Game Review: The Wolf Among Us

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The last time I reviewed a game it was for “The Walking Dead season 1” from TellTale Games. (You can read that review here) Now I’m back with another game from TellTale worth playing. 

“The Wolf Among Us” is based on a comic book series called “Fables” by Bill Willingham. It takes place in a part of New York called Fabletown where various fairy tale characters live normal lives. Just about anyone you can think of is here. The Big Bad Wolf, also known as Bigby is the main protagonist in the game. We also meet Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, Ichabod Crane, Mr. Toad, one of the 3 Little Pigs and so many more. Keep in mind that this is not your typical Disney variety fairy tale. This is a mature game.


The game is centered around a murder mystery that Bigby, as the sheriff of Fabletown, needs to solve. Like “The Walking Dead” before it, this game is a story and your choices dictate not only how the events of the game play out, but how you are viewed by the characters around you. At the start of the story, Bigby is not particularly liked amongst the citizens of the town. As you progress you will be faced with various decisions, should you let someone live or kill them? Should you treat a prisoner with dignity or torture? Do you show mercy to a beaten adversary or show him who runs things? All these can be answered based on you as an individual. “The Walking Dead” had me in the role of a man who suddenly had to care for a child and the difficulty in protecting one you care about over the welfare of others in a deadly situation. Here we have a man who is trying to do his job to protect people, yet the people he is protecting despise him. TellTale has done great with these games lately in putting the player in the shoes of the characters.


If you were a fan of season 1 of “The Walking Dead” that same level storytelling is presented here. It has actually gotten me interested in reading the comic series now. I highly recommend “The Wolf Among Us.” It is available now for just about any platform from gaming consoles, PC and smartphones and tablets. 

 

Rankings of a Master: The Films of Stanley Kubrick Part II

And now the Top 5

For Part I click here

5. Lolita

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I’ll just put this movie under the drama category because it would feel weird putting “romantic” in front. The subject matter is sensitive but Kubrick did the best anyone could with material like this while getting a superb performance from all his actors. Particularly Peter Sellers, and this wouldn’t even be his best performance in a Kubrick picture.

4. The Killing

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A film noir about the robbery of a horse track, I love this film’s camerawork and secondary characters who I feel have a bit more development than the main character. Taut and exciting from start to finish.

 3. Dr. Strangelove or How I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb

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Comedy is not one of my favorite genres. The jokes eventually wear off on me. The humor in this however has not worn off. I was not yet born when this film was made, but the message that it possesses is relevant even today. It almost feels like a live action comic strip lampooning our various nations. Because of that, Dr. Strangelove will always be held in high regard.

2. Paths of Glory

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Now there is no question to me that Dr. Strangelove is the better film, but I love Paths of Glory. Fantastic scenes of war and you feel your heart just being torn to pieces during the courtroom scene because of its expected outcome. Again another Kubrick film that while it takes place in an era I was not born in, yet its themes are totally in line with today.

1. 2001: A Space Odyssey

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I have seen this film so many times that I don’t actually have to watch it to know what’s going on. I have it on my iPod and I just start it and do what I’m doin and the movie plays in my head. These days people like to lower a film’s legacy because it’s older and it “doesn’t hold up as well.” Well 47 years later this film holds up. Even if you are not a fan, there is no question the filmmaking that went into this. I’m not a person who cares much for abstract ideas, but this film made me begin to open my mind just a bit to new ways of storytelling. 

My list is complete. So now you all see what order I would watch the films of Stanley Kubrick. What is your favorite? Least favorite? I would love to hear!

Top Ten Films That Should Have Won Oscars

A great post that I pretty much agree with through and through.

Confessions From A Geek Mind

As this is Oscar weekend, it was only fair that The Geek does a top ten special to celebrate the occasion.  But this is no ordinary top ten list.  This is a top ten list of films that should have won Oscars.  The reason is self-explanatory.  The films that have won Oscars, has the impact lasted?  Yes and no and better films have been overlooked.

So here is my list of films that should have won Oscars and to make it a little bit challenging, the film had to be nominated for best picture in the same year as the winner.

Hit the jump to find out which film made the list.

