Thursday, 20 November 2014

OJ's Game Review - Minecraft

An open-world survival game stylized entirely around blocks and pixels... but you already knew that.

So yes, Minecraft. There wasn't much to see after Interstellar and a few weeks ago I downloaded Minecraft for THE FIRST TIME EVER. Yes I know it's been out for like five years but now I've gotten round to it. I'd heard so much about Minecraft on the Internet, I knew what it looked like and there were a million 'let's plays' on YouTube but for some reason I never went to it. Now though, I cant get enough; Minecraft is addictive. 
     Basic premise is that you have to survive in this huge (infinite?) world where you have to mine for materials and then build houses and tools and fences etc. and that in itself is the kind of thing I enjoy, but the fact that it's all blocks just seems to make it more enjoyable to work with. Of course it's not just a place to build stuff, oh no; you have to survive! You have to eat to stay alive, try not to drown or fall off a cliff, and then at night time... monsters. I hate them all, yes, if your not careful this game can make you smash your computer out of rage. 
     Minecraft brings you the joy and satisfaction of building a life, it gives you the skill and cautiousness from being stalked by these creatures and the awe at the amazing landscapes, portals and detail. Also there is Creative Mode to let your imagination go wild and multiplayer so you can annoy your friends by destroying their house. In the end Minecrat is one of the best games out there in my opinion and I'm glad to have joined this Mining fandom!

Thursday, 13 November 2014

OJ's Movie Review - Interstellar

It's not possible, but it's necessary.

  So, Interstellar; the latest film from the brilliant and awesome director Christopher Nolan. When this film was in production it was wrapped up in so much secrecy that hardly anyone knew what the plot was about and the cast was kept fairly under wraps too. Anyway what can I say about a three hour space epic from the same guy who made Inception? Let's start with the things that don't need mentioning because we know what it's like, the acting is perfect, Matthew McConaughey delivers some fantastic scenes of power and emotion which ultimately takes you all through the movie, you're there for him, you want him to succeed; his daughter as well gives out some pretty surprising scenes, the young actress they got was really good. So on an acting front the film was perfect.
    Now do I need to mention the CGI? Nolan tried to use as little as possible and use as much practical effects as he could which worked amazingly well but then when CGI hit your face, you didn't even notice, wow, the visuals of this film are nothing less than stunning, the planets, space, everything looks beautiful.
   The plot is really what drives a film too, Interstellar is a film which isn't for everyone but it is a unique experience for anyone who watches it. It has some obvious inspiration from 2001: A Space Odyssey but in a good way and it is not a prefect movie in whole. I do have to say it really picks up on the second act, the beginning I felt was quite slow and dragged on a bit and I was hoping it was going to get better, but as soon as they go into the second act it picks up, the story gives you a lot of food for thought, questions that are not very easy to answer and I was definitely thinking about it after the movie ended. Some parts shocked you, some parts will bring you to tears, it is an incredible journey of morals, exploration and desperation.
   The ending I think will split some people, you either love it or hate it; I look at it positively and loved how they depicted certain physical concepts from science. In the end my opinions on it will probably change with every new thought but I will definitely watch it again which says something.

8/10

Sunday, 9 November 2014

OJ's TV Review - Doctor Who series 8

Attack eyebrows.


So here we are, the start of another 50 years. Last time we saw the Doctor he turned into an intense older man with a Scottish accent. Of course, it was Peter Capaldi; let's start off with the acting and actors then. Capaldi obviously is a brilliant actor, it took some time to get used to his personality but he came out with some cracking lines and I like his outfit. Jenna Coleman is also really great at acting, I still don't really like her character much but she did some powerful scenes which could easily win an award. We also got some new faces such as Samuel Anderson as Danny Pink which I liked and he was a good character, very realistic and fun to watch; Michelle Gomez played the wonderfully mysterious Missy who was fantastic in her character, a truly evil villain. So on an acting par, Series 8 was great (even the child actors actually).
    Let's get into the plots and episodes now.' Deep Breath' started us off and in my opinion, it wasn't great; I personally dislike the Paternoster Gang so that didn't help and most of it felt like the script was still being written for Matt Smith. After that however, it was one of the best series of Doctor Who since the revival, I really enjoyed the majority of the episodes, 'Robot of Sherwood' was funny, 'Listen' was scary, and 'Mummy on the Orient Express' was my favourite. So yeah, even the series arc that stretches over the episodes was good.
    Eventually we got to the finale and wow, it got dark quick, the subject matter even got a few complaints and was quite a sensitive subject; I thought the plot itself was good and I enjoyed it except some parts of 'Death in Heaven' which I'm not comfortable with. As a whole though the 34th series of Doctor Who was good beginning for a new chapter.

8/10


Wednesday, 29 October 2014

OJ's BIT Review - 2001: A Space Odyssey

I can't even.

