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Enter Through the Absurdity

Posted : 11 years, 11 months ago on 27 February 2011 12:50 (A review of Exit Through the Gift Shop)

In 1999, Thierry Guetta was a mild-mannered clothing store owner who had developed quite an obsession with filming everything in sight. He liked to do this in order to essentially validate his own existence. Transforming his life into film made him feel as if he existed, something he felt left out of as a child when he was not made aware of his mothers deadly illness until it took her life. That year marked a change in Thierry's life though. His cousin, under the pseudonym Invader, made and planted several 8-bit inspired mosaics made out of discarded Rubic's Cubes around town. One day Guetta joined him, and he never stopped filming again. For the last ten years, Guetta built up reputation amongst the street artists of the world. He was allowed to film them all at work because he claimed to be making a documentary.

The truth, however, was completely different. Guetta had hundreds upon hundreds of tapes, all tucked neatly away in giant boxes inside his garage. He never intended to make a documentary. He just wanted to feel like he was alive. Hanging out with a group of individuals who the society had labeled criminals for vandalism, running across rooftops at night and putting up posters was the best way for him to feel alive. I don't believe he would've even needed the camera any more. Guetta still had one dream though. He wanted to film the elusive street artist named Banksy in action. The two met and befriended each other, and eventually Banksy left Thierry to edit the documentary he had been telling everyone would blow their minds.

Six months later he had finished the documentary. Thierry describes his film making method to be almost like a lottery. He randomly picked out tapes from the boxes without knowing what was on them, and edited them all into an insane avant-garde epileptic seizure named Life Remote Control: The Movie. After seeing it, Banksy asked Thierry if he could get the tapes for himself so he could edit something together. Thierry agreed, and almost as a sidenote Banksy suggested Guetta should make some art of his own. And boy, he did. He sold off everything he owned in order to employ a crack team of Photoshoppers who he commanded to throw random colors and ink blots on top of known photos and art. He built massive hype around his art show, made a million dollars with unique pieces that he made spray painting prints with no purpose or artistic intentions. Then Banksy made this film, depicting everything that had happened.

Can't blame him.

Much speculation has been presented over whether or not this movie is a "hoax." Is it fake or real? I argue it doesn't matter. Exit Through the Gift Shop is a satire, regardless of whether or not the events were set up. It defies the definitions of genre with it's very existence and I dare say we may never get another film that does it quite like this. This is why I described the basic events of the film to you. You can not point a finger at this film and call it a documentary to describe it. Labeling it as a single thing is counter-productive and false, as it is more than just one thing.

At the same time Exit Through the Gift Shop is a very light watch and an extremely deep one. You can watch it, enjoy it, laugh at Thierry's tragic mania, but at the same time you're forced to do more thinking than any film about post-modern art I've ever seen. As the film revolves around not only Thierry Guetta, but also street art, one might expect it to explain this style of art. It does not. By doing so you're simply shown images of these wonderful pieces people have plastered and painted on the walls of our cities for years, and left without a set base to think about these pieces on.

The film decisively intends not to explain a single thing about the art itself, which leaves you entirely on your own to think about what art is to you. It forces you to answer not just what you think art is, but it's meaning to you and especially whether or not you believe the relationship between the piece of art and it's maker has any stake in what you think of it. Even though simplistic, the art Guetta makes is viewed as fantastic by the people who visit his show, as they do not know he really doesn't know what he is doing, why he is doing it and how to do any of it. Should we condemn him for doing this, when really most of the other original and fantastic pieces of art seen previously in the film are nothing more than similar inside jokes of sort that only work in the way intended in the heads of their makers. Is Guetta's art somehow worse just because his methods of making it seem to almost acknowledge the ridicilousness of it all? There are even more questions the film raises, but these are all questions that each of us needs time to think about. The wonder of Exit Through the Gift Shop is that it is not just a hilarious character piece; it's also the most thought-provoking film I have seen all year and the wonder of it is that I don't believe there is a single grown-up out there who can't help but ask these questions when watching this movie. It forces you to ponder on your own relationship with art, and it does it in such a subtle and entertaining way that only afterwards you truly understand that you have indeed been duped into growing as a human being through these questions. What new film has come out in the recent years that have truly not only touched you but helped and almost forced you become more as a member of the human race? Exactly.

