Movie, game and book reviews June 2014

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There are some fantastic movies, games and books coming out in June.

Photos by: Fortress of solitude

Movie Title: X-Men: Days of Future Past

Director: Bryan Singer
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence and Michael Fassbender
Highlights: Special effects.
Recommended for: Fans of series.
Verdict: ****

It all comes full circle with Days of Future Past. However, the film does require fans to have super-long memories, with the story building on from previous installments. Of course, if you have no idea what happened previously, Professor X does fill in the blanks with an annoying five-minute explanation. It’s these little Bryan Singer-ties that will annoy the audience – unnecessary flashbacks, explanations and reinterpretations of characters.

Surprisingly, the highlight of the film is a scene where Quicksilver speeds across the room redirecting enemy bullets midair while calmly listening to music from his Walkman. It’s simply incredible! So incredible, in fact, that it seems misplaced here. After all, what exactly is the character doing here when he is scheduled to appear later on in the upcoming Avengers film? Fox seems aware of this and gives Quicksilver the back seat quicker than expected.

In the overcrowded superhero market, Days of Future Past is solid and does enough to stand up against other contenders. It’s engaging popcorn entertainment – boom, bop, pow with a little soul. After a number of missteps, the X-Men seem to have a brighter path ahead of them. And for goodness sake, let it not be another Wolverine story.


Director: Gareth Edwards
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen and Ken Watanabe
Highlights: Action packed.
Recommended for: Action junkies.
Verdict: ****

Godzilla is mostly about little humans shooting little pieces of metal at skyscraper-sized, impervious creatures, which, naturally, are unfazed or only slightly irritated. There are loads of scenes with jets, bombs, rocket launchers, tanks,
warships and general panic, which delight the action-movie goers and those expecting masses of military might. The mandatory injection of a personal element to invoke an emotional attachment to the human characters means forcing you to go through the first 30 minutes monster-free, but it is done very well and builds intrigue. There is a glorious crescendo of immense destruction and powerful bass-powered booms. It is something you definitely want to see in a cinema with loads of volume.

This is a great film for a night out, die-hard fans or regular action lovers. There is plenty of space at the end of the film for a few sequels, but none that will equal the big monster trilogies of the past that have more story to them. It is very enjoyable, action-packed and extremely well put together. The stars and Oscar winners are the technical team, editors and sound mixers.

Photos by: Fortress of solitude

Game Title: 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

Developer: Electronic Arts.
Publisher: EA Sports.
Genre: Sports.
Highlights: Gameplay and graphics.
Recommended for: Fans of football games.
Verdict: ****

In all honesty, 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil provides quite a lot of fun. The game offers intense build up to each game, from players walking onto the field singing their respective national anthems, to the occasional cut-scene to each country's fan parks as fans celebrate goals and victories. On the odd occasion, you may even be lucky enough to be in the presence of the virtual Sepp Blatter, who attends the more high-profile games. A few additional player celebrations have been thrown in, some of which make no sense at all and have yet to witness on a football pitch.

Apart from your standard World Cup mode, 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil also brings with it Captain Your Country and Road to the FIFA World Cup. While the tournament itself only lasts seven games, these two gaming options add more depth, giving buyers a little more value for their money. Captain Your Country gives you control of a single player, the captain, as you battle your way through qualification and the World Cup itself. Road to the FIFA World Cup offers a more comprehensive experience that not only takes you through qualifying but each of the friendlies in-between matches, as well as the occasional training day.

Game Title: Dark Souls II

Developer: From Software, Namco
Publisher: From Software
Genre: Action, RPG
Highlights: Gameplay and polished product.
Recommended for: Fans of the first game.
Verdict: ****

Let me set the scene. You find yourself in a dreary, ruined world well past its prime. Something about the world is still beautiful and alluring, but now in a more terrifying than delightful way. You design how your character would look and you pick a starting class. You are now just one small, average person in a world where largely everything will attempt to kill you.

