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The gaming industry creates controversy

in Arts & Entertainment/News by
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    The Last Guardian

   Following seven years of development, The Last Guardian released to the PlayStation store this week. The development of video games receives scrutiny from the media, but is it warranted?

     Initially announced at the 2009 Entertainment Expo Event in Los Angeles, California, The Last Guardian tells the tale of a boy with no memory sense and the inability to remember even minute details regarding his surroundings. Developed by Team ICO, developers of the acclaimed game  Shadow of the Colossus, The Last Guardian came with heavy hype, with an absolutely stunning cinematic trailer that showed off the impressive graphics capable for the PlayStation 3.

      The issue with the release of the game is the current year. It’s 2016. Why did this game take seven years to develop, only to be met with lukewarm reviews? Why are situations like this becoming more prevalent throughout the gaming industry?

      Gaming giant Ubisoft has become synonymous with disappointing announcements of delay, with two games this calendar year having been delayed: The Division and South Park: The Fractured but Whole.

      The answer to these frustrating questions lie in the game producers themselves. Companies like Electronic Arts and the aforementioned Ubisoft attempt to rush out glitchy, buggy, and, at times, unfinished games in order to deliver to the consumer.

     EA was caught in backlash with their release of Star Wars: Battlefront, in which half of the content promised on the game was not on the “finished” product. The excuse given was that EA wanted to rush the game out to the public to coincide with the release of Star Wars: The  Force Awakens, thinking that it would lead to higher sales.  

      Developmental issues in Triple-A games (games released from a conglomerate) may have lead to the rise of indie games. Ever heard of Minecraft? Five Nights At Freddie’s? Undertale? Of course you have. The mentioned games come with spectacular reviews and great replayability value, something that Triple-A games have been lacking. Indie, a genre in the gaming world, stands for independent developers, meaning that the developers of the game are not bound by companies like Microsoft or Sony to make games with limitations; they’re free to create how they please.

     Indie games are some of the most played games in this current console generation, almost never having the issues that riddle Triple-A games such as unfinished products or delays, possibly becoming the future of gaming. So the scapegoats of my question posed lie at the feet of large developers. Companies like Ubisoft have single handedly muddled the gaming market to the point where consumers are scared to pre-order games. Indie games can be the future, and we can show it.

The Equals movie review: journeys through a forbidden romance

in Arts & Entertainment by
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  • equals.jpg

   The heartwarming film “Equals”  takes place in a futuristic community called the Collective, with two stoic characters, Nia and Silas. With the intent of ending crime and violence, the Collective has genetically eliminated all emotion and feeling. Although they both know it is forbidden,  Nia and Silas begin to feel so strongly for one another, so much so that they can not resist being together, forming an illicit love, something they both have never experienced before. The more they see each other, the more people begin to wonder about their relationship.  Soon though, there will be a permanent cure for anyone experiencing emotion, causing the two lovebirds to become apprehensive. They are not willing to give up the love just yet and plan on fighting back. Nia and Silas have to choose between life and death, or seemingly, love and death.

    With a mix of suspense, drama, and romance, the movie “Equals” gives its audience a spectacular plot, leaving viewers at the edge of their seats. The dystopian theme gives it some similarities to the book and movie “The Giver”.“Equals” will be appealing to anyone who loves a good romantic movie. The intense emotion Nia and Silas exchange will have viewers melting inside. Anyone with anxiety, depression, and emotional unavailability can relate to this movie in many ways considering these three emotions play a very significant role in the film.

Shut In shuts down the box office

in Arts & Entertainment by
Photo courtesy of voltagebd.com.

   “Shut In” follows the life of a child psychologist, Mary Portman (played by Naomi Watts), who isolates herself in New England because her husband died in a car crash. Her late husband left behind his son, who is paralyzed from the neck down due to the crash. Strange things start to occur in the house, but her other psychologist friends convince her that she is experiencing parasomnia, from her husband’s death. While juggling her stepson, which wasn’t too much of a surprise because they had developed a close connection, she finds her patient named Tom at the doorstep. Before she could respond to the boy, he runs off. The search for Tom turns into a worldwide hunt to find him, Mary feels a rush of guilt as she feels as if the boys disappearance was her fault. After the disappearance of Tom, Mary starts to hear strange noises around the house, and repeatedly claims of seeing Tom. These events fall right into place as a snow blizzard approaches, and she has no way of fending for herself or her son.

