latest trailer for Red Dead Redemption 2!


Watch the all-new trailer for Red Dead Redemption 2, the story of outlaw Arthur Morgan and the Van der Linde gang as they rob, fight and steal their way across the vast and rugged heart of America in order to survive. Coming Spring 2018 to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One systems.

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands - PvP Mode 'Ghost War' Launches Oct 10

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands - PvP Mode 'Ghost War' Launches Oct 10




ASSEMBLE YOUR SQUAD AS TOM CLANCY’S GHOST RECON®WILDLANDS GHOST WAR PVP MODE LAUNCHES OCTOBER 10

The Tactical 4v4 Mode Will Be A Free Update for Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands Owners


SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — September 29, 2017 — Ubisoft® has announced that Ghost War, the new PvP mode update for Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon® Wildlands, will be available on October 10. Ghost War will be free for all players who own the base game and will receive regular content updates after launch.

In Ghost War, two groups of players will take part in a 4v4 team deathmatch experience that builds on the tactical squad play from the main game, where strategy is equally as important as skill. Teams will choose from a roster of varied classes across three categories including Assault, Marksman and Support, fulfilling specific roles on the battlefield as they navigate large-scale open maps and take down their enemies. Using one of the twelve distinct classes, each with their own varied characteristics, weapons, perks and customization options, players will engage with enemies across eight unique maps. Ghost War will also integrate new PvP mechanics, including suppressing fire and sound markers, to create a strategic and intense team-based multiplayer mode. For all the detailed information on Ghost War, please visit:www.ghostrecon.com/pvp.

To view the trailer click the image below

The development team plans to bring regular post-launch updates to Ghost War in order to enrich the overall PvP experience. “We are excited to continue refining and expanding Ghost War after its launch” said Lucian Istrate, lead game designer on Ghost War at Ubisoft Bucharest. “Expect more classes, more maps, and even new modes to be added in the future!”

Developed by Ubisoft Paris,* Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands is a military shooter entirely playable in up to four-player co-op or single-player from beginning to end. Players have total freedom to accomplish their missions how they want and watch as the world reacts to their actions. Players can choose to move quietly in the night, go in hot at dawn or work together to execute a sync shot that takes out enemies in one fell swoop. Each choice has a consequence, and players must improvise or adapt their plans to ensure the completion and success of each mission.

For the latest about Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands and all Ubisoft games, please visitubiblog.com.

Ubisoft Announces Dan Romer As Composer For Far Cry® 5

Ubisoft Announces Dan Romer As Composer For Far Cry® 5


UBISOFT® ANNOUNCES DAN ROMER AS COMPOSER FOR FAR CRY® 5

Sent on behalf of James Mahon
To download all assets please visit the press extranet: ubisoft-press.com

Sydney, AUSTRALIA  September 29, 2017 — Ubisoft® has announced that Dan Romer, the award-winning film composer, songwriter and music producer, is composing the score for Far Cry® 5 in addition to writing songs for the game. The Far Cry 5 soundtrack will be available closer to the game’s launch on February 27, 2018.

Known for his film score work on Beasts of the Southern Wild and Beasts of No Nation, and for producing the Grammy-winning single, “Say Something,” and worldwide hit, “Treat You Better,” Romer sought to create a soundtrack that transports players into fictional Hope County, Montana, where fanatical doomsday cult Project at Eden’s Gate has taken over. Utilizing many Americana instruments, including banjos, fiddles, dobros and more, Romer’s score will fluctuate as players explore the dynamic world and come head-to-head with cultists. Each of the regions will have specific character-centric music that ties into the motives of the Father and the Heralds.


Along with the musical composition, the Far Cry 5 score will also include original hymns written by Romer, produced by Bobby Chin and performed by the Bobby Chin Nashville Choir. The lyrics of these reflect the inspirations of the leadership and members of the cult while also hiding more sinister messages toward the Resistance. Each of these hymns will mix into the existing music that players experience as they explore the world or engage in combat.

