Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Win a double pass to see RINGS

Win a double pass to see RINGS

Matilda Lutz, Alex Roe, Johnny Galecki, Aimee Teegarden, Bonnie Morgan and Vincent D’Onofrio

A new chapter in the beloved RING horror franchise.

A young woman becomes worried about her boyfriend when he explores a dark subculture surrounding a mysterious videotape said to kill the watcher seven days after he has viewed it.

She sacrifices herself to save her boyfriend and in doing so makes a horrifying discovery: there is a “movie within the movie” that no one has ever seen before…

Rings hits cinemas February 23rd Rated M: Violence & Horror

We're giving away double passes to the movie - To enter simply email RINGS to this address: darrensworldofentertainment@gmail.com or CLICK HERE NOW!

Please ensure you include your name and address - competition closes February 24th 

Win Hell or High Water

Win Hell or High Water

After years of estrangement, Texan brothers Toby (Chris Pine) and Tanner (Ben Foster) decide to rob the branches of the bank threatening to foreclose on their family land. 
For them, the hold-ups are part of a last-ditch scheme to take back a future that was stolen from under them. 
Vengeance seems to be theirs until they find themselves on the radar of Marcus (Jeff Bridges), a Ranger looking for one last grand pursuit on the eve of his retirement, and his partner Alberto (Gil Birmingham). 
As the brothers plot a final bank heist to complete their scheme, and with the Rangers on their heels, a murderous showdown looms.
From the writer of Sicario, HELL OR HIGH WATER is a gripping action-thriller about family, crime and justice.
We're giving away a copy of this movie thanks to Madman Home Entertainment - 

To enter simply email HELL to this address: darrensworldofentertainment@gmail.com or CLICK HERE NOW!

Please ensure you include your name and address - competition closes February 24th 

DiRT Rally's VR Upgrade Available Now

DiRT Rally's VR Upgrade Available Now



SYDNEY, 20th February 2017 – Codemasters has today launched the PlayStation®VR update for DiRT Rally®, the highest rated racing game on the PlayStation®4*. The update makes the entire game playable in VR and introduces a brand new Co-Driver Mode where a second player can give the all-important calls using a controller and the social screen.

Available for existing players as a standalone DLC Add-on via the PlayStation®Store for AUD$19.45 and as a new digital bundle from the PlayStation®Store, the update fully immerses you in the world of rally, putting you directly at the wheel of some of the most iconic cars ever to ever take to a stage.

Every game mode within DiRT Rally is playable as the driver in VR including rallycross and hill climb. In addition, the new Co-Driver Mode means that on the rally stages a second player can become engrossed in the action as they use the buttons and touchpad on a DUALSHOCK 4® to give the pace note calls to the driver from the social screen. Timing and accuracy are vital, just like in real life, in order for you to complete the stage in the best time possible.

Built by Codemasters and road tested over 200 million miles by the DiRT community, DiRT Rally® is the ultimate rally experience. It captures the essence of what makes rally unique like no other game – that sense of trying to remain in control of your emotions, as you hurtle along dangerous, undulating roads at breakneck speed, aiming to squeeze everything out of your car whilst knowing that one crash could irreparably harm your stage time.

Every stage tests you differently, as you race on the edge of control across varying surfaces in a range of environments such as snow, ice, tarmac and dirt and as you tackle a variety of weather types. As the car suffers attrition, you need to account for mechanical damage whilst your dedicated rally team tries to keep you competitive with time-limited repairs. Stages string together and each rally becomes a marathon-like test of concentration and skill as you trust in your co-driver, chasing that ever-elusive perfect run.

DiRT Rally® also includes officially licensed FIA World Rallycross Championship content, allowing you to experience the breathless, high-speed thrills of some of the world’s fastest off-road cars as you trade paint with other drivers at some of the series best-loved circuits, in both single player and high-intensity multiplayer races.
Join the DiRT team for the continuing road ahead and follow updates from the studio on Facebook and Twitter

SAMURAI WARRIORS: Spirit of Sanada release date

SAMURAI WARRIORS: Spirit of Sanada release date


Follow the Legend of the Sanada Clan from Their Heroic Rise to Their Tragic Fall
in an All New Entry in the Historically Inspired Series, Headed to PlayStation®4

Sydney, 20th February 2017 - KOEI TECMO today is pleased to reveal the latest entry in the renowned SAMURAI WARRIORS action series, SAMURAI WARRIORS: Spirit of Sanada - a new adventure based on the heroic legend of the Sanada Clan, a cunning group of warriors from Sengoku Era Japan who believed in survival at all costs. SAMURAI WARRIORS: Spirit of Sanada is slated to release on the 26th May 2017 for the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system.

A historically inspired action title set in Sengoku era Japan - the storied historical period also known as the Age of Samurai - SAMURAI WARRIORS: Spirit of Sanada focuses solely on the legendary Sanada Clan. Through their fierce will to survive, they fought with utmost vigilance to ensure that the Sanada name would be withheld throughout history.