  Overall, this movie has a very intriguing storyline, but it feels as if the movie is stretched out. The long story before the reveal was drawn out and unnecessary. It took so long to get the plot together and understand what was going on that by the the time the climax was reached, it didn’t have an awe affect. Considering the movie’s genre is described as thriller or horror, it didn’t really qualify as that since it had more a mystery feel to it.

   The movie was incredibly vague when it came to details, as there was a lot of skipping around and emptiness of scenes. There was an over dramatization of the young boy, as he didn’t have a threatening tone about him; he looked like the same innocent boy as always. Since there was a lack of details, there was confusion about if the little boy was a ghost the whole time. In conclusion, the movie was decent and is recommended for anyone who likes mysterious movies.

Photo courtesy of voltagebd.com.

Photo courtesy of voltagebd.com.

J.K. Rowling does it again

in Arts & Entertainment by
Photo Courtesy of The Guardian
Photo Courtesy of The Guardian

In March of 2001, world famous Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling released Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them under the pseudonym Newt Scamander. While the book was written as a textbook for Hogwarts students, Rowling then created a screenplay about Newt Scamander and his adventures with all the beasts from “his” book. The movie, set in the 1920’s, follows Newt Scamander around bustling New York as he captures his beasts that were accidentally released into the city.

  Released on Nov. 18, the movie Fantastics Beast and Where to Find Them grossed 75 million dollars during its opening weekend, a sad comparison to the Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone, which made 90 million on its opening weekend according to The Numbers website. This new addition to the franchise still is able to capture the feelings of the first four movies in the Harry Potter series.

  Lighthearted humor with underlying dark tones, Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them emulates Harry Potter in the early years. Fantastic Beasts has all the magic of the previous films from the franchise. The boost in graphics allows this movie to be turned into a magical realm. The combinations of colors and imaginative creatures from Rowling’s mind makes the movie a work of art.

  A well-developed plot allows Rowling once again to include the theme of light versus dark between the characters as well as inner turmoil. “It was really good. I enjoyed it a lot. I thought it was really funny, which was refreshing and there was more hope than the other Harry Potter movies. Twelve out of ten would recommend to others,” said Nina Rocha, senior.

  Some aspects of the movie allude to historical events and modern societal issues such as the idea of interracial and homosexual marriages and women’s rights. The movie touches on the idea of “no mage”, or a person born without magic, dating a witch, and the ridicule that comes with it.  This reflects today’s controversy over gay marriage as well as the issue of interracial marriages, which did not become legal until 1967 in the United States. With Katherine Waterston, her character Porpentina Goldstein acts as a strong, single female who attempts to work her way up in the work force. Rowling once again includes a poised female to lead.

  As with any prequel or continuation of a series, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was released with some skepticism as to whether or not Rowling could uphold her prize-winning and well-praised writings.

  Some feel the era of Harry Potter is over and the new additions to the franchise are simply dragging on. However, with this film, Rowling proves that she can still gracefully write about the Wizard World without excluding any of the quality of her previous works.   Overall, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has exceeded critics’ expectations as it truly captures the fantastical feeling of the Wizarding World, yet has created its own storyline and well developed characters that make it easy to continue watching the film.

Censorship vs. Comedy

in Arts & Entertainment/Opinions/Editorials by
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    Louis C.K staring, Courtesy of the Nerdwriter1 “Louis C.K. Is A Moral Detective”

On his Saturday Night Live monologue on May 16, 2015, stand-up comic Louis C.K. took a different route: rather than talking about how much he loves hosting the show, or telling simple jokes and leaving the stage, C.K. decided to challenge his audience with a series of what his critics called “offensive” or “sensitive topics” that should not be made fun of. This is not the first time this has happened before; comedians like Daniel Tosh, Chris Rock, and Ricky Gervais have made jokes that certain people thought weren’t funny because of the topics they covered.

