Geekscape http://www.geekscape.net podcasts, news, features Sat, 22 Nov 2014 19:49:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 podcasts, news, features Geekscape no podcasts, news, features Geekscape http://www.geekscape.net/_wp_/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://www.geekscape.net TV-G NBC’s “Constantine” Ratings Spike 28%, But Things Could Be Better http://www.geekscape.net/nbcs-constantine-ratings-spike-28-but-things-could-be-better http://www.geekscape.net/nbcs-constantine-ratings-spike-28-but-things-could-be-better#comments Sat, 22 Nov 2014 19:49:59 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=82563 NBC’s Constantine has gone from hyped genre TV train to a little engine that just maybe can. The excitement from this past summer, as I’ve written before, has kind of vanished, but there’s a renewed vigor amongst fans on social media to keep the show going after cancellation seemed like a possibility just a few short weeks ago. Executive producer Daniel Cerone tweeted this early this afternoon:

I’m not sure just how good exactly a 1.1 is, but because it’s Fridays nights I’m sure the rules are a little different. Ratings, ultimately, are a totally archaic and old-school perspective on television and if I had the power I’d do away with them completely. It’s unfair that a small portion of the TV viewing audience dictates what everyone else gets to see. But because that’s how the game is still played, we have to live with it for now.

While the ratings have spiked, there is still a way to go. The numbers could be better, and the show’s quality — while improving — is still erratic and both the storytelling and the filmmaking are kind of messy. It’s a fun show for sure, but stacked against fellow DC series like The Flash and it pales in comparison.

But congratulations are in order to the cast and crew of Constantine for finally being able to etch out their audience and stay in the fight. As you know, I’m a total supporter for the show (as a lover of Power Rangers for two decades, I always root for potential, and Constantine has that in spades). If you haven’t watched it yet now is the time to dive in. Last night’s episode, “Danse Vaudou,” sees the return of Papa Midnite and is easily the best episode of the season so far. That’s kind of a dubious statement since it is only just the fifth episode, but if the upward trajectory in quality that the show-makers have demonstrated continues, we’re bound to be in for a hell of a ride. I can’t wait for next week.

It demands repeating: Constantine has the entire occult corner of the DC Universe covered. While The Flash and Arrow take on superheroes and super beings, Constantine‘s territory is the supernatural. Should the show thrive, we’re going to see characters like Swamp Thing and Zatanna. Without spoiling, we were introduced to Jim Corrigan (played by Emmett Scanlan), and the producers have made it pretty clear that he will be The Spectre eventually.

I reiterate that I am not paid or sponsored in any way by NBC Universal, DC Comics, or anybody involved with the production of Constantine. I’m just a fan who wants good television to stay on the air. You can watch Constantine on NBC, Friday nights at 10 PM EST. Set your DVR or something. Remember, even Arrow was kind of bad at first.

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Brand New “Power Rangers Dino Charge” Teaser Has Almost Entirely New Footage http://www.geekscape.net/brand-new-power-rangers-dino-charge-teaser-has-almost-entirely-new-footage http://www.geekscape.net/brand-new-power-rangers-dino-charge-teaser-has-almost-entirely-new-footage#comments Sat, 22 Nov 2014 19:01:21 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=82554 Power Rangers Super Megaforce mercifully came to an end today. Two years a “Legendary War” was hyped that lasted just under four minutes and was predominantly recycled Gokaiger scenes. There’s supposed to be an extended cut airing this Monday night, but safe to say fans have moved on to greener pastures. Those pastures being 2015’s Power Rangers Dino Charge.

After the abysmal finale to the abysmal Super Megaforce, Nickelodeon aired a brand-new teaser to Power Rangers Dino Charge, different than what was shown at this year’s Power MorphiCon and Licensing Expo.

It’s almost entirely new footage! And we get a great look at the villain, the first original villain in Power Rangers since the Disney era. But the teaser itself is really just okay, and not too different from what a Megaforce promo looked like.

But it’s Dino Charge! There are legitimate reasons to be excited. Beloved producer Judd Lynn has returned to helm the series, and the characters just look great. For those unfamiliar with showrunner Judd Lynn, it’s the rough equivalent of having Bruce Timm (showrunner of the acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series) work on Gotham. But the standout is actress Camille Hyde, who will be playing the Pink Ranger. While unfortunate she’s the only woman on the team (for now), she is breaking ground as the first black Pink Ranger, which is a first in the twenty-plus years that Power Rangers has been on air. Twenty years. Better late than never. And hey, not even the Marvel movies have a black female superhero.

Also of note is Yoshua Sudarso, playing the Blue Ranger. On the surface he’s a pretty boy model and extremely athletic stuntman, but if you catch him on social media you will see just how dyed-in-the-wool nerd he is of the franchise. He’s constantly on the closed (but not secret) Facebook Rangers group — the largest network of Power Rangers fans on Facebook — gushing about Super Sentai and working with the stunt crew. He reminds me of David Tennant, who was obsessed with Doctor Who as a child and grew up to become a powerhouse of a Doctor himself. He even has cool hair like Tennant.

For me, it’s just nice to be excited about Power Rangers again, because Super Megaforce left me a vegetable.

Power Rangers Dino Charge will air in early 2015 on Nickelodeon. Will you be watching?

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Geekscape Movie Reviews: “Late Phases” http://www.geekscape.net/geekscape-movie-reviews-late-phases http://www.geekscape.net/geekscape-movie-reviews-late-phases#comments Sat, 22 Nov 2014 17:55:11 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=82522 LatePhases_Poster

It isn’t difficult to be overwhelmed with a sense of dread when amongst retirement homes or communities. Although retirement community residents retain much more independence and dignity than home residents, there is still has an emptiness that can’t be fulfilled. It is life worn out, the light of yesteryear faded and burned. Of course, perspectives vary on how to spend one’s twilight, but generally speaking there are two options: Stay dwelling in the ghosts of yesteryear, or go out kicking and screaming in a blaze of glory.

Ambrose McKinley chose option three: Showdown with a werewolf.

Adrián García Bogliano has roared in his English-language debut with Late Phases, an expertly-crafted throwback to ’80s monster movies for modern audiences that is bound to be a new indie classic someday. Nick Damici stars as Ambrose, a blind Vietnam War veteran who has moved into a retirement community. A lesser movie would have had a needless arc of Ambrose refusing to admit he’s silvered, but Ambrose has embraced his age. Rather, his issues lie with his son Will (Ethan Embry), who has moved on in his life and treats his father as a kind of burden. Ambrose just wants some peace before he kicks the bucket, wherever and whenever that will be.

But where is Crescent Bay, a retirement community at the edge of a deep forrest. It’s a perfectly normal, if quiet and somewhat religious community, until Ambrose is attacked and his beloved seeing-eye dog and next-door neighbor are viciously murdered by a giant… thing. Ambrose is blind, and no one in the town, not even the police, want to admit what it is. Either they don’t know or they don’t want to know, but Ambrose — “23 United States Army, 5 years Vietnam” — for damn sure well. With revenge on his mind and his gun in hand, Ambrose spends the next month, until the next full moon, preparing for revenge. On paper that sounds like a riot, like an old school monster movie — and, yeah, Late Phases is! — but the movie is in fact kind of subdued, and in between the encounters with the werewolf the movie is very much a drama about a father and son.  It’s a quiet riot, if you will. It has a brisk pace at a calculated speed, and truly unlike other indie horror movies of its kind.

Late Phases, the title, refers to more than just the moon. It refers to everyone in Crescent Bay, spending their last days in relative peace besides the monthly werewolf murder. And it especially refers to Ambrose himself. In action movies, a man with nothing to lose is a tired trope, but in horror it’s fertile ground. In fact, the choice of protagonist is a supremely unique choice given the genre. Horror, unlike other genres, frequently employs tropes like horny teenagers and the well-known “final girl,” but here the film is centered on a grizzled war vet. A blind vet. It is really, really difficult for me to say that a film is unique when its protagonist is an old white dude and make you believe that is a good thing, but watching Nick Damici as Ambrose gives the film a dynamic unlike many other monster movies before it. The last badass white guy in the center of a monster movie I recall was a superhero Van Helsing. Ambrose isn’t a superhero, but he’s a man with nothing to lose. Hell, he’s already lost one of his senses. And still, the terror never goes away.

