I got hit by a car last week

Not much to this blog.  I was crossing the street the other day and got hit by a silver Impala.  I wasn’t hurt, but the guy sped off.

If it wasn’t so enraging that the guy peeled away, it honestly would’ve been a cool experience.  I’ve always wanted to be hit by a car, just to know what it feels like.  The guy was going at least forty or fifty km/h, so it wasn’t like a minor striking.

My maneuver was also pretty sick.  Instincts kicked in as I saw it coming towards me, and I jumped.  I landed on the hood and somehow barrel-rolled off to the side, landing on my feet.  The guy never stopped.

If you see an impala with a dented hood in London in the next week, give me a shout.

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Review

Caesar saying "Hold up! How are we going to connect this film to the original?"

Caesar saying “Hold up! How are we going to connect this film to the original?”

Let me preface my review with a little background: I love the Planet of the Apes franchise.  I saw all of Rise of the Planet, as well as most of the 2001 remake and the 1968 original.  You could say I’m kind of an Ape expert.

Which is why it pains me to say that I did not enjoy Dawn.  As a standalone movie, it was great. The Action, emotion, and visual effects were outstanding.  The problem? How are they going to connect the current series with the rest of the franchise?

The Franco and Oldman pics were meant to be origin stories.  And so far they’ve provided solid answers to the origins of the Heston and Wahlberg films.  Solid, but not complete.

If this is meant to be a trilogy, and most experts suggest it is, when are they going to leave the earth and head over to the actual PLANET of the apes? In Dawn, the apes are evolving at a fairly slow rate.  How are they going to suddenly gain the knowledge of intergalactic space travel and colonize on a different planet? Director Matt Reeves has not so much hinted at any NASA-like knowledge within Caesar or Koba.  He’ll have a tough task cramming that all into the third instalment.

***/*****

 

 

Watch Dogs: Review

 

This wasn’t what I was expecting at all.

Released nearly a month ago, Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs is an open-world, hacker-themed game for Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One, and PS4.  Similar to GTA, players take the third-person perspective of Aidan Pierce, and roam around the street of Chicago.  I’d get into more detail about plot, graphics etc., but my disappointment led me to putting the game down, going to my room, and contemplating my life’s overall direction.

I can commend Ubisoft on its marketing strategy.  I caught the commercial during an episode of iCarly.  My, uh, kids were watching that show and I happened to be in the room at the time.  Kids are great, right? Having them sure is fun.  I totally remember the day when my, uh, wife birthed those kids right there in that hospital.

Anyways, I didn’t really watch the commercial because I was watching a pvr’d episode of iCarly.  I managed to catch the title-screen saying “Watch Dogs” and figured I’d pick it up for my new PS4.  Having recently switched over from being a Nintendo-only guy, I felt like I needed something for my new next-gen system.  Boy was I in for a shock…

More like DON'T Watch Dogs

More like DON’T Watch Dogs

I guess I should’ve prefaced all of this with my gaming background.  My favourite system has, and always will be, Nintendo DS.  My most played titles: Animal Crossing, Animal Paradise and, of course, the Nintendogs series.  If you haven’t checked out the latter, here’s some gameplay.  It’s a great game for kids, which is why I own it.  I bought it for my kids.

I absolutely loved the animal content in those video games.  The problem was I found the games too interactive.  Enter Watch Dogs.  The title sold me; here’s a video game where I could just watch dogs.  At least, that’s what the title suggested.

Here I am, 12 hours in and not one dog to watch.  Oh great, I can hack into some mainframe and do some other bullshit, but  I’m still waiting to observe a shitzu, or witness a schnauzer.

I give the game three out of ten barks.

Edge of Tomorrow: Review

There’s something that feels repetitive about this movie, but it’s not the content.

Tom Cruise stars as “Cage”, a soldier who has the power to return from the dead to repeat the past day.  He gets this power from magical alien blood, and off we go!  Starting to sound familiar? It should.

This “original” concept was actually ripped from a 2002 classic.  Instead of Cruise, we had Wow.  Instead of Blunt, we had Song.  I’m talking, of course, about John Schultz’s masterpiece Like Mike.