The tale of the Sanada Clan begins with patriarch Masayuki Sanada, a much-requested character who joins the SAMURAI WARRIORS series for the first time. The player follows Masayuki's first battle, trailing the clan's meteoric rise from lowly vassals to powerful lords which led to the birth of the fan-favourite samurai, Yukimura Sanada. Continuing the clan's legacy, players will then journey from boyhood as the legendary warrior, following his footsteps as Yukimura rises to the title of "The Crimson Demon of War." Players will also experience the epic tale of his father's reign and his finest battles, up to his valiant final stand at the Siege of Osaka.

While more information about the game's plot, key mechanics, and many playable characters will be unveiled in the coming weeks, a first batch of images was released showcasing the newly added Masayuki Sanada.

Disgaea® 5 Complete will be arriving to the Nintendo Switch™ on May 26

Disgaea® 5 Complete will be arriving to the Nintendo Switch™ on May 26

At their annual press event, NIS America announced that Disgaea® 5 Complete will be arriving to the Nintendo Switch™ on May 26, 2017 as a physical and digital release. Disgaea 5 Complete is a strategy RPG that offers hundreds of hours of over-the-top, award-winning gameplay, and marks the first time the core game is available on-the-go. The game includes all 8 bonus scenarios, 4 fan-favorite characters, and 3 character classes that were originally DLC in the PlayStation®4 release of Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance.

About the story:
Disgaea 5 Complete tells a tale of revenge and rebellion. As a new and terrible Overlord named Void Dark seeks to enslave the countless Netherworlds, one young demon has stood to end his reign—Killia. In Disgaea 5 Complete, lead Killia and his tenacious army of rebels on their dark and dangerous path to vengeance. Filled with more over-the-top action and hilarious writing than ever before,Disgaea 5 Complete’s damage numbers are surely headed for the record books.

Key Features:
·         The Complete Disgaea 5 Experience - Enjoy the full Disgaea 5 story along with 8 bonus scenarios, 4 fan-favorite characters and 3 character classes from the Disgaea series!
·         A Legendary RPG Series Reborn - The latest flagship RPG from the most prolific strategy RPG developer in the world welcomes newcomers and veterans alike with a brand-new story and dials the hilarity and strategy up to level 9999!
·         Hundreds of Hours of Content - Following Disgaea tradition, Disgaea 5 Complete offers hundreds of hours of deep strategic content.
·         Deep Strategic Battles - Engage in exciting tactical battles with inventive systems like Magichange, Geo Effects, Alliance Attacks, Character Towers, and more!
·         Extensive and Fun Customization - Recruit new units from over 40 jobs and races, then dive in and strengthen them as you see fit in their personal Chara Worlds! Find hundreds of items or make your own at the Alchemist, then power them up and discover hidden abilities in the Item World! Or, if you’re feeling wild, change the rules of the game at the Dark Assembly! The possibilities are endless!

Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony will be coming on September 29

Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony will be coming on September 29


NIS America announced at their annual press event that Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony will be coming on September 29, 2017 for PlayStation®4 and PlayStation®Vita as both a physical and digital release! The third main entry of the hit murder-mystery adventure game series, Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony is an all-new journey into the world of Danganronpa. As the killing game begins a third time, the line between lies and the truth has never been more blurred!
About the game:
Welcome to a new world of Danganronpa, and prepare yourself for the biggest, most exhilarating episode yet. Set in a “psycho-cool” environment, a new cast of 16 characters find themselves kidnapped and imprisoned in a school. Inside, some will kill, some will die, and some will be punished. Reimagine what you thought high-stakes, fast-paced investigation was as you investigate twisted murder cases and condemn your new friends to death.

Key Features:
A New Danganronpa Begins - Forget what you thought you knew about Danganronpa and join a completely new cast of Ultimates for a brand-new beginning.
Murder Mysteries - In a world where everyone is trying to survive, nobody’s motivations are quite what they seem. Use your skills to solve each new murder or meet a gruesome end.
Lie, Panic, Debate! - The world is shaped by our perception of it. Fast-paced trial scenes will require lies, quick wits, and logic to guide your classmates to the right conclusions.
New Minigames - Between the madness of murdered peers and deadly trials, enjoy an abundance of brand-new minigames!

Monday, 20 February 2017

Horizon Zero Dawn - interview with Joel Eschler

Horizon Zero Dawn - interview with Joel Eschler

2017's first major new IP is about to land - Horizon Zero Dawn.
To celebrate the launch of the game, I was fortunate enough to get some time with Guerrilla Games senior developer Joel Eschler.
An Aussie, Joel's worked on such titles as the Bioshock series, The Bureau: XCom Declassified, Borderland: The Pre-Sequel to name but a few.
And of course, Horizon Zero Dawn....

So tell us about Horizon Zero Dawn, it's gone gold and it's on its way March 1st - you must be excited to have it out there?
The game's been in development in one way or another for about 6 years, there were a couple of years there where it was in a pre-production phase, with around 6-30 people really fleshing out the concepts and exploring the back-story of the world before the full team jumped on board after Shadowfall shipped.It's a really good feeling as we're about to ship.