Set in America, a first for the franchise, Far Cry 5 offers players total freedom to navigate a serene-looking yet deeply twisted world as the new junior deputy of fictional Hope County, Montana. Players will find that their arrival accelerates a years-long silent coup by a fanatical doomsday cult, the Project at Eden's Gate, igniting a violent takeover of the county. Under siege and cut off from the rest of the world, players will join forces with residents of Hope County and form the Resistance.

For more information about Far Cry 5, please visit farcry.com.

For the latest on Far Cry 5 and other Ubisoft games, please visit ubiblog.com.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Whitney Can I Be Me: DVD Review

Whitney Can I Be Me: DVD Review


There can be no denial of the power of Whitney Houston's voice.

While Broomfield's documentary opens with the 911 call made on that fateful night in February 2012 in Los Angeles, it soon kicks back 13 years to backstage Frankfurt and allows Houston's gospel-tinged vocals to soar as she belts out "I will Always Love You".
The sheer silky ferocity of Houston's vocals are perhaps the major boon of this relatively straight, by-the-numbers documentary that follows pieces of Houston's meteoric rise and shocking fall.

Broomfield's less interested in providing a doco that's full of salacious chat or indeed any major revelations, preferring to take the route of simply telling the story of Houston, her journey from Newark, the role of her family and how it all fell apart for her.
It's in the unfurling of some unseen footage that Broomfield's piece is more of interest to fans of Houston and scenes shot backstage of Houston talking to others or leaving the stage in tears that the doco gains its edge.

Focussing on talking to family members, using archival interview footage and moments, Broomfield's piece captures some of the control of the singer's ascent, and maybe chronicles some moments that people will not fully be aware of.

But whereas the likes of Amy had more of an emotional edge due to the unfettered and meticulously assembled footage, Whitney: Can I Be Me? occasionally teeters close to hagiography because of the lack of depth. It's a very competently put together documentary, that hits a lull midway and feels like a telling of the story, rather than anything else.

That's no mean feat though - and moments such as when Houston was booed at the Soul Train awards because of her cross-racial appeal demonstrate how badly she was hurt by the business, proffering insight into how her soul was splintered gradually by a series of knocks.

The second half of the doco is perhaps the more interesting as an infinitely more sallow and drained Houston starts to manifest; the results are shocking and go some way to fulfilling some of the edges of this rise and fall doco.

If you're a Whitney Houston fan, this doco is a compelling must. But for those of us raised on docos like Asif Kapadia's Senna and Amy which manage to take subjects and make fans of non-supporters, Whitney: Can I Be Me? feels like it falters a little. It does what it can with the material that it has present, but it simply doesn't provide the emotional heft that it should.

It's a perfectly competent rise-and-fall piece, but its arguments that family and the times were responsible for what transpired aren't really backed by anything to make them simply claims.

There's no disputing the tragedy of Houston's death, and while it's best to concentrate on the legacy of the songs and celebrate the voice, Broomfield's documentary hits some of the high notes, but, by missing the more personal touches, also somehow manages to put a few beats wrong. 

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Despicable Me 3: Blu Ray Review

Despicable Me 3: Blu Ray Review


Third time's less of the charm for Illumination's animated antics in this latest outing for Gru and the gang.
Despicable M3: Film Review

In Despicable Me 3 (stylised as Despicable M3), Gru and Lucy (Carell and Wiig respectively) are kicked out of the anti-villains league when they fail to stop 80s obsessed former child star and wannabe crimelord Balthazar Bratt (South Park's Trey Parker) from stealing one of the world's largest diamonds.

Suffering from a crisis of faith, Gru discovers he has a twin brother, Dru (also played by Carell), who's the opposite to Gru's villain.

When the pair finally meet, Gru's jealous of Dru's seemingly successful lifestyle. But he's shocked to find out that Dru just wants to be a villain as that's all their father ever wanted for his son...

Will Gru re-embrace his dark side?
Despicable M3: Film ReviewFeeling distinctly flat and disappointingly disparate, Despicable M3 lacks the zaniess and the bite of prior outings.

