Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom (2010, PS3) – 8/10 fantasy action game review

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Cast / crew
Director: Yoshiki Okamoto

Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom (2010)

At the urging of the forest animals, a thief makes his way into the castle in Q’umarkaj with the aim of finding out what’s causing the darkness that is devastating their habitat. Inside he finds a giant creature imprisoned and weakened and it’s clear that, whatever the darkness is, this Majin is the key to clearing it. However, the Majin, Teotl, cannot do it alone: he’ll need a friend.

8/10

Just let the title screen sit and play the attract sequence. That trailer and, especially, the main musical theme is entirely wonderful: uplifting, heroic and full of promise, inspiration and hope. It sets up the mood of the game perfectly which is warm and charming as you befriend a giant, somewhat clumsy, creature named Teotl with whom you will thoroughly enjoy this adventure. One of the main ways this is achieved is because each of you can only be healed by the other. A lovely moment that is replayed delightfully is when you pick fruit to boost and restore Teotl’s power, you can hear Teotl excitingly burble in salivating anticipation. Developer Game Republic and publisher Namco Bandai must have been tremendously disappointed with sales, not just because they were about half what was expected but because this is a good, fun, original, accessible and unusual game. Everyone did a good job and still too few bought it.

This game contains extreme fantasy violence

Classified 12+ by PEGI. The game is only suitable for persons who have reached the age of 12 or over.

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City Under Siege aka Chun sing gai bei (2010) – 6/10 mutant superhero action film review

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Cast / crew
Producer: Chiu Suet Ying
Aaron Kwok: Sunny
Shu Qi: Angel
Collin Chou: Zhang Dachu
Wu Jing:
Zhang Jingchu: Cheng Xiuhua
Editor: Benny Chan
Screenplay Writer: Benny Chan
Screenplay Writer: Ling Chi Man
Screenplay Writer: Carson Lau
Producer: Benny Chan
Director: Benny Chan

City Under Siege aka Chun sing gai bei (2010)

After being infected with a WWII bio-chemical weapon, some former members of a circus troupe go bad and cause violence and mayhem but, after swallowing his own body weight in sea water and a good bout of diarrhoea, Sunny isn’t affected as badly and retains his humanity along with superhuman speed and strength.

6/10

As I was expecting some sort of crime thriller (I was only watching this as it was a Benny Chan film and I hadn’t seen anything else about it), it came as something of a surprise to find out it was a mutated-human monster movie. As such, it’s watchable and entertaining for the most part though it does go past deliberately goofy, straight through serious, pushes through spoof and bursts out the other side into mildly glorious over-the-top cheese-tastic insanity. Whether that’s good or not, well, I watched it happily until the end and enjoyed a particularly good chuckle at the bad guys demise.

This movie contains mild swear words, extreme violence, gory and unpleasant scenes

Vanquish (2010) – 9/10 awesome third-person shooter game review

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Cast / crew
Director: Shinji Mikami
Producer: Atsushi Inaba
Art Director: Naoki Katakai
Conceptual Designer: Shinji Usui
Character Designer: Makoto Tsuchibayashi
Story Writer: Hiroki Kato

Vanquish (2010)

After wild over-population brings Earth to it’s knees, the US and Russia are at loggerheads. The tide is turned when a US Space Laser is hijacked by robot Russian forces and destroys San Francisco and war becomes the only option.

9/10

There is a case for this being the best third-person shooter ever made. Platinum Games and Shinji Mikami’s Vanquish is a constantly awesome third-person shooter that is widely regarded as a commercial disappointment despite selling about 1 million copies. The second-to-second gameplay is remarkably fun and rewarding. Some of this is down to wonderful enemies always responding when attacked. I know it seems odd that this is not always the case but even some celebrated big-budget games (such as Bioshock, if memory serves) see a blood spurt as an acceptable substitution for an action cancel (where your action, shooting them somewhere, cancels their action). Even better is that, especially on the larger regular enemies, shooting them in different places (arm, leg, back, head, gun, huge fuel tank) has different results and tactical outcomes. Weapon upgrades are juggled brilliantly; simple but with hidden depth. Special mention for some satisyfing trophies. Several are awarded for achieving some cool and / or challenging objectives during gameplay and individual trophies rewarding progress through the game on harder difficulties (instead of just one at the end). That said, even though it’s a difficult Platinum trophy, it’s not a difficult game, even on Hard.

This game contains sexual swear words, strong violence, unpleasant and extremely gory cut scenes

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

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Welcome to The Space Show (2010) – 7/10 science fiction fantasy adventure anime movie review

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Cast / crew
Creator and Director: Koji Masunari
Creator and Screenplay Writer: Hideyuki Kurata
Creator: Tomonori Ochikoshi
Tomoyo Kurosawa: Natsuki Koyama
Honoka Ikezuka: Amane Suzuki
Shotaro Uzawa: Kiyoshi Sato
Tamaki Matsumoto: Noriko Nishimura
Takuto Yoshinaga: Koji Harada
Keiji Fujiwara: Pochi Rickman

Welcome to The Space Show (2010)

Summer camp is going to be a bigger adventure than anyone ever dreamed when a group of friends go in search of a rabbit they lost and find an injured dog.

