You’ll know in the first ten minutes if Blunt Force Trauma is for you. You must accept an alternate reality in which people don bulletproof vests and quick draw to try to knock each other backwards with the impact of the bullets. They do it as an underground sport. There isn’t even a name for it. But it’s totally a thing. The contestants, each with his prized pistol, travel the world looking for matches, eyeing each other suspiciously as they wait in bars and parking lots. Fight clubs with bullets instead of punches.
This is why Ryan Kwanten and Freida Pinto, both supercrazyhot, tool around picturesque Columbia in a bright red muscle car. Pinto pulls her hair back to get ready to shoot, but it’s mostly to show us the tattoo of something on her neck. What is it? I think a scorpion or something. It doesn’t matter. It’s a tattoo on her neck. She also smokes a lot of cigarettes. Her name is Colt. It’s all in the service of selling her as a tough gunfighter chick. Sure, I’ll buy. Kwanten broods prettily a lot. He has rubberbands around the grip of his pistol to show it’s worn, which means he’s travelled long and far. Yet he still has time to sculpt those abs. Implausible? Too late. You’ve already accepted that the sport/gunfight contest is actually a thing. Might as well just go with it.
Director Ken Sanzel takes it all very seriously. He uses entire songs by an indie folk rock group called Kid Dakota. And believe it or not, it all works. By the time the movie arrives at Mickey Rourke, all botoxed and looking bored out of his skull, the dialogue is as silly as Rourke’s oddly colorful boots. But by this time, I hope you’ve learned to trust Sanzel. He knows what he’s doing.
Blunt Force Trauma is available on VOD. Support Qt3 and watch it on Amazon.com.
I hate Doodle God for a couple of reasons. First and foremost is that I’m playing it on the iPad, where it’s festooned with ad pop-ups, rating nags, ingame purchases to circumvent the gameplay, and buttons that look like they’ll take me to some cool feature, only to shunt me into the App Store to buy some other game by developer Joybits. And this is the full paid version. Like so many (all?) other iOS games, Doodle God is a business model first, a game second.
After the jump, let me tell you the second reason I hate Doodle God. Continue reading →
I can’t quite tell if The Visit knows how ridiculous it is. M. Night Shyamalan’s latest movie, which doesn’t tap into our fear of old people so much as our vague disgust toward them, is about kids visiting their grandparents. It may be funny, but it’s not played for laughs. The real question is whether The Visit is in on the joke.
It’s disappointing that Shyamalan doesn’t show any sign of the guy who directed the stylish and effective scenes in Signs, such as the birthday party video, the dark basement, or the knife reflection under the door. At least he doesn’t show any signs of the guy who let Signs get knocked over by a wildly swinging baseball bat or the utterly tone deaf day laborer who directed After Earth. Time was he showed a lot of promise as a filmmaker in search of a script that wasn’t ridiculous. But with The Visit, rather than trusting the inherent creepiness or latent absurdity of his own script, he leans on some of the worst tropes of contemporary bad horror: found footage, jump scares, cell phones that don’t work, long stretches of filler featuring annoying young actors, gross-outs worthy of the Farrelly brothers.
What ultimately salvages The Visit is something too few horror movies achieve: a satisfying resolution. Say what you will about The Visit, at least all that weirdness is adequately explained in the end.
When Rainn Wilson quips “nap time, motherfuckers” before killing a bunch of zombies, I think he was talking to the scriptwriters, who couldn’t be bothered to come up with a single interesting moment, joke, or concept for Cooties beyond its promising premise. Which is “what if there was an R-rated zombie movie in which the zombies are all kids?” After writing that on the page, the scriptwriters apparently lapsed into a nap, because nothing further is done with that premise. Hence this turgid, cheap, under-written, and over-cast exercise in by-the-numbers straight-to-VOD zomcomedy. I guess we have Simon Pegg to blame. I remember when zomcomedies were written and directed by Dan O’Bannon.
The cast deserves better. What a waste of Alison Pill, who demonstrated fiendishly comedic chops in Snowpiercer. What a waste of Nasim Pedrad, who has elevated a lot of weak writing on Saturday Night Live. And poor Leigh Whannell, who along with James Wan founded the Saw series. Oh, wait, Leigh Whannel is the scriptwriter, along with Glee co-creator Ian Brennan. At least they gave themselves a couple of the best parts. Cooties is especially a waste of Rainn Wilson, who gamely plays yet another bloviating clown. I cannot recommend enough his performance in the uneven but wonderfully odd indie horror movie The Boy (watch it here). Cooties, on the other hand, should be avoided like the plague.