While the 80s nostalgia vibe may help the older end of the audience feel a little jaded and satiated at the thought of a fourth film with the Minions.

Wiig feels particularly underused as the surrogate mother and the separate threads involving dispirited minions, the kids, Gru / Dru's antics don't quite seem to gel as well as they should.

It helps little that the animation which had such zing before looks great but delivers little in terms of memorable moments; it's slickly produced but its sweetly sentimental edges don't really bring the feels that it should this time around.

Granted, the children in the audience may well enjoy the brief interludes (though the shoe-horning in of Sing, another Illumination property is almost as bad as any product placement from Michael Bay's outings), but there aren't enough of them to keep everyone entertained.

There are flashes of visual brilliance though, such as when Gru and Dru raid the villain's lair (there's plenty of fun to be had in being bad) - and the 80s obsessed Bratt is a non-stop laugh-fest of nostalgia and desperation all wrapped up in one go, but these are fleeting moments few and sadly far in between, making you desperately miss the kinetic silliness that's been on show before.

Despicable M3: Film Review

All in all, Despicable M3 is pretty much a formulaic piece of CGI animation for the school hols - there's nothing inherently wrong with that, but the fact it betrays the very best of what the Despicable Me series could offer and distills it down into a series of mere moments is nothing short of a crying shame. 

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

All Locations and Modes Revealed in the New Star Wars Battlefront II Trailer

All Locations and Modes Revealed in the New Star Wars Battlefront II Trailer


   

Make all your Star Wars fantasies come to life in Star Wars Battlefront II! Check out the new “This is Star Wars Battlefront II Trailer” where John Boyega aka Finn reveals the full game experience that players can expect to immerse themselves in this holiday.
Whether it’s dominating as your favorite iconic hero in epic multiplayer battles with up to 40 players, piloting a starfighter through thrilling dogfights in space, or stepping into the boots of commander Iden Versio in the campaign’s all new untold Star Wars story, there’s something for everyone in Star Wars Battlefront II. 

Along with 5 unique multiplayer modes to suit any play style and 18 locations set across all three cinematic Star Wars eras, the new class based system, Battle Points and reworked Star Card system offer greater depth and progression than ever before.

Head to the Star Wars Battlefront II blog here to get a closer look at all the Galactic Assault locations that will be available at launch, and website here to learn more about the game’s multiplayer modes.

The Changeover: Film Review

The Changeover: Film Review  


Cast: Erana James, Timothy Spall, Melanie Lynskey, Lucy Lawless
Director: Miranda Harcourt, Stuart Maconie

Mixing elements of The Tattooist and bizarrely, Twilight, The Changeover is the cinematic version of Margaret Mahy's Carnegie Medal winning book that dabbles in the supernatural.
The Changeover: Film Review

Set in post-earthquake Christchurch, it's the story of school girl Laura Chant (a subtly nuanced Erana James) whose life has been wrecked by both the quake and personal circumstances.
With her mother (Melanie Lynskey) working long and late hours, Laura's forced to look after her younger brother Jacko.

But having premonitions something bad is about to occur to Jacko, Laura finds her worst fears confirmed when she meets Carmody Braque (Timothy Spall, suitably sinister and vaguely paedophilic) in the containers of downtown Christchurch.

When Jacko's given an ink stamp by Carmody, he mysteriously falls ill and Laura begins to suspect the worst.

However, she discovers there's more afoot in Christchurch than she realises....

The Changeover makes great fist of its post-earthquake Christchurch to give the Mahy novel a redolence that's both poignant and able to convey the turmoil in Chant's life.

The Changeover: Film Review  Liquefaction bubbles up among the cherry blossoms of the town and when James intones that "the earthquake broke the city, and it broke my family", you can feel the melancholy seeping in.

Equally, the use of Bic Runga's Sway and Melanie Lynskey's sweet sing-along to the classic and containers and the rebuild ground this film firmly in the south island, but yet timelessly in the appeal.

Unfortunately, some of the clunkier dialogue between Laura and her beau (who's clearly been cast more for his looks than acting prowess) give The Changeover a horrible tingling feeling of a return to the corny overwrought dialogue of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Saga.