It's an original IP, that's becoming more difficult to get out into the marketplace these days?
Yeah, for big companies, it's easy to say yes to known commodoties and properties and it's always more difficult to build a marketing plan around an original IP. But internally, at Guerrilla, it excited all of the devs, so I think you need to have fresh ideas to get the best out of people and that's what worked for Horizon Zero Dawn and the team. It was the riskiest proposition they've had before them.
The original concept came out of a pitching competition in the studio where a number of people pitched ideas and Horizon being an open world game which the studio had never done, a new IP which is risky, a completely new art style which is more focussed on natural foliage and jungles; it was the riskiest and also the one which excited us the most.
As game developers and as creative people, you're always wanting to do the most challenging thing out there to surprise people in the market. But for Sony, I'm sure they look back and ask "Did you really have to pick that one?", but now, at the end of the day, we're really happy that we're allowed to do it and I think Sony's really happy too.

It's already picked up a heap of pre-release awards, that must be encouraging?
It's really awesome as you live in a vacuum as a game developer, especially before a game is announced. And it's really scary when the world gets to see what you've been working on, but we've been really lucky and really humbled with the response we've gotten for Horizon Zero Dawn, whenever we've shown the game.

What can people expect - it's more than just big robot dinosaurs in an open world with a huntress, right?
Yeah, it's an action RPG, set in a post-post apocalyptic Earth, so this is 1000 years after society has crumbled and nature has taken over. The world as we know it, is a remnant and a piece of history for those still living in the world. The human race is no longer the dominant species - that now goes to the machines, as you'll have seen in trailers and the gameplay. They roam around the world and have their activities. You are Aloy, a really skilled hunter, but you find out at the beginning of the game, she's actually an outcast.
Shunned from society, she is not a member of any given tribe. She grew up in the region of the Nora and they are a tribe who hunt machines and pride themselves on being skilled hunters. She grows up, wanting to be skilled and accepted - or at least, be accepted enough to discover why she's been cast in and what her place is in the world.

How quickly did Aloy rise from the process? What was the concept of bringing her to life?
It's interesting because I think a lot of people thought, there were a lot of meetings and a lot of discussion went into this but Aloy was always Horizon, for as long as Horizon was Horizon. The initial pitch and imagery was the post-post apocalyptic world, the nature, the machines - and Aloy. So she really has been part of the world from the beginning and we definitely built a narrative around her. The world can exist without Aloy - but this game is her story and she is central to her journey, to her world.
Even when you're aiming for a strong female empowering lead, characters tend to naturally form around the developers. Aloy is the hero of the game, so she's going to be strong in one way or another from the start, but as we developed what the world is, what the mystery is and how we feel players may enjoy uncovering the mysteries, we thought this is all new to Aloy as well and she's discovering it. It all went hand in hand - but we're really happy to see the response people are getting from Aloy.

You've mentioned mystery a lot already, how worried are you about spoilers leaking out on this?
I mean, you can't block spoilers, but we have a really big story to the world and a lot of things to uncover, ideally we want people to play through it and discover this for themselves, rather than have someone ruin it. We put a lot of effort in keeping things under wrap ever since the reveal; there's been some teases to the cauldrons and some entrances to some underground locations which are central to the story and the mystery of the Old World and what happened. Really I'd love it if the first time you play through the game, it's kind of the Wow moment of the reveal.

The robots have struck me as being something of a David Attenborough feel, give me some idea of how you landed where you did with the creatures?
So, I guess some of the staff at Guerrilla have really diverse backgrounds and one of the lead visual designers actually had a background in engineering. And as we started to think about hvaing these machines in the world where nature has taken over, we started to think about what their purpose in the world is. Some of them is to collect debris, tree or water to transport them or convert into other materials that can be used and so we thought about what would be a useful design to serve this purpose for this machine; should it have inflatable areas, it needs to be fun to fight, should it have the ability to combine these materials to shoot fire out.
They were created from a functional as well as a natural perspective from their design. They went through many iterations - I personally can't wait for people to see the artwork we're putting together for the game, so you can see the early concepts and how they started out as more robotic before they progressed into their final version. They grew into more natural versions. Some of them have inspiration from kangaroos or ant-eaters and we looked at the movements which we used in their animation. It was a fun research-gathering experience for the guys; we were lucky enough to have that long pre-production cycle to really work out everything before we started building.
Guerrilla's made up of a lot of seasoned industry professionals who have gone through Feature Creep and through hard crunches, I think we're pretty good at checking ourselves, so we never got carried away.
We've been doing external test for years and I think pretty early on, the feature set of the game reached more than people getting their money's worth for what's in this game. Reaching that point fairly early on was good for the team; there were other things that people wanted to layer on, but we could sit back and say that even without it, the game is really good.

Are you worried by comparisons to Far Cry and Tomb Raider in terms of the gameplay?
Every game that you make takes inspiration from every other game, that's good. I think it's smart to look at what works and try and make it better and we definitely take inspiration from lots of different places while taking in our own world and trying to elevate recognisable gaming features. If people enjoyed those games, then they'll definitely enjoy Horizon and they'll see new things they like. Then in a couple of years, there'll be other games coming out where people say this is a lot like Horizon! But that's just games for you. We all want to make them better.