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Rankings of a Master: The Films of Stanley Kubrick Part I

Stanley Kubrick is one of my favorite directors ever. He took so much time developing his films to what he wanted, it made him a true craftsman. He only made 13 features in his career, but they certainly are a diverse group of films. Here in 2 parts I give you my personal rankings of his films. This is based mainly on how I enjoy watching them. With Kubrick’s work, quality is really hard to figure since I feel they are all with the exception of 1, great films. I love all of his work, so if certain films are lower than others, it’s not that I feel it’s bad, just that I would rather watch another before I watch that one.

Here is 13-6:

13. Fear and Desire

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Kubrick’s first film is a war movie that follows a group of soldiers trapped behind enemy lines. There isn’t really much more to speak on this. One can see where some of his great cinematography is beginning to shape up, yet for a movie that’s only 1 hour long, it’s pretty boring and uninteresting. If you are a fan like me, it’s worth a see. You can also see it on YouTube.

12. Killer’s Kiss

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Kubrick’s second film is a small film noir focusing on a boxer and the woman he loves. Only an hour in length just as Fear and Desire, Killers Kiss is far more interesting and filmed way better than its predecessor. If you get the Criterion Collection edition of The Killing you will get this movie as a bonus feature.

11. Barry Lyndon

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Ahh Barry Lyndon. Never have I watched a film so boring and at the same time could never turn away from it. This is because Kubrick has fantastic direction of this film and makes every scene feel like a painting. I felt transported into this world which could be why I was able to watch it. If you though 2001 was a chore to watch, this is an office staff meeting that seems to never end.

10. Full Metal Jacket

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One of the best war films ever. I’m still wondering how I feel about the second half of the film, but there’s no question the first half is amazing. I know it’s fictional, but this feels as close as I can get to a military boot camp.

9. A Clockwork Orange

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One of the most difficult movies I have ever watched. But it certainly gets its message across. Because of its disturbing content, I would honestly put this at the bottom. Yet it’s a fantastic film, despite its content and its very certainly better made than Fear and Desire or Killers Kiss.

8. Spartacus

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Compared to other epics like Ben-Hur, Lawrence of Arabia and The Ten Commandments this falls short. But it’s still a classic example of that genre. This is the only picture in Kubrick’s filmography that is not a Kubrick picture since he had little creative control. It can be a drag at times, but still fun.

7. Eyes Wide Shut

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Kubrick’s last film is pretty cryptic just as some of his earlier work. Even though it can feel a little bloated in its length, Eyes Wide Shut gave us one last look at the world through Kubrick’s eyes and I wish he had not always taken so much time to make a movie. I would have loved to see a film from him in the 2000s or later.

6. The Shining

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This movie, is one of my favorite horror films. Love the level of suspense and even though I never truly understood what was caused the events of the house, but like most Kubrick work, the mystery to me makes it so much better.

Stay tuned for Part II. My top five!

Eric’s Review – “Justice League: Throne of Atlantis”

My recent contribution to Vic’s Movie Den. A review of the newest DC animated movie, Justice League: Throne of Atlantis.

VIC'S MOVIE DEN

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I wanted to take a moment to introduce the very first movie review from Eric Jones, of Deacons Den, for Vic’s Movie Den. Eric has already contributed a couple of fantastic posts to The Den and this will be his first full fledged review for me. It is of the latest DCUanimated film, “Justice League: Throne Of Atlantis.”

Thank you, Eric, once again, for helping me out with content and for being patient and kind enough to submit a very cool write up!

– Vic

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What’s it About?

In the aftermath of Justice League: War, the world is at peace or so it seems. When Atlantis attacks Metropolis for the death of their king. 

Justice League: Throne of Atlantis

Directed by Ethan Spaulding

By Eric

8 out of 1

The newest of the DC Universe Animated Movies, “Throne of Atlantis” takes place after Justice League War. These…

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Blindspot 2015: THX 1138 (1971)

A fantastic review of THX-1138 from Anna at Film Grimoire. I think that fans and even detractors of George Lucas should see this at least once.

FILM GRIMOIRE

thx_1138The feature directorial debut of science fiction aficionado George Lucas, THX 1138 (1971) is an Orwellian-style adventure. In a mysterious and unnamed future dystopian society, the population is controlled by drugs and invididuals are forbidden from feeling emotions. Worker THX 1138 (Robert Duvall) lives with his roommate LUH 3417 (Maggie McOmie). The two begin to rebel against their rigid society, putting them both at extreme risk. Do they choose to escape? Or do they choose to conform?