And what terror! The very design of the werewolf is ingenious, and its fee-fi-fo-fum presence utterly chilling. There’s something about the old school costume design and the body language the werewolf actors employ. It is both animalistic and alien, like a foreign creature from a totally other world. But I need to give a round of applause to the sound editors above all. From the banging doors to the howl of the werewolf, the blood-churning sound engineering really sells the atmosphere of the film. Even when the werewolves look their goofiest from certain shots, their growls and howls keep them a force to be feared. What’s weird: They used stock library dragon growls. And somehow, they still manage to make that work.

A word about Ambrose’s blindness. It’s a weird character trait for sure. In the end, there’s no payoff from him being blind. I’m sure there’s a deep reading you can make of it somewhere, but Ambrose could have had 20/20 vision and his character arc would have been roughly the same. But there is a wonderful dynamic for a blind man to be in a horror movie, a monster movie at that. To remove sight from the central protagonist in a monster movie kind of removes an element of visual fear for the character, so when it comes to pointing a gun at them they won’t blink twice (uh, so to speak). Yet, his background as a Vietnam War vet could have easily sufficed. His blindness didn’t need to add to that.

Bogliano and cinematographer Ernesto Herrera know how to direct the camera, and their vision of horror action is both novel and superb. A lesser film would have shook the camera to a frenzy, because that’s just how things are now. But Bogliano remains steadier than others, and no matter how dark the picture the action is clear and concise. Ambrose, being a Vietnam vet, chooses guerrilla tactics that’s best described as a cross between Eastwood and Home Alone. But it’s good! The film does not resort to absurdity to tell its story, and you will not see this old dude bring out an AK-47 he just happened to have in his closet. He’s a soldier, not a gun-toting maniac. The Vietnam part of his military career was careful. He doesn’t just know how to kill. He knows how to survive.

Damici sticks out, and for good reason. His New York accent and Army vet swagger separates him from the rest of Crescent Bay. He’s an outsider, and he doesn’t belong playing nice with wannabe elder WASPs still trying to keep appearances. But he finds kindred spirits with the local church’s pastor, Father Roger (character actor Tom Noonan), both outsiders aimlessly seeking to make up past sins somehow. But Damici is a powerhouse, and his presence in Crescent Bay is probably the most exciting thing that has happened to the community in awhile. The werewolf comes every month, they’re kind of used to that by now, but Ambrose? They weren’t prepared for him.

Despite how much he’s pissed off Crescent Bay, he hasn’t pissed anyone else more than his own son Will. It’s understood that Will’s mother had something to do with Ambrose and his son’s tiff, but in the end the specific thing that caused their riff is no real matter. Sometimes you don’t even remember why you fight with someone for so long, you just know that you can’t stand them and need no other reason to. It sounds like a fault, but the chemistry between Damici and Embry carry weight that sells their history well enough that you won’t need to ask so many questions. You kind of just get it.

Late Phases is really just a really good indie horror movie, warts and all. And there are warts, but to go over them in detail would be needless nitpicking. Some of the other characters could be better developed, primarily the women, but the movie is really just one soldier with family issues against a monster. Almost everything else is second. It’s fascinating that the film accomplishes to both terrify and excite, and that it only uses the monster sparingly demonstrates just how good the central character and his inner turmoil is. You come for the werewolf fight, you stay to see a man struggle to be a father to a grown-up son. There’s more I could talk about but it would be giving away far too much. It’s an expertly-paced monster movie with surprisingly dramatic elements that all form to make up a new kind of horror movie, one that is bound to find a dedicated, hardcore audience in the years to come.

Geekscape gives Late Phases a 4/5. It is a monster movie unlike anything else with a compelling central character, emotionally strong inner and outer conflicts, and one hell of an atmosphere. You seriously need to see the werewolf transformation.

Late Phases is out now in theaters and Video on Demand.

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Geekscape Interviews: “Epochalypse” Author Jonathan Hennessey! http://www.geekscape.net/geekscape-interviews-epochalypse-author-jonathan-hennessey http://www.geekscape.net/geekscape-interviews-epochalypse-author-jonathan-hennessey#comments Sat, 22 Nov 2014 17:46:24 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=82460 Jonathan Hennessey’s passion for American history is almost infectious. Shortly after our conversation I felt like watching 1776 or even playing some Assassin’s Creed IIIHis published works to date have been made up of graphic novel/history textbook hybrids, such as The United States Constitution: A Graphic Novel Adaptation and The Comic Book Story of Beer. Yes, beer! Now, Hennessey enters the realm of fictional storytelling with his new series, the sci-fi epic Epochalypse, from Legendary Comics.

Six hundred years have collapsed into one time and space. Whole societies from the past and present are forced to co-exist in a single dystopian civilization. In an effort to maintain order and restore the timeline, government “Resynchronization Officers” seek out “anachronisms,” items from the future that threaten the laws of time.

One officer in particular rises up to hunt down the criminal dealer, The Salesman, and the elusive scientist Dr. Tomorrow. Standing in his way: shadowy agencies, rebel militias, and his own forbidden desires.

Before we get to Epochalypse, I want to talk about you. You describe yourself as “American history is my muse.” How and where did your love for American history begin?

Hennessey: I will admit I didn’t always love it. I was raised in Massachusetts and [although] I was never in the military myself, I was born on an army base and my father was in the service for a pretty good chunk of my life. So I was just sort of surrounded by it. I remember having little 4th of July parades in the condo complex where my parents lived, wearing those little tricorn hats and pretend muskets. But it gets so in your face when you live in Massachusetts, that it’s just something you get bored of. So I was sort of not interested in it for a long time. And then in my twenties, I became a sort of “born again” American history geek, I would say. I was riding a bicycle … I would say cross-country [but] it wasn’t quite that far, I started in Massachusetts up to Montreal and down to Texas [in Austin] where I lived for several years. Along the way, I went with a buddy of mine, and we were coming back [from Canada], on the New York stateside of Lake Champlain. And we kept running into these John Brown sites. John Brown, being the guy in the 1850s, he was this crazy, sort of radical abolitionist. Terrorist, really.

I remember him.

Hennessey: He wanted to incite a slave uprising. And he wanted all slaves to rise up and kill their masters, and it was gonna be his job to start it and he was going to hand out weapons. He was gonna go through Virginia handing out like, haldberds and really horrible spear-like weapons. And we just kept running into John Brown sites, [even] way up the Canadian border. And then, where he tried his ill-fated attempt to have his slave uprising, which was in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, we were camping there and close to that was the battlefield for the Battle of Antietam. We were camping in the swamp, like not even in the camp ground, we were sort of pushed off the trail we were biking on, and it was just spooky. And I couldn’t stop thinking about John Brown. I wouldn’t say I had a supernatural experience that night, but … there was something in the air. After that I couldn’t stop. It just got sort of reborn in me.

You use the comic book medium in novel ways. You’ve adapted the Gettysburg Address, the United States Constitution, and even the history of beer into a graphic novel format. Now, you’re currently working on The Comic Book Guide to the USA. What is it about comic books that you’re attracted to? What do you like doing in comic books that you don’t want to do in other ways?

Hennessey: I love prose literature, but I think we’re very visual animals for the most part. I know I’m very visual, but I cannot draw to save my life. I’ve tried, I’ve taken instructions, it’s not gonna happen.

Me too.

Hennessey: I would if I could! And being able to hand off your writing to an illustrator and see that person come up with something is so gratifying. It’s not that it’s easy, [but] if you were making a film you’d have to hire a whole crew, and it would be tons of money, so it’s just so gratifying to take ideas that you want to express visually, and [comic books are] a great way to do it. But also I think it’s a great way of clarifying without simplifying. It’s an old, shop-worn idea, but a picture is worth a thousand words. You can make a lot of head way, narratively with pictures and words, that you can’t get with just one or the other alone.