There was a map which leaked this week, and it looked massive. Is this an open world that's full?
There are many different tribes in this game, and many different settlements - both big and small from the ones. We showed a little snippet of Meridian in the recent trailers. Even I take a step back and I think others do, to say we actually managed to pull this off. Coming from the more linear Killzone games in the past, where everything is fine-tuned as players will see it to working in a massive open world in Horizon, it was definitely a challenge, but it was a challenge that the team fully took on board. There's not a corner of the game that doesn't have love to it.

Is this the first game in a series - will there be more Aloy?
I really hope this game resonates with people and they enjoy it. Right now, a lot of the team is taking time off now we've gone gold. A lot of the team are actually taking the opportunity to play through for the first time from start to finish. I hope it's successful and I hope people love it. Aloy is the one we resonate with and we're proud to tell her story.

What's the one moment you really love in the game?
Something that happens when we have people playing the game for the very first time. We had an event in Amsterdam where we had 5 Aloy cosplayers that we flew in to play the game for the first time and during the opening section, you're in an area called The Embrace. It's quite a large area where you can spend many many hours doing these side quests and things, and the game feels pretty big. Then you reach a point when the world opens up to be so many times bigger and you have this amazing vista over a landscape where you can see Meridian city and the spires, the jungle, the snow-capped mountains, the Spires - and you just think "Holy crap, this is 10 times bigger than I thought it would be."
I just love seeing their reaction when people get to that point.

What's your favourite robot in the game and why?
Thunderjaw. Just because when I'm roaming the environment and I see it off in the distance, early on, I'm just I'm not going anywhere near that thing. Then other times when I get really close, I think I can take that thing and it crushes trees, smashes rocks and kills me. It forces me to play the game a bit differently. Earlier on in the game, you kind of can brute force your way through it, but with the Thunderjaw, you really need to think tactically and take advantage of all the features in the game. There's a lot of behaviours built into enemies that can leave them existing on their own, but they're also built to react to what's around them. There are different machines, Aloy, destructible rocks ; there's water, burrowing enemies and all these different things and variables - a lot of research was done into animal behaviour. But a lot of engineering time was done to make this all work together.

Give us a spoiler from the game...
(Laughing) I'm trying tot hink of anything I could tell - I'd get into trouble with anything I may say!

Horizon Zero Dawn hits the PlayStation 4 on March 1st.

You can pre-order it here -

T2: Trainspotting: Film Review

T2: Trainspotting: Film Review

Cast: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle, Kelly MacDonald
Director: Danny Boyle

"Nostalgia - that's why you're here."

A pertinently meta-line uttered in a casual fashion but, with a degree of bile from Jonny Lee Miller's Sick Boy to Ewan McGregor's Mark Renton, underpins a lot of T2: Trainspotting and runs through its narrative veins as strongly as the heroin injected by the gang way back in the 1990s.

If Trainspotting was the adrenaline-fuelled, high octane trip way back then, T2: Trainspotting is the comedown after the high, the joke that no-one's laughing at - a tacit admission that 20 years on, not everything is better and that regret is the only drug we all collectively share.

20 years later, after ripping off his friends Spud, Sick Boy and Begbie to the tune of 16 grand, Mark Renton returns to Edinburgh for reasons that are initially unclear.

With every one of the group's lives in tatters to varying degrees of acknowledgment (Spud's lost his family and is still on drugs, SickBoy's resorting to blackmailing sexual deviants in a brothel while being high on copious amounts of cocaine, and Begbie's been residing at Her Majesty's pleasure for 2 decades), Renton's return stirs up a simmering cauldron of regret, bitterness and perhaps most surprisingly, redemption.

But as the group's paths collectively collide once again, the sins of the past could overwhelm them all.

It's always going to be hard re-capturing the zeitgeist that the original Trainspotting encapsulated.

With the times of Blur, Oasis, Iggy Pop's Lust for Life and cool Britannia still ringing in your collective ears, Trainspotting was itself a defining cinematic experience, celebrating anti-heroes and presenting a truth about Britannia's underclasses that was scarcely seen.

Presenting drug-addled skeletal scum like Renton and making them look cool, and effortless as anti-heroes as well, the first film's despicable joie de vivre was unassailable and following it up was always going to be a hard task, no matter who was involved.

However, it's more than fair to say with a smattering of elements of Irvine Welsh's Porno, this emotionally inspired sequel hits a lot of the marks needed to ensure the trip is worth it again. T2: Trainspotting is a heady, stylistic romp into regret, friendship, betrayal, remorse and guilt.

It's also a mercilessly more mature and restrained piece of film-making from director Danny Boyle.

Robbed of the drug culture that so defined the group and the fact it's some 20 years later, there's a different dynamic at play here. Flashes of nostalgia and moments from the first film flit in between the bitterness that fuels this latest. Single notes of the tunes from the first film (Underworld's Born Slippy, that drum from Iggy Pop's Lust For Life) float in and out of the movie, seamlessly interweaving the film with the first.