I am really not a fan of Robert Duvall, as his performance in The Handmaid’s Tale (1990) has scarred me for life. However in his portrayal of THX 1138 he does elicit a sufficiently sympathetic response from the viewer, ensuring that a connection is made. You do really barrack for THX as he attempts to figure out his life and position within society, going to extreme lengths in order to do so. Maggie…

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February on the way to Yuma

My February contribution to CinemaShame I had a lot of fun watching a writing about this film.

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Year Released: 1957
Running Time: 92 Minutes

Directed by Delmer Daves and based on a short story by Elmore Leonard, “3:10 to Yuma” is the second feature for my 2015 list of Shame. This one is actually a holdover from last year but I still really wanted to watch this.

Van Heflin and Glenn Ford play Dan Evans and Ben Wade respectively. Evans is a rancher who agrees to escort outlaw Wade to the 3:10 train to Yuma to get him out of town before his gang arrives to get him.

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I love movies with constrained scenarios and limited settings. While the setting here is certainly no Rear Window, the taut nature of the plot mainly involving two men as they make their way across the desert intrigued me. I loved the manner in which Wade antagonizes Evans throughout. I had seen the 2008 remake with Russell Crowe and Christian Bale and this sort of banter I expected in a modern western, so it was a pleasant surprise to see it in a film from the 50s. This definitely is not the standard Hollywood western from that era.

I love how this movie was shot. It sort of has a feel that borders on film, yet also 1950s style television. The black and white cinematography is very sharp here. And when I say sharp I mean it as if there are edges you could cut yourself on. It’s almost as if it was something you would see on television then, but that’s not to deride it in anyway. I think that is due to the camerawork and very tight script.

Both the lead actors are fantastic in their roles. Ford plays Wade with a balanced menace to become a pure antagonist without slipping into villainy. Heflin is the dedicated family man who even though he may not say much, you can tell in his body language that he has no issue with handling Wade despite his seemingly meek nature. He is not easily intimidated by either Wade nor the situation they are in.

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One thing I was surprised by with this film is its director Delmer Daves. I initially thought after viewing that this is a guy who should have gotten more opportunities. Then I saw he was involved with other classics that I had seen such as Jubal, An Affair to Remember and Demetrius and the Gladiators. It makes me wonder why Daves isn’t talked about as much in film circles, or was he an early example of a gun for hire director? I’ll have to do some more research on him.

It’s cold here in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in February so I’m glad I got to spend a 90 minutes in sunny Arizona watching a very good chase feature. Great acting, directing and writing will always make a great film. 3:10 to Yuma is a classic western that is not like some of the cookie cutter westerns of its era and one that should not be missed.

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More Pop! Additions

Some new additions to the collection. I think I’m pushing 60 Pops now.

First we have a character from my wife’s collection, Fionna from Adventure Time. Now we just have to get her Cake.

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Next we have the Malcolm Reynolds, the captain of Serenity from the show Firefly

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The mutant master of the weather, Ororo Munroe. Also known as Storm from X-Men

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Titans Go! Robin, Raven and Beast Boy from Teen Titans Go!

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He’s the best at what he does. Logan, or as he’s best known as Wolverine. Here we have him in his X-Force uniform.

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Last we have Commander Shepherd and Miranda Lawson from Mass Effect. Mass Effect 2 is one of favorite games of the last generation and one of my top ten games ever.

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Return to Thundera

IMG_3756.JPGInspired by my recent contribution for my good friend Vic over at Vic’s Movie Den I wrote a post recommending 5 Animated Series. It was a fun narrowing this down to five quality series that I feel adults would love as well as kids. I previously wrote up one of the shows on the list, The Spectacular Spider-Man. I now want to take a moment to write up another on my list. This being the 2011 reimagining of ThunderCats.

Now I grew up with ThunderCats in the 80s and it without a doubt is one of my favorite shows ever. I have the first season in dvd and always revisit it. I’m just nostalgic like that. However, this really is a program of its era. It does not translate to younger audiences now and I understand that. I don’t have kids now but when I do I don’t expect them to look at this show the same way I do. Early episodes and especially later episodes just don’t hold up. It looks cheesy now.

In 2011 a reboot/reimagining of ThunderCats aired. Like all really good animated series, it was cancelled before its time despite being packed to the brim with action, drama and diverse and well-written characters.