So what did C.K. say that was offensive? Throughout the monologue he made fun of racism; he compared his children’s fighting to the war currently happening in the middle east between Israel and Palestine, two topics that his critics, a group of talk show hosts of The Talk on CBS, did not touch upon. When he spoke of pedophilia (child molesters) that is when they thought he crossed the line, and although it can be a topic that is hard to talk about, Louis C.K. started talking about it toward the end of his monologue and one could feel the laughter go down the more he discussed it. He made fun of the act of molesting, and made fun of child molesters themselves, but never once did he make fun of the victims.

This monologue, and its aftermath, raised a specific question on censorship: is it necessary? The main arguments of Sara Gilbert, one of the critics who disliked C.K.’s comments, was that “a victim could’ve been watching.” If he were censored by the network, no one would’ve gotten angry. Jerry Seinfeld, another comedian, stated this on censorship: “they [speaking of people who are offended by jokes] just wanna use these words – ‘that’s racist,’ ‘that’s sexist,’ ‘that’s prejudiced’ – they don’t even know what they’re talking about.”

Comedians are the most affected by forced censorship. For example, whenever they have a show to do on college campuses, some of them have to go through their jokes and make changes dictated by the colleges, because they don’t want to offend any students. According to Evan Puschak, a writer and producer of an educational channel on Youtube called  Nerdwriter1, “clearly Louis C.K.’s intention in that joke is to use comedy to get us to think about society’s attitude and treatment of pedophilia. Perhaps, he intimates, that we revile this demographic too blindly, taking solace in our normalcy when we know that the complexities of sexuality mean that the urge of pedophilia is not something chosen.” C.K. was trying to poke fun at society’s way of dealing with things that we see as abnormal; never does he state pedophilia shouldn’t be punished. He is still part of that same society that sees it as abnormal, but just like with Seinfeld, audiences do not understand what they’re talking about when they deem certain things to be offensive.

Rather than get offended at jokes, people should see the intent behind the jokes before jumping to conclusions because it might be an observation and lesson that can teach us more about the society we live in.

Mr. Robot succeeds in second season

in Arts & Entertainment by

 

Rami Malek, star of Mr. Robot, stands at the red carpet for the Golden Globe Awards. Photo courtesy of eonline.com.
Rami Malek, star of Mr. Robot, stands at the red carpet for the Golden Globe Awards. Photo courtesy of eonline.com.

An emotional series about revenge, psychological damage, corporate hate, and hacking, Mr. Robot combines intelligence with suspense to create one of the most well-done television shows of this decade. Mr. Robot is currently entering its third season, having finished the second season after a strong episode with a cliffhanger finale.

Rami Malek, the lead actor of the show, plays Elliot Alderson, a cyber-security technician who moonlights as a hacker. When Alderson finds a malevolent code that his other coworkers struggled with, he solved the error, while finding a message from “fsociety”, a hacker group whose main goal is to take down the “E Corporation” and start a revolution. In “fsociety”, Alderson ends up working with other hackers like Darlene (Carly Chaikin), a crass and boisterous woman with dark connections, and Mr. Robot (Christian Slater), the mysterious and sometimes violent leader of the organization. However, Elliot has also crossed paths with people like Tyrell Wellick (Martin Wallström), a high-ranking official for the “E Corporation” who took a liking to Alderson.

In season two, the show took a darker turn, focusing on the aftermath of the events that took place in the season one finale, and demonstrating the corporate side well. Mr. Robot took meaningful characters and sent them on a tremendous arc of development and turmoil, as seen in Mr. Robot’s struggle for dominance and Elliot’s attempts to fix the psychological trauma and mental disorders.

One of the things most fans like about the show is the dialogue. Mr. Robot is one of the few series with constant, powerful soliloquies and lines that cut into the soul of the viewer. People not only relate to the lines, but they can understand the gravity of what the speaker (mostly Elliot in this case) is saying. In addition, although existing within a fictional version of this world, the show does take current events and discusses them, typically in the cynical opinion of Elliot. In fact, Esmail “leaked” a page from the script on Twitter about the recent presidential election. This gives a feeling of pertinence to the words.