Saddled with reams of exposition about the supernatural, the film almost falters despite the directors' visual flourishes of the manifestation of the supernatural coming-of-age edges.

Equally unhelpful is an underwritten Lawless, whose screen time is squashed and whose presence is wasted.
The Changeover: Film Review

But thanks to a sinister Spall, who channels both Childcatcher and slimy paedophilic edges as the bad guy, and an extremely impressive turn from newcomer James, The Changeover manages to stay afloat when other elements conspire to attempt to drag it down like a witch under water.

If anything, The Changeover will play to an audience under-served from the New Zealand film market for many years and bravely tries to position itself as something of a teen film with weightier darker issues around the edge. It sort of works and channels an era of yesteryear, but it's largely thanks to the truly impressive talents of James, whose natural presence and expression of the usual teenage tropes helps mark The Changeover out as something worth taking a punt on for an afternoon out.

Lady MacBeth: Film Review

Lady MacBeth: Film Review

Cast: Florence Pugh, Cosmo Jarvis
Director: William Oldroyd

"Do you have any idea the damage you can bring upon this family?"

A star is born in the devilishly sizzling William Oldroyd helmed Lady Macbeth, a reinvention of the Russian novella Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District.

Florence Pugh burns up the screen as Katherine, a young bride trapped in the shackles of marriage and in a home of pure hell. With an extremely strict and brutal father-in-law and a husband who has no interest in her other than barking orders, this repressed bride finds life dull and boring.

Lady Macbeth: NZIFF Review

Coming across a new stablehand Sebastian (Cosmo Jarvis), Katherine falls into lust - and the inevitable happens. However, plotting to escape the confines of a positively Victorian ethos could lead to dark resolutions.

Make no mistake, Florence Pugh positively owns the screen and burns it up in this chilling tale of desire as her character goes from victim to villainess.

From Katherine's desire for Sebastian to her desire to do whatever is necessary to escape and to live a life that's her own, Pugh uses the simplest of facials and the subtlest of moves to convey this. Whether it's the sheer joy of walking outside on the moors (which she's forbidden to do) as the mist hangs low or leaving buttons undone on her pristine outfit, Pugh brings a level of physicality to the role that's compelling to watch from beginning to end. She finds happiness in the growing moral turpitude and it's unsettling and conflicting to have you root for her every small victory.

Equally, Oldroyd's helming brings a degree of clinical chilliness to proceedings.

With a stripped back soundtrack and simple eye of precision behind the camera, Oldroyd concentrates on the moments which will bring maximum shock to the screen - be warned, there are moments that will stun you as this tale of barbed feminism plays out.

Atmospherically built and viscerally sparse, Lady Macbeth is a truly seminal experience; a peek into feminist politics and a mesmerising lead make it an unmissable and gut-wrenching piece of cinema. 

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Maze Runner: The Death Cure - Trailer 1

Maze Runner: The Death Cure - Trailer 1


The very first trailer for Maze Runner: The Death Cure is here  – the thrilling conclusion of the Maze Runner trilogy - ahead of its release on January 25th, 2018.

CAST & CREW
Director: Wes Ball (The Maze Runner, Maze Runner: Scorch Trials)
Written By: James Dashner (novel), T.S. Nowlin (screenplay)
Cast: Dylan O'Brien (American Assassin), Kaya Scodelario (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales), Nathalie Emmanuel (The Fate of the Furious), Walton Goggins (Django Unchained)

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS
In the epic finale to the Maze Runner saga, Thomas leads his group of escaped Gladers on their final and most dangerous mission yet. To save their friends, they must break into the legendary Last City, a WCKD-controlled labyrinth that may turn out to be the deadliest maze of all. Anyone who makes it out alive will get answers to the questions the Gladers have been asking since they first arrived in the maze.