What led you to Epochalypse? What made you want to dive in fiction, and what influenced Epochalypse?

Hennessey: It’s interesting that you asked that. I never set out to be a writer of nonfiction, actually. These other projects were born out of me trying to shop Epochalypse around insanely. Epochalypse in 2006 was developed enough where I was sending it around to editors trying to get it going, and it was close enough to where people were interested but nobody wanted to pull the trigger. But there were people interested in doing nonfiction. There were people who asked me, “Well there’s nothing I can do with this crazy time-travel story, but what other ideas do you have? What other ideas do you have that the book publishing industry might be interested in?” And so the nonfiction book became this kind of strange interlude, unexpected but very enriching and very rewarding. It was done sort of parallel trying to launch Epochalypse.

How did you choose a character like Johannes to lead EpochalypseYou have 600 years of human history colliding, I imagine it’s difficult to pick just one. What led you to pick him? And what do you think is making Johannes tick?

Hennessey: I picked Johannes because I found myself really interested in an overlooked chapter in American history, which is the history of the Dutch colony. When the old New York was really old New Amsterdam. I’ve lived in New York City and anybody who lives in the east coast, and arguably anybody who lives in America, lives in the shadow of New York City. But New York is such a hustling, bustling place … [in cities like] Boston or Philadelphia, the history comes first. In New York, it’s not even second or third. It’s a very distant afterthought. But I was really intrigued. How was it that the Dutch were the ones who started things here? We tend to forget that the Netherlands were great merchant exploratory power when the empire was at its height. And also, because it’s an overlooked period [we have forgotten that] the Dutch values really did help make America, America. The Dutch was one of the only really middle class countries in Europe, particularly at the time. It didn’t have a lot of nobility, it was sort of a model republic for the United States. It’s a civilization that I’m very interested in, and they were famous for their tolerance. Most people forget that the pilgrims actually moved to the Netherlands first and tried to have a go at it before they came to Plymouth.

I think I remember reading that in school, but I admit I forgot.

Hennessey: Yeah! So, Johannes came out of that for me. And in some ways I describe Johannes as a sort of anti-Batman. And I say that because, one of the things that’s motivating him as we’ll see in Issue #2 before he gets displaced from history, he witnesses the massacre of his whole family. He comes into the year 1951, along with all the people from the past and the future. Most people want to go back to where they came from. He hears that there is this mysterious new government that promises that [they] can undo what has been done and it needs people to help it, and in exchange the people who help the government restore history will be allowed to go anywhere in history they want. Epochalypse has a distinct vision of time travel problems as paradoxes, and I think this is another bone that I have to pick with time-travel in general: I think we humans have such vanity for ourselves and our own role in the history of the universe. Like when we imagine if we [were to] go back in time and kill our grandmother or something like that, like something that trivial can really throw the whole universe off, it’s silly to me. So in Epochalypse, the only paradox in the universe wouldn’t be able to just absorb, would be some kind of event that would have huge consequences for mass or energy. Not some trivial human event. So Johannes has been told that he will be the one to go back in time and save his family. And I say that he’s an anti-Batman because witnessing the violent death of his loved ones doesn’t make him this dark person bent on revenge. It sort of awakens in him a compassion for he suffering that other people have had and the desire to alleviate that.

You seem to be exploring the more darker corners of human history, especially the realities of colonial/native relations. Coincidentally, Thanksgiving is just around the corner. How do you intend to explore the lesser known and grim realities that have unfortunately happened and tend to be swept under the rug?

Hennessey: In the case of the Native American response to this fictional universe that I’ve created is a very specific one. Because, since the event called the Incongruity has not picked and chosen people carefully. I mean, I as a storyteller have, but I imagine that the event was not discriminating. And so, in this post-Incongruity world, I think there’s actually many more living Native Americans than there would have been had history played out the way it’s supposed to. So the Native American community in this world, which we will begin to see through a character who is introduced in Issue #3, are among several communities in this world who maybe don’t have a vented interest in history going back the way that it was, and may oppose the Resyncronizers and challenge them in important ways.

The art style of Epochalypse has a sort of hyper-realism to it. Yes, it’s a comic book, but there’s a hefty amount of detail. What dictated this style? What discussions did you have with your artist Shane Davis?

Hennessey: The number one thing that I would say is that the things from the future have to really stand out from the past. We’re looking through the eyes of mostly people from the past, looking at what they imagine things from the future should look like. And so, there was a big stylistic choice to go with things that look slightly paleo-futuristic, a vision of a future that did not happen. But that’s not just a mere stylistic choice just to be cute. We will learn as the series goes on that there is a very specific, and possibly sinister reason for things looking the way they do.

I know Epochalype just started, but after the series, what are you looking to tackle next? Would you ever want to write an established character? I imagine you’d be right at home with something like Assassin’s Creed.

Hennessey: [laughs] Right? I would be overjoyed to work on a license character by somebody else. And [because] it’s very important to me, I do plan to continue nonfiction graphic novels as well. I’m exploring some other ideas for that too. It’s interesting to take common things, like beer for example, and you start to peek under the covers and you begin to see how strange history is and how unexpected things influence the present. Like in the History of Beer for example, the early Catholic church came up that I did not expect to see, and things like the Black Death, and how the Black Death helped give rise to the modern period in some strange ways, and how it all had to do with beer!

What ultimately is Epochalypse about at its heart? More than just history colliding into one time and space. What do you want Epochalypse to reflect on the here and now?

Hennessey: The big thematic question at the center of Epochalypse is the question of history itself. As the series go on, the characters will begin to have reason to question themselves. Their task is to save history. Things will happen along the way that will sort of make them question, “Is history worth saving?” Or, if destiny hands you a big reset button for the universe, would it be worth gambling on a fresh start?

From Legendary Comics, Epochalypse #1 is available on comic shelves now.

You can keep up with Jonathan Hennessey through his website.

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The Saint Mort Show Episode 106: Tommy Avallone (Director of I Am Santa Claus) http://www.geekscape.net/the-saint-mort-show-episode-106-tommy-avallone-director-of-i-am-santa-claus http://www.geekscape.net/the-saint-mort-show-episode-106-tommy-avallone-director-of-i-am-santa-claus#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 05:16:18 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=82514 Tommy Avallone is one of my most frequent guests, he appeared back in Episode 1 but he hasn’t been on for over a year. Tommy’s film I Am Santa Claus is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray and will be on Netflix November 25th. It was great going into Philly and talking to Tommy about the movie, Santa Claus and wrestling.

The song during the intro is We’re All Theme Parks by Team Goldie.

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Telltale’s ‘Game Of Thrones’ Gets A Freaking Teaser Trailer! http://www.geekscape.net/telltales-game-of-thrones-gets-a-freaking-teaser-trailer http://www.geekscape.net/telltales-game-of-thrones-gets-a-freaking-teaser-trailer#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 19:16:39 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=82500 The information train has left the station and is cruising along at a wicked pace. We got our first taste a week ago, then a series of screenshots were leaked, AND NOW THIS! A TRAILER!

I am getting more and more hype for this everyday. To actually see the characters moving, and talking (just off screen), has got me PUMPED!

Let’s hope this game ships soon!

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Geekscape Movie Reviews: The Imitation Game http://www.geekscape.net/geekscape-movie-reviews-the-imitation-game http://www.geekscape.net/geekscape-movie-reviews-the-imitation-game#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 18:03:36 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=82493 Every year an unexpected film rises out of nowhere and makes its mark on the awards season race. While Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game hung quietly on prognosticators’ radars, none expected it to capture the highly coveted People’s Choice Award at TIFF, a recognition that instantly catapults the film into the heart of the Best Picture race. Previous winners of the award include powerhouse titles such as Slumdog Millionaire, The King’s Speech, Silver Linings Playbook and 12 Years a Slave, so it’s easy to understand the significance of such an achievement. But a larger and more important question continues loom over The Imitation Game, can the film hold off a barrage of Oscar-worthy competitors that are still awaiting their releases?