And in some bravura touches, that shot of Renton mercilessly off his face and laughing after he hits the bonnet of a car is cleverly rendered again but in a less than salubrious sequence.

Flashes of the first film threaten, at times, to overwhelm Boyle's movie; almost as if you're being relentlessly teased with what made the first film so iconic and so memorable. But Boyle's smart enough to make these touches almost cameo-like and never once lets them swamp proceedings. Complete with freeze frames and a more reflexive and reflective take on proceedings, T2: Trainspotting is about the betrayal of youth and the failure of promise.

And all of his actors rise to the occasion as this reunion fires into life among the Edinburgh landmarks.

Notably though, it's Ewen Bremner's goggle-eyed tragedy-laced almost-idiot-savant Spud who rises from the ashes in the sequel as the film's surprising MVP.

His suicide attempt at the start and the subsequent imagery employed by Boyle to signify how far he's falling is as eye-popping as it is heart-breaking. But fear not, much like the worst toilet in Edinburgh and the dead baby in the first film, T2 doesn't scrimp away from the grim realities of desperate and disparate choices coming together.

In among the drug hints and past transgressions, there's another world that's come to the fore - the world of the Millennials, which is brutally skewered in an unnecessary (and dangerously close to pale imitation) update of Renton's original and oft-quoted Choose Life rant.

However, all up, T2: Trainspotting has an undeniable cinematic quality, an intoxicating mix and while the narrative doesn't, thankfully, have the frenetic pace of the first film (after all, nobody really wants a pale re-hash of what made the first so iconic), its rhythms and muted story say more than any sequel ever could.

Effortless dynamics between the quartet reflect real life friendships and with more than a casual hint of truisms in the dialogue, the film's spin on regret, squandered promises and past discrepancies comes vibrantly to life as the black humour bubbles away quietly in the background.
It may side-step criticisms that it doesn't find its own voice and lives distinctively in the shadow of the first film, but this companion piece movie cum sequel is much more than just the sum of its parts.

Older audiences, well versed in the first may get more than a nostalgic tinge from the past evocations, but T2: Trainspotting is a ride well worth boarding. Along with Boyle's eye for editing detail and the cast's easy-going chemistry that papers over some of the narrative weaknesses, it positively crackles and sizzles like any sequel worth its salt should do.

Win a double pass to see T2 - Trainspotting

Win a double pass to see T2 - Trainspotting

First there was an opportunity......then there was a betrayal.

Twenty years have gone by.

Much has changed but just as much remains the same.

Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) returns to the only place he can ever call home.

They are waiting for him: Spud (Ewen Bremner), Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), and Begbie (Robert Carlyle).

Other old friends are waiting too: sorrow, loss, joy, vengeance, hatred, friendship, love, longing, fear, regret, diamorphine, self-destruction and mortal danger, they are all lined up to welcome him, ready to join the dance.

T2 - Trainspotting hits cinemas February 23rd

We're giving away double passes to the movie - To enter simply email T2 to this address: darrensworldofentertainment@gmail.com or CLICK HERE NOW!

Please ensure you include your name and address - competition closes February 24th 

Keeping up with the Joneses: DVD Review

Keeping up with the Joneses: DVD Review

Channeling suburban paranoia and envy to a tee, Keeping Up With The Joneses pushes for broad comedy and somehow manages to come up short.

A thinned down Galifianakis and Fisher are the Gaffneys, a suburban couple whose life has hit a rut. Packing their two kids off to camp for the summer, the pair realise their lives are empty; Jeff has his HR job at a defence company where everyone rides roughshod over him as he's the only one with internet access, and Karen is a frustrated stay at home mum whose summer job is sizing up urinals for their bathroom makeover.

When new neighbours move in in the form of Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot's superglamourous couple The Joneses, she channels her Rear Window tendencies into trying to find fault, believing that under this perfect veneer, Tim and Natalie are hiding something.

It's not long before this paranoia comes to fruition , but Jeff refuses to listen believing he's finally found a friend who wants to share the thrill of going indoor skydiving. However, it soon becomes clear that the Joneses are not what they seem and the Gaffneys are caught up in the whirlwind of international espionage...

Keeping Up With the Joneses purports to riff on the fear that the grass is always greener and the new neighbours lead more exciting lives than you do. And to a degree, the justified paranoia works well for the start of Mottola's film, but it soon becomes clear this is all there is going for it.

Weakly written material soon gives way to chase sequences and a large helping of slapstick as well as shots of Gal Gadot flaunting her perfect physique in lingerie, while delivering wooden dialogue. While the way the suburban awkwardness subsides into genuine suspicions is as broad as it comes, it soon becomes obvious that the comedy chops of Hamm and Galifianakis are being wasted in this under-written flaccid romp that lacks any brains.