Don’t believe me? You’re an idiot.  They’re basically the same movie.  In Edge of Tomorrow, Cage gets a miraculous ability early on and becomes a phenomenon for the army.  Like Mike‘s Calvin uses a pair of lightning-struck Jordans and lights up the NBA.  Starting to see the connection?

Let’s look at the characters a bit more.  Cage is a down-on-his-luck soldier, who just can’t catch a break when it comes to armying.  Calvin Cambridge is a 13-year-old orphan who couldn’t sink a jumper if it meant his parents coming back.  Then their powers swoop in and save the day.

And if that wasn’t enough, there comes the climax. For Edge of Tomorrow, it’s Cage’s last attempt at saving humanity.  In Like Mike, it’s Calvin trying to get the Los Angeles Knights into a playoff spot.  I know what you’re thinking…was notable plagiarist Shia Lebouef writing this flick? It only gets better.

Shortly before the climax, each protagonist loses their respective power.  Cage and Calvin are back to their old, schlubby selves.  But *spoiler alert* somehow they’re able to cope.  Cage kills off the alien race, saving the world.  Calvin dribbles in between Vince Carter’s legs and the Knights win the game, making the playoffs.

Even though they’ve lost their powers, both guys get the “girl”.  Cruise’s character meets back up with Blunt’s character, and we’re only left to assume they hook up later (probably while wearing a pair of Jordans).  Lil Bow Wow gets adopted because he used to be sick at basketball and was able to catch the eye of his adoptee.

Aside from the seven “Mikes” working on-set as underwater lighting technicians, photo technicians etc., there’s clear allusions to the 2002 Oscar snub.  Here’s a few:

  • NBA Productions had a hand in both films
  • Both movies are clearly set up for a sequel (If you have a chance, please check out Like Mike 2: Street Ball.  LM:LM2=Godfather:Godfather 2)
  • Cruise’s character wears a Knights jersey during most of the battle scenes

Image

 

The evidence is damning.  I’ve reached out to Schultz’s camp, but have yet to hear back.  Still, Like Mike was a movie ahead of its time, truly on the edge of tomorrow.

iOS 7: Hidden Features

The day has finally come.  It’s time to toss on those black turtleneck sweaters, jam in that USB cord into the crusty, grimy hole at the bottom of your iPhone, and update away.  Since I shelled out the big bucks for the developers kit, I’ve become quite familiar with the little nuances hidden within iOS 7’s sleek new interface.  Here a just a couple of things those people at Cupertino have snuck into the latest operating system:

  1. Please Update Your iTunes

Though one of the more subtle touches from Apple, iOS 7 allows users to sit on his or her laptop for a half hour, trying to install the latest update to iTunes.  This beautiful touch is more aesthetically pleasing than anything, as a beautiful download bar appears in either Safari or the App Store.  While not exactly new to the Apple mobile operating systems, users are drawn into the absolutely gorgeous finishes new to the required updates, be it “Error code 101” or the ever popular “Error code 102”.

2. Luxurious Relaxation Times

Part of Apple’s move towards a more user friendly experience has focused on removing the “techy” aesthetics.  With this update, Apple has virtually removed any semblance of techiness with its new feature of “lengthy download times”.  Yes, iOS 7’s download time has been increased to such an enjoyable length that it will feel like you’re not dealing with any technology at all.  For several hours, this reviewer could have dinner with his family, go for a run, and attend a concert and it felt like the phone was hardly operable at all! We’ve truly reached the pinnacle of the digital age, my friends.

3. Could Not Activate iPhone

This was an update that hit really close to home, and will be quite useful for yours truly.  Apple has added the wonderful enhancement of not being able to activate iPhones (seen in picture on the right).

One of the many new features of iOS7 over which the public is salivating.

One of the many new features of iOS7 over which the public is salivating.