Brilliant mathematician Dr. Alan Turing (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) is summoned to interview with military officials during the German expansion of World War II. Alan is selected as part of a secretive unit tasked with one important mission, to break the most sophisticated encryption machine the world has ever seen. Understanding that human trial and error has no chance of breaking Germany’s Enigma code, Dr. Turing develops an advanced computing machine that helps the allied forces defeat the Nazis and changes the world forever.

2014, THE IMITATION GAME

The Imitation Game has all the makings of an Oscar-caliber film. Director Morten Tyldum brings to life an amazing true story filled with obstacles and complexities that briskly carry the feature from start to finish. And at its core rests a worthy lead, Benedict Cumberbatch, whose intricacies perfectly capture the mind of a mathematician. As a professor of mathematics at a state university in Pennsylvania, I have a first-hand view into such “thinkers” and Cumberbatch sells the role extremely well. Everything from Alan Turing’s difficulties handling social settings to his full-fledged cognitive arrogance. Although I personally felt some of the moments were slightly overacted, Cumberbatch undoubtedly gives an accomplished performance alongside other stellar turns from castmates Keira Knightley and Matthew Goode. With yet another beautiful score from Alexandre Desplat and solid direction from Tyldum, The Imitation Game is an all-around formidable piece of cinema that will certainly find its way into many Oscar discussions.

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Although The Imitation Game is a strong piece of filmmaking on various levels, one unfair criticism would be that the feature never really amazes in any particular area. Actually, the movie feels like a bit of a conundrum. For example, I commend the uptempo pacing of Tyldum’s work, yet more interesting ideas and controversies surrounding Alan Turing’s personal life become glossed over in order to achieve a more fluid viewing experience. While such decisions unarguably ease the responsibilities of both the filmmaker and the screenwriter, The Imitation Game becomes merely a partially told story that feels like a slight disservice to such a marvelous and significant man who has left his impression on the modern technological world.

All in all The Imitation Game is an unquestionable crowd-pleaser filled with humor, drama and everything in between. Dr. Alan Turing was a pioneer in the world of technology and a mathematical genius who helped defeat the Nazis. His story of heroics is one that is told very well throughout the film and one that everyone should know, so do yourself a favor and seek out The Imitation Game when it reaches theatres in late-November.

GRADE: 4/5

Check out other work from MCDAVE including The Best Comedy Sequels of All-Time at his host site.

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Take A First Look At ‘The Flash vs. Arrow’ Crossover Event! http://www.geekscape.net/take-a-first-look-at-the-flash-vs-arrow-crossover-event http://www.geekscape.net/take-a-first-look-at-the-flash-vs-arrow-crossover-event#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 04:39:34 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=82472 Briefly: We’re now just a couple of weeks away from the anticipated Arrow The Flash crossover event, and The CW today debuted a new batch of images from the upcoming episode.

A synopsis has also been revealed, giving us a much better idea of what we can expect from the first half of the event:

Barry (Grant Gustin) is thrilled when Oliver (guest star Stephen Amell), Felicity (guest star Emily Bett Rickards) and Diggle (guest star David Ramsey) come to Central City to investigate a case involving a deadly boomerang. Excited about teaming up with his friend, Barry asks Oliver if he’d like to help him stop Ray Bivolo, the meta-human Barry is currently tracking. Bivolo causes people to lose control of their emotions and has been using that skill to rob banks. Unfortunately, the superhero partnership doesn’t go as smoothly as Barry expected. When Oliver tells Barry he still has a lot to learn, Barry sets out to prove him wrong by attempting to stop Bivolo alone. However, when Bivolo infects Barry and sets him on a rage rampage, everyone is in danger, and the only one who can stop him is the Arrow. Meanwhile, Iris (Candice Patton) is furious when Eddie (Rick Cosnett) tries to get a task force to stop The Flash, Joe and Dr. Wells (Tom Cavanagh) agree the Arrow is a bad influence on Barry, and Caitlin and Cisco deal with a new team in S.T.A.R. Labs.

It certainly sounds like an action-packed episode, and I really can’t wait to see it. For now, we’ll have to settle on these images while we count down the days. Take a look at everything below, and let us know what you think of Arrow so far!

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Meta Knight Amiibo To Be Exclusive To Best Buy http://www.geekscape.net/meta-knight-amiibo-to-be-exclusive-to-best-buy http://www.geekscape.net/meta-knight-amiibo-to-be-exclusive-to-best-buy#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 04:22:08 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=82467 Briefly: Following the news that the Shulk Amiibo would be exclusive to GameStop, a corporate note from Best Buy (which appears to have been taken down) has revealed a second Amiibo that you won’t find anywhere else: Meta Knight.

It’s unknown just how long these figures are set to remain exclusive (or available for that matter), but as both the Meta Knight and Shulk Amiibos are set to launch in the third wave of figures this February, you’ll probably want to get your hands on them fairly quickly.

The first wave of Amiibos is set to launch alongside Super Smash Bros. for Wii U this Friday. How many are you planning to pick up?

MetaKnight

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Geekscape Games Reviews: ‘Super Smash Bros.’ For Wii U http://www.geekscape.net/geekscape-games-reviews-super-smash-bros-for-wii-u http://www.geekscape.net/geekscape-games-reviews-super-smash-bros-for-wii-u#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 23:31:05 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=82448 Note: At time of publishing, the online functionality of Super Smash Bros. had not yet been activated. Impressions are based on single player and local multiplayer onlyI also did not have an opportunity to test out the Amiibo functionality, so I haven’t touched on that in the following body.

Remember when gamers everywhere were whining and groaning that the Wii U didn’t have any games?

Oh, they’re still saying that?

Have they seen the console’s library of freaking exclusives?

Well, Nintendo is about to add another universally-acclaimed title to their roster, and if trends continue, maybe opinionated gamers won’t deem the Wii U such a failure for much longer (well, they probably still will for some reason, but I still love the thing).

Enter Super Smash Bros. for Wii U.

Now, we’ve all been playing Nintendo’s stellar mobile edition of Super Smash Bros. for nearly two months. Many of us have been through blisters, weeks of strained eyes, broken circle pads, or far worse, so I was beyond looking forward to giving my hands (and my overused 3DS) a much needed break. I grabbed my Pro Controller (which never, ever needs charging apparently), popped in the disc, and instantly witnessed near perfection.

The 3DS edition is almost perfect as it is (aside from a few sub-par modes), but the fact that I could play a match and not want to re-enact the end of Saw on my hands (it would be a less painful alternative, clearly) solidified the Wii U version’s greatness. The beyond-cramped screen and where-did-I-go characters are gone, and seeing our favourite fighters and the beautifully designed stages on a bigger screen and in full HD is an absolute treat. It’s totally silly, but I often find myself pausing (single-player of course) matches at choice moments, panning and zooming the camera, and simply basking in just how freaking beautiful everything looks (and it looks even better in glorious 60FPS motion). Right from the menus, to the backgrounds, to the arenas themselves (a huge 46 stages) to the characters (of which there are 51) and trophies, it would be impossible not to call Super Smash Bros. strikingly gorgeous.

Aside from the (again, stellar) presentation, this edition of Super Smash Bros. adds to the already expansive list of features contained in the 3DS release. Nintendo actually detailed 50 interesting facts about the Wii U version a few weeks back (if you’ve got half an hour, check that out below), but by far the biggest addition to the title is the insanely fun and insanely frustrating 8-player Smash. If you’ve ever thought that four-player Smash Bros. was sometimes too hectic, you will not have a second to even breathe when you double the participants. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a total blast, but in playing this mode with seven lucky friends, we experienced countless “where am I” and “what the heck happened” moments. And then there’s the damned ‘Great Cave Offensive’ arena, where the frustration grows exponentially whenever a fighter leaves the pack (the stage is HUGE). Still, playing with up to eight players means that none of your real-life friends ever have to sit out (nobody has more than seven friends, right?), and the mode is so damned hectic (especially with items on) that someone who has never or rarely played Smash Bros. still has an opportunity for victory, even against a seasoned veteran (I witnessed this many, many times). Of course, to be able to experience 8-player Smash, you need a lot of controllers, which segways me right into one of the coolest aspects of the title (and most first-party releases in general): the controller options.