Support Qt3 by watching Cooties on Amazon.com. Better yet, don’t watch it and support Qt3 using the donate button over there on the right.
From the prologue, to its one and only chapter transition, to the prologue again, and to the annoying against-all-odds stand-off that actually ends the game after the credits have already rolled twice, Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain is so very Kojima. And just to remind you, there will be a title card and interim credits every half hour or so.
After the jump, written and directed by Hideo Kojima. Continue reading →
I haven’t read anything about Metal Gear Solid V. Even though I’m pretty sure I’m almost done — well, “done”, if things play out like I think they’re going to play out — I still haven’t read anything about it. I prefer to just play it for the same reason that I prefer to see movies without having watched the trailer.
That was almost a mistake.
After the jump, saved by the patch notes. Continue reading →
TO: All Mother Base staff
FROM: Moist Caterpillar, chief of operations, Seychelles
CC: Quarter to Three
DATE: September 17, 2015…no, wait, I think it’s the 80s
SUBJECT: When the helicopter lands
When you hear the helicopter coming in, please congregate at the landing pad so Tom doesn’t have to run around a godawful labyrinthine tangle of catwalks and ladders to find you so you can salute him. If your morale isn’t improved by hearing Kajagoogoo’s Too Shy playing as the helicopter approaches, and if the only way you’re going to be happy is if you can salute him, then make your own way to meet him. He’s got better things to do. Like some hoo-ha about metal gears and I think nukes or something and also flipping around on his iDroid to set up dispatch missions and such. Anyway, all that other stuff is supposedly more important than learning the layout of an oil rig.
Also, please don’t stand at attention right at the shower entrance while he’s taking a shower. It’s kind of creepy.
Also, quit making such a big deal about the dog and the animals that have been saved, which are mostly gerbils.
Finally, he’d like to apologize for all the men he’s accidently judo thrown to the ground. The icon for hand-to-hand combat is exactly what an icon for returning a salute would look like.
Today’s DLC — free DLC! — for Victor Vran adds a new weapon. Adding a weapon to Victor Vran isn’t like adding a weapon to any other game. In any other game, a weapon is just like a weapon. You probably got a unique one when you pre-ordered from Gamestop, signed up for the online NameOfGame.net service, or just killed a bat. But a weapon in Victor Vran is like a whole new class. Well, half a whole new class. How Victor plays at any given time is based on his choice of two weapons from his arsenal, each with unique abilities and gameplay. Let me explain.
The new weapon is a book. Yep, a book. But he doesn’t hit anyone with it. He reads to them from it. Here’s what the Tome of Souls does when Victor Vran reads to you from it:
The Tome can unleash devastating forays of magical attacks, teleport the caster and hamper his enemies with crowd-control effects. This DLC…includes several legendary Tomes such as the Nekonomicon and Fifty Shades of Slay, as well as a new legendary destiny card for Tome-users.
I can’t tell if Nekonomicon is a [sic] situation or if it’s a joke about Neko Case and H.P. Lovecraft that went over my head. But I did get the E.L. James reference, so I’ve got that going for me.
One of my complaints about Victor Vran, the really good action RPG in which each weapon is like a separate character class, was that the stakes were so low. Without any meaningful death penalty and without a hardcore mode, you could just plow through the game until you hit the inevitable end (i.e. next level of challenge stars). From my review:
There is no penalty for dying. No experience point setback, no financial ding, no repair costs, no respawned monsters. The worst that happens is that you might have to run back a few screen lengths to where you died. Its an odd oversight that sometimes makes the whole enterprise feel pointless. But when you play in hardcore mode with permadeath, suddenly the game becomes– Oh, wait, there is no hardcore mode or permadeath.
But in the ongoing tradition of patches marginalizing reviews, Victor Vran gets a patch today that adds hardcore characters! From the notes:
Veteran hunters are challenged to create a Hardcore character and play the game without dying. Hardcore characters can only use equipment found by themselves or other Hardcore characters. If your Hero dies, he isn’t lost completely; he loses his Hardcore status and can still be played.
When it comes to designing a game, the folks at League of Geeks clearly know what they’re doing. Armello is smart stuff, shrewdly tuned, paced, and themed. An adorable little kingdom of animated animals is succumbing to evil purple rot (purple is always the color of evil in non-grim situations). Four heroes must scramble to fill the impending power vacuum, either fighting the rot or embracing it. What a great design!
But when it comes to implementing a game, hoo boy. What happened here? It’s rare to see such a smart game so poorly made.
After the jump, through a VaselineCam ™ darkly. Continue reading →