With the old operating systems, receiving text messages and phone calls, reading emails, and just generally being able to use my iPhone was cumbersome at best.  iOS 7 eliminates said trials, and allows me to stare at a white screen for forty five minutes while debating the drive to the nearest Apple Store.  A few things that may go unappreciated about this enhancement: the typeface, the simplicity, and the surprisingly helpful advice.  “This may take a few minutes,” the words proclaim.  No, I think to myself.  It’s only felt like minutes, but this “problem” has persisted for several hours.  Thank you, Apple.

4. Twitter Integration

What’s that? They added this before? Sure, they may have added what they called “twitter integration” before, but Apple has really stepped up its game this year.  iOS 7 takes the current reliance on social media and adds another level with what they call “Twitter templates”.  These templates are really quite simple; the moment a user attempts to download iOS 7, he or she immediately sends out a tweet asking other if they have been able to successfully download and install the operating system.  Genius! No longer are people required to “be patient” or “have original thoughts”.  Apple has recognized the need for redundancy within 140 characters or less, and has brought such needs into the technological era.

If you love constant bitching and poop jokes, follow me @TuckChuckWilson.  I’ll be using my twitter templates later today if the “Could Not Activate iPhone” feature still exists.

Grand Theft Auto V: World’s First Review

I recently received an advance copy of Rockstar’s highly anticipated Grand Theft Auto V, and have been given the opportunity to provide the game’s very first review. After playing nearly ten hours, I can safely say I am well-versed and able to deliver an extensive review. Unfortunately for gamers everywhere, this reviewer is dismayed and downright confused with fifth iteration of this classic franchise.

Allow me to preface my review with a little background; I grew up on the Grand Theft Auto games, traversing the regions of Liberty and Vice City, but was quite excited with the prospects of returning to San Andreas, arguably Rockstar’s deepest territory. V promises a return to the last generation’s parody of Southern California, and this is its first mistake. Gone are the beaches, hookers, and crime syndicates, replaced exclusively with racetracks. Don’t get me wrong; I love racing. Vehicles have always been a major focus of the GTA franchise. What irks this reviewer, however, is the focus on racing in V. After popping in the game for the first time and selecting a race from the main menu, I was asked to select my car then immediately thrown into a race. Where was the introductory video, the character development, and the traveling to/from missions?

“Relax,” I thought to myself. “Maybe this is something new.” Little did I know how correct I was. With the wave of the checkered flag, I was off to the races. But the race got fairly monotonous quickly, and I decided this mission was not for me. Bailing on the race, I decided to hit triangle on my dualshock. “Huh? No I don’t want to go in reverse. I wanna get out of this ‘rari and bash in some bangers!” I thought they had changed the controls, but I was dead wrong. In V, they’ve done away with extra-vehicular activity. You can no longer get out of the car.

“That’s fine,” I suggested timidly to myself. “Drive-bys will have to do.” Guess what, folks: no guns either. It seems Rockstar, in an effort to appease various media outlets and concerned parents, have completely altered the game to enforce family values. The most havoc I caused during my gameplay was throwing on the horn and causing a public disturbance, and still did not see any sign of a wanted level. It’s clear public pressure has transitioned the series from a “Mature” rating towards an “E for Everyone” (seen on the right side of this column).

Rockstar's new addition to its gaming lineup leaves something desired.

Rockstar’s new addition to its gaming lineup leaves something desired.

The positives? I guess the graphics were pretty solid. And Rockstar has arguably improved its racing mechanics. These improvements, however, pale in comparison to the vast demotions its developers have chiseled away. I, admittedly, did not so much receive the game directly from Rockstar as much as I walked into EB games and bought a copy early. I was curious why none of my friends were able to buy the game, and how nobody had written a review of the game. If there is one other thing to take away from Rockstar’s latest installment, we must appreciate the developer’s time-saving strategies. People used to complain how long it would take to drive back to a mission point should a gamer have died prematurely. GTA heeded said complaints, and certainly removed any chance of death during a race. They also, however, saved time in the game’s shortened title; “GTA” has apparently been shortened to “GT”, but its focus on “Auto” still reigns supreme in this video game giant.

In closing, those who loved the series will be in for a rude awakening. **/****

For more poignant observations, follow me @TuckChuckWilson