Nintendo has released a lot of controllers in the 13 years since the GameCube came out. You’ve got the classic GCN controller, the sought-after WaveBird, Wii Remotes, Wii Motion + Remotes, Nunchuks, Classic Controllers, Pro Classic Controllers, Wii U Gamepads, Wii U Pro Controllers, and I’m probably missing a few in that list too. It’s pretty incredible to note that (with an optional adapter to go back to the GCN days) that all of these controllers and attachments are compatible with Super Smash Bros. This means that if you or any of your friends own a Nintendo controller from the last 13 years, you’re set. That’s amazing, and between a group (especially of eight people) it should not be hard to get an entirely full game going. You can even force one of your friends to use a 3DS as a controller if you really, really hate them. My only wish for the GameCube support and optional adapter is that the extend it into other titles down the road. I get that it’s the preferred method of input for competitive Smash play, but what if any game that could feature the Pro or Classic controllers could also utilize the GCN pad?

I think that the thing that I love most about Super Smash Bros. is that I can be completely terrible at it and still have a smashing good time (it was as hard to type that pun as it must be to read it). I’d consider myself a Smash Bros. beginner (aside from this title, I’ve put less than 8 hours into the franchise), and yet, even while playing against friends who have put an uncountable amount of time into the series, and who describe ‘advance techs’ and other mechanics that I can’t even begin to understand, I still have fun. These people absolutely destroy me, each and every match we play, and yet I’m never at a point where I’ve had enough. It’s an incredibly balanced title (or so it seems to this n00b), and each time I’m knocked out, I feel it completely justified. I can see the wrong direction or button that I pushed, I can see the counter my opponent had ready, I can see that my timing was off. It’s alway frustrating to be blown off the map, but it’s also always fair, which is something that I feel a lot of games miss out on these days.

Pac-Man and Mega Man have joined the fight, and they're both pretty awesome.

Pac-Man and Mega Man have joined the fight, and they’re both pretty awesome.

Smash is also an extremely simple title to grasp the basics of. Simply watching the game’s short tutorial video is enough to get you off the ground (pushing or flicking the analog stick in different directions will all lead to different attacks, etc.), and it’s such an easy to understand title that I can imagine a few young children who would very quickly be able to surpass my ability. On the flipside, the game can be as complicated as you want it to be, and if you plan on playing competitively, prepare for it to get really complicated, really fast. The fact that I can hand a controller to a 100% non-gamer and within a few minutes see them smiling and throwing punches is a pretty powerful thing. In fact, at the end of a long night of local multiplayer, instead of hearing a “well let’s never do that again” I was instead asked “so when are we playing again.” It’s pretty amazing that a single game can do this, and especially a fighting game, which I always found to be the most frustrating and non newbie friendly genre of them all.

Multiplayer is obviously key in a game of this genre, but that doesn’t mean that there’s not a lot to love when you’re playing by yourself. The always fun Classic Mode, where you fight a ton of dudes and then fight a really hard dude (and you can totally scale the difficulty to earn more gold) is still present, as is the timeline-spanning All-Star Mode. Smash Tour is a boardgame-style mode that has you collecting fighters and power-ups (starting a battle with an item in-hand for instance) that starts out convoluted but ends up being pretty fun whether you’re alone or with friends, while the extremely-welcome Events have you completing super-specific and sometimes super-challenging tasks. I’ve nearly thrown my controller more than a few times playing that mode, so maybe you should use a wrist-strap for that one (you should definitely use a wrist-strap for that one). As always, there are tons and tons of collectibles to get your hands on, which should leave completionists beyond busy for quite some time.

Another issue that Nintendo has solved in this iteration is that fact that younger players may not have the slightest idea where some of these characters are from. To help (and to again help with those nostalgic feelings for us older players), Nintendo has built in three-minute demos of a lot of their classic titles. It’ll probably make them a ton of money too, seeing as all of these titles are available on the Wii U eShop (and have handy buy links after the demo times out). It was a very cool experience to be able to jump into the SNES F-Zero when a friend asked “What the heck is Captain Falcon from?”… and then immediately jump back out because that game is impossible.

Masterpieces mode gives you timed-demos of old classics.

Masterpieces mode gives you timed-demos of old classics.

It’s hard to put my finger on what really does it for me here; whether it’s the insane roster of classic and recognizable characters (and Shulk), or that warm nostalgic feeling I get from each and every stage, or maybe it’s that I really like collecting things and there’s seemingly no limit to the collectibles in this game. It could also be the fact that Nintendo has again developed another knockout that I can experience while sitting right beside my friends: they can swear at me in person instead of over a mic, and that’s a major oversight of most games these days. Whatever it is (it’s more than likely a culmination of all of these things and more), I’m absolutely enamoured with Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, and with the revelation of DLC and the idea that bugs can be patched (sorry advanced tech-ers), as well as its sheer addictiveness, people are going to be in love with this game for a long, long time. Me included.

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U scores a smash-tacular 5/5. Go buy it, go buy it right now.

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EXCLUSIVE: Clip From Tonight’s Lucha Underground, Fenix vs. Pentagon Jr. http://www.geekscape.net/exclusive-clip-from-tonights-lucha-underground-fenix-vs-pentagon-jr http://www.geekscape.net/exclusive-clip-from-tonights-lucha-underground-fenix-vs-pentagon-jr#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:40:37 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=82441 Robert Rodriguez’s El Rey network has been proving itself to be ground zero for cool things cool nerds want to watch. Whether it’s reruns of The X-Files or Bruce Lee movies, El Rey is just that awesome channel to have on when you show off your man cave. Lucha Underground is one of their original programs, and just four weeks in we’ve seen some of the craziest wrestling anywhere on television.

Tonight is the premiere of the fourth episode, and we have an exclusive clip featuring Fenix and Pentagon Jr. tearing the house down.

The episode premieres tonight at 8 PM EST/PT on the El Rey network. Check your local listings.

From the press release:

El Rey Network will air the fourth episode of their action packed original wrestling series “Lucha Underground,” from Emmy Award®-winning producer Mark Burnett on Wednesday, November 19th at 8:00PM ET/PT. In the brand new episode entitled “Thrill of the Hunt,” Konnan cautions Puma to not get involved in the main event between Mundo and Big Ryck and Sexy Star makes a theatrical return as she vows vengeance on Chavo and takes on Ivelisse in the ring. Let us know if you would like photos/clips from this week!
The new 39-episode series combines ancient lucha libre tradition, extraordinary athleticism and a flare for theatrics in each hour-long episode. Every Wednesday, viewers will have a backstage and ringside seat as masked villains and heroes tell their stories while facing off to battle for wrestling supremacy resulting in programming that is unlike anything else on the screen.

Are you watching Lucha Underground? Tell us what you think in the comments below!

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Miss Out On ‘Destiny’? It Now Has A Free Trial! http://www.geekscape.net/miss-out-on-destiny-it-now-has-a-free-trial http://www.geekscape.net/miss-out-on-destiny-it-now-has-a-free-trial#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 04:06:32 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=82433 Briefly: If you haven’t yet jumped into Bungie and Activision’s Destiny, you now have one less excuse not to play it: The publisher has just detailed a trial version of what may be this year’s most addictive shooter (which still has a ton of issues which we totally go into on Geekscape Games… yep, shameless plug).

The free version (which is called a trial on PS4/Xbox One and demo on PS3/Xbox 360) is available today, and Bungie has answered any questions that players may have (mostly regarding character progression) via their latest blog post:

When I’m ready to buy the full game, will my character progression be transferred?
Yes, assuming you purchase the full retail copy of Destiny on the same console platform family you played the Destiny Trial or Demo on. For example, you may not transfer your progress from the Destiny Demo on Xbox 360 to the full retail version of Destiny on PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 3.