As Galifianakis ramps up his panic-based schtick, and Hamm plays up the fact his spy is unhappy with his lot, Fisher goes overboard with her brand of paranoid hysteria writ large. It's a mess that isn't strong enough for farce and is too weak to endure its 100 minutes running time. While the elements of spy comedy are rightly channeled by a soundtrack that feels big band and brassy enough to get the vibe right, little else lands.

You may feel a desire to go Keeping up with the Joneses, but the simple truth is, it's really not worth the effort.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Hell or High Water: Blu Ray Review

Hell or High Water: Blu Ray Review

Released by Madman Home Ent

There's plenty of soul in the mournful Hell Or High Water.

Managing to cram in a hefty dose of socio-economic commentary in the ruins of towns riddled by foreclosure and debts, Hell Or High Water is the West Texas set tale of two brothers, Toby and Tanner (Pine and Foster) hell-bent on robbing banks for their own reasons.

Enter two Texas Rangers, one Alberto an Indian (Birmingham) whose rueful regret at the banks stealing their heritage and the other Marcus (Bridges), who's on the cusp of retirement, but not about to go lightly or willingly into the long night.

As the laconic game of cat and mouse plays out, there's a very real sense of roads colliding and personal stakes rising, but there's also a deep familial connection that makes itself known.

Depression rears its head all throughout Hell or High Water; from the cutaway shots of roads that are riddled with foreclosure or debt signs or to the long shots of fields dotted with oil wells pumping futilely away, this is a film that's got its condemnation of the financial crisis and the banks hard-wired into its execution.

Sicario writer Taylor Sheridan manages shots of dry humour and Fargo-esque idiosyncratic trappings of character within his taut screenplay that examines the relationships between the two brothers and the two rangers, and works best when it concentrates on those elements. Both have bits of brotherhood scattered through; from Marcus' continual plaguing of put-upon Alberto with racial slurs or being annoying, to Toby and Tanner's reunion after Tanner's time in jail and his black sheep status within the family.

But it's in the subtleties that this film works - the quieter moments, led by a hang-dog Pine who underplays to great effect, are infinitely more worthwhile than the continual quirks of some of the residents of West Texas. Sheridan captures the frailties of familial bonds with ease. And accentuated by a Warren Ellis / Nick Cave score, the whole thing bathes in a kind of timeless dread.

Equally worthy of recognition is a resigned but resilient Bridges as Marcus, a cantankerous man whose loneliness beckons in his twilight years. Bridges brings a gruffness and simplicity of execution to the film and gives it an edge that's as timeless as any cops and robbers chase film you've seen.

Ultimately, Hell or High Water is a wee ripper of a film; an eclectic and at times, eccentric old school Western that works on many levels. Swathed in contemplative elements and blessed with a stonking script and execution, it's proof there's life in the old dog yet and that when done properly, dialogue is king.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

The Accountant: DVD Review

The Accountant: DVD Review

In an attempt to make accountants seem like more than just numbers guys, director Gavin O'Connor's movie with a dour faced Ben Affleck as the titular accountant aims for thrills, but on most occasions misses.

Affleck is Christian Wolff the accountant, a maths genius who is afflicted with high-functioning autism and whose social interactions are awkward at best. Called into a robotics company to try and work out where $70 million has gone AWOL, Christian solves the case overnight but his resolution causes a chain of events to unfold.

With a series of killers on his back and the Treasury Department closing in on Wolff after his links to cleaning dodgy books, Wolff's on the back foot - and with a nerdy fellow accountant from the robotics company in tow (Kendrick in usual preppy and perky mode), the chase is on.

Skipping some of the emotional beats needed to make this land proves fatal for The Accountant, which in parts feels perfunctory, drab and dour.

While a frowny Affleck manages to imbue Wolff with the social awkwardness needed, which allows for some comic interludes between him and Kendrick's Dayna, he's pretty much rendered relatively mute. And outside of action sequences, Affleck's got little to do except revel in the vulnerability and physicality- though admittedly, he does it well.

If anything's wrong with The Accountant, it's more a case of the threads not quite tying as tightly together as perhaps they should without characters indulging in serious amounts of exposition to help you through. Worst offender is JK Simmons' Treasury head, who's (cliche alert) determined to crack Wolff's identity before he retires - in one scene alone, he literally espouses the whole story in an attempt to get people up to speed. Thankfully, he's such a great actor that he just manages to lift the material higher than it deserves.

While there's something to be said for having an autism heavy hero on the screen (according to one character 1 in 68 US kids suffer) and there's a feeling that this is the launch of a Littlest Hobo style assassin franchise, The Accountant never quite fires on all cylinders as it trudges through its 2 hour run time, thanks largely to flashbacks that jolt proceedings and disparate multi-threads that aren't particularly engaging or original.

The final fight sequence is precise in its execution and brings a punch that's been lacking, but it's hard to fully invest in proceedings as they play out prior to this point, with some of the threads feeling not quite as well sketched out as they could be.

While relatively solid overall, thanks mainly to Affleck's performance, The Accountant ultimately and unfortunately doesn't quite add up.