Sometimes there are films made where it splits it's audience into two categories: those who get the film, it's ideas and everything about it; and those who don't get it at all and view it in quite a negative light. This is one of those films.
   I can guarantee that this film is unlike anything you've ever seen in your life; it is a unique piece of cinema and an outstanding historical achievement of the film industry. But goodness me, this isn't for everyone. The plot is anyone's guess but it's set in space. The thing is the cinematography is so unique and amazing, especially for the 60's, you can see that it has obviously influenced films from then on even to today. The problem is though, it's just so boring! The majority of the film is made up of very long, extended shots of space, or the ship, or travelling through another dimension with these epic pieces of music behind it. If your into classical music, or that genre of the arts then this is amazing. But for the majority then this is a very slow, long and uninteresting 160 minutes of your life.
   The only positives I have to say is that the H.A.L. 9000 computer is the best part and the special effects are pretty good even now. In the end I'm not surprised that 241 people left in the middle of the premier but glad it exists because it's inspired so many of the biggest blockbusters that we've come to know and love.

3/10

Thursday, 16 October 2014

OJ's Movie Review - The Maze Runner

A young adult novel being adapted to film? Never had one of those before...

  So yes, The Maze Runner is the latest in a genre that tries, and sometimes succeeds, to get teenagers to give their cash. I've watched trailers for them over the years but then I learnt about this film and it actually sounded interesting; I haven't read the book so this review is going off just what I saw in the movie.
   To start off, the storyline, it's about a guy who finds himself in a large field surrounded by a giant maze, and he's not the first to appear there, there is a whole community that has been built by these young adults who have also had their memories wiped and are in this field. This film certainly gave you the feeling of isolation, the CGI was pretty good for the most part so the walls and the maze looked awesome, the plot had few good twists, although maybe some were a little predictable, and for at least the first two acts it was a solid movie, it had tense chase scenes, strong characters and I enjoyed it. Some of the dialogue was a little hard to swallow, nobody could seem to answer questions straight forward, it was always a vague command or statement.
    Of course there has to be a resolution to all this and that becomes the last 20 minutes or so. Without going into spoilers, I was a little surprised how after the revelation the entire tone of the movie changed; some people are going to hate it, I'm on the fence currently but it just seemed odd; especially the fact that they were almost to the point of looking at the audience and saying "Please let there be a sequel!". Apart from that though I enjoyed The Maze Runner's mystery and thrilling dark moments and the I couldn't really fault the special effects so from me, this movie gets:

7.5/10

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

OJ's Book Review - Exposure

Let's expose my thoughts on this novel.

So Exposure is the 4th book in a series of young adult novels written by Kathy Reichs. If you've read the previous one, Code, then you'll know it had an awesome climax involving a serial killer, the beginning of this book carries that on a bit showing the court case and after effects which to me was a mistake, it would be very confusing for new-commers and to be honest I couldn't remember the finer details of the last few pages of Code so a few references went over my head.
     After that is all over with we get into the plot. The main focus in Exposure is basically a kidnapping; the Virals also start having problems with their powers but that's secondary to the criminal investigation they've decided to take upon themselves. The book flowed mostly smoothly with just a few plot pauses here and there but the tension at the end kept the book glued to my hands. There were also a few humorous points and some cool references to pop culture and the like.
     The only major thing I can criticize about it is that it feels like it went really mild in terms of story. The first book was great with the characters learning their powers and that, the second had a big treasure-hunt adventure and the third involved geocaching, a hurricane and a sweet twist near the end but Exposure didn't really feel amazing, it felt very average. Even their powers took a break a lot of the time because of {spoilers}. In the end it was a good read but inferior to the previous three.

6/10


Monday, 29 September 2014

ORIGINAL VS REMAKE - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

This Original VS Remake takes you to a world of pure imagination.

Original

In 1971 Roald Dahl's unique book was adapted to the big screen and fascinated a generation. The film was called Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Gene Wilder created an iconic depiction of the titular character. I really like this film, it's warm and actually really funny; Wilder delivers some cracking lines that wouldn't look out of place in today's comedy movies. It has a solid story, you enjoy watching the characters interact with the factory and for it's time it has some pretty good practical effects. A true classic.

Remake

Along comes 2005 and with it a film that actually has the same title as it's source material, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Johnny Depp becomes the chocolatier and popular child actor Freddie Highmore is Charlie Bucket. Unlike the original, this adaptation does stick much closer to the book and obviously CGI makes for some awesome visuals along with more of a science fiction feel than the original's fantasy vibe. Johnny Depp's Wonka though is where I think it fails, his portrayal makes him seem very weird and even a bit mentally unstable, which I guess what comes when you have Tim Burton directing. 

Comparison

I'm glad that the 2005 adaptation stuck closer to the book with making the setting British again and using the actual songs (which were pretty catchy) but in the end Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory caught the imagination of many audiences and so today the original wins.