Progress is always shared automatically within the same console family on the Destiny servers. No action on your part is required.

 

How do I upgrade to the full game?
The Destiny Trial on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One can be upgraded via the in game menu. You will not be required to download the full retail game or purchase a disc.

To get the full version of Destiny on PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360, purchase Destiny from your local retailer, the Xbox Store, or the Playstation Store. Once you have launched the full version of Destiny, and confirmed that your existing character progression can be selected, you may delete the Destiny Demo file, as you will no longer require it.

The demo/trial offers “a sampling of character creation and progression, story mission content, along with cooperative and social activities.” Not bad for free, and a great way for Activision to sell a ton of copies this holiday season. Will you be checking out the trial? Or are you already well versed in Destiny and it’s wonderful (hah) Grimoire?

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A ‘From Hell’ Series Is In The Works At FX http://www.geekscape.net/a-from-hell-series-is-in-the-works-at-fx http://www.geekscape.net/a-from-hell-series-is-in-the-works-at-fx#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 03:48:50 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=82429 Briefly: Now this is an adaptation I’d love to see (well, not as much as a Y: The Last Man series, but I’ll take what I can get).

According to Deadline, FX has started working on an event series based on Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s From Hell, which is “the story of Jack the Ripper, perhaps the most infamous man in the annals of murder. Detailing the events leading up to the Whitechapel killings and the cover-up that followed, From Hell is a meditation on the mind of a madman whose savagery and violence gave birth to the 20th century.”

Don Murphy, who also produced the film adaptation (and Transformers…) is set to produce the series, which will be written by Children of Men screenwriter David Arata. Now, this is a property that was probably always best suited to a series, because it’s so freaking long. Having the opportunity to go far more in depth than the film adaptation ever did can only mean good things for this version, and I cannot wait to see what comes from it.

Details on the series are essentially non-existent at this point, but we’ll be sure to fill you in as soon as we learn more. Are you down for a From Hell series? Sound out below!

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The ‘Peanuts’ Trailer Is Here, And It’s Cute As Hell! http://www.geekscape.net/the-peanuts-trailer-is-here-and-its-cute-as-hell http://www.geekscape.net/the-peanuts-trailer-is-here-and-its-cute-as-hell#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 03:27:48 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=82424 Briefly: It’s still over a year from release, and we still don’t know what it’s about, but the theatrical teaser trailer for next Winter’s Peanuts has just hit the web, and it’s freaking glorious.

Now, somehow I grew up (like went all the way through childhood) without really being introduced to the franchise. That being said, this looks so hype (that’s for you, Shane) that I’m really interested in going back to see what I’ve missed.

The teaser really gives away nothing from the film (again, we still have no idea of its plot), but it’s definitely, definitely worth the watch. Take a look below.

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Telltale’s ‘Game Of Thrones’ Had A Buncha Screenshots Leaked! http://www.geekscape.net/telltales-game-of-thrones-game-had-a-buncha-screenshots-leaked http://www.geekscape.net/telltales-game-of-thrones-game-had-a-buncha-screenshots-leaked#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 21:20:22 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=82410 Be it on purpose or accident, the first of in game screenshots have hit our digital desks, and they look just as I expected them too! They obviously have that “Telltale” (see what I did there?) flair, and the actors likenesses seem to be accurately depicted here.

GoT TellTale Leak (1) GoT TellTale Leak (2) GoT TellTale Leak (3) GoT TellTale Leak (4) GoT TellTale Leak (8) GoT TellTale Leak (5) GoT TellTale Leak (6) GoT TellTale Leak (7)

No word yet on how these accurate depictions will sound, most likely we won’t have the actual actors, but a strikingly accurate simulation.

We still don’t have a release date, but they’re still shooting for end of 2014.

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Geekscape 342: All About RPGs With The Boys From Saving Throw! http://www.geekscape.net/geekscape-342-all-about-rpgs-with-the-boys-from-saving-throw http://www.geekscape.net/geekscape-342-all-about-rpgs-with-the-boys-from-saving-throw#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 19:15:26 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=82445 One thing we don’t cover enough on Geekscape is the hugely popular world of RPGs and tabletop gaming! Both have been on a huge upswing in popularity for the past few years and it’s about time we reflected that on the show! To help us wade through the deep waters as a bunch of noobs, Ivan and Dom from Saving Throw join their buddy Ben Dunn to teach Kenny and I about the new generation of tabletop RPGs. We discuss the new mechanics of D&D and the difference between it and Pathfinder. Also, we suggest some other games to the audience, including horror based ones and the growing popularity of real world games like Puzzle Rooms! It’s a brand new day and age with an old familiar game on this episode of Geekscape!

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Geekscape Games Reviews ‘Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f 2nd’ http://www.geekscape.net/geekscape-games-reviews-hatsune-miku-project-diva-f-2nd http://www.geekscape.net/geekscape-games-reviews-hatsune-miku-project-diva-f-2nd#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 18:25:12 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=82389 I’ll be honest, I never really understood the hype surrounding Hatsune Miku and the Vocaloid craze. For the uninitiated, Miku and her friends are virtual pop stars who literally go on tours, perform live concerts and release albums with their singing voice completely made through computerized sounds after taking audio samples from a real person. Basically, they’re made completely out of autotune combined with Coachella Tupac.

But while I never found myself getting into the fandom as a whole, I would never let that get in the way of a great rhythm game, which the Miku series of games tends to bring. The latest entry, Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f 2nd, looks to continue that trend, with more songs, more unlockables and more Miku that ever before. Sadly, with the large range of content comes many of the issues that held down its predecessor, delivering a fun title that never strays from its expected path, for better and for worse.

HMPDF2_Screenshot_AkatsukiArrival_1415398377Each song comes with an often overdramatic video when not filled with bad dancing. J-Pop is serious business.

In Project Diva f 2nd, players are thrown onto center stage as either Miku herself, or nearly half a dozen other character modules, including Kagamine Rin, her brother, Len, and Megurine Luka, each with their own songs and voices across the 40 in game tracks. Featuring a mix of both new songs and returning favorites with reworked button charts, there will be plenty of high energy toe tappers and even a few slow jams to build up your score with. Unfortunately, if you’re eager to dive into what Project Diva has to offer, the game forces you to be patient, only starting you with about five songs, with each new one unlocking as you complete what’s available. Even then, I found the soundtrack overall to be less impressive than the first game, finding myself rarely humming the tracks after the game was off, (except for the tutorial song, damn it! That thing had to have been made by the devil).

Throughout each song, prompts will have would be pop stars pressing one of the four face buttons or swiping the touch screen in time with the music. Patterns become more complex as the songs increase in difficulty, but again, Hard and Extreme are locked, forcing a false sense of replayability, especially for series veterans who will blow through the default settings. Starting with Normal only uses two buttons and the touch pad for example, while increasing the mode of play brings in the whole controller. Mix that in with double swipes and taps, (where a direction and button or a two finger swipe is needed to score), and you end up with a straightforward, yet fairly complex and highly rewarding play style.

Adding a little depth to the regular going ons of each song are two Technical Zones and one Chance Time section, each of which will help you boost your rank. Technical challenges you to hit a certain amount of notes in particular sections without missing, while chance builds up a meter that offers huge bonuses for those who can fill it, while hitting the final note in the sequence. Whether trying for the highest ranks, or inching to survive a tough song, (since you can still fail a song even if you make it to the end if your score is too low), these sections can both help or hinder you. Trust me, there are few things more annoying than almost getting a perfect run, only to miss the highest rank because the handful of notes that you missed were in the technical section, especially on Hard and Extreme.

That’s not to say that higher modes of play aren’t fun. In fact, they’re the highlight of the game! But as the fun increases on higher settings, so does the frustration. My biggest complaint with the first game in the series was its interface, placing the button prompts all over the screen while icons fly all across the screen. As the amount of inputs increase, so does the confusion, cluttering up the screen with images that are nearly impossible to follow along with unless you already know the song by heart ahead of time. Even then, when the game tries to get cute and make patterns with the icons, multiple inputs in the same prompt, or alternating buttons, it makes the rhythm sections both frustrating and hard to follow. There’s nothing worse than losing a perfect combo because you can’t make sense of all the triangles and circles flying at you. Worse of all, is that taking your fingers off the buttons to swipe the screen is counter-intuitive, often leading me to many a miss. Thankfully, the options allow Vita players to switch to the PS3 play style and handle those beats with the analog stick instead.