The names of the characters are the same but instead of the one-dimensional templates of the original, these cats have quite some depth.

Let’s start with the setting. In the original the ThunderCats were refugees from the planet Thundera and escaped it’s destruction and crash landed on Third Earth. In this series Thundera is a nation of Third Earth and the Thunderians rule other species. At the show’s opening it appears cats are disliked by other species due to how they are governed by King Claudus, ( voiced by Larry Kenney, the original Lion-O). So what we have here is a class system put in place by the most powerful of the species. The first episodes show this contention the best when Lion-O attempts to show mercy to two lizards imprisoned for stealing food. So from the jump we aren’t presented with the Mary Sue’s from the original series.

This show has a great amount of character depth which really reinforces the need for great storytelling and complex characters. Let’s take a look at the main characters here. Just a warning there is going to be some SPOILERS in here

Lion-O:

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The young Lord of the Thundercats, thrust into leading after terrible events befall their kingdom. With him we see some basic tropes. He’s aloof, doesn’t get along with his father, and is competitive with his brother Tygra. At the show’s beginning, it seems that Lion-O doesn’t care for the crown. He’s late to his own right of passage ceremony. And when he looks through the Sword of Omens and sees a vision of Mumm-Ra, he acts like a teenager when he sees two attractive young women. This is simply what it looks like, but Lion-O is one who can appear at times to see the bigger picture. Yet he can get sidetracked with vengeful thoughts, but is a very patient character.

Tygra:

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Here perhaps is the most developed character in the entire show. He antagonizes his younger brother and has a great relationship with his father, which Lion-O does not. He also appears to be very respected in the kingdom. He has quite the inferiority/superiority complex, which could stem from the fact that he is adopted. Tygra is part of the exiled Tiger Clan that was on the side of Mumm-Ra centuries ago. For their role, they were exiled. A disease overtook the clan and Tygra’s father made a deal with the Ancient Spirits of Evil to save the clan. They did. Now the wanted his son as payment. He sent Tygra away and he ended up as the royal prince. All was well until the queen announced she was pregnant. Tygra who was once known as her “Little King” now became her “Little Prince,” since he could no longer inherit the throne. When she dies giving birth to Lion-O he is devastated. He has lost both his crown and his mother. This makes his connection with Cheetara more viable as it is something that is his once again.

Cheetara:

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Part of the Order of the Clerics, after the fall of Thundera, Cheetara is the last remaining Cleric. Her role is that of an advisory person to Lion-O as Jaga was to King Claudus. Her backstory is that of a young girl who wanted to be a Cleric. She clearly possessed the speed needed, yet according to Jaga lacked the patience needed. She waited outside the building where the clerics meet for days, meeting a young Tygra in the process. Proving her worth, she is admitted to the order. In the beginning episodes of the series she gives Lion-O advice and encouragement, which he interprets as a romantic interest. This leads to conflict down the line between him and Tygra. She doesn’t downplay anything which I feel is a great trait to have for an adviser, let your leader always feel in control.

Panthro:

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Panthro, as in the original series is the muscle and mechanical expert of the team. Like the other characters there is more to his story. In this version, Panthro is a man on a mission. A general in the Thunderian army, Panthro was betrayed by Grune, a fellow military man like himself. Grune switched over to Mumm-Ra’s side when given an opportunity for power. He has some interesting character features as well such as not considering Lion-O’s opinion on matters due to the young king’s lack of experience and his military background. Panthro knows scenarios but has to defer to his king. It actually presents some intriguing conflict had the show been able to continue if Panthro had persisted in butting heads with Lion-O. Also he is afraid of water and never learned to swim and it brings a dimension to this character who has seen a great many things and yet water is his Achilles.

As you can see, there is much more depth to these characters than there was in the original series. This was a very mature effort. I think that people might be more inclined to watch this as opposed to The Spectacular Spider-Man due to its animation style. It has a much more serious look to it. Like any show there are a couple of filler episodes but it certainly takes its time in building its story arcs to a conclusion. And at the end of each arc, there is a change in the characters that gives them new perspective.

At only 26 episodes this series is over before it truly begins which is a shame. Cut down too soon like a good deal of quality animated programs. But this ThunderCats series is one I highly recommend. I have the complete series on DVD and definitely will upgrade to the Blu-Ray in the future.