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I thought my calculations were bad

Posted : 12 years, 11 months ago on 8 February 2010 06:24 (A review of The Number 23)

This was a rather silly movie. What really ruins it is numerology, into which Number 23 obviously largely bases its beliefs on. The number 23 is no more common in our world than for example number 37. They can both be withdrawn from any daily event in our lives with the help of numerology. Let's say that I ate three doughnuts just now. Then I drank water. I took seven sips before my glass was empty. Then it comes down to 37. Things like this occur by the minute. Everything can be calculated to a number you want it to be, aslong as you spent alot of time in it. True, the number 23 is far more favored by numerologists, but it is no more common than 37, 29 or even 75. The very thing Number 23 bases it's story on, also makes it ridicilous and silly. Why would a relatively sane well-living man think that the apperance of a certain number means more than the apperance than some other number? It hardly makes any sense. But that's why the novel seems like Sparrow's life. It drives him forward because it's kinda like a twisted version of his own life, or atleast that's how Sparrow sees it. I never understood how. The conclusions that the characters draw in this movie are so absurd and ridicilous that they almost make the ending of Saw seem plausible. Also, the ending twist, which is an unfortunately common thing nowadays in movies, comes about 20 minutes before the actual movie ends. I say that it is rather interesting that such a thing happens, but it looses most of it's dramatic power simply by happening far too early. You can't see it coming though, and it certainly makes sense, but the trip that the characters take to get to that end twist is so dumb and absurd in a bad way that I find it almost impossible to like.

As much as it hurts to admit it, Schumacher nailed it on the visual side here. I loved the Sin City-ish look that was present in the few great scenes that we got from the book itself. Also, it was fun to see that there is still a director out there who actually uses the whole color filter-thing with atleast some subtelty. The performances were nice, and I really enjoyed watching Jim Carrey, yet again. Especially those previously mentioned book scenes worked wonders for him. Virginia Madsen cashed in her paycheck, and so did the rest of the cast, but they still did it with a good attitude so it wasn't too bothersome to watch them. One thing that should be noted about the movies visual style were the set pieces though. They were incredibly over the top. We see large halls with nothing but a bed, rooms filled with A4s and numbers... And it all looks as realistical as Carrey's tattoo in this movie. Which means that it really goes to the fantasy-zone on the set pieces, which is fine in the book scenes, but it also does that in "real life" on occasion, which doesn't work all too well since Number 23 tries far too hard to base itself on reality, which, for a movie of this kind, is virtually impossible in the end.

Indeed, Number 23 had everything necessary to be an entertaining, linear sequence of thrills. But it failed due to the abstract nature of the story. I truly did enjoy most of the performances and direction, but I really can't get over the ridicilous script. If you can ignore the fact that Number 23 tries too hard to make itself seem realistical, you're going to enjoy it quite a bit. If you can do that, you will like it.

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A fantastic whole

Posted : 13 years, 1 month ago on 29 December 2009 09:51 (A review of Kovemmat kädet)

This was the actual CD that made me almost burst out into tears. It still makes me somewhat sad upon listening, but nonetheless it is a great album no matter what others might say. I have never made a cd review before, so I will use a somewhat simple way of listing the songs and reviewing them separately.

1. Kovemmat Kädet (3:38) Now this is one of the more controversial songs in the cd. I have never entirely figured out what this song exactly is about, but according to all I've gathered the song is about pedophilia, or child abuse/kidnapping. Apparently first we start at the beginning, when the child gets kidnapped. Then we hear what the childs mother thinks about for a few days, but then comes the controversial part; it was winter in the beginning, but now its spring already, and the snow melts, unveiling a dead child from within. What happened to the child is never told in the song, but I can only assume that s/he was propably raped and then killed. The kidnapper isnt mentioned by any name though, he is just refered to as "Kovemmat kädet" which roughly translates to harder hands. The musical qualities of this song are absolutely stunning, and beautiful. The only problem is that the singing sounds very monotone, because unlike most PMMP-songs, this one only has one singer almost for the entire duration of the song. Overall an extremely good song, but abit too monotone.

2. Matkalaulu (3:52) This is one of the more cheerful songs on the cd, but it still is pretty damn good. Very cheerful, and something people should always listen to on a road trip. The lyrics are simple, explaining the happenings of a lovely car trip, and how we should appreciate moments like that. The sound of the song is very fun and nice to listen to, and never goes even near becoming boring due to the cheerful sounds. Yet this doesnt feel like something PMMP would make, I dont know why though. Still a fun, but very loose song.

3. Oo Siellä Jossain Mun (3:20) Great. This has the perfect balance between being cheerful and happy and being sad. The lyrics once again are self-explanatory, and primarily deal with the problems in a long distance-relationship. Some of the lyrics are very deep though, especially the part that goes "Olen taas kattanut lautaset kahdelle huvikseen vaan" which can be translated to "I've once again set the plates for the two of us just for the fun of it." This might signify that the song actually is about a somewhat mentally insane woman, but without further proof, that theory will have to wait. The sound in this song as I said before, has the perfect balance. It really just sounds spectacular, and the chorus really sounds... real. I find it hard to explain, but thats just the way it sounds. Spectacular song overall.