HMPDF2_Screenshot_illmikumikuyou_1415398387What does Miku-Mikuing someone even mean!?

If the confusing note charts are particularly jarring, take the game to Edit Mode and see if you can do any better! With the ability to create custom button arrangements, these creations can be made, shared and downloaded online, potentially creating an endless stream of remixes from the community. As if the insane amount of in game achievements and items weren’t enough, editing and downloading can keep you playing long after the main game has worn thin.

(NOTE: Edit Mode was unavailable at the time of review, but is essentially the same as the first game. This review will be amended if we find any major changes.)

When you need a break from the onslaught of the Rhythm Game, players can explore Miku’s Room. Here, you can watch her read, eat, sleep, and go about her daily life in its voyeuristic glory. When you want to go a little more hands on with her day to day, you can pet her and give her food and water. Sadly, there’s no option to walk her or play frisbee, but you CAN use your hard earned Diva Points to buy new outfits, accessories, gadgets and furniture for her, or any of the other Modules, all of which have their own rooms and petting needs. A little creepy? Sure! But this is firmly a Japanese title, so would you expect anything less?

Speaking of the Japanese, f 2nd has a pretty awesome feature for the hardcore fans who imported the title, allowing them to do a one time save transfer. I personally can’t think of a game that has allowed that before,showing that Sega really knows that their hardcore Miku fanbase wouldn’t wait for the localized one. It’s great knowing that they have them in mind while localizing a game that many would consider to be a hard sell anyway.

HMPDF2_Screenshot_roshinyukai_1415398390Harder difficulties can get way too confusing.

So despite its issues going largely unchanged, Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f 2nd still manages to be an addicting, rewarding and content filled package that will keep fans playing for a long time. With so many items to buy and unlock, harder difficulties that will push you to get better, and a mostly solid soundtrack, it’s hard to ask for more from a rhythm game on the go. Sure, the interface could use a much needed overhaul, more of the game should be available from the start, and Divas Room can be made far less creepy, but in the end, Project Diva f 2nd is a solid buy for the Vocaloid and the rhythm lovers alike.

Final Score: 3.5/5

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Geekscape Interviews: “Insufferable” Author Mark Waid! http://www.geekscape.net/geekscape-interviews-insufferable-author-mark-waid http://www.geekscape.net/geekscape-interviews-insufferable-author-mark-waid#comments Sun, 16 Nov 2014 01:35:53 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=82356 Picture Batman and Robin. They’re the ultimate two-man team: one, a vengeful but intelligent detective, and the other a spunky young ward. The dynamic duo of Gotham City, they rid the streets of crime and villainy!

Now picture if that spunky ward Robin was a total dick.

That’s the premise of Mark Waid’s Insufferable, which just launched its third volume on Waid’s digital comic website Thrillbent. From Captain America, to the seminal Kingdom Come, to Irredeemable and Incorruptible, Mark Waid is a reigning titan of the comic book industry and has forged a new path in creating Thrillbent, the web-centric comic book publishing house.

Waid’s latest series pits the superhero and father Nocturnus at odds with his brash, egotistical son and former crime-fighting partner Galahad. In Volume 3, Nocturnus and Galahad are struggling to join forces once more as the city they have sworn to protect is under siege. Will they save the day or are they only capable of saving themselves?

Before we get to Insufferable, I want to talk about your open letter to freelancers from last year. What led you to write to all working creatives? Did anything happen to you that led you to, in slang terms, drop a pipe bomb?

Waid: [laughs] Nothing happened to me. What happened was, because I’ve been in the industry for such a long time and I’ve seen everything and I’ve dealt with everybody, I tend to be sort of the wailing wall that younger freelancers come to sometimes to look for advice or to look for guidance for those sorts of things. And I’m flattered by that, I don’t know that I’ve got anything important to say, but I had just heard from the thousandth freelancer that week who felt like they had been screwed over by a publisher. And it was the same complaints over and over again. It became so common. And I just felt like [it was time] to talk to young freelancers and say, “Look, the gist of what I’m saying is all you have is your reputation. All you have is your resume.” And it’s different for everybody, but you have to find the fine line between willing to take editorial direction and take notes to the point it makes the story better, but the moment it starts making the story worse, you’ve gotta walk away. Even though it’s a guaranteed paycheck. You’re gonna end up doing years of bad stories to please editors who are not loyal to you, and then you’re gonna look for jobs somewhere else and no one is going to look at the story and go, “Oh, this must have been badly edited.” No, they’re just gonna look at it and go, “Wow, this story sucks.”

What inspired you to write the story of Insufferable? What inspired you to pit former superhero teammates who are at the tail end of a grudge match?

Waid: I don’t want to name names, but I was reading an interview with a comics pro who was very full of himself [and] very ungrateful towards the people who had shepherded him along and just full of pomposity and braggadocio and I was rolling my eyes going, “Man, what if Robin grew up to be that guy?” And that sparked everything. That sense of seeing Kanye West grab the microphone from Taylor Swift so many times without wanting to say, “Man, dial it back!” So that struck me that that would be a really good superhero [story]. I’ve never seen that relationship before in comics. The idea of, what if your sidekick grew up to be an insufferable douchebag?

Hence the title. 

Waid: Yes!

So Volume 3 starts out with a bang. The whole city is basically on fire. You’ve got Nocturnus and Galahad kind of getting back in the groove, what can you tell us is in store for them? Is this their last hurrah?

Waid: It may actually be their last hurrah. We haven’t officially said so, but the challenge this time with this adventure was, let’s really blow up the stops and remind ourselves that we’re in control of the story. We don’t have to keep the status quo going because it’s part of some universe, we can do whatever we want. So, it is, as my co-creator and artist Peter Krause kept pointing out, for two story story arcs now we’ve had the two of them spiting each other. Which is fun, and fun to write and fun to read, but to keep it from being a cartoon, it’s probably best if their relationship could find some new level. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good level, or a happy level, but we need to find [a new] status quo for them. So that’s where we’re headed to with arc three. They’re going to be in a much different place than they have been.

In relation to your open letter to freelancers and Insufferable, which I assume you have total control over, what’s it like having that freedom? What is it like to stretch your legs without having to be hindered? 

Waid: It’s great and it’s very liberating, but, and your mileage may very, it’s not the end all be all. Because there’s a lot to be said for working with established characters in certain universes too. The upside to something like Insufferable is, as you said, we own it. It’s ours. We’re the boss. We can make up the rules. But that also means we have to invent everything from scratch. And that means there is no mythology or continuity to draw upon, and therefore you can’t take things for granted. You can’t just bring back an old villain because nobody has seen him in awhile. You have to invent this guy. And so, honestly? As much fun as it is to do your own stuff, there is that drawback that people don’t talk about often. Which is, it’s a lot more work.

You’re actually first writer to tell me about how more of a burden there is in creating your own mythos.

Waid: At least equally a burden. Not more of a burden, but equally.

If you had to choose, where do you find yourself the happiest: working on established characters or creating your own?

Waid: Honestly, I know this sounds like a cheap answer, but it really depends on the project and how enthused I am on any given moment. When it comes to being happy, it doesn’t have anything to do with the character whether it’s an established character or one of my own. The happy moments are when you’ve discovered something new about the characters or about storytelling in general or some new technique in comics. That’s the fun part, and that’s irrespective of who owns the characters.

Modern superheroes tend to be grim, a little self-loathing. Superman is supposed to be a shining beacon of hope, but in Man of Steel he was, I don’t know, a little mopey?

Waid: [laughs] Yes!