Friday, 17 February 2017

Nioh: PS4 Review

Nioh: PS4 Review

Platform: PS4
Released by Koei Tecmo

Based on original material by Akira Kurosawa, Team Ninja's latest has elements of Japanese samurai, dastardly mixed up with the bastard hard playability of Bloodborne and Dark Souls.

It's the story of William Adams, a western samurai who finds himself entangled in the Japanese civil war. As the war grows in stature, supernatural elements are inveigling their way into proceedings, adding further elements of chaos...

Nioh may have the aforementioned elements of Dark Souls with it, and it's very much a similar MO to these games.

From light to heavy attacks, dodging to picking up health and using inventories, this is something you've seen many times before. But once again, concentration and patience are needed to ensure that you get through what's going on in the combat front and come off relatively in tact.

Though in fairness, every attack is going to leave you gasping for life and hoping no surprise foes are waiting around the corner to pick you off. Readying yourself to combat and choosing the right stance also helps you deal with the combat, though to be frank that takes a little while to ready yourself for and to get into.

Cameras can be locked on to help dispatch the bad guys - it's all very familiar.

And yet the developers of Ninja Gaiden and the Dead or Alive series know exactly what players of this genre want - from simple combat that rewards learning to powering up and collection of loot, Nioh ticks all the relevant boxes.

From shrines to pay respect to and health to collect that looks like Jak and Daxter's way of powering up, the game's got what it needs in place to ensure that it plays well. There are epic elements within the sprawling world as well, and there's clearly an homage to the times settling in as the game carries on.

Missions are dictated through the map and take you through the history of Japan - it's a nice reverence that plays well as the game takes hold.

Occasionally, though, some glitches in the camera slow things down. From missing walls to circling cameras, sometimes, it's hard to focus the game onto the actual screen and to see what's going on.

And a lack of an idea of where you're going sometimes means you can spend a lot of time going back and forth down corridors you've already been down but only realised late in the day that that is what's happening.

Ultimately, from meleeing to simple combat, Nioh is a game to sink time into. It rewards long term investment and isn't for a simple 10 minute play. It's a solid, occasionally glitchy, RPG that surprises early on in the year.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

New Resident Evil Biohazard DLC drops

Hi family,

Resident Evil 7 biohazard DLC Banned Footage Vol. 2 is available today on PlayStation 4  and will also be readily available for anyone who has purchased either the Deluxe Edition or Season Pass. This Vol. 2 pack includes "Daughters", which features a deeper look at the Baker family’s life before the tragic events of Resident Evil 7 biohazard. Also included is "21", where players will need to gamble with their own life in a deadly game with Lucas Baker. An extra gameplay mode titled "Jack's 55th Birthday" provides a race against the clock as players serve up the Daddy of the family, Jack Baker, with tons of treats for his special celebration. (Please note that PSVR is not supported in "Jack's 55th Birthday.")

Banned Footage Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 will be available to purchase for all other platforms on February 21st. Deluxe Edition and Season Pass owners will get the Banned Footage contents as they release per above and an additional story episode with more details to come. Finally, in winter 2017, all players will have access to the free "Not a Hero" content, introducing players to a new separate storyline away from Ethan’s saga in the main game.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

The Great Wall: Film Review

The Great Wall: Film Review

Cast: Matt Damon, Tian Jing, Willem Dafoe, Andy Lau, Pedro Pascal
Director: Yimou Zhang

On paper, it's easy to see why The Great Wall exists.

A Chinese director (famed for The House of Flying Daggers and Hero), a Western star (Matt Damon) and a chance to concoct a Chinese - US co-production to rake in some of the take of a Chinese box office.

After all, xXx - The Return of Xander Cage tried to negotiate similar waters.

But on screen, the CGI creature-feature feels more like a gloriously costumed B-movie that never scales the emotional heights it could have easily achieved.

Damon is William, a mercenary who's part of a band of men after the black powder for its magic properties to turn air into fire. As the group's wittled slowly down, William and his fellow conspirator Tovar (Game of Thrones' Pedro Pascal, the film's comic relief) find themselves attacked by a mystical creature and captured by the armies on the Great Wall.

Led by the Nameless Order, the duo is let into confidences when they produce the slaughtered creature and discover an endless eternal war is being fought between the marauding relentless Tao Tei and the protectors of the Wall....

An emotionless bedraggled Damon as William, complete with mumbling bizarre Irish brogue, initially does little to dispel the feeling that The Great Wall is a a CGI fest that plays up its legends element and the fantastical edges.

Characters within the film aren't exactly well developed, and certainly William's behaviour sits at odds with any decisions he makes further on in the film (largely, due to a lack of back-grounding) that propel portions of the narrative.

While the white-wash debate has dogged the film, it's perhaps pertinent to note that most of the Western behaviour is that of rapscallions and skull-duggery. From Defoe's Mad Monk-esque wannabe thief to Tovar's plunder-them-and-run ethos, only William changes his MO due to exposure to the Chinese traits of honour and trust. Sure, there are moments when the white man saves the day, but largely it's due to a shift in mind-set and needs to be viewed as such.