4. Päiväkoti (4:46) This is such a weirdly named song. The name translates to "Daycare center" which might signify something happy and glad, but the moment this song kicks in you can just hear that that is not the case by any means. The sound here is just incredibly full of desperation and hope, and the lyrics live up to it. The singing voice in this song is almost undescripable, it fits this song perfectly. This song is somewhat obviously about a depressed person who just broke up with her boyfriend, and now seeks joy by looking out of her window, out into a playfield with little children. Eventually the song leads up to her accepting the fact that the relationship between her and her boyfriend does not work, which leaves her emotionally extremely confused, looking for her spot in the world. There truly is no weak spot in this entire song, although some might consider the use of violins korny.

5. Mummola (3:49) This is something of a dissapointment, since it comes directly after the excellent Päiväkoti. Mummola never actually goes into an awfully cheerful mode, but it is obvious that this isnt supposed to sound like a sad song either, so we are left confused about the purpose of this whole song. The lyrics deal with childhood, and the importance of it, but the thing is it never goes deep into it. It feels like this song was just thrown together from random parts. The chorus is good though, and saves alot in an otherwise weak song. But still, it is perhaps the worst song on the entire album.

6. Matoja (4:03) I dont get it. I dont understand this song almost at all. It sounds like something reminiscent of Offspring, but the lyrics are once again confusing. From what I gather the song is about a relationship, where the man attempts to be the dominant party, but fails miserably, and always blames the female when something goes wrong. The chorus is confusing though, as is the 3rd verse. I do like the way this sounds though, and it definately cheers you up if youre down, even though you might not understand it.

7. Auta Mua (3:53) This continues on the male-female relationship theme, and from what Ive understood it is about a woman who has a crush on a man, who constantly turns her down for some reason. She can not understand why this happens, but then realises that the man is already dating someone, giving her a serious case of depression or so. This also sort of shatters the image she has about herself, and the chorus of the song deals with the womans hatred towards the man. The song sounds somewhat depressed, like the singer would have lost her will to live due to this whole thing, which fits the song absolutely perfectly. The song does have a happy ending though, which is somewhat surprising. The music in the background is also very damp so to speak, making us depressed as well. Or well, almost.

8. Onni (4:11) This is... I dont know. I think this is about a woman, who is somehow forced to leave her boyfriend. She accepts this, even though the man has obviously made her more happy then she has ever been before. Now this might be the only reason why she is willing to leave him alone for good, since the song starts with her saying that she thinks of herself as "awfully small and pale" which is generally a sign of self-hatred. Even though she feels she needs the man, she is willing to leave him because of the joy he has given her. The sound of this one is spectacular once again, the singers are absolutely spot on in this with their depressing sound, but we still get this feeling of happiness from this sound. Musically this is also great, the background tune is something worth listening to by itself.

9. Olkaa Yksin Ja Juoskaa Karkuun (3:55) Wasted potential here. The lyrics are awfully simple, and even though they have a point, they dont bother actually exploring the entire theme of why people hurt eachother so much, the song is just sort of like a rollercoaster ride; it goes by all these themes so fast that it sort of screws itself up the ass. I must admit though that the second verse here is excellent, dealing with the overall theme of a paranoid person who is trying to date. Which, as you might imagine, is very hard. The chorus of the song also touches me personally, since it deals with "having enough of it," and just ending everything bad by doing something other then suicide. Its very hard to explain. The musical merits of this song are adequate; once again the singers really catch the feeling of the lyrics and the musical tune in the back plays very well. If only the overall lyrics would be better composed, this could have been an excellent song.

10. Maria Magdalena (4:48) A very, very sad song. To be honest almost incredibly sad. The song deals with depression overall, and dissapointments. Apparently there is something of a story here from all I could understand; The person singing the song is apparently in a prison or mental institute of somesort, and someone close to him/her comes over to see him/her, and the singer just tells the visitor all about his/hers story, or life to be honest, full of dissapointments and sadness. There are also quite a few biblical references here, but I cant really pick them up since I truly have not read the story of Magdalena in the bible. The music of the song fits perfectly with the rest of the whole thing, and feels absolutely spectacular. Perhaps the best song of the entire album.

11. Salla Tahtoo Siivet (3:52) Is it possible to make an even more sad song then the previous one? If not, this thing sure as hell comes close. The lyrics of this song apparently deal with a person wanting to kill herself, and the only person who knows about it letting her do so. So it deals with that extreme situation when it is allright to commit suicide. The lyrics of this song were the ones that made me cry during the second chorus. They are simply so incredibly beautiful, and the musical side of the whole thing just fits it so perfectly. Thus, it truly is a shame that the song ends so quickly; it really feels like there is more to be told about this subject.

So, what is the cd like overall? In my opinion perhaps the best finnish musical cd ever made, and definately surpasses most of the foreign albums Ive heard as well. You dont listen to pop because its for a bunch of mainstream teenagers? Listen to this cd and change your mind.