The show’s acting is almost flawless. The viewer can easily tell the strong shift of emotions within the actors, which can be especially difficult, given some of the plot twists of the series. Playing the role of a character with mental issues can sometimes be difficult, but Malek tackles the job with ease. He is definitely one of the better aspects of the show, as seen by his Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series.

However, Mr. Robot is teeming with unexpected plot twist, each new one surpassing the last in shock value which will definitely leave the viewer astounded. The fact that Esmail has been able to keep track of these twists and track the story logically, with incredibly detailed accounts, is extremely impressive.

A show that has garnered countless praise by critics and fans alike, Mr. Robot will attempt to improve on its past success when season three comes out in summer 2017.

Elliot (Rami Malek) stands beside Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) as the two deal with news. Photo courtesy of hollywoodreporter.com(Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/USA Network).
Elliot (Rami Malek) stands beside Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) as the two deal with news. Photo courtesy of hollywoodreporter.com(Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/USA Network).

The Change: Bon Jovi’s journey of change

in Arts & Entertainment/Uncategorized by

  “This House Is Not for Sale” is the thirteenth studio album by the band Bon Jovi. Island Records officially released it on Nov. 4, 2016. The album has a sound to it that shows the change in the way they make their music.  

  The leaving of Richie Sambora, the lead guitarist of the band, had a big effect on the music style. In fact, the remaining members say that “the doors are wide open for him if he wants to return to the band, but we think that’s impossible” according to wikipedia. After Sambora’s departure, the band had to use several different techniques, even changing the instruments that they used.

 “This House Is Not For Sale” is scaling to the top of the charts, currently residing at number 59. The lyrics in all of the songs on the album “hit you hard” says Jon Bon Jovi, causing one to think about life.

 One of the best songs to listen to on the album is “This House Is Not For Sale”, the song that the album was named after. Certainly, anyone who listens to this album will be lured away to a different world.  

Movie review: Doctor Strange

in Arts & Entertainment by
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    Doctor Strange movie poster, 'Image courtesy of Marvel.com
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    Doctor Strange movie poster, Image courtesy of Marvel.com

When watching Marvel cinematic movies about a superhero’s origin story, they follow a pattern of storytelling called the “Hero’s Journey.” Great movie franchises use this method to tell enthralling stories, but when it comes to Marvel Studios their stories feel more like a wash-rinse-repeat process. Thor, Iron Man, and Dr. strange are the same stories being told with different settings. Another thing that is very apparent about Marvel movies is that their villains are very forgettable (unless it’s Loki). Although it suffers from theses Marvel cliches, Dr. Strange does a lot of things right, and these overshadow the negatives.

Acting

The actors in the movie are phenomenal; Benedict Cumberbatch’s was the perfect actor portrayal of Dr. Stevens Strange, a character that develops to an extreme level of “badassery” by the end of the movie. The antagonist played by Mads Mikkelsen, Kaecilius suffers from the same Marvel platitude every villain suffers from; which means he is not always on screen, but when he is, he steals the show. The actor does a great amount of work to make the villain interesting, because the movie doesn’t focus too much on him. The other actors felt like they were giving it their all, so the overall acting in the movie is outstanding.

Screenplay and Action

One of Doctor Strange’s strongest points are in the action and the visuals. Whenever cities were folding on top of one another, the visual effects were really amazing. The movie was surprisingly funny, but by seeing the trailer one wouldn’t expect it to be this light-hearted since the trailer has a more somber tone to it. One thing Marvel never fails to do is have good action scenes, and this movie does not disappoint on that aspect. With the added layer of magic and Inception-like visuals, the action scenes are beautifully choreographed.

Final Thought

Overall the movie is a definite “must watch” (like every marvel cinematic universe movie). It suffers from not having a story that is different; this story has been told countless times before in Marvel origin stories, but what it lacks in the story it makes up for in clever writing and interesting characters that are well portrayed by actors who give it all their best. The movie should be seen merely for the visuals and the action scenes; it is an exciting movie.

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