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Movie, game and book reviews May 2014

Reviews by www.fortressofsolitude.co.za

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

Movie Title: Son of God

Director: Christopher Spencer
Starring: Christopher Spencer, Darwin Shaw and Sebastian Knapp
Highlights: Acting of the support cast.
Recommended for: Fans of The Bible series.
Verdict: ***

It is very difficult to criticize a story about God; to criticize a representation of something that will no doubt affect and move millions across the planet. It is something that could make you feel like you are refusing the divine word of God by noting problems with the script, let alone the acting, direction and representation of something that is deemed holy. Son of God is a feature film that is a collection and climax of the History Channel’s ambitious and comprehensive 10-hour series simply entitled The Bible, produced by the mighty Mark Burnett.

Overall, it was aesthetically pleasing, other than Jesus’ hair, the production design, Moroccan setting, and make-up made it believable and authentic. Even the obvious computer-generated Jerusalem was easy to forgive. On a whole, it was not the most inspiring rendition of the Jesus story that has been created, but it is a much better rendition than other biblical films.

Movie Title: Rio 2

Director: Carlos Saldanha
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Bruno Mars, Jamie Foxx and Jesse Eisenberg
Highlights: Extremely entertaining.
Recommended for: Whole family.
Verdict: ****

When we were taken on a journey to Rio back in 2011 to witness the coupling of what was believed to be the last two blue macaws in the world in hopes of keeping the species alive, I would’ve been the first to tell you that a sequel would probably be a mistake. Three years later, Rio 2 hsa been released and I‘m so glad the directors and producers of the animation decided to have another go because I have never been so entertained.

This movie was absolutely spectacular! Having been disappointed by the first instalment, I wasn’t expecting much from Rio 2, but was completely blown away. From the happy-go-lucky celebratory singing to the incredibly colourful 3D animation, Rio 2 was a huge winner in my books. With twists and turns and a host of comedic dialog, I was glued to the screen as the story very creatively unfolded. Being cooped up in a cinema filled with kids is not my idea of fun (you never really get to enjoy the movie because someone is always crying), but the buzz and excitement that was constantly in the atmosphere was enough to convince me that the film had hit the nail on the head in terms of catering for its target audience.

Game Title: Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

Developer: Kojima Productions
Publisher: Konami
Genre: Action, Adventure, Stealth
Highlights: Gameplay and graphics.
Recommended for: Fans of the series.
Verdict: ****

When Metal Gear Solid 2 was released way back in 2001, it had a short, prologue mission before the main mission began. This prologue was used as a demo in the time running up to the main games release, and was included on the final product as part of the story. Flash forward to 2014, where the first part of Metal Gear Solid 5, Ground Zeroes, of comparable length to that demo in some areas, is released as a separate product, albeit at a reduced price, but still as its own piece. Is this justifiable? In some ways yes, in some ways no.

Ground Zeroes mostly serves as a hype machine for The Phantom Pain next year, and it does a remarkable job at that. I now cannot wait for more MGS action on the next gen consoles. But its value depends on how much you want to explore every nook and cranny, if you are the type to do so, it is worth its asking price. If you usually just do the campaign, don’t buy it full price.

Game Title: Infamous: Second Son

Developer: Sucker Punch Productions
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Genre: Action, Adventure
Highlights: Delsin is a fun character.
Recommended for: Fans of the series.
Verdict: ****

Can it be true? Can the Prophets have spoken true? Has the age come at last where a first-party exclusive title is released for the PS4? Oh yes friends, it has indeed, in the form of a sequel to the best non-DC/non-Marvel superhero video game franchise ever.

Delsin is a fun character and is perhaps a bit more dynamic in his approach to life than Cole was, and quite fun to listen too. However, the downsides of this game are largely that the plot is much weaker and that there is very little to do after finishing the game. You end up with an almost-ghost world, inhabited only by screaming or cheering pedestrians. Second Son is a worthy inclusion in the franchise, wonderful superhero simulator, and a very good exclusive title for the PS4. It just isn’t life changing, but that’s alright too.


The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Genre: Action
Developer: Beenox
Date: April 2014

Bound by Flame
Genre: Action
Developer: Ubisoft
Date: May 2014

Watch Dogs
Genre: Action
Developer: Ubisoft
Date: May 2014


3 Days to Kill
Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller
Director: McG
Starring: Kevin Costner, Amber Heard and Hailee Steinfeld
Date: 1 May 2014

The Other Woman
Genre: Comedy
Director: Nick Cassavetes
Starring: Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton
Date: 1 May 2014

Devil's Knot
Genre: Biography, Crime, Drama
Director: Atom Egoyan
Starring: Colin Firth, Reese Witherspoon and Dane Dehaan
Date: 9 May 2014


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

From Aardvark to Zuma

Alex Latimer
Beginning with 'Aardvark' and ending with 'Zuma' (with all sorts of animals, brands, characters, places and plants in-between), this book captures and alphabetises the essence of South Africa. A remarkable achievement for such a small book, don't you think? R95.00

A Higher Call

Adam Makos
Five days before Christmas 1943, a badly damaged American bomber struggled to fly over wartime Germany. At its controls was a twenty-one-year-old pilot. Half his crew lay wounded or dead. Suddenly a German Messerschmitt fighter pulled up on the bomber's tail - the German pilot was an ace, a man able to destroy the American bomber with the squeeze of a trigger. R190.00

The Death of Money

James Rickards
In The Death of Money, Rickards explores the future of the international monetary system. The international monetary system has collapsed three times in the past hundred years. Each collapse was followed by a period of war, civil unrest, or damage to the stability of the global economy. Now James Rickards explains why another collapse is rapidly approaching. R300.00

The Diving

Helen Walne
Popular columnist Helen Walne tells of her tortuous relationship with her brother, Richard, who couldn't resist the lure of death. Beautifully told, it is an achingly personal account of the inner turmoil of those who are left behind after a loved one's suicide, and of dealing with grief, fear, isolation and depression. But it also tells of hope, recovery, and learning to live without the person who has left them. R230.00

Bloody Lies

Calvin Mollett & Thomas Mollett
This book takes head-on one of the highest-profile murder cases in recent South African history. In 2007, Fred van der Vyver was acquitted of the 2005 murder of fellow student Inge Lotz. He then sued the police to the highest court for malicious prosecution – and failed. R230.00

A Hippo Love Story

Karen Paolillo
In 1992, when her geologist husband was sent to a remote bush camp in Zimbabwe at a time of severe drought, Karen Paolillo stepped in to save the lives of a group of hippos who were going to die. With help from the British animal charity Care for the Wild International, she raised over 26,000 pounds to feed them and give them their own artificial water source as their habitat, the Turgwe River, had completely dried up.R230.00

Hello Kitty’s Big Adventure: My First Sticker Book (Age 0+3)

Come and explore the magical world of Hello Kitty! Are you ready to join Hello Kitty on her amazing adventure in this fun sticker scene book? Follow her journey from the park to the farm, funfair, beach and more! R115.00

W.A.R.P: The Reluctant Assassin Eoin Colfer (Age 9+)

It all began with the FBI and WARP (Witness Anonymous Relocation Programme). Hiding witnesses in the past to protect the future - until now. Riley is a Victorian orphan, hurtled into the twenty-first century and on the run from his evil master... Albert Garrick, the terrifying assassin-for-hire pursuing Riley through time, along with... Chevie Savano, the FBI's youngest and most impulsive special agent. R140.00