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Quite a hating review (in finnish)

Posted : 13 years, 1 month ago on 27 December 2009 09:31 (A review of Gears of War)

Kunnollisten toimintapelien teko on vaikeaa suuremmalla mittakaavalla, sillä ihmiset eivät jaksa jauhaa samaa asiaa jatkuvasti. Jos toimintapelissä on tietty kaava, joka toistuu taistelusta toiseen, ei sitä yleensä kovin pitkään pysty pelaamaan. Tämä kaavamaisuus on suurin synti johon Gears Of War (lyh. GoW) sortuu, ja se uhkaa kaataa koko pelin suohon.

Ensimm√§inen asia, joka tulee vastaan GoWin maailmaan astuttaessa, on se, ett√§ sit√§ pelatakseen pit√§√§ tehd√§ Windows Live-tili. T√§m√§ oli allekirjoittaneelle uusi kokemus, enh√§n ollut aiemmin t√∂rm√§nnyt peliin joka t√§llaista vaatisi. Onneksi tajusin, ett√§ pelatakseni yksinpeli√§ minun ei tarvitsisi tehd√§ varsinaista nettitili√§, vain koneella py√∂riv√§ sellainen, joten t√§m√§ ei suuremmin haitannut. Moninpeli√§ en siis aikonut alunperink√§√§n pelata, sill√§ olen huomannut ett√§ kyseinen tapa ei ole "minun juttuni". √Ąrsytt√§v√§√§ t√§ss√§ tilih√§slingiss√§ tosin on se, ett√§ peli vaatii t√§ten toimiakseen erillisen Live-ohjelman, jota ei toimiteta pelin mukana. Muutaman megan lataus ei kauaa kest√§, mutta voisi sen silti toimittaa peliss√§ mukana jos se on pakollinen sen toimivuuden kannalta.

Tämän jälkeen vain alkuvalikkoon, grafiikka-asetukset kohdilleen ja sitten yksinpeli käyntiin keskivaikeudella. Alkuvaikutelmana voin sanoa, että pirun komea peli kyseessä. Vaikka värimaailma näyttääkin typerryttävän harmaalta periaatteessa koko pelin ajan, ovat tekstuurit, efektit ja hahmot aivan helekutin tarkasti animoituja. Animoinnista puheenollen voisin mainita hahmojen liikkeet. Ne vaikuttavat, yllättävää kyllä, realistisilta. Tässä pelissä ei hypitä ympäriinsä Payne-herran tyyliin, vaan korkeintaan loikataan suojaan raskaassa haarniskassa, ja se näyttää niin sulavalta kuin moinen liike painavassa haarniskassa nyt voikaan näyttää. Veritehosteet saavat myös kehuja minulta, sillä vaihteeksi ruudulle lentävät veritahrat jopa näyttävät vereltä, ärsyttävien punaisten pallojen sijaan. Grafiikat ovat siis teknisesti upeita, mutta suunnittelun kannalta niitä olisi pitänyt hieman uusia. Kuten totesin, ovat pitkälti kaikki ympäristöt pelkästään harmaita ja suorastaan tylsännäköisiä pidemmän päälle, joka on tietysti huono asia. Ymmärrän, että tarinan puitteissa tällaiselta maailma todellakin voisi näyttää, mutta se ei tarkoita sitä, että minua pitäisi alistaa moisille näyille tuntikaupalla.

Tosiaankin. Tarina. Onko sellaista? Netistä sain luettua muutamia perusasioita jotka käsittämättömästi tulevat itse pelissä esille vain, jos odottaa alkuvalikossa tekemättä mitään jonkin aikaa, jolloin esiin pomppaa introvideo, jonka olisi mielestäni pitänyt olla heti pelin aloittaessa. Näin sitä eivät useimmat pelaajat näe, enkä minäkään olisi nähnyt ilman internetin ihmemaailmaa. Itse peli alkaa siten, että päähenkilö (jonka nimeä en muista, mutta kutsukaamme häntä Köriläs #1ksi) lojuu vankilasellin pohjalla, kun hänen sotahaarniskaan kääriytynyt kaverinsa, Köriläs #2 tulee pelastamaan hänet vankilasta, joka on ilmeisesti "Locustien" hyökkäyksen alla. Locustit ovat eräänlaisia hirviöitä, jotka ovat ilmeisesti asuneet miljoonia vuosia maan alla ja päättivät hyökätä 15 vuotta ennen pelin tapahtumia ihmisten kimppuun. Tuloksen on raunioitunut ja tuhoutunut maailma, ja ihmiskunta ilmeisesti on tuhonsa partaalla. Moista tietoa ei saa itse pelissä, vaan em. introvideossa. Joka tapauksessa, Köriläs #2 antaa sinulle aseen ja haarniskasi, ja lähdet tappamaan Locusteja hänen kanssaan. Päästyäsi vankilasta alat tekemään tehtäviä, joita saat "päämajasta", missä se nyt lieneekään. Tavoitteenasi on, yllättävää kyllä, tuhota Locustit perinpohjaisesti jonkinlaisen superaseen avulla, jota sitten jahdataankin puolet pelistä. Loppuosa kuluu... en tiedä oikeastaan, en pystynyt seuraamaan tarinaa enää "superaseen" saamisen jälkeen, kun se äityi hieman liian nopeaksi ja asioita ei selitetty oikeastaan yhtään. Pelin kuluessa ryhmääsi liittyy muita kiinnostavia persoonallisuuksia, kuten Musta Köriläs #1 ja Kuumakalleköriläs #1 (jolla on luonnollisesti piikikkäät vaaleat hiukset).

