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'Devil Survivor 2' is one of these grid-based RPGs. I think the most common touchstone here is 'Final Fantasy Tactics,' though there are dozens of other examples that lamer (cooler) people than me could list. Basically, you move your party of dudes around on a grid and fight enemies.

So there's this boss fight that pops up once you've dug a little way into the game. There's a street lined with ruined buildings - the game is set in a currently-apocalyptic Japan - with a big weird-looking monster thing at the bottom. That's the target; you need to use your four party members to kill it.

The boss sits on the bottom and your party enters near the top. It takes maybe four turns of simply walking straight down the street to reach the boss. At the very top of the map - just above your party - there are a handful of enemies. Included in their ranks is one of the obnoxious paralysis-inducing monsters that is only weak to fire; you're best off setting one of your dudes up specifically to deal with it.

Published in Tekk
Wednesday, 18 April 2012 12:58

The Three Stooges' surprisingly fun

Farrelly brothers' effort full of slapstick and sweetness

Watching people get hurt is sad. Watching them get hurt without injury or consequence is hilarious. That's why the Three Stooges were able to become some of the biggest stars of Hollywood's younger days. In real life, poking eyes and thumping heads with hammers ends up with bloodshed and hospital visits, but in the world of the Stooges, no permanent harm is ever done.

Bobby and Peter Farrelly have taken it upon themselves to update that world with 'The Three Stooges.' However, this isn't your typical Farrelly gross-out jam. It's their first-ever foray into the more family-friendly realm of a PG rating.

The story begins at an orphanage where a duffel bag is unceremoniously dumped on the doorstep in a drive-by. The three babies in the bag immediately make a negative impression on the dour Sister Mary-Mengele (Larry David, TV's 'Curb Your Enthusiasm') before initially charming the rest of the nuns. However, when we flash forward 10 years, we quickly learn that these boys are far more of a handful than anyone could have guessed.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 11 April 2012 14:48

Getting together with American Reunion'

The gang from American Pie' grows up

The movies we see and love as young adults often go on defining our cinematic tastes long after we have supposedly 'grown up.' However, the opportunity to see the cast of one of those movies after they too have grown up is pretty rare.

'American Reunion' is that opportunity.

The film, officially fourth in the 'American Pie' canon (though there are a slew of straight-to-video offerings that co-opted the 'American Pie' name), sees the original crew returning to East Great Falls for their high school reunion. Jim (Jason Biggs, TV's 'Mad Love') and Michelle (Alyson Hanigan, TV's 'How I Met Your Mother') are married with a child. They still love each other, but the passion seems to have left their marriage. Oz (Chris Klein, 'Caught in the Crossfire') is a sportscaster and minor celebrity with a model girlfriend. Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas, 'InSight') is a work-at-home husband, while Finch (Eddie Kaye Thomas, TV's 'How to Make It in America') simply reappears after vanishing for years, telling wild globetrotting stories. Former flames such as Vicky (Tara Reid, 'Last Call') and Heather (Mena Suvari, 'Restitution') are also back.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 14 March 2012 14:33

John Carter' just misses

Adventure epic lacks spirit of source material

One of the problems with adapting a beloved literary property to the big screen is the simple truth that you can't satisfy everybody. Like it or not, two hours of film cannot match 400 pages of novel in terms of sheer volume of description. So filmmakers pick and choose the parts that they use - making a coherent movie, sure, but also infuriating the purists. Of course, if the literary property in question is almost a century old, there's a little leeway.

So it is with 'John Carter.'

The film is based on the Barsoom series of books by Edgar Rice Burroughs. This film is based primarily on 'A Princess of Mars,' the first of a dozen different stories featuring the planet Mars as imagined by Burroughs.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 29 February 2012 13:01

Communal comedy with Wanderlust'

Comedy offers great performances, plenty of laughs

Screen chemistry is a tricky thing. In any sort of cinematic relationship - especially a romantic one - your leads have to have the proper dynamic between them. They are the foundation from which the rest of the movie builds; without a strong, engaging relationship in that spot, everything else falls apart.

And just because the actors involved are charismatically gifted individually does not mean that their on-screen pairing is going to work. It's all about the mixture.

Published in Movies

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