Pitch Perfect 3 - Final Trailer

Pitch Perfect 3 - Final Trailer

The Bellas are at it again in the final trailer for Pitch Perfect 3, ahead of its release on January 1st 2018.
CAST & CREW
Director: Trish Sie (Step Up: All In)
Written By: Kay Cannon (Pitch Perfect, Pitch Perfect 2)
Returning Cast: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Hana Mae Lee, Elizabeth Banks, Anna Camp
New Cast Additions: Ruby Rose (xXx: Return of Xander CageOrange is the New Black), John Lithgow

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS
After the highs of winning the World Championships, the Bellas find themselves split apart and discovering there aren’t job prospects for making music with your mouth. But when they get the chance to reunite for an overseas USO tour, this group of awesome nerds will come together to make some music, and some questionable decisions, one last time.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales: DVD Review

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales: DVD Review



Six years after the excreable Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides stank up the cinema, Johnny Depp's besozzled pirate buffoon Captain Jack Sparrow is back.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales:

This time, when Henry Turner (Thwaites), the son of Orlando Bloom's Will Turner, finds Jack, it's a desperate race against time.  Henry wants to save his father by finding the mythical Trident of Poseidon and using it to lift the curse on his seabound father, but for Jack it's a matter of life and death as he's being pursued by undead nemesis Armando Salazar (Javier Bardem, a welcome presence to the franchise).

With a crew of undead sailors on his trail, and some familiar faces along for the ride, it'll take all of Jack's wits to escape this predicament.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales has moments of life that energise the flagging franchise.

But unfortunately, it also has large swathes of sequences that really stop this latest (and potentially final) entrant finding its own sea legs.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales:

With an overly-convoluted plot, and some murky scenes that are ruined by the curse of the dark 3D projection, the film, despite the work of its Kon-Tiki directors, struggles to really make much of a case for carrying on the franchise and yet also proffers barely any reason why this would remotely feel like closure for all bar two of the characters.
Depp once again channels some pratfalls and sight comedy as he works a pirate version of mumbling and bumbling like a Rowley Burkin QC out-take, and there's a wildly indulgent cameo from Paul McCartney shoe-horned in for no real gain, other than to tip a wink to the audience.

Coupled with a truly atrocious sequence of ginger fat-shaming, there are large sections of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales which fall flat and feel unnecessarily stale, adding to a nagging feeling that this series is definitively lost at sea.

However, there are some moments of gold within the film.

A late sequence where Depp, Thwaites and Scodelerio are pursued by a combination of ghost pirates and ghost sharks showcases what has made portions of the series so endearing. With its mix of quick quips, speedy wordplay, and a sense of derring-do, amid large lashings of spectacle, this is one piece that really stands head and shoulders above and showcase exactly why when Pirates is given some levity, it's got wind in its dramatic sails and a heart and soul which are hard to beat.

But there's not enough of this ensemble action to power the film along, with Depp's Sparrow at varying points being the lead or circling the action; it's this inconsistency that lags throughout and marks the writing of this one as a bit lazier and a little weaker than is to be expected.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales:

Bardem and Rush bring the dramatic edges to the fore and their gravitas and dignity stop the whole thing from falling into chaos; unfortunately, Thwaites isn't strong enough to leave a lasting impression as Turner's son and Scodelario's scientist woman, labelled a witch, is given a fair bit to do at the start and has some great scenes where she holds her own, but becomes lost at sea in the latter sequences, before being saddled with an unlikely coincidence too far.

For a fifth outing in the franchise, this isn't as bad as some of the others which have sailed into multiplexes from the series, but at the end, with a few loose ends wrapped up, it does feel like it's not disingenuous to say it's time to put this pirate to rest, before all goodwill generated is drained quicker than a quart of rum amongst a group of swashbucklers. 

Monday, 25 September 2017

Personal Shopper: DVD Review

Personal Shopper: DVD Review



Olivier Assayas reteams with Kristen Stewart after last year's NZIFF outing The Clouds of Sils Maria, a surprising film that won the erstwhile Twilight star a prestigious acting award.

This time, Stewart plays Maureen, a twin whose other half Lewis has died from a heart condition which she shares. However, Maureen is a medium too, who spends her night trying to contact her dead brother, believing his spirit still to be in the house.