Dark Souls 2 is as hard a game as the previous in the series; but it has fewer bugs, has smoother gameplay, better graphics and is essentially another Souls experience. It took over my life for ten days and is a strong contender for Game of the Year in my book. It has so much detail and possibility in it that it never feels really done, even in New Game Plus, which can be done over and over, minor changes happen every time and new things are unlocked for the player to keep each run unique. If you have the time to give it what it deserves, Dark Souls 2 can be an extremely rewarding experience for a player, of which there are few enough in gaming currently.


Murdered: Soul Suspect
Genre: Action, Adventure
Developer: Square-Enix
Date: June 2014

EA Sports UFC
Genre: Action, Adventure
Developer: EA Sports
Date: June 2014

Mario Kart 8
Genre: Racing
Developer: Nintendo
Date: June 2014


Genre: Fantasy, Adventure
Director: Robert Stromberg
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Sharlto Copley, Elle Fanning and Sam Riley
Date: 6 June 2014

Edge of Tomorrow
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi
Director: Doug Liman
Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton and Brendan Gleeson
Date: 13 June 2014

Genre: Drama, Thriller
Director: Steven Knight
Starring: Steven Knight, Tom Hardy, Olivia Coleman and Ruth Wilson
Date: 27 June 2014


All these fine books are available at all good book stores across the country.

Black Widow White Widow
De Wet Potgieter
When De Wet Potgieter wrote in the Daily Maverick that Al Qaeda was operating within the borders of South Africa, there were howls of protest, he was forced to write a retraction and was fired. The fact is that compelling evidence points to Al Qaeda being here, and this book will show where they might be operating and most importantly how and why. R230.00

Michael Lewis
The story of Michael Lewis' new book is so hot that we can't talk about it yet. All we can say is that it involves Wall Street and features a cast of misfits and oddballs doing things with stupefying amounts of money and data that will have you in turn shocked, outraged, laughing, tearing your hair out, and cheering - but throughout sitting on the very edge of your seat. R395.00

Think Like A Freak
Stephen J. Dubner & Steven D. Levitt
The Freakonomics books have come to stand for challenging conventional wisdom; using data rather than emotion to answer questions. Now Levitt and Dubner have turned what they've learned into a readable and practical toolkit for thinking smarter, harder, and different - thinking, that is, like a freak. R245.00

The Secret Club that Runs the World
Kate Kelly
Nestled deep in the towers of banking and finance are the commodities traders who spend their days gambling with oil, gold, and corn contracts. They're highly educated world travellers with a penchant for risk, and they're here to bet big on the future of the raw materials that make our economies hum. R320.00

The Sword of Kuromori
Jason Rohan
Ancient monsters bite off more than they can chew in this action-packed adventure set in modern Japan. Kenny Blackwood arrives in Tokyo to spend the summer with his father and is stunned to discover a destiny he had never dreamed of when he finds himself in the middle of a hidden war that is about to explode. R150.00

Pretty Deadly (Book 1)
Joe Schreiber
If you're a fan of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Kick Ass, The Hunger Games, Quentin Tarantino or Lee Child, don't miss out on this. Fasten your seatbelts for a rapid-fire joyride through the streets of New York. This is the most entertaining thriller you'll read this year. When Gobi lands in Perry's life, she rips it apart like a bomb shell. One minute she's a frumpy, awkward exchange student and the next, she's the ultimate femme fatale. R170.00

Pretty Lethal (Book 2)
Joe Schreiber
This is the heart-pumping sequel to Pretty Deadly. Life has never been sweeter for Perry. He's 18, he's free, and his band is on tour in Europe. He's made it good ... until enigmatic femme fatale Gobi shows up in Venice and blows it all apart. R170.00

The Complete Book of the Flower Fairies
Cicely Mary Barker
This complete collection of Cicely Mary Barker's Flower Fairies features a stunning new cover. Perfect for fans of the Flower Fairies old and new, this wonderful collection includes all the original Flower Fairy poems and illustrations by Cicely Mary Barker from the classic books. R320.00