'(500) Days of Summer' (2009) Impressions

March 31, 2010 § Leave a comment

I think it’s very easy to dismiss Days of Summer as being twee, overindulgent, contrived and unoriginal – i.e., worthless. Oh, all those adjectives do suit the film fairly well. (I mean, it is basically the old Annie Hall formula rehashed for a new generation.) However, I laughed at least a couple of times while watching it, and there were some genuinely touching moments. More importantly, when the script didn’t do a downward spiral into indie – “Oh, look how precious, weird and cute I am!” – land, the actors were given the material to make their characters believable. And, on the whole, they were. Both Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel should absolutely feel pleased about their performances.

The problem is, for every scene that’s well-written, there’s another scene that’s stupid and implausible. For every scene you’re engaged and invested in the characters, there’s another where BOOM! We’re back in indie land. For example, the precocious kid thing? I hate that. It’s awful; it needs to stop. It has been done before, like, a million times already – very rarely successfully, because mostly it just looks plain dumb.

So yeah, it’s worth checking out. (Just remember to keep any knives, guns or any potentially lethal weapons out of reach when you do, just in case.)

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Now is the time for a 'Road Avenger' HD remake

March 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

Back in 1997, when video games were super awesome and not totally lame, Road Avenger was released for the Mega CD, Sega’s ill-fated add-on for the fairly popular at the time Mega Drive (or Genesis, if you’re a yank). It was an FMV-based interactive movie video game, similar to Dragon’s Lair and Space Ace. The plot was simple: you play a dude whose wife gets murdered by a biker gang; said dude then takes revenge by driving his big red sports car on a homicidal rampage, directly into the faces of evil crooks, thugs and, very probably, innocent people. (Collateral damage, y’know? Such a bitch.)

The gameplay was, what we would describe now, a series of Quick Time Events. No, really, it was literally just that. This isn’t the ol’ “Oh, Heavy Rain is just a series of QTEs, wah-wah-wah” line – this was the real deal. Honestly, it has to be seen to be believed (along with the intro):

It was a terrible game. But, to a kid at that time, who probably didn’t know any better, it was brilliant.

And now – I say – now is the time for a full-blown sequel/HD remake of the genre-defying, literary magnum opus that was the original Road Avenger. I present to you, the reader, a fully and completely rational, absolutely non-sentimental, three-point argument as to why this is the case.

  1. We have the storage space in our hands to make it possible: Think: PS3! Blu-ray! 50 gigs of empty space just dying to be filled by cheap, low-budget Japanese animation and god-awful 80s-throwback American rock! It’s the murder-filled, completely illogical and utterly nonsensical road-trip that never ends!
  2. Interactive movie-games are the new Wii Fit: look at how surprisingly well Heavy Rain is doing in terms of sales numbers. And then there’s Final Fantasy XIII, a game which is basically a movie with moving-game-parts soldered on in-between major plot developments, which surpassed the one million sales mark in the U.S. within a matter of days. The gaming public has spoken, and it has very wisely come to its senses and is finally ready to take that next revolutionary step forward – towards badly acted, poorly dubbed movie-games.
  3. Potential motion controller support: you can make car revving noises as you physically lean your way around corners while looking like an idiot in the comfort of your own living-room – and, really, isn’t that what it’s all about?

So, I implore you, e-mail G-mode, who now own the rights, and petition them for a sequel. Then, once you’ve done that, please let me know what their e-mail actually is (since their website’s written in Kanji, and I only speak the Queen’s English).

Chim-chimney cheerio for now, my lovelies. 😀

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