Aseet toimivat Gearsissa vallan mainiosti. Ne näyttävät hienoilta, ja niiden äänet toimivat niin hyvin että ampuessasi haulikolla virtuaalikikkeli kasvaa tuntuvasti puhtaasti äänien munakkuuden takia. Jostakin syystä hyvin innovatiiviseksi kutsuttu moottorisaharynnäkkökivääri (tunnetaan myös nimellä sanahirviö) ei minua innostanut erityisemmin, se tuntui pikemminkin konekivääriltä johon on pultattu pistimen sijasta pyörivä terä. Ryhmätaktiikoita taas GoWissa ei paljoa ole. Voit huudella ryhmällesi yksinkertaisia käskyjä, tyyliin "Tulkaa tänne", "menkää tuonne" sekä ikiklassikko "ampukaa tuonne". Käskyjä voi antaa vain koko ryhmälle, joten minkäänlaisia monimutkaisia, taktisia hyökkäyksiä vihollisia kohti ei voi lähettää. Yleensäkin on parempi antaa tiimitovereiden tehdä mitä tahtovat, sillä heidän tekoälyssään ei ole varsinaisesti valittamista pelimekaniikan kannalta.

Ja voi että se pelimekaniikka on yksitoikkoista. Gears Of War koostuu pitkälti siitä, että sinä juokset ryhmäsi kanssa jonnekin, siellä on vihollisia, menette suojaan, ammutte suojien yli kunnes viholliset kuolevat, ja juoksette seuraavaan vihollispesäkkeeseen tekemään saman asian. Tietysti tätä kaavaa voi muunnella, voit esimerkiksi hyökätä vihollisten kimppuun moottorisahaa heiluttaen, mutta silloin yleensä vain kuolee. Lineaariset putkikentät eivät pahemmin myöskään salli selustaan koukkaamista paitsi joissakin tietyissä tilanteissa, ja silloinkin kaverisi yleensä huutavat sinulle että sinun pitää hyökätä vihollisten kimppuun sivusta. Suojassa lojuminen on toteutettu sinänsä hyvin, että se toimii. Kontrollit sujuvat hyvin koko pelin aikana, ja parhaiten ne toimivat juuri suojassa nököttäessä (mikä on sinänsä ymmärrettävää, sillä GoWissa teet juuri sitä puolet peliajasta). Mutta voi luoja, se käy niin puuduttavaksi. Suurimmassa osassa kentistä on noin 10-20 tulitaistelua, joissa tätä taktiikkaa toistetaan, ja koska muu peli koostuu pitkälti tulitaistelusta toiseen juoksemisesta, tylsistyisi pitkäpinnaisempikin hetken peluun jälkeen. Tämä siis on Gearsin suurin "moka", ja se todellakin nakertaa koko pelin ajan. Ensimmäiset pari tuntia vielä pystyin pelaamaan ilman ongelmia, mutta sen jälkeen aloin vakavasti tylsistyä, ja loppupuolella oli suorastaan tuskallista pelata.

Onhan pelimekaniikassa hieman vaihteluakin tosin. GoWista löytyy nimittäin kaikkien rakastamia tykkipesiä, joista voit ampua kohtijuoksevia vihollisia. Moisia jännityksen huippukohtia löytyy noin yksi per kenttä, ja ne eivät tarjoa mitään uutta verrattuna niihin viiteenmiljoonaan peliin, joissa samanlaista menoa on jo aiemmin tarjottu. Ja eihän tämä voisi olla nykyaikainen toimintapeli ilman kaikkien rakastamia ajoneuvoja. Vaikka niitä onkin vasta yksi (onneksi) on jatko-osaan jo lupailtu niitä lisää. Pakkopullalta tuntuvassa ajo-osuudessa pelaaja joutuu ajamaan moottoritiellä samalla kun hänen kimppuunsa hyökkäävät lentävät Locustit. Ainoa ase autossa on UV-valo, jota käyttääkseen pitää pysäyttää auto ja miehittää tykki. Tämä nerokas suunnitteluratkaisu pakotti minut uusimaan kyseisen ajo-osuuden monia kertoja ennenkuin läpäisin sen, ja hiukseni olivat ymmärrettävästi harventuneet sen jälkeen melkoisesti. Vaihtelun piikkiin voisi myös laittaa ns. pomotaistelut, joissa pelaaja juoksentelee yleensä ympäri areenaa, odottaa että vastustaja menee tiettyyn kohtaan tai levähtää, ja sitten hyökkää pomoa kohti ja aiheuttaa sille vahinkoa. Tämä on mielestäni ainut edes jotenkuten onnistunut yritys vaihteluun koko pelin aikana, joten on surullista, että näitä taisteluita tulee vain muutama koko pelissä.