7/10

Fun, happy adventure movie brimming with invention. The finalĂ© is confusing (a bad guy’s personal shield explodes because he’s told there’s good in him?) but it feels like good is battling bad and good wins; what more do you need to know? The film connects enough emotionally that the goodbyes and final bike ride, especially, are touching and boasts enough dazzling diversions that attention is generally distracted from the rather baffling plot.

This movie contains violence

The Wolfman (2010) – 6/10 monster horror movie

Cast / crew
Director: Joe Johnston
Screenplay Writer: Andrew Kevin Walker
Screenplay Writer: David Self
Based on the Motion Picture Screenplay by: Curt Siodmak
Producer: Scott Stuber
Producer: Benicio Del Toro
Producer: Rick Yorn
Producer: Sean Daniel
Benicio Del Toro: Lawrence Talbot
Anthony Hopkins: Sir John Talbot
Emily Blunt: Gwen Conliffe
Hugo Weaving: Aberline
Geraldine Chaplin: Maleva
Art Malik: Singh
Antony Sher: Dr. Hornegger
David Schofield: Constable Nye

The Wolfman (2010)

Lawrence Talbot returns home after a long absence when his brother is killed. The body is horribly mutilated with a ferocity that suggests a wild animal and Lawrence, spurred on by the big eyes of his brother’s fiancĂ©e, determines to get to the bottom of things. The bottom of his brother’s death, that is.

6/10

Barely adequate though technically accomplished horror. None of the thought that must go into an expensive production like this survived to the screen. While it’s paced well and is certainly not boring, this is impactless, unatmospheric, journeyman filmmaking at it’s blandest without even the crutch of decent horror or action sequences (edited until you can’t visually follow them). Anthony Hopkins is the only reason to watch (Emily Blunt sideboob not withstanding) as he does his usual thing of making it sound like he got the world’s most amazing, intelligent and witty script while everyone got something else entirely. He didn’t, of course. He’s just that good.

This movie contains mild nudity, strong gory violence, very gory and unpleasant scenes

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.

Crash Time IV aka Alarm for Cobra 11: The Syndicate (2010, Games for Windows Live PC) – 8/10 action racing game

Cast / crew

Crash Time IV aka Alarm for Cobra 11: The Syndicate (2010)

A crime syndicate has sullied Ben and Semir’s patch and they’ll need to employ informants and surveillance cameras and car chases to rack up the arrests and get their city nice and clean again.

8/10

I love these games. I love that the prison transport driver is a total lunatic. I love the fact that I was slightly disappointed that Synetic’s menu was completely intelligible and usable. In this particular outing, I also love the handling and would claim it is some of the best in an action racer ever. Why? At all speeds, it allows you to do what you’re trying to do, specifically you can consistently drive between traffic, even oncoming traffic, at any speed without crashing. This is extremely impressive (and produces some amazing moments); for a test, try doing the same in the much-lauded Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit from the same year. You can’t, Hot Pursuit’s handling isn’t precise enough. But Cobra 11‘s is. It also has a terrific car roster. Cars with caravans seem to have disappeared from the roads but in the forty-vehicles we get to drive are a monster truck, a golf cart and one of those ginormous dumper trucks alongside the usual array of passenger and sports cars, SUV’s and, still uniquely I believe, articulated lorries. It even has an amusing ending where Ben and Semir SPOILER get sent on a two-month holiday so the city can recover from all the damage they cause.

This game contains violence

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Megamind (2010) – 7/10 3D animated supervillain action movie review

Cast / crew
Will Ferrell: Megamind
Tina Fey: Roxanne Ritchi
Jonah Hill: Tighten
David Cross: Minion
Brad Pitt: Metro Man
Actor and Director Lord Scott, Prison Guard: Tom McGrath
Producer: Lara Breay
Producer: Denise Nolan Cascino
Writer: Alan Schoolcraft
Writer: Brent Simons
Head Of Character Animation: Jason Schleifer
Actor and Creative Consultant Megamind’s Father: Justin Theroux
Creative Consultant: Guillermo Del Toro

Megamind (2010)

As Metro City prepares to unveil a massive monument and museum to their resident superhero, equally resident supervillain Megamind plans to do battle once more. Once he escapes from prison, of course.

7/10

In a completely different league from director Tom McGrath’s execrable Madagascar movies, this is a charming, fun super-villain movie with an abundance of nice animation and a strong plot. Even though his voice is a bit old, Will Ferrell is also top-notch as he and Megamind’s animators manage to bring heart where (giant blue) head could easily dominate. Our impressively be-caped protagonist’s insistence on presentation and persistence are entirely admirable and uncommon backbones for any movie. Commending effort is a life skill that we can all benefit from. Much, much better than the superficially similar but morally obnoxious and dreary Despicable Me.

This movie contains violence, unpleasant scenes.

Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.