By day, Maureen is a personal shopper for a model, who's never home and who exchanges notes with her charge. But Maureen's unhappy with her lot, decrying that spends her days "doing bullshit".


Her life changes though when she encounters a spirit in the house - and then starts to get anonymous texts...

Mixing a concoction of atmospheric ghost story (via the likes of The Others and The Orphanage) with a psychological sideline in stalking proves to be an intriguing proposition for Personal Shopper. It's a film that very much benefits from Stewart's performance and subtleties.

As the medium  negotiating the spiritual world, she's very much a Ghostbuster, desperate to connect to ensure closure as she begins to give way at the edges. Spending nights alone and days equally alone in her haute couture job, her dissatisfied detachment from the world around her is well played by Stewart, who uses fraying mentality and fragility to beneficial effect. She conveys the degradation of her mental condition with the slightest of tics, twitching fingers et al.

Sequences in the home at the start of the film are well orchestrated by Assayas who creates a soundscape and atmosphere that's easy to buy into - even if occasionally frustratingly, he decides to cut a scene short by fading to black unexpectedly. But the unease and discord that's unleashed on Maureen early on is nothing compared to how suspenseful a text conversation becomes in Assayas' hands.


With the deftness of simply holding the camera on the phone as messages fly back and forth with various pauses, the whole thing becomes a bizarre masterclass in the art of suspense as this portrait of grief and yearning for more (both in this life and the next) unfolds.

Stewart's unease is palpable within the looping rhythms of tedium within her day and while some may feel in comparison to the broader emotional strokes that Assayas achieved in Clouds of Sils Maria this is lacking. But that's to dismiss Stewart's presence throughout and to do a disservice to Assayas' tale of disconnection.

It's essentially a spooker of a film, a film that builds to crescendo within its oeuvre and a film that defies convention or easy definition.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie: Film Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie: Film Review


Vocal Cast: Ed Helms, Thomas Middleditch, Kevin Hart
Director: David Soren

Based on Dave Pilkey's phenomenally successful book series, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie actually proves to be the best offering this school holiday period for those looking for a bit of inconsequential fun.
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie: Film Review

Director David Soren guides this computer-animated outing from Dreamworks into the same kind of territory as the Peanuts Movie in terms of look and feel, with the rounder animation looking squishy and enticing, and enveloping its whole outlook in a familiar and welcoming vibe.

For those unfamiliar with the Captain Underpants book series, the film centres on the inter-racial friendship of a pair of eternal school pranksters George and Harold (comedian Hart and Silicon Valley star Middleditch) and their eternal fight with their school prinicpal (Ed Helms).

When George hypnotises the principal one day into believing he's their mythical hero Captain Underpants, it all gets out of hand. And things are further complicated when a new science teacher comes in, threatening to rid the world of laughter.

Set purely on the madcap scale, with some great interludes that encompass traditional pencil animation to sock puppetry, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is only interested in providing a good time for those watching.

With poop jokes, fart noises and a noteable silliness permeating most of the run, this is actually terrifically zippy fun that skirts with zaniness as much as it tries to push a "laughter is the best medicine" mantra to all of life's ills.

While there are a few moments in the 89 minute run time that lull (predominantly when the message is rammed home a little), most of the target audience will fully get its issues of dealing with school problems, feeling alienated from any but your best friend and the daily grind and living for the weekend.
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie: Film Review

It helps the writing doesn't dwell too much on any of its more serious edges and there are always amusing moments just seconds away from what transpires. Reverence to the books helps greatly and the general desire to ensure that the audience is amused, while the hearts are occasionally hit by some solid vocal work from Hart, Helms and Middleditch.

You can't help but leave the animated Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie with a smile on your face. It's certainly enough of a success creatively to ensure that a sequel should be on the way, and while you may be uncertain to see what else could be mined a second time around, this is actually first class straight-down-the-line animated fare that deserves your time and money.


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






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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: http://www.projectcarsgame.com/