As someone who has created some of the most seminal works in comic books, what are your thoughts on superheroes today? Do you think they’re in the right to be self-doubting? Where do you see Nocturnus and Galahad fitting in the modern superhero landscape? Did you want them to reflect any particular age in the history of superheroes?

Waid: I think neither. I think they’re a little more timeless, but that’s because a lot of the heart of what their relationship is has nothing to do with superheroes or crimefighting. It has to do with father/son relations. And that’s pretty universal. So it wasn’t any attempt to do anything like a throwback or some new post-9/11 invention, it was just trying to get more universal themes and do them through a superhero lens. And as far as superheroes today goes, I’m hoping the pendulum is swinging back away from relentlessly grim and gritty. I don’t think all superheroes should be fun, light, and goofy, but neither do I think they all have to be blood, guts, violence, cynical, and self-loathing. I think there’s a wider palette to be drawn from. I wish there were more out there that wasn’t dark and grim. But I’ve seen advancements. Luckily, I think the success of the Marvel movies as much as anything else are proving to people to people there’s an audience for stuff that’s not relentlessly grim. I think The Flash TV show is also a yardstick to prove that not everything has to be cynical, dark, and ugly.

The creative team you’re working on Insufferable with, you’ve worked on your previous titles like Irredeemable. What was it like getting that band back together?

Waid: Pete and I knew after Irredeemable we wanted to do something together that we could create from scratch. We had a bunch of ideas, but it became a question of what do we do next? I respect Pete immensely as a creative person, I would be a fool to let that guy travel far out of my sight.

You wanted Insufferable to be uniquely for the digital format. The widescreen format was a necessity. Why did you want that style and not the traditional comic book?

Waid: Well if we’re doing it on the web, it only makes sense to do it in the landscape format. Because that’s the shape screens are. And frankly, that’s the shape the world is. That’s the reason why your eyes are side-by-side and not one on top of each other on your head. That’s how we see the world, in a widescreen view. And so, my biggest problem with digital comics at that point had been trying to force that portrait format style on to a landscape screen. You’re scrolling up and down, but you’re not looking at the whole page at once because it doesn’t fit your screen. I just thought that was ridiculous. I wanted to use the screen space to its maximum. And let the art breathe. And that dictated the 4×3 format. Which, again, we can turn into print comics, and will turn into print comics, but I’d rather worry about digital first and then print comics later.

As you said before, we’re approaching an end of sorts with Volume 3. Whether it’s the end or not, what’s next after Insufferable? What do you want to tackle?

Waid: That’s a very good question. Honestly, no one has asked me that question yet and I’m not entirely sure. All I know is that it needs to involve Peter Krause because I’m not letting that guy go.

What, ultimately, is Insufferable about to you? What is it about this story you want out in the world?

Waid: That it’s possible to love someone in your family without liking them. That’s really the universal theme. That’s the father/son thing. It’s like, you can love your family without really liking them.

You can read Mark Waid’s Insufferable Vol. 3, now available on Thrillbent! New chapters are released every Wednesday.

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Geekscape Games Podcast: Level 6 – Halo Boom: Unity For The WiiU http://www.geekscape.net/geekscape-games-podcast-level-6-halo-boom-unity-for-the-wiiu http://www.geekscape.net/geekscape-games-podcast-level-6-halo-boom-unity-for-the-wiiu#comments Sat, 15 Nov 2014 02:15:39 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=82347 Join Derek, Josh, Juan and Shane as they discuss the last week in games!

Shane’s Assassin’s Creed: Unity review is something to hear.

Subscribe to us in iTunes!

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Scroll to the bottom of the show notes to listen on this page!

This Week

Avalanche Studios confirms Just Cause 3 will not have micro transactions.

Game of Thrones from Telltale details released.

Tales from the Borderlands.

Microsoft files for Battletoads trademark.

Assassin’s Creed: Rogue.

Amiibo’s third release announced.

Shulk Amiibo Gamestop exclusive.

Pokemon Delta Episode and Mirage Spots.

Never Alone launch party with 907 Gamers in Alaska.

Never Alone.

Assassin’s Creed: Unity.

Halo: Masterchief Collection.

Smash Bros.

This Week’s Listener Mission Objective

What is your favorite gaming memory with a non gamer friend or family member.

Leave a comment below, tweet us OR email us: shane (at) geekscape (dot) net

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http://www.geekscape.net/geekscape-games-podcast-level-6-halo-boom-unity-for-the-wiiu/feed 2 Amiibo,Assassin's Creed,Assassin's Creed: Unity,Battletoads,Borderlands,Game of Thrones,games,Geekscape Games,Halo,Halo: Masterchief Collection,Just Cause 3,Microsoft Geekscape Games is a podcast devoted entirely to all things gaming! Geekscape Games is a podcast devoted entirely to all things gaming! Geekscape no 1:06:33
Geekscape Movie Reviews: Foxcatcher http://www.geekscape.net/geekscape-movie-reviews-foxcatcher http://www.geekscape.net/geekscape-movie-reviews-foxcatcher#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 13:47:00 +0000 http://www.geekscape.net/?p=82323 The sound of a single gunshot shook the city of Philadelphia this past Monday evening. While local residents sat safely in their homes, a packed house at the Prince Music Theater held their collective breath completely enamored with Bennett Miller’s latest achievement, Foxcatcher. Miller’s impeccable credentials speak for themselves. With two feature films under his belt, and both earning Best Picture nominations from the Academy Awards, Miller’s Foxcatcher has all of the necessary ingredients for making it three in a row.

Channing Tatum takes center stage as Mark Schultz, a 1984 Olympic Gold Medalists in the sport of wrestling and someone who still manages to get lost in his older brother Dave’s (Mark Ruffalo) shadow. But when a multi-millionaire named John E. du Pont (Steve Carell) invites Mark to move into his estate and lead a group of world-competitive wrestlers at his private Foxcatcher facility, Schultz graciously accepts and begins to branch out and form his own legacy. However, du Pont’s powerful manipulation and stranglehold over Mark begins to escalate to the point where even peacemaker Dave Schultz can’t stop an unfortunate tragedy from occurring.

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Foxcatcher‘s cinematic prowess is evident on nearly every level imaginable. Bennett Miller’s finely tuned and nuanced storytelling is a lost art in modern filmmaking. Subtlety is key, and the director carefully places every tiny detail in its necessary place in order to shape this spine-chilling tale of obsession and madness. Channing Tatum gives the performance of a lifetime in a role he seems destined to play. Standing toe-to-toe with his presumably Oscar-destined counterpart, Steve Carell, Tatum reveals a beautifully complex character. A physical beast with a burning desire for another Olympic Gold Medal and a young man determined to pave his own path in life, Mark Schultz is the last person you’d expect to be emotionally frail. Yet, Tatum captures this multi-dimensional character perfectly and, as a result, helps heighten an intentionally unbalanced and disturbing performance by Carell in a rare villainous role. Predatory and shrewd in nature, Carell’s transformational role establishes du Pont’s eerily reprehensible essence and, in many ways, carries Foxcatcher by itself.

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In addition to a well-crafted story and a pair of superb leading performances, Foxcatcher rhythmically mounts an enormous amount of tension that builds like a symphony. Gradual and meticulous in its approach, what some may view as a slow-paced character study can also be described as a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. And when it finally does, your heart will burst out of your chest in one single instance. Similar in vibe to another slow-building and agonizing journey of impending doom with 2012’s We Need to Talk About Kevin, Foxcatcher cloaks its rapacious themes with illusions of patriotism and grandeur. Everyone is in need of something, but as you sometimes come to discover in a real-life tragedy such as this, you must be careful what you wish for.

Foxcatcher is by no means a feel good story or a film you should seek out to enjoy, but rather a deeply insightful and provocative examination into one of our country’s most perplexing crimes. Anyone fascinated by this national story is guaranteed to be utterly consumed from opening to closing credits. With Foxcatcher, Bennett Miller paints a perfect portrait of all his characters, an epic accomplishment that will undoubtedly stand as one of 2014’s most prestigious films.

GRADE: 5/5

Check out MCDAVE’s host site for an early Oscars Outlook and lots more!

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