However, despite some truly impressive costuming and eye to detail from WETA's props to the sumptuous colourful costumes to differentiate the wall-based fighters (though reminiscent of the Power Rangers' colourings), the Nameless Order is eye-poppingly gorgeous. And shonky CGI aside, the initial attack on the Wall and the subsequent holding off of the Tao Tei is solidly executed, a visual symphony of a Cirque du Soleil themed attack that benefits more from the human touch than the endless rows of creatures surging towards it.

It's just a shame that The Great Wall doesn't embrace enough of its lunacy and premise of aliens invading the Wall of China and the end effect is an undeniably B-movie film that's soulless on the human front.

With weaker Chinese characters propping up parts of proceedings (Jing's Commander Lin starts off promisingly before being confined to the ramparts' sidelines and sharing glances with Damon's William), the film needed either a stronger script and interactions to pull it through or less reliance on the slow-mo CGI critters flying through the air approach to keep the 100 minutes alive.

With its video game ethos, wannabe epic and questionable CGI, The Great Wall hides a kernel of an intriguing and entertaining film. It's just unfortunate that the severe under-cooking of many of the elements within mean this is one wall that's actually not really worth scaling.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

NieR: Automata 'Glory To Mankind' Trailer

NieR: Automata 'Glory To Mankind' Trailer


SYDNEY, 14TH February 2017 – Square Enix Ltd., today unveiled a brand new story-driven trailer to introduce fans to 2B, 9S and A2, the assembled army of androids enlisted to help reclaim mankind’s disturbing dystopia in the upcoming action-RPG, NieR: Automata™.
In NieR: Automata, Humanity has been driven from the Earth by mechanical beings from another world. In a final effort to take back the planet, the human resistance sends in 2B, 9S and A2 in a hope to destroy the invaders. A war between machines and androids rages on... A war that could soon unveil a long-forgotten truth of the world.
The new Glory to Mankind 119450310 trailer is available on YouTube or below

NieR: Automata is developed by SQUARE ENIX and PlatinumGames Inc. and will be available on 10th March 2017 for the PlayStation®4. A free playable demo is also available to download now from: http://bit.ly/2k9txbV.

Silence: Film Review

Silence: Film Review

Cast: Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, Adam Driver, Yosuke Kubozuka,
Director: Martin Scorsese

Rounding off Scorsese's religious trilogy (Kundun, The Last Temptation of Christ), the occasionally bum-numbing Silence, with its 162 minute run time, is very much a story of endurance.
Silence from Martin Scorsese

Garfield and Driver play missionaries Rodrigues and Garupe, whose faith is severely tested when one of their own, Father Ferrera (Neeson) disappears bringing the word of the Bible and spreading faith in Japan in 1633.

With authorities determined to root out Catholicism before it even gained groundswell support, Rodrigues and Garupe are forced to scrabble around in darkness, hiding in hillside huts and administering to those seeking absolution by night.

But when the pair split up after learning authorities are on their tail, Rodrigues faces the deepest darkest night of his soul after he's betrayed.

Silence is Scorsese's cry out to a deity that so often many believe works through silence and offers little by way of absolution when great suffering is visited on so many.

It's a reflective and reflexive suffering piece about the purity of faith in the darkest of times and certainly in large parts of its second half, it becomes an internal piece rather than an action filled denouement to all that's passed.
Silence from Martin Scorsese

It's distinctly blessed with some fairly visceral and extremely powerful imagery - from the opening scenes of Neeson's Ferrera watching fellow priests tortured by boiling water as the mists of Japan waft mythically through proceedings to striking shots of those convicted of Catholicism strung up on crosses and left on the sea's edge to be broken by the continual flow of waves, this is a film that doesn't shy away from the realities of what the authorities would do.

And yet in among the philosophical edges, and the increasing likeness that a bearded, long haired and bedraggled Garfield bears to the allegory made real of a 1633 Jesus undergoing trials, there's an emotional devastation that's hard to shake. It helps that there's a lack of soundtrack ( a crushing nod to the silence that bedevils our protagonists) and few of Scorsese's trademark zooming shots - this is a stripped back version of the meister's behind the camera work)

Garfield delivers a powerful and haunted performance as the wise Rodrigues (standing in juxtaposition to Driver's brash and impetuous Garcia whose patience is in short shrift);  and he manages to convey the internal struggle with heartbreaking ease and nuance. From the continual requests of confession from the Judas-like Kimichi (Kubozuka) whose family was killed because he was Catholic that test his patience and his resolve to the desire to find Ferrara, Garfield shoulders a large portion of this film and more than suitably delivers.
Silence from Martin Scorsese

Neeson also delivers strong scenes as Ferrera as the price of martyrdom weighs heavily down (and to say more is to offer spoilers) and as the adaptation of the 1966 novel by Japanese Catholic author Shūsaku Endō resolves.

Silence is a demanding film in many ways; and while the reward is certainly not in the on-screen pay-off, it's perhaps more Scorsese's intention that this soul-searching film stays with you and nudges you to question it and yourself in the days after viewing.