Hoidan nyt nämä ei-niin-kiinnostavat alueet pois alta vielä lopuksi. Musiikki on Gearsissa sellaista, että se kuulostaa tulleen Hans Zimmerin päästä herran ollessa krapulapäissään. Pauhaavaa ja hyvin epäharmonista sekasortoa, joka tylsistyttää tunnissa pelaajan kuin pelaajan. Dialogikin on pitkälti sitä, että päähahmot heiluttelevat fallisia pyssyköitään huudellessaan ovelia voitonhuutojaan tyyliin "Fuck yeah!" testosteronitäyteisillä ääninäyttelijöillään. Tarinankuljetus, kuten jo aiemmin mainitsin, on varsin nopeatempoista, yksittäisillä lauseilla tapahtuvaa huutelua, josta saa selvää noin puolesta.

Gears Of War on jonkinlainen eriskummallinen pitkitetty grafiikkademo, jossa yhtä asiaa saa jauhaa niin pitkälle kuin jaksaa, eikä vaihtoehtoja ole kuin yksi - Mass Effectin ostaminen.

- Grafiikkojen yksityiskohtaisuus
- Kiinnostava aluksi
- Pomotaistelut
- Aseet
- Kontrollit

- Pelimekaniikan yksitoikkoisuus
- Musiikki
- Tarina
- Värimaailma
- Windows Live
- Ajeluosuus
- Se pelimekaniikka. Voi, se pelimekaniikka.

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Hooray for nothing!

Posted : 13 years, 1 month ago on 26 December 2009 09:08 (A review of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End)

A random assortment of people try to save Jack Sparrow from... I don't know where, it was called something but it was never specified at all. Anyway, they try to save him because it's a pretty good way to spend 90 minutes of this film, atleast on paper. Then there's an ultimate battle or something with Evil Colonel from part 2.

I watched a film called Zodiac yesterday. It was over 2 and a half hours long. I was never bored during that time. It was awesome to be honest. Today, I watched a film called Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. It was almost 3 hours long. It bored me. But unlike the second part, this one bored me with extremely bad jokes and useless drama, and dull McGuffins. Seriously, this movie has every single McGuffin ever even remotely mentioned in the series, in an important position for the "plot." When it comes to the script of this film, I'm actually surprised. The previous movie really had about 10-20 minutes of actual story, but then this film has about... Well, 10-20 minutes of actual plot, but instead of filling the film with action like was done in part 2, here we get ludicrously bad drama scenes. The humour has greatly improved since the previous movie, since I actually laughed a few times in this one (I even laughed at Sparrow once). The new and old characters here are awful, they're all cliched stereotypes that should not exist in modern cinema. Especially the man played by Chow-Yun Fat is the most stereotypical hard-ass asian I've ever seen. I can't believe Fat acted the part the way he did, since he has proved time and again that he is in fact a magnificent actor. But on the other hand this same movie has Johnny Depp "acting" as some weird drunkard, so bleh.

However, the pacing of this film is rather well composed. Since we don't get an overload of action until the very end of it, you might just notice yourself wanting to see some good old fashioned swashbuckling. This is why the indefinately best part of the entire picture, the ending, works so well. We get an action scene about 20 minutes long, which, in quality, is about as good as the action in the first part of the trilogy, but because we have been numbed by the horrible drama of the movie to that point, this mediocre action scene seems damn near divine. POTC 3 is a movie like LOTR: Return Of The King; it has about five million endings, all of which are just as boring as the other. And there's even an ending after the end of the credits, which I didn't stick around for though. The score is once again composed by Hans Zimmer, and it's mindnumbingly dull with it's repetetive sounds and second-grade choirs. Verbinski, as I've mentioned previously, is adored by yours truly because he directed The Weatherman, but in this film he produces yet again an average result. It's not as if this movie would look bad; it just hasn't got anything visually that we haven't seen before. With all this being said, I loved one scene from this film. Before the final fight, the leaders of the bad guys and the leaders of the good guys gather on a small piece of land. This scene is played off as an homage to old westerns, with it's Morricone-ish score and tight close-ups. I smiled.

The time of pirates has truly come to pass. It was over in my opinion when Erroll Flynn stopped making pirate movies. Everything that can be taken from the subject of pirates, has already been taken. The topic has been sucked dry. Someone just needs to tell this to Jerry Bruckheimer, so he would stop producing movies about them.

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Transvestites invade Sparta; Strippers resist!

