Reviews of Movies & Games

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There are some fantastic movies and games coming out in September and October.

Movie Title: Pain and Gain

Director: Michael Bay
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie
Highlights: Funny moments
Recommended for: Micheal Bay fans
Verdict: ***

Director Michael Bay, who has become synonymous with loud, over-budget blockbusters, tries his hand at making a “small” budget passion project ($25 million), but manages to fill it with the same sledgehammer subtlety as his previous works.

Based on an outrageous true story, the politically incorrect satire, Pain & Gain, sneers at jokes about sex, sexism, racism, death and religion. Granted its not easy to make a black comedy about murder, kidnapping and crime, but the notoriously slick Bay seems like the wrong guy for the material. Instead, he sneaks slow motion, explosions and a parade of woman into a film that should probably be a lot more believable. Even still, he knows his audience too well and manages to tap the laziest part of their brains to keep them entertained throughout.

Michael Bay delivers on entertainment, but at a cost. That cost involves removing the functional and logical parts of your brain and forgetting your sense of morality. If you’re already missing these then you’re A for away with Pain & Gain. For some there will be more pain than gain.


Director: Neill Blomkamp
Starring: Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Alice Braga and Sharlto Copley
Highlights: Great action scenes
Recommended for: Sci-Fi fans
Verdict: ****

Elysium is the second film from visionary director Neill Blomkamp. After District 9’s success, both critically and financially, it is to be Blomkamp’s trial by fire. Not as daring as District 9, yet much more dazzling to look at, Elysium solidifies Blomkamp’s talent as a director who is willing to take risks and be different.

We follow Max (Damon), an ex-con who has left his old ways behind and tries to make a living while working in a factory. An accident exposes Max to a lethal dose of radiation. He learns he has only five days to live, and this sets him off on his desperate struggle to get to Elysium to heal himself with their technology. The Secretary of Defence, Delacourt (Foster) learns of Max’s plans and initialises her own plans to stop him at all costs. These plans include eliciting the help of a brutal mercenary, Kruger (Copley), and his thugs to thwart Max’s plans. Although not perfect, Elysium is definitely worth a look. The effects are different and spectacular, the world created unique and watching Damon and Copley going at each other a treat.

Pikmin 3

Director: Shigefumi Hino and Yuki Kando
Developer: Nintendo
Genre: Strategy
Highlights: Amazing visuals
Recommended for: Strategy fans
Verdict: ****

Any game that has literally invented and popularised its own niche genre is worthy of at least passing notice. In the case of Pikmin 3, the first new Pikmin game in nine years, it deserves far more than that.

Pikmin 3 is a demonstration of the fact that while Nintendo may suck at bringing third party titles to their platform, and while Mario may play it far too safe with his releases, the remainder of their first party titles are produced with a great deal of love, affection and care for their franchises.

The entire campaign takes around 10 hours for normal play, and much more for 100% completion. There are also additional challenge modes and co-op modes that extend game time even more. Pikmin 3 is a worthy successor to any previous game in the title, and for players who have never tried it before, it’s definitely worth it, adding one more significant title to the rather slowly expanding Wii-U library.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

Director: Kenji Saito
Developer: Platinum Games / Konami
Genre: Action, Adventure
Highlights: Character design
Recommended for: Fans of the series
Verdict: ***

It seems almost ridiculous how many terrible omens hung over Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance from conception to completion. A spin-off of a legendarily popular series. A spin-off with a different system of gameplay. A protracted development period, skipping between developers and restarting. A lack of normal commitment from the creative mind behind the series. At the end of the day, it seems remarkable that it even made it to the shelves. But, Metal Gear is a series that has never usually been able to be pinned down, and maybe, just maybe, this game will continue that trend.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a game that is fun at its core, but is over too quickly and is weighed down with silliness of the bad kind. I don’t think it’s worth full price, but definitely buy it when it drops down a bit.

Movies to look out for:

Kick Ass 2
Genre: Action, Comedy
Director: Jeff Wadlow
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Chloe Grace Moretz and Jim Carrey
Date: 6 September

We’re the Millers
Genre: Comedy
Director: Rawson Thurber
Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Sudeikis and Emma Roberts
Date: 6 September

Red 2
Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime
Director: Dean Parisot
Starring: Bruce Willis, John Malkovich and Anthony Hopkins
Date: 4 October

Games to look out for:

Madden NFL 25
Genre: Sport, Football
Developer: EA Sports
Date: September

WWE 2K14
Genre: Action, Wrestling
Developer: 2K Games
Date: October

Battlefield 4
Genre: Action, Shooter
Developer: EA / DICE Games
Date: October