Posted : 13 years, 1 month ago on 10 December 2009 06:22 (A review of 300)

Haha. This is one of those movies that never should have happened, atleast according to common sense. The absurdity of 300 is unbelievable. 300 is so crazy and surreal that it's actually good. Here's a movie that acts like it would be serious, but is filled with things that are not possible in any manner. It's awesome to see something like this. Zack Snyder really went all out here when it comes to directorial feats. He is entirely responsible for the fact that this movie is good at all. The visual style that he follows through the entire movie is this weird bronze-like tone, which by all means looks marvellous. Overall, when it comes to visuality, 300 is one of the best movies ever made. I mean any movie that can make half-naked men in thongs look good and cool deserves that right. The fight scenes are definately the best thing in the whole film, and they do work very well. Simply put, they're entertaining to watch. There's nothing more to it. You just enjoy them. The story is somewhat mudane, it's a rather clichéd tale of courage and freedom and such things, but we've heard it all before anyhow. It however is a great excuse to give us Gerald Butler screaming catchy one-liners at the top of his lungs. The man does indeed have a good voice. Most people have complained greatly about the sideplot about Leonidas's wife, calling it too boring. It is boring, yes. But it's also extremely necessary for the movie. Without it, the movie would either be very short, or very boring. It's like a some comedy movies; you hear a joke once, and you laugh your ass off. You hear it again, you laugh again. You hear it the third time, you laught yet again. But if you hear it for over five times, it starts to get dull. Hear if over ten times, it's boring. Hear it over twenty times, you never want to hear it again. But if you insert a few other jokes in between the same joke, you'll laugh at it often. It's the same thing with the action scenes of 300. They would definately get somewhat boring without the sideplot supporting them. With the sideplot you actually have anticipation towards the next scene, until you really just can't wait for it to show up.

All the performances in 300 do their job adequately. Many have complained over Dominic West as the storyteller. I thought he did a good job, but when he was on-screen I really didn't buy it. Butler, as I mentioned earlier, has a powerful voice and he makes it show. I wish he didn't shout all the time, but I guess you can't have everything you want. The rest of the nameless male strippers do well, as does the wife of Leonidas, who's performance contains a nice amount of passion towards what she's doing. Santoro does an extremely odd job as the transvestite godking leader of the persians. I don't know what to say about the guy, except that he was one tall motherfucker. Tyler Bates composed the score for 300, and he should definately be considered a noteworthy composer after this. 300 sounds amazing on occasion, but it sounds too good. You see, a good movie score doesn't take away your attention from the movie itself, it enchances it instead. Bates does steal a few scenes here, as unfortunate as it may be. For the majority of the flick, his work is still good.

300 is a pure entertainment movie. Don't try to search, or don't hope, for any deeper meanings from it, and you won't be dissapointed by the astonishing action scenes.

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Feeling in the form of film

Posted : 13 years, 2 months ago on 19 November 2009 08:33 (A review of Synecdoche, New York)

This is not going to be a normal review. I will not make a list. I will not make a list of all the things bad, of all the things good, and all the things mediocre in this film. I will not give it a rating other than verbal. I will only talk about it. I will talk about why I think of it so important. Why I believe it to be among the greatest films of all time. This article will be a celebration of Synecdoche, New York.

It is often, that great minds start out small. You could say Charlie Kauffman has done just that. His scripts have always tried capturing the human psyche; His first, a dark comedy, named Being John Malkovich, explored the theme in a strictly literal sense; the characters went inside another man's head and saw the world through his eyes. His second film, Human Nature, explored human behaviour from the perspective of a human ape of sorts. It was an interesting movie, but I always felt the theme is too heavy to be explored in the clichéd enviroment of a romantic comedy. Then came along Adaptation., a film where Kaufman explored mind by juxtaposition, and most of all, he concentrated on his own mind instead of that of a fictional character. Then, in what I consider the most overrated attempt of his career, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Kaufman decided with it that instead of exploring the human mind as a whole, he chose a central theme; Love. Then he used this theme to waddle through an entire script.

But now, comes Synecdoche, New York. Where do you go after Eternal Sunshine? I think there's two choices. Either you choose another single emotion, and base the film around it. OR you do the unexpected, and you take on the entire human emotional spectrum. The latter is what Kaufman did. It's a deed most ambitious and almost megalomaniacal in size, but Kaufman chose to write a script about every emotion known to man and then direct the film himself. Much like the great Andrei Tarkovsky, Kaufman finally brings himself to be able to transmit great emotions to the screen instead of simple oddities and bizarre creations. Whereas Tarkovsky always drew power from his childhood, it feels as if Kaufman draws this power from humanity itself, in all it's flaws and petty errors.

However, one must notice, that it is very easy to make a film that encompasses all human emotions. A movie that has just that can easily turn into a slideshow of faces with different looks on them, like in those drawing classes where they teach you to draw different expressions by showing you slideshows of them. A film being like that... well, it's inexcusable. Hence, you have to build a story around those faces. Kaufman creates it about a playwright, and his life. The film chronicles his life for about 40 long years, during which he experiences pretty much everything we experience during our lives. The experiences are portrayed extensively and with little glamour added to them. When Caden's feces is of weird colour, we see his feces being of weird colour. It makes us want to check our own feces. When he is sad, we feel sad. Synecdoche is capable of transmitting every single emotion it has on display into the emotional world of the viewer. You feel every cry, every laugh, every orgasm, every failure, every glimpse of hope, ever single one of the emotions Caden has throughout the story of his life. Every moment of Synecdoche, as a result, feels emotional and different from most films.

This is why I think Synecdoche, New York is better than almost any other film made in the last ten years. It is emotion. We are emotion. We are Synecdoche. We are us.

"What was once before you - an exciting, mysterious future - is now behind you. Lived; understood; disappointing. You realize you are not special. You have struggled into existence, and are now slipping silently out of it. This is everyone's experience. Every single one. The specifics hardly matter. Everyone's everyone."

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Two great flicks

Posted : 13 years, 2 months ago on 18 November 2009 09:34 (A review of Full Metal Jacket)

These really are good movies, it just sucks that they're under one roof. If Full Metal Jacket was somehow a two-part film, it would be a masterpiece. Now after about 50 minutes we cut from one great film to another great film, with no common theme or development. It's obvious that the focus of the training segment is Pyle, even if Joker is the main character. The loss of this focus when the war segment begins hurts the film in the way that it then has to create another focus for us. This makes this break in the structure a very obvious and painful one. It feels as if someone would reboot the entire movie in the middle of the proverbial action. Make no mistake however; from the fantastic over-the-top performance from Lee R. Ermey to the often absent, but yet powerful score, Kubrick's Vietnam-epic is definately worth watching once, twice, three times... It will always give something more to you as you notice something different about the characters, performances or events depicted on the screen. There's always something going on in the background, figures endlessly shifting through the stark, murky clouds of Vietnamese landscape and those long, long corridors of the training island.

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Whoa being a good word to describe it all

Posted : 13 years, 2 months ago on 10 November 2009 08:36 (A review of Once Upon a Time in the West)

When I went into this, I knew I'd have to write something about it, so as I watched I kind of pictured what I'd do. After 25 minutes I said to myself "The first 25 minutes of this movie are perfect!" Then, after 45, I said "The first 45 minutes of this movie are perfect!" And so it went on for a 160 minutes, after which the only thing I could think of about for this review is "The 160 minutes of this film are perfect!" So yeah, Once Upon a Time in the West sure deserves all the praise it gets. It's called the ultimate western, but it's so much more than that. Sure, it has all the things any good western should have and none of the things it shouldn't have (meaning that there are no saloon fist fights, thank god), but the movie also has soooo much more to it. All the dialogue is layered with subtext ontop of subtext, none of it is nonsenical, everything reveals more and more about these great characters. The performances are beyond solid, providing atleast four unforgettable characters that will haunt anyone who dares enter Leone's masterpiece. The pacing is pitch-perfect every step of the way as well, as is, well, pretty much every other thing as well. The sole problem I can come up with that actually bothered me during the film is the way the score occasionally ends and then restarts. This sometimes works, but every once in a while a tune just cuts in a bad point where the transition from music to no music doesn't feel natural and it kind of takes me out of the film when this happens. The train scene with Harmonica aboard is a good example of this. This is however by no means a flaw that would lower my appreciation towards the picture in any way. This is a film that could be used as the dictionary definition for masterpiece.

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Kind of fails with it's premise

Posted : 13 years, 2 months ago on 9 November 2009 08:39 (A review of Zombieland)

You know, for a film called ZOMBIEland, there sure are few of them here. We maybe see about 50 zombies in this entire movie, and out of those maybe 25 get killed. It's not very believable that the world has been overrun with zombies when the main characters arrive in the middle of LA to be surrounded by... six zombies! Oh no, what are they going to do now with their gazillion shotguns and machine pistols? They're useless against all six of them! Seriously, never has a zombie action movie dissapointed me in the number of the ghouls. Especially when the entire world has been overrun by them, you'd expect the production team to have the decency to hire a few more extras. The action is pretty nice and gory when it happens, but it rarely does. Even though I like Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson a lot, they are not the reason I watch a movie called Zombieland that has been advertised as non-stop zombie bashing. I watch it to see just that, not two guys talking smack about doing that. And it isn't the good type of smack either like in a Tarantino-movie or something. But yes, this movie still doesn't exactly suck or anything. The little action there is is fantastic and the film has one of the best celebrity cameos in recent years. But with all it's flaws and problems establishing a zombie apocalypse-style world, I just didn't find the movie that enjoyable as a whole.

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